Monday, 30 December 2013

Top 5 of 2013: reflections, inspirations and goals

I've decided to bundle my last top 5s together instead of stretching them over three posts. I've really enjoyed sitting down and thinking through everything I've done this year.


1. Imperfection is ok, laziness is not

2. This year has made me realise that I can sew. And I'm pretty good at it too, when I'm not being too hard on myself

3. "It'll do" isn't enough anymore - I want to know why that bit doesn't fit properly and I want to know how to fix it.

4. Sewing is more than just my hobby, it's my therapy. The longer I go without sewing the more stressed and irritable I get.

5. I'm finding my style and sewing to fit in with it


1. Sewing blogs and bloggers

2. Twitter

3. Me Made May

4. Sewcialists

5. Finding new indie pattern companies



1. Complete the bombshell dress class on Craftsy

2. Make a pair of trousers that fit well and look good

3. Quality over quantity - make fewer things but do them well

4. Complete Goodbye Valentino's RTW fast

5. Put more thought into what I'm making - pattern first, then fabric, and make sure it fits in with my wardrobe


Roll on 2014!


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Top 5 of 2013: Hits

Today I'm moving onto my Top 5 Hits of the year. It's been quite difficult to pick these because a lot of my makes have been hits this year but here they are.

I haven't worn this properly yet, but I did do some sewing in it the other week. Is that weird?!
#4 Gran's skirt
This is one I didn't blog. Gran's friend gave her some fabric and she asked if I would make a skirt and waistcoat with it for her. I still haven't done the waistcoat but she has worn the skirt for every special occasion since I made it.
This is the cardigan I made for Mum's birthday. She wears it a lot and says that she gets compliments every time she does.

Despite only making it half way through the year and it endi up on the mosses as well, this is the most worn item of the year and one of my most loved.
Self explanatory.



Friday, 27 December 2013

Top 5 of 2013: the misses

When Gillian posted about this year's Top 5 I knew I had to join in. I was going to start posting before Christmas but present making stress followed by the relief of not having to do anything meant that I have hardly been on anything at all; I've had an unintentional technology free Christmas.

I don't want to go into the new year on a downer, so I'm getting the misses out of the way first, then positivity can reign.


#5 The elephant Alma blouse

I made this during Me Made May and while its wearable, I think it has to be one of the misses - I have hardly worn (maybe twice) because it washes me out.

#4 The Thurlows

These were a nightmare during sewing and I think it shows - there are things I should have fixed or noticed about them but because I just wanted them done I didn't. They fall down over my hips when I move, the crotch is too long, the back waistband is a bit off. I rally wanted to love these but I've got some work to do if I make another pair.

#3 Minoru II

I adore my second Minoru, it has some vey happy memories attached to it and it was the most worn item of the year, but it died on me and I haven't forgiven it or myself for that yet.

#2 The Clovers

These were taken in loads and they are still too baggy in weird places. I would't say they were a complete disaster - the more I look at the photos of them the more I like them, I just have to sort out the fitting issues.

#1 Jacqui's coat

It was my step-mum's birthday in September and I had intended to make her a coat. It is still waiting to be done. I think I have got some fabric that will look good now (this is the third fabric I've bought for the coat) but now I need new lining fabric, a matching zip and the time to do it.

As misses go, I don't think mine are too bad; I struggled to pick 5 things I could add to this list because although things haven't turned out s I'd hoped they would, I feel like I've learned from them.


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Resolution recap

  1. This month I want to paint the living room and set up my sewing corner - check. Well, I didn't manage it in January, but Stuart painted in August and my desk was set up some time around March or April.
  2. I will do 3 modules for my degree with the Open University - I did 2, Human Nutrition and Death and Dying, and passed both of them. I've decided not to carry on my studies with the OU but who knows, I might go back to it one day.
  3. I will sew at least one item a month - check. I have sewn at least one thing a month all year, although some things haven't been blogged in the month I made them and some haven't been blogged at all.
  4. I will get the house organised and decluttered (a perpetual resolution!) - erm... moving on...
  5. I will take Faith somewhere new at least once a month - not managed this every month, we've been to some new and lots of her favourite places but time, money and travel arrangements have made this one difficult to do
  6. I will make sure Faith and I do something messy at least once a week (baking, painting, glueing, etc) - managed this most weeks
  7. I will take one photo a day and in the process will finally learn how to use my camera properly! - fail and fail.

