Portrait of the artist

Can you believe it’s been a whole year since I published a post? I certainly can’t.

A whole lot has happened in the last year which in turn has had an impact on the whole blog writing thing. I feel like I might now start to get back into it again (hurrah!) but I’m not willing to make any promises just yet, not least because the busy-ness of life doesn’t look set to change any time soon…

Still, in the interest of being concise (ish, this is me we’re talking about), here’s what the last year has looked like, both in terms of real life and in terms of sewing. I confess there are not pictures of everything as I discovered in the course of this post that I take fewer pictures than I thought, but there are rather a lot of links… Continue reading

A cheetah is fast and spotty too

It’s a strange one today, as the finished item in question was a super speedy sew that was made up in the space of an afternoon, but somehow it’s taken the best part of three months to share it….

Part of that’s down to the item itself; whilst making for a very practical piece of clothing that’s great for throwing on during lazy weekends, it’s not so strong on the pretty photo stakes as a lot of my usual makes.

So, without further ado, let’s get on with this!

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Circling round and round

I’ve never really been much of one for maxi dresses, although I’ve often admired them from afar. This summer, I wanted to change that and actually make one for a change, not least because, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, maxi dresses are inexplicably linked to summer in my head. I had visions of wearing it to summer parties, of swanning around in it whilst wearing lovely sandals, and generally being a vision of summer.

In the end, due to the weird absence of a summer we’ve had in the UK this year, this dress has only been worn once (to a barbecue where it then unsurprisingly proceeded to pee it down, which led to some rather hasty alterations). However, next summer? Next summer I’ll be ready….

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When bad things happen to good fabric – the leopard print dress of doom

One of the things that I thought about when I did my big blog rethink back at the start of the summer was that often, the makes that are disastrous are forgotten about, pushed into a corner and inevitably written off as best not to talk about them.

Yet, when you think about it, these are some of the best things to talk about. What went wrong, why did it go wrong and really, did it really look that bad (yes is the frequent answer….)?

So, with all of that in mind, welcome to the first in a new series of posts that explore those times something just goes so very wrong that the only thing left is to burn it / start over / hide in a corner, crying and drinking gin. Welcome to when bad things happen to good fabric…

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When life hands you lemons…

I’m not sure what it is about lemons, but for a really, really, long time I’ve been after a dress covered in lemons. Specifically, non-cartoon style lemons on a black background. Last summer a friend had a pair of trousers in exactly the right print from H&M, and although I did rummage the racks, they hadn’t thought to make it into a dress (fools!).

Then, towards the end of June, I discovered that Meg had managed to source the perfect fabric that I was after and was selling it on her Etsy shop. Fast as a flash the fabric was ordered, and almost as speedily Meg got it out to me. I had a pile of possible makes as long as my arm but it was no good; as soon as it arrived I had it washed and, the next free day I had, I began to make the dress, because when life hands you lemons, the obvious thing to do is make lemonade.
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Like blossom in spring but captured for summer

My most recent project for the Simple Sew blog team was a really easy one for me to pick; the Grace dress had just been released, and with its scooped neck and two skirt options I knew it’d be a great wardrobe builder (maybe even, dare I say it, a possible competitor for my beloved Mortmain pattern?).

I wasn’t disappointed, and the finished dress is one that works really well with the fabric I used. It also came together incredibly quickly; having started to cut out the fabric at 11am on a Saturday I was ready to wear it out for drinks with friends that evening, which is always the sign of a good pattern (at least it is in my eyes!)
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Two Weeks

Before we start, I should clarify that by two weeks, I don’t mean the super awesome song by Grizzly Bear. And if you don’t know what I mean by that, you should click here now so that you can listen to it. Go do it, I’ll wait.

Had a listen? Good, let’s get on.

So yes, two weeks. Two weeks today is 6th September. A date which is pretty important for me as it happens to be my birthday. And this year, it also happens to be a significant number of years since I first appeared on this planet (the same number of years since this was number one. Seriously.).

To celebrate, I’ve decided to throw a birthday party in a local pub and, as should be no surprise to long time readers of this blog / followers of mine on Instagram, the theme for the party is glitter.

I currently have nothing to wear. I also don’t have any free weekend time due to a combination of visiting family and going to a local music festival. I also don’t have anything to wear for dinner on my actual birthday, but that’s a whole separate issue.

I do however have three metres of silver sequins.

I think you can see where this is going….

Will I make it? I’ll let you know on Sunday 10th, but until then, the countdown is on.


Dancing the Charleston in the rain

A friend decided recently that, rather than having a party to celebrate entering her 30s, she was going to pre-empt it all and instead have a farewell to her 20s. As you might expect (or maybe you don’t?) the theme was all things F Scott Fitzgerald, with 20s style the lynchpin on which the evening was built.

Looking online at flapper dresses, I saw a couple of things that I liked the look of, but quickly found myself thinking “I could make that”. One quick trip to the rag market and several thousand dead sequins later, I had done just that.
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If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?

I regularly play ukulele as a part of Moselele and, whilst most of the time that just means sitting in a pub and raucously singing songs from the 80s, it also sometimes means performing actual concerts.

This year, we were asked to play a set as part of the celebrations for Birmingham Pride, which is held annually on the late May bank holiday. My immediate thought on hearing this was “I need to make a flag dress”.

So I did.
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