Monday, 26 August 2013

What more fair-isle!

You know how I said I was finished with fair-isle .... not for long.  I just couldn't keep away but not so intense this time, far less ends to weave in.

In keeping with my recent retro obsession the pattern was from
Debbie Bliss Land-Girl booklet and actually the cover pattern.  This took about 2 weeks to knit (though I was on holiday) and used 4 ply rialto, which is a wool I really enjoy using.  I did try to be a "good girl" and get my tension right, but despite trying two sizes of needles I still didn't quite get it right, so I just knitted the smallest size (32") whereas I measure 37" and guess what .... it's a perfect fit.  I really love it, soft and comfy to wear and the best fitting jumper I have ever knitted.  This is strange as this jumper is actually the same pattern in the body as the striped jumper I knitted earlier and look how huge that came out.  One of the changes I made was to reduce the length of the body by at least an inch and that made a huge difference to the amount of bagging.  I now have a basic T pattern which I think I could use for any number of short-sleeved sweaters, maybe I'll have a go at designing my own.



The yoke is knitted in one piece at the end, so there wasn't a lot of having to pick up stitches, which I hate .You can see this best during the blocking .....

And here it is on ..... the turban was a bit of an homage to the landgirls ..... not to be worn outside the house!

So all in all this is probably the sweater I most like from those I have knitted .and I'm so pleased to have finally made something with a good fit ... so flushed with success I am straight on to a cardigan from the same book.

I had a particularly lovely walk today, a sunny day at last!

.... and even enjoyed a few sweet juicy blackberries.  This one s on the way to my mouth!

I didn't do much else for the bankholiday weekend.  A bit of sewing ....  I've started a New Look suit from Gertie's book of better sewing, so more of that soon.  And of course the Great British Bake Off is back ... interesting selection and some truly awful baking as well as some great ideas!   Did you do anything exciting?

Monday, 19 August 2013

Something old, something blue .....

Well the dress for the wedding is finally finished and I am delighted!  The idea of wearing vintage for Dan's wedding came from this dress in a Miss Marple episode with the idea I would have the dress made by someone else.  Despite lots of looking I couldn't find a similar pattern, but I finally settled on Vogue 4260  which I bought from America (getting stung for an extra £18 of taxes which I didn't expect). 

1950s Evening Dress Vintage Sewing Pattern Vogue S 4260 Full Skirt Cocktail Dress Shaped Neckline Bust 34 Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern

The fabric is satin backed crepe which was  £5.99 per metre, so even with the 5 metres needed it was very reasonable.  It was easier to sew with than just satin but still pretty slippy.  

The pattern was unused which made me very nervous about using it.  Look at the condition for a sixty year old pattern!  I traced the bodice pieces but cut directly from the skirt pieces.

I made a muslin of just the top.  I have learnt that muslins aren't accurate unless they are out of the same fabric!  The muslin fabric was obviously much looser but at least it helped me to decide that I just needed to add an extra allowance to the 34" size bodice.  I only made a muslin of the bodice as I think you can usually make the skirt fit!  As you can also see I only really make a quick muslin (I've seen some fabulous blogs where the muslin is beautifully made .... I'm just impatient).

The pattern proved to be a real challenge for me on lots of levels (and I certainly wouldn't have been able to manage without the help of Jo at Unique Fabric in Ulvertson where I have been attending workshops for the last month).  The placket was especially challenging, you might well ask what is a placket, I did.  Its the bit behind the pleats on the skirt.

The bodice and skirt have gathered darts (challenging at the narrow parts) and this is a lovely effect. 

The sleeve had an unusual dart.

There isn't a lining and I used an interlocker for the first time to neaten all the seams. 

The interlocker turned out to be my best friend and worse enemy!  When it's going well you whizz along getting rid of all the fraying fabric ... great! .... and then you loose concentration and make a 2 1/2" cut in your skirt which means you have to take that much fabric out of each side of your skirt (Good job it was a very full skirt).  Other distasters were having just been told by Jo to be very careful of ripping the edge on your buttonhole ... guess what I did immediately... yes ripped past the end and that had to be repaired.  It hardly shows though.

I bought a full petticoat so that the skirt works properly.  It's a bit full at the moment so I will be taking it into the bathroom when its steamy.  So here  is the final dress on my dummy .....

