The festive season is nearly over and I had a blast. I didn't do any sewing but I did get some sewing and knitting gifts that I'll do another post on as soon as I've properly recovered from seeing in the new year!
Christmas day was pretty relaxed for us, we started at home just the three of us opening presents then we went onto Rikkis mums where we ate a banging roast [thanks Sue!] and played games until the wee hours! We stayed over and boxing day was much the same, more roast dinner and more games [If I'm completely honest I'm not a huge fan of roasts so if I don't see one for another month or so I'll be very happy]
Then we spent the 27th at home desperately trying to make our house look like a house again.
Then on the 28th me and Lil man went to my mums for a family day with my side of the family. Although it was a bit touch and go as the whether or not we'd be able to make it because of the SNOW! Yep I woke up in the morning to find snow on the ground and the local bus stuck outside our house. Luckily most of the roads were clear but we did have a couple of dicey moments trying to get off our estate!
We had a lovely time at my mums and came back to find Rikki taking the show off the wall and getting ready to put a new one in! [ Only our shower could break over Christmas! Luckily its fixed now thanks to Rikki and his Dad! Thank gad his Dad was able to come over and give him a hand because anytime me and Rikki do DIY together we risk getting divorced!!]
Which leaves me with the last few days of 2017! Where on earth did it go? Despite the current "world" situation I've actually had a great year. I've been given some fantastic opportunities by sewing brands and I got to take part in my first every sewing demonstration and I'm pleased to say I'll be doing a few more in 2018 as well!
Goals wise I feel like a did okay but here are my goals for 2018!
- Be more organised, recently I started a bullet journal and i feel like its helping me a lot and for xmas my big sister and her husband got me a proper gridded journal to use so I'm sure 2018 will be the year of an organised Frankie
- Knit a item of clothing, every year I try and knit a jumper or cardigan.
- Embrace my body, recently I had the harsh realisation that Ive been critical of my body since I was about 11. Which means I've clocked up 14 years of self shaming. This year however I've decided to fully embrace my shape, lumps and bumps. After all chances are this is as good as its ever going to get!!!
- Keep writing about sewing! It always surprises me how much I miss doing my blog when I'm busy! So the plan is to keep writing about sewing and whatever else pops into my head.
- Drink more water , this is pretty dull but I never seem to drink enough water. Hopefully 2018 will be the year I finally crack how to get the recommended amount of water into my system [PS when everyone else drinks a lot do they feel like they are peeing every 20mins?]
- Only make clothes I know I'll wear and love, My wardrobe is stuffed to the gills and I'm proud to say at least 80% is handmade. But that said I feel like I'm not getting as much use out of every piece like a could do!
And I think that's it?
I hope you all had a wonderful xmas and that Santa brought you everything you wanted!
And I wish you a very happy 2018!
I'll see you in new year for more sewing, knitting and creating!
And for my regular readers thank you for taking the time to read my blog , it means a lot!
Friday, 29 December 2017
Tuesday, 19 December 2017
My advent calendar has reliably informed me that there are only 6 sleeps until Christmas!
So I thought this would be a great time to show you the dress I've made for Christmas day!
First of all I'm a tricky customer for dressing on Christmas day. My anxiety skyrockets and that triggers my IBS and makes my tummy bloat and feel really uncomfortable.
So number 1. The dress has to be comfortable enough to wear for the majority of the day.
2. I have to be able to wear it with regular underwear [IE. not spanx. Spanx is the devil]
3. There has to be enough room for me to eat my body weight in roasts potatoes, Yorkshire puds and piggies in blankets....and then there still needs to be enough room for half a tub of quality street.
4. I must look and feel pretty darn good, and it must photograph well because those pesky camera phones are everywhere now days]
Its really hard to see the details because the dress is black and black doesn't photograph well. But to start with the fabric this is a Stretch viscose from sewalicious [they kindly sent it to me in exchange for a blog post I wrote for them.]
Its a fairly thick fabric with a flocked velvet diamond pattern on it. Its special enough for Christmas but not so special that I'll feel like a bauble on the tree.
