Sunday, 30 September 2012

Kwik Sew 2948 - Thrift shop fabric

My dear twin sister is my 2nd set of eyes searching thrift shops or car boot sales for fabrics etc.

This navy fabric with a sort of chain effect design on it was one such purchase, and as time was short for this weekend's sewing I decided to repeat the Kwik Sew 2948 little twin set.

For this version I made a subtle change to the neckline of the vest by scooping it out a little lower.  To do this I simply cut the front piece using the original pattern, I then folded the front piece in half and using my French curve as a guide cut a lower neckline.  The reason I did this was because I thought the fabric was a little busy to have a high neckline.

I used my snaps again on the cardigan, but this time used a pretty pearlised snap.

The rest of my weekend's sewing was taking in a pair of navy crepe trousers that I made quite a long while ago and were absolutely massive - I unpicked the waistband, the back seam and inside leg seams.

Next I increased the size of the front darts, reduced the length of the front and back crotch seams using a pair of RTW trousers as a guide.   I then re-sewed the back seam and inside leg seams taking in 1/4" more on the seam allowance before sewing the waistband back on.  Because I had effectively taken the waist in by increasing the front dart, I had to move the eye part of the hook and eye fastener over.   I now have a pair of trousers that are wearable.

I had started a pair of panties before I went off on my work trip which were sitting unfinished  so I finished those off too.

My last job of this weekend is to cut out some shirts to take to the flat ready for me to sew when I feel like it.  Needless to say my recent 10 shirt marathon means that my D Mike isn't too desperate for new shirts but it is easier to have them cut out and bagged up ready to go when I want to..

Hope you have had a good weekend.  Catch you later............

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Amusing coincidence - same fabric

Hi everyone, I am now back in my little cottage having been away from my sewing machine for nearly two weeks.

I thought I would share an amusing coincidence that happened to me today.  I was attending a conference today and decided to wear my blue and beige cowl neck top I made a couple of weeks ago with my navy suit, as you see here.

I registered at the reception, and grabbed a cup of tea and wandered into the auditorium to listen to the first lecture. To my utter surprise a lady came and sat next to me wearing a dress in the exact same fabric as the top that I made and was wearing.

When I purchased the fabric from the vendor he told us that this fabric was used in high-end fashion houses, but we have all heard that before, haven't we!

After the lecture I couldn't resist asking her where she purchased her dress.  She informed me that she thought it was Windsmoor or Country Casuals, but couldn't recall which one (probably purchased it a couple of years ago.  I was so tempted to say "let me look at the label in the back of your dress", but decided that a little decorum was in order.

I left the conference feeling quite smug, that my top cost me approximately £6 to make, which I would think was substantially cheaper than what she paid for her dress, especially if she purchased it from either of the two fashion brands she mentioned.  I did look on the Windsmoor and Country Casuals websites, and while I didn't see the exact fabric design, I did see lots of dresses made of the same type of jersey fabric, and all these dresses were around £100 + each.

I have this fabric in one other colour way, and it may well be on my sewing list for the weekend.

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

I have tagged this to the bottom of this post following an email from my good friend Sigrid.  Here you can see the same fabric made up into a top priced £55.00.  I cut my fabric on the bias so the squares look like diamonds on my top, purely because the fabric is draping in a different direction.

Here is my other top with the drape going the same as the top above.

Here is the dress the lady was wearing today, but this has short sleeves rather than 3/4 length that her's did.  However this is the same fabric in a different colour way that sigrid bought.  This dress which you can find on the site yourself if £99.00.

Happy days....................

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Goldhawk Road fabric Shopping experience

As promised I am reporting on my trip to Goldhawk Road.  Quite a few bloggers had mentioned this shopping haven, but until today I had never had the chance to get down there.

Despite only arriving home this morning from Kuala Lumpur, I still wanted to go and investigate and I am glad to say my D Mike agreed to come with me.

