In My Garden

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The light in the garden in late afternoon was beautiful yesterday.

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These roses surprised me, we’ve lived in the house for over a year and I didn’t see any of these last year. They are beautiful, huge pillowy flowers with a beautiful scent.

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Perennial herbs – sage, chives, oregano and rosemary survived the winter and are flourishing again.

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This chard was also planted last year. I put a couple in the flower bed and the rest in the vegetable raised beds. They are pretty much the only vegetables that survived the winter, we did have a broccoli but it flowered before it grew much, as well as lots of purslane which no one was very interested in eating. We also had some of the leek today. garden3

I’m so pleased with the lupins. I have tried to grow these for years without success, mostly due to slugs. These were planted last year along with aquilegia, echinacea and verbena bonariensis which have all grown very well this year. I’d love to fill the bed with perennials and shrubs so its a little or no work garden. garden1

The colour is very striking, although I’m not sure it seems perfectly natural. It’s almost a royal blue.

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I’ve also started hardening off the seedlings (all ten trays!) but not everything looks ready to go out yet. Some plants don’t seem to have grown much in the last few weeks, but we haven’t had much sun really.

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I planted Little Leprechaun lettuce and Descartes from Sarah Raven, as they looked very pretty (as with everything from Sarah Raven!). There s also sweetcorn, squash, courgettes, cucumber, artichokes and various herbs. I also have seedlings for cut flowers – cosmos, cerinthe, sunflowers, zinnias, ammi majus, to name a few. There are just a few sweetpea plants (most didn’t germinate) which is a shame as I love them.

There’s plenty of work for me to do in the garden, and I am also trying to get our allotment in some sort of shape for beans and the big veg like squash. Are you growing your own plants from seed this year?

Sunday Thoughts

I’ve been doing some thinking about the blog and have made a few changes, including the theme which some may have noticed. I’ve also decided to add some more lifestyle and personal posts which I hope you will all like.

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One thing I’d like to do is to have a regular post to add some thoughts about how the week has gone, and interesting things that have caught my attention, such as great blog posts, progress in the garden, places I’ve been to or would like to visit or recipes I’ve tried. It will also help me to be able to look back on them all.

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We made two batches of scones this weekend, which the two younger children enjoyed helping with. I used the BBC Good Food recipe, which is reliable and straightforward.

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More crumbs ended up on the floor than in the bowl with this little one’s help, so he was dispatched to his dad after a little while!

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All three children love helping with baking, and it’s something we don’t do enough. Pancakes are made most weekends here but not quite as much cake as we’d all like!

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A bit wobbly round the edges, but delicious all the same.

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Good things this week:

Me Made May 2017 is underway, and I’ve managed to wear Me Made clothes most of the week! I realised I need more skirts and trousers to have a proper handmade wardrobe, as I haven’t made any of those so far.

My sister stayed with me for a few days as she’s come from abroad for a month or so. I got to babysit my adorable nephew while she went out to the theatre, he was a bit sad without his mum but at least let me give him some cuddles. We also went fabric shopping in Lewisham.

I had an article published on Amaliah.com on Fashion Revolution and making my own clothes. Please have a read and a look at the rest of the site which is full of great articles and fashion inspiration.

We did a bit more work on painting our fitted shelves and wardrobes, we might even finish one set by next week!

 

 

 

10 Hijab Friendly Sewing Patterns


As a hijab wearing dressmaker, I look out for patterns that are easy to adapt to my requirements. It’s actually quite easy to alter the length of most patterns (sleeves and hemlines) so if I really like a pattern I will still buy it and see if I can make some changes, but this extra step can be daunting if you’re a complete beginner. You can also layer clothes of course and this can work really well for dresses and tops with short sleeves etc. I like having some clothes I can wear at home (when not in hijab) without paying a  high street price for something I won’t wear all the time.

I’ve put together a selection of patterns which can be adapted for a versatile modest wardrobe. You can click on the link in the title for a downloadable PDF pattern, paper patterns are also available for some of these patterns.

Grainline Farrow Dress 

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This is a beautiful dress pattern with long sleeves and simple lines. It would be easy to adapt into a long dress but also looks great with slim leg trousers. I am planning to make one in a Liberty lawn.

Chalk and Notch Waterfall Raglan 

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I’m really looking forward to making this versatile pattern as it can be made as a dress or a top and there are some great pattern hacks. The swingy shape means it is loose fitting on the body but still fits neatly around the shoulders and arms.

