My ooobop labels have arrived!

I grumble a lot about my job as a freelance graphic designer. Mostly because it interferes with my sewing time. But I must learn to be more grateful. The perks, for me, still outweigh an employed status. Freelanceness alone means I can juggle jobs and children and blogging and sewing, all at the same time. In fact, my circus skills know no bounds. My great aunt ran away with the circus so it’s in the blood, you know. For real!

And once in a while skill sets cross over too . . .

Look what was waiting for me when I arrived home from the office last night.

A pillowy parcel oozing 500 folded self-designed, ooobop labels! Thank you Woven Labels UK! I couldn’t be more delighted if I tried!

ooobop labels package

It would be smug of me to say I designed and submitted the artwork in a blink of an eye. Which ordinarily I’ve been known to do. But I think I would be sussed by the likes of Symon Sez who knows just how hard it is to fulfil one’s own brief!

And I must add that I am also doing things back to front. I have a little blog rebrand in progress (or rather in mind) but I just couldn’t wait to see what these looked like in the mean time!

And what a pleasure to sew the first one into an almost finished skirt for my lovely and deserved friend. I can’t wait to present it to her at the end of this week. So proud 🙂

ooobop label sewn in skirt

I must also add that this is not a sponsored post. I could not big up Woven Labels any more if they paid me. Tom’s patience and understanding was untold as he had to deal with a fusspot designer. The worst kind of client for him, I’m sure. I have ordered children’s school name labels from him before but they also do craft labels and custom made designer labels. If you are looking for a real personal service and excellent quality at a great price then this is most definitely the place to go!

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ooobop! review: Burda Style January 2014

Burda Style Mag January 2014

I had secretly planned to make the December 2013 issue of Burda, my last review. It takes an age to put together. And if I’m ever to make a new years resolution, it must be to claim back more time for more sewing. But it proved to be a rubbish plan. And it appears that I am indeed a love-struck addict of  all that is Burda Style magazine!

So here I duly kick off with some snuggly 2014 fashions of the faux furry kind…

faux fur burda Jan 2014

As much as I want to, I can’t possibly  dive into one of these projects. My pattern is traced, my fabric ordered and delivered and my instructions await for a vintage 50s masterpiece. I just need some time… and space! Boy will the pinned pattern pieces take up a whole of the living room floor!

Have well and proper earmarked that little furry cropped jacket, though (above, bottom, left) . I can totally see myself in it! (innit!)

Happy New Year is the next section. Reporting a bit late for a New Years Eve number but really some goodies here for any party any time… or just any time really!

party clothes burda January 2014

Loving the batwing waterfall top (1st row, 2nd col) which comes with an ‘easy to sew’ verification. I’ve just got a few tension issues to sort on my newly inherited overlocker and I am well on my way to knocking a few of these beauties out, I tell ya!

The o-so-cute bustier (bottom row, col 1) is a fabulous party separate. In a quality shiny black, it would rescue any old skirt or trouser in a jiffy. But it would be exceedingly traitorous of me to detract from the Georgia dress before I’d even started!

Another ‘easy’ option is the cerise one-shoulder dress (row 2, col 2). Big attention seeking effect incorporating scant sewing time equals massive win!

Now I’m forever trying to stray from all that is monochrome. It doesn’t make for a very colourful blog, for one. But how can I ever move on when such striking temptation is blatently bowled in my general direction?

black and white burda january 2014

I love the neat mod look, I love the fat stripes of that jacket in the first pic and I love how the skinny stripes behave in the long sleeved jersey shirt. Some interesting points of gathering to achieve all that psychedelia! Thinking this may well be a job for my overlocker too!

Now even if I hated each and every one of this issues patterns (which I don’t, obvs), I would pay double the cover price. Double I tell ya! Just to get this Master piece pattern of ultimate gorgeousness….

aquilano rimondi dress

Such a flatering shape. I love the neck. I love the colour. I love the contrasting leather. I will make this dress. At some point!

Now I’m not really one for fancy dress. But Burda certainly does us proud each and every time there’s an excuse for dress-up. No exception with this months selection of saloon characters, superheroes and exotic animals from the jungle, the sea and even the circus! Take your pick. Creative costuming for the whole fam!

role play burda jan 2014

And if mermaids and snakes don’t do it for you then feast your eyes on all that is classy and plus size.

plus fashion burda jan 2014Burda love a bit of Asiatic influence and I’m personally loving the black and the red (obvs) but I’ll leave the rest of the commentary to you, my lovelies.

