2nd Blogiversary Giveaway

Yesterday was the second anniversary of my first post on this little blog.  When I published my first post I really had no idea what to expect, and to be honest I still don't!
Quite a bit has happened since then as well.  I've made goodness knows how many garments (most of them dresses!) as well as accessories, free motion embroideries and even a kiwi!
I've changed the name of the blog from A Little of What You Fancy to it's current incarnation as Stitched Up by Samantha.
I've been a member of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network for nearly 9 months, and have recently been asked to join the blog team for White Tree Fabrics as well.
So I think a little celebratory giveaway is in order.  The prize will be a free motion embroidered sewing machine picture, similar to this one.
It will be mounted and ready for you to frame, and I'll post worldwide. 
All you have to do to be entered in the giveaway is to pop over to my newly created I Made These page and tell me which is your favourite of the projects I've got on display there.
I'll keep the giveaway open until Sunday 6th July, after which time I'll pick a winner.  Just make sure there's a way for me to contact you when you comment. 
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Minerva Posh Frock Reveal

A couple of weeks ago I gave you a little teaser of a special outfit I was making to wear for the Minerva Crafts blogger meet up dinner (wow, that was a mouthful, wasn't it!?)
Well, as I'm sure you know, the big event has now taken place, and I can therefore reveal my dress in all it's glory.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out, even though I say so myself! 
I have a "thing" for one shouldered dresses. I've wanted one ever since my mum convinced me that a one shouldered wedding dress wasn't appropriate (I still think it would have been gorgeous, but that's another story).
So, given the opportunity to make a posh frock, that's where my mind headed first.  I found a Butterick pattern, B5987 that had the perfect one shouldered bodice and paired it with some gorgeous John Kaldor cotton lawn.   As I mentioned in my teaser post, I underlined the bodice with silk organza.  Although I considered boning the bodice I didn't, but maybe should have put one piece of boning by the zip, as it did wrinkle a little. 
As you can see, I changed the skirt.  I didn't fancy the gathers around my waist, so I drafted my own skirt.  I think it ended up being approximately a semi circle, which I loosely pleated onto the bottom of the bodice. 
The bodice creates an almost cap sleeve on the left which I found very flattering and comfortable. 
It was a great dress to wear for a fantastic evening.  Thank you Minerva Crafts for giving me the opportunity, and occasion to make such a posh frock!





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First of all, thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post - my Sailboat Anna dress.  I think it's my favourite Anna to date, and I'm having to stop myself wearing it every day!
I definitely need some more summery dresses that are suitable for work, but I've hit a spot of indecision when it comes to deciding on a pattern for the next one (or two)!
I have several pieces of fabric in my stash that need making up as summer dresses, one being this fabulous vintage Paris map cotton.   I think this is just about work-appropriate!

The other is a black and grey floral print, which is definitely work-appropriate.
My indecision is over which pattern (or patterns) to use.  I've found a couple of new to me pattern companies that each have a cute dress pdf pattern;
Sinbad and Sailor's Hepworth dress

I've seen some lovely versions of this, most notably Winnie's.  It looks like it comes up pretty short, so would need lengthening a bit for me, and the neckline looks a little high, but that's easily altered.  There are some good reviews of this one. 
I was almost set on the Hepworth, then I found the Tanja dress by Schnittchen Sewing Patterns.  No, I'd never heard of them either!

I love the tulip skirt, the neckline and the cap sleeves.  I'm slightly worried about how the skirt shape would suit me, and also hesitant about the fact that hardly anyone appears to have made this (or made it and blogged about it anyway!).
What would you make with these fabrics?  Either of these patterns, or something else entirely?
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Made by Me: Sailboat Anna

First of all, what do you think of my new look?  I hope you love it as much as I do.  It's the work of Trina from Pish and Posh Designs, and I think she's done a wonderful job.
I must have been a really annoying client, because although I had a kind of image in my head as to what I wanted the blog to look like, I found it really hard to actually put that fleeting image into words.  Luckily Trina was really patient, and didn't mind me saying I wanted a simple design, then deciding it was TOO simple!
You'll notice you can now follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest by clicking my pretty new social media buttons too.  Or you can send me an email if you prefer!
As well as my new blog look, I have a new dress to share with you as well.  Surprise, surprise, it's another By Hand London Anna.  I think this is now my 4th, and I think there might be another maxi version before summer is out. 
I'm sorry about the whiteness of my legs!  Goodness, they need some sun on them!
Anyway, on to the dress.  As I mentioned, this is my 4th Anna, so I didn't really need to refer to the pattern directions at all.  The only change I made was to cut the skirt front in one piece and the back in 2 pieces, rather than the panels the pattern calls for.  I did this so I didn't interrupt the print too much, and basically just laid the pattern pieces out on the fabric with the seam allowances overlapping, treating them as one pattern piece.

