Too Many Choices, Too Much Indecision

My list of things I want to make has got badly out of hand and I’m in that weird too many choices mind-set.

MMMay seems to sharpen this effect for me as I look at my wardrobe and realise that I’m going to be wearing a lot of things over and over again in the month.  But this is how I live most of the time anyway; isn’t there some accepted wisdom about 10% or our wardrobe 90% of the time?!  However, the stark reality always makes me antsy and want to add a bit more variety!

So, I’ve resorted to lists.  There’s my list of patterns, my list of fabric, my list that pairs fabric with patterns and the list of things that I think need adding to my wardrobe.  That’s a lot of lists and whilst it’s cathartic it doesn’t get me any closer to deciding what to make next.  Too many options, too many choices, too much indecision and therefore nothing happens.

I was reading A Beautiful Mess (a blog I dip in and out of, but always has something to inspire me) and there was an article about prioritization and a paragraph stood out to me:

Instead of a huge list, force yourself to make a short list with only one or two projects.  It will help you focus and enjoy each one.  Each time you complete a project you can start a new one.

Pretty damn obvious but sometimes it takes someone telling me something for me to see it.  Wood for the trees and all that.

So instead of trying to decide which project of about twenty odd that are listed in my list collection, I’ve chosen two.  The two that have been in my head constantly for weeks.

Hazel V1247

Colette Hazel in Michael Miller Ahoy Matey Fabric
Vogue 1247 top in a brush stroke effect cotton lawn


B5748 and Washi

Butterick 5748 in Tula Pink Turtle Bay Fabric
Made by Rae Washi dress using some of the plaid from the Sewists Secret Santa swap

Lizzys Fabric

And of course there is the Australian Fabric of Glee that the wonderful Lizzy posted to me because I couldn’t make the meet up in London on the 20th April!  It was my youngest sister’s hen-do in Cambridge and I was under strict instructions not to bail on  it.  I’ve chosen New Look 6643 (a shift dress) so when that arrives, it may well bump its self up the que!

Does anyone else have problems deciding what to sew next or do you have a plan and stick to it?  Are you structured in your makes (looking at wardrobe needs and sewing to fill them) or are your sewing decisions made purely on a whim?  I’d love to know…

The Great British Sewing Bee; I Loved It!

It’s been a week since the final of the GBSB aired here in the UK, a whole week! Tuesday nights will be a little duller with out it. I’m not a big TV watcher, there are very few programmes I make the effort to watch; Dr Who, Strictly Come Dancing (recorded so I can edit the bits between the dancing), Torchwood, ummm that’s about it! CSI and NCIS if it happens to be on.

GBSB on the other hand was watched live. Husband wasn’t interested so I took myself upstairs and watched along with Twitter. Tuesday night was date night for me and a TV programme. Yup, I loved it.

I’m not going to say it was perfect because to my mind there was room for improvement, it was imperfectly perfect! The second series (which you can already sign up for!) is longer so we get more episodes (and more participants!) “Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two, said: “I’m delighted that BBC Two viewers have taken this series to their hearts. It has proved that an ill-fitting zip or badly placed dart can make for compelling television in much the same way as a soggy bottom on Great British Bake Off and I can’t wait for the next series.””

I’d love it to be a bit more detail focused and that a little more budget is assigned to the trophy! Finally instead of projects from the book, maybe a bit more detail on a technique or the history as I found those segments fascinating!

**Spoiler Alert** I’m going to discuss when people left and the final results so if you’re still to catch up, look away now…

I admit, episode 1 saw me a little apprehensive. Was sewing going to translate to TV, would it appeal to those who don’t already sew, what would the participants be like? Half way through I was happily just enjoying the show, it worked pretty well in my eyes. It was sad to see Jane retire because she was ill and sending Michelle home would not have been the decision I would have made if I was Patrick and May.

Jane's Skirt and Michelle's Dress: Episode 1
Jane’s Skirt and Michelle’s Dress: Episode 1

Doing a quick Internet search the next day was quite stunning! 2.5 million viewers?! Wow, some of them must be people who don’t have a sewing machine, so a little glimmer of hope was born that maybe this appealed outside of the sewing community!

Episode 2 saw the departure of Tilly and Mark. As I said in this post here, I loved that Mark offered Tilly his arm as they left. I think they were the right people to go, much as I love Tilly and would be a senseless star struck fool if I ever met her, the blouse wasn’t finished! Major kudos for the self drafted pattern though, and having made a version of it, it is well drafted.

