Friday, 22 April 2016

Flowers and cleaning!

I am still learning how to use my camera and have been trying to capture some of the spring loveliness in the garden:

I really like how this shot turned out!

I copied this idea from a picture I saw on instagram again I love how it turned out but think I should have used white card rather than one sheet of white paper as the table shows through a little.

  Another thing I have been thinking about is alternatives for harsh cleaning chemicals. I always cough when cleaning out the bath and shower so thought I would try to make my own all purpose cleaner.

 Basically I mixed 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 cooled boiled water, a little lemon juice and a few drops of tea tree essential oil. I have to say it works great everywhere in the house - bathrooms, kitchen etc. It smells nice and fresh and no horrid chemicals - a win win situation!

  Do you make your own cleaning products? I would love to hear your cleaning 'recipes'!

     Thanks for stopping by!

             Su xx

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The story of my Fens (Fen dress and top - Fancy Tiger Crafts)

  I wanted to make a Spring/Autumn dress and first bought Megan Nielsen's Darling Ranges dress pattern when she last had a sale. However I read some reviews stating that the fit wasn't great for larger ladies. So I bought Deer and Doe's Sureau and was very excited about making it. Sadly when I finally got round to starting it I was above the size range.  I had seen a few rather nice Fen dresses from Fancy Tiger Crafts on the blogosphere and as you can make tops with it too I decided to go for it and bought a paper pattern (as you can't buy the PDF in Europe).

  I decided to go for the top first, it has no shaping whatsoever so I was wondering how it would look on me - I rather like how it turned out! I don't like 'v' necks so went for the round neck option and I can't seem to get my head round hemming sharp curves so went for the hi-low hem rather than the shirt option. I used a gorgeous soft cotton lawn with little owls on it that I had in my stash.

It is a lovely fabric but does crease rather a lot!

I had some issues with the neckline not wanting to lie flat - I think it is because I hate making bias binding so used pre-made bias tabe which is rather stiff - I am hoping that a few washes will sort it out.

I really love the hem line.

 Anyway - top done so I went for the dress. I used this really lovely leaf print cotton from Ditto fabrics that I bought with my Christmas vouchers.

  It was an easy pattern to make up - I didn't really follow the instructions, to be honest they looked a little overly complicated so I just followed the stages but did it the way I thought worked best. It took me just over a week doing a little at a time between work and children.

Excuse the blindingly white legs - first outing this year!

I made the hi low hem again and love it! Obviously I love the pockets too!!

I like it with a belt and may make some belt loops to hold a belt in place.
It is a very loose fitting pattern so if you like a closer fit I would go down a size.

Love it with a cardi and leggings too (excuse my odd shoulders - I didn't sort the sleeves out under the cardi so they have bunched up and made my shoulders look even bigger than they are in real life)!!

It has both front and back bodice darts that come up from the waist - I hadn't made a pattern with darts like these before so it was interesting to try something new!

I have no idea what I am looking at in this photo!!

  There is a 3/4 length sleeve option too and I can see how making it up in different fabrics will create dresses for all the seasons. I can confirm that it is comfortable to wear! I will be making more of these and more tops too (they are perfect for work).

   Thanks for stopping by!

               Su xx

Saturday, 16 April 2016

My first Washi (Made by Rae Washi dress)

I have been thinking about spring/summer sewing and realizing that many of the garments I made last year no longer fit so I need to be thinking ahead and making some new ones in shapes that flatter me. I have long been aware of the Washi dress as there are so many beautiful versions on the web but I had never had an excuse to buy one - until now!!

  I actually made a muslin of the bodice (which I have never done on any of my previous makes!!) from that I discovered that the 'u' shape on the neckline would be too low cut for me, the rest of the fit was OK (although I perhaps should have made a full bust adjustment - this is something I really must get used to doing!!!!). I used material that I bought for a bargain £6/m from the Sew over it stall at the London knitting and stitching show. The fabric is gorgeous and I wish I had bought the grey colourway too.

  This is a beginner pattern and although I didn't struggle with it I think had I been a beginner I may have found it a little tricky. I didn't learn by my Moneta elastic issue and used an old spool of shirring elastic in my stash, again I think once stretched it didn't return to it's original state and so the dress doesn't pull in as tight as it should at the empire waistline, it looks fine from the front but a bit maternityish from the side.


The waistline looks so wonky in this photo - it's not in real life

I think this dress will be lovely without leggings in the summer, but it was just too cold at the beginning of April to go without!

Plus Julia cardi and scarf - this is how I wore it to a family event.

 Thanks for stopping by!

     Su xx

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Another Esme (Lotta Jansdotter's 'Everyday style' book)

I wouldn't normally blog about this as I have made several already but I just love it so much I had to share it with you!!

  It is another Esme tunic (lengthened to a dress) from Lotta Jansdotter's 'Everyday Style' book It is made in a wonderful purple stretch denim that I picked up at the first sew bee's meet up at Ditto Fabric's in Brighton (also online) They don't have it in anymore but have lots of other great fabrics! The stretch in the denim makes it soooooooooo comfie and purple + mustard yellow is one of my favorite colour combinations! I am also planning several more makes from this book for summer.

  Not much more to say about it only that I love it and have been wearing at every possible opportunity!