Speaking of the fabric, isn't it gorgeous?  It's a cotton/linen blend that I bought on a whim from my local fabric store Fabric HQ.  Sadly, I think they've now sold out of it.  It's quite a departure for me - although I love patterned fabric, I rarely go for what I would call novelty prints.  I know this isn't as "novelty" as some, but it is for me!
I debuted the dress last Friday evening when I had dinner with Maria, Winnie and Karen the night before the Minerva Crafts event.  It was also worn to work today and admired by a couple of my colleagues who know that I sew. 
Have a lovely weekend everyone, and tune in early next week to see my Minerva posh frock revealed. 

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The Marvellous Minerva Meet Up

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to attend the meet up event at Minerva Crafts in Darwen, or as I shall call it, The Marvellous Minerva Meet Up.
My weekend started on Friday lunchtime, when I loaded myself and quite a few bags (my husband did ask me how long I was going for!) into the car for the journey up North.  It was a long and hot one, I can tell you.  Queues of traffic on the M6 meant that instead of taking just under 4 hours, my journey took nearly 5 and a half!  I was hot, sticky and tired by the time I got there!
I had already arranged to meet Maria and her husband (all the way from Australia!) and Winnie for dinner on the Friday evening, and we were also joined by Karen.  As I'd never met any fellow bloggers before, it was lovely to meet just a few initially rather than feeling overwhelmed by meeting everyone at once.  I'm quite a shy person in large groups so this was perfect for me.
We dined at a little Italian restaurant in Darwen, and were entertained by the waiters singing "Happy Birthday" to as many of the other diners as they could manage.  We were asked several times if we were celebrating a special occasion - I think they wanted someone else to sing to!
On Saturday morning we made the short drive from our hotel to Minerva Crafts for an exciting day of workshops, presentations, chatting and fabric shopping. 
Sadly I left my camera behind at the hotel, so what follows are very, very poor photos taken on my phone.  I seem to have developed a bad case of camera shake!
We were greeted at the door by Vicki, Minerva Crafts Sales Director, and the brains behind the event.  Vicki gave us our name badges and information about the day, then we were free to browse. 
The craft centre is huge, with fabric arranged by colour down one side, yarn down the other, and every kind of crafting tool and notion you could want in the middle section. 
A warm welcome from Vicki.
After Vicki welcomed us all, we were treated to a talk by Karen of Did You Make That?, who attempted to find the perfect stitcher amongst us.  Apparently none of us were perfect, having confirmed that yes, we do sometimes skip pre-washing fabric, we don't always make a toile, we do sew over pins and worst of all SOMETIMES we use fabric scissors for cutting paper!
As you can (almost) see, Karen is wearing a crown, which was to go to whoever was found to be most perfect.
I spent some time browsing the fabric selection and then took part in a workshop to create a covered button necklace.  It was great fun, although a somewhat messy hour!  The necklaces would make great gifts.
My completed necklace.
During the afternoon, the By Hand London girls gave a presentation about their "journey" so far and the joys and challenges of starting and running their own business. 
Soon after that a group of the Minerva Crafts bloggers (myself included) were invited "behind the scenes" to visit the warehouse.   Wow!  What an amazing place, it was a real Aladdin's cave of fabric.  How on earth they know where everything is is beyond me!    
Fabric heaven!
A few very small bloggers surrounded by mountains of fabric.
Soon it was time to head back to the hotel to prepare ourselves for the evening event, a dinner hosted by Minerva for their network bloggers.  This was held at Blackburn Rovers football club, and was the event we'd all spent the last few weeks making our posh frocks for.

Posh frocks galore!
All that remains for me to say is a huge "Thank you" to everyone at Minerva Crafts for an amazing day.  I can't imagine the work that must have gone into organising the event, but everyone - staff and members of their craft group who helped out with refreshments all day - was cheerful and helpful to the last. 
I'm looking forward to next year already!

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White Tree Fabrics

A few weeks ago I received an email from Lisa at White Tree Fabrics, entitled "Working with us".  I was intrigued, as I'd never heard of the company.

In her email Lisa introduced the company - the reason I hadn't heard of them is that although they have been in business for many years, they have only recently set up online - and asked me if I'd be interested in joining their blogging team.
Lisa told me that in a similar way to the Minerva Crafts blogger network, I could choose a pattern and fabric from White Tree Fabrics extensive selection and the finished project would be featured on both my blog and White Tree Fabrics website.
White Tree Fabrics have a lovely selection of fabric and haberdashery, which is growing all the time, and I was excited to accept Lisa's invitation to join their team. 
I haven't yet chosen my first project, but I have my eye on some lovely green ditsy print chiffon, which I think would make a lovely summery dress, or this black embroidered lawn, which would make a great top.

Of course, those are just 2 possibilities!  White Tree Fabrics really do have a great selection to choose from, and many of their fabrics are very different to what I've seen elsewhere.

