Thursday, 23 April 2015

Me-Made Corset as shot by Christeeny

I am the luckiest woman alive to have so many uber-talented friends. One of them is the lovely Chris Patterson, who is a fabulous photographer and all round artistic genius based in the North East of England and fellow studio resident.  Last week she was shooting with the very beautiful Lucy Bennison from Tyne Tees Models and I loaned her a few me-made bits and bobs for the shoot. Just look at the result! Isn't this image just amazing? 


Model : Lucy Bennison Tyne Tees Models
Corset & Head Piece : Bad Kitty Corsets

Photo Credit:

I know that Chris was trying to go for a painterly feel and the use of light in this shot, to me, is very much like Vermeer or Rembrandt. I was so pleased that one of my me-made (and designed) corsets could be of use along with this 1920's/ early 30's wax flower bridal crown and veil from my rainy day collection of "stuff that might come in handy for a photoshoot". The tulle is so delicate, almost disintegrating to the touch but very beautiful.

Anyway, I was bursting to share this image with you but had to wait until Chris very graciously said it was okay. If you would like to see more of her work then please click on the link above to her website or find her on Facebook.

Not forgetting of course the amazing team of MUA and hairdressing whose links can be found above too.

Apparently there are more images to come (using other me-made corsets) and I hope to be able to share those with you too sometime. If you are interested the corset design is derived from an original line drawing in "Corsets & Crinolines" by Norah Waugh. I have used this pattern a few times now, most notably for my dip-dyed silk corset that I must get some pics of too.

Hope that you are all having a great week!


Monday, 20 April 2015

Vintage Pattern Pledge 1 - Simplicity 1692: A 1940's Top

Hi All, I hope that you have all been making the best of the good weather and the Easter break. In the UK, this Easter has been really lovely so far and we have had some very balmy spring days. I had the long weekend off over Easter which was great as I have been feeling a little burnt-out lately and took this time to make a start on my Vintage Pattern Pledge offerings for this year, making a top. But because I have actually been sewing I have not had any time to blog about it until now. Typical! I have even finished off a UFO skirt  and done a little Kantha quilting for a cushion front but more on that later.

Simplicity 1692  is a vintage repro-pattern from the 1940's that was purchased many moons ago and was originally traced out in a size 22 (I made View B). Convinced that it wasn't going to fit I scrapped the pattern I had traced and graded up to a size 24 everywhere except the shoulders.   I could probably not have bothered. After reading some of the reviews on PatternReview that mentioned that the neck on this view was very high and not so flattering, I decided to scoop out the front neckline a lot lower, tracing over the lines for the size 14 as printed on the pattern sheet,  lowering it by about 2 inches. 

The fabric is this gloriously colourful cotton lawn remnant that I picked up in Fenwick's in Newcastle. I love these colours and thought that they look terrifically summery. However, I am not convinced that it was the right fabric for this pattern. I lengthened the body by 3 inches at the bottom and did a 2" FBA. I would have lengthened it more but I didn't have enough fabric. I used a black invisible zipper from the stash for the side-zip. I made no attempt at pattern matching as I was short of fabric but I did cut my front out after choosing the "splodges" to be in a balanced place and not in *ahem* anywhere awkward. As I didn't want to lose any length I used bias on the bottom and just stitched and turned it to the inside. I like this finish and use it a lot. The eagle-eyed among you will spot that these pics show the top with the hem still raw and none of the tucks in. These were taken before it was finished but I don't have any more and have not had a chance to take some decent (and made up) shots of me since then. Tuck-less is really not a flattering look for this top.

I have no idea why I am pulling a funny face but if you think this shot is bad you should see the rest of them.

Sewing-wise it came together very well. It is a nicely drafted pattern. I took my time with it, hand-basting everything and finishing off as as much of the inside as I could with French seams. I skipped the pattern pieces for the neck binding, cutting 4cm bias strips and using this to make bias binding in my Prym bias tool. These were stitched down then folded over and hand stitched on the inside. No wonder it takes me so long to make stuff, all the hand stitching that went into this. I was even quite pleased with my invisible zip.

