Emmy-Lou's Christening dress - Stitching Memories.
As I mentioned in Part 1 of Wedding dress refashion blog post, the past couple of months have been quiet an emotional sew!
Starting with the 'Gathering Memories' project to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society which you can read more about here.
But this post is about the challenge set by my sister in law, Gemma Beryln - to make my niece, Emmy-lou, her christening dress. Which at first I was totally fine with; however the challenge was to make it out of her wedding dress. Now this wedding dress is very special as this was a Hand-Made wedding dress which her mother in law, Ineke Berlyn had made for her.
If you have had chance to read part one, you will know that Ineke was the person who set me on my sewing journey by showing me how to make my own wedding dress. She is a huge inspiration to myself as well as Gemma who has also been inspired by Ineke's printing and textile art. What made this project hard is that sadly, Ineke is no longer with us.
She lost her fight to cancer in 2017 and has left quite a hole in our family. Try as we do to make sure she is still with us in what ways we can.
So for me, to essentially cut up what Ineke had beautifully made for Gemma, was the most terrify thing. More terrifying than appearing on the Great British Sewing Bee Studio on the first day!
Before cutting into the precious dress, making a toile was essential! I didn't use a pattern as Gemma wanted the gown to be a copy of a dress she already had that fitted her perfectly.
I was so pleased with the toile! It's so cute and I didn't realise until after that the fabric has flowers resembling tulips on it, Ineke's favourite flower! I felt like it was a sign that she was approving. Which really helped as the next step was to cut up the wedding dress!
luckily I was able to keep the upper part of the dress in tacked, so that Gemma still had a 'dress' left to cherish.
I placed my pattern pieces onto the off cut, trying to avoid areas that had become marked from the evenings dancing and luckily there was just enough left over lace to cover the front bodice. PHEW!
I also used the lining from the wedding dress to create clean finishing around the neckline and arm holes, where as on the toile, I bound them with bias binding. I also bagged out the skirt, so that it created a little volume in the dress.
It didn't take long to sew up as it was such a small garment. I'm so used to adult sizes it seemed to sew up in no time at all, but it was a little tricky at times because of the arm holes being so small! They wouldn't fit around the arm of the machine. Again, I'm so glad I made a toile first as I was able to practise before hand.
I took my time over the hand finishing details. I stitched sea beads left over from my wedding dress onto the lace and also hand finished the button plackets on the back of the dress. I didn't want to spoil the finish by top stitching them closed with the sewing machine.
To finish off the dress, I added some vintage mother of pearl buttons that I'd been keeping in my stash.
When I sent the finished dress pictures to Gemma, we both became emotional and was crying as we texted each other back and forth. I just hoped that Emmy-lou didn't have a massive growth spurt between now and the big day and that I had done Ineke proud.
I felt that with Ineke no longer with us, I was somehow responsible for passing on this tradition of making special clothes for our children/ family members. Ineke had made both Gemma's and Liske's (Ineke's daughter) wedding dresses, and I know if she was here then she would have made Emmy-lou's christening dress.
So I'm very honoured to do this for my beautiful niece, Gemma and Ineke. I like to think that Ineke and I made the dress together somehow; through two stitched garment, our hands have become one and we made it together just in time for the special day.
Everything was perfect on the day! Gorgeous sunshine and fabulous home cooked curry at Little heath Barn Studio - Piet's family home as well as Ineke and Liske's studio where they hold printing workshop surrounded by her beautiful textile art. There was tears, laughter, wine, music and great company.
One thing though -trying to photograph a toddler is impossible, especially when all they want to do is play on the slide!! lol
Have you made a special garment for yourself or a family member?
Have you refashioned your wedding dress to make a christening gown?
I'd love to see your creations so please send me pictures via my Facebook page Tailor - Taylor
or don't forget to use the hashtag #sewingrevolution !
Also Emmy-lou's Christening dress has been featured in my editorial for June's addition of Craft Business .
Where I was posed a question - The royals - A class of their own or fashion trendsetters?
With Royal weddings and new royal baby arrivals in the press, are we being influenced by the royal's wardrobe - I wonder what your thought are?
Simplicity & Korbond Birthday Giveaway!
It's been a while since I last did a blog post but as its my birthday I thought i'd treat myself to a handmade garment and as we are in the midst of #memademay which I sadly have not had time to take part in this year so it just seemed the right thing to do even though it is only one garment.
You will know from watching me on the Great British Sewing Bee that I love dungaree's! I always feel like a little scamp who is likely to get into trouble when wearing them.
Along with dungaree's I love a pinafore or Apron dress.
Still feeling mischievous in them but look a little more feminine than Dunga's!
With this in mind I decided to make 1970's inspired Vintage Simplicity Pattern 8073. It's a cute and super simple Apron dress. Perfect for spring or summer and is great coupled with a long or short sleeved t shirt.
I wanted to make it up in this awesome crazy floral print fabric that was kindly gifted to me by SewJo after an epic fabric clear out. I don't have many garments with flowers on so I thought i'd go for a change.
Ive made a few different types of Apron dresses before. Sew Me Something' s Beatrice which I made reversible and also the Walkaway Dress by Butterick which also featured as a task on the Sewing Bee Series three. So I was looking forward to trialing this one too.
It's a super simple in design as it is literally an oversized Apron.
You have a 'normal' apron front but the 'wings' are larger so they wrap around the back turning the apron into an awesome dress.
With the #sewingrevolution in mind I think this is a perfect pattern for a beginner wanting to make a garment for the first time.
