Norfolk Makers Festival - Norwich Sewcials ReLaunch

I've been super quiet on the blog for a while but mega-busy in real life - for good reason!

Norfolk Makers Festival is currently taking place at The Forum and this year it has been incredible. Crafters of all kinds come together to host workshops, demos and show off their skills to the public, in an attempt to encourage others to pick up a hobby and try something new.

Photo from The Forum

As part of the festivities myself and The Fabric Wrangler were invited as Norwich Sewcials to host some workshops, and amazingly, they even gave us the atrium of the building at night for a little party!

We got backstage passes to the library (woop rock and roll) and were given a huge room to do zip classes and body measurement workshops. Obviously I am not qualified to teach this - that was Pippa!

Red leopard print trousers are Closet Case Patterns Sasha Trousers!
Anyhew - the main event was the mini re-launch of our sewing group Norwich Sewcials. Over the last few years we've poured a lot of man-hours and effort into keeping it going, so we officially registered as a business this year to let us keep going and fund hall rentals, coach hire, equipment etc. We now have a jazzy little membership scheme that gives people discounts on local fabric stores and PDF pattern printing which is something we are really proud to have been able to offer. If you fancy a nosy at our website have a look here:

So what better way to participate in a new mini-venture and Makers Festival - we cracked our the Prosecco and had a party :)

As always with these things, I totally neglected to take any proper photographs as we were flat out for the day. One of my personal highlights was trying knitting for the first time with a Knitters and Stitchers group. Those poor ladies!!!! I was absolutely terrible and one had to actually bear hug me from behind, hold my hands and actually move my arms to get it right.

Behold my first ever bit of knitting... If you're thinking the top row looks ok, that's because it wasn't done by me! I have since bought wool and needles and will be having another go...

This is the dream - as seen at the festival! I hope that in a few years I can knit a flock.

Photo by Makers Festival
So there it is - we're back there on 20th with a booth so hopefully a much more relaxed kind of day, but the same fun none the less :)

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Lots of Little Lizards - Elliott Sweater

Let's talk about lizards... ::pushes glasses towards end of nose::

These guys look like little geckos to me, cheeky beasts with sticky little toe pads.

This wonderful french terry was found in Anglia Fashion Fabrics when we had a 'fabric lock-in' last year with Norwich Sewcials. I love a bit of yellow and love a bit of reptile, so I was fairly easily persuaded to part with my cash when this was pointed out to me.

(To possibly your astonishment, there was also a turtle print but I chose this one instead!!)

This pattern is the Elliott Sweater by Helen's Closet. It's been doing the rounds on the interwebs for a while now but I only just got round to sewing it up. It's a time traveler top - cut out in 2018, sewn up in 2019. 

The pattern put me at an L-XL so that's what I went for, and turns out that was spot on. (As was the Blackwood!)

I tend to find that roll-necks bother me a bit and irritate my neck however in an attempt to step into a different style I did try this one. It's a great neckline as its actually quick wide and I cant even feel it on my neck, although its lovely and cosy. Admittedly this is the 'half neck option' - the 'tall neck' was a bit extreme for me and I probably would have just had my nose poking out of the top. 

I love the step hem and the long length which gives coverage where needed. It was a beautifully simple top to sew up and took under an hour to complete (after cutting). I'm surprised at how effective it is and how much I like wearing it. Since the cold weather started I've worn it absolutely loads as you can layer a good size t-shirt under there aswell without it being seen.

This pattern is incredibly similar to the Toaster Sweater although I think the main difference is that this has raglan sleeves, a steeper step-hem, no cuffs and a super turtle-neck option. I'd love to see if anyone has done a Toaster v Elliott comparison. I really like both patterns but I have to say I've worn this one more. I wouldn't rule out making it again if the right fabric cropped up either so that's always a sign of a good make :)

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The Coram (Jail Bird) Dress - Allie Olsen

A little palette cleanser project today!

I know I said I shouldn't be making simple t-shirts all year again, but there was something about this Coram Dress that just called to me and I wanted to make it immediately. So I did. 

This was my first attempt at getting out of my leggings rut. Comfy dress and comfy tights good for winter, and I'm sure it would be a good hot weather option too (ahhh the sun, a long distant memory). 

The pattern is the Coram Dress and Top by Allie Olsen. It's not one that had been on my radar before and only found it a few weeks ago during the 'crimbo limbo' as someone described it. 

The pattern is a 'boxy woven top or dress with cuffed raglan sleeves and shoulder and bust darts for shaping' according to the description. For me the hem shaping, belt and cuffed sleeves were the attraction as it looked a good contender for comfy chic.

