Saturday, 30 January 2016

Pansy Print Shift Dess

I'm actually dreading putting these pictures up, mainly because I was too lazy to do my hair [Which seriously needs cutting] or retouch my make up or put on lipstick so I know for a fact I look ill, which means my mother will probably see the pictures and decide I am ill and need to rest more....and she'll probably want to feed me broth... which isn't always a bad thing.

Put yes I'm not sick , I just always look this unhealthy!

Now onto the dress, I won the pansy fabric over at a stitching odyssey in a give-away Marie was running and I believe she got it from Miss Gingers. I got 1m of the print  in cotton and although its a lil crazy I kinda love it, my mum suggested I make a skirt but I loved the idea of a 90's style shift dress, something I could dress up with heels or down with boots and a cardi. Being stubborn I went my own way however I didn't have quite enough material hence the colour blocking.

The pink sections came from an old dress lining, its a similar weight to the pansy print and the colours work well together so its a winner for me. The bodice is a princess seam so having both the front and back in pink and the sides in pansy looks pretty me at least!

Pattern wise I kept it simple and used the shift dress pattern from the second gbsb book. There's really nothing else I can say about the pattern as I've made it here and here and used the bodice here . I did shorten the skirt on this one quite a bit more though to keep a young vibe. The best way I find to shorten dresses that I want right on the cusp of decency is to lay them next to a rtw dress your happy with the length of and work off that as a guide. No more flashing my knickers for me!

Construction wise I just finished my seams with another row of stitching and I faced the armholes and neckline with the pansy print fabric. And then very neatly topstitched. Like a Boss! The hem is hand sewn because eek hand finished hems and basically looks like it was done by faeries! 

I did a lapped zip at the back, its not my neatest work but I'd already ripped it out once and I wasn't in the mood for another go. Luckily for me my hair is that long now that it covers any zip issues!

Heres a better shot of my colour blocking, As you can see I didn't bother pattern matching but now i look at it, I might have used the print the wrong way up. woopsie.

It didn't take a huge amount of time to make, I think about two episodes of the sopranos and half an episode to stitch the hem? In fact the longest part was trying to work out if I actually had enough material. 

And that's it! Yay!

Its a half recycled, half free, kinda crazy shift dress but I love it! Its completely out of my comfort zone but I can still see it getting a lot of wear!

Much Love



Friday, 29 January 2016

Sewing On a Budget

Sewing is expensive, Yep I've said it. Contrary to popular belief sewing is not a cheap hobby. It used to be don't get me wrong, when our grandmas were doing it, it was cheaper much cheaper... but now? Now its one of the most expensive addictions you can have, yes I said addictions, just like alcohol or heroin, only sewing's a lot healthier and a lot more addictive.

As someone with a family and bills and all the other junk that comes along with having adult responsibilities I don't have a fortune to spend on sewing. In fact I don't even have a budget. 

So here's my top tips for sewing with a small/non existent budget:

1. Embrace sewing-
Shout it from the dammed rooftops!!!! "I sew talk to me about sewing! Tell me your wisdom! Keep me in mind if your having a clear out!" I can't tell you how many times I've received sewing stuff just because people know that I sew, I've had buttons from neighbours, curtains from my mother in law, and I've had two! count them TWO! bolts of fabric given to me! Just because people thought, oh Frankie sews she might like that.

This dress was made using fabric given to me for free by a friend, and the buttons are from ine of my mums neighbours!

2. Embrace home wares-

Have you ever actually considered how much fabric is in a duvet set? or say in curtains? And how awesome some of the prints are? And how cheap they can be? Charity shops have hoards of duvets and curtains going for a pittance and if your just starting out its a hell of a lot cheaper than buying fabric. 

This pinafore was made from my mother in laws curtains, and I've already got my eye on the curtains in my mothers living room, just as soon as she gets around to redecorating. I've even told my brother to keep me in mind for when he decorates his kids rooms, I mean who doesn't want a dalmatian print dress?

3. With regards to getting a machine-

Ask around, you would be surprised how many people have one sat in a corner. One of my machines came from my partners aunty, she moved house and decided she didn't need it and i got it! Its a fantastic machine! I mean seriously its great! and if nobody you know has one for lends or keeps then you can get some great deals at places like lidl and aldi. My first machine was from aldi and boy it was loud but it got the job done! And now my sister has it. Its the circle of sewing machine life.

