Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The winners are announced!

Today was an exciting day, it was time for the winners of the Simplicity Star Sewist competition to be announced.

I entered my version of Simplicity 1364 into the Best Vintage Make category, but wasn't expecting to get anywhere, the other entries I saw were really impressive! This was my entry:

The well deserved winner was Sew and Snip who made some alterations to her pattern to make it into a lovely floaty summer top. 

Imagine my surprise when my entry was then listed as Highly Commended!! I nearly fell off my chair! 

Congratulations to all the winners, if you want to go and have a look you can see the results of all the categories here.

Thank you to Simplicity for inspiring me to challenge myself. I'm just starting another version of 1364 with a collar and fake button placket, I'll post it when it's finished.

I'm looking forward to the next Simplicity Blogger Challenge!

P.s I received this great Highly Commended button to use on my blog. Thank you Simplicity!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Simplicity Star Sewist Competition - Vintage Top

A couple of months ago I saw a link for a sewing competition from Simplicity. There were three categories to choose from: Best Dressmaking Project, Best Vintage Make and Best Newcomer. Once you made your choice, Simplicity sent out a free pattern and it's time to be creative!

Technically I am a newcomer when it comes to dressmaking for myself. I've made a few basic things for my daughter and altered a few skirts, but never made anything where fit was really important. However, the newcomer pattern was an gathered elastic waistband skirt and that would not be a good look for me!

The vintage category was much more my style. I've been considering buying the pattern Simplicity 1364 for a while, so it was fantastic to get it for free! It's a simple to sew 1960's style top with bateau neckline, french darts, back zipper and a choice of sleeveless or below elbow length sleeves.

As I said, I saw the competition a couple of months ago, but I was still completing my entry in the last week as I couldn't make up my mind! I challenged myself to make my entry using only fabrics from my stash. That narrowed my options, but I still had a lot of lovely fabrics to choose from.

I made a wearable muslin from one of my husbands old shirts and made some alterations to the pattern. The straight sides didn't suit my figure, so I've curved it out to fit my hips. The pattern used a neckline facing, but I used pre-made bias binding. The wide neck design fits over my head, so I didn't need to insert a zip.

So then came the difficult part, what to make for my final entry! I looked at the pattern and decided that my favourite element was the neckline, so I really wanted to make the most of it by using a plain fabric and adding embellishment. I chose to use a vintage sheet because the bright orange colour made me think of the 60's! I was inspired by the Magya Blouse free pattern by Vera Venus, which has teardrop shaped keyhole openings and decided to adapt them for my top.

As my neckline was wider than the Magya Blouse I cut out 5 much smaller keyholes. The openings are edged with bias binding which gave me the opportunity to really make them stand out. I handmade bias binding (for the first time!) from a old patterned top. Although I preferred the smaller openings, they made sewing the binding on more difficult and they didn't lay flat. I hand sewed it on and a good pressing really helped!

I was worried about my sleeves because my muslin attempt ended up with quite a few puckers, but this time I took it really slow and they turned out much better. Next time I think I'll shorten the sleeves slightly as this length seems just a little too long on my short arms! As I'd already finished them with bias binding I decided to keep them this length.

Are you ready to see the final result?

It's been a great learning curve and I've ended up with a top that will get a lot of wear this summer. I'll be making more versions of this pattern soon as well, I have a pink flowery vintage duvet cover that is begging to be used next.

Thanks to Simplicity for the free pattern and the chance to be a part of big sewing community, I've loved seeing some of the other fantastic entries!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Super Pink Kitty

I wanted to show you something I made a little while ago for a special little birthday girl who loves cats and pink.

What else could I make but a pink kitty?

Using this free Roly Poly Cat crochet pattern from Puchitomato I made my cat. The original pattern included legs, but after I made them I decided that I preferred the cat without them!

I made a sleepy kitty, so had to also make a bed for her. I found a plastic tub and made a pillow and blanket to go with it.

I can report that the birthday girl was very happy with it! One thing she hasn't seen yet is a quick little picture I painted for her. I'm experimenting with watercolours at the moment after my Dad bought me everything I needed.

Hopefully she should realise who it's supposed to be!

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

New beginnings for 2015

It's been way too long, but here I am, back again!

Although I haven't been blogging there's been plenty of crafting going on and I'll be showing you more of my makes soon!

Lets begin with a new skill for me, freehand machine embroidery. My sewing machine hasn't been right for a while and I decided to spend my leftover Christmas money on a new one. I chose the EJ09 from Tesco and I'm really pleased with it! For a budget machine (£60) it has a good variety of stitches and is so much better than my poor old Brother. One thing to point out is that the product description says it has a drop in bobbin, but it doesn't! I guessed that from the picture, but I wouldn't want other crafters to be disappointed.

With a new machine, I wanted to learn something new and freehand machine embroidery caught my eye. I bought a darning foot, put my darning plate on the machine and all that was left to do was decide on a design. I wanted to make something for my husbands birthday, preferably frog or cat related.

A trip to the library provided me with the answer, but not in the section you might expect. I was looking for books for my daughter and found Oi Frog by Kes Gray (It's not just good inspiration, it's also a funny book!)

I grabbed my washable pen, sketched out the design and after a quick practise run, I was ready to go. It takes a bit of getting used to and I'll use a smaller hoop next time, but I think I'm hooked already! I love the scribbled look and it came together quickly.

Here's the finished picture (please excuse the terrible photo!):

He loved it, but wasn't quite as interested to hear all about machine embroidery.

One new skill learnt for 2015. Now what can I embroider next?