Monday, 31 December 2012

Last Item of 2012 completed.

Ok, this is my very last post of 2012 and I want to share my latest picture that I have completed, the one on the left was my first and here is the second on the right so now to get them framed ready to be hung on the wall of the flat in London.

I loved making these and am even tempted to do another in the collection.


Here they are with the original painting.  I guess as a cavet against them not being a complete mirror image of the original painting, I can say they are "my interpretation" of them.

I thought you might be interested in a few close up shots of the thread work.  I only used two stitches, both with the feed dogs down and my embroidery foot on my sewing machine.  I used either a straight stitch or a zig-zag.  Everything was done on my sewing machine except for the gold wool, and I used my rather redundant embellishing machine to attach the wool to the picture.

All fabrics for the applique part have come from my stash - cream, blue and black fleece used to make fleece tops, the blue knit was used to make a long jacket, and you may recognise the blue around the gold, that came from my Linton Tweed Chanel style jacket and the red knit was a jersey I used to make a polo-neck top.

They may not be to everyone's taste, but I am so pleased with these and want to experiment more with this type of work, and after seeing the Wendy Butler Berns Craftsy class I want to try some of my photos.

Now to sit down, watch a bit of TV and prepare to brace myself to launch into 2013 full steam ahead.

Happy new year to you all again.

Catch you next year

2012 - End of Year Round up.

I can't believe how quickly this year has flown, it only seems like yesterday I was thinking about all the things I wanted to do this year and we have reached the end of the year.

There were 4 things in particular that I wanted to complete this year:-
  1. Make a Chanel Jacket - I actually made two and one of those was from a beautiful Linton Tweed.
  2. Make a Bra - Thanks to my lovely friend Sigrid I have made many bras now and love making them so doubt I will ever by a RTW bra now.
  3. Sew a pair of jeans - During our sewing weekend in Margate in October, some of my fabulous sewing friends helped me fit my jeans muslin resulting in two pairs of jeans which I absolutely love another RTW garment that will not be bought again.
  4. We can't forget the 10 shirts I made my D Mike during the year which won me two beautiful prizes, my designer handbag and a voucher from Vogue Fabrics which I still need to use.  There is more shirting fabric in the stash so I can continue making them for him.  I have also signed up for Pam's Craftsy class The Classic Tailored Shirt, to see if I can pick up any more useful tips.
In addition to the aforementioned, I have now added mens underpants to my repertoire having made 4 pairs now, so I will continue to make these for him together with the shirts, and fleeces.  Hmmmmm what next.  Well I confess to saving a pair of trousers from one of Mike's old work suits which I would like to unpick and use as a pattern to see if I can make a pair for him.  lets see, but it won't be this year.

I have met quite a few new sewing friends this year, which would never have been possible without the wonders of cyberland - Those of you I have met in person, or have placed regular comments on my blog have now become dear friends. You all give me inspiration and support for all the things I do be it  work, sewing, diets, grandchildren etc - you all know who you are and for that new friendship I thank you.

So what for 2013?  Well this is already going to be a very very busy year for me and here is a list of some of the things that I need to get done:-

  1. lose at least 14 pounds by end of February - I am getting Married on the 18th May and want to look my best for the big day.
  2. Make my wedding dress - it is no secret that I want to make an Art Deco inspired wedding dress - I have lots of ideas of what I want, but I need to see how my diet goes, try on a few RTW dresses in February (to make sure the style I like suits me) and then start working on my muslin.
  3. Make 6 bridesmaid dresses.
  4. Attend another quilting course - this has already been booked and its just before Easter!!!!! Yes I can already hear you saying "how on earth does she think she has time"? Well a friend really wanted to go on one and I agreed to go with her.
  5. Make a quilt for my daughter's baby which is due 2 days after the wedding.
  6. Make a bag - there are some wonderful versions out there.
  7. Sew up my sued purchased over a year ago into a jacket (no's 6 & 7 can prob wait until after the wedding).
  8. Consolidate my little cottage and Mike's property and get one larger property, large enough to accomodate our ever growing family (we will have 5 grandchildren by the time we get married) however some of original plans are harder to achieve than originally thought.
  9. Hopefully arrange another sewing get-together with all my friends we had such fun last time, and I think there are one or two others than would like to join us, so I think we will need a bigger house for the next one!
I don't think I should commit myself to anything else right now, tempting as it is.  This is going to be a huge year for me, and to say I am going to be a little bit busy, undoubtably flustered, and probably out of my depth too, is probably an understatement.  I haven't even mentioned that my boss has a new boss who is sure to have her own ideas on how she wants thing to be in my department, which is bound to include more work for me.

I want to give all my followers and those of you who have commented on my blog a HUGE THANK YOU - All your comments mean so much to me and I always look forward to reading them.

We are having a nice quiet New Years Eve in tonight (my idea of bliss) but whatever you are doing I wish you all a Happy New Year and let me raise a glass to many more hours of sewing in 2013.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Applique picture finished.

I have managed to finish my first Applique picture and I really really enjoyed doing this (except for when the cheap silk thread, and the metallic thread kept shredding and the two needles broke).

All the fabrics used for this picture are scraps left over from garments I have made, which is satisfying on two counts;  I get my picture and I sort of have a memory board of fabrics I have used to make garments.

I tried very hard to find the name of the artist of the original piece, however it was just classified as modern Art Deco piece being sold by a website.

If you look at the flat fabric pieces in the picture below just after I assembled the different pieces, you can see it screams out for texture and contrast and I did this by layering the different coloured threads.

I used my free motion embroidery foot and dropped the feed dogs on my sewing machine.  I initially sat the work in one of my larger machine embroidery hoops, but I found it easier to just do the work flat.  FYI this piece is A4 size or 297 x 210mm or 11.7 x 8.3".

It took a little while to get a rhythm to moving the work around to create my spirals, and texture and painting technique, but once I had done a few times, it got easier. 

I love my first picture, and there is another one in the collection that will sit perfectly with this one,  (I want to display them as a pair) and allow me to use most of the same fabrics, so that is probably my next project.  While future projects may lead me to using some of Wendy's techniques, for the next one, I will more or less follow what I did for the first picture so they look like a pair.

This picture is not perfect, and I am sure the experts will be able to list a number of faults, but I love it.  I found the thread painting very therapeutic, and am looking forward to starting the second piece. 

I have subscribed to Craftsy's Pictorial Quilting Techniques by Wendy Butler Berns and have been watching it as I create my little picture.  There are lots of useful tips that I can apply to future pictorial projects, but I think I have been bitten by another bug lol.

My D Mike has taken some wonderful photos of London which will lend themselves perfectly to being recreated as a piece of art, so subject to time, I would like to see what I can do.

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday - I am back at work on the 2nd January so am making the most of my time off.

Catch you later...........

Thursday, 27 December 2012

A little artwork for a change

One of those projects on my to-do list for this year was to make an applique picture for the flat and this is what I have done so far.

I saw this beautiful Art-Deco inspired picture on the internet and thought it was perfect for me to convert into an applique picture.

I  printed the picture and then made a template out of it and dug deep into my scraps stash to try and find fabrics in similar colours to those in the picture.

I have never done any applique before, so this work will be the sort where you just fly by the seat of your, in my case my pants, and see what happens, but I am sure I will get there.

I have used a long tacking stitch on my machine to hold the individual pieces in place and used a piece of black cotton from my quilting stash to mount everything on.

Now all the pieces are more or less where they need to be I intend using a combination of techniques to attach these to the backing fabric, including the use of my embellishing machine, some hand sewing and perhaps some fabric paints too.

We have only just got home after seeing the Hobbit at the cinema and its getting late, so I am not sure that I will get any more done today - but so far, it's starting to look the way it should, so I am reasonably happy.

Yesterday I did manage to complete another 3 pairs of underpants for my D Mike, however, for some reason, he just refuses to model them for me, so sadly there will be no photos of them.  If you haven't already made your man some underpants I urge you to try.  They are incredibly easy, and compared to the price of the famous brand ones, they are a great deal cheaper.  I have some nice black cotton for the next batch for him so hopefully they will get done before I have to go back to work.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  I did get some sewing related gifts in the form of DVD's from Threads - I have added the "Insider Techniques", 3,4 & 5 to my collection, updated the Threads archives to include the 2012 issues and I also got a copy of Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer - so no excuses to get bored.

Catch you later.................

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas everyone

The Christmas Tree is up, the turkey is bought, we have lost a whole bag of potatoes, and we have no idea where (thankfully we have just enough for dinner tomorrow).

Presents are wrapped, stockings filled and now we are just waiting for everyone to arrive tomorrow.

Sadly I haven't been able finish my D Mike's last present, but I have promised to do it after we get through Christmas day.

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to comment on my blog and to wish me a Merry Christmas.

Whatever you are doing to celebrate this holiday period have a wonderful time, and let me take this opportunity of wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Catch you later....................

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Rush to finish for Xmas & new baby in the family

Last week was one of those weeks which finished with me feeling very sick and having to go to bed at 8:30.  Today has been a slow one - get up and do some jobs, lay down again.............what a dreadful time to feel ill.

One of the first things I have to announce is the birth of a new grandson - Oscar Wilfred born on 20th December 2012 at 01:28am weighing in at 6lbs 15oz.  Sadly I haven't seen him yet because I didn't want to pass on whatever sickness I have, but I have it on good authority that he is just beautiful.

I did manage to get the last of the christmas stockings embroidered  (11 in total) and the sides re-sewn again (I used some cheap shop bought ones) and each stuffed with their goodies.  I also got my little tree up and some lights hung from the beams in the lounge.

One of the jobs I have on my list was to make my D Mike a pair of underpants.  Don't be missled by the Calvin Klein elastic waistband it was recycled from the pair I used to make a template for the pattern.

I managed to unpick the waistband, but gave up on unpicking the rest of the garment because there was so much top-stitching it would have taken me ages to unpick them so I just traced around each of the pattern pieces.

My cover stitch doesn't entirely replicate the top-stitching used in the original pair, so I stitched the sem on my sewing machine and then used my cover-stitch over the top.

So as they say, the proof of the cooking is in the eating, or in this case did they fit???

Well I need to make one small adjustment and that is to give a little more room in the leg circumference, and the elastic I reused had stretched through wear, so ideally this could be a little smaller (I do have some new elastic to use).  I am pleased the way these turned out, and I will be adding his underpants to my portfolio of garments that I am making.

I have one more christmas present to make, and I just hope I can start feeling better so I can get on with it.  

We have been invited to Mike's sisters tomorrow so we will lose most of the day in terms of productivity - and it will be in the hands of the gods if I manage to get may last Christmas presents made.

I hope you are all far more organised than I.  Catch you later......................

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Countdown to Christmas

Phew we don't have enough days left before Christmas arrives.  Today I put my head down and managed to get this quilt finished for baby Oscar who is due to arrive around the 27th December grandchild No.3 and the first boy.  I was concerned that if I didn't finish it today, I wouldn't be able to work on it again until Thursday night.

As you can see I have used the fabulous Pooh and Tigger design which is just so pretty and colourful and I just hope little baby Oscar and mum and dad like it too.  I have one more thing to embroider and that is his name, date and time of birth, so needless to say that will be done at the last minute and stitched to the back of the quilt.

Each of the embroidered squares took approximately 1 hour each x 6.  Then I had to sew each of the different coloured strips around each square, 1 row of Tigger theme fabric, 1 row of black, 1 white and one yellow.  The whole quilt was bound with a black satin bias binding.

