Thursday, 17 November 2011

Advice needed...

The Sewing Class, Alix Baronne d'Anethan

Hello all,

I need a little bit of advice from you.

Next year I am determined to do some sort of sewing course. Initially, I was going to enroll in Morley College's Intermediate Sewing Course, a la Karen, but was a little put off by Shivani's experiences.

That, and I'm having a really hard time trying to get anyone from Morley College on the phone to ask them about it. It's mildly off putting....

I was also going to attempt to make a coat this year, but Mummy Twitchy keeps suggesting that I take a course before starting - and of course she is right, who wants to waste yummy wool when you've paid a fortune for it.

I've found a course that does 'tailoring' in Lewisham. It's looks cheap (big smile), and that it might cater for different level (thumbs up), but again I'm finding it tricky to find out what to expect (another case of not being able to find anyone to talk to on the phone). I'm almost ashamed to ask, but what does tailoring really entail? I would have thought coats and jackets etc, but does anyone have any other ideas?

Any help on the subject would be very much appreciated. Does anyone have any recommendations for courses in Centralish or South London? Has anyone done a course or knows someone who has, either at Morley or Lewisham College? What the devil does Tailoring actually mean?

Thank you's with sprinkles if anyone has any advice or comments to give me!


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Children are Maggots...

Due to the lack of sewing machine I have been decidedly Twitchy the last few days, trying to find things to fill my time.

Growing up, I was a huge Roald Dahl fan. I completely loved his books - James and the Giant Peach, The Twits, George's Marvelous Medicine, I've been to the museum numerous times, and watched the films to death. Anjelica Huston in The Witches still gives me nightmares...seriously:

My absolute favourite book growing up, however, was Matilda, so sense my excitement when a very good friend of mine offered me a ticket to see it at the Cambridge Theatre this week. I'll admit, I was expecting to be disappointed - it's always the way with adaptations. They hardly ever hold up to the book - One Day, Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightly version not so much Jennifer Ehle), Beowulf are good examples. 

Boy was I wrong! It was absolutely fantastic! Based on a children's book it had the whole audience (mostly made up of the over 20's btw) terrified, clapping and laughing. This was the first time that I've seen an audience give a standing ovation.

The set was gorgeous - made from letters and books. It will always fascinate me as to how designers can come up with sets, how they organise the stage to create seemingly different locations.

Blurry shot...

The songs were were catchy and entertaining. The music for the show was written by Tim Minchin, which works so well. Roald Dahl's stories can be so dark that it works to have someone like Minchin, known for his musical comedy, writing them. My only criticism, and it's minuscule in context with the amazing evening I had, was that sometimes it was hard to listen to the lyrics. That's it. That's the only critique I can offer.

The acting was brilliant - the children played their parts so well, and were well cast. The star of the show without a doubt though was Miss Trunchball played by Bertie Cavell. The moment he was on stage he had us laughing, scared, shocked and awed.  


Anyway I just had to share it with you - if you're looking for an entertaining evening out bear Matilda in mind.


Monday, 7 November 2011

Something snaps

An absolute disaster threatened my new positive sewing resolve this week. My lovely little machine, which has served me well for almost two years broke.

No matter how much I twiddled the dials and wiggled the knobs, the thread just kept snapping - right in the middle of sewing a new Beignet (blue cotton with a beige tartan lining, since you ask). I managed to work out that the tension was far too tight for some unknown reason so it's gone to be repaired.

Unfortunately, this means I'll be sewing-machineless for two weeks whilst it's repaired and serviced. This does mean that I've picked up my knitting needles once more, firstly for a quilt that I've been working on for about 3 years now, and secondly to make a sock for my brand spanking new iphone. And seeing as I've got nothing else to show you, here it is (the sock not the phone - I'm sure you seen one of those before):

I'm thinking of stockpiling these as potential last minute gifts. What do you think?


Monday, 24 October 2011

Little Miss Twitchy and the Somehow Summer Dress

As much as I want to start rapping a certain Slim Shady song to celebrate my return, I won't. I value you all too much to subject you to it.

It's been an awful long time since I last posted, I would count the weeks and days, but it would make me feel bad. And as I recall I think that's what was going wrong during my last few posts, and perhaps why I wasn't getting the results I wanted with my sewing.

But hoo ha, I say. I've since moved house, gone to Spain, gone to Edinburgh, seen a sister married and lost 4lbs. I'm feeling...chipper.

So what have I been up to, I here you ask? Well, you may recall my attempt for a little bit of pattern drafting to create a dress to wear for my above mentioned sister's nuptials. Well unfortunately, dear readers, the dress didn't quite turn out as planned. See the below attempt (to take a picture)...

Enjoy Twitchy towering over you as she stands on her bed. Intimidating, oui?

Now I'm actually quite pleased with how the dress turned out. Although I'm not sure why it's soooo long? How does this happen? What was supposed to be a cute tea dress turned into a maxi dress. A somehow summer dress if you will. 

