Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Just popping in to say that I'm not dead, nor have I abandoned this blog. My degree essay, which is what I'm working on at the moment, is just taking over my life. I have a deadline tomorrow, but hopefully I'll get something fun done this weekend, and I'll try to share some of the smaller projects that I've been squeezing in here and there as soon as I've got some nice pictures!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Next project

My fingers are itching. I have a really long list of things I want to make, and I thought that I'd present the three things that are most relevant at the moment.

First of all, Vogue's V8615. I've had this pattern for ages, but I haven't been able to decide what I want to make it in. I think it would look good in a dark bottle green colour, or perhaps plain black. But what kind of fabric? I want it to be an autumn/winter dress that I will want to wear every day, so nothing too fancy. The more I think about the bottle green the more I like it actually, I might have to see what fabrics I can find in that colour!

Second, a longline bra! I always thought lingerie was far too difficult for the home seamstress to make (especially pretty lingerie) but after looking through a sew-along of this pattern and seeing fellow blogger Ohhh Lulu's fabulous version I knew I had to give it a try.

Isn't it just gorgeous? I find it very encouraging to read that she's fairly well-endowed herself, I might not have dared take on this project otherwise! I'm considering a light aqua-coloured fabric for my first attempt. I spy lots of elastic sewing, like I did on my slip, and it's one of my favourite details in lingerie so I'm pretty much just drooling over this picture.

Last but not least, I've promised my mother a blouse. She's given me a blouse that she likes, except for a giant print on the front, and I've promised to make her one in plain white. I took some pictures of it to put on the blog but something is up with my camera and I can't seem to access the pictures. Hrm. Hopefully it's not a serious problem.

It's a fairly simple blouse, pretty much two gathered rectangles for the body and raglan sleeves that I think I understand how to make. I'm considering getting a bias tape maker, because the original is self-bound (is that even the term? It's a bit late and I had an exam today...). I've even found a nice crinkle cotton to make it up in!

Friday, 12 October 2012

I finished the dress!

Yay! And just in time too, my mother is visiting tomorrow (we live in different cities) and I want to show off!

As I've said before, I decided to use a pattern from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, the pattern with the delightful name "The Sultry Sheath". Now, I didn't feel that my fabric would work as a sheath dress, and I wasn't sure I'd wear one if I had one, so I decided to make a dirndl-type skirt for it instead.

I was really nervous about not having enough fabric, but it turned out I had just the right amount! I even have a scrap left that I'm considering making a matching belt with, maybe. Or I might make a bow to put on the dress, like the first pattern I considered suggested.

The bodice is lined with a powder pink rayon, I bought the fabric online and expected it to look pinker than it does, but I still like it. It's wonderfully soft against the skin too. The skirt is unlined as you can see, and as I didn't want to zigzag the seam allowances on the inside I decided to overcast them by hand. Eventually I'll get a pair of pinking shears, I'm fond of the pinked look, but I want to make sure I get a really good pair. These pinking shears from Merchant & Mills look like a pair my grandmother owns, very promising!

As I didn't have a lot of fabric I decided to go with a fairly narrow hem, it's stitched by hand so as to be invisible from the outside. I hand picked the zipper as well, on Gertie's recommendation, after a careful look at this lovely tutorial by Sewaholic. Unfortunately I forgot to get a close up of that, and now it's too dark to get any good pictures...

Because the skirt is unlined I wanted to sew a slip to wear with the dress. I'd planned for this and bought some picot edge elastic and lace (though the lace turned out to be more off white than the elastic, so I had to get myself down to the shops to buy another kind).

What would I do without Gertie? I used her lovely tutorial for how to make a vintage inspired half-slip, and it was so much fun to make! Working with the elastic is pretty tricky as you've got to keep it stretched all the time, but I think I got the hang of it eventually.

I just love this look, now I want to make panties!

Now, I'm a pretty confused person, so obviously something had to go wrong, right? Yeah. I used the measurement I remembered from the skirt, but forgot that it was the length of the skirt before I hemmed it. Darn. I could have unpicked the stitching on the lace and just shortened the slip, but I didn't really feel like it, and I was afraid of breaking the lace. So I decided to make another one! Fortunately I have quite a lot of that pink fabric, and the elastic came in bundles of five metres.

That's better! I used the off white lace I'd originally bought for this project, it doesn't really matter that it isn't the same colour as the elastic.

Made a bow that I stitched on the front.

French seam on the inside. I love how neat French seams are, if I could get away with it I'd use them for everything!

