2019 Life Update!

Hello!

Well, it’s been a busy old year so far!

Here’s the lowdown:

After getting married in June 2018 we went on a lovely mini-moon to Palma for a few days before getting back into the swing of shop life and wife life! We were also very lucky to go on our main honeymoon in January to Sri Lanka. It was wonderful. You can find out about my honeymoon makes on the Crafty Sew&So Vlog

In September I found out I was pregnant! Yay! And it’s been baby central since then!

Had a pretty good first six months of my pregnancy. I was lucky enough to not get mourning sickness just a bit of nausea and dizziness and my 2nd trimester was pretty fantastic really.

My 3rd trimester however was plagued by heartburn and insomnia – not much fun but like I said, I was pretty lucky for the first six months! It could’ve been much worse! Moan over!

So as I write this I am 41 weeks pregnant and have mixed feelings about when the baby should come – not that I have any control over it!

I’ve really enjoyed my maternity leave so far – three weeks of unplanned freedom!

I’ve used the time to do a bit of nesting, making lots of meals for the freezer.

I’ve been making a few baby accessories including hats and a crochet blanket.

I’ve made a few nursing-friendly garments including a hack of the My Handmade Wardrobe Cosy Jersey Dress

And I’ve been working on a pattern for a wrap nursing top

Plus lots of going out whilst I still can for meals with the husband and coffee and cake dates with family and friends!

Oh and a fair bit of Netflix and cake binging at home too!!

I know the next few months are going to be a roller coaster- I’ve been reading up on what to expect but I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared! So I’ve just been trying to relax and enjoy it as much as possible.

I’m hopefully going to be posting a bit more regularly on this, my personal blog, to keep in touch with the outside world! So till then…

My Handmade Wedding Dresses!

Hi guys! I’ve been holding off on writing this post because I was waiting for our official photos to come through, and wow, they are fab! They’ve bought all of the wonderful memories of that day flooding back.

So I already went into detail about all the wonderful handcrafted elements of our wedding which everybody contributed to make the day really special in my last post.

Now I’m going to get onto the important stuff… The dresses!

The bridesmaids dresses

The beautiful print was designed by my talented bridesmaid Chloe. I sent her some inspiration and she created the perfect print to bring all the colours together. I love the digital floral which looks modern with a classic and simple silhouette.

The dresses were fit and flare style with cap sleeves and full pleated skirts. Modern and elegant but fun too.

I wanted a style that everyone would feel comfortable in and they all looked amazing!

The waistcoats

Matt chose the fabric for the waistcoats from the fancy silk store in Birmingham. I was looking at more traditional cream and gold jacquards but I love the colour he picked out! I pull everything together so well!

He helped cut out some of the waistcoats and mum and I made them up.

The trickiest but was creating the bound buttonholes and self covered buttons but I’m so glad the persevered as they were the perfect finishing touch!

The accessories

Tracy Corns, one of our tutors at Crafty and a good friend, made me this gorgeous clutch bag using the waistcoat fabric which I’ll put a pic in of later in this post.

Inspired by this, I made a little simple clutch for my mum too.

My Thursday registry office wedding dress

I made a vintage style dress for my registry office ceremony using a vintage pattern for the first time ever!

As I have heard horror stories about the fit of vintage patterns, I made a toile in calico in a similar weight to the brocade fabric I was using fro my finished dress and I was hugely surprised it actually fit pretty well with very few alterations.

We had had the brocade fabric in the Crafty Sew&So shop for some time and I’d grown more and more fond of it.

Then when I saw this Dolce &Gabbana fess in the Harrod’s window at Christmas I knew it was perfect!

It’s got sweet little flowers and a late 1950s feel which was perfect for this style and the occasion. Elegant, formal but fun and a bit glam!

I paired it with shoes and a gorgeous vintage style headband from Rainbow Club.

I got some pretty and simple jewellery from Accessorize and went for pretty pale gold and glitter nails.

I did my own hair- and taught myself how to backcomb!

My Saturday reception wedding dress

I decided not to make my own wedding dress for a few very good reasons …

I knew in the run up to the wedding I wanted to spend time with my long suffering fiancé. If I decided to make a traditional wedding dress with multiple layers and formal structure I’d be cooped up in my craft room for several months beforehand. So this thought played a big part in my decision not to make my wedding dress for the Saturday.

I’m so glad I made the right decision. Matt and I enjoyed planning the graphics for the wedding including the save the dates, invites, thankyou cards for the gifts for bridesmaids and mothers (more on those later) and gifts for the groomsmen. We enjoyed designing special touches that we wouldn’t have had time for if I had been squirrelling away on a complicated dress.

