Sunday, 14 December 2014

Burdastyle #114 10/2011

Wow I drafted this post weeks ago and have only just got around to posting it! I was hanging on to get some better photos, but lack of natural daylight and shortness of time has led me to post the original snap I took on my phone. The top doesn't quite look as it does in the photo as I made a couple of changes.

I bought a beautiful lightweight printed cotton from the market a few weeks ago. I spent a while going through my collection of burdastyle magazines looking for the perfect pattern to use it on.

I finally settled on #114 from October 2011. Which was the first issue I ever bought. The style is a classic blouse with pleat front and Peter Pan collar. It has a bound neck opening and long sleeves.mits also a sewing course with this issue.

I did make a few minor adjustments to the pattern.

Firstly I widened the sleeves at the hem, to create a slim bishop sleeve and finished this with a bias bound hem. No placket. This makes the sleeves much quicker to sew.

I then sewed up the pattern as per the rather scant instructions, the construction of the pleated section is rather strange and there could be a simpler and easier way to do this. I found the bound slit at the back to be rather bulky. To be fair I don't like bound slits and find a faced slit is easier to create and creates a better finish, this was my second alteration.

I also ended up redrafting the collar as the draft did not lie correctly. To begin with I made the curved edge more rounded. Then I started with the collar. If you have ever drafted a flat collar, you will know that you need to take out a wedge from the outside edge to prevent the collar sticking up at the shoulder seams. Taking out this wedge helps the collar fit around the neckline more naturally. 

I initially used the pattern as it was, but once it was basted in place I could see the problem. I cut a slit from the outside edge to almost the neckline and overlapped by 1.5 cm, which was the amount I pinned out on the first collar. I then smoothed the lines and recut the collar. Success. I finished the neckline edge with a bias facing and used a hook and eye closure to finished the neck slit.

I was also not happy with the pleats. they are secured in the pattern and my photo with a couple of sets of horizontal stitching. This resulted in some gaping. I ended up stitching the pleats in place and the result is much better. I'll try to get chance to post updated photos nect time I wear this top.

I'm really pleased with the final outcome even if it did take way longer than planned. I just wish the collar draft had been more accurate. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Room Revamp

So I have't been sewing much lately. I set myself a slightly more challenging task - to revamp the front room.

My Hubby has been away and I need to keep myself busy so I planned to redecorate.  The room has been looking rather sad for a while and the dado rail was coming away from the wall and some of the shelves were falling down too. The paper had been painted over several times and was also getting rather battered. Time for a new look.

Wallpaper Stripping

I prepped the room over the first two weekends he was away. One weekend I stripped the wallpaper and then filled the walls during the week. The following weekend I sanded the walls ready for papering. I had also been keeping an eye on Freecycle and managed to aquire a new to me sofa, which was perfect for our needs and would replace our rather battered leather sofa. A friend helped collect it and I waited for a week to get rid of the old one. The space was difficult to work around!

On Saturday, my Mother in Law and I went to South Shields market and bought the fabric for the curtains and some fabric for sofa throws; went to B&Q and bought lining paper and paint and we were ready to go.
Walls ready to paint

Sunday morning we emptied the room and set to work painting the ceiling and papering. Most of the paper went on well, but there were a couple of sections that i wasn't happy with the finish and I ended up taking them off and pasting some more on. just putting lining paper on made such a difference, lighter and brighter.

Alcoves and walls painted

Monday we painted. The alcoves were painted "Proud Peacock" and the rest of the walls buttermilk. both by Dulux paints. I used the spirit level to ensure all my top edges were straight. I have a fairly steady hand and only needed to touch up the white paint on the coving in two places.

Impressive art

Tuesday was spent making glossing the woodwork and making the curatins and throws and getting everything ready to dress the room before John arrived home on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately the curtain tape I had was faulty and it failed to gather and the threads snapped, which meant a trip to Dunelm Mills to buy more on my way back from picking John up from the airport on Wednesday. I also needed he assistance in hanging the large painting.

Freecycle Sofa and my painting.

He has said he wanted the walls painted orange, but I decided to include one of the large paintings I made for my MA. It's very orange and contrasts nicely with the feature walls. All in all a job well done, and a nice room to relax in.

Hearth and alcoves

The finished room.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Bernina breakdown

My bernina has broken down. The other night it started running on its own. The problem was a bust capacitor in the foot control. 
So where do you find a replacement for a 50 year old part. Maplin of course. 
My hubby soldered the new one in and away we go, machine working well again. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

LEGO life hack

Have you ever lost your keys?

It's a frequent occurance in our house, so yersterday John decided to solve this problem. He raided my son's lego box, found some blocks and a base block and with the aid of a small drill and a couple of screws, our keys are now to be safely found attached to this lego block.

I think the idea came from pinterest at some point, but I can't find the link. Simple and it works. I even have a huge set of work keys and just one regular block can hold them all. Genius!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Check Out these Amazing refashions

I came across this feature the other day and was pleased to be included amonst some wonderful upcycled ideas.
Pop over to Paris Ciel to see Amy's post. It's awesome.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

France Fun and reality hits.

