Thursday, 29 September 2016

Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016

After taking part in the Simplicity Sewing Star competition and being 'highly commended' last year, I was excited to see it was running again for 2016! When I saw the options available for the Simplicity Sewing Challenge, I chose the children's wear pattern Simplicity 1206. This pattern includes a dress, waistcoat, trousers and even a bow tie. It only went up to age 4, so I knew I'd have to grade it up.

My daughter is 5 years old, obsessed with cats, a bit of a tom boy and never walks if she can run or dance! She is most comfortable in leggings and t-shirt, but also likes a skirt or dress she can twirl in.

I decided to make a complete outfit from the pattern, refashioning items I already owned or found in charity shops. I discussed it with Miss V and my brief was:

Colour: Pink / purple
Theme: Cats / flowers

I started by tracing off each piece, grading them up as necessary and deciding what to change.

Simplicity 1206

Dress: I liked the shape of the dress, and the yoke is a nice feature. I decided to keep it simple and make it into a top, but decided to make it from knit fabric to make it comfortable and easy to wear.

Pattern Alterations: As I was making it from knit, I cut a size 4 and left off the bottom ruffle to make a floaty top. The back of the top and yoke were cut on the fold as I didn't need any closures.

I decided to create my own fabric, so made a stamp from a cat drawing by Miss V and cut up a large pink t-shirt. I used a fabric ink pad and was very pleased with the outcome.

Handmade cat stamp

Trousers: I was close to making it a twirly skirt, but Miss V would need to wear it with tights or shorts underneath. I came across a tutorial on Sew Country Chick for culottes, which are modest, but also have a nice bit of movement. I'm not a fan of culottes on adults, but they are very cute on little girls!

The tutorial also inspired me to make them reversible. It was a good excuse to use another cute fabric and easy to turn them around to hide ice cream stains!

Pattern alterations:

As I was making them reversible I omitted the pockets and belt loops to reduce bulk. I removed the pleat from the front piece, straightened the side seams, lengthened the crotch seam and slashed and spread the shorts to give some flare. The elastic goes all the way around rather than having a flat front.

I started off making them knee length, but my first attempt was too long and not wide enough, so I shortened them and added in extra width. Using drapey fabrics from a dress and blouse gave them a nice amount of twirl.

Waistcoat: I was looking at some vintage patterns and was inspired to turn the waistcoat into a kimono sleeve cropped jacket.

Pattern alterations:

I extended the shoulders to turn it into a kimono sleeve and rounded off the front seam to give a nice shape. I made the jacket out of a purple curtain with a black satin lining. I used just 1 button as closure. To make the jacket extra fun, I wanted to use crochet pom pom trim so made some using a tutorial from By Hand London. The longest part was hand sewing it on, but I was very pleased with it.

Crochet pom pom trim

Now it's time to see my cute model, I think she's got just the right amount of attitude!

To make the outfit perfect for Autumn, she paired it with a long sleeved top, tights and boots. The hat and sunglasses help finish off the diva look!

Overall I am very pleased with my outfit. The individual pieces will go well with her other clothes. I love the fact that Miss V had some input and it suits her style perfectly. She especially loves the top, so I think that will get a lot of wear.

My favourite is probably the jacket. I have a circle skirt made from the same fabric and I'm quite tempted to add a pom pom trim to it! I already have another jacket planned for her out of some vintage cat fabric.

I can't wait to hear the results and see the other entries, it's amazing how different they all are!

Saturday, 27 February 2016

This pup's gotta fly!

One of my daughters favourite cartoons at the moment is Paw Patrol, which features a boy called Ryder and his team of rescue dogs. One of the pups is called Skye, a pretty little Cockapoo who flies a helicopter.

When I asked my daughter what to make for her friends birthday, her answer was Skye! Luckily the birthday girl loves Paw Patrol as well.

I searched around to find a free Skye crochet pattern, but there didn't seem to be any. I found a Skye made by crochetingwithjoy which had been adapted from a free pattern, so I decided to try and do the same thing.

The original pattern is by anonymous crochet who had made a great basic dalmatian and german shepherd pattern for Marshall and Chase, two of the other rescue pups.

I had to alter the face, body and add her uniform to make it look more like Skye, but I was so grateful someone else had worked out the basic pattern so I didn't have to start from scratch!

Here is the finished pup:

I decided to make Skye's flying cap with googles attached which I was quite pleased with considering I was making it up as I went along! The cap is removable, so it can be taken off when Skye has finished her latest mission.

Hopefully the birthday girl will recognise who it's supposed to be, but my daughter loves it, so I might be making another one very soon. It's her birthday next month, maybe I'll make the whole team!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Vintage Pledge 2016

What better way to start the year than with a pledge?

This year I've been watching from afar while other crafters made some amazing items from vintage patterns. I must admit to having a weakness for vintage patterns and I want to improve my dressmaking skills, so I think it's about time I joined in!

My Vintage Pledge:

During 2016, I Kirsty pledge to make at least 5 items from vintage patterns in my stash.


So now I need to start thinking about which patterns to make. The first thing that's been on my mind is a 1970's style back wrap skirt with an appliqué pattern on it. 

I brought Style 2003, a pattern from 1977, but I need to make it bigger and change it to a button fastening. I'll be making View 2 the shorter skirt.

Next up is a pattern I got back in 2014 as part of a sew along on Sew Retro Rose

It's McCall's 5411 from 1960. I've loved the design ever since and seen some great examples online, but still haven't got round to making it yet. 

Here's a couple of other pattern that leapt out at me when I was looking through my stash:

Simplicity 2847 is from 1958 and Simplicity 5586 from 1964. You can tell I'm loving kimono sleeves!

