Thursday, 29 May 2014

Life & Loves

I'm really getting into this week off malarkey and now we're at the half-way post. 
Good things often rush by too fast.  I race about most of the time, trying to fit more than I should into my days. Every now and then I make myself stop, have a think and watch.

Just seeing these outside our front door, with the yellow scabia about to burst makes me really smile every day.


 Early on Monday evening, my man and I were day dreaming, looking out of the kitchen window while we cooked and chatted. In front of us we saw a daddy Blackbird bring his chubster baby to the layers pellets I put out for our hens and all the other bigger wild birds. For an age he carefully picked up each one and popped it into the babies beak. I was spellbound just watching him care for his littlun'.


I made sure Little Bun got the holiday nails she asked for.
Clean nails are school rules come Monday morning so she needed to grab the moment.


Mid-morning I got on with stitching a custom order and had a good old think about how much I love sewing these days.


I can't remember not being able to sew, or perhaps I mean being taught to. It's just something that I see to have been doing for ever. 

My mum used to knit tiny jumpers and cardigans for my dollies school uniforms, while I stitched tunics and blazers for them with her help. They all went to boarding school in the bedroom shelves my dad built for me, something a bit like Mallory Towers or St Clare's.

Then at art college, aged 16, I had to make the fabric I'd designed and printed up into something wearable. Suddenly I had to learn how to make it all a lot bigger. Out came the beautiful light brown Singer for me to learn on and this same machine saw me through until my 30's. 
I'm still wondering why I was so daft to get rid of it when it died.


Over the past few years I've really been getting into dressmaking again. I'm trying to improve my skills all the time and learn more and more. I love challenging myself as I get bored really quickly.
Everything I know is self-taught through trial and error, asking for ideas and help from the dressmakers I've got to know over the years and reading books.

I was really looking forward to dipping into the eagerly awaited first book by Tilly from the first Sewing Bee I have to say. I flicked through it in Waterstones after work one day and decided it wasn't for me as there was too much about learning how to sew.


Then a few days later I kept on thinking about the book. It had exactly the dress pattern I'd  been after in it and there were patterns that Little Bun would love too. I wanted this book after all.

Once pay day came I was lucky enough to grab the only copy the local bookshop had ordered in. And do you know I'm so glad I changed my mind because I love it.


The styling is fresh and stunning. I love it's fun quirky tone and apart from not liking one blouse in it (because V-necks look beyond dreadful on me), I want to make everything in it.

As you know from my last post, I've already jumped in and made the Megan Dress. Thankyou for all your really kind words about that dress too I must say. I'm already planning Megan No.2, but first I think Lilou should have a turn. Definately a bit longer in the leg and possibly less full so my bum doesn't look huge (in Norfolk they say WHOOGE, just like that and it sounds extra big doesn't it).


I really like all the ideas for playing about with the same styles too. There's ton's of guidance if your're a beginner or just want a reminder of stuff.


 For me I bought it because I loved the patterns and as it turns out the chapter on making patterns to fit had some tips that really helped me learn new stuff.


Each project tackles techniques and gives you a lesson as you go along. As I knew how to do the stuff needed, I wrote a numbered list beside the dress of each stage of making instead and ticked that off as I went.


All I have to say is that this is a wonderful book to my mind for beginners and more advanced. There's so much to help you through when you're learning and it's written in a really chatty way.

For some reason the Megan Dress seemed less complex to make than dresses I've made before. It followed all the same steps, so I can only think it was because the book is far more straightforward and less fussy.

I've not been asked to review the book by the way. I just thought I would as quite a few people were asking me what I thought about it and were eagerly awaiting their own copies.

Oh and how do to new followers aswell. Good to see you over there.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Adventures in Sewing Land

I've been really looking forward to having time to get back on here again.
 I love writing posts around the pictures I've taken, it's one of many things that make me happy.

Working five day weeks has come as a shock, I last worked full-time in teaching in 2000.
Around all this my girlies have had exams this past week so it's all been a case of being super organised to keep the house running and stress levels down. I love working three days a week on the whole and being able to hatch all my creative plans alongside being a homebody. I earn enough for what we need doing it this way and then everyones happy. That for us is the best balance.

As this year there's no guarantee of any work for me in the summer (our courses run all the year through) and I get paid for each ten week contract, that means no pay in September. Scary, when the bills don't stop coming in. So I was lucky enough to get another teaching job for six weeks running alongside the days I usually do.
Phew - and best result of all, it means a whole summer off with my girls.

 

 I've been dipping into Instagram more lately to get my fix. I really enjoy the immediacy of IG, how pictures pop up and you can like something or get into a conversation straight away. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the speed of it all, sometimes I feel envious seeing what a lovely day someone else is having when I'm stuck in a souless classroom being sworn at and told this is all S**T. On the whole though I'm getting into it and enjoying this aswell.