I lined it with a purple cotton that I had in my stash and I think originally came from my friend Jeanette - [Instagram Pin_n_tonic]
Pattern wise I used threadcount 1613 which I'm fairly sure someone gave me but I can't for the life of me remember who!!! [so sorry if its you, hit me up with a message so I can credit you!]
The pattern is printed on tissue paper and I cut a size 12. For this dress I chose to do the pencil skirt version rather than the full skirt. And I opted out of the sleeves and weird hip flaps. Because well hip flaps? Really? We want to add more volume to my hips?
Construction wise I lined the bodice in cotton and I REALLY struggled with the instructions. Because of the wrap over top style I think I must have lined it and unpicked it about 6 times before I was happy. Next time I think I'll just follow my instincts and do the construction my way.
I also struggled with working out which way round some of the pieces were meant to go and which pieces were which, especially with the shoulder yokes. I think this issue came about because the notches also line up with other notches which meant I got really confused. I think the pattern could do with some better markings so nothing gets confused.
I also had to add some extra gathers on the shoulder straps [you can see the ribbon I gathered it into on the picture above]. Basically when I tried it on, it looked really matronly and I nearly cried because it wasn't the Marilyn Monroesque look I was going for and I was worried I had wasted the beautiful fabric. I looked online and the neckline looks okay on other people but it was just too much on me. Rikki has since suggested that its because I have little shoulders. Anyway I added some gathers in which just opened up the neckline a bit and made it more flattering. I think I gathered about an inch or two? But it makes a huge difference.
Apart from the shoulders the rest of the fit wasn't too bad. I did shorten the skirt by about 4 inches and I had to take two inches out of the back seam. Now the dress fits really nicely without being uncomfortably tight.
Because of the weight and thickness of the fabric I decided to use a metal zip rather than a plastic or invisible zip. I personally don't trust invisible zips on thick fabrics or places where there are lots of bulk on the seams [like the waist seam because I ended up having to bias binding it to make things look neat] And in my experience metal zips hardly ever break no matter how much you abuse them.
Style wise I think the gathered wrap over bodice is really flattering and I love how the skirt skims over my curves. I think this is because the skirt is made up of seven panels so you can really tweak the fit and contour it to your own body.
All in all I really love this dress and I can't wait to wear it! The fabric works perfectly with the pattern but I have no idea how this pattern was given the beginner rating? I mean this bodice was head scratchingly hard. That or I can't read and understand simple instructions? It could be that one...but I don't think it is? I personally would say this pattern is more suitable for a intermediate sewer who not afraid of their unpicker.
In other news!
Every single present is wrapped.
School finishes today, so tomorrow I am going to have a big ole lie in and watch Disney movies under a blanket with my lil man!
My cold still sucks, I think its reached into my sinuses BUT I have high hopes that a few days of rest will leave me feeling perky for Christmas!!!
[Disclaimer: Sewalicious sent me this fabric free of charge as a thank you for a post I wrote for their blog. They did not ask me to review it or link to it]
Saturday, 16 December 2017
It's pretty rare that I buy sewing magazines. Mainly because I have a lot of patterns that I haven't sewn yet and a lot of the patterns that come with magazines are already very similar to something I already have.
But in this case I brought the magazine purely for the sewing pattern! Mccalls 7381 came free with a copy of love sewing magazine an absolute age ago [but you can also buy it here]. I loved the hippy floaty style of pattern and thought it would be an great addition to my wardrobe. Fast forward a LONG time and I've finally gotten around to making it.
Okay so this pattern doesn't require a zip instead you use elastic on the back waistband. And as you can probably see from the photos, mine doesn't fit terribly well.
I cut a size medium [as per my measurements] and when I came to try it on it was absolutely huge! In fact instead of just adding elastic to the back waist mine goes the whole way around.
Its still wearable but there's a lot of gaping in the boob area.
As demonstrated here. I think you could probably store things down the gaping in this bodice. Important things, like mobile phones....loaves of bread......and fully grown men. [preferably shaped like Tom Hardy]
For these pictures I;m wearing it with one of those strapless bra bask things. I'm not sure what they are called but they are properly uncomfortable and leave no room for cake.
