Tag Archives: Colette

The end of May … phew!

Me Made May draws to a close today and although I totally love the concept (thank you Zoe), I have to admit, I am a little more than relieved that it’s almost over …

Despite being very good at not photographing my efforts and the odd “didn’t you have that on yesterday?”, I’m very pleased to report that I managed to wear one home made item five days a week (I pledged that I would wear at least three, so that’s a positive!). I also attempted to make some trousers (another part of my pledge) and after a lengthy battle that threatened my relationship with my brain (such a puzzle), I gave up, so that’s a fail (… it’s fine, honestly and thank you so much for the encouraging comments on my last post!).

What did I learn? Don’t attempt trousers when you are busy and stressed for a start (the pattern and bits of fabric are now shoved in a carrier at the back of a cupboard). I also realised very quickly that I relied heavily on certain items to get me out of a MMM hole. I recorded everything I wore in my notebook but to be honest, I bored myself with the amount of times I wore a Sorbetto, so I shan’t inflict anymore of the list on you. In fact my outfits revolved around three dresses, five tops and this skirt that I forgot to take a picture of! A multitude of cardi’s helped with variety, but ooh, can you see why I struggled?


Losers? My denim Hollyburn is lovely but not with tights and so, frustratingly it hasn’t been worn yet (the English weather!), so a winner really, just not in May. The real losers in fact, were all the cheap fabric makes, my Mathilde being the biggest culprit, I tried to wear it at least once a week but took it off again straight away. I just can’t get comfy in this version (so clingy), I will have to make another in cotton to do the pattern justice.

Winners? The Sorbettos, Laurel top and Violet (thank you Colette) because they suited me and I could wear them with jeans and throw on a cardigan and really didn’t have to give much time or thought to my outfits (quite handy when I’m busy). My Laurel dress also had its share of wear on chilly days with tights and boots.

In conclusion? MMM ’13 was a bit of a struggle for me, but I’m really pleased I had a go. Yes, I am a bit bored  with the repeat appearances of certain tops. Yes, I could do with a few ‘basics’, the Renfrew is going to be a birthday request I think (you’ll see I’ve linked it just in case Jimmy is reading this). Yes, I have far too many polka dot items (is that possible?) and yes, I need to buy some lovely Liberty cotton (I’m shameless, hello Jimmy). But, and here’s the thing, it’s given me an appreciation of the things I’ve made that do work and most importantly …

… a desire to make lots more.

Have a nice weekend! x



Filed under ranting

I’m a Wally: Welt pocket warning …

If you don’t know what is going on here, think how I feel …


I am trying to fulfil my pledge to Me Made May by making myself some trousers and boy am I struggling. This is not enjoyable. In fact I am considering buying some from Toast, unpicking the label and replacing it with my own (… of course I wouldn’t actually do this) or just sticking on some patch pockets and going for the DIY store, uniform look (very tempting)!

I dithered and procrastinated for so long over this project that I didn’t leave myself a lot of time and when I did finally knuckle down I immediately hit a problem … welt pockets. As you can (sort of) see from the photo above, I messed up. No practise run, just an overwhelming desire to cut into the fabric and hope for the best. Don’t do this, it will end in tears.

I’m using a Burda pattern made for people who know what they are doing (not me) and boy does it make you appreciate the explanations in the patterns of Colette and Sewaholic! Too late for me, but the Thurlow pattern has arrived and I think I can salvage my mess by following the welt pocket instructions from this instead. Talk about running before I can walk and how I wish I’d used this pattern from the outset!

Don’t worry, I am not asking you to look at the photo and tell me what I did wrong, it’s in the bloody bin now and I know where I went wrong, I don’t want to talk about it. I AM OKAY (shouting)! It’s fine.

Oh and just a thought, but I am currently wandering why I wasn’t warned that having two babies exactly two years apart was a very bad idea. We have GCSE and A level revision going on in our home, next week the exams start in full force, stress levels are off the scale and I am trying to make welt pockets … What a wally.



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Bright little Laurel …

I made this version of the Laurel a couple of weeks ago and it was a sweet mini project after the shirt! I really enjoyed the simplicity of this pattern and the hand sewing was quite therapeutic.


I did have some incy issues with the fit of this and because I was impatient so excited to wear it, I didn’t exactly resolve them. So, I’m ashamed to say, it’s a bit big on the shoulders and I may have been slightly over zealous with the French seams and back darts because it’s a bit tight to get on too!


My goodness it’s bright! The fabric was a steal at £1 from that charity shop and there was just enough for this little number. The bias binding came curtesy of my lovely mum from her stash of beautiful bits and bobs and I love the two colours together.


