Friday, 31 October 2014

This Month I Have Mostly Been…..#13

Hey Peeps!

It's been a while…..what a month October has been! I've passed my driving test, cut out quilt pieces, fitted muslins, sewn dresses, sunbathed, played with the Ginger Terror and done some seriously quality shopping…..
Lucky dress worked / Chiana is not amused / How hot?
Swarovski Beads, Wedding Dress Trim & Bridesmaid Fabric / Stop! Abaya Time / Roses at the Ritz
Blissed out Ginger Terror / The most beautiful lace in the world / Mini desserts are the way forward
I'm currently over in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia visiting the Parental Units which has been so much fun. The first week out here we also had Little Bother and Big Bird so it's been a real family affair. I'd always been very hesitant about coming to Saudi…..Dubai, yes…..Abu Dhabi, yes….Bahrain, yes…..but Riyadh?? My idea of a holiday does not include having to wear (essentially) a shapeless black sheet over clothing in 30+ heat but Mama talked me into it and I'm so glad she did. I've had such a wonderful time that I've extended my stay an extra couple of days to have another "weekend"!

I'll talk in detail about this whole trip at a later date (how excited are you for that !?!?) but for now I wanted to share my latest finished dress. It's another By Hand London Anna/Kittenish Behaviour hybrid (I promise I make other patterns too) and I love it….
Todays photographer is the oh so talented Papa! Merci Papa
…..I've had this Alexander Henry "Bewitched" fabric in my stash for a couple of years now, I love all his pin up designs (and own quite a few….) and I brought this one out with me as fabric and managed to take enough of a break from sunbathing to finish sewing it yesterday. I wore it out today to brunch at the Al Faisaliah Hotel (under my abaya of course) which felt ever so naughty….they aren't big fans of Halloween out here! I'd only bought myself three metres of this so I couldn't get too precious about pattern placement but I made sure that Cat Lady on the pumpkin got centre stage on the bodice and there was at least one full (and upright) pin up on each of the skirt panels. Papa made a comment about the length of these dresses but as I wear them predominately in the colder months with tights and boots I like the length (and I do make my summer dresses much longer). Clearly tights aren't an (sane) option in 35 degree heat so I was a little grateful for the shapeless black sheet today! So do you have any "tried and true" patterns that you reach for when you want the instant gratification of sewing something you know you'll love?

Monday, 22 September 2014

Over The Rainbow - My Very First Quilt

Hey Peeps!

It's been rather quiet here on the the blog because I've been sewing like a crazy thing. I have a few finished dresses that need photographing but the main reason for being MIA is quilting. I've mentioned before that my Mum is a quilter, she mainly does art quilting which is amazing but I did manage to talk her in to making me a more traditional quilt for my Christmas present last year. When I was looking for the fabrics I started looking at different designs and totally got sucked down the rabbit hole....soooooo many pretty things! I came across Kaye Wood on YouTube, she was demonstrating a Double Wedding Ring quilt technique that only used one template and I was sold! It's the Phillips Fiber Art "Rings That Bind" and it's awesome.

