Tulle skirt

I realised I was going to a ball in a couple of weeks, and that my ballgowns no longer fit properly, as I had lost a bit of weight. I had seen various tulle circle skirt tutorials online, so I thought I’d give it a go. I bought 4m of anti static navy lining, 4m of light blue tulle, 4m of royal blue glittery tulle, and 8m of navy tulle. I bought a meter of 3 inch wide woven elastic too, for the waistband.

First I washed and pressed it all, then laid the lining out on the floor. I used an online calculator to work out my circle skirt measurements, and I added on an inch to the waist as my waist is much smaller than my hips, and I wanted to make sure I could get it on!

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Once I had marked the fabric out, I started to cut…

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I then used the lining as a template for each bit of tulle. I was cutting two half doughnut shapes, and stitching them together after to make a full round,  so I left an extra centimeter at the top to allow for it.

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Once they were all cut out, I could start stitching them together to make full rounds.

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Once the were all full circles, I layered them together, and stitched them all together at the top, making sure that the inside layers were a little shorter than the outside layers.

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The result was a lovely shimmering effect – first layer was the lining, then a layer if navy tulle, then light blue tulle, then royal blue glitter tulle, and finally another layer of navy tulle. The glitter sparkled through the navy, and the light layer added depth.

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I measured out my elastic to fit my waist, and sewed it together.

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Last step – I pinned the skirt to the elastic, and zig zag stitched the fabric on, stretching the elastic so when it relaxed,  the skirt gathered evenly.

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And here is the final result – apologies, it is a photo of a photo that I will try and change at some point! I teamed it with a navy leotard, and a red shawl, belt and heels. I was rather happy with the effect, and have since worn it with a different top to a wedding!

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And yes, we took our dog to a ball.

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Bridesmaid invitations

When we got engaged in April 2015, I knew fairly quickly who I wanted to be my bridesmaids and my maid of honour. The opportunity didn’t easily present itself to ask them, and I wanted to ask them all at once, as most of them knew each other. Also, one was busy organising her own wedding, so I didn’t want to add to the stress!
I decided to make their Christmas presents their invitations to be part of the wedding party. As I had so long, I thought I would make them something to wear at the wedding.
I thought I’d make tiny balls of wool with knitting needles – to symbolise the knitting together of marriage – and make them into pendants.

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I got some 10mm polystyrene balls, and some pendant connectors. I pushed the connector into the ball, then took it out again.

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Next, I cut a cocktail stick in half and pushed the two halves through the ball, so they looked like needles through a ball of wool.

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I used thread in a colour that matched our wedding colourscheme, and gorilla glue gel to stick the thread to the balls. I experimented with several glues until I found one that didn’t melt polystyrene!

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Once I has secured the pendant connector in place with glue, and sealed the edges of the needles, I thinly coated the ball in glue using a cocktail stick, and started carefully wrapping the ball in thread.

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I placed the thread carefully, so there wouldn’t be any white showing.

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Once I was happy with the coverage, I could break off the thread.

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I threaded a needle with the end of the thread and sewed it through the centre of the ball to secure it.

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I stuck the drying ones into another ball, that was stuck onto a plaster in its cover (it didn’t need to be that, but I didn’t have a scrap of paper to hand!)

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Once they were dry, I mixed some blue and yellow Sugru until it was the emerald green we are using for our colourscheme.

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I used it to put little ends on the knitting needles.

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I needlefelted a cushion into some boxes I found on ebay, and placed the pendants in there, with a note to the potential bridesmaids…

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…and the potential maid of honour!

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They all got packaged up and tied with string, with name tags. Here are three of the six!

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They all said yes! Here are two of my five bridesmaids, and my maid of honour!

Peacock curtains!

We moved house in the summer, and the new house had no curtains. I had one old set that we put up in the bedroom, but decided to make ones for every other room.

I found some beautiful fabric months ago that has been sat in my sewing room ever since. It is a thick blue and cream woven peacock fabric which is actually reversible – you can have blue peacocks on a cream background, or cream peacocks on a blue background. My lounge is mainly cream, so I went for the side of the fabric with more blue.
Today I finally got a full afternoon to make the curtains! (Full project approx 5 hrs with snack break.)

I’ve never made curtains before, but I have studied a few professionally-made sets, and had a long curtain-making chat with my grandmother this morning so muddled my way through…

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I started by laying out the fabric and the lining on my lounge floor, which was the biggest surface I could manage. I also brought my sewing machine out of the sewing room as the sewing room wasn’t really set up for large quantities of stiff fabric!

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I pinned the side seams, and stitched the lining so it wouldn’t be seen from the back.

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Once I had done both side seams, I gave it a good press.

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I stitched the header tape along the top, hiding the lining seam, and leaving one end open so I could ruch the curtain.

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I pressed the bottom turn up and invisibly stitched it up.

