Sunday, 5 February 2017

Closet Case Files Bombshell - a sewing rite of passage

Last year, I received an invite to a hen party - a spa weekend. How delightful! I signed up immediately. Three weeks before the event, I realised I needed a swimming costume but I had missed the nice summer ones in the shops due to the change of season and those that were available seemed ridiculously expensive. What to do? The only thing I could - fall back on my sewing skills, download the Bombshell pattern from Closet Case Files, take a deep breath and attempt to make it myself. 

Closet Case Files Bombshell swimming costume front

Like many, I had lusted after the Bombshell since its release but I needed an occasion to justify making it. Our summer breaks tend to be city based without the need for swimwear. I watched in envy as many versions popped up over the internet including Sophie's, Amanda's, and Kelly's. Seriously, who can resist all that flattering yet softly sexy ruching which makes this a pattern suitable for all women. I've honestly not seen an unflattering version. It's like a cheerleader on the side praising and embracing all shapes and sizes. 

Closet Case Files Bombshell swimming costume side view

I couldn't wait to get started. I feel making a swimsuit is one of those sewing rites of passage which include conquering trousers, jeans, active wear and lingerie. You know, those projects that seem to be rather intimidating until you get going. Time to tick another one off the list. I'll admit to wanting a decent level of hand holding while making this and followed Heather Lou's excellent sewalong. Each session takes you through enough steps so that you gain confidence while not overdoing it.

Closet Case Files Bombshell swimming costume

I struggled a little to find some decent fabric but eventually came across this navy spandex knit from Girl Charlee. A mid weight four way stretch knit, it has a floral design in taupe with dots scattered between the flowers. It's still currently available. I don't normally like brown and navy together, especially with big prints (the flowers are about 4cm each) but this is rather lovely. I chose to self-line the swimsuit as I couldn't be bothered to find a neutral coloured liner. It seems to have worked out ok. I picked up the elastic on eBay. 

Closet Case Files Bombshell swimming costume front view

While I had faith that the style would suit me, I knew I wanted to provide as much cover as I could. It had been a long time since I had worn something so close fitting and I was going to be with a bunch of strangers so feeling good when wearing the Bombshell was essential. This led to a bit of head scratching about which size to go for and whether to make any alterations. I went down the internet rabbit hole which confused me a little more. In the end, I cut the size as directed by the pattern without any alterations. I believe the pattern is made for the average height of 5' 6" (I'm a tad shorter) and some measurements of me and the pattern led me to believe that I didn't need to add any length. This turned out to be the right decision as the suit fits perfectly! 

Closet Case Files Bombshell swimming costume back view

The final verdict? Does this live up to expectation? Without doubt. I couldn't believe how good I felt in it when I pulled in on at the spa and slipped into the pool. I completely forgot about any body hangups that had been playing on my mind in the days leading up to the party. There is something a little magical about wearing this one piece with a cheeky, playful side. If you've thought about making this pattern but haven't found the time or confidence to do so yet, go for it. I promise you won't regret it. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

A free motion embroidery picture a day

Back in October, I found myself wanting to make all the free motion embroidery pictures. For a short period of time I made one a day - snatching time in the early morning or as soon as I got home. I had great fun exploring different shapes and fabrics followed by practicing colouring in using only thread and eventually illustration in all in black. I find the act of making a free motion picture to be incredibly satisfying - once you've eventually settled on your design and colours, the simpler ones come to life very quickly. It doesn't take long to get into the swing of moving the fabric under the needle to get a nice line and you can correct yourself on the second round if you go rather off the line. Here are some of the pictures made during that time. While you may have seen them on Instagram, I thought they were worth sharing here.

Vintage inspired:

vintage inspired free motion embroideryvintage inspired free motion sewing

The same image in two different styles. I love how different they look.

vintage inspired free motion embroidery or textile artvintage inspired raw edge applique

Fashion:

1950s dress free motion embroidery or raw edge applique   dress free motion embroidery or raw edge applique

fashion free motion embroidery or raw edge appliqueshoes free motion embroidery or raw edge applique

Time for fun:

couple walking free motion embroidery or raw edge appliquetea cups free motion embroidery or raw edge applique

VW camper van free motion embroidery or raw edge applique



Monday, 2 January 2017

A little Christmas sewing: Sewaholic's Stanley Christmas trees

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful break over the holiday season. I'm just finishing up a 12 day holiday and it has proved to be a lovely time with family and friends - exactly the tonic that I needed. Like many at this time of year, I can't help but become a little more reflective as well to think about plans for the forthcoming year. I'm approaching 2017 in a slightly different way. I'm not making resolutions or making any grand public goals. Instead, I plan to focus on wellbeing. The end of 2016 was tough for me with my mental health and I practically lost the ability to do anything other than work and collapse on the sofa in the evenings and at weekends - a lot of things went on hold. Concentrating on wellbeing in general seems to be a sensible way forward, a way for me to enjoy the year and I've noticed that some things are already starting to get to normal. I start a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy course tomorrow for a month and I'm looking forward to seeing how it might be able to help. I'm also looking forward to the return of my creative side - it's increasing and the itch to hold fabric is there more often! 

Sewaholic Stanley Christmas Tree sewing pattern

It began to return on and off in December and I managed a few projects - two Buchanan dressing gowns for gifts which I didn't get photos of, a Grasshopper dress for me (post coming soon!), began making good progress on my wedding dress and made six, yes, six Sewaholic Stanley Christmas trees! 

Sewaholic Stanley Christmas Tree sewing pattern

If you haven't made them yet, I would recommend them as a fairly quick project. I had a lot of fun making them. They are straightforward to make but if you're making many at once, you may want to break up the process a little. Clipping all of the curves for six trees at once was a little tiresome as was the hand stitching to close them after stuffing. 

Sewaholic Stanley Christmas Tree sewing pattern

The fabric comes from Darn It and Stitch and they aren't traditional Christmas prints. I particularly love the gold which is seasonal only with the doves amongst the flowers but it makes a fabulous tree! As none of the fabrics had a directional print, I managed to get two trees from a metre. They are all finished with either cream or red satin bows from Hobby Craft. 

Sewaholic Stanley Christmas Tree sewing pattern

After browsing the web for some inspiration from other fellow stitchers who had made these, I decided I wanted a fairly plump look to the trees and was surprised at how hungry they are - you will use a lot of filling for six trees! I found it easier to add a little filling to the tips of each side of the trees before filling the rest. A slim pencil was perfect to help push the filling as close to the tip as possible for a nice, even look. 

Sewaholic Stanley Christmas Tree sewing pattern

I gave three away as gifts and the others are currently in our lounge. I will definitely be making more of these for future Christmases - there are a number of family and friends who didn't receive one this year. Oops, I may just have given away some of next year's presents! 

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