Saturday, 13 February 2016

cross stitch and Mr Selfridge

Three episodes and I'm right up to date. Did the ironing and some cross stitch. Finished back stitching the embroidery hoop, did the three buttons and started the sewing machine. 

Miserable weather today....cold and place to be - in front of the fire.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016


Last night I managed to do some back stitch on my cross stitching but forgot to photograph it - I so wanted to document it as I seem to go days without even picking it up.  Funnily enough dear husband commented - oh you are doing cross stitching, what are you stitching... He couldn't remember me showing him the pattern.  I said to him I take it on holiday in the camper van with me to do a bit when we are away and he said he couldn't remember seeing it... that goes to show how little I have done.  I am just back stitching the embroidery hoop.

I also managed to finish cutting on the pattern pieces for my blouse,although I have not done the sewing markings yet, I am hoping to crack on with that tonight or tomorrow.

So a little progress which as Linda Harris would say... every stitch counts!  and it's very true, its a few stitches closer to completion.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Mr Selfridge.....lived here....

I love Mr Selfridge on the television and in the sewing room when I don't have to concentrate too much I have either Mr S on or Downton on a loop on the DVD in the background.  We don't live that far from Highcliffe Castle which featured recently on Mr Selfridge as he lived there for a bit.  He also owned Hengistbury Head at one time.  We walked from Mudeford along the beach then up through the nature reserve to the castle, stopping for refreshments at the castle tea rooms which are lovely. We headed over to St Mark's where Mr Selfridge, his Mum Lois, his wife Rose and his daughter Beatrice ashes are interned there.
 The big white tomb to the left is where his Mum Lois is buried, the next one where his wife Rosalie "Rose" is buried with the ashes of his daughter, there are two unmarked graves and then poor old Mr Selfridge gets a very plain grave - by this stage there was hardly any money left at all and certainly not enough for anything grand.

 Lois's grave.
Rose's grave.

I bought the book in the book shop and was very surprised and pleased when the lady in the shop (at the castle) advised me it was a signed copy of the actor that plays Mr Selfridge - Jeremy Piven - how exciting !  He had signed them ready for when the filming was shown on TV of them at Highcliffe Castle.


It was one of the few Saturday's that started off sunny, you can see the blue sky and sun, but it was cold and damp by the time we got to see the graves and really very chilly by the time we got back to the  car.  It was a lovely experience and one I will treasure.


It's been a busy few days, firstly celebrating my birthday which was just perfect and then celebrating my Inlaws Golden Wedding anniversary.  Whilst it looks like I haven't been up to much in the sewing room me and my wonderfully patient sewing buddy AKA Phillip my husband have been adjusting the Mcalls blouse pattern that goes with my course.

I can't tell you how much we have learnt along the way.   When I started I really was in despair but thanks to my fabulous Craftys course I now know:-

I have a square shoulder and not a sloping one.
I don't have a full back
I do have a full bust
I do need extra room in my sleeves
I do need to lengthen my sleeve slightly

After a lot of adjustments to the pattern and trying on sessions (thank you darling for being so patient and kind with me) we finally have an altered pattern and I have just started pinning it to my fabric.  I have gone for the spotted green and white to start with, I am less fond of this one so if I do hash it up it won't be the end of the world.

The learning curve has been really steep BUT in the future going forward I now know what type of adjustment I am likely to have to do and with practice it will become quicker.

I had a small chuckle to myself when I read on the pattern - construction time 3 hours ! ! ! Oh my word I would say three weeks at this rate.

I have never been a blouse wearer, mainly because if I pick the one that fits over the shoulders etc I have a gape at the front (which I now know is due to a full bust she says a little smuggly),  If I pick the blouse that doesn't gape then it is massive and gives me no shape.

So the next phase is to get the fabric cut out and pinned together for a fitting before sewing...

I chose the full length sleeve option so there will be cuffs to deal with but I did them on another course so hopefully they will be ok and then of course the button holes but my gorgeous sewing machine does most of the hard work with that bit!

Here's a peak at the tea room we went for afternoon tea for my birthday.  It was wonderful.  You approach it down a track and it's a working farm and my heart kind of sunk a little bit, the weather had not been kind and it looked pretty miserable, but boy was I wrong to take that first impression. They were the nicest, friendliest ladies, beautiful china tea service, all set out, lovely sandwiches, gorgeous scone and cake... Linda H. on it's my list when you next come up to see us to take you.....

Want to have a look check out HERE

I would not recommend having afternoon tea twice in one weekend, the sugar high and then low is awful but that's what we ended up doing, tea on Sunday at the Cumberland Hotel  It was lovely to be celebrating all together as a family but the tea wasn't a patch on Abigail's I have to say, but really nice atmosphere.    Storm Imogen was hitting with force, the hotel is right on the East Cliff at Bournemouth - it was difficult to walk back to the car which we had parked on the front....

I hope everyone survived the storm without too much damage


Thursday, 28 January 2016


The one thing I struggle with is fit - I can put garments together no problem, but fit is a bit of a headache.  I vowed to myself that I would master it this year , what is the point of spending all that time making something if you look like a sack of spuds in it....

I have been reading a book that my Mum got me last year (at my request)... It has been a real eye opener.... then I discovered they are running courses on Craftsy for the Palmer/Pletsch fitting technique....

All I can say is WOW !   I feel like very single light bulb is on in my head... what a FANTASTIC course.  Melissa, the daughter of Pati Palmer together with her Mum Pati and also a little bit of Marta go through step by step fitting a blouse.  All I can say is it was worth every penny and more.

It's my birthday coming up so I made my list up of the things I would like and my dear hubby obliged - he's very good like that.

I am just waiting for the pattern to come for the class but in the meantime going to have some practice runs altering some of the free patterns that come with the magazines that I subscribe to that I will never wear but will be good practice.  The general idea is you work out what your normal alterations and then apply it to the various patterns, tissue fit and then the pattern is just about right for material cutting with maybe a few tweaks before you sew up.... It's going to be a challenge but I am really raring to go.  I have only a few pounds to go to get back to where I want to be weight wise, I put on weight when I damaged my ligament in my foot and couldn't walk for weeks and then put on a bit for Xmas so I am determined to get it off and then create myself some nice fitting clothes!

With all that in mind part of my "birthday shopping list" was the fabric below which for those of you that know me will know it's right out of my comfort zone, I just wanted a complete change.  They will hopefully be made into the blouse pattern that comes with the course.

I have always loved the turquoise so thought that would make a jolly summer blouse and I live in the country and thought the country pattern on the other fabric would look smashing with some jeans.....

Long way to go yet though, practice, practice and more practice so don't be expecting to see anything in the next couple of weeks....

I bought the fabric at a very reasonable cost from the Remnant House - ordered it yesterday just arrived with the postie.  You can tick a box that says supply matching thread and they choose that for you too which I thought was marvelous.  I will be using them again without a doubt.

I have signed up for the other two courses on Craftsy for fitting techniques on other areas but will probably watch the other one again rather than go on and flood my brain with too much info.

K x