The finished dress: Paula and Adam’s wedding photos

The wedding has long since been and gone, but I’m finally getting around to posting these photos of Paula in her dress.

A big thanks to Dave Watts for taking such beautiful pictures! I feel super lucky to have these lovely shots of something I’ve made. You can find him here if you’d like to see more of his wedding photography, or contact him about your own photographic needs.

And another thanks to all my lovely friends who’ve enquired about this recently, it’s been really amazing to have everyone taking an interest in this project! I hope these photos round off the story nicely…

gold wedding dress antique mirror italy




bride italian vineyard staircase

bespoke gold wedding dress country italian wedding





stone steps wedding photo

gold wedding dress train italy courtyard fountain

newlyweds sunset kiss

happy couple wedding reception


Wedding dress part 5: it’s the final countdown

In 5 weeks time the actual wedding will be over, so this is the big push to make up the final dress! In an ideal world it’ll be ready for the final fitting by next weekend, leaving me a couple of weeks to hem it, add a hook-up train solution, and do any last minute alterations. And that’s not a completely unrealistic goal: as we stand right now the top mesh layer is sewn! And almost all the pieces are cut ready for the second layer. The petticoat is well into development too. So if I can plough on during the evenings of the coming week maybe I can avoid a last minute panic?!


I wanted to get the petticoat nailed first, but that didn’t go terribly well. I’d tried to do research on how to make an underskirt but I kept coming up with nothing. We’d bought 10m of very stiff mesh at the beginning of this project, so I persevered with that, making tiers with an enormous amount of volume in them, but it didn’t look right. It was more like a tutu for a small child than a couture undergarment.

At which point Lucy, in trying to help out and find some more information online, realised that there was an alluring array available on eBay for no more than twenty quid… So I downed tools and bought one.



And it’s not too bad! Much more volume than I was managing to create. But very, very light ivory, which I would’ve preferred to be more like a cream. Also, and fairly vitally, it’s quite short. Even with my fitted facing on the top, the length is still 13cm shorter than the dress itself will be.

I am going to have to build it up a bit bigger, so I will add a layer of my own tiered mesh; to create a kind of hybrid store bought / made to measure petticoat. So this extra layer can be a little longer, and maybe that will be enough! Maybe under the full dress it will all work. And if it doesn’t then I’ll need to make a panel of my own to go between the boned top panel and the top tier of the bought petticoat.

Petticoat will therefore stay flexible until I’ve got more of the dress done, and we’ll cross these bridges when we get to them. But I’m really glad I ditched the overlapping panel closure solution (on the left below) and changed to more panels and an open ended zipper. The new one is working out very nicely, so at least I feel that however we solve the mesh dilemma it will have a good, well-fitting anchor at the waist.



And on to the actual dress!

Cutting out the skirt panels from the narrow mesh threw up an immediate mishap: I’d miscalculated on the width of the biggest, centre back panel.


I’d been super careful, but there were a few things I’d overlooked (like the centre back edge not being along the grain line all the way to the top, and the fabric being shy of the 90cm). To fix this I had to take away almost 5cm of volume from this panel, which won’t matter in the slightest because the back is not short on volume. Not a disaster, just a momentary pain in the arse.

The zip has been  source of great concern for me. It’s a focal point in it’s own way, there’s nowhere to hide with it on a dress with this little adornment, and it could be the difference between the dress looking professional and shoddy. I’m therefore massively relieved to have gotten it in, to the outer layer at least.

Because the two layers are both visible and not just a simple outer and lining, I wasn’t sure what the right solution was. In the end I decided to make both layers up separately anyway, which means the zip construction can be super normal and much more likely to look good, but I do want the seam allowance of the waist seam on the mesh layer to be on the inside of the garment… and whether or not you can visualise what I mean by that! You can trust me that it’s kind of two contradictory things.


Even though I bought a concealed style of zipper I’ve sewn it in in the conventional way. There is an overlap on one side which covers the zip and I hand stitched that to the machine stitching line for the most subtle indention possible, rather than an obvious machined topstitch.




