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Out of hibernation

Well I thought that I could no longer justify my blog absence and that it was about time to once more dip my toe into the water and write something.

The main reason for my lack of posts has been a rather large house/country move which started in October last year and it is only now that I’m starting to feel settled enough and unpacked enough to get back into the swing of my blog. However I haven’t been totally lacking in creativity over the last few months and have done a little bit of sewing, and even started on the final run of hexagons that I’m going to need for my charm quilt!

In January I made my daughter a couple of Ice Cream Dresses from needlecord. I’ve never sewn with needlecord before and was worried about the heaviness but actually it was pretty easy to sew with. Due to the slightly heavier material I decided to make a slightly easier version of the dress by leaving out the notches from the neckline and pockets (actually I left out the pockets completely on one of the dresses – much to the disgust of my daughter!).

Initially I was going to make one dress. I found some bright pink cord and wanted something with a pattern for the band at the bottom of the dress. However it turned out that patterned pink cord was almost impossible to find. I eventually found a gorgeous patterned cord on Prints to Polka Dots which appeared to me to be pinker than it was. When it turned up I realised that I needed an eye test because the main colour is actually a lovely coral red with hints of teal and pink. So now I had a length of pink and a smaller length of patterned cord and needed to match both.

Luckily I love close to a really nice fabric/yarn shop and by chance in early January they received a shipment of patterned and plain needlecord and there I found a deep teal and a sweet sprigged pink flower printed cord.

The first dress I made was the teal one. This cord was actually verging on normal weight and was quite bulky to sew with which is why I baulked at the idea of pockets. To add to this, the much lighter weight patterned cord has a percentage of elastane and so had an annoying habit of changing shape as I sewed. However with a bit of effort I managed to make the dress and I am so pleased with how it has turned out.

dress

fabric

button

The second dress should have been a lot easier as the two cords were pretty much the same weight, however I made a slight hash of the top stitching on the bodice of this one, especially on the back. Having said that, it has now been worn numerous times and machine washed (and tumble dried) and it is standing up well and the wiggly stitching is hardly noticeable at all.

dress

fabric

button

This was the first time that I sewed dresses without pre-washing the fabric and I was slightly worried about that. I made both the dress in the size 5 pattern as my just 4 year old daughter is rather tall (and the size 4 Ice Cream dress I made in the summer is a bit of a snug fit for her). When I washed the pink dress it shrunk slightly but nothing too much. As yet I haven’t washed the other dress but I will probably be more careful about that due to the difference in fabric colours and weights.

I really enjoy making the Ice Cream Dress. It is a satisfying project which produces a lovely looking dress that my daughter is really happy to wear. I will definitely be making lots more. Actually I’ve got some needlecord already lined up to make dress number 3. Could that be classed as overkill?!

Doily

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at crocheting a doily for quite some time. If I’m honest, I’m not the kind of person that would decorate things with doilies or use them as mats. There are limited things to do with a doily, as far as I’m concerned. However, I have an unexplained weakness for doilies. A few months ago I came across this wedding dress and it awoke my urge to learn how to make doilies.

As sewing and large scale projects are not very easy at the moment, due to the mountains of packing cases and general confusion, I realised that this would be an ideal time to learn how to crochet a doily. I found this pattern on Ravelry and picked up a metal hook and some cotton thread and jumped right in, and I have to say that I just loved it! It was really relaxing crocheting – an ideal project for TV watching or chatting with friends, and what is more it is totally portable. I’ve got a long way to go before I’ll be making very neat doilies but it was a satisfying first attempt.

doily

So now that I’ve found my doily inspiration I now need to come up with something that I can make the doilies into and that is when I thought back to wedding dress and the effect of the doilies over a bright colour…….. and so I’m now planning on making loads of dark blue doilies of different shapes and sizes to be attached together and made into a full skirt with bright (pink?!) underskirt for my daughter. I’m thinking it might look rather sweet.

Dropping by

I felt that I couldn’t let September completely go by without even a measily one paragraph post.

It’s been a very full-on month since my last post, involving an largish annual event I organise and then buying a new house and contemplating the nightmare of packing up my house and moving, so there has been little mental and actual time for crafting and sewing.

I had rather optimistically thought I could sneak in the time to join in the Jump Rope Dress sew along and had got as far as buying the pattern and the (absolutely lovely) fabric. I’ve even managed to pre-wash the fabric so perhaps I can convince myself that I’ve started the project?! Does that count? Anyway I hope now to get on with that over the next couple of weeks.

