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…


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!


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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



Matching bag

I had some scraps of silk left over from the dress and skirt, and some lining left over from the skirt, so I decided to make a handbag to match, for when I wore the dress to to my Dad’s wedding.


I just kind of made it up as I went along, making sure there was room for the essentials! I bought a clasp from C & Fabrics and cut the fabric to size.


I sewed a half pouch in both fabrics, and rolled the seams in, then stitched them up.


Next,  I handstiched the clasp onto the pouch, and made a strap out of more silk scraps.


I was careful to make sure the fabric stopped the clasp opening too far, so as to not lose items in the bag when I opened it!


There is the finished product! I am rather happy with that – and it worked really well at my Dad’s wedding!


New make – navy dress!

So, I decided to give dressmaking a go.

2014-07-24 22.00.48I selected the pattern above from McCalls “easy” range – M6530.  My plan was to make it for a special occasion that I had coming up, so it had to be fairly easy to put together.

Problem number one – the sizes didn’t seem to *work* – according to the measurements on the pattern, I was a size UK20….which I am not!  After some frantic Googling, I found that a few people were perplexed in this way too.  The general advice was to go ahead with the size you normally wear – for me, a UK12.

2014-08-02 18.57.14I gathered my dressmaking materials – I selected a hand loomed navy blue silk dupion, which I bought through Silk Home UK

Feeling very nervous, I cut out the pattern, pinned it to the beautiful fabric, and made my first cut!

2014-08-02 22.19.31For the next few days, this dress became my life.  I read articles and blogs online, and quickly learned some important points.

2014-08-03 16.11.46I bought a new iron.  This iron was to replace my very old beaten up iron, and I vowed to press every single seam to perfection with it.  Time to start sewing!

2014-08-18 23.03.23

Pretty soon, things were starting to take shape.  I started to construct the bodice with my tools – a 1904 Singer handed down from my great grandfather, and a 1920’s dressmakers dummy picked up at Winchester Vintage and Retro market.

2014-08-15 13.57.28I started to learn about techniques such as basting:

2014-08-18 19.07.01The bodice was finally taking shape!

2014-08-16 01.15.44I learned all about interfacing, and how it works to hold the shape of the fabric.  For this pattern, interfacing is used on the neckline and waistline.  I used woven medium weight fusible interfacing, after advice from the lovely Claire of ontrendfabrics.

2014-08-17 23.29.13Here is the interfaced waistband on the bodice!  I had to learn about gathering around the bust too.  I got very excited about the next step, and had to see vaguely what it was going to look like…

2014-08-18 00.00.16I pinned the skirt, in it’s pinned, pre-pressed state onto the dummy so I could vaguely see what it was going to look like.

2014-08-18 00.03.04Once the skirt was pressed and basted, it looked a little better!  I was so close, and so excited by this point, I stayed up rather late to get the skirt in place.  After quick insertion of a zip, it was nearly ready to go!  As a finishing touch (in the guest room before the event I’d been making it for) I added some buttons to the front.

2014-08-23 22.42.29Overall, I was very pleased with the result.  I decided not to add sleeves, as I’m not a huge fan of sleeves!  I love how the skirt holds itself out, but doesn’t feel like it’s about to blow up and expose you to the world.  Next time, I’m planning on giving an extra inch to the waist for dancing room – it fits snugly at the moment, but I think if I ever had a serious dancing moment, it may be a little restrictive.  I’d also make it a little longer next time, so then I could wear it into work without having to worry about it riding up when I sit down.

I’m very glad it was so quick to put together, and glad that I managed to make it in time for this event to celebrate my wonderful grandparents.


A busy summer so far…

So, I’ve been out enjoying the hot weather for the last few weeks, and have not been able to bear knitting anything woolly!

I went to a knitting group two weeks ago, and all we did was sit and drink lemonade and discuss how little knitting we were doing because of the heat. A little pointless, but still good fun!

The blanket is now fully knitted, though it is so big and warm now, I’m going to have to wait for some cooler weather to weave in the ends and start using it. It ended up a little bigger than a double duvet, and the colours just merge and ripple in beautiful ways, especially on the outer edges where the colourways don’t pool as much.

So my current project ( which is progressing very slowly in this heat!) is top secret, as it is a present for someone who follows this blog. They know they are going to receive something, but they don’t know what it is…but there will be pictures when the time comes!

I’m also debating switching disciplines temporarily and turning to sewing to make something for a friend – it’s pretty daunting though, as I haven’t done any proper sewing for about ten years!