Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Giveaway winners announced!


It's time to announce the winners to my little giveaway!  All in there were 11 entries via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and the following random numbers generated were entry numbers...

7 - Bonnie

4 - anne miklos sarvida

6 - rosewendy

8 - Kimberly Tiu

Thank you so much to everyone who entered, I'm looking forward to sending my crafting paraphernalia off to their new international homes!  I may even host another little giveaway in the New Year, I've found a few more books that could do with being passed on.  If the ladies who won could drop me an email to 3rdlawofmotion at gmail dot com with their address, I'll sort out getting your items to you.  First come, first served, so the faster you let me know which prize you want, the more likely you are to get it!

There's actually another little announcement I need to make just now, I'm putting this blog into hibernation for the moment.  I've been offered an amazing job opportunity that I can't afford to turn down, but is going to take all of my time and energy for a while.  I don't want to do a half hearted job of this blog, I've enjoyed it too much to let it wither away to nothing, so I'd rather let it lie dormant for now.  I may come back to it at some point in the future and in the meantime will still be showing off my crafting and thrifting on Instagram (Craftandthrift) and Twitter (@craftandthrift).  I hope to see you all over there and will be reading your blogs and interacting with you all via other mediums but for now, adieu little blog, sleep well.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Fabric and sewing/knitting books giveaway!

In the spirit of #secondhandfirst, I had a little clear out and reorganisation at the weekend.  I sent a few bags of things to charity, moved some old clothes into the refashion pile and found a few bits I thought you lovely people might enjoy.  Christmas is a time for giving and it would give me great pleasure to pass these items on to someone who might get more enjoyment out of them than I have.

To that end, it's giveaway time!  Check out the following lovely things to be passed on to my fellow crafters, sewists and knitters and see the rules for entry at the end of the post.  Good luck my lovely readers!

1. Large piece of light jersey fabric.  This piece measures roughly 330cm x 75cm so it's a bit of an odd size but there's certainly plenty of fabric there.  It is technically two pieces of fabric sewn end to end, so there is a seam down the centre.  Lovely floral pattern of red, white and grey flowers on a black background.


2. Generation T: 108 ways to transform a t-shirt by Megan Nicolay.  This is in very good condition, other than one slight dent on the top edge and my darling brother has written a merry Christmas message on the inside cover.



3. 99 ways to cut, sew, trim and tie your t-shirt by Faith and Justina Blakeney.  This is in pretty much perfect condition.  Nice ringbound layout so it lies flat as you're using it.



4.  Knitting Vintage by Claire Montgomerie.  In perfect condition.



The Rules!

Super simple, just Facebook/Tweet/Instagram a link to this blog post AND follow me on either Twitter (@Craftandthrift) or Instagram (Craftandthrift) - check out the links on the right hand side.

Leave a comment here to let me know when you're done and I'll enter you into a prize draw for your choice of prize.  First to reply to my email saying they've won will get first pick of the prizes.  If you link back to me in multiple formats e.g. Twitter and Instgram, then leave 2 comments and get 2 entries!

The giveaway is open to international folks too!  I'll be drawing names out of a hat 2 weeks from now, so Wednesday December 17th, a nice little surprise for you just before Christmas :-)

Saturday, 29 November 2014

#secondhandfirst - days 6 & 7

I know it's a little late but here's #secondhandfirst days 6 and 7!  I was away visiting my folks that weekend, then spent a couple of days in London, then came back to Edinburgh to my mother in law visiting so it's been a pretty mental but enjoyable week!


Day 6 - thrifted material-come-handmade t-shirt!  So proud of this make, my Dad commented on how much he liked my t-shirt (which almost never happens, I could pretty much wear a bin sack and he wouldn't notice) and I got to say, "I made this!"  So proud!  Bonus points for handknit cardigan maybe?  It's Coraline by Ysolda, you can see my Ravelry notes over here.

