Goldhawk Road meet up with Lladybird

26 Nov

No finished item for you today -I’ve actually been quite productive with my sewing recently and I have a backlog of things to show you all, but the weather is so dark and miserable that I’m having a hard time managing to get photos of them!

I’m quite pleased with my recent productivity though – for the first time, I’ve managed to actually get some decent sewing done when I’ve only had smaller blocks of time. I always mean to, but I find it hard when I only have an hour or two, but the last week or so I have managed to make use of the shorter periods of time I’ve had, and not needed at least one longer spell of sewing to get things done, so I’m hoping I can keep that up!

So what I do have for you today is a few pics from the meet up in Goldhawk Road on Saturday, in honour of Lauren being over here. Unfortunately I don’t have as many pics as I should have had as I accidentally wiped my memory card after taking a few! Oops!



I had an awesome weekend this weekend – the meet up on Saturday was wonderful, it made me so happy! I love hanging out with sewing people – everyone is so nice, and it’s always nice to meet new people. I really enjoyed Rachel’s NYLon meetup in May, but with about 80 of us, it was a little overwhelming and I didn’t get the chance to talk to everyone. There were about 15-20 of us this time, which meant that we could still go round the shops as a group, and we all got a chance to chat to everyone. Straight after the meet up, I got the train up to Lincoln to watch my roller derby team play on Sunday, and as I was sitting on the train, I actually felt like I was going to burst with happiness after such an awesome day – that is what hanging out with sewing people does to me!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I did also buy some fabric, but due to various reasons, none of of it is currently in my possession, so no photos yet! I got some lovely wool melton to make a Hollyburn skirt, some jersey for another Coco, and some denim in preparation of giving the Ginger jeans a go…



The bout my roller derby team were playing was in the finals of a tournament that has been running this year. The first game they played was against our sister league, Big Bucks High Rollers, who we are good friends with and train with quite a bit, so it was always going to be an interesting game. It turned out to be probably the most tense game of anything I have ever watched – the lead kept switching all the way through, but when we were 18 points up going into the last jam, we thought we had it…until our jammer got sent to the penalty box and the other team managed to score enough points to beat us by three points! It was so stressful, and I was only watching! But I’m so proud of all my team mates for playing such a great game, and we then went on to cheer on Big Bucks for the rest of the day :) Here is a photo of them being awesome. You will have to excuse the slightly dubious fashion choice of shiny blue leggings and a multi-coloured thong…I really do need to get on and make team leggings! Those awesome green and black lightening blot ones that Big Bucks are sporting are made by a member of their team.


So, all in all, a totally awesome weekend filled with lots of wonderful people :)

Here’s a list of people who attended the meet up, along with their blogs. Thanks to Grazia for being proactive on the day and putting the list together! I know there are a few people missing from it who’s names I can’t remember, so if you were there and you’re missing from the list, please let me know and I’ll add you in!








No blog yet!

Not sure if Janet has a blog?




No blog


No blog (but a lovely Minoru!)






I’m missing the three lovely ladies in the right of the group photo at the top of the page. I did spend quite a while admiring the Minoru of one of them, but rather ashamedly can’t remember her name! Once I find out, I’ll add them in to the list. Just the lady in red missing now, and someone else who was wearing a lovely red Minoru, but didn’t make it to the pub. Talking of Minorus, I saw not one but four gorgeous Minorus in person on Saturday, and it’s spurred me to hurry up and make mine. I made a toile for it the other weekend, but couldn’t actually decide if the size was right of if I needed to make the next size up. I think I probably need to go up, and I couldn’t bring myself to trace the pattern again, so it got put on hold! I was hoping to get it done in time for going to Paris this week (eeeee!), but decided that I could either make one coat, or a few other things that I wanted to make, so I went for the few other things. Minoru is high on my list to get back to though.


Talking of Paris – I’M GOING TO PARIS TOMORROW!! I am so excited! I’ve never been to Paris before, so I’m really looking forward to it, and it’s going to be especially great being there with sewing people (see my notes about awesomeness and happy feelings above!). After a couple of days hanging out with sewing folk, Marcus is then coming out on Friday evening to join me and we’re going to spend the weekend out there. If anyone has any recommendations for must-see things in Paris, please do let me know!

