Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas jumpers

our darling little ones in their Christmas dresses, Sofia (left) and Lilly (right)
How was your Christmas - we had a houseful -17.5 to be precise.  Between us - 6 children, 4 partners, 5.5 grandchildren  plus Mike and I (another one due in April) and 1 great dane.

The whole family sporting their Christmas jumpers and new wellington boots for walking along the river in.

This is the first night, since Christmas eve that we have had the house to ourselves, and let me tell, I love seeing the children and grandchildren, but the peace and quiet this evening is wonderful.

More visitors tomorrow so its time for the sofa, a crackling fire and a good movie tonight.

I hope you all had a wonderful time - and here is wishing you a very Happy and Healthy New Year.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Holidays

Just a little note to say

Hopefully I'll get some sewing done after Christmas.

Have a wonderful time whatever you are doing


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

lots of wildlife, beautiful sunsets but no sewing!

Dear Readers

Sadly this is not a sewing post because I haven't done any sewing.   As compensation here are some photos taken of our visitors who arrived about a week ago.  They are Brent Geese, there must be around 200 of them swimming in the creek and then flying into the field next door to graze.

Sunday 10 pheasants were running around the garden and last but certainly not least we have been blessed with the most beautiful sunsets.  These pictures have not be enhanced or edited, this was the colour of the sky.

I have two projects that I need to try and finish before Christmas, a quilt for little Lilly who was born in May and I also need to embroider the name on Xmas stockings for our 2013 babies, but that may not happen until after the 20th (no pressure then).

In the meantime, we are still unpacking, clearing, and getting the house ready to accommodate 16 for Christmas.

Catch you later.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Back from our honeymoon

Hi everyone

We are back from our honeymoon and I can report that we had a fantastic time the pictures say it all.

In the pictures above you can see my wrap around pants that I made a few hours before we left for the airport.  I used Simplicity 4192 and they were wonderful and if and when I go on another holiday to sunny climes, then I will make some more of these, would be great in black or white because they were the perfect cover over my swimsuit before going for lunch.

We arrived home last Saturday around midnight, and were both back to work Monday morning, which I can tell you was a bit of a culture shock after our amazing holiday.

Sewing projects are still very much on the back burner because we are trying to get the rest of our boxes unpacked, beds made up etc etc., and be as ready as we will ever be for a family of 18 here for Christmas, but you never know, I may not be able to hold out much longer and have a play and hopefully finish my little granddaughter's quilt.

Hope you are all sewing up a storm, catch you later...................

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Honeymoon time

Well this has been a very very busy 5 1/2 months for me.

Back in May my D Mike and I got married.  A few weeks later a text from my D Mike's eldest son

resulted in me putting my house up for sale, and us buying our new house which we moved into on the 18th October where we have to most fantastic views.

Last week (only 1 week after moving into our house we had a terrible storm resulting in the loss of around 5 large trees in the garden which took two guys the whole day to clear up only some of them, no electricity for 5 days, resulting in us having to throw away the entire contents of our freezers, and

 today, 5 1/2 months after our wedding we are waiting in the airport lounge for our flight to have two wonderful weeks of sun, sea and sand for our honeymoon.

I did manage today to sew up Simplicity 4192 wrap around trousers which I have packed in my suitcase.

I'll catch you in two weeks, bye for now...........................

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Walking not sewing

Hi everyone

I am starting to see the number of unpacked boxes reduce, but it will be a little longer before they are all unpacked I am sure.

I have managed to set up my sewing machine and serger, and did do a tiny utility type project on Wednesday night, but that was it really.

Friday my daughter and granddaughter, Dad and Bentley all arrived to spend the weekend with us, and we just had to take Bentley and Lilly for a lovely walk.

As you can see from the pictures here, I am loving my new home.  I was greeted by the most beautiful sunrise Friday morning - the photo was taken from my bedroom window.  Later in the afternoon we took Bentley for a walk along the river - even Lilly enjoyed her time on the beach.

My D Mike was testing out his new toy and managed to get the lawn cut between rain showers.

This morning was one of those glorious sunny days that meant we had to go for another walk.  This time it was just my D Mike and Bentley, who by the way thinks he is on his holidays every time he comes.  This is all at the bottom of our garden and is a bird and wildlife haven.

I am starting to get sewing withdrawal symptoms now and I'll not be back to do any sewing until Thursday evening but I'll only have until Sunday morning to do any quick sewing before my D Mike and I take our long-awaited honeymoon.

I hope you enjoy my pictures and are having fun sewing.

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

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Coming up for air

Hi everyone

I am pleased to report that I have now moved house but it has been hard work, and I still have tons to unpack and find homes for everything.  This was not just the content of my house but my D Mike's too.

I decided to make a start on my sewing room early this morning as you can see below not looking too bad, however

I still have quite a bit to do.........................

but, when I finish, this is the view I will see when I am sitting a my sewing table, so well worth the effort.

Ok, must get on with some work too.....Catch you later..................

Monday, 7 October 2013

Still here and packing

Hi everyone, just to let you know I am still alive and still packing.  I am slowing running out of space in the house due to the ever growing pile of boxes accumulating in various rooms in the    house. 

