April round-up and May sewing plans

April has been an incredibly productive month for me, sewing-wise, although I must admit the blogging has rather fallen by the wayside. That’s partly because of the way I’ve been working (batch cutting lots of projects, then batch sewing all the grey overlock bits, followed by all the grey sewing machine bits, then the black overlock bits, and so on) which meant that I had lots of projects on the go at once, and most things weren’t completed till nearly the end of the month. It’s also because I wasn’t one hundred percent happy with the finish on two garments, and had to redo them until I was happy. That meant I’ve only just been able to get photos of those two projects, but rest assured, there should be plenty of April’s sewing making it onto the blog in May 🙂

Sewing done in April:

L-R: Jalie’s Drop Pocket Cardigan, Gertie Knit Sweetheart Top, Gertie’s Easy Knit Pencil Skirt

 

Clockwise from left: Daisy’s Striped Skirt, Seamwork Geneva Knickers, Made by Jack’s Mum Speedy Pants Boxers for Gabriel

I also made a black knit school skirt for Daisy, but I don’t have a picture of that one yet so you’ll just have to imagine it. It’s like the striped one above, only, you know, black.

 

There were a few projects I’d hoped to complete in April but didn’t get done: a grey short sleeved tee and some more knickers, along with a school dress for Daisy. But that’s okay, because I made a couple of extra skirts instead 🙂

I had also hoped to get some materials together for a maxi dress (done and ready to cut), as well as a shirt dress and a Moss skirt. Those last two aren’t at all ready, but I’ve been thinking about the shirt dress so that counts for something, right?!

Mending crazy!

 

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Arrrgh! The giant mending pile of doom! It’s going to bury us all!!!

I’ve been inspired by the internet to get on with my mending pile. Yes, it’s been an ongoing ambition for some time now, and I’d got as far as gathering it all together, cataloguing it on Trello, and buying a giant plastic storage box from IKEA to house it all, yet still the pile remained. Albeit safely contained in a plastic crate. Don’t want dangerously unmended items on the loose, now, do we?!

But now I’ve cleared the vast majority of it. What changed, I hear you ask?

Inspired by Melly’s January challenge I divided my mending up into 6 piles, according to what the next step was:

  • Needs either cutting or seam ripping.
  • Needs a trip into the loft to find some fabric for patching.
  • Needs hand sewing.
  • Needs pressing.
  • Needs the sewing machine.
  • Needs the overlocker.
  • Needs more thought/trying on before deciding on the next step.

Continue reading Mending crazy!

Craftysticks: the Christmas edition (in January, naturally)

Things might have been quiet on the blog, but that’s more down to having computer issues than me not being crafty! I am currently dictating this post into my phone as the PC is still misbehaving. Thankfully Andy ordered us a new one last night, so hopefully I will be back on the blog more often in future 🙂

Sewing:

img_0147-copyThis year I decided I wanted to make more of my Christmas presents again, and went the sewing rather than my customary knitting and crochet route for a fair few of them. First up is the one I’m most proud of, mainly because I’ve had it in my head to make for my friend for several years now. It’s a cushion featuring her favourite TV detective, Colombo! I used Dylon Image Maker to transfer a black-and-white laserprinted picture of Columbo that I found online. It was simple enough to do, and the only real difficulty is the number of times you have to wet and gently scrape off the paper residue; definitely more than the two times they suggest on the packet. I had originally intended to put the pom-poms as trim around the edge of the cushion and piece the front with a mitred border, as well as inserting a zip closure, but the image making took longer than expected and I had to cut some corners. The cushion is now a simple envelope design, and I used the pom-pom trim to cover the less-than-perfect edges of the Columbo appliqué. My friend was thrilled, and the cushion now resides on her computer chair. Continue reading Craftysticks: the Christmas edition (in January, naturally)

Craftysticks November update

November is nearly over, so it must be time for an update!

