Tuesday, 29 September 2015

some dressmaking, some LTP blocks and apple pie

I finished the dress for Joanna which I made the muslin for last month. It looks a lot better in the real fabric than it did as the peach-body-navy-sleeved muslin. LOL

This is the pattern I used. McCall's 6503, view D.

Here's a close up of the fabric and buttons. There were supposed to be 3 x 1.5cm buttons on that piece but when I laid 3 buttons that size down, the buttonholes would have been almost touching. I decided to only use 2 smaller buttons - they're about 1cm in diameter.

I have another dress cut out and ready to sew for Joanna but I decided to do some selfish sewing and cut out my next jacket. This time it's royal blue. A very wearable colour for me.

I'm a bit further on with it than that photo - I'm hoping I'll get it finished soon.

These are blocks 30 to 37 of my LTP (long term project) quilt. I'm still really enjoying making these. It's always fun to choose the fabrics and see how they look together.

This is another thing I made this last week. I like to think I'm a fairly good cook but apple pie has never been one of my best things. Douglas's mum makes a great apple pie so I asked him to ask her for her recipe. Not so much for the apple bit but for the pastry bit. I tried it out on Sunday and, whilst it's not exactly the same as MIL's, it was fabulous! I will definitely be using her pastry recipe again! (See below)

Granny Lee's pastry
12 oz plain flour
4 oz marg
4oz lard
1 dssp sugar (= 2 tsps)

Whizz the flour and fats in the food processor and add a little cold water to bring it together.
Divide into 2 pieces and roll one of them out to fit on an ovenproof plate.
Fill with apples.
Roll out the other piece of pastry for the lid.
Wet around the edges of the base and stick the top on.
Pierce a few holes to let the steam out.
Fork around the edges to make a good seal.
Paint the top with egg and dust with sugar.
Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour at 160ºC (fan oven).

My mouth's watering just thinking about that apple pie! Nom nom nom. :o)

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

strawberry top and straight edges

I finished one of the makes in Joanna's pile today. It's the top that I made the muslin for here. Gosh, that's nearly a month ago! I didn't realise I'd taken so long to get around to making this!

This is the pattern - Butterick 5956, view A.

And here's the finished top.

Those strawberries look good enough to eat - or they would if they didn't look so fuzzy!!

Knowing it's the autumnal equinox today, I remembered to look at the dashboard on my computer and took a screenshot of the shape the sun makes today. I always find it interesting that the edges are so straight at the equinoxes. I suppose equal day and night will make a straight line!

Fascinating stuff! :o)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

plum trousers and a couple of coin holders

Last week, in a moment of madness, I decided to make myself another pair of trousers. No madness there, I hear you say. No, the madness started when I decided that, instead of the pattern I usually use, which I know fits me and that I like a lot, I decided to use a pattern I'd not used before - Butterick 5818, view C.

I didn't know if they would fit me or if I would like the trousers if they did. What was I thinking??

Actually, the insanity probably started in the fabric shop when I picked up the bale of plum coloured fabric and took it to the desk to ask for the 2.2 metres I needed. That was when the assistant told me that the fabric was "weird" because it had a vertical stretch instead of a horizontal stretch. "No worries", says I. "I'm only going to make trousers with it so it'll be fine". How wrong could I be?

Anyway, here are the trousers.

I took special care in making the fly front. It looked great - all lying as it should, top-stitched and beautiful.

I lined the pockets with a co-ordinating polycotton and I was really pleased with the results. (This photo is so fuzzy it's almost not worth showing!)

So, why was I mad to make these trousers? Well, the fabric was awful to work with. The stretch on the vertical grain meant it stretched whenever I sewed an up-and-down seam - and let's face it, most of the seams on trousers are up-and-down seams. I managed to get a grip of the fabric by using my walking foot which is meant for knit fabrics but I still had to be very careful not to let the fabric pucker or stretch out.

Then the pressing of those seams was a bit of a task as well. This fabric wanted to stretch all the time. If I even looked at it the wrong way, it would stretch! Aaaaargh.

And then, after getting the trousers all sewn up and looking as good as I could with the bad fabric choice, they didn't blimming well fit me. Far too big. I had measured myself carefully so I would know which size to make. I even compared the size to my usual ones and, yes, they were (supposed to be) the same size and should fit me well. Nope. No way, no how.

