Iron Back Chair Challenge!

Commission, Construction, Homeware, Textile work

Sometime last year I left my card at a few fabric shops around my area and promptly forgot about them but I received a call from a lovely lady called Gillian asking about upholstery services!

I know, my sewing of seeds worked! Of course I said yes and she dropped her lovely chair over a few weeks later – a beautiful bedroom chair, low and elegant, in a green velvet which had lived in her mother’s sitting room for as long as she can remember. Now it has come to her and she wants to put her own stamp on it and make it fit with her interior.

IMG_2194.JPG

I couldn’t wait to strip it and see what I was working with!

I’m not going to lie, there were lots and lots of layers and lots and lots of stitching – it took ages but I eventually got there and look what I revealed…

IMG_2276

Now, I had never heard of an iron back chair before but apparently they were very popular in the Victorian period as they could create elegant shapes with a lighted material – makes sense…

IMG_2301

I found this illustration in my upholstery book and quizzed Lisa Johns which helped a lot but I couldn’t visualise how it was all going to work in my head. So I started with what I did know, the seat…

IMG_2277

Hessian and webbing straps – it felt weird stitching the hessian rather than tacking it…this feeling would not go away further down the line!

Springs sewn into place and covered with hessian – hello lovely tacks!

Hairy monster chair and Christmas cake chair stages done but the seat needed more padding as the firm springs could still be felt through the horsehair…

IMG_2317

I cut up some left over upholstery foam sheet into sections and lay them on top of each other, small to big and the topped that off with a piece of wadding recovered from the original upholstery to smooth it all out. Stretch over another piece of calico and Bob’s your Uncle, seat finished and super comfy!

Now time to tackle the back. This had been keeping me up at nights because I still could not get the idea straight in my head of how to achieve this elegant, curvy chair with such a narrow rigid base. I’d done my research and ordered what I thought would do the job but, due to the unforeseen circumstances of COVID-19, it did not arrive so I made it myself. Basically a draft excluder – calico stuffed with wadding, I mean really stuffed, and then stitched to the edge…

IMG_2409

It was good but not perfect – the delivery came in the end but was completely not what I had expected – sort of like newspaper wrapped really tightly and tied. But I thought it might help stop my wadding snake from peeling around to the back of the chair so I stitched it around the back edge of the chair…

IMG_2438

And covered the whole thing in horsehair and calico – this was tricky and time consuming but I think it really helped to create the silhouette I needed…

Now, I could start filling the centre back with horsehair. The original upholstery had been done in sections, presumably to make it easier to stretch and tension the filling as it is an odd shape to fill…

IMG_E2270

So I started with the bottom and worked my way up and around with horsehair and calico, trying to pin and stretch and then sew the sections up…

IMG_2466IMG_2472

It may not be traditionally 100% accurate but I am learning as I go so I hope it will all come out ok…at least the horsehair is sturdy and held in place, and I still have a lot more layers to add!

First, the horsehair around the edges of the back and filling the gap in the middle…

IMG_2479

I just had enough horsehair to finish the chair!! Super lucky!

Next the lint and wadding layers…

This all then needed to be covered and stretched by calico – I tried just putting a rectangle of fabric over the top and cutting and folding it flat but in the end I decided to take it off and follow the pattern pieces from the original upholstery. This took a bit longer but hopefully this will give a smoother finish.

IMG_2511

This was so much easier to stretch around the rolled edge, pin and allow the calico to stretch, but I needed to add a few sections of calico where the seams join as there wasn’t quite enough to reach around the rolled edge…

IMG_2543

This really helped getting a smooth finish – a few more stretches and pins and the chair will be all ready for the top fabric!

IMG_2545IMG_2546

I can’t believe how similar it looks to the original, once i’d tidied up the edges and stitched the top calico to the base.

Now came the fun bit – Gillian had found her chosen fabric in the John Lewis sale and had it delivered to me, easy peasy! It’s a gorgeous linen and polyester blend of painted flowers, very sturdy and durable. She wanted me to pick out as much for the pink as possible but left much of the design to me.

