Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and all the best for 2016!

Over Christmas, it was very rewarding for me to deliver handmade gifts to my family and friends. I had spent most of December knitting Zion Lion Pom hats by Wool and The Gang for people who I knew would really appreciate them.

I decided the first hat would be a test and one for me to keep 😉 . The knitting process itself was very easy and I really enjoyed working with the chunky yarn and 12mm giant needles. However, I felt the finished hat was a bit too long and slouchy for my liking. To create a more comfortable fit I decided to miss out 4 lines of stitches on the other hats, which seemed to work well.

The yarn I used is called Crazy Sexy Wool – 100% Peruvian wool. It is great to work with and has an amazingly soft texture.  The only trouble I had was when it came to fastening the hat together and tying the pom-pom on. I wanted to tie it securely but this risked snapping the yarn if pulled too tightly, so I did the best I could and just weaved in the loose ends.

Crazy Sexy Wool
Crazy Sexy Wool

The instructions provided with the kit were very clear and the tutorials provided on WATG’s website were useful for jogging my memory with the techniques I had forgotten.

I ended up making around 15 hats in different colours, and even ended up mixing and matching the yarn to have contrasting bands and pom-poms. I found that I needed around 2 balls of yarn to make 3 hats.

Zion Lion Pom Gifts

Every person who I gave a hat to was really impressed and appreciated the time I took to make them a handmade gift. Many of them asked me why I haven’t set up my own business selling my creations, which is a consistent piece of feedback I have been receiving for a while now. With a busy day job, it’s hard to find the time to churn out stock. Aside from that, I wouldn’t know where to start in terms of setting up a small business on the side. If anyone has any advice about how I could get involved with local craft fairs or selling on Etsy etc., then please let me know.

Here are some of the proud new owners of my hats all looking beautiful (although I’m not sure if Gizmo approves?!):

My Beautiful Friends Keeping Warm
My Beautiful Friends Keeping Warm- From top left to bottom right: Meghan, Becky, Liv (& Gizmo) and  Jen.

I look forward to a year full of crafts and, maybe, looking at to how I can start to sell some of my creations. Please get in touch if you can recommend and useful blog posts and websites that offer any guidance.

I look forward to sharing more of my creations with you soon!

Fifi Part 2: Columbia Hot Patootie Rainbow Shorts – Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!

For my Halloween outfit this year, I’m going to be dressing up as Columbia from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

A fancy dress shop provided me with the basics for the outfit (sequin bow tie, hat, fishnets and a wig). I already had a sequin jacket, but oddly enough I didn’t have a pair of rainbow shorts in my wardrobe.

To make the shorts, I decided to recycle some rainbow fabric that I had left over after I altered a vintage dress. It had been sitting in my fabric stash for a while – I knew I was saving it for something special! I then had an ‘ah-ha’ moment and decided to use it to make the shorts from my Fifi pattern.

Here they are, the little hot patootie hot pants! Aren’t they great!

Hot Patootie pants

To make a sparkly top I recycled this old skirt by cutting it in half and adding some thin elastic to the top edge.

Here’s the finished outfit – my handmade interpretation of the fabulous Columbia outfit!

Handmade Columbia outfit
Handmade Columbia outfit

Happy Halloween to you all, have fun and if you have made your own home-made outfits, please share! I’d love to see them.

Fifi Part 1: The Raspberry Ripple Effect

This is a funny story. I was on one of my Ikea trips, the kind where you get excited and throw everything in the basket, and then you almost faint when you see the total cost at the till. One of the items was a raspberry-patterned quilt cover, which I threw in the basket without checking the size. When I got it home and took it out of the packet, it was so big I nearly got lost in it!

Then, I remembered I know how to sew – yay! I adjusted the quilt cover to size and started to think about how I could put all the excess fabric to good use and make the best Ikea hack ever. I had just purchased Tilly and the Buttons’ Fifi pattern, and luckily I had just about enough fabric left over to make both pieces of the pyjama set.

Fifi Boudoir Set

I really enjoyed making this pattern; it was surprisingly easy and the process taught me a some new skills:

  • Cutting fabric on the bias to change the way the fabric hangs
  • French seams
  • Making bias binding

I am so pleased with the results: they are so feminine, flattering and comfortable to wear. It makes me so happy that I was able to take some scrap fabric and turn it into something so pretty and unique. I made it even more special by adding a heart-shaped button and a bow for added detail.

I even had enough fabric left over to make a matching eye mask! Free pattern here.

This mask is a little messy (I struggled to sew neat curves because the delicate fabric I used on the reverse side kept moving around) but I have plenty more left to have another go and maybe even make some for gifts!

Next project: Fifi Part 2 – my handmade Halloween outfit! I can’t wait to share it with you.

Coucou, Françoise!

