Birthday Give away Winners and a little twist

Saturday, December 8

Hello people.
Hope you are all having a cracking weekend.
I have my friend Vicks visiting this weekend and I roped her in to help with the draw. If you did not win, and you need someone to hate, I suggest you hate on Vicks.

So without further ado, here are the winners:

Another Birthday and a give away

Friday, November 30

So yes. I am not dead yet. Was too scared to kick the bucket. I am well and trully alive, and in a much better place. Thank you to all of you who had me in your thoughts and prayers, and who reached out to me via this blog and email. I am so grateful. I took alot of what you all said on board, and especially enjoyed putting some of them into practice ( eating chocolates anyone), and as a result, I think I have to come up with a new set of measurements for myself as my tops don't button up anymore.

It is also that day of the year. You know, the day that makes you reflect on your life, your purpose on earth and all. I turned 32 today. Nothing major. I got a new present. Two actually and two cheques. The presents are drying up me thinks.

First up, a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. Yeah yeah, you don't have to gasp so loud. I can hear you from here. Jealous? hehehe. A couple of you suggested I do something like start a new hobby to get me out of my dark maze. So, I decided on graphic and web design as the new thing I want to learn. Actually this might not come as a surprise to some of you who have been reading my blog for some time. I am always playing with the look of my blog, tweaking a code here or there, html here, CSS there. This subscription gives me access to Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Dreamweaver and a host of other software by Adobe. Cool huh?

Sometimes we are each others pillars

Sunday, November 11

Hi all, this post is somewhat personal so if you do not like to read sob stories, I highly suggest you stop reading NOW. You've been warned.

I read this post on Mimi G's blog, and something she said touched me so much. The whole post was so inspiring to read, and the last paragraph read like it was meant for me. The exact line I have been repeating to myself since I read the post is:

 " doesn't matter how you started out it only matters how you finish" - Mimi G

So yes, we are all each other's pillars sometimes.

Lately I have not been posting regularly. Yes I know, you are all aware of that.

Have I been fooling myself?

Wednesday, October 31

Seriously, Have I?


The time has come for me to go back to work, and I have just discovered I do not have anything to wear to work. Not literally of course, but I am sure I can only assemble 5 items I could consider wearing to work. Which makes me question what I have been doing all this while. What have I been sewing? Why do I have more fabric than clothes? Have I been fooling myself? Have I pushed things too far? For the past year, I have been entering shops and giving people superior stares when they rush to pay for clothes, saying to myself " I can make that". I know I can make "that", but did I?

FO:Vogue 1314

Sunday, October 14

My love affair with knit fabric continues. This time I decided to make Vogue 1314. There are not many reviews of this dress online, and I wonder why. It really is a lovely pattern. The Vogue photo shoot had the model in a very strange pose. hmm..I think the pose is responsible for the lack of reviews, What do you think?

I used a fabric given to me by Claire last year. I had used part of it to make a maxi dress, and there was not much of it left. So I just squeezed this dress out of it.

The dress has sleeves, but I made mine sleeveless because I did not have enough fabric. When I make this dress again, which will be pretty soon, I shall make one with sleeves.

I made a size 14, which was not really necessary as I had to take it in at the waist after I made it. When I make it next, I will make a size 12, as I think that might fit me better.

There is not much to say about this dress, as making it was quite uneventful. It sews up really fast too. It calls for a lining, but I did not line it. For the armholes, I simply turned them in, and did a narrow hem. Job done.

I made it on Friday night when Noah went to bed, and wore it on Saturday for my alumni meeting. So, it is a really nice project when you want a new dress without spending days on it. My friends really liked it, and I got many compliments. Knit is the way forward for me I think, as it manages to hide my more unflattering lumps. I did wear Spanx though, to reign in those disobedient folds.

I want to make more dresses using this pattern, as I think it is a great wardrobe builder. I will mostly be wearing it to work, so I will make some with sleeves, and some without.

She would not let me rest

Wednesday, October 10

So, my mom arrived yesterday and what do you know? She made me take her fabric shopping. Rachel and Mela were going to Walthamstow market to look for some knit, and when I told my mom about it, she said she wanted to go to "that cheap market".

If you have ever thought I loved fabric shopping, know that my inability to stay away from fabric is nothing compared to this woman's. Here she is going for what she hopes to make a skirt with.

And here with Rachel and Mela

I'm sure I must have mentioned my mom's ability to psyche me into giving her my sewing related stuff. Last time she made me part with my overlocker. This time she is angling for my sewing patterns. She spent last night going through my stash, and selected what she wanted...the nerve! She's got it all packed in a suitcase, and is waiting to select some more. Now, I know I want to stash bust, but this, is pure thievery. 

I think it is worth mentioning at this point that saying "No" to my mom, is an invitation for a history lesson. Oh yes! If I ever feel the need to know my history from when I was conceived, till that very minute, passing by the Dior shoes she gave me for my wedding, all I have to do, is refuse to give her something of mine that she wants. So, I had to be crafty. I told her I was really broke now, and I am not working, and I don't know if I will EVER see these same patterns again. After much blackmail ( on both sides), we came to a pretty good conclusion. So, for every pattern she wants, I will trace my size off, and she will sew it up for me, and her payment will be the pattern. Genius right? Yes I know, I'm clever like that.

I am now looking forward to a few months of luxury, with my mom sewing for me. Oh the life I lead sometimes.

Little Updates

Monday, October 8

Saturday has come and gone, and you are hearing from me. That only means I did not damage my wool crepe fabric, and I am still alive and well.

I did not make the dress. I decided instead to put it on hold till I get the fit well and truly perfect. I am going to enlist the help of my mom, who will be coming to the UK on Tuesday from Cameroon.

I also started a new blog.

For those of you who have not met me, or have met me and not noticed (very unlikely), I stammer( stutter, if you are American). My stammer has been such a big part of my life. Many highs and lows. Mostly lows. From growing up in Cameroon, where the condition is not really understood, and people openly laugh at you, and make fun of you, and insult you, to living and finding work in the UK where people do not consider it a disability because it is not a visibly physical, and thinking you are just plain dumb during interviews.

