Watch while you work

I am on the final countdown for the celebration dress, it should all be done by the end of tomorrow, fingers crossed. I had a very lovely day yesterday watching various things on Netflix and hemming the sleeves. It was the best kind of day and very welcome after a somewhat fraught time at work recently. All ended well though, with a lovely week where the students did lots of different activities and we held a conference that I organised which went smoothly, thankfully.

I am now looking forward to a final fitting of the dress this coming week and on to my next project! I am continuing with the Barbie wardrobe but will also be cutting out one of my Steampunk outfits as the next big project.

I have been accompanied during my many hours of stitching in the past months by some new inspiration in the form of podcasts and vlogs so thought that I would share them with you as they may be of interest. This post will concentrate on the vlogs and I will do another one later on the brilliant podcasts out there for anyone interested in sewing and fashion.

It is due to watching one series of vlogs that I came to be making the celebration dress really as my friend was looking at buying her celebration dress from the internet. However I have seen quite a few vlogs warning how things don’t sometimes look at all like the pictures and that the fabric and manufacture is very sub-standard.

Bernadette Banner is one of the first historical sewing vlogs that I started watching and she had an awful experience with someone using her photo of the reproduction medieval dress that she had painstakingly hand sewn to sell a very shoddy reproduction. This kind of practice is just awful and far worse than merely selling dresses that look nothing like the photo on the model. You can see what happened here as she bought a copy of the dress to examine. Picture from Bernadette’s blog with all credit to her for the 250 hours it took to make the dress.

Bernadette Banner 1

Bernadette is so wonderful to watch, she has a lovely way of presenting and talks a lot about hand sewing techniques, so I have learnt so much from her. I have been very inspired by her makes, the medieval dress especially but also her wonderful Lady Sherlock Holmes outfit that she made for Costume College last year. I love everything Sherlock and am currently watching Elementary and really enjoying that take on the stories.

Angela Clayton was introduced to me by Ellen and she is an amazing seamstress who both creates her own patterns and uses other vintage ones for a variety of different periods of costume including very recent fashions.

Angela uses a sewing machine for her work so I have been learning so much about the importance of toiles, fitting, and how to construct costume from different commercial patterns which has been really useful to me for Steampunk.  I love this Edwardian blouse, I need more blouses for Steampunk and I am tempted to try and make something like this using some of my lovely stash of vintage lace. All pictures from Angela’s blog.

Angela Clayton 3

It is unlikely that I will make much more medieval kit now apart from occasional shirts and I do have a peasant dress to finish this summer but I love seeing her reproductions from all periods that I can use as inspiration. This one is just stunning!

Angela Clayton 1

She has also produced a series of patterns for McCalls and I am very tempted by the walking outfit here, I love the shaping of the waist on the jacket and the sleeves. I have to be good though and use my current patterns for this year’s outfits before I buy any more.

Angela Clayton 2

The last one I will mention in this post, although there are many more I have yet to listen to fully, is Morgan Donner. She is a member of the SCA, a re-enactment society in the USA who do lots of crafts from all different periods so her vlog is fascinating.

Morgan Donner 1

She makes the most beautiful garments and accessories and gives really detailed information, it has been very useful to see her posts on making medieval shifts, hose etc. And she has the most amazing hair, I love her hair 🙂 and all the different styles that she does with it. All pictures from her blog.

Morgan Donner 2

Morgan Donner 3

She has also introduced me to the term history bounding which is wearing historically inspired clothing as everyday wear and now I have joined the history bounding group on Facebook there is no stopping me for inspiration for day wear. From her blog I traced down the source of some fantastic material inspired by one of my favourite pieces, the Elizabethan Layton jacket below that someone has used to make this dress.

Layton Jacket

The fabric has been reproduced and made available on Spoonflower. I do now have two samples of this one and the blackwork inspired from the same designer and one day may be tempted to order enough yardage to make something with them. I think the Layton jacket one would make an excellent Steampunk waistcoat.Someone has actually done a pattern similar to the Layton Jacket , thankfully it is only available from the USA with high shipping costs or I may have been tempted!

So thank you all of you historical costume vloggers out there, I have been entertained, kept motivated, educated and inspired and there are many more resources out there that I have yet to explore.

I hope that you have all had a good week and are planning nice things for the week ahead. We have a quieter time at work over the next couple of weeks and then I have some leave planned over Easter so I am really looking forward to getting underway on lots more projects.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

So many wonderful things to make!

