I’m away in the UK this weekend, starting in London before heading on out to Bath, so I engineered a little trip to Goldhawk Road into our agenda.
Firstly it’s equal parts overwhelming and exciting to spot the first fabric shop and then realise the they actually line both sides of the street and go further along than a little cluster outside the station. I went with a list (not specifics, just enough to give me something to work towards rather than spacing out and buying randomness) and in the first shop I asked for some prices and some tiny samples. Then we crossed the road and my eyes lost all sense of the list when I came across printed scuba knits and a sort of padded pre-interfaced-quilted fabric I’d never come across before. We wandered in and out of a few more shops before I announced I didn’t want to go to all the shops, much to Mark’s amusement. Then I found denim that I liked, with a small bit of stretch in a weight I’d be happy to use for jeans. This sort of settled me down and we went for lunch. Over the peace & quiet of lunch I mulled over what I had seen and made my decisions so that once we were fed we were able to simply go back to the two shops I had decided to buy stuff in.
I have two tips from my experience;
(1) If you have something in mind, ask! These guys know their stock. The shops can be quite cluttered but they’re happy to point you in the right direction, or even go to the exact spot to show you.
(2) Take a break. At the end of the day I’m super happy with my purchases, but I needed to leave, sit down and eat and think about it. Unless there’s obviously only a tiny bit left on the bolt, its unlikely anything is going to sell out in the time it takes to have lunch and consider potential purchases. Our decision to go get lunch may have been the smartest of the day!
So what did I buy?
2 metres demin for a pair of jeans
2 metres of the padded quilted stuff for a jacket
2 metres of a ribbed light sweater knit for a jumper for Mark
1.5 metres suiting for a dress for work
1.5 metres printed scubaknit for a dress for not at work!
And 1.5 metres of printed chiffony stuff for a flow-y top.
Happy out.

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I signed up to a Bespoke Tailored Jacket Making Course at the National Tailoring Academy that started at the beginning of September… this phone snap shows the product of 8 months work. I don’t think I’ve fully wrapped my head around all I’ve learnt in the process but I am pretty damm happy with my finished jacket. More details of techniques and insides to follow.

Do you ever get stuck on something stupid? For me it’s the thought of making sure my lining is straight and centred on my curtains when using different width fabrics for each. Somewhere along the way I declared 2014 would be the year of the curtain. The year I stop letting my heat sail out my uncovered windows. The year I go back to using my lovely little parlour room in winter and not be on show to the road due to lack of curtains. The year I sew those many metres of fabric I so excitedly chose and make my damn curtains. And here we are, in November and still the only room with curtains is my bedroom.
Until I had a brainwave… my non bedroom curtains don’t need to be lined. D’OH!!!

I joined in with the Follow Your Arrow Mystery Knitalong run by Ysolda back in January and when I was done knitting I discovered the magic of blocking. I’d never properly blocked anything before, it was kind of unnerving stretching my precious knitting out but it led to a spate of blocking…

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Molly of Toferet’s Empty Bobbin has experienced first hand the extreme levels of procrastination and perpetually running lateness of Louise, but we have completed our Sew Bossy swap and I think it’s pretty cool to have both come out the other side with wearable garments, I know mine is in regular rotation in my every day wardrobe.

So Molly sent me the most amazingly mustardy yellow fabric with a deadly stubby texture, which I believe has come all the way from her grandmother’s stash. I don’t know fibre content but it’s super soft to touch and although it appears at first glance to be a dense enough weave it’s pretty shifty once you get into it. My sew bossy project didn’t use up the very generous length that Molly sent me so I’ll be excited to make something else from it too!

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I had a choice of pattern and went with McCalls Fashion Star M6600. I made View A, which comes with a self fabric belt but I didn’t like the belt at all so I hit upon the idea of stuffing some elastic into the waist to make it more fitted so I’ve actually ended up with a finished object more closely resembling View B which features an enclosed drawstring waist.

The fabric is dense enough not to need lining, and I used some old left over wool on the inside of the back yoke instead of a self lining. I also let the hem swoop down along the back as I think it sits nicely.

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I think this might be my first Big 4 pattern… I figured from the size of the pattern pieces that there was plenty of ease built in so I launched straight into the swapped fabric without a toile. Obviously this is why I ended up going back in with the elastic waist but I love the finished result. Yes the elastic placement should really have been checked and marked rather than eyeballed, and yes, it probably would’ve been easier to put it in before sewing up the sides but in this instance all’s well that ends well!

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Molly also sent me a selection of buttons but I’ve saved them for another project, and instead used little black ones that I rescued off one of my older and more experimental makes, mostly because the cuff is teeny and I wanted to have functioning buttons on them so I could roll my sleeves up and down.

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In summary, swapping fabric and patterns is fun yo!!! Thanks for thinking of me Molly & I hope you get as much wear and enjoyment from your make :-)

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My bike greeted me with a flat tyre when I came out of the office so I found myself sitting waiting for a bus with no knitting, no book & no music; no entertainment. Time to write one of the many over due blog posts so!!!

One of the things I enjoy most about creating my own clothes is that I can dream up an idea and then make it happen. If you’ve been here before you probably already know that I also love to draft my own patterns. Usually I spend so much time thinking about it and going through both the drafting and the construction in my head that I then run out of time and suddenly the event I planned on wearing my new clothes to is looming and I rush the toiling, changing things on the fly and foregoing nice finishes. This is something I want to change and this shirt is one of the first of my new leaf!

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A few years ago Carolyn posted a triple collar sleeve/shoulderless shirt and the sleeve/shoulderlessness stayed with me. I’m a fan of exposed shoulders and like the juxtaposition of a halter type view from the front with a smart collar sitting on top! This shirt is the first of a few, I made a couple of toiles beforehand and this one is totally workable but the pattern hasn’t reached it’s final iteration yet.

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For now though it serves me well. The shoulder action, breezy boxiness and preppy collar all add up to a happy Louise! Oh and I discovered that the wrong side of a lovely floral cotton I didn’t quite know what to do with makes a lovely subtle biasbinding which I used to finish the armholes and the curved hem.

Cheers to my sis for the use of her lil sewing machine while mine was in getting serviced and to my dad for the impromptu photography session! (Which, by the way, is also why you’re seeing my slightly rumpled and worn out & about for a day, impromptu doesn’t really allow for freshly ironed!)

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