GBSB Live: 5 x pairs of tickets to Give Away!

GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)

Billed as “the UK’s biggest, most exciting new dressmaking event”, earlier this year  Upper Street Events and Love Productions  announced the launch of The Great British Sewing Bee Live. The spin off event to the TV series.  Will that be back?? What IS going on with that?! If you’re a fan of GBSB then this live event,  which takes place from 21st-24th September 2017 at ExCel London, may just give you your fix.  And I’ve got 5 pairs of tickets for either the Thursday or Friday events to give away to you guys!

As well as Patrick and Esme being in attendance (when I grow up I want to be Esme), the event will see comedian, writer and TV personality Jenny Eclair take the reigns and  host the 1,200-seat Super Theatre. Jenny was the guest host of TV’s first ever Sewing Bee Celebrity Special in 2014 in aid of BBC Children In Need.  A keen stitcher, she enjoys tapestry and is involved with Fine Cell Work, the social enterprise that trains prisoners in needlework.  Sewing even features in her fiction writing in ‘A Slight Alteration’, a dark tale about a seamstress…..GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)

 

Contestants from  four  seasons of GBSB  will be there to share their dressmaking and tailoring skills at numerous live workshops.  From beginner to professional level, there are over 250 workshops and demonstrations on offer. You can even apply to take part in one or their “Live Challenges” and find out what it really feels to take part in the show and work under all that time pressure that keeps us on the edge of our sofas….seriously…hats off to participants of that show. I think I would crumble, lol!GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)

 

A collection from the world’s leading pattern companies has been curated to create a catwalk show packed with inspiration. From high-end fashion and couture creations to vintage designs, bespoke tailoring and wedding garments, it will be a feast of dressmaking fashion from both independent and larger pattern companies. With three shows a day, free to attend on a first come first served basis, along with a daily showcase of garments from leading fashion and textile students. Grab a front row seat and bring your pap worthy sunglasses 😉GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)

 

If you’re a fan of Liberty, then London’s Fashion and Textile Museum has curated a stunning exhibition of archive Liberty pieces especially for the event. Liberty has been a part of the British landscape since its founding by Arthur Lasenby Liberty 140 years ago.  Originally a warehouse supplying fashionable goods from the Far East, Liberty soon established a distinct style and approach.  Its contribution to British fashion, both that produced by the company and its impact on the work of other designers, is celebrated in the Liberty in Fashion exhibition.

Dennis Nothdruft, Curator of The Fashion and Textile Museum says: “‘Liberty has long held a unique place in British culture.  Not only has it sold fashion produced in the store, it has sold Liberty Art Fabrics directly to the home sewer and actively encouraged the making of garments from their distinctive textiles.  It even provided a cutting service for homemakers to bring in their patterns to be cut in Liberty fabrics.”GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)

 

As well as Jenny Éclair , Patrick Grant and Esme Young and over 250+ workshops and demonstrations, and that catwalk show and Liberty exhibition… there will also be a  dressmaking drop-in clinic,  vintage and garment galleries and shopping with over 150 dressmaking and sewing suppliers under one roof.

***GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED*** So, if you would like to win a pair of tickets, I have 5 sets to giveaway. Deets are as follows:

  • Tickets are for EITHER  Thursday 21st or Friday 22nd only
  • Each winner will receive 2 tickets with a face value of £16.50 each
  • Simply leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway (one entry per person. multiple comments will not be counted)
  • Giveaway closes at Midnight GMT on Friday 21st July
  • Winners will be drawn at random and notified via the email address attached to their profile

 

And if you would like another opportunity to win a pair of tickets as well as some other fantastic sewing related prizes, then check out the Makers for Grenfell raffle here.

Good luck!! Might just see you there!

