Thursday, 13 September 2012

Sewing Space, Now with more drilling

Remember back when I showed you preview photos of my sewing space?  Yeah, me either!

Well, I said that it was in need of a bit more drilling and I'm pleased to say that's been done by the lovely Mr Magpie:

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Ikea?  That's one of their Bygel rails, which was a bargainacious £2, add on some hooks (which were about £1 for 10), a Bygel basket for bits and pieces and a Fintorp pot for pens.

I'm thinking of making an inspiration line from that duck egg cord to peg inspirational images and pieces of fabric from, I'll put it between the rail and the top of my machine.

Everything being put away makes me feel happy and relaxed and ready to work and create.

This might well be my favourite adage - maybe I need to make a hanging embroidery that says that?

Oh, and yay for cutting implements arranged in size order ;)

Monday, 10 September 2012

Pretty Things 5: I Heart Stationery

I've been eyeing this notebook for ages, but have been trying to avoid buying any more notebooks.  But I just couldn't resist any longer and I'm starting another class soon, so I'll use this for class notes (at least that's my excuse!).

Even the back is cute!

It's one of Paperchase's stitched notebooks, so there's some sewn detail on the front and back.

Damn you, Paperchase, tempting me!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

This week, I have been mostly ...


Luckily, I scheduled a few posts to catch you up on things I've made, because I am writing up a storm at the moment.  I going for a marathon finish of my novel-in-progress, planning to write 70,000 words in a month.  That's 17,500 words a week (eep!).  So, if my blogging goes a little quiet over here, I hope you'll understand.

I start my corsetry class on Wednesday, so hopefully I'll have things to post from there while I'm busy writing.

And I have been squee-ing over the pre-ordered awesomeness that arrived in the post on Wednesday:

Damn, Gertie, you don't make it easy on a girl to do anything other than drool over your gorgeous book and want to sew everything in it!

And she's lovely - she even retweeted me calling it sewing porn!

I might need to make myself some embroidered versions of the stunning illustrations by Sun Young Park to go up on the wall.  How inspiring would that be?!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

12 in 2012 - End of Summer Update

After completing a few pieces over the summer, I thought I'd have another update of my 12 in 2012 list.

Priorities and the like have changed, which is no surprise as that's life, right?  The biggest changes in terms of what I have completed come from my oilcloth sewing class, but the great thing is that I've made some really practical pieces that I've got a lot of use from.  I'd been needing the perfect Stationery Bag for ages, but had automatically dismissed the idea of being able to make it myself - far too complicated, right?!  Wrong!  I loved making the bag and am really proud of it, so the lesson from that, I suppose, is that maybe I should think about making the things I need as well as the things I want.

c. 1890 Corset V&A
A new massive factor has also appeared on the horizon in terms of my plans for what I will make over the remainder of this year: I'm taking a Level 2 City and Guilds Certificate in Corsetry, starting next month!  I can't wait to do this course - a friend has just finished it and her sewing skills have come on in absolute leaps and bounds, and she's made some great pieces.  I was considering doing the course, but the clincher for me was meeting the tutor at the fascinator class - I got on really well with her, she's friendly and knowledgeable and - one of the most important things for a teacher, especially in the creative arts - incredibly encouraging.  We chatted and she gave me information about the course and what it involved, and I was sold then and there!  Over the (academic) year, I'll be making an underbust corset and a 'Victorian style' corset (that's the wording on the qualification specifications), and I think I'll also be able to make a bra, as well as lots of samples of various construction and decorative techniques.

So here's the updated list with completed items crossed off and new information added in this mauve colour.

Clothes to Make:

  1. Skirt 1 - I've got about 2 metres of the Shoes! fabric left and would really to make a skirt from it ... I've got a peplum skirt in my head, a la So, Zo.
  2. Skirt 2.
  3. Skirt 3 (high-waisted skirt using Butterick B5466 - started in black silk dupion.)
  4. Blouse 1 (anchors fabric, vintage pattern).
  5. Blouse 2 - still finishing the silk crepe blouse.  This might be a disaster thanks to my dodgy facings.
  6. Cropped jacket (vintage pattern, silver-grey dupion).
  7. Dress 1 (New Look 6000).
  8. Dress 2 - Retro Butterick 5748 in the Shoes! Fabric.  Done!
  9. Underbust corset (this was another dress, but has now been changed as an underbust corset will enable me to wear other dresses I already own!).
  10. Men's waistcoat.
  11. High-waisted trousers.
  12. Coat (McCall's 6442 - the hood, the hood!!).