My new blog is called The Covert Stammerer, and it will be about my stammer. I don't want to wax lyrical about my stammer here, so if you think it is something you might want to know more about, please do drop by, and say hello.

Pant Fitting with Sandra Betzina

Wednesday, October 3

The internet is not a good place I tell you. It is full of tempting things to render you even poorer than you already are....if you are as broke as I am that is. There I was today trying to find more fitting techniques for my Vogue dress, and I fell across a new Craftsy course. This time, it is a Pant fitting class. Hmm!!

I am really tempted to buy this one. For us in the UK, it costs £31. I don't have that kind of money now, so I shall contend myself with printed matter for now until I can spare that money.

This class comes with Vogue pattern 2948. Looking good. Where is my card.

Wool Crepe Dress: Adventures in Fitting I

Tuesday, October 2

So, the drama continues.

I decided I was not taking chances with this dress, so I decided to enlist the help of Mela and Rachel with fitting. They both have more experience than me when it comes to fitting. For one, I have never really done alterations on my patterns. I either did not have any problems before Noah, or I had, but was ignorant of the fact.

So we met at Mela's place for an afternoon of fitting. Rachel led the way by preping the pattern pieces

Wool Crepe Dress: Pre-shrinking

Friday, September 28

Hmm! What a week I have had. Researching how to deal with wool crepe, trying to fit my muslin, gathering confidence ( the hardest part), and trying to update my blog (did you notice?)

This week was focused on my dear fabric. In the last post, a couple of you pointed me to some interesting posts on pre-shrinking wool crepe. Thanks for that.  From one of the blog posts I read, in the comment section, someone mentioned that wool, is essentially hair. Well duh! That is so true. Wool is animal hair ( specific types of course, definitely not elephant). So, she reasoned, since wool is hair, we should treat it as we would our own hair. Well I can tell you that as an African, my hair is very delicate. It breaks easily, so I need to treat it with tender loving care ( something I am too lazy to do). My hair needs to be washed with a very gentle shampoo, or just a conditioner, and it needs to be moisturised all the time. So wool too, depending on the type, can be very delicate, and would shrink badly if exposed to heat, or felt if treated harshly. Oh dear. Talk about having issues. Get your act together wool, there's no need to be such a drama queen.

So after toing and froing on the blogoshpere and some books, I gathered that you should pre-treat your wool crepe the same way that you will care for it as a finished garment and that there are various ways to pre-shrink wool crepe ( and most woolens). You can choose whichever method that suits your lifestyle.

My sewing coming of age

Saturday, September 22

I think I just graduated from the remnant bin to the bolt. I speak figuratively of course but I think that pretty much explains everything.

You all know how cheap I am when it comes to fabric shopping, and how I do not feel fulfilled unless my arms hurt from carrying so much fabric on my way home from various cheap fabric expeditions. Well today, I went to Goldhawk road, and came back with 2 metres of pink wool crepe, 1.5metres of silk lining, and 2 spools of gutterman thread. Yes! I am moving up people. I'm joining the big guns. I have arrived. Even though I winced as I handed over my money to the fabric guy. I am still in shock. How much did I spend for all of that? Well, £43. I know. It sounds like nothing, but this is the first time I am investing that much on a sewing project. It is relative of course, because it is only 2metres of fabric and lining. I ordered some fabric from the states a couple of months ago to make a trench coat, which I still have to make, but with postage, it all came to about £40 I think. That was for 5metres of stretch gabardine and some china silk lining. So metre for metre, it is cheaper than what I spent today.

I was not read to as a child

Friday, September 21

Yes! I confess. I was not read to as a child.

On the way back from the knicker making workshop in Bath last week, I travelled with Shivani, Jane, Mela and Mr. Mela and what an interesting train ride it was. The topic somehow fell on books after I said I was sorry for Noah because I had no interest in reading to him. I'm sure some people will consider that a grave crime, punishable by death. I don't. I was not read to as a child, and I struggle to see how different my life would have been if I was. Sure, nightly dates with my step-mom might have resulted in me knowing the difference between Gryffindor and Slytherine before I was 3 years old, but apart from that, nada. Was there anyone else who was not read to as a child apart from Shivani and myself?

So the theory is that it could go 2 ways. Either you grow up having no interest in books, or you become a bookworm, forever trying to make up for all the lost time. Is that what is happening to me? I have this addiction ( I refuse to call it anything else) to buying books. It is even worse than my fabric buying addiction. I know, I know, I should seek medical help. Who knows, it might be clinically proven that addiction comes as a result of years of childhood deprivation. It might also explain this.

A little blog update

Hi folks, as you may have noticed, my blog is undergoing some changes. I am doing it myself, so I am currently immersing myself in html codes and CSS declarations. I don't know how the blog will look like, as I  am constantly changing things. This is what I have done so far. Expect some disruptions in the coming days. Hopefully everything should be done and dusted by saturday.

New Independent Pattern company alert!

Wednesday, September 19

Hi everyone, this is just a quick post to show you what I discovered today. I was snooping around on Lin3arossa's blog and she mentioned a pattern she loved from a new pattern company. The company,  Deer and Doe, is French , and is run by Eleonore. She is quite the lady on the French sewing scene I think because she is also the founder of Thread and Needles, a site similar to the Sew Weekly. She certainly has a thing for the English language I tell you.

So I clicked on the link, and behold. I fell on these goodies:

The Knickers of Bath

My weapon of mass destruction

This is quite a picture heavy post. Sorry people.

FO: Mccalls 6069

Sunday, September 16

I need to find the person who invented knit fabric, and say a big Thank You. Is there anyone out there who does not like to sew with knit? They are so forgiving. You hardly ever have the fit issues you have with woven. Right now, I can't be bothered to fight with woven fabric and patterns, to adjust whatever I am sewing to fit me. So I find myself using knit more and more. Just as well we are going into autumn, and knits are going to rule my wardrobe from now till spring. Yay!

I'm sorry madam, not with the baby....

