October 21st, 2016
I last went to the Isle of Wight about 15 years ago and hated it! Have never felt the desire to go back. Oh wait tell a lie, have been to East Cowes twice on a boat but only saw a small bit of the town and still wasn’t very impressed. So the feeling that I wanted to go to the Isle of Wight took me by surprise. I think it had more to do with wanting to sail again and Cowes being the nearest to us. Anyway I was excited and anxious to go there.
Once we’d arrived, and I’d like to say what a good job my Husband does of getting the boat out of and into its berth on his own. I am still no use on the boat, I’m just company and the coffee maker. So hats off to him! So back to the story, once we’d arrived and freshened up we took a walk into the town of East Cowes, and found a very lovely esplanade, with fantastic views over the Solent and looking over to the main land and also of Cowes. We had a walk along the esplanade and watched the coming and going of all the nautical activity.
The next day we took the chain link ferry or the floating bridge over to Cowes. I loved this! I have a very weird love of these ferries that take people on a very short journey (in order to avoid what would otherwise be a very long car journey) to the other side of a river. And I get so freaking happy, I think my Husband worries about me a bit…
Here’s some pics of this wonderful thing. Its full of these interesting little art works that I loved.
They’ve put a lot of effort into making it fun and quirk for the time it takes to get from one side to the other is probably less than a minute. However it takes cars as well as foot passengers and you probably wait longer to set off than it takes to cross, so these quirky little art works give you something to look at, if you don’t want to look at whats going on outside on the water. Seriously though I can’t tell you how much I loved this!
Once in Cowes I discovered a town full of charm and wonder. Cowes also has a fantastic esplanade which we spent two days walking up and down, with a lot of sitting and enjoying the views.
Above is a wonderful place where we had a gorgeous lunch one day. The old shop front is just beautiful.
Love the sign.
The sea does like to try and get on land here. It was pretty much hight tide when we arrived and this is how it goes.
I love the colour of the rust.
I think this is called Egypt point, which is a nautical navigation mark, I believe.
We found a pub with an even better view than the “Still and West” in Old Portsmouth. This was in Gurnard which is just along the esplanade from Cowes. We sat here for about an hour and a half just watching the sea and the boats and the clouds, it was really so peaceful. Didn’t want to leave…
October 14th, 2016
Husband and I had two weeks off back in September and so we trundled off to the Solent again. He went first taking our boat to Gosport and I hopped on the train the next day and met him there. I can’t tell you how much I love going to the Solent and the areas around there. I love love love Portsmouth and I love how getting from Gosport to Portsmouth is a little ferry ride away via the Gosport ferry. I love that if you live in Gosport and you have no interest in boats (but why wouldn’t you?) your day to day life still depends on getting on a boat to get you quickly from one side of the harbour to the other. Its the same in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, but more about that later.
Here I am in Gunwharf quays. It was really hot when I arrived and stayed like that for a couple of days which was nice.
I do love a sunset picture with boats. Taken from the “Still and West” pub.
On the pontoon at the marina. This dress came into its own in the hot weather. I can’t tell you how much I love it. And the bag is proving to be pretty damn useful too.
Lovely night time view of the Spinnaker tower form our boat.
We spent about 4 days in Gosport/Portsmouth and then we moved onto Cowes. Now this is the bit that is a major achievement for me. Although I have sailed a couple of times now at Eastbourne, sailing on unfamiliar waters is a different story. It was only a 2 hour journey from Gosport to Cowes but I was still quite anxious. There is just so much traffic out on the solent. There are boats everywhere! Big ones, little ones, fast ones, slow ones. EVERYWHERE! You have to keep your eye on the ball at all times. You can be sailing along quite happily and if you’re not paying attention you look around and there’s a bloody great container ship coming up behind you. However we do keep an eye out so we saw the bloody great container ship when it was still a way off, but boy do they gain on you fast.
I sort of relaxed into it after a while and started to take some pictures.
