Tuesday, 30 July 2013

RTW fasting, fellow bloggers, sewing ambitions

I shouldn't sit on the train thinking, because this post is all those thoughts spilled out onto a page.

RTW - Fast

There are a lot of blogs out there that talk about making a conscious effort to have a self imposed ready to wear  fast (RTW), and the first time I ever read about this was when I stumbled upon the fabulous blog Goodbye Valentino who in August 2011 made a vow to give up buying cloths for a year and to make them instead.  Soon after she showcased many who decided to follow the same example.

While sitting on the train to work this week I was thinking about the last item of clothing that I actually bought in a shop, it was a cardigan, several months ago, and a pair of spanx to wear under my wedding dress back in May, however based on the extra tyre they produced as they rolled down my body inside my wedding dress (they were the high waisted ones that come up just under the bust), I wished I hadn't bothered.

Any RTW garments that I have been wearing were purchased several years ago, and I don't even find myself wanting to look in department stores for garments to purchase but I may glance at something to see how it was made/finished.

There was no eureka moment for me, I think once I rekindled my love of sewing, and egged on by fellow bloggers, and compliments from sites such as Pattern Review (PR), and the Stitcher's Guild Sewing Forum , it encouraged me to make more items,  but also instilled a self imposed dislike of paying a lot of money for some things that haven't even been made very well.

Later I started to  add little goals for myself, such as make a Chanel type jacket, complete with chain weight, learn how to tailor, make a pair of jeans, make a bra, sew a bag etc., and each time I learn something new, it makes me want to learn new techniques.


I get so much inspiration from many of the blogs that I read and one such lady who produced such lovely garments on PR was Sigrid who showcases some beautiful work, be it expertly tailored jackets to the most stunning underwear.  We were lucky enough to meet when I was on a business trip and this was the start of a wonderful friendship, and an opportunity to get some inside tips on making my own bras......I've not worn a RTW bra since (thanks Sigrid).

A fantastic get-together of sewing enthusiasts in Broadstairs last year resulted in not only making some new sewing friends, but also help in fitting the my first ever pair of jeans, Jalie 2908.  Viv very kindly adjusted my jean muslin while I stood on a chair wearing it, to get good results on the fit.

While I have sited Sigrid, and Goodbye Valentino in this post, there are so many ladies who produce to-die-for garments such as Bunny,  Art Attack, Handmade by Carolyn, A fool for fabric  and I could go on and on, and at the risk of not including them all,  and potentially offending someone, you can find all of them in my blog list, as there are far too many to mention in this one post but I love reading all about their sewing projects, even if I don't always get time to post a comment.

Sewing ambitions

Yes I still have a few, I would like to make some more bags, perfect my tailoring and generally improve my overall sewing.

The sewing community is a fabulous generous sharing community, where many people spend hours taking step-by-step photographs coupled with detailed instructions on how to do a particular process, or even make something from start to finish. There are free Youtube videos, free pattern downloads, again, I could go on and on.

THANK YOU ALL, you have all helped me rekindle my love for sewing, and given me so much encouragement.

So what about you

Why do you sew, do the blogs you read inspire you, make you want to emulate your favourite blogger?? Do you feel a little intimidated by some of the superbly talented seamstresses out there, I know I do sometimes, but this just makes me believe that if I keep at it, I will get as good as they are.

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog, and I hope to catch you later............................

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Too busy for sewing this weekend

Well we certainly had a house full this weekend with about 30 or so people attending a double birthday BBQ for our two little granddaughters, Alana (3) and Ella (2).  In addition to the BBQ my DS stopped by on route to her new home in the South of France.

The weather held out for us, we had so many babies in the house at the same time, you had to be careful where you walked ha ha.

Oh and can you believe the Estate Agent called to ask if we could let someone view the house - I said yes because 2 more people really wouldn't make any difference.......  My son thought they were friends of mine that he hadn't met before ha ha.

No sewing but lots of lovely fun.

I hope you all had a great weekend too.  Catch you later...............

Sunday, 21 July 2013

McCalls 5879 - Work in progress & my weekend.

Hi Everyone

life is still hectic, packing, cleaning, gardening etc in preparation for enticing a potential buyer to put in an offer on the house.

We had a 40th Anniversary party last night, and stayed overnight at the venue.  It was  also one of our granddaughter's birthday today.  Little Ella was 2 years old so we popped into her little birthday party for a couple of hours.  Here she is below with her party baloons.

Just before we went to the party, we went to check our the local marina near to the house that we buying with a view to moving Mike's little racing boat down there.  It was so lovely, children were fishing for crabs, all the small yachts were out sailing, the foot ferry was going back and forth to the island - it was lovely, making me want to move sooner.  

