Back to Blighty with a bump and the giveaway winner

I hope that you all had a great festive season, I got back yesterday in pretty rough weather, there was lots of turbulence and the plane was really rocking coming down but we were only slightly delayed.

I have had a fab time and have more pictures to show you later, I have put a few of my favourites below but have really just popped in to tell you that the winner of my 11th blogaversary giveaway is Kay. I have e-mailed her to let her know but thanks so much to everyone who has commented, liked and followed this blog and sorry that I can’t make you all winners!

The weather has been pretty dreadful today with howling gales and we are forecast snow at the end of the week, oh joy! I am consoling myself by looking at my lovely beach pictures. This one is on the first day when we went down to the beach for coffee and a walk and the sunlight was just so sparkly on the water.

spain beach

We had our usual picnic lunch on New Year’s Day and I even got a little sunburnt. This yacht was out again on a very calm sea.I am sure I took pictures of the same one last year.

spain beach 2

Later in the holiday we went down the coast a bit for lunch and a walk to one of the rocky beaches, we took the kids here when they were younger and Jacob loved playing on this little island. It was a cloudier day with a magnificent sky and the waves were crashing on the rocks.

spain beach 3

spain beach 4

spain beach 6

spain beach 5

I just love the sea in all weathers and even had a little paddle on New Year’s Day, there were a few people in the sea swimming then as well and some surfers at the rocky beach.

I had a very relaxing time, doing lots of reading, very little cooking, mainly living on delicious cheeses and soup. They even had a little Christmas selection pack of some of my favourite ones in miniature which made a lovely cheeseboard.

spain cheese

I also did a couple of puzzles, this one I bought last time I went as it is of a view that Ellie and I saw when we went to the Lake District last June, a painting of Derwentwater. Lots of pieces of sky to fit in!

spain puzzle 1

There was very little crafting done so I have nothing to show you, I am starting to put together my latest Steampunk outfit for Whitby in a few weeks. I am doing a pirate outfit for one day with my purple hat from last year and a vampire hunter outfit for the other day as both seemed appropriate themes for the venue.

The vampire hunter outfit will be a modification of a beautiful red wool evening coat that I have had for years, bought originally for re-enactment. I am taking inspiration from one of my favourite films, Van Helsing with the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale and this jacket though my coat is a lot longer as this will be February in the UK so warmth will be a priority. There will also be a top hat of course so I have been searching for inspiration for that.

vampire hunter outfit

Back to work tomorrow so it will be next weekend before anything serious can be done on that but the top hat will be started tonight.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Advertisements

Steampunks in Space – return from the Delta Quadrant

We had a lovely time last week at Steampunks in Space at the National Space Centre in Leicester. As always there were fabulous costumes and Captain Janeway was ably assisted by her first officer Ellen and companion captain from Serenity, James.

Steampunks in Space 18

Steampunks in Space 2

Ellen’s costume was brilliant, she made the bolero and hat herself and it all looked so good together. She now has an extensive wardrobe of pieces that she can combine in different ways like the corsets, leggings and bustle. The phaser is from one of her University fancy dress outfits.

Steampunks in Space 1

Steampunks in Space 3

Steampunks in Space 4

My hat was decorated with some little model ships and some control panel pictures, pictures taken in the toilet again as the light was good there!

Steampunks in Space 5

This year they also had some costumes made with a space theme by various members of the Seamstress Squadron which were on display, such talented people!

Steampunks in Space 12

Steampunks in Space 13

Steampunks in Space 14

Steampunks in Space 16

Steampunks in Space 17

The tie fighter hat and Death Star costume below was the overall winner of the costume competition along with her Steam Trooper companion. Such creativity!

Steampunks in Space 20

Not only were there the great costumes to admire but also all the brilliant stuff at the Space Centre, we didn’t do any of this last year meaning to go back but ran out of time so never did.

There were some great interactive activities, designed for kids which we really loved like the mining activity where you had to control a bucket with levers to load rocks and this chair which again was lever controlled.

