Monday, 30 May 2011

Ginger muslin

Hola people

I hope you have all had a great bank holiday weekend. Mr P's sister is back from Australia and so we went to meet her and the rest of Mr P's family for a delicious roast. Mr P's sister is a very clever seamstress and I am looking forward to spending some time sewing with her. You can read her blog here.

Yesterday I spent all day working on my muslin for the Ginger skirt. The first one I made included the waistband, but you know what, I think I prefer the skirt without the waistband, so made it without, and I liked it ! I was so stoked to finally make a muslin that actually looks like it could end up as a wearable garment. YIPPEEEE  !!

First off I traced the pattern

Then I graded the waist - using the tips that Sunni provided on her blog

 I then added to the length, but I dont think I did this bit correctly as I added all the length across the skirt as shown by the cutting line. I think I should have added 2 inches there and 2 inches at the bottom. But I didnt. Hey Ho.

 (more length added - I dont have the figure for shorter lengths !!)
I then cut the muslin fabric

And sewed it up. And Voila !

This is the first muslin that I can actually show you a picture of, as it does not look too bad ! (sorry about the crap photos, my mirror needs a clean, and I dont have the best of bodies for modelling !)

I cant believe I have actually made a test garment that I am happy to share - Finally !!  I am so stoked it actually looks like a skirt, it made me almost insanely happy. I cant imagine how I will feel once I have actually made a wearable garment.   :-))

I like the length, and I like where the skirt sits on my hips without the waistband. So I think I may make the skirt without the band  - what do you think ? Should I make without the band ? Is it allowed ? As I am new to this sewing garments malarky I don't feel very confident.

I like the idea of using bias tape to stabilize the waist - I read in the 'complete book of sewing shortcuts' (which I wrote about here) that this is a viable option. This means I don't have to face the skirt (I think !) I'm going to line the skirt with an old cotton sheet, and I am going to treat the fabric and lining as one piece of fabric.

I am going to give it a go and see what happens, as sewing is all about learning and trial and error (well for me anyway !).

I washed my fashion fabric and am almost ready to cut into it. Do any of you have any thoughts about fit ? Or whether I should forge ahead with the waistband ? I would love to hear from you.

Well, that's it for now, but I will share how I get on. I wont be sewing for a few days as I have to knuckle down to college work for the next few evenings, but I am so excited, I cant wait to make the actual skirt !

K xxx

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Pilton !!

Or Glastonbury - depending how local you are  ;-)

Lovely people, I am EXCITED !!!  Today Mr P's and my Glastonbury tickets were delivered by hand. I cant tell you how much we are looking forward to the festival - especially as we are going there in our camper !! No searching for our tent amongst 38197453628 others, all exactly the same, after a few shandies for us.

In other news - I worked on my Ginger last night - what a treat compared to the crepe. I need to make a couple of easy adjustments and I don't like the shaped waistband, so I will use the plain waistband from view 3. I will post more on this later.

Happy Sunday people.

K xxx

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Sabbatical !

Hola people !

It feels like I have not updated my blog for ages, but I have been super busy and I am sure you will let me off. It is difficult trying to find spare time to write at the mo.  I had a nasty shock when I checked my study calendar, I realised a had an assignment to write and only a week to do it ! oops ! I have nearly finished it now though, phew !  Sometimes I really struggle to motivate myself to study, and I must admit I am finding this course particularly difficult, but it will be worth it in the end.  

I have not done any sewing, but I have bought some new patterns  :-))

This Sencha blouse ( I want to make version 3 )

This Ginger skirt ( gonna go for version 1 )

And the Macaron dress !! I love this pattern, but after the crepe calamity - I feel it will be some time before I feel brave enough to have a go at making it. I still feel damaged by the crepe episode. Haunted even !! But I really want to make that back fit at some stage, and then I will be able to make lots of lovely crepes. Yipppeeee !

You can get these patterns yourself from here.

Joy of joys ! I found another fabric shop in Barnstaple - honestly I thought I had died and gone to heaven !! Heathcoat fabrics in Vicarage street. I shall be going there again for sure. And the ladies that work there are super friendly and knowledgeable. AND its got parking for customers !! Imagine all the fabric booty I can buy, without having to walk for ages back to my van.