61071350534__964F5AC3-328E-49DE-9501-F4528286E0C7

I started with the seat and got used to the smoothing and pleating technique which I would have to use for the rest of the chair due to the thickness of the fabric.

IMG_2723

IMG_2734

I then moved on to the centre back panel and spent a lot of time making sure it was central and figuring out where the seams needed to be and pleating the excess at the back – which looks fab!

IMG_2730

IMG_2732

I’m now thinking it would be pretty to have these pleats on show, so not having the backing fabric coming up over the sides, as it did in the original upholstery, but being flush with the base of the chair. We shall see!

IMG_2736

Next, came the arms – tricky due to the curve of the frame and also the seam which I needed to hand sew…

Fiddly but worth it not to have to take the whole thing off and machine the seams – I couldn’t quite stitch all the way down to the seat of the chair but since I could tension the fabric I didn’t think it would matter too much!

I tried to pattern match the fabric in terms of the colours that sat next to each other on the seams, nothing too precise as the fabric is so random it would not be noticeable, but I wanted the colours to flow as smoothly as possible.

IMG_2779

Once the seams were stitched I could gently pull the fabric tight to remove the slight creases in the centre front of the chair. Pleating the arms was also time consuming but oh so satisfying when finished…

IMG_2791

I needed to cut a lot of the excess away and work slowly to make sure that all the pleats were secured before moving onto the next one.

I then pinned the cut offs to the back of the chair and worked out where I wanted the seams to go, taking time to cut into the excess to get a smooth turn over. I love the finished effect and showing off the pleats turns this Victorian piece of furniture into a piece of modern art!

IMG_2815

All that was left to do was curl the back fabric under and cover the base with some black fabric and…tada!

IMG_2838IMG_2837IMG_2839IMG_2836

Gillian loves her revamped chair, and is even thinking about upgrading it from a bedroom chair to a living room chair! This is what I love most about commission work, it is so rewarding to feel like you have created a beautiful piece, be it furniture or fashion, that takes a place in someone’s life and turn something old and preloved into a cherished item.

 

 

 

 

1950’s Swivel Chairs!

Commission, Construction, Homeware

One of my old school friends got in touch last year to see if I would be interested in revamping her mum’s chairs – she sent me a photo of them and of course I said yes, look at them, so much fun to tackle a swivel chair!

So, it turns out that these two chairs belonged to Sandie’s father and were in his office for many many years, and her children remember playing on them when they moved from the office to the grandparent’s house. So they are sentimental items as well as excellent pieces of furniture!

Unfortunately, while Sandie and her husband rented their house out both seat cushions went walk-abouts and one chair was left outside! So they definitely deserved some TLC.

Sandie’s husband took the bases off so I was able to take them home to work on, they were surprisingly lightweight! First things first, stripping the old fabric off…

IMG_1147IMG_1150IMG_1153

It was all fairly simple, and I kept the fabric sections to make rough patterns from for the new fabric. I also decided to keep the orange foam on, it was flaking off in places but created a good base . I purchased some upholstery foam in a sheet (which was a new thing for me!) to make the chairs extra squishy…

IMG_1227

Because of the material chairs were made from I was able to use my staple gun which made the whole process a lot quicker!

The next step was applying the new fabric – Sandie had found the most amazing printed velvet from Just Fabrics in Cheltenham, so many different colours in it and so bright and cheerful!

IMG_2066

The velvet had a lovely amount of stretch which helped when trying to achieve a smooth finish – I can’t believe how good it looks already!

Then I added the backing fabric, which was from Sandie’s fabric stash (it’s always a good idea to check what you’ve got in the back of your cupboards or in the attic) which complimented the velvet nicely, bringing out the brighter colours…

IMG_2067

I added a navy blue trim to cover the staples and the whole chair was beginning to look amazing!

I started in on the seat cushions – ordering foam cut to the exact size from GB Foam and using the off cuts from the velvet and backing fabric to create two sided cushion covers so Sandie could decided which looked best in her house, and be able to change her mind!

