A very productive week!

I have had not only a very accomplished week work wise, getting through a huge pile of marking and admin and the start of a new term, with a brand new masters module to teach, but also a very productive week with other things.

Ellen came up this week, she took me shopping, which was very useful as I am now stocked up with toiletries and things for about the next four months so will not have to go to town for a long time. I found that during the first lockdown last year it was sometimes difficult, or more expensive, to source specific things that I needed so at least I am prepared for the long haul now as I doubt I will be going into work before Easter.

Then we had a lovely day yesterday of baking, and cooking and cutting out the new Steampunk dress, aided by lots of tea of course!

Thank you very much to Leigh, who commented on my last post telling me that the dress is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was able to find the details of it here. It was made in 1885 by an American company and is an evening dress. That quite surprised me as I thought it looked more like a winter walking ensemble with the jacket bodice and the fur.

The fabric is a delight to work with, very easy to cut and doesn’t slip about or fray. I think I am really going to enjoy making this outfit, unlike others where I have been wrestling with slippery satin or velvet that sheds everywhere 😦 It did take a while to do the pattern matching though, it is big repeat and it is not an exact repeat all over the cream fabric. I have not yet manged to cut the sides of the jacket or the skirt as it took a while to get the other pieces accurate.

I did not have as much of the blue so I am going with a blue front panel and collar, cuffs, apron and possibly the bow. I am modifying the pattern to use a more pointed back to the jacket, as in the original, and a smaller bow than in the pattern. I am also hoping to use some of my vintage lace collection to embellish the sleeves and bow. I really love the motif on the fabric, it has that gorgeous mix of Victorian and Indian influences.

It was slightly easier to use the pattern as I have already made it once, with modifications. It is listed as ‘plus difficile’ but since the last time I used it was to make the tablecloth jacket, which involved pattern placement on three different embroidered tablecloths looking for the right combination of motifs, it felt a lot easier this time. The last one turned out very well and is still one of my favourite makes.

This version will have a different front as well, it is a faux button front with a placket behind it with hooks and eyes so that will save me actually having to make buttonholes, some of my least favourite things!

Hopefully I will finish the cutting out this week and then tack it together for a first fitting next week. Ellen is coming up again for a bit (hurrah for support bubbles) so hopefully I will be able to start putting it together after that.

I was looking though previous posts about the pattern and I had found this gorgeous image where someone had used the pattern to produce this stunning outfit.

I did a search to see if anyone else had used it but apart from two of my pictures didn’t find anything else yet but will keep looking on pattern review sites as I love getting new ideas. I did find this beautiful original dress, which is very similar. No idea where from again but love these colours.

I am so pleased that I have got another project underway, I love the creativity of putting together not just the outfit, but the hat and all the embellishments, lots of lovely research to be done over the next few months. I am currently looking for shoes, gloves and a parasol to go with it.

I hope that you are all having a lovely weekend, and are tucked up safe and warm if you are in the UK. It has been quite a week, weather wise, with dreadful floods and snow and sleet. Thankfully it is only the roads here that were flooded but there have been some really bad ones elsewhere.

Have fun, take care and stay safe. Thanks, as always for visiting and commenting and I will see you all again soon.

Steampunk for the 2021 season

Almost a year age, on Jan 18th, in a land before Covid, when we could roam freely and do non-essential shopping πŸ™‚ I wrote about our trip to Bombay Stores in Bradford, and the wonderful fabric we bought on that trip. I was able to make the peacock inspired outfit for the picnic in August, but as there were no other events did not do anything with the beautiful gold fabric.

This was to have been a coat made from the lovely Simplicity pattern below but a little lack of motivation, and overwhelmingly busy time over the summer getting to grips with online learning, meant that it has been left on the ‘someday’ pile in the craft room since then.

However, I am determined to make some new outfits this year. We may not have any events, though I am very hopeful for Whitby and Lincoln. They are in late July and late August, and are outdoors, so we may be lucky enough to be able to go to those. The success of the picnic at Kelham Hall hopefully means that something can happen later this year, even if it is a much smaller scale event. If not I will be very well set up for 2022!

I was thinking about a Russian empress theme for the gold fabric and yesterday this wonderful set of pictures popped up on my Facebook feed. I am sure sometimes the internet is reading my mind. These are from the Romanovs’ last ball in 1903 and there are the most wonderful array of over the top costumes. The photos have been colourised from the original black and white and the costumes are just amazing.

