Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Halcyon Times at Hatfield House

My friend Charlotte and I escaped the craziness of the city for the tranquility of Hertfordshire at the beautiful house and grounds of Hatfield House. Hatfield House is the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family. £19 well spent for a full day of culture, calm and creativity. We explored the gorgeous house and quizzed the guides in every room about the interiors and stories of times gone by.

Then onto the cultivated gardens that are designed and managed by Lady Salisbury herself. After a tasty home-made picnic of delectable treats we embarked on one of the recommended woodland walks around the grounds. After our meandering stroll we chilled out for a second picnic of the day and a spot of watercolour painting.

We took full advantage of the 11 - 5 opening times and made our way to the train station just 2 minutes walk from the entrance gates at about 5pm.

Insiders tip: If you sign the back of your ticket and ask the staff to stamp it with the HatfieldHouse stamp you can use it as a season pass to enter the gardens and grounds for the rest of the summer season for free! Charlotte and I have already pencilled in another day trip next month!

Elizabeths holds a rainbow with the inscription “Non sine sole iris”, “No rainbow without the sun”, reminding viewers only the Queen’s wisdom can ensure peace and prosperity.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

200th Post Giveaway Winner!

Eleven lovely sewers signed up for my 200th post giveaway last week. I assigned each person a number and used a random number generator to find out the winner. It seemed fairer this way as you made so many lovely comments I couldn't choose by myself.

1 Ebecca
2 Rosemary
3 Fadanista
4 Kathy
5 Sonja
6 Kat
7 Pam
8 Julie
9 Louise
10 Jo
11 Katy M

The winner is Jo who had these creative ideas for the winnings:

Congratulations Jo, I look forward to see what you make with the fabric and patterns! I am sure the girls will love the beads and ribbons for some crafting too! Jo, please leave your email address in the comments below so I can send you your prize!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Me-Made-May 2017 Review

It's the second week of June and I have only just got around to my Me-Made-May 2017 review. I really enjoyed the whole process although I ran out of people I could pester for a photo towards the end of the month. Again, a huge thank you goes out to the lovely Zoe of SoZo blog who created this awesome event eight years ago.

It would not feel right to continue with a full review until I had documented the last remaining outfits of May.

Day Twenty Nine
Dressing Gown: Gather's The Buchanan. Made 2017
Top: Vest by Gap
PJ Bottoms: Paul Frank
Shoes: White Birkenstocks

May Day Bank Holiday was spent happily pottering around the house in my PJ's and newly finished Buchanan dressing gown. I love it and have worn it every day since making it! I think I need another one.

Day Thirty
Trousers: Abercrombie and Fitch
Jacket: Levi's denim
Watch: White G Shock
Trainers: Nike Blue Pegasus

Day Thirty One
Dress: Dixie DIY Bonnell Dress in viscose, Chapel Street Market. Made 2017
Watch: Red G Shock
Trainers: Nike Blue Pegasus

After 2016's Me-Made-May I created a list of plans / quests for the year ahead which were:

Re-fashion or donation to charity:
  • Bettine dress - Attach a bias section on the skirt to make it more wearable - NOT achieved
  • Simplicity 9620 dress - not worn this MMM because it's too short. As above NOT achieved
  • Mathilde blouse - Give to charity as I never choose to wear it - Achieved!
  • Grainine Scout in B&W - Give to charity as I never choose to wear it - Achieved!
Future Projects:
  • Finish Navy Simplicity 2154 pencil skirt  - Achieved!
  • Complete black and white By Hand London Flora  - Achieved!
  • Finish Liberty print Colette Laurel dress  - Achieved!
  • Re-work the By Hand London Charlie Dress NOT achieved
  • Make another pair of SOI Cigarette Pants - black and white print / Navy / Grey NOT achieved
  • Make a Grainline Moss skirt NOT achieved
  • Make a pair of Grainline Maritime shorts NOT achieved
  • Make more dresses - I have lots of BHL and Christine Haynes patterns in my stash - Half Achieved

So it looks like my sewing plans were half completed with still plenty more to keep me out of mischief, namely making another pair of trousers and perhaps some shorts?

For the coming year it would be great to replace my worn out RTW trousers with some hand-made versions. I have even carefully unpicked a favourite pair of chinos to compare the waistband, crotch rise and leg lengths to my existing trouser patterns (SOI Cigarette Pants and Named Alpi Chinos). Hopefully by May 2018 I might have managed to make another pair of trousers!


As I have a lot more me-made garments to wear compared to previous Me-Made-May's I found the whole process much easier. I have been able to identify that I love wearing tops that are made in viscose as the drape is softer, more comfortable and forgiving.