Sisterhood of the world blogger award

1 Nov

Hello! Happy Saturday! I hope you have al had a good week! I’ve had a bit of a busy one – I had a Halloween party for my birthday last Saturday, so spent the whole day trying to make the house look Halloweeny, all night dancing in my kitchen with awesome friends, who all had awesome costumes, and then most of Sunday recovering from Saturday night…oops…on my actual birthday Marcus took me out for my all time favourite dinner which is a slow cooked lamb they do at the Magdalen Arms – it comes with dauphinoise potatoes and pickled red cabbage and is pretty much the most amazing thing I have eaten in my life. I also carved proper pumpkins for the first time in my life – I was going to do some for the party, and my friends Mindy and Megan offered to come and help. Turns out Mindy is a bit of a pro and we ended up with some awesome designs! I’m so pleased with how they all turned out! I’ve also stolen her photo of them as it was better than mine, which I only took on my phone!


I have a bit of a quieter weekend this weekend, so I am dedicating today entirely to sewing! It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that, so I just want to get as much done as I can! I finally traced the pattern for the Minoru jacket this week, so I’m going to make a start on that – I really want to finish it in time to go to Paris in November. Also, I basically have no decent coats to wear at the moment, so I could do with getting it done!

Right, down to business!

Thank you to Meg for nominating me for this! I discovered Meg’s blog after the SewBrum meet up. I really enjoyed reading Meg’s post, and she’s come up with some really interesting questions here which I will answer for you.

The rules of this game are:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their site
2. Put the award logo on your blog
3. Answer their ten questions
4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees
5. Nominate 10 bloggers for the award

So, here goes…

Where does your blog name come from?

Whenever I was doing crafty stuff, Marcus would say I was ‘making and doing’, so it kind of sprung from there.

Who are your most inspirational bloggers?

Oh now there’s a question…there are lots, but I’m going to highlight a few
Fiona at Diary of a Chainstitcher – I’ve been following Fiona’s blog pretty much since I started sewing and she was one of the first sewing bloggers I ‘got to know’ online. In this time, her sewing skills have EXPLODED – every time I look at her blog, she’s made something else incredibly tricky or complicated – she is always pushing herself with new techniques and fabrics and it makes me realise how much can be achieved.
Lauren at Lladybird – for the sheer number of items she manages to push out – her post on how she sews so much inspired me to try and implement some of those things in my sewing life (still working on them!), and because I end up wanting pretty much everything she makes!
Charlene at One Year One Wardrobe – her recent selfish sewing week made me realise how much it is possible to make in a short time if you just put your mind to it
Daniela of Ela Sews – I am in awe of her patience and many many toiles in order to get the fit right on her garments – it really pays off! Also her knitting skills – I planned knitting a jumper the time she also started her first. I have half of the back of mine, she’s made goodness know how many since.
Jo at Making it well – for pretty much the same reasons as Daniela – her patience with fitting is admirable, and she has also knit up a collection of gorgeous sweaters!

Bit of a pattern emerging her isn’t there – basically people who manage to do things that I really want to be able to do myself! I aspire to be like them!

Money and life commitments aside, what would your dream job be?

Um, something criminology based. My background is psychology and I have ALWAYS been fascinated by criminology – I’m pretty sure it’s the one field I could work in where I would actually love my job. Slightly sordid I know, but something like criminal profiling would probably be my ideal job. Not much of a call for it in this country though, fortunately for us, but unfortunately for my career! But if anyone happens to have a job in this field going they want to offer me… ;)

Any great blogger tips for beginners?

Just go for it! Write for yourself, because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. I started my blog primarily just to have a record of everything I made, not because I thought people would actually read it. Don’t beat yourself up for being a ‘bad blogger’ or not posting regularly – sometimes there are a couple of months between my posts, and I’d like to post more regularly, but I don’t want to ‘make’ myself do it – then it becomes a chore. Do it because you enjoy it.
Any must-have beauty items?

Er…my sister! She’s a beauty therapist, and is my best source of information on such things! She is also appalled by the fact that I often go to work without make up on. When I do wear make up, eyeliner is the one thing I always wear.
What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far in 2014?

