Seeing Stars

imageimage

And Liberty ones at that πŸ™‚ This caught my eye in the last issue of LoveSewing magazine. It’s a kit for a table runner and matching napkins from a company called Alice Caroline (www.alicecaroline.co.uk).Β To be honest it didn’t come cheap, mostly because I needed to order additional napkins. We have both sets of parents coming to us for Christmas Day, so that’s eight of us in total. Not a lot by some people’s standards, but a fair few for us. Anyway this was my little pre-Christmas treat forΒ the house!

imageimage

It made a really nice change from dressmaking actually. The stars came already cut out, but they still took a fair bit of time to stitch on. It gave me a really good chance to use a different machine foot: the custom crafted zigzag foot no less! This, according to my guide, has an ‘open toe’ (loving the extended metaphor, who knew sewing feet had toes?) ‘for a better view’. I also used one of my much ignored, fancy stitches (no 64) which was the closest I could get to replicating a hand sewn blanket stitch. I was really pleased with the effect, but took it pretty slowly around all those corners. Radio 4 was playing an orchestral version of A Christmas Carol, so I totally zoned out. I turned the speed up for applying the binding the next morning, and, mostly, managed it fairly neatly.

I enjoyed running this up much more than I thought I would. I ran up half of the napkins this morning and need to finish the other half tomorrow morning, before packing away my machine for a much needed festive break. The service from this company was excellent and it arrived the very next day. I also really liked the fact that I had zero waste. I imagine if you’re a seasoned sewer or quilter, you might have plenty of pretty off-cuts you could use up for a similar project, but this kit was perfect for someone like me who doesn’t dabble in home projects very often.

Good luck with finishing in time if you’re still stitching up last minute Christmas gifts, or treats for yourself! I’ve just finished these two scarves, in the (saint!) nick of time for the two children of a friend. I’m hoping they’ll be appreciated. I couldn’t resist adding the labels that I’ve rediscovered lately. Must get some sewing ones, they make my wonky stitching look much more presentable.

imageimage

Have a lovely, restful Christmas everyone!

Teresa

X.

 

ps My #sewingsanta parcel arrived this morning. Thank you Vicki! I can’t wait to rip it open πŸ™‚ My children are almost as excited as me to find out what’s inside…

 

The Mabel, Mark Two

Hurrah, it fits πŸ™‚ Well, this time I followed the instructions (doh!) and used an actual knit fabric… I know, amazing!

imageimage

I’m so pleased with this. The colour is fab and makes a pleasant change from navy, yet still goes with loads of my current wardrobe. πŸ™‚ This time I added an extra inch to the length and this made it feel a lot more elegant and comfortable on me. Because I’m quite curvy, I’m always nervous of unintentionally straying into ‘tarty’ territory, especially with knits, but this length really works for me. I made this purely for casual wear, but actually because of the longer length, it would be smart enough for work too.

It also only took me an afternoon to run it up, and that includes the cutting out. This never happens to me normally, despite what other bloggers say. I can imagine running up a few more of these in both other plain colours and some subtle, patterned knits πŸ˜‰ There’s really not much more to say about this make, apart from that I can see myself using this pattern a lot for Autumn/Winter and I know I’ll wear them constantly. I’ve actually worn it every day since I made it, and it’s kept its shape really well too.

imageimage

If you haven’t already got a Mabel in your life, I can thoroughly recommend that you add one soon πŸ™‚

 

Learning Restraint, Part II: So What Do I Actually Need?

So what do I actually need?

Well, truth be told, I already have a lot of clothes. Being totally honest, with the exception of replacing socks and underwear, I could probably go a couple of years without actually needing to make or buy anything. Crikey, by some people’s standards, probably far longer than that…

But, no doubt I’m the same as everyone out there who blogs about sewing (or knitting), I love clothes πŸ™‚ I love how they can flatter you, comfort you or just plain cheer you up. I love how they can make you feel taller, slimmer or younger when you get them just right (or whatever floats your personal wish-list boat) and I love the therapeutic nature of sewing (or knitting on a cold, Winter’s evening) and the pride I feel as I gradually improve my skills and get the fit close-r to perfection. But in the spirit of restraint I’ve been forcing myself to consider any new purchases far more carefully than would ever come naturally to me…

i) First up is really straightforward: I need a plain, black, pencil skirt for work. BHL Charlotte, I’m looking at you! I’ve worn my plain, navy one loads (and my fancy, lilac one a fair few times too) so it’s a tried and tested pattern that I know will work perfectly πŸ™‚

ii) Next up is a couple of plain, white shirts as my current ones are starting to look decidedly grubby around the collar and cuffs. Even the very thought of sewing one of these fills me with panic, so this is definitely a RTW one and something sensible to look for in the sales.

iii) Thirdly, I really need some smart, but comfy trousers for work. Yikes, now trousers I’ve so far avoided like the plague in terms of sewing. However I’ve recently seen some fab ones on the blogosphere, mostly courtesy of Jane over at Handmadejane and Karen over at didyoumakethat? I know from experience though that trousers really don’t come easily to my body shape. I’m small, but go in and out a lot. My legs are also my least favourite body part. Black tights in Winter are a godsend and come Summer there’s a whole lot of shaving, fake tanning and selecting of, at least, a medium heel height. There’s a reason I don’t do flats, even though I love them on others 😦

Buying RTW trousers is a royal pain in the butt, but actually, if I crack making my own, I need never brave the changing rooms again, and that has to be a plus… After much careful consideration, I’ve selected Simplicity’s 1699Β (which seemed like a bargain at the time, as it also included a top, dress and even a jacket (one day, sigh…) that I also really liked, but now I’ve seen it comes free with next month’s Sew Home & Style, which I subscribe to, maybe not such a bargain!) And as a back up I’ve also purchased Colette’s Clover trousers (1019) which is a beginner’s pattern and seemed a really simple shape too (although I’ll be attempting the longer version, short trousers are a complete no-no on me). Fingers crossed one of these work out…

imageimage

iv) And lastly, I always seem to need some flattering jeans. Now, just a couple of months ago this would have been a RTW option only. But actually, if I conquer the above, who knows? Maybe? 2015 could be the year of the trousers….

So there’s my list of essentials done. But anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that there’s no way I could last more than a month or so without running up a new skirt πŸ˜‰ So I’m allowing myself some fun projects too, but again, they have to earn their place first. So, they’ll be some careful thought put in there too, and then I’m hoping to alternate between my two lists. Sounds simple in principle, I’m hoping I’ll be able to stick to it.

Anyone else rethinking their sewing plans for the new year?