Sew Over It Lola Coat (part of City Break capsule collection)

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This is a beautifully draping coat which would be a good cover up in Spring/Summer. The fabric could be a challenge to work with but the end result is stunning.

Grainline Driftless Cardigan 

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I have already made one of these and am planning at least one more. It can be made in a heavy or fine gauge knit to suit the season, and is a great layering piece.

Named Inari Dress 

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I really liked the shape of this dress before but the long sleeve bonus pattern piece makes it even more versatile. It is a good shape to wear with trousers as it is not fussy and there is no shaping at the waist (which can look odd with trousers).

Sew Over It Nancy Dress

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The Nancy Dress is a simple loose fit Jersey dress with panels, which would make a useful tunic dress over jeans or trousers.

Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress

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I’ve made this dress once already and I’m sure a few more dresses and tops will be made with this pattern. It’s great for statement colours and prints which don’t need a lot of fussy design details. It’s a good beginner pattern and a quick to sew staple for more experienced sewists.

Named Kielo Dress

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I love this pattern as its elegant and has a beautiful shape. It does have a split at the back but this could be altered or I would maybe just wear leggings underneath. It also comes with a free long sleeve pattern addition that can be downloaded separately.

 

Liesl & Co Everyday Skirt 

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This is a good basic skirt pattern which is simple to sew up. I have plans to make at least two maxi length versions before Me Made May.

Colette Moneta Dress

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Having just taken part in the Moneta Party, I had to include this pattern as its very versatile and a great pattern for jersey.

A few of these should find their way into my wardrobe before Me Made May, which I’m planning to join in with. Do you have any sewing patterns you’d recommend for a modest wardrobe?

 

 

 

 

Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress


This shift dress has been in my wardrobe for a while now. I bought the fabric and pattern at the Knitting and Stitch Show in October. There was a dress on display in another print and it looked like a straightforward project. Another friend on Instagram also posted about her plans to sew the same dress so we ended up having a mini-sewalong.

She did say that her first attempt was quite small so I erred on the side of caution and used a smaller seam allowance than stated. It’s actually a bit loose now but I don’t mind that too much.


I improvised a loop with elastic and used a button instead of a hook and eye fastening. I find them a bit fiddly when I can’t see the fastening easily.

The fabric is a beautiful navy floral crepe which washes perfectly. The colours were less bright when wet but got brighter again once the fabric dried, to my relief. I couldn’t find it on the website so it may have sold out, but they have a great selection of dressmaking fabric available.

I usually throw the dress on with navy smart trousers for work or jeans on my days off.


It also goes well with my Driftless cardigan. It’s a versatile and comfy dress and great for showing off patterned fabrics which don’t need a lot of design details.

Next I’m working on my dress for the Moneta Party. There’s still time to join in if you haven’t already!

Grainline Wardrobe Basics

I bought a few Grainline Studio patterns in the Black Friday sale – the Scout Tee, Lark Tee and Driftless cardigan. I have been planning a handmade wardrobe for a while and want to get ahead so I can join in with Me Made May later in the year. I have a few dresses and tops now but not that many basic every day tops. I also prefer to wear fine gauge cardigans and have realised that I’m not really going to be able to knit my own ones so why not try sewing them instead?

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This Scout Tee is made with Observer fabric in Speck Stardust Metallic print. I made a size 4, grading the waist to a size 6. I looked at the garment measurements afterwards and realised that the grading was probably not necessary as there is a lot of ease in the pattern anyway.

dsc_0818I’ve tried to move away from making clothes in quilting cotton as it feels quite stiff and crisp even after washing, but this print was so pretty with the metallic splashes that I decided to make an exception. It feels quite comfortable on, although I usually wear a thin layer underneath.

dsc_0813This top is made with an Indonesian lawn I bought on holiday in Dubai. The fabric is very soft and light. It says Liberty on the selvedge. Although it does not appear to be genuine, the fabric is comparable to tana lawn.

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I was planning to make this a toile but I love the print now I’ve made it up and have worn it a few times already. This weight is ideal for the pattern as it drapes well and is comfortable.

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Finally, this is my Driftless cardigan. This pattern was more of a challenge, with 11 pieces to cut out. Unfortunately I forgot to cut out the lower hem bands and threw the remaining fabric away before I realised, so improvised by slip stitching the hem. It is not really noticeable and gives a reasonably neat finish.