Still, my post stated McCalls 5879 in the title so I had best chat to you about that.  Foolishly I thought that I could cut this out and sew it up in time for the party, all on Saturday - yes I can hear you all laughing at me lol.  Sadly my "speed queen" title let me down, due to the pleasant arrival of my son, wife and two grandchildren, along with the periodic cry of help from my D Mike to assist  him in assembling a very large swing/slide combo, meant that by 5pm I had only just attached the ruffle of the dress.

I have loved this pattern ever since I saw it.  It has a sort of art deco look about it and I just think it so pretty and feminine.  I have used a sheer chiffon which is a creamy peach colour with slightly raised black spots.  Sadly I didn't have enough fabric to cut out the large sash that goes with this, so I decided to do a rolled hem in a black thread with my Babylock serger/overlocker to compliment the black spot, and will probably make a black sash to go with this, or even wear it with a black belt.

I am using the same nude coloured lining that I used for the wedding/bridesmaid dresses, synthetic, not entirely sure of the fabric.  I didn't follow the instructions to line the ruffle, leaving it sheer, along with the ruffles that go on the hem.  I will edge those in black too.

This is still work in progress.  I am pretty sure that some of the instructions are missing, or I am just too tired to work it out, but think they have missed a chunk of info out.   I'll re-read again tomorrow.  So far I love the look of the dress, and will now probably wear this to a wedding that we have been invited to in September.

That's my lot for tonight - its late, and the sun and sea air have made me really tired.

I hope you are all sewing up a storm.  Catch you later........

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Normal service will resume as soon as possible

Thank you for all your comments on my last post, and the various house selling tips - I have the book now Bunny, and Carole I am following the advice.

Since Sunday I have painted an external fence and gates, taken down all my personal photographs, removed some bricks that where stacked in front of the house, moved some very heavy concrete pots and planted them out with fresh plants, along with my wall tubs, sprayed the weeds in my driveway and given my kitchen cupboards a quick coat of paint.

Next list of jobs:

  • Power-wash my decking
  • Paint my kitchen table and chairs
  • touch up some marks on the radiator in the bathroom
  • clean the windows inside and out
  • clean all the windowsills inside and out.
  • lastly tackle my sewing room.
We have a party on saturday evening, so I would like to make a quick summer dress to wear to that (time permitting).

I have my little sleeveless blouse on my dress-form half made, but I think other than finishing that off, and my party dress, I need to just concentrate on packing up my house, because its important to get the house ready for selling and be ready to go at short notice if necessary.

I have already had one viewing, and an offer, but despite two different estate agents giving me the same figure that I should sell at, they tried to knock me by £40k, far too much.  This was an ex girlfriend of my middle son, who knew we were buying the other house, so I think she was taking advantage.  I said I would test the market first.  I have another lady who wants to view, possibly today.

That said, I apologise in advance to those of you who only tune in for sewing projects, and promise that normal service will resume as soon as possible.

I promise to post up any sewing projects that I do as soon as possible, and will try my best to check out all the blogs I follow too, when I have five minutes to spare.

Thanks for all your support, you guys are the best......

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Moving on and time for change

Life is crazy at the moment, and things are moving at a pace that I never imagined.

It's only just under 2 months since we got married and totally unexpectedly we have found the house of our dreams, well to be precise, Mike's eldest son found it and sent it to us.  Thankfully, this one didn't have the helicopter pad, underground swimming pool and its own motor racing circuit ha.  This one overlooks the river, which is exactly what we have been dreaming about (I think Bunny gave us river envy) and  we have put in an offer on it which the vendor has been accepted. Yesterday I was cleaning my house ready for it to have photographs and measurements taken, and to go on the market on Monday morning.

We have already had our first viewing, from a young lady and her partner who I have known for many years as she dated my middle son and went to school with my daughter.  They viewed the cottage last night, and there were lots of "oh I really like it", "lots of potential" etc etc.  Its early day, and who knows but it was a good start.

I partially inherited this cottage when my father died.  I am one of 4 girls, and was already living here after my divorce.  My sisters all had their own properties, so were quite happy for me to buy out their share of the cottage.

There are lots of memories here for me.  Plants that went in as mementoes of my parents, a tree in the front garden that was grown from a fruit pip my mother brought back from a holiday abroad (you couldn't do that now), and still many little knick-knacks that are reminders of when my parents lived here.  As you can imagine, this is a big move for me, and I confess that as the estate agent was wandering around the cottage taking photographs, I felt my stomach twist up inside at the thought of leaving this all behind.  I am sure that all of you who sew, will understand the sheer panic I had when the estate agent wanted to come round in 2 hours, during the day when I am meant to be working from home, and my sewing room really really did look like a bomb had hit it, not to mention the carpet was full of sewing threat etc.  I pleaded with him to defer until at least 5pm so I had a chance to clean it up, which thankfully he did.....phew.

