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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Red dress, white spots- I love polka dots! on: September 12, 2010 12:33:28 PM

I love red, I love polka dots, and I pretty much love this dress! I used a cotton jersey, and modelled it in part on another dress I own.


The only part I would do differently is the front of the bodice- I didn't add enough fabric to account for the pleats in the bust, so it's *quite* low cut if left as is. I've put a couple of stitches to hold it together a bit more, but next time, I'll make the pattern piece wider. You can kind of see how it sits funny in this picture:


This last photo is probably the closest to the true colour- the first shots were taken at dusk, so are a little washed out:


I don't often make clothes, so I'm really happy with how this came out, especially without a commercial pattern! I didn't hem it, the jersey is non-fraying, so I just cut it off at a good length.

P.S. The seams are straight... the body underneath, not so much Cheesy
2  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag on: September 12, 2010 12:04:11 PM

I've been lusting after the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag pattern for months (if not years), ever since I first saw it posted on Craftster. I bought the pattern earlier in the year, then went on a mission to purchase just the right fabric. In the end, I managed to find some Amy Butler decorator weight fabric online, which I had shipped over to the UK from the US (complete with tax and ridiculous Post Office charges), and bought the rest here in London. One thing to note-- haberdashery is reallllly expensive here. Urgh.



I finally set to work, it probably took me a month and a half (in small chunks) to finish it off. I've given my thoughts in detail in a post scheduled to publish on my blog tomorrow, but here's the most important parts:

  • I wouldn't say the pattern is difficult so much as challenging. It gets cumbersome in places, and it's frustrating working with such thick layers, but technically it's not too difficult.
  • I struggled with the piping. My zipper foot doesn't let me crowd it as closely as I'd like- I think next time, I might look at investing in a piping foot.





  • I found that the non-interfaced section of the large exterior pockets skewed when I stitched the top. I can't work out why- has anyone else had this problem? The only thing I can think of is the fabric feeding through the machine at different weights, in which case I'll use a walking foot next time to try and get it more even. It made basting the large pockets difficult, as the seam allowance was larger than recommended (and therefore hard to hide when adding the piping)

The fabric is from the Amy Butler Nigella range, and I used Timtex rather than Peltex 70 as suggested in the pattern (Peltex isn't available in the UK/Australia, Timtex still is and is the closest equivalent, according to the internet). I'm really happy with how it turned out, I can't wait to take it on my next trip!


Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated (particularly any ideas on improving the piping, it was only my first try)!
3  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 46 ENTRIES / My wayward gingerbread house- inspired by Up! on: January 03, 2010 08:01:33 AM


When I saw that this month's challenge was for gingerbread houses, I was excited, since I'd already planned to bake a gingerbread house this month. So I found my inspiration, spent a good two weeks working out how to defy gravity while remaining edible, and then spent about two weeks, on and off, building. This is actually my second attempt- the first was, umm, interesting. I'm not ashamed to say- there were tears. On with the pictures!



May I present- my interpretation of Carl Frederickson's flying house from the film Up!



Each wall is decorated in a different colour, similar to the movie- although there's fewer walls in mine.



The balloons appear to float in midair, in the morning sun. It was a careful balancing act of rock candy, string candy, and marzipan. So much marzipan.



The peril of a flying gingerbread house is that it occasionally escapes! You never know where it will float to next- here it is, perched atop the rosemary bush.



And there! Sat on the fence enjoying the winter sun.

Squirrel!




No flying house would be complete without reliable lighting- here's the house relaxing after it's heavy morning of flying, lit-up indoors.



Finally, a close up of the candy windows.

Thanks to my friend Claire for helping me to solve the edible helium balloon conundrum. Just over two boxes of royal icing sugar, three packs of marzipan, and nearly a whole tin of golden syrup later, the house was complete. The windows were melted into the window holes right at the end of the baking time- they're made of crushed clear mints. The lighting is two battery operated tea lights. Everything is edible, except for the base and the lighting- the balloons are held up by a long stick of rock candy anchored into the base and supported by a ton of royal icing, then covered with string candy. I've also learned that cats eat gingerbread if you leave it unattended.

Someday, perhaps the house will make it all the way to Paradise Falls.
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Ever more elaborate needlebooks- IMG chunky on: July 20, 2009 03:54:27 PM
A couple of weeks ago, I'd never made a needlebook.

Tonight, I finished my third:



I started with the book below, which I made for the Embroidered Tote/Bag swap. I just started stitching, with no plan, and came up with this:



I really liked stitching that one.

Of course, my Mum then mentioned that she needed a needlebook. Since she's visiting from Australia, and struggling with the London Underground system, I stitched the (zone 1) Tube map:



Because I was stitching on black felt, I had to make the Northern Line white rather than black (the two vertical lines on the right-- hardly discernible from the Jubilee line in grey on the left).

I ummed and ahhed over putting in stitches for the stations, but in the end everything I tried looked a bit rubbish, so I didn't bother.

(All three books have four "pages", and look a bit like this- although only the 1st book used hte Alexander Henry skull fabric, the other two have plain black or teal pages):



Finally, I had one piece of black felt left. I never make anything for myself, I seem to always be stitching or sewing for others. So I decided the 3rd needlebook would be this one- for me.



