Lino cut workshop

Today saw me trying another new craft! I mean I did one lot of lino cut in school, but that’s it.

The session was led by Kelly noble who was great at getting people working at different levels depending on their experience. She gave me a little piece of lino to try out the tools on and have a go at making different marks. I started with that and then let the marks turn into a little picture.

Here’s how the prints turned out

We got to have a go with some home dyed paper that Kelly had prepared for us. I didn’t expect to really like mine on it but I thought it was pretty cool!

I’d gone to the session with an idea of making a long tailed tit picture and had done a few quick pen and ink drawings this morning

before heading to the arts and crafts centre so I spent maybe half an hour transferring my pictures onto lino and then carving round. I did it all pretty fast because I wasn’t really sure what I was doing and wanted to have a go at printing it before I left so I could see how it would turn out. I’m actually really pleased with how it looks, and I now have some tools so I can do a bit more work on it at home and improve it.

I thought it would be fun to try printing it on some pink colours as these birds are black, white and pink in real life. Which do you prefer?


One properly finished top, and a new one started

Hey there everyone. Well this post is a bit delayed, as not only have I finished my top I’ve been wearing it for the last two days 😂.

I came home from my parents and unpicked the zip. I had marked with pins how much I wanted to take in, so then tacked the zip on using my machine. I thought I’d check it before properly top stitching it in place and discovered that although it fitted nicely i’d obviously not sewn it on evenly, so the zip caused bulges down the side. Well that’s not the look I was going for, but I discovered that the top had enough stretch in it for me to take it off over my head without undoing the zip, so then I unpicked the zip (again) and just sewed the seam together. And this is what I ended up with (excuse the weird pose – like a cormorant drying its wings – I didn’t want to obscure the sides with my arms!)

As I say, I’ve been wearing it yesterday afternoon and today and it’s really comfy and goes great with leggings. I still can’t quite believe I’ve made a top from a pattern. Thanks to my mum for helping me to get started and encouraging me to keep going even when I thought it would be too hard.

And now I’m actually feeling a bit confident with the whole dressmaking thing, and have gone ahead and cut my material for the next thing which is a dress by simplicity.

Material for the top part and the orange for the pockets
Material for the lower section

I’m super excited about this one, just nervous it will be too small. Cotton doesn’t stretch!

I finally have a top (sort of!)

Well, several days ago I started cutting the pieces to make this top

I’ve worked on it a bit at a time. I spent about 7 hours on it on Thursday and finally felt like I was making progress as I ended up with this.

Today I finished facing the waistband and attached the zip. As I’m currently at my mum’s and using her sewing machine I sewed the zip on by hand due to her not having a zipper foot for her machine. I’ve finished the rest off with her machine and can wear it!

I’m a bit frustrated by how baggy the left side is by the zip (though you can’t see that particularly in these photos), so, seeing as how i need to top stitch the invisible zip when I get home tomorrow anyway, I may just unpick my hand sewing and take it all in a bit. It might be risky and could ruin it completely… But hopefully not.

In the meantime, although this was a horrid material to cut, and a not terribly easy pattern to follow, I actually have a wearable top. I’ve not been put off following patterns and actually bought some gorgeous materials today to make a pattern by simplicity which looks a lot easier to do.

Although this pattern was tricky I have learnt loads :

  • How to follow a pattern
  • How to make my own bias binding
  • How to sew on bias binding properly
  • How to gather a section
  • The importance of shortening your stitch again after gathering and before joining seams (I felt better when I saw that Lauren made the same mistake during the final of the first series of British sewing bee!!)
  • What basting means and why it’s important (tacking the material in place with stitches you’ll later remove)
  • Patterns might not be too tricky if you take them one instruction at a time
  • Mistakes can usually be remedied (I sewed the facing on the waistband in the wrong place and then thought how good it would be to have something covering up all the raw edges that were in there… Yep… That’s the job of the facing! Once it was reattached in the right place it looked tons better… And covered those raw edges
  • Sometimes more pins are better
  • I can actually make my own clothes!

