Archive | June, 2013

Bombshell progress, and other news!

30 Jun

I spent most of this week desperate to have some sewing time, and finally had some time yesterday. I spent most of the day working on my Bombshell Swimsuit, and it’s so nearly finished! In a moment of being very organised, I printed out the instructions, as well as all of Heather Lou’s blog posts from the sewalong, and put them all in a folder so that I would easily flick through it as I worked, rather than dropping loose sheets of paper everywhere!


I got up to the end of part 5 of the sewalong – the costume is basically all constructed, I just need to sew all the elastic in, and do the straps. And it is looking gooooood! I can’t wait to get it finished and be able to wear it! I’ll write a post on it with more details (and pictures!) once it’s finished, but here’s how it’s looking so far.

IMG_0119 IMG_0120

One of the things that made my bombshell creation is much easier, was the fact that I have a new toy :) I am now the proud owner of a beautiful overlocker!


I’d always liked the idea of having an overlocker, but they were way too expensive to even consider. But last week at my sewing class, our teacher mentioned that Lidl were going to have a Singer one on offer this week, for £150. It’s still a lot, but when you consider that this same model sells everywhere else for at least £240, it was definitely a good deal! I spent a while umming and ahhing, but once I decided to make the bombshell, it kind of sealed the deal. I went to Lidl on the way to work on Monday and got my new toy, and I’m glad I went early – by all accounts, most stores in the country had sold out by about lunchtime.

I spent a little while this week trying to understand it and get it working – I need to spend a lot longer getting to know it properly, but I really just wanted to get it working to the extent that I could use it for the swimsuit. And boy did it make things easier! Plus, check out those seams!


Ok, one is a little messy, because I didn’t line it up properly first time around, and had to go over it again, but they still look great!

I have a thank you in order this week as well – the lovely Fiona of Diary of a Chainstitcher nominated me for a Liebster Blogging award.


In  nutshell, the Liebster blogging award is given by bloggers to other bloggers, with under 200 followers, to help promote new bloggers, and spread appreciation and recognition in the blogging world.  So thank you very much Fiona for nominating me – it’s so nice to know that people are actually reading (and enjoying!) my blog!

I now need to answer Fiona’s 11 questions for me, give you 11 random facts about myself, nominate some other bloggers, and devise my questions for them to answer.

Right, here goes!

1. What is your favourite film of all time and why?

Hmmm, I used to always say The Shawshank Redemption, but I’ve seen so many films in the last couple of years that I genuinely don’t know any more!

2. What kind of holidays do you like? Beach, city break, raving in Ibiza?!

I think I am yet to find a holiday I didn’t like! I spent all my childhood years camping every summer and my teenage years lying on a beach in Greece (and reading 10 books in a fortnight!), both of which I loved. But in the last couple of years, my holidays have been much more active – skiing, climbing, city breaks and a combination of everything, including mountain biking and canoeing, in the Czech Republic. I’ve loved those holidays as well, although have generally come home feeling more exhausted than when I went! I’m going on my first beach holiday in years next week, and Marcus’ first ever (he doesn’t really understand the concept!) and am looking forward to just relaxing a bit!

3. I spend a lot of time commuting, if you had a spare hour on the train what would you do?

I would be reading! I hate the fact that I now have to commute by car – I always find a train journey is guilt free reading time!

4. What is the best sewing book you have read?

I don’t really own any sewing books, but I have one, which my parents gave me for Christmas – its a Readers’ Digest complete guide to sewing, and is the first Christmas present my dad gave my mum, about 35 years ago. In her words, she hoped that I’d get more use out of it than she did (she never really sewed). It’s got loads of great information in and is a brilliant reference book.


5. Knits or wovens?

I’ve only really sewn with (and planned things to sew) with wovens so far, but I’ve realised that most of the dresses I wear are knits, so I’m definitely going to have to venture into them soon!

6. What is your favourite blog?

There are a lot of great blogs that have really inspired me, but if I had to pick one, it would be Lladybird, for three reasons: her two versions of Simplicity 1803 were one of the key factors in me picking that pattern for my first dress; I saw her bombshell swimsuit and thought ‘I have GOT to make me one of those!’; I find her style of writing brilliant, and hilarious.

