Felt play phone

EXACTLY one year ago today I won a giveaway over at Me and My Veritas for a pre-cut felt play phone kit. And I just finished sewing it up!! So I have to quickly share… Jana, I’m not sure if you blog anymore or if you will read this but just in case you will, I would like you to know it’s no longer sat in the drawer!

It was dead easy to sew up, yes I don’t know why it took my so long to get round to it. Jana cut all the fiddly pieces out and all I had to do was sew them together and stuff it.

If you want to make your own, you just need some scraps of felt – here’s the tutorial and free pattern!

Now without further ado… ta dah!!

felt play phoneThat’s the front! This is the back:

felt play phone

I sewed half of it up at the poolside when S had her swimming lesson last week, almost all the other half in the car at the weekend and I stuffed it and sewed up the gap this morning. I wish I always remember to take something light to sew in such situations as I hate to sit and do nothing. And now I feel accomplished!

And A likes it. She immediately called Grandma!

felt play phoneAnd took some snaps of me!

felt play phone

So thank you to Jana at Me & My Veritas for the adorable kit!:)

felt play phoneI’m just sorry it took a whole year for me to put it together!

Beth x

Quick denim skirt refashion

Check me out – I sewed this today and I’m blogging about it today!😀

Well I do like a nice little refashion. This is a super simple ladies skirt to child’s skirt refashion!

So to begin with, this was a soft denim skirt, originally from New Look however I imagine I bought it from the car boot sale or somewhere…

denim skirt refashion

I really like the style (i.e. denim circle skirt!) and have worn it a few times, however it’s pretty short and does ride up, too. And can you see the hem? It’s dreadful and really irritates me. I don’t know if it was designed to be like that or just badly sewn; either way, I don’t like it.

denim skirt refashion

Sooo I’ve been looking at it recently and thought it was destined to become something else;  a little girl’s skirt. Or, a big girl’s skirt, I should say – for seven-year-old S.

It’s a simple refashion, so I took some pics along the way. First I lay a skirt that fits S on top of the denim one. (Conveniently, I made the zebra one!)

denim skirt refashionAs you can see, the length is just about right already! And there’s just a few inches difference in the waistband. About 2″, on the fold.

denim skirt refashion

First of all I unpicked the little seam on the waistband, and tugged that elastic out. Luckily the elastic wasn’t sewn in, or else I wouldn’t have been able to do this.

I measured 2″ (folded), and cut.

denim skirt refashion

Then took a moment to inspect the elastic and found that it had only been sewn together with one straight line. I tend to sew a square as it’s stronger…

denim skirt refashion

So I did! Sometimes I sew diagonal lines inside, too – but didn’t bother if even a single line was strong enough before! With a nice contrasting red thread, because that’s what was in the machine…

denim skirt refashion

I then tucked the elastic back inside, and handstitched up the gap. That’s the waistband sorted!

denim skirt refashion

Now, I could have left the skirt like that and it’d be fine – but that wiggly hem would annoy me for the rest of my days, so I had to chop it off. I had the length to spare, as I know the zebra skirt I compared the length with is a tad longer than it needs to be.

So I chopped off the hem just above the stitching, and sewed a double-fold hem.

denim skirt refashion

Ta-dah! I have to say, I much prefer my hem!!

denim skirt refashion

S loves it, she’s wearing it now ready for Rainbows. And I love it too – I much prefer it on her! Job done!

Beth x

Talking about death

Hello! I’ve been silent for 6 weeks and now I’m returning with a piece of writing about death.😀 I wrote this as part of my journalism course; we’ve paired up with Kicking the Bucket, a festival due to be held in Oxfordshire later this year, all about death, living and dying. This post is going to be published on their blog soon, too! I hope it gives you an insight into what support is available if and when you need it.

Lovely sewing blog followers: I am constantly sewing, and don’t have a lot of time to read & write… I will really try to share something with you ASAP!! Time has flown!  :)

***

Cruse Bereavement Care is a charity that supports you after the death of a loved one, and helps you deal with grief. It offers support in a variety of ways: telephone, email, face-to-face, and group support. There is also specialist support available for children and young people who have been bereaved. All support is confidential and free.

Cruse is almost entirely run by volunteers – and my mum, Rachel Clarkson, is one of them. I caught up with her to share what she does, and why she does it.

