The SOI Miriam dress and jacket I always knew I wanted

I’ve wanted to make a classic dress suit for as long as I can remember. And I own very, many original vintage patterns that would have been perfect, believe me. But an overriding anticipated disappointment in the result always held me back.

In fact its true to say I’ve altogether strayed away from vintage styles more recently, favouring an urge to be a bit more experimental instead. But I’ve never lost love for the classics. And when Lisa asked if I’d model for Sew Over It’s Vintage Dreaming collection I had to pinch myself. Every single garment of that Ebook is divine but the one look that took my breath away was Lisa in the pale blue polka dot Miriam set and Chantelle in the raspberry linen version. And I wanted it too!

There was something massively nostalgic about Sew Over It making a return to vintage. Because that’s where they were at when I discovered them, when indie pattern companies were brand new and it felt so refreshing to have exciting options outside of ‘the Big 4’ pattern companies, and is exactly the point at which I was keen on sewing all things 50s and 60s. The main benefits of modern vintage-style patterns are the more realistic and modern proportions of the body measurements and also the inclusion of multiple size options so you can grade very easily between 2 or more lines to get a perfect fit. Most of my 1950s patterns are generally an unprinted tissue template for a singular size only. And generally speaking don’t fit straight out of the packet!

And so it was such a joy to cut a straight size 12 for the Miriam set with no fitting adjustments at all! 

The dress came together so easily and relatively quickly. This is largely due to the simplicity of the design, but also the instructions are very clear and concise. The only step I skipped was for the adjustable straps. I just made sure the straps were exactly in the right place and the right length by pinning and trying on and adjusting … about 15 times before finally sewing in place!

I used a medium weight, red textured crepe from New Crafthouse (always delighted to use deadstock) bought with a voucher I won back in April at the Spring Fling party. Also delighted that I’ve used it up relatively quickly and it’s not languished in stash! I’m trying so hard to create better habits recently regarding my fabric choices, sources and usage. More about that soon.

The jacket involved a bit more work. But that was mostly my fault! Although the fabric was great for the dress – it’s got great drape and is very huggy at the same time – I had  a feeling it wasn’t going to have quite enough structure for a jacket so I needed to employ some extra techniques. 

For starters, I underlined all the pieces with a red cotton voile – a great suggestion by SOI. I also padded the shoulders and added some strips of cotton fleece for the sleeve heads. I remembered to take a photo of the inner workings this time. Not quite so pretty though!

I had a horrible feeling that machine buttonholes were going to give me grief. I couldn’t bear to get to ‘almost finished’ stage only to ruin it all with raggedy buttonholes so I set about making old-school bound ones. And boy did I forget quite how faffy they are to do. I trialled some before I did the real ones. Worth it in the long run but I think I near fainted by holding my breath through the entire process. 

Its worth noting the importance of having those welt sections on grain. They will fold better and press straighter and give a much better finish.

And once I’d finished the button holes it made total sense to make covered buttons too. Luckily I had inherited a bag of the button bases and the rubber pressing tool a while back. The size was a little larger than suggested but it worked just fine.

I completed the outfit in the nick of time to wear to my niece’s wedding and was so preoccupied I didn’t get any full length photos so all the thanks to Dan who took the time out to shoot these for me in and around where we work.

I just love how this suit makes me feel: mostly so grown up and properly dressed! It makes me walk tall and fills me with confidence. I got so many lovely comments from passing people, and that added to the feel good factor too! This is already a wardrobe bestie. And most probably will be for years to come.

How to make a cute dress ‘dead cute’

I basically made a cute dress… and de-cuted it!

But why, Janene, why? Well since you asked, I’d grab a cuppa and pull up a comfy cushion if I were you, because there’s no short answer.

I’ve had the inclination to ‘mess things up’ for a while now. Not exclusively for moments of therapy when prompted by frustration, but because I’ve felt a bit caged. As if I’ve been blinkered and strapped down. Like I’ve had my wings clipped. I know this sounds a bit over dramatic. Especially since I lead a very nice life am surrounded by gorgeous friends and family and have a very desirable job. But I guess everything I do is, on the whole, well-behaved, expected, accurate and rule abiding. My work as a graphic designer permits a modicum of out-of-the-box thinking but largely there are rules, whatever industry I’m creating for. And the same goes for my ‘until now’ sewing: Cutting is precise, seams are consistent, fit is important and placement of design is key, etc etc. 

