Dress a girl around the world

Dress a girl around the world

On Wednesday 11th June I am running my fifth Dress a Girl Around the World event. I love these charity sewing sessions. You will learn to make a very simple pillow case dress (so called because all you need is a pillow case worth of fabric), or a simple pair of shorts. You can decorate these to your heart’s content. When they are all done they get sent off to the charity’s UK head quarters (Sewscrumptious ) where they will be distributed all over the developing world. In all I believe about 20000 dresses have been given to girls who have likely never had their own new dress before. Can you imagine how special you would feel if you knew someone had made this specially for you? With love?

Here’s some photos of the last event I ran at the local WI.

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Come join us then at the next one. Please try to bring a 100% cotton pillow case or some cotton fabric. I will supply the rest. Please do book some know how many people to expect:
Http://bookwhen.com/cheekyhandmades

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God’s Own Junkyard

God’s Own Junkyard

Yesterday it was unexpectedly hot. Sean and I took a wonder over toward Walthamstow’s as yet undiscovered joys just off Shernall street, via St Mary’s church yard in the village. It was a lovely walk.

What am amazing treasure trove to have right on my doorstep!

God’s Own Junkyard makes and sells amazing neon creations for film sets and private collectors and the warehouse is an astonishing Aladdin’s Cave of signs, giant mirror balls and neon. It’s also an ever changing feast as things are sold and new things are made.

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Then opposite is the Wild Card Brewery. A small, young and exciting local brewery making yummy beers which they serve in a funky semi industrial setting. We had a delicious pint in the hot sun and when the much hyped Chips with Dips stand also opened up and we could team beer with yummy chips and crazy dips (bacon and fig mayo, peanut butter mayo, coconut and lime “mother” dip among others) the day was complete.

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Studio for cheekyhandmades, update

Studio for cheekyhandmades, update

All the crowdfunding campaigns are over. All the money is safely in a savings account. I’ve met with a local designer and plans are advanced. Work will start at the end of June and it will take around 6 weeks to complete. The studio will incorporate lots of found, reclaimed, donated and freecycled materials, and will be completed by a cute log burner to keep me (and my students) toasty in the winter months.

I am very excited and also very very chuffed and grateful for all the help and tweets and donations and kind words that everyone has shown me and cheekyhandmades.

You’re all invited to the opening party!!

In the meantime I’m still teaching in my current space, small intimate classes as per usual. The full schedule is here: http://bookwhen.com/cheekyhandmades

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Bespoke hand stitched indigo quilt

Bespoke hand stitched indigo quilt

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A long time ago I was shown photos of a quilt made in India, sold for a shocking price by a well known interiors shop, and asked if I could make something like it but unique to the client. Of course I snapped up the commission and I’ve been working on it on and off ever since.

I’ve never had such bad luck with a project.

We bought this beautiful hand printed linen for the back and I sourced lots of indigo prints online. As always I washed all the fabrics first to make sure they were then colour fast and had done all their shrinking.

I decided to hand quilt it, using a thick cotton bedspread as wadding as this have the quilt a heavy bed spread like quality.

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After working on it for many hours I realised I didn’t like what I using instead if wadding. It was heavy but not comfy, bulky but not lofty. But I had put so much time in it ready. I carried on stitching.

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It needed washing after one of my cats used it for curling up on so without a thought I bunged it in the machine on a cool short wash. All the fabric had been pre washed so I did not expect what was about to happen. Something blue ran so badly all the gorgeous linen and all the white in the patterned fabric was patchy blue. I almost cried. Instead though I decided it was a sign to start again. I ripped ALL the stitches out, months of work. I separated the front and back and took out the offending middle. I washed all pieces in colour run remover twice to remove most of the blue wash.

Then I started again with a gorgeous cotton wadding.

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This time everything went according to plan. It still took a few months to hand quilt but I was so chuffed when it was done. It looked gorgeous. One last gentle wash cycle and then it could be handed over. No. Way. What happened here? I took the quilt out of the machine only to find it covered in tons of white “bobbles” like some cheap polycotton duvet cover. No. Way. Turns out the expensive cotton wadding had worked it’s way out through the quilt top. Many mang tedious hours of removing most by hand later and I was SO ready to send that quilt off to it’s new home! I love you but I cannot live with you. Sorry quilt. Off you go.

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Utrecht, Netherlands, pt1

Utrecht, Netherlands, pt1

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Max and myself are just returning from a week in Utrecht. I only lived near and in Utrecht for 8 years between the ages of 11 and 19 but it is a beautiful town which I love visiting. It will always hold a special place in my heart. My parents live in nearby in Zeist which is in the woods and pretty (although too quiet for me!) And of course some of my best friends still live there, the lovely Aster, Annemieke and Nancy (with her brilliant kids Eva and Diede).

One of the highlights of any visit is always the weekly fabrics market. One long street is filled with stalls selling fabric and trimmings.

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European fabric is cheap and very cheerful. It is almost always 100% cotton and usually 1.5m wide (compare to the UK’s 1.2m) so you get even more fabric for your buck.

Needless to say I try to go over with a purse full of money and an empty suitcase. It never quite works out as I’m travelling with kids so I cannot travel light but I always come home with treasures all the same.

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This time I didn’t buy too much fabric, still being on a fabric diet and trying to use up my stash instead, but I spent a fortune on ribbons, pompom trims and thread. Bit of a neon theme I discovered later!

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I did buy a little fabric, I was quite taken with the combo…

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I highly recommend a visit. The market is on every Saturday morning until 1pm. I can find the address for you if you leave a comment. Apparently there’s a big one in Amsterdam on Mondays but I’ve not been there before.

New quilt commission

New quilt commission

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It has been ages since I’ve been commissioned to make a new quilt and I’ve missed it. A lovely local woman who’s got 6 month old twins (as well as two older children) donated money to my crowdfunding campaign in exchange for two quilts for the babies.

We had a meeting and she showed me some lovely things she had collected for their room including the playmat above. I then went away and came up with a design and bought some fabric and now I’m working on them.

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I’m making a central panel for each with their name on it, and their twins name worked into it too, and I’m using scrappy log cabin blocks around the outside. They are big blocks, about 10″ square. So much fun to make!

I have lots of other work I should be getting on with but I’m addicted to these blocks and the yummy colours

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Watch this space for more and don’t forget there’s still time to get your own heavily discounted quilt, or sewing classes, by donating to the crowd funding cause for a new sewing studio here.

Sewing plans

Sewing plans

I have finally pulled some patterns from my stash that really NEED to be made. Some I’ve had for over a year! I went on some crazy pattern buying sprees last year, some in paper format but many many more in downloadable form, which is kinda worse as I don’t even have them sitting there starting at me, reminding me! I will do a post about my downloaded patterns soon too.

I really want to make this jacket. I’ve actually been waiting to find the perfect fabric (and haven’t yet). Thinking cord, maybe moss green…

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I am also looking for fabric for this. I feel this may be made over and over, having two tall teenage sons who both love shirts!

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And I still want to make this. I don’t think it will look great on me, with my boobs and stuff, but I love the style

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And finally I have been ordered to make many pairs of shorts for the 6 year old. He has shot up so much that all of last year’s shorts now look like hot pants on him, not a good look!

Happy sewing!
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cheeky handmades