Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Manchester's Stitching Sewing and Hobbycraft Show Haul

Morning readers! It's that sporadic blogger again, the one who is trying to juggle establishing a brand, completing a postgraduate degree at Masters level, and fighting off germy fluey germs. 

As you may have already gathered from previous posts I have inherited the crafting bug from my darling Momma-Bear, who I am unsurprisingly very close to. So, way back at the start of the year we kept seeing ads for craft shows across the country and were toying with the idea of going to one. Unfortunately we never really got round to it so for her birthday I bought her a ticket to the one in Manchester, 6 months in advance! 

Now, due to my lack of blogging time the show was actually a month ago, but all too sadly I haven't actually made anything with my haul so (almost) everything is still intact. 

The show as a whole was brilliant. Seriously, us crafters are the friendliest people ever. The show was packed and yet everyone who bumped into me apologised and looked so sorry. You wouldn't get that on a Saturday on the Headrow! 

There was a wide range of craft stalls, but the majority were fabric and paper crafting. My mum, being a cross stitch addict only had a handful of stalls to choose from, but made some good connections and got a wide range of patterns. (As well as an amazing Victorian sampler to make for me). 

I went a bit mental with money that I don't have. But I'm seeing is as an investment for the year, everything I've got pending right now will see me through until next September so I don't have to spend my precious and modest student loan on fabric, unless it's for a present. 

First of all I found a nice wee haberdashery stall packed with shoppers and goodies and went a bit mental. At the start of the day I'd budgeted £20 for myself, that was nearly gone at one stall....

I absolutely loved the vintage style of this. I got a fat quarter's worth and think it may become a purse or a head scarf. It's too cute.

This is printed denim from somewhere called "The Denim Company". I would have loved to buy more but I was really pinching the pennies. This is a perfect example of my love for fabric, no plans but I had to have it!

We all know I love to flaunt my sewing and dressmaking skills, I just wish I could have afforded more of this to make it into a top, but it was quite pricy and I could only stretch to a half metre, maybe it'll be a sewing bag? Or travel sewing kit?

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I am totally and completely obsessed with penguins. Penguins are my true love, sorry Danny. Only a fat quarter again as the fabric was quite thin and I didn't want to make it into clothing. Ideas for it's uses are welcomed!

My current obsession is foxes, and I am actually almost finished making something with this one! I bought two metres and am making a English Tea Dress (previously made here), sans sleeves! Full post on that to come ;)

I fell in love with this cotton from Abkahan fabrics and stretched to buying a metre of it. I have a cami pattern in mind for it, or maybe some lingerie. The colour is so rich and I have always had a fascination with birds. So in love and it's great quality cotton!

So there we are, all in all it was a fab day at our first sewing show. We met some lovely people, got some good stuff and totally exhausted our feet! We slept well that night :) The tickets, bought in advance, were £7 a piece, which for a good day out was pretty good. I'd definitely recommend going one. For one in your area, check here http://www.ichfevents.co.uk/

If you have any ideas for what I can make with any of this stuff please let me know! Especially the fat quarters, my stash is huge and needs to be worked at. Share your ideas, let's make Sew Well Travelled an idea forum!

Til next time,

The Stressed Out Student that is Kat xx

Friday, 9 October 2015

Pattern Hack | The Elephant Allure

Hi Blogisphere! This is an old make, one of my first pieces, but it was my first hack and I was happy with how it turned out :)

The title makes it sound like an odd one, but my mum and I often joke that when I undo the top button of a dress or shirt, or wear a v-neck I'm switching on the 'allure'. So this is my Elephant Allure top. 

It's a pattern hack from the GBSB sleeveless shell top pattern (which I made here) but with a v-neck and sans facing. It was a bold move and I was kind of sewing in the dark so to speak,  but I do love it and get lots of compliments on it!

It has a precarious dart right in the middle of the V however, as there was an inexplicable fabric issue which resulted in what looked like a third nipple. I do not have a third nipple.

All I did was use the basic template for the shirt then cut a V out of the front and back. I wish I could say I did more than that....