I like that there are not too many pattern piece's to cut out and the instructions on how to make it are super clear. So there is nothing daunting about this pattern if you are a beginner. I loved it as I was able to make something for myself in super quick time ready for my birthday meal with the bonus of being able to loosen off the waist ties when you have eaten far too much!
I think this dress is also perfect for holidays as you can just pop it on when you want to go to the bar after sunbathing by the pool and want to be a little more covered up. What do you think?
So to celebrate my birthday and the return of the Great British Sewing Bee with series four starting this evening at 9pm I'm doing a little competition giveaway!
If you can guess how many Vintage Buttons are in my Sewing Pot you will be the winner of a selection of wonderful Simplicity patterns, a Korbond Sewing kit and a Needle Wallet made by yours truly.
All you have to do is leave a comment with your guess along with an email address at the bottom of this blog post and ill be picking the winner on the 31st May 2016. Once the winner has announced I will contact you directly to organise the delivery of your goodies!!!
So a few rules.
only one guess per person, only comments on this page will count (facebook and twitter will not count) and the closest guess wins. If I have a few people with the same closest guess, then they will go into a draw! Competition closes at 12pm 31/5/2016 so comments will not be counted after this time.
Good luck, feel free to share and viva la #sewingrevolution!
Wow it's been a few crazy months! ICHF's sewing show in Manchester and Stitches, NEC in February. Knitting and Stitch in Olympia at the beginning of March and now Sewing for Pleasure! My body is in some serious need of a fast food detox I can tell you but i've loved every minute of it!
Sewing for Pleasure was a very special event for me this year as this was the first time that I have ever had my own stand at such a large event! Normally at these events I have been a guest demonstrator or speaker but this time I was on my own.
Designing and setting up my own stand. Planning, sourcing and preparing my workshop kits and of course sharing the #sewingrevolution love; it's been a huge learning curve and milestone for me!
It feels like all the hard work is really starting to pay off and i'm so looking forward to the next chapter!
When I was thinking about how I wanted my stand to look. I knew I wanted to bring my sewing room to the NEC; so i did! I brought my 'old gal' singer sewing machine, pictures from my sewing room wall and my 'when i get chance to' project which I started in February while in Manchester. You can just about see my cabin block patch work hanging on my pin boards.
I also brought a selection of clothes that are examples for my workshops which i'm running throughout the year. I thought it would be nice for people to have a look at them and may be get some ideas or inspiration.
The one thing that I definitely wanted to incorporate was an inspiration wall. This became my 'Sewing is..' Wall.
Remember the 'Love is..' comic strip from the 1960's? well it's kind of like that.
I wanted to encourage visitors to add what sewing means to them in a few words.
It started out as a little fun on Thursday with only a few brave people making their mark but by the end of the first day the wall began to take on a different shape. On Friday the wall felt like a diary, Secret messages and thoughts became public and by Sunday the text was not only fun but just beautiful, inspiring and completely heart breaking all at the same time.
The 'Sewing is..' Wall became such a treasure that I now plan to immortalise it by creating a very plain quilt and transferring the text onto it using free motion embroidery. Everyone made such a wonderful effort in sharing their thoughts It seemed only right that something special becomes of it, so watch this space... but don't hold your breath, it will take me a while!
Another big part of the show for me was the #sewingrevolution workshops! This is what I love to do and I hope that those of you who were lucky enough to secure a place enjoyed it as much as me!
I ran two different workshops. One was an upcycled key ring pouch and the other was a scrap busting pin cushion or hand warmer. All of the project kits used clothes or left over materials. I think someone thought I was joking when I said that the green corduroy was my husband's trousers. It was only when Kirk popped his head round and said that they were did she believe me! lol! I hope you all enjoyed the workshop and put your little korbond sewing kits to great use!
To top it all off and to celebrate my milestone, I decided to run a little competition which was exclusive to the Sewing for Pleasure show.
I wanted the prize to be something that would help to the next person to start their own #sewingrevolution. So my awesome workshop sponsor, Korbond and I put together the ultimate kit filled with everything you need to get started and more! It was free to enter and we had an amazing 232 entries but there can only be one winner...
Congratulations Emma Pattinson for winning the Korbond Sewing Kit!
The sewing kit will be with you in a few days Emma! I would love to see what wonderful creations you make with it so keep us posted!
Before I sign off, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to Korbond for their amazing support and for supplying the wonderful sewing kits for my workshops and the competition! To Jane Bolsover and ICHF for letting me run havoc at the show and the chance to share the #sewingrevolution love, cannot wait for the next one!
But the biggest thanks of all has to go to my amazing husband for his love and continuous support! For not only stepping in and completely rocking my stand on Saturday and Sunday but for putting up with me when I have to just finish that last seam before dinner or to not go mad when you have stepped on yet another sewing pin.
I'm so proud and blessed to have you by my side and without your faith in me there would be no #sewingrevolution.
I truly am a luck girl!!
Using #sewingrevolution upcycling techniques to cheat your way to a vintage blouse.
If you follow my Instagram and facebook posts as well as my live demonstrations on Create and Craft TV you will know that I love an upcycle project!
Transforming old items into something completely new is a buzz, a little challenge if you like. My favourite #sewingrevolution workshops are my sewing clinic’s where I never know what the attendees are going to bring or want to make until on the day.
I have to think on my feet and come up with several project ideas using only the materials we have to hand. It’s exhausting but very rewarding work as the tutor. I love teaching people how to look at old items differently while they are also learning new sewing skills. Showing that you can make wonderful and unique items with things that you were going to throw out or taking those precious items that you cannot bare to get rid of but just don’t know what to do with it.
