Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Selfless Stitches

The last couple of weeks has seen an uncharacteristic period of selfless sewing and knitting.  Firstly, I was going up to Birmingham to celebrate my friend Sherri's birthday.  I wasn't sure what to get her, then I remembered she has a love of all things 'seaside' (maybe because she lives just about as far away from the sea as you can get on this little island?).  So, I decided to make another version of the bag I made with Jane which you can see a picture of HERE.  I found the perfect fabric - a canvas weight with seaside images 
I also found seaside-related pressies to go in the bag too.  No, not a bucket an spade - although I considered it - but a slightly more sophisticated choice of a scented candle and some caramel and seasalt choccies.
We had a great celebration party, organised by her lovely nephew Adam,
who, incidentally, I knew when he looked like this .. ..... (and that's me - with short hair!)

I admit though, that the celebrations couldn't commence until after I had dragged Sherri to another fabric emporium - well, she only lives a few miles away from Guthrie & Ghani, so it would have been rude not to!  I got some lovely fabric, including this brilliant typewriter fabric.  
True, I already have ONE typewriter dress, but you can always use another one.
Anyway, back to the selfless stitches, last week I suddenly remembered that I had sent in an application to enter an exhibit in the Eastern Region Embroiderer's Guild Festival of Stitch and owing to other events, if I didn't do it last week, it wouldn't get done.  So I did it!  Can't show you the finished piece yet, but its listed as a 'tattoo cushion' and includes this
I've also done a bit of selfless-knitting, for the worldwide Knit in Public Day event at the Creative Sanctuary in Hertford, making squares to be made into a blanket which will be auctioned for Alzheimers Society.  I did finished one square on the day
and I've made several more since (I even got my Mum to do a bit of knitting - first time for years)
I continued with the Knitting in Public theme and knitted on the train going up to Stratford to help out with the second batch of alterations of the Paralympic kit - Kym and I were joined by Jane too this time - the building we were working in isn't finished yet so we still had to wear the protective gear
We worked hard, for two days, in a huge warehouse with no windows - Jane said she felt like an extra from the Hunger Games, and when an alarm sounded we thought maybe the building had been infiltrated by aliens - but still we stitched ...
We did get out safely though, and the world was still there - and so was the best helter skelter ever -
Bit more selfless sewing to go, then, no doubt, I'll revert to type and it'll all be about me.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Olympic Stitching

A few months ago Kym and I were working together at the Creative Sanctuary in Hertford, when a lady came in and asked if we knew anyone who might like to volunteer to alter kit for Paralympians, due to compete at Rio 2016.  
Now, as a rule, Kym and I both run a mile - albeit not quickly enough to qualify for Rio ourselves - when anyone mentions the word 'alterations'.  Not only that, but by her own admission, Kym avoids sewing anything stretchy or slippy, so I was quite surprised to hear myself say "Oh yes, we'll do it!"
Consequently today saw us getting the early train to Stratford and wandering through the Westfield Shopping Centre (the shops were closed or it might have taken considerably longer) and over to a warehouse where the kit was being sorted.  The warehouse was still under construction, which meant that before we entered the building we had to be given Hi-Vis vests, steel toe capped boots, hard hats and goggles.  
I'm glad to say we didn't have to keep the Health and Safety gear on all the time we were sewing, only whilst making our way through the building
We haven't by any means done all the kit - only a small proportion of the competitors have been selected so far, so we will be going back to do more in a few weeks time. 
I'm wondering - does this mean we can say we've worked on Stella McCartney's latest collection?
Anyway, having finished all the measuring and pinning, stitching and cutting that could be done today, we had to put the same protective gear back on to make our way out again to go home.
Mmm, I don't think Stella McCartney designed THIS.  But it's a look that could catch on.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Days 26 27 28 29 30 and 31

So much for daily posting then.
I spent most of Thursday (26th) working in the garden in a very old T shirt, but when I came in and got showered I did change into this Camber top for a couple of hours sewing, finishing off my new Navy and White striped Coco tunic, just in time to wear it the next day when I drove back up to Sunny Norfolk again.  
Grace looks cute but the photos don't show much of the dress

so I cheated over the weekend and put it on to take another shot in the garden
Saturday was a visit to a garden nursery, followed by more planting in Mum and Dad's garden, wearing the B&W Coco top
Sunday - a bit more plant buying and gardening in an old T shirt and my me-made Rowan denim cardigan - no photo but you've seen it countless times, and on Monday I drove home in a super loud scuba Maker's Atelier Shell top.
And finally, Day 31 - a me-made Grainline Linden sweatshirt 
in a grey marl sweatshirting from Backstitch, still available HERE.  
My Dad refused to believe I'd made this, saying it look like 'shop-bought', which I think was meant to be a compliment.
I had to show him where I'd stitched a little bit of Liberty fabric into the neck to convince him
Yes, I know you could buy a plain grey marl sweatshirt anywhere, but why would I?  And the reason I chose plain grey was that it felt lovely and was a great price, and I wanted to try the pattern out before I went mad and bought the Liberty print sweatshirting HERE
Oh, and I also wore Me-Made socks, being as how it feels like November again.

