Friday, 18 October 2013

Sewing is for Super Heroes

Hey y'all,

How are we?  Hope everyone is wrapping up against the chill that is welcoming lady autumn in.  As is the way at the House of Demeanour there's lots been going on but a slight delay in documenting.  Though this time it was because I had to wait for my latest makes to hit the headlines :)

I was lucky enough to be asked by Breast Cancer Campaign to rustle up some ideas to publicise their Wear It Pink day that takes place on 25th October 2013 to raise vital funds for breast cancer research.  The work they do is amazing and so important because 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.  We decided to go with the idea of super heroes doing everyday things because those that are living with and fighting breast cancer are definitely heroes in their own right.  I whipped up the creative juices at the HQ and came up with the idea for outfits in the vein of Wonder Woman and She-Ra the princess of power who are both equally kick ass in my book.

Sisters who are definitely doing it for themselves!

Once I knew what we wanted I set about looking for a base pattern for the costumes and hit upon Kwik Sew 3272, which offers a choice of leotards.  
Kwik Sew 3272 + 5m of electric pink spandex = Super hero

I was not kidding when I said electric pink :)

So as we all know the thing that makes any outfit go from pretty good to powerful are some serious accessories and super heroes are no different.  I mean where would Wonder Woman be without her bejewelled headband and gold lassoo?  I decided that silver cuffs and a crown were the ticket and went about fashioning a set from silver PVC and heavy duty interfacing.  

If you fancy yourself as a super hero here's what you'll need to make your own crown and cuffs.

You will need:
  • Scrap paper
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • A tape measure
  • Pins
  • Fabric glue
  • Sewing machine (optional if you want to sew instead of glue)
  • 0.25m of silver PVC or any other metallic looking fabric you want to use
  • 0.25m of heavy duty interfacing
  • 1m ribbon
  • 0.5 m of stick on velcro
First of all you will want to make a paper pattern for your accessories.  You do this by measuring round your head to find out the length you require for your crown and and then measuring your wrist and then again at the point of your fore arm that you want the cuff to finish.  It's up to you how big or small you make them but I think if you're going to be super then the bolder the better :)

Here are the templates I created for my crown and cuffs. Add an extra 1 - 2 cm to your cuff measurement to allow for a seam.

Once you've used the template to cut out the heavy duty interfacing then you can use that to cut out your metallic fabric. You'll need to cut two pieces and if you see from the picture above I've cut one slightly bigger than the interfacing so you can fold it down and glue it for a clean edge.

Glue the larger piece of silver piece PVC to the crown.  Cut into the corners for a clean finish and fold down the edges then glue the smaller silver crown piece to the back. Then when it's dry you can either sew or stick a length of ribbon to the back to tie it round your head.

For the cuffs you'll need to cut 4 pieces of your metallic fabric and either glue the wrong sides together or if you want to sew them up use a 1cm seam allowance and then turn out the right way.

Then stick on a length of velcro either side so you can fasten them around your wrists.

From seamstress to super hero in seconds boom!

Finally, here are Sam and Billie from TOWIE in the costumes I created and looking super even if I do say so myself :)

So there you go that's my latest make for a super cause.  I'm off to jump into a phone box and get my pink on for Wear It Pink day on Friday 25th October.  Hope to see a heap of you looking pink and super and raising money for such a great charity.

Love Miss D


Sunday, 28 July 2013

I dropped the bomb on my handmade holibobs :)

Hello my bathing beauties,

The House of Demeanour was on it's annual summer holiday and this time I headed to Ibiza with my dear friends Laura and Sara who were the bride  and chief bridesmaid featured in this post.  To say we were ready for sun, fun and heady headonism was an understatement.   I can tell you happily though that is indeed what we got :)  Massive thanks to the gals for such a great holiday full of laughter and fun.

Wish you were here!

Today, I come to you from my seat behind the keys in a sun drenched Brighton.  They're saying it's a heatwave I believe back in the day they called it the summer ;-)  I don't really care about the label I'm just making the most of drinking every warm sea scented moment of it in as I go through my rave recovery.  I don't even mind that I missed a few days of it because I was on holiday because coming back from Ibiza and still being able to wear all the things I wore out there without fear of frost bite was a bloody delight!

