British Home Tours: Before

Welcome, welcome! Come on in! Here’s how our flat looked when we moved in in October 2014.

Here is our long skinny hall. We’re in the basement, so natural light is hard to come by, but we changed the front door shortly after moving in and that made a big difference. The cupboard is home to the gas and electricity meters. We need to redecorate, and I have dreams of a nice radiator cover. Exciting stuff! IMG_2276

On the right, you have the sitting room. We’ve since replaced the windows, which were single glazed and quite broken, but the rest is pretty much the same. We need to paint the walls (light grey), and the floor is a disaster (the floorboards don’t reach all the way to the wall in the bay for some reason). I’d also like to have the artex ceiling skimmed, but I’m not sure how much that costs. We’ve been told there’s only half a chimney, and we don’t know what that means, so I don’t know what we can do with the fireplace yet. IMG_2275

Next up we have the bedroom. It’s hard to judge from pictures of a square room without any furniture, but it’s quite a good size. I’m also using this as my office, so we’re trying to find good storage solutions. If it was just a bedroom, I’d love to open the fireplace up, but that is where my desk goes. IMG_2274

Onto the kitchen! The previous owners designed this kitchen so well to make use of the available space. It needs a bit of TLC, and if I had unlimited funds, I’d replace the floor (which I hate) and the worktop (I’d love a wooden one). However, we’re contenting ourselves with painting the walls yellow. We’ve already replaced the window (didn’t meet safety regulations) and the door (I think this one was an internal one – it was rotten and slugs kept getting in through the seal – RANK!). IMG_2272

Ah, the bathroom. The suite is fine, so we’ve since freshened up in here with a coat of white paint, and we’ve replaced the bath surround with some tongue and groove – this was a bit of a learning process so we need to touch some bits up. IMG_2273

And finally, here are a couple of pictures of the garden. When we looked for a flat we realised we had two options within our budget – an extra bedroom or a garden. After looking round a few places, we realised that the garden was more important to us, because we wanted Alfie to be able to go outside. This one is a lovely size and easy for us to maintain. We had a minor disaster when one of the walls fell down, but we’ve got a lovely new fence now. IMG_2278IMG_2277

So there you go! I love nosing round other people’s houses, so I hope this was interesting for you, too!

Hi 2016!

IMG_3465I don’t know about you, but I love starting afresh on 1st January, ready for new challenges and fun. I have high hopes for 2016, and one of those hopes is that I can make a bit more time for my little blog – I miss it!

2015 was a tough year for me. I was exhausted from my gruelling commute, there were some health scares in my family, I started a business with friends while still working full time, and money was tight so holidays became staycations where I beat myself up over relaxing instead of decorating our flat.

IMG_3067There were good times, too.

  • My friend Marthe came to visit from Oslo for my birthday and we had a fantastic time at Hever Castle and out and about in Brighton.
  • We took an anniversary trip to Paris and stayed in the wonderful Hotel Fabric (of course) in Oberkampf. I finally got to meet one of Ben’s French friends, who introduced us to the charming Butte aux Cailles neighbourhood.
  • I tried West African food for the first time when my Ivorian and Ghanaian colleagues took us to 805 Restaurant in London (it’s also popular with the cast of Star Wars!).
  • We formed a pub quiz team and won enough money in six months to pay for a team Quizmas Dinner. With a whole year of quizzing in 2016, we should be able to cover the drinks next time, too! GO QUIZZLY BEARS!!!
  • I took my mum on a birthday tour of a nuclear power station; something I’d been promising/threatening to do for about fifteen years.
  • I found a massive pile of zips in my favourite local charity shop £2.

I’m sure there was other good stuff, but these are the memories which come to mind right now.

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I’ve made some changes to my life already in 2016. I will now be working from home, and only 50% of my old full time hours. Taking my old working hours and commute into account, I’ll have something like an extra seven hours a day to dedicate to my business and my life. I’m really excited!

Happy new year, everyone!

Wax On, Wax Off. Or, Just Wax On.

_DSF8518I bought this wax print in Goldhawk Road last year, and I struggled to know what to do with it for a while. Ben deciding that the print looked a bit phallic didn’t help (I like to think of them as anchors or some other nautical thing). I have a habit of buying lovely fabric and then worrying about what to do with it until I get fed up of looking at it and buy something new. At the end of the day, there was six yards of this, so an exploratory skirt wasn’t going to hurt if I hated it.

simplicity-sewing-pattern-1365-1970s-vintage-halter-neck-tops-p6787-14682_zoomOnce I decided on the skirt, I also considered making a halter neck top to go with it (or apart from it). This dream has yet to be realised, but I still like the idea. I just need to make a muslin of Simplicity 1365 and see if there is any way that is going to work for me without a bra. Anyway, I couldn’t wait to show you the skirt, so you will just need to contain your excitement for a while longer (estimate: a year at current sewing speed).

