The Sewing Weekender

Hello everybody! Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I’m now on the hunt for amazing fabric suppliers in the UK and will write a little round up soon about my plans. I’ve just got back from a last minute holiday where I did a lot of plotting for how to share snippets of my diy wedding dress.

I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on the recent Sewing Weekender hosted by Rachel and Kate of The Foldline and Charlotte of blog English Girl At Home and what I made. There were a limited number of spots so I count myself lucky to have nabbed one. I didn’t think my boss would mind too much if I bunked off for five mins to buy myself one as a birthday treat. To be fair he probably never realised.

When 57 attendees arrived in sunny oCambridge we were met by an amazing sight; goodie bags being handed out as you stepped in with treats from Village HaberdasheryLove SewingRemnant Kings and Abakhan, Janome machines set up on large tables with ribbon tied boxes of haberdashery from Adam Ross, swap items stacked high and enough tea and coffee to keep us charged all day.

I sat on a table of four with my friend Ruth who travelled down from Yorkshire to meet new sewing friends (I definitely recommend following her on twitter) and Sarah who I’ve enjoyed following online, who headed over from Suffolk with her mum! I feel like such an idiot but I can’t remember Sarah’s mum’s name. I hate it when that happens but it’s best to just hold your hands up and be honest about these things.

It was like the shirt table as there were two shirts and a shirtdress being sewn, but I bucked the trend by sitting and hand sewing while gossiping. I’d decided to finish my new circle skirt Cambie with matching bias tape which I pieced from 20 scrap bits of my fabric. Thankfully I got everything finished and Ruth kindly snapped some pics for me which I’ll share at the end of the post but here’s a cheeky pic of me and Louise in our Cambies together! (Don’t you love her use of border print cotton from Gertie’s fabric line?).

The Saturday was dedicated to sewing and everyone busied themselves with different projects whilst “Prefects” wandered around offering advice, fitting help and biscuit-based support, there was a fabric and pattern swap, lovely lunchtime walk into Cambridge and for the overnight crew a dinner in town. I stayed with my in-laws to be so we could celebrate the engagement with the whole Scarr family which meant sadly missed out on that last part. It’s so funny but after 6 and a half years dating a Cambridge man I have still never been punting and only a handful of times to the town centre!!

Sunday was structured around lectures that were funny, insightful, thought-provoking and educational. The clever and charming women who spoke were RachelGraceMarillaElenaTilly and Gabby, talking about wardrobe planning, pattern design, small design businesses and vlogging to touch on a few topics. There was no need for sewing as the lectures were thoroughly engaging. One thing that resonated with me was cataloguing my stash for better planning and so I’ve begun adding scraps on a keyring of index cards. I also thought a lot about my wedding dress plans and what I’d like to achieve and learn from the project because it really needs to be a learning experience for me as corny as that may sound.

So I won’t cover what others have said but I would like to heartedly recommend that you get a ticket for the next Sewing Weekender (we’ve totally badgered the girls into considering a repeat) and am honestly in awe of Charlotte, Kate and Rachel’s organisational skills.

Ok, now here’s my dress. I know you’ve seen Cambie dresses frome me before (here and here) but I wanted to try adding a circle skirt to the pattern to see how it looked. 

Answer? I’m pretty damn happy with it. But I’m also very into circle skirts at the moment. It’s a little bulky around the pockets so maybe should have been omitted but hey, I like pockets. Again I omitted the waistband and used a straight neckline. A 22″ concealed purple zipper for a bit of fun too.

 The dress is fully lined in anti-static peach lining which means it’s tights-friendly and the skirt lining adds extra volume. The hem as I mentioned is bias faced and invisibly hand stitched. I only wish I had horsehair braid in my stash to finish the hem with!

I cannot believe I found some Liberty Carline poplin in purple (variations seen here and here by me) at Birmingham Rag Market… I blumming love that place. Spotted during an awesome mini shop with Marie, Kat, Roisin and Helen (guest appearance from Sabs) a few months back. It was £8 per metre because it had a big flaw parallel to a good portion the selvedge about 10cm in but because it’s so wide I just bought some extra material and worked around it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Here’s some silly bonus pics of it in action on holiday! Until next time everyone, drop me comments with your best score on a fabric shopping trip!! 

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Liberty Ballet Dress

And I’m back!!

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In a short summary, I was locked out of my blog over Christmas (I hate you Go Daddy) and then have been really really struggling to get photos of my finished makes during this horrible winter. But now I’m breaking through this by getting something shot and up on the blog, even if the photos are quite as I’d like.

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This is a Dixie DIY ballet dress. It was a fantastically quick and easy make which is perfect for my hectic schedule at the minute.

The fabric is a Liberty jersey from Abakhan Fabrics that I picked up online. As always the quality of Liberty fabrics was exceptional. It’s a little spongy, medium-weight and with lovely vivid colours.

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I top-stitched all the hems with my twin needle and used my overlocker to construct everything. The whole dress took maybe two hours in total.

So there we go. The silence is broken! I’ll be back again soon with something new.

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Fabric Shopping Adventures!

Hello lovely Readers! I hope you’ve had a great week.

I’ve had two fantastic weekends in a row that I wanted to share. And both involved fabric shopping!

