• My first Rosa dress/first post-baby dress!

  • I wouldn’t normally say this… but maaaan am I proud of myself for this make. Reasons being twofold; 1 – It’s beaut, 2 – THIS IS MY FIRST MAKE SINCE HAVING THE BABY!

    Yep, that’s right. I have a 6 month old AND a whole Tilly and the Buttons Rosa dress. Go me! Sewn entirely in baby nap times. That, my friends, is the ultimate #naptimehustle!

    The Rosa dress pattern was released back when I was pregnant. I bought it from Tilly herself at The Handmade Fair. So I knew I wouldn’t be making/wearing a Rosa dress any time soon, as it wouldn’t exactly work with a bump!

    So now that I am starting to manage nap times a little bit better, I have been able to steal pockets of time to get my arse back in the sewing room. All part of feeling a bit more like myself again. And it has felt SO good.

    The first time I went into the sewing room after having the baby I cried my eyes out. It felt like I was looking at someone else’s life, and couldn’t see how I would ever be able to do even a tiny bit of sewing ever again (all doom and gloom eh!).

    But here I am. 6 months down the line. And I have impressed even myself.

    Anyway – back to the dress…

    Just before I had the baby (literally while I was in labour at home, having my contractions), I decided I wanted to make a dress using different shades of denim. I had been seeing this mixed denim look on the high street quite a bit, so decided to make my own version.

    Rosa was an obvious choice, because I had been waiting to make one for the whole of pregnancy – plus, the dress panels meant that using different shades of denim would look more effective.

    So sitting there on the sofa, waiting for baby to drop, I planned out how much fabric to order for each shade of denim. Then swiftly placed my order with Fabric Godmother.

    The pattern itself was as you would expect – easy to follow with great instructions.

    My main challenge with this dress was getting the topstitching just perfect. I had a few sewing machine issues (I am out of love with my Janome DKS100 for breaking twice now!). Once I managed to get my machine fixed, topstitching was a breeze.

    Then before I stitched up the side seams, I just checked out fitting by pinning the seams up. She was tight! So I ended up sewing the sides up with a tiny seam allowance. All ended well and I don’t think I looked like ‘the snake that snacked’.

    As I was sewing this dress, I kept having reservations about whether or not the mixed denims would work. It wasn’t until I finished it and put it on that I fell in love with it.

    I am so so so so happy with the finish. It was worth the time perfecting the white topstitching. And I even managed to finish the dress in time for wearing to The Sewing Weekender. High five to that!

    Thanks for reading sewing fans.

  • 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