Now dont' get me wrong, I am so excited about the new house.  It is the larger home that will accomodate, a joint family of 6 children, 5 grandchildren (which I am sure will grow further) plus partners and of course we can't forget Bentley, Lauren's Great Dane.  We have visions of big family gatherings and the delight in seeing the children running around 4 acres of land.

I have already picked out my sewing room, and this one has lots of light, a door that goes out onto a veranda, and wonderful views over the river.....I am sure that I will think I have died and gone to heaven sewing in that environment.

The purchase is subject to a satisfactory survey of course, but if that all goes well, then we could be moving before the end of the summer.

This morning we are heading back up to see the house again, and measure up ----- oh my, the thought of sewing more curtains and blinds oh yuck.............  We are taking Alana with us so we can take her for lunch and buy her a belated birthday present.

So wish me luck.  I guess a lot of my free time will be spent packing, and I imagine that I need to make a start on that, but I found this fantastic picture that was taken to promote the sale of the house, and let me tell you, Mike and I are so excited about sharing a family home with them.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend planned.  Catch you later........................

Thursday, 11 July 2013

My DGD is three today.

I can't believe where the time has gone, but it only seems like yesterday that my DGD Alana was born and she is three years old today.

Alana 2 days old

Alana 3 years old 

Here she is with her Auntie Lauren who is feeding baby Lilly (who is now 2 months old herself) opening one of her birthday presents, and below having lots of fun on the swing in my garden.

Having fun on the swing in Nanna P's garden

I love being a Nanna - Hope you had a lovely day too.  Catch you later......

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

My thoughts are heading towards some nice culottes

I am thinking that I need to make some culottes for riding my bike to work.

As mentioned Sunday we are having a little heatwave here in the UK and normally I wear trousers/pants on my bike but it was so hot yesterday I wore some cropped linen trousers, but I didn't really feel it was appropriate office wear.

Lots of ladies wear skirts on their bike, and some with high heels too but not me.  I recall a trip to Rome a few years back and was amazed at how elegant some ladies looked when riding their bikes as do the wonderful ladies in the picture above, and the ladies here all love wonderful but note are wearing trousers - sadly I opt for the bright visi jacket so the mad drivers of London can see me, and a cycle helmet, so  this attire drops me way down the elegant stakes.

So back to my culottes.  I figure I can make them just below the knee, wide enough that they look like a skirt, but providing the much needed modesty that a lady of a certain age needs on a bike.

Just one quick google search (I am heading off to work) brought up the following selection from an online store called ASOS so I am comfortable that I will not be adding frumpy and old-fashioned to my not very elegant look.

So what do you wear on your bike.  I know my Dutch friends seem to manage it better than I do.  Tell me what you think.

Have a good day.  Catch you later........

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Celebrations, Wimbledon, Panties and Simplicity 1694

After some of the wettest and most miserable months, summer finally arrived this weekend and forecasters say the blazing heat and glorious sunshine could last all month.  This is great news especially as I am planning a birthday BBQ in a couple of weeks time for our two little granddaughters who both have their birthday in July, so it is comforting to know that we will not be crouching indoors waiting for the weather to improve.

In the meantime, my son arranged an early birthday celebration for my beautiful little granddaughter Alana yesterday and thankfully the sun shone for that too.

The weather brought mixed blessings for the men's tennis final at Wimbledon today when Andy Murray broke the 77 year wait by beating Djokovic by winning the 3rd set, in temperatures that reached around 50c today.  It was really hard to concentrate on my sewing today, with a nail-biting match to watch, that of course required me to shout at the TV to ensure that Murray won (smile). However it was so beautiful outside, it almost seemed criminal to be indoors but great to witness something that we in the UK have been waiting to see for such a long time.

Saturday morning I added a pocket and shoulder strap to my Brompton bag, as I needed just a little more space.  I did do some functional sewing today, by running up two pairs of panties.  I always use my XXXXL men's cotton T-shirts for the fabric.   There is plenty of fabric to make several pairs from one of these T-shirts, and the fabric is good quality, and difficult to find by the metre, so I just use these  -they are comfy too.

I also cut out Simplicity 1694 a cute little sleeveless blouse as you can see on the model.  I decided to use this nice little candy striped seersucker fabric, which will be perfect to wear during our summer, and hopefully when I go on my honeymoon in November.

That's all from me this weekend.  I hope you all had a great weekend.  Catch you later........