10 Years ago today!
Sorry, more By Hand London dressing going on here…
Let me introduce to you Annalex; Elisalex’s bodice and Anna’s maxi skirt. More Mrs Robinson on the leg front though than Angelina! I made this a long long long time ago (August!) but By Hand have just released this ‘love child’ post so I thought I really ought to start attending to this here blog again now I’ve sat those exams!!
You got a sneek peak of this dress in my post about my Victoria Blazer. There’s not a lot really to say about this dress! The bodice is lined and the skirt french seamed. It did take a bit of adjustment to get the skirt panels to continue the lines from the bodice, but nothing overly complicated. I just made some skirt panels wider and some narrower as necessary!
I originally had a completely different plan for this dress. I wanted to use a tropical print for the centre panels of the skirt and bodice and then a plain black for the sides to give a really neat colour block effect but I couldn’t find the print I’d imagined in my head anywhere. I’m still on the look out though as that dress has to be made!
So I used this cotton sateen that came from my Goldhawk Road jaunt. I love polkadots but if they’re too regimented it annoys me for some reason! I much prefer a more random dottiness (which describes me quite well…). So when I saw this fabric in a window display I needed 3m of it! Needed I tell you! At £5 a meter and 60″ wide that was no hardship either. As long as you don’t have a directional print it’s perfectly possible to get a maxi from a reasonable amount of fabric.
My only miff with the fabric was that when I got it home it had a grubby mark at intervals along the selvedge where the roll had been propped on the shop floor. I could not get this out so had to work round it. If I’d known it was there I would have negotiated a better price on the fabric. Ah well, live and learn.
So the bodice is lined (using some nautical vintage cotton) as per the Elisalex instructions and the skirt is french seamed as per Anna’s. I hemmed the slit by hand as well as the hem and used a hand picked regular zip rather than an invisible one.
There’s not a lot more to say really! The mash-up of two gorgeous BHL dresses is a success in my eyes and those girls can do no wrong. Georgia is in the que and Charlotte has also been added so I now have the full collection… I really must photograph Anna; the post is written but, photographs…
Oh, and it was my birthday over the weekend! The Charlotte skirt was a gift from me to me (to be made up in a small hounds tooth), I also received a new food processor as I blew up the last one (it was 15 years old!!), the Batman Trilogy (Christian Bale versions), a new cycle helmet, a Crud Catcher rear mudguard and a bike trailer for Boy as he’s not up to long distance rides yet. Also the Rock of Ages sound track as well as Despicable Me 2 (if the postman ever brings it – it’s allegedly out for delivery as I type…)
I was also treated to a pedicure so I have pretty toes at the moment and as I’m rubbish at coming up with a gift list I now have money to spend on Amazon and some cash to spend on whatever I like! Any suggestions?!
Life, it is happening and blogging is not. Fireworks have been and gone (no more late nights on that front), I’ve got three law exams next week being fuelled by tea and have started planning Boy’s 4th Super Hero themed birthday party. After the exams I hope to have a little more time to spend with you guys. Sewing has been neglected but I still have things I made in the summer I haven’t shared with you yet plus a more recently completed Archer and Bombshell! I also owe Evie some photos and really ought to sort out the house… I have a week off soon and I am really looking forward to it!
I thought I’d break up the By Hand London love in that’s going on around here with a return to our favourite Canadian designer! This is my second version of the Cambie and this time I chose to use the A-line skirt as gathers on my waist aren’t my favourite thing!
I made this dress for a party with a BBC theme – which is about as broad a remit as you can get! I decided to go with Star Trek as I used to spend every Tuesday evening sat on the floor in the lounge, eating dinner with my Dad watching The Next Generation on BBC2.
Captain Jean-Luc Piccard was and is one of my heroes! And when I saw the above it was just perfection.
But back to the dress! As I mentioned, it’s Sewaholic’s Cambie with the A-Line skirt. Bodice wise it is identical to the first version; usual FBA and sway back adjustments. The skirt is as Tasia drafted. It all went together beautifully.
