Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Mojo slump

I haven't updated in a while, 'cos I simply haven't made anything since the last post!

After finishing the crepe dress, I needed a break and as Craig proposed in August, threw myself into wedding planning instead! The majority of the 'big decisions' are made and most are booked. I've a few secret pinterest boards that are holding ideas until much closer to the time, which will be September 2016. I've already chosen and bought my dress! Realistically, I'm unlikely to be able to sew a more complicated dress with construction so decided to buy one instead. I am going to sew my evening dress though!

I haven't been on nights since September either, which always provided me with more off duty time in order to create. I'm hoping to sit down and get my patterns and fabric stashes organised this week. Hopefully it'll trigger the Mojo again! I read a little while ago on her blog that Lladybird has a box with precut fabric and patterns, so she always has something ready to sew at hand. I quite like this idea as I hate cutting out, but I'm quite indecisive so not sure I can commit too far in advance by cutting fabric ahead of time! She also uses a swatch system to organise upcoming patterns and ideas, which I will definitely try to start doing! 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

New Bike

Craig has been asking me if I'd like to cycle with him for about 3 years now. I have very unstable ankles which culminated in my physio advising me to completely stop running as I'm just damaging myself. Since then, Craig has been dropping hints about how cycling helped his knees and improved the alignment of his legs (which is something I also need to work on, cos my knee caps point inwards when my legs are facing straight ahead)!

So this came home with us on Monday, on my drive home via Halfords and a nice meal with Craig. And with his help, I turned that mismash of cardboard and metal into...


The bike is the men's version as I'm too tall for the ladies sizes (5ft7). The ladies came in a nice light grey with the yellow, so I thought I'd just have to make my version pretty too. I bought these 'Spokins' from TopShop as a laugh for Craig's birthday 3 years and he point blank refused to use them. So they are mine, and are finally now in use! 

I'm planning on using the bike purely on a turbo trainer for a while, which is why there isn't any decor on the back wheel. On a trainer, only the back moves and Craig was concerned the spokins might move and be too noisy on the back wheel... I'm gonna move them there gradually when he isn't looking and prove him wrong!

Monday, 31 August 2015

French crepe Anna dress

This dress was a true labour of love, to borrow from House of Pinheiro's IG theme.

I took my time cutting out the fabric as it was pretty stretchy and liked to move around. I initially tried carbon paper and gave up, going straight to my rotary cutters. I had printed out the pdf pattern so I wasn't feeling precious about cutting the pattern pieces. I cut an 8 on the shoulders and bust, grading to 10 for waist and hips.

I got stuck in with my standard sewing foot and straight stitch settings and the bodice came together really quickly. I used Prym wonder tape on the sleeves which made hemming them much simpler and neater. I'm hoping washing will disolve the tape and reduce the sleeve flicks. I also finished the seam allowances with a 3 step zigzag stitch.

The problem came when I started sewing the skirt. I sewed the entire thing, plus the seam allowances then realised the stitches were badly puckering the fabric, giving an overall tulip shape as each seam curved inwards as it travelled near the hem.

I ended up unpicking the entire thing, then reseting the seams over & over until I eventually had a skirt than fell straight down rather than curving in. For that I used a walking foot, reduced my stitch length and used a narrow one step zig zag stitch with top thread tension of 3, a slowly rewound bobbin with reduced tension and a pressure foot set to 2 instead of 6!

The 22 inch zip went in okay first time, I basted it into the dress first as it was moving around despite being full of pins. I sewed the centre back seam an inch above the bottom of the zip which looked much neater & I don't need the full zip length anyway.

I have a semi-intentional high-low seam as the panels moved during cutting plus the bodice likes to slip backwards on my shoulders so the back hem is lower. It's a bit annoying but I'm done with this dress now! I hemmed neatly using my 1/4 inch foot however the insides are a mess as my pinking shears couldn't cope with the stretch of the fabric and barely cut it. Most of my seam allowances in the skirt are unfinished as zigzag makes it pucker. 

