• Other stuff

    Top 5s of 2013! Goals

    And now the last. Some goals for the new year!


    I have so many plans and there isn’t enough time to do everything but I’ve put a few things down below that would make me happy to have a go at specifically in 2014. Hey these aren’t set in stone (just like last year!) but since you’re asking me about it…


    1. Specific Big Hitter Items – Jeans (Kathryn, next time we meet up I’m totally going to bore you to death about Jean sewing as these are mid-construction and I can already see myself making more pairs), a proper button-up blouse (meaning one with a proper collar), a weekend or satchel bag and finally the perfect knit dress.


    2. New Exciting Classes, events and exhibits – I want to take a screen-printing class, maybe a digital design class and definitely go to the amazing Couture Inside Out session at FTM (reviewed here by Janene) when it returns. I have to convince the Mr to take a trip to the Bowes fashion gallery. And most importantly I want to keep meeting up with the fabulous sewing ladies of the blogisphere.

    3. Better blog photography – Now obviously I don’t have total control over this goal as I need a willing photographer to assist me but I’m getting him on board by being extra sweet to him! Hopefully we can put together some better photoshoots and show off a bit more of what Leeds has to offer while still showcasing my makes.

    4. Spoonflower/Be Fab Creative printing – I’ve been teaching myself Photoshop during the past year and have learnt some fun techniques for creating repeating prints. I’d really like to try getting some of these printed up on fabric. I’m not saying they’ll be the most inventive genius designs the world will have ever seen but hopefully they’ll entertain me if no one else.


    5. Attitude to goals and deadlines – My final goal is to not beat myself up if I don’t finish my goals or perfectly meet deadlines (heehee). It just seems silly to get upset over some self-imposed target. Saying that I know there are a few items I want to make this year that definitely do have firm deadlines so as long as I hit the bare minimum I’ll be happy with slipping on any others.

    I really enjoyed doing these posts again this year. Thanks to Gillian for cooking the whole idea up!

    Out of all the areas I have to say I find people’s inspirations and goals the two best areas. Things that inspire your fellow bloggers can totally lead to new inspirations for you. And seeing each other’s goals help you maintain perspective on realistic challenges to set yourself and see if your goals align with anyone elses! Instant moral support.

    If you’re not writing a post on your goals for 2014 let me know in the comments what your plans are. I’d love to hear them!

  • Other stuff

    Top 5s of 2013! Reflections and Inspirations

    The New Year has started but there is still time to post my reflections and inspirations. This one is a biggie I’m afraid!
    In the past year I’ve definitely grown as a sewist and a blogger: I have learnt a lot of smart new techniques and tips, creating some wardrobe favourites, challenged myself to sew different and more difficult garments, plus I had a great deal of fun in the process. Here are some of the simple things I have to say about the year.

    1. It’s better to practice with a muslin first so you don’t ruin good fabric. But it’s not good to put fabric up on a pedestal, worshipping at its beauty and never cutting into it. I need to stay on the right side of that line to make sure I don’t keep stash fabric without ever enjoying it but treat it with the proper respect. I have been guilty of both ruining and hoarding delicious fabrics.

    2. I still love drapey fabrics like viscose, rayon, chiffon, georgette and polyester over stiffer fabrics. Though this year I think I did sew with more cotton than chiffon. The cotton lawn from textiles express is the softest and dreamiest cotton lawn I have ever used (in your face Liberty tana lawn), the only problem is the limited range of fabric designs (come back Liberty, I love you really). I have a mini stockpile of Liberty gift vouchers to spend as soon as I get to London and know exactly what I’m going to buy with it.


    3. I’m not sure I enjoyed Me Made May as much as I hoped in 2013. I wear so much handmade gear on a weekly basis it felt like I cheated. How silly is that! Plus trying to organise MMM posts while abroad in Portugal probably didn’t help. The only thing I loved was having a polka dot week during the month! I might let myself off documenting the days this year and sit back to watch everyone else take part.

    4. I’ve refined my skills quite a lot this year so I truly believe the insides of my garments look as nice as the outsides. This does add time to the making of a garment but really not that much. Although I now know good hand-sewing techniques and find it almost tolerable to do, I’ll still avoid using hand-sewing wherever possible. This has had positive results where I’ve lucked upon awesome results with machine stitching lining!

    5. Joining the Library was one of the best things I did last year. I have loved walking around the gorgeous building and I’m still unearthing treasures to read from the Art Library. Today I got a book about beautiful appliqué art and a book about Scandinavian fashion design.

    2013-06-07 15.11.53


    The blogging and sewing community is full of immensely talented and very often hilarious women; so it’s unsurprising that they should be credited as my major inspirations.

