Sunday, 30 March 2014


I have been wanting to make a cat dressed in fifties styled clothes for some time but had not found the fabric to inspire me enough to put starting at the top of my to do list.  Then I saw the choice of fabrics in the Hillarys Blinds country craft competition and I knew this was exactly what I had been looking for. 

 I know that this fabric may not be everybody first choice for dressing a soft toy but it has worked perfectly. It is a very forgiving fabric and was easy to use even making the bodice of the dress, which was a little fiddly. The 'give' in the fabric meant turning the hem was a doddle. 

 First I had to make the cat so I could dress her.  She started life as a teddy bear from an old book, altered to make her taller so I could make her skirt as long as possible. 

To make sure the legs were the correct length I pinned and sewed the pattern pieces together before cutting them out.

 I cut a meter length of a similar type of fabric to do a trial run.  I wanted an eight gore double circular skirt to get the "NEW LOOK" style.  While doing the trial fitting I saw that a double row of buttons would look pretty on the bodice.

  I found a ruler that was a perfect length for the skirt and made a quarter circle pattern which I cut out eight times. To make the bodice pattern  I adapted the bear that I had used for my cat.
Double circle laid out so the fabric pattern can be matched (as well as possible).  I lined the bodice, I find that with full heavy skirts this gives strength to the garment and stops any fraying.

I sewed flat seams on all but on of the seams of the skirt, the last one I made a narrow hem so there was room for the tail.
waiting for a new dress
 I used five layers of tightly gathered net for the petticoat to give maximum lift to the skirt.  This was to show off the lovely fabric as well as to be in keeping with the style I was creating. This was all nice and straight forward, simple hand sewing and fabric that was a joy to handle. I loved making this project and am pleased with the result, thank you HILLARYS BLINDS for giving me the opportunity to see how good your fabric is.
The hardest part was choosing which fabric to send for.

Petticoat on and dress ready to go, just a few finishing touches.  A bow to go in front of the ear, a bead necklace and some fish ( fish shown were made as a bag charm).  A few shakes to fluff out the petticoat, a few tweaks to the skirt and she's ready to go.

a summer dress for a spring day

Thursday, 27 March 2014


A few weeks ago I got sent details of the HILLARYS BLINDS COUNTRY CRAFTS competition.  It sounded exactly right for me so having looked at the fabric choices sent off for a piece.  I had chosen WILD POPPIES.  When the fabric arrived I was very impressed with the quality and very pleased that it would be perfect for the design I had been thinking of.

So now with the closing date very close I am two thirds there and happy with the way my project is progressing. 

30th March and my project is finished here is a link so you can see it.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE Tattoo inspired purse number one

 Back to creating purses out of cigar boxes, this time round they have become a little darker - inspired by some of the awesome tattoos that are being displayed by so many people.  It amazes me how such a plain box can change into something really unique, it is almost as if they take on their own destiny.  

So welcome to my nightmare as I show you my first 'by ink, inspired' creation.

 There were hints of a blacker side with the 'WHAT'S YOUR POISON' purse, I made some time ago, that was covered with various vintage poison labels. This has been one of my favourite bags and I use it often.

 Each flower has been handcrafted whether it has been made from polymer clay and then painted before being varnished ......

..... or if the flowers have been made from fabric, these circles (cut using my FUSE) made really effective flowers when completed.

Using pages from an Anne Rice vampire novel I decopatched the box before adding a lovely dark floral designed paper and painting the box.  
 The skull heart and some text was added front & back and that was also painted.
 Flowers were added to the front  and given beaded centres.


Heart and key metal charms have been attached using strings of black beads.

The handle is covered with a toning chiffon ribbon and fabric flowers are then fixed to its base, with clay flowers climbing up one side.

 The whole has been varnished inside and out making it very hardwearing.  Although it is a fairly small bag it is big enough for everything needed for a night out.

 Sorry fan and vintage evening gloves not included

 I am uncertain if a 'wooden stake' charm would add a quirky charm to this style of bag or whether it would just be horribly twee and spoil the effect - I would love to know how you feel about it.

Beaded centres to the handcrafted flowers