Pippi Pinafore by Gemma Daly

Hi everyone, my name’s Gemma (also known as @thedalythread on Instagram), and I’m delighted to be a guest blogger with The Crafty Studio. When Ann Marie put a call out for guest bloggers, I thought I would put myself forward and I was so pleased when she chose me to do blog for her. Ann Marie was quite keen for me to try out one of her needle cords, which I agreed to do, and I chose the khaki colour. 

I had the Pippi pinafore pattern by Jennifer Lauren Handmade on my radar, as I’d wanted to make this for a while, so I suggested that this would be a perfect match for the needle cord. The pattern requires a lining fabric for the bib and pockets so Ann Marie very kindly sent me half a metre of the “Japanese floral on khaki” cotton lawn, which you can still find on her website. The cotton lawn is lovely quality, very light weight and super pretty.

The Pippi pinafore is a confident beginner pattern and can be made in a variety of woven fabrics, from denim, to needle cord and quilting cotton to wool. It’s a versatile pattern that has a more fitted waistband compared to any pinafores I’ve made before, and I think that’s what makes it so flattering. 

I made a wearable toile first of all out of denim, and although I will definitely wear it, I had a bit of a nightmare with all of the topstitching! If your topstitching isn’t going to plan, a few things to check/alter are – make sure you’re using a new sharp needle (as blunt ones can cause skipped stitches), depending on if it’s the spool or bobbin thread causing the problem, you could look at altering the thread tension, and also consider lengthening your stitches. 

I decided to omit some of the topstitching on my second version of the pinafore, made in the lovely needle cord, as I had such heartache with it the first time around. I don’t think it has taken away anything from it at all and I’m really pleased with my finished garment. Where the pattern instructs you to topstitch on the waistband, instead I folded it over and “stitched in the ditch” so that there was no visible stitching


I also cut off 5cm from the length of the pinafore as I just felt it didn’t sit right on me at the suggested length. I’m 5’6” and it came just below the knee. I prefer it to sit above the knee so that I can wear leggings with it. 

There are a variety of fastenings that you can use to attach the straps to the bib – on my first version I used buttons, but on this version I used some dungaree buckles that Ann Marie kindly provided. I had never used this particular type of buckle before (The Hemline Bib and Brace set in bronze), but I think they look great. You have to actually hammer them on, so I would advise to make sure they are lined up well and hammer on the reverse side. Just don’t do it TOO hard! I was also provided with some vintage sunflower brass buttons which match perfectly!

So on to the fabric….the needle cord was a pleasure to work with, it’s really soft and I had no issues guiding it through my machine. It comes in a variety of colours, so check out the Crafty Studio website and have a look. The only downside to using any kind of corduroy in any form, is that it sheds, so you end up with little bits all over you whilst sewing! I think you could over look that though as it’s such a nice quality fabric.
One other thing to mention is that this fabric does mark quite easily, so it may be worth thinking about what sort of clips/pins you use when sewing and don’t use a very hot iron on it. 

All of the items I’ve mentioned are currently in stock on the Crafty Studio website so please do go and check them out if you like what you’ve heard! Thanks again to Ann Marie for inviting me to do this blog post, it’s been a really enjoyable project. 

Take care everyone and happy sewing,

Gemma 

Cotton Lawn Top by Geraldine Gorman

I was delighted when I spotted a call for a sewcial sew along by Ann Marie in Crafty Studio  on Instagram. This was exactly what I had been looking for, as I had returned to sewing after a 20 year break and was looking to join a sewing class closer to home. I wanted to update my sewing skills and more importantly to make contact with others in the sewing community. 

Of course the Covid19 lockdown had put an abrupt stop to attending any classes in the traditional way so this certainly was an appealing option. I signed up straight away and the What’s App group was formed. 

We were to make the Angela Kane’s sleeveless top, which can be found on her website. This is a free pattern and Ann Marie explained that sleeves could be added from another pattern if we wished. The pattern was downloaded and printed and now for the exciting bit, picking the fabric! Ann Marie has a great selection of suitable fabrics on her online shop. I settled for a beautiful pima cotton lawn.  Unfortunately the one I choose is now sold out but there are loads more on the website that would also sew up beautifully.

Each week Ann Marie uploaded a couple of videos walking us through each step. How to take our measurements correctly, how to recognise fitting issues etc. I had made a woven top in the past but had not liked the fit on me and had no idea how to fix it. This was a wonderful opportunity to get expert guidance from the comfort of my own home. Ann Marie soon identified that I needed a narrow shoulder adjustment. This would take care of the extra fabric that seemed to gather at my shoulder in previous woven tops.  I also raised the bust apex by 1cm and lengthened the top by 6cm. I decided on a size 14. My measurements are bust 37″ waist 32″ hips 38″.  My height is 5′ ft 5″  

I loved the pace of this class. Some people were working and only sewed at the weekend but it didn’t really matter as the classes were there for you to watch when it suited! Prior to Covid19 I wouldn’t have considered doing an online sewing class but certainly I feel these classes have their place especially in rural communities where the nearest sewing class could be an hour or more drive away. 

