Tag Archive: musings

How Cashmerette Patterns are developed

Ever wondered how Cashmerette Patterns go from an idea in my head all the way through to an actual pattern in your hands! Here’s how.

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Why I’m Not Scared of Sewing With Knits…

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who read and commented on my last post.  When I wrote it, it felt kind of self indulgent, so it was especially good to read that others feel / have felt the same, and know where I’m coming from. Today I’…

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On Why I Haven’t Been Blogging…

I’m unsure about this post.  It feels self indulgent, but I also feel like I need to write it down.  I might take it down in a few days.If you’ve come here expecting to see a new post about something new I’ve made, then I’m really sorry to di…

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All Kinds of Randomness

This post title could quite accurately describe what’s going on in my head most of the time!However, it’s actually a collection of little bits and pieces that I’ve been thinking about or have to show you.Firstly, thank you so much for all your comments…

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Your Opinion Matters

Anyone else find this blogging lark hard sometimes, or is it just me?

I’ve been blogging for getting on for 5 years now and have had periods when I’ve had blog posts coming out of my ears and other periods when it’s been a month or more between posts.  During my first (obviously eager) six months of blogging I posted more than I did in the whole of last year. 

My original blog name and header!

The main reason for my lack of posts during the first half of last year was struggles with my mental health. It was too hard to get excited about making anything sometimes, let alone getting dressed up in it and taking photos once I’d made it and then writing about it and sharing the photos.  Things got better around the end of summer though and I started to get enthusiastic about blogging again.



My first Stitched Up by Samantha header.
 
I made myself a plan; I gave the look of the blog a little makeover, I was going to post every Friday, and I’d have a different topic every week, so people knew what to expect when.  I wanted to try and make things appear more professional as my aim was to build up a business teaching sewing that I could hopefully turn into my main source of income over the next few years.  The dream was to give up the day job! 
One of my favourite free motion embroideries.
 

Things went well for a while, I posted regularly and I was busy teaching sewing at weekends and taking on additional projects.  I got too busy though, and at the beginning of December had a major anxiety meltdown, wanted to cancel class I was due to teach, every project I’d committed to, I even debated not going on the workshop I’d booked with Alison Smith, which would have meant the loss of the several hundred pounds I’d paid for it.   I didn’t though, I did everything I’d already committed to, although I did cancel a few projects that were just in the discussion stages.  People were really nice about it, which made me feel better, however it seemed – and still does – like my dream of turning this little corner of the internet into my livelihood is just a dream.  Apparently my brain needs downtime; it can’t cope with working all week and weekends as well. 

Since Christmas I’ve actively pencilled in “me time” and am not committing to anything like the number of projects and classes I was towards the end of last year.  In fact the thought of doing as much as I was scares me now because I know how awful it made me feel, even though I thought I was doing something I loved and wanted to do. 

Students amazing free motion embroidery pieces.


All this makes me wonder where to go from here, with this blog.  As I said at the start, I find this blogging lark hard.  I do enjoy it, but it’s difficult as well.  I hate taking photos for the posts.  I envy those bloggers who’s photos look like they’ve been pulled from the pages of a high fashion magazine, when mine are taken in the corner of the spare bedroom against a woodchip wall on a camera with a self timer. 

What I’m really getting to is a favour.  I’d love your opinion on what I do, what I write, what I share and so I’m asking you – ever so nicely I hope – if you have a couple of minutes to spare taking this survey

If you’d rather not do the survey, I’d love it if you’d leave me a comment below telling me what you’d like to see more of here… 

Thank you ever so much.  As the post title says, your opinion is important!

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Style Over Substance?

Have you heard of Suzy Magazine?  I saw a post about it on Instagram just after Christmas and was intrigued; I love sewing and I love magazines, but what really got me interested was it’s claim that it was for the “Fashion Forward Sewist”.  Despite the £10.00 cover price (and £2.00 delivery) I ordered myself a copy.

The magazine took a while to be delivered and I’d almost forgotten about it when a padded envelope popped through my letterbox last week.  Once I realised what it was I was excited, couldn’t wait to see what this new sewing magazine had in store for us fashion forward sewists!

Sadly my excitement was short lived.  Once I’d flicked through the – admittedly very pretty – pages, I felt very let down, particularly for the £10.00 price. 

