Monday, 29 February 2016

Made By Me #184

Happy Leap Day!  I feel like I should be doing something more than spending the day working today given we only get this extra day once every four years but I didn't think about it in advance so work it is with hopefully a bit of sewing thrown in later.  If I had have taken the day off I think I would have spent it with my Janome whipping up a few more dresses.  At last count I am now up to 13 dresses which fit perfectly, woooooo!!  Why is altering dresses so painfully slow and dull?  It gets a big thumbs down from me.

However this beautiful barkcloth gets a massive thumbs up from me!  I squealed when it popped up on Elephant In My Handbag's instagram feed (which you can now shop here btw)  The colour palette is perfect for me plus I can wear it with my favourite yellow shoes and also my new yellow coat.  Though not all at the same time, that would be too much yellow even for an over co-ordinator like me.  I also have some of this print waiting patiently in my stash, barkcloth is not widely available so I am going to save it and wait a little while before I make that one.  The barkcloth is 140cm wide so I got two metres to play with, I made the sleeves a little shorter so I could still squeeze out my self drafted facings and for some reason I cut the skirt the same length but then decided to hem it shorter than usual.  Didn't think that one through did I?!  For the next dress I will cut the skirt a little shorter and keep the sleeves their usual length as I prefer them that inch longer.  Must be standing a bit funny as one of the sleeves looks slightly shorter than the other in the photos but they are the same length, I've measured them!  The barkcloth has a lovely handle and drape and is a pleasure to wear, I do love a fabric that doesn't crush when sat on.

This is the first dress I have shared since I started using the actual skirt pattern pieces from the Emery dress, I was previously just using two rectangles of fabric for the skirt.  I liked how full this made the skirt and liked that it helped disguise my hips/tummy area but now I have debulked (lovely expression!) I wanted to remove some of the bulk from the skirt too.  I really like the finished look and am going to carry on using the full dress pattern going forward.  I have some lovely crepe I haven't quite decided what to do with so may even stop being lazy and add a pleated skirt.  How adventurous!! haha.





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Friday, 26 February 2016

Turning 40

A month ago I turned 40.  I have started to get my head round it now and my birthday celebrations are all over so I thought it was about time I shared what I got up to and how I feel about being 40.




I was a really lucky girl.  Can I still refer to myself as a girl now I am 40?!  That gives you some indication of the thought processes that have been taking place in my head recently.  I had pre-birthday celebrations consisting of a meal out with friends including a few surprise visitors Gray had sneakily organised.  I then celebrated my actual birthday with my family with a meal out and lots of cake.  Cake that for once was not made by me I should add!  Finally I spent the weekend in a beautiful country house in the middle of nowhere with some of my favourite people and Gray also surprised me by sending along all the chocolate and some pink fizz.  I got lots of wonderful pressies and cards including the most beautifully simple Orla Kiely bags and a wallet and this awesome Orla Kiely back pack.  I know lots of good people with good taste it seems!  I was well and truly spoilt and it felt wonderful.  As a person who doesn't like being centre of attention it was a little over whelming how much trouble those close to me had gone to.  Spending time with those dearest to me was the best part of my birthday, it was a big one so people made more effort than usual and it felt special.

The worst bit was actually turning 40.  Before you tell me 40 is not that old or you don't look 40 anyway, save it!  I know I am lucky not to look my age but that doesn't mean I don't feel my age or have any less sense of my inevitable demise!!  I remember being a kid and my Dad turning 40, it just seemed so old to a then 13 year old me.  Kids will be looking at me like that thinking I am really bloody old, hell I think I am really bloody old.  If all goes to plan I have most likely lived over half of my life which brings everything into perspective and makes you question the choices you have made up to now.  From about nine months prior to my 40th I became really self-aware.  I wanted to stop the clock and make time stand still.  I didn't want to be 40, I wasn't ready for it and wallowed in my misery by mourning my youth.  I don't feel like an adult.  I am not sure I even really know how to adult.  I fought it for as long as I could and then decided that I needed to get on with it.

While I still couldn't accept it was happening I realised I couldn't stop it so took action and decided I could use it to spur on some positive changes.  I lost weight and got fitter than I have been for most of my adult life.  I managed to lose two and a half stone by the time I turned 40 and would like to lose another seven pounds or so.  Believe me it is true that losing weight as you get older is so much harder, younger Sarah was a fool not to take action sooner.  I eat much better food than I used to though given the choice I would probably still eat like a child.  I spend more quality time with Gray which is awesome for my well-being, I don't like it when we don't make time to do the simple things like just go for a walk and chat without any distractions.  I have spent time learning what makes me happy and content then making sure I spend my time wisely.  I don't have enough time to spend with those I adore so I am damned if I am going to give up any time to those not worthy of it.  I make sure I have enough time for my hobbies and regularly remind myself they are just that, my hobby.  I am passed caring what people think about me sewing hundreds of the same dress pattern.  I sew them for me, not you and it makes me happy.

