Blog Hopping

So the next stop on the blog hop is here! Thank you to Coo at Betty Stitchup for nominating me to take part. Coo is a fellow performer by trade, and I love her blog. She makes SUCH gorgeous vintage-inspired dresses, and knits up a storm too! Her blog-hop post is here, have a look-see!

So, on to my answers...

What am I working on?

I'm currently working towards making my wedding dress, which is definitely the biggest, most ambitious and most important sewing project I've ever undertaken. I want to keep it as a surprise though, so I am going to blog about it after our wedding, which is in June. It's so hard not to share though! I am writing blog posts as I go along, and trying to remember to take 'in progress ' shots as I go, so that when it's time to share I will have a series of posts written as The Project went along, rather than written retrospectively. It's also hard keeping the progress of the dress hidden from my fiancé. Any problem or mini victory, I just want to show him and the blog world! I bet as I get further down the line with the making of the dress I will need the advice of the super wonderful online sewing community, so be prepared for cryptic tweets or a "help please!" blog post. I'm sure Project Wedding Dress will challenge my sewing skills!

Got to keep my sketches secret too!
I have a few milestones in Project Wedding Dress before I get to the actual dress, and at the moment I am making a silk slip / nightie to practice working with silk and lace (plus is will be wedding night appropriate). So far I have made a little toile, sorted out the fit and am silk-shopping tomorrow! Eep exciting!

Toile of slip, made from drapey polyester I found in dad's loft

How does my work differ from others in it's genre?

I'm not sure if it does. I try not to compare myself to others. My favourite blogs to read are definitely the ones where I feel like I'm getting a little glimpse into the world of the blogger, so I try to keep that in mind as I write. I make a point of trying to document my triumphs and challenges alike. I don't want to present myself as perfect, or always successful in my creative endeavours. I would like my blog to be a true reflection of my sewing adventures and hopefully it is! 

In terms of my sewing, I'm not sure whether that differs from others much either! I sew what I like and I like what I sew (most of the time). I sew things that excite me and fit with my personal style.

Why do I write / create what I do?

I create because I am a creative person. I'm always brimming with ideas, and I love nothing more than creating something new that wasn't there before. Be that art, music, theatre, clothes, cards... Pretty much anything. I have a need to create, and sewing is an extension of that. I love it for the process, the craft, the skill, and of course the finished result. I have always loved clothes, and have always been highly interested in style. So the fact that I have the power to create my own clothes, to express my style in my way, with pieces made by my own two hands is really liberating. 

Coupled with that is the fact that I can't often find the kind of clothes I want to buy in the shops. And if I do, I'm usually very picky about their quality and finish.... Or I can't afford them!! Making things has always been a solution for me. "I'll just make one instead" is a common utterance in our house! My parents were a huge influence on my creativeness. My mum sewed, knit, crocheted and made lots of beautiful things, and my dad is a potter, joiner, tiler, plumber... in short very handy indeed!

Instagram snap of the pot I threw under dad's tuition last time I was up at home
I write about what I create for a few reasons. When I started getting right into sewing properly a couple of years ago, blogs were a huge source of inspiration, help and advice. They helped me no end to improve my sewing and to really get excited by sewing again. So I really wanted to join that creative, supportive, inspirational fold! Plus, I wanted a way to document what I was creating, especially as I got better at sewing and grew prouder of my makes! I love to write and to share, and blogging makes me happy! That's why I do it!

How does my writing / creative process work?

I have a firm "no UFO" policy. I used to have a box labelled "current/unfinished projects" which was getting way too full. I found that i would leave things languishing there for years (yes, actual years) so I decided henceforth to finish every flipping thing I start, or throw it away if I decide it really isn't worth finishing. I have to say my new policy works a treat, but it does mean that I usually only make one thing at a time. I'm thinking that this will not apply to my wedding dress, as I know I will need some littler, lighter projects to keep me happy as I go along, between silk and lace and hand sewing. Or maybe I won't have time!

I have a sewing notebook, in which I write down little notes about the garments I've sewn straight after I've finished making them.That way when I make my next version I can remind myself of what I needed to adjust, alter or keep in mind from previous versions. I usually draft blog posts on my phone, on my commutes to my various jobs. I like that there's a productive way to use my train and tube time!  Taking photos happens whenever we've got time (Liam takes my photos for me).  I don't work to a blogging timetable or post on specific days, just whenever I have something to share. Sometimes if I'm in the midst of a sewing project and encounter a problem, I will write some of my blog post right then, in the middle of the frustration. It helps me to solve the problem sometimes!

My sewing notebook
Notes about my slip toile

Hop On...
Thanks for reading, it's been fun to take part in the blog hop and share a little bit about my creative process. I am passing the torch onto two wonderful sewing bloggers (drum roll please...)

