Christina Sparkle

  1. Coco: Week 3

    coco-stripes

    They are both coming together so well now. The sleeves and side seams are now finished, next week will be hemming and then I’m all done.

    Last week when sewing the collar on to the black and cream top I zigzagged the seam allowances to the top, as per the instructions but this didn’t work out right at all. Firstly the zigzag stitch was too tight which resulted in a wavy effect, nothing a good press couldn’t iron out but still, not ideal. Secondly, the idea is that the zigzag would be covered by the collar but that really wasn’t the case on my top.

    I decided to unpick, painstakingly, and then redid the understitching with a double needle. This has resulted in a much nicer effect, far more professional looking.

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  2. Coco: Week 2

    coco-week2

    Second week of my Coco course with Janet from Kitchen Table Sewing and now I have started to put the pieces together. For my black and cream top I am going to make the version that has a collar, a sixties style rolled neck that reminds me of the collar on my bridesmaid’s dresses. For my grey and black top, which I’m making on my own at home, I’ve gone for a standard neckline and this will be the most simple version. I’m not even going to do a pocket on the grey and black top because breast pockets are just a no-no with a bust like mine.

    Things I’ve learned this week: how to use a double needle for hemming (never ever try to zigzag with a double needle); it is important to hold onto the threads when starting to sew on a modern sewing machine (I’m so used to my 1960s Bernina); unpicking stitches in jersey fabric should be avoided at all costs (I’ve been doing it as delicately as possible!).

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  3. Pixel Heart Card DIY

    woven-heart-how-to

    I saw this image on Pinterest this week but unfortunately I can’t find where it originated from. Only after a reverse Google image search did I find the blog that it came from and, what a cute blog it is… Mini-eco! I subscribed straight away.

    I think it is so important to credit the original creator of an image. Especially now when there are so many amazing bloggers and creators out there that we could all be discovering! I usually find that Pinterest pins are credited and there is no problem, they make it very easy to pin an image from a blog or website and keep the source. Tumblr on the other hand is quite the opposite! This time I’ve gone back and edited my pin to point to the right link so hopefully future pinners can find Mini-eco and all of her amazing creations.

    If you find an image and you don’t know its source you can do a reverse image search by downloading the image to your desktop, then browse to Google Image Search and drag the image into the search bar. This will search the web for similar images and you can usually find the original within the first page or two of links. My search resulted in lots of links to Pinterest and then on the second page I found Mini-eco’s blog with the full tutorial.

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  4. Coco: Week 1

    IMG_0473

    Last week I started on Kitchen Table Sewing‘s Coco course. I’m really excited to learn how to make my own t-shirts and imagine all the possibilities I can create. No longer limited by what is on trend, or available in the shops at that time.

    In the first session we just cut out all our pieces of the pattern. I have used this black and cream striped jersey fabric from Dragonfly Fabrics for a classic Breton style (and to go in my Autumn Capsule). I also found some grey and black stripes at Fabric World in Bedford, so I’m making a second Coco at home to really embed in my mind all the tips that Janet gives.

    Things I’ve learned so far: Jersey fabric needs a ballpoint machine needle (these look and feel exactly the same as standard needles, confusing huh?); you don’t need to overlock jersey (the edges will just roll once it is washed a few times); and aligning stripes when cutting fabric is really hard (either spend most of your time getting it right or just go with the wonkiness, I choose the latter).

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  5. Little Lucy

    little-lucy

    On our various trips to Berlin I’ve built a little collection of Little Lucy photos. Little Lucy is a character by El Bocho who is on a mission to kill her cat in any way possible. I love El Bocho’s work, he also has a series of melancholy women and a series of Berlin tourist tips from a little character who has a similar style to Little Lucy.

    The tour we took on our most recent trip to Berlin showed us so much street art which was really inspiring. The artistic subculture of Berlin is really embraced by the city and that is really refreshing. It really makes me want to create, not necessarily street art, but anything at all.

     

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  6. Yet another week in Berlin

    berlin-map3

    DURATION: 5 days, 4 nights

    STAY: Apartment in Kreuzberg

    BREAKFAST:

    Barcomis Cafe – The menu here is focused on pastries and bagels so it’s great for a big breakfast. I went for the peanut butter and jam bagel, paired with a smoothie which was heavenly.

    Fleury Cafe – This cafe is probably the ultimate example of a great breakfast and brunch cafe in Berlin. The menu is great with small breakfasts, like Muesli any yoghurt, through to full brunch plates which include cheese, meats and fruit. We found this to be really busy all the time. On Sunday morning there were absolutely no tables, on Monday there were tables, but only outside. Well worth a short wait though, the breakfast here was my favourite.