And I was right.....

Awesome boots from Joules in sale

I cut a size 14/16 out of some printed jersey from my stash (woo!). I believe the fabric was originally from Girl Charlee - I've had it years and it very nearly went in the donate pile but it's moment of glory arrived and was the perfect amount for this project.

It reminds me of the arrows on prison uniforms...(Fun(ish) fact: Broad arrows on prison uniforms in UK were to denote government property in 19th century)

For a relatively simple make I did have quite a few fitting issues. The sleeve pattern pieces have shoulder darts, which I thought I had done according to the instructions. Something must have gone wrong, although I can't figure out how, as the neckline came out huuuuuuuggggeeee. Unfortunately I didn't really notice until I put the neck band on. Therefore this dress now has an epic boat neck.

I only actually picked up on this when the neckband really had to stretch to fit, and I cut another slightly longer. Its not unusual (try reading that without singing it in your head) that I sometimes do this for other knit tops so didn't think much of it at the time. I had to do a quick fix by pinning the dress in at the shoulders and creating new, larger shoulder darts and shaping them down to the cuff. Not ideal but it worked.

I love the fact that this has bust darts to give a semi-fitted appearance although the top could still do with being a size or 2 smaller to avoid so much blousing when worn. It's so causal though that it doesn't really matter. Still wearable :)

The pattern suggests top-stitching all the seams which was a nice touch. I'd like to make another version of this in black as a bit of a classic go-to piece.

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Happy New Year - Make Nine 2019

Happy New Year all :)

I wish I could report that I'm all refreshed and raring to go for the new year but truth be told, I'm knackered and still crawling out of my cave like a bear with a sore head. I think I need to join Clyde in his hibernation and wake up around March time!

Made with vinyl decal and traced pics of the torties
Now it wouldn't be a sewing blogger new year post without a quick round up of the 2018 Make Nine 'challenge'. I use that term loosely as it wasn't really a challenge, so much as a nice idea of what I fancied making. Last year I picked out:

As you can see, the majority got made with a few exceptions. Top left were some cropped trousers however I bought some RTW ones for like £10 in the sale and saw no real need to sew any just for the sake of it.* Similarly with the Morgan jeans - I already had that style so making them seemed a bit daft. I am annoyed at myself for failing on the activewear front though - I have Melissa Fehr's
leggings from the 'Sew Your Own Activewear' book all drafted out since February but they never got made! I pretty much live in Lycra aswell so not sure what went awry there.

*Not sewing related as such, but in 2018 we did the Marie Kondo method of Japanese tidying and it was AMAZING. It took a long time, was hard work and surprisingly emotional but afterwards it was so worth it. Everything has a home, there's no clutter about and its so easy to maintain the house. It also gives you a fab indication of what you actually need/want in life and from your clothes. I'd highly recommend it :) Just FYI there's now a show on Netflix about it 'Tidying Up'

Also - I absolutely LIVE by her method of folding and storing clothes. Game changer. 

2019 brings a different kind of sewing for me hopefully - I had tied myself last year to an epic 'to do' list which I felt I had to work my way through. I've ditched the list. Instead I have a few 'ideas' to work from however there's no chronological order to it and I'd like to sew more things, that I just feel like making at the time. In that respect 2019 Make Nine is also just an ideas board not a 'challenge' to get them all done :)

Fingers crossed a lot of these can be made from the stash however fabric shopping is a joy, so let's not get rid of that too strictly ;-)

Here's my choices for this year:

Left to Right:

The Deer & Doe Melilot blouse was something I had already attempted to make, but due to poor fabric choice ended in the recycling. Try again!

The Kelly Anorak could be a good one as I'd like to try more challenging makes this year.

I found this cool Calyer pattern from French Navy - not a company I've every tried so again something new and perhaps a different silhouette to try.

Activewear! This has to be tried this year... leggings of dreams. dress???? Long story but I haven't yet found anything that I love. I'm aware that making one may add enormous stress levels however at least I could wear something personal 6 months to go....

A bright yellow dress. I've popped the Megan Neilsen River dress here although open to others. The point is I want it bright yellow. If anyone knows where I can find fabric suitable for that let me know!!

SOS Pants - I've recently discovered Patterns 4 Pirates and oooh-arrr sign me up. If I can make those bad boys, my trousers woes are over.

Carolyn PJs - made them before but I have some beautiful fabric (err yes also bought in 2017 with good intentions) as shown that is begging to be posh pjs.

