Thursday, August 13, 2015

When things don't go quite right.

I sew a lot, a heck of a lot and for lots of reasons;
  • I love clothes, I don't often like clothes available on the high street and if I do I can't afford them or they don't fit. 
  • I have a compulsion to create and make, sewing is my preferred method.
  • Sewing eases my heart and my soul. I can't explain it, but something about the process brings peace.
  • It's my job! I love designing patterns, and I love teaching at Ministry of Craft or one to one classes in my home.
Although I sew lots, not everything works out. I rarely am 100% satisfied with anything I make, I am always striving for a better finish, but sometimes things just really don't work, like this skirt.
The beautiful fabric was picked for me by my fabric dealer  friend, Mary. She knows my taste so well and often picks things she knows I'll love.

This fabric was calling out to be made into a full gathered dirndl skirt, and I love it so much, but sadly it doesn't love me! I wore it to work the other day feeling fabulous with my swishy skirt taking up two seats on the train, but then I saw photos of me teaching and the vision in my mind was shattered into a million pieces. I looked fat and frumpy...I may have cried!(And vowed to diet...though that was quickly forgotten! )
I tried to convince myself that it looked horrible because it was actually a little too loose around the waist, so I altered it and wore it again for these photos, but it doesn't look much better. I think this skirt might be destined to hang in the wardrobe looking pretty, and I hate when that happens.

Sometimes I sew when I'm sad. Summer is not easy here, too many ghosts and memories, so that's when I sew to distract myself. Yesterday I calmed my sad heart by hiding in my shed studio and stitching up a quick cotton dress.
I used my favourite vintage Maudella Pattern, but not having enough fabric for sleeves decided to omit them.
The resulting dress is far from my best work, I could list everything that is wrong with it, but it's too depressing. Suffice to say it's not great in lots of ways.
Despite that I wore it today.

I had to re draw the armscye, but looking at these photos I might have been better to re draw the neckline too.

Not being brave enough to bare my middle aged arms in public I wore a cropped cardigan over the dress to go out today, and if I wear this dress again in cooler weather I will probably put a long sleeved t shirt underneath.

Not the most inspiring post on the blog eh? Apologies, it's just that sometimes that is how it goes, and you know what? It is ok.
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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A cure for the sads.

I don't look too happy do I? I spent today making this plaid circle skirt to distract myself from the thought of a dentist appointment at the end of the day, and because yesterday I saw a deeply unflattering photo of myself, so the need for something pretty to cheer me up was very needed.

A simple mid length circle skirt with large patch pockets, high waistband and belt loops. Fabric from Abakhan, thanks to my lovely friend Mary who keeps an eye out for fabric she knows I'll love. I already have a dress in this same fabric, in the yellow colourway, and I love that!

The dentist, by the way was nothing to worry about, the unflattering photo though, well that's another story.....

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Another 40th Birthday means another new frock!

It seems a few of my friends are turning 40 this year, and of course any excuse for a new dress. I'm still refining this self drafted princess seamed bodice, and am now I think finally happy with it.
The fabric I've used for this dress was bought in three small remnants from a local soft furnishing fabric shop for 50p!!
I do love the challenge of making a whole dress out of a few pieces of fabric. These pieces were fun to work with because the right and wrong sides of the fabrics are equally beautiful. Not being able to decide which sides I liked best combined with such small pieces to work with meant that I used all sides in a kind of (hopefully) successful way!

One of the downsides though of working with remnants is there is never quite enough fabric for pattern matching. Luckily I can't see my own back!
I felt great in this dress last night, like lots of us I worry about my figure, about my wrinkles, and saggy bits, but wearing a dress that fits and feels good goes a very long way to helping me ignore those voices in my head reminding me of all my faults. Another good reason to sew.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Custom Made Doris Anyone?

I rarely, well actually never do custom orders, I just don't have the time , but knowing how much some people want to own a Weekend Doris Dress or Sweater I have decided to release a limited number of custom slots in my Etsy Store .
There are five choices of stretch fabrics available including vintage fabrics like this one:

You will receive a dress or sweater made to your own measurements, and you can choose the length of the sleeve, to have pockets or not, decorative exposed zip etc.
Shipping in the UK as usual is free.
Plus if you use code Birthday6 you get £2.50 off your complete order.

Still want to make your own Doris? Then the code Birthday6 works on everything in store including instant digital downloads and paper patterns. (while stocks last).
And finally, if you want me to teach you to make a Weekend Doris then there are still a few places available at my forthcoming class at Ministry of Craft in Manchester. Stretch Yourself.
There's more.....from September I'm also offering one to one sewing classes from my home in Stockport. Take a look at the Learn To Sew button at the top of this page for more information.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A mouse took a stroll....

dress 2

There is an acre of woodland in Wigan that is dedicated to our youngest daughter Florence, we always take a walk there on her birthday, and as often as we can throughout the year. While we were there yesterday India took some photos of me in my latest creation, another self drafted summer dress.
The weather was showery, though not cold. India and I found a lovely clearing in the wood to take photos, tiptoeing carefully in peep toe sandals ( I wore wellies for the rest of our walk! ) through the long wet grass I spotted the cutest little field mouse! He was just there at my feet, we both looked at each other with mild surprise, I said "Hello little mouse", and he scurried away before I could take a photo. He really was the sweetest little creature, and it made my day to have seen him.

dress 3

The dress is made from some vintage curtain fabric I found in the local charity shop for £3. I used the same self drafted princess seamed bodice as for this dress .
The skirt has a box pleat centre front and centre back.

dress 4

I was chatting recently with a fellow seamstress about "quick and dirty" sewing, this is a very good example of that! Mostly I'm pretty happy with it, but in my rush to have a new frock for Florence's birthday I made a few too many boo boos with the neckline and managed to stretch it out quite horribly.
A bit of quick thinking and a strategically placed vintage brooch and I think I got away with it!

 dress 6

This bodice pattern still needs a little revising, I'm enjoying working on getting the fit just right, and maybe one of these tries I actually might!
Meanwhile the stretched neckline incident has given me an idea for an alternative asymetric neckline to try...this time on purpose!!

 dress 5

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Dress

I have a few friends who are turning 40 this year, last Saturday I was invited to celebrate with my friend and fellow La Leche League colleague, Fiona, so of course I needed a new frock!
This is self drafted, and using some gorgeous cotton from The Textile Centre on Ebay.Of course wearing this can't feel anything but super summery.

summer dress 1

Don't forget you can start some summer stitching at a discount price if you use code Birthday6 in my Etsy store.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Discount

Summer hols are here, and Florence's birthday approaches. It is hard some days to imagine an almost 6 year old little girl getting excited for her birthday, maybe by now she'd have a gappy grin. I don't know. To celebrate my youngest daughter's all too brief life, I'm offering a fixed discount on any order in the Etsy store of £2.50, just use code Birthday6 and the discount will be applied at the checkout. That means instant digital downloads work out at only £ tip, if you want more than one buy seperately to get the full £2.50 off each pattern.

Wishing all my readers a very happy and productive summer. x