I wanted to get some pictures of me actually wearing the dress, but my boyfriend/official photographer (yeah right) has been away all day, and the place is a mess so mirror pictures didn't really work. I put my camera on a table and snapped a few pictures, this one is a bit odd, but it shows off the dress in a nice way!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


I have an exam in literary theory tomorrow, so tonight felt like the perfect time to give you a few snippets from my life.

 From a while ago when my boyfriend bought me flowers <3

Temporary tattoos from Harriet Gray on Etsy! They're totally adorable, I'm going to save them for special occasions.

I've been eating a lot of omelettes lately, they're the perfect lunch and I've finally started to get the hang of making them. This one with tomatoes and Babybel cheese was a hit!

The dress is almost finished by the way, expect a post about it tomorrow or on Friday!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Dress update

 Finally I'm getting somewhere with my dress! I've had quite a lot of reading to do for uni, but I decided to just squeeze in some sewing time or it would never happen.

I usually have a really hard time buying clothes (especially dresses) since according to the size charts my bust is two to three sizes larger than my waist, and let's not even talk about my hips. For this reason I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at Gertie's sizing chart and found that I was pretty darn close to being a perfect size 8!

However, most sewing patterns (and ready to wear clothes) are made with a B-cupped lady in mind, something I am not, so I toyed with the idea of doing a full bust adjustment (FBA in sewing circles). Gertie suggests that full busted ladies measure above the bust instead of around it, in order to find the size that will fit their shoulders best, and adjust from there.

I did this, ended up with a size 6 and then proceeded to try and get my head around the mechanics of a full bust adjustment. Eventually I came to the sad conclusion that I'm just not clever enough (to be honest, I decided that a pattern with a single waist dart was probably a better starting point for my first one, but it's a very long story that involves a lot of frustration and I'd rather not go into it right now).

I scrapped my horribly cut up and taped together pattern pieces and started over, cutting a size 8 all the way. Finally I can justify saving that old sheet with a big rip down the middle! I sewed my muslin together, tried it on (with some difficulty I must confess, I should have been clever and left a side seam open instead of the back seam but nevermind) and it fit really well! I would post a picture but a: my home is a mess and not very photogenic and b: I don't feel we know each other well enough for you to see me half naked just yet.

As I've said before, the fabric I'm using for the actual dress is an old children's duvet cover. Someone has already used half of one piece for another project at some time so I was a little bit worried about fitting my pattern pieces (I must have enough fabric for the skirt!) but luckily both bodice pieces fit on the smaller of the fabric pieces. In the picture I haven't ironed the fabric yet, but that's finished now and I'm just about to cut out the pieces!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Sewing plans, part 2

Okay, things have been a bit hectic (as things are) but I think I'm finally getting used to being back at uni. Studying literature is great fun and for various reasons the group I'm in is very small. Five people to be precise, which means the atmosphere is very informal, in a good way. I'm slowly getting started on my term paper (I have a topic, yay!) and because of what I'm studying I get to read a lot. Life is good.

Well, back to what this blog is supposedly about: my creative projects. Remember how I talked about Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing? Well, I finally have it, and it's totally fab. I was in love with it before it even arrived, but now I own an actual copy and just want to lie on my bed and look in it all day long (in fact, frequently I do).

The book is filled to the brim with useful techniques (and gorgeous illustrations) and also comes with ten (10!) different patterns. Each pattern also comes with instructions for at least one variation and I want to make them all.

I figured I must celebrate by making something from the book, and since I have a dress project on the go I decided to make the dress using one of the patterns in the book.

Gertie's Seersucker Sundress seems like just what I was going for. It's a variation on the dress with the delicious name The Sultry Sheath and features a gathered skirt instead of a pencil skirt. I love the self-covered belt, but I'm not sure I'll have enough fabric for it, and I'm still not sure if I want to keep the sweetheart neckline or change it, maybe to a rounded one? We'll see.

I ordered some lining fabric a couple of days ago (after much angsting in the online fabric jungle) and once it arrives I'll get started on the dress!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

What's going on?

I'm finally back at uni, which means that I once again have a regular income, yay!

Today I'm celebrating with a gym membership (unless I chicken out when I'm standing in line to get it) and a trip to the Asian shop in town (I'm really into Japanese food at the moment so I'm hoping to pick up some kitchen must-haves when I'm there). I'm also taking Mr. Boyfriend out for a lunch date after today's lecture, there's a nice salad place in town that I think we might go to.

