Friday, 4 December 2015

Quick get your craft on!

I am incredibly honoured to let you know that I have been chosen to judge the 12 Jumpers of Christmas competition.  This is a wonderful initiative to try and get people to craft their own christmas jumper, rather than going out to the stores and buying a new one every year.

The Facts:

According to new estimates from Love Your Clothes, UK consumers are likely to spend in excess of £300 million on Christmas jumpers this year. New research from the consumer campaign has revealed that over ten million people are likely to buy a Christmas jumper and 40% of Christmas jumper wearers plan on wearing them just once or twice this festive season. Love Your Clothes is launching a 12 Jumpers of Christmas competition to inspire people to upcycle a pre-loved jumper as an alternative to buying a new one.

So this Christmas jumper day, why not craft your own, and update a pre-loved jumper? Find something in a charity shop, or the back of the drawers and get crazy with the tinsel! This weekend is your last chance, as the deadline closes on Monday, but the weather is supposed to be shocking so get the christmas tunes on, grab a mulled wine and get crafting! 

The Rules:

To enter, people just need to either decorate a jumper or cardigan they already have, or a pre-loved one (e.g. from a charity shop), so it can be worn instead of purchasing a new Christmas jumper. It can be for adults or children and should feature a creative Christmas theme. It also needs to be washable and designed so the decorations can be easily removed after it has been worn so it can continue to be used after Christmas.  The designs will be judged by the Love Your Clothes team based on creativity, what inspired the design, how the design was made and what materials were used (extra points are available for incorporating re-used materials).

Competition entrants should submit a good quality colour photograph (at least 72 dpi resolution) of their jumper plus a description of what inspired the design, how the design was made and what materials were used by e-mail to: with the subject ‘12 Jumpers of Christmas Competition’ in the e-mail title by 10 am on Monday 7th December.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Spotty Coco

Yo yo yo

How's it hanging guys? Sorry... this is my attempt to use the cool lingo... but this isn't the 90s and I'm not on the set of Clueless so sad as it may be time to shut it down.

So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah! I made a thing! Those of you with unfathomably long memories may rememebr I mentioned Mr T has given me the odd afternoon off to get a bit of sewing done. This was the first thing I made on one of these afternoons!

I wanted something satisfying to make, that was simple and pretty speedy for a bit of a quick fix. So I used my previously adapted Coco pattern, that has a more a-line shape at the bottom. I used the cuffs on this version though, rather than just turning under the seams.

I hadn't written on the instructions whether I had removed the seam allowance or not, so I sewed it together with the pattern pieces edge to edge, and unfortunately it came out a little big. I know for next time to remove the seam allowances on anywhere that their is a join. I can leave the hems as they are. 

Saying that, I absolutely love this jumper. It is comfy, cosy, and feels classy without being formal. It's nice to have something that makes you feel that way when it is so tempting to just wear pyjamas all the time. I don't really wear pjs in the day, but comfy clothes are definitely high on the agenda. 

E had her injections on Friday and in a fit of bad timing, I was working at the handmade fair. Mr T took her to the doctor for the injections which I believe was pretty harrowing. He brought her to the fair so I could give her a feed, and she seemed happy enough, but by the time my workshop was taking place she must have gotten a fever, and she was just inconsolable. I had to run out of the workshop and give her a five minute calming feed which worked, hoorah! 

The rest of the handmade fair was awesome, I got loads of Christmas shopping done, chatted to loads of makers, did a wreath-off with Lisa Comfort and Ellie Jarvis, (both draws, because crafters are fair that way) and made mini stockings with Ministry of Craft. 

I've come away from the weekend feeling like I want to knit, sew and embroider all day long, and it just re-iterated to me that crafters are the best, period.

So anyway, here's the back of the jumper... not so great. I think it's because I have added the extra room at the side seams rather than adding them to the centre of the pattern. So it's a bit tight on the old bum cheeks there, which creates that pooling at the back. I don't mind though, it's not like I spend long looking at my own bum. 

So yeah! Love this jumper, and still attempting to fit sewing time around the rest of life. I'm loving my days out teaching and demo-ing though. They provide me with my creative outlet as I await the free time to make things at home.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Birthday Xerea

Hallo, How are we all? I am doing well, tired but well. Little E went through a stage of sleeping for long periods of time recently. They call this sleeping through, it's not exactly a whole nights sleep but it's certainly better than nothing.

However, last night she was restless from about 2.30am so I'm pretty tired! However, I am very much enjoying baby time. We've been going to groups in the local area, I've met lots of lovely mums and am beginning to feel more like myself. I am however both an introvert and extrovert (I always come out exactly in the middle on those personality charts), and though I am getting lots of quiet time, it is not truly relaxing alone time. I'm not sewing or chilling, taking a bath or being calm. I am keeping active, trying to fill Baby E's day with interesting things which is its own kind of exhausting.

That's why when Mr T takes the little one out for an afternoon, it is the most relaxing time I can have. My shoulders relax and I feel like myself for a little while, and I get to sew! I've made a couple of things this way, and will have those to share with you in the future.

For today, I want to show you the last piece of sewing I did before Baby E was born. A birthday dress! At the time I was struggling with understanding what to make for breastfeeding, and had been making bigger and bigger maternity clothes. I was fed up of constantly making the same thing and was itching for a different silhouette. When I saw the new Pauline Alice Xerea pattern it answered my prayers, a completely different silhouette, but it looked like I could fit it over the big ol' bump.

