Thursday, 24 July 2014

Life Lately 24/07/14


"Watching the English" By Kate Fox is a anthropological look at the customs and habits which form the essential English-ness that we take for granted.  I'm only half way through, but so far I've been drawn in and have found my self being able to evaluate my own culture, which is fascinating! There are many home truths and many relatable stories shared in this book, and it sheds light on our English ways, even to a born English woman.  I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in society, sociology and people in general.  In fact, I've literally been talking about this book to anyone who'll listen, whenever there is a situation even slightly related to its content (which, to be honest, is like, all the time, seeing as I live in England.)  Also, if you plan on visiting England ever, its worth a read to decipher some of our more subtle and confusing behaviours.


Other than watching a lot of YouTube recently, I took Dave to the cinema to watch The Fault in Our Stars this month.  I stayed up most of the night a while ago to finish the book the film is based on, while in floods of tears, as Dave snoozed peacefully beside me.  It is a terribly sad story, but it is beautifully told and the film does  great job in staying true to the feel of the books.  Yes, I weeped at the film too- just call me the blubber monster!  (Most of the YouTube I've been watching is actually the vlog of the author, John Green, and his brother, Hank.)

Other shows I've been watching recently include Castle (up to season 4) and Fringe (season 3).  I wanted to rewatch some Star Trek TNG but stupid Netflix is stupid and only has seasons 4 through 7 *sulk*.


Clearly, she is trying to help!
So I finally found some awesome geeky fabric on eBay this month and was the lucky winner of a bidding war! I paid a little more than intended for it, but, hey, I am now the proud owner of an awesome Doctor Who dress, Yhaay! I'm blogging about it next week, so I don't want to say too much here, but I am just so excited for this project, so, so excited- I love it!


I picked up these heart frames in the sale at work for £1.50 each, and am planning on giving them a little sanding down, filling them with some cute coupley photos and hanging them in our house.  Sure, not the most intensive DIY ever, but quick and satisfying.


As of yesterday I have a full week off work to hang out with Dave- yay! We haven't had much time to plan what we're going to do with this week together, and we struggled to find anywhere cheap to go, so we settled on a "Staycation".  To ensure we don't just hang about the house, we planned in advance what we would do on each day.  We're going to Aton Towers, spending a day shopping in Birmingham, using our natural trust membership, we'll spend a day at a local festival, visiting the space centre and a day having a Lord of the Rings Marathon.  I'm actually quite excited!  This week should be a balance between relaxation and fun times.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Cotton Cambie Cutie

The Cambie dress pattern has been on my wish list for a long time now, and I finally baught a copy when I knew that I has secured full time work! Yay for being able to invest more into what I really love!

This dress is perfect, in every way that has nothing to do with me.  The shape of the a-line skirt is the right ballance between fun and casual and the fabric is just gorgeous! However, I didn't read the instructions properly so I failed to buy the right length invisible zip.  The one I ended up siding is a 14" instead of a 22", and that really does make a huge difference. I have to wriggle into the dress, so I'm probably going to replace it soon enough.

It took just 5 or 6 hours to make from cutting the fabric to finally sewing the straps on to my satisfaction.  I re-did them twice as I forgot to mark the notches telling me where they went, had a go at eyeballing it and failed to begin with.  Really happy with them now though, they might even be roughly where get are ment to go! 

Perfectly, I wore this dress to a work do the other week.  It was perfect for a wet weather pub BBQ party.  We had a lot of fun, and it was nice to chat to people in a none work environment, not that we were able to avoid talking shop all together, of course! This dress is all picked out for a couple more events this summer, I can't wait to give it another spin.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

I love Shirt making!

I've been consciously working to wards making a more everyday wardrobe recently, and one piece of clothing that I certainly consider a vital part of that are casual shirts.  When I'm not feeling like wearing a dress, you will find me rocking the jeans/t-shirt/shirt combo.  This makes the Grainline Archer shirt the natural addition to my pattern collect, no?

I loved putting together this shirt- it was challenging enough to keep it real interesting, but the instructions were clear and easy to follow.  Naturally, this wasn't a quick make, but it kept me interested through out.  Well, until I had to hand sew the buttons on.  I hate hand sewing, it takes too long for my liking and I just get bored.  So it sat in my kitchen for at least two weeks, finished minus the buttons because I'm too stubborn for my own good!

The instructions for the Archer are so brilliant, and very clear. I didn't have any problems putting it together at all.  In fact, the instructions make what started as quite a daunting task in to a smooth sailing and fun make!

This fabric was the last of the bolt at the market stall I frequent, so got the last 1.6m for £5 or so.  I love gingham, mini or big, of all colours, but especially in black.  And I love shopping on the market.  Not only do you get a wider selection of fabrics than the department store in Leicester, but they almost always cut me a great deal on my shopping.  Being a customer to a small business like that is so worth while.

This certainly wont be the last Archer I make- I've already picked out two more pieces of of fabric to turn in to shirts in the near future.  I'm considering going down a shirt size though, what do you think? There is plenty of ease in this one, so I think one size down should be fine and less billow-y.  

This picture shows the real colour of the shirt, plus it looks all artsy, which is nice :D

Monday, 14 July 2014

Thoughts on Independent Pattern Companies and the Latest Thing

I just wanted to share something that bugs me about sewing blogs.  Basically, I don't like it when people apologise for not being one of the first people on the blogosphere to make up a independent pattern.  Too often a blogger will start a post by saying 'You've seen this before' or 'I'm late to the party', and I think I'm guilty of doing so once or twice before too.  But why do we feel the need to apologise?  Just because all the cool kids make this dress a year ago doesn't mean that your version isn't as amazing, beautiful, or unique as theirs (unless you make a copy cat version, which you are also entitled to do). 

