Tag Archives: walthamstow market

My hardy Laurel …

Say hello to my Colette Laurel dress number 2 …


Squint and ignore those wrinkles, instead focus on the lovely colour and the usefulness of this little number. If I keep my arms down and perhaps forward a little, like I’m about to pick up a small child, those wrinkles aren’t quite so bad, honest. Oh bum boils, I hadn’t noticed them when Jimmy took the photo, but later that night when I was lying on the sofa watching Educating Yorkshire (bloody brilliant), my armpits started to die and it dawned on me that there was something not quite right! 


I think I know what happened. I cut the fabric (as before) in a slightly A line shape but once sewn up it felt a bit shapeless. I debated putting some darts at the front but in the end decided on the easier option (doh) of taking it in at the sides. I may have started too high up and hence have a little less room for my ample (excuse me while I laugh my head off) bosom. I shan’t do that again, that’s for sure.

The fabric is from last years trip to Walthamstow, a very cheap teal crepe and quite a weighty and tough one too (heaven knows what the composition is as it’s a tiny bit scratchy!). The only changes I made were to create that slight A line shape, lengthen the sleeves and add a little bib detail with black binding and a couple of buttons from my stash. I do love this dress despite the “issues”. The versatility of this pattern excites me and I’m tempted to make yet another in denim, patch pockets and all, as I’m sure I’d wear it lots.

Right, off to watch One Man and his Dog with a mug of chestnut soup. Batten down the hatches, there’s a storm brewing!




Filed under makes, Uncategorized

My Miss Marple Skirt …

Any village murders need solving? If you just give me a minute to powder my nose and quickly knit a cardi, I could be the sleuth you’re looking for in my new super duper Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt!


At first I was thinking primary school headmistress circa 1975 but I’m much comfier with Agatha Christie’s iconic little old lady. If I take it up a tiny bit so it sits just on my knee instead of just below, I may be able to shake off this image, but on the whole … I love it!


This is my first Sewaholic pattern and it won’t be my last, it’s very clear and simple, I love the design. The fabric is another Walthamstow, £2 per metre find and there’s something quite nice about it with the orange and cream flecks running through it.


I went for view B, but took a bit of length off (not enough apparently) as I just loved the button tabs. Buttons and big pockets, what’s not to like about this?


And yes, I did add piping to the pockets …


How nice it that?!



And look, an invisible Zip! I did think this may make my bum look humungous, but I think it’s ok. I don’t actually care, I like this skirt so much and round bottoms are good!

Next time? A little bit shorter but that’s just me. Oh, and itchy fabrics need lining, or a decent petticoat!

This pattern has so many possibilities, a denim number is next on my list with contrasting piping, but floral, summery versions excite me no end! You should buy this pattern, it’s very, very satisfying!





Filed under makes, Uncategorized

Southern exposure …

I have made my Colette Jasmine and thank goodness that’s over! Don’t get me wrong, the pattern is lovely, but my choice of fabric has left me a little shaken!


I used the polka dot and floral fabric from my Walthamstow stash (bottom of the pile above) and there are a couple of reasons to love/hate this synthetic, slippery son of a gun. Firstly it’s very pretty yet I can’t help but feel it’s a bit mumsy, a bit, oh I don’t know, bank uniformy? I just need a navy blazer with gold buttons and perhaps a ‘hair sprayed to the max’ flick and you’ll be asking me to change your euros. It has a lovely drape and certainly feels nice to touch, it even does as it’s told if you press it to within an inch of a meltdown.


I’d seen ScruffyBadger’s lovely dress and had ideas of stealing borrowing her red ricrac addition as it looks so perfect, but my head told  me not to try and be too clever. Colette do an excellent job with this pattern and explain each step nice and clearly as always, but the fabric really was tricky to work with (have I mentioned that already?). My first mistake was thinking I was cutting around the weighted down pattern when actually I ended up with a distorted back piece in the shape of Finland.


It very soon became apparent that this wasn’t gong to plan. I stopped using the pattern instructions about half way through just because I wanted to finish it and not waste any more time on something I thought I would probably never wear. So, I used bias binding (my hint of red) instead of facing and I changed the sleeves to a shorter, simple, hemmed version. As much as I like the cuffs Colette have designed, I think to construct them here might have just tipped me over the edge! Also the ties are meant to be in a bow, but I think I prefer them just hanging there looking relaxed in a casual, I’m no bank clerk sort of way …


I have worn this all morning with a pair of jeans and a red cardi and  it looks quite nice … until I move. Those bias cuts are cheeky, they look figure hugging good when motionless, but when I sit down my naked back is exposed to unsuitable extremes and what with the oh so low waist of my silly jeans showing the top of my massive knickers, this isn’t good. Oh, I’m being a grump, forgive me, this could be a really good top.


To do this pattern justice I will absolutely, definitely make the Jasmine again but I will use a cotton I think, something with substance and something my machine loves to sew. I will cut it much longer than the pattern instructs and I will fiddle with the fitting issues across the back too (slight hump going on for some reason).


I know I look a bit demented in this photo but believe it or not, it’s an ‘I’m quite happy with this after all’ face. I might just go and buy a vest to wear under it (one that tucks into my knickers, well it’s damn cold out) then we’ll all be happy.

The best thing has been that I’ve actually made time to sew again and it’s been absolutely brilliant to be in ‘the zone’. Just me, the radio and the gentle purr of my machine. I love being at home and get such pleasure from sitting with a mug of tea reading through the pattern and laying it all out. The whole process is therapeutically satisfying. It’s nice to be back.