IMG_2230

And here they are!! I think I prefer the navy side up but its great to have the option…

IMG_2231IMG_2232

Sandie also requested some scatter cushions made from whatever was left after covering the chairs, so I purchased three 20″x 20″ fillers from Ebay and got cracking…

IMG_2234

I’d never made cushions with the zip on the seam before so I had to do a bit of research but managed to figure it out and I am super pleased with the results…

IMG_2235IMG_2237IMG_2236

The scatter cushions will really help draw the whole living room together – can’t wait to see them in situ! Sandie’s husband was able to clean up the bases as well so they really do look like new chairs – so pleased they are happy with their revamped swivel chairs!

IMG_2308IMG_2309

Mr Rat clothing commission!

Commission, Construction

A lovely lady posted on my Mum’s village Facebook page that she wanted someone who sews to make some clothing for her daughter’s favourite cuddly toy and my excellent mother sent me the link, knowing how much I love doing personal commissions! So, I got in touch with her, intrigued by the message, we chatted about options and I got hunting in my fabric stash…

And found some possibilities for his Pyjamas and…

Some off cuts to make a jacket for him!

Erena kindly sent me Mr Rat’s brother to use as a guide – I’m so glad she did otherwise it would have been very hard to create from a photo – who was not as cuddled so a little fatter but perfect to get the dimensions from!

59645804031__D3CE7BA6-7341-4BA7-860B-64C00675FCB1

I started with the PJ trousers – it felt like being back at uni because I got my calico out and started pinning and cutting around Ratty.

IMG_1321

Surreal but so much fun! Now I spread my pattern out and cut from the red and white striped cotton Erena had chosen. I added elastic in the waistband and a little hole for his tail. The legs were the trickiest as they were so small I needed to sew them in by hand!

IMG_1323

Well worth it though, because doesn’t he look adorable!

IMG_1324

I moved on to the PJ shirt – a simple idea, basically a rectangle with arm holes but very effective.

IMG_1327

Although I had a little mishap cutting the button holes…

IMG_1353

It happens to the best of us and actually I am much happier with the second shirt as I made it a touch smaller to fit the skinner Mr Rat!

I used the same pattern for the jacket but wanted to make it a bit more special so decided to mix and match some of the tweed scraps to create an almost duffle coat look. I added a collar and pockets out of different fabric and I am super pleased with the results!

He looks absolutely adorable! And I hope the clothes fit the honoured Mr Rat well and that Erena’s daughter loves them as much as I do!

So, my first foray into creating clothes for toys was not what I expected but I absolutely love doing special Christmas commissions like these, knowing what you have made will go to a good home and be loved!

Merry Christmas Everyone and I hope your preparations for the festivities are going well – remember to think small and independent to support us indie makers and creatives, we live for jobs like this and even just a card or a scrunchie purchase truly makes us do a little happy jig! xx

Small chair commission

Commission, Construction, Homeware, Textile work

I was commissioned by Samantha, who was my first Roman Blind customer, to see if I could rework an old chair which was left outside for a long period of time and had a hole in the middle of the seat!

ebb653ee-8487-47f2-bd0a-738e0be9a98c

Of course, I said yes! Any excuse to get back to a bit of upholstery! With glee I striped the chair of all it’s old layers till I was back with the skeleton of the chair.

IMG_2560

I then added new, tight webbing…

IMG_2558

We decided on foam for the seat of the chair to make it extra squishy and I stretched calico over the top to give it a smooth finish.

On the back rest of the chair I started with hessian and built up horsehair and lint then stretch calico again before playing around with the placement of the top fabric.

Samantha had chosen some lovely Laura Ashley fabric that she had left over from another project and I had to join two pieces together to make enough to cover the seat, so it was tricky to hide the seam but by placing it at the back of the seat it was less visible.

We then needed to decide on how the pattern should go (see above images for options) and Sam preferred the fabric going in two different directions as it made the chair more interesting.

IMG_2691

She also decided on the trim she wanted – a lovely soft grey which matched the spotted fabric excellently!

IMG_2718

I finished the chair off with the same fabric and trim on the back and I absolutely love it!

IMG_2721

I did a quick fix with some upholstery velcro – I think I maybe have distorted the old seat section with all my calico stretches so it popped up at one corner but the velcro worked perfectly just to encourage it flat.

