Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Brexit sounds like the name of a bad cut and that's just one of countless reasons I'll be RSVP'ing count me in on 23rd June 2016 aka Vote Remain and you should too.

Hi, Ciao, Bonjour, Hola, Hallo, Xaipete

I know it's been time and I promise to catch up properly very soon and actually talk about sewing for a change ;)  However, now I have slightly more pressing matters so bear with.  I've just launched version 3.6 of myself and initial results are proving very positive.  They'll be more positive I hope come Friday 24th June 2016 when we do the right thing and vote to remain in the EU.

I want to stand up and be counted because that's how my Nan raised us. My Nan believed in people and when you get more guests than you expect to dinner you don't shut the door you set another place and count yourself lucky.
Yes that's right our pig bothering bag of detritus that masquerades as our Prime Minister has sent our tiny island into a state of panic by declaring an EU referendum.  This was to appease the sleaze that passes for the tory backbench ooh and just to add to the mire he doesn't want to leave the EU himself.  Can you imagine how it feels having to be on the same side as the devil?  However, it will feel a damn sight worse to wake up Friday alone on our tiny island with the tories.  I can go back to despising him and the rest of his cronies lunch time on Friday but we will not however be able to go back on a decision that will change the face of our lives for generations.  A decision that I feel at its darkest aims to stoke the worst feelings you can experience in life - fear, isolation, jealousy but on the other hand appeals to what makes humans glorious - compassion, hope, love.

I'm voting remain because I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem.

This choice has brought out an ugliness that I believe isn't generally who we are in the UK.  I am proud to be British and proud to be European too.  Right now though people are throwing around accusations, there are threats of violence and a woman lost her life because of it. Jo Cox, a mam of two and the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Yorkshire  was shot and killed on 16th June 2016.  The day before I turned 36 and today (22nd June 2016) she would have been 42. The view is that she was killed for her beliefs all of which, may I add I hold - love, kindness, compassion, hope.  It was only the day before she was photographed on a boat on the Thames flying a flag for the remain campaign against Nigel Farage and the leave flotilla.  Don't worry if that sentence confuses you it does me too and just highlights the madness of what we've been dealing with for the 100 days since they announced the dreadfully named Brexit.

On the side of leave we have this. I fall to the words of Billy Bragg as I have often done, "This image, of a smirking Nigel Farage in front of a poster of dark skinned people, sums up why I decided to vote to remain in the EU: Not every Leave voter is a racist, but every racist will vote Leave.

On the side of remain we have this.  RIP Jo Cox 22nd June 1974 - 16th June 2016. I promise to love like you Jo and  I vote remain in your name.

Aside from my abject horror at all the mania that is being fuelled by politicians, the media and so called experts I have my own personal reasons for wanting to remain.  I believe in people and I believe in hope.  I was an immigrant too you know, which sadly seems to be what this circus is being driven by.  Conveniently, people from the UK that settle elsewhere in the world are titled ex-pats that's just another name for immigrant.  The definition of an immigrant is: A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.  I spent part of my university years in Spain and I received a grant from the EU to help me out.  The only requests were that I had a go at learning the language and I should try and improve European links.  I was out there for nearly a year so the EU basically paid for a year of my higher education, which is frankly 365 more days than the UK government. I'm now semi-fluent in spanish, which will help no end when I journey to Latin America next year.  Oh and I also worked out in Spain as a radio presenter.  I didn't know how long I was going to be there so again I was an immigrant.  

Me clogging up the airwaves when I was a radio presenter and an immigrant in Spain.

During the time I was living in Spain I experienced so much kindness but one specific occasion is something I think about when I'm reminding myself to do the right thing even though it might be the hard thing.  I was cycling from San Sebastian back to Barcelona.  My bike decided to break in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday morning between two mountain ranges.  I sat down to have a cig and a swear and decide what to do next.  Ten minutes later a load of middle aged men on bikes were heading towards me.  Turns out they were on a mountain race despite them being on course to place highly they took themselves out of the race and transported me and my bike using their bikes to the next town and gave me money for lunch and the bus.  They didn't know me from Adam but they knew they had to help me.  The only thing they asked is that when my time came to be kind to strangers I took it.  Now if that's not what the best part of being together is about I don't know what is.

It's not just me that's leading me to remain it's the babies in my life and all the other babies that deserve to benefit from being part of something that has brought peace for the last 40 years.  I look at all my nieces and nephews both my ones by blood and those who's lives I been adopted into. They say once you have children it's like having your heart outside your body.  I want the very best for them and I want all the opportunities I had and more.  Just like anyone who loves their children would.  Those families of refugees that are making these treacherous journeys they do so because they love their babies and they want what's best for them and they should damn well have it.  I don't want division I want cohesion.  I want to stand up and be counted I feel that is part of being British.  I'm proud of my country and I realise how lucky I am to be born here because that's exactly what it is luck of the draw.  Anyone of the babies I know and love could have come into this world in the middle of some god awful war somewhere and I sure as hell know I would do anything to provide them safety and love.  We have a choice in that.

I choose to remain because I want everyone to feel loved and safe.

I could write and write about this topic because it is so important and I feel so passionately about it. However, I know we are all busy people so instead I urge you if you haven't made up your mind yet, I will say if you like what I go on about and I know I do gone on then you should vote remain.  All the stuff I put out the interwebs and through the media is powered by hope, love, compassion and kindness, that's what makes me so happy it's no big secret recipe.  So if you want in on that you know what to do tomorrow.

