And the winner is…

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I do apologise my friends, I’ve been terribly tardy in choosing and announcing the winner of this fabulous competition. I got it into my head it finished yesterday instead of a week ago. Oops! So without further ado, our lucky winner is… Jennifer!

”Now if I made the Georgia dress up as soon as it arrived, it would be in the heart of a very cold, windy and just possibly snowy Chicago winter. That means the dress will be worn for a festive gathering of friends, at home. The evening would feature “the Georgia”, (with me in it), champagne & salmon as starters, pork loin and salad as the main dishes with burgundy, followed by a ridiculously wicked dessert and port…”

Well Jennifer that just sounds divine. I do hope I can get the dress to you before the snow sets in. I love the idea of Georgia in Chicago…

Send your details to me at  stitchandwitter@gmail.com and I’ll get it to you.

Thanks to all who entered!

A Christmas giveaway

Dear friends, there has been little sewing round these parts lately. I can blame most of my inactivity on this:

Miette in progress

Yes the Miette cardigan is almost there and the chocolates are almost gone. It’s pretty much the first thing I’ve knitted since school so it’s slooow going but we’re gradually getting there. I’ve had to rip it back once already (from row 45 so whilst a little soul destroying it didn’t out-and-out kill me) because as a totally novice knitter I don’t actually know how to fix my mistakes. Isn’t this the worst? To say the least? Even more, I don’t actually know what sort of mistakes I could make, never mind how to fix them. I don’t really know what a dropped stitch looks like, or whether I’m knitting a particularly fiddly stitch the right way. If it wasn’t for Youtube I’d have given up weeks ago. Isn’t YouTube amazing? I’ve also been following the knitalong that Today’s Agenda staged back in 2012. It’s ace although not necessarily aimed at a total beginner so there are a few gaps that Youtube fills for me – like picking up stitches for the sleeves.

I’ve started with the 34 bust size and not made any adjustments – like how would I even begin to do that? – except that when it came to the ribbing at the bottom I gave up on the ktbl2, ptbl2 malarkey after three failed attempts and resorted to a simple k2, p2 affair. My stitches were getting so twisted and hard to knit I must have been doing something wrong but I didn’t know what. I’ll do the same for the ribbing at the bottom of the sleeves too.

Anyway – yakking on and on about knitting JoJo, where’s the goddamn giveaway I hear you say!

So a while back I got an email from the scrumptious By Hand London gals asking if I’d like a copy of their gorgeous new pattern – the Georgia Dress. Featuring fitted cups, a panelled skirt and some knockout strap variations, the hemline can be raised or lowered depending on your particular fetish.

Georgia Dress

Isn’t it darling? So sexy and glamorous. In fact, too sexy and glamorous for me. This dress would be made up, twirled about in and loved for an hour and then it would languish in the back of my wardrobe feeling unloved for ever. I have nowhere to wear it! I have nothing to go to! This isn’t self-pity – this is my practical side coming out. Hear my brusque no-nonsense nannying tone? Wise up, Joanne – you ain’t never gonna wear this baby to the ball. So… because I’m a kind, loving sort, I told the By Hand London ladies just this very thing, but added that if they were kind enough to shake their diamante-encrusted wands and send the Georgia my way, I would become your very own fairy godmother and offer it up to you guys. And because Elisalex and the gang are the nicest ladies in the sewing business, no I’m not one bit biased that is FACT, here it is! Cinderellas – you SHALL go to the ball (cue some sparkly noises).

Georgia dress pattern

The giveaway is open to all and sundry across the globe and will close at midnight on the 30th of November GMT. Any entries after that time will turn into pumpkins. I will get it posted straight away so that you might even have time to knock it up for your Christmas party! All you have to do is comment here telling me what event you will wear this dress to. Make it special, exciting, daring, raunchy. Give me cheap vicarious thrills why doncha? Winner will be selected at random.

And we’ll all live happily ever after.

Finished: Anna dress, part 1…

Anna dress

Hooray – I finished a dress for the summer just as a storm hit the UK. Doh, never mind. It was always going to be a little stepping stone of a dress in any case. But tis finished and I am fairly happy with it.

