Motherhood.Adventure.Slow Fashion.Sewing.Womanhood

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

January blues

So I've officially run out of steam for anymore christmas related posts now. I'm sure you get the gist of it by now anyhow.

January is always a tough month, for many reasons. Money is always tight in January. If you are like me, you'll feel chubby, bloated and gross after the overindulgence that is obligatory in December. The weather is crap. Failed resolutions that we make on New Years are shaming us with guilt. And, of course, the bugs. I don't mean little crawling insects - I mean, bugs. Germs. The lurgy.

This month has had its ups and downs. The downs are easy to dwell on. Me and the kiddies have been more ill than I care to think about. Logan is currently poorly with tonsillitis, Rori with a cough and cold and me with a throat infection. I want to get away from this horrible weather and book a nice holiday somewhere hot, sunny and foreign. I wish money didn't exist so that I didn't worry about it. And I just wish I would get out of my own head too.

But this month has also had its bright side that I have to force myself to remember. Lucky Sew and Sew has had it's busiest month of all time. Considering its January, I'm really surprised at that. And very proud. I had set myself a small goal of hitting 800 followers on Instagram which I have succeeded in too. Logan settled into preschool really well and loves attending. Rori has cut her first 4 teeth. So it's actually been a pretty good month when I look at this side of things.

It's my 25th birthday next week. I think I'm having a quarter life crisis. Yes, these exist, no shit. I'm not looking forward to turning 25 at all.

I've finally found the time to cut out my Marilla Walker Roberts Collection dungarees and I can't wait to sew them up. I'm hoping to wear them when I go for my first night out since I got pregnant with Rori (July 2015!!) for my birthday next weekend. I have hopes of grandeur - lots of wine, spirits, dancing and the rest of it. In reality it will probably be two glasses of wine, one shot, and off to bed mate. Such a lightweight.
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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Wolf Moccasins. IThinkSew Kathy Moccasins

I'm nearly finished my Christmas craft posts now, I promise. I did tell you I'd been busy!

So next up is a present for my wonderful Dad. Dad is probably the most awkward person to buy for, ever. He pretty much has everything that he needs (except a Harley Davidson. And if I could make one of those for you Dad, I would (and I would also be very rich!)), and trying to think of things that he would like and also doesn't already have is a task and half.

Normally every year my dad gets a pair of moccasins. You know the ones...leather, black, make your feet stink. So I thought I would make him a pair this year instead. I bought the Kathy Family Moccasin pattern from the shop on Etsy 'sewingwithme1'. It's an Ithinksew pattern. There are individual patterns for men's moccs, women's moccs and baby moccs, but this one is all three, which I figured could come in handy. I grabbed it when it was 50% off too, so it was a bargain.

For the out fabric, I used some black wool fabric, that was left over from Logan's Wolf Coat and for the lining I bought some rose swirl minky fabric which is like a soft furry type fabric. I also had to use more of that dreaded fusible fleece interlining.



I wanted to make them unique and special, so I decided to embroider the slippers. Before I cut out the upper top pieces of each moc, I drew around the pattern piece with chalk and left it on a big enough piece of fabric for me to hoop up in the embroidery hoop. I embroidered a wolf's head on each one, with 'Wolf' on the right and 'Pack' on the left in royal blue. Once the embroidery was finished, I simply cut out each piece. Easy peasy!



The dreaded fusible fleece actually worked ok this time around. Maybe there's a knack to it that I've managed to get somehow? All of the outer pieces called for the fleece. Then I had to cut out the lining fabric. If I never have to see this fabric again in my entire life, I would be very happy. This. Fabric. Was. Hell. To. Cut. I ended up with tiny microscopic bits of fluff in places where one should never have fluff. Up my nose, in my eyes, on my tongue! Blergh! It also stuck all over the black wool which was a massive pain to remove!



Anyhow, they sewed up relatively easy and went together pretty well. I had to use a walking foot as with the wool, the fur and the fusible fleece, they were pretty bulky and needed a bit of help. I'm really pleased with how they came out, and best of all Dad really loves them. He even brought them with him when he came over to my house at the weekend which made me smile.



