Sunday, 15 July 2018

Where have I been?

So, Gentle Readers, more than a year has passed since I posted my hack of Mr Golightly's jacket; much has happened.  We had a wonderful holiday in Europe, with quality time in Brighton, London, Siena, Florence and Rome.  I had the immense pleasure of meeting some instagram friends in the flesh, including the fabulous Betti, who is @bettisstitches on Instagram, and who writes here... the very lovely Cathy Ewbank, who is @cathyewbank on Instagram, and the wonderful @mrs_moog, who makes the most fabulous project bags and who blogs here- meeting these three fabulous like-minded women was one of the highlights of our holiday (the history of lingerie exhibition was a highlight of another kind...)

We had a few days in country England - visiting some friends in Gloucestershire, some nostalgic highlights for me, including a visit to the divine Gloucester Cathedral, which some of the younger people out there might recognise from Harry Potter...

before spending a few days in beautiful Brighton with our good friend Gill...  I love Brighton.  If I'm ever untimely widowed, I'm moving there... just watch me...

And then we went to the Continent, which is the old way of saying "Europe" - flew into Amsterdam where it was 5C with snow on the ground, Florence and then Siena by train, which was a lovely way to go, Italian trains being fabulous... Siena is magical.  This was our second visit, the first was in 2006 when Mr Golightly was having his epilepsy medication fiddled with, and he remembered practically nothing of the trip... this time was really fabulous, we just walked and walked and walked and walked...

oh and I took a few photos...

And then from there we went to Rome, where we were very lazy, apart from a trip to the Vatican Museum specifically to see the Brabante Staircase, which also let us see some wonderful Etruscan artifacts... and a mazillion tourists.  Even in February, it was ridiculously crowded, and I couldn't face the tour of St Peters which was the final part of our tour - we got outside and bolted... well, at least as fast as one person recovering from a total knee replacement could bolt... did I mention that?  Wanna see pics?  

Just kidding.  I wouldn't inflict that on you.  But here's the staircase:

And here's the hardware store that is our near neighbour, funnily enough a nearly identical photo appear on Instagram, from the account of '@anamericaninrome' who lives in Rome & takes fabulous photos... (hers is waaaaaaaaaaaaay better!)

And then we found Viterbo - about 80k from Rome by train, with an intact medieval heart - and almost empty.  

And the usual array of ritzy Italian shops up in the top part of the city - quite schizophrenic really, the Italian gold reserves are held here, so there's the usual multinational stores like Coach and Tiffany but also a nice selection of local shops:

including this one where I spent an easy E80 on buttons:

And we saw a nice souvenir of home in the Corso Di Fiore...

Ah... joy.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A clever thing...

Oh Gentle Reader, how I have neglected you.  Come over to the dark side of Instagram, where I am @isabella.golightly and I post often...

I'm here to talk about clever sewing, something I do from time to time.  Did I ever blog about this magic thing I did to #mrgolightly's jacket?

I inserted a pocket between the lining and the facing.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I don't understand why men's clothing would ever come without an inner pocket, especially for wallets & essential documents... anyway, I fixed it by adding one on each side of the jacket.  

My only regret is that I got the pocket itself round the wrong way, so you can't see the funky frogs that make up the pocket, but I know they're there.

Anyway, I just did it again on the jacket I'm taking to the Northern Hemisphere with me in February, and I promised a tutorial, so here goes:

You will need:

A zipper, reasonably long (14"/35cm)
Matching thread
An unpicker

Start by very very carefully undoing the stitching that holds the lining & facing together:

You can take the opportunity, as I did here, to improve the finish inside the lining with my pinking shears.  Not that anybody except you is ever going to see it, but... 

Make your pocket.  This is simply two pieces of material to your taste, attached to the wrong side of the zip so that the right side of the material is going to be seen when you open the zip.  Don't be like me & forget to attach the pocket to the zip properly so the pocket facings show :-( - 

Size up your hole to match your pocket, or you can size up your pocket to match the hole.  Doesn't really matter.  Just make sure your zip is long enough when you start so that you can trim to size.  Chop off the end of the zip that has the metal stopper.  Carefully insert the pocket into the hole, zipper closed.  Do I need to say the zipper pull should be at the top?

With the zipper closed, insert the pocket into the gap, just to make sure you've got the sizes right, then open the zipper.
I repinned mine about 3 times to make sure I had it sitting right.  There are no limits here :-D

(You can clearly see on the next photo that the underneath of the zip shows over the lining - if I'd done it right, you would only see a neat finish and none of the underneath of the zip, as in the photos up the top.)

Anyhoo, pin both sides of the pocket separately to make sure you have no puckers:

 And then with the zipper foot attached on the right hand side, push the rest of the jacket out of the way (underneath & to the left), and carefully stitch the zipper.  You're stitching the facing for one side, and the lining for the other side.

