Sewing

Things for me! (Part 1)

I’ve had a lovely weekend of spending time with my family and friends, and making things too! With only a couple of days to go before the term begins again in earnest, I felt like I needed to make some more stuff! I’m going to show you the first now.

Before Christmas, I threw my three-year-old lunchbag away, tattered and torn, with a broken zip and peeling, frayed edges, in the hope that it would force me to make another one before I went back to work in January. Guess what? I forgot about it until yesterday!

So I thought it would be the perfect project for my lovely fabric from my Secret Santa. I’m in a Craft club that meets monthly and we decided this year to exchange crafty Secret Santa gifts at our Christmas ‘do’. I was delighted with mine (you can’t go wrong for me with anything sewing-related, and fabric, well….!) I received a sweet bundle of cute fabrics, all tied with a piece of lovely chunky yarn. Delish!

I was under strict instructions to use it to make something for myself, rather than other people! So here is the finished item. I wanted something much bigger than my old one, and open at the top rather than zipped, so that I could carry leftovers in various-sized plastic tubs, my coffee flask, etc. I am really pleased with the result and can’t wait to use it tomorrow! I often take cutlery and have just been throwing it into my bag, so I also made a little cutlery pouch out of the lining fabric. I had some cute fox ribbon in my stash (from Material Magic), so added that to some polka dot handles.

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Thank you Secret Santa, for my lovely fabric! Hope you like what I’ve done with it! ūüôā

Happy back-to-work day to you all for tomorrow. I’ll post the next thing I made for myself next time!

norfolk · Sewing

Happy New Year!

A very belated hello to everyone. I have really neglected this blog over the last few months, because of a new job and busy family life, not to mention the actual sewing itself! I am planning to restart a regular blog today, it being New Year and all, and hope to be able to keep you up to date with my sewing shenanigans.

I spent some precious hours before and during the Christmas holidays catching up on some of the orders I received beforehand. So I have been busy trying to make them all! These included laptop & iPad cosies, totes, pencil cases and cafetiere cosies. I also made some presents for my Mum and Dad for Christmas. As usual, I was there frantically trying to get them finished in the few days before Christmas! Nothing like a bit of last-minute panicking to focus the mind!

This year I have had a couple of things that were particularly popular. See photos! I had some black & white stripe fabric which was lovely but I felt was calling out for a splash of red – so I made little pouches & purses with a red felt heart applique. They sold pretty much straight away, so I will be making some more soon! Also ever-popular is the cute fox fabric. This has been requested as purses, pouches, bags and aprons this year! I am going to source more as it is well-loved. Who doesn’t love a cute little fox?

I am always happy to take orders! At the moment I am working on some things made with a map print for a couple of people.

I have also picked up crochet this year and have made 2 felted bowler hats and am in the middle of my first big project – Attic 24’s Cosy¬†Stripe blanket. It is lovely and a good project for the winter months – the benefit being that it allows me to sit and catch up with TV while still creating! (Have worked my way through Seasons 1-5 of Mad Men so far!) The colours are gorgeous and it is a very satisfying and lovely thing to do! I will post photos another time of my hooking adventures!

So this is just a quick hello to everyone – please follow my blog if you can this year – I promise to try harder and do it more regularly! ¬†Happy New Year to you all – hope your 2016 is filled with fun, friends, family and fulfillment. (And for me, I’d add –¬†fabric!)

norfolk · Sewing

Lessons to learn

Over the past few weeks, I have done 3 different events. The first was the Norwich Lanes Fayre, which I wrote about last time. Despite the early rain, the day was quite successful. This put me in a positive frame of mind for the next 2 events.

Sadly, they were a washout – without a drop of rain in sight, so a metaphorical washout rather than an actual one! I think a case of right weather, right products and the wrong crowd! A real shame but on the plus side I did get to sit and spend “quality time” (hate that phrase!) with my lovely Mum, so not all bad! Despite her only living about 20 minutes away, we don’t see a lot of each other as both have busy lives.

So, we’ve come to the conclusion that the Lanes Fayre is a go, but that school things and fun days are not. We will do Christmas ones but that’s about it. I need to concentrate now on¬†the online shop¬†and the bricks & mortar one in town. I am also looking forward to having my stall at my upcoming NICU fundraising coffee morning (back by popular demand!) So anyone wanting to make some early Christmas purchases (sorry for mentioning the C-word!) can come along and browse. The cow print is proving to be popular and will be available in pencil case, purse and makeup pouch!

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Sewing

Me Made May Update (a bit late!)

