Tag Archives: sewing

Sew and Sew

I was getting fed up of, I mean inspired by looking at the excessive amount of dressmaking production going on over at Roobeedoo.  So last Monday in a vain attempt to not feel sew (get it sew instead of so) inadequate I finished off a dress that I’d cut out last August!  

When I found the fabric, finally, it turned out that I had actually done more than I thought which was good and subsequently a tad problematic.  When I originally cut out the paper pattern I cut out a size 12 – which is what I was at the time.  In the four years since (to last August) I’d gone up to a size 14 so added extra room to the middle (without thinking ‘This will make the neck wider’) and sides.

I’d sewn up the top part of the bodice, which is lined with the main fabric, so all I needed to do was attached the bottom part of the bodice, make up the skirt, add the zip and do the hem.

I remembered that I’d made it bigger as I came to do the back seam and add the zip.  As there was no way I was going to start undoing the bodice to take it in at the sides I decided that the easiest thing to do was just to reduce the excess at the centre back which resulted in this…

The back straps being much closer together than at the front but since this is what the front looks like…

yes, a pretty wide neck opening which shows off to perfection my dialysis line, I don’t think I’ll be wearing it without a cardy…

so that solves the problem of anyone noticing that the back is much narrower than the front.

The dress didn’t even cost me anything – I had the zip and thread in and Auntie Eleanor gave me the fabric last year.

Pensive look in the second photo resulting from B taking the pictures.  I’ve said before about his point, wait a while, click, can you tell what it is, if so job done approach to photography.  So since I’ve now got him to take maybe three of each I don’t have much to choose from.

We also had a camera malfunction.  I thought it was bust as I couldn’t get it to come back on next time I tried to use it and couldn’t even blame B as I was the last one to touch it when I looked at the photos B had taken.  Turned out this was the problem and when I looked at them again and then exited this option it worked fine – I had the idea to try this while walking Bud this morning.  The first proper walk we’ve been on (just the two of us) since ohhhh, last October/November and we even went a bit further than his regular walk – which may be why I had to take an extra painkiller – but it was worth it.

Undressing Dolls

Whilst at the show on Saturday I asked when the booklet was published giving details of the categories – turns out its April.  That provides a whole five months preparation time as opposed to the two days I had – my own fault I know.  So the only thing I made specifically for the show was this little bunny.

Everything else was just stuff I’d made that I still had hold of at the time.  Apparently the categories are mostly the same but last year’s Needlepoint Item became this year’s Handmade Toy.

The only item I started last year with the view of finishing in time for this year’s show was a lace shawl and that got as far as 26 rows so not much of a finished item there.  So with that in mind I decided that whatever the categories for next year I won’t purposely make something purely for the show I’ll just make stuff I like and hopefully there will be enough suitable categories for me to win, er I mean enter.

With that in mind my biggest weakness is Handmade Toy – I don’t really do sewn toys of the detailed calibre of Auntie Eleanor…

Does this count as rag doll pornography?

 A full head of hair despite the bonnet and even an additional line of wool to cover the parting

This is the INSIDE of the underskirt – which has a lined bodice and super neat finish where it meets the skirt

A couple of pin tuck pleats on the bottom of the skirt and a lace trim

I finally persuaded her to put on her dress and bonnet but she insisted on showing off her little felt shoes

And here’s her little embroidered face with felt cheeks and eyes which are surrounded by tiny, tiny blanket stitches

Heck whenever I do dresses for me it tends to be in a rush so even they don’t reach the fine finishing standard of Auntie En’s doll’s underskirt. So I’ll have to give this category some serious thought as I know full well I haven’t got the patience to produce a sewn doll anything close to this.

I would also point out that when I was little and relatives started going abroad on holiday (which was a rarity at the time) they would bring back national costume dressed dolls for me.  I was given a Greek one, a flamenco dancer, a Scottish piper, a Welsh lady (okay those two are not technically abroad) and one in a pink sparkly dress.  I have no idea where that one was from possibly because by this point in time dolls were confiscated before I could get me little paws on them.  As we know I have a curious nature and which extended to wanting to know what was under the dresses and of course these dolls weren’t to the calibre of Auntie En’s with buttons and ribbons – they were glued so as you can imagine when I’d finished with them they didn’t look quite the same as when they started out.

