Friday 27 February 2015

Lottie blouse sew-along schedule!

Right, it’s time! I’ve kept you waiting long enough! Here’s the proposed schedule for the Lottie blouse sew-along. If you haven't grabbed yourself the free pdf pattern yet, where have you been? ;)
I hope this gives you an idea of the time frame of the sew-along, and a chance to prepare for it.

Don’t worry if you can’t follow the whole process through, as all the steps will be kept on the blog so you can always refer back to it. 

Grab your button now for the sew-along:

Queen of Darts

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Introduce the FREE pattern for reversible camera lens cases!

I have something completely new for you today. I have pulled together a little PDF pattern for you all! I was planning on sharing this as my giveaway for the Sew Grateful Week, but having not seen much movement on that this year, I have decided that now is as good as ever, so here it is! 

It's a bit of a mouthfull, but it's a simple little pattern to make padded cases for your precious camera lenses. 

As someone who loves travelling, as well as sharing what I’ve made, I’ve really jumped onto the photography wagon pretty late. After years of relying on point and shoot cameras, and sometimes phones, I’ve lost count of the number of times I wished I could have better captured the moment. Finally, a few months ago, I took the plunge and got myself a Sony Alpha A6000, a compact system camera. What can I say? It has been everything that I could’ve possibly wished for.

But I soon found myself with a small (first world) problem – to make the most of the interchangeable lens camera, I purchased a couple of spare lenses. Despite the high cost (boy are these pieces of glass expensive!), I was surprised that none of them had come with even a pouch. So I spent the first few weeks wrapping them carefully in bubblewrap before putting them in my padded camera bag… You can’t be too careful with glass!

Then it occurred to me that I am able to solve this problem -- I can sew a few padded cases  for the lenses myself. What’s more, this would be a great way of using up scrap fabrics! After doing some basic maths, I realised that it would be easier to accurately draw shapes to specifications on the computer; and then I thought, why not share it with my readers even though the pattern is simple? I’ve been thinking about digitising some of my self-drafted patterns anyway and sharing them here for free, so this simple pattern could be a test run. I also know that a lot of sewing bloggers are keen photographers – and I can guess that just by looking at the wonderful photos on your blogs!

I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that...

1) This is my first attempt at digitising patterns and writing up instructions, so please do bear with me and send me any comments/feedback; 

2) I realise that this is fairly easy, and you can probably work it all out by yourself, but I hope I can save you some time by setting it all out! I’ve pitched the instructions at the beginners level, and have tried to explain each step thoroughly and with the aid of photos (if I drew, you’d be waiting for my pdf patterns for decades).

Now the pattern itself. I’ve done a bit of research into the sizes of lenses, so have made 3 sizes for this pattern based on various diameters. Choose the pattern based on diameters, as the length/height of the case is easily adjustable. The below is an indication only; please do measure your actual lens before choosing the pattern size and cutting out the fabric. 

Pattern size
For lens diameter
Is designed to fit
Tested real life example
Many of the smaller Micro 4/3 lenses. Examples of Micro 4/3 cameras include Canon EOS M, Olympus pen series, Panasonic Lumix G series
This size has not yet been tested as I don’t have a lens which fit into this category. Be assured though the maths works!
Larger Micro 4/3 lenses, many APS-C lenses (if storing without the hood). Examples of APS-C cameras include Sony Nex and Alpha a?000 series with E-mount lenses, Samsung NX series with NX-mount lenses
Sony E-mount kit 16-50 lens for my Alpha a6000
APS-C lenses (with hood) and full-size DSLR lenses.
Sony E-mount zoom 50-210 lens; Carl Zeiss 32mm f1.8 lens for Sony E-mount

What you'll need:

  • One fat quarter for outside fabric - quilting or other medium-weight cotton would be perfect
  • One fat quarter for “lining” (this is notional of course as the whole thing is reversible!) - quilting fabric would work again of course, and you can go crazy with your mix and match. Alternatively you can use brushed cotton/flannel here for added softness. 
  • One fat quarter worth of wadding/batting for added protection
  • 40cm of ribbon (up to 2cm wide)/double folded bias binding for the drawstring

Benefits of these cases:

  1. Great protection – it’s padded from top to bottom, so you can chuck your lenses into your handbag rather than having to carry around a camera bag. More glamorous and safer (not shouting out “I have a fancy camera” when you’re travelling is always helps in my book). The pattern also “bags in” all the seams so they would be poking out on the inside leaving fluff at your treasured lenses.
  2. Perfect use of scrap fabric – this pattern is designed to be reversible, which not only is fabulous, but allows you to mix and match your scrap fabrics, too! You can have so much fun with it!
  3. They would make great gifts – something that’s handmade and also made to measure? What a lovely gesture! The recipient doesn’t need to know that it’s simple to make!
  4. Quick to make – No need to finish seams, no closures/buttonholes to make other than inserting a drawstring! Very simple, quick and effective.
  5. It’s a free pattern – what are you waiting for?

Click on the links below to download! 

Any suggestions/comments/feedback (good or bad) please do get in touch, as it could help me decide whether to go ahead and digitise some of my dressmaking patterns. 

I can’t wait to see what you make ;) 

Monday 23 February 2015

And the winner is...

Renee from Me Made Makes! I'll be in touch shortly to get your postal address for this lovely pencil skirt pattern. 

