Thursday, 30 May 2013

Batik and Bluebells

I am normally not a fan of batik fabric, but last year I went to Indonesia and saw with my own eyes the amount of work that goes into creating the intricate and colourful batik fabrics and so I bought myself one metre of a leafy, purple wax-resist batik.

But what to do with a 1m by 1m piece of fabric?  I finally found a pattern that I could squeeze a summery top out of my batik, Butterick 5354.
I made the yellow version because I didn't have quite enough fabric for the longer version or the sleeves.
This pattern is meant for a knit fabric, but it worked perfectly well with this woven fabric.  I did change the side seams - I didn't curve the pattern in towards a waist, instead I drew a straight line from the bottom of the armhole to the hem line.  I also extended the hemline 2" to accommodate my current figure.

I really like it!  So my obliging Mister and I went up the hill where a bountiful bluebell display occurs for two weeks every May.  I hope you enjoy the photos he took.

So that is the final of my 3 new handmade items for the month of May!

I have since made another woven fabric version of Butterick 5354, which you can see here.

Monday, 27 May 2013


It is still May and I am still endeavouring to wear three handmade garments per week and to make 3 new things by the end of the month.
Monday 13 I only work a half day so went a bit more casual.  The cardigan is the only item I made.
I can't find the pattern but it was one of those ones that had a man and a woman on the cover in matching cardigans - ahhh - my dream to wear matching jumpers with a love!
This was a long time ago, in my early 20s and I was in love.  So of course I knitted a matching blue one for my then-boyfriend, despite having heard the warning from wise knitter-types "don't knit for a boyfriend as it won't work out."  I was young and hopeful and gladly knitted him one anyway - of course it didn't work out.
But I still love this cardigan! and am happily married to a man whom I've only knitted a scarf for! eek

Has anybody every knitted for a boyfriend who ended up being a keeper I wonder?

Tuesday 14 spent the day in and out the car on errands, so a comfy cardi was called for.  I have blogged about this cardigan, a Debbie Bliss pattern and yarn, here with all the fit issues that I am still planning to resolve some day soon.

Wednesday 15th I wore my newest make to work.  It is Butterick 5523 and is blogged about here.  I wore my orange/tan shoes to go with the dress, as there is a dominant orange stripe in the print, even though it isn't terribly obvious from a distance.

So that is my 3 me-made items for this week. The only things I have left are for sunny weather, so here's hoping we get some warmth, otherwise I'll only be wearing me-made scarves for the next two weeks!


May is still here, and at last I am seeing some sunshine and feeling some warmth.  We even have the blossoms on our apple trees just starting to arrive.
Monday 20th I wore my Sally shirt dress to work.  The pattern is from Serendipity by Kay Whitt, I have blogged about it in the past.  I don't wear this dress very much at all.  I think it is because the waist and hip section just isn't very flattering.  Possibly the pattern spanning across my width doesn't help either.  But there is also strain on the buttons which creases easily.
So here's another photo - with Mr Bingley hiding the offending button strain.

Tuesday 22nd I spent dying out my grey roots, ironing and mucking out the hen house, so comfort was needed.  This is my version of the free download Sorbetto pattern.   I've blogged about this before, but it isn't very interesting, but I'll include the link anyway.
 Oooo Arty pose!

Thursday 23rd wore my first ever attempt at a stretch knit.  This is McCall's 6713 and it is very comfortable.  I am wearing a thermal long-sleeved t-shirt underneath still as it is still windy and cold here.
And in garden news, check out how much our hedge has come into leaf since I started these photos at the beginning of May!  And we now have blossoms on the apple trees!

