luckybear · norfolk · Sewing

Slow stitching

img_0245Welcome to my new followers! I’ve had several notifications lately that I have new ones, so thought I’d better step up and write something for you all as I have neglected this blog this year – life has been so busy! It’s also easier and quicker to whack stuff on Instagram! I love the instant nature of it all. It’s very visual (I have learned in recent years that I am a very visual learner!) And there are fewer words to have to think about! Follow me if you aren’t already!

So, what’s been going on sewing-wise? I wanted to tell you about a great workshop I did in the spring with textile artist Ingrid Duffy. I went on one of her workshops last year and absolutely loved it so wanted to do another. This workshop was called the 30 Day Project and is to encourage daily creative practice to stimulate creativity and also foster mindfulness on a daily basis. I also wanted a more portable sewing project that I could: A) take to my monthly craft group and B) do in front of Netflix! This was perfect and I have met some lovely fellow creatives that totally ‘get’ my need for a sewing fix!

We spent the day at Ingrid’s beautiful home on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. She can see the River Waveney from her studio, which forms the county boundary. It’s an inspiring landscape and a lovely place to work. I met some great people, including someone I’d met 15 years ago when I was doing my PGCE but not seen since – small world! We had an introduction to some hand-sewing stitches and worked on a sampler, and had access to a range of great books and the choice of a wonderful array of glorious threads and yarns.

As part of the package, Ingrid gave us all a box with all the materials we needed for the month’s project – 30 linen squares and 30 wool squares (for backing). Within about a day of starting, I was hooked. I usually do only machine sewing, so slow stitching has been really good for me and I have loved it. It’s very therapeutic and stimulating at the same time!

My chosen theme was Norfolk, and each day I stitched a square to depict something to do with Norwich (where I live) or Norfolk. I began by making a list of things I wanted to include (Norwich Castle, Colman’s mustard, etc.) but then got more enjoyment out of being a bit more spontaneous and just going for things that came to me each day. I have explored different stitches, techniques and embellishements and have loved the process. It’s really fun to write with a needle and thread, although you have to think about it! It made me empathise more with my primary pupils who are learning to join their writng! Posting to Instagram each day was exciting and rewarding, with lots of great feedback and followers (hello, you!), as well as me discovering loads of other great people and their work!

So, when it came to an end, I was really sad! I then decided to carry on with a new project – the next time it was just a journal of things I do, see, eat, etc. each day. I found time every day to devote to it (Ingrid suggests at least 15 minutes but it usually ends up as more because it’s so engaging!) I then progressed to making some stiched cards, which have been popular at craft fairs! I am thinking of what to do next, slow stitch-wise!

Do you have a daily creative routine? Would love to see what you are up to if you have new projects on the go! And if you’re interested in what I’m stitching, please follow me on Instagram!

luckybear · norfolk · Sewing

Down to Business!

I’m planning action! I’d like to step up my game, increase my output and make more sales. I’ve already planned in a few craft fairs/events this year and have others on the back burner (watch this space), and want to try to reach a wider audience.

A full-time teaching job means that time is limited for making and selling. But I love it, especially the making part! It’s my switch-off from schoolwork and lets me indulge in my creative side. Plus it gives me an excuse to buy yummy fabrics! And I get a real kick out of each and every sale, either in my Etsy shop or face-to-face. Some of you reading this are already loyal customers! So thank you to every one of you who has bought a luckybear item so far, because I love it when you choose to buy something of mine. I always hope that you will love it as much as I do!

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So I am determined to make more time to sew and sell. One thing I have decided to do is to take part in the Make May My Month Challenge – #makemaymymonth – , run by a fellow Etsy seller (Jade Hargreaves of  The Pattern Parade Design). It’s a month of challenges to refocus you on the business and I hope it will enable me to get some things sorted. This looks like it will be great collaborative support and networking. It’s good to share the love!

I am also planning some exciting special offers and giveaways, so follow me on twitter, facebook and instagram and I’ll keep you posted!

Fingers crossed that May will be a productive month! If you’d like to check out what I have in stock right now, have a look at my Etsy shop. I will add new items regularly. Have a great bank holiday weekend, everyone!

 

Sewing

Me-Made May – 1/2 way mark! (Beware: cringe-making photos ahead!)

Here we are, half way through the month and at the half-way point of Me-Made May 2016. I had great intentions to document more regularly – such as each week. However, week one came and went, with me busy with this and that, so now I am doing a 2-week update. As it’s now fourteen days’ worth of the project, I won’t bore you with 14 different photos. (Yawn!) Just a quick update – I have been really pleased with myself this year – it’s gone much better than last year! I have managed every single day wearing something that in some way has come about at the hands of ME!

