Saturday, 9 March 2019

Well and full of ideas and plans

So February passed in a blur of coughing, aching limbs and utter lethargy. Somehow this nasty bug sucked out all our energy and enthusiasm, even for eating! (That was its only bonus as it certainly helped my quest to shed a few pounds before the warmer weather gets here)

Then suddenly one morning I got up and actually felt like me! I really wanted to get stuck into some of those plans I had abandoned and even began to think of some new projects. My sewing room was calling again.

So what have I been up to.
First I made up a wearable toile of the 'Jocko' top from Ready to Sew. The only suitable fabric I had was some fleece, which was a bit thick, but it enabled me to see just how boxy the top was.

When you are like me and more of a triangle shape, tops that are too loose are not flattering and I found that I had to go down 2 sizes to make it work for me. Still loose and comfy, but not overwhelming. 
I really like this top and straight away ordered some striped French terry to make up a lighter version.  I think this really works well and it will certainly be a pattern I return to again.

Next I thought I had better tackle some of the costume work I still have to finish for the Chantry Dance Company, for their show Alice, Wonderland through the Looking Glass, later this year.

 It's coming along, though I can't reveal too much. If you're into contemporary dance check out their website to see if they will be performing near you.

And then of course it was world book day. Only one of my grandsons was involved this year, which was just as well as he didn't decide what he wanted to be dressed as until 2 days before the event. 
Amazingly the theme was Alice in Wonderland, in the air or under the ground. Well bless him our little man is potty about worms, but to make a costume he could manage in all day at school was a bit of a problem. Eventually mum persuaded him that a caterpillar was similar and so the one from Alice emerged. Hoodie top, two colours of fleece and some pipe cleaners and voila!

We did make the tail detachable on an elastic belt so that he could sit down and manage other things unaided. Mums amazing makeup finished it off and although I had my doubts that he would actually wear it, he loved it and stayed in it all day.
And just to make his day he was awarded 3 gold stars, so all in all another success.

Well I'm on a roll now so off to do some more of the costumes and some tee shirts ready for my hols later in the year. 
I'm using a free pattern from Love Sewing magazine and even managed to purchase the same yellow spot jersey from Girl Charlee that was used in the magazine. It is a little thinner than I had anticipated but we'll see how it makes up.

Enjoy your week and sewing if you're doing any
Jenny xx

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Sew many plans

So here I was all fired up to complete the beautiful Sanderson curtains and then rustle up the ,Jocko' top and bang!!!!

First DH succumbs to this nasty viral flu bug thing and then being the kind sharing person he is gives it to me.

Feel a bit like Ive been run over by a steamroller.

So I'm staying here, no energy to even get up this morning, but no doubt later I will feel ever so lazy and stumble out.

Needless to say sewing now on hold.

Jenny xx

Monday, 4 February 2019

Goodbye January

Well January didn't seem to hang around very long did it? Or is that just another reminder that I'm getting older!

I am rather proud though that one month in I'm still holding to my 'no bought clothes' challenge, though the me made bit has not developed much further. Truth is I do have a well stocked wardrobe and need to have a bit of a cull. That's not to say I don't have a few things on my wish list.

One of those is a new to me pattern called 'Jocko' by Ready to Sew. A simple PDF pattern for a rather cosy top. There are lots of versions of this on the web and I have been inspired.
I have a large stash of fleece from when I made slippers and I'm intending to use some to make a wearable toile.

Picture credit.. Ready to Sew patterns

I have found some gorgeous French terry on line which I am aching to buy, but will be very restrained until I have made my toile.
As any sewer out there knows, patterns which look stunning on one person are sometimes just not you. So watch this space. It's supposed to be a quick sew so I hope to have one done this week.

I haven't been a slouch though! I have been making curtains for my darling girl, for a very square bay window. I had previously made blinds, but because of the way the house sits,  sunlight had got in at a strange angle and faded them in stripes! At least with separate curtains she will be able to draw them to try to avoid this in future.
The fabric I am using is a vintage Sanderson called Rosamund, from 1982 (she would only have been 11 then). It is a beautiful rose pattern on a cream background. I picked up several metres at a car boot last year, but when I came to measure the windows, I didn't have nearly enough.
I went on line and to my amazement I managed to track down about 12 metres. Some of it had previously been made into curtains, but the selve edges were still intact and they had obviously not hung for long as the fabric is like new.

However when I received it, it turned out to be a slightly different colourway to the fabric I already had. The roses are more apricot, whereas mine are deep coral. Luckily the girl loved it anyway and there is enough to make all four curtains we need. The original will now be used for cushions and making a lampshade for a standard lamp.

I have purchased new blackout thermal lining and have already pieced together the curtains that need extra width. I'm quite proud of my pattern matching especially since the fabric was not bought with that in mind. A case of more good luck than judgement I feel.

I managed to find a couple of lampshades to recover at our local Sue Ryder CS for £1 each, what a bargain!!