What else do I need to do?

Well we bought Alana a toy pram, so I want to make a little pram set for that, we have also bought her a toy cot too, but not sure where that is in the UK (floating around lost in the postal system), or what the size is, ideally it would be good if the quilt fitted both.

I have a couple of presents to sew for my D Mike and I probably need a whole day to do at least one of those.

Of course I haven't even considered, Christmas food shopping, stocking filler shopping or even getting the Christmas tree up, which will not happen until the weekend at the earliest (or even Christmas eve), and of course the presents that have been bought need to be wrapped.

This is the last week in the office, and it is always a manic time for my department so will keep us very busy I am sure.

I hope you are all a lot more organised than I am - I told Mike that we need to start in January next year.

Catch you later.................

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Blogger Award

I was delighted to receive the Very Inspiring Blogger award from my dear friend Dorcas from the fabulous Art Attack Blog.  Thank you that is so sweet of you.

  1. So we have to thank the person who nominated us - so a very big thank you to Dorcas,
  2. Add The One Lovely Blog Aware/The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to my post
  3. Share 7 things about myself
  4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees (or a few less if you are short on time)
  5. Include this set of rules
  6. Inform my nominees by posting a comment on their blog.

So 7 things about me that you would have no way of knowing:-

  1. I have a twin sister and we are nothing alike
  2. I used to compete in working dog trials with my German Shepherd and collie and really miss my dogs
  3. My Great Dane and my German Shepherd were in the film 101 Dalmatians (the one with Glen Close)
  4. I have a fobia of rats
  5. I love lounging around in my PJ's
  6. If I see something, I love to see if I can make it myself, and
  7. Have two left feet when it comes to dancing
And here is the difficult bit passing this on to some fellow bloggers:-

The first has to go to my friend Sigrid who is responsible for me spending lots of money on lace to feed my new bra making habit.

Next up is Carolyn's Hand Made by Carolyn blog.  Her wonderful photographs, amusing writing not to mention she is such talent and an inspiration to all that read her blog.

Shannon's Mushywear is another blog that not only posts wonderful photographs, but produces fantastic garments.

Margy's Fool for Fabric is another inspiring blog.  Margy manages to make everything she makes look wonderful, trendy and elegant, and I just hope that I look as dam good as she does when I retire.

Sew Ruth is another humorous blog that makes you smile every time you read it, but she is also talented too check out some of the tailored things she has made.

There are lots of other wonderful blogs out there, some of which where included in this award so I am keeping mine to just the ones mentioned above.

I have been babysitting again today, so no sewing other than hemming my son's trousers he bought so he can attend a christening tomorrow.

Catch you all later.................

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Cream lace bra completed + another square

I have managed to get another square finished today and completed my lace bra.  I am getting better at putting these bras together and really enjoy making them.  I made a few changes to my normal style.  On this one I used lace for the upper and lower cup and also used some of the scalloped edged lace and added it to the front part of the shoulder straps.  I found this sweet little key trinket to add to the centre front.  I have tried this on and it fits like a glove and they are just soooooooo comfortable to wear.  Next up a pair of matching panties.

I managed to get another square made tonight so I now have 4 another 2 to go and I can start putting the quilt together.

Above you can see some fabrics I ordered on the internet.  This isn't something I do very often because I like to see and feel the fabrics first.

The first one on the left is advertised as ex-Barbour brown quilted fabric, wind resistant and fleece lined - I like this one.  The ones on the right are nothing like the colour in the photo on the internet site, but I can live with them.  They are both waterproof and one has a gold colour on one side and a sort of dirty beige colour on the reverse.  The 2nd piece is a lightly sueded polyester anorak coat fabric.

I have 3 metres of each and will decide exactly what to make with them later - I will definitely make the McCalls 5525 trench coat from one of the waterproof fabrics.  I also purchased some black denim to make another pair of jeans, but I have been on a diet and lost around 7.5 lbs so may wait until I shift the next 7 and then make another pair of jeans (hopefully smaller than the last).

Ok thats it for tonight - catch you later..............

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

More embroidery and some lace

I have a large number of squares to embroider and the days are passing far too quickly so I thought I better get on with it.

I sewed these delightful squares tonight, both taking just over one hour each to do and I will need at least 6 of them for the baby's quilt.

I have some more Tigger fabric left over, and I am going to use my black, white and lemon colour combinations again because they are so pretty.

I was going to pop to my local market and purchase some white fabric, the same I have used for other quilts, however the weather here isn't too good, and I don't feel too well so couldn't face the trip, but then had an idea of purchasing a good quality king-sized flat sheet which will give me more than enough fabric to make several quilts.

While my embroidery machine was doing its magic, I made a start on a bra that I had cut out a couple of weeks ago.  This was some of the beautiful lace I purchased while in The Netherlands.  I hope to get the bra finished tomorrow evening.

Hope the cold weather hasn't hit you yet - its quite chilly here, and I don't like it.

Catch you later..............

Sunday, 9 December 2012

BurdaStyle 10/2012-122 & embroidery

I still consider myself a BurdaStyle novice, not so much because of my sewing ability, but due to the number of items I have traced off and made.

The first item I made was the the BurdaStyle geometric sheath dress - I made the blue version for my sister's wedding earlier this year in May and last week I made the same dress again, but this time using a black lycra mix fabric together with some black and gold panels from a kaftan bought for me as a gift from Dubai by my friend.

I am pleased to report that I wore the dress last night for my work Christmas party and the photo you see above is me booted and suited (so to speak) just before we left for the party.  The only photo that was taken at the event was one by the "official photographer" and I am not sure when I will see that.

So having made two dresses successfully, that I love, I thought I would get going on another pattern, this time from the October 2012 magazine.  This particular addition had several blouses that I absolutely loved, but to kick things off, I chose 10/2012-122, the folded yoke blouse.

