Thursday, 31 March 2011

Crepe Sew Along - Finally Completed!!!

Hurrah, huzzah, beat the drums and sound the trumpets my Crepe Sew-Along is finally finished! This is a project that has been hanging over my head for a while, so it's so good to get it done and wear it out :) I'm really happy with how the fabric looks, I think the colours are beautiful, plus it's so soft and silky, I can't help but feel pretty and girlie when I wear it!

Finished dress - Front
Finished dress - Back
I'm even happy with how the inside looks! I've finished my seams using a variety of techniques, including serging, french seams, and using seam binding. I also catch stitched all my facings down by hand, just to make things a bit neater. I also have real problems with sewing hems by machine so I did that by hand too (seriously, machine sewn hems fill my nightmares, anyone know any foolproof methods that could help me in the future??)

Inside my dress
A close up of catch stitching and bound seams

And here it is modeled by moi! I do feel a little bit "Alice in Wonderland"esque in it, but that's not necessarily a bad thing :)

I tried taking some pictures of the dress outside, but it was ridiculously windy so I do look a bit worse for wear! My hair in particular seems to have taken on a life of its own... But I think seeing the dress in natural light really does show off the fabric, so here are the best of the bunch for your perusal :)

It's just too windy!!
(All pictures taken by my Sweetheart x)

So there you have it, my first finished dress of the year, yes a tad late but I couldn't be happier with it :) I just know I'm going to get a lot of wear out of it and it's spurred me on to yet more projects, so watch this space!

I hope you've all been having a marvelous week so far, bye for now!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wednesday Wonderfuls #11

I do feel like I've been a busy bee today! It's so nice to finally have some time to sit down at my sewing machine and actually create something, it's the best feeling in the world. Today I finished a project that I've been working on for a while, and I couldn't be happier with the finished result! You'll be getting a full post on it tomorrow, but for now here's a sneak preview...
Ooo... what could it be...? Exciting!

And now for some of the other wonderful pieces of yumminess that have been inspiring me this week:

  • I want every single item of clothing on Lauren's Collegiate Fashion guest post over at Casey's Elegant Musings, swoon swoon swoon!
  • I recently discovered Anissa's blog "I Adore Style" and her Pyrex Obsession, it's a great read for anyone with a love of all things homey :)
  • Discover how to make a brooch board with Charlotte of Tuppence Ha'penny
  • I love lemon meringue pie. I love cookies. Imagine the palpitations of my heart when reading about Joy's Lemon Meringue Cookies. Seriously. Heaven.
  • A big congratulations to Debi over at My Happy Sewing Place, for her winning dress in the Evadress competition. If you haven't already seen her dress then you really should have a look, and if you're anything like me you will not just look but also drool and sigh and swoon :)
That's it from me today, so I hope this has brought a little spark of loveliness to your midweek!
Happy Wednesday everyone :)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

What I've been reading... "The Party Dress Book"

Well hello there, how nice of you to visit! I've had a few days to get myself back to normal after Holland and I finally feel up to blogging once more so hurrah :)

One of the books I took away with me on tour was the particularly gorgeous "The Party Dress" by Mary Adams, and my goodness it is full of yumminess (and yes, that is a technical term). This book promises that after reading you will have the skills at hand to create the best dress in the room, and I have to say that if I create something as pretty as the pictures I'd probably agree! I first heard about this book after reading about it on Gertie's Blog, she seemed so taken by the book as a whole that I thought it must be worth a look, so I ordered a copy that sat sadly neglected for many months before I remembered it was there and dusted it off. And I'm so glad that I did!

Take a look at these yummies!
The majority of the book consists of Mary Adams discussing her various techniques and inspirations, ranging from ruffles to applique, deep sea fishes to Marie Antoinette. I found this whole section of the book fascinating. Adams has a very absorbing way of writing, really holding your hand and leading you through the pretty pastel coloured working of her mind, I couldn't help but feel inspired! Just reading the first section of the book leaves you chomping at the bit to create your own girlie works of art, at least it did for me!

Adams uses really simple techniques to produce extravagant and elaborate finished pieces. It also makes me feel a lot more confident about creating my own dresses when I hear that she had no form of training in dressmaking apart from what she picked up at school - there's hope for me yet!! One of my particular favourites is the dress below, completely covered in bias strips and absolutely stunning!

Soooo pretty!
The book provides you with the patterns pieces to make three different styles of party dress:  the soaked silk taffeta, the pieced cotton, and the layered silk organza. Out of these the one that interests me most is the layered silk organza, but I'm also a bit in love with the cotton pieced dress. There are several gorgeous variations of this dress in the book, including this sweet apron version:
Le sigh, Le swoon
The possibilities are just endless and the construction is so simple, I think I may be running up a few of these for Summer! But first I want to tackle the layered silk organza dress. 
My new challenge
I want to make a variation on this dress using some beautiful black spotted soft net for the overskirt (a recent find in the John Lewis fabric sale!) and then green/blue taffeta underneath with black silk organza for the petticoat and ruffles. I think it's going to look gorgeous, I can't wait to get started on it! My Sweetheart and I have tickets to go and see The Hurly Burly Show (a new Burlesque show in London) a week on Sunday and I would love to have the dress finished by then and really go out in style. This will be the first fancy party dress I have attempted, so anything could happen!

