Coffee and Thread Tour 2017: When everything works out perfectly

Monday, 10 April 2017

Sometimes everything comes together.
Not often. But sometimes.
Usually when I have a vision,  it fails to become reality.... But this little project delivered the vision.

A girl in a floral dress, in the spring sunshine - on a Sunday afternoon.

But let's go back to the beginning. This is the Ania tunic, sewn dress length, for the Coffee and Thread pattern tour 2017. I don't blog very often - and when I do I need a good reason. I like being part of something special, like the Coffee and Thread Tour. Olga, who designs Coffee and Thread patterns, is the most beautiful sewist, and photographer, and I love to join in anything she's involved with.

It's the 'thinking' that takes me the longest with any sewing project. Trying to choose fabric, takes me days....
A couple of weeks ago I visited my parents in Scotland. And my mother, very sheepishly, showed me her fabric stash, hidden in a drawer.
I know all families have secrets! But my mother's are particularly awesome. She has a drawer full of unsewn Liberty, and a few other vintage lawns. (That didn't stop us potentially shopping for more together! Here she is eyeing up some more Liberty, at discount pricesat Edinburgh's Remnant Kings).

But we resisted buying more! We vowed: "Unsewn fabric Must Be Sewn First!"
So, in the interest of thrift, I persuaded her to let me 'borrow' this blue floral lawn. 
It's not Liberty, but has the silky feel of high quality lawn.
I remember my mum buying metres of this, an end of roll bargain, from the same shop, nearly 30 years ago. I sewed a blouse from this when I was about 16. So I have a kind of nostalgic fondness for it - and I knew it would make a lovely Ania.
And didn't it?!

It's an easy pattern, with simple nostalgic lines. My only modifications were to add piping to the yoke, and I hemmed the sleeves and the skirt with pink bias binding. You can just see it peeking out of the hem

Missy wore it for a Sunday afternoon stroll. This is the common, miles of open grass land, just five minutes walk from our house. I felt so blessed that afternoon. Missy was happy, loved her dress, picked flowers, played with my friend's beautiful baby - the simple things!

The Ania tunic is just one of Coffee and Thread's lovely patterns, and Olga is offering a 20% discount this week with the code Coffeeandthreadtour
There's also a big Blog Showcase of all her patterns - click around the links below!

April 3

April 4

April 5

April 6

April 7

April 10

April 11

April 12

April 13

April 14

And there's a giveaway! Olga has got tons of fantastic prizes! Too much to list, but let's just say it involves fabric, more fabric, and patterns. Full details are here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make it Mine Waterfall Raglan Tour.... real life, real clothes

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Consider this post a triumph of reality over fantasy.
I'm thrilled to be part of the  'Make it Mine' Waterfall Raglan
tour showcasing Chalk and Notch's amazingly versatile pattern.  But I do feel a bit like Cinderella...

I had visions for this top, all kinds of ideas. In fact I signed up for the tour, for two reasons. Firstly because I  spotted the most beautiful red marle sweatshirting in my local shop and a Waterfall Raglan in my mind was born... And secondly I  want to try to kick start this blog a bit, and focus on clothes that I know I will wear, such as the Waterfall Raglan. 

But 'Life' conspired against my vision. The gorgeous red marle was gone when I went back to the shop. And my job got stressful, with lots of meetings in our head office in the big town near our home. I had no time. Only just enough to run out on my 'lunch break' in the big town to the one other fabric store and buy this pink jersey. In two seconds... no choice. no messing... This is my life.

I wanted to sew a waterfall raglan dress for my daughter. It's a cute wearable dress, but also she livens up a blogpost. And I feel less self-conscious posing as a two-some. 
It's a quick sew - but even so I only finished her dress on the Sunday morning before this,  our one 'daylight' window for pix together. (Don't look closely - it's not hemmed.. shhh) .

We took a Sunday afternoon stroll up the valley near us to the beautiful valley immortalised by English writer Laurie Lee, in Cider with Rosie. It's a gorgeous spot, with a cosy pub.... Too cosy in fact, because I had to drag Mr As it Seams out of it into the cold and fading light and beg him to take some pix. Missy of course refused to take her cardigan off. Pick your battles right? But I do kind of like the cardigan over raglan look. It's a bit bo-ho right?

So this is us, in our natural environment. Sunday afternoon. Muddy boots. Trying to squeeze too much into our days, and lives..

