I’m back (again)

I’m not even going to try to apologise for the length of time it’s taken to follow my last post. I will, however, let you know why it’s taken so long.

At the end of the last post I alluded to having met another blogger. No photographs of this particular undercover treat – the lady we know best as Mrs Mole. We met and talked for so long I thought we would be put out as the restaurant set around us for that evenings dinner service. She brought me a wonderful piece of Devore velvet in the most adorable aubergine purple and I am still thinking of the perfect project to use this for.

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Beautiful fabric – thanks Mrs Mole!

I have been having problems taking photographs of my sewing as I go. So many bloggers have fabulous pictures on their blogs. Mine always feel very rushed and a bit yucky. This has almost put me off blogging altogether. The Management isn’t ever going to be ‘a photographer’ on request (I’m pretty sure he fouls up just to prevent me asking again), and the tripod works ok but is a real pain to set up – and often the sun goes in/light changes so I have to move the blessed thing all over again. I know how much better things look on an actual body rather than just pressing Bessie into service so I will try harder to photograph as I go in future.

As you know I am no longer sewing for clients. Ahem, one of my favourites didn’t get the memo. He doesn’t come often but when he does it’s usually a very interesting project – and although he is exacting he isn’t usually any trouble. This order was for six silk shirts from a pattern I had already used. Shouldn’t be difficult -or so I thought. Inevitably this was the order that took more time than I expected. I was very pleased with the results but I really wanted to be getting on with other things because….

….I was going to Australia for almost a month! My plan had been to make a very organised travel wardrobe that would make the stay a well dressed dream. All of the blogs I have seen do this made it look very achievable – and well it may have been had I not been making shirts….  . Needless to say the whole co-ordinated look went right out of the window and I ended up with my usual dressmaker rush to fill in gaps and make what I already had more wearable. I have some photographs but I wanted to write at least one post before I choke my computer with all of the photographs I took whilst we were away! I was really lucky to be able to meet another two of my blogging ‘friends from afar’ – the wonderful Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and Lesley from Sewniptuck (more on those meetings in another post). We got back yesterday and I have been playing catch up on my blog reading but not making many comments. That will get back to normal soon.

When I have sorted the photographs and found the pictures of the few things I made to go I will blog each garment. Some were winners, some well…..

So until I get that done I will finish off with a promise to try to be a better blogger now that my amazing holiday (which had been planned for ages so I had no excuses not to be better organised!) is over, and I don’t have client work BECAUSE I’M RETIRED.  Please feel free to remind me of that if I slip. So, nothing in the way of sewing and blogging (except maybe Chri….. I can’t even say the word yet).

Back soon

Kim

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July Round-up

Back again – and still in an uber relaxed frame of mind with what seemed like very little done until I decided to start a post. My sewing mojo is still missing but I’m assuming that it’s a reaction to being obliged to ‘sew to order’ for so long. It will be back. I think.

The Management and I spent a lovely few days early in the month in London. This had been planned for an age so the fact that I was hobbling around in a protective boot wasn’t going to stop us – we just rejigged the plans a bit.

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What noise does rain make?

We started with a  trip to the London Transport Museum. This was largely for himself but I really enjoyed it. This was helped by there being a lovely art exhibition called ‘Sounds of the City’. Loads of gorgeous pictures but I particularly liked this one – I’m still wondering what noise rain would make when you drag something across it. Any ideas?

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What no seagulls!?

The other great find was a picture depicting my closest city – Worcester! I’m a bit put out that the resident inland seagulls aren’t in there – they are definitely one of the most obvious noises almost anywhere in Worcester. They seem to be moving into Bewdley too so it sometimes sounds as though you are at the seaside here too. More pictures in the Flickr album.

 

The following day was spent almost entirely at the V&A. We had members early entry into the Pink Floyd exhibition. This was well worth booking – and almost worth paying membership just to get in on a quiet time. The Management really enjoyed this, and I was surprised quite much I enjoyed too. I can’t claim to be the biggest Floyd fan – I do enjoy the music but it’s rarely something I pick out myself – but I thoroughly  enjoyed the whole ‘art and music’ ethos that they seem to have. I have put more photographs onto my Flickr page here but for a quick squint here are three of my favourites. You have until 1st October if you want to get along to see this.