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FO: Vogue 9160 & The Eve Appeal + a Giveaway

VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 1960 - PORTIA LAWRIE (3)

 

Cocktails anyone? A couple of weeks back Vogue Patterns (The McCall Pattern company) launched a year long sewalong in aid of The Eve Appeal. Part of this includes a blogger tour which is where your’s truly comes in today. Yep I’m up….and….well….running a liiiiiitle late this morning. Might be to do with all the champagne and peach schnapps I had to drink last night. (My fave cocktail. Dunno what that’s called, lol!) So why the references to cocktails? Well you may remember I took part in last years event The Big Vintage Sewalong….and well….you gotta have a theme right? And this years theme is cocktails! Yum! They’ve even come up with their own recipe and you can sup it while joining in with sewists nationwide, by sewing up one of the patterns from a selection of 20, and raising money for The Eve Appeal in the process. Savvy? Good…here’s me with an empty glass having drunk the house dry…VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE (9)

Soooooo, what did I make then? Not being a cocktail dress kinda gal, (and actually not at ease in any kind of “formal/dressy” attire), this one really pushed me out of my comfort zone. But not one to shy away from a challenge (that would be super hypocritical of me considering what I put you all through every year with The Refashioners , ha!), I duly accepted said challenge and this is what I came up with. You know….if I ever get invited out for cocktails….VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE (9)

My Idea of dressing up is heels and a bold lippy, whilst keeping the outfit itself understated. Indeed this make (in a gorgeous grey washed linen from Ditto fabrics that I’m in love with) would look equally at home with a cropped stripey tee and birkies! I love clothes that do double duty don’t you?

The pattern is Vogue 9160….yep…. a jumpsuit pattern….Now I have been admiring the jumpsuit trend from afar since it emerged. But I’ve steered clear as I KNOW it won’t suit me. I’m too conscious of a tubby middle section right now (I’ve gone up a whle dress size recently!) One piece garments rarely do. So my original intention was always to adapt this into a two piece, with the appearance of a jumpsuit, by making it out of the same fabric.VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE

I knew I didn’t want the scalloped lace or lining elements of this pattern. I wanted to pare it right down and simplify it by just using one fabric for the whole thing. But I really struggled to find a fabric (in time) that would be substantial enough for the bottoms but not too heavy for the top. Crepe would be a good one I think.  Or a mid weight cupro or sandwashed silk. In the end I decided that the linen was not quite right for the top portion, which led me more towards view C.  A Contrast top and bottom with a tie belt. I swapped out the top portion of the pattern for a looser fitting top in a lurex knit (I’m not a fan of anything too close fitting up top), then set about turning the bottom half of the pattern into trousers by adding a simple narrow waistband and back zip fastening.

But what elevates this make to something dressier I think….is the tie belt. I made a slightly longer version than the pattern so I could wrap it round twice and wear it more Obi style…VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE

I like…..NEVER…wear anything tucked in. That’s how conscious I am of my (lack of ) waist. But I do have proportionately narrow hips so from a “glass half full” perspective, I try to focus on those instead. But what I like about this make is what the belt does. Aside from the added interest, it cinches me in at the waist and draws the eye down to hip level where I’m narrowast. The overall effect is actually quite slimming and I don’t feel self conscious at all in these…VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE

VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE

It even camouflages my Mum/crisp/bloaty/bulge at the front! So the obi style tie belt may be a bit of a revelation for me!

Vogue Patterns  are giving one reader the chance to win a copy of this pattern…VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE

To enter,  share this post on social media, then leave me a comment to let me know where you shared. Multiple shares gives multiple entries. Giveaway is open UK only (sorry) and closes at midnight GMT on Friday 24th March! Good luck!

More info on this year long event and the list of patterns can be found here and you can find out more about this fantastic charity and their other awareness and fundraising activities here.

VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE

 

 

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Perfect Pinning (+ a giveaway!!)

Pins. It’s just as simple as sticking them through the fabric right? Well, not quite. Firstly, there’s the type of pin you use. Right tools for the right job applies to pins as much as it applies to any other sewing tool. Some pins are longer/sharper/finer depending on the type of fabric and project you are undertaking. Some excellent info about pin types and their uses here, here, and here….pinning tips

Then there is the question of quality. As with many tools, not all pins are created equal. The best pins will slide smoothly through your fabric without snagging and without force; and they will last you many years without becoming blunt or rusting if used and stored correctly. My personal bug bear are cheap pins with plastic heads. Ack! I only ever use glass headed pins. They tend to be of better quality and most importantly, if you’re pressing around them, they don’t melt if you accidentally touch them with the iron! (I learnt that lesson early!)

