A Sewing Wishlist for 2015

Iceland santasIt’s almost Christmas so that means time to start the plans for 2015! In case I don’t see you before – I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas time and a fabulous New Year – I’m very much looking forward to spending it with my new husband! By the way – the photo here is of some very friendly Santas that we saw in Iceland (Stykkishólmur) who were randomly handing out presents on the street… Scroll down for a few more festive Iceland snaps!

I’d also like to point out that I’ve chosen to call these ‘plans’ rather then ‘resolutions’, as there’s never any guarantee that you’ll stick to them, is there? With that in mind, this coming year I’d like to:

  • Hand-make all birthday gifts and Christmas presents – an ambitious aim but one I’d love to try. Who doesn’t love a thoughtful, handmade gift?!
  • Make more use of my fabric stash – something that everyone aims for but one I actually intend to have a go at this time. I have way too much fabric.
  • Buy less fabric – this one might be difficult as fabric shopping is so fun but one that will help with the ‘make more use of my stash’ aim.
  • Make more use of the patterns I’ve got – remake the ones I love, use the ones I’ve not even started and get rid of those I dislike. Makes sense.
  • Finish all WIPs - yikes, an adventurous aim, but one that desperately needs to be done.
  • Complete my fairisle jumper - it’s been an ongoing knitting project for almost a year and I want to wear it before summer comes around again!
  • Not take up any new crafts - a tough one for me as I like to dabble in everything but I just have no space and no time for anything else.

I think all of my new year plans are fairly achievable – how about you? Have you got any plans similar to mine? Tell me about them! I’m absolutely definite that I’m not the only one with hoards of fabric, cupboards bursting with WIPs and boxes upon boxes of yet-to-be-started crafts. In fact, I know that I’m not the only one!

iceland honeymoon montage

Super Cosy Coco

red jersey cocoHere it is, my latest make for White Tree Fabrics  and a super cosy Coco dress for my Icelandic honeymoon! The pattern is the good old Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress , but this time I made it with a funnel neck and cuffs as previously I’ve only made the dress sweet and simple and thought it was about time I gave myself more of a challenge!

The fabric I used was the warm jersey in red ,which has a one-way stretch, meaning that it hugs around your body absolutely wonderfully. It also makes it very snuggly and the perfect material for that fold-down funnel neck! The fabric is £10.06 a metre but you’ll get 20% off with my discount code ‘SEWSENSATIONAL’, so it’s definitely worth doing that for a bit of a saving. I think I used 1.5m altogether for this dress, including the extra details and the pockets, as well as a reel of red thread.

I have to say that this dress was absolutely perfect for Iceland, where it frequented minus 10°c on more than one occasion. I love the red colour too – it’s so vibrant and very festive. It also matches the colour of my bridesmaids dresses which is a happy co-incidence! There’ll be a few images of both my wedding and my honeymoon popping up on the blog soon once I’ve had chance to edit so keep an eye out for those if you’re interested :) In the meantime, here are some more pics of my 4th Coco!

cosy tilly and the buttons coco

DIY Wooden Wedding Cake Toppers

diy wedding cake toppersTime for another wedding craft project! With my wedding fast approaching (2 sleeps to go!) I thought I’d share with you another snippet of the crafty bits and pieces I’ve been getting up to in preparation for the Big Day. It’s also the last post you’ll see from me for a little while whilst I take a well-earned break with my handsome new husband. So, for now, here are my delightful DIY cake toppers!

The wooden figures I used for my cake toppers came from the lovely Goose Grease shop on Etsy – they have so many wooden figures to choose from; you can get whole families, couples and even pets! There’s the choice to go DIY or they’ll customise them for you. I picked the plain man and woman figures and then bought some acrylic paints so I could personalise them myself to look like me and Chris.

The instructions recommend that you start by painting the face and the hair, then the clothes and then paint on the fine detail using a cocktail stick. I also used some strong Hobbycraft glue to attach a scrap of lace for my veil, a piece of red fabric for Chris’ tie and some little roses (from the wedding invites) for the bouquet and buttonhole!

wooden wedding cake toppersThey were such fun to make and I really do recommend it if you’ve got an event coming up in the near future. I had to do about 3 coats of paint to get the strong colours but, aside from that, they really took no time at all. Now, anyone for a slice of cake?

Men’s Paisley PJs

men's paisley pyjamasSo next weekend I’m getting married, eek! (As if I just typed that!) As some of you may know, we’re off to Iceland for our honeymoon a week on Monday, so for my latest project my other half requested I make him a pair of snuggly pyjamas (I’m certain the rest of you sewists are familiar with the ‘can you make me…’ scenario!) for the cold nights there.

The pattern I used was from the ‘Easy Endless Options’ pyjama pattern by McCalls (2950) which features (Easy Endless) options to make full-length men’s PJs, short PJs, a rather dashing unisex night-shirt and the most incredible patterns to make some matching booties and hat. Oh how I would’ve loved to have sewn my almost-husband a wee-willie-winkie style nightcap! Alas, he wouldn’t let me… I actually picked up this pattern for £1 in my local charity shop as a bit of a ‘vintage’ find.

The fabric for this project came all the way from Goldhawke Road in London, via the lovely lady that is Wendy from Wendy Bernstead costumes. She heard my plea on Twitter for help finding some super-soft PJ-style fabric and immediately rushed to my aid. She was an absolute star in getting hold of this paisley winceyette for me – all 5m of it! That’s the problem when your other half is 6ft6…

men's pyjamas mccalls 2950

I had to make an awful lot of tweaks to this pattern in order to get the PJs to fit – the recipient is super tall and super skinny, so darts and tucks were essential! I also added a cuff to the sleeves and the trouser legs to lengthen them a bit. I used entirely French seams when sewing the PJs together so that there aren’t any bits that will fray or rip when my other half inevitably leaves them lying on the floor and trips over them ;) What do you reckon?

