Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Shirt off his back

 Well actually - about 50 of his shirts. Which I collected over 10 years. All blue, which was very considerate of him as  a) It's my favourite colour, and b) They all went together very nicely, thank you.

I cut up those shirts into little pieces.... then sewed them all back together again (!)
A patchwork of nearly 200 squares. Some with the shirt pockets still attached.

The shirt buttons were used to 'quilt' the whole thing. A button at every corner of every square. That was a LOT of buttons to sew on.

And with the leftovers - I made cushion covers.

Button closure for your cushion cover? Check. Decoration around the outside - a row of 'button-down' collar points. Neat. Cute.

And when there is hand sewing to be done, this is where I sit. A cosy corner of the sewing room, next to the stove.

Then quite recently I heard about a Shirt Challenge - refashion a man's shirt into whatever you like.
There just happened to be a too-large (blue) shirt lurking in our pile of clothes destined for the charity shop.....
A Pinterest board of amazing refashions led me to the blog Jane Makes (I know - brilliant name?) And there I discovered, and was totally inspired by, a delightful little refashioned-shirt pencil skirt (shkirt?).

I neeeded a new skirt. A new blue skirt.
New Look 6843 skirt pattern was already in my stash. I had a free Sunday -  and very soon I had a new skirt.
The shirt pocket was  perfectly placed to become the skirt pocket.

I couldn't be bothered to change the sewing machine foot to add an extra buttonhole for the waist, so I sewed on one of the button-down points from the collar instead.  I think my 'laziness' worked out quite nicely - it creates a nice little detail.

As the shirt was quite a heavy chambray fabric, it was perfectly good enough for a skirt. A lining was added to finish the waist without adding a waistband, but it has also added a little extra body to the skirt - makes it look quite smart.

I'm very pleased with it, very pleased indeed. It has been worn and enjoyed several times already.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Lady Jane goes out and about

Made by Lady Jane has been quite busy recently.
In the middle of October I put together this stall, for a Ladies Day at the golf course (ladies do like to shop!)

Then just 2 days later I was in Peillac, exhibiting some of my work with 'Comparz', a local association of craftspeople and artisans. 
The occasion was the 'Fetes des Fruits d'Automne', a celebration of all things autumnal, and local - sweet chestnuts, pumpkins, apples and many other other edibles. Huge crowds come to the village to partake of these goodies and enjoy live music and traditional Breton dancing in the streets. This year we were blessed with glorious sunny weather, which was a real bonus.

Our little artisan group took over a disused chapel in the village, dragged in enormous branches and foliage and recreated a little 'forest' indoors - it was bizarre but wonderful!
Our work was exhibited in amongst the foliage:

And on the Saturday evening, in true french fashion, we all brought  a little something to share and ate a wonderful picnic together in our 'forest'. (It was lovely, atmospheric, just a little bit eccentric and another reminder of why I am so happy to be living here)

Moving on into November and I was exhibiting again,at 'Salon Toutes Fibres Dehors' in la Gacilly, not too far from home.
 This is a two day event showcasing textile professionals living and working in Brittany. Over 40 exhibitors, demonstrations, and a fashion show each day draw in good crowds . Hard work, but very worthwhile for so many reasons.


After - Who IS that daft looking lady?

Ooh - what luverly things!

And that brings us to this weekend, when I'll mostly be involved with this:

Christmas is just around the corner, so I'm off to Glenac, to a little 'Marche de Noel'

Which is why I've not been here on my blog very often, cos I've been here, there and (feels like) everywhere!.

........and I think that quite soon it will rather nice to:

- wouldn't you agree??

Monday, 27 October 2014

Skirting the issue / Cute as a Button

So I sewed me a skirt and I absolutely LOVE it!

It  fits, it looks even better than I imagined and I bought just the right amount of fabric (a mere 70cm).
The pattern is New Look 6843, a pattern with two basic skirt shapes - Pencil skirt and A-line.
This print is quite loud and very colourful - all it needed was a very simple skirt shape. No need for any embellishments or intricate finishes.

Nice fit missus!

The pattern is quick and easy to follow and the fit was good for me. I'm a bit of a pear shape so skirts and trousers are never easy to find, but I cut out a size 14, no alterations, and it was perfect.
I had to make a small adjustment to the side seams after I'd tried it on. There were some serious 'bulges' happening at the top 4"of the side seams. This was as a result of over-enthusiastic curves on the pattern rather than my body shape (That's what I'm saying anyway!). So I straightened out that part of the seam a little and hey presto! - lovely fit.

Ooh - just look at those loverly buttons!

 There are 2 darts to shape the front of the skirt into the waistline, but 4 darts doing the same job round the back. Those 4 back darts seem to create a much smoother shape than you'd get with the usual 2 darts shaping from backside to waist. Must remember that for future skirt patterns.
  The fabric is what I believe is called a 'Baby Cord' - a very fine corduroy fabric (you can see the corduroyriness in this slightly bizarre photo below!). It's light-weight but has enough body to make a nice skirt.

Do my feet look small in this?

I already had some good quality brown lining fabric in my stash - and a zip just the right size and colour.
I know - meant to be.

Zip - check. Lining - check.  Looking good!