But I'm not one to quibble. I like it and will save it for when it's no longer October. And freezing outside.

I promise you. I did make a muslin. But there are a few changes to make. Such as the lumpy zip:

Boo, swayback. And the squidgy heart, which I think means I've got small shoulders and a short waist:

 I've had enough of sewing failures. I've got a new outlook. I'm no longer going to get upset with that devilish sewing machine and uncooperative fabric. I will learn from mistakes. Huzzah.

How is everyone else by the way? Any fantabulous disasters to share? Spill. No, alright just me.

x Twitchy x

P.s. Enjoy a quick glimpse of my past few weeks....

My beautiful niece - isn't she gorgeous?
My sister's petticoat for her dress - made by me

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

That Macaron...

Oh Macaron, you dastardly thing, I refused to let you get the better of me.

Here you are, as promised, badly photographed on the stairs after a few glasses of wine...

And bias binding, you will finish a piece of clothing like I asked you to.

And petticoat for my sister... I might just let you get to me. You're causing me a few problems. There's just so darn much of you....

I'm keeping myself busy readers, hopefully there'll be some more content based posts soon. If I haven't buried myself in a mountain of tulle, silk and broken needles that is....

x Twitchy x

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Coming Soon...

Knock knock, is anybody there? I've had a rather stressful past month which has resulted in not very much sewing and, as you may have noticed, even less blogging.

What with breaking a camera, underestimating the power of my new computer, looking for a new flat, moving out of my old one, moving into a new house, worrying about my contract at work,  a case of tonsillitis and planning holidays (woo hoo, Spain here I come!), I've been running out of time to do much else.

I would like to say that I'm now back to the blogging world full of vim and vigour, but alas, I think I'm going to be a bit absent for another few weeks. Please, please, please, don't abandon me. I promise to post lots of lovely interesting things on my return. Such as:

A dress for my niece...

A dress for me to wear to my sister's wedding. I plan to adapt V8615 seeing as I know it fits, into something like the below:

And something out of the Javanese Viscose here:

I have no idea what to do with this, but I saw it, I loved it, and I had to have it. You know how it goes...

I'm thinking something simple like a circle skirt seeing as it's quite a busy print. But what do you think? Any suggestions?

Are you suitably entranced? Good. I'll be back soon, I promise....

x Twitchy x

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


I'd like to say I've been busy busy busy since my last post (gosh almost three weeks ago!). I'd like to say I've been churning out projects like there's no tomorrow. Alas, not so much.

I've been slacking a bit since my last post. Yes, I have been out and about, climbing (definitely getting better), taking my first Zumba class (a lot of fun), going to the theatre (Betrayal at the Comedy Theatre and Lord of the Flies at Regents Park Open Air Theatre) and generally mozy-ing about London town, but I've found myself being a bit lazy on the sewing front.

I've tried to do a bit of sewing, honestly I have. I managed to tick off one of the items from my To Do list, and whacked out Simplicity 6795:

I haven't managed to get the little one to try it on yet, but hopefully (please cross your fingers for me) it will fit. Personally, I think it's adorable, and if it was slightly bigger (ahem, a lot), I'd wear it.

The pattern was super easy to follow, and if it does fit her, I'm sure I'll be using it again.

I also attempted to knock another project off the list with the Ceylon dress. However, this did not go according to plan...

So near and yet so far.

I'm really proud of the dress so far, all the edge stitching is so neat, and I made my very first attempt at making my own and inserting piping. And I think it looks pretty good. The buttons will be white to match the piping. However before doing the button holes I tried it on. And yep, you've probably guessed it. It doesn't. quite. fit.

So that's another project for the UFO box. I did however buy some black bias tape rather than attempt to make my own again, so aim to have the Macaron dress finished by the end of the week. Hurrah!

And as much as I'd like to show you the finished project, I won't be able to. The epic failure of the week, above that of the not fitting dress, was the breaking of my camera.

Despite having survived being dropped in a Blue Lagoon cocktail 2 years ago, my camera finally succumbed to old age on Sunday. It had nothing to do with me dropping it on it's lens. Nothing at all.

x Twitchy x

Friday, 24 June 2011

I'm breaking up with you

Lacy Macaron, it was fun while it lasted. But I think it's time we took a break. It's not you. It's me. Well it's kind of you, but you can't help it. We both started with such good intentions. Believing the best of each other, but I think our expectations were just too high. I'm moving on. Let's still be friends...

I've decided to step away from the Macaron dress for now. There's really not that much left to go. Lining, check. Hemming, check, finishing, uhh...ummm. No.  The Macaron dress calls for facings, which I decided to eliminate because the yoke would be sheer. Turns out there's a problem when it comes to sheer fabrics. You kind have to think about what you're gonna do with the seams once you finish.