I don’t think this will ever be my favourite piece of clothing, but for now I’m pleased with it. I’ll let you see it when I finally finish the zip section.

Also today I got to try out free machine stitching with Mary, a friend of my mum’s. She invited us to have a look at her work room and it was fab to meet her and to see some of her work. She showed me how to free stitch and this is what I did.

It reminds me of those drawings where you’re not allowed to take your pen off the paper, and funnily enough I often really like the effect you get when you go back over a line. It was definitely easiest to control the movement of the fabric when it was in an embroidery hoop, and I was really pleased with what I ended up with. Now I just need to work out how to set my machine up for it and I’ll be good to go with a whole new area of craft!

Making project bags and learning to make a top from a pattern

I’ve made two project bags, as I’m considering the idea of opening an etsy shop at some point in the new academic year and would like to build a bit of a stock up before I open it. I thought I’d start with project bags as I think people would want to buy them and I can make them quite easily. But I’ve hit a dilemma with the first one I’ve made as it’s got a wrinkle in it from where I’ve top stitched round. I’m reluctant to unpick it all and start again. So I’m left with the question ‘do I just keep it for myself or list it in the shop as a flawed item? ‘ what do you guys think?

Here’s the wrinkly flaw-it’s more noticeable in real life!

Both the bags used vintage material… The owls one is left over material from curtains I had in my bedroom growing up, and the purply one is left over from material my parents had curtains from.

Then, with my mum’s help I’ve started to try to make myself a top following a pattern. The pattern reckons its easy, but I might question that! It is rather daunting being faced with all the big bits of paper with lots of code on them.

We’ve managed to cut all the pieces out, having learnt that it’s a very slippery fabric that moves whenever there’s a slight touch to it. Pinning the pieces to it usually took some time as several pins would need repositioning.

Awful not straight cutting! 😂

I also discovered that rather than working on the floor and cutting with scissors I got a much straighter, sharper line when I used my rotor blade on the cutting mat.

So, all the pieces are now cut and at some point I need to tackle the challenge of starting to sew it together. It’ll be a while as I’ve got a busy few days coming up.

Half way mark

Yippee! Slipper number one is finished! 

Well, apart from needing  to add buttons to do up the cuffs, and anti slip stuff to the bottom. 

I got into the swing of doing the scales, and love  the overall effect of the different colours. I particularly liked the scales which changed colour in the middle,

 and even more the ones where there was a small amount of an in between colour too. 

Next step… Slipper number two and the attempt to recreate my hit and miss pattern! 

Playing with colours

This evening i had a bit of time after chilling out watching a film so i decided to put on paper what i had been thinking about for  the next pictures in my draw every day book. 

The first was an aerial view of a tidy French garden. I found a picture online, i think of Versailles, and was taken by the pattern in the hedges and pathways. I found it odd that the pattern wasn’t symmetrical as i think it might be in an English knot garden? But i loved how the pathways were also  part of the design. Seeing as most of the drawing would be green i decided to take my lesson from yesterday and go multicoloured. 

Here i realised the issue with blogging… That i feel the need to post stuff even if I’m not happy with it! But it could be worse. I’m glad i did the different colours (i started with orange and purple in honour of Benjamin!). I’m not so happy that my paths aren’t neat like the photo. In the photo they’re very even widths, which they’re not in my drawing. But i do like the different colours and how they make me think of an abstract piece of art. 

Having decided i wasn’t impressed with that i moved on to the next picture… A bunch of lavender. 

I’m  not overly keen on the stalks, but i enjoyed ‘stamping’ with the brush tips to get the buds of lavender and playing around with putting other colours under the purple to get different shades. I definitely think the blues worked better than the pink! 

And that’s me for today! I’m pleased my blog has motivated me to be creative when otherwise i might have just sat  and read my book, but I’m also rather amazed (and a bit freaked out!) that when i arrived at church wearing my infinity/mobius scarf  people were greeting me with ‘ooh, is this the scarf?’! (not everyone actually went ooh!). I didn’t think anyone would really read this, and i’m grateful that some people actually are!