So I managed to do half my list which is much better than I thought I would do. In fact, I thought that I would fail miserably at sewing one thing a month because of the courses and eveything else, but it turns out that I have blogged about 23 things I have made and I know there are at least four or five things I haven't blogged so I'm really happy about achieving that one in particular.

I'm going to carry on watching Harry Potter and hope my sewjo reappears tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Hollywood glamour Georgia

This is my second By Hand London Georgia dress. I made it the same week that I made my first one but was saving it for going out. This, to me anyway, is a dress deserving of more interesting photos than in front of a brick wall before Stuart goes to work. I did get him to promise to take me for a cocktail drinking photo session in town one night then his work Christmas dinner was arranged for this weekend so I thought I'd wait for then. Stuart's insisting that wear the other one though, so this morning I sent him outside to get in position then I ran out, let him take a few photos then ran back in. Yeah, it was pretty cold.

I didn't do anything different to this one and the fabric was from my Gran's stash, she bought it to make a ballgown with but never got round to it. It is this fabric that I had in mind when the pattern was first released but then other fabric grabbed my attention.

It isn't normally this wrinkly but I was wearing the wrong bra and had to hitch the dress up to cover it.

Since finishing this one I have made another with the wide straps but I've been ill and for some reason decided that while I couldn't sit at the sewing machine I would finish the skirt seams by hand and it's taking forever.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Matchy matchy

Back in October I bought a metre of Father Christmas fabric without knowing what I wanted it soon as Faith saw it though, she was adament that it was going to be a top for her. I dug out the pattern for the O tunic I made last year, but it is too small for her now so I had a look through the rest of my pattern stash and on Burda but couldn't find anything I liked.

Next port of call was Cali Faye Collection - I made the Coco Topcoat for her birthday but it ended up being too small for her even after making it a size bigger than the measurement guide suggests, so Mum gave it to a work friend with a slightly younger daughter. Anyway, I downloaded the Voila top which is a similar style to the O tunic and made it two sizes bigger (a size 6) and it fits alright size-wise. Faith is a bit taller than a lot of the kids in her nursery group but she's about the same widthwise, just something to bear in mind with these patterns. Result is she loves it, and it does look cute on her. I think with a few tweaks to the neckline and shoulders it will be fine. I might also take a bit of the fullness out of it too.

The fabric was quite wide so with some of the leftovers I made a coat for Nacho using this pattern. I used the pattern as is with a half inch seam allowance and it fits perfectly. He seems to like it too - he was very cooperative when I was putting it on him and pulled it over to his bed and snuggled with it afterwards!

I used to despise all those people who dressed their dogs up, but I'm now slightly concerned that I may be one if them. You see, I made the coat with good intentions - Nacho doesn't like the walking in the wind and I don't like walking in the rain with him because it ends up looking like I'm walking a rat, so I used some waterproof fleece I had leftover from making Caitlin's coat last year as the bottom layer of his coat to keep him warm and dry. But now I want to make loads of little coats for him - well its one way to use up all the scraps that are too good to throw away!

Unfortunately while I was searching for patterns for the coat I came upon a dog tacksuit and jokingly showed it to Stuart who immediately decided I had to make one. Yes people, my dog is going to be a chav!




Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Faithisms #14

Interesting conversation while brushing her hair tonight:

Faith: Who made me?

Me: Mummy and Daddy

Faith: But who made you?

Me: Nana and Grandad

Faith: Who built them?

