Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy new year!

I had to post my new year nails as o found this fantastic new polish and can't help looking at it!
It is called Gemstone Overcoat by Andrea Fulerton from Superdrug and sparkles bronze to green in the light and I painted over navy blue.
Have a fantastic 2012!

Bronze look, mainly looks like this, turns green when it catches artificial light

Half bronze/green

Full green effect

Bronze/Green tinge

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Christmas Manicures!

Here are my Christmassy nails!  I have only recently stopped biting them along with someone at work so I am in mail polish overdrive at the moment.

The snowflake I did with a toothpick and the candy canes stripes with ordinary cellotape using a really cool method I found on another blog.  I didn't get any polish for Christmas so tomorrow I might treat myself.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Amazing 8 Hour Christmas Party Dress!

I wanted to make a dress for my work Christmas party, I gathered all the required materials...
 .....and the pattern, which I got in a charity shop when I visited my parents in the summer.....
Butterick 4376 advance and then I ran out of time to actually sew it.  I only had the odd hour here and there in the 2 weeks before and because I am lazy I didn't do anything other than cut it out and do my tailors tacks.  So come Saturday morning I have a bunch of fabric shapes and 8 hours to make a dress or else go naked.  (I did  have other dresses but as I have put on weight since I last wore them I wasn't sure they would fit, or if they would I knew I wouldn't be worrying they didn't.)

Anyway I was determined to make this dress in the allotted 8 hours and you can see by the pic above that I succeeded!  So after some of this.....
Sewing tiny, tiny bias binding
I had this made this by lunch time....


Then my Mum called and I lost an hour and I cooked dinner so that was another 45mins-ish, by the middle afternoon I had sewn what can only be my best invisible zipper.  EVER.
Look at the fab zip!
By 5.30 I had a dress!  Sorry there are not more 'in the making of' pictures, I just didn't have the time to take them as I was trying to work quickly but not rush and bodge the whole dress up. 
Finished dress front
Ta da!  The main fabric of this dress is the fabric I posted about previously that I dyed and I really liked how the edges of the fabric came out so I used the selvedge as my hem which saved a lot of time as no hemming required.  I love the way it graduates out and that it was completely accidental.
Back of dress
The dress doesn't completely fit my model Anne as she is a little smaller than me now but again I am really pleased with the zip.  I followed the instructions that came with the pattern for this one as they were a different method and I think I succeeded in actually making it invisible. There is also a little kick pleat at the bottom which you can't see very well.
Front of bodice
The dot net fabric I bought on ebay pretty cheap as I didn't need very much and I have enough left over for another project.  I wanted a smaller dot but I think this works well.  I used black satin bias binding also from ebay in a really tiny thickness on the arm and neck holes and round the bodice top as I wasn't lining it as the cotton is really thick that I used and it just didn't need it.  I think it looks really neat and tidy.
Back bodice
I used 2 matching buttons in different sizes from my Gran's button stash.  They are glass and have a pearly gold shine to them in the shape of little flowers and I used the larger on the front.  Although the back lays flat here I found when I wore it, it had a tendency to droop and I think this is because the button was too heavy so I would replace it before wearing again. 
Zip again!
I cut a size 12 which I found a little snug on the hips so I went into the seam allowance slightly just on the hips but I loved the darts in the front and back, they fitted really well without showing every lump and bump.  I think I should have adjusted to cut a size 8 on top and 12 on bottom as the top was a bit gapey on me but I didn't realise until after I had applied the binding and I am just not going to undo that!  It actually doesn't show up that much in the pictures, it was more when I looked down it didn't sit right on the sides of my bust.  I might be able to take it in at the side seams which would help.
Boob shot!
I only got pictures of my wearing it at the end of the night so I apologise for the messy hair, smudged make up and creases!
Camera phone shots I'm sorry!
Demented arm!
Here you can see the droopy back problem, also had to take my shoes off, feet were in agony!!
All in all I am pretty pleased with it and one co-worker said I looked really 'sophisticated' so that was a win I think!  I'm not sure I have been called that before!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Burda Style November 2011

Sorry to be so late posting this one, I actually missed the issue and had to order it but it is here now.