Here are the details:-

Women’s blouse  Available in various sizes: 36,38,40,42,44

This blouse has simple details that give it big impact. Folded yoke pieces are simply caught in the shoulder and sleeve attachment seams. They turn an otherwise simple blouse with V-neckline into a unique garment.

I used a nice soft white 100% cotton that I had in my stash and cut a size 38 and did my normal FBA  and broad/sway back alterations.

The only thing I scratched my head about was the placement of the folded yoke - I don't think I noticed the placement lines for this folded yoke when tracing the pattern, so was stumped when trying to work out how it worked.  Once I did it was easy.  After sewing the darts, the yoke pieces are folded, wrong sides together, placed on the front with the curved part of the yoke following the curve of the armcye and then caught in place..

This was an extremely quick top to sew up.  I love its simplicity, but with that little extra feature of the yoke giving it just a little twist.  This is a top that can be worn with a pair of jeans or equally well for work/formal wear - I love it.

I have some ideas bouncing around in my head that I may put to good use if I make this again.

So having said all of the above, here is the finished article which unfortunately could only be photographed on Edna due to a lack of available photographer lol.  This top may get its first outing to the office tomorrow.

I did do a little multi-tasking while sewing my blouse, I set up my embroidery machine to start making squares ready to be turned into a quilt for the new baby due later this month.  I loved the last quilt I made and am using the same patterns again and here are the first 2 squares I have completed.  The Tigger and pooh one took around 1 hour to stitch out and the Pooh one slightly less.

Last but not least let me share a photo of my DGD helping to make cakes today.

Whatever you were doing this weekend, I hope you had a fab one.  Catch you later...................

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Back from Dubai

Hi everyone

I am now back from my business trip to Dubai - flew out Monday morning and arrived home to a rather chilly UK Thursday night.  Temperatures in Dubai averaged 24c and when I was in the car travelling back to my little cottage it was 1c brrrrrrrrrrrr I did feel cold.

Tuesday evening my work colleagues took me to dinner and we were able to sit out in the open to eat our meal - such a treat in December.

Tonight is my office Christmas party and I will get the chance to wear my black and gold dress (as requested I'll see if I can post some party photos tomorrow).   Thanks to all of you who commented on my dress, it is always lovely to get comments from my sewing friends.

I am off to the hairdressers later this morning and then hopefully I'll get a chance to do a little sewing before we head off to the party.

I hope you have all been productive.  I am starting to panic a little as I need to think about a few Christmas gifts that I need to make, a pram set for my DGD's toy pram we bought her, a couple of secret items for my D Mike and I still have to start the quilt for the next addition to our family due in late December,  and am fast running out of time lol.

Catch you later.........

Sunday, 2 December 2012

BurdaStyle Geometric Sheath dress for Xmas Party

Well I managed to finish my party dress for next week, so that will save me some time when I get back from my work trip.

Needless to say I need to wear some appropriate underwear with the dress (to remove my tummy bulge ), but here is the "no makeup", version of the look I hope to achieve next weekend for the party.

I took my black and gold inspiration from some photos I saw on the internet and a Burda magazine, so I think the black and gold are "on trend".

The dress was first published in the September 2011 issue of the magazine and I loved it.  For this version of the dress I made a few changes.  The black and gold fabric has no give in it at all, but the plain black has quick a bit of lycra in it so I was able to omit the back zipper.

My first version of this dress, I lined the whole dress, despite the pattern only requiring the bodice to be lined.  Because I left out the zipper I needed to work out a way of creating a facing that would stretch if necessary, so made my facings from the same fabric.  To create these, I just took the original back and front pattern pieces and drew a new back and front facing and attached it as shown in the top right-hand photo.

This dress has been made entirely from my stash, and an up-cycled kaftan that I would never have worn.  There are no notions other than thread.  Total cost is probably less than £4.00, not bad for a party dress.

I still have lots of the black and gold fabric left over and I am sure there might be an evening jacket lurking in there somewhere.

Catch you later..............

Friday, 30 November 2012

An evening dress for my work Christmas party

I have been thinking about this project for a little while, and tonight I managed to make a start on my  dress for the annual work Christmas party

The party is next Saturday and I don't have a lot of time to make this dress because I am off to Dubai on Monday for work and not back until Thursday night.

About a year ago my dear work colleague and friend decided to buy me a little gift from Dubai, however the kaftan  you see in the photo below, wasn't something that I would really wear in its current form.  So taking a leaf out of Sarah's (of Goodbye Valentino) book, I decided to up-cycle this lovely, very Christmas appropriate embroidered fabric into something I would wear to a party.

Ever since I made the BurdaStyle geometric sheath dress in May for my sister's wedding, I have been thinking it would look lovely in black.  I took those thoughts one step further and decided the panel construction of this dress would lend itself beautifully to inserting some of the lovely gold embroidered fabric.

When I made this dress first time round, I followed the instructions and inserted the zip as instructed, however the black fabric I chose to use in this dress has quite a bit of stretch to it, and I thought I would sew the side and back seams on a stitch length of 6 to see if I could slip the dress on without the benefit of opening the zip.  Yippee it works perfectly so I just need to work out how to line it while creating something that still stretches.

I debated if I should insert a black sleeve or a gold sleeve, but I think I will go with the black sleeve so tune in later to see how that looks.

Of course no girl in her right mind would think about party dresses without giving some thought to the appropriate shoes to wear, and you may recall my beautiful Nina shoes I wore on my birthday at the beginning of the year which will work perfectly with this dress.

I am babysitting my DGD tomorrow while mum and dad move house, so sewing may not be as productive as I would want, but I will to try and finish the dress before I leave for Dubai so I don't have to worry about last minute sewing when I get back.

As normal, catch you later.................


Sunday, 25 November 2012

McCall's 6441 jacket completed.