Buying my house! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years, and it’s great to finally have space that is my own and I can do what I like with. And enouh space that I can have a sewing room and fit all my stuff! Next year we’re going to start on the big job of decorating the whole of the downstairs – I’m really looking forward to making it our own a bit more, but it’s going to be a massive job!
If you could try any new hobby, what would it be?

Don’t ask me that – I don’t have enough time for all the hobbies I already do! I’d quite like to give wood working a go at some point though. And pottery.

Describe your style in three words

Not yet defined!

I am really envious of people who seem to have a particular style, and always look so put together. I really don’t feel like I am there, but I really want to be. I just can’t work out what is ‘me’. If anyone knows, please let me know!
Do you have a ‘better-than-your-mums’ recipe?

Hmmm, roast potatoes! I always used to be confused as to why everyone was so obsessed with roast potatoes, as they just didn’t do anything for me. It took me a while, but I finally found a recipe that made me go ‘ahh, this is what people were talking about’. I’m now in charge of roast potatoes at Christmas. Actually, this year, we’re doing Christmas at our place so I guess we’re in charge of it all!

Do you follow your heart or your head?

Largely my head I think – I over-analyse and over-research every decision I make!

Ok, now for my nominations! I know there have been a lot of blog hops and stuff going round recently, so I don’t want these guys to feel under any pressure to answer, but if they feel like it then great!

First, some of my lovely fellow Oxford sewists:
1. Claire at I want to be a turtle
2. Marcie at Under Alteration
3. Jen & Elena at Tea for Two
And then some lovely people I’ve met on meetups:
4. Daniela at Ela Sews
5. Charlene at One Year One Wardrobe
6. Emmie at My Oh Sew Vintage Life
7. Alison at Another Little Crafty Creation
And some blogs that I just enjoy reading:
8. Lyyn at Ozzy Blackbeard
9. Jo at Making it well
10. Emmely at Infectious Stitches

Because I think Meg’s questions were so great (ok, and also because I just want to get on and sew now!), I’m going to leave you all the same set of questions to answer! I look forward to reading your responses!

Happy sewing everyone!

Finished: By Hand London Flora for a summer wedding

11 Oct

If you’re a regular reader of sewing blogs, and you’re thinking that this dress looks a little familiar, that’s probably because it is. I admit, this is a shameless copy (with her permission) of Fiona’s Flora that she made during pattern testing. I saw her dress, completely fell in love with it, and thought it would be perfect for a wedding I had to go to in the summer.



The fabric Fiona had used just looked (and sounded) glorious, and when I googled it to check it out, I came across a listing for it on ebay for £2.50/m! At that price, who was I to refuse! I promptly bought 4m of it (and wished I’d bought more, but they were out of it when I checked back). The fabric is a gorgeous John Kaldor viscose twill and it is beautifully soft and drapey. I love the colours as well. I don’t wear a lot of pink, and am trying to wear a bit more after my colour analysis session.

The lining is some poly viscose that I picked up in Goldhawk Road at the NYLon meet up in May, for £1.99/m. I bought 3m of this and then had a panic when I thought it wasn’t enough, as it’s only 45″ wide, but managed to get around it by cutting the skirt pieces on the crossgrain.


The dipped hem version of Flora was perfect for a wedding – the longer length at the back would be too long on me if it was that length all the way round, but having it longer at the back adds a bit of class to balance out the shorter front. I went for the tank version of the bodice – I’m really not sold on the faux wrap version of the Flora bodice, but I love the tank version – it’s just nice and simple and unfussy but at the same time quite unusual.


In typical me-style, although I’d had both the pattern and fabric for months, I started work on this dress….oh, about a week before the wedding! Why do I do that! I can only imagine that it’s some subconscious thing because I know I perform well under pressure!

I did a very quick toile of the bodice (very quick, I didn’t even bother putting a zip in), and it seemed pretty alright, so I went ahead and cut it out in a size 10. Looking at the photos, the neckline is actually gaping a bit at the back, so that might need a bit of adjustment if I make another version.

By Hand London Flora

I also apologise for the fact that the dress has not been ironed in these photos! Luckily the full skirt hides it well!

