I have some exciting news and a favour to ask of you.
Remeber this coat I made for Kezia?
I entered it into The Dressmaker of the Year Competition, and it has been shortlisted in two categories: the childrens wear category (which will be decided by the judges), and also in the Readers Choice category – which is where you come in. I would be so grateful if you could take a moment to click on this link and go vote for me!
Voting is open until 25th April and if you do vote you will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win a bundle of 11 sewing books and subscription to Sew or Make it Today magazine – that’s a prize worth over £230.
It’s a great honour to have been shortlisted and tomorrow I have to parcel the coat off and send it off to be judged! Exciting.
Until soon. I mean, how could you resist that little face? 🙂
Thanks to all who entered this giveaway. The lucky winner (as picked by random number generator) is: Angela.
Angela, please get in touch via my email address (found under the About section at the top of this blog), with your full name and postal address. You may even be able to whiz something up in time for christmas 🙂
Edit: Angela you have until the end of Friday 26th November to get in touch otherwise I am afraid I will have to draw another name.
I was contacted a little while ago by Natalie Martin, who is one of the authors of a new sewing book, The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny, and also (together with co-author Naomi Regan), one of the owners of British indepent children’s clothing brand, Olive and Vince.(Check out their etsy store for lots of cute, colourful children’s clothing with personality).
Natalie and Naomi have just had this beautiful book published which contains a range of sewing patterns for boys and girls aged 1 – 5 years with a playful animal theme throughout, and asked me if I would be interested in reviewing the book. Full disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review and invited to blog about it if I wanted too. I decided that as my daughter no longer fits in to the size range presented (such a shame!), that I would introduce the book to you guys and give you my overall impression, and offer the copy sent to me, as a giveaway. It really is a beautifully presented and fun book, and it would be such a shame for it to just sit on my shelf gathering dust instead of being put to good practical use. All the opinions expressed in this post are my own.
The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny is, in lieu of chapters, split into 6 animals: the bunny, the cat, the fox, the mouse, the owl and the bear. There are different projects within each “animal” – all kids clothing. For example, within the bunny there are two projects: some puffball shorts and a bunny duffle coat. There are 17 projects in total, ranging from paw print mittens to a bear duffle coat. Projects are rated by difficulty so you can have some confidence in finding a project that matches your experience.
The book contains full size, pull-out patterns that require tracing. Seam allowances are included, as are cutting layouts and applique templates.
The book contains step by step instructions for each project and they are very well illustrated and seem very clear. There are plenty of projects appropriate for both boys and girls and there are also some great basic, practical patterns like the long sleeved T shirt, and the slim leg trousers which could easily become wardrobe staples to be made multiple times over.
I think my favourite projects would probably be the fox duffle coat (seen on the front cover of the book and below) and the mouse capelet: cute beyond cute and so many ways you could personalise these to suit your own child/ grandchild/ niece/ nephew/ godchild etc! My only regret is I don’t have anyone to make anything for right now 😦
A really lovely and different book with some magical illustrations. If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a copy of this book please leave a comment below before midnight GMT on Sunday 20th November. Sorry, but this giveaway is only open to UK residents.
Thanks for reading and entering.
*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED*
Without further ado, the winner of The Tunic Bible, as selected by random number generator, is:
Congratulations Calypso, you have won this giveaway. Please get in touch by the end of Friday 14th October 2016 otherwise I am afraid that the winner will be drawn again. My contact details are under my “About” section at the top of this blog. You need to specify whether you are in the USA, in which case please give your full postal details, otherwise email address if outside the USA for an electronic copy of the book.
Thank you to everyone who entered. I hear The Tunic Bible is already on its second print run, so if you would like to purchase a copy for yourself aside from Amazon you can also try Barnes & Noble, Overstock, Book Depository and direct from the publisher: CT Publishing.
Just a quick note to say I have had a few people contact me to say that they are not going to be able to make the Linton Tweed meet up, which was scheduled for September 17th, so I have decided to cancel it for now.
Hope this is not going to inconvenience anyone.
Bit of a picture heavy post today sharing my fabric haul from the Garment District in New York. Where to start?
Well, as a Brit who has never been fabric shopping in that particular part of the world before, I was concerned that it might be a little….overwhelming. But I needn’t have worried. Rather than start with a biggie (like Mood), I started with the smaller shops first and actually did a round of all the shops I wanted to first before comitting to buying anything.
Backing up. We were staying in a hotel on West 44th Street in NYC so it took me like 10 minutes to walk to the Garment District on the day I went shopping. Phil and Kezia headed off to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry that day (Kezia’s choice), so I was left to my own devices, although they came and met me later in the day.