I am particularly attracted to this head dress, there is no name on the photograph so I don’t know who she was but I really love this.

I was thinking maybe that I could make a version from some of my vintage crochet, using the Powertex stiffener that I used for the crochet base to the tea party hat. That I painted silver over the dark brown of the Powertex colour, but as it comes in yellow, white and transparent and can be easily painted I think it might work well.

The other alternative would be a tiara. I love tiaras, as well as flower headbands, and wish my life had far more opportunities for wearing them. When I retire maybe I will wear them far more out and about, befitting my new Bohemian lifestyle πŸ™‚ I had already found a number of beautiful ones on Ebay so may buy one of those as well.

Another outfit I am going to be working on, starting next week when Ellen comes up for a sewing weekend, is inspired by a photo shared in a costume group on Facebook. I have no idea where this piece is but it is clearly in a museum from the way the photo is shot.

I have had some beautiful lightweight patterned fabric in pale blue and cream my stash for about 14 years now, bought as a bargain bundle for possible medieval costume but never used, so this would be just perfect. I am planning to use this pattern, which is the one that I adapted for the tablecloth jacket. I think it is a really good match to the original outfit, as it has a very similar back which I just need to extend for the train.

I will probably make it fitted with buttons, though that is something I usually avoid due to my lack of skill in this area, but I think that it would look better with the front overskirt if it was fitted. For the hat I was thinking of a pale top hat, similar to those below. I do have a wedding hat that a friend gave me that I could cover but think that might be a little too Edwardian in style.

I do need to find a theme for the outfit though, I am thinking maybe just going with flowers and butterflies as so many of the fashion plates from this era feature women in gardens. I will of course need a beautiful lacy parasol to go with my outfit!

I have been working a little bit this weekend, but have most of it to play with fabric so will also be choosing fabric for some more Barbie couture, and making knitted shoes for little animals. All while watching the last few episodes of the amazing Bridgerton. I have been rationing myself as it is so wonderful, I only have 3 episodes left now but then will be doing lots more research on the costumes as I keep seeing things I want to make versions of.

I hope that you are having a good weekend, we had more snow this week, so yesterday Marsden looking gorgeous and sparkly in the sun but we are back to grey skies and rain today, perfect weather for snuggling under a fleece and knitting.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Frosty, Freezy and the B Crew

When my friend Kerry came over during the summer she commented on the fact that I had all of the Barbie dolls that I had been making clothes for lined up on the coffee table in front of me. She said it looked like I was using them as an audience and I told her that was my B Crew and yes I did occasionally talk to them πŸ™‚ Well when you live on your own you have to be creative sometimes for company.

The B Crew have been disbanded now as they are mostly off to new homes. I spent many happy hours during the first few weeks of the restrictions in April making clothes for them all, (I ended up with 10 dolls at one point with those I bought for work purposes and the ones I found on Ebay).

Once I have finished with the animals that I am making as gifts for friend’s grandchildren, I will probably get back to making gowns for them as the recent declutter led to me finding a whole new stash of beautiful fabric that I can use. I bought some wonderful vintage patterns in PDF from Gail’s Vintage Doll e-Patterns on Etsy and have so many other ones to try. I love these very sixties ones.

For these dresses I made four versions of the dress on the top left of the pattern, View 5. For the white and green dress I adapted the skirt to be flared. The other print dresses were made from two rectangles with the skirt part gathered.

These three dolls are going to the cousins for Christmas and three of the diversity ones have gone to my friend at work. She is using Barbies in awareness raising about diversity in art galleries, so they will join her Art Activist Barbie team. I love what Sarah has been doing with her work, if you are interested here is her Twitter page.

I have kept four of them as models, and this is one of my favourite as I love her hair. I must make her some fab new clothes for next season as the poor thing only has one dress at the moment.

I have also finished my two snowmen, here are Frosty and Freezy. The last photos show them filled with chocolate and ready to go off to my nieces for Christmas. I think they turned out really well and I very much enjoyed knitting them. Details of the pattern is in this post here.

