Make it Sewcial Meet Up

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-25

Aren’t we so lucky to be able to meet people online? Back when I met Mr Kat online my best friend and brother staged an intervention to try an persuade me not to meet him in person because you only meet weirdos online, right? These days many of my closest friends started out online and I don’t miss an opportunity to meet up with onliners.

When Allison announced that she was taking her weekly Make it Sewcial hashtag off Instagram and into a meet up I knew I had to go.

Last weekend we headed up to Impact Hub Birmingham which Allison had decked out in pure Make it Sewcial style complete with a loaded treat table.

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-4

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-23

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-7

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-14

We spent the afternoon crafting, chatting and getting to know each other. I made a pennant with Sue, a button hole with Judith and bracelets with Christian.

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-48

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-50

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-64

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-66

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-101

The atmosphere was incredible and I met so many wonderful people. I think one of the best aspects of the day was that it was so inclusive. Everyone was there on an open invitation and because they love to make.

Community is so valuable and finding a way to meet your online friends is totally worth it.

I caught a few clips of the making on camera so you could share the magic. (click here if you can’t see the video)

After we’d finished making, gossiping and eating cake we took the big balloons and headed through Digbeth to take some fun photos. There were loads of amazing walls, textures and spaces. Search #MakeitSewcialMeetUp on Instagram to find all the pictures.

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-109

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-112

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-115

We rounded out the day setting the world to rights over drinks in The Custard Factory – I totally wish I lived close enough to rent a space there.

Thank you Allison for a superb meet up. Looking forward to the next one!

Make It Sewcial Meet Up May 2015-107

 

Food Revolution Day

Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Day 2015

Food and nutrition are about as important as you can get when it comes to raising children. The importance of feeding them well sits alongside teaching them to feed themselves well.

For me poor food choices in childhood have become a real issue and I want a different outcome for my children. Someone who I think speaks a lot of sense on this subject is Jamie Oliver.

Since coming into the public eye Jamie has used his platform and influence to fight for awareness and change around food. His campaigns are largely focussed on children whose lives don’t have to be mapped out by poor food early on.

How much do you love that song?

Today is Food Revolution Day and this year’s campaign is focussed on fighting for food education and you can make a difference. Sign the petition and share it with everyone you know.

The aim is to take the petition to the G20 and press for food education. They passed 1,000,000 signatures yesterday and if they can make it millions by the time they submit it then it has even more power.

If you agree that food education is the way forward add your name to the petition and tell everyone you can about it. We are living at a time when our voices have never been so powerful, let’s use them for change.

If you need some inspiration to hold a revolution in your own kitchen Food Revolution has lots of recipes and I have loads of ideas in my housewife recipes and baby led weaning sections.

And if you want to start your children cooking for themselves here are Milla, Monty and Betsy cooking up a healthy fish finger recipe.

Wild Things: Funky Little Clothes to Sew Book Tour Interview

Kirsty Hartley Wild Things Dresses Designer and Author

Today I am honoured to be hosting the first stop in the blog book tour for Wild Things: Funky Little Clothes to Sew. Since Kirsty’s playful designs burst onto Etsy I have been a huge fan of her work.

Wild Things clothing is synonymous with inventiveness and fun-filled design. My children are all smitten, (as you can see from these pictures) and adopt the characters of their clothes in play. An aside – do you remember Besty getting her bunny dress on her second birthday? Check it out below, she’s still wearing it two years on.

Wild Things cover

If you’re as wild about the Wild Things as I am you’ll be excited to hear that Kirsty’s brand new book is filled with familiar and new designs alike. With projects & patterns suited to beginners and experienced sewers alike you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice when it comes to what to sew first.

To celebrate the launch I’m interviewing Kirsty for the first in a series of blog events (find out where else you can follow the tour at the bottom of this post). The book is out now at all good book stores on and offline – full details at Wild Things Dresses.

Wild Things Funky Little Clothes to Sew-2

************************

Hello Kirsty, I’ve spoken about your business many times in the past, for those not familiar with Wild Things Dresses could you give us some background?

Wild Things is a children’s clothing brand renowned for creating fun, playtime clothes loved by children and parents alike. Ethically produced in the UK, the designs put imagination back into everyday clothing, making dressing time a breeze.

I grew the brand after quitting my full time lecturing post, at Manchester School of Art, to create a better work life balance for myself and my three children.

Wild Things Funky Little Clothes to Sew-1-3

How has it grown since you put those first designs on Etsy?

As a prolific maker, Etsy was a perfect starting point for me, allowing me to make limited edition styles and grow an international audience, with parents looking for something with a little heart and soul. As the story grew, so did the ability to produce the garments myself, so I worked closely with local sample makers, and now an excellent British maker who runs a small artisan workshop in Scotland producing exclusively for me.

With my passion for making, and the process, this has allowed me to work with contemporary sewing and craft magazines such as Mollie Makes, pioneers of the modern craft aesthetic and lifestyle.

The natural progression was to develop the book, and I have worked with an amazing team to do this.

What role have blogs, Pinterest and social media played for you?

Social media has been hugely important for me. Images of my first character dresses quickly reached far and wide through Pinterest in Autumn 2011,then picked up by press and international trend forecasters such as Stylesight .