Since her friend died in 2008 and left behind two young children, Mum’s been a keen supporter of the charity that helped the bereft children – Winston’s Wish. In 2014 she wanted to support the charity further than her frequent donations; but as she has no qualifications or experience in working with children, she looked into working with bereaved adults. This is when she discovered Cruse. She said she was “accepted on the intense 3 month course of weekends and extensive homework – and passed with an accreditation.” Since her redundancy in October 2015, she sees two clients a week who have been recently bereaved.

Speaking more on the training that she received, she said: “The course investigated different ways that death can occur – but we also analysed our thoughts and feelings and reactions to the different ways of death during our role play, which was very emotionally draining. I understood a lot more about myself and life occurrences that I’ve been through. And although we were learning, on occasions it felt therapeutic at the same time.”

So, what does being a bereavement volunteer entail? Mum currently sees bereaved adults face-to-face (although she’s going on a training course in May to become a telephone supervisor, which she’s sure will bring new clients due to the demand for telephone bereavement support). Each client is entitled to six face-to face sessions of 50 minutes each (however these can be extended if her supervisor agrees). She says: “The main aim of our session is to allow the client, with encouragement, to talk about their bereavement and the feelings they have because of it. The initial session tends to be an outpouring of pent-up emotion. The following sessions take on a usual structure of seeing how their week has been and from that, usually delving deeper into something that has happened that week, or going back to talking about the bereavement in general, and taking the lead from the client.”

The consulting room

The consulting room.

Cruse bereavement volunteers see people from six weeks after the bereavement, to several years from it. When I asked Mum why she thought this type of support is so useful, she said: “There are many people that feel that they are a burden to their family and friends by wanting to talk about the deceased person over and over again.” She mentioned that they are often unable to express themselves fully to somebody close to them – but they find talking to a ‘stranger’ easier, knowing that everything is said in confidence, so they are able to truly express themselves. This in itself is good therapy.

I think it must take a lot to talk about very painful subjects yet remain professional. But Mum maintains that the pride she gets from seeing her clients gain in confidence is worth the drain of emotion. She said; “I realised that the time that I give them to talk openly and honestly is invaluable to most clients. I feel humbled that a couple of hours a week of my time is worth so much to people. I would not have paid for the necessary training if I didn’t enjoy helping my clients.”

So if you think you might need some help dealing with your grief, or you’re interested in helping others deal with their grief, I’m sure Cruse would be pleased to hear from you.

Beth x

World Book Day 2016

World Book Day came around again quickly didn’t it?
I knew it was coming because I’ve been getting loads of Pinterest repins on my Elmer costume – all the notifications have been annoying!
This year, S wanted to be Mildred Hubble aka The Worst Witch, since she’s loving the books recently. I used this drawing I found online as a basis for the costume ideas…

worst witch

…along with this one on the front cover of the first book, which adds a cloak and hat!

the_worst_witch-murphy_jill-23570396-1516895999-frntl

I made a cloak, dress, red belt, striped leggings and tie. And customised a witch hat we already have.

I bought one metre of plain black cotton (ÂŁ3.99) – enough for the dress and cloak, with some left over – and half a metre of grey/black stripe jersey (ÂŁ4) – enough for the tie, leggings (read on though, they’re cheat leggings!), and the hat. I used some red fleece I already had for the belt, and she wore her own tops. So not too bad cost-wise.

She wore brown boots (not photographed!), I wish she had black ones as then it’d have been perfect, but never mind! We had the broom already (side note: apparently everyone at school was asking her if it’s real, haha). Hair in plaits and I drew on freckles with a make-up pencil! She didn’t take a cat!

OK, here’s the finished outfit!

worst witch costume

I made the dress with no pattern besides one of her dresses. It’s just a basic A line shape, with a regular zip at the back.

The belt was a length of red fleece, with a fringe snipped into it at the short ends!

I also made the cloak with no pattern – I made it really quickly by cutting a rectangle and hemming three edges. Then on the top I added a rectangular piece of fabric, longer than the top of the cloak. I pressed and sewed it like bias binding (although not on the bias!), leaving a few inches either end. I sewed on some Velcro to fasten the tabs, and that was that!

worst witch

For the tie, I followed the tutorial in an old copy of Love Sewing magazine. I just shortened the pieces to make it child sized!

worst witch

And then the leggings… well, I really just needed long socks, but how were they going to hold up? Lightbulb moment! By sewing them on to leggings!