All I can say to fellow sewers out there, if you are planning a move, and you have been in the same house for 15+ years then make sure you factor in enough time.  I am trying to be good and not just throw everything into the boxes on the assumption that I will sort through it when I unpack.  You know and I know that is unlikely to happen, so I am sorting, through everything including paperwork, clothes, food cupboards etc and discarding anything I don't need or want, and will aim to take a 2nd look at everything when I unpack too.

Sadly I had to pull out of the Deepika (PR) meet up in London on Sunday because I only have the weekend just passed and next weekend to finish everything.  I was really glad I didn't go, to add to my busy schedule, I have caught my DH cold too.

My only sewing related fixture between now and moving is the pleasure of meeting up with Sigrid next Tuesday evening when I have to fly to the Netherlands for work.  When I return on the Wednesday night I have only ONE DAY to finalise all the packing.

Thats all from me for a while.  I hope you are all sewing like mad.

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

Sunday, 22 September 2013

26 days and counting

Hi guys

just a very brief update - we have signed the new house contracts and we now have our completion date which will be exactly 25 days time.  There is one HUGE fly in the ointment in that the week we complete, I have to travel to The Netherlands for 3 days of business meetings immediately before we complete.  Needless to say this means that the house needs to be packed up ready for the removal lorry to come to the house on the Friday to move our boxes to the new house (no pressure).

While I made a token attempt of packing away person pictures etc ready for the house viewings, I have today started to pack away my sewing room, that being the most difficult one I think.

Its hard work - I have LOADS of stuff, so I made the decision that no more sewing will be done between now and the move, and to start boxing things up - sorting through, and throwing away anything that really is not essential.

A daunting task, but is not something I can delegate to someone else.

I hope you are all sewing up a storm - good luck to all of you who are entering the mini wardrobe contest and the lined jacket contest on PR both organised by two wonderful ladies located in TX - hopefully I have time to do some voting.

Catch you soon.........................

Monday, 9 September 2013


I just wanted to post a quick message to anyone who may have stopped by to see if there have been any new posts lately.

Things have been a little hectic on the home and work front, and such is life, sewing, blogging and even looking at my favorite sewing, blogging sites have had to take a bit of a back seat.

Having dashed around like mad to accommodate the purchaser for my house, a week ago Saturday they decided not to proceed with the purchase, giving me one of the most stressful weekends I have experienced in a long while.

Luckily I had a sort of reserve buyer lurking in the background, but their offer was quite a bit lower than the previous offer, so wanted to see if I could get closer to the Estate Agent's valuation.  I have now decided, due to the stress of selling and buying the new house, to take the lower offer, and I am waiting with baited breath for their surveyor to come round on Friday and hopefully give the thumbs up for the purchase.

So this is just a little apology to my readers who were hoping for a review on a new pattern etc, and hopefully I will be in a better frame of mind to start blogging without such long gaps.

I hope you are all sewing up a storm, and will catch you as soon as I can.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Pattern Review Competition - Mini-Wardrobe contest - 1st September

My dear friend Ashford is running the Mini-Wardrobe contest over on Pattern Review and I am thinking seriously about entering.

Start date: 1st September 2013
Duration : 4 weeks
Goal: create a 4-piece wardrobe in 4 weeks.  The 4 garments must combine (without adding additional garments) to create at least 4 looks.

You are probably thinking this woman is really showing signs of madness, and trying to be an over-achiever, and in some ways you are right, however 4 garments in 4 weeks is doable if I put my mind to it, and I am in need of a few mix and match items that will extend my wardrobe, because you know readers, I really have nothing to wear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll have some strong competition, I think my sewing pals Sigrid, Viv and Clare are all entering so we will be competing against each other, however I am sure it will be a clean fair fight ha ha.

Now off to think about what combination of outfits I am going to make ....... got to beat those girls (only joking).

Catch you later.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Essential sewing - PJ's & twinset

Ok, this is nothing new - I have used my Kwik Sew 2948 pattern before to make up PJ sets and I love them and needed some more.

I purchased this rather bright soft cotton knit jersey from Walthamstow market for £1 a metre, and £5's worth was enough to make two 3 piece PJ sets, and I might even have enough left over to make a little camisole.  If you are thinking why on earth would she buy something that could potentially illuminate the whole room, it was because it was light and soft to the touch, and for bed I can live with this.

The pair on the left has been trimmed with white bows and using my cover-stitch machine I turned it up the other way so the zig-zag part created a decorative trim to the outside seams.

For the pair on the right, I used some black narrow ribbon, and then trimmed them with black bows.

I think they look quite cute and I am sure they will be really comfy to wear, and if we have a black-out in London I'll be able to lead the way ha ha.

While I had the pattern out I used the mint green heavier weight jersey to make another twinset.  Originally I was going to use this for PJ's again, but it was slightly heavier than the yellow, and lent itself perfectly to day wear and I do love my twinsets.

This is my last day of an extra long weekend for me, so after I make myself something for supper I'll think about what I can start tonight  - I am thinking something new I haven't made before.

