Weddings and Goldhawk Road

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.

Wedding 1

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.

Wedding 2

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!

Goldhawk 1

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.

Goldhawk 3

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!

Goldhawk 2

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!

Goldhawk 4

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.

Me Made May; Week 2 and Some Winners!

I made it through another week!  And, I managed to get a full house of photos as well!  Although some don’t show the outfit too well.  Oops!

MMMay week 2 1

It was definitely the week of Simplicity 2588, I wore my work version twice and the blue roses version once.  So that’s nearly half the week in one pattern!  After that it was V1247 (again), Sencha (again, but at least photographed), and Cambie on Saturday.  You can see some of the building work we’re having done behind my Sencha photo.

MMMay week 2 2

Wearing dresses is much easier than mixing separates, but sometimes I need to wear trousers which is where lovely tops come in!  I really must break out Mathilde, Jasmine and Alma for next week!  And you can probably tell that as the week progressed I was getting more and more tired.  I am absolutely exhausted as I write this on the evening of the 16th.  One more day to the weekend…

But on to the much more interesting giveaway winners!

The fabric goes to: Eclectic Threads

The pattern of choice goes to: Lizzy at Sew Busy Lizzy who chose Jalie 2908 which is a jeans pattern

The vintage patterns and scarf go to: Silvia at Sewing Princess

Congratulations!

I’m looking forward to the weekend, I’m hoping to actually do some sewing which is more than repairing things, which is all that’s happened this month so far.  You never know, I may get an hour or so to disappear upstairs with my machine!

Sewaholic Cambie

Nearly two months after finishing this dress, I’m finally posting about it! I made this dress for our friends’ wedding on the 22nd March; the colour theme was purple and orange and I wanted to pick that up in what I wore on the day.

Cambie 1

The fabric is Amy Butler ‘Souvenir’ from the Lark collection. I’m not really sure what colour it is; in some light it’s orange, others a hot pink, and sometimes a deep coral.  Some have even told me it’s red!  I love the richness and warmth of the colour, whatever it is.

There’s not a lot to say about the Cambie pattern or the construction really. As always with Tasia’s patterns the drafting is faultless and the instructions good. I had no problems making this dress at all. I’m particularly pleased with how neatly the zip went in; there was bragging on Instagram and Twitter when I’d completed that step I have to admit.

Cambie 2

I didn’t make any changes to the pattern other than my usual FBA and using the full width of the fabric for the skirt panels, which definitely made for a fuller skirt! I love that putting a petticoat on with this dress gives it some added impact, but that it’s also great to wear without the extra oomph as a day dress (which is how I wore it for my sister’s hen do in Cambridge).

I have other versions of this dress planned already although I may lessen the amount of fabric in the skirt for that one…

Cambie 3

Fabric: Amy Butler ‘Souvenir’ from the Lark Collection
Lining: Bed sheet for the bodice and dress lining from Anglian Fashion Fabrics for the skirt
Thread & Zip: Jaycotts

PS: There’s still a few hours to enter my give away here!

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

Then;

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.

The Great British Sewing Bee

 

I know that the blogosphere has been awash with all sorts of opinions on the GBSB.  I didn’t want to jump in after just one episode, but we’re now 50% of the way through the four part series and I want to try and articulate my thoughts on the programme.

I’m sure most of you who read sewing blogs have also watched the programme if you can get access to it.  Outside of the UK, YouTube seems to be the weapon of choice!

May and Patrick

The show follows the familiar skill tests, assessment and elimination format of Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off.  Which means of course that we need some judges and these take the form of May Martin and Patrick Grant.  A WI Doyenne and a Saville Row Taylor (and new men’s wear designer for Debenhams).

At the end of each show, two contestant’s are eliminated.  So far we’ve lost:

Week One:     Michelle and Jane (through illness)
Week Two:     Tilly and Mark (I loved that Mark offered Tilly his arm as they left)

Now I enjoy watching this show, but I’m also already into sewing in a fairly obsessive way.  Outside of sewing circles though, I haven’t heard much discussion about it.  Not like Bake Off which every one could appreciate on some level; even if it was as simple as ‘I want to eat that’!