It’s always a special moment when a person bring something very personal, like old baby clothes or their mothers old coat.
At first it is very reluctant to start cutting into the item and it will always means a trip down memory lane. So I feel very privileged when people tell me and the group their family stories. It seems to give them a little more courage to get hacking knowing that these memories will no longer be in the wardrobe hidden away, but transformed into an item that will be used and loved again.
Upcycling doesn’t have to be tricky though, I love to combine new fabrics and commercial patterns with elements of old items especially when wanting to get a vintage look.
My Mom had a blouse that she used to call it her ‘cheese cloth top’ and she lived in it. So much so that it completely disintegrated. I would kill for that top now it was a lovely light cotton with hand embroidery around the neck coupled with a little lace detail, very Fleetwood Mac/ Stevie Nicks, very hippy chic.
Simplicity have a pattern which 100% reminds me of my mom in this top when I was a kid. It’s the New look pattern 6027 which I thought would be the perfect addition to the simplicity bloggers circle as well as the foundation for my sewing project. As soon as I saw this pattern I knew I wanted to recreate my mom's top. Problem is I don’t have time to hand embroider the fabric, so I thought I’d do an upcycle cheat.
After scouring the local charity shops, I came across several different types of Table clothes, Doilies and Handkerchiefs with either printed, machine or hand embroidery detail. Just perfect and all around 50p to a £1 an item, I purchased several as I was sure they would come in for other projects.
In the end I used a medium sized Doily which was about 1/2 a metre squared to give me the hand embroidery detail on the front of the blouse. It had cute pink flowers and also a yellow and orange seed head, which arched. I wanted to take advantage of this shape for the front of the blouse. This was the first Vintage cheat.
I then removed the cotton lace edging off a different table cloth by unpicking it carefully and then added this to the sleeve at the elbow - Vintage cheat number two.
For a third Vintage cheat, I did take it a little further and used a large white cotton bed sheet for my main fabric because it was a wonderful quality, had obviously been washed several times as it was super soft and again only £2 from the charity shop; A complete bargain! There was so much fabric that I think I can make another top out of it, which is great news as the pattern has five variations.
So there you have it. Add a little vintage inspiration to your makes by upcycling those little elements at a fraction of the cost and also time!
Start your own #sewingrevolution makes and don't forget to send me pictures!
#Sewingrevolution upcycling Summer Challenge.
Never one to shy away from a sewing challenge, I was approached with an unusual propsal. Oceanfinance.co.uk have tracked down twenty creative bloggers and challenged them all to upcycle a plain deckchair.
Armed with a Hobbycraft voucher and deckchair, I accepted this exclusive challenge and headed to Wolverhampton Hobbycraft for some inspiration.
I knew that I wanted to theme my project around my love of sewing and craft. I wanted it to be a practical as well as a really funky chair and with the weather starting to brighten up, I wanted to be able to craft outside while grabbing a tan of course!
With these aims in mind and the help of the lovely staff, we got to work. I think I spent about 2 hours in there looking at everything craft related. In the end I decided to go with four 1/4 meters of some awesome sewing related fabric which I was going to patch work for my seat. The fabric had a great retro feel to it with old sewing labels, patterns and images. There was also a cracking cotton reel fabric which I coupled with a lovely plain minty teal fabric.
While on my expedition I came across these large bundles of yarn, which was actually strands of t-shift fabric rather than wool. This was perfect! An opportunity to learn a new craft while sitting on my 'to be upcycled' deck chair. So I decided to apportion a little of my strict budget on two yarns of Boodles in orange and yellow along with a 10mm Bamboodle crochet hook. I'm already thinking of the clothes I can cut up to make yarn for future upcycling projects, but I better learn how to crochet first.
One challenge at a time Jenni!
After a quick picture with the lovely staff, Rachael, Jac, Melanie and Andy ( who was taking the picture) and feeling dead proud that I had stayed within budget, I was ready to get started.
Back at #sewingrevolution HQ, I decided that I wanted to make a little bucket pouch that could be connected to the side of the chair. This would be the practical element that I wanted to include. Something to keep my scissors, wool, threads, material, bottle of wine and snacks that sort of thing while I craft away in the sun. With my next challenge waiting, I wanted to make sure my pouch would be big enough to hold one of the Boodles yarn, which is about 14 inches in circumference.
So before started to cut up my fabric to make strips for the patch work. I cut out two large rectangles of the vintage sewing and reel fabric along with some of the vintage sewing label fabric for a front pocket. For my bucket pouch I need enough fabric to wrap around my yarn to create a tube, a circular base and strap - twice; as I wanted to also line my pouch. This was about 25 by 10 inches for the lining and again for the main fabric. You can obviously make yours as small or as large as you like.
It's a really simple construction as it is the same pouch, made twice and then inserted inside each other, wrong sides together. Then finished with a top stitch on the edge.
So I could attach my bucket pouch to my deck chair, I've added a strap and Prym Snap fasteners to secure it around the leg of the chair. I added the strap before sewing the two pouches together.
I also wanted a little detail on the front so I added a pocket. A little something to keep your scissors or knitting needles out the way.
With my bucket pouch complete, I then took the remaining material and cut into long strips. Making sure that the width of the strips were all the same size so it makes it a lot easier to patch with. I wanted to go for a shabby chic look so I decided to use a combination of squares and rectangles to create my new deckchair seat.
As I only had four difference styles of fabric, I tried to make sure that the same style was not stitched together, but I wasn't to bothered if it did; it all adds to the shabby chic look.
Using the original seat cover to measure how big I needed my patch to be, I continued to piece together until it was big enough to cover it.