I happen to have a cardi that matches the binding perfectly, so I can live with those shoulders and the high visibility colours mean I can always get part time work in the vehicle recovery industry should I need the change …

PS: There were photos of me looking at the camera, but I have just had a horrible sick bug and look like a washed out bag of spanners. I thought the bright top might help, I was wrong!


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No excuses …

Happy New Year! I have no excuses for my absence or lack of sewing, just a head full of silly stuff that has pushed all the lovely stuff into a tiny corner. I read in a magazine this week (yes, I have time to read magazines?!) that “a thought can only take up as much space in your head as you allow it to” (Pause Button Therapy by Martin and Marion Shirran, perhaps I should buy the book?). The idea being that by simply repeating this mantra stops your brain from allowing the thought to build up out of all proportion, magic!


Any old how, Christmas and the run up to it, as for everyone, was hectic. We went to Wales for the New Year which was heavenly. Beautiful landscapes, long walks in the fresh air and plenty of farm animals to entertain, all good for the sole.

As I have no projects on the go, I should show you what my mum made me for Christmas …


Two crochet flower corsages and two pairs of fingerless gloves (the photo does not do these justice) which are very useful when typing in the cold (Oh dear, I’ve just noticed the dog hairs on the teal gloves curtesy of the sheep dog where we stayed)!

I treated myself to two new books on a boxing day walk through town. The Works had Dottie Angel’s Granny Chic for £5.99 which was a pleasant surprise and the much blogged about Sew U Home Stretch also £5.99. I am now itching for a caravan with crochet blankets galore and a vintage curtained area for an overlocker so I can make a knitted fabric based capsule wardrobe!


I have also just purchased two new patterns (everything in twos), the Colette Jasmine blouse which I have needed for some time and the new Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt which looks like it may make my bottom look massive but I’m going to try it anyway!

I do have lots of things in mind to make which I will mention here just for my own reference. I must not forget the new Negroni shirt I have planned for Jimmy (a belated anniversary gift, he’s been so patient). The Ginger skirt that is now downloadable from Colette (as are Jasmine and Crepe, exciting!) and a dress which I’m hoping to recreate from memory using a mixture of patterns I already own (it could of course go horribly wrong). It was a vintage, velvet delight that I saw in Summertown just before Christmas. I stupidly told myself that I didn’t need it and even as I left the shop I knew I was making a mistake. The fact it didn’t have a price tag is why I hesitated, but I so regret not asking. Anyway, it’s gone now so I’ll never know! Perhaps I’ll recreate it, and my version won’t have the little hole in the sleeve or the musty smell …

As a final thought, I am working with an illustrator at the moment (in my day job) who is driving me mental with his fluffiness at not meeting deadlines, honestly you wouldn’t believe the excuses he comes out with in his emails  for not actually doing what he should be doing. It has occurred to me that maybe, just maybe I could possibly be his sewing equivalent? Oh Lordy! Just a thought, but I don’t like it …

I’ll be back x


Filed under gifts, ranting

Birthdays and bugs …

I am in bed.

I have a funny bug that not only makes my throat hurt like hell and  makes getting up to visit the toilet feel like a treck to Timbuktu but also makes me look at sewing related web pages and spend money on sewing related products. It’s a nasty one.

I really shouldn’t be spending money, it was my birthday yesterday and I had lots of lovely gifts. Jimmy gave me a much hinted at and quite frankly desperately needed Lady Valet dress form, hooray! And the quite marvellous Colette Sewing Handbook which I have been wanting for an age and will keep me occupied for many moons. Eldest teen used her hard earned cash to buy me a lovely Cath Kidston bag filled with all a woman needs to re-ignite her forgotten love of illustration (it’s what I used to do), pens, pencils, sketch book etc, I was touched by her thoughtfulness and faith in my abilities. Youngest teen, a beautiful leather case for my iphone. As if that wasn’t enough, I also got vintage cups and saucers and chocolates galore, the Poliça album and some money too!

The photo above is completely unrelated to my birthday but is so lovely of Jimmy and eldest teen that I put it in because I’m in a soppy kind of mood!

In case you’re wondering, I bought myself two more Colette patterns (because I love them), some viscose to make ANOTHER sorbetto and there’s three metres of a rather fetching gingham (another Peony inspired by Handmade Jane) sitting in a basket waiting for me to hit the ‘Buy’ button too. I must finish this one first of course but … I’m excited! Cough, splutter, urgh, now I just need to get rid of this damn bug!


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Ta Dah! My finished Hazel … and ok, another Sorbetto!

