Tag Archive | fabric

The dream bucket list fabric.

So about this time last year I realised I was buying fabric far too fast for our tiny flat and far faster than I could make it into anything useful. I followed all the fabric stores on email and Instagram and I was a regular visitor to the fabric stall on Lewisham market. Things came to a head when Fabric Godmother posted a beautiful digital printed coating on her mailing list with limited quantities (there is more in stock this year) and within an hour I had dropped nearly £100 on 5m of the stuff. I had the vague intention of making a goth/fairy princess cloak with it. But really I was being a complete muppet as I in no way at that point had the skills to sew a coat, it’s something I am hoping to get into next year.

It is very very beautiful and I love to sit and stroke it, but should I have bought it – probably not. But buying it made it clear to me I had a bit of a problem so I needed to do something about it.

So I culled all the fabric stores from my email mailing lists and removed all the ones I was following on Instagram and Facebook. This did actually massively help and for the first part of the year my impulse buying fabric was a minimum.

As the year has progressed my fabric buying crept up again. Partly because I’ve got a bit of a problem – in my defence I have chronic fatigue, I spend large periods of time unable to get on with anything except lying in bed semiconsciously flicking around on my iPhone, if I’m dreaming of sewing but unable to do anything about it it’s the easiest thing in the world to buy things for projects I plan to make when I’m better.

Partly because this year we were supposed to be moving house (fingers crossed and all the prayers it will actually happen in January) and instead of trying new patterns and improving my skills but using £2/£3 market fabrics from my stash to make the first couple of versions, in order not to have projects midway through when we actually come to move I’ve been sticking to repeating the same couple of really simple patterns over and over again, which has meant I’ve had a major tendency to buy more expensive fabrics and fabrics I’m totally in love with to make it a bit more interesting.

& partly because three of my favourite things in the world ever, celestial prints, leopard print and liberty/William Morris fabrics have been completely in fashion this year so there’s been lots and lots of Laura friendly fabrics available whereas in previous years there hasn’t been so much.

Which leads me nicely to Liberty print/William Morris…. so I’ve been completely addicted to stalking The Vampires Wife on social media and totally fell in love with the Liberty print maxi and midi dresses she makes. I also bought as much of the H&M William Morris collection as I could get my hands on, & have bought several lengths of tana lawn in prints I’m particularly attached to to make my own maxi and midi dresses once I’m able to sew complicated stuff again.

The holy grail for me has always been Liberty jersey. I love Tana Lawn and sewing pretty sun dresses, but jersey is my thing and I was super sad a couple of years ago when Liberty discontinued their jersey. However when I complained I was assured they were relaunching it in August, so I waited and went into the store the first week it was back to check the selection out as they usually have more/different stuff available in store than online.

& it was dire 😢 I wasn’t particularly keen on the print collection this year anyway but there were no classic prints available at all it was all the stuff that was seasonal this year, so I didn’t buy any and went away and sobbed and decided my dream of beautiful handmade Liberty jersey dresses was still completely out of reach.

However unbeknownst to me, as I’d stopped following all the fabric stores, although the Liberty print jersey Liberty themselves were selling was a bit of a shit selection, on other websites some absolute classic prints were getting an airing.

& then one day a couple of months ago I was reading Lauren Guthrie’s blog and idly flicked onto her fabric shop (Guthrie & Ghani ) website in order to have a closer look at the materials she was using to make a coat -as I’m intending to try it myself when we move. & there was my holy grail of fabric. Liberty Strawberry Thief print jersey. My favourite print of all the Liberty and the William Morris ones, in my favourite fabric. & there was only 2.5m left!

So I had it. At £24 a meter it was out of what I would normally consider my pricerange but within 10 minutes I’d dropped 65 quid including shipping on it.

(In my justification- not that I really have one, I’d just picked up two Seasalt jersey dresses for £10 each in a charity shop that turned out to have cost £65 each new – so the way I’m looking at it is it’s only the same cost as buying one new Seasalt dress – that’s what Im telling myself anyway. 😂🤦🏼‍♀️)

So I made it up into a dress pretty much immediately.

It’s another basic Kitschy-coo patterns lady skater dress, of which I’ve made many before, but with a longer skirt than I’ve made previously and added bell sleeves. I thought that made it a bit more up to date and stuff like Vampires Wife inspired than if I’d left it plain, & as it was such expensive fabric I wanted the dress to look as expensive as possible.

