From runner to top magic

It all started off as a table runner. 

I should start, at the start. I bought some of Art Gallery's fabric Morse Dot in Ash by Katarina Roccella with a view to make it into to table runners for my bright carnival style wedding. It arrived in store and it was beautiful! More softer and silkier than other fabric's that are in the medium weight category (All of our Art Gallery cotton's are like this, they are lighter making them ideal for dressmaking as well as quilting). We cut up four meters of it, cut it in half , hemmed them round the edges (all the day before the gathering) and laid them out. They looked pretty awesome.

After the wedding I started to unpack all the decorations.  Pondering on what I was going to do with 8 table runners It dawned on me- after holding them up against me- that I could probably turn at least 3 of these into a simple top. I had made a beautiful top out of the Scout Tee pattern before using rayon (you can read that here). I love that pattern, so I thought I would give it another whirl. I washed them and all the wine stains came out without even needing stain remover, bonus.

I first had to sew the runners together to get the correct width. I was worried that it could look odd having a big seam running down the centre, but I think it looks fine. 

I love the ease of this pattern, I used 1.75 meters for the whole thing. You do have quite a bit of fabric left over on the sides. The nice thing about making it out of a medium weight cotton is that I can use it for any other projects. Mine normally go into scraps for quilting (I'm all about using scraps for quilting!)

It's the kind of sew you could have done in a few solid hours there are only 5 pieces to it front, back , sleeves and the neck binding. I had to redo one of my sleeves because one side wasn't as gathered as the other side- and that annoyed me. Also watch when sewing the binding on that it's wide enough to cover the raw edges. On my first go on this top my bias binding was a bit thin and after about 6 washes the binding started to come away from the top (that may also have something to do with it being made out of rayon).

We still have some of the Morse Dot Ash still left in stock , as well as the Scout tee pattern if you fancied making your own (maybe without the middle seam).

A carnival of patterns!

We have had a shed load of new patterns arrive in store his week, so today I'm going to introduce them to you and let you know why we are so excited about them! Lets start with Tilly and the Buttons....

We have got in the last few releases from Tilly and the Buttons. Tilly's patterns are straight talking easy to follow patterns, which are fab for beginners. Shall we look at the 3 in a bit more detail?

The Marigold

Jumpsuits are everywhere and so on trend this summer! But if your not comfortable wearing one (like me, my legs are too short to carry it off!)  then there is also a pattern for an amazing pair of lounge pants. Tilly recommended our Cherries in Rayon fabric which we promptly sold out of, but if all the stars align, we will hopefully have it back in stock round the second week of August. The rayon is beautiful, it would be a perfect match! You can read more about the Marigold and even join the sew along over at Tilly's website!

The Orla

Isn' t this top the bee's knees?? Dress it up or down it works on all the levels. it 's been marked as a sewing skill for Improvers, So in-between beginners and intermediate. French darts give this top it's fit and it also has a dipped back to cover your derriere! This goes well with our beautiful Rayons and Lawns! High on my list of" to make" next!

The Martha

This gorgeous feminine flowy dress is perfect for every occasion ! Designed for the confident beginner this introduces you to darts, princess seams, collars and zips! Works beautifully with our rayons and lawns.

WHEN COTTON + STEEL MET COLETTE PATTERNS

Super exciting news, our favourite designers Cotton + Steel have paired up with the totes amaze Colette patterns, a match made in sewing heaven! There has not been a more exciting collaboration since Daft Punk & Nile Rogers.

Cotton+Steel have paired up their various Rayons, Lawns, Canvas fabrics with a collection of fabulous Colette Patterns to showcase C+S is more than quilting fabric.

We have a lot of these featured fabrics on order and as mentioned above if all goes well we should have everything in by the second week of August, So in anticipation,we now have in stock all of the featured patterns!  

 

Below are some of our coming soon rayon & lawn fabrics that would go amazing with the above patterns! If you are unfamiliar with C+S rayons and lawns they are divine! Soft and luxurious they push your dressmaking from nice make to an amazing one!  Click on each image for more information.

You can see all of our patterns on our Colette page & all of our c+s fabrics on our store site. 

You can also read each of these amazing blogs for more details on Colette's blog & Cotton+Steel's blog, both are fab reads!

