Friday, 18 April 2014

Itching to stitch....

Well, what a busy fortnight we have had. All good I must say. Plenty of sunshine to be able to take the grandsons to the park and games galore on the not so bright ones. We've played hunt the cotton reels a zillion times. 2 buckets, 6 matching cotton reels in each, green for Alfie and blue for Charlie, hiding them in different rooms. We even resorted to camping in my bedroom  complete with cushion fights one day. It's surprising what you can come up with at a push to entertain little ones!

However much as I have loved having them some parcels arrived this week containing some yummy fabrics and I have been itching to stitch!
I've been good though, one evening catching up with the mountain of ironing and then one evening at my machines.
First I made up my good old tee shirt pattern in a plain brown jersey knit.

 I've got lots of mustard, orange and coral in my spring/summer wardrobe this year so I thought this would be very useful.
Next I decided to try out one of my new patterns. New Look 6176.

I made it in a plain amber double knit from Plush Addict, a snip at only £7.99 a metre. Using jersey I completely abandoned the zip. No need, it slips over my head easily and there's no fear of stretching the back seam!

I absolutely adore it and want to make it up in cotton/linen now to see how it hangs done in a different fabric, Although the pattern doesn't have any princess or waist seams I still decided to do an FBA (full bust adjustment) on this pattern as I am a well made girl  and didn't want the top to pull. However on reflexion I should have used a smaller size as although the general fit is good, the neckline is still too wide and I feel that the shoulders are too. I also landed up taking in the side seams a fair bit from the hip line down.
It is so comfortable, but it could easily be dressed up with a little jacket. Although I think this one makes it look a bit frumpy! I should have tried it with the cropped leather biker jacket to give it a bit of an edge.

I now have the problem of deciding which of these delicious knits I am going to make up next.

Intended for tee shirts for my forthcoming holiday and the mustard spot for a 40s inspired dress for my SIL for Twinwood this year. I confess I bought these from myfabrics which appears to be based in Germany and not the UK as I first thought.
They were all in the sale and are a fine cotton jersey with just 4% spandex. I have washed samples to ensure they don't shrink or run and they all seem pretty good. After a few problems with delayed delivery in the past, this time the fabric arrived amazingly quickly so I was pretty thrilled.
I will let you see the results in a future post.

Well that's me for now, off to my sewing room and the job I hate most about sewing....cutting out!

Hope you have a lovely weekend however you spend it and hope the sun shines a little wherever you are. Our weather has been bright but chilly today , much the same for tomorrow, but Sunday's not looking good. A few wet Easter bunnies me thinks.....

Jenny xx

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A simple piece of plastic.......

It doesn't happen often but just occasionally I come across something that I wonder how I ever managed without.
A simple piece of plastic has transformed some of the pieces in my wardrobe from 'that never feels quite right' to ' ooh I had forgotten how lovely that is.'
And what is this remarkable gadget, nothing but a simple piece of plastic to sew inside your garments to clip onto bra straps and prevent straps sliding down arms, tops slipping off shoulders and generally making your slightly 'wayward' clothes stay in place.

Genius and reasonably priced. Get them from here

Jenny xx

NB I'm not sponsored to make any recommendations on my blog, I just like to share anything I find particularly helpful.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Jack of all Trades.....

...but master of none as the old saying goes!!.................

Well look at me two posts in a week, better go steady here lol!

Since I gave up sewing for others I feel I have become a bit of a butterfly crafter, flitting from this to that. Oh sewing will always be my first love, and I have finished off a few WIPs in the dressmaking department in the last few months, but every now and then I feel I want to try something else.

Do you do these craft programs and think I'd like to try that.

Well my heading sums it up really. A bit of a knitter, a dabble at crochet and now a very amateur beader!  The latter I might add has come about because I am too mean to pay twice the cost of a beautiful bracelet bought me for my retirement to have it made smaller.

Well I've already shown my recent attempts at knitting again ......

I'm pleased to report I am now on the final sleeve so it may still fit my grandson when its done.(And of course there's always his little brother if it takes me too long he he! )

The crochet which my mum taught me over 50 years ago has been revived after being bought this English translation of a Japanese book by my lovely daughter...( Er. she bought it I mean, she didn't write it!!)

so I rifled around my studio and found all these odd balls of wool in a mix of bright and more subdued colours and decided this would be a great project to pick up and do a few motifs when I didn't have lots of time.

