Millions of needles …

As a keen seamstress I do have my fair share of needles for all purposes but have never really thought much about where they come from. At the Clent Hills camp site there was a brochure for the National Needle Museum in Redditch, just a short drive away, so I thought I would stop off and visit.

The museum was fascinating, it is housed in the original needle factory, dating from the late 1700s when the processes were driven by water. Redditch produced millions of needles, about 90% of the world’s production, and they were exported worldwide.

This meant that there were gorgeous displays made for national and international exhibitions. The companies also made surgical needles and fishing hooks.

There were also some great examples of how needles were used, from the textile group display of current craft on the first floor to examples of vintage craft.

It was fascinating to see the displays of needle packaging and needle cases over time.

If you are in the area it is well worth a visit. We are now back from Whitby where we had a lovely time as always and met some new people. I have bought lots of fab new jewellery for my latest outfits so will put together a post about the event when I can next access good internet.

I am about to leave Ellen’s now and go to my beloved Peak District for a few days. Normal UK weather has been resumed and it is forecast to be around 17 degrees and showers for the rest of the week!

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

Where did you get that hat, where did you get that hat?

I now have a lot of Steampunk hats and decorations for them but this is the first one that I have made from scratch. I was taught how to make medieval headwear by the very talented Kat a long time ago so I have used the same techniques here.

I was aiming for a small pill box type hat so first cut out buckram stiffening then lined it with wadding before sewing the outer fabric on. The lid was also lined with felt to give it an edge to help sew it into the top of the hat.

The blue embellishment was made in the same way with stiffening and wadding and then sewn to the hat. The ostrich feathers came from Ebay, they are just tucked in at the moment but will be pinned in when I wear it.

The lace came from stash, I think it is some my Mum may have bought here in Spain and I have embellished it with seed beads. The hat has been sewn to a headband covered in lace so I can easily wear it without pins.

I have blogged about the outfit pattern before but realised I had not specified which one it is. The pattern is Butterick B6305 and is part of their history collection, dated 1870-1880.

I have modified it a lot, as you can see the original pattern has a very fitted front with a bow at the back and an apron front. I am not very good at making fitted items, I blame my generous bust ๐Ÿ˜‰

As I was quite short of time have opted to leave the front as fold over reveres, embellished with some lovely lace that I think I bought from a Steampunk market. I have a cameo brooch to keep it closed.

I just made my own pattern for the cuffs as the ones on the original pattern are very complex but I think they look pretty and showcase the blue fabric really well.

As it is a looser jacket it did not look right with either apron or bustle so I have just made a little drawstring bag in blue to complement the outfit. I still have a complete jacket minus sleeves cut and sewn, as I was going to use the same material to line it.

I also still have the front jacket facings in blue and additional material so may come back and make a more fitted blue and cream one when I have more time. Saying that I don’t have any time do I, even now I am retired and I still have two more lots of material to make outfits with that I haven’t even started, but you never know!

The skirt is very simple but I am pleased with the neat pleats and darts. I had to cut the skirt much narrower than in the pattern, the material is very stiff and so it would not drape with that amount of width.

The material is beautiful, but as it is very stiff I have had to hand finish most of the jacket seams so that they won’t rub but it should be fine to wear now. I do so love the fabric, and am so pleased that it has finally been used after a mere 16 years in stash! It will be lovely to have a new outfit for Whitby.

I have also finished some little felt and Liberty flowers that I am intending to add to my purple top hat for decoration for Steampunk and re-enactment events. I like to wear a top hat in the evenings when we go to the beer tent.

The templates for the flowers are free ones from here and I used the same ones when I was making my 1940s felt flower corsages.

I backed the Liberty with iron on interfacing so that I could use the flowers raw edged.

