Monday, 24 December 2012

Blog Award

I've been lucky enough to be nominated for a Liebster Award by Sabs over at Tybalt: King of Cats and Amy over at Almond Rock. Amy nominated me over a month ago and Sabs just recently. I've been so busy with my course I've only just got round to blogging about it so here goes.

Firstly, thank you so much Sabs and Amy

The purpose of the Liebster Award (according to Sabs' post) is to bring blogs that have less than 200 followers into the limelight and increase their readership. I'm a relatively newbie blogger so I'm especially grateful for these nominations. 

According to Sabs, the rules are:
  • Post 11 random facts about yourself;
  • Answer 11 questions that your nominator asked you;
  • Nominate up to 5 other blogs for the award and ask them 11 questions of your own.
So firstly, 11 random facts:
  1. Until 4 months ago I was an environmental scientist, but I've since gone back to university to train as a primary teacher (because I'm a sucker for punishment obviously! :D);
  2. I get really annoyed by people who don't use the correct spellings for there and their / your and you're.... I'm quite anal about it to be honest!
  3. I love growing my own vegetables - nothing tastes better than a fresh picked tomato;
  4. One day my other half and I dream of owning a smallholding with chickens and a poly tunnel;
  5. I absolutely LOVE Christmas;
  6. I'm a Real Ale fanatic;
  7. I'm determined to learn to crochet this year;
  8. I'd like to finish at least one knitted cardigan / jumper in 2013;
  9. I volunteer for the RSPB once a month;
  10. I'm still a tree hugger despite no longer being an environmental scientist;
  11. I get really annoyed by people who drop litter - to the point of telling them to pick it up and put it in the bin.
Here are my answers to Sabs' questions:
1. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? I'd be a bird of some description - I love the idea of being able to fly and see everything from a birds eye view. 

2. What colour are your eyes? Hazel

3. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up and have you become that? I wanted to be a PE teacher (like my mum). I'm not quite a PE teacher but I'm heading down the teaching route at least.

4. What was your favourite childhood toy? My brother's lego - everyone insisted on buying me dolls which I hated, luckily from me though my brother was a generous soul!

5. Dresses or trousers? Dresses mostly, although I do sill love my comfy jeans.

6. How many hours a day or week do you spend looking at other peoples' blogs? An hour a day probably.

7. If you could timetravel back to the past and change one thing, what would it be? Nothing - all life experiences make you who you are, regardless of whether they were good or bad. 

8. What have you always wanted to do but were too afraid to try? Sky diving.

9. What crafting experience (ie something you've made) are you most proud of? The patchwork blanket I made from my niece when she was born - it's by no means perfect, but she loves it and that makes it perfect!

10. Which day of the week do you hate the most? Tuesdays. You've still got 4 more days of the week to get through till the weekend.

11. Daddy or chips? ?

So, now for my 11 questions for the blogs I've nominated:
  1. Red wine or white wine?
  2. What made you start sewing/knitting/crafting?
  3. If you could give any craft a go, what would it be?
  4. Favourite radio station?
  5. Dogs or cats?
  6. How old were you when you first started sewing/knitting/crafting?
  7. Stolen from Sabs but... What crafting experience (ie something you've made) are you most proud of?
  8. What's the scariest thing you've ever done?
  9. What's your favourite time of year?
  10. How much time per week do you spend sewing/knitting/crafting?
  11. How big is your sewing / knitting stash?
And finally - the nominees. Dum dah dah dum dum duuuum....

Merry Christmas

This is just a quick post to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! The snowman says "hello!"

This is the time of year when it brings it home to me just how lucky I am to have so many wonderful people in my life and I am so grateful for that.

Enjoy the mince pies and mulled wine - here's to a new year spent recovering from the excesses! :D

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

FO: Tapestry Cushion

So this was actually finished about 2 weeks ago, but I only got round to stitching the back piece and stuffing it at the weekend.

This is a tapestry pattern taken from Cath Kidston's 'Stitch' book, which I found in a charity shop earlier in the year. It was very simple to sew but I tended to just do the odd row here and there which is why it's taken me so long to finish it.

It's also a lot smaller than anticipated, so if I made it again I'd probably increase the size by at least 50% again to make  it a little bigger. However, it does the job of providing a comfy cushion to lean against on the sofa so I can't complain.