My plan is to make up the top and skirt parts of the bottom layer and then add them to the outer in a way that achieves the waist look I want. Then I will hand stitch the bottom layer to the zipper similarly to a lining, and hopefully that will go without a hitch!

The rest of the panels went to together easily. I’ve put tiny french seams on the bodice at the side and princess seams. The skirt seams are stitched twice and pressed to one side. So far I’m happy with this but I might still need to trim the seam allowance down if it looks too chunky against the silk under layer.

One more week then to make up the under layer, add sleeves to the mesh layer, and work on the petticoat. Seems manageable. And as much as I’m enjoying this I’m glad to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Total hours worked: 50


Wedding dress part 4; second fitting

This is going to be a fairly quick catch up, mostly because I don’t think I took many decent pictures!

In my last blog post (here) Paula tried on the first toile, we pinned it to fit and we made a lot of design decisions. I used those fabric pieces to draft a new version of the pattern in paper, and that’s what I’ve used to cut and make the second toile.


Because the mesh fabric we’ve chosen is so unusual I decided to make the top part of this mock-up in the real thing, rather than calico. Partly because it would be impossible to get the perfect fit otherwise, and partly because I’ve never worked with something like this before so needed the practice! But as it’d just be costly and unnecessary for the skirt I’ve carried on in a medium/heavy weight calico there.


Which led to the first problem – I had the calico in hand before the mesh, so I went ahead and made the skirt first feeling all smug and efficient… Until I realised that meant I couldn’t put the bloody zip in properly. I should have sewn the waist seam for the left and right back panels first, and the centre back seam up to the bottom of the zip opening, then put the zip in, then carried on with all the other seams. Lesson learnt.


The zip threw up a multitude of issues actually. I tried two different methods on the left and right, one with the zip tape between the layers of mesh and the other treating the two layers as one, and in that confusion I stretched one side out pretty badly and ended up with the back neck line on the wonk.



Plus I bought a concealed zip and then realised I didn’t have a concealed zipper foot, which would allow me to stitch right beside the zip teeth. Without that the concealed zip is not even remotely concealed.

And then there’s the petticoat, which I hastily threw together the night before the fitting because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted! But actually that was fine, we talked about how it should be and we used the bit I had made to cobble together a look we liked under the skirt. So this will be the next part I work on; I need to make a wide facing with boning, I’ll meet up with Paula again and check it fits like a glove, then I’ll attach the lining and the amount of mesh we’ve decided on and that will be the first section of the final dress to be finalised.


The actual fitting went well! She seems like a happy camper, so I am too. She’d planned to wear a shaping body con thing underneath, Spanx-style, but actually when we tried that on it just seemed uncomfortable and unnecessary. Also less flattering, weirdly enough. Sometimes I think those garments are counter-productive, instead of smoothing out your silhouette they just squeeze you into a generic amoeba shape with no distinction between bust and waist, bum and thigh. Back in her normal bra the bodice fitted so much better, and we can even take away some fabric from the midriff to properly define her figure – infinitely better than the Spanx scuba sausage.



I’d made the sleeve a wince too tight, so we cut up to see how much to let back out. But it actually looked so nice with a looser, straighter sleeve that we’ve decided to run with that. It’s a bit risky I guess, but at least it’s only sleeves; if we have to whip them off and make slim ones again then it won’t be the end of the world.

So, as previously mentioned my next step is the underskirt contraption. But before I launch into that I’ll take this incarnation in to the seamstresses at work and see what they have to say on the subject. I have a lot of questions and I think there’s loads more minor disasters here that I’m not even aware of. I don’t want any last minute surprises!

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, said… no one cool, ever.


Total hours worked: 31

Paula’s wedding dress part 3: first fitting

We’ve had our first fitting on the wedding dress, and it went pretty well :) Although the toile was only a rough outline of how the dress will actually be, it did show the important ideas and the fit actually wasn’t too bad!


