Saturday, 25 May 2013

Brighton Meet-Up: The Day I Went Dotty in Ditto!

01- Fabric from DITTO FABRIC shop 

...well now, I'm feeling very remiss as I should learn to post up about meet-ups as soon as possible after they happen (this is now a week after the event itself - my bad!).Last Saturday was the great Brighton meet-up, and the sun decided to come out to play with us. As did reams of tourists and fun-makers attending a very lively festival (the streets were certainly crowded with happy faces soaking up the sunshine and atmosphere).

02 - Clock Tower in Brighton 

Myself, Zora and Jo met up at the allotted time at Brighton station - and then we made our way to All-Bar-One, where we joined Zoe, Stevie who were waiting for us at our reserved table. Later on we were joined by Joanne (no blog) and Rehanon - making 7 happy sewing ladies all together.

En route to the bar we side-lined quickly to the North Laine Antiques and Flea Market (on Upper Gardner Street). There were a bunch of stallholders selling fabric, vintage notions, one stall had a teenie tiny antique sewing machine on it (see below centre-right pic). There was a stall with very random looking fabrics, another with vintage notions, and a couple of old sewing machines lurking too LOL!

03 - Sewing Machine 04 - Sewing Machine

05 - Antique Irons 06 - Antique Mini Sewing Machine

07 - Fabric Stall 09 - Notions Stall

Zora picked up some great printed hessian sacks for only £2.00 a piece - she's going to re-purpose them for cushion-covers in her kitchen.

10 - Hessian Sacks 
We had a lovely lunch, followed by a very civilized swapping session (not as overwhelming as the size of the stash at the recent Goldhawk Road meet up, but just as much fun!).

12 - Sewists 11 - Sewists

I acquired some lovely things, and I hope that the things I brought to giveaway are feeling equally loved as my new goodies are :) I got a great top pattern from Zoe - Simplicity 2593 (a Cynthia Rowley design). The cute red "oh deer" fabric (v. Christmassy!) I got from Joanne (I'm thinking collar/cuff trims), and the lovely Mustard-ey Yellow knit fabric is courtesy of Stevie.

13 - Swap Items

The top pattern intrigued me when I spotted it - because the neckline finish kind of reminded me of a Roland Mouret dress in check (plaid) that Keira Knightley wore back in 2005. "One-day" (in the very distant far-off future), I intend to sew my own version of this dress - but the way to re-create the neckline had eluded my little grey-cells. Hopefully, the pattern instructions for 2593 will give me inspiration LOL! (Vogue Pattern 8280 which I already own will be the main body/basis for my knock-off.)

14 - Simpicity 2593 Top Pattern 15 - Keira Knightley in Roland Mouret (2005)
Image Sources: Left - , Right -
This 1971 pattern in the swap pile (we all thought it looked very Margot Leadbetter from The Good Life) didn't come home with me though ;)

16 - Simplicity Pattern 9509 (Vintage)

After the swapping was over, myself and Zora whizzed off to the local Oxfam charity-shop to [as now is customary after a sewing-swap] drop-off the items that no one wished to take home with them. This way nothing should end up and landfill, and we also get to "pay it forward" somewhat too. We then swiftly made our way back to catch up with the remaining ladies at the New Fabric Fair shop (a small but crammed to the rafters emporium - not v. trolley friendly LOL!), before wandering down to the fabulous Ditto Fabrics (on Kensington Gardens). It's at Ditto that I succumbed to these lovely dotty-spotty polka-dot lovelies for sale by the proprietress Gill. I bought 5-pieces, plus some felt (which I intend to make a needle-book for my Mum to match the Knitting-Needle Roll I made for her at Christmas)

17 - Fabric from DITTO FABRIC shop  

We then popped into the Brighton Sewing Centre, where Zora picked up some awesome giant-sized ric-rac, and I got this zig-zag, chevron-effect black and white fabric in a fat-quarter (I'm not a patch-worker/quilter, but I think that buying a small piece of fabric that "calls" to you to keep in your stash is a) cheaper, and b) more space saving - than buying a couple of metres that you may never-ever use LOL!). By this time just Zora and I were left - with the other sewists having peeled off to their own devices (or to make their way home). So, we walked Westwards back into the more High Street end of town to check out C & H Fabrics (where I picked up my second fat-quarter of the day - with thread spools/reels!). 

18 - Zig-Zag Black & White Chevron Fabric 19 - Thread Reel, Spools Fabric

And, we also just managed to slip into Fabric Land just as they were closing where I grabbed  a couple of metres of this blue coloured elephant fabric (so now I can emulate one of Winnie's make and sew a cute blouse for myself :) ).

20 - Elephants Fabric, Tweezers & Stencil Set  

I also grabbed a pen and stencil set - as I want to experiment with writing words on fabric that hopefully do not wash out! And, I got a pair of tweezers for £1 from TIGER - great for removing stitches that the seam-ripper leaves behind LOL!