What a difference between the before and after images! I love that my job gives me to freedom to accept lovely upholstery commissions along side my oo arh! work!

Large Dog Bed Commission

Commission, Construction, Textile work

I was approached by one of my husband’s (still getting used to saying that!) colleagues in making a dog bed for his mum’s birthday – apparently they have a lovely counter in their utility room with a dog bed underneath. So it needed to fit the specific measurements of the counter – it was 3m by 1m, however, since his mum’s dogs are very small he decided to go for a half bed to fit the space.

I did some research and found some great companies online who cut foam to size and deliver it! Expensive but super comfy, luxurious, and prompt.

We did some brainstorming together to figure out what colours and patterns his mum would like – Cath Kidston, patchwork, tartan, tweed, Ralph Lauren. So I had a lot to work on. We also thought it would be an interesting idea to have an oil cloth side so that if they dogs were wet from a walk his mum could flip the dog bed over and there would be no damage from their fur!

I started by hunting through my fabric stash and made a bundle of tweed and tartan scraps, large and small ones in a similar colour scheme. My first job was to wash all the samples so the dog bed can be laundered later down the line.

I then made the scraps into squares or rectangles to make composing the patchwork side easier. I overlocked all the edges so the inside is neat and tidy and is not affected when taking the cover on and off the foam.

Next I had the excellent job of build the patches together! This was so much fun!

IMG_2198

I ironed each seam as I went which gave me a wonderful finish.

I also used my scraps to create the sides of the cover and to house the zip- when these were completed I was able to pin the patchwork side to the side panels, lay them over the foam and get the correct fit by moving the pins and stitching the line.

I did some research into oil cloth – especially Cath Kidston printed ones, these are quite dear but I found a company online who cut and ship oil cloth table cloths which had some lovely patterns and colours – the colleague chose one with charcoal printed dogs and I used the foam to trace the pattern piece!

IMG_2218

I then had a lovely pencil line to stitch along, I still pinned it to the side panels first and checked it on the foam so I got a snug fit!

IMG_2219

IMG_2229

I have to admit, I had to redo the zip – originally I had inserted it on one of the shorter sides of the foam and due to it’s thickness (20cm) the zip would not stretch wide enough for me to insert the foam!

Never give up – I recut the zip so that it would fold around one corner and give enough space for the foam to be inserted.

It didn’t take long and success – I actually did a fist bump when I had wiggled the cover over the foam and zipped it closed!

I am so impressed, if I do say so myself, with how it has turned out – the corners are crisp and clean, the patchwork contrasts nicely with the precisely printed oil cloth and is nice and cosy for the little doggies!

IMG_2233IMG_2234IMG_2235IMG_2238

Wedding bouquet

Commission, Homeware

I really wanted to save my wedding bouquet to make a memento out of it after the wedding was over…I had no idea how I would go about this and merrily went off on honeymoon leaving my mum (bless her!) to figure it out for me – honestly, I had forgotten that I wanted to save it at this point!

She did some research and managed to purchase some silicon which she places around sections of the bouquet in a large tupperware container – left it for a week or so and they came out beautifully dehydrated but still with their original shape, texture and colour (mostly).

I was thrilled! She had managed to press a whole load more too – so I had a lot of material to play with! Now what to do with it…?

Since Christmas was fast approaching I suddenly had the idea to frame a small bouquet for my Granny’s present – you know the kind of oldy-worldy style of framed dried flowers? So I did some research about how others have designed their flowers and lay them out and got playing…

IMG_1333

This was the arrangement I settled on and then went looking for a frame…which I probably should have done first! Although I managed to find an amazing one from Hobbycraft that just happened to be on sale – perfect! 40cm x 40cm, nice and big so I didn’t have to start rearranging!

I bought some clear glue to stick it all down with but found it hard to work with as many of the flowers and grasses were stiff, but good old double sided tape to the rescue!

IMG_1352

I included a sample of the lace fabric from my jacket, which avid readers will remember was my Granny’s wedding dress! Some confetti and the ribbon I had around my bouquet!