Danielle at One Small Stitch, who sews and knits gorgeous, gorgeous pieces, and lately has been sewing up lots of lovely knit garments. Danielle inspires me so much with her finishing. All her makes always look so neat! 

And Sally from The Quirky Peach. Her blog always makes me smile. I love how much joy she exudes. Not only that but she makes beautiful clothes in fun prints and styles. 

They're both hugely inspirational to me, so do check out their posts next week!

Over and out!

Marion, the Polka Dot Emery

Hello! I'm so excited to show you my newest dress. I love it so much (possibly too much). 

Here's Marion:

Marion in all her glory (Christine Haynes Emery dress with pleated skirt)
Eeeee this dress brings me so much joy. You may be able to tell by my goofy grin in all these pictures! I can't help but grin - it's the polka dots!

I'm finally at the point with the Emery pattern that I can just cut out and sew up - which is such a great feeling, and is so speedy that I definitely will be making more Emerys. It's also so great to know the finished dress is going to fit well as you sew it up! I'm really chuffed with the fit on this dress actually, and I love wearing it. 

No need for any more fit fixing chat since I talked about my alterations in my previous versions of the Emery.

This time I pleated the skirt (by eye, no pleat maths this time!), avoiding pleating the central tummy area, which I think makes for a lovely, flattering shape and nice lines. I omitted the pockets, again for nice clean lines and also because I'm lazy. The pleat arrangement is my favourite pleating I have done, and it kind of makes the dress if you ask me.

I sewed this all up on a Sunday about a month ago, and watched Raiders of the Lost Ark for the very first time (I know, how have I never seen it before?!). And I bloody loved it. So my dress is named after Marion. I wanted to name it after my favourite character, but sadly the monkey appears not to have a name (or did I just miss it while I was sewing my invisible zip?). My favourite moment in the film is where Marion is running away from all the baddies, wearing those fabulous red trousers, and clearly wishing she had worn flats. Wedges ain't gonna cut it really are they? 

This fabric is by hillberg fabrics, and is lovely quality. It presses well and feels lovely to wear. I got this from B&M in Leeds aaaages ago when I was up at home and I only bought two metres - wah! I wish I had more as the lack of pattern matching down the centre back bothers me a little bit. But hey Ho. This time the waist seam matched up when I put me zip in so I'm clinging on to that little triumph. I lined the bodice with white cotton lawn, lovely and soft. 
Oh, hi, matching waist seam! (let's gloss over the un-matched pattern)
So, that's my new favourite dress. It may look a little bit Minnie Mouse, but as a good friend pointed out: "Marie, you ARE a little bit Minnie Mouse, so it's perfect." I think that's a good thing. 

Over and out!

The Poet's Corner dress (viscose BHL Anna)

I love my Lady Luck dress, and just adore the shape and the lines of it every time I put it on, so I have long planned making another By Hand London Anna dress.

The Poet's Corner dress (By Hand London's Anna pattern). Not sure why I look so creepy here!
I fell in love with this print - I just love the colour combination and the floral motif - when I saw it on B & M in Leeds kirkgate market when I was visiting my dad. I've never sewn with viscose before. The floaty, soft qualities attracted me to it.

I made this back in July, and it was especially great for the VERY hot and muggy weather we were having at that point. In this floaty viscose I love how Anna's kimono sleeves drape. However I'm not too keen on the skirt portion. I love the original panelled skirt, but it definitely works better for me in a heavier fabric. Perhaps in this fabric I should have opted for a fuller skirt? For this casual day dress I wanted a shorter length, so I lopped 4 inches off the bottom. That may have been a bit excessive in retrospect, but again, I direct your attention to the very hot and muggy weather.

My pale legs are evidence of how long it's been since I had a sunshine holiday!
This fabric must have stretched out a bit while I sewed it, as the waistline has ended up a bit wiggly. OOPS! Also the seam lines on bodice and skirt didn't match up for some unknown reason. With this busy pattern you can't really tell though so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

Wiggly waist!

I don't have a rotary cutter (yet) and found it a bit difficult to cut without the viscose stretching and slipping, and whether it was that or bias stretch, I ended up with quite a big levelling job to do on the hem, which contributed to it being even shorter still! I just overlocked the hem and pressed it up half an inch before machine sewing it down (I didn't want to use up too much length on hemming).

Teensy little hem

I used some light interfacing along the seam lines at centre back for when I sewed the zip in, which really helped.
I wish I'd have done sewn some kind of stabiliser in at the waist seam too. Next time, next time.

So all in all, this dress is much nicer than my old shop bought ones, although to be honest, initially I was a bit underwhelmed by it. HOWEVER, I have really enjoyed wearing it, have got loads of compliments on it and I do keep reaching for it time after time. So let's call this one a success! I've loads of this lovely fabric left so I'm currently planning a top and perhaps a wrap skirt. It's all a viscose learning curve! Any tips?