Which is ironic considering that without the bask I would have room for several cakes under this dress. In fact for one terrifying moment I did wonder if its boarder line maternity wear. I live in desperate fear of someone congratulating me on being pregnant when in fact I just like cake....and biscuits.....and donuts.
Luckily due to the way the pattern is nested on the sheet I have been able to cut a smaller size for my next version. Because I do still love the style of the dress. I love the tie detail at the front and the pleats on the shoulder. And surprisingly for me I'm actually on board with the whole elasticated waist thing...Typically I hate elastic around my waist but with this dress I like it [Or maybe that's just my subconscious preparing me for the gorging I'll be doing over Xmas]
And its not even that awful from the back!
I wish I was a bit braver an had worn this with a bra. but that would be a LOT of boob and I can't really think of many situations where that amount of bob would be considered appropriate.
The tie detail was easier to sew than I thought it would be but It is worth interfacing the ends of the ties and maybe doing an extra line of stitching just to make sure they don't fall apart when yo turn them through.
Its also worth mentioning that their are a LOT of pattern markings for this make and yes you will need them all! I used tailors chalk to keep track of them all and I;m so glad I took the time to mark everything on. There's a lot of stitch to the small circle etc instructions.
The fabric is a ditzy print viscose from Abakhans I found it in a remnant bin, I can't remember how much it cost but it is beautifully soft and presses really nicely.
I did wonder if it makes me look a bit wide from the side but in reality how often do I look at myself from the side?
The bodice is fully lined which leaves a nice finish, especially around the tie area.
In the above two pictures you can see the pleat shoulder detail a bit better. The pleats are folded and then stitched down to make a sort of pin tuck. It took a couple of goes to get the stitching on them looking nice and neat.
All in all its not a terrible dress. Yes it shows at least 80% of my boobs but that's just means that its more of a strutting on the beach holiday dress rather than a popping to tesco sort of dress.
I'm actually a bit gutted that the fit is off because I had such high hopes for this dress. I love the fabric and its some of my best sewing. I really loved the challenge of doing something that's not just a basic dress.
In other news!
I took approximately 1 million blog pictures yesterday! So hopefully their will be lots more garment posts coming!
I have a cold. Its not a bad one but its keeping me up at night and I't not enjoying the snotty nose. Does anyone have any cold remedies? aside from downing a bottle of whiskey?
Thursday, 14 December 2017
I feel like this week Christmas hit me like a train. I went from being fairly relaxed and having loads of time to juggling nativities and present buying and all kinds of stuff!!
I actually made this a few weeks ago during a quiet spell. I sat and watched more episodes of Dawsons Creek and stitched it up. The idea of based off a hanging Christmas decoration my grandma made my mum many moons ago.
Its very simple, you tack pieces of Christmas fabric around card diamonds [making sure you don't tack through the card]. Then you sew them together in groups of five which makes them turn into little cups. Then you sew all of those together.
Its a really simple idea but its so pretty and effective. Its a really quick make as well, i think this only took me about 3 hours start to finish including cutting out fabrics. I could have done it quicker but
1. I wanted to make sure my seaming stitches were invisible from the outside [you can just over sew all the seams but you will see them from the outside]
2. I was trying to work out if Dawson was ever going to realise how much Joey loved him. FYI I am not a Dawson fan, hes far too self obsessed.
I also added some beads because well its not Christmas without a bit of sparkle is it!!!! And I used some of the last scraps of my measuring tape fabric because the colours matched and I am a dressmaker after all.
I love how it turned out and its so nice that I've got something inspired by my Grandma in my Xmas decorations!
In other news!!!
- I've got lots of sewing done but the combination of the dark weather and my naff hair has meant I haven't taken any pictures. Hopefully I'll be able to take some tomorrow though as I've had my hair cut!! I've had about 5 inches took off and it looks 100% better!
- Lil man had his Nativity and he did a fantastic job! Naturally I made his costume and I was really glad I did because it meant he stood out a bit more because a lot of the other kids were all in the same costume. They did a modern style performance based on a strictly come dancing idea. It was very funny and all the kids did great.
