Sunday, 10 February 2019

Eva Sweatshirt & LCC Craft Swish 2019

After making the Nina Lee Richmond Blazer I wanted a quick and fun make that wasn't too taxing on the brain. I came across a free pattern whilst sorting through my stash for the London Craft Club Big Craft Swish last Sunday at Cecil Sharp House in Camden.

I'll tell you about the Big Craft Swish first and give details about the sweatshirt later!

In preparation for the Swish, I reduced my stash by two bags of fabric and returned from the swish with a 2-metre piece of heart printed polyester and a half metre of lovely soft green stripe knit cotton.

There was a lovely bunch of people at the Swish. I bumped into my good friend Alex who had recently had a massive de-stash herself. She rather admirably left with NO swish items which was very impressive!

The walk through the park to get to Cecil Sharp house was beautiful. The calm before the thrill of the swish storm!

All the volunteers worked really hard and I had the good fortune of catching up with Geraldine who attends lots of London Craft Club events which was fab. A big thank you goes out to Sonia and Zoe from LCC for organising such a great event!

Onto my new sweatshirt. The free Eva Collection Sweatshirt pattern involved just a few pieces and I was drawn to the interesting chevron sleeve details. It is a great pattern for using up small sections of fabric. I had a few scraps of leftover black jersey from the Monroe Turtleneck and I bought a 0.8-metre piece of this cool 'junk-food' sweat-shirting in the Tilly and the Buttons flash sale last week.

I cut it out last Sunday afternoon and sewed it together at the Sewing Social at the Village Haberdashery on Thursday evening. In my head, this top was going to be the cutest but with an 'edge' style sweatshirt. In reality, it hasn't quite worked out that well.

The back neckline gapes terribly (and I used a walking foot too), the sleeves are too long after I added some impromptu cuffs (easy to rectify, I know!) and the overall fit is not what I imagined. It is also partly due to the lack of grey fabric that meant I had to add the extra black section on the lower sleeve which in hindsight breaks up the style lines too much!

On the plus side, it is very cosy, so maybe it will be relegated to an 'inside-only' garment.
Maybe I should chop off the sleeves at the 3/4 point, as I think the two different weights of fabric do not sit very well together?
What do you think?

Have you had any sewing disappointments lately?

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Nina Lee Richmond Blazer

Hey, I have been busy in the first month of 2019 pattern testing Nina Lee's new Richmond Blazer. She requested pattern testers in late December and I was lucky enough to be chosen to pattern test before the launch on Friday 25th January.
If you are a fan of clean lines and classic styling then you will love the Richmond Blazer. It has a notched collar, welt pockets with flaps and is fully lined.

I made mine up in a bottle green linen that I got free at a 'Swish' almost a year ago. Some long-time readers may recognise the lining as another bargain fabric in the form of a tablecloth I bought in the H&M home sale section in 2017 (I made my New Look 6446 jumpsuit with it last year).

It is an involved and enjoyable make. The written instructions and illustrations are excellent and beautifully presented in a handy guide. I made my very first welt pockets following Nina's instructions and didn't feel the need to google a youtube video or search for more advice online because her advice is so clear every step of the way!

I am really proud of this make and it came together in very intense after-work sessions starting on the 10th January and finishing on the 16th January. I can definitely see another Richmond Blazer in my wardrobe in a different fabric.

Here are some construction shots and the finished blazer.

I understitched the collar by hand
The lining worked out really well. I bought some olive green/grey bamboo from Ray Stitch for the sleeve lining
Marking out my first ever the welt pocket with hand-basting

Thank you to Alex (Selkie Patterns) at The Village Haberdashery for taking these photos!

I really enjoyed making this blazer and if you have never made a jacket before the Richmond Blazer would be an excellent pattern to start with. Nina Lee's really created a fantastic pattern here folks, a perfect wardrobe staple!

Monday, 24 December 2018

Christmas Crafting

Over the past month, I have been busy making lots of different crafty Christmas things for friends, family and my home.

Pottery tree decorations

Using basic buff clay, I rolled it out to 1cm thick and used heart and star biscuit cutters to create the shapes. To add the textural decorations I used the end of a pencil, a fork, a plastic knife and a screw head. I created a hole so they could be hung on the tree. I used regular clay but if you were making these at home air-dry clay or salt-dough would work just as well.

I'm an art and technology teacher and luckily have access to a kiln so I added the decorations to a bisque firing I was doing (for students work) and when they were cooled I glazed them. The effect of the glaze you can see I achieved by painting the glaze on the clay and then wiping the surface glaze off, leaving the glaze only in the textures and in-prints of the clay.

The majority of these have been gifted to friends and family but I kept a few for myself!

Christmas crackers

I went to a fantastic workshop with the London Craft Club at their HQ in Bloomsbury Square. It was such a fun evening of crafty craziness. They provided the cracker template, amazing wrapping papers, ribbons, cracker snaps, hats and chocolates to customise your crackers. At home, I added some cheesy jokes and extra little gifts inside.

Pom pom wreath

Last Sunday I spent the morning at Drink, Shop, Do at Kings Cross with knit designer and crochet-extraordinaire, Katie Jones, who was a vision of fun and festivities! I bought the workshop tickets for a friends birthday present so we spent the morning drinking tea, eating cake and learning how to make pom poms using a pom-pom-maker (rather than two rings of cardboard).

Once we had made a decent collection of pom poms we attached them to a tinsel wrapped wreath frame. Katie also showed us how to make simple tassels to decorate the wreath with too!

A truly fab time was had and my wreath was featured on Katie's Instagram account the following day!

Christmas shortbread

On the last day of term on Friday, I made some shortbread biscuits with one of my technology classes at school. We decorated them with some icing sugar and sprinkles which made them look very kitsch and festive. I took the batch I made into the staff room at break time and they disappeared in minutes!

Festive foliage

I never get a full-size Christmas tree or want to store an artificial tree, so I add a few extra additions to my bamboo plants every year. This year, I selected branches of spruce and eucalyptus, berried ivy, red roses and cotton plants to add some gorgeous scents and festive greenery to the room. I then decorated them with fairy lights and a selection of gifted and hand-made Christmas decorations.

Whatever you are doing over the festive break I hope you have some fun spending time with the people you love and get a chance to relax and maybe sneak in some craft!

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Marbled Sketchbooks

In July I attended an amazing 6-hour workshop to learn how to marble paper. I ended up with over twenty beautiful marbled papers which have been patiently waiting for me to do something with them. I decided to make some easy machine-sewn notebooks (my first set are here) and set to work to produce a bunch that I can include in my Christmas stockings in a few weeks time!

I bundled them into pairs and taped strips of tracing paper around them printed with 'CJ Made hand-marbled notebook'. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Up-cycled fabric gift bags

What do you do when a pair of your favourite PJ's get a huge rip in them? I could have patched them up, but instead, I decided to up-cycle them into six fabric gift bags to put Christmas presents in!

I simply cut the legs into four sections and then sewed along the bottom to create a fabric bag. The hem along the bottom of the legs created a casing that I threaded ribbon through to make drawstring bags. The remaining bags are simply tied with ribbons on the outside. I managed to use ribbons that I've had in my stash for a long time which makes this little project totally free!

A great stash buster and helps you use those worn out clothing items in your wardrobe into something useful that your family and friends will appreciate and hopefully use again!