Saturday, 8 October 2016

Please don't leave me, tiny radish

I didn't sew this radish, I merely stitched on a pin back so that I could wear it as a brooch. It is the most recent thing I've sewn - finished over 10 weeks ago. Up until this week I didn't believe I'd lost my sew-jo, merely that many other (important) things had gotten in the way of sewing. That I couldn't wait to get back to the machine. But recently I've been feeling a dread and trepidation and actually a bit of distaste for whatever I'm thinking of creating. Not just sewn, though it is a large part of my thinking, - but everything I might create - word-wise, food-wise, gift-wise, music-wise, (nascent) woodwork and anything in between.

I realise 2016 should have been The Year of The Outfit, but I've had very little success on the actual outfits. I feel I look a fool.

So maybe I hope for better and unpack my tools

Maybe I just restart, because it's easier to carry on than it is to overcome a mental barrier before you can even begin.

Radish Brooch


Friday, 23 September 2016

A Collection of Sorts

Recently I got the chance to put together a merch stall for a fringe-style show. This was real theatre made from tiny benches, stripped back black boxes and volunteer labour. Here's what I came up with: 


Screwdrivers (aren't they amazing!)

Shoe Bags

Shoe bags in 2 designs. Generic and branded. I sewed a few dozen bags in a fairly simplistic design - even though I did make an odd decision to make welts in all the bags for the handles. I also got to laser etch the leather patches  though. How cool is that!

I had a plan for some cool pin badges but various things went wrong and they didn't happen.

I need more laser time to practice and get some cool projects under my (admittedly also laser etched) belt. 


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Scrap Lace Dress

What story should I tell you about this dress? Do you want to know the provenance of all the scraps? Do you want to know all of the adjustments I made to V8766 to make this? Do you want to know where all of the mistakes are hiding? Should I draw a crazy parallel between making this dress and pagan/voodoo rituals (all pins and quadragrams taped to the floor)?

a dress and bolero made from silk scraps
Full scrap lace outfit
I bet you'd love to hear all about my dorky Oona impressions, drunk on a mix of design genius and Thatchers cider.

No? No takers?

My photos tell a more cohesive story about this dress than my words did at first. Now that the scraps have settled, it's a little easier to put together.

The original motivation for this prioject was to find a creative way of using up my silk/fancy scraps; to create a pretty dress and to try something a bit challenging from a technical perspective. Threads ran this article on scrap lace a few years ago and I had the issue tucked away in my bookcase. I've seen some scrap lace projects for kids clothing, but never for adults so it seemed like a good idea to give it a try.

My design originally was for a sleeveless cowl neck (big surprise) and quite a blousy bodice with a scrap lace skirt. The original plan was a half-circle skirt, but B talked me into making a full circle.

The next step was to make 2x 60" sheets of water soluble stabiliser. If you've ever used it, you'll know that it's mostly designed for small scale freestanding embroidery. I sewed strips together to make a large sheet.

This was punctuated by running out of stabiliser (because, duh, I only ordered enough for a half-circle skirt) and having to wait for a new delivery (thanks Jaycotts!)

One of my housemates remarked that someone had once given her edible underwear made from a similar material. Apparently the taste wasn't great.

Then I got 6 years of silk scraps and dumped it out onto the plastic. I laid the other layer on top, pinned like Billy-o, drew some guidelines and then look it to the machine.

After solving the issue of how to get it under the pressure foot, I spent about 2 weeks quilting it in all directions. Lots of spirals were used as well as grids. Any loose bits that fell out of this giant sandwich just got sewed back on top again.

The anticipation was too much for some people at this point. B complained that he couldn't say if he liked it because it was covered in plastic, and my housemate volunteered to be angry on my behalf if it turned out looking like crap. People can be so kind.

Finally I got to give it a shower!

"It looks like peeling sunburn"
"It looks like the girl from The Ring when she went through her hippie phase"
Again, people can be so kind.

Instead of wringing it, I rolled it up in some towels and walked on it a bit, then left it to dry

Bear in mind that's not the whole dress! It's only the outer fabric for the skirt! I modified the V8766 bodice to fit my design and sewed it up pretty quickly.

Then I decided I hated the full circle skirt. Cue the unpicker and the scissors.

