Monday, 15 September 2014

Blog Hopping

'Nobody really seems to know where and when the blog hop started. If you have any idea – please share! The only thing that is known is when taking part in the blog hop, you answer four questions before nominating two other bloggers to keep the blog hop alive. And this is exactly what I’ll do! So here we go.'
Why I write
I started blogging after being inspired through reading various other blogs, both sewing and lifestyle blogs.  I started this blog when I decided to pursue dressmaking more, I wanted to document my projects and share them with other people who make clothes.  I didn't know many people IRL who sew regularly, and It's been really great joining the sewing community through my blog. People I know IRL are supportive of my hobby, and I've even made things with my sister, sister in law and I've plans to make tops with my mum soon.  Blogging also gives me the platform to challenge myself and keep accountable for pushing and improving my skills.

What I’m working on
I've just done a post on my A/W sewing plans, there are lots of projects on there that I'm really excited about- making a coat is a great example of something that I'm going to find a challenge too.  Other side projects, in addition to my listed plans, I'm working on a couple of smaller projects, such as Hepburn Skirt, by Charlie herself, and I'm wanting to make something from the Tilly and the Buttons book.  Plus, it's time to start thinking about what to make people for Christmas.
How my blog differs from others of its genre
I don't know that it does, exactly.  I try to put my own personality into my sewing and my blog, and by creating my own wardrobe, it's not going to be exactly the same as other blogs.  I guess that each sewing blog differs slightly from every other just through the uniqueness of each blogger.  I certainly have a lot of ideas for content, and I aim to make my little corner of the internet my own.
A little bit about my writing process
I sew, and then I write, except when I haven't got something sewn up to write about, then I write about whatever I fancy.  I like to plan and keep to a rough schedule for blogging, so that I don't leave weeks between blog posts- you know, to keep you interested :)  

It also gives me space to share more about my non-sewing life with you, which I enjoy.  I tend to just let my writing come from the heart, which can mean some times I've not necessarily got a lot to say, and others I ramble.  Mostly I blog on my laptop, but I've started to use the Blogger app more so that I can write posts at work and stuff too.  

I like to share almost everything I work on, unless I find the finished article uninteresting.  I'll write about my mistakes and my fails, but not things I'm not interested in.    I tend to take photos to accompany my text, rather than taking photos first.
My two nominees 

Kat at A Krafty Kat- is another sewing blogger, who also manages to complete knitting projects (I'm so jealous!).  

And Janet at Words That Could Only Be Your Own, who is more of a lifestyle blogger, who lives in my hometown.  She blogs about her work as an English teacher, feminist, music fan, reader and crafty person.  

Thursday, 11 September 2014

My Longest WIP Yet is Finally Finished

Dave and I receved a handmade quilt as a wedding present from one of my uni house mates, and it is beautiful.  Made by her mum, it is intricate, beautifully finished and just, truly gorgeous. And I credit it with beginning my love affair and desire to make quilts.  That was four years ago.  Some time in the year after university finished, three years ago, I began collecting fabric scraps from my projects and fat quarters to start on my very own quilt.  After some goes at some tiny quilts, and a cushion cover, I knew that I should keep my quilt design simple.  I really liked some of the simple quilts I'd seen on Pinterest that were basically made of rows of squares- this one in particular.

So I began cutting out and piling 4.5" squares out of the fabric I'd collected.  I spent an evening laying them out on the floor, totally getting in Dave's way as he tried to watch Tv.  I was aiming to ensure that I had no two of the same fabric near each other; touching at the corners or side by side.  I also tried to make sure that each row didn't have two of the same but that had to be conceded on as the quilt grew.   That was about 18 months ago.   Then the rows, neatly packed up in envelopes and labeled to keep them in order were left for another 6 months until we moved house last summer.

