Events , Inspirational people and learning new skills.
As you may have seen on my social media feeds October has been quite an eventful month.
Kirk and I have been settling into our new home, getting all excited about the open fires and uncovering the original Victorian tiled floors and choosing wall colours. We have also had the arrival of my second nephew Marley and also my dear friend Joanne's baby called Henry. Both babies are nothing short of miracles but that is another story.
For me, you may be pleased to hear that I have taken the jump and given up my day job! Which is super scary but I haven't had much time to think about it as I've been on the road quite a bit. I've attended the Great Create Extravaganza in Harrogate, Visited Korbond HQ in Grantham where I completed an order on the shop floor. It was just like supermarket sweep! Celebrated Bellacrafts birthday by holding a #sewingrevolution workshop and talk in Hampshire. Became an ambassador for the fabulous #sewsaturday event which was organised by Sew Magazine, where I held a made to measure workshop at the Inkberrow Design Centre, Redditch. As well as starting a 4 day sew along at the Stanball Centre in Walsall. To celebrate #sewsaturday in October, I also gave all workshop attendees a free Korbond Sewing kit, which was actually the first sewing kit I had purchased as a beginner. So I hope they go on to start their own sewing journey's in true #sewingrevolution style!
The highlight this month had to be the Walkaway Dress Tea Party at the Alexandra Palace, London.
Firstly, I have never been there and as a building it is just stunning and secondly I got to bump into so many creative and inspirational people.
I was invited to the event by Sue and Marilyn from Butterick and the only catch was that I had to make a Walkaway Dress.
For those who may not have heard about the walkaway dress, it was feature on the Great British Sewing Bee, series 3 as a task. Off the back of the demand for the sales of the pattern, a percentage of sales went to the charity 'Eve Appeal' which helps to fund world-class research into gynaecological cancers.
Cancer has been quite an up-setter in my life, I have thankfully never been diagnosed with it but I have had so many close friends and family suffer by it and thankfully are still here to tell the tale. From a dear friend and another family member who are now in their mid fifties to a family member who was only in her early twenties when she was diagnosed and had to have a double mastectomy and may now have to consider having her womb removed to reduce risk in the future.
Cancer does not care about age, sex or what plans you may have for the future, so these types of charities are so important to help people get back their lives and hopefully help prevent cancer from taking them and others away from us in the future.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I thought I would make a Walkaway with a difference. I was going to Upcycle it!
So taking a man's shirt and a bed sheet I got to work.
Using some awesome India printing blocks from BlockCraft
that got from the WI centenary event last month, I decided to print my own fabric using a large seed head pattern block, and to complement the colour shirt I printed using a dark colour blue. It was so super quick and beautifully transformed the boring white bed sheet in an afternoon.
After cutting out the skirt pattern pieces from the walkaway pattern I used the remaining fabric to make Bias binding for the arm holes and tying the dress design together.
I then got to work on the top part of the dress.
This was very tricky as I needed to get a shirt that looked and fitted well around the collar but was big enough to wrap around me. The biggest size I could go without the collar looking too big was a 15 1/2 inch collar. The down side was after unpicking the shirt side seams the shirt did not fit the walkaway front or back pieces so I had to improvise.
I decided to make a feature out of this rather than try and hide it so I used the shirt cuffs for the front wrap. Keeping the original cuff and placket in place to add further detail to my dress design.
After a few trials and errors, I finally got it to fit the original paper pattern and so began constructing the walkaway dress as the instructions directed. So it was a tricky detour but I think I pulled it off in the end.
I was now ready for the Walkaway Tea Party.
It was a wonderful day and it was fantastic to see so many people wearing the dress. It was quite funny as I was walking around the event as everyone made a slight head nod/gesture to each other as if we were in a special club because we had made and was wearing 'the dress'.
I had lots of lovely complements about my version of the walkaway and that no one had ever seen it look like that before, which I was super pleased about.
While I was tucking into my afternoon tea with a glass of bubbles, I was amazed at the number of different dresses, It's truly amazing how a different type of fabric or fabric design can completely change the style of the dress, even though we are all wearing the same dress pattern.
I also got to bump into the gorgeous Lauren and Stuart from series 1 and have a good catch up.
While at the tea party I got to speak to Sue the lady who invited me and put together the event and while presenting the cheque to the Eve appeal announced that she had also been affected by cancer. I had no idea and such a powerful thing to share in a room full on unfamiliar faces. Sue's speech really highlighted how important these organisations and charities are and how we need to support them. Thank you for sharing this with us Sue!!
To top it all off, I've also had two personal achievements this month! Firstly, while at the Walkaway Tea Party I purchased some beautiful merino wool and loop needles from loopy mango. I'm not sure why as I didn't go in with the intention of buying any wool as I cannot knit, well I can only do knit and purl stitches, but it was so beautiful; a gorgeous bright yellow, I fell in love. So while on the train home I thought i'd give it a go and with their helpful on line tutorials I was away and made this 'Her Shawl' in 5 hours! #boom
My second achievement was that I exhibited my first photographic piece. An image that I had used as part of my degree course but never had the opportunity to show anyone. A friend and sew me something's husband Charlie, posted on facebook the opportunity to exhibit a photograph as part of the' suffragette' film premier.
Based on inspirational women I decided to enter a photograph along with my Kirk.
Kirk used a photograph of his mother- Brenda, along with a beautiful write up.
We decided to take Brenda to the exhibition without telling her what she was going to see and she cried. She was so taken back by the gesture and that we saw her as inspirational.
Inspiration is always where you least expect it - or should I say, where you take it for granted. Growing up I saw my mom as, well, just a mom; picking up my clothes, making my dinner, cleaning the house. How wrong I was - my mom was left with three children to bring up on her own, keep a roof over our heads, and stop us from going hungry - all whilst holding down a full time job and completing a degree. My mom is an inspiration and showed me that anything can be achieved, never stop dreaming, everybody has feelings, love, laugh and be true.
My inspiration is Brenda Taylor.
I decided to enter this self portrait along with this paragraph.
'The inspiration from within'
When thinking about inspiration, you tend to think or draw on other people. Rarely do we look to ourselves. We all have within us the power to be inspirational, but you have to be prepared to look into yourself, to bare all and be vulnerable.
That being said to be self inspired is empowering and you never know who will look to YOU for inspiration.
I hope this blog post has left you all feeling inspired? Until next time...
Viva La #sewingrevolution.
Whatever I'm doing