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FO: Cat lady sewing challenge top

8 Nov

Who doesn’t like a great sew along or sewing challenge! Well, actually, me. I participate in very few of them (outside of WSBN ones!) as it doesn’t tend to work with my creative process, although I love looking at the results.

But there’s this great blog out there called Miss Crayola Creepy and Erin came up with the great idea of a Cat Lady Sewing Challenge – make something with some form of cat reference in the fabric print. Cat sewing!!! Now there is something I can get behind! I knew INSTANTLY what I was going to make too.

My blue leopard print bustier top, for the Cat Lady Sewing challenge

My blue leopard print bustier top, for the Cat Lady Sewing challenge

But this is not that garment.

This is a garment I started in January, also inspired by an animal sewing challenge, Jungle January led by the truly brilliant Anne of Pretty Grievances and whose origin goes all the way back to last November and Sophie-Lee of Two Random Words and this pencil skirt.

Sophie-Lee and I both eyed up this blue leopard denim at Arthur Toye’s closing down sale (sniff) but I decided to refrain. Sophie-Lee went ahead and made that gorgeous skirt, but had about 80cm left over. We were chatting about what to do with it and I suggested that .8m was just enough for a bustier-style top. Sophie-Lee loved the idea but decided she’d never wear a blue leopard bustier and offered me the fabric so that I could do it, so very kind of her.

Fast forward to Jungle January and I decided it was the perfect time to make my leopard bustier, from Butterick 5680, a great ’80s pattern.

I used View C, the blue bustier top middle with skinny straps. I want to make the off the shoulder view top right as well. Who says the 80s have nothing to offer us!

I used View C, the blue bustier top middle with skinny straps. I want to make the off the shoulder view top left as well. Who says the ’80s have nothing to offer us!

I made a mock-up and eek. This thing needed fitting! Unfortunately (fortunately?) I have no pics of the misery that it was.

The lovely Jo of Making it Well helped me with a couple of iterations but it was still far from perfect and I ran out of time to finish it for Jungle January and it got shelved, and instead I finally blogged this skirt, also leopard print.

And then Erin’s challenge came along. As I mentioned, I knew exactly what I wanted to use, this awesome Japanese inspired quilting cotton featuring a fish-scale scallop pattern and lucky cats, or maneki-neko.

My awesome maneki neko fabric, bought from MrsC's shop Made on Marion

My awesome maneki neko fabric, bought from MrsC’s shop Made on Marion

I mean, lucky cats!!! It would be perfect! But in my attempt to curb my stash-building behaviour I had bought only a metre, and it is only 112cm wide. So, what’s a girl to do with a tiny bit of fabric?

Lots of lucky cats!

Lots of lucky cats!

And I recalled my unfinished bustier mock-up, started because of fabric restrictions, and decided to finish fitting it and use that.

And then I discovered I had 1.5 metres of my lucky cats fabric. And I couldn’t bring myself to use it on the bustier when I had enough to make something bigger and show more of the print.

And then I recalled that the fabric I’d earmarked for Jungle January was blue leopard, and Erin had said cat-fur prints counted. It seemed only sensible to finish my blue leopard top! And I did.

I had no idea waht to style this with, but a picnic in the park demanded something practical so black jeans it was

I had no idea what to style this with, but a picnic in the park demanded something practical so black jeans it was. I’d like to try it with pencil skirts and circle skirts. Photo courtesy Jo at Making it Well.

Before I even made my first mock-up I enlarged the pieces at the waist and hips, but not enough. Thankfully it fit pretty well at the bust so I slashed the mock-up open along the front princess seams and pinned extra fabric into them and transferred the extra back to these seams. But my second bodice had  too much in the hips, so I pinned some back out of the princess seams and made another version. The third version was still a bit gapey but I decided it wasn’t anything I couldn’t fit on the finished garment and went ahead. Sure enough, I had to trim more out of the front princess seams on the finished bodice.

I would like to make this top again as I LOVE this style of garment, so now I have to use my off-cuts to transfer my changes back to the pattern! I might also lengthen it next time. I add 3cm to the neck edge for slightly less cleavage but I think it needs more at the bottom too, as despite these jeans being “high waist” (whatever, they’re still below my natural waist, but at least they cover my butt unlike most modern jeans) I still get a crescent of bare kidneys when I sit or bend.

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The back covers my jeans standing, but needs extra length for bending and sitting.  Photo courtesy Jo at Making it Well

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Gratuitous side shot.

Construction was easy but I did make a few changes. I subbed in an invisible zip (from stash, I do love having a zip stash!)  instead of the back buttons and disregarded the boning and lining the pattern called for. I drafted a facing for the neck, and did a standard hem. I had so little fabric that I had to cut the straps on the cross grain and interface them, and they’re still a bit stretchier than ideal, and I had to piece the facing along the same seamlines as the bodice itself as I was working with scraps by this point. I chose not to line as the fabric is a super stretchy denim and I didn’t have a lining with the right weight and stretch factor, and I made the straps wider than the pattern called for as well. I taped the entire top edge of the top as per MrsC’s tutorial  but when I make this again – and I will –  I will also take a tiny bit out of the side seam at the top, as even with the tape it is a tiny bit loose at the underarms. But not enough to alter this one!

Jo said "do something cat like" so I stuck my leg in the air and tired to lick my thigh. What, my cat does it all the time! Photo courtesy Jo at Making it Well

Jo said “do something cat like” so I stuck my leg in the air and tried to lick my thigh. What, my cat does it all the time! Photo courtesy Jo at Making it Well

Jo said "not like that, try cat ears". I remain unconvinced these look cat ear like.

Jo said “not like that, try cat ears”. I remain unconvinced these look cat-ear-like. Photo courtesy Jo at Making it Well

The Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network all got quite enthusiastic about Erin’s challenge and we decided a picnic was the best way to celebrate. Wellington spring tends to alternate rapidly and frequently between gorgeous summers’ days (like today!) and blisteringly icy cold winters’ days and the forecast for our picnic was right on the border of the switch. But the day dawned beautifully and although it was a bit gusty it was warm and sunny so we tucked into a picnic at The Dell at Wellington’s Botanic Gardens. Laura at Laulipopnz volunteered her 6 year old daughter to take group photos of us and she took these artistic snaps of us. Given her size and the fact the camera was bigger than her head, the fact our heads are all in frame is pretty impressive!

