You know that train of thought where you’re looking at your felted witch’s hat and thinking that it’s a bit hot to wear for the summer solstice and then you start to wonder what a summer witch’s hat would look like and suddenly you’re drawing up a new sewing pattern...?
So, here's the thing. I seem to have made a Liberty tana lawn witch's hat.
It needs some minor alterations to the brim (it's asymmetrical, and a bit floppy on the other side), but I rather fancy making a few more of these!
A little while ago my friend Sarah and I ran a model call, so that we could take some photos of my dresses on an Actual Person rather than on a coathanger up a tree. After several weeks of waiting for the perfect evening weather, and some tense moments when the local council very inconsiderately mowed down our favourite meadow (how rude!), the day came around and we all met up at a local park.
I think we can agree that it went quite well!
I absolutely love Sarah's work - as Rainbright Photography, she specialises in outdoor seasonal portraits of children and families. The way she captures the light, no matter the time of year, is absolutely magical.
These are just a few of Sarah's images - I'll share the rest over the next few weeks, as I pop them on social media and start changing over some of the pictures on the website. I've specifically picked out some of the photos featuring the lovely Sienna making good use of the pockets, and that's because...
We're having a GIVEAWAY, and you can win this dress!
Some days it's all about taking the scissors to your favourite t-shirt because you can't stand the way it's touching you.
Today is the second kind of day.
I bought this t-shirt last year, and completely forgot (despite it being very clearly stated on the website!) that this particular brand runs small. I wear it a lot, because I love the print, but I always find myself tugging at the too-high neckline or fussing with the too-tight sleeves.
Today I'd had enough, so I took the scissors to it and turned it into a vest!
All I did was very carefully and neatly snip off the sleeves and the neckline ribbing.
Jersey t-shirt fabric doesn't fray, so I could have simply left it at that and allowed the edges to roll over - no sewing required!
I decided that I would quite like to hem the neckline and sleeves, so all I did was fold the raw edges to the inside, pin the hems into place making sure they were nice and even all the way around, and stitched them down.
I didn't use any fancy stretch stitches, I didn't use my overlocker to cover the edges. I just stitched the hems with an ordinary straight stitch and then ironed them nice and flat. And now I have a brand new favourite t-shirt, that doesn't irritate me every time I put it on. Success!
I've been following Helen of Secret Lentil for years (which sounds a bit stalker-ish now I come to think of it), but haven't quite managed to buy anything from her yet. A few years ago I saved up very hard for a dress that I loved, and somebody else bought it THE DAY BEFORE I got paid. I'm still a bit sad about that.
I always have to fight this vague feeling of "oh well I could make that myself anyway", because of course I do have a mountain of cotton jersey and an overlocker right here, but obviously it's not as simple as that. I start with patterns and plans and write myself instructions. Helen builds imaginary clothes that live in her head. How cool is that?!
India Flint I learned about when I bought her "Eco Colour" book, and tried out a few experiments with natural dyeing. India's clothes have a strong connection to the location where they were created, having been dyed by the plants, earth and water of the places where they were made.
I have lots of plans in mind for future plant dyeing projects, and I have a freezer filled with sumac and rhubarb and raspberry leaves, and avocado stones and skins, just waiting to come out and add colour to something. Where I get stuck is with the thought that I need to design the "perfect dress" before I can dye it, otherwise it'll be a waste of cloth and plants and time and water and heat.
(Don't tell anybody, but... sometimes I wonder what I could come up with if I just made whatever I liked, and didn't spend so much time worrying about what other people might want to buy.)
I had a very small piece of the spotty/stripy organic cotton jersey left over, so rather than re-burying it in the depths of the stash never to be seen again, I thought I'd use it up straight away.
This top is loosely based on Burda pattern 7107, which appears to be out of print. I say "loosely based" partly because I didn't have quite enough fabric to make the tie as long as the pattern required, and partly because I read the instructions and then completely ignored them.
I wanted to make a little summer wrap top that would tie under the bust, to add a bit of shaping to the dresses for those of us that suit a higher empire waistline. So far, so good! It does that beautifully, I think.
Unfortunately, despite checking the measurements three times, and cutting out the biggest size on the pattern... it's too small for me. The two sides of the front don't meet, let alone wrap, which is really disappointing as it's otherwise absolutely perfect!
It's pictured here on my lovely mannequin who is wearing a size 8-10 dress, and measures 88cm (34¾") around the fullest part of the bust. As you can see, the fronts now wrap over by a couple of inches, and the ties are just long enough to knot at the back if you don't want them hanging down at the front.