I didn’t make the under skirt for this one because I feel like I need a fairly accurate pattern for the outer to base it on. But seeing as we had loads of great mash laying around we stuffed it under the calico just for kicks. The effect is a bit more Queen Victoria than Ellie Saab, but it kept us amused for a bit.





So I pinned in the toile as needed. The waist seem needed to come up a few cm, but the length on the skirt was actually ok. I took quite a bit of width off the bodice and shaped dart more closely over the bust.

The sleeve needed to be slimmer and the shoulders had to come in a lot.

The double mesh on the sleeve was a winner, so much so that Paula’s decided to have it on the bodice too. It’ll be quite a bit more stretchy than the calico so I’ll need to bear that in mind on my next pattern, I can probably afford to shave a little more off the seams and straighten up some of the more finickity shapings.


I marked up the toile where it had been pinned and cut along to make my new pieces. I have joined the dart up into the armhole to make a princess seam, which I think will give us the best possible shaping for Paula’s boobs and will mean that we can have more control over the grain line, and therefore the stretch, in the side section.



Where I cut the new armhole a large chuck of calico remained on the sleeve:


I need to add this on to the sleevehead to keep the length over and around the shoulder joint, but re-arranging this extra volume to make a flat sleeve piece will require a little juggling. I have slashed into the edge to release the tension. When I trace this piece out I will reshape the sleevehead to match the armhole on the body side and slim down the width, so we can keep the length and use the stretch in the mesh. That may not make a lot of sense! But in my head  I’m sure I can see a way to re-draft this mish-mash of a piece into a nice fitted sleeve.



For the skirt the volume at the hem was nice but the pleats were not: I’m going to take those away and make the skirt in 7 plain panels instead. I’ve pinned out the pleats and pressed the skirt pieces flat. I’ve drawn on new seam lines to split the pieces into more panels and cut along. When I trace these pieces out onto paper I will smooth out the waist edges and add a new grain line on the side panels.


Next I need to trace all of these pieces onto pattern paper, checking that everything still adds up and will fit back together again! I need to add notches and seam allowance and generally turn this into a real pattern. I also need to use this skirt pattern to make an under skirt pattern. Because the top part is now entirely in soft and stretchy mesh it won’t be stable enough to hold up the full, heavy skirt. I’m planning to solve this with a facing for the skirt which is sturdy and well-fitting, possibly even with a bit of boning in it, to anchor the skirt on the hips. This will mean that skirt is entirely self-supporting, with the top part attached at the waist seam giving the look of a normal dress.

And from this facing the panels of lining and mesh will come down to reach the floor. I’m sort of winging it on the volume here! But I think and educated guess will be fine and we can take out/add in as required in the second fitting.


Total hours worked: 14

DIY wedding dress part 2 – pattern and first toile

I have taken the two commercial patterns I bought and had a good, close look at them. Instead of cutting out the tissue paper pieces I’ve traced them off onto dot and cross paper so I can keep the originals intact for another time. Plus, that tissue is really irritating to work with! It’s virtually impossible to make alterations on because it’s so flimsy, so a bit more time spent here will pay dividends.



The plan for the skirt was to keep the volume exactly as the Vogue pattern, but switch the gathered side panels to pleats. I was thinking we should have two deep pleats facing away from centre at front and back, but when I folded these into the paper they just look too contrived and didn’t give the sort of fluffy, flowy look I know Paula likes.

Therefore I moved on to random pleats of mixed depths, all facing away from cf. There are probably a thousand more professional ways I could’ve achieved this! But I chose to prop the paper up with weights at the hem and smoosh the waist down accordingly. As long as the final waist seam measurement matched with the bodice I was pretty easy on the rules.


All hunky dory; until I got to the back and realised that the train was going to look a bit weird folding over itself in that way. You’d naturally want pleats to face away from centre back as well as centre front, but then do you just put up with a weird box pleat on each side?!

To get a better picture of the 3D effect here I pinned my paper pattern to a mannequin:


And at this point I just started to wish that I’d draped it from scratch and not buggered about with the paper pattern at all! Although this stand is not the same size as Paula, and is considerably taller, I could’ve made it work.

