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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