Monday 20 July 2015

Summer Sewing

The past few weeks sewing projects have started whirling around in my head, usually during night feeds, and although I won't get time to make them all I thought if I posted a few of them it might give me a bit of motivation plus I really enjoy seeing other sewers planned projects and how they adapt and change.

Since having a baby my body shape has really changed  (I believe I am now an apple!) and left me with lots of clothing that just doesn't fit.  Add to that the need for nursing friendly clothing and I am down to wearing the same few items in rotation.  So sewing some correctly sized gap-filling and nursing friendly clothes is high on my priority list.   I am going on holiday in a week too and I would dearly love at least one finished item to take with me so here goes!

Butterfly Delphine
The easiest and probably fastest make would be Tilly's Delphine skirt from 'Love at first Stitch'. It uses only a metre of fabric and is quite a straightforward a-line so I think this is my best shot at getting something completed.  Plus the shape looks good on so many figures I'm hoping it will suit my newly curvy one.
'Love at First Stitch' by Tilly and the Buttons

I found this great butterfly appliqué tutorial at Project Run and Play (for little girls but that won't stop me) and I'm going to try it in a different colour scheme.
Photo credit: Jessica from my inner need to create via Project Run and Play

Dusty pink is the main skirt fabric and then the other florals and lilacs will make up the butterfly wings 

Bright Box Pleats
I really love the box pleat skirt from the Great British Sewing Bee second book which is again a straightforward looking sew but very stylish.  This style of skirt seems to be forever popping up on my pinterest at the moment.  I would love it in a chevron print or  stripe but I am on a self imposed fabric buying ban so anything I do sew will be from the stash.  (This doesn't seem to have stopped me much, now I seem to be buying zips and trims instead!)

I have a fab bold paisley print which my brother bought me a few years ago which I think will work.  Originally I thought maybe it would become a tunic or a maxi dress but now I'm thinking this skirt.
My stash fabric I think it is an old Anna Marie Horner design

Turquoise shirt dress
Lastly I have had this turquoise kona cotton since I made my carousel dress and all along I have wanted to turn it into a shirt dress.  I love shirt dresses they are so easy to wear and I keep seeing them popping up all over people's blogs at the minute. 

Silver Needles Pattern 56 - I haven't come across this brand before

I think I have settled on this pattern but I'm still unsure.  I cannot decide if I want sleeveless or short sleeves? Do I want to use the fushia pink rose buttons I originally got for it or are they too big?  Do I want to use fushia piping to match?  What about a floral contrast to collar and cuffs?  The list goes on...

What would you do?  Also how do other mums manage their sewing time?  I'm all ears.

Thursday 9 July 2015

Epic bunting

It's been a while!   Sometimes life gets busy and blogging takes a back seat. In this case it was a maternity break heehee!  I can't promise to be posting more often as it is hard to get time to spend sewing with a baby. 

This is a project I recently completed to make bunting for my mother-in-laws preschool.  It is 50 flags long and reads "TSJ preschool celebrates an outstanding OFSTED."   The letters are all hand sewn and this took me a good few weeks when you only get an hour or so a day to work on it.  I used gingham as it reminds me of school summer dresses and it is an affordable fabric.  The school colours are red and blue too so it is a nod to that.  I am I  love with the bright blue binding it is so vivid and eye catching! 

I have a secret project on the go at the moment and have been doing lots of sewing planning even if I haven't been able to do that much!  Planning is half the fun sometimes! 

Sunday 30 November 2014

Our Wedding - The Details

Photo credit Joshua Halling
I have started this post a few times but I have not been able to publish anything as I usually just get too caught up in remembering what a wonderful day we had!

We got married on 10th May 2014 in a very windy and overcast Swansea, typical Welsh weather then!  We were on a budget and the wedding was relaxed and low key which reflected our personalities, we didn't want to spend a fortune on a wedding day (we spent it on a house deposit instead!) but we still wanted to have a celebration and a fantastic time.

We had a church service with family and friends and the reception was held in our local scout hall.  We both have links to guiding and scouting so this was a natural decision for us.  All our families and friends were involved in some way either with decorating, the cake, photos, the food and a lot of clearing up afterwards and without them we just wouldn't have pulled it off, so a huge thank you goes out to all of them.
Credit Kylie Robinson
We draped the hall in cream fabric which I found cheaply online to give it a marquee feel and wrapped it in the meters and meters of bunting that I made using the different pastel fabrics.  I would love to tell you that I did everything in advance but it would be a lie, the bunting was finsihed the day before it went up and even my wedding dress had adjustments made on the day of the wedding.  I should have done it all in advance but with the pressures of just gaining a full time promotion and just being an habitual procrastinator it just didn't happen.
Photo credit Joshua Halling
For the flowers I really wanted to include some of my favourite love-in-the-mist as well as roses, my mum's favourite of carnations and sweetpeas which were in my grandmothers wedding bouquets.  I did agonise over what to order in the way of flowers as I would have loved table arrangements and floral displays in the church but it just seemed liked too much money in the grand scheme of things.  The bouquets and buttonholes were just perfect and from Flourish Flowers and I would definitely recommend.

