Monday, May 25, 2015

Introducing Our Newest Family Member...

Oscar, 6 days old...

Mr Oscar James Edward was born 11 days early on Tuesday 19th May at 5.13pm weighing 3.59kg.

We've spent the past week rugged up at home (today it snowed!) getting to know each other and settling in. Everybody is happy, healthy and well and I'll be back with my last Me Made Maternity outfit soon... In the mean time, you can find me over on Instagram.

Stay warm!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Me Made Maternity - Week 37: Winning

On Sunday when we took these, it was so windy that I spent half the time trying not to eat my hair and the other half of the time trying not to flash the camera!

I am now officially considered 'full term' albeit early full term, which means the little dude could come at any time now and should be fine navigating the big wide world on his own (well, in terms of being able to breathe with no help etc. I am well aware that we can't just leave him to fend for himself while we go out for a pizza or something, hehe).

We also finish our antenatal classes this week and I have to say, I'm relieved. They don't finish until really late and by the time we get home it's around 9.45pm and I'm always surprised that I've not turned into a grumpy pregnant pumpkin on the way back (though David might disagree, but he'd never say anything... wink).

As always, the heartburn continues, the kicks to my right ribs get stronger and when he moves, those little stabby pains in my bladder are a regular occurrence. When I told my midwife about those stabby pains, her response was an excited 'GREAT!!" to which I replied "NO!! They hurt!!".

Only in pregnancy are stabby-bladder-pains a good thing (unless you've got an infection, in which case, get it treated ladies!!) because it means the baby is moving on down. And as he moves on down, and the birth gets closer, I'm starting to think more about it and therefore, getting a touch more anxious. I think it's more fear of the unknown and not knowing when exactly that unknown thing will start or how long it'll last for, more than anything else. I know many people say you don't tend to remember the actual birth itself, but still...

My midwife has also let me know that there is officially no where else for him to grow now except outwards, so I'm watching and waiting to see how this all progresses, and how much shorter at the front my dresses will get. The high-lo hem is still on trend, no?

Speaking of dresses, I'm still wearing these Vogue ones. Sorry if it's at all boring, but comfort wins over anything else these days. If I'm not in pj's or occasionally in a RTW stretchy knit dress, I'm wearing one of these. I'm so happy that I can still wear things I made that make me feel slightly normal and like myself.

Speaking of Me Made, it's Me Made May (as if you didn't already know!!). I struggled with whether I'd participate this year and came to the conclusion that I didn't really have the time nor the energy nor the me-made wardrobe I've had access too in the past to take part. All you'd be seeing are these dresses, my Miette Cardigan and some me-made pj's and maternity Bronte Tops everyday (tutorial coming!).

But, I am currently sponsoring a prize for MMM'15 this week! Make sure you head over to Zoe's blog to enter to win your choice of one of my patterns and hopefully next year, I'll be back with a Me-Made-May bang!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Me Made Maternity: Week 36 - Tired and All That Jazz...

Wearing - Vogue 8728 & vintage cardigan

Wow, week 36 already huh?

I'm not going to lie, I'm not entirely sure I'll be looking like the Duchess just hours after I give birth. But then again, I'm not planning on inviting my hairdresser to the Maternity Ward afterwards either, so, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Speaking of hair dressers though, I'm in pretty desperate need of a wee chop this week me thinks...

Thank you so much to everyone who chimed in with maternity bra advice in my last post! It seems you all have pretty much the same advice, which is to buy some soft maternity sleeping bras and then just wait and see. So, I have my marching orders - soft sleeping bras, here I come.

In other news, I feel like all I do is complain lately, but I am so-tired all-of-the-time. And I know it's not going to get any better, but hey, just like grunting like an old man helps, so does complaining, hehe. And it's really not all bad, promise.