The full piece of stitching is in the first pic.

Details of some of my favourite parts:





Like the 1st book, I started stitching, with no plan other than to just doodle until it was full. There's probably 15 hours or more of stitching in this one. I stitched everywhere- lunchtime, on the train, on car rides, at home in front of the TV. The construction on this one is rougher than the last 2 (probably because I was in a rush to just get it finished, already, and because it was only for me), but the stitching is pretty and fun to look at.

I'm going to have to quit with the needlebooks for a while- I have to do something different!

Sorry for the rubbish photos- the two I made as gifts I took pics quickly before either packing or gifting, and couldn't wait for daylight. The third... I was just impatient. I'll take better photos when I'm actually home during the day Smiley
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Fairies Wear Fishnets - pillowcases on: May 05, 2009 02:06:52 PM
I stitched these pillowcases for my partner jca1982 in the Embroider Me to Sleep swap. She's finally received them, so I wanted to post them. jca listed fairies and pin-ups as 2 of her favourite themes, so I tried to combine the two Smiley

Both patterns were inspired by fairy flash tattoo art I found in a Google Search, but I made significant changes to the reference pics and re-sketched both. I'm particularly proud of the moon fairy-- I think the arm in the star fairy is a bit wonky, and her eyes are a bit on the special side (does anyone know a trick to making eyes *not* look evil?).

Excuse the slightly dodgy colouring- I've come to the conclusion it's almost impossible to get a good picture of stitching on this particular shade of brown! Mostly stitched in 2 strands, except the hatchings in the fishnet stockings, the faces, and the lines inside the wings. I used a variegated thread for inside the wings, and blended two different colours for parts of the wings and hair. Back stitch, stem stitch, satin stitch and possibly some split stitch.

Fairy #1 - Moon Fairy (stitched 2nd):





Fairy #2 - Star Fairy:





Both together:

6  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / US Quarantine issues? on: April 22, 2009 09:49:22 AM
Has anyone ever had any issues with quarantine shipping *into* the US? I'm Australian (currently living in the UK though), so I know all too well how anal err, strict, quarantine can be-- and I had a sudden fear this morning that something I was planning to ship to my swap partner might not make it through!

Specifically- has anyone tried shipping loose rice (or, rice used as a filling in a crafted item, rather than hundreds of individual grains!) into the US? I asked an American colleague, who didn't think it would be a problem, but I'd love to know whether anyone's had any problems (or any other problems with US quarantine, not just rice!).
7  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Fairy and Cat tea towel (img heavy) on: March 24, 2009 04:35:51 PM
After doing a little embroidery as a child and in my teens, I picked up a needle again a few weeks ago. I finished a couple of little cross stitch kits first, to get used to working with needles and floss, then moved on to making our stock of tea towels a little more interesting.

Both these designs are on the one towel, although they're completely different patterns and don't really go well together- I just wanted to practice some different stitches. We'll use it in our kitchen, so it'll get beaten up  Smiley

First up, a kitty and parasol, which is a free Knitting-and pattern from here: http://knitting-and.com/embroidery/kitties55.htm



I probably should have chosen a more distinct colour for the whiskers, but I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. Here's a close up of her face.



I think she looks content, or perhaps pleased with herself- the cat that got the cream  Cheesy

I stitched the cat in stem stitch, back stich, satin stitch and long stitch.

Second, I stitched this fairy from the free Elves and Fairies pattern on Pattern Bee here: http://www.patternbee.com/FAIRIES.html



Here's the whole design. I'm really happy with it overall, it worked out a lot better than I'd thought it would  Roll Eyes I'm not totally happy with the wings, chain stitch didn't really work out how I'd hoped for this part, and the face doesn't look right, but overall, I think it worked out okay.



Here's her face. The eyes look a bit crazy, but I'm really happy with the hair- all in French knots, which I could never master in my younger attempts. Hooray for online video tutorials!



Finally, her shoes-- who doesn't love a good pair of red shoes?

I used a bunch of stitches for the whole pattern- stem, split, chain, satin, long and back stitches, along with French knots.

(Apologies for the sketchy lighting- it's well after 11pm here, and I didn't want to wait until the weekend to take pictures!)
8  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / First baby quilt on: July 19, 2007 12:58:38 AM

I guess this is technically my first completed quilt too. I've made two quilt tops previously, the first 7 years ago when I was 16, which my mum ended up quilting, and another previously this year.

I made this for a friend/colleagues first baby (a girl). I used quite an ambitious 9-patch block, with all those mitred corners. I also made a mess of working out the cutting or the corner patches, and had to bring in the other patches an extra 1/4". The binding is also really thin, due to a brain failure during cutting. Machine quilted, in the ditch- it certainly isn't perfect, but it was well received. My machine needs a new presser foot, I have literally no speed control.








Next I'm planning a QS quilt for myself, mainly white, with random blocks thrown in made of hand dyed fabrics. I might even have a go at hand-quilting.

Any feedback?
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