Archive | June, 2013

What could make this Sunday better? I know, a Giveaway!

30 Jun

Hello Everyone! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Mine has been full of good food and drink, library books and some sewing.

25e5dceae01d11e2a2ad22000a9e17ad_7

A Raspberry beret for the lady, two red stripe for the gent.101d5588e1b611e2ad6922000a1fa410_7

New Look 6886 bodice awaiting skirt attachment.fae64852dd1c11e2a73b22000aa80571_71

The velvet photograph cover of Daniel Vosovic’s lovely book8b66ef2ce0c311e28e2c22000a1fb747_7

Final touches to my Sassy Librarian Blouse.

There is also some good news to share. Last week the lovely people at Simplicity got in touch.

They actually offered to send me a couple of their patterns which I was over the moon at.

I generally find that New Look patterns fit me straight out of the envelope and Simplicity patterns only ever require a few tweaks.
… Vogue, McCalls and Butterick are *ahem* another story.

I picked two favourites out of a short list of many and I literally ripped open my parcel in glee when the patterns arrived!

1880
I’ve mentioned to a few people lately that I’m interested in making a shirtdress. This seems like the natural progression of my desire to conquer blouses. I chose the very popular Project Runway 1880. Ami’s version really made me believe this was the pattern for me so I requested this as my first choice.

1755
For my second choice I went with the Leanne Marshall 1755 party dress. Oh yes I’m making the lace version.

I want this to be my Birthday party dress. I have a lovely maroon lace with maple leaf pattern and I’m eager to try a pattern where the instructions actually help you create a lace overlay, rather than trying to wing it alone.

But wait! The good news doesn’t stop here.

1800

Simplicity also gave me two of their amazing fit patterns to give away — 1800 (sizes 10-18) and 1652 (sizes 6 – 14).

Two dresses with princess seamed bodices and a variety of skirts, sleeves and special features to bring together and create your perfect garment.

I’m actually kind of jealous one of you will get to try the cool cut out back of 1652.

And hang on, there’s a little bit more!

IMG_20130630_202434

I’m also throwing in a lovely Sylko bobbin head button badge!

When I saw these lovely badges I just had to get one and I picked out a second just for you my lovely readers.

One reader will win both amazing fit patterns and the badge.

All you have to do to win this lot is to leave a comment saying what your favourite Simplicity or New Look pattern is.

I also think it’d be worth your while following Simplicity on twitter – @SewSimplicity – to gather inspiration, hear about other giveaways to enter, and laugh with them about some of the crazy pattern envelope imagery the company cooks up.

The competition is open for a week, until Sunday July 7th at Midnight BST.

Good luck!

Toot Toot! I’m blowing my little party horn!

21 Jun

I bloody love the sewing community!! I’ve been nominated for another Liebster award and a Super Sweet Blogger Award.

image

Jo from Sew Little Time is an awesome kickass sewist. Her blog is great fun to read, she’s a good twitter friend and, as I learned at the blogger meet up, an excellent dinner partner.

Check out her Mad Men dress, Anise and all her lovely knitting for starters!

Jo has thrown down the gauntlet with questions for her nominees. There wasn’t any of that last time around so I’m happy to play along.

1. What is your favourite film of all time and why?
image

I don’t see any shame in admitting this. I totally heart First Knight. I wish I could say a cool film but it’d be a fib. I can’t really say why but I love Richard Gere as an American Lancelot and Sean Connery as a Scottish King Arthur! Awesome fun. Maybe it’s the mystery of Camelot. Who knows. Have you seen it? Have I gone up or down in your estimation?

2. What kind of holidays do you like – beach? city break? raving in Ibiza?  Do tell!

I love the sun. It’s not about baking myself that much, more about being totally warmed through, getting vitamin D and feeling really healthy (doesn’t everyone feel more healthy in bright warm sunlight). My favourite place to visit is Melbourne. Let me sit in the sun with a good book at St Kilda and I’d be a very happy lady.

3. I spend a lot of time commuting – if you had a spare hour on the train, what would you do?

I do the same! I have an hour each way to waste on the way to my office. I read blogs, work on Almond Rock posts and play on my social media accounts. I really want to get back into reading books on the train so I need a bigger handbag me thinks!

4. What is the best sewing book you have read?
image
I think my current favourite is the Merchant and Mills sewing book. Its very cleverly written to be gender neutral, charming and inspiring. I learnt some great new tips and really responded to the design and layout used.

5. Knits or wovens?

Wovens all the way baby! It’s one of my New Year ReSewlutions to get better at knits… but hey crikey we’re nearly half way through the year already! I should probably mobilise on that.

6. What is your favourite blog?

Oh no you don’t. I’m not picking a favourite!! I love so many. There are blogs with amazing layouts, great clever features, beautiful clothes, diys and crafts, and most of all hilarious happy people who I enjoy reading about and chatting to.