I actually had the whole of this weekend off (eek) as all of my teaching on Saturdays for this term has finished. It was so lovely to have two whole days off, so exciting! I managed to get a lot done, sorting out some more of the things in the craft room and made up this pouch for Ellen’s friend. I have had the applique done for a long time but it was on my pile of things to make up (which includes a large pile of stitcheries that I must get around to doing something with!).

I love the Liberty fabric I used for the bottom of the bag, it is one of my favourite designs and I wish I had more of it but think it looks cute as just the base. There is a good tutorial for this and other types of lace zipper pouch here at Plush Addict. The lace zippers come from Buddly Crafts and come in all sorts of gorgeous colours.

I am not expecting to get too much else done this week as I have a lot of wrapping and general Christmas prep to do and may (only may) be leaving the country on Saturday. All manner of miracles have to happen to make that work so we shall see. If I am blogging again next week it will not have happened but fingers crossed!

Whatever happens I will be happily knitting something somewhere and celebrating getting to the end of a very tough year, both personally and professionally, as it has for many people. Whatever happens next year at least this one will be over, in some cases the worst has already happened and we have survived that. We can only hope that things get easier for us all in 2021.

If I don’t see you again until Jan, hope you have a good a festive season as you can, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A whole lot of sorting going on

Well I have had a very busy few weeks, very little crafting but a huge amount of sorting and decluttering. It is less than 3 months until I put the house on the market (eeek!) so there has been a lot to do as I wanted to make the best use of what time I had before Christmas. Starting in January I will be finishing the re-painting, doing the final declutter and then calling the estate agents!

I have been helped by a new Facebook page in our lovely village for people to gift and request items that they need, set up just as the newest restrictions started as all of the charity shops were closed, and some smaller items have gone to new homes. It is such a lovely idea and people have been very generous, there have been some really nice children’s toys and all sorts of things that people have donated to others.

My wonderful Ellen came up last weekend and we did an enormous amount, not that much is visible as it was all things in cupboards, and under beds and in long forgotten boxes and drawers. Some of it went to the local tip, some saleable items on Ebay, but I know it is all gone, and there will be much less to get rid of after the house is sold.

I have even decluttered the craft room, I still have to find homes for some of it as there is a lot of scrap fabric that in previous times would have gone to the local school but they are not accepting anything at the moment. I still do have some time to sort that out though.

It seems weird to be on the final countdown, fingers crossed I only have about 8 months left living here and then it will be a life in Spain, and hopefully on the road for part of the year. I have no idea what will happen, the double whammy of the pandemic and Brexit have meant that planning is not easy but fingers crossed I will get there. I count myself very lucky that I have a house there already and am not trying to do that bit as well.

I have finished a couple of things, I have knitted a basket and some carrots for Ellen and I am doing another set of these for the next bunny as well. I love how the basket has turned out with the basket weave stitch, it was very easy to do and I love it. It is very sturdy and has a lovely i-cord handle. The basket is from Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits and the carrots are a free pattern by Wendy from Flutterby Patch.

Wendy also had some really cute little snowmen that you could use as gifts bags for sweets etc. so I have bought this pattern from her Etsy page and have knitted one already, I have just got to do the face now so I will show you that later. I am going to make two as gifts for my great nieces. These pictures are from her Ravelry page.

I am really tempted to get some of her other patterns as well, I love this group of teddies, and the cute little group of kids.

These dolls are beautiful as well and she has patterns for extra outfits for the larger ones. All pictures are from her Ravelry page.

I shall just spend my retirement knitting endless amounts of little knitted animals and cute dolls πŸ˜‰ I am sure I can find good homes for them to go to. Most of my relatives are getting a little too old now but I am sure I can give them away to others for gifts, or to charity. I did really enjoy making the fabric dolls I made a couple of years ago for my cousins and would like to make some more of those as well. Details of the pattern for these are in this post.

I have finished all on campus teaching now, we have moved everything else online for this term so that hopefully we can all meet up with people safely for Christmas. I am just doing tutorials and marking for the next two weeks so hopefully will have lots of time for other things as I am not leaving the house at all. It seems strange that I will not be going back into work until the middle of January now but I am quite happy here at home. It has been cold and wet out recently so I am happy not to have to stand at cold bus stops!.

