Schnitzel and Boo’s Mini Quilt Swap

I’m crazy late in sharing this post with you but to be fair I wanted to wait until my swap partner received their gift from me and I had received mine. As this was an international swap the snail mail took a bit longer. Anyway gifts were all received but then I was frantically sewing holiday clothes and the monsters were off school for the summer so it was a mad house round here.

We’re back from our holiday now and only a few more days then it’s back to school too so slowly normality is returning to Casa O’Meara. Finally I have a few minutes to share my swap photos.

Incase you haven’t heard of Schnitzel and Boo (what’s wrong with you?!) Kerry is super lovely and decided to organised an international, secret mini quilt swap.

I made a mini for the very talented Sarah from No Hats in the House. I have to admit I was a little nervous about what to make as her quilts are beautiful and I didn’t want her to be disappointed with her gift. I knew she liked monochrome so I started there.

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After playing around with a few ideas I settled on this design.

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Sarah had also shared that she loved international gifts so I included some English fudge and a selection of teas in London themed tins. I also made a little zip pouch with some sewing themed fabric because, well, you can never have enough zip pouches.

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I was totally relieved when Sarah received her parcel and liked it.

I received my gift from Jade (@cr4zycupc4ke on IG) who completely spoilt me! She made me this brilliant mini quilt plus sent me a Hello Kitty overload, how awesome is that?!

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I really enjoyed the swap and home Kerry organises another soon. In the mean time you can check out all the great mini quilts that were made in the Flickr group here.

A Serious Crafty Catch Up

Well hi there, how have you been? I don’t know about you but here at Casa O’Meara we’re all looking forward to the summer holidays, only a few days to go. The down fall to having the monsters at home for 6 weeks is my sewing time gets seriously cut. So before my project progress becomes non-existent I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to.

A few Sundays a go I got to spend a bit of quality time with Monster no1 helping him with his craft homework, he had to make a sea creature of his choice. After trawling the internet he decided on a banded sea snake, we raided my stash of felt and got to work.

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It was great to see him really concentrating and enjoying using the sewing machine. I don’t think I’ve seen him sit still for that long since he started walking! He was so proud of his efforts, he did a brilliant job. I only had to help him sew the curve of the head and to close up the tail.

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As well as homework I’ve been working on my handmade wardrobe. We’ve finally booked our holiday and I’m hoping to have plenty of handmade clothes to take with me. My project list is full of beach cover ups and lightweight easy to pack items. First tick off the to-make list was a quick little upcycle. My t-shirt I love but have sadly shrunk out of (yup that’s right!) was too ridiculously big to wear anymore so thanks to pinterest and my fabric scissors I chopped the sleeves off, changed the neckline and plaited the back.

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Beach cover up done!

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Next on my list – Lace t-shirt
I popped into my local haberdashery and for some reason this coral lace just called out to me, honestly it made me buy it. Next thing you know I’m skipping out the shop with lace and neon binding. I mean it could only end well :)

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I already have an old lace t-shirt I bought a few years ago, its cheap but just the right size, so I used that to draught myself a pattern while Monster no2 took a rare nap.

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To finish it off I decided to trim the hemline following the lace pattern, for a cute scallop edge. I love the neon binding and the dropped hem at the back, its little touches like that I like the most on handmade clothes, that’s when you get to really put your personality across.

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My last project to show you for now is a fun little make up bag I made as a gift for a friend, I hope she likes it!

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Handmade Wardrobe – Scalloped Hem Shorts

Another make off my list, although not entirely successful :( When I first saw the Scalloped Hem shorts from Pattern Runway I just knew I had to make them. The shape was exactly the sort of thing I would wear a lot, not too short, functional but still feminine. Only problem being I hadn’t made shorts before and was really nervous about fitting.

Well I plucked up the courage and gave them a go. I double checked my measurements and opted for a size M. I chose some lovely soft fabric I found in Goldhawk road. It was in the denim section (I can’t remember which shop now?) but it’s so fine and has a lovely drape, unfortunately it does not photograph well.

Making these shorts was quite a challenge for me but I did learn a lot. The welt pockets gave me serious brain ache, I didn’t find the pattern the easiest to follow and the recommended tutorial used a slightly different technique to the pattern so just made it more confusing. After a lot of perseverance (and swearing!!) I figured it out.

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I really tried my best and worked so hard, in the end I was really happy with how they turned out. The pink stitching detail I added finished them perfectly, only one problem, they don’t fit!!

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After all my blood, sweat and tears they don’t bloody fit! They’re just slightly too tight across the hips :( I found them such a challenge to make I just can’t bring myself to take them apart and adjust them. I think it’s just going to be easier to adjust my body by half an inch instead, so paleo and exercise here I come! If only I had chosen fabric with just a little bit of stretch then I would have been fine.