It's was my friend Miss S's 30th birthday this past weekend so I started asking for her favourite colours (pinks and blues) and whether she liked graphic or floral prints (both), with that as a starting point I picked out these....
.....the book gives you the yardage you need for each size of quilt which is great, I ordered a little more of each just in case I messed anything up! I decided to make a pieced arc double wedding ring so first up is cutting a whole bunch of strips....
........and sorting them into sets. Next up making "fabric" and making sure you do it with a quarter inch seam allowance. I didn't have a quarter inch foot and by this time my Bernina bobbin hook had decided to throw a tantrum and stop getting along with the Luckily my little Singer has feet with quarter inch toes so I just used that as guide.....
......once sewn together and pressed you then have to cut your arcs all one hundred and twenty of them, I also cut out the backing, batting, scallops and front squares at the same time. As ever Chiana had to in inspect and fluff every stage of the process...I think she approves. Next up making circles....
.....twenty five circles to be precise. I separated out individual jobs and did one a day so I didn't get overloaded and it made the whole process very enjoyable. I decided on a lap size quilt which would end measuring 64 inches square, I picked that size to make it manageable although if you follow the tutorial (which I did to a point) you can quilt each individual block before you sew them together. I will totally do that for my next version (there will be another version.....for me!) but there was no way I could do the quilting on my Singer and I had time constraints so I powered through.....I did have party rings to help with that! The next stage was adding the scallops.....
.....apparently it's not a double wedding ring without a scalloped edge, who am I to argue. As you can see I've used two different shades of blue for the backgrounds this ending up being a happy accident, initially I didn't order enough fabric and when I went to get some more the shop had run out so I picked up a darker shade and decide to go for a checker board effect. Once the scallops were all on I sewed all the blocks into rows and then added the rows to each other, I had a quilt! Well sort of, it still needed batting and actual quilting....
.....I picked this giant gingham as the final fabric which I think was a mistake as it makes the blue rings fade in to the background more than I would like but I can't think what other fabric I could have picked. Once I had sewn all the arcs in to place I had reached that part I was worrying about....the quilting. I've never done free motion quilting before so of course I did some trail runs....
.....I really liked the pebbles but there was no way I had time to do that all over the quilt. Just following the squares looked cute but not quite right. At this point I had Mum on FaceTime trying to come up with something that was going to be right. The Rings That Bing book comes with quilting motifs and appliqué which are gorgeous but I knew I wouldn't be able to manage those as I had the whole quilt to manoeuvre through my machine.....
.....(note to self follow the instructions and quilt as you go!). One of the early stages was pressing each circle so there were guidelines to place the pieced circles on and we had an brainwave; follow the lines.....
....I then added the squares/diamonds. Very very simple but I really like it. Now I had a finished quilt....well except for the hand! The finishing touch had to be a personalised message for the birthday girl....
.......I hadn't intended to make it quite so big but it fitted on the back of a block perfectly so I'm happy. So once the hand sewing was finished, each scallop had two pesky "ears" that needed to be stitched down (I ended up doing most of that on the train up to London....nothing like leaving it to the last minute hey?) I really did have a finished quilt....
.....isn't it beautiful? Attempting a Double Wedding Ring as my first quilt ever probably wasn't my smartest move and it is most definitely not perfect but I'm so happy with it. Papa saw it and immediately said it reminded him of Dorothy so the Over The Rainbow quilt was named. Miss S loved it (I believe) and I'm so pleased that I got it finished for her birthday, there were a few doubts at one point.

If you've made it to the end of this picture/word heavy post well done, have a party ring, you've earned it!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Friday I'm In Love

Hey Peeps!

How is everyone this week? I had a lovely bank holiday weekend over on the mainland with Dr Mosby, it was wetter than I would have thought August should be but that just meant cuddling up on the sofa and extending the Doctors Disney knowledge. Lilo and Stitch is his favourite so far. I did miss my sewing machine though. The Bernina has gone back to be serviced for a second time in nine months which sucks especially as I'm at the quilting stage of my first quilt which is something I definitely can't do on my little Singer. Other than that little hiccup the quilt is coming along nicely, it's a pressie for a wonderful friend so I can't share any pictures as yet but as soon as she's seen it believe me I will be sharing pictures everywhere!

As ever I've been fabric stalking shopping (I don't have enough already....) I haven't bought anything this week which I think shows marvellous restraint on my part, just look at these lovelies.....
Hanu / Ena
Manoa / Ohiohi

......aren't they beautiful? They are from Barkcloth Hawaii which I have mentioned many many times before. Now given what the English "Summer" is giving us weather wise at the moment you may well think I'm crazy for drooling over light weight cotton fabrics but I'm lucky enough to be going to the Middle East in October for two whole weeks! Woo. Hoo. It's still going to be really hot over there during the days so cotton dresses are going to be a must, especially as I will be having to wear an abaya if we venture out into public....yup I'm going to Saudi Arabia!

In other news I saw the first ready to wear dress I've really wanted in well over a year and a half, the gorgeous Sarah of A Million Dresses was wearing it and I love it. It's from Yumi.....

......and it's beautiful! I think I might start trawling Spoonflower to see if anyone has designed anything similar. Hmmmmm now there's an idea......I'm off fabric stalking hunting again...wish me luck!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Jungle January

Hey Peeps!

So I'm a little (a lot) late with posting this dress but I really did finish it January, honest! I stumbled upon the #JungleJanuary tag on Instagram and knew I had the perfect fabric for it. I had made a jumpsuit out of it a few years ago but I never wore it so I ripped it apart and with the little bit of yardage I had left I had just enough for an By Hand London Anna/Kittenish Behaviour hybrid (my second ever, definitely blogging them out of order!).
I got the fabric from Barkcloth Hawaii which is one of my favourite fabric shops, they have an amazing selection and are so friendly. I have a few more lengths that I'm waiting for the right inspiration to hit but for now I just stroke them occasionally...sooooo pretty.
I love this dress so much....I've made seven variations now. I tried to be as careful as I could with the placement of the different parrots but I had such a limited amount of fabric to work with I couldn't be too fussy. I lined the whole dress and used some stiff bias binding to finish off the hem, attaching the lining to the shell fabric, so far this has held up well (I've worn and washed this dress quite a few times). My next Anna is a maxi version with the birthday fabric Big Bird and Little Bother gave me and it's very nearly finished.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Off Timing

Hey Peeps!

