Is this any use to you? Yes please!

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One of the lovely things about sewing is that once people know you sew, then they will bear you in mind when having a clear-out! You may become the destination for all sorts of goodies, if you’re lucky!

I write this post because this month, I have been fortunate enough to have several things donated to my stash! Some fabric, a boxful of mixed threads and some pins, a couple of cones of yarn and the thing I got most excited about…three reels of bias binding!

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Sewists are by nature hoarders, I think. Am I right?! There is not a scrap of ribbon, a spool of thread or a tiny square of fabric that is useless. Seriously. I always say yes (or actually “WOW, YES, PLEASE!!!” while trying not to drool on the item in question) when anyone offers me anything remotely to do with sewing. You never know when it’ll come in useful. In fact, my Margot pyjamas (see previous post) and my Skater Dress were both made out of fabric that someone gave me last year when their aunt was having a clear out!

Tools and gadgets are also most welcome, aren’t they? Some of my most treasured items came from my grandmother’s sewing & knitting things, which I inherited when she died. Every time I use her darning mushroom or needle roll I think of her. I also have a large tin full of knitting needles of all sizes that have come from friends, relatives and friends-of-friends that know about me!

Earlier this year, I inherited a cute book on crochet from a friend at work that found out it wasn’t for her. I also have become the lucky owner of a whole set of Golden Hands magazines that I have been lusting after for years (oooh! I love them for their seventies macrame and lurex gorgeousness!)

So the message to you all is to say “Yes please”, whenever anyone offers you anything. You might not use it straight away, but if you keep it squirrelled away, you never know when you might want to use it! Now, what can I do with 75 metres of bias binding?!!

A tidy-up, and a couple of things knocked off the To Do list!

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Last weekend I tidied my sewing room! Woo-hoo! It was lovely to spend some time sorting through my fabric stash especially (wow, I have too much fabric, if there is such a thing!) and rediscovering some of the lovely bits and pieces I’d forgotten about! It’s all now nice and tidy and stacked neatly in colour blocks. Wonder how long that will last?! But it gave me a good chance to spy things I’d not remembered I had, which led in turn to a couple of things on the To-Do list!

My stash. I seriously need to use some of it before buying anything new!
My stash. I seriously need to use some of it before buying anything new! This cupboard is the height of me, by the way!

The 2015 “To Do” list is coming along nicely. I have been making myself spend more time sewing lately as a means to de-stressing and getting a better perspective on life! So the first thing I did was to make another Coco dress. I made one last year in a brown jersey fabric with orange helicopters on. Here it is:

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I wear it so much and it’s so comfy. So this time I made one in a red ladybird spot. I love it and have already worn it a couple of times, so I think it’s a good addition to the wardrobe. I do love Coco, and this fabric (ponte di Roma) was a dream to sew. Anyone nervous about sewing with a stretch fabric would do well with this as a first try.

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I topstitched the pockets this time because the last one I made annoys me a bit because the fabric rolls (see below). But apart from that, a lovely quick and satisfying sew!

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The second thing I made was a pair of Margot pyjamas from Tilly’s book Love at First Stitch. I ditched the ribbon ties in favour of elastic, which I much prefer in a pyjama! Hmmm…is it possible to have a singular of pyjamas?!!

I discovered this brushed cotton plaid when I tidied! Yay! Perfect for pjs! I do love my pjs, and I don’t think I could ever have too many!

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You can see I used my beloved overlocker (thanks again, Mum!) to neaten up the seams.

Lovely and cosy.

Norwich Gift Emporium

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Went this week to see my new bags & bits in-situ in the shop! The Norwich Gift Emporium is one of the gorgeous little shops for which the Norwich Lanes is famous. If you haven’t been to Norwich, you must come! I am not a shopper but I love the interesting and unique little boutiques and eateries & drinkeries, (does that exist?!) that it boasts.

So, anyway, Norwich Gift Emporium is on Lower Goat Lane. It has been open for nearly a year and features handmade goodies from Norfolk artists and makers. As such, it is an eclectic mix of lovely bits and pieces by a bunch of very talented people. I think I might be spending more in there than I make!

So here are a few snaps for you: feast your eyes on the loveliness!

