Sunday, 2 November 2014

it's good to give giveaway

Poor neglected dusty blog.  Life takes over sometimes. Plus I feel full doubt and so very tired,I keep going to sleep rather than sit and type up a post.  I am surprised to still have readers.  Thank you sincerely for popping in and for commenting.  I love reading comments.

I have a lovely friend who keeps giving me stuff.  Recently she gave me a bag and some sewing notions.  I am grateful but I feel the walls closing in on me as we have so much stuff in this house.

I thought I'd offer it up here.  It's a little bag filled with notions, some sewing  beads and a bit of fabric.  I have added in some stash fabric. This is a giveaway for  you if you like slightly tarnished and faded packaging, hodgepodge potluck, small pieces of fabric and shiny beads.  Oh and vaguely ethnic, animal print quilted bags.

If you are interested just leave a comment, with obvious contact details if I can't just click on your name.  I will leave the post open till November 10th, 8am GMT.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Anti UFO project

A colourful dress for Little I, needs a zip and finishing off
I finished off my Salme Patterns Minna blouse, details in a future post
I have learnt through experience that signing up to online challenges is not a good thing for me as I rarely manage to complete them.  However I did decide to join in with Adrienne at
 All Style All Substance in her Anti UFO project.  I was hoping it will give me impetus to clear the backlog of UFOs cluttering up  my house.  The deadline is the 31st October and realistically I know I won't make it (partly as it is holidays from school from 23rd - 31st)  but I hope to get at least part of my UFOs out of the way.  

So far I have realised I have more UFOs than I first thought.  I have included two make that need mending.  Here's the list created three weeks ago: 
  1. Blue fish dress for Little I - needs zip, facing stitching down, sleeves hemming and hem.
  2. Salme Patterns Minna blouse - needs facing stiching down.
  3. Grey jersey dress for Little I - needs hemming
  4. Denim jacket - needs topstiching, collar finishing, cuffs, sleeve insertion
  5. Tova Blouse needs mending on the yoke seam
  6. Traveller dress - needs unpicking at waist, reinserting straighter!Buttonholes and buttons
  7. Vogue skirt needs new zip and buttonhole plus buttons
  8. Ottobre tweed shorts - half made
Having this list has really helped me to focus and concentrate.  I included a couple of already mades that needed altering or mending.  You can already see from the strike-throughs that I have accomplished some of the list.  This also shows how long I have been writing this post for! 

Tova blouse needed stitching up on the yoke 

A jersey dress for Little I, needs hemming and a neck band
A traveller dress, started for summer 2014, maybe it will be done for next summer
Taking part in this project reminded me to order a new twin needle and yesterday I sat down and did lots of topstitching on my denim jacket.  Phew...I am determined not to start any new sewing till this jacket is done!  Even though I am browsing patterns and thinking of plans in my head.  Is anyone else joining in the Anti UFO project?

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

FO: Simplicity 2246/ Traveller tunic for autumn

Dress #1 - thrifted duvet cover used as fabric
Hah hah...regular readers may fall of their chair at this actual completed sewn garment.  Whatever next eh?
It is the Sew Lisette/ Simplicity Traveller pattern 2246.
I made it as a dress (View A) twice.
Dress #2 in dark blue cotton

   This time I opted for view B, more of a long shirt or do you call it a tunic?  What ever it is an ideal length to go over jeans or leggings.
 I used some cotton fabric I bought on sale at the start of the year.  I think it is Robert Kaufman chambray but I cannot quite remember. A lot has happened since I bought it.  I am not even sure where I bought it from or why. This is weird as I rarely buy fabric.  It was some kind of impulse purchase.   But it was hanging around in my stash, taking up too much space. I am glad to have used it up.  It looks brownish but in fact is orange and purple threads woven together.  This gives it an iridescent quality in some lights.
I cut a straight size 12.  I didn't do any adjustments except shorten the sleeve length.
View B has a shorter length and a curved hem, it has a standup collar and button plackets.  It is really straightforward to sew.  Just two bust darts and then seams, a tiny bit of gathering to ease in the sleeve.  I think it could be a good pattern if you wanted to conquer a button hole making fear as you have to sew eight but there is nothing else in the pattern that is tricky.

