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?

Knickers to you, madam!

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Have been meaning to update the blog for ages. But it’s the end of a busy, busy term at school and I’ve hardly had any time! But I wanted to tell you all about my knickers!

How rude! I do, of course, refer to knickers what I have made myself, madam!

For ages I have been wanting to do the makeplace knicker making workshop. I do like cute knickers and fancied the DIY route! I attended the course as I was a bit nervous of going it alone! I enjoyed it and was really pleased with the results. Although on the downside, thought it was a bit pricey. £39.50  for the two and a half hour course. On the day, it only lasted a hour and a half, presumably as there were only 4 people attending. And I thought for the price, they could have included a cuppa and a free pattern to reproduce the knickers at home. If I ran workshops, there would always be lots of cups of tea!

These are my new pants, handmade by me! I love the colour combination (pistachio andIMG_5586 strawberry ice cream?!)  IMG_5587 IMG_5588

So, yes, those there were proficient enough sewers to be able to make their own pattern from the knickers they’d made. But I think it would have been nice to have provided a free one so as to save a little bit of time having to draft one. I was really pleased with them, though, and quite taken with the idea that they can be made out of upcycled clothing. So on the way home, I bought some more lace and then found a 50p top from the charity shop that I thought I’d chop up.

I made another pair! Both are very comfy and I plan to make several more. I have bought some stripey jersey fabric ready for it! Has anyone else ventured into underwear?

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Some new coin purses on etsy shop!

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Having a bit of spare time today (what?!!) due to a cancelled craft  fair that  I was going to do, I have at last got round to photographing and uploading a few of my most recent bits.

I love making coin purses – some of the latest ones are now available  online at www.luckybear.etsy.com and are perfect stocking fillers!

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Will be doing more over the next few days, in time for the Christmas rush!