Amy 4

Day 7 - you're probably all completely bored of this make but whatevs, I love it so much.  It's my refashion men's fairisle sweater to cardigan and I wear it all the time.  I have another sweater lined up to try this again, fingers crossed it's a success the second time round.

Overall, I've really enjoyed #secondhandfirst week from Traid, it's been a good motivation to involve more secondhand in my every day outfits.  I haven't been actively thrifting for clothes for me for a while but I went charity shopping with my mother in law this week and found a pair of Gap jeans and a Denim Co check shirt for £7 for the pair.  Score!  #secondhandfirst has definitely got me firmly back in the thrifting game.  It's also made me recognise a few holes in my wardrobe so I now have a list of items to keep my eyes peeled for in the charity shops.  A win all round I think.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

#secondhandfirst - days 3 and 4

I was out last night so here is day 3 and 4 together of Traid's #secondhandfirst week.  This week is really making me realise how much use I get out of this green cardigan!  I was actually wearing it today but took the photos then realised I would be posting pictures of me wearing it three days in a row...might look a tad unhygienic...I do wash, honest guys!


Day 3 - thrifted tweed skirt in lovely autumnal colours.  This was another £15 for the skirt and jacket, from the same shop as day 2's skirt.  Unfortunately I don't have a before photo for this one, but imagine exactly the same skirt but about 3 inches longer, so hitting just below the knee = super unflattering.  It's amazing how such a tiny alteration can make such a big difference to the wearability of a piece of clothing.  Again, the same green thrifted cardigan, clearly I need to thrift more cardis to add to my wardrobe.


Day 4 - it was super chilly today so I went with trousers and a sleeveless shirt, with the ubiquitous cardi over the top.  You can see the before photo for this shirt over on the original blog post here.  I love the colours of this shirt but next time I need to do better maths for calculating the size of the armholes, they're huge and you can totally see side-boob if I don't wear a vest underneath!  Not ideal for work.  I could have definitely taken this in another inch or so on either side now - the photo makes it look pretty shapeless though I swear it doesn't look that bad in real life.  It is definitely too big though but for work, under a scrub top, it looks absolutely fine.  I've got more ex-Andrew shirts to alter so practice will make perfect hopefully!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

#secondhandfirst : day 2

Another day, another badly lit, flash photography selfie!  I have new found respect for fashion bloggers, it is difficult to photograph yourself!  Not only is the light against you this time of year (unless you work from home or have flexible working hours so can take pictures during the day), I find it really awkward to pose.  I guess I've never been hugely comfortable in front of the camera, I don't mind having my photo taken but I'm not a natural and tend to tense up, making for awkward or weird facial expressions or poses.  I'm suddenly super aware of what I'm doing with my arms or my hips when I step in front of the camera.  Anyone got any tips for how to look less awkward and dorky?!

Amy 2

Anyway, day 2.  Back to work today so sporting a thrifted skirt that originally came as part of a set from a charity shop.  It was £15 for the jacket and skirt, complete bargain.  As you can see from the very unflattering before photo below, the skirt was just that wrong length, mid-calf and totally unwearable.  1 episode of The Killing later, and it was taken up to just above knee, perfect for work.  Love a DIY, thrifted project!

Vintage suit

Monday, 17 November 2014

#secondhandfirst : day 1

Welcome to day 1 of Traid's #secondhandfirst campaign!  For those who've never heard of Traid, you can check out their website over here.  The idea of #secondhandfirst is to pledge to wear a proportion of your clothes second hand this week, to raise awareness of the damage of our disposable fashion society, both socially in the developing world and environmentally here at home.

This is a subject about which I feel especially passionate.  I try to buy as much of my wardobe as possible second hand and when I can't buy second hand, I try to buy responsibly made and ethically produced.  I'm trying to invest more in good quality, ideally British made items that will last a life time and supplement these purchases with second hand clothing.  Being able to alter or make my clothes offers up a variety of thrifting opportunities, some of which you'll see this week!