This week I also wore a me-made blouse and another me-made dress, but as I have already counted those as part of this challenge, I won't repeat them in photos.
It has been fun logging and recording my handmade garments, but I am so glad not to have the pressure of photographing myself every day like some of the other members of the flickr group!  Everybody is doing so well to keep up the constant photo-calls.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

A Gathering of Stitchers

In August I am attending a Stitching day in Edinburgh.  I haven't done anything like this before, and am looking forward to meeting so many ladies who are skilled at patchwork, quilting and hand-stitching.
There were only 65 available places at £95 each, which is a lot of money for me.  I really hope I get to choose the workshops that will be most useful to me and I'll be able to learn a new skill or two.  (I have a link on the right hand side bar if you are interested to know more)

We were sent a square of fabric with a printed medallion in the centre that reads Edinburgh 2013 The Stitch Gathering.  We are to embellish the fabric in any way we like and hand it in as our ticket on the day.  They are planning to create a quilt out of everybody's square and use it as a charity fundraiser, which is a nice idea.

Here's mine: I used the word gathering as my jump-off point, and chose a fabric that matched the colours of the centre circle.  I gathered a strip on the machine, then needle-turned the edges down.

We've been asked to post them onto a flickr group, but I'll wait until there are some others there before I post mine.

We have also been asked to stitch a name tag for another person going to the Stitch Gathering.  Again we are asked to post them on flickr but without the name so as to keep it secret.
I've hand appliqued a loose representation of Beinn a'Chlachair, which is a hill / mountain in Scotland.  I will now embroider the lady's name upon it and attach a brooch fixing on the back.
It's fun to think of somebody out there busy trying to think of making a personal name tag for me!
August seems like a long time away, but hopefully it will soon fly by.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Highland Tunic

About a month ago, I had been gifted a large collection of a friend's mother's tapestry and embroidery sundries in a box, and in amongst all the unlikely-to-be-used items was some khaki patterned, heavy knit fabric.  Lucky me!  I knew exactly the pattern I wanted to try with it:

I used my usual preparation format for this make: cut out the paper pieces on a Friday, the fabric on a Saturday and then do the sewing whenever I get a chance through the week.
Here are a few detailed photos of the front cowl and pleats and the back with tab and buttons.

The photo of the close-up button is the closest to the true colour of the fabric.
The only alterations I made to the pattern were to add 5" to the hem and the instructions said to press a fold into the collar, but I wanted it to flop/drape wherever it fell, so I just left out the pressing part.

The Highlands near our house

The colours in this fabric really remind me of the hills around my house, so I am naming this dress after the Scottish highlands.  And to that end, these photos are all taken from the hills above our village (on a day filled with intermittent sunshowers mind you!)
I am trying to blend in with the moss and lichen and my camouflage dress.
My mister REALLY likes taking photos of waterfalls, and this is really close to our house, so I indulged him in return for a few photographs of my new dress. 
We had sunshowers all day today, but it does make for an atmospheric scene.  In the photo on the right  you can see some of our village.

This is the first of this pattern that I have made.  The second one is a sleeveless version and can be seen here.  This is such a comfortable dress and so versatile for my country lifestyle.

Below is a copy of my PR pattern review

Pattern Description: 
A tunic style knee-length dress for knit fabrics. It has a cowl neck, long sleeves and empire line waist with pleated skirt.
Pattern Sizing:
The pattern goes up to a size 24, which is the one that I made.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Make any changes?
There is only one page of instructions inside this pattern envelope, as it is a fairly easy make. It does say to double stitch everything, but I just used the stretch stitch on my machine instead, as it is very reliable. The one thing I did change was to add 5" to the hem, as I wanted it a little longer, but the pattern as it was would have hit me on my knee, and I am 5'7" so this would have been fine too.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I really like the neckline. The instructions say to press the fold into the doubled over neckline, but I chose not too, I am going to leave it to hang and drape how it falls. I like the piece on the back with the tab and buttons as a feature. The pattern also suggests putting 1/4" elastic around the waist, and I wasn't going to at first, but once I had tried it on I decided that I would. Without the elastic the dress looked a little too maternity-friendly on me. Encasing the elastic into the seam allowance helped to bring the dress in a little underneath the bust. 
Fabric Used:
I used a fairly substantial knit, it only stretched in one direction and perhaps only 20%.
Would you sew it again?
I would sew this again, but I'd try it without sleeves so that it was wearable with a top underneath, just to provide a bit of variety.