I bought the following fabrics yesterday - and I only stopped cos I didnt want to bankrupt myself  ;-)

I am going to use this one for the Ginger

And I may use this to make another Ginger

I also got this fabric to make the Sencha

 Pretty non ?

I cant wait to get sewing now, I am going to start on the muslin for the Ginger tonight, I am tres excited. And as its a beginner pattern, and there is a 'sew along' hosted by Sunni - which you can join here, I am feeling hopeful that this time I will get past the muslin stage, and actually finish a wearable garment ! ooo the excitement. I will defo post some pics and let you see how I get along.

In other news, my mini orchard has still not arrived, but I called the company and am hopeful my order will be here soon. Mr P's mum and uncle have bought us some new garden furniture, (thank you !!) which I cant wait to arrive. And here are some pictures of my flowers as I couldn't resist.


Our cat, Peaches, she loves the garden too..

And I am pleased I have managed to keep the slugs off my lettuce.

(well, almost !!)

So, as you can see, although I have not posted much - I certainly have been busy !!

Hope you have all had a good week, and its a bank holiday too - how lucky are we !?


K xxx

Monday, 16 May 2011

Hello friends,

Oh how I wish that I had a super massive fabric and notion emporium near to where I live. Alas I don't and so I do much of my fabric buying on-line. There is a small fabric shop in the nearby town of Barnstaple, buts its a 25 mile round trip, and to be fair there is nothing super special in there (although I can still spend hours in there looking at fabrics !).

So, I thought I would share another couple of on-line fabric suppliers with you.

This first is a site from the USA. Good, cheap fabric and shipping rates are not too hectic either.

You can get great dressmaking fabrics from this site. And they do samples, which is essential when you buy on-line. I have seen lots of blogs showing finished items made with fabric from this site.

This next site I love alot -

Although the fabric is super expensive as they sell it in 'fat quarters', and too expensive for me to use at this novice stage. But oh ! how I love to look at these fabrics, sew pretty !!! I cant imagine anyone who could not be captivated by the candy-ness of the site. Lots of very pretty fabrics !

If anyone does know of a real life, bona fide, excellent fabric store in the North Devon area - please share


Other news - Mr P and I went to look at a house for sale today. it has such a lovely garden, and the house is much bigger than the one we live in now. AND its not much more than Mr Ps house is worth - ie we could afford it ! Yippeeee !!.

I so loved it ! It needs alot of work, but I can see real potential, and in my mind I am already harvesting delicious fruits and veggies from the huge garden.

Hmmm - the only flaw in the plan is not only that we have not got a buyer for Mr P's house, but we haven't actually even put it on the market. Anyone spot the obvious mistake ?

I hope your Monday has been kind to you.

K xxx

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Busy week.

Hola friends,

Sorry for the quiet spell, alot of things happened this week, including a technical hitch in blogland !

Mr P's mum, Mrs P, came for a visit this last week, and it was lovely to have her here. I felt a bit mean as she has a broken wrist, but she really wanted to cook for us. I felt like I was working her too hard and feel a little guilty. However, as Mrs P has been travelling and sofa surfing, I feel that cooking is something she has missed (not having her own kitchen) and she has embraced cooking for Mr P and I with great gusto ! It has almost been like a holiday for me as I usually do all the cooking.

I also bought my Ginger skirt pattern (for the sew along - more below !) from Colette patterens:

I love the patterns from Colette - and this is a newbie to the range. I am pretty much champing at the bit to get started.

Here is a view of the skirt - not yet sure what view I will make yet. But looking at pictures of it I know I want to make it longer than the pattern.

photo source
I have bought this as the lovely and fabulously talented Sunni over at 'A Fashionable Stitch' is hosting a sew along to make up this skirt ! Can you believe how generous fellow sewing bloggers are ? Why don't you check it out here ?  A fashionable stitch Ginger sew along  Sunni has even managed to get us a 20% discount on the pattern ! Thanks Sunni.

