Sunday, 29 November 2009

I Made Birthday Bling!

I had been inspired earlier in the year by my attempts at wire wrapped jewellery making at the Make Lounge. A relatively swift and darn good way of creating personalised jewellery one offs.

My sister was celebrating her birthday down at the log cabin we rent every year in order to get three families and friends together in one venue - sort of Twin Peaks meets Butlins. I decided to make her a birthday bracelet and enlisted the help of Flib to point me in the direction of bead shops in London.

Warning - buying beads and Swarovski bling can become dangerously addictive. However I now have quite a nice stash and will make some more pieces for Christmas.

Of course, once in the jewellery making zone - I thought I'd add a cocktail ring for good measure.

Biggest sister provided the Birthday Cakes - a whole stack of these lovely beauties!

Sis loved the present and my youngest daughter Ruby asked for something special for her birthday a few weeks later.

Yesss! I get to go bead shopping again!

Ruby specified she certainly wanted a Swarovski heart, but any colour scheme would do. I had chosen my sister's beads with a certain turquoise leather bag she owns in mind .. this has to be the best bit about making stuff for other people - just what would they like?

Here's Ruby's bracelet, with the obligatory Ruby red heart.

And the birthday cake I made to an aged old recipe, cooked in my heart tin - delish!

Friday, 11 September 2009

I Finally Made My Swing Dress!

This little number was a long time in the making. The pleated shoulder parts of the bodice were quite tricky to put together from the instructions given in the pattern - I did do a trial version in calico and managed to get things working, but it took a lot of unpicking and re-sewing.

Also I didn't buy enough gingham fabric to make sleeves so my first attempt was a sleeveless version which frankly just looked unfinished. After mulling this over and with a dance event to attend the next day, I improvised cute little capped sleeves in what fabric I did have left, but this left me looking like some sort of space cadet - the effect wasn't working! I folded the thing up and placed it on the WIP pile where it languished for a few months. I wore something else to the dance event..

The unfinished dress kept calling to me so I eventually bought more gingham fabric and put the sleeves in, along with some pretty hefty shoulder pads as suggested in the pattern - it all came together quite nicely in the end. 
The button embellishments were spares I had from an old M&S jacket from the stash.

The skirt does have a lovely swing to it and I took the frock out on its inaugural dance outing to see the Puppini Sisters in an open air concert during the summer - divine!

I Made A 40's Tie Bag

Oh I love this pony fabric so much, I wish I had more of it - but having only half a meter or so I decided to make up a 40's tie bag I from free pattern I found online.

The bag is really quite roomy, it can take purse, compact, lipstick, phone and bottle of water - all a girl needs for a night of dancing.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Tiki Table Runner

What better time to dig out some WIP and actually make some *progress* than when your machine is in its death throes? With my poor sewing machine at the menders under a death sentence I felt obliged to get on with a hand sewing project I'd started about 6 months ago.

Tiki Table Runner Applique.

This is my sitting room - getting ever more Tiki by the day.

I have a wonderful oil cloth table cover which I bought here many years ago - I wanted a daintier fabric something or other to alternate with it.

Armed with my Cath Kidston applique book I got for Christmas, I decided to focus on one of the Hibiscus designs from the oil cloth and add a couple of humming birds for good measure.

I bought some fabric scraps from the local haberdasher - nothing fancy - and a run of linen. I was ready.

Then work and life got in the way...

Ho hum.

But hey - now I'm back on track! Last week I painstakingly transferred the pattern to iron down paper and then to the fabric. The fabric pieces were reassembled into the design on my length of linen.

The main pieces have been ironed in place and I'm now in the process of edging the design with tiny stitches (yawn) which is in fact quite speedy once I'm settled on the setee with a good movie.

Once I've stitched most of it place and found some backing fabric, I'll take some good snaps in situ on the table and blog further progress.

The runner will be made up of 3 pieces eventually - a longer central panel and then two smaller end pieces that hang over the table edge. I haven't started work on the end panels yet, but more humming birds will be the order of the day.

The humming birds are essentially tattoo swallows - I'll give them an extra long beak with some embroidery silks, along with some fancy stitching on the leaves and flowers.

I'd like to finish the whole thing off with a couple of tablecloth weights to make the thing hang nicely - which happily means a trip out to some bead shops!

I Made Blueberry Muffins

Which is just an excuse to show off my cake stand which I bought at a Frock Me event in Chelsea a few months ago - isn't it fab?

Tuesday, 30 June 2009


Here's a fairly recent acquisition - my lovely Fiesatware jug. It's not particularly old, these pieces are still being made I believe. Those in the know will be able to tell you which Fiesta pieces are vintage and worth holding to by the glaze colour etc.. and which are contemporary.
This piece is such a lovely shape, I buy more flowers since I've had it.

It's Too Darned HOT

Isn't the weather lovely?
I usually go to my dance class in jeans and T - shirt. Have you tried jiving in this heat? I had to come up with a cooler alternative.

I made this little Lindy dress over two days, it's a New Look pattern I've used before and ever so simple.

I must now take this dress off to wash it - it's so comfy I'm wearing it all the time.

Also - I've had a little more success with a reproduction 1940's swing dress pattern that's been in and out of my sewing box for months. The skirt fits perfectly, the top needs a little attention. I will blog it as soon as it's 'come together.'

My day job is easing off a little and I've been so chuffed to get back sewing, until my machine did that poltergeist thing and started sewing all by itself at 100mph. Poor thing - it was my mother's circa 1970's .. it's going to have to visit the sewing machine hospital soon.

Here's a corsage I made for Flib, you can see the delightful claret coloured retro machine..

Saturday, 30 May 2009

I Made A Tweety Dress

I want a bright sunny summer. This fabric said it all, bought on a whim the same time I got the bebop fabric - see previous. It's cute in a Looney Tunes way and I'm in love with yellow at the moment.

Wrap dresses aren't usually my thang - I never quite feel secure in them, especially if dancing is on the cards. However, this fabric called for something simple and chic - a shift dress might have made me look like a 7 yr old so I found a simple wrap pattern.

Simple - hah! The actual construction is very easy, what wasn't so easy was getting the dress to fit. I am two different sizes top and bottom - I had to take the bodice off the skirt twice to re-dart, shorten and get the bust line right.

Phew. It was worth it though, and with that work done, I can run up a few more before the summer ends (begins?) and perfect for the South Of France, non?

Friday, 29 May 2009

I Made A Be Bop Skirt

Yo Daddio, what does every mama need to get hep to the jive? Why, a Be Bop Skirt of course.

I've lost count of the number of these swishy skirts I've made, it's such a lovely pattern. I saw the fabric here and knew I just had to have it for a dancing skirt.

I only ordered two meters which is just enough to make it up (not cutting on the bias mind you, which I really aught to). Having cut all four pieces out I found to my horror that I'd laid the back with the fabric pattern upside down .. not such a crime given all the instruments are jostling around  - but the drum kit was upside down.

I decided it didn't really matter too much (a man on a galloping horse wouldn't notice).
I was in such a hurry to finish the skirt before its first outing to a jive party, that my machine practically chewed up the hem on the lining - my needle was blunt but I wasn't about to change it..
I wore this last week to the 100 Club to see Laura B and the Moonlighters - great swinging night!

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