I had a few issues cutting the dress out, mainly because the viscose was just so slinky it wouldn’t stay still. I cut out one of my skirt panels, only to realise that, after I took the pattern piece off, the pattern piece and the skirt piece I’d just cut were completely different shapes. My friend Clare (Clare number 1 to Marcus, who insists I number my sewing friends called Cla(i)re as there are so many of them) then suggested using spray starch, so I used that on the rest of my cutting, and it made things a lot easier. Luckily it was the main fabric that went wonky, and I had enough of that to re-cut the skirt panel.

I think the dress sewed up without too much drama. This is the point at which I really wish I actually did what I intended to do and keep a notebook by my side when I’m sewing, to note down things about the pattern and process. I actually bought a notebook for this purpose, but haven’t really taken to keeping notes. And now of course I can’t remember many of the details of sewing the dress up…we’ll take that as a good sign – if something had gone drastically wrong, I think I’d remember, and I managed to get it finished in time for the wedding, so it must have been fine!

By Hand London Flora

This is my first fully lined dress, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I understitched the lining along the bodice, to stop it peeking out, which worked well, but due to the way the bodice is structured with the straps, there were a couple of bits in the corners of the tank I couldn’t get to to understitch. Is there a way I could have done that?


I wasn’t sure how best to attach the lining to the invisible zip, but I used the Sewaholic Cambie tutorial and it worked brilliantly.



Somehow the bodice lining ended up slightly longer than the bodice shell – I guess the fabric just stretched out a bit more. This doesn’t bother me too much, I just had to trim the skirt lining down a bit so that it was shorter than the shell. Looking at the photos, the lining could do with being a bit shorted on the right at the front, but I didn’t notice when wearing it because the skirt moves around so much.

By Hand London Flora

This is the first time I’ve made a circle skirt, and so I did what I was meant to do and left it to hang for a day or two before hemming it, so that I could even it out after the fabric had dropped. However, the fabric didn’t seem to drop at all. Either that, or I have a really bad eye for telling if things are level!

And how good are circle skirts for swishing around and dancing at weddings?! I did SO much twirling around!


Ok, have to be a bit careful twirling *too* much in the full skirt!

I just machine hemmed the skirt lining, and debated how to hem the main fabric of the skirt. Fiona beautifully hand stitched hers but I knew that I really didn’t have time for that. I also have basically never done any hand stitching on my garments, and so didn’t trust that I would be able to hand stitch the hem and have it look good. I decicded in the end to do a blind hem on my sewing machine. It’s something I learned how to do on my original sewing course, but haven’t actually used since. It turned out alright – not completely blind (largely due to the fact that the fabric isn’t a consistent colour all over), but it looks better than it would have done had I just stitched it normally. I need to work on my technique a bit – there are a few spots where it didn’t quite catch the fabric properly, but it’s good enough!

The straps on the dress are quite narrow set, so bra straps can show when you’re wearing it. I was going to put bra strap carriers in, but in the end just wore a strapless bra to the wedding. I’ll probably go back and add them at some point so that I’ve got a bit more flexibility with wearing the dress.


The dress lived up to all my expectations and was absolutely perfect for the wedding. I basically love everything about it, and the swirly skirt makes it especially good for twirly dancing. An extra unexpected bonus to the fabric is that when you’re trying to balance your plate with a scone with clotted cream and jam on (mmmm!) on top of your cup of tea (so that you have a spare hand to eat the scone with), and it all slips and you smoosh creamy, jammy scone onto the underside of your boob, the fabric pattern hides it very well!


The wedding was of two of our capoeira friends, Simon and Zanna, and it was absolutely amazing – it was held at Zanna’s grandad’s place, which was stunning, and the weather was glorious, despite the fact that it was forecast to rain all day. Zanna was wearing a gorgeous vintage wedding dress and looked absolutely fantastic.


Unfortunately, due to my leaving my dress making to the last minute, I didn’t have time to make their wedding present before the wedding. I have just finished that now (blog post to follow!), so they will finally get that soon! Sorry guys!

I’m going to leave you with this photo of our capoeira friends who attended the wedding – I love the fact that 3 of the dresses (and one of the waistcoats) in this photo are handmade :)


chinelo bally

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