I am looking forward to some lovely celebrations here this week as it is my 60th birthday ๐Ÿ™‚ We are going for afternoon tea on the actual day, one of the bars here does a gorgeous afternoon tea and they even do a really lovely gluten free one! We tested it out a couple of weeks ago with my sewing group and it was delicious.

shall miss Spain but my 90 days are nearly up so until I return will be thinking about the epic sunsets like this one the other evening.

The sky was an amazing colour and I was out for quite a while taking pictures. We haven’t had one like that for a while but they are always amazing in autumn.

I will be having an epic adventure in Katy though, so won’t be too sad. I will be back as soon as I can from the road via the miracles of the WordPress app, with hopefully some great pictures from our re-enactment events. Fingers and everything else crossed!

Have fun until I see you all again, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The campervan cushions…at last!

I know that I have been promising you pictures of the cushions for the last couple of months and I finally finished the last one yesterday. I have been having a quiet weekend sorting things out and finishing up all my projects so I can finally share them. I thought it would be useful to do a little tutorial as well for the VW van. There are lots of pictures of these cushions available but I couldn’t find a ‘how to tutorial’, so thought I would share one here.

I drew my own template using the pictures I found for inspiration. My cushion cover is 14 by 14 inches so my backing fabric started at 16 by 16 then I trimmed it down. I drew the whole van and then used tracing paper for each individual part of the van. Then comes the fun part of choosing all of the fabrics!

I chose to use double sided interfacing to stick down the pieces onto the backing fabric. You could just sew them straight on but as I wanted to machine zig zag round the edges of some pieces and hand stitch on others it makes it more stable.

I did the ziz zags first, then the hand stitching and embellishments. The hand embroidery is all chain stitch. I have used a lot of different things from stash for these cushions, the cute little flowers come from the haberdashers here and I have them in different sizes and colours. The other laces and ric rac I have just picked up over the years, some of it is from The Range in the UK which always has great lace.

Once it is embellished it is time to make the back of the cushion. I always make envelope backs as they are the easiest method. The backing fabric is from Rose and Hubble, they have now stopped making it but you can still find plenty on Ebay. It comes in about 6 colours.

You need to cut the piece longer then the cushion by about 6 inches the give a generous overlap. I then seam both edges and then stitch the overlap together before stitching back and front of the cushion together. All cushion backs were made the same way.

For the second cushion I used some hexagons that I had in stash and just sewed them very carefully on to the backing fabric. This fabric was actually a cushion cover bought in the local Merca China homewares store. It seems a little illogical to buy a cushion cover then cut it up but it was the easiest and cheapest way of getting fabric.

The final cushion was a caravan pattern. This ended up being only a 12 by 12 inch one as I melted a bit of the fabric as the iron was too hot.. oops!

I have made smaller versions of a similar one from a free pattern by Flamingo Toes as embroidered hangings but this was a free pattern for a pot holder from Sewing4free. I combined elements of the two designs they had, and used the same tracing paper and applique technique as before. The only difference was the machine zig zag was done as the final step before making up the cushion.

I am so pleased with them and can’t wait to sort out the van when I get back. I also have bunting and fairly lights and a pretty throw that will double up as an awning/sunshade over the back doors. I have been looking at drive away awnings but they are really expensive and as I will have my tent with me for this year am going to wait and think about whether I really need one.

I will be back soon with a post about the new Steampunk outfit, am very pleased that everything is finished and I still have a week to go! Felling very organised ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope that you are having a nice weekend, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

El grupo de costura (The sewing group)

One of the things that I wanted to do when I got here was find some crafting friends. I thought that there must be a group in a place as big as this, with so many retired women and so after some searching I found a post on the local Facebook page. There are actually two groups, a knitting and a sewing one, but many people attend both. So every Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday mornings I go to the local Escuela de Adultos, which is the adult education and social centre at one of the shopping areas here.

I am so glad that I met these lovely people, not only are we having a very good time actually crafting, there are workshops so we are learning new things, and there are social events. We have been out for a group lunch, are going to be involved in a local crafting day next weekend, and are planning some more events in June as well.