7. What other crafts do you do and which is your favourite?

I’m really into baking, both cakes and breads, which I’ve been experimenting with a lot more recently. Although that’s taking a bit of a backseat at the moment, and my previous baking time is now sewing time. I also took up knitting a while ago, although I feel that is a bit more of a winter hobby! Photography is the other thing, although my decent camera is broken at the moment, I really must get that fixed! Right now, sewing is definitely my favourite!

8. What is your karaoke song?

I’ve only done karaoke once in my life, and that was at my sister’s birthday party when I was abut 14, and was with a group of friends! Maybe I’ll give it a go one day! I do like a good singalong in the car though – Billy Joel and Amy Macdonald feature highly!.

9. Sweet or savoury?

I definitely have a sweet tooth, but am not eating sugar at the moment, so…

10. What is your favourite accessory?

I have 2 wide elastic belts which I bought from the vintage section of TopShop years ago which just finish off outfits nicely, particularly sweater dresses. They’re probably some of the only non-mainstream accessories that I have, and I love them!


It’s not an amazingly clear photo, but I love the buckle on this one!

11. If I gave you £50 to spend on fabrics, patterns or craft supplies what would you make from it?

I’d probably buy a few Indie patterns to try out, using your Indie patterns post for inspiration! And there would have to be another trip to Walthamstow to pick up some knit fabrics, so that I could give those a go!

11 random facts:

    1. I make a mean mojito
    2. I once spent 4 weeks living on a Navy ship
    3. I met my boyfriend while dressed as Marble Arch
    4. I once swam in Loch Ness at 6am; cold is an understatement!
    5. I love crime fiction, and like having crime TV shows on in the background when I sew
    6. I practice Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art)
    7. There are at least 8 musical instruments in our flat
    8. None of them get played enough
    9. I think the soundtrack to Cats sounds better in German than English
    10. The first thing I ever sewed was a patchwork quilt, for a teacher who was going on maternity leave, when I was 10
    11. When I’m not sewing (and the weather is nice), I like to spend my free time doing this


The bloggers that I’m going to nominate for the award (based on less than 200 followers on bloglovin’) are:

  1. Marion of Stitch ‘n’ knit – Marion was one of the people who first inspired me to start sewing and is very talented at all sorts of crafty things.
  2. Claire of I want to be a turtle – a fellow Oxford sewist whose blog I’ve recently discovered.
  3. Jen and Elena of Tea for Two – they’ve got some really inspiring blog posts and a few things I want to try!
  4. The amazing adventures of Taracat – I’m so jealous of her new sewing space!
  5. Sewinggoddess – some great outfits (and costumes!) on her blog

And my questions for them all are as follows:

  1. Who or what inspired you to start sewing?
  2. What’s your favourite non-sewn thing you’ve made?
  3. What’s your favourite thing to do with a free weekend?
  4. What’s the next sewing project you’ve got planned?
  5. If someone you know was about to start sewing, what would be your best piece of advice for them?
  6. And what pattern would you recommend  for them to start them off?
  7. Cheese or chocolate?
  8. What are 5 of your favourite sewing blogs?
  9. Where do you prefer to get sewing tips from – blogs, books, magazines, tutorials?
  10. Where’s your favourite place for fabric shopping online?
  11. And in real life?

And a big thank you to all of you who have been reading and commenting on my blog – I love hearing your thoughts!


The Baguette Quiver

28 Jun

At the beginning of May, we headed off on a bouldering (climbing, without the ropes, and on lower rocks!) trip to Fontainebleau in France. Before we went, one of the other climbers, who’s been a few times before, mentioned that one of the important things to consider is how you are going to carry your baguette for lunch. Every morning, someone does a run up to the Boulangerie in the village and picks up enough baguettes for everyone, but apparently, figuring out how to carry it without it getting completely squished can be an issue when you are also carrying daypacks, bouldering mats etc.

On some prompting, I decided to come up with a solution to this problem, and so was born my baguette quiver. I had a hunt in Masons and decided to make it out of some linen mix fabric. I think twill would have been nice (I’m a big fan of baking bread and came across this recommendation when looking for the best ways to store it) but I couldn’t find any.

