Working for Flora

So, I’m sure you are more than aware that By Hand London launched their latest pattern last week, the Flora dress.  Oh, my.  Isn’t she an absolute show stopper?!  I’ve loved seeing all the tester versions across some of my favourite blogs.  And seriously is there anyone on this planet who, if asked, would turn the BHL girls down?!  And having seen some of the care packages they sent out to their testers, wow!  The BHL girls know how to look after their pattern testers!

She has a fitted bodice and full skirt that I love, but with a twist.  I love the faux wrap top and whilst I have always, always been wary of a mullet hem, this dress has converted me and I want one NOW!  But, I’ve made myself a promise to get fit and as an incentive for each fortnight I complete my 30 minute bike workout, I can buy myself a present.  Flora is going to be my first present.  I’ll tell you this, it makes me want to get on that bike and work!

In in the interim (when I’m not telling myself, xx minutes until it goes to an easier resistance, or xx minutes to go) I’ve been dreaming about which fabric I’m going to make her in.  And then Amy, who blogs at Almond Rock,posted an Instagram picture of a fabric at Textile Express and I was sold. I’d never come across this retailer before but I know Amy has used them on a number of occasions so I jumped in and bought the fabric (and some floral jersey too – well if you’re paying £6 P&P you might as well get your money’s worth!).


It’s just perfect, Navy, floral and a lawn.  It’s going to drape beautifully and I may be a little bit in love!

If you want any inspiration though, just look at Lizzy’s TWO versions (AM and Nightshade which is a knockout), Sonja’s vibrant beauty, Dixie’s classic interpretation, Roisin’s use of a fabulous print, Marie’s classic beauty, Fiona’s Pretty in Pink version, Lauren’s vibrant summer dress, Zoe’s chic monochrome number, Nette’s vibrant red dress and Emily who selflessly made the dress for her sister!  If these incredible pattern test versions don’t get you wanting to get behind your machine and make your own version in very short order, I don’t know what will!

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…

Teal, Lace and Peony

What do you think of my plans for Colette Patterns’ Peony?

After your feedback when I asked what I should wear as a God Mother in June, a short sleeved Peony was the overwhelming winner.  I love the dark teal cotton sateen that I found at my local fabric store but have yet to buy.  I plan on changing the skirt to a pencil silhouette with a godet at the back edged with venice / guipure ivory lace.  I also want to put an ivory lace appliqué at the neckline.

What I can’t decide on is what to do about the belt.  Do I leave it completely?  Or do I make one in the same colour as the dress, or purple, or aqua or ivory like the lace?  I’m drawn to the purple or aqua at the moment – what do you think?

I’m Still Alive…

Oh.  My.  Goodness.

This week has been nuts.  All I can say is thank goodness I’ve got a day off tomorrow!  I normally work Wednesday, Thursday and Friday but needed to attend a training course on Tuesday so have done a mix-round on my working days this week.  It’s amazing how something so simple has thrown me so out of kilter!

So, I haven’t really achieved much this week!  I’ve cut my shell fabric for Beignet Mk 1 and done a bit of provisioning for my Minoru jacket and that’s about it!

My plan has changed from the last time I over-excitedly babbled about this because of one simple quote taken from the Colette Sewing Handbook (which, by the way is on its way from the Book Depository – I got the email!  Eeep!  Shame I’ll be giving it away in the next couple of weeks…)

And the excerpt is this:

I want to feel good in it (well, kinda the point of sewing for yourself!)
I want to feel comfortable in it
What will I wear with it?  Umm, if it’s leopard print or houndstooth.  I have no idea.  If I’m honest I like dark, fairly plain colours.
How often will I wear it?  The intention is A LOT!  So it needs to work with pretty much everything.

So I’ve revised my fabric choices and this is what I’m going to use:

No 14

Plain cotton canvas in Dark Purple, No 14 on the shade card above.  I’ll be lining it with:

Lining in Flannel

This funky Argyle Flannel in shades of blue and turquoise.  I’ll be using a non-static lining fabric for the sleeves so that I can get my arms in and out easily!  I’m also toying with the idea of some mustard gold coloured piping between the facings and the lining fabric.  It depends on how that seam is constructed though.

So a dark, but not navy or black, outer fabric with a pop of fun snuggly colour on the inside!  Look at me channeling my autumn colour palette!

Autumn Jewels - my palette for autumn!

Now, does anyone know where in the UK I can get antique brass separating and closed zippers?!

The C Word

Yep, I’m talking Christmas!  Mainly because Tilly has relaunched this:

Hurrah for the Crafty Christmas Club.  A veritable treasure trove of ideas and a way of sharing your creations without those who are being created for getting a sneek-peak!

What is it?

A group blog for people making their own Christmas prezzies. A hub to discuss your crafty plans with likeminded people, gain inspiration from other craftsters, share tips and tutorials, and show off your finished goodies without spoiling the surprise to family and friends who might be reading your own blog.

Why would you spend time making presents? Isn’t it easier just to buy them?

Well yes, it is easier to buy them. But I know I’m not the only one who feels a little nauseous at the thought of all the frenzied consumerism that goes on during the festive season. Who wants to spend the whole of December battling the crowds in the shopping centre? I’d rather sit at home crafting a little something by hand, investing that extra bit of love and care into it. Stock up on fabric and glitter, invite some friends over to join in the fun, load up your favourite music, pour out the sherry, warm up the mince pies… bliss!

What kinds of crafts does it cover?

Sewing, knitting, paper crafts, crafty food gifts, jewellery, decorations, fancy wrapping, cards… and lots of other craftiness.

Sounds like a genius idea! How can I be part of the fun?

Why thank you, kind sir! Read the blog and follow our progress here. If you want to post to the blog, you can become a member by emailing craftychristmasclub at g mail dot com and I’ll set you up as an author. If you’ve got your own blog, send me the link and I’ll add it to the list of members. Ooh and help spread the good tidings by adding the button to your blog:

I don’t celebrate Christmas – can I still join?

But of course! If you’re making Hanukkah prezzies, Winter Solstice prezzies, or any other winter season prezzies for that matter, do join us!

Join us… join us… join us…

So, do as Tilly says!  There are only 72 days until the big day (sounds like ages and no time at all, all at once) so come plan and create with us!

Some Progress

Last weekend I didn’t achieve a lot of what I wanted to achieve sewing wise.  And this week it’s been a bit hectic, what with one thing and another.  But the weekend has been a little calmer, and a little more productive!

Just in case the weekend was busy (when aren’t they?!) I planned my tasks in stages.  So rather than saying that I wanted to hem my circle skirt I broke it down.  It means that I’ve actually crossed off some of my ‘to do’ list!

So, for my reference (and probably to bore you!) here’s what my list looked like on Sunday night:

Trace pattern
Grade waist by slash and spread
Cut muslin pieces
Sew muslin
Fit muslin

Pin mark hem
Baste lining to shell along hem line
Trim hem to 1/2″ below hem line
Attach horse hair braid (HHB) following Gertie’s tutorial
Bind ends of HHB
Press and shape hem
Hand stitch HHB to lining fabric

Prepare purse pattern pieces
Order lining fabric
Interface shell fabric
Cut shell fabric
Cut fleece padding 

Hem my sister’s shorts

Sew Pendrell started last weekend

Once again, now that I’ve looked at it properly that is an insanely ambitious list!  But I got a reasonable amount of it done, which is brilliant!  My priorities were the circle skirt, but that has stalled as I need someone to help me pin mark the hem and Husband refuses point blank to help in that regard.  So I need to wait until I get to see my sister to get that stage done.  We were going to do it Friday evening but Boy was violently ill (I’ll leave it at that – it was spectacular!) so it immediately fell to the bottom of the priorities list.  I was also supposed to do her shorts for her trip to Cornwall that evening, and they weren’t done either!  Hopefully it’ll all be done for Friday so I can email Casey with the details as she’s planning a round up post!

Plum Sakura Fabric
Turquoise Bird Fabric
Tiny Anchor Fabric

The other priority was the purse pattern and fabric cutting etc.  The first three fabrics above have been cut.  Each fat quarter is enough to make two of these purses, although as yet I’ve only cut one of each.  A bit of production line sewing will be coming up once I’ve finished my circle skirt and Pendrell.  I may tackle these before I launch into my Beignet proper.  Please click on the photos of the fabric to visit the shops of the lovely Etsy seller’s who I bought the fabric from.

The Beignet was progressed whilst Merlin was on the telly on Saturday night.  It also meant I was with Husband as well.  He’s always bemused that I trace a pattern.  I’ve got as far as grading the flat pattern and cutting the muslin, but I’ve yet to sew any of it.

So all in, quite a productive weekend whilst still being able to enjoy time as a family and the beautiful but very unseasonable weather.  And if you have any thoughts you could share on this post, I’d be really grateful!

Planning an Autumn Wardrobe

OK, my Lonsdale never made it as far as the cutting table.  I’m going to add it to my sewing list for next summer.  I just couldn’t find the fabric I had in my head for it.  So I think I’ll wait, keep looking and make it in the spring for next summer when it’ll get a lot of wear.  You never know, they may have sorted my wretched hormones out and I’ll be a tad smaller?  This running has to pay off sometime…

So, for this autumn I plan to concentrate on separates.  Here are my ideas…

Pendrell: in striped shirting with cap sleeves.  Probably multiples!  I wonder if this would look good layered over a long sleeve T.  Or would that be too casual for work?  Oh, and of course my gorgeous butterfly / moth fabric.

Shirting from Ditto Fabrics

Circle skirt: in solids and maybe a plaid if I feel confident in matching them…  Navy, purple and maybe a border print with some teal or turquoise.  This pattern from Burda is kinda where I’m thinking.  Ooh, chocolate baby cord?

Linda Skirt - Burda

Beignette:  In solids.  Again in a deep purple, navy, deep red wine colour and maybe even a pinstripe?  I have some cute indigo buttons…

Ginger:  See above!  Maybe another polkadot one in a dusky teal?  I fancy bias though as I think it may hang a little better in the heavier fabric…  Definitely a straight waist band.

Gah, I forgot the Crescent skirt too – and I have a really sweet vintage-esque navy with stylised flowers printed on it too…

You see, my plan is that these will all be wearable for work, with tights.

I’m also going to need to think about my casual, running around with boy outfits.  And these will have to involve trousers some of the time- I’d love to make them I just don’t know where to start.  I do love this burda pattern though:

Bella Trouser - Burda