Sunday, 17 August 2014

Crimplene, Vintage Cushion and a "Fairytale" Corset

Well hello! I have been away on holiday at my Mum's in Edinburgh. She had to go into hospital again and, to cut a long story short, a 2-day stay turned into 2 weeks. She got home late on Thursday night and I came home late Friday as it is back to work for me tomorrow. Boo! She is doing okay now though, thank [insert deity of choice].

Inside the old Royal Bank of Scotland Head Office in Edinburgh has the most amazing plaster work.

Had big plans to visit things in the Edinburgh Festival and the Fringe but only had a chance to meet up with the uber-talented Mel from Le Hat Noir who is a long-time collaborator and very lovely friend. She makes the most exciting hats like the ones below. You can see a lot more on her Facebook Page.

I made the dip-dyed corset and neck corset to match which is covered in 5 different colours of red-toned Swarovski crystals and "blood" drops. These were specially commissioned for a gallery show called "Darkly Crafted Fairytales" that we took part in a couple of years ago and were also show on the catwalk with another 11 outfits by us at the Merchant City Festival in Glasgow. The blurry ladies on the right are our mums.

Beautiful lady. Inspired by the Neil Gaiman short story "Snow, Glass, Apples".

Apart from that as I have been away from home sans machine I have not done a lot. I managed to do a bit of charity shopping for vintage tat, my favourite kind, and have picked up some gems (depending on your taste of course). Look at this amazing cushion cover. It has been appliqued with what looks like a bit of (inexpertly) embroidered tablecloth. Bit of a "Marmite" purchase I know, but personally I love it and it was a steal for £2 including the inner.

This is so awful that it is fabulous. I love it white nylon lace and all!

I also picked up some vintage pillowcases in floral cotton, a whole 30p each.

Lovely 70's cotton pillowcases. I bought 5 different kinds but this is the most funky. I will use them for putting delicates inside before I bung them in the washing machine.

Also, a dress length of this amazing crimplene fabric for £2. I have absolutely no idea whatsoever about what the print is supposed to be and, to be honest, I am not sure that the colours are even "me" but who could resist such a weird design.  The photo washes out the colours a bit.

Weird Sci-Fi Crimplene or Hot and Sweaty in Space!

Reminds me of the Thals planet in the first Dr Who Film. Don't know why. I really need to get out more.
Completely nicked from this source!
There was a shop that sold second-hand stuff and crafty things in aid of people with learning disabilities. I bought one of the amazing mobiles made by one of the women there that she does as therapy. They are all made out of up-cycled broken jewellery and driftwood and are so beautiful.

Crappy picture but this looks so lovely when it catches the light. That reminds me I need to wash the hall window. Please ignore the grime, there is a spider out there so it is no-go until it departs!

So anyway apart from that I have done no sewing, what with me not actually being at home. We did go to the beach yesterday and I took loads of photos with my new camera phone. 

Beach at St Mary's

I LOVE it and it saves me lugging around my SLR everywhere which for the dodgy of back like me is a real bonus. We went to both St Mary's Lighthouse at Whitley Bay and down onto the beach at Marsden where the sea caves are. 


The beach there is so clean, I don't think that I have ever seen one in the UK so pristine and it has pink seaweed and sea anemones which only live in clean water.

This looks like beaded lace. Lots of corset inspiration!

But anyway enough of the boring stuff. Normal sewing activity will be resumed soon.

Hope you have all had a great couple of weeks.
Later people!
K xx

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

McCalls 3830 Part 1 and a Binding Foot Review

Right so the last post was all about last weekend, this is what I have been doing on this. 

I had a couple of hours spare Saturday and Sunday so I decided that I should go sew something as I was in town anyway with time to kill. I went to the studio and traced out McCalls 3830 in a size 22. I could do with some new pencil skirts and this pattern seemed ideal with lots of good reviews.
I had traced out this pattern before but had made some modifications so I thought that I would start afresh.

McCalls 3830. A great basic pencil skirt pattern in 5 lengths.

I  traced it in length C and drew a line from the lengthen shorten line to a point 1.5cm in from each side seam to help peg the bottom of the skirt a bit. This would reduce the overall circumference of the bottom by 6cm for a bit more of a wiggle skirted vibe. 

Not the best quality corduroy but a nice colour.

I have had this fabric in my stash for years. I think that I bought it in Remnant King's in Glasgow, but it might have been Mandors. It is 150cm width and I think I had about 1.5m but I didn't measure it as I had originally bought it as a skirt length and knew I had enough. The fabric has a slight cross-wise stretch and is not very thick so will need to be lined. It had been pre-washed, etc.

