Friday, 30 September 2016

Autumn/Winter Wardrobe Shift Dress

Another week gone by so fast and I really can't believe how dark it is at seven in the evening, just a few weeks ago we were all still sat out in the sun!  I called in at the library earlier and in the room next door there was some sort of fayre and they were selling Christmas stuff, I'm really not ready for all that just yet.

When I got back I started my dress that I have had the fabric for, for absolutely ages and I just kept going until it was finished. If I have a little break from sewing I forget how the time passes so quickly when you are in the midst of making a garment.  Here is the finished dress, no one available to help me with  pictures so some awkward in the mirror ones.
Here is one on the hanger but it looks a bit bigger here as I didn't have a purple zip.  I still gave it structure with darts but I can just pull it over my head and it is all fully lined.

I thought I would include a few pictures of the process as I rarely use a pattern.  I lay out a dress that fits me well ( here it is another shift dress I made for myself, as a result of lots of pinning and trying on).
I then replicate this with the lining, I just realised the other dress is over the back of a chair here and you can't see it!
I lay another piece of fabric under the necklines to make my own facing pieces that fit perfectly.
Then I decide it all needs an iron. Ha!
Move the front piece out of the way and repeat with the back neck.
I sew the shoulders and pin the sides then check on the mannequin.  When I am happy with that I sew the side seams, try on myself and make any adjustments with pins. I found I needed a little dart back and front in the arms to stop it  gaping.  It also needed two little ones at the neck line just to make it lie a little flatter.
I sew on the neck facings, notch, trim then fold back and hand stitch on the inside to make it invisible.
I pin it first

I cut straight strips to face the arm holes
Then sew these on and hand stitch these inside also.  I make up the lining and attach it at the shoulder it also gets caught with the neckline, wrong sides facing so it is all neat inside.  I machine the lining hem and hand stitch the main dress hem.

I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else the way I do things but I hope it helps.  I think patterns can be more confusing.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Keep it Vegan (Scrummy food from this book)

This past few weeks have been a blur of getting back into that routine of work, home, cook etc. after the lovely summer break.  I always feel that the time between getting home and putting tea on the table goes through some incredible time fast forward! I have been trying extra hard to make new foods with my vegan cook books it's just a shame there isn't such a good audience for it all around here.  Oldest son is vegetarian and will try some new stuff but he also incredibly picky and often out, my husband and younger son are very much a 'what are we having with the meat?' duo,  so I have to just be my own chef.

So despite  the clock going into fast forward as soon as I walk through the  front door I have managed to make some of the recipes in my new book 'Keep it Vegan'.

  Today I made the stuffed mushrooms to have with our Sunday lunch and these did go down well.
Friday I made the red lentil and spinach lasagne, this was also appreciated by older son so maybe he is getting less fussy.  There was enough left for me to have another portion for tea yesterday.
Yes this is a photo from the book, we ate it before I thought of taking a picture again.

I have also tried the macaro-no cheese, but I added notes to that page as I felt it needed onions or garlic, there just wasn't enough flavour.
The cashew cheese was also a hit and there are so many variations on this if you look online I think I will have to keep experimenting.  I also made a walnut cheese this week (not from the book) I found the recipe here (Vegan Walnut Cheese)
This has got to be my favourite, I would say it's more of a nut butter but I made two pots and I have had it with everything, on cucumber, at the side of salad, on toast for breakfast and on leftovers to cheer them up.  If you like nut spreads then try this because it is so good.

Anyway getting back to the book, this week I am going to try the carrot cake bites, black bean chilli, the Indian spiced tacos and the mango salsa.  I went through a phase of getting cook books from the library and only making one thing from them, well I bought this book so I am making sure I work though it.  I know I probably won't like everything but at least I will have given all the recipes a go.  ( I would just like to add that this is just a book I saw and purchased, all views are my own and I am not affiliated with it.)

The days are really starting to shorten now and it is a little bit sad to be getting up in the gloom, I have decided to embrace this however and find the good in it. Yesterday I popped outside to take a photograph of the sun coming up behind the trees.
It felt very quiet, the horses were already out in the opposite field.

