Friday, 11 January 2019

Hello 2019

So it's been a while huh? What can I say.......
Life guys life!

So here's the deal me and Rikki split up before Xmas for reasons that I'm not going to get into and we'll since then let's just say I've had quite the ride!

I've been dealing with Christmas and New year and scheduling and getting a job!

And in-between that I've not actually be getting a lot of sewing done! What can I say grown up responsibilities must come first! But here's a few things I have made!



I made this festive hat for work , we were asked to wear Christmas jumpers but I didn't have one and didn't have the time to buy or make one so I went with a
hat! It's various medicine boxes wrapped in fabric and tied with bows and then for a bit of crafty punch I also added a ball of wall with knitting needles and a few spools of cotton!


I demoed how to make this Chanel inspired jacket at abkhans and you can still see it on display at their Hanley store! 

Full details of the jacket will be on the blog soon! 

I've been easing myself back into sewing by working on my hexy quilt. I pulled it out and was shocked because it was a lot bigger than I remembered! 

I spent a wonderful Christmas with lil man family and friends all of whom have been absolute rocks over the past few months! 

I'm hoping to be back to proper blogging soon and I have a huge backlog of projects to show you! 

Sewing challenge wise I'm not taking part in make nine this year , I failed miserably last year and it made me realise that I only want to sew that I want to sew!!! So I'm skipping it which might mean you find me making mundane things or stupidly eccentric things!!! 

I hope your all having a wonderful start to 2019 and I'll be back to regular blogging soon!!!! 

Much love 

Frankie 

Xxx

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Stella Hoodie


As soon as Tilly Walnes new book came out I knew I wanted to make the stella hoodie and even more luckily when the big pattern swap was happening I saw that someone was getting rid of their free copy that came with simply sewing magazine. 

So I snapped it up immediately! And sewed it very quickly!


So the details!! The main fabric came from the abakhans fill a bag sale. I do have some left and I', debating between making a coco dress do a matching pair of sweat pants, any thoughts????

The fabric for the inside of the hood is an aztec type print and came from an old RTW dress. The dress had done that horrible thing where it becomes baggy and looks a bit naff so I re purposed it for the hood lining. 


I didn't have any cord for the ties so I made my own using the same fabric as for the rest of the hoodie. To be honest I quite like the body that they give to the hood when its up. 

The fabric has a quilted pattern on it and its very snuggly and warm. In fact I took this on our camping trip during the summer and I can confirm that it kept me lovely and toasty. I actually had Rikki take some photos of me on the campsite but he isn't much of a photographer and my eyes were closed on most so I had to scratch them and take some at home. 


Fit wise I cut a size 5. Normally I cut a 4 for tillys patterns but I wanted to make sure it would be big enough to wear lots of layers underneath. 

To be honest I still think the body is a bit short and so are the sleeves so both of those need altering on my next version. I really I think I need at least 3 inches onto the sleeves and about 6 onto the hem for me to feel like it looks right. 


Construction wise, with it being a free pattern it didn't come with any instructions. So I popped myself onto you tube and watched a video of someone making one up whilst I did the washing up so I'd have the gist.

The main parts were sewn on my over locker with just the top stitching and the ties being done of my regular machine. 

I did have to use a walking foot to get it through my machine but I always do for jerseys because it gives a bit more control and stops the fabric stretching weirdly.

I also did the button holes on my regular machine and I had to go over them a few times to get them looking nice. Doing buttonholes in jersey is such a faff but luckily this is a fairly stable one so it wasn't a massive issue I just had to fill in some gaps. 


The only thing I think its missing is a big pocket at the front. I think there is instructions in the book for how to draft one [Or maybes there is a pattern piece] But seen as I don't have the book I'll have to make my own which shouldn't be too hard. 


All in all I'm really pleased with how it turned out even if the sleeves and body are a bit short. I've been wearing it a lot for walking the dog in the evening when its cold and I need as many layers as I can get! 

Much Love 

Frankie 

xxx

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

A Very Lippy Tshirt - New Look K6217



I do have a bit of a reputation in my family as being very loud!!! 

What can I say I grew up in a very very LOUD family!!!!! 

In fact we had a family day this weekend and I had forgotten how much noise we can all make when we are all together!!! That said it was lovely seeing everyone and having a good old catchup!


So onto my make! This has actually been made for months! I've got quite the collection of makes still waiting to be blogged about and an even bigger pile of ones that need to be photographed!!! 

So I got this fabric at the Abakhans fill a bag sale [The first one I went to] and I mainly picked it up because of the print of lips. 