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

Sunday, 25 August 2013

McCalls 5818 - Dress

As promised here are some pictures of my sewing this weekend.

McCalls 5818 is a favourite pattern of mine, sewn once before (never blogged about) in a nice linen mix and it has been on my to-do list for quite some time.

The beige fabric is was leftover after making Butterick 5180 , which I made last weekend.

This is a nice wool crepe and I found some grey fabric in a similar weight in my stash and made my first colour block dress.  Yes I know, I am very slow out of the gate on this one, but again its been on my list, and I am very pleased with the result.

This is a brilliant pattern if you have never used it before - wait for it, there are a total of 2, yes 2 pattern pieces - cut 1 front on the fold and cut 2 back pieces.  Repeat for the lining.

There are front and back darts and a nice collection of pleats in the front and one on the shoulder of each back piece.

To get the split between the bodice colour and the skirt colour I located the waist mark on the pattern and added 5/8" to the bodice and the same to the top of the skirt and then simply stitched them together.  I then laid the pattern pieces back onto the fabric and marked up the darts and pleat markers.

Sewing this up is relatively easy.  Once the pleats and darts have been sewn, sew the back to the front at the shoulders.  Repeat for the lining and then right-sides together sew the neck edge and the armscyes and understich as far as possible.

Turn inside out pulling the back piece through the tube of the shoulder strap.  Insert zip and then sew side seams and hem.

Couldn't be easier.

I made the self-fabric belt using some of my roller blind fabric again - I cut  3"x 34" piece of the roller blind fabric, folded it in half and stitched it together.  I then cut 3"x 34" in the grey fabric, folded it in half, stitched, turned right-side out.  Press and then insert the roller blind fabric (to stiffen the belt).  I found the cream buckle in my stash.

I purchased the little grey cardigan from Marks and Spencer especially to wear with this dress, but I also made the same dress in the cream too and the grey cardigan and belt work with that too.

All fabric and notions were purchased from Walthamstow market at £1 per metre so I think I can say the dress cost me less than £5.00.

We have a bank holiday this weekend so more sewing opportunity tomorrow and I have also booked Tuesday as a day's holiday so if possible I'll get some more done.  At the moment I am thinking a jacket in the grey to complete the two-piece suit.

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

A reminder from the past and crashing trees

My daughter sent me this link via facebook and it did make me laugh because I actually had the exact same tin that I used to keep sewing equipment in when the kids were younger - have no idea where she found this.

We have had the most torrential rain the past few days, enough to bring this old damson tree, that was covered in ivy crashing down.  The picture below is after I spent 3 hours sawing off branches and I guess I still have another 3 hours work there today.  Thankfully the rain stopped about an hour ago - it kept me awake most of the night and our local area has been flooded in ways we have never experienced before.

I have been on vacation since Thursday, and have been sewing and have a few things I'll post about later.  Until then over and out..............................

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Butterick 5180 and stuff

Hi guys I hope you have had a good week.

Things are still a little hectic to say the least, but here is my weakly round-up.

Butterick 5180 - business dress.

First things first - I have two special appointments this week and I wanted to look smart for them.  Somehow it seems more difficult to dress business smart in the summer than in the spring, autumn or winter,  when it is cool enough to wear a jacket, so this is what I have come up with.

I used Butterick 5180 and chose the sleeveless version you see in yellow on the pattern cover.  I cut a size 14, however I can slip the dress over my head (needn't of bothered with the zip) and I think I could have got away with the size 12 - (oh well - next time).

This is quite an easy dress to make and had mixed reviews on PR - one person loved it another hated it - I like it (which is in between loving it and hating it I guess). There are no darts (which makes it easy) but also makes it pretty shapeless but just think how many goodies I can eat before bursting out of my dress lol.

I wanted to create a different look to the dress, so purchased a necklace discounted by 50% in the sale, and then cut off the chain part and attached it to the dress between the two points.  There were two sort of end cups which tidied up the raw ends of the chain. It's exactly what I wanted, and I still have lots of bits left over from the necklace to make something out of the spare parts.  In case you are wondering, I will deal with the cleaning issue later - not sure if the chain will rust or not, but it is only sewn in using invisible nylon thread, so easy to snip off, and re-sew back on.

The dress is fully lined.  I didn't add the interfacing as instructed, but cut out the lining in full, and then attached the self fabric interfacing to the top of the dress, essentially using the lining as an interlining.  It worked fine.

This is a nice wool crepe and I finished the raw edges with my serger (and boy did it shred), and then stitched the hem using my hemming foot/stitch.  It worked brilliantly and I even used a white thread that doesn't show through at all because there is a white thread running through the weave of the fabric - quickest hem I have done in a long time.

I found a nice black, oatmeal and cream cardigan to wear with the dress and teamed it with black shoes and handbag.

I am debating whether or not to reduce the fullness in the dress.  I achieved this in part by adding a belt, and I think it makes me look slimmer (what do you think, belt or no belt?).

Still, changes or not - I think it looks respectable enough.

Meeting up with blogging friends

Last week I got an email from Merche who writes the fabulous blog Aventuras de costuras, who informed me that she was in London this week and asked if I had time to meet up.  Of course I had time.