  This is fast becoming a TNT (tried and true) pattern for me, do you have a favorite pattern that you have made again and again?

   Thanks for stopping by!

          Su xx

Friday, 8 April 2016

A couple of Julia cardigans (Welcome to the mouse house creations)

These two Julia cardigans have been in constant rotation since I made them. I had been looking for a pattern to replace a much loved old RTW cardigan and this pattern is so perfect for me. I never wear cardigans done up and prefer a loose but not over loose fit.

  Construction was very simple - for both of mine I chose the double collar version as I wanted a slightly stiffer collar to have a slight jacket feel to it and also because the inside was neater. I made both of these entirely on my overlocker (a big step for me!!).

They are just perfect for layering.

I love a longer arm but these are a little long even for me!

  Thanks for stopping by!

        Su xx

Thursday, 7 April 2016

More True Bias Mini Hudsons

After the success of my previous True bias mini hudson pants which the boys choose to wear frequently I thought I had better make some more asap!

 I bought a thickish french terry from Fabworks and got going! There isn't really much more to say other than the boys love them even more than the other pairs I have made! The only difficulty with these is that in places the fabric layers were too thick for my overlocker so the inside is a little messy.

I struggled to get a good photo of the mini hudsons specifically as the boys were having so much fun on our first seaside visit of the year.

  Thanks for stopping by!

       Su xx

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A trio of Terrariums and other ponderings....

When I think back to the Easter holidays last year I shudder. I was really quite unwell, my husband was mostly away on business, and I was coping with side effects of medications plus all the symptoms of my illness - I could only concentrate on getting through each day at a time. If we made it through the day without any serious injuries I considered it an achievement! And I'm sorry to admit that childcare consisted of lot of telly plus other screens, pizza and sandwiches! I just wasn't able to be in the moment and enjoy the time off school that the children had. Things this year I'm glad to say are very different, medication is controlling my illness and other than weight gain (at least I have an excuse to make/buy new clothes - as if I needed any!) I have very few significant side effects.

  I have been able to enjoy precious time with my little people, we have a 'going out' activity most mornings, followed by some imagination play (my kids are especially good at this!), some home school work (one of my little people is really struggling at the moment so we all do some home school together so he doesn't feel left out), we take the dog out for walks, and usually fit in a movie/or screen time too! I have been able to cook wholesome meals (as well as some pizza!). I have loads of 'work' that I should be doing but have been able to put it to the back of my mind (not an easy task for me!) and just enjoy what each day brings!

  This morning it was rainy so our going out activity was limited to a garden center to buy supplies. I was given these huge sweet jars a few months ago, at the time I had no idea what I would use them for and then last week I read an article about making Terrariums.

  I guided the little people with what order to put the layers in and just let their imaginations take over. (I think I may have to do some sneaky night time replanting for the sake of plant survival).

Step 1: Pebbles (supposed to be grit but we didn't have any).

Step 2: Moss

Step 3: compost plus activated charcoal

Step 4: planting - this was tricky as I really struggled to find a) the right sort of plants and b)small enough plants. They also added old drift wood and the boys added toy soldiers (because theirs were army bases of course!)

All things considered there wasn't really too much mess!

  This activity has spiked their imaginations and they have all been story writing and building 'real life' dens inside ever since we made the terrariums.

  I have been enjoying spending this time with them and will be sad once the holidays end.

  I read this post from Enjoying the small things yesterday and it has made me think even more about how important time is, and how everything changes no matter how much we don't want it to. She quotes part of a Mary Oliver poem - 'Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches?'  I love poems and song lyrics - one of my favorites that always makes me think of the little people is Bob Dylans Forever Young, I know they can't stay young forever but I hope that one day they grow up to be strong and happy adults.

"Forever Young"
May God bless and keep you always 
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others 
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars 
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous 
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth 
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous 
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy 
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation 
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful 
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young.

  If you have made it this far - thanks for sticking with all my ramblings!

      Su xx

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Finally a Colette Moneta...

 Hello everyone!! It has been a while since I last posted. I have been sewing lots but have been very busy at work and just hadn't felt like blogging - until now! We are in the second week of the Easter holidays and I guess I finally feel relaxed - prepare yourselves for a blogging bombardment!!

  When I first started my sewing journey one of the first proper patterns I bought was the Moneta by colette patterns there are lots and lots of wonderful moneta's out there as it is not a new pattern. On my first trip to a fabric shop I bought 3m of a turquoise blue jersey. My inexperience meant that I bought some kind of clingy, shiny stuff and although I got as far as cutting out the pattern I soon realized that the fabric was horrible and it lay as my only UFO for over a year.

  This spring I decided that I finally needed to make this one up! I bought new fabric and also had to purchase the PDF pattern as I had changed sizes. Construction was straight forward, the only issue I had was with the clear elastic - I think this was because I used the same clear elastic that I had originally bought when I first bought the pattern. When I stretched it to gather the skirt a proportion of it didn't return to its original state meaning that I had to do some gathering in combination with the elastic.

  I'm pretty pleased with the result, if I was making it again I would shorten the bodice as where the waistline sits is a little unflattering on me. I wear this with a belt but chose not to wear it for the photos so you could see it without.

I think it will be a great spring and early summer dress

At the moment I am mostly wearing it with a cardi and scarf.

  Thanks for stopping by!

         Su xx