Tag Archive | jewellery


One of my sewing goals for the foreseeable future was to make something with buttons, well buttonholes really, and I’m a firm believer in using courses, to push me out of my comfort zone and try something new in a controlled environment with an expert teacher on hand to rescue me if I cock things up. So when I saw that Sew Over It were running a course to make the Alex shirt/shirtdress from Lisa’s My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break e-book, I booked myself onto it without delay.

I was shopping my stash, and picked this chambray to work with.

Beautiful chambray with little red green and yellow dots woven in.

This had been hanging around in the stash for far too long. I’d won it in a giveaway three years ago, and in my head it was always going to be a shirt, so it finally had the chance to fulfil its destiny! I wasn’t sure there would be quite enough to make the shirt dress, but I reckoned I could cut it as long as my fabric would allow, and see how it went.

I was at the Clapham shop this time round, and it was a different teacher, Dominique. The course was over two Monday evenings, and as anticipated, the first class was mostly concerned with the preparation, choosing the right size pattern to use, and cutting out. We got going on the first bits of the sewing, and I managed to get as far as having the fronts and back sewn into the yoke, by the end of the first session. The second session whizzed through, with the collar, side seams, sleeves and sleeve insertion, and finally buttonholes. I was really happy that this class gave me the chance to practise using the buttonhole foot, and to work out how to space the buttonholes correctly. I do feel a lot more confident on this now.

The class was really good fun, and it’s always lovely to see how six people can make six very different garments, even though you’re all working on the same pattern.

The only thing I had to do to finish the shirt at home was to slip-stitch the collar down, hem the sleeves and the bottom, and sew on the buttons.

Before doing all that, I had to decide whether it was worth the candle. I had my doubts about the grading of the shoulders and/or sleeve head. Dominique had assured me that this is a drop shoulder shirt, and the yoke extension over my shoulder was right. But I wasn’t convinced. When I got home, I took a few pics to check, and whatever the pattern is *meant* to be, I personally feel like the sleeves bouffe out too much at bicep level, making me look like I’ve got massive man-shoulders. Or at least that I’m boyfriending the shirt of a man with massive man-shoulders.

It wasn’t so bad if I had my arms down, but as soon as I lifted my elbows, I looked like I had huge eighties shoulder pads.

I COULD have undone all my sleeve sewing and redone them, but as I didn’t have enough fabric to recut the sleeves, it would have meant shaving only a tiny bit off to reduce the ease, which wasn’t going to help a great deal. I decided “stuff it!” and kept them as they are, with the proviso that this shirt wasn’t going to be something I wear outside the house. It is therefore now officially a nightshirt, which is good actually, because it’ll come in handy for my summer holiday. It also resolved the issue of whether I would need to shorten it to more of a shirt length, because it’s definitely too short to wear as a dress, but it’s the perfect length for a nightshirt.

Having decided that, I went ahead with the rest of the finishing off work. I had already decided that the buttons were going to be red, green and yellow to match the woven accents in the chambray. Rather than trying to find buttons that would match in style and come in the three different colours I decided to go random, and bought three bags of colour matched buttons in various sizes from Ebay. I picked out eight that were about 12mm across, and sewed them on.


And since I’ve got three bagfuls of buttons left over, I decided to string the yellow ones together to make a bonus necklace.

I might do the same with the red and green ones now

MMM17 – Week 1 Roundup

It’s half way through May and no Me-Made May posts? I’m slacking!

It’s been going very well, and so far it’s been pretty easy. The main thing I’m noticing is that I’ve relied a lot on my refashioned Primark t-shirts, largely because most of the tops I’ve made so far are sleeveless or short-sleeved, and it’s not been the right weather. Hopefully the later half of May will be more summery (ever the optimist!)

I’ve been trying to make sure I wear jewellery every day, to accessorise whatever I’m wearing. I don’t have a great deal of me-made jewellery, but I’ve tried to use what I have got, and I’ve made a couple of extra bits and pieces. On Monday night I pulled out my big bag of beading supplies, and put these little babies together.
IMG_20170515_222002_782 IMG_20170515_222002_785

However, I haven’t done any fabric-based making or refashioning this month yet. I need to crack on with that.

Here is week 1 of #MMM17:

Day 1 –  Navy Juliette top with the pink polka dots skirt. Also baby pink pearl earrings and bracelet.