Look at that sleeve puffiness. I definitely don't need volume added on the top half of me. 

So do I love it? I don't know. I think that I should probably have used a softer draping fabric as the sleeves are WAY to puffy for my rugby player shoulders. I didn't use the recommended shoulder pads and the little fabric support as when I sewed them in I had that whole linebacker look going on. The sleeve puffiness was something that has been mentioned in a few other reviews. I might have a go reducing the sleeve head and make it again in something a bit drapier. The top look better with the tucks in the front and I'll try to get some decent pics next weekend.

I was quite a busy bee, I also finished and inserted the lining in McCall's 3830, a pencil skirt that I have had hanging round since August (!!) last year. There is no lining pieces supplied with this pattern just a facing so I just made my own.

The lining was cut the same size as the skirt pieces and stitched to the facing along the edge of the binding.

The hem was stitched to the lining. All the enclosed seams are bound in the gingham bias tape.

 I will review this pattern ASAP in a separate post. I also did some hand stitching on an odd bit if fabric that I had lying around to make a cushion front.

When I saw this bit of Designers Guild interiors fabric remnant I thought that it would look lovely quilted in a Kantha style with maybe some beads and sequins.  I love their style and have DG for nearly all of the decor in my house, although this fabric doesn't match any off it. I haven't quite finished it yet but here is a sneak preview. I plan to get some purple velvet for the back and some big hassle/pom pom trim but am waiting until I happen upon the right colours.

So to round up, the top is not my best work but not a total fail either.  There was some good sewing in this top, plus that's one down on my Vintage Pattern Pledge. Two more garments to go and I have already got the patterns. It does look a lot better with the tucks in the front, honest.


So what have you been up to over Easter? Have you been sewing or just relaxing?

Have a great week!!


Sunday, 22 March 2015

No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of this Blog Post

Hello! Today I am going to share with you a collar that I made inspired by the lovely Rhonda Buss, of Rhonda's Creative Life fame. I made this using a tutorial that Rhonda shared on her blog as part of her Free Pattern Friday series. I was really inspired as this collar was just so cute and looked amazing on, yet was a very simple sew (find Rhonda's collar here and here).

My poor, long-suffering dummy. Apologies for all the fluff.

This was a quick make.  I didn't have to buy anything as everything was already in my stash.  I bought this really crazy tie dye fur fabric when it was on sale in Mandors in Glasgow. It is a bit of a wild mixture of white, pink, lilac and black. You get a better idea of the colours from the back.

I have a sort of love/hate relationship with this fabric, it is so awful it is great, but have never been able to part with it even though I didn't have a clue what to use it for.  I must have had it for about 10 years! Talk about being delighted when I read Rhonda's post.

The sewing part was fast. The pattern is just a 4" by the fabric width rectangle and the pom-poms two little 4" squares that you round off into circles that I cut off the end. The squares were trimmed into circles, drawn up into little balls using a running stitch and stuffed to keep there shape using a little kapok. The ribbon was hand stitched into place.
I took the advice and cut the fur using a blade so that I didn't damage the fluffy part and then zig-zagged the edge with all the hair tucked in. I didn't cut the other side off where they had chopped it off the roll in the shop and boy, does it make a difference.  Thanks, Rhonda for the great tip. Photos of the two methods below:

This was the razor cut. You can't really see the join.

Seamed using the cut edge. This took some work with a pin to get it looking furry I can tell you!

So I love the final outcome. This little collar makes me insanely happy and the colours really cheer up the miserable transition into Spring that we have been having. I am now on the look out for more fur in funky colours. This would make a fabulous gift to make someone, except this one. Me, me, me. Mine, mine, mine!

Me after a long day and covered in pen from marking the back of the fur. What a clart!

Apologies for all the big pics but I have borrowed a Mac to write this and I am missing all my photo editing software.

So have you worked with fake fur? What did you make?

Have a great week!