Monday, 13 May 2013


I have pledged to wear three of my handmade garments per week for the entire month of May, as well as make 3 new items.  This week has been busy with paperwork and car trouble, so I don't have a new make to share, hopefully I will have something new to share next week.  But I have managed to wear 3 of my handmade garments despite the weather.
Wednesday the 8th started out with a fine misty sort of rain so I was hopeful it would brighten up and went to work with bare legs for the first time this year.
I was wrong and it rained all day.
I made only the skirt.  I bought the fabric from a remnants basket of furnishing fabric in Laura Ashley.  I love it!  I didn't have a pattern so I just copied a much loved skirt from my wardrobe.  You know, I own over 40 skirts and this is the only one I still have that I made myself!

And I love skirts!

Saturday 11th I wore my Butterick 5030 wrap dress and my alpaca scarf. I didn't actually take my coat off this morning but I got a quick photo so that you could better see the dress.

Sunday 12th I wore my McCall's 6503 and a blazer, even though I was indoors today, it is still cold and wet. I have blogged about this dress before, but I didn't put any detail photos in, so I took a photo of the lovely neckline and midriff band to share.  This pattern is my favourite and I really want to make a third version of this for the summer - hoping that we get a summer!

So that is another week gone by!  Hopefully have a new garment to share with you this coming week.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Kitchen Eye Candy

Just a quick kitchen post.
I recently saw these tea towels and thought they were adorable, so I just had to make them mine!
It is a bit weird to have a post about tea towels, but I think you may agree that it's worth it!
sew a little happiness

make do and mend

cook sew knit bake
there isn't much that I can't do
They came as a set of 6, but these were the most detailed three.  If you're interested, I got them froma UK shop called Next.
*I paid for these with my own money and am not affiliated with this store, in fact I usually don't buy anything from them.

In order to justify this pricey spend on tea towels, here is something I actually made for my kitchen:
My own little egg basket
I have my own hens!  I love them so much!  So I wanted to make something special to collect their little eggies in.
I folded and gathered a strip of the dark blue hen fabric, then stitched it between 2 oval shaped pieces of the light blue hen fabric, with two rectangles of wadding sandwiched in between.  This is to make sure there isn't any wadding in the corners, that way it will fold up around the curves of the basket.  Then I tied a matching hen ribbon to the basket.

What do you think of them?  The word-y one and this green one are both printed and this pink one is made of two fabric pieces machine appliqued on.

Monday, 6 May 2013


I too have visited So, Zo's blog and pledged to wear lots of my handmade clothes during the month of May, 2013.  Here is my pledge:
'I, Nessa from Nessa's Place, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear me-made garments 3 times a week and to make 3 new garments during May 2013'

As I no longer have any of my pre-2005 clothes, I think three times a week will be both achievable and a challenge for me.  I do hope scarves count?!  I shall only post about this challenge on Mondays.
Wednesday 1st I wore a waistcoat that I knitted.  The peplum is a cabled scarf really, and the rest is basic knit/pearl.  I've never blogged about this as it really was very easy and there isn't much else to say about it.


Thursday 2nd I wore this blouse, although it was cold all day so I was actually wearing a red cardigan and a Mac over it.
As part of my Me-Made-May challenge I am going to be making three new items this month, and this is my first newly made item.

It was really quick to sew up and I LOVE it!  It is Butterick 5692, I have blogged about this new make here.

Saturday 4th I am staying at home doing work on the computer, wearing this cosy cardigan I made in 2005.  I looked through my knitting patterns but can't seem to find it anywhere, sorry.  I used an arran tweed-like yarn from Jo Sharp, so possibly the pattern was a Jo Sharp one too.  I remember choosing this pattern because the cables looked easy to do and the cardi was over-sized and would be great to wear thrown over things.

On Sunday 5th the sun was shining (at last!) I wore my Mad Men dress with red cardi and red shoes.  The dress pattern is Butterick 5747 which is blogged about here.

Coincidentally today is also the day Julia Bobbin has revealed all of the lovely Mad Men inspired dresses.  If you have a spare hour, do go over and browse all that sewing talent - it is a feast for the eyes!

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