Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Better sewing here I come!

I got this fabulous book delivered this week

I'm a long term sewer/sewist/seamstress whatever but I have wanted to improve my techniques for quite some time however I didn't quite know where to start. I ordered this book hoping that it might show me something.

I follow Gertie's blog already and am always interested and inspired by her posts, her thirst for knowledge in all things sewing and her ongoing improvement!

Soooo when this landed on my doorstep I wondered if it would live up to my expectations. YES IT DID! It's absolutely fantastic, I've never been so engrossed in a sewing book.

It includes chapters on skills, preparation, essential and nice to have tools, essential techniques, stabilising and tailoring (the chapter that really gripped me!), pattern making and fitting. If that's not enough it contains some project along with patterns, now usually this I find unnecessary I buy the patterns I like and rarely do I like what is included with something like this, but these are great, I will definitely be trying several.

Has Gertie paid me? Nope. Did I get a free book? Nope. Do I genuinely love this and recommend it to all who sew, YES!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

I'm back!

Hello, I'm back and I've missed being here so much!

I would like to say I've been to exotic destinations and so busy I haven't been able to post but in reality I've been watching the Olympics and Paralympics. I love it and it's so blumming inspirational but I'm glad today is the last day as I want to get my life back!

How are you all? What have you been up to?

I've been up to some other things but not much. We haven't had a lot of summer in the UK this year, in fact it's been pretty dire but a few weeks ago just before I went back to work after my knee op was a beautiful day and off we went to a local antique centre for a browse and a coffee out in the sunshine. Nice but even nicer I got to wear a blouse I've never worn and LOVE! When I made it originally I messed up and made it too big, then I gained a bunch of weight and haven't been able to wear it, now it fits beautifully - well actually now since that photo it's a little loose but hey that's all good!

I know it looks like a car park but it's not, it's very beautiful, the building the antique centre is in a 17th Century Mill Building, so it's an amazing setting!

During the summer I also scored this fantastic coffee table.

I've been after another 50s coffee table for a long time, we used to have a gorgeous one but it sadly met a sticky end. This one is ideal though, it matches our living room curtains beautifully, it's always worth waiting for that piece you're looking for, I also got it very cheap too at £15!!

Well I think that's enough for now, I'm back and hopefully posting much more again and reading and commenting on your blogs again.

I have my sewing mojo back so more on that and I have lots of decorating to do too!

oh and sadly I'm having to get password put back on my comments, apologies but I've had sooooo much spam comments lately :o(

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Proud and extra proud!

Well I'd like to say I've been busy whilst I've been off after my knee op but it's taken until the end of last week to feel normal again, I was awfully tired most of the week. My knee is really getting better amazingly quick, it was a keyhole op so I know it would be fairly quick but it's been a lot quicker than I thought, it's still swollen so I'm not back to normal and I'm certainly not as flexible as normal but I'm getting there. Back to work Tuesday, shame, just as the weather in the UK is set to get gorgeous!!

Anyway I had an idea what I wanted to sew but actually only got one thing done, however I'm super proud of it.

Do you remember this fabric I bought from a vintage fair? It's a beautiful vintage polish cotton, I couldn't have worked with a nicer fabric!

I've been wanting to make this pattern for a while, it's so summery and versatile as I knew with this fabric it would look like a dress when worn together but I can wear it apart with different blouse or trousers/skirt. Obviously I didn't want to add the ric rac as it's too patterned and I also didn't add the pockets for the same reason, although I'm so happy with the outcome I may buy some solid colour cotton and do another set with ric rac and pockets!

And the final result! I'm really happy with it. It's so summery, just in time for our week of summer in the UK!!

I would definitely make this pattern again although as with any sewing I learnt a few lessons as I went along which I'll share as I always think it's useful for other people who sew. I'm short and really I need to alter all patterns accordingly, this means altering the length of the blouse and the skirt, I didn't do this as I cut the pattern out and I wish I had as this would have been an even better fit than it is if I had! 

What I did do this time that I rarely do is I did everything properly. I have sewn for more years than I care to remember but I'm a sloppy, I sew for me, I have never cared about technique or the finish, but I have decided I want to improve as people are starting to ask me to make for them, however I'm not happy with my finish yet, so I'm improving my finish on all my garments, then perhaps I'll start making for others. 

Anyway things I did for this that I don't normally. 

1. The pattern didn't have facings for the collar and armholes and I thought it needed them so I added them and I'm glad I did
2. I've always struggled with hemming fuller skirt so I found this tutorial 

on Gerties Blog for Better Sewing and followed it, it was great and I'm so happy with the result, so much so I'm determined to make more full skirts.

