Thursday, 20 June 2013

Spring Sewing Swap 2013

Who doesn't love getting presents in the post? I know I do. So when I saw that Kerry from Kestrel Makes was organising a sewing swap I knew I had to take part. Basically how it worked was that Kerry paired everyone up and then we had to check out our partner's blogs and spend up to £15 on sewing goodies for them that we thought they would like.

I was paired with Kerry herself - talk about pressure! Here is what was in the lovely parcel that she sent me...(check out the awesome dotty post bag!)...

There are no pictures of everything wrapped up because I may have been a bit impatient to take a photo. I had to pick up the parcel from the post office because the postman took it hostage and I was so excited to see what was inside that I started to open my goodies at the bus stop! There may also have been some tablet fudge in the package too but, erm, it may not have made it home in once piece.

Kerry had obviously been reading my blog and has seen that I like using British yarn as she bought me some local yarn from New Lanark in Scotland. Also in the package was a pattern for a casual top, which looks like it will make a great basic, some purple buttons and a gorgeous length of purple cotton with a bird print (are they swallows? I'm not great with birds!).  I think the fabric would make a great Alma blouse (just realised the birds are upside down in the photo - this was not intentional, sorry birdies!)

Thanks Kerry, both from organising the swap and for my lovely goodies! I love everything that you sent me :)

If you want to see what I sent Kerry, take a look at this blog post.

K xx

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Brilliant Birmingham Blogger Bonanza

Yesterday morning Marie and I set off to Birmingham bright and early to meet up with 30 "strangers from the internet". After our initial apprehension about whether anyone would actually turn up, we soon found ourselves surrounded by 30 super sewing ladies. There were oohs and ahhs as everyone admired each others handmade outfits and excited squeals as people met online friends in real life. Once everyone had assembled we set off, not quite two-by-two but pretty much, to the amazing fabirc heaven that is Barry's. The lovely ladies there had kindly agreed to give us a 10% discount and seemed remarkably unphased by the huge gaggle of sewists who descended on them. 
Temporarily shopped-out and hungry, we headed to headed to Cafe Soya to refuel with a yummy lunch and a mammoth swap. Ah the swap!
This is the table of fabric alone!

Hovering and waiting for Claire to give the!

There was fabric galore along with patterns, notions, magazines and trimmings. It was all quite overwelming so I picked up a few things but on the whole thought I had been quite restrained...although looking at my loot I think I came away with more than I thought, including some delicious wool which is destined for a pencil skirt and some beautiful vintage fabric that Mellie told me had been her grandmothers!

We then headed off to the Birmingham Rag Market, and finally the Fancy Silk Store for yet more shopping, before admitting defeat and heading back from whence we came, armed with delicious goodies generously baked by Claire.
Thank you so much to everyone who came yesterday, it was amazing to have so many lovely ladies come along and I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did. It was wonderful to catch-up with familiar faces and meet a whole load of new ones....I have so many new blogs to check out now! Below is a full list of everyone who came along and links to their blogs if they have them - do go and have a browse!
Anna - Get Crafty
Caroline Bones - Cotton Hairess
Caroline Booth & daughter Phoebe
Caroline Nixon
Charlie - Charlie Says Sew
Deborah - DFabrication
Hannah - Hugs and Kisses
Helen - Helen Made
Rachel A Study in Stitching & mum Liz
Sarah - Not Found
So what did I buy? I came away with the lovely little stash below:
Cloakwise from top left: Checked cotton for yet more PJs, red linen/cotton for a Kelly skirt, black and white print for a dress, red and white print for another dress, and poly-something polka dot which may become a lining for a victoria blazer.

I think I terrified poor Charlotte with my excited admiration for her gorgeous Kelly skirt (I think I said hello to the skirt before I said hello to her!), and then proceeded to buy exactly what I needed to replicate the skirt for myself. Well almost...just when I thought I could not love her skirt any more, I checked out her blog and found she has lined the pockets with owl fabric. OWLS people! Need I say more. 