The front uses a variety of tapestry yarns and the back is made out of one of the fat quarters I won in Handmade Jane's blogerversary giveaway.

I have plans to use the other fat quarters for other sofa cushions when I get round to it. So THANK YOU Jane - it was the perfect giveaway prize for me!

In other news, I have another FO to post about at some point - I made a wearable muslin of Gertie's Bow Tie Blouse (sans bow tie) back before the Birmingham Blogger Meetup in November and wore it to the meet up for a bit of a 'wear-test'. I used it as a chance to have a go at my very first bound buttonholes as well as test for fit. Anyway, it stood up well and fitted so nicely that I decided to finish it off properly with a peter pan collar. So I'll post about that once it's out of the wash and ironed!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

FO: The Miette Cardigan

I've done it!!! My first ever adult sized knitted piece of clothing! With the exception of the cowls I made last year, but they don't quite fall in to the same category in my eyes... It's Andi Satturlund's Miette cardigan and I love it.

So it's taken me about 6 months on and off - pretty slow I know, but I'm not the fastest knitter in the world and I get easily distracted by sewing usually.

It's not perfect, but I'm pretty happy all in all with this make. I'll definitely make it again, but I'd add more length next time as it's a tad shorter than it's meant to be. No pictures of me wearing it yet because my photo monkey is away so I can't get him to take pictures of me in it. 

Although it took me 6 months to make it's actually a pretty straightforward knit - lots of stocking stitch! After my failure to get beyond the first 8 rows of the Agatha cardigan I needed something like this to give me a bit more confidence. 

I still really want to knit the Agatha cardigan but I might wait till my knitting is a little better - there are short rows in the pattern and it just confused the hell out of me! 

Up next though is the Debbie Bliss Cable Cardigan from her Land Girl knitting book. I've already started, but as you can see I haven't got very far yet! lol This could take me a while I think...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Birmingham Blogger Meetup

Now, as Marie has already posted in detail about the Birmingham meetup yesterday I won't add any more, other than to say what a FAB time I had and to say a huge thank you to Marie and Kat for organising such a great day. I can't believe I'd never been to Barry's Fabric Superstore before - just awsome! It was so lovely to finally meet some of the bloggers I follow in person and also meet some lovely new bloggers I didn't know about.

I will however, share the goodies that I came home with. I feel I was quite restrained with my purchases - I only bought 10m of fabric - that's not much, right?

Firstly I found this lovely wool fabric in one of the stalls outside. I asked for 1.5m and got nearly 2 since it was the end of the roll for a total of £6.

It's destined for a skirt - maybe the skirt that goes with Gertie's Starlet Suit Jacket Course since it's lying around somewhere.

Then, in the indoor market, Katie and I spied this gorgeous deep wine red wool fabric for £5 per m so we both decided to snaffle some of it up.

I came away with 3m of the stuff. I have visions of a cute wiggle dress. maybe the one from Gertie's book or one of the other vintage patterns I have in my stash.

Then, after visiting The Fancy Silk Store, where I was totally restrained and didn't buy anything, it was off to Barry's Fabric Superstore - basically a warehouse full of fabric of all kinds - amazing! I caved in when I got here and came away with 1m of this beautiful 100% wool fabric, which I plan on making into a pencil skirt (£11.95 per m);

And 3m of this amazing cotton, which I plan on making into a full skirted Cambie dress (about £5m I think).

Not only that, but after a lovely lunch in Cafe Soya, we had a bit of a mammoth swap, and I came home with all these goodies too!

Thanks to all the lovely, funny, friendly ladies who made this such a fantastic day!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Bombshell Dress: Progress

Well, I'm still alive - just! This uni course is more manic than even I anticipated and I knew before it started that it would be pretty crazy! I've had so little time for doing anything even remotely crafty.

But, I'm making (slow) progress on my bombshell dress... I should definitely have it made for Christmas.

I've finished the outer bodice, including the padding etc...

I've attached the sarong skirt - though it's a little restrictive towards the middle of my thighs so I may have to do a minor alteration to add a smidge more ease...

 And the lapped zipper is in...

Now all that's left to do is make the bodice lining with all the steel boning, attach a waist stay and a zipper guard and sort the ham/skirt vent... so not much! :)

all in all I'm pretty pleased with the results so far.

