Thursday, 26 June 2014

Royal Highland Show Inspired Bag

I had a fantastic time a the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh this weekend. My man and I hadn't planned on going to the show but unfortunately we had to cancel our original plans for the weekend at short notice. So instead of having a wasted day we decided to take the opportunity to spend it at the show. For those of you who are not familiar with the Highland Show it is Scotland's annual farming and countryside extravaganza and it is HUGE! Not only is there every type of farm animal you can think of but there is also an impressive range of agricultural equipment, entertainment, shopping and a fab food hall (with so many samples on sticks we didn't need lunch).

Not long after we decided to go I remembered that I had picked up a fat quarter with a fantastically wild farm print when I was a the Spring Quilt Festival earlier this year. How many opportunities do you get to use farm print fabric, I thought? 

I knew that I wanted to make a bag from this fat quarter so I went online a searched for simple fat quarter bag ideas. One of the first that I found was the Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial from Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter. What I created was based roughly on Amy's tutorial but was a bit larger so I could fit my purse and other essential in.

The bag is fully lined using another fat quarter which I bought as a spare when I made my Aunt a tote bag for Christmas. I also coppied Amy's idea and included a strip of ribbon on the front of the bag. Altogether it was finished in a jiffy (ie started after dinner and finished before bed) and served as a lovely farm themed handbag for the day. I think now that the show is over, my little bag will spend the rest of its life carrying my lunch to work.  

So... here is my bag at the show along with some of the competitors we met throughout the day.

Prize winning hen
My new best friend
Highland Calf

Feeding time at the goats

Gigantic Bull
Highland Ponies
Pony on parade
Horse getting new shoes down at the forge
Highland Coo!
The Food Hall

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Minerva Crafts Meetup - Purchases

As promised in my Minerva Crafts meetup post here is a quick run down of the goodies that I bought on the day.

I decided that if I went to the meetup without having a specific plan of what I was looking to buy then I would quickly find myself bankrupted with the desire to buy everything. To make the temptation even worse Minerva Craft Cub Members also received 20% off all purchases made on the day. So as a bit of a guide I went with the intention of buying the following: 
Simple Sew - Pencil Skirt
Linen for a BHL Victoria Blazer
Ponte Knit for a Love at First Stitch Megan
Fabric for a Sewaholic Alma
various threads to match fabric in my stash.

At the end of the day I think I stuck to my plan pretty well and only returned with a couple of things which I hadn't planned on buying.

Cotton/Linen mix  Mauve purple 
Cotton Poplin, I can't seem to find this online but it is very similar to this version in turquoise 

Clearly this is for my BHL Victoria blazer. I am planning to make the cropped version in time to take on holiday with me at the beginning of September.

This is almost exactly what I had in mind or my Sewaholic Alma. I think it will look great with a cream contrast collar. It is a lovely soft lawn which should be nice and light for the summer.I spent a little while carrying this bolt around the store, there was too much interest in it so I had to grab it and carry it around the store in fear of never being able to find it again.

This is the ponte from my shopping list. It is a lovely weight and has quite a denim-esque look to it. I haven't worked with a ponte before but I think as is has less tendency to curl that the other knits I have worked with it should be a pleasure to sew with. Some day in the near future this will be transformed in to a lovely casual Megan dress with perhaps a contrast bow belt similar to my last one or maybe a button placket.

Teal jersey

Speaking of curly knits this teal jersey is such a lovely colour I just had to get some. This was the first thing not on my list. I think I was lured in having just finished a very successful lady Skater dress. Also the idea of working with a solid colour and therefore not needing to match stripes and patterns really appealed to me.  

This is the purchase that I am most excited about. It is a gorgeous creamy white stretch cotton with a bold abstract flower print in fuchsia and purple. This will be the first time I have used a stretch woven so it will be a bit of an experiment but I am excited to give it a crack. I have always stayed away from fabric with light backgrounds as I feel it can wash me out a bit. However, with such a vibrant print I think it will be fine. Also, hopefully it will go well with my mauve Victoria blazer. I hadn't planned on buying anything like this but after I decided to buy the BHL Flora dress pattern I thought that I might as well pick up some fabric to go with it. Apart from the two patterns on my list I wasn't even going to look at any others, however, after listening to the BHL girls presentation and seeing some of the other ladies on the day wearing their wonderful versions, I gave in and bought it. I am leaning towards the tank bodice just now but I am really struggling to decide if I could pull off the hi-low skirt or not. My heart is saying go for it, it's totally different from anything I have ever worn before so will be a really unique piece in my wardrobe, plus I can really see it with some fuchsia lining at the back. On the flip side, my head is saying I would get a lot more wear from the straight hem and would be less self conscious of my legs when wearing it. Any thought? I might make a toile of both and see which I feel most comfy wearing.

