International Craft Swap Goodies!!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Hi All :)

I just wanted to do a little spin-off of my sewing meetup post! A few months ago, I joined in House of Pinheiro's International Craft Swap.

I was matched with Lizzy of Sew Busy Lizzy, and was delighted and devastated at the same time! She is such a good sewer (ist?), and I felt like I wasn't up to scratch, but I decided that I would use this opportunity to increase my sewing skills. I didn't want to let myself down!

At this point I had only made a skirt and dress in my Thrifty Stitcher classes, and another skirt at home.  I felt a little behind in my sewing learning, as I had waited until I had amassed all the bits and pieces I needed to really do it properly before I really got into it. That, and I felt like I wanted to increase my background knowledge on all things sewing before I started. I guess I thought it would help prevent me from messing up so much, but I know that the best way to learn is by making the mistakes!

So I racked my brains as to what to make, I wanted it to be something she would like and would use. Something that didn't look too easy, but that I could make with good clean stitching.

Lizzy said she liked to bake, so I decided on one of the Vintage Vogue apron patterns that I got in my haul. It looked good, had impact, and  it looked simple enough for me to aim for.

I did the yellow one!

I worked on the apron for a few weeks as I didn't want to rush it and make a mess. I wanted to give it a nautical feel, as that was the 'Theme' of the craft swap, so I embroidered an anchor on the pocket. I considered doing both pockets, but I didn't want to run out of time at the end, so I decided that just the one would have enough impact. I had done some embroidery when I was younger, and delighted in buying a range of colours and some embroidery hoops.

I tried to use up my stash, as advised by Rachel, and luckily had some lovely navy fabric left over from the shift dress I had made before. I lined the pockets in a blue satin, and the inside of the apron ties. I thought it looked lovely, and also, I had run out of navy!

I made the shortest length and the smallest size, as I knew Lizzy had a very petite frame and I didn't want the apron to swamp her. I followed the pattern instructions exactly, and although there were some tricky bits to master, I was really happy with the outcome! I learned gathering, attaching interfacing and a facing and patch pockets. I'm sure there was more than that but that's just off the top of my head!

As my mini gift, I got her a Royal Blue nail polish to go with the apron. In case she wanted to paint her nails before she started baking. As you do...

This is the finished product!

I think she liked it!

And from Lizzy I got the most amazing knitted hat. It is seriously a work of art. Its sea green, with an exquisite cream shell/fan that comes around at the edge. Its very Art Deco, I saw it and thought '1920's', and  as someone who doesn't wear many hats (no exact reason - I just don't have many!), I am delighted to say that it fits perfectly and looks adorable!

The Fan is cream in natural light but my sitting room light has blown so am multi-lamping it! Will have to get an outdoor picture when the weather turns again!

I also got these amazing vintage buttons from the 1930's/40's that she picked up for me in Paris. Aren't they amazing? I've travelled so much of France with my family, (about 10/11 summers), but have yet to go to Paris. Bit ridiculous, no?

And they still fit in with the Nautical theme!

All in all a roaring success, I will be partaking again next year! I also look forward to seeing a picture of Lizzy in her apron with a bowl and whisk :)

Love Emmie xx

The Fabulous 40+ Sewists

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Hi All,

Feel the need to gush about last Saturday. For those of you not in the know, Saturday the 20th of April was The London Sewing Meetup, one of the best days I've ever had. 
This was my very first meetup. I woke up that morning with that sort of nervous nauseous feeling, when you're doing something out of your comfort zone. But I also knew that it was going to be the best day since... well ever. 

The meetup was organised by the beautiful and fantastic Rachel from House of Pinheiro. Who I now find out lives a stones throw away from me! I think I always assume everyone is in London, cause that's where all the cool kids are. That's clearly not true at all!

Her powers of organisation were amazing, and she herded us around London with ease! 

We started off in the V&A, where we all met and had a coffee and introduced ourselves. I met the lovely Katrina from MuffintopVintage in the Tube station, and we strolled down together (and found out that the difference between level 0 and level 1 in the V&A is a mere few steps!). As a sewing beginner, I was shocked and amazed when I saw people arriving with cute little shopping pull-along trolleys and suitcases. I clearly needed to up my game!

Once we had gathered, we headed into the coffee shop, where I ended (by awesome chance) to end up sitting between the amazing Charlotte and Elizalex of By Hand London. That was a wonderful luck of the draw. After seeing Charlotte's beautiful Elizalex skirt (and of course the other lovely Elizalex dresses wandering about) I now have to have the pattern immediately!

       Look, pure joy on my face!

