Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A Year in Five!

Well it's that time of year again! Gillian over at "Crafting A Rainbow" is hosting the "Top 5" 2015 roundup.  Doesn't seem 5 minutes since it was last year's!  I really enjoyed the process of writing this post as it's given me a chance to reflect on what's been achieved over the last year and plan what I would like to do next year. Plus, I can read other people's, nosey old baggage that I am! 

As I have had very little time for sewing the last couple of years then this will be another composite post of all my hits, misses, highlights, reflections and goals. PSA: It might be a bit long.

#sewingtop5 - The Top 5 of 2015!


When I first sat down to write this I really couldn't think of much that was a hit for me this year but then I realised that I have made some items that I have actually worn, have had a fair bit of success with FBAs and done way more blogging than last year. All wins in my book. I love the Colette "Mabel" pattern and have fabric to make some more. I also wear my "Gertie" pencil skirt although the sizing is miles off. 

Mabel, I will make you again. What an awesome pattern.

Sprogzilla's quilt was cut out and sewn together. I had been collecting the fabric for about 10 years. Just to back, quilt and bind it now. I might have it finished before she starts Uni.

I also managed to sew my three garments for my "Vintage Pattern Pledge", although didn't quite manage the additional three that I added on. They're cut out and one is almost finished. Does that count? Plus, I got to dress up like Frida Kahlo and take silly selfies in my bathroom for the Simplicity Blogger Challenge. That was a lot of fun, way out of my comfort zone, and I love the top that I made. When I wore it to work it got loads of compliments. 

Off topic but I have been very lucky travel-wise this year. Work commitments have taken me to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and, closer to home, London (with a quick trolley dash round Goldhawk Road). I been very lucky to visit some fantastic places and work with some fabulous people. Of course this meant that I have had the chance to pick up the odd sewing mag on location and even a bit of fabric or two- it would have been rude not to. This will be all change as 2016 means a new job and potentially very little travel. Hopefully, I will still be able to do some in my summer hols (or actually have some proper hols for a change).


Moving was both a hit (yay, being home!) and a huge miss - I gave up the Studio. I will miss it until the end of time. The people were great, lots and lots of talent floating about and I really blossomed working there with everyone's support. I cried when I left. I am an old soppy really.

The GBSB3 Silk Tee top an almost but not quite. I need a bigger FBA but what's new?

Another miss was my machine giving up on sewing buttonholes. All my others are vintage and don't do much bar a straight stitch or a zig-zag, although they do this beautifully. I have a pile of things that need finished. Going to have to bite the bullet and get a new machine in 2016. I did buy a vintage Singer buttonhole attachment but have been too scared to try it. Have any of you used one before? Is it easy?


Actually getting some sewing done was a huge highlight. Plus, my work colleagues, my studio colleagues and blogging. Being able to interact with fellow sewing/vintage lovers is great. It can be pretty lonely as the only seamstress in the village. 


Loving the lights on the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow City Centre

Do you know that writing this blog has really helped me make the decision to move back to Scotland. Having no time to sew was also a big "con" for me and the realisation that I was too tired at the weekend to be much use to Sprogzilla.

An oldie from NFW back when I had the time to draft my own patterns AND sew. Really hoping to be able to get my creative mojo workin'  again this year. This is one of my faves.

I have had plenty time to think about sewing though and I have realised that instead of making stuff from patterns that I am happiest creating my own. I love just pootering about doing random things with fabric. I am going to try to do this more and see where inspiration takes me.


Goals in my book are good to have but have been, for 2015 anyway, mostly unobtainable. Just to recap my goals for the last year were:

  • Sew with knits.
  • Teach a corsetry workshop.
  • Have one day a week sewing time.
  • Sew a few things from my vintage pattern stash.

To be fair I did achieve about 2.5/4. Pretty good going I think but it's impressing no one.  I didn't get round to teaching the workshop so maybe I should do some tutorial posts instead? Do you think that anyone would be interested? I might just do them anyway, rebel that I am. It has been a while and will be a good refresher as I am well out of practise.

Another self-drafted oldie. It's squint on the mannequin who is called Kylie as she was bought from the Kylie exhibition when it closed at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery (which was great BTW).

So  for whats it's worth my 2016 goals are:

  • Spend more time with Sprogzilla. She has discovered the joys of Cosplay so there will be sewing for me us. We have conventions/costumes planned already (apparently). There could be armour. 
  • Blog more, it's fun.
  • Sew a work wardrobe - this will include scary trousers.
  • Kick over the traces and sew what is in my head. Life is too short to be boring (except when you need to be - see above).
  • Sew more knits. I will conquer the perfect knit pencil skirt pattern.
  • Tackle tailoring - I would love a new coat. 
  • No stress, no deadlines, no commitments - sewing should be fun.
  • Tackle my garden.
  • Decorate the whole house, including new curtains which I will sew.
  • Do some non-work related travelling.

Anyway, cheers for reading this far. Huge thanks to everyone that has read or commented on the blog this year. I really appreciate it and hope that you will stick with my ramblings in 2016.

Here's wishing ye aw' the best an' lang may yer lum reek!

Kelly Xx

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Up-Cycled Cushions, Cat Photobombs and an Overload of Cheese

Hello! I haven't been doing any sewing this week but I have got some unblogged things I have found to show you, starting off today with three cushions. Very boring I know but one is made from a vintage curtain that I bought for 50p in a junk shop in Newcastle. 