I was hoping there might be enough for a dress but their wasn't so I've had to settle for a top.


This New look K6217 top pattern has become quite a firm favourite with me for smaller pieces of fabric. I don't actually wear them very often but its nice to have a few me made tshirts on hand to pair with skirts and trousers. In fact I'm wearing a spotty one right now with a me made pencil skirt. [Fun fact: I should have added a back vent to the pencil skirt because I'm really struggling to walk anywhere quickly in it! In fact the steps to school were a bit difficult today!!!]


Theres not really a lot I can say about fit because its meant to be quite loose and baggy but I do find it looks better tucked in. The only alteration I might make to the pattern is to lengthen it slightly so its easier to tuck in. 

Construction wise I sewed the side seams and shoulder seams on my over locker and did the back seam and hems on my regular machine so the opening at the back would sit nicely. 

For the hems I went round the edges with my over locker and then folded them over twice. This is a technique I use for all of my hems on floaty fabrics because the overlocked edge give you something stable to turn over and keeps your hem a uniform width.  


In other news!!!! 

I've finally joined the rest of the crowd and watched the crown, which I really enjoyed and now I'm dreaming of tweeds and cardigans for the winter months. 

I've done no more knitting on my miette cardigan and in fact I'm quite tempted to rip the whole thing back and use the wool on something else as I'm not quite loving how its turning out. 

I've done no more on my crochet blanket or my hexy blanket either!!! 

What I have been doing its lots of sewing projects that take time and attention and I'm really enjoying my new bout of slow sewing! Although at the rate I'm going blogging and photographing projects you probably won't see them for another six months!!!! 

Much Love

Frankie 

xxx



Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Peak Tshirt Dress in Stuart Hillard Fabric

My style is really changing at the moment. After years of being really dressed up all the time I'm trying to embrace casual a lot more. Which obviously includes making my own casual clothes. 


I'm trying to work out why I'm so smiley on the picture above? Did someone give me a cookie? Was I two glasses of wine down? Why am I so cheerful?????????


Ahh that's better. My resting bitch face is back. 

So onto the dress!!! The fabric is one of the prints from Stuart Hillards Kimono collection for the craft cotton company. Its a lovely sort of abstract print on a blue background. The craft cotton company were actually kind enough to send me a few prints from his collection but I only had a small amount of this one so I knew I'd need a simple pattern that wasn't too fabric hungry.


I chose to use the Peak tshirt pattern from Wendy Wards book. BUT I opted for the longer dress version. To be completely honest this book has become my go to for jersey patterns. Its got a few basic patterns in it but there's so many variations for every pattern that its definitely worth buying! 

Construction wise I used my over locker for the mainly body of the dress and just used my regular machine with a twin needle and walking foot for the top stitching and hems. I did add a bit of interfacing to my hems to stop them puckering when I used the twin needle and I stabilised the shoulders with some ribbon to stop them stretching out. 


Typically I don't wear tshirt dresses but I really like this one. I actually made it during the summer and it was really comfy to wear but I've worn it with thick tights recently so it should be good for winter too. 

The only problems I have are :

1. the neckline is really high. I've since altered the pattern and the neckband pattern piece to make it a bit lower. 

2. its a slim fitting dress. which means if I'm bloated or I've eaten an entire bag of jam donuts to myself [Obvs I don't actually do this........often] then I don't really wear it because I risk looking a bit pregnant. On the plus side if I'm at home and I'm eating pizza and I don't have to leave the house then the fabric does expand to fit my pepperoni tummy.


All in  all I really really love it. Its so nice to have a more casual dress that I can wear. I actually took this camping with me when we went as well because I like to have a dress option with me and this doesn't crease. 

In other news!!!! 

I still haven't added anymore to my miette cardigan....... I know I know and I'm annoyed with myself because I said I would finish it before I started another project but there's a few patterns that are calling to me! 

My hexy quilt is getting bigger! I'm adding to it every now and again its its definitely progressing. But I knew I was in for the long haul with that one! 

My new crochet quilt isn't getting any bigger either. I'm making granny squares and blocking them but I think its going to be another long project. 

We have however clear out our loft so we can put the train set up their permanently and then the boys can play with it. Obviously I'm most excited about building all the scenery and houses!

Much Love 

Frankie 

xxx





Thursday, 1 November 2018

Helping to put Sewing in Schools

Its the day after Halloween but do you want to know whats really scary? 

Facing a room of 6-10 year olds each who are holding a needle and screaming for your attention. 