3. I ironed seams at EVERY stage, not just when I had to, preparation and thoroughness in sewing leads to a better garment all round!

Ok so that's what I'm proud of, what am I extra proud of??

I fit back into one of my favourite vintage dresses, a 1950s gold lurex dress, I am chuffed beyond belief, I am overflowing with joy, now I need to go somewhere to wear it again!! It's a little tight still, it could do with being a little looser but I'm in it dammit and that is HUGE for me :o)

Apologies for the slightly blurred photos of my outfit shots, I have no idea why they did that, working with a timer confuses me, I must have pressed something else too!!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A Milestone achieved and some serious thinking!

Today I reached a weight loss milestone, I've now lost 25lbs, it feels so good I can't tell you! I'm so proud that I've tried so hard and it's working. Sometimes it's not hard at all, sometimes you just want to stuff your face with whatever is in the house, but I've resisted. I've exercised and done it the right way as I still have treats, just not as many and not as often as I used to. I still have a ways to go but I'm getting very close to some of the stuff I haven't fit for a long time and other stuff is falling off me :o)

I haven't been able to sew yet, I've been kinda tired after my op and today I went out properly for the first time since my op so I'm super tired today. I'm hoping to start some sewing tomorrow.

Now onto the serious thinking and this IS serious.

I heard some sad news this week about someone I know with regards to their health, it's a sad situation and I wish her all the best, sending the biggest most positive vibes ever. The same day I saw my friend who's Mum died very suddenly and unexpectedly a month or so ago, she wasn't ill as far as they knew and next thing she was dead. Sorry I said this was serious! As regular readers will know we've been through some life changing stuff too and you would think this would constantly make you think that life is short and stuff has to be done, but you know after a while you forget and you get bogged down with all the stuff that happens to us day to day. But the last couple of days and perhaps having time on my hands, has made me think hang on, life is passing, and I'm not necessarily using my time how I want to. I did get a bit distracted by my business failing last year and sorting out my life financially but I think it's time for a reassessment.

Do you do this often? I think it's sometimes important to stand back and think what do I want? How am I going to get it?

One of the things I want to do is sort ourselves financially so that we can start enjoying some of the things we used to love doing. My first one, a trip to California, we love California, but our finances and the increase in cost of flights and poorer exchange rate means we haven't been for a while, so I'm going to have a good think about how we can get back there! Who wouldn't want to go back here?

We'd love to go travelling more anyway and we used to travel a lot in Europe, so before we can afford a Californian dream holiday again, we're thinking some European Cities, perhaps Barcelona, we went years ago and loved it, so watch this space.

We also are awful, both of us, at appreciating the small things in life and so we're determined to do that more too.

I would also definitely like to work for myself again one day, but I'm ok working for someone else for now, however I want to make sure that is always in my mind as I don't want to let go of that dream.

Very long term plans, we would love to move to a property with more character and perhaps out of the area we are in now. Now this would be ideal but unlikely unless we win the lottery he he! Yes it's in California....

So time on my hands has made me think a bit more.

Do you lose track of your dreams sometimes with day to day living? What are your plans?

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Time on my hands....

You know when you're busy and all you would like is some time on your hands, then when you have surgery and just have to sit with your leg up you think whaaaaaa I want something to do! That's my situation, sadly I don't look quite this glamorous!

I thought I would sew after my knee op - it's only keyhole so wasn't too ambitious - however I find I've been very sleepy and need to spend most of the time with my knee elevated. I am improving and down to one crutch so hopefully soon before I go back to work I'll manage some sewing.

I have had a visit from a friend today and tomorrow another friend is taking me for coffee so that should be nice.

I've managed to walk around the block today, only a small block but I did it so that is good.

Meantime I've been trawling ebay and etsy to look at all the lovely things I can't afford or searching patterns that I would like to make going forward.

If you live in the UK you'll know we haven't had a summer, if you live elsewhere, I'm letting you know the UK hasn't had a summer I've never seen so much rain! So my thoughts are turning to autumn/winter sewing.

I have never made a coat or jacket and I really fancy trying it this year. I love 50s style swing coats and good vintage ones are becoming very rare so why not try my own. I have some but don't want to over wear them for day to day, so I'm going to give it a go.

So far I've found lots of lovely ideas for jackets, including one that I did feature last year but never got round to doing.

I seem to be veering towards 40s style rain macs, mmmm I wonder why ha ha!

I love this pattern and it is for sale, I may buy this. I've never had a rain coat and considering what it's been like here lately I could do with one.

Cute and look at all those lovely colours!

Beautiful and stylish!

Have you noticed they all have hoods? Yes it's been that foul lately!