I had a lot of fun turning the plain Enterprise printed fabric (from Plush Addict) into the gorgeous Ombre you see! I did a bit of Google research (seriously, doesn’t all research start there?!) and used this tutorial to dye the dress. Because I wanted the Ombre fading down the dress I made the dress shell first and then dyed it in a mix of Navy and Amethyst Dylon dye with the shoulders staying in the longest. That was fun and messy! But as I made this dress back in June (I did warn you I was way behind on blogging my makes!) I played with the dye outside.
It’s not a perfect job, there are some bright pink spots where I didn’t quite mix the powder properly into the water before dunking the dress, but I kinda like the odd bright pink spots dotted across it.
I then finished the construction with the bodice lining etc as per Tasia’s instructions.
Just to finish off the outfit, I bought a communicator style brooch from eBay and wore that on the dress as well (Not a TNG one though too much ££! It’s the style in the recent films which I loved!). I got so many comments on the dress and I can also wear it as day wear. In fact I’m wearing it today, along with my Victoria Blazer whose lining coordinates beautifully with those bright pink spots!
The Victoria Blazer, of course. Not named for me but I can dream, right? I mean who wouldn’t want to be one of the By Hand London girls?! I bought this pattern on the way home from the Goldhawk Road meet-up in August and all the fabric for this project came from that venerable street of fabric retailers although I only paid for the lining! I also made this in August and am still catching up with all the garments I’ve made and want to share with you!
Now before you start to panic that I pilfered my way from one end of the road to the other I have one word for you: Swap. I have never experienced anything like it in all my life. Seriously, there was so much gorgeous fabric needing a new home! Everything from Liberty Lawn to mystery vintage synthetics, miles of jersey, notions, patterns… It was somewhat overwhelming!
So I hung back and didn’t lunge for the table, I just let everyone else do their thing and then had a look to see whether there was anything I wanted. I picked up two pieces, some navy cotton drill / twill and a mystery fibre tiny houndstooth.
The navy twill / drill became my blazer.
I’d actually bought the lining earlier in the day whilst Roisin was still with us as I’d seen it in one of the shops (on the same side of the tube station) and as I knew she’d already made the cropped version which was also my plan I sought her expertise on the amount needed. 1m was advised and it was perfect and I think the fabric was only 45″ wide.
So this little jacket cost me the price of the pattern and £5 on some sort of cotton blend brocade in cerise and blue and a thank you to whoever brought that navy fabric to the swap!
I love this little jacket and whilst I didn’t line the sleeves like Sonja I did slipstitch the lining to the armhole seam, enclosing all the raw edges. I also used one of the lovely labels that come with the By Hand London patterns; for some reason I guard these things and this is the first one I’ve used despite now having made four iterations of BHL patterns!
And I also have the winners of the Simplicity Give Away!!
Congratulations to Jenni and Tracy who each won the trouser pattern and to Amy and Grace who each won a copy of the dress! You should each have received an email from me!
I’m slowly catching up with all the things I’ve made over the summer! This dress has earned the status of being ‘precious’ for a number of reasons.
First up, it’s responsible for starting my love affair with By Hand London patterns. This was my first pattern from those incredibly talented girls and what can I say, that bodice is a dream, a dream I tell you! I love the scooped neckline and the plunging back and the princess seams.
The second reason is that I wore this dress (having hemmed it the night before using a head torch in bed) to the Goldhawk Road meetup in August. So this dress was made for a much anticipated event and has a lot of very happy memories attached to it.
The fabric is Michael Miller and is called Rigging from his Ahoy Matey collection. It’s a gorgeous fabric that just behaves really well and presses beautifully. Rosin who blogs at Dolly Clackett is also a fan of this range of fabrics and has used this print here and using Ship Shape in the orange colour way here as well Stay the Course here (which I also have in the stash and is destined to be a Belladone, probably next spring now.)
