A Blogging Award Nomination

Thank you Crafty Sew and Sew in Dorset for nominating my blog for a recognition award (https://craftysewandsewindorset.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/i-won-a-bloggers-recognition-award/#comments)! I was rather amazed as I tend to forget people actually read my blog (other than my mum)!
According to the guidelines accompanying the nomination, is meant to tell to how I started blogging. To be honest, it began as a photography-only blog because I love taking photos, and showing them to people – anonymous people – meant they didn’t sit forever on a memory stick, never to be seen again. When I then started sewing and baking in January 2016 I knew I’d want to talk about a lot so, to prevent myself becoming friendless and disowned by my patient family, I thought I’d best write about it in a place where I’d be welcome! And welcomed I was! I can honestly say the sewing community is one of the friendliest, kindest one I’ve come across. Internet trolls don’t exist here.

Knowing I can blog about a project when I’ve completed it gives me more incentive to finish it as I am Queen of Unfinished Projects otherwise.

In terms of the two pieces of advice I’m supposed to give other bloggers… er… I guess I’d say be honest. We all value honesty and seeing some of the disaster-makes (and I’ve had plenty!) as well as the magic ones makes one more relatable and human! Don’t get hung up on your flaws – just acknowledge what needs to change for next time and move on.

Secondly, check the flow of what you’ve written before you post. Sounds obvious but some blogs are so poorly constructed that they are a chore to read, even if the subject matter is interesting.

I will need to create another post to let you all know who I nominate in turn as I’m on my phone whilst writing this and it makes pingbacks harder to do. So, watch this space…!

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The Seamstress Tag – My Response

Okay, it feels a bit weird to use the term ‘seamstress’ in some kind of reference to myself as I’m only an amateur sewer but this is the title of the mini ‘about me’ quiz Hollie at Hollie Sews devised.

img_6237Who are you?

I’m Felicity, I’ve newly turned 29 and I live in the Midlands with my partner and adorable house bunnies, Millie and Rodney. I only started dressmaking in January 2016 so it’s been a whirlwind year in terms of learning with many highs and lows along the way!

Favourite/Proudest make?

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I’m proudest of the strawberry blouse I made using a New Look 6732 (option E) pattern because I didn’t cut any corners with it, I used French seams throughout and it’s a piece of accurate sewing. Ironically though, I don’t wear it. The item I wear most and am pretty proud of is the Chelsea blouse from Love Sewing magazine.

Disastrous make?

Have you got all day?! Perhaps oddly, I don’t count my unfinished makes such as the Pink Tank dress or the self-drafted maxi skirt as failures as I’ve taken time away from them so as not to screw them up further and thus eventually get them finished the right way. So my most disastrous make was probably the first skirt I did (nicknamed the ‘Nun Skirt’ due to my poor choice of colour combo) or the second Kate dress because it was going so well and then I gouged a big hole in the neckline so it’s never been worn!

Favourite place for fabric shopping?

I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder so I rarely venture into fabric shops except big ones like John Lewis. Shopping in small businesses stresses me out, especially when the staff try to help by asking what you’re after. I always end up buying something I don’t want so I can leave. So I buy most stuff online. I like The Textile Centre, whom I discovered through eBay, as they have a wide range for amazing prices. I just bought 6 metres of navy fabric with grey flowers on for a dress for a friend’s wedding for only £17!

Most used pattern?

I don’t like to make things twice because I get bored of doing the same thing but I have made two Kate dresses, neither of which have ever made it outside the house! I probably will make another one at some point when I have a nice fabric as I really like the style.

Most dreaded sewing task?

Cutting out! It is soooooo tedious! Seriously, if I could buy patterns ready cut to my size then I would. I like the construction part of sewing, not the prep. I have to do it on my living room floor as it’s the largest space I have so I always have something interesting on TV to watch. And I do it in the evening so there’s no promise of being able to sew that day in an attempt to encourage myself not to rush it!

img_6719Favourite sewing task?img_6897

Ooo, I love putting in darts! Not sure why! And I quite enjoy putting sleeves on. There is also something rather wonderful about the thrill of putting a zip in correctly first time round!

Favourite sewing entertainment?

Usually film scores on repeat or musicals, but I did go through a Woman’s Hour (Radio 4) and The Archers phase! Tea is a must and chocolate doesn’t hurt either.

Printed or PDF patterns?

img_7021Never used a PDF pattern as I think it would make me crazy so I can only speak for printed. Burda Style magazine has beautiful designs but the tracing is a nightmare as it’s all crammed on to a couple of sheets of pattern paper so you find yourself feeling dizzy trying to follow the correct lines! Simple Sew ones are nice as they are, as the name suggests, simple.

What sewing machine do you use?

