Wednesday, 29 May 2019

What I Am Learning About Sewing My Own Clothes

It is so hard!!

Let's be realistic for a minute. I am no seamstress. My favourite type of stitching is in a straight line and the simpler the instructions the better as I find I just can't cope. Sure this idea that making your own clothes is brilliant but me, trying to fit "seamstress" into my list of abilities is proving quite hard. The thing is, I have the drive, I have the energy, I have the vision, I just do not have the understanding and I am really having to work at it to even have a go. 
I think it is mainly because I am a free sewer, I just love going for it with little fuss, but with clothes you really need to follow the instructions. That is pretty much where I get lost. But even though it seems the hardest thing to do I just keep at it and actually, this time, the results have turned out great.

The Struggle is real!

To start, what I want to tell you is that I am a total beginner with clothes sewing and at this point I am looking to make stuff with no difficult fastening so if you want to try that then maybe read on!
I have been really lucky to work with a few people who have taught me some amazing skills about sewing clothes. The number one tip being take your time and read through the instructions multiple times. I cannot stress how important this is and this is where I seem to be struggling the most. The dress making jargon can be mind boggling and it's where I am definitely a bit behind in the understanding of reading dress patterns.

Last year, with the help of some talented ladies I made my KIMONO. We followed this SEW OVER IT PATTERN but their knowledge really carried me through the whole experience. I had just over a metre of fabric left and have been working up the courage to use it on another, but smaller kimono. I knew I didn't have enough to make one like mine so I found a PINTEREST LINK with a simple pattern on that I could recreate. Easy. Well I thought it would be but I very nearly threw in the towel as I just got myself so confused. Really I created a problem for myself as I resized it for a child. In reality I should have just taken it down 10 inches on the length and width and it would have been fine. Anyhow, my overthinking in me trying to read the instructions actually hindered me. Reality is I think I needed to just embrace it as a simple sewing project and be on with it. 

The Basic look of Etta's Kimono

The basic look of My Kimono {The main difference is mine has more formal sleeves}

This particular project tested my perseverance. It was hard, but I kept at it and actually at the end was so proud that I hadn't given up. More than ever actually, as I thought it was gonna be the easiest thing ever and I came out with a few more frown lines, but sometimes it is OK to struggle and to learn more with each struggle. 

Sewing your own clothes is not easy but boy it is really eye opening to appreciate the amount of work that goes into the items you can pick off the shelf. 


Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Outdoor Play // The Joy Of Dressing For You!

*The Outfit In this post was gifted but I paid to change it.

Having had my first ever proper experience with getting some clothes professionally altered today I was simply too excited to tell you all about it and have found myself sat here eagerly typing away.

Today I went to collect 3 items of clothing that I had taken to get altered {for locals, it's the one in the old bus station}. I was nervous. I have such high standards and what if getting items fitted is not all it is cracked up to be? After all, it was cheap, maybe it is just a quick fix? How wrong I was! My main worry was that it just wouldn't fit me still. The measure up was pretty simple and there wasn't much chat with the lady so I left just praying that it would be right. The moment I pulled up some floaty white trousers from last spring which were too big even then, I knew I had struck gold. Not only did they fit but the fit me!! They fit my body, they fit my measurements {they definitely fit my standard} and they made me want to wear them which I hadn't done in nearly a year! Next, a dress which I had only been able to get in a size bigger than mine. Suddenly, I had the white cotton dress I had dreamed about with its seam lines following the shape of my body rather than just hanging off it. 
Lastly, well, my biggest worry, my brand new BODEN YELLOW JUMPSUIT. This item is all over the Boden website, it is beautiful, but I'm 5ft7 and this skims short on my legs and in just the wrong place; I knew it would. It made me look a bit boxy and actually distracted from the gorgeousness that it is. I often find trousers like this are just not the right length on me but I immediately saw its potential. "If only it were 5 inches shorter?" I pondered and that idea gave me the nudge to try out getting all these items altered to better fit me. 

The original

To fit me

{There were 6 inches taken off the length of the leg}.

