Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The sewing vibe

I was trying to find some kind of play of words or pun related to the Uncle John and Whitelock Song 'Maryhill Vibe' as I've been really enjoying listening to them again recently.  However my brain isn't working very fast at the moment so all I could come up with was 'sewing vibe' - which I haven't really been feeling much of the past few weeks.  I just seem to have been so tired weekday evenings that I decided just to go with it - embrace the tiredness and vegetate in front of the TV. That's not to say I haven't been thinking about it though! I had a lovely day with socistorian a few Saturday's ago now - enjoying Yinka Shonibare's replica of HMS Victory with all its beautiful textile work, followed by fabric shopping on Goldhawk Road where I picked out some lovely fabric for pajama trousers (only £2 a metre - bargain!).

Then, two weekend 's ago we had Oliver's family down visiting and whilst he took his dad and brother-in-law to see the football I went with his mum, sister and aunt to see 'The Power of Making' at the V&A. What an amazing exhibition - so impressive!  There were lots of standout pieces for me, including the Alexander McQueen Armadillo shoes, the life-size crocheted bear and this wonderful sugar craft tiger.  It's a free exhibition so I'll definitely be going back to see it again as there was a lot to take in, including a really interesting looking video on many of the talented craft's people included in the show.

It really made me think about the place of craft in the art world - something I'm looking forward to exploring further when I go to hear Grayson Perry talk at the British Museum at How and Why I Draw after the launch of his installation 'The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman'.


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Secret sewing

Mestizo is a great Mexican restaurant on Hampstead Road and on our first visit there with friends visiting from Glasgow I was really taken with the fabric tortilla warmers, and the great food of course!  Oliver's definitely the better of us at recreating the food so I thought I'd have a go at making some tortilla warmers. 

I got the Mexican fabric at a Vintage Kilo sale - it was a huge kaftan and cost me all of £5.  There's enough fabric left for at least one more, possibly two, tortilla warmers.  You can see my stitching is still pretty messy in places, although the pattern for this is pretty basic, boy is it fiddly! It's basically four circles of fabric with quilting in the middle and bias tape round the circumference.  I used this tutorial but I made the circles substantially smaller than it suggested.  I just found a saucepan lid that was a bit bigger than a tortilla and drew round that. 

This was a Birthday present for my brother - who's an amazing chef, in addition to being a wonderful brother and friend - and even though he's a fancy chef I know he still likes making fajitas on occasion so I thought he'd get use out of it!  It was only a week late for his birthday  - the result of very untidy sewing on my first attempt, I had to unstitch it all and sew it again.

Although I know it could have been tidier I'm still really happy with it.  I love the colours and it was nice to use some more fabric which came from my mum's house for the inner layer of the warmers (the beige fabric you can see in the top photo).  It was also just really nice to make something for someone else, to think about my brother and how much I love him, whilst sewing.  Although I think I'll need to improve my sewing skills some more before I sew for anyone outside my family!

Thursday, 1 September 2011


I bought this dress during a visit to Portobello Road market a month or so ago.  I looked at, thought yeah that'll fit fine and handed over the £12 asked.  I just loved the colours and the stripes of course and I'd been looking for something in more primary colours so this fitted the bill perfectly - or so I thought! I got home tried it on and I couldn't get the zip anywhere near the top.  A kind friend suggested this was maybe a child's dress, maybe, but whoever it was intended for I was determined it was now going to fit me!

After seeking advice from Toile & Trouble I decided to make the dress into a skirt.  I chose not to take the zip out and redo it - yes, I'm a coward, what of it! Instead I made the bodice part of the dress the waistband so all I had to do was undo the stitching round the straps and waist-tie, then restitch it all.  whilst doing this I took the opportunity to angle the waistband in a bit at the top on both sides.  Then with the zip I just folded it over and stitched it flat.  It hardly took any time at all once I got started - amazing! It looks lovely from the front though the waist at the back is a bit bumfily (I have no idea how to spell that, probably becuase as Oliver pointed out, it isn't a real word, but you know what I mean right?)