I’ve also been trying out some new embroidery techniques and hope to have evidence of these to show you some time very soon. And I’ve been pattern buying and book buying, and I’m still slogging away at my hexagons. However the one area where I’m really lacking in any photographic evidence of all this!

So all in all I think it’s best to forget about my lack of blogging in September and start concentrating on all the stuff that I promise to show you in October.

Details

I finally managed to get a photo of my daughter in her Ice Cream dress.

ice cream dress

She loves it (possibly due to the pockets which she carefully fills with her current treasures) and I was pleased to see how comfortable the dress is for her. She wore it all day which included a very strenuous visit to the playground and it was perfect. So I shall definitely be making her more. However I made the size 4T (she is 3 and a half) and it fits her snuggly, so I think future ones will be made in size 5. I’m now contemplating making a couple in heavier fabrics, like needle cord, for the winter as I think they’d look extremely sweet with long sleeved T shirts under them.

I also found an ideal button shaped like a duck – I thought it rather echoed the bird fabric!

button detail

Socialising

ice cream dress

I decided to join in the Ice Cream Social after seeing the Flickr group. I’ve been looking at the Oliver & S site for some months, pondering over which of their patterns I wanted to try, and so this sew-along seemed an ideal time to try. Of course, I decided rather late and then had the brilliant idea of ordering my pattern from America (which was surprisingly quick). So I only started work on the dress this weekend.

I bought the main fabric (Alexander Henry Willow Wren Pink) some months ago on Etsy and then was rather surprised at the size of the birds when it arrived. So it’s been sitting around waiting for the right project and my first stab at the Ice Cream dress seems to be just that. I decided to add pink gingham as the contrast fabric which I’ve cut on the cross for aesthetic reasons. (There were some worrying moments when I was attaching the bottom panel because the fabric cut that way was extremely elastic but I just managed to wrangle it so that it kept to the right size. Nothing like making things more difficult for myself?!)

yoke front

The v-shape in the yoke is not perfect but after I’d done it three times I decided to stop stressing out and leave it like that. I’ll practise on the next one I do. Weirdly the v on the pockets turned out better. Perhaps I should have done the pockets first?

I opted to use French seams on the dress which means that the inside is completely finished and neat. For some unknown reason I always assumed that French seams were tricky to do. In fact I find them a lot easier than other seams.

yoke back

And now all I need to do is find a little pink button for the back and the dress can be worn. I tried the dress on my daughter yesterday and it fits perfectly. However my daughter is 3 and a half and I made a size 4. So I now need to buy the larger size of the pattern to make her more dresses like it as I have a feeling she’s going to grow out of it rather fast.

I found being part of a sew-along was a great help, especially as I am such a beginner sewer. Also it was very inspiring seeing all the other versions of the dresses. It’s definitely something that I’ll join in with again. Thank you so much to the two hosts!

I’m now planning on making the blouse version of the pattern. Watch this space!

McCall’s M6017

DSC01946

I’ve had both this pattern and two metres of Alexander Henry Willow Grove hanging around for quite some time waiting to be put together. I fell in love with the fabric the moment I saw it and didn’t want to waste the lovely design on too complicated a pattern.

dress

Originally I had planned on making version D but then I realised that the fabric more or less gives a layered effect on it’s own so cutting it into horizontal panels would rather negate it’s prettiness. So I opted for the simplicity of version B.

It is a really simple pattern and was great fun to make. The only changes I made to the original was to top stitch the lower bodice close to the gathering, to make it look a bit more finished, and the addition of some green trim to the bottom hem.

stitching

DSC01948

Now all I have to do is convince my daughter to wear it. I’m counting on the high twirl factor of the skirt to sway her.

Hounds

hound

A few weeks ago I was browsing through my daily quota of blogs and saw this post on Tree Fall about June Craft on Etsy. The craft lover in me was immediately attracted to the great designs but then the dachshund owner and fanatic took over when I saw the dachshund toy and the print.

print

Some time later I was day dreaming about how I’d like to decorate my daughter’s new bedroom and I remembered the print. The red and turquoise will be perfect for her room and of course the subject matter couldn’t be better. I also ordered a little dachshund toy to sew as well.

long dog

The parcel arrived very promptly and was very prettily packaged. There was also a little badge pinned on to the card however this was immediately commandeered by my daughter and I wasn’t able to add it to the photo.

If I was a conscientious crafter there would now be a photo of the finished toy, however I have to admit that it has been added to the ever-growing to do list. I do promise that the moment I’ve sewn it together and stuffed it I will add a photo!