Lucky Sew and Sew

Motherhood.Adventure.Slow Fashion.Sewing.Womanhood

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Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Valkyrie Set

I've finally gotten around to listing the Valkyrie Set in the shop! You can see it here.

The Valkyrie set is the scarlet colour way of the popular Sea Witch set which I designed and sewed this Christmas for a lingerie swap with Molly from Urban Bird Clothing.

There's a very limited amount of only 5 sets available, so grab one now before it disappears forever!


Thursday, 23 February 2017

A Better Start Southend

Last summer a friend of mine Alex (who blogs over at A Side Order of Me) put a shout out for her friend who was searching for pictures of breastfeeding Mums to use in a local breastfeeding campaign. I sent across my all time favourite picture of me feeding Rori in bed one Sunday morning. One of the rare snaps of me feeding Rori that Rich took. I heard back a little while later that my picture had been chosen and would be used across Southend-on-Sea which was incredible because that's where I was living at the time and where I gave birth to Logan and Rori and attended the local weigh-in clinics and health visitor meeting regularly.

Last week I received a facebook message from Gillian who I would later discover is the lady who was in search of the breastfeeding pictures. She wanted to let me know that the picture of me and Rori had been used in posters and information for a new Breastfeeding Support group. The new group is run by A Better Start and Gillian had this to say on the website for the new group:

A Better Start Southend’s Infant Feeding and Breastfeeding Development Coordinator, Gillian O’Connor says:
“When you first become pregnant there are lots of choices to be made and it can be bewildering, but one of the most important decisions is how to feed your baby. Breastmilk gives babies all the nutrients they need for their first six months of life and you can continue to breastfeed your baby alongside solid foods.  Your baby is less likely to develop infections, or go on to become obese or develop diabetes. Breastfeeding mothers sometimes need support and being able to ask questions in relaxed, friendly sessions like these is vital.”

I couldn't be more proud for my picture to be used in Southend. The early days of my breastfeeding journey with Rori weren't easy, and if it wasn't for people like Gillian who work in the local community, I don't think I would have managed to pull through and come out of the other side.
I remember one occasion in particular, when Rori was around 6 weeks old. She hadn't been latching well, she hadn't been sleeping, she was increasingly unsettled and I was a complete mess. All of the guilt from not being able to breastfeed Logan for long crept back to the forefront, and I felt so panicked that breastfeeding Rori was going the same way. She was having all of the same problems that I faced with Logan. The difference is when I had Logan, I didn't know where to turn to ask for help and I resorted desperately, to formula. Determined to make it work this time around, I headed in a sleep-deprived-manic frenzy to my local baby weigh-in clinic. I almost crashed my car on the way there. I hadn't slept for longer than 45 minutes at a time for 6 weeks and I shouldn't really have been driving come to think of it. I finally got there, wrapped Rori in her sling and went and sat in a full waiting room with tears silently running down my face. I didn't know what to do and I felt like a failure. I remember finding a seat, struggling to sit down with Rori strapped on my front, and I looked down at her tiny face and she was asleep. I let out a sigh of relief and lent my head back against the wall and waited for my number to be called. I had quite a few people in front of me but I didn't mind the wait - this was the most settled she'd been and I was just exhausted. Finally my number was called. I entered the room and went through the normal actions of having Rori weighed etc. I didn't know how to say what I wanted to say. Luckily for me I didn't need to. The health visitor picked up my distress and asked me if I was OK. The flood gate opened and I told her how Rori wasn't feeding properly and wasn't sleeping and was so unsettled all of the time. She listened patiently to my sobs and called in a colleague who took me into her office and asked if she could watch me feed Rori. She gave me some tips, checked for tongue and lip tie, and the most valuable thing was she listened to me. She observed and she understood. I needed support. I needed to know it would get easier and that this was normal. I needed kindness, and I got that by the bucket load.
Honestly, if it wasn't for the kind women at the Thorpedene Clinic that day, mine and Rori's breastfeeding journey would have ended then and there. I am eternally grateful and thanks to them I am still breastfeeding Rori 21 months down the line. I'm so happy that a group specifically for Breastfeeding Support has started, and I know the ladies who run it will be helping so many Mum's, just like they helped me.