Another factor for my decision was that I also struggled to find good quality silk, and when I did from The Silk Route, it was at the pricey end of the scale, not overpriced as I feel it’s very good value for the quality but it would have really stretched our already tight budget. So when I came across a pre-loved pure silk dress in the Loros bridal boutique in Leicester I had to try it on- even if I just used the fabric it was a great buy! And it fit beautifully! So for £100- which of course went to a fantastically worthy cause- I got around 4 metres of silk and beautiful lace!

I actually decided not to make too many alterations.

The dress had a pleated skirt which what I’d wanted in the first place.

I wasn’t sure about lace but it was really pretty and just enough.

The dress also had a belt. I took off the fussy bow and lace appliqué leaving a beautiful silk-ribbon-adorned removable belt.

I’d seen a dress covered I embroidery which I loved but I knew it was just beyond my skill set! I was nervous about adding embroidery directly onto the dress as I’ve not have much experience, So I made a bow and ties from matching ivory raw silk. I embroidered one of the ties and mum embroidery the other, it was lovely to have us both contribute our time to this.

I backed the ties with corn yellow raw silk which matched the waistcoats and I sent a swatch of this to when I sent off my Rainbow Club shoes to be dyed to match.

Tracy, one of our shop tutors, made me a gorgeous bag using fabric from the waistcoats. I love the gold bag clasp!

I could drivel on and on about much more of the detail of our fantastic day but I think that’ll do for this post! If you want to hear even more about the wedding I’ve posted a vlog up on the Crafty YouTube Channel. So take a look 😊

Plastic swap-Toothpaste

Hi! After a brief hiatus due to lack of money – darn it, this experiment is expensive (but what’s the cost of saving the planet hey!) – I’m back continuing my plastic swap series with another plastic-free review. I’m trying and reviewing non-plastic alternatives for everyday items. I’ll pledge to try out the swap for a month and let you know how I get on and if I plan to keep the swap or drop the swap.

Swap – toothpaste in a glass jar

Why swap?

The Squeezy tube stuff I usually use is not recyclable at all and I’m not really sure what’s in toothpaste. What am I actually putting in my mouth twice a day?

Most commercial toothpastes contain artificial sweeteners, parabens, fluoride, whiteners, to name a few of the nasties.

And we’re putting them in our mouths! Hmmm.

Swap options:

So, you can make your own using this cool tutorial

but who actually has time for that!

I went on the search in my 2 favourite shops.

The Just store don’t have any in yet, but owner Kerry has been trying a charcoal version. Not sure if I fancy black toothpaste!

Nada, the new zero waste store in St.Martins Square sells Georganics toothpaste made out of Coconut oil and some other stuff I am assured is good, safe and organic! It comes in a cardboard box with some info about usage on it, then inside there is a recyclable glad jar with a metal lid. It was £6.50 for 60 mls.

My usual Colgate squeezy plastic tube is £1.20 for 100mls- but I probably only use 80mls though as the container makes it hard to get the last bits out.

The pot comes with a little bamboo spatula to ensure very last bit gets used.

My swap:

So… I’ve just tried the plastic and chemical-free toothpaste.

It’s weird!

It doesn’t foam and tastes kinda minty but, like, not good minty… like going to the dentists minty. But it’s not super sweet though like the standard tube toothpaste which is actually quite refreshing. Maybe I could get used to it … hmm 🤔

5 days on and I’m getting used to the non foaming. My teeth feel clean too, and I hardly had to use any.

A week in and I’m sticking with this one but I’m still not 100%. It has a weird, almost fishy taste which might come from the baking soda in the ingredients. I’m finding the lack of taste a bit off putting too although I used the tube stuff the other day as I was away from home and it tasted so super sweet and kind of stung my mouth.

3 week’s in, I still have 1/2 a pot left. I’ve used it every day and night apart from a few days where I needed a bit more freshness.

I choose the spearmint flavour and I am wondering if the other flavours might be a bit more punchy.

Swap or drop?

Nope, not convinced on this one. I want to find an alternative to the tube toothpaste but not this. I like the dispenser, it’s clean and easy to use. But the actual toothpaste is just not sitting well with me.

OMG The Dressmakers Ball is BACK!

… and I already know exactly what I want to make for it!

When Freya and I planned the first ball, we did it purely as a one-off event and a chance to make awesome dresses and swish about in a ballroom in them!

The Ball was a great success, but unfortunately, Freya couldn’t be there to enjoy it… as she was in labour with her daughter Mia!

