An Update

Hi there, I haven’t forgotten you, in fact you’ve been lurking there in the back of my head for the last two years. Where have I been? Well the long and short of it is this:

I left off having finished my anniversary dress (almost) two years ago and so much has happened since then! I went back to work after mat leave for a start and soon realised that working a full time job with a 7 month old at nursery is ridiculously tiring and the weekends are endlessly precious, so sewing went on the back burner.

Then I started a new job in a different department a few months later which was great but also meant that there was a lot of learning, which left me shattered and again, weekends with my little one were endlessly precious.

Then we bought a house! But it needed (and still needs) a lot of work, so everything got packed up (including all of my sewing and craft gear) and off we moved, and there my things are, still packed away. Having been in the house for nearly a year and a half we’ve had work done, and structurally we’re where we need to be , cosmetically we aint.

The house has brought some tremendous joy in our lives but us moving in coincided with me being, for want of a better word, depressed. There it is, in all of its un-glory. As you can imagine lack of motivation was a big issue around this time. There are things I did and things I do to make sure I feel okay, exercise is a big one but going to classes on my working lunches means that to make my hours up I need to work early and late to ensure I meet my working hours (along with fitting these in around pick up and drop off times at nursery).

Ultimately I am okay again and while this is all fantastic it does mean that evenings are out for sewing and crafting during the week, plus getting home and then having the washing, tidying, and cooking done (when it’s my turn) and making sure I have some QT with my son and husband means there isn’t much room for anything else Monday – Friday.

However, recently something has started to happen, a little spark that is igniting in my mind and making me think that my creative endeavours are slowly making their way to the forefront of my mind.

The recent thing is this: We have a fully plastered main bedroom, and while it still needs pretty much everything doing (painting, carpets, new radiator, skirting, shelving) it’s the start of something. The start of something that means the wheels are in motion to being one step closer to my sewing room of dreams being done. It means once the master bedroom is complete, the next room complete will be my son’s and the one following that? My sewing room! FINALLY.

Now my sewing room will be small-ish, a single box room size, which is more than I used to have when I had my corner of the dining room previously, but I am looking for clever ideas to maximise it, so hit me up in the comments with links to yours if you have a similar situation. I’d love to see your sewing space!

I’ve already decided when the master bedroom is finished I’m going to at least get my crochet and embroidery things out so I can start to do something – as no creative pursuits does not do my mental health any good.

So this is an interim post, to say I’ll be back soon, and thanks for sticking with me.

P.S. Hats off to all of you Mammas out there who have managed to pull it together to get shit done, I have no idea how you find the time to do it with a baby/toddler!

McCalls 6569: Anniversary Evening Dress (The Finished Dress)

If you’ve read my previous blog you’ll see how my muslin turned out.

With just a week to go I set out to sew up my dress in the lovely gold satin I’d brought back from Vegas a couple of years ago. I read prior to this that you should try and store your satin rolled rather than folded due to the crease factor. I did this but to be honest it still creased a fair amount.

I spent a whole night cutting out and marking up the pattern pieces (including the adjusted pieces – see my other blog). My, my, what a pain in the arse. It turns out satin is the most slippery material known to man (slight exaggeration, but it did feel like that at the time).


The following day I sewed the bodice together which went very well but then it was time for the lining. I should say at this point I have never lined anything in my life but as I was sewing with satin I thought it would probably be a good idea just to bit the bullet and do it. IMG_20170127_212641_438

I decided this before I read the pattern instructions, but it turned out that there were instructions in with the pattern to line the dress. My Brain: “What does this even mean though?!”


I spent about an hour trying to figure out how to sew the lining in, which way it went round to ensure the seams couldn’t be seen. I have to say – vintage instructions are not a dyslexic’s  friend the best of times and this was no exception. After lots of umming and ahhhing and tearing my hair out I finally figured it out and it did actually look pretty good. IMAG2530

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I spent a long night sewing the lining to the skirt pieces following this, and here was where I made one of my major mistakes. I have no idea how I marked the fabric up wrong but somehow I managed to.


When it came to the later stage of sewing it together it meant that I had a row of stitching down the back of the skirt next to the centre seam which I then had to unpick. Unfortunately, as I was sewing in satin it did mark the fabric so my dress is not so perfect, but we make mistakes to learn from them don’t we? More on that point later! IMAG2573

With a day to go to my anniversary (and after a lengthy trip to the dentist for two fillings) I spent a full day sewing the skirt pieces together (while keeping an eye on the clock so I could be sure I wouldn’t be late picking up Ash from nursery and hoping that some semblance of feeling would return to my ridiculously numb face).

I attached the skirt to the bodice with relative ease and inserted the zip. Mistake number two: I was silly enough to not check that the fabric was taught when I basted the zip in, meaning that when I went to sew it I, again, had a big chuck of stitches to unpick which left a rather messy side zip insertion.

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Thankfully it’s a side zip so really no one’s going to see it unless the come up really close to have a look . I finished sewing the lining pieces together at the waist and was quite impressed with how it looked inside out.

At this point I thought I should just leave the hemming to my anniversary and cut my losses before I cried.

So the day of my 10th wedding anniversary (last Friday) I sewed right up to the last minute but I did finally finish my dress with a couple of hours to spare, and I did get all dressed up and we did go out for the first time on our own in seven months. And here I am in my dress!

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So what did I learn?

  • I learnt that sewing to a deadline when you have a young baby may not be the right amount of pressure to put on yourself when you’ve just gone back full time to work!
  • I learnt that even with nearly a year off sewing anything I’m still quite competent and I still know what I’m doing.
  • I learnt that lining something may be a pain in the arse but it’s really worth it and that there’s nothing to be scared about when it comes to what I would have previously considered tricky fabric.
  • Mostly I learnt that there’s nothing wrong with mistakes and everything can;t be perfect all of the time. I wish I didn’t have the little hole marks where I’ve unpicked the stitching but it will always be a reminder of the first time I sewed with something other than what I previously considered ‘safe’ fabrics and I certainly wont be making the same mistakes again. We’ve got to get some things wrong to learn a lesson, right?

Overall I am extremely happy with how it turned out. What do you think?

So roll on 2017….I still have some glitter speckled pink satin from Vegas in my stash…watch this space!

McCalls 6569: Anniversary Evening Dress (The Muslin)

This year I made a decision, a decision not be to scared by fabric. For a couple of years now I’ve had some gold satin I brought back from Vegas in my stash and I’ve been so scared to use it having never worked with anything like that. This year it’s my tenth (?!) wedding anniversary and I thought it would make the loveliest dress for our celebratory meal out.

I picked McCalls 6569 for the pattern; a gorgeous sixties evening dress with a matching jacket. I’m not so sure I’ll have time to make the jacket but the dress looked simple enough with my time constraints.

The first thing I did was post in the We Sew Retro Sew & Tell facebook group to ask for tips, it’s one thing I LOVE about the sewing community, you have a wealth of experience and advice online in a group like that and people are only willing to help and wish you luck. So armed with my new found advice I bit the bullet and cracked on. As you may have noticed I don’t often make muslins of my clothes but as I was working with an unforgiving fabric I thought I probably should get it right the first time, as a seam ripper might not be the best friend it previously had been to me. I measured up, perfect in the bust but 2 inches bigger on the waist and 4 on the hips (not live I’ve had a baby in the last year or anything….). It was going to need a little adjustment.


I used the pivot method for the hip adjustment and added extra at the waist thinking I could figure out adjusting the darts as I went.

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New pattern pieces made, I cut and marked everything out in calico, ready to sew my mock up. Well this is where everything went quiet for a week as my little one ended up being ill, so it’s meant that every night for the last week I’ve been furiously sewing to get everything completed after his bed time.

The muslin went together bit by bit and I was overall quite happy with how it turned out…. apart from ordering an open ended zip (I blame the lack of sleep) and I forwent the hemming as that can be done on the real thing later.

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The only other thing (that I am slightly concerned about) is lining the dress. There are instructions but having never lined anything before I’m hoping that it’s easy enough and wont take up too much time as I’ll probability be sewing right up until the last minute with this.

So here it is muslin complete and on to the real thing – wish me luck!

All Sewn Up: Butterick B6031 – Patterns By Gertie: The Pants

You might remember that nearly two years (how?!) after I’d sewn the slip ago I said next up would be the pants, then I promptly got distracted and never got around to finishing them.

In fact, I pretty much forgot about them until I recently had a bit of a clear out and found them pre-cut with the pattern in my sewing stash. IMAG0646_1So, with a bit of time to spare on Saturday morning I thought I’d give them a bash.

IMAG0647_1They took about an hour in total to sew, which I didn’t think was too bad for a little morning sewing project and it was all very straight forward.

IMAG0648_1The only thing that irked me somewhat was that I’d bought the kit from Gertie’s Etsy way back when but there wasn’t enough stretch lace to go round the leg holes (is that even a technical term?).

I did have a big bag of bits of lace and elastic my Nana had given me a few years ago so I did manage to find some, unfortunately it isn’t matching but it looks okay.

IMAG0651_1The pants came out really well.

IMAG0652_1I am just now trying to figure out how my bum is going to fit in them, having any kind of small clothing item fit you in the future when your preggo tummy resembles an ever expanding planet is a hard thing to come to term with(!).


Our New Pad

We’ve been in the new house for a week, and what a week it’s been.

The move was okay but the unpacking took me nearly the full week to get done. Yesterday I changed the curtains and took the last of the boxes and others disposable goods (read – leftover crap) to the tip.

For my troubles I’ve been a bit under the weather. Mostly looking like I’ve been scrapping in the streets of Manchester, with a face swollen with the worst cold sore outbreak I’ve had for years and lumpy glands under my chin.

On the plus side though I have spread my crafting and sewing goods out and am no longer confined to half a bedroom. I’ve set up downstairs in the dining room as we have tonnes of space here and it’s much nicer to use the space as multi purposes, plus no traipsing up and down stairs to get enough room to cut my patterns out now.

I commandeered the 60s teak sideboard we have and filled it with my vintage patterns and other things such as felt, my hair flower supplies and other bits and bobs I used to have piled high, and I can have my sewing books out and close to hand.

My sewing machine is happily sat under the window and is spoilt with all of the light it’s getting. I really can’t wait to get cracking but I have to get better first, Enforced rest it is for the time being.

New House

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New House

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New House

and here’s our favourite spot, right next to each other in the living room. We always joke that we have to sit so close as we’re not used to having the space, but really it’s just nice to be near each other, isn’t it? 🙂

New House

Moving House….

On 2nd Jan we were hit with the news we’d be moving as our landlady is moving back into the house. As such I’ll be away for a few weeks while we finish packing (all my sewing/craft stuff was packed up last night), move and get hooked up to everything at the new pad.

See you on the other side folks!


Sewing: Circle Skirts for Soul Girls

You’d think from my lack of sewing posts I’d been laying the needle down but I have been sewing, honest! I recently made two circle skirts on commission for some soulies I know.

I’m holding off the full post about this as I’d ideally like to get some pics of the ladies in question in them and a short clip of them dancing away.

So until then, here’s a little pic of one of them on my dummy and an awesome soul tune that you should dance about to!


The National Vintage Awards

This is a little late in coming I know but I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who took the time to vote.

As you know (If you follow me on Twitter) I didn’t win BUT I was so happy and proud of myself for getting through to the finals alongside two of my fellow Manchester bloggers!

The awards ceremony was held in Birmingham and below are a few snapshots of the night.

It was great to meet so many new faces and see some old. Norton of Morton won the award and he so deserved it. It was good to finally meet him and the same goes for Helen from Mancunian Vintage, who is a complete doll.

I wore the dress I’d made for Vegas (and just about managed to squeeze myself into it) and accessorised with the sparkles I’d bought while I was away.

I had the absolute honour of hanging with “Vintage Personality of the Year” and my lovely friend KiKi DeVille. I’ve known Kiki for a good few years now, as we’ve both been involved in the burlesque scene and she’s given me many a colourful and always funning introduction to the stage over the years.

If anyone knows Kiki you’ll know how hard she works and how dedicated to the Vintage movement she is, especially those involved in the burlesque scene. So well done Kiki, you really do deserve the award and then some!