We only had a couple of hours together but Merche together with her mother and daughter and I all enjoyed a traditional pub lunch of fish and chips - yummy.  

We had a lovely time, albeit short, and Merche kindly bought me some pretty fabric to make my D Alana a little outfit, and two of the Spanish Patrones magazine, which have some fabulous patterns in.

Thanks Merche for meeting up and I love my presents - it was a pleasure to meet you all.

House Sale

Well folks, a couple came back to view my house today and have given me an offer, which I have accepted.  We shook hands and I confess to having a large lump in my throat because I have lots of memories here, but it feels good to know I have a buyer. 

They have two houses to sell, like Mike and I, and its also a 2nd marriage for them.  One of the houses has sold and should complete next week, and the lady has put her house up for a very cheap price so that she can sell quickly, so fingers crossed.   Watch this space because things should be moving in the next 3-4 weeks on the house front, even if its just moving into the new house.

Last but not least, I had enough fabric to make a 2nd striped top and even managed to find some cute navy and white canvas shoes to complete the nautical look.

If I get time, I plan on doing some more sewing tomorrow before heading up to London.

Have a wonderful weekend, and as usual I'll catch you all later..............

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Simplicity 1694 - remodelled and McCalls 6571

Thank you all for your kind comments on my candy striped top yesterday, but you know I just wasn't happy with it, so today I got the scissors out and did a little remodelling.

As you can see below I cut away a lot of the armscye exposing more shoulder.  I also took in approximately 2" from each side seam, and last but not least I removed approximate 2" off the bottom of the front pieces choosing to cut it with a curve rather than straight across.  I took the curved front inspiration from Viv's lovely green fleece which I tried on and loved.

I am far happier with the new look, and don't feel so matronly (even if that is the case).  I now have a top that I will happily wear.

Between all our activities this weekend I did manage to make a nice little top from one of the fabrics I purchased when I was with Viv last weekend.

I have been looking for some nice navy and white stripe jersey for quite some time, and found just the ticket when we were looking at all the lovely fabrics.

Yes I know I seem to be having a bit of nautical theme, perhaps it was inspiration from all the navy and white tops I saw ladies wearing yesterday, but there is something lovely about navy and white that I just love.  Ideally I would like to make/buy some crop trousers to wear with this top and a nice pair to white canvas shoes.....note to self, add this to my to-do list.

I am afraid the camera didn't seem to like the stripes and have pushed all my pictures slightly out of focus, but you can still see the top enough (I think).

I used McCalls 6571, which is now a TNT and I just love this top.  The whole thing was made on my serger/overlocker and took around 1.5 hours to make and highly recommend this pattern.

Last but not least, I did add a few additional pockets to my Brompton bike bag, one to hold a water bottle, and a double pocket to hold bits and bob, and my mobile phone. while I wanted a bag that I couldn't overload, the recent hot weather found me needing some water to drink but nowhere to store it in the bag - but I do now.

In two weeks time I have two job interviews.  I wasn't actively looking for a new job, but was contacted by two separate recruitment consultants, and well lets just say that I am not terribly impressed with the changes our new CEO has made to company policy.

I am not as young as I used to be, and hope that they are not put off by my age (even though they don't know how old I am yet), but I figure I have nothing to lose by going along and just seeing what they say.  The big bonus for both these companies they are exactly 1 mile from our London flat,  they are actually next door to one an other, a funny coincidence, which would mean if I was offered either of the jobs,  my journey to work would be approximately 10 minutes v 1.5 hours + on the train...........makes it quite tempting to move.  Still I am getting beyond myself here, first I have to see if I can impress the interviewer, and this leads me to thinking about what I should wear.............Guess what I'll be doing next weekend.

I hope you have had a great weekend, and I'll catch you later................

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Simplicity 1694 - better late than never

Well I can't believe how long its taken me to finish this little blouse, but as I say better late than never here it is.

Pattern description:
Misses' loose-fitting high-low blouse has button front, stand or pointed collar, back yoke and can be made sleeveless or with short or 3/4 length sleeves.

I chose view B but didn't like the way it bellowed out at the sides, so took about half an inch off the side seams.  To be honest I think I could almost get away with the size "S".

The blouse is easy to sew up, and despite the fact its taken me weeks to get this far, you could probably sew it up in an evening.

Changes I made was to use a purchased bias tape to finish off the armholes and to take in the side seams a little.

We are off to the sailing club for a birthday lunch today, and I thought it would be suitable to wear for that today, despite the fact I feel that I look a little like sugary sweet.

Hopefully more later....................

Sunday, 4 August 2013

catching up with sewing buddies

Hi all, hope you are having a good week.  There was no sewing for me this weekend, however I did catch up with my sewing buddy Viv.

My D Mike and I drove down to the coast to see her, and we had a lovely time, chatting about our current sewing projects,  wait until she finishes her Linten Tweed jacket ooooooh lovely.  We looked at Viv's stash of fabric, older projects etc etc etc.

Saturday afternoon we all went for a cycle ride - and this is us when we arrive at the beach, just before sitting down to eat an ice cream.

