A Question About Give Aways

I’m plotting and planning a give away for my 30th Birthday in November.  And I’d like to make it a really good one!  I think I know what I’d like to give, and plans are well underway, but I would also like a bit of feedback on the process.

It’s common to see give aways that have entry criteria: you need to become a follower, or link back to the post on your own blog, for example.  Some of which mean that you get multiple entries.  Does this ever put you off entering?  Or do you like the option of having more than one entry?

What is a reasonable timescale to have a giveaway open for?  Is a week about right, too long or too short?  If there’s a multiple of a giveaway, would you prefer that you express a preference in your entry comment, or have a separate post for each item.  And should they run at the same time or one after the other?

I’m really hoping that what I’m planning will be exciting and something that you’d like to receive.  But sometimes the process is just as important, so I’d like to make that as enjoyable as possible too.  Any opinions you’re willing to share, advice or information you have on running a give away too, would be really useful.


Beignet Plotting – Facing Fabric Found!

Do you remember the fabric and buttons I showed you earlier?  The one’s that I plan to use for my Beignet.  I was pondering what fabric to use for the facings, as I thought my moleskin would be too thick.

Fabric for the facings

Well look at this!  I found it whilst mooching on Etsy, having been distracted from lingerie patterns.  Oh, and I was looking at lingerie patterns because of A Few Threads Loose’s proposed lingerie sewalong.

Isn’t it amazing?  I count three of my palette colours in there too – the gold, teal and chocolate brown.  I think it will look fabulous against the navy moleskin and navy lining fabric.  A real blam of colour that will only be hinted at, but I’ll know.  A zing of summer in an autumn and winter skirt.  Besides, I’m not brave enough to use a print this mad as a fashion fabric, but it’ll be a fun detail.  What do you reckon?

This evening I hope to start the hem on my circle skirt.  I say start as it’ll be a multi stage event:  attaching the horse hair braid then the actual hemming its self.  Which will have to be done by hand as I don’t want it to go through to the plaid.  I don’t want to work out the circumference of the skirt at the hem.  I’m pretty sure it’ll be about 4 metres / 4.5 yards.  Of hand catch stitching.

So I’ll probably break it up and do the horse hair braid tonight, then allow myself the distraction of sewing some of my Pendrell (which was planned for yesterday but didn’t happen), then do the hand stitching on Friday evening.  At least that way if it takes me hours I don’t have to get up for work the next day!

Oh, and I have begun scheming for a giveaway at the end of November when I’m (gulp) 30.  I hope you’ll love it…


Accident and Emergency.  That’s why this is a short post.  It’s 9:15 in the evening and I’ve just got home.  I ended up going straight to A&E from work to meet my Mum as Boy had managed to give himself mild concussion.  Believe me, there is nothing that will make your heart fall through the floor like the telephone conversation I had with her that ended with “I’ll meet you at A&E”.  She’s a nurse too, so she doesn’t go there on a whim.

But, he’s medically fine.  We’ve got to keep an eye on him and he’s a bit (lot) over tired so we’re probably in for an interesting night.  But he’s OK and that is the main and most important thing.

You never know, I might blog about sewing tomorrow!

I’m Quite Proud of This…

I put the waist band of my circle skirt on last night.  I’m really quite proud of how well I’ve managed to put it on.  No puckers or anything!  I even catchstitched it down on the inside so it looks really really neat.


And as you can see, my plaid has a fair bit more stretch to it than my lining and this is only after hanging for about 12 hours!  I think that this is the project I am the most pleased with so far, certainly in terms of finishing.


But oh my, it’s HEAVY!  There’s a lot of fabric in the skirt so it weighs quite a lot.  Definitely an autumn / winter skirt!

And I also finished my Pendrell pattern modifications and got one of them cut out.  And also realised too late that I’d cut the ruffle on the straight rather than bias.  And I don’t have enough fabric to re-cut it.  So we’ll see what it looks like and if it’s awful, I’ll just omit that bit for this version.

I pre-washed the fabric for the Pendrell yesterday and the amount of dye that came out was unbelievable!  It turned the water dark blue, dark enough for me to notice as I walked past the machine (we have front loading washing machines, generally, here in the UK with a glass door).  I’m glad that it went into the machine on its own and that I pre-washed it, otherwise I could have a lot of stuff with a weird grey-blue tint to it!

The Plans of an Ambitious Seamstress, Wife and Mother Will Often go Awry!

I had such plans for this weekend, sewing wise.  And I achieved very little of it.  Here’s what I was planning to do:

Pre-wash satin butterfly fabric for Pendrell blouse
Fine tune the Pendrell pattern after making adjustments to the muslin I made an eon ago
Cut out Pendrell x 2 for a bit of production line sewing
Grade Beignet pattern
Pre-wash Beignet fabric
Choose a fabric for the facing as the main fabric is quite heavy / thick and pre-wash that
Attach waist to circle skirt

Nothing huge, just lots of little bits.  It didn’t get done as we went out for the day on Saturday to Bewilderwood which is local to us and great for the boy, and then yesterday was catching up with the housework followed by being in bed at 7:30pm.  I’m so rock n’ roll!

The only thing I did manage was pre-washing the butterfly satin fabric.  At about 5pm last night.  I’m not sure what the fabric is made from, although I suspect cotton or cotton/rayon.  It went through on a 40′ wash and has survived, anyway!

Really dark blue fabric and teal buttons for Beignet

And I’ve managed to get the main fabric into the washing machine this morning for Beignet.  I think its a fabric called moleskin, it’s cotton (well it said pre-wash as per cotton on it, it was from  the sample rail at my local fabric store) and has a brushed look to it.  Clare Schaeffer’s fabric sewing guide doesn’t provide a lot of information on it other than referring you to the velvet section?!