I documented my failed consideration of the neckline-keyhole placement on Instagram, how it  bugged the hell out of me that it wasn’t properly centred between spots. Most people agreed. Some shrugged it off and said it didn’t bother them. I was quite jealous of those people because caring so much about the finer detail is IMHO partly responsible for my lack of adventure! I’m not sure I can ever change that up though. I’ll just have to add the wilder stuff on top… or on the bottom!

In March this year, my wish to have a studio finally came true and I moved in with more than 60 other artists. My requirements were very basic – I had dreamed of having a cutting table as its quite tricky to get back up of the floor after a long cutting session nowadays – And faster wifi so that my graphic files would deliver as soon as I sent them. Little things, generally speaking, but actually, massive things to me, that would make a real difference to my productivity. 

Within days of settling in, I relished the added advantage of being able to leave a project out on the table overnight so that you can just come in and crack straight on with it the following morning, how awesome it was having a whole space to myself (apart from when Dan comes in) but yet there is often a friendly knock at the door, an invitation to lunch at the lovely cafe and advice and inspiration on tap.

I’ll admit to having big old imposter syndrome at first. Like ‘how can I possibly match up to the artistry that is resident here?’ I’m a graphic designer not a fine artist and I’m a dressmaker not a fashion designer. But therein lay the problem! I had labelled myself with titles of position, boxed myself in by definition and process. I design books and I make dresses for sure but that’s not all that I am or the end of the story by any stretch of the words, I can now feel all the other possibilities rising to the surface. Its sooo hard not to be inspired here! Next door to me is a wonderful poet, artist and mentor, the other side a painter and an interior designer, an amazing costumier upstairs with photographers, textile artists, musicians, set designers and an entomologist to boot!

The initial stage of the dress came about as I wandered around a charity shop in Shoreham. I found the red polka dot fabric there. Vintage most probably and slightly marked in place, approximately 5 metres of it and cheap. London prices are set as much as new fabric in some cases so it was straight in the bag without even considering what it would be used for. A regular habit and sometimes I think its a bad one until I think of a use and then I think its a good habit, hahaha!

I love the idea of rescuing fabric as much as I love purchasing brand new fabric that matches the exact Idea I have in my head so it helps to have a balance so I don’t feel too bad about buying new all the time. I think this must have been used as a table cloth or such like in its previous life but whatever it was I couldn’t really envisage me in a twee dress. So as I walked out of the shop with a bargain of a buy, I started to dream up the dress.

It didn’t take long. It needed black, that’s all. Just black. The ‘colour’ I always come running home to. My safety zone.  I used to only wear black when I was younger, not because I was goth or punk, I was very much on board with the New Romantics and if I bought anything black (sometimes white) I could guaranteee that the garments would layer and mix and match quite successfully – cheaper that way too. A black dress would render me invisible and cool at the same time. I could be part of the crowd yet not stand out at all, seeing as most of my peers were wearing black too! A kind of invisibility cloak, if you like.

When I returned to sewing (more seriously) about 20 years ago I wanted to sew all the colours, all the flowery fabric and all the frills. Because I could. Because I could affford to. And because I found a wonderful sewing community and I wanted to be just like them. But now I feel like I’ve come full circle armed with a fresh load of knowledge and Inspo, from the job that I do – I just love typography and graphic imagery – from my surrounding artist friends – I’m going large on the brush strokes – and a new found sense of brave. I just want to try new things. Not worry whether it fits in with anyone elses vibe and certainly not fashion as a whole. I don’t think I ever worried about that too much anyhoos but I just want to explore more possibilities 

And so this dress was created from a pattern I designed from my own drafted pattern block. I used a vintage reclaimed fabric and painted on it with large black and white brush strokes, I carved a Lino piece to print the skulls, I used rubber letter stamps for some of the wording and I appliquéd the stars with scrap satin. Bubble wrap mono print and brush flicks were added for  texture. I used a fabric paint called Pebeo Setacolor which was fixed with heat, and I’ll report back with the results on how it laundered! Its not my best work yet, but I am proud and relieved to have finally released one of those crazy ideas from my head and put it into practice.