Obviously as I was at the V&A I wasn’t going to miss the current Balenciaga exhibition. The Management went off to do his own thing while I spent time in here. I had just read the wonderful book Balenciaga, The making of a Master  (HOW MUCH FOR THE BOOK !?!) so I was looking forward to seeing the actual garments. Sadly my pictures weren’t great but I have put a few here, and again a link to more on Flickr.

It was pretty busy, and I was still in my boot, so I was running out of steam by the end of this exhibition. There were some fabulous garments – and videos running to show the method of cutting the patterns or adding the hidden support. All of the downstairs was dedicated to the man himself and was wonderful. Lots of inspirational garments – something which was born out when I got upstairs and found it full of garments inspired by him. Some were too close to being a ‘copy’ in my opinion but many were absolutely gorgeous – and although very different you could see the influence there. My favourite was probably the almost unwearable ‘snake dress’ – how gorgeous is that?( I won’t be offended if you say not at all!). The exhibition is going to be in place until February 2018 so I am hoping to be able to go again and maybe get more out of another visit.

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A brace of Presto Popovers

Any sewing yourself Kim? Well actually yes. But only a little bit. I have been wearing a load of t-shirts (well, not just t-shirts if I’m honest) that are a bit too big and I have been getting a bit fed up about it. After all, I’m a bl**dy dressmaker! Anyhoo, I knew I had this fine jersey in the stash which had been waiting an unreasonable time to be made up and decided it was time. These have both been worn and washed multiple times now. Having a couple of well fitting t-shirts now just makes me aware of how big the others are. Prepare for a major clear out.

That has been the only sewing I have done but I have actually done a fair quantity of knitting and have finished the Purl Soho Circular Yoke Summer Shirt. I used the cashmere yarn set that I bought at Colourmart a while back and I have to say I love it. It was a joy to knit (two strands at once makes it 4 ply) and was so light it seemed to last forever. In fact I had intended to blend the colours up through the yoke but ended up making it all in the mulberry colour. Sadly I have just realised I don’t have a picture so you will have to take my word for the moment about how lovely it is.

As a fabulous finale to the month I went here…….

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Can you see what I see?

…….to meet someone very special.

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NO….not a bear!

No. I didn’t go on a bear hunt – I was searching a very different and altogether more secretive animal. More news in my next post.

 


I plan and God laughs

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Sock therapy

Yes, I did have plans to start sewing again despite a very weak sewing mojo at present. But…. I managed a spectacular fall in the forest whilst out walking (yes, WALKING – not even running) and I now have what turned out to be a sprained ankle with a little fracture on the knobby ankle bone. Painful and very life interrupting.

As a result I have been knitting socks again. The sharp eyed among you will recognise the green yarn from my Shrewsbury shopping trip which I bought so I could squeeze another pair of socks out of the hank of sock yarn in my Stitching Santa parcel. I also decided it would be a good opportunity to write the ‘size between’ instructions on my favourite sock pattern to get the perfect fit.

I was thrilled to get the pair out of what was left of the yarn with only yards to spare – look at what’s left on the photograph! I can’t verify that the fit is exactly what I wanted yet since my left foot is in a surgical boot at the moment. Very fetching 😉

Now that I am a bit more mobile, and it is my left foot after all so I could still use a sewing machine pedal, I will get back to work. I hope your plans are going better than mine out there.

Kim x


What’s been going on?

Hmmm. It’s been a while (again). I wish I could say I had noticed the time going by but I really hadn’t. However, an update since I was last here.

