Glitter joy.

glitter jarsWell what brought this about? Well I’m (finally) getting married this August, yes this August..that’s not far away in planning terms. As a song once went”money too tight to mention” and this has lead us too the D-I-Y weeding of the century. I’m no stranger to doing parties on the cheap..looks like pintrest, came from e-bay kind of thing. But this is hardcore, multiplied by a thousand.

Were going for bright laid back BBQ so I have confetti punches and round punches and glitter all over the house. So I started making the centrepieces. I have seen jars very similar to these in my local fancy department store selling for about £4.50 each.  But I thought I’ll give it a crack see how it goes. Was pleasantly surprised. Even though my kitchen has suffered.

This is a good thing to do with kids too , Rockette made some mess but on the whole did a good job after I touched it up.

All you need is old jars, PVA glue and some glitter. (look for big tubes at discount stores like b&m bargains for  £1.69 and e-bay etc as you do use a lot of it. I know paper chase have nice colours but your going to push doing even 1 jar with their little tubes.
DSC_0153First just squiggle the glue round the jar. If you wanted to do a half covered jar, you could always cover the point with masking tape for an extra neat finish (I was lazy)

Then get a paint brush, or like me a cheap plastic kids knife and distribute the glue evenly around the jar. One important point here. If you are doing a half jar, make sure you don’t have any glue on your fingers when holding the jar from the inside. Its very difficult, nigh impossible to remove later on.

 

 

On the first go we laid the glitter on the plate and rolled the glue in it. This didn’t give proper coverage. Its better to shake the glitter over it and let the excess catch in a plate underneath.

 

DSC_0155DSC_0156

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let it dry. Let it dry then put on another coat of pva glue…thats it..looking good.

glitter 2

Just make sure it’s evenly distributed, sometimes dabbing works better.

finished product

Not sure how robust they will be, but they have been sitting on the microwave for a couple of days with no probs.

Like I mentioned earlier, my kitchen suffered. Put down some sort of newspaper or cover. I can’t vacuum or mop it off the floor either . Im not complaining too much about it, it looks a bit magical.

messy kitchen

 

In the shop the big news is that I’m taking pre orders for Tula Pink Hardware! This is a first for the UK  (I know can you believe it?) If you wanted some awesome sewing gear just head on over to the shop! www.thecraftymastermind.co.uk

Screen shot 2016-04-09 at 16.28.47

 

Things that still make me homesick

I’ve lived away from home for so long my homesickness for Melbourne is fewer and further in between, but sometimes It flares up. Normally this will happen In January and its cold, wet and miserable in England and I yearn for the big blue skies and northerly winds that burn your face off.

Other times , when things feel a bit complicated and I want to go back to a time when I was a lot more baggage free. This is when I get homesick.  And then sometimes, like today I was listening to an old album by The Ice Cream Hands while avoiding all other jobs that needed doing, whilst claiming putting together a play list is “an important job”.

Music is a funny thing preying on emotions and bringing up feelings, such as home-sickness, or to pin point a particular time. The thing is, if someone said what does it feel like? I couldn’t answer it. More like if you get the chills or pins and needles, but in a good way.

It reminds me of the time when I was a wide-eyed kid and had to Interview someone for a school project and in some weird way it came about that I could interview Chuck Jenkins who would go on to be in the Ice cream hands, but at the time was in a sadly ignored band called the Mad Turks (this could have had something to do with the shit front cover).

front.jpg

Champagne glasses are a nice touch.

I asked him a few dumb questions because I was only 15 and he answered them in a very dickish way like a snarl wrapped up in a leather jacket. I went away with his record,and a signed poster. The record I didn’t play until I was 20 and loved it & the poster I gave to a second-hand record store. I don’t blame him for being a dick, he was 25 and probably thought he  deserved more than sitting in a 80’s designed office and have to tolerate a kid who hasn’t heard his music. Poor snarling man, I love his work now, no damage done.

All this from one video.

 

I’m not sure how this blog ended up finishing like this today, It was supposed to go another way,  but there you go.

 

 

Easter sewing joy.