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Made by Me - Southern Blue Wrap

I haven't had much success with knitting lately.  It seems that everything I've started I've worked on for a bit and then either got bored with or decided I don't actually like it.
I love the process of knitting, but am still struggling to knit things I actually want to wear.
However, as soon as I saw the gorgeous Southern Blue wrap pattern on Ravelry I knew I had to knit it. 
Southern Blue is designed by Mary-Anne Mace and is named after a type of butterfly native to New Zealand, apparently similar in colour to the yarn used by Mary-Anne.
I also chose a blue, but mine is a teal shade.

The yarn is a silk and cashmere blend reclaimed yarn that I bought from an Etsy seller.  It is absolutely beautiful, so soft and smooth.  I was slightly put off when I opened the package, as it had a very strong floral perfume to it, presumably from the detergent the seller had used.  So strong that for a while I thought I wasn't going to be able to use the yarn, but luckily it dissipated after being aired for a few days. 
The pattern itself was great, very well written and fun to knit.  No two rows are exactly the same, so it never got boring.
I did make a couple of slight changes, leaving the nupps off in the final few rows, on the points of the edge, and also leaving off the picots on the bind off row.  Other than that I followed the pattern exactly.
I actually knitted this wrap to go with the dress I made for the Minerva Crafts blogger meet up that I gave you a teaser of in my last post.  I hope you'll agree from the photo below that it goes very well. 
You will be able to see the full outfit in due course, I can't wait to wear it this Saturday!
Currently on my needles is a rather seasonally inappropriate project - Pickles Fall Coat - which I'm knitting with some Drops Alpaca Boucle in a very pale grey.  It is incredibly soft and yummy, like knitting a cloud.
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A Minerva Teaser

Normally for our Minerva Crafts Blogger Network projects we are given free reign to make exactly what we like.  In June however, all the bloggers are making posh frocks in celebration of the Minerva Crafts Meet-Up event on 14th June.
We also will not be revealing our finished dresses before the event, so rather than a full post about what I've been working on, with lovely(?) modelled photos, you are just getting a teaser.
All the dresses will be revealed on the Minerva blog (and mine will be revealed here) after the event.
So what did I pick?
Well, I'm not a sequin or sparkle kind of girl and I don't like anything too tight or too revealing.  I love strappy or strapless dresses on others, but feel very uncomfortable wearing them.
However, browsing "posh frock" patterns, I found this newly released one from Butterick - B5987 - and fell in love with view C.
I do like a one shoulder dress - you have the touch of the "special occasion" with none of the exposure or danger of a strapless dress.
Next I had to choose a fabric.  As I mentioned above, I don't do sequins or sparkle, or shiny fabrics, and I prefer darker colours.  When I saw this gorgeous John Kaldor cotton lawn, I knew it had my name written all over it.     

The construction of the bodice was interesting.  The fabric is very soft and flowy and I initially thought I was going to have to use some boning to support the strapless side.  Then I remembered some silk organza I had left over from a project last year, and decided I would try underlining the bodice with that first. 
Luckily the silk organza together with a cotton poplin lining have provided enough support that boning was not required.
I knew the shoulder gathers would not work with the silk organza, so before I attached that to the gathered cotton lawn piece I converted the gathers to 2 darts. 
I'm sure there is a proper way to do this, but I used the very unscientific method of basically measuring the amount of fullness that needed taking out and eyeballing 2 darts.  As luck would have it, it worked perfectly.  I also did the same with the lining.
I've completely changed the skirt - but I'm not going to show you what I've changed it too! - and have added piping to the neckline, cap sleeve and waist seams.  I'll show you the piped waistline, although you'll have to excuse the creases.
And here are the shoulder gathers.
As a final teaser, here is the bodice piece before the side seams were sewn.
And that, my friends, is all I'm going to share for now.  Tune in after 14th June to see the completed dress!
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Hello there.  Happy Sunday.  I hope you're all having a lovely weekend.  We have gorgeous blue skies here today and it actually feels like summer!  Wonder how long that will last?
Anyway, last weekend I posted and told you all that I was going to change the blog name, and today is the day. 
So, without further ado, I proudly rename this blog

I really hope you'll all continue to follow along with my ramblings.
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I've been thinking of making some changes to this little blog for a while and I though it was about time I shared some of my plans with you.

I found one of the hardest parts of starting this blog was coming up with a good name for it.  At the time I went with "A Little of What You Fancy" because I thought that although it would mainly be about sewing (and knitting) that title gave me wide enough scope to talk about anything that took my fancy.  However, it doesn't really tell anyone who doesn't know what the blog is mostly about.  And in reality, I write very little about anything that isn't sewing or knitting related.

With that in mind I've been thinking about alternative names, and realised that the name of my Folksy shop - Stitched Up by Samantha - is also perfect for this blog. 

With that in mind, earlier this year I purchased my own domain name - www.stitchedupbysamantha.co.uk  - and the eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that I'm now using it.

I will also be changing the blog name to Stitched Up by Samantha, and I plan to make that change next weekend - probably Sunday 8th June.  In the short term I'll have the same blog design, but I'm actually in the process of having the blog redesigned professionally - my Photoshop and design skills only stretch so far! 

I hope you'll stick with me on my blogging journey, I love having you all along for the ride.