This is where the 'master of none' bit comes in....There are no real written instructions, just graphs. However the clue is in the title of the throw 'Honeycomb Afghan'. Honeycomb....hexagon....

Spot the mistake.........even my seven year old grandson knew these were pentagons!!!
However I have done too many now to give them up so will run with it and maybe do the 'proper' one sometime in the future. I have to say I do love the book and there are several other projects I would like to try...If I can read the diagrams properly this time.

And finally the beading. This has been relatively successful in that I have repaired several of my necklaces broken by tiny inquisitive fingers, and those just trying to find something to hang onto! I haven't yet plucked up the courage to tackle the bracelet

(excuse the shocking photo the light was very bad. It is a lovely chartreuse colour really)

But I have made a new coral coloured necklace and a pretty bracelet and my crimping skills are improving!....

So there you have it. Things I am loving having a go at even though I know they are not perfect. I think I would like to take some classes one day just to see if I can conquer the techniques, but then again I'm pretty happy with what I have achieved and at the end of the day that's all that really matters!

. Have a good and productive week whatever you are doing. Mine has so far involved Lego engineering, baking, Wii, pushing swings and buying ice cream and pretty much similar next week.Bored I will certainly not be!!

Jenny xx

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Where are they?.......

Navy or Natural sandals.

Sandals that make my feet feel as though they are floating on air.........

Sandals that look deliciously feminine but edgy.......

Sandals that don't make me look like some ageing hippy......

All images from Google images (sorry unable to trace original sources)

OK, OK... If I want to pay £300 for something that is going to be ruined by sand sea or our unstable weather, I'm sure I could take my pick. But for the life of me I cannot understand how sandals, having perhaps a quarter of the amount of leather in them than normal winter shoes can cost almost twice as much!

I have been trawling the Internet for weeks trying to find a pair that will suit my style, my budget and fit into my holiday wardrobe. I don't want to take a pair for every outfit! I would like some that would mix and match. I do love colour, but just sometimes neutral is better.

In the end I found these.....from Pavers

Not exactly what I was looking for, but they will do the job.(Note to self...better get those nails manicured before the summer!)

Do you have nightmares trying to find something specific for your wardrobe, or is it just me!!

Have a great week
Jenny xx

Monday, 31 March 2014

Sunshine and smiles....

We'll I don't know about you, but it doesn't take much of the yellow orb to lift my spirits and as I seem to be rapidly on the mend now all the more reason to smile! Thank you so much to all who have sent their good wishes, they seem to have worked. X
You can tell how much better I am 'cos my house has finally had a good clean and so I don't feel guilty about closeting myself away in my sewing room. My biggest problem though was what to start first. I do have several WIPs but somehow they were not calling to me.
Instead with my Cornish holiday looming closer I decided to make myself one or two things that conjure up sunny skies, endless beaches and balmy evenings. (I know this is England and it's not yet April, but a girl can dream!)
Well I started with this,a bit more practical.....

 a top that I love. Light weight but heavy enough to drape well. I bought this stripe fabric of a similar weight from the Harrogate knitting and Stitching show last November and thought it would be ideal. Of course I bought it intending to only make a short sleeved top, so there was a fair bit of manipulation needed to get this one out of only one metre., but I made me a pattern and it worked and I'm quite pleased with the result.

I have also finished a lined tunic from a free pattern I printed out from Angela Kane. Have you heard of her? If you love sewing clothes you should take a look. She also has on line videos showing step by step instructions and although I am not a beginner I found quite a few useful tips. I am considering signing up as a full member now which gives you access to all her patterns. Most are classic styles but as a base for anyone with a bit of flair they could be about all you would need to make most things in your wardrobe.
Finally I have purchased the Parfait dress pattern from Collette patterns.  Have seen this made up recently here and was pretty impressed. This lady is a phenomenal sewer, I would never reach her standard in a million years! Only problem now is deciding from my tons (I jest not) of fabric what I am going to make it from. Spots, stripes, florals or perhaps that Cornish boating scene...or is that a nautical step too far? ( BTW for decency sake mine will be considerably longer. I have no intentions of frightening the poor Cornish folk with too much wrinkled white leg!!)
Well I think that's about it for now except that I have also cut out a jersey dress just like this one but in lime green to practise using my new acquisition which just happened to call to me at the knitting and Sewing show at the NEC. I mean it was my first real outing since this bug bit and I did need cheering up! And just think of all the money it will save me now I can whip up even more clothes.......