There have been a couple of days when the me-makes have been accessories or bags, or on one day, an altered garment, but otherwise I have managed pretty much to wear an outfit I have made myself. Me. (Hence the “Me-Made” in the title!) Oh, just remembered – pyjamas too (no way am I showing you shots of me first thing in the morning, though. Nobody deserves that!)

So here is a little montage of some of the outfits! You will have to feel very honoured that I am sharing them with you – I HATE photos of myself, and some of these are totally goofy (blame my photographer!)

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L-R: Stripey Coco dress (awful selfie, as aforementioned photographer had already left for work!), appliqued Delphine skirt, green lined wool skirt with flounce, Dottie Angel frock.

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Ladybird spot Coco dress, wool felt corsage (on a day I wore a store-bought dress!)

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What I call my Minnie Mouse dress! Worm for a friend’s 50th – I love this petticoat! I also made matching earrings (can you see them?) Apologies for coats and schoolbags in the background!

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My Spider-Man dress! My son got new Star Wars curtains for Christmas, so said I could have his old Spider-Man ones! He has now asked for PJs with the other curtain once he saw my dress. Think I need a Wonder Woman one next!!!

So, will try to continue to do the Me-Made thing for the next 2 weeks! (This will include a camping trip – the pjyamas might get another outing!)

 

Sewing

Me-Made-May 2016

Last year, I signed up for Me-Made-May. This is hosted by Zoe from So, Zo, What Do You Know?  I tried but it didn’t go so well as I found I didn’t really have an awful lot of stuff I’d made!

So this year I am trying again. More to show myself what I need to make to fill the gaps in my wardrobe! But it’s a bit of fun, so here goes…this is my Me Made May pledge!‘I, Lucy, of luckybearnorfolk (www.luckybearnorfolk.com), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear something I have made, altered or refashioned each day for the duration of May 2016’. 

   

This will include accessories as well as clothes. I will post some photos on at least a weekly basis to show you what I’m wearing! Yesterday I started it off with a Coco dress I made last month. It’s quite a thick jersey but the British spring weather is so changeable that I’m sure I’ll be wearing it more than once in May! I totally forgot, however, to take a photo until husband was out at a gig and son was in bed, so have had to take some pretty poor selfies that only show bits of it. Must do better from now on!

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My Dottie Angel frock

Half term. Family time but also a little bit of time for sewing! Yes, I need to make stock for the Etsy shop and upload it – and for the bricks & mortar shop (Norwich Gift Emporium). But I also wanted to indulge in a bit of me-sewing. I have a few garment patterns now (for “few”, read “far too many but still probably not enough”!) and I have been thinking about what to make next for a while. So I decided on some selfish sewing to boost my me-made wardrobe.

So I got out my collection and had a rummage through. Should I go indie or big-name pattern house? I initially decided to make a quick and simple “Sewing time: 1 hour” A-line skirt (it’s NEVER 1 hour, believe me!) but to my dismay, the lovely piece of fabric I’d had in mind was too small, as the print only runs one way (will have to save it for something else!) So I put that away and instead got out the Dottie Angel frock pattern (Simplicity 1080) that I bought on impulse a few weeks ago. I have many Pinterest pins of this dress and thought it looked really cute and simple to make. I kinda like the quirky Dottie Angel look and thought I’d have a go. A quick, fun sewing project, thought I!

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How mistaken I was! This was probably one of my most-hated of sewing projects to date. I can’t say what went wrong, as it does seem to be quite a simple pattern. I thought I had measured faithfully and I chose the slightly larger size according to one of my measurements (having been stung by another dress earlier in the week being a tad too small – more of that another time!) and yanked a couple of batik prints out of my stash. One of them was surely intended to be a tablecloth! A bit of a mish-mash, but I thought “quirky in the style of Dottie Angel!”

