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1  Colette-O SorbettO Pyjama set in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by loukr on: May 05, 2013 12:57:15 PM
I've been playing with patterns recently, a lot of patterns - and we all love a freebie! So I went ahead and had a go at the lovely Colette Sorbetto pleated tank top pattern, available here: http://www.coletterie.com/colette-patterns-news/free-pattern-to-download-the-sorbetto-top

This was super-dooper easy to make, and fun, and I now have a new fave PJ set which is always a total WIN! I used a vintage fabric my grandmother gave me (I have a tonne of this and it's a lovely light-weight cotton but not too light that it's a pain to sew)

I drafted the knickers for my set to my own measurements but have found a cool looking freebie (yey) pattern here: http://www.madalynne.com/amerson-the-details-pattern

Would love to know what you think!
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2  Help me make something awesome with this old bedspread! in Clothing: Discussion and Questions by loukr on: April 29, 2013 03:22:56 PM
I picked this single bedspread up from a charity shop yesterday and desperately want to make a dress or something amazing with it! I really can't work out whether the fabric is beautiful or fugly but the colour combo really caught my eye so I had to have it (and those little birdies are SWEET) Those huge scallops are super-cute too so I'd love to keep them as a feature somehow - can anything think how?

I'm reluctant to take it apart until I know what I'm doing with it in case I ruin it somehow! It's a medium weight curtain fabric and I think the print is too much for an entire dress but might work well as a bodice with a lighter maybe lace fabric for the skirt part, and then the scallops for something else? Or worked into a dress somehow? I'm 50/50 on going back to the shop to buy the matching curtains!

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3  1969 McCall's 9784 shorts made from an old curtain - WIN in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by loukr on: April 05, 2013 03:20:16 PM
So I'm not the best when it comes to following patterns. Too much to pay attention to (more like I can't handle the constant reading and re-reading that comes with pattern reading and moi - more about that in my dyslexia stress-out post over on my blog here: http://www.dearestjackdaw.com/2013/03/pattern-therapy-dyslexia-busting-flirty.html), I like to just go with the flow and see what I can come up with!

BUT, I have to learn.. I HAVE TO! So I decided to sit down and concentrate for the first time in a long time and actually FOLLOW a pattern, the whole way though (ok maybe I made a tweak here and there but not a lot!) And I'm super happy with the results!

The fabric was an old curtain I picked up from a car boot sale ages ago for about 50p (I have so much of this fabric!). Everything else I already had in my stash. Only the best project, 100% FREE!

This is a vintage 1969 McCall's (9784) Misses pattern given to me by my grandmother along with tonnes of other cool vintage patterns. I wanted to start with something simple since I lose concentration so easily (seriously, I have so many half finished dresses!) so I chose the short portion of this two-piece pattern. I love them, so much, and they fit PERFECTLY! I'm deffo going to work my way through the box of patterns to make some more cool stuff! What do you think? I'm definitely going to make some more of these in other cool fabrics ready for summer!

Here's the outcome:

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4  Paper Mushroom Tutorial ♥ in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by loukr on: September 06, 2012 11:22:57 AM
Hey Folks! I'm back with another tutorial for you! ♥ It's Paper Mushroom time, these are AMAZING centrepieces and you can customise to your heart's content Smiley Big and little mushies, use as wedding decs, table centrepieces, ornaments.. you name it Cheesy

Firstly apologies I don't have a huge amount of step-by-step photos of these but the process is extremely simple and hopefully the text will be enough - the photos that I have taken were shot on my phone and point and shoot camera so hopefully they will suffice!
My partner and I were in charge of table centrepieces at my Dad's surprise 50th birthday party this summer. As kids he used to take my sister and I mushroom-hunting all the time so it seemed fitting to create a mushroom-orientated display that would be eye-catching and a little bit different.
These were so much fun to make and look great! I now have 60 mushrooms floating about needing a home..!

What you'll need:

    Wallpaper paste
    Paint brushes
    Masking tape
    Glue gun

Step 1: Create your caps.
Start by cutting your mushroom caps. We had three different sizes and they all started as flat discs of thin cardboard - we just raked through the recycling and used what we could find. We'll call the different sizes S, M and L, and we used some round things as templates. S's were the open end of a champagne glass, M's were the inside of a masking tape reel and L's were the open end of a small cereal bowl. Cut as many or as little as you like - we ended up with 60 all together!

Next you want to shape them slightly, we made ours all a bit random so once they were bunched together in their displays they wouldn't look too uniform. Some were pointy cones and some more curved. The cones are simply a strait cut the radius of the circle (edge to centre) overlapped to create your cone. For the more curved ones we cut a tear shape with the narrow end of the tear being at the edge, overlapped in the same way as with the cones. We then used masking tape to secure the edges and cover the hole that was left at the centre. If my description here has confused anyone let me know and I'll draw a diagram for you!