In other news, I've also done a little bit of work on my Miette cardigan - I now have sleeve holes!

Also this weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Roisin of Dolly Clackett. She showed me the delights of Leamington's fabric shops, which I knew nothing about despite only living 10 minutes away by train! It was so lovely to meet her. I had such a great time. Now I can't wait for more sewing blogger meet-ups in the future!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Friday Round-up #7

No WIPS this week I'm afraid. I've started back at Uni on a PGCE primary course and life has been quite simply manic this week. I've been so busy making notes on my first placement every evening that there hasn't been a single minute to spare for anything remotely crafty! Pretty rubbish really, but I can see this being the order of my life for the next 12 months whilst I do this course. Sewing is going to have to take a bit of a back seat to studying unfortunately. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do some sewing over the weekend though.

So without further a-do, on to the Friday links...

  • Have you seen the two new Colette Patterns offerings? Gorgeous - I want need both! The Juniper trousers are lovely and would make a great pair of wide leg jeans and the Anise is simply beautiful! I like them so much I've already bought them both! (what was that about sewing taking a back seat to studying?)...
  • Another great tutorial from Cotton and Curls - this time, how to change over-sized pants into bell-bottoms.
  • And here's another tutorial - this time from Handmade Jane showing you how to make a cute baby blanket - I have a couple of friends who are either due very soon or have just given birth that I'm definitely going to make these for!
  • Gertie has got another online workshop out today (and another tomorrow). Pop over and and see what they're about.
  • And whilst I'm on the topic of Gertie - she's also released the sew-along schedule for her Butterick 5824 coat if you want to sew along. If I had the time for this kind of detailed sewing I'd love to join in but alas it's not to be...
  • For those of you who might be new to sewing, Suzannah over at Adventures in Dressmaking shares a post about how to use sewing patterns.
Happy weekend everyone! Hopefully I'll have more to show you WIP wise next week.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Friday Round-up #6

Hello all - another Friday round-up for you. I'm off on my long awaited summer holiday tomorrow so there won't be a Friday Round-up next week. But at least there's still one this week right?


Now I've finished the Cambie Dress I can  start working on the Bombshell dress again. It kind of got put on hold whilst I was finishing off stuff for my holiday. I'm planning on getting stuck in to this properly once I'm back.

The knitting hasn't moved on anywhere, but I'm taking it with me so hopefully there'll be a little more progress to show you in a couple of weeks time!

Hand-painted t-shirts. A while back Tilly posted about hand painted Breton tops. Now, I love me some stripes so tought I'd utilise the idea for making some striped vest tops to take away with me. They're mostly done - they just need to dry before setting with the iron.


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Finished Project: Cambie Dress

Morning all! I have another finished project for you today. This time, it's a Cambie dress from Sewaholic. I've had this pattern in my stash since it came out but never quite got round to making it up. But then, back in May I won Marie's giveaway over at A Sewing Odyssey and I knew this fabric would be perfect for the Cambie! There was just enough to make version A.

And here it is - just in time for my summer holiday next week!

As many others have said after sewing this pattern, it was an absolute dream to sew up. The instructions, as per usual with Sewaholic Patterns, were clear and easy to follow. A beginner sewist could easily handle this pattern with a bit of guidance. I love this pattern! I have so many ideas for other versions. I definitely need to make the full skirted version, because all the other versions I've seen are just so lovely, but I think the A-line version could be perfect in a winter weight fabric like a wool or suiting. The A-line version is such a classic shape that it would make a great work dress too, so now all I need to do is decide what fabric to make it in!

I cut a straight size 8 for this pattern and the fit is fine. If anything it could be taken in a smidge just at the neckline, but that's mainly because I'm quite flat in my upper chest so things are often a little loose on necklines like the one on the Cambie dress. Two very small darts from the neckline down the side of the bust would probably solve this on the next version (or I could just wear a push up bra to give me more oomph! :-) ). 

I totally forgot to lengthen the skirt pieces as I was in such a rush to get started on this make so I just serged the hemline, tuned it under once and added some lace to the bottom. It worked out perfectly and I love the length of the dress as it is. But on my next version I'll remember to lengthen the skirt pieces. 

One thing I really love about this pattern (besides the pockets, because who doesn't love pockets)...

