Amsterdam calling

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In just 6 days I will be in Amsterdam! Can you tell that I’m quite excited?! My mum and I are going to have a long weekend and plan on spending far too much money in the fabric shops in the city! We need your recommendations on where the best fabric and haberdashery shops are in Amsterdam, so please leave a comment below!

We are also going to visit the fabric market in Utrecht and as I mentioned in this post there are a few haberdashery shops there too I want to revisit.

If anyone has any other suggestions for things to do in the city aside from the tourist trap stuff, please do let me know. I plan on doing a post about our trip when we return so keep your eyes peeled!

Stitching Santa – part 2

I can finally share with you guys what I gave to my Stitching Santa recipient for Sewchet’s 2015 Christmas swap, which was very kindly arranged for a second year by Sheila! I didn’t want to share it with you guys before I had heard from my person but rather making a duplicate post, Lucie, who blogs over at lovelucie1.wordpress.com, has already kindly written about her gifts here! If you scroll towards the bottom of the post, you can see what I sent to her and at the top you can see what great gifts she gave to her recipient!

I highly recommend getting involved in this years swap (if there is one) – I really loved seeing how generous and thoughtful the gifts those involved both received and sent and am looking forward to Stitching Santa for 2016! If you missed my post about the gifts I received from Lynn at thetialys.wordpress.com, click here to read about my lovely presents.

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The handmade gift I sent was this embroidery hoop – pink polka dot cotton, blue and gold embroidery and gold beading

The first make of 2016!

I’ve completed a make! Already! Well, I actually finished this a few days ago but still – a very productive start to 2016!

belcarra 1.JPGAfter my last attempt at Sewaholic’s Belcarra pattern (which turned out to be a complete dud, by the way, which you can read about here) I was determined to have another go with a proper bust adjustment before writing it off as a failure.

It had been on the list for later in the year but following a loss in the family I needed something to wear the funeral and there were no plain black smart tops anywhere to be found in shops. (This is why I have been a bit quiet over the last few weeks – I won’t be sharing more deimagetails but my family and I are all ok – very sad with a lot on our minds but otherwise ok x). Instead I opted to wear a muted colour and found this teal, white and blue-black peachskin in the remnant box in good old John Lewis for £6 for a metre and thought I would be able to make something simple in a short amount of time. I cant find out anything about the brand though, so if anyone has any links to their other designs do let me know as this washed and sewed perfectly.

This time, I took the time to do a proper FBA using this tutorial as I think this is where the problem was with the last one. I cut a 12 based on my high bust and then adjusted before grading out to a 14 at the hips. This significantly reduced the fabric around the belcarra 2.JPGshoulders that I had on my first version but I did have to put darts in the back to give it some more shape – too sack like otherwise. Need to shift some more pounds before things hang properly on me! I omitted the cuffs again due to time and lack of fabric, and used pre-made cotton bias tape instead of cutting my own. The finish on the sleeve edges aren’t my best but I am really pleased with the neckline finish as it hasn’t stretched out and lies nice and flat against my chest. On my next one I want to see if I can shorten it in the body and move the darts up, or do a narrow back adjustment as well as a swayback as there is still a lot of blousing at the top above the darts. I haven’t looked in Fit For Real People about what to do yet so if anyone has any tips or advice please let me know. I also took 4cm from the neckline tapering to nothing at the arm hole over the top of the shoulder to lift my Belcarra into the right place and shortened the whole top by 4cm before hemming, as it’s just too long in the body for little me. I can imagine though that with a bit of clever drafting this could be made into a sweet mini dress in the summer…

This is also the first time I used my tripod that I was given by Hayden at belcarra 4.JPGChristmas! I did take a few pictures on his swanky camera with all the bells and whistles but it’s just too complicated for a photography noob like me so I switched to my little point-and-shoot from 6 years ago, and discovered it does a few swanky things of it’s own! I still hate having my picture taken and I don’t really know what to do with my arms yet, but at least it stopped raining long enough to get a few nice snaps! (Yes I am an old person who says snaps).

I used my overlocker too – changed the thread and everything! Saved so much time and I even bravely twiddled about with the tension and sort of got it to work properly! Does anyone have any recommendations for overlocker/serger online courses/actual classes (in London)/Youtube channels/books etc? I’m considering making some active wear so would
like to get a bit more experience  working with stretch on the overlocker before I embark on a stretch project!

I have lots of plans and positives and projects for 2016 and the last few weeks have been difficult but educational too. Hoping to move forward and make this year a good one 🙂 What has everyone got planned for life in 2016?

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I’m not in focus but I really like this one haha!

 

Fabric of India

Ergh. Monday. My first Monday back at work since before Christmas. It was a reallllly long day but I was given a large box of chocolates so there’s that.This week is another muddled one as I will have 2 days off midweek for a family thing so by the time Saturday comes I won’t know what I’m doing! Trying to get back into the swing of normal life is so hard at this time of the year.


Ari embroidered silk

This weekend my mum and I visited the Fabric of India exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The V &A are currently holding an India season and this was the major exhibition. The exhibition explores how different Indian textiles were historically made and dyed as well as how these textiles were used, traded and even treated as sacred items, from the 3rd century right up to the present day.


