Tag Archives: inspiration

Tweed dreams

Now folks I need your help.

My father who has been enjoying my antics on my blog & encouraging me by even being my photographer extraordinaire when I visit, has given me the most amazing gift.  He is a man of quality & had been hankering after a genuine Harris Tweed jacket.  When he found an online outlet for Harris Tweed & Knitwear that met his specifications he noticed that they also sold gen-u-ine Harris Tweed – accredited / endorsed by the Harris Tweed Authority – by the length.  And asked me which one I would like!  Squeal!!!

My tweed

I chose carefully.  I chose wisely.  There is so much choice, so many different colour combinations, a variety of weaves & plaids.  I just *had* to go colourful

Here it is if you want to check it out at the shop

Now this is most definitely THE MOST EXPENSIVE FABRIC I have ever owned.  It needs to become THE MOST EXPENSIVE FABRIC I have ever cut & sewn!

So what shall I make? The rule is that it has to be a classic – something that suits me & will last for years to come.

I have been collecting inspiration on Pinterest on my Tweed Board. My original thinking was to make a Tweedy Chardon skirt as this pattern makes me feel *so good* & my pinstriped suiting Chardon is one of my faves- in & out of work.  Roobeedoo has made a lovely chocolat Chardon in a wool & I think it works – the box pleating can handle the weight of the fabric.

But then doing all my research & I am almost drowned in inspiration.  Now let’s get this clear – much as I would adore a bright & fitted jacket I do not want to make a jacket out of such expensive fabric until I am better at er jackets (it’s on my 2014 list of challenges to conquer).  So I am looking at skirts primarily.  But what about a pinafore?

(Link on Pinterest)

A pinafore is better than a dress purely for practical reasons.  Me & the dry cleaner?  We tend to only get acquainted when such fripperies as cocktail dresses or evening wear are involved.  Certainly not daywear. (Why did that phrase bring Mrs Slocombe to mind, Jane?)  So a pinafore would be preferable to a wool dress.  But as I said, I’m mainly thinking skirts.

Here’s a flared tweedy skirt , but it’s not plaid so only an idea about how it might hang.

Link on Pinterest

So if not a Chardon, what about kick pleats like this one?  (Here’s my link on Pinterest)

Or the classic pencil skirt? (Link here)

Tweed, due to its texture & colour is often used in really creative ways in fashion, often with other fabrics (Link here)

Making use of its self fringing characteristics.  (Link on Pinterest)

But please don’t suggest I do.  Because I wont!  Nor will I go feathers…

(Visit on Pinterest)

And then from one form of inspiration to another …that I might have some scraps for at the end…

(Visit on Pinterest)

Ahem, sorry.  Seem to have gone off track a bit.  I’m trying to be serious here.   No interestingly enough most of the tweed I found is houndstooth & more up for showcasing design details.  I have plaid.  Of this kind of scale.


What would you make with it?  Circle skirt?

Tweed bias style

Chardon?(Although in the picture below I’m manhandling two layers of fabric – it would pleat more softly using it properly)


Classic pencil skirt?  Pleated straight skirt?


Or a double make perhaps – a mini skirt & shorts (very Pattern Runway don’t you think?) with what I have left?!!

(Link on Pinterest)

But remember my rules….& no fringes …and this has to be such a *perfect* make for me to last me a good long time in terms of style.  This is a plea to you, the sewing blogging world oracle.  I’m super interested to know what your collective ideas are….because can you tell- I’m undecided & near dither status.  And before I know it, the season to wear will be over, & I really can’t let that happen.

Thanks all 🙂

Inspiration starts at home!

I’ve been meaning to write this for ages now but have had other things get in the way.

A few weeks ago (gosh it was probably months now) I stayed with my Mum & Dad in Cornwall.  The county is only sort of relevant (as they inspire the paintings), and you might remember it was during Me Made May and my Dad discovered his inner David Bailey.

Red skyWell, it’s not new to me, but this time when I went I was overcome with a huge urge to share with you what surrounds me whenever I stay.  Apart from the wafts of baking cakes, my Dad’s stormy curries, lapses into chocolate fudge sauce on everything and special veggie treats for me,  (which sadly I cannot share with you) everywhere I look I see my Mum’s creations.

Yellow bay

All through my childhood & beyond my Mum makes, crafts, bakes and fixes.  She made us a go-cart  and stilts even!  She has said that if she could she would even have tried plumbing, but she was flexing her practical muscles in a very different generation that did not offer equality or even accessibility for what really was considered a specialist male domain.  I’ve said that it was her that taught me to sew (& she can tailor too!)  Well she also taught me some knitting skills, cross stitch & even how to dabble with watercolour.  For years her approach for not falling asleep in front of the TV in the evenings was needlepoint & I remember being amazed at her counted thread creations, & loved how the subtle changes in colours could create such beautiful effects.  She used to have too many to frame and when I visited she’d bring them out from drawers to show me.