The Dreamy Dresses title on the cover got me excited about this one, but I have to say I was a little disappointed with the party dresses even though it is a party dress issue.  I think my problem with it was that they had tried to be just too arty with the Super Lady section, most of the dresses were made up in black which never shows details well, some shots were in black and white, which again doesn't help trying to imagine the dress on you and my favourite dress of the bunch wasn't even pictured on the model!
Dress 124
The dress looks classy and elegant and the grey taffeta used shows the bodice detail but why isn't she wearing it?!  Her arm is covering the main detail so we can't see how it would look at the bust line, and aren't we all supposed to be not glamorizing smoking now?  I'm sure the patterns from this section would look great on most people but they just look boring in the photos which don't show the details of the line drawings.

Luckily this only last for one section and turn the page and this little cutie shows up.
Scarf 177
I never knew I wanted  fake fox scarf but now I do! 
Dress 119 A
In fact in the complete opposite of the first section I love the styling of the Once Upon a Time clothing.  This red dress is really pretty and the large waistband makes it a bit different from the usual tunic style dress. 
Skirt 116 A
I think I am going to HAVE to make this skirt!  It even says easy, perfect!  I have been hankering after some cosy wool skirts for the winter, I tend to just wear my summer clothes with tights but this would be a lot warmer.  I really like it in red too.
Skirt 116 B
I can't decide if I like this skirt or if I just love the print used.  I don't think maxi skirts would suit me but they look good on taller people.
Skirt 109
I swear Burda Style has to put a pencil skirt in every issue!  I hadn't quite realised this until I started looking for a pattern for my Pan Am skirt and then realised almost every month has a different variation on the pencil.  I don't mind as I like them and this one is a high waisted version though the crease right across the middle is not very attractive.
Blouse 130
I really like the ruffled detail on this blouse and the little ditsy print they used.  It is girly without being over the top.

And lastly my 'don't, just don't' section....
Jumpsuit 102
Gold lamé jumpsuit anyone?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Cosy Coaster Tutorial

Firstly I apologise for the dark pictures, it just wasn't a nice day when I was making these and the gloom shows through!  Hopefully they are just a guideline though. 

I came up with this method of making my own coasters, there are lots of them out there but this is a simple way of making fabric coasters.

Finished and ribbon tied coasters
First you will need a template.  To make one the right size I drew on to some scrap cardboard, a cereal box would be perfect, and traced around an existing coaster.  If you don't already have one then draw around a mug to get the right basic size then draw your square coaster shape around it.
Draw around coaster
Coaster template
This is now the actual size you want your coaster to be.  Use this coaster to cut out 2 pieces of felt for each coaster you are making so that you will have a double thickness.  To allow the coasters to be washable use a light or white colour fabric so the colour won't run in the wash.  Making them washable was important to me so that if a drink spilt on them, which is after all their purpose, it can be washed out. 

