A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: shopping

Someone kindly offered me a free ticket to the spring Knitting and Stitching Show. I’m not that crazy about shows like this as a rule. They’re such busy environments and I don’t need an excuse to spend more money on craft stuff. But since Olympia is just around the corner from where I work, I decided to go along. In the end I wished I had had a bit more time to explore, since there were a lot of exciting things happening.

Since I hadn’t paid for the ticket, I decided I would do a workshop. I ended up writing a separate post about the little bag I made.

I popped by the Tilly and the Buttons stand. I was very tempted by the Mila Dungarees pattern and wanted to take a look at a sample. I wasn’t (and I still am not) sure if the style would suit me. I decided to go along to the Guthrie and Ghani stall for some fabric inspiration. I’ve been aware of G&G online for a while, but never bought anything. Fortunately their bricks-and-mortar is in Birmingham or I would have no money (but a fabulous handmade wardrobe). The first thing I spotted was Atelier Brunette sweatshirting. I’ve been lusting after some of this for a while so snapped it up straight away, along with the Linden sweatshirt pattern.

It was when I was browsing the sample clothes that I truly came unstuck. There was the jacket of my dreams. Lauren’s version of the Kelly was everything I’ve been looking for in an item of outerwear. The only way I can describe it is heart eyes emoji.

I currently wear a Superdry raincoat as my lighter spring/autumn jacket. Although I like it fine, it’s a bit casual and doesn’t fit especially well with a lot of items in my wardrobe. I’ve had my eye out for a replacement for several years now, but just haven’t spotted anything perfect. Until now.

Even though I swore never to make another coat after the last time, I just could not resist. Lauren was also lovely and gave me loads of helpful advice. I’m hoping that I will be able to take this jacket at a slower pace and explore whether I can enjoy the process of making it. I think I’ve got to a place in my knitting where I am able to slow down a bit more, so perhaps I can do the same at my machine.

I remembered later in the day that it was attending the K&SS at Alexandra Palace a couple of years ago (just checked and it was over three years ago!) that started me down the road to dressmaking in a serious way. I fell in love with some octopus fabric on the Sew Over It stand and ended up using it to make a Betty dress.

It felt pleasantly circular to be back at a show and fall in love with a project. I’ve come a long way since that first K&SS and I’m hoping to end up with a couple of wardrobe staples.

Advertisements

I’ve wanted to take part in the series of sewing workshops to make the 1960s coat for ages, but the time was never right. At first, I was not an experienced enough sewist to undertake such a complex project. The workshop then became unavailable for an absolute age. So, when I saw that it was up and running again, I booked straightaway. I’ve been wearing some incarnation of a red coat for more than ten years now and my current version is really threadbare. I would have liked to replace it two seasons ago but red coats are not easy to come by. Now I’m going to try and make my own.

coat

Photo taken from the Sew Over It website.

The course notes state that 3m each of fashion fabric and lining, so the first step was to go shopping. My job semi-regularly takes me near the Goldhawk Road and I hoped that this was where I would find the perfect red wool. I didn’t have a huge amount of time, so I just headed to my best-loved shops. I was tempted by a bolt-end of red crepe in Misan West- £50 for 5m was a bargain, but wool crepe isn’t really right for a winter coat. They also had some nice red wool with a sort of herringbone pattern (£35/m) that was my only other option.

Goldbrick Fabrics is my favourite shop on Goldhawk Road. They have a great selection, good customer service, which is very important to me, and they didn’t let me down. The woman who helped me pulled out a sample of a wool and cashmere mix that was utter heaven. A stunning shade of pillarbox red that felt as beautiful as it looked. I balked a little when I saw that it was nearly £80/m, but I had to have it. Yolo. The lady was willing to negotiate, so I thought it made sense to buy my lining there too. I am a huge fan of a jazzy lining, so I had to have this patterned purple viscose.