Phew! It is finished and not without a little bit of blood and sweat I might add. After a whole day of unpicking and re-sewing various parts of my Hazel, a mini tantrum and  some pathetic tears, I have completed The Dress. It’s not really my colour (I’m so silly to think green and white stripes would flatter my wintery complexion) but I’m hoping a little black cardi will transform it into a summer favourite.

In the end I took in the bodice by at least an inch and adjusted the position of the straps a tiny bit too. This wasn’t actually too difficult but I found it tricky to finish off the invisible zip and ended up unpicking it and re stitching it quite a few (grrrrrr!) times! I think if I were to make it again in a striped fabric, I’d make the stripes vertical on the straps as it was quite fiddly lining them up so they looked symmetrical. In fact I found the stripes a bit difficult to work with but that’s probably down to my lack of know how! I also added quite a bit to the length so that it sits just above my knobbly knees. Overall, I love this Colette pattern, the challenge really got my brain working and the satisfaction in working through the hiccups and making something fit me properly is brilliant.

Thank you to Sew Busy Lizzy for your wise words of encouragement, it’s lovely to have such comments! I’ve always been a bit of a recluse in the blog world and kept myself to myself using this as a sort of personal diary for the creative bit of me. I will try and make more of an effort to comment on other sewers blogs now I realise what a boost it can be to be the recipient!

But that’s not all … Whilst in the flow, I binned the floppy, worn out looking Sorbetto that I made as a gift for my friend Linda (it’s actually gone in the duster basket) and went crazy with the Hazel fabric by making a new improved version for her.

I think the fact that I would like to keep it for myself is a good sign. I even made some rather successful bias binding with my new Clover gadget! The sleeves and a couple of vintage buttons from my button tin finish it off a treat, she’s going to look lovely in this and being far more photogenic than myself, I will attempt to get a picture of her in it when I see her next week and post it (please let it fit)!


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The Hazel Dress part 2 …

Oh dear, my Hazel isn’t going according to plan and my blatant inexperience of dress making means I’m not sure why. It seems that a size 2 is also too big, even though I measure a 34 chest, perhaps I have a narrow back or perhaps my sad lady bumps are the wrong shape? I just can’t fathom it!

You might notice that this isn’t my toile. Having (thought I’d) mastered it, I impatiently started on this brand new Ikea duvet cover (still in it’s packaging!) that I found in a charity shop – £5 for a double cover and two pillow cases, 100% cotton, so many projects! (I wisely thought that it wouldn’t be so bad if this went wrong rather than my ruin my somewhat more expensive Clothkits fabric).

So today, despite a long list of other important jobs to do, I am going to unpick this and try again. It’s a shame because I am very happy with other elements of the dress like my pockets, the invisible zip (yes, I know I was silly to put it in before trying it on!!!) and the point at the front of the bodice is rather spot on too.

I’m learning such a lot doing this dress and despite it going a little bit wrong, I’m enjoying the process immensely. The Colette instructions are great and I love having the Coletterie website to refer to for further tutorials (the invisible zip one is very helpful). There’s nothing like a good puzzle to sort out and it’s all experience so I’m remaining positive.

Hopefully I’ll soon be able to post the finished Hazel and fingers crossed this unexpected warm weather will mean I can wear it too!


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The Sorbetto brought me back …

It’s been an age since I wrote on this blog. I have been utterly useless, a complete misery mops and for no good reason, not really anyway. I think that sometimes things (work, teenagers, the weather) just get a little overwhelming and it’s easy to get lost in it all, the last thing I felt like doing was to be creative and write about it.

But enough, because that silly phase is over and I will keep up this blog, but only when I have the inclination, because creativeness has to happen in it’s own good time.

So, hello Colette and thank you for inspiring me once again! I had read about these patterns on other blogs but their seed was sown in my brain when I spotted them in Liberty‘s. Only since my discovery (ages after everyone else, I’m a bit slow) of the free download of the Sorbetto top did I fall properly in love and a day off work meant I could play and make myself something for Spring.

And what a satisfyingly simple top to assemble it is, I shall be making lots more of these with varying twists I’m sure. I pretty much followed the instructions for this little number to the letter, although it may be a tiny bit too big for me it hangs well and looks quite retro. I made the back in two pieces to save fabric and left a gap at the top for a button fastening which looks nice. I also didn’t hem the bottom as I was worried my tummy might show and hadn’t realised that I might find it a bit short until after I’d cut the fabric (doh!), so I added bias binding here for maximum length. I also added some vintage green buttons and am thinking perhaps a little collar or some short sleeves next time.

Right, must turn off the iron and cook some tea for teens … x

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