Not Clothes to Make:
  1. House thing 1 - (changed in light of the sewing class I completed over the summer) Awesome Oilcloth Bag of Stationery and Sewing Storage Goodness.  Done!
  2. House thing 2 - (changed also because of the class) waterproof picnic blanket.  Done!
  3. House thing 3 - patchwork cushion cover.
  4. Pattern weights.
  5. Apron 1 - for that giveaway I mentioned aaaages ago!  Started.
  6. Wild card - flower fascinator.  Done!
  7. Wild card - oilcloth tote bag.  Done!
  8. Yule present 1 - Kindle cover for lil sis.  Done!
  9. Yule present 2.  I'm making a patchwork quilt for a friend's soon-to-be-born baby ... I'd better get a move on!
  10. Yule present 3.
  11. Yule present 4.
  12. Something pretty!  Laptop cover.  Started.

New Things to Try Making:
  1. Men's clothing.
  2. Trousers.
  3. Piping.  I think I might do this on one of my corsets for my corsetry class!
  4. Actually completing an item from one of my vintage patterns - still working on the disastrous silk crepe blouse.
  5. Actually completing an embroidery item!  Working on laptop cover, which is machine embroidered.
  6. Doing some more advanced fitting/pattern altering techniques as needed (eg, grading up one of my vintage patterns that is quite a bit too small).
  7. Knit a garment (so far I've made a scarf and a snood). - Still working on that jumper!
  8. Outerwear.
  9. Patchwork.
  10. Making a lining.  Retro Butterick 5748 is lined.  Done!
  11. Underlining.  I've changed this because I realised that I've already done underlining (in my 18th century stays!).  So this is now a corsetry-tailored goal, involving something I've previously been a bit scared of: using steel boning!
  12. Hand-picked zip (they look so lovely and seem like a relatively simple technique to use for a bit of couture luxe).  Retro Butterick 5748 also has a hand-picked zip, so this is double-done!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

First Photos - Shoes! Fabric Dress

So I was up until 1:30am the day before, but I managed to finish the Shoes! Dress in time for my friends' wedding!

Some photos are up on Facebook and I took one on my phone, but I don't have many photos through yet.  I can't wait for more photos, so here are some photos of me in the dress and fascinator.

As usual, I made things harder for myself because I decided it was a good idea to put a shirring panel beneath each arm, move the zip to the back and insert a waist stay.  Why follow pattern instructions, when you can make it up as you go, right?!  Errr, yeah ... maybe not the best idea.  The bodice doesn't fit as well as it did on the toile because of the changes, so I chucked on a belt and I love the fabric so much, I kinda don't care!

Look at me not caring:

I've decided that all weddings should have oversized swings - they're way too much fun!

If I made this again, I'd flatline instead of bag lining the bodice because that would have allowed me to adjust the fit more easily.  I might rip out the bodice lining and instead finish the neck and armholes with bias tape.  But that's for another day - for now, I like this dress a lot!

In fact, I probably will use this pattern again, after faffing about with indecision about it (thank you so much everyone who commented on that post of fabric fear - it really helped me have the confidence to actually do this!) - the bodice fits perfectly (if I don't faff).  I particularly love that the back sits just above the back of my bra.  I can't go bra-less, so low-backed dresses are usually a no-no for me, but not this one!  Isn't that one of the joys of making your own clothes?