Rather than completely replace the seat, I used the old white seat cover as a backing to my patch. Not only did this add strength to my seat but also covered up all my seams on the back of the patch work.
After giving the patch work a good press and creating a small single hem on all the sides, the patch was ready to be pinned to the original seat cover. I secured it with a visible top stitch and used a white thread for the bobbin, so you couldn't see the stitches on the other side.
I had to finish the top and bottom ends with a little hemming tape and hand sewing as I didn't want to sew the channels shut as that is where the wooden poles go into to secure the seat in place.
I wanted to make a feature of this, so I added a printed cotton ribbon which said 'handmade'. Too Cute!
With my new seat cover and bucket pouch in place; my #sewingrevolution deck chair upcycle challenge is complete and I'm ready to start my next new challenge!
Just waiting for the sun to make an appearance first.
Thank you to Oceanfinance.co.uk for this awesome upcycling challenge.
I hope you like it everyone!
Why not have a go yourself and use your left over fabric scraps to freshen up those old deckchairs in the shed! Even make a bucket pouch too! If you need help - check out #sewingrevolution Events for a sewing clinic workshop near you!
Remember 'Creativity is Contagious - Pass it on!' so don't forget to share pictures of your makes on my facebook or twitter pages using the #sewingrevolution hashtag!
On the 18th of July in Walsall, I held a #sewingrevolution event at Helen's Haberdashery. With wine and nibbles and about twenty other people we chatted about the Sewing Bee, problems with projects, new ideas, current makes. I had taken my Sewing Bee makes so people could have a nose at them, we even had a pattern and fabric swap. Everything you could possibly want to talk about sewing we discussed. It was really nice when we went around the room and everyone got to introduce themselves, talk about their passion for sewing and explain how it all started for them. Hearing everyone's sewing journey's was a real treat. Very personal and all for very different reasons. Thanks for sharing Ladies and Gents!
It was a little scary for me at the start as I had to deliver a kind of talk which then turned into a Question and Answer session by accident. They did grill me a little but it was all a bit of fun really, I was very nervous though but with a cup cake in hand and a glass of wine in the other it became a wonderfully relaxed evening. I cannot wait for the next one. So keep an eye on Tailor Taylor Events!
Catching up with the Bee's!!!
I also had a trip down memory lane this month and caught up with the Bee's!! It was so lovely seeing them again in the flesh. It's not quite the same talking over the phone or catching up on twitter or facebook. Face to face and with hugs is so much better. Heading back to the Wapping came with mixed feelings. It was such an intense period for all of us when the Sewing Bee was being filmed it, I felt nervous going down on the train, but this quickly disappeared when we all talked about what we had been up to since the Bee, how busy we all are and our stories of people recognising us is in strange places. We completely overtook the corner of the pub and filled the room with excited voices and laughter. It was a shame it was only for the day, I'm used to seeing them for at least 2 days solid. So it was sad when we had to say goodbye, but we are going to organise another get together soon.
All I'm going to say about our chat is that we all have some pretty exciting things going on at the moment. So keep an eye out you never know when you are going to see us next!
Gifts for friends.
Its also been a crazy one for bespoke items this month.
My best friend from school, Emma is finally getting married to her
partner Helen at the end of August. I had promised to make her wedding
shirt for her and as August is fast approaching I was running out of time. Luckily I've managed to brake the back of it making it after work in the week as my weekends are becoming less available, so its been a little stressful.
Going for something a little different Emma wanted ruffle's and she has them!
Just have the button's to go now. I'm thinking blue, one she is a Baggies Fan (West Bromwich Albion) and two you have to have something blue on your wedding day. What do you think?
I've also made a dress for my wonderful friend Charlotte. She is the one that made my amazing cup cakes for the viewing of first episode on the Sewing Bee..Remember?
Well she wanted a dress that she saw on Pinterest and couldn't find it anywhere. So we went fabric shopping together. She picked her fabric and I have drafted the pattern and made the dress for her Birthday. She is going away on holiday in August, so again it was all hands to the deck to get it finished in time. I do love paisley so I think the choice of fabric is ace and of course it has cheeky pockets!!
Last but by no means least, we have a new arrival on the way! A fellow friend who is also an amazing vocalist, Kelly and our slide guitarist, 'Dobro' are having a baby girl. They are going to call her Martha, after The Beatles track. They do not know I have made anything yet, but I hope they like it.
I wanted to have a go at quilting as I was to be going to the Festival of Quilts in August. However, I'm not able to make it now but still feeling inspired I decided to make this lovely handmade gift from me. Big enough for a cot or a push chair, the quilt is made from off cuts of left over material. I even had a go at a little hand embroidery to give it a little detail. I would definitely recommend making one especially if you have any small left over off cuts! It's a #upcycling #sewingrevolution waiting to happen!
In my last blog I mentioned that I've been getting migraines. To rule a few things out I've had my eye's tested. Turns out that I need to wear glasses while using a computer. They don't think that is what is causing it but it isn't going to be helping.
Advise - Give your eyes regular breaks from the screen, otherwise you will look like this! The glasses are ace though and a BOGOF as well!! BARGAIN!
So what have you been up to? Don't forget I'm keeping my eyes open for your #sewingrevolution makes so please don't forget to hashtag! I'm searching for you!
Wow, it seems like a lot has happened since my last update. If you are following me on Twitter or Tailor Taylor page you may have come across my post regarding me 'being in the wars' as they say.
