Are you sitting comfortably?

…..then I’ll begin.

For some weeks I have had a very sore knee. I can no longer run (jog) and going to the gym is out of the question. I saw one of the Personal Trainers from my gym when I was on the way into the swimming pool and was basically told to go home until I had a proper diagnosis.

I am very fortunate to have a friend who is a practicing chiropractor who will always fit me into her already ridiculously busy schedule. She was unhappy with the way my pelvis was ‘balanced’ and did what she could –  but I am now seeing a physio via my doctor as I am getting no better.

HOWEVER. My dear friend called by my house to check my working position as I spend a lot of time sewing and was horrified at my sewing posture. She has made several changes (which have proved difficult as bad habits are hard to break) but I still have work to do. The wonderful Claire whom I met at the Pattern Magic stretch course posted this which shows the Threads magazine article about sewing posture and also offers some less expensive solutions to problems shown (I am off to Ikea ASAP!)

Despite all the efforts to sort me out I am still very sore and walking like Methuselah at the moment. I had already booked time away from sewing to go scuba diving in Cornwall – but that is out of the question with this knee! So….. I am enjoying the unbelievably good British sunshine with my knitting and a pile of books and a wonderful view of St Michaels Mount  and look forward to the opportunity to dive when I am better. It is no hardship when the view is as good as this!

St Michaels Mount and Penlee Bay (and the offending injured knee)

St Michaels Mount and Penlee Bay (and the offending injured knee)

It still isn’t certain that my appalling sewing posture is responsible for my knee problem – but I really recommend that you check out your position before you have any possibility of injury. My knitting is coming along well, and the books are great – I could easily get used to this lifestyle!

Sadly I will be returning to real life on Saturday ready to start work again on Monday. I only hope the sunshine lasts!

And one month later….

….life still seems to be a bit silly – but I am back!

I can barely believe it has been one whole month since my last post (Did anyone miss me?) I have been sewing just as madly as ever but did escape for a lovely weekend away diving in the wonderful Farne Islands which are just off the Northumbrian coast. This was a very sociable weekend organised by the North East region of the Sub Aqua Association and was probably best summed up by the fridge contents shown below. We had some lovely dives, and on some dives were joined by seals who seem to treat divers like toys to be played with – lots of fun! The organiser has promised to repeat this next year so I will be there. I also take the opportunity to visit my family  in Northumberland while I am there as I definitely don’t see them enough.

Diver fridge

Milk with your booze anyone?

My workload seems to still be slightly out of control but all of the ‘big occasion’ sewing has been done and sent on its way.I still have quite a lot of day wear and suchlike to be dealt with but I feel I can return to my ’30 minutes for me’ routine which has worked so well in the past.

To get me going I have made another two pairs of PJ trousers for my daughter – she liked the last pair I made which had pockets in and wanted more. I did make some a little while ago and posted them to her – sadly the British postal system ate them up and they haven’t been seen since I posted them. Not good. This pair (of pairs) will be held until I see her next. They are made from soft jersey bought from the Birmingham Rag Market for very little money – I think the 3 metres cost me about £5 in all – but the fabric is nice and soft and very jolly. The buttons came from my stash (using some from a donated button tin from a friend – thanks H!) and the elastic was also a Rag Market bargain – bought as a roll for next to nothing some time ago and still going strong. This was a very easy project which I know will be much appreciated, and which I thoroughly enjoyed doing.

PJ's for DD

PJ’s for DD

I am not sure what I want to make for myself at the moment. I am well behind on the SAM project so that may get attention. The summer has not been fabulous here in the UK and I have made very little for myself this year. I feel slightly wrong to be thinking about clothes to go into Autumn (Fall) yet but as I spent this morning buying fabrics for ‘The Material Lady’ for the autumn/winter it kind of feels like time. Sad.

I will spend my 30 minutes tomorrow stash diving and see if anything screams to be made up. Watch this space.

Summer 6PAC – Item 1

I have had the first item in my Summer 6PAC finished for a few days now – I actually managed to finish my dress from Vogue pattern 1287  on Sunday during the European Cup final (Football/soccer for anyone lucky enough to not know what I am talking about!) but have only just managed to pin the management down to take photographs.

Vogue 1287

Front view

As I said in my last post there were a gazillion markings to be transfered onto the fabric before sewing.

Vogue 1287

Back view

Don’t be tempted to skip this part – they really are essential. Even with all the marks tailor tacked I had to refer to the pattern pieces a couple of times. I think when I make this again (because I really LOVE this one!) I will use different coloured threads to keep me organised. I feel much happier in this more fitted skirt than I am in the other DKNY (Vogue 1027) pattern I made. I like that dress but don’t feel as comfortable wearing it as this one, or the Vena Cava (Vogue 1258) ‘Yowsa’ dress I made late last year. Any ideas why ladies?

