Completed!! Burda summer linen dress – Burda 7796

Oh it finally happened….I completed the linen dress I posted about an eternity ago!! Thanks to the gorgeous summer we have been having, I’ve even managed to wear it…whoop! whoop!

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Burda pattern 7796

Please excuse the awful photo!! It’s the first time I’ve ever posted a picture of me and in something I’ve made! It was also taken by my 10 year old son on my camera phone!! It’s linen, so boy, does it look creased…oh well, it can’t be helped!

This is a dress of “firsts” because, it’s the first item of clothing I’ve completed.

It’s the first time I have made my own bias binding…

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…and the first time I’ve made a sleeveless bias bound armhole…. (*not sure if that makes sense) and I’m actually quite pleased with how well the bias on the armhole matched up with the side seam….yeah!

It’s the first time I’ve ever made gathers!! Just look…how proud am I?!

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It’s the first time I’ve ever made a handmade thread eye!! Took me two attempts but I’m rather proud of my teeny tiny blanket stitch! And look at my little vintage button too….

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It’s not perfect….but it’s so pretty and has lasted a wash or two…

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I’ve learnt such a lot from making this dress…my wonderful buy, Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing has been invaluable in helping me work through some of my more “challenging” moments, and there’s been a few!! Do you remember the clanger I made when I slashed through the front of the dress (in two pieces = epic fail), when it should have been one piece!! Oh I was so angry with myself…but I managed to salvage it…see the tiniest seam I managed to get away with to put it back together?

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I finished the hem with some red cotton tape…well, it kind of links with the red button!! I like it, it’s quirky, I think.

And the fit?

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Hmm, well, it’s a bit small round the shoulders….the bust fit is fine, but the bodice around the armholes is a bit narrow? short? I’m not sure what it is really as I’m simply not experienced enough to put my finger on it but the neckline at the back seems too high, though the front looks fine….

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The back has a little slit in it at the neckline (held together with the button and loop closure) and this came together very neatly…

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I don’t have an overlocker, so used the overlock stitch on machine for the first time!! worked quite well….though I had a few practice attempts first…how do you decide how close to the edge to stitch?? Still not sure I got this right, I just went with what I thought looked about right!

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Trying to be as neat and tidy as possible…

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It’s not the most figure flattering dress…reminds me a bit of something out of “Annie” but it’s very comfortable and cool in this hot weather and I’ve had a lot of compliments about it. It’ll do me as a summer staple, and it feels quite expensive on because of the colour and fabric type….linen works quite well like that. So overall I’m very pleased! It’s given me a confidence boost despite being quite a stressy dress to make! I’m not sure it’s an ideal beginners dress as there’s quite a lot of fiddly bits to make and the instructions threw me a bit! However, I’m planning my next dress and I feel this has paved the way well for (I’m hoping) a better second project….do remember I’m a complete beginner!
Tah dah!!!

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And the name “Brittany” dress….it was meant to be finished for my France holiday but never was…it became a bit of a joke in this house so it’s the Brittany dress that never was…maybe next year…!!

What do you think? Is linen an ‘easy’ fabric to sew with? Is it an ideal ‘beginners’ dress?

🍒

The Anna dress…sew excited there’s a Sewalong a coming!!

Ok, first, my apology….I have been so quiet….neglected my blog, I know…this is not wise. In truth, the summer holidays are 6 weeks of a large degree of chaos, lack of routine and generally family life turned upside down! We have not long returned from a holiday in beautiful Brittany, France. It takes such an effort to get back to some degree of ‘normal’ after being away.

I took some crochet and hooked and bumbled my way in calm and peace, by the sea, outside my tent, sitting in the sun….who could ask for more? Pics of one of my completed projects to follow…

I finally completed my dress (post to follow) a huge achievement! In the meantime I’ve seen this just arrive in my inbox….

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For those who may not know….this is the beautiful Anna dress from By Hand London….. and guess what….there’s a Sewalong!!!!

I recently bought the pattern after seeing a Handmade Jane version….gorgeous…..and also Lizzy’s version of the midi Anna Blue at Sew Busy Lizzy and let’s not forget the lovely Lauren at Lladybird her silk sexy thigh high split maxi version is hot hot hot let me tell you!