Mark's Skirt alteration and Tilly's Blouse: Episode 2
Mark’s Skirt alteration and Tilly’s Blouse: Episode 2

Episode 3 meant we said goodbye to Stuart. The biggest personality on the show! Loved him and his sheer bravery to have a go. He was brilliantly creative and quite brave in a lot of ways as garment sewing wasn’t his interest! The shirred dress was really interesting, it isn’t a technique I’ve tried and there was a lot of information that will be useful when i do have a go!

Stuart's Garments: Episode 3
Stuart’s Garments: Episode 3

The dress alteration was great. Stuart’s insane take on making it more fitted, punk style, and Lauren cut it in half! This episode is responsible for my one GBSB inspired purchase: NewLook 6035. The pattern Lauren used in the final Jacket challenge, I loved the one she made.

Episode 4: The Final. Ann, Sandra and Lauren. Honestly, I was team Lauren purely because she was adventurous in her pattern choices and added some lovely details. She chose patterns that I would choose (have chosen!).

The challenges were to make a man’s shirt, alter a bag and then fit an evening dress. Right at the beginning of Episode 1 there had been some glimpses of the dresses and a gold one had caught my eye (I’m a geek and recognised the bodice as Jessica McClintock) as well as some beautiful blue chiffon. I was really excited to finally see them!

But first, the man’s shirt. In 4 hours. Gulp. There is so much precision in a shirt, so much attention to detail. The sort of technical execution that Ann excels at and she did excel.

Ann's Garments: Episode 4, The Final
Ann’s Garments: Episode 4, The Final

Next up was the bag which was to be altered using hand sewing techniques. To my mind Sandra knocked it out of the park! Ann’s free form design left me cold I’m afraid and Lauren’s had potential but, like Tilly she failed to finish in time.

Sandra's Garments: Episode 4, The Final
Sandra’s Garments: Episode 4, The Final

Then my favourite bit. For two reasons; the fit models were different and the dresses, we were finally going to see the dresses!

Now I’m a bit of a softy so when Sandra, Ann and Lauren found out they were going to make the final garment to fit a member of their family I welled up. Most stressful part of the competition and one of your family are there with you! Ann and Sandra fitted their daughters and Lauren her sister.

Lauren's Garments: Episode 4, The Final
Lauren’s Garments: Episode 4, The Final

If this single garment had been the decider, Lauren won. The dress was amazing and she was closely followed by Sandra. Both were evening gowns, red carpet style! Ann’s was technically stunning but didn’t have the impact of the others for me, and as it was made in dark colours it was difficult to see the details. I’d love some well lit macro detail shots in the new series!

And so to the winner. They all looked so apprehensive! The judges chose Ann, definitely the most technically skilled participant. I still would have chosen Lauren though!

I’m looking forward to a potential second series, I’m hopeful as the viewing figures increased as the series progressed. If it does get the go ahead filming will be late this year and it’ll be on the TV this time next year. If you fancy throwing your name into the hat, here’s the form!

So, what did you think? Is it a good way of developing interest in sewing (seems to have been so far…) Would you put an application in for series 2?

All images taken from The BBC Sewing Bee Website Gallery where you can see every garment made on the show.

Bloggy Admin

I’ve claimed my blog with bloglovin’.  And then deleted that particular post, so apologies if you got a ‘the post you are looking for is unavailable’ type message in your feed.  That was a faff.  But I got there.

There’s now a button widget thing at the very bottom of the site if you want to use that to add me to your bloglovin’ feed.

The one thing I will say, is that importing your Google Reader feed into bloglovin’ is super simple.  So at least part of this headache is alright!  And there’s an app (phone only, no iPad), so I’ll see how I get on with that.  Looks OK so far…  Really need one for the iPad though, so if anyone’s got any suggestions I’d love to hear about them!

Words of Wisdom

I’m struggling with the black dogs at the moment.  April 15th was my due date and it’s coming up pretty fast.  Wounds are reopening and I’m struggling a little.  But whilst this experience has changed me life isn’t all bad.  In fact the eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) put it quite well in ‘Vincent and the Doctor’:

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and a bad things.  The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things…”

So I’m acknowledging the bad whilst focusing on the good.  As a wise friend said: “talk to friends, sew, get some fresh air, drink endless cups of tea”.  Normal sewing related blogging will resume soon – particularly as I’ve got my SD card back!

Well, Hi There.

I know, I know.  I nearly bust your reader for a couple of weeks and then drop off the face of the earth!  Sorry about that but I can explain – my husband lent the SD card out of my camera to a mate of his when they went on a stag weekend at the end of March (February, I meant February!) and it hasn’t been returned to me.

