• The Sewing Weekender Rocked my World (again)

  • Holy guacamole. So… The Sewing Weekender happened then…! And, man did it live up to the hype.

    Since jammily nabbing myself a ticket back in May, I have been so desperately looking forward to it. For me it was the perfect opportunity to get a much needed break from the baby (who has been totally busting my balls)… and back to my old sewing self.

    The last 5 months have definitely not been what I had imagined motherhood to look like. And it hasn’t been a pretty picture. The baby has screamed more than I can explain. And basically crushed my spirit. But dramatics aside, things are improving now. But it has been so intensely hard. So you can imagine how much I needed this weekend!

    Anyway, back to the event itself. Organised by the lovely Kate and Rachel (The Fold Line) and Charlotte (English Girl at Home), The Sewing Weekender is a weekend sewing getaway. Tickets sold out in a heartbeat, and I’m pretty sure many would have given their vital organs to get hold one!

    So on Saturday 5th August, we set up camp at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge. Long tables stretched down the room – sewing stations kitted out with Janome sewing machines and our hotly anticipated goody bags (I will be vlogging the unpacking of mine – watch this space!).

    I rocked up to my seat with an offering of sweets. It helped to get people to like me 😉

    I arrived on Saturday morning literally squealing with excitement. And one long arm and calloused hand from carrying my sewing machine in! We all had our own projects to work on over the weekend, but I managed to pretty much talk solidly for the whole of Saturday morning! I think it was midday before I even threaded my machine. Oh well. I was way too distracted by sewing friends 🙂

    The afternoon kicked off with a couple of talks from The Sewing Weekender prefects Portia Lawrie, Makery and Fiona Parker, Diary of a Chainstitcher.

    Portia talked about the benefits of refashioning clothes often destined for the charity shop. I already knew a little about her Refashioners campaign, but she really inspired me to get involved. She showed us some of the garments made from the last round of Refashioners, which was themed around using old jeans. This year’s theme is suits… and I might just take a stab at making something!

    Then we had the lovely Fiona talk to us about her day job as a Costume Supervisor. It was really fascinating to hear about the shows she has worked on. And she must have the dream job when it comes to the part where she has to go fabric shopping!

    And while all of this was going on, we had the opportunity to get involved with embroidery workshops with Elle Harris, Sew Positivity (machine embroidery) and Elisalex de Castro Peake, By Hand London (hand embroidery). I didn’t actually make it to the workshops after basically talking too much in the other room! My bad!

    Gorgeous Elle from Sew Positivity in her lemons dress, beavering away on the Janome embroidery machine

    After the talks, we continued with more sewing (well, I only managed a little) into the early evening. And after a quick dash home, change of clothes and a few baby duties, I headed back for dinner and a couple of wines!

    Sunday was another day of sewing and talks. We listened to Melissa Fehr, Fehr Trade and Elena Rosa Brown, Randomly Happy.

    Melissa talked about sewing for activewear and how we can all think about making our garments practical for the movements of our day-to-day lives. And gussets. She talked about those too *does childish snigger*. But really, she was super knowledgeable with tips on construction of garments for different types of movement, and the best fabrics to use.

    Melissa giving her talk. Note the cat leggings!

    Elena gave us her tips on using mindfulness in our sewing. I’m pretty sure her talk struck a chord with everyone in the room. Thinking about how we end up getting bogged down and stressed out trying to churn out finished projects – and sometimes forgetting to actually enjoy the process. Remember to breathe people!

    We then ended the day with a little photowalk into Cambridge, or for me it was more chatting away to all of my lovely sewing friends!

    Just a few from the photowalk in Cambridge

    The whole weekend ran perfectly, and I loved EVERY SECOND.

    Being honest, my highlight of the weekend was 100% the lovely sewing people I spent my time chatting away to. Some old pals and some new friends. Everyone was so warm, friendly, positive, encouraging and utterly inspiring. There really is something magical about meeting likeminded sewing-mad people. They are the best kind of people!

    So thank you to Kate, Rachel and Charlotte for organising this incredible event. And for showing this new mum the path back to dressmaking, and my old happy sewing self. Now cue more photos!

    How cute is Harriet from Hobbling Handmades?! I want to keep her please. In a non-stalker kind of way. Obvs.

