Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Days 21 - 26
Day 21
I've been up to visit my parents in Norfolk for a few days, so there's a slight variation of scenery for my photo backgrounds. It wasn't quite as warm as it looks here (it's windy up in the Flatlands!) so I wore my handknitted denim jacket over the birdie Camber top, and self-drafted snakeskin denim skirt, 
Day 22
Fine weather, so I helped out with some gardening for Mum and Dad - denim jumper and starry denim Ultimate trousers
Day 23
On Saturday I took my Mum and my niece Sarah out for afternoon tea at a posh hotel.  The occasion was a treat for my niece, who is expecting her first baby in a few weeks time.  She's enormous! You'll have to take my word for it because, although I took her photo, she may never forgive me if I post it on here.
So, instead, here are a pair of the booties I knitted.  Like Sarah, they, too, are enormous.  In fact, they are so big that when I showed my Dad, he asked if I was going to put studs on them.  Saz said she was seriously concerned about the whole 'giving birth' thing, if the baby was going to come out with feet the size of these boots.
I also gave her a quilted play mat that I'd made - I bought the fabric as soon as I knew she was expecting, but I only got around to making it a couple of weeks ago. The picture was taken in the Creative Sanctuary, which is where I got the fabric).  Since my lovely sister is no longer with us, I thought I should step up to the quiltmaking mark. I've never machine quilted before, but I used the walking foot that came with one of my machines, it went like a dream. Anyway, Sarah said that her Mum would have been proud of me, so I'm more than happy with that.
Back to MMM.  Afternoon tea at a smart hotel called for a ridiculous frock, so it was the Christine Haynes Emery dress made in black and white gingham with a couple of rows of Russian dolls appliqued around the skirt.
Day 24
Black Ultimate trousers, with a Laurel top
Day 25
Pottering in my own garden today, so I wore shop bought jeans and a very bright Jalie top (I can't ever see myself stitching my own jeans, but you never know)
Day 26
Working in the shop today, so I wore another Merchant and Mills Camber dress that I made with this fabric that I bought there, (but I forgot all about getting a photo taken while I was there)
Well, we're on the home run now, only five more photos to inflict on you!
Flatlands - Mark Lanegan

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Mirror Mirror

Days 19 -and 20

Day 19 - I always feel a bit conspicuous in this top, so I decided to wear it today as I'm not planning on going far.
I screen printed the fabric myself on a course years ago, and eventually got around to using it, a year or so ago, for a Schoolhouse tunic
The leggings are a recent make, using McCalls 6173 and grey Ponte jersey.  I'm really pleased with these, I cut them longer in the body, and in the leg than the pattern said, but other than that, the fit is fine. They only took about an hour to make, so I'll definitely be making more, as soon as I find some suitable jersey.
That may mean a shopping trip, or there again, it may just fall out of the cupboard onto my head.

Day 20 - My original Coco dress (I've made two since this)

I think I've now found the best place to take 'selfies'.  One day I might try a bit of Photoshop-ing to take out the backgound. Of course, if I master that, it'll only be a short learning curve to lose two stone and maybe a few wrinkles.  As if.

Mirror Mirror - Pinkerton's Assorted Colours.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

In These Shoes?

Days 17 - 18

Day 17 - Sunday, working at the shop this afternoon, so I wore two recently made garments
both already blogged and both made from fabric purchased in the shop, (which is HERE)
To prove it, here's the fabric I used for my skirt, 
what I can only describe as a kind of snakeskin denim with a bit of stretch
I might have to get a bit more for another pair of Ultimate trousers.  Talking of which .....

Day 18 - back to taking my own photos - a hand knitted denim jumper (when is it going to properly be summer and warm enough for no sleeves?) and my Ultimate trousers in the navy denim with white stars.  I really love these trousers, and although the pattern says to use a concealed zip, for these I made a lapped zip and attached a zip guard, and added a trouser bar to the top of the facing.  These are close to perfect now fit-wise, just a bit of fine tuning to be done.
Oh, and you know I said no new clothes since Chritsmas, weeeell, obviously that didn't include shoes - I can't make them.  So I did make one wearable purchase in Whitstable
a beautiful pair of Irregular Choice shoes with small heels.  They only had them in two sizes, and luckily, one of them was mine.  I'm wearing them around the house at the moment, just because I can.

