Archive for April, 2014

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.

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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.