(So, I was going to airbrush and edit the following pictures to make myself look slimmer. Shameful, I know, but I wasn't at all happy with how I looked in them and I've always been self conscious of my weight. But you know what? No. I'm a size 18 "plus size" woman, and yes I am trying to lose weight but this blog is all about handmade things and real life. This is the real me, flabby top-heavy me. So here you go. So there!)

Not all that adventurous but I do love it and its fit!

Til next time,


Friday, 11 September 2015

Hiatus and Books

There are a few reasons for my chosen title this time, one being quite obvious... I've neglected you all again and for that, I am so sorry. I started Uni last week and it's preoccupied my mind so much I actually forgot all about sewing :( I keep trying to pick up my current project and then get distracted or decide I'm too tired. I hope this year doesn't kill off my need to sew for sanity.

To those of you who have sent me well-wishes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and to my face - thank you! It really means a lot to me to have this wee support network and makes me feel so loved. If you're interested, Uni has been an overwhelming whirlwind, but today I finally felt settled. I had a bit of a wobble about it over the weekend, I guess I was daunted. I'm the sort of person who needs routine and stability, so that time between leaving my work routine and figuring out a Uni routine knocked me for six a bit, but I'm fine now and am really enjoying the process of becoming a teacher!

So next is books... I'm a student now and it'll come to no surprise to anyone that my room is filled with them. I've already started researching my first assignment (in week 2! If only my English Tutors could see me now) and have been reading a wide range of children's books for prep (seriously... go read some of David Walliams' books). But also, I just love books, and it runs in the family. So much so that my sister picked out some fabric and asked me to make her a library themed top.

I've been quite unfair to my sister since I started dressmaking - my mum, boyfriend, friends have all received something handmade, but Heather hasn't. She kept asking me and to be honest, it was really nice to have your work in demand. So I made her this...

She chose the Sleeveless Shell Top from the Great British Sewing Bee 'Fashion with Fabric' book which I had previously made for myself (read all about it here) and I have to say, I made it nearly perfectly. It's also made me realise the importance of using a pattern more than once, that way you can compare how you've improved over time. It was 5 months between making the two tops and all the mistakes I made the first time round were avoided this time, which was fab.

At the end of it all I have a perfect top in my portfolio and a very happy sister! What more could I ask for?

Til next time...

Kat xx

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Wee Bit of Market Research...

Happy Sunday guys! I hope everyone has had a relaxing and peaceful day and is ready for Monday tomorrow. This coming week is my final week at work before I start Uni, I can't believe how quickly it's come round! It's feeling quite bittersweet right now...

I'll get right to it now then. As I've mentioned before on this blog, and if you've read my little "Support Me" tab, you'll know that I've been toying with the idea of opening up an online shop for a while now, but have had a few things holding me back. 
I've quickly come to realise however, that during my PGCE year the  chance of managing to fit in part time work is slim, and so I will need to find new and innovative ways to top up my student loan. As sewing is my passion and my main hobby, I can't think of anything better than making beautiful things for other people, whilst having some downtime for studying by doing what I love.

So essentially, I'm doing a bit of market research to help get this underway, please feel free to share it with your family and friends! If you enter your email address at the end of the survey you may be lucky enough to get a cheeky wee surprise when the store is launched! (basically a discount).

The survey is here... https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/59MYFJL

If you have any questions or suggestions you can get me on here, @SewTravelled on Twitter, @SewWellTravelled on Instagram, or via sewwelltravelled@gmail.com.

Enjoy! Much love, Kat xx

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Self-Drafted | The "Days of Yore" Skirt

A few weeks ago... or months ago, I forget, I hit the Fabbadashery with my boyfriend. It was only right that he experienced my happy place first hand. I think it's fair to say that he didn't really get it but did resolve to make a picnic blanket; out of checked cotton material straight from the bolt. So no sewing really, just buying a metre of fabric. He didn't buy it in the end when I threatened to teach him how to use a sewing machine.
ANYWAY, the darling that he is bought me a couple of metres of this beauty. In true Kat style I didn't have any plans for it but I'm damn chuffed with how it's turned out!

The fabric, for some reason, reminds me of that episode of Friends where Rachel buys a ton of furniture from Pottery Barn and convinces Phoebe that it's genuinely from "the days of Yore".