If you're Felicity Sewing Along, er, you may have noticed a slight lapse in posts (see above paragraph). Apologies for that, I'm in the process of getting everything photographed, written up and scheduled so that I then don't have to think or stress about it too much any more. I anticipate being back on schedule early next week. I'm slowly ticking things off my long 'To Do' list. Slowly but surely.

Anyway, I'm rambling - I have absolutely no written cohesiveness today, and I honestly don't really mind.

Talk soon,


Monday, April 27, 2015

Me Made Maternity: Week 35 - Hello? Is it Me You're Looking For?

Wow, it's been a while since I've done one of these, and as you can see, the bump has most definitely grown in the past five weeks. He's very active, wriggly and is not a huge fan of my ribs (I, personally, am rather attached to them. Ha ha, geddit? I haven't lost my (bad) sense of humour just yet...).

My slippers are knitted, but not by me AND I'm hanging out on our new deck to take these!!

I haven't meant to leave it this long between bump shots, but we've been so busy around here that we tend to forget about them until it's too dark to take any photos. 

To be fair, you haven't been missing any new 'Me Made' clothing action, considering I'm still wearing essentially the same things I have been for the past few weeks. These dresses have been on pretty much constant rotation - I'm way too tired and round now to care if I'm wearing the same thing day in and day out. If it fits and is comfortable, I'll wear it.

Other 'baby' related things over the past 5 weeks that I meant to talk about:

1) Maternity bra shopping - my head is about to explode on this one. How am I supposed to know what sizes to buy when I have no idea how big they're going to get? Any tips? Bras are expensive and I don't want to end up with a draw full that never see the light of day.

2) We've been attending regular antenatal classes, and no, you don't sit around in a circle and learn to breathe (they assume you know how to do that, considering you've been doing it quite successfully for a few years now). David and I were both kind of disappointed...

3) As I learnt on Saturday, don't scoff your cereal in the morning, because when your stomach has limited space and is squashed somewhere where your lungs should be, and there is a small foot using it as a kick boxing bag, your cereal will want to make a reappearance if it's gone down too quickly. Slow and steady wins the 'food staying in your stomach' race.

4) Heart burn, please-go-away, I'm trying to sleep.

There are still quite a few things David and I need to do before the Bebe arrives, mostly house related things (but also lots of loose ends for my business so that it keeps running at least semi-smoothly while I take some time out), but I'm trying to give myself a bit of a break from this (long) self-imposed list.

Do you remember me talking about the not-so-great March stuff bubbling on into April? Well, as it turns out, it's decided to stay for the whole month (well, pretty much, considering it's May this week!!). It's not the same annoying stuff, it's more of it in different forms, that seem to be compounding and growing and just being, well, poo-ey. I do tend to err on the half-full side of the glass, but, I am ready for a little break...

Luckily, David is home for most of the week, so we're going to tackle as much as possible and then, we'll just take it as it comes. And eat cookies. Mmmmmm...cookies. And admire the autumn leaves before it gets really cold. Though, we've already had a small amount of snow, so, I guess that doesn't bode well for a mild winter...

How are you lot?


*I can't believe I wrote 'poo-ey' on my blog. I suppose you might need to get used to it, considering I've heard babies have a lot of it!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Felicity Dress Sew Along - Grading at the Hips with Yoke Pockets

The hips on both versions of the Felicity Dress are free, but sometimes, you might want to grade up (or down) for whatever reason. This is generally a pretty straight forward process, but when it comes to yoke pockets, they require a few extra steps.

The Felicity dress comes with all-in-one yoke pockets, which means you don't have two separate pieces. Instead, you fold them in half to get the full pocket. You can see on the diagram below that once folded in half, the pocket fits exactly into the skirt pattern piece.

Yoke pockets (and actually, pockets in general) are usually designed to fit exactly into each graded size without the pocket size itself changing as above (though the top of the pocket shape changes slightly per size for View 1 of the Felicity Dress, since the waist curve changes as it grades up). This means while it's still simple to grade the hip on the skirt as usual (by following the grade out to the next size), you'll also need to alter the pocket pattern to fit the new grade (and since it doesn't have any individual grade lines on it to follow, this is what makes it a tad more time consuming).

