Thursday, 26 February 2015

Silk Tops

Lately I've been wanting to wear simple tops every other day to work since they're easy to throw on with jeans or trousers and don't require much thought.  So when I was away over Christmas, I treated myself to some silk prints from Mood and got to work earlier in the month.
In all honesty there isn't much exciting to say about them.  The first is the Grainline Scout pattern, which is a staple in my stash (and Helen's too, she's just made another awesome version!).  I immediately fell in love with this black & white rose print silk.  It's exactly the type of print I like and knew would work with such a simple shape.  Again I swapped out the sleeves for the Ava ones.

To finish the neckline on this, I used bias tape rather than a facing.  I can't remember if it was on here or instagram I mentioned that this is my new favourite way to hem/neckline/finish a garment.  It's simple yet pretty effective and practical!
I also felt like being a little fancy and french-seamed the shoulders and sides ;)
The second top was intended to be Vogue V1387 but I tried to play around with the pattern and it went horribly wrong.  I had this on and off about 100 times before I decided I was happy with this way it sat.

Basically there's like 4 tacking stitches holding it together at the front, but I do love the waterfall-y drape it's ended up having!  Again I fell for the simplicity of this houndstooth print with the odd blue and grey mix with the black and white.
The last top is Vogue V1367 but with short sleeves rather than full length.  I really liked the gathers on the bodice and the yoke constuction (which is hidden by the print).  I did come to hate the yoke though.  I've got quite a strange shape at my upper back/shoulders and I had to mess about with the yoke pieces taking them in at random points so it sat flat at the neckline.  But finally it worked and I'm delighted with the results.

Again I bias-bound the neckline and I quite like the contrast on this one.  I think this might be my favourite of the prints I bought.  I'm pretty sure its ex-Thakoon a designer that I really admire.
What I love most about these tops are that they are a bit more special than your everyday tee.  The silk is definetly the difference, and I know if I couldn't sew I couldn't have that kind of fabric wrapped round me on a daily basis!
I only wish I was nearer to Mood so I could fill the craving I have for all their beautiful prints.  I've still got more of my Mood fabrics sitting there ready to be used so I'm off to get a move on!

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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Burda 6940 - Black Ballgown

This post is looooong overdue.  It's been sitting typed up for ages but I just haven't had a chance to actually transfer my pics over from my memory card!  As I mentioned before, I made my New Year's Eve dress.  Since we were away on the cruise, I knew I needed something a little bit special but not something too over the top.  So what did I make? This:
There's not an awful lot for me to say about this dress, it was a pretty straight forward make.  I made it one night at the start of December having bought the fabric during the last sewing blogger meet up in November.  The fabric is from The Cloth Shop (RK's Edinburgh store) and is a beautiful triple crepe that I would happily make anything out of!  I paired this with a lightly corded lace for the contrast yoke.
Construction wise there isn't much to say.  I've only worked with a few Burda patterns and this was the best so far.  I made no alterations and didn't encounter any issues.  I was drawn to the simple shape of this dress and the slight detailing of contrast.  You could pretty much say I made what was on the envelope!
The dress was very comfortable to wear and even better, it didn't crush during traveling!  I had some fabric left over from this make which I used to make a simple tee.
I used the Grainline Scout pattern and swapped out the sleeves for Victory Pattern's Ava sleeves (which are totally my go to).  It's simple but it's practical which is what I'd like to sew more of this year.

The Facts
Pattern:  Burda B6940
Size Cut: 20 (I think?)
Fabric: Triple Crepe and Lace from Remnant Kings 
Notions: A zip and button
Alterations: none
Notes: Very comfortable, a shorter version might be good for day to day
Wearability: 6/10 (well it is a ballgown!)

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Thursday, 22 January 2015

3 Days in NYC

As I mentioned in my last post (and you'll definitely have noticed if you follow me on instagram) we had a bit of a different Christmas & New Year this year.  We spent Christmas day traveling to New York before going on a Cruise for New Years.  I'm fortunate that I've been able to travel a lot in life and this was my third trip to NYC and I'm pretty sure it's confirmed that it's my favourite city in the world (that I've been to thus far).
**Wordy, picture heavy post coming**
Due to the fact we were catching the ship, we only had 3 days to spent in the city and I was determined to make the most of it.  Having been before, there were certain things we knew we wanted to do again and other things we wanted to try for the first time. So here's a diary style breakdown of our trip and my recommendations for a few (semi) tourist-y things to do!
Day 1 - Traveling
This time we went a bit of a long way for a short cut, flying on Christmas day meant there weren't many flight options.  We flew Delta from Manchester, via Amsterdam and arrived at JFK at 1ish.  I'm a bit of a plane geek and get excited about the features of the flight, this time certainly didn't disappoint!  Equipped with wifi I was able to post a selfie from 38,000ft and have a good Facebook/Twitter/Instagram nosey!  It also have the full first season of Castle so I was throughly entertained!

