Baby makes!

I love making things to mark special events, I went a bit crazy on DIY details for our wedding. Impending motherhood had a similar effect. Major life events demand a bit of thought and time spent on making things for me! There is something so timeless about the feeling of knitting for baby and nesting to get your home ready for the new arrival as well. It was a way of mentally preparing as much as producing things I think.

I crocheted, knitted, sewed and stamped away throughout my pregnancy (well once the morning sickness wore off!)

Chevron blanket

I’m still incredibly pleased with the colour choice for my chevron baby blanket from this pattern.

The next make may not be the most useful of baby attire, but I couldn’t resist this bumblebee hat pattern when I saw it! Felicity hates hats so not sure how much wear it will get but it’s quite adorable so I’m counting it as a win.
Bumblebee hat

Felicity's hat

The last thing completed before Felicity’s  arrival was a felt mobile which I designed based on some inspiration from Pinterest. The most difficult bit of this was definitely getting the threads and wool round the embroidery hoop – the sewing was easy in comparison! She has a mixed relationship with being put down – but it does distract her from the trauma of changing (well sometimes…)

Baby mobile

I loved the idea over on Seeds and Stitches of quick baby makes using fabric ink and rubber stamps. I’ve personalised a good few Muslins, body suits and scratch mits. It’s such an easy make. Can imagine it would be a great baby shower activity idea as well.

Stamped muslins

I’d held off knitting the traditional cardigan for baby as so many people had kindly said they’re knitting ready for baby. I cracked a week before my due date though and started on this adorable pattern. It hasn’t got finished yet and my hands seem rather busy with other things now so I fear it will get left a little while and will probably end up as a present for someone else!

Baby knitting in progress

Handmade wedding part 3: the dress

Wedding Confetti Stephen BunnAfter a long delay here is the next part of my handmade wedding series, looking at: my dress!

I was lucky enough to have my wedding dress handmade for me by the hugely talented mother of the groom, who offered to sew the dress when Will first proposed. I can honestly say that the finished dress was so much lovelier than any of the wedding dresses I tried on in bridal shops.
First DanceI know a few people whose wedding dresses were either made by clever family members or who paid a dressmaker to make something. I don’t think it’s considered that often but really is a brilliant way to get a dress that is totally unique and perfect for you, and cuts down costs considerably, which is always a positive with weddings if we’re honest isn’t it?

Finding a pattern was the biggest challenge of the whole thing, well for me it was, I think making the dress was a little bit harder for Will’s Mum! For this actually trying on wedding dresses was useful, as I ruled out a number of styles. The only thing I was really sure of before we started was that I didn’t want strapless, didn’t want anything too big, but did want a floor length dress. After lots of Pinterest searching and looking at my everyday dresses that I love the shape and style of, I started to get a clearer picture. I also quickly realised that I didn’t have to buy a specific wedding dress pattern, but many evening gowns would look bridal when made in white or ivory and suitable fabric.
Simplicity 2442This is how we ended up with the Simplicity 2442 I actually really don’t like the look of the dress on the front, but could see that the shape was pretty much perfect. Will’s Mum suggested she make up a short version of the dress in some old silk, both to see how the dress fitted and also to make sure it suited me. It was a bit more than a toile as it was a fully finished and ready to wear dress, and it did confirm that this was the right pattern. I couldn’t wear it initially of course, as Will might have had suspicions, but I am looking forward to wearing it this summer as it is a little like getting to wear my wedding dress again!

Wedding dress Simplicity 2442 patternWe found the fabric  really easily in the end. I know a few people who have gone to specific bridal fabric shops, but we wandered into John Lewis in Cambridge and managed to find fabric I really liked – a satin type fabric that wasn’t too shiny and was the right weight. I had a bit of an obsession about not having a shiny wedding dress! I also fell in love with some daisy patterned lace, so much so that Will’s Mum started thinking about how we could incorporate it into the dress.

Jacket wedding dress Simplicity 2442After lots of discussion between myself, my Mum and Will’s Mum (in the middle of the haberdashery department of course), we eventually got the idea that we could cover the straps and middle sections of the dress with this lace, to add a bit of detail. I also feel the cold, so thought the matching jacket that came with the pattern might be a good idea, especially after it was suggested the sleeves could be made up in this lace, incorporating the pretty scalloped edging of the material into the ends of the sleeves. I did get chilly on the day, so was really pleased I had it to slip on at various points.
Butterick B5705By buying it from John Lewis, we could also get fabric in a different weight to match, for my little flower girls’ dresses. Did I mention Will’s Mum was making them as well?! Well yes, she did! We used the sleeveless version of Butterick B5705 for them, with a light green ribbon (rather than making the sash which was in the pattern) round the middle to match the older bridesmaid’s dress.

Bridesmaids - Simplicity 2442 and Butterick B5705Needless to say, Will’s Mum got so much thanks for contributing to our wedding in such a special way. It’s also made me want to learn to make my own clothes even more than ever!

Did you have a handmade wedding dress, or are you thinking about it? I would love to hear your experiences!

All the photos of our wedding in this post were taken by our wonderful official photographer Stephen Bunn.

Makes lately

I haven’t been as crafty as I’d like in the last few months of 2014, so 2015 is going to be my year of craft. I want to properly get to grips with my sewing machine, crochet a blanket and try to be organised enough to hand make a few presents.

The last few months of 2014 haven’t been a total making wasteland though, I completed my first proper crochet project by making a scarf. I’ve also made a few wedding photobooks for family as Christmas presents – they went down really well but were quite time consuming to put together. We’re planning to carry on with photobook creation though as it’s so lovely having the photos in a physical book, rather than on the computer. So we’re going to make one for each year, so we eventually build up a little library of our lives together, like old fashioned photograph albums. We’re going back and doing them from 2012 at the moment, making use of some January sale discounts. Hardanger engagement card

I have also got back into a bit of basic embroidery and cross stitch, which I used to do lots of stopped as it started to get a bit dull. I picked up my hoop and needle again though when I wanted to create an engagement card for a few friends, and thought hardanger style white work would be perfect. I customised a basic heart shape with the couples’ initials. They were quick to sew and are hopefully something they can keep. I need to remember to create something more elaborate for their wedding cards now!

Cross stitch

I also used this brilliant cross stitch website to create a pattern for Will’s birthday present. The website lays out lettering into a cross stitch pattern automatically. The quote I used is a paraphrase of a line from the poem Will’s sister read at our wedding. It now sits on Will’s bedside table, so I think he likes it!

Snowflake bunting

Snowflake garland

Finally, I went a bit crazy with some cheap sparkly wool I found in Poundland, crocheting lots of snowflakes from this Attic 24 pattern as well as one in an old crochet magazine. I made them into garlands for our stairs.

Snow ball pom poms
I also broke out my new pom pom makers to create snowball garlands – they look so fuzzy and cheery!

May 2015 bring even more happy crafting moments.