Next time I make a pair, i think I will line in a polar-fleece or something that doesn't malt as much as fur (!) and try some non-slip glue on the soles to make them a bit more grippy. I have a tiled floor in the kitchen and can see myself going arse over tit if I don't have any grip on them...















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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Simplicity 1600 - Aurora's Christmas Outfit

If you read my post on Rori's leather moccasins that I made her for Christmas, then you would have seen this beaut needlecord fabric make an appearance. When I purchased the leather for the mocs and this needlecord fabric in the summer from the Goldhawk Road, I just knew a coordinating outfit was on the cards.



I decided to use a pattern from my (ever expanding) pattern stash, and so I went for Simplicity 1600, which is a remake of a vintage sewing pattern. I thought a little romper, with a matching bonnet and her little mocs would be cute to boot, so that's what I did!



This pattern is so easy and straightforward to use. The only thing I changed was adding two buttons (one on top of the other, separated a little) on each strap, rather than one button or a popper. I've seen this on a few RTW romper's and dungarees that Rori has, and is a great trick to getting more wear out of the outfit. Fasten the strap on the top button to make a more snug fit, or fasten on the bottom button to make a roomier fit for when she grows. I used some large diamond buttons, which I really like. I also sewed the straps together at the back where they cross over and meet to avoid the straps falling off her shoulders.



Never having made a bonnet before, I was a bit dubious of how it would come together, but it was very quick and simple. The thing that took the longest time was hand-stitching the top of the binding down on the inside, but even that was a cinch. 

What I love about this pattern is that the outfits can be made in heavier,warmer fabrics for the colder months and lighter fabrics for the warmer months. Rori wore this outfit on boxing day with cream tights and a cream turtle-neck. Is there anything better than seeing chubby little baby legs in tights? I think not!

Although Rori has worn the outfit, I failed to get a picture of her wearing it, so here's a picture of it just before I wrapped it all up.



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Saturday, 9 January 2016

Marie Antoinette Collection - Lucky Sew and Sew

In the Summer, we were reached out to by the photographer Rekha Garton and asked if we wanted to collaborate on a photoshoot with her. Her idea was for a Marie Antoinette inspired shoot. First off, I love the whole Marie Antoinette look. Big hair, lace, ruffles, pale pinks and blues...Yes! We had a nosey on Rekha's website and basically just fell in love with her work so we jumped at the chance to do this shoot. Go and have a look at her work, she is uh-mazing.

We hadn't done a collaboration shoot before and we were pretty stoked to do this one. We saw the opportunity to develop the idea and make the pieces that we create for the shoot into a mini-collection to release in our Etsy shop.  Rekha had a clear idea of the look she wanted to achieve, and we shared ideas via Pinterest to make sure that we were both on the same page (you can see our pinterest board here). I really relished the task of designing this lingerie. I enjoyed studying up on the Marie Antoinette style and trying to think of ways of how to best translate that image into our pieces. We spent a few days sketching and brainstorming ideas (we even watched the film with Kirsten Dunst!), and then took a trip to the fabric shop for inspiration. We came across some unbelievable fabrics which were exactly what we were looking for, but they were bolt-ends.We made the decision to go for it anyway, and just make this collection a limited edition. The only thing is, it's so limited I can't justify making myself the sets, and I want them so badly. Wah!



So we made the pieces for the models measurements and posted the pieces off to Rekha. When we first saw the images from the shoot we couldn't believe it. They are just so beautiful and exactly what I imagined in my head. Sarah, the model, looks unbelievable in the lingerie and basically the whole thing just looks perfect. It was hard to believe that the lingerie in the pictures was something that I had made!



Rekha is a photography wizard. I've never come across anyone with as much creative flair and vision as her. I feel very privileged to have provided the lingerie for this shoot with her. Hopefully we will get to work together again one day soon, and next time I'd like to go and be at the shoot and take in the whole experience too. Rekha lives in the next county so it's possible!

So after many months of being put on the back-burner whilst the festive rush took over, the Marie Antoinette collection is now finally being released in our Etsy shop this morning at 9am. Each set is very limited, only a couple of each set will be made. We really went all out on the fabrics, opting for serious luxury and originality. My personal favourite set is the peach satin and embroidered tulle set. That tulle is the nicest, most unusual fabric I have ever come across. It's a soft, stretchy tulle covered in cotton-like embroidered dandelion shapes. It just pairs so beautifully with the peachy satin. Plus that bralette shape is my favourite too, I love the cut out detail in the centre front. That bralette was based on a 1970's bra that I have in my collection, and was my favourite pattern to create so far.




