Friday, 27 April 2012

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing - I've Pre-Ordered My Copy!


We all know I'm a sewing-book-aholic ;)!

Well the new book (her first ever!) from Gertie is gonna fill a new space on my shelves later this year.

Image Source: Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing

I've just pre-ordered my copy from Amazon UK. (According to the UK site, it should be ready to ship to me around about September 2012.)

Read about it on Gertie's blog here.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Double Ham on a Roll, Hold the Mayo!

[Haha I couldn't resist a red-tab top style header title for this post ;) ]

I've not forgotten to reveal all from my earlier post (a little over a week ago now) and, most of you indeed guessed correctly (yay!).

Yes, the mystery item was indeed a HAM HOLDER!

Here it is pictured below - along with the trio of other made-by-me DIY stylee pressing tools.

01 – Tailor’s Pressing Ham, Contoured Ham, Seam Roll and Ham Holder
My own homemade Pressing Tools: seam roll, tailor's pressing ham, and contoured ham
Yup I made me: a Tailor’s Pressing Ham (a bigger version of Dressmakers Ham's you often see in the shops), a Contoured Ham, a Seam Roll and a Ham Holder.

More gratuitous ham 'n' roll shots below :D!

02 – Tailor’s Pressing Ham in Ham Holder

03 – Seam Roll, Tailor’s Pressing Ham, and Contoured Ham

 Sawdust Notes...
I created the patterns myself, and let me tell you now for all three of my sawdust-filled beauties it took approximately 2 packets of sawdust to fill 'em up! It true what they say - keep on pushing that stuff in and when you think you're done just keep going! (They're like a blackhole were sawdust goes to disappear haha!).

All the classic style vintage sewing and tailoring books ask you to use a hardwood sawdust - but I found it tricky to find that stuff, so I'm hoping the pine sawdust I used will be fine - we'll see in time LOL!

I won't kid you - it was a lot of work to stuff and fill these up, and pretty messy too (top tip - don't wear a knitted woolly jumper, or anything fleecy during construction; 'cos the sawdust will linger people!!). It took me the best part of a day to fill-up all 3 of them

NB: [For UK folks] I picked up my 2 packets of pine sawdust for £1.99 each (about $1.25 USD) from a pet shop called Pets At Home (luckily for me, they have a big superstore close to the supermarket I visit for my weekly groceries run). In case you wanted to pick up some for yourself; the dimensions of the packet they sell (they called it a "Small") is approx. 36cm x 6.5cm x 14cm / 14¼" x 5½" x 2½" (Length x Depth x Height). Each packet weighs 1.3kg. 

Other UK online stores selling similar products are, and (although unless you have one of their bricks 'n' mortar shops nearby you'd end up forking out for delivery - boo!), or this seller on (for £1.99 + £1.95 delivery), Other places I've sometimes seen these small packets of sawdust are: Wilkinsons (although recently, they only seem to have the wood shavings for £1.00 each), and the the chain of 99p Stores (not had much luck in Poundland really). There seems to be some for sale on eBay - but double check the listing details as some auction titles say "sawdust" but in the fine print say "shavings"! You might be able to pick up sawdust for free from your local Timber Merchant or Builder's Merchant (if they cut wood to size on site) for safety please don't use MDF sawdust! That stuff is potentially seriously hazardous to your health (eek!)

  I definitely plan on doing 2 tutorial posts:
  (Both are in draft stages currently :)  with PDF files to be completed)
  (1) How to Make Your Own Tailor's Pressing Ham and Seam Roll
  (2) How to Make a DIY Pressing Ham Holder

Saturday, 7 April 2012

What Happens in Walthamstow - Doesn't Have to Stay in Walthamstow...


Today was an absolutely fabulous day! The sun may not have been shining bright - but the fun, friendly company of these fabulous ladies more than made up for it!
  1. Alana - Lazy Stitching
  2. Camilla (no blog, but still lots of fun!)
  3. Catherine - Catherine Daze's Blog (Cyberdaze)
  4. Claire (me!)
  5. Jane - Hand Made Jane
  6. Karen - Did You Make That?
  7. Kat - Krafty Kat
  8. Marie - A Sewing Odyssey
  9. Melizza - Pincushion Treats
  10. Michelle - Naughty Little Epoch
  11. Rachel - House of Pinheiro
  12. Rehanon - MissDemeanour
  13. Suzy - SuzySewing (Suzy Patterns)
  14. Zoe - 'So, Zo...'
02 - Karen eyeing up the swap-items
Karen eyeing up the swap items on offer

We all met up today from 11.15am onwards at Walthamstow Central Station in North East London. Kat and Marie had even travelled from Leicester to join the fun today! Then a quick route march off down Selbourne Lane - a sideways dip into Willow Walk, then a left onto the High Street had us arriving at our luncheon destination - Ricco's Cafe.

The lovely Manager had reserved the back area for us - and in between gulps of coffee, and bites of bagels we made great use of his cozy space.

We commenced the swap-a-thon proceedings in the [by now] customary fashion:
  • Show 'n' tell - taking it in turns per person to quickly talk through the stash donations we had brought along to donate.
  • The 1st person takes their pick of the bounty - they select an item from a 2nd person - and they can select from anything on offer.
  • That 2nd person now has their turn to select an item.
  • Say it's your turn to choose - but you don't fancy anything you can "donate" your picking-turn to another person.
  • And, around and around we go!
  • Get to a good point where everyone has had a lovely time swapping...
  • and then, it's a free for all everyone swapping with whomever else they like!
A weird thing happened mid-lunch a stall-owner from the Market came in and very forwardly approached our little happy gathering to ask if we "...were selling fabric?" as someone had told her about our wee huddle in the back of the cafe. We politely pointed out that "Nope we we just having a fun time getting together and swapping out stuff". She then asked us the visit her stall (of crafty hand made items). She even came by to speak to us again when she saw us out on the street by the fabric stores. Clearly we all had secret invisible crafting homing-beacons inserted under the skin switched to the activate signal... 'cos we've never been a magnetic force for other sewing/crafters before LOL!

At the end of lunch we decided to pool together anything that anyone didn't want to take home with them - and the lovely Zoe kindly ran down the road to the local Age UK charity shop to donate them (so we're still paying-it-even-more-forward with the sewing Karma :)! ).

Sometime after 2pm, we headed a few yards eastwards down the High Street to Saeeds Fabrics (which has recently doubled in size - taking on board the adjacent shopping unit). Many, bags left heavy-in-hand from that store (LOL!).

Then, we were off to Fabric Store, Ribbons (a trims/haberdashers), New Fabric Shops, Sai Fabrics, and Hussains Fabrics.

03 - Claire (me) and Rachel
Me 'n' Rachel in her Cape
04 - Claire (me) and Suzy
Me 'n' Suzy in her Minoru Jacket
It was a lot of fun browsing roll upon roll, of fabric - much starting at only £1/£1.50 per metre! There was a particularly good range of printed knit fabrics in New Fabric Shops. And a few bundles of joy left with us from there!

Some of the ladies came looking with specifics in mind - for instance Rehanon was in search of Quality Street purple lace (but sadly none was to be had). Suzy was on the look out for lovely drapey blouse fabrics. I was searching for some fabric for my Minoru Jacket but couldn't find anything to pull at my heart strings.

After hitting up all the shops east of the junction at Willow Walk, we then did an 180o degree turn and headed back along the High Street through the market stalls and stopped to visit the 2 fabric stalls outside of the Sainsbury's supermarket (on the South side of the High Street). I also picked up a foam pad to cover and turn into a seat pad for my sewing room from the man nearby, who is only on the market on Saturdays - a result at only £2 for an approx. 15" squared pad!

05 - Camilla considers her fabric options very carefully
Camilla considers her fabric options very carefully at the stall outside of Sainsbury's
The Beads and Buttons shop opposite Truro Road then got a good look around it's wools, notions and threads.

Jane then very wisely suggested that we stopped for coffee and cake - so we dropped into Marrakech (No. 154) located just opposite the junction with Erskine Road. Stomachs and energy levels revived we then completed the last leg of our tour de force... the final few fabric and trims stalls; and The Textile Centre store at No. 223.

06 - Shopping at one of the trims n notions stalls     07 - Another trims n notions stall
Trims stall browsing the wares

Around 5pm we decided to call it a day, I handed out the muffins and brownies I'd made to everyone (some sweet sustenance to see them safely home) and we all toddled off happy with our new acquisitions!

Speaking of
acquisitions here's the lovely stuff I came home with today!

08 - My new goodies
My lovely new goodies!

From top left (clockwise):-
(1) Bought - 2.5m of Grey floral fabric, very drapey for a new blouse/top. Only £2 per metre. For another Scout Woven Tee.
(2) Swap Item - White Polycotton with Black Polka Dots - 1 m of 150cm wide, received from Alana. Possibly for a Sorbetto top.
(3) Swap item - La Mia Boutique pattern magazine from Catherine.
(4) Swap Item - Vintage Pattern by Advance 6660 (Waistcoat, Skirt and Blouse) from Marie.
(5) Swap Item - Pattern by Butterick B5285 (Pleated or Gathered Skirt) from Suzy.

(6) Bought - 3.5m of 3/8" (9mm) wide light beige coloured Grosgrain ribbon (from a trims stall £0.50 the whole length).
(7) Bought - 6m of 2" (5cm) wide white cotton eyelet lace/ribbon (from another trims stall at £0.80 per metre).
(8) Bought - 2.5m of Grey/silver stable knit fabric for a Sewaholic Pattern - Renfrew Top (with cowl). Virtually no stretch to it. £1 per metre!
(9) Swap Item - Vintage Pattern by Maudella 1322 (A-Line skirt with pleat/tuck detail at front waistband) also from Marie.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Can You Tell What It Is Yet?...

 DISCLAIMER: Rolf Harris did not, I repeat did NOT help me
to make my mystery item (see 2nd photo below).
Image Source:  Daily Mail Newspaper

I'm currently getting myself ready 'n' organised for the fab get-together in Walthamstow tomorrow (ooohhh.... I so CANNOT wait, s'gonna be loads of fun!).

In the meantime I wanted to share with you sneaky-peek at what I made for myself (from scratch I might add *polishes her imaginary halo*) last weekend! I am very proud of my efforts as I worked it all out on my little own-some, without having viewed, touched, or seen first hand any retail/commercially available versions of this *item* and it looks pretty darn good to me too (trust me... I've got a pretty big toothy grin on my face right now hehehe).

Hmmmm... *can you tell what it is yet?
And, if you can guess what it is... then maybe, just maybe if the sewing gods bless you, and you guess it's purpose correctly then I might possibly be inclined share a FREE set of instructions, plans and a tutorial with you sometime during the next week as an Easter-time treat from moi. And, as treats go the results of your DIY efforts should last you a sewing-lifetime, are sans Chocolat, are calorie-free, and do not involve harming any bunnies or tiny yellow chicks :)

*This was Rolf's catch-phrase

P.S. There's a clue in the LABELS at the bottom of this post ;)