Next steps... Running away to the circus?

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Oh this summer.
It's been a bit  of a rollercoaster. 

We're off on holiday tomorrow (yes tomorrow .- so why am I writing a blog post when I should be sleeping/packing?!... ummm)

We're heading for a little adventure in the south of France, and that's the perfect reason to start sewing, n'est pas? 
So I whipped up a few summer dresses.

This is one - and it was perfect for our outing to the circus last week

It's a Tinny dress by Straightgrain... a pattern I've sewn a zillion times.
And the fabric is Yoko Okamoto's "Love Osaka" for Yuwa, in teal from Miss Matatabi, now sold out in this colour, but available in a lovely green and red still.

It's such a fun print, I've been a bit lazy not taking close-ups. Sorry, like I said, I go on holiday tomorrow. I should not be blogging....

A visit to the circus requires a fun dress, doesn't it?! 

And oh my Missy is so much fun to be around. She's a comedian and a performer, and something about her open-heartedness makes people smile. Here's her stand-off with the incredible bare-back horse rider...

Last time I posted, I wrote about the turmoil after Mr As it Seams lost his job after 20 years.
Now it's the summer break, and we're taking little steps forward.    It's not been easy, and there's still along way to go, but one of those steps is that Mr As it Seams has found some new work. He's been offered another job, again teaching music, in another school. And although it's only for a couple of days a week, it's encouraging.

Time for the As it Seams show to get back on the road....

"What's it like being an adult?"... answer #1

Thursday, 7 July 2016

So mostly this blog is about sewing, but it's headed 'stitches and stories' so occasionally I stray off into other territory.

And it was a little question, that crystalised so many thoughts.

I was driving home in the gorgeous June evening with my beautiful boy. It's the best time for chatting with him, for letting go and connecting.

"I've been wondering Mummy, what's it like being an adult?" he asked.

It was a question that made me pause and think...

Well, my beautiful boy. This was the answer I might have given...

"Right now, my love, it's a bit tough being this particular adult.

"I know that for you, my lovely boy, your dad and I are  your anchor. But just now I'm not feeling too solid.

"Everything has gone a bit crazy. And that's because daddy is losing his job, the work that he has done for 20 years. He's been sharing  his creativity and teaching the young people from very different backgrounds, who need him most. He's been helping them to play and create music for so long.

"And now all that is ending. And we're just not sure what the future holds. It's all been so solid for so long, and now it's all a little fluid and shaky. 
"Sweetheart, you know that I've been working more and more hours just to have a little bit more money, and that means I'm just so tired, and more grumpy. And I never get enough time for you, or Missy, or to sew.

"And you know, it's funny because I'm all mixed up inside. Sad, fearful and also a tiny little bit excited underneath the tiredness. Sometimes it all feels like a mountain to climb...
"So you know, maybe....being an adult is not so different from being a little boy."

Of course that's not what I said....I was lost in thought trying to answer....and driving.

It's been the hardest few months. I feel like I am 'holding' so much, my children, Mr As it Seams, my work, my unsewn sewing ideas, my teeny shabby house which never, ever has all the laundry put away.

But it's also a time to focus on the joy of my little family, to connect and support.

And we escaped to the seaside for a few days staying with dear friends who live near our favourite English secret beach.

Missy spent every minute that she could in the sea, splashing in her wetsuit. I don't think there is any purer joy than her delight at playing in the waves beneath the cliffs, where this rocky corner of England crashes into the Atlantic. 

A sunset drive with my son, or a sea swim with my daughter are my anchors for my soul right now, as we all try to navigate new waters....

The Amazing £50 fabric giveaway - and a lot lot more....

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

If you could ride a horse with wings, where would you fly away to?

Sometimes I think I sew beautiful dresses for my little girl because I'm still a little girl myself and not quite ready for reality.

(Which is understandable surely? Our country is in turmoil, and my own family in emotional upheaval).

So when I spotted this fabric, from the Fibs and Fables collection by Anna Maria Horner, it was inevitable that it would end up in my stash. It's a  magical, but not too obvious and the colours are grown up. And it's light drapey viscose, perfect for dress-making.

It winged its way to my door from one of my favourite online shops The Village Haberdashery.

The Village Haberdashery  also has a London shop, and is one of the many sponsors who backed our London Sew Social weekend when a dozen of my loveliest blogging friends gathered  to talk sewing and shop for fabric and walk...and walk... and walk...

The Village Haberdashery has given an incredible £50 voucher to be won! (Just one of many goodies that are up for grabs in the Big London Sew Social giveaway)
A £50 voucher....! That's would have me scrolling through the website for days in a fit of fabric indecision....

Back to the dress. This is Vanessa Pouzet's La Petite Robe dress pattern, which I have now made four times.

Blogged here.. and here.. and one winter dress which has been worn so much, yet will prob fall apart by the time I blog it.

Look! My winged horses almost match across the zip... (intentional - not)

I almost totally love this dress. There are a couple of things not quite right. I think it's a little long, which makes it a bit 'sack like' , so at some point I'm going to re-do the hem, and possibly a bit wide altogether down the side seams. 