Anywho on to the meat and potatoes of the post, which is simply to show you what I've been sewing in the last few weeks, which meant I was in handmade every day of my hols :)

A huge amount of my holiday wardrobe was powered by the ever fabulous pattern making legends that  are Elisalex, Charlotte and Victoria of by By Hand London.  If you're thinking do I need a blazer? Could I rock a princess seamed tulip skirted dress?  Is there room for a pencil skirt with a ruffle in my wardrobe?  The answer should be a bloody resounding YES!  Aside from all the patterns being fabulous and flattering if like me you're sucker for design and a tale you will melt at the packaging and the stories about the girls behind each of the designs :)

Before I headed to the White Isle I answered the long pondered question that is what do you wear if you don't want to wear a cardigan but a coat is too heavy?  The answer a faux fur lined blazer ;-)

The let me hear you roar jacket grrr!  

Who knew that black crepe de chine and faux tiger fur could be so powerful :)

So powerful indeed that on it's first outing to my WI meeting where we had a go at still life I drew this. I can't and have never been able to draw so I believe I harnessed the power from the blazer.  So much so I'm signing up for a still life course.

There are many versions of this blazer for you to feast your eyes on including the Miami fabulous one that Sew Dixie Lou wore to the By Hand London celebration of one year in biz :)

Tropical clothing + tequila = strong poses and power fists

Also at the Club Tropicana fiesta was the ever lovely ever fabulous Karen from Did You Make That? Get yourself over to see her take on the latest offering from By Hand London, the Anna Dress.  She's taken it to foxy force 5 ;-)

My first crack on the Elisalex - Let's Party Like It's 1999 dress with big hair as standard.

Next on my holiday wardrobe wish list was a couple of Elisalex dresses.  I will take this moment to admit I was in fact v lazy when I initially made this pattern for both my Christmas and New Year's Eve dresses.  I just cut a 16 and squeezed the cleavage in and although it looked perfectly fine I knew the girls weren't perky McKnockers to use the technical term and the back was gaping.  So using the knowledge gained from my fitting course with Mandy I did an FBA on the princess seams.  It was by no means simple as I had to drop my bust point 3 inches and immediately went into a panic that that the girls were going South.  Thankfully, research revealed I'm just titty.  The effort that went into alteration that produced the difference in my profile was so worth it.  I'm literally packing heat now woot!

Behold the Alohalex dress made with fabric gifted to be my wonderful friends :) Look how happy a good dress and Ibiza with good friends makes you.

The other frock I whipped up from the pattern is the Eye of The Tiger dress, which I wore to see the famous Ibizan sunset at Cafe Del Mar.  This pattern lends itself to floral, velvet, animal print you name it :)

I know it's only the sun going down and QI has taught me it's actually a trick of the eye but I believe you have no soul if when you're there and watching it with all those that gather and you don't cry.  There's just a real sense of communion sitting on the beach with all the other hippy types listening to music and watching the sun set.

So that covers what I wore out at night but as you know a beach holiday also hangs on a good swimsuit  that makes you feel fierce and  I was lucky enough to create two such swimsuits thanks to the amazeballs pattern making skills of Heather Lou.  I question whether you've been in outer space if you haven't heard about this piece of amazing.  When I saw her first versions she made for herself last year I prayed to the sewing Gods that she would offer up her wisdom for all and sundry to feast on.  In June of this year my prayers were answered with the release of the bombshell pattern.  I could wax lyrical about construction and materials but frankly I think Heather Lou herself does a perfect job of it in her comprehensive sew a long, which I followed to the letter.  It's also worth taking a peak at Lladybird's gingham version that was one of the first to be released into the interwebs a few weeks ago she looks the boom ting.  Having never sewn spandex or rubber elastic or ever dreamed of making a cossie I can say your hand will be fully held and your heart will swell when you strut your goodies round the pool :)  Here are my two versions:

The first cossie I made in a cheetah print from Fabricland aka The I  Love Bettie Page swimsuit in homage to the first lady of fierce clothing and strong beach poses :)

Number two - the All That Glitters swimsuit made from metallic gold spandex available at Goldhawk Road.  One of the things I love about this pattern is the ruching on the back gives those with no junk like me the illusion of a peachy ass.  Win!