To aid in which I trimmed the sleeves, the neck and the hem with a navy blue cotton crochet lace I found from a French store on Etsy.

And I think it looks amazing on….

& by sheer good fortune it looks amazing with my rainbow knitted shrug I made way back 4 years ago and was the first thing I knit.

I totally love this dress. I love it now it’s new and shiny and looks fashionable, but I think it’s one of those pieces that is really going to work well in 5 years time when it’s completely got that old favourite lived in feeling. & it’s such lovely quality fabric and hopefully well sewn enough that it will last that long.

So anyway on discovering that Lauren posted the fabric on the Guthrie and Ghani Instagram several weeks before I found it, I have reinstated my subscriptions to all the fabric shop news feeds. So I’m going to have to find another way of restraining my buying habits.

I’ve also discovered that there are several sites selling Liberty jersey, and a couple a lot cheaper than Guthrie and Ghani – though I haven’t seen Strawberry Thief anywhere else. So there’s going to be a lot more Liberty jersey coming up in my collection in the future.

But if you could have asked me when I first started sewing what my dream makes would be, a Strawberry Thief jersey dress would have been right up there. & being able to do things like this is why I’m so glad sewing is a skill I’ve persevered with!

Hipster shopping in Lewisham -Cacti and toadstools.

I finally have my actual computer back! 🙂 I installed a new hard drive all by myself and got it loaded up again with everything, and it works, & I am so damn happy, as finally I can do stuff like clear out my emails properly and post on here without worrying about my phone app crashing every 5 minutes. I am less happy about the fact all the iPhoto photos on my external hard drive are no longer compatible with the version on my laptop, so I still might have to take it in to the Mac-store and get someone to sort it after all. But you can’t have everything I suppose. 😦

Anyway, apart from burgling my computer. I have been away for a week and then came down with the inevitable lurgy for this time of year. So I’ve been permanently under the weather and haven’t done much sewing.

However I decided to go for a walk to Lewisham this morning to get a bit of fresh air and exercise. As well as me being ill, London has been freezing cold and polluted as hell lately, so I haven’t got out much.

This may have been a bit of a mistake for my bank balance, though I am really happy with what I’ve come home with.

First the fabric stall.

Back in summer they had some cactus prints in and posted on Facebook about it, but I was ill that day, & by the time I got down there the next day they were all gone. I wasn’t that gutted though, cuz they were all on a white background. & me and white fabrics aren’t best friends.

But today I picked this up:

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The lighting makes it look a bit shinier than it should, but it is black, & covered in cacti  and succulents. I’m not quite sure which pattern to use with it yet, but I am dead excited by this. I need to use it soon though as it is excruciatingly hipster at the moment.

Oh yeah, I also picked up some grey jersey and a pretty floral fabric to add to the general stash (I don’t know why I do this, I am so badly out of room to store the damn stuff!)

 

Then I went to Tiger,

I was tipped off about Tiger being amazing for Christmas stuff last year, but then I didn’t make it there till after Christmas, and as they change their stock immediately afterwards and don’t have a sale, missed out on the pretty stuff completely. Seeing how much I bought this time round, maybe it was for the best!

Er yeah….

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Clockwise from the top

They have been doing stuff with the stags on all year, & I loved it, but this is the first time they did a tray that was actually a sensible size, so I snapped it up.

The small thing with a stags head is a felt fridge magnet, it is so damn cute, & I needed another fridge magnet as there is a particularly large Japanese takeaway menu that isn’t properly stuck to our magnet board at the moment. So for that one at least there was an excuse.

Which is more than I can say for the gnomes, they are apparently paint it yourself, but I think I might leave them white to go with our bedroom decor. I have no idea why I bought them really, except they were £3 and there is a female gnome, I have a real thing for female gnomes.

The two boxes of small mushrooms are supposedly for putting on the tree, but I’m not sure, I might keep one of them for craft projects, I can see them going really well with a fairy wreath.

Talking of which the four wreaths at the bottom are actually for round candle sticks. They have mushrooms and berries on them. I have four lovely black candles I stole off my brother earlier in the year, that will go with the wreathes very well but I don’t have nice candle sticks to go with them yet. I’d really like old fashioned brass ones.

