Friday, 17 April 2015

Sugar for my Sweet, Honey for my Honey

Christmas before last I surprised Dave with a handmade shirt, which, if I do say so myself, he was ever so pleased with.  Since then I diy'd him a sweatshirt which didn't work out, but the rest of my sewing has been purely selfish! Mwahhaha! 

Well until last month that is- I bought this fabric back in the Autumn of 2014 with myself in mind, fancying making myself a nice flannel shirt. But when I got it home, David laid dibs in it, and so I make him a flannel shirt instead. As punishment I made him wait months for me to make it, lol. 

Anyway, you're not here to hear about how evil and selfish I am when it comes to sewing, you're here to check out what I  make.  So here it is, my second Men's Negeoni Shirt from Collette Patterns.

The cotton flannel was from a local market stall in Leicester, and originally I just bought 2m, so I was lucky when they still had some left, months later, when I needed another meter to make the long sleeve version.  I re cut the front pieces in an attempt to pattern match, but you can see it wasn't quite successful. Dave doesn't mind though and it's not obvious when it's worn undone, as he normally would.

Last Christmas, I cut out the large size from the paper pattern, but I thought that'd actually be a little small for him now, so I used my seam allowances and let it out a little around the sides.   This left us with a nicely fitting shirt.

The Negroni is a good, challenging intermediate pattern, and the instructions come with enough hand holding to make it feel completely achievable.  It has features like a 'camp collar' which gives a distinctly 70's vibe about it, but with more modern tailoring, so (unless you want to) it doesn't look like you've made a fancy dress costume.  I am, however, going to pick up an alternative mens shirt pattern at some point, one with a proper collar, to give Dave more choices.  The mens fashion options in patterns are quite limited so it's be nice to see what few alternative styles are available.   I also really like the details of the sleeve plackets- which I might copy and use on my next Archer shirt for me.

DONT FORGET- There is still time to enter my 200 followers give away!  Click here for details, closes, Midnight (GMT) on Sunday 19th April. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

200 Followers Give Away!!!

Hello you lovely bunch, how are you doing? I'm enjoying a whole weekend off, and typically, the weather has chosen today to turn from the beautiful sunshine I'd been wistfully gazing out the windows at work at to glum and gloomy rain- Currently, I'm wrapped in my quilt, waiting on my little sister to come round so we can have waffles for breakfast before she returns to university.  

This week, alongside being stuck at work, I have had the honour of seeing my Bloglovin' followers counter tick upwards past the 200 mark,  I want to thank you all for coming along with me on my sewing journey.  To express my thanks, I have decided that a giveaway is most appropriate.  I debated with myself for a while for what I would offer as a prize, but found myself second guessing myself trying to find something everyone would like.  In the end I've settled on a voucher for £10 at Minerva Crafts, so that the winner can choose anything they would like.  

To enter the give away for a £10 Minerva Crafts Voucher 
- You must follow my blog, on Bloglovin' or through Blogger.
- You need to leave a comment below telling me what it is you're thinking of buying with the voucher- have a browse of their site and see what takes your fancy.  They stock a wide range of fabrics and patterns, but they also have other craft supplies if dressmaking isn't your thing.
- In the comment, please leave you're email address so I can contact you if you win.  Email addresses will not be used for any other purpose.

The closing date for this give away is midnight (GMT) on the 19th April, I will choose the winner by lucky dip, and post the winners information on my blog, no later than the 22nd April and contact the winner then too.  Multiple entries will be delated.

This giveaway is open worldwide, as Minerva deliver internationally, but check delivery costs for your country if you're unsure.  This giveaway is not sponsored by Minerva, but I shop there all the time and think it's a really awesome fabric store.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Space, it says, is big. Really big...

Hey guys!  How's it going?  I hope you've had a nice Easter, fed up of chocolate yet?  I can't say I am but I haven't yet broken in to the egg David bought me.  A flippin' 1kg egg, I kid you not! While it is awesome, it is also a bit ridiculous; I can't decide wither of not I'm going to be greedy or wait and share it with our youth group next time they come round to our house.  Probably the latter, but I'm not promising anything.    

Today I'm sharing with you my Megan Dress from Tilly and the Buttons' Love at First Stitch, which I've had for a while, but this is the first garment I've gotten around to making from it. I'm not able to give a review of the book, because I didn't actually use it other than to pick a size and trace out the pattern pieces.  So, sorry about that.  However, as the dress went together very simply following my intuition and garment construction know -how, and from that I guess I can say it's a well designed dress, at least.

