Sunday, 18 February 2018

My Secret Valentine Exchange Gift, #2018SVE

This will be my final instalment for the 2018 Secret Valentine Exchange. I received my present on Friday and was very excited to learn my parcel had travelled over the Atlantic ocean from Chicago.

My SVE buddy Celia Perez is a very talented published writer and librarian. Her hand-made gift to me was influenced by reading Richard B Sewall's award winning biography The life of Emily Dickinson. She created some really fun zine-style stickers with Emily's face and fun quotes written underneath.  She asked me to share photos of where Emily ends up when she leaves the house. There is even a hashtag #emilydickinsonleavesthehouse

Other gifts I received were a fab needle-felted heart brooch and a hand-sewn flower badge. As well as some yummy chocolate covered orange and caramel marshmallows and some loose tea leaves! What a fabulous end to the week and a big thanks to Celia for her creativity and to Ute and Sanae for organising another amazing SVE!






Emily D hanging out in East London!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Sew Over It Zoe Dress

With my sewing machine still in limbo (it's broken but I'm not sure whether to get it fixed or to buy a new one) I decided to attend the Zoe Dress workshop at the Sew Over It store in Clapham. I was very happy that the uber-talented tutor Julie was teaching the class (over the years she has helped me make the SOI Tulip skirt, 2014, 1960's Coat, 2015, Francine Jacket, 2015, and Cigarette Pants, 2016).

Image Source
In the spirit of Kate from Time to Sew I am warming up to #makeyourstash which doesn't officially start until March (read about it here). I raided my stash for a suitable fabric which ideally needs some stretch and I found the last metre of a cotton sateen in a colourful geometric print which I bought from Samuel Taylors in Leeds in 2013. If this looks familiar you may recognise it from my By Hand London Victoria Blazer I made last April.

It took some serious fabric Jenga to squeeze the pieces out of one metre of fabric. I had to omit the grown-on pockets and facings and cut them from some scraps of fabric from the Sew Over It fabric bin and some of my own stash.


During the construction I made good use of the overlocker (not having one of my own) so the insides are nice and neat. As for fitting, I graded from an 8 for the bodice and with the help of Julie graded out on the back seams only to 10 to accommodate my hips and bum. The Zoe dress is a semi-fitted shift dress which offers a lovely fit with princess seams as well as French darts and pockets that are hidden in the front panels.




The finished Zoe Dress

Pockets at the perfect height for stashing secret snacks!
What zip?




I made a slight mistake when sewing the neckline as I used a 1.5cm seam allowance instead of the intended 1cm. I like how it turned out though and didn't want to un-pick and re-sew. The hem was overlocked then stitched in place with a 3cm hem. This version is maybe a little short for workwear (certain constraints due to limited fabric) so I will add another 7/8cm to the length of the dress for my next version which will hit at the knee.


Overall I am super happy with the Zoe dress and I can see another one in the not-too-distant future.

Check out the other blogs at Sum of Their Stories

Saturday, 10 February 2018

#2018 Secret Valentine Exchange Reveal

I can reveal that my 2018 Secret Valentine is Kate who is known as @missfoxlove on Instagram. Kate contacted me yesterday that she succumbed to opening her Secret Valentine gift early so I can safely show you the gifts I made without spoiling the surprize!

As you know from my previous SVE post Kate loves red, pink, blue and silver colours and has a thing for foxes, pineapples, flowers and clouds imagery.
I raided my stash fabrics and found a number of cottons that would be perfect to make a zippered pouch or two in bright pink, a Japanese cherry blossom floral and a Cloud 9 'crane' fabric for the lining. (Yes, I am on a zippered pouch roll right now!)

The first pouch was made using the Noodlehead zippered pouch pattern and the second one was free-styled just as a simple pouch without a gusset. I also included some little gifts of some notebooks, rainbow bobbin cases pack (from Tiger) and some Graze nuts, chocolate and cherries wrapped in cloud wrapping paper!
Prepare for lots of photos!

A big shout out to the gorgeous Sanae and Ute who have organised this fantastic crafty sharing of love around the world! I am looking to #2019SVE already!











Check out lots of other cool crafty blogs at #handmademonday organised by Julia of Sum of their Stories.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Crafty friends are the best friends!

Crafty friends really are the best friends. I can say this with confidence as I received a lovely surprise gift in the mail in early January from the gorgeous and generous Marilla! A while back she wrote a blogpost about hand-printing and the gift she sent me featured in her post. It's a really useful drawstring bag that Marilla has repeat-printed with a navy blue print on a soft denim blue fabric.



To say thank you I sent her this zippered bag I made from stash fabric using a combination of Alison Glass and Cloud 9 cottons and an orange zip. I hope she likes it!

The following gifts I made for my lovely creative friend Charlotte whose birthday it was yesterday. She loves Orla Kiely's aesthetics so when I spotted the leaf print fabric (which has a Kiely-style look) at the Craft Swish last week I knew I could make something nice out of it for her.

The zippered pouch is loosely based on this free pattern from Noodlehead which I learnt how to make at a workshop at the Village Haberdashery last week.







Check out lots of other cool crafty blogs at #handmademonday organised by Julia of Sum of their Stories.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Big Craft Swish 2018

I attended my first ever Swish event last Sunday. After investigating I have found a number of craft and clothes related Swish events all around the country; get Googling for an event near you.

The idea is you pay a small entrance fee and bring a collection of craft items (or clothes) with you at a specified time. After the 'drop-off' there is time for a cup of tea whilst the organisers sort through the donations. Next is the exciting bit where you are invited back into the space for a browsing period and then finally once the Swish is formally open you get to select anything you fancy and take it home free of charge! Nifty and eco-friendly!


The event I went to was organised by the lovely Sonia from the London Craft Club at Cecil House by Regent's Park in London. I gathered a whole bunch of art and craft materials I no longer used and took home a number of lovely fabrics and zips. You get the idea if you watch this video taken at the event (where you can briefly see me with my big grey bag!).

My stash of unused art, craft and sewing supplies for the Big Craft Swish 
The very polite browsing part of the Swish



Sonia from London Craft Club explaining the respectful 'rules' of a Swish event

I met the lovely Kara (@Kara22jay) who had donated some gorgeous tweed that I acquired

Nice to catch up with Megan (PigeonWishes) who was checking out the knitting stash

My collection of Swished stuff. I was super happy with a scrap of my favourite Uniko Marimekko fabric!

The bottle green fabric is about 3 metres of very wide linen! Behind is a lovely Orla Kiely-esque furnishing weight cotton.
Colourful zips for miles!
Future Swish Events Links: