Friday, 1 August 2014

The Pattern Pyramid Winner is..

Hello, so its time to draw a winner for The Pattern Pyramid Giveaway, I have used's generator thingummy to choose a number, and that lucky number is.....8!
Comment 8 belongs to the lovely Helen from Sew Stylish! 
Congratulations Helen, the Pyramid will be knocking on your door very soon!!

If you didn't win this time make sure to keep your eyes on Helen's blog for another chance to win!

I am going toddle off now, but I'll be back very soon with another little giveaway and to show of some of the things I have been making recently!

Enjoy your weekends!
Wendy x

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Pattern Pyramid Giveaway

Well Hello! Today's post comes to you from my parents house on the rather sunny Isle Of Wight and is brought to you by a lackluster 3G connection on my phone so please forgive me if this is a bit more disjointed than normal, but I didn't want to wait till I got back home to post this and as my parents are not yet silver surfers, ie no internet (though I am working on it) I am having to make do!

An-y-way, back to the point of today's post and boy its a good one! By some supreme stroke of luck my little blog has managed to be the next stop for the Pattern Pyramid (I'm calling it PP for short)!

Not heard of the pattern pyramid? Then let me enlighten you! It was first started by Karen from Did You Make That, a Walthamstow based blogger whom shockingly I have only just discovered! She had been kindly given a gift of some vintage sewing patterns which she decided rather than keep all herself she would send them out into the blog-o-sphere, to be shared and passed on until the pot ran dry. This section of the the PP has been globe trotting now for just over two years, making them exceedingly well traveled!

I won the PP after recently stumbling across the gorgeous Sian's blog Kittenish Behavior, Sian is a lass who coincidentally now lives right here on the Isle Of Wight (lucky thing) where she designs her own range beautiful vintage dresses, yum! and is she a massive sci-fi fan! Love her already!

So how does the Pyramid work? Well, each lucky winner gets to choose a pattern or two from the stash before hosting a giveaway to pass the remainder on! Now over the course of its journey so far many of the winners have chosen to add a few patterns in to the mix to keep the PP going for just a bit longer, which means currently the PP Stash is bursting at the seams with lovely patterns, I forgot to count them before I came away, but I would say I have probably only shown about half of those in the mix here, so there are loads to choose from!

I've decided to do something just a little different for my leg of its journey, I know can't stick to the rules me! I have chosen two patterns from the stash to keep (which I will show you very soon, just finishing off making them up) and rather than adding more patterns to the existing pile, I will host another little giveaway once the Pyramid has been drawn, with some lovely patterns from my stash (I've already sorted out about five, there may be more). This way it will give those of you who don't have a blog the chance to win something too and also will spare the PP stash from shortly needing a shipping crate to continue it on its journey around the globe!

Ok, before I tell you what you need to do to win, I'm going to tempt you a little more with some of my favourites, that I didn't pick so they are still very much up for grabs!!

Perfect for summer is this style Pattern No.2697 for an early eighties dress and jacket, simple and yet elegant, unlike much of what was around back then!

I just love this 1960's McCall's Pattern No.9715 for a quirky little mini dress with gathered bodice and some a-mazing bishops sleeves!

And then there is this New look pattern No.6000 is fabulously 60's in style, yet comes in multiple sizes so saves any fiddly re-sizing!

I think you'll agree there is plenty of lovely patterns here to choose from, the winner will certainly find it difficult to decide which ones to keep!

So here is what you need to do!
1. Leave a 'count me in' type comment on this post, it doesn't have to be anything fancy, but a link to your your blog would be helpful, if your Google profile is not already linked up to it!

2. You MUST have a blog to take part as you will need to host a pattern pyramid giveaway once you have won. Obviously you must also be prepared to the pay postage to pass the parcel on to the next winner!

The deadline for entering your comment below is end of the day on 31st of July 2014.
I will happily post world wide so everyone eligible (who has a blog) can enter!
The winner will be picked by random on the 1st of August 2014 and I will publish the result here on the same day, so keep your eyes peeled!

Good Luck!!
Wendy x

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Victory Garden 2014

Hello, hello, its been an absolute age since I last wrote about my allotment, and quite a bit has happened since then, lots of yummy veggies have been picked and eaten, a ton of hard work has been put in and a disturbing amount of weed growth has occurred!  

Last years harvest was pretty amazing! I grew a grand total of 25 marrows, yes 25 marrows! I devoured more runner beans than one human should ever eat. Mashed, roasted and boiled my own body weight in potatoes and parsnips (well not quite, I am rather heavy, probably from all those potatoes!) Bottled up about 12 Jars of Damson, and Greengage Jam (totally my new favorite jam)...

...Boiled up enough batches of onion soup to keep most of France happy. Pickled a massive jar of beetroot (still working my way through that) and a fair few smaller jars of onions and as if all that wasn't enough I've munched 'n' crunched my way through lots of sun ripened cherry tomatoes, radishes and little gem lettuces...yum, yum, yum!