So we HAD to hold another one!

The second Dressmakes Ball will be held at the City Rooms, Leicester on Friday 22nd March 2019

Tickets went on sale on Monday 3rd Septemeber at 7.30am! And have sold like hot cakes!

There are only 20 left now so if you want one grab it quick!

I’ll keep you posted on my dress plans and progress!

Happy Sewing!

The Sewing Weekender 2018

Well, what a weekend that was! After two years of not being able to attend the sewing weekender, this year I was finally able to go and join 100 sewists for a weekend of sewing fun!

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Boz from @fabric.magpie kindly came to pick me up on Saturday morning at the crack of dawn to drive to Cambridge. We talked non-stop about sewing all the way!

We excitedly pulled up at the front doors of the Murray Edwards College and were greeted by a smiling Kate ready to help us with our bags!

Whilst Boz parked the car I joined the queue and started chatting to some equally excited new sewing friends. My favourite thing about the weekend was just being able to smile at anyone and immediately start a conversation knowing they are totally on my wavelength!

My fear is always not knowing where to sit, seem silly as I am now full grown adult this must be some deep-rooted thing from school days! Everyone has their hang-ups hey! Fortunately, as I was halfway down the queue, there were only a few spaces left in the room so I parked myself and our bags down at the end of the long table in a fortuitous position near to the irons and overlockers and a bunch of really lovely people, win!

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Immediately getting to know you chat started and I had a good nose at what everyone was making.

There was a whole lot of linen going on around me! Mary was making lilac linen Lander pants by True Bias and Yasmeen was working on a Marilla Walker Roberts Collection dungaree in a  beautiful smoked paprika linen.

Yasmeen

It made me feel a bit sad I didn’t get round to making anything linen this summer – I got a bit of Linen FOMO! I’ll have to do something about that in time for my honeymoon in Sri Lanka in December!

There were several beautiful Tilly and the Buttons Stevie dresses and tops being made and worn. Natalie, who I was sitting near to was making a beautiful version in Cotton and Steel fabric and was wearing a gorgeous elephant print chambray version- I definitely want to make one now!

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My favourite part of the weekend was getting to sew with my sewing piers. I get such a thrill from teaching new learners and seeing them discover new found skills but I don’t often get to sew with more experienced sewists and I found it fuelled my desire to sew more complicated makes. I enjoyed engaging with other dressmakers to ponder the best ways of doing things. I am definitely encouraged to engage more with my fellow sewists in the sewing community.

My fave makes of the weekend were:

Jodie’s Papercut Patterns Waver coat in gorgeous bright green twill

Jodie

Jen’s beautiful welt pockets on her delicious mustard linen (again with the linen envy!) Deer and Doe Narcisse trousers

Jen

Boz’s stunning first placket in Beautiful cotton and steel gold on black signs of the zodiac fabric on her Closet Case Patterns Kalle shirt.

Boz
Elena’s Glorious Deer and Doe Myosotis dress in atelier brunette embroidered double gauze. I have half a metre of this to make a cami – wish I had more!

Elena
There are so many other amazing makes from the weekend and I’m loving scrolling through the #SewingWeekender on Instagram checking them all out and getting very inspired!

Oh, yes, I almost forgot to say what I actually made!

I whipped up another My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns Cosy Jersey Dress in this fab Bird and Blossoms Jersey. It was a bit rolly but I attacked it with the overlocker and it came together in no time!

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Thanks so much to everyone who organised, attended and enjoyed the Sewing Weekender, you made it sew great!

Happy Sewing!

Sarah x

Plastic Swap – Deodorant 1

Continuing my plastic swap series, I’m trying and reviewing non plastic alternatives for everyday items. I’ll pledge to try out the swap for a month and let you know how I get on and if I plan to keep the swap or drop the swap.

Swap – Deodorant

Why swap?

Deodorant almost always is packaged in non-recyclable plastic packaging- even in the glass ones, the roller balls and caps are plastic.

Most deodorants contain lots of less than desirable chemicals including parabens (preservatives), alcohol (drying) and aluminium which can get into your lymph nodes and breast tissues.

Swap options:

There are lots of options for this including a paste in a jar or tube, pop up sticks in cardboard packaging and several other types of solid block deodorant.

My swap:

Nuud cream deodorant from https://nuudcare.co.uk

This cream contains micro silver as it’s main active ingredient.

The science bit:

Micro silver ions bind to negatively charged parts in proteins. These parts are essential to the life-supporting functions of the cells. By inactivation of these life-supporting functions the bacterial cells break down and die.

