Bloggiversary Post and Giveaway! 

I find it so hard to believe that it has been a full year since I started my blog! I spent most of that summer reading through others and I sheepishly started my own, thinking it would help me to record my improvements. I didn’t even tell my husband or family because I felt embarrassed.  I have been overwhelmed with the response, I remember being so flattered when I had 5 people following me and amazed that someone in New Zealand (yes you Naomi)  was reading my words. For statistical purposes I’ve now had a massive 7300 views so Thank You all. Wow!

After being convinced to also join Instagram by my sister, I have found a community beyond anything I could have wished for. I am so so grateful to each and every person who comments and engages with me. This community has given me an outlet beyond what I could have realised. I particularly love being involved in the Sewcialists because Gillian loves the community too and has allowed me to get involved in editing and preparing that venture too! This month is tribute month and I really recommend you check it out.

Anyway, not only do I blog my improvements but I get advice, encouragement and support on button decisions (how did I ever decide on buttons before? !) – though I wasn’t even good enough to insert a buttonhole before!

On that note, I cannot believe how much I’ve improved. Take a look at my first blog post.  I’ve learnt so so much; inserting zips, shaping, which fabrics to use, how to use patterns properly, FBA (absolutely crucial to my life now). Seriously though, I’m not going to list them all, it’d just be a long list of things I’ve learnt.

I have to mention my husband here too, I can’t believe I didn’t tell him when I started my blog because he has been nothing but supportive and he takes soooo many pictures for me. He is absolutely amazing and will do anything to help me, even when I have mini break downs! I’m very lucky to have him.  He is getting really good at taking pictures too so the standard of pictures has definitely improved over the years too. (he has some crazy ideas too- see the nectarine below!) 

I wanted to showcase my improvements instead so to do that I’ve returned to my very first dress pattern which my Mum bought me for Christmas 2015 and I tried for the first time in May 2016. The pattern is NewLook 6020, which is now New Look 6393 and it is a princess seam dress with multiple necklines and a clutch bag option.

It is also the subject of the terribly fitted bodice of my first blog. (now in a fabric recycling bin somewhere) My first one was also a nightmare; I used a horrible, strange fabric and the fit was horrendous. It took me forever and I thought I would never have the patience for this but a few magazine patterns and a LOT more patience later, I was hooked, as you know! Be prepared for horribleness.

Anyway, I have since returned to the pattern for my Christmas dress last year but, whilst the fit was better, it frayed and I didn’t even bother to insert a zip.

Fast forward to now and it has returned. I bought this amazing Harry Potter fabric from Frumble and because it is a little costly I bought a red polycotton to go with it and colour block. I wanted to make something which really represented me. I also saw the amazing Elle from Sew Positivity make a Harry Potter dress and I wanted to tribute her for Tribute Month because she is full on amazing, makes fantastic things and isn’t scared to talk about how much sewing has helped her emotionally. I really liked her section in Suzy Magazine Issue 3. 

Anyway, back to my Copycat dress. Here’s the amazing fabric.

I further tested myself by making another in this gorgeous Koi Cotton Poplin from Sewisfaction, who has also sponsored my Bloggiversary giveaway!

Here’s some things I have learnt (which I hope I have showcased in my makes)

1. I need a FBA for nearly everything, these princess seam dresses are perfect for this because you can adjust the front pieces easily… (year a go Blogger Emma would have barely understood this sentence!)

2. I have a dislike of facings, I can use them, as you can see in my Koi dress but bias is my way… Hence the lovely yellow contrast I used on my Harry Potter dress.

3. I can adapt patterns- Mr Harry Potter dress: I’ve shortened the length, ignored the side zip, added inches to the back pieces to create placket for a button up back.

Miss Koi Dress: I added sleeves, added pockets and added little tabs for the little belt tie to go in to.

4. I can insert buttons! See said buttons!

I can also insert zips! See said zip! (I’m still to master invisible zips!)