Buttons for my Kelly skirt plus a couple of could I resist?!
Thanks again to everyone who came, and a special mention to my fabulous co-hosts Marie and Claire. There is nothing left to say except...bring on 3rd August when we get to do it all again :)
K xx

Friday, 14 June 2013

FO x3 a.k.a stash-busting challenge success

Back in April I set myself a stash-busting challenge with the following pledge:

I, KraftyKat, will make at least three garments using fabric from my stash before the Birmingham meet-up on Saturday 15th June. If I do not complete this challenge, I promise not to buy or acquire from the swap ANY more fabric at this meet-up.
The meet-up is tomorrow - so how did I do? Well, I'm delighted (and just a tiny bit relieved!) that I have three new garments to show you!
Number 1: Sewaholic Pendrell blouse #3
This is my third version of this pattern but the first time I have made this sleeve version - just realised that you can't actually see the sleeves in this photo - doh! - but it's the 2-ruffle version. The fabric is a lovely drapy cotton and is lovely to wear - infact I am wearing it today! I can see this being a staple in my work wardrobe.
Number 2: Sewaholic Pendrell blouse #4

Yep your eyes are not decieving you - another Pendrell blouse. During me-made-May i realised that my wardrobe is lacking basics in solid colours. The Pendrell blouse is the perfect basic pattern so I made yet another version, this time the sleeveless view. Rather than leaving it completely plain (and a little bit boring), I stitched lace trimming around the armholes.

Number 3: Pyjama bottoms



Ever since I made my first pair of PJ bottoms last year I have been meaning to make another pair and what better excuse that Karen's upcoming pyjama party? I used Simplicity 2116 and the most gorgeously soft cotton fabric which is absolutely beautiful - you probably can't see but the gold bits have glitter on them! These were pretty quick to whip up, and that's even with french seams, which effectively means I sewed the PJs twice. I swear I am never buying PJs again. A super-quick make which I can ensure is long enough for a tall person like myself and choose my own funky fabric of my own choice? There is no downside to this!

So there we go - stash-busting challenge complete. A good job too as I may have fallen off the wagon a tiny little bit last weekend (I was refraining from buying fabric alltogehter, although re-reading my pledge I notice it specifically mentions only no fabric aquiring at the meet-up, so I unwittingly gave myself a massive loop-hole!). Either way I felt terribly guity, but there is a story behined this purchase. A few months ago I walked past a stall in Leicester market and saw this very fabric. I convinced myself that I was being good and walked away. Ever since then I have not been able to get this fabric out of my mind. I searched and searched on the internet to no avail. All was lost. Or so I thought, until last week I happened to pass the stall again and there it was. There were just 2 metres left and I knew I had to snap them up there and then - also at just £2/m it was barganious.

Oh and did I mention it is AMAZING fabric!??!

To give you an idea of scale, this is pretty much the whole length of it - my boyfriend is holding it up so I can take a picture. So it's a very large print. It is about 2m by 2m. My original thought was that I want to make a skirt to show off the print. It would make an amazing circle skirt, but I just don't think I have enough. Ideas on a postcard (or in the comments below!) please!

I am so releived to have completed my stash-busting challenge and am geering up for a fun-filled day tomorrow. There will be over 30 sewists congregating in Birmingham - the fabric shops and rag market won't know what hit them! I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting lots of new ones. If you're coming along - can't wait to see you there!!

K xx

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Me Made May catch-up: Weeks 4 & 5 and reflections

Hello everyone, here is my forth and final Me Made May 2013 post and it's a bumper special covering the last 2 weeks. I must confess that I am missing a couple of pictures here - I debated re-modelling the outfits for these days but to be honest they were pretty much exact repeats of previous days so it didn't seem worth it. Apologies for my laziness! So without further ado, let's get on with it...

Day 20

Today was my birthday and I am modelling my third Pendrell blouse, as yet unblogged and saved especially for the occasion. Yep that's right, I've been sewing new stuff! This is the first of three items I pledged to make before the Birmingham meet-up as part of my stash-busting challenge. The cake in this rather attractive photo (!) was made for me by my lovely boyfriend and I'm sure you will not be at all surprised to discover it is an owl. Lets have a closer look....isn't he clever! It was very tasty. 

