Thursday, 31 July 2014


So I've signed up to participate in One Week One Pattern, hosted by Jane of Handmade Jane. The idea is that between the 6th and 12th of September you only wear garments made from just one pattern.  It can be any pattern of your choice and possibly not unsurprisingly I have gone for New Look 6106 - I think I am obsessed with this pattern, do I need help?

I'm not very good at participating, I asked to be part of The Monthly Stitch back in October, but I have yet to actually post anything. Part of that is because our digital camera went OWAL for about 5 months, it had decided to take a holiday down the back of the sofa and I also need to get my head around using Wordpress.  I'm sure Fluffrick will help me.

I also pledged in Me Made May again, I think this was my forth year.  And I did live up to my pledge of wearing me made outfits every day of May, there is just know documentary evidence to prove it (I'm blaming the missing camera again).

Will I be any better participating in this, than in anything previously, who can say, but I'm going to give it a go.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Introducing EllaBella Mark 1&2

So I've noticed round the tinterwebs a lot of people naming their dresses.  So I decided to name mine - introducing EllaBella.

I really liked various versions of the Deer and Doe Belladone, but looking more closely at it I thought I might have some issues and also the pattern is £14 and it has to be said I'm cheap. So I looked through the many many patterns I already have, found Simplicity 2473 (now OOP I think) and new I could hack it to what I wanted.
The first problem I had with the original Belladone was, I didn't think I would get it over my head (yes, I have a big head).  The second issue was that it was sleeveless, I didn't have bingo wings as such, but I am happier if I have some sort of sleeve.  So I thought I should make a muslin (not a usual habit of mine) just to make sure the fit was right with my alterations.  So I used this fabric from Ikea that has been hanging around in my stash for several years, it was 1.9m for the princely sum of £3.98.  I added 4cm to the length of the bodice (as well as a big head, I also have a long back), I lowered the front neckline by 5cm, took a huge scoop out of the back and drafted a separate back neck piece, which is in two parts and fastened with a button.  The back aperture is probably a little too deep and a fraction too wide, but as long as I can manoeuvre by bra strap so that it doesn't show, I'm ok.  Here it is from the back:

I made some bias binding from some of the left over fabric to bind the bodice back and the sleeve hems.  I also added pockets to the side front of the skirt (I've got to have pockets).  I have also finally mastered the invisible zip.  It has been my bete noire for ages, but I recently undertook pattern testing for By My Goth Patterns (I hope to be able to blog about this soon, once the pattern is released) and Parnuuna's instructions for inserting an invisible zip were so good I have overcome my fear of the invisible zip.

This is who the EllaBella is named after, our beautiful girl Ella, who would have been 14 years old the day I made Mark 1 of this dress.  Sadly Ella died at the end of March, we now have another dog to keep Hagrid company, her nickname if Pocket Rocket and she will feature in this blog if we can get her to stand still long enough to be photographed.

So on to Mark 2: 

The dotty fabric I got at John Lewis (I do not need any more fabric and I really shouldn't go anywhere near the fabric department, but I never learn) it was a remnant 1.5m of 1.15 wide, half price because it has a very small flaw. I did just want to use the dotty fabric, but no pattern how I tried the pattern pieces I just did not have enough material.  So I then had to go out and find a coordinating fabric (easier said than done) and bought another half metre of fabric.  I then decide which pattern pieces I wanted to cut from each fabric.  I eventually decided to go with a contrasting waistband, sleeve and back neck facing.

I didn't have a coordinating invisible zip in my stash, so rather than spend any more money, I used a vintage metal zip I already had and a lovely big bright button at the neck.
Here is a close up of this very grown up fabric, I think it's called Hoppy Dot, who wouldn't love giant polka dots with bunny rabbits.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Tour de Yorkshire

So on a bright and sunny Sunday morning, Fluffrick and I set off to experience the largest annual sporting event, first hand. Surreal or what? Who would have thought that the "Tour de France" would have chosen to end a stage in this fair city of Sheffield - the Tour of Britain doesn't even come here.  We walked the dogs and left them in the safe care of their Gran, I packed a picnic (Orangina was a must), made sure we had sun tan lotion and an umbrella and headed out into the unknown. 

Spectator Hub at Don Valley Bowl

We arrived at the spectator hub about 10:45 am, the race hadn't even set off from York, so it was fairly quiet.  We were very please to find that deck chairs had been provided free of charge and plonked ourselves down to watch the coverage on the big screen.

There were a smattering of entertainers around the hub, some more French themed than others.  So we watched the race set off from York, head up the Cote de Blubberhouse (wonderful name) and make it's tortuous progression towards us. 

It was not intentional that there was a "Sky" advert on the big screen
Slowly but surely the spectator hub filled up, the street food stalls and beer tent were doing good business, I was aghast at the prices for merchandise, but they seemed to be doing a roaring trade.

I don't know why I have such a daft look on my face

Me in my Tour De Yorkshire outfit.  What does a sewer do to commemorate such an event, she sews a cycle skirt. I got the notion to make a skirt for the occasion on Friday morning and set out on a quest for bicycle related fabric and came home with this rather subtle print.

I made the skirt using the ubiquitous New Look 6106, I think this may now be the ninth time I have used this pattern,  I will do a blog post about all the different version eventually.  As it is quite a lightweight cotton, I decided to make it a little fuller, so added 16cm to the centre front and gathered in between the pockets,  I also lined the skirt using the remnants of a white sheet, to give the skirt a little extra body.  I love it, it's not too over the top that I can't wear it as an everyday skirt; but it will always remind me of the day I went to the "Tour".
Anyway back to the cycling.  We left the spectator hub just after 2 pm and headed down towards Brightside Lane, to see the race for real.  I'd wanted to see the promotional caravane, but I have to say I was quite underwhelmed with it, I wonder it they were saving their goodies for Jenkin Road?

So this is what we were waiting for and it was gone in a flash.  I think that blur in the white jersey is Peter Sagan, the blur in front of him might be Chris Froome, or it could be any of the other eight Sky riders.

Even the support vehicles went by in a blur,  There were an insane number of promotional, support, television and police vehicles.  I would say definitely more than one per rider.

The tail end of the peloton, going a little more sedately and slightly less blurry.

One of the IAM Cycling riders, we didn't know there had been a split in the peleton and that the yellow jersey group were about 15 minutes behind.
We then headed up towards the finish line, which we were not going to be able to get remotely close too, but we could hear the frenzy.  But we did get close to the riders, after the finish.

The IAM Cycling tour bus.  These guys after cycling 200 km, now have to warm down by peddling faster than most mere mortal could ever manage.  On the right is IAM Cycling's team leader Mathias Frank.

And Sky's Geiraint Thomas, for some reason being filmed next the Orica GreenEdge Bus, Chris Froome was probably being mobbed next to the Sky Bus.

And then we headed home to watch the end of the race on TV and found out who had won.  All in all it was a remarkable day and I think Yorkshire did the Tour proud, even if it didn't always show the most attractive side of Sheffield which really is a lovely city to live in.

Monday, 3 March 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee Challenge - Week Two

So we have had the second episode of "The Great British Sewing Bee" and this week patterned fabric was the focus.  I do love patterned fabric, I have a lot in my stash, but I tend to make far more solid colour items than patterned.  However, this week there was no escaping the problems of pattern.

I opted again to take the "Pattern Challenge" and above is the result. I didn't  time my effort this time, as with one thing or another I didn't have a free 3 hour window of time to dedicate to this project.  There are also several differences between my skirt and those the contestants had to make.  I opted for a yoked waistband, rather than straight, as I find it more comfortable and flattering, but also more time consuming.  There are also double the number of box pleats and that was because of the fabric I had to hand, see below.  This is a table runner I made from the same fabric, and I wanted to tone down the check.  This fabric is actually the remainder of the duvet cover, the other side was stripy and is now three blinds in the dining room. 

The other amendment I made was the addition of a pocket in the right side seam.  I have found that if I don't include pockets in the clothes I make, the I just don't wear them, so a pocket had to be added.
And below is the result of my very first hand picked zip and I have to say I may well be a convert. I didn't think that a hand sewn zip could possible feel as secure as one machine sewn, but even with my less than perfect hand sewing ability, this zips seems really secure and very neat,

So what challenge shall I undertake next week, week three seems to be all about stretch fabric (not my favourite type a fabric).  If I don't like any of next week's challenges then I already have two men's shirt really to be hacked to bits and transformed into something fabulous.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee Challenge

So the Great British Sewing Bee returned to our screens last week, oh how I do love this show.  And it got me wondering, would I be able to do that?  There are eight episodes, whether I can keep up and manage eight challenges we will have to wait and see, but so far so good.

The first challenge they set to the combatants was to make a simple sleeveless top in just two and a half hours.  Now like most people I don't time my sewing, it is just something I do because I enjoy it,  I have sewn many things to a short deadline, but that usually means late nights and as many short-cuts as possible, no stop watches involved.  I did wonder whether or not to even attempt this challenge, not because I thought it would be beyond my capabilities, but because I rarely wear sleeveless tops.  Why make something, if you are not going to wear it?

 Anyway I did decide to go ahead and give this a try, I found a pattern for a simple sleeveless top in my stash, that looked like the one used in the show and I had a remnant of a purple sheet, that was not really big enough for anything else.  Now my lounge probably isn't as high pressured as the Sewing Bee Studio, I just had the company of the lovely Hagrid and an episode of "Poirot" on the DVR, but I did have a stop watch.

Two hours later (not two and a half) I had finished my top.  The only thing I didn't manage to do was the understitiching, it wasn't a step included in my pattern and I didn't realise it had to be done when the neck facing had been sewn, but before the arm facing.  Anyway I notched and pressed a facing and everything else it complete, hem, button, button loop.   And it even fits.

Week One - Challenge One - Complete

I really liked the refashion challenge, but as I don't currently have a woollen maxi skirt to hack to bits, that challenge will have to wait.  I am currently scouring charity shops for the necessary raw materials.

Monday, 16 September 2013


So this is a significant proportion of our harvest this year.  Fluffrick wanted to have a go at growing some potatoes and as we don't have a lot of garden we grew these is a large plastic tub.  Now it's not a huge quantity of potatoes, maybe three meals, but the do taste fantastic, better than any I've bought.

The Blueberry crop has been pitiful, One blueberry bush died in the cold winter weather, so we bought a replacement, but it hasn't cropped at all.  But there were just enough blueberries to have Blueberry Pancakes for Sunday breakfast, which was nice.

The Tomatoes are doing well, better than I've ever had before, but they don't seem to want to ripen.  They also taste good, although the skin is a little thicker than bought tomatoes and I wonder it that is because they are slower growing.

I have a little chilli plant again this year, which is cropping quite well, certainly well enough for my Mum who is not a huge fan of very spicy food, and these chillies are hot.

Fortunately were do not have to survive on this harvest, but each year we are growing a little more.  I might see if Fluffrick want to give Brussel Sprouts a go for our mid winter meals. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

What we're eating this week

I hate writing a blog post without any pictures, but as I haven't cooked any of these things yet I can't take a picture of them.

Wait a minute I've had an idea...

Home grown Blueberries
My somewhat small Blueberry crop, that I have plans for this weekend.

So here is our menu for the coming week:

Courgette Polpette with Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti

Veggie Burgers with Chips, Coleslaw and Tomato Salad

Salmon with Green Beans, Carrot and Potatoes

Cauliflower Pilau with Sweet Potato Curry - thank you Jamie Oliver, or maybe I should reserve the thanks until after I've made it.

Moussaka - made with Turkey mince

Kale and Mushroom Lasagne

Creole Prawn - I have been making with for about 20 years and I can not remember where I got the recipe, but this will be the first time I have made it with raw prawns.

I'm also going to make some Cauliflower Soup to have for my lunch and some Beetroot and Chocolate Brownies.  The meagre crop of Blueberries will end up in Blueberry Pancakes on Sunday Morning. 

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