Coco

coco top

Now you won’t find many stretchy casuals on my blog as a rule but the beauty of rule of thumbs is that they can be changed in a click of the fingers. Move over wovens, and make way for the Coco that is stretch jersey (of sorts!)

coco top

I thank Tilly for this genius newbie. Not only for it’s ease of make…. 2 hours I tell ya! And that included pattern tracing and childminding! But a casual top with a retro vibe is completely up my street and something that was seriously lacking in my wardrobe. Over the last few years… 3 years to be precise… I am so proud to say that I have not shopped the high street for anything but undies and cardies. My wardrobe is almost completely handmade by me. But there still resides a few too many black Primani T’s for my liking and this is where Coco could change all!

coco top

I just love the funnel neck and although this fabric doesn’t appear to have more than one single natural fibre, it is a perfect weight to hold the shape. And the cuffs are a wonderful addition to compliment the neckline.

coco funnel neck top

I think I could have gone up a size but I quite like how snug and fitted it is. This top could be serious friends with jeans or capris, with a mini or maxi, and I’m thinking a pair of plaid shorts would partner perfectly. Worn today with an old faithful pencil and a pair of flip flops to do the hockey run!

And it must be mentioned that Mr Ooobop deserves a medal for these photos today. He was in one serious hangover and suffered plenty a head rush when he got up from down low for those creative sky shots!

coco top blossom

Today is just beautiful which is why I’m keeping this short and sweet. Gotta dash to catch those last few rays and Mr O needs a ‘hairy dog’, poor deserved love!

So if you haven’t done already, do pop over to Tilly and the Buttons shop and grab yourself a copy of this pattern. It doubles as a dress pattern,  includes a plain neckline version plus you get to see Tilly herself model the cutest versions of all!

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Vintage 50s blouse with monogram

simplicity 2195 blouseThis is vintage Simplicity 2195 . . . or a great substitute for a bowling shirt fit for a game with the Spoolettes! Who are the Spoolettes you may well ask? Well hop over to Sew Dixie Lou to get a little insight.

vintage 50s blouse with monogram

I’m gutted I didn’t get any photos of our fabulous sporting event. But if you want a bit of inside info, Charity Shop Chic has posted some great ones here plus you get to see her amazing bowling shirt refashion too!. We sure did rock Bloomsbury Lanes with all sorts of complimentary comments coming from the staff.

I struggled to find an actual bowling shirt pattern but I’m quite glad I found this one as it works very well as an every day shirt. I wore it to lunch today at Carluccios with Mr O. Teamed with self-drafted half circle skirt and my favourite ankle boots from Office.

simplicity_2195_1

simplicity_2195_4I knew the hand embroidery was going to be a challenge for me. The last time I entertained such a thing was at the age of nine. But I thought this would make a lovely project to take on holiday back in August. (An efficient bit of planning on behalf of those Spoolettes meant that this sewing challenge fitted in superbly with my holiday!)

So first in the suitcase was the needle and thread and a hoop and a half made shirt with a piece of freezer paper ironed in position. As with most things I didn’t spend too much time reading up on the best way to go about this and the only transfer pencil I had was red, so I traced my initials from the original transfer, supplied with the pattern, on to the freezer paper. I couldn’t bear to cut up and ruin the original!

I had, however, read somewhere at some point, that ‘padding stitches’ were a good idea to raise the ‘satin stitches’. And so I set about tracing the edge of the monogram with some small running stitches.

monogram

A long process but not too much hardship when you are sat outside a beautiful Maltese villa, watching your children have so much fun in the pool, whilst all 40 degrees of sunshine warms your toes!

All was going swimmingly until I came to pick off the darned freezer paper. Gah! Never again. It took sooooo long!!

padding stitchesBut once it was off It was a pleasure to sew. A bit wonky here and there but it worked, kinda! Just wish I had used some stabiliser on the reverse to stop the stretching that happened too.

monogram_embroidery

I’ve got plans on making a gingham one, just as the pattern cover pic. Yes I’m still harping on about gingham but I happened across some gorgeous egyptian cotton gingham. Well at least that’s what the lady sold it to me as! But to be perfectly honest, it may be a way down the list as this sub-zero-like weather does not inspire me to make anything other than slankets right now!

simplicity_2195 pattern

Postscript:

I completely forgot that I’d asked the waitress to take the following photo. Feast your eyes on a table full of splendidly hand-made bowling shirts sported by an amazing team of beautiful and talented Spoolettes…

Spoolettes

ooobop! review: Burda Style June 2013

Burda magazine June 2013

Can you believe this is the summer edition of June 2013? I can’t. I’m wrapped in my fleecy blanky, fingerless gloves no less, shivering my butt off as I point blank refuse to turn the heating on. My toes are curled for no other reason other than I can’t uncurl them because they are frozen solid. Is this weather for real?

