Thursday, 20 December 2012


 Well hello there! I feel like apologies are in order - I haven't time for blogging lately - either my own or for commenting. My blog reader tells me I have 200 odd unread posts and I can't wait to spend some time over Christmas catching up - with a large mug of mulled wine.
I have managed to finish one project though - see below...

I had big plans for a crafty, stylish build up to the holidays but as sometime happens life had other ideas for me and I found myself in the US west coast for work. The day I returned I had one afternoon of luxury on the sofa, watching Christmas movies and catching up on lazy time...the perfect chance to finish this project, started many Yuletide seasons ago..
My mom bought this table cloth in Germany and stitched all of the branches, before giving it to me to finish off in London when I moved here. I was planning to have it for our first Christmas together here... but it became an annual project and a few years later, (whose counting!) it's finally crowning our table. I was determined to finish it for our first married Christmas.

 ...My smugness at finishing it was short lived - check out this UFG (Unfinished Gift) that won't make it into a stocking this year ...  
Would have been pretty, right? This lucky person is getting a gift certificate instead...
Guess it's time to throw my hands in the air and admit defeat!
So, wishing you all safe travels this week-end if you're on the road, rails or in the air.
(If you're spending the week-end with your sewing machine, I'm very jealous...)
I didn't make this!  A vintage handiwork I bought in Sweden - amazing detail.
 And a very Merry (and stylish!) Christmas if you celebrate, if you don't, a lovely build up to the New Year and happiness in 2013.

Monday, 19 November 2012

When the crowd say "BOW"...*

Surprise! It's another bow...
*husband made me use the cheesy title...
Here's a project I made a few years back when I was tiptoeing into do-it-yourself patterns.  It's an A-line skirt with two pleated rectangles sewn together to make ----- 
a Giant Bow.  
The fabric is a silky soft medium weight grey wool with
yellow pinstripes - a steal of a find found in the remnant bin of a fancy shop.
The source of inspiration was a grey wool below the knee length Jill Sander skirt which I can't find a photo of now but I'm pretty sure was in an issue of Stylist, a free magazine handed out here in the UK at tube stations every Wednesday and also happens to be my midweek tonic / source of commuting sanity.
 It's an easy project with endless variations, and size of the bow certainly makes it a statement piece. I may try it on a pencil skirt next...(if I didn't have 50 other project whizzing around my head that is!) 
 Have I mentioned how much I love the colour grey?
Gosh I feel like I've only blinked and suddenly we're in the second half of November.  
 I haven't had time to sew anything new lately I have been lucky to be spending my free time taking another one of my beloved pattern drafting classes, which has been sucking all of my creative energy - in a good way! Hope to share some projects soon. 
Keep warm everyone x

Monday, 29 October 2012


I have a bit of a thing - no wait - I'm a little bit crazy about sequins.  Even on sportswear.  Even on a bally grey sweater.  Blame it on an adolescence spent on the figure skating rink, I have a weakness for the stuff.
Recently I decided I had to try my hand at one of these beaded collars that are everywhere right now (actually I think the exact moment was during an episode of Strictly Come Dancing). 
Beaded Sequins Collar
 So I headed down to my local craft shop and returned armed with sequins, bargain beads, fake plastic rhinestones and a glue gun for good measure (which, if you haven't used one in a while, isn't anything like riding a bike, as I discovered)
Once I got started I couldn't put it down. Notice the transition from tea to wine. Or was it the other way around.
And what better time go all lovely black and orange and sparkly than Hallowe'en... 

There are already countless tutorials on how to make your own beaded collar and I don't think you can go wrong.  It's as simple as measuring the circumfrence of your neck (or using the front and back neckline of a pattern that you like) and drawing in a collar shape. 
 To assemble mine, I sewed on the beading and sequins, to keep it flexible, and used a little glue for those plastic orange ones I mentioned earlier. The collar is a lightweight piece of felt backed with another piece of felt, with piping sandwiched between the two to create a smooth edge. 
  Now I've earmarked the last scrap of fabric from my dolce vita dress for a sparkly grey and pink collar that fastens in the front.   For a while I thought these scraps would be destined for a very glittery length of bunting.  Now maybe I'll have lots of very sparkly collars.
What a treat :)

p.s.  Just noticed the professional photos are up for the Tessuti Awards.  Check out the amazing pictures here.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


There are no words...I just can't stop staring at the gown Stephanie de Lannoy in Luxembourg wore after her civil wedding, the on eve of the main event today.

Luxembourg wedding
One of the wedding gowns from the Luxembourg Royal Wedding

What do you think?
Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday, 12 October 2012

a little something, something

Bows = JOY
Or, not one bow-but TWO!  This autumn I fell in love with the bow tops I've been seeing in magazines and on Pinterest, and have been itching to make one for myself.  I'm also not the first blogger/seamstress to express my love of the bow -  whimsical but understated, chic but not too serious, a little bit sexy, a little bit demure.  I had to make my own.  Here it is...
I also love sewing projects where you get to make design decisions throughout the process - when you have an idea in mind, but you have to wait to manipuate the actual fabric to decide which effect works best.  Something you can't always see in a toile.  In this case, I didn't know if the bows would end up poofy or square, or layered or ribbons (one of each, please!)... in the end I decided on these narrow flat strips cut on the bias, with a short tail peeking out the back.  I also omitted a tie, so they are more like figure-eight folds.
I did toile up the basic construction, to make sure it would stay up.  Using a block, I measured the outer circumference of my back and shoulders from the front of my left arm scythe, or arm hole, to the front of the right. 
Then i cut out a strip from the centre back of the pattern, about 15cm or so in length, and inserted a piece of elastic which was slightly smaller, so that it would help hold the top up and expand with my arm movement. 
Also worth mentioning that to let the front exterior shell hang freely and maintain a clean edge, I added interfacing only to the inside of the top band (the side that's hidden).
And of course, a hidden hem band.  I LOVE this white fabric with black hearts...dress coming soon...
Just one last thing to figure out - how to get my winter coat over these arm bows...  Ah, forget practicality, I have bows!