Tuesday, 16 September 2014

For the love of sewing

September is sewing month and to celebrate Maris is hosting a series of guest posts from a number of bloggers talking about why they sew.  My post went up yesterday so head over to Sew Maris to find out how sewing keeps me sane.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


It's been a weird few months - a loss of sewing motivation followed by a sudden burst of it that left me with no time or inclination to blog, then we moved last month. I'm still working on getting everything sorted and depsite what I had hoped for, my sewing space is looking to be the last thing that will be set up. It's been awesome though and we're all loving our new home. I've got a few things to share, starting with this beauty.

This pattern has been in my stash since April. It was one of those patterns that I loved on everyone else but wasn't convinced it was very 'me'. After my Flora revelation and getting my hands on some lovely cotton lawn, though, I decided to give it a go. So glad I did. I've been wearing it loads in the last couple of months because it is so easy and comfortable to wear without losing any glamour points. I took it on holiday to Wales thinking that it would be perfect for days on the beach or mooching around if the weather was nice, but my dad had us all walking up massive hills every day except our last one so I was mostly in jeans. At least I managed to get some photos that aren't taken in front of a brick wall for a change though!

I was too impatient to make a muslin first so winged it and fit isn't great but as long as I wear the right bra it's not too bad, I just need to make a few little tweaks. I have surprised myself by loving the thigh high split which I only really put in to see how much I would have to close it up before I felt ok wearing it. As it turns out I was perfectly happy walking down the street with an entire leg out despite a little niggle in my mind about flashing a bit too much. I did add a few stitches to it before a night out - a split that high plus alcohol probably wasn't going to go too well for me!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Final Me Made May round up

Me Made May is officially over for another year and with this being my second year doing it, I decided I needed to up my game by wearing mostly me mades all month.  After I had made my pledge I immediately started panicing - how would I survive a whole month without my trusty jersey pencil skirts and tops that form the basis of my everyday wardrobe?  As it turns out, though, I didn't really miss them much at all.  I mean, there was the odd occasion when I really couldn't be bothered to think about what I was going to wear that day but that's why dresses are so great, and I only had two days when I didn't wear anything me made so I'm happy with that.

links to all clothes can be found on the My Makes page at the top

I don't feel like there were many surprises this year - there were a few items I don't wear very often that I remembered how much I loved (my maxi skirt and Alma) and, unlike last year, there wasn't anything that I realised I don't like.  Nor were there many surprises at which items I wear most - my striped Cambie was worn 6 times and my two wrap dresses were worn 7.  I also spent the majority of the month in dresses (21 dress wearing days) which I guess goes back to the not having to think about it thing.

I actually think the most insightful thing about this May was the things that didn't get worn, which were mainly separates.  Well, tops to be precise.  Of the 17 items of clothing I wore this month only 4 were plain which leads me onto why some things didn't get worn - they don't go with anything else.  I wish I was one of those people who can clash prints and still look amazing, but I just look like I got dressed in the dark so that's not an option for me.

The idea of having a completely hand made wardrobe really appealed to me but after this month I've realised that I don't care enough about achieving that to actually make the basics but I do want the majority of it to be made by me.  Which leads me onto my next realisation - I'm all set for summer (if and when it decides to show its face!) but I'm going to be screwed in winter if I don't start making winter clothing.  I have some things that I can add tights and jumpers to, but I need some nice wintery dresses.  I'm thinking about doing another me made month after summer to really figure out what I need to do.

I hope everyone else's MMMays went well, I've loved seeing everyone's outfits - check out the Flickr group for some great inspiration

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Me Made May week 4 and a bit

Day 22

Maxi skirt and last week's WIP. It's a Renfrew I cut out ages ago but never got round to sewing it, no idea why not - I finished it in next to no time last night.



Day 23

No me mades today



Day 24

Star print wrap dress



Day 25

My first Renfrew (unblogged) and Flora skirt



Day 26

Apple print wrap dress



Day 27

I wore my Flora dress for a trip to Nottingham with Stuart



Day 28

Striped Cambie



Day 29

Georgia dress and rtw cardigan. Until now I had thought of this dress as more of an evening dress rather than everyday wear but after getting behind on all the washing this was pretty much my only option. It's a bit more boobage than I feel comfortable revealing on just a normal day, but the cardigan helped make me feel not quite so exposed so it will be going into a more regular rotation from now on. Stuart moans when I haven't done the washing for a while but I think this proves that it isn't necessarily a bad thing!