 When we arrived we wasted no time and got to our hotel, dumped our stuff and got back out to explore!  We stayed at the Hotel Mela which is on 44th St between 6th & 7th Aves.  The location was perfect for Times Square as it was literally on our doorstep.  This meant we could easily had back to the hotel to drop off items before heading on to our next adventure, and that most things were within an easy walking distance.

For a very un-traditional Christmas Dinner, we went to Ellen's Stardust Diner.  This was one of the places we'd been to on our last trip and we loved it again this time around!  The wait staff are aspiring Broadway actors and perform songs whilst (amazing) food is being served.  We had burgers and cake whilst being entertained.  Being drained by this point (and oh hi jetlag) we had an early night to set ourselves up for the next day.
Day 2 - Shopping!
We had planned to the majority of our shopping on boxing day as we weren't sure how we would feel after traveling and also to be honest, we weren't sure if and how holiday shopping hours would affect things (FYI they wouldn't have, truly the city that never sleeps, even on the Holidays).  I headed off to the Garment District to spend the morning and all my spending money.  I'm not sure it merits a separate post so I'll try and be brief.  I mainly hit up Paron (I had a groupon) and Mood.  I visited a few others in between but wasn't overly overly impressed as I was more looking to browse than for something specific.  It's fair to say I treated myself to some good bits and pieces that I posted in my last post.
After this I went and met up with my the rest of my family and we had a walk around Macy's & 34th street area before heading along to 5th Avenue to battle the crowds there!  I have never seen soo many people in my life and I'm surprised that Manhattan has yet to sink under the weight of them all!  Mum and I went off for a wander on our own and ended up booking tickets to go see The Rockettes that night which was a great show.  If musicals aren't your thing then this is a fab alternative at this time of the year. 
 For dinner that night we struggled to get in anywhere so kind of settled for a place called Bond 45 which scared me at first.  I'm not a fussy eater, but I don't do fancy food or anything with a sauce and panicked at the menu at this was the general vibe.  I went for their open plate Lasange and it was the best decision I made, omg it was to die for.  I'll leave you to investigate open plate lasange, as I'm not quite sure I can describe it correctly!
Day 3 - Tourist
We knew from our last trip that we definitely wanted to go back up the Rockerfeller Centre to Top of the Rock again this time.  We pre-booked our tickets online to save waiting in line and went as early as we could.  What's great about Top of the Rock is that you can see the Empire State Building and use it as a point of reference.  We done both on our last trip and much preferred it because of this.  It's a strange experience being up there, it's busy but it's quiet and peaceful compared to the city below.  You get to appreciate the wonder that is New York City and take in all it has to offer.  Considering it was the 27th December, it was a beautiful day and we could see for miles.  Definitely one of my trip highlights.
After being there, mum and I took the subway to Greenwich Village as I'm a little obsessed with that area.  It all started the first time I was there and wanted to go to the Marc by Marc Jacobs store (my first love).  It's such a laid back, neighborhood-y part of the city and where I'd love to stay in the future.  We visited some of the boutiques (including MbMJ and the Marc Jacobs Beauty store) as well as heading to the world famous Magnolia Bakery.  You need to queue but it's pretty well worth it as their cakes and cupcakes are amazing.  And it's the ultimate tourist thing to do in that area!

We also went to a soda place called Hamilton's which I'd read about online prior to going.  It was a bit of a long shot but it was GOOD.  I had an old fashioned lemonade and mum has some interesting looking shake with ice cream stuck to the edge of the glass.  We shared some fries and were glad we made the trip to there just for the experience.  We finished our afternoon wandering round the village taking in all the sights and locals (some of whom were just as interesting to look at).

That night we had a reservation at The Brooklyn Diner which is just off Times Square.  And omg AMAZING.  We got seated a little later than our time and the manager(owner?) could not have been nicer about it.  Coming over and apologising (sincerely) and finishing off our meal with free Cheesecake and Gateau which we literally demolished.  So so good!