I will do a follow up post on fabrics and progress soon, but for now I will say that I think "The Party Dress" is a beautiful read filled with colour, inspiration and a real love for creating pretty things, a book that every craft loving girl would be happy to have on her bookcase - it has become a firm favourite of mine :)

Bye for now!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Briar Rose Knit-Along Update #1

One thing crafty I did manage to get done in Holland was my Briar Rose sweater. Thank goodness I had it with me or I may have gone mad with the need to make something! So far I have completed the entire back piece and have nearly passed the halfway mark on the front piece.
My completed back piece

I must say I'm getting so much pleasure out of using an adapted pattern, I can tell the more I work on it that it's going to fit me so much better than anything I've knitted before! I'm also really happy with the colour, I think it'll look lovely in both Spring and Summer :) I also found some gorgeous blue buttons on ebay for the front of the sweater, they're so cute, I just can't wait to see what they will look like when it's all finished!

Pretty buttons!

On a different and yet still knitting themed note, how amazing are bamboo knitting needles? I have only ever used metal needles before, but for this project I treated myself to a new pair of fancy bamboo one and they have changed my knitting life. They are so much smoother and kinder to the yarn, and altogether a pleasure to knit with. I can't believe I have only just discovered them, I don't think I would want to knit without them now!

Are any of you taking part in the knit along? How is your progress? I hope there are lots of pretty Spring sweaters springing up all over the blogosphere :)

Bye for now!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Home Sweet Home! (Plus Wednesday Wonderfuls #9 and #10, a day late I know, sorry!)

Well hello there! Have you missed me? :) Ok, sorry about the hysterical picture, I'll calm down now...

I'm back home in the UK after what feels like years away, even though it was only just over three weeks, and I'm very happy to be back. Holland was amazing, an incredible experience, one I'm sure I will remember forever. After all, how many opportunities does one get to perform in an arena?

You can see that it was a pretty epic affair! I am very tired after all the long day and late nights, but it was worth it :) Finishing a show is always sad, and "Hair" in particular as our cast bonded very deeply, but at the same time I really am thrilled to be back with my family and my Sweetheart. And also to get some sewing done! I've been getting itchy fingers the whole time I was away, just dying to start some new projects, so expect some updates on the make-not-buy front very very soon :) Especially as the weather is getting so lovely, I need some pretty dresses in spring colours methinks!

Anyway, the land of blog seems to have been filled with lovelies over the past few weeks (yes I know, my Wednesday Wonderfuls are a day late, but I had a lot of unpacking to do!) so here are some of the things that have been a great read for me:

  • Some beautiful 1920s colour photos over at Glamour Daze
  • Wearing History has produced a really gorgeous new 1930s dress pattern
  • A brilliant 1940s hair tutorial from the brilliant Vixen Vintage
  • Sew Weekly posted some absolutely gorgeous pictures of green dresses, and although I'm too late for St. Patrick's day I think green may have to be my new colour :)
  • Casey posted a fabulous fabric belt tutorial which I'm itching to try!
  • Vanilla and Lace has doubled my need for a DSLR camera my posting about her DIY camera bag made from a vintage purse, how I covet one!
  • I have serious home envy after reading Rebecca Jean's guest post over at Casey's blog, all about her vintage style kitchen, swoon!
  • And finally Tasha over at By Gum By Golly is hosting a brilliant giveaway of three sewing/knitting books, so pop over and enter if you know what's good for you :)
I really am excited about what the future may have in store since I returned home. Today was particularly marvelous as Spring has finally decided to sprung here and so my Sweetheart and I spent a lovely day in the sun!

Good golly, bare legs and sun glasses!

What a handsome boy 

Trying to look model-ish!

Happy days :)

x o x o x
Look for lots of new posts now that I'm back, I have so much that I want to share!
Bye for now! xx

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A petticoat update from Holland land!

Hello again!

It's all been happening here in the past few days, I've been doing two shows a day for the past two days, so I'm pretty exhausted, but tomorrow we make the trip to Rotterdam for the final stint of the tour - performing at a 6,000 seat arena! It's going to be great fun, although I am looking forward to a rest when we're finished :)

The great thing about working in a theatre is that there is a wardrobe department stuffed with extra costumes and accessories that are not being used so I get to rummage through them to my heart's content (or at least I do, whether I have permission to or not!) to look for inspiration or just marvel at the prettiness :) The show is set in 1967, so the majority of the costumes are a bit too late period-wise for my usual tastes, but it also features some parents that are dressed in 1947 style, which means there are some swoon-worthy original outfits lurking about if you take the time to look, which I do!