I am making fairly good progress with my latest Barbie outfit but have had to ditch a little blouse today, note to self, thick satin does not work well on a miniature scale. I just could not get the seams neat enough as they were too bulky so will remake it with thinner fabric. I have managed to make a very cute little silk jacket though.

I have so many lovely things on the wish list, some of these will stay there for a very long time whereas others will probably find their way onto the ‘do now’ list soon.As you know I love all the work that Jenny of Elefantz creates and she has a new monthly series of stitcheries that I have recently subscribed to.

They are called Faith in Hand and are beautiful designs all featuring quotes from the bible. As well as the subscription she also sells them individually from her Etsy shop the following month.  This is one of my favourite so I think this will be the first to be made for me (picture from Jenny’s Etsy store).

Elefantz Faith in Hand

She also has a free block of the month with the 23rd Psalm again with gorgeous designs. She is so generous, there are always so many free stitcheries on her blog and I love visiting just to get updates on her life.

One of my other favorite places to go for inspiration is Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet. She has just finished a Vintage Block Along with some beautiful designs that she gives all of the very detailed introductions for accompanied by photos.

Lori Holt Vintage Block Along 1

The links for all of these blocks are at the bottom of the above link and I would love to make a quilt like this one day.I love that multicoloured star block in the top right of this second picture. (All pictures from Lori’s blog.)

Lori Holt Vintage Block Along 2

Her latest make is this gorgeous Vintage Housewife Sew Along . 

VintageHousewife-SewAlong_1

I really love the dress on the washing line as well as the cleaning stuff block.She has got some fab free clip art of the design in the guide as well as the overall plan on her first post in the sew along.

Vintage Housewife Quilt 1

Vintage Housewife Quilt 3

She has just made the first block which is this very cute oven.

Vintage Housewife Quilt 4

I would love to use some of these designs on their own as things like recipe book covers and think that this one below would make a wonderful sewing machine cover.I love the little quilt hanging over the edge of the machine.

Vintage Housewife Quilt 2

Ellen and I have a very exciting trip coming up next weekend as we are going to Liverpool to see this exhibition, An English Lady’s Wardrobe, at The Walker Art Gallery. Not that we need any more inspiration for beautiful costume but it looks fascinating. There is also an 18th century costume collection there as well! Exciting stuff.

I hope that you have a lovely weekend and week ahead. I am teaching tomorrow so will have to wait until Sunday to get back to the Barbie blouse. Take care and thanks for visiting and hopefully I will have lots of lovely pictures for you in the next post.

 

 

 

Still sparkling and a giveaway!

The house is still full of little glittery bits as I have been finishing off the last of the ornaments. Every time I cut up the glittery ribbons some falls on the carpet and despite my best efforts to vacuum it up I see little glittery bits in the carpets up the stairs and in the bedroom. It is all very festive so I don’t mind.

Xmas decs Dec 1

I have made two stockings from Jenny of Elefantz’s pattern from last year. This is not currently on sale as was one of her last monthly stitching clubs. I still need to get around to making some of these filled with lavender as they would look great in Liberty with some of my vintage lace stash on them.These are for my Mum and Aunt.

The cousins will have pine cones this year, I have really enjoyed going back to these and have made some for other friends as well. There is a good tutorial here on to how to make them and they are a very therapeutic make in front of the TV.  I pin on little star sequins at the top as this stops the upper ribbons from lifting off and adds a bit of bling.

Xmas decs Dec 6

I have almost run out of Christmas ribbons. I did manage to find this gorgeous holly one at my local craft shop but this was the last of the pink and gold poinsettia design below which is so pretty.The ribbon flowers on the top of one of them in the picture above come from this seller on Ebay and come in lots of different colours, not just Christmas ones.

Xmas decs Dec 11

Xmas decs Dec 16

Xmas decs Dec 17

I still have a bit of silver and blue ribbon and lots of pearl pins so I have been making some alternative colours as well.I have so many little sequins from when I used to cross stitch cards that I have been using up like these pearly ones here.

I am not putting up my tree this year, I know that is a very unusual thing for a Christmas ornament fan like me to say but there is only me here and I am leaving on the 21st so would not be around to take it down so although I will be decorating it will be smaller scale this year. I will be helping to decorate the Wool and Wine tree at our local church’s tree festival this Friday so that will be lovely.

It has been lovely seeing all the ever growing piles of ornaments, I never get tired of making them and have lots of ideas of new types for next year.I think I have finished now although when I have finished the gifts I may well go back to them and start on the making for 2020, I was a little ahead of myself this year as I had carried on in January and it does help. I have finally started making the gift for Ava, I am making felt dinosaurs and they are so cute! Hopefully I will have them finished by next weekend so that I can post pictures for you.