Both suits got a thorough testing before I got on holibobs in the surf, the pool, washing machine and stood up beautifully to my rigorous movements (handstand, cartwheels).  As well of note regular readers of mine know that I'm mighty in the mammary region so support is of the upmost concern to me to make the most of what the Gods gave me :)  Nevertheless as I was sewing to the wire as usual I didn't insert any extra elastic or cups, which is what I would have done if I had more time but as you can see in the pics the girls are looking their buxom best ;-) I put this down to great design (Heather Lou's not the people that put me together) and the fact I lined them with power mesh.  It's basically the material you get in the miracle pants to hold you in.  It's really great to work with and unlike the swimsuit lining I looked at it didn't roll up on cutting but laid flat and behaved itself.  It's doesn't squeeze you uncomfortably but holds you firmly and gives a lovely silhouette to what is already an ace cossie.  I'm now in the process of learning about underwiring so I crack out some bombshell bikinis.

So there you have it darlings that is how I rocked the White Isle with my handmade wardrobe.  I know you haven't asked about my holidays but if you're anything like me you're on the right side of interested and  I can tell you that I had a fine old time.  There was sun bathing, raving and common all garden misbehaving and I felt bloody great to be alive :)

The holiday finished with me and the girls wangling our way into a 5 star resort where I felt it was my absolute duty to channel my inner Joan with a turban and fan obvs.

It was my second visit to Ibiza as an adult (in the loosest possible terms) the first being 9 years ago for Space's opening party when I was mere 24 years old.  At 33 I wondered if my get up and go might have gone but I needn't have worried because at 5am in Amnesia I was still dancing my ass off and only the difference this time was I wearing a dress I made :)  

I guess I was a wondering about my stamina because as I mentioned a few paragraphs up I've journeyed to the next year of my life and I'm now 33. In the weeks that lead up to my birthday I often think a lot about what has happened in the year both the good and the bad, what I've learned and what I hope to achieve in the next year.  Last year I wrote a post about what I'd learned by 32 and I know it was popular post but today I hand over my thoughts to a man who is often after my own heart, Frank Turner.  

Before you hear Frank's take on things I will leave you with this.  I believe when all is said and done and you've weighed up the pros and cons, your hopes and fears, what others opinions will be about it it's you and you alone that defines the life you live and the person you choose to be.  After several years of being a little lost sewing has allowed me to be more me than I would have ever though possible.  So in the next year of my life I choose to be  big, loud and colorful because that's what suits me :)

Until next time darlings enjoy some fun in the sun.


Miss D


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Simplex aka The Bad Girl Trying to be Good Dress

Hey Dolls,

Hope everyone is well and happy as we hit the halfway mark for the year eek!  Where have the months gone?

I can't believe I'm only 5 days away from 33 and potentially a third of the way through my time on this dirty old disc.  I'm not worried about this birthday though because apparently it's the age where it can all happen as it certainly did for my hero Mr Cocker.  After years of trying he exploded on to our pop landscape with Common People.  This fact along with making of the new dress, which  I will talk about v shortly and my finish time for the 10K has taken the sting out of the tale of not getting a job I did want and was waiting to hear on.  I'd be lying if I said when I got the rejection letter I wasn't sad just because it would have made life a little simpler but hey ho.  I gave myself a morning of the blues accompanied by Miles Davies and then I thought hell woman if you're gonna get a no make sure you're wearing a vintage one of a kind frock when you say whatevs ;)  So get to work in my own way I did!

Nearly 4 years older than the last time I ran a 10K race but 10 mins faster. Did it in 57 mins boom!

So now I've filled you in on the state of play in the House of Demeanour onto the important stuff i.e. my new fave frock of all time evs :) I'll take you back to about to about a year or so ago when I was gifted a large wad of various fabrics.  I've slowly been working my way through them and in amongst it was about 3 and a bit metres of v gorgeous floral vintage cotton that I guesstimate is somewhat older than me.  When I clapped eyes on it I decided it was destined for great things and didn't want to waste it on any old creation so it sat in the cupboard until 2 weeks ago. Then I had one of my eureka moments whilst listening to Dolly Parton.  Another item that had been wasting away behind my fancy dress box was Simplicity 2444 that Zoe had gifted me for my birthday last year. In my mind's eye the two items created magic.