I have posted before about the mannequin pincushion and the following week after Eileen’s workshop we took them all back for a group photo. I love the variety of these, particularly the creativity with the necklace and Sue’s beautiful shawl.

Last week I did a workshop on English Paper Piecing. There are a few people in the group that have already done this, and some are very experienced so I took some of the more unusual pieces such as apple cores and clam shells. There were four complete beginners and everyone was able to complete at least one shape to use as a coaster etc. Lynn, first in the row in the picture below, is now hooked and is planning to make a cushion!

Debbie is a very experienced and talented quilter and she brought her apple core coaster back the following week to finish off. I had taken some of my stash to share with the group and she has used some of the Christmas fabric that I had to make this lovely design. Her stitches are so tiny and neat!

I really enjoyed doing the workshop and have offered another one in the autumn for the pine cones/Christmas trees made of ribbon as we can get the polystyrene shapes and ribbon easily here. In fact I used to take back ribbon from Spain to make most of mine in the UK. Many years ago I wanted to go part-time at work and set up Stitches of Time as a business and re-train as a crafting teacher. Life, as they say, got in the way of that. I would never want to go back to teaching but love sharing skills with others.

I have always loved being a member of craft groups and over the years have met so many wonderful and supportive people. Especially here, where many of us have been new to La Marina, or are on our own, it is brilliant to have the company of like minded people. I always think crafters are especially friendly and welcoming to others. I am lucky to have family here but many people come just with themselves and a partner to start their new lives in the sun so it is brilliant to have a way to make friends.

When I moved to Marsden I met a group of very dear friends who were not only great fun to be, with but a very much needed support during lockdown. It seems strange to think that two years ago we were planning socially distanced meet ups in each other’s gardens when the first lifting of restrictions said you could meet in groups of six. I remember my friends arriving each with their own glass and bottle, and not having too much to drink as we were not allowed inside to use the toilet!

One of the recent social events here was afternoon tea at Linda’s house where she gave us a tour around her craft rooms. I though I had a large amount in my old craft rooms but Linda has the entire under – build of her house, (like a basement but open to the outside), and three rooms full of things. It is not so much a craft room but a very well stocked haberdashery. It reminds me of the ones we see at the open air museums such as Beamish. As you can see she loves tins so I am going to look out for some nice ones for her when I am back in the UK.

What is also lovely is to have local knowledge. Certain things are more difficult to get here, probably a good thing or I would go over my craft budget each month ๐Ÿ˜‰ so it is great to know which market has a good craft stall, or where you can get things like interfacing. There are also frequent trips back to the UK so people can do some imports, as since Brexit delivery costs are so high and you have to pay customs duties on all packaging. Some expats sneak Marmite into the country, we bring back Aida and quilt wadding!

Last weekend was all about finishing the cushions and making some underwear for the Luna for the Jubilee fundraising, as the consensus at sewing group was that her skirt was too short for no knickers! I was quite happy to stay indoors, not that it was raining but I have had a very active week and enjoyed my sofa time with a good drama series.

I hope that you have all had a good weekend as well. Have a good week ahead, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The rain in Spain …..

It has been raining this afternoon. This is a rare enough event in this part of Spain to cause much discussion, although this year has been wetter than any other for 72 years. Having lived in Yorkshire for 37 years I keep telling people here that this gentle rain that they get most of the time is nothing to be concerned about ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was actually secretly quite glad that it was raining as otherwise I would have felt as if I should be weeding at the front of the house, or washing my paintwork or some other useful household task.

Instead I spent all afternoon sitting watching Netflix and sewing, finishing off the project we started this morning at my sewing group here. It still feels very naughty to be doing this kind of thing on a school day, I haven’t quite got the hang of this retirement lark meaning I can do anything I like at any time but have had a thoroughly lovely time.