Anyway, take a look at the new collection and let me know what you think!

Click here to go and take a look in our Etsy Shop

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Friday, 8 January 2016

Merchant and Mills Orton Bag

My Mum-in-Law is pretty in love with snails. She has those giant snails as pets. So when I came across a Riley Blake cotton that was covered in a colourful snail print, I knew it would be perfect for her.



I've long been a fan of Merchant and Mills. Their patterns, their fabrics, the haberdashery items, the whole aesthetics of their brand, I just love it. I'm desperate to try out one of their patterns for myself, but have always had other projects on the go. One of my goals for this year is to sew a Merchant and Mills pattern for myself. I will cut it from some of their delicious linen, with a pair of their awesome tailor shears, and use their glass-headed pins...hmmmmm. Anyway, I digress...so, when I found out that Merchant and Mills have a free pattern on their website for the Orton bag, I was well happy and knew I could put this to some use.

The Orton bag is an oversized shopper, with short straps made to fit snuggly on your shoulder. I really like this type of bag - it's easy to use, can fit a load of stuff in it, looks stylish and can easily fold away for safe keeping. Who doesn't love a reusable shopping bag, especially one that's fashionable (and especially since the plastic bag tax came in!).

The pattern is extremely easy and straightforward to use. The bag came together really quickly - in about an hour. My next one will probably be quicker than that, as is always the case when reusing familiar patterns. I love that you only need a metre of fabric to make one, and the size is easily adjustable, so you can make them in a few different sizes to shake things up a bit. The only thing I added was some reinforcement stitching on the bottom corners, just to hold everything in place really. This is the triangle shape stitching that you can see in the picture below.



This is a great project for a beginner, and I think they make great handmade presents. If you have a lot of friends and relatives to gift to, you could make them a bag each, from a fabric that's individual and matches their personality, and you have a satisfying project to sew that is straightforward with no stress, and you end up with some very thoughtful gifts.



Have you made an Orton bag yet?

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Thursday, 7 January 2016

A Dress for Mum - Simple Sew Loretta Jewel Neck Dress #020

A while ago, I came across an Ebay seller who had the most gorgeous cotton fabrics for about £3.49 a metre. They were extra wide fabrics too, so your really ended up with a lot of bang for your buck. I ordered a grey cotton with a yellow and orange floral pattern, and I sent a few options to Mum with the idea that we would make ourselves some dresses. Mum picked her one, I ordered 3m of it, and then the fabrics have just sat in my stash ever since.

So when I got last months Love Sewing Magazine, and looked at the free pattern, I just knew Mum would love it. It's the Loretta jewel neck dress by Simple Sew.



Mum loves a good shift dress, she definitely has the figure for it! The jewel neck of this dress is not something I've come across before, and I love it's originality. So, with the floral cotton that was sitting in my stash, I set about cutting out the pattern pieces. The sizing on the Simple Sew patterns I found different to other patterns that I have used. They seem to be for a more curvy figure, which is good for me, but not so much for Mum. I went for a size 12, as that measurement fitted her best at the bust, but I knew it would be too roomy on the hips. I didn't want to ask her for her measurements as it was a surprise, so I couldn't alter the pattern to fit her exactly. But I figured that I could always take in the side seams if needed.

Now this dress was a super speedy sew. From start to finish, (including ironing on the interfacing and inserting an invisible zip) it took me just over 2 hours. I didn't encounter any problems at all and it went together really well. The invisible zip went in perfect first time (yay!). I went for the sleeved option too, and it was still super fast. I even overlocked all of the raw edges and seams, so it's really neat inside. The kick pleat was also a new feature to me, but with the clear and precise instructions, it was a doddle.

The jewel neck was surprisingly simple, and a great shape that's really effective in adding a little interest to an otherwise simple dress. This was a very satisfying make, and I can see this being made in many different fabrics for a staple in the work wardrobe, or in fancier fabrics such as a lace for a great evening dress.


Jewel Neck

All overlocked inside,and my best invisible zip yet!

