Procrastination is the Thief of Time

It’s my dad’s wedding tomorrow morning, and I’m driving up to Wales in the next hour or so (technically, I’m driving to Hertford, then my sister who lives in Hertford will be driving us both to Wales along with her two daughters, but the point is, I knew weeks ago, that today was my sewing deadline for making my dress for the wedding.

Guess when I started it… Go on guess…

Last night at around 10pm.

I’ve got no excuses, I’m just really good at procrastination.

I made myself go to bed at 4am, and I finished the bulk of it this morning. But I’ve got the final hand finishing still to do, and that’s going to be a job for tonight, after the family get together. It should be perfectly manageable. However, I may stop off for some wundaweb, en route!


Hemming. Also, aren’t those colours fab?!

This entry was posted on 23 October, 2014. 1 Comment

Just the last knockings left to do

This was the last bit of gap that I had to fill in, when I started this evening.

Just a teeny tiny bit left to cover in buttons

Just a teeny tiny bit left to cover in buttons

It didn’t take long.

And now it’s the last bits & bobs to do, lining, hooks & bars, that kind of thing. But before I do that, I need to make a frock…

Ongoing project

I’m bringing my costume making skills into play on my next project.

Pinterest is very good at making you see what your obsessions are. It turns out that I love a bit of button embellishment. As soon as I saw this pin, I knew I was going to have a go at it. Mine would be different of course- no-one likes an out-and-out copycat.

I bought a shedload of buttons on Ebay, in shades of black, grey & white, and last night, I made a start.

Buttons! Buttons! Buttons!

Buttons! Buttons! Buttons!

I’ve got the base made & covered, and I’ve started sewing some buttons on. I don’t know how long this one will take. I’m not even sure whether I’ll have the right number of buttons, or whether I’ll need to order a stack more. I’m trying to take photos as I go along, so that I can do a proper process post, but I may lose patience!

This make is definitely reminding me of my Pink Confetti dance costume which I made a couple of years ago.


And yes, I did put my name in big diamanté letters on my hip belt, so that my name is splashed right across my backside! I still love this costume, because the confetti beading is so rich and textured. I’m hoping that my Button Belt will have the same vibe. Though I’m kind of sad that it won’t have my name all over it… I’m also a tiny bit sad that I don’t have a stash of buttons all ready to use, like my grandmother’s button jar or my mother’s button jar. One day, one day…

Massive Fangirl Squee!

I went to the Thread Festival at Farnham Maltings today. The top highlight of the day was definitely meeting the lovely Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons fame. She was doing a talk about how she wrote Love at First Stitch, which was *really* interesting. Not that I ever have any intention of writing any sort of book, but it was fascinating to hear how it all came together.

Love at First Stitch

Love at First Stitch

I’ll confess, I’ve read Tilly’s blog for as long as I’ve been reading sewing blogs, but it had not prepared me for how jolly *nice* Tilly is. I am now officially smitten.

I had not anticipated buying the book, I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before today, that there would be copies there for sale, but there you go, the thought hadn’t even flitted through my head. But as soon as I saw it, of course I was going to buy it. Why would I not? It’s a beautiful, not to mention useful, thing, and I spent the next half hour after Tilly’s talk, in the café poring through it and trying to work out what I want to make from it first, and surreptitiously sniffing that lovely new book smell. I’m definitely up for a Delphine skirt, and possibly a Megan dress. It’s a very inspiring book.

And look, it’s autographed and everything!



The other cool thing was chatting with one of the ladies from Gather, about how I really would like to buy their Mortmain dress pattern, if it weren’t for the fact that I’d have to do such a massive grading on it, and how they’re aware that there *is* a market for larger sized patterns. I know it’s so much more difficult/expensive for the independents to do the grading for larger sizes, but it’s nice to know that they are thinking about it.

I was also fascinated by the ladies from the Guild of Silk Painters. I could have watched them for hours!

Hand printed fabric swap – the other side

I posted about the fabric I sent to Louise, a couple of days ago. I’m very happy to post now the fabric I received from her.



Louise took her inspiration from some genuine fifties fabric, and only flipping HAND-DREW all those flowers! They’re beautifully even and I swear you’d never think they were done by hand if you didn’t know they were.

Thank you again, Louise, for a beautiful piece of fabric, and for the additional extra treats!