This is another weekend where I didn't get as much sewing done as I wanted, but I am pleased to report that I did finish McCall's 6441 jacket.

  • Pattern: McCalls 6441
    • I cut a size 12 and made a sway back adjustment, and an FBA.
  • Fabric :Beautiful cashmere/wool blend 
    • purchased from Rosenburg's around £15 per metre.
  • Lining: from stash
    •  purchased from Walthamstow market for £1 a metre.
  • Alterations from original pattern: 
    • Added some diagonal double welt zipped pockets to provide a little more interesting detail.  Pockets are just large enough to take my iphone or train ticket etc.  I use the Palmer Pletsch method taken from their book Jackets for Real people, which I really do recommend.  I googled and found these instructions give it a try its so much easier than other methods I have used.
  • The lining is not inserted using the bagged method in their instructions, so there is a little hand sewing for the hems on the sleeves and bottom.
  • I added a little chain to give a little more silver bling to this jacket.
This is a really straightforward pattern to sew up, especially as its a Palmer Pletsch pattern which provides all the markings for the various alterations I needed.  This is not a "fussy" jacket and I think I will get a lot of milage out of it.

I am wearing it here with my RTW Marella pants and my Kwik Sew 2948 vest blogged about here, with the sleeves turned up.

For my next sewing project, I have cut out some of the beautiful lace I purchased last weekend to see if I can make another bra during the week (nice little easy project I hope).

Hope you have all had a great weekend.  Catch you later..................

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Amsterdam Designer Studio

Well what a weekend I have had.  I mentioned in my last blog post I had been invited to go and visit a famous Design studio in Amsterdam, and my dear sewing friend Sigrid came along with me.

As you can see from the pictures below we went to visit the design studio of Viktor and Rolf.

You would walk past this building without having any knowledge what was hidden behind a very inconspicuous sign, and if you didn't know the address,  you wouldn't even know it was there.

The building itself has lots of history behind it, and we entered through a small door into wonderful marble lined walls and floor.  We were guided up an impressive staircase that would look at home in any palace,  and taken to see where the design team create the designs for the new collection using CAD technology.  For each garment there were lots and lots of mood boards with different variations of the same garment, waiting for approval by the famous gentlemen.

Top left hand corner picture shows fabrics laid out on the floor, and we were informed that many many hours are spent selecting the fabric for each garment.  Lisa our guide told us that some fabrics cost €100's and that one particular garment had a production cost €800 just to make the garment, without the cost of the fabric, designers, and shop mark-up.

Viktor and Rolf make miniature size dolls of their outfits and you can see on the back wall photographs of these dolls.  Bottom right is a section of the area the machinists work in. All but one machine had "do not touch" marked on them, except one which had "Intern machine" written on it.  This did make me smile.

Below is a photograph of Lisa and I taken by Sigrid in the Board Room of V&R - tough gig!!!

Lisa was very busy working on the current collection so didn't have time to go for lunch with us so we thanked her for her hospitality and headed across the road because we noticed a cute little shop that sold buttons - check out the door knobs.

The shop had 100's of buttons in it and many of them were vintage buttons and I spent €20 on the set you see in the picture below.

Our next destination was the famous Kantjeboord.  Let me tell you after the excitement of V&R, then the button shop, by the time we left Kantjeboord I was exhausted.  I had purchased some lace from one of the girls from our sewing weekend and I took the samples with me, so it was a case of looking for the lycra, elastics, ribbons bows etc to match the lace I had bought - this in itself took quite a lot of time and really made me appreciate the time Sigrid has spent find these things for me in the past (thank you).  I did find some very pretty lace that I couldn't resist and they also gave us a small pack of lace as a gift for being such a good customer.  I can't tell you how much I spent.... boy it adds up and thankfully Sigrid had some spare Euros in her purse to make up the shortfall in my own purse.  I can't say I will not want to go back to the shop because I would be telling a fib, I can say I have enough to keep me going for a few months to come.

I am now back in the uk, and sadly will not have any time to do any sewing until Thursday night at the earliest, but I had the best ever weekend.

I have to give a huge thanks to Sigrid who not only let me stay with her and her family, but also acted as my chauffeur getting us to where we needed to go.  Also thanks to Lisa for giving us a glimpse into another world that we mere mortals can only dream about.

Hope you have all had a great weekend.  Catch you later....... 

Friday, 16 November 2012

kantjeboord and a Fashion Design studio

Hi Readers

Once again I am in the Netherlands for work, but today is Friday and I have a great weekend ahead of me.

Firstly I am meeting the lovely Sigrid and spending the weekend with her and we have some exciting things planned.

Tomorrow we will go to the famous Kantjeboord where Sigrid and other lingerie sewing buddies purchase the beautiful lace and lingerie making notions from.  So far every time we have met up this shop has been shut - I just hope that isn't the case tomorrow.

Our 2nd bit of excitement for the weekend is a tour around a famous design studio.  One of my D Mike's colleagues has kindly connected me to his wife who is a fashion designer for a very large famous company based here in The Netherlands and she has agreed to give us a tour of the design studio.  Hopefully we will be able to take some photographs, and needless to say, I need to ask before I mention the name on my blog, but suffice to say I am sooooooooooooo excited.

Lots more later...................................

Sunday, 11 November 2012

McCalls 6441 progress & Christmas Stocking

Hi everyone, I think we should introduce the 3 day weekend because I never seem to have enough time, but I guess that is the same for all of us.

I managed to do some more on my jacket before my DGD arrived, but then my attention was redirected as normal!

First my son presented me with a shop bought Christmas stocking and asked if I could embroider Alana's name on it.  I found some fleece fabric and used that to do the embroidery on and then stitched the name tag on by hand.