I really want to get excited about summer clothes, really I do. But I’m struggling. So if you hear a slightly less enthusiastic tone this month, please bear with!

First section up is… Summer Fashion… ha! “Keep looking stylish, even in the heat…” is the opening line of the first intro copy.  Ha bloody ha! Rub it in why don’t ya!

Summer fashion Burda June 2013Ok. I’m going to try. I actually do really like the hand finishing on the brown shift dress, bottom left (above). Its a great couture technique that I’m thinking of employing on a future wool crepe dress I have planned.

The shorts, centre, bottom row, are not dissimilar to the plaid shorts I made. These ones are made with stretch pique which sounds more comfy. I will defo give these a go as one of my gripes was the lack of facing with with Simplicity ones. I know I could probably draft one but hey, I don’t need to now! A bit difficult to see in the photo (top row, centre pic) but that t-shirt looks to be a good fit with side panels and neat little sleeves. Don’t have an overlocker as yet and I’m wincing at the thought of messy insides so I’ll just hang on a bit for that one until I win the lottery. Boy I can’t believe how much those overlockers are!

My dislikes are the pink pants, bottom right. I love this look on the right kind of body. I don’t have that kind of body, unfortunately so they won’t be appearing on my list anytime soon. As won’t that dress top left corner, funnily enough. I say funnily enough because at first glance it looks like a classy dress. Save the pompoms! But it’s not even the pompoms that are putting me off. I quite like them. Its more the “artfully laid little pleats” that appear on the right shoulder aligned with the left hip. Even from the photo I can see some annoying crosswise folds that would annoy the heck outa me!

So who doesn’t like lots of dots? That’s the theme for the next section:

Lots of dots Burda June 2013I think I can safely say I like everything in this section save the long shorts, first column middle row. Just a bit unflattering and boyish for me. I love the shirt-dress top right, most of all. If Me-Made-May’13 has taught me anything it’s that I need more shirt dresses. I love how comfortable and stylish and edgy they can be. It’s not to do with cutting edge design. More clever choice of fabric that makes a great shirt dress. And I’d love to have one for every day of the week. This is quite a slim-fit one and it sure fits the bill as far as I’m concerned.

The shift dress, bottom right corner, has some great side panels that are piped. I still haven’t attempted piping but this would be a great opportunity to practice. It would also be a great chance to practise some colour blocking too. Employing some block colour in those panels would create a great slimming effect.

The cowl top with gathered sides (top left corner) is a firm fave too. Much more stylish to wear than a plain old T! And I love the yellow swinging full skirt. Perhaps not in yellow though. It’s got plenty inset godets on top of all the gathering. And a big bow at the waistband. Dead funky!

The next section is all about beach wedding/party dresses. I truly have goosebumps right now thinking about how the chiffons and georgettes might feel next to my skin, but there are some pretties…

beach beauty section burda June 2013The cowl neck dress, bottom left corner, is my favourite here. With its side gathers and simple shape I think it could be really flattering and perfect for a few evening cocktails on the beach. The dress, top right, is quite stunning and doesn’t look that difficult to construct but there is some yardage of crèpe satin going on here, so it’s not really for the ‘thrifties’ among us!

I don’t dislike the others. They all have their place. Apart from the strange diagonal pleated bodice dress, top left corner – same issues as that purple dress in the first section. Oh, and that one sleeve wonder dress bottom right corner. Not sure I could handle that!

So, swiftly we move on to ‘Surfer Girl’. Not me. Not any part of it. I have noted there are a lot of runners that sew. Or sewists that run! I wish I could say I was one of those. But I’m not so I will leave judgement in the hands of the “Sporty Spices” of the sewing blogger nation…

surfer girl section June 2013That said, the little jersey skirt in the centre, bottom row, could be a quick and easy casual make for holidays and weekends. The jacket is a bit 80s for me, mind!

