Bettine dress by Tilly and the Buttons

Hello there

I bought the Bettine dress by Tilly and the Buttons some time ago but thought I would finally make it.

I usually make a practice garment (toile) before I cut into my chosen fabric. This gives me the chance to make size adjustments without spoiling good fabric.

My toile was okay, but a little tight in the bottom of the skirt.

Poppybead Creative blog - Bettine dress

So I read the details about the different types of fabric that could be used and decided to use a jersey fabric. It was purchased from an outside stall at the Birmingham Rag market.

Working with a jersey fabric compared to the viscose toile was an easier experience. Jersey fabric does move but not as much as viscose.

I did use French seams rather than a zig zag stitch or overlocker to finish the edges. One mistake I did make was using a straight stitch instead of a stretch stitch. So the underarms popped and I had to re-stitch them.

I also used the neckband from the Linden sweatshirt pattern.

I am so pleased with this dress and will definitely be making more of them.

If you want details of the Bettine pattern go to the Tilly and the Buttons website here.

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Linden sweatshirt by Grainline Studios

Some time ago whilst scrolling through social media I came across the Linden sweatshirt by Grainline Studios.

I thought it was going to be difficult sewing with jersey and stretch fabrics so avoided it. Then last year after speaking with other sewers that had made it, I bit the bullet and purchased the pattern. I got it as part of a kit from Guthrie and Ghani at the knitting and Stitching show in London. They tend to only do the kits at shows so I thought why not?

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The fabric in the kit was too nice to cut straight into, so I used some jersey fabric I purchased from the Birmingham Rag market.

This was a baptism of fire in my sewing journey and being dyslexic. I didn’t read the pattern properly and only cut out one piece for the hemband. I couldn’t workout why the whole sweatshirt wouldn’t fit until I re-read the pattern. So I unpicked this toile quite a few times. Unpicking was horrible as I had been using a zigzag stitch, which is recommended when sewing with stretch fabric.

I finally made the sweatshirt look like a wearable garment, but I still wasn’t ready to cut the fabric from the kit.

Instead, I used more fabric purchased from the Birmingham Rag market.

I used my overlocker on my second Linden attempt. This gave the opportunity to tidy the inside of the garment. I struggled with the neckband on both attempts, so started researching what others had done. The majority had made the neckband longer, either sizing up by one or adding 1.5cm.

Another visit to Guthrie and Ghani brought some purchases of their cosy colours bolt ends. I thought there would be enough to make a two tone version but not quite. I got creative and asked some dear friends for help. This was all I needed to start sewing my ‘sunshine’ sweatshirt.

I am so pleased with this sweatshirt and have received lots of positive feedback online and in person.

Full of confidence I was ready to cut the fabric from the kit. Then disaster strikes! I broke my thumb shielding my face from a ball whilst officiating a basketball game. Gutted was an understatement, as I couldn’t sew for just over six weeks.

I have been lucky and my thumb healed really well. So I thought I’d just go for it and cut into the kit fabric.

I didn’t feel this fabric needed the insides overlocking or a zigzag stitch, so I didn’t bother. All of a sudden I now have 4 Linden sweatshirts.

I find this pattern doesn’t use up much fabric so I cut the body from the scraps of another project to start Linden sweatshirt number five.

This latest sweatshirt has been made from scraps in my fabric stash. I am really happy with how it has turned out.

If any novice or nervous sewers are thinking about making this pattern, just do it. It’s a great pattern to introduce you stretch and jersey fabric.

The Story of Two Yards of Fabric

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After being introduced to the African fabric stall at the indoor market in Birmingham. I went back to get some fabric to use as headscarves.

They charged £3 for 1 yard pieces and had lots to choose from. So I chose two different pieces.

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When I got home I fell in love with the patterns on the fabric wished that I had bigger amounts.

Anyway I looked at the direction of the pattern on the fabric squeezed out a Sorbetto top.

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I love this top.

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Then I kept seeing videos on YouTube talking satin sheets or pillowcases to protect your afro hair. Then I looked at videos on how to make a satin bonnet.

This is what happened.

Poppybead Creative blog

Poppybead Creative blog

I didn’t follow one particular pattern. The satin was purchased from a stall in the rag market. Two nights in and it hasn’t fallen off my head and my hair isn’t so dry.

So there was my story of two yards of fabric.

Colette Sorbetto Top Pattern

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I was introduced to the Sorbetto pattern by a friend nearly 7 years ago. I could sew and follow a pattern but had never used a pdf pattern before. The Sorbetto pattern has been redesigned recently, but all the following tops were made using the old version.

This first photo shows my first version. I found the length of the top quite short.

The fabric was purchased from the indoor market in Birmingham. I still wear it now.

This is the second version of the Sorbetto and my first attempt at making matching bias binding. I lengthened the top and have worn this top to death. The fabric was purchased from the outdoor market in Birmingham.

I move onto my third top and I started to hack the pattern. This was a inverted Sorbetto, due to the amount of fabric I had. Which wasn’t a lot and the direction of the pattern on the fabric. I had to scrape together all of the scraps to make bias binding. This fabric was purchased from House of Fraser or Rackhams to the people of Birmingham.

This Sorbetto is actually a inverted dress hack. I took inspiration from Pinterest. The fabric was purchased from Nest in Crouch End, London with contrasting bias binding from Guthrie and Ghani in Moseley.

My next Sorbetto is another dress hack or maybe a tunic. The fabric was from IKEA many moons ago.

I bought more fabric from House of Fraser and hacked the pattern again. This time I omitted the front pleat and added covered buttons. The buttons were difficult but I liked how they looked.

The Sorbetto above is true to the pattern, but I did add some length to the body. The fabric was from the outdoor market in Birmingham and the bias binding was from Guthrie and Ghani.

Last year I was on another planet and thought I could finish a Sorbetto in less than a day including matching bias binding. I was going to the IgersBirmingham summer social with friends and was determined to make a new top. I was late meeting my friends but I had finished the top and had a lovely evening. I can’t remember exactly where I got the fabric from.

Now we are up to date with my Sorbetto top journey. On a recent fabric buying meetup I was told about a stall at the indoor market in Birmingham. They sell African fabric and I was looking for fabric to cover my hair at night. I chose this blue fabric and a bold green pattern.

I fell in love with these balloons and decided I want to make a top. With some careful cutting I managed to get both pieces out in the right direction. I got some black bias binding but didn’t like it on the outside. I unpicked it and stitched it inside instead. I am really happy with the outcome.

I will give the new version a go at some point, but for now I will enjoy the balloon Sorbetto top.

Be Brave – Birmingham Fabric Shopping Meet-up

Back in January I was scrolling through Instagram as I do most days, and I came across this post.

I follow quite a few sewers and haven’t been able to make some of the previous meet-ups. So when this came up and I was available, I thought I would go along.

I do get rather anxious in some social settings. But I still put myself into those situations as deep down I know it will be fine. I got to John Lewis as Bianca and Victoria arrived so there was no awkward sitting around. We recognised each other from our Instagram feeds.

Others arrived and I recognised some others from Instagram and their YouTube videos.

We started off by heading to the haberdashery in John Lewis, who still had fabric on sale. I bought some bias binding a stretch twin needle.

Then we headed off to the markets. This was my first purchase jersey fabric and it was calling for me to buy it. Going fabric shopping with other sewers means you are surrounded by enablers, including myself.

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Throughout the morning the sewing conversations were flowing and I asked washing fabric and everyone washed their fabric before sewing with it.

As a novice sewer and being a newbie to overlockers, sewing with jersey fabric and putting in sleeves. I also asked what others did. Lesley mentioned she did French seams instead and also put sleeves in flat.

Here are the other fabric I got from the market.

Poppybead Creative blog

Poppybead Creative blog

As the day went on my knee started to hurt and so I cut my day short, made a flying visit to Barry’s Fabrics and stopped off for lunch.

Once I got home all of my purchases were washed and ready to sew with. Thank you for a lovely experience and Lesley thank for the advice to be brave.

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Photo credit @dibsmaxwell

New cards – I did it!

Hello there

I still buzzing from the deliveries I received last week, I will write about the other delivery in another post. I printed some of my photos as greeting cards. I found a printer who does a small print run of 25. I narrowed down my photos to 6 and asked the opinion of some friends on the photos. They were honest, as always and I sent my order. One photo didn’t make the cut.

The size and orientation of the cards was limited, but that didn’t matter. The fact I could choose more than one design in such a small print run won me over.

I chose to include kraft brown envelopes but didn’t arrive. The customer service I received was great and the envelopes should be with me soon.

The cards are on sale locally and will go into my Etsy shop hopefully by the end of the week.

Now here are the cards let me know what you think?

The cards are A6 in size and an envelope will be provided each card. I will let you know when the cards are live for sale.

Thank you for reading.

Stepping out of my comfort zone

Some of you might know when I am not working, sewing, knitting and taking photos I officiate basketball games. I have blogged about my experiences with wheelchair basketball and those can be found in my archives.

Yesterday was cup final day for the WBBL & BBL leagues. It’s the first silverware of season.

These games took place at the Arena Birmingham, not a small venue by any means!

I was asked to do the Swiss timing. Swiss timing, what’s that? I asked the same question and still wasn’t sure until I spoke to the floor manager! At this point my anxiety levels went sky high. But I was taken through the equipment by Alfie, when I looked at the equipment it was the same equipment I used at Paralympics 2012. This scoring equipment is made by Omega and would be shown on the BBC coverage.

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I made notes of what I was shown and got on with it. I felt more comfortable in the 2nd game but my legs shook. It was far from perfect but I survived & hopefully didn’t mess up too badly.

I am always looking to step out of my comfort zone and improve my confidence. This brings me onto my new crafting idea.