In this example, we're going to be grading from a size 12 at the waist (red pattern piece) to a size 14 at the hips (green pattern piece).

1. Lining up notches, tape the 'back' of your yoke pocket piece into the size you want to keep consistent at the waist, in this case, it's the size 12. This means we now have a complete base to work off when grading at the hip (since the 'back' of the pocket makes up a section of the total waist line).

2. Place some paper under your pattern at the hip and starting from the end of the waist line (or the end of the pocket) grade out to the next size at the hip as you normally would, as indicated by the black arrow on the diagram.

Continue down until you reach the bottom of the pocket along the side seam (indicated by the red arrow). Fill that extra bit in with spare paper, and you have now graded the 'back' section of your yoke pocket piece.

3. Now you need to grade the 'front' of your pocket piece to fit the back and new side seam. The first thing you'll need to decide is which pocket curve you want to follow. I'd personally follow your original pattern piece (the size 12) since it means you won't end up needing to change the pocket curve to meet down the bottom at the new size.

Mark where your pocket curve ends on the adjusted pocket piece (indicated on the diagram with a black arrow).

4. Remove your pocket pattern piece and fold it in half along the dashed line included on the pattern.

Now we can see how much we need to add to the 'front' section to make it match the back. Fill in that section with some spare paper (marked in orange).

5. Now you can grade the actual skirt pattern pieces at the hip to match with the pocket. Tape some spare paper underneath the front skirt piece, then tape in the 'back' side of your new pocket piece into the front of your skirt piece (as in step 1), trace along the new pocket line. The last step is then to true up your back skirt piece to match.

And there you have it, graded hips with yoke pockets!!

Next week we are finally doing some sewing! So if you're following along in real time, make sure you wash your fashion fabric this weekend :) If you still haven't bought your fabric, you can read all about selecting appropriate fabrics for Felicity here.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Felicity Dress Sew Along - How to Remove Yoke Pockets

Removing yoke pockets is a really easy flat pattern adjustment to make to the Felicity Dress and you can also use this tutorial to remove yoke pockets on various other patterns...

1. Tape the pocket pattern piece into your front skirt pattern piece, matching notches along the waist line.

Note - for Felicity, since the yoke pockets are all-in-one, you'll be taping what is essentially the 'back' pocket section into your skirt to make up the total waist length.

2. Place some paper underneath your pattern and trace around the outside of the yoke pocket - indicated in the diagram below with red arrows.

3. Remove your yoke pocket pattern to reveal your newly traced waist line.

4. Cut out around the traced pocket pattern and Ta Da! A skirt piece without yoke pockets!



Friday, April 10, 2015

JLV Patterns Update - March

Goodness, I can't believe it's time again for another one of these - a tad over due even... I've actually been feeling a bit burnt out lately, and while it was unintended and unannounced, taking most of this week away from blogging has been a really good thing for me. I hope everyone had a great Easter, however you celebrate.

March was a funny ol' month. A great high and a few lows that when combined, did put a bit of a dampener on the whole thing. It's trickled on into April as well, but I've pulled my big girl pants up and have (hopefully!) graciously accepted the good with the bad - I can't control everything, and sometimes these things are for the best. After all, it can't (and most certainly isn't!) good all of the time for anyone, no matter how perfect their lives look on the outside. I'm only human, and without the not-so-great, how can you appreciate the actual great?

So, focussing on the positives then, let's move onto what I wanted to achieve in March shall we?

Business-wise -
  • The Bronte Top re-release with extra sizes is now live! BUT...

    I had been in discussions with Etsy about whether people who had bought the older file would be able to access the new one - I had hoped it would be like Ravelry, where all versions of a pattern you had bought were automatically available to you. As it turns out, this is not the case and there's no easy solution.

