Wishing you all a happy holiday!

Clyde the tortoise is now tucked up and snoozing for his hibernation and I'm guessing a lot of us are also ready for a good break and a sleep of our own!

I'm going to sign off now for a few weeks for the festive period and will be back in January - although I can't promise to stay away from Instagram! I wanted to wish everyone out there a great break, whatever you may be doing or celebrating - enjoy yourselves and each other xxx See you in the New Year!

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Sequins and a Lark

A very glittery festive post today! This outfit came about from a little doodle I made a while ago when I really fancied making a sequin skirt for a smart/casual Christmas party. Here's the outfit and here's the doodle!:

The skirt is self drafted using the By Hand London Circle Skirt App - due to the restrictions on the width of my fabric I had to make a quarter circle. I would have liked a half circle for more movement but it still has drape in the end. The fabric is an amazing Champagne Sequin fabric from Guthrie & Ghani. It was such good value! Lauren even did a blog post about how to use the fabric in her party wear series - very useful tips on there for cutting and sewing sequins.

This stuff was very straight forward as it just went under the machine no problem, no trimming sequins from seam allowances, just straight up sewing. FYI they will never come out of your carpet!

The skirt is fully lined with gold satin fabric to stop it scratching.I also used a light coloured invisible zip that blends in nicely with both fabrics. The hem of the sequin skirt is hand stitched with a gold metallic thread.

The top was the perfect opportunity to try out the Grainline Studio Lark Tee. This is a fantastic mix and match pattern giving all neckline and 4 sleeve variations. I chose the boat neck bodice with cap sleeves to best match my original sketch.

The tee itself took only about 45 minutes to make! My kind of pattern. I cut a straight size 12 at first but found the bodice to be quite boxy/loose fitting and so I made a slight alteration to take in the sides for a curvier fit.

Green line pattern alterations
 I haven't worn the outfit yet as its for a dinner next week so here it is when I tried it to fit!

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Mr Gray's Origami Gift Box - Tutorial

I learnt how to make these boxes absolutely years ago from one of the loveliest teachers... Mr Gray taught primary school - he was a Quaker (most of us had only ever seen this on an oat packet), creative and kind and didn't believe in homework. He let my grandad take us on a school trip (best day ever). He believed kids should be free while they were able. Instead he made us 'listen to music' and write everything that came to mind whilst a song was playing. He sang a comedy round robin song called 'black socks'....and he also made these bad boys. A lot. They never left me. If you're out there Mr Gray we salute you.

You will need:
  • Cardboard (or any kind of paper with thickness) - and that is all! No sewing, no gluing, no problem.
Step 1

Cut 2 squares of card, one of them needs to be 1cm smaller than the other - in the example I have 15cm square and a 14cm square.

Step 2

Flip the card over and fold all corners to the centre point.

Step 3

Now unfold the card again so you can see the lines it left. Take one corner point of the square and fold it up to touch the fold line on the opposite side.

Do this for all four corners and you'll be left with fold lines like this:

 Step 4

Along the straight edges of the square you can see that a small diamond shape has formed. Cut the length of this small diamond but no further.

Step 5

To the folding! Firstly take one of the corner points and fold it back to the centre point of the square.

 You then want to fold upwards, creating the side of your box as shown below:
Then take those little side wings and bend them inwards.
Repeat on the opposite corner point of the square.

Step 6

Now for the other sides. This time start with those 'wing' bits and fold them inwards.
Lift the side of the box upwards and put a little bend in the triangle at the top like an envelope.

This piece now comes all the way over the top, encases the wings from the other sides you already created and tucks neatly to the centre of the square.
Do the exact same with the opposite side and you have yourself a box! (Well....half a one) If you feel the need to glue do so, but the pieces tuck so neatly it should just stay in place quite solidly.

Step 7

Repeat the process with the other piece of card so you have two halves.
These should now fit inside of each other, all nested together.
Step 8

Go to town with the filling and the decorating - you have yourself some lovely little gift boxes to give!

Perfect for gifting jewellery or even sewing notions! A box of beautiful buttons...

Happy crafting - enjoy!