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Even though I didn’t exactly enjoy the pattern itself I am going to make another pair, maybe minus the welt pockets. I do really love the finished shorts and it would be great to have a pair I can actually wear this summer. The next ones I make I’ll do in a size M again but just use a smaller seam allowance, problem solved…………hopefully.

Meet ups, Milan and The Mortmain Dress

Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet, I promise I have a valid excuse, I’ve been sewing like crazy. I’m so pleased I think I’ve finally got my sewing mojo back! Since I moved last Christmas I’ve found it hard to getting into any kind of routine with my sewing, couldn’t really get my rhythm if you know what I mean. But at last out of nowhere my mojo is back, I just can’t stop sewing.

I’ve got quite a few things to tell you about so expect plenty of posts over the next few weeks.

I thought if start with something fun. A couple of weekends ago my good sewing friend Rachel organised a brilliant meet up for sewing bloggers from all over. We all met at the V&A for coffee, cake and lots of sewing chat. We then had some photos taken of all our amazing handmade items and a group shot of us all, I think on final count there was about 70 of us!

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Photo courtesy of Kitty Wong

We then head off to Goldhawk road for some retail therapy. Although I didn’t end up buying anything I had a great day getting to know the other sewing bloggers and look forward to seeing them soon at another meet up. Unfortunately I spent too much time chatting and not enough time taking photos to share with you guys. Luckily everyone shared their photos of the day on Instagram, Twitter and Flickr using #nylon2014 so you can see what we got up to.

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Everyone’s handmade outfits were amazing! I’d been a little nervous about what to wear, being a bit of a newbie to making my own clothes I thought I would let the side down. I wore my Mortmain by Gather and was so surprised by the lovely compliments I received. I really loved how my dress turned out and plan on making another soon. The fit was just right for me, I didn’t have to make any adjustments. I found the pattern so easy to follow and would definitely recommend it. I love everything about it, especially the exposed zip down the back. As I said earlier I was pretty crap about taking photos, I got none of my dress. Have no fear though I totally took one for the blog and managed to get a couple outside Prada, in Milan. Milan darling!

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Super hubby whisked me off to Milan for a few days of quality time together while the kids spent some quality time with my (also super) mum and sister. It was great to just totally relax, we spent a lot of time drinking Aperolspritz and eating gelato. Perfect. We took a train to Como for the day, which was simply beautiful. A lot of the day was spent just sitting and taking in the scenery, oh and eating gelato.

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There was so much inspiration to be found in the boutique windows. I can’t remember which shop I spotted this in but I just fell in love.

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The Duomo blew my mind. We had planned to take the steps up to the terrace but it was just too hot so we stayed at ground level and took it in from there.

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If you are ever in Milan it is a must see, even though it is incredibly touristy. Just make sure you make the effort to head away from the main square to get something to eat or drink. We stumbled across this amazing gelato shop. The place was heaving but well worth the queue, they fill the cone with liquid chocolate and then pile it high with creamy gelato. I had a white chocolate filled cone and pistachio gelato.

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Heaven!

The only downfall to a quick little get away is the washing when you get home, which is exactly what I have waiting for me right now. If you need me I’ll be wading through a mountain of washing and dreaming of gelato.

Midweek WIP’s

I’ve been a busy girl working on my handmade wardrobe. My Mortmain dress is nearly finished, I can’t wait to show you. This week I whipped up a simple gathered skirt using the left over fabric from my Mortmain. For the skirt I didn’t use a pattern but read a few tutorials and adapted this one by adding bright yellow hidden pockets and a fully exposed zip (like the Mortmain).

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The skirt is by no means perfect but it was great practice for me, it was my first time sewing hidden pockets, gathering and adding a fully exposed zip. All in all not bad for a quick scraps project, plus I got to practice my overlocking skills again.

This Saturday I’m off to London for a blogger meet up arranged by Rachel (House of Pinheiro). I want to wear something I’ve made but I can’t decide whether to wear this skirt or not? As well as arranging the meet up Rachel organised a name tag swap. My partner was Louise, she loves pinks and greens and has a cute little teapot logo which I decided to incorporate in her name tag.

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Louise sent me this pretty tag that I plan on taking with me on Saturday.

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So far there are over 60 people coming to the meet up so the name tags will definitely come in handy! If you’re planning on going to the meet up I’d love to know, leave a comment below.

Handmade Wardrobe Update

Well I think I’m getting the hang of the overlocker, I even had to rethread it, which I managed without too much trouble.