Good girls wear a nice frock to see Elvis Costello at the Royal Albert Hall. Bad girls drink cans of cider in said frock on the train up there ;-)

On a side tale before getting into the main story but still of note is the fact that during my short spell away from the blogosphere I took a course with Mandy Bengeyfield at Fit2Sew.  I literally cannot recommend it enough.  It's basically the basics course of Fit for Real People.  Mandy went over to do the teacher training in America and now teaches just outside Croydon.  There are only two teachers in the UK, which is herself and Celia Banks in Manchester.  On the beginners course you fit a fitting shell to you and learn all of the major changes you would make to a pattern before having to do any fine tuning.  My days it was a revelation for me as a woman with ample frontage.  I learnt that I should go for a 36" bust on a pattern because the back and across my chest fits beautifully and then do an FBA to make room for the girls.  

The shape of Miss D in pattern form

Also due to years of typing and leaning over my shoulder tilts forward so adding 1cm to the back piece and and taking it from the front of pattern at the shoulder is a standard change for me now.  I learnt to tissue fit and the full ins and out of a successful FBA including how to do it on a princess seam.  In those 4 hours it finally dawned on me why I'd had such a missers time with princess seamed items, which according to popular opinion make the most of a curvy front.  It was because I'd only been adding the extra width to either the side or the middle as opposed to both, which retains the style line cue face palm moment.  Anywho the proof is in the the pudding and my days I feel like the biggest tastiest raspberry pavlova in the world in my new fab fitting frock :)  Pardon my uncouthness but if you are plagued by shit fit then  I cannot recommend this course enough.  Plus Mandy is friends with the Thrifty Stitcher who consulted on the Great British Sewing Bee and was terrific company and we had much delight in discussing the merits of all the outfits plus the handsome hound that is Patrick Grant.

This is my doctored Simplicity 2444 bodice.  Any beginners reading this take heart a big old mess on paper looks fabulous on the form, which I think is as true of life in general as it is of sewing.  Never be afraid to F around is the biggest recommendation I can give to anyone starting out.

On measuring the material I worked out that there wasn't going to be enough for the full skirt pattern that comes with 2444 but I still wanted a va va voom kinda skirt.  I wasn't to be thwarted and out of the corner of my eye I spied the Elisalex pattern and the Simplex was born!  As I started making changes to both the bodice and the skirt I realised there was going to be a lot of tooting and fruiting but that was gonna make for a fabulous number so more than worth it :)  Once I'd decided that I then thought hell let's line this baby and do your first ever lapped zipper and if you're gonna do that then put the blinking collar on it too.  I must give thanks to both Vicki Kate Makes and Scruffy Badger for their invaluable tutorials on lapped zippers and sewing lining to said zipper.

So without further ado here's what can be created when something in life that makes you feel sad also fire you up to look bad!  

The Simplex built to rock the show

A good bad girl dress kisses the curves like the pattern gods intended ;-)

When you've been out all night it's good to know you can look respectable rocking a hat with it

A good girl wears an apron to do her cooking. A bad girl trying to be good does it in a new frock with big hair!

Finally this dress has the F factor, which is that it both makes me feel foxy and fierce.  Whipping up a storm in its wake like all bad girls should.

So there we have the bad girl trying to be good dress and I just need to say a massive thank you to the ever ace Aymi D for taking epic pics and working her creative magic on little old me.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favourite bad girls of all time Mae West.

"There are no good girls gone wrong - just bad girls found out"

Don't let the man get you down,

Miss D


Thursday, 6 June 2013

And the award goes to....

Happy Thursday y'all,

I thought the awards I would be most pleased about over the previous weeks were the well deserved Baftas for both the lovely Olivia Coleman and the man I hope to one day hit the town with Alan Carr and my free Nando's meal but my very own wafflings have won me a Liebster award from my darling diva, Sew Dixie Lou.  I'm chuffed to bits in all honesty and I will hopefully share a celebratory cocktail with this fine woman in the not too distant future.

The Liebster award is a lovely idea to get bloggers with less than 200 followers out to a wider audience and involves the nominee answering 11 questions from the nominator as well as providing 11 random facts about themselves.  The nominee then passes the love on to 11 other bloggers.  What a beautiful circle of joy hey?  So without further a do here's what I've got to say.

