Friday, 30 September 2011

My Memories Giveaway!

Hello readers!  I have been away on a little holiday to see them family and I am now going to offer you a chance to enter my first ever giveaway!  I have been contacted by the lovely people at My Memories who have a fantastic prize for you!

In case you did not know about My Memories they are an award winning digital scrapbook software company where you can create your own digital scrapbooks, photobooks, cards, calenders and gifts.  I have tried the My Memories suite and found that although it can look pretty complicated at first, it is actually fairly easy to use and has a whole lot of features for complete customization.  I am by no means a computer wiz but I will give you a little look at something I was able to knock up whilst playing around with it this morning.
I just used a standard template and added pictures from my travels last year but you can do so much more.  Once you have finished you can even have it made up in a real life scrapbook.  I really think the calender is a great idea too, imagine giving your grandparents a calendar with family photos on each month.  If you get stuck, they have loads of handy hints and tips on their website, including YouTube videos which can be found here.

Birds of a feather pack

That's not all!  If you are interested in purchasing anything from My Memories then they are offering my readers a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook Software and another $10 for the My Memories store, so a total of a $20 saving!  This is about £13 in sterling and if you are not from the US (like me) you can still use the code.
Just enter this code at the checkout:  STMMMS43
Spooks and Candies Pack

To enter the giveaway: Visit the My Memories store and browse what is on offer, then
return to this blog page and tell me which of the scrapbooking kits or templates you like best and what you would use the digital scrap booking software for.

Don't forget to leave your e-mail address or to link to your blog or have an already linked profile so that I can contact the winner!

The closing date is Sunday 16th October 2011 at midday London time.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Felt Flower Hairclips

Something you may not know, I am an assistant guide leader of a lovely guide unit in town and one of my favourite things is to do crafts with them.  I have been asked to run a four week program and I am considering doing the craft badge with them.  Last week we had a parents evening which included fund raising for our older girls Baden Powell weekend.  The girls made loads of lovely cakes and I made some little felt hair slides to help raise money.
Felt Hair slides
The cakes went down better than the crafts that myself and the other leaders made but really this was positive for the girls.  I will most likely put the leftover flowers on my Misi site in case anyone wants them.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Vintage Vogue Re-issue Summer Dress - Finished!

I want to add a 'finished at last' to this as it seems to have been a long project with multiple posts but if you are still there after reading them, now you actually get to see the final thing!

Front of dress
Back of dress
I did have one major problem with this dress when I attached the top to the skirt I realised that my buttonholes were not lined up.  In fact they were way out.  I may have had a frustrated little cry at this point as I just could not see any way past and I thought it was ruined.  The fabric must have slipped and I must have measured wrong but there we are.
Icky skirt buttonholes that don't match the top!
I couldn't re-do them without re-making that whole panel of the skirt which would mean a heck of lot of unpicking and detaching of the lining and re-sewing the pleats so in the end I decided I could chalk it up to a learning experience and find some way to go with it.  I was thinking of putting a line of buttons down the opposite side on a parallel slant which didn't look too bad when I pinned them on to try.  Sam, my boyfriend, then pointed out that it would look like a giant arrow pointing right to the lady parts. Not cool.  I considered using clear buttons to make it more noticeable but again he said that he thought they would stand out more, having two different colours on the dress.  He them suggested just leaving them as they are (without making them into actual buttonholes as I haven't slit the lining) and using poppers on the inside.  This is what I have done, and to be honest, when I have this dress on I really don't notice them that much.  Yay!
Front with successful buttons
Hand stitching materials
After that it was a lot of hand sewing.  Hand sewing the lining top and bottom around the waistline, hand sewing all the facings on the buttons and buttonholes, hand sewing the lining to the bound buttonholes and hand sewing some bra snaps.  In the reviews of this pattern many people had said that it was difficult to keep it from falling off their shoulders so I used some twill tape and snaps to make a little thingy to hook it on to my bra straps.  This means it won't fall off  (hopefully) and also stops straps from showing, win win!
Bra attachment
Then it was just hemming time and there we go!  A few more gratuitous dress shots as I just love it!

The cute low back
Excuse the face, I forgot at this point that the seat here is loose and made a huge creak when I sat down!
Lastly, some picture of my lining which I think shows up the pleats better, they are hard to see in the main print.