If I’d have made this dress as a youngster, my mum would definitely have walked ten paces behind me, worried about all the disapproving looks from people in the neighbourhood. It’s still kind of like that where she lives. Although she’s more used to me being ‘whacky’ now lol. But by stark comparison, Dan and I wandered around Portobello and the Grand Union Canal in West London, blending in perfectly with the surroundings and not a soul batting an eyelid. This is one of the main reason I love London. Another is that you come across free location set ups like this!

Oh, and this is how reasonably cute the dress was before:

I’ve got more ideas bubbling and more reclaimed fabric that will be perfect for purpose so I hope to share those once they are realised. There will also be a more demure wedding guest outfit to share soon too so do hit the subscribe pattern to be notified by Email of a new post.

Thanks to Dan for these amazing photos. Thanks to all the inspiring people in my life and many thanks too for you reading my waffle all the way to the end. Im forever grateful for your support and comments.

How I hacked a Frida to make my daisy dress

Waaay back in April, I went to my very first New Crafthouse party. I’d heard of these legendary do’s but I was always too slow to the checkout page. This time round, howevs, I got a heads up and I snapped up a ticket the minute they went on sale.

The theme was Spring Fling… I do love a brief! Kind of narrows down the options of what to make, which is helpful because as you probably know its virtually impossible for a dressmaker not to make something new for a party!

Another good thing is, that because there’s usually a bank of ‘wanna makes’ swimming around in my head, I just have to pause the slideshow and pick a winner!

I’d been toying with a Molly Goddard style dress for a while. Not so over the top as that pink Killing Eve number – though, never say never! I guessed pink might be the popular choice for a spring theme and I wanted something a bit different, so I pictured what spring looked like in my local parks and daisies sprung to mind. 

But boy did I set a task for myself. I wanted daisy tulle. It had to be daisies, on tulle and nothing else. And I searched high and low until I finally found it some on Etsy. Its actually a pale green tulle which was a bonus too though it doesn’t really come across as such.

As for the pattern, I knew exactly what I was going to use. The SewOverIt Frida blouse and dress is such a great little pattern with no closures. Zippers and tulle aren’t generally friends so it was a perfect choice and a very simple hack would make my vision happen. And hey… see anyone familiar on the pattern cover?!

I kept the bodice section pretty much exactly as was, apart from shaving a little off the shoulder, because I  wanted the sleeve puffs to sit on the end of my shoulder point for maximum pooof! I used a green poly taffeta for the underdress because it had great structure and also was a great grassy base for the daisies to sit on. I overlaid the tulle on to the bodice piece to sew as one and I love how the sheen of the taffeta shone through.

I used the longer skirt section of the Frida Dress pattern as the foundation of the under-dress. The top part where it meets the bodice is pleated and I kept that but I split it about half way down and spread that bottom half to end up with a gathered bottom tier. This created much more of a dramatic A-Line silhouette and already the cheeky fun of this little party dress was beginning to make an appearance.

The tulle overlay is simply two gathered rectangles, each to the same depth as their corresponding under layers. The bottom layer was cut twice as long as the upper one and gathered onto the top tier.

For the sleeves,  I took the fuller sleeve pattern piece of the Frida, shortened it and then cut and slashed to spread it really wide. It was a bit trial and error but it worked just right with the first draft. I created some binding from the taffeta to edge the sleeves. I was so happy at this point as there were strong indications that it was evolving exactly as it had taken shape in my head!

Apart from gathering the tulle (one of my least favourite things to do) The process was pretty simple. And I finished it just in time to meet up with Alma and Ilaria and set off for the do!

We had such an amazing time – New Crafthouse is such a lovely space in East London and Hannah and Rosie were awesome hosts. We were greeted at the door with a gin fizz and had immense fun catching up with sewing friends old and new, everyone of them looking incredible in their handmade creations. It blows my mind how much talent there is in our wonderful sewing community.

