Monthly Archives: June 2014

An invite to join the White Tree Fabrics blogging team

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Get 20% off and free delivery at White Tree fabrics with coupon code: BARMYBEETROOT

Today I’ve been pondering over the benefits of blogging. There are the obvious things like having an online portfolio and record of your work, a creative space to indulge your passions and be yourself, and a platform to launch any business ideas or potentially raise a few pennies selling via etsy/folksy, but what I didn’t consider when starting my blog was the sheer enjoyment being part of an online community would bring me. So far many new people have come in to my life, mostly other inspiring and helpful sewing bloggers who I’ve met in person after talking on twitter, including one who lives 5 minutes away from my house, many from Leeds and a few from further afield. I’ve had invitations to special openings and shows and now I’ve been asked to join the White Tree Fabrics Blogging Team. I’m over the moon!

The White Tree Fabrics blogging team is a collection of amazingingly creative and talented women (no fella’s to date, sorry!) who will be sewing up a storm using fabric sent to them from the great selection at White Tree Fabrics. I feel so honoured and humbled to have been included in this bunch. It’s just another golden opportunity that has come my way since I started barmybeetroot, and it’s starting to feel like the best decision I made in 2014. My life definitely feels richer. So enough of the mushy stuff, let me tell you a little bit about White Tree…

White Tree Fabrics

White Tree Fabrics opened in 1946, and until now have been operating a wholesale operation supplying quality fabrics to the trade. Gaining a web presence opened them up to individual shoppers who were interested in buying in smaller quantities. White Tree felt like this was a good business direction for them to focus on and over the past year have been developing their retail offering to the public. Originating as a wholesalers, they already have a large product catalogue, but it’s still a bit of a work in progress as the company gets used to what we want to buy.

Their product range

White Tree are different in that they offer a lot of speciality fabrics, so instead of a large choice of cotton you’ll find satin, lace, jersey, organza, taffetta, swimwear fabric, net and more. The lace offering is staggering, lots to swoon over and different fabrics to work with and tempt you to try something different. If you are looking to make special occasion garment for a wedding, prom or party then White Tree offers lots to get you inspired.

Over 500 sewing patterns

White Tree offer over 500 Vogue patterns, but are also able to get Butterick, McCalls and Kwik-Sew, which will shortly be added to the site. Now I’ve not sewn vogue patterns before, many I couldn’t see myself actually wearing, but here are a few that I would really like to have a go at:

 

V8577

This was almost my first White Tree make. I’ve been lusting over shirt style dresses for awhile and this one is really sassy.
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Vogue V1344

This model looks so confused poor love. Perhaps someone has just explained footballs offside rule to her. I empathise. I think this would make a great summer dress. I love the sleeve detail and elasticated waist.

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Vogue V1288

I have no idea if this style would suit my apple shape, but I think it’s a great pattern to utilise a lot of White Trees fantastic lace. I love the shape of the neckline and I’d definitely be tempted to give this a go.

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Vogue V1236

What a stunner. I can see myself wearing this all the time. Beautiful shape to the neckline and I bet it is really flattering on. I don’t get to out as much as I like now I’m a mum, but I could get lots of wear out of this at work, winner!

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Fabric

Lace

There is so much to pick from including vintage, guipure, crochet, bridal, metallic, printed, embroidered. Just looking through the categories is like a lesson in lace. This one pictured is guipure tassled lace.
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Satin

The satin is all reasonably priced and comes in a rainbow spectrum. I’m rather taken with this jade colour. It would be perfect for some funky pj’s.
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Jersey

Glitter jersey, plain jersey, spandex jersey, mesh jersey, spandex jersey, warm jersey and foiled jersey! For a jersey novice I feel a little overwhelmed in this world of jersey but I’m sure it will have some of you squealing. I’m intrigued by the metallic jersey, would be good for a festive outfit.
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Haberdashery

A nice selection of ribbons, sequines, fasteners and tools. I love the pretty range of Tilda ribbons.
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Ask and you shall receive

White Tree are also really keen to hear from you and find out what fabric you would like them to stock. They are happy to source something for you specially and they are able to get many things not listed on their website, so just ask. I’d personally love to see more cottons/cotton blends, but as it’s still early days yet I’m hoping we will see a lot of new additions over the coming months.