I love that all the different textures are still visible and am thrilled at the way it has turned out. Can’t wait to give it to her in a few weeks!

IMG_1359

Handmade Christmas decorations

Commission, Construction, Homeware

A returning customer commissioned me to make some more Christmas decorations for her family this festive season. Last year it was out of her Grandfather’s cardigan and this year she had found some beautiful embroidered handkerchiefs which belonged to her Grandmother.

I started by ironing them and the cutting them into 10cm squares with a 1cm seam allowance – I overlocked the raw edges first to prevent fraying.

IMG_1339

I then machined two squares together – including the ribbon to hang them by and leaving a 10cm gap so I could turn them the right way round…

They look so sweet! Now time to stuff them!

IMG_1342

It was actually a quick process because all that was left was to hand stitch the opening…

IMG_1343

I stitched the corner on this one because there was some beautiful stitching on the edge of the hankie which I wanted to preserve…

IMG_1344

And here they are! I hope her family like them as much as the cardigan ones – I love doing such personal projects!

IMG_1346

My Wedding Dress!

Commission, Construction, Textile work

Yes, that’s right, I decided to make my own wedding dress – how could I not?! I would have felt cheated if I had not had even a small hand in my special dress. And I would really like to share the process with you!

When I was in school still, and finding my way towards costumes and historical dress, my Granny gave me her wedding dress to study and then to keep! I have kept it tucked away in my cupboard in my mum’s house and as soon as I told mum that I was engaged she whisked me upstairs demanding I try Granny’s dress on!

 

It still fitted after all this time and it is lovely to think that I am a similar size to my Granny when she got married!

IMG_2745

My beautiful Granny with her dad on her special day in 1945.

I knew I wanted to use her gorgeous dress, but thought it might be nice to upcycle it into something that is possibly more me. This was my first idea, of simply changing the bodice and adding an underlay as the skirt is a little on the short side.

IMG_8852

However, after visiting a few bridal shops and trying lots of dresses on I started having new ideas, which actually just complicated the matter as now I am stuck between wanting to feel like a princess in a new one and desperately wanting to capture history!

 

I really liked the idea of having a top made of the lace from Granny’s dress over a plain bodice and with a flowing skirt, and a colourful sash to nip me in at the waist.

This was the idea I was ready to roll with until we went to India on a family holiday and we got Alex a tailored indian jacket made out there – mum said Alex was going to look so good, all we needed to worry abut now was making sure I looked just as good, and she suggested that we order an extra meter of his chosen fabric so I can make my bodice out of it – what a shock he’ll get when I walk down the aisle matching him!

IMG_8846

Not the best photo, but an open jacket with a fantastic granddad collar – he loves it! I could really imagine me in a bodice made of it, so started designing the dress around it…

IMG_8855

I may need to get some more lace to give the skirt more volume but it depends on what I do underneath – as a compromise I might purchase a bridal skirt from a separates collection, there are some really interesting ones out there and then I would get that gorgeous feel of beautiful fabric without the stress of having to sew it myself – especially if I am going to cover it with lace, it might be nice to have a given shape to work from.

I decided to start with the bodice – I had an old pattern that I actually used in my GCSEs!

IMG_8849

I made it up and altered it to fit my design – felt like I was at uni again…

IMG_8850

I am really pleased with the shape and now I can start thinking about boning and fastenings…

IMG_8851

I was thinking about making an inner corset so that the top fabric does not need to be stretched out of shape and to give me more support throughout the day. I purchased some bra fastenings off eBay and created a little panel that could be sewn into the back side seams and pulled tight to give a corset effect.

Another reason for doing that was so I could have a button fastening for the top fabric, I’ve always loved those dresses with buttons all the way down the back but I don’t really have the time to that, so four or five buttons will have to suffice!

Starting to make the bodice out of the real fabric now!!

Once I had started on the bodice I got a sense of what sort of skirt I wanted…

So this is the final stage in the development of my wedding dress design ideas…I doodled on top of the image so I could get a sense of how it might look – I found this skirt online after a lot of hunting and researching – not too big and poofy but elegant and enough to make me feel like a princess! Ordered, slight delay on the despatch time, so I went back to the bodice.

