Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Thrifting Away From Home

how to make a gif

Nothing quite like thrifting abroad... Especially little Mediterranean villages swarming with kitch crockery, retro bedding (to be repurposed) and more granny haberdasheries than Starbucks' on a high street.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Preparing for Autumn ~ part II

You can always count on the British Summertime for almost constant cloud cover and drizzly rain, interspersed with the odd burst of glorious sunshine (which sees everyone ripping off their parka's and practically tripping over themselves to get outside).

With this in mind, I got a head start on my first Autumnal Project - the Pickles' Go Vest - knowing I would be loving it months before Autumn even begins.  Knitted in brioche stitch with a super soft and cosy baby alpaca, this vest is the epitome of trans-seasonal dressing.  Loosely slung over a sundress and held together with a brooch on changeable Spring days or chilly Summer nights, and layered with long-sleeved tops, jeans and scarves when the colder months come.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Preparing for Autumn ~ part I

Amidst all the Summer sewing I've been doing recently, my evenings are starting to be spent preparing for the colder months to come... 

the beginnings of my Go Vest from Pickles

These days I like to get a bit of a head-start on a season.  That way I can really take my time with a project and enjoy the process, especially the big or ambitious ones, spending long evenings taking care over my stitching, and actually getting to enjoy my finished piece for longer.  I learned this the hard way - casting on for a jumper or blanket in the depth of Winter, only to run out of steam halfway through as the days began to warm up.  In fact, I can think of two such jumpers and one such blanket still incomplete hibernating somewhere at the bottom of one stash or another.  So this year I have put my list-making mania to good use and settled on a handful of wintry projects that have been on my mind for a while, which I now seem to have suddenly gathered the perfect materials for.

1.  Go Vest - pattern from Pickles, one of my all-time favourite knitting blogs.  These guys make me want to move to Norway.  For this cardi I'm using the cherry red baby Alpaca yarn I bought from Loop at Jane Brocket's book launch.  

2.  Herringbone Stitch Cowl - pattern from Purlbee, my other all-time favourite crafting blog.  This is something I've wanted to make for ages, but it calls for a lot of yarn...  Then the other day my lovely neighbour friend (Prom Dress Jess) gave me a Maxmara cardi she was throwing out - horrible shape but delicious yarn - so now I'm in the process of unravelling it...

the unwanted Maxmara cardi...


3.  Three pairs of Elfin Slippers - tutorial from Maya*Made.  So far I have picked out the colours for the uppers and linings from some old cut up cashmere jumpers to make a minty-green pair for the little boy, a navy pair for the Papa, and a red pair for me, la Mama.  These have been washed and shrunk to create a denser and sturdier fabric which will be easy to cut and sew, and will be a lot more durable than an un-shrunk cashmere jumper.  Now I need to have a rummage through my leathers to find some soft suede for the soles.

4.  A Swing Jacket - Butterick 5222 vintage pattern.  I've been wanting to make this jacket for years, and being an unprinted pattern, the only thing stopping me before was my lack of sewing confidence.  I am now raring to go with this, and I am also very happy to be slicing up and giving a new lease of life to my very old, very loved, and now very decrepit bordeaux wool cape.  For added yum, I plan to line this with the same nude silk crepe I used for my Silk Sorbetto... oh, YES.

my cape, soon to be swing

5.  As the days start getting colder - two pairs of Snowy Mittens - pattern still to develop.  Using some Debbie Bliss Como I bought last winter, in duck egg blue and stone, I'm planning to make some adult sized mittens with a simple fairisle cuff.  If I'm happy with the pattern, I will of course publish it here!

There.  So I reckon I have plenty to keep busy with, and no doubt some other things will manage to sneak themselves into my lists... They always do.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


We've all been there.  Looking in the mirror thinking, "can I still get away with wearing these hotpants/crop-top/see-through dress...?" In my case, cut-off jeans ripped quite suggestively at the crotch.  They were my favourite jeans when I was 17, I wore them until they were practically threadbare, then cut them into shorts and rocked them with half a bottom cheek peeping out.  Now I'm not so sure.  So many factors contribute to women's changing bodies, self-image and therefore wardrobes that it can be sad to leave behind clothes that were so loved back in happier, firmer bodily times.  But this morning as I mowed the lawn in my revealing cut-offs, I decided a quick patch job was just the thing to give my shorts a new lease of life.  These babies are sick of being confined to the house!

before back view

before front view

I used the same cotton as my Swing Sorbetto which I can't get enough of right now, and from a distance it sort of looks like flesh... drawing your eye in and then noticing the print as you get closer.  I like this subtle trompe l'oeil suggesting a sneaky peek of skin, without actually revealing anything at all.

after back view

after front view

inside-out detail

The Sorbetto Series

For anyone who hasn't yet made it, or -God forbid- hasn't heard of it, you need to click here to start planning your Sorbetto Series.  The Sorbetto Top, a free downloadable pattern from Colette, is perfect in its sixties summery simplicity, and is such a breeze to make that it's hard to stop at just one.  Intending to make one or two, I have ended up with four.  And it's not only me; just Google "sorbetto top" and you'll find pages and pages of blog posts and flickr pools of all the many millions of variations people have come up with (so much for having something unique by making your clothes by hand, ha!). In fact, it was thanks to Marie at A Sewing Odyssey where I first saw the Sorbetto, and Miss P for inspiring me to make one more, and then another...

Short Sorbetto No.1 - made using some leftover Liberty cotton that has been sitting in my stash for a while, and done following the pattern precisely.  It came out a little short due to lack of fabric, so this will be a tucked-in-top only.  Looks hot with a weighty red circle skirt I made a few years ago.

Silk Sorbetto No.2 - getting excited now and seeing all the variations possible with this pattern... Nude silk crepe, top-stitched box pleat sandwiching a vintage trim given to me by a late friend who shared my love of lingerie.  I can't wait to wear this one.

Swing Sorbetto No.3 - completely fell in love with the print.  I let the pleat go free on this one and added another at centre back to give it more of a swing shape which came out beautifully.  This is the one I will wear the most, already wore it today and felt very happy in it.  I'm still debating whether or not to add an off-white flower button at the top of the pleat.

an ingenious method to make bias tape without any fancy devices

Sleepy Sorbetto No.4 - a longer version of No.3.  Nightdress or beach dress.  This came out a little too Maternity-esque for my taste, so I might have a little fiddle with it tomorrow to adjust the volume.

Time to move on now.

Monday, 4 July 2011

this evening...

...I am, as ever, in bewildered awe of my beautifully talented little sister [anyone get the Four Weddings and a Funeral reference?  Probably just my sister...] after seeing her MA final exhibition...

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