This skirt is 100% self drafted, no hacking at all. I started by measuring my waist, hips and the length from my waist to where I wanted it to end. I added four inches to my waist then divided that total by four to make the front and back skirt pattern pieces, one on a fold and one not. I also measured the distance between my waist and hips to make sure when I was drawing out the flare of the skirt it skimmed my hips nicely. I also made it three-ish longer at the back and curved the hem, which I'm also very happy with. Generally I'm just really happy about this skirt. I also added quite a wide waistband and a centre back zip. And here it is!!!
I look silly when I pose.
Totally not photoshopped to
make me look slimmer....

In all honesty, I'm immensely proud of how far my sewing and dressmaking skills have come, to think that six months ago I'd sat down with my first pattern and called for my mum for help, and now I am designing, drafting and creating my own clothes! What even.

Anyway, you know the drill guys, til next time...
Kat xx

Sunday, 9 August 2015

How To 'Get Into' Sewing and Dressmaking...

Often when I post links to my blog online, usually on Facebook, or when I flaunt my creations around the office, I'm asked how I got into dressmaking. I hear all too often from people who have always wanted to make their own clothes, but just don't feel 'clever' enough, or don't know where to start, or a bad experience in A-Level Textiles class put them off for life. It's like dressmaking is some secret skill that you don't just 'pick up', and that you have to have all the knowledge in the world before you can even start.
I have to admit... I was the same. For years I had been wishing that I knew how to make my own clothes, that I could just do it, but I was afraid to start. But really, since starting sewing again nearly a year ago I've discovered that the only skills you really need to get started are patience and perseverance.
'Scuse the face, I was tired.

Back in January of this year I "picked up" dressmaking. In that I'd finished my quilt and a couple of little projects and decided to myself "right, now I'm going to make a dress". I'd bought my first sewing magazine with a free pattern, and figured I'd just buy the fabric and make the dress.
I've been luckier than some with starting as dressmaking is in my blood. My Grandmother made clothes for M&S, and then taught my mother who spent the 70s and 80s making her own clothes. My mum had recently bought a new sewing machine, and as I am currently living at home I was able to borrow it. For the most part I was stubborn and refused guidance throughout the first dress, but my mum was on hand to help me figure out the most basic skills in sewing which I lacked. That dress took about a month or two to finish, but I still wear it now...
So I thought I'd run down my six top tips for starting this brilliant hobby, I hope they help you eliminate the fear and just go for it!

1. Your First Pattern Should Be A Real Challenge
I've read a lot of these kinds of articles where dressmakers recommend picking something simple so that you don't lose confidence by making mistakes. I disagree, we learn by making mistakes and picking something difficult in the first instance will make everything else seem more manageable and logical.
My first dress, the one picture above involved a bodice with princess seams, darts, set in sleeves, front facing, a zip and then a full skirt. The princess seams baffled me, but from that I learnt about 'easing in', which also taught me in turn that dressmaking is not just shoving two pieces of fabric together and sewing. The front facing was a totally different notion to me, it was something I didn't even know existed, and we still don't talk about zips... Though I have a zipper foot now, so life's a bit easier. Tip 1 (a) - get a zipper foot.

2. Get A Book.
If you live in Britain, you'll know that The Works is a gold mine for cut price books, and because of how popular sewing is becoming they currently have a much more comprehensive craft section than ever before. I got this one for about £4 I think, but if you don't have access to this shop you can easily get one online and it's worth investing. It'll become your bible. Don't forget that a quick Google search will also answer most questions too, and there are plenty of sewing tutorial YouTube videos. 

3.  Just Do It.
No, I am not sponsored by Nike, but the sentiment in their tagline works here. A lot of the time the problem with doing something is getting started, and so we put it off longer and longer and it never gets done, that dress never gets made, and we are left with the never knowing of how that dress might have looked. Find a local fabric shop, or look online at a website such as Minerva Crafts, pick something you fall in love with and just start. Though I recommend cotton, stretch fabric is a nightmare and will make you hit things this early on.

