Thursday, 31 March 2016

Summer Ramie blouse

My latest dressmaking venture is one inspired by holidays and the beaches of Vietnam where I will be spending many hours this summer.

I've picked a simple cropped blouse which I've made using Ramie fabric from the Organic Textile Company.

I had no idea what Ramie is but after a little research it seems to be made from nettles!  It feels just like linen and creases like cotton, but not quite as bad. It's the first time I've worked with it and I've never worn it before but it feels very durable when I tried it on.

The pattern is from an old edition of Burda, although it's beginning to feel a little less old now I've started a cross stitch pattern from a 2006 copy of Cross Stitcher!

It's a simple design with a simple set of instructions to match so I chose simple things in the construction like matching thread and pale buttons.  The look I was going for was seamless and I think it's quite effective for a casual throw on beach blouse.

This was also my first attempt at proper button holes.  And by that I mean ones that I have to position properly and sew straight for the blouse to look half decent (so not just a single one on a bag!)  I'm very pleased with them but next time I won't be too risk adverse with allowing for the depth of the button; they're a tiny bit too wide!

It might be nice to try creating a more striking look with some contrasting thread and buttons.  That can be my last minute holiday project!  But for now I've made a start on the holiday wardrobe...only two months to go!

Finished collar
Collar construction

Nha Trang beach, Vietnam - not long to wait now!

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter Sunday 2016

Happy Easter!

This bank holiday weekend I've been busy making spring inspired Daffodils in gorgeous cotton yarn.  I went on to make a wreath to display them on, together with primroses and mini flowers.  I'm delighted with it; it's bringing a little bit of light to this damp Easter Sunday!

For those of you who have seen my Facebook posts you'll know that I've just finished a four week learn to crochet course at Stitch studio in Ramsbottom.  I turned up for the non-existent week five because my tutor Sharon was running a one-off two hour workshop on how to create these Daffodils.  By the end of the session I'd made one and, true to form, I stayed up until the early hours of the morning making more!

To make the wreath I used double crochet stitch around the outer hoop of an embroidery frame and then made chain spaces which I slip stitched to the double crochet.  For the inner hoop I used bias binding on the diagonal and wrapped it round tightly, overlapping it the width of the folded under edge.   

If you're inspired to have a go yourself then the pattern can be yours for a mere £1.50.  Visit my tutor Sharon's new website store Cotton Pod and download it here or buy a kit here.  You can have fun experiment with different sized crochet hooks to watch flowers appear in beautiful spring shades.

Oh, and I can't go without showing you what else I made this Easter.  I've had three so far today...!

Happy Easter from me and this little one

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

I knew I wouldn't get to keep this project when my mum caught a glimpse of it.  So this is what I gave her, a handmade sewing bag.

It's made up of 22 Japanese folded patchwork blocks; I've used three complimentary black fabrics for the outer circles and four different pink fabrics for the inner squares.  I've finished the bag with handles made from one fat quarter which repeats different square patterns.

I love the shape of this bag and it's a great size for carrying some wool or other light sewing bits.  I followed a pattern I bought from the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate (several years ago now) and it took me over 40 finger numbing hours to complete.  The only machine sewing was in making the handles and securing them to the bag (I've used the big buttons to cover this stitching).  

For a first attempt at this technique I am quite impressed with the end result, and my mum really loves her present.  I learnt some new skills, like how to use rotary cutters, and resurrected some old hand sewing skills.  The reason I picked this project to do now is to practice cutting fabric for a patchwork quilt which is my main soft furnishings project for this year.  And it's already underway!

For anyone wanting to have a go at some Japanese patchwork, I found a good blog here which has a step by step process of how to make these blocks.  You could sew them up however you like, to make whatever it is you want!  I've you're going to make anything that should have some strength then simply use a thin layer of wadding underneath each square like I did here.  And use a good thimble for putting your blocks together!