A little Christmas tree is up (I have given away the big one and most of my ornaments, even my hand made ones), I have the house full of pretty lights, some new fluffy slipper boots and so I am cosy and warm inside. I am very blessed to have such a safe and comfortable warm home and extremely grateful for this in these difficult times. I am going to light the candles, carry on with some knitting and watch the second series of the lovely Virgen River on Netflix.

I hope that you are all safe and warm as well and have a happy week ahead. Take care and thanks for visiting.

The ‘Glories of Bombay’ Steampunk outfit

It was wonderful to be at an actual event last weekend, although the weather was not that good we had a great time and I will share more pictures of all the wonderful costumes in my next post.

I wanted to do a separate post all about the jacket and hat though as I am very pleased with how they turned out. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, based on the wonderful fabric from Bombay Stores that I bought at Christmas, but it turned out much better than expected.

I used the pattern that I had previously used for Amanda’s wedding jacket but made it much shorter without the points and did not add buttons, partly as I do not like doing buttonholes, but I think it suited the outfit to have it open.

The tassels were from stash, cut from an old Christmas table runner and there is a hook and eye behind them. I also added a brooch from stash when I wore it.

The sleeves were double layered with the organza over the satin. This was partly a practical solution to the fact that as the satin was from the bargain section and only Β£1.25 a metre it was quite creased. I think it worked really well though and really makes the jacket.

All of the motifs were cut from the tunic set and stitched on, as was the band at the bottom.

The hat had the same organza used for the removable band and some more motifs and beautiful jewels. This was all pinned in place.

I also made a matching mask, I will include pictures of that in the next post, there were lots of wonderful creative masks made by my fellow steampunkers and it was wonderful to see that we could have an event even with all the current restrictions. Huge thanks to all at the Ministry of Steampunk for arranging it.

I got back from Ellen’s on Tuesday and have been doing a little bit of knitting and sewing, Ellen has very kindly made me a wrist pincushion which is something that has been on my to do list for ages. It co-ordinates so well with all my other sewing accessories.

I have been making some more masks as there was great excitement this week as I actually went back into work! I went in on Thursday and had my first teaching session yesterday which went well. A little strange with me wearing a visor, no handouts and all the of the students sat on individual tables 2 metres apart but it was good to be actually back in the classroom with the students. I have made a few masks but need a week’s supply and a range of colours so that I can co-ordinate with outfits πŸ™‚

I have a quiet week ahead so hopefully I will be able to make good progress on the knitted animals. I have finished the romper, a dress and another pair of dungarees so will share those with you soon.

I hope you have a good week ahead, take care, stay safe and thanks for visting.

What the well dressed mannequin is wearing today

More exciting news in the (hopefully) life returning to something like normal is that we may have a Steampunk event to go to on August Bank Holiday. The lovely people at the Ministry of Steampunk, who run the Lincoln event, have booked a beautiful historic house hotel to run an event in the grounds, with a socially distanced market and picnic areas. Fingers crossed that all goes well and it can go ahead.

So that means that I have made a start on the peacock inspired jacket that I bought the material for at Christmas. Ellen cut it out for me when she was up last week and I am going to tack it together tomorrow ready for a fitting when she comes up again this week. I am very pleased, although always a little nervous about making clothes as fitting is always a challenge for me. However, practise makes perfect as they say.

Peacock jacket 1

I am using the pattern that I used to make my sister-in-law Amanda’s wedding jacket but modifying it to make it a little shorter.It may have a collar but I have not yet decided on that but it will have (hopefully) beautiful double layered sleeves with the organza layer on top of the satin.

Peacock jacket 2

My plan is to use various bit of applique from the sari set on the bottom of the jacket then more organza and the jewels and peacock feathers on my purple hat. It will be fun experimenting with all this anyway.

Peacock jacket 3

Peacock jacket 4

I love peacock feathers and they go so well with the gold and blue organza, it is such a pity that we don’t get to wear things like this every day, how fabulous are these colours?

Peacock jacket 5

I have finished the clothing for the little elephant. Say hello to Egbert looking very smart in his stripy jumper and dungarees. I had quite a challenge with the jumper as I have never knitted one top down before but it worked out ok. It is a little loose but I am very pleased with how neat it is.

Egbert elephant 1

Egbert elephant 3

All of these patterns are by Little Cotton Rabbits again and are available from her Ravelry store, link on her blog here. I am now on with a new pattern, an adaptation of the dungarees to make some rompers. This adaptation is available from the Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook group and you will need to have the dungaree pattern and the textured dresses pattern to make the rompers. They will be for a little mouse. I appear to have the parts knitted for at least two mice already so will be working on that over the next couple of weeks.