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I pulled the cords and ruched the top, and hung it up to check it was ok before doing the other one!
I did the second one in the same way (albeit a lot quicker now I knew what I was doing) and made sure it was the same length when I hemmed it.

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Once hung, they looked beautiful, and actually are the same length!

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I made sure the ruching was even, and tied off the ends but didn’t cut them. I threaded them through a curtain ring behind, so they are invisible. By not cutting them, if I move later on and want slightly wider curtains, I can un-ruch these a bit and they might fit.

I’m pretty proud of these as a first go at curtains, and they certainly do the job. It’s nice to finally have something covering the window in the lounge too!
I know I’ve glossed over some details on this post, but I’m happy to answer any questions if you’re looking for advice on your first curtains – just add a comment

 

Sparkly, furry scarf

A good friend and colleague of mine was invited to the wedding of another good friend and colleague.
He wanted to do something extra special, so we chatted about glittery fabrics. He managed to talk me down from a fully sequinned outfit, to a lavish sequinned scarf, with a fur trim (because winter weddings require fur trim)!

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I found this wonderful rainbow sequin fabric (one sided) on ebay, and bought three metres. My brief was Doctor Who meets Priscilla Queen of the Desert meets Rocky Horror.
I found some cream faux fur attached to a ribbon, and decided to double the fabric over lengthways so the scarf was reversable, and a little narrower. I used just over two metres of the fabric (the remaining bit has been earmarked for a skirt or something)!

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I was really pleased with how this came out. My poor hand turned machine did struggle a bit with two layers of sequins plus bulky fur, but valiantly battled on.

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Here are some pictures of it at the wedding – it had loads of compliments, and was quite a talking point! What do you think?

Many thanks to @j0nnymac and @MrJezzalinko for being such willing models.

Scarf work in progress

Here is a scarf I’ve been working on since the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally.
It’s not for me, it’s for my lovely fiancĂ©, who picked the colours and stitch pattern. It will match the hat I made him a few years ago.

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The stitch pattern is (even number of stitches):
Row 1 – k
**Row 2 – p
Row 3 – k2tog
Row 4 – k1, pick up from horizontal thread, repeat to end
Row 5 – k until 1 stitch left, pick up from horizontal thread, k.**
Repeat from ** to ** until long enough.

My scarf is 50 stitches wide, and the yarn is Rowan Lima, on 5.5mm needles.
I’m switching the colour after every three iterations of the pattern. I’m leaving loops at the side where I’m not cutting the wool after changing colours – it looks a bit messy!

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Peacock Arielle

My latest project has been an Arielle skirt from a pattern by Tilly Walnes. I bought the peacock fabric without a plan, then I saw this pattern and thought it would be perfect.

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Just before I started to sew this, we moved house and I got to use one of the bedrooms as a sewing studio! That is about halfway fixed now, but I splashed out on a new cutting mat and a rotary cutter!

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This sped up my cutting no end. The pattern was a joy to follow, really straightforward and quick to make up.

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I picked out a peacock blue lining to line the skirt with. By this point, it was coming together so quickly I decided I was going to wear it when I spoke at the CIDM Best Practices conference in Florida at the end of September.

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I added some purple velvet ribbon to the waist to help stop my top riding up (not on the pattern). The pattern had some beautiful touches, like the understitching above that really took it out of the “quick sew” class, and into a beautifully structured garment.

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There is the finishing on the inside at the bottom – the pattern has no visible stitching on the outside, which is a nice touch.

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And the buttons. I sourced these peacock buttons from the Czech Glass Bead shop on Etsy. I have three different coloured peacocks, and a peacock eye on the skirt.

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Overall, I’m really pleased about this skirt, and I’m planning to make it again soon in a different fabric – it’s so comfortable!

Alice in Wonderland dress

I decided to try and design my own dress, to wear to a couple of weddings we were going to in the summer. I knew I wanted a square neckline, no sleeves, knee length and a full skirt.

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I found a lovely strong blue cotton twill at Fabric Land, and started experimenting with darts, necklines and armholes…

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It was a bit fiddly to get right, but once the bodice was pretty much there, the skirt was a bit easier. I seems I was a bit lax in taking photos of the process!

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Here it is at the first wedding – I dressed it up with a sequinned jacket and a little handmade brooch (and a top hat and moustache…it was the dress code!)
I had a few meters of very old broderie anglaise to trim it with.
It was at this first wedding that I realised it was an Alice in Wonderland dress!

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Here is a picture of it at the next wedding a week later (different group of friends, so I could get away with it!)
I found a 1960’s petticoat on ebay that makes it stand out nicely.

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There’s a little peek of the petticoat! I had to do an emergency take – in of the skirt before the first wedding, as it was much bigger than the petticoat!

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Oh and here is the fascinator that I whipped up to match the dress!
Overall, I was quite pleased with my first attempt at designing a dress and sewing without a pattern!