My new sewing group, and the knitting group that are some of the same people are lovely, so welcoming and friendly. We alternate between our own projects and workshops led by one of the group and today we were doing one of my favourite things, making a pincushion. I mentioned previously that I don’t have many left and couldn’t resist this gorgeous design. This is one of the demo versions made by Eileen who led the workshop and the pattern and an instructional video can be found here.

What I love about this is that they can be so easily customised. Eileen’s version had the apron having little pockets for scissors etc as her apron was finished using pinking shears but as I don’t have any I finished mine with lace and left out the pockets.

You can also stitch a little necklace on but I decided to trim the neckline with ric rac instead. All of the material came from my stash, all Liberty fabrics for the coloured sections. You just need some toy stuffing, rice to give it some weight, and a small circle of both felt and card for the base.

A really lovely make, I am so glad that I found this group (through an advert on the local Facebook page) as we have other exciting things planned in the next few months. It also gives me an outlet for other makes as the group do a lot of crafting for charity. I have completed the Jubilee outfit for Luna so will share that with you soon.

Granada was wonderful, I have hundreds of pictures to sort through and then I can do some posts about that. We have three other day trips in the next two weeks as well so I will be able to share lots of lovely Spanish architecture with you over the coming weeks.

This week I also start another creative writing course so I am very much looking forward to that. I am not sure if I will get much writing done until autumn as want to make the most of the time here being outdoors but am looking forward to spending time with more creative people.

I hope that you have all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. Whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A very special dress and a pattern review – Simplicity 1045 dress

This post has been a very long time coming, I first wrote it two years ago as my friend Sarah, the very talented knitwear designer from Marsden, had asked me to make her wedding dress. The celebration was originally scheduled for April 2020 and the dress was finished on March 16th, just in time for her to tell me they were going to have to postpone for a bit ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Poor Sarah finally got to have the ‘official’ ceremony in August that year with just two witnesses, but the party only got to take place this last weekend, two years to the day that it would have been.

I am so glad that she finally got to have her celebration, the theme was Lord of the Rings as she and her partner Alan are huge fans. I wasn’t able to go, as knew I would be back in Spain for Mum’s birthday, but Sharon very kindly sent me some photos and she looked amazing in the dress. I will hopefully have some more photos of every else at some point as well as everyone dressed up.

Sarah's dress - large 1

Sarah's dress - large 2

When Sarah first chose this pattern for her dress I looked for reviews of it but didn’t find any so I thought it might be useful to write one in case anyone else wanted to make it. I have also talked about fabric choices as well.

Choice of garments in the pattern

This is a good value pattern as you get different choices of sleeves and necklines. I made a combination of view A for the sleeves and the length of the dress and View B for the centre panel with braid and the cording loops. View A also has three panels at the front, but in the same fabric they are not as obvious.

Sarah's dress 1

Sarah's dress 2

Sarah's dress 3

Fabric choices

The pattern calls for light fabrics so we chose a beautiful blue polyester art dupion for the main body and a heavily embroidered grey silk for the centre panel. I trimmed the loose threads from the silk before using it.

Sarah's dress 9

The centre panel fabric did cause a few issues as it was quite difficult to sew the tabs for the front cording onto the panel. The tabs were made of the braid we chose for the edging and it was a really good match with the embroidery as it had the same kind of sequins but they were quite stiff to sew on.

Sarah's dress 6

Sarah's dress 11

The front seams needed redoing several times as they would not stay still. If I made it again I would use a less textured material as the embroidery was very difficult to stitch through in places although it is a gorgeous fabric. The dupion was beautiful to work with, it was very easy to handle and didn’t crease easily so didn’t need ironing.

The sleeves were made ofย  an organza with tiny sparkles on rather than a chiffon which meant they were a little stiffer. I think this looks good as they hold their shape more easily without having to hold your arms out all the time as the model is doing ๐Ÿ™‚

Sarah's dress 8

They do take up a lot of fabric as there is a lot of waste on the layout. If you want to save money you could have shorter, narrower, sleeves and be able to get two cut out of each width. They would still be very pretty being a little smaller.