I am so, so loving this fabric- it's quilting cotton I found on Frumble Fabrics that I knew would make an awesome dress.  I ordered 2m, as I usually do if I'm not sure what I'm going to make from it.  That worked out nicely, as it's a narrow length so I was just able to get all the pieces out of it.  The pattern only calls for 1.5m of wider fabrics.  It wasn't the cheapest fabric, at £12/m so I knew I needed to make a special dress from it.

I traced a size 5, and made what I have now come to think of as my usual adjustments- took up the shoulder seams by 1inch total, took in the centre front and centre back in by an inch each, tapering to nothing at the waist.   And did what I think is generally termed a small sway back adjustment, when you take out some of the fabric from the back of the bodice.  Then, I had to re-cut the neckline as the adjustments made the already high neck strangle me.  I lowered the centre front and back by two inches a piece.  I had a lot of help with fitting my garments in a class I took last year- I don't have to make major adjustments, but having someone else take a look at things is invaluable.  I really recommend finding someone to help with it, or take it along to a class or a course and clarify what changes you need to make.  More than anything, sorting out the fit of you handmade clothes means you're going to be happier with them, wear them more and feel proud  about being able to say- "Yes, I made this."

You can see there is still some excess fabric in the shoulder there, but I'll have to pinch that out next time I make this pattern, I can't change it now.

I used this opportunity to practice setting in an invisible zip- still not something I'm particularly confident doing- for some reason, I just can't get it invisible, but I think it's just going to take practice (and practice, and practice)...

There isn't a whole lot more to say about this dress, although I don't think I've actually said how happy I am with it yet! Well, look at it! Galaxy print fabric.  Classy shift dress shape.  Cute detailing like the puffy shoulder heads.  I know I'll be wearing this a lot this spring, and summer, and autumn and winter too, probably.  I keep meaning to branch out from pretty dresses to improve my sewing skills and diversify my wardrobe, but there is something special about making dresses I can't put into words.


Also- There are now almost (and I mean, it's so close!) 200 bloglovin' followers of my little blog- thank you to each and every one of you for stopping by and checking out what I have to say, and for taking a look at what I've made.  To extend my thanks to you, I'm organising a little give away for when I hit 200 followers, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Life Lately #8

We hit the local beer festival at the beginning of the month- yay!  They even had a gluten free option! Woohoo! Much fun, much drink and much yummy curry was had.

I've now finished the second in the series of Daughter of Smoke and Bone- and it is awesome!  I actually finished it just days before the next book came out, so I promptly preordered it, meaning it landed on my doorstep day of release.

Mother's Day
We invited both our mothers over for afternoon tea, and I baked a tonne of cake! I don't do a lot of baking these days, so I really enjoyed a bake day.   I made cupcakes, scones and a yummy carrot cake.  Partnered with copious amounts of tea and coffee and sandwiches.  It was a really lovely afternoon.

Trying to keep with my commitment to not buy ready to wear clothes I've bought a nice selection of fabrics for more summery projects, but I did buy a new Leicester Tigers Rugby top too*.  

*I do what I want!

This month I shared my own sewing space, as part of my blog series.  I tidied up specially, so go and check it out if you haven't already.

I went with some of the lovely ladies of my knitting group to the NEC for their Fashion, Embroidery and HobbyCraft show.  This is the loot I came away with, and you can read more about the day here.

I've finally cracked open Tilly's Love at First Stitch and am making up the Megan Dress in this awesome galaxy print quilting cotton.  

David's Birthday!  My husband turned 27 on Saturday, we celebrated with meal and drinks on Friday night and then spent Saturday with his family, also celebrating his Grandma's birthday, because she turned 80 last week.  Much partying!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Sewing for Pleasure, Oh My!

This Sunday I managed to convince a group of ladies who go my my knitting club to accompany me to the Sewing for Pleasure and the Fashion Embroidery & Stitch shows at the NEC in Birmingham- I'll tell you, it didn't take much to make them want to come!  

Here we are, full of energy at the beginning of the show, before we face the crowds!  If I'd taken another photo at the end of the show, it'd be us sat on a bench, with bags of shopping, looking exhausted!  (My MIL took this photo.)