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Box Pleat Midi Skirt - Tutorial

After a few requests on how to make the midi skirt I created a couple of weeks ago - here's the tutorial! I hope you enjoy and find useful. (Please bear in mind this is just how I did it - no doubt there's a more efficient way!) If you want a full pleated skirt tutorial click here!

You will need:
  • Main fabric
  • Lining fabric (optional)
  • Interfacing
  • Zip

Step 1

You're going to need 2 giant pieces of main fabric. The width is not an exact science. My floral one was 125 cm and this one - I was restricted by the print direction - was 105 cm. The length will be how long you want your skirt - waist to knee measurement. If you are lining the skirt - cut 2 rectangles exactly the same in your lining fabric.

You will also need 2 strips for the waist band (1 is the outer waistband, 1 will be the facing). This is 9cm wide and waist measurement + 3cm long (3cm = 1.5cm each side seam allowance). If you feel the need - interface the main waistband piece for stability.

If you're after some pockets - trace some rough pocket shapes (or use another pattern to copy) and cut 4 pieces.

Step 2

To the folding! Find the centre point of your fabric and mark across the top edge. Using this centre point you need to mark 10cm increments. The first increment will span the centre point - so 5 cm either side of it. Mark those points 1. Continue each side to mark 3 more at 10 cm intervals; 2,3, 4.

To create the pleat, fold point 2 to meet point 1 and pin. Fold point 3 to point 4 and pin - on both sides. Press in the pleat and baste across the top of the fabric. Repeat this with the lining fabric.

Step 3

If you don't want pockets, you don't need to follow this next step as you're zip can just go up a side seam. HOWEVER if you want pockets - you can't have the zip and the side, it needs to go in the back. Take one of your main fabric pieces and cut in half, up the centre line to create 2 back pieces. Repeat with the lining.

Step 4

Shape the skirt. The front piece needs to be calculated at : (waist measurement/2) + 3cm seam allowance.

In the example the waist measurement is 74cm.  (74/2) + 3 = 40cm.

Using the centre point for equilibrium - mark that measurement across the top. e.g 40cm - with 20cm either side of the centre point.

Draw a curve from the end point of the new measurement, down to the outer edge of the skirt - making it more skirt like! Repeat with the lining.

For the back pieces - use this calculation: (waist measurement/4) + 3cm
e.g (74/4)+3 = 21.5cm

Again, using the centre line (now where you cut in half), mark that measurement and again draw a curve down to the bottom outer skirt. Repeat for the lining. Cut!

Step 5

Measure 10cm down the side seam and lay out your pocket pieces, right sides facing on both the front main fabric, and back main fabric pieces. Stitch about 3mm in.

Turn the pockets outwards, place your skirt pieces right sides together and sew up the side seams going all around the pockets.

If you are doing a lining - just place right sides of lining together and join up the side seams.

You now have a giant skirt piece!

Step 6

Attach the waistband to the main fabric skirt piece - do the same with the waistband facing and lining.

Main fabric with waistband

Lining fabric with waistband
Step 7

Insert the zip into the main fabric skirt piece. I have a tutorial on how to do a concealed zip here if you need it. Then close up the skirt by finishing the rest of that seam! Press it.

Step 8

Nearly there.....

Take the lining piece and drop the main fabric skirt piece inside it - lining up the seams. Pin around the top of the waistband and facing AND down the edge of the rear of the zip tape. Stitch all the way around. If you flip everything right sides out now it should all be neatly finished and encased. Finish closing the lining back seam up to the zip tape - you might need to hand stitch bits of this if there are gaps. Give everything a good press.

pin all way and down the back of zip tape to sew in lining

turn right side out and press waistband
close the lining back seam up to end of zip

To keep the facing and waistband from riding up, stitch in the ditch around the waistband to hold it together with the facing on other side. (I didn't do this as the skirt if for a friend - left it open in case any adjustments needed to be made!

Step 9

Hem it all and give it a final press!! Put it on, open the wine, kettle on - enjoy.

I hope this is of use to you - if you use the tutorial I'd love to see some pics of what you made - do email me any pictures and details :) OR we could get all modern on Instagram with #craftyclydemidiskirt ;-)

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