Sunday, 10 April 2016

DIY \\ Giant pom pom chunky knit hat

I'm a massive procrastinator, so more often than not I end up finishing off DIYs completely out of season. This most recent make is no exception, being totally inappropriate for the oncoming Spring, but I'm hoping I'll get a few wears out of it yet (and as I type it is hammering down with hail outside, so I could be in luck...)

DIY chunky knit pom pom hat

I've tried knitting a few times in the past but never actually completed anything. The closest I came was a Gryffindor scarf I got about 50% of the way through when I was about 15, but it got abandoned (see above comment re: procrastination), and when I realised I could just buy one when I went to the Harry Potter studio tour, it was consigned to the recycling bin. However, I've had the idea for a knitted hat in mind for a while now, and finally got around to knitting this a couple of weeks ago.

I already have a bright pink chunky knit beanie from Asos that I love, and wanted another similarly beefy hat. As I love pom poms, I decided that any hat I made needed one of those, and the bigger and more ridiculous, the better in my opinion!

DIY chunky knitted giant bobble hat

I liked the look of the Wool and the Gang kits that I saw in John Lewis, but the price tags are somewhat ridiculous. Over £40 to knit your own beanie!? No thanks. (They do have some free patterns though that look fun, including jumper patterns, so props to them for that.) Despite having practically zero knitting knowledge, I thought I'd go it alone and see what I could bodge together (which is pretty much my attitude towards life...)

It's made from two balls of Cygnet Seriously Chunky wool in Slate Grey, knitted on some large bamboo needles I bought on a whim in Tiger a couple of years ago (I have no idea what size they are, sorry!) I got the wool for £3 a ball from the Birmingham Indoor Market and the needles can't have been more than about £3-£4, so for less than a tenner I can't complain about the price.

I made up the pattern as I went along, helped by a combination of Pinterest tutorials, YouTube videos and counting the stitches in my Asos beanie. It's certainly not the neatest and I wouldn't want any serious knitter looking too closely at the top of the hat where the ribbing and decreases get pretty erratic, but I love it all the same. The main hat part took about 1+1/4 balls of wool, and then I used all of the remainder to make the giant pom pom. It's just made in the normal 'wrap it around two cardboard circles' fashion, which I used a coffee cup saucer to get the size from.

It's very comfy, warm and looks pretty ridiculous (the pom pom looks even larger in real life,) so ticks all the boxes for me! I'm not sure I'll be racing to knit anything else in the near future, and anyway it's coming up for warmer weather, but I am chuffed to bits with my first successfully completed knit!

Fritha Louise

Monday, 4 April 2016

DIY \\ Grainline Archer eye print shirt

Grainline Studio Archer shirt view 1 in eye print cotton

I've owned the Grainline Studio Archer shirt pattern for what feels like forever, but I was too intimidated by the idea of making a shirt to use it. I finally decided to bite the bullet and tackle my fear of collars and buttonholes, and now I'm really glad I did.

I like a good 'conversation print' so I snapped up a couple of metres of this eye print cotton when I saw it on eBay. I juuust managed to squeak my shirt out of 2 metres, but the inside collar stand and inside yoke are plain white cotton. That actually worked out pretty well, as the cotton is quite sheer, and the white looks better than another layer of the pattern showing through. Because of this, I also underlined the button band and the pockets in white cotton.

Grainline Studio archer shirt - DIY eye print shirt

This version is view 1 of the pattern, grading from a size 2 at the shoulders to a size 6 at the hips Unfortunately in doing this I lost some of the waist shaping and the shirt feels a little bit too wide. Next time I'll reshape the side seams and try and remove some width under the arms. I also added 2 inches to the length of the body, and next time I will take some length out of the sleeves.

I found the construction really simple, thanks in no small part to the brilliant sew along on the Grainline blog. I did manage to sew the collar on upside down and the yolk inside out a couple of times, but that was my own fault for sewing whilst tired!

Grainline Archer shirt sewing pattern

This shirt is far from perfect, but I'm really proud of it! I'm already itching to sew up some more, and I'm considering taking on a bit more of a challenge and sewing a silk version for summer.

Fritha Louise

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Designer Inspired \\ DIY Valentino-style collared star dress

DIY Valentino star dress

I've been obsessed with space and the stars since I was little - when I was younger I had a glow in the galaxy on my bedroom ceiling, complete with specific constellations and planets - so I am definitely partial to space-themed clothing. The trend for galaxy print has been around for years now, and can look a bit tired, but I fell head over heels with the star-themed designs in the Valentino pre-fall 2015 collection.

I especially loved the collared dresses, so when I found some cute, affordable star print fabric on eBay, I decided a Valentino-inspired dress needed to be made.

