OWOP a night!

And there we have it – seven days of Violet blouses, all over in the blink of an eye. But by golly we gave it a good send-off. I met up with Karen, Tilly, Rachel, Mela, Laura, Tamsin, Alana and another lovely lady named Clare (Claire?) last night at a cocktail bar in Kings Cross. It was two-for-one and we made the most of it. Mela brought chocolate macaroons – can you believe I’d never had a macaroon before? And I discovered we live not far from one another so I’ll be popping round for seconds if she’s not careful.

In my excitement at meeting so many lovely sewing bloggers I entirely forgot to take any pics of myself at the cocktails. But Tilly and Karen have already done some lovely round-up posts where you can see me – wearing the TLS Violet and grey skinny trousers. But here are some lovely pics of the rest of them.

Disclaimer: despite the red lighting and despite we were in bordello territory of Kings Cross, we were not up to anything dodgy… promise.


Karen in her beautiful Sorbetto

Tamsin and Mela

Tamsin and Mela - you can't see the macaroons... because we ate them all

Rachel raises a glass!

Rachel raises a glass!

Tilly, Karen, Laura and Alana

Tilly, Karen, Laura and Alana - not working girls, honestly!

I managed to down three cocktails in about an hour and a half (well I am Irish) and had to scamper to another pub to see some chums from Wales who are staying with us this n – we’re all off to see Pulp tonight! Ooh I did get a pic – of the top half of me anyway.

Me and him

Today we mooched around the British Museum which I have NEVER been to in all my 12 years in London. If you live here or plan to visit – do give it a whirl – it’s stunning! Check out the ceiling.

British Museum

I have loved doing OWOP but I can tell you I was so relieved to slip into a stripey t-shirt instead today! Thanks to Tilly for coming up with the whole thing and I can’t wait to see all the round-up posts. Have a great weekend everyone xxx

OWOP! Day 6…

We’re on the final home straight! Today I went for a more low-key relaxed approach – just jeans and  a cardy with my first Violet.

OWOP Day 6

Karen from Did You Make That? had the fabulous idea of celebrating the end of OWOP! in style with cocktails tomorrow night in B@1 in Kings Cross. I’ll be popping along in my final ensemble. Will you join us?

OWOP! Day 5…

OK it’s getting a little harder now. Far be it from me to complain about the weather – I can’t, it’s just too gorgeous, but it sort of scuppers some of my Violet styling plans, like wearing one under a woollen pinafore. It’s just too hot for woollen pinafores man!

But it’s not too hot for tights. I’m not getting my bare legs out in March – are you serious? There’s about two weeks of tanning and exfoliating to be done before the blue lifts off.

Owop! Day 5

It’s a first outing for the Tuck ‘n’ Silk ‘n’ Lace Violet, teamed up with my Ginger Bodgers skirt, grey tights and some nice little shoes from Office. What are your thoughts on tights and open toed shoes? I think it very much depends on the shoe – if there’s not too much toe, you’re good to go.

Apologies for the slight seam alignment issue there – ideally the blouse opening should be lined up with the front seam of the skirt but I was in a rush!

This pic was taken in the morning (I’m now writing this in the evening) and I am happy to report that all the loops stayed fastened on the Violet and it didn’t crease much at all during the day – except for where it’s tucked into the skirt.

I reckon this is my favourite outfit so far for OWOP! What about you? Have you found a new killer look from this week’s experimenting? I’ve seen some great outfits around the web so far, including Elisalex’s swing top/pencil skirt combo and Mela’s Ginger remix. There are a lot of quiet bloggers out there as well who I KNOW are doing OWOP so I’m looking forward to a bunch of great round-up posts  come the weekend!

OWOP! Day 4…

Another bright and glorious day in the capital. At lunchtime I took my crochet bag down to St James Square off Piccadilly and knitted me some granny squares filled with sunshine. I’m now closing in on 50 squares – about 150-200 left to go…

OWOP! Day 4...

Today I am back in the sequel Violet and more skinny trews – navy this time. I’m teaming them with these fabulous red flats I bought yesterday for £15. Bargain.

As an aside, something rather exciting happened right by our office today. I work in Heddon Street (right off Regent Street) which is where David Bowie shot the front cover of Ziggy Stardust, 40 years ago. Check it here:

Today a plaque was being put up to celebrate and commemorate the event. There was LOADS of security around so I convinced myself that David Bowie could conceivably be unveiling the plaque itself, just metres from where I worked. I sped down there with my camera like a veritable spider from Mars.

No such luck. First of all, I arrived long after any hoohaa had died down leaving just a few straggly tourists, and secondly I found out later on that it was Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet who actually did the unveiling. Now, excuse me?  Gary Kemp? Now Gary, I’m not having a go at you love, you played a splendid part in the ‘Ballet and all and you did a nice turn as one of the Kray brothers alongside good ol’ Martin and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours, but you ain’t no Dayyyyviiiiid Boooowwwwiiiie, alright? That is all.