The good parts are that it is very pretty and it’s printed on lovely quality paper.

The bad parts are that the content is very lacking – in my opinion.  There seemed to be lots of pages filled with not very much at all, and what there was didn’t seem to be anything new to me. 

When something is billed as “fashion forward” I wouldn’t expect to see the same patterns and ideas that have been seen time and time again in other sewing magazines, I’d expect something a little bit new and different.  Maybe something reflecting what is going on in the world of designer fashion – catwalk trends, something like that.  Not 6 pages on Tilly and The Buttons Cleo dress 5 ways.  Which actually wasn’t 5 ways – it was just the pattern made up in 5 different fabrics. 



There are 6 pages on bomber jackets, which probably are slightly more fashion forward, but those 6 pages contained next to no information at all. 

There were a few random pages dotted throughout, a sewing playlist, some strange doodles and a double page at the back of outline drawings to colour in. 

The final section was 17 pages containing photographs of 7 outfits.  I get what they’d tried to do – to recreate a fashion story from a high fashion magazine – but to my mind it didn’t work at all.  And again, there was nothing different or new, or fashion forward. 

Elsewhere there are a few pages of “Sewing Stories” – interviews with different sewing bloggers – and an interview with the By Hand London ladies. 

I really think that the Suzy Magazine team have missed a trick with this.  They could have produced something really new and exciting, showcasing independent pattern companies producing something a little bit different from the standard cute dress but they didn’t.  If you like ditzy prints and Tilly and The Buttons you might love it.  Sadly I don’t, I didn’t and I wouldn’t buy another issue. 

I’ve now passed my copy on to Frankie of Knit Wits Owls, who I think is going to do a review of her own.  I’ll be interested to read her thoughts. 

And I’d love to hear what “fashion forward” means to you.

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What to sew when your weight fluctuates

If you’re anything like me, your weight probably goes up and down quite a bit. Over the years I’ve come to accept it as a natural process, affected by different things going on in my life and body. That said, one thing that can still make it frustrating is sewing: no-one wants to spend countless hours sewing {…Continue Reading}

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Sewing without a plan

It’s that time of year again.  The internet is alive with sewing bloggers making plans and setting goals for things they want to achieve over the coming year. #2017makenine is very popular this year with at the time of writing this 699 public post…

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And just like that…

So, it’s 2017!  Just like that! (This blog post will feature random photos from the year). I still have over 30 garments from 2016 that have not yet been blogged.  Gulp.  I have finally made it as far as getting photos for most of them and uploading them to Flickr, so maybe while we’re away… Continue reading And just like that…

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Musing

Firstly, I don’t think that I have ever had as many complimentary and supportive blog comments as on my last blog post on the lace dress I sewed for Clare.  Thank YOU all so much!  She has been thrilled to read them all, as have I.  I really do appreciate each and every one of… Continue reading Musing

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Colours of Autumn

Yes, I know it’s only the beginning of August but I was wandering around the shops yesterday lunchtime and everywhere I went they’d started to bring their Autumn ranges into the stores. 

I have to say, I loved a lot of what I saw; I’m definitely more of an Autumn/Winter girl than a Spring/Summer one.  I actually can’t wait to get my opaque tights out and start layering up again.  Sorry, that’s just the way I am.  I feel far more comfortable in Autumn/Winter clothing and I do in thin Summer dresses and the like. 

Anyway, what struck me most was the lovely colour palette; dark, bottle greens, ochre/mustard yellows and orangey rusts.  Gorgeous!  It all looked very 1970’s to me, in colour if nothing else. 

I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite pieces from my quick look yesterday, and maybe some suggestions for recreating the looks yourself.

I went into Marks and Spencer first.  I always look in there, they can be a bit hit and miss, but generally the Autograph range is good and so is the Limited Collection.  However yesterday I think several of the items I liked were from the Per Una range, which is one I rarely look at as it normally features embellished knits and “overdesigned” garments as far as I’m concerned. 

 


This Ponte tunic dress looked pretty nice, easy to wear, comfortable but still halfway smart.  I like dresses like this for work as I often spend several hours in the car getting to where I’m going, and wearing jersey or Ponte fabrics means I reach my destination largely crease free.  I’d wear this to work and at weekends, with opaque tights and ankle boots.   

