Wild Thing for World Book Day

Where_The_Wild_Things_Are_costumeI think I may be subject to mass mum-hate if I proclaim a love for World Book Day. But I do. (Eek!) Don’t get me wrong, I get my knickers in a knot as much as anyone else but I secretly relish the challenge. After all, it involves a must-do sewing project. And that’s always a good thing.

My daughter was very clear about what she wanted to be this year. I’ve come to realise recently, how very grateful I am for people who think for me. I constantly have head soup! Someone thinking on my behalf is better than doing the dishes for me or hoovering the stairs. I’d even go as far as saying that it was better than someone cleaning the bathroom for me. Not that I know what that’s like but you catch my drift?

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Anyhows, youngest dort was dead set on Max from Where The Wild Things Are. Easy I thought. A white onesie and we are sorted! Not. Not when youngest dort has other plans, like a white onesie in a faux fur of the furriest kind. I kid you not, this stuff is horrid and has left serious evidence throughout the whole house!

Where The Wild Things Are costume

I’ve never attempted one of these before and certainly didn’t have a go-to pattern but this is where I can justify my 3 year collection of Burdastyle magazines.

Low and behold in January 2013’s edition…. a wookie jumpsuit! Thank you Burdastyle. Really. Thank you!!

wookie costume

The only problem I had was that the size only went up to age 8. My daughter is 9 but a good 4 inches taller than a regular 9 year old! And so I cut and spread and taped and so properly graded the jumpsuit pieces. But then I looked and shook my head in disbelief at the sheer size of the pattern and took out an inch and a half.

Well you can guess the rest. The first test garment was too small. But no biggie because it was only a tester and better still made the basis of a Thing One costume for her bestie! Bestie’s clever mum did a very fine job of sewing on the the all-important detail as well as taking care of  the gorgeous Hermione Granger!

Thing One costume

So once I added those inches back in I just cut and sewed… and got fluff everywhere!
The good thing about this stuff is there is no necessity for neatening of seams, no hems and no need for careful catch-stitching. I actually did double interface the ears with sew in canvas to make them stand up but not be too stiff. The zip was surprisingly ok to sew in, by hand but trimming the fluff so as not to catch on the teeth was really annoying!

Where The Wild Things Are costume

I can’t take all the credit for this one. LMO made and hand painted her own fabulous crown and check out that wonderfully fluffy tail. A tail that Max himself would have been soooo proud to wear. Mr Ooobop himself took on this task while I was at work. He chose the fur and shaped it perfectly before stitching it with his own fair hands. I am so uber impressed.

Where the Wild Things are CostumeI think we can safely say that Little Miss Ooobop was suitably impressed too! And what better place to hang out after school than the local park, in the trees, being photographed by her multi-talented dad!

Where The Wild Things Are costume

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Where The Wild Things Are costume

Hope your tales of World Book Day were as fun!
And wishing you all a lovely sunny weekend wherever you are.

(One can dream!)

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Mini Stanley Pyjamas

Mini stanley pyjamas

Little Miss Ooobop has been hassling me for a pair of PJs for so long, bless her. So yesterday, we set off for the Goldhawk Road to track down the very specific ‘cats and dogs’ fabric that she wanted. But of course, the shops were shut. It was New Years Day, after all! In order to relieve the disappointment (me more than her), we drove off, instead, to get a burger and watch a movie!

Now as luck would have it, for all that was closed in Chiswick High Road, Cath Kidston was open! Like some shining apparition amidst the rainy gloom! And there was a sale on. So we duly picked out some Mini Stanley fabric. No cats but very cute dogs!

Cath Kidston mini stanley pjs by the window

I used this vintage Maudella pattern. It’s not dated but could be 1950s if not 1960s. What would you say?

maudella_3162

I’m still working on convincing LMO to have the matching top to the bottoms but I don’t think a 9 year old can see past the ‘fogey’ images on the pattern sleeve!

I dutifully traced the one pattern piece. This is something I make a habit of nowadays. Just purely out of the respect for a tissue pattern piece that has happily existed for between 50-70 years. I don’t want to be the one who destroys that amount of history!

So including the careful ironing of the pieces, the tracing, the cutting, the making and the finishing touches, it took all of 2 hours. This is largely down to the magic of my new, though very old, overlocker, which was so generously bestowed upon me just before Christmas. I didn’t realise what the implications of having one were, until all the seams were serged and the hem edges neatly finished in a jiffy!

detail of overlocked seams

I am still going to have to work on the fine tunings of the tensions but it will so totally do me for now!

reading a book in mini stanley pjs

LMO has spent the rest of the afternoon in her new PJs and I’m delighted to have completed my first project on just day 2 of the New Year. Here’s hoping its the first of many more projects to come.

jumping in mini stanley pjs

Happy New Year lovely people x

Photography by DJ Photographic

For the love of lawn

Red rose print cotton lawn dress

What have you ByHandLondon girls done to me? How am I ever going to make another dress that doesn’t involve an Elisalex bodice?