- The snow has been an absolute nightmare, we had a snow day on Monday but Tuesday and Wednesday were awful for trying to walk to school it was freezing and we were slipping and sliding the whole way. We did love playing out in the snow though, I'd forgotten how much I like sledding!
-Right now we have started scheduling people to come and visit for Xmas which is always a nightmare because having a small child means EVERYONE wants to come and see you! This year we are trying to make sure we start seeing people early so its not a huge rush having visitors 3 days before xmas.
Saturday, 9 December 2017
Yesterday was a weird day.
I started off taking lil man to school and then I went into Hanley to finish off Christmas shopping. I had great success and managed to finish off all of Rikki's presents.
Then I popped home, had a quick dinner and got ready to go to my friends interment.
Which was.... well not great. I couldn't find the plot so I ended up being a bit late but I was there for some of the really nice parts. I got to put something in with him, and have one last can of coke with him. That was a really nice touch he always drank coke so someone brought a crate of coke with them so we could all have one last drink together.
Emotional but lovely. Then I popped to the local pub with everyone to share stories and catch up.
Then I drove home, had a quick tea and was off out again!!
This time I went out with some of the mums from school. Four of us went to the local church for a craft evening. We each paid £3 and I think there was about 7? crafts to do. We didn't get around to doing all of them but we did make.....
Hanging sheep. These were made with curtain rings and wool with lil felt faces!
A snow globe. Mine didn't turn out great as the deer is facing the side rather than front but I still think its pretty cute. I do have some worries about it leaking though!
Glow in the dark hanging decoration. This is just a little glass jar filled with glow in the dark hammer beads. Then we put hooks in the top and put some stickers on.
Snowman Clothes peg, the lady said these were for on the side of plant pots! Its a white dolly peg with a bead and felt hat, a ribbon scarf and the end of a cocktail stick nose. The nose isn't my work though my friend Sarah coloured it in for me whilst I ate my mince pie!
Pine cone Christmas tree. A pine cone spray painted green and then we stuck on some coloured pompoms and glittered it up.
This was by far my favourite make of the evening! These scrabble tiles [from ebay] are stuck onto a strip of card using double sided tape. then we put some metal hooks in and looped through some ribbon.
I did my name and lil mans but sadly didn't have time to do Rikki's. Which makes me think I may have to invest in some scrabble tiles of my own so I can make more.
After the crafts we popped to out local pub and met up with some of the other mums for a night of chatting and drinking! I had a really fun night but boy am I tired today! I stayed out past 12! I have no idea how I used to stay up until 3 in the morning!
All in all it was a pretty mixed day, on the one hand I had a great time with the mums from school but on the one hand I had to say goodbye to a good friend and that was really hard.
You see Plumby was a rare example of a genuinely wonderful human being. He was kind and selfless. He was funny, he always had time for people and he was caring towards those people he loved. I don't think in the 20ish years I knew him I ever heard him say a bad word against anyone.
And most importantly he always had a HUGE smile on his face.
I'm going to miss him a lot.
Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Monday, 4 December 2017
I hope your all in the festive spirit? I most certainly am. The tree is up, a good portion of the presents are wrapped and surprisingly I'm feeling pretty good about Christmas this year. Normally I get super stressed with trying to make Christmas "perfect" but this year I;m making the conscious decision to roll with it. What happens happens, because its going to happen anyway.
In fact I've already pretty much accepted that both of the boys will be ill the week before Christmas. Mainly because it happens EVERY BLOODY YEAR! Yep you can guarantee on the 20th of December, one or both of my boys will be in bed poorly. That said I do hope they don't throw up, I can cope with colds but I am a MESS when it comes to puke.
Anyway that's enough of the gross talk!
Today I'm showing you something that I didn't make.
My Grandma made me this stocking when I was little. In fact she made one for me my sister and my brother. Each one is different and each one was firmly ours! In fact I found it really bizarre when during our first Christmas Rikki told me he didn't have a Christmas stocking! I mean WHAAAAA? You don't have your own stocking?
I sort of believed that everyone was born, got given/brought a Christmas stocking and then they used it forever? But apparently not!