Hi there! After an unusually long break from sewing, I’m back on it with an ambitious list of projects and a new, more organised sewing space. Here’s the latest addition to my wardrobe, a retro print 60s inspired shift dress : Françoise Here she is, showing off in Cloud 23 in front of the Manchester skyline. Her name is Françoise and I love her. She’s taken a while to make because I accidentally cut out two front pieces instead of front and back pieces (oops!), and I had to rummage through the sale fabric sections in all of the John Lewis stores in the North West to find enough to finish my dress. I think I found the last meter and a half in the region, phew that was lucky! Anyway, I think my sewing skills are definitely improving. The finish on this piece is neater and more professional than some of my earlier dresses. Also, it was very easy to make and fits like a glove. Thank you Tilly for another amazing pattern, I’m currently making two sets of the new Fifi pyjamas, both of which have the most amazing upcycling background stories. Watch this space in my upcoming posts to hear all about them 🙂

Simple Alterations

Hello everyone,

I’ve decided to take a short break from making new garments and try to tackle the huge pile I have for alterations and repairs.

Today’s consumerist society has us believe that it’s perfectly acceptable to dispose of our wardrobes every season and replace them with the high street’s dictated ‘trends’. Investing in a few staple longevity garments is essential, but why should we willingly part with our hard-earned cash every time the wind changes?

Don’t get me wrong, if something is gathering dust for any longer than six months and you’re really not going to wear it, it’s probably time to take it to a charity shop. However, if you’ve been holding on to a quality or sentimental garment, but you’re not wearing it because it doesn’t quite fit or needs repairing, why not consider giving it a new lease of life?

Remember Marge’s class struggle? She found a bargain quality suit and wore the hell out of it, adjusting it for variation:

class_struggle

Remember the vintage dress I got excited about in the summer?

finished-dress

Sadly I discovered it didn’t fit too well up top. So, I decided to turn it into a skirt! Here’s what I did:

  • Cut a strip of thick elastic about 10cm smaller than my waist
  • Stitched it together securely to form the waistband, reinforcing the seam
  • Marked four equidistant points around the waistband with pins
  • Cut the skirt part off the dress and marked four equidistant points with pins
  • Matched up the pins and prepared to stitch

attaching_elastic

The next part was a little tricky. I changed my machine setting to a small zigzag stitch and sewed a few stitches at the first pin point to begin. I then stretched out the elastic to the next pin point, matched the width of the skirt fabric, fed the fabric through the machine and stitched close to the bottom of the waistband.

stretch_and_stitch

When released, the elastic shrinks back to normal size and the skirt fabric forms a nice gather. I repeated this step between all pin points, and that’s all there was to it.

finished_skirt  finished_skirt_closeup

The news of my sewing skills is travelling fast, and my friends are catching on that I can help them out with adjustments. Here’s one I did for the lovely Nic, who decided that this gorgeous floor length dress wasn’t for her.

adjust_length

Has anyone else made any wardrobe transformations? I’d love to see your ideas.

My to do list:

  • Sew the pocket back on a pair of jeans and tighten the legs
  • Repair and revamp a VERY retro vintage dress that I’ve been given
  • Replace the zip in a dress

Let’s continue to say no to this throwaway culture!

Until next time,

Lauren

Blue Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend. I celebrated Valentine’s Day early by attending a charity Venetian Masquerade Ball last night, hosted by Event Results at the stunning Manchester Monastery. I was lucky enough to win the tickets via Pocket Manchester for the fundraising event in aid of the Rainbow Trust children’s charity. It was a beautiful evening and we were treated to a three course meal, comedy, music and dancing. More importantly, we helped to raise much-needed funds by participating in the charity auctions and raffle. I intend to continue supporting the trust by running the Great Manchester Run  for them in May, so I’d better dig out my trainers!

Anyway, here’s a few pictures of my outfit (you might recognize my dress from my post on Vintage Finds and Alterations):

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Mask close-up

 

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Trusty Vintage Prom Dress

In other news, I’ve moved into a beautiful new flat and somehow almost all the of the textiles I’ve bought for it are blue. For those of you that know me well, this will come as no surprise at all.

It’s a converted late 19th century building with salvaged antique features, sash windows and high ceilings. This made finding curtains in the right size and shape a little tricky. Naturally, I chose blue ones. I found some by DKNY in TK Maxx that weren’t the perfect fit, but I knew I’d be able to adjust them to make them work for the windows in my bedroom.

They came as a pair of two long(ish) curtains, but I needed two narrow sets: one super-long and one quite short. In a nutshell, this is what I did:

  • Cut the required length off one curtain
  • Sewed the excess length to the other curtain
  • Cut both curtains in half to create two sets
  • Re-sewed the new hems and seams.

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Skip to the end and this is what I ended up with:

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Now I’m off to enjoy the rest of my weekend in my blue flat, starting with a cup of tea in my blue mug.

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Blue Valentine

 

[Soundtrack: Blue Velvet by Lana Del Rey]

 

 

 

 

And the winner is…

HELEN SIDEBOTTOM!!!

Congratulations Helen! I’ll be in touch with the colour choices and your knitted headband will be with you shortly.