Camp cook
Its been a while since I posted on the blog. It's been busy as I've been sewing for others, had family birthday celebrations, a holiday in France and a new job.

The last few months have been stressful as I faced redundancy from my Job, but by the end of May I had secured a new post which I started a few of weeks ago, but more of that later. I have done a few bits of sewing, one of my most successful pieces was a waistcoat for a friend to wear at his daughters wedding. I did welt pockets for the first time and I have to say I impressed myself so much as I managed to make them almost invisible - go me!

There it is!
Can you see it?
 My mum had a rather significant Birthday and celebrated with a big garden party, we arrived with the car fully loaded as we were heading off to our holiday the very next day. My sister and brother in law prepped and made two very large paella's, assisted by my hubby during the cooking process. He wore the shirt I'd made for him a couple of weeks before and I wore my black jersey maxi dress that I made a couple of moths ago.

Libby cooks Paella
The next day we headed of to France for 10 days camping at Le Pas Opton. This is a site run by Spring Harvest Holidays, a Christian organisation based in the UK. It's a fab camp site with some low key Christian events which you can attend if you wish. A bible study in the morning and a short celebration early eveing, along with all the other types of things you'd expect on a camp site. Kids clubs, a fab pool and slide, quiz night, wine tasting (produce from a local vineyard - we brought 6 bottles back), sports competitions craft workshops and not forgetting some coffee and cake tasting.

Coffee and cake tasting
Bamboo at Coex
We hired one of their luxury tents which sleeps six (but it would be a tight squeeze), but with 5 of us it was comfortable. The tents come well equiped with proper beds and matresses, a cooker, kitchen equipment, fridge, lighting and electricity. there is a fab bakery on site, providing fresh baguettes all day! along with a take out menu. The was facilities are kept really clean and there are washing machines and dryers on site too.

The Bar is the hub of the site, where coffee is served in the morning and the bible studies take place. WiFi is available in the bar and coffee shop area, but has to be purchased extra. the coffee shop boasts great fair trade coffee, provided by Kingdom Coffee.

Flowers at coex
The Children are well catered for and the site is safe. Our kids loved that they had some independence and could meet their friends and swim or take part in different activities and they all made new friends.

The locality is developing in what it offeres tourists, this was the third time we've been and there are now lots of activities and things to do and see within an hours drive. This year we visited the nearby town of Coex, where there is a scented garden, which was great to explore and even better it was free to get in.

Apremont is just a short drive away and there is a large lake where you can swim or boat, we decided to go boating along the river and had a great time splashing each other and some of the other boaters.


Also within 10 minutes drive is the velorail, a 10Km stretch of disused rail track that has been turned into a fun activity - as you cycle along the tracks on a "bicycle" powered cart through the local countryside.

Dragon being made
The city of Nantes is just under an hour away by car and we travelled there on the day when it rained and visited les Machines de I'ile. Think steampunk style giant creatures and fantasy environments. we got to ride on a tall mechanical elephant and saw the staff work on a mechanical dragon - awesome. If you are ever in the area it's well worth a visit.

Elephant ride
Well it's been 4 weeks since we got back and it's taken me that long to get this post together. I suppose that comes from starting a new job, after facing redundancy for the second time within 4 years, I was really happy to secure a new job before the end of the academic year. I'm loving the new post, but its tiring getting to know new systems and procedures and working for a different LEA, not to mention trying to learn the names of the 500 students I teach each week! so it might be a while before you see any more of my creations of an art or textiles variety. I am making, but it's going to take me a while to complete anything at the moment.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Finally I make something for my husband...

I have been saying for quite a while that I wanted to make something for my hubby (not counting the Totoro Onesie) he loves shirts with nice patterened fabric and when we were in Nottingham in May we picked up some floral cotton, it's soft and has a nice drape to it. He announced that he'd like a shirt made up in it, and as it was only £2 per meter we bought 3m.

I traced off a pattern from one of his favourite shirts, I didn't use a pattern as the only ones I had were in Burdastyle magazine and were not in his size. To trace the pattern I simply ironed the shirt, they lay thin tissue over it and traced over the seam lines with a biro, this was easy to do as there is very little ease on the sleeves in a mans shirt. I do need to make slight alterations to the pattern, but the fit was generally good. I think i'll increase the collar and collar stand size next time.

I used Grainline Archer's sewalong as I haven't made a shirt before and her instructions are awesome. the only thing I did differently was to make a different shirt placket. I taught myself how to do these, by deconstructing a shirt cuff many years ago, before I'd really got into sewing. As I used to teach Design technology I'd always advocated using disassembly to help understand how things were made. Now I put it to good use when I want to know how to sew something.

The shirt came together really well and John wore it to the wedding we attended on Thursday, you can see for yourself that he looks really comfortable in it. he's now orderd another 2 or 3  - so that will keep me busy, oh and there was enough left over for a little top for me!


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