Never mind though, I’ve started so I’ll finish. But I’ll definitely keep the pleat size and position flexible so I can chop along the waist seam and move them around while she’s wearing the toile.

Before I cut the fabric out I moved the pleats one more time, reversing the direction of the pleat closest to centre back and then randomly switching some of the others. And I was happier with it then, it felt more organic and interesting, far better suited to the bride in question.


Bodice-wise it’s not been a walk in the park either! I used the size closest to Paula’s body measurements, but I know full well that the initial fit is not going to be good! I’m going to have to take a lot out of the length and I also feel that the shaping in the bodice pieces is too basic, probably leading to a clunky, sack-like fit which is not full enough over her boobs and too baggy below.

I used the Butterick pattern for this part, which has a strapless under bodice with two vertical seams over the bust, plus a long sleeved bodice to be made in lace which has two very large darts from bust to waist. When I laid these two sets of pieces together they seemed like two completely different fits though, with a lot of suppression over the bust on the lace layer. It doesn’t call for stretchy lace, but perhaps all lace has a certain amount of give because of its mesh base?

For our dress we want the mesh and the silk layers to be cut as one, so no contrasting sweetheart neckline underneath, just a well-fitting bodice with armholes and a round neck. So what I’ve done is to take the lace layer of the Butterick pattern (because this fits with the sleeve, which we definitely want to use) and start with that. When I fit it on Paula I’ll need to make the body shorter and probably open it up in some areas and pin away in others, but I think I’ll be able to see where we need to put the seams. It’s hard to know at this stage if I’ll need to make the bodice in 6 pieces, with side panels at front and back, or if only 2 would be ok.

Paula’s imagined from the start that it’d be nice to have a more sheer sleeve, with just a double layer mesh and no silk, so we bought a half metre of our chosen mesh and I’ve incorporated that into the toile to test it.


So now I have a full toile of the outer dress ready to fit! It has a double mesh sleeve on one side and calico on the other, so we can see if we prefer a sheer look or more of a unified, all-over effect. I haven’t put any under layer for the skirt, but I don’t have 6m of very stiff mesh to play with so I think I will make a rough petticoat. It would be good to get the skirt falling properly at this stage so that the pleats will be nice and accurate for our second (and hopefully final!) toile.


Next stage: get Paula over for a fitting, pin and chop this guy as needed, then take it apart and trace it out for the next pattern.

Hours worked so far: 10

Embarking on making a wedding dress

Literally every single person I know who has made a wedding dress for a friend rolls their eyes and says never again when asked about it… But I am super psyched!

My friend and ex-colleague Paula is getting married in September and cannot find her dream dress. She wants a long sleeved, round necked dress with a sleek skirt, full at the hem but smooth from the waist. She’s collected a few catwalk images but everything she sees in real life, from full-on bridal made-to-measure to RTW occasion wear, isn’t cutting the mustard. So she’s asked me if I might be able to make her one, and completely unbeknownst to her it’s something I’ve always wanted to try my hand at.

When I started my fashion degree, bridalwear was totally where my heart lay. It’s a rare corner of the fashion industry where handmade dresses are still a reality and where one creative individual can take a design all the way through from concept to finished garment. Had I been less of a girl I’d probably have focused on tailoring, but I just can’t resist a giant meringue skirt.

Anyhow, I did some work experience in boutiques and I took some evening classes in specialist patten cutting, but my resolve crumbled under the scrutiny of my uni tutors. There was little to no respect for the area on my course, the tutors held the catwalk and the cutting edge designers in high regard and saw bridal as the antithesis of cool, edgy design. If I were to do it all again now I think I’d have the gumption to take that challenge and run with it, to find a contemporary niche where couture bridalwear could be exciting, and in actual fact there is clearly a gap in the market where brides like Paula are finding the traditional boutiques falling short of the alternative looks on the catwalks.