Step 2: Paper mache time!
Mix up your wallpaper paste using the instructions on the package. Whilst you're waiting for your glue to settle, tear up a few pages of newspaper into a bowl. When your glue's all ready, cover the top of your caps with a thin layer and start layering newspaper over the top adding more glue and more paper as you go. Two or three layers should be more than enough - don't over-do it or they'll take forever to dry!
Leave to dry overnight (we put them in the airing cupboard). When they're dry, repeat with the undersides. This step's optional but if your cardboard has print on it or a shiny surface like ours did you'll want to go over it with your paper mache as your paint will adhere to it better.

Step 3: Colour!
Once dry, it's time to give your mushrooms a bit of colour! We weren't following any specific type of mushroom so went with the obvious choice of red and then mixed in a neutral yellow/brown to make them all a bit different. Paint. Allow to dry. If you want spotty mushrooms, now is the time to add some!

Step 4: Make your stems!
This step is easy-peasy once you get going but can get a bit tedious if you have a lot to do, like we did! Decide how tall or short you want your mushrooms. We varied ours from around 10-30cm. Take a sheet of newspaper, roll it up and twist it. Add a strip of paper around the base if you want to make it slightly thicker and secure by spiralling masking tape around the whole thing. For the taller stems we reinforced the centre with wire but so long as you twist your paper tight enough this may not be necessary.

Step 5: Paint!
Mix up an off white colour and paint the undersides of your caps and your stems. Using the same colour paint a couple of sheets of thin card in the same colour (this is for the rings which we'll add in step 6). Allow all your items to dry.

Step 6: Prepare and attach your rings!
Using the sheet(s) you painted in the last step, cut little strips to create the rings which will sit underneath the caps of each mushroom. Ours measured approximately 6cm X 3cm each. Carefully cut little slits along the length of each one making sure not to cut all the way across!
Attach with the painted surface facing outwards using a thin strip of masking tape and wrapping them around the top of each stem.

Step 7: Glue your caps and stems together!
Heat up your glue gun. One at a time, put a blob of glue in the centre underside of your cap. Allow a few seconds for it to cool and go slightly tacky before poking a stem ring-side into the glue. Hold for a little while until you're happy the glue has set enough to let go. Place in a glass or jar and continue until you've completed them all.

Display however you like. We used some moss and different sized glasses and jars with a few tea lights spread out randomly (far enough away from the paper mushrooms to not cause a fire!). You could put them in little vials.. vintage bottles or mason jars. Whatever you do, I'd love to see the outcome! Enjoy ♥
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5  Secret Garden altered scrap dress in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by loukr on: August 01, 2012 05:51:52 AM
So I finished one of my altered dresses from YONKS ago, you can see a bit of progress and tonnes of inspiration in our sew-along thread here https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=354356.0 Here's the finished thing!

It started off as this ugly boring plain slip-over-your-head type white linen dress which I don't have any photos of. I picked it up in a charity shop for about 2 or something! I tea-stained it and chopped the bottom off so I had a bodice base garment. The skirt is made out of a vintage circular table cloth which I also picked up at a charity shop for a couple of . I cut the waist hole slightly closer to one edge so it would be longer at the front than the back.

I then stitched a bunch of lace, doilies and ribbon to the bodice until it looked HIDEOUS. I added a big waist tie and a zip to the side.

I then chucked it in a bag for a year or so to fester. The I found it again and decided to mess around with it. I bunched up the skirt as it looked far too flat.

And then chucked it back in it's fester-hole for a couple more months. UNTIL! I had a photoshoot coming up with a friend so dragged it back out, grabbed a bunch of scraps and got as far as the next image, at which point, my sewing machine broke - probably due to the thickness of the fabric, I don't know (I had a repair quote through yesterday HOLY OMG NOT COOL) So I continued and embellished by hand Smiley

And here are the finished piccies with a couple from the shoot ♥

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6  Re: I <3 Gibbous Altered Fashions sew-along! in Clothing Sewalongs by loukr on: July 26, 2012 03:55:41 AM
Thank you lovelies, here are photos ♥

If anyone is interested there is also a small write-up and more photos from the shoot on my blog (link in siggy). I've contacted my local sewing machine fixey-people so hopefully my machine will be fixed soon, I was JUST getting back into the swing of things too! ♥
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7  Re: I <3 Gibbous Altered Fashions sew-along! in Clothing Sewalongs by loukr on: July 19, 2012 02:57:48 AM
Updating with a new bit of progress. That doily on the front bust broke my machine Sad
Before (from yonks ago now):

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8  TUTORIAL - Old Vest top to Tiered Maxi Dress in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by loukr on: June 11, 2012 05:38:54 AM
I come across problem after problem when looking for the perfect maxi dress. Infact, I came across SO many problems in the shops this year I decided it would probably be for the best if I just made my own. After browsing online for a tutorial of some sort to help me out a little I couldn't find what I was looking for so I decided to shoot a step-by-step for anyone else wanting to take this on and I hope this helps others looking for the same or a similar kind of thing!

