Friday, November 1, 2013

Secret Squirrel Stop 5

When Secret Squirrel turned up at As-it-seams, I nearly fell over my sewing box!

The Secret Squirrel series is a year-long sewing journey created by An fromand Suz from .Read all about it .

Secret Squirrel contacted me via Amy at and gave me these five acorns of inspiration; polka dot, pumpkin spice latte, clock, The Princess Bride and watercolours.

I've already 'sewn along' to the Secret Squirrel challenge twice, and

But this time, the pressure was on...

For a start, what on earth is a pumpkin spice latte?

I'm a strong coffee girl - especially when Secret Squirrel arrives!

I decided I needed some basic ground rules;

* Don't spend loads on fabric.

* Make something practical and wearable. (ie don't get lured by that Princess Bride and sew a gorgeous fancy dress costume.)

So after much pondering, and then some frantic sewing, I produced this dress, and reversible waistcoat .

OK so let's break down those Acorns.

I started with watercolours - and had amoment of inspiration when I remembered this maxi skirt in my bag of clothes-that-I-love-but-never-wear.

It's a patchwork of silk from old Indian saris. The silks are gorgeous and the intensity of the colours seemed to have that intense almost translucent quality of watercolour paints. And the patchwork looked just like a paintbox.

So the skirt was sacrificed to Secret Squirrel and cut up into little squares, ironed to interfacing. Don't they look pretty!

Then I set about stitching them up again, patchwork style.

Now that Princess Bride. Firstly; thanks Amy at Amos El for getting me to watch this film, Iloved its humour and fantasy! Lots of ideas for clothes, but I decided not to recreate a costume, but to go for a general mediaeval vibe. This muted green cotton seemed a little Saxon, andI added a 'jewelled belt' of the patchwork silks to make a dress that was a bit 'mediaeval maiden', without being too costumey.

The pattern is from this book - modified slightly. I fully lined the bodice in pink voile.

I cut the front button opening at the front side, rather than centre, as the pattern suggests. I wanted a plainer look across the bodice, because I was adding the silks to the waist.

I also trimmed the sleeves down. Flouncy sleeves won't work under a cardigan or coat, and I wanted this dress to be practical.The back-opening button placket is, again bright pink, and the button loops are hand-made in pink embroidery threads. Oh and look who turned up on a silk square? That pesky squirrel in the form of a scrap of Kokka fabric left over from this .A thin band of silk squares finished the hem of the dress.And, can you see? One of the squares is polka dot ! Hurray! Three Acorns down!

Ok now for that pumpkin spice latte?What? You drink these things?

Hmm... A google-search produced an image. Orangey-brown frothy coffee?

There are two fabric shops in our small town, and the ladies in both shops are very patientwhen I mutter things like "pumpkin" and "latte"... And I struck lucky - this corduroy and wide-ribbed white velvet. Paired together this is, I believe, a pumpkin spice latte!

I drafted a very simple pattern for this reversible waistcoat, fastened with a single button and loop, with a snug wide collar. It's not a perfect creation but I like it very much - and I think it continues the mediaeval Princess Bride vibe.

And the clock... well what waistcoat is complete without a watch pocket? Ta dah! Clock acorn ticked off!

A teeny pocket finished with a scrap of my current favourite fabric from Jenny Baker's Nordika range. The same fabric also made a pair of ties on the back of the waistcoat, adding a pop of collar.


That Secret Squirrel set me off on a sewing journey. And my silk sari skirt is now in pieces...what is a sewist to do? Why keep on sewing of course! Watch this space... Watercolour Dress, Mark 2, is in the pipeline....I had lots of fun with Secret Squirrel's challenge, but now he's pff again with a new set of Acorns for stop number 6 as he traverses the globe on his way home Straight Grain.... Hisacorns are:

* Where the Wild Things Are

* Blue

* David Bowie

* Pockets

* Great Britain

If you would like to host Secret Squirrel on his journey, LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST. Check your inbox in a week's timeyou may be the chosen one to pass on the baton of creativity that is Secret Squirrel!

If you don't receive a message from Secret Squirrel, you can still sew along and add your creations to the Secret Squirrel group.There are some amazing prizes to be won! See below!

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