And guess what! Not only did Ilaria win first prize for her amazing Botticelli meets Molly Goddard dress (we clearly have great minds)… but I won a runners up prize too!

We seriously had no expectations of coming away with prizes. It was so exciting. And we were buzzing all the way home.

Useful Links
Sew Over It Frida Blouse and Dress pattern
The New Crafthouse
Mod Retro Vintage Sunglasses (aff link)

Ready to Party Dress

Original post written for the Crafty Bloggers Club

The first time I met the ladies of Crafty Sew and So was at their fabulous Dressmakers’ Ball in 2019. I’ve since been to their Crafty Sewing Camp and can verify that they throw a damn fine party! And so it seemed quite fitting that I chose to sew the Ready to Party Dress for my first experience with a My Handmade Wardrobe sewing pattern.

However, true to form and with no imminent fancy parties on the horizon I decided to make it up as an every day-dress instead. 

To make it more every-day, this dress was going to have to be substantially shortened for me. Before I go into more detail as to how I did this, I just want to add how interesting this skirt pattern is. It is made up of eight flared panels with a double set of darts on the side front and side back panels and the volume starts after the fitted section at the waist to create such a superb silhouette.

Each panel piece of the sewing pattern has a lengthen/shorten line which is super helpful as I really didn’t want to forego the amazing flare in the design. To be honest I wasn’t totally convinced I could remove a whole 9 inches without some sort of issue but hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained! As you can see there is quite a bit of a step when I folded up the excess. I sat and pondered a while and then convinced myself I just had to average out the difference to create the new pieces. So that’s exactly what I did. I traced the new piece and added the new side lines by drawing from the hem points to just below the waist shaping. And it worked!

I took my time sewing the panels, being sure not to stretch out the bias seams of which there are many, and I’m sure the results were helped greatly by using this wonderfully soft and forgiving chambray fabric, also from Crafty Sew and So. It drapes so beautifully and seals the deal with my ‘every-day’ mission. 

Because of potential bias behaviour, I did tack the sewn up skirt panels to my toile of the bodice while I sewed up the actual bodice. I felt it needed to hang a bit before hemming in case the hemline dropped unevenly and that proved to be a good idea. 

I cut a size 4 for the skirt and graduated down to a 3.5 for the bodice but next time I might just slither a bit more off to go from 3.5 to 3 as it is a bit roomier in the waist than I anticipated. That’s the beauty of having all the size lines to trace off!

I was torn between choosing the sweetheart neckline and the round neckline of the bodice. And I was almost sold on sweetheart when I realized I could layer the round neckline version more readily with a t-shirt or turtleneck jumper underneath for a change of style and if it got chilly!

I love that its lined. In fact I love lining and the understitching process because it really does give a nice, neat finish.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention that it has pockets – lovely sized in-seam ones that get disguised in the drapes so you can stick anything you like in them with little chance of distorting the shape of the skirt!

I loved making this dress, it was a real pleasure to sew. And I love wearing it – its comfortable, versatile, flirty and feels good. And I can totally recommend this pattern and fabric combo. Because every day should be a party, right?! 

Vogue Cocktail Hour dress V9241

V9241 cocktail dress

cocktail hour eve appeal

The first time I’d heard of the Eve Appeal was when I took part in last year’s Vintage Sewalong campaign. They are the ONLY UK  national charity that raises awareness and funding research into the five gynaecological cancers so it wasn’t too much of an ask for me to join in the Cocktail Hour once again, and help McCalls promote a range of Vogue patterns that raise good money for such a great cause.

Last year I made Retro Butterick 5813 for the Big Vintage Sewalong 2016. This year I chose Vogue 9241, a fabulous design by Kathryn Brenne.

V9241_PATTERN_COVER

A little bit Helena Bonham Carter, A little bit Anne Robinson, perhaps… but totally full of character and no doubt a talking point at a cocktail party. Sadly the only cocktail party I’ve ever been invited to was the one at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally and I was typically too busy with work to attend. Though I prefer to think that I have been to loads and they were so good, I’ve clean forgotten all about them!