A lil tank blooms into a willow

Off to the seaside I was last weekend and I wanted to make an aptly sewn top to match the event. It was supposed to be hot (so it typically rained for the whole day) . But as with all things I was short on time , so needed something that will only take a few hours.

I picked the tiny pocket tank from Grainline Studios, now before I start on this, I will say that this pattern has now been discontinued and replaced with the Willow top & dress pattern. But for all purposes, this is about the tiny pocket tank so things may have been improved/ updated for the Willow.

I paired it up with Tossed Anchors by Dear Stella. It was hard to choose as we have quite a few different nautical themed fabrics but as this pattern has darts I was conscious of the impact of putting in a dart into a heavy patterned fabric.  I only say this because it was my first time putting in a dart, (yeah, I know- not sure why that took so long) and I really didn't want obvious pattern mash.

These patterns normally accommodate for a B cup, I'm much larger than that- but i'm too afraid to start extending cups and busts, so haven't, I just measured my bust and went from there, which for me worked out fine. ..well not really. More on that in a bit.

This is a super easy pattern, there is only 3 pieces to sew and the construction is almost identical to the Scout tee (but the scout doesn't have any darts). So I knew I had to be careful with my bias binding, but the rest of it was going to be a breeze. Inserting all the armhole bias binding went fine...but I did overstretch it a bit in the neckline..pain!

I still haven't settled on my favourite way to finish off seams, so I had wished I had finished with french seams but I made that decision too late, zig zag it was.

Back to the bust, I've got a bit of a bust, but also a short chest.  With other tops I have made I haven't made any adjustments and this hasn't been much of an issue, but with this one it was. I stupidly didn't think about my short chest (gotta stop sewing in a rush)  so once it was finished it was way too long in the front with  too much boobage on show for my liking as well as really gapey at the back, it sat like something my aunt would wear.

 It was too late for me to do any proper adjustments, so all I could do was what I do with most shop bought tops I buy, I hemmed up the seams at the top (I normally stick them in my bra). This wasn't ideal as they came in at an angle and now my armpits were tight and rubbing. I lowered it a bit and came to a compromise in top and bottom. 

I don't think it's too obvious but next time I make one I'll definitely have to adjust the top half to make it shorter (there's a new thing to learn!) but I threw a blazer over the top and it looked great. It all held together on the rollercoasters and in the non stop rain (I have a cold now boo hoo). I'll tackle the Willow in it's dress form next but I think I'll go for one of our soft chambrays  like the union...although in the bound would be amazing.... 

OK, pocket is a bit square too....

OK, pocket is a bit square too....

Sewing the Bettine

Howdy!

Well it's May and everyone has been showing off their makes, I've felt so unproductive! So today is all about my single make so far this month (were only halfway through) the Bettine by Tilly and the Buttons patterns.

We have some great budget chambray (£8 a meter!)  in our store and I debated between 3 different patterns to use it with, so I put the question to Instagram- because that's what you do in 2016 right? 

So I put it out there and it came back that I should make the Bettine, which I was glad for as I wanted an easy fast sew (I say fast.. it took a month!) . The only problem I wish I could foresee was that I ate too many biscuits between cutting the pattern and making the pattern.

I traced all my pieces using Swedish Tracing paper, and this is why I do this, as I had to re trace the size again when I messed up the bottom half. 

The bodice came together really easily and quite fast. What I really do want the more dress making I do is an overlocker, my zig zag is ok, but it really needs overlocking.

I did the pocket version , because for me a pocket is essential in all of my clothing. I like walking around looking cool and nonchalant with my hands in my pockets. The first version all came together well, and then I had to put the elastic in...but as you do, I left it, and came back to it a few weeks later (I'm terrible, to be fair the room  sew in was getting moved around so there was stuff everywhere!)

So it's a few weeks later, and I thought best to try on the pieces before I sewn it all together. The top was fine, but I wish I knew what happened (biscuits) to the bottom, because that was snug. As you can see on the picture above (the lines at the bottom are the give away). I didn't want to make the whole front panel again so I just took the back off and made it a size bigger. It worked, it looks a bit hippy. If I make it again, I'll make it less fish tail at the bottom .