In These Shoes? - Kirsty MacColl

Sunday, 17 May 2015

(There'll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover

Days 9 - 16
I've just had a wonderful week away in Kent with a couple of friends - a great cottage, with a lovely garden, and a visiting rabbit
and Colin, our pet robin, who ate the cake crumbs that we'd missed ..
We had (mostly) fine weather, lots of eating - some healthy, some not, long walks and almost continual laughter.  And, of course, fabric dyeing - doesn't everyone do that on their hols??
Anyway, I have to say that packing for MMM resulted in more careful planning than usual - I have lots of fancy frocks and silly skirts, but my wardrobe is not particularly well-stocked with handmade walking gear or outfits for potentially messy dyeing incidents. Consequently there was a bit of frantic sewing to make another pair of ultimate trousers, a pair of leggings and some pyjama bottoms. Definitely time well spent, and I managed to dress in me-made items everyday (without even counting the pyjamas!)
And, of course, I had someone on hand to take photos all week too.
Day 9 - my Merchant and Mills Factory dress for travelling
Day 10 - On Sunday I am afraid I only managed a hand knitted denim jumper - for a walk around Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve in the morning 
and a trip to Sandwich after lunch
with a bit of live music in the sunshine.
Day 11 - Monday and a trip to Margate - unfortunately we picked the day that the Turner Contemporary gallery was closed, but the Cupcake Cafe was open, so there was cake.
Me-made black and white Jalie top 
I managed to convince my obliging companions that they should pose by this poster ...
Day 12 - Tuesday was fabric dyeing in the garden.  Knowing how messy I am I didn't want to risk getting splashes on my decent clothes, so I wore the recently made grey leggings, on the basis that the dyes wouldn't show.  
I'd put my cardigan on by the time the photo was taken, but underneath I was wearing this tee shirt - it's a bit synthetic, but I knew that meant the dye wouldn't stain it, and even if it had, it's not like it would notice.
We left the fabrics to 'stew' in the dye, and went for a walk with typical Kentish views
returning in time to rinse and hang the fabrics out to dry.
I was delighted with the results - the colours  were stunning.  The subtle, tasteful pieces belong to my friends, and needless to say the lurid, in-your-face pieces are mine.

Day 13 - Wednesday was spent at Goodnestone Park Gardens 
really worth a visit.
I wore my new Ultimate trousers made from dark blue denim sprinkled with white stars
Day 14 - Thursday - was our one rainy day, so we went to Canterbury to visit the Cathedral - beautiful stained glass, and such grand architecture 
for which I wore one of my Coco's, and black Ultimate trousers, with a knitted denim cardie
Day 15 - Friday was Deal, with lunch on the pier, followed by a walk along the white cliffs of Dover to the South Foreland lighthouse 
made from this fabric.....
You'll no doubt be pleased to know that I refrained from singing.
Day 16 - Our week was over all too quickly and Saturday meant it was time to go home.  We decided to take a group photo using the self timer.  I can't tell you how many times I hurtled across the lawn, only to be beaten by the timer.

Eventually I realised I had the camera set on two seconds delay, rather than ten. Doh! 
I'm wearing a self drafted skirt with machine appliqued and embroidered paper dolls and a hand knitted red Miette cardigan.

My NY resolution this year was not to buy any new clothes for the month of January.  At the end of the month, I decided that wasn't exactly a massive challenge, so I extended it for an indeterminate period, and so far I haven't bought any new clothes since before Christmas.  It hasn't been too difficult - until yesterday, when we spent the day at Whistable on the way home.  There are so many independent shops and boutiques there with really lovely clothes, it's true that I was sorely tempted. But I am proud to say that I resisted.  I'd better not go there again until next year.