Yep folks I went into my sons school to teach the kids how to sew on a button and it was a baptism of fire. 


It started off as me asking the head teacher if she had seen that hobbycraft were offering free buttons to schools to encourage children to learn to sew on buttons. I also offered to source some fabric if she needed it. 

HUGE shout out to the craft cotton company who gave a generous box of fabric for the kids to use and who madce sure to include prints that the kids would love including spiderman and star wars to make sure the boys didn't feel left out.  

And as I took the fabric in I was faced with this question....

"so when do you want to come in and do it????"

HUH????? You want me to do it? Seriously? What can I say I thought I was offering supplies but I got roped into actually teaching the session as well! 

The general idea we had was that I would pre make a load of bunting and then the kids would draw on what they were thankful for [we did consider stitching but it looked like it would take far too long!] and sew on a button. Then I would take all the bunting home and attach it to bias binding and make it into long stripes of bunting.

FYI asking kids what their thankful for is HILARIOUS! You get the sweet kids who say "mummy and daddy" and then you get the ones who you know are going to be future hippies who say "trees" and then you get to ones who tell you their thankful for "x-box" BUT then you'll get one ABSOLUTE LEGEND who says he's thankful for "dragons" 

Yes folks 

Dragons!!!!!!


It was wonderful and terrifying at the same time. I was supposed to run four sessions but only ended up doing three because I was in out of hours on the last one with bad chest pains [Nothing to worry about I've just had to change my diet quite drastically]

For starters 30 kids each holding a needle is sweat inducing to say the least. Even if I did make sure to take the bluntest needles I could physically find.

Secondly apparently the actual sewing on of a button is a lot harder than I thought it was! Especially for small kids to get their heads around.  You could definitely see the difference between the kids who had done sewing at home with parents and grandparents and the kids who had never touched a needle and thread in their lives. 

But it was really really lovely to see all of the kids gain confidence in what they were doing and what they'd achieved. But do you want to know what sucks?

 Making kids cry!!!! 

Obviously that wasn't my intention but sewing on buttons is a frustrating business and a few tears were shed mainly because of tangled threads and buttons falling off after they thought they had been attached. I also had tears from a lil lad who desperately wanted to take his home to show his mum but sadly we'd already decided that they would be used to decorate the school and me and the teacher realised if we let one take his home then everyone would want to take home!

All in all I was really glad I went in to do it. Even if the first thing I did when I got home was pour myself a glass of wine to try and relax [Typically I don't drink before 6pm but after 2 hours of 30 small children wanting my attention I needed something to take the edge off.]

And the bunting looks glorious zig zagging the hallway and its so lovely that the kids can see their achievements every day and that hopefully a few of them will have been bitten by the sewing bug!!!!

The down side....

Lil man wants to know when I'm next going in.....

much love 

Frankie

P.S I highly recommend throwing caution to the wind and going into your local school and asking if they want you to go in and do some sewing. Yes its like entering the 7th depth of hell but its also a lot of fun! 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Check Sunday Set

HEY! So I'm still working through writing about my backlog of projects! 

According to my notes I actually made this during the summer when we had that freak heatwave! 
  

Realistically I could tell you that I made this because I was thinking about winter clothes HOWEVER that would be a lie. 

Instead I made this because I had some fabric left over from making my check trousers and I couldn't fit it into my fabric cupboard and it was starting to irritate me because it was just floating around my sewing area!  


I have another Sunday set that I made ages in in liberty cord from abakhans and I wear it all the time with polo tops when it gets chilly so I figured making another one would be a great idea. [omg I just looked and realised I made the liberty Sunday set in 2016!!! Who knew handmade clothes could last for so long!!!]


The fabric was from the abakhans fill a bag sale [I can't remember if its from my first one or my second one]. It was really lovely to work with and its just the sort of check that I love as it goes with absolutely everything. 


If you look really closely you can see that the pocket is actually the wrong side of the fabric because I sewed it trimmed it and ironed it before I realised.....oops. These things happen. I did make the bib detachable in case I start hating the whole bib thing. I attached it with poppers but then it was a gaping a bit at the join so I whip stitched it closed. So its pretty firmly attached but the stitches are big enough that if I ever just want a check circle skirt I can take it off. 


Lets talk about the full circle skirt for a moment. YES I love a full circle skirt but my god was a pain in the bum to hem. first of all it took about two days for it to fully level out and then I decided to hem the whole thing by hand. [I've just checked my notes again and it turns out I actually hemmed it whilst England were playing in the world cup quarter final.]  