WSBN picnic attendeees! L-R Teresa, Laura, Mel, Alison, Juliet, me, Sandra M, Sophie-Lee

WSBN picnic attendeees! L-R Teresa, Laura, Mel, Alison, Juliet, me, Sandra M, Sophie-Lee. Photo courtesy Laura at Laulipopnz (well, her daughter).

Attempting whiskers! L-R Teresa, Laura, Mel, Alison, me, Sophie-Lee, Sandra M, Juliet

Attempting whiskers! L-R Teresa, Laura, Mel, Alison, me, Sophie-Lee, Sandra M, Juliet. Photo courtesy Laura at Laulipopnz.

Jo flew into Wellington that day so arrived late, so we took more photos when she got there, but after Alison had left. L-R: Sophie-Lee, Laura, Mel, Teresa, Juliet, me, Sandra M, Jo

Jo flew into Wellington that day so arrived late, so we took more photos when she got there, but after Alison had left. L-R: Sophie-Lee, Laura, Mel, Teresa, Juliet, me, Sandra M, Jo. Photo courtesy Laura at Laulipopnz. 

I included this because I have no idea what happened in this photo.

I included this because I have no idea what happened in this photo. Photo courtesy Laura at Laulipopnz

Just as we finished eating the grey clouds rolled in and the air turned cold, so we went into the Winter Gardens, right next to The Dell, to take more photos in the inside tropical heat, and then finished up with a super thick thickshake and a quickie visit to some fabric stores. That is how you have an awesome day.

Teresa kindly took a couple of snaps of me and Jo together, just cos

Teresa kindly took a couple of snaps of me and Jo together, just cos. Photo courtesy Teresa. 

More cat ears! Yes, they're cat ears, not devil horns. We are bad at catting.

More cat ears! Yes, they’re cat ears, not devil horns. We are bad at catting. Photo courtesy Teresa. 

If you want to check out the blogs of the WSBN people mentioned here, here are the links:

Jo at Making it Well
Teresa at Adventures of a Girl from the Naki
Sophie-Lee at Two Random Words
Mel at The Curious Kiwi
Sandra M at Flossie FT
Laura at Laulipopnz
Juliet at Crazy Gypsy Chronicles
Alison somewhere awesome

Thanks to Erin, Anne, Sophie-Lee, Jo, and the whole WSBN for being awesome, and thanks to the sewing blogging communities for giving me the top that the internet built! And now I have regular leopard, pink leopard, and blue leopard in my repertoire. Only another gazillion to go to have the whole set!

WSBN Spring Fling sewing room tour

20 Sep

The ever inventive Gemma over at 66 stitches suggested to the rest of the WSBN that we do a sewing room tour over the month of September, a Spring Fling to celebrate the new season, and I agreed to do the 19th! Wait, it’s not the 19th? Well, it’s probably the 19th somewhere, right? The post before me is Teresa, here, and the post “after” me, ahem, is Nicola, here

Anyway, moving right along. Gemma gave us a bunch of questions to answer and the idea is to give you a tour of our space. But this tour has started some interesting conversations with my WSBN friends about our rooms and our habits and behaviors and our feelings about sharing photographic evidence of them have got me thinking, so I thought that as well as sharing my space, I’d share some of my thoughts. Feel free to just look at the pictures though, if that’s what you’re here for! (Oh, and sorry for the poor pictures, I didn’t realise how out of focus I was until tonight and if I take another set I’ll be even later posting this!

The view from the door. My room is long and narrow and it's almost impossible to get a good  shot with my cellphone camera. Featuring my massive all-purpose table, and Minerva's chair (the office one) tucked away under the table).  I wheel it out for her to sit on when she wants to hang out with me down here.

The view from the door. My room is long and narrow and it’s almost impossible to get a good shot with my cellphone camera. Featuring my massive all-purpose table, and Minerva’s
chair (the office one) tucked away under the table). I wheel it out for her to sit on when she wants to hang out with me down here.

So, what’s the thinking part? Well, I’ve been thinking about the relationships between habits and behaviours, and how the space that you work in affects your creativity and your productivity.

We’ve had lots of chats in the WSBN since we started this series about the messiness, or lack thereof, of our sewing spaces. Many of us declared our spaces to be a mess, and decided to show our spaces, mess and all, on the tour. I find it such a refreshing change to all the Pinterest-worthy media we often consume through blogs and magazines to know that mess is human, and often part of the creative condition. In fact, recently I read several articles that suggest people working in messy spaces are more creative!

But for me, if there are mountains of mess towering over me while I sew or craft I feel their presence as an oppressive force. I struggle to start a new project if there is a mess on the table and have to tidy up first, else it acts as a constant distraction. I’m not exactly a neat creator though, so during a project a mess of offcuts, misplaced objects, pattern tissue, and bits of mock up and fashion fabrics will end up smeared over all my working surfaces. But if the ripples of chaos spread out too far, that oppression will again weigh down on me until I snap and do a mid project tidy up while childhood mantras about “clean as you go” go through my head.

As the room does double duty as craft room and home office, my sole work table is also the central sorting and clearing house. This is where bills to be paid and letters to write and broken things to fix and receipts to file and to-do lists and other seemingly endless accoutrements of being a grown up collect.  A friend refers to these piles as “kipple”, which I love! I’d rather have my kipple accumulate somewhere other than my work table, but for assorted reasons my  is where it gathers.

So I find that the mess in my sewing room is tidal. Bits will accumulate like seaweed pushed up to the high tide mark, making drifts that show the currents I make as I move around my house. When I want to sew or craft that need for tidiness means I sweep through and drag it under control, tidying the piles (and often relocating them onto the bed), only for the very next wave to push more unopened mail up into a corner.

These photos were taken at a particularly low tide, as immediately after taking these photos I had a guest over and launched into a new project, both of which meant I needed to clear the table.

Same side as the door, looking back the other way. The light coming through the windows made this shot hard to get!

Same side as the door, looking back the other way. The light coming through the windows made this shot hard to get!

With my back to the desk. The door is to my right, and other than the door the entire right hand wall is two double wardrobes with sliding doors.

With my back to the desk. The door is to my right, and other than the door the entire right hand wall is two double wardrobes with sliding doors. Minerva’s chair is in front of me. At the very back of the table, by the bookshelf, is a small pile of kipple.

Back to Minerva's chair, showing our custom built desk. It's super wide and deep so that we can do lots of paperwork on it, but it still gets messy. I blame Mechanic Man

Back to Minerva’s chair, showing our custom built desk. It’s super wide and deep so that we can do lots of paperwork on it, but it still gets messy. I blame Mechanic Man

My sewing machines, tucked into a corner of my work table. Behind is a small set of drawers and a tray that contain scissors, quick unpick, pins, and all the other rapid-access stuff.

My sewing machines, tucked into a corner of my work table. Behind is a small set of drawers and a tray that contain scissors, quick unpick, pins, and all the other rapid-access stuff.

Immediately to my right when I'm sitting at my machines is this tower The tackle box on the top is filled with thread and elastic and saftey pins and my rotary cutter and other stuff that I want to be able to find quickly but aren't used every project. Zips hang off the side. The other levels are other tools and equipment, including glue guns, lots of different types of glue, paper scissors, etc. My sewing machine manuals also live in this.

Immediately to my right when I’m sitting at my machines is this tower The tackle box on the top is filled with thread and elastic and saftey pins and my rotary cutter and other stuff that I want to be able to find quickly but aren’t used every project. Zips hang off the side. The other levels are other tools and equipment, including glue guns, lots of different types of glue, paper scissors, etc. My sewing machine manuals also live in this.

My home-made corkboard (made from a pack of cork tiles and a couple of corrguated cardboard boxes). Was meant to be a beautiful moodboard, is more of a dumping ground. Yes, that is a photocopy of my cat, she sat on the printer when it  was open so I pressed the copy button! And yes, that is a copy of the NZ Fire Fighter's calendar - men's version. It's signed by Mr April. There are also my dance medals and some of my favourite quotes, amongst the debris.

My home-made corkboard (made from a pack of cork tiles and a couple of corrguated cardboard boxes). Was meant to be a beautiful moodboard, is more of a dumping ground. Yes, that is a photocopy of my cat, she sat on the printer when it was open so I pressed the copy button! And yes, that is a copy of the NZ Fire Fighter’s calendar – men’s version. It’s signed by Mr April. There are also my dance medals and some of my favourite quotes, amongst the debris.

The double wardrobes and their sliding doors. I couldn't get far enough away to show their full width, this is not quite all of it. The kimono was a gift from a previous flatmate, and the skirt is waiting to be levelled and hemmed.

The double wardrobes and their sliding doors.  The kimono was a gift from a previous flatmate, and the skirt is waiting to be levelled and hemmed.

Right hand double wardrobe, filled with drawers. This is all non-sewing supplies - yarn, paper, embroidery, masses and masses of jewellery supplies, etc

Right hand double wardrobe, filled with drawers. This is all non-sewing supplies – yarn, paper, embroidery, masses and masses of jewellery supplies, etc

The left hand double wardrobe, right behind my machines. This is all sewing or costuming related.

The left hand double wardrobe, right behind my machines. This is almost all sewing or costuming related. The shelves are custom built to support the clear bins, which are all fabric. I have an enormous stash, to the point it makes me uncomfortable sometimes. The red bin is all ribbon and trim. The second from top shelf is largely filled with shoeboxes, all labeled, one for interfacing, one for hardware (buckles and boning and bag handles), one for costuming bases (untrimmed bras and gloves), one full of flowers for costuming, one for sew on motifs and patches, and more. A few are obscured by the corner of the kimono. There is a little set of plastic drawers, like the one on my sewing table, tucked away in there for buttons. The top shelf has WIPs, both sewing and other crafts.

Attempting a close up of the sewing wardrobe. The clear bins are all fabric. I have an enormous stash, to the point it makes me uncomfortable sometimes. The red bin is all ribbon and trim.

Attempting a close up of the sewing wardrobe.

Some of my fabric goodies, stashed away in a bin. I tie all my fabric into rolls, it makes it 1000 times easier to dig through and tip them out and pet them.

Some of my fabric goodies, stashed away in a bin. I tie all my fabric into rolls, it makes it 1000 times easier to dig through and tip them out and pet them.

The other corner, opposite from the sewing cupboard. My shelves, filled with sewing and crafting books, knitting magazines, and Burda magazines; and my ironing board, currently drowning in undone ironing. Pressing in a project, yes. Ironing my washing, very infrequently.

The other corner, opposite from the sewing cupboard. My shelves, filled with sewing and crafting books, knitting magazines, and Burda magazines; and my ironing board, currently drowning in undone ironing. Pressing in a project, yes. Ironing my washing, very infrequently.

Under my massive table are smaller bins, filled with non fashion fabrics or speciality fabrics. This is where I'll find felt, leather, vintage brocade, torn pantihose, old doilies or blankets, and all my scraps for crafting/repairs. On top live a series of shoeboxes that house my excessive pattern collection. I couldn't get all of the patterns in in one shot, there's a couple more shoe boxes out of frame to the right.

Under my massive table are smaller bins, filled with non fashion fabrics or speciality fabrics. This is where I’ll find felt, leather, vintage brocade, torn pantihose, old doilies or blankets, and all my scraps for crafting/repairs. On top live a series of shoeboxes that house my excessive pattern collection. I couldn’t get all of the patterns in in one shot, there’s a couple more shoe boxes out of frame to the right.

The final corner. This bookshelf lives behind the door, right next to the desk, and is filled with household and business filing.

The final corner. This bookshelf lives behind the door, right next to the desk, and is filled with household and business filing.

This is what happens when you attempt to take a photo just as your cat headbutts you for attention.

This is what happens when you attempt to take a photo just as your cat headbutts you for attention.

She does specialise in being helpful.

She does specialise in being helpful.

I’ll be honest. I would love for my sewing space to be tidy all the time. I feel more productive, more effective in a tidy space. And it’s not just the visible space. I like my stash to be neat and tidy, and my magazines to be in date order, and everything to be under control. What this means is that I spend more time tidying then some of my friends, some of whom are incredible productive in their sewing and crafting. In fact, I have been teased for spending more time organising my stash then sewing with it!

So I wonder, could I learn to craft in chaos? Could I spend less time tidying and more time making?

Also, being the thinker that I am, I wonder what this relationship with mess means? I think about the article I linked to above, and I wonder, am I not creative because my space isn’t messy enough? As I frequently doubt whether or not I can all myself creative, I wonder should I learn to craft in chaos to somehow improve (or just prove) my creativity?

But I doubt I could as my habits are so ingrained. But at the other extreme, I do want to do more with my sewing room than just tidy it! I do want to embrace the creativity that comes with mess! So, I try to find a balance where I invest enough time in tidying that I can work in it, but not so much that it is all I do. And one day, when we no longer have a flatmate, I’ll relocate the home office and kipple pile to another room! But in the meantime, the tide comes and goes.