Getting there was really easy - we travelled by London underground taking the Hammersmith and City line to Goldhawk Road (2nd but last stop).  Once you step out of the tube station the shops are almost opposite the tube station, so couldn't be easier.

Here are a few photos that my D Mike took while we were wandering up and down the road, and please dont take these as any endorsement of these particular shops, but more to demonstrate the variety.

I decided to wander in and out of each of the shops,  and mentally take note of the ones I wanted to go back into to make any purchase.

Because Mike was with me, of course we had to buy some shirting fabrics, and many of the shops stock a reasonable selection, ranging from £1.99 per meter to £7.99, however the average price for 100% cotton shirting was £4.00 a metre, somewhat cheaper than the £7.99 I paid recently and you can see below the ones we selected.  All but the £1.99 fabric which was 36" wide, the others were all 60" wide.

There is a noticeable chill to the air now, giving us a forewarning of the autumnal weather to come. I have made Mike quite a few fleeces, and he has worn them all to death and I wanted to purchase some antipil fleece.  I got some nice black for £4.99 a metre.  Last but not least I saw a recent fashion promotion for waxed jackets and I couldn't resist this old gold coloured waxed cotton that had been reduced down from £15.00 a metre to £4.99 a metre.  I am not 100% sure what I will make with it, a short jacket or a coat, but it can sit in my stash until I decide.

There is a large variety of fabrics here catering for all types of customers.  We bumped into lots of very arty looking youngsters who I am sure were possibly fashion design students.  There were shops that catered for Indian and African customers, so lots of sequin or heavy lace fabrics.  Many of the shops sold lycra, silks, I saw lots of denim including coloured denim which is good.

I only saw one shop that seemed to have a separate department upstairs for haberdashery, with one or two others selling the odd sparkly trim for traditional costumes.  If there were more shops selling these notions etc., I confess I didn't see them (could just have been jet lag).

Being a self-confessed fabricaholic, of course I will go back again, but I was trying to be a little self-restrained this time, so I gave myself a pat on the back for being so good.

Looks like I have a few shirts in the queue.  Catch you later..................

Back Home

Hi readers I am now back in the UK and boy it feels a little chilly compared to KL and Jakarta.

One of my work colleagues flew out on a new A380 airbus, whereas I flew out on one of their older planes, but I was lucky enough to experience this massive plane on my return trip last night and it was a great experience, especially as I was fortunate enough to fly business class.

Yesterdays trip home started at 4pm Jakarta time (10am UK time) and I arrived home this morning (Sat) at 8am - it was a very long flight home, 22 hours in total.

This was a busy work trip.  I left London Sunday evening, arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Monday evening, on Thursday afternoon I left the office to fly to Jakarta, and then left Jakarta Friday for my trip home......exhausting and I didn't get any time to go fabric shopping, sob sob.

So I am unable to show you any wonderful pictures of my shopping spree, but here are a couple of images of Jakarta - These were all taken from the office window and this landscape stretches for miles and miles.  The bottom left photo is a typical image of the traffic conditions and the hundreds of motorcycles on the road.  It took us one and half hours to get back to the airport because we were constantly stuck in gridlocked traffic.

To make up for my disappointment of not buying ANY FABRIC this week, my D Mike has said he will come with me to Goldhawk Road - that is true love..............  Catch you later.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hello from Jakarta

Hi everyone
Thought I would give you a quick update on my travels.  I have now left Kuala Lumpur and am now in Jakarta, Indonesia. Here are a few pictures taken on my phone from my trip to KL.  As you can see I am wearing my blue Linton Tweed skirt, black cardigan from my twinset, and the blouse I made.

I am standing in the restaurant of the Hyatt Hotel which overlooks the fabulous Petronas twin towers. I confess it did make my stomach turn a little looking down because we were very high up - see the pictures below.

Sadly, I have had no shopping time, so left KL with no fabric purchases.  Fingers crossed I may get an hour to myself tomorrow, but I have a full day, and then have a 20 hour trip home, so I am not too hopeful.