I need to get some lining fabric for the dress I'm planning, so I haven't started on that yet. Maybe it's for the best as I've got a nice little treat arriving in the mail any day now: Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing by fab sewing blogger Gertie. Going by the teaser pictures she's posted on her blog the book is going to be great and maybe I'll decide that I want to use one of her patterns instead of the one I've had my eye on.

Right. I need to go and have a shower and prepare for today's lecture (we're discussing Jane Eyre ♥), sorry for the lack of pictures in this post, I promise to get better at life.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Window shopping

It's time for some more window-shopping!

1. This Forever 21 cardigan is quite old I'm afraid, and so no longer available. I'd love something similar though!
2. The fabulous red dress is from Modcloth, and one day I hope to get my hands on it.
3. Temporary tattoos might be my big obsession this year. This darling hare tattoo is from Burrowing Home on Etsy.
4. The cool crow earrings are from Seed and Sky on Etsy and might be just the thing for when I want to spoil myself next time.
5. Finally, the Darcie boots from Dr. Martens. I've been wearing docs for as long as I can remember but I have yet to get a heeled pair. The black patent ones are on sale right now and I want them so much.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Sewing plans

My grandmother gave me this beautiful fabric when I went to visit her. I think it used to be a child's duvet-cover, so there's not that much of it, but I think It will be enough for a dress. I'm thinking a simple, fitted bodice and a gathered skirt. It might be how most of my dresses look, but there's a reason for that; it's both flattering and comfortable!

I thought I might use this Retro Butterick pattern, or something like it, but change the skirt to a gathered one. The scooped back of this dress makes the simple design look so lovely, and that little bow on the patterned dress is such a cute detail. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Shop Love: Tiny Owl's Magic Attic

I don't know about you people but I have a hard time finding knitting patterns I like. I don't want to knit a million scarves, but apart from scarves (and, well, socks) I rarely find patterns for things I'd actually like to wear. A fair isle sweater is on my list of things I'd like to make some day, but I'd like to get just a bit more experience first.

Anyway, I found an amazing little shop on Etsy that I just had to share: Tiny Owl's Magic Attic. It has a bunch of really fun and quirky knitting patterns that I totally want to try out! I'm not sure how wearable some of the things really are (for me), but it's all lovely. I picked out three favourites that I wanted to share.

First up is the Bo Peep scarf. A huge knitted bow? Yes please! I'm intrigued by the construction of this as the item description says: "the scarf is started diagonally to give nice angled points to the ties, then uses clever decreases & increases to make a bow-tie shape". Just tying a scarf in a bow is one thing, but this sounds really neat.

Second: Bunny slippers! I might just have squealed when I saw these cuties. They are knitted flat and sewn together with only three seams "which can be sloppy as you like" according to the description. The slippers are then felted to fit, which is something I'd love to try my hand at.

Finally, these lovely wristees seem like the perfect way to keep little hands warm this winter. They also seem like a great way to combine my love of birds with my wish to learn to knit with several colours. A small motive like this must be a great starting point, no?

That's it for this time, you should hop on over and have a look!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Knitting, part two

I've knitted my first sock, yay!

Unfortunately, it's way too small at the top, I was kind of expecting this as I tend to knit rather tightly, but since it's been some time since I last knitted I figured I could use the practice anyway. I'll redo it with bigger knitting needles, and I'll really try to knit more loosely in the future.

This is what the finished product will look like, barring any major messups:

The pattern comes from the book Classic Knits by Erika Knight. It's been sitting in my bookshelf for years because I'm a huge procrastinator, but one day when I really felt like knitting I discovered I had just the yarn for these socks at home.

Unfortunately, someone else had discovered it too! Hopefully only a few strands on the outside are like this, I haven't examined it very closely yet. There are a few more balls of this in the cellar that I need to dig up some day soon.

I like Classic Knits, I've never followed an English knitting pattern before but the sock pattern was very straightforward and easy to understand. All the pictures are gorgeous, though there are some things I would never make for myself (the chunky sweater that the model is wearing in the picture up above for example, it looks really cosy but I'm not sure I'd actually use it). It's okay that there are a couple of patterns like that in the book though, because I think I paid a total of £5 for it.

Today I found a darling little shop on Etsy that sells the most wonderful knitting patterns, stay tuned for a post on that tomorrow!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Back to school window-shopping

Uni starts up again in September and I honestly can't wait! When the temperature's in the 30s and all I can think about is brisk autumn days and starting to wear tights and jumpers again I feel seriously misplaced. I haven't done anything postworthy for a while now, but I figure some life signs are in order.