Repeat for the other side, being very careful not to catch the jacket when you're doing the lining side.  You will need to turn the jacket upside down & stitch from bottom to top for the lining side, whereas doing the facing side you will stitch from top to bottom.

From the inside - a very functional pocket, custom made to my size requirements.

From the outside, there's no evidence of a pocket, but the usefulness of your jacket has just been increased at least two-fold.  

You may have to handstitch the ends closed to reinforce them, as it's very difficult to get the machine to get the required neatness of finish here.  I'd love to find a better technique for doing this, but the handstitching with doubled thread works pretty well.

That's it.  Please let me know if you're brave enough to try it.  You could always make a test piece using two different fabrics as lining & facing, just to try it out.  


PS Next job, new buttons.  Those brown things are just awful!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

See? Nobody comes here any more.

Not even me.  I wanted to list the updated Bilby Pattern (see, Gentle Readers, I haven't even shared that news with you (have I?)) on Etsy as a free download, but you have to charge at least 0.30c for something.  So much for philanthropy.

Anyway, I think there's a way to do it from here, and I shall endeavour to find it.

News:  still working full time, blah.  perennial bookcase is near to completion, (well, close to being brought inside so it can have the rest of its bits done in situ), husband OK, house ditto.

Look, seriously, I do everything on Instagram now.  Come on over, it's painless - @isabella.golightly.

Now.  How do you get to this thing?

Ooh that was easy.  Come & get it.  The new version of the full pattern will be available in store shortly, as soon as I can persuade my tame Graphic Genius to draw it up for me.


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Barbara Walker's Triple Leaf a la me

Cast on 21 sts
Knit some rows of moss to suit

R1 and all odd rows:  moss 3, pearl, moss 3
R2: K1, yo, k2tog, k3tog, (yo k1) x 3, yo, k3 tog tbl, ssk, yo, k1
R4: k1, yo, k3 tog, yo, k7, yo, k3 tog tbl, yo, k1
R6: k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl2 k-wise, k1, p2sso, k2, yo, k1, yo, ssk, yo, k1
R8: k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, k1, sl2 k-wise, k1, p2sso, k1, yo, k3, yo, ssk, yo, k1
R10: k1, yo, (k2 tog) X 2, k3, yo, sl2kw, k1, p2sso, yo, k3, (ssk twice), yo, k1
R12: k1, yo, (k 2tog)  x 3 , (k1, yo) x 2, k1, (ssk x 3), yo, k1


Ssk - slip slip knit - slip a stitch knitwise onto the rh needle, then slip a second one, then insert the lh needle into the front of the stitches on the rh needle and knit as normal.

This lovely pattern is from Barbara Walker's second Treasury of Patterns... For @thelittleredhen08.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

You rang?

Hello! If you've popped over from the 'gram, as us cool kids like to call it, looking for the box pouch tutorial, and you're new, there some things you need to know.

Firstly, the box pouch tutorial was written in March 2009, when I first figured out how to make these suckers after an interesting accident with a smally furry animal, a bottle of wine and MGF Kaz from the Hunter Valley.

Secondly, it was the first tutorial I'd ever written and I may rewrite it, depending on any feedback.

Thirdly, this blog is almost deaddybones, so if you want me to keep writing, some feedback would be nice.  Just sayin'.

The link is here... Enjoy.

PS The tutorial assumes you know how to make a zipper sandwich.  If you don't know how, there are two really good tutorials, here, and here.  Both these tutorials assume you don't want to line your pouch, invisibly or otherwise, which is fine.  If you want to stop there, you can!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Little Miss Muffet sat down on her tuffet

Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider
who sat down beside her
Which cause-ed Miss Muffet to say
"Rack off hairy legs"

OK, now that the fun part is over, here's a quick breakdown on how to make one of these super-cute Miss Muffet bags (and of course if you can't be arsed making one, this shop on Etsy has loads, beautifully ready made).

I've made a few over the years:

And they had the interior pocket, which adds only a little bit of complexity to the making, plus a little bit of time.  I've written two sets of instructions here, Option One is for the bag with the padded lining, and Option Two is for the bag with the inner pockets. 

You will need:

Approximately half a yard/half a metre of focus material
Approximately half a yard/half a metre of lining material
A piece of batting or quilted calico roughly 12"/ 30 cm
A big plate, with a diameter of roughly 14"/36 cm
A slightly smaller plate, roughly 10"/25 cm in diameter (any smaller and the pockets will be too small to be useful)

Sewing Notions
A button to use in the buttonhole foot (if your foot needs one)
Ribbon, approximately 60"/152 cm
Tape measure
Hem Guide
Washout pen
A buttonhole foot for your sewing machine.

Outer bag:

With the washout pen, draw a circle round your big plate on the focus fabric:

Cut out.