Tuesday, September 11

That is what I was told as I manoeuvred Noah's buggy into a pub with such skill even Lewis Hamilton and his wannabe formula 1 drivers would envy.

I was meeting up with House of Pinheiro, Pincushion Treats and Stitch and Witter to celebrate the end of House of Pinheiro's MBA course, and I could not wait to sit down. My weary legs, unfortunately, were not going to get the rest they so craved. Apparently, our rendezvous point had a no children's policy, as they only served alcohol, Drat!!

The waiter smiled apologetically as he told me I would have to manoeuvre myself back out whence I came. He had this look on his face that said " I have to act like I am really sorry but I am actually really happy to be turning this irresponsible woman out on the streets. What did she think we serve here? Breast milk on the Rocks? Begone from my sight you irresponsible little fool." I kid you not. I almost heard the words, and no, I had not been drinking alcohol. I did feel sorry for him and his establishment though, because unbeknown to him, I just won a million pounds, and I was itching to start the spending spree.

Vogue 2899...or the dress that almost wasn't

Sunday, September 2

Boy oh Boy!!!!

I made a dress, I made a dress. Did I tell you I made a dress? No seriously, did I tell you I made a dress?

I did, I did, I did make a dress.

I made this one

1 week with Rose

Sunday, August 26

What a week I have had.

I spent last week soaking up knowledge from the millinery legend that is Rose Cory, and I am so hungry for more, I have signed up for another week in November. Yay!!

I am not going to bore you with too many details in this post, so I will just show you a couple of the things I worked on, and then do 2 different posts, showing the process from start to finish, and also how to make a silk velvet rose.

This week saw me learning how to block hats using a wooden hat block, sewing the blocked pieces together, wiring the edges of the hat, and then finally trimming the hat. I made a rose from silk velvet, and that was so interesting. We used a velvet board, which I had never seen before, to preserve the pile of the fabric. Rose said in the absence of a velvet board, a thick towel can be used. I will talk more about that in another post.

It is all I seem to do these days....

Monday, August 20

Hanging out with people that is.

I reluctantly dragged myself back to London from Belgium on Friday night,and then promptly hopped on the train again first thing Saturday morning to meet Mela at St.Pancras station. Destination? Leicester people. Ah Leicester, home to Marie and Kat, and random people who insert themselves in your pictures uninvited ( I have proof of that).

Mela and I went down to spend the day with Marie and Kat on Saturday, and what a fun day it was. The food was AMAZING!!!. I quickly set aside my dieting plans for the day. Can I at this point remind you that I am eating for two?  There is the possibility I might not be getting another invite soon from Marie, so I made sure I memorized the route to her abode. I know I shall visit that house again. Invited or not. The food was that good.

Utrecht Fabric Market

Monday, July 30

Has everyone been watching the Olympics? What did you think of the opening ceremony?

I watched it with a mixture of pride and trepidation. Pride because I loved the whole set up, so typically British and I thought it was well executed. The Queen as a Bond Girl? I'll take that anyday. Trepidation because I was worried not everyone would get it. True enough, my Cameroonian friends on Facebook did not get it.

I did not watch all of it though because the following morning I was going to Utrecht Market, and I had to wake up at 5am. My guide for the day was Jhuriene from Julys Diary. Way back in 2009 when I had my wordpress blog, Jhuriene was one of the few (very few) people who used to read my blog. She was one of the first people I started following on the blogosphere, and it was so nice to finally meet her. As it turns out, she lives about 30 minutes from where I am at The Hague. Small world huh?

A straight skirt for a pear.

Sunday, July 22

Okay, so here I am, trying to go against all the image consultants.

I have been told, via books and blogs and TV, that as a pear shaped woman, I should steer clear of straight fitted skirts. I do that, but then again, sometimes I wear shop bought straight skirts, and sometimes it fits me ( maybe 1 in every 50  I try on). You would think that making one for myself that fit would be easy right? I thought so too, and ended up here

Millinery day 4: Sinamay flowers

Thursday, July 19

Today marked the end of my four day millinery adventure. We made roses from sinamay, and used some straw to cover a headband. More rolling. My fingers will be glad its over I tell  you. I had so much fun though, and I hope I can get better at rolling. It produces such beautiful pieces if you get the rolling right.

So Today, I painted more sinamay leaves and squares for the roses.

Millinery day 3: working with sinamay

Wednesday, July 18

Another day another millinery adventure.

Today we worked with sinamay. I got to class 3o minutes late, so had to spend time catching up. Not good Dibs, not Good. I did not do so well today. We had to cut out sinamay shapes and dye them. Since I was late, I missed part of the instructions, and paid for that later. We were told to cut the shapes on the bias, which I did, but was not aware we had to stretch the bias strips before cutting out the shapes. When we finished rolling the sinamay shapes, mine had become so thin. The teacher said it was okay, but that I could cut bigger ones if I want, and that it all depends on what I want to make. I cut out bigger shapes afterwards, this time, stretching to sinamay to within an inch of its life. I will work on that one tomorrow.

White sinamay......

Flower Making Day 2: Seeing red

Tuesday, July 17

Today was the last day of the flower making class. Yesterday, we dyed fabric and carved lino blocks.
We went on to make the flowers today. The pictures should give you an idea of the steps involved in transforming the fabric to a flower.

I ironed some bondaweb unto some fabric and cut out petals and squares for each petal.

Next we embossed the petals, using the lino blocks we carved. When embossing the petals, you have to insert some paper covered wire into the grooves.

Flower making Day 1 and a surprise encounter

Monday, July 16

Today I started the first of my two millinery sessions at Kensington and Chelsea college. Monday and Tuesday will be spent flower making while Wednesday and Thursday will be used to explore the use of sinamay and straw in millinery. 