Thanks for everyone for participating in the Giveaway! Better luck next time :)

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Do you sew seasonally?

Hello friends, Happy Chinese New Year! I hope the year of the goat will bring you all great energy, perfect health, and wonderful sewing mojo!

Here's something you may or may not know already. In China, the lunar new year is called "Spring Festival", which celebrates the end of winter and the start of spring. This makes a lot of sense as the lunar calendar was and may still be relied on by the farming communities, so a new year to them would begin when spring arrives. 

So if we were to have faith in my ancestors, spring is just round the corner. What better time to talk about seasonal sewing than the beginning of the four seasons? 

Allow me start off the discussion. I, for one, really am affected by the seasons when it comes to my sewing habits. 

I enjoy making spring/summer clothing, but I find it harder to actually make them then - the weather is great (or better, at least), and days are longer, so more time is spent outdoors hiking/picnicking/shopping/having fun or renovating the house! I almost feel guilty sewing when the sun is shining outside... 

When autumn approaches, I suddenly feel the pressure to squeeze in the "last summer dress for the year". Because of this, despite my long-held desire to make myself a cool mac for spring and autumn, I have managed to let springs and autumns pass me by as I was busy making warm weather clothing. 

Then winter arrives, I suddenly find myself with a lot more time to sew. Normally I engage in some "off-season sewing", making items for the next spring, but I am proud to say that I actually managed a couple pieces of cold weather garments this winter - a wool coat and a plaid skirt! The result has been so rewarding, as I was able to wear them straight away! 

After all this blurb, I suppose what I'm really trying to say is that 1) my sewing habits are somewhat sporadic throughout the year -- but generally with level of sewing activities and temperature outside enjoying a negative correlation (sorry for the geeky moment); and 2) having engaged mostly in "off-season sewing", I am planning on making more of an effort to sew "in-season". 

How about you? Do you sew seasonally? 

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Lottie blouse pattern download still available... Be quick!

Hello my friends! I hope you are having a great week so far. 

Just a very quick note from me today - I tried the link again and it appears that the Lottie blouse is still available for free download, despite the original deadline of last Thursday! Do hurry up and get your copy!

Just to clarify - I am not on commission :) I just want to flag it now as I don't know how long it's going to last. I love a good freebie!

Having taken a good look at the pattern and instructions, and having heard from a few of you last week, I have decided that I will run a sew-along, mainly as I think some of the "adventurous beginners" may not find the instructions so straightforward. I figured that I'm going to make (at least) one anyway, so may as well share the progress with you all :D 

That's it from me for now - but watch this space ;)

Sunday 8 February 2015

Free PDF Lottie Pattern before 12 Feb! Anyone interested in a sew-along?

I know I have only just clicked "publish" to my Giveaway post, but I have come across this wonderful freebie that I absolutely had to share with you! 

You may have seen lots of beautiful versions of the Lottie Blouse already (my favourites are here, here and here), which was originally given as a free pattern in Issue 2 of the Love Sewing magazine. I was just about to back order a copy online, when I came across the limited time FREE DOWNLOAD on the Love Sewing website!!  All they ask is your email address, so they can send you newsletters and offers. You should be able to unsubscribe at any time. 

Picture from Love Sewing website

This is especially a great opportunity if you are based outside the UK and have been drooling over all the wonderful Lottie blouses all over the web, but are feeling left out. Now you can get your own pdf copy :) Just make sure you download it by Thursday

As this pattern is all free, and is no doubt a lovely pattern, I was wondering if anyone would be interested in a Lottie Sew-along, or a "Sew-together" (terminology borrowed from Sonja!), if I were to host one? Just leave a comment below if you would be interested! 

Finally, I may as well add that if you are in the UK, there are currently half price offers on McCalls and New Look patterns, too. They run until 28th Feb and 4th March respectively. Fill your boots :)  

Back from holiday giveaway!

Hello my dear readers, I am back from my holiday, and I have a quick giveaway for you to cheer us all up! 

I bought issue 10 of Love Sewing magazine when I came back to sooth my post-holiday blues. The holiday blues were pretty bad this time, I must admit, as I came back from the beautiful and sunny Grenada and SVG, and as soon as view of the UK emerged from the clouds, we were greeted by snow :( 

This seems a long time ago now... (It was Sandy Island, where we spent a day and overnight enjoying the beach and wonderful snorkelling). 

Anyway, within the magazine pack there is a pattern from Simply Sews -- it is a pencil skirt pattern, in UK size 8-16. I really like the look of it, but as the odds of me actually making it is pretty slim (I have enough skirts, plus the pattern will need grading down in size), I thought maybe one of my lovely readers might treasure and make use of it more :)

Here it is:

All you need to do if you would like to take this pattern off my hands is to leave a comment to this post. Entries will close on Sunday 22nd Feb (midnight GMT) and the winner will be selected at random. I'm happy to post this worldwide. 

Good luck! 

Let me leave you with a few more holiday snaps. Good times! 
The water really is this colour. We stayed for 2 days and 2 nights in Tobago Cays! Possibly the most special place we've ever been to on earth. 

My snorkelling and swimming skills benefited so much from this trip - it helps when there are colourful fishes, huge turtles and interesting corals to look at. 
An iguana chilling in the tree of an inhabited island. 

And some hard-core hiking, too! We actually walked past a few abandoned flipflops along the way...! 

Have a good week everyone! And good luck with the giveway :D
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