The best of ’14! #sewingtop5

This has been a good sewing year for me, I’m glad to say that I’ve learned a lot about this amazing craft. I’ve also set up and continued to write this blog and had the pleasure meeting some really nice people along the way, bring on #NYLon 2015!

As it’s that time of year I thought i’d do a little round up of my fave makes so far but then I also came accross Gillian’s Top 5 of 2014 so thought I may as well jump on board! Only thing is that I think adding in my worst makes will suck the fun out of me writing this, you know how it is when a sewing project goes wrong! So I’m gonna keep it positive for your sake as well as mine!

Here we go with my top 5 hits…

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Highlights of 2015…

(1) I love going to the theatre but hardly ever go so earlier this year I made an effort to actually go. Admittedly my theatre-going has tailed off during the second half of the year but I still got to see some great productions most notably Les Mis (AWESOME), but also The Commitments, Kingston 14, Wicked and Spamalot.

(2) Hubby and I visited Bath twice this year, once for our 4th wedding anniversary and once as a half term getaway. Its a beaufiful city and we really enjoyed both visits. We went to the roman baths, cinema, did some shopping (including fabric shopping of course) ate great food and I even got a tour around a farm!

(3) My hubby graduated with a Masters in Education. I was so proud as I watched him walk accross the stage in his cap and gown ♥♥♥

(4) Live football, as in 2 trips to West Ham football ground once to see a friendly between Argentina and Croatia and once to see West Ham Vs Swansea. Usually with football on the TV I can take it or leave it but I do really enjoy a live match, the atmosphere is brilliant.

(5) I’m finally making dresses from a pattern – I’m in love with By Hand London patterns and, as you can see from above and in other posts, I have made quite a few skirts and dresses from their range. And the Kim dress was ordered yesterday and should be on its way to me as I type!

Reflections – what have I learned this year?

(1) Well staying on dresses, I fitted my first dress. Hello Elisalex. This was actually the 2nd one that I made but the first one that fitted properly, almost…

(2) New recipes – I’ve made an effort to try out new recipes and have added spicy shrimp, veggie stew, roasted broccoli with parmesan, and stuffed trout to my cooking knowledge. I once read somewhere that most people know how to cook about 10 different dishes and pretty much have those things on rotation most of the time. I think that’s pretty much true for me so i’ve been trying to break out of that rut!

(3) I learned (am learning) the art of embroidery.

(4) I learned that it’s very important to make time to rest – although it can be quite difficult!

(5) Not so much learned but I remembered how good it can be when you make the effort to be social. NYLon 2014 and the social activities and friendships that have come of of that have definitely been a highlight of 2014.

 

Goals for 2015

(1) Buy a house

(2) Start a Counselling Psychology course part-time

(3) Try out new sewing techniques – i.e. shirt and trouser making – the Deer and Doe Bruyere shirt and BHL Holly Jumpsuit are calling my name…

(4) Become more active

(5) Still thinking about the last one…

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2015!

Cx

 

Top 5 of 2014

 

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Sorry I can’t go out this week I’m too busy sewing… #selfishsewingweek

Did you know that this week is selfish sewing week? Hosted in part by Imagine Gnats who says that it’s all about celebrating ourselves so I’m just going to jump in head first and celebrate with some of my recent fabric buys – Yes, I’ve bought more, I can’t help it I’m addicted! Thanks to Watney market I bought some polka dot cotton for some PJs, a really soft, patterned viscose destined to become a top and some beautiful red velvet which I’m still deciding what to make with…

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To be fair it’s always selfish sewing week for me because I RARELY sew for anyone but myself – I find it so stressful because I want to achieve perfection if I’m making a garment for someone else, something that usually never happens.

Well I had quite a few things in the pipeline for my autumn/winter wardrobe (which I spoke about in my post here) so I started off early by spending last Thursday evening and Friday dedicated to cutting patterns and fabric. I find that when I want to make something it takes ages to get into the sewing because of tracing or printing the pattern and cutting out the fabric so I wanted to get that out of the way all at once. Then I could just sew!

On Thursday evening I cut out the fabric for a Deer and Doe Plantain tee and a Tilly Buttons Coco. I really like Quirky Peach Sally’s tunic version of the Plantain tee and might go for that hack for my next version if I like the fit of this one. And the Coco, what can I say? It’s a wardrobe staple for me now as this is my 4th one. I love the fit, the shape and that funnel collar. I bought the ponte roma fabric way back at the NYLon2014 meet up back in May, hosted by the lovely Rachel from House of Pinheiro. We went to Goldhawk road and there was so much fabric to choose from, luckily Lindsey was on hand to help me decide!

Friday was a mega cutting day with Simplicity 1317, a By Hand London Flora Skirt (totally inspired by Heather Lou from Closet Case Files’ version) an Elisalex Dress and last but not least a Colette Sorbetto top. I cut the pattern for the Simplicity pyjama shorts but I didn’t have enough fabric – aaargh!

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So how did I get on with all that sewing?

