luckybear · norfolk · Sewing

Down to Business!

I’m planning action! I’d like to step up my game, increase my output and make more sales. I’ve already planned in a few craft fairs/events this year and have others on the back burner (watch this space), and want to try to reach a wider audience.

A full-time teaching job means that time is limited for making and selling. But I love it, especially the making part! It’s my switch-off from schoolwork and lets me indulge in my creative side. Plus it gives me an excuse to buy yummy fabrics! And I get a real kick out of each and every sale, either in my Etsy shop or face-to-face. Some of you reading this are already loyal customers! So thank you to every one of you who has bought a luckybear item so far, because I love it when you choose to buy something of mine. I always hope that you will love it as much as I do!

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So I am determined to make more time to sew and sell. One thing I have decided to do is to take part in the Make May My Month Challenge – #makemaymymonth – , run by a fellow Etsy seller (Jade Hargreaves of  The Pattern Parade Design). It’s a month of challenges to refocus you on the business and I hope it will enable me to get some things sorted. This looks like it will be great collaborative support and networking. It’s good to share the love!

I am also planning some exciting special offers and giveaways, so follow me on twitter, facebook and instagram and I’ll keep you posted!

Fingers crossed that May will be a productive month! If you’d like to check out what I have in stock right now, have a look at my Etsy shop. I will add new items regularly. Have a great bank holiday weekend, everyone!

 

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Sewing

Lottie Coat

This time of Twixtmas, the no-man’s land betwixt the Christmas and New Year festivities, has been a very productive one chez Baker. So lovely to have some sewing time to myself while the males of the house entertain themselves with Netflix and their Christmas pressies (not to mention the building of yet another guitar…), so I have had fun (and of course a bit of muttering under the breath) making stuff.

Yesterday I cut a batch of pouches to make. I sold lots of them before Christmas so need to replenish my stock. I made 10 yesterday, whilst listening to my new David Bowie greatest hits CD that Santa brought for me!  As you know, I love making pouches and they went well, so I need to get stocks going again as once back at school, there isn’t so much time for sewing!

But today I made something for myself. A coat! Very pleased with it. It’s just a simple, unlined shell coat with pockets in the seamlines and three-quarter length sleeves “for a nod to 60s design” as the pattern says! The pattern was a free pdf download from Issue 33 of Love Sewing magazine.

Now, although a printed pattern is usually my choice, especially indie ones as the packaging and production is always lovely, I do now and then love a pdf. I find the printing, cutting and piecing together of the sheets of paper very satisfying, and of course the resulting pattern pieces that you cut from it are very sturdy – great if you are using a tricky, oft-shifting fabric, or if you want to make multiple copies of the same garment.

I ordered the fabric for this several weeks ago from Abakhan (my first ever purchase from them, it was very reasonable and I love it!) and it’s been sitting in my cupboard waiting until I had a clear day. I washed this first on a cold wool wash in the machine, just in case of any shrinkage. My overlocker was indispensable as this is a fairly loose-weave wool blend and frayed like a bugger. The pattern instructions were really clear, although definitely not for beginners. It was fairly straightforward to make (very proud of myself for doing these pockets!) but the facings were what made me a bit puzzled. But I worked it out in the end! Once made up, all that was left to do was the buttonhole – easy peasy on cottons but a total nightmare on layers of this thick wool fabric. Hence the swearing (I said muttering before but it was a little stronger than that!) Finally I realised it just wasn’t going to work and I had to improvise – it’s not perfect but you can’t see it!

So, am very proud of myself. First coat and with pockets and everything! Am now thinking I need a new selection of Jackie O-inspired shift dresses…

Sewing

Me-Made May – 1/2 way mark! (Beware: cringe-making photos ahead!)

Here we are, half way through the month and at the half-way point of Me-Made May 2016. I had great intentions to document more regularly – such as each week. However, week one came and went, with me busy with this and that, so now I am doing a 2-week update. As it’s now fourteen days’ worth of the project, I won’t bore you with 14 different photos. (Yawn!) Just a quick update – I have been really pleased with myself this year – it’s gone much better than last year! I have managed every single day wearing something that in some way has come about at the hands of ME!

There have been a couple of days when the me-makes have been accessories or bags, or on one day, an altered garment, but otherwise I have managed pretty much to wear an outfit I have made myself. Me. (Hence the “Me-Made” in the title!) Oh, just remembered – pyjamas too (no way am I showing you shots of me first thing in the morning, though. Nobody deserves that!)