Finally the giveaway. It is my blogaversary again – 12 whole years on Weds so I thought since I am organised and have some time before Christmas to sort things I would offer an ornament as a prize this year. All you have to do is like or comment on this post to be in with a chance of winning. I will pick the winner on the 15th Dec which gives me chance to pick one of my recent makes and post the ornament out.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, I have so enjoyed doing this for the last 12 years, as well as it being fantastic way of me recording what I do and reminding me when I have forgotten where I found things  I really enjoy interacting with all of you through it so thank you all for your continued support.

Until next time, take care and thanks for visiting, off to stitch more spots on a stegosaurus!

 

 

Finally, a Bee in my Bonnet Block!

I was visiting Lori’s gorgeous Bee in my Bonnet blog last week for my usual update on her lovely designs when I spotted a block in her sidebar from her Bloom quilt which she designed a few years ago. Lori very kindly keeps all of the tutorials on her blog so you can go back to them at any time.This is a beautiful quilt and one of my favourites of her designs.Picture from Lori’s blog.

Bloom quilt

I have not made any of her quilt blocks yet, partly as I don’t have the templates but then realised that I did have the shapes in my freebie set to make this block, and probably others.Picture is from Lori’s blog.

Bloom Block fifteen

Bloom block 1

I decided to make two flowers from Liberty as I thought the petals would look good in different fabrics and rather than make blocks to applique them straight onto the background fabric.

Bloom block 2

Lori uses a really good technique which is very clearly explained in all of her tutorials where you cut interfacing and the shape, sew them together and then turn inside out. You then glue them down onto the backing fabric and hand stitch. This gives a really nice raised look to the applique and is a lot better for getting neat shapes.

Bloom block 3

When I was machine stitching I used my clear foot which makes it a lot easier to see your lines of stitching.

Bloom block 4

The background fabric is linen from an old curtain that I must have had for at least 20 years, I only have a little bit left as I have used it for lots of pouches and baskets. I love using up old bits of fabric, makes me feel very thrifty!

Bloom block 5

Bloom block 6

I have made the stem a little smaller so that it can all fit on and my middle circle is smaller as well to show more of the Liberty. I am really pleased with how they have turned out and the hand stitching has been very nice and relaxing in the evenings.

I do like this time of year when I can light the candles, watch Netflix and stay in cosy in my house, as I was stitching these the rain was lashing down outside but I was nice and warm. I had new windows and doors fitted in my little house this summer so it is a lot warmer now, which will be very useful if we have another winter like last year!

I am halfway through making these into pouches for my Christmas present stock. I have at least another 4 pouches and a basket to make up as well so that will be my machine stitching for the next week and the Jenny stockings my hand stitching.

I have some time off next week 🙂 so will be pattern fitting and cutting out the black velvet for my next Steampunk jacket, wish me luck! I don’t really enjoy sewing with velvet, it is so slippery but I was gifted a large amount of the material so I am being thrifty and using that rather than but new.

I will post progress photos later next week, Have a good week whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

Gentle (or frantic!) domesticity

The lovely Jenny of Elefantz has a Facebook group as well as her web page, called Gentle Domesticity, partly inspired by the book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket. I love seeing all the things that people have made on that page and she also gives free designs away there as well, as she is not only very talented but very kind. It is a closed group so you have to ask to join.

One of her latest freebies is a set of monogram pincushions, she is uploading them weekly and they are on her blog and we have just had the letter D uploaded. These ones will be free until the 4th Oct so if you are interested please check them out soon. This is the picture of Jenny’s D one from her blog. I love it , it is so neat and the stitching either side really of the letter really sets it off and I think the little teapot pin is wonderful 🙂

ELEFANTZ d pincushion SAL main

Jenny writes a lot about homemaking and domesticity on her blog and I really enjoy her posts about recipes and things she has made for her home. I love cooking and have really enjoyed being at home more over the summer to cook.I have just made the most delicious spinach, feta and butternut squash loaf for work lunches, the recipe is here if you want to try it and mine did look very much like the picture below! I love Sainsburys magazine and always get lots of great recipes from there.

SPINACH,-FETA-AND-SQUASH-LOAF

Another one of my favorite sources of recipes is the Tasty website and I like the videos that they have,they come up on my Facebook feed a lot which is where I got this recipe for chilli with cornbread dumplings which uses my favourite cooking implement, my slow cooker.

