Monthly Archives: July 2015

Pinterest screengrab

Pinterest Roundup: July 2015

Wow! July has been and gone and I’ve not made a great deal but I really love the things I have made like my Gingham blouse.  I have also seen so many great things over on Pinterest to fill me with inspiration for next month! here are some of my favourites:

Look at this cute crochet blanket, I really like the simplicity of it whilst still being bright and colourful!

Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern Annie PDF Instant Download Cot Pram Sensory

I’m also loving the new Zeena dress pattern from ByHandLondon, aswell as this other new dress pattern (I think it might be Buttericks)


and what about this gorgeous cross stitch bee!

Cross stitch bee cushion


You can find these and more beautiful pins over on my Pinterest account and be sure to check out the new board I have just created filled with sewing tips!



jewellery pot painted by HsHandcrafts

Pottery Painting

My fellow PhD students and I often go to a place nearby where you can paint pottery. It is great fun and you get some great unique items at the end. We usually go just before Christmas so we can all paint gifts for our friends and families.

We went again recently as we had a lot of new students arrive for the summer and wanted to take them somewhere fun to welcome them all.

Previously I have painted a pot to hold my jewellery, a set of coasters which I gave to my granny as a Christmas gift last year and a mug.

jewellery pot

jewellery pot

Set of coaster painted with floral designs

Set of coaster painted with floral designs

Mug painted with botanical drawing of a tea plant

Mug painted with botanical drawing of a tea plant


This year I decided to make a pen pot as I always struggle to find my pens as they are strewn all over the place.

I really love the look of traditional blue and white pottery so wanted to recreate this but with a twist. Instead of blue and white I chose a bright blue for the pattern but opted for a pale bluish grey for the background. I mixed together a pale blue with lots of white and a touch of grey and covered the pot using a sponge to give a really light coverage. I then painted a design on using a really bright blue. I went for a kind of leaves design but its pretty abstract really.

Its quite difficult to envisage how the pot will turn out because all the paints appear as pastel shades when you paint them on and then you leave them at the shop to glaze the pot and fire it in a kiln. It is this process of firing the paints that brings out the colours.

blurry picture of pen pot pre kiln

blurry picture of pen pot pre kiln

I cant wait to see how it turns out!


buttons for gingham blouse

Gingham Blouse

I recently joined the Monthly stitch a blog where loads of sewers can post there makes. Each month there is a new category and sewers should make something that fits in with that category. This is a great way to focus all those ideas for new sewing projects and decide which one to make first based on what fits best into the category! This month the theme is Check it out!

Gingham Blouse on HsHandcrafts

I don’t own many checked items of clothing not because I don’t like checks but just that I have never really seen anything recently in the shops that I love. In fact I think the only thing I do own is a top in a tartan-like print and I love it so I thought this challenge would be a great opportunity to add some more checked fabrics to my wardrobe. Since I began sewing I have bought very few ready-to-wear garments and have begun to notice that a lot of my clothes are beginning to look quite tired.

In a couple of months time I will be starting an internship and will need some smarter clothes so its about time I started boosting the smarter end of my wardrobe and so I decided to combine the these two ideas of smart clothes and checked fabric and kill 2 birds with one stone by making a gingham blouse!

I wasn’t too sure that gingham was a good choice to begin with as it always reminds me of school dresses and I really wanted to avoid looking like I had bought my blouse from the back-to-school section of the supermarket when I start the internship in September! However, I spotted this particular gingham in black and decided that it was too nice to pass up – and also there are not many school dresses in black are there?

I used the Fashion with fabrics book again and loved the pattern hack for a sheer sleeveless blouse. Although I don’t feel quite comfortable sewing with sheer fabric yet, and I wanted to use my gingham, so I decided to give it a try! I think it worked out quite well, the only thing that i think would have worked better with a sheer fabric would be the gathering at the shoulder as this is a bit to rigid and so kind of puffs out a bit rather than falling nicely. However, this is a minor detail and still looks fine.

I cut out a size 8 from pattern as this was the closest to my measurements. I could probably have done with a little smaller everywhere except the bust but I made a toile from some cheap cotton I had lying around and it didn’t seem too bad.

Perhaps the way the gathering was falling on the toile should have been a bit of a give-away that cotton was not the perfect fabric for this make.

The sewing went fairly smoothly and the body of the blouse made up really quickly (French seams and all!) Next step was to tackle all the new to me parts.

First the bias binding for the arm holes. This seemed to go really well and without too many issues.

Arm holes finished with bias binding

Arm holes finished with bias binding

Next, the collar. This is where it got more tricky. I fused the interfacing to the top collar piece. Sewed this to the bottom collar piece and then turned them the right way an and topstitched around the edge. So far, so good. Next, I had to attach the collar to the body of the blouse. To my horror the collar piece was about 2 inches longer than the neckline of the blouse. Not to be phased by this I thought I would simply cut a section out from the centre back of the collar and stitch it together again. Simple! What could possibly go wrong? Well, in my haste to put my genius to work I went and stitched it back together again wonky – so now the collar has a step at the back of it. Lucky for me I have long hair so nobody will ever see my mistake!