So I could describe to you my V1247 skirt with a lot of added length, or my Cambie but you want pretty pictures, don’t you?

So, I intend to pin Phil down at the wedding on Friday and make him give me my SD card back and also take some photos of me in the said Cambie so I can have a pretty post to show you over the weekend…

I also have fabric to share (I fell off the wagon big style last month, but I’ll be good again now…) and I’ve also started to make a quilt (only a little one mind you).  But you know, this is all visual stuff and I’ve got no memory card!  Maybe I should attack Phil before Friday…  Beating up the best man over a memory card may not be too well received!

Oh, and I have to join the general sulk about the weather (c’mon, today’s supposed to be the first day of spring and it’s still cold and grey!) and don’t get me started on Google Reader.  I don’t like Feedly and I’m hoping to goodness that Mr Reader comes up with a work round because I love that app.  And as for Bloglovin’ it’s insisting on sending me an email with a link I have to click but I NEVER get the email and it’s not in my spam folder either.  So head, meet desk.

Random Spring Picture from Google Images – just so you’ve got something pretty to look at!

Reverse Sewing

I love that phrase.  Sounds so much better than ‘ripping’ or ‘unpicking’.  Steph was discussing the merits of certain seam rippers / quick unpicks over at her blog 3 Hours Past.

I’ve ordered and received one of her Cake Roll Kits having fallen in love in January when she was tweeting about them.  She’s carefully provided everything you need to make a robust sewing roll as well as some of the tools to go inside, including a ripper.  Generally I don’t travel with my sewing but there are occasions when it’d be handy to heft some pins, markers, needles etc (bridesmaids dresses loom large here…) and I loved the idea and robustness of the design.  Plus it’s a fun mini project and sometimes I need those for a bit of instant gratification!

Anyway, back to seam ripping.  In the comments of Steph’s post there were a number of discussions about preferred seam rippers and that some people use rotary cutters to slice open seams (in quilts I think rather than garments?)!  There were also discussions about replacing them so that the blade stays sharp as well as the psychology of ripping out or reverse sewing.  Mrs Mole uses a No12 scalpel blade (which is curved) when ripping out the seams on wedding dresses (no pressure there, then!).

As you know, my Peony needed some reverse engineering and shortly after reading Steph’s post that is exactly what I was doing.  Reverse Sewing.  And I realised that my seam ripper was a little bit blunt.  I prattle on about sewing to my Mother occasionally and I think we got around to the subject via bridesmaid dresses (gonna be a common theme around here for a while, sorry!) and I mentioned I needed to get a new unpicker.  I explained to my bemused Mother what it was and she replied “Oh, like a suture cutter.” (she’s a nurse).  Yep, that’s exactly what they’re like and a little light bulb went off.


I have a love affair with Gingher products and their seam ripper is a thing of beauty, but it also looks exactly like a suture cutter; a small curved blade.  A short Google adventure ensued and resulted in the expenditure of £20 and this is what I bought:


Swann Morton No3 type stainless steel scalpel handle
100 Suture blades that fit the above
Two blade removal boxes

Now, my usual quick unpick destruction rate is about once every six months.  I don’t spend more than about £3 on one, so this outlay is about four years worth of unpickers, but they’ll last me about 50 years!  At £0.15 each I’m happy that each project will get a new needle and a new unpicking blade (I always have to rip something…).

These little beasties are super sharp and as a result I’ve changed the way I reverse a seam.  I used to cut the bobbin thread and pull as much out as I could.  Now I just cut every few stitches and pull the whole thread out on the other side of the seam.  Like this.  A bit of tape picks up the tufts of cut thread.  With the length the scalpel handle provides and the sharpness of the blade the ergonomics work for me and it’s also faster than pulling the bobbin thread.  It also doesn’t stress the fabric in the same way, if at all.


The only caution I’d give about this tool is due to how sharp they are.  If you have small people of curious creatures you do NOT want to leave this where they can find it as the blade can’t be retracted and they don’t come with a lid.  The handle I’ve chosen is magnetic so I’m going to attach a magnet where boy can’t reach and keep it on that.

You also want to be careful when attaching and removing the blades as again – scalpel blades are sharp.  So sharp that you don’t actually notice you’ve cut yourself (I just had to test it on the pad of my thumb, didn’t I!).  So I’d really really really recommend getting one of the removal and storage boxes.  They’re not expensive and it’ll keep you and everyone else safe from the blades.

I’m curious though, have you ever taken something and used it for a purpose for which it was never designed or envisaged?  And how do you reverse sew?  Do you cut each stitch, pull out the bobbin thread or plough between the two pieces of fabric?