As it’s Easter I wanted make something using some of the great bunny fabrics we stock, although I couldn’t choose between Ghost bunnies or the Moon bunnies. What I did know was that I wanted to make the Brumby from skirt.

brumby.jpg

It had a zip, so was hesitant (I’ll get onto to later). But I gunned for the ghost bunnies after asking on instagram. For the inside pocket detail I used some of my own stash, bright pink with birds was a good contrast even if you can barley see it.

pink sea.jpg

Used my  Swedish tracing paper again, loving that stuff! I then measured out just under a meter and a half (130cm to be exact) of the ghost bunnies for the medium size. It was so easy to whip up, I mean super easy. If it wasn’t for the zip, I would say this is perfect for a beginner. Unless that beginner wants to learn how to put in a zip.

swede.jpg

I’m always too excited when I make these kind of things, so as usual I didn’t pre-wash my fabric, but being med weight cotton it should be fine.  But the pattern matching in the middle I probably should have thought about more. But in a weird way I like the half rabbits, like they are synchronized.

skirt.jpg

The instructions were straight forward, but perhaps made some of the steps sound a little more complicated then they actually were. The pockets were fun to make and easy.

pockets raw

 

zig pocket

I also didn’t have any problems with the gathering as I had in the past. I was worried that the waist band was going to be to small but once I attached it, it was a bit big really. Although I think by the time I got to the waist band, I was doing what I always do and just ignore the rest of the instructions and make it up as I go. Because of this the inside waistband had a raw edge which I folded under but the stitch work is pretty wonky under there. Too wonky to take a photo.

gathering

attaching band

Shall we talk about zips?  The instructions with the pattern seemed a little bit complex, and as it’s only my second time putting a zip in I went to my trusty Love at first stitch and followed Tilly Walnes tutorial.

OK I got cocky, I put up on instagram this…

Screen shot 2016-03-28 at 20.24.31

 

But I was only half way through, dick. I wasn’t concentrating when I put the 2nd part in it sewed it on the wrong side of the skirt. Being stupid I didn’t realise this had happened until I put the skirt on, so all the seams were done, the skirt was hemmed , it was finished. I did contemplate taking it apart to fix it but I just couldn’t be bothered. And besides who was really going to see it?

zip 1.jpg

What people could see was the other dickish thing I done  was not match up the top of the zip. What is with the stupid gap?? Again I could have fixed this but again it would mean a lot of unpicking for something that not many people would really see (stop looking at my arse).

DSC_0094 (1).JPG

After all of that, I’m really happy with it. The interfacing I used was left over from another project and was too stiff for my liking, next time i’ll do it with a soft to medium weight one.

skirt 2.jpg

But it sits well, I didn’t have any difficulty with the gathering or anything like that. It was a straight forward delightful pattern that I’ll make again. Maybe in the Moon bunnies or The Mustang pink arrows for Summer…just need to concentrate more!

DSC_0098.JPG

 

 

 

Im now on etsy!

To Pay pal or not to Pay pal has been a touchy subject when I was building the shop. If I included it, it would have made the website less clean, clunky and difficult as there was no program to automatically include it. But it’s been annoying me that I couldn’t include it . So the easiest way around that was to open up a fabric only store on Etsy.

etsy store

etsy store

To make things uncomplicated for now I’m only shipping to the UK via this site, if you are of International ilk and would like to purchase stuff. Or if you would like to purchase patterns and habdash it will still need to be placed via the shop www.the craftymastermind.co.uk.

Yay well that’s now done!

final

Kitty Lacy needs a utility belt.

It was world book day last week, Initially my lil rockette wanted to go to school dressed as Sleeping Beauty, which was a boring idea. So after a thought about what costume I could cobble together in a week I managed to convince her that maybe she could go as Kitty Lacey the hairdresser in the Fairytale Hairdresser series. Im not a massive fan of these books in one sense mainly because of the formula. All of the princesses have a problem (wicked witch, not human, evil step mothers etc.), normally they haven’t met their prince but after a make over and a new hair do, they do and they normally get married. She is really very effective.

Of course all is well now they are married, which makes me question what message am I giving my child. Why would any of these princess’ want a career or anything like that? (This why I prefer the book Interstellar Cinderella which is much better, she just wants to be a mechanic and refuses the princes proposal preferring to be head mechanic, it is brilliant).It is targeted at 4-6 year olds so I suppose I’m not the right kind of audience.

