Sewing with the Ruby

So you have a meter of a lovely piece of lawn for example , but it could be anything really. And you want a super fast sew , that doesn’t require a lot of construction . Meet the Ruby from Made by Rae patterns!

static1-squarespace-3

I had some beautiful Cotton + Steel Cookie Dough in lawn that I have had sitting in my stash for a couple of years, but only a meter of it. I paired it up with some beautiful linen which was not only a great contrasting fabric, but also gave a great weight to the top of the bodice , letting the lawn flow nicely underneath it.

The pattern gives you the option of making either a dress or shortening it to a top. As I only had a meter, a top it was.

The pattern is great for beginners, it has very little detail on it and it’s printed on normal paper, not tissue paper making it easier to trace using Swedish tracing paper and then packing it away for the next time.

static1.squarespace-4.jpg

Construction of this is really straight forward. If you have made the Germanium for a little girl this is the same kind of pattern. Separate top bodice and then a gathered body all  sewn together. There are no zips or buttons either!

There are a few options to finish the raw edges around the neckline and armholes. I went partially lazy, bias binding finished with a sewing machine. I could have made proper bias binding to match the two different fabric., but I’m not the most patient of sewist’s . So although I didn’t make it exact, I did make my own bias binding- but I did not finish it neatly by hand..my hand sewing skills leave much to be desired.

static1.squarespace-5.jpg

Making bias binding is always easier than I remember. I always go into it dreading it a bit, but end up doing it all quite quickly (even without using my bias binding maker, which is missing somewhere!). The instructions ask that you cut a fat quarters worth, but I didn’t need that much and stopped half way and still had quite a bit of binding left over.

It’s a great little sew and I adore the feel of Cotton and Steel’s dress making fabric, it’s a dream to work with.  The one thing I will say is that when I make this next time, I won’t make the gathers as close together. I’m a busty lady, and the excessive gathers can give my chest a bit of a mountain’s look.

Advertisements

It’s been a while but I’m back

I know I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve put anything and in the mean time quite a lot has happened. I got married (yes I know!), I had birthdays, other weddings, visitors from Australia, finishing quilts, making clothes, the shop is slowly starting to take off and there is a quite a few changes going on at my other job, no more taking it easy.

But I have written a whole heap of entries that I will pace out. Baking success, and failures, trying to to put together the cheapest wedding possible and so on. But today I’m going to start easy with a quick dress I made up quickly for Rockette. I have lifted it from my shops website  (just so you know).

Hello Sushi!

Sushi dress 1

Since the release of Cotton + Steel’s 2016 Spring collection I have loved this Sushi’s antique’s from Sarah Watts From Porto with love range. I’ve been looking for a project to use this with, and my little one decided this week when she saw it that she and her Rapunzel doll both needed dress made out of it.

I’m was looking for a quick-ish sew and I found it while having a little mooch in my sewing books. Sewing Girls Style is by Japanese pattern maker Yoshiko Tsukiori. It was first time I had used the book but glad I had picked an easy pattern, which was excitingly titled Pattern W.

Coming mainly from using independent pattern makers work for a single pattern, this one was all a bit mad. Parts of the patterns were on different sheets and all of the patterns overlap each other in no particular order. Bit of chaos but once you get used to it , it was straight forward.

I traced the pattern using Swedish tracing paper, and it was only 3 pieces (joy!) , one for the whole dress and two bits for the interfacing on the neckline. The pattern called for linen, and that is great for Autumn/Winter as it would give the dress a more a-line shaped dress. The medium weight cotton of Sushi gives it a more flowy relaxed, less formal look. I wasn’t too sure if it was going to work without the stiffness but, I think it worked out great.

I finished it within an hour and a half, it was so easy and it looks so cute in the amazing cat fabric. There is a jacket that goes with this but it seemed a bit too time consuming.

To make Rapunzel’s dress I just sketched out a basic sleeveless a-line dress on some tracing paper and cut out the fabric. Placing right sides together I sewed the shoulders and the sides together. I then zigzagged around the neckline and folded and sewed the hem at the bottom. I left the armholes because it was 5 pm and I couldn’t be bothered.

Once finished the dress was a bit wide so I tied some bias binding around the waist and tied it in a bow round the back. Done, I’m hoping Rapunzel liked it, it suited her.

You can see Sushi in our shop here , but we don’t carry the book,  hopefully your friendly local independent book seller can help.

I will be back again soon with some more entries!

Making the Bettine dress

Hello, it’s been awhile hasn’t it?