Here’s hoping that 2014 buys us all some more precious time to sew some more wonderful creations. Love and luck and the very best of health to you all. Now go party your lil sock off!! xxx

A festive full circle

Tartan full circle skirt

Here’s a little something that wasn’t on my mahoosive Christmas to do list! So it’s a small miracle that it’s being blogged here and now. Each and every year at around about this time, I say out loud, over and over that next year I will start earlier with Christmas prep: do my accounts in September, the Christmas presents in October, get the cards sent in November and not take on quite so much work so I can ease in gently and revel in the lead up! Perhaps next year I might take note.

So with all this month’s stressy stuff going on, how on earth did I get it together to make anything new? I stole sleep. Robbed it, right from under my own nose. Three whole precious hours. Doesn’t sound like much in the grand scheme of things but when you are only averaging about five to six as it is, the motive would have to have been significantly necessary. Well I did need an outfit for the office lunch!

tartan circle skirt

I’d like to say it was an impulse make but to be honest I spend a lot of time dreaming about what I want to make so when I eventually get round to making it, it feels like I’ve made it before, at least 4 or 5 times in my head!

I love the Westwood/punk/vintage/rockabilly vibe of tartan. I know that it has deeper, traditional roots and I even have some distant Scottish blood so it feels highly appropriate and very festive!

tartan circle skirt

The skirt is self-drafted full circle with a waistband and lapped zipper. I didn’t line it and chose, instead to finish the insides with Hong Kong seams and a bias finished hem. I feel slightly guilty for machining the hem but I think that’s a small price to exchange for some shut-eye! I’m wearing a tiered organza petticoat underneath. Just one layer. Just to give it a bit of poof!

twirling in tartan circle skirtAnd I went for a shorter length this time. I’ve recently been hooked on below the knee pencil skirts so this 17 incher feels much more party like. Just had to be ready for any embarrassing fashion blunders in this blustery weather.

Tartan was most definitely the right fabric for the job.
The drape is perfect.
It doesn’t need lining.
Its a dream to sew.
Bit fraying but with quick work and seam binding , that’s not really an issue.
It doesn’t crease
Its totally machine washable.
It only took a metre . . .
. . . and only cost a fiver!

tartan circle skirtI didn’t have too much trouble lining up the horizontal patterns but if I allowed a bit more time I could have evened up the design at the sides a bit more. I did however leave it to hang for the statutory 24 hours before trimming and hemming. I know how worth it that bit is now!

I can’t see me getting anything else sewn this side of Christmas, unfortunately. I simply have no idea how I thought I might have chance to finish my coat. The muslin is made and I know what adjustments I need to make but the fabric is going to be looking longingly at me for a few weeks more, I think.

So in the meantime I will just have to resign to the wardrobe what is and twirl in my new tartan . . . while I’m running around like a headless chicken!

tartan circle skirtThanks as always to the fabulous Daniel Selway for his tireless photography favours.
And also to the wonderful Jayne Hepsibah-Sullivan whose Hepsibah Gallery window makes a perfect backdrop!

ooobop! review: Burda Style December 2013

Burda magazine december 2013

Good grief! How did it get to be nearly Christmas? How do I get to be so not ready every single year?

Well thank you Burda Style magazine for the memory jog but I’m not sure I have enough disposable hours for many more makes before the big day.

I am sorely tempted by your cover dress though. More on that further down.

Merry Christmas is the opening section. Of course!

Burda magazine december 2013On first sight all looked a little uninspiring to be honest but on closer inspection there are some nice surprises. The long-sleeve top (top left) is made of lamé jersey. A very simple make, made all the classier with some glitz. The polka dot dress next door is a chiffon overlay dress, gathered at the waist, over a slinky satin bustier dress with spaghetti straps. I rather like the surprise of that one. And the pink crepe dress (bottom row next to the terrible peplum skirt) makes a beautiful shape (or would do if the hem was trimmed even!) It has a wonderful pointed yoke at the waist and a deep inverted pleat in the skirt. Lovely sleeves and a cute row of black buttons on the right shoulder. I approve!

Now back to that terrible peplum skirt. I don’t know what to say about it really. I just don’t think it works. No integration. No added flare. Just makes the body look cut in half! Just sayin’!

The next section is called Cruise Collection. For those already looking forward to summer! If anything, the garments here are more Christmassy than in the Christmassy section!