But mostly I love it - quirky, but smart enough for work and just a little different.

Sadly I think the Fibs and Fables Viscose has sold out from Village Haberdashery, but Annie at the store seems to have a knack of getting unusual goodies in her store. 

This is just the first of several sewing projects in the pipeline following our London Sew Social 2016 gathering. I've been sewing more than ever, and hope to showcase some more very soon, created thanks to the generosity of our sponsors,

In the meantime, we're sharing out the goodies with a mega giveaway.

Just look at this lot! 

There will be 4 very lucky winners

Here's what the goodie packs include:

Pack 1

Pretty Panda fabric from Poppy
B inspired sewing pattern magazine by Poppy
2m of your choice of fabric from Girl Charlee
3 spools of thread from Aurfil
25%off voucher for Joyfits
By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit paper pattern
Stylish Dress Book from Tuttle
Sewbox goodies includes: Hot Patterns babydoll nightgown, robe and panties. A small piece of Liberty lawn and a few haberdashery items.
prize 2

Pack 2

Pretty Panda fabric from Poppy
B inspired sewing pattern magazine by Poppy
2m of your choice of fabric from Girl Charlee
4 spools of thread from Aurfil
25%off voucher for Joyfits
She Wears the Pants from Tuttle
Sewbox goodies includes: Hot Patterns Deco Vibe Shadow Woven T-shirt & Tunic, Hot Patterns Mini Me essential dress & top for kids, 2 small pieces of Liberty lawn and some haberdashery items.
prize 3

Pack 3

Pretty Panda fabric from Poppy
B inspired sewing pattern magazine by Poppy
2m of your choice of fabric from Girl Charlee
3 spools of thread from Aurfil
25%off voucher for Joyfits
By Hand London Victoria Blazer paper pattern
She Wears the Pants from Tuttle
Sewbox goodies includes: Hot Patterns 1152 - Fast & Fabulous Origami Knit Top, a small piece of Liberty lawn and a few haberdashery items.

pack 4

Pack 4

£50 voucher to spend at The Village Haberdashery
2m of your choice of fabric from Girl Charlee
Alfa goodies including: 2x Do it Yourself pattern kits and 1x Do it Yourself Patchwork Sewing Accessories box
London Sew Social logo
A very big THANK YOU to all our sponsors.
Winners will be notified by the end of July.
And it goes on.... UpCraftClub are offering a 20% discount for all our readers, using code 20SEWSOCIAL .

To enter the big giveaway for one of the four packs simply click through the Rafflecopter thingy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now go check out what my fellow London Sew Social buddies are making this week:

From My Mother to Me #4 - and Last Call for Miss Matatabi Giveaway!

Monday, 16 May 2016

It's my turn on the From My Mother to Me tour of nostalgia.
Now please forgive me, but I'm a little late with this post. (The sun shone and I went camping with my family instead of writing/sewing this weekend).
And to be honest, I was a little stumped about what to write...

Two years ago for this series I wrote a lengthy post which took hours of picture research, describing how my mother really was an accomplished, perfectionist seamstress, making her own fabulous Vogue coat aged 16.

So what could I write that was 'Fresh' this time round?

Now this is a bit of a niche - but sewing during my childhood was synonamous with one brand; Clothkits.

Clothkits was a 'Big Name' among certain families in the 70s and early 80s. They produced pre-printed kits to be sewn into clothes for kids and women.
They produced a mail order catalogue, and I remember the little thrill of it arriving and choosing dresses with my mum.
The clothes were a bit 'folksy' and very designy - just perfect for my art teacher mum and architect dad, who in their own way liked to break away from conventional design.
This picture above, shows me  (on the left) and my twin sister in our matching red Clothkits dresses.

And this one, me on the left again in blue. I think this is my sister and I on our first birthday. Again in our Clothkits folky dresses (on a basket chair and sheepskin rug - How 70s is this?!)

I'm on the right in this one, in the orange dress. It's another Clothkits dress, and I remember loving it so much! The printed yoke and the orange colour! My sister (in the middle here in a green Clothkits skirt) had a matching white dress which was very pretty. Clothkits printed kits would usually come with matching dolls clothes too. Somewhere I might even be able to dig them out.

And here's the home made 70s family. My mum is wearing a Clothkits vest, my sister and I are in hand embroidered cheesecloth blouses, made by mum, and pink floral skirts made by my grandmother, who is cuddling my baby brother in this picture.

My grandmother used to make us clothes occasionally too, two of everything and she'd use the scraps to make dolls clothes. I still have tiny doll's skirt in this pink floral print somewhere. 
Not everything handmade was Clothkits, these floral dresses weren't. But aren't we cute! 

And this picture I think must be one of my favourites from my childhood..... This very image inspired my mother to take a creative journey.... But I'll need to share that for another day.

 I still love Clothkits, and the company was revived and rebranded in the 2000s and still sells printed kits for clothes. But there's something about those original 70s designs that was so ground-breaking, and so quirky that I really, really loved.
And I love that my mum was bold and brave in her taste.Thank you!

Now, if you're very quick the Miss Matatabi giveaway is still open! Last call... clickety click!