4. No Machine? No Problem!
Bertha has now been upgraded
but is still loved.
Using your bible (see tip 2) take the time to learn some basic hand stitches - running stitch, back stitch, slip stitch. Sure, I love my machine, I love rarely having to hand sew anything and I love the power old Bertha 2 gives me;  but it's not VITAL. My mum hand sews everything and more often than not it looks just as, if not even more professional. If you're adamant on getting a machine but are lacking the funds see if you can borrow one from a friend or a family member, or find a cheaper model online to get you started, but don't let not having one hold you back. After all, they didn't use machines in the days of Yore.
ALSO - fun fact! Even though I sewed the patches to their fleece components, the patches and bias of my t-shirt quilt were all sewn by hand.

5. Get the Right Tools.
You needn't spend a fortune, but getting the basics is key to success and preventing crisis'. Make sure you have the following tools in your stash, and preferably a pretty box to keep them in...
A seam ripper - for those welcomed mistakes (or learning curves as I prefer to call them)
Fabric scissors - NOT FOR PAPER.
Paper scissors - NOT FOR FABRIC.
Hand sewing needles - for practice. You can get these at most supermarkets.
Pins - good quality ones please, if they're not sharp enough they'll damage your lovely cotton. And then you'll cry.
Tailors chalk or pen - for marking darts and other bits. If you wanna go upmarket you can get a tracing wheel too, but I'd always have tailors chalk as a back up.
A tape measure - to measure yourself, and others, and random things just for fun.
A selection of threads - get a bunch of your favourite colours, and also black and white ones, you always need a back up.
A pin cushion - or EVEN BETTER! Make one! You are a crafter now after all.

6. Be Brave.
My first dress, and I sat there staring at
all this for a good amount of time.
OK, it sounds like an odd thing to need to be brave about, but it really can be a little daunting when you cut out all the pattern pieces and lay out the fabric, having never seen a lay plan before, never mind used one. The key is to take it one step at a time and follow the instructions. Remember that you're meant to be having fun, you wanted to do this, make whatever you did. Taking things slowly and bit by bit will allow you to learn and not get overwhelmed. And remember, if it doesn't work out the way you planned that's ok, no one's first dress/project is in any way perfect!

Please share your first or most recent projects with me, or any tips you have for new starters on here, Twitter and Instagram, and I shall speak to you soon!

Much love,

Kat xx

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Scottish English Rose Dress

Morning all! 

A few weeks ago, right after the great teaching interview marathon of 2015 I sat down to make the Simple Sew English Tea Dress. 
Now this pattern was a tad traditional for me, but when I was looking at all my patterns it was the one which fit my fabric the best. The fabric, a beautiful red floral by Rose and Hubble which I picked up in the Fabbadashery's summer sale at £3.99 a metre had called to me. It's a little more floral than I usually go for but was just too stunning to say no to. 
The pattern itself was the easiest one I've done so far, no mistakes whatsoever apart from doing my zip too low, but it was my second concealed zip so it's ok. 
I'd say in total with the hours I put in it only took my about 5 to complete this one, and fit wise it is the best yet! 
I chose the capped sleeve option. There were three sleeve options in the pack, two with additional cuff options, but I decided it would be a little too much with the already busy fabric. 

And so here it is! My sewing machine thread was tangled when I was doing the hem, so whatever you do, don't look at the inside stitching (that's if you ever see me!) but from the outside its neat and pretty and that's enough for me :) 

And there it is! There are rumours of a heatwave coming next week, which is good as I'm on annual leave, hopefully we get one more blast of heat so I can legitimately wear this, as I'm not sure how well it would go with black tights and boots. 

What's the easiest thing you've made yet? And what do you think of this creation? 
Remember to subscribe here and on bloglovin' if you enjoy my sporadic creations and I shall speak to you soon! 
Much love,
Kat xx

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Life Changes

Guess who's back? Back again? Katharine's back, with a brand new career.


I'm really sorry, so so sorry. You see, after my last blog things got a little surreal and, for lack of a better word, insane. On the 15th July 2015 I accepted a conditional offer to the University of Leeds to study a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Primary) from this September. My interview was on the 14th... Insane. Mental. Surreal. I still can't quite believe it, but it's happening. I'm doing it. I've even resigned!