Sewing:

This has been a month of quite dull but very useful sewing. I had a sudden paranoid thought that if a winter vomiting bug hit I wouldn’t have enough spare bedding for Daisy’s bed. She used to be in a double bed (long story) but is now in a single, and I only had one set of bedding for it. I’ve been saying for ages that I’d cut down her old favourite duvet cover to make a single, and this month I finally did it. I also made a fitted sheet out of another old duvet cover that had a few random stains from fabric paint (absolutely impossible to remove, but I managed to avoid them by careful cutting) and I cut down her mattress protector too. I’m particularly proud of the way I utilised the print on the duvet cover to do this on the side of her mattress:

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And as if all that wasn’t enough, I bought Gabriel his first proper duvet. It was a cotbed size with a dinky little pillow to match, and rather than buy readymade covers I decided to economise and again cut down an old duvet cover, carefully avoiding some random tears and bleach stains. He now has the cutest little bedding set! Continue reading Craftysticks November update

Craftysticks: October update

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Daisy having fun with my MiL’s vintage Singer. I’ve borrowed it for a project that needed lots of topstitching. Maybe I should put Daisy to work in my own mini-sweatshop?!

Yeah, until I ever get more hours in the day this looks like being a monthly rather than a weekly thing. I’ve been managing to get some crafting done along with the writing, though, by starting writing as soon as Gabriel goes down for his nap, then once I’ve written 1250 words I can spend the rest of the time (generally about half an hour, give or take) sewing. Woohoo! I need that reward to power on through with the writing some days.

Sewing:

I finished the last of Daisy’s school dresses and she’s still wearing them even though the weather has cooled right down, so that’s good. Turns out a summer dress is perfect for autumn when you have a long sleeved top and leggings underneath 🙂

I’ve also sewn myself another mini skirt. Yeah, I know, my last two projects were mini skirts too. Not sure what’s going on there, but I think it will be the last one I sew for some time. There are only so many winter minis a girl needs…

Continue reading Craftysticks: October update

Craftysticks: monthly it is, then!

It would appear I can’t manage a blog post more often than monthly, although to be fair, it was the summer holidays and I did have a book deadline. Maybe things will be different in future… Yeah, I doubt it!

Anyway, I’ve done a wee bit of sewing over the summer. Having a deadline of wanting to get skirts ready for the UK Meet (GLBTQ+ writing convention) helped. Here’s what I got up to:

Sewing:

I actually finished two corduroy mini-skirts. Woohoo! One is a Seamwork Osaka wrap skirt which I started at the Sewn Bristol Sewcial. It’s in brown needlecord with a red polka dot lining. I know the Osaka is meant to be colour blocked and reversible, but I’m just a born rebel 😛

I also appear to be a rebel when following the instructions as I made a major mistake which meant I never did manage to finish it at the Sewcial. Ah well, I learnt an important lesson about reading things properly before cutting out, and the finished skirt still looks great. I expect there’ll be pics and a blog post at some point. Oh, okay, here’s a really rubbish selfie I took in the (dirty, smeared) mirror while deciding what I needed to pack for the convention. Yes, I am now that person who takes photos of her outfits to decide what goes with what, and so she can remember it when she gets there…

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The second mini skirt is a fab self-drafted rainbow corduroy number which I’ve been planning to make for years, but never got round to until now. Admittedly it’s a bit shorter than anticipated (the perils of winging it and not accounting for seam allowances!) but it will be great in the winter with tights or leggings. Or in the summer with bare legs if I’m feeling really brave and especially tanned. Here’s a sneak pic, and a full blog post will follow at some point. Possibly. I wouldn’t hold your breath, though.

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I’ve also finished another self-drafted school dress for Daisy. One left to go, but only the collar and hems to finish off. I’m really pleased with these and she seems to find them really comfortable. Here’s a pic of her in the first dress–full post to follow with the standard disclaimer. Hey, I’m busy, all right?!