I just need to acquire a couple of lamp standard bases now!

Well that's about it for now, I will be sticking my Jocko PDF pattern together later and making a start tomorrow. I cant wait as I really do like the look of it. Just hope it likes my body shape as much.

Happy sewing
Jenny xx

Friday, 4 January 2019

New Year..New Challenge

So here we are again at the start of a New Year!

And I hope that finally this poor neglected blog will suddenly be filled with new sewing projects.

I have set myself an almost impossible task (for a shopaholic), of only adding me made items to my wardrobe for a whole year!!

I'm not really sure I can do it, but each time I've purchased something lately, I have been less than happy with either the fit, the quality or just the price. I also like to wear something individual, and what better way to do that than make it yourself.
The pattern, how you may adapt it, the fabric, the colour, all these things make a me made garment yours and yours alone and rarely will you find anyone else wearing the same thing.

I've already made a start. In November I went to the knitting and stitching show at Harrogate and bought some lovely cord to make a couple of skirts. I found a suitable free pattern on, although it turned out to be a Lekala pattern!, but as I hadn't made it before, I made a toile from a remnant I had picked up at a market.

After sorting out a couple of fit issues (I had heard that they weren't always very accurate and indeed despite putting in my exact measurements, I did have to take it in quite a bit and the waist is still very generous!)  I am now though  happy with the result and ready to start on the cord versions.

I'm hoping the process will make me focus on what's missing from my wardrobe, instead of just buying things that take my fancy. Things that will work with those things that I already own. To this end, I am going to make a list of what I think is missing. The items and the colours and hopefully over the next 12 months I will be able to fill those gaps with well made, well fitted garments that I know I will wear.

Wish me luck!

Jenny xx

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Step back in time

Well it seems odd to talk of snow considering the blistering weather we've been experiencing over the past few months, but I seem to have let this blog slip and yet I have had so many nice adventures  this year that I have decided to step back in time and recall some of them.

March 2018
Way back in March I went on another of my visits to beautiful Scotland, and if my wish was to see it in all kinds of weather, well I certainly did this time.

On the day I set off it was pouring with rain, after several days of blizzards and heavy snowfall here in Lincolnshire. The views from the train window were still stunning though. I think the trip to Edinburgh is one of my favourite railway journeys. Hugging the coast for much of the latter part, the North Sea was wild with white horses and I was glad to be snug in my carriage looking out.
As I try to travel mid week, there are not always that many fellow travellers, but on both my outward and home journeys this time the carriage was quite full, so it wasn't quite so easy to lose myself in my book.
Have you ever noticed that whether on a train, in a restaurant and sometimes even the cinema you always seem to hear one voice way above everyone else and once heard you cannot get it out of your head! Well I had one , in fact two sat opposite me and however hard I tried to block it out, it was all I could hear. Two 'business' people, one a young woman, the other a more mature man, who spent a good two hours trying to out do each other in what they had achieved, what they owned , where they holidayed and how mentally and academically they were far superior than their peers.
I know you shouldn't listen to other's conversations but sometimes you have no choice. I almost felt like chiming in and saying I had a normal job, a loving family, a reasonable car and cheap holidays and that now I am retired, no hassles, no competition, freedom, and I am completely content and happy with my lot and hoped their stress and power struggles were worth it in the end!! Some people seem to spend 'the best years of their life' fighting to be at the top and miss life altogether before it's too late. Sorry, have got off my soapbox now! But it is sad that some people just can't see the beauty of taking time out and enjoying what you have now.

Anyway, back to Bonny Scotland.
We had as always planned to have a couple of outings, and now my sister has a car again, a bit of touring was on the agenda.
But No!! Four days of intermittent blizzards, some sharp frosts and lots of ice are not the kind of  weather two wrinklies should be risking! Broken hips are not worth it. We struggled to take Jack my sister's dog out some days, so we enjoyed a few days of complete rest, reading, knitting and chatting. And you know sometimes that is enough.
I did manage to complete a lovely scarf and hat with some wool my sister was going to give away! And it looked like I would still be needing it if the weather forecast was right! seemed an awful long way off !!! (Even though I know it had officially started!)
Finally a couple of days before I was due to return the sun came out and we had a lovely trip to the charming fishing village of Anstruthers. We kept to all the B roads and the scenery was quite magical.

On my final day we took just a short trip to Burntisland.

I had been there before and looked forward to a walk through the lovely park area. Again the sun was shining and this time the cool winds had dropped. Running along side of the park there is a railway branch line, and underneath some arches. I asked my sister if she had ever ventured through them as they seemed to be a public pathway, and she said no, so curiosity peaked we went to explore.
Oh my!
What a surprise. 

A wonderful coastal path with benches all set facing a stunning beach. Completely protected from any wind. It was warm enough to sit and linger, so we about turned, nipped to the local fish shop and returned to eat them by the sea with the sound of the waves just lapping on the shore. You could almost imagine a beach by the Mediterranean it was so pleasant.

