sewing new from old





















Earlier in the year I bought 3 gingham dresses at the car boot for £1 each, 2 blue and 1 red. Although they look a lot like school dresses they were a large size and made of a nice heavy gingham fabric which I thought was well worth a pound even just for cutting up.















I really didn’t want to leave them as dresses but i really wanted something I could wear so after checking how much fabric they had I got to thinking.



















The dress was a bodice and seperate skirt so it was really easy to adapt. Using a quick-unpick I detatched the skirt from the top and then carefully ran 2 bands of large running stitch by hand around the top of the skirt. This allowed me to gather the skirt further as as it stood the skirt was too wide. Once done I gathered skirt to correct circumference and pinned in place. One side seam on the skirt needed to be unpicked for a few inches for the zip to be inserted.

I then went back to the bodice I had discarded and cut 2 bands approx 3 inches wide and sewed them together to make a long strip for the waistband. I backed with interfacing and folded edges towards the middle and folded strip in half with right side of fabric on outside. The gathered skirt slipped between the folded waistband and I sewed in place on the machine close to where the band met the skirt, you can see in pic below where the 2 pieces are sewn together. Just add a hook and eye and bingo a new skirt!















A lovely new skirt with patch pockets and hopefully it doesn’t look too school girly!


















So get sewing with all those fab items from the carboot or charity shop that don’t fit as they are but you love the fabric. Check out the other posts in this series, here, here and here.

Happy sewing!

Bluebird xx

sewing with woolens






















For part 3. of the ‘Expand your wardrobe’ series I am going to make a lovely little cardigan from a shrunken and felted jumper. Now I am not known for my care of delicates when washing and therefore I occassionally shrink my woolens! Once they are too small to wear comfortably then don’t bin them or charity shop them – make into a cardi!









First to choose what to edge the cardi with – bias binding or fabric from the stash?









I love old fabric best and as we are edging a straight seam we can use a regular rectangle of fabric without cutting on the bias. But which fabric to choose?















Next you need to cut your jumper open. Measure and mark the centre front line (1.) and then cut with sharp scissors (2.) As the jumper has shrunk due to felting, then the item will not unravel at the cut seam so no need to overlock (3.) Pin your chosen fabric in place to make sure you like your previous selected piece.















As my chosen fabric was barkcloth I decided to face it with an iron-on facing to minimise the chance of frayed edges (1.) As you can see my piece of fabric is small and although a little longer than the cardi edge not very wide, so I decided to widen my pieces with a nice complimentary bias binding (2.) With right sides facing I opened binding and sewed along both edges of both pieces (3.) You can see my patched binding here (4.)















Once my chosen binding is assembled I pin right sides together to the front of the cardigan and sew along with a 1 – 1.5cm allowance (1.) Once this seam is sewn you turn binding to wrong side of bound edge and pin in place, checking that it all looks good from the front (2.) Turn over and sew from the front 2mm from the inner edge of binding.(3.) Edges can be tucked under and sewn when undertaking step 3 (4.)















If you have cut your chosen binding to the length of the cut jumper then you will need to finish the ends (1.) A piece of felt is ideal as it can be cut and sewn in place without turning or hemming (2.)








All done! Now you have a lovely new top with beautiful fabric binding. Just remember not to shrink all your jumpers just because this makes such a good top!



















This is not the first jumper that is now a cardigan in my wardrobe, check out this wonderful acid green version with a beautiful Moda fabric edge!
















All ready for putting away or wearing right away of course!















Check out part 1. and part 2. of the ‘Expand your wardrobe for pennies’ series to catch up on other ideas.

Bluebird xx

Part 4. coming next week

A little dying























I have a beautiful silk dress I had as maid of honour at my friends wedding. It is beautiful and fits perfectly but it is a colour I avoid like the plague! I really don’t like pink but as an expensive dress I certainly couldn’t bring myself to charity shop it or cut it up so I decided that the colour had to change.