Our teacher is Bridget Bailey, a really talented and down to earth milliner. I really loved the way she taught us today. I went in thinking she would be very uppity, especially as she is well known, but I was pleasantly surprised by her teaching style. I've decided I like her....very much actually. You can see some of her work here. These are my favourite of her pieces

The Blogger Series: Sew Incidentally

Sunday, July 15

I was really touched by all the lovely comments you sent my way yesterday about my hatmaking attempts. Hopefully I go on to make nicer things. I am hoping when I get more confident about my millinery abilities (non-existent at the moment), I could do a couple of tutorials for you, so you could make your own little pieces at home. Would you want that?

Today's guest on the Blogger Series is Claire, from Sew,Incidentally.

What can I say about Claire? Phew!!. Those of you who have met her, would know about her organisational skills, and her selfless nature. She's always willing to help people ( thanks for the chocolate bar when I was preggers Claire) and is quite generous at swaps ( I have an impressive jersey stash thanks to her). Her IT skills are good too, as she turned the Sorbetto sleeve pattern Mena of Sew Weekly fame used for her Sorbetto challenge into a PDF, and also helped So Zo, with digitising her free vest/camisole,singlet pattern.

What I did today

Saturday, July 14

What a day I've had.

My day started with me waking up at 7am, and going across town to spend 6hours with a legend in the millinery world. Those of you who have been bothering to read my ramblings will remember that last year I was going to take lessons with this living legend but unfortunately, I got knocked up, and due to complications could not attend. Many of you said I could always do it the following year. And I just did. Yay!!.

Today is the start of a number of classes I will be having with her. My next class will surely be sometime in August after my holidays, but no matter. Today was everything I hoped it would be and more.

I am dead tired, so without further ado, here are a few pics of my day.

In which I moan again

Friday, July 13

I know, I know.

It seems like all I do these days is moan. That is what happens when you are at home all the time. Not everyone though. Some people sit at home and make wonderful use of their time. Not me. All I do is plan things I want to make, start making them, and then get distracted by all your lovely blogs. Lovely blogs, which fill me up with intense envy. Ha! I said it. Yes I get envious when I see some really cool stuff on blogs, and wish I had the skills to make those things, or had access to some of the cool gadgets I see on those blogs. The american blogs are most often the guilty ones. Yes you Americans, with your Joanns and Walmarts.

And they asked me to bring these.....

Thursday, July 12

Rubber gloves MOST important!
Sewing kit
Paint brush (one inch)
A piece of towel 2 ft square to paint on
Sinamay -  pale coloured is fine not black. half a metre
Parisisal straw cone

A bucket or large plastic bowl to dye fabric in.
Cotton or silk fabric bits if they have them
If they don't bring gloves and a bucket they won't be able to dye silk till other people have finished with theirs.

The Blogger Series: House of Pinheiro

Wednesday, July 11

Howdy people?

I met up with House of Pinheiro for the second interview in my Blogger Series feature. If you are new to my blog, I decided to start this series after receiving my new Nikon 3100 camera. I love taking pictures with it, and since it comes with a video option, I thought a fun way to use it would be to interview as many fellow bloggers as I can. If you missed the first interview with Pincushion Treats, you can see it here.

For those of you who don't know about House of Pinheiro ( not many I'm sure), you can find her here,   baking, sewing, quilting and doing many more things than I would ever dream to do, and to top it all, she is in the final stages of her MBA program. Is there anything this girl cannot do? I could almost hate. ALMOST....

A few lacy bits.

Monday, July 9

I made some undies. YAY!!

I was sort off forced into making these. Due to the fact that I had an emergency C-Section when having Noah, I was advised by the midwives to invest in large undies. I'm talking full briefs here people, those that threaten to reach your chest. So I did just that, handing out a couple of pounds for shiny new size 16 undies from M&S. 

Thank God for John Lewis

Thursday, July 5

Today, my junior brother and I went into John Lewis on Oxford Street, because I wanted to check out what they had. Thank God I did. They are currently having sales on some of their fabric.

After settling Noah with my brother, and went off to explore the sale area.

Weekend in Review Pt 2

Tuesday, July 3

I can't even begin to describe how much fun I had on Sunday. I was like a kid in a candy store. You have no idea how much I have been wanting to go out and just have some me time. As much as I love my young one, I do need some time once in a while to feel alive, and in control of myself.

Noah, sensing I would be having fun without him, decided to pull a fast one on me, and was fidgety all day. Unfortunately for him, he underestimated my determination to have a baby-free outing. Oh, there was alcohol to be sampled, and there was no way I was not going to treat myself to a few cocktails. So, despite his tearless crying ( Gone are the days when I fretted when he cried), I impatiently dumped him into his father's arms, and sprinted for the door. Does that make me a bad mother? Yes? Can you in all honestly blame me? Yes? ....well you have never tasted Mela's baking or cocktails. Believe me when I say that girl could bake her way out of trouble. When I was with child ( can you tell I read the Bible?), she came to visit me often, and brought many delights. Her chocolate macarons had Junior Mr.Dibs salivating for days....and that by itself, is an achievement.

Weekend in Review Pt 1

Monday, July 2

I know I said in this post that I will reveal what I have been working on, on sunday, but I can't do that. The project is unfinished. I was too busy having fun.

This weekend has been quite an interesting one for me. First, my friend from Portsmouth came to spend the weekend with me, then we got to hang out with Claire on Saturday, and then on Sunday, we met up with some cool chicas, ate some cake ( LOADS), and downed some cocktails. Details of sunday's meet-up will be in part two of my weekend review.  Sadly, all good things come to an end, and my friend has returned to Portsmouth, and once again, I'm back to living my life through your blogs....yes I know, I am a stalker.....I'm getting help from the NHS, so fear not, I will not be doing anything drastic soon.

To Europe to Europe, I'm going to Europe

Saturday, June 30

Pardon my post title. I did not know what else to name this post.

I am going to mainland Europe ( I like to think of myself as an Islander here in the UK) end of July, for three weeks, and I have plans of going to Belgium-Netherlands-France, maybe squeeze in Germany. More specifically I am thinking Antwerp- The Hague - Amsterdam- Paris and finally Cologne if my cousin has some spare time. She's a doctor, and apparently Doctors are overworked in Germany.

