This has been my year

1.Top Five of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, I have been reflecting on the previous months and what they have meant to me from a creative point of view.  Last year I blogged about the highs and lows of 2012 (oh my, I did have a couple of lows).  This year I have decided to join in the fun with Crafting a Rainbow and tell you about the Top 5 of 2013.  I have decided to share with you the opportunities and experiences that have come my way this year because of my wonderful hobby.

1. Road Testing a couple of Patterns for Sewing-Online

Back in April I was approached by Kim from Sewing-Online who asked me if I would like to create something from a couple of patterns of my choice from them.  When I had blogged about my creations my posts would be mentioned on their site. Well I was beside myself with giddiness, I had shared one or two of my projects with Kim (as I do love to show anyone who remotely shows an interest in what I make) but it came as such as shock that someone thought my dressmaking was worthy of promoting on their website!

Simplicity 1699

Simplicity 1699

I decided on the two outfits pictured here and completely loved both of them.

Simplicity 2442

Simplicity 2442

2. Appearing in Sew Magazine

I do love a bargain (who doesn’t?) and also any freebies I can lay my hands on.  Sew Magazine are fantastic for putting free patterns with their magazine.  I have quite a collection in my sewing room, some I have used already and others I have earmarked for the future.  I decided to make one of the dresses from a Simplicity Project Runway pattern.  Sharing my progress with companies who have an interest in seeing what I make from their own products is something else I find very rewarding.  Lo and behold a couple of months later there was Dolly (my mannequin) sat proudly in the magazine.  That was me giddy as a box of frogs for the second time this year.

Simplicity K1913

Simplicity K1913

3. Winning a competition with Abakhan Fabrics

Moving on with my love of sharing creations with companies who have had their own input in some way shape or form.   I have purchased most of my fabric from Abakhan Fabrics store in Manchester this year and I like to show them what I have created out of their gorgeous fabrics.  As it happens, a dress I made in October this year was entered into their Project of the month competition (without my knowledge) and it won!

Flowers

Simplicity 1874 Flowers

I was beginning to get a little overwhelmed at this point with all the attention, totally gob smacked is the phrase I would use!

4. Becoming part of a Bloggers Network for Calico Laine

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more exciting, in November I was approached by Calico Laine who asked if I would consider joining their Bloggers Network. I will make some of my future creations from fabric (which I will get at discount price) from their site.  When I blog about it they will share the experience on their site………wow!  How could I turn that down?  I am currently in the middle of finishing my first creation, it is sew exciting.

Blogger

5. My ever so over the top dahhling dresses

My final entry in the top five reflections of the year has to be my evening gowns, both sit proudly at the top of my accomplishments this year.  After all none of the above would have happened if it wasn’t for my sewing.

Simplicity 1874

Simplicity 1874

I still can’t quite believe I do something in my spare time that brings me so much joy and happiness and to top it all it has introduced me to some incredibly wonderful people.

Smplicity 2253

Simplicity 2253

Once again I wonder what next year will bring, but if this year is anything to go by my sewing future will be a glorious one.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Hello Dolly

It has been quite a week with a very exciting experience for me, that completely took me by surprise (I have only just stopped fluffing my own feathers) or maybe not as I am bursting to share the news with those of you who don’t know already.  There I was minding my own business when I received a tweet from one of my sewing pals, that just said congratulations?! I couldn’t wait to open the picture she had attached to it to find out what was going on and there it was in all its glory, my very own mention in Sew magazine (begins to dance around the room once again).  I have recently made a dress from a Simplicity pattern that was featured in their June magazine and as with all my creations I take pictures at various stages during the process. I decided to share one of my dressmakers mannequin “Dolly” wearing Simplicity K1913 in the early stages with SewHQ and Simplicity on twitter, I didn’t give it another thought (I’m always sharing pictures with anyone who seems remotely interested) and low and behold who turns up in this months issue……..? Dolly in all her glory, she is so proud and I am also extremely proud and pleased as punch that they thought my creation was perfect.

Sew MagazineMoving on with even more exciting news.  I have been toying with the idea of creating a logo for some time now but couldn’t really decide what I wanted as the face of willowwears.  It dawned on me this weekend, who better than Dolly to do the job (after her recent claim to fame).  She is without a doubt absolutely perfect for the position. She has been with me since April 2013 after I bought her from my lovely friend at sewing-online.  She always does such a fabulous job and is a great help to me I definitely would be lost without her.    Designing the logo  was the easy part (not much to think about really, the main feature had been decided),  editing was a different matter but I got there in the end.  I was going to have it created by a professional designer but my other half folded his arms and gave me the “you know you can do it” look.