Creative chromosomes


Today, and I do literally mean today, my creative space has included an eclectic mix of stuff.

Some things in preparation of my hospital appointment tomorrow such as this coconut bread.  One for B, one for the staff on the day unit.  

A good few hours were spent browsing high risk myeloma on the internet. After further research, in the loosest sense of the word, it turns out that cytogenetics only show the chromosone 13 deletion, but alterations to other chromosomes needs FISH, an analysis method I ignored before my last but one pre-appointment last minute cramming and not but not as in the kind in a tank or the cod in batter that B suggested we have for tea earlier in the week and which, on further investigation before cooking fortunately, turned out to have passed its expiry date in November 2010.

Now if you come here for my craftiness you might want to pay close attention to the following because depending how it goes tomorrow there may be a test in the future! (Yes I know you thought I was going to say just skip along and pick up at the next photo but no I can be such a meany.)

So FISH (flourescence insitu hybridisation) shows t(14;4), t(14;16), and 17p13 (del[17p].  Got it so far?  Good.  There are also t(11;14) and t(6:14).

Now you don’t really want t(4;14), t(14;16) or del(17p) however if you do get them if you can also manage to have a low ß2-microglobulin this can mean a similar or only marginally worse outlook than usual.

‘Kay?  Right, what the heck are these t’s and numbers then, well –

Most of us have two copies of 22 chromosomes which themselves have a long and a short ‘arm’.

There are various positions on these arms which conveniently enough are numbered.  So del(17p) as it is commonly known is really 17p13.  17 is the chromosome number, p means the short arm and 13 is the position of the deleted bit.  The long arm is called q, in case you were wondering and not just for 17, every short arm is p and every long arm is q.

Chromosomes can also gain bits but I can’t seem to find any myeloma relevant additions so we will just skip that bit.

However stuff can also ‘t’ for translocate – t(4;14) meaning that parts of chromosones 4 and 14 had a little party or something and 4 went home with one of 14’s socks and 14 had 4’s purse.

Hello?  Still there?  Good, because now we have some good news in all this intermingling and deleting.  t(11;14) can mean nothing or even mean a little bit of a favourable outcome.

Right I think that’s enough for now since I haven’t fully understood hypodiploidy or how the plasma cell labelling index indexes itself in a way that’s different to plasma cell content in a bone marrow sample so let’s get crafty again.  Here’s a dress I started sewing together this evening…

Here’s the yarn I went out to purchase this afternoon (along with plain flour for my coconut bread as I missed it off the shopping list) because Shelly over at This Eclectic Life is doing the whole 150 afghans for kids with cancer again this year.  She is seriously crazy I mean all she gets from it is the satisfaction of knowing that she’s responsible for putting a smile of the face of a small child.  Geez some people!

Bud was very excited at the sight of the blue yarn when I got home however the little present I got him was this red Kong.  It wobbles like a weebble and you put treats inside and with enough encouragement they fly out.  Although he ignored it at first I am pleased to report that he played with it so much while I was sewing that he ended up panting. Although there were a few brief breaks when he came over to me to let me know that it was stuck behind something – the dress form, the laundry basket.

And just to thank you for making it through all the myeloma stuff to get to this point here’s a picture of Bud when I came out of the bathroom yesterday morning and walked back into the bedroom…

Other creative spaces are here.

Flakey Jingle Bells

And yet more Christmas presents are coming out of my elf workshop, or should that be elfing sweat shop?

And yes those are different reindeer and Santas and not just because they are on different backgrounds and I gave the bottom one out today and realised later that I’d forgotten to add the bells to the reindeer – Doh!

Jingle Bells

The Flakes

There were two lots of snowmen but I forget to take a picture of the first ones and they now have a new home.  I made the second ones for a back up present while I was on a roll.