The grey man at the front reminded me of Gandalf, which is a good enough reason to buy anything.

The two in the pack together I just thought were quite cute and the lots of little dolls in the pack are a garland of elves apparently. I quite like the idea of a garland of small dolls.

And lastly the mushrooms in pots. They are candles apparently! I just thought that was adorable!I love fly agaric mushrooms and I love candles so its a perfect match. there were cactus ones as well, but apart from obviously I am going to have a dress, I’m not that into cacti as a hipster thing (we tried recently but they lived about 6 weeks) so I left them behind.

There is also loads of craft stuff for kids in Tiger at the moment. I had to stop myself coming home with about 3 different types of toy weaving looms and one of those knitting dolls, but really we do not have the space.

Anyway. instead of buying stuff I need to get on with making stuff, my xmas dress is halfway through, so hopefully that will be finished in then next two weeks. I don’t want it to go over to another year!

 

Green boyfriend hat and random fabric

 

So literally the day before the weather turned and went really cold I managed to finish the ribbed hat for Jon to match the scarf I made him earlier in the year.

I found this a much more pleasant knit than the scarf, basically because the main pattern was k3p2, which had just enough element of variation in it to stop me going up the wall. Although I started the hat on a circular needle I finished it off on double pointed needles, which was my first attempt using those and was a bit of a disaster, although I got the hang of it, in the process I dropped a load of stitches, which I had to sew back up at the end, though it isn’t noticeable at all in the finished hat.

Pattern was the Boyfriend Hat by Stephanie Nicole Bennet. Yarn was Debbie Bliss Donegal Arran Tweed, which matched the scarf yarn & I’ve had in my stash for ages. With hindsight the tweed wool is too irregular, changing in width the whole time & with random bobbles to have been ideal for the patterns I chose, but they’ve still come out reasonably ok, & Jon likes them which is the main thing.

Next on the project list is a tiger print scarf and hat combo for me, & then a repeat of the Bobeek slouchy beanie hat I made end of last year for Jon as he wants one for himself it suited him that much.

In sewing news I have my xmas lolita project all cut out and ready to go.  I’ve also bought some more fabric recently, of which these two are the highlights….

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This brocade is a replica of what if I remember correctly is a Byzantium piece found in a viking grave. It is by a Czech  company called Sartor who specialise in reproduction medieval fabric & have had stuff used in Lord Of The Rings & Game of Thrones. Their authentic stuff (made in silk and velvets ) is way way expensive, but their polyester brocades (which this is) are quite cheap, though still a lot more than I would normally pay for fabric.& as I am intending on using this to make sleeves for a medieval goth dress I am planning, the fact that its polyester and therefore easily washable is a massive bonus.

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This very good quality what I think is Cotton Sateen I picked up from the local fabric stall for £3 a meter. I wasn’t sure what it was exactly other than a massive floral print until I got it home and opened it up properly. I’m not sure what digital, old masters style printed fabric is called, but I’ve been dreaming of something like this for so long, & under usual circumstances if something like this comes up its far too expensive for me to buy.

I am planning on making it into a Juliette & Justine style floral lolita dress, however there is 5m, so I’m hoping to get a skirt out of it as well.

I’ve also bought some other random bits off the market as the stall holder lady is ill 😦 and her daughter is going to take over from after xmas, so who knows whats going to happen. I may have to start rationing my fabric buying or pay higher prices for stuff again.

 

The Bathroom, normality and the trouble with Disney.

So now that we’ve given it a week or two to wear in and nothings actually leaking, here are a few pictures of what has kept me away from the internet and my sewing machine these last couple of months…..

 

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It is quite difficult to take photographs in there as it is a very small room and so its hard to get nice angles. Also the window is very bright compared to the rest of the room, so it skews the colours a bit in photographs. The wire locker is off the internet, and the shelf unit, lantern and metal stuff on the window sill is all from the garden department of TKMaxx. We are still working on some kind of attractive storage method for the toilet roll! The pictures are not spectacular, but we are very pleased with the outcome.

