30 Aug 2013


Buttercup Bag
My much loved and overused handbag is now looking beyond its best and will have to go.  Sad face.  But this gave me an excellent opportunity to try out the very wonderful and free Buttercup pattern from made-by-rae. Sneaky happy face  (just don't tell my other handbag)

Spot the Mathilde
 So very easy and for me, the perfect size although for a mere $10 you can get the larger version.  The clear instructions with photos make assembly a breeze.  This bag is big enough for keys, purse, phone and lipstick and what more would I really want to put into it.  There are also buttercups a plenty in the flickr group to get inspiration for your designs

Button from a very old coat
I love the colours and all the fabrics bought from my recent London forage.  If you like me need a bag this is a great choice.  I will be making more Made by Rae and using very little amounts of fabric (2 X fat quarters) Buttercups could also become Christmas gifts   Am I allowed to say Christmas in August - well it is September soon.

Its lined in the grey cotton twill and has a magnetic snap too.  The front is a polyester wool plaid

So are you making plans for Christmas?  Have you made a bag?  Do you keep buttons from coats that have long since been binned from overuse?

28 Aug 2013

Fabric Shopping in the UK (well London really)

Having only achieved three of the 12 makes for the year and with only four months to go I feel that I need to step up a gear of my challenge.  I have found that the real delay in making is not the sewing but the sourcing of fabric and waiting for the postman to deliver it.  With this in mind I decided to hit the streets of London and forage for fabric.  Well I walked miles and went shopping.

I had planned to visit the Goldhawk Road mentioned in many a blogger site from the recent meet up.  I had also thought I would pop into Liberty's and as it was near go to McCullock and Wallis.  So this post is about what I really did.

I got into London at about 11 and went to oxford circus to go to Libertys.  It is a really nice store with lots of stuff, especially loved looking at their new season fabric but at £22 meter not really what i was after although the feel of the tana lawn is sooo nice - not something that can be done over the internet.

From Liberty I went to the famous MacCulloch & Wallis - the fabrics are all downstairs with the haberdashery upstairs.  All the fabric swatches are in the center grouped nicely together, with the bolts around the outside.  Although there was some good stuff , especially some navy peacock cotton which I had seen on the website I thought that I may still find what I need elsewhere.

I was in the area so dropped into Misan and Cloth House both lovely shops. For something unique this would be a perfect choice - the staff were really friendly in both shops.  Misan had a lovely range of fabrics and a whole downstairs section of reduced price pieces.  Cloth has a  much more natural and organic feel a really nice, relaxing place to be and browse.  On this occasion not what I was after.  I also noticed lots of silk in the area.

I had heard great stuff about a shop called Rolls and Rems in Lewisham but both Goldhawk Road and Lewisham seemed so far away so after a quick google found out there was three Rolls and Rems with the nearest being in Holloway.  The tube yesterday was sooo humid so found some buses going in the general direction and off I went

So glad I did.  The store is not vast - apparently Lewisham is much bigger but all the staff were friendly and helpful.   Its so nice listening to the conversations in the shop, what people plan to make and for what occasion and the Great British Sewing Bee were the hot topics.  So reasonably priced and with everything I needed I ended up with two large white bags of fabric, enough for all my foreseeable makes.
I plan to make...
A handbag
A jersey dress
A blazer
A top
2 hoodie tops

I had planned on visiting Raystitch on my way from Holloway to the V & A but the bus took me a different way so this is now on my to do list - Did notice that they are open on Sundays which is brilliant as not many fabric shops do this.
Ended my day with a walk around the V&A loving the fashion but also the patterns in the ironwork - this surprised me as i didn't know that I would love them so much.  With the two bags of fabric I was very glad for the cloakroom to store them as I explored the museum.  Also noted that the V and A sell Colette
patterns.  It looks like the fabrics are all moving to a new place soon so will be going back soon for sure.

14 Aug 2013

The fabulous and wonderful Mathilde Alma

I would not have been able to complete this challenge without using a Tilly pattern.  Back in January I decided that I would like to do some sewing.  I Googled simple sewing projects for beginners and found a link to Tilly's site.  It was so easy to read I think I read the whole thing.  When I had finished I had moved away from just wanting to sew a cushion cover to wanting to sew my own wardrobe and I wanted my own blog. I was completely inspired. It therefore made perfect sense to include her first pattern into my challenge.

I have finally completed this blouse and wanted to share with you.  It was so much fun to make and to be honest this is actually my second version.  I started this just after completing Colette Ginger and it was, for me, a step too far.  That's not to say that this is a difficult pattern, more that for a third ever make, I was not ready for it possibly a little over ambitious.

The problem with the first version
My first version was navy and white polka dot crepe de chine.  This I believe was a major problem because the fabric although beautiful and drapy was also a slippery little creature.  I also cut it out with scissors.  When I think about it now, these both combined  meant that the pieces I cut really had no bearing on the pattern and that was just the start of my problems. The neckline and the pleats were wonderful and challenging and really fun to make.  Tilly's instructions make it very easy to follow as do the wonderful tutorials on her site. My real problem came with the seven button holes.  I had not done button holes before.  i have also lost the manual for my machine. I tried to guess, starting at the bottom as this I thought would be least obvious.  The first one went well but with each successive buttonhole they got worse. The button holes were a disaster. I gave up on the project.  then...

The practically perfect second version

So I started a second version this time using a lovely navy cotton poplin star print.  

  Far easier to work with I wondered why I didn't use cotton more often.  I cut it with my rotary cutter and the pieces looked just like the pattern;  This made assembly sooo easy.The pleats were a joy and I even added  some crochet lace detail between the yoke and the front - an idea stolen borrowed from Lauren Guthrie.
The sleeves were not for me and so the I also borrowed the cap sleeve idea using Sewaholic's Alma as a pattern.  I also love those seven large buttons on the back.

To remember
If you are new to sewing this is a perfect pattern just don't use a slippery fabric - cotton poplin is cheap and perfect for the capped sleeve version and widely available in lots of gorgeous patterns.  Use a rotary cutter although with care they are very sharp.  You get a very accurate cut and accuracy does make sewing much easier. Do follow all the steps from Tilly's site, both the instructions and photos are brilliant.  Try not to lose the manual for your sewing machine.  Practice buttonholes over and over until they are perfect before moving onto the garment.

I will be making another Mathilde although again with cap sleeves.  This is only make three  of my 12 makes so I hope to make another Mathilde in the new year.  The next pattern I will be making April Rhodes Staple dress.  Have you made this?  I chose it for the pockets and the easy styling.