Thursday, 28 November 2013


We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK but I am absolutely chuffed to have been at my baby brother's wedding last week.
And as it was in America, here's my Thanksgiving photo.
It was a joy to be part of such a fab day -
and I got through my reading without weeping ... or at least I can pretend I did, as you can't see my face!

The groom is my brother Yoda, the best man is my brother Qui Gon Jinn - I just might still owe him
a dressing gown!

 Now you'd be forgiven for thinking nothing gets made around these
here parts but here's a 'twofer'

I finished the Princess Bride cross-stitch that I made for a wedding present -
we were banned from buying gifts but handmade is better :)

Please excuse the flash, in the current dark weather I couldn't seem to avoid it.

And I'm not the only crafter around here either - these are the personalised cufflinks my husband made as a gift
He spent ages taking apart a vintage typewriter (it really was beyond repair) and cleaning
everything up to make these for the wedding party , I think they turned out brilliantly

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Postcard from San Francisco

There has not been much time for fabric shopping, what with being here for an actual wedding. These have been on the hoof, flying visits squeezed around other commitments.

There may have been purchases!

One more sleep until the wedding and a change of hotels today.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Baby Shower Sewing

Last Sunday I went to my first ever baby shower, my DD's friend is having twins in the New Year. This has not been a straightforward journey for her and I am delighted that she is having a little girl and a little boy, very exciting.

Well, here is the young Mum-to-Be in the maternity dress I made for her, when she was at the height of  'all day sickness' and feeling terrible ...

... and now you can see why the fabric choice was perfect for her! She loves this dress and I am so pleased to have been able to make such an individual dress for her.

I'd never made baby shower gifts before so I kept it simple:
I had bought some clothes and hooded baby towels so I made drawstring bags to put them in - I thought they'd come in handy for storing nappies or as laundry bags for the babies.
And a couple of matching tag blankets. I've seen these about (they hadn't been invented when my children were born) and I made sure to use ribbons of different colours and textures. Everything is very securely sewn, just to be on the safe side, and I used flannel on the back to give another texture.
I know they're simple but S was really pleased with them.

The fabrics were from my precious stash bought in Japan last year, both of theses were from Yuzawaya. I only had a metre of each - all I have left is scraps :)


Saturday, 9 November 2013

What should you take to Sewing Club?

The correct answer is 'a planned project' not 'everything but the kitchen sink', which was pretty much my approach! 

A while back I very excitedly replied to Rachel (House of Pinheiro) because she'd posted about the possibility of having a local sewing group. Fortunately for me the suggestion was to meet in Rochester and that's not far from where I live at all - result!

There's been some planning over a cup of coffee and a piece of cake and finally last Sunday we got together for the first time to actually sew.

Going around the table, clockwise from the left: Polly, Emmie, Rachel and Cris. Polly's mum, Julie is also a member of our group but unfortunately was double booked last weekend, although she did keep us updated with photos of dessert!

Honestly, I didn't know what to take with me. You get used to having all your stuff around you at home - I tried to plan but, in the end, kept throwing stuff in my various holdalls 'just in case'. I thought bags would be a good idea, something simple to complete, so took the pattern (and the 2 larger sizes I've tweaked a bit) that I downloaded here. I've made it lots of times before, although I don't tend to make it reversible, and I like a zipped pocket and a closure of some sort. But it is totally brilliant for adding your own touches too.
I didn't get that much done! 
I thought I'd do loads in 4 hours - I had 4 bags cut out that I took with me - totally unrealistic.
 There's definitely a knack to sewing in a group and it's totally different to sitting at home on your own - I might not have been terribly productive (I'm about finished on 1 bag and half way through a second)but it was really inspiring. 
Emmie forgot her sewing machine power cable - despite the fact that she and I had managed to fill the back of my car with stuff and nearly gave ourselves a hernia trying to get it all to the venue! On the plus side she had pdf patterns to put together and cut out so she got loads and loads of prep done. 
Rachel's experienced at group sewing and she didn't get much done either (so I felt a bit better!) but she was absolutely right, it was a really good day for swapping ideas and thinking creatively, I'm really looking forward to future meet ups.

Polly had the right idea - she took one project, that she'd done all the prep for beforehand, literally everything cut, bagged up and ready to go. Isn't it super? It's a quilt top she's secretly working on for her little boy. She got all of this done in the 4 hours we were together.

And Cris was recovering chairs, with no pattern as such - she made great progress too despite literally having to make it up as she went along :)

I think I might need something like this - before I do myself a mischief trying to cart my machine around but my heart yearns for something more like this ...
.... which is far less practical of course but it is covered in dots! I've been reading reviews (and frightening myself with horror stories about the damage you can do to your machine if you transport it!). 
If anybody has any recommendations I'd be glad to hear them :)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Fabric Shopping in San Francisco - Recommendations Please!

 I am delighted that my brother Yoda is getting married (this is a photo of us at my wedding in 2005)
He and I have always been very close and his partner is wonderful and they are going to be very happy :) The added bonus is that Yoda lives in San Francisco so Paul and I get to visit again - I love that place.

Now, here's the thing ... last time we visited I was not sewing stuff. I bought bits and bobs for card making but I was not in the market for fabrics, patterns and trims. This time clearly I am!

I have been very good - I committed to not buying patterns this year unless they were about £1 - which pretty much guaranteed they were from charity shops and/or vintage and therefore I was either (a) supporting a worthwhile cause or (b) saving them for posterity!
I mean, I even passed on an absolutely corker of a costume pattern in July.

Obviously my priority is the wedding but I've come up with a shortlist of 'must visit' places and the truth is it's not terribly short!

The place I'm desperate to go to is Alameda Flea Market but it's not on when we're there (honestly, rubbish wedding planning - I have complained!). So that's one less option. Serendipitously we're in a hotel literally round the corner from Britex. And my brother's house is a stone's throw from Stone Mountain & Daughter. If anybody has any recommendations I'd be glad to hear them - I've got to make the most of my limited time!
Jacq x
PS - The photos are the patterns I have happened to pick up in the last week - sum total spent £4.75, total bargain. Of course I don't need them, obviously ...