 The perfect way to round off a very happy holiday.

I'll be back soon hopefully with some more of our adventures, and maybe even get up to date one day!! You never know.

Have a lovely week. 
The weather has taken a dip here over the last few days, but is forecast to pick up again next week. I've loved the sunshine and feeling like we're having a 'real summer', but the bit of a break and some neede rain hasn't been too bad.
What's it been like for you?

Jenny xx

Monday, 9 April 2018

Selfish sewing

After spending weeks sewing costumes, I finally decided it was time to do some selfish sewing. I’d bought some lovely jersey knit from Girl Charlee and wanted to see how it made up.

 I'm  not a big tee shirt fan having completely the wrong figure type. Most off the peg tee shirts either fit at the top and are too baggy around my hips or fit well at the hips and much too snug over the bust.
Anyway I found a free pattern in Dressmaker magazine for some wardrobe basics. Three tops and some draw string trousers that looked both practical and comfy.

I’d only bought a metre of each of the fabrics I had chosen, just to check their suitability for me, i.e. not clingy, see through etc. so I started with the sleeveless version shown on the model. I checked the size recommended for my measurements, and then the finished garment size. I don't like my tops too fitted, neither do I like them baggy and as there was quite a good amount of ease I opted to make a size smaller and I'm so glad I did.

I'm really pleased with how they turned out. Comfortable, just skimming the body and not clinging at all. The fabric feels so nice, I cant wait to choose some more!

Having said all that, the same cannot be said for the trousers on the same pattern. I wear a commercial UK12, but according to the pattern sizing I should make a 14/16. I decided to do a wearable toile, cutting out the size 14 and guess what! Awful!! The silhouette was nothing like the picture. Enormous wide legs and the top wouldn't have gone amiss as a clown costume.
But I would not be defeated and set about recutting and fitting and in the end landed up making an 8/10. Believe me when I say that is definitely not me. The legs are still more straight than slim, but I think this is the style and they now work. I just need to find some medium weight cotton stretch fabric in bright colours and I'll be all set for when the sun eventually shines.

Do you have any good recommendations for fabric for these casual pants. I would like something that I can roll up when its warmer, so it doesn't need to be too thick.

Have you found any give away patterns that have become your favourites? I know this will be one of mine. I might try the sleeved one next.

have a lovely week whatever you are up to.

Jenny xx

Monday, 12 February 2018

Vintage hunting near Skipton and a giveaway

A couple of weeks ago we had a lovely weekend break near Skipton. The weather was rubbish but we were determined to shake off the flat post Christmas blues and enjoy ourselves.

We stopped off en route at Saltaire where we found a small but busy vintage fair at the Victoria Hall. Loads of great vintage clothes and collectibles. I almost bought a jacket ready for Twinwood later in the year, but it wasn't quite the right style. It would have been super to wear for every day, but I really didn't need another coat.

As you can see by their flier they do several shows a year, so if you are in the area it's really worth a visit.

We spent our first evening meeting up with a cousin of DH who we haven't seen for several years. It was lovely to catch up and we had a great meal at the Hopper Lane Hotel. Lovely atmosphere and great hosts.

On the Sunday we went to a large car boot sale near Chorley, where we met Danny Sebastien.  As flamboyant and jolly in real life as on TV.
From there we went to Bygone Times a vintage and Antique Emporium covering 6 Floors.
Vintage Heaven!

I was very good though as we are in the middle of completely overhauling Olive and Edna. We have all our stock at half price at the moment (extended to end of February), but I was tempted!

And finally the bargain of the month! I have been looking for a new pair of red/purple long boots. I've had my eye on some Fly London boots for a while and DH gave me some money for my birthday towards them. The best price I have found was on the Internet at £94. On the way home from our weekend we popped into Wetherby as we often do when in the area and as usual we had to check out the CS. And yes, you've guessed it. A brand new pair of red Fly London boots, my size, that fit my skinny calves for just £15. I almost fainted. They are perfect. So I've used the rest of my birthday money to purchase a lovely silver mounted red jade pendant I've had my eye on. Lucky girl or what!

Well I have a busy week ahead, WI committee meeting Wednesday, manning a stand in our local museum on Saturday and having a stall at the Lincoln vintage flea market on Sunday, so I'm off to put my feet up and read for a little while. May not get another chance.

Talking of books the lovely Lisa from Jumble and Jelly introduced me to the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. She initially sent me the first two, Maisie Dobbs and Birds of a Feather, then followed up this kindness with a third, Pardonable Lies. I said I would read them and then pass them on and so if anyone fancies a bit of pure light reading in the form of some female detective novels which start at the beginning of the 20th century, just leave a comment here. I will draw a name from a hat if more than one person replies. I have really enjoyed them and as there are 13 now and another due I will be able to follow Maisie for a bit longer still.

Jenny xx