Having a close relationship with fellow mums and bloggers has been crucial, creating a more intimate and transparent story about myself and Wild Things.

Wild Things Funky Little Clothes to Sew-1-5

Wild Things Funky Little Clothes to Sew-1-14

I love your book and I’m so excited about creating some of your designs myself. Tell us what people can expect from Wild Things: Funky Little Clothes to Sew.

Wild Things: Funky Little Clothes to Sew offers something for beginners to more advanced makers. There are projects for boys, girls and babies covering a whole wardrobe of shapes, with funky appliqué and character templates which are interchangeable. The book includes classic designs as well as some new ideas.

The simple techniques section guides you through the technical stuff, and the imagery styled and shot by duo Will Shaddock and Jen Murdoch, provides real inspiration.

The book includes some of your iconic designs including the fox dress. Which is your favourite project created for the book?

I really love the happy landscape dress featured on the cover. It’s simple, fun and so easy to make. Full of happy vibes!

Wild Things Landscape Dress

The first section of the book has a really easy to understand guide to sewing and the techniques used in the book. Could a beginner sewer pick up the book and make their first clothes?

Of course. Each project has been carefully tested to guide you through each step. Simple starter projects like the red riding hood bonnet and the simple apron are perfect for beginners, and all the essential skills you need are further explained in the techniques section. The secret is not to be too precious, and have a go. You may end up hooked like me!

Where can we buy the fabrics that you use in your designs?

There are some lovely stockists and all are listed in the book. I love Seamstar, Fabric Rehab, Fancy Moon, The Home Makery and the organic prints at Mona Luna.

Wild Things Funky Little Clothes to Sew-1-4

Wild Things Funky Little Clothes to Sew-3

What really excites you about children’s clothing?

I love sewing for children. There are few restrictions,and the shapes are easy to manage as they are small scale.

Children respond to colour and pattern, and don’t understand the subtleties of fashion. Play, fantasy, storytelling are far more important!

Wild Things Funky Little Clothes to Sew-1-11

Wild Things Funky Little Clothes to Sew-1-13

How do you come up with designs for your range?

I’m inspired by simple whimsical imagery which translates well into bold colour and pattern. Storytelling is also important, and we have quite an extensive collection of children’s books, so my children provide endless inspiration.

What is it about your own childhood which has remained strong for you as an adult?

As a child of the 70’s I was either outside playing from dawn until dusk, or inside making. I tackled my first  clothes pattern at 11, soon progressing to the essential party outfit for the big night ahead. My mum sewed for me too, and it was creating timeless nostalgic pieces that really inspired me to start Wild Things.

Wild Things Funky Little Clothes to Sew-1-15

Finally, what advice do you have for people who want to make their children’s clothes?

I would start with an idea or fabric you really want to work with. A simple machine is perfect, but be prepared to spend some time to get to know your machine first. Be prepared too to make some ‘happy mistakes’, you never know where this may take you. If you like to bend the rules as I do, be creative and add your own mark.

************************

Wild Things Funky Little Clothes to Sew-1-10

Thank you so much for joining me Kirsty, I am so in love with this book!

You can catch up with the blog book tour all of this week at Make Light, Bambino Goodies and Tigerlily Quinn.

You can find Kirsty on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Etsy as well as on her website.

Wild Things Blog Book Tour May 2015

Oxford Photowalk

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Last weekend a group of my blog friends and I went to Oxford to spend the day chatting, browsing, wandering and photographing.

When it comes to eye-candy Oxford has it in old fashioned spades. We probably only covered a small distance because when you stop every five yards to take a photo progress is slow.

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

We spent quite a bit of time investigating the shops in and around the Covered Market with a couple of real gems tempting me into spending. I definitely feel more trips on the horizon to explore the indie shops further out from the centre.

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Bloggers do Oxford-14

We managed to pick the date of Folk Weekend Oxford for our visit and the town was awash with morris dancers. I have to apologise to my friend Karen for dragging her into the centre of the dancers despite knowing she has a childhood fear of them. But I couldn’t resist – they are so fantastic to photograph I could have followed them all day.

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Karen snuck us into her daughter’s college, Balliol, for a peek into the oldest college in the English speaking world. Being over 75o years old the college boasts some incredible architecture. While Harry Potter wasn’t filmed here, (Christ Church, New College and the Bodleian are the places to head) it certainly had the Hogwarts air of grandeur.

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

I failed to get a picture of the dining hall without people and despite great temptation to peek we didn’t open the doors to the Master’s room. The woodwork of the tables and benches is deliciously worn and the top table is splattered with wax from spent candles.

I came to a study camp in Oxford when I was a teenager and stepping inside the colleges did give me a minor pang of regret that I didn’t push myself to get to one of the big universities. Obviously I gave the children a nudge that this is a good place to study.

Bloggers do Oxford-75

Bloggers do Oxford-91

April is a lovely time to bimble around with friends. It was a day of great weather, interesting conversation and plenty to look at. Karen organised such a perfect day out for Lottie, Heather and I and we were lucky enough to be joined by Natasha after a chat on twitter – yay internets!

Oxford, England by Kat Molesworth

Now Marvel at my selfie stick photos :)

Bloggers do Oxford

Bloggers do Oxford