Toddler dress sewing project

A little while ago I decided to put my sewing machine to good use and make some nice clothes for my little girl.

I had a good look around and found some really cool material at Tiny Vikings. Do check them out as they have some fantastic fabrics and their customer service is excellent! I could have bought up half the shop when I was looking 🙂

Izzie's dressAnyway I bought some jersey as I quite like the comfort and ease of the clothes she already has in jersey. What I didn’t realise was that it’s not the easiest to sew with… anyway after a little Google I discovered I was using the wrong needle on my machine for stretchy fabric.

Later when I told my mum I was using jersey, she told me straight away where I was going wrong – my mum used to make a lot of our clothes in the 70s…

This is where I’m terrible – as usual I didn’t have a pattern… So, I grabbed one of Izzie’s dresses that I liked the shape of and drew around it on paper and then added a seam allowance all the way around. I sewed it all in a matching cotton.

Izzie's dress and bibThe neck was a bit trickier as I’d decided to make my own bit of bias binding from a plain red jersey and then attach it around the neck. I tacked it all into place and machine sewed it in place.

As Izzie has been teething again recently I also made a matching bib. This has a lovely red jersey on the reverse side, which I also bought from Tiny Vikings. I used poppers for this. I make quite a few bibs for my Etsy online shop so this one was a doddle 🙂

Sing_and_Sign_End_of_term_Jul15This is a picture of Izzie wearing the dress with some pink leggings. It works well with or without leggings. It also works well with long sleeves underneath.

That’s us on the right hand side of the picture. This is our end of term picture at Izzie’s favourite class – Sing and Sign.

I’ve got some rainbow and some kangaroo material left so I think I’ll be making a couple more of these. They will be perfect for autumn 🙂

Handmade valentine – a chip off the old block!

Handmade valentineMy little girl has started nursery a couple of afternoons a week. It’s a dual thing – it gives her a little independence and also gives me some time to get on top of orders.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I when to pick her up the day before Valentine’s Day. She’d made us a Valentine’s Day card with her handprints. It’s very cute and was very unexpected.

Handmade gifts are just perfect and I love the way the nursery gets the little ones involved in making things like this as hopefully it will be a something they want to continue with. Obviously I don’t mean making hand print valentine’s cards, but the pleasure that you get from making something yourself.

I can remember rainy days when I was little – they were for making things. Covering balloons with paper and paste, learning to crochet, peg dolls, that cotton reel knitting thingie, painting with pieces of potato, pom-poms, pipe-cleaner animals and so on and so on. None of these things ever cost much money but gave so much pleasure!

Crochet Doll Toilet Roll Cover

I get more requests and click-throughs on this website and my Etsy site for this one thing – crochet toilet roll dolls!

I first started making them quite a while ago and blogged about how it was impossible to find a good pattern. That started me on making my own pattern for these retro dolls. I’ve been making the dolls and selling them on my Etsy site and various vintage and craft fairs for a while. They are always popular. I make them in all sorts of custom colours!

I’m constantly asked where I got the pattern and the dolls from. Well, I’ve finally got around to writing the pattern up. It’s now available for immediate PDF download on my Etsy shop. Happy crocheting!

I might eventually get around to writing up a few more of my patterns… maybe it will be the zombies next 🙂

 

So, I’ve just dyed a doll’s hair…

Bride crochet toilet roll dollAs you know, I make all sorts of things. Some of the most popular of my creations are the toilet roll covers and toilet roll dolls.

I have been using the same dolls from the same supplier for quite a while now. It can be quite hard to find the right size (at the right price). The dolls are all white and blonde and I’ve just not seen any others.

A couple of weeks ago I had a custom order from my Etsy shop for one of my bridal toilet roll dolls, but a brunette. Well, I searched and searched and managed to find one but the price was ridiculous!

So, I had a sudden flash of inspiration – could I dye the doll’s hair? I tentatively started to Google, thinking I wouldn’t find anything, and low and behold found quite a few links to how to do it. Mainly on how to create a goth doll, but I didn’t let that put me off 🙂

Anyway, a couple of links were suggesting acrylic paint for vinyl dolls and I used to do quite a bit of painting so dug out my acrylics. I chose a raw umber for the dye and gave it a go. The first attempt was a bit wishy-washy, but I tried it again with a bigger blob of paint and less water and it seemed to work quite well. What do you think?

The biggest tips I can think of for doing this is:

  • Pop the doll’s head on something like a pencil if you can – it makes it much easier to handle
  • Pop some vaseline on the dolls face so you don’t dye her face too
  • Use a brush or something similar to do the roots
  • Comb the paint through before it dries, otherwise it clumps and is a pain in the bum to sort out.

I’m really pleased with the results and it wasn’t even difficult to do – every day’s a school day!