You could easily use a simple shift dress pattern to recreate this, the trick is finding two striped fabrics in matching colours but with differing width stripes.  That could be a bit difficult, so you could always do a stripe for the body and plain sleeves, or vice versa if that was more your thing.


I loved this green lace skirt, but am not really sure where I’d wear it.  For me this would probably be a special occasion type garment, although I do love simple lace skirts with a chunky sweater and (again) opaque tights. 

There are any number of simple skirt patterns that you could use for this – I would use my skirt block – either straight or A-line, and White Tree Fabrics have a lovely selection of laces that would work a treat for this. 


This coat is the perfect style and length for me, and I adore the colour.  I’m not a fan of coats with collars, and the length of this would make it an ideal coat to wear in the car – see above, I spend a LOT of time in my car. 

Burdastyle Dress Coat 09/2012 #102 is a pretty good match for this, although it has raglan sleeves and inseam pockets rather than patch pockets. 



Patch pockets would be easy to add though.  I’m sure a more thorough search would bring up something even closer.


I really liked these ochre/mustard culottes as well.  I think I’d have a go at drafting my own, once I’ve finished my trouser block.  I must get that back out, I started it months ago!

Then I moved on to Next.  Again, I generally have a look in here but I’m often disappointed.  Most of their clothes seem very identifiable as being from Next which some people might like… I don’t.  But it’s a pretty good place to get ideas and they do have some nice pieces.

There were a few things I fell in love with, the first being this skirt.  I love, love, love the fabric.  To me its very Art Nouveau / William Morris. 


Again, its a simple shape which would be easy to recreate, and if you wanted to make your own there are plenty of furnishing fabrics around with this type of print.  You could even go the whole way and treat yourself to some Morris & Co fabric, although at £59 a metre I’m not sure I would.  I know this is a sewing blog, but I can see myself just buying this skirt. 

Classic William Morris “Strawberry Thief” design.
William Morris “Lodden” fabric

This lace top would look lovely with the ochre culottes from M&S above, or with a black pencil skirt or trousers; maybe even with the skirt above.  Again, White Tree Fabrics would be an excellent place to look for lace to recreate this.  Apparently they have over 700 lace fabrics on their website, so I’m sure you’d find something you loved.


I then spotted this dress and again I love everything about it.  The cut, the colour, they really are me!  I’m definitely going to recreate this; I will probably use Alison Glass’s Woven Essentials pattern (which I have recently made as a sample for Fabric HQ and am yet to blog about) and draft some flutter sleeves.  This pattern is great by the way – you get a basic shift dress with a slightly A-line skirt, then additional pattern pieces for a gathered skirt, longer sleeves, a skirt and a tunic top.  Although the pattern is for wovens, I’d make this in a Ponte fabric.  Minerva Crafts have some in a Forest Green which looks as if it’s an almost exact match.

Finally, another dress and not a style I’d normally go for.

 
To me though, this looks REALLY Vivienne Westwood and you should know by now how much I love her designs.  I think you could use the (sadly now out of print) DKNY Vogue 1488 as a starting point for this.  I’m so glad I bought this before it was discontinued. 



Change the neckline to a V-neck and lengthen the sleeves and you’re pretty much there!  I’ll be searching for some large plaid fabric later!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my virtual shopping spree.  Have you started thinking about Autumn projects yet or is it far too early for you? 


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Colours of Autumn

Yes, I know it’s only the beginning of August but I was wandering around the shops yesterday lunchtime and everywhere I went they’d started to bring their Autumn ranges into the stores. 

I have to say, I loved a lot of what I saw; I’m definitely more of an Autumn/Winter girl than a Spring/Summer one.  I actually can’t wait to get my opaque tights out and start layering up again.  Sorry, that’s just the way I am.  I feel far more comfortable in Autumn/Winter clothing and I do in thin Summer dresses and the like. 

Anyway, what struck me most was the lovely colour palette; dark, bottle greens, ochre/mustard yellows and orangey rusts.  Gorgeous!  It all looked very 1970’s to me, in colour if nothing else. 

I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite pieces from my quick look yesterday, and maybe some suggestions for recreating the looks yourself.

I went into Marks and Spencer first.  I always look in there, they can be a bit hit and miss, but generally the Autograph range is good and so is the Limited Collection.  However yesterday I think several of the items I liked were from the Per Una range, which is one I rarely look at as it normally features embellished knits and “overdesigned” garments as far as I’m concerned. 