Underarm seams all meeting nicely!

My first kick pleat.

Invisible Zip!


Mum really loves the dress. It does need some taking in on the bottom half. I think I will take in the back darts, and take in the side seams which will be pretty straight-forward, and then it will be a perfect fit. Hopefully Mum will get a lot of wear from this dress, especially in the spring as it's such a beautiful floral print that would be perfect for that time of year.







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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Felt Superhero Masks

Logan is going through a superhero stage. He loves to pretend to be his favourite 'heroes' and has me or Rich pretend to be the 'villain' (his words, not mine!). After he enjoyed his fancy dress Halloween/Birthday party so much I figured he would enjoy dressing up as his favourite superheroes too. I looked on pinterest and found lots of ideas for felt masks, but they all seemed to complicated or just not what I was looking for exactly. I also couldn't find a kids mask template that was the right shape anywhere, so I ended up drafting one myself which turned out OK.

As well as the felt masks, I also made a cape and gauntlets to match the Spiderman mask. I couldn't not really, I was in the fabric shop and this red velvet with spiderwebs and spiders all over it was just screaming out to me!

The masks were super simple, and quick to make. All I needed was some felt in red, green, black, yellow, grey and skin colour, a hot glue gun, some elastic for the head band, my sewing machine for some decorative stitching and to attach the elastic, a bit of velcro tape for the cape and gauntlets, and a marker pen to draw on the batman symbol and bobs your uncle!

So, here we have the Spiderman ensemble.



Thor



The Hulk




Irom Man





and Batman




Logan keeps asking me to make him a batman cape now too, which I will do as soon as I can. It made me really happy that he prefers these handmade masks over the power ranger outfit that we bought him for christmas (do you know how expensive those outfits are?!). 

Next I think i'll make him some felt animal masks too!
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Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Simplicity 1477a Logan's Wolf Coat

If you haven't come across these fabulous felt animal coats by Little Goodall, then where have you been?!

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They are absolutely amazing, but they are well out of my price range, unfortunately. I was extremely happy to find, however, that they had teamed up with simplicity to offer a sewing pattern for these unique coats! You can find them here. I think I purchased mine through Jaycotts when there was a sale on, so I managed to get the pattern for less than usual. Yay!

I purchased the pattern months ago, like seriously, a looong time ago when Rori was a wee dot. I had always intended on sewing a coat for Logan for Christmas, and this was exactly the right project! When I went on the fabric shopping trip to London's Goldhawk Road in the summer, I managed to get all of the wool felt fabric that I needed for around £30. Bargain! I had decided to go for View A, which is supposed to be a fox, but make it in grey so that it is a wolf coat.


I didn't realise at the time, but Little Goodall do actually sell a Wolf coat on their website which is also a different colourway of this fox coat. Here is their version:


grey_wolf_coat.jpg

and here is mine!



I must admit, before I go into any detail, I have soooooo pleased with the coat! It is by no means perfect, but it was a really challenging make for me, and I just love it. Not only am I suprised that I actually managed to make it, but I did it in one day! It nearly killed me, but I did it in one go. Woohoo!



I started by cutting out all of the pieces in one weekend. That took an age in itself and blunted my scissors. I was incredibly glad that I had taken the fore site to cut the coat in a size 5, even though Logan is only 3, as then at least it will last a while and I wouldn't have to go through this again any time soon!.This pattern calls for fusible fleece interfacing, which was alien to me until this project. A different weekend I had put aside time to start the sewing, but the fusing of the fleece to the fabric took so long that I didn't have time for any sewing! Seriously, I don't for the life of me know what I was doing wrong, but it took FOREVER for the fusible fleece to fuse! I don't know if it's because the wool was thick and the iron had to be on a low-ish setting as to not burn the fabric, but my god....I almost gave up there and then.







I started to loose interest and put other projects in front of this one, and then I worried that I wouldn't have the time to sew it. So on the 20th December, I gave myself just that one day to sew it, start to finish. I had to use a walking foot as the layers were really bulky, and my machine still struggled at times. I managed to break 3 needles on those bulky seams! I also ran out of dark grey thread, so had to opt for a light grey thread. I actually kind of like it as it gives some highlight to the applique face detail on the hood.