That's not a tail, just a cardigan hanging up behind me
For buttons I used these painted wooden ones given to me by Katy in last year's Spring Sewing Swap.   I hesitated over using them as I wasn't sure if novelty buttons scream HANDMADE.  But then I decided they gave the shirt a bit of a lift.

 I also made the matching tie belt.  I have been wearing the tunic a lot as I have found it to be a great transitional autumnal top.  It has a bit of ease throughout but I like that as I am so uncomfortable in anything clingy.  Plus it covers up a multitude of chocolate eating.   I am thinking about making another one. I 'd quite like a plaid one for winter.

I have seen other similar styles of pattern out there and was tempted by a few, but I just don't have spare money now to buy patterns so I am determined to sew with what I have.  I am still, as ever, fascinated by how much mileage and variation I can get from one pattern.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Two and a half.

Rearranging pictures
Opening drawers
Emptying drawers
The list goes on....
Free will

All this means not so much sewing is happening and even less blogging. Miraculously I have made a shirt/tunic/thing recently and will photo it soon. When I am less drowning and more waving :) In the meantime please send me more patience and a sense of humour?

Friday, 29 August 2014

Adoration of prym pliers

Not much sewing happening here with school holidays but last week I added buttons to my denim jacket.  I was expecting an hour of huffing and puffing, cursing with a hammer and hammering my fingers, but then in a lightning flash I remembered I had some prym pliers.  

Bought about three years ago on eeeeeebay, they held the adaptors and the buttons
Then they pushed the buttons in.

They made the job so quick and painless.
Sometimes the right tool really does help get the job done.   Though I confess to breaking my twin needles about three weeks ago on all the topstitching.  I still have to buy a new one to restart.  At first the topstitching was fun, now it is dragging on, it's not quite so fun.  There is just so much topstitching!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

reading: the pink suit

I don't get much time to browse in the library, going with Rocket Girl prevents leisurely looking. But last week I snatched The Pink Suit from the shelf before chasing after my runaway child, who can open the main doors and run to the lift. A hilarious adventure for her, a stressful race for me.

I have only just started reading the book but am delighted by the unexpected writing about sewing, couture, fabrics, toiles....Yes, that's right, a novel with detailed descriptions of the process of making a muslin!  That got your attention didn't it?  The central character is a young Irish immigrant working for the fashion house who dressed Jackie Kennedy. It is partly love story, also a tale of worshipping a hero and the reality versus the illusion.  In this case the hero being worshipped is Jackie Kennedy and the central character travels from starry eyed adoration to..well, to something more cynical but I don't want to spoil the plot.  Interesting though to see how Jackie Kennedy was such a popular role model for style and dressing in the early '60s.  I know we often still refer to her now, but then she was massive (at least according to this book) However, when reading this book my interest has been captivated by the sewing descriptions, the beautiful fabrics and the intricacies of the
making process.

Here is a description of the central character's apartment:
 "There were dozens of boxes filled with zippers that were grouped according to color- and the same was true of rickrack and lace.  Kate prided herself on having thread of nearly every single shade ever made, she had eight variations of violet alone.  Buttons were kept in old mason jars that lined the windowsills.  Patterns were filed in a battered four-drawer cabinet that she'd found on the street.  Fabric was piled everywhere"

Wouldn't you like to visit?? I would.  So, has anyone else read anything good recently?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A fast breezy skirt

I had avoided the maxi skirt for a long time.  But last summer started enviously noticing them on other people.  I have the skin type that should be covered up from the sun, freckly and fair and so the idea of a skirt that covers my legs but allows me to stay cool is very appealing in our current hot spell.  Other days I just slather on the children's factor fifty.  
I used a length of light cotton sent in Alessa's parcel.  I had been mulling over a maxi skirt but thought I had no fabric till it dawned on me last friday to use this fabric.    I simply seed up a rectangle adding a side pocket on one side and a casing at the waist for elastic.  Then I tried it on and decided it was too wide so I sliced about four inches off one side and resewed the seam.  I hemmed it and the whole process took about an hour.
Since completing it I have worn it three times in six days as it is so practical for hot days.  BUT I have to confess around the house I keep hitching it up and even hoisted it into my knicker elastic!  So maybe I am not a natural ong skirt wearer.  I am not 100% certain if the maxi looks good or bad on me, and as I am quite short I am not sure if I look  even shorter in a maxi.  But I think it is partly getting used to wearing a different silhouette and length.  My goto, default skirt is a low waisted A line hitting the knees and I must have made about 5 of these plus I have a couple of old RTW ones too.  Do you have a default style skirt? And have you stepped out of your skirt comfort zone with success?