5. I don’t like baring my arms- BUT I can put sleeves in, the best thing about sewing my own clothes for me. I kept the sleeveless style for the Harry Potter dress so that you could see the intended pattern but I used another Simplicity pattern to insert sleeves for the Koi carp one.
All this means I have produced two dresses for me, which are unique, personal and I am proud to wear. I’ve still got so much to learn but I’ll keep going and keep getting support from this fantastic community

Hubby wanted a cake… I’m being good… Nectarine it is then…

Because I have been going for a year and it has been so much more well received than I ever imagined, I’ve decided to start a YouTube channel to go alongside my blog. I’m a reader by nature but I love watching the vlogs and I’m always last on the technology train so I am once again stepping outside my comfort zone. I will be keeping up with my weekly Friday posts on WordPress to share my makes, inspiration and ins and outs of makes (those with insight will realise that this sometimes dips in these being weekly,  usually the last week of term!) I plan to use YouTube for fabrics, pattern plans and thoughts, which are always whizzing round my head and I hope you’ll check it out. (please, please check it out- don’t leave me and my Mancunian accent on our own!)

Attractive…

Finally, because it is my bloggiversary and I am so so grateful for this sewing community, I’m hosting a giveaway! The giveaway includes the featured pattern, New Look 6020,which is now New Look 6393.

AND… enough fabric to make said dress, which is 2 metres of a gorgeous Navy Poppy Cotton Poplin from the amazing Sewisfaction. Sheona has kindly donated the fabric for the giveaway, even though she’s super busy setting up her new shop.

You should definitely check her out. I’ve also used her fabric for my Riviera Ruffle and my Velo Culottes. The fabrics are great to work with and it’s so important to support small businesses. They’ll definitely be more to see using Sewisfaction fabrics on here!

One person will win the pattern, 2 metres of the cotton poplin and I’ll also throw in a matching thread and zip.

To enter, please follow me and comment below, additionally, see over on instagram or on YouTube where you can follow me and comment over there for an extra entry!

The giveaway entries end Thursday 31st August 2017 at 5pm, British Time and it will be drawn and announced in my post on Friday 1st September 2017. I’m happy to ship internationally so this is open worldwide.

The amazing Sheona is completely supporting this giveaway but Simplicity New Look are not sponsoring it. I am giving away a pattern I bought because I wanted to!

Moneta So Me

Hi! Me again, with another Moneta! I know, I know,  I’m sorry… I think I’m Obsessed or possessed or something… 

Anyway… After making it here and here and hacking it here… I saw this fantastic glasses fabric from Flamingo Fabrics and it is so me I HAD TO HAVE IT! Think, crazed unicorn girl from Despicable Me… 

Anyway, I knew I could only do this justice with a Moneta. It was extra wide so I only bought a metre and managed to get the whole dress out of one little metre. That’s an XL… Pretty good when the pattern calls for 2.5!

Anyway I made very small changes to my usual Moneta style. I shortened the sleeves and made it a very short sleeve. I seriously considered adding a collar but I can’t bring myself to do a jersey collar. So all made as usual… Until the skirt. The pattern isn’t directional and on a whim, I went absolutely crazy (hmm)  and turned the pattern pieces the other way. This meant the wider bottom was at the top. It meant much more to gather and then the skirt falls in a little more. I was thinking it would give it a more tulip shape… What do you think? I think perhaps it isn’t as flattering but I can’t not like it. It’s another secret pyjama dress too! 

Self-Drafted Circle Skirt

Me Made May has done so much for the way I view my wardrobe. It was immediately clear that if I want to wear Me Made everyday then I am in desperate need of separates. With this in mind I set about to make a black circle skirt for work. I have lots of nice blouses and some that I am starting to make so I wanted something high-waisted, which I felt confident that I would be able to wear with most things.

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I bought some black cotton/viscose from my local market. I get a lot of my fabrics from there. They’re a bargain and often 60 inches wide too. I used trusty Pinterest to get the maths for making a circle skirt. It is so easy to do that I used a reversible bed sheet I had bought to make two more at the same time!

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Then you literally attach the waistband (which I chose to make nice and wide so I could wear my waist belts) and insert a zip, whip a seam up the side and it’s done. Oh, wait, no… The Hem. The hem on a circle skirt must be the longest thing in the history of sewing. I thought it would never end! But it did, eventually and hear it is, a perfect work staple for with all my brightly coloured blouses. I will share my bed sheet skirts soon – they’re a lot of fun!

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In other news – I’m off to Sew Up North tomorrow – my super kind husband has treated us to spend the weekend in Leeds and I’m really excited! More on that soon.

The Nina Shirt Dress

The Nina Dress by Cotton and Chalk for Simply Sewing Magazine was sat on my sewing list with no real conviction. I probably would have gotten around to it at some point. Then I saw the #sewtogetherforsummer challenge on instagram created by the lovely SarahMonika and Suzy in which everyone is making a shirt dress.. err.. for Summer, obviously!