The thing is, with fashion being the way it is now, we are wanting to spend less but get quality items. It doesn't exist, that kind of fashion buying just doesn't happen and what I am learning and have been saying for a while now is that what we buy needs to be exactly what we want. 
There is no point buying 3 cheaper items that represent that one expensive item that we really want, just buy the one expensive thing. I can guarantee you will end up buying it anyway and all of a sudden you have wasted clothes in your wardrobe. I did it. All the time. I couldn't afford something so I would find cheaper alternatives that simply wouldn't satisfy me. All of a sudden I am filling bags of clothes for charity shops and endorsing this fast cheap fashion lifestyle. 

Today I learned an incredibly important lesson about usage. I keep nice clothes, even if they don't fit just right because most of the time I can get away with a skirt that's a little too baggy or some trousers that fit me on the hips but are huge round the waist. Just add a baggy jumper right? But actually spending just a few pounds extra on a service which provides income for someone local is life changing. I instantly wanted to wear all three items, they fit me so well, I just want to enjoy them and not pick them out on a morning and put them back because they didn't look just right. In reality, if clothing fits you well you want to wear it more than anything because you feel your best in it and that in itself changes your whole outlook on dressing for your body. 

This afternoon it was really nice to get out with CHARLOTTE JACKLIN and go to take some photos. I felt like a kid out on a sunny playtime. Wasn't that the best feeling? Being able to run wild with your friends over the hour long lunch break which seemed to last for an eternity but at the same time always was too short. The sun was shining and after spending all year avoiding bright sunshine as we felt it never got the best photos we have u-turned and embraced the warm glow it now brings to my pictures. I must say, out of three outfits I shot today this was the best. From the moment I wriggled into it {in the front seat of my car I might add: classy!} I just felt kick ass!
This just above ankle length suits me and I love it, so seeing this jumpsuit in a whole new light had me kung-fu kicking everywhere!! The joys of how good fashion can make you feel!

All in all, if I wanted you to take with you one piece of information from me {possibly ever} it would be wear clothes that fit YOU!! We cannot all be put into a numbered category, we are all individual so embrace that and make it work for you!

I'm Wearing: JUMPSUIT // SHOES 

As a guide, to have my dress altered and re-sized was £12. To have some trousers taken in just at the back was £8 and the cropping of this jumpsuit was £10. 


Tuesday, 21 May 2019

BOOK REVIEW // Baskets by Tabara N'Diaye

Making a Rope bag with Tabara from La Basketry // A Book Review

I must say, it was weird using a book for instructions. How often do you do that anymore? In fact the other day Raphael asked us ''if we had to do research, would we use a book or the computer?'' I would like to say book but it is all too easy now to type a few words into Google and get an answer much quicker. This is the same with anything that requires instructions, I just look on youtube; someone has always done it before me so someone inevitably has shared their thoughts on it. It’s just easy. Having been *gifted this beautiful book on BASKETS by Tabara N'Diaye, I was only too pleased to be using my hands to discover the joys of making something new. This is a ''How to'' book, an introduction into basket making and a beautiful book to have if you like small creative projects like me. Now I have no experience in basket making at all but flicking through the pages I found a wonderful project that I knew I could do. Not because it seemed easy but just because it was a sewing  project and I have a small amount of skill in this area. The rope bag was going to be my first make! 

Having purchased my rope on a wet Friday morning I had decided I was going to avoid all house chores that were in desperate need of being done to make something instead. Yes, the house was well and truly neglected and completely on purpose. To clean on a wet grey day was just too depressing so I avoided it at all costs!

I must say; Tabara has taken into account how to aesthetically please the eye when it comes to an instruction based book. Not only will this book look very cool on a coffee table but the way Tabara has set it out is very user friendly. I respond well to it anyway as it is quite easy to read and the beautiful pictures and images help to understand the written method easily.