 


This Ponte tunic dress looked pretty nice, easy to wear, comfortable but still halfway smart.  I like dresses like this for work as I often spend several hours in the car getting to where I’m going, and wearing jersey or Ponte fabrics means I reach my destination largely crease free.  I’d wear this to work and at weekends, with opaque tights and ankle boots.   

You could easily use a simple shift dress pattern to recreate this, the trick is finding two striped fabrics in matching colours but with differing width stripes.  That could be a bit difficult, so you could always do a stripe for the body and plain sleeves, or vice versa if that was more your thing.


I loved this green lace skirt, but am not really sure where I’d wear it.  For me this would probably be a special occasion type garment, although I do love simple lace skirts with a chunky sweater and (again) opaque tights. 

There are any number of simple skirt patterns that you could use for this – I would use my skirt block – either straight or A-line, and White Tree Fabrics have a lovely selection of laces that would work a treat for this. 


This coat is the perfect style and length for me, and I adore the colour.  I’m not a fan of coats with collars, and the length of this would make it an ideal coat to wear in the car – see above, I spend a LOT of time in my car. 

Burdastyle Dress Coat 09/2012 #102 is a pretty good match for this, although it has raglan sleeves and inseam pockets rather than patch pockets. 



Patch pockets would be easy to add though.  I’m sure a more thorough search would bring up something even closer.


I really liked these ochre/mustard culottes as well.  I think I’d have a go at drafting my own, once I’ve finished my trouser block.  I must get that back out, I started it months ago!

Then I moved on to Next.  Again, I generally have a look in here but I’m often disappointed.  Most of their clothes seem very identifiable as being from Next which some people might like… I don’t.  But it’s a pretty good place to get ideas and they do have some nice pieces.

There were a few things I fell in love with, the first being this skirt.  I love, love, love the fabric.  To me its very Art Nouveau / William Morris. 


Again, its a simple shape which would be easy to recreate, and if you wanted to make your own there are plenty of furnishing fabrics around with this type of print.  You could even go the whole way and treat yourself to some Morris & Co fabric, although at £59 a metre I’m not sure I would.  I know this is a sewing blog, but I can see myself just buying this skirt. 

Classic William Morris “Strawberry Thief” design.
William Morris “Lodden” fabric

This lace top would look lovely with the ochre culottes from M&S above, or with a black pencil skirt or trousers; maybe even with the skirt above.  Again, White Tree Fabrics would be an excellent place to look for lace to recreate this.  Apparently they have over 700 lace fabrics on their website, so I’m sure you’d find something you loved.


I then spotted this dress and again I love everything about it.  The cut, the colour, they really are me!  I’m definitely going to recreate this; I will probably use Alison Glass’s Woven Essentials pattern (which I have recently made as a sample for Fabric HQ and am yet to blog about) and draft some flutter sleeves.  This pattern is great by the way – you get a basic shift dress with a slightly A-line skirt, then additional pattern pieces for a gathered skirt, longer sleeves, a skirt and a tunic top.  Although the pattern is for wovens, I’d make this in a Ponte fabric.  Minerva Crafts have some in a Forest Green which looks as if it’s an almost exact match.

Finally, another dress and not a style I’d normally go for.

 
To me though, this looks REALLY Vivienne Westwood and you should know by now how much I love her designs.  I think you could use the (sadly now out of print) DKNY Vogue 1488 as a starting point for this.  I’m so glad I bought this before it was discontinued. 



Change the neckline to a V-neck and lengthen the sleeves and you’re pretty much there!  I’ll be searching for some large plaid fabric later!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my virtual shopping spree.  Have you started thinking about Autumn projects yet or is it far too early for you? 