4. Harvest your clothes - 

Sewing is about so much more than just having fabric, you need buttons and zips and ribbon and lace and all kinds of crap! You know where you can find these things for free? on old clothes that your going to bin. Buttons on shirts, ribbons in clothes, patches, ZIPS! I always unpick zips off clothes even the short stumpy ones in jeans! There is a whole haberdashery waiting t be found in your throw away pile you just need some patience and a good seam ripper! although its quicker to remove buttons with a sharp knife! 

5. Harvest your clothes some more!

This time for fabric! you can either re cut the pieces or you can refashion them! You'd be surprised how much fabric is in clothes, things like maxi dresses and sarongs are my favourites to use as fabric because there's loads of fabric! but I've also made corsets from jeans and this dress which was completely free!

corset material - off cut from my bridesmaid dress - free
skirt material - bedsheets that mother in law didn't want - free
slip - [not handmade but second hand]
back zip - removed from one of my partners old hoodies - free
straps - from an old ann summers bra that I paid a small fortune for - free [and glad I got my monies worth!]

6. Buy the basics-

Sometimes people have an old pair of scissors and often people get rid of thread but there are some pretty decent deals out there too! I love hobbycraft value thread and I've never had any issues with it, the colours are basic but for a pound who's complaining! I also love their value fabric scissors, I live in a house with a idiot male at some point he's going to pick up my scissors and cut paper with them. It is pointless me having an expensive pair! and these are pretty sharp for the price!  

7. Pick your patterns carefully-

I know a lot of people like to hoard patterns but when your on a budget its just not a viable option, especially with patterns coming in at the £8.00 mark.  Instead I love books that come with patterns like the two gbsb books or love at first stitch. I tend to think if you have a few basic patterns you very rarely need anything else. my most used patterns are the lilou bodice block, my princess seam bodice block, my cropped jacket and my pencil skirt pattern. I very rarely use a pattern at all for full skirted looks instead I just mark dimensions on the fabric. It can even be used for copying ready to wear outfits, just make a note of all the features like pleats, pockets and what the bodice is like and you wont need a whole new pattern. And there's a whole load of free patterns online! literally just a click away! Aswell as the awesome patterns that sometimes come free with magazines and online magazines! 

8. Embrace Polycotton

Polycotton is one of the cheapest fabrics around and it gets a bad rep. I personally love! It wears well, It washes well and it irons well! What more could you actually want? 
Its also great for starting out because you don't feel too bad if you make a mistake! Minerva crafts have a fantastic line of polycottons in some great prints! 

9. Buy By weight! 

abakhans have a great buy by weight system in their stores and you can get some real bargains! This dress was brought by weight and its still holding up and in wardrobe rotation it also pushed me to work with a fabric I hadn't tried before.

10. Birthdays and Christmas!

Its a hobby so its perfectly acceptable to ask for vouchers as a birthday or chistmas present, I have a lovely friend who always buys me a hobbycraft voucher for my birthday and my mum always put money aside for me to go fabric shopping with aswell! 

I tend to think you know its a hobby and not just a fad when your willing to have your birthday spends go on it! I once thought I might take up running as a hobby until someone offered to buy me a sports bra for Christmas! eww no thanks I'd rather have fabric! 

Much Love

A very thrifty frankie




Thursday, 28 January 2016

Do babies still wear bonnets?

So seen as we had no internet for 10 days I got a LOT of knitting done! Mainly I stuck to baby knits because they are quick and adorable and you don't get much better than that.

It all started off with this pink set, the pattern is one I borrowed from my Nan It's Hayfield 00738, Its a cool pattern it has 4 hats, 3 mittens and 3 bootee patterns.

These aren't the matching booties for the hat but I think they look like a set, and these were quicker to knit anyway. 

The ribbon was from my stash, the pattern says to make twist ties but I really could not be bothered, and apart from using a power drill to make it quicker I had no more ideas on how  to save time. 

The bonnet I'm really proud of, I had to do a repeated pattern and everything and I'm pretty sure I only screwed up on two rows.

The wool was hobbycraft value, Its actually pretty good for the price and as an added bonus I got it in the 3 for 2 sale. I just wish they had a better variety of colours.

