Monday, 28 February 2011

My Week Off (Monday)

I have taken a week off evil work to have a breather and relax. So today I wandered into Crookes to look at all the lovely charity shops. I did
n't buy any clothing but I found Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6 boxset on VHS for a collective price of 60p. So I'm very happy about that. After shopping I sat in a coffee shop sketching some new ideas and planning a little felt owl as seen on Bugs and Fishes. I made my owl during the first two episodes of season 6 and now enjoying an afternoon on the sofa blogging.
Here he is!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sewing Machine Cover

Following the recent installment of the machine onto my desk, I decided it was high time to make a cover for it. I'm also fundamentally lazy and can't be bothered to put the machine back in its box every time. So this simple cover will protect it from dust and other nasties in my room.

I measured the top and four sides, made a mock up in greaseproof paper and cut the pieces out. Before pinning it all together I hemmed the bottom edges. Then sewed it all together. It was a nice way to unwind after work.

Now my pride and joy has a nice cover.

Shh, she's sleeping


After spending Christmas with my boyfriend's family my hypothetical sister in law set me onto her sister's blog, Bugs and Fishes, which is a triumph in all things felt. I'd never given felt much thought, dismissing it as a child's material, but it comes in fab colours, sews easily and doesn't fray. What's not to love? So I rummaged in my old childhood supplies and came out with felt-a-plenty, plus some old dusters from Wilkinson's that my mum and my aunt and I had used to made Easter themed bags a million years ago (I never throw anything out). I began with my go-to favourite, sushi. And made a couple of little appliques, which are currently waiting for a destination. Delicious.

(From top left clockwise, salmon nigiri, maki sushi (I think) tamago (sweet egg omlette) nigiri and tobiko (fish roe) gunkan)
So with Valentine's day around the corner, I began another felt badge on a heart theme, but not quite a traditional heart. I found a simplified anatomical heart drawing on the internet and set about fashioning a felt equivalent. I made a white felt base, cut out the pieces of a heart in red and blue as appropriate and pinned them on. A little superglue held the job lot together while I stitched detail in white around the edges. I then stuck the full thing to a piece of card and backed it with more white felt. This final piece of white felt had a badge pin sewn onto it first. To make three layers look neater, and it stop the whole thing coming apart when the superglue fails, I stitched the edge together following a tutorial.

Et voila, one anatomical heart badge:

Individual, cheap, bold.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


Morning, I'm on my break between evil 7am sandwich prep shift and 11am shift in the salad bar. I am currently hooked up to a hazelnut cappucino and toasted bagel to get me through. To kill an hour I thought I would share on recent shopping adventures.

Last week me and mum went to Mansfield for some much needed retail therapy (wherein I always buy too much and mum encourages it). First stop was Sally Twinkle, an Aladdin's cave of fabric and sequins. The shop's been going for donkey's years and both my mum and aunt used to frequent the place. I bought some hair slides (for my arsenal of bows), some initial patches (like the college jackets that are roaring back into fashion, must do something about that) and some delicious liquorice allsorts fabric.

Yesterday I also went to Castle Market in Sheffield. I swung by Grace's fabrics and bought a pretty orange and blue print cotton and a complimentary orange cotton to go with it. I chatted to Grace of Grace's Fabrics (not just a marketing gimmic) about jobs and she gave me words of encouragement to go with my purchases - nice lady. I'm hoping to make a skirt with the orange fabric, its my first attempt at a piece of clothing from scratch so I'm excited/nervous. I shall keep you updated.

When shopping on the high street I also keep an eye out for patterns and styles I like. Current funds (and perpetually wearing my work uniform) mean I have little reason to buy loads of stuff, but I do take photos of the things I like to keep the idea. I recently spotted a white vest with leather cut out detail in Primark which I liked. I didn't buy it because a) its Primark and I only buy really basic stuff and b) I could buy a Primark basic vest for cheaper and try out the idea for myself. With this in mind I also bought a scrap of faux leather from the lovely Grace.