We had a lovely time - can't wait until next time we all meet up.

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

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

RTW fasting, fellow bloggers, sewing ambitions

I shouldn't sit on the train thinking, because this post is all those thoughts spilled out onto a page.

RTW - Fast

There are a lot of blogs out there that talk about making a conscious effort to have a self imposed ready to wear  fast (RTW), and the first time I ever read about this was when I stumbled upon the fabulous blog Goodbye Valentino who in August 2011 made a vow to give up buying cloths for a year and to make them instead.  Soon after she showcased many who decided to follow the same example.

While sitting on the train to work this week I was thinking about the last item of clothing that I actually bought in a shop, it was a cardigan, several months ago, and a pair of spanx to wear under my wedding dress back in May, however based on the extra tyre they produced as they rolled down my body inside my wedding dress (they were the high waisted ones that come up just under the bust), I wished I hadn't bothered.

Any RTW garments that I have been wearing were purchased several years ago, and I don't even find myself wanting to look in department stores for garments to purchase but I may glance at something to see how it was made/finished.

There was no eureka moment for me, I think once I rekindled my love of sewing, and egged on by fellow bloggers, and compliments from sites such as Pattern Review (PR), and the Stitcher's Guild Sewing Forum , it encouraged me to make more items,  but also instilled a self imposed dislike of paying a lot of money for some things that haven't even been made very well.

Later I started to  add little goals for myself, such as make a Chanel type jacket, complete with chain weight, learn how to tailor, make a pair of jeans, make a bra, sew a bag etc., and each time I learn something new, it makes me want to learn new techniques.


I get so much inspiration from many of the blogs that I read and one such lady who produced such lovely garments on PR was Sigrid who showcases some beautiful work, be it expertly tailored jackets to the most stunning underwear.  We were lucky enough to meet when I was on a business trip and this was the start of a wonderful friendship, and an opportunity to get some inside tips on making my own bras......I've not worn a RTW bra since (thanks Sigrid).

A fantastic get-together of sewing enthusiasts in Broadstairs last year resulted in not only making some new sewing friends, but also help in fitting the my first ever pair of jeans, Jalie 2908.  Viv very kindly adjusted my jean muslin while I stood on a chair wearing it, to get good results on the fit.

While I have sited Sigrid, and Goodbye Valentino in this post, there are so many ladies who produce to-die-for garments such as Bunny,  Art Attack, Handmade by Carolyn, A fool for fabric  and I could go on and on, and at the risk of not including them all,  and potentially offending someone, you can find all of them in my blog list, as there are far too many to mention in this one post but I love reading all about their sewing projects, even if I don't always get time to post a comment.

Sewing ambitions

Yes I still have a few, I would like to make some more bags, perfect my tailoring and generally improve my overall sewing.

The sewing community is a fabulous generous sharing community, where many people spend hours taking step-by-step photographs coupled with detailed instructions on how to do a particular process, or even make something from start to finish. There are free Youtube videos, free pattern downloads, again, I could go on and on.

THANK YOU ALL, you have all helped me rekindle my love for sewing, and given me so much encouragement.

So what about you

Why do you sew, do the blogs you read inspire you, make you want to emulate your favourite blogger?? Do you feel a little intimidated by some of the superbly talented seamstresses out there, I know I do sometimes, but this just makes me believe that if I keep at it, I will get as good as they are.

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog, and I hope to catch you later............................

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Too busy for sewing this weekend

Well we certainly had a house full this weekend with about 30 or so people attending a double birthday BBQ for our two little granddaughters, Alana (3) and Ella (2).  In addition to the BBQ my DS stopped by on route to her new home in the South of France.

The weather held out for us, we had so many babies in the house at the same time, you had to be careful where you walked ha ha.

Oh and can you believe the Estate Agent called to ask if we could let someone view the house - I said yes because 2 more people really wouldn't make any difference.......  My son thought they were friends of mine that he hadn't met before ha ha.

No sewing but lots of lovely fun.

I hope you all had a great weekend too.  Catch you later...............

Sunday, 21 July 2013

McCalls 5879 - Work in progress & my weekend.

Hi Everyone

life is still hectic, packing, cleaning, gardening etc in preparation for enticing a potential buyer to put in an offer on the house.

We had a 40th Anniversary party last night, and stayed overnight at the venue.  It was  also one of our granddaughter's birthday today.  Little Ella was 2 years old so we popped into her little birthday party for a couple of hours.  Here she is below with her party baloons.

Just before we went to the party, we went to check our the local marina near to the house that we buying with a view to moving Mike's little racing boat down there.  It was so lovely, children were fishing for crabs, all the small yachts were out sailing, the foot ferry was going back and forth to the island - it was lovely, making me want to move sooner.  

Still, my post stated McCalls 5879 in the title so I had best chat to you about that.  Foolishly I thought that I could cut this out and sew it up in time for the party, all on Saturday - yes I can hear you all laughing at me lol.  Sadly my "speed queen" title let me down, due to the pleasant arrival of my son, wife and two grandchildren, along with the periodic cry of help from my D Mike to assist  him in assembling a very large swing/slide combo, meant that by 5pm I had only just attached the ruffle of the dress.