Shortly after Alana arrived, my daughter turned up with Bentley, and we managed to get a 2 1/2 year old little girl and a 10 month old Great Dane puppy to sit still long enough for us to take a photograph.  Definitely one for the album especially as I have a similar photograph taken when my daughter was around 3 or 4 with my first Great Dane Mitch - Alana reminds me so much of my daughter.

Now for my progress on my McCalls jacket.  Once babysitting duties started I had to leave my sewing until this evening and I have completed quite a bit, but decided to stop before I got too tired.

I wanted to add a small change to the jacket so inserted angled double welt zipped pockets into the jacket.   I always use the Palmer Pletsch method but one modification I make is to use the clear wash away stabiliser to draw the welt box on to use as a stitching guide. 

You can see a peek of the lining I have used - nothing jazzy or bright, but I think this works well enough with the simplicity of the jacket.  This photo was taken after sewing the lining to the jacket and still needs to be pressed so excuse the crumpled look.

When I purchased this lovely wool and cashmere blend, I also bought this contrasting pure silk to sew a coordinating blouse.  I can see the jacket and the blouse with a lovely black skirt or trousers.... this is a mini wardrobe in the making.

This is my progress so far.  Will I finish it by tomorrow night?  Hmmmmm I have to sew in the shoulder pads, press, clip and trim the seams after sewing the lining to the jacket and finish the hem..........  I might be lucky and be able to finish it before I go away for work this week and who knows maybe take it with me.

Hope you all had a good day.

Catch you later............

Saturday, 10 November 2012

McCall's 6441 Progress

In a previous post I mentioned that I had cut out the McCall's 6441 Palmer Pletsch jacket pattern but didn't have time to start sewing it.

When I went to the sewing expo with Sigrid and Clare back in September, we all purchased some lovely fabrics and I went for this pretty lime green wool and cashmere blend.  This is a great colour and goes so well with chocolate brown, navy blue, black and I guess you could even wear it with white. Those of you who are experts in colour, will no doubt see other possibilities too.

Can you see the fabric peeking through the neck edge of the jacket.  This is some more of that lovely spandex mix knit that I made some other tops from, see here and here.  At the moment I am thinking of another cowl-neck top again, but this time with long sleeves.

The sleeves have zippers inserted at the cuff, however because the seam where these sit are underneath, I am not too sure of the positioning because it isn't that visible, however it still good experience because I haven't inserted zippers in a sleeve before.

If you are anything like me, you probably hold your breath when inserting the sleeve into the armcye.  A tip I picked up on a sewing course I went on was to use the inside of a tie (which is cut on the bias) and stitch it to the sleeve head, stretching as you go.  The bias causes it to shrink.  Sadly it didn't shrink quite enough so I had to still had to sew two row of stitches which I then used to gather up the ease.  Next I pinned in the the sleeve smoothing out the gathers to avoid any pleats of puckers as these would show up on a plain fabric.

This is probably as far as I shall get tonight, and I will need to make an early start if I want to sew tomorrow as we are babysitting our beautiful GD tomorrow, but so far this is a fairly easy pattern to put together.

Adjustments: The nice thing about these patterns is they have kindly marked the cutting lines for sway back, and full bust adjustments etc.  I cut a size 12 and after doing a tissue fit, I found I needed to add an inch to the bust, adjust for my sway back and I added a little to the upper arm of the sleeve (clearly my biceps are larger than the pattern allows for).

Notions required are:- 18" zipper for the front and 2 x 7" zippers for the sleeves.  1/2" shoulder pads and the usual thread and interfacing.

Stop by tomorrow, fingers crossed this jacket will be finished.

Catch you later.........................

Monday, 5 November 2012

My Wedding Plans Continue

A few people have asked me questions about my wedding plans, so I thought perhaps it was time for an update.

My D Mike and I get married on the 18th May next year - however that is only a fraction over 6 months away.

I plan on making my wedding dress and the 6 bridesmaid dresses, however there are a couple of minor  major problems.

Bridesmaid No.1-My daughter who is expecting her first baby 2 days after the wedding and who still wants to be a bridesmaid - its a little difficult to calculate what size she will be.

Bridesmaid No.2 - My granddaughter who is currently 2.5 years old, and growing, so I need to wait until at least March/April before starting her dress.

Bridesmaid No.3 - My daughter-in-law who is also expecting (baby No.2) so she doesn't want me to start her dress until after she has had the baby and lost some of her baby weight so around end of March beginning of April.

Bridesmaid No.4 - granddaughter No.2 who is only 18 months old and still growing, so again we can't start her's until the same time a granddaughter No.1.

Bridesmaid No. 5 - Mike's niece who is currently 10 years old, and of course growing so I anticipate starting her dress around March.

Bridesmaid No. 6 - Last but not least the only bridesmaid that isn't expecting a baby (that I know of) and isn't a small child growing rapidly, may give me the opportunity to start her dress around February.

So what about my dress?  Well of course like any bride, I am on a diet and trying to lose weight, so I have given myself until February to lose a few extra pounds before I think about making a muslin of my dress.

We are going for an Art Deco themed wedding and I want an Art Deco style of wedding dress.  I have purchased about 6 patterns and I think there are elements from each of the patterns that I would like to incorporate into my dress.

I know the colour I want for my dress, and I am going to make the Bridesmaid dresses in the same colour.  Colour will be introduced via flowers and in particular for the little ones ribbons.

We have booked this beautiful venue which is right next to the river.

and will be having the party in the marquee as shown below.

we have chosen and booked our car this lovely 1920's Wolseley

So we still have loads to do - I know what flowers I want, but haven't decided for the Bridesmaids yet.  The guys are enthusiastic to dress their part so they have been looking at appropriate clothing (with a 20th Century twist) for their outfits.

So while we have made progress, needless to say there is still LOADS for me to do.

Needless to say, because my D Mike reads my blog, I will have to think of another way to share my progress with my wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses and colour schemes. Until then, catch you all later..........