Day 2 – The Bonkers Zoë Dress. No jewellery, I forgot, my bad. I changed into dance teaching gear, leggings, refashioned tee, moustache skirt. And I remembered to put on some jewellery, same baby pink pearl earrings as Day 1.

Day 3 – Crystal embellished t-shirt, and my new unremarkable black jersey pull-on skirt. Also my jump ring earrings.

Day 4 – Black Juliette top and the Black & White and Pink All Over straight skirt. Seaside bracelet. Also my berry pink cardigan when it got chilly.

Day 5 – Refashioned lilac t-shirt with the new black & white neckline and black denim straight skirt. Baby pink pearl earrings again.

Day 6 – Saturday was a lounging about at home day, so self-drafted leggings and the stripy refashioned t-shirt.

Day 7 – The Under The Sea dress. With the seaside bracelet of course, but it was on the arm holding the selfie-stick!

That’s probably enough to be going on with, I’ll do week 2 in a separate post.

I made a ring!

My main job is working for Surrey Adult Learning, and I love it! One of the great things about SAL is how many brilliant creative courses they run, including loads in the Arts and Crafts curriculum. In fact, they do a LOT of garment making courses, which I really should investigate more fully for next term – a lot of the courses run in the daytime or on nights that I teach, so I can’t get to them, but maybe next term there’ll be something I could enrol on, particularly as I can claim a staff discount. They also put on a lot of Saturday one-day courses, and yesterday I went on the Make a Silver Ring workshop.

It was brilliant- I had such fun, playing with bits of metal. I hammered and I annealed, I pickled and I filed, I even soldered.

We started by playing with copper first, to get an idea of what designs we might like. I decided I wanted to beat metal with big hammers! I tried two versions, one with the ball end of a light ball-pein hammer, and one with the straight pein end if a heavier hammer.

My first efforts on copper. We were encouraged to keep notes of what we did and how we did it, in order to reproduce the effect more accurately later.

My first efforts on copper. We were encouraged to keep notes of what we did and how we did it, in order to reproduce the effect more accurately later.

Then it was time to choose. A couple of the girls on the course went with the dimpled effect, but I liked the lines. We were working with square silver wire, so we didn’t have to cut the silver into shape. It was rather daunting to hammer into the good stuff for that first time, but it came out as I’d hoped.


So far so good…

The tutor then had to help to straighten up the edges, because hammering into bits of metal has a tendency to distort them! I then had to file the ends so that they could be soldered together with no gaps. That was a bit tricky.

Then we had to shape the straight wire round into a circle so that it could be joined. This involved using a wooden mallet, so that we didn’t ruin the work we’d done to the surface of the metal. I must say, all this banging would be brilliant therapy if you were in a grumpy mood! It didn’t have to be a perfect circle at this stage, but we did have to be careful that the two ends would actually join up. Once all the shaping was done, and we’d checked that the two ends did actually meet up together smoothly, it was time for soldering. I’ve never held a blow torch before, and I thought I would be petrified by that part, but the tutor talked it through for us, and demonstrated, and explained really well, so I felt quite confident with it. It was surprising how little solder was needed, a tiny microdot of the stuff! The solder works by capillary action, and once the right temperature was reached, the little chip of solder just shot up into the join, it was really sudden. Once we’d soldered the ring join we had to pickle it, in some rather dangerous acid to complete the process.

Then we had to reshape the rings into something a bit more circular, as they were all rather wonky shapes. This involved twirling them around on the triblett (a long conical piece of metal, a bit like a ring measurer), and hitting them with the wooden mallet, while they turned. I soon worked out that I needed to keep control of the ring or it would spin off the end of the triblett, and found a way that worked for me.

We were starting to overrun on the set workshop time, so we didn’t have time to put the rings into the polishing drum. Instead, our tutor polished the outer surfaces for us on a big machine that looked a bit like a shoe-polishing machine you’d see at the cobbler’s. They shone up a treat!

I am THRILLED with my ring, and I’ve been wearing it ever since!

My ring!

My ring!

And to give you a quick run through the end results, one girl used the rolling mill to create a beautiful skeleton leaf finish to her ring.

Leaf  design

One man got a more matt finish to his using a flailing tool, which was a bit scary! The photo is not doing it justice, but it was an elegant finish. He was going to add some scoring to it, at home (he’s done these workshops before and he’s quite interested in jewellery making).


There were punches available and one girl did a beautiful design with circle punches.


A couple of the other girls used the dimpled effect, that would have been my second choice.