In Belgium, I do not have plans to do alot of fabric shopping because last time that I went to visit my cousin in Antwerp, I did not really see any shops worth going back to. I am not saying they are not there....they probably are, but I did not know where they were. Is anyone reading this post based   in either Brussels or Antwerp who knows of cool fabric hide outs?

What is on my sewing table?

Thursday, June 28

I know I have not been posting much but I am working on something I promise.

The proof? I 've got plenty.

Are they finally listening?

Tuesday, June 19

Ok, so its past midnight, and I should be sleeping, BUT, I could not help myself. I checked my email just before going to bed, and what did I see? An email from McCall's, announcing their Autumn patterns. As usual, you love some, and have WTF moments with some of them. What caught my eye this time though, were extra pictures on one pattern, giving "creative guide options".....that sounds suspiciously like the type of information you would get from an indie company like Colette Patterns or Sewaholic.

So this pattern : M6599

Line Art

So where are our experts?

Saturday, June 16

I want to be able to sew beautiful things. I really do. I go to shops like Wallis and John Lewis just to look at the finishing on the clothes there. They are so well made, and I want the things I make to be like that. I have numerous books on professional sewing techniques and couture sewing techniques like  this one

And now for the head......

Sunday, June 10

Thanks everyone for all the lovely comments about my last dress. I was so happy to know that you all loved my fabric choice.

This weekend I decided to make some fascinators. I had all the supplies at home, bought last year when I wanted to start millinery classes. As you all know, I was unable to attend the lessons because of pregnancy related complications.

Simplicity 2444 at last

Tuesday, June 5

Have you ever had one of those projects where you know it should not take long to sew but you find yourself working endlessly on it? I had just that with this dress. It is Simplicity 2444, a really simple but nice pattern. I first saw it here, started working on it, got side tracked and made another mission maxi dress, then saw this, and knew I had to crack on.

I love this dress, and I know I shall be making more before summer is over. And I shall make more come autumn and winter, and next year spring. Crazy right? I seem to be loving every pattern I work on these days. Lets hope my luck continues. Maybe the fact that I had a period of not making anything is making me more appreciative of every project I complete.

Mission maxi to the rescue

Saturday, June 2

I made another mission maxi dress. I swear I am more in love with this pattern after this new make. This one took about 10 minutes to sew. I cut out this fabric immediately after I made the last one, and was just looking for the right time to sew it. I used my overlocker this time, so it made it extra fast.

I was working on Simplicity 2444 all of last night for an event I had to attend today and after a dreadful zip insertion, decided to go to bed at 4am. This morning, I logged on to my Susan Khalje couture class on craftsy to find learn how to do a hand picked zip. 1 hour later, I had the zip inserted, but I still had to do the sleeve and hem. At this point, it was becoming increasingly obvious that I wasn't going to finish the dress on time. So I did what any self respecting person would, not buy a dress, I reached for my mission maxi pattern. 10 minutes later, I had this dress.

Musings on Liberty tana lawn and hard decisions

Thursday, May 31

So the Jubilee is almost upon us. Are you excited? Judging from the royal wedding last year, it will be naive for me to assume that only those resident on this side of the ocean are working themselves into a frenzy. I bet every conversation now starts with " So, anything planned for the jubilee weekend?". I know because not only have I been the recipient of that question, I have also been at the questioning end of said question.

Anyways, like last time, I plan on spending the weekend sewing. To prepare for that, I went to Goldhawk road on Tuesday. I'm sure you all know by now that I love a good bargain. I am so cheap, I think if you look hard enough in the dictionary, you will find my name there as a synonym. 

I went to Goldhawk road with a plan. To buy liberty tana lawn to make the Wiksten tank top, and rummage through 1 or 2 remnant bins. I fell in love with the pattern after seeing Shivani's versions. So true to plan, I bought a metre each in these liberty prints for £10/metre. So £20 in total, for what will give me 2 tops.

Going against the grain...HELP

Tuesday, May 22

I need help folks. Seriously.

A couple of weeks ago I went on the rampage at Walthamstow market, scoring metres upon metres of fabric at dead cheap prices, and lamenting the limitations of the human body. 2 hands only? I asked myself. Who can get by with only two hands when fabric shopping? No seriously, I want you to answer that.

Some of the fabric have already seen the light of day here and here. I also chanced upon some stretch cotton fabric with a border print going for £1/metre, and true to form, ordered 3 metres of each available colourway.

It was only when I went home that I noticed the placement of the print. It was only on one end of the lengthwise grain. 

Vogue 1250 dress

Wednesday, May 16

Continuing with the theme of easy makes this week, is vogue 1250, a DKNY pattern.

I LOVE this dress.

The mission Maxi Dress

Monday, May 14

Ok, so not the most original of blog post title, but I could not think of anything else to call it.

I finally found time today to make something for myself. Knowing that young sir would be interrupting me every so often for his various needs, I looked for something easy to do. I have been looking around the blogosphere for easy and quick projects, and one that kept coming up was the Mission Maxi dress by Jamie Christina.

The pics are a bit hit and miss because Mr.Dibs was about to go for a run when I begged him to take some pictures of me. That did not go down too well with him.

The Blogger Series: Pincushion Treats

Friday, May 11

Hi everyone, I am glad to say that things are starting to fall into place chez Dibs, and I have not murdered Noah yet, so that is a good sign that all those sleepless nights have not driven me mad....for now.

Remember when I mentioned here that I was trying to psyche Mr.Dibs into getting me a DSLR camera after the baby came? Well I succeeded, and I am now the proud owner of a Nikon 3100D. I was torn between a Canon and a Nikon, but I settled for the Nikon because it offered video shooting features, while the Canon did not....well not for the money I was willing to pay. I am so excited about the camera, and I have been playing around with it in my spare moments.

Noah came Early

Monday, April 2

Yes he did.

Technically he was supposed to finish baking on the 4th of April, however due to little technicalities, which I have moaned about non-stop on this blog, and which I am sure you all got tired of hearing about, the head chef decided to pull him out of the oven 1 week early, on the 27th of March.

