Cielo Top and Dress – Closet Case Patterns

This pattern from Closet Case Patterns, has been on my list for a while. Again I have seen lots made up on Instagram. I think the short sleeve version made in linen will be just me. I have bought some grey chambray from Higgs and Higgs to make it up. However, as this is a pattern I haven’t made before, I felt I should make a toile first. My friend Carol, gave me some lovely blue floral crepe type material, she found in her Mums stash. Carol didn’t like it and gave it to me and I had just enough to make a Cielo dress, so this will be a wearable toile!

After studying the pattern and all the variations, I decided to try the long sleeved dress. I had just enough fabric, except I had to use a plain blue poly cotton to line the bottom of the sleeves.

The dress has no fastenings ( hooray) and the neckline can either be faced or use a neck band. I decided to use a neck band as it would be quicker. After comparing my measurements I cut out a size 14 and lengthened it by about 2 inches.

The fabric was quite slippery and so I used a 70 grade machine needle. I also decided it was time to change my overlocker thread colour to black. I knew this would mean a sweary hour as its never quick!

I finished it in a coupe of days. It is plenty big enough and as big big around the neckline. I need to look up on You Tube to find out how to alter patterns for this problem, as this happens quite a lot. On this occasion, I have just made a tuck at the back.

The sleeves are really unusual and I dint think I would like them but as I put them together I could see that they would look good.

It went together easily and I like it!

I think I will make the grey chambray one as one of my Spanish projects in Jan and Feb.

The Ogden Cami Top

I’ve seen this made up loads of times. It’s one of those pieces of clothing that everyone seems to have. These days ( bigger bust, bigger bra straps, can’t go without a bra, fat arms, wobbly skin etc etc) I don’t wear them often and not in public ever! The only time I would wear one would be infer a wrap dress or a jacket/cardigan.

That said, I think they look lovely on younger bodies. Made in a drapey floaty fabric such as silk, crepe, viscose or polyester, they are easy to wear.

I wanted to make some as presents and so I made a toile in a size 10 with some leftover soft olive green fabric. As I hadn’t got enough to do the lining, made it in a contrasting pattern fabric.

I was very good and traced it off first. It took me a couple days to sew it up, but I am pleased with the finished article. I now need someone of the right size to try it on now.

I ordered some navy washed linen from Higgs and Higgs to make another for a present. It’s arrived and is ready to cut out and sew – tomorrow! I have decided to size it down to an 8 and will post a pic of the finished article when its done 🙂

And here it is!

Navy linen

I really like it and I hope the recipient does too.

Papercut Sequence Dress

Yesterday, my friend Carol and I made this dress for her. She, like me used to sew and is now returning to the fold after a long break.

At the start of the day, we didn’t know we would finish it in just a day, albeit a very long one! Carol picked this pattern for a dress to wear to a winter wedding. The fabric she chose was a striking navy blue viscose with swipes of acid green. It has lovely drape, ideal for a wrap dress like the Sequence Dress.

As neither of us had used this pattern house before, and the make was pitched at a skilled level, we decided to make a toile first as the pattern measurements didn’t line up exactly with Carol’s. We used some polyester cotton for this and just cut out the front, back and sleeves. It fitted ok, so we moved on to cut out the lovely fabric.

The pattern instructions weren’t the best I’ve used and were a little confusing in places. We also looked up made up examples on Instagram to give us idea of what it looked like on someone of a normal size, rather than a miniscule size 8 as shown on the pattern. The example looked good and gave us the confidence to continue. We lengthened the front and back by about 4 inches so that it finishes just under her knee.

The pattern instructions were on the same sheet as the pattern pieces, with instructions to make it into a booklet, which seemed a bit of a faff so we didn’t do!

The pattern can be used for a dress or a top, with thick ties or thin ties. We didn’t quite get that it was an either or, thick or thin. The pattern review on the Foldline suggested using the thin ties for the dress, so that is what we did.

We used interfacing for the front facing as suggested in the instructions, but we both agreed that we wouldn’t do this if we made it again with the same fabric, as it was difficult to iron on the fabric and didn’t seem necessary, but I suppose it depends on the fabric you use.

We worked through the instructions and put the front and backs together, followed by the front and backfacing ( a bit fiddly) and then seamed the sides and then set the lovely shaped sleeves. We used the sewing machine for the construction and decided against using the overlocker as it was threaded up with white. We used a zig zag stitch to neaten up the seams.

Finally we hemmed the sleeves, the fronts and the hem.

Carol tried it on and we tied the ties around the front, crossed round the back. Something wasn’t quite right.! We looked again at the made up version and realised we shouldn’t be crossing the ties and tied them at the the side. Voila- it looks great!