So she brought her catwalk images to me:

And the there was clearly continuity between them! She knows what she wants and now I do too. The only slight catch being that these girls are willowy 6′-ers, built with all the sex appeal of an ironing board. Paula is, in the best possible way, the polar opposite of that; barely clearing 5’1″ with a rack that’d put the cast of Baywatch to shame.

(Side note – thank god she doesn’t want a strapless dress! I absolutely hate that!! Women who haven’t worn a strapless bra since they were 13 and barely needing an B cup, suddenly deciding at 33 that they want to spend the most highly-photographed night of their entire lives hoicking up a cheap, ill-fitting bustier. Don’t do it to yourselves! You know what they say about packing for vacation? – if you wouldn’t wear it at home, don’t take it on holiday. Same goes for weddings. If your tits don’t defy gravity 364 days of the year, they still won’t on your wedding day. Unless you can afford the personal attentions of Rigby or Peller don’t even think about it.)

I decided I’d use a commercial pattern as a base. Maybe that’s a little shameful coming from a professional pattern cutter, but the rigmarole of starting from scratch without even having a block  or the right size mannequin to drape on just wouldn’t be worth it. The choice was really disappointing! Each of the major companies does a few, but none had all the features we were looking for. I printed out several of the pattern envelope images and sketched some designs over the top, sadly they don’t photograph too well but here’s a few to give you the gist:


Paula and I met for lunch and looked them over. It seemed to be going in the right direction so I bought these two patterns:

The Butterick pattern includes cup sizes, so I think it could be a good base for the bodice, but we’ll want to merge the strapless under layer with the long sleeved top. The Vogue option seems to have a much nicer skirt, but I’ll need to remove pleats from the side.

I’ve redrawn our main design ideas and started a little pin board, where I can keep all our images and developments. I still need to print and add the original inspiration images, but here it is so far:


(My attempts at half decent photography are falling even more short here – to get a tolerable shot I had to put the cork board into the light tent thing and I haven’t got the software to erase that from the corners, so please avert your eyes.)


Next step is to go fabric shopping, just to pick up some swatches and settle on a look and fabric type. This will heavily inform what our final design looks like and how I’ll adapt the pattern, then I can get started on the first toile.

Exciting times!

Summer’s coming, look dressy.

I literally can’t stop thinking about dresses – 50’s dresses; denim dresses; the sort of long, gathered, tiered dresses that one might wear to skip through a meadow of dappled sunlight – I want to make them all! And I will… Or maybe more accurately, I will start making them and then find that work gets busy again and they get abandoned, facing- and hem- less, to be left in the box until this annual feeling comes around again. Aspirational Summer Dress time.

rough sketch double wrapping dress

I have started off with this one. Let’s get one thing straight from the offset: no this dress is not based on the one from the Sewing Bee. Also, no I do not watch the Sewing Bee.

I’ve had a double wrapping dress for years which came from Hobbs and which I love, despite it looking pretty severely mummsy. And now I find myself in a summer-dressy mood! So I thought I’d make my own version. I drafted the pattern digitally at work for this one, rather than basing it off a commercial pattern. I temporarily borrowed our shift dress block, updated it for my body measurements and then used it as a starting point for my new design. For those of you that are interested, the image below shows this dress pattern as it appears on screen in the Lectra CAD software, which has all manner of scintillating functions so help make pattern cutting quicker, more accurate and (theoretically!) easier than doing it manually. Other CAD programmes are available.

Lectra screen grab double wrap dress pattern

At this point in time I have made a rough toile for fitting. I wasn’t long enough in the back bodice for me, and I had to tweak a few bit here and there, but by and large it was good!