Steampunks in Space 11Steampunks in Space 10

We are both really concentrating on the display screen here as it was really difficult to control.

Steampunks in Space 8

Steampunks in Space 9

We also really enjoyed seeing what we look like under infra – red, Ellen is the one with the really cold nose! Picture courtesy of James.

Steampunks in Space 19

I remember the first moon landings and many years ago we went and visited the Space Centre in Florida as part of a fantastic US holiday so I have always been really interested in this, particularly the human stories behind it. I have read biographies of both astronauts and control crew and loved the Hidden Figures movie. I am waiting for First Man to come out on DVD so I can watch that.

I am still working on embroidering stockings, hopefully they will be all completed this week and then I have a little bit of frantic machining to do to get everything together. Where does the time go, I am sure last time I looked it was only October!

I hope that you have all had a good week, I am looking forward to the last couple of weeks of teaching and then being on leave, and going to Spain, it will be so good to see my Mum as I haven’t been since July.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Marsden Magic

Sadly I have to report that the black velvet jacket got abandoned on Thursday, I was already having trouble with the bodice fitting, the seams kept slipping as I was stitching but the final crunch came when I realised I had cut down the sleeves too small again!

I have so much trouble with fitting, everything was far too big when I first cut it out and I thought I had trimmed just enough off but it was not to be so I now have a bag of large velvet scraps that I will do something with at some point.Next time I attempt a jacket I am going to do a toile first and get the fitting right before I cut!

I was disappointed but at least I had the lovely red skirt and my old velvet jacket to wear. Ellie came up for a few days and I was saying to her that evening that what I really wanted was to find a charity shop jacket that I could adorn, preferably a man’s dinner suit but they were so hard to find.

We went for a little walk and a bit of charity shop browsing the following afternoon and a miracle occurred as one of the charity shops had not one but ten brand new men’s dinner suits on sale and one of the ones in my size was a beautiful shawl collared one, with the collar made of black satin. It fitted really well apart from the sleeves being too long and the whole suit was only £10 🙂

Dinner jacket 1

A few hours of adding lace yesterday and I now have a beautifully decorated jacket for next weekend, without all the stress of sewing black velvet! I am very happy and relieved. I have also put lace on the cuffs and pockets.

Dinner jacket 2

Dinner jacket 4

Dinner jacket 3

The little red insert in the pocket is a cut off from altering the waistband on the gorgeous skirt I bought some time ago, I love the style of these and will probably end up with one in every colour!

Steampunk red skirt

Ellie also found some boots for herself in another charity shop which she was really pleased with having been on an unsuccessful shopping trip on the way here to a huge shopping complex where she trailed round every shop unsuccessfully. Marsden truly is a wonderful place!

My theme for the Steampunks in Space event is Star Trek and I am taking inspiration from Kathryn Janeway, the captain of Voyager, with my outfit.

Captain Janeway

We have some comm badges that we bought from Etsy and I have some tiny space ships to decorate my red hat and hopefully some printouts of the control screens.Ellie has made a lovely bolero jacket and still has her phaser from a previous outfit so we are ready to beam aboard and go where no man has gone before! Photos of all the outfits to follow plus all the other amazing stuff, we were so in awe last year.

I have also been making more delicious bread, I made an olive version as well this weekend, I really could just live on this, it is wonderful.

Nov bread baking

We had Christmas bauble making part two on Friday, at a friend’s house and there were lots of people there, I think in total about 12 baubles got made and everyone enjoyed themselves so that was great. Only a couple of photos due to lack of light and being busy but don’t these two look lovely?

Nov baubles at Janes 1

Nov baubles at Janes 2

Nov baubles at Janes 3

After next weekend I must crack on with the Christmas stockings and gifts, as it will be only a month to go, every year I think I give myself lots of time to do things and then it all evaporates!

At least I now have a jacket to wear to Whitby Steampunk in February as well so will just concentrate on making some capes. I have the capelet/bustle from the black velvet cut out and that doesn’t have to fit so will put that together for an extra layer and the just embellish the red hat again.

Hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

Pattern hacking and pattern making

Things are progressing slowly with the Steampunk jacket but I am pleased with it all so far. I cut out the velvet without too much trauma or the house being covered in black velvet dust! I have just trimmed all of the pieces as usual I cut them much bigger and then had a garment for at least one and a half of me!

I should really have made a toile but I am short on time, one day I will get around to making a body form from a mannequin base as that would be really useful for fitting patterns onto before cutting.

I have hacked the pattern slightly and plan to do more hacking, in the initial stages what I did was lengthen the jacket as I want it to come to just about hip height. I will possibly not have it quite this long as I have added eight inches but it is easier to shorten than to lengthen!

Steampunk velvet jacket 1

Steampunk velvet jacket 2

I also want to attach the bustle to the jacket. It is not very obvious in the picture below but the bustle is tied around the waist under the jacket. I have already modified this and only cut two layers of ruffles due to not having enough fabric but I think that will be fine with the longer jacket. It may all go horribly wrong but I like experimenting.

McCalls Pattern 1

The Love to Sew Podcast had a great episode on pattern hacks and they have loads of ideas for adapting things from existing patterns.It was from there I got the idea of adding the tracing paper to the existing pattern pieces which makes it a lot easier to adjust.

Steampunk velvet jacket 3

My plan for this afternoon is to zig zag all of the pieces to stop it fraying and maybe even start the construction. It looks a fairly simple design, famous last words, but the initial fit piece went well together, I do have collar and buttonholes to look forward to though!

My very talented daughter Ellen has just finished her amazing piece for the Refashioners 2018 project. This year the theme was, ‘inspired by’, so she chose this gown by the House of Worth which is dated 1898 and is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Ellen - Worth dress 5

 

She tuned a pair of velvet curtains into this and did all of the pattern making herself, she is such a talented seamstress and so confident with design, these are pictures from her Facebook page and she has some pictures of the process on her Instagram here. 

Ellen - Worth dress 1

Ellen - Worth dress 2

Ellen - Worth dress 3

Ellen - Worth dress 4

I don’t know where she took the first two photos but I think she looks amazing and I am so proud of her 🙂 You can see lots of other refashioning at this Instagram page here

I do love all this creativity, long may it continue. I am also working hard on the second set of stockings, I am doing another five and am about half way through these, such relaxing stitching while watching Netflix, bliss.

I did my last Saturday teaching yesterday, no more until Feb so I get the whole weekend from now on to do what I like, what a lovely feeling 🙂

I hope that you have had a great weekend and have a good week ahead. We have a Wool and Wine bauble making evening here on Friday so I will get some pictures of the Christmas gorgeousness for you all.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

The second Steampunk jacket

Technically this is the third jacket I have made from a Steampunk pattern as Amanda’s wedding jacket a couple of years ago was from a Steampunk pattern but this is the second one for me.

I saw this pattern a while ago and thought it looked beautiful and it gives me a chance to wear more lovely lace! It is a McCalls Pattern M6770 and I bought it a while ago during one of the Jaycott’s pattern sales. Images from their web site.

McCalls Pattern 1

 

McCalls Pattern 2

My plan is to make the jacket out of some black crushed velvet that Ellie gave me a while ago. I already have one black jacket but it is a little too small over the bust so want something that does up as this will be used for events in November and Feb so it will be cold.

I met one of the Seamstress Squadron at Lincoln who had already made this and she was kind enough to let me take pictures and talk through the construction with me.

Steampunk event Costume 8

Steampunk event Costume 9

The bustle part is actually a separate piece that ties round the waist but I am planning to adapt the pattern to attach it to the jacket and make the front a little longer.I will also not have the corset fastenings on the back or the gathered part on the sleeves which will make construction easier.

I did the same sort of pattern hacking on the jacket I have just made and it worked out fine. I may not have enjoyed my school needlework lessons all those years ago due to a very stern teacher who shouted a lot but I did learn the basics of how patterns work and have the confidence to alter them.

