Inespiration: How my friends (and a little Nani Iro) inspire me

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

What inspires you?

All kinds of things inspire me.

Firstly fabulous fabric. And then Fabulous Friends.
Nani Iro en garden double guaze Ki - blouse

My sewing friendships have been incredible. There are the online sewing buddies in Japan, the US, across Europe, who I know feel are old mates.
I've watched their children grow up in their hand-mades, and their sewing, their lives and their blogs, evolve. We 'chat' like old friends.

And I've had the delight of meeting up with my sewing buddies in Paris, Amsterdam, London  (and even enjoying a beachy holiday in Portugal thanks to the wonderful generosity of one of my sewing buddies, but that is another story!)

So when Ines of La Folie Sewing Booth joined us for a freezing weekend in London, her smile and sense of fun drove away the chills. 

So I'm thrilled to be part of the Inespired series. Inspired title huh!
Sewing for this was easy - because Ines' style and taste are so likeable. She sews knits a lot - and I am still a novice knit sewist. But a year or so a go she made this incredible Tamarack jacket in Nani Iro, and I was filled with envy. Simple lines, and lovely fabric. That seems to be Ines' style. So I started sewing.

Nani Iro en garden double guaze Ki - blouse

And actually I have another blouse in mind  - but I ran out of time.
This one is my 'wearable muslin.'
Yes, I know, it's sewn in incredibly precious Nani Iro double gauze that I totally love - but I have another Nani Iro which I love even more, and so I thought I'd experiment with this first.

And it's actually a remnant I had left over from this dress.
 I had two pieces left over, one 50cm, the other perhaps 80cm but randomly shaped. But I was determined to eek a blouse out of it. The pattern is the simplest, and lovely pattern the High Low Shirt from Melly Sews, which I've used as a basis several times now.

I didn't have enough for  fabric so the back is cut from two pieces - and not in the same direction. Do you think anyone will notice?!

Nani Iro en garden double guaze Ki - blouse

Because it's in two pieces it meant I could borrow an 'inspiration' from another of my dear blogger friends Gioia from Dotta Sews, who has joined the gang in London, Paris and Amsterdam. When we met up in Amsterdam, she looked stunning in another blouse in a wonderful Nani Iro print, with the cutest keyhole detail on the back and neck ties. (Guess which fabric I'm sewing next, Gioia?)

I didn't have enough fabric for Gioia's blouse pattern, but did have enough for this hybrid Melly Sews High Low Shirt.

Nani Iro en garden double guaze Ki - blouse

These are the photos, unedited, taken by my son when he came home from school, in the fading light. I begged him to take them before he ran round to his friend's house. (unironed - because I'd been wearing it all day. I couldn't resist)
"Mummy, what's it worth?" he asked.
"Anything! Name your price!" I thought
Because I didn't want to miss 'Ines' surprise party' for anything.

Love your style, sewing, and your smile Ines!

There's a few of us doing the Inespiration thing today!

Sunshine and Sheep - Back blogging with Bohemian Baby Doll Dress

Monday, 25 September 2017

Look! I'm back on the blog.
Just because I haven't been blogging, doesn't mean I haven't been sewing.
I've sewn quite a lot  -  catch glimpses over on my Instagram.

And I  have so much to catch up on - not just sewing, but life stuff.
September always feels a little like a 'new year' and this year especially so.
My boy has started secondary school, my Missy is growing up fast too.

Hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago we were running around in the Adriatic.
This is Croatia. Zadar to be precise and in the week that the heat wave which became known as Lucifer sat like a blanket over southern Europe. The heat pushed over 40 degrees, (104F I think), never dipping below 30 degrees (86F) even at night.

For us northerners it was both a delight and a shock.
I loved slowing down, spending most of our days around and in water. Mr As it Seams and my Boy slept every night outside under the stars on our terrace.

Missy found a new rhythm, sleeping somewhere on the floor on our lovely apartment with just sheet.

She spent every minute she could in the water - as did I.
It was heavenly.
And this dress was just about perfect for the climate.

Like so many dresses - this has been in my head for so long

It's the Bohemian Babydoll pattern by Elegance and Elephants. No closures, just pull this over your head.
A lovely dipped hem and yoke panel, and faced hems.
The fabric is airy double gauze bought years ago from Miss Matatabi. It's Cotorienne's whimisical design 'Sheeeep' which makes me smile. Those sheep! That collie sheepdog! It's so English for a Japanese fabric - so non-sensical. So summery and fun.

It glinted in the golden sun, easy to wear, a perfect dress for impossible summer evenings.
She wore on the promenade at Zadar, where the waves blow through the sea piano, producing unearthly harmonies and the light is perfect. 
I so loved strolling there, sharing this place with my Missy. 

She is the best travelling companion - fun, and curious. And this year I have had the joy of exploring with her. If I get it together, I'll be catching up on blogging/sewing/travelling. Watch this space for more Croatia, a bit of Portugal, some Amsterdam and a little England thrown in.