My bags
My bags!
My bits!
My bits!

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A couple of my things have been put in the gorgeous new window display. IMG_5767

You can find the shop on facebook here.

Norwich in the sunshine!

Norwich Castle and market

Hi guys,

Thought I would share a photo of my beautiful city with you. I snapped it this week on the way through town to meet a friend for coffee (and the hugest chocolate hazelnut brownie I’ve ever met!)

It was such a gorgeous day I thought I’d just show you what a fine city Norwich is! If you live here or have visited, you’ll know it’s a vibrant place full of interesting buildings and has a lovely, relaxed feel to it. It’s at its best on a fresh early spring day!

So here is a picture of Norwich marketplace, famous for its colourful striped roofs, with the castle in the background.The Castle Museum is one of our favourite haunts at weekends or in school holidays. Did you know that although a Norman castle, it was used as a prison in Victorian times? It now holds a fascinating array of permanent displays and visiting exhibitions and is suitable for the whole family. It also sells, in my opinion, some of the best cheese scones in town!

Norwich Castle and market

I also wanted to share my latest “I could make that!” (does anyone else walk round town muttering that?!) I saw this lovely Maxmara dress in the window of Jarrolds – Maxmara and the like is not usually my thing but I like the style. I do not like the jaw-droppingly huge price tag, but I do think it looks like something I could make! Pinning it here for future inspiration! The “weekend trousers” that are next to it look like pyjamas that someone’s whipped up from my Nana’s sixties bedlinen!

Maxmara dress - a snip at only £225...eeek!
Maxmara dress – a snip at only £225…eeek!

Has anyone else been out and about in the lovely spring sunshine?

Now appearing in a gift emporium near you! (If you live in Norfolk!)

Some button-embellished totes

At the end of last post, I said there was soon to be some exciting news! Now I can reveal that as of this week, I will be selling a range of my items at a gorgeous little shop here in Norwich. Yay! So excited!

So this weekend I have been busy making some things. Firstly, some new tote bags with the ubiquitous button detail! (Have I told you how I lurve buttons?!) Also some of my popular little coin purses in some cute fabrics. I am going in today stock up and then we’ll see how it goes! Will post pics as and when I get in there!

Button totes 3 Purses

I also finished the first item on my 2015 To Do list – yippee! It’s a Skater Dress, a Simply Sew pattern that I got free with Love Sewing magazine. It’s advertised as a pattern for an ambitious beginner. Well, I am no expert, but I have made a few dresses now, and the pattern was not the easiest to follow! Very confusing, in fact, and actually if this was your first attempt at making a dress then you’d be stumped, to be honest, and you might give up. What a shame. I found I had to read the thing extremely carefully over and over and it looks like steps have been missed out and some printed in the wrong order! It made me wonder about whether it had been properly tested.

So luckily I used my initiative based on what I’ve learned doing other patterns. The end result is a cute sleeved dress that I chose to make in a dark navy pinstripe wool. I think if I made it again, I would lengthen the bodice by a few inches (I am coming to the conclusion that I am a bit longer in the torso than some people, and might need to learn how to adjust a pattern…boo hoo!) and would also lengthen the skirt by a couple of inches.

That said, I enjoyed wearing it. I did make a bit of a boo-boo with the zip! I bought an invisible one as directed but could only find a longer one. No matter, thought I, I shall just trim it to size. Which I duly did. I stitched in one side of the zip tape,  (unzipped, as directed), then zipped it up, ready to pin in the other tape. I only remembered that it was a cut-down zip at the very moment the pull came off the zip teeth in my right hand with the zip still on the dress. “YOU IDIOT!” quoth I, followed by a chorus of “DAMMIT!”

So I had to improvise, with a regular zip. I decided to make a feature of my cock-up and do it in a contrasting colour (dark red). I like it though. I have already worn it a couple of times. I now think I need to make a shortie bolero type cardi to wear with it, as all mine are a tad long and spoil the shape of the skirt.

My skater dress (minus invisible zip!)
My skater dress (minus invisible zip!)

What have you been up to lately? Any schoolgirl/boy errors in the sewing department?!

Back with a vengeance!

