Blood sweat and tears = Dress

So here it is. My plan was to share with you the step by step process of making the pattern/muslin but I seem to have become so absorbed (stressed) that no photos were taken!

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After MANY hours standing around in my underwear with pins protruding painfully into skin I am very happy with the result.

My original idea was to have a full circle skirt to keep with the 50s theme, however when laying out my fabric I discovered I did not have enough to make a whole circle. Hummmmmph. Time for some creative thinking. I came up with and nearly circle skirt by chopping the edges off. It produced a slightly less voluminous skirt but never fear it still shows my knickers off when I twirl!

In true windswept girlie fashion I was hemming the skirt about an hour before leaving for the wedding.

I think this must be my biggest sewing challenge to date but I can see myself making more clothes in the future as it is so good to have something that fits perfectly.

Summer wedding invite = pretty new dress…

Combine living in the middle of nowhere, very limited access to shops and a dislike for shopping in general and what happens? You decide that it would be a good idea to make your own pretty dress. Simple huh?

The wedding we have been invited to has a 50’s theme (not poodle skirts and sneakers, think white gloves and glamour/Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck) so I wanted something with a fullish skirt. Now although I have been sewing FOREVER I have not really used patterns and have made very few clothes, (wearable ones anyway) so I thought I would choose an “easy” pattern. Nothing too confusing, a simple style which I could tinker with to make something special. So I chose Butterwick 5317.

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I have always wanted to “sketch” ideas on a pattern!

My inspiration was this vintage rose dress, I loved the nipped in waist and contrasting fabric detailing.

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Feeling brave I ordered some very pretty 50’s inspired cotton (with a slight stretch, GULP!). As I normally make my creations out of second hand/vintage/recycled fabrics paying £14.25 a meter was quite a splurge for me but getting enough vintage fabric to make a dress was not really an option.

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So as I was feeling rather scared of cutting into this lovely bundle of fabric I decided to make a muslin, a cheap way to get the right fit before chopping up the good stuff I thought. I am so glad I did! My first attempt left me feeling like a hippo! 90inches of fabric gathered round my middle in HUGE pleats is not a flattering look, HUMPH. So I decided to just concentrate on the bodice and have a think about the whole skirt thing. 5 bodice muslin’s later (YES 5!) I have decided that this is not the pattern for me. I have moved the straps in (a lot) and they still want to fall off my arms (I think this is due to the pattern having the option of sleeves/no sleeves). I have tweaked and lengthened and still its not quite right for me. I have something that is wearable but certainly not special.

So What to do? Not enough time to order another pattern, make a muslin and a final dress, so I have decided to go it alone! I am going to draught my own pattern…I may be some time, wish me luck!

Song bird, egg.

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Song bird, egg.

I still have a painters block! To keep my fingers busy I have been continuing with my Fabric pictures. These two are my favorites. I think it is the duck egg blue against the natural linen (originally a pair of linen trousers) that is appealing to me.

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Blue vase.

With soft pink linen, vintage textured cotton and buttons, lots of lovely vintage pearl and linen buttons.

The inspiration for  “Blue vase” came from a photo on one of my favorite blogs Junkaholique. The photos from Artemis are always beautiful, so full of colour.  For some reason my computer is not allowing me to add links ( I am  sure that this is the fault of the computer and not user error, honest!). If you want a sneak peak you can copy and paste  http://www.junkaholique.com/search?updated-max=2011-03-30T13%3A44%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=7

I know it is not anything like the photo but thats what is great about a spark of inspiration. You can shape it to fit your purpose.

decisions, decisions…

Hummmmm, making some driftwood hearts and I am spoilt for choice… Which side to use. Red flaky paint or white flaky paint. Such a hard choice as both sides are scrummy!

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Song bird.

I have painters block. It huge and SOLID, I keep trying to chip away at but it’s not getting any smaller! I must apologize to a very patient customer who has been waiting for a commissioned seascape for a rather annoying length of time, it will be in the post to you today and you might just just find a little surprise to say thank you for your patience!

So what do I do when I get a creative blockage? Get the sewing machine out of course! For some reason doodling on the sewing machine is a world apart from painting. It needs a different kind of focus. In some respects it’s quite freeing.

Song bird is my latest machine applique/embroidery/doodle and I am rather pleased with it.

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I really enjoyed putting this one together. I have no idea why I chose red for the bird but I think it works rather well.

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Originally my intention was to “sketch” the cage bars in with the brown thread and then follow over them with a much darker thread to create a more defined outline but decided against it. The linen button eye and the lace wing were both changes form my original concept but that’s the best thing with “doodling” in fabric. It is so easy to change things as you go along!