Now then, this is an absolutely HUGE image heavy post so I have cut a few images out to make it a bit more load-friendly! FYI, I'm copying my entire tute over from my blog because I know you crafty lot will want to sink your teeth into this. The weather in the UK right now is rather questionable but I hope the sun is shining elsewhere so others can get some use out of this!

In this tutorial I'm going to show you how to make a super simple tiered maxi dress with minimal effort and potentially zero spend-out! If you use my tutorial I would LOVE to see your results and will be happy to post links on my blog post if you're flaunting it!


  • Vest top or other for your bodice
        Fabric for the skirt - Don't forget to wash new fabrics to allow for shrinkage BEFORE sewing!
        Sewing Machine
        Tape measure

1 - Find your perfect bodice and skirt fabric combo.

For the bodice I'm using an old non-stretch cotton vest top that I picked up for 4 from a local charity shop. I love that it has adjustable straps and a cute mixture of prints. If you can't find anything suitable, have a rake through your wardrobe for an old top or dress that you can use. You want something that fits comfortably and isn't too tight. A little too big is fine, if it's too small you can always add panels from your skirt off-cuts to open it out a bit.
For the skirt I'm using shop bought fabrics for the sake of this tutorial but old bed sheets will work even better and I plan on making more of these maxi's using my ever-growing stash of old linen sheets and the like. This could also be an amazing way to use up remnants you have squirrelled away by patchworking them together into your tiers.

2 - Decide where your skirt will start.
Put your top on and find where you want your skirt to start, I want my bodice to come to somewhere between the under bust and waist, this is roughly 6 inches down from the top centerfront point so I take it off and mark with a pin. At this point it's useful to take into consideration how you will get your dress on and off. I'm making mine so I can slip in to it so as long as I can get the top on when it's all buttoned up to the point where the skirt starts (this will be the narrowest part of the dress), it's all good (scribbling notes and illustrations down on paper as you go REALLY helps for this project).
Lay your bodice down flat and measure horizontally at the point where your skirt will start. Mine is 16 inches. Make a note of this measurement, we'll call it "Waist". cut 0.5 inches lower from this point, this will be your seam allowance.

3 - Measure for your skirt length.
Next we want to see how long our skirt needs to be. Measure from the "Waist" measurement (whilst wearing your top to be extra-accurate!) right down to the floor and make a note of this. Mine was around 40 inches. We'll call this measurement "Skirt Length".

4 - Divide up your skirt.
If you haven't already, you need to decide how many tiers you want in your skirt. I'm going for three. Bare in mind that the more tiers you have, the more fabric will be needed and the opening at the bottom will be REALLY wide if you have lots of tiers. I've divided my "Skirt Length" into three different measurements. There's no particular science to this but I wanted the tiers to get longer as they go down. These sections will be numbered from top to bottom "Tier 1", "Tier 2" and "Tier 3".
"Tier 1" will be 12 inches long, "Tier 2" will be 13 inches long and "Tier 3" will be 15 inches long.
Now's a good time to choose which order to put your fabrics!

5 -  Measure for your gathers!
First of all to clear up any confusion, I will be working on the front and back of my skirt separately and then sewing the sides up before attaching the whole thing to the bodice. You can work in tubes of fabric if you like but the thought of gathering THAT MUCH fabric in one go with one line of thread scared me so I'm working each tier in halves (front half, back half).
OK here's where it gets a bit tricky for those not too good at mathematics and such like me - hopefully I've done the hard work for you.

Each tier will be 1.5x wider than the tier above, then gathered down to the measurement of the tier above and then sewn to one another.
Remember that "Waist" measurement we noted down? Mine was 16 inches. "Tier 1" needs to be 1.5x wider than this: 16X1.5=24. "Tier 2" will be 1.5x wider than "Tier 1": 24X1.5=36. "Tier 3" needs to be 1.5x wider that "Tier 2": 36X1.5=54.

Taking the measurements above and the ones in section 4 into account, I've added 0.5 inch around each tier for seam allowance and 1.5 inches onto the bottom of "Tier 3" for the hem, I've calculated the tiers as follows (including seam allowance):
Tier 1 = 25X13
Tier 2 = 37X14
Tier 3 = 55X17

Cut two of each tier giving you 6 pieces in total. This will be your skirt and the hard part done! WELL DONE FOR GETTING THIS FAR! Here's reference for what your tiers should look like!

6 - Gather those gathers!
Time to gather up all that pretty fabric! I'm not sure about you, but ruffles and gathers are the BANE OF MY LIFE. I can never get them right and when I do they come loose before I've had a chance to sew it all down!
I began this monster task using my gathering foot, which only ever seems to work when I'm practicing as you'll see from the image below (ALWAYS PRACTICE ON A SCRAP FIRST!).