Me: Their mummies and daddies

Faith: Cars have lights to see in the dark

Me: Ermmm, ok.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

An ode to Georgia

Every once in a while a dress comes along that makes you feel so amazing that your confidence rockets as soon as you slip it on. The Georgia dress from By Hand London is that dress for me. I feel like a goddess in this thing and I don't want to take it off. Ever.
Stuart was astounded by how positive I was about it, normally I point out all the things that went wrong with whatever I make, but when I tried this on I was beeming and agreeing with him when he told me I looked awesome!

I have a kind of unwritten rule about not going into my overdraft for sewing things but when the girls announced their new pattern that rule was completely disregarded. It's the first pattern I've seen that has screamed 'I'm perfect for you, make me in every colour of the rainbow!' So I had to have it right now.

As for the details, I didn't have to drastically change anything really, I just reduced the hem circumference a bit, lengthened the skirt a couple of inches and made the cups a bit bigger. Wasn't really sure how to go about doing it properly so I'm hoping that will be in the sewalong next year.

My second is nearly finished and after that I have promised Faith I'd make her something, but I want to try the faux collar version too.

Check out the pattern matching on the back, I'm so impreessed with how I managed to get the green running staight down the middle.

I was also mentioned in the latest email from By Hand London too! Couldn't have been more excited if Ian Brown had popped round for a chat!


Monday, 4 November 2013

I killed my Minoru

I've had to dig out my winter coat today, not because it's shockingly cold but because I've killed my Minoru a little bit. Or rather someone did - not sure if it was Mum washing it at the weekend, Faith pulling on it, or my shoddy sewing.

Faith was meant to be going to nursery this morning but after walking half way there with her screaming from the moment we left the house, countless final warnings about walking properly, and walking full stop, we had to turn round and come home. Needless to say, madam was not impressed and I had to carry her most of the way. As I was shifting her to my other side I heard the dreaded rip. I did briefly register that something had happened to the coat but had more pressing concerns, not least the people at the bus stop tutting and looking at me like I was the worst human being alive (thanks for that by the way bus stop people, I wasn't already feeling like a horrible mother at all before your glares!).

Anyway, the rip is at the back of the sleeve just above the armhole. I'm relieved it isn't a rip in the fabric, just the seam, so it's easily fixable but I'll have to unstitch some of the lining to fix it properly. Having spent most of the past week fixing things though, I'm really not in the mood to be sorting it out right now.

(After taking this crappy pic, I noticed a few otherplaces where the seams are breaking, so Faith's no longer a suspect!)

To make the day worse, Stuart's been sick and has got a chest pain, and Faith has been slumped on the sofa for most of the afternoon. Turns out she's ill, which is probably why she didn't feel like walking far this morning (kind of vindicates the bus stop peopke doesn't it - bad mummy!).

I was going to finish some projects and carry on with a muslin tonight but think I might cheer myself up with a new skirt instead.



Monday, 28 October 2013

Halloween rush

When your daughter is invited to her first halloween party, there is only one thing to do - wait until the last minute then frantically make a pumpkin costume the day of said party.

I knew the minute Stuart said she was invited that I would be making her costume and I had seen a pumpkin tutu dress the week before (not sure where). I wanted Faith's to be pumpkin shaped though and ended up making two tutus, attaching them together (with the elastic at the top and bottom of the tube) with some jersey I had in the stash and sewing a couple of layers of netting over them both to keep the shape.

She was very happy with it and had a lovely time at the party.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Faith's four!!

Faith turned four and had her first party today. We took her and some friends to soft play and although it was a bit weird and there were tears (luckily not Faith's), it was a lovely day. Faith had a great time and was very happy with her mass of gifts!

I made the usual birthday dress for her, this time it was view A of New Look 6202 in a fairy fabric she had her eye on. I was a bit nervous about making it without her knowing - the only measurements I had to go on were ones Stuart had taken - but it fit her beautifully and she was (thankfully) delighted with her new dress.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for the coat I made her too. It was a bit tight and the sleeves were half way up her arms but I've got plenty of fabric left so I'll make her a bigger one. It just a shame that its the first thing I've made that Stuart has instantly loved and used adjectives other than 'nice' for!