Have a good week
Jenny xx

Monday, 24 March 2014

Battling Bugs and plenty of reading......

Well for 3 weeks now I have been feeling really sorry for myself!...... I have been battling a nasty chest infection and I'm fed up with it now.
It started off with a really barking cough, but after a couple of days appeared to have developed into just a head cold, so I decided to go ahead with my planned trip to Scotland.....bad idea!
I did have a lovely time with my sister but spent most of it huddled on the settee under a rug trying desperately hard not to cough. When I got back it seemed to become a little worse and so I had to give in and succumb to a doctors appointment and some antibiotics. I have finished the course now and so I am  feeling a bit better but I am not a good patient and can't stop thinking of the million and one things that need doing and the other million I want to do. I think the thing I am finding the hardest is how weak I feel. Even the simplest activity has me longing for a sit down.
But at least this enforced 'resting' has meant that I have been able to catch up on some reading.
I have just finished The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.

Image from Amazon
 Fabulous. Taking you from Cornwall to Australia and back and covering several generations of one family it is brilliantly written and keeps you in suspense right to the end.
Of course having read one of her books I had to try another and am now reading the The House at Riverton.
Image from Amazon
This is totally different and I struggled a bit at the beginning, but am gradually getting into it, so will let you know how I get on.
Another book I have finished is A Jarful of Angels by Babs Horton. You may have heard me sing the praises of her Dandelion Soup in the past,
 Image from

but again this was not what I expected at all and although I did enjoy it and parts which seemed confusing at times were clear by the end , I still didn't find it an easy read, or indeed quite understand the meaning of the title. Have you read it? Can you enlighten me?

I am sure there are many of you hard at work who would give 'anything' to have a few minutes to put your feet up let alone a few weeks, so I will try to accept my lot and just enjoy my relaxation. I know as soon as I am on my feet again and bogged down with housework, washing, ironing and cooking I will look back and wonder why I moaned, but then we always seem to want the opposite to what we have don't we!

Hoping you all keep well, have a good week
Jenny xx

Monday, 3 March 2014

Successes and failures.....

Does it happen to you?........ Asked to make something for someone you have done dozens of times before and it all goes pear shaped!
Some years ago I decided to replace my poor delicate 50s fairy that sat on the top of our Christmas tree. Don't worry she wasn't thrown away, I passed her on to my DD who collects vintage ornaments for her tree, where I know she will be treasured.

Well I couldn't find anything that really appealed so I made one. She wasn't perfect but I've grown to love her and so apparently did a few others as over the past couple of years I've made quite a few.
Now I did make a pattern, but somehow in the sewing room makeover I appear to have mislaid it, and of course you've guessed , I've now had a request for not one but two fairies to take with me when I go on my next trip to Bonny Scotland. ( not long now)
I set to and made what I thought was a similar pattern, but having got it sewn and stuffed, it was hideous!! And I'm not being modest here it really was.

Well several attempts later and by now thoroughly bored with it I finally made a pretty good copy of the original.

 Fairy wings embroidered onto water soluble plastic

Just a few finishing touches needed to the second one and they're done. Thank goodness. And guess what I'll be saying next time someone requests one . Noooooooooo!

My success story is far yummier ! I have finally tracked down a blueberry muffin recipe which rises, is spongy and light, and tastes divine........every time!  And of course is the perfect way to reward myself for having finished the bloomin' fairies.

I love blueberry muffins but my previous attempts at baking them has been a bit rubbish. I cannot lay claim to the recipe though I found it at Attic24  . You can vary the fruit you use, and even put a sort of crumble topping on them but I just love them with added blueberries. Plain and simple.....and so moreish.......

Well I hope you all have a successful week whatever you get up to, and don't forget to reward yourself for a job well done! You deserve it my lovely friends.

Jenny xx