So I made two tubes, and whacked them on to the cropped leggings. Literally “whacked” – very quickly and very messily! Who was going to see and who was going to care?! I then cut of the excess length of leggings so it wasn’t too bulky on S’s legs.

worst witch outfit

worst witch outfit

I cut the pieces as wide as possible with the fabric I had but they turned out too narrow… so I unpicked them and added in a strip on either leg, a couple of inches wide. That did the trick!

The annoying thing was that I had to unpick my perfect stripe matching! Grr!

worst witch

Last but not least, the hat. We already had this plain black hat; I just handstitched yet another strip of the striped fabric around it. And the badge was a joint effort of S and I, made out of card.

worst witch

She wore a long sleeved top with her school polo shirt over the top as we needed a collar. She had enough layers on!

All that preparation and it’s over in a day! I’ve seen some amazing outfits though, it’s been fun!

Beth x

London Fashion Week 2016… Where’s the fat?

Just to explain why you’re seeing a post that isn’t about me and what I made. This is part of my journalism course. Thoughts on London Fashion Week!:)

 

London Fashion Week 2016 is over; we’ve seen all the stunning skinny models swaying down the catwalk. Key word: “skinny”.
Why are they still so thin? It seems that in 2016 we are still seeing no change in the image of models – models showing us what clothing to wear and who to be.

The Guardian - London Fashion Week

Image credit: The Guardian, Feb 2016

I’m aware that anorexia and other eating disorders are not all about body image and wanting to be fashionably thin, so I’m choosing not to go that far into the health side of things. But we can’t ignore that our general self-esteem is influenced by celebrities and models looking unbelievably gorgeous and stick-thin – you can’t argue with that! Everyone compares themselves with what/who they see on TV/online/in magazines to some degree. It might not make you ill, but it can make you feel rubbish. Even my preschooler looks at a picture of a thin blonde in a magazine and comments on her beauty. Disney’s probably got something to do with that, too, but that’s beside the point.

Is it fair to be made to feel fat and ugly when you’re so much as a smidgen above a size O? No, surely? Yet we are still being exposed to images of people who are not actually normal!

the guardian feb 2016 lfw

Image credit: The Guardian, Feb 2016

As reported in the Evening Standard, Carole White, co-founder of London’s Premier Model Management has even admitted that designers only want “young, flat-chested girls”, who will flatter their clothing; the clothes should “fall as they were designed to”. “The designers want straight up and down – no boobs,” she says. Carole’s agency “scouts in schools” because she says the girls that labels want are “really young”.
So do we blame the designers? Are they limiting the type of models the agencies can use?
Call me pessimistic, but if it’s due to the big designers designing clothing only suited to young, slim, straight up and down body shapes, I personally don’t see them changing any time soon.

lfw the guardian feb 2016

Image credit: The Guardian, Feb 2016

The good news is that somebody (specifically a gentleman named Marc Levine) is trying to do something about it. As reported by Reuters, on Monday, Levine (a California state assembly member) proposed a new law to ensure that a physician certifies models to be healthy before they take part in fashion gigs. Modelling agencies could be fined under the proposed law, if they are found to hire models that are found to be underweight or suffering from an eating disorder.
Personally I think it’s quite a good idea and similar laws are already present in Madrid and Israel. If passed, perhaps the UK will adopt a similar stance. Hopefully it would help to prevent teenage girls from aspiring to be like the super-thin models currently walking the catwalk. But if the designers carry on designing frocks with no room for boobs and bum… what choice will the modelling agencies have?

You know what I think? I think the designers would look so good if they targeted their clothing at “bigger” (aka “normal”) figures. Imagine the attention they’d get from the press, the media, little old you and me. But they’re too dead set in their ways to care about changing.

 

The long and short of it is this: The fashion industry as a whole is to blame for the low self-esteem of girls. That’s unlikely to change. I will eat my hat if there’s a model with a bit of shape on her in the next LFW. It’s a sad thing, but I can’t see it changing its whole image any time soon. The fashion industry is in a league of its own. Campaigners are getting nowhere!

Granny’s Clemence

You know I said I had a day of dressmaking a couple of weeks ago and I made a skirt from scratch and finished a top? I shared the top – now for the skirt!