In other news, I have been doing a bit of work to the blog in an attempt to make it more user friendly and easier for folk to subscribe and follow. So hopefully now you will find it easy as pie to follow by Bloglovin, email and various other readers. If anyone has any suggestions of other potential improvement to Little Sewing Corner please let me know in the comments :-)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Minerva Crafts Meet Up and The Dress

Before I talk about the meet up and my dress...

...I won the Minerva Craft Meet-up £600 prize draw!!!!!!!! I am really sad that I had to leave before the winners of the various competitions were announced but I had to get my train back to Edinburgh. However, I actually squealed when I read that I had won on my phone, on the bus, on my way home from work last night (embarrassing). I am super excited about all the cool stuff coming my way (I even had a little(ish) glass of wine to celebrate). I think I am going to have to start having a de-clutter so I can fit everything in to my Little Sewing Corner.  I will be sure to post about what is in the mystery prize package when it arrives. 

Image courtesy of Minerva Crafts

I had such a fab day at the meet up. It did start super early though, with a 6am train from Edinburgh to Darwen. I was a bit worried about finding the center when I arrived but I had been assured that it was just round the corner from the station. That really was no exaggeration any closer and it would have been the station! The early start was soon forgotten when on arrival I has handed a glass of Bucks Fizz and given a very warm welcome. The day was full of action with workshops, talks and quizzes. There was also loads and loads of bloggers there and at some points it was quite surreal walking around the store bumping into people that you read about everyday.  Karen from Did you make that gave a great presentation on the lessons she has learnt from when she started sewing to now. I also took part in a covered button necklace workshop lead by Claire-Louise Hardie of Thrifty Stitcher (more on that later).  The centre its self was a treasure trove brimming with goodies. I also have to comment on the excellent job that the staff did. There was loads of them on hand and they were more than willing to give you all the help that you needed. I even got a special visit to the warehouse after asking for some help identifying what bengaline is. It was like the Ikea of fabric warehouses!

The By Hand London Girls
One thing that I really enjoyed was the talk from Elisalex and Victoria of By Hand London. The girls gave us a breakdown of the typical pattern release process, there day to day routine, the background of the creation of By Hand London as well as an update of the their latest venture into on demand fabric printing. We also got a sneak peek of their latest pattern which looks pretty cool and if I remember rightly they said it is at the printers just so it should be released in the next month or so. Their talk was really inspiring and made me immediately want to great create some more BHL garments. I already have plans for a couple of Anna dresses as well as a Victoria blazer but I decided to also buy a Flora dress pattern whilst at the meetup. I have a post coming soon on my plans for these along with some of the other things I bought on the day.
Hummingbird Cambie
I decided to make a Sewaholic Cambie to wear for the meet up. I have been holding on to the pattern for a while now waiting for the right fabric and a good excuse to get making it. There is nothing terribly complicated about the dress and luckily I didn't need to make too many alterations to the pattern to get a nice fit. I did find that I needed to shorten the straps a little though but, that was pretty easy as the straps/sleeves are the last thing to be sewn into the dress and in my case it was easy enough to just pull them into the dress a little further before sewing.

My lining
Here is a sneaky peek of the lining. As you can see the dress is fully lined. This means that once the outside shell and the lining are sewn together there is quite a lot of fabric to try and wrangle.

Hummingbirds and bows
Here is a close up of the fabric I used. It is a fantastic navy cotton with little white bows and turquoise hummingbirds. The hummingbirds are flying about the dress in every direction which adds interest and made cutting out a simpler task. I picked this fabric up from the same stall at the Sewing for Pleasure Show as I got the fabric and buttons for my recently made Viola skirt.

To finish off my outfit I also made a cute blue bow belt to match the hummingbirds on the dress. I had plenty of cotton left over from the lining so I used that to create my belt. You might recognise that it was made using Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons bow belt pattern. The instructions are available from her blog here and are also featured in her new book Love at First Stitch. I highly recommend this belt to beginners and anyone who is looking to use up fabric scraps. It is super simple and looks great. I whipped this up in an evening much to the entertainment of my man who was half watching me sew and half watching the telly. 

Lovin the shoes
In other news, I also recently purchased these gorgeous shoes at Betty's Boutique secret pop up shop. I don't usually go near second had shoes but these looked like they had never been worn and were just too cute not to try on. Once I tried them on there was no going back and at only £12 I just had to buy them.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Stripy Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo

Say hello to my first Lady Skater dress from Kitschy Coo. I always think it is kinda funny when I write that this is my first of something as it comes with the obvious connotation that there will be a second, third and so on. Sometimes after making something and wearing it out for the day you come back just knowing that you will never wear or more often make it again. The Lady Skater is the complete opposite of that. I knew from the second I put it on that it would be the start of things to come. I will definitely be making more of these, I already have some more knit fabric looked out for my next one.