Even better, I have about 2 metres left of this fabric, so I think I'm going to make a skirt with the remainder.  Yay for more Shoes! fabric fun!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Stationery/Sewing Bag of Love

So I'm a teacher, as you might already know.  I have to lug lots of stuff around different classrooms - my pens, pens for students to use, scissors, board markers, board eraser, diary, glue, rulers, photocopied handouts, books, blank paper ... and so on.  My colleagues often use toolboxes for all this equipment; I've been using a tote bag, where everything floats around in the bottom so I can't find it!

For ages I've been on the lookout for a bag with different sections, with no luck, so for my final project on the oilcloth course, I decided I'd make one ...

I've mentioned Norfolk Textiles before and as I was pouring through their many pages of oilcloth, struggle to make a decision, I spotted this toile de jouy and instantly knew it would be an 18th century inspired, grey on grey fabric combination.  I played with the directions of the stripes, pieced the bottom of the bag (very 18th c!) and, as patchworkers would say, 'fussy cut' the side pockets to have the main toile motifs at the centre.

I also wanted a pop of colour to avoid getting stuck in 'Greysville', so I went for the dusky rose polka dot lining (yes, another colourway of the tote bag fabric), which I tied in with a grey inside pocket:

I was really lucky to find matching grey grossgrain ribbon to reinforce the top of the bag and side pockets at the local market.  This stuff looks gorgeous in real life - it has a lovely silvery sheen.  (Plus, it helped avoid the oilcloth sticking too much!  Though the stripe and toile are matt oilcloth, so that is less sticky.)

I also made sure it was big enough to fit A4 folders in the main body, as I have those for each of my classes.  (Unfortunately, the bag doesn't photograph so well as a whole - it's a bit floppy!)

The end pockets aren't quite so pretty, but I only had half a metre of the toile fabric.

I'm really pleased with how this came out - it's really pretty and everyone who's seen it has loved it and asked where I bought it!  Even better, it's practical and fits all my stationery bits inside, yay!

Usually there's something about one of my makes that I'm not 100% in love with, but I think this is probably my most successful make so far - love it!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Oilcloth Tote Detail

Here's the promised detail shot from my oilcloth tote bag (and, as promised, without any shots of the horrible top-stitching!):

This was fun and simple to do; I particularly liked following the leaf motif around the edge of the large applique.

You see, oilcloth is evil to topstitch on, but free machine embroidery avoids all those problems ... and it's not so bad to sew normal seams on (though the fabric does stick to itself when right sides together, so it can be a pain to align your fabric pieces).

Oilcloth is fun and cute, just beware that you'll want to curse it if you have to topstitch the stuff!  I didn't get round to trying stitching with tissue paper, which is another tip for sewing with the stuff.

Have you tried out oilcloth before?  Any tips on sewing with it?  Any fabrics you love, but are a pain in the arse to sew with?

Monday, 27 August 2012

Busy with Oilcloth

Hello, hello!  Yes, I have been quite neglectful of my blog recently - the truth is, I've been busy doing, rather than blogging about it.  I don't want to apologise, because I consider that to be A Good Thing!

Plenty of photos to come soon, but for now, here's a quick phone photo of a tote bag I made during a 10 week class at the Textile Workshop - Vintage Inspired Summer Sewing with the lovely Natalie Smith.  It was all about sewing with oil cloth.

You can get some fabulous oil cloth fabrics around, but one of the main things I learnt was that with oil cloth, you do get what you pay for.  Very cheap oilcloths tend to be a flimsy plastic with a non-woven backing, whereas the slightly more expensive ones (around £12/m) will be cotton fabric with a PVC or similar coating.    I got mine at Norfolk Textiles and particularly loved the matt finish oilcloths.

The other main thing I learnt was that oil cloth is a *£&%$&^ to top stitch.  Really.  Even with a teflon foot, it sticks to your machine and itself in an attempt to stop you ever getting any sort of stitch regularity.  So, no close up shots of the straps or top of the bag, hahaha!  I am, however, quite pleased with my free-machined applique, so there will be close-up shots of that, soon, as well as the other bits and pieces I made.

Oh, and the shingle beach ... The other thing I've been doing is spending a week away in Portsmouth with Mr Magpie!  It was such a lovely, chilled out week - I didn't want to come home!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Finished Object: Fascinator

I have been busy a-making, though I've not had much time for blogging about it.

