I love collecting bold print fabrics from the 1970s and now have quite a stash! I've recently been using them to make up some quirky toys from a pattern book of the same era.
The Golden Hands series of craft magazines produced a great issue on making childrens toys. Produced in 1973, 'Toy Box: 40 soft toys to sew' was a well used publication in our house when I was little. I realise I owned quite a few of these homemade toys, ranging from a hippo so big you could sit on it, to a rag doll, a chimp and a baby bear that would fit in your pocket!
The patterns are of varying difficulties and each toy has been given a name - here we have Josephine the giraffe and Osimoff the owl! My next one will be a purple corduroy chimp called Charlie.
I always find it hard to choose 'work clothes' as boring office wear is not me and is uncomfortable but casual tee shirts just don't feel professional enough. Most of the time I wear narrow dark jeans that sort of look smart enough on the bottom half but I wanted a top that was a cross between a blouse and a tee shirt that could be made in all sorts of appealing prints. I wanted it to be long enough to give the right silhouette and to hide the 'jeans features' such as the pockets and rivets on the jeans! I've made 6 versions of this pattern and wear them all the time.
I use a New Look pattern, number 6225. It might be one you'd skip past as the picture on the front of the pack is a rather cheap looking uninspiring orange lace version.
There are a few garments I've made in my wardrobe that I wear all the time. Once I've found a good pattern that's comfortable and flattering to wear and most importantly not-a-bother-to-make I stick with it. I've got about 3 or 4 of these fail safe patterns.
The first one is this skirt. It is made from one piece of fabric and I found it in a book of that name by Lena Santana. What I like about it is its simple flat front that sits in an A-line shape but has a more quirky folded and button back giving it a slight bustle feature. The folding process gives the skirt a sort of origami effect and the buttons are purely decorative so you can make them stand out or match them discreetly. It has a bias trim waistband and again this can be made a visible feature or sewn...
Being able to make your own clothes is a fantastic skill to have. I started learning to make clothes when I was about ten with the help of my Nana. She had piles of dress patterns, and was always whipping up clothes using fabric from Laura Ashley.
The first garment I made was partly a school project. My primary school, which was rather traditional and old fashioned. had us doing needlework lessons one afternoon a week in our final year (I think the boys went off to do woodwork). Looking back this seems unbelievable but also pretty impressive that we were making our own clothes at that age. The garment in question was a relatively straight forward elasticated waist skirt, although it was complex enough to involve a yolk. I used a dark red brushed cotton with dots...