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Love is Like a Butterfly (Mabel)

I have a horrific work deadline this week so this will be a very short post. Still not had time to take the shots for my Wardrobe Architect. Although, talking of all things Colette here are some pics of my finished Mabel skirt. As I have written about in a previous post, I received this pattern from the lovely Friedericke of Naehen Ist Therapy blog as part of the Curvy Sewing Collective Holiday Swap. This was great for me as I have now lost my fear of sewing knits and have even got to grips with my overlocker again after losing the knack! Thanks, Friedericke.

Colette Patterns, Mabel - View C

This is made using view C, the longer pencil skirt with a 3-panel front and 2-panel back, plus attached waistband except I didn't see the point of a vent in a stretchy fabric so I folded the vent part back on the pattern piece and cut the whole back piece on the fold.  It is made up in a blue butterfly-print Ponte knit remnant from The Textile Centre on eBay. There was only 0.9m and it cost about 3 quid so this skirt must qualify for bargain of the year, pipping my snakeskin Ponte Gertie pencil skirt by a whole 50p. It was supposed to just be a potentially wearable muslin so another definite win. Because of the muslin status I made no attempt at pattern matching but it doesn't look too shady if you ask me.

So will I make this again - Yes! Will I sew with more knits? Try and stop me. This skirt took about 2 hours in total. My only problem was that I cut out the 2XL and after comparing the sizing with the Gertie skirt realised that I had to trim off a whopping 6 inches - 1 inch off each side seam piece and 2 inches off the front panel piece.  Plus I would like the skirt to sit a little higher in the waist. Now that I have some patterns to finesse I can see a lot of knit skirts in my life. Since they take such little fabric they are a cheap and quick fix. I even have some more fabric washed, lined up and good to go.

So who wins the knit pencil skirt challenge? Gertie or Mabel? Looking at the photos I will have to say I don't know but will definitely use both patterns again so maybe it is a draw.

Have you tried both of these patterns? What did you think? Or do you have a tried 'n' true pencil skirt pattern?

Hope you are having a good week wherever you are. 


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Giveaway Winner and Some Shaky Pics

So this week has been half term in the UK and the schools have been on holiday. If you have school-age children have you been off? If so, did you go away or doing anything special? I have been off for the past week which has been a bit of a mixed bag but to be honest I really needed the break. Last weekend we ventured out in Glasgow and I dragged poor Sprogzilla to go see a band - nothing like a bit of heavy rock to make you relive your youth.  The first time I saw them was 23 years ago! I was very young of course *cough, cough*

This was followed by a day wandering the roads around Greenock and Gourock. It was really beautiful out there and hard to think that you are close to the biggest city in Scotland. I know that a lot of the world is really suffering with snow at the moment but it was beautiful weather, we just had light coats on, but you could still see snow on The Trossachs at the top of the Holy Loch.

Looking over to Dunoon and the Holy Loch. You can see the wee ferry.

Then we headed to Edinburgh to see my Mum for a couple of days. She is doing a lot better but still convalescing and was really pleased to see us. We had another trip to the beach for sea glass again but our timing was rubbish and the waves were racing up the beach. We still had time to get a small bagful.

 I have been doing no sewing this week but I did cut out a lining for my pink corduroy skirt that I started last year. The shame! I did have an excuse as I lost the back pattern piece so had to trace out another one and I hate tracing.

I wore something that I made today though. This is the pencil skirt from "Gertie Sews Vintage Casual". I finished that and my Mabel but haven't worn the Mabel yet to get any pics. This is my least favourite fit-wise out of the two. 

I cut out the biggest size which was to fit a 50" hip but I had to take it in my an additional 4 inches, plus I pegged the bottom by a few cm on each side as it was a bit straight for my liking. I still feel like it is too big, even in the waist. The only thing keeping it up is my "mum-tum". 

Hope this doesn't break the internet.

I do like the fact that this is a 1-(yes really) piece pattern but to be honest it would probably be a bit frumpy as it is drafted. This is loose enough for me to wear to work though if I can find a long enough black top.

Apologies for the shaky camera phone pics but Sprogzilla's friends invaded the studio today and were highjacked into kindly acted as photographer, bless them. 

So anyway, now for the thing that you are all waiting for, who has won the mag. So without further ado the winner is..........