So, those trousers are in the charity bag and someone else will maybe get the wear out of them. Note to self - next time the assistant tells you the fabric is "weird" put it back. Do NOT buy it thinking it'll be fine because it won't be fine. The one good thing about the fabric was that it only cost £2.99 per metre - possibly because it was "weird" - so it's not a lot of money that's been wasted. Just time and effort. *sigh*

Today, as a sort of "let's make something that I know works" thing, I made myself a couple of coin holders. I need a £1 coin for the locker at the swimming pool and I was fed up diving into the bottom of my bag to find mine each time I went. I thought a coin holder attached to the handle of my new swimming bag would be the perfect solution. It's hard to tell but the dark line down the middle is a purple zip.

I also need a £1 coin for the trolley at the local supermarket so I made another one to attach to my keys. The one I made back in January 2012 was looking a bit worn so I wanted to replace it. Here's that one.

I'm hoping for better results this week in the dressmaking department. Let's face it, they couldn't get much worse than those plum trousers!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

more trousers, some cutting out and an anniservary*

I had a bit of a busy week last week and didn't get much sewing done - compared to my normal output anyway! I did get a pair of navy trousers made. Same pattern as the one-size-smaller ones I made last week - Simplicity 5844, view E.

I put them on this morning and couldn't get the button fastened. Why? Because I hadn't cut the buttonhole open. What a numpty! It was a bit awkward trying to cut the buttonhole open without taking the trousers off but I managed it!

I did manage to get some cutting out done. These are the top and dress for Joanna which I made muslins for a couple of weeks ago. I need to get on with these or it won't be just a cardigan she'll need to wear with them but thermal underwear and fur-lined boots!

Douglas and I went out for a meal tonight to our favourite Italian restaurant to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. 36 years! A-ma-zing! The meal was fab, the company unbeatable and, because we were there early, we were the only ones in the restaurant for about 20 minutes which was lovely!

Before we went, Joanna had face-timed us to wish us a "Happy Anniservary*". Her parting comment was "thanks for getting married!". It made us both laugh!

*When Debbie was very young, my mum had tried to teach her to say "Happy Anniversary". Mum thought she'd learned it but, when it came time for her to say it to us, she came out with "Happy Anniservary" and so that's what's been said every year since then. :o)

Monday, 7 September 2015

random sewing from my camera

I was loading photos from my camera on to my computer and realised there were some things I'd made that hadn't been blogged about. I'm sorting that now.

First of all, a tablecloth that I made from the back of the hares downie cover that I used for Joanna's dress. £3.50 for a tablecloth? Not too shabby!

A couple of doll's skirts I made last week. The wee girl who I made all the clothes (and coathangers) for back in June - see here, here and here - was coming for a visit with her Granny (my sister), her mum (my niece), and her new baby sister (my great-niece who I made the baby quilt for back in June).

Joanna and Tilly came too and a good time was had by all. Tilly barked more during the visit than I've ever heard her bark before but, thankfully, wee girl S thought it was hilarious and baby A didn't get upset at all.

Last Thursday was the start of the season for the choir I sing in. I went up to change into my good trousers to go to rehearsal and was astonished/delighted to find that the trousers were too big for me. They were so big, there was no way I could wear them out. I just put my not-so-good pair back on and went out to sing Christmas carols in September.

Naturally, the first thing I did on Friday was make myself a new pair of trousers - a whole size smaller than the old ones. Go me!!

I used my old favourite trouser pattern, Simplicity 5844, view E.

I have some navy and brown fabrics in my stash that are now ear-marked for trousers. Can't just have one pair of trousers that fit!!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

the hares dress

I made Joanna another Felicity dress this week. It's actually a fairly quick make ... as long as your back holds out! I felt it twinge a time or two yesterday and, even though I only had 20 minutes of work left to finish the dress, I made myself stop. No point in not being able to move today for the sake of finishing the dress yesterday!

Anyway, that aside, I finished the dress today. Hares this time!

The fabric for this was - guess what? - another sale downie cover. It cost £7 for a King size cover and I got the whole dress out of one side so that makes it a £3.50 dress - plus thread (£1.70) and zip (83p) and hook and eye (from my stash)! £6.03 for a (unique) dress? That's not too shabby!

The pockets have hares inside them. What fun! :o)

It's a bit late in the year to be making sleeveless dresses but Joanna assures me she has a cardigan to go with it so the dress won't need to hang in the wardrobe until next summer. :o)