But if I do ever get another invite (nudge, nudge) I would be proud to wear this dress. It would rock a room of standard LBDs and not leave without comment.

I chose this design because of that awesome collar, of course, and because it reminded me of my birthday dress – the skirt section at least – and I considered using silk dupion, the same. But not only do I not like doing things twice, I find the suction of creativity too much to bear if I copy what’s on the packet. ie a red silk dress. I felt like black would have hidden too  much of the detail so I went a bit off piste and used a pinstripe suiting fabric instead, lol!

V9241_cocktail_dress_4

I wanted those pinstripes to emphasise the godets and that collar. Actual stripes would have been a bit too cray-cray (mmmm…. maybe next time though?!) I really wasn’t 100% sure it would turn out as special in what is effectively a boring cheap suiting fabric!

But it did. And I am so happy. Which is lucky really because I hadn’t left any time to change it up!
This dress really isn’t as complicated as it looks. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a doddle but really just more time-consuming than anything. It needs a fair bit of yardage too so watch out if you’ve got any big ideas on fancy pants fabric. It could end up costing an arm and both legs!
V9241_cocktail_dress_5
One thing which I must point out is that there is an error on the layout and pattern pieces. The instructions say to cut 2 of front which threw me a bit because there was no reference to use it anywhere. The layout plan indicated the same. I wondered if it could be a facing/lining of sorts but a quick Tweet message to McCalls confirmed it was an error and that they had contacted the US office to amend.
This pattern has a massive amount of ease. It’s so helpful to have body measurements and corresponding size table on the packet but better still to clock the ease on the pattern pieces themselves. Not all pattern companies do this so kudos to Vogue. With that info at hand, I realised I could afford to drop a whole dress size. I’d suspected I might have to do this because the pattern image itself looks a little bit roomy. I like things more snug, like a hug!
V9241_cocktail_dress_6
The collar is sewn front to facing, then the wire is sewn to the seam allowance of the outer curved edge before turning out. The wire is sewn in using a wide-ish zigzag stitch making sure to keep the needle either side of the wire. Requires a fair bit of concentration. Frightened the bloody life out of me when I took my eye off the ball and the needle clonked on the wire!
V9241_wired_collar
This is the second time in a month that I’ve had the need for animation wire, the first being for the wings of Amelia Fangs outfit. I ordered some more off Amazon. Affiliate link here:

I ordered all three weights as I really wasn’t sure what constituted ‘medium weight’. Initially I tried the lightest one but it was a bit flimsy so I opted for the 2mm diameter.
I’ve been having a lot of fun positioning the collar in all sorts of ways. But there would be more fun I’m sure if my fabric was sturdier or interfaced to give it a bit more structure. I could go totally could go totally Maleficent! This pinstripe stuff is very soft with quite a bit of drape which still works well, mind.
V9241_cocktail_dress collar
The skirt is all about the godets. How do you even say that? Godettes or godays? A little care is needed to insert the points accurately into the open seams of the bodice but if you’ve ever made quilt blocks with inset seams you will be walking it!
I noted the length was kinda granny for me. So I lobbed 4 inches off before I cut it out. And it reaches just shy of knee length now. But by nature of how the godets are tied up inside, I can just as easily lower the hem a couple of inches or so if I must be more demure!
I pretty much followed the instructions to the T but I could have done with taking some of the excess out of the back bodice length – that’s always an issue for me. But skirt seciton moves around and drapes so unusually, I don’t think it’s a biggie! And I hand stitched the bias facings of the armholes, rather than topstitch as instructed. Call me old fashioned!
V9241_cocktail_dress_3
So I am the last entry on the Vogue Patterns Bloggers Calendar 2017. I initially thought that was the best position to be in but the mash-up of anxiety and inspiration was building with each gorgeous post that popped up, every month.  In case you didn’t catch them all, click here to the amazing contributions from all the fabulous sewing bloggers. I just love how everyone has put an individual spin on their own cocktail dresses.
I do hope that some or one of these at least will inspire you to buy a pattern from the Cocktail Hour selection and rustle one up for yourself. Or maybe even buy one for a gift for a sewing friend. All helps towards the amazing work done by the Eve Appeal.
Thanks to The Foldline for including me in the line up, to Dan for the fabulous photos and also to Aska and Tom at the Thatched House in Hammersmith for allowing us to shoot them in their lovely pub.
 