Then we had our photoshoot with Digpal Singh, where we were all shoot in small groups and in our massive group photo!

Look at us! Everyone looked awesome. I was taking sneaky (jealous) glances at what everyone else had made and couldn't stop myself going up to people being all like "I love your dress!". And I think everyone else was doing the same!

The beautiful Elizalex and Charlotte!

It was at this point I got to meet the lady of the hour - Lizzy from SewBusyLizzy, where we finally gave each other our craft swap goodies! But more on that in another post (this one is already too long!)

We then took a sunny journey to Goldhawk Road, and I'm sure we were getting strange looks off the other passengers for being so cheery and chatty. This was when I got talking to the lovely Katy from Sleek Silhouette. We then arrived and sharpishly started our search for the perfect fabrics. 

My usual haunt is A-One Fabrics, near to Goldhawk road station. I was perusing for a while, and then picked a few bits out that I especially loved. I even bought a matching zip for a possible Elizalex dress, and it was handy to have Elizalex there to ask what length to buy!

I was shopping alongside Katy quite a bit of the time, and Tara from The Amazing Taracat, where we convinced Katy that she needed chiffon in her life, and myself and Tara got some turquoise and black fabric at a steal in an offcuts bin. And yes Tara, everyone needs sparkly denim too.

At this point I asked the time, and was shocked when I realised how little time was left before lunch! I speed shopped the last bit and rushed back to A-One to impulse buy the last few bits I had had my eye on. But I did leave one behind (till next time!).

Then it was onto the Lunch. We had it in a Lebanese restaurant, Cedar Village, chosen by Janene of OooBop!

And man it was good.
For a minute we thought we wouldn't fit everyone in, but as if by magic more tables and chair materialised and all was well again. 

And then the plates started coming.
And coming.

And coming.

And then, when we were all stuffed, the manager asks "So do you girls want to wait a bit, or do you want the main course now?"

Main course?????

We were all very shocked by this, but we all managed to shove down some beautifully cooked meat and rice. That was my only meal of the day for sure after that announcement. 

We were an impressive group! Photo borrowed from Rachel at HouseofPinheiro.

After lunch was the craft swap. The likes of one had never been seen. 

I have some dodgy photo's of what lay before us (it was extremely dark down there so you'll have to excuse them)

Mountains of patterns, fabric, thread, ribbons and other various notions! And on top of this, we had goodie bags! They were supplied by Minerva Crafts and Abakhan Fabric. And they were so generous. I got some lovely fabric in mine, and am dreaming of what I could make it into. 

 I got a couple of things from the swap, a piece of fabric and a few scraps that were left behind! I felt so bad that they didn't have a home!

Then we said goodbye to a few people, including Rachel and Lizzy :( But happy goodbyes as you can see.

Then the rest of us hot-footed it to the pub! Wine and cider all round! After a few drinks we all went our separate ways, most home, and some I persuaded to join me in Camden to continue the festivities!
And here are the happy Tube pics! 

And look we have my happy new friends Sally from Charity Shop Chic and Clare from Sew Dixie Lou

And here we all are in The Boom Boom Room in Camden! Also in the pics are the flawless Nicole from Nicole Needles, and my friend Dee from Twitter.

I had to run for the last train, and was nodding off the whole way home!

I can't wait to see everyone again. Am not sure if I can make the Brighton meetup yet (other plans TBC), but am looking at train tickets for the Birmingham one in June! And of course London in August!

Am definitely gonna have to step my game up and step into the unknown world of the solo sewn dress.


I know this was a mammoth post, but I will just leave you with a few photo's of some of the fabric that broke my arms and back! But it was worth it!

My Great British Sewing Bee Experience!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Hi Everyone,

I decided I'd write up a little post about my stint as a (pretend) contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee!

Once upon a time, and by that I mean last October, I was taking a sewing course with Claire-Louise Hardie (The Thrifty Stitcher). During the classes, she mentioned that she was working on a television show for the BBC, a sort of spin'off of the 'Great British Bake Off' as the 'behind the scene's' sewing adviser. I was clearly very interested, and asked loads of questions - but of course she had to keep most of it schtum until it was broadcast!

On my last day, the alterations class, she was needed on set so her wonderful friend Rosie Martin from DIYcouture came and taught the class instead. You should check out her wonderful sewing book! I'll post links at the bottom! Rosie was going to help her on set after class, and more people were needed so I tagged along :)

It was very cool to see the set, and all the producers and camera men trying to lay out and run through the first episode. First I was a stand in for a contestant ( I had Stuart's sewing station in episode one!) and I just adored the sewing desks that they had made - yes made, and the cutting stations (at the right cutting height!)