Even so, I still thought this was a better character than Sleeping Beauty… I stated my case as such , lets rationalise-, Kitty Lacy is an independent business owner and an expert in her field, she’s a problem solver and has a creative eye, which is perhaps why you should consider going as her for WBD Instead of that lazy Sleeping Beauty ,Rockette agreeded. The real reason I suggested this was because the costume is made up of jeggings, a t-shirt a blazer and a pair of boots. She has pink & purple hair which I sorted with pink & purple hairspray (she was thrilled with that!) So it took little effort.

Until I thought that she would need some sort of hairdresser utility belt to hold all of her tools in.

final

 

There was little on tutorials online for a hairdresser belt, so I made it up as I went along…

(Sorry about the bad photos it was late at night, the light isn’t great in my front room)

I cut two rectangles of contrasting fabric for the front and the back of the main pocket piece and then put some wadding in the middle. For this I just guessed the size on my child and then held it up against her to make sure it wasn’t too big or small.Lazy I know, but it’s not rocket science. I put that bit to one side.

quilting

inside pocket.jpg

I then did the same with the front pocket, I cut a piece the same size as the first pocket, then folded it in half.  I sandwiched the two pieces with wadding and the sewed the lines to make the pockets. Again I just looked at what needed to go into the belt and made the pocket sizes accordingly. I finished the top part of the pocket with bias binding.

20160228_174142.jpg

 

finished 2.jpg

Once this is done, I put the front pocket on top of the back and clipped bias binding all around it, except for the top and top stitched the binding to sew it all together. If you wanted to add an elastic loop to add some hair straighteners then do that at this stage. Fold the elastic in half and put it flat against the binding on the back.

bias top

To finish sew the bias binding to the top making sure you leave enough either end so it can be comfortably tied up.

finished back.jpg

final.jpg

It came back in one piece but the hairdryer was too big and that ended up in her school bag.  It only took about an hour, piece of cake.

Is it to early for Eurovision chat?

On a different subject entirely, the UK entry has been selected for Eurovision and for once the public have voted for the best song. I liked this song by a long shot, fingers crossed the UK do better this year….but better than Australia? Doubt it, and I’ve just seen Russia’s entry and well..it’s really very good and so is France’s. It’s only 2 months away and I’m already listening to my best of Eurovision play list & planning the party I’ll bring back this year.

 

Simplest of chic tops

20160124_161633.jpg

It’s been so long since I blogged about anything! Social media is sucking all of my time up like an evil black hole. I’m still making my mums quilt..but there is a light at the end of that tunnel, but in between I wanted to whip up something fast that I was selling in the shop.

I picked probably the easiest thing to make and one of the tops I had on my list of things to do since I went to see Ride in October and wished I had made it to wear then.

I picked Grainline Studios studios Scout top which you can find here. It’s perfect for beginners or if you want to make something straight forward that wont make your brain explode.

20160123_113010.jpg

 

 

20160123_114859.jpg

I traced the pattern using the Swedish Tracing Paper, it was the first time I used this properly and it was awesome!!! I fashioned it into a mock up to get the size about right. the beauty is that it’s soft enough to bend around all your curvy bits and you can stick pins in it (I’m sure you can sew it together too) It’s cheaper than using cheap fabric and it means I could re-use the pattern again, double bonus.

20160123_132439.jpg

20160123_163448.jpg

Anyway I wanted to trail it up because A) I always accidentally make stuff too big for some unbeknownst reason and B) the fabric I was working with isn’t the cheapest of fabrics even by my own standards.

But my god what a beautiful fabric!!! It feels like silky luxury but it’s a rayon. It’s Cotton + Steel Zephyr Gust in black, lovin’ it. As I have never worked with rayon before I was nervous..literally crapping, but it was great! I even remembered to change to a smaller size needle so the holes wouldn’t be too big. There’s a point , don’t stick too many pins into this, it doesn’t like it.

20160124_151619.jpg

I used a meter and a half of this amazing fabric to make the top, but the with the way the pattern was laid out there was quite a bit left over running the width. (Im sure I can use it  to make a kids skirt or bits of a quilt). The whole pattern was in 3 easy parts, front back, sleeves and bias neckline. The instructions were straight forward and easy to follow, even inserting the sleeves was too easy. I haven’t done a lot of  curved binding so I was pretty flipping nervous…but it turned out awesome….amazingly.