Oh and here’s the plaque!

And a final aside before I go – have you ever seen this many London buses in a row ever? I counted 11 and they’re all in use!

OWOP! Day 3…

Me again – are you sick of me yet?

It’s back to porridge today. I’m feeling much better now so it’s back to work in the sunshine (boo!) and close proximity to John Lewis (yay!).

OWOP! Day 3

Today I have teamed my first Violet with a recent make – the Colette Ginger. More on that in an upcoming post. Blimey, I appear to be posting twice a day at the moment.

There are a lot of soft colours (jade, moss green, um… violet!) in this blouse which go nicely with grey. And I’m in heels again. These are (shush) Hush Puppies from (double shush) Clarks. I promise you they’re not for old women. They’re just a bit more supportive and comfortable than regular heels. Ahem.

So that’s OWOP! day 3 down. Four more to go… how are you getting on? Are you finding the pressure is on to create a new look every day? I’m rather enjoying it so far – it’s made me dress better for a start! I haven’t worn jeans in three days!

OWOP! Day 2…

OWOP day 2

Hooray I dragged myself into and out of the shower and even did my hair and make-up for OWOP day 2!

This was the second Violet I made and it gets worn A LOT. But never before with these trousers. I fished out these wide-legged trews from the back of the wardrobe as I wanted to try something new and different in the spirit of OWOP. I also pulled  out my favourite platforms so I am waaaaay tall. I love being tall – look at how I rule the world! Platforms are about the only heels I can walk in without looking like I have rickets. When I feel tall I like to stand at the sink and laugh at how far below it is. Does that sound weird? It’s a point of reference – come on! Usually I have to tippy toe to turn on the tap…

I like this look – I look a bit like my mum circa 1979. Yeh! Rock on OWOP!

Completed: Tuck ‘n’ silk ‘n’ lace violet

Tuck 'n' silk violet

I’m breaking with tradition here by not modelling this make and I do apologise, but I’m displaying my Tuck ‘n’ Lace Violet here on the washing line for the following reasons:

  1. My husband has gone to the Tate Modern for an exhibition so can’t do pics
  2. I am still feeling poorly and snotty and don’t want to inflict poorly-snotty-pics on you
  3. As the result of 2 I am still in my pyjamas despite it being 1.20 in the afternoon
  4. I’ll be modelling it later in the week as part of OWOP!

Does that excuse me this one time, miss? Please?!

Tuck 'n' silk Violet

So I wanted to do something different with this Violet. I had some beautiful creamy gold lace in my stash that was just sitting there and I realised it would go perfectly with the bronze-y silk I was making the Violet with. Remember I got a whole five metres for £15? And it’s vintage Liberty silk?! I love this fabric but it is a BITCH to work with. Pressing seams leaves terrible water marks that you have to steam out, it frays like a mad fraying thing… but it’s gorgeous isn’t it? So we’ll forgive its diva tendencies.

Tuck 'n' silk Violet collar

I used no less than THREE brilliant Colette tutorials. One for making little loops for the buttons, one for making tucks and one for adding a lace overlay to the collar. My tucks leave a lot to be desired and some of my loops are a little bigger than I wanted but overall I’m pleased I attempted them and I reckon it adds a vintage feel to the overall make.

Tuck 'n' silk Violet tucks and loops

Another beautiful day here in London! I’m going to go and have a shower now, nip over to the garden centre to lust after plants and stop feeling sorry for myself! Have a wonderful weekend!

OWOP! Day 1…

Oh I’ve been remiss this week. It was only that I read Elisalex’s post on OWOP! yesterday that I realised it started today, and not on Monday like I thought. Oops! Actually I’ve been laid up since Thursday with womanflu. Nasty horrible headcold has left me quite out of sorts. I had planned to do my Mad Men photos today but after examining my swollen eyes and sore red nose I thought best not – let’s wait til tomorrow eh chuck?

Matt decided I needed a walk in the fresh air to convalesce a bit after being cooped up for almost 48 hours so we ventured up to Alexandra Palace to take in some sunshine. What glorious weather – for March!

OWOP! Day 1

This is my go-to outfit for the Violet – skinny trousers. Usually I wear them with boots but today it was warm enough for espadrilles! Fear not – I have more than just skinny trousers planned for this week.


There he is – my own Lawrence Nightingale. We took a walk down an old disused railway track that runs behind Muswell Hill. The views are stunning on a good day. You don’t get many views like this to the pound in London town:


When I’m faced with sights like this I feel compelled to say ‘London, England’ in my best BBC received pronunciation voice.

I have to say the walk took it out of me a bit so I spent the rest of day swaddled up at home on the sofa watching Downton Abbey, which I got as a boxset from the husband for Christmas. Isn’t it good!

Hope you’ve been enjoying the spring weather, wherever you are. Looking forward to catching up on all your OWOP pics  too!


Colette Violet – the sequel

So I have a bit of a confession to make. I had intended to do something different with this version, maybe some piping or something round the collar. But I was so excited to be whipping up a blouse in a day I just kind got on with it instead. So it’s pretty much a carbon copy of the previous Violet – but in a different fabric. Hey – if it ain’t broke etc.

Colette Violet: The sequel

Again I used fabric from Walthamstow market at £2 a metre. Bargainous. The buttons are vintage and are from a stash my mother-in-law gave me a few years back. I love their larger size – they make me feel like a kid again for some reason!

Colette Violet: The sequel

I absolutely know I will make this again. I just can’t resist how easy or how cute it is. I’m in danger of slipping into Violet-dependency though…

Colette Violet: The sequel

In other news, I’m woefully behind on the Minoru sewalong. I’ve only just cut out the fabric. Plus, I know I won’t get any sewing time over the next couple of weeks so I’ll miss the deadline completely.  Thank god for blogs where you can go back in your own time and start again!

I’ve really been enjoying Sewaholic’s Renfrew pattern-testers cropping up all over the place. Karen and Jane‘s are particular highlights – fantastic versions and a great advertisement for the pattern. One for the list.

And finally, I’ve mastered* crochet! I’ve been whipping up granny squares when I get a moment for the last couple of days, ever since my friend Bridie came round for another tutoring session last week. I shouted and cried all the way through (sorry Bridie) but I got there in the end. I’m not up to the crochaliser standard yet, more’s the pity.

Yay for crochet

*When I say mastered I mean I can do one version of a granny square and my tension is probably all wrong but I’m happy as Larry just knowing that I’ve got the basics.

What about you? Any new crafty skills you’re learning? Does it feel weird being an absolute beginner again?

Completed project: A vintage-style Colette Violet

I’ve wanted to do the Colette Violet for a while. I’ve been thinking it’s more practical for me to have more separates in my wardrobe since (as lovely as dresses are) I’m more likely to reach for them on a bleary-eyed Monday morning in the dark. Plus I wanted a nice blouse or two to take with me on my holibobs that would be light and fresh in the heat but would cover and protect my pale Irish upper arms.

Colette Violet

I was inspired by the vintage feel of Lauren’s and Nette’s versions so I chose a very lightweight floral cotton and adapted the pattern so it was a much tighter fit (more details below). The buttons are vintage – doncha love the pink pop of colour?

Colette Violet

Lordy that’s a bit of a Prozac gaze isn’t it?!

Colette Violet

A closer look at the peter pan collar.

Colette Violet

Noof noof fluffy Gracie.

Pattern review: Colette Violet (short-sleeved version)

Difficulty rating for StitchandWitter: 2/5

Fabric used: Just under 2m of a lovely vintage-style floral cotton from Walthamstow market

Total cost of dress (not including pattern): Approx £8.50 (think fabric was about £2 a metre, buttons were £4.50 for six)

Fitting issues: Now I knew the Colette Violet is supposed to be a loose-fitting blouse, so I decided to cut out a size 8 from the pattern. But once put together I realised I still wanted a more slender fit. So I hacked off a good bit on either side (see pics below). I also knew that Colette patterns often need a width reduction across the shoulders on me, so I did it right this time and took about an inch off either side at the top of the armhole.

Altering pattern

Making issues: I’d previously made a blouse with a peter pan collar and got incredibly confused with the placket and the facing so it ended up being hideous inside (although it was one of my first sewing projects last year). This time, it went like a dream, with Colette patterns’ lovely relaxing yet instructive voice guiding me though each step. I now feel like I can go back to that vintage pattern and try it again! My buttonholes still aren’t perfect. I get this issue on my machine where I can see occasionally it’s not leaving the stitch in the fabric. Not quite sure what’s going on there – may have to consult the manual.

Skills learned: Adding a placket.

Anything to add? I tried to finish the edges of the facing with self bias binding like Lauren’s fabulous version. I followed Portia’s excellent tutorial for making bias binding – what a breeze! But then tragedy struck – my masking tape is evidently the stickiest EVER and my fabric is soft and thin – the two became inextricably linked and wouldn’t be separated. They are now locked together in their hellish fabric/paper union in the sewing room bin. Ah well. I just turned the edges under a quarter inch instead.

Will I make again? Yes – without a doubt, especially now I have my alterations in place on my tracing. I plan to do multiple versions  in all these fabrics, maybe adding piping to the collar and front edges too:

Fabrics for Colette Violet

Have you made anything multiple times? How do you keep the process fresh so you don’t get bored?