I worry that because sewing and garments are so tactile that the everyday person can’t immediately grasp the challenge of sewing a silk blouse.  The majority of bought clothing is poly-something-easy-care-no-iron.  How many people can begin to imagine how silk slips and moves when you work with it and therefore appreciate the technical challenges of constructing a garment with it.  It’s not as immediately understandable as a ‘soggy bottom’ on a tart although we all eat and we all wear clothes, so maybe it should be!

My other concern is the speed that some of the challenges are done at.  The refashion I think is about right and perfect to get someone interested.  A bit of lace and an hour is a manageable prospect.  Sewing a pair of tailored trousers in four hours when you have never done so; not so much.  I worry that this does nothing to re-educate people about the value of clothing or how difficult some of these things are to do.  There is an opportunity to really showcase and highlight the skills required to make a garment and I’m not convinced this is being made the most of.

Food traceability and quality is already in the mainstream, this has yet to happen for the clothes we wear.

And lets face it; the ingredients for a cake are a few pounds.  The yardage for a dress is anywhere from £5 if you have the wonders of ‘the man outside Sainsburys’ on Goldhawk Road, or £40 if you go for a quilting cotton and higher still if you go really fancy!  By extension, if a cake doesn’t work out, ah well, it was only a few quid and an hour.  A dress doesn’t work out and it’s £10 on the pattern, £30 on the fabric and all the time you’ve just put into it.  The potential to be put off on the first go is much much higher.

Each episode has a quick project that also seems to be covered in the accompanying book.  So far it’s been the laundry bag and a tie side cushion.  The construction of each has been massively glossed over and dealt with in two minutes.  For instance the laundry bag has a gusseted construction which is far more difficult that it was made to appear.  Thankfully the instructions in the book are much more comprehensive according to Jane’s review.

I guess I hoped for more.  Maybe some more explanation about why something is difficult to help develop the public’s appreciation for our clothing.  Definitely more signposting for people who may want to have a go so that they don’t become discouraged and know where to get the support they’re going to need.

Having said all of that, I know I’ll be watching the last two episodes.  And there was a slight rise in the ratings for week two so it is working, which I am really glad about.  As Miss P says, we really need this show to be a ratings success as without the numbers, the TV execs wont take the risk on comissioning any more sewing shows.

L to R: Lauren, Tilly, Jane, Mark, Stuart, Patrick, Claudia, May, Michelle, Sandra, Ann

I love Stuart’s incredulousness at what he’s managing to achieve each week and Ann’s cool, calm technical perfection.  And the relief that someone who has sewn for as long as Lauren still has complete moments of panic.  And Sandra’s cheekyness (I just need to look at your bottom Mr Grant).  At the moment, the only two contestants who blog are Tilly and Lauren, although I know Tilly is lining up some guest posts…

Next week involves sewing a child’s dress, altering a shop bought dress and finally fitting and sewing a tailored jacket for their model.  And then one more contestant will leave, leaving three contestants in the final on the 23rd April.

I don’t know who I want to win.  At the moment I think I’m team Stuart or Lauren.  Failing that, I’m team Patrick!

It Was a Good Day…

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!

Christmasday

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…

Curtains

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!

jj1

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.

Sew Very Merry Christmas Swap Button / Widget!

I have finally got round to sorting out a widget button thingy for the swap!  It’s not very fancy as I am still trying to sum up the courage to spring for Photoshop, but I hope you’ll like it?!

 

Here’s the code you need:

<div align=”center”><a
href=”https://vickikatemakes.wordpress.com/category/sew-merry-christmas-swap/&#8221; title=”Vicki Kate Makes”><img src=”https://vickikatemakes.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/svmcs1.jpg&#8221; alt=”vickikatemakes” /></a></div>
<div align=”center”></div>

I’d love it if you could share the button on your blog!  I’m really looking forward to this swap, it’s shaping up to be a good-un!