I won't be getting any money until my courses have started so I'm pretty broke right now, but I thought we might do some back to school window shopping today!

Cruising around town in burgundy platforms? Yes please!
  1. I've been dreaming about a leather jacket for a while now. Preferably slim and not too long, I mostly wear clothes with a nipped in waist and I want it to work with that. This one is from Topshop, I'm not sure it's perfect but it gets the point across.
  2. Temporary tattoos are pretty cool, I'm in love with these kitty ones from harrietgray on Etsy.
  3. Can you have too many black dresses? I'm not sure I can. This one from Topshop has a really sweet tie neck (this is a Topshop heavy set I'm afraid).
  4. I've been in love with this triangle locket for a long time now, it's from Moon and Sable on Etsy.
  5. Definitely getting these burgundy plateau brogues as soon as I have some money! From Swedish store Din Sko.
  6. Topshop again, but seriously, tights with crosses on them? I'd love a pair, but unfortunately I'm late to the party, they're sold out.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Flea market finds

I bought these pastel coloured lamps and the vase (it looks like a big pink pill, doesn't it?) at a flea market I visited with my grandmother. Along with a tie, a belt, a big jar of buttons and a small glass jar they set me back 35 kr (that's about $5 last time I checked). I love the countryside.

I haven't got a picture of the hedgehog yet, as I keep forgetting to bring my camera when I check on him. He looks frightfully sad and I'm really worried about him, but at least he's still alive. The janitor has given him some cat food (apparently they like that) and said he knew about somebody who takes care of injured hedgehogs so hopefully the situation is under control.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Hedgehogs and knitting

Today I'm knitting. I started knitting a black beret yesterday but the pattern for it was driving me mad so I've put it off for now. Instead I'm knitting socks!

Unlike most socks, the ones I'm making are knitted on two needles and then sewn together. Good for me since the beret is knitted with sock needles and I'm kind of fed up with them right now.

Oh, and I met a baby hedgehog today. He had me a bit worried as he seemed really weak and there were flies sitting on him, but we gave him some food and water and put him in the shade and when I went to check on him later he seemed a bit more awake. I'm going back down to make sure he's doing well soon, if it's not too dark and he hasn't hidden I might be able to get a picture!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Back home

I've been travelling back and forth around the country for a while. It's been lovely, but now I'm glad to be back home.

This will be a short post as I'm pretty tired, but I'm also pretty excited because I bought a bike today! My old one was lovely but kept breaking down so eventually I abandoned it. This one was cheaper than most bikes in this style and seems to be in good condition. The saddle needs some love, I'm not sure if I'm going to recover it or simply sew one of those detachable saddle covers.

I have soo many projects for this autumn! First of all I'm going to write my Bachelor's thesis, which I'm pretty excited about, but I'm also going to try to sew and knit as much as possible. Hopefully I'll have lots of things to post about soonish!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Radio silence

I haven't really done anything noteworthy as of late, which is why there have been no posts. Today I'm going away to visit friends and family for a while, and I hope to have more to write when I get back!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sunday chili

Of course I forgot to take pictures when my cousin was here, bummer. I also forgot to take my camera along when I went to my cousins for a party yesterday, hopefully i's something I'll get used to as I blog more.

Today I'm spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I've made paneer for the first time in my life, hopefully it's as good as the kind you get in Indian restaurants. I've also made some bread, and a chili! It might have been the strongest chili I've ever had, but it was delicious. It wasn't very photogenic but at least my chilli peppers were!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Right now

My cousin is coming for dinner with his girlfriend tonight, I hope I'll remember to take pictures. I've made strawberry parfait for the third time since I discovered the recipe. It's the most delicious thing ever - strawberries, whipped cream, egg yolks and sugar all mixed up into an ice cream.

I've spent all day tidying up at home, so I thought I might just as well snap a few pictures, while it's reasonably pretty.

Sewing basket, I hide all my fabrics and works-in-progress under a cloth.
Corset laces peeking out.

Clutter on top of a bookshelf. The sunglasses in the candy jar is a favourite detail.
I'm very fond of the little Japanese doll as well.

From top to bottom: Soap, Tarot cards and a beautiful box containing a nifty little thing
for crimping the ties of old fashioned pillow cases. Highly useful I know.

My kitchen garden. Tarragon and thyme on top of an old margarine box.
I managed to kill my first plants so these are still just shoots.