Can't believe I now have a four year old. That's just weird!

Then and now...



Friday, 25 October 2013

Quietly busy, and another Renfrew!

Despite it being almost two months since my last post I haven't got much to share, yet.

I got my two assignments sent off then started madly sewing away at aprons and scarves to sell at a WI sale my Gran decided I would have a table at. Unfortunately there weren't many people there but I still managed to sell some and Mum sold the rest at work!

Since then I've been making Faith a couple of things for her birthday at the weekend, I've started a muslin for an Elisalex dress and have been making three Renfrews, two of which are waiting to be finished.

So, this is the first of them. I made the round neck version but decided not to add the bands. Other than that its a straightforward version of it. The fabric is from my trip to Abakhan in the summer.

Not much else to report, except you can now follow me using the buttons on the right.


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Faithisms #13

"How low has it been since fairy girl will a boy like me"

Sung with perfect timing. Think I've been listening to The View a bit too much lately!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Of holidays and additions...

Oh dear, it's been a while again. No sewing to catch up on but Faith and I spent last week with my dad and sisters in Wales visiting my aunt and cousins. I haven't been up there since I was about 10 and this was the only holiday we are going to be having this year, so it was very exciting for us both.

There was lots of ice cream, paddling, animals, walking, pub quizzing and drinking. Great fun was had by all!

I was too busy enjoying myself to take many pictures but I got a few good ones with which to bore you with, so...

My Auntie Julie and I bonded over our love of crafts (she used to sell things she knitted in one of the local shops) and I mentioned that one of my favourite websites had a shop near there. Well that was that, my dad was told that we were going to Abakhan the next day, that he was looking after Faith and that he was adding to the shopping fund (isn't Julie great!). So the two of us along with my cousin Claire set of to what ended up not being a shop but a little village of shops. I have never seen anything like it in my life, I so was overwhelmed by the amount of fabric there was I just didn't know where to start. Once I calmed down though I blew all my money and heaved a huge sigh of relief that I had left the bank card with Stuart because if I had had it with me I would have been in big trouble when I got home!

And this week saw a new addition to our little family:

This is Nacho. He's an 8 week old Lhasa Apso pup and is the most gorgeous little man I've ever met! Despite Stuart's adamancy (is that a real word?) that he would not be allowed upstairs, especially not on our bed, Stuart brought Nacho to bed with him the first night we had him. Not even just on the bed, he was under the duvet!

We're having lots of fun at the moment, he's a very playful little thing which also means he sleeps ALOT. In fact, he's currently asleep next to my feet.
Expect to see a lot more of him. But don't expect to see much of me for a while - two essays due in in the next few weeks are keeping me away from my sewing machines. Once those are out of the way though I intend to make a dent in the pile of fabric I bought in Wales.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Faithisms #12

Faith:  Let's play the yes no game.  Ask me questions.

Me:  Is your name Faith?

Faith:  Yes.

Err, no Faith, that's not how it's meant to go.  
(We also tried playing it so that she had to say yes or no but she got that mixed up too!)

Thursday, 8 August 2013


It's been a lovely sunny day today so Faith and I took a wander into town to get the bus to Mum's. faith is slightly obsessed with her scooter at the moment and got some adoring glances from people we passed.

When we got to Mum's house she got down to business and did some baking with Nana, one of her favourite pastimes. She impressed Nana with her baking knowledge (knowing what baking powder does and cracking eggs like a pro)

Then it was time for the most important job - licking the spatula!

Faith was very impressed with the results but not too happy she couldn't eat them all! And after all that baking she got to eat the remnants of her ice lolly from a bowl in the garden and a tickling session with Auntie Helen. What better way to spend a day?

Actually, it may just be topped next week when I get to spend loads of time with my Dad and both my sisters.