Fold in half across the centre and measure down 1"/2.54 cm from the raw edge at 12 o'clock on the circle, then mark the top of the buttonhole.  

Mark again at 6 o'clock on the circle, 1"/2.54 cm from the raw edge.  

Open the circle out flat again, and change to your buttonhole foot.  Make two buttonholes, one at the mark at 12 o'clock on the circle, and one at the market at 6 o'clock.  Cut the buttonholes open very carefully.

Tip:  You don't want the buttonholes to be too close to the top of the bag, and they don't need to be more then 3/8"/1 cm wide, but can be bigger depending on what size ribbon you want to use.

With the washout pen, draw a circle round your big plate on your lining fabric and cut out one lining.  

At this point you can either make Option One, the Padded lining, or Option Two, the Pockets.   Whichever bag you make, you need to cut one focus and one lining of the biggest size.


Option One:  Padded lining:

Draw round the smaller plate with the washout pen onto the quilted calico or batting & cut out one batting circle.

Pin the wrong side of the lining fabric to the wrong side of the batting, being careful to find the centres* of both pieces of material, and quilt to taste.   

I recommend quilting all the way to the edges of the lining piece, not just on the batting piece.  This gives a nicer finish.  

For the quilting, I cheat & use the diamond grid already on the quilted calico, but you can use any quilting pattern, or just straight lines.

Once you've got your lining piece nicely quilted, you should have two circles the same size, one focus and one lining, with the lining piece being nicely quilted.  Press, then follow the 'Joining it together' instructions.

Option Two:  Inner Pockets (not recommended if you're doing the padded lining)

Follow the 'Joining it Together' instructions to turn your focus and lining large outer circles into one.

With the remaining fabric, draw round the smaller plate on the focus and lining fabrics, with the washout pen, and then cut out one lining and one focus circle.  Follow the 'Joining it together' steps to turn your two smaller pieces into one.  Press them both.

When finished, you'll have two pressed circles, one large for the outside, and one smaller for the inside.  

Place the circles so that the lining faces are both up.  Match the centres*, and pin the two pieces together.  With a ruler, draw lines from 12-6 o'clock, 2 o'clock-8 o'clock, 3 o'clock-9 o'clock and 4 o'clock-10 o'clock, which will give you eight pockets:  

With a stitch size of 3 mm, sew very carefully from the outer edge of the lining piece of your bag,  one line for each pocket.  Make sure your lines intersect tidily:

Picture copyright of Edie Castle

Be careful not to stitch over the buttonholes or the ribbon channel, and add some reinforcing stitches at the top of each pocket section.

Joining it together 

You will do this twice if you've made the inner pockets (Option Two), or just once if you've made the padded option (Option One).

At any point on the edge of the focus piece, place pins 2"/5cm apart, and stitch between the pins with a 1/8"/3mm seam allowance.  Remove the pins & repeat this on the lining piece.  This is the turning hole, and the stitching will give you a nice line to follow when you press the edges in.

Pin the two pieces together right sides together, making sure you match the centres*. Stitch the two pieces together around the top, with a 1/4"/6mm seam allowance.  

Leave a gap where your stitching indicates the turning hole should be.  Press the edges of the turning gap in, following your stitching line.

Turn the whole thing right sides out through your turning gap, and top-stitch round the outer edge, enclosing your turning gap in the top-stitching:

Use a 3mm stitch size for the top-stitching and a contrasting thread, if you want.

Making the ribbon channel (do this regardless of which option you choose).

Move your hem guide marker down to 1"/2.5cm, and place it next to the top of the buttonhole at 12 o'clock.  Stitch all the way round the circle, holding the hem guide in place. Be sure to pass across the top of the buttonhole at 6 o'clock, and come back to the 12 o'clock buttonhole.    

Moving your hem guide marker down to align with the bottom of the 12 o'clock buttonhole.  Stitch all the way round the circle, being sure to pass across the bottom of the buttonhole at 6 o'clock.

You now have a channel between the lining and the focus fabrics, which you can thread your ribbon into.  I use a quilting safety pin, because they're robust and bent nicely, but you can use a bodkin, a nappy pin or anything that will safety get your ribbon all the way round your bag.    

Tip:  To calculate the length of ribbon required to go round the bag, multiply the diameter of the inner circle of the ribbon channel by 22 and divide by 7. To go round twice, double that length.

One piece of ribbon should start and finish at the 12 o'clock buttonhole, and one piece of ribbon should start and finish at the 6 o'clock buttonhole.  Knot the ends carefully to make sure they can't pull out.  Even if they disappear into the bag, if you've knotted them, you can just pull them round to the buttonholes again.


*To find the centre - fold your fabric in half, then in half again.  This will give you a piece of fabric the same shape as a piece of pizza, but not so tasty.  The centre is the pointy bit.  Stick a pin through the centre to mark it.