To Europe to Europe, I’m going to Europe

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?

In the Netherlands, I will be based at the Hague. I have already asked my cousin what it will cost me to go to Amsterdam in both time and money, and am glad to say, not a lot. I have heard Amsterdam has some lovely fabric shops so I shall make a stop there. I have grand hopes of visiting Kantje Boord and murdering my bank balance. For those of you who don’t know what Kantje Boord is, it is a shop near Amsterdam that sells impossible quantities of lingerie fabrics and notions. You can see a review of the shop here.

I will also be meeting Sandra in Paris. The plan is to go to Montmartre, and possibly Sarcelles, a  market were fabric could be obtained for less than 2 euros….now that’s more up my street. You all know I’m cheap right?

Like I mentioned before, Germany depends on my cousin’s availability, but I am sure if I do go there, I won’t be buying anything as I would have assassinated my poor bank balance in Amsterdam.

Is anyone going to be round those parts during the last week of July and early August? It will be nice to meet other bloggers in those cities. I am shamelessly reaching out here people…..I need to be plugged into the fashion hideouts in those cities matrix style. So please please please, pretty please, if you live in any of those cities, and fancy a meet-up, do let me know, and I shall try to budget my fabric spending money to accommodate more expeditions.

Oh God, does anyone know if it is at all possible to make a post invisible to one person only? I think the peace Chez maison Dibs will be rocked if Mr. Dibs reads about my shopping plans…….

What is on my sewing table?

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

The proof? I ‘ve got plenty.

Can you guess what I am making?

Learning techniques from books……

…..and the internet……

…..while being reminded with these murderous stares that it is time to feed somebody

Stay tuned for the big reveal on Sunday. I am off to meet some supa dupa ladies somewhere in London. I have been promised there shall be cocktails aplenty, so Mr.Dibs will be on babysitting duties while I research the alcoholic levels of home made cocktails.

Are they finally listening?

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

has the following fashion options.



Mccall’s pattern and its sister publications like Butterick and Vogue have never really ( if they have, I don’t know about it) bothered to help us mere mortals by showing us how to extend the lives of our precious patterns. I know Simplicity, with the Project Runway line of patterns, have a separate sheet which has  information on changing the design elements of the pattern, using the Croquis, so they might be copying them. I don’t like that possibility though. Its not fun. I insist on thinking that they are copying the indie pattern companies.

Is it possible, I ask myself, that they have started taking notice of the interactive relationship that exists between the independent pattern companies and us?

Do they look on, with wonderment, at the excitement generated throughout the blogosphere by the mere mention of an imminent release of a new Sewaholic or Colette Pattern?

Is this the beginning of a more interactive experience with the Big 4 pattern companies?

I am aware I might be leaping to huge conclusions here, but I just thought it would be more fun to entertain the thought that there is possibly more to this sudden desire by McCall’s  to help me be more creative with my pattern…..hmmm

So where are our experts?

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 books by Claire Shaeffer and Roberta Carr. However, I need guidance. I am a visual learner, and though the books give you an idea, I need to see someone do something, for it to really stick in my head. When Craftsy offered the Couture Dress class with Susan Khalje, I did not even blink. I purchased it straight away. I have learned a great deal from that class, and I continue to learn from it every time I watch it.

Which got me thinking. 

Why don’t we have established sewing teachers like they have in the States? Oh don’t get me wrong, I am sure we have experts as well, but why do we not know of them? Anyone who is new to sewing and blogging, will undoubtedly read about Susan Khalje, Claire Shaeffer, Kenneth King and Sandra Betzina within 1 day of reading blogs. I am still to read about someone based in the UK who is spoken of with the same reverence reserved for the above mentioned experts. I know ages ago we had Ann Ladsbury, and that, is because of the numerous books she authored. What about the experts of today?

Not long ago, Karen posted about her experience, taking sewing lessons from Beth. Now that is the kind of tuition I am looking for. One of those experiences you really want to have. I don’t mind shelling out a few of the Queen’s faces to get good quality guidance from a sewing expert. But where are they?

I wonder if the lack of visible sewing experts is due to the fact that we do not have as many craft TV channels as they do in the US. There is not enough promotion of sewing as a craft in the UK in my opinion.  Then again, maybe I have not done enough research. Which goes back to my earlier point. In the US, anyone interested in sewing and sewing blogs does NOT have to look hard to identify the experts. In the UK, I HAVE to look hard, and I still have not found one.

Taking sewing classes from my local college is all well and good, but I don’t want that. I have never been on one, and I don’t want to take one because from what I have read, you have to sew what the instructor wants you to, depending on the season. I want to sew my own thing when I want, and all I want, is guidance. So back to my question, where are our UK experts? Has anyone taken a course with  a sewing expert they would recommend? If yes, could you let me know which one?

Have a nice weekend everyone.

And now for the head……

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.

 Now for a closer look

 Junior Mr.Dibs helped with the photo shoot…..

I’ve been watching the Euro competition (football), and so far so good. England plays tomorrow. I’m so nervous. Hopefully we’ll do well in this competition.