I inherited my fashion designer sister’s old machine, which had lain dormant for many years, so it’s a Husqvarna Viking 425. It’s ace but difficult to find parts for from more mainstream shops.

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Any other hobbies?

Crochet is something my blog readers know I enjoy, and photography. I also enjoy baking, creative writing, horse-riding, reading, studying and volunteering with children and/or animals. I adore theatre and singing. I love eating out, visiting National Trust places and spending any kind of time with my partner, who is my rock.

British Summer Time-Out

Oh my goodness! Somehow over a month has passed since my last post… I knew it had been a while but didn’t think it was that long! On the whole, July has sped by and I honestly don’t know where it’s gone. I’ve not been too well over the last week  (I lost my voice completely for a few days and still sound ‘croaky’) so I haven’t been as creative as normal. I’ve also had a couple of people visiting on weekends over the past month so that has meant I’ve had less time available.

Another thing that’s prevented me from crafting as much as usual is a little something called adult life. You know, work, finances, life decisions… That stuff. :s

Baking-wise, I’ve made a few cakes but I haven’t tried any new recipes. I made a lemon drizzle, chocolate brownie and a banana loaf for a family gathering, which, I’m pleased to say, all went down very well. They were amongst the first cakes to go. 😀 Probably helped that they were still warm from the oven when we arrived at the venue!

I also made a Victoria Sponge with real strawberries for a social club for visually impaired people. A few faces around the table lit up as they tasted the light sponge, fresh cream and raspberry jam!

I made a batch of gingerbread cake the other week for me and Karl (it freezes well so I stuck half in the freezer for another time). I gave a piece to my colleague, which she said ‘transported her back to Jamaica’! 🙂

Oh yes, and I’ve made about a million-zillion batches of Scotch pancakes for weekend mornings…!

Crochet-wise, I’ve been meaning to go to Dunelm for weeks to get more yarn for my purple chunky blanket (blogged about here). Because I work in the community now I’ve regularly been past several of their shops but somehow still not actually made it in! Must rectify this soon before I forget how to crochet a tweed stitch!

I was disappointed to see Hobbycraft is no longer selling Boodles yarn as I enjoyed the pouffe I started to make with this unusual fabric yarn, which is made up of cut-offs from T-shirt manufacturing. It’s basically jersey fabric so it’s quite interesting to work with because of the stretch. I trawled online and found some great alternatives like Zpagetti from Hoooked.co.uk but the shipping charges are hefty. (And yes, it is spelt ‘Hoooked’ – that’s not a typo!)

So I hunted a bit more and found the T-Shirt Yarn Shop (does what it says on the tin), which stocks Tek-Tek, Bobbiny, Hoooked, and Jolly Good, and offers free shipping on orders over £25. Add to that the fact that they are based on Exeter Road in Exmouth, Devon (a stone’s throw from where I grew up) and I felt compelled to support them in their endeavour! I’ve put in an order for two ‘balls’ of chunky navy Tek-Tek and one patterned one which I hope to use to make a pouffe. It’s tricky to know how much I’ll need and, because of the nature of the yarn being recycled rather than produced on demand, I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to get the same colours again so it may be another patterned one is required!

My original pouffe could do with being pulled back and added to because it’s a bit small so I might get a grey or cream yarn to add stripes or something. Hmmmm… decisions, decisions. (Photos below are of the early stages of the project – I actually completed the pouffe but haven’t stuffed it yet.)

 

I also love this blanket that Emily has made and fancy making one myself. 🙂

Sewing-wise, I’m on a self-imposed ban on buying any more fabric or patterns for at least two months. I certainly have a big enough stash to be getting on with so I need to get around to using up some of that!

I’ve still not finished either the maxi skirt or the pink tank dress I’ve been working on for what seems like forever! :s

What I have done is start yet another project…! I’m currently making my first pair of shorts using a pattern from Burda Style July 2016. They are Bermuda-style with big pockets and I’m making them in a navy Cloud Nine fabric I bought on eBay. I’ve made many, many silly mistakes on this project but I’m still pretty chuffed with how it’s looking so far. I hope to be able to share the result with you soon!

The first photo was taken when I was trying to make the waist the right size so it was in ‘skirt-mode’ at that time. The second photo shows the lining I’m using for the pockets and also for the inside as the navy cotton can be a little transparent in places. Pattern matching on this garment is harder than it first appears!

Right… I best get back to the machine and make the most of my day off! 🙂

 

 

Catch Up

Hi all,

I’ve been a bit AWOL the last few weeks as I’ve been busy at work, trying to tie up loose ends before finishing on Friday. I now have a week off before I start my new job so I’ll be squeezing some crafting in amongst all the other things I have to do!