Over the next 2 weeks Ann Marie uploaded classes and we followed along. I enjoyed the banter in the class and seeing everyone’s makes at different stages. I decided to add a flutter sleeve to my top. Again this was from a free pattern The Simply Sew Amelia Tea Dress. My cotton lawn had a lovely drape and the flutter sleeve worked well. I also learned how to do a rouleau loop to secure the back of the top. As my local haberdashery shop was closed due to Covid I decided to use covered buttons instead. I love the finished look.

Verdict: I am very happy with the finished top. I think the fit is so much better with the narrow shoulder adjustment. The cotton lawn was lovely to work with and pressed beautifully. I think next time I might try making a size 12 as the fit of the top is generous.

My daughter loved my finished top, so of course I offered to make her one. We went online and bought a beautiful Lady McElroy cotton from Ann Marie. This fabric had more structure and was a beautiful quality.  Once again I went back to Ann Marie’s videos to refresh my memory and the top sewed up with no hitches. I sewed a straight size 10 for my daughter with no adjustments. When she fitted it on she wasn’t sure about the flutter sleeve as this fabric didn’t have as much drape as my cotton lawn. I decided to add 4 small pleats at the bottom of the sleeve to take in the fullness. My daughter loved the end result!

Both mine and my daughters tops took 1m of fabric.  I will definitely be making more now that I have nailed the fit.

Geraldine  @backtosew20

You can find Geraldine on Instagram @backtosew20 

Sustainable Studio

More and more we hear of sustainability and being eco friendly or slow fashion. But what does this really mean? Reduce reuse recycle? Ending consumerism? Planting a tree? Yes possibly all of the above! Sustainability simply means , can we carrying on the way we are going, is what we are doing sustainable? If not, what can we do to change it?

So how are we sustainable in the crafty studio? Firstly let me give you a little bit of background about myself and why this topic means so much to me. I grew up in a household of make do and mend. Not just out of necessity but out of the accomplishment of fixing or making something yourself. This has always stuck with me. The four years I spent in NCAD added to this, designing and creating my own artwork on very little budget. Recycling clay was a big thing!

Broadmeadow Community Garden Open Day

Then when I started teaching it was all about educating the future eco warriors! I became a green schools officer and did this for eight years. We were awarded four green flags in that time and some of my students went on to creating the first green colleges. I also have a passion for sustainable agriculture and community.

Fintan and I planting herbacious perenials outside the community garden.

In 2010 I set up the first community garden on open public land. Broadmeadow community garden is still a thriving community enterprise bringing people together young and old and learning how to sustain themselves both through food and community.

Sew Over It Pussy bow Blouse made with Floral Sketch on Ochre – ex designer deadstock fabric.

How is all this translated to a fabric shop? Surely buying more fabric, producing more is not the way forward. Well yes and no! I aim to provide fashionable dressfabrics that are sustainable by buying as much deadstock fabric as possible . Deadstocks are rolls of fabric that are left after a garment production run, fabric that was dyed the wrong colour, or surplus fabric that is unsold by the textile mills and left in storage. I also stock a large amount of Okeo Tex 100, Tencel and Organic fabrics. Oeko-Tex textiles and fabrics are certified free of harmful chemicals and are safe for human use. Tencel is a fabric regenerated from wood cellulose. It is similar in hand to rayon and bamboo, both of which are regenerated fabrics. However, Tencel is one of the most environmentally friendly regenerated fabrics, for several reasons. Tencel fibers are grown sustainably and manufactured with very little chemicals..

After Puci – ex designer deadstock fabric

Organic certification means that textile and fabric products are grown according to strict guidelines on the use of petroleum based fertilisers, pesticides and synthetic products.

Selection of rPET thread.

When choosing haberdashery and thread I wanted to stock either biodegrable or recycled options. As a result I discovered Guttermanns rPet threads. These have all the benefits of sew all polyester but are made from 100% recyled PET bottles. For every 1000m of thread 1 plastic drinks bottle is recycled. I also chose to stock 100% cotton thread for those who prefer a completely biodegradable option.

Even with all this careful planning to the sourcing of my stock I was not prepared for the amount of packaging and waste that would come with their delivery! Some careful thinking was needed here! Below are some of the ideas I came up with tho help keep the single use plastic and waste to a minimum.