Day 30

Striped Cambie again



Day 31

Renfrew tunic and GBSB leggings


No WIP this week as my machine needs a service. And that's that for me made may this year, its not been as difficult as I thought it would be. Round up post coming up.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Me Made May Week 3

Day 15

Star print wrap dress, no photo


Day 16

Got to wear my Flora sans cardigan for the first time, got some interesting tanlines from the straps.


Day 17

I wore my new, unblogged Flora skirt with a rtw top. I am now a complete full skirt convert - I have plans for loads of them

Day 18

No photo, but I wore my Mission maxi again


Day 19

Another outing for the Spotty cambie, no photo


Day 20

Wore my apple print wrap dress for a day on the sofa with a poorly Faith


Day 21

Striped cambie again


Can you tell I'm getting bored of the round ups?! Like last year, I'm finding the documentation much more difficult than the actual challenge.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Me Made May Week 2

I've been terrible with photos this week, not helped by the fact that I misplaced my memory card and reader.


Day 8

No me made today. I woke up feeling rubbish and had to do some cleaning for a viewing and seen as I don't have any slob out me mades, I threw on some rtw. It did spur me on to make some leggings for the next time I feel like that though, so its ok.


Day 9

Friday's theme was blue so I wore my Mission Maxi and a rtw cardigan


Day 10

I wore my new leggings (from day 8) and a Renfrew tunic (both unblogged and unphotographed)


Day 11

Renfrew top and Vogue skirt. I didn't get chance to photograph my outfit in the morning and then the heavens opened and I got drenched, so no photo. Again.


Day 12

Alma blouse and maxi skirt. This is a top I hardly ever wear (propbably because I can't be bothered to iron it) but every time I do wear it I remember how much I love it.


Day 13

Felt pretty rough so slipped on my striped Cambie again as it is one of my comfiest and planted myself on the sofa for the day


Day 14

Apple print wrap dress. Ended up having to attach a safety pin to the skirt to stop the wind revealing too much!


I did start to finish a WIP this week but didn't. My Clovers have been in my sorting out pile since I made them (they need some fitting adjustments) but when I started sorting them out I realised that I just don't care enough to do it. I do really like them in theory but I've stopped wearing trousers and have no inclination to finish them when I know I'm not going to wear them. I did take the zip off to use for a new skirt, so it hasn't been a complete waste.


Thursday, 15 May 2014

DI Craft Swap goodies

Last month Hannah at Dainty and Ivory started a craft swap which will have a different theme each month. The first theme was spring and I was given Sarah at Youngonesfive to send something to. As always I was racing to get finished in time for the deadline and I wasn't helped by the fact that the things I had ordered for Sarah's gift didn't show up in time (and still haven't arrived a week later). Fortunately I managed to substitute some fabrics in my stash for it so all was well. After reading her blog and stalking her on twitter, I discovered that she and her family are keen letter writers so I made a little writing set for her and put in a crochet book to help on her way to becoming a crochet queen.

I received a package from the lovely, and very talented, Gayle at Make Thrift Love Life. Have a look at what she sent, I was overwhelmed.

Faith was with me as I opened the parcel and immediately called dibs on the bag. She didn't look too convinced when I told her she could borrow it sometimes. I've managed to keep hold of it so far but I think it's only a matter of time before it finds its way into her bedroom!

Gayle also made me these lovely earrings and kilt pin. I had no idea what to do with the kilt pin but was immediately on google looking them up. It has been on my coat this week and it has had lots of compliments.

I keep meaning to keep a notebook in my bag to jot things down in because I always forget something so this has found a hom in my most used handbag.

The Matryoshka dolls have also reminded me that I have some fabric with them on that I need to use.

Thank you so much Gayle, I love it all!

This month's theme is 'geek' so if you'd like to join in have a look at Hannah's post for the details.


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Me Made May Week 1

Phew! One down, three to go!
It took me all of two days to start thinking I had bitten off more than I can chew with my pledge for this year - there are some big gaps in my wardrobe that I'll have to sort in the coming weeks. That being said, though, it hasn't been too painful this week.
Day 1
I started the month with one of my favourite dresses - the star print wrap dress.
Day 2
Not such a great day. When I got up in the morning it was nice and sunny so I put on my Flora, then the sun went in and it stayed grey for the rest of the day so I had to resort to using up this week's rtw allowance with my black cardigan.
Day 3
Broke out my striped Cambie.
Day 4

Unblogged maxi skirt and Renfrew hack.