Okay then…!

It is packaged in a sugar cane tube which is compostable.

You have to apply it with your finger which is a bit weird, rubbing cream into my armpits! It washes off your hands easily though with a bit of soap. And at least my fingers won’t get sweaty!

The other weird thing is that you Don’t have to apply it every day. To begin with I did apply every day for the first three days then I skipped a day – a very hot day 28 degrees and although I did sweat, it didn’t smell at all!

I then started applying it every other day and it worked to stop any smell but I did get quite wet armpits. They recon you only have to apply it every 5-7 days for it to be effective and it lasts through exercising, being active or showering. I found 3 days was my max.

I found the cream messy to apply with my hands which was off-putting.

Also it’s pretty expensive at £13 for a tube which lasted me about 8 weeks. My usual deodorant costs £2 and lasts longer. But it is full of nasties!

Swap or drop?

Drop for now as there are lots more alternatives to try. But I may come back to this one…

What’s the alternative to plastic packaging?

Welcome to the worlds first plastic-free supermarket aisle in the Neatherlands.Launched in Amsterdam, the aisle has more than 700 plastic-free products including meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables. Products are packed in paper, metal, glass and plastic alternatives made of compostable materials, such as plant cellulose, wood pulp, algae, grass, cornstarch, shrimp shells, etc. These look like plastic, but are considered different because they are not not made entirely from fossil fuels and are biodegradable.The most popular is Polylactic acid (PLA), a plastic substitute made from fermented plant starch (usually corn) which is quickly becoming a popular alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics. But it still takes a long time to biodegrade. Although it will biodegrade in 3 weeks in an industrial composting unit, it can take up to 100 years in regular composting. The message is still to avoid single use plastics of any kind where possible but at least this is a step in the right direction. UK supermarkets are a major source of plastic waste, producing 1m tonnes a year. A recent pol showed that 91% of UK shoppers backed the idea of a plastic free aisle- we want to make the change, we just want shops to make it easy for us! And surely shops what to make it easy for us to shop! Read more about the plastic free shopping experience in this article from the Guardian and find out why the alternatives still need some work here. Sarah x

Ginger jeans mark 4!

ding ding, round 4 -it’s ginger jeans vs rivets for this exciting revisit to one of my favourite patterns! Yeah, pretty sure I won this round!

And the rivets really finish of my 4tg pair of gingers nicely. I used Prym 12mm rivets and the various pliers tool to attach them. I also picked up a top tip from Guthrie and Ghani’s vlog about using a leather punch to create the holes before attaching the rivets which helped massively.

I added a cute back pocket design to this pair which I think I will carry over to any further pairs I made to “brand” them a bit!

I tweaked the fit taking them in at the knee and out at the calf as usual but this time I actually transferred the alterations to the pattern! So next time I won’t have to fiddle about with that bit too much!

Really happy with these- I’m actually wearing them right now as I write and they are super comfy!

Happy days!

Happy sewing!

Sarah x

Hi new followers!

Hi there! I see that quite a few of you are new to my blog, I’ve had quite a flurry of new followers in the last month or so which is lovely but also makes me realise that I haven’t been blogging as frequently as I’d like. So thanks for the kick up the new-Ginger-jeans-clad butt guys!

It’s also made me have a good think about what I want this blog to be all about. I currently blog, vlog and share my crafting and sewing activities and a number of different channels, both work related and personal…

Crafty Sew&So blog: Www.craftysewandso.com/blog

The blog for all things related to my business, Crafty Sew&So

Crafty Sew&So Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvBA_B1aIiAjK10uHx11x2A

Our bi-monthly Crafty Sew&So Vlog on Youtube

With news from the shop, makes, reviews and plans. Our makes showcase the patterns, fabrics and tools we sell and our own range of My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns.

Crafty Sew&So on Instagram:

@craftysewandso

Craftysewandso on Facebook:

@ craftysewandso1

My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns Blog:

Www.myhandmadewardrobepatterns.com/blog

And the newest addition… the My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns Makers group on Facebook, a place to share your MHW Patterns makes and for me to share our news and updates and answer any questions about the patterns.

So that’s the business side of things…

But I also like to share my personal makes and thoughts and for a while I did do a personal vlog, blog, Instagram and Facebook – which was just crazy! And pretty repetitive! So I’ve streamlined it and now this is what you’ll get!

Here on the CRAFTYSARAHSEWS blog:

A fortnightly blog showing my latest make.

Fabrics may be from the Crafty Sew&So store but are most likely to be from my stash.