So here is a little montage of some of the outfits! You will have to feel very honoured that I am sharing them with you – I HATE photos of myself, and some of these are totally goofy (blame my photographer!)

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L-R: Stripey Coco dress (awful selfie, as aforementioned photographer had already left for work!), appliqued Delphine skirt, green lined wool skirt with flounce, Dottie Angel frock.

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Ladybird spot Coco dress, wool felt corsage (on a day I wore a store-bought dress!)

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What I call my Minnie Mouse dress! Worm for a friend’s 50th – I love this petticoat! I also made matching earrings (can you see them?) Apologies for coats and schoolbags in the background!

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My Spider-Man dress! My son got new Star Wars curtains for Christmas, so said I could have his old Spider-Man ones! He has now asked for PJs with the other curtain once he saw my dress. Think I need a Wonder Woman one next!!!

So, will try to continue to do the Me-Made thing for the next 2 weeks! (This will include a camping trip – the pjyamas might get another outing!)

 

Sewing

Me-Made-May 2016

Last year, I signed up for Me-Made-May. This is hosted by Zoe from So, Zo, What Do You Know?  I tried but it didn’t go so well as I found I didn’t really have an awful lot of stuff I’d made!

So this year I am trying again. More to show myself what I need to make to fill the gaps in my wardrobe! But it’s a bit of fun, so here goes…this is my Me Made May pledge!‘I, Lucy, of luckybearnorfolk (www.luckybearnorfolk.com), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear something I have made, altered or refashioned each day for the duration of May 2016’. 

   

This will include accessories as well as clothes. I will post some photos on at least a weekly basis to show you what I’m wearing! Yesterday I started it off with a Coco dress I made last month. It’s quite a thick jersey but the British spring weather is so changeable that I’m sure I’ll be wearing it more than once in May! I totally forgot, however, to take a photo until husband was out at a gig and son was in bed, so have had to take some pretty poor selfies that only show bits of it. Must do better from now on!

Sewing

My Dottie Angel frock

Half term. Family time but also a little bit of time for sewing! Yes, I need to make stock for the Etsy shop and upload it – and for the bricks & mortar shop (Norwich Gift Emporium). But I also wanted to indulge in a bit of me-sewing. I have a few garment patterns now (for “few”, read “far too many but still probably not enough”!) and I have been thinking about what to make next for a while. So I decided on some selfish sewing to boost my me-made wardrobe.

So I got out my collection and had a rummage through. Should I go indie or big-name pattern house? I initially decided to make a quick and simple “Sewing time: 1 hour” A-line skirt (it’s NEVER 1 hour, believe me!) but to my dismay, the lovely piece of fabric I’d had in mind was too small, as the print only runs one way (will have to save it for something else!) So I put that away and instead got out the Dottie Angel frock pattern (Simplicity 1080) that I bought on impulse a few weeks ago. I have many Pinterest pins of this dress and thought it looked really cute and simple to make. I kinda like the quirky Dottie Angel look and thought I’d have a go. A quick, fun sewing project, thought I!

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How mistaken I was! This was probably one of my most-hated of sewing projects to date. I can’t say what went wrong, as it does seem to be quite a simple pattern. I thought I had measured faithfully and I chose the slightly larger size according to one of my measurements (having been stung by another dress earlier in the week being a tad too small – more of that another time!) and yanked a couple of batik prints out of my stash. One of them was surely intended to be a tablecloth! A bit of a mish-mash, but I thought “quirky in the style of Dottie Angel!”

I followed the pattern instructions to the letter but found it not really very pleasurable to make. At all. And because it only comes together at the last two seams, it was impossible to fit as I went along, unlike other dresses I’ve made. So at the end, I was faced with lots of adjustings because it was absolutely enormous and made me look like a sack of potatoes. Meh. It also calls for lots of bias binding to bind the pockets, neckline, armholes, etc. I’m not keen on bound armholes!IMG_0005