I followed the pattern instructions to the letter but found it not really very pleasurable to make. At all. And because it only comes together at the last two seams, it was impossible to fit as I went along, unlike other dresses I’ve made. So at the end, I was faced with lots of adjustings because it was absolutely enormous and made me look like a sack of potatoes. Meh. It also calls for lots of bias binding to bind the pockets, neckline, armholes, etc. I’m not keen on bound armholes!IMG_0005

I redid the side seams five times – yes FIVE! – in order to get it down to something passable. I have hacked away about 3cm off each side to try to fit it, which is quite a lot! And I hated the long-ness of it. Yes, length is in right now, the midi is a bit of a fashion thing, but I personally don’t like wearing things that long. So I whipped off about 15cm from the length too, because I prefer things ‘bove the knee. So now it’s a roomy, slouchy kinda house-dress/tunic-thing, with ties that pull it back (which to my tastes are waaaay too long), and it’ll probably look better layered, I guess. I think it’s something you might wear down the allotment. With your wellies and some chunky hand-knitted boot socks. And maybe a more earth-mothery kind of girl might suit it better. But is it really my sort of thing? I am not even really sure I will wear it (I’ll let you know if I do!) I think I’m maybe more of a fitted dress or shift kinda gal! I have put a couple of pictures to show you (front and back views) – which look ok I suppose. But I’m just not totally sold on it at the moment. And it doesn’t fit me as well as the ones fit those lovely models on the pattern pack! #storyofmylife

Do you chaps ever have things that you make and once they’re made, you’re like “Oh. Underwhelming.”? Or have you had any disasters? I am still learning how to “do” clothes, rather than bags, and I suppose this was a good learning tool. I do learn something new every time I make a new garment. Not sure whether to have another go in the smaller size, with fabrics that I love more, to try to get a better fit, or just to forget it! Or to make the shorter tunic version (which is almost what this turned out to be, as I chopped so much off the bottom!) Would love to know if anyone else has made this pattern, and how you got on with it.

***PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE***  Wore it today. Mostly because it was Sunday and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere where anyone could see me, so thought “What the hell!” I wore it with opaque green tights and a slouchy navy cardi, and a chunky ethnic-type ceramic pendant. It’s really comfy, and I think I might actually like it a bit! It is growing on me!  Just not really an enjoyable make. Maybe the second time might be easier, now I know what I’m doing…

 

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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! 🙂

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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norfolk

A weekend of sun, rain, Paloma Faith and the Norwich Lanes Summer Fayre

What a great weekend, although by Sunday night I was exhausted!

Saturday was a wonderfully hot summer day – I did keep inside out of the heat as I had to do some sewing and getting ready for my stall on Sunday (more below). In the evening we went with good friends to Thetford Forest to see Paloma Faith. We had a great time with a lovely picnic and fantastic music – and it was still so warm! Paloma was amazing as usual – I love her style as much as her music. Although knee-length white leather platform boots must have been a tad warm in that heat! IMG_0021-001

My 5-year-old son loves Paloma and had a ball! Here is a picture of me and him before she began (he is stuffing picnic into his mouth!) My dress is a little vintage number I found in a charity shop – it is made of terry towelling and the zip goes all the way to the bottom and I love it as it’s so cool and easy to wear! I might keep the style in mind to copy sometime in the future – maybe a red one?

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Here is a rare family photo of the three of us – we all had a great time – thanks Paloma!

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On Sunday, Mum & I had a stall at the Upper St Giles Street Party, part of the Norwich Lanes Summer Fayre.

posterI have blogged before about how lovely the Norwich Lanes are –  and this is an annual event which is always really good fun. So I decided to have a stall. Even though it was quite pricey compared to what I’d normally pay to do a craft fair, I thought I’d give it a go. Having had such a hot day the day before, I made sure I packed my sunglasses, suncream and plenty of bottles of water to keep me cool and hydrated.

We arrived and leisurely set up the gazebo and laid out our stall. My bags and bits and my mum’s lovely jewellery. It did look good, and we were looking forward to a busy day!

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As we finished, the heavens opened and there followed about 3 hours of pouring rain.  Pools of water collected on the gazebo roof, a real torrent of water gushed down the gutters into the drain (in the middle of our stall!) – it was miserable and there were very few punters around. Oh dear, we thought, what a washout! Although my language was a bit more choice than that! We were pissed on and pissed off!

Well, at 2:30 the rain stopped, the sun came out and so did all the people! We had a lovely rest of the day. I’ve added a few photos to give you a flavour of the ambience – which once it got going, was a lovely best-of-British summer fair.

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I sold quite a few things, so it was quite a successful day, although if the weather had been good throughout, I’m sure I would have doubled my takings! Oh well. On the plus side, I still have plenty of stock left for my next stalls – both this coming weekend. On Friday I will be at Kinsale Junior School where they’re having a pamper/shopping evening (5-8pm) and on Saturday at the Sprowston Family Fun Day. Hoping for sun all day and lots of customers – come and see me if you can! If you can’t, then remember you can always buy from my Etsy shop – I’ll be uploading new things soon! (once the sun gets out again for me to take photos!)

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!