Surrounded by sewing

It’s nice to be surrounded by your hobby with good happy little reminders that make you smile and your eyes widen as you get a bit giddy. It’s kind of how I feel reading lovely people’s sewing blogs but other things trigger this too.

Why the focus on this (probably obvious to everyone) obsession? Well Project Runway Season 10 starts TONIGHT in the US and I can’t wait until I can see a clip of Tim Gunn’s little face as he spies something truly horrendous being made.

I have a pinterest board called “Things that make me smile”. It does exactly what it says on the tin people. And I don’t always put sewing related things in there but a few have made me smile lately:

Decorated sewing machine! No credit I’m afraid as I repinned it from someone who repinned it and so on. Creative though, right? Done with Sharpie pens!
Queenie — (c) Karen Nicol. Monkey with pearl button embellishment.
Words cannot properly explain what she does given the variety of techniques used. You must check her out here
The fabulous Lionheart Project is too far away for me to go see but if you’re near London go check it out. Details here
Cross stitch cookies — a super cute idea cooked up by Megan DeKok. See details on how they made these here!

Other things making me smile is my new sewing compendium bought by my mum for me.

Such cute funny pictures (unintentionally of course)… got to love 80s photography.

This one is just generally awesome.


I also want to go to the¬†Yorkshire Fashion Archive¬†at Leeds University¬†soon but with the silly opening hours I need a day off work. Hope it’s good! I want to wander round in a jealous glazed stupor at the beautiful garments on display.

Hope these little bits made you smile too!

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Berry good!

After a super busy week (and a bit) I’m back in business with some sewing!!¬†Firstly I’ll say Portugal was lovely and hot and relaxing.

When I got back I went to my Little Fro’s second graduation!

Super proud of him. He got a distinction don’tcha know.¬†Look at him in his cap and gown, so dashing.

Then on Friday I got whisked off to A BALL! Yep you heard me. I’m kind of gutted that I couldn’t make a ball gown but as I was only given 3 days notice I couldn’t really have whipped one up. Really it was amazing to be invited at all!

The ball was part of a charity golf day and dinner with Bedfords that Jimi and his work colleagues were attending (as they manage the marketing for the company). We had a slap up dinner, then there was a raffle and auction before the dancing started.


Jimi and I tore up the floor. His work colleagues were in awe as they’ve never seen his unbelievable dancing before. I am well aware how good his is and use it to my advantage, dragging him up every two mins. At one point it was just the two of us, spinning and quick-stepping around. Legendary night.

And then the weekend arrived and I raced back to my sewing table!! Hence the name of the post.

It’s all gone a bit pink and fruity here in the flat.

First off I got a new sewing pattern off eBay. Now isn’t this a cute little number?!

Look at that grapefruit pink! It totally works on the blonde fox on the envelope. She’s so chic… I’m jealous.

But what the heckers fabric should I use?

No, seriously!

It doesn’t tell me anywhere on the envelope ¬†or pattern sheets what fabric to use.

I’m kind of guessing some kind of ¬†opaque polyester?! (As there’s no lining instructions.) ¬†Possibly thinking red and white polka dot…..

Raspberry ripple

Secondly, I’m working on a top for next weekend’s night out. It’s Sewing Sarah’s birthday drinks in Saltaire.

I have some lovely raspberry chiffon and I’m making New Look¬†6962 view D without the tie.

I hate chiffon. Well I hate sewing it. I love wearing it. Quite the dilemma.

I’ve made good progress already. I altered the front bodice so I don’t have to wear a top underneath like my star-print top.

Then finally I’m starting on a secret strawberry project. All I’ll say is that if it goes to plan it’ll be a treat for someone nice and I might put a tutorial up as well.

Time to log off and watch more Wilfred season 2 (omg that show is hilarious, watch it) while tidying up the sewing corner! Turrah for now!

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s a UFO!!

“Oh… hey, remember this dress?”

Little Green UFO

“Yeah! Wasn’t that the dress you finished month’s ago Amy?

“Kind of. It was the one I rushed through like a demon just to get done only to see it start fraying before I’d even hemmed it.”


“Yeah but all is well now…. cos I unpicked it all and used Sergei the serger to redo all the seams and stop the fraying.”

“Woooohoooo! Bitchin.”

“You knows it.”*

*Disclaimer…. this is only how I talk to myself in my head. Not in the office. Well not often.

Ta Daaaaaaaa!!!! (*smug*)

I LOVE this dress. Thank goodness I repaired it and didn’t cast it forever into the scrap pile.

One teeny downside is the fact it blew up round my ears when a big gust of wind struck up and I flashed an older male colleague who was walking behind me up the hill to work.

Ahem. I gotta ask…

Is it worse to flash your rear or your front?

I’m thinking my rear as at least I didn’t see his face as I flashed him. Basically I didn’t dare turn around hehehe.

Oh well it has a lovely swishy skirt and is such a bright colour. Still a thumbs up from me!

Other things to blog / brag about is how pleased I am that I figured out sewing zip-up pouches. ¬†Please don’t roll your eyes and say “they’re sooo easy”. I was really struggling for a while.

I used Sew Kate Sew’s fab post. She spells it out so simply! I made myself a new make up bag.

Dotty goodness
Everything neatly fits inside

Totally recommend you try this too! I’m going to make plenty more.

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Cheers Dad. And a review of V8723

Little Fro graduates for the first time. Second time soon to follow

I’ve been a bad daughter. I’ve failed to say thank you to my Dad!¬†Given what his Sunday mornings now entail he’s holding up admirably.

Here he is at my Brother’s graduation looking dapper in a suit. I won’t bother pointing out which one is Mum.