The dress is an Elisa-ish as I chickened out on the tulip skirt. I’ve got curves as is and I didn’t know if that was a step too far so for this version I created a pleated skirt using the full width of the fabric. Nice and simple and doesn’t add too much bulk at the waist. I also used a ‘Tango’ orange invisible zip. I have no idea how I cam to have such a blazing orange zip in my collection but it matches the orange accents beautifully.
I’ve been wearing this dress a lot and will be wearing it with tights and a cardigan as the weather is now so autumnal (well it is at the moment as I’m catching up on blog posts and scheduling like mad!) although if we do have an Indian Summer and late September gives us one last burst of sunshine I wont complain! In short, I wish I’d bought this pattern a year ago when it was released rather than waiting a good twelve months to get on the By Hand London band wagon!
Put it this way, I felt so good in this dress and received so many compliments on that sunny day in London I ordered the Victoria pattern on the train on my way home!
PS. I haven’t forgotten about the Simplicity Pattern giveaway, I’ll be posting the winners soon!
I love wearing dresses and cute tops and skirts that I’ve made. I also love coming home at the end of the day and putting on something that I can lounge around in comfortably. Enter the Tofino pattern by Sewaholic!
I’d intended to make these at the time Karen ran her Tofino PJ party but didn’t have time to make PJs in the run up to my sister’s wedding. So these were made a while ago but definitely after the pyjama party. I absolutely adore the fabric and have to say a massive thank you to Kate at M is for Make in helping me select the right coloured solid turquoise blue to go with the Supernova fabric. I made the piping in navy and I don’t find it uncomfortable to sleep on.
In fact these have been keeping me company in Preston whilst I’m on a course for work. It’s nice to end the day lounging on the bed wearing these and a vest top whilst catching up with what you’re all up to and watching a bit of telly.
I did alter the pattern a little in that I took some of the width off the leg pattern and added it to the side panel to get a better balance between the two. I also lopped an insane amount off the leg length (a not uncommon adjustment with these!) and they still drag on the floor a little when I walk, but I like to be able to tuck my feet into them when on the sofa. Helps to keep my toes warm as I’m not a great fan of slippers; I’d much rather be in bare feet. Other than that they’re made as per the instructions and were a very fast and satisfying make. Not a lot more to say really other than these are incredibly comfy and just a little bit more glam than the rest of my PJ collection! I’m looking forward to making some more in a soft flannel for the cooler weather.
PS If you fancy winning either of these two Simplicity patterns, please let me know which one you’d like on this post! You have until midnight BST / GMT+1 on Sunday (just before Monday begins!)
I was among the host of lucky bloggers Simplicity contacted wondering if I’d like to choose a pattern to review and also hold a give away with. After talking it though with a rather lovely blogger who’s got more experience of these sorts of posts, I gratefully and somewhat gleefully accepted. This was back in June. I owe Hannah a massive apology for the length of time it has taken for me to get the dress sewn and also get the post up. Hannah, I’m so so sorry.
One of the most enjoyable parts of this whole process was trying to come up with a short list from Simplicity‘s massive catalogue. I was intrigued by the Amazing Fit concept having seen Karen’s version of 1882. I was also intrigued as to whether the concept would work for me as I have a 6″ difference between my high bust and full bust measurements. I chose S2217 to try out and I’m rather pleased with the results!
In a nut shell, Simplicity have taken a lot of the flat pattern fitting adjustments out of the equation for you. THere are different sized bodice pieces to fit your bust and different sizes at the hip for those with more (or less) curves.
Here’s how I selected my pattern pieces:
My upper bust is 38″ so I started with a size 16. For each cup size the pattern increases by 1/2″ and an A cup was 40″ (this includes wearing ease) up to a D cup at 41 1/2″. I needed 42″ but for the sake of science decided to go with the pattern piece for a D cup with no further adjustments.
At the hip the options were for a slim fit at 43 1/2″ (again this includes wearing ease), 44″ for an average fit or 44 1/2″ for someone with a little more curve. I chose the curvy fit. And to make fitting even easier the side seams are sewn last and have 1″ seam allowances to make those final tweaks!