    Fabisch – As the Fleury Hotel was so busy on Sunday we headed down the street to the Circus Hotel (which was actually the hotel we stayed in on our honeymoon), and their cafe Fabisch. They offer a full breakfast buffet, eat as much as you like. The prices are a few Euro more expensive for anyone who isn’t staying in the hotel but they do have a fantastic range. If you want to sit and graze all day this is a great venue for it. They also have teabags that you fill yourself which go down very well with hot drink lovers. The staff all wear Fred Perry so it must be an amazing place to work.

    DINNER:

    Freischwimmer – We first visited this restaurant last year and loved it so much we had to return to it’s unusual location down the side of a petrol station and alongside the canal. There are two menus, one for the grill and one for the pizza oven. We always seem to get the grill menu and love it but the pizzas do look really tasty too. The cocktails at Freischwimmer were the best of the trip I think.

    White Trash Fast Food – We visited this favourite of ours at their new location, just across the canal from Freischwimmer. The interior has been transported over from their old location and a huge outdoor space has been added too. We sat outside and ate huge burgers with amazing cocktails. You enter through a caravan and there is an entrance fee which seems a little strange, I’m not sure what this was for but it was only €1. They seem to get very busy, even though they have so much more space now but you can book online to secure a table.

    District MOT – Berlin is well known for its Vietnamese food and we love this restaurant for its great decor and fun atmosphere. The whole place is decorated with a Vietnamese street style. Lights and wires are pinned across the ceiling, Hello Kitty surgical masks decorate the front entrance, and barbed wire adorns the stairs. The menu is full of small dishes to share and it is all served very quickly so you have no chance of feeling hungry for long. There are larger dishes too but the sharers are the ones that attracted us. I definitely recommend the Strawberry Mojito cocktail, it goes with everything.

    SEE/DO:

    Knöpf – This shop has the most amazing selection of vintage buttons, more than you can ever imagine. They also stock vintage brooches and accessories alongside a few minatures.

    L’Astretti - I found this fabric shop while walking back to our apartment from the U-Bahn. They actually have two locations, one with jersey fabrics, and the other with quilting cottons. The range was great, prices weren’t cheap but it is really nice to find some interesting fabrics that I don’t usually find in the UK.

    Museum of Things – This is a really unusual museum with a massive collection of everyday objects from the 20th and 21st Centuries. The items are grouped in categories which really highlight the sheer number of things which have been mass produced and sold all over the world over the last 100 years.

    Alternative Berlin Tour – We took the tour in the morning on Saturday and were taken all over Berlin’s best street art sites. Starting at Alexanderplatz we took the tram over to Hakescher Markt to see an alley looked after by a street art collective and I got lots of shots of my favourite, Little Lucy. We also visited an old office building which now holds artist studios and has a Berlin wall exhibition collaborating with the latest street artists.

    Urban Spree – After a couple of hours on the tour we ended in Freidrichsehn at this old train depot. The depot now holds gallery space, a craft market and lots of street food stalls. We grabbed some Japanese curry and then I bought a tote bag from JIAB, a local artist who I’ve noticed every time I’ve been to Berlin. Her work is beautiful and haunting, I didn’t want to miss out on having something of hers if we don’t go back to Berlin for a few years. Other highlights of the market were the jewelry, baby clothes and art prints.

    Flea Market – We can’t get enough of the Mauer Park flea market. This time I spent most of my money on vinyl, apparently I’m a vinyl collector now! The weather had been rainy over night so there weren’t quite so many stalls and people out this time but was still not to be missed. I was drooling over all the of the mid-century furniture that I wanted to take back with me. I wish that I had bought a Mauer Park tote bag this time around.

    Photobooth – I won’t stop going on about these, a photo set from one of Berlin’s black and white photobooths is the ultimate souvenir from Berlin. We took ours outside Urban Spree on this trip.

    photobooth

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  7. Crochet Baby Blanket

    Crochet baby blanket

    I’ve taken a little break from dressmaking now that the weather is getting more Autumnal – I have an urge to crochet when it is cold. This is my go-to handmade gift whenever my friends are having babies. I’ve made it in blue, brown and white; pink brown and white; pink, blue, green white and red; and now in red, black and white.

    The pattern is from The Happy Hooker, which is the book that I actually used to learn how to crochet back in 2008. The blanket is really easy to make, and doesn’t take too long. Personally, I’m not a fan of knitting because it takes so long, crochet on the other hand is much faster – I need that feeling of progression quickly otherwise I get bored.

    I made it for my friend Amy from That’s Sew Amy, we have known each other for a long time now since we bonded over our love for No Doubt and Gwen Stefani. Naturally, when she announced her pregnancy, I had to make a blanket in Gwen’s signature colours and the theme for No Doubt’s Rock Steady album.

    The pattern also comes with instructions for a hat which I usually make to match but as Amy is also a big Mario Bros. fan I went for a cute mushroom hat instead. I followed the same pattern for the hat, without the stripes or ear flaps and then crocheted circles to be sewn on.

    Here’s a video I recorded while making the blanket…

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