10 Years ago today!
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.
My babyiest sister’s wedding is 8 days away. My life is revolving around a gazillion hot fix crystals, hem alterations, suit fittings, cake icing and trying to remember if there was anything else I was supposed to do!
As a result selfish sewing and this blog is going to have to go quiet for a week or so. Hopefully I’ll still pop into Twitter and Instagram when I get a chance but outside of work, I am my sister’s slave…
My little boy turned 3 on Saturday! Where has the last three years gone?! Here’s what we got up to this year…
We had a lovely day with people coming over from 10:30 in the morning and the last leaving at 18:30! A very long and tiring day, but a very enjoyable one. And as you can see, the dressing gown is being worn!
The first make of 2013; completed yesterday the 1st January! This is McCalls 4643 a pattern for toddler PJs and Robe, made for Boy.
I haven’t got any pictures of him wearing it yet as he was too tired this evening. When I asked if he wanted his picture taken (which normally involves a big ‘Yes’ and then ‘Can I see?’) he decided to snuggle into my neck instead and say ‘No, not now Mummy, I need cuddles’. I guess the first day back at the childminder’s is as tiring as the first day back at work after a break! I’m kinda glad to be heading towards some kind of routine though…
Anyway, back to fleecy snuggly dressing gowns! Boy chose the fabrics himself (via a computer monitor) and elected for the stripy fleece (Fabric Land) and then asked for some giraffes (FQ from Frumble) which feature on the bias binding. All of this was bought in 2012 as I knew I wanted to have it made ready for his birthday (this Saturday – he’ll be 3!)
It is a ridiculously fast pattern to make. All in about two hours and that includes pattern tracing and bias tape making! By far and away the most time consuming bit was the bias tape making – I always forget how much bias tape you can get from a FQ too. There was enough to go all the way around the dressing gown rather than hemming the bottom edge, as well as do the cuffs. There is only about 6″ left now though.
The main construction was done on my serger. I did a flat fell seam in the hood and along the neckline as I was worried raw edges or serged seams might irritate skin or catch in his hair. They’re not the neatest seams, but they do what they need to do and as it’s fleece you can hardly see the stitching anyway!
The only other variation I made to the pattern was to add the hanging hook, which makes it easier for him to deal with. Hanging it from the hood wasn’t an ideal situation to my mind! I also top stitched the belt as the fleece is quite stretchy and I wanted to add some stability to it.
I’ll definitely be making this again – it’s an incredibly quick win and very cheap to make. This cost me £11.11 including the cost of the pattern. There is a ton of growing room in this current version – it’s down to his ankles and would go round him twice! I should have made the size 2 rather than the 3, but he loves it and that’s all that really matters.
I hoped to have my Peony done by the end of this week; I cut the lining fabric this evening so all I need to do is construct it and insert it, but there is the small matter of conjuring up some sort of Pirate Cake for Boy’s birthday this weekend! Sewing will have to take a back seat for a little while, but I don’t mind – I enjoy baking and decorating cakes so it’ll be fun, and apart from anything else it’s for Boy! The cake above is my starting point, so that’ll be two round sponges made tomorrow night. Now where’s my Mary Berry baking book…
Like me, you’ve probably been really enjoying other bloggers Top 5s of the year inspired by Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow. I wish I’d been organised enough to do the same… I do though want to reflect on the year that is rapidly drawing to a close and start to look forward to the new year. WARNING: The next 3-4 paragraphs have nothing at all to do with sewing and is a bit of naval gazing on a personal level. Feel free to skip over it as it’s not particularly uplifting reading…
As you know, 2012 hasn’t been entirely good to me on a personal level with the latest kick to the head happening just before Christmas. In a nut shell my family (me, Husband, Boy, my parents and sisters) have lived through; my sister’s mental illness including self harm, Father’s testicular cancer diagnosis and subsequent operation (thankfully not full blown cancer), my miscarriage, and finally two days before Christmas the same sister being dumped by her finance and boyfriend of 8+ years over the phone, 24hours after he’d travelled 350 miles away with no warning at all.
Suffice to say, this festive season has been a bit flat, but Boy has been a complete source of joy and the reason I bothered at all to be completely honest! My babyiest sister (there are three of us, and middle sister has born the brunt of the crap this year) is having a F*** 2012 party on the 31st as we’re all quite pleased to see the end of this year.