But there is more than just chaos versus order to contend with when thinking about our relationship with our space! What about function? What about aesthetics?

Gemma suggested we tell you a bit about our upcoming projects. I am currently head down on a complex lot of burlesque costuming. This pile of wet look foil printed knit is part of that!

Gemma suggested we tell you a bit about our upcoming projects. I am currently head down on a complex lot of burlesque costuming. This pile of wet look foil printed knit is part of that!

Functionally, the biggest pro and con is my table. My table is 2.4m long by 1.6m wide, which is big enough for just about anything. It was the very first thing I bought off TradeMe (NZ’s eBay). I bought largely because I thought it would make sewing and cutting out a breeze. To fit it in this room my then flatmate, I kid you not, CHOPPED THE LEGS OFF IT (and then used giant doweling to join them back together). I can cut on it, I can spread out jewellery supplies on it, my sewing machines live on it. And when a few years ago I started my monthly craft day it was perfect for up to 12 people to sit around and work on.  But, it totally dominates my long, skinny room. And being a single work surface (as well as aforementioned clearing house) it can get swamped, meaning I’m having to move things around as I move between activities. Another reason why I work so hard to manage the mess! Sometimes I wonder if a smaller desk just for my machines, and a smaller cutting table would be a better combo, and help me be more productive. Maybe I’ll experiment when the home office migrates in a year or so. (But in the meantime, it serves as excellent cover for the crates of craft fabrics and patterns loitering underneath it!)

She also suggested we show of our favourite bits of stash. As I love all of my stash, and digging it out is hard work, I thought I'd show this pile that has most recently been prewashed. Yes, there is four lots of polka dot, so what?

She also suggested we show of our favourite bits of stash. As I love all of my stash, and digging it out is hard work, I thought I’d show a random selection, so you get this pile that has most recently been prewashed. Yes, there is four lots of polka dot, so what?

Aesthetically, there is SO much I want to do to this room. I want new coloured walls and new curtains and beautiful furniture everywhere. I’ll be honest, I (not so) secretly want a Pinterest-worthy space! I want natural light and bright colours and a moodboard and lots of art and probably even a mason jar or two, possibly with buttons in them. I want to walk in to my room and feel like I’m looking at a magazine spread! I want to feel the same rush of lust that I got when I saw Oona’s recent colourful sewing room tour (I like to think the WSBN tour inspired her post, haha!) But I’m limited in what I can achieve by cost and time and the sheer headache of unpacking my room long enough to repaint. Not to mention the lack of functional walls (with three of them largely dominated by windows or cupboards). So I’m doing a bit here and a bit there and one day when the home office is banished to the other spare bedroom and this space is solely mine it will achieve glorious perfection. Or is that aiming too high? In the meantime the lack of beauty is yet another reason why I work so hard to manage the debris that seems to accumulate, so that I have the beauty of open space, if not the true beauty of the room. The lack of aesthetic pleasure doesn’t affect my productivity in the same way as mess does,  but I certainly feel more inspired and more creative when I look at pretty things. Thank goodness for blogs, right?

Gemma also thought we should show you some shots of our location. As the view out my sewing room windows is of our fence, here's a shot of the Island Bay beach that is at the end of my street, less than 50 metres from here.

Gemma also thought we should show you some shots of our location. As the view out my sewing room windows is of our fence, here’s a shot of the Island Bay beach that is at the end of my street, less than 50 metres from here.

I love living on the South Coast of Wellington, and when you have views like this on walks along the beach, can you blame me?

I love living on the South Coast of Wellington, and when you have views like this on walks along the beach, can you blame me?

And a parting shot of Island Bay taken from a hill looking down. I didn't take this, my aunt-in-law did, but it is too gorgeous not to include.

And a parting shot of Island Bay taken from a hill looking down. I didn’t take this, my aunt-in-law did, but it is too gorgeous not to include.

Thanks for sticking it out this far, if you have in fact made it to the end!

 

So tell me, what about your space, and your relationship with it, influences your creativity and productivity?

FO (from the archives): leopard print circle skirt

5 Apr

Hello strangers. Well, really, I’m the stranger around here. It’s been a while. Why? Well, lately, my sewjo has been absent. As has my knittingjo, craftingjo, and bloggingjo. In fact, the only jo I’ve had much to do with is Johanna from Making it Well, who I have been lucky enough to have a couple of play dates with. Thank goodness for that Jo!

But it’s time to get back on the horse (completely switching metaphors there). So, here’s an overdue post on an overdue post. The photos were taken in January. The garment was finished 2 years before that! It’s a meta-archival post.

This is my leopard print circle skirt. I love it.

Leopardy goodness

Leopardy goodness

But it is a tale of woe. And a tale of the phoenix rising from the ashes. Settle in for the telling.

I started this skirt waaaaay back in October 2011, on the same holiday I started my blue top of adversity. In case you haven’t committed all my posts to memory (the shock!) and haven’t clicked through the link (the horror!) the short version is I’d booked a sewing holiday at my wonderful mum’s house, got bronchitis the day I arrived, and spent my entire holiday in an illness-induced brain fade, and attempted to sew anyway. This was a bad idea. Do not sew when oxygen deprived – it turns out you need your brain for sewing.

Everything that could go wrong, did. The top bore the brunt of it, but my simple circle skirt did not pass unscathed.

I still love leopard and blue as a combination

I still love leopard and blue as a combination

First the fabric itself. Wow, this project was a real stashbuster! Mama Magpie gave me this cotton for my birthday about 12 years earlier (yes, 12) and I decided I finally knew what to do with it. That, the blue fabric, and half a dozen or so other fabrics all went into my suitcase.

The first thing I did on arriving was throw all my fabric through the washing machine. That was the first of many bad moments over the course of that holiday. One of my pieces was red and all of my fabric came out pink rinsed! Argh! A quick trip to the pharmacy for run remover (and drugs) and two passes through the run remover mostly fixed it all up. The white on some of the prints still has a vaguely off-white cast to it, but not so much that you’d notice if you didn’t know.

In one of the few successful moments of the trip however, I decided I preferred the leopard with the pink rinse. It softened up the white in the print into something more flesh toned, which I thought went better with the caramel and gold tones, so I left it like that!

Twirling action!

Twirling action!