Offers and Discounts

White Tree has some unique ways of offering discounts including

  • Review a product and receive a 15% discount code
  • Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter or Pinterest and receive a 15% discount code
  • Sign up for their newsletter to receive a 10% discount code

There is also free delivery on orders £20 and over, which is a lot less then some other online retailers, so lots of ways to save which appeals to my thrifty-ness.

White Tree have also kindly offered any of my readers 20% off and free delivery, with coupon code: BARMYBEETROOT so a barganous opportuniuty there.

A Sneak Preview of my first project

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I’ve picked some Guipure lace which I chose entirely on it’s stunning beauty. This won out over all of the odds. I’ve never sewn with lace before, and I’ve certainly not used Guipure, so I’m going to need to do lots of preparation and research to make sure I show this stunning fabric off to it’s potential. I think reading Ami Lowden’s blog The Little Tailoress has had a subconscious effect on my sewing psyche. Now there is a lady who knows how to wear lace! Amy recently used some lace from White Tree to make this stunning day dress, and she is talking of releasing the patten soon. I hope she does!
I’ve chosen to couple this some Tilda Jane Blue Grey Cotton, which totally exceeded my expectations. You can’t move for floral prints in the fabric world, and some just seem to be carbon copies of others. I wasn’t sure how i’d feel about the fabric as I chose it from looking a low-res thumbnail but when it arrived I was relieved. It’s dainty, classy, doesn’t whiff of Cath Kidston and is going to be a perfect match for the guipure. So what am I making? I’m not saying yet! ha ha ha, but I will tell you it’s my own pattern which only exists in my head at the moment, and it’s going to challenge me sewing wise, so I hope I can pull it off. It’s going to take me awhile whilst I work on this, but I’m on it. It is not a cushion.

Other White Tree Bloggers

Amy Thomas from AlmondRock
Emma Berry from Frugally Peachy
Skye Pennant from Even Artichokes have Hearts
Katie Marcus from What Katie Sews
Louise Hobson from Sew Sensational
Laura Neal from Chambray and Curls
Lucie Hubbard from Love, Lucie
Jess Acton from Jessthetics
Louise Tweedy from Thread Carefully
Sam Molloy from Stitched Up By Samantha
Erin Currie from Seamstress Erin
Lu, Laura, Bridie, Jo from Sew It Yourself Challenge
Amanda Gledhill from Sew Deputy

Go add all of those lovelies to your bloglovin and keep up do date with our White Tree makes by following the White Tree Bloggers pinterest board.

Thanks again to everyone at White Tree for offering me this great opportunity. There will be more news on my make shorty, and i’ll be working on it between every moment of train track building, paddling pool splashing and 3rd Birthday party planning I get in July.

Adios, Amy x

Leeds College of Art 2014 Knock Knock End of Year Show – Surface Pattern Design

I decided to venture out for a short walk after a day at work, the sun was shining and it was a perfect evening to stroll down to Leeds College of Art for the 2014 Knock Knock, final year show. From my house the college is a couple of miles, a lovely walk through a forest, and then a little way more down Otley Road, a busy street lined with takeaways, cafes and buzzing with student energy. (It was 5pm so they were all out of bed)

I was particularly interested in seeing the Fashion, Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design and Fine Art, but with my 3 year old in tow I knew I wouldn’t get to see as much as I wanted. The first room we stumbled across was the Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design and as soon as we walked in I was completely mind blown by the quality and sheer vibrancy of the exhibition pieces on display. The colours jumped of the walls and screamed to be turned in to something wearable. I felt tingles and excitement glancing over the designs, looking where to concentrate my attention first. All I could see were visions of the many, many dresses I would make if I had this glorious fabric at my disposal. There was wallpaper on display too, just to add, but I was sure they would all work as fabric designs too.

As we walked around I entertained Evan by asking him to collect the student’s business cards for me. Ok perhaps not quite as fun as Fifa 2014 panini stickers, but he collected 18 for me so didn’t do to bad. No photography was allowed in the exhibition, so all of the following images are taken from the artists blogs (copyright individual artists). So without further waffle, I think it’s best I let the images do the talking, and I encourage you to find out more about each designer from the links included. I present to you my choice picks from the show, do let me know what you think!

