• The Sewing Weekender Review

  • sewing-weekender-banner

    Oh my… where the hell do I start? What a weekend. I am reeling from the excitement!

    I was lucky enough to manage to buy one of the hottest tickets in town, to The Sewing Weekender.  Seriously, tickets sold out in a heartbeat! This event was organised by the dream team of the English Girl at Home (Charlotte) and The Foldline (Kate and Rachel). I lucked out with the location as it was just up the road from me in Cambridge, at Murray Edwards College.

    The weekend kicked off at 10am on Saturday, where we all filed into the venue. I nervously shuffled in, weighed down by my bags of sewing paraphernalia… eyes flitting around the room, as I shrieked inside with excitement at seeing so many familiar faces from Instagram and sewing blogs. I was immediately greeted by the lovely Charlotte (English Girl at Home) who gave me my name badge, and most importantly, my goody bag!

    Contents of my goody bag

    Contents of my goody bag

    The Saturday was an all-day sewathon, so we had all prepared projects to bring along to work on. I plonked  myself down at a table that I ended up sharing with a lovely bunch of ladies, including Rach from Rach Against the Sewing Machine, Susie from Crafty Sooze and Elle from Laura Loves Pugs.

    IMG_0842IMG_0821

    And the fabric swap commenced!

    And the fabric swap commenced!

    My sewing project for the day was a Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress. I decided that it would be best to sew a pattern I had used before, as I knew I would be super distracted chatting to people.  And I was right! My fabric was a gorgeous viscose given to me by Stoff & Still (thank you!) with a navy blue/white Ikat print. I got as far as cutting out all of the pieces, and managed to half stitch up the bodice. I was a bit gutted that I didn’t get further than that… but to be honest, I can always finish the dress off at home. I was having too much fun chatting to everyone, making friends and just having a bit of a laugh. I couldn’t do that at home!

    IMG_0831IMG_0830IMG_0841

    How beautiful are these pattern weights made by Rach from Rach Against the Sewing Machine?!

    How beautiful are these pattern weights made by Rach from Rach Against the Sewing Machine?!

    I was absolutely blown away by the heartwarming friendliness of everyone – it was really touching. I mean, it’s kind of hard to even just say hello to people that you meet for the first time. But these ladies had no problem with greeting with a hug, or pulling up a chair next to me just to talk about what I was sewing and stroke my fabric! Everyone really hit it off, and it was such a joy to be part of.

    IMG_0826 IMG_0837

    The Sunday was a day packed with talks from a fabulous line-up of speakers. Each speaker had a Q&A session at the end of their talks – and I loved that special touch of giving a prize (donated by Girl Charlee) to one person for each Q&A for the best question asked. It really prompted lots of questions and discussion!

    The wonderful speakers

    The wonderful speakers

    Here is a little breakdown of my thoughts from each of the talks:

    • The gorgeous Rachel from House of Pinheiro kicked off with a really inspiring talk on unleashing creativity. I will definitely be thinking about a sandwich that would adequately represent me!
    • Grace from Beyond Measure talked about her business, and I loved her passion for the crafting and process involved in producing the tools that she sells for the crafting community. I definitely want one of the pumice pin cushions!
    • Marilla Walker talked about garment design which included showing us some super impressive undies she had made! Twit woo! And I now feel compelled to rush out and buy a bra making kit… that project is on the to do list.
    • Elena from Randomly Happy gave her talk on creating a meaningful, wearable wardrobe. I really related to how she described her lifestyle – juggling work, family and of course sewing! It made me think about fabric purchase choices I want to make going forward (which may or may not include flamingos!) and how I want to construct my ‘dream style’ in the future. This might require a bit of thought though!
    • Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons presented to us on the process her and her team use for taking the idea of a garment from concept to the finished pattern. This was such an interesting insight, to understand all of the stages of making a pattern – and the time and effort that goes into it. It was really admirable to hear about how Tilly built her business, including all of her considerations of her brand identity.
    • Last but certainly not least was Gabby from Gabberdashery talking about her tips and tricks for vlogging. It did make me think about trying to make a vlog at some stage if I can muster up the bravery! Gabby is such a bubbly personality, and I think we all felt like she was talking to friends during her presentation (which, of course, she was). I love her vlogs and found her advice really useful. I was busy scribbling down notes throughout!
    Listening intently to the talks

    Listening intently to the talks

    IMG_0868IMG_0881

    Fan girling with Rachel Pinheiro

    Fan girling with Rachel Pinheiro

    And fan girling again, this time with Tilly!

    And fan girling again, this time with Tilly!

    And there we sadly reached the end of a wonderful weekender.

    After saying my goodbyes to everyone, I wandered out of the venue. As I trotted through the gardens of the college (which were stunning btw) back to my car, I felt an overwhelming sense of just being so happy at being part of the wonderful sewing community. In fact, I’m proud to be part of it. I am inspired by you all, and feel as though I’ve made some solid friends – I love you all!

    The dream team!

    The dream team!

    I would really like to say a huge thank you and well done to Charlotte, Kate and Rachel for organising such a fab event. Everything ran so smoothly, and I am so happy to have been there. All of your hard work was so appreciated by everyone. A million thank yous!!