Thought I would wait to show you it on at Dan's wedding .... Can't believe it's only 2 weeks away.  (Update in case you are visiting from we sew retro .... here is a photo of the dress at the wedding, visit the post on 2.9.13 for more photos and a celebratory give-away


I visited an Art Deco Fair at Morecambe yesterday.  It was held in the most suitable place, the fabulous Midland Hotel (you may recognise it from Poirot)

It was rather a small fair and expensive, with the most coverted item being this complete 30s picnic basket (only £160)

... I didn't buy much but a rather strange collection of .... a 30s buckle, a 40s "Beauty on holiday" and late 50s midwinter domino plates ...

Morecambe is a strange place to visit.  Its rather run down now, but as a child a visit to Morecambe was often what we did for our holidays (holidays were often "days out" rather than staying away) and Morecambe was a favourite.  Visiting the fair (now closed), the puppet shop in the arcade (both now closed), Happy Mount Park (particularly the crazy golf - still there!) and best of all Brucianni's  where we would have an ice cream. 

I pestered mum for ages for a Knickerbocker glory but wasn't allowed one because they were too big .... then finally I must have been about 9 she gave in and .... yes "I told you so" I ate it all and felt really sick!  Ah, great memories!

Finally, if you like fantastic photos of dancers go to this link Random photos of dancers - there are some amazing images!

I'm back to work now but still knitting a cardi and sewing a skirt.  What are you making?  Next week I'll get round to a Giveaway.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A room of my own!

I've been enjoying the second week of my three week holiday, although the lovely weather has deserted us recently!  Still managed to get a few sunny walks ....

So what have I been up to ..... Well I've made a sewing room!!  When I moved 3 years ago to my 1980s bungalow (not because I had a desire to live in a bungalow but because our very good friends moved a few doors up) there was a spare room and I thought I needed to put a bed in it for guests to stay.  3 years later no one has ever slept there and the room became a dumping ground.  My sewing, knitting and craft stuff was all over the rest of the house and it seemed sensible to reclaim the room!  I can't show you a before photo because I would be far too ashamed, but this is the horrible plastic wallpaper which I decided had to come off .....

then some new paint and gloss and here is the empty space.

Some furniture from IKEA and voila! 


Lots of lovely storage space (and room for even more!).   It's not a very big room but so wonderful to be able to leave anything out and just close the door.   I absolutely love it and it's definitely an encouragement to creating and for being much more organized so that I can plan my projects.  I can sit and match the fabric or wool to the patterns I've collected.  Hopefully there'll be lots of finished projects coming soon!  I've also been destashing a bit and will be having a give-away next week

We had a trip to Manchester which was lovely,  though not too successful for shopping.   I did find this great vintage scarf which I had to buy because its is full of fruit and vegetables ... and everyone needs a scarf with onions and mushrooms on it!

There was some yummy food too ....

I've almost finished my dress for the wedding and so that will be revealed next week.  Rosie and Tess have been considering suitable outfits (only joking - we're not really into dressing the dogs up ... just a bit of fun).


This is what Rosie really thought of the idea .... this is her Elvis sneer

Hope you are having a fun week I'm looking forward to the last 3 days of hols!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Finished with fair-isle!

Another long gap between posts.  I think have the idea that in order to blog I need a completed project ... which is rather silly!  Having said that I finally do have a completed project to show .... yes the fair-isle is finally finished (well not quite true as I am still hiding some ends tucked in the jumper which I'm still weaving in!  The pattern is from ..
You can probably tell I've changed a lot of the colours.  I blocked the pieces first ...
The neck has stitches picked up which I always find challenging, but it didn't go too badly.  I used Grandma's stretchy cast-off to make sure the neck wasn't too tight.
Sewing up was also quite a challenge.  I found a really useful video to explain how to sew up the shoulders and they were pretty successful.  Overall I am pretty pleased, it will be a very warm jumper for winter.  The only change I would have made is to make the welt a little smaller.
A trip to a fairly poor vintage fair near Preston did turn up this little gem and for only £5.  I really love it and although I can't find out anything about the age it does feel 50s.  Great quality look at the lovely buttons.

.... and this dress just made me want to grab a suitcase and head to a steam train!!

We had a lovely sunny trip out to Dalton Wildlife Park.  We always enjoy feeding the penguins.
We really enjoy a day with the animals, and it's very hands-on there.  The funniest thing was the rather strange giraffe who seemed to be trying to fit a very large tongue into too smaller space.
Hope you have enjoyed some sunny fun and some beautiful flowers.