Monday, 15 September 2014

Cat Lady Sewing Challenge

It is no secret at all that I am a crazy cat lady! I love all the kitties! Especially my own purring princess....

So it will come as no surprise to see I am joining in with the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, a genius idea from the lovely Miss Crayola Creepy.

It is quite a timely challenge as I recently was eying up some children's wear from Sainsburys featuring cats, and also have pinned a few things in the past over on ye olde Pinterest.

So decisions decisions.... off the top of my head the contenders are as follows -

* a circle skirt with kitties on the hem

* a dress with cat print fabric (although the fabric I like is a quilting cotton from Japan and I am way too tight to pay out for it!)

* a leopard print jacket (allowed to use leopard print but does feel a little bit like cheating!)

Well I will update when I am decided on what to do!

Is any one else joining in this fun challenge?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Age UK Big Knit - Free Crochet Pattern

Whilst I was away, I had some time to make a few little crochet hats for the Age UK Big Knit, which you have probably heard of or seen the little hats on bottles of Innocent Smoothies. Just incase you haven't heard of this, it raises money for Age UK, with 25p per bottle sold with a hat on donated to them. For all the details and more advanced patterns (mostly knit ones) check out their website HERE, and also the Age UK one HERE.

The pattern I am going to be sharing is for one of these simple little crochet hats :)

You will need -
6mm hook
Chunky yarn (not much, they're tiny!)

This is in UK crochet terms, substitute dc for sc if a US reader :)

Inc = Increase

I will write the details for the red/white striped ones, for a plain one just ignore the colour changes.

1) 5 dc in a magic ring   (5)
2) Inc round                  (10)
3) [dc, Inc] round          (15)  
Change colours here, I pull the last loop of the round through with the new colour
4) dc round                    (15)
5) dc round                    (15)
Change colours here
6) dc round                     (15)
7) dc round                     (15)
Change colours again
8) dc round                      (15)
Finish off - I usually do a slip stitch then a knot.
Cut off ends and weave tails in.

And you're done! I think I will add a few pom poms to mine, but they look cute without too.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

FESA Plans

Bit late posting this up as I was away on holiday last week (Switzerland; It was fabulous!) but here are my initial plans for FESA 2014 with bad illustrations to make up for the tardiness ;)

I am starting off cautiously, as I can always do more if there is time, so I won't be listing items for all categories.

First up is - Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather

Right, once you're finished giggling over the pics (it would have taken me weeks to draw these on a computer so I did it the old fashioned way with a pen, paper, and scanner) they are trousers btw!! :)
They will both be made with Simplicity s2700, with the pair on the right modified from the original pattern. LHS will be made up in black corduroy (in stash ready and waiting) with the heavier fabric supporting the wider leg. I hope. The RHS will be made from a grey stretch gaberdine, made to be more tightly fitted around the butt/thigh area.

This picture is my only imagining of how to draw the "Tania culotte" style culottes. I have yet to blog about it but I made my own pattern up for these, and have a lightweight summer pair in the wardrobe already. I am thinking a nice tweed? Lined? All up in the air at the moment, but I have been ogling some nice wool blends on eBay, and tossing up the pros and cons of making a pair of silky bloomers to wear underneath slip style, or just lining them making them cold weather only. Any help/opinions greatly welcomed here!

Next is Chic Chemises for Cooler Climates

Well the top one is meant to be a Myrna cardi (By the fabulous Andi Satterlund). I have one on the needles already in a charcoal grey, and it is a really great pattern, especially for a less advanced knitter such as myself. I have yarn to try and make a second one in black before FESA is over, but no promises!

The middle is a long sleeved t-shirt, which I will make with my own pattern, and perhaps also have a go with one of the free patterns available that I am probably one of the last bloggers to try! I love a plain black tee, and a longer sleeved selection (3/4 probably) are in desperate need for the colder months. You have probably worked out, dear reader, that I did not colour in the pictures because most things are going to be black! It may be boring for some, but I love the simplicity and elegance (ha, not that I am elegant in any way!) of black. No fussing over colours clashing, or pattern mixing, or worrying it won't work with leopard print ;)

The bottom one is a maybe project. I have made a peplum blouse already in black (again, unblogged at present) and I like it a lot. So I thought I might make one in white as I have a few white bed sheets in the stash, all pretty crisp if you follow me. But I also have some black pin dot poly cotton that is in the stash too. Decisions, decisions! I will have to get back to you on that one.