Hey June Halifax Hoodie - because I love them. And this sweater fabric from Sew Me Sunshine in the stash is perfect...

How are your plans shaping up? Share your thoughts!

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Happy Holidays - Glitter & Glitz

Hi all, a bit of seasonal sewing today!

In between making Christmas gifts I managed to sneak in a couple of selfish-sews, mainly because I became an absolute magpie for glittery fabric...

I really wanted to make a strappy party dress - but realised I don't actually have anywhere to go that requires one. There's the whole #sewfrosting thing going on at the moment so I guess it could have been part of that, however it seemed like a waste of time (for me).

After searching high and low for a cami/vest top pattern, the ol' faithful Ogden Cami worked perfectly fine! It's a pattern for wovens so I think I overlooked it initially.

I found this incredibly glitzy jersey on MinervaCrafts - its so difficult to show in a photo how sparkly it is in real life!

The fabric was a tad see-through so the cami is fully lined with a stretch knit lining  - essentially I just cut the front and back pieces out of both fabrics. The lining was surprisingly easy to work with as it had a decent weight to it. I was expecting to have to wrestle with it but no...

I wanted my Ogden a bit longer so added a few extra inches to the length - I must have had a mulled wine at this point as I added so many inches that I ended up inadvertently making a glittery dress anyway!

It's lovely but it wouldn't get worn - so it got the chop into a much more practical and 'me' kind of a top. Thankfully there's a load of the fabric left in case I want to make another dress next year - the Ogden takes up so little fabric!!!

I still think I need to cut an inch or 2 from it...its tucked in my jeans for the picture!

Not only is this a stretch Ogden, which I will absolutely be doing again for summer as its ridiculously comfortable, but I tried a new construction technique. WhatKatieSews has a fab way of making these tops and personally I feel its so much easier than faffing about with the straps in the original instructions.  Essentially you sew the front and back necklines with straps attached inside and leave all the side seams until last. You then whizz up and down the sides, main and lining, in one go. This top took all of an hour to make. Definitely recommend giving this method a try! The only thing I'd do differently with jersey is to interface the straps. I have a feeling they may stretch out after time.

Next up - and for absolutely no apparent reason - I whipped up some 'ponte party pants'. Using my self-drafted pull-on trouser pattern these also came together in a lunch break. I did have to add a few inches on as the Goose is not the only thing getting fat for Christmas....

Again the fabric is from MinervaCrafts (this is not a sponsored post btw I just went nuts on their site) and its a lurex ponte! (Ponte being hands down my favourite fabric to work with). I think this is going to be my Christmas day outfit. Definitely a comfort over style decision here.

Jumper is from Sainsburys
Next time I make these trousers (if there's a next time) I will do a knobbly knee adjustment, as I THINK that's why I get creases there. If anyone is a fitting genius please do put me right! x Difficult to photograph lurex aswell but needless to say these are some jazzy legs.

Right, that's me signing off for the holidays now - I'm not a religious type but I am a big fan of spending time with those you love.  Wishing everyone a wonderful time whatever you may be doing! And good tidings from the OG Clyde himself and his pals....!

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Secret Sewing 2018

Buenos Dias people.

It's that time of year again when all goes a bit quiet on the blog and 'secret sewing' occurs in the background!

That's right, me and a million other crafters who have left it well too late, are beavering away at Christmas presents, all made with love of course.

I'm fairly chuffed with myself this year as I've managed to come up with some quite unusual presents, that will also be useful (and not all sewn I might add!). I also don't make presents for people who don't really like that sort of thing, they aren't 'inflicted' upon anyone. No-one's getting pasta and glue pictures to put on their fridge and politely smile at. Us crafters can see that fear in your eyes. 

The pressies will of course be wrapped with this ribbon which is absolutely amazing - I picked this up in Tiger while I was looking for a turtle tree decoration (obviously). Perfect for all those handmade goodies this year! 

What a boring post this is then I can't show much really can I!?

Maybe this... for the dog lover who also enjoys a good nap.

In other news I also discovered the joys of Moon Thread - super cheap and really good quality thread for jazzy over-locking. There shall be many a multicolour finished edge in my future...
 In other news - I aim to make the full donation to Mind Charity at the end of the month for my mental health Sewing Saves Lives pin project, if you would like to grab a pin in time for crimbo just click here!

Lovely photo taken by SewPositivity - much better light than mine hehe!

So the next few weeks bring several Sundays of secret sewing, with some sparkles and glitter thrown in for good measure - you gotta have a festive bit of clothing somewhere right?!

Let me know what you've been making :) Feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too xx