1) If could sew an outfit for someone famous who would it be?

This is such a doosie but as  music is a huge inspiration for all that I sew and having already crocheted him a tie it would have to be the man whose music saved me from ordinary, Jarvis Cocker.  Having met the man himself several years ago and finding him to be as lovely and as tall as I had hoped I would knock him up a tailored three piece suit.

2) If your sewing machine could talk, what's the first thing you would ask it? 

If I'm going to drink whilst sewing what cocktail would you recommend?

3) Where is your most favourite place in the world?

It has to be my adopted home town of Brighton.  I'm a big believer in the idiom it's not where you're from it's where you're going and this town has always been pivotal to my life.  It's a place I came to as a teenager and hoped I one day live, where I came to learn how to make radio, where I returned when the chips were down and my shelter from the storm when I went through my big heartbreak.  I can't pin down exactly why this little city by the sea is so great but I think it has a lot to do with its acceptance of all that is different without question or hesitation.

4) What's that one song that can make you feel better about a bad day?

I would have to say Frank Turner If Ever I Stray.  I'd heard this song at the back end of 2011 after a friend of mine said if he had the choice he'd have Frank played at his funeral.  I thought that was a big old compliment so I checked him out and I was not disappointed.  That song in particular is about the paths we take and the wobbles along the way and totally chimed with where I was in life at that time.  Then I was randomnly on my way back to Brighton via London at the end of particularly ass week in November 2011 and there was some dudes on train chatting about going to see him at Hammersmith so I took a chance and detoured there to see if I could get a ticket, which I did.  I was awed apart from the Pulp reformation gigs that year, which fixed my heart he was the most amazing thing to see live in a long time.  I have since become an ardent fan.  I can't recommend attending one of his gigs at least once because he gives his all and the audience come together in this mad communion.  I always leave feeling better about life.
5) How would your friends/loved ones describe you in five words?

They would say mad, loud, bright, big hearted and positive.

6) If you could go back to college what would you study?

I think acting because being a Gemini and the eldest of four children from a loud family I've always been on some sort of stage.  I do even wonder now about having a go at it.  I couldn't do serious but I'd love to do comedy though I've been told that can be a harder thing to get right than Shakespeare.

7) The one thing you can't live without?

Ooh such a good question and with so many possible answers but I have to say music.  The songs that have soundtracked my life have helped me laugh, love, cry, create and style it out.

8) It's date night and 1985, who do you pick to go out with and why? Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez or Judd Nelson?

Andrew McCarthy too polished, Emilio Estevez too short so it has to be the dark haired and big hearted rebel that is Judd Nelson.  In the Breakfast Club he had swagger but soul, which in my mind makes a hell' a a good man plus pretty much all women love a bad boy ;-) 

9) Who is your style icon?

Hot damn Sew Dixie has gone for the brain twizzlers hasn't she.  I've got a tonne I could name from Grace Jones, to Prince, to Cyndi Lauper, to Marilyn but if pressed hard I'm going to have to say Vivienne Westwood.  This is because I absolutely love her shere disregard for the appropriate and the fact that she cuts clothes for women that have lumps and bumps and she's rides her bike in a ballgown sometimes.  She actually makes me not worry about ageing because she's still fabulous and  relevant in her seventh decade.  Yay for not giving a fig!

10) You just got detention? What's the thing you most likely did to get in trouble?

I can give you a factual answer to this one and that is rebelling against the man.  An example of this would be when I decided to tell my foul headmistress at convent school who thought her sole responsibility was to break girls' spirits until they conformed that she was a fascist (I knew she was because I had received a good education) and then proceeded to jump off the school roof into the swimming pool in my underwear with pretty much all of the lower sixth.  My behaviour directly led to me not being allowed to attend 6th form at said school and meant I had to go to my local college a situation I'm still so very happy about :)

11) You're playing spin the bottle. Who DON'T you want it to land on? 