Photo credit Joshua Halling
Something else I didn't begrudge spending money was having the bridal parties hair done.  I am just rubbish at styling my hair let alone anyone else so it was good to know we were in safe hands.  The head dress was my grandmothers and is made from pearls and wax orange blossoms and is very delicate (and a bit squashed) but I really wanted to wear it.  I had ideas of how I wanted my hair but they were very vague and I didn't know waht would work with the head dress as it sticks up more than a more usual tiara would.  Amy Adamson helped me find a style and I was really happy with my trial and didn't change it.  She also did the bridesmaids lovely side buns and my mum's hair too.
Photo credit Joshua Halling

My husband chose the suits, pinstripe trousers, grey waistcoats and black tails and the fathers, groom and ushers had blue, cream and lilac knot ties because I love a matching colour theme!  The suits were all from Dyfed Menswear and I cannot rave about them enough.  They were very helpful, fitted us all in for measurements and fittings even though only the groom actually lives in Swansea, had everything ready on time and replacements when the best man realised he has ordered too small.  I would definitely go to them for formal hire again.
Photo credit Joshua Halling
One thing I really wanted to do was to make my bridesmaid dresses.  I wasn't that comfortable making my wedding dress as with all my makes I am never 100 percent happy with them and I didn't want to feel like that about my wedding dress.  My dress was vintage 1950's which I altered at the back as I do not have a vintage waist and I am really happy with how it looked.  For the bridesmaids I used Simplicity 3780 which is an out of print pattern based on an original vintage pattern.  I have made this dress before for my sister so I knew it would fit her and I loved the style of it.  I also love the gathered chiffon dresses of the '50's so I went for that vibe layering chiffon over cream the same colour as my dress.  They are not perfect but I love how the girls looked in them all together.
Credit Kylie Robinson
A little note about shoes, I actually bought these fantastic bridesmaid shoes from Irregular Choice which is my favourite shoe brand before I even started the dresses!  They were just so pretty and perfect and I want them for myself though I really wanted baby blue shoes for my wedding day so....
Credit Claire Latchem
...I ended up with these bad boys!  They are fancy designer Badgley Mischka and I got them at a rock bottom price on ebay after nearly a year of stalking.  They were perfect, exactly what I wanted and sky high which coincidentally was the perfect height for my dress, no hemming required, result!
Photo credit Joshua Halling
The beautiful cake was made by our friend Ed and was a bit of a surprise as I had given him some photos of cakes I liked and fillings (chocolate, fruit and sponge) but we didn't really know what he had come up with until the day before the wedding when it was delivered!  He surpassed himself, not only was it baby blue, which I really wanted, but he covered it in lace and homemade sugar flowers.  The chocolate cake layer was so good that it all got eaten on the wedding day!  That doesn't often happen wedding cake!  Our toppers were little wooden moomins that I got on etsy which is a bit of an inside joke but also something we can keep as a memento.  Ed also made a brilliant pizza grooms cake as we have both worked at Domino's pizza and share our love of 'posh cheese on toast!' Haha!
Credit Kylie Robinson
Credit Kylie Robinson
For the favours I made wine glass charms after searching for ideas for ages.  I wanted something personal but also cheap to make as favours seem to be really expensive for something that half the guests won't even look at again.  I was hoping that they might use these again plus they added a little something to the tables.  Each guest had their initial in a scrabble tile (we all love board games in our families but I hate scrabble so this was a bit of a joke) a coloured glass bead and an appropriate charm.  The bridal party had 'best man' etc hearts, and I had a mix of dinosaurs, cars, tools, cooking utensils, flowers and butterflies.  I would recommend making these to anyone as they are quite easy to put together and you can customise easily and cheaply.
Credit Kylie Robinson
These beautiful desserts were made my mother-in-law, we had pavlova, lemon chill flan, chocolate amaretto dessert, fruit jelly and fruit fool.  We had quite a few different dietary requirements so this catered for them all and we had a variety of cheeses to follow.
Credit Kylie Robinson
My mother-in-law also put together these photograph boards of both myself and my husband which were a really nice touch.
Credit Kylie Robinson
One thing I wanted from the start was a sweetie buffet so I went to the cash and carry and stocked up on pink, white and rainbow sweets.  This went down really well and we had a fair bit left over even with people loading up their bags on the way out.  It isn't the cheapest thing to do but once I stuck to the cheaper sweets rather than going for expensive ones like sugared almonds it worked out ok.  I made the cake pops a few days before with my mum as I really love them and they ended up looking like little roses.  The stand I made from leftover polystyrene from our kitchen installation and the ribbon I used on the bridesmaid dresses.