Having left myself time to think and chatting to family members I decided to not add sleeves to the bodice. Since the back was quite low, I was concerned about how the sleeves would work and if they would stay up, etc.

So instead, I separated the bodice from the skirt on Granny’s wedding dress, cut down that the centre of the bodice and had a play with how it might sit as a bolero jacket…

I added two more darts at the back of the jacket to reduce some of the excess. Also two rows of top stitching around the new hem and cut the excess away. The effect is very feminine and romantic – perfect for getting married in and then slipping off for the reception!

Moving back to the bodice, I hand stitched the support panel to the completed bodice in for now, in case it needed moving back or forward a bit.

Once the bodice was together and I was satisfied with how it looked, I started adding boning to the seams – very simply by ironing the seams flat and sewing them down in the middle of the overlock stitch, creating channels which I pushed the plastic boning into. I only added them to the right hand ones as I didn’t want the bodice to be too stiff, but still to hold its shape.

IMG_9138

img_9139.jpg

And I am so thrilled with the outcome! Cannot wait to try it on when the skirt comes!

Next for the facing – I actually ran out of the top fabric, I used the off cuts to make pocket squares for the groomsmen! (see blog link!) So decided to choose a very simple, soft white cotton to face the bodice with.

IMG_9157

I machined it to the front of the bodice and then flipped in to the inside, cut the edges and pressed the fold flat so no white would show on the front.

IMG_9158

I was going to top stitch the facing down, but I didn’t want to ruin the effect of the facing, so I herringboned the edge of the facing to the calico, so hopefully it will not slip and be seen from the outside of the bodice.

IMG_9159

I finalised where the support panels needed to be and machined them to the bodice.

Now the majority of the bodice is finished I could have fun with the detail of adding buttons and elasticated hoops to finish off the bodice!!

IMG_0263

BACK TO THE SKIRT:

I am very lucky to have my head bridesmaid who actually works at a bridal shop! She very kindly helped me to take up the skirt so that the skirt worked with my chosen shoes…

IMG_9304

Once I had done this, I started playing around with how I could apply my Granny’s lace to the skirt. I love the simple look of the bodice and skirt here but…its my wedding day and I want to look spectacular!

IMG_9518

I really like the idea of having a long jacket and although it looks beautiful like this, it is not really me…

IMG_9517

Now this really IS me! I love ruffled skirts!

I popped the skirt on my mannequin and played around with how I wanted the lace to work, but it actually looked a bit too much so decided instead to apply some of Grandma Rosemary’s lace to the skirt to tie the rest of my wedding outfit with my headpiece.

I hand stitched this gorgeous belt I made out of the lace, once I had worked out the arrangement of the lace I machined it on to a piece of silk with some iron on interfacing to give the belt structure…

I then cut away the excess silk, leaving a belt of lace!

IMG_9657

This I hand stitched over the waistband with some fastening to complete the effect – this will hopefully give the look that the bodice and the skirt being one rather than separates.

IMG_0219

I also added the rest of Grandma Rosemary’s lace to the bottom of the skirt train…

 

To link in with my head piece, I applied beads to the lace flowers to add a little glitz to my dress!

With Granny’s wedding dress I went back to mum’s idea of creating a long jacket out of the gorgeous lace – now I have another layer and have included something so meaningful in my wedding outfit.

BRIDESMAIDS –

For my lovely three bridesmaids, I was able to find three dresses from Two Birds company in the sale at one of the bridal shops I visited – they were perfect, different shades of blue and ones which they could design their preferred bodice style!

I let them choose their shoes as they needed to be comfortable on the day but I was able to purchase some beautiful faux fur shrugs for them from dazzlingladieswear on Etsy – they were perfect as a cover up on the evening. I also got a navy version for myself which really worked with the blue in the indian fabric!

Following my bridesmaids instructions carefully, I began taking up the layers of this gorgeous skirt. It is quite hard to tell from the photos but I took the inner most lining up to around my knees to get it out of the way entirely and then turned the netting over slightly to make them rest on the ground.