My “Me Made May” so far –

Wow! Half way through May already! Have been rather poor at documenting the challenge, and actually within the first few days it became very evident that I have massive gaps in my handmade wardrobe! Well, I’ve only been making clothes since the summer, so I am still learning! Have also had to make lots of bags and things to restock both the Etsy shop and the Norwich one! But here’s the story so far…

The first few days of the Me Made May challenge saw me camping. A bit of a challenge for wearing things I’ve made, because I’ve mostly made dresses and skirts (not great for pitching the tent!)

But I did my best!  May 1st, I had an informal interview for some supply work. I wore my red spotty Coco, which I love. Then we went off to Lincolnshire for camping. I wore my hand-knitted Noro yarn cardigan Рturns out I needed lots of fleeces as well! What a cold night that was Рtook about an hour to get warm inside the sleeping bag, then had to get up in the middle of the night to visit the loo. When I came back, I saw that there was ice on the tent! Brrrrr!

May 2nd – again, cold, so needed to layer up, but I wore the pistachio knickers I made on my knicker-making workshop. No photos here, guys!

May 3rd¬†– Raining. And when I say rain, I mean something more akin to the deluge that Noah might have experienced! Not in a great mood to start the day because we discovered that our tent had tiny gaps in the seams that didn’t quite hold up to 8 hours of solid rain! Wet towels, jeans and sleeping bags, plus the inability to use the gas stove and make a morning cup of tea means a grumpy¬†Lucy! But it cleared up into a beautiful day and we had a great time with our friends in Lincoln at the castle.

May 4th – our last day. I cheated a bit by counting my handbag as my made item (I did make it – and I did say that my pledge was for clothes and accessories!)

May 5th – I wore my red spotty Coco. Did I mention that I love, love, love Coco? I have two and they are the constant staples in my wardrobe! This challenge has shown me that I get them out to wear a lot, so maybe I need another?! I have seen some stripey jersey that I really like, but am a bit scared of matching stripes…eek!

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May 6th – The Other Coco – my helicopter one. Every time I wear it, I get compliments about it, and today was no different. I feel really chuffed when people like things I’ve made myself! It’s still tights and boots weather here, so am making the most of it and layering it up with a cardi too.IMG_5052

May 7th – Today I wore my Skater Dress in navy pinstripe wool. This is a Simple Sew pattern that I wished I’d done a toile for, as the waist is a couple of inches too high for my liking. However, I wore it with a wide elasticated belt to hide that, and it is ok. If I make it again (as with my Ruby – by the same pattern company), I will extend the waistline down a bit if I can figure out how to do it!

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May 8th – Went quite casual today in my Delphine¬†skirt from Love at First Stitch¬†by Tilly Warnes. Someone I know commented that this looked like a White Stuff skirt they’d seen (compliment!) – again, coloured tights & boots.The back

May 9th – Helicopter Coco again!

May 10th – No garments today, but wore a brooch I’d made (felt flower).IMG_6098

May 11th – Ladybird Coco. It’s good for teaching as you can just chuck it on and it’s smart-ish, but also comfy enough to get down with the kids (so to speak!) Didn’t wear it for long before I had to change into my PE kit!

May 12th – Again, no actual clothes but wore a wooden brooch that I made from a Mollie Makes kit. Went for a lovely afternoon tea with a friend.IMG_6103IMG_6106IMG_6100

May 13th – Helicopter Coco again! Am realising I need to make at least 2 or 3 more Cocos! They really are my go-to thing!

May 14th – Me-Made handbag, as I couldn’t wear Coco AGAIN. It’s getting ridiculous, and my other clothes are getting jealous!

May 15th – Maroon pants!

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May 16th – Pistachio pants!

May 17th – Margot pyjamas from Love at First Stitch.IMG_5814

So, that’s the end of the halfway-through update! Am already noticing that I need to make lots more clothes! Brilliant! Bring it on! Have chosen and cut the pattern for a new dress that I am about to make – maybe in time to wear it during this challenge! Also see the need for a jersey cardi or two! Plus some more pjs, and some dresses that aren’t Coco!

Sewing

The Me-Made May 2015 challenge

‘I, Lucy from http://www.luckybearnorfolk.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear something I have made, refashioned or altered each day for the duration of May 2015’.

This is my pledge for the Me-Made May challenge. I hadn’t come across this before, and I happened on it by chance while browsing t’internet, and thought “why not?!” So, I am going to try to wear something I have made or altered each day during May.

The first problem is¬†that the 1st of May falls this Friday, when I’m going on a camping weekend with friends. Out of the window goes the idea for wearing my flowery¬†Ruby dress, or my¬†pinstripe wool Skater Dress. Hmmm…the first few days might then be the opportunity for the self-made knickers, and of course my lovely Tilly pyjamas! I am also allowing my rules to cover accessories I have made, like brooches and scarves.