Hope you are all sewing up a storm


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Kwik Sew 2948 v2

Ok, this is the last of my outfits for KL.  I ran up this Kwik Sew 2948 twinset today and OMG this is such a lovely pattern and will definitely become a TNT I think.

I used a plain black jersey knit and finished it off with some silver snaps (which I also love).  The fabric is light, and won't crease in my bag and is ideal for travelling in too.

So here is a recap of what I am taking with me today:-

wish me luck - catch you later............

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Kwik Sew 2948

This may or may not make it into my packing list for tomorrow, but I am really pleased that I managed to squeeze this great little vest out of the remainder of the fabric.

The cowl that I made earlier today was cut on the bias, so used up a lot of the fabric.  I only purchased 1.5 metres of fabric, so I guess I made this little top out of probably half a metre.

I traced off the medium for this vest, but when I tried to fit the pattern pieces on the fabric it was just a little short of fabric.  As this fabric has spandex in it, I decided to fold the centre front and back line over reducing the width by approximately 1" and thought I have nothing to lose - if it was really too small I could give it to my daughter.

Thankfully, she won't get it.  This top is great and I can't recommend it enough, especially with this type of jersey fabric.  Feels wonderful on and well worth the £10 a metre price tag.  I spent £15 and managed to get two wonderful tops out of it.

No more sewing tonight - I sat with a bunch of work colleagues this week, 3 of which had flu type symptoms - guess what?  I don't feel very well.  Typical when I have a 14 hour flight  coming up tomorrow evening.

More tomorrow (not later).

Another Cowl Neck item 4 for KL

This was a lovely quick top to run up to take away with me tomorrow.

When Sigrid, Clare and I were at the showing show last weekend we purchased this beautiful jersey knit that has spandex in it.  The fabric felt wonderful to the touch, and promised to drape well for this style of top.

I am wearing it here with a very old Italian Marella suit, which has a classic timeless style.

I have a little of the fabric left over, not enough for a 2nd cowl neck, but probably a simple vest or camisole.

Both Sigrid and I purchased this fabric (in different colour ways) and based on how well this sewed up, I can't wait to sew the other fabric.

Now for my next item.

Catch you later

McCalls 6436 finished

Yippee I have finished my McCalls 6436 blouse.  I am wearing it with my blue Linton Tweed skirt I made a week or so ago, but this time accessorising it with black belt and shoes.

You can see from the pictures below that the fabric was made up of 3 x large scarf panels, each being edged in a grey animal print design and then black.  I decided to use the black as my accent colour because this will work well with many other items in my wardrobe.

I chose self coloured buttons for this because I didn't really want anything else to draw attention, because the fabric is busy enough.

I took time to match up each of the design pieces to make sure they match on left and right pieces.

This pattern comes up really long, and in truth I should/could have shortened this by about 5-6", and will definitely do this when I cut this pattern out again (which I will do).

Judith from the blog Made by J also made this pattern up, once for her daughter in a beautiful sheer fabric and again for her, proving that this really is a versatile pattern.  Check out her blog and see her examples they are beautiful.

I am slowing finishing my capsule wardrobe which I am taking to KL tomorrow.  I will do a separate post showing you what I intend to take with me tomorrow.

Best get on to my next job.  Catch you later................

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Versace Inspired blouse from McCalls 6436

First two confessions.  I should finish the cami top that I cut out in the same fabric as the blue skirt, that is 80% finished, but I wanted to cut out my lovely scarf print fabric that both Sigrid and I bought when we visited Walthamstow market on Saturday.

When we purchased this fabric we had to purchase it by the square (even though it was one complete piece of fabric) and I decided on 3 squares, one for the fronts, one for the back and one for the sleeves.