I have loved this pattern ever since I saw it.  It has a sort of art deco look about it and I just think it so pretty and feminine.  I have used a sheer chiffon which is a creamy peach colour with slightly raised black spots.  Sadly I didn't have enough fabric to cut out the large sash that goes with this, so I decided to do a rolled hem in a black thread with my Babylock serger/overlocker to compliment the black spot, and will probably make a black sash to go with this, or even wear it with a black belt.

I am using the same nude coloured lining that I used for the wedding/bridesmaid dresses, synthetic, not entirely sure of the fabric.  I didn't follow the instructions to line the ruffle, leaving it sheer, along with the ruffles that go on the hem.  I will edge those in black too.

This is still work in progress.  I am pretty sure that some of the instructions are missing, or I am just too tired to work it out, but think they have missed a chunk of info out.   I'll re-read again tomorrow.  So far I love the look of the dress, and will now probably wear this to a wedding that we have been invited to in September.

That's my lot for tonight - its late, and the sun and sea air have made me really tired.

I hope you are all sewing up a storm.  Catch you later........

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Normal service will resume as soon as possible

Thank you for all your comments on my last post, and the various house selling tips - I have the book now Bunny, and Carole I am following the advice.

Since Sunday I have painted an external fence and gates, taken down all my personal photographs, removed some bricks that where stacked in front of the house, moved some very heavy concrete pots and planted them out with fresh plants, along with my wall tubs, sprayed the weeds in my driveway and given my kitchen cupboards a quick coat of paint.

Next list of jobs:

  • Power-wash my decking
  • Paint my kitchen table and chairs
  • touch up some marks on the radiator in the bathroom
  • clean the windows inside and out
  • clean all the windowsills inside and out.
  • lastly tackle my sewing room.
We have a party on saturday evening, so I would like to make a quick summer dress to wear to that (time permitting).

I have my little sleeveless blouse on my dress-form half made, but I think other than finishing that off, and my party dress, I need to just concentrate on packing up my house, because its important to get the house ready for selling and be ready to go at short notice if necessary.

I have already had one viewing, and an offer, but despite two different estate agents giving me the same figure that I should sell at, they tried to knock me by £40k, far too much.  This was an ex girlfriend of my middle son, who knew we were buying the other house, so I think she was taking advantage.  I said I would test the market first.  I have another lady who wants to view, possibly today.

That said, I apologise in advance to those of you who only tune in for sewing projects, and promise that normal service will resume as soon as possible.

I promise to post up any sewing projects that I do as soon as possible, and will try my best to check out all the blogs I follow too, when I have five minutes to spare.

Thanks for all your support, you guys are the best......

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Moving on and time for change

Life is crazy at the moment, and things are moving at a pace that I never imagined.

It's only just under 2 months since we got married and totally unexpectedly we have found the house of our dreams, well to be precise, Mike's eldest son found it and sent it to us.  Thankfully, this one didn't have the helicopter pad, underground swimming pool and its own motor racing circuit ha.  This one overlooks the river, which is exactly what we have been dreaming about (I think Bunny gave us river envy) and  we have put in an offer on it which the vendor has been accepted. Yesterday I was cleaning my house ready for it to have photographs and measurements taken, and to go on the market on Monday morning.

We have already had our first viewing, from a young lady and her partner who I have known for many years as she dated my middle son and went to school with my daughter.  They viewed the cottage last night, and there were lots of "oh I really like it", "lots of potential" etc etc.  Its early day, and who knows but it was a good start.

I partially inherited this cottage when my father died.  I am one of 4 girls, and was already living here after my divorce.  My sisters all had their own properties, so were quite happy for me to buy out their share of the cottage.

There are lots of memories here for me.  Plants that went in as mementoes of my parents, a tree in the front garden that was grown from a fruit pip my mother brought back from a holiday abroad (you couldn't do that now), and still many little knick-knacks that are reminders of when my parents lived here.  As you can imagine, this is a big move for me, and I confess that as the estate agent was wandering around the cottage taking photographs, I felt my stomach twist up inside at the thought of leaving this all behind.  I am sure that all of you who sew, will understand the sheer panic I had when the estate agent wanted to come round in 2 hours, during the day when I am meant to be working from home, and my sewing room really really did look like a bomb had hit it, not to mention the carpet was full of sewing threat etc.  I pleaded with him to defer until at least 5pm so I had a chance to clean it up, which thankfully he did.....phew.

Now dont' get me wrong, I am so excited about the new house.  It is the larger home that will accomodate, a joint family of 6 children, 5 grandchildren (which I am sure will grow further) plus partners and of course we can't forget Bentley, Lauren's Great Dane.  We have visions of big family gatherings and the delight in seeing the children running around 4 acres of land.

I have already picked out my sewing room, and this one has lots of light, a door that goes out onto a veranda, and wonderful views over the river.....I am sure that I will think I have died and gone to heaven sewing in that environment.

The purchase is subject to a satisfactory survey of course, but if that all goes well, then we could be moving before the end of the summer.

