Thursday, 27 February 2014

Christmas Present Notebooks

So, don’t faint, but I made stuff that wasn’t skirts! I know, madness huh?
These are some notebook covers that I made for some of my girl-friends as Christmas presents. They were really simple to make, I drafted the “pattern” myself, (which was less a pattern and more a rectangle) and they’re made out of two layers of fabric stitched together, with the ends folded into pockets to make removable notebook covers.
I decorated them in a variety of ways – the three matching ones are just plain fabric appliqued on.
This one was made for a friend whom I call “Daisy” (it’s not her name, and frankly, the reasoning behind it is a little crazy, but we are both quite crazy so it fits) I try and make all of her presents to have something with a ‘daisy’ on. This I hand embroidered – chain stitch for the petals and satin stitch for the centre – onto a plainer (more stable) fabric than the embroidered taffeta and then appliqued that on too.
Yes, you might recognise this embroidered taffeta from the last post – it’s not the last you’ll see of it either. I made a ball gown out of it originally, and, um, was left with a LOT. I think part of the reason is I am so short that anything with a skirt ends up taking up far less fabric than patterns suggest it will.
Here I have two corresponding notebooks – one made in the same style as above (for a friend who loves elephants) and the other again just plain applique. Frankly, I’m not impressed with these too – the dark green fabric was too thick for the purpose (I believe it was drill) and the faux Chinese silk was too unstable – I should have interfaced it before I did the applique – and I didn’t. That is a lesson learnt.
I made two others, the pink on was for Mr P’s mother, and is hand embroidered straight onto the main fabric of the book – it makes it really hard to read, partially because of the colour combinations used. The final one is for a friend who runs her own company Birth Right Hypnobirthing and I made it for her birthday to match a skirt I made her for Christmas – that’s probably the one I’m most proud of, and was actually the one I did first. The letters are hand embroidered on, in a chain stitch if I recall correctly.
Anyway, should be back to skirts next week!
Katy x
Gingerly Made

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Three Little Skirts

Hey look! More skirts. Did I mention I like skirts. They’re so easy to make. That being said, these did not turn out to be easy. 
I used this tutorial from the wonderful flamingotoes although made quite a few changes – for starters, there was no colour blocking. I added three layers of net into each skirt, and then fully lined them too. This made for QUITE A PALAVA in terms of skirt-making.

They were made as Christmas presents for my two god-daughters and one niece (ages 8, 7 and 3 respectively) out of more scrap fabric – I figured this lovely embroidered taffeta would make a great party skirt for a little girl.
The accent fabric is some kind of satin-feel at a guess – which oh my goodness is either the best or the worst thing ever. It’s like the OPPOSITE of fabric which creases really easily… I could NOT get this fabric to hold a shape no matter HOW hard I tried. I pressed and I pressed and I pressed and it would NOT crease. Not even a little bit. The result of this was belt loops and sashes that were both a PAIN to sew and don’t look particularly neat… well darn.
The three layers of netting were an absolute must, because what is a party skirt if it’s not POOFY. However I hate the feel of netting against my legs, and little legs are even more sensitive than mine so I lined it in pale blue lining fabric.

Essentially I kept the construction of this as simple as possible sandwiching all 5 layers together and then sewing up the sides at the end – I overlocked this to keep it nice and neat.
It’s a gathered waistband at the back with elastic, which hopefully with the tie around the waist (which is a functioning tie) should mean that they last a little while, even with the growing speeds that these three seem to shoot up at! (Or maybe I’m a bad godmother/aunt and don’t see them often enough! That seems more likely)
As far as I am aware they were all very well received. I was there when my niece opened hers and there were squeals of delight and she wanted to put it on straight away – which of course, we obliged with, and she looked darling in. My lovely goddaughters wrote me wonderful thank-you letters because they are such polite girls, and told me that their mummy had had to wrestle them out of them to wash them, as they’d worn them every day since Christmas!
These ended up taking a bit longer to make than I had originally hoped – mostly because of how fiddly they were dealing with so many different fabrics, and all pretty uncooperative fabrics at that! However, big smiles come Christmas totally made up for it!
Until the next time
Katy x
Make It and Love It

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Blog Post Numero Uno – A Self Drafted Skirt

Hello non-existant readers (yet… you may yet exisit in potentia) OR if I have become a SUPER FAMOUS BLOGGER and you’re all ‘oooh how did she start out’ welcome to The Beginning.

The following is a self-drafted skirt – I had some scraps of linen-poly blend left over from another project. I say scraps, I am ALWAYS, INCREDIBLY ECONOMICAL with my pattern placement, and therefore end up with TONNES of fabric left over. Happy times! Styled here with an off-the-rack blazer (charity shop win) and top.Essentially the front is an a-line piece and the back is a rectangle with two darts added in at the top to shape it over my rather-larger-than-I’d-like-it-to-be bottom.

As you can see I made the waistband too big – I wanted it to sit on my hips, which it does, but it is also too big around the waist department. This seems to be a fail of mine I have in skirts that I draft myself – not sure how it happens as, um, I make them too my measurements. But perhaps I always think I’m fatter than I actually am.
In terms of finishing – I French seamed the entirety of this beauty, I’m quite proud of it, and it’s stood up well to a LOT of washing. It’s also lined, but I’ll talk about that in a bit.
As I mentioned the fabric is a poly-linen blend which is pretty scratchy and wrinkles worse than anything, but it’s also pretty… and as the fabric doesn’t really ever touch me, I’m not bothered about the feel (it’s also softened up with all the washing I mentioned).
Fastened with a skirt hook and a zip – here’s where I made an error – the skirt hook fastens from back to front, which is obviously wrong, but by the time I’d realised what I’d done I was fed up with the whole project and couldn’t be bothered to fix it. And as the waistband is never visible (not a flattering look on me, I always wear long tops) I figured it’s only me that knows, so it doesn’t matter. Obviously, you know too now… damn. I hand stitched the waistband down, so I could do invisible stitching, and invisible stitched the hem by hand as well. I don’t usually go to that much effort (I hate hand-sewing) but because I wanted a skirt I could be proud enough of to wear in real life I felt it deserved the extra work.
Did I mention I French seamed the WHOLE THING… and yes, THAT INCLUDES THE ZIP. I totally French seamed in the zip… it looks BEAUTIFUL, and was actually not as much work as I was expecting. And it hides that nasty nasty zip edge which I do not like so much and never looks pretty. Quite proud of that.
Onto the lining, as visible in that picture… yes, it is lined in an old sheet. This is a favourite of mine. I don’t know what the fabric is called, I know it as ‘flanellette’ but I’ve seen it labelled in shops as ‘wincette’ I tend to think of it as ‘that soft stuff that sheets were made out of when I was small.
I line my skirts in this, I make petticoats in it, for several reasons: it doesn’t seem to ride up against tights or stockings the way that regular lining fabric does, and it is WARM, it is so warm. I am one of the coldest people ever, and I live in ENGLAND, so being warm, is a complete priority.
Anyway, to sum up – I’m pretty proud of this skirt, particularly all the little finish details that I did myself. I’ve worn this skirt to work and to social functions and have not once had anyone said ‘Wow, did you make that yourself’ WHICH I COUNT AS A WIN.

I have also worn it in front of Mr P’s grandmother, and she didn’t have a heart attack (she often does, I like to show my knees when I dress… shocker that I am). Which is a double win. Definitely a success skirt.

Hopefully successful skirt = successful blog post
Katy x