Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Welcome to Tartan Week at My Happy Sewing Place!  In celebration of the 'mad for plaid' theme over at the Sew Weekly and the launch of the new Ness autumn/winter line (which is FABULOUS), I'm hosting a giveaway for £40 to spend in the Ness online store!!

Before we get to the details of the giveaway, I thought I would share with you my absolute favourites from the new line and how they might fit into my existing wardrobe (the new line is called Nessadoon: A wonderful highland romance-- I love it!)

I may have audibly giggled with delight when I saw the pencil skirts (called 'Alicia') in each of the three glorious plaids of the new season.  The tartan above is called 'Crush' and I love it in the pencil skirt (which has a cut little bow across the front and a box pleat in the back).  Notice that the bow is in teal?  I think it would go perfectly with my teal Pendrell blouse!  Also new this season are the adorable 'Beth' handbags!  I absolutely LOVE them! It's like Ness read my mind....Teal....and PURPLE...and BOWS....and PENCIL skirts....

My other favourite tartan this season from Ness is called 'Northern Lights' and it is a great mix of reds and browns with a hint of mauve and pink.  I am really loving this in their classic 'Dotty' jacket (I have this same jacket in a tartan from a couple of years ago and I wear it all the time!)  I also love the smaller wallets/purses that have the little bow at the front (called the 'Blush' purse--I *ahem* also have one of these in another tartan and I use it everyday!).  I think this jacket and purse could help my 39 steps sleeveless dress transition from summer to autumn/winter!

Another potential outfit involves a beautiful teal jumper/sweater called 'Callie'.  It's perfect for layering and transitioning from cooler to colder weather as it has cute little cap sleeves.  I would pair this with my white DuBarry blouse and my 'Mrs Peacock' pencil skirt!!

Another thing I love about Ness is their fair isle knitwear!  I have the perfect idea for taking my 'Raspberry Sorbet' dress into autumn:

It involves adding a 40's inspired fair isle sweater vest (called 'Dora') with matching gloves and hat!  Love, love, love these colours together!

Which combo do you like best for me?
I'm hosting a giveaway for £40 for you to use in the Ness online store!  You can pick your favourite items that match your own wardrobe!  You can shop from their new autumn/winter line or for those that going into the spring and summer seasons--they still have some lovelies from the summer line on clearance!

Here's how it works:
  • This giveaway is open to everyone!
  • To enter, just go to the Ness website and check out what they have and then leave a comment on this post with the name of your favourite Ness item(s).
  • You can post about this giveaway on 1. your blog, 2. twitter or 3. facebook for an additional entry for each method (so you can have a total of up to four entries...be sure to leave a comment and let me know if you've done any of these extra things).
The giveaway closes at midnight (UK time) next Tuesday (the 6th of September)!  I'll announce the winner on following Wednesday!

Good luck!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Destination: New York City!!!

Play hooky and come and join us for a fabulous picnic in the park, fabric shopping and group dinner! It will be loads of fun!!!  I am SO EXCITED!!!!!  Check out the great video Meg made about the meet-up! Come paint the town red with us!!!
ARE YOU IN???  Email me at myhappysewingplace{at}googlemail{dot}com if you are interested and want to be kept in the loop about details! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Newbie and the Knitter Knitalong

Have you heard about the fabulous knitalong hosted by Kristen of Kristenmakes and Sarah from Rhinestones and Telephones? I am so excited! It is for both complete beginners (like me!) and experienced knitters.

We will be knitting the Cadence pullover by Jordana Paige, which is free from Knitty.  I'm super excited to jump straight into knitting a pullover with Kristen and Sarah's help.  The knitalong will begin in September but will be a nice slow pace.  Kristen's already posted some amazingly helpful pieces of information about yarn on her blog.  I want to make the pullover in a lovely teal wool to go with my new pencil skirt (and maybe a cute peter pan collar or other type of blouse underneath?)

What's even better for me is that Kristen and I both live in Edinburgh! Whoohooo--super happy that I can pick her brain, get lots of help and of course go shopping for yarn together!  We did the latter this last weekend.  Being a complete newbie to knitting, it really helped to have someone in the store with me explaining the weights and difference between all the yarns.

One of our first stops was the yarn section of John Lewis.  The great thing about the store is that they have a section of the yarns already knit up so you can see the consistency of the yarn, feel it in a semi-worked up state and see the entire colourway.

One of the yarns that caught my eye was the Rowan 'silk twist'.  It comes in such pretty jewel tones colours.  Luckily, they had a sample patch knitted up and it was really luxurious to the touch!

It also came in a yummy teal colour! Hmmm...this is definitely in my top 5 potential yarns for this sewalong.  The only downside is that it is quite expensive.  Each ball costs about £7 and we need quite a few balls of this for the sweater (about 8).  EEP! That definitely adds up.  I'm keeping this one in mind but I'm going to keep looking for other wool yarn I love.

