A new silhouette (aka does my bum look big in this?)

It seems like an age since my last blog post, how did that happen?

I haven’t sewn much lately, work is crazy busy and fun sewing projects seem to get put on the back burner. ¬†So I decided to take a stand. ¬†I put the hoovering, cooking and taxi driving to one side and thought about myself for once.

I have been wanting to make a skirt for ages but could never find the right pattern. We are also hitting autumn here and even though the humidity is unbelievable, I can feel a change a coming.  I need a transeasonal skirt and I found one in the form of a free sewing pattern from a Peppermint Magazine and In the Folds collaboration.

 

How cute is this? ¬†It’s a pleated skirt with lovely big pockets. ¬†I love it, but does it love me?

I am often unsure about this shape on me. ¬†I am a pear with a tum, was this going to just exaggerate the bits I’m not keen on? ¬†I took a gamble and gave it a go.

I usually make a toile but in this instance I didn’t. ¬†It’s a forgiving pattern so I followed the pattern sizing and opted for a C, which is a size 10. ¬†Normally I would grade out one size for my hips but with the pleating and volume in the skirt I just went for it and cut the straight C. ¬†I am thrilled to say, it’s a really great fit. ¬†I can’t remember the last time I made something without some serious alterations. ¬†The only tweek I made was, unsurprisingly, to the length. ¬†I reduced the length by¬†6cm¬†and it sits perfectly on the knee.

I didn’t buy new fabric for this pattern, I raided my stash. ¬†I love the patterned fabric in the magazine but I wanted something plain. ¬†I KNOW… plain! ¬†Sometimes you just have to put the patterned fabric aside.

This stash fabric was found at my local charity shop. I think it cost me the princely sum of $3. ¬†Always hard to know exactly what it is, but I would say it’s some kind of brushed cotton mix with a very subtle herringbone texture running through it. ¬†And it’s purple. Yes, that surprised me too. I am generally not a lover of purple.

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The fabric was a bugger to work with.  It was quite drapey and moved around a lot.  It also kept collecting ironing marks, so pressing was an issue throughout the whole process. I think the pleats could do with sharpening up with the iron but I was too eager to wear it to be bothered with that!

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The pattern itself was pretty awesome. ¬†I haven’t done much pleating before, I have never really fancied them. ¬†The pleating was a¬†bit fiddly but with some proper chalking¬†up it was easy to follow. ¬†The top stitching down was a great idea as it flattens the pleats and takes out the volume round your tum. Top marks for instructions and design as always!

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But the big question is, does my bum look big in this?

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note: crazy kids making me laugh here!

Answer: Yes, probably, maybe, not sure… but really who cares?

I like it. I like the colour and I like the fact that I swish around in it. I love the fact that it has giant pockets. Time to embrace a new silhouette I think!

 

 

Books, bobbins and a blue dress.

“What was your favourite childhood book?”

This was the question posed to me by Rebecca¬†of Dobbin’s Bobbins when she asked me to join her World Book Day blog tour.¬†Choosing my favourite book was easy! She then asked me to make something inspired by my book, eek!

The book I have chosen is a little known story called “Lost at the Fair.” It’s a ladybird book by AJ Macgregor and W Perring. ¬†The story is told in verse,¬†written in 1948 and so it’s a little twee, but really rather lovely.

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My original book is long gone but Mum bought me this replacement when I had my kids!

The story is about Danny and Daisy Dormouse and their friend, Little Fieldie Mouse and a little adventure they have when they visit the fair. When taking a ride on a (miniature) elephant Danny makes a grab for some acorns and gets stuck in a tree, only to be returned back to the fairground by a (giant) blackbird.

There were a few elements that appealed to me as a child, the first was the ‘Woodland Fairy Rock’, what was this magical treat?

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Also, why had Little Fieldie Mouse been left behind and why was he weeping on a gravestone?  Who had abandoned him?

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Why was the policeman less than helpful? ¬†Where was Mr Dormouse? Why was the elephant so small compared to the mice? ¬†Why was the blackbird the same size as the elephant? So many questions… some of¬†which have since been cleared up (it was a milestone not a gravestone). Some questions, however, will go¬†forever unanswered.

MY MAKE

I wanted to incorporate a number of elements into my piece, I wanted a mouse reference, a touch of ‘Woodland Fairy Rock’ and a sprinkling¬†of the 1970’s (the era in which I was endless read this book). ¬†I decided to make a children’s dress, a little blue number just like the one Daisy Dormouse is wearing.

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The dress has a square neckline, so I turned to the¬†old faithful Henry Dress by Brooklyn Pattern Co. and I wanted the fullness of a gathered or pleated skirt with some in-seam pockets, so I looked at the Geranium dress by Made by Rae for the skirt component. ¬†A pattern mash-up¬†in all it’s glory.

As I am a big fan of pre-loved fabrics, I really wanted to use something vintage and preferably something that I already owned. ¬†It was then I remembered this cute homemade 1970’s apron, a present from my sister. ¬†She sent it to me because of the lovely fabric. ¬†It was in a sorry state, very faded and quite a few stains, but definitely workable. If you look very closely you can see little mice running through the pattern.

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The apron looks quite large here, but it’s tiny and so I decided to use the bottom portion of the apron for the bodice and use some contrasting plain fabric for the skirt. ¬†I had to remove the pocket on the apron and hope that the fading wouldn’t be too obvious. I also found a gorgeous teal coloured duck cloth at Spotlight and that worked really well with the colours in the apron.

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Thank you Eva, for being an awesome¬†model, there was some channelling of 1940’s starlet throughout this shoot. ¬†She is an amazing and quirky kid hence the fun photos!
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The hint of Woodland Fairy Rock came in the form of the bias binding on the hem, you can catch the odd glimpse of it now and then.  I used a cot sheet to line the bodice and a navy pillowcase to line the skirt.  I finished the armholes with bias binding, which is the teal duck cloth fabric.

A LITTLE EXTRA

I love a bit of collage, lets just say it’s not my forte (they are a little basic as any proper collage artist will tell you!) but I enjoy the process enormously. I decided to make a set of 3 canvas’s using some imagery from the book and some hand stitching.

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‘Rise and Shine’

I love this image of Danny waking up in his yellow onesie.  I found the crochet blanket image in an old craft book, I do think though, it looks like the sun is radiating from his bum.

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‘Get me off these bobbins’

Poor Little Fieldie Mouse, this image of him crying really had an impact on me as a child.  I wanted some giant teardrops and to get him off that milestone and onto something far more appealing!

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‘I want it all and I want it now’

I have played with scale quite a lot in these collages, mainly because the scale is so absurd in the book.  If ever I wanted some Woodland Fairy Rock I would have to say that this is the size I would want it, GIANT!  (Please tell me you noticed Daisy is wearing my dress!)

I loved every moment of this project. ¬†I really enjoyed delving back into my favourite book and getting to grips with the story and illustrations. I am really pleased with the dress, I like the 70’s feel of it. ¬†It is definitely the kind of frock I would have loved as a child. I only wish it fitted me now.¬†I am also pleased with the collages, it’s a relatively new medium for me and I loved putting those pieces together. ¬†If only I could find a recipe for Woodland Fairy Rock I think this project would be perfect!

Check out all the other amazing makes on this blog tour, you are in for a real treat. There is also a MASSIVE four¬†prize giveaway, some brilliant patterns, children’s craft books and sewing books to be had (there is also a Henry Dress pattern in the mix!) Check out the link for all the information about the tour and giveaway.

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