Thursday, 21 June 2012

End of Me Made May, The Queen and a Wedding Dress

Hello dears,

Hope we're all well and haven't been washed away in the torrents.  As a write this it's a windy, rainy and sunny evening in Brighty so a mixed bag a bit like May this year.

Well unfortunately my blinking camera has gone up the wall and will not turn on so I've only got one picture from the last week of Me Made May'12 boo :s  It's bad camera luck all round at the mo when I caught up with the lovely Kathryn of Yes I Like That at the inaugural and ace Brighton Bloggers' Bash she told me the sad tale of leaving her camera at Farnborough station double boo :(

So here's the one pic I have.

Day 23 - A lovely afternoon by the sea catching up with my gorge friend Shirley and wearing the Burda Neon Twister dress rouched up as a top.

Part of my pledge this May was to get all my mending done.  Sadly life took over and that didn't happen but I did manage to finally tackle the sewing corner yay!

Look at the state of it - shameful!

A few hours later there was room for a sit down and a few verses of Suspicious Minds.  Before the year is out I'm gonna nail that sucker on the uke

Well what have I learned from MMM12?  That I truly am a frosting and not so much a cake kind of gal when it comes to sewing. The frosting versus cake phenomenon has been discussed heavily round the blogosphere with a very thoughtful post by Tasia.  I think the joy in being able to make loads of lovely frocks that in my previously RTW life would have been denied to me because of my odd bod make up led me to make plenty of show stoppers and not so many the show must go on items.  So I've realised I now need to get a few basics rocking.  That's cool though because I've finally got to grips with the overlocker and I've bought Sew U Home Stretch so let the back to basics training begin.  

Fear not though faithful readers as the showstoppers show no sign of stopping as the other thing I realised about my wearing habits is that I walk a different line in regards to appropriate attire.  By that I mean I'm as happy to rock to the shops in a flouncy frock as I am in leggings and a t-shirt.  That's the great thing I guess about sewing for yourself you define it.  So yay for Me Made May'12 and to it's faithful curator the lovely Zoe.

I took a rare afternoon off to indulge in the Jubilee revelry and knocked up Mary Berry's Union Jack tray bake for my sister's street party.  The cake was a hit but the weather sadly not.  Gale force winds and rain but being British we didn't let it stop us.  The kids ran round in the mud and rain and the adults kept toasty under the tarpaulin with mulled wine a plenty :)

Note I'm rocking a red, white and blue best to make the cake, which was delicious even if I do say so myself :) Happy Diamond M'am

Jubilee granny square for our crochet workshop

Thanks to Zoe mending and reassessing of wardrobe requirements weren't the only thing I got up to craft wise in May.  As some of you may know Zoe in another of her guises runs an amazing crafty affair in Brighton called Craftaganza.  Over the Jubilee weekend there was a two day craft love in, which I was very happy to be apart of.  My role included running a crochet workshop with Zoe's beloved, Mr P who himself is a very accomplished hooker (pardon me on the crochet related jokes I just can't help myself).  We had a lovely turn out and everyone went away with their very own hand crafted granny square.  Being a bit of Queenie fanatic I took the opportunity to dress as a royal highness.

I crocheted my tiara and my ruff and managed to get a second use out of the Royal Wedding macaron

Over the Jubilee I can report I was busy as the Queen because as soon as I finished Craftaganza I was off like a shot to Devon on a sewing mercy mission for my cousin Rowena.  Her eldest daughter had chose to make a wedding dress as her handwork project at school and with just a few weeks to go and Rowena 7 months pregnant with baby number 5 they needed help.  Never one to turn down a few days at their beautiful cottage in the rolling Devon countryside I was on the train with Brenda and my first knitting project quicker than you can say I do.

Keziah had chosen Vogue V2902 as the starting point but with the desire to make it floor length

On arrival I saw the patterns had been sufficiently altered and we got cutting.  I will now always have measure twice cut once ringing in my ears.  As bless her at 14 in the 8 weeks since the pattern had been altered she had grown taller and nothing fitted properly so we had to start all over again from scratch.  Needless to say the dress wasn't done by the Friday afternoon that I was leaving so I took it with me and my already ample luggage back home.