And you know what, to get this information I didn’t have to measure a single pattern piece. It’s all printed on the back of the envelope. This is a big deal for me as I can’t remember the last time I used any of the big four’s patterns and had this information so easily accessible. I’ve always had to measure the tissue to work out the ease so not having to do that extra piece of work to ensure a good fit was lovely.
I was really trying to talk myself into using some fabric from the stash but I’d seen this stretch sateen on the Minerva Crafts website and it was just calling to me. I prevaricated and sought the opinion of Twitter. A certain Australian gave me the final push I needed; Lizzy you were right (as always!). I love the combination of this fabric with this pattern! Some of you may have also noticed that the rather wonderful Dibs used the same fabric for her Minerva Blogging Network dress.
Construction wise this was really straight forward. It’s an unlined dress and with the stretch of the fabric I chose I was happy to forgo the lining. If I want to wear tights (and as it’s decidedly autumn now I will be!) I’ll just wear a half slip with it. If you did want to line it Sew It Anyway has a really thorough post on how she lined hers here. She wore it to the Goldhawk Road meet up and it’s a divine dress!
There were three variations I made to the construction of the dress;
The first was to put a box pleat in the skirt. I just could not understand what the instructions were asking me to do and the pattern envelope illustrations and photo suggested a box pleat so that is what I went with.
The second was to use bias tape instead of facings. I really hate facings and avoid them where ever I can and this was no exception. It meant a ton of hand stitching to secure it on the inside but I think it was worth it.
The third was to cut the wrap portions of the bodice on the bias. The pattern instructs you to cut on the straight grain but I wanted to play with the direction of the pattern on the fabric so bias it was. I’m really pleased with the effect.
Inside is finished with the aforementioned bias tape and serged seams allowances. The waist panel is self lined and gives some gorgeous structure to that area; it was supposed to be interfaced but as the fabric has quite a bit of body I didn’t bother.
This isn’t an every day dress for me, it’s a bit too vavavoom for the office but for an evening out its perfect! And the name? I’m drinking a home made juice as I write and the colours of the fruit and veg that went into it remind me of this dress:
2 apples (red & green)
1/2 lemon (yellow)
2 carrots (orange)
1 beetroot (pink / purple)
So, if you’re keen to give this dress a go I have a give away for you, thanks to the lovely people at Simplicity! A copy of S2217 or if the dress isn’t your thing I also have a copy of S3688 a gorgeous vintage inspired top and trouser set that Debbie at My Happy Sewing Place has made.
I have each pattern in both size ranges so four prizes! All you have to do is leave me a comment below letting me know which Simplicity pattern is your favourite and which of the patterns you would like to win and the size range you need by midnight on Sunday 22 September (that’s the midnight just before Monday, I always find that a little confusing!) BST (GMT+1) . I’m happy to post internationally.
**This give away is now closed **
Thank you again Simplicity for the wonderful opportunity to try the pattern and also for the chance to give away patterns to my readers!!
This is going to be a bit off the beaten track around here; no sewing, baking crafting to speak of. It’s likely going to end up being a stream of consciousness because sometimes you have to get things out of your system. In this particular case not only do I need to write I also need to know its going to be read; so I’m afraid you guys are my audience. Feel free to skip if you want as I’m probably going to follow some paths that aren’t too shiny or pretty.
September is a weird month. It’s back to school time (even though I am a decade or more past that stage in my life) and kinda has that new page feeling about it. In a lot of ways its like new year without the resolutions. It represents to me a time to start over, try again. In other ways it absolutely sucks. With absolutely no grace summer just ups and walks out, the weather turns and its suddenly dark. And quite often that’s the route my thoughts take too, although September and early October now also completely suck as they remind me of what could have been and haul the loss of my tiny tiny baby up to the surface again.
What makes it harder is that September and October are full of family wedding anniversaries and birthdays. So whilst I’d quite like to crawl under a rock and hide the mask goes on and I pretend everything is ‘fine’. Whilst the remake of the Italian Job was not overly my cup of tea, the definition of ‘fine’ has stuck with me: Fucked Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional. Yup, that’s me. I’m fine.