The truly hand printed daisy lawn fabric

The story so far… You may recall a little while back I took part in Marilla Walker’s Hand Printed Fabric Swap. I was paired with Louise of Elsie May and Bertha. I had decided to go with my idea of a daisy lawn print.

Now read on…

I started by making the stamps. I drew my ideas onto craft foam (man, that stuff stinks!) and cut out the shapes. I used tiny embroidery scissors, because I wanted to be able to get a good curve and sharp angles, to differentiate the petals. I stuck the stamps onto blocks of wood offcuts, generously provided by the Gentleman Friend. We did end up having something of a “creative dialogue” as to whether my daisies are technically daisies or not, given that in real life daisy petals are long and pointed, whereas mine are wide and rounded. I won this argument by virtue of the fact that I’m not doing *actual* daisies, they’re more stylised/conceptual daisies, and in any case, it’s my project and I can call them daisies if I want to, so nyer!

Lots of different floral stamps

Lots of different floral stamps

Once I had the stamps made, I had to do some test runs. I used about 25cm of my fabric length to try various print blocks and colours, and see how much paint I’d need, and so on. Well, you saw the try-outs, I’d picked a green that was too dark. My bad, I hadn’t really thought that through when I’d clicked the “buy” button, live and learn. But I didn’t want to waste more money and time (I was working to a deadline!)  trying to buy more fabric, so I figured I just *had* to make it work.

One of the try-outs, which I tried after taking the disaster photo, was a smaller flower shape, in the white. The smaller shape printed reasonably well in the white, so I tried adding a little yellow centre to it, to see if the white behind it would make it pop. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to “pop”, I would have been happy with a slightly damp “pfft”, but it turned out OK, and I decided that would be the one. I abandoned my lovely ladybird idea and decided it was just the lawn.

In view of the fact that I have very little working space in my flat and the fact that I had two colours to work with, I had to do my printing over several sessions, spanning the whole of the August bank holiday weekend. The first thing was to print the white flowers. I decided I wanted the flowers to be approximately 10cm apart, and eyeballed it. The lawn is therefore not entirely geometrically even! I had worked out that it was easiest to apply the paint to the stamp rather than trying to dip the stamp in paint- the paint is too thick and the stamp is not thick enough for that to be useful. I started using a paintbrush to cover the stamp, but it soon became clear it was easier to use my finger, I could get a much more even coverage. I did one set of white flower stamps which was about 70cms of my metre, in one sitting on Friday evening, left it out to dry and did the second set on the Saturday. I did a smidge more than the requisite one metre, because I was on a roll.

The white petals

The white petals a-drying

On the Monday, I did the yellow centres. I just finger-painted them on (this project has been very much like being in primary school!). So this fabric really is “hand-printed”. Again, I had to do it in two goes, and I gave it plenty of drying time between them, because the yellow paint wasn’t “soaking” into the fabric like the white one, it was resting on top of the layer of white paint.

The petals with the yellow centres

The petals with the yellow centres

Gratuitous close-up of the daisies

Gratuitous close-up of the daisies

Once the yellow paint was dry, I ironed the heck out of it, to set the paint.

Then I washed it again, to check that it was all ok. Because if it wasn’t, I had a load more printing to do, and not much time to do it. That was a real heart-in-mouth moment! But hooray, all was well- it survived the washing machine and the hot tumble dryer, without ill effect, so I could safely send it out in time for the 2nd September deadline. Though, as it turned out, Louise and I agreed a time extension, so it’s only now that it’s ok to post about this fabric. Gosh, it does seem like a long time since I did it!

Given that this was my first ever attempt, my hand printed fabric turned out way better than I expected. Although, that isn’t saying much – I had very low expectations! It wasn’t perfect, far from it. But I like what I created and I hope Louise can find some creative use for it.

It’s been an interesting project, because it was all so new to me. Now I’ve got more of an idea of what I’m doing, I’d like to do more fabric-printing. I’ve got lots of designs (“designs”, she says! They’re just ideas and doodles) I want to print, and more importantly, use. The ladybird will happen one way or another. And the Gentleman Friend has put the idea of cherries into my head. Then there’s a load of seashore prints I’d like to try (maybe in a nautical navy). So it’s a big thank you to Marilla, for making this happen!


P.S. If this has inspired you to think about hand printing fabric yourself, word on the street is that Marilla may be hosting another swap in the not too distant future.

P.P.S. There will shortly be a What I Received post, but this one has been sitting in my Drafts folder for quite some time- and at last I can post it!