#EasterSpringDress2017 – The Reveal : part 1

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Hello,

The Easter Spring Dress 2017 Sew a long has been a great opportunity for me to tackle my fabric fabric stash and review my Spring Wardrobe. So much so, that I decided I didn’t want to limit myself to making 1 dress for Easter. Oh no, I’m not one to make life easy for myself. I decided to put together outfits for everyday of the Easter festival.  This meant either creating items or completing UFOs to wear everyday from Palm Sunday right through to Easter Bank holiday Monday. 9 outfits with at least 1 element I have made.

Yes, this is a completely mad, totally unrealistic and impossible task but, when has a little thing like that ever stopped me?

Easter for me is a time for renewal. I like to celebrate the long awaited arrival of Spring and new beginnings, whilst remembering the true meaning behind Easter. Whist the focus is Easter Sunday, Easter is actually a week long festival. Quite frankly in these strange times any excuse for a week long festival involving creativity, love, inclusion, chocolate and fun, is a festival I’m signing up for.

 

 

So over the next few days on Champagne Twist, I will showcase my outfits, some which have been made especially, some are adapted and some were UFOs, all completed for the Easter festival.  I hope you will join me on my journey.

Thanks for reading, please sign up for updates, and subscribe of more from Champagne Twist. Spread the word.

#SewApril2017

Hello,

I’m taking part in the #sewapril2017 challenge over on Instagram. If you love anything to do with sewing and clothes design, please go and check it out.

Champagne Twist on Instagram (@ champagne_twist)

 

sq-neck-shirt-fabric

Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist
Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

February Resolutions – Design Month

Hello,

Continuing with my monthly resolutions series, here is a preview of what’s coming up this February on Champagne Twist.

Design Month, February 2017 - Champagne Twist
February is Design Month, on Champagne Twist. champagnetwist.wordpress.com

February has been designated design month. It’s going to be an exciting mix of fashion, crafts and home decor design. What do you hope to achieve this month? Do let us know in the comments box, and please subscribe for more information.

Check out the my 2017 resolution plans video below.

Thanks for reading.

3 quick and simple DIY Christmas centrepieces

In case you missed it, and well done if you have, Christmas is nearly here. It can be a very expensive time of year, so if you would like to save some cash but still want to participate in the season’s festivities, why not try these 3 quick, simple and affordable Christmas table decorations?

  • Candle and Cones

candle-and-cones

Years ago, I purchased a bag of pine cones from my local florist, for the grand sum of 50p. Of course you can collect them for free if you are lucky enough to live near a forest, but note you may have to seek permission first. Pine cones last for years, I keep mine in a cardboard box along with my other Christmas decorations.

Using a large candle, with 3 wicks to represent the holy trinity (it is a religious festival after all), I centre it on a heat proof glass plate, then I cover the plate with the pine cones.

As with all candles, never leave lit candles unattended. Be extra careful as pine cones are great tinder material!

For an alternative, try using a ring oasis, which can be purchased from Wilkos for around £3.50. Ensure that you give the oasis a good soak and then decorate with a mixture of evergreen foliage, baubles, pine cones and other Christmas decorations. Place on a plate, and add a large pillar candle in the middle.

oasis-foliage

  • Vases and Fairy Lights

If you have 3 or 5 vases of varying heights and widths, you can create a stunning centrepiece.  Fill one of the vases with evergreen foliage, one with pine cones, another with baubles, one with battery operated fairy lights and one with tinsel.

vases-fairy-lights

Here I used 3 vases – one was filled with different types of pine cones, another with foliage from the garden and the middle one with baubles and battery operated lights. Instant centrepiece using items I already own.

vases-lights

  • Bauble Cake Stand

Bauble Cake Stand.jpg

This is cake stand came from IKEA.

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Picture source: Ikea.com.

At under £10, it is an affordable centrepiece in it’s own right. Add some baubles, and hang some decorations from the lid and you have made a festive treat for the eyes. Hey, it’s healthier than filling the stand with cake.

Did I just say that?

Lulu Guinness – Metal Eye Keyring: Christmas Gift Ideas and Review

Ever had to buy a gift for someone who appears to have everything – in triplicate? Well if you have a Lulu Guinness fan in your group, then why not buy them a key ring.

A key ring?  Yes, you read that correctly, a key ring.  But I warn you, they are not cheap, but then when else can you indulge other than Christmas or birthdays?

Metal Eye keyring - Lulu Guinness Gift Idea and Review
Lulu Guinness Metal Eye keyring. Picture source QVCUK.com

This particular keyring – the Metal Eye – costs around £45 and can be purchased in store or online at both LuluGuinness.com or QVCUK.com. As a keyring, it does a good job, it’s robust, clunky and works as an attractive accessory.  But I don’t use it as a keyring because a) I fear with all the junk I have in my bag, it would be easily scratched or otherwise damaged, and b) it’s too nice to be hidden away in the depths of my hand bag.  Hence why I have converted this keyring into a bag charm.