Right - now to get my act together...Next blog post will be on this red dress..sneak peak !(picture taken by random passing tourist.... sigh, it will have to do)

PS - Travel details!
We stayed here. It was just perfect. A minute from the beach. Spacious. Cheap. My top tip...

Coffee and Thread Tour 2017: When everything works out perfectly

Monday, 10 April 2017

Sometimes everything comes together.
Not often. But sometimes.
Usually when I have a vision,  it fails to become reality.... But this little project delivered the vision.

A girl in a floral dress, in the spring sunshine - on a Sunday afternoon.

But let's go back to the beginning. This is the Ania tunic, sewn dress length, for the Coffee and Thread pattern tour 2017. I don't blog very often - and when I do I need a good reason. I like being part of something special, like the Coffee and Thread Tour. Olga, who designs Coffee and Thread patterns, is the most beautiful sewist, and photographer, and I love to join in anything she's involved with.

It's the 'thinking' that takes me the longest with any sewing project. Trying to choose fabric, takes me days....
A couple of weeks ago I visited my parents in Scotland. And my mother, very sheepishly, showed me her fabric stash, hidden in a drawer.
I know all families have secrets! But my mother's are particularly awesome. She has a drawer full of unsewn Liberty, and a few other vintage lawns. (That didn't stop us potentially shopping for more together! Here she is eyeing up some more Liberty, at discount pricesat Edinburgh's Remnant Kings).

But we resisted buying more! We vowed: "Unsewn fabric Must Be Sewn First!"
So, in the interest of thrift, I persuaded her to let me 'borrow' this blue floral lawn. 
It's not Liberty, but has the silky feel of high quality lawn.
I remember my mum buying metres of this, an end of roll bargain, from the same shop, nearly 30 years ago. I sewed a blouse from this when I was about 16. So I have a kind of nostalgic fondness for it - and I knew it would make a lovely Ania.
And didn't it?!

It's an easy pattern, with simple nostalgic lines. My only modifications were to add piping to the yoke, and I hemmed the sleeves and the skirt with pink bias binding. You can just see it peeking out of the hem

Missy wore it for a Sunday afternoon stroll. This is the common, miles of open grass land, just five minutes walk from our house. I felt so blessed that afternoon. Missy was happy, loved her dress, picked flowers, played with my friend's beautiful baby - the simple things!

The Ania tunic is just one of Coffee and Thread's lovely patterns, and Olga is offering a 20% discount this week with the code Coffeeandthreadtour
There's also a big Blog Showcase of all her patterns - click around the links below!

April 3

April 4

April 5

April 6

April 7

April 10

April 11

April 12

April 13

April 14

And there's a giveaway! Olga has got tons of fantastic prizes! Too much to list, but let's just say it involves fabric, more fabric, and patterns. Full details are here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make it Mine Waterfall Raglan Tour.... real life, real clothes

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Consider this post a triumph of reality over fantasy.
I'm thrilled to be part of the  'Make it Mine' Waterfall Raglan
tour showcasing Chalk and Notch's amazingly versatile pattern.  But I do feel a bit like Cinderella...

I had visions for this top, all kinds of ideas. In fact I signed up for the tour, for two reasons. Firstly because I  spotted the most beautiful red marle sweatshirting in my local shop and a Waterfall Raglan in my mind was born... And secondly I  want to try to kick start this blog a bit, and focus on clothes that I know I will wear, such as the Waterfall Raglan. 

But 'Life' conspired against my vision. The gorgeous red marle was gone when I went back to the shop. And my job got stressful, with lots of meetings in our head office in the big town near our home. I had no time. Only just enough to run out on my 'lunch break' in the big town to the one other fabric store and buy this pink jersey. In two seconds... no choice. no messing... This is my life.

I wanted to sew a waterfall raglan dress for my daughter. It's a cute wearable dress, but also she livens up a blogpost. And I feel less self-conscious posing as a two-some. 
It's a quick sew - but even so I only finished her dress on the Sunday morning before this,  our one 'daylight' window for pix together. (Don't look closely - it's not hemmed.. shhh) .

We took a Sunday afternoon stroll up the valley near us to the beautiful valley immortalised by English writer Laurie Lee, in Cider with Rosie. It's a gorgeous spot, with a cosy pub.... Too cosy in fact, because I had to drag Mr As it Seams out of it into the cold and fading light and beg him to take some pix. Missy of course refused to take her cardigan off. Pick your battles right? But I do kind of like the cardigan over raglan look. It's a bit bo-ho right?

So this is us, in our natural environment. Sunday afternoon. Muddy boots. Trying to squeeze too much into our days, and lives..

And these are the kind of everyday clothes we do it in. Comfortable, easy to sew, and wear. But with a sense of style.  Those raglan sleeves, that frill, it all feels so feminine, pretty and easy to throw on. 