The next issue came with the cutting out. Being a craft cotton, the fabric was quite narrow,so I knew I’d have to check my yardage. I read the pattern envelop BUT – the pattern includes a version with a contrast band at the bottom, and that was the version my fuzzy brain read. I had just the right amount! Or so I thought. It was only when I went to cut out the second half circle on the correct line, and couldn’t fit it onto the fabric, that I realised what I’d done. So I cut both half circles at the shorter length too, but now I needed a contrast strip for the skirt!

Mama Magpie had to do a days work in Auckland, about 2 hours south of us, and my original plan was to go with her to Auckland and spend the day in  our Auckland office. Being too sick to do this, I lay at home for a day while Mama worked, and she very kindly fabric shopped for me in her lunch break! She couldn’t find a coordinating cotton, but did find a beautiful chocolate linen to go with it.

more twirling action!

more twirling action!

To ensure the contrast band remained the same width all the way around and wasn’t affected by the bias dropping, I left the skirt to hang for a few days without the band, and then Mama levelled the skirt for me. As the levelled hem isn’t perfectly even (given my uneven body), I then pinned the skirt out on a cutting board and painstaking drafted a band that was the exact same shape as my skirt. Except I forgot to add seam allowances. Which I only realised after starting to cut. So then I had to check I had enough fabric left to cut it correctly (which I did, just) and cut it out again. Then, Mama’s fella gave me a couple of items to use as fabric weights, but one of them was a box that had an oil container in it that he’d forgotten about, and it leaked oil onto my fabric. Luckily most of it was outside the cutting zone, but I was starting to despair ever getting it finished!

So Mama in her ever so helpful way offered to sew the bands on to the skirt for me – but I told her the front and back the wrong way around, so all of my careful drafting was for nowt, and the side seams didn’t match up!

Whats a girl to do with a twirly skirt but show off a bit off knee?

Whats a girl to do with a twirly skirt but show off a bit off knee?

To top it off, I didn’t have enough leopard print left over for the correct length waistband, so there’s no underlap – instead, the edges abut perfectly and there are 4 hooks and eyes along the edge to do the waistband up.

Sometimes, just finishing something is an achievement!

But despite the agony and the irritations and the tears (and between this and the blue top, oh there were tears), I love the finished skirt. And then for some reason I never got around to taking photos of it. So when Juliet of Crazy Gypsy Chronicles arranged and WSBN meetup at the zoo to coincide with Jungle January, and I was too busy to make something for it, I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to get my lovely leopard skirt the photos it deserved.

The awesome ladies of teh WSBN at the zoo: L-R Jo, Juliet, me, Zara, Sophie, Kat, Sandra, Gemma

The awesome ladies of teh WSBN at the zoo: L-R Jo, Juliet, me, Zara, Sophie, Kat, Sandra, Gemma

I had a fabulous time at the zoo with members of the always-awesome WSBN. Ladies, it is always a pleasure and privilege to hang out with you!

And of course, there were SO MANY CUTE CRITTERS! (Other than us of course, hehe).

OK, not my skirt - but LOOKITHEMEERKATS!

OK, not my skirt – but LOOKITHEMEERKATS!

Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, I have no photos of it with the blue top, which I had intended to wear together – the blue top has already been harvested of its buttons and disposed of. One day I will make another beautiful blue top to go with the leopard (which we all know is a neutral, right?) but until then, I’m enjoying wearing it with blue tops that have given me much less grief!

FO and MOS 14/52: green maxi matchy dress

5 Dec

green dress

Sometimes when I see fabric it screams to me “I AM A PENCIL SKIRT/WIGGLE DRESS/BLOUSE” and sometimes it is silent, holding its mysteries quietly. Regardless, once it’s made up I often can’t imagine how anyone else in the whole world could have made anything else out of the same fabric – obviously it was that and only that all along! So wouldn’t it be wonderful to see that fabric made up in lots of the possibilities?

Earlier this year members of the WSBN were talking about this and we agreed that it’d be cool to all make things from the same fabric to see the other personalities lurking inside it. Although it was a great idea, trying to find a fabric that we all liked seemed impossible so it was shelved.

Then, Kat of Modern Vintage Cupcakes did a “swap your stash” series and featured Juliet of The Crazy Gypsy Chronicle’s stash, which included a green self-striped silk/cotton lightweight fabric. I piped up in the comments to say that I also had that fabric in my stash! And then someone else commented that they liked it too. And I knew that someone else had it as well. With it already appearing in so many people’s stash (helped by it’s ridiculously good price no doubt) we settled on that for our matching mission. Other willing participants ran out to buy the fabric, and we promptly cleaned Global-that-was out completely of their stock, with 10 of us all lined up to make matching garments. Needing a great name, we settled on “What’s the deal with all the teal? The ultimate matchy matchy mission”, but, to be honest, I don’t think it’s teal.

But rhyming is IMPORTANT, guys.

Anyway, although this all happened in February, we decided to give ourselves some time to plan and acquire patterns, and then due to the weight of the fabric we decided it was a springtime thing and chose September to have our meet-up and grand reveals! Lots of time would mean that everyone would turn up, right? Unfortunately other commitments and illness felled our numbers, so 6 of the 10 of us met up to show off our green makes, but that was still plenty for a great day!

All six of us in our matching makes.

All six of us in our matching makes. L-R: Juliet, Nikki, Holly, Emma, me, Johanna

From the side!

From the side!

And the back!

And the back!

The WSBN can’t meet without food being involved, so we’d originally planned for a picnic to celebrate springtime and our floaty silk/cotton. But given Wellington’s notoriously changeable springtime weather the day dawned grim, so we had the “picnic” at my place and then took advantage of the afternoon’s window of warm dry weather to go to the park and the beach by my house for a photo shoot, photos taken by my dear darling friend Sarah.

We had so much fun on the day, mucking around and taking silly shots like this. I saw it first!

We had so much fun on the day, mucking around and taking silly shots like this. I saw the fabric first!

She fights dirty!

She fights dirty!

Of course, despite having the better part of six months to do the challenge, we pretty much all left it to the last possible minute! So there were some safety pins and hand tacking and other shortcuts on the day. I was frantically sewing right up until people arrived, and then the darling Sarah (did I mention she’s awesome) did the hand sewing needed to get it to wearable, while I made chocolate mousse (this is important. Mousse is always important. Especially my mousse). And I didn’t get it hemmed though so it drapes artfully over my feet in these photos! Luckily I wasn’t the only one unhemmed. But despite all the unfinished bits, everyone looked great and we had a fantastic time. These women are awesome!