Thank you also to all my wonderful contributors. I do so love your stories and taking time to share. 

From My Mother to Me#3: Just Add Fabric, and La Folie Sewing Booth (and $50 Miss Matatabi Giveaway)

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Oh isn't this series lovely?
From My Mother to Me carries on today with more tales of motherhood  from another two of my dear sewing friends.

I would so love to meet Emi of Just Add Fabric - which sadly would involve a flight to Japan - but I know it would be such a pleasure.
Her sewing is beautiful. I love her fabric choices, always so pretty, and the little glimpses of Japan in her blog photos. And isn't this picture sweet! I love her mother's matching suit, and pretty floral pring (which is something you see often in Emi's sewing!) I'm so intrigued to learn more of her family history.  Follow me over here to find out more....

Next up is Ines of La Folie Sewing Booth
And I have had the pleasure of meeting Ines in real life in London recently (keep your eyes peeled for more about that adventure) and she was so much fun to be with. I love her little story, share over here, particularly her hand embroidered baby muslin squares, and that she's planning to collaborate with her mother on a new craft project!

And the giveaway to win $50 of wonderful Miss Matatabi fabric is still open... There have been so many lovely comments on the blog posts (you can comment on any blog post in the series to enter, just so long as you've clicked your entry on the rafflecopter).

It's really moving to read through them, this one from Sissy, is just an example:

"As I age I realize that I am more of a clone than an offspring of her. I am aging exactly as she did in looks and in everything. There are few days that go by that I don't remember something that Momma said or taught me. During those middle years when I thought we were worlds apart, I was just a fool. I just cut up a chicken the way that she taught me. With a wishbone. Thanks for everything Mom. I miss you."

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Mother to Me #2: Do Guincho, Made by Sara, and Gaafmachine (and that $50 Miss Matatabi giveaway)

Monday, 9 May 2016

The celebration of Motherhood continues, with gorgeous contributions from some great European bloggers.

First up is Marta who blogs at Do Guincho. Marta has been a blogging friend since the early days of As it Seams. And  having met in Paris last year, (and London last week!) She's a real life friend too. Marta is an architect and her sewing creations have a clear sense of design and style. I'm very much looking forward to finding out where her 'designer's eye' comes from? Her mother perhaps ;-). Find out here....

 Secondly today we also have another Portuguese blogger, Sara at Made By Sara. Sara has three children (soon to be four) and yet still is a busy blogger sewing at a phenomenal rate. She's full of creative ideas, hosting a wonderful Alice in Wonderland series and Japanese Sewing series last year. I'm guessing there must be some serious creative genes somewhere in her family.
 Her tribute to her mother is over here. And isn't this photo wonderful? This is her mother in her grandfather's sewing machine shop!  I can't wait to read the full story. It's over here

Thirdly is a newer blogging friend Nelleke from The Netherlands. She's only just launched her blog GaafMachine but I'm delighted to have her here. I love discovering new blogs and friends, and I sense a kindred spirit here. She's a sewing addict, but also trying to juggle camping trips in the spring sunshine, as well as write blog posts (this is my life too!) Discover more about Nelleke, and her mother,  here!

 And the Miss Matatabi giveaway is still open! You can enter from any of the posts in this series. Comment on any, or all of them, as part of the giveaway which runs until Tuesday. There were some wonderful comments yesterday:
"I'm glad my mother passed down to me the importance of trying to fix things and relying on my own hands. I can sew, cook, garden, and take care of myself because she taught me that. In a word of consumerism , it has helped me tremendously." Kaitlin Statz
"my mother taught me all about hoarding :) but also sharing, lol, but I do love to hoard fabrics :) Keeping a pretty unicorn print from Miss Matatabi to hand down to my daughter as a dress." Mara
"My mum is my best friend. I have just found out I am pregnant with my first baby and hope that I have as close a relationship which my child x" Claire Sutherland

a Rafflecopter giveaway

From My Mother to Me, A Jennuine Life... and a Giveaway

Monday, 9 May 2016

After a two year break, My Mother to Me is back!
It was Mother's Day yesterday for American mothers and I do hope you all enjoyed your day.
This series began, because I realised that sewing is a way of connecting across the generations and sharing our skills.

And those gifts also tell stories about our heritage, culture, and family legacies.

So I'm extra thrilled that some of my blogging friends have also agreed to share their stories.
And that all this week we're running an amazing giveaway, thanks to Miss Matatabi. Scroll to the bottom to win $50 to spend in her gorgeous shop.

First up is Jenn from  A Jennuine Life

Don't you just love these old photos? 

Jenn  blogs at A Jennuine Life  where she's a real multi-tasker.  She sews some of the cutest outfits but is also a skilled pattern designer with her lovely label Jennuine Design. 
Her Naples dress is one of my favourites. So sweet for summer! And I love the beautiful line drawings with all her patterns.
Pop over here for Jenn's lovely story
And Frances at Miss Matatabi is spreading the motherly love with this incredible giveaway. Open til May 17 there's a chance to win $50 to spend in her incredible shop. Enter via the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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