Other ways I saved money:
  • Invitations - My sister is the graphic designer, Superfex, so she designed and got the wedding save the dates and invitations printed at a very cheap rate and they were lovely.
  • Photos - My sister also put us in touch with one of her photographer friends to take the pictures.  Josh is not actually a wedding photographer but made the exception for us and they turned out beautifully.  You can see his amazing live music photography here.
  • Canapés -  I made heart shaped Welsh cakes a few days before which our lovely scout leaders griddled and served warm with a glass of Pimms.
  • Hog Roast - We avoided the expense and the difficult logistics of a three course meal by having a hog roast from Gower Crackling Hog Roasts and it was amazing!  I couldn't eat much on the day, I was too excited but everyone else enjoyed it.
Credit Kylie Robinson
  • Music - Playing recorded music was covered in my license so I actually made up a 'dance' and a 'background' playlist using Spotify on my laptop, plugged it into some speakers and hey presto!  I am so happy with how this worked and I effectively DJ-ed my own wedding without the expense and it meant I only had songs we both liked.  I could even take requests!  This may not be everyones cup of tea but it worked really well for us.
  • Bar - I applied for a license for the venue for the one evening which isn't much and we bought a mix of drinks and our scout leaders again obliged by working as barmen.  We charged a few pounds a drink just to cover our costs which worked really well as it kept the bar cheap but also meant we didn't spend a fortune on alcohol.
  • Service - we didn't have any wait staff, which might sound like a nightmare but it wasn't.  The families all knew this and everyone chipped in clearing tables, washing up and serving desserts.
  • Table plan - We worked this our in advance, it was actually pretty easy as we didn't have individual tables but combined them to make a village fete feel.  I loved this as I could see everyone instead of being isolated on the top table.  My mother-in-law decorated a board with confetti and coloured paper so people knew where to sit.  (seen behind the dancers!)
Credit Daniel Broadley
And a final silly one of my side of the family and bridesmaids.  If there is one thing you do, make sure you get some silly shots as well as the formal ones.  These are the ones you remember in the end, the silly, happy moments messing around and enjoying the day.

Thursday 16 October 2014


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Sunday 8 June 2014

Me-Made-May 2014

As May has been spectacularly busy for me, I thought I would put all my Me-Made pictures into one post as regular blogging has just been impossible for me.  I am excited to be getting back to sewing and blogging though now that things have calmed down a bit.  (Apologise for the messy bedroom/ camera phone shots but I have misplaced my camera charger in the move!)

 3rd May - Wore my yellow daisy dress on a very sunny day off where I managed a bit of geocaching and some wedding decoration making.
Yellow Daisy Dress
7th May - I wore my strawberry shirt for a day of sewing bunting, making decorations and general wedding preparations.  This is a super busy week with our wedding on Saturday and we are doing it all ourselves so we have a lot of running around picking up glasses and plates, decorating the scout hall where we are holding it, making 25+ metres of bunting, finishing sewing the bridesmaid dresses and making a few adjustments to my wedding dress.  Phew!
Strawberry Shirt
10th May - WEDDING DAY!!!!   

 Disclaimer:  I did not make my wedding dress but I did alter it.  I saw this 1950's dress on Etsy and I fell in love with it, even though it was far too small for me.  I bought it anyway and figured out that if I added lacing to the back then it would fit.  I was and still am really pleased with the finished dress, it felt beautiful and flattering on which is the whole point of a wedding dress right?

Back lacing
 I would highly recommend altering a dress in this way if like me you do not have a vintage waist.  It was quick and easy to do (though lacing it up isn't!) and best of all it could be easily reversed and the original zip could be put back in afterwards if required.
I don't have my professional pictures back yet but as soon as I do there will be a proper wedding post with all the handmade details.  The bridesmaids were wearing genuine me-made.  When we started wedding planning the bridesmaid dresses were the one thing I was absolutely certain of what I wanted.  They actually turned out really well and I am pretty sure all the girls were happy wearing them.