Now that term has started it is back to more frantic than gentle domesticity and as I am not going to be able to get home early in the evenings due to a timetable change I have been trying to streamline the menu planning and shopping. I have not tried any of these recipes yet but this site, Creme de la Crumb , has some really good quick recipes which are much appreciated.

Having been a full time teacher as well as a mum since Jake started school I have always menu planned but I have spent some time this weekend creating a spreadsheet with all our favourite recipes in categories so that I can easily plan a month’s worth of menus at a time.

I love looking at other people’s menu planning for new ideas, I am secretly addicted to all those videos on Youtube about people’s bargain food shopping and the menu planning and organising for very large families. I find it fascinating having a glimpse into people’s lives and am always getting new ideas for making things more efficient.I truly would love to have more time to spend at home, that is why I am so looking forward to retirement so that I can spend far more of my life practising the domestic arts!

I have had a really lovely domestic weekend sorting lots of things out in preparation for the busy times ahead. I hope that you have a good week and I will be back soon. Thanks, as always for visiting.

Christmas gift stitching

I am working on a couple of Christmas presents at the moment, both using Jenny of Elefantz stitching designs.

The first one is a design from the Stitchery Club Nov 2016, this is another version of the one I stitched a few weeks ago while in Spain which I made into a pouch for me and I loved it so much I wanted to stitch it again.

Elefantanz flower circle 1

I have adapted the design to be a full circle of flowers by copying a couple of motifs from other parts of the circle.I can’t find the design for sale at present on Jenny’s site.

I used a Liberty fabric for the hexagon and my favourite Silk Mill threads for the stitching along with some of my new Caron Waterlilies variegated thread from Sew and Sew.

The other thing I am going to buy if I ever win the Lottery is the entire 700 thread set that is available from the Silk Mill, can you imagine having all of the colours!

This will be a pouch with some contrast Liberty at the bottom and denim for the back similar to the previous one below.

Bird and hexagon pouch 1

The other Jenny design is from the May 2018 Stitchery Club and as soon as I saw this design I knew I would stitch it straight away. It is so unusual and I am looking forward to practising some new stitches while doing it.

ELEFANTZ+stitch+sampler+cover

Picture above from Jenny’s Craftsy page where you can buy this design. This will become a project wallet to store embroidery.

At Jenny’s suggestion I trace my embroidery onto the fabric using a brown Zig Millennium pen. I bought three a few years ago from an online art supplier and they are still going strong.I am using a cotton fabric with a white on white background as I tend to do for most of my embroidery.

Elefantz embroidery sampler 3

The stitching covers up all trace of the pen as it is permanent.

Elefantz embroidery sampler 1

What about you, have you started your Christmas crafting yet? I already have 3 ornaments completed with one nearly finished and another 5 of the same design to make.

I hope that you have a lovely weekend ahead, Ellie is coming for a short visit until Saturday lunchtime and I am planning to spend most the rest of it in the craft room, my last weekend here for a while so I will make the most of it. Take care and thanks for visiting.

A bag in progress

I have finished the Liberty Churn Dash block with the Jenny of Elefantz stitching at the centre. It looks beautiful and now I just need to decide what sort of bag I am going to make it into. I think I want something more structured than the soft shoulder bag I made last year so will have to peruse the internet for ideas.

Churn dash and embroidery block 1

I am very pleased with the matching of the different elements on this block.

I want to use these lovely vintage lace bobbins as decoration on the top of the bag, I will probably just loop them round the handle.

Churn dash and embroidery block 6

I have also bought some lovely new Liberty fabric, this set is 5″ squares in two of my favourite designs, this is from ZuZus Crafts on Etsy.

Liberty fabric 1

This is Capel, I love the outline print on this design.

Liberty fabric 2

Liberty fabric 3

I think this one might be my favourite Liberty fabric ever, so ditsy and in my best colours. This is Phoebe.

Liberty fabric 4

I have finished stitching the headress for Kate so will get some pictures of that for you this weekend as we are doing a show at Ashby de la Zouche Castle. The weather is supposed to be very good so I am looking forward to another lovely event with my friends. This will be our first camping trip of the season so I am going to enjoy sitting round the campfire of an evening.

The frantic marking is still continuing so I have just got some very little works in progress for evenings, hemming a piece of linen to go with my new veil and a repeat of the last Jenny stitching that I did for a new pouch.

I have possibly got some time next weekend to get into the craft room so may have some more things to share with you then.

In the meantime have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, thanks for visiting and see you soon.