...............................Nicole. Congratulations, Nicole! Please send me your snail mail address to ligeia2001 at hotmail dot com by Thursday 25th Feb and I'll get your magazine sent out to you this week. Huge thanks to everyone for taking part and leaving comments. They are always really appreciated. Please keep checking back as I will be having another giveaway soon in honour of the Vintage Pattern Pledge.

For all you rock chicks out there I will leave you with a slice of my mis-spent youth.
As always have a great week!

K xx

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Psychohail, Whippocino, Shimmerglisten........Plus My First Giveaway!

Beware picture-heavy posting ahead.

Bah, snow and not even the good stuff. That stuff that just comes down in a stinging, soggy shower of misery. Yep, today I am having a good rant about the weather even though the sun is streaming in the window in a very winsome and deceptively golden fashion. You could almost mistake it for Spring.

The first snowdrops in my garden. Still got roses and geraniums flowering. Weird.

I have been away out of the office and had the good fortune to go to Florence for a couple of days.  It snowed. Everyone was quite surprised there as this is not apparently a common occurrence. The snow must have heard this as it sort of gave up and turned to sleet in a hissy fit.

Arriving into Pisa the day before, the weather there was beautiful and balmy. I had put my thermals on under my suit, plus a raincoat over the top. Cue one big sweaty mess, so the next day I dressed for warmer weather. Bad move, it was freezing but I was in Florence and determined to make the most of the tiny amount of time I had.

So time for a big wander round the city, looking for fabric shops and generally having a good nosey. I didn't find any fabric shops. It was quite late and dark. A lot of stuff was shut. I did go for a stroll round the Duomo and the indoor/outdoor markets near San Lorenzo Church. The leather stall holders there really give you the hard sell. It was still sleeting and I got soaked literally through to the skin so squelched back to the hotel in search of a hot shower and a glass of wine.

The Duomo is a bit mental and not in the best possible taste. You can't deny that it is some achievement though and was lovingly crafted. I love ecclesiastical art, the sheer scale and literal awesomeness, but some of it really has me thinking about the purpose behind its creation. In a lot of Italian churches the art there really makes me feel like it is there to remind people to toe the party line and know their place. Look at the expressions on this pair. Not a lot of benevolence in there.

However, these little chaps are charming and make me wonder who the sculptors used for models. They are crafted with such life and quiet love about them.

A final one for the Doctor Who fans out there. Don't blink!

For all you proper fashoionistas, I found a couple of streets full of the big designer shops: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Tiffany. They all had very impressive window displays. I loved these flowery trousers.

Next day was time for home and I checked out extra early so I could have a couple of hours in Pisa. I really like this town and have been there quite a few times now. There are some good shops and I noticed some market stalls dotted around the side streets selling local food and handmade goods.

My favourite photo is out of focus but I think that it looks quite Impressionistic that way.

Anyway, now to the exciting finale. One of my primary (non work-related) objectives was to pick up a copy of La Mia Boutique magazine. This is like the Italian Burda, with sewing patterns inside that you have to trace off. La Mia is a bit legendary as it is hard to get outside Italy and is supposed to have very swish patterns inside. I am going to reserve judgement on that but someone can make their own mind up as I bought an extra copy to giveaway.

This giveaway is open world-wide. Just leave a comment below this post before Midnight Friday 13th February! Spooky Possums!

So to round up, apologies for the bad camera photos and for the fact that this blog is slowly becoming more of a travelogue. I have been doing some sewing, all day yesterday in fact, and have finished two skirts so it will be back to the sewing ASAP.

Best of luck and have a great week!


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Just Checking In

Sorry for not posting for a bit. I have the most ridiculous amount of work on and have a deadline for tomorrow which I will be lucky to meet. To top it off I have been out of the office for a few days to a meeting in foreign parts so will be hosting my very first giveaway this week for a sewing-related item. International woman of mystery me like!

Hate not having time to blog/sew and am now behind on my Wardrobe Architect. Never mind get my life back this week. Oh, and I broke my RTW fast as I need to look less scruffy posh and have had no time to sew anything. All I can say is M&S to the rescue. And shoes! Definitely sorry not sorry from me.

Hope you are having a nice stress-free week!