I think taking pictures helps take my mind off it all, so I do tend to take a lot…
I Love this one above.
And below is our little boat in her berth at East Cowes marina.
She’s usually pretty much one of the smallest boats in the marina, but we love her.
Can you spot her in the above picture?
Just realised I have many many more pics I want to share so will break this up into two or more posts.
October 13th, 2016
For my bags! Yep I’ve been making lots of bags and am hoping to sell them to lovely people. I realised I’d made the ultimate tote bag and thought other people might love them too. I know thats a pretty big claim, but I know bags and I know I’ve hit on a great size and shape for a fabulous tote bag.
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/essjcreative?ref=l2-shopheader-name There’s the link.
Here’s some pics of the bags…
I’m calling them the Humbug striped bag, as i think they look like humbugs.
I really do love mine and my Niece loves hers too.
October 7th, 2016
So its been a while, I’m sorry. I have neglected you my little blog. I’m here now to make amends.
Whilst browsing Fabric godmother a little while ago I came upon this unusual looking fabric
And promptly ordered 3metres of it. Its a roma jersey jacquard. Its quite textured and feels almost woolly, but its not. And unlike most jersey fabrics it does need to have the edges finished as it has a backing and I think the potential to fray. Besides that it was lovely to work with and I enjoyed making yet another trapeze top with it.
I used just over a metre for this top leaving me enough to hopefully make a dress out of it too. Would have had to use way more than a metre if I’d made a long sleeve version.
The above picture shows that the sleeve pattern piece is hanging off the end of the fabric.
Didn’t take long to make and I’m very happy with it. The fabric feels lovely to wear and I think would look good in a sweatshirt type top. I must have a go at making one, one day.
My Husband seems to quite like it too which is nice.
September 23rd, 2016
Are my jersey makes.
I really really love the dress, I wear it with jeans and without and have worn it lots!
So I think I can conclude from this that I’m most comfortable in jersey. I try to look stylish but top of my agenda nowadays is comfort. Gone are the days of wearing clothes that I had to continually adjust and fidget with. Its comfort all the way now and I don’t care. Well I sort of do obviously as I still want to try and look nice.
I’ve also used this bag a lot. I love it!
I have been looking in my wardrobe and am trying to sort it out and take out the stuff I haven’t worn much and being honest with myself and admitting they don’t really work, such as…
I should never have shortened the length or the sleeves, it was fine as it was, now I don’t like it anymore and feel uncomfortable in it.
The fit on this went a little wrong and isn’t as comfortable as it should be, so thats been taken out. As have most of the cotton Mathilde blouses. Gone right off them. I still love the dress versions though.
I love the fabric on the above top, but it has become tight across the bust I feel and once again is not comfortable. Shame as I really do love the fabric. There a re many more and I won’t bore you with them all.
So I’m learning what suits me and what fabrics I like best and will hopefully start to make better decisions regarding what I’m wearing, but don’t hold your breath.
Have you learned what suits you more since starting to make your own clothes?
September 2nd, 2016
Mine does. I haven’t made anything since July! I just haven’t been in the right head space to feel creative I’m afraid. I have had and do have many ideas of things I want to make but I’m just not feeling the flow of creativity to my hands. So I apologise for a lack of sewing blog posts at the moment. I have just bought a truckload of fabric so hopefully having some lovely new fabrics will help inspire me.
Here’s some pics though of something I did do this last weekend. SAILING! yes, I went sailing. haven’t been for nearly 5 years. Stopped enjoying it, had one too many bad experiences. However recently I’ve been feeling the call to sea again. So I went out with my husband, who has been single handing since I stopped going with him. which is just as well as I can’t remember a damn thing about boats and what do to do with all those ropes. So I was just a passenger.
And luckily/amazingly the weather, wind and sea state were all in harmony for once. THIS NEVER HAPPENS, NEVER! Well at least not to me. But it was amazing and wonderful and I loved it.
