Wednesday 16 January 2019

Clever lads

I can't remember if I shared a pic of the castle my uncle C made?   He finds bits of tree, and then turns them into amazing, detailed, unique, creations.   I've had mine for about a year now.

Dust, and dusting, was a problem. We tried to find a suitable case, the sort of thing stuffed objects sit in,  but these were mostly round based.    DH decided that making somethign was the answer.   The next time we saw Darling Uncle, they had a chat about it, as DU had obviously faced this problem before.

DH bought some bits and  and had a go with a small example (big enough for a tea light).  That came out well, so he decided what shape to do, calculated the size of the pieces.  Some time later, he got enthusiastic enough to give it a go,    got the glass (and the wood for the base) and spent quite some time building it.
He's a clever boy.  They're both clever lads.


I've been motivated enough to make a few things, and I've managed to keep the momentum going despite some challenges.

The easy things first.    My embroidery machine, Emma, and I made birthday cards for Small Person and DGD4.   The bunny was a bought design, one I've had earmarked for DGD4 for a while.  I used metallic thread, and Emma stitched beautifully.
 Small Person's design was based on a drawing she did for me just before Christmas.  The amazing Meryl, of MerylMakes,  digitised it for me.
Once again, Emma stitched faultlessly.  It's all down to the hoop support arm I bought her,  I wish i'd listened to myself and bought it months ago!

Next up was clothes sewing.   I made a couple of raglan sleeve tops (Pattern 4 Pirates, Jolly Roger Raglan). Sorry about the rubbish photos,  the clothes look much better in real life!

These were amazingly easy to make, and I hope she likes them enough to want me to make her some more!

DGS2 is coming to stay at Easter and, if he's still interested in sewing, I might suggest he makes one of these for himself.

Next up was my Big Project . I decided to make Small Person a dress for her birthday, using the unicorn duvet cover I bought months ago.    I couldn't find a pattern that was exactly what I wanted and  I ended up making a separate skirt and top. This was so that I could, in future,  make several different tops to go with the skirt.

It was a bit of a painful journey, and it isn't over yet.  The skirt was reasonably OK.  I used a Tadah Tea Party pattern because I wanted something really, really  really full. Annoyoingly, it only goes up to age 8 (when most of their patterns go up to age 10).     It also had to be extra long because I'd bought a tulle underskirt too.  I did the necessary adjustments,  and it was OK, although I ended up with a lot of fabric to try and cram into the waistband elastic.    The skirt took so much fabric that there was miles of rolled hemming to be done, and I pressed, pressed, pressed so that it looked fab.  It

It looked fab sitting on June the Duplicate, like a rockabilly type skirt.  

The top was a nightmare.  I had a large quantity of purple stretch 'velvet', and I wanted to use that.  It was already lined, so I didn't want to make a lined top.  This meant I needed a neckband and sleeves.   The first top, I stuffed up on the sleeves.   I'd also made lots of small errors, so I was happy to make it again from scratch  anyway.  

The second version  was better during consruction, I can't remember what went wrong with that actually, although I know it was near the end.     The third attempt was looking good, but I managed to irrevocably chew up the neckline.  Fortunately, I had decided to put the neckline on as soon as possible in construction,  so that if I did stuff up, I wouldn't have wasted all the rest of the work.  I'm going to do this from now on.

I ran out of time, so I took the incomplete top with me to try on with the skirt.  She seemed to really like it.   The skirt waistband was too big.  I expect I can try and fix it with some clear elastic (or a pair or braces).   Because it was hanging on her hips,  the topwas too short.  I quite like it sleeveless though, so I might cut another version of the pattern and make the next one without sleeves.
It was a little frustrating, but each time I made a new version, the top improved. I'm seeing her in a week or so, so hopefully I can get that done and dusted. 

I do wish I'd taken the time to do a Surefit blueprint of her, and I think I will take the time to do that next school holiday.

With that out of the way, I decided to try making an infinity scarf with hidden zipper pocket for my mum. She sometimes finds it hard to carry and handbag, but needs to carry tissues and stuff, and a scarf seemed like it might work for her.

I ordered some fluffy fabric, with a design on that I knew she'd like, but  which I hadn't realised had no stretch.  I also hadn't read the instructions before ordering,  it seems I need 2 yards of fabric - 2 yards! -  and I'd only bought 1.

I also wanted to make my version from two contrasting fabrics, rather than one extra wide piece folded, but that was easy enough to accommodate.  

I followed the instructions and video tutorial from Patterns for Pirates, and this also didn't go to plan.

Version 1:  I cut and sewed two lots of fabric to get to 72 inches long.   I followed the instructions, made the pocket, and managed to create something.  I wasn't happy with the way the zip sat,  and I wasn't happy with the unfinished edges inside the scarf.   I loved the fabric choice I'd made though. I decided to make again

Version 2:  I made this slightly narrowerI made a much better job of constructing this, finishing my seams, pressing, blah blah.  I still wasn't happy with the way the zip sat, so I thought about how to do it better. I watched a video tutorial from  Made Every Day about putting a zip in a dress, and decided that would give me the finish I wanted.

I'd run out of the fluffy fabric at this point. I decided to make Version 3 from stretchy fabric, which would also mean that I could make it shorter (and therefore more practical).    Once again I went for two fabrics.  One was a lovely soft grey jersey, which would be lovedly against the neck; the other was a really pretty black and silver sparkly fabric, which was reasonably thick and looked like the edge would hold up.

 This time, it came out pretty well.  The zip closure was much more neat and 'finished', and it sits well on the edge of the scarf.
Lovely zip pocket.

Lovely fabric on both sides
 I've posted it off, and I hope she likes it.

I was hoping to average making 3 items a month this year , and when I set myself that challenge I decided that items I'd made but stuffed up at the last minute (I call them 'OFFS ' - oh for !*! sake ) might still count.   I also decided to try and see each of my OFFS ) as something positive to learn from rather than confirmation of my uselessness at sewing.   

In January so far I've made 5 items (2 cards, 1 of the raglans, 1 skirt, 1 scarf) plus 3 OFFS (2 of the 3 velvet tops,  and 1 of the scarves).

Two weeks in and it's working well so far.