Decorating went well last week and we have more planned for this week. My wonderful daughter was such a star and things are getting well underway. I did feel the effects of it all afterward so was very glad to have a quiet weekend on the sofa knitting and watching the very thrilling Manifest. There has been lots of snuggling under the fleece again as it has been cold and wet here.

I hope that you have a nice week ahead, I will be back next week with hopefully at least some progress on both jacket and mouse! Stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting.

Week 9 – I am halfway to a lap quilt…..

Although this is only week 7 of the Riley Blake Block challenge I am on week 9 of working from home and have now, with the addition of the three blocks that I made last year as practise for doing quilt blocks,Β  got quite a nice little collection.

Those from last year are the very top right and the second and fourth from left on the bottom row. They were my ‘experimenting with very complex block patterns’ work. Some of which, as you may be able to see (as in the bottom row, fourth along Dutchman’s Puzzle block) have lost a lot of their points which is a pity.

Liberty blocks so far

I didn’t think that they would all work together and was concerned that some might be a little small but apart from one of the older ones that I think needs a wider border (top right block in particular)Β  I am happy with the way that they look. Mind you I am still tempted to do an all Liberty log cabin one but we shall see πŸ™‚

This week’s blocks were the Shoefly ones, I am a little behind now as I only had time on Sunday afternoon to make these due to a lovely weekend of walking and doing other things and we are now onto another block for this week. I used the tutorial from Polka Dot Chair for these.

Shoefly Block 1

They are very similar in construction to the nine patch block that I made last week, just using half square triangles instead of full patches. I think I have got the half square triangle construction sorted now, I still end up with some parts with more space at the edge than others but I think that is due to differences in seam allowances.

Shoefly Block 2

I have been adding to my sewing tools stash recently, I have bought a new, slimmer, quilting ruler which has been great as I now have a 12 inch by 1 and 1/2 inch which is much easier for quick cutting than the 18 inch by 4 inch one. I also bought a roleau loop turner.

I am thinking that one of the specialist feet 1/4 inch feet might be a good idea or maybe I could just trial the good old DIY version of putting tape next to my sewing machine foot.

On my wish list as well are a pressing ham and a tailor’s clapper. I really love all the handmade versions of the hams and sleeve rolls I have seen as most of the commercial ones just won’t go with my sewing room and everything has to co-ordinate of course πŸ™‚

This tutorial looks very good for making one and I love the way that she has decorated it with hand drawn illustrations. Picture from the web site as marked.

tailors ham

I just need to try and get some sawdust as that is the best thing to stuff it with. No doubt I can find it on Ebay which has been a lifesaver during lockdown.

I have not got much planned for the rest of this week craft wise as I am knee deep in marking and going to bed quite early most nights, I am so tired at the moment, must have been that very long walk on Friday! I am also enjoying watching some beautiful sunsets with a good book to read, I find it a very calming end to the day.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead, I have a catch up with Ellen planned for tomorrow and she is going to show me some of the amazing flower fairy dress she has been working on so I will get some pictures of that for you, the glimpses I have seen look brilliant. She is so creative.

I am now off to drink wine and work on my latest jigsaw puzzle as I have staring at a screen all day. I know it is a school night (for the wine) but since I am not going in to work again for at least the next four months normal rules just don’t apply πŸ™‚

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Spring has sprung

I hope that you have all had a lovely weekend, the weather here has been very good, up until last night when it rained and now it is a little cooler and more like normal Yorkshire Spring πŸ™‚ But the shed is looking very good, everything has been weeded and I am eagerly awaiting my delivery of bedding plants for my hanging baskets.

I went for a very nice walk on Sunday, to my favourite place here, the first of four reservoirs in the valley at the top of my road. I still can’t believe I am lucky enough to have this 10 minutes away and yesterday I walked around the other side of it. It will a lovely place for solo picnics in the summer.

butterley-1

I met some friends walking their dog on the way back and they commented that they were exploring places they had never been in the 18 years they had lived here. One very good thing that will come out of this is more people realising what is in their communities, be it open spaces, smaller businesses etc. and I hope that appreciation this will continue when things are back to ‘normal’.