There we have it folks – willowwears gets a makeover, I hope you like?!

Logo

Two for the price of one

I thought I would share this little story with you all. For those of you who are in the know, you will chuckle and also for those of you like me, who aren’t in the know, you will be soon.

I received a message from my husband yesterday, telling me he had bought me a little present, oh I do like surprises, I couldn’t wait to get home to find out what it was.

My husband had decided to do a little secret detective work on my behalf following my recent decision to look into buying a new sewing machine. You see one of the things I seem to be lacking with my current machine is the art of double stitching, I have so wished that my machine had the ability to hold two needles at the same time, this became more apparent last year during my knitted fabric phase, when I would stitch the hem and then stitch another line close to the first one. (I will add this isn’t the only reason for wanting a new super-duper machine).

Twin Needle

My new found friend

Anyway my husband managed to find a twin needle and bought me one. You can imagine my surprise at the gift (going red at the thought) I didn’t even know they existed, now do I feel a right numpty? Oh very much so! Do I still want/need a new sewing machine? (rubs hands together) of course I do!

20130207-214744.jpg

My other little friend

 

The highs and lows of 2012

This was the year I decided to revisit my love of dressmaking. After completing my Open University Course in Business Studies last year I found a hole in my time that needed to be filled with something more than the TV, Facebook or Twitter.  So it came to be in January my sewing machines made an appearance out of the dark depths of the spare room cupboard where they had resided for many many years.  My journey so far has been sprinkled with triumphs and disasters (which make me Front View_3shudder at the thought of them).  We will start will the greatest high of all, my little black dress, which I might add, made its grand appearance on my Birthday last Thursday.   I totally love this dress for so many reasons, most of all the challenge and the accomplishment that came with making it and that the chances of seeing someone else in it are minimal.

A two piece garment, using layered gathered outer seams

My second high came from another Vogue pattern V1259, again I was drawn to this for the challenge and a challenge it certainly was, more so than V8705 before it.  I realised that fewer pattern pieces doesn’t necessarily mean that something is going to be a doddle to make.  I did some research on this before I started and with each version came very different experiences, some loved it some wouldn’t touch it again with a barge pole. I for one love the fact I receive compliments about it and people cannot believe I have actually made it myself (cheesey grin spreads across my face at the thought).

Front ViewNow we shall take it down a notch and touch on some middle ground where I experienced my first disaster, so much so that when the garment was completed I couldn’t really stay friends with it as it had upset me so much.  This one was Simplicity K2588.  The problem was of my own doing really after buying fabric that was the wrong weight for the dress in its original form, this being a lovely flowing skirt.  Upon completion I realised that the skirt did NOT flow it flared out at the middle because of the pleats and continued to flare out towards the hem, a most unflattering look.  As you can see from the picture once unpicked and reconstructed with a fitted skirt it did manage to redeem itself but the damage was done, I had embarrassed myself by creating the monster in the first place.

Front Full ViewOnward we shall go to the biggest disaster of all, this was Butterick B5676, oh the shame of this creation, I made it not once but twice (what was I thinking) it was wrong from the start really but I persevered and had a second attempt, what can I say? The wrong colour for a start, not to mention the fit which was rather on the small side (too many lumps and bumps on show for my liking) and then there was the gaping neck, for some reason this did not and would not work for me on either version, I tried the facing and also bias tape without the facing and neither one looked right.  I know from seeing it on other blogs that it can look truly gorgeous but not for me, oh definitely not for me.

So to conclude my first year of sewing again after a 10 year break has given me so much to think about and I can honestly say it it has been the most wonderful experience with all the highs and lows that came with it.  What 2013 will hold at the moment I don’t know, I think I will venture into the world of men’s trousers (as my husband is showing a preference in this direction) and might make my first coat or jacket. I am sure it will be as rewarding and fulfilling as this year has been.

Happy New Year to you all!

Almost there

Floral Dress - Image 1

After many hours changing and fixing this dress I honestly feel like I have unpicked more than I have sewn.  After not sewing for a number of years I have been quickly reminded not to follow patterns too strictly and go with what I think will work better. Sometimes the instructions can make the whole process a little too complicated.

Anyway here we are, at least it is in one piece and the top half is attached to the bottom, I need to put the zip back in; I can’t remember how many times that zip has been in and out.  I also unpicked the yoke facing to ensure a neater finish on the inside, so this will need stitching again, then the final finishing touches and away we go…….hopefully 🙂