Sunday, 16 September 2012


Now i am back to work and it seems like the time is flying away from me! I have completed quite a few projects since my last update though so much to tell.

But for now I am just feeling very proud of my weekend's work - my Bridesmaids dress! It is not quite finished but i am so pleased. 

my bridesmaid dress1

Last weekend i started to make a serious plan of action. Making the plan is fun, but sticking to it is quite hard. but so far all good. Hopefully there will be more updates like this!

And doesn't Harriet look grand in her pearls!


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Mauzumi Blue

Recently it was friend Beth's birthday and as her birthday falls often in my summer holiday, she is accustomed to receiving handmade gifts!

And this year I gave her this amigurumi mouse! Mauzumi blue i call him, but i am not sure what she will call him. a nice friendly face for a birthday though.


Tomorrow I have to go back to work after this long holiday so it is a bit of a glum time. But i suppose it wouldn't be a holiday if it was never ending. It has been such a treat to have such a break! And so much achieved too. I give this holiday a ten.

Emilia. x

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Project Bridesmaids

This summer holiday has very much been defined by 1. the olympics and 2. bridesmaids dresses!

I was so honoured to be asked by my friend Jess to be a bridesmaid, and even more honoured to be trusted with the task of creating our outfits.

There are five of us altogether, but Jess was happy for us all to have our own style dress rather than forcing us all to match and after some consultation of bridesmaids dress websites we all came up with our designs.

here is my rough sketching of the first 4 to work out the designs in my mind

I decided to make the dress patterns too. In one way this is a lot of work for me, but i think even with commercial patterns it is difficult to get a good fit sometimes and they can also be expensive and a headache. It also means that I can use similar features in the patterns, even though the dresses are all different, and so hopefully we will look fairly co-ordinated. I really enjoy drawing patterns and was really up for this task. I only hope my skills are adequate!

my file is crammed with block and pattern pieces

The fabric came from singapore where Jess was living and met William so I think that will be lovely to have us in a fabric from there. It is so beautiful - a green/blue dupion silk. I am really looking forward to getting started on the dressmaking!! 

We also have this great fur fabric for stoles! the wedding is in january i must add so it's going to be perfect!

And i am pleased with my progress so far. I have three of five toiles made now and although it is hard to tell until they are tried on, i am pleased with how they are looking.

lovely gingham curtain came in useful 

I am anticipating there will be some alterations necessary but hope that I am on the right track! I am very exciting to have a fitting soon to see how they look - it is so hard to tell with them just on hangers.

I haven't made a toile for my dress yet, but i think I will adapt my poppy and daisy high waisted dress pattern for a dress for me as really like wearing this style, and also will help balance our designs out a bit too. This means that I can probably make a start sewing the silk for mine quite soon. I'm excited to get to that next step! 

Yours maidenly,
Emilia. xxx

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Tying a Bow

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and amongst the wonderful gifts i got this book* - Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi:

*i just want to mention to you that I have just added a link to Tomoko's book using an amazon affiliate link which means you can support me if you decided you wanted to get this book. But it has not influenced this blog post in any way and has been added long after writing. But it is a gem of a book.

It is a wonderful book to help me build on my pattern cutting skills. As you can see from the cover picture, it has some really amazing designs and shows how to draw the patterns to make your own.

One of my aims for my holiday was to have a go at one of the patterns myself while i have lots of time to spend on it and yesterday proved to be the perfect day for it.

The first task was to draw a japanese style Bunka block (she calls the block a sloper, as i think these are made up in paper in 3D, but i kept to flat pattern drawing as you will see).

This actually ended up not dissimilar to my english style block which I am used to working with, but the the drawing experience was quite different, following a diagram rather than a full step by step that Winifred gives. It looked quite daunting to begin with but in the end i really preferred this method. Another difference was that with Winifred there are a great number of measurements to work with, where for the bunka style the whole block is based on the bust, waist and body length measurements only. Tomoko also gives a chart with every calculation worked out for each section of the block which really saved me trouble doing the arithmatic myself. it was all very clever and very pleasing.

And here is my finished bunka style block:

(compared to my english close fitting block incase you wonder how they differ):

The design i wanted to have a go at is called tying a bow. There are a few variations but the one i wanted to do looks like this:

a pretty and vintage style.

I followed the instructions for block adaptation which again take the form of a diagram. This is what i was aiming for (eek!):

and here are my finished pattern pieces:

and so the moment of truth came with the toile. and i'm pleased to say it all came together wonderfully:

 here is the untied front as in the book:

and my untied toile as modelled by Harriet:

and the moment of truth:

I fear i have not tied my bow as neatly as the book, but nonetheless I am so so pleased!  The photo doesn't really do this achievement justice at all and the reality is very lovely. And I have tried it on and it fits so wonderfully which is a real triumph. 

My next step will be to make a dress i think, using this pattern i've made as the basis so I will be back with news of this. I have a rather good stash of fabric for just such a project.

Yours bow tied,

Emilia. xx

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


the summer arrived and took me quite by surprise! luckily i discovered i do have a great many summer dresses- but all the same decided it was time for another. and also luckily i found i had this lovely piece of liberty print cotton in my draw ready and waiting.