First stop was Paron Fabrics (West 39th Street) (not the best of photographs; my camera lens needed cleaning I think!):
Fabrics were well organised by type (lots of choice) and they had lots of high end European imported stuff (Italian), which I avoided…because I was basically trying really hard to buy things which are hard to get here in the UK. I can’t remember the name of the older guy who served me but he was lovely (and gave me a discount – there was a sale on at the time too), and I could easily have spent a lot of money here.
This is what I bought here – top to bottom: top: a heavy weight waterproof fabric which has been bonded on the reverse side to what looks like a knit interfacing (i.e. it’s needle ready – love!), middle: medium/ heavy weight weight cotton flannel plaid and bottom: heavy weight satin lining (for the waterproof jacket).
Next I went across the road to Gray Line Linens (West 39th Street). Again, fabrics were well organised but prices were not marked and you had to ask them. There were lots of lovely metallic linens but I resisted. I figured linen is something you can get here. There were a few rolls of eyelet cotton but I held out and got some from Metro Textiles for a better price (see below):
After that I called into Daytona Trims (West 39th Street). Now here I did feel overwhelmed and didn’t purchase anything. I guess I am just someone who likes to buy notions and trims on a “by project” basis, so it was hard for me to buy something without a specific project in mind. However, if I had a trim shop like this near me, it would be heaven!
Next was the much advocated Chic Fabrics (West 39th Street) (despite some confusion on Instagram it does still exist).
This place had some wonderful silks and cottons but I walked away with just one piece which is incredibly hard to capture the true colour of. In real life this amazing washed stretch silk is an olive green colour, but here it is photographing more brown. Utility shirt dress with lots of gold hardware methinks.
I walked over to West 37th Street after that (because I was meeting Philip and Kezia there) and called into Metro Textiles where I met the famous Kashi!
The charming Kashi, of course, was open to a bit of bargaining, and he had a smaller selection of good quality fabrics of all kinds. I ended up purchasing two pieces from him: (top) a piece of red cotton eyelet (very hard to get in the UK) and (bottom) some printed silk crepe de chine which appears to have gone off grain so I am going to have to do something about that.
By this time Philip and Kezia had arrived and Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic also joined us for a quick foray into Mood Fabrics. Can I just say it was wonderful to meet Carolyn and it felt as if we had been friends forever, instead of meeting for the first time for a quick shopping trip.It’s a shame we didn’t have more time.
I pretty much had only one thing in mind to buy from Mood…silk jersey. Finding silk jersey in the UK is like finding hens teeth. Anyway, this is what I walked away with: a panel printed silk jersey (I took 2 panels) and a half yard of plain orange silk jersey for accents. This was the most pricey purchase of the day and I hope that, when it eventually happens, I can do justice to this piece. I don’t need to write much about Mood as so much has already been written about shopping here. It is definitely a fabric shoppers paradise, but I found I prefered the scale and pace of the smaller shops.
The last place I hit was Spandex House (West 38th Street). Now I am not a huge knit wearer (in case you hadn’t noticed). Nor I am a huge lover of novelty prints. But if those things are your bag then this is the place for you.
Here I bought three pieces of supplex (again very hard if not impossible to buy here in the UK) to make workout tops for myself.
And finally, for Kezia I bought two pieces of glittery printed lycra (spandex) to make gymnastics leotards/ shorts, in her requested colours. These photos (all of them in this post in fact) were taken post washing and the glitter hasn’t come away which is encouraging. Again, Spandex House gave me a decent discount (your man Jean was the star here) and that’s always nice.
I left my hotel at 10am and was back by 4pm, exhausted but very pleased with my purchases (I haven’t had by credit card bill yet, haha). All the fabrics came home safely and I am looking forward to sewing them up. I tried hard to buy fairly classic pieces – nothing too outlandish or unusual – just because that’s me. I know when I eventually wear an item made from these pieces I will cherish the memories of our great holiday.
See you soon!
Two things today:
- I am going to have a whole day to do some fabric shopping in NYC on our forthcoming trip to The States. I am thinking of heading to Paron Fabrics for 10:30am on Wednesday 20th July. From there I was thinking of Chic Fabric, but have just been informed that it no longer exists. So…maybe after Paron’s then Metro Textiles/ Spandex House and Pacific Trims? This is all completely loose, as I haven’t even checked how close things are to each other (any experts feel free to chime in!) In the afternoon if I have any energy/ money/ space in my luggage left, then try for Mood fabrics? So if anyone is feeling jobless on that particular Wednesday and would like to join me please leave me a comment below or PM me (my email address is under my “about me” section.