So that's it, another Me Made May done and dusted.  A few repeats, but not too many, and its getting easier every year, as more and more of my wardrobe is handmade.  I went a whole year (2015) without buying any new clothes, and I've only bought a couple of bits this year, and frankly, I no longer get the buzz from clothes shopping that I used to.  Put me in a fabric shop, and that's a whole different story though.  In an ideal world I would make all of my own clothes - coats, jackets, jeans, underwear - but that's probably optimistic and a long way off.  Plus, I've got more than enough of the aforementioned to last me a while so there's little point in making things I don't need. 

I've made lots of fancy frocks, and stuff that screams "I made this!" - but now I intersperse those with more sensible makes.  My last me-made garment - the plain grey sweatshirt - is probably significant. A really wearable garment that I can throw on over a pair of jeans for everyday, and not be too precious about.
Now if I can just pluck up the courage to make those jeans.

Anyway, tomorrow I'm off for a bit of Olympic sewing ........ 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Days 24 and 25

Ooops - I took a photo yesterday but then forgot to post it.  Anyway, I wore a blue and white polka dot Colette Laurel made ages ago, shortened twice into a tunic.  
Nothing else to say about it really - never been happy about the neckline, too wide and it gaps a bit at the back neck - I have made adjustments to rectify future versions.
Today I met up with my friend Debs at the V&A to see the Botticelli Reimagined exhibition.  Don't let me put you off if you are keen to see it, but we were a bit underwhelmed.  We've been so impressed by previous exhibitions - Club to Catwalk, Hollywood Costumes, Wedding dresses, and particularly 'Bowie Is' and Alexander McQueen so maybe we expected too much of this, or maybe it was just not to our tastes - when you've seen a dozen 'Madonna and Child' you've seen them all in my humble opinion.  I have to say that the colours were brilliant though, considering that they were painted in the 1400's.
Still there was fun to be had, even for a non-intellectual art lover - a very nice lunch and a catch up with Debbie who I only get to see a couple of times a year, a wander in the shop
A 'shellfie' .....
and Gill as Venus in a star spangled Camber ....
'after Botticelli's Venus' ...
Not that you can really see anything of my dress in the photos, but here's a close up of the lovely fabric, a Liberty Wool Challis from Backstitch
This dress is hot off the machine - I only finished it yesterday, and I think its set to be a favourite.

Monday, 23 May 2016

MMM 2016 Days 21, 22 and 23

I wasn't able to post over the weekend as I was away in Norfolk, and to be honest, I had better things to do than sit in front of the computer!
I've now got to the point in the month when there will inevitably be some repeat garments ....
On day 21 I wore my striped Coco top with RTW jeans
Day 22 was another Agnes, this time in a fuchsia pink and white stripe, that I think I bought in Bournemouth last year, worn underneath my Camber top
and today I'm wearing another Makers Atelier top in a different (but equally loud) scuba fabric
with my Ultimate trousers.  
Will try to find something new to wear for the rest of the week!

Friday, 20 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Day 20

We met for knitting at Gina's today, which was great because not only did we get to meet her new puppy....
but also, as luck would have it, we timed our visit to coincide with Cupcake Friday - how's that for a bit of forward planning?  Before we left I bought a box of Gina's freshly baked Sticky Toffee cupcakes, described as "light date sponge topped with caramel buttercream and homemade fudge" - all I can add is that they are absolutely delicious (and real, homemade fudge pieces on top -who else does that?!?!)

Anyway, back to Me-Made-May and today I wore a Colette Aster shirt with pintucks on the front bodice and with a selection of various floral buttons. The fabric is a lovely chambray with little specks of colour in it - I know you can't see it in the photo but you'll have to take my word for it.  I got it from Backstitch, and they still have it in stock HERE
Hmmm, I do love this vintage Laura Ashley scarf, but hadn't realised that it appears to bring out the rosiness of my cheeks ....

Thursday, 19 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Day 19

A very quick post as I'm hungry - a Makers Atelier Shell top made from a rather colourful scuba fabric bought in Birmingham in January.

Hmm - not very flattering, at least not in this picture (I don't remember it looking like this on the size zero model on the pattern envelope)
In fact, it looks like I have secreted a large fabric stash under my top.
As if.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Day 18

Another day, yet another fabric shop.
Today Gina and I were at Backstitch for our Social Sew. (Gina's making a Factory Dress and I'm making my umpteenth Camber)
I wore another Colette Laurel dress, this time made in an embossed heavy jersey (some would say Crimplene) that I bought in Birmingham back in January. 