But on the other hand, 2012 has taught me things about myself and changed me in ways only living through these experiences can. They’re part of me now and part of my evolution, so whilst I whole heartedly wish that we hadn’t had to deal with any of it they’re now part of us. The shared battles and traumas have strengthened us and brought us closer.
It’s also really truly shown me the value of this blogging community of ours. Whilst none of this has anything to do with a needle and thread you all have contributed in getting me through a lot of this. Being there to listen and offering encouragement. I am truly grateful and humbled that people I have never met have taken the time to offer a kind word and a little support. There are many things to be thankful for in this life, even when it feels like you’re on the receiving end of kick after kick after kick, and you guys are definitely one of them.
So, that’s the personal review. Navel gazing now complete. It’s safe to come back to the page now…
Onto the sewing! My sanity saver and also causer of some insanity its self… There have been wins and only a few fails:
Simplicity 2588 – The first ever pattern I’ve wanted to make more than one of. I suspect there’ll be more in the future too. Not bad for a pattern that came free with a magazine!
Colette Peony – I know many have had issues with the pattern. I guess (other than a fuller bust) I must be a little closer to Sarai’s sloper as other than a FBA and a slight sway back adjustment I’ve got another TNT pattern. I am so close to finishing this dress now – I just need to finish inserting the lining.
Vogue 2903 – A monster amount of work went into this dress for Brother in Law’s wedding. It’s my first Vogue pattern and they’re really no harder than any other ‘Big 4′ pattern I’ve sewn. I received so many compliments whilst wearing it. I really must get you some photos (don’t worry, this is covered in the fails!).
Sewaholic Minoru – I have worn this jacket at least 3 times a week since I completed it. I am in love and like Karen it will be re-made should this version ever cease to be functional.
Colette Meringue – Another really fast and easy project and also garner or unsolicited compliments! Looks professional because of the beautiful wool (Thanks Ann!) but still has some personality.
Soft Furnishings – seriously guys. I made curtains and a roman blind! Each of those curtains are 3.5m wide when they’re not gathered up. They are MASSIVE! They’re lined with black out lining, blind hemmed and everything. I am so proud of myself for making them, even if wrestling with them in my bijoux sewing room was err, frustrating? Difficult? Not overly pleasant anyway! Who would have thought straight seams could be so stressful!
I love the blind too, and I’m sure I’ll be making a few more – I’ve got 6 more 4m lengths of fibre glass rods to be used at some point. Not immediately though…
Community Fun – I’ have had a blast on this blog over the last year. I’ve hosted give aways and organised a swap which I have enjoyed immensely and shared my sewing with you all. I’ve also loved reading your blogs and have been lucky enough to win a few give aways hosted by you. There have been sew alongs too plus you have inspired me in ways you can not imagine as well as shown me the potential in patterns or fabrics I wouldn’t have seen other wise. You have developed my ‘eye’ in that regards and I am very grateful for that.
And now the FAILS!
My Peony/Jenny mash up – Bodice is a win. Skirt is a fail. I really really really need to wear Spanx with this dress and I have wearing them. These photos are without the industrial underpinnings. Does not work as a day to day dress. On the positive side, I drafted and inserted a godet which I love!
Simplicity 1880 – This has now hit the bin. Bodice was a win. Skirt was a win. Matching side seams between the two was a complete and utter fail all caused by the fact that I did not take into account the always necessary FBA and how this means I need more breadth across the front and the back stays the same. I cheated and just cut a bigger size skirt so the side seams were never going to match and I couldn’t live with it. Complete wadder, now binned. The wrap version on the other hand came out well… I just need to hem it (and have done since July!).
Ambition – My wish list outstrips my productivity by a considerable amount. I really should try and be a little more realistic about what I’m actually capable of doing…
Photography – Oh, I need to work on this! If I’m behind the camera, it’s all good. Stick me in front of it and oh dear… I practically hid from the photographer at Brother in Law’s wedding as I feel so self conscious if someone points a camera at me. I’ve got three dresses I need to share with you and that involves photography. Some half decent light would be helpful, but I’m also procrastinating I’m afraid. I’m enjoying the Craftsy course though so hopefully the technical and artistic side will improve and with practice I’ll feel less of a dork in front of the camera!
So, not bad really. There aren’t too many sewing fails and the bloggy bits are things that can be worked on. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to improve on them greatly! I have some plans looking forward I’ll share with you soon…
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day? I’ve been a little quiet as we’ve had (what must be) a final 2012 incident but I wont bore you with it here! Suffice to say whilst I know 2012 has been really really good to some of you, I’m done with this year.
A massive positive though was that all the hard work me and Husband had put in on Boy’s new bedroom paid off. He absolutely loves it and disappears upstairs to play in it and have adventures!
I suspect his favourite bit is the lights under the bed – it’s an LED ribbon and there’s a remote control that you use to change the colours, or make the flash! He’s mastering climbing up and down to the top bunk too, although I’m quite pleased that he’s sleeping in the bottom one at the moment… I don’t want to hear a crash in the early hours when half asleep he gets it wrong! Lots of practice first I think!
There’s a lot of ‘Me Hearties’ going on too as he has a pirate outfit which he loves – a last minute ‘impulse’ buy by me in the Early Learning Centre the weekend before Christmas. My sister bought his some foam cutlasses and if I can I’ll get you a picture of Pirate Boy on his hobby horse brandishing a sword. He tries so hard to look fearsome, but is just too darn cute to pull it off!
I got the blind and curtains done, finally hanging the curtains Christmas Eve (so late partially due to some idiot moments on my part during construction of the blind and having to re-do the header tape on the first curtain as it was too close to the radiator when hung). I am so pleased with how they came out though. It was definitely worth the effort and I hope they’ll have a long life as they’re not babyish…
I was a very lucky girl and got some lovely sewing goodies as well as my swap items! I now have the Alma Blouse pattern by Sewaholic which will be made up with some leopard print lawn with a black peter pan collar. Perfect for Pretty Grievances Jungle January!
I also now own some pinking shears – Gingher ones no less too and oh my, they do cut beautifully! Also some gorgeous lengths of fabric which will be pre-washed today as I fancy some very selfish sewing.
I hope you all had a wonderful day and were spoilt rotten.
Yup, Claire, I’m talking about you! Thank you so much for my pressing ham. It is absolutely beautiful, smells deliciously of pine and is awesomely well made. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Pins on one side and a beautiful camel wool on the other. I’m in love. There are no curves that can’t be tamed now (well, once I sort the whole iron thing out… It’s hanging on in there still at the moment!).
Not only does Claire make amazing pressing gizmos, she is also an incredible fount of knowledge (its embarrassing how many times she’s pointed me down the right path) and has had a hand in organising some amazing blogger meet ups (one day…). Claire, you’re an absolute diamond.
I know we all say it, but this community of ours is just amazing and I’m proud to be part of it!
I apologise for how late this is. I really really do. I just wanted to say a massive Thank You to everyone who left comments on the give away post and especially those who emailed me direct with kind wishes and ebook pressies!
I had a lovely day and was (again) a very very spoilt person!
I was lucky enough to be given a white iPhone 4S which I know I am probably never going to use to its full potential, but love so much more than my Blackberry as it is SO much easier to use!
I also got given a lot of i-Tunes vouchers, some of which got spent on Kylie’s Abbey Road album (I am a child of the 80s…) I have fallen very hard for this album.
I also bought all of Gabrielle Aplin’s catalogue as well. Gabrielle has shot to fame here in the UK through her version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Power of Love which is being used by John Lewis in their Christmas Advert. The music is so haunting and beautiful to me. Makes me cry every. single. time. Here’s the full length version and video.
I also received Craftsy classes (serger and photography ones), some Gingher snips (they are mean little beasties!) and the Sewaholic Cambie pattern which I am really looking forward to making!
Thank you again to you all, you helped make it an enjoyable day. Whilst it was tinged with sadness here and there because of recent history, there’s nothing quite like getting messages throughout the day from your friends to make you smile and feel positive.
Here’s to the next year!
I have to admit to a slight feeling of panic at the moment. Time is slipping, or rather rushing past and I have so much to do!
I’ve re-written my ‘what construction steps I’m going to do when’ list so many times in my lunch break. Within 48 hours it’s always slipped. This saturday there is a fortnight until I need to be sailing out of the door wearing V2903.
I’ve also go 80 order of services to complete… I think tomorrow I will be telling Husband that he’s in charge and I’ll see him once I’ve got a good few hours sewing done…
On the positive, today my Dad’s CT scan came back as clear so we’re just waiting on the biopsy report from his operation last week. I hope the rays of sunshine keep coming!