We bought extra fabric than that specified just to be on the safe side but due to an issue with the dye on the dupion ending up cutting all panels horizontally out of the width of the 60 inch fabric so could have got away with much less. The length was fine, although we had to cut 3 inches off each pattern piece to do that. My friend is of medium height but it was a good length with just a tiny hem.

Sizing

As with all patterns it bore little relation to shop sizing, I cut it out at size 16 for the bust as her bust inch measurement was 1/2 inch more than that for the size 14 and I am glad I did as it fitted really well. It gives 2 inches of ease on the finished measurements but there didn’t seem to be that much ease.

Sarah's dress 4

The waist was cut at size 16 as well although the inch measurement was a size 14 as the hips needed to be a size 18 and I didn’t want it to end up too tight on the waist. It is a very flowing design so does not need to be too specific in terms of the hip sizing.

Sarah's dress 5

I made a toile out of an old bed sheet which was a similar weight to the actual fabric and there were no real fit issues. I did take the shoulder seams up by half an inch to give a better fit on the bust line and cut half an inch from the bottom of the armholes after the final fitting as it was a little tight there.

Instructions

The instructions were clear, I didn’t need to really follow them in detail as the dress was very easy to work out, it has seven panels and since they are all different shapes it was clear what went where. There were no complicated techniques.

The pattern had two pieces for each sleeve which would have meant a seam on the top which given the sheerness of the fabric I didn’t want so I cut it out using only the back piece (as it was slightly larger) on the fold and it was fine. I used French seams as instructed for the seams of the sleeves. This was all hand stitched and I also inserted the sleeves by hand as the organza was quite slippery and the sleeves so large I thought this was easier than trying to get it all through my machine.

Sarah's dress finished 7

Sarah's dress finished 2

I wanted to line the dress which wasn’t in the instructions so we bought some lining fabric and made another dress for the lining. This was then sewn to the neckline then hand stitched into the armholes and next to the zip.

Sarah's dress finished 8

There was a facing as well which I made and attached as instructed but it showed through the dress fabric and looked bulky so I trimmed it back to 1/2 inch, zig zagged it and then used that to attach the dress lining to.

Construction notes

All body pieces were zig zagged after cutting before sewing up which was a good strategy as the blue fabric frayed a lot. The sleeves were not treated in this way, they did not fray too much when cut so I left them raw and the French seams and the rolled over hem at the edges hid the raw edges of the fabric.

We did not have an invisible zip due to wanting to match the colour exactly so I inserted the zip leaving an overlap each side which was then sewn with small stitches so that the zip was hidden.

I cut the cording loop tabs at 7 cm according to the instructions but they looked too big so cut 2 cm off each. The pattern also asks for 1/2 inch cord but that looked too bulky so it was swapped for thinner cord.

Sarah's dress finished 9

Overall feelings

This was a very easy pattern to work with, the only issues we had in construction were to do with a few glitches with the fabric. I am not sure why they split the sleeve in two pieces but other than that and the removal of most of the facing everything worked well. I would make the pattern again and think it would be suitable for someone with little sewing experience as it is a straightforward make.

Sarah's dress finished 3

Sarah's dress finished 5

Sarah's dress finished 4

Sarah's dress finished 6

Time taken was around 50 hours in total but about half of that was hand stitching so if you were machining sleeves, lining etc it would be far less. I hand stitched the hems on both lining and main dress as I prefer the finish and enjoy hand stitching but if you are just making a costume you might not do that and the braid could have been machined on as well.

I hope that this has been useful, as I make more things with commercial patterns I will review them as I find it very helpful to read other people’s thoughts about what they use before I decide which patterns to buy.

I will be back in a while with more travel pictures, in the meantime, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Sewing with a view of the sea!