This week I had another go at the Mission Maxi pattern only I opted for the vest version. I love a jersey vest, they’re an easy wear in summer, layer well in winter, small to pack for holidays and most of the time you can get away without ironing them. I have a bit of a thing for animal prints and this neon pink was crying out to be a vest.

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This fabric was quite a lot stretchier than the fabric I used for my dress, although I used the same pattern size (12) I had to make alterations to the vest. The extra stretch meant that the straps were too long so I had to shorten them.

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I’ve also started on a Mortmain Dress. It says it’s for “ambitious beginners” at least I’m definitely a beginner! The pattern is easy to follow so I think I’ll be ok.

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After lots of coaching and encouragement from my lovely sewing club friends I made up a muslin of the bodice in a size 12 and got the fit right (I think?!), then set to cutting out the dress from this amazing wax print.

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One bodice done.
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I’m just waiting for my exposed zip and some dark thread for my overlocker to be delivered and then I can finish the rest of the dress.

I had so much fabric left after cutting the dress out that I’m also going to make a simple gathered skirt too. Something simple and easy to wear for running round after the monsters, but hopefully still a bit girly. I haven’t got a pattern for this one, think I’ll just read a few tutorials then wing it. Yup I love to live on the edge lol.

Handmade Wardrobe – Mission Maxi Dress

The monsters went back to school this week which means only one thing in casa JAK & GEEGEE – peace and quiet, perfect for me to spend some quality time in my sewing room. Now my make list is getting pretty long but the first thing I wanted to do was have a play with my new overlocker. It took me all of 30 seconds to decide on a Mission Maxi dress, I have it on good authority that this pattern is simple to follow and quick to sew, perfect.

After reading the manual cover to cover I plucked up the courage to turn on the overlocker. Thankfully it was already threaded so I didn’t have to get my tiny brain round that task but I did have to slightly adjust the knife position. I’m pleased to say the overlocker wasn’t as scary as I remember from school (yup that’s the last time I used one!), a little practice and then I got going on my dress.

The Mission Maxi was a great first project. The pattern is super simple and very easy to follow. I had the dressed finished in no time at all. Having said all that my dress is by no means perfect, it’s my first attempt using my overlocker and I’m a beginner when it comes to making clothes. Before I show you I should warn you that, as well as being a novice dressmaker, I’m also a novice model! I can’t really work out why I look so miserable in these photos so try not to look at my face and focus on the dress ok? Thanks!

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The pattern gives the option of leaving the bottom as a raw edge or hemming, I opted for hemming mostly to give myself extra practice with the overlocker. The fabric was from my shopping trip a few weeks ago to Walthamstow market, it was great to work with and wasn’t too stretchy.

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I made the tank top version but the pattern does have halter neck and godet versions too. It also gives you the option to make a vest rather than a dress.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the first item in my handmade wardrobe. I chose the size 12 and didn’t make any adjustments. Next time I make it I would like to tweak the back slightly as I had a small amount of excess fabric in the small of my back. The dress is just the type of thing I like to wear in summer and easy to take on holiday to wear day or night. I’m already planning a second dress and a few vests. So success I guess!

I’ll leave you with this beaut of a photo, seriously why do I look so grumpy??

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I promise the next handmade wardrobe post I will try my best to smile!

My Birthday Week

This time last week I spent the last day of my 20′s in a car stuffed to bursting with kids, dogs, food, drink and plenty of warm clothes. To celebrate my 30th birthday Sean booked for us to spend a week in a cute little barn conversion on a farm in Flamborough with the monsters, my mum and sister. Incase you’re not up on British coastal towns Flamborough is a beautiful place just north of Bridlington, Yorkshire. We were really lucky with our cottage, it was literally a few minutes walk from the edge of the cliff, with amazing views every way you turned.

Now I’m no twitcher but the wildlife was impressive. A few miles away from where we stayed is an RSPB centre which is renowned for its seabirds. We saw hundreds of nesting Gannets, Guillemots and Kittiwakes, as well as several varieties of Gull. The monsters had great fun using binoculars to spot the different birds.

The weather was on our side, bright but pretty windy so we managed to a few local spots.

The lighthouse at Flamborough Head.
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South Landing
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Rock pooling at North Landing
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While we were investigating the caves at north Landing we were lucky enough to spot a pair of Puffins who had set up home in the side of the Cliff, unfortunately I couldn’t get a good photo but I was so excited to have actually seen them!

On my Birthday I was a very spoilt girl. I was woken (super early) by the monsters shouting “Happy Birthday!!” And given a big pile of presents to open. Sean and the monsters gave me some new Hunter wellies I’ve had my eye on.

