But I only said a trim!!!

*WaRniNg* this is a short post but starts with a rant….one word…HAIRDRESSER!! or should that be two?!?!

The words “I would just like a trim” have most likely been uttered by many many women (and men) only to come out an hour later with a short, back and sides!! Ok, so it wasn’t quite that bad but let’s just say I went in for said hair cut with hair a good couple of inches of hair below my shoulders and came out with it a good 3 inches above!!!!

After a couple of days crying every time I looked in the mirror at the loss of length and curls, I calmed down and decided to pull myself together…there are far worse things to be faced with for goodness sake…so I decided to go with it and ’embellish’ my locks with something pretty…and came up with this little project involving some fabric in my stash and lace trim from something I’d picked apart…

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do you dig those funky pins??!

I love some quick and oh so easy sewing…I drafted a very simple pattern and voilĂ ! “The Butterflies” headband was born…

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Though to be honest you can’t really see the beautiful butterflies on this leftover quilting cotton I used…never mind, it is pretty, honest!
I put in some plastic coated wire so I can ‘twist’ the headband together which looks like a big bow and bonus…it stays put!!

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Really pleased with how it turned out and I’m definitely going to make some more for summer! What do you think?
This is a great little sew for beginners as it’s so easy. If anyone would like me to blog a tutorial with measurements etc, let me know!

That’s it for now.
Kate x

It’s official…the Tilly and the Buttons Miette wrap skirt is finished!!

Ok peeps, here it is…a momentous achievement…my Tilly and the Buttons Miette wrap skirt completed, modelled and ready for the Big Reveal!!

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Now, first things first…anyone who has seen my twitter posts @thepolkadotroom or instagram thepolkadotroom (you get the idea) will have seen my recent ramblings recording my progress with this skirt…and slow it has been!!! There have been various reasons for that…largely time…and the fact it is winter, I have poor light where I sew (the kitchen table and I really need to invest in a proper daylight craft/sewing lamp), and I rather naively used black fabric…eek! as the light fades so too does my ability to see what I’m sewing..black thread on black fabric is nuts!! but I’ve done it and I’m a bit pleased with the end result…that and the fact I’ve learnt a lot about my sewing whilst doing so and a little bit more about me…

First though, let’s talk about this skirt…

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I debated over what fabric to use, initially thinking I’d go for linen, but then changed my mind as I couldn’t find anything that was a heavy duty linen (is that a technical term?!) and not wanting to wear a slip under this skirt, I ended up choosing a simple black cotton twill (at least I’m sure that’s what it said on the label!) As I had decided to do the pockets for the skirt (I mean, they are just lovely), I thought I’d go a bit ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ and line the pockets in a contrasting fabric…kerching!!! Love them!!!

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Pocket lining was black cotton with red stars..very cute..and thinking about it now, it would have been great to use it on the skirt ties as well. I then decided on following Tilly’s suggestion to try top stitching the pockets in a contrast colour thread…yeah baby…red, loud and proud!!

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Like it? Look, if you’re planning on making this skirt…go for the contrast pocket top stitching…just take your time and don’t rush it and it’ll be brill…this was the first time I’d used a decorative top stitch on my machine and I’m impressed with how effective it is…and this is on my little basic Husqvarna E20!

This pattern is suitable for beginners and I mean absolute beginners; it has no closures like zips or button holes…just the ties. This is the beauty of this skirt. The pdf printable pattern comes with a great step by step set of instructions you print off, great for sewists with some experience and for the total beginners or if you just want or love or both some pictorial guidance, you can follow beautifully illustrated step by step instructions on Tilly’s blog…it’s almost like you’re I’m a workshop with her! and if you still get stuck, just tweet or email her and she’ll help you…what a **sTaR** you are Tilly!!!

This really is a great, easy to follow pattern. I had a few hiccups,,which were nothing to do with the pattern or my not understanding the instructions but my choice of fabric…the cotton twill I chose was very very heavy duty!! and probably too much for this pattern…great for a pair of trousers (work trousers??) and I mean lumberjack’s trousers!! but quite hard work when sewing with this weight as the pattern does at certain points have several thickness of fabric to sew through…with a more sensible weight fabric such as linen or quilting fabric, it would be easier. Having said that, my dear Betty (my sewing machine’s pet name) coped well. There was a bit of unpicking and starting again, but then I have realised I am a bit of a perfectionist!!

