Tuesday, 30 April 2013

thoughts on a year gone by!

I realised that it is my blogiversary and it is a year since the little baby Reckless Needle shyly made its way on to the big bad world wide web. 
Happy blogiversary to moi!

I've been incredibly secretive about the fact that I have a blog to the people I know - it took me 6 months and a couple of drinks to finally 'fess up to my bestie that I was doing this! 

But after a year of really enjoying doing this, I realise that the blogging and sewing are making a pretty good partnership and are ambling along together very nicely indeed! Before I started this blog I literally spent years thinking about taking out the sewing machine but never got around to it. Blogging is helping me set goals - and actually achieve them! 

Also, it has been just so cool interacting with other sewers out there and it gives me such a buzz when I see that someone has commented on a post or somebody new has started following the blog.

There have been challenges of course - keeping it going regularly sometimes, especially when other bits of life get busy doing late-night editing sessions or trying to do up a house in my free time! It makes me appreciate how hard some bloggers work at posting regularly and I am in awe of the sewing productivity of some people. It can be really hard not to compare myself to some of the fabulous people out there and I've had to tell myself to just enjoy my own sewing sometimes! 

Having said that in the next year I would like to increase my productivity a bit and finally conquer my procrastination (not just in sewing!) and also to not be so intimidated by so many sewing processes. 

So I decided this week as a birthday present to myself (my blogiversary coincides quite nicely with my birthday!) I signed up to a dressmaking course in the Grafton Academy who are a very reputable school. 

As part of the course you pick a pattern and make it up under supervision. I have chosen the Colette Eclair. It is Intermediate and I thought that there would be quite a few things in there that would challenge me, like an invisible zip, boning and piping. 


I'm using this cotton linen fabric which I got in the Cloth Shop and I will be demanding that the sun comes out when I get this finished! 

Also - it's a dress!! Very exciting, as I feel I've been the converse of 'too much frosting and not enough cake' - More frosting please!!!
My birthday cake - what's left of it

Another little thing I decided to do to mark the blogiversary is to buy the domain name www.therecklessneedle.com which will be up and running very soon. It's such a ridiculous name but I think I might be stuck with it now!

I'm also completely thrilled that my blogiversary coincides with  Stephanie of Mabel Makes putting me for up a Liebster Award - and I'll be back spreading the Liebster love soon... 

To those who do, thanks for reading my blog!

Monday, 29 April 2013

april blog crushes...

These are a few nooks and crannies of the Internet that I've been admiring this month! 

My handmade wardrobe doesn't yet stretch to Me Made May unfortunately. Well maybe it could but I'd probably be putting on a lot of washes to keep up! Next year, next year... 
But I think I'll try in my own little way to wear the clothes I've made this  month, and I liked Portia's Miss P's 10 tops for MMM

I don't really knit - I have some vague aspirations to knit and I do possess random knitting needles and balls of wool that have moved house with me several times but this very easy looking necklace could be just the thing to get me clickity-clicking.  
I found it on a site I'm still exploring called Kollabora that is a community website - ie you need to join it - and it has lots of inspirational projects.

 I have a bit of a thing about dying, and I found this nice little method of making flowers with bleach on Paula Deen's website. 

I found a tutorial for this cool dress (for skinny days only) on From Head to Toe - who is one of my fellow nominees for a Liebster Award which comes to be courtesy of the lovely Stephanie from Mabel Makes - yipppeee.... more on that soon...!

And... Abby at Blue Ginger Doll has released a very minxy vintage dress -  the Billie Jean

Saturday, 27 April 2013

it's straight it's great

I revisited Rosie Martin's DIY Couture book to make this straight skirt.

I know this is not that exciting in terms of fabric but I actually just really wanted a black skirt. So many mornings I've wished that I had a black skirt that I could wear to work or out to meet friends and I have been on the look-out for one in shops - with no joy! 

I made this with black wool that I bought a few years ago to make a giant snood scarf for a friend at work. At the time, I did start it but my sewing machine broke (it was a sewing machine from Lidl that I have since parted company with)and the scarf unfortunately never got made. 

So it actually is a bit of a stashbuster which is quite nice - although somewhat the opposite of the 'vibrant' April theme for the stashbusting sewalong challenge! 

I wonder can I get something vibrant made by the end of April??! And a Laurel??! There's no shortage of things to do in sewing land that's for sure. 

Anyway, back to my skirt.

 I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. And I do really find the DIY Couture approach fun. And because you are doing it from your own clothes and fitting it on, you end up with a pretty good fit. I love how this skirt fits me around the waist and hips because it's just right. 

There is also a nice concealed zip flap that I really like. The pockets are also kind of fun, but the buttonhole is kind of a car-crash. I can't even bear to photograph it and show it to you - the shame! It does function; it's just not pretty. Luckily my covered button hides it a bit! 

Friday, 12 April 2013

the big nautical craft swap reveal...

Sooo.... I have been reliably informed that El Postie has delivered my own little crafty parcel so now it is time to reveal what is inside. 


The rules of the International Craft Swap, run by the fabulous Rachel of House of Pinheiro were that it had to be a nautical theme and only white, red and blue could be used.

I was paired with Catherine of Clothes and Sewing and I was trying to think of something that she might like. I could see that Catherine had kids and that she likes making things for them and I thought something for the home might be nice...

These are similar to the chicken tea-towel that I made before. This time I used a medium-weight cotton. 

I made my stencils from freezer paper as before - printing the stencil on normal paper (there are tonnes on the Internet), cutting that out, then tracing it onto freezer paper and ironing the paper onto the fabric and gently brushing the fabric dye (I used Speedball) on. You need to let the first layer dry for a few hours, then do another coat. 
When it's finished and dry you need to iron them loads to fix the dye, otherwise the pattern will wash out. 

I had a bit of a major fail with my first attempt at this anchor stencil. I had cut my stencil into a square of freezer paper but accidentally managed to use the edge of the square as a stencil - doh! Anyway, I learned from my mistake and took a bit more care for the second attempt and I think it has come out pretty neat! 


The third one is probably the one I am least pleased with - the letters were kind of hard. 

It was really fun to be part of this and all of the brilliant nautically themed goodies are appearing up on the flickr page. Thanks Rachel for organising! 
And thank you Catherine again for my lovely goodies!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

lucky lucky me!

Oh I was so excited to see this land on my doorstep this morning!!! 

And even more excited opening it. This was my parcel from House of Pinheiro's International Craft Swap

Catherine from Sewing and Clothes went to SO much trouble to make an absolutely gorgeous crafty parcel for me! 

So cute and beautifully made. Oh and that little sea-chicken (as I am calling him) has a zip in his underside: 

Thank you Catherine!!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

thar she blows...

Ahoy there me hearties! Here is my little parcel of nautical goodness for House of Pinheiro's Internatioal Craft Swap all ready for Mr Postman today... 

I will reveal what is inside in a few days when Catherine of Clothes and Sewing is likely to receive it! 

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