10 Reasons Not to Miss The Great British Sewing Bee Live plus 5 pairs of tickets – FREE GIVEAWAY!

GBSB live logo

Are you a sewing-obsessed, GBSB fan like me? Do you love fashion and vintage and tailoring and dressmaking… and Paddy?

In case you haven’t been party to this hot piece of sewing news, buzzing around the blogosphere, read on for why you should totally be at the UK’s biggest, most exciting new dressmaking event at ExCel London, 21-24 September this year. I am talking all things Great British Sewing Bee Live… Yes LIVE!

I spent last Tuesday morning at London’s Fashion and Textile museum, in a room full of superstar sewing bloggers, for an intimate audience with the legendary judges of the TV series, Patrick Grant and Esme Young. I know, right?! We’d been invited to hear a little more about what we can expect from this incredible event. And boy are we all in for a treat!

ooobop and didyoumakethat
Karen and I were just a bit excited to meet Patrick and Esme!

An audience with Patrick Grant and Esme Young is underway @fashiontextilemuseum. Fab crowd of colourful #sewing bloggers.

A post shared by Great British Sewing Bee Live (@thegbsblive) on

1. Patrick and Esme will actually be there, in real life, right there before our very own eyes

Contestants from past shows along with the bravest of audience members will take part in challenges live on stage. Jenny Éclair, comedian, writer and TV personality, will be your host and will ensure the nerves and mishaps are glossed over with giggles. What can possibly go wrong?!

Patrick was asked, “Will there be sewing hecklers at the #GBSBLive Super Theatre?

“I hope so” he replied!

To be honest I would buy a ticket just for this alone. But there’s more…

 

Patric Grant and Esme Young

2. Your chance to be a contestant!

Have you watched every episode, longing to be one of the contestants? Then here is your chance!

Click here to complete an application form. You just don’t know unless you have a go!

3. More than a hundred workshops

Hosted by your favourite contestants and other top stitchers and tutors, the hardest part will be choosing. Seriously, make a cuppa and get yourself comfy before clicking this link to all the amazing workshops on offer. The choice is insane!

Incidentally Patrick was asked who his favourite contestant was. He paused, with glint in his eye… he said, “I loved them all!” What a tease! “No one ever left early. It was always about who sewed the best challenge, not who was the best sewer.”

4. Live Demos

There’s a jam-packed programme of live demonstrations from well-known personalities from the world of sewing and dressmaking as well as contestants from the Great British Sewing Bee. You’ll get all the tips and advice you need to get you on your dressmaking journey, whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned professional there will be something for you.

All sessions will be free to attend and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Janome sewing machine workshop gbsb live

5. Dressmaking drop-in clinic

We’ve all got a project or two in that pile of doom and defeat. Dig it out and bring it along to the drop-in clinic where one of our lovely sewing experts will help you to solve your issues and get you back on track.

It’s common knowledge how helpful the sewing community is. And it was really sweet to learn that Esme frequently got a telling off for trying to help contestants on the show! “As a teacher, It’s so difficult to watch people struggling.” Oh how I’d love to have Esme on tap!

6. Fashion Catwalk

From high-end fashion and couture creations to vintage designs, bespoke tailoring and wedding garments, it will be a feast of dressmaking fashion from both independent and larger pattern companies.

There’ll be three shows a day, free to attend on a first come first served basis, along with a daily showcase of garments from leading fashion and textile students.

catwalk gbsb live

7. 200+ (Yes 200+!) dressmaking and sewing suppliers

All your online favourites and more. This is going to be the best shopping trip ever ever ever!!!! Even Esme claims to have the most ridiculous fabric and button stash. She can’t help herself. If it’s beautiful, she just has to have it!

 

8. Garment galleries a plenty for your perusal and delight

This is your chance to get up close and personal with some of those amazing creations from previous shows. There will be a crazy collection of the garments from across the series, including some of the most stunning, the most stand out and frankly the most bizarre designs from the programme.