My first Lady Skater Dress
Back in September 2013 I used a PDF pattern for the first time when making my FlutterBy Sorbetto top. In my post I said that I would hate to imagine what it would be like to have to tape together loads of A4 sheets to make a full dress as opposed to just a top. Well... the jury is back... turns out, it's really not that bad. There are only 22 A4 pages to the Lady Skater dress so they take up quite fast. I also like the fact that because you can print it as many times as you want you don't need to worry about chopping right in to the pattern and making a mistake with the sizing as you can just print another one out.

All taped up
I have been looking at this dress for quite a long time but I wanted to wait until I had some more experience working with knits before I gave it a go. So with a Deer and Doe Plantain and a Sewaholic Renfrew under my belt I felt now was a good time to move on to a whole garment made of knit. The construction of the Lady Skater is very similar to the Renfrew it just replaces the waist band with a skirt (basically). The one thing that I hadn't thought about was needing to stabilise the waist seam. I used the same clear elastic that I had used for the shoulder seams. However, I think I will need to do a bit of research about the best way to do this as now that I have worn it a few times I have found the elastic a bit annoying and is seems to have a mind of its own with regard to whether it wants to lie up or down. I will need to review that situation for my next one. I also think that I will shorten the bodice by an inch or so as it feel just a bit too long. Kitschy Coo has a fantastic post explaining the process for altering the bodice and where the correct "zone" for the waist is located.

Damn those stripes
As for the fabric choice… why did I start with stripes? No idea! That little gap in the white stripe right in the centre front is going to annoy me forever. Having said that the fabric itself is one of the many pieces that I picked up from Goldhawk Road on my holiday in London at the end of last year. It was really cheap, something like £3.99 a metre. I believe it is cotton jersey but as practically nothing has a label on it on Goldhawk Road its quite difficult to know. I would say that it is medium weight with lots of drape which makes the skirt quite swooshy when I walk. 

All layered up
It also layers up nicely and looks pretty good with my boots so, I think it will be a good piece to transition into autumn.

Meadows Festival, Edinburgh
I love it when you can finish making something then put it straight on and head out for the day.That was exactly what I did last Sunday when I hemmed my dress in my pajamas and then put it straight on and headed out to the Meadows Festival, in the heart of Edinburgh
Cutest little sewing machine EVER!!
The festival had music, food stalls, merchandise and even a carnival. There were lots of random things on the stalls some antiques/vintage, random household and loads of clothing. These were my favourite two finds though. A brilliant suitcase full of old buttons and the cutest little sewing machine I have ever seen. I can't find a huge amount of information on it but it is an Electric Little Modiste Japanese made toy sewing machine. I have no idea how much it was being sold for but there was lots of interest in it and it was sold not long after I saw it.

Suitcase of buttons

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Viola Skirt, Sew Me Something

Viola Skirt
I love, love, love this pattern!! It was fun from start of finish. This is from a fairly new pattern company called Sew Me Something. At the moment they have two dress and one skirt pattern. I bought my copy at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC but their patterns are more readily available on their Folksy page.
Viola Skirt Pattern and Fabric
The Viola pattern is a super easy reversible skirt. Like I said I discovered this pattern at the Sewing For Pleasure Show that I went to back in March. The lovely ladies at Sew Me Something had a stand at the show to launch their patterns. They had samples of all their garments on display to tempt everyone in and it worked as the patters were flying off the shelves.  

Short skirt side
The Viola skirt(s) is a really flattering shape and has a lovely shaped waistband which, personally, fits me great. The Viola skirt is a great garment to play with fun fabrics as there are so many combinations between the long and short skirts as well as the waistband bias trim and the contrast hem. I think the pattern is quite versatile too, for example, if you put a zip in instead of the button placket then you would have a fab lined skirt. Although I think what makes the Viola skirt so special is all it's reversible fun. I really love the way that you get a little peek of the longer skirt to match the bias trimmed waistband. 

Viola Skirt Short 
I chose a lovely vintage-esqe/Cath Kidson inspired 100% cotton for my shorter skirt. It is one of those shades of greeny teal that is very difficult to get a photo showing the true colour. It is quite a different colour to what I am used to wearing but I think it ties in nicely with my wanting to get more colour in my wardrobe. Now I need to make a couple of tops to go with it, I'm thinking a pink Renfrew to match the flowers.

Viola Skirt Long
On the flip side I chose a simple red and white polka dot cotton for the longer skirt. I kept this side pretty simple as I wanted to be able to wear it to work. I think the reversible style of skirt is such a good idea. It takes just about the same amount of time as making a fully lined skirt but you get the reward of having two skirts at the end of it. Plus it is also great for holidays as you don't need to pack as much.