After a short ride in an ambulance to A&E and then five hours of blood tests and monitoring I was released with the diagnosis of an Abnormal Migraine. Numbness down the left hand side of my body was not the nicest of sensations I can tell you and I completely sympathise with anyone who suffers with Migraine's regularly. After a few days rest and lovely messages of love and well being, I'm feeling much better! So I just wanted to say thank you for all of your good vibes and wishing me a speedy recovery, as well as an apology for a delayed Blog!
Father's Day Workshop at Guthrie and Ghani Haberdashery.
So Glad I didn't have to cancel this workshop. It was so much fun! As you can see from the picture my very first MAN attendee by the name of Karl.
Not put off by the room of women, Karl plucked up the courage to come along to my morning session, a man's tie. If that's not a #sewingrevoultion right there, I don't know what is. Well done Karl.
There was tough competition between Karl and a lady called Julie as they had picked the same fabric! The game was on. It really was a fab day, lots of laughter and everyone came out with fabulous tie's. I really couldn't pick a favorite from them if you pushed me. I'd be rubbish as a Sewing Bee Judge.
With the morning session completed it was a quick clean up and on to the next one which was the man's wallet workshop. Three ladies from the morning workshop came for both, so are clearly spoiling their father's with these two gifts! Well done ladies for the long stint too as they didn't get much of a break between the sessions. We had a wonderful selection of fabric's in this workshop. Different textures and weights. Some wallets had applique applied, others with button fasteners. It was wonderful to see so many variations of the same idea with the one workshop.
Let me know if you would like a D.I.Y on this? Such a simple but effective gift idea any time of the year, which can be completely personalised for who you are making it for! You could even use their old favorite shirt or jeans. MAKE SURE YOU CHECK WITH THEM BEFORE CUTTING IT UP!!!
Sewing Bee Sunday At Guthrie & Ghani - Parkinson's UK.
When Lauren told be about this event, I knew I just had to be involved. When she then posted on her blog the full details of the day I really was excited. With three stations to choose from:
There was some amazing pattern and fabric swaps. So much so I couldn't resist when I saw the gorgeous Batik scraps. I think I'm going to make a patchwork shirt from them for Kirk.
As well as this wonderful event both Lauren and Ayaz are running the Berlin Marathon. You can still donate to this great cause through the 'Just Giving Page or text LAGG80 to 70070 to donate!
Birthday Celebrations and Upcycle ideas.
This month I was blessed to be part of two birthday celebrations. First was my best friends little boy's first birthday. His name is George and on the 8th of June I finally was able to give him is Belated birthday treat at his Christening party. He has a woodland theme in his bedroom so wanted something to not only match this but also something for him to cuddle. In true #sewingrevolution style, I used fabric that I had left over from a wrap top I made for an event. Making sure I used colourful fabric's as I read this is good for children, I made George a 'sleeptight owl'. Something to watch over him while he is snug as a bug in a rug. The owl even as a little heart inside him filled with love.
The second special birthday was my first ever nephew, Reyer. He really is the sunshine in our lives at the moment. A complete scamp! Reyer decided that he wanted a fancy dress pirate party (well mommy and daddy did they are scamp's too). So it had to be a fancy dress outfit! Made from a pillow case, off cuts from an old project, a curtain and left over fabric from my #GBSB prom dress; we have trousers and matching waistcoat, shirt, sash and of course a pirate sword. Reyer was ready to look for treasure. Obviously, not one to let the side down, Kirk and I decided to go in fancy dress to, but strangely we had enough 'pirate-ie' clothes so we didn't need to make anything. It was a fun sunny day filled with so many treasures, which wasn't necessarily all made from gold!
The One Big Show, CHA-UK and Coats.
This week I felt like I'd hit a mile stone in my Tailor Taylor sewing career. Not only did I have a flyer with a pic of me and the #sewingrevoultion information on but I was also asked to give two inspirational talks as part of the CHA-UK's One Big Show. This was just amazing.
Working along side Coats, we came together and created two projects to be presented in my inspirational talks.
I was so nervous. Singing on stage is one thing, you get to hide behind a great band. This was completely different. This was about me and my idea's. My advice on what I thought you guys would need and want as beginners and #sewingrevoultion enthusiasts. I do hope I have helped deliver what you have all been telling me though my social media sites and workshops. Thank you for all your feedback and comments.
While I was there I was given the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, like Fiona from the sewingdirectory.co.uk who is about to publish a fantastic book called 'Crafting a creative business'. Publisher's, Designer's, Trade director's, blogger's, Crafter's. Everyone you could possible think of to talk to about craft was there. It was such an amazing opportunity with some very exciting conversations which I'm dying to tell you about.
For anyone wanting to start a business or looking for the next step and advice, I would seriously suggest joining something like the CHA-UK. (Craft and Hobby Association UK). There were lots of fantastic seminars on all aspects of craft from Blogging to Publishing, Advertising to Understanding Employment Law all lead by industry leaders. To meet these individuals was a fantastic opportunity to learn but also a huge compliment to be delivering my own talk along side them.
With my talks completed, I couldn't wait to sit in on the other seminars taking notes and also to play around on the stands, decorating cupcakes, making cards, talking to experts and of course playing with the lovely items on the Coats stand! Rebecca, kindly showed me how to make a granny square. This was the worse thing she could have done. I have not stopped making them since. I think I'm going to make a granny blanket cardigan. I've always wanted one and now, thanks to Rebecca I can do it myself! You should know I like to get my finger's into as many pie's as possible by now! Considering this was work, it shouldn't be this much fun surely? So to end my blog today I wanted to thank Alastair McMinn from Coats and Craig De Souza from CHA-UK for inviting and letting me lose on your wonderful event. To Helen and Rebecca for making me feel part of a great team on site and to Lisa and Sarah for being great behind the scene's.
