Saturday, 26 September 2015

Postcards from the Edge

I have been away again, this time in France. La Rochelle to be precise and a couple of places past there into the countryside, Velluire and Vix. No leisure trip for me though, just work and to be honest although it was scenic I wasn't feeling the love 100% being a bit wiped out. Been really pushing it the last few weeks. 

La Rochelle is quite a pretty place. It has a nice harbour and has the biggest marina in Europe apparently.

It definitely has a chequered past though, having been a stopover for slaves bound for the US and furs back from Canada.

I found a lot to like about the place. The locals were very helpful and didn't laugh at my schoolgirl French but the place was a bit of a tourist trap. 

There  was some fun art about the city from eco-whales to peturbed horses...

..... to beautiful mosaics in the train station and a rock lobster (couldn't resist)....

... and even phantom windows.

Velluire was nice but there was no one in it and lots of empty houses. No shops, no bars and only the hotel, which was shut when I got there. The hotel was on the banks of the Vendee and was in a nice spot. It would have been a lot better without the two bloody massive spiders in my room. Their bodies were the size of a small conker! Needless to say that night I got no sleep. I am still as jumpy as a cat.

 I did manage to pick up the Burda Plus and the Ottobre Woman Autumn/Winter 2015 sewing mags while I was away. There are some great t-shirt/hoodie patterns in the Ottobre for Sprogzilla. I am off now until the middle of next week so will try to get some sewing done and prepping some fabric. I have some dinosaur print knit fabric that I have been hoarding that I will use for the T.


Anyway in other news, this morning I was looking online for fabric for a winter coat. We then decided to take a mystery run out and ended up in Morpeth, a little market town in Northumberland. There were so many charity shops, although to be honest there wasn't that much in them bar George and Primani. They were very expensive, especially the Salvation Army "boutique" and the Relate shop. The latter was so dear for some things that it was seriously in line with some of the more OTT vintage shops, however I did find a 1950's/60's Aquascutum bouclé A-line coat in a nice dark blue. It is in immaculate condition and was quite a bargain even if i did cost me £40. I normally balk at paying that much for anything in a charity shop but I couldn't have bought a jacket from Tesco's for that. It does me no favours but it is very warm and I love the colour. Photos to come as I it was dark by the time we were home and I still feel a state.

So what have you been sewing? Found any gems on your travels? What's your ceiling for buying vintage?

Happy Weekend!


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Made Up Initiative Pledge - The Fómhar Cowl

Hello! This will be a super-quick post today as I am working. I was working till late last night too so I have not had a chance to sew up the second Simplicity 7308 skirt that I have cut out and was planning to make yesterday. Buggeration!  I am using fabric that has been in my stash for about 12 years.

Do you read the 'Did You Make That" blog? If so then you will be following the lovely Karen Ball's brilliant fund raising online event for the National Literacy Trust, the Made Up Initiative. The idea was to donate to her Just Giving page and pledge to make up an item by the 10th September. I pledged to knit up a scarf using my hand dyed wool and I did!

I used a free pattern that I found on Ravelry. It is the Emerald Isle cowl pattern from Linda Dawkins and can be found on the Natural Suburbia website.  This is a quick easy pattern but boy did I mess it up. I had to rip it down twice as I got completely lost and kept knitting the wrong rows. Always happens when you are in a hurry. Tsk. 

I made a couple of alterations to the pattern, I cast on 200 stitches to make it a bit longer. Good thing I did as I can barely loop this it is so not stretchy and I used 150g of yarn rather than the recommended 100g - I like my scarfs chunky. The bamboo yarn I used was not at all springy and stretchy like wool is so I think that I would use a different yarn type next time I knit it. It is a lovely pattern and one that you would be able to see better in a less variegated colour way. Haven't had time to wash and block this yet so I think that the pattern may stand out more after that.

In keeping with the Irish theme I have called this scarf "Fómhar", which translates as "Autumn", as the colours remind me of fallen leaves. It is a bit less red in real life.

Anyway, thanks to Karen for the kick up the **** and for organising such a great fundraiser. Books are my friends, teachers and constant companions. I just can't imagine how poor life would be without being able to read.

On that note I had better go look busy. Have a fabulous week, lovelies!


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Vintage Pattern Pledge Garment No. 3 - 70's Crimplene Maxi Skirt

Hello! Have you had a good week? I hope so. I have been doing a lot of travelling, a little sewing and a fair bit of knitting in the sunshine (thank you 3-hour rail delays).

Remember back in the Summer 2014 I picked up some crimplene? Well I have finally found a good use for it. This stuff is crazy. I have no idea what the pattern is, maybe some Martian forest? Anyway, the colours are great so I decided to make myself a skirt from Simplicity 7308,  a pattern from 1975. The fabric is actually patterned in reds and purple/pinks but the lighting above has made it turn brown. Apologies for the crappy photos but I have not had a chance to get out and about to take any others.

The pattern is for two skirts, a 4-gore and a 6-gore, both in an A-line shape and with two length options which makes it very versatile. I know that I will use this one lots and have bought some new fabric for the 6-gore version. I made the Size 42 , View 2 and I have to say it is a bit roomy. Crimplene is a bit stretchy though so I will reserve my final judgement until I have made it up again in a woven.

Behold, the skirt in all it's static glory! This was a breeze to make. Only three pattern pieces and a centred back zipper. I had a fairly good match lurking in my stash so didn't have to buy anything extra. The pattern was a couple of quid on eBay and the fabric was not much more. I used a press cloth to flatten the seams before overlocking them as I didn't want to melt the fabric onto my iron.



This pattern is long. I haven't taken a hem up yet but it is almost down to the floor on me. I am almost 6-foot, plus I am wearing heels, so they liked their hems big and their skirts long in '75. I was toying with the idea of taking it up an inch and adding some lace. Maybe in version number 2. Yep, I love this pattern so much that I can see a few more on the horizon. My favourite skirt is an almost identical St Michael one in flowery velvet and since I have expanded too much to wear it I will have to make some proxies instead.

Birmingham University Campus

The Massive Uni Clock Tower

Campus Art

We went to Birmingham last week. The move looks inevitable now so my colleague and I took a little time to investigate the surroundings and a lot of time to investigate the restaurants. I may have bought some fabric from Fancy Silk Stores. As it was a Wednesday the Rag Market was shut. We were gutted as we were looking forward to a good explore. Shoddy planning on my part and it won't happen again I can tell you. I think that this beauty is destined to be a pair of trousers. It is probably 100% petrochemicals but it has a beautiful weight and drape.

I have been a bit naughty and bought a load of new and vintage patterns off eBay. I am only buying ones now that will fit me so that there is a good chance that they will make their way into useable garments later this year. This skirt sees me having sewn my quota for the Vintage Pattern Pledge but as I like the patterns so much I can definitely see a few more on the horizon so i am planning to double it to six garments by the end of the year.

Anyway, apologies for the rushed post. I will take better pics of the skirt when I have sewn version 2. This week and last have been stupidly busy and there is no sign of it abating in the near future. Hopefully I will be able to fit in some sewing round it all! Stress!!

Hope that life is good!