When we moved, I began to sew together the rows, taking my time over it, and then left my finished quilt top  while I found the right fabric for the backing.  I ended up using an orange duvet cover I found in a charity shop.  Once quilted the top, wadding and backing together it still took me another 6 months to bind the edges because I kept putting it off.  Nala (my cat) has been loving this quilt from this stage onwards, so warm and cosy!  She even was climbing inside its folds as I was trying to sew it together!

So the quilt is finally finished, and although it is full of imperfections, or perhaps because of them, I am so in love with it!  I think, personally, that it is actually the best quilt in the world.

It now has pride of place on our sofa, sometimes it's moved to our bed, sometimes I just rap it around myself because it's warm!

And just a couple of more photos for your enjoyment (and so I can show off ;D)

Like I said, it's far from perfect, but see if I care :D

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A/W Sewing Plans 2014

The cold weather that we had last week really tried driving the point home, the summer is over.  Dave was back at work last week, he's started at a new school as head of department and I'm at work, sorting out the A/W stock.  Now is the perfect time to begin planning my sewing for the next few months.  I'm going to be a little conservative and plan for one make a month, knowing that I may not have time for any more.  And, should I find time for anymore, I'll leave that decision to my impulsive side and shop my stash.  You know, I'll always stay busy.

So, here are my six projects for the next six months.

Simplicity 2311 Project Runway Coat
My Dad bought me this pattern last Christmas, with all the fabric and notions needed to make it.  I never did get round to making it up last year, so it's at the top of the pile this time round..

Grainline Archer Shirt- I ended up giving my mum the first Archer I made as a birthday present, which is probably a good thing, because although I loved it, it was too big for me. I probably wouldn't wear it much, where as I know mum'll get a lot of wear out of!  So, with the pattern reprinted and cut a size smaller, here I go again!

Collette Patterns Hawthorn
Mentioned in my last Sewing Plans Post, I never did get around to making the Hawthorn dress, so keeping it on the list.  The black gingham fabric should make this a dress suitable for Autumn/Winter, though perhaps I should consider adding the sleeves.

Collette Patterns Negroni Men's Shirt
Also mentioned in the last Sewing Plans Post, but again, not actually made yet.  Part of this is the tiny problem that I'm a selfish sewer, and am less enthusiastic about making something for Dave.  I'm repentant of that though, and have promised him that this shirt will be finished for by Christmas.  He has changed his fabric choice however, and seeing as I hardly ever sew for him I've conceded and am using the purple, very large gingham fabric we both wanted for ourselves.

A Christmas Dress
I'm also planning on making a dress for Christmas day out of this tartan, but I'm going to have a go at drafting my own pattern for this (it's what all the cool kids do, you know).  Of course, I'll keep you update on how that goes.

The Miette Knitting Pattern
This is more of a 'must actually finish this, finally' plan, getting those needles busy and getting the cardigan done.  The beginning of this cardigan has been sat on my needles for 6 months already, so I really should pull my finger out.  I do find knitting to be more of a chore than sewing, so if I can finish this this year (or by February) then I'll be happy.  One knitted garment a year is enough for me.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

How I Sew and Blog with a Full Time Job

Managing a full time job and a time consuming hobby is nothing new, nor something I am an expert it, but as I've made the transition from part time to full time work I've come across some challenges in balancing work, life, sewing and blogging. Here are a couple of tricks I've picked up over the last couple of months which have helped me to find that balance and still enjoy blogging! 

1. Organise! 
It took me a while to find a format to organise my blogging schedule.  I tried diaries,downloaded printables and various notepads, but the winner for me has to be the diary I made from a notebook- using a simple layout that I designed.  

It's got space to write up to three blogposts, should I ever manage to come up with three a week, space for a 'To Do' list, space to jot down ideas and a blank page to use as needed.  I've used this space to add a monthly calendar planning space every four weeks or so, here you can see how the months ahead will look, the blank pages can also be used to sketch out plans which need more space to evolve and many other useful things.  

Having this space is key to my organisation as I need the flexibility to make notes, expand ideas etc, but I want to keep it all together.  