Plastic packaging all sorted ready to be give a second life!
  • Request fabric loose rather than on a roll, then roll onto recycled card when it arrives at the studio.
  • Save plastic packaging to be reused on larger orders.
  • Wrap fabric in pattern paper rather than tissue. Bonus for customer and cuts out single use packaging.
  • Offer rotary blade and thread spool recycling recycling. Im still working on the thread spool recycling but you can send your rotary blades to me and I will recycle them.
  • Use of card boxes or biodegradable postal packaging.

  • Switch to paper tape and sticker. (once current supply runs out)
  • switch to sustainably sourced energy for heating the studio.
  • Paperless receipts.
  • Compost all unwanted card (bonus to my veg plot!)
  • Making scrap bags to sell.
  • Paperless gift cards

Thats all Ive done in the studio so far and it may seem like a lot but its a way of living for me and always has been. I hope to continue on with my sustainable ethos, adding to it as my business grows.

Pop Up Shop – Red Stables

On Friday we decided to do our 1st pop up shop. It was held in the cottage market, Red Stables, St Annes Park Clontarf. What a beautiful venue for a for a market. The Red Stables as its is now called was the stables for Lord Ardilaun in St Annes Estate. The Cottage Market, is held inside the actual stable room where some of the original horse stalls are intact.

The Cottage Market, is held inside the actual stable room where some of the original horse stalls are intact.

St Annes Park is very dear to my heart. I grew up in the area, playing in the fields and around the follies as a child. As a Mammy I bring my children here to the park and playgound and to Olives for an Iceream treat!

The Red Stables has become the focal point for many locals. Grabbing a coffee or treat after their morning stroll, visiting an art exhibition,(which I’ve had several here) or popping into one of its markets.

Although this Friday was a bit of a miserable day weather-wise there was a constant trickle of people visiting the market. I was armed with hand sewing, magazines and a sketchbook, ready for a quiet day! Not so my legs ached by the end of the day.

Although this Friday was a bit of a miserable day weather-wise there was a constant trickle of people visiting the market. I was armed with hand sewing, magazines and a sketchbook, ready for a quiet day! Not so my legs ached by the end of the day. But it was worth it to meet so many wonderful visitors and crafters and some canine companions too!

“Great selection and expert advice. Picked up a few bits myself today.🙂👍” – Claire Mc Loughlin

Fabric Sold Per 1/2 metre
Fat quarters and Bundles

It was a very successful day overall and we will be back on Saturday 7th September for our next pop up shop. As before, if you have any request for particular fabric or haberdashery, just pop me an email (annmarie@craftystudio.ie) or dm via instagram or facebook and ill make sure to bring it along! See you at the next one.

New Years Resolution

Pheonix Park Walled Garden
Finished pieced quilt top, ready for quilting.

New yrs resolution done! A piece in an exhibition. Sorry a bit late blogging about it!!The exhibition was run by the Eastern Branch of the Irish Patchwork Society. Held in Phoenix park visitor centre next to the walled garden. As soon as I heard the theme and location images of the beautiful walled garden came to mind. My husband and I often visit this garden during at all times of the year. Creating artwork and Gardening are my two passions. I love planting seeds, watching them grow and then getting to eat your produce! Yum!  I imagined the different vegetables that I would grow in each season. One for every season in raised beds surrounded by terracotta roped borders. 

Me and my entry.

I had never done foundation paper piecing before and when looked for a pattern I couldn’t find anything I liked. So I had to design my own, I don’t like the east life do I ? The fabric was a selection of stash fabric, fat quarters bought from green acre quilt shop and scraps left at the IPS Eastern Branch meeting. The 1st few designs did not go to plan. Spring onions looked more like cabbages and tomatoes like strawberries! But after a few attempts I got the hang of it!

Campervan Quilt

This is a quilt I started for my Dad when he was sick to keep him warm during his chemo sessions. I got the fabric in Annie’s Haberdashery in Wexford town, which is sadly closing its doors tomorrow, but will be opening its online shop soon. Its called the camper van quilt as some of the fabric has volts wagon camper vans on it. This is the feature fabric that inspired the quilt! The rest of the fabric I picked up in Hickeys Home Focus. Its done using the quilt as you go method, which wasn’t as difficult as I thought.

Unfortunately things did not go as we thought and he died before I got to give it to him. I did get to give him the matching cushion though which he loved and showed off to the nurses! I gave the quilt to my Mam and it sits proudly on display on her sofa. Patchwork has been a very healing pastime for me and has helped me though a tough year so far. He would have loved it and showed it off to every camper he met. Love you Dad and miss you loads.