Last year I bought a binding foot from eBay. It was less than £5 so was not too much to lose if I couldn't get it to work. I tried it for the first time yesterday and was truly impressed. 

You adjust the foot to the with of your binding with the little screw on the right.

This skirt pattern is vented so I my first though about finishing the seams was binding. I bought some double-fold tape in a black and white gingham, mainly because it was either that or baby pink, and thought I would have a go with my new(ish) foot.

Underneath showing how it threads through.

It is so easy to use. You just feed the binding through and the action of the feed dogs and foot does the rest, although if you haven't got your fabric lined up closely things can go a bit wrong. Hey, it was in my first 5 inches!

Easily rectified but still quite annoying.

I got the hang of it after about 10 minutes and although it is quite slow going it is fun.

Look at the pretty.

I have done all the inside seams (except for the centre back as I was not sure if it would add to much bulk round the zip area) and will do the hem but I ran out of tape. I had bought 4m thinking it would be enough but I will get another couple just to be on the safe side. It was 50p a metre so what the hell, I am going to live dangerously.

Another great use for this foot would be to turn bias strips into spaghetti straps. It makes such a clean looking strip and no need for those fiddly rouleaux turning hooks. Yay!

Great clean strips. Knackered old hands. It's all the chemicals at work you know.

Anyway to sum up. I think that this treatment looks great. I love a Hong Kong-style finish and this is just such a cute way to finish seams or hems. I know that I am going to use this foot to death.Would be a very useful gadget for making straps for tops or children's wear too. Five quid well spent in my books.

Coming soon "Part two, the big skirt reveal", if you pardon the pun............

Happy everything!
K xx

Monday, 4 August 2014

I Sit By the Harbour.............

Apologies for not posting for a while. This is the first day of my holidays and things have been a little manic with work as there are very few people there. Plus, this post will have absolutely no sewing in whatsoever! I have done some but I will have to put that into another post. So I would like to share with you what I did last Saturday, pretty much my only day off until now. 

Warning, this post is picture heavy!

The weather was amazing. I was in Newcastle and it was 30C. So I decided that it was high time for a road trip to the seaside. For those of you not familiar with the North East of England, although the area has a fairly grim industrial past the coastline and countryside are beautiful and pretty unspoilt with some really outstanding areas of natural beauty. We started the day by driving to South Shields. Apart from this being the site of the Tyne Dock and the ferry to various places in Europe, South Shields has a beautiful clean beach with miles of golden sand.

The beach at South Shields looking towards Tynemouth Priory.

 There is also a sort of modest theme park thing with the amusements and ice cream stalls. I just like the sand and sea part. They are trying to encourage the formation of proper dunes with lots of beach plants. 
We walked almost all the way to Marsden then back to the car.

The cliff tops at Marsden are subject to serious coastal erosion.

Marsden was a small village that served the limestone quarry and mine at Whitburn colliery, however story goes that the wives of the miners and workers preferred to live in South Shields so the men would commute to work on the local railway, giving rise to the "Marsden Rattler" , the local nickname for the passenger train that used to run between there and South Shields. 

Marsden Village and Lime Quarry Source

The village was eventually demolished in the late 1960's after the closure of the pit due to water ingress. A few of the original houses remain in what is now classed as Whitburn village. 

Not to mention all those pit shafts.

The remains of the quarry and line lime kilns are still there although they are too dangerous to wander around in. You can get a good view of them from the road though.

Pretty spooky even on a nice sunny day.

Marsden is also home of the famous, Marsden Rock. It used to be an arch-shape but this collapsed in the winter storms of 1996 leaving two columns. One of the columns was declared unsafe and was demolished leaving the formation that you see below. The rock is only reachable on foot at low tide.

This is now a sea bird colony.

It was still quite early when we had finished wandering around Marsden so being in the vicinity I thought it might be nice to visit St Paul's church in Jarrow which was home to the Venerable Bede, chronicler of early English Christianity.

Ruins of the original monastery are still in the grounds.

This place has been a monastic site since AD681. The current church there incorporates the original, dating from Anglo-Saxon times. It was so peaceful there. You could almost feel the ghosts of the monks, revenants of quiet contemplation hanging in the air.

Don't think that this was there in Bede's Time.

Except for the abrupt inclusion of the modern age!

Chips, food of the Gods.

We finished the day off with the obligatory fish and chips in Whitley Bay. I was knackered and am still feeling it in my legs and back. Old age I suppose but it was nice to get out in the sunshine. I felt like a pit pony on it's holidays.

Well that is enough rambling about coastlines and chips. I have got a bit to say about sewing but will put that into another post.

Have fun in the sun!