It SHOULD be obvious. She’s also looking glam.

Dad does like car booting ¬†a lot. He wouldn’t call it “thrifting”. He’s not after “vintage” items. To him it’s bargain hunting and a good morning walk. And now he’s a man with a mission to find sewing bargains!

He doesn’t really know what everything is used for, not like Mum who knows her way around a sewing machine, but he’s been paying attention and it’s paid off.

Dad assisted with the biggest and best haul of sewing gear from the car boot yet!

This pic reminds me a little of Dita von Teese

I won’t detail all the items I got as I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it but one highlight was¬†2 x 20m reels of boning. One black, one white. Both marked up with price stickers reading ¬£13.50….. negotiated down to under a fiver! Awesome.

I’ve got my eye on this little beauty — Vogue 1174. Have I gone crazy? Is this a big jump in my skills?

Probably but hell, I’ve got to learn right!? Unless someone can suggest something a bit more in my skill zone?

mmm cake

Now onto dress news!

I wore my Ikea scribbly print dress to work and then to the supermarket today. I felt a little  overdressed but think that was just me being silly. Here I am larking about in the baking aisle.

I added blue ribbon piping on the top front panel to create more contrast with my pasty skin and added a mustard-coloured zipper for fun in the back. I finished off the hem with blue top stitching in the same shade as the ribbon and dark blue scribbles!

I love the full twirly skirt. For those you don’t know, this is¬†Vogue 8723 which I’ve been banging on about here¬†and here.

I wore it with silver ballet flats, a purple cardigan and my awesome turquoise ring that I got in Spain a few years ago for¬†¬†‚ā¨2!

“Very easy”…. what a floozy


The envelope boldly bragged “I’m soooo very easy”.... cheap hussy.

I guess it would have been if I hadn’t made such a pigs ear of it. I cut a cup size A bust but let out the waist a little from my standard 12 size. I seem to have been eating plenty of cake lately.


I picked a super slippy lining fabric and didn’t really think about making the adjustment to the top front until quite late. As previously mentioned the top front came up to my¬†larynx! Eeek!


But I do like the general dress shape and the full skirt. And every girl loves a dress with pockets. I like how these are hidden between the lining and the shell fabric. So few patterns encourage you to line the skirt and this really helped with the full bell shape of the skirt.

Would I make it again? And what would you do differently?

I’d use a darker colour. I knew when I started light colours don’t suit me best but ignored the little voice because I loved the fabric. Don’t think I’d risk using a polyester as you need something quite sturdy to stop the top front sagging but a nice cotton sateen or maaaaaybe a lightweight wool?

I’d also lower my waist a smidge as it’s just a touch too high. Only like a cm or two though. And I’d try and perfect the zipper as it passes the waist by not gathering as closely at the centre back. I don’t mind too much if the mustard pops through a little to show off the zip but it’s not properly out of sight. I might even use a concealed/invisible zipper next time!

All in all a success. Now I’m trying to redo the little green UFO dress I also mentioned in the post¬†here¬†so I can wear it to work Thursday. We’re off out for a work do straight after and it would be nice to wear this one. See, I’m creating motivation for myself!!

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Three reasons to smile this week…..

It’s been a looooong week. Feels like a month! I’ve been so busy at work that I’ve been getting home late and sleepy most days. And then being all run down lead to another cold! Very unfair if you ask me.

There have been some highlights though….

Easy as ett, tv√•, tre…. (1, 2, 3…)

High on the list is getting some awesome fabric from Ikea courtesy of my little bro (aka little fro due to his awesomely big hair).

Leeds wasn’t stocking it but WAHEY¬†Manchester was!!

And I love how bargainous the cotton is. Very good prices for quirky prints and hard-wearing.

Not sure what to make with it. I’m going to hold onto it until the perfect project comes along. I saw on one blog a girl planned to use her metre of this fabric to line a Minora jacket.

‚ÄúI thought she was the most gorgeous creature I ever met. . . . She was so entirely unaffected, completely without vanity.‚ÄĚ

Secondly, I’ve just finished reading High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly. I was watching the Monaco Grand-Prix with Jimi and realised I’d love to learn more about Grace Kelly’s life. I have a lot of old Hollywood movie star biographies on my shelves so picked this one up off eBay for a surprising ¬£1.25.

I read it in only FOUR days! Gosh it was good. She was so lovely and had amazing patience and decorum. She always tried to bite her tongue and not let anger or frustration take over.

Her life wasn’t the fairy tale everyone imagined it was and she struggled having to give up acting and move so far away when she became a princess.

Spato is a little bit too eager to flaunt how Grace loved him and wanted him to tell her story. But I can sort of believe him as he treats her with lots of respect even when handling the more unseemly parts of her life. He’s reverent of her memory but still tells what seems to be the truth.

CoLette not CoLLette silly.

Also making me happy this week is finally getting The Colette Sewing Handbook.

(I always have to fight the urge to put two Ls in Colette!)

I know I’m like the last person to buy this book. I feel like I’ll be in a better position now as I can look at everyone’s blogs for help on the patterns and sizing.

I’m super eager to try the scallops though I doubt my skirt will look like the one in the book.

Reading the part about patience and inner calm in sewing struck a chord with me. I’m always desperate to finish and rush things.

I’m going to try taking things slower, having a plan and hopefully ending up with finished garments I love and will last.

That’s all for now. I need sleep and I’ve spent the past few hours finishing a muslin for a new dress and pinning and cutting the real fabric. I’m seeing stars!! No, really, it’s the green star print fabric I bought ho ho ho.

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