Creative space 1My Mum can basically turn her hand to anything & I wanted to celebrate this here & say a big “thank you” to my Mum for being such an inspiration as well as a patient teacher & all time sewing guru.

I often sleep in the room shown above & it’s full of Mum-made variety from the curtains & soft furnishings to the dolls house with its air-dry clay roof and floor tiles.  My Mum’s doll’s house making phase, let me mention, included recycling bits & pieces & making them into miniature furniture (I wish I could remember examples but it could be old hairslides, combs and lids that with some glue and paint were transformed into baby sized chairs/ tables/ mirrors- a step up from Blue Peter !).  This doll house was made with balsa wood & is just so neat, pretty and has wonderful attention to detail.

My Mum has recently taken up crochet & I wanted to show off what can be accomplished in a relatively short learning journey.  The Granny squares blanket above was I believe her first & she used to sit on the same sofa it now resides on, in the afternoon sunshine & crochet away.  This waistcoat was her first item of clothing.

First waistcoatI believe it is a Drops Design (but I can’t find it on the site nor the next one!!)  She has also made another Drops Design waistcoat which looks like this.

Drops waistcoatBut when arranged …

Drops waistcoat 2And when worn …

My MumHello Mum!  She had to vet the pics as she is camera shy!

And the other way (with a different picture in the background)

My Mum again

She is now making her way through this book of Granny Squares – Over 25 Ways to crochet the classic pattern by Barbara Wilder


Using the same three colours and calculating what adjustments she needs to make in order for them to finish as the same size she stores them in named batches in, yes, a handmade box covered in needlepoint. (I must say she is more organised than I am & has consistent tenacity).

Creative 2

But do you want to know something else even more inspiring?  My Mum paints too (all the pictures you see are her work) & she started with an A level, progressing to Art Foundation then making it through a part time Fine Art Degree via a two hour bus journey to Plymouth.  She finished this in her 60s let me tell you!  It’s never too late!  I am so proud of her, she thoroughly enjoyed the learning & evolution of her creative processes, & it’s something I hope to be able to do one day too.

Purple sky

So you might now be able to understand why I have one of those high chest of drawers with numerous different sized drawers filled with paints (watercolour, oil, glass, silk, printing), lino cutting, jewellery tools & sooo many beads, an old liquidiser, mold & deckle for paper making & I could go on.  And you can probably understand now when I tell you which books my Mum passed on to me when I moved into my first home:  Marguerite Patten’s definitive cookery book (pre dates Delia’s classic Complete Cookery Course and was my bible for coming up with cheap tasty family meals, but oh so dated now!!), and also a couple of books on homecrafts which I used to spend hours immersed in.   Looking back on these books it feels significant as a way to understand what skills my Mum had cultivated and was continuing in a different way.

What books did you get given that provide an idea of what your family was passing on to you?    Have you an inspirational crafter in your life?  Is it really this easy to develop your crochet skills?  What do you think?!

The jacket

Hello peeps!  I’m afraid I’ve been offline a lot the last few days & this is not due to improve until the weekend, but until then, I’d been meaning to share some delightful inspirations & *the actual jacket* I shall be making to partner my polka dot frock (New Look 6000)

Remember I said I needed to work out what to wear with it for the wedding?  It sent me off in a spin to look for a suitably vintage inspired jacket that would not swamp this very fitted dress, but would complement its lines.  Vintage 50s/ 60s came to mind.  I have picked out a couple of darlings from my “Things I’d love to sew” Board on Pinterest.


Now I love the rounded collar & scoop neck.  It’s cropped too which is a good shape.  But too boxy thinks I.  So then I ambled down the classic dress/jacket suit route.


This could do the trick I thought, but would it really be *right*?  Is it fitted/ pretty enough?  I have plenty of other “dress/jacket suit” patterns as inspiration on my Pinterest Board.  Then I saw this one & swooned …


Would I be able to engineer such a cute bolero shape?  Could I get the scalloped collar looking so adorable??

I also like the idea of this …


But this is a jacket that’s a star, not a jacket to compete with a polka dot frock.
In true sewing blogger spirit though, before I even had to contend with any decisions Jane came to rescue me offering me a sacred Vintage Vogue which I have to say I snapped up gleefully, it being too perfect for words ..


For this dress I shall be making View E1 – can you imagine the polka dot neckline peeping through?  Sitting on my hips with cute “bracelet length” sleeves.   And what fabric you ask?  Well I have some teal Melton Wool & some floral lining, what do you think?  (As always colours are not shown in true vivid gorgeousity this time of year in artificial light.  Please take my word for it that this is intense but classy)  I do have red lining (shown also with a gold glow!) but feel the floral will be more fun.


Do you think it will work ?

PS sorry if I am offline again for a few more days…normal service will be resumed shortly!