CRAFTYSARAHSEWS on instagram: @craftysarahsews

Snippets of my sewing and general life interspersed with pictures of my cat trying to jeopardise my sewing endeavours and various cheese eating sessions!

Real and un-curated.

And my wedding planning channel (which is private but anyone can join- except my fiancé!)

On instagram: @diyweddingdresssupportgroup

This has turned out to be a really successful way for me to visualise my wedding and bridesmaids dresses, colours, accessories, decorations, flowers etc.

I am abandoning my Facebook page and leaving that to fend for itself.

I’ve signed up to Vero but not really using that at the moment.

So that’s that. It feels great to have a spring clean so my plan is all nice and clear in my mind now!

So look forward to more focussed, regular and hopefully entertaining content on here very soon!

Happy Sewing!

Sarah x

February I’m ready for you- with my 2018 Make Nine

Soooo… many people who know me will know that I don’t make January new years resolutions, I figure it takes pretty much the whole month to get over Christmas and January is a crap month when I usually get a cold (tick) and generally just feel a bit rubbish and battle through! I make February plans instead.

January was pretty much taken over with preparing for the launch of our new pattern range – My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns – at work, and outside of work I spent most of my time under a blanket feeling January-ish.

But February- now that’s whole a different story! February is the start of wedding making! And I am sooo excited to get stuck into it!

I’ve taken a bit of time to think about a make nine which will encourage me to make items I need rather than just want to make.

So here goes from the top left to right:

1. My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns Cosy jersey Tunic and Dress. I’ve already got a dress cut out in this fabric below.

I plan to make lots and lots of variations on this pattern but I need a cosy jumper to get me through the rest of the chilly winter in the Crafty Sew&So Shop so I’ll be making one in super snuggly soft denim marl brushed back sweat next.

Honestly, this is pretty much THE softest sweatshirt fabric I have ever felt, can’t wait to make and wear this! I’ve got some mid blue rib for the cuffs and hem band too. I might do something fancy with the neckline like an add-on shawl collar maybe.

2. So Over It Eve dress

I’ve got 2 m of this poly crepe bought from Walthamstow last August. Not sure if it’s enough for the eve dress but I’ll give it a go. I want to wear this for a wedding in March.

3. This Chaffinch on Navy cotton lawn by lady McElroy

…is another one from the Crafty Sew&So Shop and it will be a full circle skirt. I realised on review of my wardrobe, that I don’t actually have a full circle skirt! I love them so I don’t know why not! I think I might want to line this in navy poplin to avoid a Marilynn moment!

4. Now onto the juicy stuff! I bought a second hand wedding dress from Loros which I am reworking. It’s pure silk- there must be at least 3 metres of it in the skirt- and it’s at the dry cleaners at the mo. I’ve got 2 whole days off next week so I’ll be finalising the design and starting on alterations of the top half then. I won’t be saying much more about it on here for obvious reasons (not that Matt reads my blogs normally but just in case!) so to follow my progress check out @diyweddingdresssupportgroup on Instagram. It’s a private feed but just request to view and I’ll let you in!

5. My fabulous bridesmaid Chloe has designed a gorgeous print which I will use to make the bridesmaids dresses. The style will be similar to the photos- simple fitted bodice with a pleated skirt and cap sleeves- and maybe the low back detail although that could make fitting more tricky. It’s going to be tricky enough with my bridesmaids in Scotland and London! My sister Libby is in Leicester so she will be the first guinea pig!

6. This is the fabric Matt chose for the waistcoats so I’ll be making 4 waistcoats- one for him, his best man and my dad and his dad. They will have navy lining, covered buttons and back and gold buckles and the back.

Serious face for serious fabric shopping! Haha! I think he’s happy with his choice though! 😂

7. Named clothing Kielo- I literally have everything I need for this – fabric, lining- except the pattern. This will be great for our Indian honeymoon. If it goes well I’ll make a few to take with me. Including one with the sleeves add on.

8. I really want to make a swimsuit this year. We have a coverstitch machine at work now which I need to conquer. Attempts so far have been less than successful with lots of skipped stitches. I found out it might be because I need to use stretch needles not ballpoint ones?!?! And a top quality thread like Metler. Anyone have any other tips?

Anyway I like this style for a swimsuit.

9. This is the first draft of a potential new pattern for the MHW range.

Continuing in the theme of making a whole handmade wardrobe of super wearable garments we’ll be adding more wardrobe essentials patterns to the mix over this year. And I’ll be making lots of samples of them all!

Right, best get on with it then!

Happy sewing!

Sarah x