7. What other crafts do you do and which is your favourite?

image

Honestly I’m afraid I don’t really do much else. I dabble with jewellery making but not enough to say it’s a secondary craft. I read a lot, watch epic movie marathons and wax lyrical about James Bond. I also like to think I’m a pretty decent baker and cake decorator. I’ve learned from the best though so is that really a craft or more of a handed down family secret?

8. What is your karaoke song?

For a big old extrovert I’m not really a fan of karaoke. I do have one ace up my sleeve. Think Nelly….

9. Sweet or savoury?

Sweeeeeeeet. I’d love to live off dessert without consequences… and bread! Give me a banoffee pie and I’ll call you my best friend!

10. What is your favourite accessory?

image

At the minute it’s my red leather satchel. I can’t stop using it! I got on my way home from the epic London meetup so it always reminds me of sewing adventures.

11. If I gave you £50 ($78 US, $82 Aus) to spend on fabric, patterns or craft supplies, what would you make from it?  Links please!
image

Eeeeek I’d want a spending spree! But to be more restrained… I’m currently cooking up a plan for a shirtdress so I’d buy 2 metres of pale pink carline rose tana lawn (£44) and Simplicity 1880 (£8). Then I’m out of budget. Oh.
If I got the pale pink cabbage rose cath kidston print fabric (£25) instead of Liberty I could also squeeze in an order of a belladone from Deer and Doe perhaps?

Phew that was harder than I thought. I wonder if you all feel like you’ve seen into my soul now…

cookie-pops-updated-9

Next up the Super Sweet Blogger Award which was given to me by lovely Lara of Dreaming of Avonlea. Thanks very much Lara. I had the pleasure of her company in Birmingham this weekend. She is fun and talented and dreams of dresses!
I mean after hearing that you’ve GOT TO check out her blog!

She’d like me to answer 5 Super Sweet questions.
And to nominate a baker’s dozen (13) of other deserving bloggers.

Questions!

Q: Cookies or Cake?

A: Cake I think… just edges it out.

Q: Chocolate or Vanilla?

A: CHOCOLATE are you crazy?!

Q:  Favorite sweet treat?

A: Banoffee pie all the way. Or as close as you can get to it!

Q: When do you crave sweets the most?

A: As soon as I go on a diet. But mostly after dinner time.

Q: Sweet nickname?

A: Nothing to report here. It’s very hard to abbreviate a three letter name into something cuter!

I’m very grateful to the sewing community but for these awards I’d like to nominate my favourite food bloggers for a bit of redirection! Maybe you’ll discover someone you like too?

  1. Stasty
  2. Little Red House
  3. Spoon Fork Bacon
  4. Ari’s menu
  5. Family Style Food
  6. Lolly’s Sweet and Savoury Treats
  7. Mandy’s Recipe Box
  8. Just My Delicious
  9. Angel Loves Cooking
  10. Sweet C’s Designs
  11. Domestic Rebel
  12. Bakerette
  13. Delicious Shots
  14. Cocktail Remedy (bonus one for all the cocktail lovers out there)

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

16 Jun

I’m so happy to post about my new favourite dress!

This is Simplicity 2444; the dress that every man and his dog has made. Well maybe not the dog.

almondrock

I used an amazingly buttery soft cotton lawn from Textile Express. I really recommend the company. Great prices, they’re very helpful, they send samples and the delivery is super quick!

image

The aeroplanes are varied in size and the repeat isn’t too obvious meaning no pattern matching to do.

I made a few alterations to the dress.

image

I did a full lining as you can see. I also took a massive wedge out of the bust which helped as both a small bust adjustment and a petite bodice adjustment, two for one.

As this pattern contains 3 inches of bust ease I think anyone with a bust larger than the rest of their measurements probably won’t need a fba. If I’d been a 34 C instead of a 34 A I’d have been fine.

image

I tried a lapped zipper for the first time and after a bit of head scratching I suddenly got it! The result was astounding. So professional looking and neat. I love it!

I wore the dress to work last week but no one was fussed.
“Hello!? I’m wearing a plane print dress! What’s wrong with you people?”

But when I wore it to this weekend’s meetup in Birmingham I got a phenomenal response. I was so grateful for everyone’s lovely comments.

You really made me very happy ladies!

almondrock

The meet up was great fun. I met loads of new sewists, added some new blogs to my reading list and got to chat with lovely familiar faces who were in attendance.

I managed to not spend much (£9 for this metre of Liberty golfer print lawn! Thanks to Barry’s Fabrics giving the meetup group a discount) and I was fortunate with some excellent swaps. More on those later methinks

image

Thanks to Kat, Marie and Claire for another great day. It isn’t easy herding so many sewists about; I don’t envy them.