Here you can see the progress I have made on cutting out the fabric using McCalls 6436.  Initially I wanted to do the long sleeved version you see the model wearing, but here is my second confession - I cut the back out upside down grrrrrrrrrrrrr@!?!!!!!  how annoying is that.  So I had to make a decision - either to wear the back and the inside sleeve with upside down print or cut out a new back.

I had spent so long lining up the pattern pieces on the fronts, and I just couldn't bring myself to wear a shirt with the pattern upside down, so I decided the only way I could move forward was to make the sleeveless version (green).

I have laid out the fabric pieces as they should look once sewn.  I have used the black edges to cut out the front band and the pocket flaps.  I have also used the black for the collar and collar stand.  I will probably make self-covered black buttons too.

Too tired and too late to do any more tonight, so this project will resume tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

stealing photos to blog

Hi All

I am back from the Netherlands tonight and feel really tired after sitting in a class for the past two days.  Thankfully I wasn't home too late tonight and pleased to be sitting on my own sofa.

Ok,  I didn't take any photos at the weekend, so I stole these from Sigrid's blog after she wrote about our weekend together (hope you don't mind).

 Here is Clare and I rifling through all the patterns that were being sold £3 for the Vogue patterns and £1.50 for the Butterick and McCalls.  You can never have too many, can you?????????  Oh well too late now.

And a far more restrained Clare and Sigrid.


 here are the patterns that I purchased, so I look forward to sewing these up.

Thats all from me tonight - hope you are all doing wonderful things.  Catch you later..........

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Friends - sewing and work

Hi everyone

What a lovely weekend I have had.  My dear sewing friend Sigrid paid me a visit this weekend.  She flew in to my local airport Friday night and I collected and brought her to my home to join me in welcoming my old work colleagues for a quarterly gathering, which we happen to do at my little cottage.

There was loads of food, laughter and we had a lovely evening. Ladies from left to right - Karen, Kathy, me, Sigrid, Linda and Tara.  My D Mike also joined us as the only male in the room and acted as photographer and general kitchen help, in return for a meal ha ha (thanks Mike).

We had quite a late night getting to bed, but it was a lovely evening, but we needed our rest because we had a busy day planned for Saturday.

Sigrid's friend and my email/blogger acquaintance, Clare aka Clareew on Pattern Review met us on route to Walthamstow market.  We collected Clare on the way, and great fun picking up some wonderful bargains.

After attending a little business that the three of us needed to do, we then drove to the Prima Magazine sewing and knitting show in Kent.  Sadly we got there with only 1.5 hours left before closing, but fortunately the main crowds had gone leaving a rather empty venue for us to look around.  We all managed to grab some bargains on the pattern stand, and then went on to buy yet more fabrics off another stall.

You can only imagine all the fun we had together, and there were lots of oohhhhh look at this, and ahhhh I love that, and do you think this will be ok to make jeans, does this colour suit me etc etc.

We ended our day with two coffees for the ladies and a strawberry milkshake for me before we headed off home (Sigrid spending a 2nd night with me).

We had a fabulous time, and unfortunately I will have to wait until I can steal Sigrid's photos from her blog to show photos of us on our shopping adventure.

We have had the most wonderful hot weather in the UK yesterday and today, and enjoyed some time in the garden this morning before both Sigrid and I took the same flight back to the Netherlands (me for work, and for her to go home).

Sigrid cooked me a lovely meal, and I provided her with some help to fit her jacket and dress muslin after which she kindly drove me to my hotel, where I am typing up this post.

I know a few fellow bloggers, Shams, Margy and Jilly B had recently had a meet and greets, and it is great fun.

I have some fabulous fabrics I want to share with you all, but it will have to wait until I get home again.

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

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


Do you ever volunteer for something and then think why on earth did I do that?  Well I did that a few months back following one of my professional institute meetings.

We had sat down for nearly 2 hours listening to two presenters speaking on the Bribery Act, and to make matters worse, the presenters were not the best (if you know what I mean).