I am extremely hopeful that this will be much easier to make than the crepe dress that I have had so many problems with (yes I still have back fitting issues - I am thinking I need to do some more 'smooshing'). And I love the clothes that Sunni has made. It seems that the sew along with going to have guest appearances by fellow dressmakers including the gorgeous Gertie from, and the delightful Tasia from A line skirts are supposed to be the best way to start to sew your own clothes. Excited ?! Moi ?!?

As I was over at Colette patterns anyway, I decided to stock up, and bought this dress that I have wanted for soooooo long !! Its called the 'Macaron' and I am totally IN LOVE with it.

Photo source
I have seen so many of these made up, it is such a flattering style.

I also saw a blouse that Gertie made from a vintage Vogue pattern, with a peter pan collar and back buttons that I totally coveted - and lookie here - a similar version that I instantly added to my virtual shopping basket !

Photo source
This blouse is called Sencha - it does not have peter pan collars, but the shape is very much what I was looking for.

I made up the muslin for the blue flower top - but I added too much to the side seams, and in reflection I think I just need to make the bodice longer, rather than wider. I also know I have to lop at least an inch from the length of the shoulder straps and add some darts for shaping around the top of the bodice, otherwise there would be mucho chest-age on display when I wear it. As such I will do a further pattern tracing some time this week and will only adjust for the length and not the width. I think darts will not be too noticeable around the bust, but just in case, I have brought a plain borderie anglaise to make another version, if the blue flower fabric proves too noticeable.

Other news, my mini orchard has not yet arrived, so I called the company (and they were very helpful so I would recommend the company) and they advised they will be dispatching toward the end of this coming week. Good news indeed.

My white scented roses are beginning to properly flower now, which is a delight, and I have bought some lettuce which I have potted up. Its going at great guns so far. My cheapo asda herbs have perked up no end, its such a treat being able to browse the garden for tasty mouthfuls.

I bought some new fabric, a plain white as discussed above, and some more blue flower fabric as it was the end of the bolt, and I really like that fabric. I think it will make a pretty skirt - maybe even the Ginger ?

I washed the spotted fabric I bought for the crepe. And realised it is not that wide. I think I may use the fabric for a different project. I have my eye on this dress, and I think it will look great in the polka dot.

I want to make view B. I have seen some maxi versions of this dress and that's the look I want to go for. The pattern says very easy - but so far my experience with 'easy' patterns has been that THEY. ARE. DIFFICULT. I am hoping with experience will come ease !

Mr P's sister is coming over from Australia in the next couple of weeks and she is an avid sewer too. As such I am hoping we can get together for a sewing session and see if we can help each other with our respective sewing issues.

Well now, I fancy this is a long post and as such I am outta here !

Hope you all had a great weekend.

K xxx

Sunday, 8 May 2011



Today I have had a lazy Sunday. Mr P went off to the motorcross track and I spent the day studying, washing, sleeping and reading ! I am currently reading 'Others' by James Herbert and its brilliant. Added bonus the book cost me 25 p from a charity shop. I love a good thrifty book !

There were no trips around gardens today, except for my own. I notice the recent strong winds have blown off all the flowers on my blueberry plant ! I don't think that this is a good thing. I read today that in order to get your blueberry to fruit you need to have more than one plant for cross pollination, otherwise NO fruit ! Oops. So back onto to look for some more plants.

 I am upset as after checking the ones out online, I feel disappointed with the plant I bought locally. My local plant was £10, slightly yellowed and had lots of dead bits. Oh dear. Ever up for a challenge I purchased it anyway and have loved it since.

I now find cheaper, healthier looking plants online - readers I am dismayed !

Other news, I have dug out some very exciting shoes for work tomorrow. In my former life I used to live in heels, now I cant go out unless I am in flats. So I have decided to try and make an effort to wear some of my beautiful shoes. The ones I have picked for tomorrow are a lovely cork and brown leather wedge - I bought them online. They are the most perfect fit, however the wedge heel tapers to the sole to almost nothing, which means I am walking on a shoe sole no wider than 2 inches - I hope I dont stumble !!

Mr P's mum is coming for a visit this week, which is exciting. Mr P's mum is very adventurous and spends much of the year travelling. I am looking forward to hearing a yarn or 2 from her trip.

I have not been doing anything sewing related today - other than reading peoples blogs. It is nice to have a day off !