 Now as these things go sometimes, my students didn't show on Friday, hospital and work being the reasons for some.

Once all paperwork and phone calls were done, there was nothing for it but to head off for the day. I chose a visit to one of my favourite Market towns where I found these flowers on the Friday market.


 Then I popped into the Haberdashers for a few more polka dots. I crossed my fingers hoping the small bookshop would have a copy of Tilly and the Buttons Love at First Stitch and can you believe it they had just the one copy waiting for me.

Next big thrill was finding the exact pair of white shades I've had in mind for a year or two in the vintage store.


While I was there I spent a happy while choosing fabric from a gorgeous pile.
I have plans for the red to be another Annual Top for me, the pale yellow will be all sorts of things as there's quite a bit there, the 60's towelling I'm going to turn into a beach mat and as for the delicious barkcloth - well I think that needs to be a bag.


I also came across this stunning handmade 1950's dress. I couldn't resist, but wasn't sure if it would fit as I didn't fancy the changing room.  It's where bodies used to be laid out when it was an old Police Station and town morgue. The room is small, with an arched ceiling and the benches for the bodies still remain. As the light didn't work I thought no way am I going in there.


 I arrived home excited with all my purchases along with quiches from the deli and cherries from the market for the man and I to have lunch as he was home working.
The dress wasn't my fit or style as it happens so I popped a picture on Instagram. My friend Emmie fell for it straight away and came to collect at the weekend. So that all worked out great for us both.


On Saturday I was thrilled to find our village honesty stall was up and running once more. The plants, fruit and veg we get from there are wonderful. At the moment there are bundles of Lily of the Valley, Cornflowers and Sweet Williams to buy.

Then the postie came with a parcel just for me. My mum had bought me a new pair of Saltwater sandals as my Adopted Birthday pressie.

Blue is one of my favourite colours and shiny too. What more can I say.


Then I set to for a day of much desired sewing.
I really really need my crafty fix. I'm not sure if you can call it obsessive or an addiction, but I yearn for it and get very grumpy when I don't get any time for making. 


I knew exactly what I was going to start with. A while back I'd bought this green and pink rose print, I wanted to make it into a 1960's style dress, but couldn't find the right pattern. Flicking through Tilly's book when I was skint I saw exactly the pattern I'd had in mind. After a couple of weeks waiting for pay day I couldn't believe my luck when I found it in our small bookshop.

 

 I drafted up the patterns, altering them to my length as I'm a six footer. That means dropping the bust darts and lengthening the bodice plus the skirt.

I didn't have time to make a twoile or want to, so I made a size up and then altered the dress down to my exact measurements as I sewed.

I plan to write a review of this book and a few others I've bought recently as I was really impressed with it.



I chose to make the facings in matching fabric this time rather than contrasts, but I thought a bit of stripy toothpaste binding was just the ticket.


Halfway through before adding the zip and sleeves I stopped for a quick fitting and fiddle with seams.

 

In the middle of all this we had an outing and family time so sewing stopped until late at night.
I was so in love with stitching my Megan dress that I hopped back on my machine and whirred away until 1am.


This is her all done and dusted. I love it.
It fits perfectly after a bit of fiddling, altering of darts and unpicking the zip to bring the back seam in, but we got there in not too long a time and it was a really straightforward pattern.


 I even added a belt as I had a red buckle I'd saved for years that I knew had to go with this print.



When I went out in it the next day I felt good, the dress was so comfy too, with no tight bits or pulling.


Big Thumbs up we say.



Camera back please.

See you later this week.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Annual Tops


I've been busy whirring away on my machine over the last week.

I received so many lovely comments from you about the tops that I designed and a few of you wondered if I might be offering them up for sale to you lovelies aswell. 

Well, I'm really thrilled to let you know that I have the first four Annual Tops hot of the machine, ready and waiting for a new home.

Each top is a one of a kind, all handmade by me, Bobo Bun, with great attention to detail, in a selection of vintage fabrics. 

Annual Tops are inspired by the pretty and easy to wear tops I wore in my 1970's childhood.

 

 I even managed to get a beautiful model for the day so you really get a feel for how they look. 

First up isTammy.

 This is a stunning 1960's blue and lilac floral cotton print. One of my absolute favourites to be honest.
The facing is a blue polkadot print with stripy binding. 
The slash back is fastened with a lace trim bow.

Next we have Mandy. 
 This is a made from a beautiful light cotton print from the 1950's covered in flowers and bows.
I've added a pink floral facing with pink binding and fastened the back with a tiny white flower button.