So that's why I haven't been blogging. I've been sewing, but not at the same rate as usual and have only finished two projects since I received that offer. Needless to say I have a lot of reading to do and revision prior to this intense year I've signed myself up for, but I am SO excited! I've finally found what I want to do with my life and it's ever so slightly overwhelming. I am still having many moments of grinning to myself thinking "I bloody well did it", still lusting after stationary, and planning on how to be a model student. Most of all though? I'm dedicated to getting every child in my class sewing. My classroom will be the craftiest classroom in the woooorld!

So for the next year I will still be sewing, and blogging when I can (probably more regularly than I do now as I am a procrastinator), but you will also be getting regular snippets of the life of a stressed out PGCE student. Stay tuned for my grey hairs and breakdowns!

Onto sewing news however, today I entered my first competition! BamberSew.co.uk are running their annual dressmaking competition, and this year it's the Walkaway Dress. I still haven't finished the one I am doing for myself yet, but I am confident I will get this one done. Entry fee is £17.99 and you get the pattern and the fabric in that price, it seems like a fun experience and I am too excited! You can buy the kit here:  https://www.bambersew.com/Product.aspx?ProductID=7565&L=1#related-products

I finished Simplicity 1608 for my mum, and an English Tea Dress for myself (full posts on these to follow). Mine and Danny's one year anniversary is this weekend also and I am trying to find something to make last minute for that.

For the first time in a long time I have a box full of fabric and nothing planned for them. In a way that's stressing me out, I want to wear the fabric, but I don't know in which way. Stay tuned and you will see!

That's all from me from today, regular dressmaking news will resume tomorrow and in a much more regular fashion. If you'd like more regular updates from me then follow me on twitter (@sewtravelled) and instagram (@sewwelltravelled) where I am ever so slightly more active at the moment.

Til tomorrow, much love.

Kat xx

Friday, 10 July 2015

I must apologise...

Evening readers!
So this is an apology post. I am sorry.
Shall I stop there? Ok, bye!

No really, I'm sorry I've been neglecting my wonderful blog and growing audience lately, I really am. There's a reason though, a good one too, and it all started 6 weeks ago...

So at the end of May, through a series of events which I won't detail here, I got a little panicky about my life and my future and the fact that I have been 'sitting on the fence' for the past 4 years and so decided to take a leap... and apply for teacher training.
Now, I will start by saying this - I spent 6 months teaching England in Poland a year and a bit ago, and it was the most incredible and fulfilling 6 months of my entire life. For the first time in my life I found something that I was good at, and as a bonus I loved it. Sadly, though, I had to return to the UK to address some responsibilities and ended up in my current job, which has been great - don't get me wrong! - but it's felt like something was missing. I wish I hadn't dilly-dallied, but I did, and now I'm on a lastminute.com panic to get my future started.

In the past 4 weeks, after signing up with a teaching agency, deciding between primary and secondary and having a couple of freak-outs; I've submitted a UCAS application, told work, gotten 2 glowing references, completed my literacy test, revised the hell out of numeracy and have SOMEHOW managed to bag two interviews NEXT week for courses starting this September. I have no money, haven't managed to get into a UK school for experience yet, and am currently blindly panic planning my mock lessons which need to be ready for some interviews.

So that, essentially, is why I've been AWOL. I'm starting sewing again on Tuesday, with a stiff Zubrowka i soki jalbkowy by my side and will show something off in good time for your viewing pleasure. Until then, wish me luck! I need it :/

Kat xx

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Jersey Hell and Mini Projects

Evening all and a very happy weekend to everyone!
I'm sorry for my lack of posts lately. I have taken a sewing hiatus recently due to a number of factors, long stories and differing responsibilities and pressures. I'd love to say that life has been hunky dory, but it hasn't. I've been more stressed out than I have been for a long time, but after a weekend of sewing and spending quality time with my family I feel ready to kick the world's ass tomorrow!

So in between dressmaking I enjoy doing some mini projects for myself, family and friends. Mainly myself though, not going to lie, I'm a selfish crafter.

