Paper Trophy

Over the summer, I have been gradually adding art to my flat. We’ve lived here for 5 years and it’s taken me a while to work out what I wanted to do. 

I decorated the corridor with 7 framed Harry Potter graphic art prints. I had to recut the mountboard, because the posters were a little too small for the default mountboard. 

I also wanted to put something in my living room, which has a large expanse of white wall. I saw some Paper Trophies online and thought this would be perfect. 

Paper Trophy is 3D art that arrives in pieces. You need to glue it together, but it is really easy as all the pieces are numbered. The order came with a practice piggy bank, which took me about an hour to glue together. 


 I ordered the Unicorn head to ‘mount’ on my wall. 

You have the pre fold the pieces and then find the edges that match. This was more complicated that the piggy bank (unsurpisingly) and took me about 3 hours to build. 

I tried to attach it to my wall, but it wasn’t sturdy enough to push on. So I decided to stick it on mount board and then frame it. I could then attach the frame to the wall. 

I tried out gold and black mountboard, but as you can see the black worked a lot better. 

Finally I attached the frame to the wall using Command Strips (which are fantastic by the way!). 

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Eve Dress (Toile)

I had been hoping to sew the Eve Dress from SewOverIt for a while. But the pattern was only available through one of their classes. I was stalking the website, waiting for a class to be scheduled at the Clapham branch, when they released the Eve dress as a paper pattern.

I purchased the pattern from the Clapham branch, with this beautiful navy fabric. But as the fabric was quite expensive, I knew I needed to make a toile first. Especially as I usually need to adjust patterns to fit me. I also wanted to work out how I was going to finish the inside, as I don’t (yet!) have an overlocker. 

I really liked version 1 of the dress, with its floaty sleeves and dipped hem. So i found some cheap fabric, which was unfortunately bright purple – a colour I can’t really wear, and made up version 1. 

As you can probably see, my cheap fabric was a little too stiff (hence the sleeves sticking out, instead of draping). But it did show me some important things. My hand shows where my natural waist is, so the dress waist is too high. 

This is more obvious here, so I’m going to lengthen the bodice by 1″. I also didn’t really like the cap/floaty sleeves. 

They felt impractical for a work dress, so I decided to unpick them and make the longer sleeves to see if I preferred them. 

I much preferred the longer sleeves, but they were a little too tight around my upper arm, so I am going to make the sleeve a bit wider. I also decided to change the skirt to version 2 as I don’t think the dipped hem suits me (so in summary, I should have just made version 2 to start with!). 

One thing that worked perfectly was the finishing of the raw edges. I decided to go with Hong Kong finished seams, using bias binding. 

So I’ve got some coral bias binding that will go really nicely with the pattern on the navy fabric. 

So to summarise the changes needed:

  • Change to version 2. 
  • Lengthen the bodice by 1″. 
  • Widen the sleeves. 
Thats not bad, compared to how many changes I normally have to make (the joys of being tall). Now I need to find someone my size, who suits wearing bright purple! Any ideas?

A New Workshop Apron (Finally)

I’m a teacher (something you may have picked up on this blog). I teach mainly woodwork, in a dusty messy workshop, while wearing a ‘suit’ and fancy shoes (I’ll put a picture of my shoes at the end of this post, so you can see what I’m talking about). I hate wearing lab coats, they get too hot and look really frumpy, so I’ve always made my own apron.

As my current apron is approaching its 6th birthday, and is looking very tired, ripped and covered in glue, I thought it was time to make a new one. I hunted through Etsy looking for a reasonably flattering apron pattern. I could have drafted my own, but I really couldn’t be bothered! I came across this Sweetheart apron from The Seasoned Homemaker and thought it could be what I was looking for.

 

I made it up in a basic polycotton to check the fit and unsurprisingly needed to make some minor adjustments. I had to extended the bodice by about 2″ to bring the waist to where my natural waist line is. I also extended the top edge of the neckline, because I wanted a bit more coverage to protect my clothes from dust and dirt. Finally I made the skirt slightly more rectangular and added 4″ to the length as I felt the flared skirt could be a little dangerous and my legs needed more coverage.

A friend at school had designed me my own logo, so I used PrinFab to get some custom printed fabric. They were incredibly fast, and my new fabric looked lovely. I got it in a classic plain cotton, which feels quite sturdy.

I bought some Navy Cotton Drill for the main apron, and found some coral coloured bias binding that matched the flamingos. The finished apron is perfect. I added in an extra pocket, as you can never have enough storage as a teacher!

As you see, I used the bias binding to edge the whole apron, but I am particularly proud of my Hong Kong finished princess seams on the inside.