The Mother & Daughter section is at the very least tweeee!

Mother and Daughter section June 2013Would anyone ever consider dressing to match their daughter?

I quite like the dress, top centre. Though it looks a bit starchy in the batiste. I might be inclined to use something slightly drapier. I do really like the idea of printing on the fabric though. That would totally seal the uniqueness of the garments. You could really create some signature pieces with a clever use of design. I just made a skirt, similar to the star-print one, top right corner, but from an old vintage curtain. I love the deep waistband. I need to finish mine but I hope it looks as good as it does on this mummy!

The Plus Section gets as much attention, if not more this month:

Plus fashions June 2013I love how each of these designs incorporate clever structured detail to flatter the curviest of bods. Simple lines and crepe satin exude the elegance and the loose cut sleeves and empire waistline of that red dress, bottom left is simple yet stunning. But the one I like most is the red dress on the right. Cute standy up collar and dinky button loops on a fabulous yoke bodice add perfect detail to really versatile dress.

So what do you all think? Any faves? Any absolute disses?

I’m off up the wooden hill to Bedforshire right now. I’ve given up trying to keep warm. But I’m still thinking shirt dress. Perhaps in some rockabilly print that I have in a box somewhere. I’ll dream about it and see how it looks!

Night all. And thanks so much for keeping up with my ramblings x

ooobop! review: Burda Style May 2013

May 2013 Burda cover

Well this review very nearly didn’t happen. Firstly because I was in a grump when I bought May’s issue – there was no way that anything was going to impress me that day – and secondly the usual onslaught of work that is always determined to steal my blogging/sewing time!

But do you know what? The delay in between purchasing the mag until now has been enlightening. I am seeing much more potential in designs that I had initially dissed and I am seeing some valuable ‘easy makes’ that might just dig me out of a hole for Zo’s ‘Me Made May ’13’! Admittedly I am in a better mood now the sun is shining so that also helps the different slant!

So without further ado, let me present Full Bloom, the Flower Fashion section.

Lots of pretty lightweight floral loveliness going on here. I so wish I had the guts to go for one of these jumpsuits/playsuits whatever you like to call them. They look such fun. I just don’t think I could take the heckling from the smalls!

May 2013 burda playsuits

A bit difficult to see the detail, but the gathered drawstring top (below, top left corner) looks to be one of those easy ones. I have a fine bit of floral chiffon that I think should do it justice. The bikini below that looks a bit homemade if you ask me. Possibly the fabric – metallic poplin? But that aside I do think with a long skirt attached to the bikini top, it could be transformed into a gorgeous maxi. But my fave by far, out of all these flowery numbers, is the green print dress, on the right. It has a flattering midriff section which I love and some cheeky patch pockets on the skirt front. Total win!

Burda May 2013 flower fashion tops and dresses

The top (below, top left corner) is a super easy make. Its a tulle lace top over a shorter jersey one, sewn together at the bateau neckline. If you don’t fancy the belly button action, you can always make it longer and I’m sure it would be just as pretty. The denim shorts are included too, though surely easier to cut some jeans down?

I keep coming back to the green, v-back flounce dress but I’m not sure I’ve got Twiggy enough bod for that. Pretty though.

The dress at the end couldn’t be simpler. A long straight cut shirt with low-cut armholes. Pretty much 4 rectangles! Made from transparent chiffon and worn with an underdress. In fact the underdress is far more complicated! Perfect for the beach or a picnic or wherever the sun shines!

Burda May 2013 flower fashion

Top Stars is next up. A great little collection of funky tops. The gathered draw-string top features again, in a plain brown crepe this time. Not much of a variation except for the length, I think but great to see it in a block colour. If it really is quick to whip up, I would love a few of these to stick in a holiday suitcase.

Burda May 2013 topsIt wouldn’t be a summer issue without a ‘whites’ section. So here are some of the more romantic looks this month. I personally could never leave the house in a dress as white as this and certainly wouldn’t survive more than half an hour in London if I did, but they would be well-placed on a sunny beach. The dress on the right probably shows in more detail how the upper section of the green print floral dress works.

Burda May 2013 white dresses

Add some blue to the white and behold my favourite section of the mag. The Vintage Style. This little beauty gets away with being so stylishly modern despite its top spot in the fashion charts circa 1965. Tricky to see but underneath the deep V-neck, it has a fabulous seamed empire line, finished with a cutesy bow.