And these are the kind of everyday clothes we do it in. Comfortable, easy to sew, and wear. But with a sense of style.  Those raglan sleeves, that frill, it all feels so feminine, pretty and easy to throw on. 

I'm a novice when it comes to sewing knits. But I'm slowly getting there. And I think this is one pattern I'm going to return to. 

Check out all of these wonderful creations today - real women in real clothes, real life.

There are more tomorrow, with 'Date Night' looks and then some great 'hacks' on Friday
And Gabriela has put together a great prize  with two Giveaways happening during the tour.

You can enter to WIN this great prize, including these 5 pdf patterns valued at over $55.  A huge thank you to Adrianna, Sarah, Lauren, Delia, & Papercut Patterns!

"a Rafflecopter giveaway

Clothes that create smiles: the Groove Dress.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Clothes make me happy. Sewing makes me more happy. And I love it when that happiness is spread around.
When my Missy skips down the street, I see her make strangers smile.
I think it's her joy at being six years old, which is unbearably precious, and quite rare, which is quite simply infectious.
Certainly she makes me smile all the time (and drives me a bit crazy too).

And I like to think that it's the clothes that spread smiles too.
I mean, who could not help but smile at this overdose of pandas? 
Especially when these pandas are swinging around on an A-line dress with a super-duper amount of swing to it. 

These gorgeous pandas were a gift by fabric company Poppy to all the participants in the London Sew Social, back in the spring. (Yes, I know, I take forever to sew and blog). The delay was partly because I was a teeny bit scared. I'm a novice with knit fabrics. I don't have an overlocker/serger (yet) and fumble around with my very simple machine. 
But because I joined the 'groovement' and sewed an ever-so-simple Groove dress, by Made it Patterns, even a knit-wit-novice like me could create something super cute and wearable.

Don't look too carefully, you'll see that hem rippling. 

The groove dress is an A line swing dress, but I didn't have quite enough fabric to get a full groove on. I had to tone down the angles of the dress, so this has less fullness than a proper Groove Dress. It's a panda 'groovette'.
I think, though, because this fabric has a substantial weight to it, the loss of fullness doesn't impact too much. 

Isn't this hat also adorable? It was a gift from a friend and is an original vintage velvet beret, I'm guessing from the 1950s. 
It's just gorgeous, and red and mustard! I would never have thought it, but when Missy ran off after barely two seconds posing for photos, we headed into town for Saturday shopping. She skipped along the pavement in her red beret, mustard pandas and I swear I could see random strangers smiling... 

2017: Into the Light...(or; how sewing saves me..)

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Leaving the path of 2016, I'm hoping that it's going to be a path into the light.

2016 has been a year of turbulence. The delicate ship of our little family was rocked by waves and we've struggled to find our even keel for most of this year.

In the spring Mr As it Seams lost his job, having worked in the same place for 20 years. It had a profound affect on his sense of identity, our security, our vision of the future. The ripples of stress and anxiety have affected me, the children, everything really. I've had to work more, and reassess everything.

We've had to build something new. And as well as our little family drama, there have been so many other ripples of trauma. My wider family has also coped with personal trauma. And we've had Brexit, Donald Trump, a global future that seems unrecognisable, and daunting.

In the midst of this all, I've wanted to sew more than ever. A few weeks ago I read Marie Fleurine's post How sewing Saves me. Her openness about why she sews, in the face of her own difficult year and hard path ahead, really resonated with me.

Marie Fleurine's blog is so beautiful, her creations always gorgeous, and I love the glimpses of beautiful Norway in her photography. Yet her post was a reminder that beneath the beautiful photography, fabric and clothes, we're all carrying our own story. 

I've learnt that so much this year. That people who smile in the street, who say hello in a shop, may all be living with their own personal struggle, and anxiety. We keep going, we look for human connections and reach out and that's what helps us to get through the day and the next day.

I've tried to be kind this year, to allow everyone I meet a little bit of gentleness. Because this world is cruel and hard enough, so let's try to soften the edges.

And in the midst of this sewing, has been a little lifeline. When I sew, my mind is absorbed completely. I create something that began as a vision in my head. I see my little girl wearing a new dress, knowing that no factory in India was involved. My online sewing friends share my sense of achievement, encourage me a long, and share the joy of beautiful fabric. And that is how sewing saves me...

Now a word about these pictures. This is our much needed holiday in the south of France, visiting the river gorge at Minerve on a baking hot day. The river has carved out a tunnel beneath the village, with welcome cool air. The children, like every visitor there, paused in the tunnel to build rock towers and create their own sculpture.