Yesterday, I spent a lovely day at a class run by the Living Threads Group, taught by the fabulous Hannah Wroe of Hannah and Bella fame (who blogs here and is soon to have a new website, which looks like it's going to be rather lush!  [I am very much drooling over the collection of books on that entry page.]).  She showed us some excellent techniques for making wired fascinator bases and flowers from cotton organdy/organdie (whichever takes your fancy!).*

I made the base and most of my petals in the day-long class ... I probably would have finished ALL the petals, but I was having too much fun chatting with the fabulous ladies there (oops!)!!  I finished the petals at home in the evening and made a bow while watching box sets in bed, then today I sewed them to the base and attached the clip and set to modelling the fascinator!

* By the way, I've now decided that making fascinators should be referred to as 'fascinating' - how brilliant would it be to have this conversation:

Friend:   What are you up to tomorrow?
Stitcher: I'm fascinating, daaaarrling!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Fabric of Win

I got this fabric about a month ago.  I saw it in the local market and my mum bought me a couple of metres of it as I loved it so much - I wanted to make a circle skirt with it ... Then I had to go back a couple of days later and buy some more, I love the fabric so much, it needs to be a dress.

But the question is, which dress?  It's actually an impossible decision!

As soon as I saw this fabric, it said to me 'big skirt', so I think I need to obey that.  And it's such an awesome fabric with a lot going on that it needs a simple pattern.

At the moment, Retro Butterick 5748 is winning, but I just can't commit until I'm sure this is the perfect pattern for this amazing fabric.

Am I the only one who sometimes gets frozen by this kind of perfectionism?  
Do you cling on to a fabric because it's just so awesome that you feel that you need to save it for the perfect pattern?  Or when your sewing skills are 'good enough' to do the fabric justice?
Do you get a bit scared of those sacred fabrics?
If you have any ideas for a pretty pattern for this one, please do let me know!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

12 in 2012 - How did we get to half way already!?

So yeah, it's June.  How did that happen?!

Some of you may remember that waaaaay back in January (which, to be honest, seems like 2 weeks ago to me, but apparently it's a bit longer than that) that I joined in and wrote my own lists for Suzie's 12 in 2012.

Well, Suzie's just reminded me that we're now half way through the year (!!!) by posting a great refection upon her progress so far.  Quite sensibly, she's also revised her lists to add in her wild cards and adjust according to what she's completed (lots - go Suzie!) and what she wants to do.

Oh dear.  I suppose I should do the same ... though it's a far less successful story, alas!

Here's the situation so far:

Clothes to Make:
  1. Skirt 1 (Simplicity 2413, paper bag waist).
  2. Skirt 2 (slim skirt from a vintage pattern with inverted pleat at back).
  3. Skirt 3 (high-waisted skirt from Simplicity 2654)
  4. Blouse 1 (anchors fabric, vintage pattern).
  5. Blouse 2.
  6. Cropped jacket (vintage pattern, silver-grey dupion).
  7. Dress 1 (New Look 6000).
  8. Dress 2 (Macaron).
  9. Dress 3.
  10. Men's waistcoat.
  11. High-waisted trousers.
  12. Coat (McCall's 6442 - the hood, the hood!!).
Not Clothes to Make:
  1. House thing 1 - throw (possibly involving patchwork?).
  2. House thing 2 - doorstop(s)?
  3. House thing 3.  - Patch! cushion cover.
  4. Pattern weights.
  5. Apron 1 - for that giveaway I mentioned aaaages ago!
  6. Apron 2 - giveaway!
  7. Apron 3 - giveaway!
  8. Yule present 1.  (Well, my little sister's Birthday present *cough*fromlastyear*cough*) - A Kindle cover.
  9. Yule present 2.
  10. Yule present 3.
  11. Yule present 4.
  12. Something pretty!