Oooh pockets...
 is that it looks just as lovely on the inside as it does on the outside. Tasia's come up with an absolute genius way of inserting the lining and the sleeves. I'm tempted to try it on a few other makes where I can. The whole thing just looks so neat and tidy. 

I used blue lace on the hem and then decided to match it by using a blue zip too. Then, because I had enough lace left over and you can never have to much pretty, I decided to add lace to the ham of the skirt lining too. 

All in all such a great make. I'll definitely be making plenty more of these.  

Saturday, 25 August 2012


Hello All!

Just wanted to share with you a very generous present I received this week. Friday was my last day at work as I'm heading back to university to re-train as a teacher at the start of September (gulp). I work for a very small company but colleagues we just so generous I couldn't quite believe it! I swear it actually made me well up!

Knowing that I love to sew, they'd asked me whether there were any particular sewing type things I might want as a leaving present. I gave them a list of books and other options - never expecting to receive more than one of the the things on this list, but instead, I opened up my present and found all of this inside!

I am one very lucky girl! Now I just need to decide which knitting project to start first and what to spend the vouchers on! :-) 

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Friday Round-up #5

Hello all! Another weekly round-up for you. No WIPs this week as I haven't actually had time to do any crafty stuff at all - I'm feeling slightly lost because of it, it has to be said, but hopefully I'll make up for that over the weekend!

So here's the round-up of interesting posts this week

Friday, 17 August 2012

Friday Round-up #4

Hello all! Another Friday round-up for you. Life seems a little dull round here after the excitement of the Olympics. But maybe these links will make things a little more interesting...


My Cambie dress, using the fabric I won in Marie's giveaway over at a Sewing Odyssey back in May of this year. As soon as I saw this fabric I knew it would make a great Cambie dress so I've been saving it specifically for this patters. I'm so excited to finally get started on it! Not much progress though - just the darts sewn up so far.

As for the Bombshell dress, well I haven't managed to do any more on it since basting the underlining to the main fabric.

Miette cardigan: Having got to about this stage a while back and then making a mistake, which I proceeded to make worse when I tried to sort it out (that about sums up my knitting skills for you), I decided to frog it and start again. I hadn't done anything on it till the other day, but now I'm back to where I was the other month so hopefully I won't make any mistakes again!


Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Finished Project: Bombshell Bustier and a Circle Skirt

I've finished the bustier from Gertie's bombshell dress course! I decided to make just a bustier top as a practise run for the main bombshell dress which I'm in the process of making as well. I figured a bustier top would be perfect to take on holiday with me in September, whilst allowing me to practise all the things I've never done before like inserting boning and hand stitching a lining etc. I've still got to add a waist stay to this top, and make a variety of straps for it, so I guess technically it's not completely finished yet but I just couldn't wait to share it with you all!

All in all I've found this make surprisingly easy - there's lots of detailed hand sewing etc but the whole sewing process for this top seems to have gone really smoothly. Mainly I think this is thanks to Gertie's amazing teaching instructions - she is just an absolute wizard at explaining things clearly! I can't wait to really get going on the main bombshell dress now.

One slightly annoying thing though is that the red carbon paper I used to trace the pattern pieces can be seen through the lining, and the red thread I used for the basting has also left a slightly pink trace in places. Hopefully this will all wear off eventually though.

I used grosgrain ribbon to act as a zipper guard - it works so well, and looks really lovely I think and I've done my first lapped zipper! I looks great.

Because this top finishes at the waist, you need wear high waisted skirts / trousers with it so you can't see the bottom edge of the bustier. So I figured whilst I was in the zone sewing wise, I'd whip up a 3/4 circe skirt to go with it as well, because, you know, why not? A circle skirt is actually listed as an alternative to the sarong skirt of the bombshell dress in the online course materials. I had the red cotton in my stash and figured it would go brilliantly with the blue polka dots on the bustier top.  The top also goes brilliantly with my smooth sailing shorts, which I'm also planning on taking on holiday with me so I I'm well on my way to having a nice capsule wardrobe to take away with me!

The skirt isn't quite finished either. It still needs a hem, but I've decided to finish this off with some horsehair braid, so until this arrives I can't actually finish the skirt off properly. I finished the waistband off with a couple of hook and eye closures and a cute anchor button I had in my stash. I really love how it's turned out.

This 3/4 style circle skirt is much more flattering on me than a full circle skirt as it doesn't emphasise my hips quite as much. I definitely think I'll make another version of this skirt - maybe in a wool fabric for the winter or something.