This morning we are heading back up to see the house again, and measure up ----- oh my, the thought of sewing more curtains and blinds oh yuck.............  We are taking Alana with us so we can take her for lunch and buy her a belated birthday present.

So wish me luck.  I guess a lot of my free time will be spent packing, and I imagine that I need to make a start on that, but I found this fantastic picture that was taken to promote the sale of the house, and let me tell you, Mike and I are so excited about sharing a family home with them.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend planned.  Catch you later........................

Thursday, 11 July 2013

My DGD is three today.

I can't believe where the time has gone, but it only seems like yesterday that my DGD Alana was born and she is three years old today.

Alana 2 days old

Alana 3 years old 

Here she is with her Auntie Lauren who is feeding baby Lilly (who is now 2 months old herself) opening one of her birthday presents, and below having lots of fun on the swing in my garden.

Having fun on the swing in Nanna P's garden

I love being a Nanna - Hope you had a lovely day too.  Catch you later......

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

My thoughts are heading towards some nice culottes

I am thinking that I need to make some culottes for riding my bike to work.

As mentioned Sunday we are having a little heatwave here in the UK and normally I wear trousers/pants on my bike but it was so hot yesterday I wore some cropped linen trousers, but I didn't really feel it was appropriate office wear.

Lots of ladies wear skirts on their bike, and some with high heels too but not me.  I recall a trip to Rome a few years back and was amazed at how elegant some ladies looked when riding their bikes as do the wonderful ladies in the picture above, and the ladies here all love wonderful but note are wearing trousers - sadly I opt for the bright visi jacket so the mad drivers of London can see me, and a cycle helmet, so  this attire drops me way down the elegant stakes.

So back to my culottes.  I figure I can make them just below the knee, wide enough that they look like a skirt, but providing the much needed modesty that a lady of a certain age needs on a bike.

Just one quick google search (I am heading off to work) brought up the following selection from an online store called ASOS so I am comfortable that I will not be adding frumpy and old-fashioned to my not very elegant look.

So what do you wear on your bike.  I know my Dutch friends seem to manage it better than I do.  Tell me what you think.

Have a good day.  Catch you later........

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Celebrations, Wimbledon, Panties and Simplicity 1694

After some of the wettest and most miserable months, summer finally arrived this weekend and forecasters say the blazing heat and glorious sunshine could last all month.  This is great news especially as I am planning a birthday BBQ in a couple of weeks time for our two little granddaughters who both have their birthday in July, so it is comforting to know that we will not be crouching indoors waiting for the weather to improve.

In the meantime, my son arranged an early birthday celebration for my beautiful little granddaughter Alana yesterday and thankfully the sun shone for that too.

The weather brought mixed blessings for the men's tennis final at Wimbledon today when Andy Murray broke the 77 year wait by beating Djokovic by winning the 3rd set, in temperatures that reached around 50c today.  It was really hard to concentrate on my sewing today, with a nail-biting match to watch, that of course required me to shout at the TV to ensure that Murray won (smile). However it was so beautiful outside, it almost seemed criminal to be indoors but great to witness something that we in the UK have been waiting to see for such a long time.

Saturday morning I added a pocket and shoulder strap to my Brompton bag, as I needed just a little more space.  I did do some functional sewing today, by running up two pairs of panties.  I always use my XXXXL men's cotton T-shirts for the fabric.   There is plenty of fabric to make several pairs from one of these T-shirts, and the fabric is good quality, and difficult to find by the metre, so I just use these  -they are comfy too.

I also cut out Simplicity 1694 a cute little sleeveless blouse as you can see on the model.  I decided to use this nice little candy striped seersucker fabric, which will be perfect to wear during our summer, and hopefully when I go on my honeymoon in November.

That's all from me this weekend.  I hope you all had a great weekend.  Catch you later........

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Weekend in London and another shirt for Mike.

We decided to spend the weekend in London and this gave me an opportunity to do some things we don't normally do.

Saturday was a nice slow start by shopping for food and then thanks to Boris Bikes we cycled to Waterloo to the Old Vic to see Tennessee William's  wonderful play Sweet Bird of Youth starring Kim Cattrall.  If you get the chance to see this play I can't recommend this enough it was brilliant.

We saw the matinee performance which finished around 5pm and then jumped on another couple of Boris bikes and cycled to Covent Garden, which due to the hot weather was teaming with people.

Today I wanted to finish off Mike's shirt that I started.  I have blogged about these many times before, and I can hear you all yawning as I type, however you never know someone may be reading this for the first time.

I used my TNT pattern kwik sew 3883 as normal, however the only change I made was to use the off-cut roller-blind fabric I had, as the collar and cuff interfacing..... this is a bit of an experiment to see how it holds up with several washes and going through the dryer, so I will let you know.

Sadly the shirt was behaving better thank Mike was lol. Today is the last day of Google Reader, so hopefully you have read all the different instructions on how to read your favourite blogs.  I am using bloglovin and blogger, I hope we don't lose blogger as its my fav.

I hope you have had a brilliant weekend and I'll catch you later..................