Finally, Happy Valentines day to you all; whether you’re loved up, drowing in red roses or avoiding this most Hallmark of holidays like the plague.  We’ve nixed the cards etc but a nice dinner will be made tonight and maybe a movie…  If I don’t fall asleep!

McCalls 5248 with a Dash of Minoru; A Blanket I Can Wear!

And this is my most recent finished item.  If I could, I would live in it.  I had a massive fleecy blanket in a beautiful purple/plum colour.  When we had all the snow I spent a lot of time hiding in it.  I was wearing it like some insane cape type thing, walking around the house when Boy made a simple observation:  “Why don’t you make a dressing gown Mummy like mine then you’d be warm and your arms would work”.  From the mouths of babes…  And my blanket is now properly wearable!


I used McCalls 5248, originally bought for Karen’s Pyjama Party last year.  I traced out the robe pattern and then added the hood from Sewaholic’s Minoru jacket.  I was going to leave the hood, but consultation with Twitter advised that it should stay.  I’m glad I listened!

I deviated from the pattern in a few ways; the hood, adding length, using bias binding instead of turning and hemming, oh and using a fleece blanket instead of a woven!  This pattern has a facing around the front of the robe so that the shawl collar doesn’t show the wrong side of the fabric.  I included it because I wanted the right side to face out and because I wanted to add some flat piping.

As a result it’s really snugly around the shoulders and in the hood although it does add a lot of bulk because it’s two layers of thick fleece!  But hey, this isn’t seduction wear.  This is I wanna walk around wearing a blanket wear!


I constructed this entirely on my regular machine.  There are some seriously wonky seams in places  but as it’s such a plush fabric you really can’t tell.  As it’s a knit I haven’t worried about finishing any seams either, although I did bind the inside edge of the facing.  I’m really pleased with this most unflattering of makes; it’s like walking around in a big hug and it keeps me warm!!

Looking Forward…

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve! A day of hopefulness if ever there was one.

These are my plans for the next 365 days…

Make a veil for my Babyiest sister for her wedding in June. Seriously – these things cost a ton of money and she can’t find anything that she loves so, in a moment of weakness whilst looking at her in her wedding dress at a fitting, I said I’d make her one. I’m slowly amassing the supplies I need (which will be about £50-60 total) to rip-off the veil she liked in the bridal store. That was priced at £150. And the one I’ve got planned is going to have real Swarovski crystals on it (which is to be honest the most expensive bit, the rest costs about £10!)

Choose 5 or 6 patterns that I am definitely going to definitely make this year. Rather than pretend that I’ll get through the list of 24 I started with I’ve chosen the following as VIMs (Very Important Makes) for 2013:

Sewaholic Cambie (Lizzy, I’m hoping your pox is infectious!)

Sewaholic Alma (Leopard print with a contrasting black peter pan collar and short sleeves)

Vogue 1247 (I’m late to this particular party, but I have high hopes…)

Tula Pink Turtle Bay in Indigo

Simplicity 2444 (I have the above fabric in mind for this – there’s people playing on the back of a turtle!)

McCalls 4643 (a fleecy dressing gown for Boy)


Butterick 5748 (Completely and utterly inspired by Roisin at Dolly Clackett)

I’d like to get these all done in the first 6 months of the year. But I’m also aware that may not happen as my Babyiest sister’s wedding gets ever closer, and she inevitably panics ever more! Once my Peony is finished, it’ll be Boy’s dressing gown and then the Vogue I think… Then dresses!

I’ve also decided to set myself some challenges this year:

1. No more fabric shopping (hoped for London trip excepted, that’s my one free pass) – I have a lot of lovely fabric in my sewing room and it needs to be turned into clothes; Father Christmas was very good to me this year and I’ll bore you all silly with it soon! I am allowed to purchase some notions though (zips, lining, thread, machine needles).

2. No more patterns – again I have way more patterns that I have the time to sew. Plus I can make a note of those that I wish for in my stitchy wish list ready to refer to when it rolls round to birthday and Christmas time!

3. Pay off my credit card. Lladybird has completely inspired this one. I don’t think I’ll be getting a new machine at the end of it though (which she also saved for!). I just want rid of the thing!

PS. I’ve also got a lovely new iron… It’s a Tefal GV8461 Pro Express Steam Generator Iron. Being me I researched the life out of it and decided that I needed to be able to remove the tank to fill it up and that I wanted LOTS of steam and this fit the bill. I also managed to get it whilst it was on offer (but it was still a hefty chunk of money) but it if lasts as long as the other one it’ll be a good investment. Once I’ve used it for a while I’ll do a proper review if you’re interested?