Apologies for the blurriness
So first on the mini projects are these project caddies. The one on the left I made for my mum for her birthday, and then found it so easy that I decided to make my own which is on the right. Each one is fully lined with pockets around the outer. I have been using mine to keep fabric in, but my dear momma has been using hers properly, for all her crafting cross stitchy bits.

The next one is half finished - sorry about that Danny! This is the start of a glasses case I meant to make for my boyfriend, as he's always throwing his glasses into bags unprotected. I liked the idea of him taking his glasses out and turning into a superhero, but I hit a wall with the bias and threw a tantrum, so it didn't get any further. One day Danny, I promise!

The above is the cushion that I made for Danny for Valentine's day (I'm a big fan of making presents). I didn't realise until I'd finished it though that there were some parts with spiders on, so I had to applique black squares over them to pander to a phobia. He still loves it though, which is the main thing :)

The final mini project is a mystery, as my mum reads this blog and it's a surprise for her. But it may never be finished as I threw a tantrum and told it to eff off a couple of weeks ago. I haven't touched it since.

As well as that I made a mini circle skirt yesterday out of four way stretch jersey fabric. The fabric is beautiful and soft, and I do love it, don't get me wrong; but OH MY GOD I WANTED TO SET FIRE TO IT. That sort of fabric just has a mind of it's own, it never stayed still, it wouldn't hold a pin, and I basically spent yesterday using some extremely foul language with it. But, it worked out in the end. The hem is a mess but I'm not fixing it, it's staying that way. I won't be doing that again until I have an overlocker, basically.

The pockets are lined with purple fabric scraps, which is a nice wee pop of colour too :) This pattern is by Sew Girl and was featured in the March (???) issue of Love Sewing.

So there we are! If you want the pattern details for anything else featured in this blog please give me a shout and I'll send them over/feature them.

Til next time kiddlywinks :) 

Kat xxx

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Rosy Rockabilly | Self-Drafted

Hi sewers and crafters and interested blog readers! 
At the start of April, I bought some gorgeous skull and roses patterned cotton on a whim as
A. It was something completely different;
And B. It reminded me of my other half and so made me happy (you can all vom now)

So when I sat down to cut it I decided a dress was in order, I knew exactly what I wanted from it but didn't have a pattern to match my desires. I decided to just draw it myself and say to hell with it, and I'm quite happy with the results! 

First of all, it's not 100% self drafted. I took the cami top hack pattern from the new GBSB book and adapted it. 
Once I'd traced out the pattern I then measured the length from my waist to the top of my knee, where I wanted it to stop and marked this from the waistline of the top on the tracing paper. 
With this marked on I then drew out the skirt shape, making it as flared as possible! Once I was happy I cut the fabric and got to work...

It is a simple dress to make, there are a couple of bust darts and there's facing all around the neckline and the back. The straps were sewn in (and taken out many times) at the same time as the interfacing. It curves in at the waist and flares out at the skirt and blows up Marilyn style when it's windy. 

All in all it only took a couple of evenings and didn't make me want to cry. Wiiiin! 

I am so in love with it, and so proud of my first dress that is completely my own design :) 

Let me know what you think and follow if you want to see more creations! 
Til next time sweets, 
Kat xx

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

I Like to Wiggle Wiggle | Eliza M Pattern

Happy .... Tuesday, readers!
I recently took it upon myself after watching a little too much Mad Men to make myself a 1950's inspired wiggle dress. Basically so I could work towards looking like my girl crush...
Is there anyone more perfect?!
Enter my first Eliza M pattern. The one which I used was made specially for 'Love Sewing' magazine and was free with their October issue... The Eva Dress.
It works best with stretchy knit fabrics which I have been looking to experiment with, so this was the perfect time to try it out! I chose a gorgeous plum bengaline fabric with a two way stretch which was a DREAM to work with as it didn't fray or move around too much. As the pattern goes up to a size 20 I didn't have to add any inches either and was chuffed to find that I could have got away with a size 18 in the end.

