Pros & Cons of a Handmade Christmas (& a little thrifting…)

Last year my two sisters & I agreed that, seeing as we were all fairly broke, we would do our best to stick to handmade gifts for Christmas. It worked really well – I’m still wearing the knitted scarf that S gave me, M got a great knitting needle case from S and some sketchbooks from me for college, and S leads me to believe she wears the crochet collar I made her 😉 – and so we’ve decided to do the same this year. Unfortunately they both read this blog, so I can’t let anything slip about what I have planned, but suffice to say that a couple more weeks to work on everything would be welcome..! :-/

I can tell you that I’ve crocheted this cowl for my best friend (who thankfully doesn’t know this blog exists yet):

It’s made from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino wool in aran weight, which is such a gorgeous yarn – really warm & soft, with no itchiness at all. Plus the colour is fantastic. She’ll be getting a journal or two as well. (It helps that she’s a great writer, so I can actually justify using my bookbinding skills to give her things to write in..!) Continue reading


Eureka! (Well… maybe.)

Finding the right pattern can be hard sometimes.

When my mother & I heard there was going to be a sale in Róisín Cross Silks, we knew there was no point denying it: we had to pay them a visit. We first discovered the place when my sister got engaged last year. Once it was decided we’d be making the wedding & bridesmaid dresses ourselves, silk was really the only way to go. Or so we convinced ourselves. (Honestly, how many times are you able to justify buying top-quality material like that? Who among you could resist it?! 😉 ) Judith, the owner, was incredibly helpful and didn’t seem at all perturbed by our 2+ hour rooting sessions in the shop. (We got what we wanted in the end & the dresses turned out beautifully.)

Anyway, to cut a long story short, when my mother and I returned to the shop for the sale and I found nothing I could really think of a use for on the shelves, I hit the remnants basket. And hit the jackpot. I found 7m (!) of printed silk for €40 (!!!), neatly folded and secured with tape. This is stuff that is usually closer to that price tag per metreNaturally, I snapped it up. Let’s face it: it would have been morally wrong, as a home sewist, to do otherwise. Here is what it looks like:

Printed silk

It’s not quite as dark as this, & the grey has a sort of purplish hue. Isn’t it amazing? It drapes beautifully and feels like only 100% silk can: amazing. There are some minor printing flaws in a couple of places which presumably explains the reduction, but nothing a bit of careful pattern placement can’t overcome.

Of course, now I had to figure out what to do with it. Continue reading

Getting Up to Speed

Ah… it’s nice to have a new place to share my projects. Here’s what I’m working on at the moment:


I’m muddling through a dress at the moment. I’ve made a lot of changes to the pattern, mixing View D of Vogue 8766 with a Burda dress from the 12/2012 magazine. This is (gasp!) the first time I’ve made a muslin for any dress I’ve attempted. This  is mainly due to the pattern changes I’m making, but also because the fabric is Magee Tweed and therefore very expensive. (I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I bought it – €40 pm?! – but it is really nice.)

The skirt part of the dress needs a lot of alteration, and I’m sort of stuck at that point at the moment. There’s really nothing exciting about altering a muslin.

Continue reading