The above pic is when we were heading out, and below was when we’d tacked and were heading back.
My Husband, the Skipper.
Perfect sea state.
Look at that beautiful sparkly sea.
Above and below, looking towards Beachy Head. Below you can just about see another couple of boats. It was quite busy out there, lots of people taking advantage of the glorious weather.
We were only out for a couple of hours, but believe me it was quite a triumph for me to overcome my fears and actually make it out of the harbour. So I am very pleased with myself.
We moor the boat in Eastbourne Marina, where she has been for about 8 years now. And on a sunny day you can easily believe you’re in the Med.
Above and below are views from the balcony at the Sovereign Harbour Yacht club. In the pic below you can just about see our little boat, she has a purple towel hanging. Just in front of the pale blue building to the left of the pic.
And of course a little bottle of Prosecco or two doesn’t hurt…
And then there are the gorgeous sunsets…
We spent two nights at the Marina on the boat and its like a little holiday. Especially when the weather is good.
So thats one of the things I’ve been doing instead of sewing. The other it seems is work, and I don’t have any pics of that!
August 26th, 2016
Went to the wedding of my middle Niece Kim last month. I wore this..
Which I wore to a wedding reception at the beginning of the year. Very happy to have worn it more than once, as its the most expensive fabric I’ve bought yet!
Here’s a pic of the lovely Bride and Groom and the Brides aunts my Sister and I, and our other halves.
And the beautiful Bride and her Groom. Her dress was stunning, I especially loved the skirt. Was not made by me!
It was a fabulous wedding. Been so long since I’ve been to a family wedding and it was much fun. Looking forward to the next one now and wondering what I’ll make for that?
August 19th, 2016
I’ve been wanting to make a new bag for a few months now. I had an idea of how big I wanted it to be and how long I wanted the handles. However I was procrastinating over this idea for the longest time because I knew I was going to have to draft the pieces myself and I’ve been spoilt with using patterns now (you might recall if you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning that I used to draft all my makes myself) and even though I was still going to be using a very simple shape I was feeling too lazy to do all the measuring out that I used to do when making a bag. also the bags I used to make all had several layers and this was very time consuming. Plus I hadn’t really come across any fabric that I really wanted to make a bag out of recently. Until the striped denim from Merchant and Mills, that I’d made a top out of. I had a feeling it would work really well as a bag.
I cheated with the cutting out and took a bit of a gamble. I didn’t mark anything out at all. I just used my tape measure to guide me, and cut along it. I also folded the fabric so I’d only have to cut out a piece once. This seriously reduced the time it took. And for the most part the pieces were pretty even, so I was quite happy with that. I didn’t line this bag as the denim is fairly robust and sturdy and I also like how the fabric looks on the reverse.
I used some grosgrain strapping that I’d had in my stash for a while, also bought from Merchant and Mills. I like how the straps contrast nicely with the bag fabric.
I’m very happy with my lovely new bag and I was right, the fabric does work really as a bag.
I think I’ve finally got the dimensions and strap length right for a very useful bag. Its comfortable on the shoulder and holds a lot of stuff.
Here I am wearing it with dress and necklace also made by me. Walked into town on one of the hottest days of the year so far, back in July, and I was very comfortable (within reason ) in dress and carrying bag. Not too heavy, even when full of shopping.
My Niece loved it too, and so I made her one. Hers is a little different and also a bit better made than mine. Although mine is not badly made, but it had been a while since I last made a bag. So making a second so soon after meant it was all fresh in my mind and therefore I feel I did a better job of it. I also managed to get some of the selvedge to show, which I had tried to do with mine but it didn’t work.
Loving that edge seam.
I added my label to hers too. I never think to add a label when its for me.
And here’s a modelling pic of my lovely Niece Zoe with her exclusive bag!
She’s very talented and has her own Etsy shop, Meemalz, where she sells miniature clay animals, and takes custom orders for your very own miniature pet. Follow the link and take a look.