At first I was thinking bias binding. However several tutorials later, and all I had was this:

For some reason, I just couldn't get it right. The width was either to large or too small. So I've come to the conclusion that I should just give this up for the time being, come back with a fresh perspective and increased enthusiasm. So I'm moving on to my little niece's dress next.

She very kindly wriggled whilst I tried to measure her, and then made art on the note paper (adorably cute by the way. I may have to put it on my fridge). Plus the tape measure at home-home is missing a chunk which means I have to deduct three inches from all the measurements when I start. Hopefully this is not a sign that all will go horribly, horribly wrong. Not like the last tent I made her...

 And I have a small confession to make. You know that small resolution I had in Spring, about not buying any more patterns. Well...

Does it still count if it's a kit? I have been lusting after these corset kits from Sew Curvy for AGES. And Then Gertie kindly offered a 10% discount and I figured - fate!

Look how pretty it is! At the moment I'm enjoying looking at the packaging rather than facing the idea of actually making one of these things. That's another thing to add to the list.....


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Weekend Finds

Last weekend, I went home to visit my parents. My whole family is very close, so I'll head over to my parent way every 3 weeks or so.

However without my sewing machine, I tend to run out of things to do, and last weekend when I was in the magical land of Buckinghamshire, I found a variety of things to fill my time. And this is the result:

Although the streets of High Wycombe aren't great for thrifting and vintage, I managed to find my favourite pick ups in a charity shop. At first glance it appeared to be full of furniture, but you could see a shelf full of wool and I ended up finding these great vintage knitting patterns:

The top pattern is Sirdar no 5449, the second is Bestway no 2127, and the bottom two is the Marriners  no 224. I love the cute illustration inside the pattern. I don't suppose anyone knows about some sort of pattern wiki for knitting? I assume the top two are 40's and the bottom is 50's, but I'm not the best judge.

I also moved on to my next knitting project, alas, not from Vintage Knitwear for Modern Knitters, but from Thrown Together by Kim Hargreaves. I'm going to make the Evie cardigan in apple green.

I fear with such diddy needles, it's going to take me a lot longer to make than my shrug.

My gran also decided to add to my knitting booty by passing this booklet my way:

Even though the book and my gran agrees, I doubt very much the Peddlar pictured will be the collectible of the future.

I doubt I'll ever make anything from this, including the knitted baby brooches, knitted chessboard with matching knitted licorice pieces or knitted flowerpot finger puppets.

Call me crazy.

Another scrounge I made this weekend was this New Look Pattern. My sister and I ventured into sewing together a couple of years ago. While I was pleased with the outcome of my make, No 4 unfortunately was not, and she decided not to try again. I could encourage her to pick it up again, but then again it would mean giving this back:

And these as well:

Above is 3 metres of beige suiting, which will make a great skirt or work dress. She was kind enough to pass along the matching zip and cotton. Thanks my dear!

The final finds for the weekend were these buttons and a piece of lace.

I might use the buttons for the Ceylon dress I'm going to make. The buttons match the blue of my fabric and if I make it with the white piping, which against my better judgement I'm tempted to do, the final look might be very nautical chic. Or a big 'ole mess.

A very successful weekend, even if I say so myself...

This weekend, my siblings and I plan to treat Mummy Twitchy to a day out in London with sightseeing and play seeing all included. I might try and pack some sewing in there as well.


Thursday, 16 June 2011

What's on your sewing list?

As previously mentioned after the mooch of Monday, I am awful at setting myself targets. Well, not exactly setting myself targets, rather following them.

As a result, it takes me forever to get things done and I usually spend the month thinking I want to do this and I want to make this, and before I know it, the month is done and I've got nothing to show for it. Well no more, dear readers! I've made a plan. Oh yes a plan of what I want to make and the important point being, there's no hurry to do do any of it. Huzzah!

 First things first. I want to make my gorgeous niece a little dress out of this fabric from the Fabric Fandango. This will be the second attempt to make something for her. The first time was the Vivienne Jumper from Burdastyle which ended up being more like a tent than a dress. She continues to grow up rather than sideways, and so the chances of her getting any use out of the dress are slim. Hence the dress.

The pattern is one of the wins from the Pattern Swap at the Sew Weekly meetup, Simplicity 6795.

The second aim, is to make the Macaron dress again out of blue pin dot cotton. The fabric looks a little dark in this picture, but it's actually quite light, and will make a lovely summer dress if I get it finished in time.

The next task will be to make the Ceylon dress out of this royal blue cotton. I'm tempted to tackle piping for the first time, a la Lladybird. Not to copy, but I am thinking of making white piping too. They do say imitation is the highest form of flattery.

I also want to make this dress (V1174) for my sisters wedding in October:

However, I think I may make some straps for this one like Tasia's, seeing as it will be a formal affair, with a jacket or cardigan to match.

And these trousers from Simplicty 2654:

I would also like to make the shorts, but I already feel like I'm getting a bit ahead of myself...