I will then make the skirt out of some pink velvet that I bought many, many years ago for re-enactment, in time for the Feb event. I am planning to buy a red version of the purple skirt as illustrated below for the Nov event as I love it so much and it will go fabulously with my new hat.At some point I think I will also get the black one as well.

Steampunk red skirt

The plan is to cut this out next week before things get busy at work as the sizing is always the most difficult part. I have had a lot of inspiration and practical help from the Love to Sew podcast. They have an episode on tissue fitting which was really helpful so I am going to try doing that before cutting out.They also have a great one on pattern hacking if you want some ideas for adapting things.

Wish me luck as I hate sewing with velvet though I love the way it looks! It moves around so much when you sew it but am determined to use up stash rather than buying any new fabric in the spirit of sustainability and trying to use up the many yards in my sewing room before I relocate to Spain in a few years.

Will update you on the progress, take care and thanks for visiting.

Bustles, blossoms and beats, the creativity of Steampunk

As always there were amazing costumes. I really love the fact that Steampunk gives people a chance to participate on any level, whether it be using things you have in your wardrobe and adding a top hat, or even adapting a wedding hat, re purposing charity shop finds, buying clothes ready made or tailoring/creating your own fantastic costumes.

This woman is a costume maker and her garments are always out of this world.I love the starry fabric of her dress.

Steampunk event Costume 4

Steampunk event Costume 7

This white one below is a great example of putting things together, the costume is all ready made items and then it is set off by this amazing head dress.

Steampunk event Costume 1
Steampunk event Costume 2

It is a very inclusive activity that can be done at any level, unlike re-enactment where there are unfortunately lots of authenticity rules, understandable but it does make it expensive even for a beginner.

For just a basic outfit you would need to spend about £100 even if you made all the garments yourself yet Steampunk can be done for next to nothing. My outfit this year, which was the most original I have done not using many things already in my wardrobe, only cost £67 to put together and that is including buying the skirt and hat that I have already worn to other events and to re-enactment lots of times .

I also love the fact that it is encouraging people to sew and to make, anything that does that is fantastic and every single one of the thousands of people who were there this weekend had done something creative which is so good for everybody.

There were some wonderful examples of this creativity, this woman’s costume was music themed. I really like her hat made of records and the bustle from sheet music!The attention to detail is wonderful, look at the music note fabric and the tiny piano on the back pack.

Steampunk event Costume 22

Steampunk event Costume 23

I think the most original re-purposing I saw all weekend was this great set of wings made from ties, an adult and a child version, how fantastic is this!

Steampunk event Costume 3

Although this top hat decorated with Lego people did come a close second.

Steampunk event Costume 12

We loved this gown and hat with so many ribbon roses, we spoke to the owner about how she had made it and they were all hand made then glued on to gown.

Steampunk event Costume 15

This was a fantastic Elizabeth 1st inspired neck piece, we loved all the detail on this.

Steampunk event Costume 21

There was also a large contingent of Votes for Women themed participants, celebrating the centenary of the 1918  Representation of the People Act which gave some women the right to vote.

This lovely woman was one of the many who stopped and complimented me on my jacket, having seen the pictures on the Seamstress Squadron page which was so kind of them.

Steampunk event Costume 13

There were some fabulous gowns as well such as these lovely ladies and the gentlemen with the matching waistcoat. We all especially loved the princess outfit in pale blue at the bottom.

Steampunk event Costume 17

Steampunk event Costume 20

Steampunk event Costume 6

Steampunk event Costume 5

Steampunk event Costume 14

Steampunk event Costume 10

And so much colour, I love purple and these women looked fantastic as did the one who was wearing peacock themed colours and the other very bright Marie Antoinette dress.

Steampunk event Costume 19

Steampunk event Costume 27

Steampunk event Costume 18

I have already decided that next year’s Lincoln outfit will be purple and turquoise, using the skirt and top hat I already have.

I had actually decided on this colourway before the event as I was doing some some hand stitching and brought down some threads in those colours and thought how wonderful they looked together. Not quite sure what the theme will be but will work on that.