I have had a very lovely first week back in Spain. I have been out a lot as we have had family visiting from the UK so have spent a few evenings with my cousin and her children and been busy sorting the house and garden. It always takes me a while when I get here to remember where everything is, as I keep discovering things I had forgotten I owned !

I spent yesterday sorting out my new sewing space in my bedroom, and had a lovely afternoon using the new machine with a view of the sea and the windows open so that I could smell the orange blossom. It is a beautiful time of year here, they have had a lot of unseasonal rain and some dust storms over from the Sahara but that has meant that many more wildflowers are in bloom.

I do need to buy some more furniture for storage but have just got this lovely little drawer unit which is perfect for when I am at the machine as it holds all of my threads and tools and has enough space for the essentials on top.

At the moment the wardrobe on the left of the first picture holds all of my sewing and knitting supplies in some plastic drawers and hanging units but I would like something more custom with easier access so that I can keep everything tidier.

I am currently using my table from the dining area which is brilliant as it folds out to a really large space which is perfect for cutting out so I will buy another one for the lounge and move this one permanently into here.

The first job was to make a new pincushion for this area, I gave most of my sewing supplies to Ellen for her upcycling project, including nearly all of my pincushions which is a great excuse to make some more! I found this piece of applique when I was sorting my WIP pile.

I stitched it last year as a postcard for the Crafting During Coronavirus research project that I took part in but due to the general busyness of life at that point never managed to finish it and send it off. I just backed it with one of my favourite Liberty prints and stuffed it with cushion filling, et voila a nice big pincushion! It is pictured here next to the little scraps basket Facebook helpfully reminded me this morning that I made 6 years ago.

I think the sentiment I stitched is perfect for my new sewing room. I have been thinking a lot about that time as we have just had the second anniversary of lockdown. I was so worried that my family would be badly affected and that all my plans to retire and move to Spain could go wrong, so it is good to have a reminder of not to lose hope when things look difficult. I am so grateful to be here and for everything that has happened in the last nine months.

I have also kept some of the stitched gifts that I have been given over the years and this beautiful needlebook is now in place to hold all my hand stitching needles. It was made for me many years ago by a very talented friend, Barbara, at my old embroidery group.

I am working on a new outfit for Luna at the moment. I really enjoyed making the Luna and clothes last year but then got a bit stuck as to who to give them to. My cousin’s children are a little too old for those kind of gifts and though the newest member of the family is expected any day now, it will be a while until she can have one.

Moving to Spain and joining a new knitting and sewing group has meant that I have whole new outlet for things in terms of donations to charities that other members support here. This Luna will be going to raise funds for the local food bank in a ‘name the rabbit’ competition to be held at the Jubilee celebrations in June. She therefore needs a new outfit in red, white and blue, which I am hoping will be finished this afternoon. Having all the windows open made it a bit breezy so I was glad of my pattern weights that my very talented daughter Ellen made last year.

I have also been replanting all of my pots so the terrace is looking bright and colourful again. I have spent the last two evenings sitting out there reading with my candles and solar lights lit. It really is my happy place and I love the quiet and peace there in the evenings, especially after all of the excitement of the last month!

We are hopefully off on a trip this coming week, it is my wonderful Mum’s birthday tomorrow and this is her birthday trip, to Granada. We will be going by coach so will get chance to travel through the mountains again which will be wonderful. I will of course take lots of pictures and will have so much to share with you when I get back.

My next post is going to be a very special one, over two years in the making but everything finally came together this weekend so I can share that with you now. More will be revealed next time!

Until then I hope that you have a lovely weekend, and enjoy the celebrations and Easter Bank Holiday if you have one. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Baby love

My niece’s baby shower lunch went very well last week, we had a lovely time meeting her partner’s family and I got to meet one of my great-nieces for the first time. My nephew’s partner, Paige, had organised all of the pretty things for the do and everything looked splendid.

