Wednesday, 1 January 2014

I'M ALIVE! And 2013 summary

What a year...very quiet!

Firstly, I should perhaps clue you in on what's happened. I have not lost interest in sewing or blogging about it, the opposite! I have gained so much inspiration and ideas. But there has been no time. My life has been so busy the last couple of months that blogging slipped right down the list of priorities to...bottom. Well, almost. Cleaning the house and washing the dishes got bottom place.

So what have I been up to? About 300 life changes at once. To name a few, how about moving halfway across the country, quitting my job and starting a new one, then quitting that one for another one, making new friends, planning a trip to India for a very dear friend's wedding and taking on an enormous sewing challenge (a post for another day).

More on all that never (well, it's not exactly sewing related). Let's talk about 2013.

It was the year I decided to start making clothes from scratch again. A good old-fashioned pattern, a couple of meters of fabric and lots of fittings. Two of my attempts made the blog, but there have been many, many more. Also many more alterations from second hand treasures.

I always find myself making things on a whim without intending to post them, but then being so happy with the result I wish I had taken some photos. So my resolution for 2014 will quite simply be to superglue my camera to my right hand.

For now, a short review of my posted 2013 projects.

The "white sack". I have to admit that this cardigan has not fared well. I mindlessly threw it into the washing machine one day and it destroyed the fake leather pockets. Now it is back in my future projects basket.

The lace bralette. More pretty and a fun idea than practical. I think I'll stick to getting my underwear from the shops and sew other stuff instead.

Turban headband. Loved this one! Unfortunately I seem to have lost it in the move. Think that means I'll have to make a new one!

Sleeveless ruffle blouse. Also loved this one. Until I stained the whole front of it with something. Now this too is in the future projects basket.

Studded card holders. Oh, I cannot begin to tell you how much use I have gotten out of mine. And I'm pleased to say it is still going strong, no quality issues here. So I made about 5 more, one has become a present and the rest will probably follow suit.

Silky maxi skirt. Wore this a lot right after making it, then lost interest in maxi skirts.

Anniversary dress. This one is brilliant, because with a smart cardigan, black tights and neat flats it makes a great office outfit. So much wear! Which is good, because it took forever to stitch all those flowers on.

Knitted jumper to cardigan. Love, love, love. It became the perfect summer evening layering item.

T-shirt blouse. So easy and fun to sew that I made another one and sent to a friend. It sews in just 2 h or so and I feel I could make a million of them.

Darling Ranges dress. Omg, lovelovelove! Took this with me on holiday to Croatia in August and don't remember wearing anything else. The buttons make it perfect over a bikini for the beach, it is nice and cool, the pockets are great for carrying just some ice cream money and nothing else around, and the thin cotton means it can be washed and dry in the sunshine in like one hour.

Denim vest. I was massively in the mood for a denim vest last summer. I wore it all the time and now I couldn't be less interested in it. Will see how I feel this summer, maybe it will go back to the charity shop.

Righty-o! See you in a week or so for the first 2014 project! x

Friday, 2 August 2013

DIY: Farmfest denim vest

I'm not a music festival lover in the slightest. Actually, that's not even true. I don't like camping. And being unclean. I do love music. But I hate being unclean more than I love music.  I could be knee deep in mud if I know there is a hot shower, a clean towel and a soft bed waiting at the end of the day. If there is not, forget it, not happening. So English music festivals have never attracted me.

Aside from when they are literally up the road. For that reason, this little pearl is too good to miss out on. One mile from my house, does it get any better?

We are moving soon, a couple counties away, and I told a few of my friends they have to come visit our little cottage country idyll before we are gone and live in an attached, terraced house like everybody else. One of my favourite Londoners accepted and I got to spend this gone weekend with the lovely Nicola. We ate too much on the Friday night, went to Farm Fest on the very rainy, cold and muddy Saturday and had yet more food overload on the Sunday. If my whole summer could be like this weekend I'd be one happy (and fat) girl. It was great.

Anyways, back to the music. What does a girl wear?

A couple of months ago I bought myself an oversized charity shop denim jacket and cut the sleeves off (this is the DIY, FYI, no further steps required). I'm not sure if I was going for a grunge or Village People look, but either way, this is a favourite wardrobe item now. It just gives that little something extra to a sundress + ballerinas outfit. I had to take it for a spin in the fields!

As it happened it also doubled beautifully as a blanket. Until it started bucketing, that is.