This print is called poppy and daisy

and i made this lovely high-waisted delight. i love wearing it with it's full skirt. a good one with my sandals (and also really nice with my new bolero)

I am pleased I have also got a small piece of this liberty fabric yet to use:

i think a little blouse with this as i just have an 80cm length. the print is called a boys dream. i will let you know.

liberty bell. xxx

Monday, 6 August 2012

Bacall - i have been knitting!

It was ages since my last update - but i fear i am well and truely in holiday mode and avoiding the computer in favour of my sewing machine (or the beach)

But  now i have started and finished a new project for knitting!! It is from the same series of patterns and my dietrich cardigan and my lombard jumper. This one is called Bacall, after the american film star Lauren Bacall. It is a lovely short sleeved bolero style and you can get the pattern here for free!

This was a great project for me to help me ease out of my knitters block. It's knitted on quite big needles and has short sleeves so was quite an easy knit and a good one for the summer, nice to have a short sleeve for my jumper drawer.

I just needed 4 balls of rowan kid classic which is a mohair and lambswool blend. i chose the colour Tattoo - a nice dark blue-green. The colour of tattoo ink i suppose. this was EXACTLY the right amount of wool - not an inch to spare!

and here is my finished item...

very lovely.

and i hope this is just the start of a great number of holiday updates! sorry about that!

love in mohair,
emilia. xxxx

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Jubilee dressed

Today was Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final. I won't mention the result incase you don't know it yet, but the tennis was a good backdrop for my sewing of my red white and blue jubilee dress!

I bought this fabric a while ago to make a dress for the jubilee weekend. I thought the colours were just right without being too obvious and all in all rather festive. I didn't really get it finished in time though, but felt spurred on when i started watching the tennis this afternoon. And am pleased i will have it for when the olympic torch comes to sussex in a couple of weeks.

The fabric is a jersey so this dress is lovely and comfortable - just like a big t-shirt. Perfect for weekends and national events alike. Hurruh!


Saturday, 7 July 2012

Diamonds are forever

Hello there,

It has been a long break for me from my blog - a whole month at least has passed. I have been up to much though - drawing patterns (for bridesmaids dresses - have i mentioned this? more news on this exciting project to follow!) finishing my dressmaking course (sad about that - but will show my final project as soon as i have finished sewing the buttons on to it) and found a little time for some other bits and bops. I think the main problem has been that i've started lots of things but not really finished anything...

... until today!

My diamond cardigan is complete!

 The front

the back has diamonds too
it is a good fit for me

I am pleased that my design worked out nicely. I used a couple of different lace designs from my knitting stitches book - one you can see for the main panels, and one i used for the cuffs and button bands. Both incorporated diamonds and moss stitch so really went well together.

I am pleased with the wool too. it was peter pan DK which is not at all expensive, but nice and soft, and i have over two balls left over. this is good to know for future projects.

I have a long summer break coming up soon and more time in the evenings now that my evening class has finished so I hope to complete some more things soon to show.

Catch up soon,

Emilia. xxxx

Monday, 28 May 2012

Robe d'été

Now the sun is shining and it is the season of summer dresses! I bought some fabric quite a while ago but just waiting for the right time!

I created this dress pattern based on one of my nighties and really pleased how well it worked out - my first attempt at a yoke design.

At the moment I am seeing if i can create some patterns in standard sizes to maybe be able to make some items to sell in my shop (i am not a very attentive shop keeper i fear!) I was pleased with this one so maybe a good start!

But for now i am mostly focussing my attention on enjoying the weather while it lasts. icecream anyone?

Yours summerly,
Emily. xx

here i am with the tomatoes - an update is due on those - they are massive and with small tomato bobbles now!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Diamond Dream

Now it is nearly june, and nearly six months since i bought something to wear. This challenge is going very well for me i think, but i did have one very hard moment a couple of weeks back when i saw a lovely blue cardigan at the market. that was the closest i came to breaking - but i resisted and my friend Eleanor bought the cardigan so that made it much easier to let it go.

But this encounter was just the inspiration i needed to break my knitters block. I have been suffering from this condition for a few weeks, since finishing the back of my feather and fan recycled cardigan. it was hard to get to the end of that piece and then i couldn't quite bring myself to start the front. 

So i didn't feel bad to buy some blue to make my cardigan dream come true.

I am using some Peter Pan DK for this project. a perfect shade and very soft and economical.

The original cardigan had some lace pattern panels and lace cuffs and a collar. That's all i can really remember which i think is probably good so that it is not exactly the same as the one Eleanor has. 

I started off with a moss stitch border and then I found this wonderful diamond lace and moss stitch pattern in my pattern book (book featured here!) It says it is difficulty level 'experienced' but i have found it quite straightforward really. 

And now it is all coming together nicely and i am really making good progress:

I like diamonds at the moment, with my diamond dress and the diamond jubilee and now my diamond knitting.

I hope to be able to update you with a finished item quite soon!