Lulu Guinness Metal Eye Keyring
Metal Eye Keyring by Lulu Guinness

I wish this keying included a clasp so it would be easier to convert into a bag charm.  Other Lulu Guinness key rings do include a clasp so bear that in mind if you are thinking of trying this gift idea.  I temporarily tied mine to a vintage Lulu Guinness bag with some black ribbon.  The hardware matches the keyring, providing an instant contemporary update.

You could also attach the keyring to a purse, wallet or clutch to instantly transform a plain accessory into something that could add sparkle to your evening wear.

Try tying a long piece of grosgrain or sheer ribbon to the ring, and wear as a piece of jewellery, such as a pendant necklace, a choker or a bracelet.

Metal Eye Keyring by Lulu Guinness review by Champagne Twist
Lulu Guinness Metal Eye Keyring Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The ‘eye’ could be threaded with a very long piece of ribbon and used as a belt buckle.  Tie it to the branches of your Christmas tree and attach a gift tag, as a on-trend way of gift giving.

So don’t just view this as an expensive one trick gift, if presented in an unusual way, the Metal Eye keyring could provide many years of multi use.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Disclaimer: The item mentioned was gifted during a Lulu Guinness promo event.

 

 

My Great Big Sewing Resolution – Cherry Gingham Dress

Hello,

Have another one for you! I am pleased to introduce to you the Cherry Gingham Dress.

Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist
Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist

Like the daisy meadow dress, I used the bodice from Simplicity pattern 2444, and self drafted the skirt. Pockets were added in the side seams, and the dress has an invisible zip installed at the back. I have added a red ribbon belt, and finished the arm hole facings with gingham bias binding.

Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist
Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist

I’m pretty pleased with this dress, the only slight snag, and I’m only saying this because I’m honest, I didn’t match the back skirt seams as well as I should.  I didn’t even notice until I gave it’s final pressing. However, the nature of the pattern means that you have to have pretty sharp eyesight, and be purposely looking for it to notice.  If you can see it, and your name isn’t Bradley Cooper from the A-Team, you’re too darn close!

Details:

  • Fabric: 100% cotton
  • Fabric name: Fruit Basket
  • Print Pattern: Red cherries with green foliage on a black, grey and white, small gingham check background
  • Fabric designer/brand: Robert Kaufman
  • Finishing: Armholes competed with black, grey and white mini gingham check bias binding (purchased)

Currently watching NCIS … again … I know I said I wouldn’t, but it’s either that or another back-to-back rewatch of all the Sherlock episodes … again.  I have to pace my Sherlock rewatches, otherwise I will be climbing the walls by Autumn.

Also, as much as I adore the Simplicity 2444 pattern, I think it’s time for a change.  I fancy making either a pair of trousers, or my first Vogue pattern. Details are on my Instagram account or you can subscribe to my blog to find out more.

What are your sewing plans for the rest of the month?  I would love to hear them, please comment below.

Thanks as ever for reading, see you soon 🙂

 

My Great Big Sewing Resolution – The Zebra Skirt

Hello,

mgbsr logo

I have wanted to make a wide, horizontal striped skirt for a very long time. I’ve searched on the internet, in fabric shops both here and abroad, but it took a recent trip to IKEA to finally source the wide striped heavy weight cotton fabric I required for my Zebra skirt.

Zebra Skirt black and white wide stripe pleated skirt by Champagne Twist
Zebra Skirt: black & white wide stripe, pleated skirt by Champagne Twist

OK so it’s really a wide striped skirt, but that doesn’t sound as exciting! Besides, I had a few minor problems with this little number – where do I begin?…

  1. I pre treated the fabric, following the laundry instructions to the letter, and an hour later I pulled out the material from the drum, only to find a powder like substance all over it.  Turned out, the washing machine needed fixing. ARGH!
  2. After getting said machine fixed and the 2nd pre wash, negotiating the UK weather to dry the fabric, various political shenanigans and terrorist attacks, my heart wasn’t really into sewing, so the project was left for a few days.
  3. Got my sewing mojo back, the cutting went well, the pleating worked out first time, and the zip went in perfectly.  I worked on the skirt for 4 hours straight, without a break, and raised my head only to see the hour hand approaching 1 o’clock … AM! Made the sensible decision to go to bed, a decision that I regretted at 10.03am.
  4. 10am, after a refreshing shower, delicious breakfast and an essential cup of tea, I was ready to tackle the skirt. Only, I had forgotten that I didn’t finish the zip ends, then I closed the zip. At 10.03 am a very loud scream was heard far and wide.  Fortunately, I was able to reuse an old zip from another project. But the whole thing put me back an hour, unpicking the old zip and having to manoeuvre a large amount of fabric to machine sew in the new zip.
  5. The waistband was hand finished, and skirt tried on. Oh heck, I’ve lost weight!  But quite frankly I couldn’t be bothered to redo the waistband, so will add a couple of hidden pleats and make a it decorative feature … eventually.