Missy wore an Experimental Summer Sewing Dress... A beautiful piece of voile that I hacked into a dress in less than a hour, on the night before we left for our holiday. It's a simple rectangle, shirred at the top, with an attempt at flutter sleeves.

Perfect for exploring caves, mediaeval paths and more.

It was a beautiful day. A bit of building, and a tunnel  into the light. And that's where we're aiming for in 2017.
Happy New Year to all As it Seams readers... looking forward to sharing, sewing, creating in the year ahead 

Sewing for Sara's Baby... a little gift for a new baby

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

There aren't many people for whom I will cut up the last remnant of my precious Nani Iro fabric.
But Sara, of Made by Sara is one of them.
Or rather, for Sara's beautiful baby boy.

Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel, ocean, vest

He's baby number four in Sara's lovely little family in Portugal. Isn't that so special? 
My little family is just a dinky twosome of children - so four children seems so amazing, and so much fun.

Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel, ocean, vest

Sara is just the sweetest person, as well as a lovely seamstress. And she's always brimming with good ideas, like the Alice in Wonderland and Japanese Sewing Series which she organised and hosted.

So it was hardly surprising that a gang of us all took to our sewing machines to sew for Sara and her new little boy.

Now I've forgotten a lot of what it's like to have a new baby. How small are they? What do you need? It's all a blur...
Which might be why I've sewn something that Sara will have to put away for a little while.
This pattern is the vest from Little Kiwis Closet, sewn in size 12 months, the smallest available.

My scraps of special fabric are precious, but I know they'll go to a good home with Sara in Portugal.

This vest is sewn from Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel, the softest loveliest fabric, and a remnant of Nani Iro double gauze. Both are the kind of fabric that make me want to stroke them lovingly like the fluffy hair of a newborn baby.

The vest is completely reversible. Yes, I know the Nani Iro is a little girly/pretty, but Sara's boy can carry that off I'm sure.

I added piping, well because piping is always good, but this did mean I needed to think about the construction carefully, because I had to sew the side seams first so that I could keep that continuous piping line around the whole edge. In the end I had to handstitch the armholes.

There's something very special about sending something in real life to a blogging friend. I love to think that Sara's little boy, and Sara will be holding this in their hands very soon.

I always get soooo excited about new babies. Perhaps it's because I know that I'm not going to have any more. Every day with my children is still filled with the joy of discovery and I think as your children get older you know even more, just how much they bring to our lives, how big and long and exciting the journey is. I look at teeny babies now and think, "wow, there is sooooo much to come....How completely thrilling."

Now there's going to be a lot of lovely baby Sewing for Sara. Be warned, taking a look around this lovely group of bloggers will make you broody!

Japanese pattern tour - the London Sew Social team showcase Tuttle

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Ah, Japanese sewing books - they've been a recent, and happy, discovery on my sewing journey. 

So I was thrilled when Tuttle, who publish translations of some of the loveliest Japanese pattern books, agreed to sponsor the London Sew Social gathering this year. 
We all generously received a pattern book, and this week, the London Sew Socialists are sharing creations from Tuttle's books, showcasing some of our favourite Tuttle patterns. Today I'm joined by the lovely Marta of Do Guincho, who's been sharing some wonderful creations from Stylish Party Dresses, with a stunning blouse on her blog today. And there are more  posts across our European group. See below....

This little dress pattern is rapidly climbing up my 'top pattern' list.

It's the square necked dress from the essential Tuttle children's book, Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids.

Before our holiday to France I embarked on a sewing frenzy and this was one of those creations.

It's a dress I created in an evening, from heavenly seersucker from Miss Matatabi, which was a gift from the lovely Sara of Made by Sara.

This fabric is so simple, yet so perfect. It's crisp and cool and almost silky-fine cotton weave. I kept everything simple - dressing it up only with two teal blue buttons.

I love stripes - playing with stripes, and this cool seersucker and fresh orange stripes is just perfect for river paddling, or exploring French Mediaeval lanes. Wouldn't you say?

It was a very easy sew, the only little twist I added was I made the button loops out of elastic, so that Missy can pull this over her head herself. 

This is an easy pattern but also versatile - I'm half way through my next square necked dress, cutting out  cotton flannel for a winter weight school dress.

Watch this space.

Thank you Tuttle!

Now my fellow London Sew Socialists are also show-casing Tuttle all this week - take a little tour around, there's some incredible creativity out there. Here's a few links.....

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