I am loving having a milk delivery, something I was planning to organise after my holiday anyway to cut down on my use of plastic, and this week there was the great excitement of them delivering eggs, orange juice and yogurts as well!

Saturday was especially lovely, lots of the neighbours were outside enjoying the weather. I do love living in a terrace, we have an open back lane so you get a real sense of community and get to chat with everyone, from a safe distance of course. Saturday evening saw lots of people sitting outside their houses having a drink, like some kind of bizarre party where nobody wants to mingle with everyone about 20 feet away, waving to each other.

Although I can’t travel the Barbies have been busy, as being plastic they are immune from any nasty bugs πŸ™‚ Sophie enjoyed visiting some beautiful gardens in her new Spring dress. This is made from a shirt that I picked up from the charity shop just to re-purpose the fabric as I thought it was so pretty.

Barbie Spring Dress 5

Barbie Spring Dress 6

I used the same bodice pattern that I have used for the evening gowns I showed you previously, but made a pattern for a fuller skirt. This ended up being 3 rather than two panels to accommodate the back opening.

Barbie Spring Dress 2

Barbie Spring Dress 8

Barbie Spring Dress 7

I inter lined the bodice with some white cotton, I was going to do the same with the skirt but it became too bulky when gathered. One of the things that I am learning is how fine the fabric has to be for these very small scale dresses, anything thick just does not work with such tiny seams.

Barbie Spring Dress 4

Barbie Spring Dress 3

I used the tie that was on the original shirt and sewed the ric rac on it before sewing it on to the dress at the waistline. I love the contrast of the ric rac and ribbon colours here and am very pleased with my adaptation of the pattern.

Barbie Spring Dress 9

Lucinda wore her newest evening gown on a recent holiday to Italy.

Barbie - cream dress 2

This cream fabric is one of the oldest in my stash, it is scraps that came from a dress and head dress that I made for Ellen about 15 years ago.Β  I have had the beads about the same amount of time as well as I remember using them on cross stitch Christmas cards that I used to make pre- blog.The turquoise fabric is from an old blouse of mine as well.

Barbie - cream dress 3

Barbie - cream dress 1

This was all in the days before digital cameras so don’t have many pictures of those previous makes but I did realise that I have a photo of the outfit framed and on my wall so here is a picture of my very lovely children all dressed up at a banquet many years ago.

Re-enactment circa 2005

They are with their friend Lil, who is looking equally lovely. I made Ellen a green velvet over dress to go with the under dress, both of which you can see in this picture under the cloak. The head dress was embroidered and beaded over the flower motif on the fabric. Jake’s outfit was made from green brocade and the velvet hose came from a friend, I think it is the same fabric that Lil’s overdress is made from as well.

Over the years I made so many outfits for the children, most that are long gone as we gave them to others when they grew out of them and pre-blog so of course there are so few pictures of them. We are so lucky now to have so many of us in kit, taken by us and lots of other lovely people who share them on Facebook.

So today is another holiday, I seem to have been on holiday here forever which is great, I am liking these Groundhog Days where I get to sew all day πŸ™‚ Plans for today are some more Barbie dress making while watching the White Queen and the latest fashion competition with Heidi Klum, Making the Cut. I am, of course like the rest of the country, eagerly awaiting the new series of The Sewing Bee which starts late April!

Tomorrow is a new week for both the block challenge where we will be doing Friendship Blocks, and the fashion course.We are moving onto the Victorians this week, an era that I love and have done lots of research/drooling over for Steampunk.

I hope you and your families are all ok and you are all managing to find things to occupy yourselves. This will be a year in which we have never had such tidy gardens, decorated houses and clean cars judging by all the activity in my neighborhood. Stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting.

Enjoying my staycation

I seem to be making a habit of having unexpected staycations over the Easter holidays. Regular readers may remember my failure to go to the right airport which meant that we had an unexpected holiday in Yorkshire last year. At least this one is not due to my own incompetence and sadly everyone is in the same situation.

The evening dresses have gone fairly well, I cut out all of the pieces for three dresses before discovering that the bodice should really have been a lot wider so they only just fit at the back. I am calling them wearable mock ups as they look pretty and at least Barbies don’t have to breathe out πŸ™‚ I have mostly hand sewn them as the many pleats and pieces are so tiny.