I hope you have all had a brilliant weekend, if only they didnt fly by so fast eh ?!

K xxx

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Up close and personal


I thought I would get a little up close and personal. Looking through my newly acquired blog, it seems a little......  well, lacking frankly - in personality.

I realise that although I introduced myself - you dont actually know what I look like etc. I must admit I HATE having my picture taken, but I thought I had best get it out of the way. Then I will be able to feel like I can share pictures with you of my creations ON (actually only really made muslins so far, but you get the drift).

Without further ado - this is me.

 I very much enjoy wearing 'props' ! (the more the better as in the case above)  Most pictures of me include a prop, a silly face, or both !

And this is where I live (a view from the back)

So now you can put a face and a place to the words !!  :-))

K xxx

Book club

Hey lovely people,

Here is another book that I have found very useful in my quest for sewing knowledge, which I want to share with you.

It is called 'The complete book of sewing shortcuts' and is by the legend, Claire B Shaeffer.

This book is brilliant ! I have 2 copies, both second hand. I bought the first one, didn't notice anything wrong, until I looked for the chapter on zippers. It was not in the book ! There was a whole section of pages missing. As such I had to buy a second copy - and you know what, I didn't mind. That's how much I love this book and I read them both from cover to cover when I received them.

You can buy a copy here: Link to

This book differs from the bible ' Fit for real people ' as it is not a fitting book. It is a book to help with techniques and short cuts to save time when sewing. There are excellent sections on sewing in zippers, for example. And how to deal with seams, interfacing's and sleeves, amongst others.

Helpfully there is also a section on 'gathering' which I why I picked up the book today. I forgot what a great book it is. I would definitely recommend.


K xxx

Saturday serendipity

Hello all

I hope you are having a wonderful Saturday. It has been a serendipitous day for me because as you will know from last night, I was looking for help with gathering for my new project, and, as if by magic the delightful Tasia from Sewaholic has posted on gathering today ! Can you believe it ?

You can read her post here:

Brilliant ! Thanks Tasia !

I love the online sewing community. You can learn so much, and get so much inspiration. Thank you so much fellow bloggers ! Your generosity is much appreciated.

I have come to a conundrum as I have made the top part of my blue flower top bodice muslin, and I realise I need to make some changes. However, I have already cut all the fabric for the muslin, and as I will need to add an inch to the back seam I think I will need to add the same to the skirt part of the pattern.

So to sew the skirt now, or not to sew ? Shall I forge ahead and practice gathering, or should I start again, this time only making a muslin for the top part and then cut for the skirt part once the top bit is all sorted. But, if I dont use the fabric that I already cut its a waste non ? Hmmm decisions decisions.

I found lots of new (for me) blogs this morning, whose writers have all had problems with fitting the back of the crepe dress. I dont feel so useless now. And I feel almost sure that I am going to press on with that dress, maybe even in the next few days.

In other news - I am still waiting for the mini orchard to arrive - very sad that the trees have not yet been delivered, I had visions of boughs groaning with fruit. Although I fear having this dream will lead only to disappointment ! Lol !!

 Mr P and I have a continuous fight in the garden against slugs and snails destroying plants. They especially seems to like my delphiniums. I have heard from a couple of places now that you can deter these pesky plant eaters by placing copper tape around the pots. We managed to salvage some copper from another project, and I am looking forward to putting it to the test to see if it works. Tres excitement ! I will let you know if it works.

***UPDATE - the copper does not work. I repeat, the copper DOES NOT WORK***

K xxx

Trying again

Well, hello friends and happy Friday !!  Yipppppppeeeeee !!

I think Friday evening and night is my favourite part of the weekend. Knowing there are 2 days ahead where I decide my timetable. And I can ponder my free time with a massive glass of rose ! So nice to know that even though I will be awake early, I can get out of bed when I like. I don't stay in bed mind, but just knowing I can if I like is a great feeling ! Especially if Mr P gets up to make the bacon sarnies.

I have been working on my muslin for the blue flower top. I was eager to get started.