The pattern was easy to follow, very clear instructions. Hopefully this apron lasts another 6 years…..

Finally, as promised, a picture of my new school shoes (and yes, they are as sparkly as the picture suggests).

 

 

 

 

Screen Printing with the WI

In January I joined the newly formed Tooting Women’s Institute (WI). Annoyingly I have been so busy with school that I haven’t been able to go to the meetings, until yesterday. 

This week we were learning how to screen print, with our fabulous new logo. I had screen printed before, but it was during my GCSEs (way back in 1996). 

We had two different screens ready, one for a tea towel and one for a tote bag. The new logo looks like a local street sign and was designed to be printed in more than one colour, so part of it was taped over to prevent the dye from going through. 

After the first print we had the black part of the logo, then we had to use hair dryers to get it to dry quickly. 

Then (after a bit of a queue) we got to print on the next part in green.

It was a really fun evening, and it would be possible to screen print at home (although it would have to be a simpler design). 

You can see that my tote bag got a little messed up, the newspaper I had inside the bag was in the wrong place and got in the way of the squeegee. But I think it gives it character! So next month we are wine tasting, and I’m going to make sure I make it to that one!

Ultimate Wrap Dress Attempt 2

After making my first Ultimate Wrap Dress, I knew I had to tweak the pattern quite a bit to make it fit me properly. 

I needed to drop the waist down by 1 1/2 inches and lengthen the dress by at least 4 inches. I also wanted to add darts in the back neckline to bring the shoulders in, as this would in turn bring up the front of the dress. 

I picked up some lovely navy scuba (at only £6 a metre) from my local haberdashery and set to work. After I had finished the dress, I realized that I also needed to add darts to the front slope. Unfortunately I had already finished adding the facing down the front using a very close zigzag stitch (which is a nightmare to unpick). So after some creative bodging, I added darts to the front and managed to get them to lie reasonably flat (and added them to my paper pattern, so they are ready for next time). 

I asked my teenager to take some pictures of me wearing the finished dress, it was raining outside, so we had to use our not very exciting hallway as a back drop!

I’m really pleased with the finished length, and the waist seems to be perfectly placed  

The front isn’t too deep, so I can wear it to work and most importantly it doesn’t gap open from the side!

I’m so impressed with this wrap dress, now that I have finished tweaking the pattern, that I went out to Sew Over It in Clapham to pick up some fancier jersey (my local haberdashery doesn’t tend to have much in stock). 

So here is the fabric to make my next version, up close it has a really nice texture and it drapes really well. 

Ultimate Wrap Dress

After setting up my new machine, I finally got to sew together the pieces for my Ultimate Wrap Dress from Sew Over It

It was very easy to put together, and being able to just press ‘start’ on a sewing machine and let it sew with a little steering from me was a pleasant surprise. 

The finished dress was much shorter than I anticipated, so it’s ended up being a tunic dress (to be worn with leggings). I was quite surprised by this, as I’m only 5’10”.

Plus the tie strap hole is a little to high and doesn’t sit on my waist. But I absolutely love how this fabric looks. I may have to buy some more, especially as it comes in different colours!

So I am going to buy some more jersey and try again. Next time I will:

  1. Adjust the front slope so it ends on my waist, then the straps will be at the right point.  
  2. Add a couple of darts in the back, so the front comes up a bit higher. This will also pull the shoulders seams up slightly, so it will sit better. 
  3. Add about 4″ to the bottom, so it hopefully hits my knee. 

New Sewing Machine

Last weekend I intended to make my Ultimate Wrap Dress from Sew Over It, using the fabric I bought from Girl Charlee at the Knitting & Stitching show. But my beloved 1940s zigzag machine stopped working. 

The needle wouldn’t move when the foot pedal was pressed. I tried everything, checking the wheel at the end was tight, looking inside at all the parts. But I couldn’t get it to work. I had been contemplating buying a more modern machine for a while, and this seemed like a sign that now was the time. 

I happened to be going to Oxford Street on the Sunday, so I popped into John Lewis to see what sewing machines they had. 

I quite liked the Brother JK4000, but I wasn’t sure how heavy it was going to be (ironic when you consider I’ve been using vintage cast iron machines for the last few years). 

There was also the Janome 5030, but as there wasn’t anyone around who could demo the machines to me I didn’t feel that I could make a objective decision. 

Then I remembered the machines I had used in the Sew Over It course I went on last year. After checking which ones they were, I did a bit of online price comparison and purchased one. 

So here is my lovely new Janome CXL301. I’m still setting it up, but I’m hoping to sew together the dress pieces have had ready for a machine that actually works.