After cutting out the felt I roughly hand stitched the 2 layers together.  This technique is called pad stitching but I only did it roughly with long running stitches as it is only to secure the 2 pieces of felt. 
Hand stitched double thickness felt
Now back to your template.  Draw around the template in cardboard again and add a seam allowance.  I used a 1cm allowance but if you can prefer you can make it more or less.  If you feel confident you can just use the original template and just add the seam allowance when you cut.
Template with seam allowance
Cut out 2 squares per coaster with your fabric.  You can use two different fabrics to make your coasters reversable if you wish.
Cut out fabric
Once cut out, move to your ironing board and iron and place your original template in the centre of your fabric.  Then using the iron fold the seam allowances over the template creating a fold line on the top  and bottom. 
Ironing seam allowances
Once you have folded and pressed the top and bottom, do the same to the sides making sure the corners are folded neatly and don't overlap the edges.
With all sides pressed
Remove the template and place the felt pad in the centre of the square.  I needed to trim it a little bit to make sure it fit and get rid of any wobbly edges.  Pin in place making sure all corners are tucked in neatly.
Once side pinned around felt
Once you are happy line up the second fabric square and re-pin.  I found it easiest to to pin and the re-pin to ensure all the corners are kept nice and neat and the felt doesn't slip around.
All pinned and ready to sew
Lastly sew all around the edge of the fabric using a thread that blends in or if you are feeling brave a contrasting colour.  Make sure you keep close to the edge and sew through the top and bottom layers. 
You are done!  I made a set of fur and tied them with a ribbon for a gift but you could make 6 or 8 or however many you need for your family.  Next I would like to try some with bias bound edging which would give a really neat finish and you would not need the seam allowance then.  I couldn't find any that matched this project so that is why I came up with this method or making coasters.  It is really great for using smaller pieces of fabric and fat quarters. 

I would love to see any that you make using this tute!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Pan Am Costume

I am getting behind on my blogging so I have queued up a few posts this week so you won't get inundated with them all at once! 

Onto the sewing!  When I was at university I was part of the Student Guide and Scout society and every term they do a fancy dress pub crawl.  As an oldie I still get invited along (read: I invite myself along!) and this term it was something beginning with your first initial.  I wasn't sure I would have time to make something new so I was going to go as Snow White but in the end I did have time and thought I would go as a sailor.  Sorted.  Then I watched an episode of Pan Am (if you haven't seen it, watch it!  NOW!) and as I was lusting over the 50's/60's glamour I realised that I could be a stewardess!  This would be perfect and would realise some of my vintage fantasies.  
Pan Am-ing it up

Hand made items
 I had recently seen a tutorial on Instructables and had bookmarked it for the future.  I do this a lot with things I like but rarely seem to actually use them.  I used the pattern the author made for the hat, though I did find the hat band was not long enough for the hat.  I also lined it with the blue cotton I used for the hat and skirt, I had 1.50m and it was just enough.
Flying Hat 
hmmm a 2-4-1 on cocktails you say?
 Better picture of my make up - red nails, red lips, and hair which I used a You Tube tutorial for which is actually a method of curling hair but you leave it wrapped around a hairband and I thought this was a great up-do for the hat.

 I used an odd gold button from my stash where the Pan Am emblem normally goes.  I also bought a little Pam Am badge on ebay to pin to my shirt and to hint to those people that didn't know what I was supposed to be.  The hat is also the second time I have used piping and this one was far more successful as I used shop bought piping rather than making my own (which failed) though I would use a proper tutorial next time if I made my own rather than just bodging it up.

Back view
 This was in no way my most careful project, I thought of a better way of sewing the vent straight after I did it, the zip is appalling and will be re-done using a different method, and the hemming stitches were too tight and you can see the ham all the way round even though I hand stitched it.  I didn't line it as it is essentially a costume but I do think I will wear it again after I have tidied it up a bit as I think it actually looks quite flattering on me.  Plus this was a great way of making a wearable muslin for a pattern that I am sure I will make again.  It would look great in a nice woolen or plaid and properly lined.
I used a Burda Style pattern from issue 8/11, pattern number 122, which was a stretch pencil skirt.  I didn't realise it was stretch pattern until after cutting out the very non-stretch cotton.  This wasn't too big of a mistake though, it just meant there was not much ease so I reduced the seam allowances on the sides and back to give my bum and thighs a bit move room to move.  I was going dancing in this, I needed a bit of wriggle room! 
Exits to the side of the plane!
I had a great night and the costumes were all really good.  Quite a few people knew who I was supposed to be and one had even watched the tv programme.  Someone did think I was a Thunderbird though!  Multi-purpose outfit perhaps?  Heehee!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

At the weekend I put yo our tree and lights.  It looks a bit bare but I don't want to spend lots of money on decorations so I have just been spending a little bit in the sale each year.

I think it needs more tinsel!