"" The girl who makes things: January 2014

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Times are a changin'

Tomorrow is my last day of work. Dun dun duuuun. People keep asking me if I'll be sad to leave. In answer, yes, of course I will, I'll miss the people I work with. I'll miss the routine and the security too. I've had this job for two years, it was the first real job I got after Uni. It's made me feel grown up. Never mind moving into my own flat and paying the electricity bills, I felt most adult when some paperwork came through the door saying that I was paying into a pension fund! Wow, I mean, that is real adult stuff. And now I'm throwing all adult caution to the wind and leaving my job to teach English abroad. I guess it's not the craziest move in the world, and heck, it's not like I have kids and a mortgage to keep me here. But there is a little voice at the back of my head saying 'is this really the right thing to do?'

I had a mini freak-out before Christmas about whether I was doing the 'right thing' whatever the 'right thing' is. I mean, choices aren't easy are they? There's lots of strictures around what we should and shouldn't expect from life. For example, when you leave Uni, school or college, it's expected that you find a job or training contract, and start the long ascent up the career ladder. You find yourself a partner, you buy a house, get some pets, have a baby... the circle of life continues. Not that there's anything wrong with this. It just takes a lot of guts to say, no, I want to do things differently.

Maybe I'll come to regret going away in a few years time when my friends can buy houses, go on exciting holidays, meet up in nice restaurants and buy expensive cocktails all the time. Maybe I'll feel a bit left out in the cold. Maybe I'll regret not sticking with my job and working my way up the ranks. But maybe I won't. This brings me back to sewing and the arts in general. If I think about it, what really makes me happy isn't having stuff, but the outlet to be creative and explore new territory. If I have enough money to buy fabric and patterns then I don't think I really need much else. The only other thing I need is time. And maybe it's not just me. Maybe this is how others feel too.

I do apologies for the reflective mood this evening. It's just something I've been brooding over a lot recently.

In sewing related news, the fabric for my sister's bridesmaids dresses arrived on Saturday which meant I could get cracking! The dresses will be different colours and styles of bodice, but they'll have the same 50s circle skirt. I've made the lining for the blue dress.

The bodice is from the By Hand London Anna Dress. I've modified it slightly by shortening the kimono sleeves. Now looking at it, I think I'll shorten the sleeves even more to make it completely sleeveless.

And there's all of my news. There'll be some radio silence while I do the CELTA course I should think, but I'll be back to sewing bridesmaids dresses while looking for work towards the end of February. Until then, au revoir.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Welcome to Georgia

Brrrrrr, is it me or does it feel like winter officially starts in January? I am COLD. All this chilly weather is making me want to snuggle up next to the radiator and hibernate until April.

I've never been particularly good in winter, it's too cold and too dark. To counter the blues, I've given myself a bit of dedicated selfish sewing time and here's my first make of 2014, it's the Georgia dress from By Hand London.

The pattern was a Christmas pressie from my parents (ok, I ordered the pattern myself, had it sent to their house and invoiced my mother, but I still acted surprised on Christmas day). I don't tend to go for the body-con/bombshell style dress, but I was persuaded by this one. I've seen some great versions and completely fell in love. Especially with this fecking awesome one by Reena Louise.

This was meant to be my New Year's Eve party dress and I was sewing right up to the deadline, but I didn't finish it on time. It was the choice between rushing it and doing a hatchet job, or taking my time and creating something I'd actually wear. And it will have use, I'll wear it for my work leaving do instead. Karaoke is on cards, that's all I'm saying...

With this being such a close fit design, I decided to go carefully and make a toile before I cut into my fabric. I would really recommend doing this.

I graded a size 8 from the bust into a size 10 at the waist and hips. Compared to the pattern model, I'm proportionally longer in the body so all this had to be altered in the skirt pattern and even after sewing up the final item, I had to make adjustments.

If I was to be critical, I'd say that the bodice is still slightly too big. I can just about get away with it if I wear a super padded bra though.

I bought the fabric from Goldhawk Road, my first ever visit! I was absolutely over awed by the choice and spent about three hours trying to decide on fabric. The fabric eventually bought was stretch cotton satin, a really good choice for this kind of dress as you can make a tighter fit and still give yourself room for ease.

There was only one tricky bit to contend with which was how to join the skirt point to the bodice. I found it so tricky, I omitted the point from the back of the skirt, just to save myself the hassle. If you want my advice, read the pattern instructions very carefully at this stage.

So that's it for Georgia, I'm pretty pleased with the result. It's good to make something frivolous at this time of year. Everyone needs a reason to lift the winter blues, and I think this make was definitely what I needed. Now I just need to look for a good fur coat to wear over the top and keep out the cooooooold.

Thursday, 2 January 2014


Happy New Year everyone! I hope you've had a wonderful start to the year, whether it meant wrapping yourself up in a duvet and nursing a hangover, going for a new year run, seeing friends and relatives, or just doing whatever it is you wanted to spend your time doing. In my opinion 1st January is a write off, the 2nd is where it begins.

I went up to Scotland for New Year, not ideal considering I had to work New Year's Eve and 2nd January, but I had a great time, even if it was short. We stayed in a holiday house in the tiny village of Moffat (just south of Glasgow). We had haggis for dinner, played a few games, watched a bit of Jools Holland, as is tradition, and then hit the champagne at 12. I didn't realise how tired I was until after a couple of beers and a glass of champagne I zonked out around midnight. To be fair I probably spent more time travelling than conscious in Scotland, but, oh well, glad I went.

Anyway, that's all over now and the 2014 is well under way. I've enjoyed reading other blogger's posts about new year sewlutions and pledges, but I'm afraid there's not much I can promise for this year. 2014 is going to be pretty crazy for me, what with leaving my job and teaching abroad. To be honest, I'm shit scared and pretty stressed with it all, so adding a load of pressure to something I enjoy doing would just stress me out further. With this in mind I have only two resolutions: to keep blogging and keep sewing as much as I can. Anything else is a bonus.

Ok, so there might be one more thing I can add to this. I'd really like to take more beautiful shots of the things I make. One thing I've realised about reading other people's blogs is how important it is to present your subject matter. I've been reading a few tips from Lucky Lucille about blog photography, and the importance of choosing location, altering lighting etc. I'm hoping to put her advice into practice this year. This might also mean I need to improve my modelling skills and give my photographer (ahem, boyfriend) a few more directions.

So that's that for 2014. Keep plodding and make improvements where necessary. I have one make which I'll blog about in my next post, but for now, adios!