Taken straight from Traid's website:

TRAID is a charity working to stop clothes from being thrown away. We turn clothes waste into funds and resources to reduce the environmental and social impacts of our clothes. It is a circular and sustainable approach to the problems of clothes waste tackling disposal, production and consumption by:-
o    Increasing clothes reuse across the UK reducing waste, carbon emissions and consumption
o    Funding international development projects to improve conditions and working practices in the textile industry
o    Educating people of all ages about the impacts of textiles on the environment and people’s lives, and how we can make more sustainable choices
Without further ado then, my first contribution to #secondhandfirst.  I pledged 20% of my wardrobe secondhand this week, meaning essentially 1 second hand item a day.  Unfortunately, due to dark wintery weather and long work days, expect to see a lot of flash photography this week!


Outfit stats: Firetrap jeans thrifted from Shelter.  Handknit by me Kate Davies Owls sweater.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Stripy handmade skirt and #secondhandfirst

I made a skirt!  I'm super proud of this make, my first skirt AND my first outing with my overlocker.  I made it with the honeymoon in mind, but since that never really happened, it's not really had a huge amount of use so far this year sadly, it got cold too quickly for a thin summer skirt.  I could definitely wear it with brown tights and boots though, I need to trial that on our next date night, I have the perfect pair of vintage cowboy boots...



The fabric is a thin cotton my brother brought back for me from Thailand a few years ago.  He brought me back 2 pieces of fabric he bought off a market stall (plus a handheld sewing machine that was the dodgiest thing you ever saw!) and they both sat in my stash until one day I decided to make a skirt for the honeymoon.  I was digging through the stash for something to use and came across this candy stripe fabric and a lightbulb came on.  An energy saving lightbulb, obviously.


I used this 'How to make a gathered skirt' tutorial, found via Pinterest (feel free to follow me, click the widget at the bottom or search for 'Craft and Thrift').  It was super simple, though the fabric wasn't wide enough to cut one full strip with the stripes all going vertically, so I cut it in two pieces and sewed it together along a stripe.


I already had the elastic in my stash and since the pattern was free, this was a completely free make.  Love a shop-my-stash make, it feels very thrifty.



Check out those tidy overlocker innards.  I'm still using up the old craft labels but I do like how they give a little professional touch to a make.

Apologies for the shonky, inside, tripod photos, I'm still learning all the tricks for self-photography.  Next week is Traid's #SECONDHANDFIRST week and I'm pledging to wear 20% of my outfits second hand so expect an outfit post a day documenting my progress.  This will help me with my tripod shots (practice makes perfect!), encourage me to finish up some DIYs on thrifted clothing so I can actually wear them AND help promote a good cause.  I'm looking forward to the challenge!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Tessuti Fabric Lola tee from stash jersey

Remember when I won a sewing competition?! I chose Tessuti Fabric's Lola t-shirt thinking it would be a nice easy introduction to sewing with jersey or knit fabric and using my overlocker...and I was not wrong!


Described by the designers as follows:

The summer Lola Tee Top flares slightly at the hips and features a scoop neckline and cap sleeves. Stylish and contemporary in design, the Lola is a wardrobe winner and is best made up in light to medium weight cotton knits as well as viscose and t-shirt weight jerseys.

It was a lovely easy pattern to use, only 10 steps from start to finish and super easy instructions, complete with photograph pictures to illustrate the descriptions.  What slightly threw me to begin with was the hand-drawn nature of the pattern, it looks literally hand drawn and hand written with the instructions on the pattern pieces, but the outcome is the same; you know what to cut where and what to do with it at each stage.  I guess in sewalongs I've seen on blogs using indie designer patterns, all the pictures have shown computer printed pattern pieces so I was expecting something of that nature.  Not an issue with the final pattern or item of clothing produced at all, just not quite what I was expecting!


I was expecting a battle with the binding round the neckline, after reading of other blogs describing similar patterns ending up with saggy necklines.  In reality the maths worked out perfectly and my neckline was overlocked like a dream.


