Thread Drawers

A while back I did a little DIY project which brings me so much joy it’s slightly worrying. I made me some beautiful thread drawers. Yes, that’s right, thread drawers. They’re a thing. And mine are my favourites!

The boring "before"
It began with a set of these little Moppe drawers from IKEA, and of course a snoop around Pinterest to see what other creative folk had done with their Moppes. Then, a little white paint, some little card holding drawer pulls and a few tiny labels later and voila! Behold!

Me beautiful drawers

I used to keep my thread all jumbled together in a massive dented biscuit tin, which was fine I guess but not very practical. The drawers, however, are practical AND pretty. So much joy in such tiny drawers. Of course I arranged the thread by colour, then ordered the colours through a spectrum from white to beige to brown to black to dark green to green to yellow to orange to red to pink to purple to blue. Specialist threads got their own drawer (there’s one little solitary spool of silk thread in there currently).

Organising my rainbow of thread while the drawers dried

Needless to say, I love the finished product! Happy Ree, over and out. x

Top 5 of 2014: Reflections and Goals

Now for my favourite bit, reflections and goals.

My Top Six Reflections

I tried to pick five, but I couldn't whittle it down I'm afraid. 

  • I love my ambitiousness. 
  • Having this blog and reading other blogs is brilliant and has DEFINITELY been the biggest contributing factor to my improvements in sewing.
  • I've got so much better at achieving good fit and finish!
  • I'm not that speedy, but that's OK!
  • Having more than one project on the go at once stresses me out.
  • Sewing has made me buy less Ready To Wear. In fact, I can probably count on both hands the RTW items I've bought this year. WOW. This wasn't even a conscious RTW "fast" or anything, but it's definitely down to my sewing.

My Top Five Goals for 2015

  • Restrict the lists! I do sometimes overplan. I have To Sew lists which would stretch me into next year, and that is not really going to do me any good, is it?
  • Make an awesome wedding dress!
  • Sew some knits.
  • Make a big quilt for our home.
  • Use my stash. To be honest I don't have a very large fabric stash (each piece has a plan and there aren't even that many pieces). I do have lots of patterns I haven't sewed from yet, so I'm planning to use those before buying new patterns if I can at all help it. Also I seem to have this inability to get rid of scraps, off-cuts and clothes ejected from my wardrobe. I need to use some of this stuff up! 
I thought I'd end with a look at my sewing year in numbers.

I'm pretty pleased with that! In conclusion, 2014 has been a great year, a formative year in my sewing journey, and the year I started this little blog. I feel proud of what I've achieved in my sewing this year, and so excited for 2015. 

Top 5 of 2014: Hits and Misses

As the year comes to an end and we all get reflective and start to set goals for the year to come, I thought I'd join in with the "Top 5 of 2014" series hosted by Gillian at Crafting A Rainbow. I enjoyed reading lots of these posts last year, when this blog was still a twinkle in my eye, and it looks like a good way to take stock and get ready for a fresh start in 2015. 

My Top Five Hits:

Harlo's Quilt

Harlo's quilt
Well, I'm just so proud of it. My first attempt at quilting, and an unbridled success. This was a long project, out of my usual comfort zone and one of my rare bits of unselfish sewing. It turns out unselfish sewing can be just as fun as the selfish kind! I flipping love the finished quilt.

The Lady Luck Dress (By Hand London's Anna)

The Lady Luck Dress 
This is the first dress I'd properly spent time over fitting. I made various Swedish tracing paper toiled, and lots of adjustments. I took my time and fussed over the fit. I still love this dress just as much as when I first made it!

2 x Butterick B4443s (the Rock Around the Clock dress and the Stevie dress)

The Rock Around the Clock dress
The Stevie dress

The shape and fit of the B4443 just suits me down to the ground. These two dresses have been worn A LOT, and every time I wear them I feel super comfy and "me-like" in them. Must make more! 

3 x Emery dresses (Flowers for Jane, Marion and The Sinking Sun dresses)

The Flowers for Jane dress

The Marion dress

The Sinking Sun dress
I adore these three Emery dresses, and they have been worn and loved loads. I always feel nice wearing them. I love the shape, the fit I've achieved and the fabrics I made these three out of. There will definitely be more Emery dresses!

Liam's PJs

Liam's PJs
Another unselfish one! These have been worn and washed loads, and they are still looking great. Best of all, they're loved by Liam, which makes me happy!

My Top Five Misses:

Taking the Michael Skirt

Taking the Michael skirt
Well, this was doomed from the start. Should've made a Miette! It's not all THAT bad of course, but the fact is that this is not a great shape on me, the wrap doesn't wrap over quite enough and it was a poor fabric choice on my part. 

The Jinx Jacket

The Jinx jacket
Again, the trinity of wrong shape, wrong pattern and wrong fabric. I'll chalk this one up to experience and throw this in the bin (read: 'to refashion' pile).

The Late Dress

The Late Dress
Well, clearly I love the Emery so the pattern is not the issue here. I over adjusted this dress resulting in bad fit. It was just flipping uncomfortable. I have more of this fabric, so I COULD whip up a new bodice and reattach the existing skirt, but to be honest the fabric is not great quality anyway so I don't think I will in the end.

The Ancient Mariner Dress

Why I hate the Ancient Mariner dress
A not-very-successful frankenpattern. The skirt shape isn't really suited to the Anna bodice. The main nail in this one's coffin though was the AWFUL fit. I just felt rubbish every time I wore it, so this one got chopped up for parts a long time ago. Side note: I'm not all that sure whether I like the V-neck Anna bodice. I'll definitely make more of the high neckline version but just not sure whether the V-neck is doing it for me.