I was planning on getting started on my Cambie dress today, but I realised when I came to cut out the fabric, that I hadn't actually pre-washed it, so I shoved it in the machine to wash and will get started on the dress tomorrow instead.

What's everyone else been up to this weekend?

Friday Roud-up #3

Another weekly round-up for you folks!

Are you all enjoying the olympis still? It's amazing how well team GB have done - so proud to be British right now! ;D

But anyway, onto the round-up...

Bombshell Dress Bustier: So the outer bodice for tghe bustier is finished and I'm working on the inner lining and the boning now. I'm hoping to get this finished over the weekend so I can move on to the bombshell dress propper.

I've also got plas to get the muslin for the Cambie dress sewn up in this lovely fabric which I got from Marie a few months back. There's enough for the A-line version. can't wait to get started on it!


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Finished Project: Smooth Sailing Shorts

Another finished project today. This time it's the Smooth Sailing shorts from Wearing History. Now I just want to get this off my chest up front - I LOVE these shorts! I'm not really a shorts kind of person because I always think they're too short (yes I know they're called shorts for a reason, but there's a limit to how much leg I want to show).

I actually bought this pattern because of the trousers and the blouse. Silly me didn't actually read the details of this pattern fully so didn't realise there was a shorts pattern included as well. Bonus!

Never having made any trousers before (PJ bottoms don't count) I decided to make a muslin up first to check the fit. The waist fir fine and the length was great but I felt a little restricted across my little belly so I added a smidge of extra ease across the front without altering the waist size and made a second muslin to check. There are no pictures of the muslin, because, well, in all honesty, cream calico shorts really aren't that attractive!The second muslin fit fine so it was on to the actual fashion fabric.

I'd just like to note here that this pattern is SO easy to sew up. I made both muslins and cut out the fashion fabric in the space of an evening! I then put the proper version together the next night.

Excuse the slightly saggy bum in the picture above - I'd been wearing them all day and spent rather a long time lazing around on a sun chair so they'd lost their shape slightly.

I used a navy cotton twill, which is just so soft but with anough crispness to it to hold the shape of the shorts. I didn't have a blue zipper to hand so I just used a brown one instead - naughtly I know. but you can't actually see the colour of the zipper from the outside since the teeth are metal.

I can't wait to make up the full length trouser version of these bottoms come the Autumn - I just need to decide what to make them in. A slightly stretch demim from the stash (technially meant for a skirt) or more cotton twill like the shorts....mmm.... decisions, decisions!

All in all though, I thoroughly recommend this pattern!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Friday Round-up #3

Oops sorry this is a couple of days late. I went away for the weekend and completely forgot to post this before I went!

So, progress on the bombshell dress. I'm actually making the top half as a separate bustier in a polkadot cotton as well as the green dress. I'm kind of making them both at the same time but doing the polkadot version first as a kind of practice version since I've never done anything like this before. So this is the progress on the polkadot version. The green dress version isn't far behind...

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Flea Market Finds

Morning all. This weekend I headed to the Giant Flea Market in Malvern. I was actually looking for more of the 1950s dinner service I’ve been collecting for a few years. It never crossed my mind that I would find sewing stuff there, never having seen any before!

But I did find sewing stuff. There was so much fabric on sale, I couldn’t believe it. I managed to control myself for the most part but then I saw a stall which had two boxes full of sewing patterns and I just had to take a look!
Most of them were 70’s and 80’s patterns which didn’t appeal, but here is what I did come away with:

Butterick 2545: I think this will be such a great basic top pattern.

Woman's Realm L258. I've never heard of this company before. Not a big fan of the collars on these dresses, but I really love the sleeveless version.

 Vogue 2646: This pattern has never even been used, and is still in factory folds. 

Simplicity 9906: Just a nice simple shift dress patter, Really like the different necklines.
These patterns only cost me £1 each – bargain!  
I did also buy some fabric. I came away with about 5-6m in total:

There;s about 2.5-3m of this polkadot cotton and it only cost me £5, which I thought was pretty good.

And there's at least 3m of this fabric too, which again cost me£5.

Sadly, I didn’t see any buttons / zips or other notions, but all in all I’m quite happy with this haul!
How was everyone else’s weekend?