So my kitchen sewing room is in still disarray with fabric everywhere…I do wish I could be a tidy worker!

Captured…

(read whilst humming the Coldits theme tune)

Our captors discovered our four favoured escape routes this morning. We had become careless, not checking to see if the coast was clear before slipping under the fence. This has been our downfall. They proceeded to block off these routes to freedom, reinforcing the entire perimeter in an attempt to keep us contained.

We repeatedly demonstrated the fruitlessness of their efforts by breaching their fortifications with little effort, but this did not deter them.

I kept watch as Major Tilly walked the fence, examining our remaining escape routes and ensuring that our incarcerators had not yet sealed them off. I tried to be as cute as possible to distract the guard. I think I played my part well.

We were continually being punished for our escapades with their favoured instrument of torture – the dreaded squeaker. The incessant high pitch of the squeak continually being squeezed and held just out of reach is nearly more than we can bare. The torment that our poor ears have had to suffer has been successfully lessened today. Major Tilly captured and quickly tore one of these squeakers to pieces, such a feeling of achievement to know that it’s squeak was quiet once and for all.  One down, two more to go.

It is our mission at sunrise to re assess the perimeter once again to establish any weak points in their defences…

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Signing off Officer Jack.

Stuffing…

These little lavender doves (not chickens thank you very much Mr D!) were very popular at craft fairs last year so I have been rustling up some more for the start of my spring craft fairs. The body is natural linen with vintage lace and mother of pearl buttons. They are fiddly to turn out and I have nearly suffocated Mr D on a number of occasions with the fug of handfuls of home grown lavender being stuffed into them but I really happy with the end product.

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The delicate lace is from some beautiful old hankies (most of which had some age spots on). I found about 20 of them in a pretty little box at a car boot sale last year. They were only £1 for the box and I just could not resist even though I had no idea what I wanted them for! I was torn about cutting these up but decided that it was time to give them a new purpose (not much escapes my scissors in the windswept household!). The box of 20 hankies have given me at least enough lace for 40 birds. Not bad for £1!

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The chunky crochet ones are made from old Doyle’s. I pick these up where ever I go, I never seem to have enough! I have found that French charity shops and car boot sales are fantastic for bits and bobs like these. I often buy them by weight and they work out very cheaply! As I am cutting them up the odd tea stain is not a problem as I can just work around it.

I don’t know how you stand on cutting up vintage/antique textiles? I feel giving something beautiful but past its best a new lease of life is such a part of textile history (although a small bit of me feels guilty!).

In need of some sunshine…

When it rains it pours…if the horrid weather was not enough to keep my head firmly under the Duvet then the fact that my car has just gone BANG really does nothing for my February blues! If there ever was a need for some mood lifting sunshine now is the time! I am seeing hints of spring which should be cheering my soul, but they are either being battered by days of maddening wind or drenched in a misty fug…oh how I NEED some sunshine (oh and a bucket full of cash would come in handy as well!).

Gay Paris!

For my Birthday Mr. D and I went to Paris!

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We had our photo taken at the Eifel Tower and had such fun that we had to call our friends and tell them how fantastic Paris is.

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Too much Vin Rouge was consumed!

Mr. D and I have birthdays just a few days apart so we decided we should celebrate with a bit of a birthday bash. We decided to give the party a Parisian theme. Being January the budget was tight but I find a tight budget can make you more creative! A roll of lining paper and marker pen created our French scenes while the moustaches were made using self adhesive black felt, cardboard and cocktail sticks. Such a simple idea but so much fun!

I was lucky enough to have Mr. D’s gypsy Jazz band playing which created the perfect atmosphere

The moustaches made everyone relax and get into the swing of things, everyone wanted their photo taken “under” the Eiffel Tower,  I have some very funny photos and lots of great Birthday memories!

I can’t wait to go back to Paris!

Lantic bay

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Lantic Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches on the local coast line, but I have only had tantalising glimpses while passing on a boat. It was such a stunning day we decided to take the Monsters for a walk.

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After a long decent to Lantic bay (with jack excitedly whining every time the beach came into view) we found ourselves on a stunning and deserted stretch of sand.

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Beach treasure; Mussels and Barnacles

After letting the monsters run themselves to the point of exhaustion we made the steady climb back up to the car.

What have I learnt today about monsters? They like bacon fries…not the best canine diet but after hours of running around on a deserted beach having tons of self-exhausting exercise they are well earned and so was the pint of Real ale (not for the monsters but for Mr. D and I!)

Such a perfect (chilly) day, definitely worth the climb back up!