Project wise I think its cute and it stopped me going stir crazy, I'm not sure if people still put kids in bonnets though? I'm all for keeping warm so I would but I'm not sure about other people? And I knitted the smallest size so I'm not even sure if there's any babies that I know that would fit into it!

In other news its cold, which isn't too bad at least its not raining but it does mean me and lil knitwit are fully wrapping up in the morning. Hopefully I'm going to photography some other clothing makes today, seen as we seen to be having a rare cold but sunny spell!

We have also completely overhauled the dining/sewing room so that we can fit the computer in so ill have some pictures of that soon hopefully! 

Much Love



Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A Sewing Skirt for a Sewing Girl

I'm back! After 10 days without internet I've been getting a lot of stuff done, the plan was to have a load of blog posts ready to go so I could ease myself in...... but naturally I was lazy and forgot to keep up to date! So its going to be the pretty standard writing and posting routine I'm afraid.

This skirt was a pretty simple one evening kind of make, I wanted the fabric to speak for itself so I used the Clemence skirt pattern from love at first stitch. But like a dolt I forgot to take 2cm off the waistband so its a lil big.

The fabric for the main body of the skirt was a birthday present from my sister and her husband and the waistband is from my stash, I think both are a quilting cotton of some sort I had 1m of the main fabric hence the contrast waistband, I say its a Clemence skirt but really its just a 1m of fabric split in to two and then one of those panels split into two again. The main fabric is printed with scissors and mannequins and French haberdashery advertisements, its a pretty bold pattern but I didn't bother pattern matching instead i just made sure that the fabric was all facing the right way up. 

Its pretty standard construction I used French seams on the sides and did a 1cm hem although I might take it up a bit more. It feels a lil long to be honest I feel a bit too mumsy. 

In fact I followed the instructions pretty much to a T apart from putting in a lapped zip instead of a concealed one. Mainly because I wanted to see if I could actually do one. Spoiler alert I can! 

I came out pretty neat actually, and it might just end up being my favourite zip technique.  

Although I finished the hem by machine I finished the inside of the waistband by hand and even added a little handmade label. You know just in case I forget.

I'm not quite sure why I look like I have a wind machine on the go in these pictures, I must be having a bad hair day.

All in all I'd say it was a success , apart from the length which I think I'm going to fix, although I don't want to look too trampy. I've worn it all day and although it creases a lot I think it looks pretty cute.

In other news my internetless self has done lots of knitting and sewing so I'l have plenty to blog about over the next few days ..... If I get around to taking pictures I lost my tripod mount for about a week so that's held me up no end! 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Second scissor necklace

I've had my first scissor necklace for a few years and now I've added another one! 

Excuse the crappy picture and lack of my face! The scissors came from a small bag of what I think we're card making bits and the chain is just from my jewellery box. 

It's just a small make today but it makes me very happy! 

In other news I have a cold and so does lil knitwit, he seems to have more energy than me but I haven't been sleeping well either. 

I've been working on some tutorial stuff, inspired by my lil baby god daughter! But so far it's top secret! 

And I'll be offline for a week or so, we are changing internet provider (if the bloke ever arrives to disconnect us!!! I've been in all day! Going a bit stir crazy) and I wont have Internet until the new one is plugged in next week ! Hopefully this means I'll have loads of stuff ready for when the internet is back! 

I was going to schedule some blog posts this morning to go online over the next few days but they disconnected the Internet at about 7:00am! So it'll just be silence! 

Although I will be checking emails on my 3G intermittently and if I'm ever somewhere with free wifi! 

I'm actually looking forward to going social media and Internet cold turkey! Although when I wanted a knitting pattern for today I was cursing something rotten! I'm going to miss raverly! And Instagram!! 

Much love

And ciao for now! 



Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Eeny beanie miney moh

I'm still plodding along with my efforts of having a fully wearable wardrobe, and as a stroke of luck I've recently come into a load of boots and shoes and some coats and scarves from a relative. 

And luckily for me both of the coats are black! Mr knitwit got me a lovely coat for Christmas but it's very pale and I'm worried about making it dirty so a black coat was just what I needed! 

And if I'm having a black coat I'm going to need a black hat! Especially with how the weather is now on the nursery run! 

It's a really simple garter stitch hat that you knit in "short rows". Basically you knit the hat across so the garter stitch ridges are vertical. It's pretty simple to do and I'll link to the pattern I used on raverly as soon as I'm on a computer and not my phone. I'd say it's a pretty good pattern for those who are starting to knit and can't stand the thought of making a scarf or a dishcloth.

