Sewing for Sara's Baby... a little gift for a new baby

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

There aren't many people for whom I will cut up the last remnant of my precious Nani Iro fabric.
But Sara, of Made by Sara is one of them.
Or rather, for Sara's beautiful baby boy.

Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel, ocean, vest

He's baby number four in Sara's lovely little family in Portugal. Isn't that so special? 
My little family is just a dinky twosome of children - so four children seems so amazing, and so much fun.

Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel, ocean, vest

Sara is just the sweetest person, as well as a lovely seamstress. And she's always brimming with good ideas, like the Alice in Wonderland and Japanese Sewing Series which she organised and hosted.

So it was hardly surprising that a gang of us all took to our sewing machines to sew for Sara and her new little boy.

Now I've forgotten a lot of what it's like to have a new baby. How small are they? What do you need? It's all a blur...
Which might be why I've sewn something that Sara will have to put away for a little while.
This pattern is the vest from Little Kiwis Closet, sewn in size 12 months, the smallest available.

My scraps of special fabric are precious, but I know they'll go to a good home with Sara in Portugal.

This vest is sewn from Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel, the softest loveliest fabric, and a remnant of Nani Iro double gauze. Both are the kind of fabric that make me want to stroke them lovingly like the fluffy hair of a newborn baby.

The vest is completely reversible. Yes, I know the Nani Iro is a little girly/pretty, but Sara's boy can carry that off I'm sure.

I added piping, well because piping is always good, but this did mean I needed to think about the construction carefully, because I had to sew the side seams first so that I could keep that continuous piping line around the whole edge. In the end I had to handstitch the armholes.

There's something very special about sending something in real life to a blogging friend. I love to think that Sara's little boy, and Sara will be holding this in their hands very soon.

I always get soooo excited about new babies. Perhaps it's because I know that I'm not going to have any more. Every day with my children is still filled with the joy of discovery and I think as your children get older you know even more, just how much they bring to our lives, how big and long and exciting the journey is. I look at teeny babies now and think, "wow, there is sooooo much to come....How completely thrilling."

Now there's going to be a lot of lovely baby Sewing for Sara. Be warned, taking a look around this lovely group of bloggers will make you broody!

Japanese pattern tour - the London Sew Social team showcase Tuttle

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Ah, Japanese sewing books - they've been a recent, and happy, discovery on my sewing journey. 

So I was thrilled when Tuttle, who publish translations of some of the loveliest Japanese pattern books, agreed to sponsor the London Sew Social gathering this year. 
We all generously received a pattern book, and this week, the London Sew Socialists are sharing creations from Tuttle's books, showcasing some of our favourite Tuttle patterns. Today I'm joined by the lovely Marta of Do Guincho, who's been sharing some wonderful creations from Stylish Party Dresses, with a stunning blouse on her blog today. And there are more  posts across our European group. See below....

This little dress pattern is rapidly climbing up my 'top pattern' list.

It's the square necked dress from the essential Tuttle children's book, Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids.

Before our holiday to France I embarked on a sewing frenzy and this was one of those creations.

It's a dress I created in an evening, from heavenly seersucker from Miss Matatabi, which was a gift from the lovely Sara of Made by Sara.

This fabric is so simple, yet so perfect. It's crisp and cool and almost silky-fine cotton weave. I kept everything simple - dressing it up only with two teal blue buttons.

I love stripes - playing with stripes, and this cool seersucker and fresh orange stripes is just perfect for river paddling, or exploring French Mediaeval lanes. Wouldn't you say?

It was a very easy sew, the only little twist I added was I made the button loops out of elastic, so that Missy can pull this over her head herself. 

This is an easy pattern but also versatile - I'm half way through my next square necked dress, cutting out  cotton flannel for a winter weight school dress.

Watch this space.

Thank you Tuttle!

Now my fellow London Sew Socialists are also show-casing Tuttle all this week - take a little tour around, there's some incredible creativity out there. Here's a few links.....

Experimental Summer Sewing #1 - When a tablecloth becomes a blouse

Thursday, 1 September 2016

It's been a rough old year, so our holiday in the south of France was really, really needed. 
Of course the landscape is wonderful, the sunshine endless. But what was really special was having those little moments of time together. Like watching my son teaching my daughter card tricks. Or seeing them both explore mediaeval streets of tiny villages by lantern light.

And our holiday inspired me to sew. And experiment.

This was one of my summer Experimental Sewing projects...

Last summer, when I took part in the Alice in Wonderland sewing series hosted by Made by Sara, I acquired a pile of vintage table cloths. (honestly - buying bundles of the most exquisite hand-embroidered linens at our local market is cheaper than buying new fabric.)