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A non-starter for the sewing.

Well I never really got going on my sewing this weekend other than running up 3 pairs of panties that was it.

I did cut out the paper pattern for McCalls 6441 but that is as far as I got because my daughter turned up with Bentley.
McCalls 6441

Saturday night was the night most people were setting off their fireworks in advance of bonfire night (5th November) and my daughter was going to London to have dinner with her partner's sister.   I was concerned that this would be Bentley's first experience of fireworks and was worried that he would get upset and frightened, so Saturday evening we were babysitting a big black dog.  Thankfully, although he was aware of the fireworks, he wasn't a quivering wreck under the table, like our old family dog used to be each year.

Today I was just catching up on jobs, such as my pile of ironing that had been sitting patiently waiting for me to clear it, so I just had to knuckle down and get it done before Alana, my son and my daughter-in-law arrived for lunch.

Now the nights are drawing in early we wanted to get up to London earlier than we would normally do, before it got dark, and boy it was cold on the bikes - I need to brace myself for the winter months ahead and prepare to get cold and wet cycling my bike brrrrrrrrrr lets hope it helps burn off the calories I need to burn before my wedding.

Talking of weddings, should I start to panic - it will be exactly 6 months on the 18th of November - frightening or what!

Last but not least I got this sweet thank you card from Sarah of Goodbye Valentino with the following message:-

The simple and sweet purpose of this new blog award is simply to thank the  people who take the time to comment on your blog. My job is to pass it on to nine bloggers who comment on my blog.  I tremendously appreciate each comment I receive.  I’m passing the award on to the nine bloggers who have statistically provided the most comments on Goodbye Valentino. Many thanks to all of you for your comments and special thanks the following bloggers. Pass it on ladies!

Thanks Sarah, so following the instructions above,  I would like to pass this award on to the following great people who often comment on my blog (thank you):-

Handmade by Carolyn  Everything Sewing Biblioblog House of Pinheiro La Sewista
MushyWear SewRuth Sigrid Coco's Loft

I hope you all had a good weekend.  Catch you later...........

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Panties to go with my bra

Thank you all for your comments on my Kwik Sew 3843 top, I am going to take it away with me tomorrow on my business trip.

I managed to painfully unpick my black Jalie jeans last night while watching TV (took me over an hour) and was very thankful for my illuminated magnifying glass. I took in the side seams, reduced the flare and then refitted the waistband and top-stitched them again and now they feel much better so it was worth the effort.

I had time to finish a couple of pairs of panties to go with the last bra that I made.  I am trying to always make panties to go with each bra so I build up a nice collection of matching sets but its taken me a while to get around to these.

I have had a lovely weekend.  Firstly my D Mike and I hadn't seen each other all week, so it was lovely to have him home, and second, because I had all my children and my granddaughter with me for dinner on Saturday evening along with Bentley my daughter's Great Dane.  It is rare when your children grow up to have them around together, and its quite funny that they seem to regress and start play fighting and messing around like they did when they were home - its quite sweet really.

Well this will be my last post for a few days because I have a business trip and an early start tomorrow morning 7:30am flight (deep joy) so need to get ready for an early night - I hope you have all had a great weekend.

Catch you later...............

Kwik Sew 3843

Today I managed to finish Kwik Sew 3843.  The more Kwik Sew patterns I make up, the more I love them.

The pattern description states:

Fabrics: Designed for stretch knits only with 35% stretch across the grain.  They suggest: Interlock, jersey, matte jersey, fabrics with Lycra.  Pattern includes 1/4' (6mm) seam allowances.

Very close fitting pull-over tops have princess seams, raglan sleeves and triangular insets on front and back.  View A has lapped fronts, full length sleeves, and is made from three contrast fabrics.  View B has elbow length sleeves and turtleneck.

I made view A, but only used two colours for mine.

This is a little like putting a jigsaw together, however not very complicated, and you can more or less make the whole thing on your serger/cover stitch machine.

The instructions are straight-forward and simple to understand so this would be possible for a competent beginner to make.

I had a little of the black and white fabric left over from my Jalie scarf-collar top blogged about here last year, and some ribbed black knit, so decided they would work well together.

I would highly recommend this pattern if you want to create a top with a little difference, and while I only used two colours in my top, you could use 3 or even more if you want a rainbow burst of colour lol.

Catch you later.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth

We had the pleasure of babysitting our beautiful little granddaughter today, and she loves to help me bake cakes.  With this in mind, I decided to quickly run up a little apron for her to wear, instead of taking one of mine and folding it over several times so that she could walk.

The apron needs a little adjustment as you can see, but she was really happy to dress the part before our cake baking session.  This look is definitely one of "butter wouldn't melt in her mouth"  looks- of course this angelic pose didn't last for the whole day.

One other item I am working on is Kwik Sew 3643 top which is coming along nicely, and I have bitten the bullet and unpicked the waistband and side seams of the first Jalie jeans because they are just too loose and it was really annoying me.  I HATE UNPICKING but I love the jeans and they just need taking in - another job for tomorrow.

The clocks go back here in the UK, so technically we are meant to get an extra hour in bed, however its hard enough to persuade my D Mike to stay in bed later than 7am - goodness know what time he will be up tomorrow - probably 6am lol.

Have a great day/evening and I'll catch you later................

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

McCalls 5252 - Black & Purple

This is version No.2 of the McCalls 5252 with Mike's favorite colour purple.

I used some spare shirting fabric for the under-collar, and to enhanced the zippers too. An extra feature was the addition of a little zipper pocket at the front and added thin strips of purple fabric to the zipper pulleys too.  Last but not least rather than turn under the black upper collar, I attached a bias strip to the bottom and then turned it under.

Confession time!!!