But what about how to pin? It’s one of those things that, when I first started sewing, I assumed was a no brainer.  Stick it through the fabric. Job done. Right? Well no. There’re subtleties to pinning, as with any sewing technique. Little things. But things that collectively, can incrementally improve your sewing. So I thought I’d share a few of my “personal pinning protocols” (shameless opportunity for alliteration seized, ha!). Little things that I was taught when I first learnt to sew and stick to still…and the logic behind them…pinning tips

This is the way I pin the most. Always within the seam allowance. So if my pins do end up leaving holes (some fabrics render this likely) then they are not visible on the outside of the garment. It also means that I can leave my pins in place until the very last second as they pass to the side of the presser foot rather than the middle of it. So shifting of fabric is minimised. I will also always pin with the points facing towards the presser foot. It makes them easy to pull out as you go. (If they were facing the other way…well…cack handed!)

pinning tips

When sewing some seams, you’ll be required to stop at a given point and back stitch and/or switch to a different stitch length. (Think preparing a seam for zip insertion for instance). I always mark this point with a different coloured pin, pinned at right angles to my other pins. It just gives me a visual aid and a precise marker as to where I want that needle to stop.

pinning tips

When pattern matching is important I will pin at right angles to the seam that I am sewing. When sewing stripes for instance, I will pin stripe on top of stripe at regular and small intervals.  Pinning at right angles “locks” the fabric more effectively than pinning in a linear way. The difference on a plain and/or stable fabric is negligible. But even minimal shifting will be visually really obvious on stripes. I will also employ this method of pinning on more slippery fabrics. There is an argument for always pinning this way all the time. But I tend to employ it when I want to ramp up the accuracy and precision on seams where the slightest shift would be really obvious either visually or where accurate alignment is vital. (easing in collars, sleeves, necklines etc) If I can get away with just using a few pins, pinned vertically and spaced far apart then I will always default to that. Heck, I have been know to dispense with pins altogether. Some projects are more forgiving than others. But sometimes, when it absolutely has to be accurate, this is the method I go for.

pinning tips

Now I am right handed. And my pin dish sits to the right hand side of my machine. So actually the way that I have pinned in the previous photo is actually a bit illogical.  Because I end up pulling the pins out with my left hand, passing them across to my right hand (or worse, holding them in my mouth as I go!) so I can put them in the pin dish to the right hand side of me. It’s actually a tad cack handed for me. And I have no explanation for that. Used to bug my sewing teacher no end, lol! When pinning at right angles it would make more sense to have the heads facing to the right like this. Just saying. But the cack handed way in which I do it is now so ingrained in my muscle memory, it’s unlikely to change now!

How you pin isn’t just about the direction of pinning of course. It also has to do with how you hold the fabric when you pin. This is how I would automatically put my pins in when I first started sewing. I’d pick the fabric up and stick the pins in like so…pinning tips

That is until my sewing teacher walked up and slapped my hand! (Old school she was!) I will preface this next bit of advice by saying that, as with most rules, there are exceptions. There are times that you can get away with doing this and times you when it will affect the accuracy of your pinning. Depending on the fabric, as you pick it up like this, the layers can shift. On trickier, more slippery fabrics, the more you move them, the more they shift….

pinning tips

As a rule, if you can keep your fabric flat like so…

pinning tips

And pin on the flat, then there will be less chance of layers shifting and therefore, more accuracy across your project.

Talking of keeping things flat…pinning tips

Pins are not always the final step when you absolutely must have a completely flat and secure fabric sandwich before you pass it through the machine…zips are the most obvious example of a situation where it’s vital that everything lies flat and secure before you put a permanent line of stitching in there…

pinning tips

If you’ve ever questioned why you ought to baste a zip rather than just pin it…just look at the photo above and the effect that pinning can have on your seamline, compared to how flat the fabric edge is on the basted section! Now I’m not saying baste everything. Life (and sewing time) is too short for that! But when it absolutely has to be accurate, you’ll be pleased you added in the extra step. Promise!

So, if all of that has you wanting to up your pin game, then here’s a treat for you. The pins featured in this post (above and below) are Hiroshima pins. Japanese pins of superior quality. They come in the most gorgeous packaging (I’m such a sucker for packaging)…hiroshima pins
hiroshima pins

 

And they are like miniature works of art in their own right. In order below are tulip hiroshima glass headed patchwork pins, Akari pins and Shizuku pins…pinning tipshiroshima pinshiroshima pins

Aren’t they STUNNING! They are part of the newly expanded range of hiroshima pins now available at Beyond Measure. Grace has the most exquisite taste. And she is very generously offering one reader the chance to win 4 packs of luxury Hiroshima pins of their choice.

