Saturday, August 15, 2015

By Hand London - Anna dress

So I finally finished my By Hand London Anna dress. I've loved so many versions online, I wanted to make my own. The material was from Edinburgh Fabrics, £6.50 a metre and I bought 2 metres. It's the most fitted and advanced garment I've ever made. 
I think I'm happy with it. I lowered the bust darts but otherwise made no alterations. I was incredibly impressed with my invisible zip insertion. It's the longest I've ever sewn. Thanks to Tilly and the Buttons I am now adept at this technique, which eluded me for so long. Somehow, though, the back waist panels didn't line up when I was finished, even though I'd checked them before sewing the second side of the zip. I expect no one will notice except me.

There is a bagginess about the top that I'll have to get used to. I can see the same with other online versions, and if I make it again I'll take a couple of chunks out of the pattern.

I decided not to line it after all, because when I went to cut out the lining I didn't have enough material. I'm not sure if the weight of the lining would have given it stability, or caused it to be over-fussy.

My head isn't in the photos because I was having an unwashed hair day, not because I'm trying to protect my identity. :)

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Sewing, mostly.

I have almost finished knitting my cardigan Ysolda's Chikadee. I just have to knit the rib, which trims the entire garment, and it's finished. For someone who hates sewing knitted items together, this design has been a dream. It's knitted in one piece. No front, back and sleeves. It starts at the neck and finishes at the rib, and it's ready to wear! I think I'll choose buttons to colour-match the birds. I intend starting straight away on the next cardigan, though I think I'll replace the birds motif with a snowflake/Norwegian star design. 
This is my Lucy Liu dress. It started life as a Simplicity 3835 top. I love that pattern, in dress and top form. It's so easy to cut and sew together. Anyway, as I was hemming the top I started visualising it as a dress with pockets. So I bought the 'hospital' blue material and turned it into a dress. I like it. It's difficult to see the pockets in this photo but they are just patch pockets that came with the pattern. It's the first time I've done pockets and I learned a few things, particularly to sew as close to the edge as possible! That would've made it look better, though it's fine. I called it after Lucy Liu as we watched a programme with her in it and she wore some great shift-type dresses.  
This is the top version of Simplicity 3835. This flamingo material, which I bought from Edinburgh Fabrics for £6.50 a metre (I bought 2 metres) really suits this top. I gave it to my friend Fiona for her birthday. 
I almost had enough material to make a second flamingo top, but not quite! So I found the peacock feather (what I call my Turkey feather material) leftover material I had from my Amy Butler A-line skirt and made patchwork-sleeves. I also didn't have enough peacock feather material to make a whole sleeve. Still, I also love this version, which I kept for myself, and have worn it A LOT.
The sleeve detail.
I have no idea why the above photo is so bad! It's my By Hand London Anna dress. I LOVE the pattern, and have seen so many great versions in Blogland. I had intended making it for my friends' wedding in June, and I would've been able to finish it if I hadn't decided it would be better lined. I just didn't have time to make the lining and put it all together. So, the wedding came, I wore a Fatface dress that I also like, and my Anna dress has been hanging there ever since. The lining material is covering the piano, and I'm not sure when I'll get it finished now. It'll happen suddenly.
I also took part in the Oh Comely Perfect Strangers swap. Oh, I love this concept. You put your name forward to the organisers, they pair you with a stranger, and then you put together a parcel of presents for your stranger. It was such a lovely thing to do. These are the presents I sent off. I was teamed up with a woman in Ghent, Kentucky. She sent me some lovely things also, and knitted me a beautiful wash cloth as well.
We have had a dreadful time with our chickens recently. We have lost chickens to foxes before, but never on this scale. Chickens were disappearing one every day or every other day. The remaining girls were completely freaked out and spooked, and instead of going about their peaceful chicken business of scratching and meandering around the place, visiting the allotment boys, going for a walk on the lawns, an afternoon sleep in the shade of the trees, they took to hiding beside bushes near the henhouse and were on high alert the whole time. No one was having any fun. The final straw came one Thursday I returned home from work to find three chickens missing. One had been eaten (I found the feathers), one was halfway down a wild wooded area that goes towards the river, and one - my little friend Tiger, a bantam - was way down at the river's edge and ON THE OTHER SIDE! Poor wee thing had been scared/chased far from home. So I had to drive over the bridge, rescue her, put her in a box and drive home again. So, we moved the remaining chickens - 8 hens and 2 chicks - into our back garden. They soon returned to normal chicken behaviour and it has been a relief to break the fox cycle. 
And so the eggs are to eventually replenish the chicken stock, and to add some colour to our eating eggs. My neighbours found a company called The Rainbow Egg company. Great idea. Some great colours.

Keeping chickens I expect and accept we will lose a couple of chickens a year to foxes. We actually had a good year just before the two week slaughter, where we didn't lose any girls to the fox. 
Meg has been a great friend to me while Hagos has been on tour. She keeps me company every single day, and chats to me and gives me cuddles. She is a true friend and I love her.