Friday, 29 August 2014

My Very First Anna Dress....

....and I can't believe I left it this long! 

You guys, I think this is my favourite dress ever. Seriously. 

I have been lusting after the Anna dress by By Hand London for months now, after seeing the beautiful versions of virtually every sewing blogger I follow. Boy, was I late to the party. But what a great party is it! I treated myself to the pattern after I got my A Level results and could finally relax and get down to some serious sewing! 

Firstly, I was super impressed at the little By Hand London label that came with the pattern - a lovely surprise and such a nice touch. Secondly, the clear instructions made this dress a dream to sew. I changed the skirt to a simple gathered one which accommodates my crinoline (any excuse for a vintage style these days!) but that was the only alteration I made. 

I've been looking forward to starting on my winter wardrobe for weeks now - I love the lovely layering possibilities winter brings, as well as the season being more suited to my normal colour palette of navys and burgundys than summer. 

I owe Tilly ( a massive thanks for the fabric, which I bought a couple of months ago with a Fabric Rehab voucher I won in her Brigitte scarf sewalong. It's still available if anyone wants to pop over for a look. I adore the bright colour of the flowers popping out from the darker navy background. 

If you haven't made an Anna dress yet, it comes with a massive recommendation from me. I love it and will very soon be making another version in some strawberry patterned (STRAWBERRY patterned!!) cotton, also from Fabric Rehab). 

I hope you are all having a lovely week, and thank you for stopping by! 

Beth x

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sewing Organisation


Today I wanted to share with you my new sewing boxes! I've recently been accepted at my first choice university to do Welsh History, something which I'm really excited about. With the move to uni looming, I've been starting to think about my student accomodation and the limited space I'll have to store my sewing stash. Admittedly this is, in comparison to other sewers, quite small, but I still wanted it kept neat and tidy. This is where my lovely new boxes come in. 

First up is the smallest of the three, which will be used to keep my sewing patterns in. This way they're all kept together where they can't get dusty or misplaced. 

Second is this gorgeous box which I'm using to store the odd fabric remnants that are often left over at the end of a project. It seems wasteful to throw away quarter metre remnants, even if it's not immediately obvious what they could be used for. They've been stacked in a corner of the living room in my house for months now (much to the frustration of my parents!) but now fiiiiinally have a home. Yay! 

The third and last of the boxes, which is quite possibly my favourite, is this beautiful wicker chest. It's full of all the pieces of fabric I own that are at least a metre in length. I'm more of a buy-it-sew-it kind of girl, so I don't have as much saved fabric as would be ideal (it would save a trip to the fabric shop three times a week!) but this box gives a lovely home for the fabric I do still have waiting to be sewn up. 

So, that's my sewing stash! Now that it's organised I'm feeling a lot calmer about moving it all into my accommodation, and glad that everything has a place. 

How do you organise your sewing stash, please? 

Beth x

Love at First Stitch, One Make a Month: August, the Clemence Skirt

Hi guys! 

I've just finished the third installment of the Love at First Stitch One Make a Month competition. For August I chose the Clemence Skirt pattern, which I thought I could use to create a good transitional piece to take me from Summer into Autumn.

I used a mediumweight burgundy cotton which I thought would hold the shape of the gathers nicely. I love the colour, which I think will be really appropriate come the cooler weather, which we're already starting to see a bit of here in the UK. 

This skirt came together really quickly; it probably took me less than an hour to sew up once I'd cut out the pieces. I love satisfyingly quick makes like this one which I know will become real wardrobe staples! 

Next up on my One Make a Month plan is the Margot Pyjamas, so stay tuned as they should be making an appearance at some point during September. I just have to find the perfect flannel! Any suggestions? 

What have you been making recently? 

Beth x

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Simplicity 2497

Hey hey hey! 

I've heard it said that you're not a proper sewer until you've completed your first vintage sewing project. Well, here's mine! 

I used Simplicity 1459, which I picked up for £10 at a vintage market I visited on Saturday in my town's civic hall, but I made quite a few changes! 

Firstly, when tracing the pieces I shortened both the bodice and the skirt significantly. The bodice piece originally was sitting around my hips, and the skirt pieces reached my ankles! Clearly, women in the fifties were about two feet taller than myself. Then, I decided to leave off the neck facings and the sleeves, instead choosing to bias bind the raw edges. Finally, I didn't bother adding the collar which came with the pattern, in an effort to simplify my first vintage make. Next time I make this dress though (there will definitely be a next time!) I think I might make the collar, just to see how it turns out. 

I love the buttons up the front. I found some on my local market which matched absolutely perfectly with the fabric I'd chosen! 

The only thing I was left slightly disappointed with was the fullness of the skirt. I assumed thanks to the pattern illustration and the many, many pleats, that the skirt would be big enough on it's own to not require a petticoat, but it just hangs flat. I don't really like the straight up and down look, so I've dug a fluffy crinoline from out of the depths of my wardrobe which helps to add the fullness I wanted. 