We all got our "cruise ship" photo taken on the deck of the wooden boat climbing frame in the park

We all got our “cruise ship” photo taken on the deck of the wooden boat climbing frame in the park

Perfect dress for lounging

Perfect dress for lounging

When I was stroking the fabric in store (what, don’t lie, you do it too) it told me it had to be a maxi summer dress, with lots of the floaty goodness billowing around me. When it came time to make it up I contemplated by Hand London’s Anna pattern (which I’ve fallen in love with and will make lots of, but which didn’t exist when I bought my fabric) but the fabric had told me the dress needed to be quite bare on the bodice, with exposed shoulders, open back, and low neck. And well, the fabric knows best! I went through my pattern stash about five times but much to my surprise I couldn’t find anything that met all my criteria other than a vintage patterns about 93 sizes too small. I was frustrated and tried to talk my fabric into other options, but it was stubborn. So I decided to go through my stash one more time, this time pulling out EVERY dress pattern for extra close scruntiy. I spotted Butterick 6463 and realised it was perfect! I’d dismissed it the first squillion  times as an evening dress, but actually, I realised it had all the features I was looking for and made up in the green lightweight fabric rather than a crepe or satin it would be transformed into the perfect summer dress. The fabric had been right to hold out.

Butterick 6463

Butterick 6463

Making it up was surprisingly easy. I did my current trick of finding the finished measurements on the tissue and grading between sizes as needed, and then making a toile. My toile revealed that I needed some length taken out of the back straps and a tiny bit shaved off the princess seam to get a great fit, which were easy fixes. I self lined it and the lining went in easily. The pattern called for the whole thing to be lined, but I cut the skirt lining to just on the knee to allow the bottom of the skirt to be floatier and a bit more sheer, to really drive home the “sundress!!!” point.

summery dress in spring weather

summery dress in spring weather

There are buttons and rouleau loops on one shoulder, but after making it up I figured out that I don’t really need them to get iton the dress, so I hand stitched the opening closed. I decided to work with the summer theme and chose cute wee strawberries for the buttons. The buttons sit right on top of the shoulder though so they’re not easily visible, so I’m thinking of putting one in the middle of the neckline too. Next time I’d just not bother with the whole shoulder button feature at all and just sew the straps closed on both sides, but I do like knowing the strawberries are there!

My strawberry buttons

My strawberry buttons

I use MrsC’s taping method (which I LOVE) on the sweetheart neckline and across the back to help stop sagging and gaping, and as always, it worked great. But I didn’t do the best top-of-an-invisible zip insertion ever, unfortunately, as the rest of the zip is great. I narrow hemmed the outer layer with my sewing machine, but I used the rolled hem feature on my overlocker on the lining as a bit of an experiment. My old overlocker had a rolled hem setting but I‘d never used it as I’d never made anything for which it would be suitable. So this was my first time doing this and I love the finish.  I can see this cropping up more in the future.

I really like the shape of this at the back

I really like the shape of this at the back

...but up close you can see the top of my zipper isn't the best. Oh well.

…but up close you can see the top of my zipper isn’t the best. Oh well.

I didn’t get solo photos on our meet-up day as I wanted to wait until I’d hemmed it, so I finally got another set, also taken by dear and darling Sarah. I’m lucky to have such great sewing and photographing friends!

We saw some cool grafitti/art at my second shoot across the road. There were stars...

We saw some cool grafitti/art at my second shoot across the road. There were stars…

...and kitties (and cleavage)...

…and kitties (and cleavage)…

... and Pokemon!

… and Pokemon!

If you want to see more of everyone elses makes, go check them out:

Juliet at Crazy Gypsy Chronicles
Nikki at Nikki’s Stitches
Holly at Polycraftual
Emma at The Takahe Bites
Johanna at Making it Well

and our/my awesome photographer Sarah, the artist behind every photo on this page, photo blogs at Capital Adventures

It was two fabulous days, and so much fun to see everyone else’s interpretation of their fabric! It was great to see what the same fabric whispers in the ear of different people. I’m going to half to talk to mine again. I was so dedicated to the idea of a long floaty dress that I bought about 4 metres, and despite making and half length self lining a full dress I still have nearly a metre left! So a  top of some description might show up at some point too. Although, at the moment, my fabric is remaining really quiet about exactly what that top might look like.  At least I have lots of inspiration for it though!

WSBN Meet-up 3/2013: The St Paddy’s Day edition

25 Mar

On 17 March, the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network (or WSBN!) organised another meet-up.

Eventually someone clever realised it was St Patricks day, but as that was just a coincidence we basically ignored it. I did have plans to finish a green necklace I’m making, but, you know how it is! That will show up here one day though.

We started with yum cha at Majestic. Standing at the traffic lights I caught a glimpse of a pretty teal colour and is my habit checked out the fabric before I even registered the person in it. But my brain suddenly twigged and I blurted out “I know that dress!” The head attached to the dress (because it turns out there was one) looked startled and then laughed in response and thus I met up with Holly before I’d even reached the venue.

Lunch was TASTY. There were dumplings (pork, prawn, fried, steamed, and assorted other combinations); deep fried things (chicken and squid) and pork bun things (steamed and not-steamed). But I was saving room for dessert… coconut buns and MANGO PUDDING! I was well behaved and only had one mango pudding as I didn’t want to give away the fact that I am a greedy guts in front of my new friends, but I could totally have eaten a second one. Maybe even made inroads on a third. My auxiliary dessert stomach is powerful.

There is no photo of my mango pudding. As Mel on one side and Nikki on the other took artful photos of their puddings, I was two thirds through inhaling mine. Self control? Photos? Whatevs. IT WAS FREAKING MANGO PUDDING! I am immune to your judging.

But better than mango pudding (and there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say) was the awesome company! You see, the WSBN is about bringing together people with three common elements. Living in Wellington. Sewing. And blogging/participating in the blogging community.

The name kind of says it all really.

And we’ve grown! What started with seven of us in December became eight of us in January and then we had 10 members by the time of the meet-up in February and now there are 16 members! And they’re an awesome bunch of people too!

And I got to meet a bunch of the new folk over prawn dumplings and mango pudding. Along with original members Kat, Nikki, and Mel, lunch included Sandra, Wendy, Nicola, and Holly, who are of course as fabulous as the folk I’ve already met.