How cute is this combo of tights and shoes?!  Never tried this before, I like it!
If anyone has any tips for making sure buttonholes and buttons are straight please let me know as I think I need it!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes and Macaroni Cheese

In between sewing breaks I have been doing a little baking and cooking which is something I like doing but I have to be in the right mood.  I wanted to try out some American products I got in a swap a little while bake so these cupcakes have strawberry flavouring in the batter which turned them pink, and pink icing using the special icing gel I got too.  It is really fantastic and just a little bit makes them really vibrant. 
Strawberry Cupcakes

Yummy strawberry sponge

I also made macaroni cheese (though with the wrong pasta shapes as I didn't have the right ones!) I used this recipe though I added spinach for a bit of colour and extra yum.
Macaroni Cheese

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Vintage Vogue Re-issue Summer Dress - Work in Progress 4

Putting the top of the dress aside, I am on to the skirt of my dress.  I have never made pleats before, I have only ever sewn gathers so this is an interesting first for me.  Again I have made some modifications with the buttonhole flaps to match the top and to take into account the lining I am using.
Skirt Buttonholes
I wasn't as careful over these and it does show, though the black stitches will be removed later.  I started with the lining pleats so any mistakes I made wouldn't be obvious, stitched the sides together and then the pleats in the top.
Skirt lining pleats
I really love the look of the pleats and I was pretty pleased with them and their evenness. 
Skirt lining
The instructions on how to sew the pleats in the instructions were not very clear and I top stitched the pleats before I realised that I could have sewn it on the wrong side and hidden the stitching.  Oh well, it is a feature now! 
Skirt back
The pleats are straight really, I just pinned this onto my form while I went to work so it is not lined up properly.
Skirt Front
Ooo look at the lovely fall of that fabric!  Yay! I also love that the heavier lining fabric pushes out the skirt and gives it a nice fullness which the lighter fabric wouldn't have on its own.
Currently on my dress form...
So this is the top and bottom so far, a bit of a sneak peek!  They are not yet sewn together and the skirt lining is not even sewn to the outer skirt fabric yet.  I can see how the dress will look like overall now too.  Personally I loved the fabric when I bought it and I still love it now.  My boyfriend however said it looks like '80's curtains and asked if I would only wear it when I am not out with him.  Charming.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Vintage Vogue Re-issue Summer Dress - Work in Progress 3

It has been a hectic week but finally I am posting last weekends progress. 
Back bodice
Then I sewed the bodice pieces together and the lining pieces so I had 2 versions of the bodice.  Next is wear it became a bit more complicated.  The pattern did not include a full lining so I had to make up my own instructions.  I stitched the lining around the neckline and down the sides which make up the front of the dress where the buttons close.
Inside of bodice
Well it is working so far, then came the bodging bit.  What I should have done (in hindsight) is when cutting the fabric originally I should have left off the facing section of fabric on each side of the bodice (the part folded over in the pictures.)  As I am lining it the need for the facing was removed but I didn't think about this then.  I could still have adjusted it now by cutting off the extra fabric but I quite liked the idea of the patterned fabric being on the inside so that if the dress gapes at all then you will only see fabric and not my cream lining so I have kept it.
Inside of buttonholes
I decided to keep the folded in facing which I have hemmed and I cut down the lining to prevent it for becoming too bulky.  I then hand stitched the top and side of the facing to the lining to keep it in place and to hide the stitching.  I don't mind a bit of hand stitching but I don't tend to do it on clothing so this is quite different for me and I just hope it holds.  On the opposite side I have left the facing without folding it back so that it will extend longer behind the bodice.  I am hoping this will mean that if the dress gaps open at the buttons you will just see more floral fabric rather than my bra!  I know other people have had this problem looking at pattern reviews.
Front of bodice
A lot of pressing with my trusty steam iron has helped the shape of the bodice to come through and to reduce the bulk.  It always amazes me how different a project can look with a good ironing.
Bodice Front
So this is where I have got to so far.  The pattern instructions suggest sewing the shoulder straps now but I am thinking I should wait until the skirt is attached to see where it falls and how much the weight of the skirt pulls the straps down.  The straps are slightly off the shoulder and they need to be sewn in just the right place to stop them from falling off all the time.  Hopefully I can do this.
Back bodice