All in all it was rather wonderful, especially to to see such a bountiful reward for all my efforts and worth every second of the time I put in! It has to be said though it was the hardest work I have ever done, every weekend without fail I was at the allotment, which was hard going and sadly has lead me to the realisation that this endeavor is not very sustainable in the long term. Meaning, that after much deliberation I have decided to say goodbye to my allotment and at the end of this year I will be handing back the keys to let someone with more time (or more friends able to help) take over and give this patch of weeds all the love and hard work it deserves!

As of last week, very weedy indeed!
It has not been an easy decision to make, I have cried many tears over this, as I hate giving  up on anything (massive character flaw right there, I don't tend to know when I am beat), but I know in my heart that I gave this allotment absolutely everything I had and it still was not quite enough, so I am happy to say I have done my best,  this plot is jut too big for me to manage on my own, so its now time to move on.

As much as I am a bad plot holder for not weeding as much as I should, I must confess the sight of these beautiful poppies and wild flowers makes me very happy. The bees in the nearby hive don't seem to mind, so I am at least doing my bit for bee cultivation if not for veg!
I will still have a little space in my rented back garden to grow in, and many a container just waiting to fill with salads and the like so I'll still be munching my way through as much home grown veg as one woman can handle!
'Scuse the washing line I forgot to take it down.
Plus I've put my name down for a plot in my new borough (though its not really new as I've been here for nearly 3 years!! Time flies) so if I am lucky I might be able to arrange a place in the site right at the top of my road, which would mean much less traveling to and fro, and from the over the fence nosing I have been doing at the site, the possibility of a much smaller sized plot which would be a much more realistic proposition for one woman and her trusty shovel!! Fingers crossed!

This decision does not mean that I have given up yet, there are a fair few months of growing left before my contract ends, which means I have been just as busy, if not quite as diligent as I was last year.

Desiree Seed Potato from Wilkinsons
Apparently they are TV Chef's favourite Red potato variety so who am I to argue!
I have still been planting, though I have just had to accept the weeds will grow where they may amongst my crops. I have rows and rows of potatoes and onions which I planted in late March, sweetcorn seedlings have been planted along with some beetroot and parsnips.

Butternut Squash, Pumpkin and Chilly Peppers all from Wilkinsons

Waiting in the wings are some pumpkin, squash and marrow seedlings, which though the slugs have had a right old munch on, I still have a few ready to be transplanted very soon. Also I attempted to grow some chilli peppers but the slugs were more successful this time and had their wicked way with them, so I am left with nothing, I have plenty of seeds left so I will have another go next year!

Leeks from last years seed, and my marrow plants again from Green Bush variety from Premier Seed Direct

The 'Aqua Dulce' Broad beans I planted last Autumn have been growing frantically all winter and spring and have now produced quite a decent little crop, thankfully though they are looking a little worse for wear now, they survived/missed the black fly that destroyed my crop last year so I shall be feasting on a broad bean...something or another again for tea tonight!

I am still very much looking forward to my Greengage and Damson Harvest this year, got to love a crop that looks after itself! I will certainly miss these wonderful old trees and their abundance of fruit, but I plan to bottle up as much jam as I can and enjoy it for the next few years at least!

So, there is still plenty to do and look forward to over the next few months, I am certainly not ready to turn in my trowel just yet!

Wendy x

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Knit It - Owlet

Hello! Thank you for all your lovely comments on my SFV dress, there are not enough words to say how sweet and kind and just plain wonderful you all are! 

It was while batting with my SFV dress in fact that I started today's project, as per usual I didn't feel I had enough going on so decided that I needed to add in a knitted project in to the mix! This time it was a very belated birthday present for my friends newest little one Douggie.

~ Owlet ~
by Kate Davies 
Size: 18 months
Ingredients: 5 mm Circular Needle, 4.5 mm Circular Needle , 4 x 5 mm DPNs,
4 x 4.5 mm DPNs (Double Pointed Needles) & A Cable Needle
Yarn: Worsted Weight Yarn - I doubled up some 4ply Stylecraft Oatmeal

Owlet calls for worsted weight wool which I have struggled to find anywhere here in the UK, I decided to go to my old stand by of doubling up my yarn so as I had some yummy Oatmeal coloured 4 ply left over from my Brothers Pullover, doubling it up made it about an 8 ply (same as DK) and I believe Worsted to be 10 ply, but with my slightly baggy tension on circular needles I seem to have gotten away with it.

I bought this pattern not long after joining ravelry in 2010 and it has been burning a hole in my to-do list since then. The reason for my delay was that I thought it was going to be too difficult I mean look at it those owls they definitely look tricksy, but I could not have been more wrong. After realising I hadn't made little douggie anything for his birthday, I decided to brave this pattern and quickly discovered it was very simple indeed.

