Sunday, 21 June 2015

Treasure Trove

Hello everyone, how's it going?

Today I wanted to share with you some amazing fabrics I've recently aquired from  one of my grandparent's neighbours. His wife, who passed away a few years ago, was a seamstress and left behind a large amount of fabric, some of which has now been passed on to me. 

I was given two large plastic bags bursting with different colours and designs (there's even one with hats on!), as well as a big plastic tub filled with more zips than you can possibly imagine! 

Some of the fabric looks quite vintage to me, but I have absolutely no idea how to date them - any ideas? I've picked out a few of my favourites for you to have a look at... 

Paisley! There are three of these in red, blue and brown. The red feels like a lightweight cotton whilst the blue and brown have a more drapey, silky feel to them. 

This is a gorgeous textured fabric. I think it would make a really lovely summer blouse. 

These flowers are HUGE! Destined for a skirt, perhaps? 

Crazy fabric! I've already made a pair of shorts from this (watch this space!) but there's plenty left for another project. 

I intend to put these fabrics to good use and do their previous owner proud. They look as if they've been sat around in boxes for years before being unearthed and passed on to me, so I think it's about time they were given a purpose. Some of the remnants are too small to make a whole garment out of (like the red paisley, which is just a bunch of oddly sized scraps), but might be good for little accessories like a purse, bag or headscarf. 

What would you do with these fabrics?

Beth x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Broderie Anglaise Belcarra Blouse

Hello everyone, how are you all? 

I've just finished my fourth Belcarra Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns, and it certainly won't be the last! 

For this version, I chose a white broderie anglaise fabric which has been in my stash for ages - I think it was an Ebay purchase from when I first started sewing. Since the fabric has a slightly sheer quality I fully lined the whole blouse, which I achieved by cutting out all the pattern pieces in both the main fabric and lining fabric, then just treated them as a single layer when sewing. For my first attempt it worked really well and is very effective! 

I love the way the Belcarra looks on me, although the wide neckline was something that really bothered me on my first version. It never seemed to fit quite right on me and I hated the gaping. At a loss of how to solve the problem, I decided to just pinch a wedge of fabric out of the neckline at each shoulder and sewed it into a dart - probably very unorthodox but it worked! I've made the adjustment on every Belcarra I've sewn since and like the way the pattern sits on me much better now. 

Here's an untucked picture just to show you, which is how I would wear the blouse with jeans - in the top pictures I'm wearing it tucked in with my awesome new shorts (not handmade I'm afraid...they were from New Look). I think this blouse will be absolutely perfect for the coming summer months as it's a light piece which should keep me cool. 

Have you sewn anything new recently? I'd love to see! 

I hope you all have a lovely week, and thank you very much for reading. 

Beth x

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Gardener's World Live 2015

Hello everyone! 

This is primarily a sewing blog, of course, but today I wanted to share with you my day at Gardener's World Live. This is an annual event held at the NEC in Birmingham, which brings together a combination of show gardens, floral marquee displays and horticultural businesses, as well as linking up with the Good Food Festival where there are lots of free food samples to try! 

I've been to the event a few times in the past, and it never fails to provide a really lovely day's entertainment. Soaking up the atmosphere of people enjoying the plants, getting inspiration from the gardens and flower exhibits, choosing which plants you love enough to buy and bring home with's always a great day out. 

Today me and my dad went and listened to a couple of talks, one by Carol Klein (a presenter from the TV show Gardener's World) and one on caring for cacti and succulents. We also enjoyed looking round all the exhibits. 

Here are a few pictures I took during the day...

An amazing display of cacti which won Gold...I bought three little succulents for myself as well! 

I love alpines, but these ones were especially brilliant thanks to the gorgeous stone troughs they were planted in. Four of these came back with me for our new rock garden. 

Some of the bonsai trees were incredibly impressive. 

I love the idea of implementing a ladder amongst all the planting, especially with hanging baskets attached and smaller pots placed on the rungs. 

Maybe not the most practical sofa in the world but it's certainly very inventive! 

My favourite show garden - I particularly like the alpines planted in the gravel which helps to soften the overall look. 

This was a circular garden planted around a shed - you can see in the photo how on the left, the planting is based on cool colours like blue and purple, then as the garden moves round to the right there is a gradual transition into warmer colours like red, orange and yellow. 

I have about 200 photos from the day altogether, so I'd better stop there or I could go on forever! I hope that even if gardening isn't really your forte you have still enjoyed looking at all the photos; to me, a well planted garden really is a work of art, and though I'm not the most green fingered of people myself I love to go and look round garden shows when given the opportunity. 

I hope everyone has a lovely week, and thank you for reading! 

Beth x

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Completed! Mama Vertebrae Cardigan

Guys!!! I finished a cardigan!!!

This is the Mama Vertebrae cardigan by Kelly Brooker; I found the pattern on Ravelry. It doesn't have buttonholes so I thought it would be a pretty easy pattern for a beginner knitter like myself (when I say beginner, I mean I've never made an actual knitted garment before). It did come together pretty easily, but thanks to my stop-start knitting habit it's taken me almost nine months to complete! 

It's not perfect, there are some dodgy spots on the ribbing and some of the stitches are a bit uneven. However, for my first ever effort I'm really pleased with it, and know it will definitely see some wear! 

I had originally been going to knit full length sleeves, but I changed my mind halfway through (literally!) and made them cropped instead. I like the way the cropped sleeve style looks on me so I'm happy I made the decision - besides, if I'd have made it long sleeved it probably would have taken me a year to finish! 