Filed under makes

Autumn leaves and three quarter sleeves …

My little sewing project has had so many interruptions this week that I was beginning to think I might never get it done. It’s not been straightforward, the fabric turned out to be a nightmare for starters and the French seams that I was so proud of were slightly misjudged and as a consequence the dress is a tiny bit on the tight side. I can wear it, I just can’t eat anything (she says stuffing a chocolate bourbon in her mouth) when it’s on.

The fabric is from my Walthamstow hoard and please don’t ask me what it is, I’ve no idea. It was bought for three reasons, I liked the pattern, I loved the drape and it was dirt cheap. Two metres purchased in the heat of the moment, everything I bought that day came back with me in two metre lengths, what the hell was I thinking?! This was £1.50 a metre, I am officially dim. I have used my pattern of the moment, the Simplicity 2444 and it specifically says on the back of the packaging that if you only purchased 2 metres of fabric for this perfect dress, you are a plonker. That aside, the fabric has a will of its own. You can pin it, iron it, press it, stick a tonne of hot weights on it over night and yet it will never crease. That’s good if you fall asleep in it in the stationery cupboard at work and want to emerge looking fresh as a daisy, but not if you want to press a bloody hem.

OK, despite all that, I’m quite pleased with the end product …

I did things slightly differently to the last version. I cut my front skirt out of one piece this time (good job, what with the seams refusing to press flat) and the skirt isn’t quite as full because the fabric wasn’t wide enough (and because there were only two metres, grrr!). I kept the pockets (I love pockets) and managed to squeeze out three quater length sleeves too …

which I hemmed using the brown silky bias binding also bought at Walthamstow (25p per metre!).

The invisible zip behaved itself … Ooh, I’m beginning to like this dress.

Sorry about the pigeon feet, I know I am an adult but something in me goes all silly when I’m having my photo taken, it’s an insecurity thing I’m sure.

I hemmed this dress three times to try and get it to hang nicely. I’d intended to hem it with the same brown binding that I did the sleeves with but figured it would hang like a hooped skirt if I wasn’t careful, so it was machined … unpicked and hand sewn, unpicked and machined again. Third time lucky and I think it looks just fine.

In fact it looks quite Autumnal. If you stood me in a park amongst the fallen leaves I could easily get lost … tempting!




Filed under makes

All work, no play …

My head is spinning with work at the moment, work, teenagers and what to cook for dinner. I am home early today, but am I sewing? No mrs, I am not. I am too tired and all I can manage is to sit on the sofa with nothing more than a mug of tea and a vacant expression while my teens drink their milk and watch tv programmes designed for six year olds . We all feel the same I think.

I had a nice surprise this morning when a parcel arrived at the office addressed to me, look what was inside …

Buttons and buckles (yes more) from my mothers stash. The card reads “there’s more where these came from!”, exciting! A red buckle is just what I need to make a belt for my gingham number. Speaking of which, a new Simplicity 2444 is waiting in the wings of my sewing head. I just need to shove all the other stuff like work and assisting with UCAS forms out of the way to make room for a bit of me time first.

Maybe tomorrow I will get a wiggle on and at least pin the pattern to the fabric? I’ll let you know …


Filed under gifts

Two hours to paradise…

My heart is racing just writing this post such is the extent of my excitement. My fingers and toes are tingling as I picture in my head the feasts of fabric I saw yesterday as finally, yes finally, I made it to …

Walthamstow Market!

Many thanks to Karen for her post with a very handy map, as you can see I took it with me, along with a list of things I needed to look for in an (failed) attempt to be organised and sensible! Jimmy and his much loved Holga camera came with me for moral support (and to help me carry my bags as it turned out) and stood patiently outside each shop while I almost wept with happiness as I stroked each bolt of fabric I passed! Jimmy was happy that I was happy but I can see why it’s good to go with other sewists. A much loved partner can only grin and nod so much when their other half is skipping up and down with wide eyes saying “Oh My God!” every few seconds.

Any old how, down to business, what did I buy …

Quite a lot as it happens! Sixteen metres (oh!) of various fabrics and eight metres of satin bias binding. My most expensive purchase was an £8 per metre cotton print from Saeed Fabrics (Liberty apparently, or did she say Laura Ashley?)

… and all the others were £1.50 to £2.50 per metre, with bias binding at only 25p per metre. Happy? Yes I am thank you very much.

So happy that I got up early and washed it all! It’s off the line and in the airing cupboard now, except for the denim and plain teal crepe which is still trying to dry outside.

There’s quite a range isn’t there. I love the floral floppy numbers and the brown textured piece and denim should come in handy, but the leopard print was just too tempting to leave at £1 per metre, a guilty pleasure as I adore it but have up to this point never worn it!

I spent £44 altogether (not including train fair and lunch) and that’s pretty good when I think of the immense pleasure I will get from looking at it making some  lovely clothes from it all. Walthamstow Market was vibrant and exciting just as markets used to be (I loved going to Penge market with my nan when I was little and it reminded me of that), with people laughing and chatting. I would love to go again and maybe meet some fellow bloggers next time so that poor Jimmy can go out on his bike instead.

Please don’t ask me how I hope to use this little lot. Firstly I need to sit down and think long and hard about how greedy I’ve been. Then I can start grinning again and jump up and down with a smug little jig!



Filed under finds