I couldn't get an identical zipper for the neck so had to use a navy zipper which had a smaller pulley, and it was slightly too short so I added the small square of fabric to help cover the gap.  You can't really see the navy of the zipper because its covered, but its confession time so I am owning up to my mistake.

Last but not least and the point I could kick myself was despite using a pressing cloth, and hardly touching the fabric, I managed to slightly mark the fabric.  It looks worse in the photograph, but if was reading this blog and looked at the photos, I would notice it - sorry just me!  I can always spot when someone wears the same dress to a Christmas dinner too lol - I know get a life. 

I don't think any of the faults will prevent Mike from wearing this, but I think I am more annoyed at these errors than he will be.

Hope your sewing is going without too many problems.  Catch you later..............

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Something Somewhere Went Terribly Wrong - McCalls 5252 for Mike

Ok, its cold its wet and its miserable outside and it feels like we are on the cusp of winter rather than autumn.  This is a signal to start making fleece tops for Mike and I to wear on our bikes and McCalls 5252 is a TNT for me having made quite a few before.

The pattern cover states that this is:

Misses and mens unlined vests and jackets: Loose fitting, unlined vest or jacket has yoke front, collar or hood, with or without sleeve and inseam pockets; all garments have stitched hems; vest A, jacket B, vest D and jacket E have front zipper closures; jacket C and F are pullover.

I had purchased this anti-pill fleece from Goldhawk Road a few weeks back for £5 a metre and thought it would look great with just a splash of colour, so I found myself reaching for a piece of my orange cotton drill that was left over from my Jalie jeans blogged about here to use for the under-collar.

Mike loves all his IT-centric logos for his tops, and for this top,  I used one I created some time back using my Janome embroidery machine software.   In case you can't see the image clearly enough it shows the evolution of man from ape to man sitting on the computer with the text " Something Somewhere Went Terribly Wrong".   I picked up the orange for the embroidery thread, and  in order to ensure that the embroidery didn't sink into the fleece, I used a water soluble stabiliser (which you can still see on the design and will dissolve once washed).

There are a couple of design aspects of this top that I chose to ignore.  The first is the silly little top pocket, that without a zip is next to useless because whatever you put in it will just fall out.  The 2nd is the set of pockets at the bottom front.

This is a great little top to whip up on the serger/overlocker, and I only had to use the conventional sewing machine to insert the zipper and top-stitch the collar.

Mike is now on his way to London wearing his new top and I am now going to think about what to make next.

I hope you are all having a great weekend.  Catch you later......

Friday, 19 October 2012

A large splash of orange

If you have been reading my blog for a little while, you will know that when I have learnt a new technique I usually follow it up by repeating the exercise again - remember my shirts, bras, twin sets lol.  But as the saying goes, practice makes perfect and by sewing another pair of jeans as quickly as possible it allows me to make a few minor changes to help improve the fit and refresh my memory on how best to put these together.  In the case of my jeans it may be third time lucky for the 100% perfect pair.

My first pair went together well, but after a little wear they feel a little too big.  I made a few minor adjustments to this new pair to correct the size, and although I haven't worn them yet, they are a fraction too tight, but better than the ones that are too big...........  This of course is due to the difference in fabrics, these orange pair being a cotton drill.

I used the same embroidery design for the back pocket (sadly the photo doesn't do the embroidery justice), this may become my signature embroidery for all jeans (we will see).  I added some extra rivets to the coin pocket on this pair too.  One minor change for these was the use of a twin needle, the first pair I sewed each row of top-stitching separately, other than that everything else was done the same.

Still hopefully my diet will kick in and these will fit perfectly in a couple of weeks, in the meantime I have some more denim that can be used and earmarked for my future jeans sewing project.

This week we have been on vacation, and spent a couple of days in Devon.  I will leave you with a couple of photographs of the view from our friends house.

Catch you later.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Jalie Jeans 2908

Ok this is just a quick post but I wanted to share my FIRST EVER jeans which I have reviewed on PR here.

I used Jalie stretch jean pattern 2908 and cut out my muslin for fitting help at our sewing weekend.  We had to move the inside leg seam and make the counter adjustment on the outside leg seam and take a huge amount of fabric from underneath the bottom too. - Thanks to Sigrid and Viv who helped me with these.

The size I cut out was as close to my current jeans but there was a fair amount of fabric removed from the muslin before cutting out the fashion fabric.  I had previously subscribed to the Kenneth D King Jean-ius tutorial on Craftsy and dipped in and out of it for visual tips.  Look out for the special offers on these classes, if you can get them at the lower price they are well worth it.

Originally I started topstitching in black, but I really wanted to use my embroidery machine for the back pockets and found this cute design and picked a gold coloured thread for them.  I hadn't done too much topstitching, so I just went over it in the gold.  I used two threads in the one needle for the topstitching so no need to purchase special thicker topstitching thread.

On the whole I am delighted with the jeans.  I added jean rivets, and a jean's button using my Prym pliers (worth their weight in gold if you like adding snaps, rivets etc) and copied my regular RTW jeans for the topstitching, selecting just the inside leg for the fake flat felled seam, and then just the top part of the outer leg.

These were the boot cut, normal rise (rather than the low rise).  I felt the boot cut was more of a 1970's flair so reduced them to match my RTW width (much better) and even now I feel I could have reduced them by another 1-2".

If I was to make these again, which I definitely will, I will make them a little smaller.  I was being a little cautious just in case there wasn't enough give in the fabric, but there was enough ease in this fabric to have sewn a larger seam - next time.

These will now go in my bag for our two day outing to the South Coast tomorrow.

If you haven't tried jeans, but have sewn trousers/pants before, then you should be able to do these no problem.  I liked the results from using the Prym jeans rivets and jeans button.  For the button hole, I used the keyhole shaped button hole, like my RTW ones.

I think one or two tiny adjustments and I will have my jeans TNT pattern.

Catch you all later............