After we’d finished our meal we waddled walked in a ladylike fashion to Made on Marion where we were joined by the fabulous Mrs C, The Dreamstress, Teresa, and Juliet. So then we were nearly complete! (Jo was sick and couldn’t make it unfortunately and Emily was otherwise booked up.)

At Made on Marion there was the exchange of goods that tends to take place. I took in two boxes of fabric and a huge box of patterns I’d picked up from a recycling forum, and many of the other girls brought in some treats too.

Just some of the patterns available, being picked over the Teresa and Sandra

Just some of the patterns available, being picked over the Teresa and Sandra. Photo courtesy Nikki. 

I came home with three patterns and a piece of fabric. There were two patterns I didn’t take but was tempted by, but I know where they’ve gone so I can hunt them down!

The patterns I picked up from the swap

The patterns I picked up from the swap. I love the line of the 70s jacket and love the neckline and peplum of the Style tops! And cutaway shoulders – have always enjoyed them.

The leopardish sating print I picked up in the swap. I'm thinking a fabulous jacket lining eventually!

The leopardish satin print I picked up in the swap. I’m thinking a fabulous jacket lining eventually!

There were some customised just-for-me treats too.

After I lusted all over Mel’s blog about her rainbow swallow fabric she offered to pick me some up from Spotties so she handed that over to much squealing on my part. Another friend of mine had put the word out for some embroidery thread so I’d in turn asked around and Holly kindly had a wee stash of threads and fabric for me. Juliet gave me the scaprs of her awesome pink zebra dress because I’d squealed all over the fabric. And many months ago both The Dreamstress and I had won a pattern on a Facebook giveaway by Kitty’s Drawings, and both had been posted to The Dreamstress, so she brought in mine to hand over. Isn’t it adorable! (And about a squillion sizes too small!)

I won it and now it's all mine!

I won it and now it’s all mine!

People thought I was being so well behaved, going home with only three patterns and one piece of fabric. Of course, what they didn’t realise was that I’d already gone through the box of patterns and kept these…

The patterns I kept from the box I got through the recycling group. I was trying to be restrained so I left at least this many again!

The patterns I kept from the box I got through the recycling group. In my defence some of them I kept because they are so hilariously bad.

And what about what people were wearing! Well, everyone was wearing something self-made! Apart from… me. BOO! I’d been hard at work over the weekend on finishing a lined pencil skirt but had taken some time off to catch up with friends and family. I was desperately trying to get it done and as I clock watched and stressed my Mechanic Man wisely said to me “is it more important to finish the skirt or to get there on time.” So no skirt there was.

By the time I conceded defeat I had the hem of my skirt lining left to finish, and that’s all! But with no time to hem there was also no time to change, so I wore jeans and a tee – pppp. Tragic. I did wear a thick slouchy cardi my mum knitted for me though, does that count?

But everyone else’s me-mades were fabulous! And I’ve since finished the skirt and washed the fabric for the next skirt…

The group! (Mostly)

The group! (Mostly). Photo courtesy Nikki’s camera but taken by someone else!

L-R, front to back: Wendy (in self-made blouse); Nikki(in self-made dress); Sandra (in self-made dress); Mel (in self-made dress); Teresa (in self-made dress); Nicola with baby Ash (in self-made shirt); Juliet (in self-made dress); The Dreamstress (in self-made tee); Holly (in self-made dress); Kat holding Drake (in self-made blouse) and me! In self-made nothing. And I’m not even wearing the mum-made cardi. Mrs C missed the photo as she was serving those pesky customers.

What an awesome day and what an awesome group of ladies! So enamoured are we of our little meet-up group that we’ve got a fancy button (created by Mel the Photoshop Wizard). Expect to see more meet-ups and we’ve got some fun games and challenges up our sleeve too!

Look! We have a button! Mel, you're awesome.

Look! We have a button! Mel, you’re awesome.

Wellington bloggers’ meet-up, again

4 Mar

So, turns out we’re a social bunch of sewers here in the arts and creativity capital of New Zealand. (It’s the real capital too, but that’s boring.) After our first meet-up, a regular meet-up seems to have made its way onto our calendars. I missed meet-up number two but I got to number three. Which was awesome.

We met at the Wellington Museum of City and Sea, an amazing museum. In this instance although there was talk of exploring the museum, we never made it out of the café!  There was far too much to talk about! Not to mention coffees to drink, snacks to nibble, dresses to admire, and did I mention the talking?  It’s a real privilege that these two hobbies, sewing and blogs, have helped me meet such engaging and enjoyable women and I look forward to many more meet-ups.

Luckily the café was themed around Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and had replicas of the crown jewels on display so we got a wee taste of history over our flat whites, cappuccinos  and hot chocolates. Due to my still unresolved shitty-camera-situation, I didn’t take any snaps. But luckily we didn’t really need to as the café had kindly provided a camera so we could get some pictures of us with the visiting royals who had come to escort the jewels.

Looking our very best for the royals

Looking our very best for the royals

L-R, top to bottom

Me!
Mel of The Curious Kiwi
Kat of Modern Vintage Cupcakes
Teresa of Adventures of a Girl From the Naki
Jo of Making it Well
Nikki’s Stitches

That gosh darn queen though! All that power has gone to her head and once Phil wasn’t watching she thought she could get away with a cheeky bum pinch. Well, what can I say, at least she has taste in bums.

Oh my! The Queen got fresh!

Oh my! The Queen got fresh!

Wellington sewing bloggers’ meet-up (they think I’m a real blogger?)

30 Nov

Last Saturday I was privileged to be invited to the Wellington sewing blogger meetup.  It was a privilege firstly because calling me a sewing blogger seems like a stretch – there’s only been 9 posts (including this one) in 11 months after all. Putting my dubious credentials aside, the real reason it was a privilege was because I got to spend a delightful afternoon with six brilliant people, four of whom I’d never met before, and all of whom are lovely, friendly, and talented.

We started at Martha’s Pantry, a Wellington institution renowned for its uber saccharine girly sweetness. It’s all sparkly cupcakes and lemon tart and milkshakes served on mismatched vintage floral crockery and souvenir silver spoons, and every teapot comes with a knitted tea cosy. Despite its iconic status, I’d never been before so it was fun to get to finally try it, and I have to say, my milkshake was tasty. Especially because it was topped with hundreds and thousands (must try that at home).

