Simplicity 2444 maxi dress featuring John Kaldor

Don’t you just love summer? I love summer, a lot. When summer comes around, everyone seems genuinely happy. People smile at you on the road, you get to eat ice cream without worrying about getting a cold, the sun is still out at 9pm, and more specifically, I get to wear maxi dresses without heavy coats for protection.

Last week I had a situation regarding an overlocker I bought, which left me really upset, so on Friday I found myself at Goldhawk road, where I spent more money than I wanted to, and got even more upset. In the evening I decided to sew something, to take my mind off unhappy thoughts. I have been craving maxi dresses lately, especially as Summer is just round the corner, and decided to use the bodice of Simplicity 2444.

This pattern does not need any introduction I think, as there have been so many versions on so many blogs. I made this dress about 2 years ago when I just had Noah, and even though I wanted to make more versions, I never got round to it. 
I used a John Kaldor fabric I bought from Abakhan in Manchester when I spent a week there in February. I bought it on sale for about £2.50 or £3. I bought 3 metres, and I always knew I wanted to make a maxi dress from it. I have been slowly collecting John Kaldor fabric, and I really love the quality of their fabrics. 
Since I had sewn this pattern before, there were not any nasty surprises in store for me. It was a pretty easy make. Stress free, which was exactly what I wanted. I did not make any changes to the pattern, but for the skirt, I just used two rectangles, each 40″ long, with the width the full width of the fabric. Not very original I know, but I did not want to complicate my sewing.
The weather was really nice today, and we had my younger brother and a few friends round ours and I just had to wear my new dress. 

I can assure you I was not drunk in this picture. My friend, who is an expert at mixing cocktails, made some using Plymouth Gin, which I had never had, but which I now like….a lot.

Hopefully my overlocker situation resolves itself this week and I can sew more stuff. I used French seams on this dress, but that takes a lot of time and having the overlocker will speed things up for me. I have a major event to attend on Saturday 31st, and I wanted to use my overlocker to sew my dress. I now have to find a backup pattern, to use if my overlocker does not get fixed in time.
On the house front, we have seen a house we REALLY like, so fingers crossed they accept  our offer.
What summer sewing have you been/plan on doing?I know maxis are the way forward for me this summer ( as always).

Beauty: Makeup books

I bought some make-up books guys. Those of you who follow me on instagram (@dibsandthemachine), would know how make-up obsessed I have become. I am not really a make-up girl, but I am learning, and so far I am having fun. Mr.Dibs calls it my war paint, and sometimes I agree. I rarely wear make-up to work. I would say in a month, I might wear it once to work. I am starting to make more and more of an effort with my appearance, after some of my friends staged an intervention.

I have spent countless hours on youtube, learning make-up application. What many of the self proclaimed make-up gurus on youtube don’t tell you are the reasons they do what they do. So I am turning to the experts to tell me why I have to use a crease brush and a base brush. Are you a make up addict?.

Until this week, I never even knew there were so many books on make-up by make-up artists. I was looking for information on Kevin Aucoin, and realised he had written a number of books. Searching for those books online led me to other books by well known make-up artists and in true Dibs style, I ordered a couple, two of which arrived a few days ago. Just in time for the Bank holiday weekend. Make-up brushes at the ready!!

Its funny how I am only getting into make-up and the whole beauty thing in my mid thirties. I’m sure my mom will do a victory dance when she comes visiting this summer. She has been vocally disappointed in my lack of interest in all things make-up and beauty regiments. My mom is so beautiful, and I am nothing like her. I do like look abit like her, but not as much as my younger brother, who is her carbon copy, or as much as she would have wanted me to. She used to blame my dad for me not being breathtakingly beautiful. I have my dad’s lips though, which I consider my best features. Take that, Mother!