Constance Robin

www.cargocollective.com/constancerobin
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Amira Nahar

http://cargocollective.com/amiranahar
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Laura Fernandez

http://laura-fernandez.wix.com/lf001
LaureFernandez

Evehearsum

http://evehearsum.wordpress.com/
Evehearsum

Evehearsum2

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Natalie Lea Owen

www.natalieleaown.co.uk
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Natalie Powell

http://cargocollective.com/nataliepowell
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Ellie White

http://cargocollective.com/elliewhite
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Sophie Brabbins

http://www.sophiebrabbins.com/
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Aren’t they all wonderful – what talented ladies! I want to say congratulations to all the students for putting on such an amazing exhibition and finishing their degrees. I’ve only featured a small number here, and there is much more to look at if you visit the show in person, which I would highly recommend you do.

I’m off to make some new arty friends and to explore the possibilities of sourcing some independently designed fabric :) Do let me or the artists know if you were inspired by this post.

Knock Knock is held at Leeds College of Art, Blenheim Walk and Vernon Street buildings and runs from June 14th – 19th June 2014

Bye for now,
Amy xx

Measure Twice, Cut Once Knickers and a present for Nana

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It’s June, It’s June, arghhhhhh it’s June!!!!

The daffodils are gone, the bluebells have perished, and I’m pretty sure I’ve still got Christmas decorations I haven’t put away yet. Have I really been tripping over those boxes each time I get out of bed for 6 whole months?? I really need to get that loft ladder installed, think of all the extra fabric storage… Ho hum, ho hum … (plots away and decides a fabric stash is far to precious to be banished to the dark dizzy heights of the loft)

So this week, I’ve no idea how I’ve managed to be so productive as I’ve had such a jam packed busy few days. I’ve been out for two meals – one of them to the amazing family run Indian vegetarian restaurant Prashad. If you ever visit Leeds you must go, definitely order a cocktail (I had a coriander martini) and remember to invite me along! I also attended Veg Out, A vegetarian and vegan food festival held at Wharf Chambers, Leeds’ only co-operative vegetarian café and bar. I ate some amazing vegan cake and Evan danced around to the bands clutching a focaccia as big as his head. The following day my Mum came to stay for a couple of days and I took her on a sightseeing trip of my favourite places.  Yes Leeds market, with a visit to B&M Fabrics, and a cool antique junk shop called Swiss Cottage where I picked up some dusty Victorian tiles. We finished with a visit to Meanwood Urban Farm to see the animals. It’s so urban the sheep walk with a swagger whilst spray painting red dots on each other’s fleeces. It must be some kind of gang marking. I don’t know but I’m not going to ask any questions…

So with all this excitement I’ve only found time to sew for an hour here and an hour there, and fit it in when I can, so today I present to you two mini projects, a cute tote bag for my Nana’s 75th birthday, and some knickers made for Measure Twice, Cut Once‘s #EveryoneDeservesPrettyKnickers week.

Everyone Deserves Pretty Knickers

It was Made By Lulabelle’s frilly knickers pattern that started me on a knickers sewing frenzy, and the delight and let me tell you ladies, sheer comfort I experienced from my own handmade knickers left my lingering for more. I came across Everyone Deserves Pretty Knickers, a campaign started by Australian independent pattern designer Susan, of Measure Twice, Cut Once. Susan wanted to encourage other home sewers to drop their dresses and pick up some pantys, (ok not literally but it sounds good) and to try making something that many sewers say they find fiddly or think is too hard. Great idea! There are 6 styles of undergarment patterns available in the Measure Twice, Cut Once store, and I picked out the Georgiana and Jane knickers to have a go at. I really loved the Lulabelle pattern and I wanted to extend my knowledge before perhaps designing my own knickers pattern, which of course would have to be called the Amy!

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To make my knickers I used some leftover cotton poplin from my Flora Dress. I love this fabric and want to use every last scrap of it. It is so soft and will make for some luxury knickers.

Ok, so here is the part where I admit to being a doofus, Measure Twice, Cut Once, got it? Not measure once, realise the scaling is off but sew it up anyway like a maverick! I printed my Georgiana knickers pattern, measured the test square for accuracy and realised it was a little bit smaller than it should be. There must have been some sneaky scaling goblins getting to my printer settings. It’s was only 0.5cm out or something minimal, so I decided to wing it (rather than wait until I was next at work to use the printer, my impatience is constantly getting the better of me) and if the knickers were too small I could give them away to a friend.