I think that because independent patterns release patterns so much more often and those patterns are so easily identifiable,  that we feel that they represent trends more than commercial patterns from the Big4.  But think about it, you wouldn't apologise for reading a book a year after it came out, or baking a red velvet cake for the first time next week, even if red velvet cakes have been around for years and are truly delicious. 

We all need to be proud of ourselves, no matter our level of skill or our years of experience, and recognise that each of our makes are wonderful and worth showing off.  It's not the 100th time that pattern has been made, it's the first (or maybe second or third) time it's been made by you and that is totally worth sharing.  

It's also worth bearing in mind that we don't all have the time, resources or intention to maintain the speed and quantity sewing that some people out there are able to. So if it takes you months (or years) to be able to justify the cost of a new pattern, fabric and notions do not feel in anyway bad about that.  Sewing can be an expensive hobby.  And it can be a time consuming hobby- of we all moved the latest pattern to the top of our 'to sew' list, we'd never get around to sewing half the things we really want to- being too focused on being ahead of the curve.

So, go, sew, create and never apologise for your hard work and beautiful creations- you are still an inspiration, no matter who came before you

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Life Lately

I've got a few magazine subscriptions at the moment, but I can explain! I subscirbed to Molly Makes with a three issues for £3 deal at the Fashion and Stitching Show, not intended to be a long term subscription. I've been subscribing to Sew Home and Style for a while now, but when Love Sewing was released I wanted to try it out too.  I now have a horrible decision of which to keep the subscription to and which to let go off. I'll have to keep you in the loop in that one.

I've been awful and just watched all 9 seasons of Supernatural in under three months :S I went in sceptical, and came out a little bit of a fan girl.  I was drawn in because of the infinite number of pins on Pinterest referencing the show (and because the leading men are pretty cute).  The show is right up my street, with supernatural happenings and adventures.  I was a little disappointed at the lack of female roles to begin with, but that did change as it went on, and we are introduced to some awesome women (I've a total girl crush on Charlie!).  Totally recommend this show to fans of Buffy, Charmed etc. 

Now I've a full time job (yay!) I'm having to fit my sewing around that (boo!)- but I'm still getting through my never ending pile of exciting projects- Currently working on some summer skirts.

It's a bit of a funny time to knit, seeing as the weather is so lovely an all.  But I'm such a slow knitter that I'm working on things now so by the time I want woollys, they are all finished and ready to wear. 

I've got a Harry potter scarf on one set of needles-

A baby blanket on another set-

and the Start of a cardi on a third set-

all ready to be picked up when the mood strikes.

For a copy of Tilly's book - Love at First Stitch.  I debated whether or not I wanted a copy, and have decided, yes! It's on my shopping list for next month :D

Love at First Stitch

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Some Sewing Plans

Some major fabric shopping has been going on in these parts over the last month- I'm not lying to you, all the fabric I'm about to show you has been purchased in the last month! But as usual, each piece was bought with a project in mind, so I continue to refuse to feel the least bit guilty about building my fabric stash. In fact, truth be told, I love having a large stash of fabric, it means that I have a wide range of projects to work on at the drop of a hat.

So lets have a lookie, eh?

These two pieces were ordered from I've been looking for corduroy fabric in the right colour for a little while now, so when I found this on sale for £2.99/m I jumped at it and ordered two right away.  I'm going to make another vintage Style 2542, which I made recently in denim.  I love this skirt, I'm really quite exited to have another one.  I will need to add an inch to the waist though, not quite enough ease in my last one.

The blue check fabric that I got from is destined to be a Negroni shirt, by Collete Patterns, for David.  I made him one for Christmas just gone, which went down a storm.  That was my fist attempt at any kind of men's sewing, and a shirt was a challenge.  I've since made myself a shirt (spoilers!) and am expecting this second Negroni to come together much more easily than the last.  The fabric is a little more shiny and polyester-y than I expected, but again, it was very cheap, about £3.99/m, so I'm not too bothered about that. 

Then I went fabric shopping at work, in the furnishing fabrics section! I found this yellow and the blue below and knew they'd make beautiful summer skirts, with a bit of weight in them.  The yellow has a brushed cotton side, which feels so lovely, even after being washed, so I hope it lasts through wear.  I'm using one of the skirt patterns from Alison Smith's Dressmaking book (which I highly recoment, btw).  The blue is a twill type fabric and will be turned in to another vintage Simplicity 9561.

I shopped at the market stalls in Leicester, and found-

This beautiful shirting, which is destined to become a Archer Shirt for myself.  This is part of my plan to make more everyday clothes, one of my favourite looks is shirt/tshirt/jeans combo.

This fabulous midweight cotton which will probably become a shirt for David, unless I change my mind and do some selfish sewing with it instead.  I'm thinking I want to try a different shirt pattern for this one, but haven't picked one out yet.

And this lovely beige and blue floral jersey, which will either become a Plaintain dress or I might spurge and buy the Lady Skater Pattern, which I have totally been looking at for well over 6 months at this point.

I also bought some black and grey jersey to make dresses for work, which I'll be sharing next Monday.

Finally, I went shopping at and bought this fab floral lawn, to make the Sewaholic Cambie dress I've also been eyeing up forever.  I sew someone on twitter make up a dress in this fabric and I had to have it.  

I also got round to buying some black gingham to make a summer dress out of.  I've decided to go with the Collette Hawthorn shirt dress.  Probably going to go with v.3.

So, that's it- quite a bit of money spend on quite a lot of fabric- I'll keep you updated with how things progress (of course!)

Have you been splurging lately? Tell me, what fabrics have you bought?

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