    Now… here’s to the next one!

  • A swishy, summery Martha dress

  • IMG_0769

    So I have been one busy sewing bee, working flat out on this, my latest make, in time to wear to a very exciting sewing event this weekend. The Sewing Weekender, organised by The English Girl at Home and The Foldline, is taking place in Cambridge (lucky for me!) and I so wanted to have a new dress to wear. Sew Essential kindly provided fabric to me for this project (thank you!), and I am so excited to show you the fruits of my labour.

    I already had this pattern waiting in the wings, and had been dying to try it out ever since I bought it when it was released. It is a beautiful Martha dress by Tilly and the Buttons. I instantly fell in love with this dress when I saw photos popping up all over Twitter – the princess seams and mandarin collar being my favourite elements.

    I decided on making a mini skirt length version – which I usually do with dresses/skirts, because I am not particularly gifted in the height department so tend to find midi length skirts make me look a bit dumpy. And I also went for the short sleeves which I thought looked a little bit more cutesy, and also perfect for wearing in the summer months.

    Being as impatient as I am, I went straight in with sewing up a size 3. I tested the bodice before finishing seams though, to check on sizing and fit. Turns out it was absolutely spot on. Magic!

    The fabric was a lightweight woven polyester from Sew Essential – a really pretty John Kaldor floral navy blue print against a white background. It was lightweight, but with gorgeous drape which gives the dress the extra swish factor! The challenge with using this fabric was that it was a tad sheer, so required fully lining the dress. I spent quite a while scratching my head on how to tackle this. Luckily I had some wonderful advice from Tilly and the Buttons HQ, explaining in detail how to go about lining Martha which was so so helpful!

    I found that this dress did take quite a bit of time to make – kind of from a combination of using a lightweight fabric, a slightly more challenging pattern, and having to fully line it. But I kind of find that projects that I spend more time on I generally feel more proud for finishing. Do other sewists feel like this? I do love a quick-sew project, but there is something so rewarding about spending a whole chunk of time on a more complex garment and reaching the finish line.

    So here we have her – a cheeky, summery, floaty, swishy Martha. And I am a little bit in love with her! So off I trot to The Sewing Weekender…. La la la! Keep an eye on my Instagram for updates throughout the weekend, and I will post a review after I have recovered from all of the excitement!

    Fabric – Sew Essential

    Pattern – Tilly and the Buttons Martha

    Size made – 3

    IMG_0765IMG_0760IMG_0789IMG_0791IMG_0787IMG_0815IMG_0809IMG_0819IMG_0811IMG_0817IMG_0816

  • An Indoor Jungle Shirt Dress

  • IMG_0601

    Hello lovelies. So a little bit of a delay with this, my latest make (soz!). And before I get started, I just want to jump straight in and declare my love for this dress!

    It was somewhat rushed through the sewing room – out of a mixture of leaving it last-minute, and sheer excitement. Excitement, because this was to be my outfit to wear to BLOGTACULAR!

    For those who don’t know, Blogtacular is a most spectacular and inspiring conference for creative bloggers. I had an absolute blast of a day – and this dress was so fun to wear. I was so happy inside that I got so many compliments on it! Oh, and I had the pleasure of properly meeting the fabulous girlies from The Foldline, Kate and Rachel – nice to meet you ladies!

    Anyway, back to the dress…

    I picked up the fabric from CallyCo in Cambridge. Originally I had planned to use it to make a wedding guest dress at the start of June, but ended up running out of time for that. Hey ho… you know how it goes!

    I was so instantly drawn to this fabric in the shop – mostly because I appear to have developed a slight obsession with indoor plants lately. As you can see, I have plenty of plants on my scaffold shelves in the kitchen – and I even have a little living wall in my house too! The pattern is of Monstera leaves – in fact this is one plant that I don’t have yet, but desperately wanting one for my living room. So for now, I have settled for the print on this lovely cotton fabric.

    The pattern is a cutesy Pauline Alice Cami dress. I previously made one of these and have pretty much lived in it since! I knew that making another one gave me an opportunity to improve on the fit. The first one I made was somewhat tight around the old boobies, which is never that attractive for a buttoned-up shirt finish. I mean, it wasn’t too bad, but I decided to give myself a little bit more ease around the chest, so to take a little bit of strain from some of the buttons! I looked at doing a FBA, but I really don’t term myself as needing so much as that. So I just graded out the pattern piece so that it went from size 8 at the waist (which I knew was perfect), to size 10 around the chest. This seemed to do the trick, and I’m happy with the new fit.

    I love everything about this dress pattern – the shirt styling combined with a girly gathered skirt, plus POCKETS! Yippeee!

    So off I trotted in my ‘hot of the sewing machine’ Cami dress to London for my magical day at Blogtacular. It was all kinds of special.

    Pattern: Pauline Alice Cami

    Size made: 8 (waist down), 10 (chest)

    Fabric: CallyCo, Cambridge

    Buttons: Textile Garden

    IMG_0635IMG_0637IMG_0611IMG_0643IMG_0628IMG_0636IMG_0638IMG_0655