Cliff Richard (I can't bring myself to call him Sir) he makes my skin crawl and I dislike him as much as celery.  I'm of the ardent belief if we find ourself in a nuclear winter it will just be him and pigeons that survive.  He'll be standing on top of the burning pyre singing Saviour's Day gah!
I hope that satisfactiorily answers those burning questions and now onto 11 random facts about me.
  1. I was born with 2 and half sets of teeth so I teethed like one and half times in my life.
  2. Fried eggs make me incredibly uncomfortable I couldn't even serve them to Ryan Gosling in bed.
  3. Recently Russell Brand stood on my foot and I was surprised by how big he actually is.
  4. I can fall asleep anywhere including up against a poster of Elvis on the wall of a very loud gay club in Valencia.
  5. Since the age of 15 I've had approximately 30 different hairstyles.
  6. To date including my birth name I've been called by 32 different names by people so one for every year of my life.
  7. I made a large woollen bobble hat aka a Hoxton bonnet or Mark Radcliffe at BBC6 music.
  8. I once spoke to Bobby Davro on the phone when I was temp at an accountancy firm.
  9. When I at a Paloma Faith gig I had a fruit hat on my head to, which Gok Wan shouted, "love your hat" I'm still beyond proud about this.
  10. For years I thought awry was pronounced or-rie.  Even after learning the correct pronounciation I still say it my way sometimes.
  11. If my parents hadn't started listening to Fleetwood Mac I would have been called June.  I will always be grateful to Stevie Nicks

Now my turn to play Magnus Magnusson.  Here's my 11 humdingers.

  1. Who would you get to play you in the story of your life?
  2. Career wise what would your plan B be
  3. Say you found yourself in a Quantum Leap type role, which enabled to jump to any event in history what would you choose?
  4. If you were coming on stage what would you choose as your walk on tune?
  5. In Grease what character would you most like to play?
  6. What skill would you most like to have?
  7. If you could make any outfit from a movie what would you choose?
  8. Do you have a recipe for something that never disappoints if so can I have it?
  9. Can you recommend a good book you've read?
  10. What's guaranteed to make you laugh?
  11. If you could choose another name what would you go for?
Finally,  here's my 11 bloggers who I feel are deserving of this little award

Catherine makes amazing 60s inspired clothes she's a real swinging gal.
Lovely sisters Jen and Elena make gorgeous clothes and crafts.
What this gal can't knit is not worth knowing about.
My friend Steph has deffo got a hell'a more than 200 followers but that's cause she comes up with such great stuff
This little lady also way tops 200 but again such a goodie I needed to include. Plus she's recently taken up running and done 10k woot!

There is so much to love on this blog including the Moonrise Kingdom photoshoot she did with her husband to be

Sarah makes lovely clothes and has a great fringe.

At this blog you will find nice pics, lovely sewing, cats, crochet and other lovely things.  Me and this lady struck up conversation over Helen Daniels and the Neighbours Game.

I bonded with this lady on twitter over a love of vintage fashion and fabulous but underused phrases like bobby dazzler.

Lovely Jo who sewed my favourite Mad Men incarnation and helped me with my gussets.

This lady has done a button take on Tilly's Miette along with tonnes of great sewing v worth a peruse.
Phew dolls I'm all typed out but thank you again to darling Sew Dixie Lou and for all the other fab bloggers who fill my reading time with such good stuff.
Miss D

Saturday, 18 May 2013

It ain't easy being green or I became a runner again

Warning: this is not a massively sewing related post but you do get to see me painted green.

Good evening darling ones,

How the devs are you?  I hope I find you all well and happy.  In my little corner of the world we are experiencing a somewhat intermittent spring but being British I celebrate even a cheeky skirt lift of sun :)  Especially as we have just experienced a winter of discontent on an epic scale.  My theory on the coldest snap of the last 100 years is that poor old Richard III who'd lain buried in a Leicestershire car park was unceremoniously dug up and put in a cardboard box.  If I'd been at peace for 500 years I'd be mightily pissed at being disturbed.  At the time of going to press there's still no say on his final resting place as Leicester are saying finders keepers but York believe he's theirs as that's where he came from.  Anywho enough of the historic retrospective of one our monarchs and on to the purpose of this post, which is the first of two to explain my lengthy absence from the blogosphere.

Richard III - King of bad weather

Cutting to the chase in November 2012 I donned my trainers and became a runner again.  It had been three long years since I'd hit the tarmac.  I'd originally started running after reading the book Running Made Easy when I wanted to get fit (if you want to be a runner but don't know where to start I can't recommend this book enough) in 2009 and went onto run the British 10K and soon after started training for the Great North Run.  Unfortunately, as the miles went up my left knee became v sore and eventually blew up like a balloon.  On advice I went to see an orthotics specialist in London to get fitted for insoles for my trainers to correct my running style, which was apparently causing the problem.  The man who did the insoles charged me £250 and also promptly told me that and I quote, "You are too fat to be a distance runner"!  As I'm sure you've all gathered in the time we've spent together I've got a very strong constitution in regards to my sack of skin and instead of getting upset I merely laughed in his face and told him to do one.  I mean for Pete's sake I'd already lost 2 stone and I was feeling as fit as a fiddle.  It turned out that the man was not only very rude but very wrong and his insoles didn't work and I had to stop running :(  For any of you that are runners I'm sure you'll understand how devastating it is when you get injured and something you love and is a part of who you are as a person is something you can't do anymore.  Especially, as I whole heartedly believed I had a marathon in me.

I even accessorise when I run it's what separates us from the animals ;-)

Fear not though this story has a v happy ending  eventually :)  Fast forward a few years and me and my then man had decided that life was just taking us in different directions.  We'd had 10 years together and it was heartbreaking at the time but as with everything in life it's what you make of it and I felt something good would come around and firstly it was sewing woot! I will be forever grateful to have found something that I know I will be passionate about for the rest of my days but being a typical gemini there's many strings to my bow and still deep within me burned the desire to get back to running.  Well I can only think I sent out a cosmic order because karmically the person that got me back in my trainers was my ex's new beloved.  We are all friends, which is a great thing and a happy outcome.  She's a running coach as well as being a sports scientist and informed me that the insole man had spoken complete tosh and the problem was merely that my ITB muscle needed some work on it and gave me a load of stretches to do.  These worked and didn't cost me £250 yay!  So at the end of November 2012 I announced I would be running the Brighton half marathon and promptly started training with Fitbitch running club.  

Only I would decide to start running again in the coldest winter of a 100 years.  Thanks be for long socks.

Well as  I said earlier eventually this story ends well but it doesn't end with me running the Brighton half marathon in February as I'd hoped.  The reason being was the night that I rode to running club for the first time in three years I came off my bike, Rita and flew clean into the air and smashed down hard onto the pavement.  I thought I'd just grazed my hands so carried on to running club and ran 3 fantastic miles until I felt a surge of pain in my leg.  It wasn't my knee this time though it was my right calf and in the moonlight I saw it had swelled up to three times its normal size and was starting to resemble a magnum of champagne :s   It continued to get worse over the next few days and when I eventually went to the doctor feeling very tearful I was diagnosed with a massive blood clot in my calf eek!  A pint of blood had died in my leg and the reason I was so emotional was the fact that the blood poisoning was climbing up my leg to my vital  organs.  I narrowly missed a hospital stay, was banned from running for several weeks and ended up with a scar.

Spot the difference :s

So you maybe asking yourself how is that a good ending?  Well I can tell you despite all the setbacks I did indeed finally finish a half marathon yay :)  I ran the Hastings half marathon on 24th March this year with a beehive in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support in 2 hours 12 mins 10 secs.

Very red but very happy :)

So all is well that ends well and tomorrow (19th May 2013) I get to combine two of my passions as I take part in the Heroes Run 10K in aid of Pass It On to raise money for schools in Africa in a handmade dress.

Grrr! Even She Hulk can rock an Elisalex dress :)

If anyone would like to donate to the cause you can find me at all monies gratefully received :)  

I will bid you farewell for now my darlings and leave you with the following wisdom that I've gained over the last few years.  I've learned if you want something enough you have to believe in yourself, don't listen to people who put you down, you'll find help in the strangest of places and ultimately you'll find your own way round all the challenges and you'll only feel more fabulous for it woot!  I will be repeating this to myself constantly when I start training for the marathon I thought I'd never get to run later this year and questioning my sanity ;-)

Love always,

Miss D


Sunday, 28 April 2013

I've done a Bowie.

Hello there you pretty things,

Well I've been away for some time haven't I?!  I thought it had only been a few weeks but looking at my last post it is in fact a few months whoops :s  At this point I have to say I promise I've not been hibernating in fact I've been crazy busy and the blog has been one of the casualties but no more I'm back!  I will fill you in on my exploits in due course but I thought for now it's best to hit you up with my latest make as I know as sewentists we love the detail but boy do we love a big reveal :)

It is indeed quite fortuitous that I return to the blogosphere with my sartorial salute to David Bowie -singer, clothes horse, cultural redefiner, king of reinvention, force of nature etc. etc.  who himself just blasted back on to the cultural landscape.  I don't think I'd ever be able to eloquently explain how much I love him but I will say that the fact he managed to return under shadow of darkness one miserable January morning taking the whole world by surprise in his 60s with an album that sounds as fresh as the music he made in the 70s makes me weep tears of unashamed joy.  Obvs I don't see my return being even a fraction of an atom as important as his is or of the belief it will be as highly publicised :)  All the same I'm happy to be swaggering back in on his fabulous coat tails.

I must give thanks to the lovely Tempest Devyne for organising the Bowie Sewalong, which after the long winter of discontent has returned my sewjo and got me all fired up.

The scope of choice to sew something Bowie inspired is maaaasssive but serendipitously I had traced the suspender skirt from Sew U Home Stretch and downloaded the Mathilde blouse pattern and were chomping at the bit to make both. So I decided to go for a female version of the character, Halloween Jack that he created for Diamond Dogs and hence Halloween Jill was born.

Halloween Jack meet...

Halloween Jill

A little messing round with Photoshop and I've sort of recreated the Terry O'Neill's Diamond Dogs photo though I have to say that David does moody creative genius far better than me.  I think I look like I've stubbed my toe as opposed to having just thought of a whole new concept album.

I absolutely love this photo of him and the story behind it just sums him up.  It was shot by Terry O'Neill and they said oh we'll get a big dog in for a shot and it was quite antsy and everyone was freaking out but when the dog leapt up growling Bowie didn't even flinch.   Always the epitome of cool and reminding us that every age we are relevant Dear David I salute you.

Waxing lyrical about this icon is something I could do for many paragraphs to come but this is a blog about sewing so I will return to that now.  Basically, having made the Mathilde blouse, which was created by the ridiculously talented Tilly of buttons  and Great British Sewing Bee fame I want to say I love it.  The pattern is really great to work with and just scaling from size 5 on the girls down to a 4 on the hips gave me a cracking fit and I'm currently thinking of many more incarnations of it.  I will stress though NEVER use the fabric that I did :s  It was an absolute swine to control.  I bought it on a little trip out to Goldhawk Road and I was immediately enthralled by it because it mirrored the pattern perfectly of Bowie's shirt and had a lovely drape that I thought would make the most of the bishop sleeves, which in fairness it has.  But my days it was slippery than Simon Cowell after an oily massage gah!  I considered dispensing with the pin tucks but being a stubborn swine I wasn't going to be beaten by a metre and a half of whatever the hell fibre it is.  

This is a face of both jubilation that the blouse was finished and sheer mania at the hours spent haranguing the fabric into order.  I call the expression bat shit joy.

As you can see from above the blouse works great as a separate and has been worn several times since this picture was taken and is my fave combination of both kooky but work appropriate *double thumbs*

In contrast the suspender skirt was easy peasy to make and came together in about 2 and a bit hours once I'd stopped crying about the fact I'd put a hole in the blouse yoke after trimming through the facing and into the front gah!  Anywho one of my New Year's objectives (don't like the word resolution sounds too stressful and finger waggy) was to get my stretch on.  If anyone is worried about dallying with stretch I absolutely can't recommend Wendy's Sew U Home Stretch enough as a starting point.  She writes clearly and in non patronising way and there's great instructions on how to adapt the patterns in the book to create other looks.  In fact there's so much of the red double knit left that I used to make the skirt I'm going to have a go at the Flashdance stylee sweatshirt featured in the book *dons leotard and welding mask* :)

Look how happy braces makes me.  I'm gonna be sticking braces all over the shop this coming year and I don't care if it makes me look like Russ Abbot because braces rock!

So there you go my sweet ones that's what I've been up to.  I will bid you farewell for now but not for long I promise.

I figure the only way to sign off is by saying Let's Dance!