I wonder if it will include a certain pvc skirt that Patrick sewed for himself… ooops, did I just say that out loud?!

9. The Fashion and Textile Muesem: Liberty in Fashion Exhibition

Dennis Nothdruft (who incidentally Handmade Jane and I met at the Couture Inside Out exhibition and we can therefore advocate as brilliant) has curated a stunning exhibition of Liberty pieces: From romantic, densely patterned garments from the post-war 1930s to the Art Nouveau revival of the 1950s and Swinging 1960s, then Seventies Pastoralism with its characteristic smocking… I’d buy a ticket just for this too!

10. Bloggers delight

Asides from all the magic and mahem, inspiration and excitement of the above I truly believe that this super duper sewing event will also prove to be the best ever blogger meet-up you ever went to, like ever! And if you see me wandering around in a dreamworld, please stop me to say hello. I love nothing more than meeting my readers in real life.

Does any of that lot float your lil boat?

 

Designer and Sewing Bee judge Esme Young said: “Whether you’re a professional tailor or hobby dressmaker, fashion student or vintage fan, there’s something for everyone with a love of sewing, and even complete beginners keen to give it a go.  We hope visitors will leave the show inspired and full of ideas for their next dressmaking project. ”

 

So who’s up for a free pair of tickets then? I have 5 sets up for grabs and you don’t have to do anything more taxing than to subscribe to my blog (top right hand column under the ooobop logo, if you are viewing on a pc, or scroll to the bottom of your phone screen) and then leave a comment below. You have up until Friday 14th July 2017 when the giveaway will close. 5 lucky winners will be announced on Sunday 16th July.

Good luck everyone!!

And don’t forget to hop over to the GBSB Live website for all the latest info.

I’ll leave you with a picture of pure glee. The faces say it all!

See you soon, sewing lovers x

 

Get thee behind me, hackers!

ooobop party dress in Power Rangers pose
Don’t mess with the real Power Rangers!

I’m back, I’m back!!

So sorry to everyone who’s tried to reach me over the last month or so. Ooobop was subject to a nasty hack and took me completely off line. I kept telling myself that worse things happen at sea and that maybe it was a sign to take me away from the screen for a while but actually I was devastated! And guilt-ridden. For weeks my screen displayed a message of danger in black and red. The possibility of users inadvertently and unknowingly downloading malware was too much to bear. My host suspended my blog to prevent such things happening but I didn’t have a clue how one fixed such things. Until a wonderful star of a work colleague stepped in to the rescue.

And now it’s fixed. And safe. And all is happy again at house of Ooobop!

But I’m not holding breath and will never be so complacent again. It happens. To everyone. What is wrong with people who seek to sabotage and destroy? A life unfulfilled I can only imagine.

So remember to back up your work people. And if possible install a plugin to scan for hacked files and to monitor the access of visitors to your site. Changing your login passwords occasionally is a good measure too. I’m not going to pretend to know everything one can do to protect a blog but it does pay to know someone who does. Or pay someone. Especially if like me your blog is a big part of your life.

Transpires there are so many published posts on how to protect your blog from hackers. But I found the following to be in the kind of language I understand! I’m way too easily bamboozled by tecchie lingo.

A guest post on Be A Better Blogger by Cassie Philips of Secure Thoughts,  http://beabetterblogger.com/protect-your-blog/

And ProBlogger has a whole heap of articles and advice from guest bloggers on it site here: http://www.problogger.net/?s=how+to+stop+hackers. Incidentally Darren Rose makes for great listening on the ProBlogger podcast too.

So if you haven’t done already, please take a mo to protect your work. And best not to close the stable door after the horse has bolted, like I did!

And if you have any similar experiences or tips to share, please leave a comment so we can all be safer going forward.

I can’t wait to share some special makes with you soon. Including my 50th party dress, a teaser of which features in the mad photo above and which has had some coverage on Instagram but needs to be properly documented on here, insides and out!

In the meantime, wishing you all peace, love and hope throughout this festive period and always.

Love Janene x