Now the challenge has been set, I'd better get started. Hopefully I'll have my first make to show you soon.

Have you signed up yet? For more details go to #VintagePledge 2016 and join in!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The winners are announced!

Today was an exciting day, it was time for the winners of the Simplicity Star Sewist competition to be announced.

I entered my version of Simplicity 1364 into the Best Vintage Make category, but wasn't expecting to get anywhere, the other entries I saw were really impressive! This was my entry:

The well deserved winner was Sew and Snip who made some alterations to her pattern to make it into a lovely floaty summer top. 

Imagine my surprise when my entry was then listed as Highly Commended!! I nearly fell off my chair! 

Congratulations to all the winners, if you want to go and have a look you can see the results of all the categories here.

Thank you to Simplicity for inspiring me to challenge myself. I'm just starting another version of 1364 with a collar and fake button placket, I'll post it when it's finished.

I'm looking forward to the next Simplicity Blogger Challenge!

P.s I received this great Highly Commended button to use on my blog. Thank you Simplicity!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Simplicity Star Sewist Competition - Vintage Top

A couple of months ago I saw a link for a sewing competition from Simplicity. There were three categories to choose from: Best Dressmaking Project, Best Vintage Make and Best Newcomer. Once you made your choice, Simplicity sent out a free pattern and it's time to be creative!

Technically I am a newcomer when it comes to dressmaking for myself. I've made a few basic things for my daughter and altered a few skirts, but never made anything where fit was really important. However, the newcomer pattern was an gathered elastic waistband skirt and that would not be a good look for me!

The vintage category was much more my style. I've been considering buying the pattern Simplicity 1364 for a while, so it was fantastic to get it for free! It's a simple to sew 1960's style top with bateau neckline, french darts, back zipper and a choice of sleeveless or below elbow length sleeves.

As I said, I saw the competition a couple of months ago, but I was still completing my entry in the last week as I couldn't make up my mind! I challenged myself to make my entry using only fabrics from my stash. That narrowed my options, but I still had a lot of lovely fabrics to choose from.

I made a wearable muslin from one of my husbands old shirts and made some alterations to the pattern. The straight sides didn't suit my figure, so I've curved it out to fit my hips. The pattern used a neckline facing, but I used pre-made bias binding. The wide neck design fits over my head, so I didn't need to insert a zip.

So then came the difficult part, what to make for my final entry! I looked at the pattern and decided that my favourite element was the neckline, so I really wanted to make the most of it by using a plain fabric and adding embellishment. I chose to use a vintage sheet because the bright orange colour made me think of the 60's! I was inspired by the Magya Blouse free pattern by Vera Venus, which has teardrop shaped keyhole openings and decided to adapt them for my top.

As my neckline was wider than the Magya Blouse I cut out 5 much smaller keyholes. The openings are edged with bias binding which gave me the opportunity to really make them stand out. I handmade bias binding (for the first time!) from a old patterned top. Although I preferred the smaller openings, they made sewing the binding on more difficult and they didn't lay flat. I hand sewed it on and a good pressing really helped!

I was worried about my sleeves because my muslin attempt ended up with quite a few puckers, but this time I took it really slow and they turned out much better. Next time I think I'll shorten the sleeves slightly as this length seems just a little too long on my short arms! As I'd already finished them with bias binding I decided to keep them this length.

Are you ready to see the final result?

It's been a great learning curve and I've ended up with a top that will get a lot of wear this summer. I'll be making more versions of this pattern soon as well, I have a pink flowery vintage duvet cover that is begging to be used next.

Thanks to Simplicity for the free pattern and the chance to be a part of big sewing community, I've loved seeing some of the other fantastic entries!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Super Pink Kitty

I wanted to show you something I made a little while ago for a special little birthday girl who loves cats and pink.

What else could I make but a pink kitty?

Using this free Roly Poly Cat crochet pattern from Puchitomato I made my cat. The original pattern included legs, but after I made them I decided that I preferred the cat without them!

I made a sleepy kitty, so had to also make a bed for her. I found a plastic tub and made a pillow and blanket to go with it.

I can report that the birthday girl was very happy with it! One thing she hasn't seen yet is a quick little picture I painted for her. I'm experimenting with watercolours at the moment after my Dad bought me everything I needed.

Hopefully she should realise who it's supposed to be!

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

New beginnings for 2015

It's been way too long, but here I am, back again!

Although I haven't been blogging there's been plenty of crafting going on and I'll be showing you more of my makes soon!

Lets begin with a new skill for me, freehand machine embroidery. My sewing machine hasn't been right for a while and I decided to spend my leftover Christmas money on a new one. I chose the EJ09 from Tesco and I'm really pleased with it! For a budget machine (£60) it has a good variety of stitches and is so much better than my poor old Brother. One thing to point out is that the product description says it has a drop in bobbin, but it doesn't! I guessed that from the picture, but I wouldn't want other crafters to be disappointed.

With a new machine, I wanted to learn something new and freehand machine embroidery caught my eye. I bought a darning foot, put my darning plate on the machine and all that was left to do was decide on a design. I wanted to make something for my husbands birthday, preferably frog or cat related.

A trip to the library provided me with the answer, but not in the section you might expect. I was looking for books for my daughter and found Oi Frog by Kes Gray (It's not just good inspiration, it's also a funny book!)

I grabbed my washable pen, sketched out the design and after a quick practise run, I was ready to go. It takes a bit of getting used to and I'll use a smaller hoop next time, but I think I'm hooked already! I love the scribbled look and it came together quickly.

Here's the finished picture (please excuse the terrible photo!):

He loved it, but wasn't quite as interested to hear all about machine embroidery.

One new skill learnt for 2015. Now what can I embroider next?