Even though the building finished 2 1/2 weeks ago now, the thing that is holding us to ransom is that as this is a very small flat with only two rooms apart from the bathroom, dust from the building work got everywhere. We have literally had to deep clean the whole flat including stuff like taking out all the cds and vinyls and cleaning them all individually. This has happened at a time when Jons work has gone ballistic and I have ended up with a Chronic Fatigue relapse as although at the beginning of the building work I was safely tucked up at my parents, I ended up having to come back to London and run round after the builders which has been very damaging to my health. So it has taken us a little longer than we planned to get the house back to normal. Hopefully it will all be sorted this weekend.

However this week things have been organised enough that I have been able to get my sewing machines back out and find some fabric ready to work on. All the fabric is sadly piled up in bin bags in its wardrobe at the moment, as we had to put it like that so the decorator could move the wardrobe to paint behind it (oh yeah, we had our bedroom repainted and the kitchen and living room ceiling and an air brick put in whilst we were at it.). Also the shelves inside the wardrobe, which are cheap garage ones from Argos, didn’t last the move (the plastic warped) so we are going to have to buy new ones before we can put my fabric back again properly 😦

Luckily however, when I opened a couple of bags up to see if I could find something I felt like working on, the straight dress fabric was near the top, so I was able to pull two pieces out and they are currently hanging on the back of the door washed ready to get used next week.

First up is this one….

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Its a really vivid floral brushed cotton effect fabric (which was not cooperating when I was trying to photograph it in focus)

I’m intending to use this pattern with it:

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Which I used to make this dress (link to post with considerably better photos, initial construction post here!)

I have only made it twice (the first time was a mock-up) but it is one of my favourite patterns as it is really quick to sew and only takes a few hours, and right now, even though I had a list of stuff I wanted to sew this year, I just need to get a few wearable things out quickly to regain some momentum, as having been out of action with the building for the best part of two months, and having spent the two months before working on that steampunk/lolita dress (which incidentally having mulled it over for a while I now reckon I know exactly what I need to do to fix it.) I’m kind of really rather behind and a little frustrated. I also have a massive gap in my wardrobe for just every day long sleeved dresses.

The second piece of fabric I  have is this….

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Which is just a standard viscose. But I absolutely love the pattern on it. For some reason it massively reminds me of Studio Ghibli films, especially Nausicaa, as its the same shade of blue as her outfit and has pollen/dandelions on it.

However, when mulling over what to do with it, I realised it has a much more mainstream pop culture reference going…

Disney "Beauty & the Beast 3D" Belle. ©2011 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

 

(image nicked randomly off google)

Which leaves me with a bit of a quandary. What I would like to do with this fabric is a 40’s style dress same as the one above, but there is only just about 2m of it, so even if I ignore any ideas about directional pattern placement it is going to be a bit of a squeeze. A pinafore dress such as my dragon one would solve the problem nicely (with less ruffles as I don’t have enough fabric). But if I’m going to do that, I might as well make it full on Belle cosplay, which does not go with my current hair colour and actually, despite me happily wandering round half the time wearing lolita or other OTT fashions, kinda isn’t my style. So I am going to have to go through my pattern collection really carefully and work out a way to use this fabric I’m happy with.

Hopefully I’ll have at least one dress to show by the end of next week, however I am once again struggling to get my roots dyed in a timely fashion (seriously giving Courtney Love a run for her money at the moment) as the towels I customarily use for the job (Ie the old skanky, it doesn’t matter if they get bleach on them ones) have been used to clean up for the builders, and it is only as I intended to sort it out today that I realised I needed to put them through the washing machine. So it will be next week before I get to do that too, and I’m sure as hell not taking any more pictures with my hair in this state! I’m sure I’ll manage though!

Random update….what I’m doing, fabric I bought, selfie!

I’ve actually been working on a dress for the past few weeks, and as this is a particularly complicated one that required a mock-up and I am trying to get the finish as damn near perfect as possible, it is taking me longer than normal. I am also slightly lethargic about it as I have had this one lined up for the best part of a year. I need to make it, it is a lolita-steampunk dress which is something I desperately need for clubbing, and I have a deadline for a friends hen party in a few weeks, so I actually have to get a move on now. However it is dragging a bit.

It also doesn’t help that I visited the local fabric stall for the first time in a while and she was just putting out a new batch of stock, so I went a bit mad…..