With all that aside however, the pattern instructions were clear and the coat did come together nicely and quickly. The only mistake I made is when I was setting the sleeves into the lining and I was talking to my Mum on the phone at the same time, and I managed to sew the sleeve inside out! Ahh! But by that point I just couldn't be bothered to unpick the whole sleeve and start again so I just left it. Noone will notice unless they look inside the coat at the inside of the sleeve, so let's keep that a secret, OK!

Oh, and I had trouble with the buttonholes. As the fabric was so thick, my buttonhole foot kept getting stuck and not moving the fabric. So that was about 15 minutes of stress which resulted in off-centre buttonholes - but again, Let's just go with it...

I felt a massive surge of pride and triumph when I had finally finished this coat. Yes, it's imperfect, but that just adds to the home-sewn charm, right?! It's a bit weird, a bit wonderful and a bit quirky, just like Logan and I, so I figure it's pretty fitting!






Best of all, Logan really loves it. It's surprisingly warm because of the fleece interfacing, the wool felt and I also lined it in a soft felty-fleecey type fabric, so he's actually been able to wear it in this horrid weather. His favourite part of the coat are the little claws on the end of the arms, which he pretends to claw at me and Rori with. Cute...?! The arms, by the way, are genious. They are elongated at the front by the hands, so Logan doesn't even need to wear gloves with it as it keeps his little hands tucked up nice and warm. The hood fits nice and snug, so it won't be one of those annoying ones that keeps falling down, and he has got lots of room for it to last a good while.






I think this is my favourite thing I have made, ever. Hoooooowwwl!










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Monday, 4 January 2016

Leather Fringed Baby Bow Mocassins

This year I decided to have a more handmade Christmas. Partly to stop shopping excessively just because 'Tis the season, and also because I wanted to try some new techniques out and widen my sewing spectrum. 

One of the first projects on my sewing list was a pair of leather mocassins for Aurora. I've admired many leather Mocs on Instagram and loved the idea of making them myself. When I went on the shopping trip in the summer to the Goldhawk Road, I picked up a piece of buttery soft light-medium weight leather hide for a tiny £10! I don't remember the name of the shop, but it's on the far end, on the same side as the market, and is a big posh looking shop with lots of ex-designer fabrics. They had lots of leather and most of it quite expensive. I mentioned that I didn't want a large piece and they found me out this gorgeous Cherry colour piece. When they said they would only charge me £10, I was sold! 




On the same shopping trip I also grabbed a metre of the softest babycord/needlecord (is there a difference?!) that I thought would compliment the leather nicely. A navy ground with bright flowers, and quite a retro feel. I felt a coordinating outfit brewing. I did, in fact, make a coordinating outfit, I'll talk about that in the next post.




So, the leather Mocs. I got the pattern for them from Etsy, and it's by Simply Small Wonders. The pattern is clear and precise, the pieces fit together perfectly and the images are easy to follow. I thought the Mocs would be super hard and challenging, but they were surprisingly straight-forward and speedy to sew. I used a leather needle, with baking parchment on the back of the piece I was sewing, and I used a long stitch which all aids the stitching of the leather with can be tricky as it has a tendency to stick to your machine as you sew. I also used a Teflon foot which minimised sticking too. What you must also remember with leather is that every stitch makes a whole, so there's no unpicking and re stitching with it, it's first time or nothing! With that being the case, pinning is also a no-no (unless you can pin inside the seam allowance), as you would leave holes. Instead I used some stationary clips which worked a treat. 






I did find it quite fiddly as the pieces were so small, and it take take some patience and deep breaths before the sewing was finished! But I am more than pleased with the results!

I did find that even though I used parchment under the leather as well as a Teflon foot, that the leather was still sticky. This resulted in some uneven stitches and a difference in lengths. But to be perfectly honest, I don't think anyone else would notice and it just add to that 'handmade' charm. 




I lined the mocassins in the coordinating needlecord which is soft and snuggley inside without adding bulk, and adds a nice little surprise inside.






Overall, I am really pleased with how these turned out. They cost me a fraction of what buying a pair would have, and I have half the leather left to make a bigger size too! I love the fact that they're a little quirky and that the insides match her little outfit too. 10/10 from me!
















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