New Things to Try Making:
  1. Men's clothing.
  2. Trousers.
  3. Piping.
  4. Actually completing an item from one of my vintage patterns!
  5. Actually completing an embroidery item!
  6. Doing some more advanced fitting/pattern altering techniques as needed (eg, grading up one of my vintage patterns that is quite a bit too small).
  7. Knit a garment (so far I've made a scarf and a snood).
  8. Outerwear.
  9. Patchwork. - Yay, hand-sewn patchwork, no less!  Patch!  Cushion cover.
  10. Making a lining.
  11. Underlining.
  12. Hand-picked zip (they look so lovely and seem like a relatively simple technique to use for a bit of couture luxe). - I have, in fact, done one of these now (now my favourite method of zip insertion - it makes sewing a zip actually enjoyable!), I just haven't blogged about the project yet.  It's a skirt from Butterick B5466.  The skirt isn't finished, but the zip is in!
Yep, I haven't finished any of the clothes on my list.  I feel bad about that, but it's not necessarily surprising, considering my fluctuating weight situation.  So I need to try not to beat myself up over this one.  Try.

Looking back at this list, I have noticed some things do need editing, slightly, though - my needs have changed over the past six months, so my list needs to change slightly, too (changes in lilac):

Clothes to Make:
  1. Skirt 1 (Simplicity 2413, paper bag waist - hmm, I've kind of gone off this pattern, so this is a wildcard skirt.).
  2. Skirt 2 (slim skirt from a vintage pattern with inverted pleat at back - actually, this is a lot like Butterick B5466 (see below), so I'm going to change this one to a wildcard skirt).
  3. Skirt 3 (high-waisted skirt from Simplicity 2654 - actually, I've started Butterick B5466, which is quite similar, but I preferred the idea of having a waistband)
  4. Blouse 1 (anchors fabric, vintage pattern).
  5. Blouse 2 - currently finishing the silk crepe blouse - fabric and pattern to the right, just need to do the button holes and hem.
  6. Cropped jacket (vintage pattern, silver-grey dupion).
  7. Dress 1 (New Look 6000).
  8. Dress 2 (Macaron - actually, much as I love this pattern, with the waist band it's not as easily adjustable as others, so it will have to wait; instead step up Retro Butterick 5748.  I already have an amaaaaaaaazing fabric for this, which I have photos ready to post very soon.  So excited for this one!).
  9. Dress 3 (after the lovely weather we had a couple of weeks ago, I'm thinking the very summery Vogue 8184 ... that's if the weather remembers that it's June!)
  10. Men's waistcoat.
  11. High-waisted trousers.
  12. Coat (McCall's 6442 - the hood, the hood!!).
Not Clothes to Make:
  1. House thing 1 - throw (possibly involving patchwork?).
  2. House thing 2 - doorstop(s)?
  3. House thing 3. 
  4. Pattern weights.
  5. Apron 1 - for that giveaway I mentioned aaaages ago!
  6. Apron 2 - giveaway!  I've realised it's probably not the best idea for me to make three of the same thing, that's just going to add to the time it takes me to do a giveaway and it's taken long enough already!  So this is a wild card.
  7. Apron 3 - giveaway!  Also a wild card.
  8. Yule present 1. 
  9. Yule present 2.
  10. Yule present 3.
  11. Yule present 4.
  12. Something pretty!

New Things to Try Making:
  1. Men's clothing.
  2. Trousers.
  3. Piping.
  4. Actually completing an item from one of my vintage patterns! - Nearly there, currently finishing the silk crepe blouse (see above).
  5. Actually completing an embroidery item! - I didn't specify at the time whether this included machine embroidery did I?  Hmm ... Let's say it does, OK?  ;P
  6. Doing some more advanced fitting/pattern altering techniques as needed (eg, grading up one of my vintage patterns that is quite a bit too small).
  7. Knit a garment (so far I've made a scarf and a snood). - I have started a jumper!  Well, I've cast it on ... not gone much further than that, though, to be honest!
  8. Outerwear.
  9. Patchwork.
  10. Making a lining. - This is in progress - I'm making a lining for my version of Butterick B5466 in an attempt to avoid the dreaded skirt-riding-up-on-tights curse!
  11. Underlining.
  12. Hand-picked zip (they look so lovely and seem like a relatively simple technique to use for a bit of couture luxe).