Take a look at these gorgeous ladies’ versions….inspiring!

I’ve NEVER participated in a Sewalong so I’m definitely going to join this….my first one! This dress is being raved about and rightly so! Here’s the link to the Sewalong that starts in September, so there’s time to buy your pattern and supplies!

http://byhandlondon.com/topics/anna-dress-sewalong/

Will you be joining in? Have you already made the Anna dress?

Would love to hear if you have!

HELP WANTED…all answers on a postcard please!! What can I do with this?

Hello lovely people, I am seeking some advice….

You see this dress…..

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Ok, it’s not everyone’s taste, and it’s prettier than it looks (at least the fabric is!) but…..it’s a simple sun dress and it fits ok, but the bodice is a bit big and straps are SO frumpy!

I don’t like the pencil thin straps, they just crease up and look even thinner! The bodice has this button front which I don’t undo, reckon the buttons are purely decorative but truly pointless in my view! The back of the bodice is shirred and needs to stay really or else I’ll not get the bugger on or off!!

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There is a large ruffle on the bottom of the dress and I figured I could lose an inch to 2 inches off the bottom (not keen on length anyway as it’s one of those weird in between lengths….not short enough not long enough just frumpy no, I’ve used that word already, hmm, dowdy, unstylish, unfashionable, drab, dull!!! I was wondering if I could take off some of this ruffle hem and use it for some straps/sleeves??
Please note I haven’t attempted sleeves yet, let alone drafting my own so a wider more fash strap is more my level! What do you think?

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That’s the back!

And the bodice?? It needs taking in a bit as too big round the bust, but wanted to lose those flippin’ buttons and preferably make it straight across rather than with the matronly ‘V’ neck line! Yuk!

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So that’s two things I’d love some advice on please! The only things to bear in mind is that I’m going away this Sunday, I don’t have much time, it needs to be pretty simple and quick to do!!! I do actually like the dress as a sun dress ideal for camping and beach wear and the fabric print is pretty, it’s 100% cotton. I do apologise for picture quality, you may need to enlarge!

I’d love to hear back from anyone with some advice….what would you do with this dress bodice and straps? Have you ever done anything similar? Should I just forget it??

Crochet tea light jar cover….am I the oldest teacher’s pet??

Today was the end of term for my two boys….they have been coming out of school all week laden with bags, books, cards, and more books! Most importantly they each won a class year medal…one for ‘effort’ one for ‘citizenship’ their faces when they showed me….so proud of themselves as am I!

I was given a gift by one of their teachers….a beautiful butterfly lavender! I’m a lavender lover, a lover of lavender….

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The scent is gorgeous…..

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It is always very touching to be thought of like this, especially when it’s unexpected as we’re normally the ones giving the presents!

I find this whole present idea quite a challenge. What do you give the person you’ve perhaps only met a handful of times?

I decided to buy one thing and make one thing….so the make one thing was this crochet jar cover….and it was very well received I am happy to say!

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I found the pattern and fantastic picture tutorial over on Lululoves do take a look at this blog…photography is wonderful, beautifully presented, packed full of helpful information and some brilliant tutorials! This jar cover tutorial also has a pdf version to download. Just click on the link Lululoves for her brilliant picture tutorial.

Whilst talking about crochet…for any of you new to crochet or even thinking about starting or just love reading and sharing with other like minded people about crochet, take a look at this fantastic crochet event taking place online, Crochet Camp 2013 and get involved. It’s been running since beginning of July and is ongoing, with advice, support and tutorials and projects for you to follow at your own pace; everything from basic stitches to type of yarn….There’s also a Facebook page, so take a look!! Whoops, I digress!! where was I? Oh yes, my jar cover…..

I used a Debbie Bliss cotton yarn in a sort of nude pink? for the jar cover. It is easy to use and creates a lovely finished stitch and helps to bring out the shell pattern. Unfortunately I didn’t get time to take pics with a tea light in and lit as it was broad daylight! I’m really pleased with finished result though, especially the lovely ribbon trim I had lurking around in my stash!

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It’s been another warm hot and emotional day for many children and parents whose children are leaving school to move on to secondary school. This evening brought a welcome cooler temperature and breeze and as the sun was setting the sky was amazing, a ‘beau ciel’ filled with an almost, explosion of clouds of different shapes and sizes….wonderful….can you see the one that looks like it has tentacles??