    1. UK sewing bloggers – I think meeting up in person with so many wonderful UK-based sewing bloggers has made my year! Add to the meetups the sheer number of twitter, instagram and email conversations we’ve had, means I’ve truly made many wonderful friends this year. Roisin, Kat, Marie, Sabs, Janene, Jo, Sally, Claire – ooh goodness there are so many more of you to mention – you ladies are always there with a friendly chatter and encouragement. Not to mention the amazing things you all make which keep me inspired and motivated. I love the variety provided to the blogging world by UK sewists, and if I get to see the makes up close in person then I’m even happier.


    2. Australian sewing bloggers – There is a special place in my heart for Australia. I can close my eyes and picture myself back in the cafes of St Kilda, eating fish and chips in Manly bay or at Wollombi drinking Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice! Mostly I wish I was back in Australia while being in the knowledge of what awesome sewists lived there. Amanda sews with such joy, LizzyLizzy and Jodie regularly excite me with their makes and Kirsty is like this sewing ninja as I never know what she’s going to spring up with next. Plus Rachel who I got to meet this year and tempt into buying a ludicrous amount of fabric.

    3. French sewing Bloggers – Now and then I mention my longing to be a glamorous French woman, who knows how to dress and pose and blog (all effortlessly chic). This will never happen. Instead I live vicariously though Julie (Jolies Bobines), Sandra (By Sandra’s Hand) and Mathilde (Felicie a Paris) to name a few. And thank goodness there are now French patterns I can get hold of and sew as well thanks to Eléanore (Deer and Doe) and Géraldine (RDC).

    4. Best of the Rest: bloggers from all over and not necessarily sewing bloggers who I have really enjoyed reading this year – Sonja (Ginger Makes), Amy (Sewing Through The Motions), and Anna (Paunnet) are of course wonderful sewists. Three new favourite vintage/fashion bloggers are Alix (Cherry Blossom Girl), Laura (Paper Mothball Vintage) and Marianne (Esme and the Laneway) whose beautiful clothing, makeup and photography have kept me hooked all year.

    Photo from The Cherry Blossom Girl

    5. Modcloth – Okay fine the only non-blogger inspiration I’ll credit. I seriously do take a lot of inspiration from this online shop. I don’t necessarily make exact replicas but looking through the clothes and accessories gets my inspiration and motivation buzzing away.

    Phew! I’m glad I decided to hold over my Goals for 2014 into a different post. You’d have been falling asleep on me if I’d gone on any further. Obviously I couldn’t mention all of the sewing bloggers I wanted so I hope you all know what a difference you’ve made to my life.

    More to come in my final instalment of this round up. And after that I should have some something recently sewn to show you!

  • Other stuff

    Top 5s of 2013! The misses

    Oh dear time to reflect on things that didn’t quite go to plan.


    1. Jersey ballet dresses.
    I had three attempts at making the Dixie DIY ballet dress and I finally accept it just isn’t the style for me. It’s the waist seam I think, as it appears more obvious in jersey than other fabrics. I just love a horse-print version I made so hope it might be saved if I make it empire line. Then I’ll be able to share it with you all.

    2. Unlined garments

    2013-08-28 21.15.30_edited-1

    My electric purple belladone dress was made from a gorgeous Robert Kaufman chambray. And I made my belladone skirt out of a wonderful crazy colourful quilting cotton. BUT I didn’t line either of these garments and there was my mistake. They stick to my tights even when I wear my (acceptably rubbish) half slip so I don’t wear them unless I can go bare-legged. From here onwards LINING ALL THE TIME!

    3.  Mathilde Blouse

    Mathilde Blouse

    Too tight around the upper bust from the start and it shrank in the wash. Rubbish! Not sure there is much more to say.

    4. Morse Code Sorbetto

    2013-05-10 19.40.10

    I never wear this. Seriously. It is not the one for me. I like the contrast bias binding and the fabric and I’ve had lovely compliments on the top but it’s just far too boxy. I didn’t even write a proper blog post about it as I was so out of love with it.

    5. The Ball Gown that wasn’t

    I won’t rehash old ground. Safe to say I’m still a little mad at my ball gown woes but life must go on! There is always next year’s ball to cook something up for.

    I love reading everyone’s round ups. There’s solidarity in sharing the misses as well as the hits.

    Plus everyone is really a learning experience… I’ve figured out what patterns don’t suit me, that I can’t live without linings and to accept that big plans don’t come off every time.

    Here is to next year, which will probably contain a few more misses but I don’t mind that.