After gathering a couple of tiers I soon reverted back to my standard foot and did it the easy way instead. If you don't have a gathering foot or you do but it's rubbish like mine don't panic, just use your standard machine foot and lower your thread tension to around 2, sew a line of long stitches and once you're done, pull on your bobbin thread to gather as much as you need.

We're starting with "Tier 3" which is the bottom tier. sew a line of gather stitches along the long top close to the edge and remove from your machine (see how my gather foot didn't want to gather? Typical!).

Pull the bobbin thread and adjust your gathers until your 55 inches of fabric is down to 37 inches, matching the ungathered width of "Tier 2".

Press the gathers down. At this point I overlocked to keep my gathers extra-secure but it's not necessary so don't worry if you don't have an overlocker.

With right sides together, pin and sew the top gathered edge of "Tier 3" to the bottom edge of "Tier 2" with a 0.5 inch seam allowance.

Next, gather the top of "Tier 2" in the same way you've just done, but this time you want to gather down to 25 inches so it matches up with the bottom of "Tier 1". Press. Again, with right sides together, pin and sew the top gathered edge of "Tier 2" to the bottom of "Tier 1".

Lastly, gather the top of "Tier 1" down to 17 inches. Press. Repeat all the steps in section 6 to complete the other half of your skirt.

7 - Complete your skirt.
Next we're going to sew the skirt together! I overlocked each seam again because I'm fussy like that and it looks nice and tidy.

Press all your seams up. Grab your front and back sections, place right sides together, line them up and pin each side. Sew both sides from top to bottom or bottom to top with a 0.5 inch seam allowance. I overlocked the edges afterwards but again it doesn't matter if you don't have one. If you're worried about your seams you could always zigzag over them.

8 - Attaching your skirt to the bodice.
So very close to finishing, now to attach the skirt to the bodice! With your skirt still inside-out, slip your top into the skirt, right sides together, with the bottom of the bodice lined up with the waist hole of the skirt. The two parts of the dress should fit nicely together. line your seams up, pin and sew all the way around with a 0.5 seam allowance. (I've overlocked again!)

9 - Hemming
Last thing left to do! If your initial measurements were correct you should be able to turn up 0.5 inch, press and then turn up an additional inch, press and pin. Try it on. All good? If so go ahead and sew that hem down! If not, grab an assistant and have them help adjust the hem for you whilst you're wearing it. Once sorted, stitch that hem down and you're DONE!

And there you have it - your very own beautiful new maxi dress! Perfect for the summer, and can potentially cost absolutely nothing but supplies you already own to make (in my opinion, these are always the best projects)!

In hindsight, I do now wish I'd have used a darker colour for my middle tier, and a pink for the top tier, and maybe given it a bit more of an empire waist, but hell.. it was SO easy to make I can just knock up another! I'll be taking my lovely new maxi to the South of France in two weeks time just as long as the weather is better there than here in the UK right now!

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9  Re: UK only swap - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by loukr on: May 21, 2012 08:24:43 AM
Ok here goes with my package from the amazing Trekky

Beautifully wrapped with a lovely note, and I unwrapped the butterfly paper so carefully so I can reuse it Cheesy

First up, delicious Scottish butter tablet.. this was just amazing! I hit my weight-loss goal today so was going to treat myself to half and give my other half.. the other half. But then I accidentally ate the whole lot anyway.. OOPS! My teeth are growling at me for all that sugar but it was so worth it! Dentist on Wednesday too.. tehee! NOM.

Then, these gorgeous crochet flower brooches (or knitted! Sorry for my stoopid-ness) and three cute badges!

And then these BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL AMAZING 'Catching Butterflies' arm warmers that I had on my pinterest. I LOVE THEM! I love everything about them! I only noticed after I'd taken the photos that I may have them on upside-down? But they look utterly cute either way Cheesy (Taking these piccies was tricky!)

Thank you Trekky for an amazing package! ♥
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10  Re: I <3 Gibbous Altered Fashions sew-along! in Clothing Sewalongs by loukr on: May 17, 2012 08:19:35 AM
beautiful...you look like a fairy princess!  I love the roses on the side and the fluttery hemline...very nice work as usual!
Thank you lovely! Those roses are taking longer than I thought they would! SO I started another dress today! lol. I never finish ANYTHING, I'm so naughty! It started as a size 16 vintage floral cropped jacket thing that I bought MONTHS ago, here:

Sleeves chopped off and jacket opened up like a tabbard:

Front back and side:

I have no idea where it's going.. I just wanted to start a new one so I'm just sort of adding scraps all over the place. I like the floral-ness of the jacket so I think I'll definitely leave some on show towards the top of it. Cheesy

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