I had bought this lovely grey vintage fabric in my holiday haul and even though it’s not very summery, it’s a lovely soft colour and really light. I was determined to make it work, even though I didn’t really have enough fabric… So there was some serious pattern tetris going on and I still didn’t have enough for the collar and the facing… Or the sleeves. My solution was to use a contrast and I’m not sure if this has worked or not.

I cut my size and measurements, even though my previous attempts at Cotton and Chalk patterns have been dangerously heavy on the ease! I thought this would work to my advantage when making a shirt dress as ready to wear dresses like this often don’t fit me.

There’s 6 body pieces, which came together nicely. In lieu of my facings, which I don’t really like anyway, I used a white bias binding as I knew I was using white for my collar and sleeves.

In spirit of the challenge there is a fabulous tutorial on collars on Sarah’s blog which I had a good read through; it has some great tips. I’ve only ever done one collar before on my brother’s shirt but I strangely enjoy the process. I’m really pleased with this way this one turned out and definitely won’t be scared of them in future.

On a whim and in an attempt to tie the contrast sleeve in with the rest of the dress, I created a slim cuff for my sleeves in the grey. The pattern does come with a frill cuff but frills aren’t my thing.

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I put it together to a point, before my mum came for tea and I was forced to tidy my house! Rude! I looked at it at this point and felt it looked a little like a uniform. It was also, predictably, too big but I had the 6 seams to work on for fitting.

And.. oh my goodness, did I have to work on the fitting. It not only had too much ease but it was absolutely massive. I used a technique (if you can call it that) which I’ve seen lots of people do and I pinned it at the front, put it on inside out and stapled it in place where I needed to take it in. After this very long process I had a dress which fit but had a bit more flare at the bottom, which I actually quite like and I think suits my shape.

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I found these amazing white square buttons at my local haberdashery, which tie in with the pattern perfectly. As I added these and started to get the fit, I found I started to like it better.

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I hand hemmed the bottom, which is fast becoming my favourite way of finishing garments, now that I have gotten over my hatred of hand sewing! Then, she was complete.

For some reason I then left her sat in my wardrobe looking at me, until the day I came to wear it to work and I realised I love it, I love the colour and it has suprisingly won me round as a summer dress, I love the shape and I love the square buttons the most!!

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It’s been a great challenge to be part of and I’ve since tackled two more collars, which you will soon see on my next makes, I’m sure.

Me Made May Week 4

Day twenty-two: I revisited the Self-/drafted Skirt I made using vintage Fabric from The Village Tea Rooms and Emporium in Northumberland. And… I’m going back there next week! Yay! I’ve worn this before, I find it really bright and cheerful! It’s great because I can pick out colours and wear it with lots of different tops. This time, it was worn with RTW red pussybow blouse. Me Made May has definitely highlighted my need for more tops so I’m actually cutting out the Simple Sew Pussy bow Blouse at the minute.

Day twenty-three: I was sick. 😦 I literally never get sick. I hate being sick. I dragged myself up for work but there was no outfit consideration or photos going on this day!

Day twenty-four: Another sick Day, as discussed on Week One  I don’t even have any PJ or casual pants to feel unwell in so no sharing at all I’m afraid. However, I was able to share this picture on Instagram…

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My husband drove past Abakhan in Mostyn whilst he was out for work and picked up some goodies for me; 3 metres of a beautiful red fabric with a white bird pattern on it. 4 whole metres of this red floral fabric (both on the left) and some £1 bundles (on the right) which have got me thinking. So I felt lots better, obviously! He’s so lovely and obviously knows the way top my heart!

Day Twenty-five: I wore my classic black, customised dress today. A comfy throw on for getting over my sick bug! I refashioned an old skirt to applique these circles on.

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Day Twenty-Six: A beautiful bright day for the last day of term meant that I wanted to feel bright so I wore my New Look Frankendress with bare legs (rarely seen in these parts) and nude flats. Excuse the selfies… I’ve not had much time for photo taking this week!

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As I’ve been so busy/sick this week I haven’t had much time in my sewing room. but I am happy to share some crochet progress. I’m making the Virus Shawl using this fabulous tutorial on Youtube. I’m not so keen on the name but loving the style. I’m making it in this brilliantly coloured yarn called Cygnet Boho Spirit from amazon. It’s so bright. I’m loving crochet, I can see why so many people are addicted to it, it’s so relaxing.