Remember you are on this journey with me, so thank you for following! I want to hear about your makes or anything you may need help on, so don't forget to #sewingrevoultion when posting! I'm watching out for you!
As you may be aware from my previous blog or social network feeds, that I have challenged myself to partake in the Me Made May challenge 2014. This is where I had vowed to wear something made by myself everyday, for the entire month of May. So here is my Me Made May 2014 break down from day 12 to day 31. Days 1 to 11 are on my previous blog is you want to have a peek.
Day 12 to 16 - Its my birthday and ill go to a book lunch if I want to!
Kicking off with day 12, you may recognise this self drafted t shirt as it is made with the left over moustache material I used for The Great British Sewing Bee PJ task in episode two.
Day 13 is what I would have made for episode six for the made to measure challenge. My Military jacket is Inspired by the 70's, my design was based on Jimi Hendrix's iconic jacket and The Beatles, Sgt. Peppers.
Day 14 is a shirt that I made when I first started to get into sewing. Gotta love that big collar!!!
Day 15 and its my birthday! I was very excited that not only was it my birthday but it was also Tilly's 'Love at first stitch' book launch! So in attempting to kill two birds with one stone, Kirk and I went in the hope of also going for a lovely romantic supper for two. Not realising it, I decided to wear my vintage skirt (Maudella 5911) made with denim and left over African print fabric for the inside pockets and my striped boob tube, Tilly and I were matching! It was so lovely to finally meet Tilly. We had a lot of fun as you can see, Tilly and Lauren are so tiny that I decided to kneel down for the pictures. With my book signed we then set off to the pub for a glass or two of fizz. With all the excitement at the launch and by the time we had finished our drinks it got so late that we decided to head back home for a Chinese takeaway instead. Last of the romantics but I had a great night.
Day 16 and the birthday celebrations continue with a family and friends gathering at The Church in Hockley, Birmingham for some Soul Food and drinks. Therefore I had to wear my wrap around skirt. This way after eating my body weight in Jambalya I can adjust my wrap skirt to fit my expanding and ready to burst waist!
Day 17 to 22 - Time to Vote!
Day 17 and it's my best friend's uncle's wedding and we have been kindly invited to the evening do! As it was a lovely warm evening I thought I would bust out my halter neck harlequin dress for the occasion. This was the first dress that I made after my wedding dress. It's not perfect at all, my waist band does not match up very well at all, at the side zip but its nice to see how much I have improved from when I made it. I had completely forgotten about it at the bottom of the wardrobe.
Day 18, Its workshop day at Guthrie and Ghani, so I've decided to wear my make from the weekend, which was Tilly's 'Delphine' skirt. The fabric is suede that I was kindly given by a lovely lady who I had never met because she wanted the fabric to go to 'someone who will put it to good use'. Hopefully, I fulfilled that duty!
Day 19 and I was not feeling very well at all, so was tucked up in bed, however had I got dressed on this day, I would be wearing 'Beatrice' apron pinafore from Sew Me Something. I slightly adapted mine to make it reversible so I have two dresses in one if you like. Perfect for holidays!
Day 20 and I'm feeling much better. So back to work and I'm wearing my upcycled men's shirt dress. This garment uses five men's shirts, which I cut up and made into a dress. A little quirky but I like it!
Day 21 and its Dungaree day, well pinafore but you know what I mean. Self drafted pattern with cheeky pockets using corduroy.
Day 22 and its your day to Vote. So off I go in my 'go everywhere' dress which is a vintage Simplicity pattern 7135. The material is a lightweight cotton that I got from Walthamstow market with Chinelo, in between filming episodes for The Great British Sewing Bee.
Day 23 to 26 - Festival Fun and feeling #snooty!
With the run up to the weekend, I was getting very excited.
Day 23 and I had upcycled an old bed sheet into what i'm calling my 'festival' dress. It has huge pockets in the side seams and a little pleat in the front with a scooped back. It's so comfortable and with it being a very old bed sheet from the 70's the fabric was not only amazing print wise but was super soft through god knows how many times through the washing machine!
Day 24, Kirk and I was heading down to London to meet up with my old school friend Emma Westwood, to go and watch 'Rooster' at Saddlers Wells. Both Emma and I studied dance at school. It was so amazing to get to watch this performance together and try and rein-act the performance after!
Day 25 and very tired as we didn't get in until two in the morning, Kirk and I say goodbye and head to Stevenage for Hogsozzle Festival. Armed with our matching upcycled poncho's and Band T-shirts, we prepared to get ready for our performance by part-taking in the Paint Fight! So much fun and it makes a great stage outfit!
Day 26 cold and wet as we camped over night, we crawled back to Birmingham in our tie dye t shirts and snooty pants. An improved look for the T shirt, I'm not so sure I looked so great! #hanging.
Day 27 to 31 - The last few days :(
Feeling well rested after the festival its now Day 27 and I'm up early as I have two workshops in Stratford Upon Avon at Sew Me Something. My first mixed group with adults and children, I wanted to look 'cool' so with my birthday moccasins on I teamed it up with my Pinafore and long sleeve vest. Workshop was awesome, so much fun and lovely students!
Day 28 and its a little chilly so I went with my light corduroy shirt dress. The pattern was from a sewing magazine I bought when I first started sewing, unfortunately I cannot find it to let you know the pattern name. Sorry everyone.