Monday, 20 February 2017

Embroidered Roberts Collection Dungarees

OK, OK. I know you are probably sick to death of me posting about the dungarees that I make with The Roberts Collection pattern, but...THEY JUST GET BETTER AND BETTER OK?!

Seriously, my newest pair are my favourite ever (sorry previous pairs). I got the denim from Fabwork Mills Online. It's sold out not but it was only £5 a metre and is the most delicious shade of denim in my opinion. Not too light or too dark, but nice and saturated.

My first pair of Roberts dungarees were a deep blue denim pair and I loved them whole-heartedly. Unfortunatley, my flat-felled seam skillz weren't quite up to scratch and the edges started to unfold and go fluffy after a time. I still wear them, mind. But now they have been demoted to house-dungers as the fluffy crotch seam isn't really acceptable outside attire I suppose.

So, taking my love of the first pair into account, I added pockets on this pair too which are self-drafted, and topstiched the pockets and seams with classic gold denim thread. I also took a little inspiration from current ready-to-wear fashions and decided to put our embroidery machine to good use. If you don't live in a cave, you'll have seen the embroidery trend that's all over the place at the moment. Here's a few examples from Zara who are currently SLAYING the embroidery trend. So much Frida Kahlo vibin' *heart eyes*.

Now of course, I have neither Zara money or Zara model wafeness - so I had to do my own version of the trend. I embroidered roses on the pockets and bigger roses on the legs. As always, my sew wasn't a straight forward one. I am actually started to be impressed at my inventiveness of new ways to bugger things up. This time I managed to use a larger seam allowance than stated in the pattern, meaning the dungers were a smidge (a fucking lot) too tight on the legs and hips when I tried them on once completed. Luckily, as I had stitched the seam and then overlocked the edges of the seams without chopping off the excess seam allowance, I unpicked the straight stitches, leaving only the overlocking to keep the seam together. I then had to bodge up the side of the bodice that has the opening to get the seams to sit right. But after some bodging and a lot of swearing, they were finished and they fit perfectly now.

I am super happy with this make, and they are a great wearable addition to my me-made wardrobe. I'm really enjoying getting dressed in the mornings and discovering that my most worn and most loved clothes are ones that I have made myself and not RTW. Sewing WIN!


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Our Future is Just Beginning

It's actually happening. Our future. The one we thought was just a pipe dream. It's going to be a reality.

Our offer on the land we had our hearts set on since the summer has been accepted. The contracts are being written up, the deposit has been paid. We've been talking with an architect and planning our Eco-build house and our land. Our lives - we've been planning our lives.

Are we crazy? Everything we worked so hard for for so long -  a career, owning a home, know, all those things that we're taught are *so* important. We decided we didn't want those things anymore.

We want freedom. We want hard work. We want nature. We want meaning. We want our children to be as wild as they could possibly want to be.

It's going to be an adventure that's for sure.

I'll be sharing about our journey, the trials and tribulations and the triumphs on this blog, but I'll also be sharing on the website of our new life - Wyrdwood Acres.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Self-Love and Awareness - My Journey So Far

At the end of November, I was in the midst of a particularly bad body-hate stage. I was bloated, sluggish and unhappy. When I looked in the mirror, I didn't even recognise myself. I wasn't going to allow myself to spiral downwards in this pity-party, I figured I best do something about it, rather than sit on my arse and cry about how big it is.

My relationship with my body image is something I've written about before on my blog. I have noticed that I seem to go through phases with it, journeying from not caring too much and embracing my body for what it is, moving through to complete hate and loathing of my body.

As someone who tries to actively promote self-love and body-positivity, I began to feel like a hypocrite. How can I possibly tell people to be happy with their bodies and love them exactly as they are, if I wasn't doing the same thing myself? What example was I setting for my children? I've always been conscious of not being self-critical of my body in front of Logan and Rori, but I'm sure it's something that as they get older they will begin to notice regardless. In the way I dress or the way I brush off compliments from Rich when I'm out-of-love with myself.