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The Hawaiian print is 100% cotton, which is unusual for that stall, and I have 4m of normal cotton and 2m of cotton sateen. I am thinking another halter neck dress with this one, using the pink satin on the right as lining, and possibly a 50’s style blouse out of the sateen. The floral viscose at the front is bookmarked for Sewaholic’s Cambie Dress, the pattern for which arrived a couple of days ago. I think a slightly baroque version would be very nice, & the leopard print at the back is going to be a mock up of this dress from Butterick, designed by Gertie, who has basically one of the best sewing blogs on the internet. Having googled versions people have already done it looks far nicer when the ruched bit at the top is the same colour as the main part of the dress, and i think I have enough to do that, so it will be a very wearable mock up if it ends up fitting me, however it is another of those damn dresses with boning where you can’t really fit the bodice till you’ve finished it, so I will have to see.

Anyway, I have therefore got a little distracted and need to concentrate on the one I’m actually making, and then the 4 or so things after that I actually need to make before I get all excited and start making new shiny stuff.

However I have been feeling ill today so I haven’t got on with anything, apart from taking a selfie cuz I am feeling particularly stylish today….

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Bow and long sleeved jersey top by myself, trousers m&s and wooly jumper from topshop. Bedroom is a bit of a mess, but is about to be redecorated.

Yeah, so theres no point in having clothes if you don’t look after them, so I better go and do a pile of ironing :-S

Final post about the London Edge is coming (if anyone is still interested) hopefully I’m a bit more organised next week! 

acorns and unicorns and pretty things!

So I’ve been really quite busy.

In between watching the olympics on the telly and avoiding the olympics crowds by hiding at my parents’ I have been buying things and making stuff.

Firstly..I picked this up a couple of weeks ago (£1.50 in a charity shop- nice!), but forgot to post about it,

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The acorns are made of little bits of polished wood. It is so pretty, and very very Mori Girl!

Then I made a couple of long sleeved t-shirts…..

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This one is a quick remake of a plain round necked purple job a friend of my mums gave me, it was too big and the neckline wasn’t flattering.

The unicorn was copied freehand from this colouring page and the lace is vintage i picked up ages ago.

I’m not sure about it, I think the neckline is too low, I didn’t actually cut it that bad, but it has stretched. i had the same problem with my cherries top I made a couple of weeks ago. It was the same kind of jersey too, the thick old fashioned sort rather than the thin modern sort, which I seem to be having no problems with at all. Does anyone know what i can do to stop this happening? I’ve stabilised the shoulder seams.

Also I made this for Jon….

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It is using the same sewaholic pattern as all the rest, which is technically a girls, but jon is going to wear it for goth clubbing and playing onstage with his band, so it actually works really well as a guys top for that purpose. It is the first renfrew top I have made I can say is pretty much perfect, there is nothing wrong with it at all, so I am really pleased! 🙂

So I already have a list of sewing projects taking over the flat, and then when I was out shopping in a local shopping centre (Which shall remain nameless, as this was too good a discovery) I walked past the £2 a meter stall, which I usually ignore because it is usually full of crepe style synthetics I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole and noticed it actually had a few interesting looking pieces on it….

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These three are all jerseys. I think I got 2 meters of each but in a couple of cases its a little more, cuz although the guy would cut it for you, there was no point if there was only 75cm or so extra in the piece.

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This is some kind of gauze, which is more the usual stock of this particular stall, but it has pretty feathers on it! No idea what I’m going to use it for yet, but at that price I don’t really care.

And this is the find of the century….

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About 5m of UNICORNS!!!! Sadly it is viscose, not cotton so is a bit shiny and see through and therefore better fro a Marilyn Monroe style Vivienne of Holloway knock off dress, rather than a Lolita number, but given I was revving up to spend 15 quid a meter on this (possibly if i could afford it) £8 for 5m of the viscose equivalent seems like a brilliant deal to me. The care label on it also says it is Japanese, so at least its quality viscose!

Apparently he got all this stuff cuz the samples department at Wallis were having a clear out. No idea what they would need unicorns for, but I am very grateful to where ever it came from.

Recently my sewing has lacked a bit of focus actually, but this month I have 3 actual deadlines for garments for the end of the month, otherwise I am going to have to go out and buy stuff, so given I have so much fabric to play with now its good to be forced to prioritise. I’m not going to say what the things are for incase I don’t manage them though! 🙂

Stuff I have been doing!