I'm more likely to try this first, it looks easy and it's a style I like anyway, so I may give it a go.

I also like this style and it seems like a nice practical style for work, it's not very exciting but it is stylish. I'm just worried about lining a coat for the first time, I imagine that to be complicated!

Colour combos? I still would like to make something with this colour combination, it's just stunning! Yellow and leopard, swoon, or green and leopard, who knows eh?

Well I am off work until at least Monday or Tuesday depending on how I feel and whether I can drive, I have some stuff to do but lots of sleeping seems to be happening too!

Hope you all have a good week.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Gingham, Sewing and FABULOUS fabric!

So it's been another few weeks since I posted, sorry!

Anyway I've been busy, still getting used to full time work, doing lots of stuff I wanted to get done before my knee op (which is this coming Friday eek!) and I've been sewing - as well as continuing to exercise and lose weight :o)

As you know I'm losing weight - over 1 1/2 stone right now, a scrape under 22lbs to be exact! - and my clothes are getting bigger so I needed to make a new blouse for work. I have loads of green gingham sitting around in my stash so thought I would use that. It's so nice to be wearing something that fits rather than too big, I'm also 2 vintage jeans sizes down, just got back into these jeans for the first time in years!!

I also made myself something I've been promising myself for a long while, not an essential piece of clothing but a make up coverall! I am one of those people who is forever dropping make up on myself, it drives me crazy. I know some people are great at this kind of thing, me, not so much. So I made up a 50s apron and I've had no make up down the front of my clothes for over a week now YAY!

I've also scored big time on fabric lately, at some great great prices too! All great prints, pretty much all tropical/hawaiian and I can't wait to make them up, but I'm going to wait until I get to a weight I'm happier with so it make be a little while til you see the final product!

The first 3 I bought from the same seller in the US, I think it's repro as it's in such good condition, but it arrived and it's 36 inches wide and feels vintage, I'm really not sure now. Anyway I don't care cos it's AWESOME!!

I got this really cute fabric from a US seller to for next to nothing, it does however smell a little - only of old peoples houses, like moth balls or something - so I'll be washing it before I use it, but very carefully!

This fabric I bought from a UK seller and I have lots of it, enough to make a dress. It is far better in the flesh, for some reason photographs don't do it justice, even in on ebay it didn't look as good as it is but I thought it might be, so again I got it for a song!!

Last weekend I swapped my old office and sewing room round, I put Paul and all his art and painting paraphernalia in my office and I went into his old art room which is now my sewing room. Once I've sorted it fully I'll take photos. When I was moving my stuff I found a stash of UFOs (unfinished objects for all you non-sewing types), this gorgeous blouse was amongst them. I remember starting this several years ago before a holiday but then just didn't have time to finish it, I think it went wrong and I abandoned it. Anyway I have dug it out, it's still too small right now but I will finish it up, it's stunning fabric, and I will fit it soon :o)

And last but not least, please don't be scared he he! I have a bigger bust it's no secret and every time I try to fit something to my tailors dummy it just doesn't hang right as all my measurement is at the front, not round the back. So I decided to get a bra out, fix it to my dummy and stuff it, it's not glamorous, but boy what a difference it's made! Sadly my waist isn't quite that small yet, but that's as big as this dummy goes, but it will be soon, they are however my hip measurements :o) I wanted to show you this as this is a good idea for those with a larger bust who are trying to fit clothes better!

So as you see I've been up to a lot. As I said I'm in for my op on Friday, so you'll probably hear a lot more from me during that week cos I'll be off work.

Hope you're all well, sorry I haven't been able to keep up with my blog reading but I mostly caught up today.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

What to wear....

As I said in my last post a couple of months ago I started working in an office again, I've worked for myself for so long that of course my first thought is what will I wear, I know so shallow ha ha!

Of course my problem has been compounded by my weight loss and continuing change of shape. I don't really want to buy anything as in a few months time it'll be too big, I have made a couple of things, but right now I'm making do. Wearing some things that are too big, some that I'm just getting into again, some have had to go by the wayside as they are just too big, no one wants their trousers to fall down as they're walking through the office ....!!!

I'm prompted to write this post as I sat down today to make a new work blouse out of my stash of fabric, sadly I didn't measure as I went along, I made it a little snug, usually I'd take it apart and start again but as I am losing weight I'll just finish it off in a couple of weeks and it'll fit soon

So I got to thinking if I had limitless amounts of money what would I LIKE to wear to work.

I prefer smart to casual although my work is kind of casual, so not sure these would work but I sure would like them!

I do love a good suit and used to wear them a lot when I was younger, however as I said it's a pretty casual office so I'm veering more towards this look.