The half circle skirt worked much better. And I had enough left to make a cardi/shrug/bolero. This is just a basic raglan, cut to minimise waste.

I think this is an outfit I never knew I needed! It was perfect for some friends' rainbow-themed wedding ("very City & Guilds!", Mother of the Bride) and STF's Rocky Horror Theme Party!


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Baby Bundle

Before anything else, all this stuff was nominally free. It all came from my stash (though some is <6 months old), at some point I've paid good money for it, though not specifically to make these items. Actually, it's all from my knit stash and scraps. I had plans to do the same with the regular woven fabrics too, but I just ran out of gusto.

As I've said before, you only get one first nephew, and you only get to meet him for the first time once! Almost everything here was for him, except for a couple of items which have headed to a friend's son, about the same age.

Sunhat (Oliver & S)

Yellow Nautical Bucket Hat

Elephants (Birch Fabrics blog) and Woolly Mammoths

Elephant soft toys

Elephant and mammoth soft toys

Whales, big and small (heavily modified and pirated, so I'm not telling you any more)

Big whale and little whale plushies

2 whale plushies sat next to each other

Onesie (Burda)


Cardigan (Burda)

Serengeti Flight Stripe Cardi

Cardigan and shorts (Burda)

Monster cardi and shorts

Green leggings (Burda)

Green leggings backGreen leggings front


3x shorts (Burda)

Assorted shorts

Robot outfit (Burda)

Robot outfit

Drawstring bags (no pattern)

Drawstring bags

Grenadier Guard outfit, sans hat (Burda)

Grenadier Guard outfit for baby

Everything is in a range of sizes so hopefully they'll all get a bit of use.

First indcators say that the big whale is getting a lot of attention

Not really got much else to say about these...I counted them up and am just a bit staggered really.


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Static on the airways

*Pokes head above the parapet*

"No, not just yet"

*Retreats and scurries away*

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Whatyukata lookin' at??

Hi folks,

Just checking in from a hostel bar in Okayama. Not going anywhere this evening.

Speak soon,

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Extreme Stashbusting and Scrapbusting

How is it I haven't shown you a finished sewing project since March? It's definitely not from lack of sewing...

I'm feeling a bit caught up and weighed down at the moment. In central London I'm surrounded by so many beautiful fabrics. Goldhawk Road and Berwick Street are both completely feasible "pop in on the way home" trips.

There are two things that stop me from buying every single pretty fabric I see:
  1. Finances
  2. Space in the fabric cupboard
While I'm glad that the former isn't going to change anytime soon, the latter is a bit of a downer.

See that blob on the left? Scraps
See the stack on the right? Half is scraps or leftovers.

I'm in one of those phases of not being precious about the cupboard anymore. I'm antsy to get rid of the stuff I have used - to give me an opportunity to use stuff. At the same time, I'm reluctant to recycle it or give it away without actually using it.

I want to go to Japan (in just over a week, eeep!) and bring back meters of beautiful fabrics without worrying where they'll go.

I also want to stop feeling guilty about some gift fabric that will probably never be made up into something wearable.

So it's a bit of a race. How much stuff can I use up or get rid of? How far can I push myself to make things without buying anything new?

Some of these deserve their own blog post. I'll post a roundup once I've won the stashbusting/scrapbusting battle.

Tap Shoe Bags

Yet more tap shoe bags for the London tappers

Drawstring Bags

They look like tap shoe bags but either bigger or smaller and don't have so many funky pockets. They're heading to some little'uns.
*no photo*

Pin Badge Hanger

Somewhere down the line I realised I had an addiction to pin badges. Now I can see then I realise I need to make more jackets with lapels so that I can display them.

Dress Covers

These have actually been on my to-sew list for a very long time and I only just got around to making them. I have a few things that I'd like to keep nice and undamaged.

Scrap Lace Dress

The mother of scrapbusting projects. Six years of silk scraps! This is definitely for the finer rags in your life.


It wasn't intended to be a swimming dress. I promise it wasn't supposed to be a dress. It just sort of happened like that...


My absolute favourite thing

Ain't no way I'm showing you my pants though!

Baby Clothes

This is part of a whole bundle so don't have any good photos right now...

Item 1 of many...

Soft Toys

Like this little dino

And these ...

And many more! This is exhausting...

K x