I’ve been really super busy with the whole sewing thing lately….well ok, a bit with the sewing…quite a bit with shopping, but its all sewing stuff so it counts!

Firstly…the top I’ve made….

It is the v–necked version of the Renfrew Top from Sewaholic…Took the body in by a dress size and used 3/4 length sleeves on this one, which looks a lot better.

Slightly messed up the v-neck, the tension of the neck band either side of the v ended up being different, and I slightly, slightly missed the centre of the v with the centre seam of the top band. Fixed the slightly wonky centre by whacking a bow over the top, but there isn’t a lot I can do in this round about the tension…next time I will measure a bit more carefully, tack the centre in place before I sew it and follow some advice I saw on a blog to cut an inch off the neck band before I sew it in order to stretch it all out as I sew it in place , so it all has high tension and hopefully doesn’t end up uneven, and it looks tidier when its finished.

It is still totally wearable though, so that is ok! 🙂

I think it looks ok anyway. 🙂

After that I decided I wanted to keep sewing a load of jersey tops as they are great for this kind of transitional weather and I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing with my sunmmer sewing yet. However I hit the massive barrier that I’d run out of jersey, and  all the stuff I’ve seen online that I like was about £20 meter.

So I decided to go on a couple of reconnaissance missions up Berwick Street and Goldhawke Road to see what is actually available in the shops and for what prices as I have never really done jersey before so had no clue.

Started with Berwick Street, as I had a load of haberdashery stuff to buy and it was convenient. Total no goer on the jersey front. Very few shops stocked it, those that did were like £30 a meter for plain stuff and I couldn’t really see that that was value for money.

Just as I was beginning to be slightly relieved that Berwick Street was a total waste of space as far as being too expensive and not really my kind of thing went, I went into Biddle Sawyer silk, which is totally the last shop before you get to the end of the fabric bit and end up in the remnants of what used to be the red light district.

Oops. First thing I spotted was this….

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in the bargain bin for £10 a meter.it is pure silk, and on closer inspection has little art deco naked ladies all over it! 🙂

I have bought 4 meters of it, and hope to use it to line a cape or a coat at some point in the future when I get hold of some cheapish coating I like.

Then I turned round and on the table saw multiple shiny metallic shades of what I assumed was some kind of lamé, but on closer inspection was actually leather!! It was rather expensive, totally bad for the environment, but one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

So I went home and talked it over with Jon and thought about it..and ended up dreaming about it..and so I am now the proud owner of a sparkly champing pink cowhide …

it looks gold in that picture, but it is actually pinker. I have decided I am going to make a simple A-line or straight skirt out out it, as it is sooo trashy looking anyway I need to keep it classy. I am going to wait a while to make it though, as I am chronically loosing weight at the moment and the smaller I am the more skirt I can make from the cowhide. 🙂 Also I haven’t selected a pattern yet, and whatever I get I want to mock up in denim first to make sure it is totally perfect before attacking something that expensive! (I also could do with a denim skirt.)

Then yesterday I went down Goldehawke  Road with a shopping list of stuff I needed….black denim, lavender lining, black t-shirt jersey and any patterned jersey I could get my hands on…

And remarkably got it all, for far less than I had anticipated…..

purple/lavender taffeta (its a lot less pink in real life), black denim and black t-shirt fabric

patterned jersey – the range at Goldehawke Road was pretty damn awful as well, however this one shop had these in, for what ended up being £3 a meter, which will do nicely, and there was a shop which has ultra fashionable nautical stuff for £8 a meter, which I didn’t like enough to pay that much for.

Think Goldehawke Road is mainly best for basics actually and I’ll buy anything patterned off the internet in future 😦 or from Ditto in Brighton, they have some nice looking stuff at the moment, but experience tells me to look at their stuff in real life first, and we are going to Brighton for two nights next month, so I will look properly then. 🙂

Now I bought all this, I am totally not going to get the chance to use it for the next 5 weeks. Jon is on Sabatical for a month, and we are going away for two and a half weeks to various places, and even when we are at home I doubt I will get anything done as our flat is super tiny and its very difficult for me to sew without taking over the entire living room/kitchen which really won’t be possible when Jon is home.

I will also be sharing this computer for the duration, so doubt I’ll be blogging much.

Looking forwards to it so much though! 🙂