A Spring Green Wrap Dress Without a Pattern

IMG_1743A few weeks ago I decided to make myself a dress in bright spring green. Winter was definitely over and I was bored with my wintery things.

Last time I made a wrap dress I used a pattern. Unfortunately, despite buying what I thought was the right size, it was too small! So annoying. I managed to make it fit by unpicking the darts and patching in some extra bits but I was far from happy. Not least because the pattern people had made me feel like a fatty.

So this time I threw caution to the wind and attempted to make a wrap dress without a pattern. I bought four metres of cheap polycotton so that if I messed it up it wouldn’t be an expensive mistake! Here’s what I did.

I cut 2 large triangles for the front using Betty, my tailors’ dummy, as a guide, and added some darts to give it some shape.SAM_7284 I pinned the bits onto her, then cut a rectangle of fabric and pinned it onto her back. Matching up sides and shoulders, I drew on the shape for the back. I folded it in half so that both halves would match! SAM_7280Then I cut it out allowing for seams. The length of the skirt was dictated by the amount of fabric I had left. I remembered from the GBSB about the grain of the fabric running down the centre front and back and cut pieces with a bit of a curved edge. SAM_7350The back is one piece as are each of the front pieces. I sewed the skirt pieces together. To attach the skirt to the bodice I matched the side seams and pinned in place, then added a little pleat at the back, hoping it wouldn’t make me look like I had an enormous behind!SAM_7354 I decided that I wanted a bit of a frill, so after hemming the front edge I folded the edge over and back on itself a couple of times, pinned then sewed in place. I cut the bottom of the frill off so that it didn’t dangle below the edge of the skirt.

To finish the bodice off, I made bias strips and attached them all the way round. I made some extra strips for ties and attached a hook and eye on the inside.

To make the sleeves, I used this tutorial I found at ourlifeisbeautiful.com. I would never have thought of making sleeves this way, it was so easy! SAM_7365Unfortunately my arms are a little bit dinnerladyish and one of the sleeves seams broke the first time I wore it. I might just take the sleeves off and bind the armholes. Or do what I have been doing and wear the dress with a rip in the sleeve area. Classy.

When I tried the dress on it didn’t fit very well. I’ve discovered that I am now thinner than Betty. Yay! It was a little bit annoying about the dress though. With some help from Husband, I made a couple of little tucks and now it fits. To disguise the mess, I made a lovely ruffly flower. I love wearing clothes I’ve made myself. I know that there’s almost no chance that i’ll bump into somebody wearing the same outfit :) Continue reading

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A Summer Door Wreath

IMG_1689A few months ago I decided to adopt the American practice of hanging a door wreath on the front door all year round and not just at Christmas. I made a ruffle rag wreath out of scraps of green fabrics that were left over from another project.

After trawling Pinterest for hours, I opted to make a floral wreath using a willow wreath and some silk flowers.Here’s how I did it in case you want to make your own!

You will need a willow wreath and some silk flowers.

IMG_1683   Choose 3 largish flowers and poke them through the willow. I cut the stems to make them a bit shorter.IMG_1686I found this harder to do than I was expecting. Also the flowers snapped off quite easily! Use some other flowers to fill in the gaps.IMG_1688   The flowers I used had wire in the stems, so I bent them round to keep them in place. Otherwise a hot glue gun would do the trick.IMG_1687 Add some small flowers to fill any remaining gaps and to add some variety. Tie a bow at the top.IMG_1689 That’s it! Easy!

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An Attempt at Textile Art

Today I’m sharing something that I made a long time ago, probably about 5 or 6 years ago. I’d actually forgotten all about it until I discovered it when I was sorting through the bags of mess hanging on the back of the Utility Room door.

The church we were attending at the time had a flower festival every year and everybody was encouraged to make an arrangement even if you were not one of the middle aged or elderly ladies that normally did the flowers. I usually made one and so did my husband.

There was always a theme and that particular year the theme was favourite hymns. I chose the hymn I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say and I remember nothing at all about the flower arrangement I made! I do however remember making this. SAM_7378My arrangement was on the organ (which I played) and I made this to go on the back of the organ underneath the flower arrangement.

It is an abstract representation of the hymn, both words and tune. The colours relate to the theme of water in the second verse, paraphrased from John’s Gospel, and the yellow to the third verse which is about Jesus being the light of the world. SAM_7380The shapes convey the sense of movement that there is in the hymn, of the water and of life’s journey. They also represent the lovely flowing melody of the tune Kingsfold which suits the words so perfectly.SAM_7381

Usually I make things that are practical, stuff for the house or for the boys or clothes for myself and it’s rare that I make a textile art, although I have plans to do more! It’s good to do things that are different sometimes. It’s just where to put the arty things once I’ve made them!