Step in the back of the collar on my gingham blouse

Step in the back of the collar

The final new-to-me step was to create buttonholes and attach the buttons. Not to be tricked into making another mistake I practiced first! Here is my first attempt at a buttonhole ever:

My first ever buttonhole on my gingham blouse

My first ever buttonhole!

Not to bad, even if I do say myself!

Next on went the buttons, no problems there.

Buttons on gingham blouseAnd ta-dah! My blouse was complete! For something that had so many steps in it that I would have to try for the first time I am really pleased with how it turned out, even the collar with its none-matching abck seam looks fine from the front.

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The details:

Pattern:  Sleeveless Sheer blouse hack from The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric

Fabric: Mini check gingham cotton poplin

Notions: Black Gütermann thread, lightweight iron-on interfacing, Red Wooden Round Buttons (1.5cm)

Alterations: None

I think it will become a wardrobe staple. I am really pleased I went for red buttons as I think they make it more fun. Black buttons would have just made it an ordinary everyday blouse, not one that is special to me! It is also, the first step towards my new work-wear wardrobe for when I start my internship in September!


My view for the whole week on the farm

Weekend WIPs: The end of a very busy week

So after returning from my holiday I jumped straight into what turned out to be one of the busiest weeks I’ve had at work in a long time. It wasn’t even busy in a nice way – rushing around seeing lots of people and getting lots of work done. No, it was a busy in a hot and exhausting kind of way. I spent the whole week out on a farm in pretty hot weather doing very physically tiring work.

My view for the whole week on the farm

My view for the whole week

So, by the time the weekend came I was ready for a well earned rest. I spent some time knitting – my shawl is now progressing nicely although I’m not sure it will be ready for my self imposed deadline for me to wear it to a friends wedding the first weekend of August. Also holding me back might be the fact that there is another section to come in cream and I have almost run out of the cream yarn. I have ordered some more so hopefully it will arrive pretty quickly so I can continue knitting uninterrupted!

Beginning of lacework on knitted shawll

Beginning of lacework on knitted shawl

I have just started on the lacework (in blue)and have been reminded of how I really need to learn not to knit so tightly! The last time I attempted lacework I got really fed up with it and I think that was partly because it was such hard work. As I knit really tightly it is especially tricky to knit together multiple stitches the yarn and needles begin to creak as I prize the stitches along! I thought I had managed to loosen my stitches slightly as I knit up the stocking stitch part of the shawl but obviously not enough to make the lacework significantly easier.

I have been knitting “continental style” ie with the yarn in my left hand. Any suggestions of how to hold the yarn better so that my stitches become slightly looser. Obviously I cant change it dramatically or it will look out of place on a partially knitted shawl but as I have just switched colour and the style of knitting is changing I think now would be the best time to try something new!


Catching up

I am back from my holiday and had a lovely break, I even managed to get a little bit of knitting done but our time was mostly spent doing other fun things so there’s not really much to show. I doubt I will have much time this week either as its always the same after a holiday when you have to catch up on all the emails you’ve missed whilst you were away and remember how to do stupid things like write again!

So not much to share really but thought I would check in and let you know what I’ve got in store now that I’m back: finishing off my current sewing project using these fun buttons, a new sewing pattern to make from English Girl at Home, and a rush job finishing my knitted shawl if I want it to be ready to wear for my friends wedding at the beginning of August!

Wow, what a list! Not sure I’ll manage it all within the time-frame of my self-imposed deadlines but here’s to trying!


buttons for gingham blouse


I’ve been working on a sewing project recently, the majority of which is almost complete. I have the basic body of a blouse but now I have all the new-to-me things left to do so there’s still time for it to go horribly wrong as I need to add a collar and buttons!

I love button and have a tin full of all sorts of shapes and sizes but I decided for my first project with buttons I should buy some new ones, mainly so that I had a full set that matched. I couldnt decide what buttons to pick as the blouse is black and white I thought I should probably pick some black or white buttons but then I saw these beauties and couldnt resist! They will also be a fun burst of colour on an otherwise quite plain blouse!

buttons for gingham blouse

The material in the background is what I will be making my blouse from. I hope the bright red buttons are not too much!

Unfortunately I wont be finishing the blouse sometime soon as I am going away for the week camping so I will be keeping quiet for a short while, but hopefully there will be plenty of time for relaxing with my knitting!



The sun is out and the temperatures are rocketing!

If, unlike me, you are not stuck at work and are able to go out and enjoy the weather why not find a nice spot in your garden or a park. Here are some lovely pattern picks for the hot weather!

picnic blanketThis picnic blanket would be perfect for the beach or park! The pattern is available here.





beach bagand if you are heading down to the park you’ll need a bag to carry all your suncream in!  How about this lovely string bag pattern available here.







ice creamof course once youve made it to your destination you will want to sit all day in the sun with an ice cream! Find the pattern here.





Enjoy the sun everybody!