I've never been adverse to exercise, quite to contrary in fact. I've maintained various exercise regimes at different times over the years and lost weight successfully. But they've always been that dreaded thing that I have to make myself do, and I'm pretty glad about when it's over. I don't want to have to do that. To have to force myself to do an activity I dislike because of the fear of putting on weight is too great in comparison to not doing said activity. I don't want to have to make myself do anything I don't like! After Logan was born I stupidly decided to do the Insanity regime at home and ended up badly injuring my knee. I damaged the cartilage and my knee is still not OK now 4 years on. It makes cardio and certain activities difficult for me. 

When I was pregnant with Rori and practicing my Hypnobirthing meditations at home, I also dipped my toe into prenatal yoga. I found it extremely relaxing and a great aid to my hypnobirthing as it puts a lot of focus on your breathing. My hypnobirth was life-changing for me. Realising what my body and mind is capable of and how strong I am was a pretty big revolution. I carried my post-birth high around for a long time after Rori was born and I continued to look after myself well and care for myself. I was so aware of whatever I put into my body being transferred to Rori through my breastmilk that I only ate good, wholesome, plant-based foods. I lost all of my pregnancy weight plus some more within about 4 months. But I didn't really even notice. I wasn't weighing myself and I didn't care. I was in the happy bubble of hormones and endorphins and I felt so good!

As I grow older I feel more and more passionate that I shouldn't have to do anything in life that's not enjoyable. That doesn't make me happy. That isn't good for me mentally and physically. Life is too short to have to do shit we don't want to do! With my 26th birthday looming and after the stressful 6 months we had before we moved over to Spain, I'd fallen back into old habits and stopped caring for myself. I was stressed and worried and put myself last. I'd lost my self-love.

So, when I looked in the mirror in November and didn't recognise my reflection in the mirror I wasn't sad because I'd put on weight again, I was sad because I had stopped taking care of myself. This body is the only one I will get, I can't exchange it. If I want it to serve me well and aid me in all my adventures and journeys, I need to look after it! And to be honest, it had been neglected. It wasn't just my body, I'd fallen out of sync with my mind too. Some people may not have a clue what I'm talking about, but I really believe that being present, and mindful and connected to ourselves is highly important to our daily lives and our quality of life. As someone who is an avid over-thinker and worrier, I can get consumed by the 1000 thoughts that are swirling round my head that I forget to stop and ask myself  'Are you OK?'

I needed to do something that would soothe my mind, take care of my body and connect my mind and body. I needed to heal from the inside out. Remembering how great hypnobirthing and the pretnatal yoga made me feel, I figured I'd give yoga a try. I started with Adriene Mishler's channel on Youtube - Yoga with Adriene and jumped into the 30 Days of Yoga programme. (Adriene's chanel is a great free resource of online yoga videos and programmes.)

Almost instantly I began to feel better. My mind and body began to reconnect and I started to take care of myself again. I found the 30 or so minutes a day of 'me time' was incredibly important to me. I explored my body, my strength, my flexibility and learnt to listen to and acknowledge all of those busy thoughts flying around my head and hit the mute button for a little while.

Since competing the 30 Days of Yoga programme, I've also moved on to and completed the Yoga Revolution 31 day programme also by Adriene. I'm hooked. Seriously. I feel like a new woman. I've discovered that it's not about what the scales say or what size clothes I'm wearing. It's about treating my body with kindness, exploring my mind, taking the time to learn to love myself. Healing my body from the inside out. It's made me realise that I need to look after myself just like I would look after Logan and Rori. I wouldn't dare think of letting them eat rubbish and cry about getting a little soft around the edges, so why the hell would I do that to myself?!

I'm not saying this is a miracle and I've dropped 4 dress sizes without much effort - but it's not about that. I haven't weighed myself so I couldn't tell you if I have lost weight or not, but my body is starting to change. I feel stronger and leaner. I don't feel bloated after I eat and I don't sit and mindlessly eat anymore. I'm aware. Aware that food is medicine and we should treat it as such. Aware that our bodies are vessels that we inhabit to enable us to make these beautiful stories that are our lives. Conscious of the example I am setting for my children.

I feel calmer, more focused. Stronger. Happier. 

Yoga is now something that has become part of my daily life and routine. Lo and Rori are also becoming interested in yoga and love for me to teach them yoga moves. They have started to understand that we need to look after our bodies and our minds and love ourselves. And if that's the one thing that they remember their Mummy taught them when they were little, then I will feel like I have succeeded at this motherhood stuff.


