World Book Day Blog Tour: My Creation!

When I was considering which book to use as inspiration for this blog tour, I was spoiled for choice. I was surrounded by literature and was always a keen reader as a child and had many ‘favourites’ along the way! I made my way through the family photo albums and was reminded of one of my favourite Christmas presents: my dollshouse. Funnily enough, I added it to the top of my list to Santa after being inspired by a book my Mum used to read to me. Inside The Dollshouse: A Miniature Tale is a wonderful story about two little dolls who watch as their dollshouse is built for them.

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I was fascinated by the idea of toys coming to life (this was years before I ever watched Toy Story!) and of their secret life behind closed doors. I would spend hours acting out scenes from the story in my own dollshouse and would create soft furnishings out of scraps of fabric. It was with this in mind, and KCW’s wonderful Winter Theme of Toys, that I decided to create a Dollshouse Skirt.

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First I sewed a simple skirt using Tilda’s Jean Teal Quilting Cotton, a ditsy vintage-inspired pink floral and teal print. I bought this a while ago from The Little Sewing Company, and it was a dream to sew with.

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For the pockets themselves I used this wonderful cross-print quilting cotton from Cotton+Steel which I bought from The Village Haberdashery. In fact, all the fabrics I used for this skirt were from my stash because I wanted to continue the ‘scrap fabric’ tradition from when I was a child.

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The pockets open up to reveal the dollshouse itself. I appliquéd traditional furniture in coordinating fabrics. I chose to sew the pockets ‘upside down’ so that they would serve as ‘fabric books’ when the wearer sits down and opens them on her lap. Perfect for long journeys or boring waiting rooms!

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And of course, the pockets themselves are fully functional and can hold all those treasures a little girl wants to carry around with her!

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I made the little doll herself with a popper on her back so that she can be moved around the dolllshouse and interact with the various items of furniture. The dress she is wearing is also removable with a popper which can be attached inside the wardrobe, meaning she can have a change of clothes!

I am so happy with how the skirt turned out and I cannot wait to give it as a gift to a very lucky little 4 year old very soon!

Reading sparks the imagination. Imagination sparks creativity. I certainly wouldn’t be the creative person I am today, with all the dreams and ideas I have, without books. I have a lot to thank books for, so I really enjoyed looking back and being inspired by one of my old favourites to create this skirt.

Don’t forget to check out While she was sleeping‘s blogpost today featuring the most adorable Satya Romper, as well as all the other participants throughout the rest of the week! Also remember to enter the FOUR giveaways I am running alongside this blog tour (read all about the prizes and how to enter here).

Happy Sewing & Reading!

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My British Summer Holiday Dress!

So apparently Dobbin’s Bobbins’ blogposts are a bit like buses. You wait around for ages for one to come along, and then two show up at the same time! But hey, that’s the Kids Clothes Week effect right?

I can’t put into words how pleased I am with this little number.

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When Kids Clothes Week announced this season’s theme ‘travel’ I knew I wanted to sew the Henry Dress once again, this time in a size 3T. After all, it had been so brilliant in the testing phase! (Keep your eyes peeled in July for the blog tour!)

The other ‘definite’ was that I wanted to use map fabric. I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect print and kept coming back to the same one: a lightweight upholstery fabric from John Lewis. The weight wasn’t ideal for this particular pattern, or clothing in general, but I just couldn’t resist those perfectly muted pastel shades!

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When I combined the idea of maps with the Henry dress, I simply had to pursue the concept of creating the front and back of a postcard for the pockets. But how was I going to create this effect? Lesley Riley’s Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) of course! If you haven’t tried using TAP I seriously recommend the stuff. I get mine from Amazon, and it is so versatile. Of all the transfer methods I have tried and tested over the years, this is by far the best. And the simplest!

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I really wanted to make this dress personal. A throwback to the good old fashioned British holidays I and so many others have enjoyed over the years. I cheekily rang my Nana and asked her to send me copies of any photos she had of my Mum and Aunt on holiday when they were little. I hastily scanned in my favourite, which would work with my colour scheme, and printed it off onto the transfer paper. (I chose not to reverse the image as I wanted the natural slant of the negative space to run parallel to the slant of the pocket).

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I then created the written side of the postcard on my computer, editing fonts and bringing in pictures of stamps etc. It took a while, but it was definitely worth it. Plus, this time I made sure every last layer of the image was reversed. Very important step with text!

I printed both the scanned photo and the postcard onto TAP, and then ironed them onto white cotton. (White ensures that the colours aren’t altered, although you can create great effects experimenting with different background colours). Then I was able to cut the cotton just as normal!

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Sewing it all together was a breeze! I had been nervous about using the thicker fabric,  but it actually made the construction process a lot quicker and easier! It also helps the sleeves hold their shape which I love.

