February was a momentous month in the Loulabelle household, because the grown-up Loulabelle's got to go away on a little trip. All. By. Themselves.
Turns out sleeping in a gypsy caravan, with a view of a helicopter, a London bus and a groovy 70s caravan, is pretty awesome. Mice ate our bread, and the gypsy bed was half a foot too short for Mr Loulabelle, but I'm still glad we had this particular adventure and didn't just go for a luxury B&B. It's more wierd camping than glamping, but Blackberry Wood in Ditchling was just the right kind of odd-ball, slightly scruffy-round-the-edges place we were looking for.
Fuelled up on a bacon sandwich made from the bits of bread the mice didn't fancy, we spend an epic day in Brighton - vintage bric-a-brac browsing, pub dipping, movie watching and food eating for a wonderful 10 hour stretch.
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Good stuff happened this weekend, including this..
Ken Law print from 60s of Hampsted High Street via H is for Home. Our new favourite bit of wall candy.
Thursday, 13 February 2014
The last 3 projects I've knitted have all been seamless.
And that my friends, may be the smuggest sounding sentence I've ever written! Of course, I mean seamless in the without-seams sense, rather than the "oh it went so terribly well" sense.
It all started with the experimental socks that I knitted for my brother - it was a last minute Christmas present dash, so no pics, but he tells me they stay up and do the things socks are supposed to, so that's good. I was pretty certain that of everyone I know, my brother is the most likely to be pleased by an experimental sock.
Then came this cardi for Esther. The pattern is the Seren Seamless cardigan from Katy Ferrall aka Ceradka. It was a super quick knit and had enough going on with thte yoke to keep things interseting. I used a cotton yarn which I think was probably a mistake as it's a bit more "hangy" that I'd like - especially the front hem. And the button bands are not my best work ever, but it looks nice on and whiled away a good few episodes of Masters of Sex. It's also (I have just noticed) in Made by Loulabelle corporate colours. Good stuff.
The current seamless knit is a tank-top for Freya. Seamless it seems, is the way to go!
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
I've had the Sew Pony Perennial Dress pattern up my sleeve for a while now. It's nostalgic and pretty and just what my girls are drawn to.
The Heather Ross Briar Rose frog print fabric made me buy it before I had a project in mind. But, for once, instead of going for just a metre, I decided to do the sensible thing and get two so I actually have a decent amount to do something with. I toyed with the idea of making the girls matching dresses - for about 1 minute. I know they would love it, but I can't bring myself to go down that route, so Freya got the Perennual frog print dress, and Esther will get something else froggy but not samey later.
One word that makes me less than 100% happy: shirring... Oh little stretchy thread of elastic, why won't you be my friend?
We got there in the end, via a lot of tugging and a not so pretty wrong-side, but I just can't work out why it never quite goes to plan. All of the sewing people in the world of You Tube and blogland make shirring look so easy. I know it's easy, but, like my scones and yorkshire puddings, it never quite works for me. sigh.
There's a lot going on here - swimming frogs, gingham, pockets, mini pom pom trim, covered buttons, even (shudder) shirring. But I like to embrace the busy look! I guess, much as I love minimal, I'm just no good at it.
Saturday, 8 February 2014
I'm cheating a bit really as I made this tunic a while ago, but I'm on a roll posting about things I've made for the girls, so thought I'd share this too. I first made a more traditional style baby kimono top just before Esther arrived. Since then, I've made a few different versions of the classic, straight wrap around version. This one is my latest kimono based creation. It uses the same basic kimono shape for the bodice, but fastens with buttons at the back and has a pleated 'skirt'. I was keeping my fingers crossed while I was making this - I wasn't sure if Esther would look a bit swamped, but it turned out just as I'd hoped. It has a nice relaxed feel - looks comfy but cool and works really well in the soft drapey brushed cotton.
I've got plans afoot to make a download patten for this style, so you'll probably be seeing a few more versions over the next few months!
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
The pattern is the Geranium Dress download from Made by Rae. I know I'll be making lots more - it's quick to make, with a simple unfussy design but a really a great shape. I really like the scoop of the neck and the curve of the faux cap sleeves - just right. It came up a little small around the chest, but that's more to do with me not paying proper attention to the seam allowance than any fault with the pattern.
The fabric is from Ikea (again) via my cupboard. Who could feel grumpy looking at that print of retro happiness? Freya wore her dress to dance class and 'Daddy's cafe' on Saturday and it got lots of comments - quite a few people recognised the print - and now we know that Freya's new dress matches an ironing board, some sofa cushions and a bed spread in East Oxford!
Monday, 3 February 2014
People, I am taking a trip on the sewing train this month and it is going fast! woo woo! Sorry, don't know what came over me. In real English, I have found myself sewing a lot recently - more than usual that is - and am loving it.
This knockabout pull-over pinafore dress was inspired by a 70s book of sewing clothes for children that my buddy Emily gave me last year. I drafted the pattern from scratch (rather than my usual frankenstein's monster of changing existing patterns and tracing round clothes that fit), using Winifred Aldritch's Metric Pattern Cutting for Children Book and everything. The "being ever so proper" effect was slightly spoiled by having Flushed Away on tv at the time. But at least that stopped my little "helpers" from being too helpful.
Freya loves the print - it's an Ikea fabric- particularly as the rabbit at the top right looks like Totorro. Pockets are also a thumbs up - yay. But on the downside (in Freya's eyes) there is no twirl factor - boo.
The shape came out just as I'd hoped and I'm proud that I drafted it all properly with no shortcuts or fudging. On the downside, it's a little big at the moment, so looks better with a cardigan over the top to make it a little less "there". But, at least it will fit for a while - and so far, it's held up well to pre-school, playgrounds and woodland walks.