And I especially loved the haberdashery! As do you all I'm sure! I would've given anything to have had the freedom to have whatever I wanted from there...

I played a contestant in a few run through's of the opening scenes, and it's really cool to see how thing's got tweaked from the day before to the real thing. And thing's I thought were going to look a bit odd actually came across quite well on television!

I also adored their mannequins, they were a decent womanly size and had a little belly and a lower sitting bust and bum than you usually see!

While they moved onto more camera angles, etc, I then started cutting out the patterns for the A-Line skirt challenge. Due to the shape of the mannequins, they were slightly between sizes, so we had to grade them out slightly at the waist. I was so scared that I would cut one wrong and there would be a massive panic!

After about 4 patterns worth of cutting I was a bit googly eyed, and at this point it was a bit late (and the bf was waiting!) so I thanked Claire-Louise and said my goodbyes! It was quite late in the evening at this point, and they were supposed to have finished an hour or two before I left, but they clearly weren't going to be finished for a long while yet! I was gutted that I wouldn't see it all in action - Claire-Louise told me I could come back, but I think they started shooting at some ridiculous time in the morning so I never would've made it in on the train! Plus I'm quite glad it was all a surprise on screen. It was so hard to keep quiet about what I knew about the show in the run up to it, and keep my lovely pictures under wraps

Here's the few piccies of me in action, thanks CL :)

I can't wait to see the final episode on Tuesday!! I adore all of the contestants, and had been a fan of Tilly from before the show! Had been working my way up to sewing her Mathilde blouse. My favourite bit about the show is how happy all of the contestants are and how lovely they are to one another. It looks like a wonderful place to be, and emulates the feeling of the sewing community as a whole! Maybe next year, eh?

Lots of Love,



Rosie's DIYcouture Book

UK :


Handbag Hangover

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Hi everyone!

Does anyone remember my post about my lack of self control tied in with my OCD purchasing?

hmmmm well it might have happened again.

This story begins about a month ago, when I went to that Lindy Hop dance. I realised when I was at the dance that in all my focusing on vintage style clothes (and furniture), I had somehow overlooked vintage handbags. My friend lent me some money that night and I purchased my first at the little stall.

Unfortunately I let that purchase spark a craving inside of me for a new collection... and at lunch a couple of days ago my friend realised what I'd been doing, and asked how many I'd gotten so far. 

I went back through my eBay.

12. 12!!

In less than a month!!

Now granted, they were off eBay, and I got massive deals on most of them, but 12 handbags in a month is still a considerable amount of handbags.

I also don't have room for them anywhere. I think I might have to go through my older handbags and eBay some of my unused 'modern' bags. 

So who wants to see them?

Bag one I think everyone has seen before!

Bag 2!

Bag 3!

Bag 4! 

Bag 5!

Bag 6!

Bag 7!

Bag 8!

Bag 9!

Bag 10!

Bag 11!

Bag 12!

And that's it!!
To be honest I did actually restrain myself somewhat! and the eBay iPhone app is evil!
Every time I go on I find something else! Although I do have limits, I love when they start at a couple pounds! Gone are the days when I think dropping £50 on a handbag is okay. I did have that mentality a long time ago.

I love how they all make me feel so much more authentic in my vintage look. And the fact that they all have a history with someone else. Most are in almost perfect condition, and the others need a small bit of cleaning up, but then they should be good as new!
Which one is your favourite? Number 12 is the most recent and its my favourite this minute! and the hardest to match! I can't believe it took my this long to start my collection..

Lots of Love,

Emmie xx

Vintage Table Additions!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Hi Guys!

Really had to post this tonight, as I was so excited to receive it! 

My boyfriends Mum is clearing out their spare room to redecorate it at the moment, and there is so much stuff to sort through! They came across this adorable silver plated Vanity Table set with a comb, brush and mirror and decided it would be best living on my dressing table! Yay me!

Its so cute, and so so heavy, even though it's only silver plated. The box say that it is from H.Samuel, but no one can remember when it arrived in the house. 

It must be reasonably old though, especially as it had become really discoloured. I tried out some of my silver cloths that I had for jewellery and it shined up really good. I had cleaned up quite a lot before I decided to take a picture, but you can see the idea.. It had a sort of petrol effect. I was surprised it came off so easily as the hairbrush and mirror were completely covered in it.

But after a bit of elbow grease they are all shiny and pristine! Just have to clear some room on the dressing table now!
Here are some more piccies!

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs