Monday, 30 June 2014

Colour Block Tunic Dress

Now that I've been sewing a while (almost a whole year) and I've been boycotting the high street, I'm pretty much constantly thinking of what I want to sew next, particularly when I see people wearing cute outfits. The inspiration for this dress came from one I saw someone wearing in the street, and is now my favourite outfit I've made so far.

For the pattern for this dress I used the tunic from the Great British Sewing Bee book and added an extra 30cm or so on the bottom to make it into a dress. I cut the pattern pieces into two, to create the upside down v shape . I wanted the point to come just under the bust but I didn't measure it correctly so it's a little lower than I wanted. It was quite a bit of trial and error to get the seam right in the middle, but it just about worked out in the end, there's a tiny tuck in the fabric at the point but its barely noticeable.

I chose yellow and white as I thought they were perfect colours for spring and complimented each other well. It looks great with bare legs, sandals and sunglasses but on the day the photos were taken it was the first rainy chilly day in ages so I wimped out and put tights and my pumps on.

I'm pretty chuffed with the overall look of the dress, if fits pretty well and the whole geometric/colour block look in very in fashion at the moment.

If you want to create a dress like this, try adapting your favourite loose top pattern. I'm thinking of making another in the future so will try to make a tutorial for the centre seam. To make it simpler you could do just a straight seam across the bodice, perhaps in black and white for a really contrasting effect.

Whose beautiful garden, I hear you asking? Unfortunately my one bed London flat doesn't come with this kinda land so I borrowed William III's at Hampton Court Palace for a few photos.

Emily Kate.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Walthamstow Market

In my 'day job' as a musician and teacher, I'm a member of a woodwind quintet. Since last year, 3 of the others members now live way up in Walthamstow, so I've been trekking to the other end of the Victoria line on a fairly frequent basis. Now I spent quite lot of time complaining about when it was 9am on a Monday, but when we had some Saturday rehearsals I realised it was the perfect opportunity to go and check out Walthamstow market.

The first time I allowed half an hour to look round the market and fabric shops, stupidly thinking that was enough time, without realising how busy the place would be! The next week I had 2 hours so plenty of time for wandering.

I only actually visited a couple of places, as I set myself a budget of only £15. I loved the 'textile centre' behind the kitchen stall, which was full of really lovely patterned fabrics, particularly border ones, and I finally discovered 'The Man Outside Sainsbury's' - a great fabric stall run by a nice bloke who had great customer service.

If you are a recent convert to sewing, like myself I highly recommend visiting Walthamstow, despite the cost of getting there you will save so much money compared to most fabric shops that it is just 100 percent worth it. Yes it may be a trek, but at least if you fall asleep on the Victoria line it's the end of the line anyway!

If you decide to make a visit, check out Karen at Did You Make That?'s PDF map and informative posts from a local girl.

>>>>>>. And here are the fabrics I bought.

The blue polka dot was £2 a metre from The Man Outside Sainsbury's, and the other 2 were both from the Textile Centre, the border print was about £2.80 a metre and the flowery one £2.20.
All in all I got fabric for 3 outfits for about £12.50. That's what I call a bargain...!

Emily Kate

Monday, 23 June 2014

Elderflower and Lemon Drizzle Cake

It's that time of year again, or at least it just has been, when the elderflower trees are in bloom. My most favourite drink at this time of year in this lovely weather we're having (once again?!) is elderflower cordial. If there's still trees blooming where you are, then try my recipe from last year!
This year I had planned to scour London for elderflowers to make cordial, but by the time I had got around to it, the only ones I could see were alongside the railway line that I couldn't get to. There was also a huge tree covered in elderflower in Battersea park, right down the road from me, but surrounded by a high fence!
I still intend to make some but I'm waiting on a delivery of dried elderflower from my mum back in the shire.. In the meantime I'm afraid I cheated a little and bought a bottle of bottlegreen cordial to try out this recipe. Its the perfect cake for a summer picnic.