The pattern itself is fairly easy to follow and well set out with helpful tips on how to manage the fabric and mark darts etc, which would be especially helpful for beginners! Unfortunately it is missing the step where you need to attach the facings, however a quick Google if you're unsure will solve this! It's completed with a 22" zip and a slit up the back. It's my new favourite work dress and one of my colleagues couldn't believe I made it myself!

As I was making this for myself at the same time as the one I made for my friend Katie it took quite a while. I had to tear myself away from it to focus on Katie's and as I was determined to finish it in time for my birthday weekend (I didn't) I made a few mistakes through rushing. But hey, what's a dress of mine without a few mistakes?!

I'd seriously recommend this pattern, no matter what your size. it's pretty clingy but it works (although I do feel more comfortable wearing them with super stomach holding in tights). So any size, it plays well to your curves and has a very womanly feel to it. I can't wait to dress it up with heels and tights with seams up the back for a night out!

I was GOING to post a picture of me in the dress, but as I tend to wear it to work and I leave the house like "a hurricane passing through" (as my mum so lovingly put) I never have time to post a picture of me head to toe in my wiggly creation. Which, in a sense is a blessing as I still don't look like Christina Hendricks :(

Til next time, it won't be so long... promise!

Kat xx

Friday, 8 May 2015

16 Things That Will Inevitably Happen When You Get Addicted To Sewing...

Whether you're a new seamstress inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee or an established sewing veteran who has picked it up once again you will relate to some, or all of these points. If not then sit tight, it is still to come!

1. You become a regular in your local haberdashery/fabric store.
Whether it is John Lewis, HobbyCraft or a local business, you're greeted with a smile, on first name terms, known by tastes, and remembered by projects. It's the first place you go to on payday, and you can ALWAYS justify a new addition, even if it is just a fat quarter...

2. You start cancelling plans in order to sew, and don't even feel guilty about it...
"Oh no I can't tonight... I'm needed"
"Who by?"

3. You find yourself talking about your clothes even more, just to gloat.
Today I asked a male uninterested colleague if he liked my dress, just so I could tell him I made it and feel the praise. You strut around just waiting for someone to comment on your new creation, just so you can say "Oh no... I MADE it" when asked where you got it from.

4. You have had to label your scissors to ensure housemates know THEY'RE NOT FOR PAPER.
The HORROR when someone tries to cut paper with your fabric scissors, as if someone has used your favourite dress as a towel.

5. Your sewing machine (if you have one) has a name, so you can chastise it when it does something bad.

Bertha loves me, and I love her. Except, however, when she carries on sewing when the thread has broken/the bobbin has run out/decides to eat my fabric/generally acts like an erratic lunatic.

6. You have less money than ever before
Handmade doesn't mean cheap. But you can always justify £30 on fabric and £5.99 on a magazine, because it's your love. And so it's ok.

7. You realise ANYTHING is possible with a sewing machine, even if it isn't Pinterest worthy.

8. Your seam ripper is your most used tool, and you hate that.
One day I'll make something right first time. Until then, hello old friend...

9. You feel less inclined to hate people.
Sewing releases endorphins, finishing a project gives you pride, looking forward to sewing at the end of a rubbish day is an amazing thing.

10. Sewing is basically a diet.
You are constantly moving between the table and the iron, you can't eat a jam donut while making a dress, and since you have to take more photos of yourself head to toe you own more stomach sucking in tights than ever before. (not necessary though, because we're all beautiful no matter what.)

11. Acquiring storage and designing a future sewing room is totally normal.
I currently have 2 wall hangings waiting, furniture decided on, and the dressmaking dummy selected. Now all I need is a room.

12. Hours are spent analysing and visualising patterns.

The fear of wasting beautiful fabric on a substandard pattern is real.

13. You walk around shops thinking "can I make that?" 
You see a dress you love, check the price tag, see the rows and rows of identical pieces, and evacuate to the fabric shop.

14. You can spend hours of joy organising your craft things.
"What if... WHAT IF... I store my seam ripper in the top tray, rather than the bottom... GENIUS!"