Looking Back at My 2014 Sewing Projects!

Well this year has flown by, hasn’t it? I don’t know whether it’s something about being ‘older’, not being at school or planning for a wedding, but there’s got to be something in the water – just where have all the months gone? As an almost-end-of-year celebration I thought I’d do a little round up of the things I’ve accomplished well, and not so well, in 2014. Just look at how busy I’ve been! (scroll down to see the links to each make!)

completed 2014 sewing projects

1. DIY Bunting Cushion
2. Re-covered Piano Stool
3. Liberty Print T-Shirt (New Look 6895)
4. Sewing Bee Sleeveless Top Challenge (New Look 6483)
5. Applique London Cushion
6. Heart Bunting
7. Luxury Satin Kimono (Burda 7297)
8. Aztec Print Coco Dress
9. Engagement Bunting
10. Lickswishy Sweets Lampshade
11. Gingham Dress (Simplicity 6022)
12. Sewing Bee Circle Skirt
13. Handmade Wedding Invitations
14. Knitted Union Jack Cushion
15. Bunny Rabbit Baby Booties
16. Liberty Print Sunglasses Case
17. Satin Pyjama Set (Vogue 7837)
18. Beach Cover Up Mathilde
19. Liberty Print Party Dress (New Look 6243)
20. Betty Draper Tie Blouse (Burda 6924)
21. Layered Summer Skirt (Simplicity 1663)
22. Striped Coco Dress
23. Seersucker Margot PJs
24. Baroque Print Megan Dress
25. Liberty Print Dress (New Look 6263)
26. Felt Kittens
27. Christmas Reindeer Coco Dress
28. Wedding Flower Bunting
29. Tilda Floral Dress (Vogue 8764)
30. Christmas Woodland Bunting

And to think there are still 2 months to go before the end of the year! Here’s a round-up of my WIPs that I hope to complete before 2015 rolls around…what have you done this year?

upcoming projects

Blogger Network #9 – Felt Woodland Animal Christmas Decorations

Here we are in November, meaning that Christmas is just around the corner, eek! For this month’s Minerva Blogger Network post I chose to do something a little festive and a little fun – felt woodland animals! In fact, a whole garland (woodland?) of felt animals.

simplicity 1516 felt animal christmas bunting

The pattern/templates that I used came from Simplicity 1516 – an entire sewing pattern dedicated to felt animals and Christmas stockings. Marvellous! I chose to make the moose, fox, bear and snowman patterns as they’re my favourites out of the bunch, but you can also make a squirrel and a green owl if you want to! All you need to make the decorations is felt – which Minerva Crafts has in good supply and in a gazillion colours (literally) – plus a needle and thread and some toy stuffing. I also got a long piece of spangly ribbon to make the loops and some Merry Christmas ribbon so that I could make my creatures into a garland.

simplicity 1516 felt woodland animal bunting

To make the felt animals, you simply cut out all the pieces that you need, sew on the faces/arms/antlers etc, sew the back and front bits together with a ribbon loop in between and then stuff some toy stuffing inside. Easy! Some of the pieces are a little bit fiddly (like the eyes and that carrot nose) so I used a little bit of Pritt Stick to hold them in place whilst I stitched them on. I made 2 of each creature in total and then cut out some holly leaves and berries to make my woodland garland that bit more festive.

I hope you love this project as much as I do – it’s so much fun to make and I certainly recommend it!

Vogue 8764 Floral Dress for White Tree Fabrics

Oh how I wish this dress had turned out better. The pattern, V8764, is for a 3/4 length sleeve dress with an a-line skirt, invisible back zipper, top-stitching and lovely little V detail at the neckline – I love the illustration on the envelope, it looks so elegant! Such a great looking dress for work, tea parties and trips to the shops don’t you think?

v8764 vogue tilda white tree fabrics dress

The fabric I used is a Tilda Martine cotton in blue/grey from White Tree Fabrics – you can find it here. (Don’t forget to enter the code ‘SEWSENSATIONAL’ at the checkout too for a hefty 20% off and free delivery!) It’s a lovely cotton fabric to sew with – very soft and flowy and doesn’t fray. I love the little ditsy floral print too, it’s very dainty and perfect for a tea dress like this. The dress also has a lining in the bodice and the skirt making it feel like a very luxurious garment. I’ve never sewn a proper lining before so it was great to learn how it’s done!

Now, here’s my problem with this pattern – whilst it’s full of loveliness, it’s also wayyyy too big for little people like me. I cut the pattern to the smallest size and, due to all the seams and lining and top-stitching, didn’t find myself with a lot of opportunity for fitting until it was too late! The length isn’t a problem to alter and the waist fits ok (perhaps adding some belt loops would solve this further!) but that neckline. I just cannot deal with that neckline! Maybe it’s because I’m quite petite, but it’s so wide on me and gapes horrendously at the front. It’s making me a bit sad because I do really like the dress and the fabric – if the top was more fitted/had a higher neck then I dare say it’d become one of my go-to dresses. I’m not sure I can edit it without re-cutting my pattern pieces now that I’ve attached the lining and zip and top-stitched around the neck. What do you reckon?

vogue v8764 tilda lawn dress

That’s not to say that this dress will turn out badly for everyone though – I did a quick online search and found some great examples of people who have done a much better job – take a look!