I take a lot of photos and keep meaning to print them, well I have placed my first order for some cards. There will be five designs and here are two of them.

These cards will be for sale and supplied with a kraft envelope.

Best Nine and Make Nine

In 2015 I came across the best nine app.  I entered my Instagram account name and it picked the most liked nine photos from my feed.  When I look back at my Instagram feed, it has really developed.  Here are those first nine photos. 

These nine shots all relate to knitting and food.  I have set up a separate Instagram feed for my food called poppybeadfood.  The sock yarn blanket hasn’t grown much in two years and I love knitting colourwork. 

 Fast forward to 2016 and I had really embraced photography.   

Five of the nine photos above were taken when I attended a long exposure workshop with Ross Jukes.  I had no clue about long exposure and learnt so much.  All of the photos were taken with my Canon 1300D camera, it was a real year of learning and discovery. 

2017 has absolutely flown by.  This year’s nine show a different development.  I am still taking lots of photos but you get to see a little more of me, I had stopped hiding as much behind the camera as much.  I have been sewing a fair bit more this year, catching up with old friends and returned to officiating top level able bodied basketball. 

I have continued to look into puddles for a beautiful photo and get outside for night time photos.  One big difference this year was the camera I used to take the long exposure photos.  I bought an Olympus OM-D E-M10 mark II, it’s a lot smaller and lighter than my Canon.  It also has image stabilisation built into the camera body.  I am struggling with it but every once in a while I capture some stunning photos.

Now on to my makes.  On Christmas eve I came across the hashtag #2018makenine, a gentle challenge on making nine things throughout the year hosted by Home Row Fiber Co and a blog gives you more information.  I noticed some people had posted sewing or knitting specific grids of nine, I did both.  I attached three aspects to them, make some new things, finish projects that have been hanging around for a while and re-make some things I enjoyed making before. 

From left to right, top to bottom. 

  1. The lonely tree shawl by Sylvia McFadden.  I made it for a dear friend and enjoyed it, so will make another at some point. 
  2. Santa’s Laundry Line by Eleonore von Castelmur.  I started this decoration a few years ago and picked all of the easy items to complete first.  I have nearly finished the socks, just leaving the mittens and longjohns.
  3. The Secret Garden Shawl by Sarah Rose is not far from being finished and I am due to start the lace section. 
  4. Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart.  This pattern is one of the easiest patterns to follow, it gave lots of interest and tracked how far you had got through the pattern.
  5. Stories From Snoqualmie Valley by Annie Rowden will be a lovely cosy shawl when I finish this project.
  6. Baa ble Hat by Donna Smith has been a popular pattern amongst knitters and I knitted mine in two shades of grey.
  7. Andes Cardigan by Jenny Watson was one of the first patterns I started knitting seven years ago.  Yes I know seven years is a long time but I got bored.  Again, there isn’t much more to do.
  8. Bluebird of Happiness by Sara Elizabeth Kellner, is a small make that I intend to make again.
  9. Hopscotch by Wieke van Keulen is a crochet project that needs to be finished. 

As for sewing with I don’t think I am particularly good but I keep trying and some of the things I make are wearable. 

      Pictures 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 9 are from simplicity NewLook.  Picture 8 was a prize in an Instagram competition with The Crafty Pinup.  Picture 3 is the Molly dress is My Capsule Wardrobe from Sew over It. Pictures 5 and 7 are dresses from Tilly and the Buttons, I have heard good things about her patterns and so I have treated myself to Love at First Stitch and the Bettine pattern.

      I will also be learning how to use an overlocker and hope that will help with my sewing.  As for my photography I am still hopeful. 

      Enjoy your creativity. 

        Card Making

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        It’s been a while since I last made a card.  Like most of the crafts I do, I haven’t felt the motivation to create.  But that is changing.

        So here are some cards I have made previously, do excuse the quality of the photos.

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        Poppybead Creative Blog
        Poppybead Creative Blog

        Watch this space for some new cards, maybe including my photography.  If there is any of my photos you would like to see on a card please let me know.

        Poppies 

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        Social media and technology reminds us of what has happened in previous years.

        In years gone by I have frantically been crocheting poppy brooches to raise money for the Poppy appeal.  Unfortunately this year I won’t be able to.

        This fundraising all started after visiting an ice sculpture installation in Birmingham city centre.  I thought it would be an interesting opportunity to capture some photos.

        Minimum monument

        This experience was really emotive and wanted to do something creative to raise money.

        Poppybeadcreative

        Poppybeadcreative

        I also visted the poppies at the Tower of London and that was when I started to make poppies.

        At my old day job, some colleagues helped by knitting and crocheting poppies alongside me.  I would be up until the early hours of this morning making poppy brooches, as I would hand stitch beads on.  This made each poppy unique and personal.

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        This became really stressful & so I only made a few the following year as seen in the photo above.  This year I haven’t made any due to changing my day job at the same time as I would of started making the poppies.

        I hope people who still have their poppies will still make a contribution to the appeal.