As one of the branch committee members, we were discussing possible topics for the next meeting, and like a fool I said "if you can't find anyone I can always give a chat about how we do things".  I left it at that and made my way home (after I got the car unlocked from the multi-story car park.)

Couple of weeks later I got an email saying they would be delighted to take me up on my offer and I had to add another presentation to my workload lol.

I decided on taking the stance of "sharing some of the things we do, the problems we have, and what we are trying to do to mitigate them".  I opened my presentation by informing the audience that this wasn't intended to be a lecture but a platform for sharing ideas and that I invite them all to chip in with any comments, alternative suggestions they may have.

Quite a few people did comment, ask more questions, write notes which is always a fairly good sign.  However when I scanned the audience, there was one chap that seemed really serious, didn't comment, and I just thought hmmmm don't think he liked my presentation very much.

I drove home thinking "well I have done it now - I thought it went ok, but you can never be sure, can you?"

I was delighted to receive two emails this morning, the first from the chap that I thought didn't seem interested:-

"I was at the branch meeting last night and didn't get the chance to stay that I enjoyed your presentation and found it very useful. I work for a global insurance company so face a lot of the challenges you highlighted. I'm also responsible for Blueprint here so will be looking to get more out of that as well. I certainly picked up some tips from you last night and will be looking to make some changes to the way we do things as a result."


"Sorry I didn’t get a proper chance to speak to you last night after your presentation as I had to dash off to let the babysitter go home.  It was so interesting and practical and has given me, and I assume everyone else too, plenty to think about.  It also reminded me very much of many aspects of my old job at RSA – I had forgotten the battles with far flung jurisdictions over POAs and company records and trying to instil a bit of order into the situation, all whilst trying to keep the Tax Dept happy!  Oh the joys of a multinational Co Sec role!

You’d obviously put an enormous amount of hard work into producing such a comprehensive set of slides and to do so as extra to your already very busy job was amazing! Many thanks again.
Have a safe trip to the Far East and see you in December hopefully,

This just shows that the old saying " you can't judge a book by its cover" is very true.  I was telling myself if everyone who gave up their own time to listen to me waffle on left with one good idea from the presentation, then they didn't waste their time...........It was lovely to receive evidence that was the case.   

FYI I wore my new blouse I have just finished.

2 days without the time to sew, so hope to catch up a little tomorrow.

Catch you later.....

Monday, 3 September 2012

Blue camisole top to match my skirt - progress

Ok, as my D Mike said you blogged that you were going to do something so now you have to do what you say you are going to do!!...... Hmm that will teach me.

So last night I cut out Simplicity 4885 to use up the scraps of fabric I had left over from my skirt. I figured that if I made a little camisole top that it would enable me to change the look  from skirt blouse to a dress look with the camisole, but then I can wear the camisole and jacket with another future piece of this small collection.

I have been lucky with the princess seams in that both seam lines almost, (about 98%) line up with the skirt.

Here is my progress so far.  I made a few tweaks to the pattern.  There was a little bit of a gap along the front of this top which required me increasing the seam allowance at the top edge of the front princess seams and tapering back into the original seam about 2.5" down.

The other problem I had was that this fabric didn't have anywhere near the amount of ease that my lovely silk jersey had, so unfortunately I had to add a small strip in the back and put in the original zip as required by the pattern.

Not ideal I know, but I am claiming artistic licence on this (of course I meant for it to be a design feature) lol.

I haven't cut out and made the lining for this yet, job for Wednesday night, but I will have to line it because I can't wear wool against my skin without it irritating my skin.

Because I knew I had to make a few alterations to this top, I was sooooooo tempted to get on with the other blouse that I had cut out.  However I decided to get on and finish what I had started before starting another project.

I did a similar thing in my sewing room too.  Because its upstairs in the sort of loft conversion, its easy to just down tools, switch off the lights and then pick up where I left off.  Because I am the only one to go upstairs, there is a tendency for the room to get in as sort of pickle......  Having spent several hours cleaning up the room recently, I am trying to tidy up as I go along.  I have to say, it is lovely sewing in a nice tidy room.