20160124_140608.jpg

 

20160124_161540.jpg

 

I’ve got to do some press shots this week, I think I’ll wear this as it’s now probably one of the coolest things I own.

Not to sound like a dirty cheap salesman but you can find everything to make this top in my amazing store The Crafty Mastermind. If you know anyone who would love to make this, or are starting out in dressmaking let them know! Alright sales pitch over.

The hacked skirt

 

20160117_143818.jpg

I feel like calling this a peasant skirt as I’m sure this is how my grandmother probably constructed skirts in the 50s cause they were too poor to buy stuff. But that wasn’t the origins for this creation. I ripped this off from my Cath Kidson skirt that I bought 2 years ago. Every time I wear these I always get compliments, even once during an interview.

It looked like a simple construction, two square pieces sewn together with pockets inserted then gather the top held together on top with a coloured elastic band. No problems. I had bought 2 different  kinds of Riley Blake fabrics at least two years ago, it has taken that long  for me to make this.

20160110_170227.jpg

Finally with steely determination and the confidence that I could do it in a few hours I embarked. I used a pattern from a chambray skirt I made, inserted the pockets and gathered it. It was looking goods albeit a bit massive, a bit size 16 which I thought would sort itself out once I put the elastic on.

 

20160110_193623.jpg

Thus began a painful two days of why the fuc£ is this happening?? The gathering was unravelling, and falling out and it was one of those things where I just made it a whole world worse by trying to sew over the top of it to secure it. That didn’t stop it from unravelling so, I SEWED IT OVER AGAIN. By this stage it was a massive mess of fraying, different size stitches. I should have stopped and thought about it. When I did sew the elastic on, the skirt it was so fluffy it made me look enormous, there was way too much fabric.

An hour of unpicking later I left it for 2 days to rethink the whole sorry affair. In the end I cut off about 20 cm from one side and re sew the pocket, but the elastic was evil, there was no stretch. I left it again.

20160117_085228.jpg

Finally decided that I would place the top of the fabric as far down to the bottom of the elastic as possible and stretch it a bit while I sewed it on, it seemed to work, Still putting over my head when I want to wear it. Im going to try it again with some french man fabric to see if I can make it a bit better.

 

20160117_143849.jpg 20160117_143826.jpg

Farewell Thin White Duke

 

For  all the hours  I spent learning to play guitar along to your albums

For all the rotations of the turntable,  for all the clicks of the ipods and all the twists of cassette tapes

For all the sing-alongs wether in the kitchen, the car, the shower, in public at bars or arm in arm in the second row of your concert

For all the hours watching your music videos

For all of the hours spent digging through vinyl bins at record fairs for decent copies of your LP’s

For all the hours in darkened rooms with headphones immersed in and amazed by your music

For going out with boys because they looked like Bowie during the low era

For all the spins on the dance floor

For the lullabies I sang in replacement of traditional fare

For that costume in the Labyrinth

For Ziggy & The Thin White Duke.

Thankyou.

 

 

 

 

this is the dress your looking for.

20160106_134630.jpg

After the excitement of my shop launch, it’s all back to business on this blog. Im hardly writing at the moment and when I do it appears to be about Star Wars craft, it’s not going to end I’m afraid as I’ll probably put up some more stuff up later January. Its all Star Wars fever aglow here .

Ages ago I bought Rockette some Star Wars fabric with a view to make a dress for Christmas. I had the idea of a jersey top because all of her favourite dresses are jersey based with this medium weight cotton skirt. But as December approached I still didn’t have any jersey and not having actually sewn with it before, I was scared…. so I cheated.

1 Cheap plain black top from Next and half a meter of fabric later and it was pretty straight forward. I found quite a few tutorials on pintrest but all I did was use one of Rockettes dresses for the sizing and cut the top to the same size as the bodice

.20151219_074835.jpg

20151219_075121.jpg

 

Then I used the full half meter length, cut it in half and then sewed the seams together using a french seam as I hate raw edge’s. I made a gathering stitch along the top.

20151219_075304.jpg

This is where I stopped taking photos. It was 11pm and the light in my front room is bad for any kind of photography. I slipped the jersey top head down and joined the two together.

