Liebster Award and Fabric Sample Sales

The lovely Madame Tifaine nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you so much here’s my random three facts.

  1. I’m currently learning Mandarin and have applied for a scholarship to spend 4 weeks studying in China this summer. Wish me luck!!
  2. I’ve been wanting to start a Etsy business for ages. Here’s a hint of the stuff I have.
  3. I’m making Sloe gin this year. I’m ridiculously excited and plan to save a small bottle and let it age to be drunk when I have my 10th wedding anniversary.

I want to tag Sophie Bach she is such a sewing inspiration.

Now, to the serious business of fabric. Sample sales are amazing. If you do live in London or near enough to travel down easily I would google fabric sample sales monthly because you might catch brilliant offers. Even if you don’t live close I recommend coming down for a sample sale, the prices are incomparable, especially for the quality. I’m kicking myself for missing 3 good fabric sample sales last year because I wasn’t searching for them. The next fabric sample sale I know of is on the 26th March. At Fashion Capital, you can see some of the fabric they offer at the sale here or buy it online if you can’t make it down. They do a monthly fabric sample sale, so if you can’t make it down to this weekend don’t worry.

I’m baffled about what to tweet about usually but I will post information of sample sales on my twitter. I’ll probably post on my instagram too.

I’m officially drowning in fabric. For the first time I’m scared of how much fabric I have. It’s 100% down to a sample sale I visited last week. I got around 40 metres for less then £50.

 

Not even all of it is pictured! So many plans! Thank you to everybody who has been wishing me well. 4 more weeks until I can sew again! The stash needs to start reducing I’ve run out of space for it all. My stash is now spread across three rooms, yikes!

 

Have a brilliant Easter xx

Charlotte Kan Tie Dress

Hello! I have something to tell you.. I’ve gone completely off my sewing schedule and have fallen in deep pattern love. This may sound ridiculous but I’ve found THE PATTERN. The one that I will make a thousand times over.

Just when I thought I was going to step away from indie designers and try the bigger companies, I discovered Charlotte Kan. She is the designer and it looks like, for the moment, she is realising her old designs to sewing patterns. I am eagerly awaiting to see if she turns her long sleeved top into a sewing pattern because the second it does, I’m buying it!

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I love how contemporary the style is, it looks very high street, which is the style I like and want to sew more of. It got me thinking about how much indie pattern companies use a lot of vintage inspiration and how in my first year of sewing I have sewed up clothes that aren’t my style or what I will up up wearing. I still liked the look of certain patterns I bought but too many I probably won’t ever sew or if I do I will hardly wear. I think a few of us get into that problem when we first start sewing and want every pattern ever!!

The Fabric:

I made a special trip to the man outside Sainsburys in Walthamstow market especially to get fabric for this dress. The hype is true. This guy has amazing stuff at such good prices! The fabric I used was Cupro, now my favourite fabric ever! Easy to work with, sooooo soft plus it looks super expensive and elegant. Not bad for £3 a metre!!!

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The Pattern:

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Construction was pretty straightforward, the dress is simple. Putting the PDF together was great because of how few pieces make up the dress (only 4, YAY). Given that the dress is easy I didn’t expect a massive guide but even so, the instructions with were really too sparse for me. I felt it didn’t give me enough options and room for my own input. Straight away the pattern wanted you to zig-zag or overlock your seams, I always french seam (in my head I refer to myself as the french seam queen…please don’t judge me). So after making my choice to deviate from the pattern, I just went through the dress my own way. I didn’t look at the instructions again until I got into a problem. I hope that in future (especially if the patterns are more complicated) Charlotte Kan will give more guidance.

The changes:

I usually go up a size on patterns at the hip but I didn’t need to for this pattern. I might in future versions because if I put on a any more weight on my bum I feel it would be too tight but for now it’s fine.

I took 5cm off the shirt length….and I really should learn my lesson and start being more cautious. I feel it’s a tad too short (the story of all dress/skirts makes) and next time I’m going to just take 2cm off. For this version I will mostly wear it with some leggings.

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I’ve started my second version of this started for a christmas party in silk (oooh la la) and another one with longer sleeves. I contacted Charlotte about making the pattern with longer sleeves (winter is here and I’m only not wearing a coat for the pictures!) and she drew me a little sketch showing me how to add a sleeves.

I want to thank my wonderful mum for the pictures and being so enthusiastic about it! She insisted on this location, chose my accessories and really got into the part of being my official photographer haha

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on which coat to sew. Burdastyle was the favourite and I’m going to buy my tracing paper and give the Burdastyle jacket a try 🙂

Muxiyuan Beijing Fabric Market

This was the first time I went to China as a dressmaker and, after kicking myself for not buying any fabric the year I lived there, nothing was going to stop me from trawling and pawing at the fabric now I was back there again. After a quick google I found Muxiyuan was the biggest and most well know fabric market.

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When we arrived I felt totally underwhelmed yet overwhelmed at the same time, if that makes sense!?! I was expecting a giant maze of fabric stores, with all the merchandise laid out for you and shining with beauty. The reality was it was like a very organised warehouse, mostly aimed at wholesalers. Plus, I went in through the haberdashery section and there was no fabric in that area. Can you see how confused I looked in that picture!! but once you got into the market everything changed.

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If you wanted something it was probably there…and in a variety of colours.

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I was in zip heaven. I never knew zips could look so beautiful and with a 10p price tag for each one, no matter the length, I zip shopped like I’ve never zip shopped before.

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In total I got 25 zips and my only regret is that I didn’t buy more.

and then we found the fabric! and there was a lot!! There was a box outside most of the shops with remnants which is where I was digging through most of the time. The few shops I went into seemed to be fine with selling smaller amounts.

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Fabric wise the visit was pretty much a waste on me. The only fabrics I’m comfortable sewing with are cotton and viscous. For now, I’m no way near confident enough to unleash myself on silk. I am rough with my fabric and my unpicker. Silk would die a violent death at my hands. Which was a pity because as expected there was loads of silk and brocade.

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When asking about the fabric everything was supposedly cotton….hmmmmm. The price for silk and brocade isn’t extremely cheap so there’s not going to be any mega bargains but the quality and variety was amazing.

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If you’re ever in that part of the world, it is well worth going there. The place has something for every seamstress. No english was spoken, so either go with a Mandarin speaker or try to get to grips with numbers. My husband got bored half way through and went to sit down and I managed fine with my shocking Mandarin.

Now it’s amazing being back with my sewing machine and I’m sewing up a storm for myself and for other people also!!! Getting access to wordpress/instagram/anything fun was almost impossible in China. *Tears of joy* virtual home it’s good to be back 🙂