11th/12th May - I'm married!!!!  Yay!  This is one of my favourite dresses I have made so I wore it for our post-wedding BBQ with our immediate families.  We had an fantastic day and the BBQ was a great way to wind down and spend a bit of extra time with our families before they travelled home.  We ended up staying at the house where we held the party so I actually wore this for 2 days!  Smelly!
Red New Girl Dress
20th May - Another beautiful day in Swansea so I pulled out this dress.  It is rather tight in the bust area now but I can't resist wearing it as I still love the horses around the hem.  We had a little mini-honeymoon where we visited Sam's sister in Durham who had recently given birth to a beautiful baby boy and consequently couldn't make the wedding.  We had a lovely time, with lots of walking and visiting a few sites and holding new baby Harry.
Carousel Dress 

27th May - Wore my nautical skirt to write thank you notes, clean the house and prepare for my best friends wedding.
Nautical Circle Skirt

31st May - Another wedding!  This time it is my best friend and my chief bridesmaids turn.  She had her dress and the bridesmaid dresses handmade by her maid of honours mum (complicated! heehee) so I feel I can include them here.  She really is an amazing dressmaker and the dresses were so bright and beautiful they really show up well in the photos.  

Beautiful bride and groom
What a month!  I'm hoping to get the old sewing machine churning again soon, though it has been nice to have a break from manic wedding sewing.  I would have liked to get a few more outfits in as there are some things I haven't worn but sometimes it is too easy to throw on the same old outfits every morning.  I definitely need to gear my future sewing towards casual day dresses and I would like to make some work appropriate blouses I can wear too.  I no longer have to wear a uniform to work (yay promotion!) but I am finding it very difficult to find comfortable durable and smart blouses.  The shops are full of lovely chiffon and sheer tops but these just won't work for me are I need something more hard wearing that I won't tear or rip.  So let the pattern/fabric hunt begin!

Wednesday 2 April 2014


I, Sarah (sorbetsurprise) sign up as a participant in Me-Made-May 14. I will endeavour to wear me-made or refashioned clothing at least 12 times during me made May!

 Last year I said twice a week, so I am upping my total number of outfits this time. I don't have that many new me-mades that are suitable for everyday wear but I am honeymooning during May so can wear more of my own clothing!  Also I no longer have to wear a uniform to work, just office wear now, though I haven't as yet made myself anything for work, though it is on my to-do list!  I am excited that my wedding falls during May and I have cheated a little by adding 'refashioned' to my me-made as technically I have refashioned my wedding dress!  Plus my I am making my lovely bridesmaids their dresses too!  (Hence the quiet time on the blog!  Lots of secret projects under way.)

If you want to join in head over to So Zo to pledge.

Sunday 19 January 2014

House tour!

While considering buying our own house (yippee!!) I took a LOT of photos to show our various relatives of the house we ended up buying so I thought I would share some of them here.  The house needed total redecoration and we have done a fair bit of building work too but it is by no means finished.  Trying to plan (and pay for) a wedding at the same time as doing up our house/moving in has meant we have lots of started but not-really-finished projects.  These are the before pictures though, before we had done anything at all to the house.

We didn't think we would get as much house for our money as we have ended up with and the hallway is really big.  (Though dark here due to the '70's wood panelling and carpet.)
 The front room featured textured wallpaper, a plastic faux log effect gas fire and the thickest greenish-murky shag carpet I have EVER seen!  Said carpet was the first thing I wanted to get rid of when we moved in but alas 2 months down the line and it is the only carpet remaining from original!  In the end we decided the carpet was better than the concrete floor in the front room as we do spend a fair bit of time there but I still can't wait to change it.
Back room.  The house was a little bit odd as it almost had two living rooms.  It was built in the 1920's so then they would most likely have had a sitting room for best which was only used on Sunday's and I imagine this back room would get most use.  A slightly more modern fire in this one but an uglier fireplace unfortunately.  Oh and the carpet!
The kitchen was absolutely tiny.  Doesn't look too bad here?  Well this is it.  At the edge of the picture is the door leading in and behind me is a wall.  This was all the units the previous family had and I can tell you it is HARD to cook in a kitchen that size!
Upstairs then, is this lovely landing.  I really think this is part of what sold the house to us.  It is large enough for a sofa and really quite spacious.
The main bedroom is a similar shape to the front room and pretty large.  It is a bit of a pain being a strange shape as it is hard to know where to put the bed.
The back bedroom has the lovely little original fireplace which I just wish was in the main bedroom.  Bonus new boiler in here too.
Luckily, unlike everywhere else, the bathroom has seen some modernisation and has a pretty good shower too.  This is the only room we haven't done anything to and won't need to in the near future.

So there it is!  Our very own first home.  Seeing these pictures makes me realise we have done quite a lot to the house already even if it does seem like slow progress sometimes.