Anyway, having purchased my rope just from our Local Dunelm store I was set and ready. The process was easy, once you go started and having the book there and open to keep referring to was a nice feature. No getting distracted on my phone. It was a phone free zone for a solid three hours!! Along with all the usual joys you get from taking time to make something, I felt really proud as I progressed as this was a first time kinda project for me. Don’t get me wrong; I did not just sit at my machine and whack out a perfect product, no, in fact this girl had plenty of mistakes and miss-sews. I even ran out of rope; how, I have no idea but there you go, I got the chance to practise joining rope ends nicely. I also ran out of bobbin thread 4 times and didn’t notice for ages so I had to go back to wear it had finished. It was good though; a challenge, but achievable.

My finished result was better than I could have expected. I mean; one side didn’t quite match up but a silky scarf hides that! It was more that it just seemed so shop bought but I knew I had made it myself! And all from a chance conversation ending in me getting a book I didn’t know existed. Really, that is why I wanted to share this post. I was given the book but am so glad I have a platform that I can share that on because you guys may not know about it either. That is simply why I love to share; it spreads the word and opens new opportunities up to other people!

So my bag was a success and I now have more rope ordered (much better prices online) and have grand plans on using this same method to make table place mats and even a huge rug! I know, I will keep you posted on that.

Creativity got me happy this week! BOOK LINKED HERE


Sunday, 19 May 2019

Those Moments

Finding those moments and learning to stop.

I have to say, this last week the weather has been miserable. It ended with my mood really living up to the miserable surrounding and by Friday night I was just done. In fact, I more or less just hid and avoided work. I don’t know why really, nothing has bothered me but I suppose I just felt lazy and “blah” as we seem to put it. Now though, I am here sat out in the sun on some new garden furniture (which I am sure I will share at some point) and just full on basking in the sun's rays. In fact, I need to go get a hat really as it is just pouring onto my face and I have no SPF on. It feels good though, and uncontrollable warmth that is just settling me, healing me, keeping me still. I wasn’t going to do any writing today, after all, it is a Saturday but here in my stillness I felt the urge and am just tapping away on my notes as I sit here, slumped in the new outdoor lounge chair, listening through the open french doors as the kids play just metres away in the house. I can hear bird song, lawn mowers and the distant sound of Sonic the hedgehog on our TV. The kids have been out at tennis all morning and actually right now, their distraction of Sonic is perfect for me and I love it! This peace; not being bothered, just sitting is chilling me right out! We all know that life can’t be lived at 100mph. The system only gets you down. Yes, for many it is our only choice, money has to be made right, but really this life of chaos in quick movement isn’t good for any of us. I have to say, this moment; right now with both Rob and I about is a first. I am no sun worshiper, but here I am, outside, almost horizontal in figure just letting those rays beat down on me. The kids unbelievably are not bothering either of us, I think they are tired which is playing to our benefit and I am now going completely undisturbed for nearly 30 blissful minutes. I feel that I am winning hands down. More than five minutes peace for me; poor old 'Mrs Large', she never had a chance!
I have clearly digressed though, my relaxed nature must be infiltrating my writing!! 
Anyway, speed/life/relaxing, is impossible for all of us?
Last night was a proper Friday night, the kind where you rush around, in a completely mad way unable to stop because life just instructs it that way. School pick up, doctors appointment, swimming lessons, youth group, furniture building (totally worth it) constant all until after 9pm when life could stop, no responsibilities for a few hours until this morning. I know when we are not going well. Rob always says, “If something is hard to do, you are doing it wrong”, and he is always right. Life shouldn’t be hard. Jobs shouldn’t be hard. They can take hard work; that's a different thing, but really, that hardship we feel when things don’t work, when stuff breaks, when our mood is low, when we can’t see the light, it is usually because we are doing something wrong. We, more than likely, haven’t given ourselves enough time, set achievable goals, practised patience, actually assessed a situation correctly, we can just get to a point where we cannot see the ease of what life should be and rather get caught up in what we 'think' it should be. I repeat myself on this subject, I have written about it multiple times but that's because more often than not I get reminders of what life really is all about. We all know the truth so try and live it, try and step back.
The sun has now disappeared behind a solid wall of cloud. I don’t think he will resurface for some time and I feel my soul warming time has just come to an end! It was nice while it lasted, my cheeks are glowing. 👌

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