 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
lay down, thou weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting place, 
and he has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found 
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I’ll walk
till travelling days are done.

Words: Horatio Bonar, 1846

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How to Make Car Seat Chest Pads

Following on from the disastrous car seat cover, here is something I did manage to do to make Boy 4′s car seat more comfortable. It came with chest pads originally but having been washed a number of times and being stored in the shed on and off for a few years, they have got lost. To be fair, I have not looked for them properly, but they were not very nice. They were made of the same nasty nylon stuff as the cover, so even if they had turned up I would probably still have made some new ones. Now he is comfy and his seat is a little bit nicer!

How to Make Car Seat Chest PadsIMG_1674

1. Cut 2 rectangles of cotton fabric 16cm x 34 cm and 2 of wadding 16 cm x 15 cm. 2. Take one of the cotton rectangles. Place a piece of wadding over the wrong side so that the sides are level with the cotton and a couple of cm of cotton are sticking out at the bottom.DSCF0784 3.  Fold in half lengthwise. Sew along the long edge. Trim seam.DSCF0785 4. Pull the rest of the cotton down over the wadding. You should now have a tube of fabric, right side out, with raw edges at the bottom and wadding in between the layers of fabric.DSCF0787 5. Fold the inside raw edge over the edge of the wadding. Pin.DSCF0788 Fold the other raw edge up inside so that the folded edges are aligned. Pin and sew.DSCF0790 DSCF0793I found sewing the folded edges tricky and I had to sew near to the edge. This could have looked at bit messy and compromised my precious 4th born’ s comfort. To avoid this, the potentially dodgy edge became the top so that pulling the harness through it would make it lie flat.

Boy 4 has some good naps in the car and now he doesn’t have the straps making his little neck sore!

These would work for pushchair straps too!

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Car Seat Cover Fail

We have just come back from a lovely week’s holiday in Scotland, which is my excuse this time for no new posts! There was internet but it was patchy. The beautiful views more than made up for it though. It was right in the middle of nowhere (ok, Perthshire) and so quiet! Boy 4 even slept through the night a few times, something that he has only ever managed to do twice before.

Before we went I wanted to make a new cover for Boy 4′s car seat. It’s not an especially nice seat, it doesn’t recline very far, it was used by Boys 2 and 3 and the seat cover is made of nasty stretchy nylon which makes Boy 4′s little head all sweaty when he falls alseep. Other than buying a new seat, which Husband was not up for doing, there was not a lot I could do to improve it. However, while trawling the internet a while ago I found a lovely tutorial for making a car seat cover. I can’t remember where it was otherwise I would add a link! It was beautiful and all she did was take her old car seat cover apart and use the bits as a pattern. Easy peasy! Or not so much. In attempting to improve Boy 4′s car seat I have accidently become a Pinterest craft fail meme.

It nearly fits but not nearly enough!

It nearly fits but not nearly enough!

I bought some lovely cotton fabric and set about deconstructing the cover. Using the bits I made a pattern. This was tricky as some of the pieces had elasticated edges and this was possibly partly where I went wrong. Having cut the bits out I sewed them up, put it on the car seat and… it didn’t fit! Had the fabric been stretchy like the original cover I might have been able to make it fit, but there’s no give in cotton! So frustrating. The seat needed a cover though, so Plan B was to sew up the original bits and put it back on the seat.

Unfortunately the original seat cover was not only

What on earth happened??

What on earth happened??

horribly stretchy, it also had foam stuck to the back making it very thick and awful to sew. I was in a rush by this point as we were leaving for Scotland later that same day and Boy 4′s seat had to have a cover. I did what I could and sewed the original seat pieces back together and, yes readers, you have guessed it, that didn’t fit either! Gah! What was I to do?

Thankfully, having 4 kids and being in recovery for a mild pushchair addiction, I found a couple of cosytoes that I was not using and I put those on the seat. Phew! They didn’t fit as well as the original had before I took it apart but they did the job!Phew!

So these are my tips for making a car seat cover:

1. Don’t.

2. Ok, if you are going to, use stretchy fabric if the original cover is made from stretchy fabric.

3. Include a generous seam allowance. It is much easier to make things smaller than it is to make them bigger.

4. Photograph the original seat cover before you take it apart, then photograph the bits the right way up and in the right positions.

5. Use post its or masking tape to label the bits. Don’t forget to write on them which way up they go!

Good luck!

(The chest pads did work! I’ll post about those another time!)

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