Crochet toilet roll covers

I made some crochet toilet roll cover dolls a little while and blogged about them here. They are quite popular at fairs or on my Etsy shop. I also get quite a few emails from people asking where to buy the materials or for patterns.

Crochet toilet roll doll Crochet toilet roll dollI decided a little while ago to try out some different crocheted toilet roll covers. Clearly as I make a lot of zombies, the first one I tried was a zombie:

Zombie toilet roll coverI’ve also made some Pac-Man ghost toilet roll covers, which have been more popular at fairs – they look great when they are stacked together.

Pac man toilet roll cover

I’m just working on a TARDIS coffee pot cosy and when I’ve finished that I think I’m going to try to come up with a TARDIS toilet roll cover. I’ll post up some piccies when I come up with a design.

I know they aren’t all to everyone’s taste but I like the retro look of them and I like mixing up the retro look with something a little different. They certainly make a talking point in the smallest room in the house!

Tea cosy or hat?

Granny chic tea cosiesI made these granny chic tea cosies a little while ago. I think they are pretty cool and look great on a tea pot. Imagine a lovely plate of homemade cookies next to them and some Earl Grey in the tea pot….

But, for some reason people keep asking me if they are hats. Every time I do a vintage or craft fair people are drawn to them and then say “Oh, I thought it was a hat”. Even when they are on a tea pot 🙂

Well they seem to be much more popular now as hats and I’ve had a couple of custom orders to make them as hats instead of tea cosies. Isn’t it funny how things turn out?

Here’s a little baby hat I made for a boy, replacing pink with bright greens and blues. I also added a nice big rainbow pom-pom!

Granny chic baby hat

Ted Baker Challenge

A little while ago I took part in an online style challenge. It was using ASOS clothes to create your own style. It was quite good fun looking through stacks of ‘modern’ clothes to try and get the 60s look I wanted. Here’s the blog I did for it – £100 ASOS blogger challenge.

Well, I’ve just been contacted by Ted Baker to do a similar challenge. This time there isn’t a price limit, it’s a limit of 3 items.

I’ve been searching their new collection with a 60s eye. Again, being slightly obsessed with the 60s, I wanted to create something from new that still rocked a 60s vibe. I also wanted it to be eye-catching, so that heads would turn when you walked into the room wearing this outfit!

Righto, here goes!

Ted Baker Challenge - dressI chose this as it is a classic style that is also very flattering. Geometric prints always look good in my book and add to the 60s vibe. I love the asymmetric style and the fact that the pink edging just really brings it to life.

Click here to view the dress on the Ted Baker website

Ted Baker Challenge - shoesThe shoes are a classic heel with a modern twist. The studs give it that really up to date look. The colour is fab and vibrant. It brings out the pink edging in the dress perfectly. The height of the heels adds a bit of glamour…

Click here to view the shoes on the Ted Baker website

Ted Baker Challenge - bagWho could resist this bag? It’s one of my favourite casual shapes – the bowling bag. But, like the shoes, it brings out the pink edging on the dress and really lifts the whole outfit. Oh, and it’s shiny!

Click here to view the bag on the Ted Baker website

What do you think? Where would you wear this outfit? I think it would be great at any big event where you want to make an entrance – weddings, summer parties etc. It’s a fresh summer look.

If you want to take part in the challenge, here’s the link – Ted Baker Challenge

It’s snow heels for me today!

The Beatles in the snowWhat is going on with the weather?

This time last year, I’m sure we were having a little mini heat wave.

Only a few weeks ago it really looked like spring was starting. The bulbs in my garden were poking out of the ground and giving a lovely splash of colour and the trees in the street were starting to get their blossom.

Quirky Purple TARDIS hot water bottleQuirky Purple zombie hot water bottleThen boom – people have started ordering my hot water bottles! These two particular bad boys have been flying around the world!

I’ve also taken UK orders this week for a bee and a purple flower design.

I thought I’d be packing these away until winter!

I know show evokes all the childhood memories of how excited you were when you woke up and the world was suddenly white. You could throw the stuff, build with it and slide on it. What could be a better toy?

Audrey Hepburn in the snowWhen you’re an adult, snow very often becomes a bit of a pest. It appears and finds a way to stop you doing things. Something that might seem a good thing is when you can’t get into work so you can have snow day. At the weekend it’s going to be a pain for vintage and handmade sellers, as even if they themselves can make it to the fair or markets, the chances are, their potential customers won’t be able to.

For me today, the snow if stopping me wearing heels! I’m meeting friends for a shop (I’m playing personal shopper again) and then some lunch. I was going to wear heels but when I looked out fo the window I decided that I didn’t really want to see the inside of casualty later so it will be some chunky boots!

Quirky Purple wrist warmers and head warmerOn the plus side, at least I get to wear the alpaca and cotton wrist warmers and head warmer that I made myself just before Christmas!