    One of my new besties, the gorgeous Vicky, SewVee

    These girls though! My lovely sewing neighbours (from left) Rach, Rach Against the Sewing Machine, Sandy and Jodie, Buttons Bows and Pearls

    Sue Young (Susan Young Sewing), Megan (Pigeon Wishes) and Jenny (Jenny Stitched)

    Cleo twinnies! Rach and Ruth

    1 fabric, 2 ways... Gorgeousness! Rachel (The Fold Line) and Emily (Self Assembly Required)

    My lovely sewing friends Jill and Jade

    Well hello ladies! From left - Sarah (Like Sew Amazing), Amy (Almond Rock & Editor of Love Sewing Mag), Fiona (Diary of a Chainstitcher), Rachel (The Fold Line) and Melissa (Fehr Trade)

    This lady was life and soul of the weekend. Lovely Sarah from Like Sew Amazing with her flamingo (named by me as Barry - you're welcome)

    So I took just a few selfies...! Clockwise from top left - Sarah (Like Sew Amazing) and Vicky (SewVee), Rach (Rach Against the Sewing Machine), Hayley Jane (Sew Hayley Jane), Emily (Self Assembly Required), Jenny (Jenny Stitched), Georgia (Ginger Stitch) and Claire (the_pear_shaped_stitcher)

    Grabbed these lovelies for a quick pic - Kate (The Fold Line), Bianca (Sleepless in Bavaria) and my muse, Elena (Randomly Happy)

    This is my lovely new friend Stef (Stef Makes). She was my next-door-sewing-neighbour and I miss her already! I can't believe this is the only photo I have of her... I thought we had a selfie together. Anyway, she's the nuts and I love her. Her blog is bloody ace too.

    Pinny McPinFace

    Jodie (Buttons, Bows and Pearls)... think she was getting a little bit weirded out by me hovering with my camera. Sorry for that 😉

    Oh these ladies...!!!! Love love love. Sarah (Like Sew Amazing) and Vicky (SewVee)

  • A Luxury Liberty Lightweight Dressing Gown

  • I know, another blog post within a week! What is this craziness while I am very literally juggling a newborn baby?!

    This is another of my pre-baby makes. And like the pyjama bottoms from my blog post earlier this week (here), I wanted to make this as a practical item to take with me in my hospital bag for going into labour. A lot of people recommend taking a lightweight dressing gown as maternity units can be very warm.

    And for the feel-good factor I finally dipped into my stash for the fabric, rather than buying something new.  I forgot I had this Liberty fabric, so decided to splash out using this! I figured it would be nice to feel a tiny bit glamorous while in hospital.

    The pattern I used was Gather Kits’ Buchanan. I have a big ol’ soft spot for Gather Kits, as my very first make was one of their patterns (the Mortmain dress – blog post here).

    I had a few traumas making this as disaster struck when my sewing machine decided to breakdown! I know, the worst right?! All ok now though, as it was fixed by having a service and fiddling with some different needles (thank you Sewing Machines Direct).

    The pattern was easy enough to put together. The only difficult thing I found was my machine not liking sewing the Liberty fabric with any kind of needle… maybe it was having a fussy day.

    And after all of this… I never did wear it in the hospital! I think I forgot that I had it. Plus I was in for a few days and preferred getting properly dressed each day to make myself feel a bit more human. But I do have this hanging up in my bedroom now, which will be perfect for wearing in the Summer.

    I love the navy trim on this dressing gown – I think it really compliments the colouring of the Liberty fabric well. And I have to say, I really recommend Gather Kits patterns. Their instructions are lovely and detailed – so you will struggle to go too far wrong!

    Pattern: Buchanan by Gather Kits

    Fabric: Liberty Tana Lawn (trim in a plain navy lawn from my stash)

    Size made: Medium

    Alterations made: None

  • Some truly 'Ultimate' Pyjamas

  • Hello out there! It’s been a while. If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know the reason for my radio silence on the blog… I had a baby!

    Born at the end of February, I had a gorgeous baby boy weighing a hefty 9lb 9oz (go me!). So I have been busy adjusting to motherhood and torturous sleep deprivation! And I am so incredibly in love with him.

    Before I gave birth I had a little bit of spare time, as I ended up being 9 days late. So I managed to squeeze in a couple of makes (and A LOT of fabric shopping)! My idea was to make a couple of things that I could take in my hospital bag for going into labour.

    Obviously I wanted a comfy pair of pyjama bottoms, in a big enough size to fit me with a bit of a tum. I decided on the Sew Over It Ultimate Pyjamas. In fact, I ended up getting this PDF pattern for free after joining the Sew Over It PDF Club. Win!

    I also thought these would be useful for the newborn days where days roll into nights, and I live in pyjamas! And P.S. I love pyjamas.

    The fabric is a super soft and comfy brushed cotton in this blue and green check/tartan from Backstitch. Blues and greens being one of my all-time fav colour combos.

    The pattern was really straightforward – a nice simple make that would be ideal for any newbie sewers out there. The main thing I had to be careful with was pattern matching, because of the check fabric. This turned out amazingly well… I actually impressed myself!

    These photos have been taken 2 months post natal, so the pyjamas are now a bit on the big side (happy to report!). And unlike other makes, I have written this post after properly road-testing. I have worn these so much – and can vouch for them being super comfy and perfect for mooching around the house.

    Pattern: Ultimate Pyjamas by Sew Over It

    Fabric: Brushed cotton check/tartan from Backstitch

    Size made: Medium

    Alterations made: None!

    Winning at pattern matching the front seam!