Anyway, that’s enough about me and my ability to procrastinate. I’ve borrowed some questions from Pattern Review to tell you all about it.

_DSF8513Pattern Description: 
Dirndl skirt from Love at First Stitch

Pattern Sizing:
Self drafted (ish)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes

_DSF8519What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The instructions were clear, and drafting a skirt based on my own waist measurement was a revelation – it fits!

Fabric Used:
Wax print cotton // £18 for six yards // Somewhere on Goldhawk Road (A-Z Fabrics?)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
– Normal zip instead of the invisible one recommended. This was purely based on what I had in the stash.
– Belt loops added because my waist measurement fluctuates wildly on a day to day basis, so I can wear it on both fat and skinny days (these photos were taken on a skinny day and I think it still looks fine when cinched in by the belt).

_DSF8521Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes. I would probably make the waist band slightly narrower if I made it again, and I might try moving the zip to the side so I could cut the back piece on the fold. I might also experiment with a maxi length one.

Conclusion:
Very happy with this. It’s always nice to have a cheerful summer skirt in the wardrobe. I’m also quite pleased with my pattern matching on the side and back seams.

Gold Lady Skater

IMG_3145Blog photo opportunities are hard to come by these days – I made this Lady Skater in March to fit in with the Stashbusting Sewalong theme of sewing with patterns we already have. I mean, I bought the fabric especially, because I only have one piece of jersey in my stash and it wasn’t big enough. Also, it was very hard to leave gold jersey in the shop. Stashbusting be damned!

I didn’t have anything to make a toile from (I could have toiled the bodice, but I am quite attached to that other bit of jersey and want to make a t-shirt from it), so I went for it and hoped for the best. The only modification I made was to lengthen the bodice by about 1-2″ – I just did this by continuing the size four side lines down to the end of the largest size. As I have a super long body, I thought this would be a prudent measure, but looking at the photos of the back in particular, I think I’ve gone overboard. I don’t think the back looks this bad in real life, because I normally slouch, and having seen this picture, I still love this dress.

IMG_3162Aside from that, I think the fit has turned out well. I have wrinkles above my boobs from the armpits, which I should probably investigate a bit more, but I’m sure I have them on all t-shirts, so I’m not that worried.

This is the comfiest thing I have ever worn, and I am really pleased that I got around to making this pattern up. I’ve found this is the perfect dress for most occasions – I can wear it at work, as a day dress or out in the evening. I don’t think this will be the last time I make it. It goes really well with my new rtw blazer, too.

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Me Made May 2015 – Week 2

Week two, and I’m on a me made roll! It’s taken me a week to get the pictures from my phone to the computer, because apparently Apple aren’t into that happening automatically nowadays (this is what happens when you stop naming your OS after cats).

MAY-5Wearing: Pink t-shirt refashion, Jewel Thief necklace, Levis jeans, M&S vest, Nike trainers

Doing: working from home

The Good: This is the second time I’ve worn this t-shirt so far this month, so it’s obviously doing something right. I got to recycle the previous photo, so no selfies today!

The bad: This is literally the only really casual thing in my wardrobe which isn’t pyjamas (me made jammies are being worn all month by the way).

MAY-7Wearing: Gold Ladyskater Dress (currently unblogged), Uniqlo cardie

Doing: working, voting, showering Alfie with affection

The Good: Nobody realises that this dress is handmade, which is cool. It is also like wearing a nightie – so comfy!

The bad: The fabric is pilling a little already, but I will wear this till it falls apart

MAY-7Wearing: Refashioned Shirt, Uniqlo jeans, ancient Topshop vest

Doing: working from home

The Good: Transforming this from a tunic into a shirt was the best thing I’ve ever done. I wear this all the time. ALLTHETIME!!!

The bad: I’m a bit sad that I’m not wearing this as much as usual in order to give my other outfits a fighting chance

MAY-8Wearing: Simplicity 2215 skirt, H&M(?) denim shirt, Gap denim biker jacket, Clarks boots

Doing: pootling around town

The Good: I hadn’t tried this outfit before, but I was really pleased with it.

The bad: The skirt rides up a bit with tights, which is annoying, but I know I will wear it all the time in the summer

MAY-9Wearing: Refashioned Shirt, Uniqlo jeans, ancient Topshop vest

Doing: having a chilled out Sunday

The Good: See – ALLTHETIME!!!

The bad: I’m not very good at coming up with exciting outfit combos when I could just be wearing a shirt and jeans