It was not only the costumes that were marvelously creative but also the machines. From the cogged bustle which actually moved, the ever inventive backpacks, through the  mobility carts and wheelchairs to bikes there were some amazing adaptations, another reason why Steampunk is so inclusive.

Steampunk event Costume 16

Steampunk event Costume 11

We are really looking forward to our next event, Steampunks in Space in November, and I have a Sci-Fi theme for that to go with my new hat. I had some money from Ellie and Jake for my birthday and I bought a dressage hat, similar to a top hat but shorter.

Then we will have Whitby in February where we are going for an overnight stay so can do two days! I will show you the jacket I am planning as my next make soon as I am allowing myself plenty of time for fitting issues!

It is a very dull and grey day here, not at all August weather and the leaves have started to fall from the trees so I suspect that summer is sadly over. I do love autumn as a season but have enjoyed the lack of rain!

Hope that you are having a nice week where you are, take care and thanks for visiting.

A tablecloth, some curtains and another mad hatter

My lovely daughter Ellie is actually named Ellen Scarlett Rose, the middle of these names being after one of my fictional heroines, Scarlett O’Hara. So it was very apt that Ellie’s outfit for this steampunk event was indeed made out of a pair of curtains.

If you have never seen Gone with the Wind you may not have seen the part where, short of fabric after the war, Scarlett makes a dress out of some green velvet curtains, inspiring seamstresses and steampunks everywhere. Photos below from Google.

Scarlett O'Hara dress 2

 

 

Scarlett O'Hara dress 1

Ellie also made the whole outfit in a couple of days which is very impressive, re-purposing a charity shop wedding dress, a piece of lace and an old net curtain as well as lots of flowers from various sources.

Steampunk event Ellie and Kerrie 1

Steampunk event Ellie 1

Steampunk event Ellie 5

Steampunk event Ellie 6

Steampunk event Ellie 2

Steampunk event Ellie 3

Steampunk event Ellie 4

The parasol was mine. I had bought it to go with my outfit but it looked so good with hers she kept it all day and I have loaned it to her for future outings. I did get it back for my photo shoot.

Steampunk event Alison and Ellie 1jpg

Steampunk event Alison 8

 

Steampunk event Alison 1

Steampunk event Alison 2

Steampunk event Alison 3

Steampunk event Alison 4

Steampunk event Alison 5

Steampunk event Alison 7

Kerry was wearing her gorgeous black coat, I love this and if she ever wants to get rid of it I am first in line!

Steampunk event Kerrie 1

Steampunk event Kerrie 2

I was very pleased with my ensemble and really touched that so may people who had seen it on the Seamstress Squadron Facebook page stopped to say hello and tell me how much they loved it. They are such lovely people and very inspiring.

I have another post for you with lots more outfits but just wanted to show you the wonderful dancers from The Belly Fusion Dance Collective who we saw perform twice. They all wore tea themed costumes with fantastic head dresses, I think my favourite one was the cake stand one below but they were all amazing.

Steampunk event Costume 31

I also bumped into another sewing enthusiast who had the most brilliant sewing themed hat and she very kindly stopped for lots of photos.As well as all the very creative use of tape measures she had fantastic walking stick made of cotton reels.

Steampunk sewing hat 5

It was all so lovely and inspiring and we also had a great re-enactment show, very wet on Sunday and my tent blew over so everything got very wet but my lovely friends helped out putting it back up and it was not damaged which was a relief.

We had a great day on Monday, doing our usual walk around the area and photo shoots and lots of tournaments and then my angel of a friend Kerry drove me all the way home as I was not walking well after so much time out in the damp.

I have a fairly quiet couple of weeks ahead before term starts again and then I am working every weekend until the end of Oct, just on Saturday but that is going to cut down the creative time somewhat.

I have a new outfit planned for Steampunks in Space at the end of November so I will at least get that cut out before term starts so I have it ready for sewing.

I will be back soon with more costume loveliness, meanwhile take care and thanks for visiting.