The Sherlock Skirt

The Sherlock Skirt
Ah, my first blogged make. I do like it but alas the fabric is just too thick really for this style. Plus the waistband has stretched a bit. I do have a fondness for this though, I'm not sure I can throw it out just yet.

Well,  there we have it. It's really nice actually to sit and think about what has worked and what hasn't (and of course, why). I'll be back soon with my reflections on the year's sewing, and my goals for next year. 

Over and out! x

Harlo's Quilt (my first quilt ever!)

Here it is - my pride and joy, my very first quilt.

Harlo's Quilt

I'm so ridiculously proud of this. I must say, I was never that enamoured with the idea of quilting. I don't know what changed, but suddenly I became a bit obsessed with wanting to make one. I kept seeing gorgeous,  amazing, impressive and artsy quilts everywhere online (see my board on Pinterest for a few of my favourites) and also in Sew magazine.  So, I decided to dive straight in with this nautical chevron number for my baby nephew Harlo's joint Christmas and christening gift. He has this amazing nautical bib which really suits him, and I do love a nautical print, so the idea for this quilt was born. You can spot some dress off cuts in there (red spots of my Marion dress and blue waves of my Ancient Mariner dress), but the rest were bought specially. Why oh why didn't I buy more of the pale blue anchor print and the red striped anchor print to make me some dresses out of? Error. 

As you might be able to see, the chevron pattern on this quilt is made of rectangular pieces, not triangles. I thought I'd better stick to the grain line on my first quilt. I used a mixture of "my method" (winging it) and this tutorial from Crazy Mom Quilts. This tutorial was especially helpful with how to sew the blocks together. I honestly would have fudged this up otherwise. 

I do now wish I had made those original little rectangles BIGGER. It took so blooming long to cut them all, sew them all together, lay them out.... You get the idea. But I am so chuffed with the result, that's all forgotten now. 

There were only a few "minor panic" moments during the making of the quilt. And they were these:

1) "Uh oh. What if I've not been accurate enough with my cutting and sewing? My chevrons won't match up!!" I should have more faith in my ability to fudge it and make it work on the fly. I managed with a bit of artful matching and folding to get all the chevrons to line up. Ahhhh.

2) "The quilt top looks so NICE. Am I about to ruin it with my first attempt  at quilting?!" 

3) "I bet I'm committing many cardinal sins of quilting."

4) "I've stabbed myself with a pin and BLED on this new lovely quilt. Well done, Ree."

Worry not, the blood came out. I did fine without a walking foot, and no matter how many cardinal sins of quilting I may have committed, I did end up with a quilt. 

I used a thin 100% cotton wadding by Simply Cotton, which was of lovely quality. I stitched in the ditch of my chevron design. Well, mostly in the ditch. sometimes just next to the ditch. I love the effect it creates on the back. 

Mitred corner!
So, have I been bitten by the quilting bug? Well. Kind of. I do absolutely want to make more, but not yet! I would like to make one for our bed and one for the living room sofa, but they'll be such big projects I think if better wait till after Project Wedding Dress. 

I hope Harlo likes the quilt! 

Christmas Gift Sewing: A Baby Dress and Other Things

Hello all! I can't wait to show you my latest completed projects! *fanfare*

Mylah's dress (pattern from GBSB's Sew Your Own Wardrobe)
I've really missed blogging this month. The odd thing is I've been busier making things than ever before, but I just haven't been able to share any of it with you (yet). There's Project Wedding Dress, of course, and although I'm doing alright with progress, I'm a bit behind on my self imposed schedule. Trying to be cool about it! I'm also making some presents for my two bridesmaids to thank them for all their help, and I'm helping them make their dresses. Then, of course, there are Christmas gifts! I LOVE making Christmas presents, and always have loads of ideas of gifts to make for friends and family. With everything else I've taken on at the moment though, I tried not to take on too much more.

So, here are a few of the pressies I have finished. This is the sweet little dress I made for our baby niece, Mylah. Construction-wise, all was pretty straight forward, and I had a lot of fun making this. The materials were all stuff I already had, so this was zero-spend! Woohoo!

There's not much to explain about this one, except that
1. I could've ironed it before taking these pictures (sorry)
2. I sewed the button holes horizontally instead of vertically. I only realised as I was sewing the last one. "Noooooo!" I cried. Then, "Oh wait, she's a baby, she's probably not going to mind."

Pattern: Baby dress (9-12 months) from Great Bristish Sewing Bee "Sew Your Own Wardrobe" book
Fabric: from the stash! I love how little fabric it took to make this!
Buttons: from the stash
Notions: self-made bias binding (using this continuous bias tape tutorial on the Coletterie)

I'm calling this one a success. My top-stitching is probably not the neatest ever but this was a good project to try and fix that! It's pretty neat for me so I'm pleased with my top-stitching progress!! Unfortunately Mylah lives 200 miles away, so there are just flat garment pictures to show you.

Also, another Scrap Happy make in these little Oyster card wallets. I've sewn a few of these as presents and one for myself, but this is my latest (and most favourite). I made a little template from an existing Oyster card holder, then interfaced all the pieces before stitching it all together. Such a great scrappy project. (And again, top stitching is getting much neater).

My other BIG Chistmas project has been my first ever quilt, for my nephew Harlo. It's not done yet, but it's almost there and is looking pretty good! I'm looking forward to revealing all my hard work on it soon.

I'm feeling decidedly festive and am having huge urges to make Christmas party dresses. Alas, I may not have time, we'll see!

Over and out x