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Crochet:

I’m still slowly working on the Rebel Lace Cardie. I’ve now completed the lower bodice rows as specified in the pattern, but I think I’m going to need to work a few more as it’s coming in above the waist, whereas it needs to sit directly on the natural waist. It might be ready for next summer…

Cooking:

I set myself the task of having a go at perfecting some really simple dishes over the summer holidays: mayonnaise, steak and scrambled eggs. Admittedly I only had a go at mayo and steak the once, but it was the best steak I’ve ever tasted (disclaimer: I’d only had steak four times in my life up to that point!). The mayo was less successful as I used olive oil. Although it was the light olive oil it still tasted way too olivey for my liking. Still, at least I got it to the right consistency, even if I did have to add a second egg yolk to stop it curdling. I think in future I’ll have to try a different oil. The idea was to get away from PUFAs and go for the healthier MUFAs, so perhaps I’ll try avocado oil next time. If I can afford it… (contemplates taking out second mortgage or selling a kidney)

I’ve been doing really well with the scrambled eggs, though. I always thought I didn’t like them but it turns out that what I didn’t like were my mum’s overcooked scrambled eggs. Done perfectly with cream, chives and Parmesan, the humble scrambled egg is a thing of beauty. Particularly when served with smoked salmon. Yum!

Anyway, that’s it for now. Better make use of this time and get on with some real sewing. As of Monday I’m going to devote Gabriel’s naptimes to writing, and will only be able to sew once I’ve written 1000 words. I’m hoping that might spur me on to be more productive with the writing. Here’s hoping!

What have you all been up to? Anyone else making stuff? 🙂

Craftysticks: breaking promises but finishing garments.

I said in my first (and so far, only) Craftysticks post that it would be a weekly update post. Uh, try monthly, as that was back at the beginning of July! Ah well, it’s been a busy few weeks, what with me having to finish a novella and get it off to my editor–a novella called Custom Fit, featuring a fashion student, a man in a homemade dress and some major clothing kinks, so it’s okay to mention it here, right?!

Sewing:

Anyway, I started well on the sewing, almost polishing off one of Daisy’s school dresses. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get it finished before school ended for the summer, and since then I’ve been somewhat discouraged. I do need to finish it (just the hemming) and get the other one done too (which is at pre zip insertion stage) before the weekend, though, as I’m going to the SEWN Sewcial in Bristol, and I’ll need my sewing machine for another, more exciting project. Not sure what, exactly, but I’ve promised myself I’m not going to rethread either of my machines until I’ve finished the damn dresses. Anyone else get tough with themselves like that? Sometimes it’s the only way to finish things! Or not finish them, in this case…

Crochet:

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I finished sewing the buttons on the Cecilia Chemise! It looks gorgeous, and fits so well! Still haven’t worn it anywhere, though. I keep telling myself I’m saving it for the UK Meet in September, but I should probably where it somewhere first in case I discover any issues when wearing it. You don’t want that to happen when you’re at a convention with your author hat on, trying to be all charismatic and so on. Trust me. Been there, done that…

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The other Stitchdiva pattern I’m working on, the Rebel Lace Cardie, is progressing slowly but surely. I need some better light so I can work on it in the evenings, though. Navy yarn is not my friend in anything other than the brightest light! I’ve now reached the second armhole split, which means the upper bodice is nearly finished. I have a feeling it might take me till next summer to finish this thing, but hey, I don’t mind. It’s soothing, in a strange way, considering how tricky it is.

In the works:

I now just have to work out which of my various planned projects I’m going to get cut and ready to stitch on Sunday at the Sewcial @SEWN . Ooh, do I go tricky with chiffon, make a rainbow Pride corduroy skirt, or take several t-shirt projects to whizz through on my overlocker? The overlocker is much lighter than the sewing machine, and I’ve no idea how far I’ll have to carry it. Hmm, decisions, decisions…

Right, off to finish those gingham school dresses before Daisy grows out of them.

Anyone else reading this going to be in Bristol for the Sewcial on Sunday?