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My last post was mid-flu. While writing, I thought I was getting better, but then the next few days were spent with me barely able to get myself off the sofa for more than half an hour. Exhausting and extremely frustrating, not being able to do anything.

It’s now 3 weeks later and finally, I’m almost feeling my old self again! Yippee! Bursting full of ideas for my sewing adventures for this year. Please come along with me, give me feedback, hints, tips, advice, etc. I’d love to hear from you and see what you’re doing.

So, have sketched out a few ideas in my sketchbook: things I’m planning to make this year.

1. Skater dress. Free pattern with one of my sewing magazines a month or so ago. It’s a Simple Sew pattern. I love indie patterns (if you do, see Sew magazine this month, with a cool article on indies). I have a length of pinstripe wool that I think would look great for work. Watch this space, as I think this is my next project!

2. Pyjamas. Have made pjs for myself before, a couple of times, and some sweet ones for my little boy in a pirate fabric. But want to make Margot pjs from Tilly’s book Love at First Stitch (have I told you before how much I love her stuff?! I must have done! She is totes my hero in sewing right now, and the reason I got into sewing clothes rather than bags all the time!) Although I still lurve making bags!

3. Another Ruby dress. I made the first one in a lovely navy floral fabric that I had in my stash (looks a little bit Joules). I have worn it a lot and it’s a cute little dress. I fancy another – maybe a red one?

4. Francoise dress (another Tilly pattern). I bought the pattern a while ago but as yet haven’t found the right fabric. Looks lovely though – fancy the sleeved version.

5. Oven gloves. How glamorous! I need some, and want some more funky than the Tilda/Cath Kidston-style ones that are everywhere!

6. Kids’ clothes – in particular, girls’ dresses & skirts. I don’t have a girl myself, but really hate the sea of pink, flouncy, sparkly offerings that clothes manufacturers think girls want. I fancy superheroes, dinosaurs, space, etc. There’s been stuff happening on twitter about this very thing this month – M&S are stocking Natural History Museum dinosaur clothes…”for boys”.

7. Skirt(s)…my fabric stash calls!

8. Another Coco dress as I love mine and it’s so easy to wear. Polka dot this time? Stripey? Dinosaurs? Hmmmmmm….

9. Stag head on tweed cushion. Maybe one for next winter.

10. More knickers! (Many people have seen my post on this and commented!)
I’m also planning to blog more often – aiming for twice a week if I can. Look forward to seeing you!

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Love these totes – you can never have enough! Here I’ve contrasted different fabrics and added my fave – the button!

Also awaiting some exciting news about selling my bags & bits, so will let you know when it happens!

2015 and all that

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Happy New Year to you, my lovely reader, from me in beautiful Norwich!

As I write this, I am slightly delayed in welcoming in the New Year in all its glory. I had planned to get Christmas out of the way, and then feel raring to go with tons of ideas for new makes, sorting out my sewing space and developing my little business, but then the dreaded lurgy struck. We’ve all been unwell over the last few days and despite rallying round for a few hours for a lovely little party with good friends on New Year’s Eve, have all felt pretty rubbish and devoid of energy and enthusiasm.

But this evening things are looking a little brighter and I’m beginning to get my mind in focus ready for lots of fun things to do and make in this, 2015. I have plans! I have also signed up for the Create & Thrive 30 Questions Challenge, to help me focus on what I want to do with my sewing as a business. You can sign up here for what looks to be a fun and thought-provoking month of questions for yourself!

I got some lovely sewing presents for Christmas and my birthday (which is unfortunately Boxing Day – that’s the 26th December to you folks not in Britain!) – a pom pom maker, the Merchant & Mills sewing book, some awesome fabric my mother in law brought back from California for me and a lovely turquoise IKEA wheeled trolley for storing all my crap sewing essentials.

IKEA trolley - all ready for storing my stuff!
IKEA trolley – all ready for storing my stuff!

A friend also gave me this cute magic box that opens up into a very cool little sewing cube – it’s very pretty and really useful.

A lovely decorative box...
A lovely decorative box…
Ta da!!!
Ta da!!!

I feel very spoiled! What crafty goodies did you get for Christmas? And what’s on your To Do list for this year?