Thank you to all my blog followers for your support. If you know anyone that might be interested in sharing sewing and knitting projects and tips, please recommend that they follow eat, sleep, sew, repeat.

Coming up soon… a DKNY curtain hack to make my new flat feel like home.

Win a knitted turban headband!!!

Hello,

Over the last few months I’ve been multi-tasking; watching my new favourite box sets OITNB and Girls whilst knitting simple turban headbands. An odd combination but yes, this is what I do in my free time.

https://i2.wp.com/38.media.tumblr.com/6c9689e15bb230aacac9cca0d24dd693/tumblr_mx0nbuhfd01slhwslo1_250.gif
Orange is the New Black

 

Girls

Modelled b ythe lovely Liv
Modelled by the lovely Liv

I can’t take the credit for the pattern; I found it here and it’s awesome; the cosy ribbed structure keeps my ears warm without giving me hat hair. If you want to make your own, you will need:

  • a small ball of double-knit wool
  • 6mm knitting needles
  • a great box set
  • a cup of tea/glass of wine*
  • chocolate.

* Optional. May impede stitch-counting abilities.

Orrrrr, I will send you one if you are the lucky winner of my first competition!!!

How it works:

  • To enter please share, like and comment on this post via twitter/facebook/bloglovin/wordpress and subscribe to my blog by entering your email address at the bottom of the page
  • The competition closes on 31st January 2015 at midnight and the winner will be selected at random
  • UK entries only sorry 😦
  • I’ve been making them for fun so I will contact the winner with a choice of colours
  • No money shall exchange hands so I am not infringing any copyright laws to my knowledge; just promotion for the cool pattern and a bit of shameless blog promotion for myself.

Good luck

 

Me
Mine in purple

 

Rouge Coco dress

Bonjour,

I hope you are all having a good year so far and that your resolutions are going well! One of mine was to commit to my blog more, which of course goes hand in hand with working on more craft projects.

I can always rely on my sewing idol Tilly to provide me with some inspiration. I decided to create a sweatshirt dress using her Coco pattern with a little help from one of her recent blog posts ‘Emergency Winter Sewing‘.

This is my first Coco creation and my use of sweatshirt fabric has been a bit controversial. Personally I love it, but others have commented on my ‘unusual’ fabric choice. It is not too thick and the light fleece lining inside is just perfect for this time of the year, so who cares if it looks a bit bulky.

I followed Tilly’s advice and adjusted the foldable parts to account for the fabric’s shrinkable nature. I also decided to taper the shape of the skirt, as initially it looked triangular and frankly a bit too Star Trek-esque for my liking…

Not the look I was going for!
Not the look I was going for!

So here is the finished version, displayed in the form of two awkward selfies that hopefully depict the exaggerated 60s neckline and the tapered fit of the dress.

IMG_3424
60s neckline
IMG_3423
Tapered skirt

I really would recommend making one of these; I’m sat here snug and smug in the office, and the air conditioning is no longer a source of annoyance 🙂

Next up: a knitting post featuring my new favourite accessory; the turband! (turban headband).

Be chic and fake fur

Bonjour,

It has been très longtemps since I last made something, but I have been very busy finishing off my Masters and learning how to drive again so please forgive me.

As the cold weather creeps in, what better accessory to wear than a faux fur collar? I made this beauty using a free pattern from Tilly and the Buttons and some beautiful bargain fabrics from Abakhans.

Faux fur collar
Faux fur collar

You cannot fake chic but you can be chic and fake fur.” Karl Lagerfeld.

The faux fur is so deliciously soft and expensive-looking that I fail to understand why anyone would ever chose to wear real fur?! Do your bit for PETA and innocent animals everywhere please.

The instructions in Tilly’s tutorial were pretty easy to follow, but if you want to be extra careful and avoid making a scruffy version like my first attempt (see tip 2 below) then please follow my additional steps:
  1. Attach an interfacing to the lining to add structure and to avoid it slipping around when you are stitching it to the fur. I used a medium fusible interfacing and that worked just fine.

    Fusible interfacing
    Fusible interfacing
  2. Use lots and lots of pins! The different textures of the two fabrics and the thickness of the fur make them extremely prone to slipping around whilst stitching them together. Don’t learn the hard way folks! First time around, my lining ended up baggy and twisted – hardly haute couture!

    No interfacing, twisted lining!
    No interfacing, twisted lining!
  3. Consider using a walking foot (if you have one). I bought a universal one for my Singer from eBay for about a tenner. It was the first time I used it actually; although it looks scary it was easy to use and very effective. It stops the two fabrics from sliding by pushing them together as you stitch.
Walking foot
Walking foot

Et voilà, c’est tout. I chose to add a hook and eye to fasten my collar. I considered adding ribbon but I thought it might go with more outfits without it.

I hope you like it and feel inspired to make yourself one too. If you know me well then Santa just might leave one of these in your Christmas stocking…

Lots of love,

Lauren