That's me done for the night - have a good evening.

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

Sunday, 2 September 2012

McCalls 6042 Skirt & Vogue 1127

Here is my finished McCalls 6042 Skirt worn with Vogue 1127 Badgley Mischka blouse and my Chanel style jacket that I made earlier in the year for my sister's wedding blogged about here.

The blouse is made from a sheer grey leopard print fabric.  I am wearing my silk cami underneath for these photos, but I will make a grey vest to wear with this because I don't like how the white is showing through.

The only changes I made to the blouse pattern was to reduce the size of the two ties on the neckband.  The pattern piece is cut on the bias and extremely long, and not really needed at the original length.  I put two small pleats in the pattern piece to reduce both the width and the length and I don't feel it compromised the style of the blouse at all.  I didn't cut the bias strip for the armscye facings but chose instead some grey satin bias tape that I keep in my stash.

I fully lined the skirt in the same lining that I used for my Chanel style jacket, I also used the lining for the inside of the waistband too.

I was really lucky putting this ensemble together because I had a grey moc-crock belt in my closet and some grey leather shoes with mock-crock on the toe and the heel and I think the grey works really well with my jacket.  Excuse the unpressed look of the jacket (its been sitting in my closet since I came back from the wedding).  Of course I had to include a picture with my new bag to complete the look.

So I have two other projects cut out and ready to sew, which should also work with this mini wardrobe - so as usual catch you later.........

McCalls 6116 shirtdress

Well I have made good progress this weekend by finishing a couple of projects.

As mentioned in my previous post my Prym snaps arrived so I was able to finish McCalls 6116 which is actually a shirtdress, but I cut it off at the hip to produce this sort of tunic/shirt.

This was made from a remnant of coral coloured linen that I had left over after making two pairs of self-drafted cropped pants posted about here.  I love these snaps and have bought a variety to use in other projects.  I like this top with my white jeans, but it works well with the matching cropped pants worn with a white vest and the shirt left open.

I made my normal FBA and sway back adjustment on this top and can't recommend the pattern highly enough.  I used my cover-stitch to top-stich all the seams on this shirt to give it a RTW look.  I am really pleased that I have been converting my Bablylock Evolution from serger to cover- stitch really easily now, and love it.  I would like to look at using the underside of the stitch on the right-side of the fabric to create a different look to some of my garments (watch this space).

I love this pattern and will be making a full length shirtdress later.

I will blog about my other items I completed this weekend separately (see following posts)

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

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Back from the Netherlands - let the sewing begin

I was delighted to find two package safely stored for me when I arrived back from the Netherlands last night.

I succumbed and ordered some new patterns last week, predominately due to some wonderful reviews on PR or on individual blogs:-

Vogue - 6571; 1316
Butterick - 5780; 5779; 5705; 5710
McCalls - 6610; 6464; 6460; 6571

Some of these patterns are for inspiration and some are because I love them the way they are - so these have been added to my Bento system, numbered and ready to go into my pattern stash.

My 2nd package was my order of Prym snaps/poppers.  I mentioned that my D Mike purchased the snaps for me, but it was a refill pack which was missing the two adaptors that hold the corresponding parts in place before squeezing the pliers together so I hope to get my McCalls 6116 dress to shirt conversion completed today.

Last but not least I brought home my package of bra making lycra, elastic's notions etc that Sigrid kindly picked up for me a few weeks ago.  I did panic slightly when I saw the size of the package because I only had my rucksack/backpack because this was just an overnight visit. Necessity being the mother of invention, I sandwiched my laptop and ipad between lycra, stuffed the elastics in side pockets to make sure I could get it all home.  I can't wait to sort through it all later.

My D Mike is off to help his youngest son move house today, so other than going to the shops and doing some exercise I have a day of sewing, finishing planned.

Wish me luck, and catch you later.....................