This dress was fairly easy to sew, even given the amount of tacks and tucks, and although I made a straight size 16 it fits fine. I would say that it could be considered to come up large so if you are considering it I would probably advise using a smaller size than you would usually use  but do check the ease allowance you want. I have fairly sizable ‘assetts’  but no hips to speak of and I love the fit. This dress disguises all the ‘baggy bits’ around my tum but doesn’t look like a tent. I took a lead from Alison C who had already made this dress and put elastic all round the waist rather than just into the back section. I stitched the sides of the front section to keep that area flat, but having the elastic inside the casing just keeps the front stiffer and looking neat.

The pattern suggests using stretch silk or similar for the dress but I really like it made in this viscose jersey print from stock. I have been looking for an excuse to sew this snake print and I am very happy with this dress. I didn’t make the slip which is included in the pattern – I have other slips I could wear if required but I think this looks just fine without.

I am going away diving next week and packing space is always a bit short on those trips but this is going into the bag (rolled up to save space) as my one ‘smart’  garment.

Still using the 30 minute slots at the end of my working day I have started the first ‘column’ for the 6PAC in black. I know, not a very summery colour but one I wear a lot  and it will also see me into autumn. Despite having made the ‘dress in a linking print’ I confess that I haven’t decided what my second main fabric is going to be!

P.S. Pictures are indoors again as it is raining here. Again (or still depending on how you look at it). Perhaps when Wimbledon is over we will get some sunshine!

SAM 3 – Late again!

 Ok. I admit I am terribly disorganised. However (M’Lud) I have been away from home twice since I last posted. The management and I spent a couple of days in Wales (one fabulous sunshine and the other Welsh) when we visited two National Trust properties – Erdigg and Chirk Castle. I thoroughly enjoyed having a break after the bridesmaid crisis which meant that I filled all the remaining time just finishing client work . Nothing for me. Zilch. Nada. Niet.

Chirk Castle

Chirk Castle

We followed that with another week of just keeping pace before running away to Plymouth to give my Northern Diver suit a good soaking. No apologies for a weekends diving over Easter. Fabulous dives – I am sad to have missed the electric guitar which is apparantly in the wheelhouse of the wreck of the Scylla but I didn’t get there!

This week has been better and I am now back on track with outside work. Today I finally got started on SAM3. Yes – I know we are in April so it should be SAM4. But I am working on 3. I did the pattern alterations to the style I wanted and cut it out in cotton sateen a little while ago but I lost my way after that.

Vogue 8747


New Back Vogue 8747

New Back Vogue 8747

I liked Vogue 8747 but wanted the princess lines on the back to look the same as the front (go into the sleeve instead of the shoulder). I made the pattern with 8747 in mind from my own pattern block. I knew I would need lots of adjustments to a commercial pattern so thought that would be a quicker route. Today I actually made a start with sewing this together. I am determined not to use the overlocker on this project – they are a wonderful tool but it is too easy to just ‘romp’ through a project without too much effort. I have the body put together using ‘sort of’ flat felled seams. I have no photographs yet but hope to be able to finish by sunday and show the stages in my next post.

    P.S. I also have a project that I have been working on for Rhonda Buss which I hope to be able to show you next week – I have to clear it with her first! 

Still no sewing….

…which is a bit frustrating. Most of the new ‘Material Lady’ fabrics have arrived (but sadly not all , so I can’t send anything out yet) and I have been cutting and tagging swatches ready to send out by mail. I am still waiting for one more delivery and then I can finish off and post them. I also need to photograph and get these new babies onto the website, I hope to do that tomorrow. There is a fabulous snakeskin print jersey that I can’t wait to make up – I think this is the perfect fabric to repeat the ‘yowsa’ dress.

I have started to work my way through the Susan Khalje Couture Dress course – so far so good. The videos are clear and the content very understandable. The pattern hasn’t arrived yet but I have decided to make the dress in one of the cotton sateens (503) from stock – I can’t decide which to go with yet as I like them all. I did go through my stash briefly on sunday morning but that just confused me. Too much choice!!!!

I am keen to make a start on this project but I will be guided by circumstances. If the pattern arrives before I get an opportunity to start the next shirt I will go with the dress. Otherwise it is SAM3.

I have to confess that I had a day out last friday and wore my favourite new suit this year…

Voyager Neoprene Drysuit by Northern Diverand I looked just as happy in mine!

I’m back!

After (another) dive trip I am back and raring to sew. I have spent the past day clearing the debris I created on return – it is quite horrible how bad dive gear can smell after being used in seawater for a week without being able to give it  good rinse in fresh water. Glad to say it is now all cleaned, drying and almost ready to be stored away for next time.

I left the management on his own for the week so the house was generally in need of a female touch. He is very good and keeps on top of the basics  – but like most men there is alot he ‘doesn’t see’. It’s just about sorted now so I am looking forward to having the house to myself tomorrow to do something creative.

The first of my new winter fabrics have arrived and I have started preparing them to send out the samples when they are all available. I cant wait to try out some of these! Watch the website ( ) for them – I will be putting them in place as soon as the last fabrics arrive. (It should be this week)