I have done what seems like a vast amount of gardening – not my strong point but I’m trying harder now I have more time. I have been inspired by the amazing talent shown at Serendipity Revisited where an astonishing amount of work has gone into their Tasmanian garden. We had been discussing the possibility of turmeric growing in the UK. Filled with enthusiasm I took an age to track down some tubers(?) in an organic deli and bunged them in a pot, inside a plastic bag to simulate a greenhouse even though they were indoors, and waited. And waited. I planted four and was going to be happy if one sprouted but all four did! Check this out!

I had a lovely extended weekend in Northumberland, Edinburgh, and Cumbria at the end of May. I checked in with my mother, sister, and mother-in-law before carrying on to run a half marathon in Edinburgh. (More info about this in the Old Bat blog). We carried on from there to Carlisle which many of you know is the home of Linton Tweed. It would have been rude to have been so close and not called in – I got off fairly lightly buying only one remnant piece in a lovely kingfisher blue.

I made up the Vogue 1410 again – this time in the yellow cotton stuff that I bought in Birmingham. The weather over the last week has been unexpectedly hot – everyone knows we Brits melt at above 25°C and it has been over 30 some days this week. As a result I have been very happy to have had this available (and both pairs of scrousers). I repeated the Epaulet top in the leftover cotton which worked well (The Management likes it) but I think it could do with a tiny FBA when made up in a woven rather than knit. Sorry, no photo. I’ve been cracking on with The Managements quilt too. I really hadn’t appreciated how long this would take! And I ran short of fabric.

Another trip to Shrewsbury was needed (Hurrah!) to buy the extra quilt fabric so I had the opportunity to make the order I wanted from Colourmart. But I added some. I bought the navy/black that is to make the Botanical Yoke sweater again, but I added a lovely cream cashmere blend double knit (Backbone maybe?) and a 300g pack of mixed cashmere lace weight. All gorgeous and I can’t wait to start. Off to Shrewsbury and I might have bought some more sock yarn. What can I say?

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Finished! And if it wasn’t so bloomin’ hot I would have enjoyed modeling this!

 

Stay cool out there ’til next time!

Kim


Bye bye Larry

Remember Larry, the wonderfully warm and useful sweater knitted way back in September/October 2014 which recently developed a hole right in the front? Well, with great regret I spent an afternoon when I wasn’t really able to do anything else ripping it to it’s component parts – viz, Rowan Wool Aran. This had cost me a fair amount way back and I’m nothing if not thrifty so I wasn’t prepared to just bin this.

I really liked Larry and if it hadn’t been too big for me now I would have repaired that hole and saved myself a bag load of work. However, I have also been going through the pictures ripped out from magazines that I like (we all save these, don’t we?) and found this….VINCE Sweater

…lovely isn’t it?

The picture hasn’t got a date on it but seems to have been late last year, and is by a brand called VINCE (pulled from Porter magazine). I love this so I’m planning to adapt another sweater from Ravelry. I have found the Berocco Bell Rock turtleneck which I think I can adapt to look much like this.

The yarn is now washed and wound into balls. Thankfully the ‘kinks’ all smoothed out after washing. The Management said it looked like I had shaved a poodle before that 🙂 .

It wasn’t until I was looking for the date when I knitted Larry that I realised just how much knitting I do! I knit to relax so this may reduce now that I’m not sewing for clients.

What do you prefer to do – knit, sew, or something else completely?

Look out for progress soon – I am missing my warm brown sweater.

Kim

 


Challenge accepted – and met!

A long time ago (in a land far away…..) I joined a Stash busting Group on Facebook. Yes, I see the joke too. It hadn’t occurred to me that this would be so useful – and it also directed me to a group that were issuing Sewing Challenges. What better way to induce you to sew. I love a challenge!

So, back in January I joined a challenge – the SSW:Deep Stash Challenge. It seemed like a breeze to sew eight (yes, 8) garments from patterns bought before 31st December 2016 before the 30th April deadline. A mere two a month would be a piece of cake. Or so I thought before my gall bladder interfered so much.