I cut out the fabric last night, and then today have worked on marking the fabric and hand basting it all together. I decided for a complete change and so after using red chalk for my crepe muslin, I changed to blue ! All to help ensure my sewing mojo remains firmly in place. A complete change from the crepe and now I am not looking at it thinking  its the crepe ! Its psychological dont you know.

I  already see that I need to make a dart to take in a tiny bit of fabric around the neckline,

and I need to add about an inch to the neck to preserve modesty ! Its quite low already, and thats without any sewing. I think I also need to add an inch to the back pattern piece width as it will be a little tight when stitched. I really think this pattern does not include a seam allowance.

I will also lower the bust dart by around 1/2 inch.

I have only worked on the top pieces so far, the gathered skirt section of the top I will work on tomorrow. It requires gathering, another thing I have never done before, so I need to read up on that before I start.

I have found some plain white borderie anglais which I think I may use for the sleeve straps, I think a plain fabric will look nicer. I will trim the plain fabric with the green ribbon.

Here is a picture of the almost completed top half of the muslin:



I hope that this project continues to be easier than the crepe. So far so good. There are no major alterations required as yet, but lets see what tomorrow (and the bottom half with all its gathering brings).

On a different note, Mr P and I have a day off together this weekend (a rare occurrence) and I am hoping we can go on a day trip on Sunday to some bluebell woods, or RHS Rosemoor. I love having a mooch around beautiful gardens and pretty places. Especially if I can get a slush puppy somewhere nearby. Happy days.

I swear I am getting old, my new favourite things are gardening, sewing and baking. Oh dear !

On that note, I think I will retire to Bedfordshire  :-)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and a very happy Friday night.

K xxx

Thursday, 5 May 2011

New project ! Simplicity 4127

Hola people,

I have had enough of the crepe muslin, so much so that it was affecting my sewing mojo. As such I am beating a hasty retreat, and will attempt an easier 1st time project. One that's not going to involve complicated fitting issues (I think that the shape of the back is causing me issues - I need to start on a more symmetrical bodice piece I think !) Honestly I feel mentally scarred after my crepe muslin crisis !

So, I am now going to focus my attention on the following pattern - it is Simplicity 4127. EASY (or so it says).

This looks alot more simples, non ?

I will make the main view - how hard can it be ? I am surely going to find it a breeze after all that faffing around on the crepe ? (Man I LOVE that dress, but gonna get me some more practice before I go back to it)

I even have the perfect fabric

And the perfect ribbon..

What do you think ?

(sorry the pictures are a little dark - I did try for a natural light)

I think it all looks rather nice together.

I will underline the bodice part with an old cotton sheet. Thrifty !  ;-))

I am excited again ! Yeay !!

I think its going to do the world of good trying something new. I think once I actually have made some clothes I may have more of a feel as to how I might transfer adjustments to a pattern.

I think these look good together. Could be a match made in heaven  :-)

Of course, I will make a muslin, I think I need too to be fair. Especially as I dont think there is any seam allowance on the pattern ! I will trace the pattern and make the size closest to my bust and then try a full bust adjustment if required.

I hope to finish this top and end up with an actual, wearable piece of clothing. I think all the practice I have had with the crepe muslin will stand me in good stead for this project.

Hope the week has treated you well,

K xxx

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Crepe Muslining

Welcome friends !

I made the collette crepe muslin AGAIN, this time cutting 2 sizes smaller and it is sooo much better ! I still need to take tucks out at the back, but after having pinched out wedge shaped areas on both back pieces, I have absolutely NO IDEA how to transfer the changes to my pattern.

I tried cutting the wedge out of the pattern and joining the cut edges of the tissue. This did not work. I then tried to treat it as a dart - again - this did not work !

Can anyone help ? Pretty Please ? Pretty pretty pretty please ? (with cherries ?!)   :-)

The front bodice fits so much better than before, but it either needs a full bust adjustment (as the side seams have swung forward by around 2 inches) or some extra added onto the side seam. Again - does anyone have any good ideas to share with this sewing numpty ? All ideas and tips very gratefully received.

I am going to try the latter first (as its the easiest) , and let me tell you after all this practice I can knock up a bodice muslin now in less than a couple of hours, and that's including hand basting the puppy !