Moving on to Underneath it all

Pants. Panties. Knickers. Whatever you call your undercrackers, they are essential for protecting one's bottom against the chill. I happen to need some new ones, so this is very timely. I have a self drafted pattern, but I might try out the Rosie Ladyshorts, or the Sew Vera Venus grannie pants. Or both. I have the elastics in my stash, and have some jersey floating about, so perhaps just treat myself to 1m of a patterned jersey to throw in with the black.

Those Cozy Nights

Much to the disappointment of the OH, this is a dressing gown not an outfit for reenacting Mortal Kombat. I will save myself many blushes when an early Saturday morning delivery man comes knocking at the door by making a nice cotton dressing gown. I have some sheets in my stash earmarked for this. I considered making one in fleece. I don't want to get in the habit of living in it though so maybe stick to a slightly less cozy one!

Last of all - Tender Tootsies

If I have time, I will start a pair of socks. They might not be finished, but I will at least try to start some! I have the stuff to make them all in the stash, and a pattern (a REALLY easy one!) so maybe this one will sneak in as a little bonus! Perhaps a lunch break project?

Well I guess that is all but 2 categories, but I think this is an achievable amount of items for the period of time...and if I go a little bit over - never mind!
It is the taking part that counts after all.

Is anyone else up and running with this yet?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

FESA 2014

It's that time of year again when the weather is starting to take a turn for the worse, and thoughts of cozy knits and warm trousers begin to replace the summer dresses. We have had a spectacular summer here in the UK with lots of lovely sunny days, although as I write this it is raining (as it has been all day - booo!). Now it is coming up to September, it gets chillier, and I have a particularly dire wardrobe when it comes to the colder seasons. I spend a lot of time indoors, and I'm not afraid of central heating I never really put away my light dresses and t-shirts, I just add a cardi over the top. Only when I have to leave the house do I remember why people have winter wardrobes - I thus spend an hour staring at my clothes trying to figure out what I could possibly wear and avoid a soaking or getting frozen half to death. But no more! I am finally going to be sensible and sort it out, as you know, colder weather does make up approximately 8 months of the year here!

If you're unfamiliar with the FESA, it is hosted this year by Sarah over at The Creative Perfectionist and Lisette (formerly of What Would Nancy Drew Wear?) of That 70's Sew.

There are 7 categories -
1. Fashionable Foundations For Frosty Weather
2. Chic Chemises For Cool Climates
3. Fabulous Frocks
4. Underneath It All
5. Tender Tootsies
6. Those Cozy Nights
7. Baby It's Cold Outside

FESA runs from September 1st for 8 weeks, so plenty of time to get sewing and knitting!

I'm still trying to decide upon my plans and will post them up soon.

Is anyone else joining in this year?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Sew Nice To See You....

I can't apologise any more for the bad blogging, we're all friends here so I can say that it stands at a "If I do, then I do; If I don't, then I don't" situation!
I have been busy beavering away, and as per usual it is my terrible photography (or should I say reluctance to be photographed) that stands in the way of a finished item becoming a blog post. BUT I have just had a fancy hair cut, and am on a diet for like the billionth time, so maybe I will feel a bit more confident about having my photo taken.

In the mean time, I hope you will all appreciate the latest addition to my fridge ;) You can never have enough Ryan Gosling!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Sew For Victory!

Well I thought I would have to miss out on this but as the lovely Rochelle kicked back the deadline by a week I had enough time to get my project photographed. I made it at the beginning of April so it is just laziness that meant it didn't get photographed before....oh well!

First up my inspiration. I pinned a few different patterns on Pinterest HERE.

If you know me well, you will know I am all about the shirt-dress! I L-O-V-E them! So it seemed at first that this would be a no brainer. But then I decided that it wouldn't be anything special to crank out a TNT pattern for a sew-along. As I am not a frivolous sewer, I had to make something I would wear, and preferably that I need. One of my pins answered that, I needed a blouse!

So my inspiration is this -

And from the four on here I went for a version of the bottom right hand one.

I didn't have a pattern, so I kind of maybe just bodged one....and by bodged, I mean really bodged!
However, it did work! I wanted to have some kind of bust dart for a bit of shaping, and some darts in the back of the blouse too. As I am a lazy SOB, I didn't want to change up my overlocker threads and french seamed it. Which was okay until I realised I could do with taking the sides in a bit (read as quite a bit). As a result my back darts are too deep but a belt/ my hair disguises this nicely ;)

I would also like to note that I do not have a suitable looking skirt so have opted to make this a contemporary look, Rochelle had mentioned about doing so and I think it is a good idea, especially for separates. It shows that a vintagey pattern is not a one trick pony, and allows you infinitely more choice when wearing it.