Overall, I'm really pleased with the result. I've definitely been inspired to get my stitch on now that I have one finished cardigan in the bag, and I've already got going again on my mustard yellow cardigan

As always, thank you for reading, and I wish you much luck in any knitting projects you have on the go at the moment - I hope you're a quicker knitter than me! 

Beth x

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

My 100th Post!

Hi all!

Sorry for the post overload - what is this, four in four days?! Just a quick one today to celebrate my 100th post!

Thank you so much to all my readers for sticking with me for so long. The decision to start this blog was one of the best I ever made - through this little corner of the internet I have met so many lovely people, and have really enjoyed reading all the kind comments you've left for me here as well as getting to visit your own blogs. I hope you've enjoyed my first hundred posts, and here's to the next hundred! 

Beth x

Me-Made-May 2015: Concluding Thoughts

Hello everyone, how's it going?

Now we're into June I just wanted to take a few moments to reflect on this year's #mmmay challenge now that I've completed my pledge, and consider the things I've learnt from taking part.
  • In order to have a me-made wardrobe which fits my day to day style I need to concentrate on making a wider variety of garments like cardigans, tops, trousers and skirts - not just dresses
  • There were a lot of days where I wished I had a me-made cardigan that I could pull on instead of having to rotate my only three self-stitched tops, so I've pledged to myself that I will buy and make up the Jenna cardigan pattern from Muse before the summer is out
  • I love wearing my me-made clothes. The whole idea behind #mmmay is to give sewers a chance to reflect on their self-stitched wardrobes and figure out what they love about them, which really worked for me. The challenge gave me the opportunity to fall in love again with clothes I'd forgotten about - like my Mustard Sunflowers dress - and give them a chance to make their way back into my regular wardrobe rotation. It also gave me the push I needed to get going on some projects I've been planning for ages but never started, like my Belcarra Blouses
  • It's fine to mix and match me-made clothes with ready-to-wear. I know some sewers who take part in #mmmay wear almost exclusively me-made clothes throughout the month, even going so far as to consider how many RTW clothes they're allowed to wear in their pledges. However, this is not for me, at least for the moment. Coats, bras, underwear, jeans - for the time being, I certainly can't see myself sewing any of these. For now, I feel comfortable with the idea of mixing my own self-stitched clothing with clothes I've bought RTW; some is better than none, right?
So there we have it - reflections and lessons from this year's Me-Made-May challenge. Are there any ideas you'll be taking away from this year's #mmmay?

Beth x

Monday, 1 June 2015

Say 'Hello' to my New Sewing Machine!

Hello all!

I've had my new sewing machine for a few days now and I thought it was about time you guys were introduced properly. There's nothing actually wrong with my old machine, but as my skills as a sewer have progressed I've been wanting to upgrade to a machine with better features for a while now. Never fear though, I don't intend to completely abandon my old machine - I'm sure it will be pulled out for easier projects that don't require any fancy stitching :) 

This is a Singer Symphonie VI, a digital machine and, to me at least, super fancy! I'm used to my old Singer Tradition which doesn't really have any special features whatsoever, just your basic few stitches and a four step buttonhole. My new machine, however, has FORTY different stitches!!! 

To me, this is very exciting, especially as this includes three automatic one step buttonholes. Buttonholes have always been something I've shied away from as a sewer as my old machine used to throw a strop whenever I tried to make them. On my new easy! 

It came with this special buttonhole foot, which is designed to fit whatever button you're using on the back, then a little lever is pulled down from the top of the machine and fits behind that little plastic piece sticking out of the foot. From here, my clever little machine knows how big to make the buttonhole, then stops automatically once it's been stitched. Ahhh, sewing heaven. 

The machine itself came from Aldi (a supermarket) for £180, which I knew was a really good price for a digital machine like this, so I picked it up before they sold out. I know that supermarkets probably aren't the best places to buy sewing machines from usually, but I know Singer is a good make and I've had such good luck with my last machine, hopefully it will be reliable. Apart from all the lovely new fancy stitches (which I have of COURSE been trying out!) the machine works very similarly to my old one so it's not been too difficult to get to grips with. 

So, there we have it! I've already completed two makes with this machine and it really is lovely to work with. 

What kind of sewing machines do you have? 

Beth x


Happy June everyone!

About a month ago in early May, I signed up as a participant of Jumping into June, a challenge hosted by Handmade by Chris. The basic aim was to sew a jumpsuit to celebrate the arrival of June and (hopefully!) some summer weather. 

For my jumpsuit, I chose Holly from BHL, and chose Version 1 with the shorts in the hopes it would speed up the appearance of some sun! 

Here it is! My very own Holly. I chose to centre my jumpsuit around nice, bright colours, so went with a colour scheme of turquoise and orange, which has always been one of my favourite combinations. 

I cut the sleeve cuffs out of a plain orange cotton, which matches the orange flowers of the main print perfectly. There are seven turquoise buttons down the front, with lurrrvely buttonholes completed on my new digital machine! 

There were quite a few fitting issues with this jumpsuit, but surprisingly not with the shorts! I stupidly ended up sewing the bodice waaay too small and ended up unpicking virtually the whole thing to let out the side seams and decrease the darts to give more ease around the waist. Afterwards, I remeasured myself just to check, as the size I cut usually fits perfectly. My measurements haven't changed in the slightest though, so I guess this pattern just runs small. Luckily, I didn't give up on it and I'm happy with the finished result! 

Here are some photos I took of me jumping into June! 

Have you got any summer sewing projects on the go? I'd love to see! 

Have a great week everyone, 

Beth x