I'm pretty happy with it as a first attempt, but I have already cast on another one which I'm making a few alterations to. First of all I'm making it longer so I can turn the brim up, I'm using a slightly thicker wool and I'm hoping to add a furry Pom Pom to the top when it's finished. Furry Pom poms seem to be quite "in" this season and I think they look adorable! 

In other news I went to see my lovely friends lovely baby yesterday and although little knitwit was unimpressed I thought she was lovely! I had big snuggles, and have been thinking of ways to spoil her since! 

I've still got two projects to photograph but the way my face looks today it just wasn't happening!!! 

I'm still watching the sopranos and have even reached the point in my obsession where I'm texting my brother to clarify my thoughts on the plot. Luckily for me I can text him "how long was pussy talking to the Feds for?" And he knows what I mean !!! 

Much love Frankie 


Monday, 11 January 2016

But Its Cold Outside

Its hard work photographing quilts in this kind of weather. Usually I peg them to the line and photograph them like that, but seen as its been grotty weather I took these pictures inside.

So anyway I should have blogged this just before Christmas but time ran away, and then I couldn't be bothered and yeah stuff just happened really. But Ta Da here's my finished Christmas quilt! 

The centre square is hand pieced and the rest was done on my machine, its backed with blue velvet and I didn't use any wadding, It felt like a bit of a waste to use wadding on a quilt that's only going to be used for one month a year. And the pile of the velvet makes it squishy and warm anyway.

The fabric is a mixture of craft cotton company fabrics and some pieces from my grandmas stash. It was nice to use up some of the pieces I inherited especially seen as a lot of them are featured in things my Grandma made for other family members!

Here's a close up of the centre square, I used English paper piecing and it probably took me about an hour?

I quilted the whole thing on my janome, I started by quilting around the centre square and gradually turned it into a spiral!

So it spent a happy couple of days on the sofa and has now been packed away with the rest of the decorations.

Before I packed it away I did add these to the back. Lil knitwits godfathers mum makes cards with cross stitches on the front and every year lil knitwit gets two one from her and one from his godfather, anyway I can never bring myself to throw them away so they are stashed in various places around the house [I couldn't find any when I looked but I'm sure some will turn up when I'm not looking] so I thought it might be nice to add them to the back of the quilt each year that way I don't have to have them floating around the house! Brilliant right?

In other news I started watching Mad Men but I just cant seem to get into it, I'm wondering if its because I have "but I'd rather watch the sopranos syndrome". So I've been watching that and if anything I'm enjoying it more than the first time I watched it! 

Maybe I'll try mad men again when I've finished the sopranos.

I also seem to be developing a small cold which sucks and I'm pretty grumpy which I'm blaming on the January blues, but I have been cheering myself up with some sewing. There one item that I'm kinda meh about and another that I like but could be better. However photographing them in this weather is going to be an absolute brute! 

Much Love



Saturday, 9 January 2016

Hobbycraft treats!

Hobby craft is like my Mecca, it's absolutely the happiest place on the world. Even if it can be a touch expensive! 

Anyway luckily for me , for Christmas I was given a hobby craft voucher and as usual I had no trouble spending it! 

As usual I went for a mixture of items! 

5 balls of wool
Thread wax (omg this has changed my life!!!)
Spotty fat quarters, I'm working on a new quilt and these will be an integral part! (These are also by the craft cotton company who's fat quarters have never let me down.) 
Sewing needles , for some reason I loose needles so needed a restock. Although I dress to think where the lost ones are. 
Felt tips, for my sketchbook
White thread, I always buy white thread from hobby craft as its a staple of my sewing room.
And some ribbon that has "handmade" on it, which I'm going to use as tags for inside my makes. 

So yeah I think I've got some more fun bits and pieces to play with! 

And they are having a sale at the moment so that helps! 

I'm other news apparently tkmaxx is selling catch kidston bedding for £15 rather than the usual £45 (single bed) I only mention it in case it's cheaper to buy a bedding set rather than purchase the actual fabric! 

Also aldi has s pretty good deal on wool at the moment! I know I'm pretty tempted!! 

Much love



Ps this happened today! Isn't it adorable!!! 