So there we have it! A qualified sewer at last, one vintage pattern under my belt. I assure you it won't be long till the next one! 

Hope you are all having a lovely week, 

Beth x

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Vintage Spoils

At last! I am finally the owner of not one, but two beautiful vintage patterns. 

Wow, am I a happy sewer. Today I went to a vintage fair in my local civic hall. Having never been to one before, I was a little bit worried it would be a massive let down - bits of old overpriced junk that no one really wanted. But, thank goodness, I couldn't have been more wrong. The minute I stepped through the door it felt like I'd fallen through a gateway into the past. I actually turned to mum and exclaimed, 'I feel like I'm in the parish hall from Call the Midwife!' 

The whole room was full of stalls displaying the most beautiful vintage finds and handmade goods, all of which was being sold off at incredibly reasonable prices. I couldn't believe my luck! 

My first purchase was a two metre long string of bunting for decorating my room with at university (I've been accepted! I start on September 21st!), which cost only £4 and is made from the most gorgeous fabric. I also then chanced upon a vintage Liberty silk neckscarf, which I already adore and have been wearing all day! 

My mum then spotted a pile of vintage suitcases, and I immediately got very excited! I've been looking out for a retro style suitcase for months that I could use on weekend visits home once I've moved to uni. I came away with this one: 

It's about seventy years old, made around the time of the Second World War, and according to the lady who sold it to me, was originally owned by a woman who used it as her night case in hospital when having her children. Those children then went on to use the case when having children of their own, and these grandchildren of the original owner carried the case into hospital when having her great grandchildren! It has so much history, I feel privileged to have the honour of owning this case next, and will take good care of it until the time comes to pass it on to it's next owner. 

And finally, the moment I'm sure you've all been waiting for - vintage sewing patterns! My mum found the stall selling these just as we were about to leave, and got all excited once she realised what they were. She doesn't sew, but even so, she could see and appreciate how special they are, and knew that I'd love to have a rummage through. 

I picked up two. On the left is a 1985 skirt pattern which I bought for £2, but the one I'm really thrilled about is the one on the right - 1950's heaven. I'm wasting no time cracking this pattern open. I've been on the look out for a vintage pattern like this for months; a fabric shopping trip has been scheduled for Tuesday! I've also decided to make a toile for the very first time, as the pattern is three sizes too big for me so there should be a lot of bodice fitting issues to address. I love this pattern so much, I'm determined to take my time over it and make sure it's given the effort it deserves. Whilst at the fair I also picked up a few vintage buttons, they were so lovely I just couldn't resist!

So, there we have it! My first visit to a vintage fair! Now I know what treasures can turn up at events like these, be sure it will not be the last I attend - going was worth every penny. 

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. Have you had any vintage finds recently? 

Beth x

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Baby Booties

Hi all! 

Today I wanted to share with you my first make from the book I ordered recently, Knitty Gritty - baby booties! My mum's friend is expecting a gorgeous little baby so I wanted to make something special and these seemed like the perfect choice. 

I chose cream as it's quite a gender neutral colour and we don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet! They were so easy to make, I'd finished off the pair within two hours using 3 and 3/4 mm needles. I enjoyed the knitting process a lot and can't wait to get started on more of the book's projects. 

They're so teeny! I love little baby feet, so cute! I also have ideas for a little matching hat. 

My new venture into developing my knitting skills is off to a good start and I am really excited about all the garment possibilities! It's just the same as when I first started sewing. Speaking of which, don't worry, I've not abandoned all for knitting - I have four new sewing makes to blog (although bad Beth, some are not new at all - I'm getting behind!) 

Hope you're all having a crafty week. Please do comment with what you've been making, I'd love to see! :)

Beth x 

Friday, 1 August 2014

Learning to Knit!

Hello all!

A couple of weeks ago you may remember I posted about wanting to learn to knit, and received a really helpful comment from a reader about a good beginner knitting book. That's what I love so much about the crafting world that I've joined - everyone is so lovely! So I took the plunge and have just ordered two knitting books:

Knitty Gritty and

Learn to Knit, Love to Knit

Looking through the reviews of these books feedback seems to be really positive, so I hope they will be just the thing to help me learn to knit more complex patterns than scarves. I've been able to knit and purl since I was about five years old, but I've never been taught how to read a knitting pattern or how to use circular needles. So I'm really looking forward to trying to work through some of the projects in these books! I hope it will be a little easier than if I was starting to learn absolutely from scratch. I've also enlisted the help of my grandma! She is going to help me get to work on making a simple cardigan I found on Ravelry, the Mama Vertebrae pattern. I want to use a mustard coloured wool to make it, and hopefully will be able to get started in the next couple of weeks when I go to see my grandparents.

So, that's all for now! Wish me luck on my new knitting venture :)

Have you taken up a new craft recently? How did you go about it?

Beth x