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That’s my work week over with. I’ll include the rest of the weekend in my final Me Made May blog post as we go to Northumberland tomorrow so they’ll be lots of photo taking/ posing opportunities!

 

 

Yellow Needlecord ‘I could make that’ 

Today’s make is one of those makes that I was so proud of that I just wanted to look at it all the time. I don’t really follow designers but I was reading a fashion magazine and saw this Skirt By M.I.H. Jeans. It was a mere £425 but when I looked it up I found it was an even better bargain with 60% off at £170!

Since I have been making improvements to my sewing,  I often find myself thinking ‘I could just make that’ so I thought this time I actually would. I was especially motivated as I had promised Linda of Nice Dress Thanks I Made It an entry to her Designin’ December competition… Well, since December! So I grabbed my supplies and made a start.

The pattern is Simplicity Newlook 6346 which has 2 separate lengths and the options to make the skirt with or without buttons,  I knew it would have the potential to look really modern. I’ve seen a few skirt patterns similar to this but I like simplicity patterns.
The Crafty Pin-Up,  did a great version of it too on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network,  which I checked out before I started and was really inspired by.

The really cute Cloud Fabric is part of the Greatest Adventure collection by Natalie Lymer for Riley Blake Designs.  I wanted to use it as a lining for the pockets. Isn’t it so cute?!
I made the pockets by measuring the front panels of the skirt and drawing rectangles at sizes which would work, both in the yellow needlecord and the cloud fabric. I sewed them right sides together,  flipped them through a gap and top-stitched. I think it is a really cute detail but my one criticism is that you can see the lining at the edges slightly which takes away from the designer look,  though I’m not sure if I’m being overly picky.

The skirt came together really easily, the facings for the plackets are made using the fabric itself. I changed the waistband slightly to add the flaps for the pockets (I don’t know if there is an official term for it) I added these as I attached the waistband so it would look neat. I was rather impressed with my own forward thinking here!
I then left my buttonless, hemless skirt to hang. I see this in a lot of directions and I have to admit, I usually ignore this step but I’m so glad I did it. The skirt hemmed really easy; I’ve struggled on the curve of skirts before. I added my buttonholes,  which were pretty big in order to fit my big chunky silver buttons and I was done. I am so happy with it,  I think it is really modern and just like the original.

I wore it on my holidays up in Northumberland with a navy body and wrap cardi,  where we were so busy being blown away that we struggled to get a good picture but we got some in the end!

Being blown away!

I don’t usually do prices but in spirit of the Designer challenge:
Yellow Needlecord: 2 and a half metres at £13.50 from The Cheap Shop Tiptree. Though I think 2 metres would have done it.

Silver Buttons: 5 for £1.45 from Ebay.

Riley Blake Fabric: £3.50 for a fat quarter from Hollie’s Haberdashery

Pattern: Simplicity 6346 £5.95 from Simplicity Newlook

So the whole Skirt cost a mere £24.50! Plus I will definitely use this pattern again! Possibly on a denim. Winner!

I’m trying to join in some more challenges like this over this year in my bid to improve,  if you’re interested in more regular updates with this please follow me on instagram!

Blogger Recognition Award

Today, I have been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by two people; Green Eye Crafts and  Linda of Nice Dress Thanks I Made It, who I love chatting to and does a great Designer Copying Competition, which I’ll be entering soon!

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I am really pleased to have this because I haven’t been blogging long. When I first starting blogging, I didn’t expect a community which was so expansive and welcoming and I’m really pleased to be part of it; being able to chat and get inspiration has fuelled my passion even more. I don’t know anyone in the human world who sews and this was the reason I started blogging.

My advice for new bloggers is to get involved, everyone loves a comment on the blogs they have taken the time to write. Secondly, be yourself, people are much more likely to like you!

Some of my favourite blogs are: (sorry there isn’t 15, I am not that established yet!)

Jenny of Crafty Sew and Sew in Dorset

Megan of Pigeon Wishes

Sewing a la Carte

Rosemary of Thimble and Threads

Jenny of Today, Jenny Stitched

It’s Always Autumn has some fab ideas!

Lara of Dreaming of Avonlea

And I love being part of The Monthly Stitch

If those I’ve named choose to participate, the rules for receiving this award are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.

Please don’t feel obliged, it’s only a bit of fun and I’m sure plenty of people have seen things like this before, I just wanted to join in as I’m so pleased that people have thought of me! My usual Friday post will be up tomorrow!

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