So in summary,  a badly made but lovely dress!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Meet Nigel!

We adopted a new kitty last week, called Nigel. 

He's very looooong! He's about a year old, based on his teeth. He's a rescue cat with an uncertain history. He should be fully grown in a year or so, he's going to be a big cat!

He loves a good cuddle, he's such a nice cat. Always purring, always happy to see you.

He was rescued with a horrific inner ear infection due to a bad ear mite infestation. It left him with a head tilt and balance problems, so for the first few days he walked like he was drunk and kept rolling around.

He's doing really well now though, we've been playing with him using Da Bird (BEST cat toy ever!) and he's improved so much he can jump and catch the bait in his mouth. For a cat that used to lose his balance while walking around on the flat, this is amazing!

In some sewing related updates:

I never actually blogged about a grey jersey Aurora top I made for the Edinburgh trip. I thought I'd post a recent instagram photo I took as part of the #sewphotohop challenge run by Rachel, House of Pinheiro. I've not used knit fabrics before, but this was great fun. Quick to make up and the viscose jersey so soft and lovely to wear.

I've also started my first Anna dress! This is the bodice. It's a poly french crepe which drapes beautifully but is horrific to work with. I really should learn to use easier fabrics!! The gored skirt panels have bias cut edges and I knackered the tension so they all curve inwards and made a tulip shaped skirt. I hate it. My seams didn't match up perfectly with the bodice side seams and pleats either - and I only realised once I was ready to put the 22 inch zip in! I'm unpicking the skirt, plus all the seam finishings as I used a 3step zigzag to allow it to stretch with the fabric but it caused it to pucker also. Anyone got any tips for working with crepe?

Nigel's watching you!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Sewing indie month bundle sale

Today is the last day that you can buy the mega-discounted bundle of patterns from Sew Independent for Sewing Indie Month!

Sewing Indie Month

I bought mine today and splurged on the complete bundle - due to the exchange rate being kind to the British pound, it cost just under £31 including tax. Bargain!!

Thursday, 6 August 2015


I went on holiday with my family to North Wales last week. Dad decided we had to climb this mountain called Tryfan...


View overlooking the valley, from very near the summit. 

See these rocks? The last bit up is a scramble over seemingly endless boulders. The two stones that mark the summit can be seen in the background.

Me, sitting next to the stones. They're named Adam & Eve because they look like people from the bottom of the valley.

Why was there a seagull on the top of the mountain?!

Monday, 27 July 2015

All work and no play...

...means another week without much sewing!

I have been squeezing in some sock knitting in instead, on work breaks and occasionally in the evenings. Despite what the Government seems to think about healthcare workers not working outside of 9-5pm, I worked a mixture of 9-5pm and 12.30-8pm shifts Mon-Fri last week, then launched straight into a run of 3 night shifts of 7.30pm-8am on Saturday. Thankfully my hospital puts us as off duty once we've worked our allocated contracted hours for the week. Tonight's my last 12.5 hour shift and then I'm off until next Monday.

It's been such a long time since I've done any knitting, Chrome has completely forgotten that if I type R I mean for it to go straight to Ravelry! The last two projects I worked on have regressed from WIPs to 'forgotten in a bag somewhere'. I have a hat that was intended as a Christmas present, and a lace shawl that co-ordinated with the outfit I wore to my cousin's wedding over a year ago. One of the Domestics at work no longer calls me 'Woolly' as a nickname, she's changed it to 'Tink' instead - presumably cos I'm always tinkering away at some project, even if it's not wool related!

I dug out a ball of now discontinued Regia World Circus Colour in 3752, a blue self-patterning yarn that alternates between light & dark blue, with some green & navy thrown in for good measure. According to Ravelry I stashed it back in April 2011 so it's about time it was used! It's quite pretty, and a mindless knit. Think this is the 8th pair of socks I've made now, and the 6th one using Silver's Sock Class. Highly recommended pattern if anyone fancies knitting socks - it'll hold your hand all the way and the photo tutorials are brilliant for beginners. I still use it cos I know it will just work!