It was only a single one, was really dirty and smelt strongly of smoke. Such a terrible smell. Mum's house was very badly damage in a fire about 20 years ago and the memories invoked by that smell are horrible, plus it is so hard to get out of textiles. As it was a whole 50p I took a punt and after a good soak, followed by a good old-fashioned hand scrubbing and an air on the line, it came up like new.

I think that this fabric is from the 1960's. There is nothing on the selvedge to say where it is from or the date but the style is pretty typical. The single curtain was made from 2 widths of this fabric. It is not very wide or long, I maybe have a couple of metres of it in total. It is backed with a remnant from John Lewis. Always have a good rummage in the curtain department when I am passing. They sometimes have small bits perfect for backing cushions. This one is a fine hopsack in a sort of brick red colour. It's not a perfect match but the best I had at the time.

I also bought the fabric for my next cushion back from John Lewis but I bought it off the roll and at full price too. I don't know what came over me. It is a nice, deep chocolate brown hopsack in an upholstery weight.  

The front of this cushion was salvaged from a sample book of home dec fabrics that I was gifted from a friend of a friend's interior design shop in Newcastle. They gave me so many books, most of which had been stored in a lock-up, some for years, and were a bit damp and slightly musty. Getting all the fabric into useable condition was a lot of hard work. The covers of the books were removed and the paper labels torn off the fabric pieces. These were then soaked to get the stuck on paper bits off, scrubbed & rinsed by hand in super-hot water to freshen them up, followed finally by a wash in the machine. It worked well, although some of the pieces shrank a bit. Better than going in the bin though. I have those bags that I found when I was moving still to do. It is a hard, manky job but I hate the thought of all fabric going to waste *cough, fabric hoarder, cough, cough*, especially posh fabric.

This fabric is Designers Guild cut velvet. I love the design, it is a bit dark and gothic but the pattern is highlighted with gilt and gold paint offset from the velvet. I only had a piece the size of the cushion front.

The final backing fabric was squeezed out of some black cotton velvet remnants that I had from making a skirt. They had been lurking for about 10 years and were just enough to make this small cushion. The front is a small piece of Nina Campbell fabric. 

I think that this looks quite cute. Talking of cute our rescued kitty, Mittens decided to photobomb my pics this morning. I think she was thinking her owners were mad for using the rug as a seamless backdrop. See I have been paying attention to my "Better Pictures Project" homework. I tried to use natural light for these pics but it is quite harsh and washed out a lot of the colour. I played about with the saturation on Photoshop to try and get the colours as close as possible to reality.

Mittens gets into everything but absolutely hates posing for the camera (phone).

In other news I was in the office for my last official day this week, still got 2 weeks to do at home and a shedload of stuff to finish. While I was down I went to "The House of the Trembling Madness", which is a mediaeval pub above a very good beer shop in the city centre. It is so cute and really tiny. I had the most amazing cheeseboard, so many different kinds. They also have lots of craft beers and very quirky decor. I heartily recommend a visit if you find yourself in the area. They seem to be very fond of taxidermy. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Wall of Death".

Anyway, enough of the cheese *aha*, just look at that wee face. No wonder he looks worried!

Hope that you are all having a great week. 
Have you been sewing? Or just avoiding the wet/sun? Been out anywhere noteworthy?
I have found some stuff I made Sprogzilla when she was wee so will post that soon.
Take care.
K xx

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Between a Rock and a Dear, Green Place!

I have been MIA for a while now as you all know I was moving house. However, it has ended up not in the direction that was planned! I had to make the very tough decision that Birmingham was just too far/way too expensive to commute home to Scotland every week. So rather than see Sprogzilla grow up over Skype I packed up the Studio and bits and bobs and headed back to my house in Glasgow. I moved at the weekend and  am now buried under a sea of bags and boxes and have no idea where anything is. Normally things are a bit more organised than this but moving was very last minute and rushed. Plus, I had pretty much a whole van full of fabric and machines and sewing stuff.  How is that even possible? I did find a couple of big black bags full of posh home dec fabric samples I didn't know I had so it was not all bad. My sewing room to be is about 1/6th the size of the Studio, eek!

Black bag, anyone?

To be really honest, the last couple of years of commuting have been corroding my soul. I was leaving the house just after 6am and not getting back until 9-10pm each night, if the trains were running on time *hahaha*. Although this move was a bit painful I am really looking forward to getting my life back, spending quality time with Sprogzilla and getting back on track with my sewing. I have only had at most one afternoon a week spare if I was lucky (and not travelling further afield).

What my sewing room currently looks like. Floor to ceiling, wall to wall.  The hall, dining room and downstairs bathroom are also full of my sewing stuff. It's rammed in there. Did I mention the garage? Oops!

It's great be back in my own house on a permanent basis and I am planning a raft of redecoration and changes so in warning there might be some home-dec projects on the go. I know that some people hate them, hence the warning, but I love making things for the house and up-cycling crap furniture. Every room is needing completely redone so watch this space. I have been stockpiling kitsch junk for the last 4 years (who am I kidding, forever).  :)

I will be back sewing as soon as I can excavate a machine!

Hoping that you are all surviving the wet, wintry weather (or the baking Summer heat0!

Later Lovelies,