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For this reason I found them quite a tricky make, and I struggled to find enough fabric at the hips where the pattern is quite narrow. The method of attaching the elastic requires you to sew the elastic to the edge and then fold over twice and sew again so that the elastic is enclosed in the fabric edge, and I just didn’t have quite enough fabric to work with, and hence my sewing suffered for it. The photo above shows this quite well, and you can just about make out the elastic peeping through on the right hand side where I didn’t have enough fabric to fold over. The stitching got really messy as well, probably down to lack of space and frustration.

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I preferred attaching the knicker elastic using method in Lulabelles pattern, using the picot edge and then folding over and sewing again. (See my make of those knickers here) It made for a less bulky seam and looked pretty with the decorative edge peaking out. The photo above on the inner gusset does look neat and tidy, but this area in particular was difficult to work, sewing through jersey, elastic, and 3 folds of the cotton. I broke my needle on this part and realised I needed to slow down and take my time.
Once I’ve made enough knickers I should write a post about the different ways of attaching knicker elastic, I’m sure they all have their merits and times when one method would be better than another. I think I would find this useful, especially when starting out to make knickers, what do you think?

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I told myself this was my practise pair, and the next pair would be perfect. I persevered and I’m glad I did, as I still have a wearable pair of pants, in a fabric I love, with an adorable blue ribbon attached, and this means I can rid of a much grottier pair. There is something satisfying about getting rid of your old knickers and replacing them with a new pair. So all in all not a total loss, they turned out better than I thought, and I’m all geared up and ready to sew my next pair, plus I still have the Jane knickers to try out to!

What I am loving about making knickers:

  • They are super comfy and you can get the elastic exactly how you like it
  • You can sew them up really quickly, so they are a great project to fit in to a busy week and a satisfying make
  • They make thoughtful presents, and your friend may even text you a photo of their bottom in gratitude like mine did! Thanks Alex!
  • They are a great stash buster, and often you’ll have unused or leftover fabric about that you can make them with
  • You can make pairs that match your homemade dresses, now how awesome is that! It’s intergalactic outta space awesome, that’s how awesome it is

A butterfly tote bag for Nana

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I needed a quick make for my Nana’s birthday, who is 75 this year! Happy Birthday Nana! My Nana is so sweet and the most lovely Nana anyone could wish for. She loves her grandchildren immensely, and is now a great Nana! It’s lovely to hear her sing to Evan how she sung to me. To celebrate we are having a family gathering in a few weeks time, so I will present her with this present then and I must try and remember to get a photo of her with the bag.

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Here is my Nana with my Grandad standing in their garden. I think it was taken in the early 60′s. Check out that dress! Doesn’t she look lovely :)

The two tone fabric tote pattern is one that caught my eye on pinterest from the Make It & Love It blog. The tutorial was really clear and simple to follow, plus the bag is made up of a few rectangle pieces only, so quick to cut out the pattern pieces and get straight to the sewing fun! I chose some gorgeous butterfly canvas cotton from Leeds Market and matched it with some blue linen like fabric I had found in a charity shop a few weeks earlier. I got 3 meters or so for £3, and only used a meter of it. I also purchased some matching blue satin ribbon, and some thread, and all in the bag cost me under £6 to make.

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The one part I had trouble with was attaching the ribbon to the bag. It looked fine on the butterfly canvas side, but the blue material looked a bit puckered and I struggled to get a neat flat finish. I unpicked my stitching, and moved down a needle size to a 70. A smaller needle is said to snag the fabric less, which would limit the puckering. I also adjusted then tension. It came out better the second time, bit there is still some puckering and I’m not totally happy. You can see this by looking at the top edge of the blue ribbon in the fabric below.

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For an embellishment I added a flower to the ribbon (tutorial here) and sewed around one of the butterflies from the fabric using a zig-zag stitch, cut around it carefully and added it to the flower.

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I’m pleased with how it turned out. It’s nice and roomy, and feels strong. I made sure there was lots of stitching around the handles so that it can cope with heavy shopping. The only thing I wanted to do but forgot to add was the addition of an inside pocket. I hope my Nana likes it, looking at it now I’m thinking it is quite bold and colourful, and something more demure may be more her style, but sometimes the best gifts are ones you wouldn’t necessarily pick for yourself, and you find something that suits you outside of your normal fashion comfort zone. It could go one of two ways I suppose, I hope she loves it! I sure do!