(There'll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover - Dame Vera Lynn 

Friday, 8 May 2015

One Week

Me Made May 2015 - Days 2 - 8

Red Miette cardigan and 'skulls and roses' skirt
Christine Haynes Emery dress in sewing machine fabric
Red Miette with new self-drafted skirt in 'snakeskin denim' from HERE
and a close up of the fabric, with red spotted bias trimmed facings
Red spotted Laurel (chopped down from a dress) with black Ultimate trousers
- and self trimmed shoes
Red Miette again (how often is TOO often?) with self drafted gored skirt with handprinted and embroidered flowers
Coco tunic (again shortened from a dress) and the black ultimate trousers
and finally, my machine embroidered  Camber dress
Contrary to appearances, I wasn't visting a stately home - it's my cousin Jean's beautiful garden - and she told me to pose like Victoria Beckham.  Sadly, I don't look any thinner - I just look like I'm balanced on one fat leg.  
But at least I'm smiling.

One Week - Barenaked Ladies

Friday, 1 May 2015

First Cut Is The Deepest

It's the first day of Me Made May!  For anyone who doesn't already know, it's an annual event (every May, funnily enough) that the lovely blogger Zoe started in 2010.  For more info you can read this post, but basically you pledge to dress in all, or at least some, handmade clothes every day for a month. This is my pledge:-
'I, Gill, of http://vintagerockchick-gill.blogspot.co.uk, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item of clothing (sewn or knitted) each day for the duration of May 2015 and at least one of those each week to be a frock!
(I've made loads and don't wear them often enough)

The point is, you are supposed to wear the things that you've already made, the idea is NOT intended to have you stitching into the small hours like a woman possessed.  
Except.....  over the last couple of years I have made quite a few quirky skirts and a number of frivolous frocks, but fewer garments that are designed for a normal(ish) person of mature years to wear in real life.  And, as I'll be going for a few longish walks with friends, and dyeing fabric and other similar 'messy' activities during the course of the month, I thought I'd better take stock and look for 'gaps' in my handmade wardrobe for everyday garments.  
Which is my excuse for the sewing frenzy that has been going on here for the past week or so.  It's been good though, all fabric from my stash - it's barely made a dent.  
I've made pyjama trousers from this brushed tartan ....
a pair of skinny trousers from this stunning star struck stretch denim (alliteration rules)
a top from this birdie fabric from here (they still have some, if you're quick)
and a dress from this sewing related linen (from same place as the birdie print)
This much stitching obviously results in the odd injury - you'd be surprised just how far a quilter's pin can insert itself into your leg when you wiggle out trousers that are in the 'fine-tuning' process. 

However, I digress.  I still have one or two plans for more practical items in the near future, although rest assured, there will still be ridiculous frocks.
So today I met friends for knitting.  Please note - we are not a 'Knit and Natter group - we don't natter, we discuss. Diverse topics covered today included the forthcoming election, the inefficiency of the tax office, yarn shops and brocantes in France, the vast revenue generated from Speed Awareness courses, and shirtless scything.  (If you don't understand the last bit, you must be from Mars.)
So, today's MMM garment is a Merchant and Mills factory dress, made from some men's suiting fabric that I bought on my first trip to Goldhawk Road a few months ago.  I think it's Prince of Wales check, and has a generous proportion of wool in it.  It looks dark grey, but it also has a fine cerise-y pink check running through it. 
I know it's a bit on the loose side, but that's the style of the pattern and I quite like it. As I knew today would be a photo opportunity, I took a belt for styling purposes
The pattern was a dream to make up, and I loved making it - partly the brilliant pattern with clear instructions, and partly the fabric.
This is me explaining to the ladies of the tea room why I was having so many photos taken, and then, briefly, the concept of Me Made May
And the location?  The Brewery Tea Rooms in Walkern
It was so lovely, with great coffee, lovely food and pretty surroundings, that we're going there next time we meet too. I can recommend the cheese scones, and later on today, I'll probably be able to recommend the Millionaire's shortbread, as I bought some to take home.
Well, it would be rude not to.

First Cut Is The Deepest - Cat Stephens (etc, etc)