Hopefully I shall be able to show you the fruits of my leather labour very soon.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Handbags (One)

A good friend gave me a Cath Kidson book for Christmas, which had loads of ideas for customising clothes, pillowcases and bags. It also came with a free canvas bag for customising. So the other weekend I set about making it my own.

My grandma ran a local sweet shop, which was very popular with the school children when my mum was at school. In her memory I sketched the basic shape of an old sweet jar and cut out three pieces in different fabrics.

I arranged them on the bag in layers and sewed them on with felt jar lids. A final touch was to embroider a fitting label for my tribute to Grandma Cissie.

Sunday, 20th February

Today has been a most productive day - I've created a whole outfit. But I wouldn't wear it all together.

I generally have a mental list of projects that I want to begin. The alteration of my Viyella skirt has been a 'to-do' since I bought it in 2009. Today I finally completed the project - winner.

The skirt was bought from my favourite charity shop in Crookes, Sheffield. The RSPCA shop sells anything (and I mean anything) for 50p/£1. This beauty was bought for the low low price of £1. It wears a little high on the waist and the length was frumpy but the 'eternal optimist' in me (at least when it comes to sewing) said "Buy it, you can alter that". Its taken a year and a half to get round to (the sewing machine has obviously helped).

As you can see from the picture, the electric blue in it is great - not a frumpy colour, just a frumpy length. So I pinned a mini-skirt length into it, cut off the excess and hemmed that skirt into a cute tartan mini. For £1. This was most definitely a bargain.

A note on the picture, taking photos of yourself, by yourself looks a hash. Hopefully, once I find a willing volunteer and better light, I'll post a better picture.

Following the success of the tartan mini, I was emboldened to try a more recent idea. Following the explosion of lace in fashion, I thought a plain-grey-jumper-with-sexy-lace-back-panel would be a good make. I bought a simple grey longsleeved top (its fairly thin, my sewing machine doesn't handle thicker fabrics). from Primark (an amazing resource for clothes you may ultimately destroy in your experiements) and some lace from the sewing shop in my hometown on a recent visit. (On a side note, I adore this sewing shop in Worksop. After collecting the oh-so expensive fabrics from John Lewis, the sewing shop is a godsend to the purse.)

With the aid of greaseproof paper to sketch a template, I cut out a section from the back of my jumper top and placed in a slightly larger piece of lace. I then pinned it all together, sewed it up using a simple stitch and cut off the excess lace. So simple, so current, so cheap. The top cost £3, the lace cost £2.50 for a metre. Something incredibly similar sells in River Island for £16.99. Nuff said.

I even cobbled together a simple headband to complete the outfit. Again, I saw something in New Look which inspired me and its a mere fraction of the price, I have reams of lace left over. As I said, a very productive day - and then I wore my lacey outfit down the pub quiz and it was well received.

Welcome to The Magenta Machine

Consider this my first attempt at blogging. The women in my family are loving the blog. My aunt has one, my cousin has just started one, my mum follows them both - so I thought I'd add to her reading list with my offerings.

My name is Amy, I love to create things. That encompasses a wide range. I enjoy painting, drawing, directing theatre/film, knitting and of course sewing.

The amazing present of a bright pink mini sewing machine for Christmas (thank you Mother) has massively increased my ability to cobble together pretty things. My main fall back is bows for my hair (or anything featuring a bow) but since the aforementioned Christmas present I've been branching out into things I can wear elsewhere.

Customising/making my own clothes has always been something I've been into. I love having something one of a kind, something that when a friend compliments it, I can say "Thanks, I made it myself". It breathes life into old clothes, transforms charity shop bargains and puts your individual stamp on your wardrobe. And if you're savvy, you can save yourself a bob or two.

Its a great counteraction to the frustration I feel at shopping for something I can't find. For example, I wanted a large shoulder bag to begin uni with in 2007. They weren't quite right/too expensive so me and my mum chopped up a pair of jeans and made the perfect, individual bag for my new term.

This blog is part me showing off, part sharing the knowledge of creating your own look. Enjoy.