red rose cotton lawn dress

To be fair, it was the fabric that led the dress time. A three metre bolt of cellophaned gorgeousness that has patiently lain in wait for about 18 months at the bottom of Fabric Mountain. It is a rose printed cotton lawn. So silky soft and so very light, in need of a failsafe design. I haven’t seen this print anywhere since and I wasn’t about to bugger it up in a moment of madness. So, having made some fine fitting adjustments to the Elisalex-with-FBA-test-garment, I was able to go straight to and cut.

red rose cotton lawn dress detail

I toyed with a sleeveless version but having seen a few with sleeves and knowing that I wouldn’t suffer the consequences of plastic under pits, I had to give it a go.

I knew the bodice would be an even better fit than the last one as this fabric has a magical elasticity about it. Not a strand of spandex to be had. Just to do with the fineness and high yarn-count of the weave I think. It really is such a luxurious material. I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to use any.

red rose cotton lawn dress over shoulder

I used the whole 60″ width of the fabric to create the gathered skirt but it looks and feels half as poomfy as the vintage rose version. Just because it is lighter. Further confirmation that at some point I must make a full on layered petticoat. I say ‘make’, because I know I will find it impossible to go buy one, even though I am wincing at all that endless, time-consuming, middle-stare-inducing gathering involved!

red rose lawn dress in the park

The sleeves were easy enough to set in. Well if you inset them the right way round that is! I was wondering why, when I tried it on, the sleeves insisted on twisting round. I thought at first that the FBA had reduced the armscye somwhat, but oh no. Just a tired, dippy moment last night.

Note to self (and to anyone else who has ever made the same mistake): 
2 notches on a pattern piece indicate the back; 1 notch indicates the front

I had the moment of clarity, as I often do, standing in my blurry morning haze, under the shower head. A Eureka moment, kind of. So, following this one, I ran downstairs in a towel to check the notches on the sleeve. A bit tricky when you’ve clipped all the seams (doh!) but sure enought, that’s exactly what I’d done.

red rose lawn dress

You’d be forgiven for thinking that that was the end of my dippiness. But oh no no no. Having unpicked them and swapped them over, I then proceeded to pin the hem edge of one of the sleeves to the armhole. Can’t believe I openly admitted that. But better out than in, I say!

red rose lawn dress profile

Quite a bit of hand stitching re bodice lining to armscye and waist seams and hand hemming. Only because I feel like I’m cutting corners if I do otherwise. But I have temporarily machined the sleeve hems just because at that point, Mr O was politely tapping his foot with a camera round his neck.

Best not upset the photographer, hey?!

red rose lawn dress on the kerb

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

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

Party skirt for Princess Gabrielle

princess skirt collage

You may have seen me whinging (and crying) on Twitter about this skirt. And now I’m looking at it I really am bemused by how a tiny skirt for a 3 year old could have given me so much jip!

The skirt is made from 3 layers of the most atrrocious fabric: Purple polyester satin for the underskirt, purple soft netting to add poofiness in the middle, and a top layer of glittery pinky-purple stretch tulle… with an off grain ribbed effect which was already stretched out of shape.

So the first issues began with the cutting. Purple polyester all cool apart from the fuzzy fraying threads that combined when handled to form a faux cobweb mass much like you’d buy for decoration at halloween. I was covered in the stuff and even the cats managed to get it wrapped round their chops and were in a right old pickle till I unwound it from their teeth!

I telephoned my mum to ask for some advice on cutting the netting and tulle and she advised to measure and run a line of pins as markers. Great advice but I can’t tell you just how many pins I picked up from the floor afterwards! You have to weave them in and out or else they just drop out!

And lastly and most annoyingly that glittery stretchy nightmare stuff. Because it had a horizontal ribbing, I thought it would be a doddle to cut but nooooo. It was all wonky and stretched from the outset. I’m not entirely happy with the edge to this layer but hey its going to be on a twirling whirling 3 year old party girl who’ll be boinging on a massive pink inflatable castle for most of the day so I think it might go unnoticed!

Now I wasn’t going to admit to the most stupid mistake I made. Because I still can’t believe I was that stupid but hey. We all learn from them….

When I’d finished… or when I thought I’d finished… I thought the waistband was looking a bit too bulky and however much I trimmed the inside elastic, it still came up bigger than the intended 50cm. A lot of head scratching, a goodnights sleep and a eureka moment revealed that I’d cut the waistband not 2x the waist measurement but 4x the waist measurement. I’d measured the strip with it folded, like a complete dingbat!!! Here’s the evidence:

too much bulk on waistbandI did laugh at myself, through the tears. I have been so busy with work this week and I’m amazed I actually got any sewing done. But I’m so glad I did. Gabrielle’s birthday party is tomorrow and I can’t wait to see the photos of her wearing her princess skirt. I’m sure they will make for better viewing than the above! Watch this space 🙂