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What has today brought for you? Have you had to run the gauntlet of the end of term teacher’s presents? What are you planning for the school holidays?

Kate x

Fun, Fabs and a pretty Gathered Bag

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Mini Fabs in the garden were the order of the day today….boy has it been hot! Even the dog was drinking out of the paddling pool….sensible boy!

Fun time spent at my sister-in-laws at their biannual Village Fayre…there was a dog show, falconry displays, competition tent….best ginger cake, best rhubarb, best single rose……

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‘Tequila Sunrise’ single rose 1st prize went to my lovely sister-in-law….well done lovely lady!

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Marvellous. The WI tent, band, and even the ‘Green Barrows’ the most hilarious but talented group of men in red overalls, and Biggles goggles and headwear, charging around with green wheelbarrows in formation! Set on the village green…a brilliant afternoon.

It was my sister-in-laws birthday so I decided to make her a present, I much prefer that personal touch. She’s a cloth bag kind of girl so I chose this lovely bag to make from my local great independent fabric, wool and haberdashery shop The Owl & Sewing Cat that stocks great patterns for all sorts of home accessories and bags, clothing, children’s and baby accessories….do take a look. They also stock wool and gorgeous fabrics and supplies as well as running sewing workshops. Anyway, back to my bag. I purchased the pattern from The Owl & Sewing Cat and this is The Gathered Bag and it’s rated as an intermediate level. I chose a lovely Elephant print hot pink fabric for outside of bag and a sage stripe lining, finished with grey ribbon trim and hand made bow.

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Gathered bag lining

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Ribbon trim and hand made bow

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The finished bag!

Really pleased with this. It took me longer than I thought….largely because I started it at a Sewing evening in Lewes. A friend invited me to this monthly event of like minded sewing lovelies….each bringing along a sewing project they were working on, a pinnie, a child’s dress, hankies, cushion, and my friend was making this gorgeous Cath Kidston ‘Stitch’ pattern quilted bag….I’ve yet to see her finished item but it was looking fab! Anyway, a lovely evening, however, I’ve realised it’s easy to get distracted in a big group…so I missed cutting out a pattern piece for starters and I cut it incorrectly and spoiled the fabric….had to later seam two pieces together to get the ‘fold’ I needed back for the missing piece! Yikes! Still, I saved it, but after a discussion with my friend we both agreed that sewing is often a solitary past time, filled with concentration and thought and maybe we need to learn to talk less and focus more if we do the group thing again!!! I had to catch up the next evening as a result of my distractions!! Although we plan to start our own ‘Drop Everything & Sew!’ (think that’s what we’ll call it) evening in our home town!

Do any of you take part in group sewing nights or days?
What have you been up to this hot weekend? Any crafty projects in the making?

Burda Summer Linen Dress “sew easy” sew what went wrong? or in the words of my children….”epic fail!”

HELP NEEDED PLEASE!!!!

Friday started well. My day off, and I had promised myself to allow myself 2 hours to cut out and make a start on the linen dress that I have been harbouring a pattern for…for ages!!

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I had chosen some lovely grey linen and some rather random buttons of which I only needed one but have yet to decide on which one….

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I spent time, a lot of time, carefully pressing the linen (which quickly proves to be a waste of time!) but that’s linen for you…..laying out fabric, pattern pieces and finally cutting….

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This is where it all goes wrong!!!!!
I have to wait until today to start to sew….I’ve transferred pattern markers with thread, removed my first pattern piece from the back of the dress and then horror strikes!!!!! Oh my ****! expletive, expletive! I cannot believe what I am looking at…..