We played a few little games and generally had a lovely time. My niece is thankfully looking very well after a very rough time so hopefully there are only a few more weeks for them to wait until the baby arrives.

The nappy cake went well, I just followed directions I found on Google and rolled the nappies and it makes a pretty and practical gift. There is a rabbit with a teething ring at top but it is hidden in the ribbon.

I finished Milly rabbit with a few days to spare. My niece likes neutral colours so I used this beautiful variegated grey from the local wool shop for the dress. This is my 24th Little Cotton Rabbits animal, so I now have a list of them all, their names and recipients.

The moses basket was delivered to her last week. I made the liner out of this very cute hedgehog fabric. I have lost the details of where it came from now but it was about ยฃ5 a metre. I did try making sheets for the mattress but it was not suitable as the fabric seams split when stretched so just did the liner and bought sheets.

I didn’t use a pattern, just draped the fabric around the outer edges, then cut panels to fit around the handle. the bottom edge is elasticated so that if fits over the padded liner.

I have been working on my first two foxes so will post about them soon. One is for Ellen and one for my niece. I am then going to take a break from knitting for a while and get started on all the lovely cross stitch. I have found the bookmark function on my Readly app so now have many patterns bookmarked to work on over the next year.

I still have lots of museum things and embroidery to show you from the summer so will make those the next few posts before I can show you all the lovely trips in Spain. I am very excited to be returning home, Worcester has been lovely but looking forward to swimming in the warm pool and sea and more sunny bike rides. I am lucky not to have really had any bad weather here, winter seems to have passed us by here which has been wonderful.

Have a good weekend and week ahead and hope that you have fun whatever you do, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Lovely Luna times ahead

Well dear readers as I write this there is less than a week until I retire! I will have a few things to finish off after Friday 25th June, as it the nature of a teacher’s life I can’t just cut and run, but after that date I am officially on holiday for the rest of my life. Very exciting times ahead.

I have had a very lovely day today sewing with Kerry, much progress has been made on the new hat for the cream outfit, Kerry actually sewed up the body of the hat this afternoon while I sorted some of the decoration. I am also making very good progress with the jacket and we have come up with an adaptation that will mean less work, and avoids making buttonholes as well. I will learn to do buttonholes properly one day, but today is not that day.

Last weekend Ellen came up and we had a very fabulous trip to Fabworks in Dewsbury and Bombay Stores in Bradford, thank heaven that restrictions have been lifted so that we can buy fabric again ๐Ÿ˜‰ We got some lovely velvet and tweed for future Luna outfits and some more supplies for Steampunk.

I have not had chance to share the outfits that I have made for Luna, I have another couple of works in progress and this, and the Steampunk clothes, are going to be my main focus for the months ahead.

I have completed three outfits, all very cute. The first is a Liberty print and the other two are Rose and Hubble and I have loved adding all of the lace and bows and other pretty things to these. The buttons on the first outfit have poppers underneath, so no buttonholes needed!

Ellen has been making some beautiful things, there was a competition a while ago on the Luna Lapin Facebook page and one of the weekly themes was historical costume, so she made this amazing dress for Anne Bunelyn.

It is so beautifully stitched with such attention to detail, all her own design. I love the head dress and matching necklace. She is now going to match a matching Henry, as a fox which will be fabulous. She also made a beautiful party dress with a tulle skirt.

I am almost finished with the bear and bunny, I have made a bit more progress since this picture was taken, I do love the way the bear’s head has turned out and the cute little trainers. Another few hours and they should all be ready to go off to their new homes.

We are going to be away next weekend, celebrating both the end of work for me and my birthday, catching up re-enactment friends at an event, and then going to Oxford for a short break inspired by watching Discovery of Witches recently. There are some wonderful Tudor costumes in that show which we loved, including this amazing wedding dress.

We are going to be visiting museums, and having a look round all of the beautiful buildings, I used to visit regularly when I was younger as it was only 40 miles from where I grew up but have not been for years.