I redid the side seams five times – yes FIVE! – in order to get it down to something passable. I have hacked away about 3cm off each side to try to fit it, which is quite a lot! And I hated the long-ness of it. Yes, length is in right now, the midi is a bit of a fashion thing, but I personally don’t like wearing things that long. So I whipped off about 15cm from the length too, because I prefer things ‘bove the knee. So now it’s a roomy, slouchy kinda house-dress/tunic-thing, with ties that pull it back (which to my tastes are waaaay too long), and it’ll probably look better layered, I guess. I think it’s something you might wear down the allotment. With your wellies and some chunky hand-knitted boot socks. And maybe a more earth-mothery kind of girl might suit it better. But is it really my sort of thing? I am not even really sure I will wear it (I’ll let you know if I do!) I think I’m maybe more of a fitted dress or shift kinda gal! I have put a couple of pictures to show you (front and back views) – which look ok I suppose. But I’m just not totally sold on it at the moment. And it doesn’t fit me as well as the ones fit those lovely models on the pattern pack! #storyofmylife

Do you chaps ever have things that you make and once they’re made, you’re like “Oh. Underwhelming.”? Or have you had any disasters? I am still learning how to “do” clothes, rather than bags, and I suppose this was a good learning tool. I do learn something new every time I make a new garment. Not sure whether to have another go in the smaller size, with fabrics that I love more, to try to get a better fit, or just to forget it! Or to make the shorter tunic version (which is almost what this turned out to be, as I chopped so much off the bottom!) Would love to know if anyone else has made this pattern, and how you got on with it.

***PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE***  Wore it today. Mostly because it was Sunday and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere where anyone could see me, so thought “What the hell!” I wore it with opaque green tights and a slouchy navy cardi, and a chunky ethnic-type ceramic pendant. It’s really comfy, and I think I might actually like it a bit! It is growing on me!  Just not really an enjoyable make. Maybe the second time might be easier, now I know what I’m doing…

 

norfolk · Sewing

Things for me! (part 2)

Last time I showed you my new lunchbag. I have had some really lovely comments from lots of people about it, both online and in the flesh, and it is proving to be a very useful little number! It fits all my lunch, snacks and my flask too. Well done me!

The next thing I’d like to show you is my new tea cosy. I was given a gorgeous new teapot for Christmas from my Mum & Dad. Black and white stripes with a red lid. Now, I do believe that a teapot needs a cosy, and my existing one is now quite a few years old, and being made of felt (albeit washable), it is now a bit tired and tatty. A new teapot is a good time to make a new tea cosy, n’est pas? IMG_0003

So I hauled out some black & white stripe fabric and thought it should have a splash of red too. I made one in my “More tea Vicar?” design – I sold a few of these last year and always wanted to make one of my own!

I now need to make a cafetiere cosy. Shall I make one to match, I wonder? (PS If you like these cosies and need one, you can get them in my Etsy shop or I have some for sale in the Norwich Gift Emporium. I am going to upload some new ones very soon – once I get the photos done! You can, of course, always commission me to make one for you – just let me know! Soon you will have a well-dressed teapot (or cafetiere) that will keep your cuppa hotta longa!

 

Sewing

Things for me! (Part 1)

I’ve had a lovely weekend of spending time with my family and friends, and making things too! With only a couple of days to go before the term begins again in earnest, I felt like I needed to make some more stuff! I’m going to show you the first now.

Before Christmas, I threw my three-year-old lunchbag away, tattered and torn, with a broken zip and peeling, frayed edges, in the hope that it would force me to make another one before I went back to work in January. Guess what? I forgot about it until yesterday!

So I thought it would be the perfect project for my lovely fabric from my Secret Santa. I’m in a Craft club that meets monthly and we decided this year to exchange crafty Secret Santa gifts at our Christmas ‘do’. I was delighted with mine (you can’t go wrong for me with anything sewing-related, and fabric, well….!) I received a sweet bundle of cute fabrics, all tied with a piece of lovely chunky yarn. Delish!

I was under strict instructions to use it to make something for myself, rather than other people! So here is the finished item. I wanted something much bigger than my old one, and open at the top rather than zipped, so that I could carry leftovers in various-sized plastic tubs, my coffee flask, etc. I am really pleased with the result and can’t wait to use it tomorrow! I often take cutlery and have just been throwing it into my bag, so I also made a little cutlery pouch out of the lining fabric. I had some cute fox ribbon in my stash (from Material Magic), so added that to some polka dot handles.

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Thank you Secret Santa, for my lovely fabric! Hope you like what I’ve done with it! 🙂

Happy back-to-work day to you all for tomorrow. I’ll post the next thing I made for myself next time!