Urgh the timing on my Bernina is off and I won't be able to get it fixed up until the 26th August which sucks. All is not lost because I do have my little Singer (which I've had for over ten years now and never had a problem with ..... please don't let me have jinxed that!) so I can carry on with my very first quilt, eep! Well I have to do all the piece cutting first but then on to the sewing...huzzah!

I went over to Southampton to visit Dr Mosby a few weeks ago and dug this out of my wardrobe....
Dress: Vintage
Shoes: Red or Dead
.......I've had it for years and I love wearing it. I'm going to make a pattern from this dress because I love wrap dresses but currently only have patterns for dresses made from knits which are not my favourite.

In other news I've started driving lessons again after an eighteen (!) year break. I've passed my theory test and have my practical booked for the 2nd October (it's at 10.44am for any islanders have been warned). So far I'm actually enjoying the experience which I'm pleased about because I definitely need to be able to drive where I'm living now...we don't even have a bus anymore since the road fell in. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Zombies Can't Climb Trees

Hey Peeps!

What a week! I've had nearly my whole family (Mum, Papa, Little Bother, Big Bird, Small Boy Type Creature and Dr Mosby) on the island for the last weeks and it's been awesome. We've eaten nearly our entire body weights (the correct term is body mass apparently.....) in shellfish, played many games of Crazy 8's and drunk soooooo much wine it's a wonder there is any left on the island. Like I said; awesome.

So last month I went the the London Film and Comic Convention which was fun (mainly due to Miss Siobhan and Dr Mosby) and I made myself a dress for one of the days. I saw this amazing zombie fabric.....
.........and knew it would make the perfect Comic Con outfit. I went with the By Hand London Anna Bodice/Kittenish Behaviour skirt combo again as I decided to make this the day before I had to leave for London, whoops! I went with the V neck version......
.... and I got everything done save for the hand finishing which I managed to do on the train. I only lined the bodice with cotton lawn and french seamed the skirt as I've done before.
I've christened this my Grrrr Argh dress and I love it. I've already got another two Anna's planned......hmmmm I may have a problem!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Friday I'm In Love

Hey Peeps!

I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and I came across a picture from one of my favourite bloggers Sarah from A Million Dresses. Sarah has started making her own dresses and her output is amazing, I am in awe! The picture Sarah posted was of a gorgeous fabric from Cotton and Steel and it's going to make an awesome dress, one of comments was that is was going to have to join the queue as she currently has over seventy dresses worth of fabric in her stash. It got me thinking so I went had a look at my own stash and yup I have about sixty five dresses worth of fabric just sitting there waiting to be used.....whoops. Having said all that it hasn't stopped me window shopping for new pretties and this week I've found this little lot.....
Marble Peacock / Minky Cuddle
Electric Feather / Fairy Frost Cloud
......can you tell what my favourite colour is? The first fabric is so pretty, all the gold parts are metallic and it looks amazing in person (Mum bought three yards for quilting purposes but that might have gone missing...... into my stash......) it would make a beautiful dress er quilt. I've been wanting to make my own dressing gown for ages now and I think this minky fabric would be perfect and so comfy I even have the perfect pattern in my stash. The feather print is so beautiful, I have no idea what I would make with it but I love the colours. Lastly Mum was looking for some fabric for snow as she is hosting a seasonal Block of the Month quilting group in Saudi and when I stumbled across this one I though it would be perfect, I also think it would make a beautiful dress....sooooo many dresses!

Last night was book club night and I decided to wear this....
Dress: Trashy Diva Annette Dress
Shoes: Office (Old)
Bracelets: Knotting Elle
.......I finally got myself a remote for my camera so proper outfit photos again! I love this dress the colour combination is so pretty and I love the neckline. I've embraced the fact certain neckline are going to show your bra straps but I've got pretty bras so I don't mind. Last nights book was Her Privates We by Frederic Manning and overall it got very high reviews but I really struggled with it, the more book club books I read the more I am realising that I do love reading but it's a very specific genre (Sci-Fi/Fantasy) that I enjoy. I got to pick the book for Septembers meeting (we have August off) and I chose Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchett. It's one of my favourite reads but I think I'm going to be in the minority. My view on picking this book was that it would probably not be something that any of the other members would have read on their own and I think that's the point of book club plus you never know they may love it.......ha!