15. Time is precious, and time not spent crafting is time wasted.
"What do you MEAN you won't pay me to make stuff?!"

16. You realise you have the greatest hobby in the entire world, and can't imagine life without it.
You're hooked. It's like falling in love; you want to spend every day with it, you want to treat it to things, discuss it constantly, drop it into conversation, show it off, rub it in that you can MAKE things. Even if the rates of production may vary according to the needs of that silly reality thing, you are, and always will be, a sewist.

Are YOU a sewaholic? If not, WHY not? Feel free to leave other signs and suggestions below and follow me if you want to hear more about my life as a self proclaimed sewing addict! 

til next time... Kat xx

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Katie Dress

Hiya lovely people!
Sorry I've been so rubbish with blogging lately, with work and actually finding time to sew I've been sleeping rather than blogging but that is about to change! With effect from today I will be posting a creation every Sunday without fail, and maybe a few extras during the week - stay tuned lovelies!

So, if you read my previous post you'll know that for the past two weeks I have been working on my first made to measure project for my friend Katie. What a challenge it was, but I really enjoyed it, even after all the long nights at the sewing machine and definitely will be doing it again! Though without such a tight deadline next time.

Anyway, Katie had been looking for a 1960's shift dress, a little like those pictured below, and so I got to work with some poorly drawn sketches pretending I knew what I was doing. I still had a long way to go...

Anyway, Katie chose some lovely nautical blue and white striped fabric from Minerva Crafts, however it turned out to be a little thinner and a bit more see through than we anticipated, which was actually a blessing, as it meant I could do all the fittings with the lining. It also meant I could learn how to line something!

So I went to Leeds Kirkgate Market to find some plain white lining material and whilst I was there picked up Simplicity pattern 1197, which I thought would be perfect. However, by the time I got it home I realised that the pattern was completely different, had a front panel which wasn't suitable for the striped pattern of the dress, so in the end I kind of had to wing it!

And so after taking her measurements... it began.

The lining fabric was a dream to work with, and I was particularly proud of how it turned out...

The next day Katie and I met at work and went to some unknown toilets in the building that I work in for the first fitting. Some people tried to visit the loo, don't they know that is my dressing room!

Sadly I was a tad generous with adding inches and the forgot how petite the lovely Katie is and so the dress ending up looking like a lab coat. But no matter, it's always easier to take in than take out. This is how it looked after pinning...

In total 4.5 inches were to come off, the sleeves to be cut down by 8.5 inches and 6 inches off the hem. After this I took the sleeves off, took it in at the side seams, the back, and then down the front to keep it in proportion and take in the shoulders. Everything fit for our next fitting and so I started on the outer fabric.

As it turned out, the fabric was much thinner than I anticipated and frayed very easily. But this is not yet an issue in this story...
I managed to finish it in 10 hours last Wednesday due to taking annual leave. I was shattered but immensely proud of finishing it before the Thursday deadline and showed all my colleagues with pride...

Unfortunately, when adding the lining to the outer it had eaten into my seam allowances and the perfect fit was no more. The bust was still too big and the skirt too narrow. The final deadline was the next day so I made it a mission that night to fix it. After a visit to my favourite Haberdashery and a brainstorming session with the owner I fixed the issues with the use of pleats.
It took 5 hours, and I finished at 1am, and then did some more on my commute the next morning, but it was done. Luckily I took some photos before I crashed out.

So it's far from perfect, the sleeves could do with some work and due to the fragility of the material the seams are frayed to unpicking and picking, but it's done. In a way I feel like it was a blessing in disguise as I think the buttons add a certain something to it. The additional pleat at the back was a good call too as the side seams just couldn't be taken out much more.

I don't think I've done a bad job though for my first piece... I mean, look at this pattern matching...
It's a bit off but come on! For a first timer that's pretty awesome.

At the end of it all, Katie was smiling, she's wearing it over another dress but that makes the fit even better. She can't currently lift her arms all the way over her head as I need to take the sleeves and the armholes a little further out, but it zips and it fits!

And due to me hoping to make a business out of this (one day...!) I even made a little tag...

So there it is, my first made to measure project, the first of many more I hope! Please let me know what you think and any tips or comments you may have and until next time folks!

Don't forget to follow me if you like my stuff, I'm on Bloglovin' too, and share this with any fellow crafty friends!

Til next time, Kat xx