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 🙂

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]

 

 

 

 

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