So this particular pretty tablecloth, bought for just a pound or two was destined for my cutting table (aka my kitchen table - I have no sewing room sadly).

I drew a rough pattern, by drawing round an existing top. Very simple pattern, just bust darts, with simple straps.

Sewing with a tablecloth meant some modifications. The side seams are squared off - to make use of the existing hems, and I pieced the back together out of two over-lapping pieces, leaving a mid-back split.

It's not a perfect top - I'm not convinced it's totally flattering at the neckline or shoulders.

And these photographs aren't the best.
They were taken on a visit to Minerve, which sits in the middle of a stunning gorge.
It was the hot afternoon sun, and we were a little tired, when I begged Mr As it Seams to take a few photos.

There are lots of things that Mr As it Seams does brilliantly, but photography isn't one of them. I think he still thinks of camera as something with precious 'film' in it that mustn't be wasted. He takes one or two pictures and then says "Right? done."  Without bothering about focus, or whether everyone was looking at the camera, or the little details I fuss over (typically I might take 100 pictures before editing for a blog post).

So these three or four will have to do...Because I won't be wearing this little blouse anywhere so hot or beautiful again soon...
I'm ignoring my sweaty face and wrinkles and remembering a lovely day, and the sense of time and space with people I love, before we launch into the whole September crazy routine.

Next steps... Running away to the circus?

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Oh this summer.
It's been a bit  of a rollercoaster. 

We're off on holiday tomorrow (yes tomorrow .- so why am I writing a blog post when I should be sleeping/packing?!... ummm)

We're heading for a little adventure in the south of France, and that's the perfect reason to start sewing, n'est pas? 
So I whipped up a few summer dresses.

This is one - and it was perfect for our outing to the circus last week

It's a Tinny dress by Straightgrain... a pattern I've sewn a zillion times.
And the fabric is Yoko Okamoto's "Love Osaka" for Yuwa, in teal from Miss Matatabi, now sold out in this colour, but available in a lovely green and red still.

It's such a fun print, I've been a bit lazy not taking close-ups. Sorry, like I said, I go on holiday tomorrow. I should not be blogging....

A visit to the circus requires a fun dress, doesn't it?! 

And oh my Missy is so much fun to be around. She's a comedian and a performer, and something about her open-heartedness makes people smile. Here's her stand-off with the incredible bare-back horse rider...

Last time I posted, I wrote about the turmoil after Mr As it Seams lost his job after 20 years.
Now it's the summer break, and we're taking little steps forward.    It's not been easy, and there's still along way to go, but one of those steps is that Mr As it Seams has found some new work. He's been offered another job, again teaching music, in another school. And although it's only for a couple of days a week, it's encouraging.

Time for the As it Seams show to get back on the road....

"What's it like being an adult?"... answer #1

Thursday, 7 July 2016

So mostly this blog is about sewing, but it's headed 'stitches and stories' so occasionally I stray off into other territory.

And it was a little question, that crystalised so many thoughts.

I was driving home in the gorgeous June evening with my beautiful boy. It's the best time for chatting with him, for letting go and connecting.

"I've been wondering Mummy, what's it like being an adult?" he asked.

It was a question that made me pause and think...

Well, my beautiful boy. This was the answer I might have given...

"Right now, my love, it's a bit tough being this particular adult.

"I know that for you, my lovely boy, your dad and I are  your anchor. But just now I'm not feeling too solid.

"Everything has gone a bit crazy. And that's because daddy is losing his job, the work that he has done for 20 years. He's been sharing  his creativity and teaching the young people from very different backgrounds, who need him most. He's been helping them to play and create music for so long.

"And now all that is ending. And we're just not sure what the future holds. It's all been so solid for so long, and now it's all a little fluid and shaky. 
"Sweetheart, you know that I've been working more and more hours just to have a little bit more money, and that means I'm just so tired, and more grumpy. And I never get enough time for you, or Missy, or to sew.

"And you know, it's funny because I'm all mixed up inside. Sad, fearful and also a tiny little bit excited underneath the tiredness. Sometimes it all feels like a mountain to climb...
"So you know, maybe....being an adult is not so different from being a little boy."

Of course that's not what I said....I was lost in thought trying to answer....and driving.

It's been the hardest few months. I feel like I am 'holding' so much, my children, Mr As it Seams, my work, my unsewn sewing ideas, my teeny shabby house which never, ever has all the laundry put away.

But it's also a time to focus on the joy of my little family, to connect and support.