 

This is brilliant for anyone just starting out in sewing world, there are no zips or buttons or anything like that. Although I was slightly flummoxed by how to insert the elastic, I have inserted elastic into skirts before , but for some reason I over complicated he instructions,  this was just down to me being a bit thick. Next I'd like to make this in our polka dot chambray and make it a bit more luxurious. 

In store news

We have lots of new patterns in store including the Sudley and Darling from Megan Nielsen, the Ruby by Made by Rae and our first kids patter the Geranium also Made by Rae. We will get to know them all this week. Until then enjoy the Great British Sewing Bee which kicks off this evening!

 

Tula Pink hardware info and other bits.

Well I did originally write this post about these tula pink hardware items, but before I even finished editing it we sold out. So we are looking at ordering more. If you are interested please  let us know via the contact forms at the bottom of each of the products.

Lets meet them shall we?

This range includes the most beautiful 8" fabric shears I have ever seen, 

Forged from the highest quality German grade steel anchored with a 22k gold plated screw. They are so amazing, and have been on many sewists wish list's since Tula released them in October last year. Retails at £35.99. These feel quite heavy and old school. It remind me of something my nan would have had.

There is also these fabulous pair of snips!

"Thin fine blade allows you to get as close as you want without snagging, jabbing or poking your work. The micro serrated blade holds your thread ensuring no slipping or bending, giving you a clean cut the first time every time!" Beauty and practicality all in one. Retails for £20.99 . The best thing about these is that you can get the blades under the pressure foot which is handy.

Lastly we have the most unique looking seam ripper I have ever come across!

"For all of those unwanted frog stitches. Rip-it Rip-it Rip-it. Limited Edition 5.5" Surgical Seam Ripper designed by Tula Pink features high quality stainless steel, designed for durability and style. Perfect for removing stubborn seams. Package includes two blades. " This retail for £12.99.

If you have any questions please contact us at ahoyahoy@craftymastermind.co.uk

Now the other big news is that I was interviewed by the lovely ladies at the fold about opening a new shop, I tried to answer as coherently as I could ! Give it a read...if you like, it is insightful!

read all about it....

read all about it....

 

What else has been going on?

We have quite a few lovely things due to land in the next few weeks , we are getting some more of the  Cotton and Steel Gust in rayon,.thats the black n white stripe- it's been crazily popular!

We will also be getting some of this Cherries in Navy from their Fruit dot range! Lovely stuff!

 Were also expecting some of the new B&W range from Cotton and Steel. We will also be getting in some of the Bluebird range, the ocotpi is back in white and blue this time round!

Cotton and Steel , as well as many other design houses, will be revealing their new ranges on the 20th of May- we are holding out for that. So a lot of new stock will be out for June, I have been re-gramming  Cotton+Steels sneak peeks on our Instagram site, if you would like to know what's in store.

Well it's to nice and warm to stay indoors! have a brilliant weekend and see you next time!

 

 

Easter sewing!

Over Easter I wanted make something using some of the great bunny fabrics we stock, although I couldn't choose between Ghost bunnies or the Moon bunnies. What I did know was that I wanted to make the Brumby from skirt. 

I gunned for the ghost bunnies after asking on instagram. For the inside pocket detail I used some of my own stash, bright pink with birds was a good contrast even if you can barley see it.

I'm always too excited when I make these kind of things, so as usual I didn't pre-wash my fabric, but being med weight cotton it was fine. But the pattern matching in the middle I probably should have thought about more. But in a weird way I like the half rabbits, like they are synchronized.

I used Swedish tracing paper again, loving that stuff! I then measured out just under a meter and a half (130cm to be exact) of the ghost bunnies for the medium size. It was so easy to whip up, I mean super easy. If it wasn't for the zip, I would say this is perfect for a beginner. Unless that beginner wants to learn how to put in a zip.

The instructions were straight forward, but perhaps made some of the steps sound a little more complicated then they actually were. The pockets were fun to make and easy.

 It sits really well, I didn't have any difficulty with the gathering or anything like that. It was a straight forward delightful pattern that I'll make again.  

You can get the brumby here!

...and in cross stitching world

Sally is coming along really well, it's coming along quicker than expected!

We are now on Etsy!