As well as the shopping options, the show hosts various expeditions- including this one of the costumes from Mr Selfridge.  There was some amazing embroidery displayed too, but no photo allowed, which I get, but I really wanted to share them with you- they took my breath away.  There was also some fashion design mood boards and development pieces from school students which really made me want to do some designing and mood boarding.  The other photo above was taken during the students fashion show- this designer was all about the eye!  

The crowds were a little much at times- I took me two goes before I was able to pick up some patterns at the reduced price Simplicity sale- patterns from £2.50.  There was a constant que of ladies rummaging through the packs.  I came back later, when it was a little more quiet and picked up some for me and Dave- I'm aiming to be a little less selfish and sew home more things this year- so I got a unisex PJ pattern and new shirt pattern.  I also found the adult size Frozen costumes, so yes, I got those too.  No shame here- I think it's cool!

My friend Ruth and I are thinking about joining our local WI group- we've got their information and will try and go along soon.  The ladies there were showcasing some incredible crafts.  I think it'd be nice to get to know more crafty ladies and have a go at different things.  Kirsty Allsop has been making the WI look like a cool thing to do for a little while now, it's time to see for myself.

As well as all the dress making and fashion design there was a lot of quilting and embroidery stuff going on, including Stuart, from the first GBSB running a workshop..  I got to have a go at the giant quilting machines too-  I so want one! Shame they're £5000.  Not really a quilter, just a dabbley quilt enthusiast, maybe.  But the displays were really inspiring.

And here is what I walked away with, a few fat quarters, two meters of jersey (the fabric stalls were also really busy, which was a shame as I was up for spending all my moneys- but you couldn't browse properly.) I got 5 patterns in the end, and a subscription to Molly Makes, again.  

And, yes, I will be going back next year.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Share Your Sewing Space: Mine!

 Being the Nosy Parker that I am, I'm doing a series taking a peek at other sewists sewing spaces. Each month I'll be chatting with other bloggers about what makes there space special to them and how they went about putting it all together.  In part, this is going to help inspire me as I create my own creative space in my new home.  I hope you all find this as interesting as me, I do love looking around other peoples homes.

Hey guys, following my series peeking in to other peoples sewing spaces, it's high time I shared mine with you.  Now, it's not finished, as I still haven't really got a clear idea of what I want the room to be like.  Do I want bright, colourful walls? Do I want clean white walls? I know I want some art on the walls, but I haven't yet seen anything perfect.  So, here it as, as it is, which is perfectly nice anyways.

So, in our terrace house, I've taken over the front room, which also serves as our dining room.  It's a lovely, big room, which gets lots of light from the south facing windows.  I've got the dining table which I use as my cutting table, and a small table set up in the window where I can leave my sewing machines set up.  

Because this is a 'multifunctional' room (we eat in here like twice a month) I do have to avoid sprawling my stuff all over the place.  You know, make sure it can be tidied up quickly when needed. Other than that, I get to make the most of all the space in the room.  I've got fabric piled up in one cupboard, and my files with PDFs in, scrap fabric boxes and all sorts of other crap in the other alcove cupboard.  I was so glad that this house has some built in cupboards- I think they are so useful, but a crazy faff to build.  

One of my goals is to take better outfit photos, so my mum has helped my style the shelves by the window, making the best use of the light.  I've also put up a backdrop for photos, to give so variation. When I next get round to photographing a make, you can see it in action.

I love the amount of space I have in my sewing room.  It gives me room to really make a mess!! I find that organised mess really inspires me- I'll have, like, all my fabrics across the table to chose which project to get on with next.  When I had time off work in February, this room was a total mess! Nothing like what you see in these pictures! The flip side is that I get so distracted when I've got so many projects to tempt me.  So, yeh, I've still got a few unfinished things loitering around.

I've got a couple of things in my sewing room which I particularly like- Sally, the Mannequin and Sally the Giraffe are unlikely twins- Sally the Giraffe has been around since I was 5 years old!  Unrelatedly, I named Sally the Mannequin after Sally Sparrow in Doctor Who.  Random fact for you.
On one of the dining chairs I've popped our cat's basket, which she sleeps in while I sew.  I love that! You know, she also likes to sleep on my current projects, but it's cuter when she sleeps where she's supposed to!

This here is our bar- obviously there as part of our dining space, rather than my sewing space.  But, it's always useful to have a large glass of gin with in easy reach.  No?  Just me? 

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