And finally, although this is a very serious topic I don't see any reason to not get my point across in a light-hearted way. If you follow me on my other social media channels you'll know I've started to record some vlogs aka Bev cams.  It's basically tales from my beloved bike, Bev.  Tonight is a remain in the EU special hosted by one of my icons ;) Enjoy!

All the love and hope in my heart.



Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Self-covered satin buttons are a swine aka the sexy funeral dress

Hey pop pickers,

How are we all?  Personally, I'm desperate for little lady spring to prance in and spread her skirts so we can get past this interminable half-arsed attempt at winter.  Until it gets brighter outside I think I'm fully entitled to indulge my latest (sort of) make - the sexy funeral dress.

Bear with as I know that's a weird concept but I thought I wanted to channel/pay homage to the women that turn up in film noirs at the funeral looking all foxy and glamourous and know one knows who they are. Who is she?!  Let me back track a little though to the original incarnation of this dress that has turned up on social media but not on the blog - the homage to Drew Barrymore in the Wedding Singer dress.

Me and the mother ship rocking it out at my bro's wedding.
The keen eyed among you will identify that this pattern is the hallowed M6696 shirt dress, which has been made by just about everyone.  The ever fabulous Sew Dixie Lou brought it to my attention when she made one to see our love, Elvis.

I mean just look at her what a babe. I'm still shocked it did bring him back from the dead.
She and everyone on the interwebs has made versions of this pattern and there's a reason for it because it's ruddy awesome!  For me the things I love are the separate waistband that really gives the dress such great shape and allows for lots of alteration and the proper collar with a stand just feels so swishy (I know what I mean).  I hasten to add it's not a quick make but it's a satisfying one though.  That said by the time  I tackled the sexy funeral dress I'd nail a lot of the techniques.  On the subject of technique I can't recommend lovely Mary's series of post on this dress with lots of pattern alteration advice.  Thanks to her I totally nailed the FBA (even if I do say so myself) and the bodice really does fit like a glove.

Look at those beautiful of siblings of mine. Mama D surrounded by those excellent genes of hers.

So that was my first bite of the M6696 cherry and I warn you that you will never just make one of these dresses because once you get the fit right you can completely change up the look.  Therefore, when I decided I wasn't going to get round to make an opera coat I used the 2.5 metres of black duchess satin to make the sexy funeral dress.  

I don't care that I look like a shiny waitress I ruddy love this dress.
I cannot recommend duchess satin enough it's a dream to sew with and is ruddy beautiful against your skin.

My only complaint was that making 11 self covered buttons in satin was really bloody hard!  As ever though I reached out to the sewcialists and they reached back with the best advice.  I will pass the knowledge on to you.  If you find yourself having to make satin self covered buttons then interface the satin and hand stitch the gathering stitch to draw up material over the button.  Once I did this they came together like a dream.

As an aside during the course of this make I was informed by my friend, Harley that dressing sexy for a funeral isn't such a weird proposition and in fact there is a song called Dress Sexy at my Funeral by Smog and it's really good.

Have a listen it's a belter.

So that's the latest from me darlings.  I'm working on a blouse that I will get finished by Monday after it's languished for weeks.  I'm hoping with Spring will come the return of sew jo, which has wained a little of late but until then I'm gonna continue to be the mysterious woman at the back in black ;)

Stay foxy,

Miss D


Monday, 25 January 2016

I've learned it's much more fun to steer my ship through stormy waters than it is to drift along keeping the shoreline in sight aka Facebook let me know it was 5 years today since I started sewing.

Hey darlings,

Thank you so much for all the kind wishes about my upcoming voyage of discovery.  I can't wait to be your woman in dispatches.

How are we? I imagine quite a few of you like me are making wild concoctions from our store cupboards as we crawl towards the first pay day since Christmas whilst planning to be more organised with our finances this year. Perhaps your dreaming of summer and planning all the outfits you want to make when the sun finally shines.  Or maybe your thinking about what the year ahead holds for you.  All of that and a million other thoughts have flown through my head today.  However, you don't need to know about my mental detritus I'm sure you have more than enough of your own to be getting on with so I'll get to the guts of this post, change.

I've learned it's much more fun to steer my ship through stormy waters than it is to drift along keeping the shoreline in sight.

When I logged into Facebook as I do automatically most mornings being the slave to social media that I am the "on this day" thingy flashed up with a series of stuff that happened on this day.  I scrolled through it and found out that today was quite an auspicious anniversary for me. On this day, 5 years ago I took myself to sewing school.  I'd had a rough year in 2010 with a career change and a nervous breakdown but I'd just got into crochet and various sources suggested I give dressmaking a go.  Clearly, a seed was sewn (pardon the pun) because I ended up late one night googling sewing and discovering both Zoe and Tilly.  I was intrigued and needed to know more.  So I did another search and found the Jac and Kat's sewing school and decided to bite the bullet and book a six week beginner's class.  I ended up with an awesome teacher called Ricky who helped me make my first ever garment.  We were meant to make a skirt but I had a heart set on a leopard print dress so that's what I did.  I was addicted - my life plan to live out my days in leopard print was mine for the taking.

My first ever handmade dress please don't look too closely :) The pattern is McCalls M2401

Well I can say that 5 years on that one decision to have a go has changed my life irrevocably and positively in ways I never dreamed possible.  Sewing indeed makes me more me than I ever knew possible.  I can't imagine where I'd be now if I hadn't taken that first step.  So basically I'd say to anyone just do it whatever it is.

What have you done in your life that brought about change?  Or what you would like to do this year to see it happen?   I wish you absolute best with it and I for one know you can even if you think you can't.

Lots of love and light,

Miss D