DIY Valentino star dress

You can't really tell, but the stars are metallic silver on a dark blue background.

DIY Valentino collared dress patterns

The dress is made from a combination of two sewing patterns, the Wear Lemonade Bianca blouse and the Simple Sew Brigitte dress. It was simply a case of layering the two patterns to use the neckline and collar of the blouse with the body of the dress, which fit together with just a tiny tweak needed to the angle of the shoulder, and then I slimmed the sleeves down a little bit. And the best part - both of these patterns are free!

DIY Valentino star dress
The collar sticks out a bit too much at the back, because it's interfaced. Next time I'll probably tack it down a little or use a less crisp fabric for the collar.

I didn't make a muslin for this dress as I was pretty sure from the simple fit and construction that it would fit pretty well. I just adjusted some seam allowances as I went, and I'm almost 100% happy with it. It's really easy and comfortable to wear, but looks quite polished, and I think I'll be making a couple more dresses from this hacked pattern.

Fritha Louise

Monday, 14 December 2015

Inspired By \\ Simple White Christmas Wrapping

Chic simple white Christmas wrapping paper ideas and inspiration
Sources clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

I've just about sorted out all of my Christmas shopping now, so it's time to think about wrapping presents. My dad sets the bar pretty high when it comes to wrapping (we've had custom-printed wrapping paper, confetti-filled cellophane layers and even LED-wrapped presents on past Christmases), so I thought I'd take some time to try and find some Christmas present wrapping inspiration. This year I'm feeling a simple, chic, all-white theme, accented with textured string or ribbon, and maybe even some fresh winter foliage (or failing that, some fake plastic holly!)

Fritha Louise

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Designer Inspired \\ Kate Spade flamingo birthday dress

DIY Kate Spade flamingo dress - Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress pattern

I made this dress to wear for my birthday party a couple of weeks aho. For the last couple of years I've worn my DIY flamingo suit for my birthday, but thought it was time for an update. I saw this Kate Spade flamingo-print dress and fell in love with it, but at £295 there was no way I could afford it, so I thought I'd make my own!

DIY Kate Spade flamingo dress - Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress pattern

The flamingo fabric is actually upholstery fabric that I found on eBay, (upholstery and curtain fabrics are great for larger-scale prints,) and the pattern is the Megan dress from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes.

DIY Kate Spade flamingo dress - Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress pattern

I didn't make a toile, so the few alterations I made to the pattern I did as I was sewing it, including dropping the bust darts, lengthening the bodice, slimming the skirt in a little at the sides to match the Kate Spade dress and adding two darts on the back neck, as I always have issues with excess fabric there. I really like the shape of this dress, but I'm going to make a toile and work out the remaining fit issues I have. You can see from the pictures it's a little tight around the arms and I need to do a sway-back adjustment to remove the bunching around the lower back.

DIY Kate Spade flamingo dress - Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress pattern

I decided to put in a lapped zip instead of the invisible zip the pattern calls for, as I wanted to try a new technique for sewing in the neckline facing at the same time as the zip for a neat finish (although I forgot to bind the edges of the facing first!) The seams are either french seams or finished with this amazing gold bias binding - I love a fun bias bound seam!

DIY Kate Spade flamingo dress - Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress pattern
Shoes - Red Valentino via TK Maxx

Fritha Louise

Monday, 31 August 2015

Outfit \\ Sun, Moon and Stars dress

Motel Rocks sun moon and stars babydoll dress - UK fashion blogger

Motel Rocks sun moon and stars babydoll dress - UK fashion blogger

Do you ever see an item of clothing and really really want it, but somehow never get around to buying it? That's what I was like with this dress. It's the Motel Rocks sun, moon and stars babydoll dress and I've been wanting it for months, maybe years, but somehow never bought it. I think it's because it's quite a simple shape, and now I'm sewing more, I'm put off buying things that I *could* make (even though I never will.) Then just before I went on holiday earlier this month, Motel had a 25% discount code, and I thought it would be great for holiday so I bought it. (Unfortunately, although I paid for next day delivery, it didn't come the next day, and I had to go without it!)

I'm really glad I did buy it in the end, as I'm in love with it now. The print is awesome, and it's so comfortable and easy to wear. It's also one of those "day to night" pieces, and will look good with black tights in the winter. I was worried the lace-up back might look a bit silly with a visible bra, but the gap is actually pretty small so I think it looks ok.

Motel Rocks sun moon and stars babydoll dress - UK fashion blogger
Dress - Motel Rocks
Jacket - New Look
Shoes - George at Asda

Motel have got another 25% discount on at the moment (BHWK25), until 9am Tuesday morning, so go and have a look. I've already bought myself another two dresses!

Fritha Louise
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