Double wrap dress toile back double wrap dress toile front

I work predominantly with knitwear, which often doesn’t involve a pattern from me at all, let alone one with all the bells and whistles. So I love doing things like this for myself because it really helps to keep my head in the game professionally! Here I’ve made facing and lining pieces as well as the shell pattern. The lining is a bit of educated guesswork – last time I lined a garment it was a jacket which requires excess volume specifically placed to allow for movement, but a sleeveless dress is a different animal. I made a second toile of the top part just to check I remembered what a lining was and how it worked:

facing and lining front wrap dress toile

I have placed the darts differently in the lining than on the outer to reduce the bulk where all those layers would stack up, and I think it’s going to be fine. I’m actually going to take my time sewing this one but the pattern would be just as nice without lining or facing, as a quick-sew item with bright binding on the edges and length of bought ribbon for the tie. I might give that a go next time, especially if I can find something drapey and non-iron which would look great straight out of a backpack.

printed dress fabric

This fabric was from the January sale at John Lewis, Oxford Street. They had dozens and dozens of beautiful prints reduced this time. I didn’t stop at the one chunk, there are two more pieces waiting in the wings.

I fancy a really full skirt in this geometric / mandala print. I’ve started drafting a pattern which will be almost two circles, so it will wind up super swirly and voluminous. It does mean that the hem will be over 7m all around, I just hope it’s not insanely heavy and puts extreme tension on the tight circle at the waist edge.

two circle skirt geometric print dress fabric

If the double wrap dress comes out nicely I think I’ll do another in denim or chambray with a gathered skirt. And as my crewelwork module at the RSN will be over this month I’m thinking about putting my skills to use, embroidering some big, bright birds onto it. There’s something very 70’s about embroidery in wool on garments, especially around a neckline, and I like it! I’ve got a little swatch of nice chambray from the Cloth House to do a few practice stitches on, when I get a chance.

Oh, and also, I finished the baby socks my friend had ordered :) I’m really chuffed with the stamps! Will have three pairs to go on the Etsy shop soon…

baby socks

Inescapable Christmas crafting

I’m fully in the swing of it now! It’s definitely Christmas time and I am off work for what will be my longest festive vacation in 6 years. So of course I mostly want to do crafts – while everyone else is still slogging their guts out in the office I want to be making chocolates and sticking wash tape to anything that stays still long enough.

We adopted a cat by accident the other night. He followed Lucy to our door when she came home but she sensibly encouraged him to stay outside and told him to trot off to his own home. When  I came home from my office party at 1am, not exactly stone-cold sober, he followed me too. And I was couldn’t resist ushering the fuzzy little guy in :) So we kept Fluffy Knickers for the night, like having a pretend cat family of our own, and it was great! But now the flat feels still and boring with just us and the hedgehog, who is a terrible, angry, smelly pet. I hope Fluffy has hung out with lots of our neighbours, just popping in for a cuddle and a bit of festive cheer.

But when I’ve not been stealing other people’s cats this weekend I have been busy in the kitchen, making gingerbread chocolate truffles. I’ve tried this recipe before and it is super lovely, with black treacle and crystallised ginger for that sweet, baked flavour in the filling. This time I tried the lego mould, which is more of two-bite chocolate but they looked super cute and only a couple of the little nodule bits didn’t make it. I don’t think my tempering went very well though, these don’t look as shiny as I’d like. I did have a thermometer this time, but it was nowhere near sensitive enough! It must be for making caramels and things because the temperatures are way too high. I will have more chocolate making days later in the week though, planning to try Tia Maria truffles for my nan (and myself) and chocolate covered peppermint creams. Also want to make some boozy jellies in the little robot moulds too.

lego shaped gingerbread truffleschocolate gift bags

I was in China the week before last, visiting factories for work and generally making nice with my colleagues in the Shanghai production office, and I’d chosen to use the long flight time home to make my secret santa present. The pattern cutting department decided that we would make our presents this year and I’d gone for a little pincushion pig. I’d seen some guys like this on instagram, but with no instructions of pattern so I kinda made that bit up myself. I’d pre-cut my pieces and put together a little kit for stitching on the plane, which I dutifully set to doing under the heavy scrutiny of the two elderly Chinese women next to me. They were literally craning over each other to see what I was doing, and then whispering to one-another (perhaps they were concerned I speak Chinese – I do not), it was just so awkward! And this continued for TWELVE HOURS. They literally watched me like hawks as I sewed this pig, then knitted some mitten, then sewed up the sleeves of Lucy’s jumper. And they nattered continuously. And the plane was plunged into darkness for 8 hours, despite it being daytime at both our departure and destination countries. But I persevered! I finished the little pig guy, and my secret santa recipient was delighted :) I’ve even cut out pieces for another one, if I get round to putting it together I can inflict it on someone else at Christmas.