I had thought that making it look browned with age might do it so I dyed with tea but it was too subtle. Next I dyed with coffee overnight and hung in the garden to dry but alas still too light. The colour was glorious when wet but once dry it was just still too pink! So it had to be serious dye. Now this not only means buying some dye, I used Dylon in brown, but also remembering the salt, I did not remember to buy the salt until after the boys were asleep so no dying that evening either. It also involved waiting until Mr Bluebird was away for 2 days as he has a strict ‘No dye in the washer’ rule, but hey what he doesn’t know……… etc, etc! The brown dye worked perfectly.









Ta Da! A dress I can wear now, it looks very cerise in this photo but it is much browner in the flesh as it were. Now I know the stitching has stayed a pinky shade but I can live with this, in the past I have even coloured over undyed stitching with felt pens (horror) but as the dress is silk I decided not to.

So take a look around your wardrobe and see if there are clothes that just need a new lease of colour, either to change to a more suitable shade or perhaps to hide any worn spots. And for those of you worried about dye in your washer then I can say since filling mine with brown dye I haven’t seen a single spot of colour on anything else that’s been through the machine!

Bluebird xx

PS Part 3. of the Expand your wardrobe series will be on Tuesday or Wed next week.

sewing beautiful tops in a few hours!























Like many, many of you out there I have a small (!) Pinterest addiction and was posting beautiful clothes to my Fantasy Wardrobe board with no chance of adding them to my real wardrobe as everything i pinned was way out of my budget. So I started pinning to a board of sewing ideas for the wardrobe and one pin that intruiged me was a lovely top that needed no pattern via The Village Haberdashery. It was written by Portia from blog Miss P, a lovely blog of sewing projects, tricks and tips.

The project is extremely easy to follow, taking a few measurements first and then following the steps. I made the first yellow floral top for less than £1 using a duvet cover I bought for £1 at a car boot (also used for this picnic blanket here), I used about 22″ x 45″ of fabric.
















I added top stitching around the neckline (3) and hem and stitched the faced collar at the shoulders for neatness. I also put a little pocket in (1) and chose to go for a button opening at the back (3).

I loved this simple top and have loads of ideas for variations. I have made a 2 so far with the second being longer with a slightly adapted neckline (less wide and half an inch lower at front). Mainly I fancied making one with a little pleat (pin tuck?) at the front (1). I decided I’d cut a little wider to accommodate the pleat but probably needn’t have worried but I love how it came out.















For lots of sewing ideas then follow my Pinterest board. Keep up to date with all of Portia’s projects and tips and keep watching The Daily Stitch, the blog from The Village Haberdashery.

If you do Instagram then follow me for lots of sewing, fabric and Airstream pics at Bluebirdjewellery.

Happy sewing

Bluebird xx

Part 2. will be here over the weekend!

Sewing and wearing























Keep watching for my budget busting posts on expanding and updating your wardrobe. This summer and autumn I’ve been busy sewing, altering and adapting so follow along and get more outfits for less than a yummy lunch in your favourite cafe!

Part one later today is an easy to follow no-pattern top. More posts include adapting clothes you have with dyes, adding trims and re imagining clothes that aren’t quite you!

Bluebird xx

sewing and saving!















I have lots of lovely birthdays this month from my favourite family of people and I thought I’d share a little present making with you. Not only is handmade thoughtful it can also be an affordable way to give gifts. Last Christmas my boys received lovely personalised pencils and I remembered the excitement of seeing my name on sets of pencils as a youngster and although I had forgotten about them, as soon as I saw my boys names emblazoned in gold on their own sets I knew I had to buy some for some of my friends kiddies.

The pencils can be ordered from Studio, this is a UK based company but an internet search will find you similar where you are based. Next I just needed a lovely case to put them in.










I found a brilliant pattern in Simple Sewing with Lola Nova by Alexandra Smith, remember the workshop I did with her in London last year (read about it here). I have made very simple cases before, but generally I make up a pattern and just wing it but today I thought I’d do it properly and follow a pattern, and it was well worth it.










It came out really well, if a tiny bit wonky, and looks so much more lovely than my old basic pouch sewing. It has beautiful box corners and little ribbon loops for helping little fingers unzip or to hang up. I will be making lots more of these for all the sets of pencils I ordered.