Although without the bullet bra!

It's is a poorly ventilated office, it's local government they have no money, so when it's hot it's really hot, so sometimes I've had to resort to cropped trousers & blouses, but I am running out of ideas and as I said I don't want to spend money for no reason.

I have been relying on a few older blouse I have and these two that I made before I started losing weight, although they are getting far too big now.

I really want more variety, but I'm in limbo with losing weight, it's a great limbo but it is limbo.

In the meantime I guess I just need to search my stash for plainer material to run up a few blouses and skirts to keep me going. I already had to take apart the trousers I made just before I started losing weight, they were enormous.

So like I say a nice predicament but a predicament nonetheless!!

Oh and I have good news. I got the date through for my knee operation, Friday 13th July, just as well I'm not superstitious isn't it?!

No doubt you'll hear from me much more that week as I have to take some time off for rest after it.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Farnham Maltings Vintage Fair

Well I have a lot to catch up on because I haven't blogged for so long and one thing I wanted to let you know about is Farnham Maltings Vintage Fair which was on Sunday 6th May, I know over a month ago!

I normally go to the monthly antique and collectors market there and occasionally find a little gem, I'd heard about the Vintage Fair that was on last year and so I thought as it was local it would be rude not to go!

I feared it would be hideously overpriced and full of faux vintage but to my surprise there were some real gems there. I also knew a few of the stall holders so that was nice too. Homes and Antiques did a nice little review here. I'm crediting them as I'm stealing a photo from them later!!

So what did I find?

Well the very lovely Acorn & Will had a stall and I've been promising myself a lovely brooch from them for a while. I couldn't choose and as they were doing 3 for £10 I bought myself this trio of lovelies!

Are they lovely?

The next 2 things are rather predictable for me..... fabric!

I spotted this lovely slightly glazed cotton fabric almost stuffed under a table for the princely sum of £10 with enough to make a dress, so a total bargain and just my colour too.

I can't wait to make this up, but as the weather has turned decidedly wet and windy this last week the urge to make a lovely summer dress has left me for now.

Last but not least I got the most unbelievable amount of fabulous barkcloth at an amazingly bargainous price - I know bargainous isn't a word but I like it :o) There are yards and yard and yards of this stuff in fact there is so much I haven't measured it yet I just snatched it right up as it's our kind of colours and our kind of print.

It's in absolutely pristine order, the colours are bright, just gorgeous. I don't have plans for it yet but I could not pass this up as it was just too good. Interestingly it seems to have a story behind it too. It's in one enormous sewn together panel, I couldn't imagine what it was used for and then saw something sewn in the top of the panel. As far as I can make out it says Redhill Hospital, Merton R*dland 3/63, was this really in a hospital as a cubicle curtain? Could that be? It's just lovely and perfect with no fading. Anyway I thought this was fascinating.

I mentioned I met some people I know there, Tina and Gemma were there, see picture below of Gemma from Homes and Antiques article. I saw some other friends and stall holders too, all in all it was a nice morning out, although have to say it got VERY crowded as we were about to leave so if you do go when it's next on, get there early and get out!

I would definitely recommend it for a visit though, it was fun, we saw some nice things and bought some nice things too!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Wow life has changed!

Sorry I've been missing for so long, missing from this blog and missing from commenting on your blogs but I've had so much go on in the last 2 months I've found it impossible to keep up!

What's changed? I decided about 2 months ago I needed to go back to full time employed work, within 2 weeks I had a short term contract and was back at work before I knew it.

I've also been getting up at 5.30 each morning to exercise, so I can carry on with my weight loss which incidentally I've now lost over a stone in fact about 16lbs so far :o)

So as you can see, blogging was kind of at the back of the pack!

So apart from starting a full time job, exercising all the time and losing weight what else have I been up to?!

I went to a great party! Can't believe how much weight I've lost even since then, already....

We had a wedding anniversary, 19 years!

Gosh I can't even remember so much has gone on in this last 2 months it's like my whole world had turned upside down.

Anyway I'm back, I won't be able to post quite as much but I am back. I've missed blogging and missed you all too, my worldwide blogging family!!

Right I'm off to try to catch up just a little on your blogs xxx

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

And the winner is.....

Natasha De Vil !!!!

I used a Random Number Generator, but for some reason it wouldn't let me copy it onto here, I do apologise. 

So please contact me via the email here so I can send you your voucher and you can buy those swing trousers!!

Thanks for all your lovely comments and entries into the competition, sorry if you didn't win, I never win either ;o)

Now I'm wondering what my giveaway will be when I get to 500, that would be quite the milestone. 

