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

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Blue Period Part Two: More adventures in dying...

Months and months ago, I bought a lovely lacy knit jumper from H&M, I wore it ALL the time, if I was having a stress about what to wear, I always reached for it. Then, one fateful night I wore it out to see a friend in a (spectacular) play and we had drinks afterwards, drinks plural, lots of drinks, I was on the red wine, well until the red wine was on me, all down the front of my favourite cream jumper. If I hadn't been having so much fun, I probably would have cried. The next day I tried a bunch of stain removal tricks and then I put it through the machine but there was still a trace of that naughty stain. Boohoo.

Not sure how visible the stain is here but trust me, it's yuck.

Now, before I ventured into sewing and crafts I would've mourned the loss of my top and/or just bought another one. Ok, so I did just buy another one (have I mentioned how much I love this top yet?) but I didn't have to say goodbye to the old one either. I figured if I dyed it a darker colour, the stain would be hidden and I'd have a whole new wardrobe option. Hurray. So what colour do you think I dyed it friends?.. Yep BLUE!

I used Dylon Navy Blue dye but because the compostion of the jumper is 50% wool and 50% polyester I knew it wouldn't come out navy, but that's fine. I really love the shade it turned out, it's a bit different and now I have more blue in my wardrobe. Woop!

Not a huge project but I love how it turned out so I thought I'd share...

Alice x

Blue Period Part One: Long overdue Pendrell Blouse.

It has become increasingly clear that I am obsessed with the colour blue. I own 9 blue dresses, 2 blue skirts and 2 pairs of blue shoes, I even have some blue undies, oh and a pair of navy blue trousers! See; obsessed. So I'm sure, now you know this, it will be no surprise to learn I have a number of blue projects to share with you, some finished, some still in the planning stage...

So, what's first? Did anyone guess what garment I shared a sneak peak of? Those of you who guessed it was a Pendrell Blouse from the ever brilliant Sewaholic, were right.

I bought this fabric AGES ago during a trip to Goldhawk Road (looking back over that post I realised this is the only fabric I've  used from that trip back in March, clearly I am a hoarder) and I finished this blouse a good few months ago, I just didn't get it together to take pictures, oops.

I did my first pattern alteration on this baby, nothing major, I just took the hips in a little as I'm not quite as pear shaped as the Sewaholic measurements.. All the same I was pretty terrified to cut bits off my (traced) pattern, I'm a wuss, I know. I'm really pleased with how the fit turned out, there's enough room in the hips for wearing trousers underneath but it doesn't flare out in a hip size increasing manner.

I chose to make view B which features double ruffles on the shoulders but I left off the inner ruffle that goes along the princess seams because when I made my muslin it just felt like too much was going on. I don't exactly have a small bosom so I have to be careful about adding too much to the shoulder/bust area. I think I made the right choice and the single ruffle sort of cap sleeves are super cute.

So what did I learn.....

Lessons learnt making the Pendrell Blouse.

How to adjust hip width: unsuprisingly I used a tutorial to do this, in fact I followed the entire sewalong, hurray for sewalongs.

Princess Seams: I had no idea what princess seams were before this blouse, I did find them a bit difficult, it was definitely a square peg, round hole moment for my brain, but I'm glad I persevered as they're super flattering.

Uuuuuummmm.....: I can't remember what else, it was so long ago now but I'm sure there's more...

I'm really proud of this blouse, it's the most worn of all my makes, it fits nicely into my everyday wardrobe and (when the weather warms up) I'll be wearing it lots more.

I am LOVING this pattern and I have a whole rainbow of them planned in my brain, but I think I will definitely be making one in a similar satiny cream fabric with the pleated drape sleeves featured in View C.

Hope you're all having a fabulous weekend.

Alice x