The buttons are from my stash and are a dark teal colour.  Do you think this will work or should I invest in some navy ones?  I’ll line it in navy, but fancy a contrast for the facings, in a lighter weight fabric.  Is that living a little too dangerously, or if I go for a dark teal would that work?  Also, I’m considering bound buttonholes – have I totally lost the plot?!  It’d be a good workout for the buttonhole tool…  Anyone who’s already made this pattern have any words of wisdom?

Anyway, this evening I hope to get the waistband onto my circle skirt so that I can leave it to hang for a couple of days (to let the bias in the fabric to settle down) before I embark on the epic amount of sewing that will be involved in the hem!  And whilst it hangs I may be able to get on with some of the things I didn’t get round to this weekend?

Autumn Colours

I seem to be drawn to rich, jewel colours this autumn/winter.  I find colours easier to work with at this time of the year as the saturation isn’t so searing.

Autumn Jewels - my palette for autumn!

Like the ones above – a palette I made on COLOURlovers.  I love the combination of teal and chocolate.  And plum works well with the rich brown as well.  The mustard adds some golden warmth and would be an accent rather than a solid for me.  Navy is my dark neutral or black.  Cream is my light neutral as I wash out if I wear pure white.  I seem to have chosen stronger, darker colours but all rich in tone.

When I make my Lady Grey coat (not likely to be this year – I don’t have the confidence yet…) I imagine it to be either teal or plum with a chocolate lining, finished with a flash of gold piping where the lining joins the facings inside the coat.

Other plans are for a satin Pendrell in teal, and maybe plum and a navy Beignette in a beautiful brushed cotton…  And of course my beret and fingerless mitts are in a tweedy teal too.  Oh, and if I get Colette’s Jasmine pattern for my birthday, I may consider a solid golden mustard piece.  Even if I said it’d be an accent colour two paragraphs ago.  Just look at Sarah Gabbart’s top she made for the Sew Weekly.  If that can’t change your mind, nothing will.

I love this so much!

This is the first time I’ve ever actually thought about what colours I’d like to wear and which suit me.  It’s helped focus me a little more.  I can understand why Colette’s Colour Palette Challenge is so popular!  I’m unlikely to create 8 pieces in 8 weeks, more like 8 pieces between now and spring.  But I’m not making any promises, or putting any pressure on myself.

Do you plan with colour like this, or are you much more of a sew with whatever pattern and colour combination inspires you at the time person?

A Neat Zipper to Lining

As I’ve mentioned before, not having a neat finish between my zip and lining has been a cause of frustration.  But I’ve cracked it with my circle skirt I think – I’m pleased with how it came out anyway!

Can you see the zip?!

First of all I put my zipper in as a lapped zipper.  I used Casey’s instructions and also watched the relevant chapter from Gertie’s Bombshell Dress course.  I’m pretty pleased with how it came out and that the plaid matches! (PS, the way I’ve cut my circle skirt means no chevrons, but I’m OK with that!)

Lapped zipper partially open

I then sewed the lining of the skirt having finished the side seam allowances before I started.  Sanity prevailed and I have only overlocked the lining!  I sewed all the way up the right hand seam of the lining.  I then measured the length of my zip in my skirt outer where the zip is and transferred this measurement down from the waist of the lining.  I then sewed the seam from that point to the hem of the lining and pressed it open.

Next I measured 1/8″ more than my seam allowance and folded the seam allowance of the gap I left for the zip towards the wrong side of the lining.  I pinned then basted this in place.  I basted it in place so that I could press the lining and get a crisp fold.  Pressing over the pins would have been a lot harder than pressing over the basting stitches!

Basted seam allowances on zipper gap of the lining, wrong side of the lining facing up
Checking how deep the seam allowance is

I then pin basted the lining to the zip tape.  Wrong side of the lining towards the wrong side of my plaid skirt.  I made sure to only pin through the zip tape and plaid seam allowance and not to the skirt.

Pin basted lining to zip. Wrong side of lining to wrong side of plaid

I opened and closed the zip to make sure the lining wouldn’t catch.

Checking the zip will open

I put the lining fabric to the right and the plaid to the left so that it was only joined at the zip insertion.  The right sides of the plaid were together and the right sides of the lining were together.  It looked like a butterfly with plaid on one side and turquoise on the other.

Basted lining seam allowance to zipper tape

I then basted the seam allowance of the lining to the zipper tape and seam allowance of the plaid.  If you looked at it side on it’d be a zipper tape sandwich between the plaid and lining.  I did this on both sides and removed the pins.

Zipper tape sandwich

Using the zip foot I stitched as close as I could to the crease I’d ironed into the lining fabric.  I stitched from the waist towards the hem.  I did the same on the other side.  Be really careful when doing your stitching as you don’t want to catch the skirt in the stitches.  You should be stitching the seam allowances and zipper tape only!

Stitching as close to the crease as possible. Making sure not to catch anything other than seam allowances and zipper tape!

I didn’t do anything special at the bottom, just moved the stitching line as close to the teeth of the zipper as I could for the last 1/2″.  There is a tiny gap where the lining isn’t stitched down at the bottom of the zip, but I can live with that.

I then flipped the lining back so that it was wrong side to the wrong side of the plaid and pressed with a cloth over the inside of the  zip.  Et Voila!  One neat lining to zip finish!

Nice and neat where the zip meets the lining
More zip and lining! It's not this wonky in real life, it's just the way I manhandled all that fabric!

I hope that’s all made sense.  If you’ve got any questions, please post them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them.  If you click on the photos you can have a look at a full size image…