So, I'll be brief. I am so sleepy I swear I could sleep in a chocolate making factory right now.....and NO, not even the chocolate can tempt me away from sleep right now....after I finish this post of course.

I am in love....

Monday, March 12

...Fear not Mr.Dibs. I love you I'm not talking about another man( though the mere thought of Johnny Depp is enough to make my heart skip numerous beats)

I'm talking about a new online fabric shop.

Last week I received an email about this new shop, so I decided to take a look. I am so excited to say that I LOVE this shop already. Annie, the owner, is such a lovely woman, and has the most wonderful customer service. Trust me, I would know. I have already bought twice from this shop ( in the space of 6 days), and on both occasions the service was faultless.

Crocheting my way out of boredom

Sunday, March 4

I am now officially on maternity leave. Though to be honest, I stopped going into the office from mid January. I am also officially bored and fed-up. Sitting at home alone all day, day after day is quite mind numbing. I really would not have minded all this free time if I could go out and about and do stuff, but I am almost house bound, and trust me, that SUCKS!!!

Right, now that my little rant is off my chest, I can carry on with what has been making stuff bearable round these parts. I decided to start making things for the baby. I have given up on making anything for myself because

Pincushion Winner

Friday, March 2

Congratulations Rachel of Shoes and Sewing. An email is on its way to you now.

Give away: Pincushions Anyone?

Friday, February 17

Don't you just love my new pincushion? I am in love with it. I can't wait for it to get into my little hands ( I am still to find someone whose hands are smaller than mine).

Sew Retro: The Starlet Suit Jacket

Thursday, February 16

I've gone and done it again.

I've booked myself on another craftsy course. Yes, yes I know, I have not made the Bombshell dress yet, or the Couture Dress. We all know its not my fault right? I know I am quite lazy, but in this matter, I am ABSOLUTELY blameless.

Gertie has this new course:

Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B.Shaeffer Give away winner

Wednesday, February 15

Well well well, another day, another winner.

I am so glad that I am not the only one who is seriously thinking of improving their sewing skills this year. Without further ado, here is the result of the Couture Sewing Techniques book.

12 in 2012

Tuesday, February 14

I have realised this year is going to be a challenging one for me, and I know my sewing will suffer if I don't have a plan. I joined the Sew Weekly circle, but I now see that I will not be able to follow the weekly challenges. I feel it will restrict me and I will end up sewing things that I do not really want.

Sew Grateful Week: Lobster fabric and Pattern giveaway winners

Monday, February 13

The Sew Grateful Week is officially over now, and its time to do the draw for my giveaways.

So first up, the Lobster fabric:

Is this Horsehair Braid?

Saturday, February 11

I need some help please.

Last year, on one of my many trips into a charity shop near my workplace, I bought this for £1.

Meet my new friend

Friday, February 10

Hi guys, this is a non-sewing related post so you might want to stop reading now if you don't fancy a bit of a downer on this bright and cheerful Friday morning( the weather is actually horrible, but never mind).

I had a long day on Wednesday, 3 appointments with various people at the hospital. A midwife, a physiotherapist, and a consultant.

The midwife was optimistic (yay!!). Everything was okay with the growth, heartbeat and movements of the future co-heir of the Dibs Family millions

A rather pleasant surprise!!

Wednesday, February 8

That is what I got yesterday when I woke up in the morning, reached for my phone,and checked my email.

On Monday, as I lay on the bed, legs stretched out (my customary position these days as I am kinda restricted in the mobility side of things), I came across this give away post by Ginger Makes. Ginger was expressing her gratitude to the sewing community and how lucky she was feeling because she had just won two give aways, one of which was this dress from Pattern Runway.

Sew Grateful Week: Give away - Pattern of your Choice at Sew Direct

Tuesday, February 7

My Sew Grateful Week is well and truly on the roll.

Today, I am Sew Grateful to my mom, who pushed me to learn how to sew. 

When I was younger, I lived with my dad and my step-mom, and only started spending regular holidays with my mom when I was about 11. I went to an all girls boarding school so I had to share my holidays between my mom, my Dad, and my aunts and uncles (I was a popular kid in the family you see). So that meant in a year, I'd only see my mom for about 2 weeks, maximum a month. All that changed when I went to University because she lived in the same town.

Sew Grateful Week: Lobster fabric giveaway

Monday, February 6

Hi folks, today is the start of the Sew Grateful week hosted by Debi.

I have so many things to be grateful for this week..loads actually. What I intend to do, is to name 1 or two things that I am grateful for everyday of this week, and then follow it with Debi's plan. Debi wants us to :

  • Host a giveaway: post by Monday, February 6th
  • Create a tutorials or offer up a pattern: post by Tuesday, February 7th
  • Write a reflection post (on what your 'sew grateful' for): post by Wednesday, February 8th
  • Finish a sewing project: post by Saturday, February 11th

Does it have to be so cold in London?

Sunday, February 5

No, I am not whinging, I am singing. Does anyone remember The Cranberries?

They have this song called " So cold in Ireland" which I loved. In fact I love all their songs, and in various stages of my life, I have bought (again) , all 5 of their albums. They have a new album coming out this month, so naturally I am quite excited. I got introduced to The Cranberries by a friend when I was 17, in Cameroon, and had just gone to university. The album I borrowed from my friend was their second album "No Need To Argue". By the end of my first year at Uni, all my neighbours at the hostel were Cranberries converts. Yes, I played it everyday on the loudest volume. I know that sounds unfair now, but back then i was young, and carefree, and MAD!!!

Book Giveaway: Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B.Shaeffer

Sunday, January 29

Hello folks, how goes the Sunday?

My sister and some friends came visiting yesterday, so my Saturday was a very happy one. I always love seeing my older sister, as she cracks me up, and being around her always makes me so happy. Yesterday she had me in stitches, and I felt so much better. Here's an old picture of us goofing around....

Now, about this giveaway.

Do you want this book?

If yes, read on.