I had to unpick the lovely hem on the top fabric, iron the new hemline and reinstall the horsehair in that fold. I tacked the horsehair to the inside of the new hem for ease when stitching the lining down.

  • Since writing the above I have changed my mind about my shoes…I know, typical bride. And since my lovely bridesmaid is back at her home in Huddersfield and I feel too awkward to ask her to come down just to help me with the hem! So I contacted a few people to see if they might be able to help, Cynthia from Oui Madame in Cookham turned out to be the one! She was unbelievably helpful and knowledgable – totally over qualified to just fix my hem! She was able to give me suggestions on design and also assist with taking the excess of the train up for dancing later on!

It was a mammoth task and I’m not sure if I would ever feel comfortable making someone else’s wedding dress but I loved every minute of making mine. I loved the personal touches and historical lace I was able to incorporate.

Alex had no idea that I would be in the same fabric as him, in fact he knew next to nothing about what I was wearing – he said, the engagement was his little secret that he had to keep, so this was like my version. And what a surprise!

It was the perfect day, and I feel truly blessed to have been able to celebrate with all my loved ones – here are some of the official photographs, I’ll add more when I get them!

IMG_1269IMG_1266 (1)

IMG_1267.jpg

Images with thanks to David Scammell!

 

Upcycled Peter Pan Costume

Commission, Construction, Textile work

I was contacted last year by a customer about making a unique costume for her son’s 18th birthday in 2018 – he had a Peter Pan costume when he was little and lived in it. So for his special birthday she wanted to replicate it for him! Such an original idea, so of course I said yes!

I wasn’t exactly sure where to start so, as per usual, I got on Pinterest to see what other people had done and get some inspiration.

I started with the feet and worked up…I wanted to make him some shoes…but then realised the would end up more like slippers which he could not really wear outside. So instead I set about making something that could go over any footwear. This meant getting my foot on the work table and drawing round it, wrapping it in pattern paper and generally making a mess!

But I got there –

IMG_0453

And then it was on to the felt…

IMG_0499

It didn’t like the curves but we got there in the end!

 

I secured the side with a small piece of elastic so he could slip it on over his foot, and another strip to hold it in place underneath.

IMG_0503

Tada! I think they are adorable!

I purchased some green leggings and a second hand green t-shirt from eBay and started cutting…

IMG_0772

I also found him a belt to pull the XXL t-shirt into his wait – v Peter Pan!

And finally, green felt and red feather means…

IMG_0516

Yep, you guessed it, the hat! I had been sent the original costume hat to work from which was a real help as it is subtly shaped – I love the outcome!

 

Can’t wait to see the birthday boy in his costume – so cute!

IMG_0982

Moto jacket for Nikki

Commission, Construction, Textile work

One of my uni friends challenged me with a commission – she is in love with these moto jackets but cannot find any to suit her unique taste and also they are becoming scarce as the fashions change. So she appealed to my better nature and asked if I could make her one of her own and of course I said yes, I love a challenge and would love to make her something she adores!

So I started doing my pattern research (I did not think it sensible to start making my own pattern!) and found some really interesting ones online and in the end Nikki decided on this Evergreen Jacket from Hey June.

She gave me some colour and pattern ideas and I went shopping!!! Following in the pattern instructions I purchased some maroon sweatshirt material!

And got cutting…

I have not used a pattern for ages so it took me a while to work it all out but Hey June’s pattern was well thought out and clearly explained!

I made a pocket! One of the most exciting things I’ve done – adding a zip and pocket seems so simple but I suddenly realised I’d never done it before!

It wasn’t long before the pieces of the pattern were looking more like a jacket!

I love the little details that Hey June included in the pattern, simple things like top stitching lines around the collar make the item really stand out as unique!

I’m so proud of myself for sticking it out and I’m thrilled with the outcome!

Finishing touch…a lovely label for a lovely jacket!

Here is the finished item…I hope Nikki loves it as much as I do!

Stay tuned for images of the customer in her new garment!

The very talented Julian Jaschke took some amazing photos of Nikki in her new jacket and sent them over to me – I think she looks absolutely stunning!