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Sew Today Magazine - article on my wedding sewing

Yesterday's post landed on the porch floor and included one of my sewing magazine subscriptions, "Sew Today" which I think is like the UK version of the US Vogue Patterns magazine.  To my utter surprise look what I found inside, my photographs I sent in for their "what are you sewing" article.

We had lunch with some of the guys who are in the photograph below, and they said "wow, we have made the big time in Sew Today magazine who would have thought" - they just don't understand ha ha.

We did have a wonderful day, and I would be telling lies if I said that our wedding was done on a budget, but I can confirm that I made 9 dresses in total, and the total cost was less than £450, and when I compared my dresses to a bridesmaid dress I saw in one of the local department stores, which was limp, factory made, and costing over £100 for a little 3yr old, I was really glad I made the decision to sew my own.

For those of you having this dilemma  I urge you to do it.  It is hard work, but you will have created something unique and have the pleasure of knowing that if you want to, you can sew something wonderful on a budget.

Talking of attitudes to people, and charity etc, Ruth, from the blog Corecouture  has just written a very thought provoking post this week, which I urge you all to read.  I won't repeat her thoughts here (you can read them yourself), but it does make you think.

For the record, I never just throw clothing or anything else away, that could help someone else.  We all accumulate a lot of possessions over the years, myself included, and I always take unwanted items to the charity shop in the hope it will provide an income for the charity concerned, and a cheap item for the person who needs it, and I know that many of you do the same.

I hope you have had a good weekend.

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

Friday, 21 June 2013

Brompton Bike Bags & Paris trip

Hi Everyone,

Not too much to report on sewing wise because I had a business trip to Paris.  I arrived Tuesday evening into Paris Gare du Nord and it was really hot and sunny.

Sadly the weather changed the following day, due to torrential rain, and the city became a hot steamy mess but I did manage to get a couple of pictures of the Louvre as the taxi sat in a queue.  Unfortunately, having travelled to Paris many times, I have yet to visit this museum, but one day soon, when I am not rushing around to meetings I'll find the time to go.

I have managed to test-drive my new Brompton Laptop bag - well of course its not just for my laptop because I popped all my thank-you cards and my tiny handbag/purse into the case and cycled to the post office Monday, and today I used it to hold my handbag when I cycled to the garage to collect Mike's car from its service.

The bag is great and ticks all the boxes in respect of what I want to use it for.  I can get my work laptop, my mini ipad, my glasses case, waterproof trousers, a magazine, work papers and my small handbag in the bag - perfect for my daily commute to work.

I will have to sew another one of these bags for Mike to use, with a couple of small modifications (his needs to be slightly deeper by about 1") so I am not sure if I'll get any other sewing in, but we will see.

Enjoy your Friday evening and hope to catch you again before the working week starts again.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Bespoke Brompton Laptop bag

I have a wonderful Brompton folding bike just like the image you see below and I currently use one of their "C" type bags to carry all my stuff in when I am either commuting between the cottage and the flat in London, or to and from work.

One of the problems with the C bag is that while it is fantastic for carrying quite a bit of stuff, it is a little bulky and heavy and as such, combined with my bike, becomes rather heavy.

So with this in mind, I decided to use the luggage frame that clips on to a bracket on the front of the bike, from my existing bag, and make another bag that I can use just for carrying my laptop and papers to and from work and this is what I came up with. The new bag and existing bag is attached to the frame using a combination of velcro and an inner skin.

Outer fabric nice waxed cotton - true colour more like the bottom right picture.
Cotton batting between lining and outer fabric to protect my laptop
bright acid yellow poly-cotton for lining.

This is the 3rd version of the bag I have made.  The first out of Faux leather (not so neat and tidy), the 2nd from the waxed cotton to hold Mike's messenger bag that he loves and now this one.

Originally I was going to make a sort of "bag carrier" i.e something that would attach to the frame that would take a ready made laptop bag.  But in the end I came up with this.

By making it a little smaller it means I can fit just my laptop, glasses, mini ipad and a few work papers and I am unlikely to stack it out with  too many other things I am unlikely to use.

This may not be the latest fashion item, and its not sexy, but I am thrilled the way this has turned out, and I certainly havent' seen anything else on the market like it but more important, it suits my needs perfectly and I sewed it out of my stash.

We got our official wedding photos through from the photographer this weekend - they are fabulous so I can see us printing off lots of them for the photo frames that were bought for us.

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

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Alana's sewing lesson.

Hi everyone

I have been sewing, but something for our Brompton bikes, a bag carrier.  The bags we have are huge and I wanted something that would hold an ordinary laptop bag when I cycle to the office via the trians.  I used the frame from my existing bag and made my first template Friday night, and finished a 2nd one made out of waxed cotton today.  Pictures later but I am getting there and it works, just need to refine the whole process.

I thought you would like to share how Alana got on with her first sewing lesson at the ripe old age of 2 years 11 months old.  I am starting her off young.

FYI I am wearing my lace top with white cami underneath first blogged about here.

Later we went to have lunch followed by an ice cream in a great Italian restaurant local to us.

Alana enjoying her Apple Juice at lunch today

Father's day in the UK tomorrow so cooking lunch for the family, but hopefully I can squeeze a little sewing in before everyone arrives.

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