- A couple of people have mentioned they would like to come visit Linton Tweeds. I am proposing a meet-up there on Saturday 17th September. At this stage this is just to guage interest. I have contacted Linton Tweeds asking if they might be able to organise anything for us (like a tour of the production side/ a talk or something), but, till now, have not heard anything. So it might just be a chance to pet the fabrics (and add to your stash), but more than that, meet other folks with a shared interest in sewing, eat some lunch and enjoy some sewing related craic. I will put out more details nearer the time but everyone is welcome.
Until soon. Enjoy the weekend.
Some time ago I was contacted by a representative from an American company called Dutch Label Shop asking if I wanted to try some of their custom woven clothing labels. This company specialises in manufacturing high-quality, customised woven labels in quantities as small as 30, which makes it a cost effect solution for individual users (like me!) as well as emerging smaller sized brands. The labels were provided to me on a complimentary basis, with an invitation for me to blog about my experience if I wanted. So here is my honest review.
As far as my personal interests were concerned there were two relevant options open to me: basic woven labels or woven logo labels (the latter option being the one that I took). That’s not to say that I wasn’t tempted by the basic woven labels, because I was. If you check out the pre-loaded symbol options with the basic woven labels you will see there is a sewing (and fashion) category, with loads of very cute symbols like a reel of thread, scissors, buttons, a tape measure, a dress form etc. If you chose to use this option I guarantee it is super easy and fast to create your own basic woven labels with your own wording included.
Anyway, the reason that I went with the woven logo labels was that you have a greater choice of label type (I went for the centre fold just because I often prefer my labels to be placed more discretely in a side seam and this way I can have them in a side or neck seam). Example below:
Creating my woven logo labels was very simple using The Dutch Label Shop’s website. It’s pretty idiot-proof with a good selection of options, including label type and size, label and logo colours and sew on or iron on options. There is also a “preserve light background” option which weaves an additional layer of white thread into your label to vibrantly brighten the background color, and prevent shine-through. As my labels featured a light background with a black logo I included this option and I have no complaints.
In terms of quality, the labels I went for have a very luxurious feel to them. They are heavy and thick and really add that special finishing touch to my handmade garments. 200 labels came to just under $100USD (excluding shipping) and I think that’s pretty good value for money. I also have to really compliment the Dutch Label Shop customer service team because they really were brilliant. They checked my label and answered all my questions.
In conclusion, I love my new labels. I wouldn’t recommend them to you if I didn’t. I am very grateful to The Dutch Label Shop for giving me the opportunity to try their labels out, and if any of my readers fancies trying them out for themselves then there is a discount code which you can enter at the checkout, active for the next 30 days: sewmanju. That code will get you 15% off.
Be back soon!
A few weeks ago a Belgium based company (that I confess I had never heard of) called Nominette got in touch with me to ask if I would be interested in reviewing some custom logo clothing labels and publishing my findings/ finished labels on my blog. I said ok. So right away I have to tell you that I recieved these labels on a complimentary basis from Nominette, but all views contained in this post are my own.
First off I would like to say that I LOVE the finished labels. They look the business, right? I went for the clothing label with logo (25mm), and selected the middle fold option, which means my logo is printed on one side of the label and the other side I decided to leave blank because I didn’t see the point of having care symbols on these labels, for my personal use. But of course you can have care symbols on the back if you so wish, and I know that both Melissa and Winnie both included care symbols on their labels.
As you can see I went for what I like to think of as the “blingy but classy look”, haha. My labels are black with my logo woven in gold thread.
The quality of these labels are second to none. The turn around time was very quick. I don’t think they are scratchy but I have just sewn one in to my first garment (the quilted jacket….still not done!) so only time will tell. They certainly don’t feel cheap or rough.
I had a huge hand in designing these labels, namely in the form of my sister, Ruth, who’s website you can visit here if you want to see what she does. I consider myself fairly computer literate but I am not au fait with design packages and so my sister designed the logo based on some ideas I gave her. I must also tell you that both of us struggled a little with a few aspects of the Nominette website. Things like the scale on the ruler on their website didn’t quite seem to make sense to us, some of the preview shots didn’t match what we input and it would have been nice to have had a chance to have a final preview of the designed label before committing to print. But these are minor things, and at the end of the day I got exactly what I ordered, no complaints, and other users have also used this website very successfully with no problems. So please don’t think I don’t highly recommend this company, because I do. I have passed on my feedback to Nominette and hopefully they will make the process even easier.
Thank you Nominette for the opportunity to have some of your fantastic labels. I think they take my finished garment up a level or two and I would definitely consider using them again once I run out of labels. BTW, in case anyone is wondering, I received 50 labels which should have cost £53.