It was fairly easy to put together – I think it only took me about half an hour in total. The biggest issue was deciding what size to make it. I wasn’t sure how long French baguettes were. I made it about 30 inches long and, actually, it could have done with being a good deal shorter. Turns out French baguettes are shorter than their British counterparts. Who knew. It’s fine, it just means that when the baguettes are in there, there’s a lot of extra room at the top. Maybe I’ll chop a bit off the bottom sometime and shorten it. I think it’s about 15″ in circumference, which makes it big enough to hold at least 4 baguettes.
baguette quiver 1

I worked out how long I needed the strap to be (basically enough that I could wear it across my body), folded the raw edges inside and decided to topstitch the edges of that in red, to match the cord that I had for it. I then pinned the strap onto the main fabric, a few inches down from the top, and about two thirds of the way down. Actually, this was probably the hardest bit – I always forget whether I’m looking at the inside or the outside of the finished item when I’m doing this, and end up pinning it so that the strap ends up on the inside! Once I’d made sure the strap was actually going to be attached to the outside, I sewed along the bottom and up the side of the main piece, stopping short at the top to allow room to make a casing for the drawcord. The fabric had a really nice natural edge, so I left that as it was, and folded it back down over the top to give it a bit of a collar. Although as you can see in the photo below, this kind of sticks out a bit when the drawstring is closed, I might stitch it down to the main fabric to make it a bit neater. I then sewed my drawcord casing, put the cord through and we were done!

I’m really pleased with how it came out, and it definitely came in useful. I have a feeling I may have requests to make a few more before the next trip. I’m hoping it might come in handy for a few other things as well. It was nice to have a project that was so quick to sew up, even if it did elicit a few raised eyebrows from Marcus when I said that I was ‘making my baguette quiver’. baguette quiver 2

Baguette Quiver

Here it is in action in Font!

My bombshell is ready to go, and a lesson in measuring

23 Jun

As I mentioned in my last post, my next project to make is the bombshell swimsuit, hopefully in time for my holiday, which is 2 weeks today! So I took a trip to Fabricland in Reading yesterday to pick up some suitable swimsuit fabric. I was originally aiming for something along the lines of polka dots – I didn’t want anything with more than just a simple pattern. They did have some red polka dots, although the dots were smaller than I ideally wanted.  But I also found this lovely rose print spotty red one, and decided that was the one! IMG_0116I managed to get everything I needed for the swimsuit – lining fabric and swimsuit elastic, which I actually managed to get in the 1/4 inch rubber variety that Hethar Lou suggests. I also bought this lovely colourful chiffon fabric, with I’m going to make into a sarong for the holiday.


All ready to be made into something spectacular (I hope!)

I also learnt a lesson yesterday about measuring. When I looked at the size chart for the bombshell pattern, I saw that my measurements put me exactly halfway between the 10 and the 12. I saw advice that Heather Lou had given someone else on her blog, to go for the bigger of the two sizes, if this is the case. So I spent Friday evening carefully tracing out each of my pattern pieces in a size 12. In order to make sure nothing moved, I taped each of the printed, stuck together pattern pieces to our dining table (really now it’s just my sewing table), and taped greaseproof paper on top. IMG_0114Yesterday, I then decided to check my measurements again. I knew I’d lost an inch off my waist since I first took my measurements at my sewing class, which I had taken into account, but I found out yesterday that I’ve also lost an inch off my bust and my hips since those measurements were taken.  This puts me spot on the size 10 pattern measurements. That would also explain why my dress that I’ve just finished is slightly looser on the top half than I’d like. Why I didn’t think to remeasure myself before I traced all the pattern pieces I don’t know.  The 30 seconds it would have taken would have saved me from now having to spend this morning doing all my sticking down again, and retracing bits of all my pattern pieces. Grrr. But on the plus side, at least I hadn’t yet cut out the pattern pieces, let alone the fabric. And it’s taught me a lesson! I knew I’d lost some weight (due to my diet at the moment of not eating any sugar; I’m really not a dieter, and this is largely for health reasons, but losing a bit of weight is an added bonus. Also, it’s really not been as hard as I was expecting, given I have a massive sweet tooth.) and so it was just daft not to remeasure myself! After I’ve retraced the pattern, I hope that I can actually get on to cutting out my fabric today. And I’ll have something to work on at my sewing class on Tuesday now!

In other news, the lovely Fiona of Diary of a Chainstitcher has nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award! Thank you Fiona, it’s so nice to know that people are actually reading (and enjoying!) my blog. So there’ll be a post on that coming shortly, just as soon as I’ve come up with answers to her questions!

For now, my bombshell awaits! Happy sewing!

chinelo bally

Dressmaker| Author| Blogger| Freehand cutter


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