*Coco top – Love, love, love.

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*Plantain tee – I like this pattern but I think the neckline may be a little to wide for me so I’ll probably take it in a little next time. Just like the Coco this top was really easy to make, in fact the process is pretty much the same.

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*Colette Sorbetto – made with a facing instead of bias binding the neck and armholes. Also inserted a back invisible zip and French seamed the shoulder and side seams.

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*Simplicity 1317 – You win some, you lose some. This was a loss. The top was really easy to make except for attaching the neck binding. I know that the neck binding piece should be slightly smaller than the neckline but I think it’s just too small. It was really hard to get it to stretch enough to fit and as a result I have puckers all the way around the neck. Because of this I knew I wouldn’t be wearing this out and about so I didn’t even trim down the seam allowance around the neck – I’ll probably just wear this to bed and around the house! This is a size xxs but next time I make this pattern I’ll cut the neck binding in size xs and see how that fits. I also think I’ll make the 3/4 sleeve version.

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*BHL Flora skirt – made with a side zip instead of at centre back and following instructions for attaching a waistband from the BHL website. Also underlined in a black anti-static polyester lining.

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And last but not least, my absolute favourite…

*BHL Elisalex dress – made with a side zip and bias bound neckline and armsyces.

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Wow. It’s been an epic sewing week and I’ve loved every minute of it. 6 garments in 6 days and I don’t even feel like I need a break from sewing yet. Bring on selfish sewing week 2015!

Cx

Sewing to run (or jog, or walk)…

I’m trying to get fit so I decided to sign myself up for 2 Race for Life’s this summer (the 5k ones) and I need to be able to get my butt around those routes! The first one is on May 31 and the second is on July 6, so there’s not much time to take myself from zero exercise to 5k warrior. However, I’m not silly enough to think that I’m going to be able to run either race all the way in the small time frame that I have. What I want to do is just be better than I am now so I started by going for a few jog/walks but now I’ve buggered up my ankle! Dr said no weight-bearing exercise for 2 weeks. Boo.

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I’ve been cheered up no end though by coming across not one, but two (!) sew along/contests/challenges (whatever you want to call them) hosted by Melissa of Fehr Trade (Spring Race Challenge) and Karen of Did you make that? (Sporty Summer Sewathon). In short, to enter either one you just need to sew something sporty and let them know about it by July 6th to be able to win some prizes – sounds good to me!

So since I’m not meant to be doing the weight-bearing thing I might as well sew something up for when I can, I’m pretty sure sitting at the table won’t put any pressure on my ankle so I’m good to go! I have a couple of things in mind…

(1) Sinbad and Sailor Dove tee (another)!

(2) Sinbad and Sailor Raven shorts

(3) Seamster pattern Yellow Tail camisole

(4) By Hand London Polly top

None of these are marketed as exercise-wear but I think they could work for walking/jogging a 5k, and at my pace I could probably wear anything!

So, will you be taking part in either of these sporty challenges? If so, let me know what you’ll be making!

Cx

Spring Race Challenge

Sewing Indie Month with Coco

I just entered my Coco into the Sewing Indie Month ‘Everyday Casual’ contest – the prizes look fab so fingers crossed!

Cx

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The Monthly Stitch Collective April Challenge!

The monthly stitch collective – I love it! So much so that I have jumped straight in and stepped up to the ‘sewing double’ challenge – basically sew something that you have made before. I actually took it a step further and ‘sewed triple’, my third, yes THIRD version of the slouchy tee that I first made in a class at the fab Thrifty Stitcher studio. Can’t really call it a Breton tee anymore as the fabric has no stripes!

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I had cut the fabric a few days ago and had every intention of sewing it up that day but hubby was at the kitchen table studying so my sewing session got axed! Luckily today I got the table all to myself so I began my next attempt at sewing jerseys and I must say each time I sew with this type of fabric it gets easier (thank goodness, my first go was such a disaster!).

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As usual I tested a few rows of stitching on some scrap fabric first and for once it was okay first time round. No idea what needle was in there but hey if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

The pattern is really quick to sew up seeing as there’s no need to press all the seams open and it’s quickly becoming one of my fave patterns right now. Shoulder seams, side seams, neckband, cuffs, bottom hem and voila! Top done. Job’s a good ‘un!

I’m very happy with this for a few reasons: 1) it’s a quick and easy make, 2) the fabric was an absolute bargain, thanks, to the stall in Watney market selling fabric for £1.65 a metre, and most importantly, 3) I’ve now fulfilled my first Monthly Stitch Collective challenge!

I’ve already got another one in mind as I have some more jersey in my stash, I just need to wash the fabric and get going. As it happens next month’s challenge is ‘sew stretchy’ so if I can just hold out till then… Or will that be a bit of a cheat given that it will be my fourth one! Either way I’m looking forward to the next challenge and also seeing what other people post. In the meantime I have a few other sewing projects to get on with so thank goodness for the bank holiday weekend coming up, methinks it will be a busy one…

What have you got planned over the Bank Holiday weekend, any exciting Easter projects?

