April 29, 2009

Kingfisher & Bullrush,

I've had a bad week, anyone who follows me on Twitter will already know I hit myself rather badly on the head with my car door on Friday and ended up in A&E (or the ER if you are American).  That is the closest I've ever been to knocking myself out!.  I think I just have to accept that I am accident prone, coming to that conclusion after sitting down on my sewing needle!

After the head incident, I'd started thinking I must have knocked all the good ideas out too, until a trip to a local charity shop resulted in a couple of illustrated nature books.  That helped get the cogs working again.


such beautifully coloured birds,

and Bullrushes.

Not easy to photograph the two together!

April 21, 2009

Beg, borrow and steal...,

Things are a little slow this week.  The kids have gone back to school, and my three days that I get to work are passing by fast, with not very much done.  This holiday has been nice, albeit tinged with a little sadness due to a close family member being very ill, Lucy, Luke and I have spent a great deal of time together just chilling out.  We've had lots of cuddles on the sofa, watching dvd's while basking in (finally!) a bit of sun flooding into the lounge.  Luke is growing up so fast, he's 4 soon, ...4!

Still don't want anymore though, here's why...,

(warning - this does contain some mild swearing!)

It's not often I borrow from others to blog, but I first heard this song a while ago now, still makes me howl with laughter every time

April 16, 2009

Etsy Labs, and a monday craft night...,

Firstly, thank you for all the encouraging comments regarding the fox.  I feel embarrassed now for being perhaps a bit over critical of my own work!.  We've been away over Easter weekend visiting family, so crafting has been thin on the ground, ok non-existent!.  But, I did come home to this unexpected piece of news...!

Etsy hold craft nights, in Brooklyn NY, on a monday evening.  On Monday 13th April, Heather Ross was scheduled to be running a class, but due to unforeseen circumstances, had to pull out at short notice.  So, what do you think they did instead?, ...made toadstools from my toadstool tutorial!  How cool is that?!  There are some photo's from the evening on Flickr.

Since we are still in the throws of the Easter school holidays here in the UK, I am feeling my crafting is in need of a kick start.  So, as tonight there is no 'Lost' or 'The Apprentice' on TV to distract me, I'm going to join in with the Crafteroo thursday night project.  For those who don't know what Crafteroo is, it's a new-ish, rapidly expanding UK based online craft forum, I am the Editor of the craft business board, go take a look!

April 9, 2009

Right first time...?

errrrrr... no!

It's very rare for any of the softie's that I make when working on a new pattern go right first time.  But I don't have a problem with that, I'm human, I make (lots of) mistakes!.

This is the fox I mentioned in this post

It's not finished, but I've stopped because he's just not quite right.  The design needs tweaking and I'm not convinced with my fabric choices either.

So off he goes, back to the drawing board.  And just to show you how often this kind of thing happens, here's a whole drawer full of 'not quite rights'!

I can't remember where I came across the link to this, but I love this idea.  It's a collaborative blog totally dedicated to handmade mishaps, Craft-Fail.  I think I'm going to have to join, I'd feel right at home there!

So, come on, fess up your handmade disasters!, and have a happy easter.  This is my favorite holiday, it involves chocolate, yum!

April 6, 2009

Confession time...!

I sew and craft a lot, but one thing I've never done, is make either of my children any clothes!  I've made umpteen costumes for plays and parties, but no clothes.  Anyway, the other evening, for some unknown reason, I just had to make Lucy a dress.  The latest issue of Sew Hip magazine was sat on my desk, and in it, there is an 'oliver + s' popover sundress pattern.  I found some pink patterned fabric, (it's actually a bed sheet which came from a charity shop), and cut out the dress shape.  But when it came to the yoke, I spotted, out of the corner of my eye, a childs size top, which has been amongst my fabric stash for a while.  I bought it, again from a charity shop one day when I was caught short and needed some white broderie anglaise.  There was a square missing from the back, but the top part was still intact.

So, making life easy for myself, I simply stitched the dress straight to the top!  Easy peasy!, after adding two patch pockets in a different fabric, we have one pretty little dress, for a pretty little 7 year old.

Problem is now, I've caught the bug.  Adding a skirt to an existing top just makes this dressmaking lark so easy.  Rummaging through Lucy's cupboards, we then moved on to a red vest top.  Now, Lucy normally steers away from red, her school uniform is red so it's a colour she has to wear a lot, but, matched with this turquoise based print, it was a go-er!

Lucy cut out a little fabric heart which we attached with 'heatnbond', then added a blanket stitch edge and a button.

As the dress shape (I used the largest pattern size, which is for an 8 year old) was a little wider than the top, I've added two darts, and then shortened the length to compromise for the added top part.

Wonder which one she'll wear tomorrow!

April 2, 2009

Softie designing dilemmas,

It has occurred to me over the last week, while working on a variety of different animal softie patterns, the issue of colour, and how much the colour and fabric choice has to do with what, as the designer, you are aiming to convey.  I've found myself automatically reaching for fabrics featuring browns and oranges to use for a fox, greys and blacks for the badger and so on.  Would the badger pattern work as well made in reds and blues?, I'm not sure, but no doubt, now the pattern is cracked, I will be giving it a try eventually.

BADGER (close up)

I've also found myself attempting to work at odds with my own natural style.  When I design and make a softie, whatever creature it is, the finished product is more often than not, slightly cartoon like.  This isn't deliberate, it just seems to happen.  No matter how much I try to stay realistic, cute and stylised keeps creeping in.  I think it is a by-product from having worked in the craft kit industry.  When I'm designing, as I mostly design projects for magazine editorials, I'm constantly aware of the fact that I know what I can do sewing wise,  but a pattern design needs to be executed in a way that would appeal and feel manageable to a less experienced sewer.

(the fox has gone back to the drawing board by the way, it came out a little too cartoon like, even for me!)

I'm happiest working on patterns.  It doesn't concern me to, for instance, have my cat pattern featured in a magazine or book for anyone to make.  Doing so, is healthy for the creative process, the cat pattern is just one pattern.  Once it's been published, it spurs me on to develop a new cat pattern, one that has evolved from it's predecessor, and beyond.  And if I continue doing that, maybe one day, the more realistic style I crave will begin to materialise.  It's the journey and the bits in between which are the fun part anyway.

While we're on the subject of patterns, the Spring issue of the online "UK Handmade" magazine is out today.  There's a chicken softie pattern from me in there amongst other lovely projects and articles.

ps.  I've finally had a more detailed response from Flickr as to why they deleted my account.  It was linking to this blog underneath my images.  They have admitted that the deletion may have been a little hasty, and made my new account 'pro' for free.  I guess that is the closest to an apology I'm going to get!