I hugged everyone goodbye and Claire packed me off to my Megabus with some lovely cookies she’d made.

I arrived home very happy but very tired.

I really do recommend going to meet ups if you’ve never been to one. It’s a great way to make new friends and have a fun day out. Excellent shopping is usually involved too!

Who’s off to the London meet up in early August? I will be if I ever book my train tickets.

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”

9 Jun

I did it! I completed one of my New Year’s Resolutions.

Not to be confused with Sewlutions. These are things I wanted to do outside of sewing.

(Though this one has yielded sewing related benefits.)

IMG_20130607_182450

I signed up with Leeds Library!

I’m talking about the city’s main public library which is handily placed smack bang alongside the art gallery.

Leeds Central Library building was completed in 1884 and is Grade two listed.

The library’s interior is so beautiful and impressive; there are tiled floors and large white pillars lining the staircases made of 380 million year old Devonian coral reef.

Wrap your brain around that for a minute.

image1

Victorian architecture and tilings – The Tiled Hall, stairwell and exterior

I love it in there. It’s so calming and inspirational whether you’re in the library, the tiled hall or the art gallery.

As well as having a pleasing amount of general interest books to loan, it also has a specialist art library, as well as a specialist music and performing arts section and an extensive collection of local and family history.

I made a beeline for was the cinema and tv section and then the FASHION SECTION woooooo.

Signing up? Less than 5 minutes.

I sat for 10 minutes gazing at Elizabeth Taylor: A Life In Pictures 

elizabeth_taylor_a_life_in_pictures_yann_brice_dherbier

Then I picked up a delightfully bemusing book on recreating the vintage style of your favourite film and music stars, and a fab looking analysis on the stylistic reboot of James Bond since Daniel Craig took the role.

Feeling smug I went up to the art library. This contains art history, architecture, photography, fashion, sculpting, printmaking and much more. It was paradise.

I picked out:

  • Print In Fashion — A book on print and design in textile development which I’m hoping will inspire me to make some designs of my own.
  • Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting — in preparation for the pattern drafting classes I’ve booked myself onto.
  • Fashion A-Z: An Illustrated Dictionary — this is a lovely way to brush up on my terminology.
  • The Merchant and Mills Sewing Book — this beautiful book has excellent tips and a few projects.
  • Fashion: The 50 most Influential Fashion Designers in the World — excellent photographs and biographies of the key designers in fashion’s history.

IMG_20130607_151247

Fast forward to me sitting at home in the yummy sunshine flicking through all my books.

Lovely stuff.

I’ll leave you with this lovely quote that I hope encourages everyone to use their library…

“[D]on’t ever apologise to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that’s what they’re there for. Use your library). Don’t apologise to an author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend’s copy. What’s important is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read.” ― Neil Gaiman

Me-Made-May 13 – week 5 round up

5 Jun

image

And its over….

This final week I wore nothing but repeats so I won’t bore you with photos of my outfits.

This was my second year of Mmm13 and I’m a little disappointed with my performance. But hey that’s how you learn right, by examining how to improve in the future.

Quick maths using my photos and unblogged repeats meant I achieved 21 days out of 31… Oh that’s quite nice I suppose but I wanted to do 26 really!

What did I learn about Me-Made-May?

I liked trying to make my photos of a better quality with a variety of locations and different posing.

My will to upload pics to flickr dissolved around the time I was packing for my holidays. Sorry lovely flickr peeps but the android app is horrendous to use.

I liked adding an extra challenge with my polka dot week.

polkaweek

What did I learn about my me-made wardrobe?

I have plenty of me-made tops. I said this in a previous post but I started out sewing thinking I’d make oodles of dresses, but ended up with oodles of tops!

I need more day dresses. Especially since my office has relaxed its dress code. I need dresses that make me happy but don’t look too formal. I know the best way to do this is make cotton sun dresses so I am going to put that into action.

I don’t like any of my me-made skirts as they fit terribly (I didn’t wear them a single day!) and I hope to rectify this soon: I’ve signed up a to a skirt pattern drafting course.

If I can nail the fit of skirts for my body shape I’d like to make a beignet, a classic circle skirt, and possibly a kelly skirt.

I also fell back in love with a dress I very rarely wear. It’s just a touch too short but that’s easily fixable on a second version.

wpid-IMG_20130525_212046.jpg

Will I do MMM next year?

I think I’ll give myself the year off next time. I enjoyed this year as much as last year but I think I’d prefer to sit back and look at everyone’s posts, take inspiration and let myself choose me-made items for my daily wardrobe on a more relaxed basis.

I hope you found MMM13 enjoyable if you were taking part or just soaking up inspiration!

I really enjoyed finding new blogs to follow as well as swooning over wonderful outfits.