Sunday, 22 August 2010

Quick studded hairband

I was out the other night, having a few drinks, watching some bands, and noticed a great studded hairband on a girl with green crimped hair. I couldn't stop thinking about it! So the next time I had a day off, I set about making one.

First, I went to my local branch of Peacocks to buy a cheapo plain black head band for £3. It had a flower and some diamante attached, which I cut off. The diamante weren't too bad, so I decided to save them and incorporate them into the design.

Next, I dug out an old studded belt that was too big for me. Cost - £0, as my husband found it in the street! Started attacking it with pliers, and got loads of studs off, as well as ruining my nails!
Old studded belt with studs removed
Then I got some scraps of black fabric, and started arranging the studs and diamantes in a strip, matching it to the headband as I went along. The design seemed a bit sparse - I wanted it full! - so I pulled some studs off of an old worn out t-shirt I was hanging on to. Added these to the design, and started turning the prongs under and sewing the diamntes in place.

The whole design needed something to give it some body/support, so I went on the hunt for some cardboard to glue to the back; I think I finally used a takeaway menu from the recycling! This was glued to the underside of the headband, then the studded strip was placed on top, and the fabric folded around and under and hand stitched in place.

Finally, the underside was tidied up with a black ribbon stitched along the centre. And here it is:

Headband close up

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Dress for a country wedding

30th June -

I've been invited to an in-law's wedding at a country house in Yeovil. Though I certainly don't need a new dress, I've decided to make one anyway, even though the wedding is on the 10th, and I'll only have the evenings to work on it! So here goes -

I want something a bit 40's, a bit showgirl on her day off. Look through a load of books and patterns until I'm very confused......

I'm very taken with the idea of a peplum - sure to enhance my curves! Plough through all of my patterns, and finally settle on a mixture of 2 - a 1970's Le Roy pattern for the bodice and sleeves, and a 1950's Simplicity pattern for the skirt. I'll somehow work out the peplum myself.

Left - 1950's Simplicity Pattern; right - 1970's Le Roy pattern

3rd July -
Another trip to my favourite local fabric store, Dalston Mill Fabrics I went in with one idea - emerald green crepe - and came out with sometyhing completely different - a light weight silk with pink flowers on a brown background, pink lining, and a brown zip.
Detail of fabric
 4th July -
After messing around with the pattern a bit, I cut everything out

5th July -
I start sewing like a crazy person. I do the back skirt, back darts, front side bodice, and the front yoke. Where possible, I use French seams (see previous 'If She Sews She Knows' skirt diary), because the fabric frays a graet deal and I want the inside to be as neat as the outside.
I also make a pattern for the peplum out of newspaper, using the Le Roy skirt as a guide. Hope it works!

6th July -
More frantic sewing. I cut out peplum and lining, and sew the 2 layers together. The skirt and bodice front and back gets sewn at side seams, leaving a gap on one side for the zip. Next, the peplum is tacked to the skirt, then the skirt is attached to the bodice. Try it on - looks good so far, but there's still loads to do.

8th July -
I work until 5 in the morning, but it's worth it. The sleeves, collar, zip, and some of the insides get finished. But I'll have to do the rest on the train to Yeovil and in the hotel tomorrow!

9th July -
As predicted, I finish all of the hems in the hotel room.

10th July - The finished dress!
Wearing the finished dress in the chapel

I'm really pleased with the result. I teamed the dreass with some Marc Jacobs slingbacks that had a vintage look, as well as my favourite seamed hold ups and a great feathered head piece that I found in a vintage shop in Miami. It saw me through the whole day, hardly creasing at all.

The picture above isn't great, so here are some more, so you can see the whloe dress:

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

'If She Sews She Knows' skirt diary

Early February -
I found this amazing fabric at a great little store on Columbia Rd, in East London - Beyond Fabrics . I hadn't planned to buy any fabric, but I had to have it, so bought 1.5m, maybe enough for a little 60's gathered skirt.

'If she sews she knows' detail

The fabric is by Michael Miller fabrics , who I was unaware of, but have since found out is an American firm who make loads of cute, retro prints. 

Sometime in April...
As is usual, I let life take over, and didn't find time to plan what to make until April. I had a look through all of my patterns for something a bit early 60's, a bit Mad Men, and settled on these:

The skirt circled on the right is exactly what I wanted, and I might add some pockets, like the ones in the pattern on the left.

4th May -
Next, because the fabric is 100% cotton, I washed it on 30 degrees, to eliminate any shrinkage. No point doing all that work getting it to look just right, just to find its too small after the first wash!

The fabric's too see through to use on its own, so I'll have to line it. I always like to put colourful, contrast linings in, so I think I'll go for pink. So, off to my favourite fabric shop in the whole world -

Dalston Mill Fabrics, Ridley Rd Market, Dalston, London, E8
Right around the corner from my house, Dalston Mill Fabrics, a Tardis of fabric. Venture in, and you'll find 2 floors of every fabric you'll ever want, as well as haberdashery. And it's pretty cheap! I get 1.5m of hot pink polyester lining.

11th May -
Cut out the fabric
Cut out skirt front

22nd to 31st May -
I start pinning together and sewing all of the pieces. To make the inside as neat as possible, I decide to use French seams throughout. Each seam gets sewn twice, once with wrong sides together at 1 cm, then trimmed down to 0.3 cm -

First stage of French seam

Then, turn the fabric so the right sides are facing, and sew the seam again at 0.5 cm  -

Early June -
I always like to sew my zips in by hand, mostly because I can never get them to look right when I sew them in with a machine

Pinning zip in place

Then, I finish the zip off by sewing the lining over it -

Lining being sewn over zip

20th June -
Following the instructions with the pattern, I gathered the waist up, and pinned it to the waistband. I manage to try it on  (without scratching myself up too much). Looks good so far!

Late June -
I have to leave the skirt for a while, because I realise I've got to make a dress (see 'Dress for wedding), so after a short break, service will resume soon!

13th August-
I'm back in the mood for sewing! I finally sew the skirt on to the waistband, thgen stitch the waistband down on the inside. I try the skirt on again and pin the length in place - decide to go for just below the knee. I often like to sew hems by hand, but as this is a tightly woven cotton, I think it will be quite difficult, so I sew it in place by machine.

14th August -
I've got jars of old buttons, and find a cute little pink heart, which will be ideal for closing the waistband. After working out the placement of the buttonhole, I sew the button on:
Close up of button

18th August - The final step!
Pin the lining in place, 2.5 cm shorter than the skirt, and sew in place by machine. Give the skirt a quick iron and its all done!

The finished skirt!

Tell me what you think!