Wednesday, 27 March 2013

When I'm not sewing...

....I'm knitting.....yep I relax by swapping a sewing needle for a knitting needle... or 200...
I've been thinking of getting a knitting machine for years and finally went and bought one (second hand!) just before Christmas as a present to myself.

I'm on a bit of a learning curve at the moment, but it has been helped along by watching some of Diana Sullivan's youtube videos found here.    Although the instruction manual is with the machine, it just seems to make a lot more sense watching someone working on their own machine.

I made the blanket pictured by following her tutorial series from her blog Diana Natters. It's called the Swirl Round baby blanket

A few details to note - Diana uses a machine that has a larger guage than my machine ( I have a standard guage knitmaster) so my blanket came out smaller at 27" diameter. Which seems to be a perfect size for a lap blanket or for a newborn baby.

I honestly couldn't believe that my blanket was turning out the way it should - it's my second attempt at making anything other than swatches! I really like the edging used to finish off the blanket - it could easily be used with handknitting. see it up close here:

I'm hoping to make something wearable for myself soon. I've cut apart an old jumper that fit nicely but was a cheapy bobbly thing. And the plan is to try to copy it - but first I need to swatch the yarn and do some maths!
In sewing news I won a giveaway over on Melissa's blog Fehrtrade
It was for a young image magazine which arrived yesterday - I've plans to sew more than a couple of the outfits - they are adorable!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Bishops Palace Costumes

All bag sewing was abandoned for a little while late last year when I got the opportunity to Make some 18th and 19th century costumes for a local tourist attraction. Honestly I was petrified but delighted at the thought of making something so interesting (but a little out of my comfort zone too...!)

The 1740's gown above is being worn by one of the ladies who plays the  'Lady Este'. Lady Este is one of the former occupants of the Bishops Palace, and the tours are conducted by actors & actresses in period - appropriate garb.

Each of the gowns (3 of this style were needed), are made from silk. They are interlined and lined in cotton, so that they are as breathable and comfortable as possible. Below is a picture of the back which has some vertical pleats:

 The overskirt is pleated onto the bodice. The cuffs were gathered slightly and a chiffon frill attached.

The bodice ties to one side of the stomacher (front panel) with hooks which are concealed just under the ivory lace trim . I used some  vertical pleating on the stomacher aswell.

The underskirt is made from a darker purple silk. The side hoops similar to the ones shown here are worn underneath to give shape to the hips of the gown.

The gowns have been getting a great reaction from visitors - they look well in their setting. It's lovely to see them all finished -I'm really chuffed,  don't you think sometimes it's good to take on a new challenge? 

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