This is the Anna dress from By Hand London – if you haven’t heard of them already then you must be living under at least three rocks. If you have, then you’ll know their patterns are the latest craze amongst us stitchers, and with good reason. They’ve got a unique and refreshing style with an urban twist which you can dial up or down as you wish.

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This is a wearable muslin  - I wanted to test the fit before I plunged my rotary cutter into some glorious fabric from Liberty which I’ve earmarked for a final Anna. In the end there was some adjustment – the inevitable gaping back had to be dealt with and I used Ginger Makes’ great tutorial for this as well as By Hand London’s tip (during the Anna Sewalong) for placing the top of the zipper in a few more centimetres in than normal when inserting. I still find the back a bit gapey though so I’ve taken more width out of the back bodice for the next version. I’ve also taken some length out of the v neck as I think there’s a bit too much in this version, using a similar method of slashing and overlapping.

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I’m really tempted to try the boat neck version next time, along with the three quarter length sleeves as well as a full lining. If that all goes to plan and looks good then the Liberty fabric is up next! Here’s a sneaky peek of the Tana Lawn I’ve got…

Liberty Tana Lawn

See the dancing hipsters with the beards? Awesome yes? Love this fabric. It’s called Tiny Dancer which makes me hum Private Dancer by Tina Turner to myself every single time I look at it. You can’t beat fabric that makes you sing, eh?

In my previous post I mentioned I’d done some really STUPID things during the construction of this dress. These included, in no particular order, sewing facings the wrong way round, sewing dress panels the wrong way round, melting some of the fabric with an iron and having to patch it up with one of those little iron on patches and allowing a cat with a shitty bum to sit on the fabric. Tell me, what stupid things have you done recently in sewing? Can you beat the shitty bum scenario?

Oh yah – and I cut off all my hair! Apologies for the poor hairdressing skillz above but it is really very nice when I bother to do it properly. And it’s so refreshing not having to wrestle with long locks every morning, not to mention having little yoghurty hands pulling on my plaits. So nice to have a change.

Stop the friggin press!

You guys. This is so exciting! I’ve only gone and been featured in this month’s Making magazine. Go and buy it to see me. Or skulk in the newsagent, ease off the wrapper quietly and snigger at me on page 74 for nowt. Or check out this pic…

Making Magazine

I did know that at some point I might be featured as they got in touch a while back for images but seeing it now in print makes me so darn happy. Silly isn’t it? But yay!

After all my complaining about ‘not getting enough time to, like, create and stuff yah’ it’s actually been a hive of activity around these parts in the last month. See that zig zag woolly item behind the mag in the pic above? That’s a top secret item I’m crocheting for my sister who is DUE in December. Yep – gonna be an aunty again. Love the fact that it’s not me this time and I can cuddle a little bundle and then hand it back before it explodes over me. I have my own exploding bundle thankyouverymuch.

I’ve also recently finished a gorgeous baby/toddler cardigan but got no photos alas and alack before I gifted it away. But with the mother’s permission I hope to share some pics soon, modelled by an impossibly gorgeous child.

Anna in progress

And I’ve started my Anna dress! Well, a wearable muslin upon which I have already visited some shrieking errors. Seriously – yesterday I must have shouted ‘I’M A DICK!!! WHY AM I SUCH A DICK???’ about twenty times. The pattern is glorious – terribly simple. But dear readers… I also appear to have become terribly simple. But we’re nearly there – just waiting on the next instalment of the Anna sewalong to help me with the invisible zipper scariness.

AND I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show up at Ally Pally last weekend where I saw precisely NO bloggers. Where were you all? Last year I accidentally ran into two of the most illustrious and celebrated blogger beauties all in an hour. This year you were obviously all hiding from me. I went with my crochet teacher and friend Bridie who was elbowed, nearly knocked over and then run over by a shopping trolley, all by a series of grey-haired knitting assassins clutching decorative sampler catalogues from Brian on stall 41. Fucking scary my friends. After said show Bridie showed me round a pair of knitting needles because, deep breath, I’m going to try my hand at the Miette Cardigan. Seriously, why bother with socks when you can drive yourself demented with a cardigan huh? That little square below isn’t my version of the cardigan by the way. It’s a tension swatch. A TENSION SWATCH! What am I getting myself into….?

Miette in progress

Ahhh, I can hear himself stirring. Better go – back soon. xxx

Completed: Victorious Victoria

I did it! I made something for me! All mine.