Monday, 21 July 2014

On my sewing table

Except I don't really have a sewing table.  More accurately, on my ironing board and on my dining table....
Burda 7018.  I decided to make a jacket using the remaining denim left over from my V1246 skirt.  
I browsed my patterns and hesitated for weeks over what jacket to make but finally opted for this one as I wanted to try a jeans jacket.  I bought it in the half price Burda sale last month at Jaycotts. For some reason Blogger keeps rotating the photo below, so please excuse this.  I am making view A, shortish with a waistband.

So far, sewing this jacket has been fun.  It is the kind of step by step construction that I like and making it has made me think about the construction of RTW jackets.  I have sewn the curved front seams, the fake pocket tabs, the side and shoulder seams and the waistband.  Plus I have added side pockets as I know I won't get much wear out of a pocketless jacket.  

And then there's the topstitching!  Twin needle time. (A new twin needle was among my birthday presents from my lovely friend Emma, **Hello Emma**) I spent about three weeks thinking about what colour to do my topstitching.  I kept checking out any denim jackets I saw.  Finally I decided last week to do the top stitching in red. 
The frustrating part is I have to sew the construction in blue threads, then changes needles and threads for topstitching.  To have two machines like Sonja would be brilliant for a project like this!  If you haven't tried twin needles for top stitching I recommend you do - it is fab.
I am expecting this project to take quite a while to finish as it is now school holidays.  But for the first time in ages I am really enjoying the sewing journey rather than rushing to the end product.  What is on your sewing table?  And is it really a dedicated sewing table?  Or does it share functions with other people, eating, other crafts....?

Monday, 14 July 2014

Lovely things from lovely peeps

Oh, sweep away the cobwebs from this blog. I didn't intend to stay away from this place for so long.  Real life just got in the way, various minor illnesses and too many other events.  I kept wondering if I will lose all my readers by being so neglectful. Maybe?  I hope not.  This post has been languishing half written for at last a month.  So I pulled myself together, left the dirty dishes in the sink and got typing.

I was very lucky and won some great sewing goodies.  Firstly this pattern, Butterick 5612 from Philippa.  She didn't tell me in advance so it was a lovely surprise when it dropped through the letterbox.  I have already sewn up view A and still have to blog about it.  

Then I received a handknitted cardigan from Jessica that she had offered as part of
Spring Cleaning Swap Meet.  I still have to photograph the cardigan.  She was generous enough to include some fabrics.  There is a black knit fabric, some stripey jersey and this cute cotton. mind is whirring with ideas.  There is enough of the black for a pair of jersey trousers - and I have several pattern choices.  I just have to choose either a drapey flowey (is that  a real word?) pair or a more fitted style.  The stripes I have earmarked for a top if I can figure out cutting and pattern placement.  I was thinking of using the japanese doll cotton for a skirt for Little I.

Next I won the "white bundle" in Alessa's giveaway.  There is a large piece of the grey/pink floral striped cotton.  It is a really nice light weight and I was thinking of a dress.
The other pieces are smaller and I am planning to use them for my little girls.
This black and white cotton was also in Alessa's bundle and I have used it already.  Do you want a peek of what I made?  Well, here it is... is  the Butterick top from Philippa's pattern.  I will witter on write a constructive review soon about it.  I have doubts as to whether it suits me greatly but I have worn it lots anyway as it is so light and ideal for summer days when I don't want to have arms out.  Oh and please feel free to laugh at my unfortunate bad haircut. Happily it is now grown out a bit.  It was cheap and sometimes you gets what you pays for.  A lesson learnt. I have to say a big thank you to Jessica, Alessa and Philippa.  
So a big thank y