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

And the winners are ...

I'm so excited to announce the winners of these lovely patterns!  A big thank you to everyone who entered!


Without further ado, here are the random number generator results from

Comment number 6 came from the lovely Isis, of Isis' Wardrobe  (yummy 18th century costuming!), Madam Isis' Toilette (fascinating experiments in 18th century cosmetics) aaaand Fashionable Forties (1940s stitchery and style.  Phew, what a busy lady!).  Congratulations, Isis!!

And the first comment was from Rowenna, a long time reader and, dare I say, blog-friend, of Hyaline Prosaic (18th century stitchery and reenacting) and Rowenna, Writing (yes, she's a fellow writer and stitcher!).  Congratulations - I hope this will give you something to work on for post-pregnancy!!!  (Yes, dear Rowenna's expecting!)

Since Isis loved the 40s pattern and Rowenna likes both, I'll be sending the 1940s nightwear pattern to Isis and the 1950s nightdress/slip to Rowenna!  Please email me, ladies: quintefoil [AT] hotmail [DOT] co [DOT] uk

Thanks again to all who entered.  And if you didn't win, don't worry, I've got more giveaway plans, so watch this space!


Monday, 4 June 2012

Vintage Underwear Giveaway - extended

There is still time to enter the vintage underwear giveaway!  

I realised that as we're in BST, comments don't always show as the correct time, so it's all a bit confusing to set a specific time that entries have to be in by, soooooo, as long as your comment is in by the end of tomorrow, Tuesday 5th June, when I will do the random number draw, then you'll still be entered.  

So what are are waiting for?  Go and enter!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Sew Direct Jubilee Sale!

(First off, if you haven't yet, enter my vintage underwear/nightwear pattern giveaway!)

I love Sew Direct!  Just had an email about another sale: 60% off all patterns for members and 30% off for non-members from today until 5th June.  (Again, I really don't work for them, but I do think they're awesome!  I am a member, now, because I just think it's that great a deal!)

The only question is what to get?!

Retro Butterick 5748 - vintage, bows ... need I say more?

Vogue 8766 - something about that pretty lace version keeps drawing me to it...
Vintage Vogue 8811 - there's something wonderfully simple and comfortable-looking about this dress.

Vogue 8184 - the photo doesn't look it, but this design really reminds me of vintage sundresses, with that pretty turn at the top of the bodice.  Bonus features - princess seams for a great fit, lining (yay for Vogue patterns) and straps wide enough to hide bra straps!
Decisions, decisions!

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Best Laid Plans ... (Belated) Vintage Lingerie Giveaway!

[EDIT: This giveaway is now closed, but I hope to do more soon!]

I am so sorry!  I had such great intentions to join in the Giveaway Day - all I can say is don't make any sort of blogging or sewing plans during your boyfriend's birthday!  I spent the weekend before his birthday helping him bake cakes to take to work (we made a lot and then I forgot to photograph them to show you all!) and then the day itself was spent running around on various errands and giving gifts and generally entertaining Mr Magpie.

So, my greatest apologies, dear reader.  Without further faff and ado, here is the vintage lingerie/nightwear pattern giveaway:
1940s nightgown and dressing gown (missing the embroidery transfer - boo!)

1950s nightdress, slip and knickers

There are no requirements to blog or tweet about the giveaway (though if you'd like to tell others about it, I wouldn't say no!) or answer a complex question: please simply comment below and, as I'm curious, just tell me something about yourself ... it could be your favourite pattern, what you like about these two patterns or what your first sewn/knitted/crafted item was, anything, I'd love to learn a bit about you! :)

The giveaway will be open for one week, until 12 midnight British Summer Time on Monday 4th June 2012.  I'll pick two winners using a random number generator on Tuesday 5th.  If you mention a preference for one of the patterns in your comment, I'll try to give you your preferred pattern, but if both winners wanted the same design, I'll randomly choose who gets which, if that makes sense (sorry, brain isn't fully engaged to explain clearly in this heat!).