The good thing about getting older is I am more comfortable in my own skin.  I pretty much know all I need to know about myself and I'm happy with how I have turned out.  I don't need validation from my peers and I mostly do not care what people think about me.  That is truly liberating.  Twenty year old me would be mega jealous of how sorted I am, she was a lost soul who just wanted to be accepted.  While I was writing this post Lucky Man by The Verve was playing in my headphones and I can't think of a more apt song to have as a soundtrack.  I've certainly found my inner peace and happiness and with that in mind I am ignoring the number that is hanging around in that dark cloud waiting to rain on my parade and am getting on with making this next decade my best yet.

This article is pretty wonderful, it's worth a read.

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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Wednesday Wants

This week I am all about the shoes.  I have started my annual search for cute closed toe/block heel/mid height shoes - not like I am asking for much now is it!  The signs are promising, there are already some lovely options available which are destined to make their way into my wardrobe.  I am not too fussy about the shape of the toe, I like both round and a bit pointy and somewhere in-between but I draw the line at a slingback.  No matter how much I want to like them I just can't get on board with slingbacks.  Spend most of my time slinging the strap back in place as I have narrow ankles and the rest of my time trying to stop them from giving me blisters.  Slingbacks can get in the sea!

I thought I would be really sad now the Clarks and Orla Kiely collaboration has come to an end and yep while I am still mourning the cute shoes that could have been Clarks have cleverly distracted me with an awesome collaboration with V&A.  It is right up my street and my favourite style by a mile is the Faye.  She ticks all my boxes with her cute little block heel and slightly pointy squarish toe but then knocks it out of the park with the print option!  Oh my!!  I mostly wear blue tones so can see them getting worn with everything.  They are also available in black and white and nude, not quite as awesome as the floral imho.

Shoes: Clarks x V&A 

These cuties are almost perfect, a few other colour options and an inch shorter in the heel and all of my shoe woes would be over.  They come in both baby blue and a peachy nude.  I'm still deliberating over which colour would get the most wear, which would you go for?

Shoes: asos 

I had kinda forgotten Topshop do shoes tbh.  The selection in my local store is pretty poor and nothing has really caught my eye in the last few seasons but now there are two pairs that I could happily make mine.  I really love the monochrome print on this pair and the fact they are pretty reasonable for leather shoes.  Would look ace with a pair of tights too, always a consideration for me!  I also love these Mary Janes, I spent hours looking for a pair like this a few years ago without any success, think that means I need them!

Shoes: Topshop

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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wednesday Wants

Hello!  My first blog post as a 40 year old.  Wowzers.  Still not feeling it but hopefully after some time celebrating it this weekend with my favourites I will finally be used to it!  Maybe.  I couldn't miss the opportunity to pull together a Valentines inspired wishlist.  While I can give or take the day (hey Gray and I won't even be in the same county this year) I do love a good heart print and Valentines is the perfect excuse to wear your heart on your sleeve.  I wear my heart on my nails every day of the year after all.  I am interested to see if there are any leap year proposals in my timeline this year, good luck if you're planning something.

Oh my.  I cannot explain how much I adore this dress.  I love the Abigail anyway, such a lovely cut and the perfect length for me but in this print it is outstanding.  I love the inclusion of pink on the hearts as coordinating red with pink is one of my favourite combinations.  I find it quite hard to wear red with my orange hair but for this dress it's defo a case of orange hair don't care!  I am now wishing I had these Orla Kiely shoes to create the perfect outfit.

 Dress: Emily and Fin

Not everyone wants to go the whole hog and cover themselves in hearts for V-day.  Obviously I am not one of those, the more novelty the print the better in my books.  This asos dress is the perfect blend - cute girly style with a knock out red.  Subtle without being too subtle.

 Dress: asos

And for those of you who want to scream out this Lazy Oaf dress does the talking for you!  The big bold hearts certainly pack a sucker punch straight to the heart.  Go bold or go home.  This dress is also awesome, how can you not walk around with a massive smile on your face when wearing it.  It's a mood boost in dress form!

 Dress: Lazy Oaf

If I was putting together my perfect outfit for the lovely romantic meal I am not going on I would have to wear my choice of dress with the Orla Kiely shoes I wish I had and this Olivia Blazer from Joules.  Pink and red perfection.  The tailoring looks spot on and it's the perfect shade of baby pink, not too pastel to wash you out.  I love it.

Blazer: Joules

I have made a Valentines inspired dress the last couple of years, you can see the first one here and last years here.  I have cut out the fabric for this years but am fast running out of time to sew it together :(  But then again a heart print dress is not just for Valentines ;)

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