All in, I spent £220 on the fabric for this coat. The course was just over £160, which means that by the time I get buttons and interfacing, I will have dropped more than £400 on my new coat- double what I spent on my last (red wool and cashmere mix) coat from John Lewis.

I like to be clear about prices because people often don’t realise the cost- both financial and in terms of time- associated with being a maker. On the other hand, this is a wonderful opportunity. I will spend twelve hours in the company of an expert dressmaker learning how to make something that is literally tailored to my body and my style. It makes sense to invest in fabulous fabric when I have someone so experienced to guide me through the process of creating this garment.

I had to leave the workshop early (for very exciting reasons that I hope to be able to reveal soon) so only managed to alter the pattern.

I think my whole Sunday will be spent cutting and ironing!

Week 2


A couple of years ago, I moved into my first house in London with a garden. Despite my terror of creepy-crawlies, I cleared it and planted some pumpkins that I’d grown from seed. Unfortunately the pumpkins succumbed to some kind of parasite or something after they flowered, so they never grew to full maturity.

I moved house again in September. Even though my new house also has a (nicer) small garden, gardening was pretty far down on the list of my priorities. However, I did buy some cute hedgehog-shaped herb planters from the shop at the Wellcome Collection.


My dad also gave me a very thoughtful Xmas gift, which was an urban farm kit containing the materials to grow an indoor herb garden.

img_6447

All of these things convinced me to switch the focus of my limited amount of gardening time from outside to inside. I occasionally worry about the fact that I am dying a slow death due to to levels of air pollution in London. Someone once told me that going for a run outdoors causes more harm to your health than good due to the dodgy air. No idea if that is a fact fact or an alternative fact, but it stuck with me and I decided to buy some plants that claim to have air-purifying qualities; a peace lily and two varieties of aloe vera.

I also bought these from This Way to the Circus on Etsy.

* Cat with heart eyes emoji*

Soon after my plants arrived from the internet. (Garden centre, what??) I followed the directions as best I could to re-pot them.

I’ve got to say that I’m thrilled with how they’re looking so far. I am considering creating a spreadsheet for perceived levels of air cleanliness over time.

Before long, I was struck with the fear that I may not be able to keep my plant babies alive.  I have killed many a plant in my time. Hopefully the investment I made in these plants will help encourage me to look after them properly. If I manage, I can see more greenery in my future.


I have had a crazy few weeks with very little time for craft. As things have calmed down, I have found myself being drawn to creative tasks again, which is a sign that I’m feeling better. Mostly I’ve been planning exciting projects for the summer and beyond, but I’ve also been doing a few rows of my League sweater here and there, and somehow I have nearly finished the boring knitting on the front, ready to start some intarsia.

I got quite a bit of work done on this while watching Serena winning her historic 22nd major title in tennis, which was so inspirational. Watching her eponymous documentary courtesy of the BBC was very emotional and it’s nice to know that those memories will be associated with this sweater.

I fancied doing another sewing workshop and these Carrie trousers caught my eye.


They look like they will be very useful for smart casual summer wear and travelling. I got time to go shopping on the Goldhawk Road to get some fabric. I love imagining the joyful projects made from fabrics like these.


I had my heart set on viscose but then this Liberty print cotton lawn caught my eye.


And soon it was nestled safely in my backpack.


I also got these mini skeins in the post that I ordered a while ago from the Lemonade Shop.


I want to make a Breton sweater a little like this one.

Copyright notsocrafty on Ravelry

I decided I needed to see in person how the minis looked next to different colours and textures of yarn so I made a pilgrimage to Knit With Attitude in Stoke Newington. It was strange to be back in Stokey, where I lived for three years in my early twenties. The staff in KWA were great but unfortunately nothing in their stock was quite right due to my pickiness. It was a very helpful trio though. I had envisioned using grey as my background colour but no greys really made the minis pop. This slightly muted blue was the best option.
I later popped into a second LYS, with which I have a chequered past, and found this stunning aubergine yarn.

I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can swatch.

It’s nice to have projects to look forward to.