Then we have June.  sold thankyou
 June is a 1960's cotton floral, edged with a blue trim. Polkas dot blue facings with a light green binding.

Last of all we have Bunty. Sold thankyou
This is a very pretty floral cotton from the 1980's. Pink polka dot facings and green lace trom to the neckline finish Bunty off a treat.

I've several of these tops which I wear all the time. 
On hot days they're perfect with shorts, skirts or cropped jean. I just love how they instantly cheer me with the pretty prints.


 On colder days they look great over a t-shirt and when it's really cold add a cardi too.


All are made from vintage fabrics with vintage and recycled trimmings too.


 They are cut generously to fit a size 12/14.
Length from shoulder to hem is 26" (66 cm).


 As these are the first Annual Tops I've made for you, I've made them all in a mid range sizing to start with.

I am planning in the future to offer other sizes, fabric choices and individual commissions.


Now for the nitty gritty.
 Each Annual Top is £40 plus £2 post and packing in the UK. 
If you are outside the UK please email me at bobobunmakes@yahoo.co.uk for postage costs.

If you wish to buy an Annual Top then please email me with the name of the top you're interested in. 
I'll then send you an invoice via paypal. If you don't have paypal, don't worry as I can also take cheques.





Monday, 12 May 2014

Seeking and Stitching

I've had all sorts of things to share this past week, but somehow what with work and the odd tea with friends and whoossh time whizzes by. 

I'm going to take you all the way back to that glorious bank holiday weekend. 
There were two treasure hunting days on offer in these parts which tickled my fancy. 
On the Sunday we headed off to an antiques street market.
Monday was vintage in the grounds of a magical garden.

The haul for both days was seriously good. The only thing missing is the tiniest Kewpie doll which Little Bun bought.


No suprises that fabric wins out as the bigger part of my finds. There were loads of other delectable fabrics, but I'd spent up and weighed up in my head what everything would become. I just regret buying the orangey cotton, problem of chatting to friends and not concentrating properly I guess.


I've wanted some of these pastel coloured pyrex ramekins for a long old time now, so I was thrilled when I found these. Then on the way back to the car this mint green 1940's sugar barrel caught my eye. 
Pretty colours and simple designs which I love.

 

The vintage fair we went to on the bank holiday was in the grounds of an old disused quarry. A Victorian businessman bought and then developed the area into an Italianate garden. Years later it was overgrown and hidden from view waiting to be discovered in the 1980's. 

 

Now it's called the Plaintation Gardens and it's a beautiful and magical place. The sort of place that's fabulous to run around in because you can climb up high and play the best game of hide and seek.

 

Then you find just who you are searching for has been watching you from above all along.



The rest of that weekend was spent eating with friends and splashing white paint here and there.

 

By Friday of this week I had all sorts of plans. As my last making Friday for a while I wanted to get lots of things done. 

In between rainy showers I washed and dried my new fabrics.

I fancy the 1960's green and black rose print as a skirt and perhaps a bag too. Not to be worn as a matching outfit you understand.  The purple modflower barkcloth has already been cut into a Happy Shopper bag and as for the soft blue linen, well there's tons of that and I think a dress to match it's age. I have in mind a 1960's 3/4 sleeved dress. We'll see what happens.

 
 

Because there's all sorts of other sewing going on here too. 

While the fabrics blew about in the wind, I sat at my machine to whip up a birthday gift as requested by Little Bun for her friends birthday sleepover party.

She'd hoped to make it herself, but ran out of time. In the end she chose the prints and gave me strict instructions on the design. I had to hold back from adding trimmings and suchlike.


Bag all stitched up I got on with my next plan. 

You remember the tops I've been making. Well I plan to offer a few up for sale as it seems a few of you lovelies were quite interested.

I'll add all the details in my next post, but for now here's a look see at four of the Tammy Tops cut out ready and waiting for stitching.


I've also cut out another couple just for me. They really are addictive to make and wear.

Alongside stitching the Tammy Top's I finished the skirt I made for Little Bun using her CK mushroom skirt as the pattern. It's her favourite shape and so comfortable to wear, so you've guessed it she wants a few more in prints. This was worn today which means she definately likes it then.


Alongside this skirt I ended up tackling Miss Rosey's art project with her. Sadly for a girl who loves art her pleasure in it is being crushed at the moment by a young teacher.
She has to make a white skirt, dye it and then applique scenes from her chosen city over it. 

Rather than let her stumble through alone I helped her sew up the skirt, finish the seams properly and then tomorrow we're putting in the zip and waistband in time for art on Tuesday. Nothing wrong with a headstart methinks. I'd love to go in and teach the girls (I'm not being sexist by the way, it's a girls school) how to sew, Miss Rosey said she'd love it too.

See you later in the week.