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Made by Me: Embroidery and Statement Sleeves

Hello there.  Just a quick post from me today, to let you know that I have a project up on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.

As you probably know, I've been slightly obsessed with hand embroidery recently, so for my latest project I decided to combine some embroidery - which is currently right on trend - with another current trend, the statement sleeve.

You can find my project here.  Please pop over and take a look!

Made by Me: Heavenly Helmi

If you've been reading this blog a while you'll probably know that I've mentioned several times that I don't like shirt dresses.  On me, that is; I love them on other people.

Why then, was I compelled to make one recently?

I don't know, but I have to say I love it. 

This dress came about when I was randomly browsing the Minerva Crafts website as you do.  Some gorgeous black and white star print fabric came up in their new in section and before I knew it 2 metres had jumped into my basket.  When it arrived I wasn't sure what to do with it, I knew I wanted to make a dress - I always want to make a dress - but I wasn't sure what style.

Then all of a sudden I had the idea of a shirt dress in mind.  Not just any shirt dress though, it had to be the Named Clothing Helmi tunic dress.  I ordered the printed pattern and as soon as it arrived I started making a muslin, fully prepared to hate it. 

But I loved it!  Completely and utterly.  I've been trying to work out why, because I don't like things with collars normally, but the collar on this is small and curvy and neat.  It's not big and pointy and flappy like some collars are; I think big pointed flappy collars remind me of school uniform.  

I made a couple of changes to the pattern before I cut this out:
  • Shortened the bodice by about an inch and lengthened the skirt by the same amount.  The dress remains the same overall length, but the waist seam is now slightly higher.
  • Added darts to the back waist.  I realise that this is supposed to be a loose fitting design, but it was just that little bit too loose on me and sat weirdly at the back.  I think that's down to the fact that I have quite a pronounced swayback.

  • I omitted the concealed placket as I'd found some lovely glittery star shaped buttons and I didn't want them hidden.

  • Lengthened the sleeves by around 6 inches and made the additional length into turn back cuffs with buttoned loops to hold them in place.  Is there a proper name for the loops?  If so I can't think of it!

This dress feels so nice to wear, the fabric is lovely and soft and drapy, but not too lightweight so it hangs beautifully and I absolutely love the way the collar fits and sits.  I think I'm going to make a shirt version next to wear with jeans and possibly at least one more dress. 

All Kinds of Randomness

This post title could quite accurately describe what's going on in my head most of the time!

However, it's actually a collection of little bits and pieces that I've been thinking about or have to show you.

Firstly, thank you so much for all your comments and responses on my last post.  Sorry it's taken me a while to formulate a response here.  All your comments and survey responses were great and very positive, which made me feel a lot better about my little space here.  It's great to know that you're not bothered about how regularly I post, or whether (on the whole) my photos are brilliant quality and "magazine" styled.  I still need to work on a method/type of photograph I'm happy with - and that may end up being only shots of garments on my mannequin for the time being - but it's given me confidence to continue.

Secondly, I thought I'd show you how I've been occupying my evenings recently.  I always used to knit in the evening, but lost my knitting mojo some time ago.  I think I made two or three things I wasn't totally happy with and had my confidence in choosing a project I liked knocked somewhat.  (What is it with me and confidence?  Obviously something I need to work on!)  Anyway, I've turned to embroidery.  I've done odd bits on and off for years, and have recently started following loads of amazing embroidery Instagrammers - Tessa Perlow is one of my favourites. 

Inspired by this image (which I'm also getting tattooed on my back next month) I decided to embellish my denim jacket.  

I posted quite a few progress shots on my Instagram, so I'll just share the finished piece with you here.

And a close up...

The jacket itself is ancient, one of those pieces that gets dragged out every summer.  I love wearing it over a maxi dress.  The front currently features my two favourite pins/badges - a Poppy Treffry free motion embroidered sewing machine and a ceramic "I love tea" speech bubble.  Both were bought in Cornwall on last years summer holiday. 

Finally, I bought this amazing fabric at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia a couple of weeks ago. 

It's a black linen base with the design kind of felted into the surface.  I'm going to make a jacket with it, but can't decide whether it needs to be a classic collarless Chanel-ish style, or a biker-ish style.  What do you think?

Your Opinion Matters

Anyone else find this blogging lark hard sometimes, or is it just me?

I've been blogging for getting on for 5 years now and have had periods when I've had blog posts coming out of my ears and other periods when it's been a month or more between posts.  During my first (obviously eager) six months of blogging I posted more than I did in the whole of last year. 

My original blog name and header!

The main reason for my lack of posts during the first half of last year was struggles with my mental health. It was too hard to get excited about making anything sometimes, let alone getting dressed up in it and taking photos once I'd made it and then writing about it and sharing the photos.  Things got better around the end of summer though and I started to get enthusiastic about blogging again.

My first Stitched Up by Samantha header.
I made myself a plan; I gave the look of the blog a little makeover, I was going to post every Friday, and I'd have a different topic every week, so people knew what to expect when.  I wanted to try and make things appear more professional as my aim was to build up a business teaching sewing that I could hopefully turn into my main source of income over the next few years.  The dream was to give up the day job! 

One of my favourite free motion embroideries.
Things went well for a while, I posted regularly and I was busy teaching sewing at weekends and taking on additional projects.  I got too busy though, and at the beginning of December had a major anxiety meltdown, wanted to cancel class I was due to teach, every project I'd committed to, I even debated not going on the workshop I'd booked with Alison Smith, which would have meant the loss of the several hundred pounds I'd paid for it.   I didn't though, I did everything I'd already committed to, although I did cancel a few projects that were just in the discussion stages.  People were really nice about it, which made me feel better, however it seemed - and still does - like my dream of turning this little corner of the internet into my livelihood is just a dream.  Apparently my brain needs downtime; it can't cope with working all week and weekends as well. 

Since Christmas I've actively pencilled in "me time" and am not committing to anything like the number of projects and classes I was towards the end of last year.  In fact the thought of doing as much as I was scares me now because I know how awful it made me feel, even though I thought I was doing something I loved and wanted to do. 

Students amazing free motion embroidery pieces.

All this makes me wonder where to go from here, with this blog.  As I said at the start, I find this blogging lark hard.  I do enjoy it, but it's difficult as well.  I hate taking photos for the posts.  I envy those bloggers who's photos look like they've been pulled from the pages of a high fashion magazine, when mine are taken in the corner of the spare bedroom against a woodchip wall on a camera with a self timer. 

What I'm really getting to is a favour.  I'd love your opinion on what I do, what I write, what I share and so I'm asking you - ever so nicely I hope - if you have a couple of minutes to spare taking this survey

If you'd rather not do the survey, I'd love it if you'd leave me a comment below telling me what you'd like to see more of here... 

Thank you ever so much.  As the post title says, your opinion is important!