Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Flushed with Success

In my last post I shared my excitment in making a cute, hand embroidered dress for my lovely granddaughter Martha. After working on interior projects it was great to work on the much smaller scale required for a two year old. Flushed with success I dashed out to purchase a metre of this striking Babushka fabric that I had spotted in our local branch of Hobbycraft.
I loved the fabulous jewel colours that I knew my favourite little model would really suit. So once again, armed with a really old pattern I borrowed from my niece and a bit of design input from me, I set about producing my next designer dress.

So, after making decisions about colour and hem trim, I managed to come up with the complete garment.

Both my daughter Lynsey and Martha were delighted with it and Handmade by Martha rustled up a coordinating pair of slides to add the finishing touch.
"Thank you Grandma"
When, on one of my regular visits to my local branch of Boyes to gather haberdashery supplies, I spotted a range of black and cream coordinating fabrics that made we want to make yet another outfit.

I know that I should have made my selection there and then but instead I went home to look at patterns and consider my choice. Sadly, when I returned ready to make my purchase I had much less choice and my favourite one (at the bottom of the pile) had sold out.

My Selection

I was rather disappointed that there were none with dark backgrounds but settled on the three above. I wanted yet another change of style so decided to use this 80s pattern in the hope that the finished dress would look more current than the one on the front.

I cut out the pieces but wasn't happy as I really wanted more of a contrast for the collar, but that was as far as I got that session.On a Wednesday I turn into "a lady that lunches" and while in Yarm I popped into another branch of Boyes and to my delight I found the exact opposite to the Billingham branch - they had all dark backgrounds and no light ones! For the sake of 30cm of fabric I got the combination I wanted and set off to start production.
Let Production Begin

To complete the outfit I went on to make a little heart-shaped matching purse.

"It fits Grandma"

"Give us a twirl Martha"

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Designer Dresses

It is virtually unheard of but this is my second blog post of the day!

Just in case I give the impression that all I do these days is sit and knit I would like to redress the balance by reporting some of my other projects - that are still Martha related but involve getting out my lovely Benina sewing machine and the good old ironing board and iron. Consequently I need a decent chunk of time to make it worth while getting set up and that is something I'm a bit short on.

A sample for a college assignment

Detail of embroidery

When I was studying for my degree in Textile and Surface Design I had to complete a fashion module. As I was a mature student (very mature!) I chose to work on children's fashion as I felt I was much more knowledgeable about this market than other areas and went on to design several dresses on the theme of "creatures that visit the garden". I loved every minute of it from dying fabrics, appliqueing motifs and embroidering details before making up the garment fronts. As a result I was awarded a Madeira Scholarship for this work!
When I was given some lovely needle cord from my neice I dragged the samples out from their folder to act as inspiration for a pinefore I planned to make for Martha using this fabric. The samples happened to be the right size for her - much to the frustration of my daughter who would have liked the whole dress and not just the front.
I set to work using an ancient pattern but adding my own twist to it.

The Construction Process






The Fun Bit

Fabric Paints, Buttons and Embroidery

Martha wearing grandma's creation.

Knitting Update

This afternoon I found myself in the unusual position of having some time on my hands as husband Paul, daughter Lynsey and grandchildren Lucas and Martha have gone off to Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books, in Newcastle. Lucas, at 4 years old, is an excellent reader and was very excited about going - meanwhile I have the house to myself and decided to update some of my latest knitting projects into the folder of that name.
After updating this I realised that the current number of recent children's projects was a surprising nineteen with the score:
Martha 18   v   Lucas 1

I must say in my defense that one for Lucas was not a resounding success as the pure wool proved troublesome. On the other hand Martha loves all of hers and frequently asks "Are you Knitting me another cardi grandma?"
As she already had a plethera of hand knits I thought it wise to knit some in bigger sizes to put away but when I saw the Mia Mila pattern for the fairisle kimono style jacket I wanted her to wear it straight away (and very nearly knit it too small!). Here are some pics of the finished garment I previewed in my last post.
Finished Garment which was very challenging

Martha modelling her new jacket

"It doesn't really itch grandma"

Martha enjoying cake at Hidden Gems
in Sedgefield
This was quite an extravagent little number, as 12 balls of wool were needed, but at the end there was nearly half of it left so not being one to waste resources I used it up by knitting a waffled striped cardigan I knit originally for Martha's mum about 30 years ago.
Waffle stripes

Finished garment

Martha admiring her new cardigan

Showing her dolly Florence
The ripple effect was created by increasing in every stitch of the first row, and decreasing in every stitch of the last row, of every coloured stripe.
Since these two cardigans I have knitted a cotton shrug for our lovely British summer and have started a chunky gillet for the autumn so I will post these when i have more photos.