Viola Skirt Long Side View
It has a double sided button placket which sits lovely against the hip. In order to achieve the double sided joy of this skirt you need buttons on both sides of the placket. This means that there are 12 buttons needed in total. I managed to get half of my buttons from the same stall at sewing for pleasure as I got the fabric for my short skirt. These Vogue Star buttons were in a mix n match bucket 5 for £2 if I remember right. At the time I couldn't decide if I wanted the green or pink so I bought them both. I ended up going with the pink as they and a similar size to the red and white buttons which I bought for the red side. As both buttons have to go through the same hole I thought it would be better that they were the same size so the button hole wasn't too big on one side.
Button Options
*Tip* don't sew the buttons on too tight! As they are sewn on back to back they can be a bit tricky to fasten if they and sewn on too tight to each other.

Finished Measurement Oops...
I only have another two comments,
1. The cutting layout plan suggests that you should cut x4 bias strip from the long skirt fabric. However this will mean that you have a bias strip on the long skirt which is exactly the same as the actual skirt. So, remember to cut one from each fabric if you want a contrast on both skirts. Or like I did, just cut x2 bias strip and leave the longer skirt plain.
2. This is a pretty minor point, there is a slight miss print on the pattern envelope. The sizing chart says that a size 14 has a finished waist of 23 1/2'' but in reality it is actually 33 1/2''. I'm sure most people would be able to work this out but just thought I would say.

Viola Long Skirt
I have worn this skirt loads since finishing it. I can definitely see me making another Viola skirts. Especially as I am going on holiday with my man and we are sharing a suitcase, I will need all the space saving clothing I can get.

New Pinking Shears
In other news I have just treated myself to a pair of Fiskars pinking shears. I pinked all of the internal seams on my Viola skirt and I think they look great. I am going to be pinking everything I can from now on :-)

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Love Sewing Magazine

Look what just arrived! Yippee, it's my copy of the second issue of Love Sewing magazine. When I was at the Sewing for Pleasure show back in March there was a Love Sewing stand advertising the new magazine. As it had not yet been released they were displaying digital mock up of the typical content of the magazine as well as samples of typical projects. I signed up to the fab subscription deal that they were offering for the release, I can't remember exactly what it was but it was something along the lines of first three issues for £3. 

I have to say that although there have only been two issues of Love Sewing Magazine I am really enjoying it. It is one of the most in tune magazines on the market at the moment and it is deffinetly the one that I feel I would be most likely to make things from. I find a lot of magazines have really wacky projects in them but personally I find the ones in Love Sewing to be pretty, practical and very me. It is also full of interesting articles and interviews with sewists such as Tilly (TATB), Chinello (Chinelo Bally), Alison Smith and so many more. It also has a good variety between projects for home, dressmaking and even just enough quilting to get you interested. I also think that it is very connected with the blogosphere and indie pattern designers. In this months issue there is even a feature on Jennifer of Jennifer Taylor Vintage and her first ever pattern the Afternoon Blouse. To top it all off, Love Sewing Magazine also comes with a free paper pattern and gift everymonth.

There are always things which you end up buying again and again because you find you need one in every handbag or you can never find one when you really need one. For me, in terms of sewing, this means I have an ever growing supply of seam rippers and tape measures. So the first free gift from Love Sewing the Draper Tape Measure is going to come in very handy.

It also came with the pattern and instructions for an Amy Butler design cushion cover.  The magazine comes with a pattern sheet with all the patterns required for the projects inside the rest of the magazines. I think this cushion cover would be a great project for using up scraps.

Every month the magazine also comes with a free pattern. This months pattern was specially designed for Love Sewing by Sew Simple. Sew Simple have designed the lovely pussy bow Lottie Blouse and pencil Skirt exclusively for the readers of Love Sewing Magazine. 

The patterns come on a heavier weight paper stock which I'm hoping will be great for tracing and won't be quite as fragile as standard tissue paper. Another reason I am excited to receive this pattern is that next weekend I am heading to the Minerva Crafts Meet Up were it has just been announced that they will have the Sew Simple designer and full pattern range. Getting a preview of the style and quality of the patterns from my freebie has been great and I am sure I will likely come back from the meetup with another pattern from their range.

I am attending the Minerva Crafts Meet-Up 

All in all a great magazine. I highly recommend it and I look forward to more issues in the coming months.

In other news, I have finished my Sew Me Something Viola Skirt and now I just need to take some photos. To help with the photos I have just treated myself to a remote control for my camera which is currently in transit and should be arriving any minute now. I have also nearly finished my first every Sewaholic Cambie. I just need to buy an invisible zip and I will be able to finish.