Which I sort of get now that me Rikki and Lil man have matching stockings that I made. I like that we all have the same style and that hopefully we will get to use them forever!
But that doesn't mean that this stocking gets tossed aside. Nope instead it hangs in the hallway and I fill it with sweets and then when people come over they can have a sweet out of the stocking. Nephews and Nieces seem to find this particularity cool. When Rikkis brothers son came over last year he basically cleared me out of candy canes!
This fabric at the top is one of my favourite parts and I put some scraps of it into our Christmas quilt.
Its fully lined which is good because it means it can be washed if need be and the whole thing won't fall apart. And I really like the contrast fabric on the toe and the heel.
Its all hung up now I just need to get some sweets to fill it with.
In other news!
- Our spare room is full of presents! So whilst I have 7 things made and really to photograph I actually have no where to take pictures. I'm tempted to try taking some in the garden but I;m worried someone will see me and think I'm nuts!
- Dawsons creek is on all 4! Every single episode. So that pretty much sums up how I've been spending my time. I'm nearly onto season two and I'm not sure I can cope with the sheer levels of teenage angst! Also DAWSON ARE YOU BLIND? OR JUST A BIT DIM?
Friday, 1 December 2017
I don't want to sound too smug but I've started to do my Christmas wrapping and about 90% of my presents are already brought. I am on the ball this year! I am a Christmas ninja! Which probably means I'll get hideous flu in December and be completely wiped for Christmas day. Although I hope not because LOL someone has to eat the piggies in blankets don't they!
Anyway onto the dress! The pattern is the simple sew skater dress. Which costs £10 on their website but I think I got it for free in a magazine? That or someone gave it too me? I definitely didn't buy it anyway. The pattern has fairly simple instructions but because its got a faced neckline it actually works pretty well with the simple instructions. It says its suitable for adventurous beginners but I could see someone who maybe had only made 2 or 3 dresses. The only really difficult bit is the zip.
It also comes in sizes 8-18 and skater dresses are very flattering on all shapes.
The pattern calls for woven fabric but I used this ponte fabric because it has zero stretch and I thought the thickness and weight of it might make it a nice winter dress. The fabric was given to me by my friend, I think it originally came from his Nans house?
Typically I don't wear green because I think it washes me out a bit. But because this is such a dark green I don;t think its too bad?
Its got a full circle skirt and we all know how much I LOVE a circle skirt! The only issue I had with the skirt is that it seams a bit short? I cut out the pattern, and hemmed it with a 1cm seam allowance [which is pretty standard] and whilst the length is okay on me I do wonder if I would like a few more cm? Its mid thigh on me and I'm about 5 foot four. So if your taller or want more coverage then you might want to think about adding some extra length to the pattern pieces.
I used a metal zip for the back because I love an exposed metal zip. Its pretty neat insertion. Plus you can see my tattoo which is always a bonus.
I had to belt the dress because It feels really busty on me and I felt like I needed to emphasis my waist. I didn't want to be wondering around just looking like a pair of boobs....Oddly enough Rikki didn't think it needed the belt.
Next time I might add an inch to the bottom of the bodice pieces so it hits my waist better.
The other issue I had was with inserting the sleeves. There are no marking on the sleeves to tell you which part is the back of the sleeve and which part is the front. Well at least I couldn't see any notches .Although my copy might be an older one than the one on the website so it might have been changed. I;m going to show it to either my auntie or my mums neighbour who are both really good dressmakers and see if one of them can work out which is the back so I can mark it on myself.
As a result I'm pretty sure that one sleeve is inserted the wrong way around..... Its irritating at first but after wearing it all day I found it wasn't noticeable after a bit.
But that said I do like the dress. It was a really quick make, I did most of it on my overlocker and I do think it will be a good dress for winter with some thick tights and boots.
In other news!
Christmas is already hitting us. We have school trips in the works and family events are already being booked in. As much as I love Christmas I do tend to find it all a bit tiring! That said at least I don;t have to worry about making Christmas dinner because we alternate between Rikkis Mum and his Nan. This year we are at his mums which is good because its not far from our house so we can pop home for forgotten bits if we need to..