Payment is always a tricky subject and I've been trying to find a way to include Paypal onto our website, which have never been an easy feat. So to get around that we have opened a fabric only store on Etsy! 

For ease, we only ship to the UK from this store. If you still wanted to buy something and you are an international bright young thing, then you will need to continue to purchase through this website.

Wish list makes and cross stitching joy!

Hello again!

This week I've been making lists of stuff I am desperate to make if only there were more hours in the day. These patterns look me over and the yell at me, "C'mon and make me! You know you want to!!" . Yes, very much so lovely patterns is normally my reply. These are what yelling at me the loudest at the moment, and oh boy can they scream!

I've been in love with the House of Wales Plaid, it's everywhere at the moment and I can't  think of a more prefect dress than the Hawthorn for an awesome look. 

But the other thing it would go amazing with is the beautiful Archer

I would also love love love to make this in the shot cotton in bordeaux, it has such an amazing feel and unique look to it, a very chic 70's shirt is to be had.

The most pressing pattern though, is a blazer for spring. I can't decide between the Morris Blazer from Grainline Studio or the Victoria from By Hand London.  I have some wonderful Ponte di roma in black as pictured here and in a marl grey. I think it's just going to have to be one of each.

Cross stitch joy!

Sally from the Crafty Mastermind family hasn't picked up cross stitch for about 20 years. She has started on Emily Peacock & Rob Ryan collaboration  Give Me Work .So to show you all how easy it is to pick up these fab cross stitch set's ,Sally will be keeping us up to date with her progress each week or so, (so no pressure then)

I was given a "Give Me Work " tapestry kit by Emily Peacock last Christmas. The design is specially commissioned exclusively by Rob Ryan, it's very beautiful and detailed. The kit comes beautifully packaged in a gift bag with tapestry, wool, needles and instructions with website links and help online from Emily.

I haven't completed any cross stitch for many years so after a few 'you tube' session refreshers began my kit.

I CANT PUT IT DOWN ,it's very addictive and amazing to be putting on tapestry such a great artists design I'M LOVING IT! I'm particularly enjoying watching the picture come together lots of little details and amazing colours the cross stitch pattern is really easy to follow and even though I have not done a tapestry with wool I am managing really well. 

There will be more to follow in the next coming weeks on Sally's progress.

Thats all for now, until next time share the love of your makes and tell everyone about our free delivery promotion!

Whats new pussycat?

Well it's been a crazy 6 weeks! A lot of hard work and late nights! I'd like to thank everyone who has visited the shop followed us on the various social media networks and have been generally lovely to us. The feedback has been a-maz-ing!

Now to what new stuff have arrived in the store...  firstly a focus on Victory dressmaking patterns from Canada, modern, cool and chic!

 

The Anouk is either a dress or skirt for intermediate skills. Its loose fitting sleeveless sweet number with a bow at the back for that extra feminine touch. The blouse has the the option of putting in bishop sleeves for what reminds me of the renaissance look.  The cute panel at the front top off this awesome look. You could pair this up with these brilliant fabrics 

 

 
 
 

The Chloe is a chic A line shape dress, and isn't it a beaut! Features angled front seams and optional button detailing, along with inseam pockets. The back features princess seams and centre back zipper closure.  Choose between sleeveless or capped sleeves. All you need is a cute jackets and some boots and this look would be perfect!

Fabrics that would work well with this are

 

 

The Madeleine is amazing! A big skirt with beautiful deep pockets that you can wear with or without the suspenders . Match it with a striped top or light blouse, which ever way you wear it it will be chic! This feels really Annie Hall / Diane Keaton in the 70's This will help you expand your skills in zip and button inserting. 

Fabrics that would work with this beautiful pattern...

 
 
 

LANDED FABRICS

Stag heads in gold and blue by Enchino made by Kokka

Do you need some new cushions, or a new throw? These lovely Jacquards are massive and would be a feature on your sofa or anywhere else in the house. These will reappear on the blog shortly as there are projects in the works!

My oh my when this beautiful sateen landed it was even better than I could have imagined. It's soft and silky feeling without having the difficult silky element when sewing with it. I would go so well with so many of our patterns like the Bettine, the Scout tee or the tiny pocket top.

 

Thats all for today peeps!