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And of course I had to embroider a little heart over Britain (which I deliberately placed on the left side of the chest) using pink floss to pick up the pink in the print.

The feeling of pride was quite overwhelming once I finished it. It looks exactly as I hoped it would and has allowed me and my family to reminisce about our favourite childhood holidays. Now, I think another trip to the beach to build sandcastles and paddle in the sea is in order!

Happy Sewing!

‘Travelling’ back in time, vintage-inspired, upcycled summer dress!

Well it’s been a while since I last did a blogpost but Kids Clothes Week has given me a much needed kick up the sewing derrière! Yay!

This week’s theme is ‘travel’. A brilliant theme with a million possible interpretations. So I decided to interpret it with a dress with the longest title in the history of titles! Admittedly I begun sewing this particular dress a few weeks back and I cast it aside as I became distracted by the wonderful world of Annie Sloan Paint (but that’s another story!).

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A little while ago as I was scrolling endlessly through the treasure trove that is Pinterest, I stumbled across the most incredible 1920’s ‘how to’ sewing guides written by Ruth Wyeth Spears. The one that really caught my eye was this pin-tucked beauty. Ever since I wrote this post, I’ve been desperate to adapt a simple A-Line dress with interesting design details and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! Here are a few images that also inspired me…

Inspiring Vintage Sewing Patterns gathered on Pinterest.

Inspiring Vintage Sewing Patterns gathered on Pinterest.

After much consideration, I decided to go with this pattern from Climbing The Willow. Just like the Izzy Top (which I sew here and here) the pattern is free, and although the instructions aren’t quite as clear, it’s so simple to make it doesn’t matter!

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I wanted to stick with the vintage theme and so I decided it was about time I visited the numerous Boscombe vintage & charity shops which are within walking distance from our flat and have a hunt for some vintage fabric! I found a gorgeous old tablecloth and curtain in a little gem of a shop called The Attic. I even found the sweetest basket filled to the brim of 1940s baby wear. Honestly, it took a lot of willpower not to buy the entire thing! I also stumbled upon incredible bargains in the charity shops- I managed to get two double duvets for £3! I felt so guilty walking away with so much fabric, knowing how much I’d saved, that I had to put a donation into the pot. I decided that the green ditsy floral duvet cover would be perfect for this particular project!

The other element of the dress, the lace, is also vintage. I was kindly given it by a lovely  lacemaker, Gill Bird, who lives in my parents’ village. I’m sure that this was exactly the type of project she hoped for when she donated it to a ‘loving home’!

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Creating the dress itself was really simple. As Ruth suggested way-back-when, I pintucked the fabric first and then laid my pattern over the top and cut it out (making sure to stitch in the seam allowance to hold them all in place before I begun to sew). I then attached the lace with a simple straight stitch, covering the bottoms of the pintucks. Once the side seams were sewn up, I used homemade bias binding to finish the neck and the armholes. I then finished it off by sewing a thin hem around the bottom. And there you go! One ‘travelling’ back in time, vintage-inspired, upcycled summer dress!

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Baby Boy Romper for Kids Clothes Week!

Well Kids Clothes Week didn’t quite go to plan after all! What with trips to London and the local A&E with Mr DB in the ambulance and then becoming Mr DB’s personal taxi driver because of the aforementioned injury, not much sewing got done! However, I did manage to squeeze in 7 hours (just!) and completed a Blank Slate Romper from start to finish. Yay!

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I was really pleased with how this little fella came out (although I wish I’d spent a little more time and pattern matched down the front of the short panels). The fabric was really easy to work with and Melissa’s instructions were incredibly clear and easy to follow. I chose to handstitch a few areas such as the buttonholes and the lining- I personally find the process relaxing and I like the neat, finished look it allows.

When I make this pattern again (and I will!) I wouldn’t mark the buttonholes on the right side of the fabric before it’s all sewn up as the instructions suggest. I found that they were far too close to the edge and ended up having to shift them back a bit which left a chalk mark that’s currently refusing to budge (luckily it’s in blue and barely noticeable). I might even add a couple of pockets, who knows!

All in all I’m proud of my first little romper and my first time sewing along with Kids Clothes Week. I can’t wait for next season’s challenge. Fingers crossed that by then I’ll be far more prepared and have less distractions. I have really enjoyed seeing what other sewers have created this time- some of my favourites have been Angela’s Daisy Tunic, Boomie’s Izzy Top and Lisa’s little top (although the list could go on and on!) and I’m definitely feeling inspired to get cracking with my next little project.

Anyway, I shall leave you with a snap of my favourite little Netherland Dwarf giving his seal of approval on the elephant fabric I used for the romper, after all Dobbin knows best!

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