Barbie dress - Gold bodice

Barbie dress - Gold dress 1

Barbie dress - Gold dress 6

 

I have managed to get some new photo backgrounds which I have just printed off and I think this gold one looks lovely with this dress.I am calling this doll Miranda and she is one of my Ebay delivery from a couple of weeks ago.

All of this is fabric is from stash, some of it, like the silk for the skirt above, is about 15 years old as I am using left over fabric from medieval gown making, as well as the four year old bridal jacket fabric. The pattern is simple to use, despite the fitting issues and it looks lovely, especially on Lucinda in this lovely hexagon silk.

Barbie - hexagon dress 2

Barbie - hexagon dress 3

Barbie - hexagon dress 4

Barbie - hexagon dress 5

I have been stitching while watching a wonderful series on Amazon Starzplay. Some time ago, in September 2018, Ellen and I visited Gloucester Cathedral on the way back from the Caldicot Castle event and they were filming the Spanish Princess. I have wanted to watch the series for a while and as I now have a ‘little’ more time I signed up to Starzplay so I could watch it. They also have two related series, the White Princess and the White Queen, so I will be watching those next, slightly out of order I know.

The costumes are gorgeous, all pictures via Google. Yes I know there are issues with historical accuracy but so far I have not seen any zips down the back πŸ™‚ and the series has some wonderful actors in so I am very much enjoying it.

Spanish Princess costume 1

Katherine of Aragon, above middle with her ladies in waiting, is one of my all-time favourite historical characters, as is Margaret Beaufort, played wonderfully here by Harriet Walker.

Spanish Princess costume 6

I don’t think I could ever make a Tudor costume, though my amazing friend Kat does, but Kerry and I often fantasise about this making something like and we have met Tudor re-enactors who have the most wonderful garments.

Spanish Princess costume 5

Spanish Princess costume 4

Spanish Princess costume 2

Spanish Princess costume 3

Since I will have no re-enactments this year due to this situation, and possibly no trips to Spain to see Mum, it is keeping me happy to be able to admire the costumes and the locations. They filmed at the Alhambra and in the Sierras in Spain and so far I have spotted Caldicot Castle and possibly Berkeley Castle both of which we have done events at. So I am enjoying my virtual travels πŸ™‚

I have also been doing a little bit of online learning. I am currently doing a free course with Future Learn on A History of Royal Fashion. Week 1, last week, was on the influence of the Tudors and now we are looking at the Stuarts. The course is very interesting and only takes a little time each week to complete, with no homework, just looking a wonderful portraits like this one below, (picture from the National Portrait Gallery). When Ellen worked at Hardwick Hall they had many splendid Tudor paintings, some of which went to the gallery for a special exhibition of Elizabeth and her contemporaries.

Queen-Elizabeth-I

I am also planning to do some more of their free courses later in the year as they have some other interesting history ones. One that fits in very well to living in this area is the Working Lives in the Textile Mills which starts at the end of April. In its hey day Marsden had three working mills and I live in one of the rows of houses built for mill workers in 1910. In this picture, from Wikipedia, you can see how the now closed mills dominate the village, my house is in one of the rows on the middle left of this picture.

Marsden_Mill

I hope that things are not too difficult for you and that you are keeping busy, I feel very sorry for friends who do not craft or create, who are already talking of boredom. I am so far safe and happy just sitting here looking for the positives of this situation and praying family, friends and all of you stay safe as well.

Until next time, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

That was the week that was…featuring many gorgeous pouches

Well what a very ‘interesting’ week, somewhat confusing, and like most people in the world at the moment, with some points of stress. We are finding new ways of working remotely, I have spent a lot of time this week in virtual meetings with my lovely colleagues and students which has been really good. I am very used to working from home anyway as I do all my marking and doctoral work from the comfort of my sofa so I am thankfully used to organising my day and getting things done, and not being distracted by Netflix!

I am so grateful that I have had my sewing room to escape to and have made a point of finishing my working from home at a reasonable hour and spending two hours an evening in my sewing room. It is wonderful the peace and tranquility that I get watching my favourite You Tube costumers and stitching, it makes me forgot all of the outside world and I appreciate that now more than I ever did.