Day 5

Day 6
No photo, but I was wearing my striped Cambie again

Day 7
This is my finished WIP as per my pledge.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Me Made May: Week one's WIP

Part of my pledge for this year's Me Made May was to finish one work in progress (WIP) each week, so here's number one.

This dress was started back in February but got put away when I messed up the hemming. Since then I've got it out a couple of times with the intention of finishing it but I'd already fallen out of love with it so it just got put back.

The pattern is the same as my star print dress and I didn't make any changes to it but the fabric is stretchier so it hangs differently. To be honest, finishing it hasn't made me like it any more (I think it looks like a granny dress) but I'll see how I feel after wearing it today.



Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Raincoats and pledges

I've been meaning to make a coat for Faith for a while now but never quite got around to it. I picked up some fabric for her a while ago and with the weather getting nicer (lasted all of a week!) I felt bad that the only options she had were a too warm winter coat or a not warm enough hoody so I dug the fabric out and two nights later had this done:

I found the pattern on one of my increasingly regular trawls of sewing patterns on etsy. The fabric print is busy so I wanted a simple coat with a hood and this 5berries pattern fit the bill perfectly. I made a size 6 so she had a bit of room to layer up and it fits really well. I decided against the cuffs but think I could have done with making the sleeves a bit longer - they sit perfectly at her wrists now but she grows so quickly.

I've made a few coats with ripstop fabric or similar before and they have a tendency to stick to the foot and wrinkle when sewing the seams, with this in mind I dug out the walking foot I bought before Christmas and immediately threw in the bottom of my sewing box because I fell out with quilting. I was going to put it on ebay but I am so glad I didn't get round to it - it was a godsend. There was no wrinkling, no sticking, and no swearing!

I am by no means an expert on this, but I had a bit of a conversation on twitter about waterproofing the seams so this is what I do:

  • Use a small, sharp needle
  • Set the machine to a longer stitch length
  • Hold fabric together with paperclips instead of pins
  • Use a walking foot (or teflon feet are meant to be good too - I do actually have one but haven't used it yet)
  • I know you can get seam sealant but in the five waterproof coats I have made now I've never used it - it intimidates me a bit (hot irons on nylon? Eek!) and it looks like a bit too much of a faff. I'm not sure whether this is an actual thing or whether it's just in my head, but I always try and do flat felled seams or at least turn the seam to the side and topstitch rather than having seams pressed open just because I think it probably offers a bit more protection.

Finally, Me Made May starts on Thursday and this year I'm upping my game. Last year got me wearing more of my me mades more often and after a big purge at the start of this year the majority of my wardrobe is now me made but I'm still no good at making basics or buying fabric that is going to go with the rest of my things. With this in mind, here is what I am pledging this year:

"I, Sally of Sally bee makes..., sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear only me made clothing (with the exception of underwear) each day for the duration of May 2014 but will allow myself the use of one ready to wear clothing item once per week. I will also finish one WIP each week."

It's going to be tough, but I'm looking forward to it.


Saturday, 26 April 2014

Style Arc Ziggi jacket

Biker jackets are something I've always liked the idea of having but neve really thought would suit me so I've left well alone but when Maris announced that she and Stacy were hosting a sewalong of the Style Arc Ziggi (a pattern I had already seen and admired) I did a bit of umming and ahhing then threw my hat into the ring. I don't feel like I've really challenged myself sewing-wise for a while so I went for it. Unfortunately I then fell out of love eith sewing for a while and procrastinated so much that I went into a bit of panic when I realised I only had a week to finish it! (The deadline was then extended to the end of the month, phew!)

I had only got as far as cutting out the patten pieces, but luckily it was the easter holidays so I took Faith round to my mum's and hid myself away in her conservatory to cut fabric. The fabric is some wool type stuff I bought a couple of years ago for a coat that never happened and some satin, both from my stash (the saintliness of using my stash fabric was cancelled out by a late shopping spree though, oops!).

The jacket was surprisingly easy to sew, with a bit of guidance from the sewalong posts, but it was only after I had sewn the front pieces together that I realised I'd forgotten the zips on the pockets. Never mind, I like it without the zips there, they always rub on my hands anyway.