Burda May 2013 Vintage dress

Given that my chances of a tropical holiday are very slim this year (or any year to be fair!) I’m finding it a bit hard to relate to the styles and colours in the Tropical section. 10 out of 10 for innovation though. I’ll wait till someone else tries that green knotted skirt!

Burda May 2013 Tropical

But I did pick a few tropical delights. Check out the gorgeous Maxi dress (below, left) in large print satin! How divine would that be as you floated off for a pina colada all tingly from a day on the beach! The centre top is a must-have too. I love all the rouched detail is in the back. And the dress on the right is such fun!

Burda May 2013 tropical favouritesI think the kids section is a little strange this month:

May 2013 Burda kidsApart from this little red number that I’m trying to persuade LMO to like!:

Burda May 2013 kids

But hey! I’m not going to push it too much. It’s not like I haven’t got enough on my list already!

And last but not least is the Plus Section. Not so hot this month. But some pretty functional pastels all the same. I really don’t think the shot of the pink jersey top and the grey taffeta skirt (bottom left) best portrays these styles. They both have fabulous details. The top has side gathers just over the bust and to the hem. And the skirt is a double layer, the over-skirt being pretty much a square which creates those lovely flounces. It also has a jersey waistband which would add a bit of comfort to the class!

Burda May 2013 Plus sizeSo there we have it, lovely readers. I do so apologise for the delay in getting this to you. No doubt most of you already have it in your clutches. But for those that don’t yet, I do hope it helps to bridge the gap until you get hold of your copy.

Happy sewing everyone! x

Jeepers Creepers, where d’ya get those peepers?

I always fancied the idea of some face furniture. Not the furry kind, you understand. And I certainly was never brave enough to go down the road of facial piercings. But a good old pair of bins / Gregorys (specs) / glasses – whatever you like to call them – have always been on my wish list. Well you know what they say… be careful of what you wish for and all that.

The time came with the realisation that my arms were no longer long enough to read the back of a sewing pattern. Let alone the inside instructions! I’ll reserve that excuse for some of my mishaps!

I dutifully set off for Specsavers. Was told the price of the test and dutifully walked out! Since when did that happen? Then I remembered the voucher that was on the reverse of a receipt from a recent purchase from Boots. A fiver for an eyetest? That’s more like it!

I’m sure you don’t need me to talk you through an eye test. It’s clearly only me who hasn’t been for 20 years or more!

The results weren’t too harrowing, though keeping ones eyes open while air is puffed onto your pupils IS! The diagnosis was a very slight stigmatism in one eye and the need only for low strength reading glasses.

The reality (and a little bit of excitement) set in. I actually need to wear glasses! I marched straight over to the designer frames. £280 for a pair of bins might just be a little too much but honestly and truthfully that Prada pair was the only pair that didn’t make me look like a complete dork! Vain? Moi? Well maybe just a titchy bit! Even the sales assistant was politely ushering me over to the £5 specials in little plastic tubes. Ugh! Really? There’s got to be more choice than this.

So I went home to Google… some goggles! (sorry) And promptly found this wonderful site called Retro Peepers. There was choice. There were cool frames and they weren’t a million squids… hoorah! I emailed with a couple of queries and do you know, the lovely Annie got right back to me. She was even replying to an Email I sent later at 11.30pm. That’s proper dedication to the cause.

Anyway. Here they are, in all their cheeky nerdy retro glory. Introducing the Peggy frames. A snip at £18.

retro spectacles

The ordering/delivery service is amazing. I placed the order online one afternoon and they arrived, properly packaged and cozied up in their free case, the following morning! Don’t you just love a smooth operator?

And before anyone asks, this is not a sponsored post. Retro Peepers won’t even know I’ve blogged this unless anyone clicks through to them. But I jolly hope they do in their hundreds and give them all the business they deserve because quite frankly there aren’t many companies out there that I’d give a free shout out to unless I truly believe in the service.

There is just one tiny flaw with them though. It doesn’t stop at £18 for a pair of readers because you will be back to order another pair in a different colour or style and then theres the retro sunnies, the reader shades and of course I will need another pair with a proper prescription…. oh well. At least I’ll be a while, and a fair few pairs before I get to Prada prices!