But what I really wanted to show you was one skirt in particular. Not a 1940s wonderful, but still pretty interesting nonetheless. Do you remember my little petticoat conundrum, when I was trying to decide whether or not to make a crinoline for myself? Well the design of this skirt may be the answer!

Huge circular skirt!
A close up of the gem-action
Yes I know it's a little horrific to look at, not necessarily the colour, which is a quite pretty buttercup yellow, but the fact that someone thought it would be a good idea to cover it with plastic gems! Oh dear. But it's the construction of this skirt that really got my attention.

The main body of the skirt is chiffon, then directly underneath is an identical skirt but make of silk organza, instant body! Then under this layer is a lining (still using the same shape as both the top skirt and silk organza under layer), I think make of some kind of poly-blend standard lining material, but with two layers of gathered silk organza around the bottom, one sewn directly onto the bottom edge of the lining, and the other longer layer sewn higher up on the lining and covering the other. 
The layer under the under skirt
The final layer
Now I don't know about you but I found the whole concept of a skirt with a built in petticoat very charming! I've been imagining all different kind of colour and fabric combinations. It would make a beautiful summer skirt, using floral chiffon over pastel silk organza. Equally I think the effect would be just as pleasing with a cotton blend over skirt, the differences of texture would be fun :) 

I just think that this skirt would be an interested alternative to the usual skirt + petticoat combination, particularly when made in chiffon. Perhaps it could even become the bottom half of a floaty summer dress, my mind is racing with possibilities!

Of course making my own version of this skirt does mean that I still have several dresses in need of some oomph, but never fear, I have that covered too! The brilliant Daisy Donut left me some fabulous links on my previous petticoat post, and one of them looks very promising indeed. Over at Sugardale Clothing there is a post all about how to make a petticoat, brilliantly laid out in great detail. Trista, the blogger in question, also suggests using crinoline instead of tulle for your petticoat for a less scratchy finish (one of the reasons I was drawn to the skirt design about was also the lack of tulle! Not fun for sensitive skin!). The petticoat she produces is also very pretty, so I kind of feel that I need one, particularly when she makes it seem so simple!

So there you have it, I have two petticoat projects in the mix for when I return to the UK! The start of my tackling my make-not-buy project in earnest :) and as a circular skirt was on my list of things to make I can't really go wrong. What do you think about these two different styles? Do you have a preference, or, like me, do you feel that both may be the way forward?

Bye for now, I've got shows to do!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Wednesday Wonderfuls #7 and #8 - Bumper Issue!

Well hello there! Greetings once again from Holland land!

My adventures have been pretty intense so far and the wifi access here has been terrible, so I'm sorry for the long absence, but luckily I have found myself both a moment to myself and some wonderful internet to share with you what I'm loving about the blogosphere from the past two weeks. I must admit that whenever I've been able to get on my feed reader and have a browse through your jottings it has really stopped me feeling homesick, so thank you, you wonderful people!
  • Firstly Casey has started posting some interesting videos about thrifting, I know I want to have the luck in finding beautiful things that she always seems to have!
  • There's a great round up of seam finishing techniques over at Colette Patterns, well worth a look.
  • I was thrilled to be featured in a post over at Miss P's blog, along with some fabulous people. Thanks so much for the mention Miss P, and if you've joined me after reading said post, welcome :)
  • Fleur's post about vintage cycling has made me long to get home and ride my bike as the weather starts to get more spring-like. And if there's one thing Holland has instilled in me it's a reaffirmed love of the bicycle!
  • The Cupcake Goddess wrote about pretty vintage vs. ugly vintage, something that I've come across in life too (plus the knitting booklet she describes is just out of this world! I'd gladly make every single thing from it!)
  • Tasia has completed her stunning cape, perfectly matched plaid, sigh...
  • And finally Joy the Baker seems to have made it her mission to tempt me with every type of treat that I adore. I can;t wait to get home and try out her lemon cornmeal breakfast cakedulce de leche cupcakes and cinammon sugar pull apart bread (sadly my digs in Holland have no oven, so the idea of baking is nothing but a lonely pipe dream at the moment!)
And once again that's all I have time for, hopefully I'll be able to post again soon, I've been rummaging through the costumes at the theatre and have some interesting things to share with you all!

I'll leave you with a little peak at what I've been looking like for the past few days, and before you ask I haven't been overdoing it on the cakes, I'm supposed to be pregnant!

Sorry for the serious face!

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A Quick Hello and Lots of Love!

I just wanted to check in and also send you all lots of love from Holland! I can't tell you how wonderful it is to log onto my e-mail (Wifi allowing, grumble grumble) and see your comments and kind words, I makes my day :) And to my recent new followers hello and welcome! I hope you enjoy following me and I apologize for my present absence, the internet access over here really has been abominable!

Hopefully I'll have time soon to put together a real post about what I'm up to over here, but for now that's a bit of a pipe dream I'm afraid. Which is a shame because I've collected some fabulous pictures already!

As one final note before we say goodbye:

The dutch word for pin-curling is "Canoodling"! How perfect is that?? :)

Bye for now xxx
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