My old colleagues know me well as, for a leaving present, they chipped in for a Hobbycraft gift card. 🙂 There’s a sale on at the moment as well so I’m looking forward to stock piling some bits and pieces! I’d like to try making some candles and I’ll probably get some more Boodles yarn as I enjoyed working with it when I did the pouffe (which still needs finishing!).

My colleague Jen bought me this cute little needle felting kit, which I’ll be having a go at this week:


Apparently it’s very therapeutic as you have to stab the felt and the polystyrene ball! 🙂 Another colleague did a great set of three penguins, which looked adorable.

Love Sewing magazine came in the post yesterday and there’s a pattern for a shirt dress that id like to make. However, I already have goodness knows how many projects in the pipeline so it may be a while!!

Also, how cute are these pom-pom birds?!


I love them! The artist who made them has an Instagram page which shows off even more talent, including this family of swans:


I’m in love!! 😍 Whoever knew pom-poms were more than just beanie hat adornments?!

As well as myself leaving the team at work, a couple of other people are going on maternity leave so I was asked to bake a cake for them. I choose Mary Berry’s Death By Chocolate cake as I’ve made it twice before and it’s always gone down well. It turned out really well and was quickly devoured!

In terms of baking I also made some blueberry muffins, some triple chocolate ones and some naiomino bars. None of them turned out quite right and I didn’t take any photos. I really struggle to make good muffins – they always taste too rubbery – so if anyone has a fail safe recipe they use please let me know!! The naiomino bars were too thin (I’d tried to fill too large a tin) so they didn’t have that richness that they did when I made them as a kid. I will be making some more though so I’ll keep you posted.

Update:

Oops, I tell a lie – I did take some photos of the muffins and even started a blog post about it! Will publish it in a few minutes. 🙂

Inspiring Ideas I’ve Seen This Week

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Love Sewing Magazine: Issue 24 – Thelma blouseIMG_6484

I think I might burst with all the gorgeous projects I’ve seen recently! I’ve been reading lots of blogs from other sewers, of all ages and abilities, which is ace. I especially liked Ana Sofia’s blog (S is for Sewing) about the clothes she makes for her daughter – classic shapes and beautiful colours.

I don’t have children but I do have a number of nieces aged 1-10 years old. I’d love to make the Thelma blouse in this month’s Love Sewing magazine for my youngest niece – I just need to find the right fabric.

I was browsing Minerva Crafts website and came across this pattern (New Look 6020) on sale at under £3. I have a friend’s wedding to go to next year (June 2017) and I’ve vowed I’ll make myself a dress to wear to it. It’s in Wales so although it’ll be summer I’ll probably need a blazer or something so I want a short sleeved or sleeveless dress with a good full skirt for dancing! Pattern D (the turquoise polka dot one) looks like the dress for me, and I especially like the sweetheart neckline. 🙂 I’ve come across some beautiful fabrics online but it’s too early to decide yet.

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Below are the two free patterns with this month’s Love Sewing magazine. The jersey dress is exactly the type of dress I’d buy as it’s a V-neck, a skirt with lot of movement and the waist is accentuated. I’d like to make the dress and the top. The Threadcount wardrobe builder will be a good way to try making a blazer when I’m more experienced. In the meantime, I would probably tackle the skirt and the dress.

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I’ve had insomnia all week (my head is banging right now) so I’ve been toying with various crochet techniques in the wee small hours. Below is one such technique – really simple as it’s just a chain stitch in connected rows to create a spider web. I thought it might make a nice Peter Pan-like collar on a navy short sleeved top; one that has a bit of movement in it.

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Finally, I bought a new craft book from The Book People at work because my aim this year is to make handmade birthday gifts for everyone in my family. Not wanting to limit myself to crochet, sewing and cake making, I fancy having a go at soap and candle making, mini macaroons and some flavoured oils. The sewing and crochet projects are very simple so I don’t think I’ll be doing any of those but I know not the first thing about making soap or candles, etc. so for only £5 I think it’s a pretty good buy!

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Project Aspirations! The MATHILDE and the FRANÇOISE

Pamela at DavyMade writes a super blog and I really enjoyed looking through the projects she’s taken on. Through reading her blog I learned of Tilly and The Buttons, which is the name of a company owned by said Tilly for sewing enthusiasts. Garment sewing enthusiasts mainly. Whilst browsing her site, I came across two patterns that I’d love to make. The first is the FRANÇOISE dress (pictured below) and because this is said to be an easy sew it might be something I can try before too long.

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Image belongs to Tilly and The Buttons

 

And the other pattern I love is the MATHILDE blouse – it’s just stunning! I even love the colours, the buttons down the back, I adore the sleeves – just fabulous! However, it looks fairly tricky with all the pin tucks (think that’s what they are called) so this is one to attempt once I’ve had more practice.