I bought this fabric at the knit and stitch show that was on at the same time as the Sewing Bee, I walked around with Ryan and chatted with lots of enthusiastic people who commiserated with us, and told us all about their sewing lives. It's one of my favourite memories of that time, and now I have a dress that represents that time for me. 

Because I had such a big bump when I made this, the skirt seemed pretty short, so I added the gather panel at the bottom. To make this more of a feature I added lace along the edge. I'm not sure if it has now made it a bit long as I'm no longer bumpy, but I think I need to wear it a couple of times more before I decide. 

When I printed it, it was wrong by about 1cm off, so I tried to adjust it. I shaved 1cm off the pattern on all pattern pieces, but it wasn't the most accurate of adjustments, so I think the yokes at the top are a little too wide for my shoulders and neck. So I'll probably reprint the pattern for future makes just to make sure I get it right. 

Well, Baby E is making those... I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad noises so that's my cue. Hope you're having a lovely weekend guys, happy sewing!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Breatfeeding Dress DIY

Hello everyone! 

I’m here! I’ve made it back to the blog! Spud has fallen asleep on the sofa, and did not wake up when I moved away from her! It’s a miracle of epic proportions.

Life is very different here, I seem to be feeding almost constantly, did anyone else realise babies feed basically constantly?! I tend to do this lying down, I think I mentioned on instagram recently, this is mostly as I am lazy but also because it seems that Spud feeds better that way. Plus there is always the chance I can creep away from her if she's nodded off and quickly fill the dishwasher, start tea or put a wash on. These are my main life goals at the moment and I’m pretty happy with that. Mr T gave me some time to myself for the first time on Saturday and it was pretty brilliant, I made my adapted Coco pattern in 2 ½ hours! I surprised even myself.

I have decided to start something called #speedysew. This is my programme of sanity building whereby I'll work on my sewing in five minute dashes. This will necessarily mean leaving things out on the sides, but if I get five minutes in which to do anything, sew a single seam, or cut out one pattern piece I will still keep moving forward with my sewing, and watching my fabric pile whilst feeding won’t be quite so painful.

Today I'm going to show you my solution to the breastfeeding issue... how do I get at my boobs? I'm still figuring this out, it's difficult to find things that cover skin but give access to your boob. But when I went to Mamas and Papas to get a car seat for Spud, I found a super amazing black and white dress which had overlapping layers, and a top that folds down over it. Difficult to explain but take my word for it, it's the best. Inspired by this, I've made the following dress!

I decided to take some jersey tops that I no longer wear, and create some dresses with boob access. This is the first of this batch, the hem fabric is a piece that I bought in Abakhan when I used to work there, that's quite a while to stash some fabric! I never knew what to do with it, but having plain black fabric and piecing this together into a border print has made a beautiful fabric in itself. 

In order to do this yourself, I have taken some step by step photos for you. I (again) used the Washi pattern to identify the length of the top half. Apologies that the black doesn't really show up the cut lines that well.

This is the length that I cut it to, it should fall just under your chest.

Trying on the top, I pinned where the cuts will have to go, so that they fall right over your nipple

I then cut these as in the photo below, and then overlapped the two cut layers.

Stitch with a zig zag stitch two inches up from the bottom, and two inchess of the overlap from the top. 

I hope that makes some sense, here is a flash of bra to give you a better idea. Don't say I never treat ya.

I flipping love this dress, it's so comfortable and I feel really glam in it! I'm not having any excuses to be so glam at the mo... plus I look kind of tired in these photos... and my hair is all sorts of mess. 

But I kind of like that. I look how I feel, a bit tired, and not caring about my hair. I have other things going on! I want to be honest in this blog, I don't want people to think I'm breezing through this motherhood thing. I'm having a good time, but it's a tiring watching four hundred episodes of Stargate with a baby attached to you kind of good time.

In that vein, it has taken me three goes at writing this blog post, but I've done it! Niiiiiice. No promises about when I'll be back, but I hope it's soon.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Start Something Good this Wednesday

Hey everyone! Bit of a break there, but I'm sure you can understand why ha ha. I'm not gonna go into detail about life right now but it's all going well. I managed to get a bit of free time on Sunday, Free time! Woop! and took pictures of some things I've made Yay! So I'm gonna do a catch up pretty soon. 

But today I want to talk about something that I have been lucky enough to be asked to help with. M&S are launching a #startsomethinggood event in Manchester! The large store on Market St will be host to a sewing workshop on 7th October, where you will make personalised care bags for the Macmillan Supportive and Palliative Care Team in Manchester.  The bags will be used for patients undergoing Cancer treatment to carry sensitive medical equipment.

I will be there from 2pm on the day helping out with the stitching, and any embellishments you might want to make to your bag. This is such an important project, I hope you guys can make it along.

To come along you need to book your appointment at: Spark Something Good and select Making for Charity. And don’t worry, if you can only come in the morning, you will have the equally good opportunity to meet Paul, my super lovely fellow semi-finalist from the Bee. I’m sure he will be regaling all in attendance with his amazing makes, and he’s just started his own blog, so go take a look! Sew the Rainbow



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