I've been filming a lot of you tube videos and happily I'm enjoying it again. Its much easier doing them on my video camera rather than my phone and I'm starting to get to grips with the editing software now [Mainly because bless his socks Rikki has been very patient with me!]
Right now I have to make a Inn Keepers costume so wish me luck! What happened to the days of the school having a cache of costumes for the kids to use? My primary school had a load of "robes" that we wore every year and the most we ever had to do was bring in a tea towel to wear on our heads [Although now I think of it they might have provided these too!]. But now apparently parents have to buy a costume which sort of worries me with the whole waste thing? I mean I'm guessing that not all of the parents are keeping the costumes in case they need using again? And they are not donating them to the school because then their would be no need to buy costumes? So I can only assume that they are going into the bin! Which is a bit sad really isn't it.
P.S If anyone knows what the inn keeper wore when he turned down Mary and Joseph please let me know! All I can think about is Basil Fawlty!
Tuesday, 28 November 2017
My Christmas tree is up! I know its early but in my defence Rikki is at work next week so it was either put it up now or have to wait until a week and a half into December and I'd much rather have it up early than late!
Okay so this skirt came about by complete accident. Basically my friend came over with some curtains that his mum had picked up for me. This check? Is it a check? Is it plaid? Is it tartan? does anyone know the difference? Anyway this pattern was one of the pairs of curtains and I absolutely loved it!
BUT their wasn't a huge amount of it. Which left me with a dilemma, try and pattern match a plain pencil or a-line skirt which may or may not work due to the scale and repeat of the check and the fabric limitations OR throw pattern matching to the wind, say sod it and just make a slightly punky mismatched wrap skirt.
The wrap skirt sold it to me because the front panel is cut on a slightly different angle making the checks almost diamonds which I think is a pretty cool look.
The pattern I used is a prima pattern that I have also used here. I love this pattern and I'm going to make a few more for winter. I'd love to make a version in suede and leather for a cool gothic sort of look.
I finished all the edges with homemade bias binding turned to the inside. It makes everything a lot quicker than standard hemming and I think its neater.
As you can see the pattern matching is totally jacked up. I mean its pretty dreadful from a sewing point of view but it doesn't bother me too much. Mainly because I've got a few Vivienne Westwood tartan skirts pinned on pinterest and I don't think they hold to the whole pattern matching thing.
I'm wearing it with a top I got from my Aunty Mary, it did have floofy bits on the ends of the sleeves but I cut them off. I think its meant to be a cardigan but I like to pull it into a cross over wrap top. I just wish it didn't show my belly!
The buttons are recycled and I even remembered to reinforce the button holes and where I sewed the buttons with interfacing. I need to remember to do this more often because it made my buttonholes go a lot smoother and I think they feel more secure.
Although the button holes on one side are in slightly the wrong place. I got a bit confused because the front panel only has one dart so I marked and sewed them in the wrong place, and I;d cut them over by the time I realised. I don't think you can tell though?
All in all I think this has been one of my favourite makes recently. I love the style and the fit and the way the cutting layout made the plaid look. That said I haven't worn it much because its so pale. Maybe its just me but I sort of feel like winter is a time where I wear darker clothes? I'm not sure how to style this to make it look cute but still be warm. I think a white polo neck would be nice but what would I do for tights? Or maybe a grey polo neck and some grey tights? Thoughts? I'd love some ideas so I don't have to wait until spring to wear it!
In other news!
I've started the second Jojo Moyes book "after you" Its a sequel to me before you and so far I'm enjoying it. I was trying to read Oliver Twist but I saw this in a charity shop and knew I had to bump it up my reading list. So I'll be going back to Oliver twist later.
We popped to the Trafford centre on Monday. Lil man was school so we thought it seemed like a nice idea to go out. Typically we go to Hanley which is 15/20 minutes away or we just stay at home and relax, but sods law the day we are and hour away is the day Lil man falls over at school and bumps his head. My heart sank when we got the phone call asking us to go in and decide if he needed to go to A and E. Luckily Grandad had a day off so he went and picked him up whilst we drove home and lil man was completely fine once he'd got over the shock. We knew he was fine after he conned Grandad out of a McDonalds!!!