I altered the 'twin needle' overstitching step to 'stitching with regular straight stitch on my sewing machine because to be honest, I haven't got to the twin needle part of my overlocker instruction manual yet and between the 'sewing from a pattern, 'sewing with jersey' and 'sewing with my overlocker' mental steps to overcome, I wasn't going to add 'working out what the fuck a twin needle is' to the list.  I made sure to catch the underlying overlocker seam into my straight stitch, since that was the ultimate outcome to that particular step in the pattern.


I left the bottom hem and sleeves unfinished, as this was one of the ways to finish the pattern.  Next time I'll hem them, just to compare and see what difference it makes to the t-shirt.

I'm currently wearing said tee, after a cinema/dog walk/pub date with Andrew on my day off.  I can attest to it being comfortable and easy to throw on over a vestie (and under a handknit, hello Owls!). I cut a size S based on my measurements but to be honest, it's too big all over, meaning I have to wear it with a vestie underneath or risk flashing mah baps every time I bend over.  Next time I'll cut an XS and see how that compares.




Super proud of the neckline though, as flat as linoleum. Boo yah!  I talk about the choice of fabric over here if you're interested.


Overall, a definite make again!  I could see this is in a range of colour combinations and weights of jersey.  Other than one minor error (seen here on Instagram) where I cut a hole in an armpit with my overlocker, I had no issues with the serger and would definitely use it again, so quick and easy!  This is also my first item of clothing photographed myself using a tripod, I'm hoping to upgrade to outdoor pictures once I master the art of self-imaging but for the moment wanted to confine my embarrassing running-to-and-fro to my bedroom.  Hope you enjoyed my working fireplace and vintage mirror though!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Stash bust crochet granny square cushion

The ongoing stash bust continues!  I had a big clear out recently and got rid of a few balls of yarn languishing at the bottom of my stash box, having not seen the light of day in years.  It's amazing how easy it is to accumulate these things, 50p from a charity shop here, inherited from a friend or elderly relative there.  I'm pretty much done with my yarn stash now, everything I own I either have plans for or is nice enough to keep for the sake of keeping, knowing I will find a use for it in the future.  All the aged, nasty acrylic in bizarre colours are gone finally, used up or passed on.  I feel very zen...

...she says, eyeing up the bulging piles of fabric...

One step at a time.


I made this cushion for my Gran as part of her Christmas present.  She's one of those women who is impossible to buy for, in that she has a house crammed full of STUFF, half of which she never uses.  I try not to buy her STUFF, since I know half the time it disappears into the house, never to be seen or heard from again.  I fully expect to find every DVD I ever bought her, still in the shrink wrap, when the time comes to clear that little bungalow.


A cushion or throw though, that's the kind of stuff she'll use.  She and my Grandad have a stove and like to sit and doze in front of the fire at the end of a long day of extra curricular activities.  They are the busiest people you'll ever meet, their social calendar amazes me and makes me tired just looking at it.  A nice plump cushion will be used every day I reckon.  Just need to think of something to go with it in a similar vein, maybe a second smaller cushion or throw...


I used a selection of acrylic from my stash.  The lightest blue is actually doubled up because I think it's 4ply and the darker blues are worsted weight.  Or something similar.  I didn't have enough black for the entire back, so I added on the 3 matching colours of blue.  I like how it looks, though if I'd planned it instead of making it up as I went along, I would have put the blues in the centre as well, to break up all the black.


I backed each front section with black fabric from my stash (yes! Fabric stash busting! See, I'm not entirely a hoarder).  I didn't have enough for 2 full squares, so each square is actually made up of two halves, sewn together on my overlocker.  There's black corduroy and cotton/acrylic mix in there, I figured it doesn't matter too much so long as it's black as no one will see through the crochet.


I sewed the black backing to the front sections, and the front and back to each other, using the overlocker.  Not my best idea ever, the cutting blade on the overlocker sliced up some of the edging crochet nicely, without actually catching with the thread, meaning the worst of both worlds - seams not sewn closed AND unwravelling crochet left, right and centre.  Nothing a bit of stealthy handsewing can't fix, but not my finest hour.  Added to that, the thickness of 2 layers of crochet plus 2 layers of fabric, and the poor overlocker was groaning away.  I was lucky to get away with it as I did but it's holding together so far and looks pretty professional I think.