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend. 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Shopping & Sewing

It's Easter weekend as you all know and it's such a joy to have a few days off to just do whatever you please without trying to cram it all in isn't it?

It's only Sunday so I intend to spend the rest of today and tomorrow sewing and watching movies, bliss huh?

Yesterday we had our monthly visit to Farnham Maltings Monthly Market. I always find something and one lady was having a retirement sale, she was selling fabric & linens. Most of the things I wasn't interested in at all, but she had some plain fabric which I snatched up to make some day to day blouses from they only cost between £1-£2 per piece! They're in the wash so I can't take pictures and it's all fairly plain anyway.

I also bought some nice buttons and a belt buckle from her. Great for my stash, you can never have too many buttons!!

As you know I've been swimming a lot recently and one of my problems is what to do with my wet swimsuit. I always forget to bring a carrier bag to pop it into, so inevitably end up wrapping it in a towel which then has to be washed as it stinks of chlorine.

So I woke up this morning and thought, I'm going to make me a wet swimsuit bag!! I had the oilcloth in my stash anyway and I also had some waterproof lining in my stash - I know weird stuff to have in a stash!

I've never sewed with oilcloth before it's quite hard going as it doesn't feed through the sewing maching very easily, but I'm pretty pleased with the end product, cute and functional!!

I have enough in my stash to make a gym/swim bag actually, so when I feel ready to sew with oilcloth again, I'll be doing that.

Meantime I need some blouses desperately so I'm going to dig out some blouse patterns and see what I fancy whipping up.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway here to win a £50 Heyday Voucher, it closes Midnight BST Monday 9th April.

I do hope you're all having a lovely Easter Sunday, I'm off to sew and then watch some Harry Potter later!

Friday, 6 April 2012

It's Giveaway Time!!

Well it's all very exciting I woke up this morning to discover my little blog has reached 400 official followers, I know I have a lot of lurkers as I often get comments on Twitter and FB!

Anyway I think this calls for a giveaway.

I've been planning this for a couple of weeks when I knew that a new milestone was coming up, it's very exciting, I'm offering a £50 voucher to spend at Heyday!

Heyday have some great new items which have just come in, adding to their already fabulous selection, so what would you choose if you win? I know what my particular favourites are at the moment, in fact I wish I could enter!!

I cannot tell you quite how much I love this new gab jacket, it has lurex thread running through it, just my thing, I absolutely will be buying one of these, just stunning!

Gab Jacket - Evening Sparkle 

I really love this new Mary Dress in Leopard, the Mary Dresses are such a complimentary style for all shapes and I do love a bit of animal print!!

Mary Dress in Leopard
So what are the rules so that you can enter to win the voucher?

  • You need to be following the blog
  • If you tweet or share on Facebook about the competition you get an extra entry but you need to tell me you've done so in the comment below. 
  • You need to comment below telling me what you would buy from Heyday, or what you would put the voucher towards
  • That's it all fairly easy!
The competition runs until Midnight BST Monday 9th April. I'll try to announce the winner on Tuesday 10th April, depending on time constraints, please bear with me if it's a day or 2 late!

Ok I can't think of anything more to add, apart from to thank you all for the lovely comments on my post yesterday, yes ok I will share more old photos!!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

A trip down memory lane....

I know from previous posts that the readers of this blog LOVE old pictures, I always get such a response from posts like this, so when I was looking through some pictures the other day for something in particular I scanned a few in for your enjoyment!

I thought I'd give you a bit of insight into what life was like being in a band and on the road. It was a long time ago, it was fun but sometimes the long hours on the road in the van with a bunch of blokes just all got a bit much, but mostly it was fun!

I love this one of me and Paul

On the road on our first ever trip abroad many many many years ago

Our second trip abroad to the rather glamorous location of Nice, however sharing a room with 6 other blokes wasn't so glam!

When you travel with a band most of your life is spend in the van, it's like another member of the band!

You do get to visit some lovely locations though, that is definitely one of the upsides!

You do spend a lot of time just passing the time though, one of my favourites was table football, bet you didn't see that coming!!

Backstage is for downtime and getting out of sweaty clothes after a show, I do love this shot, just shows how hard the guys worked that night and how hot it was!

I really love this shot, getting ready before the curtains open, people don't often see this. I also love that dress, is was an apricot silk organza but was so delicate it just starting falling to pieces :o(

And last but not least an onstage shot, this was one of my favourite dresses ever, it came to a sticky end when I tore it on the drum kit, how sad is that. This was the point I started to have dresses custom made for onstage as wrecking vintage ones saddened me so much!

I do hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane!
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