Day 4 - Cruisin'
We had to be ready pretty early to head to the ship so I decided that I'd get up early in the morning and go find the Brooklyn Bridge as I'd loved it the last time.  I'll admit I got a little lost (and soaked since it decided to rain that day) but I was so in awe again once I found it.  I walked up from underneath it and just took some time to take it all in.  I headed up to walk across a bit but I was getting tight on time and headed back uptown.
Our ship left from the Manhattan Cruise Port on the Hudson River.  This meant as we sailed away we had stunning views of the city and passed the Statue of Liberty which was pretty cool to see.  It was kind of nice to imagine how people must have felt doing the same thing centuries ago whilst arriving in America to seek freedom.  It might not have been as tall back then but I can only imagine it would have been as breathtaking a sight.
That's a very wordy, brief recollection of my trip to NYC, aren't you glad I didn't start on about the cruise!  Let's just say that was amazing too and I promise I won't bore you with the details.
I'm now off to start working my way through my fabric stash from the trip, cause maybe the quicker I get through it, the sooner I'll get to return to replenish it!

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Friday, 16 January 2015

Looking back...and ahead

Happy 2015 bloggy pals (is it too late to say that now?!)!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday period and that 2015 is serving you well so far!  I'm only just caught up, if you follow me on IG you'll have guessed that I was away on holiday for the holidays this year.  We spent 3 days in NYC before going a cruise.  And it was fab!  I've got a post planned on some NYC tips from the few days and a my NYE dress to share.
 But before I get in to full 2015 swing, I thought I'd better share my last few makes (apart from two) from 2014.  Towards the end of the year my sewing output vastly reduced.  I only had one night a week to myself and as much as I would love to say I spent it sewing, truth be told I pretty much sat with my laptop and watched every episode of CSI.  But I did fit some in:

I'm not going to say too much about them as my reviews are pretty similar to what you'll have already seen online.  There are a couple I plan to make again and a couple I don't.  For instance those simple tops are exactly what I want to be wearing and I'd love a long sleeved Alder dress, but I think after number 4, it's time to move on to a new jacket pattern!  And obviously I only need one roman blind in my room (but I might do a tutorial on how to make either here on RK blog so keep an eye out!)
What have I still got to show?  Well as I mentioned above my New Year's Eve ballgown and a pair of Ginger's I'm yet to photograph!  (Oh and there's def another pair of them on the horizon!)
For 2015 and I plan to sew a little more and sew things I'll truly want and love to wear.  2014 was a year of transition for me and I know that it's only now I'm really settling.  And I'm making wardrobe changes to reflect that.  So here's what I've got in my stash so far this year:
l-r: Jersey from Remnant Kings, Viscose from RK, Poly's from Ebay

l-r: Jersey, Sateen, Wool Brocade, Denim from Mood and Brocade from Paron

l-r:  Poly from Paron and Designer Silks from Mood

I can't wait to see what you all make this year, let's hope for a super sewing 2015!

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Thursday, 4 December 2014

Why Sewing Bloggers Are The Best

Hiya everyone!  I swear I never intend for my posts to be this far apart.  I always have the best of intentions then nothing happens.  I'm not even going to promise to post more.

But any way, on to more exciting chat.  A couple of weeks ago I got to meet up with my fellow Scottish Sewing Bloggers at The Cloth Shop in Edinburgh (which also happens to be our store in Edinburgh, I might have made the suggestion of meeting there, my marketing hat was firmly on!).  As always we had a great wee afternoon thanks to Franca's amazing organising and suggestions of Mimi's Bakehouse for tea and cake.  And oh my goodness, I think that everytime I go through for work I'll have to go and get cake from there.  THAT. GOOD.

Kerry, Helen, Franca, Nessa, Elaine, Amy & Me
All of us in Mimi's, photo from Elaine's blog.
L-R: (I suggest you click through to all these lovely ladies' blogs, you won't be disappointed!)

One thing I was mentioning to the girls whilst there was my new work blogging vs personal blogging dilemma.  We're working on developing the RK blog which means I'm spending a lot of time researching other sewing blogs, platforms and coming up with new and exciting content.  A lot of what I'd like to post in work (tutorial and dress fabric wise) is of similar content to what I'd like to post here and vice versa.  I don't want to recycle posts and bore any one but I also don't want to choose one over the other, so please bear with me while I try and work out some kind of balance!

So what did I buy while I was there?  I got some supplies to make my NYE dress.  We're going on holiday for Christmas/NY this year so I wanted something special.  I'm doing floor length black gown using this crepe and some corded lace.  I've literally just finished the dress and cannot wait to wear it.  It was one of those moments when I tried it on and knew it was exactly what I wanted it to be.
I've got a few other things to show you, so I'm off to schedule posts so it seems like I'm still keeping on top of this blogging thing!  What is everyone else planning for some festive sewing?

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