Sunday, 12 October 2014

100//100 Progress: Day 50

Wow, those 50 days went by fast. With only one finished garment under my belt so far, I'm not quite making the progress I had hope for but I have been sewing more frequently than ever. I'm learning new skills and upping my sewing game. That was the goal. It's still the goal.

Time to crunch those numbers. Today (Sunday 12th October) is day 50 of the challenge. I have sewn for 32 hours. Not quite up to date huh?! I had a feeling this would happen when I went back to work. I am currently temping and that means I could be traveling anywhere in London. Last week, for example, I had a nearly 2 hour commute. Having spent 4 hours on a train and done a full days work, I did not feel like turning on that sewing machine.

Still, Day 50 is not over yet. Whilst I have no plans to crush those 18 left over hours today I can definitely cross a few more off the list. Want to see a shot of what I'm working on?

What are you working on this weekend?

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Myrtle does Venice

Ciao Amici! Chris and I have just returned form our honeymoon on the Venitian Riviera, it was blissful, we ate (and ate) very well, and mostly relaxed by the pool or on the beach. We did take a day trip to Venice itself, only an hour or so away from our resort. Where better to take photos of my first 100//100 finished garment? I thought the Myrtle dress by Collette Patterns would be an excellent addition to my holiday wardrobe; easy to throw on but still glamorous. Here she is.

I used a very drapey knit fabric from Goldhawk Road (I forget which shop) which I had bought with a completely different project in mind. I only had two metres of this fabric which is almost a whole metre less than the pattern calls for. Thankfully the pattern is non-directional so with a little creative cutting I managed to squeeze it out of those two metres!

I cut a size Medium as all my measurements fit into that size bracket but I think the bodice has come out a little large. There is a lot of spare fabric going on as you can see from this shot of the back, although I don't think the way I'm standing is helping with that!

If I were to make another Myrtle, I think I would cut out a Small and do an FBA as the dress does sit wide on my shoulders, so it either slips off them or I pull them in resulting in the rather low neckline you can see in this photo!

Despite these fit issues I'm very happy with this dress and have already worn it quite a few times. I was worried about inserting the elasticated waistband but the instructions were very clear and it went without a hitch! I also left out the skirt pockets in the end, they were distorting the line of the skirt so I ripped them out and closed up the side seams. I wouldn't have used them as pockets anyway!

I finished this dress on day 6 of my 100//100 challenge and it took me almost exactly 6 hours to complete (including removing the pockets), so at this point I am up to date. Hurray.

As for Venice itself, I have to say Chris and I were a little disappointed. Whilst it was nice to wonder around the back streets of Venice, getting lost and coming across many sweet court yards and almost falling in the canal at the end of a few streets, there isn't that much to see and do outside of the Piazza San Marco, which is heaving with tourists (it was the height of the holiday season to be fair) and the ques for the Basillico San Marco and the Doges Palace where miles and miles long! Not to mention, everything is ludicrously overpriced! We're hoping to go back when it might be a little quieter so we have a chance to see some of the big tourist attractions, Chris' parents visited in February and had a whale of a time!

Have you ever been to Venice? What did you think?

Catch you soon.


Saturday, 9 August 2014


They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be a master of your chosen skill. That's an hour a day for well over 27 years! Yikes. Of course if you are cultivating a skill professionally it would take less time, and of course this is an arbitrary rule that implies there is only one definition of mastery. Exploring that issue would be an entirely different post!

So, what's my point? Why am I blathering on about hours of practice?

I have decided to set myself a challenge.

I have been sewing, on and off, for about 2 and a half years now. I am definitely a better sewist than when I started but I want to increase my progress speed, I want to get just that little bit closer to 'mastery'. With this goal in mind I am taking a small amount of inspiration from the 10,000 hours theory (1% to be precise) and will be endeavoring to sew for 100 hours in 100 days!

It's no mean feat and requires an average of an hour a days sewing (a lot more than I do now) but the entire point  of this challenge is to push my sewing self (and spend fewer evening watching back to back episodes of 24) and increase my sewing skills.

I will be tracking my progress here, posting all my makes and hoping that a few of you might join me, or indeed help cheer me on!

A challenge like this wouldn't be complete without a few rules guidelines, so here are mine:

1. Sew for 100 hours over 100 days (obviously)
2. "Sewing" refers to nearly all the processes of creating a garment, including pattern alterations and cutting fabric but not assembling PDF patterns or tracing patterns.
3. Work on one project/garment at a time.

And that's it. Keeping it simple.

The 100 days kick off today and I'm aiming to be finished on Monday 1st December.

 (I know this date is more than 100 hundred days from the start date but I have 2 one week holidays scheduled during which I will not be able to sew!).

Does anyone want to join me? I'd love some company, whether you start with me today or set your own time frame. All good challenges have a blog button so you can grab one below whether you're joining in or cheering us along!
grab button for The Pin and Thimble
<div class="the-pin-and-thimble-button" style="width: 125px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"> <img src="" alt="The Pin and Thimble" width="125" height="125" /> </a> </div>

Have you set yourself any sewing challenges lately? How many hours do you think you've spent sewing?


Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Big Return...

Hello?.... Is there anybody out there? Nope? Fair enough, it has been a whopping 18 months since I last posted here! There are reasons/excuses and so on but in the spirit of a fresh new start (and not wanting to bore anyone into a deep slumber) I shall move swiftly on.

I have some exciting plans for this little virtual space of mine, and will be revealing them over the next few weeks.

For now I shall keep it short but sweet and leave you with a few pictures of what I've been up to in the last year and a half...

* Sewing ONE HUNDRED METRES of bunting
* Celebrating on my Hen Weekend..
*...In Brighton
* Tasting our fabulous wedding meal
* A birthday at the Rainforest Cafe
* There were brand new ducklings at work and it was awesome.
* A very relaxing holiday in Corfu
*Getting married!

Catch you soon.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sew Grateful Giveaway Winner!!

Thank you to everyone who entered my first ever giveaway, I loved reading through all you comments and it's lovely to have so many new faces around here, I will be enjoying exploring all your blogs soon too!

So...the big announcement....

Congratulations to...

Emily C of Callender's Creations!!

Emily I will be in touch soon to get your details and will get the fabrics sent off to you asap. Congratulations again!

Many of you expressed a desire to be entered for a specific piece of fabric, but just to be clear the giveaway was for both pieces together, sorry if I didn't make that clear before.

Bye for now friends,

Alice xxx

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Sew Grateful Week: My First Giveaway. Now Closed.

Hello Friends. Unless you live under a rock (or don't follow sewing blogs) you'll know that this week is Sew Grateful Week, organised by the fabulous Debi of My Happy Sewing Place. During the week, we all celebrate the value of the online sewing community, what it means to us and how it has helped and taught us. Such a brilliant idea. Thanks Debi!
Debi has put together a fun schedule for us to follow along with and the first order of business (which was meant to happen yesterday, I am, as ever, a little behind!!) is to host a giveaway. So here goes, my first ever blog giveaway.....

I am giving away two lengths of lovely cotton.

Both are a little more than 2 metres and about 115cm wide. I bought them both because they're so pretty, but I know they are not my style, I wouldn't wear a garment made with them, but I'm sure there are lots of lovelies out there who would look fabulous in them.

To enter, just leave me a comment letting me know how you follow my blog, you must be a follower to enter, and if you like, let me know how you would use the fabric. I'd love to know.

The giveaway is open until midnight GMT Sunday 10th February 2013 and I will randomly select the winner on Monday 11th February 2013 (which also happens to be my birthday, yay!).

Good luck everyone!

Alice xx

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Quilts by Christmas Update.

Hello friends, I hope you've all had a lovely festive holiday and a very happy new year to you all. I spent the holidays surrounded by all my favourite people and LOTS of delicious food, it was brilliant. However, now the holidays are over it's way past time I updated you on my crafting progress...

Way back in October I challenged myself to make 2 quilts by christmas, joining in with a great challenge from Elise. Unfortunately I only managed to finish 1 of them before Christmas and I'm still working on the other but I am delighted to have made my first quilt, I love it, and more importantly so does my Mum. Wanna see?...

I'm so pleased with how it turned out and I'm pretty impressed that I managed to finish something on such a large scale.

My favourite part of making this quilt was sewing together the quilt top. It was great seeing the triangles turned into squares, squares into rows and finally rows into one big rectangle, so exiting seeing the pattern come together gradually.

I used a white bed sheet for the backing, it has a lovely soft texture for snuggling under. For the quilting I used white for my top thread and blue on the bottom,unfortunately this picture doesn't really show the blue against the white very well, but it looks great in the flesh.

Getting the quilt through my sewing machine was the toughest part of the whole make, the poor thing needs a break after sewing through all those layers. I walked away with many a pin scratch and a rather sweaty brow! I even managed to break a needle, oops! I'm  glad I persevered though because I think the diamond pattern looks great, especially on the back.

For the binding I used leftovers from the quilt top fabrics, not only did it save me some money (I was originally planning to do it all in one fabric but I couldn't find anything I liked) but it turned out even better that I expected, I love how the colours and patterns look next to the plain white background and I think a new colour or pattern would have been too much next to the busy-ness of the quilt top.

I hand sewed the binding to the back with a blind stitch which took AGES, I even roped Chap in when I'd had enough, he sews very well! I think on my next quilt I'll cheat and machine it!

It was pretty hard to part with this baby but my Mum absolutely loved it and spent all afternoon snuggled up under it on Christmas day (as we watched and fell asleep in front of Doctor Who, it's something of a Christmas tradition in our house) so it was totally worth it. It looks great in my Parents room as they decorated it in blues and whites, which Mum thought was a fabulous coincidence, it wasn't; I totally planned it that way!!
Have you made anything recently that really pushed you? Any great gifts for friends or relatives?

Alice xxx