The Woodland Garden – a year on

Last October, we set about making a woodland garden at the front of our house. We have a piece of land which was basically used as a dumping ground ever since we moved here and before by the previous owners.

My original blog about the Woodland Gardens explains what we set out to do. During the past year, we have continued to develop it and it is now looking quite good.

We have added a path and a boundary fence, to one side. It’s just a rudimentary boundary but defines our plot.

I have planted around the trees. Around this Yew, I have planted heuchera, hosta, fern and a white bleeding heart.
Under the dead tree, which we decided to keep as a natural habitat, I have planted a honeysuckle. However, I think the deer have been munching the roots, so I have put some chicken wire around to keep them away, hopefully!
The path runs from the roadside and meanders round to the compost bins and round to the other entrance. We dug up all the brambles, spread some sand down and then added lots of bark chippings, so that it keeps fairly dry.
Around the pathway I have planted ferns, hostas, other shade loving plants plus bluebells, snowdrops, aconites and erythroniums to naturalise. I am hoping that wild natural plants come though too now that the rubble has been cleared and the light gets through more.

There’s no more to do now until the spring. I am planning on adding more plants and bulbs each year until I am happy with the displays.

I am more than happy with how it looks and am pleased that we decided to make it an attractive space. The wildlife are already there and I plan to add a few bird boxes in the spring.

Vogue 1415 – Tom and Linda Platt

Up until recently I have never used a Vogue pattern. I’m not sure why, but I think I assumed they were too difficult for me.

I was gifted some lovely polyester satin by Minerva and looked for a suitable pattern. I’m not sure how I ended up with this one, but I’m glad I did. Admittedly, it is a very easy Vogue pattern, but still I didn’t know what to expect.

I used it to make the long gold top as in the picture above and was very pleased with the outcome. Its not yet featured on the Minerva Blog, but goes live sometimes in January.

For the next Minerva project, I chose some light, drapes polyester crepe to make the other option, a shorter classic top with a cowl neck. I love the finished item and although this hasn’t yet gone live for Minerva I have worn it several times. It looks classy and expensive and I’m really pleased with it. I just want to make again in a real crepe, maybe in black.

My Next 5 Sewing Projects

Simplicity Sweater Dress

I’m making this for my daughter Melissa, as a birthday present. I bought some sweatshirting fabric from Minerva https://www.minervacrafts.com/, in a cobalt blue colour. It has a soft and warm inside, so it will great for the cooler months.

As you can see it’s WIP. I’m working blind as she hasn’t tried it on yet!

I’ve tacked it together and tried it on myself, but we need a fitting!

Ogden Cami

I thought it was about time I made this pattern as everyone else seems to have! I am going to make some of these for Christmas presents and I was thinking of making them in a lightweight linen or rayon challis.

Sew House Seven – Burnside Bibs

This is going to be one of my 2020 Spanish projects. I bought some olive green linen from the Stitching and Knitting Show to make it in. I am itching to start them.

Cielo Dress

I have seen lots of these made up and it’s seems to be popular with different age groups. I am going to make the dress version first. Not sure what fabric yet but maybe some more linen or patterned viscose.

Linden Sweatshirt

This has been on my list for a while. I may use some of the sweatshirting I am using for the Sweater dress.

I AM Cassiopee

Oh I have waited so long to try this pattern out. Not sure what I was waiting for exactly but I I bought the perfect fabric from Higgs and Higgs at the Knitting and Stitching Show last Thursday. It’s a deep cerise babycord and it’s oh so soft. It cost £11.99 per metre and I bought three metres so it wasn’t a cheap make.

As ever, I have seen many of the I AM Cassiopee dresses made up, in all different types of fabric and different ages and body types on Instagram. I thought I could carry it off 🙂

I had read that it came up big but I hesitated to go smaller than my measurements, so opted for the largest size, which as it was a French pattern meant making a 46. I figured that I could always cut some off if it was too big but if I cut it too small then I was done for.

The pattern pieces had to be traced off and that took me a couple of hours. I then watched a You Tube video of a couple of girls who had made it, before I started cutting out.

At first I thought I had too much fabric but because the sleeves are bat shaped and the style is loose, it was just enough. It was lovely to be working with a natural fabric and it’s so easy to handle.

The pattern instructions are quiet brief and the construction is simple. However, when I had got it all together and tried it on, I didn’t like it and was massively disappointed. It was far to big and the neck gaped. So I left it overnight on Dolly and went back to Instagram to have a look at a few more finished ones. Everyone who made it raved about it and several people had made more than one, but I just wasn’t getting the love.

