Simplicity 1663 Layered Chiffon Maxi Skirt

simplicity 1663 maxi skirt‘Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’14, if I could offer you only one tip for the future, avoiding chiffon would be it’  – Baz Luhrmann.

Alright, so that’s not quite the actual lyric, but it really should be! Chiffon is not your friend. Or at least it’s not mine! This sewing pattern, provided to me by Simplicity, looks absolutely ideal from the envelope – I chose it because I love double-layered, floaty maxi skirts that I can wear in summer without having to get my milk-bottle legs out and I also spotted this lovely printed chiffon at Minvera Crafts that looked perfect for the job. Or so I thought!

The Simplicity 1663 pattern comes with a few different options for mini skirts, trousers and this maxi skirt (view C) that I chose to make. The mini skirt underneath is made of a navy blue linen and then I used the patterned chiffon for the maxi skirt overlay, which is made up of 4 long panels of material. There are literally 2 pattern pieces for this skirt, so the cutting out and sewing together parts are super easy – it’s just the floaty fabric choice that isn’t!

simplicity 1663 long maxi skirt

A few tips for working with chiffon:

  • Avoid it in the first place if it all possible!
  • Use a rotary cutter and cutting mat to cut around your pattern template – this stops the fabric from sliding about or stretching as it would if you tried to cut it with scissors (trust me on this one!).
  • Move slowly. No moving quickly around your cutting table as this generates gusts of air which will blow your lovingly pinned chiffon out of position and onto the floor (trust me on this one too).
  • Go very slowly when sewing. As in, stitch-by-stitch slowly.
  • Pins are definitely your friend, and lots of them!
  • Set your sewing machine dial to the ‘very thin fabric’ setting so your stitch tension is right for the super thin chiffon.

simplicity new look 1663 skirt

(Here’s a picture of the linen mini skirt underneath!)

Anyhow, despite the battles with my fabric choice, I actually love how this skirt has turned out. As you probably know by now, I’m always one for testing out new skills and I’m not afraid to give anything a try! If it goes wrong then it just won’t end up on here, haha.

This really is a great pattern and it’s absolutely perfect for the summer months. The waist is elasticated too so it doesn’t matter if you eat a bit too much ice cream whilst on holiday! Have you ever worked with chiffon before? How did you find it?

Roald Dahl Lickswishy Sweets Lampshade

Roald Dahl lampshade making kitYes, you read that title correctly – I’ve made a lampshade covered in Roald Dahl sweetie fabric! When the lovely folks over at Elephant in My Handbag got in their range of Roald Dahl fabrics I knew that I just HAD to make something fun. I love Roald Dahl and I absolutely love the new range of Quentin Blake-designed fabrics that have been popping up around the internet. Don’t believe me? Go and have a roald dahl charlie and the chocolate factory lickswishy sweets fabriclook at the range available –  you’ll be convinced!

After a few hours (days) of contemplation, I decided upon the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ‘Lickswishy Sweets’ design – isn’t it great?! I mean, just say ‘Lickswishy’ a few times out loud, right now. It’s fantastic. Anyway, if sweets aren’t your thing, have a look at the awesome Matilda  fabric  or the fabulous Fantastic Mr Fox designs. I think I love them all.

The lampshade kit that I used for my project is from Need Craft, and one that I actually won in a competition last year (!!). You can also buy similar kits at Elephant in My Handbag right here. The kit I used is a 40cm drum lampshade and the box comes with everything that you need (aside from the fabric) to make your lampshade from scratch. And it’s surprisingly easy too! Here are a few pics of the process:

roald dahl fabric diy lampshade

What do you think of my finished Roald Dahl lampshade? It matches my blue bedroom perfectly (despite what my other half says!) Now show me your own Roald Dahl creations!

Oh and here a few tips for DIY lampshade making: make sure you have LOTS of space, don’t be afraid of everything getting stuck to everything else and definitely DON’T break the lightbulb when you’re changing the shade for photographs: it hurts and you’ll need a bandage!

My New Year Sewing Resolutions

The end of 2013 is fast approaching and, since we recently moved all my sewing things out of the living room (sob sob) to make way for the Christmas tree (yay), now has become the perfect moment to have a bit of a fabric clear-out and a project-plan ready for the New Year!

First up: yes I have a bit of a fabric stash problem. I don’t plan to rectify this in 2014 – as if that’s ever going to happen – but I do plan on actually using some of the lovely materials I’ve collected since moving in! So, I thought I’d put together a little round-up of my New Year’s Resolutions by matching fabrics to patterns (and knitting!), in hope that some of these items will finally get to see the light of day that they deserve. What sewing plans do you have for 2014?

Simplicity 1609 in blue stripe cotton

Simplicity 1609 in blue stripe cotton

Simplicity 6895 in Liberty Lawn

Simplicity 6895 in Liberty Lawn

Simplicity 6022 in reindeer tartan

Simplicity 6022 in reindeer tartan

Simplicity 6176 in Scandi jersey knit

Simplicity 6176 in Scandi jersey knit

Burda 7297 in floral cotton

Burda 7297 in floral cotton

Sewing Bee dress in silky  polycotton

Sewing Bee dress in silky polycotton

Nordic knitted jumper

Nordic knitted jumper

Millamia Elk Cushion

Millamia Elk Cushion

New Roald Dahl Print Fabrics!

How great are these new Roald Dahl print fabrics featuring illustrations by Quentin Blake?! I absolutely love the Fantastic Mr Fox and James and the Giant Peach designs and can easily see them adorning my entire house… who says you need to have children to enjoy them! You can buy the Roald Dahl fabrics in various places, including online here, but for now here’s my pick of the best:

 roald dahl fabric giant peaches  roald dahl fabric squibbling  roald dahl fabric fantastic mr fox
 roald dahl fabric matilda  roald dahl fabric bunk doodling books  roald dahl fabric phizz whizzing feathers
 roald dahl fabric fantabulous flowers  roald dahl fabric golden ticket  roald dahl fabric the bfg

Learning to Love the Fabric I Already Own

I think that the title of this post is a dilemma that many sew-ers have – but let me explain. I’ve found myself in an incredibly fortunate fabric-based position: at home, tucked in the corner by the dining table, is a large, wooden blanket box, handmade by a male relative back when my Dad was a child. It’s full to bursting with fabric – some that I’ve bought myself but many that have been donated to me by Grandmas and Aunties.

material box

In fact, I have so much fabric I could probably comfortably clothe half the population.

Yet why do I always find myself browsing the internet and my local fabric shops for new material? This post is all about learning to love the fabric that I’ve already got. So, after a bit of an after-work sort out, I’ve picked a few of my favourite pieces that I really need to use! Any suggestions for potential projects would be greatly appreciated!

green floral cotton

green floral cotton

green plaid

dark green plaid

blue stripe cotton

stripe cotton

broderie anglaise

broderie anglaise

pink houndstooth

pink houndstooth

pink floral cotton

pink floral cotton

pink floral cotton 2

pink floral brushed cotton

orange floral cotton

orange floral cotton

Do you find that you have the same dilemma? How do you keep your fabric stores in check?