2. Use lists
 you can see I've space for lists on my notebook, but I also use the app Top Tasks as a way of keeping lists on me at all times, should I need to add, edit or create lists on the go.  You never know when ideas will come to you.  I've chosen this app because you can create lists with in your main list- so useful!  And it doesn't over complicate things- perfect.

2. Use mobile writing apps
I'm writing this right now on the blogger app- it's brilliant! With an app you can write blog content when ever you have an idea or a spare five minutes. I don't recommend using the app for finishing off posts or adding photos etc as it is limited in its capabilities, but for text, it's rediculusly useful.  

3. Schedule Ahead of Time
Scheduling is your friend!  My projects are rarely competed and photographed at a sensible time for posting on line.  In fact, I tend to photograph a few makes at  once and schedule post a week or so in advance.  My work schedule means I have odd days off week to week, making regular photos and blogging even harder, so this is essential. 

And the most important thing, do not, under any circumstances, be mad at yourself for to following your schedule to the letter.  Skip a week, I dare you! The world won't crumble, and you might feel better for it.  Schedules are your friends, not your keeper.

Monday, 1 September 2014

What's on my Sewing Table?

I've been super bust working on this dress for a few weeks now- but it's almost come together :)  Im making Simplicity 2250,  a Cynthia Rowley pattern for a sundress.  To make it more of a transitional garment, I'm using a black cotton, so I can wear it layered up in the cooler months-  Take a peak!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Life Lately #2

It's been a busy, busy month, but oh so fun! I' managed to have a couple of weeks of work to hang out with Dave in his summer holidays.  Let me share with you what we've gotten up to!

As part of a series of day trips Dave and I visited Nottingham for a days shopping- we hit the market to check out the fabric stalls and had a wee wander around the vintage shops.  Nottingham has a great selection of vintage shops and we had a great day exploring them. Here is a selection of our bounty (though the dinos are not vintage, just cute!).  I was really excited to find some lovely vintage sheets in one vintage store, and a awesome wooden sewing box! I've been looking at the new ones of these that we sell at work, but they cost about £50, which really wasn't affordable.  but this one was just £16! Awesome!  I was also really please to find the beauty case, which I have put to great use with all the weddings and camping trips later in the summer.

Something I did pick up at work this month was new feet for my machine! I got a quilting foot and a invisible zip foot- both of which are amazing to work with.  I've been playing around with some small quilts.  I really enjoy the different challenges which come with quilting as opposed to dressmaking, and small quilts are the perfect way to dabble.   There aren't yet many babies in my life, but it's always good to have these things to hand.

My sister and I had a day making her an awesome Doctor Who skirt with the other curtain from my eBay haul.  It was a lot of fun :)  We made a simple a-line skirt for her, and  I really enjoyed teaching.  She's a natural anyway, so she picked it up really quickly.  

Also! Grace (that's my sister) got A*, A*, A in her A-levels!!! I'm so proud of her, she worked really hard and totally deserved getting those amazing grades.  Her exams fell just after our Dad died in May, so there was  time where we didn't know if she'd even take the exams.  Now, however, she if heading to Manchester University to study Physics! Oh yeh!

Then it was one of my best friends wedding! We went up a couple days early to help prepare the venue and help her stay calm and everything before the big day.  The day itself was amazing! I got to be one of her maid-of -honours, my other bestie was my pair.  It was just an amazing day, full of fun, love and laughter; we partied late and just celebrated an amazing couple.  It was a little bitter sweet, however, they moved to Prague the week after the wedding.  They both started teaching jobs in an international school this week, which is super exciting.  We'll be heading to visit in October, tickets are already booked!

After the weekend Dave and I headed to Soul Survivor to meet with our church youth group.  We had an amazing time, filled with ministry and God doing awesome stuff.  We also got to know our guys so much better and we are really pumped for all the stuff we're going to do in the year ahead with them.

Finally, I finished my quilt! I've spent over a year working on this twin bed sized quilt- by far the largest I've ever attempted.  And it was hard work! There'll be a full blog post on it soon.
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