Monday, 30 April 2012

Elephants and humans

I just had to run up another Sorbetto top in this quirky elephant print fabric.  In a neutral beige colourway, I thought this could be worn with similar neutrals, my uniform de rigeur - jeans - and layered with a cardi of any colour.




I had a steep learning curve and now fully understand why more fabric is needed for one-directional prints!!  Sometimes its the only way to learn...As I splashed out and bought one whole metre of the fabric, I had to get inventive to avoid having either the front or the back of my top with upside down elephants.  I decided to to sew an additional strip at either side of the fabric before folding to create the necessary extra width.  As these are next to the side seams, they are somewhat hidden.  Not too bad a job...




I was also brave when sewing the bias binding at the neckline.  As it was 1 inch wide instead of the 1/2 inch suggested, I thought I would definitely be able to catch both front and back in one sweep.  Ta da...success!


I also added two lengths of cream lace to each side of the central pleat and sewed this through both the edge of the pleat and the front.  This has the added bonus of securing the pleat and making ironing that much easier.  Marvellous!!




On another note, I am losing my faith in human kindness/courtesy, call it what you will.  Is it so very hard for people to make eye contact, smile, hold doors open, register other road users??  Are these people happy?  Is everyone so full of their own self-importance that they can't spare the seconds/minutes for these small acts of civility?  My hopes were raised this morning when a dog walker greeted me with a smile and a cheery 'morning' on my return from the school walk - only to be dashed later on by a lady driver who seemed to forget the rules of the road and someone who let a shop door close right in front of me .  Do you find this problem or are people happier in your part of the world?  OK, enough, rant over.


On a positive note, Mr B is currently enjoying the luxury of a French carp fishing holiday courtesy of an Australian businessman.  Largely thanks to my writing an excellent recommendation, I nominated him as a deserving member of HM Armed Forces and guess what?!... he was picked!!  And  now I am a fishing widow again... although strictly speaking its my own fault.


We are both astounded and overwhelmed that a previously unknown individual would wish to make such a massive appreciative and generous gesture and I must say, it does restore my faith in (some people's) human kindness.



Saturday, 21 April 2012

Prioritising my must make pile

I really must stop looking at patterns as I keep finding more to inspire me to spend more time at my sewing machine.






Because of the success of my top using the free Collette Sorbetto top, I have made the couple of modifications to the pattern pieces that I felt would perfect the fit for my shape, blogged about here.






This gorgeous elephant on beige cotton fabric has inspired me to test the new and improved version.  I love this top by Great Plains but apart from the price tag, I was put off by the flimsy quality of the fabric - I mean, really, its hard to justify!!  I am toying with the idea of either a bow or ruffle detail at the neckline as I love this Simplicity pattern, that I first noticed on Little Betty's blog.






This striped fabric is just fab and so my colours and may also get the Sorbetto treatment.  The fabric reminds me of a FatFace top that I have and I may try to style the details similar to it.  I will keep you posted as work progresses...






This beautiful weighty marocain fabric in a mosaic pebble print is crying out to be made into a dress.  As I skimped a bit on the amount I bought, I have limited my pattern options.  I do have a great vintage pattern in mind though...






I fell in love with this beige paisley print last year at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the NEC, Birmingham.  The colours are great and any one of them can be picked out and highlighted by wearing with, say, a turquoise cardigan or shrug.  I see me wearing this with skinny jeans or leggings...






Now, please, can someone seriously invent some extra hours in the day...and also the other slight problem is my little mini me wants me to make her something in the same fabric.  Will have to put my thinking cap on and plan wardrobes so we don't co-ordinate.


As they say, imitation is the greatest form of flattery..and at least I have one keen fan...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Something for me...

Having spent the last few months and my precious crochet time making items for sale, I've finally got round to starting something for me.  I have a number of projects lined up, right down to the yarn and buttons but in the anticipation of some spring weather, I've bumped this cardigan to the top of the list.






This looks like a perfect cardigan to slip on over a simple t-shirt or vest top, and by using this gorgeous organic cotton yarn by Ice in a neutral khaki colour, I hope to get plenty of wear out of it.




And I plan on finishing it with these two absolutely gorgeous painted wooden buttons.  Bit pricey but think they will look fabulous.




All I need to do now is to work out some sort of order to what I'll make next.  Mind you, the way my daughter keeps growing, I will have to get my priorities right and make a much needed cardigan for her for the spring weather.   I can see that as usual I will have more than one project on the go - at least it helps to relieve any issues with getting tired of the pattern.


What about you?  Are you someone who focuses solely on one project or do you have a variety to suit your mood?  I do tend to have something a little more challenging and a "hey I can watch this film and still crochet" item.   Oh and probably a sitting in the car waiting on the school run piece.....

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Short and sweet

There's nothing better than the instant gratification of making something for babies - a couple of evenings and this is the result.  






The perfect gift to give to family or friends who are expecting to be blessed with a tiny little person.  May I just point out the gorgeous buttons (although they are hard to see - tiny raised green rabbits on white shank base) were picked out by my daughter.  I'm glad to see she is blessed with a good eye for colour and detail...






The pattern I used was this lovely King Cole one.  Its such a relief that crochet patterns have progressed a bit now and are much more modern and simplistic - sometimes they are still too boxy but then that just gives me an excuse to get my thinking head on and try to customise the pattern.  Talking of which, there are a few modifications I would do when I make this jacket again.  For instance, I think I would work the collar straight onto the body rather than making it separately and constructing.  I always feel the elimination of seams makes for a cleaner finish and particularly on such a small item, would reduce any bulkiness.  With this in mind, I think I would work the sleeves straight on to the armholes and reverse the shaping or miss out the shaping entirely.  


I'm sure there must be plenty of you out there who can't resist tweaking and amending patterns.  If so, let me know of any success stories - I'd love to get some comments from you out there...

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Summer top

What with all this beautiful spring weather we have had (this really better not be the extent of our summer!), I have been inspired to make this super easy Colette Sorbetto top, available as a free download.  I have been following one blog in particular for some time now, and following this post on her version, I decided to add some extra length to the top as I seem to have a longer body and add extra length to any cardi, top....






As the top only uses less than a metre of fabric, you really can't go wrong and would be a good pattern for first timers.  There really is nothing more satisfying than practising as you go and being able to come out with an item as a reward.  There is also no limit to the details or personal touches you can add to this top and I love some other examples of this top on this blog.  


My wonderful mum recently bought me a remnant of some great Paul Smith striped shirting on her recent visit to the NEC Birmingham.  Just my luck this clashed with the weekend of the craft fair I did plus the hottest days of 2012....


I had to face using bias tape (aargh! first attempt a few months ago was disastrous!) to edge the neck and the sleeves of this tape.  Instead of using the method of using this best only attempted bu expert sewers, I went back to basics and used the slightly lengthier method that produces the best results.   More haste less speed as they say....






I have had this gorgeous, very old length of dainty crochet flower trim sat waiting for the perfect project and the dusky pink stripe and beige fabric needed just a bit of a feminine slant.




I pinned the string of flowers inside the bias tape on the front of the top only before sewing.  The addition of three buttons that were just too perfect to be true on the vertical pleat section gave the top some gorgeous details that helped lift the fabric.  You can't see from the photo but the buttons are cream with a sweet dusky pink daisy.




And voila!  A unique vintage style top that is just so comfy and wearable.   I will definitely be making more using this pattern although there are a few minor modifications I would make.  And I also think sleeves would also be lovely and as I love a challenge, I think I will draft my own to add.   The possibilities are endless.....watch this space.....