Of course I used my trusty Tilly Walnes Clemence Skirt pattern!!

I chose it not only because I like the pattern/style of skirt – but because of the fabric I wanted to use. I’ll show you a photo then explain…

harbour clemenceUnusual, huh?

The fabric was given to me by my Granny who had a good clear out of her fabrics and linen cupboard(s!) The reason behind that isn’t too nice, because she isn’t well (cancer)😦 But every cloud, hey… I got more fabric to play with!

So this was one of the gems – a soft medium weight cotton (I assume) with a lovely harbour/boats/sea design – it looks like it’s painted.

It wasn’t “flat” fabric; it was actually sewn up into three panels, with a very neat lapped zip in one seam. Unfortunately that was metal and old or else I would have incorporated it into my sewing. Of course I asked Granny if there was a story, and yes – it was a skirt in a previous life and she “must have only partly taken it apart to recycle!”

So I’m wearing a skirt my Granny wore…!! Vintage lovers, eat your heart out!😛

granny's clemence

The pieces were slightly narrower than I usually make them, as I was limited by the quantity of fabric between the seams. But I think it’s still gathered enough! I also made it longer than I made my others, and I like it. My others were as long as I could make them with 1m of fabric, but I had more choice with this one and used nearly the whole length!

granny clemence

You can just about see the length in that photo ^^ … sorry I didn’t have any help with the photos!

I didn’t think about pattern matching – I wouldn’t have been able to fabric quantity wise – but I don’t think it matters too much with the gathered style.

granny clemence

I like my concealed zip😀 Nice and neat at the top. And I stitched in the ditch rather than slipstitching the waistband, as it is always quicker! (Odd colour zip; it was that or black!)

granny clemence

Overall, really happy with it. Thanks, Granny!

Beth x

Simplicity 1363 took me 6 months to make

Hey-hey! On Saturday I made two things for myself! One was from scratch whilst the other was a very longstanding UFO that I started in 2015, probably around August time.
Today I’m sharing what was the UFO because it links to The Monthly Stitch’s February theme of UFOs!
So I started this top last year, when the weather was good. It’s view D of Simplicity 1363:

1363

The fabric I used is gorgeous; it’s called peachskin – silky smooth to touch and pretty fluid-like. It actually wasn’t as challenging to sew as I thought it might be. But I remember the reason I stopped making it last year was because I reached a step saying I needed bias binding. And I couldn’t be bothered to make some.

But I picked it up on Saturday just gone, looked at it, and discovered I only needed some 1/4″ single fold binding, to use just round the armholes and it wouldn’t be seen. And I had just about enough ready-made 1/4″ white polyester binding! So that would do! Had I just read the pattern properly and thought about it a little, I may not have left it unfinished for so long. Ah well!

So anyway here’s the finished top!

simplicity 1363

I have to say, I really really love it. I’ve worn it twice so far and it’s so comfortable. The fit is pretty damn perfect, straight out the packet. Impressive seeing as I often have issues with armscyes being too tight. And of course I loooovvveee the blue/white polka design!

simplicity 1363

As you can see it features a high-low hem; there’s an added panel at the back hem. I forgot to take a photo but I rolled the hem by machine. Super quick when you don’t have to press it first! I have a love/hate relationship with my rolled hem foot but it’s 80% neat on the inside!!

simplicity 1363

It has a little slit in the back, and fastens with two little buttons – I used some cute hearts! I can actually pull it over my head easily without faffing with the buttons, but I like them as a decorative detail regardless.

simplicity 1363

Yeah I need to cut and tidy the thread in one place… I have obviously been wearing a cardi over the top this week so it’s OK! And I wore it before taking photos, hence it’s creased in the photos haha!

Selfie of me wearing it paired with my Morris Blazer. Handmade double whammy:)

simplicity 1363 + morris blazer

I do recommend this pattern. I’m going to do the view with cap sleeves too (one day!!)

It’s always annoying to read this but I got the lovely fabric from my local-ish shop (Masons in Abingdon, Oxfordshire)! But if you come across some floaty peachskin, get it! For this kind of top it’s lush. In fact I bought it for making a jumpsuit in June ’15 but didn’t get round to that did I… So I bought 3m I think! You’ll probably see it on the blog again!

Beth x