Good luck!

EDIT - I forgot to say - I will post these patterns worldwide!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway day - 21st May

Is it that time of year already?!  Yes, the Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day is nearly upon us and it's with rather serendipitous timing...

The eagle-eyed amongst you might have spotted this pretty in my post about Springpad:

Lovely gathers.  Though, the embroidery transfer is missing.

Yes, it's a new pattern ... But I didn't buy it for myself ...

You see, I was doing my usual "it's payday, let's hit up eBay for vintage patterns" thing when I spotted this beautiful 1946* nightgown pattern going very cheaply.  Normally, whenever I see underwear or nightwear patterns from the 40s and 50 on eBay, they tend to go for £15+.  Soooo... I thought it would make a nice treat for my readers if I did a giveaway, as I'm sure you often have similar problems finding nightwear and underwear patterns that aren't super expensive.  

Plus, I seem to be kind of embarrassingly lucky with giveaways myself (I recently won a £25 Frumble voucher over at the super-kind Handmade Jane's and almost a year ago I won the Dress of Dreams (which still doesn't fit - damn thyroid) over with the lovely Liz of Zilredloh), so it's way past time I gave something back (sorry for being a bit rubbish on that front, I am resolved to do better!).

And then I saw another pattern, similarly reasonable in price:

Blue has taken her knickers off!  How scandalous!!
This one's from 1951 (again, according to the seller) and includes a nightgown, a slip and panties with some really pretty detailing - that bust gathering is lovely and the ruffles on the nightgown are so pretty!

So, I exercised my eBay ninja skills and managed to scoop these two pretties with the intention of doing a double giveaway.  Then I saw the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway day was coming up and, well, it felt like a sign. 

So, ladies and gents, tune in on 21st May (which is also Mr Magpie's birthday!) for a chance to win these patterns.  I'll probably give them away separately so two people will have a chance to win.  And I will be shipping internationally, to spread the love!

Hope you all are well - I'm off to tidy my sewing corner (I should take some photos now it's finished, too!) and *gasp* do some sewing while I pretend I haven't got any marking to do (I do.  Boo!).  


* According to the seller - I'm not that up on dating nightwear patterns that I could say if I knew 100% this was 40s or 50s, though I think it looks more 40s.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Super-Amazing Organisational Tool - The answer to pattern and project management?!

OK, I'll start this off with a disclaimer: I'm excited and therefore this post is likely to contain many exclamation marks.

Remember my Excel spreadsheet of fabric and pattern management? 

Yeah, it isn't exactly sexy, is it?  Well, it's definitely flawed.  I have kept up the system, but its main failings are:
  • I can only view it from my phone if I convert it to PDF, which I therefore have to do each time I update it ... and I'm not saying that I buy a lot of vintage patterns, but it gets updated a lot.
  • It's a spreadsheet.  Spreadsheets are, well, boring.  (Sorry to anyone who finds spreadsheets thrilling ... though you might need specialist help!)
  • The pictures are quite small and there's only really room for one.
  • The inclusion of pictures at all makes for quite a big file.
  • Did I mention that it's a spreadsheet?
The first one is perhaps the most annoying, and so I've been looking for a good organisational system, programme or app that I can use equally well on my laptop and my phone.  My criteria weren't exactly demanding:
  • Combining and organising text and images with notes on patterns.
  • Being able to sort patterns according to how much fabric they require.
  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • Being able to group patterns, pictures of fabric and inspiration images by project.
At least, I didn't think it was too demanding, but everything I've tried just wasn't quite right.  I thought of Pinterest, but that seems more focused on the image side of things ... plus I can see myself getting addicted to it and I need to save my time for actually doing things!

But then my stepmother posted this article about Springpad.  The article explains it better than I can, but, in short, Springpad does all those things ... and more!  You create 'notebooks' for each project, which you can use to organise and collect images, notes, to do lists, calendar reminders, alarms, products (with links to places to buy them), videos, bookmarks, recipes, music and more. 