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Here are some pics of the pockets….THOSE pockets…wicked! I apologise for the fact I appear to have stuffed my hands plus a few pounds of potatoes in them…why??? They do actually lie pretty flat normally but aren’t designed to lie totally flat against the skirt, in order that you can fill them up or store essentials…

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Oh yes…please excuse my hound!! My daughter was taking these photos of me outside our front door…she started laughing, which I thought was a bit rude as surely taking pics of me was not THAT funny? No, she said, you’ll see…and yes, it became apparent that my dawg decided to ‘photobomb’ (as my daughter called it), our photo shoot!! What with trying to avoid and smile at passing neighbours…I didn’t go for any retakes…so he stayed in them!! Real life…!!

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And then he tries to make a run for it over to my neighbours….honestly..never work with children or animals!!

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And then I have to coax him back in…

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The one thing I had the most tricky time with was the hem…not sure why…but it reminded me of parking…you get it wrong the first time and it’ll probably take you three attempts to get it right!! My hem was similar…unpicked in part, some of the hem, around 4 times…the thread snapped, the bobbin ran out (note to self…always check the bobbin love)….but got there in the end…the skirt pieces are curved at the bottom and for some reason, turning the hem up despite it being straight when pinned, seemed to end up gathering up as I started sewing!!! I just used a longer straight stitch width and pinned carefully, and went slowly and it was fine!

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I do not have an overlocker….and I so desire one…but I have to settle for the good old overlocking stitch on my machine, which I think gave a pretty good finish…

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So there we have it…my lovely Miette wrap skirt!! I’m so pleased with the result.
What have I learnt along the way? That I am quite a diligent sewer…I prefer to take my time and get it right, even if it means unpicking and starting something again! I love the feeling of being methodical…it suits me. It ‘zones’ me out…calms me and helps me focus….I do a pretty stressful and emotional day job that quite honestly can drain me…sewing just grounds me. People from all walks of life love to sew. It surely must be for some of the same reasons I have mentioned. Yes, it can be frustrating when things go a bit wrong…but even if you end up with something that you’re not sure you’ll wear (hopefully rare!) the fact is, that for me, the process of making can be rewarding enough..there’s progress there, there really is.

Also, when it comes to photographing the finished item, I have started to relax with seeing myself in my finished garment and feeling more comfortable actually being photographed. I’m not a perfect 10, far from it, you can see that…but I am really not keen on having my photo taken, let alone a full body shot! What I love about sewing, is seeing people of all different shapes and sizes taking photos of themselves in the clothes they’ve made and looking so proud…it’s started to make me feel more comfortable with myself and body image and stop looking at my flaws…it probably sounds quite cheesy..but there you are..through blogging and looking at other people’s blogs and photos, I’ve started to feel a whole new confidence because of them..so thank you all you wonderful sewing bloggers!

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Oh, and not forgetting my number one fan…Mutley

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Have you found blogging has helped with your self image and confidence?
Until next time…

p.s. having just looked through the pre post blog preview I’ve noticed the photos are a bit small…should have done them larger…oh well…you can click on them and that should make them a little bigger…too fiddly to go back and change now..but I’ll remember for next time!! I think.,,
Kate x

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Ooh…what’s in the bag honey?

This week I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful East Sussex town of Rye. I’m lucky enough to live not far away and guess what? it just so happens that the fabulous Merchant & Mills have their home there! what to do but pay a visit….

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What a wonderful place…it’s like stepping back in time to a working Sheffield cloth factory….a large open space, bright and airy and you can hear the whirring of machines from behind the shop counter.
So what is in the bag?

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Well, beautifully wrapped in tissue paper came a gorgeous dinky pair of Baby Bow scissors…

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All Merchant & Mills shears and scissors are made in Sheffield and are of amazing quality and I can see myself investing in a pair of tailor’s shears just as soon as I can!
I also bought this lovely tape measure…

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I only seem to own cheap tape measures and I realised the difference a good quality one feels like…this one is almost rubber like in texture and feel and ‘Made in Germany’ yay! not China for a change (no offence) but often made as cheaply as possible for a mass market drastically reduces quality.

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A beautiful little box (one of many varieties they sell) of traditional glass headed dressmaking pins…

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And a tailor’s chalk pencil as well as this wonderful pack of 9 ‘Sewing Thoughts’ post cards…can’t wait to get a frame to home these lovelies….

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It did occur to me what a great present for a sewist friend you could put together from the huge choice of accessories the shop stocks. You should have seen the beautiful handmade patterned cotton bias binding!! There are kits for oilcloth bags, dress patterns (all designed by Carolyn herself) and the choice of beautiful linens, wools, silk fabric is breathtaking!
So if you haven’t, do take a look at their website or blog or even better, take a trip to beautiful historic Rye, it’s also very near to Camber sands and Hastings so lots to see and do for everyone! and if you do get to visit the shop, you might even come away with your own little bag of goodies!

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Have a lovely weekend whatever you’re up to!
Kate x

*please note; I was not asked to do a review of the shop, it was just my own opinion and experience of my visit there*