The next place we hit up during our shopping trip was K1 Yarns Knitting Boutique--an independent yarn shop in Edinburgh.  Shopping at an independent yarn store appeals to me more than a big chain store and K1 is really lovely.  The staff are very personable and they have classes and tutoring sessions at the store.  As an added bonus, they also have a very limited supply of really neat batik and wool fabrics!!

The owner of K1 makes a lot of her own patterns.  This jumper in the window is one example.  This is my second favourite yarn as well.  It's called scrumptious :)  Unfortunately, they didn't have it in teal in their store--but they had lots of other lovely colours.  I did end up finding the same yarn (scrumptious aran) in teal on a website called Fyberspates and it looks like it is almost the exact same price as the the twisted silk yarn. Hmmm...  I might still hold out for something cheaper??

I really love how the yarns are arranged at K1!  These are some of the lace yarns--so soft.

Are you doing the knitalong?  What are some of your favourite yarn shops/online retailers?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

FO: The 'Angels' Culottes and Pattern Giveaway

Jane, you were right! I did make culottes this week!!  I made view 2 from Simplicity 8248, a pattern from 1977!!!  I paired it with a turtleneck and pair of boots from my closet (a la Jaclyn Smith from Charlie's Angels)!

The pattern features a really neat waist yoke with pleats and pockets.   There is a back zip and the culottes flair a bit on the side.  I did make them just a touch longer so that they would come to the top of my boots (which are mid-calf).

I really like how they turned out!  I made these photos look a bit more 70's with that characteristic orange tint :)

Here are some really funny hair flip photos...(the best way to get that 70's volume):

So there are three special things with this project!  First, my Grandma gave me this pattern and I've been wanting to use it and this was the perfect challenge to try it out!  Secondly, I've been really wanting to do a Jaclyn Smith inspired outfit for awhile.  She embodies 70's chic to me:

The third thing that came together this week was the fabric for my culottes!  Back at the beginning of the summer, I was in Glasgow and just so happened (hehehehe) to be in the neighbourhood of Glasgow's best fabric store, Mandors.  I was delighted.  I spent ages looking at EVERYTHING (if you've ever done any fabric shopping with me, you know how indecisive I can be--my modus operandi is to do a reconnaissance mission first and then I only buy fabric on my second time around)!  Not so on this day.  I was thoroughly inspecting the wool section and lo and behold on the very bottom shelf was this amazing 100% cashmere fabric.  I looked at the price tag and it said £5 per metre!!!! WHA????  The original price of £35 per metre was crossed out!  I kid you not, my breathing actually got shallow!!  Ok, I needed to act cool.  I looked around a bit more.  Then I casually approached the lady for check-out.  I asked her if that was the correct price.  She was just as surprised as me.  Apparently, there were a few bad spots in the fabric--but really, you could hardly notice them and they were few and far between.  As she was unfolding the fabric, I first asked for 5 metres....then I started to hear the staff taking dibs on the fabric and increased my request to 7 metres!  I figured this was probably my only chance in the near future to get to play around with sewing with 100% cashmere so I should buy enough for a suit plus some other projects!   My first experimentation with the cashmere is for these culottes!

The cashmere is so incredibly lightweight and drapey--but also a bit temperamental (needs narrow hems as pins and other pricks show on the right side of the fabric).  It's like butter...it's so smooth.  I really wanted to get a feel for it--so I thought this was the perfect pattern to test it out on (also because this is my most neutral 70's shade in my stash) :)  It went together very well.  

In retrospect, I think I could have cut one size larger as the pocket area has some creases (you can see in the photo).  Now, the pockets were a bit difficult to insert--so that just may be my bad sewing but I think I probably could have made it one size bigger (and basted my pockets flat before sewing the seam--cashmere like other drapey fabrics likes to shift a bit).

YAY! Very fun!!!  Have you or would you ever wear culottes??

The Giveaway:
This week's pattern giveaway is this pattern, Simplicity 8248 in a 28 inches waist size.  It includes a pattern for these culottes, a long skirt and a knee length skirt--all with this very cool yoke pattern!  All the pieces are present and the instructions are easy to follow!  A very class skirt/culotte combo indeed!

This giveaway is open to everyone.  Just leave a comment on this post by Sunday midnight (GMT time) for one entry.  You can also do a blog post on this giveaway, tweet about it or put it on facebook for an additional entry for each method (up to four entries total).  Just come back and leave me a comment that you've done all those.  I'll randomly pick a winner on Monday.  It would be great if you could leave me some way of contacting you in your comment!

The only restriction of the giveaway is that you do not sell this pattern.  Keep it for as long as you want and once you are done--pass it along to someone else!