So eek! Here it is! I don't like pics of myself, they remind me about how fat I am that I try to forget ;)

Well I guess I should have ironed it! But never mind. White on white is hard to see in pictures but I decided to only have the frilly trim round the neckline, it would have been a bit much round the arms too I think. I trimmed either side of the button placket with lace and sewed a 3mm white ribbon on top to give it a little something extra. The buttons were in my stash having bought them for my doomed Mad Men Challenge dress (I'm not ready to talk about that yet haha!) and in true make do and mend style, the fabric used to be a flat bed sheet. It is unlikely to have been used much before it ended up in the charity shop, the fabric hasn't gone "old bed sheet soft"  yet and it is still very bright white.

Well, I'm glad to have joined in on Sew for Victory, big thanks to Rochelle for doing it again :)

Any one else joined in this time?

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Seamless Pledge 1 Year On

Well, I can't believe it has been (ok... just over!)  a whole year since I made this statement -

I, Lucy Lovell, take the Seamless Pledge, and vow not to buy any new clothes (except bras) and stick to the rules laid out below, until I sort myself out and am wearing a UK size 12 clothes. Once I have dropped the 2 dress sizes necessary I will re-assess my pledge and set another target. I would like to be free from the tyranny of corporation and this pledge is one facet of a multi-sided endeavour to become self sufficient and stick it to the man.
Sounds a bit cringe worthy now!

So, I'm not a size twelve, but I would like to re-pledge now, and this time, it's FOR LIFE!!

If you know me, you might know that for the past year, I have made all my own clothes, apart from a coat from a charity shop, two new bras, and a three pack of tights. As I said in my original post HERE, I
don't buy a great deal of clothes anyway, but I was amazed at how few items I picked up in charity shops too! I am definitely not a shopper. My other half even laughed at me because not only was I not buying clothes, I was being super mindful of my fabric use too!

Off the top of my head I have made 2 shirt dresses, 1 kimono sleeved jersey dress, 1 mystery jersey fabric fitted dress, 1 pencil skirt with the remains of the mystery jersey, 1 cotton pj bottoms, 1 jersey pj top, 3 black tshirts, 1 pair of trousers, 1 smart skirt, 1 sew for victory blouse, and 1 unfinished pair of shorts. Oh and a few pairs of knickers :D I also upcycled a dress into a skirt. Seeing all this written down feels like a lot, but it makes up over half my wardrobe!

The tshirts are to replace 6 year old tshirts that all have holes in now (one is really shocking!) and the only other pair of trousers I have are in a state (chub rub thigh holes, so not classy!) and should be de-zipped and turned to rags.
I also used old curtains for one shirt dress, and old bed sheets for the pj bottoms and the blouse.

Looking at my previous pledge you can see I omitted bras, and I also was not considering shoes in this either. Bra making for hefty bosoms is something I am very cautious about as I don't want to suffer any back pain or lasting damage, so for now I will continue to purchase bras from M&S, but I will only do so when it is absolutely necessary. Not that I'm a frivolous bra buyer anyway!
As for shoes, well I hope to be able to save my pennies/beg father Christmas to be able to go on a shoe making workshop like Daniela from Ela Sews and Doesn't Sleep did a while ago. I will also make sure that I get maximum use out of my shoes by having them re-heeled when they wear out, and taking any other steps to prolong their lifespan.

I feel so strongly about not making a contribution to the evils of fast fashion and aiding (by consumption) in the poor quality of life that comes as standard for garment workers producing all the RTW out there. I missed out on the "who made it" event on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy, but I would have shouted loud and proud that it is ME!! who made my outfit. They might not be perfect, but I am happy to say I didn't exploit slave labour for cheap clothing. In a very sweet moment my other half told me that it was inspiring to him that I "go to all this effort", whilst I don't see it as effort, it did make me think that a) he is very lovely, and b) in "real life" I do not know anyone who sews all their own clothes, and even amongst the sewers there are none who regularly make things which is just crazy to me!

Any way, here are a couple of links I think are helpful and relevant here -
War on Want
Slow Fashion Forward
The Ethical Fashion Forum

I would love for you to tell me your thoughts on this issue.