You might be wondering why I am giving this book away just a couple of days after I wrote about wanting to engage in the art of fine sewing. I have not taken leave of my senses...oh no...all I'm doing is executing my still evolving plan of attack on fine sewing. I have been deliberating for some time now if I should get the revised edition of this book, and I have finally made up my mind to go for it. This means I will now have 2 copies of the same book, which translates into... I have to get rid of one.

This giveaway is the beginning of a series of sewing book related giveaways that I plan on doing this year. I love books. There is just something special about leafing through pages and pages of beautifully assembled papers.   For want of a better explanation of the Dibs-Books relationship, I'll say I'm a Book Addict. I don't like the term bookworm, because it brings a not very sexy image to my mind...and I like to think of myself as a sexy woman....yes I am....I insist I am.....well I am if I say I am....what? the bump? ........ahem....okay then, I am a sexy bumpified that? where was I? Oh yes, the giveaway.

As I was saying, I buy too many books, and sometimes I end up not using them, and they spend lonely nights on my bookshelve, the only exciting thing for them being having to fight for space on the bookshelf with Mr.Dibs's cooking books. Whats the point of having a book that is not used. I figured someone out there would probably give these books the proper attention they deserve. Don't get me wrong, I love these books, its just that I have not really taken the time to get some use out of them, and now I am trying to make space for more books, like Gertie's upcoming book.

You, my friends, have been so kind to me, with your lovely emails, and comments, and texts, so its only fair to pay you back in my own small way.

So, to stand a chance of having this book you need to full-fill certain criteria...... 

1) You need to be a follower of my blog.
2) Be a resident of planet earth. ( No aliens not even you beauties of Pandora or spice addicts of Arrakis)
3) Be a member of the human race ( No hobbits, elves, and certainly NO ORCS).
4) Leave a comment about why you want this book.

This giveaway is open till midnight London time, on the 14th of February 2012.

Coolio. I'm off now. Mr.Dibs marinated some chicken last night with Nandos peri peri marinate, and judging from the sweet aroma wafting into the bedroom, I assume said chicken is being acquainted with the hotness of the oven.....aahhhhhhh exciting stuff.  

The Year of Fine Sewing

Friday, January 27

You all know I signed up for Susan Khalje's course over at Craftsy a couple of days ago. I was so excited about the course, and boy has it been interesting!!. I have not finished watching it yet, but what I have seen so far has made me realise all the sewing I have been doing till date has been child's play.

I've always taken an end product approach to my sewing. By that, I mean I was more concerned with seeing my sewn item, rather than enjoying the process of making said sewn item. I always wanted faster and easier ways to do stuff, and was quite sloppy in my sewing. Do you ever feel that way? Where all that matters is that a dress be sewn, no matter the fudging involved, after all, nobody will stop you on the streets and go

" oii, show me your seam finishes", or " hey mate, why did you not line this dress, or use horsehair for that circle skirt hem?".

Never mind that I always used to admire the things made by bloggers who put in extra efforts to use age old techniques, such as Karen with her coat ( I'm still gutted I missed the Crafter's Ceilidh, where I could have stroked that Coat), or Rachel's cape, or the GLORIOUS wiggle dress recently revealed by Gertie. She says the dress will be in her book. I am sold already on the book based on this dress. I want that book published like YESTERDAY. Got it Gertie? YESTERDAY!!.

Susan's couture class is amazing people. Its been such an eye opener. It made me wonder why I sew. What's the point of buying good quality fabric, if all I want to do with it is quickly process it on my machine? Granted, I have never paid more than £10/metre for a fabric but still...... I realise what I have been doing is cottage fast fashion. Fast fashion on an individual scale. Churning out mediocre outfits which might be better than what is available at Primark, but not up to the standards of, say, Oasis, or (sigh) Reiss. Yes Duchess Kate, I said it, you are not the only one with a taste for good stuff.

What is the point of sewing then, if I can't be patient enough to adjust the fit of a pattern, so it hangs better on my body? Why can't I put more thought into a sewing project? Why oh why? Why do I buy all those sewing books and not devour them for knowledge, or better still make porridge out of them and eat so that the knowledge becomes part of my biological frame ( is that safe?)....imagine the coroner carrying out a postmortem examination of my body and seeing little snippets of sewing techniques oozing out of my bones.
Why do I ignore the advice given in some of the ones I have already read? I'm afraid I won't answer all these whys. I don't want a heart attack.

You see what $39.99 does to you?

So I have decided that this year, 2012, is the year where I go back to the drawing board. I want to make beautiful things that render you all so speechless, you go into your little corners and dream of ways to apparate into my house and steal my wonderful creations. You'd have to be careful though, I have a mean high kick.....I used to take lessons from Bruce Lee in my dreams when I was younger....FACT!!

As a first step, I decided to do an audit of my sewing tools. Ha!! I realised I was sorely lacking in the pressing department. I have neither a tailor's ham nor a seam roll. I do have a sleeve board, which I picked up in a flea market in Belgium last year, but its in a sorry state, and I have to show it some love. My ironing board belongs in the recycling bin, and my iron is on its last legs. So where does that leave me?

Since I am going all fine sewing this year, I suppose I have to start with getting myself a good iron as apparently,pressing is the Key. Can anyone recommend a good brand?

And I leave you all with a picture of my brand new book, which came through the post today. I first came to know about it when Gertie did a post on it. There is also a review on Threads if you are interested.

This is the second book I am buying based on Gertie's recommendations, the first being this one....

What about you? Are you finding yourself making more of an effort with the quality of your sewing?

Guest blogging at House of Pinheiro

Thursday, January 26

Hi everyone, today I am guest blogging at House of Pinheiro.

I review the Roland Mouret galaxy dress inspired Vogue 8280, which was made when I had a waist.

Susan Khalje Couture Class

Wednesday, January 25

Don't you just love the internet?

Last year, Gertie took a class (a workshop really)with Susan Khalje, and I remember thinking I would love to be in her suitcase, so she could take me with her. Gertie always gushes about Susan Khalje and how good she is with couture sewing and with good reason too. Just take a look at her website to discover more about this talented woman yourself.