And the print? Oh wow - I gasped when I first spied it in the fabric shop! Sooooo suitable for someone who sews, with buttons, quite a lot.

Ooh, look - it's also quite nice with a polo neck jumper!

When I look at photos of the finished skirt I am sooooo pleased.
And that fabric is available in 2 more colour ways. It would be rude not to, don't you think?

Thanks for stopping by - see you again soon! Jane xx

Postscript:   I made This dress again - in brown, for autumn, why not??

Friday, 29 August 2014

That's better!

  I had another attempt at Simplicity 1699 and I think the end result is Much Better!

 Look - here's me looking smug because I've just sewn the cutest dress in the whole world, ever:

So how did I do it? What changes did I make?
Once I'd inserted the raglan sleeves, I attacked the neckline that was too high, too tight and far too unflattering.
I cut back 1" of fabric all around the raw neck edge. Then I added the collar from pattern view B, having cut away 1" from the same inner edge, so that it would fit the now larger neckline.This also reduced the depth of the collar to a nice size - the original would probably have been a little excessive?

 Anyway - it worked, I am soooo pleased with this new neckline, it suits me far better than the plain neckline of the first dress I made with this pattern:

Do you notice any similarity between the fabrics for these 2 dresses? Yup - Exactly the same, except for the colour.  In my defence, It's such a nice quality stretchy cotton fabric, which suited this pattern so well the first time around and was so easy to work with............if it works, use it again!
A word of advance warning though:  There is a 3rd colourway - and yes, I did buy it.  I'm thinking I may branch out and have a go at a Different Pattern (!) for the next one.  Long sleeves, autumnal sort of design. Any guesses as to the colour??

Anyways, having decided a white collar would work nicely with this dress fabric, a hunt through my fabric stash was not helpful - no stretchy white fabric to be found.  Until I came across a child's white t-shirt that someone gave me ages ago.  Exactly what I needed - for the collar.................and for some sleeve cuffs:

Pattern view B has a slightly different sleeve design. It has the same raglan construction that makes sewing the sleeve to the body of this dress sooooooooo easy (I cannot emphasise that enough!), but this sleeve is a little shorter, which made the outer edge a bit too sticky-outy for my liking. So I cut a coupla more strips off the white t-shirt, gathered in the edge of the sleeve a little and sewed on a cute cuff. You can just about see in the photo that I used a long, shallow zigzag stitch for the cuffs. That was an easier and more successful stitch to use with this stretchy fabric, and adds a little extra cuteness. I know - I'll be showing random pictures of  kittens next......... (NO! I won't!)

Then I added me some Pockets:

Don't you just love a pocket or two? For popping things in? - that handy bit of string that might come in useful; a tissue, just in case; the extra clothes pegs when you're hanging out the washing; somewhere to stuff your hands when you don't know what to do with them; biscuity treats for any passing cute kittens.....

There were enough leftovers of dress fabric to cut out 2 pocket squares. I added white cuffs at the top edge, and voila! a couple of patch pockets that I actually think add a little something to the design.

Because the mixed sizes I cut out last time worked (bizarrely) very well, I just went straight for it and repeated everything I'd done before:

Bodice front in size 10, bodice back size 12, skirt size 14. All sewn together with my overlocker, making it a quick project. (Loving my overlocker for sewing stretchy fabrics - so quick, so easy, so streeeeetchy)

So - one final 'Happy With My New Dress' photo:

Thanks for reading, and see you again sooon - it's nearly OWOP week!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Lady in Lavender

On the work table.

I have a little business over here in France. It gives me the excuse, and the pennies, to buy lovely fabrics and spend many happy hours playing with needle and thread.
At the moment I'm busy, busy making stock for an upcoming Craft Fair - or Festival des Artisans d'Art, held in the rather pretty village of Lizio, in Brittany.

There are almost 200 exhibitors on the day, lining the streets and open spaces. Quite a spectacle. And such a variety of products. It's an event I'm always very happy to be a part of.

Over the past few days I have been working on some lavender filled fabric hearts to display on my stand.

Some of the lavender came from my garden, but this year most of it came from a lovely friend's garden. I spied her loooong hedge of lavender plants well before the flowers had opened and cheekily asked if I could possibly harvest her lavender for my hearts. She very kindly said yes.


It took a while to get all those flowers picked, trimmed, bunched and hung to dry.

But a few weeks later and it was time to remove all those dried flowers from the stalks. A job I chose to do outside - it can get quite 'heady' with all the fumes!

And now all that lavender is tucked inside an array of pretty hearts. It's a pity you can't get computer screens with a 'scratch and sniff' facility - my sewing room smells divine!

(I do enjoy my 'job')

Friday, 11 July 2014

Sometimes I make cake.

It was someone's birthday today.
 No, not mine.

 So we treated ourselves to lunch out.

 In a beautiful medieval city not too far from home.

 Where the buildings lean close together, as though gossiping about everyone they see passing by.

And recently refurbished facades are absolutely divine.

 When we got back home I made a cake.

A Victoria sponge, as requested by the birthday boy. With lashings of homemade raspberry jam, buttercream icing and the last of the fresh raspberries from the garden. 

I do like birthdays - you get to share nice things, in nice places, with nice people.