August 12th, 2016
So my Mums Birthday was coming up and I had not got a clue what to buy her. After giving it some thought I decided to make her a new apron, she loves her aprons and is always wearing one.
I quite enjoyed deciding on what fabric to get and finding the matching thread and strapping for the ties. Took me ages to make a decision. I ended up with a gorgeous grey and cream spotty fabric, which works really well as an apron.
I find it a very satisfying thing to make actually. Took me about 4 hours, and this one is even neater than my first one. I’m quite proud of it I have to say. And my Mum was very happy with it too!
Below are the pieces, cut out and ready to put together.
I zigzagged all the edges first, this fabric was quite good at fraying.
Very happy with the curves at the sides.
Cost me more to make it than it would to buy one, but I feel you can see the quality in the fabric and the finishing, even if I do say so myself!
August 5th, 2016
I bought some gorgeous 11oz stripey denim from good old Merchant and Mills and silly me I didn’t realise till I got it home that the stripes ran vertically and not horizontally. I don’t know why I was surprised as its happened several times before. Anyway I was slightly disappointed as for some reason I’m really not keen on vertical stripes, and was wondering if I could get away with using the fabric so the stripes would be horizontal, but decided against it as I felt there would be no give in the fabric where I needed it once it was made up.
Oh and just as an aside I had planned to make something different. I was going to make the Merchant and Mills Union dress, I have the pattern. So as I’m lucky enough to live not far from Rye I am able to visit their lovely shop quite often. I tried on 2 of the Union dress samples in a size 10 and 12, and well lets just say it did me no favours. A bit like the Top 64, which I made and hated. So I’m afraid for now I’m sticking with the Trapeze pattern. I did however get to see a toile of their newest pattern offering and let me tell you its gorgeous! And I didn’t end up wasting an awful lot of time making something that I was never going to wear.
On the way home I became a bit concerned about the weight of the fabric too. I’ve already made the Trapeze up in a denim, firstly an 8oz denim and a 5oz dress weight denim. The 8oz is quite sturdy and results in a fairly structural garment whilst the 5oz is a lovely soft denim which drakes a bit better. So I suddenly had a moment of panic about the 11oz, thinking it was going to be too rigid. I managed to allay my fears until the moment I got it out of the washing machine when it felt like very stiff cardboard! It had somehow felt a lot more pliable and softer in the shop. I was a little unhappy with my decision and wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to make a Trapeze with it. Plus I was stuck with 3 metres of the stuff!
Next day though I decided to plough on. I’d had the fabric cut into a 1 metre and a 2 metre piece to save me from trying to wrestle a 3 metre piece of fabric in my living room. I started with the 1 metre piece and made a Trapeze top. And I have to say that although I wasn’t exactly excited about this project the denim was a joy to work with. It behaved and went where I wanted it to go and did what it was told. The thin stripes were a little bad for the eyes at times though, I have to say.
Now considering I don’t like vertical stripes on clothes and the fabric was a little too thick in my opinion, I ended up quite pleased with it.
This is one of the nicest crispest necklines I have ever produced. And I’ve become rather taken with those stripes, looks a bit like a humbug.
Back of the neck.
And because of the vertical stripes, pattern matching wasn’t much of an issue. Which is always a plus in my eyes.
Look at the side seam.
And the centre back seam looks almost invisible, particularly at he top.
Now for rest of the pics.
It does have quite a structured look about it still, but I like it.
I love that it holds its shape.
Unfortunately I still haven’t mastered putting in smooth sleeves, there are tucks and puckers, Patrick Grant and Esme would be horrified! But I put up with it.
It was a pleasure to wear and I felt really good in it.
I am now a convert to the vertical stripes, but not sure if only like them as they are very thin. And from a distance the fabric almost looks plain grey. And now instead of despairing that I have 3 metres of the stuff, I’m looking forward to making another one for sure but maybe a third too. Not sure yet, might end up making a bag. I think the fabric would work really well and look good as a bag.