Next morning, I decided to take it in from the cuff of the sleeve, right round to the hem, by another inch. That did it, it looked much better, now just the neck to sort out. I didn’t fancy taking off the facing and reducing the size of the bodice, so I tried making a tuck all the way down the front bodice, like a fake placket. It looked ok.

I finished the sleeves and the hem and went back to the front and added three mother of pearl buttons ( which I already had in my collection) It looks great now!

I am so pleased I persevered and I am sitting writing this with it on, cos I don’t want to take it off!

Stasia Dress

I wanted to make a jersey dress in charcoal grey, to go with my autumn capsule wardrobe. I needed it to be comfortable and warm but smart enough to wear out. I needed it to be loose fitting around my middle and long enough to wear with knee high boots. I thought that the Sew Liberated Stasia dress pattern fitted the bill.

When I see a new pattern I like, I head straight over to Instagram to see who else has made it and to see what type of fabric they used. For this dress, there are lots of makes and wearers with different body shapes, sizes and ages wearing it. I checked that there were some older ladies included as I don’t want to look like I am trying too hard to look younger than I am 🙂

I bought the jersey fabric from Minerva. I get 10% discount off everything for being a craft club member, so its worth it. UK delivery is free for orders over £20 so I bought some other fabric and a pattern too to make it worthwhile. The fabric was £5.98 and took 2 metres making the dress cost about £12. There are no fastenings so no cost there, but I did use some swimsuit elastic that I already had, at the waist to give the seam a bit more stability.

I chose to make a short dress, but the pattern can be used to make a maxi dress and a top. The construction of the dress is very simple. There are only 6 pieces to cut out. I decided to leave out the pockets because I thought they might add a bit of bulk. I can do without pockets in one dress and I can do without more bulk!

It didn’t take long to put together and I am very pleased with the final product. The only thing that slightly annoys me is that the shoulders show my bra strap, so I should fix some lingerie hooks in, which I may do when I get around to it!

In the meantime, I can wear it and wash it and it doesn’t need ironing, so all good!

The Dunkley Wedding 14th September 2019

My nephew, Louis and his fiancee Elisha had a beautiful wedding ceremony held in my sisters garden, on a gorgeous sunny late summers day. It was a real family affair with lots of the family helping to make it an unforgettable event.

Elisha and Louis are very creative and talented young people. Although they had a limited budget and have two young and energetic children, they made lots of the stylish wedding props such as the floral displays, the home made bar, the doughnut wall and the Prosecco bar plus lots of co-ordinated signage.

My contribution was helping with the menus and food preparation and display. Part of my contribution was to cook 160 scones. I made 80 plain ones (some with sultanas) and 80 cheese scones.

The plain scones are a Delia Smith recipe and I made them in batches and froze them. On the day they were served with whipped cream and strawberry jam. They froze well and I am assured they tasted great. I didn’t eat them myself as they all contained gluten. Scones are one of those things that I just have to admit don’t have a successful gluten free recipe. Instead I made some gluten free brownies for me!

Plain Scones

225 g self raising flour

40 g butter – cut into cubes

1.5 tablespoons caster sugar

Pinch salt

150 ml milk

Pre Heat the oven to 220 c – grease a baking sheet

Sift the flour into a bowl and rub the butter int the flour with your fingertips. Stir in the sugar and salt.

Use a large fork to add the milk (and a few sultanas if you like) and mix to a soft dough.

Quickly roll out thickly and cut out about 7 or 8 scones.

Place the scones on the baking sheet and dust with a little extra flour.

Cook for about 12 mins. Cool on a wire rack. Split and add butter or cream (clotted or whipped) and jam.

Wholewheat Cheese Crusted Scones

The cheese scones were also a Delia Smith recipe and were served with butter. They would have been better if they were warmed up but this was not possible, but again the feedback was very positive so I thought I would share the recipe.

75 g wholewheat flour

75g self raising flour

1 to baking powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 good pinches of cayenne pepper

25g butter

75g strong cheddar – grated

1 large egg

2-3 tablespoons milk

Pre- heat oven to 220 c – grease a baking sheet

Put both lots of flour into a mixing bowl with the baking powder, salt, cayenne and mustard powder. Rub in the butter and then add almost all of the cheese.

In a small bowl beat the egg with the milk and add this to the dry ingredients to make a soft dough.

Roll out the dough thickly to make about 7-8 scones. Brush the tops with milk, sprinkle some grated cheese on the tops. Finally add a small dusting of cayenne pepper. Bake on a high shelf for 12-15 mins. Eat them as warm as you like with lots of butter.

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