Depression sucks. I could use a hundred and one different expletives but it wouldn’t come close. Before I suffered from it I thought I could imagine what it was like; you know feeling sad and flat. I was wrong. So, so wrong. It’s more than feeling sad and a bit flat. The sadness is there all the time, it becomes (I’m not sure how to describe this) a sort of filtered window. It distorts and colours what you see and you feel separated. That separation makes me feel flat, two-dimensional. But all the time my head is buzzing and it’s never in a straight line. I constantly feel like I’m on the outside looking in and the longer it goes on the stronger that feeling gets. I make the problem worse by putting on the mask and pretending everything is OK. I don’t know what else to do though.
I can’t let the mask slip as I have a gorgeous Boy who needs me. So I go through each day working on presenting myself the way I think I’m supposed to. I know that sometimes my temper is too short and that I lose it at situations that really don’t warrant that response. I try to explain to him that sometimes I get really really sad and it makes me grumpy and short-tempered. I know I don’t hide it all the time as there are times when I’m lost in my thoughts and he’ll climb up into my lap to give me a cuddle because he says I look sad again. It’s the use of the word ‘again’ that breaks my heart. He deserves better.
Over the last year I’ve had different coping mechanisms. Some work better than others and some are actually pretty destructive. Suffice to say I’m on meds and they seem to have lessened the peaks and troughs. What does help is being fully absorbed in a task as when I’m concentrating completely on a task the negative committee in my head sit down and shut the f**** up. There is no floor space for them when I’m working out how to construct a collar or making sure some topstitching is even or a sleeve goes in smoothly. I think it’s also the positive action of taking something and turning it into something else using my hands. The restlessness of my mind also affects my sleep. I’m tired, I want to sleep but my head will not shut up. I’m very familiar with my bedroom ceiling and the way the bedside lamp creates shadows on the ceiling. So I read (often what other bloggers have written), or I get up and sew, or in this instance, I write.
I also know that I’m an emotional eater and my comfort food of choice is something sweet. That’s the start of a big nasty circle for me; feel rubbish, eat, look in the mirror, not like the reflection, feel like a failure, eat something to make it better… It’s text-book and self-perpetuating. I know that and in fact knowing it makes it worse. There’s a lot going on over which I have absolutely zero control. There are some things I can control though and what goes in my mouth and what I ask my body to do each day are things I can act on. I can change what I eat and I can get off my backside and move more. So I’m going to. I’m not as brave as Evie and heading for a crossfit gym (although I’m intrigued, inspired and slightly terrified of the idea of it… One day… Especially as I’ve found a box near me…) So I’m going to become a Nerd. Not just a sewing nerd but (and here’s the plan) a fitness one too.
In the early part of the summer I started to eat a more natural diet with less processed anything in it. I felt and looked a lot better. And then something happened and I went back to comfort eating and that familiar circle. Somewhere along the line I found Nerd Fitness and I’ve been reading the blog and it’s archives for a while now. I’ve even got one of the ebooks in my reader and tentatively started doing the body weight workout. On the 23rd September Steve Kamb and Staci opening an online fitness academy just for women. I’m going to sign up. I’m going to give myself six weeks to see what I can do in that time frame. See if taking a bit of control and doing something positive for myself helps with the rest of it.
I’ve got a 3/4 of the year resolution I guess; do something for me that helps make me feel better. You never know, if I can make the fitness gains I want then a better looking bod may come with it and a whole reason to sew some more! But I’m going to keep sewing in the mean time, it’s my meditation and brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction so there’ll still be sewing going on around here too. You never know, I may get in front of that bl***y camera and photograph the 6 (or is it 7?!) items that have yet to be blogged!
And apologies if there are any adverts spamming up this (or any other) post. They’re not there through my choice but are a way for WordPress to keep this a free blogging platform which you can read about more here if you want.