So why the zebra name tag?  Well, the skirt is black and white, Zebra’s make me smile, and after recent world events, anything that raises a smile can’t be a bad thing. But the most important thing to note is … I’ve lost weight!

Self drafted black and white wide strip pleated skirt by Champagnetwist.wordpress.com
The Zebra Skirt by Champagne Twist Champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Details

Fabric: 100% heavy weight cotton

Brand: IKEA

Pattern: Wide black and white horizontal stripes

Design: Self-designed skirt

Garment: Pleated, knee length skirt, with in-seam pockets and invisible back zip closure

Unusually, I machined finished the hem, because the fabric is very difficult to hand sew, as I discovered when I hand finished the waistband. I’m pleased to say that you really can’t see the machine stitching, so I don’t feel so guilty.

I’m now on a mission to complete my UFOs and wear them before the sunshine disappears. On one dress, I just need to complete Hong Kong seams and hem, so that will be up next.

What do you think of my new skirt? Was have you been sewing recently? If you like this, please click the like button, and subscribe for more news from Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading, and keep sewing 🙂

 

 

Great British Sewing Bee 1 hour challenge – week 7

GBSB 1 hour

Yesterday the Great Britsh Sewing Bee ended, and if you didn’t know already, Charlotte won.

I’m still working on my final GBSB challenge, but I thought I should let you know about my week 7 challenge – the Red Cherry Outfit.

Yes, outfit! I set myself a hard challenge of making a self drafted, fully lined skirt, with in seam pockets, and a matching neck tie which doubles up as a hair tie. We don’t do things by halves here at Champers Towers!

Anyway, here it is …

Red Cherry Outfit
Red Cherry Outfit

Details:

Skirt:

  • Fabric: 100% cotton, red cherry and green leaves on a black background print, by Robert Kaufman
  • Pattern: Self drafted design
  • Style: Pleated skirt, fully lined with solid red, light weight cotton fabric, with 2 in-seam pockets.

Neck Tie:

  • Fabric: Same as above
  • Pattern: Same as above
  • Style: Straight tie with rounded corners, based on my Ghislaine Chelsea pattern.

The skirt is lined with red cotton (I know, I’m becoming very radical theses days!), and has an invisible zip closure at the back.  There are 2 in-seam pockets.  I did toy with adding slanted pockets, but I only had 2 metres of fabric and I wanted to make sure I had enough to make a couple of neck ties and a waistband just in case the waist didn’t work out.

Speaking about the waist, this is a very close fitting waist, and luckily the pleats were handled in such a way, I didn’t need to add a waist band, leaving a clean line.

The red cotton was recycled from the lining of a dress I made a couple of years ago, which I never wore.  So it’s good that the fabric didn’t go to waste. I added a jumper, and there we have an entire outfit made with less than 2 metres of fabric.

Cherry scarf

I’m posting regular updates of my final GBSB challenge on Instagram. If you would like to see my updates, please follow and like.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more information.

As ever, thanks for reading, see you soon 🙂

 

Review: Zone Crushrun running shoes by Reebok

Well, here’s a first! A review of trainers.  As a person who once ran a marathon, and now regards walking to the front door as an unnecessarily onerous task (I blame the internet!), I haven’t had the need to purchase a pair of trainers for a long while.

Sadly, my last pair of trainers recently went to the great gym in the sky, which prompted the search for a new pair.  I tend to stick to Reebok, as they are affordable, stylish and are designed to do what they are supposed to do – protect my feet while I travel around town.

V65875_01
Picture source: http://www.reebok.co.uk/zone-crushrun/V65875.html?slot=4

Then I found the perfect trainer. The colour way is described as ‘Fierce fuchsia / Royal orchid / White / Solar yellow’ or in English, Purple. I have fully embraced the technicolour sportswear look. Plus they go well with my bag.

But more important than looks is the comfort.  Within a mere few minutes, I had forgotten I was wearing any footwear, these trainers are that comfortable.  Before, like most people, my trainers had to be ‘broken in’, but not these. Straight from the box, they were ultra comfy.

review reebok zone crushrun trainers
Reebok Zone Crushrun running shoes

I have walked in them for 5 hours and run in them for a total of 2 hours. So far, I haven’t had any problems with rubbing, or foot pain.  So if you’re thinking about replacing your trainers, you could do worse than try these. Currently on sale at a brilliant £24, these trainers are an absolute bargain, and a strong contender for best buy of 2016.

Rating 4.5 out of 5