Last weekend I mentioned I was in London. The trip was centred around a lovely friend’s 30th birthday. I also got to see some of my family and go to the ballet. All excellent activities!

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On the Monday before I left for home I snuck in a little bit more fun in the shape of a Goldhawk Road trip with some famous sewing faces. I put a call out on twitter for London-based sewists who’d be free for shopping on a Monday and who replies? Only flipping Lizzie who was going to be visiting the UK and free to meet up!

Even better, Rachel, Fiona, Inna and Alana were also free for a shopping jaunt. It had been ages since we last caught up with each other.

We combed the shops for bargains and then had a lovely gossip over lunch in a funny little cafe (Rachel’s photo above). Monday was the day that Fiona’s first Mood post went live and also the day the Project Sewn results were announced! Talented ladies.

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Excellent London buys – Deer print Georgette, Geometric Cotton Sateen and Fabulous Swimming Ladies Polycotton.

This weekend was just as good. I got to catch up with Sabs, Kat, Marie, Helen, Roisin and Claire in Birmingham.

We enjoyed the Rag Market, the brilliant Barry’s and the Fancy Silk Store. Our lunch may have been more gossiping than eating but that’s just how I like it.

The fabric bargains, lovely company and good weather(!) all made it worth riding the megabus. I know I’m a broken record but it’s amazing considering we met randomly off the Internet, how I seriously value these ladies being in my life. They inspire me and they make me laugh so much.

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Brilliant Brum Purchases – Rose print Polyester, Hydrangea print Viscose. Not pictured are my bargain zip and bias binding purchases or my extremely dull lining choices.

I feel like I’ve been searching for the perfect floral since I started sewing. These two are pretty gorgeous but not perfect. They will do for now though!

Finally I still have one (ludicrously expensive) fabric purchase to show you but I’m saving that for another time…

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

I’m so happy to post about my new favourite dress!

This is Simplicity 2444; the dress that every man and his dog has made. Well maybe not the dog.

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I used an amazingly buttery soft cotton lawn from Textile Express. I really recommend the company. Great prices, they’re very helpful, they send samples and the delivery is super quick!

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The aeroplanes are varied in size and the repeat isn’t too obvious meaning no pattern matching to do.

I made a few alterations to the dress.

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I did a full lining as you can see. I also took a massive wedge out of the bust which helped as both a small bust adjustment and a petite bodice adjustment, two for one.

As this pattern contains 3 inches of bust ease I think anyone with a bust larger than the rest of their measurements probably won’t need a fba. If I’d been a 34 C instead of a 34 A I’d have been fine.

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I tried a lapped zipper for the first time and after a bit of head scratching I suddenly got it! The result was astounding. So professional looking and neat. I love it!

I wore the dress to work last week but no one was fussed.
“Hello!? I’m wearing a plane print dress! What’s wrong with you people?”

But when I wore it to this weekend’s meetup in Birmingham I got a phenomenal response. I was so grateful for everyone’s lovely comments.

You really made me very happy ladies!

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The meet up was great fun. I met loads of new sewists, added some new blogs to my reading list and got to chat with lovely familiar faces who were in attendance.

I managed to not spend much (£9 for this metre of Liberty golfer print lawn! Thanks to Barry’s Fabrics giving the meetup group a discount) and I was fortunate with some excellent swaps. More on those later methinks

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Thanks to Kat, Marie and Claire for another great day. It isn’t easy herding so many sewists about; I don’t envy them.

I hugged everyone goodbye and Claire packed me off to my Megabus with some lovely cookies she’d made.

I arrived home very happy but very tired.

I really do recommend going to meet ups if you’ve never been to one. It’s a great way to make new friends and have a fun day out. Excellent shopping is usually involved too!

Who’s off to the London meet up in early August? I will be if I ever book my train tickets.

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Luvverly Liberty

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During my time in London I got a chance to go to the fabulous and famous Liberty of London.

My Aunt bought me a gift card at Christmas and I managed to wait until I could go in person and see all the wonderful items available up close!

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The actual building is amazing. I love its grand Tudor facade in black and white. It was 1924 when this incredible icon was constructed from the timbers of two ships: HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan.

We approached from Argyll Street so we could see Liberty’s own flower shop at the entrance. It was a lovely spring day and plenty of lavender and roses were arranged at the doorway.

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The haberdashery and fabric section contains plenty to keep you distracted for hours. I had a one hour time limit to select some fabric.

Liberty has a long history of artistic and inspiring collaborative projects on their Liberty Art Fabrics – from William Morris and Gabriel Dante Rossetti in the 19th century to Yves Saint Laurent and Dame Vivienne Westwood in the 20th.

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Every season staff scour the archives for historic prints that could be reissued for a modern audience. Watch this video on some of the design processes that go into selecting a new season’s fabrics.
Or this one about the printing process at the Lancaster factory! I swear I was so distraught when I realised I’d been so close to the factory during my uni days. Maybe I could have applied for a part time job or something! Sigh…

Recent collaborations include renowned brands such as Nike, Dr. Martens, Hello Kitty, Barbour and Manolo Blahnik to name but a few. My favourite was the Converse collaboration.

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I’m pleased to report I got two metres of lovely Melly paint splodge/splatter style tana lawn which I’ll be using for a happy smile-inducing dress!

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Have you been to the Liberty store? Would you love to?

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