Overall, I'm happy with how it turned out. I didn't muslin it but it fits pretty well as is, next time I just want to take it in at the side seams a bit to make it less boxy.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Feeling flirty in Flora

Those By Hand London girls are miracle workers - this is the very first full skirt I've made or bought that Stuart likes - he even agreed I needed more of them!  Plus, they got me out of my sewing funk!

To be honest, I wasn't that fussed about the Flora when it was released (I don't tend to wear full skirts) but the more versions of it I saw, the more it grew on me and when the girls posted a tutorial on how to change the straps to rouleau straps, I had a brainwave and took the plunge. Rather than just changing the straps, I chopped off the back bodice under the arm and added rouleau straps in a criss cross pattern (I need to add a couple of tacks to keep them neat).

I was a bit concerned once I'd cut the fabric out because I had forgotten to add any length to the front skirt (a few people have said it is very short) but I'm glad I forgot - it is shorter than I would normally have my skirts, but I love it.

The obligatory spin

The fabric is some African wax print style cotton I got in Abakhan when I went to Wales last summer. I had been saving it for a maxi dress but when I got it out a few weeks ago I realised that the pattern was for stretch fabrics only which was a blessing in disguise because I think it suits the Flora much better.

This is actually my second Flora but the first didn't turn out so great so I wanted to save that until I'd done one I had fallen in love with. Will post the first next week.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Lovely little boosts

I've been in a bit of a sewing and blogging funk recently but I think I'm through the worst of it and can see light at the end of the tunnel, thanks in part to a couple of big boosts I've had the past couple of weeks. Firstly, my first Georgia was Victoria's pick in the Georgia round up post! I was completely gobsmacked, thank you Victoria.


Then the lovely Jane at Pelly Melly nominated me for the Liebster Award! I feel so honoured to get this, alot of the blogs I now follow were found through links from Liebster Award posts, so thank you very much Jane.

So, onto the nitty gritty... If you don't know about the award, this is how it works:


1. Thank the blogger who nominated you

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you

3. Nominate 11 other followers with less than 500 followers

4. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer

5. Tag your nominees and post a comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them


Here are Jane's questions:


1. What are you working on at the moment?

I'm about to start on Fehr Trade's XYT top and Duathlon shorts. I'll be making the Booty shorts and the X top

2. Do you sew to relax or to get motivated?

Relax - it's the best stress reliever

3. What is your favourite type of sewing project?

Dresses. For myself (obviously!)

4. Who taught you to sew?

To start with I taught myself through trial and error and reading books, then I discovered sewing blogs and bloggers have taught me alot.

5. What is your favourite colour / fabric to sew with?

I love sewing with knits, they're what I wear most and are so easy to sew. I am starting to love wovens as well now though.

As for colour, at the moment all I want to sew is yellow things but I'm not good with colours and have no idea whether yellow actually suits me (we shall see soon enough though - I have a yellow Georgia waiting to be finished)

6. What do you do to relax if you are not sewing?

Eat?! I can't just sit and do nothing, so if I'm not sewing at night I'm usually watching tv and eating. I love a good walk too, I find it really relaxing to put my music on and just walk.

7. Where are you from?


8. What aspect of sewing gets on your nerves? (I hate cutting out…)

I hate having to finish a garment. It isn't the actual process of hemming that I mind (I actually find it relaxing hand sewing a hem), it's the fact that I have something I could wear straight away if it wasn't for the bloody hemming. I'm just impatient!

9. What makes you happy?

My family, music, sewing

10. What makes you sad?

TV - I cry at everything, including happy things and have been known to bawl my eyes out at adverts!

11. What is your dream job?

Honestly? I have no idea. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but then I met Stuart and had Faith.


My questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?

2. How do you get yourself out of a sewing funk?

3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

4. Sewing for other people: love it or loathe it?

5. What is your best feature?

6. If you had an infinite amount of money that would disappear after one day, how would you spend that day?

7. What is your favourite fabric shop?

8. What is your biggest sewing sin?

9. If you could make any sewing process disappear, what would it be?

10. Which other crafts, if any, do you do?

11. Cats or dogs?

And here are my nominees (based on Bloglovin followers):

Handmade by Laurel

Creating in the Gap

F is for Flamingo

Su Sews (So-So)

Zoe Livana

Byrdie Couture

Lady Sewalot


Sew Short Nissa

Sewn by Elizabeth

Bee Bee's Vintage Dress



Sunday, 9 March 2014

Speedy sewing

I've barely sewn at all for the last month and the bits I have sewn have gone unfinished and unloved, but when I found out it was World Book Day on Thursday (and that nursery weren't doing anything for it) I decided Faith needed a new dress and that it needed to be in Mathilda fabric and Mum asked if I'd make her something in it too. It was all a bit last minute but it turned out alright.  You'll have to excuse the photos - my camera charger has gone walkies!