I got the pattern from a shop that has now closed but the pattern designer is Sweet Dreams.

It didn’t take too long as I happened to have a box of decapitated heads in the back of the wardrobe.

Some people have snowy worlds with talking lions I have snowmen and reindeer heads – it looks like a crafting massacre!

Made – 9/29* with 10 days to go (*  Yes I realised I needed another one!)

Panic level – 3/10

Christmas Presents

I haven’t got any Christmas presents yet, I haven’t even added suggestions of presents to my list of names.  I usually buy things throughout the year and certainly have my list finished by August.  This doesn’t mean that I’m not wrapping things until just before they are given or finishing a handmade gift the week before – people don’t like it if you’re too organised!

This year I’ve been thinking ‘Should I make things, or should I buy?’  Then on Thursday I came across this…

Handmade presents or ones bought from family or local business.

I ummmed, I errred and then I signed up!

Once in the past (2007 – I keep records), I did make Christmas decorations for everyone (except my two nephews and the family dogs).  Previously it had been probably 50/50 handmade and bought.  Not that this didn’t come with its issues.

One year I cross stitched pictures for both B’s Mum/Dad and his brother/my sister in law. (You can see that the only my in there relates to a non blood relative of B’s – sigh!)  Gillian’s cross stitch was bigger than the mother in laws and I knew this would cause comment or a slight sulk, something anyway.  I needed something esle to pad out the m-i-l’s gift, so I ended up buying the mother in law a big bunch of white and pink artifical roses which were quite (very) expensive but were representive of the money.

Christmas Day when we called round at B’s brothers with the presents the m-i-l, opened hers first and said it was nice.  When Gill opened hers, the first words out of the m-i-l’s mouth were ‘That’s nice, its bigger than ours!’.  The flowers then spent the six years still wrapped up ‘bouquet style’ on the back bedroom bed with various other un-utilised gifts.

Another reason to go for a handmade Christmas is that B’s brother is also not really a fan of handmade stuff – if it doesn’t have a PROPER label and a receipt to take it back with he’s not really interested.  I did once knit him a jumper that I know he wore at least once, because we accidentally bumped into him and he had it on.  What he didn’t know was that the cotton yarn originally started off as a cream jumper I knit for myself, didn’t like, unravelled, knit back up into a guernsey style jumper for him and dyed dark blue!

B’s brother and Gill were once buying custom made curtains for what I considered an extortionate price.  I mean good on the small shop charging this, I know the work that goes in, but I find it hard to justify paying a lot for curtains when I know I can do them myself and enjoy doing it.    When I obviously couldn’t hide the stunned look on my face and upon being asked what I thought I said ‘Well I’b probably be looking at doing them for a quarter to a third of that at most.’  I was then informed that this was the difference between going out to a restaurant for a steak and cooking one up at home!

I so wish I’d been able to come back with ‘Well if you make it at home you know exactly how fresh the steak was, where it was come from and that someone hasn’t kicked it across the kitchen floor’ (and if they have at least it was your own kitchen floor and you know how clean it is).  I was vegan at the time so I wouldn’t have entertained eating a steak – so I came back with NOTHING!

Here are some of my homemade steaks, I mean curtains…

The landing, with long voile to cover the uneven plaster wall beneath and a matching roman blind.  (Yes, we do need a light shade.)

The hall/dining room

The kitchen blind which was a piece of material I had over from making Auntie Ann a duvet cover one Christmas.

The lounge, the material for which was a bargain

And where I spend my days working for a living has swags and tails.  I’m not really a that girly kinda gal so I decided to use thin velvet/velour cheap material (in case I didn’t like it) and patchwork it in big squares first and I actually really liked it.  So much so I made a matching throw for the office chair.

They may not be wagyu steak but they’re certainly not scrag end!


Creative Space Thursday – It’s curtains but not as you know them

Now I thought that by this time this week I would have combined what is currently in my creative space ie, this…

with these from last week

and they would be hanging here…

Obviously not!