Studio 24 also offers a ‘refer a friend’ and if you tell a friend about Studio 24, once they order and you contact studio 24 and tell them your friends customer number and you’ll get some vouchers to spend! Brilliant.















So get sewing now and if you are looking for a lovely sewing book for yourself or for a friend then Simple Sewing if Fab!

Bluebird xx

sewing for summer











As we finally have some sunny weather here its time to head to the seaside or the paddling pool and spread the picnic blanket and eat alfresco. But maybe your picnic rug has seen better days or perhaps like me it was just too ugly!











My blanket was free via my mum and is lovely and light but made of horrid synthetic fleece. Rather than splash out on a lovely new one I thought I’d cover one side with pretty fabric. I had a dark blue floral from last weeks sunday car boot for 50p and some pieces of a yellow duvet cover (£1 from another car boot) as the blue fabric wasn’t quite big enough.











I decided I’d have mainly blue floral with edging in yellow and sewed the pieces together so they formed a single piecethat was a few inches larger than the fleece blanket. Once ironed I just layed fabric right side together with the fleece and sewed nearly all the way round with basic stitch. Once I snipped the corners and turned right side out I top stitched all around. Voila, new picnic blanket.











(I know no. 2 son looks a bit pink in pic above but he really is smothered in factor 50 and sunburn free.)

Happiness is definitely making things!!!

Bluebird xx

happiness is finding vintage fabric!








We are still unpacking at Bluebird corner (only been here a year) and I have been sorting a sewing area. I unpacked a suitcase and found a skirt I made myself when I was about 22 made of fantastic Heals fabric. Now a maxi skirt is not my thing anymore so I chopped the bottom and now I have a nice new A line knee length skirt to swish about in.















Check out the fab skirt fabric, I bagged it at a jumble sale many many moons ago, how come this sort of thing never turns up at jumbles nowadays?















I did the sewing at the caravan and managed to shorten 1 skirt and 2 curtains.















Bluebird xx

PS This blog only shows the nice side of life, what you dont see or hear is the crazy, untidy chaos of everyday. For instance I had been wearing the above skirt for approx 1 hour before no. 2 son decided to get black felt tip on it and I have to admit I did swear (horror) in front of no. 2 son (horror) and walk off muttering loudly to bathroom to rub with soap! But lets just pretent that didn’t happen eh!

button love

Ooooh new glass Czech buttons from Ebay. Now to make some brooches!












Bluebird xx

studio tour with curious clare

Today i have a lovely peek into the studio of Curious Clare. I am lucky enough to have gone to art college with some very talented people and Clare is one of them. She has a Facebook page and a lovely blog.










How inspiring is this as a workspace!

















































What a talented artist Clare is! Drawing and visual studies was a huge part of our Crafts degree and you can see how much sketchbook work and drawing Clare is still doing.




























All the pictures Clare took herself and were on Creative Boom recently which is how I got a glimpse of her studio but I thought I’d ask Clare if I could share them too! She was happy to spread the love with Dandelion and Olive so hope you enjoy her studio loveliness.

Clare’s blog Curious Clare is wonderful and full of images from artists she loves, workshops she has been on, see below for fab creatures she made on a Sally Faulkner workshop and a Samantha Bryan one too, as well as inspiring ideas for you to try and some DIY’s.











Lovely images from Samantha Bryan workshop below.







Clare’s next project is to open an Etsy shop but teaching is getting in the way at the mo so if you’d like a piece of Clare’s work then message her on Facebook.

Thanks Clare for sharing your studio with us all and hurry up with your Etsy shop so we can buy some of your lovely pieces we have been coveting at Dandelion & Olive towers!

Bluebird xx

weddings and how to do it in style













This coming weekend I will be taking part in A Most Curious Wedding Fair on Brick Lane in London. I am organising postcards, printing a banner, polishing wedding rings and choosing my outfit for meeting lots of couples planning their big day. Couples are really excited when they realise rather than tramping high street jewellers they can come and make their wedding rings in my jewellery teaching studio so I am spreading the word to the capital and hoping to inspire some creativity and get couples hammering and crafting and polishing until they have truly special and personal rings to exchange on the big day.

