And a big bonus – I found some of the purple alpaca and cotton on sale this week so grabbed some to make myself a set to go with my purple coat 🙂

Crochet toilet roll cover doll

 Quirky Purple crochet doll toilet roll coverQuirky Purple  crochet doll toilet roll coverWell, I blogged about these a little while ago in Crochet toilet roll dolls.

The dolls arrived a couple of weeks ago so I had a look around online for some patterns and they were sadly lacking. Lots and lots of pictures of various styles of these dolls but hardly any patterns. I’d already got some wool that matched the doll’s eyes – that’s not weird is it?

Quirky Purple  crochet doll toilet roll coverIn the end I found two. The first one I tried just didn’t seem to make sense. I crocheted a few rows and couldn’t work out which bot of the dress it was! It didn’t help that there weren’t any pictures with the pattern, just the finished article. The second wasn’t much better. I started the bodice of the dress and it quickly became apparent that it was wayyyyy tooooooo big for my dolls. Also, again it was just a pattern and no real explaination of which bits of the dress you were doing.

Quirky Purple  crochet doll toilet roll coverQuirky Purple  crochet doll toilet roll coverSo, like I usually end up doing, I made it up as I went along. And it came together pretty well.

I liked one bit of one of the patterns and kept that. Quite nifty idea that I’d not tried before. You do your first chain around around a small elastic band. You end up with a stretchy piece of crochet. I used this to make the very top of the bodice so that it would fit nice and snug. It also means that the dress is removable and not sewn onto the doll.

Quirky Purple  crochet doll toilet roll coverSo, I worked the bodice in a singe crochet until it reached the waist of the doll and then started to increase until the circle sat in top of the toilet roll and reached the edge. The I just worked the rows the same size in double crochet until it reached the bottom of a toilet roll and then for the final row I did a scalloped edge

The it was just a case of doing a strap for a halterneck and doing a few daisies to sew onto the dress. I also did a belt around the waist and a headband with a daisy.

This is what she ended up looking like – not bad eh?    Quirky Purple  crochet doll toilet roll cover

I think I’ll sort out the pattern next and I’ll post it up. Let me know if you want a copy. I’ll try and make it easier to follow and with some pictures 🙂

If you would like one of these dolls to grace the smallest room in your house – then you can find it here Quirky Purple crochet toilet roll cover doll on Etsy.

I’m no slouch when it comes to making hats!

Quirky Purple Beanie HatsI’ve been making hats for quite a while now. I make quite a lot of beanies and use the technique where you make  magic ring and increase until you get the right number of stitches and then continue building the rows until the hat fits the head.

It’s quite therapeutic doing all those rows and there’s no making up involved either – unless you’re adding pom-pom or eyeballs or skulls, or a tiara.

Quirky Purple Ear-warmersFor the ear-warmers (or head-warmers, whichever you prefer), I use a number of techniques. Sometimes a straight forward double-crochet and then join/stitch at the back.

I also quite like doing a rib with a back-stitch crochet. This works really well and gives some good stretch to the finished ear-wamer. Of course there’s also the way of creating a chain, joining it and building up rounds, a little like the beanie hats.

Well, I decided to try something a bit different. My other half wears a lot of those big slouchy beanie hats which are machine knitted and many also look fully fashioned. So, I thought I’d give it a go.

Quirky Purple hat start Well first things first, I needed to choose the colours. I did a black, grey and white union jack beanie as a commission for a Christmas pressie and quite liked the combo once I’d finished. I’d already decided to do a stripe that went from the front to back, rather than the usual horizontal stripes so thought this colour combi would work.  That’s a 5mm hook there in the picture.
Quirky Purple Hat halfway So I started with 50 chain and started to work the back loops but after a few rows I wasn’t too keen so I unravelled it (don’t most crochet project start like this?) and started again with a back loop row followed by a standard double crochet. This gave it a more spaced rib design. Then I added in a grey 4 row, a white 2 row and a grey 4 row. This was so all casting on and off was at the same end.
Quirky Purple Hat almost ready So, then it was back onto the black and just alternating rows until it was big enough to fit around an adult head. It then needs tying off with quite a tail so that you can use that to stitch the edges. All the casting on and off tails also need tying off. Once that’s done then it’s a case of stitching and gathering the top and finishing off.

For a first attempt it’s not turned out too badly. As usual I ‘designed’ it myself, as in didn’t use a pattern and made it up as I went along. Here it is on my male head.

Quirky Purple Slouchy HatI thing I might make the next one in red, white and blue. I think it would nicely suit the mod/scooter look. I might also make less of a slouch. Anyway, I guess it’s like most of my ‘designs’… they sort of evolve!

You can check out my hats at Quirky Purple Hats or you can see some of the other handmade commisions that I’ve completed.

Anyway, the hat was a sort of diversion from starting the crochet doll toilet roll holders. The dolls I ordered arrived on Friday so there’s no excuse now to get cracking on them!