I have decided that as well as the Barbie dresses that I will be attempting to finish some of my pile of WIPs so completed one of those this week. This piece of embroidery was done some time ago and is one of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs from her previous monthly stitching club. The intention always was to use it for a small pouch and it had been laying in my WIPs for about 6 months.

Embroidered pouch March 3

I thought it might be useful to put a little more detail of the process for making up the pouch and other types of pouches here in case you are inspired, as they make great Christmas presents. Yes I know it is only March but if I am going to be in the house from now until September everyone is getting one of these for Christmas!

The first step is to cut your fabric and iron on some interfacing. I am still using up lots of recycled denim and an old navy linen curtain and in this case black interfacing, as I have some from the failed black velvet Steampunk jacket.

Embroidered pouch March 2

Embroidered pouch March 1

The size of the bag is somewhat dictated by the size of your zip so mine are usually 8 inches wide but can be as deep as you want. I have made some nice ones previously by adding a contrast fabric to the bottom of the bag as well.

bird-and-hexagon-pouch-1

I centered my embroidery using my quilting ruler, trimmed it to 1 inch from the edge of the stitching, used double sided fusible applique paper to attach it securely to the bag and then pinned the ric rac around the edges. This was hand sewn as I did not trust myself to sew a straight line while trying to keep the ric rac covering the raw edges.

Embroidered pouch March 4

Embroidered pouch March 6

Embroidered pouch March 8

The lining is a dark blue fabric from stash, I usually try and make the lining match either the zip or the outer fabric to avoid having to use too many thread colours. The zip was sewn on with lime thread in the top and navy in the bobbin. My zip insertion is never that neat so it helps if you can’t see too much of the stitching πŸ™‚ Zips are from Buddly Crafts, they come in 2 lengths (20 and 30 cm) and a wide variety of colours.

Embroidered pouch March 9

Embroidered pouch March 7

I used the bag tutorial from Emkie Designs as previously but there seem to be some issues with pictures on that at the moment so here is a link to Patchwork Posse for a similar tutorial. As you may know I love making pouches and am very tempted by all the different designs so will experiment with a few new ones over the coming months. This site, Sew Delicious, has got links for 20 different ones and I really love the patchwork versions like this one from one of my other favourite sites Charise Creates.Β 

Charise Creates 12-patch-pouch

I have just come across this one from Molly and Mama as well, you may know that I love Liberty with a passion and hexagons but had not thought of doing one with the zip across the front so I will add that to my list.Picture from their web site.

Hexagon-Lace-Zipper-Pouch

I am really looking forward to a live stream this evening from another historical costuming blog that I recently discovered, the lovely Marika from Enchanted Rose costumes is going to be making a dress so I am going to join in with as much as I can. Thankfully the internet means we can still interact with fellow seamstresses and I am hugely grateful for the online community as well.

I ‘may’ just have bought a bit more Liberty fabric and some lace, which will be delivered later in the week. Very naughty I know but it does make me happy and hopefully will help the small businesses a little bit, that is my excuse anyway πŸ˜‰

Today’s project is finishing off one Barbie dress and starting another, I am using up lots of fabric from stash including this gorgeous silk with a hexagon design left over from my sister in law Amanda’s wedding coat some years ago.

Barbie - hexagon dress 1

I mentioned that I have been inspired by this design using the same fabric from one of the doll couture blogs I posted about here.

Gene Marshall doll 2

 

I am doing the whole dress in the same fabric and will be using the pattern for the green evening gown in the top left of the pattern below. I am hoping that it will look very elegant.

Barbie Patterns 1

I am really enjoying working with the impossibly tiny pieces of this pattern, it is a lot easier than the blouse one and has gone together quite well. This pattern piece pictured above is about 2 and a half inches wide, a little different from making the celebration dress.

I have some leave next week, I decided to keep one week even though I am not going anywhere but my beautiful village as it always feel like a holiday to be here anyway, especially when the sun is shining as it is today. I will be enjoying the sanctuary of my craft room with a few short social distanced walks, easy when you mostly just see sheep πŸ™‚ I have so much leave this year as time in lieu from teaching Saturdays that I might as well use it up now as who knows when things will return to some kind of normal.

Meanwhile we will focus on all the positives, one of the nice things is that I will be able to blog more often which I really enjoy, and I hope you do too. Stay safe everyone, take careΒ  and thanks for visiting.