Revealed!

Ok, time to let the cat out of the bag! Remeber these suspect little packages from a previous post….?

THE REFASHIONERS 2011 (2)

Well it is with no small degree of excitment that I announce “The Refashioners” challenge…

THE REFASHIONERS 2011 (1)

Starting on Monday, and running all next week this blog will play host to a series of guest bloggers sharing their refashioning take (and tutorials) on the mystery packages I have sent them. I can’t wait to share these projects from some awesome women who just happen to be inspiring bloggers, crafters and sew-ers!!! So without futher jabbering on like an excited toddler, here’s the line up:

The “too cool for school” Zoe of So Zo…
The inimitable Karen of Did you Make That?
The very talented Dixie of Dixie DIY
The ever inspiring Casey of Elegant Musings
and
The gorgeous Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons

NOW, can you see why I was so excited!! Feel free to grab the button HTML and spread the word 🙂

Miss P
<div align="center"><a href="http://portialawrie.blogspot.com/" title="Miss P"><img src="http://www.makery.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/6123219092_5d348943ed_m.jpg" alt="Miss P" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to check back on Monday for the first post in the series!

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Autumn Marrow Chutney – Recipe inc

Morning friends. You’ll be happy to know I’m sure, that I have decided to embrace the changing of the seasons in a positive manner; and focus on all the lovely things this time of year has to offer. Namely chutney making! I’ve tried my hand at it before when we’ve had gluts of tomatoes. The chutney was pretty successful but I managed to demolish two of our best pans in the process. Well, as luck would have it, I managed to bag myself a proper jam making pan (large, deep, aluminium, 2 handles) on Freecycle the other week. I was beyond excited at the prospects of making some more chutney…and try my hand at jam..then it dawned on me. We’d already eaten all our homegrown tomatoes and all the fruit trees in our local area had long been plundered by birds and passers by alike…so what was I going to make it with? It was only when I was looking for ideas for what to do with this marrow (now now!! It’s a beast isn’t it? It was a gift from the staff at Elliott’s pre-school for helping to dig out and plant the new garden area during the holidays) that I stumbled upon this site and put two and two together. I can only imagine what this is going to taste like after some maturing, because let me tell you, straight from the pan, this stuff is seriously DELICIOUS!

I combined two of the recipes I found on the site (apparently you can make chutney out of pretty much anything!) and came out with this:

  • 3 lb (1.4 kg) marrow flesh
  • Salt
  • 4 small apples
  • ½ lb (225 g) sultanas (optional)
  • 1 pint (570 ml) vinegar 
  • 2 medium onions
  • 8 oz brown sugar
  • 3 tsp lazy(!) ginger
  • 2 tsp powdered paprika
  • 2tsp powdered turmeric
  • 1 tsp lazy(!) chillies

6 whole cloves

Method:
  1. Peel and cut the marrow into quarter inch cubes, removing all the seeds. Layer with salt in a bowl. Then mix well.

There’s loads!

Transfer to a colander placed over a bowl. Place a plate/pan lid or similar on top and weight down. Leave overnight.
Discard the water that comes out. (It’s mad how much actually comes out!)
Rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove the majority of the salt
Heat vinegar, sugar and spices in a large saucepan and once simmering add the marrow, chopped onions and peeled/diced apples and sultanas if using (I didn’t add my sultanas in the end)
Bring to the boil very slowly and then simmer gently until cooked and thick. Mine took a good hour to get to this point. Then there was probably another 20 mins of constant stirring to make sure it didn’t stick as the remainder of the liquid cooked off and it looked ready for jars…
Pour into hot, clean, sterilized jars and seal at once. Label with contents when fully cooled.
Makes about 6 jars of chutney. Nom nom nom….;)
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Restyle # 20 – Lace Tunic Tee (inc Tutorial)

It’s been some time since I indulged in some refashioning. But here is the first of several that I have coming up over the next few weeks. I’ve been trying some ideas out with jersey. I’ve not sewn with jersey before as I don’t have an overlocker and the last time I tried sewing jersey on my regular machine, it gobbled it up like a hungry posessed thing.  However I was recently forced out of my comfort zone by a certain someone (who shall remain nameless for now. You know who you are!) and challenged to try sewing with jersey. So I gave it another go.  This was my first practice run. As it happens, it’s not so bad. Without any real headaches I managed to come up with this pretty straightforward refashion…..

I started with a maternity tunic that doesn’t fit me, and some georgette that I saved from a damaged vintage dress and has been in my stash for over 3 years…with a little jiggery pokery, I came up with the refashion on the right….