Hand painted tent owned by the 18th-century Indian ruler of Mysore, Tipu Sultan.

We spent nearly 2 hours is this fascinating exhibition, learning about how these beautiful textiles were created, who was making them (did you know that it was predominantly men who wove fabrics and embroidered intricate designs for sale, whereas women would create textiles for the home) the cultural significance of certain pieces, right down to how sunshine can affect just how blue indigo dye is! I came away from the exhibition really in awe of the centuries of talent on display and also completely inspired to have a go at some of the dying techniques myself!

I’ve included a video that is in the exhibition showing how ari embroidery is done using the same techniques from hundreds of years ago – watch to see just how fast they make each minute stitch! In absolute awe. Cross stitch will never be the same again…

I did want to write about my favourite pieces but there were soooo many stunningly beautiful pieces! Instead I’m going to show you guys some pictures of what is on offer (all from my Google image search or embedded from Getty images as photography was not permitted in the exhibition). The exhibition is only on until 10th January so if you can get to London before Sunday I highly recommend this beautiful exhibition. I’ve included the link at the top of the page to the exhibition and more resources and pictures which I highly recommend checking out because some are just stunning. Ticket price info can also be found here. If you do get a chance to visit before it closes please let me know in the comments what you thought

Embroidered carpet belonging to Emporor Shah Jehan, circa 1630-40:

Embroidered city map (it’s huge and the pictures just don’t do it justice):

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Wall hangings
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Printed sample book, 1869

 

 

Well that went quickly…

2015 is over. Where did that year go?! For me it was a year of ups and downs, for sewing and life in general, but on the whole it was a pretty good year.

I’ve seen lots of posts over the last few days from people showing the good the bad and the ugly from the last 12 months which have been brilliant to read, and although I too have made several complete duffers this year, I haven’t really made enough to be able to show you 5 of each! Instead, I wanted to share my goals with you for the forthcoming year, for both sewing and… well, everything else!

Sewing
The first one – sew more! I have a small but ever growing list of things I would like to make. I want to continue to focus on making things that I’m actually going to wear, instead of making another dress that lives on a hanger after I’ve hemmed it. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kinda  girl at heart and separates just work better for me. My list isn’t exhaustive by any means – as I type this I know I have several more projects scrawled in a notebook that I want to complete. Let’s see how many of the following I can tick off by 2017!

So far on the list:
Simplicity 1590 1950s vintage blouse
Named Alpi chinos
Simplicity 1254 hooded coat
By Hand London Victoria blazer
Itch To Stitch Lindy petal skirt
Burda 6875 blazer
Simplicity Amazing Fit 1696 trousers
Knipmode trenchcoat
Closet Case Ginger jeans

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Second on the list – spend proper time on my blog. I love being able to get involved with the sewing community after years of feeling completely alone in my hobby and I want to take more care with my posts – take better pictures and write better posts for you guys to read. Maybe even post regularly, although I’m not sure I can sew that fast anymore! There are so many possibilities of things I could make or write about but at the end of the day this blog is something that I really enjoying doing (way more than I ever anticipated) and I want to share my experiences, successes and disasters with you, so if there is anything you would likdr evil memee to see more of on the blog apart from my normal ramblings, please let me know in the comments below or via instagram!

Third on the list – learn how to make digital PDF patterns and grade them properly…

Everything else
In normal every day non-sewing life there are so many things I would like to achieve this year! Last year Hayden and I planned to cook every recipe from front to back in the cookbook from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey. We made it to Vietnam, and a very tasty journey it was too! Maybe this year we will actually complete it…?

I want to travel to a new country. My mum and dad gave me flight vouchers for Christmas which need to be used by the end of 2016 so I’m just going to have to go on holiday somewhere! Any suggestions? I’m up for a fabric shopping trip somewhere warm and sunny…

I really want to be a bit healthier, do more exercise and lose some (lots) of weight. It’s that age old, clichéd resolution that everybody swears that ‘this is going to be their year‘ and I’ll even admit to making and breaking this one a few times in the past. But in truth I am unhappy and uncomfortable at this current weight and I do need to make some changes. I’ve got a fair bit to lose to be at a healthy weight (I don’t look as heavy as I am, I like to think I’m densely packed, like dates at Christmas) and I actually do like exercising. Just need to stop being so bloody lazy… I also want to see if losing weight/toning up makes my body easier to fit new projects to. Maybe I could make some active wear!! So this year I’m not setting a yearly goal to achieve this one. I’m going to do monthly goals instead, break it all down into smaller, less daunting chunks. January’s goal is to workout 3 times a week and to lose 4lb. I reckon both are achievable without drastically changing my entire life – just eat better food and move my bum a bit more!

This has turned out to be quite a long rambling post so 10 house points if you made it to the end! I’m going to eat all the cheese in the house before midnight, in the name of emptying the fridge, of course…

Happy New Year everyone! Can’t wait to see what you guys make this year! xx

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image from Google