All in all though, a success.  Just got to think of a coordinating present to make or buy to go with it.  Any suggestions?

Monday, 20 October 2014

Lacy Grey Cowl by Whisper Twister

I bought my first crochet pattern off Etsy a few months back, as my easy project to make on the honeymoon.  I chose the Lacy Grey Cowl by Whisper Twister, a pattern labelled as 'Advanced Beginner'.  "Sounds super simple" I thought to myself as I clicked 'add to basket', "perfect for some beachside crafting".  Well, like many things on the honeymoon (or VomFest '14), things didn't go according to plan...


I used the remains of the lovely Studio Donegal left over from my green cable knit hat.  There wasn't quite enough for the 6 rows of fans detailed in the pattern, so I made do with 4 and a half.  The result is a rather skinny cowl, totally wearable but definitely more suited to late summer/early autumn weather, as opposed to the almost-winter type temperatures we've had recently.  As you can see from the photos, it does tend to hang with a bit of decolletage on display (read: exposed chilly gooseflesh), which I think may just accentuate the fact that it's just a WEE bit too skinny.



The pattern itself on the whole was easy enough to read, but the author definitely assumes some prior knowledge that I found myself sadly lacking.  My normal attitude to this is 'plough on and see what happens'...meaning I spent a decent amount of time frogging.  Boo.  When holed up in a Premier Inn with a vomiting husband on what is supposed to be the first few days of your honeymoon in the Caribbean, this was more upsetting than normal, rational Amy would find.




Saying that though, at one point I emailed the author to look for direction.  This normally puts me right off a pattern, since a well written pattern shouldn't need guidance from the author, but to his or her credit, they got back to me within the hour.  Great customer service there!


Overall, I'm pleased with my cowl and it will definitely get a lot of wear on warmer autumnal or spring days.  I like that it matches my hat and I love love LOVE the yarn, it's super soft and I heart the colour.  I'm not sure I would buy another Whisper Twister pattern, but now I've got this one and I know better what I'm doing, I would probably make it again.  Another wider cowl, possibly in slightly chunkier yarn would be nice for those winter dog walks.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Lola t-shirt planning

Remember when I told you all about my refashioned men's fairisle sweater for the Sew Amy Sew Repurpose Reuse Refashion competition?  WELL, I WON!!  I know, right?!  Who ever thought it possible that I would win a SEWING competition?!  I won the 'So Simple but So Effective' category but to be honest, I love that cardi with a passion so even if I hadn't won the competition, I definitely won at this particular project!

After refashioned men's fairisle sweater by Craft & Thrift

My prize?  My choice of pattern from a range of awesome indie designers.  I chose the Lola T-shirt pattern from Tessuti Fabrics, I figured it would be a simple but effective (see what I did there?  Eh? Eh?!) pattern to help me master my new-to-me overlocker but also the kind of pattern I would wear over and over.


It's a download and print at home PDF affair, which I love because there's less pressure to trace or cut it out, where I inevitably go wrong and waste an expensive paper pattern.  I raided my stash (in my ongoing 2014 resolution...) for fabrics and came up with these that I think fit the bill as either cotton, viscose or linen knit.  I think.  They are all thrifted after all so I'm actually not sure what they all are.


First up, scrap of knit bought from St Albans market (where my folks live) approximately 75 years ago.  I kid.  But seriously, it was YEARS ago.  I'm not so keen on the slightly wacky, 70's style pattern, but I like the brown and I figured as a possible wearable muslin, it would be a good place to start because if it doesn't work out, I'm not hugely fussed by the fabric.  Down side though, it's pretty thin and stretchy, which I think might make my life difficult.  Plus side, cost me 75p because the stall holder had vanished and after waiting in the rain for 10 minutes for him to return, I got bored and left the change in my wallet on the table and took the fabric. I feel guilty about it now (sorry St Albans market Fabric Dude), but to be fair, who leaves their market stall unattended without at least a sign?