And the festival? Well, if it hadn't rained it could have been amazing. It was still fun, but involved watching some not very good bands because those tents were the only ones not packed from people trying to escape the rain. What we did see ranged from the I-think-I'm-a-rockstar-because-I've-played-at-Glastonbury-and-will-remind-you-of-that-between-every-song- tw*ts to the mediocre to the good to the amazing. When I say amazing I mean Gadjo. I mean, wow! I could not get enough. It was the kind of music that makes you dance and dance and dance and never stop.

I have my roots in the Balkans but have never much cared for Balkan music. Until I heard it mixed with Barcelonian gipsy funk/ska. Yum!

Random fact: The tiny blob on the top of the hill in the top photo is the Glastonbury Tor. Farmfest is the teeniest, tiniest neighbour to this famous monster.

Right, back to the packing.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Sewing: Colette Iris sneak peek

My photography troubles continue. In my last post I complained about not having a tripod. This time I'll complain about the flash on the camera. One of my loveliest friends visited this gone weekend and we had just the best time. British weather at its best, lots of yummy food and fun activities. However, for some of the time my camera flash kept popping up and I didn't realise until we got home. So I came home with a camera full of washed out photos. Massive face palm moment.

I wore a pair of Colette Iris shorts I made from a curtain (so much Sound of Music inspiration behind these) on Sunday. I've been dying to blog them and embarrassed myself yesterday by taking photos of my own reflection in amazing antique mirrors at the flea market we went to. But to no avail.

So until I get those darn photos, I stole two from my friend's Facebook album. A sneak peek, if you will.

And a bit of what we got up to, through my Instagram pics.

Saturday: Beach time! Who needs South of France when you have South of England? ;) And no beach day without ice cream.

Having people over is the best excuse to buy some fresh flowers (and clean the house?). My local florist introduced me to the 'five pound posy'. Basically a little bouquet for five pounds. Affordable and adorable!

Sunday: After a day of serious flea market shopping what's better than making cobbler, drinking tea and watching girly films?

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Sewing: Darling ranges forget-me-not dress

I really need to get a tripod. The photos below were taken with the help of a wooden stool, a mixing bowl and a cafetiere. As you can guess the camera swayed, the pictures became blurry and  I felt reluctant posting them. I thought I'd snap new ones, but I got cat food on the dress and now it is in the wash. So blurry pics it is. Until I buy a tripod that is.

Whining over, let's talk about sewing.

I loved the look of the Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges dress pattern as soon as I saw it. However, the headache it caused! OMG!

I bought a Liberty archive reprint fabric for this dress and because I love the fabric so much I decided to make a muslin first. I'm glad I made that decision, because I probably made 7 bodice muslins before finding something that worked for me.

Basically, when I sewed the darts I ended up with some weird wrinkles and pointedness around the bust. Not at all flattering. think this is because the pattern is designed for a cup B bust. Without going into the details of my measurements, yours truly wears a different size.

In the end I made the darts a bit smaller (thinner), a tiny bit longer and placed them a bit further down. Helped massively!

At this point I was tired of the dress and still not completely convinced by the pattern. So I put the Liberty fabric away for more successful sewing days and decided to make the dress up quickly, no thinking, in an affordable material to be on the safe side.

The forget-me-nots were in full bloom and I fell madly in love with them. I ordered a floral cotton in forget-me-not blue and set to work. I didn't really have enough fabric (because I had used loads of it to make bunting), so the dress had to be sleeveless.

And...I love it! So worth all the trouble. It's really my ideal kind of day dress. Simple, versatile (looks good with wellies and with heels!) and incredibly comfortable. And the colour, ah the colour. I just want to put on this dress, take a pile of books and find a meadow full of cows to laze away the summer days in.

Have to make it up in the Liberty fabric soon!

Disclaimer: Aside from the bust issue I have to say that both the pattern and the instructions were an absolute delight to work with. Beautifully printed pattern, stunningly packaged and presented, fantastic instructions, and excellent resources on the website.

I'm certain it is my lack of experience altering patterns that resulted in so many attempts at adapting the pattern to my size. Somebody with more experience probably could have solved it immediately. Or somebody with common sense would have used the tutorials on the Megan Nielsen blog instead of going for the trial and error approach.

Overall: can't wait to get my hands on some more Megan Nielsen! I have my eyes on the Kelly skirt next.

But now if you excuse me Fonsie and I have a meadow full of cows to find.