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I have cut the wrong pattern piece on the fold!!!!!!
So, now, I am stumped….I have managed not to cry but I am stuck and so angry with myself. How, just how did I do this?? I’m no great seamstress, but I’ve never done this before.
This is where I could really do with some help please!!
The front of the dress should have been cut on the fold and the back in two pieces….I have done the reverse!!! The back of the dress as you can just make out in the pattern black and white picture has a seam straight up the middle just to where it meets a small opening to allow for buttoning it up to slip over your head. I can cut the back piece in two I’m sure with no problem, but the front? This should be cut on the fold so one front piece and is gathered at the neckline in the middle to form some pretty folds (?) If I seam up the middle to rejoin the fabric, will this not totally throw out the gathers/folds and look incredibly strange with a seam up the middle?!! I can’t think of any other way because I’m such a basic sewer…..if anyone has any ideas or advice I would be so grateful!!!! It’ll either be ok or just look plain odd, there’s not much to lose I guess as I’ve already spoilt it. I’m so gutted….and I was hoping to wear this to a job interview on Friday!!! I am going to return to my crochet project….at least I can unpick any mistakes!
Just total pants. K x

Crochet granny bunting triangles…..it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s June….but there’s always room for some of these to inject a bit of cheer….ooh, and a Cub camp blanket!

Goodness, it has been a long very long time since my last post… I’ve been very preoccupied with all sorts of things and not had much time to do too much on the creative front.

We very sadly and very unexpectedly lost our darling little French lop rabbit, Myrtle…….

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Such a shock….we’d not had her long and she was only 3 months old. I was more taken by surprise as to how upset I was, and for days…..but then if you have animals they do become part of your family and that’s the way it should be. The children were so sad, particularly my youngest son. So we brought her home and buried her in the back garden beneath the raspberry shrub….mini crochet bunting was made and a little pot of pink faux flowers….and the children popped little shells in with her, collected from our holiday last year in Brittany, each individually kissed as they were placed next to her. I am constantly amazed at just how beautiful children can be in thought and word and deed….

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The picture quality is awful and doesn’t do it justice. They made a little willow arch (as she loved to nibble away at this). It didn’t last too long as the heat of the one day of warm sun we had quickly wilted it but hopefully the little bunting will last longer….

This brought me to having a go at some normal size bunting, crocheted granny triangles, to be precise, as the mini version was so sweet. I’d seen this pattern over at pinkfluffywarrior and loved her designs especially with the flowers added. So I decided to have a go at some and was rather pleased with the results….what do you think?

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Quite pleased with these even if I do say so myself! They’re a great stash user upper and evening/pool side time passer….I’m just going to keep making them as I fancy and see where they end up….probably my daughter’s birthday?

Meanwhile, the middle one had a Cub camp last week. Cub camp blankets are a must but they’d all sold out, everywhere! So I decided to make one. It would be bigger, far lovelier and personal and he was SO happy with it!! Result!

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I even personalised it with his initial! It’s a gorgeous teddy fleece material which I bound the edges with a suitable ‘cub’ colour! Tricky to sew as very thick fleece and boy, the fluff it shredded everywhere! Still, it was a resounding success as was the camp! One happy smokey smelling boy returned home happy, if not a little grubby!

Enjoy your weekend…..whatever you’re up to, K x

My Colette ‘Laurel’ dress pattern has arrived and it’s looking good!!!

It’s arrived!! I’ve taken the plunge after reading so many glorious reviews for the ‘Laurel’ dress by Colette, I decided to buy it and make my own………

The Laurel dress by Colette

The Laurel dress by Colette

It’s not just the dress that looks to be a gorgeous design…oh no, the pattern and instruction booklet is a work of art in itself and like nothing I’ve seen before!! Just look at what you get…….

Pattern book back page

Pattern book back page

For those of you new to Colette patterns (like me), I’ll explain why I’m so impressed……I had no idea how the pattern was packaged and presented….imagine my surprise when I opened the package and out popped this wonderful ‘booklet’ style pattern instructions and paper pattern (you can get downloadable versions I understand). Being a total newbie to independent pattern designers and companies, this was such a welcome change. Having recently decided to start sewing again, clothes I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time lately pouring over what patterns are out there….usually in a shop and looking at Burda, McCalls and Simplicity for example. I was quite shocked at how much these patterns cost now…..£8.00 plus!! I don’t always feel the choice is that great and find that a lot of these patterns have at times, quite a lot of unhelpful information in them, sometimes, not greatly proof read either! However, these are not to be scoffed at as there’s some fab designs out there. Yet, I can find it quite frustrating the way they’re laid out or can use sewing terms I’m not familiar with! (such as with an American pattern) I like simple, I like well laid out…something a lot of these patterns are not, and that just means I’m thinking ‘complicated’ before I’ve even picked up a pair of scissors!!