Victoria Blazer

I’ve had my eye on this little beauty for aaaaages and I was delighted to finally get it finished. Although let me be clear - the Victoria Blazer by By Hand London is not a difficult pattern at all. I’d highly recommend it for a beginner itching to make something fashionable, wearable and lovable. The Victoria loves ya back yo!

I made cropped version 2 – my favourite of the three variations on offer, although I can see myself slouching about in a longer version too. The sleeveless is not for me. I can’t get around early ‘Neighbours’ male character associations I’m afraid.

Polka dot lining

Another win – this blazer was entirely made from stash fabric. I used a very drapey synthetic fabric for the shell (DON’T ask me what it was I cannot tell you) and a soft swishy polkadot cotton for the lining. I took a tip from Sonia at Ginger Makes and extended the lining into the sleeves, making this a pleasure to slip on and off. Do it. If perhaps you are the LAST LIVING PERSON ON EARTH who has not made this yet.

My only issue? Like Ginger (yeah hello again!) I found the front neckline to be longer than the back which kinda freaked me out to begin with because I couldn’t work out what I had done wrong. I ended up kinda easing it in to get it to fit but would love to know if anyone else had this and what they did to correct it. Turned up sleeves

I used the lining fabric to create the cute little turn up cuffs. I was very tempted to do the same for the lapel but thought too much polkadot cutesiness might be a bit too twee. And this pattern is not twee my friends. This pattern slouches around cool east end bars, stays up til dawn and smokes fags indoors. I love it.

Back Victoria Blazer

Disregard those shocking creases – I have pressed since then. And now for an deeply uncool pic to grace this very cool pattern. There was a fucking massive bee behind me, hence the expression.

Thumbs up for Victoria

Not much more to add other than that I will be visiting Liberty this week to purchase some divine fabric for the Anna dress which is next on my list. A dress as sexy as that deserves some sexy fabric, non? How exciting. And how selfish. Bliss…

Dude dungarees and a giveaway

Stop press! Little Dress Kits have decided to offer my readers a generous 15% off all kits with this unique code. Simply enter sandw15off at the checkout!

Hooray for summer! It’s been absolutely glorious here in London for the last god-knows-how-many weeks and I’m as brown as an Irish berry which is a lovely sort of off-white colour. Very nice indeed.

It’s been yonks since I’ve updated the old blog and I’d love to say ‘but I’ve been making LOADS of clothes which I want to show you yadda yadda’ but… um…no. I’ve not. In fact I’ve made just one thing, and it wasn’t for me. But that’s ok! Because sometimes we all need a little break (read: if I ever get more than an hour to myself ever again I will try to not to fill it with washing up, laundry, cooking) from the things we love, right? RIGHT?

Anyways, about three trillion years ago I got an email from the lovely Katie at Little Dress Kits, asking if I’d like to choose and make a kit for himself. Did I? Like, durrr. I never turn down a freebie folks (which reminds me – I must mention The List of My Desires – a book I was sent by Orion Publishing because it features a character with a sewing blog in it! Great read actually and I always feel a little bit cleverer when I read a translated novel – what’s that all about?).

Back to Little Dress Kits. Basically the idea is that you receive a full kit with everything you need to make a darling little baby outfit: fabric, notions, trimmings, the works. I chose the Tractor Dungarees Kit as I just loved the brown/olive cord and the little tractor motif. Katie sent me my package immediately but it took me two months to get round to actually making it (sorry Katie!). But on Saturday morning I threw the cats off the dining table, put the son in a cage (not really) and set to work. Took me about three hours from start to finish and I ended up with… these!
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It was so so quick and easy to whip these up. They come with adhesive pattern pieces which are brilliant if you’re making wee tiny things and the material is great quality.

Even better news, Katie is offering one lucky reader their very own Little Dress Kit of choice! Simply comment on this post to be in with a chance of winning. Even better, if you like Little Dress Kits on Facebook or follow them on Twitter I’ll give you an extra entry – just let me know in the comments. Giveaway closes Sunday 4th August at midnight GMT and the winner will be randomly chosen using an internet thingummy. Good luck!

And just to make you all go aaaah here are some gratuitous cute baby pics…

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