I think I now know why Crimplene lost its popularity - although it doesn't crease and is very easy care - it bobbles and catches easily. 
That and the fact it was mostly used for button-through pinafores beloved by elderly ladies.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Day 17

Gosh, it feels like just a few hours ago that I was here last....
I wasn't working today, but I called into the shop so you are spared the boring 'photo in the wardrobe mirror'. 
Firstly a Colette Laurel top made with fabric from the Creative Sanctuary worn with the first garment repeat so far this month - the Sewoverit Ultimate trousers
They don't look too bad from the front, but I got Kym to take a rear shot, more for my benefit than anything else, but I've decided to share it (you lucky people!)
Ah, not so well fitting from the back then. I'd SO like to make the perfect trouser pattern, but I really don't know how to resolve this excess fabric problem.
Except, I suppose, to make longer tops.

MMM 2016 - Day 16

Took a photo of yesterday's outfit, but then I forgot to post so now I'll have to do two posts today -
Monday evening is guitar club, so in preparation, I wore my Me-Made music themed skirt, (it's got guitars and turntables and headphones on) made from my straight skirt block, together with a imitation suede Camber top
And the boots which I bought for a fiver from a Spanish market over 20 years ago!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Day 15

So - half way through, a post everyday and no garment repeats - can I keep that up until the end of May?
I was working at the shop today, but forgot to get anyone to take a photo, so had to take it myself in the mirror, after a long walk uphill, and without combing my hair.  
No one's perfect.
This is the first Coco dress I made, in a houndstooth check Ponte Roma
Has anyone else made their 'Should I stay or should I go" Brexit decision on the basis of the number of votes we got in Eurovision last night?

Saturday, 14 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Day 14

Usually when I see my friend Fiona, we meet at a point midway between us, and spend a few hours drinking coffee, eating cake and shopping.  Well, to be strictly true, I don't really shop, I just bully her into buying things.  It works for us.
Today, though, I went over to her house, and met up with three of her boys.  It's been a very different kind of Saturday for me - playing games sitting in front of the television frantically pressing buttons on a control.  I took part in my first ever game of FIFA - I was Argentina, but surprisingly they weren't blessed with their usual success.  
I blame this on (a) the fact that as a alleged grown up, I thought it was only fair to let the boys win, and (b) they didn't tell me what all the knobs on the control were for.  
I'll be more prepared next time.
I was also introduced to Minecraft.  Now what's all THAT about?  The blurb says "Minecraft is a game about placing blocks and going on adventures. Explore randomly generated worlds and build amazing things from the simplest of homes to the grandest of castles"
Mmm....  we seemed to have a large hotel, with ladders instead of lifts, and cows randomly roaming about in reception, chased by a manic farmer dressed in a tuxedo.  Think 'The Archers' meets 'Crossroads' 
By the end of it I felt very confused and a bit dizzy.  Doesn't anyone do Blow Football or Fuzzy Felt anymore? 
Next time I'm taking a supply of knitting needles and yarn - and let's just see how they get on with knitting socks.

Anyway, after a spot of lunch, we took the two youngest, James and George, to the park for their tennis session, followed by a bit of skateboarding.  Obviously by now, I was in my element.  
To give credit where it's due, they were pretty good, 

But not a patch on me - I left them standing .....
But then I was wearing my go-faster Agnes Apples and Pears top, with my skater girl denim cardie.
Tony Hawk, eat your heart out.

Friday, 13 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Day 13

Today I met with friends Gina and Pam for coffee and knitting (please note - NO cake!) 
I wore a dress that was a little bit inspired by a Ted Baker dress I'd liked (and a price tag I didn't)  - previously blogged about HERE

Yes, it's a bit loud maybe, but I still quite like it.
Slightly surreal photo, I've half blended into the background.  Maybe it was the light, or maybe it's because its Friday the 13th?

Thursday, 12 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Day 12

Today I've been to Clare in Suffolk to meet up with friends Lynne and Libby for a walk.  Obviously we couldn't start walking until we'd had tea and scones at Clare Antiques, plus a little (vintage) retail therapy.
Libby had printed out a walk, and we set off in brilliant sunshine.
I only wore one Me Made garment today, a Merchant and Mills Camber top in a linen/cotton mix - I've not even thought about making walking trousers!)
I do hope they're not laughing at my photo ......
There were a few wrong turns mainly due to lack of footpath signs, and the fact that some landowners don't want three well behaved "ladees' walking around their fields.
Generally though, it was a lovely walk with a couple of refreshment stops, beautiful views, sunshine and laughter.
And we definitely managed our 10,000 steps today

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

MMM 2016 - Day 11

I had a trip to the seaside today - Leigh on Sea - to meet my friend Viv.  We met in Belle Fabrics - probably not a wise move as I DEFINITELY didn't need to buy any more fabric.  Oh well, if there's ever a world fabric shortage, I'll be ok for a while.  No doubt the resulting garments will be displayed here over the next few months.
Anyway, today's outfit - a new Me Made this week - a Tilly and the Buttons Coco top, worn with my third pair of SewOverIt Ultimate trousers.  I made them a while ago, with a lots of pattern adjustments, and I'd made them quite straight legged, but when I put them on I couldn't help thinking they looked a bit like, well, 'slacks' to be honest.  So I've slimmed the legs down, adjusted the fit, and they are definitely wearable now.  
I'm beginning to wonder if I'm just not 'trouser-shaped'.