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The fabric is a featherweight jersey from Fabworks  which has now sold out. It was a bit slippery so a challenge to cut out, but easier than expected to sew. I am planning another in their amazing felted wool jersey. The teal has sold out but there is some navy and black left if you’re quick.

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I’ve got a few more projects ready to blog about so am looking forward to sharing those with you as well! In the meantime, I am also planning for Edinburgh Yarn Festival, my first visit there and first trip away on my own since I can remember!

Makelight Course Review

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Despite a nasty bout of flu, I’ve had a good start to the year. I signed up to the Makelight ‘Beautify your Instagram’ course on impulse, with the idea of improving my photos and connecting with other makers. I didn’t have any real expectations otherwise, but have noticed a huge improvement in the quality of my images, because I’m thinking so much more about my lighting, composition and colours. I have always been drawn to bright colours, (think Rice Denmark ) but this hasn’t always come across in my photos, as I would not pay much attention to lighting and the background or composition. I found the Insights report provided very useful in focussing my attention on choosing colours I love. This can be challenging, as I do enjoy being spontaneous on social media and having to think about lighting for example, means that I can’t just post snaps of what I’m making at night!  Being patient has its rewards though, as I’m really pleased with how my photography is improving.

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One thing that has really surprised me is that I have been able to use objects I already have at home as props. I had always thought I’d need to go out and buy lots of new things for this purpose, but it turns out that I have plenty of bright and pretty things to use already. I also like having glimpses of work in progress in some of my pictures. I have also got to ‘meet’ many other people on the course, some of whom are very inspiring. qodqjwr2wh3rvfzunvq8Emily and Stef have created a friendly and eclectic community of businesses and makers and I was amazed to find myself in a Facebook group of 300+ members!  The Live Q&A sessions were extremely valuable as Emily answered individual questions on all kinds of issues – branding, lighting, equipment, styling, sojmetimes for nearly two hours. The amount of time given was much more generous than I had expected, and the Instagram feedback session (where individual feeds were reviewed) was particularly helpful, even though I wasn’t lucky enough to have been chosen.

Having been quite busy in the month with work and family commitments, I wasn’t able to go through every lesson or Live Q&A, so I’m very glad to be able to access those and the workbooks after the course finished. I’m sure I will be referring back to the lessons and continuing to build on the skills I’ve learned. The main benefit to me is that it has reawakened my love of photography and finding beauty in things around me – this is something I took great pleasure in a few years ago but had put aside for a while. I would really recommend this course to anyone who wants to develop their social media in a meaningful and enjoyable way.

The Makelight ‘Photography for Makers’ Course is due to start shortly or you can try the taster course for free.  Follow me on Instagram here .

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Children’s Makes

I’m playing catch up with a few makes so you’ll all have to bear with me while I race through them so I can get to the new stuff!  I have been posting some of them on Instagram so they might be familiar to anyone who follows me there.

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This skirt was made using a tutorial for a Flat Fronted Skirt found here on the Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom blog. I love this Dashwood cuckoo clocks print and it has been very versatile due to all the colours in the print.

 

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My daughter has worn it lots with coloured tights and bright cardigans.

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Didn’t realise the above shot was so moody but I still love her little poses!

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This is the Oliver and S Culottes pattern (from the Lunch Box Tee + Culottes set). I bought the Cotton and Steel apples print with a skirt in mind but thought this pattern would also work well.

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I cut a size 4 and the waist was a little big for her, but I cinched it with a row of hemming inside the waist seam. The box pleats are very cute and gives a very nice tailored look.

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She chose to wear this with red sparkly tights, an orangey-red cardigan and a cute Uniqlo x Liberty top. Bright and a bit over the top!

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This mirror from Bangladesh is her current obsession. She has her fads (like her mother!)

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These moments are rare but precious. The little one takes every opportunity to attack his sister, and he finds plenty of them! But he gets away with it thanks to his mischievous smile.

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See?!

He’s wearing the Oliver + S School bus Tee in a C. Pauli organic interlock from The Village Haberdashery. I wasn’t too hopeful as my printer scaled the pattern smaller and although I cut a 2T it was tiny and I realised too late. I used a 1/4″ seam and it fits, because he is small for his age. It won’t last too long though.

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So that’s a whistlestop tour of a few things I’ve made. I have also made a few clothes for myself which I will blog soon.