Enter Colette patterns!! Presented in the lovely booklet form, with well laid out instructions, tips and definitions of terms used etc…. like this….

Laurel pattern 'tips' example page

Laurel pattern ‘tips’ example page

and this…..

Laurel pattern 'definition' example page

Laurel pattern ‘definition’ example page

An example of how the pattern helps you with some of the terminology used…. How about that then heh?? There’s even a ‘notes’ section at the back of the booklet for making your own, well, notes!! see…….

'Notes' page in the Laurel pattern booklet

‘Notes’ page in the Laurel pattern booklet

I think that is so thoughtful and even more useful! and the pattern itself is tucked in it’s own back pocket as you can see from the pic above.

There’s help on customising your own fit……

Custom fit guide in the Laurel pattern booklet

Custom fit guide in the Laurel pattern booklet

Now you can see why I think this pattern is so lovely? I had no idea! Clearly I still have to make the dress but as a beginner/advanced beginner (lapsed), it makes a huge difference if I feel more confident after looking at a pattern rather than…err, what was the word?? that’s it…confused!!

To top this off (as if it really could be topped off), the lovely Susan from http://www.sewbox.co.uk/ is including a free gift with all pattern orders in June AND entry to a prize draw for a copy of the Great British Sewing Bee book! and this was MY free gift……

Turquoise heart buttons from Sewbox

Turquoise heart buttons from Sewbox

Aren’t they divine?? turquoise heart buttons. I love collecting buttons….what would you use these for I wonder??

I’ll keep you posted with progress on my dress!

Hope you all enjoy a glorious sunny weekend whatever you’re up to??!!
Kate x

Crochet granny triangles :: pompom trimming :: lace :: Beginners sewing guide fab find!

Half term is almost over, which despite being a full on time at home, is a long awaited week away from work, time with the children and a break from old routine….. We’ve spent a lot of time outside, including in the garden, which is such a joy to just sit in the sun…and crochet

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This was me following Lucy’s latest crochet triangle bunting pattern over at
Attic24 and I was having a little tea and crochet time with some odds and ends of yarn.

Even the dog was enjoying the rays…..

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I took an afternoon trip to Brighton with my man and the eldest one, for some lunch and a much wanted browse through the lovely Dïtto Fabric shop in the North Laines. I just adore this shop….they’ve just celebrated their 30th year and I remember being a regular visitor when they first opened, buying little squares of fabric off cuts and ribbon to make lavender bags! My wedding dress was made using some of their fabric and a wonderful dressmaker who had her studio just round the corner…..and came as a recommendation from the shop.

Still have the dress….but not the figure!!!

Anyway, I digress. I popped in there as I needed a few trimmings for some projects that needed finishing off….but it’s so hard not to just buy their little bags made up using a mélange of ribbons, lace, etc….a sort of pick ‘n’ mix! I managed to contain myself and just ended up with these…..

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Isn’t this pom pom trim divine?? All washed down with some beautiful stretch elastic lace….the green is a beautiful chartreuse but unfortunately it doesn’t show up so well in the photo…

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Lovely heh? I’m saving this lace as I’d love to have a go at making a pair of Tap pants (after my success with my Trixie knickers….just need to find a pattern I like.

A visit to a friend had me rehoming a piece of fabric she no longer wanted and was lying enticingly by the recycle bin, and I couldn’t resist!! It’s a small piece only but could be used for all sorts of little things…. I need a sunglasses case so could go on a make for that….
Here it is…….

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See what I mean? Gorgeous colours and prints…..this came from Dïtto fabrics but sadly it’s a discontinued print 😦 still, I could just look at it in all its’ turquoise splendour!! So maybe adding it onto a cushion cover to maximise its’ daily viewing….what would you use it for I wonder?