Second up and second favourite, black with red flowers.  I like this a lot but large prints don't tend to suit me, being of the small variety.  Also, black will go with nothing in my wardrobe since brown is the base colour for my clothes.  But still, wearable muslin and all that.


Third and best, the green.  I really like this and think it'll suit me best and get the most wear but we'll see.  That's why I'd like to do the first two first, as a practice run so by the time I get to this one I hopefully won't make any stupid mistakes.  This is the thickest weight-wise though, so not sure if that's going to work with a drapey t-shirt.  We'll just have to wait and see!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Sewing room tour!

I'm back!  The wedding was amazing, honestly the best day, I really couldn't have wished for anything better.  The honeymoon, on the other hand, ended up being cancelled due to Andrew and I both contracting a horrible vomiting bug, which landed poor Andrew up in hospital briefly.  We spent 3 nights in Premier Inn Gatwick then limped our way back up to Edinburgh to recuperate.  Not quite the start to married life I had envisioned but in sickness and in health and all that!  We're claiming on insurance so fingers crossed will be able to rebook some other time but in the meantime have spent my remaining time off spending our wedding money on new furniture!


We've been planning on reorganising the spare room for years now, but never had the funds available to see it through.  Thanks to our very generous friends and family we spent a fun day in Ikea, picking out storage solutions and sofa beds.  It's really given the room a new lease of life, it's much more open and spacious now, with more storage for my sewing and knitting supplies and more room for me to spread out if necessary.

The sofa bed is a Vilasund from Ikea.  It was surprisingly easy to put together and we slept on it the first night (don't tell anyone, you're supposed to leave the mattresses to 'plump up' for at least 72hrs before using them...).  It's lovely to have the fire on, snuggled in the sofa bed, looking at my stash and planning all my autumn sewing projects.  You may have seen a view from the sofa bed on my Instagram feed (Craftandthrift).  I'm planning some bright, tweed wool cushion covers for the sofa!


We're using a vintage metal trunk donated by Andrew's folks years ago as a coffee table/storage solution.  I love the brass coloured clips and nails and the black corners, not so keen on the person who wrote all over it in sharpie though.  I'm thinking maybe some white spirit or nail varnish remover might bring that off but I'm worried about damaging it, or ended up with odd looking lighter patches.


This beautiful silver tea set was a wedding gift from Frances.  It's from the 1920's and I love it.  It goes perfectly with my silver tea strainer (see original post here).



Aren't these prints adorable?  'Adopt a buddy' was a gift from Victoria and 'A Tiny Visitor' is Laura George.  I love her stuff, I could seriously buy almost everything in her shop.




The storage unit is the classic Ikea Expedit, renamed as 'Kallax'.  We built two of these this weekend (the other is in the kitchen) so this second one went up in about 20 minutes.  I love that I can see most of my stash now (the rest of it is in the trunk - shame on me for having ALL THE FABRICS...).  It's super handy to have somewhere to store my sewing machine and overlocker as well, rather than them gathering dust under my desk.  The wicker basket on top was £5 from a charity shop, I bought the red leather straps off Ebay and used it to hold cards at our wedding.  Now it's being used to store craft supplies!  The knitting needle holder next to it is a recycled champagne bottle, rose Moet no less!


My antique sewing box, inherited from Andrew's gran.  I love it, I love the design and all the little corners to store things in.


Even the puppy approves of the new craft nook.  I love sheepskin rugs, I only ever buy them second hand but I love that it uses the whole of the animal, rather than just the meat.  This one was from an auction room and I hand washed and blew it dry with my hairdryer, it took 2 days but came up super soft and fluffy so was totally worth it.  I want to buy more for the lounge, this one and it's pair get moved around the house all the time because we love them so much.

All in all, I love my new craft corner.  So much more organised and relaxing, I'm looking forward to some autumn/winter sewing, with the fire on!