Before you all rush to assure me that I am beautiful,  and that my mom is mean, please know that my mom loves me very much, and I am quite confident in my skin. I might not be as beautiful as my mom, who to be honest, judging from her old pictures, was quite the stunner, but I am not ugly either. And by the way, who has the right to call someone ugly? Everyone has something special in them that makes them beautiful to a certain number of people. I am the most beautiful woman in the world to Mr.Dibs(even though I think he only says that for the sake of peace and an happy life), and that is enough for me.

If you like make-up, what make brands do you use?

Joel and Son Fabrics

Thank you all so much for the positive words and support you sent my way after my last post. Since then, we have put our flat back on the market, and we have had multiple offers above our asking price, so I am quite happy about that. We are off to Northampton to view properties this weekend so I am really looking forward to the weekend. I am however cognisant of the fact that things could go wrong so I have decided not to get emotionally involved in the process this time round. Que sera sera.

Now on to the reason for today’s post. Joel and Son fabrics. Have you ever been there? I have never gone there. Alison tells me it is near Edgware Road, which is technically not very far from my house. Joel and Son are suppliers to her Majesty the Queen, a fact which they are very proud of, as I am sure I would be if by some stroke of luck my macarons made their way to her Maj’s dinner table.
I have been to their website countless times, but because their prices are quite extraordinary, I never bought anything from them. They have the most exquisite fabrics which are, unfortunately, reflected in their not so exquisite prices.

I never thought I would ever buy anything from them, until a couple of weeks ago when I went to my usual spot on their website, the bargain section. I saw this amazing looking cotton faille fabric going for £10/metre. I kept praying the fabric would still be there when I got paid and thankfully it was. So I ordered 3 metres. Two weeks passed and I still had not received my parcel. I called them yesterday to inform them. The lady I spoke to was quite helpful, and she gave me the number of their delivery company, as well as my reference number. A quick call to the delivery company, and my parcel was delivered today. AMAZING!!

Just look at this beautiful fabric. If you are not drooling now, I think you need to see a Doctor. There either is something wrong with your eyes, or the part of your brain that curates your emotions is malfunctioning.

Now, not only was the customer service really good, the packaging had me quivering with excitement. Alison was visiting and she could not help laughing at me. We decided to learn more about cotton faile, as neither of us had worked with it before. So out came the Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide.

Now this is not a shop I will regularly buy from. Don’t get me wrong. It is not that they don’t sell good fabric. They do. They sell Very good fabric. From Italy and other places. They have all sorts of designer fabrics. And therein lies the rub. Designer fabrics are not cheap. Alison and I even played a guessing game. She read out a discounted fabric description, and asked me to guess the price. I said £100. It turns out I was almost £900 short of the price. The actual price was £989/metre, down from £1,472. Yes I know, I had the same reaction as you are probably having now. If I was ever looking for a reason for Mr.Dibs to ask for a divorce, I think buying even 0.00001 metres of this fabric would be good enough. In case you were wondering if this fabric was made of gold, here it is. Feast thy eyes!

If there is anyone of you out there who buys from Joel and Son regularly, I hate you, and I never EVER want to meet you because my inability to suppress my jealousy and envy would inevitably lead to murder, and I really, really want to see Noah grow. I won’t be able to turn him into the professional sportsman he is destined to be from Belmarsh prison. To those of you, like me, who can only dream of making a purchase from the bargain section, rejoice. They always have some sort of offer. The offers are still expensive for the likes of us, but for that special occasion, or reward or treat, a remnant piece of 2metres at £40-£50 is achievable.

An added surprise for me, was the packaging. The fabric came wrapped in tissue paper, in a branded plastic bag, with the royal charter proudly incorporated….of course.

A postcard was included, which I thought was a nice touch, as well as a tape measure. Wasn’t that sweet of them? I’m sure I shall buy from them again, if only to see what little free gift wends its way towards me.

I love my cheap fabrics. I am a Goldhawk road girl to the core, but once in a while, a very rare while, I like to indulge myself. This purchase does not really qualify as a splurge because the fabric was heavily discounted, and I have bought more expensive fabric than this, but the whole experience of buying from Joel and Son to me, was a treat. Have you ever bought from them?