View from hallway into the room. The closets all along the left wall are very useful.

Finally, the bed. With an adorable owl, and a poster that I love.
The walls are pretty bare unfortunately, they're made of some kind of
super-concrete that regular nails won't go through.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Corset update

Despite being happy with my mock-up, I was really quite frightened when it came to actually cutting my beautiful white coutil. It looked so perfect just lying there, and I was suddenly convinced that I'd mess up something terrible if I tried to do anything with it. Eventually I managed to pull myself together and do it. I think it went well.

As you can see my sewing area is far from ideal, but it works.
So far I've sewn all but two of the corset pieces together, while I was matching and pinning pieces to each other I watched a TV-programme called The Edible Garden, which is great and really inspiring (even though I, you know, have no garden). I've been wanting to watch it for ages but I get so restless when I watch things on my own without anything to occupy my hands. If you're interested it's available on youtube, here's the first part. Alys Fowler seems like such a lovely person, I wish she was my friend.

I've always loved those pincushions, this one was a gift from my boyfriend!
 The part I'm not looking forward to is the grommets. The ones I used for my mock-up feel a bit loose and I don't know if that's something that the thickness of the coutil will take care of or not. At least I have a working pair of hole-pliers now, my mother lent me hers after I bought a useless one for myself. Hers was inherited from her grandfather I believe, they sure knew how to make things back then.

Oh, and I made pickles yesterday, to make up for the elderflower disaster. The recipe said to leave them in the jars for a minimum of two days before opening them, but that sounds like rather a short time to me. Maybe I'll open one jar just to have a taste and leave the other one for a bit longer. Have a picture:

Aren't the colours gorgeous?

Monday, 9 July 2012

Darn it

I must have done something wrong with the elderflower champagne, it had moulded when I went to get it! Such a pity, and the only elders that are still blooming are in other people's gardens. I think I'll have to make some sort of plum squash when the plums finally mature, to make up for drink lost. Or cherry, there are some cherry trees down by the railway station that I've been monitoring closely for a while now.

At least I'm wearing a pretty dress!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Birthdays and otters

Grattis is Swedish for "congratulations"
My boyfriend turned 25 yesterday, yay. We went to visit his gran who gave us cake and sent us home with two litres of delicious strawberries. I'd made a gift card for a t-shirt of his choice and he ended up choosing this fabulous otter t-shirt from the Etsy shop Zen Threads. Eco friendly too!

The buns I made the other day were good, but not everything I'm looking for in a cinnamon roll, I think I'd better just stick to my grandmother's recipe!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Pattern giveaway over at A Few Threads Loose

Yep. There's a pattern giveaway going on over at the great blog A Few Threads Loose. I've yet to win a giveaway, but I'd be really happy to win this one! You get to choose two digital patterns from the Etsy shop Mrs.  Depew Vintage and honestly, I want them all. A Few Threads Loose has earlier held a lingerie sew-along together with the equally great Ohhh Lulu, which I think I'll have to utilise later on, when the corset is finished!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Student living

This is my kitchen. When I moved in here it was one of the things I felt most apprehensive about, I love both cooking and baking and I really wasn't sure I would be able to do a lot of anything with this little stove. I have to say though, it works surprisingly well!

When the oven's on, the larger hotplate ceases to function, and my landlord seems to think this is okay so it's something I will have to live with. Apart from that, it's actually fairly reliable. When I cook food in the oven, I can usually trust the cooking times given in my recipes. Cakes are a little bit trickier, but I'm mostly able to wing it. Today I'm trying out a new recipe for cinnamon rolls from a lovely bread book my mother gave to me, called How to Make Bread. I've only tried one other recipe from the book so far, but the result was absolutely divine so I have high expectations for this!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Elderflower champagne

I love elderflower cordial. My grandmother's old house had a really big old elder growing against one wall and we always used to collect the flowers to make our own. I miss those times, and since the elders are in bloom around my house at the moment I figured I'd do something with them.

Cordial is nice, but lovely blogger Miss P wrote the other day about her recipe for elderflower champagne and I just had to try it. I went out and bought the things I would need and collected some flowers today. It will be quite some time before I get to know if this was a good idea or not, but it sounded too god not to try!

I really love using the things that grow all around us. Later this year I'll make something out of the plums that grow around the house (not in my garden, unfortunately I'm not blessed with one of those yet) and maybe I'll try to make a Swedish delicacy, rose hip soup!