YAY!  Good luck.

Oh, you can still comment even if you don't want to enter the pattern giveaway--just let me know! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

{Report from the Fringe} Paris Cafe Recital

Event: Paris Cafe Recital

Venue: St. Mary's Cathedral

Cost: £5

Review: St Mary's Cathedral was transformed into a candlelit Paris cafe for a night of French song, croissants and coffee with Oliver Brewer (tenor), Judy Brown (alto) and Duncan Ferguson (piano).  What a wonderful combination. Absolutely enchanting--I loved it so much!! There's something about listening to french arias in the vastness of a cathedral that makes them so enchanting.  Plus, on our way to the cathedral we saw a beautiful sunset!  What a great evening.

What I Wore: I wore my Ness Lady Jane dress as a tunic over a halter top and cigarette pants.

{23 August} Weekly Sewing Inspiration

Image sources: 1. 1977 Sears catalogue from ancestry.com, 2. Charlie's Angels from The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) , 3. AmericanWiki, 4. Charlie's Angels from IMDb, 5. pleated chiffon culottes from asos polyvore, 6. Charlie's Angels from IMDb, 7. Charlie's Angels logo from IMDb, 8. 1977 Sears catalogue via ancestry.com
We're exploring the 1970's this week with the theme 'That 70's Sew' (giggle) over at the Sew Weekly.  You can see from my inspiration board that I'm drawing a lot of sewing inspiration from three fabulous ladies from an iconic 70's tv show.  Don't they just exude style?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pencil Skirt Pattern Winner...

Thank you for all your lovely comments on the pencil skirt!  I am happy to announce that the winner of the pencil skirt pattern is...

Amy W. from the blog mean BUT funny.  Congrats Amy!!

I hope you enjoy the pattern:

Another piece of news...I heard that my shabby design didn't make the final cut...:(  So sad.  But it did get an honourable mention (not on the website but in a very nice email).  You can check out the top 15 designs here and vote on your favourite.  At the moment, I think #5 is my favourite--but I am having trouble deciding!  Which do you like best?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gatsby Summer Afternoon--What should I make?

Woohooo! Some exciting plans! I am happy to announce that I will be at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon in September (enroute to visit my family)!  I am so excited to join Mena and others in this fun event put on by the Art Deco Society of California!

So, I need your help--what pattern should I make for the event?  By looking at pictures from past years, I think I will opt for something with short sleeves!

Here are my options:

1. McCall 7739: View B

2. Simplicity 1442:

3. McCall 5018: But maybe with short sleeves?

4. McCall 7403: Any of the views:

5. Butterick 5268 version C with my initials embroidered and a 30's style skirt:

Will you be there?  Let me know!!

Also, tell me your top choice for my outfit--just vote in the poll on the right side bar!  Can't wait to see which one you all choose!

Friday, August 19, 2011

{Ness Lovelies} Shoes, glorious shoes!

Just a quick heads up that I've noticed that Ness has added their shoes to the summer clearance sale....

Oh, how I love those shoes!

These are the ballet flats in Raspberry Sorbet tartan (my favourite).

They also have the ballet flats in this great blue tartan:

They've also added their wedges to the sale.  These are very similar to the pink ones I own except that the bow is on the side.  LOVE them!

Oh! And they just added these super cute handbags (complete with tartan pins):

I think this summer clearance is in anticipation of their new autumn/winter line!  oooohhhh so excited! It should be released this month and I'm checking their website almost every day to see the new tartans!!!  :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

1950's skirt pattern giveaway

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the lovely comments!  They really made my day!!

I'm super happy to have the best skirt pattern for my giveaway this week!  It's Simplicity 3196 in waist 30, Hip 40 size.

It has every type of skirt you could want!  View 1 is the one I made that is the classic pencil skirt with a bit of a higher waist and belt loops.  Views 1 and 2 slim skirts have waistline darts, back kick pleat, waistband and back zipper closing.  View 2 is styled with yoke pockets.  View 3 is a 3 flared, 4 gore skirt which has a back zipper closing and welt pockets.

The suggest fabric types for all views (view 2 even plaid or plain): cottons and blends: pique, denim, sailcloth, cords, Linen.  Rayons, silks and synthetics: taffeta, velvet, cords, satin.  Wools: jersey, worsteds, tweeds.  View 1 and View 2 can also be made in corduroy or velveteen.

All the pieces are present EXCEPT the waistband.  I cut about 34 inches long and 3 inches deep for my waistband.  Pinned it to the skirt (left 5/8 inch on either end to turn them inside out) and cut off any excess before sewing to the skirt.  For a higher waisted skirt you can cut the waistband a bit deeper.  After that cut the belt loops to the right size.