In other news. I have been sewing, honest I have. Though very little I have to say. Too much work maketh a dull Ooobop! Working on Mr O to take some pictures of my latest frock this weekend. So keep yer peeper peeled. There’ll be a more interesting and sewing-related post coming up soon.

ooobop! review: Burda Style April 2013

Burda April 2013 cover

And so, as I sit, still in the depths of winter, double wrapped for good measure, It’s small wonder that I am less inspired by this month’s Burda than usual.

This is April’s edition for goodness sakes. I should be so eager to set about some fluttery spring makes, but its all too much even for my vivid imagination!

The Holiday section tempts me with a batiste maxi a cute bouclé shift dress and a smart pair of cigarette pants but though the rest are very holidayish they do nothing to float my boat I’m afraid.

favourite holiday fashions

Having said that, I do keep coming back to that little white dress (below right) but would have to invest in some ‘fashion tape’ for modesty reasons!

holiday fashions

The retro section is always a sure fire bet for me and didn’t let me down with this adorable blouse, cute bustier top and equally cutesy dress. I wouldn’t change a thing about the blouse. It was undoubtedly designed with gingham in mind and the dress is a great showcase style for some statement fabric. Always sold on a sweet heart neckline. So flattering.

favourite retro fashions

I don’t dislike the others. I just feel retro is a bit of a loose term for the other garments in this section…

retro fashions

I’m a little bored by the business section. But hey it’s all very ‘fitting’! Some very interesting cuts even if they’re not my thang.

business fashions

That said, the little pink shift dress works well in a lightweight fabric too. Very simple to put together even though its been marked with 3 difficulty circles. Not sure why.

business pink shift dress

There’s a lot of pretty going on with the Plus Fashions. And a bit of an education for me too! I thought it was the lesser endowed that benefitted from an empire line. But no. Check out these delightful visions of ‘womanliness’!

plus fashions

And this one is my favourite. I particularly love the neckline and the slashed sleeves.

favourite plus size dress

An interestingly unusual suggestion for ‘Fathers and Sons’. Said parties in my house just gave me a ‘don’t even go there’ look before I even uttered a word! Shame really, because I think its all very charming!

father son vintage fashion

No further children’s section this month but for all of you crochet fans, there are some really gorgeous projects. I’m so seriously considering digging out those crochet hooks for some of this darling bunting!

crocheted bunting

crochet projectsOr perhaps I ought to consider a crocheted blanky to cover my knees while I work!

I do hope you continue to find these reviews helpful. I must say, in reviewing a lot of the styles grow on me from my first glances. There are always some surprising elements in a Burda pattern. Make no mistake!

Till next time, my lovelies. Happy sewing x

Lady grey retro top

burda top 131 back

I saw the pattern for this top in the May issue of Burda Style (2012) and it made the project list, even usurping the more ‘urgent’ projects! The back as you can see is fabulously buttoned all the way down which I love but have you ever tried buttoning yourself up back to front? I have got better with practice though, and I reckon I could give Houdini a run for his money now!

burda top 131 front

The fabric suggestion was for embroidered batiste. I didn’t have any of that to hand but knew the fabric had to be a little bit interesting to make the front not look so boring! I have a heap load of this white eyelet stuff in my stash. I thought it was cotton but when I did the burn test it proved not! I still thought it would be better dyed. I always feel a bit prim and proper in white! This is the result of using black dye on a not so totally natural white fabric…

eyelet fabric detail

I quite like how it turned out. The dye coverage is uneven, probably only colouring the small amount natural fibre content to get this linen look. And the embroidered detail, which I knew was synthetic, unsurprisingly remained white.

retro top front

I went up a size from my usual, (given the few extra pounds that have decended upon me recently) but to be honest I probably needn’t have done. The style is very boxy even though it has front and bust darts. But it is very cool to wear, perfect for what appears to be our summer (not holding my breath) and perfect for teaming with pencil skirts for work.

retro top front view by wall

So apart from taking it a size smaller the only other alteration I would make is to the neckline. The instructions were to sew the bias binding 1cm past the seamline. This struck me as a bit weird as it would have been easier not to have added a seam allowance in the first place, surely? Anyhows I sewed the bias binding ON the seamline…. afterall isn’t that what a seamline is for? It turned out ok, much like a vintage jewel neckline but I am going to try omitting the seam allowance next time, just to give a little more room to breathe!