IMG_5335Tweed pincushion pig pig pattern pieces

I got some more beeswax and finished off my candle, plus I poured these two for my friends’ housewarming gift. But to be honest I’m not too impressed with the stuff. It burns terribly badly, only creating a small pool of molten wax which doesn’t make it halfway down the jar before putting the wick out. I suspect this stuff is more for use in cosmetics and furniture polish and all the other stuff it listed, and I should probably just get paraffin wax in future! Or maybe I’ll give soy wax a go. But these were pretty at least, in the meantime.

recycled jar beeswax candles

I finished the advent calendar for my mum in plenty of time. Was not too fancy, just little sweet shop bags with various candies inside, pegged to a string. She seems to like it though.

advent calendar sweet shop bag advent calendar

And now we’ve decorated our own place for Christmas! No tree this year, can’t really afford to give up that much space in our shoe-box, but the garland is lovely and plenty festive for me. And most of my presents are wrapped, sticking to the pink/red/white ye olde sweet shoppe feeling that I’m obsessed with this year. So Christmas is properly on! And I’ve got all week to do my embroidery homework, make my sweeties and crack that Christmas jumper which I started for Lu in March and still isn’t finished…

christmas tree garland  christmas wash tape bunting tags christmas wash tape sweet shop house christmas present wrapping pink red whitepink christmas wrapping with wash tape

Upcycled cushions

My Etsy shop is growing! Very slowly. It takes me hours to put items up there! Is that normal or am I fannying about? Dallying with photos and rephrasing tiny pieces of text probably.

But it is fun :) And I have sold a cushion! Plus two out of the three pairs of baby shoes have gone. I’m working on some more embroideries to sell, I’ve bought some more brass frames and some vintage hoops too. Hopefully I can push the more racy subject matter on the next ones! Is it wrong to sell baby gifts and mildly pornographic images in the same shop? I suppose it’s fine, it’s not like children will actually be shopping there, and I don’t really like easily offended grown-ups anyway.

These cushions are made from samples which I’ve salvaged from work. We have so many beautiful garments which have to be cut up, disected or damaged, as a necessary part of the product development process. So to save the best quality knits from the scraps bin I have been upcycling them into cushion covers and they are looking quite nice!

The cushion pads are all brand new, either feather from John Lewis or polyester from Ikea. Frankly these are a total bargain! Where else do you think you’ll get a cashmere cushion for nineteen quid?!


Tiny shed scissor keeper

Amy’s christmas present is done and given. I’ve been dying to put progress photos of this on Instagram, but then the festive surprise would’ve been somewhat spoilt.

But here you have it, retrospectively step by step. This was a Sue Hawkins kit that I bought at the Ally Pally knitting and stitching show this year. At several points I thought that I’d made the wrong move picking this and it was weird and pretty dull, but actually I loved the little guy in the end :) The colours are quite dark and as a result the backstiching isn’t as clear as I’d have liked, but in general it was a nice kit with clear instructions.

tiny shed scissor keeper flat
tiny shed scissor keeper in progress
tiny shed scissor keeper finished

I did have to buy extra thread for sewing up, whether that was because there wasn’t enough in the kit or because I’d used the wrong colour I’m not sure! But I popped accross to John Lewis on Oxford Street and I have to say I wound I really pissed at them; the lighting in there is so misleading, I left with totally the wrong colour. And I’m not much of a complaining customer, I’ll put up with almost anything, but this really irked me! The selling of that whole department is based on the selection of colour, I’m sure it doesn’t take the brains of Britain to realise they could do with natural light! I emailed them, I got a very general response, and I’m left feeling like a marginalised crafter whose work is no more important than a child making a sock monkey. Less so infact, seeing as the kids shit is next to the bloody light well. Screw you John Lewis, SCREW YOU!