I feel that all this practice is giving me lots of skills, my hand sewing is for sure much neater now than it was on muslin number 1. My muslin making skills have greatly improved. But I am sure looking forward to the time when I can cut confidently into my fashion fabric and make myself the actual dress. And my word, this is taking such a long time, And then I have new skills to learn upon the construction of the dress, ie facings, interfacings, underlinings etc etc etc. I wonder how many 'man hours' will have gone into the dress by the time I can actually 'wear' it ?!

I take my hat off to all the ladies that participated in the sew along, following the schedule. I dont think I could have done it. I think I have been working on bodice muslins now for at least 2 months. WOW. I hope it gets alot easier than this.

Signing off now, I need to do some studying and hope to come back to muslining a little later.

Hope you all had a cracking day,

K xxx

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Crepe muslining


Started on the muslin again.... decided to measure my high bust and use the corresponding size given on the pattern. I am so over trying to fit the back on the last muslin. I cant see that anything I do do try and fit it will work. So, this is my interpretation of what the 'bible' (fit for real people) says to do. Cut for the back and do a full bust adjustment if required. Hopefully cutting the smaller size will mean the back will now fit and I can try a full bust adjustment if needed on the front bodice. I cut 2 sizes smaller then I cut on my last muslin. And when I say cut, I meant cut the tracing I made of the smaller size. I have taken some pictures to show.

Sorry about the rubbish pictures ! I'm tired ! lol !!

The red line shows where I will make the cut across the pattern to add length.

I already knew from previous experience that I need to add around 2 inches to the length, so I did that using the grid marked paper (a lesson learnt from last time!) It was much easier to make an accurate length addition using this paper.

I added the paper like so, I taped the paper together on the right side of the pattern

I then 'trued' the grain and dart lines - crossing through the lines I don't need.

I'm not so sure about the back - I trued the lines but doing so removed a fair bit of the pattern - so i will just try it and see !!

That's as far as I have got. I imagine I will have to change the darts on the front bodice but I will see about that when I make my first muslin (which may be tonight ! Yes I know its 8 minutes to midnight !! But I feel excited now !).

I am hoping that the fit of this one will be better than the last one I made. I may have to make a few adjustments but I am guessing back adjusts are harder than the front, for this dress at least. So I have to hope this is a closer fit on the back then my last efforts, as I cant be doing with making untold useless muslins (although its great for improving my skills - every cloud ).

Ever hopeful that I will someday finish up with a wearable dress, that fits great; I am back off to conquer this pattern !

Does anyone have anything to share in relation to muslins and fittings ? I would love to hear of others experiences ! I am taking my defeats hard on this one - I think the whole process will become much easier once I know what I am doing !

K xxx

Victoria sponge and other delights


I made a well nice Victoria sponge.... Not made any cakes really before, so was super surprised with how well it came out. Lessons for next time I want it more risen and so will use a teaspoon of baking powder, and the raw mix was not of 'dropping' consistency and so I would add a couple of splashes of milk. I am hoping that with some tweaks the recipe will get better and better.

Here are some pics - sorry I cant let you have a slice ! Mr P was not sure at first, as he just wanted sponge cake with no frills, but I think when he saw it he came round to my way of thinking !

I used a basic sponge recipe, (you can use the same
folding in the flour, rather than mixing everything up all together. I filled it with raspberry jam, whipped cream, blackberries, strawberries and raspberry coulis.  It really is a very nice cake !

The finished article.

and here are some more shots to tempt.....

Also here are some pictures of my new potted garden. I wish the sun was out this weekend so I could sit in my moon chair and enjoy the view.

It took Mr P and I ages to clear this garden. When I moved here it was overgrown to the max ! You could not sit out there. Now I really like to sit outside every time I get the chance.

Here are some of my new pots planted up:

Lavenders ! I LOVE lavenders.

My new blueberry plant ! I will be most excited if I actually get any berries from it.

My Japanese azalea, I wanted instant colour and this did the trick.

And my bucket herb garden, planted with specimens from Asda fresh herb section. They looked a little sad when I planted them, but now they have perked up no end.

So, that's what I have been up too - what have you lovely people been up to ? Enjoying the long weekend I hope.

Well, I am going to have a lay down after that lush cake I just ate.

K xxx