 

Sew Very Merry Christmas Swap

Hurrah, I’m so glad that you guys like the idea of a Christmas swap!

I’ve done a bit of research and the earliest last date for Airmail international postage (that I can track down) is Wednesday December 5th 2012, so here’s the plan:

Sign-up for the swap will be open until Friday November 16th 2012.  The weekend of the 17th and 18th I’ll pair people up and email out details of who you’re swapping with.

Then it’s time to do some research, read your swap partners blog, send them an email to help guide your choice on the fabric you think they’d like – and then of course go shopping!  I thought a budget of £20(GB) / $30(US) (by today’s exchange rate provided by Google) was a manageable figure?

Feel free to shop your stash if you have something that you know would be perfect!  The main aim is to provide enough fabric for the person to make their garment of choice, but if you want to include notions, trim, patterns because you scored an awesome deal then that would be fabulous!

It would be lovely if we could all gift wrap whatever we’re swapping to make opening our ‘present’ a little more special on Christmas Day.  And it prevents early peaking (well it might…)

Then it’s time to post your parcel by Wednesday December 5th 2012 and send me a quick email so I know that it’s been entrusted to Royal Mail / USPS / AusPost / whoever your postal service is!

I’d love it if we could all do a show and tell by New Year’s Eve and I can then do a wrap up post on New Years Day sharing what everyone received.  I was vaguely thinking that we could do a ‘finished item’ share at the end of January?

If you’d like to join in please send me an email to
vickikatemakes[at]btinternet[dot]com
with the following information by Friday 16 November 2012:

  • What item you’d like to make and therefore the yardage you’d like to swap; it could simply be that you want to make a dress, or a skirt or top, or that you’re hoping for the Cambie Dress Pattern for Christmas and enough fabric for that would be amazing! (I estimate that 3 yards for a dress / 2 for a top or skirt would be about right assuming 44″ fabric)
  • If you’re happy to post internationally
  • Your email address
  • Your postal address (If you’re in the US, please provide the full ZIP Code as international stuff can go AWOL without it!)
  • Your blog address (if you have one – if you don’t its not a problem!)

This way I can match people up on the yardage and postage.  I really hope you all want to join in and have an absolute ball, get to know some fellow sewists and have a wonderful present to open on December 25th!

PS – Some sort of blog button is coming soon…  If anyone is any good with photoshop or that sort of thing then I’d be eternally grateful as I’m clueless!

For image sources, please click on image

 

A Little Swap and Sew Along?

I’ve been mulling this over for a while, and hopefully won’t fall flat on my face when I put this out to you guys! With (Gulp) Christmas descending upon us all at a rate of knots I was wondering if you guys fancied a bit of a Christmas swap which could lead to a new dress or top or skirt to be made and shared in the New Year? Plus the knowledge that you’re definitely going to get some sewing goodness under the tree!

My idea is that you decide what you’d like to make (dress / skirt / top) and whether you’re willing to post internationally. You’re then paired up with someone thinking along the same lines and you each buy the other enough fabric to make the item you’ve decided on. I’m vaguely thinking 2 yards for a skirt or top and 3 for a dress?

Hopefully we can strike up some friendships and explore some new blogs to discover what we think each other would like… I think maybe three “Yes Please” and “No Thanks” pointers would be a good starting point too?

I thought the pattern choice would stay with you and is a way to maybe ease a few who may be a little uncertain into the idea? It also keeps the cost in check too for those of us on a budget! Speaking of which, should we set one? A cost per metre/yard? If you score a great deal you could always add some notions or trims?

Then in the new year we can share our fabrics and plans for them; then the finished item a while later.

I haven’t got too much into organisation or dates or anything as I thought I’d put the idea out there and see what people thought! If its an idea you like the sound of, let me know in the comments. If you’ve got any suggestions to make it better then please please please chime in!