Now on too a couple of other little things I wanted to share with you. My friend, Ange, who blogs over at black label blog recently had her first baby boy. Ange very generously sent me the fabric to make this top last summer:
Anyway, in return I made her some quilted baby bibs. Check them out. I first saw these over on Lori’s blog, and they are probably now my favourite baby gift to make. You can find the tutorial here. FYI I used a velcro fastening on mine.
Lastly, at the start of the summer, I was the lucky winner of a prize giveaway on Denise’s blog, Dottie Doodle. Denise is a very talented lady who makes the most gorgeous little fabric covered notebooks, mirrors, badges and magnets. I was fortunate enough to win these very cute liberty covered fridge magnets. You can check out all her products (available to buy) here.
In conclusion, proof that the sewing blogging community still is the nicest blogging community around. Right?
Off to work on my quilted jacket!
I don’t know about you, but I find it fascinating looking at other people’s sewing rooms/ spaces/ studios. I think you always get lots of ideas for things to try out, plus…well, who doesn’t like snooping around other people’s houses? 🙂
When I first started sewing I was, like many of you, on the kitchen table. Gradually, I took over a (very) small bedroom. But when we moved into our dream home just over 2 months ago I also got my dream sewing space! Its located in the roof space above our garage, and not only is it spacious, it also has the most amazing light coming in from the Velux windows and is just such a luxury to come and work in.
Warning: everything in the room is from Ikea, so if you don’t like flat packed furniture, move on. Ready for the tour?
It is hard to show the room in one shot, so the first picture at the top of this post was “stitched” together (by my sister, who took most of the shots in this post), whilst the picture above was taken by my husband using the panoramic feature on his mobile. Anyway, thanks to both for the photography (and to Phil for putting all the furniture together).
Starting over on the left hand side of the panoramic photograph, the first thing you see is a set of Malm drawers. This is where I store my patterns. FYI, one of the drawers is empty, two are about 2/3rds full and one is about 50% full. So, that gives you an indication of how many patterns I own. Saying that, these drawers can hold a lot of patterns!
I swear they are not that messy! I just need to find a way to prop the envelopes up so they don’t keep sliding down if the drawers are not full.
Next we have lots of Kallax Shelving Units (on both sides of the room). On the right hand side of the room (panoramic picture), I use the shelves to store my fabric. Kallax is an economical, modular system, but being honest, I chose them because I am pretty restricted height wise in this room (in terms of having storage next to the walls), so Kallax fitted the dimensions of the room. I haven’t got any drawers for the shelves yet. I thought I would wait and see how many/ what I needed.
Anyway, the Kallax shelves on this left hand side of the room holds…wadding, my old sewing machine, quilting supplies. Next to the Kallax shelves you can see a Hemnes Glass Door Cabinet. This cabinet holds my sewing books, printed patterns (badly stored!), and bits and bobs like fray check, machine oil, buttons, interfacing, tracing paper etc. Erm…still all needs a little more sorting.
This is my sewing table: it’s the Norden Gateleg table. I bought this some years ago…I am not saying it’s what I would buy right now, but it’s fine. This is where the magic happens, hahaha
I just bought the chair, and I love it because it’s height adjustable, lumbar supportive and on castors so I can move between my sewing machine and serger without getting off my bottom. haha. Its the Skalberg/ Sporren.
The mirror (an absolute must in any sewing room if you are lucky enough to have one, IMHO), is the Isfjorden standing mirror. Again, I chose this because I knew the sloping ceilings in this room restricted having anything fitted to the walls.
Love my new thread rack (purchased on ebay).
I bought the cutting table just recently too. It’s the Gerton/ Finnvard combination, (two of them pushed together), and I am so pleased with it. I have very bad lower back pain and I specifically chose the Finnvard trestles because they are height adjustable. I have these set up so that, with the Gerton table tops in place, the height is 90 cm…the same height as a standard kitchen unit here in the UK. My back is not quite as painful now I am not leaning over the dining table to cut. We haven’t fixed these in to place yet, so I can move them around if I want/ need too.
The last thing I wanted to show you was under one end of the cutting table, my husband fixed a Grundtal rail and we hung a couple of Grundtal containers and S-hooks. You can see my Merchant and Mills scissors hanging there (birthday present from mum), and I like to keep things to hand there that I use during cutting, like chalk, tape measure, pins etc.
So that’s it. It’s still all quite new, and still not quite as organised as I would like it. I would like to add some colour to the walls eventually and I also need some curtains, oh and I am waiting for a new TV. I will do an update post once everything is finished. But it’s my very own amazing space, and suffice to say, you will have to carry me out of here in a box before I leave this house 🙂
Happy New Year Sewing Everyone!
P.S. if anyone with sharp eyesight was wondering what the heck is going on with my dress form, that creation is the work of my 5 year old daughter Kezia…an aspiring fashion designer 🙂 Until soon…