I still enjoy bright colourful clothes combined with monochrome but have branched out this year into a few floral prints too. I am also very happy to supplement my me-made wardrobe with quality RTW clothes that I already have in my wardrobe.

One of the most enjoyable and inspirational aspects of MMM is connecting up with fellow sewists.
I have greatly appreciated the lovely comments from fellow bloggers in particular a big thank you to; 
Kat, Louise, Alex, Jo, Tamsin, Anna, Julie, Crafty Clyde, Paulina, Rosemary, Ginx Craft and Let's Get Sewing! Who have all been equal parts encouraging and inspirational with their own amazing makes. See you all for MMM 2018!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Red Bonnell Dress

In May 2015 I pattern tested the Dixie DIY Bonnell Dress. It is a lovely dress pattern with cheeky cut-away sections in the bodice.
Dixie DIY Bonnell Dress
The first version I made the dress exactly as-per the instructions and enjoyed the process of making it but when it came to wearing it, I just didn't! The fabric I used was a cotton sateen which had a little bit of stretch, subsequently the waistband stretched and didn't look right because it drooped where the cut-away sections were. Long story short I gave that first version to the charity shop.

Onto version two. I bought two metres of cheap and cheerful red floral viscose from a stall on Chapel Street market in Islington last summer (£2 per metre) with the intention of making a Bonnell Dress v2. This time I omitted the cut-away sections and slightly lengthened the skirt section.

The construction was good and with a self-lined bodice it looks very pretty on the inside too. The fit is great but (why is there often a but?), the back bodice must have stretched out during construction as the back section which should lie in a beautiful V for the centre-back zip is all floppy and stretched. I should have sewn or ironed on some stay-tape to stablise it. Better luck on version 3!

You can see the slight rippling of the bodice either side above the zip - eek!
Overall it is a lovely light summer dress and as I can't see the back of the dress myself I am not that concerned about a little wobbly bodice edge.

Pattern: Dixie DIY Bonnell Dress = Free for pattern testing in 2015
Fabric: 2 metres of viscose from Chapel Street market, Islington = £4.00
Gutterman Thread: Red from stash = free
Invisible Zip: Red = £1.00
Bias Binding: Red bias binding around zip from stash = free

Total: £5.00

Check out lots of other cool crafty blogs at #handmademonday organised by Julia of Sum of their Stories.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

CJ Made 200th Post Giveaway!

Last week I realised that I had reached 200 blog posts on CJ Made!
Wow, 200 posts about sewing, art, craft and other adventures. To help me celebrate I have a collection of de-stashed fabric and crafty things to giveaway to my blog-reading friends.

To be in with a chance of winning the following goodies follow my blog and write a comment below about what you might make / do with the prize. Please include your e-mail address in the comments so I can contact you if you win. The competition is open world-wide.

Onto the spoils.....

  • 1/4 metre of black and pink spotty viscose from Guthrie & Ghani
  • 1/2 metre of Liberty Tana Lawn Plastic Fantastic
  • 1 metre of 100% cotton Tea Time Large Floral The Henley Studio, Makower UK
  • 1+ metre of 100% cotton in teal from Village Habderashery
  • 2+ metres of 100% cotton baby blue polka dot from Cath Kidston
  • Bag of assorted black and white printed small scraps of viscose, jersey, cotton & seersucker
 Ribbons & Beads:
  • Assorted lengths of red, burgundy and raspberry pink ribbon
  • 2 metres of black ribbon
  • Approx 100 wooden beads in assorted colours
  • Threadcount 5-in-1 Wardrobe Builder sizes 8-16 Intermediate pattern
  • New Look K6302 sizes 8 - 20 Shift dress and jacket
  • New Look K6230 sizes 8 -20 Raglan sleeve top, pencil skirt and midi skirt

Bag of black and white printed fabric perfect for scrappy quilting or craft projects
A lovely spotty viscose with a fantastic drape and lengths of ribbon
A pretty Navy floral called Tea Time Large Floral 
This Liberty print Plastic Fantastic is more lilac / purple coloured in real life
This teal coloured cotton is shot through with black to create a chambray effect
This baby blue cotton was purchased in a Cath Kidston sale a number of years ago
Here's what to do if want would like to win!

Follow my blog and comment below about what you would like to make with these fabrics / craft bits or patterns. Don't forget to include your e-mail address for contact details.

Deadline for commenting is Friday 16th June. I will randomly choose a winner on Saturday 17th June. Good Luck!

Check out lots of other cool crafty blogs at #handmademonday organised by Julia of Sum of their Stories.