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Seriously how cool is that bright pink stripe?! I also got a Nike fuelband to help me get my butt in shape and a remote for my DSLR camera. I have to admit the boys did well, I’ve been dropping hints for a while and they got every one. Thank you boys!

My little sister Frankie did a great job of spoiling me too. She secretly got the monsters to write their names and had it made into a silver bracelet.

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She also spotted a few vintage items which she new I would love.

Crochet hooks.
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Some sewing pins and this book.
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Obviously this book was made just for me! My sister found this book by chance for sale on Etsy and just had to get it for me, what’s freaky is I had seen the very same book on Etsy a few weeks ago and considered buying it for myself!

The last present I had to open was from my mum and dad.

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My very own bloody OVERLOCKER!!!! How spoilt am I?! I have the best family ever.

After the excitement of opening all my cards and presents we got ready and took a trip to Scarborough.

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Chips, donuts and candy floss while walking along the sea wall all made turning 30 seem not so bad.

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We finished the day with champagne and a Hello Kitty cake made by my mum.

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All in all turning 30 wasn’t anywhere near as scary as I thought it would be. Oh and you’ll be really pleased to know that since turning 30 I really haven’t grown up. Phew!

Sewing Club Shopping Trip

I’ve been planning making my own summer wardrobe for a while now. There has definitely been lots of planning. Research and planning, but not a lot else. I’m totally scared of actually taking the plunge into dressmaking. Well April is the month I take action! With advice from my lovely friends at sewing club I’ve worked up a list of patterns I’d like to start with. I’ve taken all my measurements (thanks for the help mum!) and written a fabric shopping list, yeah I love lists. So Next step is a good one, fabric shopping.

Last Saturday was sewing clubs first shopping outing. We were all pretty excited, it was like going on your first school trip. I was up early and on the train with my shopping list in hand. First stop Walthamstow Market. I bought some great leopard print jersey from the man outside Sainsburys.

With this one I’m going to make a maxi dress using the Misson Maxi pattern
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And using the same pattern I thought this would make a great vest.

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They were both a bargain £2 a metre.

Here we all are happy with our purchases.

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Photo courtesy of Rachel Pinheiro.

I picked up 6 yards of this 100% cotton from one of the shops along the high street for £10!!

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I had planned to make a full circle skirt out of it but as there’s so much I can’t decide whether to make a dress or matching skirt and top? Any thoughts?

After a good look round the market we all split off to do different things. Mum, Shelley and I popped to Shaukat on Old Brompton Road. If you love Liberty fabrics, actually just fabric in general you should definitely check it out. The website doesn’t do it justice, it’s an Aladdin’s cave of fabric yumminess!

Next mum and I headed off to Goldhawk road. This is where I got a little overwhelmed. Seriously there were so many fabric shops it all just blurred into one. After visiting pretty much every shop I settled on this light weight denim which I plan to use for a pair of scalloped hem shorts. I think it was around £6 a metre.

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Sorry the photo isn’t great, the fabric almost has a shine to it (in a good way) and is so unbelievably soft. I’m a bit nervous about making shorts but I’m really looking forward to wearing them.

I bought this jersey for another vest too, £2 a metre.

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My last purchase of the day was from the lovely Rashid. He was so helpful, here he is cutting my mums purchase.

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I chose this super bright jersey, think it was about £4 a metre and will be another maxi dress.

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After a long day shopping there was only one thing left to do, DRINK!

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To Do List Review

You might remember that in January I shared a bit of a to do list on my blog. Well we’re a quarter of the way through the year (wow that went fast!) so I thought it would be good to review the list.

- Close my Etsy shop
All done. I definitely have more time to sew and work through my to do lists.

- Teach Monster no1 to sew.
We haven’t had time to sit at the sewing machine together yet but I’m hoping over the Easter holidays we can finish his pin wheel cushion.

- Work through my crafty to do list.
Oh come on, as if this will ever get crossed off. Every time I finish one WIP 3 or more new projects have been added to the list, oops.

- Make my own clothes.
Now this one I’m pretty excited about! It’s not crossed off yet but I have been busy buying patterns and this weekend I’m off to London with some of my sewing club friends to buy fabric for my planned projects. It’s definitely going to be a comfy shoes and big bag kinda day out. Don’t worry I’ll be sharing my plans and purchases with you next week.

- Exercise more.
I haven’t got round to joining a gym yet but I am walking more now I know where to go for good walks in the area. The dogs love trekking through the woods, especially now the weather is starting to improve.

- Blog at least once a week
I can definitely cross this off the list. Since January I’ve made a conscious effort to post more and have enjoyed sharing my week and WIP’s, good or bad, with you. I hope you don’t feel so neglected and I promise I’ll keep it up.