The gift of crap and Sew Years Resolutions

Sadly we have finished with that lovely bit in between Christmas and New Years and have had to come back to real life and deal with 2014. That straggling end bit of 2013 was pretty productive for me, with a number of crafty gifts to be made and basically all of the stuff that has been lingering on the “oh yeah, I must do that” list.


The most notable of the christmas crafted gifts would probably be the Amelya dress mark II for my niece Clodagh (the first attempt can be seen in the earlier post Telly Addicts).
There were a few alterations I made this time, mostly as I am a wise (questionable) woman and learnt from my mistakes (questionable), partly so my brother and sister in law wouldn’t realise that I keep remaking their daughter the same dress and shall continue to do so until she is six.

I chose a quite girly fabric, thinking Clodagh needed one of those pretty dresses that are undeniably girly- also I was wary that she not become the kooky baby at playgroup in an array of weird and wonderful prints and patterns, like a tiny Zooey Deschanel.
In retrospect this pattern maybe needs a plainer fabric, when all sewn together my cute ditzy floral print did seem a little old fashioned and 90’s reminiscent – to counter this I will advise her mum to team this dress with mini Doc Martens for a grungier look, think Courtney Love. Anyway, quickly here are the changes I made…

photo (2)

1. the placket. as you know from my previous post, the placket on the pattern DID MY HEAD IN. So instead I just stuck in a triangle of fabric and moved on before Ihad a  post traumatic stress episode from the previous placket incident.

2. God bless you bias binding. as an extra detail and to pick the colours from the floral pattern I finished the hem and sleeves with bias binding. I love bias binding I think it is awesome, but I think you are all well aware of my feelings already.

3. the waist band. Instead of doing a tie waist on the dress I added the waistband and sewed it to the bodice in contrasting trim- this just makes it a little less formal and Im sure a little more comfortable without a big bow puffing from the back.

Other crafted Christmas gifts included…

1x apron with sparkly gold embroidery
1x embroidered pyjama bottoms with mild curse words (just like such)
3x pattern pocket t-shirts (just like thus)
2x scarves neither of which are finished yet, so now aiming for christmas 2014.

Whenever I make crafts gifts, there is the small nag in the back of my head asking “does anyone actually want this crap?”.
Although most people are very nice and will nod smile and hug at the receipt of a handmade gift there is always the worry you have just made something that is weird and wonky and the recipient would have just preferred a magazine subscription.
But whenever I do think that, I then think about the time I spend trying to personalise items and create them perfectly for that particular person and hope that in most cases I guess right and get a pretty good match. When we could all, so easily just take 4 minutes and blitz-buy everything off Amazon, a moment of thoughtfulness goes a long way I reckon. So take this as a warning, you will all keep getting crap I’ve made and it WILL BE WONKY.

Now as is the trend of bloggers, here are my plans for 2014,

1. Make more clothes
I have made clothes in the past, but they have been very simple and only a few have actually made it into my wardrobe. As I understand more and more how clothes are constructed and my sewing skills improve I can work towards making items that’d I’d wear and are in my style. I hope I can also use sewing to tick off some items from the eternal wish list, such as the perfect black t-shirt and my dream gold dress. Feel free to tell me when I miss the mark and make and wear something hideous.

2. the mega quilt
I made myself a quilt a few years ago, mostly as an excuse to clear some of the fabric stash and as a quilting experiment. For a while now I have had the idea of make a full double sized quilt out of dark blue chambray and embroidering the constellations on in white. I have the fabric, but this project feels so mammoth I’ve avoided it so far, but I’m going to do it in 2o14, it will be my sewing Everest. Feel free to nag if you’ve not seem any progress by April or send a sewing sherpa if it looks like I’m lost.

9350138625_c3b6fe9641_z3. Knitting more than scarves
I do enjoy knitting but have never really ventured beyond making scarves. I can do a variety of stitches and designs but need to make the leap into patterns. I have been putting this off as knitting to me is something that your hands do whilst on a train or watching TV- I need to offer just a little more concentration and I think I can crack it. Feel free to show off your beautiful hand-knitted fair-isle socks to me as some kind of kick up the knitting bum.

4. New techniques
I want to add some new techniques to my repertoire  My initial thoughts are Lino printing, crochet and leatherwork.
I really enjoyed the taxidermy course I did in 2013 (ahem) and would love to take another course and learn from another crafter. I think the courses ‘The Amazings‘ offer look great and I really respect their ethos of learning from our elders. Feel free to suggest any mega courses, if you know of any.

Happy new year and try not to make a wally of yourself in 2014.


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