Day 29, so it has to be my upcycled shirt skirt. Made from two matching men's shirts. I wanted to look the part as I was involved in interviewing new recruits at my normal 9-5 job.
ITS FRIDAY and Day 30 so it has to be my snooty moustache shirt. Its a 1978 pattern by style 2465. The fabulous fabric I purchased online from Plush Addict.
And so my Me Made May 2014 comes to an end with Day 31.
This is a Tunic dress I made from the fabric Chinelo gave me while we were filming the Great British Sewing Bee.
After a few hours of filming Chinelo said that she has the perfect piece of fabric at home and it has my name on it! I thought she was joking when she said that but the very next round of filming and she presented the fabric as a gift. She is so lovely and kind hearted, I decided to use the material to make a tunic dress using a 1969 Style pattern 2521.
I used the off cuts to make my pockets for my Day 15 Skirt. It's such a treasured piece of fabric I wanted to make sure I used every last centimeter.
I hope you have enjoyed following my Me Made May adventure. I've really enjoyed wearing the garments that I had completely forgotten about. Those early items I made when I first started sewing compared to more recent makes (don't turn the item inside out you'll see the stitches - practice really does make perfect) . Even some of the fabrics have stories of their own. Can't wait to sew more memories!!! #sewingrevolution.
I want to hear about your Me Made Makes! Do you have garments that hold memories?
Its been two years since we (Kirk and I) have been on a holiday abroad for a sun break which was our honeymoon to Morocco in 2012.
With all the excitement and hard work of The Great British Sewing Bee all over, working full time throughout the period as well as starting up my #sewingrevolution workshops and gigging with SnootyBobs, which has been taking up pretty much each weekend, we were both in need of a break and some quality time together.
For our honeymoon, we originally wanted to go to New Orleans. Friend and family gifted dollar's as presents so we could go. However with Hurricane Isaac hitting the area hard in August 2012, our blues and food dream was not to be. With the dollar's burning a hole in our top draw and money being too tight to mention, we cashed in our dollar's and booked a last minute deal to Fuertaventura. At 26 degrees every day and an all inclusive break, it was exactly what we needed. RELAXATION.
It was a little scary going on holiday and leaving Tailor Taylor behind. Promising to keep my phone off (not that I had any reception anyway- sorry Kirk I did try to have a peak once), this holiday was for relaxing and replenishing only. Knowing that I cannot keep still for five minutes, I decided to take the book 'In Cold Blood' by Truman Capote and try to take up crochet. Armed with a little beginners guide and a brief five minute demo by a friend, I attempted to crochet. I was rubbish! Just couldn't get to grips with the instructions.
I could start a chain and singles but couldn't fathom the half, treble and double treble. I gave up and started to make it up.
I created what can only describe as a fisherman's net. Using three as the magic number, I made a couple of square nets.
I have no idea what they are going to be but I gave it ago.
If at first you don't succeed and all that .... as they say.
We bring the S.T.A.R's out.
Upon my return to the midlands at 02:00, it was straight back to work at 09:00 on the same day. On my previous blog, I had mentioned that I was involved in a project called S.T.A.R's. Saturday the 3rd of May was the competition date and I along with two others, Melody Harris and Mark Anthony were to judge three categories. Voice, Dance and Fashion!
It was so much fun, It was like 'Britain's Got Talent' but without the big red button.
Walsall has some serious talent! These kids were just amazing. We were completely blown away. Each person presented their track, performance and collection to a filled auditorium and in front of the three scary judges. We each provided critical feed back to each individual and also had to fill out a scoring sheet.
There were live camera's projecting the performance and our reactions on a big screen. It must have been so daunting for them. Me, I'm strangely used to it now, seeing myself from angles you don't normally see. Remembering the first episode airing on BBC2, it wasn't comfortable to watch.
First up was the voice category. We had singer/song writers, guitarist, covers. Classic and current music. There were some real stand out performances, I just wanted to get up on stage and sing with them, they were so good.
We had two dance performances, one street and one contemporary improvised. This brought back memories of High school, Northern Contemporary School of Dance of which I attended for a year before completing my BA Hons Degree in Dance and Visual Arts at Brighton Uni. How I miss throwing myself around a dance studio #feelingold.
The last category was Fashion, we had three collections to assess. Each had been given a brief to create a fashion collection by up-cycling and customizing old clothes to create a modern and edgy line. Boy did they do that, I needed to get some tips off them.
After four hours of performance and catwalks, it was our time to get down to some serious work. It was decision making time! One winner from each category. After a few difficult conversations we had decided on the winner of the fashion and dance. The tough one being Voice, we just couldn't decide on shortlisted three of the acts. We needed a TIE BREAKER!
We invited the three acts back on stage to provide them with a few words of encouragement before they gave us their final performance.
The hairs on the back of my head stood on end, they really gave it their all! With a little audience participation, we made our decision.
All the participants were awarded S.T.A.R medals and the winner's received a prestigious S.T.A.R. award and a monetary gift. It was a fantastic and very inspiring day. I believe they are already planning next years event so I do hope I can be involved again next year!
Upon my return from holiday and catching up on all the Social Media feeds. I came across #MMMAY2014 and straightaway thought what a great idea! What better way to show I'm committed to the #sewingrevolution than vow to wear my Me-Made clothes in May, my birthday month.
So here it is! My eleven days so far, posted every day on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I'm quite enjoying this one. Checking my wardrobe I'm not sure I have enough Me-Made items to get through the whole month, so this is a perfect excuse to make more!!!
Don't forget you can take part to! I'm still checking up on your#sewingrevoultion / Me-Made makes so please keep posting!