To be in with a chance of winning simply subscribe to Grace’s newsletter here. Additional entries for facebook and instagram follows. Then leave a comment here to let me know how many entries (ie what you’ve followed/subscribed to). Giveaway is open internationally and closes at midnight GMT on Sunday 26th February.

Good luck and happy pinning!!

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Giveaway: Nominette Custom Woven Labels

A couple of weeks back I was contacted by a representative of custom label specialist Nominette, asking if I would like to try out and review their product. Well naturally, I said yes and last week these arrived in the post….NOMINETTE LABEL GIVEAWAY

I was a bit indecisive about what to put on my custom labels. Although their custom label service provides the opportunity to stamp your “brand” on your makes (maybe with a blog name, or a logo), I don’t really see myself as having a brand, and I don’t have a logo as such.  There’s also the option to add fabric content and laundry instructions to your label. If you’re going into production this is of course, a fantastic option. Except for me, the things that I make are usually one offs, the fabrics vary, and they’re certainly not “production” quality…they’re better than that; they’re handmade by me and with all their little quirks and “faults” they are completely one of a kind.

So I opted for a simple little message that will remind me of this every time I put on a handmade garment….NOMINETTE LABEL GIVEAWAY

It’s simple. But it says it right? (I also wanted a generic statement so that I could split these up and give some away!) I went for a very simple design. A 25mm end fold label.  I chose the Helvetica font option (there are 5 standard font options available). The background colour I chose was beige/903 with text in grey/12.   I feel duty bound to point out that the colour of the finished label is very different from the screen colour on the site. And while they do state this clearly when making your selection, the difference is quite a big one. (You can hop on the site and pop in those options to see what I mean).

However, and somewhat fortuitously I actually LOVE the final colour of these labels. Much more so than the screen colour actually. So absolutely not complaining. I think they look subtle and elegant, and when you think about how they are woven, then the colour you choose for your text must subtly affect the overall colour of the finished ribbon. I’m calling this a very happy accident indeed!NOMINETTE LABEL GIVEAWAY

As you can see….I got alot of labels! The minimum order quantity is 100 at a cost of £37 inc VAT. (There are much cheaper options than this. The 14mm ribbon for instance comes in at just over  £16 for 100 labels). I actually think the 37p per label cost is pretty good value for money. I’m pretty impressed by the quality it has to be said. These will definitely add a touch of luxury to my future makes!

As a home sewer, and not a particularly prolific one at that, I pondered a little on the concept of ordering 100 labels in one go. If I make, say, 3 or 4 garments a month, it would take me 2-3 years to get through these labels.   Objectively I have to ask myself the question, had I not been offered these for free, would I have ordered labels in that quantity? (I understand completely btw that making these available in smaller quantities would exponentially increase the unit price. Simple maths).  Initially, I would likely have said no. But now that I’ve seen them, maybe. Like I say, the quality is great. I also think it depends how you look at it.  If you buy something that’s gonna last you 2-3 years, that’s not bad going actually, is it?  There was also some discussion when I posted about these on Instagram about the quantity and the initial outlay.  And a potential solution to that dilemma would be a kind of label co-op. Get together with a fellow sewist (or a few sewists) agree on a simple design, and split the quantity and cost.  Which seems like an awesome idea to me. Overall I think they are decent value for money, good quality, and the service is fast and efficient. While I think that smaller minimum order quantities would be preferential for us home sewers, there are cheaper options available and/or ways around the quantity issue if you box clever….NOMINETTE LABEL GIVEAWAY

So yeah, I’m not going to hold onto all 100 of these labels myself.  I’m going to create a little label co-op! I count myself as quite fortunate to be offered the occasional freebie to review and it just seems right, and nice, for me to share the love with my fellow stitchers a little. So I have set aside 3  x 20 labels to giveaway. I don’t want any “follows” or “sign up to this or that” in return. Just let me know in the comments if you fancy a set of these labels to finish off your handmade garments and you’ll be entered into the giveaway.  At the end of the week (Midnight GMT on Friday 18th March) I’ll pick 3 names randomly and each will receive 20 labels. Simples. Giveaway is open internationally….good luck!   **GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

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