I started strongly in January with the Fehr Trade VNA sports top and the self drafted warm ‘leggings/trousers’. The top was blogged here as my Jungle January garment but I never blogged the trousers. They were made from warm lycra from Funkifabrics bought an age ago and have been worn pretty much constantly since. I love these trousers, and the top has been worn for both yoga and running and I can heartily recommend it. I even managed to use Butterick 6388 for the first time.

February was OK too, I made up the Savage Coco Presto top as a dress, and also made the first incarnation of Butterick 6388 as a dress. Loved them both. Both patterns that had sat around a while, the Butterick unused until January and now a strong favourite in my wardrobe. Details here.

Although made in March (I’m pretty sure) the dresses I made next weren’t blogged until mid April. Yet another Butterick 6388 – didn’t I say it had become a firm favourite? – and Vogue 1410 by Lynn Mizono. Both now well established in my wardrobe (I have even cut out another Mizono for summer – ever the optimist!) and I seriously can’t work out what I had against wearing dresses for so long as it makes getting dressed a breeze. No trying to find matching bits. That truly appeals to my lazy side 🙂

Following this I got seriously slow and almost gave up on the challenge. We had the break in Cornwall, followed by a manic week clearing jobs before my surgery, and then a week recovering. And reading old blog posts, sorting through patterns, and making plans.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sharp eyed among you might recognise these flowered ‘what nots’ as the garment The Management called ‘scrousers’. The pattern was from Patrones magazine and was first made in July last year (details here) and worn more than I expected. I decided that they needed to be shorter and have pockets this time.

Since the originals can be worn facing in either direction I didn’t want to lose that when I added pockets. Easy alteration to do – side panels make adding the pocket a very easy alteration. There is a (very) minor nod to current fashion by using a floral cotton from very deep stash for these. Nice to clear that away, and I know that when it is positively tropical here in July/August I’m ready . Stop sniggering – I told you I was an optimist.

I really thought I had given up after making six of the eight garments required to complete the challenge and then I saw Carolyns blog and another of her gorgeous makes from her Japanese pattern book collection. Back on the horse Hood!

Now Carolyn had adapted the last incarnation of the top she made but I knew I had that book (She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada), knew I had taken it off the shelf frequently with the intention of making several of the garments inside, and had made precisely …..  none. Time to change that.

I really liked the Square Top (No. 11) and decided to make that first – although I had cut out the other top at the same time. The ability to wear it in two distinct ways appealed, and though I like it as a straightforward top it really is very square. The clue was in the name so I should have known. I will wear it like this but I think I prefer the way it can be buttoned up, turned around, and worn as a shrug. Magic!

The red striped top is the Top with Epaulettes (No.4 in the book) that I had been admiring on Carolyns blog. Why didn’t I make this earlier!!!!! I freaking LOVE this top. This will be worn to death (despite the fact that I look a bit ‘Where’s Wally’ in it) and will spawn lots of friends in my wardrobe.

So that’s it. I actually got to the end (and well done if you have too) and made all 8 garments needed in the time allowed. Just.

What have I taken away from the challenge? Get those unused blessed patterns out and start sewing woman!

So what about digging out a pattern you have been giving house room to and never made, or an old favourite that could replace one of the worn versions you made and love. You must have liked a pattern enough to stump up cash to buy it so off you go! Which pattern are you going to make? I have an idea which of mine you will be seeing soon.

Kim

 


Birmingham Booty

In my last post I did promise to show you what was in that pile of bags from Birmingham. I honestly had gone with the intention of coming away with a few odds and sods, and a whole load of fruit and veg. Big fat fail there but look at this lot…

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Who knows what – but it was £1 pm

I had barely arrived before I spotted these on the £1 a metre stall inside the market. It is usually fabric of dubious quality – fine for toiles and testers but not what you would really want to wear somewhere ‘nice’. However it is possible to find a pearl. The picture isn’t particularly good – the fabric on the left is a cotton/poly mix with some embroidery detail and ‘fluffy’ stripes. Oh, and it is a lemon yellow colour – not that you would guess from this. I’m planning to make another  Mizono dress from this since I have redrawn the pattern to be used without tucks and such. In principal it should be a quick job. The other stripe could be anything but I’m guessing mainly polyester. The plan is to test my trouser block on this and make something new that fits – everything is too big at the moment as I have lost weight through being ill. (Thankfully that is now dealt with – I have waved my gallbladder goodbye so no more pain should mean my weight stabilising). It will be good to have a tolerably presentable pair that don’t fall down all day. Oh the perils of having negligible hips!