Sorry that this is quite a long post this week but needed to catch up on two weeks worth of shenanigans! Hope to see you here next week and have a fab Sewing Sunday.
Heather gallops ahead.
As we all settled down to watch the final of The Great British Sewing Bee, a little melancholy came over me. Tuesday nights have become quite a ritual in our and so many other households. Chinelo, Heather and Tamara looked so nervous on this episode. More than I had ever seen them before I thought. I think the reality of the final began to ring loud and clear in their heads. Everything they/we had worked so hard for over the last seven weeks comes down to this episode. No pressure then! :)
Couture was the theme, so hand sewing and perfection was key. I was quite surprised by Heather's tie, I thought that she would of smashed this task because of the level of skill required. She may not be so out there as the other two but she had shown in the previous tasks that, like the box pleat skirt, I'm sure Heather was awarded for her lapped zip. Tamara however, you could see that she was fighting for this and snapped up first! I really wanted to be there to give Chinelo a huge hug! I didn't like seeing her upset like that, but she came back in true Chinelo style ready for the alteration challenge. This looked a lot of fun but a hell of a lot of work in such a small space of time. Chinelo really did herself proud on this challenge I thought. The dress was just beautiful.
Now for the final third task, I thought this was just ridiculous! Couture in seven hours, a little unfair I thought. The results however were stunning. For me, Chinelo's dress was the best but this is based on style. I thought her bodice design was so beautiful. I was proud of Tamara sticking to her guns on the final task. She was going for something out there. This is something that she has done from day one and I'm glad that she didn't change her game plan, she stayed true to herself which I think is important and is something that I personally love her for! Heather, WOW!
I think Heather had been saving all her creative juices for this task! Sunray pleats in the bodice. Lashings of fabric to boot, along with a top hat, chains and a whip! I say!!! Go for it Heather!
It was very strange coming back to the sewing room for the final take. Even though I had not made it to the final I still felt very connected to the other contestants and the show. This felt like good bye. It must have been very hard for the Judges to pick the winner of the show. What do they go on? Progression throughout the show, this weeks tasks or the final task? Chinelo had achieved top two over seven times and garment of the week once. Tamara with garment of the week twice and top two over four times. Heather with top two over five times however had not been awarded garment of the week; was this her garment of the week and what won the prise. I still can't figure out the Judge's angle for scoring. That being said it makes for one amazing programme! A huge congratulation to Heather, your dress was stunning, so much work for such a small amount of time; and it made the Book! BOOM! I want to wish all the contestants, all the best for the future! I'm glad to say that the last episode wasn't goodbye and that we all keep in touch. I love hearing about their adventures after the bee!
Some of you have asked about the dress that I wore for the final. Yes, it is a Tailor Taylor dress (I made it). Thank you all for you kind comments!
I used a vintage pattern by Style patterns ltd- 4278 from 1973. It was given to me along with a box full of old pattern treasures by a lovely lady who no longer had a use for them. Thank you Ma McToot! The fabric is from my local market stall in Walsall and is just a simple light cotton. Nothing fancy but I think it looks cool!
I've had quite a few lovely donations of late from complete strangers and friends. Hordes of fabric, sewing machines and haberdashery as well as just offering help! So I wanted to thank Clare Lundy, Sue and Nigel Tame, David Nutt and Jo Smith for putting me in touch with potential workshop spaces. The world really does have some big hearts in it! Thank you so much for contributing to my #sewingrevolution!
Speaking of workshops, it has been a very crazy week. I've secured another three workshop venues and completed one at the lovely Guthrie and Ghani Haberdashery in Moseley last Saturday. It is just a wonderful space. We still have limited spaces left for the upcycle IPad cover on the 18th of May. (my birthday week so there might be cake as well)
We had a cracking day! it was a little scary for me as this time we decided that we would run an upcycle sewing clinic. This way I didn't know until the day what we would be making! Quite a challenge for me but an exciting one and you know I love a good challenge!
Lynda wanted to make a bag out of a charity shop shirt and leather belt.
Penny had only made bunting before but wanted to go for a make-up wrap bag using fat quarters that she had left over from her stash.
Rachel wanted to completely alter a sari into a halter neck top.
Julie had two men's shirts that she wanted to make into a comfortable dress.
Lorna armed with a pair of black jeans and a skirt, wanted to make a cover for her laptop.
Not wanting to feel left out, I had decided to wear my own upcycled man's shirt that I had resized and added a ruffle to. Very 'Prince and the Revolution' and appropriate I thought ! (#sewingrevolution)
The ladies were a great group. All varied ideas, skill levels but all had cracking sense of humour. Had to remind them all as well as myself that we had to get on with the sewing if we wanted finished items.
Once I had given everyone a plan, they were off! It was wonderful to see all the items coming together throughout the day. It was also nice to observe the ladies taking an interest in the other projects and encouraging each other. They had mentioned that they really liked being able to see how other things were being made, even though they were making something else. That way, they were able to take the ideas away and try it at home later.
I must admit I was really pleased with myself while I was cleaning up the workspace. I had achieved everything that I had set out to. The ladies had enjoyed themselves. All had finished items and enthusiasm to create more. Learned how to design and create their own items from recycled material and think outside the box! Job done, it was a rewarding pint for me and a curry!
I have updated my events page with all the new venue's I will be running workshops over the next few months.
Please feel free to get in touch if you know of any other venue's that might be interested in joining the #sewingrevolution and having me come to visit! I would love to come and see you all!
Keep your pictures coming through on twitter and facebook. I'd love to see your projects, remember to use the hashtag!
Whatever I'm doing