Cake:100g/3.5oz margarine/butter
100g/3.5oz caster sugar
2 eggs
175g/6oz plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
Zest of half a lemon
1tbsp elderflower cordial

2tbsp elderflower cordial
2tbsp lemon juice
3tbsp icing sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease a loaf tin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and fold in.
  • Stir in the lemon zest and cordial.
  • Add a dash of milk if the mixture is too thick.
  • Bake for 40-50mins, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Mix the lemon juice and cordial for the drizzle together and pour half of the liquid over the cake, still in the tin, and allow it to sink in.
  • When the cake is completely cooled, tip out onto a plate. Mix the icing sugar with the rest of the lemon/elderflower liquid, just a tiny bit at a time until the mixture is able to run off a spoon still but is not too runny.
  • Use a spoon to drizzle the icing back and forth across the loaf cake.


 Nom Nom Nom...

Emily Kate

Saturday, 14 June 2014

DIY Tea Coffee Sugar Canisters

I'm getting to that age now where I'm starting to care what my home looks like. It's been a couple of years since I graduated and lived with friends as a student and it'll be good few years till I could possibly afford a house of my own (or more likely never in this city!).

Sometimes living in rented accommodation can be annoying, especially when you live in a flat with blue/green walls and all you want to do is paint them. So I like to decorate where I can, make nice throw pillows, buy art for the walls and have cute looking kitchen storage. Kitchen items can be pretty expensive sometimes for what they are, but I recently found a great quality ceramic bread bin at the flea market, and made these cute canisters for storage.

All you need is:

 I bought the chalkboard labels on eBay for a pound or two, and the chalk paint pen and fabric paint also. The glass jars are actually Dowe Egbert's coffee jars which are the perfect size. They were on offer but were still £4 each, which is not exactly cheap but I guess you get some pretty good quality coffee in the jar too!

All you need to do is wash the jars and peel any labels off. Place a chalkboard label in the middle of each one, and use the fabric paint to decorate around the edge however you fancy, then use the pen to write on the label.

And there you have it, a quick and easy way to have quaint kitchen storage canisters for less!

Emily Kate.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Me Made May 2014 Roundup

As it's been over a week since May ended I thought it was about time I got around to summing MeMadeMay14 up.

So, first off did I manage it?

Yes, everyday I wore an item I'd made, although of course for most many of the days it was the same few items! I didn't interact as much as I'd like with other blogger/sewers out there doing the challenge, as I don't have instagram and ended up having a rather busy month.

What did I get done during the challenge month?

I made 2 new tops, my favourite being the button back blouse, two pairs of pyjamas, and a tunic dress I've yet to blog about. I also refashioned a pair of shoes, some suit trousers and a men's shirt.

What did I learn about my wardrobe?

I learnt that I don't have many summery items in my handmade wardrobe, which I guess is what happens when you start sewing in the autumn. I've also realised more generally that I'm getting to the age where my wardrobe is going through a bit of a style change. I've had things that I've been wearing since my sixth form or early university days that I just feel I've grown out of now, although not literally as such! My skirts are inching downwards and I'm finally realising what styles suit me properly. My handmade wardrobe is also much more colourful with bolder prints than what I usually buy in the shops.

I also made a pledge at the start of the year to not buy any clothing, or at least anything I couldn't make myself. We're nearly at the halfway stage and I'm yet to buy any clothes! I've bought shoes and some underwear and I have a huge hole in my favourite pair of jeans so will be replacing them soon (so I don't start showing said underwear), but other than that I've steered well clear of the high street.

I've been sewing now for almost a year and recently started feeling much more confident in my abilities, so the idea of sewing my whole wardrobe for a year doesn't faze me half as much anymore. I love the freedom that sewing brings... it's so rare to find an item of clothing in the shops that is both a nice style, fabric and fits. My next pattern challenge that I've wanted to do for a long time is the Colette trousers. I think this would be a good pattern for my first attempt at adjusting and such a great wardrobe staple... I'm already visioning pairs in black, grey, red, checked and tartan print.

Emily Kate