Umm, Hello? Is anyone still there? Please accept my apologies for dropping off the face of the earth for six weeks. Life kinda happens and it was case of sew or blog; I took the selfish option and spent time with my machines. In another post I’ll have three new dresses to show you although you get a glimpse of one later on… It’s nice to be sat here writing again as I’ve missed the interaction we have on this little web page.
Last time I was part of your feed content, I was in panic mode for my Babyiest sister’s wedding on the 19th June. Well I’m pleased to report that it all went very well and she’s now a Mrs. The veil was finished in time as was the hem on my Mother’s dress and I think everyone had a good day. It was a very hot and humid day, the first indicator of the good weather that was headed our way. It was an outside civil ceremony and quite short, but also lovely too.
There you are; me, Mother, Babyiest sister and Middle sister. None of us look very much alike! Another bridesmaid and her daughter, plus Boy and Me began the procession down the aisle followed by Father and Babyiest sister.
The new Mr & Mrs signing the register and then getting photographed by pretty much everyone. Boy had completely lost interest at this point!
So in between then and now I’ve been working, studying for a course for work which has also involved nights away (traumatic for all of us as I’d never left Boy before, let alone 3 nights / 4 days for two weeks on the trot) and also been looking forward to my first ever sewing meet-up!
On Saturday 3rd August I joined 37(?!) other like minded souls in Goldhawk road to shop, swap and chat the day away. I finally got to meet some ladies I’ve been ‘talking’ to for a very long time; Claire (our fearless organiser), Roisin, Rachel (who was here on holiday from Brisbane), Amy, Kat, Emmie and Dibs! I also got to know some new faces – Hi Alison! The group shot of Emmie, Alison, Roisin, Me (in one of my new dresses), Rachel and Amy is shamelessy ripped from Roisin’s blog which if you don’t read, you really should. The photo was taken by a very dapper looking Nic or ‘Roisin’s Boyfriend’ as his name tag proclaimed!
We had an hour of shopping before meeting up for lunch. Let me tell you as a girl from the country, Goldhawk road is overwhelming! There is so much choice you almost can’t cope! I say almost can’t cope but I did make a few purchases but I also came home with money in my purse… The prices are jaw dropping too. I’m used to paying £10/m or more. Cotton shirting at £3.50/m? Wow.
So I bought four different shirtings for Boy. His favourite is the pale blue check, followed by the navy plaid, then the stars and finally the waves. He’s got quite conservative tastes that little man! The navy blue irregular polkadots is a cotton sateen and is going to be a By Hand London mash-up-maxi. The pink and blue/lilac is a cotton brocade and is destined to be the lining of another By Hand London pattern. The purple is a gorgeous knit that I got for £4/m with a slight crosswise stretch but not stretch along its length – I guess it’s a stable knit?! I have very little knowledge of knit fabrics but this is going to be a Tiramisu and as I bought 3m there may be a top as well…
These were bought both before and after our lunch at Liz’s Cafe. The food was lovely and they coped with such an enormous group really well. It was then time to experience my first swap! I’d bought some yarn, a few patterns and a couple of lengths of fabric to go into the enormous pile! I only came away with two pieces though; a navy cotton twill to be paired with the brocade above and a length of tiny houndstooth fabric which is very drapey. I think it’ll probably become a skirt. Also a bag of buttons; just plain mother of pearl effect ones that will be perfect for a certain Boy’s shirts!
I sat with Rachel for lunch and had a lovely time chatting to her and the others around us (whose names I have forgotten – I am so sorry!). There was much admiring of her Miette cardigan. I just wish I had the patience and the time to knit, but I don’t. Doesn’t stop me appreciating the skill in others though! I also got the chance to finally say Hello to the wonder that is Dibs! I have read her blog forever and she is just a gorgeous person. We didn’t get to chat long, but hopefully we’ll cross paths again and get to chat properly. Both of the above photos are from her camera!
After lunch, there was time for more shopping and I bought my favourite piece. This is a border print and I know exactly what I’m going to do with this piece of stretch cotton sateen. But I’m not telling you yet!
So, two fabulous days but for different reasons. No more weddings in the family for the foreseeable future but I’d love to do another blogger meet-up next year.