21 - Name Label Set (with Pen & Stencil)

I've also updated my Google Map of Brighton sewing/fabric places too in case anyone wants to visit by themselves :)

Here's hoping that Birmingham (in 3 weeks!), and London in August are just as much fun if not more!!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sometimes Smaller IS Better!

... when it comes to screwdrivers and 'Needle Plates' on sewing machines that is!

See the lack of clearance my standard-normal sewing machine screwdriver has on the left (white handle) verses the mini-stubby screwdriver on the right has? With the ordinary one (which came with my Novum) I find that I have to hold it at an awkward slightly sideways-angle in order to remove or replace the screws. And, thus it always bumps into the body of the machine above the plate - boo :( !

Stubby Screwdriver verses Normal Sewing Machine Screwdriver

This little set of 6 screwdriver's has 2 flat-head types, and 4 others (which I'll probably never use - but I feel the other 2 are worth it LOL!). Hubby bought them for me - along with a bunch of other sewing goodies a while back for my Birthday this year (thanks Hubby - love you loads!).

Stubby Screwdriver Set

It definitely makes the chore of unscrewing the 'Needle Plate' a lot less of a hassle :) = win!

This set on Amazon is £3.19 inc. P&P, and this eBay seller (The Red Pencil) has a similar set for £1.25 + £0.75 (under £2 = bargain!).

Other options are these 3 very flat-style models: a Brother Round Sewing Machine Screwdriver (Product Code: XC1074051) available here, and here,

Image Source: Lord Sewing

... or this one for sale from this eBay seller (Coul Sew),

Image Source: eBay seller (Coul Sew)

... or this Janome Screwdriver Key.

Image Source: Ken Sewing Center

Here end-eth the short 'n' stubby story folks :)!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Still Room For More in Brighton ...

There's still time to email me to join the above meet - taking place in Brighton this Saturday :) Click on the link first to see the full blog post with details - then please email me to confirm if you can definitely make it  - please mention BRIGHTON MEET-UP in the subject line of your email.

I am trying to sort out a final attendee-list so I can adjust the table reservation I've made accordingly. NB: If you have already received and replied to my email sent out yesterday evening then there's no need to re-send a new email to me :)

Sunday, 12 May 2013


...and the winner of the GIVEAWAY is commentor No. 143 Alli who blogs over at B.Yazoo - Alli congratualtions! I've sent you an email requesting your postal address so I can send your fab new goodies to you :)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

A Box Inside of a Box... here's the contents from one of my mystery boxes I mentioned on May The Fourth ;)
So, what was in the box? Yup - another box LOL! 

05 - Vintage 4-Tier Cantilever Wooden Sewing Box - Packaging  01 - Vintage 4-Tier Cantilever Wooden Sewing Box

It's a cantilever-style vintage wooden sewing box - with 4-tiers, and some legs underneath. It came very well packaged, which was great as I was sort of worried about it getting damaged in transit.

My Mum stills has one that I remember her using as a little girl, and when I saw this one come up on eBay for £37.70 (£18.90 + £18.80 P&P)... I had to make it mine :)

There are similar new boxes available online here, here and here. Ignoring the legs the total outer dimensions of mine are: Length: 49cm x Width: 26cm x Height: 25cm - or with the legs Height: 42.5cm (Inches: 19¼" x 10¼" x 9¾" - with legs = 16¾"). I felt it was a good price considering this new, similar sized box costs £89.95 (not including delivery fees).

06 - Vintage 4-Tier Cantilever Wooden Sewing Box, Inside the top tier  07 - Vintage 4-Tier Cantilever Wooden Sewing Box, Inside all tiers

I gave mine a once over in all the nooks 'n' crannies with my steamer at home (quickly wiping up any water left on the surface with an old dry towel). The steaming was to eliminate any musty smells / fungus mould spores that might be present. Plus, the steam would kill off any moth eggs  (and any particularly nasty beg-bug eggs/insects) that could be invisible upon an initial inspection. I didn't want to introduce any new residents to my home LOL! I left the tiers open for a few hours after the steaming was complete - to fully dry off.

As it's a vintage item, there are a few places where the varnish finish has worn right through to the bare-wood, so I might at some point further in the future sand my box down with fine-grade sandpaper and then re-varnish it to protect the box for years to come :)
Now, I just need to squeeze it into my sewing room (if there's space hehe).

Monday, 6 May 2013

GIVEAWAY DAY - May 6th 2013!!!


Well hello there! It's Monday, it's the 6th May, and it's GIVEAWAY DAY at Sew, Mama, Sew! and I'm participating!!

It's Sew, Mama, Sew! Bi-annual Giveaway Day folks
So, if you fancy winning a some fab sewing stuff then please enter here! 

  And here's the list of goodies in my special sewing-bundle of fun :)

  1. A brand new copy of 'The Best of Threads Fitting' Magazine.
  2. A pair of lovely sharp Thread Snips - just perfect to keep right next to your sewing machine.
  3. A useful Scissors Holder - to keep your dressmaking-shears and sewing scissors safe.
   Scissors NOT included ( ;) LOL!)
  4. A useful Magnetic Telescopic Rod - to great for retrieving errant pins!
  5. And, finally what I consider "le pièce de résistance" a Tailor's Pressing Ham -
     approximately 24cm long x 14cm wide x 12.7cm tall (9
½ x 5½ x 5 inches).

     BTW - The items 3. + 5. are hand-made by yours truly!


01 - Giveaway, 6th May 2013

  Here's how to enter the GIVEAWAY... 
   ENTRIES WILL CLOSE ON SATURDAY 11th MAY 2013 AT 1.00AM UK TIME (which is the same as FRIDAY 10th MAY
at 5.00PM PDT)
  1. Please leave a comment in this post below.

  2. Please, please ensure that I am able to contact you if you're a lucky winner! Make sure
     that your comment is associated to your blog/profile
. If you want to leave an email address in
     your comments feel free to do so - but to reduce
the chances of you receiving tonnes of spam to your inbox, please
    post it in the style: name[at]domain[dot]com

  3. [OPTIONAL] Oh, and do please share what you're planning to sew for Summer 2013!

And, hey! I'm not the only-one there are loads, and loads of Giveaways happening today - check them out HERE!

02 - The Best of Threads Fitting Magazine - Giveaway, 6th May 2013  03 - Thread Snips - Giveaway, 6th May 2013

04 - Scissors Holder - Giveaway, 6th May 2013  05 - Magnetic Telescopic Rod - Giveaway, 6th May 2013

06 - Tailors Pressing Ham - Giveaway, 6th May 2013

Good luck everybody

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Now I'm Feeling Nautical!

 photo swaplogo_zpsce231688.jpg

I took part in Rachel's International Craft Swap - which for 2013 had a Nautical theme.

My swap buddy was Marriah who blogs over at Hot Toddies of Washington and look at the lovely apron she made me :) I feel like a re-life Minnie Mouse in it (sorry about the head-chopped of pics - it was a bad hair + face day LOL!)

01 - Apron from Marriah 02 - Apron from Marriah  03 - Apron from Marriah

And below are some photos from the stripey bag I sent to Marriah. I made the bag following a combination of these 2 tutorials: +

Bag the right-way around  Bag hanging on it's end from the carry-strap  

The whole gift bundle for Marriah!

I also sent over some Magnetic bookmarks as the £3 (or equivalent) gift to accompany the me-made travel/cosmetic bag... however as I was 2 weeks late in sending across my hand-crafted item (and thus feeling über guilty) I also threw in some "extras": pens, thread-snips, vintage chalk 'Dritz Tailor Tacker' (for marking fabric).

Below is a slide show with some pics showing some of the construction steps:

I made the bag using some striped cotton fabric which I stiffened-up with the addition of some iron-on medium weight fusible interfacing (non-woven). The bag is lined with some medium weight calico too. I pre-washed all the fabrics, and in hindsight I think that the bag could do with more body.structure to it... as it falls flat if there's nothing inside of it. An oil-cloth or PVC coated fabric would have been more suitable in terms of weight and easier to wipe clean from any spills too!

I added a zipped inner-pocket to the lining, and there are two open-pockets on the outside too + a handy handle/carry-strap too. At one end of the outer zip I added a little-tab which makes it easy to grab and zip the opening shut.

It was pretty easy to stitch-up, and I can definitely see myself making more of these in the future for gifts for friends (& for myself too!).

Saturday, 4 May 2013

May The Fourth Be With You...

... and with me too - I think I'm gonna need it (see below what I'm attempting to tidy-up this Bank-Holiday weekend LOL!) - anyone got any Jedi tricks I can use to speed things up huh?...

Plus... will I have room to fit the contents of these 2 mystery-boxes into the room when I'm done ;) ? LOL!
P1070435 P1070442

"What's in the boxes Claire?"

P.S. I absolutely could not resist the totally intentional Star Wars pun with today's date being May 4th and all (hehe!).

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

PRIMA Pattern, May 2013 - Simple Summer Top and Girls Dress

The May 2013 PRIMA Magazine is currently on the shelves in the Newsagents and the pattern is available to order by phone until the end of this May.

Prima Magazine - Pattern, May 2013 (01)

The pattern for May is a Ladies Simple Summer Top. A loose-fitting top with a dropped back hemline is just two pieces stitched together - a perfect project for a complete beginner. Sizes 10 - 20 (UK).

Prima Magazine - Pattern, May 2013 (02)

BONUS PATTERN: Little girl's quick and easy A-line dress with short sleeves and a back button fastening. (Sizes 2 - 8.)

Prima Magazine - Pattern, May 2013 (03)

Prima Magazine - Pattern, May 2013 (04)

See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.