Friday, 8 January 2016

A wreath for all seasons

Okay so I know Christmas is over but every year I put a few projects on my to do list and sometimes I don't get around to them till after Christmas! 

Luckily for me the way I chose to do this project means it's not too seasonal. 

I started with an old wire hanger, one of the last ones in our house due to the great wire cull of 2013 I hate these bloody things. I didnt know coat hangers could make me curse until I tried to hang anything at all on one of these! 

So anyway I basically manipulated it into a round shape using my hands, no cutting required. (Sorry about the state of my carpet, the only way cleaning comes before crafting in this house is in the dictionary) 

Then I just tied lots of white stripes to the circle using a simple knot. 

And voila , wreath! I experimented with textures by emptying my scrap bin, there's cotton, netting, lace, and various other textures. There's also some wrapping ribbon (you know the plastic stuff) 

I cut each strip about 1cm wide and just under 10cm long? But I didn't measure I just eyeballed it. Then tied the different textures on in a random order! 

All in all I like it, it was a nice quick project that prompted a decent result. 

And it cleared out my scrap bin which is always a plus, especially with the way my scrap bin is! 

To fix it to the door I used some ribbon attached to the other side, but I've heard you can get special door hooks. The beauty of the project means that because you don't cut up the hanger you still have the hook part of the hanger for hanging it up. 

I'm not sure what I'll do with it now. I'm too heavy handed with doors to have it at  my house so my mum might end up with it. 

And because it's not entirely Christmas themed she might be able to use it all year round! Apparently that's a thing now? A wreath for every season? 

Do you use wreaths all year round? 

Much love



Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The pink suit - book review

Sometimes you hear about a book and you know you have to read it. That's how I felt about "the pink suit" by Nicole Mary kelby. 

Luckily for me my sister and her husband brought it for me for Christmas! 

It follows the story of an Irish seamstress living in New York , who is asked to make the famous pink suit that Jackie Kennedy wore when her husband was shot! 

Well I presume its Jackie Kennedy, the person the suit is being made for is only ever called "the wife" 

I first came to hear about the book on Karen's blog, where you can also read an excerpt-

As soon as I read the excerpt I knew I wanted to read the book, even if the main story was dull I knew I would really enjoy the descriptions of sewing techniques and fabrics!

I'm not sure how much someone who doesn't enjoy sewing would enjoy the book, there's a lot of talk of basteing, and fitting and whilst you don't need sewing knowledge I do think that the best written parts of the book are about dressmaking. 

All in all I think it's a wonderful book! I loved the sewing descriptions and the romance plot is very good too. It's quite hard to write a review without giving it all away, but I'd say it's definitely worth a read. I finished it in about 3 days of casual reading. 

Have you read the pink suit? 

Much love



Sunday, 3 January 2016


It's been a bit of a highs and lows sort of few days, I finished a knitting project and cut out some projects but I had to take the Christmas decorations down today which always makes me sad. And sadly our hamster died yesterday , she was fine the day before, well I say fine she hadn't been in her wheel for a few days but she was moving. Anyway she's died now and I was worried about telling lil knitwits... Apparently it's not a problem "don't cry mummy, Sandy gone, she broke , daddy gonna put her in the bin"

Ahh to have the clarity of a 3 year old.

But I did get a project finished recently, it's another knitted blanket in my favourite garter stitch! 

I used a chunky/Aran weight yarn and a simple pattern with size five needles so it was a breeze to knit whilst all the Christmas festivities were happening. Basically I started with three stitches and then increased one stitch at the end of each row. This is a really simple and nice effect, providing your leave enough wool to do the decreases when your happy with the size. 

I did not. Which is why my blanket features a rather fetching hood in a different wool (two strands of 4ply). 

I don't think it turned out too badly , the yarns work quite nicely together colour wise. I think it helps that they are both speckled!

To do the hood I simply decreased with my blue wool until it ran out then continued with the White, I kept decreasing until I had three stitches left and then I started increasing again until the new increased section matched the white section where I decreased. 

If that makes any sense at all. 

Basically it looked like this 

And people said having an alevel in art would be useless. 

Then I just sewed up the seams either side! 

Anyways I'm very pleased with it, I actually think it looks quite chic and I think it's a good size for a newborn. Plus the wool is very lovely and squishy! 

I'm not sure where it's going to end up, a few people I know are expecting babies so probably with one of them!! 

Much love