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And the nominees for the Liebster award are…

And the nominees for the Liebster award are…

Lady Stitcher

Love from Dolly

Male Pattern Boldness

Two in the Hand

And last but not least, French Seams and Pipe Dreams

I really like all of these blogs, they each have something different to offer the blogosphere and I wish them all the best in their sewing endeavours!

The questions I have set are:

What inspired you to start making clothes?

What is your favourite handmade garment and why?

What is the worst sewing mistake you have ever made?

What is the best thing you have ever made with a metre of fabric?

When did you last sew?

Why did you set up your blog?

Ice cream or Sorbet?

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

What is the most interesting place that you have visited?

and finally, Tell us a random fact about yourself…

Enjoy!

Cx

liebster

Gotta love a sewing challenge…

I feel as though I have been sewing a lot recently having made about 3 or 4 garments in as many weeks. Despite this I like the idea of a challenge and have signed up for a few!

My first pledge was to take part in Me-Made-May 14, a brilliant sewing challenge, the brainchild of ‘So, Zo… what do you know ’ blogger Zoe. I initially came across this last year after reading Sinbad and Sailor’s weekly blog posts about it and knew from then that I wanted to get involved. Unfortunately I was quite ill at the time and hardly doing any sewing so I didn’t have much to wear and I was also pretty much living in pyjamas because I was at home most of the time! This time around I must say I’m quite looking forward to #MMM14 and seeing how other participants choose to ‘pledge their allegiance’ to MMM. I’ve gone in and set myself up for wearing 1 handmade item each day which is going to prove a little difficult as I don’t have that many handmade clothes, so there will probably be quite a few repeats but hey, it’s not against the rules so I’ll just go with the flow. Not sure I’m going to blog about it though. A daily post seems a bit much to me so maybe a weekly round-up of my wears, I’ll give it some thought, let me know though if you have any ideas…

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I have also joined the Monthly Stitch Collective, who set monthly sewing challenges of all sorts from sewing a vintage pattern to sewing capes. This month’s challenge is sewing double – sewing a second version of a pattern that you have used before. I have the perfect pattern in mind, my beloved McCalls 3341. I wore my pocketed version on Tuesday and loved it – I have a thing for skirts with pockets you know! I was thinking of making a summer maxi version although I’m not sure how a long version of this will look – I fear that it may not be a ‘swishy’ as I would like. Failing that another short one would be a welcome addition to my wardrobe, and it would also allow to me kill two birds with one stone, (metaphorically speaking!) as the current Sewcialist challenge is #PinkApril, you guessed it right – sew anything pink this month :o) I have some bright pink cotton drill which would be nice for this skirt (and has been in my stash for ages) or I could get creative and somehow combine the pink with my left over black cotton drill, and with pockets of course!

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As if that isn’t enough, I have also pledged to give vintage sewing a go with A Stitching Odyssey’s #VintagePledge . I actually bought my first vintage pattern this week, a Maudella 5987 skirt which I love the look of, I just need to find that right fabric (a good excuse for more fabric shopping). Are you taking part in any sewing challenges? If you are, let me know how you get on ♥

 

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My first vintage sewing pattern!

 

I’ve been nominated for a Leibster award!

What a lovely email to open… I’ve been nominated for a Leibster award! A huge thank you to ksgentry at sewmuchtolearn@wordpress.com it lovely to know that someone has read my blog and thinks that’s it’s okay! For other sewing blog newbies, the Leibster award is a way of recognising blogs with a small following. The nominees are set a list of questions to answer, have to nominate other blog and set those people questions aswell. They say that one good turn deserves another so I’m more that happy to accept my blogosphere version of an Oscar and nominate others in the process! Here we go…

What is your most cherished memory?
Graduating from Uni – It was a tough ride but worth it in the end.

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What four words would you use to describe yourself?
I.Love.To.Sew!

Do you have ambitions for your blog?
Yes, I hope that it will be something that I can look back on and be proud of. I want it to serve as a record of my progress and all the new sewing skills that I will learn.

Not counting family, what do you feel is your greatest accomplishment so far in life?
Gaining my Graduate Diploma in Psychology. I left halfway through as I was really struggling but after a couple of terms out I returned with fresh eyes and never looked back!

What is your favourite sewing pattern right now?
Ooh, that’s a tough one because I have a few! At the moment I would say McCalls 3341 because it’s so versatile and super easy, New Look 6003 because I love peplums and the skirt is a really lovely shape.

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What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Watching daytime TV – So much of it is trash but it serves as a useful background sound while in whirring away on my sewing machine!

Which blogger inspires you the most?

What is your go to fabric choice?
Easy – cotton drill, so easy to sew with, durable and lovey for making skirts with.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Rudeness

What is the best advice you have ever received?
Never lend more than you can give away because you might not get it back!

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What is your dream job?

Me-Made-May-’14

I, Charlene Griffith, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear one item of handmade clothing each day for the duration of May 2014image