The Monochrome Dreamcoat : Part 2

While I love reading other peoples year end reviews and plans for next year - and in the past have done them myself - I'm not going to do one of my own.  I don't really know what to say about this year, it's had it's ups and downs certainly.  I've gone from wanting to sew and blog all the time to completely losing both my sewing and blogging mojo's and in truth can't wait to see the back of 2016!

What I am going to do is share with you the project I'm most proud of this year; possibly the project I'm most proud of ever.

Vivienne Westwood style coat

Back at the end of October I wrote this post about the inspiration behind this project and my trials with my toile.  Once that was done I promptly lost all confidence in the project and couldn't get my head around tackling anything so big and it sat on my mannequin making me feel guilty every time I passed it. 

It was a project I desperately wanted to complete, but mentally things took a bit of a dip and I just couldn't face making a start.  I was overwhelmed by other commitments, work was getting busier and my anxiety put in a reappearance.

It was only when I was contemplating possible projects to tackle on a 3-day workshop with Alison Smith at the beginning of December that I decided the coat would be the thing to take.  If that was all I had with me to work on, then I'd have to do it, wouldn't I?

I'm so glad I did take the coat as my project - I literally spent the entire first day and part of the second morning cutting out - if I'd been doing that at home on my own I'd have got bored and put everything to one side again.  Or more likely, left it all over the dining room and just walked away!

Almost finished cutting out!

I had a couple of minor panics on the first day, not least because when I went to cut out the collar I realised I'd brought the wrong pattern piece with me.  I'd drafted several collars while making my toile and obviously picked up the wrong one.  (I actually found the right one this morning when I was looking for something else!).  After panicking for several minutes I calmly unpicked the collar from my toile and used that to make a new pattern piece. 

Trial bound buttonhole in faux leather

The coat actually came together very smoothly - with a little help from Alison - with only a few minor headscratching moments due to it being asymmetric.  I was constantly terrified that I was cutting things back to front, which probably made the cutting out take longer than necessary. 

I love how the back of the collar rolls

But I cracked on and at the end of three long, tiring days I came away with an almost complete coat.  All that was left for me to do at home was hem it and sew the buttons on.  Hemming actually took much longer than I thought, that hem is pretty long!

A unique lining is always a lovely touch

I absolutely love the end result.  I've had so many compliments on it - a friend wants one! - and I've got a coat that no one else has. 

Lovely curved front

Back view

In Print

Hello all,

Sorry for the unintentional absence again, work has been a bit manic, and I've had a lot of stuff going on outside work as well, including a three day workshop I attended the week before last with Alison Smith. 

I'll share what I made on that (hopefully) later this week, but for now I'd like to bring you to post I hoped to bring you a couple of weeks ago.

I'm very excited that I have a project in this months Love Sewing magazine (issue 34). 

The lovely Amy Thomas, editor of Love Sewing, contacted me a few months ago and asked if I'd be interested in contributing a project to the magazine.  She'd seen a lovely 3D free motion embroidered bag while on holiday and wondered if I would like to create something similar for the magazine.  

This is the photo she sent me for inspiration.

I was only too happy to get my creative thinking cap on and work out how I could make my own version of this beauty.  Only having a single photo to go on made things slightly tricky, but after making a few samples I was happy with the look of the finished piece. 

This is one of my samples, and the one that was closest to the final project.  I tried interfacing the skirt in different ways and gathering instead of pleating the skirt into the waist.  I also tried cutting the dress as one piece rather than a separate skirt and bodice, but that didn't work too well.

For the final piece I did away with the models hair, as my husband said it looked weird, and added a strip of braid to the waist of the dress to cover the stitching in that area.

Once I'd worked out how to create the model I had to make the bag itself, photographing each step as I went, and write a tutorial suitable for the magazine.  It was hard work, but fun.  Luckily my husband has a nice camera and tripod which he set up in the dining room for me, so I could photograph everything without any camera shake!

And here's the finished project in the magazine.

Thanks must go to Amy for giving me the opportunity to create this project, and also to Rae and Jacqui at Fabric HQ who kindly provided me with the fabrics I used. 

Free Motion Monday

I've got a bit behind myself this week I'm afraid.  I'd planned a free motion embroidery post to bring you last Friday but due to circumstances beyond my control I wasn't able to.  Stupidly I didn't have anything else planned to take it's place at the time, but since then I have been teaching some free motion embroidery classes, so I'll share some of the projects from those with you.

I taught two classes at the weekend, at Fabric HQ and Crafty Angel Sewing Studio, and we made Christmas wreaths at both of them. 

They were great fun, and even messier than normal free motion embroidery classes, due to the addition of hessian, lots of ribbon and a glue gun!   Oh, and biscuits of course!

The class attendees had the choice of making either a holly wreath or a mistletoe one and the two people who came to Craft Angel Sewing Studio on Sunday even added a little robin to their wreaths. 


The pieces above were completed by my students.  Neither of them had done free motion embroidery before, and their finished pieces are gorgeous!

As there were only two participants on the class Angela who owns Crafty Angel Sewing Studio and I both made wreaths as well.   This is Angela's - how gorgeous is it?  That bow is to die for!

I made this one, as I already have "normal" mistletoe and holly wreaths.  It's now got pride of place on the dresser in my kitchen.

In case you're wondering, the red and white "berries" are the pompoms snipped off pompom trim and glued in place.