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Progress report

Back in January I wrote a post about my plans / goals for this year and as we’re now almost halfway through 2016 (how scary is that?!) I thought I’d revisit my plans and see how I’m getting on.  I had some sewing related goals, and non sewing rela…

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I’m not making excuses…

… except I probably am!There hasn’t been much (any in actual fact) sewing going on around here for the last few weeks, hence the lack of posts.  There is a reason for this – it’s the time of year.  I’m so sick of Winter and being cold and I…

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Vintage Pledge 2016

Are you familiar with the Vintage Pledge challenge hosted by A Stitching Odyssey and Kestrel Makes?It’s now in it’s third year and Marie of A Stitching Odyssey started it in 2014 when she realised that she was hoarding vintage patterns faster than she …

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My plans for 2016…

After reviewing 2015 in my last post I thought I’d share some of my plans/goals/ideas for 2016.  I’ve broken them down into creative/sewing and non creative, which is mainly health and wellbeing. First my sewing plans for this year. Gain new skill…

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2015 – A year in review

Happy 2016! I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year.  We had a quiet family Christmas and New Year’s Eve we didn’t even go out.  It was what I needed though, I feel like I’ve recharged my batteries a bit and am looking forward…

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Body Positive in the New Year: I am not a “before”

Note: these ramblings talk about dieting, and not-dieting. Happy New Year, lovely friends! I hope your night was exactly as you wanted it, whether that was asleep at 11pm in flannel pyjamas, or bungee jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. I was somewhere in the middle: with my family and friends in London on a {…Continue Reading}

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My Top 5 Sewing Fails of 2015

With highs must come lows! Here are my misses or fails of the year, all for different reasons. The Green Coat Ah, the green coat of doom. Clearly the least successful of the three coats I’ve made. What can I say, it was a learning experience. I had high hopes. In the end I think {…Continue Reading}

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When All Is Quiet…

… or Creativity is Good For You!I’ve been debating whether to write this post or not… and even now I’ve written it I’m not sure about it.  I don’t want it to come across as all “woe is me” and I’m not the most eloquent of writers, but it’s a s…

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When All Is Quiet…

… or Creativity is Good For You!I’ve been debating whether to write this post or not… and even now I’ve written it I’m not sure about it.  I don’t want it to come across as all “woe is me” and I’m not the most eloquent of writers, but it’s a s…

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This week…

I’m a bit behind on my “This Week” post, I normally do them on Fridays, but better late than never, eh?So, what have I been up to since the last time I chatted to you?There doesn’t appear to have been much actual sewing taking place.  I’m in that …

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This week…

Well, I don’t know what happened there.  After getting right back into the blogging scheme of things for a couple of weeks it suddenly all went to pot again.  I’ve been procrastinating again.  If only I spent as much time actually sewing…

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Fighting hate with cake

If you’re a plus size/curvy/fat woman, daring to exist in the public eye, you’re going to come in for some hate. Sometimes it’s really obvious: the other day, my friend had a group of men lean out of their car’s windows and start oinking at her. Other times it’s more indirect, like getting the side-eye from shop {…Continue Reading}

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Fabric shopping, swimming, friends and kids on the left coast!

I just got back from a lovely trip to the Pacific NorthWest full of fabric, old and new friends, playing with kids, and swimming with a giant pretzel. What’s not to love?! First up, to Seattle where I was staying with my old friend Laura and her family. It was B’s 7th birthday (SEVEN?! I {…Continue Reading}

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Feature on the Crafty Planner Podcast!

I’m a massive fan of podcasts – I have a solid 20 in regular rotation (as in, listening to every single one that comes out), and I pretty much always have one on in the background when I’m sewing. So I was delighted when Sandi of Crafty Planner got in touch and  asked me to {…Continue Reading}

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Alexander McQueen : Savage Beauty

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of a day off work to visit the current Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum. I didn’t know quite what to expect, although I had heard many reports that the exhibition was more…

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What I wore in May – week one

Righteo, apparently it’s me-made-May again.  I mostly wear clothing that I’ve made all year round, so I’ve decided not to participate in the “challenge” part of me-made-May this year.  And I don’t like the “me-made” label all that much, I must admit.  I’m all for alliteration, but there’s no grammar there.  However, past experience participating […]

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Holiday bits and bobs

Thank you for your comments on my last post, having long been an admirer of denim shirt dresses on others, I think I’ve now got one I’m happy to wear myself.  If you follow me on Instagram (and if not, why not?!) then you might have picked up on t…

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What’s your sewing benchmark?

Over the past few years of reading sewing blogs I’ve noticed an interesting trend in respect to which benchmark people use for their self-made garments, and what they’re trying to achieve. On the one hand, there are people who aspire to Ready to Wear (RTW) clothes: garments that look like they’ve been bought in a store. On {…Continue Reading}

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