6 days at her Couture Sewing School will set you back $995....ahem.....I'm not going to comment on that. I imagine you will learn alot in those 6 days, and you will treasure the experience. To get an idea of what those 6 days will be like, you can take a look at Gertie's blog, where she gave an insight into her time with Susan here, here, here, and here.

Now, even if I did have $995 in my piggy bank, which I can VERY MUCH ASSURE you I don't have, I would have had to swim across the Atlantic to attend her sewing school. Any other mode of transport will undoubtedly involve me re-mortgaging our house...I kid you not.

Fortunately, she is having a class on Craftsy, yes, the same people who brought you the Bombshell Dress via Gertie, and the price is a mighty affordable $79.99. I got an email in my box today saying there was currently a 50% discount on the course, so that makes it $39.99.  Not bad aye?

So in principle, you shell out $39.99, and you get this Vogue pattern posted to you

and then Susan teaches you how to make this dress using couture techniques. How cool is that? I am thinking very seriously of buying this class. You could probably buy books on couture sewing that will teach you the techniques, but if you, are like me, and you learn by observation, then this might be worth thinking about. Granted, it will be nothing compared to her Couture Sewing School, but for $39.99 (£26.51) I will gladly take the pattern and a couple of couture techniques, thank you very much.

Now if you will excuse me, I have some MAJOR financial decisions to make.

Freezer Paper Stencilling Winner

Tuesday, January 24

So I have been asked time and time again if I have started suffering from Baby Brain. Each time someone does, I always say "oh no, not me. I don't believe in that". There are some women who swear that they become quite forgetful during pregnancy, and others say its just a fallacy. I did not believe it....until I forgot that I had to choose my giveaway winners!!!

Now you could say it happens to be forgetful once in a while and all that, but, I have spent a considerable time on my blog lately so how come I forgot?

Anyways, this is the result. I still have to figure out a way to get the actual box in here, so in the absence of that, I just copied and pasted the result.

True Random Number GeneratorMin: Max: Result:5
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Entry number 5 = Sarahlouisa

Can you send your address to my email address please, and along with the text (optional) you will want me to write on the bag.

Thanks everyone who participated.

Catford Sewing and Knitting Group

Hi folks, thank you so much for the lovely words of support you all gave me regarding my missed trip to Scotland, and the health issues behind it. It means a lot to me to know that I have friends out there who care. The fact that I have not even met all of you yet makes it all the more special.

You all have the eternal gratitude of Mr.Dibs, who woke up at 6:30am on Saturday morning to the sounds of me crying on the phone to House of Pinheiro , who was on her way to the airport, and trying her best to console this hysterical person on the other side of the line. After she managed to calm me down, and we hung up, all Mr.Dibs could say was “she sounds really nice”, to which I snapped “They are all very nice”. He got a better understanding of my last statement when I told him the girls were sending me a parcel through Houseof Pinheiro. How can you not love being a part of such a generous and loving sewing community?

Which brings me to a more serious matter.....

St.Laurence Church, Catford.
 Home of the Catford Sewing and Knitting Group.

A couple of days ago, I got an email from a lovely lady called Delphina, telling me about a new sewing and knitting group in Catford, in South London, which will go into operation at the end of the month. It is council-funded ( how cool is that?), and it is completely free to join. However, since it is Council funded, priority is given to Lewisham borough residents. Delphina did point out the fact that they have space for 12-15 people, so she’s certain of the fact that a few non-residents might also be included.

Unfortunately, I live very far from Catford, but I am sure one of you might be able to take advantage of this wonderful initiative. I wish I had one like this in my borough.

So here are few FAQs about the Catford Sewing and Knitting Group.


1) How much does it cost?

Nothing! We are a 'not-for-profit' community group funded by Lewisham Council. However, space is limited so we operate 'first-come-first-served' at tables.

2) Where do you meet?

From 11am - 5.30pm (6pm final close), every Saturday, except the 3rd Sat of each month, in the 'Youth Room' at St Laurence Hall, Bromley Road (

3) Do you teach sewing, knitting, embroidery, crochet etc?

We do not teach classes in sewing, knitting, embroidery or crochet. We are an informal drop-in for people who already know how to pattern cut, sew, knit, crochet or embroider and are confident in completing projects on their own. We provide a supportive environment only.

4) Do you provide sewing machines?

No. Our small budget does not cover this. Everyone must bring their own sewing or knitting machine, materials and yarn. We also do not provide spare needles, scissors or bobbins.
Rolls & Rems dressmaking shop in Lewisham is a 10-min bus ride away and stocks an impressive range of fabrics, yarns and haberdashery items at affordable prices.

5) Do you allow children?

For Health & Safety reasons, we cannot allow children under 16 in the room.

6) Is there wheelchair access?

Yes. St Laurence has full wheelchair access.

7) What facilities are there?

The room can hold approx. 12-15 people in all. We have one cutting table, a dummy, a steam iron, ironing board and full-length mirror. Please note: St Laurence has no wifi.

8) Do you provide refreshments?

We can provide a limited supply of tea and coffee.

9) Can I bring my own lunch?

Yes, sandwiches are fine. You must take your rubbish away with you. Catford High Street has a wide range of eateries and a large Tesco if you prefer to go out for lunch.

10) Is there parking?

Yes. St Laurence has parking in the rear for approx 25 cars. If this is full, the nearby streets of Culverly Road and Penerly Road are free to park on a Saturday. Just make double sure you are not on a line or blocking anyone's driveway!

11) What buses/trains stop nearby?

If using public transport, we recommend you use a sturdy trolley or suitcase to bring your machine, fabrics and sewing box. Catford is well served by two rail stations and many bus routes stop near the hall;

PLEASE NOTE: Any table left unattended for 45 mins will be given to the next person waiting.
Your machine and materials will be carefully removed and stored for when you come to collect.
You join the group on this understanding.







MARCH 2012


APRIL 2012


MAY 2012


If you, like me, are not physically able to be a part of this group, you can still keep up to date with their activities by following their blog....yes, its up and running already.

Have a lovely week everyone.