The spread at Martha’s (photo courtesy Mel)

Tasty pretty milkshake (photo courtesy Nikki)

Mmmmm… (photo courtesy Nikki)

The place is decorated with hats that guests can play with and there was some talk of a group photo all wearing hats, but between the arrival of tea and cake and milkshakes, and I suspect some relative shyness, it never happened properly. Both Juliet and Mel were brave enough to play though!

Juliet was brave enough to wear a hat! You can see the rest on the wall behind her (photo courtesy Nikki)

After stocking up on tea and shakes and all manner of pink frosted things, we (with the exception of MrsC who had shop duty) headed off to shop up a storm down Wellington’s funky shopping strip, Cuba Street.

The first two or three of us trotted right past Unearthed, a new vintage/junk shop, but something caught someone’s eye and the last of our group lingered briefly. Like a rubber band the leading edge slowed then snapped back to join us. We ogled the initial eye candy then unanimously decided to enter and explore. A quick diversion we agreed…

It was only a quick diversion to look at the knick knacks and trinkets in the rest of the shop, but someone’s pattern-dar went off and they unearthed an entire box of vintage patterns in the back corner. No wait! 2 boxes! 3? 4? It was 5 boxes of patterns that were promptly hauled out and dumped on a table in the middle of the shop.

Heads all bowed over the patterns (photo courtesy Mel)

Like a bunch of kids who’d learned to play nicely, we took turns to scour the boxes and shove our picks under our arms. No fights broke out, no hair was pulled. Once we’d all eyeballed every envelope, we all went through our armpit stash and compared, critiqued and budgeted. Unearthed is NOT a cheap place for patterns. There was much mournful putting back of pretty-but-likely-to-never-be-made-but-I-would-have-bought-for-the-eye-candy-and-the-dreams-if-they’d-been-a-third-of-the-price patterns.

But we all left with something.

The only sewing pattern to make the trip home with me is this gorgeous 1958 Simplicity sheath dress with overskirt. It’s pretty simple and is probably riffing on a theme I’ve got 10 of, but ohhhh the glorious green artwork. And the size is almost mine, which is rare! I so want to make this. But it is the most I have ever spent on a vintage pattern by at least double.

So pretty. Had to be mine. Also, that overskirt is a giant gathered square apron and would look ridiculous in real life but I still love it.

I also picked up a 1964 sewing book hilariously titled “Six Months to Ninety: A Dress Pattern Book.” I love it because it is a New Zealand printed book, targeted at high school students but also “suitable for the home seamstress”.

My new book. Comes complete with an envelope of pattern related treats!

It has instructions for making a dress block, which is cool, but only one or two fit alterations (as the rest, apparently, won’t be needed if you draft the block from measurements. Hmm.) What I really like however is not the fit instructions but all alterations to make sleeves and darts and necklines and add yokes and change skirts and replace darts with tucks or fullness etc. And it comes with an envelope of pattern bits (although I haven’t investigated its contents yet.) Exciting!

Why I like this book – lots of ideas for shapes and silhouettes you can do to a basic block.

Worryingly, I remember laughing at the title once before and am worried I own it but I can’t find it on my shelf. Oh well, if I ever do find that I have two copies I shall have to give one away!

My final purchase from Unearthed was the 1981 book “Knitting in Vogue.” It’s hilarious and shows the power of styling. It has at least 40 or 50 odd patterns from the 1930s to the 1980s, and each is shown with the original vintage picture and the made-for-the-80s version. Apparently you can make anything look bad with the right styling! I didn’t go through the book thoroughly but assumed that there’d be some gems in the 1930s to 1950s patterns. Apparently however the editors went out of their way to find vintage knitting patterns that would translate well to the 1980s and even in their vintage incarnation some of them are pretty horrid. Still I like it for the hilarity and there are a few patterns that will make up nicely I think.

My new knitting book. Evidence of how important styling is.

Glamourous 1955 pattern…

…reduced to 1980s blahness

Next we went to Minerva, a bookstore specialising in books and magazines relating to fashion, textiles, and crafts. I instantly fell in love with a $178 coffee table book all about Dior but didn’t buy it. The Lanvin book was only $150, a steal in comparison. Sigh. I left empty handed with the smell of fresh paper in my nose. My unfulfilled fetish for coffee-table books will remain unfulfilled a while longer.

Next stop was the always glorious Global Fabrics, home of All The Pretty Silks. I’d bought a few pieces earlier in the week on a one-off sale day (yay for 30% off!) so I was very well behaved, restraining myself to merely petting the fabric, and the occasional full on fondle. I left with a sample that I’m still eyeing up at home. Quick someone talk me into it! Or out of it!

Global Fabrics, such a marvellous place

Patting fabric

I believe one should always snuggle up to fake fur that feels like real rabbit at any opportunity. Even in public.

Finally we made it to Made on Marion for the swap and rejoined MrsC . We spilled our excess patterns and fabrics onto the table, snacked on tasty biscuits provided by Juliet, and divvied up the goods. Once again everyone played nicely. There were a couple of rounds of rock paper scissors but mostly it just worked out perfectly.

The swap taking up a table in Made on Marion

I scored a heavy black wool (or possibly wool blend) self-textured with circles, but it photographed rubbish so you’ll just have to believe me. This was kindly relinquished by Nikki, who laid eyes on it at almost the same time as me, but having acquired some burn-out was feeling charitable. Thanks Nikki!

All swappers having fun

I also scored 8, yes 8, patterns. I feel so gluttonous yet satisfied all at once. Check them out.

My swap haul patterns. Don’t look like much but…

…check out the line art on the left hand one!

OK, I’m pretty sure I only like the right hand one because of this awesome colour combo and styling. That hat is amazing. But can anyone actually wear that collar in real life?

More swap haul!

And more swap haul! And most of them are, or are close to, my size!

It really was an amazing afternoon, and what a wonderful bunch of women to share it with.

My companions! Photo taken by Mr C.

Left to right, back to front:
– Me! /Joy/Joie de Vivre
– Mrs C – Sent from my iRon
– Jo – Making it Well
– Nikki – Nikki’s Stitches
– Juliet – The Crazy Gypsy Chronicles
– Kat (and sweet baby Drake) – Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mising from the photo was Mel – The Curious Kiwi  who had to leave in a hurry as her chariot arrived.

A final note – have you noticed that I posted precisely NO photos that I took of the day? That’s despite the fact that one of the reasons I took to blogging was to teach me to reach for a camera in these situations, it just didn’t really occur to me. And they still call me a blogger…

Anyway, stay tuned – there will be something exciting in my next post! I hope you think so anyway!