Finally, I received a brilliant package in the post in the week….it’s a vital resource to get into sewing clothes which are more than just two pieces of fabric stitched together!! Actually I’m being a bit unfair on myself….. I have put in zips, waistbands, button holes, binding and sewn elastic in the Trixie knickers, but not yet tackled sleeves, collars and more complex patterns….and it’s been a while since I’ve made any clothing. I desperately want to get into making as many of my own clothes as possible. I’ve got a couple of items to start and complete but felt I could do with a handy reference book….which is why I bought this……

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I did quite a lot of research into good sewing reference books and this Reader’s Digest got lots of rave reviews. From what I’ve read so far it does seem really very good….detailed but with great easy to understand explanations and it also gives you cross references when looking something up…..such as if you’re looking up making bias strips, it will give you page and reference for clipping or making notches in fabric for arm holes for instance….brilliant! So there’s really no excuse for me to not get going…..just need to make sure I actually take some time to start….and do it!!!

Hope you all have had a great half term, whether you have any ankle biters or not!! Kate x

Vintage crochet finds & make your own camera case challenge!!

The ‘vintage’ cardigan….oh I do love eBay

Every now and then I manage to find little gems on eBay or in a charity shop that have friends remarking on how lovely something is and where did I buy it from….. I always feel a sense of satisfaction when I tell them it was second hand from one of the above…one of my recent finds was this little crochet cardigan…cute heh?

vintage cardi 1 vintage cardi 2 vintage cardi 3

It originally came with a large voile like ribbon on it, which I have taken off because it did give it rather a ‘bed jacket’ type look!! I need to have a think about what else to use to ‘button up’ the cardigan if I need to…ribbon, button or something…and I may even embellish it a bit with some crochet roses…hmm, need to have a think about that. In the meantime, I just used a little brooch I have to close it.

But I couldn’t stop there………

Oh no…I then found this original 1970’s crochet shrug (I guess you’d call it) or maybe a wrap?? whatever it is, it’s lovely. Thick, fluffy yarn that has come in very handy during the recent ongoing cold weather, when I’ve been sat in bed reading….perfect for keeping those shoulders warm! I’m thinking that this little number will also come in handy for the summer evenings (well, eventually it may turn summery!!) over a summer dress….

vintage shrug @ the polka dot room

vintage shrug @ the polka dot room

This photo doesn’t really show it off to it’s best, but that’s the best I can do without having to get too much of myself in the picture!! oh ladies…what are we like??!!

Moving on to my ‘productivity’ days….aka my day off or the day I do not go to work….I think this shall now be named ‘Frantic Fridays’ as this is the day I try and catch up with all the things I have had little chance to do in the week…you know, the day that you look around the house and realise that all the cleaning and tidying you did last weekend has now worn off and ‘things’ are creeping across the floor and hemming you in again! whilst still desperately hoping to find an hour or two to actually make something!!!

Frantic Friday :: Make your own camera case….but watch those measurements!!!

Hmmm…well, yes, the reason I say watch the measurements, is that a dear friend of mine asked if I could make her a camera case for her new present. I was more than happy to oblige. Camera delivered. Measurements taken. Notebook out. Work commenced.

camera case @ the polka dot room

So far, so good………

camera case make @ the polka dot room

And that is where things started to go a bit…well..wrong! Magnetic closure in…check…until I realised I’d put one in the wrong side of a fabric piece!! which meant that the case now was not polka dots on the outside and lined in the green and cream, but half polka dot and half lining fabric for the outside!! And then the final nail in the coffin?? it was too small for the camera!!!! arghhhh! Gosh, I’m really not sure how this happened. I had taken such care over the measurements…perhaps it was that I had got my seam allowances wrong when the batting was in place…who knows!

camera case make @ the polka dot room

Not too sure about the button…I think it might be a bit much, or maybe it’s just too large, or overly fussy…so that might come off! The back of the case should have been spotty, but I guess that makes it ‘quirky’ !! Overall, I suppose I shouldn’t be so hard on myself…it was not bad for a first attempt I guess…back to the drawing board…..

I then came along this quote on my Pinterest recommendations, which I thought very apt for me…..

Make beautiful things poster

And finally……. talking of beautiful…..

Popped to the ‘Tennis Cafe’ at our local park today, providing ice creams for the middle and smallest ones….I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this beautiful rose on our table, as the sun shone through it’s petals…….

beautiful orange rose @ the polka dot room

Enjoy the rest of the bank holiday weekend my lovelies, and here’s hoping the sun keeps shining, Kate x