The dress pattern didn't arrive in time and rather than just making anything with the fabric I decided to hold off and make her a quick skirt from a panel of some The Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric that has been sitting in the cupboard for three years, topped off with a yoga waistband. She was very proud of her new skirt and when I picked her up from nursery, the ladies said she had been telling everyone that mummy made it - a big turn around from when she would refuse to wear anything I made her, let alone tell people about it!

Mum also got a jacket, made the night before in 5 hours. It was this Burda jacket minus the pockets (I wasn't about to faff about with them on such a tight deadline!) and, thankfully, waspretty straightforward. The only thing I struggled with was setting in the sleeves and I'm not sure whether that was because of the pattern or because it was 1 o'clock in the morning and I really needed my bed! I'm not happy with them, but they did the job. I got an email from her during the day saying how much everyone liked it, so it was worth the lack of sleep.

The pattern for Faith's dress arrived on Friday but it will have to wait because I think a bit of selfish sewing is long overdue!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Faithisms #15

Grandad: "When did you get your hair cut?"
Faith: "When I went to the hairdressers"

Ask a stupid question...!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

My first foray into crochet

At the start of January, the lovely people at Homecrafts UK gave me this salvage yarn in the goody bag from the blogger meetup I went to in Nottingham. Since then I have been watching videos on youtube to try and teach myself how to crochet. I did start learning with the yarn but soon realised it would be easier to practice on 'normal' yarn first while I got used to how to do the stitches and what they should look like. To start with I just wanted to learned the stitches I would need for what I wanted to make and then never crochet again, but the more I practiced the more I enjoyed it and the more relaxing it became.

I tried to follow the shopping bag pattern that came with the yarn but it confused me too much to care about working it out, so I decided to make myself a thread bin to sit next to my machine because at the moment I use whatever I have to hand, normally a plastic bag or a bottle. I also decided to make it easy on myself and make 5 squares of crochet that I could stitch together to make a box using the dishcloth tutorial on one of the videos I had been watching. What I didn't think about though is that the 30 chains I made would be considerably bigger than the 30 chains the lady on the video made with her smaller hook and thinner yarn. I ended up with one very long rectangle and made a circle to go on the bottom of it which my Gran then attached for me. It still needs a lining to make it fit for purpose, but at the moment it is holding the wool my Gran gave me to practice with.

There was some yarn left over which I managed to just squeeze a pen pot out of, which I did in the same way and even attached the bottom myself. They may be a bit wonky but I'm very proud of my first attempt. In fact I was so proud, and enjoyed making them so much, that I might have gone a bit mad and bought these:

Should keep me busy for a while!


Saturday, 8 February 2014

Vogue Divine Details

Nearly 7 years ago, my mum bought me a sewing machine for my birthday. I had never sewn before (except a dodgy felt koala cushion in home ec) but was fed up of not being able to find clothes that fitted properly, or that were exactly what I wanted. Rather than easing myself in gently with a tote bag or a-line skirt I went straight for a suit - skirt, jacket, trousers and waistcoat! Obviously it wasn't amazing but I was so proud of myself. That's what set me off with my love of sewing, and I don't think I would have loved it so much if I had started off simple - I like a challenge and I like fitted clothing.

I no longer have three of the pieces (nor do I have any photos of them, something I still regret), but I do have (and wear) the skirt. I often wonder why I've never made another one and when I couldn't face sorting out all the fitting issues for the skirt I had originally planned to make for Blue February, I dug out this pattern.

Rather than doing the centre zip insertion that the pattern gives, I used Sunni's lapped zip tutorial from her Craftsy class and was really impressed with the results - I've been hearing about how you should interface where you are putting your zip but had never done it before, will be doing from now on though.

Now I just have to hope Spring hurries up so I can start wearing it. Is anyone else obsessing over summery makes despite the cold, or is it just me?