I've only had a quick play around, but already I'm hooked.  I've started knitting my first jumper/sweater (eek!) and I've collected video tutorials for certain sections, pictures of the finished top, as well as a link to the pattern's Ravelry page.  Instead of bookmarking these things and having to search through folders, I've got all that information in one place.  It's simple, but perfect.

And you can share your notebooks or keep them private.  For instance, say you've got a group project - you can all work on it and receive alerts when someone else updates it.

Or if you've got a grocery list, you can share that with your partner or housemate, you can both update it and when one of you goes to the shop, you've got access to it there on your smartphone.  Or, even more bonkers, you can put recipes in your notebooks and Springpad will create a shopping list for you!

I'm still experimenting at the moment with the best way to arrange it all, but I can see myself having notebooks for each of my projects with mood board images, pattern details and pictures, as well as pictures of the fabric and links to tutorials for features I want to try out (like bound buttonholes).  I'll also be looking at how to record all my patterns, but the great thing is that I can tag them with the yardage, so they can be sorted by amount of fabric required.

Is it sad that I'm super excited about this?  Yeah, I thought so.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Patchwork & Quilting Supplies

I picked up some sewing goodies online last week:

Normally I wouldn't post about such an uninspiring combination, but I need to say two things about these products:

  • Basting pins (that's bent safety pins to you and me) are amazing.  I only used them on the little bit of quilting for my sister's Kindle cover, but they made pinning so much easier.  Really.  Love them.  Totally necessary.
  • Those needles.  They are sharp little buggers!  Much to my shame, this is the first time I've ever bought decent hand-sewing needles, and I can see that they're a different beast entirely to the cheap-o ones I usually use.  I just lightly dinked my finger on the point while sewing and it bloody hurt.  They're so thin and sharp, they sew like a dream.
That is the end of this public sewing announcement.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

New Sewing Space Preview

It's nearly there, just a bit of drilling needed, which I clearly need to nag my gentleman into doing for me, but here's a little preview of my new sewing area:

I know it's probably really sad, but I was really excited when I found that my sewing machine fit perfectly next to my Ikea Moppe drawers.  Simple things please simple minds, eh?

But my favourite thing is how bright it is!  I have natural daylight!  If you remember my previous sewing cupboard, then I hope you'll appreciate how radical a change that is.

My space is in a corner of the open plan living area, behind one of our sofas.  This is a huge room, which was one of the main draws of this apartment, so I'm really lucky to have a generous corner of this bright, airy space.

I'm quite happy that I've managed to arrange all my sewing and writing things quite logically, with (one of my favourite sayings) a place for everything and everything in its place.  (People will be sick of me saying this very soon!)

The organisational bit is done, but the prettification is still in the pipeline.  I need to hit the DIY shop and get spray paint for some containers and I've got my eyes open for some pretty turquoise and warm pink wrapping paper to cover some storage boxes.

More pictures when there's more progress!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Finished: Kindle Home

I'm a very bad big sister - my lack of sewing has extended to my little sister's birthday present, which was *grumblegrumblegrumble* months ago.  But over the Easter holidays, I was very productive and made her this sugary-sweet little Kindle pouch from pattern drafting to completion in under 4 hours:

Doesn't it make your teeth ache?

I had a chance to use my darning foot and try out free machine quilting for the first time.

It's kinda addictive!  So my hearts don't look perfect and the whole thing looks a little 'home-made', but I love this fabric (strawberries!!) and I enjoyed making it ...

Plus, I made up the pattern and construction as I went (eek!) when I decided I didn't like the pattern I had found online.  It's quilting cotton with needlepunch cotton batting, lined with some corduroy, which I interfaced with the fusible stuff, just to help the structure along.

Testing for size with my Kindle.  I had to wrestle it out - it felt too at home to leave!
I was so pleased to be able to use this ribbon - I bought it aaaaages ago from Crafty Ribbons (don't go there if you don't want to be tempted to buy ridiculous amounts of ribbon!) and have been waiting for a special project.  Little sis is definitely special enough.  I just hope she likes it - I'm writing this post on Friday night (I'm such a party animal!) and giving it to her tomorrow!!