    I investigated downloading sales spreadsheets, at Etsy's recommendation, to find the individual sales from those, but as it turns out, they are completely useless since none of them come with email addresses. And trying to send out an updated digital file to people with no access to their email addresses is a little, well, ironic.

    SO, if you bought the Bronte Top Pattern before I updated it with the two extra sizes and would like the newer version, please forward me your Paypal Receipt or Etsy Direct Checkout receipt to - I will collate them and once a week send a bulk email to all those who requested the latest version.

    Thank you for your patience with me on this one. It's potentially going to be a huge task and this is the best way I can see doing it for the mean time. Etsy has taken my suggestions on board though and have sent them on to their development team. Let's hope something comes out of it!

  • The Felicity Dress Sew Along - we're in full swing. The post for this week will go up on Wednesday next week, and the Wednesday one on Friday, so I don't fall behind. I've been adding things and changing the order of some posts as I go and there has been some really great discussion going on. I love it! I love sharing my thoughts, ideas and processes with you all and I really love hearing about yours and whether you agree or disagree with me on various aspects.

    I don't think people need to or should agree with each other all the time, with sewing techniques or anything else for that matter (cause that'd be boring!), but I think listening to others view points, while it may not change our own (nor should it), opens us up to new ideas and ways of looking at things that we may not have thought of.

  • The Great Sewing Room Tidy - I've actually stalled a bit on this now. It's pretty much looking exactly as it did when I talked about it last time. It hasn't regressed, thankfully, but there's still some things that need sorting. Then I'll take you on a tour :)

  • Re-branding - this has slowed quite a bit unfortunately. Though, I've pretty much designed my new logo and can now get to work gearing up for re-designing the Bronte Top pattern for print, which was the catalyst behind the whole re-branding thing anyway. The website may take a bit of time to catch up, but we'll get there.

  • And possibly the most boring of last month's tasks, taxes. I spent a good week sorting everything out and we're nearly at the end of the road on that one. No more detail necessary - my brain can't handle it. I vow to keep much better records this year, all in one place. I'm sure with a new born, it'll be a breeze...

And this month, what's happening this month?

  • Well, the focus will still be on the re-branding and new layout of the Bronte Pattern for paper. I'm not sure if I'll have the paper pattern before I take some maternity leave around the end of May, but I tend to be on the optimistic side of the glass, so you never know.

  • The Felicity Dress Sew Along will continue - as always, if there is something you'd specifically like to know about, please let me know.

  • A new pattern (sort of). This really isn't going to be ready until the end of the year realistically. Some of you may remember when I announced I was pregnant, that I was planning to release a maternity pattern in March/April? Yeah, waaay too optimistic on that one.

    I have the idea and have started drafting the pattern and stitching samples, but there is no way I'm going to have it ready any time soon. I could rush the pattern and release it, but it'd probably be crap. I like to take my time with these things, it's not a race and I don't want to release a pattern just for the sake of it.

    The pattern itself has also morphed from a maternity pattern into a standard pattern that is breastfeeding friendly and can be easily adapted to accommodate a growing bump (why yes, it is another knit!). As much as I'd like to release a maternity-specific pattern, I've realised that making a pattern that is so specific to one thing really isn't what I'm into. I hate the thought that you could only use the pattern for one event, and a relatively short one at that, so making it more versatile and open for everyone to use, just makes more sense to me.

    Again though, while that will be my next pattern, it's not due anytime soon. But, I'll be testing it's breast-feeding ease while I adapt my samples, and maybe that'll be a great time to let you into my pattern making process? From idea to actual pattern? I've never released a pattern idea before it's been turned into an actual pattern before, so it'll be a new one for me!

  • Free patterns! I've been working on some small free patterns that I hope to make available soon. They are mostly bebe related though, so, apologies if that's not really your thing :) I'm also working on the Maternity Bronte Pattern hack tutorial, so, watch this space.

I can't believe we're a third of the way through April already...