The buttons and zip were from my stash and I decided to cut my front pocket and waistband on the bias for a bit of interest and because I didn't want the hassle of trying to pattern match. Seriously I am so lazy when it comes to pattern matching. I'd rather be sewing than trying to work out exactly where I need to place a pattern piece so it matches. 


So to say I made it so long ago I have worn it lots! I find it works especially well with fleece lined tights and a polo top. Plus the fabric is heavy enough that it doesn't fly up in the wind and show my pants [not that you can see them through my fleece lined tights because those bad boys are THICK!] 

As it goes I've actually worn this more times than the check trousers that I made from the same fabric. I do still like the trousers but they seem like a bit more of a fashion statement than the pinafore dress. 

In other news!!!!

- Its half term and we have to make a dragon for school........... yay?

- I went to sew north west on Saturday with my big sister Netty. And I want to say how proud I am of her. I know in reality she only went because I was too chicken to go by myself but she really threw herself into the whole thing. Sewing doesn't come naturally to her but she really likes the idea of having comfortable clothes that fit, especially for work. Anyway I could see she was a bit nervous as she was setting up her machine but I am happy to report that she ended up with as nearly completed project and they look really good! FYI she had also already made a muslin and drafted in all of her own changes so she could get a nice fit! So snaps for Netty!!!! 

- After spending the day at sew north west I also went out that night with my friend Chels for girls night!!! She had a great time and it was really nice to have some girl time and to let my hair down! 

- Today has mainly been about tidying up but tomorrow I have big plans to try and get my next sewing project cut out! 

- My hexy quilt is getting bigger however my miette cardigan is still going really really slowly. I keep joking that I need to have a dose of the flu so I can stay in bed and knit but I really don't want that to happen!!!!!! *touches wood*

Much Love 

Frankie 

xxx



Saturday, 20 October 2018

Top Tips For Cutting Out

Cutting out before starting sewing is one thing that has people divided. Some love it some hate it. I'm not sure which category I end up in. Sometimes I love the process of playing pattern tetris and sometimes when the fabrics off grain for its been cut wonky I just want to scream.

But I've put together a few top tips for when It comes to cutting out your patterns to hopefully make it less painful! And then you can get onto the really important business of sewing. 


1. Use a flat surface. For woven fabrics you can hang your fabric over the end of the table but for stretch fabrics are fine slippery fabrics your best cutting it out with no fabric hanging down so it doesn't distort. I personally use the living room floor. [In fact one of the things I checked when we got our new sofa was that I would still have enough room to cut out patterns on the floor!!!]

2. Use sharp scissors. As someone who's pretty thrifty with money I actually kind of hate this one. But its true a good pair of scissors will make your cutting out experience 100% more enjoyable. Now this doesn't mean you have to spend upwards of £50 both of my favourite pairs of scissors were under £25. One pair were under a tenner and the others were £25 but also came with a small pair of scissors and a thimble. I personally would buy the best you can afford and make sure you keep them in good nick by only using them for sewing and not for cutting paper or god forbid sellotape.......


3. Use sharp pins! I know I know it seems like I'm just trying to convince you to buy stuff but sharp pins are your best friends. Bin any that get blunt or bent and replace them when needed. 

4. Use pattern weights for fabrics that move or knits. Some fabrics just don't like having a patterned pinned too them. So I use pattern weight, I personally have these donut ones but I believe the lady is no longer making them. You can also use metal washers from your local DIY shop or big stones from the beech or even tins of beans etc. Basically anything heavy and flat with do. [we used to have some great coasters that I used that had felt on the bottom which stopped them shifting around. 

5. Iron your pattern pieces. This was actually suggested to me by a lady I know and I haven't looked back since. Its especially useful for accuracy especially if you stuff your patterns back into the envelopes like I do!!! 


6. Keep a fabric marker/chalk handy for marking dots, darts and cut lines. BUT make sure you can remove it from your fabric afterwards!!!

7. Clip notches [little triangles] as soon as you've cut out the pieces so you don't forget. I am so guilty of forgetting to clip my notches and then sitting and trying to work out how things go together! Clip them straight away and then everything should go together smoothly.


8. Be mindful of pattern placement. I'm not talking perfect pattern matching here because half the time I'm winging that I'm talking about making sure that you don't end up with embarrassing placement on your boobs or foof areas. For example you wouldn't want to make a polka dot dress and have a large circle over each nipple would you???? Just something to bear in mind!!! 

And that's all of my suggestions. How do you make pattern cutting more fun!!! 

Much Love 

Frankie 

xxx