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Skulls and flowers jersey

 

OK, I have no excuses for this but it is hilarious and cheap as hell so I bought it. No plans at present, but it’s jersey so I know it will be useful in my now very relaxed (and a bit silly) wardrobe.

 

 

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Bad photograph colour, gorgeous fabric

 

 

 

I saw Fairy with some of this jersey – I wish you were able to feel it cos’ it’s gorgeous. Very smooth and cool to the touch. The stall holder claimed it was a high end brand that would cost £££ but was selling at £3 a metre which was good to me. Bought  4 metres which should cover whatever I decide. Sorry for copying your purchase Fairy but I promise not to make whatever you do from it – you’re bound to be faster than me 🙂 . Again, the colour didn’t turn out very well but it is a red/grey combination. Check out Fairys blog for a better photograph. (In checking I see that she has already started hers! Good going Fairy!)

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From the ‘Jersey Jumble Sale’!

One of the stalls that always shocks and excites Rag Market virgins is what I refer to as the Jersey Jumble Sale. This tends to be outside on a Tuesday and is an absolute hoot. You never know what you are going to find – nothing is tidy or measured, and it’s not unusual to find that you are in a tug of war with someone on opposite ends of a piece. Again there is a lot of tat there but if you have any idea what a ‘good’ cloth feels like you can sometimes get some treasure. sometimes you just get carried away and but lots because it’s there. *Ahem*. Clearly that wasn’t what happened here at all. Stop giggling back there!

I have already cut out and started a top from one of my neglected Japanese pattern books – ‘She Wears the Pants’. Not an inspiring title but there are a few things  I really want to make. Actually, I have been returning to these frequently for what seems like years so it’s certainly time for action. The fabric I started with was the lovely grey marl (top left). It is very soft and ‘easy’ on your skin so I suspect that this will be a good summer layering piece. I’m doing well on the top but have been halted until I decide on buttons. I want to try to finish from stash (there had to be something suitable in one of those tins!) but may have to shop.

The orange cotton rib is bog standard t-shirt fabric. Nothing special but ever so useful. I know I already have this in white and grey so there could be a bit of colour blocking coming on.

The grey stars. Oh, the grey stars. How many of you had a t-shirt with stars on in the 70’s. OK, you can include your mum if you aren’t that old. I loved mine and I know that The Management would be as jealous as could be if I make another from this. Sadly its a very wounded piece that definitely wont make two. Ah, sad.

The striped fabric is allegedly River Island, but is just as likely to be Treasure Island. It feels a bit like linen but wont be – but I’m already considering another ‘She wears the pants’ buttoned top from one piece. Oh yeah, I bought two pieces as I really didn’t want to be found a tiny bit short on this. I would lay strong odds on the black fabric in the same picture being exactly the same fabric as some sweatpants that The Management bought recently at M&S. It feels lovely and since I have just about lived in the pull on pants (not blogged! Sorry) I made from my leggings pattern and some warm lycra from Funky Fabrics back in January I have a fair idea what these will turn into.

So clearly I am going to be busy for a little while using this lot – and I know I shouldn’t have bought it really but I spent under £30 on the lot. Yes – all of it. Not bad is it, and it will wait patiently until I’m ready.

There’s every possibility that I will be diverted but I would like to make these up fairly quickly. I’m trying not to get into a situation where I can’t decide which option to use by just cutting the pattern ASAP and stopping the indecision. We’ll see how long that lasts!

Do you use your more recent fabrics first, or work from any system at all? I’d be interested in how you all use your stash.

Anyway, keep sewing and using that stash!

Kim