Wednesday, 31 August 2011

First Self Drafted Blouse

So here is my very first self drafted blouse. It feels lovely and soft. I do need to make a few adjustments - take in under the arm hole and I want to add some self coloured hand made flowers above the pleats on the yoke - I'm thinking about 3?
sorry about the poor photo - only had my iphone handy!

Pop over to Tea Rose Home and see what other people are up to.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Handmade Monday - what is it with sleeves?

What is it with sleeves?
Whenever I make anything with sleeves - they just don't work. I follow pattern instructions to the letter and they just don't fit! I'm sure you know what I mean - you can't lift your arms above 45 degrees without pulling up the whole bodice!
If you know how to make 'em fit I'd love to know about it.

So Today I decided that I needed to adapt the a sleeveless dress pattern to include short sleeves. I made a muslin and drafted two styles of sleeve - both with gathers (Sorry didn't take photos). I had the problem I mentioned above. After much adjusting and redrafting I have a better sleeve, but I'm not 100% happy with it. - Keep going and make improvements. I'm going the make the dress out of a lovely floral fabric I bought in China, and if the sleeves don't work I'll just take them off!

I also adapted the dress pattern to make a blousey top with a yoke. I have some nice drapy fabric, given to me by my MIL. Hopefully it will turn out better than the effort at a blouse that the one I tried to make on Saturday - without using any kind of pattern = Epic Fail.

Watch this space as to the results!

As an aside, I've been accompanied in my sewing and drafting by the sound of bubbling beer. John is making his first brew! To go with it he's designed bottle labels, in his usual fun and bonkers style. Life is never dull in this house - the photo session to achieve this was definitely fun!

pop over to Handmade Monday and see what everyone else has been up to.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Is it tidied to your standard or mine?

This is my ever used question when my children are asked to tidy their room and come back downstairs and tell me they're finished.
Today I decided that it would be done properly. so breakfast done with, grocery shopping completed - we began - 10am. There was much whining and complaints of "I'm tired." and "What do I do now?" Well we did it - bin bags full of rubbish, bags of recycling materials, old clothes sorted for the charity shop, new clothes and school uniform sorted. Toys tidied and for the first time in months I can see the carpet in their rooms. All finished by 3pm. I'd like to say it will last a long time; but somehow I doubt it.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


 Whoo Hoo. Finally it's arrived! I have my new sewing machine. This was a p[resent for my birthday, but as i've been away, it arrived yesterday. It's a  Janome CS1000 from Cooper's sewing machines. I decided on this model as it's mechanical; has a good range of stitches, including stretch stitches; one step button hole; auto foot pressure and was good value for money. I'd looked at lots of different types of machine, some were fantastic - but out of my price range. I'd have loved an industrial machine - but don't have the space for one.

Anyway - I got to try it out today. My mum has had a wrap dress pattern and fabric for years and had not got around to making it up. I offered to make it for her. So mad rush ensured as I realised she's off to Spain on Tuesday and its Bank Holiday on Monday. so I had to get it made and posted today = epic sewing session.
The Machine worked really well - smooth and even pressure, good stitch tension and it handled the slippy fabric really well. It's the first time I've ever owned a brand new machine and I hope to have it for a long time. It's even got a serger setting!

I now have to decide what to do with the lovely fabrics I brought back from my trip. I have about 12m of fabric in 6 different types. 3 Silks - that cost around £5.50p/m from a tailor's shop in Hong Kong and 3 cotton mixes that were about £1.50p/m. In shocking pink, black polka dot and a pink and white floral. Plans are forming...
ooh and I got a top and dress from the local charity bus for 10p!

Smart and Trendy Moms

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

I'm Back

Well folks - Finally I'm back! I've been away for 4 weeks and it's been amazing. I spent my Birthday in Hong Kong and had tea at the amazing Khyber Pass, in Chunking Mansions. Shopped at the night markets, got very hot, ate noodles (lots of). I also met up with a team of people from all over the world who had given some of their valuable time to come and volunteer with International China Concern.

So after a couple of days in Hong Kong, we headed up into mainland China. Taking the fast train (300kmph) to Hunan province. We worked with about 120 children and young people with various disabilities and needs, singing, doing crafts and swimming. A holiday club in style. for some of the children it was the first time they'd been swimming,

it's a truly humbling experience to see how loving these children are, and how much love they need.
International China Concern are working with the authorities to help improve conditions for these children; train carers and therapists; enable independent living in community and give support to families to help prevent children being abandoned.

It's been a privileged to work alongside the Chinese and expat staff. they work so hard to make a difference, but there is still so much to do.

In a few weeks I'll be taking part in Walk the Wall. A worldwide fundraising event for International China Concern. Find out more here. I'd be very grateful if anyone would like to sponsor me for this event. Or get involved - there are walks all over the world. check it out here.


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