But it also offers the opportunity to make some more clothes (yippee!) – I don’t have enough things I have made myself to wear¬†different outfits¬†every day during¬†May…yet! Yes, the challenge states that it does not condone or encourage panic-making. But it’ll be a good opportunity to get my patterns out and make some decisions (I have been good lately at dreaming and sketching, but have been making bags rather than clothes). I have two already, but feel I would benefit from another Coco dress! I love my helicopter one – any suggestions for the next fabric?

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It looks like a fun challenge. I won’t¬†promise to post every day (you’d get bored), so will try to do a round-up every few days or so to let you know how it’s going. And if you see me in real life, you can ask me what I am wearing that day that I made. Although no, I will not show you my knickers!

Sewing

Some seriously selfish sewing…sweet!

So, the Easter holidays are nearly over. It’s been such a lovely holiday. The hols are great because I can stay up and do my favourite type of sewing – late-night! I have recently discovered the amazingness of a bluetooth speaker and GooglePlay combined so I have been creating my sewing playlists and listening to suggested playlists. I loved the one suggested for me¬†the other day – “Britpop: the Blair Years” – brilliant!

Anyway, I did make quite a few new bags & bits for the shop (some of which are in the new window, in case you didn’t catch my facebook updates and tweets!) A big thrill to see my stuff on display in the window! I need to make some things for the Etsy shop¬†now as it’s looking a bit sparse!

But this week I did some ME sewing too. Selfish sewing! I made two things for me. Two useful things, not mere fripperies, I’ll have you know! The first was a lovely new cover for my sewing machine. My machine is my pride and joy, as you know, and therefore needs protecting from dust and other yukky stuff. The cover that came with it is well naff and now getting somewhat tatty with being taken off and on. It’s a rubbish pvc material that is splitting.

A sad-looking machine
A sad-looking machine

So I decided to draft a pattern from it and make a new one, in one of my favourite fabrics (you will recognise this one if you know me well!) I also added a handle aperture so I can lift it with the cover in situ and a front pocket to store my manual (I’m always misplacing it), along with a couple of other bits and bobs should I need to transport it. I lined it in a contrasting red polka dot (left over from my fifties dress, about which I shall blog soon!)¬†What do you think? One dapper sewing machine, is he not?!

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So. The second thing. Made it last night, and felt very naughty as I didn’t start making it until 11:30 at night – eek! But I do like to see things through till the end once I start (this is why I enjoy bags and stuff like that and not anything that takes way too long!) and so I finally plopped the laptop into the finished bag at 2:00 am and then plopped into bed myself! Very satisfying result for a Saturday night.

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I love it. I wanted a messenger-style bag rather than a briefcase-type case as I have to carry lots of other things to work of a morning. I have made it to fit like a glove (totes custom-made, guys!) and the fabric is a gorgeous Marimekko Kivet print brought back from California by my lovely mother-in-law. I do love a bit of orange and red, have you noticed yet?! It is well-padded for protection and fully lined in another cute piece of fabric (first outing for this one too Рgiven to me last Christmas by my equally-lovely sis-in-law in California!) If anyone is ever stuck for anything to buy me for birthday or Christmas, some awesome fabric is ALWAYS a winner!

So, that’s my selfish sewing! What have you been making lately?

norfolk · Sewing

The wonderful Norwich Lanes

I spent the day today manning the shop at Norwich Gift Emporium, where I have my bags for sale. Wow, what a talented bunch of people there are exhibiting their things here! Just beautiful, unusual things and all handmade by local artisans.

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The shop is situated in Lower Goat Lane in the Norwich Lanes district. This is a part of Norwich that is full of lovely small shops, caf√©s, galleries and other independent businesses. ¬†Down the road there is the Birdcage bar, at the top of the lane there is Imelda’s for fabulous shoes, and there are loads of great eateries to offer coffee, cakes and other yummy delights!

The Norwich Lanes offers the chance to escape the mass-produced generic experience¬†on offer on the high street. Here you will not find Primark or Starbucks. It is fun to wander around looking at all the interesting bits & bobs on offer. I love stopping off for a pot of tea and a cheese scone at Biddy’s Tearoom or browsing the unusual books on offer at The Book Hive.IMG_5962IMG_5953 IMG_5952IMG_5944

I thought I’d tempt you¬†with a selection of photos of some of the goodies that the Norwich Gift Emporium has to offer. Come and have a look! While you’re here, explore the rest of the Lanes – Norwich is really lucky to have such a lovely quarter – come and use it!

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Sewing

Is this any use to you? Yes please!

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?!!

Sewing

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

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.

norfolk · Sewing

Norwich Gift Emporium

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.