Monday, 13 February 2017

#2017MakeNine - Factory Dress - Merchant & Mills

My fourth make of the #2017MakeNine challenge is complete! I've spoken before about my deep unfaltering love for Merchant and Mills before and the Factory Dress has been on my 'Must Sew' list for literally years. I finally got round to making it a few weeks ago and I was not disappointed!

I decided to use this really lovely brushed twill from Fabworks Online. It's seriously SO SOFT. I figured it would give this dress a warm and wintery feel (and it's so soft it's like wearing a nightie - win win!). The fabric is only £4 a metre, and I used around 2 metres, so this is a bargain dress.

As always, the little design quirks and details found in Merchant & Mills pattern always surprise and impress me. The instructions are so easy to follow that they make sewing up garments using their patterns a breeze, and you always end up with a high-end professional looking item of clothing for your me-made wardrobe.

I wore my Factory Dress for the first time on my birthday and I basically never want to take it off. The sew was so easy and striaghforward that I don't really have much to say on it, other than I love it and I want to make a million more.

Don't forget to keep up with my #2017MakeNine challenge on Pinterest and follow me on Bloglovin' too so you never miss a post!


Friday, 10 February 2017

Goldhawk Road Fabric

A trip to London wouldn't be complete without venturing west to the Goldhawk Road - the mecca of fabric shopping. Each time I visit the Goldhawk Road I fall in love with it a little more. There's always a treasure or two to be found, and you can bet your bottom dollar I'm gonna find it.

I've written about the Goldhawk Road before, so I won't go into too much detail again - all you need to know is that it's a long stretch of road next to Shephards Bush Market with fabric shop next to fabric shop along both sides of the street. The only new bit of exciting news I have about the Goldhawk Road is my new favouite eatery that's located on the market side of the road, down the far end near the pub. Killer Tomato.

Oh. My. Days. Killer Tomato is an unassuming place from the outside, but inside is relaxed and cool, offering up the tastiest Mexican food around. Mid fabric-shopping-frenzy fire can be calmed by the deliciousness of the Pork and Crackling burrito with fries and a zesty imported beer on the side, Ta. It was honestly delicious. And they're super friendly to boot. They even had a space for us to place our million shopping bags full of fabric without it getting in the way. If you are going to the Goldhawk Road anytime soon - this place is a must.

Now, down to business - the fabric. This is my fourth trip to the Goldhawk Road I think, and it's interesting to see how my taste in fabric has evolved. I always used to go for brightly printed cottons and not much else. Now I really think about what I'm going to use a fabric for before I buy it. Maybe that's just my age. With age comes wisdom as they say.

Here's a little round up of what I purchased. I can't remember each shops names (they're all pretty similar!) but my favourite shops are Fabric World and Classic Textiles. Both are very helpful and full of gems.

1. Denim from from Classic Textiles - 3m. Had in mind for a Merchant and Mills Ellis & Hattie
2. Luciously Soft denim from Fabric World - 1.5m. To use for my pleated front/woven hack Hudson pants
3. Black and white brushed stretch cotton from Classic Textiles. I want to use this to make *another* pair of pleated front/woven hudsons like this pair here. The fabric is very similar is weight and stretch to what I used for the original pair.
4.Black and white viscose - 3m. Had in mind the Alix Dress by By Hand London or the Cinema Dress by Leisl & Co
5. Striped Italian Linen from Frabric World- 2m. The most expensive fabric I purchased at £10 a metre, but it is really lovely and has some stretch to it too. The man in the shop told me it was 3% spandex and an import from Italy so was top quality. It's a fine stripe which doesn't show up too well on the picture. I think it would make a gorgeous Union Dress by Merchant and Mills.
6.Blue and White stripe linen from Classic Textiles - 2m. I think this would make a great summer version of the Factory Dress by Merchant and Mills and the stripe would give it a school-dress vibe which I think will look cool!
7.Peach and gold crinkle jersey from Classic Textiles - 1m. I'm going to use this to make a fancy Jane Tee by Seamwork. Something I can dress up a pair of trousers with.

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