Always happy to create a bit more adventure I was going home via London.  I'd bought myself an early birthday present to see the ever amazing Richard Hawley at the Forum in Kentish Town.  The look on the cloakroom attendant's face on checking in a sewing machine and a wedding dress was priceless.  The effort was well worth it though because Mr Hawley was his usual epic self despite having broken his leg a few days earlier.  What a Northern trooper I say and a foxy one at that ;-)

The smoking hot Mr Hawley - I really hope they didn't break the mould after this one

After I came down from the ceiling after 90 minutes in his presence I got to work on the rest of the wedding dress and here she is.

She's actually made of material that is used to make duvets but it gave the dress a beautiful drape

I've since spoken to Keziah and she said it fits like a glove and she's over the moon so I'm very happy indeed :)  She's planning to take photos of her in it down by the sea so I'll post the dress in action when I have one.

So there you go my darlings from May to June I dressed in me made, I dressed a Queen (pearly), I dressed as a Queen and then I dressed a bride well technically at 14 she's a tad too young but you never know I may make her wedding dress one day.

Phew are you tired because I know I am so I will bid you adieu until next time.

I leave you with Richard Hawley's take on music and why I love him:
"All great songs should make you want to fight, cry, drink, dance or make love.  The dream would be to write one that made you want to do all those things at once.  Now that really would be something."

Miss D 


Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Fit For a Queen jacket

Hello my sweethearts,

I'm messing with the order here and popping a post in about a little project that I have been teasing those that follow me on Twitter and Facebook with.  I could only allude to what had been a foot because the commission in question was for charity and had to be kept under wraps.  Normal programming will resume as of tomorrow when I finally finish yapping about my participation in Me Made May 12'.

Enough of the preamble and just tell us what you've been doing Miss I hear you cry.  Well for those of you who don't know I worked for a charity called Macmillan Cancer Support last year in my other guise as a journalist.  I helped the media team by interviewing people who had been directly and indirectly affected by cancer.  It was a wonderful experience, which at times was sad but also incredibly life affirming because I learned how amazing and strong people are at what I can only imagine is the worst time in their lives and to hear how much people had been helped by Macmillan and how grateful they were.

It was during this time that I started to learn to sew and the rest of the team followed my making adventures avidly.  Fast forward a year and they got in touch to ask if I could create a jacket for the Pearly Queen of Hackney, Jackie Murphy who had received support when her husband, Micky died from cancer three years ago.

Jackie Murphy, Pearly Queen of Hackney (left) as pictured in the Islington Tribune

 Jackie in her role as a Pearly, which are London's second oldest charity and raises a massive amount of money for good causes wears a full Pearl embroidered suit that takes months to make.  You can read more about the Pearly Kings and Queens at The Pearlies website.

The only answer was an absolute yes so here is the story of the Fit for a Queen jacket.

The task was to create a Jubilee themed Pearly jacket using the charity badges above that are being sold in Poundland and are available to buy now.

These were the sketches I created that provided the basis for  final jacket design.

The plain old jacket.

Creating the traditional bejewelled Pearly collar.

Delilah and I made an ace team for this project she never moaned once when I kept accidentally pinning the badges to her.

The front taking shape and starting to get very heavy.

Halfway through and the front is finished with well over 500 badges pinned.

The wording on the back was the trickiest part of the project.  The B in Jubilee took numerous attempts.

 A diamond really helped the jacket sparkle :)

The final stage was to add a little bunting over the shoulders and down the arms.

From beginning to end it took about a week to make after all the fiddling and repinning, is made of over a 1000 badges and although I didn't weigh it my guess on trying it on was around 3 stone (19kg).  

Now you've seen how it was made over to Jackie to show you how it should be worn.

By royal decree: Jackie Murphy, Pearly Queen of Hackney as pictured in the Evening Standard (photo by James McCauley)

So there we have it a jacket fit for a queen.  I just want to say a massive thank you to Macmillan for asking me to help them raise awareness and funds for their amazing work it was my absolute pleasure.

Love Miss D