It lacked the shape I was after. I then sewed a thin elastic on top of the seam, which did improve things. But next time I make this I’ll try it with stay tape or bikini tape to make it more lightweight. Med weight cotton and the elastic together made it a bit more bulkier than I would have liked.

20160106_135049.jpg

I would have liked a much more defined gather. I thought I had done enough to give it a good gather and make it “fluffy” but I think I lost a lot of it when I sewed the bodice to the skirt. Next time….

20160106_134803.jpg

To finish I wanted a cute little pixie collar. All I did was draft the shape on some tracing paper, (including the seam allowance) cut out 4 pieces and 2 bits of interfacing . After sewing then together I left the end at the shoulders open, then tried to fold them neatly under & top stitched. I attached it with a running stitch to the top (running/ slip stitch on the back) . I tried to be lazy and do this with a machine but it turned out awful.

20160106_134727.jpg

She was happy she wore it on boxing day and it held together (except the collar which needed resewing).

Thanks for everyone who had a look at my new online shop last week! it’s been great and have had some amazing feedback from some well respected pattern makers, it’s been thrilling. The highlight was the nod from Colette patterns. If you still haven’t had a sqizz come have a look !

www.thecraftymastermind.co.uk

 

Screen shot 2016-01-08 at 10.34.47

All is revealed, I become a shop owner.

I’ve been blaming my lack of entires due to being busy. I have been, but now I can say proudly that I have opened up an online shop selling amazingly cool fabrics and brilliant patterns. Woo Hoo!

www.thecraftymastermind.co.uk

AWESOME HEADER 1

This baby has taken over 9 months to come about…it feels like I’ve had a baby really . This all came about for a mixture of reasons, but mainly- a year and a half ago I started moving from quilting to trying to make clothes (well kinda round the start of this blog). I was frustrated to the point of tears that I wanted to make a certain pattern but I had no idea what fabric was suitable,  and then when I found the fabric that was suitable it was only available in America with rubbish shipping costs.I was trying to teach myself and found most online stores incredibly unhelpful. Then my local stores weren’t a lot better.

Enough of that! So I started to plan what I would like out of an online shop for dressmakers, quilters & crafters(as you do).

It had to give amazing customer service, a place where you wouldn’t be ignored or fobbed off because you asked a rookie question. It would also have to suggest what fabrics and haberdashery that would work with what patterns. It would have to be  cool, modern and aimed at up starters, like me as well as experienced sewists .

fabric .jpg

It had to offer the rock n roll of fabric , cool, unique and unusual with a zero percentage of twee in it. No old lady flowers, no repulsive novelty prints and no cheap horrible itchy fabric that would tear your skin apart. Along with that modern patterns made by independent pattern makers that are easy to follow and does not assume you know anything about dressmaking. It also needed to offer a decent shipping price. I always hated paying a flat rate of £3.00 when all I wanted to buy was a Fat Quarter.

Things changed with the process, some ideas were unrealistic for now, some just didn’t match what kind of store this was developing into and some were put on the back burner. But the core idea’s above have remained and everything above is what I set out to achieve.

There are stores out there similar but ,I’m trying to take a different approach. Im trying to bring an in-store experience into your homes, we have a playlist that you can listen to whilst you shop, immersing yourself in the CMM experience.

But what I’ve put together was something I never thought I would be able to ever do. It was a massive learning curve in some ways, like trying to get my head around so much tech. But with the help of some trusted friends I’ve built a modern clean looking website , hopefully from the perspective of a geeky, fabric obsessed, slightly awkward and shy, novice maker who can access a website only armed with the basics.

DSC_0480.JPG

So please take a look around and let me know what you think. Were in early days and I’m taking baby steps in the launch of this. Giving it a couple of weeks to establish ourselves and iron out any unexpected issues before I go nuts with the promotion. But I would love this to work, so If you could spread the word and share the love it would be amazing!!! We do ship worldwide and not at rip off prices.(which has been a headache to achieve).

We have bigger plans for the future, with expanding ranges for the spring /summer  but for now lets get this off the ground and hope that you love us and what were trying to do.

As you have made it to the bottom were offering 10% off all first orders at the moment just put woohoo10 in the voucher box at checkout. And UK shoppers get free delivery with orders over £50!! (don’t forget to enter the code yofreeship in the voucher code box).

 

I’ll be back soon..with a Star Wars dress.