To begin with I used my Sorbetto pattern to draft the top portion with the CF along the folded edge of my paper….

I only wanted the uppermost chest part to be lace so it took all of 30 seconds to trace this piece off…

and square it off from the CF to the side seam. I thought about shaping this “a la Zoe”, but in the end decided to keep it simple for this one…

I repeated the same for the back piece……

So I ended up with a front and back pattern piece like so….

I cut one front and one back piece from my lace…

Et voila….

I stay stitched all armhole and neckline curves since this is delicate stuff…
French seamed the shoulders….

French seamed the side seams…….

Having cut away the top and sleeves from the bottom portion of the tunic, I used the pattern pieces to determine how much fabric I would need to cut from the original garment. I drew a diagonal line which will create a kind of A line/trapeze effect; and cut just ouside of the line to allow a little for seam allowances (this is not very scientific I know. I was “freestyling” a bit at this stage!)

Here’s the new bottom piece pinned and ready for sewing. The original tunic had the longer scooped hem at the back which was a feature I liked and wanted to keep so I pinned the side seams up from the hem upwards in order to preserve this…

I used one of the overlock style stitches on my machine. A kind of zig zag with a straight stitch underneath…

Then trimmed right up close to the stitching to neaten….

I used the same stitch to attach the top and bottom pieces together and pressed the seam allowances down toward the hem….

Then turned right side out, I topstitched a few mm away from the seamline. Understitching would work just as well though….

I’m not convinced with the finish here. It could be better. I could have matched the thread colour a bit more closely. I could have taken my time a bitmore and wobbled a bit less.  But you get the idea….

Turning the garment wrong side out again you can see the seam finish from the inside. The idea was (and it has more or less worked out) that the row of topstitching then encloses the other edch of the zig zag stitch so that it more closely resembles what an overlocker would achieve…(with a few wobbles here and there!)
 I trimmed close to the stitching line again to neaten….
Now all I hat to do was finish the neckline and armholes. I opened up and pressed one of the sleeves. The plan was to make bias strips using a bias tape gadget. Since the purpose of cutting on the bias is to provide a bit of stretch, and jersey already has stretch; I figured I could dispense with actually having to cut on the bias. No need to measure either! Check this out…..I used 1″ wide masking tape to mark out strips….
Top Tip: The masking tape acts as a cutting guide AND stabilises the fabric whilst you are cutting. Preventing it from slipping and stretching and distorting the strips….I cut between the gaps of the masking tape strips…
and ended up with a whole bunch of strips that I then made into bias tape to finish the neckline and armholes….
That’s all there was to it really. Whilst the finish I managed to achieve on jersey with my standard machine was nowhere near as professional as it would have been had I used an overlocker….for clothes I’m only going to be wearing myself, it’s perfectly satisfactory in my view. Which was a pleasant surprise. I admit to having avoided the stuff like the plague up until now. Thinking there was now way I could sew with it on my standard machine. The process was helped by using a walking foot on my machine. It sounds and feels a bit clunky when sewing but it is very good at moving the layers of fabric through the machine evenly, and without stretching. I was also careful not to pull or stretch the jersey out when working with it as this causes the curling effect on the edges, that you’ve no doubt experienced if you have ever worked with jersey before.
All in all, I’m happy with the concept of this refashion and may well incorporate these elements in future projects on both jersey and wovens.
If you’re looking to have a go with jersey for the first time and don’t have an overlocker, then go for it! I’d say it’s doable as long as you take your time and don’t pull or stretch the fabric.
Hope this helps!
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Rainy Days and (Bank Holiday) Mondays….

Allegedly the “Tillage” (not quite a town not quite a village IMO) where I live is having a Regatta style week this week. Short of a few strands of bunting, a banner and some charity tombola stalls, there wasn’t much of an event in evidence when we took a wander along the waterfront today. However we did get a total drenching whilst sheltering under a 4″ wide overhang during a sudden torrential downpour….which was nice…(?)
So we headed back home. Half an hour later it was blazing sunshine outside. But do you think we noticed? Nope we were too absorbed in this….

A vintage puzzle circa 1950’s that I’ve had in the cupboard for about a year…cute huh?
Notice anything wrong with this picture?

Ha, ha!! Yep. 2 hours of painstaking concentration later, and we discovered that there are only 499 pieces to this 500 piece jigsaw.

Still, if I make it to 60 with every single piece of me intact, I shall be a happy gal! Anyway, it was kind of fitting for a UK bank holiday, lol!
Did you do anything fun this weekend?
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