Much love,
Diamond geezer. xxxx

Friday, 18 May 2012

Mouse stop

My friend debbie (quite) recently crocheted this amazing doorstop. A mouse! I love it so much. 

All of our doors need doorstops, and i really love mice so i thought this would be a good addition to our home too. 

And i wasn't wrong - a lovely face he has: 

Here is my version. he looks quite different from debbie's (even though i copied her blue ear design) and from the one in the pattern. I like all the varieties.

He looks so lovely next to our door, but unfortunately he is not heavy enough to hold it:

Debbie used a kilo of rice in hers. mine just has 500g of pearl barley which i fear is not enough.

You can make a mouse using the pattern - it's a free one from Lion Brand and you can click here for that.

And this was a good project for me as i fear i have knitters block! More on this serious condition in my next installment.

That's all for now from me and mouse,
Dora x

Friday, 4 May 2012


Something i do quite miss about not buying clothes at the moment is the pleasing feeling of finding a gem after a good old rummage in the charity shops. 

So imagine my delight when i uncovered a large piece of berry pink flecked fabric whilst on a little charity shop shop (now i just look for plant pots and teaspoons). it was such a lovely shade, and a real steal - i couldn't resist.


As the fabric was quite a flimsy one i decided an A line skirt would be best, but was delighted to realise that there was enough fabric leftover to make a matching top. A two piece (a toosie?)

I created the pattern for my top from my easy fit block. I think this would be a good basis for an easy fit shift dress in the future.

I really enjoy wearing this outfit. It's so seventies, but i think in a good way.

And speaking of the seventies, this afternoon i purchased this fabric from etsy:

It's coming from america, but i am really hoping it will arrive in time for me to make a jubilee dress. i think it will be ideal - red, white, blue and gold. i really want something with a frill. festive. 

Yours berry nicely,
Emilia. xxx

Monday, 30 April 2012


Last weekend it was time to repot my tomatoes. They have come a long way in the last few weeks

I only got 3 plants from my 5 seeds, and one is quite small so i've put her in the middle to help a bit. I got this big trough for them so i hope it will be enough space for them. 

Now i just have to wait for some fruits!

the plants are in front - but this does just look like a picture of the houses across the road!

Also i am really pleased because my wax plant has blossomed. i love these little flowers so much. so so pretty:

And this evening my mum gave me a piece of her moth orchid - there are no signs of flower stems yet but i would love to see that bloom.

yours blooming marvellously,
Emilia. xxx

Saturday, 28 April 2012

My Dieppe Dress

A couple of weeks ago Rich and I went on a trip to Dieppe. I decided this was a very good occasion for a new dress, and the perfect oppertunity to use my blue linton tweed

This fabric sort of reminds me a bit of some of the under the sea inspired items from Chanel's spring/summer show so i thought a very good choice for our sea voyage.

I decided one of the objectives of the trip was to eat a lot of baguette and cheese and so i decided an easy fit style would be best (also for optimum comfort whilst travelling) I used my easy fit block and cut in a V neck and moved the shoulder dart to create a french dart (what else?) 

Here i am in the finished product - with mouse!

I had a bit of a glitch at the neck line when sewing in the facing as the weave of the fabric is quite large and i got one of the warp threads caught up which has created a bit of a distortion. I am a bit worried about making it worse though so hoping it will stretch into place with time. for the time being i can just keep my cardigan on! 

and here i am ready for the voyage

I am really pleased with this one. I love the fabric so much and it really is so comfy.

This morning i have been enjoying catching up on my blogs and found this post and all the comments about the proportion of clothes home-seamstresses aim to make very interesting. My hand making challenge is going well i feel - i am not missing shopping at all and i think not having the shops to fall back on is really helping me be more careful in my sewing and making every piece count.

Yours blue bell,
Emilia. xx

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Pin tucks and button holes

Another term of dressmaking has begun tonight so i must show you what i achieved last term with my spring term project - my chiffon blouse.

Let me remind you of my original imagining:

And here is the result:

I am really pleased with all the new things i learnt. Although i have made costume blouses before, it was quite different making this blouse for real life wear.
  • Welt seams (probably not the best choice with this fabric, but pleased to incorporate a new technique!)
  • Peter pan collars (properly faced and finished)
  • Button holes - my sewing machine is capable of automatic buttonholes - this was a real revelation.
  • Cuffs and sleeve openings. On the costume blouses the openings were in the sleeve seam, but I learnt how to construct and finish them properly.
  • Pin tucks (i did these here before i did the lilac blouse for the show)
A really good term i'd say! And i am really pleased to have a new blouse. And one that fits so well - with shoulder seams on my shoulders and sleeves the perfect length!

I am keen to make a version of this blouse in silk next - now that i am more confident with what is involved, and that my pattern is a goodun. And perhaps a couple of sleeveless cotton versions for the 
summer. Hurruh!

Tonight i went back to evening classes for my final term and started to draw out an easy fit jersey block. i think i want to make a cardigan and have found some lovely jersey fabrics online. but perhaps i should start basic until i am confident.

Yours buttoned up,
Emilia. xxx