The Giveaway

This giveaway is open to everyone.  Just leave a comment on this post by Sunday midnight (GMT time) for one entry.  You can also do a blog post on this giveaway, tweet about it or put it on facebook for an additional entry for each method (up to four entries total).  Just come back and leave me a comment that you've done all those.  I'll randomly pick a winner on Monday.  It would be great if you could leave me some way of contacting you in your comment!

The only restriction of the giveaway is that you do not sell this pattern.  Keep it for as long as you want and once you are done--pass it along to someone else!

YAY!  Good luck.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

FO: The 'Mrs Peacock' Pencil Skirt

I am SO excited about this week's sewing project!!!  I did go back and forth for a bit trying to decide what to make (this week's them is 'very important pieces' or that fabric that is really special that you haven't cut into yet...).  In the end, I decided I really wanted a very wearable piece that would allow me to mix-n-match separates for my Autumn wardrobe!

I got this amazing tweed at a local charity shop (for £4)!  It's specifically packaged to make a skirt (1.5 yards of 54" fabric).  What I love so much are the COLOURS! I've never seen a houndstooth/tweed with such lovely lush colours (including Teal--which is one of the colours I have picked for my Autumn sewing)!  It's 100% wool and such a nice weight (medium-weight) and surprisingly soft.

On the back of the label, it says it's from the Spean Bridge Woolen Mill in the Fort William area.  After some online research, I was devastated to learn that the Woolen Mill was destroyed in a fire in 2009.  It seems as though it has been taken over now by Edinburgh Woolen Mill?  I'm not exactly sure because I couldn't find much information.  But how sad is that?  Makes this fabric even more special to me.

I'm really, really happy with how the skirt turned out!  I did a hand picked zipper (photo on the left).  The skirt also features belt loops at the waistband and pleats in the front and back.

I had the perfect skirt pattern in my stash (Simplicity 3196) which is from the 1950's.  I made up view 1.  Unfortunately, the pattern is missing the waistband piece so I improvised and cut a waistband to stand approximately 1.5 inches tall.  The pattern has three main pieces.  I think it's perfect for this pattern because the front sits on the fold--so no need to match fabric in the front.

The back has two pieces that meet in the centre back seam.  I had a bit of trouble matching up the design in the back.  I ended up unpicking it once (which with wool is not so easy) and it still didn't match up.  But you know what?  I am totally fine with that! It's barely noticeable and I definitely didn't want to unpick it again!!!  Plus, I am super happy that the side seams match up perfectly!

I really love how this looks with the Pendrell blouse. I really want to make a black blouse to go with it too (with a peter pan collar--how cute would that look?)

I didn't line the skirt (that's more from personal preference and the fact that I've got a perfectly functional slip that I wear with everything!).  The fabric is very sturdy--so I'm not worried about it stretching.

I got these really cute 1950's glasses last time I was visiting my family! I still haven't put prescription lenses in them (on my list of things to do in 2011)--but I thought they looked perfect with the outfit---very Mrs. Peacock.  I thought of Mrs Peacock as a name for this outfit after Lisette suggested it for the Pendrell blouse!  I love the movie/game Clue (or 'Cluedo' in the UK) and thought it was appropriate--especially since her main colour is a tealish peacock blue!

We took these photos in a lovely park in Edinburgh that has this stately house (which I believe is a B&B now!). 

I'm reading one of my favourite sewing books The Complete Book of Sewing by Constance Talbot published in 1943.  It's an amazing book and I highly recommend it!

So glad kitty approves of the fabric! :)  I'll be announcing a giveaway for the pattern this week--so stay tuned! What do you think of the outfit?  What about your plans for autumn/spring sewing--do share!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

{16 August 2011} Weekly Sewing Inspiration

I had so much fun doing an inspiration board for the Shabby Apple design that I decided it would be fun to do one for each of my sewing projects.  I really love seeing images from other people on what inspires their projects--so I hope you will enjoy these!  Once I get organised enough I'll also add all these images to pinterest (I have a code to join but haven't done it yet).

So, this is what is inspiring this week's sewing project:

Sources: 1. Mid 50's Sears book, 2. The Edge of Love movie still from Penny Dreadful Vintage blog, 3) Mid 50's Sears book, 4. Thakoon suit, 5. Vera Wang Lavander Label, 6) the letter 'g' (for great? good? golly? gosh? how about 'goodness gracious?) from slippinSouthern on etsy, 7) Mid 50's Sears book, 8) April 1940 Vogue (my own photo).

Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm sewing along

David is very sweet and bought me Gertie's online course to make a bombshell dress! I was super excited to see Oona's version and to learn that both Stevie and Karen are making bombshell dresses!

So far I really like the Craftsy online format!  Good for people like me that are normally rubbish with sew-along timeframes :)

Oona's post has a link for 50% off the online course price!!

Who else is planning on taking Gertie's course??
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...