I hope that you are all having a nice time and enjoying good weather, it has been lovely here for days now and I have been loving sitting outside reading in the evening, making the most of my last few weeks staring at the moors.

Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Reduce, reuse, recycle…well 2 out of 3 isn’t bad

I have enjoyed watching the Great British Sewing Bee and am looking forward to next week’s episode which is all about using recycled fabrics. As you know that is something that I really enjoy doing, from my tablecloth jacket to my pouches made from old jeans.

On our recent visit to Northumberland we had a really good time in all the charity shops in Alnwick, buying clothes that we can use for Luna outfits. Buying large men’s shirts works out really well for getting fabric, Ellen and I have split these between us and there is enough materials for at least 4 outfits out of each shirt, not bad for an average of ยฃ4 a shirt.

I also bought these two very cute blue tops that I am planning to make Luna dresses from and a cute sun top with gorgeous pin tucks that will make some beautiful aprons.

We did also buy some new stuff as well, I am not very good at reducing the amount that I buy but I have two very good excuses for that, honestly!

One is that I really want to support small businesses, such as the haberdashers in the market that we found in central Durham. I love these types of stalls anyway and it is even more important now that they have had to close for so much of the last year. So we did have a little bit of a spend there but I am not going to feel guilty about it as they had some beautiful lace, bargain fabrics, and lots of buttons and bows.

I now have a dedicated Luna/Barbie button box with all of the tiny buttons and embellishments. We had a lovely time choosing these at the stall. I also had previously bought some very tiny coloured ones from Etsy suppliers here.

The other excuse that it is quite difficult to buy nice fabric and wool in Spain, my nearest fabric shops will be 40 minutes drive away and so I am planning to have lots of stash taken over there with my other possessions this summer. I have found a company that will take 40 boxes for a good price so at least 25 of them are going to be fabric, wool and books (of which we may also have bought a few from the charity shops in Alnwick and the amazing Barter Books.)

We also found a lovely wool shop in Alnwick and again had to buy lots of things to support this small business as well. I was just about to say to Ellen after we came out of our second charity shop that all I need now to make this a wonderful trip was a wool shop, and we spotted one, so that made me very happy.

I bought some very cute variegated yarn for rabbit dresses and these little balls of cotton thread. They are only ยฃ1 each and are designed for crochet but will be very good for striped jumpers and little bags.

I have recently taken delivery of this lovely lot of cotton yarn as well from Rito Yarns. What can I say except they were having a sale! And it is so soft and gorgeous, it will be so nice to knit with.

We also bought some things for us to wear, I got some jeans and two tops for Spain. In one of the last shops we came across this very stylish (!) furry handbag that we thought would make great squirrel tails for the Rowan pattern in the Luna and friends book. It was a bit of a labour of love to deconstruct it but we got a tail each from it.

Ellen has already made a lovely shirtdress from the red and blue checked shirt fabric, I am still at cutting out stage with most of my things as I am still knitting Little Cotton Rabbits, just about to make a carrot or two to put in a bunny’s rucksack and then it is lots and lots of sewing up!

There has been a lot of excitement in the Little Cotton Rabbits community as Julie is working on her newest pattern and it is dogs. Just check the link above to see all the cuteness, she has already knitted 57 different heads! This pattern is going to be amazing. I am so happy to be retiring, only 42 more days to go and my life can be one long stitch and knit fest ๐Ÿ™‚

Ellen is coming to stay this weekend as she is going out for a drink with friends and so I will have company Saturday night, and I am going for a walk with a friend on Sunday. Fingers crossed from next week we can eat and drink inside cafes and pubs so hopefully we can do a little more live socialising over the next few months.

I will also be working on a new hat for Steampunk as we actually have an event next weekend. It is an outdoor picnic at Kelham, where we went last August. I am so looking forward to it, especially as I will get to see Kerry again ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope that you all have a lovely weekend ahead and enjoy whatever you have planned. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.