Owlet is knitted entirely in the round, as a new knitter this struck me as a terrifying prospect, I mean no seams where do I hide all my mistakes! But after knitting my fair share of things 'in the round' I can assure you its the easiest and I would even say the most satisfying way to do stocking stitch. No end of rows to worry about, you can stop mid round and not loose all your stitches, no purl rows all knit and for some reason it all seems to knit up soo much quicker than on straight needles! You've got to love that!

Also the way that this jumper is designed means it is knitted in one piece, you knit your sleeves and body up to a point and then merge the stitches together on one needle and continue knitting to create the owl yoke, it is all rather genius! It also means there are no peskey seams to sew up at the end so as soon as you have cast the blighter off your finished!

Though the owls look tricky they are really easy, they are worked in a very simple cable stitch, which is very quick to remember once you have done a few! I think the most difficult part for me was working the short rows, It baffled me a little, I couldn't understand why I was doing this shaping, but once it was all finished it became clear that it was to create a rise at the neck line on the back of the jumper. Clever!

I only had one problem through this whole pattern and that was I didn't have 5 mm dpns for the sleeves, after you have worked the cuff on the smaller needles you move to the larger 5 mm, but with the tiny amount of stitches I had for each sleeve my very long circular needle was just not going to work. So both of the sleeves have been knitted on 4.5mm dpns, I did try to make my tension a little looser to compensate I think I have gotten away with it, just, the difference in stitch size is thankfully only really noticeable when you look really closely!

Once all the knitting was done, all that was left to do was to add some eyes to the owls I toyed with the Idea of adding buttons as on the original, but all the buttons in my stash seemed a little to large to work, so I opted for some 4 ply wool and some french knots, I think it has worked really well. I just hope its new owner likes it as much as I do! I am actually really tempted to knit myself one, especially as I have just seen that there is an adult sized version called Owls out there just waiting to be knit!

Wendy x

Friday, 9 May 2014

Sew For Victory 2.0 - Hollywood No.1977

Well, here it is my Sew For Victory 2.0 entry, in all its purple and black sequined glory!

I am so pleased with this dress (someone tell my face) as it fits perfectly, its probably the most comfortable thing I have made to date. It has though, been a real labour of love and at points I did think I was never going to finish it, I mean who makes the decision to hand top stitch everything when the clock is ticking, oh and then add a sequin trim last minute?! Well I do and apart from the self induced stress I created, I am so, so glad I did, as its the most well made dress I've ever attempted!

I was not all plain sailing however, after taking my photos in the lovely church yard last week I realised that there was an issue with the dress which I hadn't noticed before, or perhaps had chosen to ignore while fitting.

The problem was in the bust area, (see the above picture) there is just a bit too much drapey fabric, which makes things in that area look a tad...saggy! Its not terrible, but once I noticed it blown up all big and droopy on my PC screen, I couldn't not see it anymore and it was really bugging me. Thankfully by some miracle lovely Rochelle had very kindly decided extended the deadline by a few extra days, so I was able to adjust the four front pleats a smidge, taking them up about an inch and tapering them out a little to remove a little more of the excess fabric and banish the sagginess. Hurrah!

Something I learnt is cutting crepe on the grain is difficult. Very difficult. At times it felt like the fabric was a living breathing (constantly moving) entity, I did my best and though I am sure there are sections where the grain is not running true, its not glaringly obvious, so I am happy. Sewing it was actually really easy the fabric didn't fray too badly so I was able readjust (and by that I mean unpick my seams) with very little damage to the fabric, which was nice! 

The sheerness of the fabric meant that I had to line the whole dress, to avoid my unmentionables being mentioned. I chose to do this by essentially by making two dresses from the crepe which sit inside each other wrong sides facing, I figured it would be better to do this to help maintain the lovely drape that the crepe has, rather than adding a nylon type lining which would be stiffer and not so fluid.

Lining has also has meant that I was able to add some buttons loops to close the back opening rather than the zip the pattern called for, I'd feared the zip might give me puckering issues due to the delicate nature of my fabric so this option was much simpler.

I did attempt some Sewing Bee inspired rouleau loops but with out a loop turner it was a lost cause, instead I settled for some handmade bias strips which worked out really well! Lining has also meant that I could get away without finishing the raw edges of the seams which I feared it would add bulk in areas that it would be visible. To match the black buttons I had chosen to run down the back, I decided to add some sequin trim which I think works really well, and as 40's dresses seldom shied away from some sparkly embellishment I though it would add an extra touch.

I am not sure if I have said it before, but I LOVE peplums!

I mean, I really love them! I always thought that adding ruffles at the waist would make me feel fatter but it actually helps make your waist look smaller, hides the cake eaters tum and adds more curves, and curves are good!  I especially love the peplum on this dress as it can be removed and added to any outfit! How cool is that!! I want peplums on everything from now on!

So that was and is my SFV 2.0 effort! I am so pleased I got to take part again and truly think my stitching skills have improved since last years dress, I actually can't wait till next year!

If you liked my dress then there are so, so many stunning garments (no exaggeration) over on the Flirkr group that I urge you to check it out, gosh they are a talented bunch!

Wendy x