Buddy’s Bedding

Okay hands up who really thought I was going to buy a bed sheet so that Buddy’s duvet matched ours!  I will admit that the thought briefly crossed my mind and there is probably a market out there for that but his main duvet ended up being covered in some material I’d bought for a dress but realised it was way too sheer!  It would have made a nice blouse but I don’t do blouses.

So the finished basket duvet measured 104cm x 133.  Since he likes giving his bedding the occasional rumpage and does that twirly thing until I go dizzy (apparently this comes from when dogs needed to flatten grass to lie on – or so I am led to believe) I decided to not fold the duvet over and make a smaller cover.

We are having some new double glazed units installed today so Buddy is more like my shadow that usual, and he is dog tired after our long walk this morning which had the aim of making him sleep through the installation.  This hasn’t proved to work and although he is very friendly with the installers, one of whom he met on his first night here, he won’t settle as there is just too much going on and allsorts of interesting noises that keep disturbing him.

So when I put his freshly laundered duvet cover on the floor to photograph it – he rightly pointed out that it was his and he was having a kip.

The remnant of the ‘spare’ duvet was used to make a cushion for the lounge floor.  I used a piece of fleece that I’d had hanging about for a while and which I had used when I got back from my SCT holiday when I needed to snuggle and nod off on the settee – it’s had a fair bit of washing and has gone a bit bobbly but I thought it would do for a temporary measure.

This measures 80cm x 62cm and is a double thickness

and get a load of the designer buttons

which obviously came off a pair of Calvin Klein Jeans.  Ohhhhhhhhh!  Well to be honest I got them from TK Maxx and they weren’t technically jeans in the denim sense but made from linen and although I loved the fit and worn them a lot (which may have been the problem) the fabric didn’t last long at all – I would have been disappointed if I had paid full price for them.  I also got a pair of simple drawstring top linen trousers at the same time from a CK outlet shop and again loved these (even though I had to take about a foot off the length as they were 27″ waist and about 53″ leg!).  However the same thing happened the linen fabric just wasn’t durable which may explain why the ended up in discount shops!

I am a Winner!

Hey what can I say, I entered 7 things in the local ‘village’ show and 6 won something!

CROSS STITCH – 1st & 2nd

Mirabillia Autumn Queen – Let’s have a close up of the little lady…

Donna Kooler – Carousel Horses in Cross Stitch – Whirlwind September

KNITTING – 1st & 3rd

Stole in tweed stitch with knit on border

2nd was a child’s aran jacket

Here’s what the Victoria sponge knitting became – a friend has already pulled her face at the colour choice – she’s very traditional about babies and pale colours.  I pointed out that although I like the colour choice I started in on Monday when I started feeling better after the stomach upset and had to use what I had in as I would have used more cream in the lacy bit but beggars can’t be choosers.

CROCHET – 1st & 3rd

I am so proud of this because it is my own pattern.  Basically because necessity is the mother of invention.  I went online to find a pattern last night and the laptop threw a wobbler so at 22:30 I had to decide whether to cobble something together myself or carry on fiddling with the computer.  Fortunately I went with the cobble option.  We had to make a special trip with the cupcake this morning and I think it won because I requested that B kiss is before it left the car!  A lady wants me to make her one – she collects cupcakes and would like a chocolate one crocheted.

It as so weird – in a pleasant way – standing there whilst people said how much they liked it without knowing it was mine.

2nd was a crochet hat with a little flower attached.

Some of my Share a Square squares.  I took about 25 last night but wasn’t able to arrange them at the time so I left five in a little fan shape so they could be moved over to their judging position.

Here’s the little lonely square that didn’t win a bean – bit I still love it.

And I jointly won the Nevins Limited Silver Trophy for most points in the Handicrafts Section.  I get six months with it and then have to give it back.  When the joint winner pointed out that she had won it for the last two years I said she was welcome to keep it for the full 12 months if it had left a gap on her sideboard.  She said no I was welcome to do what she had with it, when she got over the disappointment that it was a tray and not a trophy, and that was stick it on top of a cupboard and fill it with junk – no sour grapes there then.  I have nailed it to the front of the house with a sign so big it can be seen from the moon!

