Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Year in Photos

So here we are, in the dying moments of 2013. It has been a year of adventures, some travel and thankfully a fair bit of sunshine! I hope that 2014 has more of the same, and perhaps the broadening of my horizons to take in some new parts of the world. Here are my favourite photos from each month of 2013, links to the original posts are below each image. Fittingly, this is my 150th blog post, I can't believe I have kept it up for so long!

January - More fun in the snow in Morzine with my fabulous family

February - Unseasonally fine weather, flying high with the birds

March - Getting out there for an early-morning ride, taking time to enjoy the view

April - All the yellows as spring sprang

May - Bath showing her better side

June - Garden helper

July - Bright Spanish sun in gorgeous (and boiling!) Valencia

August - Delightful and delicate supermodels showing their colours

September - Autumn is coming!

October - riding out to meet the sunrise

November - Back in France for some autumn magic

December - Winter light touches Bath

Happy new year!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Only rain this year, but I can dream :) Hope you all have a very merry Christmas, see you on the other side!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

2013 Sewing Adventures

This year I have really made a stab (pun intended!) at sewing, partly inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee BBC programme, and all the brilliant sewing bloggers I subsequently discovered (Tilly, Karen, Gertie, Rochelle to name just a few). Here is a summary of the few things I have made this year, hopefully the learning curve is evident!

This is the first garment I have made, or at least that is wearable! A simple gathered skirt, using the tutorial on Tilly's blog. I made the front as one piece and put a zip in the side seam, and put a pocket on the other side - all clothes should have pockets! I also lined it as the white was a bit see-through. I have worn this lots so I call that a success.

I then gave my first proper pattern a go, the Hawthorn dress by Colette, following the sewalong that followed the pattern release. I made a dress version using this fun floral print, then later made the plaid/tartan shirt (below).

Cuff with proper sleeve placket, the learning curve continues!

After starting my sewing career on a hand-crank Singer 99k from 1946, I got this beast after sewing up the Hawthorn dress. It is a Singer 401G, made in 1965, and it is brilliant machine! An ebay purchase, including shipping and a service cost less than £100, much less than a new machine that is so well built. As it has lived for this long I hope it will last for many more years. It is an all-metal construction, and does lots of fancy stitches. It also came in the original case with most of the original accessories, so I think it has been well looked after. I love it!

Next up, I made a bridesmaid's dress for my sister's wedding. That is me on the left of the pic! It is based on the Elisalex dress by By Hand London. I braved some expensive silk, which unfortunately my camera does not like photographing! I made a circle skirt and an underskirt, to fit with the style of my sister's dress. I also added lace sleeves. I am fairly pleased with the outcome, although the silk stretched a bit during sewing so the fit wasn't as good as it could have been.

More wedding fun!

As an aside, my beautiful sister runs a catering business in the French Alps, if you ever find yourself there and in need of delicious food. Have a look here if you need convincing of whether you should visit!

And this is my Christmas party dress! This is a proper Elisalex with the tulip skirt. The construction of this dress is a joy, the bodice is really clean in the inside, and the princess seams give a lovely fit. I love the fabric, found in Cardiff on sale, supposed to be for curtains I think, but the weight works well with this pattern.

As well as attempting dress-making, I also thought I'd give quilting a go, I have loads of clothes anyway! I like quilting, it is a little less stressful than dressmaking as it can be quite repetitive, which is good when I only have evenings to sew, after using my brain for science all day.

My first quilting adventure, blogged in more detail here. Purely self-indulgent, now has a permanent spot on my bed :)

This was a wedding present for my sister, more details here. I think it was liked!

So, I am quite pleased with everything I have made this year, I feel that I have learnt a lot and pushed myself, and I know that everything I have made will be worn. I think it is safe to say that I am addicted; next up, Grainline Archer shirt! Lots of fabric to work through...

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Winter Blues... and Pinks and Purples

It is that time of year again, I really don't seem to be seeing much sunlight except sunrises and sunsets, although that isn't the worst thing in the world. I think I am more excited about the winter solstice and the days getting longer again than I am about Christmas! Lots of pretty skies for you anyway, to break the blogging lull.

Magritte painting


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Quilted Wedding

I seem to have got hooked on quilting already! I thought a quilt might be a good wedding present for my big sister and her (now!) husband, so I had a good browse for ideas and decided to give a star design a go. I used the tutorial here for guidance, so it wasn't too difficult to put together. Here is the work in progress and the final reveal, I'm pretty pleased with the outcome for only my second attempt! First time I've done any embroidery too :)

Laying out

Piecing together


A bit of cheesy embroidery :)

Binding the edge, in my own special way

Backing, playing with the decorative stitches on my machine!

All done!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Still in love with you

I suspect you are all thoroughly bored of views of Bath, but I am still a little bit in love with the place, and it is so damn photogenic. As the sun put in an appearance last week I walked the long way to work to maximise photo opportunities. I think one of the best things about this picturesque corner of the country is the hills, I love a good view! Also, the most beautiful cat in Bath put in appearance. Any commute that includes sunshine, cats and cows is a winner if you ask me. And I promise the grass was actually that colour!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Pyjama-based Wardrobe

This winter, I aim to wear pyjamas masquerading as clothes. It started with a pair of amazing jeans from my favourite clothing company howies. They are the finest things in the world - a perfectly nice-looking pair of jeans, but underneath! They are lined with the softest brushed cotton, so feel like wearing PJs. This is clearly an excellent concept, and if you ask me, one which needs to be extended further. In that spirit, I am currently making a pretty and girly shirt, but out of nice soft brushed cotton. I love making my own clothes, flexibility to do whatever I like!

It is the first time I have played with checks (plaid), but I have made a bit of a stab at pattern matching. Possibly more by accident than design, some of it actually seems to line up! The pattern is Hawthorn by the company Colette, it has brilliant instructions and they did a sewalong online so even a newbie like me can manage to get the thing together.

matchy lines!

Inside waistband, nice and tidy!
Coming together! I'm going to put on elbow-length sleeves, and even attempt a proper placket, wish me luck :)