I'm a novice when it comes to sewing knits. But I'm slowly getting there. And I think this is one pattern I'm going to return to. 

Check out all of these wonderful creations today - real women in real clothes, real life.

There are more tomorrow, with 'Date Night' looks and then some great 'hacks' on Friday
And Gabriela has put together a great prize  with two Giveaways happening during the tour.

You can enter to WIN this great prize, including these 5 pdf patterns valued at over $55.  A huge thank you to Adrianna, Sarah, Lauren, Delia, & Papercut Patterns!

"a Rafflecopter giveaway

Clothes that create smiles: the Groove Dress.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Clothes make me happy. Sewing makes me more happy. And I love it when that happiness is spread around.
When my Missy skips down the street, I see her make strangers smile.
I think it's her joy at being six years old, which is unbearably precious, and quite rare, which is quite simply infectious.
Certainly she makes me smile all the time (and drives me a bit crazy too).

And I like to think that it's the clothes that spread smiles too.
I mean, who could not help but smile at this overdose of pandas? 
Especially when these pandas are swinging around on an A-line dress with a super-duper amount of swing to it. 

These gorgeous pandas were a gift by fabric company Poppy to all the participants in the London Sew Social, back in the spring. (Yes, I know, I take forever to sew and blog). The delay was partly because I was a teeny bit scared. I'm a novice with knit fabrics. I don't have an overlocker/serger (yet) and fumble around with my very simple machine. 
But because I joined the 'groovement' and sewed an ever-so-simple Groove dress, by Made it Patterns, even a knit-wit-novice like me could create something super cute and wearable.

Don't look too carefully, you'll see that hem rippling. 

The groove dress is an A line swing dress, but I didn't have quite enough fabric to get a full groove on. I had to tone down the angles of the dress, so this has less fullness than a proper Groove Dress. It's a panda 'groovette'.
I think, though, because this fabric has a substantial weight to it, the loss of fullness doesn't impact too much. 

Isn't this hat also adorable? It was a gift from a friend and is an original vintage velvet beret, I'm guessing from the 1950s. 
It's just gorgeous, and red and mustard! I would never have thought it, but when Missy ran off after barely two seconds posing for photos, we headed into town for Saturday shopping. She skipped along the pavement in her red beret, mustard pandas and I swear I could see random strangers smiling... 

2017: Into the Light...(or; how sewing saves me..)

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Leaving the path of 2016, I'm hoping that it's going to be a path into the light.

2016 has been a year of turbulence. The delicate ship of our little family was rocked by waves and we've struggled to find our even keel for most of this year.

In the spring Mr As it Seams lost his job, having worked in the same place for 20 years. It had a profound affect on his sense of identity, our security, our vision of the future. The ripples of stress and anxiety have affected me, the children, everything really. I've had to work more, and reassess everything.

We've had to build something new. And as well as our little family drama, there have been so many other ripples of trauma. My wider family has also coped with personal trauma. And we've had Brexit, Donald Trump, a global future that seems unrecognisable, and daunting.

In the midst of this all, I've wanted to sew more than ever. A few weeks ago I read Marie Fleurine's post How sewing Saves me. Her openness about why she sews, in the face of her own difficult year and hard path ahead, really resonated with me.

Marie Fleurine's blog is so beautiful, her creations always gorgeous, and I love the glimpses of beautiful Norway in her photography. Yet her post was a reminder that beneath the beautiful photography, fabric and clothes, we're all carrying our own story. 

I've learnt that so much this year. That people who smile in the street, who say hello in a shop, may all be living with their own personal struggle, and anxiety. We keep going, we look for human connections and reach out and that's what helps us to get through the day and the next day.

I've tried to be kind this year, to allow everyone I meet a little bit of gentleness. Because this world is cruel and hard enough, so let's try to soften the edges.

And in the midst of this sewing, has been a little lifeline. When I sew, my mind is absorbed completely. I create something that began as a vision in my head. I see my little girl wearing a new dress, knowing that no factory in India was involved. My online sewing friends share my sense of achievement, encourage me a long, and share the joy of beautiful fabric. And that is how sewing saves me...

Now a word about these pictures. This is our much needed holiday in the south of France, visiting the river gorge at Minerve on a baking hot day. The river has carved out a tunnel beneath the village, with welcome cool air. The children, like every visitor there, paused in the tunnel to build rock towers and create their own sculpture.

Missy wore an Experimental Summer Sewing Dress... A beautiful piece of voile that I hacked into a dress in less than a hour, on the night before we left for our holiday. It's a simple rectangle, shirred at the top, with an attempt at flutter sleeves.

Perfect for exploring caves, mediaeval paths and more.

It was a beautiful day. A bit of building, and a tunnel  into the light. And that's where we're aiming for in 2017.
Happy New Year to all As it Seams readers... looking forward to sharing, sewing, creating in the year ahead 

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