Blogging and Life

The new year always starts with so much promise. This year I was quite hopeful about my blog. I was going to be sewing and posting every week, not simple sewing mind you, no, not good enough for moi. I was going to be making well crafted pieces, boning and all. Ha! Here we are, going into the middle of the year, and I have nothing to show for it.  Where did all the days go? More importantly, why have I not been sewing, or blogging?

The truth of the matter is, unless blogging is your full time job, you need to dig deep down to find motivation to blog regularly. I am not saying it cannot be done, we all know there are fabulous bloggers out there who have demanding jobs, but still blog regularly like it was easier than making a cup of tea. To those bloggers, I raise my cap. I, on the other hand, really struggle. Ever since Noah came on the scene, things have gone pear shaped sewing wise (no pun intended). Again, I am not saying you can’t blog successfully when/if you have kids, as there are mega bloggers out there with more kids than I can count on my two hands. How do they do it? How do you do it? Any tips for a struggling sister?

I struggle with finding time to sew, or blog. Somehow, sewing and blogging have been relegated to the bottom of my to do list. I just don’t have the time, and I realise I need to make more of an effort but it is just so hard. There are a couple of things which are responsible for this inactivity, which I will briefly  touch on.

Since August 2013, we have been trying to sell our matchbox flat. Our little family is growing, and we no longer have space to breathe in our flat. We had multiple offers for our flat the first day of viewings, and found a lovely new house for ourselves. Unfortunately, our buyer was a first time buyer, and unbeknownst  to us, had not even secured a mortgage. A couple of months later, the chain broke, so we were back to square one. In January we put our house once more on the market, and sold for 5k above our asking price on the first day of viewings. We decided to move to Milton Keynes, and found a lovely house which I could not stop dreaming about. Turns out it was not meant to be. Our house sale fell through again because of the damp in our house. The heartbreak this time was even more painful because I had already strong armed Mr.Dibs into letting me convert one of the rooms into a sewing room. Needless to say, I did not want to see my sewing machine because it reminded me of things that were not to be. We have since fixed the damp, and thousands of pounds later, our house is going back on the market today. I am trying work some excitement into the process but to be honest, I am struggling with that as well. I don’t think I will be able to handle another disappointment.

On a more positive note, one other thing that has been fighting for my time, is my obsession with macarons. I wrote a post about them earlier this year, and my love for them has only increased. So much so that I have decided to start selling them. I have been doing alot of research on how I want to proceed with my macaron business, and what brand image I want, packaging, distribution and the usual suspects. It is fun, and scary at the same time. I am going to Paris in June to study this course at Ferrandi, a French culinary school. My friend is getting married in June, and she wants me to make a macaron tower for her, so exciting times ahead. Plus, I will need your help sometime soon, I plan on hosting a macaron tasting party so we can all decide on the flavours I will be selling. If you think you could help with that please drop me a note in the comments box.

I also decided to loose some weight. I joined the gym, and so I go some days after work, which means I don’t have enough time after work to sew. I currently work in Maidenhead, so by the time I get back to London, all I want to do is eat and pass out. I have good days and bad days, and I have had a cold twice in 30 days, which has broken my motivation to go to the gym. I am hoping to get back on track this month. I have lost a bit of weight though, as you can see from the picture below.

So there you have it. My gazillion reasons for not keeping in touch. I don’t even know when I will get back to sewing as my weekends are already fully booked till the end of June. I am on the lookout for a Babylock overlocker though, so if/when I do buy it, the excitement of a new machine might translate into me actually sewing something.

I have been buying fabric though. That is the one constant in my life. My fabric obsession. I am so looking forward to summer because of all the maxi wearing opportunities I will have.

Oh, one more thing, how do you manage the demands on your time and life, with sewing and blogging?