There’s been lots going on, but if you randomly ask me, whats been happening, I will probably say oh nothing much. I’m behind on all of the wedding prep..like way behind and I will say that I got a some new patterns into the store , a whole 6 of them and it took a massive, massive chunk out of my Sunday to add them all on, cross reference everything, do the social media thing pause for a ballet rehearsal (not mine lol! I would look pretty bloody bad in a tutu.) and that was all of Sunday. I think I underestimate how long it takes to do  EVERYTHING.

So this is a bit of a rehash from my shops blog but I know not the whole word reads that so I’ve added it here with a few extra bits. (I’m insinuating the whole world reads this…errr No, I’m fully aware it does not.)

Making the Bettine..this took me 5 weeks to finish..and I went up an arse size in between, why did it take so long?

Reason 1,  I made half of it and then my front room was full of junk and I couldn’t get to anything, finally Mr CM had a BBQ, panicked that people were going to walk through the house and finally cleaned it up. (I was on protest- it wasn’t my stuff clogging up the front room,and I wasn’t going to clean it all up…even if it did get on my tits. I’m sure he will strongly disagree with this and there will be some kind of mini disagreement. With a lot of annoying nasal sounding errrrr’s)

Reason 2 Biscuits.

static1.squarespace

So here it is, I warn you there is some shameless linking and promotion in this.

Making the Bettine

It’s May and a lot of sewist are making loads of amazing things for May Makes, which is making me feel unproductive. So I took some action! We have some great budget chambray (£8 a meter!)  in our store and I debated between 3 different patterns to use it with, so I put the question to Instagram- because that’s what you do in 2016 right?

patterns+from+the+crafty+mastermnd

So I put it out there and it came back that I should make the Bettine, which I was glad for as I wanted an easy fast sew (I say fast.. it took a month!) . The only problem I wish I could foresee was that I ate too many biscuits between cutting the pattern and making the pattern.

I traced all my pieces using Swedish Tracing paper, and this is why I do this, as I had to re trace the size again when I messed up the bottom half.

The bodice came together really easily and quite fast. What I really do want the more dress making I do is an over locker, my zig zag is ok, but it really needs overlocking.

static1.squarespace

I did the pocket version , because for me a pocket is essential in all of my clothing. I like walking around looking cool and nonchalant with my hands in my pockets. The first version all came together well, and then I had to put the elastic in…but as you do, I left it, and came back to it a few weeks later

static1.squarespace

So it’s a few weeks later, and I thought best to try on the pieces before I sewn it all together. The top was fine, but I wish I knew what happened (biscuits) to the bottom, because that was snug. As you can see on the picture above (the lines at the bottom are the give away). I didn’t want to make the whole front panel again so I just took the back off and made it a size bigger.This is apparently an old tailors secret, how they made garments slimmer- top idea.  It worked, it looks a bit hippy. If I make it again, I’ll make it less fish tail at the bottom .

static1.squarespace

For some reason, every time I look at this picture I can hear the song Big Bottom by Spinal Tap.

I just realised how different my language is on my store blog as oppose to this one. We’ve know each other for awhile now- I feel I can be more relaxed.

It’s nice to wear, if only I had made it more roomier. I can’t wear leggings with this, it’s like that 5 mm or extra fabric underneath is just too much to ask (and that was after I made it larger!) Maybe I’m giving myself too much seam allowance? I just wanted to get it done in the end as with most of my makes. For example that Nerogri men’s shirt is almost finished shirt is still sitting in my basket a year later just because I put the placket sleeve in upside down and I really cant face it…so close , so far away. I tried this week after I finished the Bettine, I was like “YEAH , BRING IT, I CAN FACE ANYTHING!!” Then rockette woke up and came downstairs and I had to do breakfast and then Adventure Time was on and I said, I’ll do it tomorrow…..which I did not.

I’ve started on a kids dress which shouldn’t take that long. Who mentioned unfinished quilts? No One? Good.

Great British Sewing Bee has started again, and Tuesday morning a colleague said to me (as with bake off..another person tho) You should be on that show, you would be great on it. Again let me explain why, purely because I would be the sweary, loose cannon ,wild card that would be screaming at the end of each challenge “shit shit ,Oh F^&&^£k this who’s got a GLUE GUN ? STAT!!” I panic even watching that show, it would only go bad if I went on it..plus I don’t really have the skills…the ballroom dress skills..If I did I’d be making my own wedding dress. (I’m not having a ballroom gown though).

You can get the Bettine dress pattern, the fabric and all the other bits from my shop The Crafty Mastermind, but hey- you already knew that!

Enough of this gas bagging. TTFN.

BTW- Lack of Eurovision comment this year. I still can’t talk about it, it’s too painful, and too infuriating.

 

 

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

 

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!

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.

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.