Sunday, 18 August 2013

scrapbuster necklaces

Happy Sunday sewers!
Just a quick post on a super satisfying way to use up leftover pieces of silk or lightweight fabric....
wow did it feel good to use these up.
You've probably seen these before...I didn't realise just how easy it is to make your own!
 Initially I didn't have the required wooden beads so I sacrificed an old necklace and it worked really well.
These are off to Canada and New Zealand as gifts. 

Adios, scraps!
If you want to give this a try,  here's a link to Martha's tutorial.

Monday, 5 August 2013

SUMMER and the City

Recently we've had some decent spells of an idyllic summer heatwave in London, blessed with a few Cat-on-a-Hot-Tin-Roof-type muggy nights, where you drop everything in the evening to be out doors among other sweaty people, drinking mohitos or ice cool lager and lemon. 
These nights remind me of my first few "grown-up" summers out of University, living in Toronto in an apartment full of girls, where summers are usually fantastically hot.  We spent our days working desperately to prove ourselves in entry level media jobs, our week-ends dancing until the early hours and countless nights in between watching reruns of Sex and the City and dreaming of the fabulous apartments and wardrobes of our future grown-up life, just like Carrie and her friends.  It was that summer that we were starting to find our footing in life, that poofy skirts with stiletto heels were all the rage.

So, there's something about a poofy skirt and stiletto heel on a muggy city night, that makes me instantly nostalgic.  

But there's a problem.
I never actually acquired that essential Carrie Bradshaw talent of flitting around in stilettos. (Not to mention the fabulous New York apartment, but I digress...)  In fact, I think I've regressed in the heel wearing department since those heady days of my early 20s.  Seriously, did I miss some right of passage how-to memo?
 Now as a "real" grown-up the day to day reality of city life for me most of the time means running for buses, hiking up and down escalators and jumping over giant puddles, Spiderman-like.  Not counting the heap of high heels stored under my desk at work to wear around the office,  on the street I usually count on...hate to say it...practical (flat, comfortable, safe) shoe options to get around.
(Mom was right)
On one of those muggy nights recently I jumped at the chance to take my new poofy dress out for a spin, but  felt that usual sting of regret that I had to leave my heels behind for practicality's sake.  But if there's one thing Carrie and co (and my Mom) taught, it's to be an individual -- and not to fear a loud print.   
So, about the dress...
You might remember I bought this stretchy cotton in Heidelberg a a few months ago. After staring at it draped over my stand for a few days I decided the zig-zags were crying to be gathered into a skirt to emphasize their zig-zaggy-ness.  So, in the end it's a simple v-neck dress, only I extended the width of the shoulder by a few centimetres and rounded them slightly,  just to come out over my shoulder a little rather than end at the top of my arm  The bodice is lined to below the bust with self facing.

I've been reading through my blogroll and some amazing things happened over my break!  (But I'm also having a little problem accessing some blogs through Bloglovin' - even when I try to visit them outside of the reader it says the webpage is not available, even though there are new posts - is this happening to anyone else?)

Here are some highlights, in case you missed them:
  • I got an email from Hannah over at Kollabora letting me know about their community - have you seen it?  It's a really fabulous, refreshingly designed site with plenty of project inspiration (including things like jewellery and needlework), how-tos, and lots of cool features with large project photos and a Pinterest-style addictive quality.  I've posted my first dress and the interface is extremely slick and forgiving.  Looks like they are set for great things!
  • I noticed another new blogger network has sprung up - check out Paunnet's post about the Minerva blogger network -- the twist here is that you can buy a finished kit based on what a blogger in the network has made - very cool!
  • Check out Serger Pepper's post about a group of sewers doing some fun things over at the Pinterest Power Party.  Looks like a lot of fun!
  • Hold onto your hats - the Sew Tessutti awards entries are about to be revealed!  Sadly I couldn't get it together to part this year but can't wait to see the sure to be marvelous red and black frocks.
  • Both Jean at Jean Kaori Sews and Nat at Made in Home have made fabulous knit creations this month.  Both are so jaw droppingly inspiring, enough to make a girl want to run out and buy a set of knitting needles.
  • If you read Stardustsoul you'll already know about Anto's beautiful illustrations, but have you had a chance to download her paper dolls yet, complete with real high street outfits? They are all being shared on Instagram and Twitter.  What fun.
  • The talented ladies at By Hand London have released yet another lovely pattern - the Anna dress. Perfect breezy summer coolness. Fabulous stuff.
  • Have you seen Pauline Alice's flirty piping dress - could there be a pattern to come?
  • This month's theme at Le Challenge is Heroes. I haven't had a chance to take part in one of these yet but it's it's got my mind spinning with possibilities!
I'm working on updating the "Your Renditions" section of my blog with some lovely new Garden Party Dresses.

In the meantime -  if you've got the secret for stilletto wearing, could you please let me know?

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Crafty Science

Well hello there, where did July go?  I haven't had a chance to do much sewing since my lawn tennis dress, but July did end up being a bit of a crafty month -  I spent a few days pretending to be a silversmith, through a jewellery course at Morley College in London.
I had a little work window and when I saw this three day taster course it really fit the bill - I've been dying to try jewellery making for a long time.  The course was immediately hands-on and I couldn't believe it when we were using the blow torch before lunch on the first day. We learned the amazing process of turning metal to a kind of maleable putty through a process called annealing - which means firing it up and then dropping it in a "pickle" solution, which allows you to saw it into shapes, press patterns into it, roll it into rings, you name it. It was as close to alchemy as I've ever been and utterly fun and fascinating.
I walked away with a practice copper ring and a silver ring, a dangly necklace and that Matisse inspired pendent above.  I've got some ideas for this...

We also got away for a little summer adventure this month, taking the sleeper train from London to go camping in beautiful Cornwall.  
You can imagine my disappointment when the crafty campers next to us brought out strands of bunting to decorate their site - why didn't I think of this! Wish I had a photo even... Next year...  

My only sewing purchase was these two blue buttons at a lovely little craft shop called the Makers Boutique.  There were only two left, but they reminded me of the colour of the St. Ives coast and I couldn't leave them behind.

I've got a long blogroll brimming with creative summery things to catch up on and can't wait to sit down in the next few days to see what everyone's been up to.  

Until then keep cool x