I thought I would share some of the other exhibitors who will be at the fair alongside me.

This image of a couple with huge love sign is from Scene Setters (website nearly live apparently). Scene Setters make large decorative card props and I adore their glitter stock artwork, how cool would this be at the reception!













Next I love Hattie & Flora event designers with amazing images of their event and promo styling on their website. I love the balloon pics and the intense colourful furniture they offer.



























Next up check out the stationary from Candyflossie, I adore the pinwheels and retro style invites and the save the date invites. All so lovely and unique, especially the pencil save the dates!







For a touch of cool, unique elegance then don a hat from Joelle Reeves Millinery. For me its the pom pom headpieces and bird pieces.





































I have been busy with promo material this last week and have some lovely crisp pics of some wedding rings my couples have made, how lovely are these rings, all made by complete novice jewellery makers. Why not come make your wedding rings too.




























There are lots more exhibitors at the show including photographers, dress designers, caterers and more, more, more. If you are planning a big day then come say hi this weekend or if you can’t make it then check out all the exhibitors here.

Bluebird xx


crochet love















I have been shopping for lovely coloured wool with some vouchers and finally chose a nice selection of cream, greens and dusky pinks for a crochet blanket, but what pattern to make! I have decided on granny square style as it’s easier to cart about between home and the caravan when making but i still can’t pin down a pattern. I have of course been using Pinterest to aid my choice so thought I’d share my favourites.
















Lovely blanket above from Wood and Wool blog.











Pretty geometric crochet throw found in One Kings Lane shop.






















Vintage 70′s crochet from Etsy shop Drowsy Swords, all crocheted in one go but i love it!











Lovely pram blanket from Three Beans in Pod blog.











Lovely blanket at Dottie Angel blog and you can find pattern via Millie Makes blog, after trying this one out I realised it might be best for a smaller project than a bed cover!






















I really love the dark background to the above blanket from Moonshine & Wool blog.
















After trying out a few patterns I have realised that perhaps I should keep it simple, so something like the above pic from Dottie Angel I think! Those squares look simple enough for a novice like me.

Wish me luck and nimble fingers!

Bluebird xx

sitting at my bench this week















I made some necklaces to replace some I sold on Etsy so thought I’d take a few pics at the bench as I went along.















Once I’ve cut the shape out with a piercing saw I texture with a tiny hammer I bought in New York.





























Stars all soldered on and waiting for its chain!

Bluebird xx

grandma’s buttons
















Couldn’t resist ‘Department’ (Hove flea market) on my way to work this week and I managed to snap up a rather lovely old tin of buttons.















I am loving the scenes of holiday destinations on the side of the tin!















Think I had better get to making some brooches and necklaces now!

Bluebird xx

diy christmas baubles

I decided to have a break from button brooches today and finally got to play with some honeycomb paper. I bought mine from here on eBay for only a few pounds each piece and as I love clashing colours I went for the 2 tone ones!















I had lots of fun playing with this so thought you might like to see too, I even made a little ad for Pinterest to draw in my followers!









Gather your supplies and tools like above, I also used some really nice thick brown card stock which we had in a drawer, any colour would do, choose what you like or you already have.















1. Design ideas that can be cut out of card to surround your honeycomb bauble. 2. Draw outline onto your card. 3. Fill in your design, mine is simple lines but go crazy if you like! 4. Cut out your card shape.















1. Draw a semi circle on the honeycomb paper, making sure the flat side runs alongside the honeycomb edge. 2. cut out your semi circle and glue to centre of card.  3. Cut piece of thin card 1 mm smaller than honeycomb semi circle and glue onto semi circle top. 4. Your pretty honeycomb is now attached on one side and you have a flat pack decoration.



















Now it opens like above. I use a glue dot to keep it open. Then make some more! Then add some ribbon or ric rac and hang ‘em up.









































I also made some plain baubles to hang all year round.















My advice is buy some cool honeycomb paper now and have some fun!!!

Bluebird xx

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