Tag Archives: the green man festival

Brecon Beacons, Badgers and Big kids …

Not much in the way of sewing going on and I think it’s probably because the summer is ending and I am positively pooped!

It’s been a busy few weeks, not only was my boy 16, but my girl turned 18! We celebrated birthdays, exam results and bright futures at the Green Man Festival where I wore my Anna dress with pride (wellies and all) and we paraded/lounged about in the beautiful Brecon Beacons wearing the paper maché masks we made (my personal little shout out for English badgers!).


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A gloriously happy festival that we’ve been to since the teens were little and always brilliant (except maybe last year when it didn’t stop raining!). It’s almost the end of the summer holidays and a new, exciting chapter for my children who have both (I can’t believe this) left school.

OK, off to start thinking about what to make for Autumn … I know we’ve still got a few weeks of sunshine left (fingers crossed) but it’s very exciting planning projects. I’m thinking cord and wool, or, I could make another Anna (yes please) and just bung on some 40 derniers and a cardi!


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My festival Anna and wear your helmet! …

On Thursday, my boy was sixteen. Where did that time go? Oh my!

We went to London for the day to look at fabric bicycle shops. I forced myself to look away from the tube map that showed quite clearly we were travelling at high speed, away from the direction of Goldhawk Road, did a bit of deep breathing and managed to keep my mouth shut. Yes, I was stoic and I made all the right, enthusiastic noises whilst  fixie spotting (there are so many on the East London streets) and admiring carbon fibre wheels. It was a great day. Except my boy pointed out that NO ONE cool bothers to wear a helmet in London. Now, I love cycling and I love cyclists, but as we watched a hipster dart across traffic and almost collide with a white van, I pointed out that not wearing a helmet doesn’t mean you are cool it means you are a dick head. What’s a mother to do? Why the hell it’s legal to ride without one is beyond me.


I digress, sorry … As I am having a bit of bother with my Cambie (almost sorted btw), I decided to take a break and try out the lovely Anna Dress of By Hand London for my boy’s birthday outing. I bit the bullet and cut with confidence into an amazingly gorgeous vintage fabric (see above) that I’ve had in my stash for years and years, it takes my breath away, I love it so much! I’ve been tempted to use it a couple of times now but have always chickened out, then I decided that realistically I will never think I’m good enough to use it and hey, I could get knocked off my bike tomorrow so live for today and cut away!

I didn’t make a muslin (doh!), I checked my measurements and was quite confident that it would work.


It almost worked. I’ve decided I have a narrow back (really?), hence the gape across it. Not wanting to unpick my invisible zip (the fabric is quite delicate), I pinched some of the excess fabric from the neckline and created two new darts, altering the facing to match. Hmm, I think it looks ok, but I wish I’d re-read Karen’s post before I cut it out and too late I noticed Lizzy had the same problem, it’s not just me, phew!

Then I noticed the gape at the front, I’m a bit perplexed in all honesty because I seem to have this problem with every pattern (my London dress had similar issues) and I’m not sure what to do, perhaps the V neck would have worked better?

Anyway (what a rambling post), it’s lovely, I love it and the shape is so flattering, I can see why it’s so popular. I used French seams in the bodice but overlocked the skirt pieces before stitching together (all seven of them!) as this fabric frays for England. I love the pleated bodice and fitted waist, it’s so feminine. I wore mine with a belt on our day out but today I’m wearing it minus the belt and it’s just as shapely.


This is my first make from By Hand London and it probably took me about five hours with all my fiddling about with my baggy bits. It’s actually very straightforward to assemble (for normal people!) and I’m so happy that I used this precious fabric as it suits the style perfectly. I hemmed it the day of our trip up town, half an hour before the train left (phew) and consequently re-hemmed it this morning, only this time straight!




With my boys birthday over, I am thinking this is a good festival dress (it even says so on the packet!). I’m not sure why maxi dresses are recommended for festivals as I see nothing but muddy hems and awkward maneuvers in the very dodgy portaloos, but the shorter version is perfect! As we are off to Green Man very soon, this is definitely coming with me! I’m just hoping it won’t rain quite so much this year …



Right, where’s my boy, I need to permanently attach that helmet to his head and remind him that he may be sixteen but he’ll always be my baby!



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Little treasures …

My machine is sitting in my bedroom at the sewing table patiently waiting for me to return to duties. The school holidays have turned out to be pretty busy really and to hide away sewing up my Autumn wardrobe is just going to have to wait!

In the meantime, here are two treasures I bought at Green Man from  Forage and Find, a busy and popular stall with too many goodies to choose from …

A gorgeous vintage brooch (can you see it next to the lovely postcard it is mounted on?) and a necklace made using an old postage stamp!

I have also just received an Ebay purchase, an A-line, lined skirt pattern from the 70s … exciting!


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Real women, spots and all …

This time last week I was at the Green Man festival hiding under my duvet while the rain hammered down on the roof of my tent sounding like bad interference on a broken radio (not the weather of last years festival). Outside my bunting was sodden, the ground was quickly turning to thick, muddy slop and and I know I wasn’t the only one wishing I’d stayed at home …

Ok, I was the only one.

Jimmy and the teens all seemed to take this set-back in their stride and not wanting to be a party pooper (my girl turned 17), I got my fetching waterproof trousers and wellies on and braved the chocolate custard (positive thinking) footpaths. Actually, it wasn’t so bad, the sun did come out a few times and the atmosphere at Green Man is always lovely and friendly, so what’s not to like (the mud?!).

Anyway, why am I talking about the Green Man festival on my sewing blog? Well, great bands aside, Metronomy, Beth Jean Houghton, of Montreal, The Walkmen, King Creosote and John Hopkins, Tuneyards, oh and so many more (notice I’ve not included Van Morrison or Dexy’s … sorry but no, no, no!), I was really taken with watching other festival goers this year. So many lovely people to look at and so many outfits to examine in the loo queue too.

(A nice gin and tonic every now and again helped me through it)

On our way to Wales, we stopped at a service station and I fell for the old ‘treat yourself to a magazine’ number. I bought myself the September issue of InStyle, what terrible mistake that was. Now, I’m not a huge magazine lover anyway, but this one really got on my nerves. Talk about being packed with adverts and unrealistic, pouting women who make you feel a bit poo about yourself while you’re sinking in mud, wearing filthy jeans and a dodgy hat to hide your greasy hair. It seemed like everyone featured in it had wealthy or celebrity connections and it started to really get on my pitta breads. Daisy Lowe is gorgeous of course, but honestly, her mother is Pearl; Stella Tennant might be ‘fashion talent’ (?) but she happens to be the grandaughter of the Duchess of Devonshire; Victoria Beckham is in the guide to the ‘hottest 100 designers’ (did she struggle at art college?) then there’s Georgia May Jagger (I can’t think who she could be related to), all that pandering and gushing (“5 reasons why we love Blake Lively” … urgh!) to beautiful women and I was almost vomiting.

Phew, got that off my chest. The Green Man festival was brimming with beautiful, natural women of all shapes and sizes. I can’t believe I subjected myself to the utterly pointless page turning of this magazine when all I had to do was leave my tent to see unique individuals with their own personal style and bucket loads of airbrush-free, natural beauty at all ages and they were REAL WOMEN!

Have a lovely weekend! x

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