And we escaped to the seaside for a few days staying with dear friends who live near our favourite English secret beach.

Missy spent every minute that she could in the sea, splashing in her wetsuit. I don't think there is any purer joy than her delight at playing in the waves beneath the cliffs, where this rocky corner of England crashes into the Atlantic. 

A sunset drive with my son, or a sea swim with my daughter are my anchors for my soul right now, as we all try to navigate new waters....

The Amazing £50 fabric giveaway - and a lot lot more....

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

If you could ride a horse with wings, where would you fly away to?

Sometimes I think I sew beautiful dresses for my little girl because I'm still a little girl myself and not quite ready for reality.

(Which is understandable surely? Our country is in turmoil, and my own family in emotional upheaval).

So when I spotted this fabric, from the Fibs and Fables collection by Anna Maria Horner, it was inevitable that it would end up in my stash. It's a  magical, but not too obvious and the colours are grown up. And it's light drapey viscose, perfect for dress-making.

It winged its way to my door from one of my favourite online shops The Village Haberdashery.

The Village Haberdashery  also has a London shop, and is one of the many sponsors who backed our London Sew Social weekend when a dozen of my loveliest blogging friends gathered  to talk sewing and shop for fabric and walk...and walk... and walk...

The Village Haberdashery has given an incredible £50 voucher to be won! (Just one of many goodies that are up for grabs in the Big London Sew Social giveaway)
A £50 voucher....! That's would have me scrolling through the website for days in a fit of fabric indecision....

Back to the dress. This is Vanessa Pouzet's La Petite Robe dress pattern, which I have now made four times.

Blogged here.. and here.. and one winter dress which has been worn so much, yet will prob fall apart by the time I blog it.

Look! My winged horses almost match across the zip... (intentional - not)

I almost totally love this dress. There are a couple of things not quite right. I think it's a little long, which makes it a bit 'sack like' , so at some point I'm going to re-do the hem, and possibly a bit wide altogether down the side seams. 

But mostly I love it - quirky, but smart enough for work and just a little different.

Sadly I think the Fibs and Fables Viscose has sold out from Village Haberdashery, but Annie at the store seems to have a knack of getting unusual goodies in her store. 

This is just the first of several sewing projects in the pipeline following our London Sew Social 2016 gathering. I've been sewing more than ever, and hope to showcase some more very soon, created thanks to the generosity of our sponsors,

In the meantime, we're sharing out the goodies with a mega giveaway.

Just look at this lot! 

There will be 4 very lucky winners

Here's what the goodie packs include:

Pack 1

Pretty Panda fabric from Poppy
B inspired sewing pattern magazine by Poppy
2m of your choice of fabric from Girl Charlee
3 spools of thread from Aurfil
25%off voucher for Joyfits
By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit paper pattern
Stylish Dress Book from Tuttle
Sewbox goodies includes: Hot Patterns babydoll nightgown, robe and panties. A small piece of Liberty lawn and a few haberdashery items.
prize 2

Pack 2

Pretty Panda fabric from Poppy
B inspired sewing pattern magazine by Poppy
2m of your choice of fabric from Girl Charlee
4 spools of thread from Aurfil
25%off voucher for Joyfits
She Wears the Pants from Tuttle
Sewbox goodies includes: Hot Patterns Deco Vibe Shadow Woven T-shirt & Tunic, Hot Patterns Mini Me essential dress & top for kids, 2 small pieces of Liberty lawn and some haberdashery items.
prize 3

Pack 3

Pretty Panda fabric from Poppy
B inspired sewing pattern magazine by Poppy
2m of your choice of fabric from Girl Charlee
3 spools of thread from Aurfil
25%off voucher for Joyfits
By Hand London Victoria Blazer paper pattern
She Wears the Pants from Tuttle
Sewbox goodies includes: Hot Patterns 1152 - Fast & Fabulous Origami Knit Top, a small piece of Liberty lawn and a few haberdashery items.

pack 4

Pack 4

£50 voucher to spend at The Village Haberdashery
2m of your choice of fabric from Girl Charlee
Alfa goodies including: 2x Do it Yourself pattern kits and 1x Do it Yourself Patchwork Sewing Accessories box
London Sew Social logo
A very big THANK YOU to all our sponsors.
Winners will be notified by the end of July.
And it goes on.... UpCraftClub are offering a 20% discount for all our readers, using code 20SEWSOCIAL .

To enter the big giveaway for one of the four packs simply click through the Rafflecopter thingy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now go check out what my fellow London Sew Social buddies are making this week:

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