As I am very much a summer person I have decided I am going to focus on all the positives of the coming seasons and dark nights.  I will try to remember to post them here and if you have any ideas to contribute about what you love about Autumn and Winter please share.  Ooh I've thought of one already- Poldark,  for the time being anyway.

My sewing has been of the practical nature this past two weeks rather than creative.  I have had three blouses to shorten sleeves on for a friend along with a replacement zip, a large cushion cover and two shirts for my husband.  I am going to start a dress for myself later in the week and it will get done because I have written it down.  This is weird but I have found that if I write it down I will get to it, it's as though I'm letting myself down if I don't.

Sunday, 4 September 2016


This post was inspired by Christina from A colourful Life thank you Christina.  I always intend to write something about the books I read if only  to keep track myself.  Time moves on however and I'm onto the next book so prompted by Christina's post I'm making a start.  I did photograph some of them  last month so the intention was there!
The first book I read last month was 'David and Goliath' by Malcolm Gladwell.

I really enjoyed this book and if you have read any of his other work this one doesn't disappoint.  This is a non-fiction book and discusses the relationship between adversity and success.  How come some people seem to create triumph out of the most difficult of circumstances whereas others appear to have every opportunity and yet fail to thrive.  Also some really interesting points on how over priveledged children do not always succeed in the way you would expect given their educational and material opportunities. That in fact the struggle that many face to reach their goals is in fact important.  I've heard the phrase 'character  building' before, this book gives examples of how this can be so. 

The next book I read 'How to live on 24 hours a day, is very old and some of the politically incorrect comments in this book will make you wince!  This is another non fiction book.  There is a lot of wisdom there, in realtion to how we use our time and the excuses people make as to why they can't get things done.   I read this one in a day and also laughed a few times at the old fashioned language used but also wanted to throw it across the room a few times in relation to the  remarks about women and people of other cultures.  It's worth a read to pick out the wisdom that is there.

Moving onto 'The quest for Mary Magdalene'  I started off really well with this and super interested but halfway through I lost my way and didn't continue.  I think it was possibly just too text bookish.

El misterio de la llave is in Spanish and is ongoing as I am using it to learn, I'm not allowing myself to move on until I know each page well so it is taking forever!

Next I moved onto a fiction book 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog' recomended on another site. here
While this book did take a bit of getting into and gets  bit high brow in places, I loved it.  RenĂ©e is a concierge in an apartment block for wealthy people but there is more to her than the narrow minded residents can grasp.  Lots of little glimpses into her mind and that of one of the residents, a young girl who feels there is no point to life.  I had to stop and have a little think many times throughout this book, it is not one you can whiz through but I did enjoy the characters.

When I finished that one we went off on holiday and 'Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of pilgrimage' went with me.  I felt this was slow to start, I know the author has been translated into so many languages but I just plodded on with it.  Halfway through I started to get into it and wanted to know the outcome, but I needn't have bothered as the ending was poor.   The story is about a young man who has four close friends, he moves out of town for his first year of university, the rest stay behind.  At some point during that year his friends decide they never want to speak to him again, giving no explanaition.  The story moves on from this, I may try another by Murakami at some point, but not just yet.

Finally I read 'We are all completely beside ourselves'  I bought this one from a charity shop a few months ago and it sat on the shelf after just reading a bit of it.  When I returned to it this time I loved it.
  Rosemary had a sister when she was young who suddenly disappeared from her life.  The family refused to talk about where she had gone and her older brother Lowell was left with resentment towards his parents and eventually he too leaves the family home in his teens.   There is a really good twist in this story so if you are going to read it don't skip on and read a bit from the middle as I know some people do when buying books.  You will spoil it for yourself,  a lot of the issues raised I found very interesting and in some cases upsetting.  This book makes you laugh and cry my, definite favourite of the month.
I shared this image before when I bought the book.

Another Shift Dress

The dress I made today is from the free New Look pattern I got with Sew magazine last month. It is very similar to the scuba dress I made bu...