Day 24
At the end of the week my boyfriend's brother came to stay. He was visiting from Australia with his girlfriend. We had a lovely time and ate lots of curry. They left on the Friday and pretty much as soon as they left I had some friends arrive for the weekend. I wore my beloved crescent skirt but didn't manage to get a photo. However, it can be seen many times in my previous MMM has been a bit of a staple!
Day 25
Today was the day of my birthday BBQ! This has become a bit of a tradition and has now been going for about 6 years. It pretty much always rains but this time the weather defied the odds and we had beautiful sunshine! It was sunny enough for me to wear my New Look 6557 dress, which was the first dress I ever made. Apologies for the shoddy iPhone picture - this was snapped quickly just before going to bed.
Day 28
Another pictureless day I'm afraid. I wore my green double knit renfrew, which has been seen many times before over the course of this challenge!
Day 30

Sewaholic Pendrell blouse #1. I love this top and in fact I am wearing it now as I type this! Nothing else to report here, this was a work day.
Day 31

Me Made May draws to a close with the reappearance of Pendrell #3 for another day at work - it was a Friday, hence the jeans. I think this may be one of my favourite outfits of the whole challenge, although it's a close call.
Phew! All done! Looking back over the whole month, I think it was more of a challenge than I anticipated although I'm really glad I took part. Possibly due to the weather, there were a number of me-made items, mostly dresses, which didn't get a look-in, which is a shame. So what have I learnt from this challenge?
1) I need more me-makes in solid colours. I love prints, but this means that sometimes I struggle to put an outfit together.
2) I need to sew more work-wear. A lot of my makes so far are "occasion" dresses - frosting rather than cake as the saying goes! Since I spend most of the week needing relatively smart clothes, my handmade wardrobe need to reflect this. Which brings me on to the next point...
3)...I love dresses and I would wear dresses everyday if I could BUT my current wardrobe contains no me-made work-appropriate dresses! This needs to be a-dressed. Ahem.
4) I sew a lot of Sewaholic patterns! I knew I loved Sewaholic, but even I was surprised by how many of my makes are from this pattern line. This by no means a bad thing - it is a testament to the awesomeness of Tasia's patterns. They fit me well without the need for major adjustments and the patterns are extreamly versatile and easy to wear.
So - basics in solid colours and smartish dresses are my sewing future! Thanks so much to SoZo for organising this fantastic challenge. I am already thinking of next year where I hope to be in a position to up my pledge and commit to wearing me-mades at least 4 days a week. Bring it on!
Did you take part in Me Made May for the first time? What did you learn from the experience? And do you have any recommendations for smart work dresses?!
K xx

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Me Made May catch-up: Week 3

Me Made May 2013 made have officially come to an end (sad face) but the fun continues around these parts for now as I bring you a round up of week 3 (only 2 more posts after this one, we're getting there, albeit slowly!). Week 3 was a week of repeats...I warn you now that there is nothing new to see here (that comes in week 4).

Day 13

I got a bit confused on Flickr and I think this photo was labelled as day 9 or something, but no, it's day 13! Sewaholic Renfrew again, so in an attempt to detract from the fact you've seen this before, I'm joined by Sally in this photo. She was more interested in playing outside than having a cuddle though - shortly after this picture was taken she took a giant leap to freedom!

Day 18
Sewaholic Crescent skirt. Shoddy self photo taken in the mirror of my parent's bedroom as I was visiting them this weekend. Picture taken just before I ran out of an empty house to meet a friend...why I didn't ask her to take the photo instead I do not know...think I was worried I would forget and end up photo-less for day 18.
Day 19

Another self photo...Colette patterns Sorbetto top. Again to distract from the repeat boredom I am modelling two early birthday presents given to me my my lovely mum - crocheted slippers and a felted bag. Isn't she clever!

Right that's week 3 done and dusted! It's a beautiful sunny Sunday here...I'm looking forward to a morning of sewing and then a session of plotting and planning the Birmingham meet-up with the lovely Marie. Can't believe there is less than 2 weeks to go now until the big event! We currently have 36 sewists signed up - eek that's a lot of people. I'm ever so slightly terrified but remain mostly confident that this is going to be AWESOME!

Happy Sunday everyone!

K xx


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