Blog Award Thank You!

I’ve also been the lucky recipient of some blog awards, so I think it’s time for a celebratory post – don’t you?

Thank you to Mercury Handmade who has bestowed upon me not one, but two lovely blog awards!



Apparently, there are rules…

1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post – done.
3. Share 7 things about yourself (see below if you’re interested)
4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees (even further down the page!)
5. Include this set of rules
6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs

So, Thank You Anne!  I’m extremely flattered and rather pleased that you chose to nominate me, thank you.

Umm, seven things…  Here goes!

1.  I’m a sagittarius, and do actually have a lot of the personality traits! (I like to KNOW stuff, for people to agree with me, optimistic, sometimes exaggerate, can procrastinate [I’ll research things to the point of standstill!  Very easy to do with the interwebs!] can be obsessive but can also lose interest quickly)
2.  I finally worked out in my 30th year that I want to wear dresses with fitted bodices and full skirts, so I guess that gives you a pretty good heads up on what I’m likely to be focusing on sewing wise!  Although I reserve the right to change my mind with no warning at all, or just because I feel like it!
3. The seamless pledge is no longer a challenge, but a way of life.  Thank you Elena!
4. I’m overly ambitious in respect of ‘want to make’ of ‘actually have time to make’ (and in many other areas of life too)
5. I have only worked just one job whilst at school/college and for the first year after I left school.  I’ve always worked my own job and been a volunteer police officer, or worked my own job and unofficially worked for my husband when he’s been self employed (first at the boat yard and now as a heating engineer).  Most would call being a Mum a job too and sometimes it DOES feel like work, but is the best thing I’ve done with my life.  I need extra hours in the day and the ability to function on 3 hours sleep so I can do all the things I dream up and so I can sew more – sadly neither are likely to happen!
6. I think about sewing pretty much all the time.  Even if it’s only dream sewing, or fantasy fabric shopping, or project planning!
7. Discovering sewing blogs and starting one of my own has developed my sewing at light speed.  There is no way I would have discovered patterns, sewing designers, techniques or have been so inspired with out you all so thank you.

Now I need you to put your best awards ceremony announcer voice on because…

The Nominees Are:

1.  Claire at Sew Incidentally.  She’s not been blogging a ton of late, but when she does the posts are always good.
2.  Lizzy and Sew Busy Lizzy.  Just love her and her style and her Cambie Pox!
3. Prrtynpnk at Pretty Grievances.  She is just the most self depreicating and funny person with a habit of dressing her inner princess.
4. Kim at Kim-ing.  One of the funniest and most fearless people I’ve ‘met’ through sewing!
5. Roisin at Dolly Clackett.  She can pull off prints like no one else and has a brilliant writing style – love!
6. Amanda at Symondezyn.  This lady has some serious graphic design talent and is so honest in her blogging.
7. Ann at Annabelle Bumps.  I love her style and her blog is so welcoming!  And she can knit too!
8. Marie at A Stitching Odyssey.  Her new sewing room is gorgeous, and she’s got a give away on at the moment if you’re feeling lucky!
9. Mela at Pincushion Treats.  Fabulous style and fabric along with some fabulous recipes.
10. Joanne at Stitch and Witter.  Another fabulous blog and she’s hopefully got a small person now as she was crocheting up a storm whilst she was waiting for them!

I wanted to nominate Sonja at Ginger Makes, Amy at Sew Well and Evie at Pendle Stitches too, but Anne beat me to it!


I was also nominated by CalicoStretch for the Premio award at the beginning of the month (sorry it’s taken me so long to pass this on)!  Quite simply it’s a thank you to those who take the time to comment on blogs and help instill that sense of community we’re so lucky to have.  It’s beautifully simple in that you pass it on to the last nine people who have commented on your blog.  So, I’m happy to pass this on to:

Sonja at Gingermakes (I will tell you all about the boat yard soon…)
Evie at Pendlesitches
Ann at Annabellebumps
Claire at Sew-incidentally
5currantbuns at Appetite for Cake
Kat at Modern Vintage Cupcakes
Sewing Princess
Sophie O at Monbouton’s Needles
Amanda at Bimbleandpimble

Crikey, congratulations if you’ve made it this far!  This has turned into a much longer post than I intended…  I have fabric that’s drying and wildly ambitious plans for 2013 which I’ll share very soon!  Hope you’re all well and enjoying a little time off if you’re lucky enough to have some.