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

FO: V1247 skirt in denim

Ha, Sonja and were right!  It was Vogue 1247 shown in the previous post.  It's that binding, isn't it?  A true clue.
I don't often buy patterns but I did buy this after seeing Solvi's red version here.  Also check out Winnie's skirt here.  I made my first version just over a year ago in thrifted green cord and I like it but always had it in mind I would like to make it in denim.  So those sewing deities aligned when I went to visit a scrapstore.  Imagine my glee when I found they sell end of roll fabrics.  I bought 3.75 metres of denim for £9.  It was literally the end of the roll.   Tee hee.  Sadly the people I was with had no idea of the price of denim fabric, but I hope you can be happy with me!

When cutting out, I added a couple of inches in length as this skirt sews up short and there is only so much middle aged leg I am willing to flash.
The pattern calls for a lot of binding of seams.  I used gingham binding that the lovely Jessica sent me in a parcel.   I love the simplicity of this skirt, it provides a basic that I can  wear with lots of different things and is robust enough for the toils and turmoils of daily life.  

 Plus, regular readers know of my pocket love, and this skirt has two great pockets.  Ideal for hiding keys, phone and choking hazards from RG.
 I made the pocket inners from some John Kaldor fabric from my mum's house.  I only have about a fat quarter of this so I am using it for linings and facings.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Ow! Work in progress

This week I have cut out and been sewing a denim skirt.  Two out of three children were asleep so I thought I could get it finished,  I sewed the waistband in place and trimmed the bias binding.

 Trimmed it with my big orange sewing scissors...and, yes, did you guess?  I also trimmed my thumb!  Ouch, ouch, ouch.  
Maybe night time sewing after a 4.30am wake up and non stop day is not such a great idea.  Too  much rushing.  I was just so keen to finish something and blog about it, not to mention wear it!  I am off to watch Wallander instead.

Anyone else have a sewing related injury?  And can you guess my pattern?  I think the bias binding gives it away if you know this pattern.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Me Made May - 9th - 20th May

 Oh my, May just goes on and on.  I have worn me mades every day but have missed several photos.  I have also been dogged by the strange lack of focus when using the timer on my camera.  I have taken so many bad photos this month that I resorted to a collage to try and hide my crappy skills.  So, clockwise from the biggest image:
Amy Butler Anna Tunic in grey with grey Nora tee underneath
Sew U corduroy skirt
Pink Lola dress
Floral Simplicity 2246/ Sew Lisette Traveller dress
Gather Patterns Mortmain dress (unblogged)
April Rhodes Staple Dress in spotty black and white
And today - 20th May:  Simplicity 3969 BBW dress

Conclusions and thoughts so far?
I cringe at seeing myself in photos some days.  Why persist in tak?ing crappy pics?  Why not apply some make up first?  Um... um.....I am not sure why I keep doing this but I am keeping on doing it.  Smiles.  How is your May going

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Me Made May 14 - the first week

I wrote this post  and inserted pictures, labelled them, and then accidentally deleted the lot last night!  Needless to say, I went to bed in a very bad mood.  So I am beginning all over again.  

Day 1 Portfolio dress 
I wasn't sure whether to take part in Me Made May.  I participated each time and always enjoyed myself, loving the comunity and I have met some blogger friends through Zoe's me-made months.  But recently life has thrown a few wobblers my way and I am very very tired.  And ver very low on free time.  So I have done my own Minnado thing:
Day 3 - April Rhodes Staple Dress

Day 4 - Simplicity/ Sew Lisette Portfolio top and Sew Liberated Skinny jeans
 I decided to do weekly round up posts and see how my month of photos looks at the end.  

 Eagle eyed readers will notice no Day 2 picture.  I just didn't get to take one.  But promise I wore my grey lola dress.
Day 6 - Simplicity 3835 top and Sew liberated jeans
So far, I have realised: May in the UK can mean many different weathers.
And taking a photo a day highlights the varying levels of energy and mood swings!  
Day 7 - Amy Butler Anna tunic.  I have worn this for four years now and
never saw how unflattering it is till now :)