Other highlights of the show were cabbages that were about three times the size of my head, parsnips and leaks about the same height as me (no they just seemed that way, they are about three feet long however), wellies and a TV filled with plants, a divine looking baked blackberry cheesecake, a two foot high junk sculpture plaster of paris type mushroom and a gorgeous needlepoint dining room chair seat (not by me).

It’s just as well I now have  a tray to prove I am a fine upstanding member of the community as I may need to produce it at the local police station later.  My Auntie Ann has gone to the potentially last (potentially because there may be a home based play-off) game of the Saints in their old stadium.  They have played there for 120 years.  My Auntie Ann has attended the last 46ish years.  When we left her house this afternoon I told her to do her utmost not to get arrested (bit of role reversal there, surely she should be telling me) for causing a breach of the peace or by chaining herself to her seat, a gate, a player, etc.  Should it hit the news, internationally probably, we don’t know who she is – I’ve decided I can’t risk loosing the tray!

Successful Sewing and So So Knitting

This particular dress was the one I got stuck in because it was too small – but with the aid of another strip of fabric down the back which ends with the sunflowers in full bloom it fits.  Actually fit fitted too well with bits a bit too loose so I added two lots of elastic at the back across the width of the additional panel.  It must have worked quite well because it got complimented by people I don’t know.  When we went to the Royal just over a week ago the phlebotomist said how nice it was and then today the young lady serving B asked where I had got it from.  When I informed her I’d made it, she asked if I could make her one as she’d not come across anything like it in the shops.  I may have trouble squeezing my head through the door when I leave the room.

Or then again maybe not…

What can I say the yarn looked really nice as a Buddy so I decided to make myself a cropped cardigan in it.  It looks much better on the mannequin.  It kind of looks big on me whilst making me look big in it!  I thought about redoing the sleeves and making the shoulder seam shorter but it’s too big under the arms too.  Fortunately it’s just the right weight yarn for Share a Square squares.

More Dresses

I dropped on this material in my local fabric store, which I must take a photo of as it has to be seen to be believed, although I’d need some spy training first as some the staff would probably escort me from the premises if they caught me.

I particularly liked the way the flowers were denser at the edge of the fabric although the dress doesn’t show this off as well as it could because I was a little short of material and had to cut out what I could from where I could – grain be dammed.  I had intended for the band under the bodice to be smocked but that turned into a smocking mess and I took the scissors to it one night when I was a little over tired – as my Great Aunt used to describe it – I was nangy tired!  I ‘tidied’  the dress bits away (for tidied read stuffed in a drawer) but fortunately the following day after a good night’s sleep I tackled it again and used the waistband that went with the original pattern but altered the skirt.  Fortunately being short was advantageous and even with the three inches of smockiness cut off the dress was still long enough.

The zip I inserted by hand as per Couture Sewing Techniques.  I don’t think my running stitches are quite as small as they should be but so far the zip hasn’t burst free and I’ve worn it twice.  I had a zip in which matched perfectly the peachy colour in the material and decided rather than hide the zip I’d leave it on display as a contrast.

When I put it on to go out last week B had just woke up and said he liked it but enquired about my wig.  I tried it on and B didn’t think the wig went with the dress – thus proving my theory when you are folically challenged you don’t have to worry about your hair style matching your outfit.

The second dress was made from scrapes.  A dress I’d made but didn’t like in the blue gingham along with plain white cotton and three different lots of broderie anglaise* my Auntie En had given me.  I like it but… because I lined the broderie anglaise on the top two tiers it doesn’t hang like it should, being a little bit stiff.  I have a sneaky feeling it’s not going to get a lot of wear.  It took a lot more material than I had anticipated hence the patchwork bottom tier which got complemented by a fellow customer in the fabric shop.

*  I had to google this because spell check had no idea – I also had no idea – how hard is it to google something when you have no idea how it’s spelled – but I did find an online fabric shop so it worked out well!