Burda magazine december 2013

This is my favourite bunch this month. Buttery washed silk, organza, satin and chiffon. Yes to private stash of all those fabrics and colours please! The cover dress looks even better here (bottom row, 2nd column) It’s a short sleeve version of the polka dot dress in the first section. I’m guessing you could make one underdress and have different overdresses for different occasions! (says me with ardent fear of sewing with chiffon!)

Free Spirit is the next section. Lots of paisley and fine fabric:

Burda magazine december 2013

This amount of opulence isn’t normally my bag but I keep coming back to the gold metallic jersey evening dress. Not sure where I’d wear it. Might have to invent a night out! Either that or strike a pose down at the Southbank with a hat at my feet!

The check bouclé trench coat (bottom right) looks right cosy though. A little bit of Vivienne Westwoodesque styling never goes amis!

Passion for Detail is the next chapter. And I so wish I didn’t have a headache.

Burda magazine december 2013All a bit much for me, sorry! Except for the wrap skirt with exposed zip (top row, 3rd col). I like that! In fact I might like more of this section if the crazy wallpaper didn’t do my head in so much!

Just take a looksy at this cute crocheted bag. Isn’t it sweet? It’s ages since I crocheted and I don’t even think I did it right the first time, but this is thick yarn and big hook with only 16 rows to contend with. I can feel a little Christmas holiday train journey project coming on.

crochet bagAnd hooray! A man project! Well, just a little token one :-/

mans tieLoving the couture-style silhouett of the designer style outfit, below.

talbot runhof dressAnd finally we reach the plus fashions. Businessy and feminine this month. The flounce dress in a wine coloured duchesse is my favourite here. After saying that opulence wasn’t really my thing! I’m not sure I would personally be so bold but I do think it is very striking.

Burda December 2013

In other news. I have bitten the bullet and ordered my coat fabric. I think I will be giving Joseph a run for his money. It truly is a fabric of many colours! I will keep you posted as and when it arrives. I’m a little bit excited and a little bit nervous. But most of all very freezing and so totally in need of a coat!

Keep warm folks and see you real soon! x

ooobop! review: Burda Style November 2013

Burda cover November 2013

Good morning Burda lovers! The sky is blue, the sun is streaming through my window and it’s hard to imagine that we will all be battening down the hatches in preparation for a freak storm tonight. Quite frankly the idea of being house bound for a few days suits me just fine. Mustn’t forget to pop out for emergency supply of spools! 😉

I’m going to start with the cover image because that’s where I gave my first ‘ooo’! Ice-blue wool fleece. It’s just one of the fabric options I’ve been mulling over for my coat, when I eventually get to it. I didn’t really clock the style – it looks fine on the cover – but I think the unfortunate stance of the model in the top left image below, kind of ruins the class and brings on the tent!

This first section is all about Grey. (Even though that coat has an ice blue hue about it on the cover!) I wish I could wear grey with conviction. It does look dramatic, moreso than black, because you can actually see the detail in the cut and style. But it just accentuates my deathly palor. I don’t mind being ‘pale and interesting’ but when people ask if you are feeling ok more than once in a day, you know there’s an issue!

I’m intrigued by the strides (middle row, first col). I love that wrapped-look from the front view. I almost want there to be tails behind. But that amazing mirror prop only serves to highlight how ‘unusual’ they are from the side. Steals every ounce of flattery I’m afraid.

The blazer (centre pic) is a great wardrobe standard. It’s made in a twill weave wool here. Nice and heavy and great paired with skinnies.

And I really like the biker-style jacket in ponte jersey with leather sleeves and trim. (row 2, col 3).

There’s a strong likelihood of an overlocker joining the family soon and so the world of knits is becoming more of interest to me. I have a side-cutter attachment on my machine which doesn’t render the process impossible but it’s just really slow compared to the formula one skills of an overlocker! And I’m just imagining how delightfully speedy that two-piece jersey set would be to run up. It’s an ‘Easy’ one too! In case you think, as I did that its a long sleeve top with under arm air holes, I can confirm that its a sleeveless cowl-neck tank with a separate long-sleeved bias-cut shrug. (col 3, row 1)

Burda 11-13 Grey garmentsIt is heading for that time of year when we need to add a little sparkle to the dark winter nights and days. And party season will be upon us before you know it. So although I’m not favouring much in this next ‘Metallic Mood’ section, it’s inspiring enough to make me go on a treasure hunt for some shiny fabric.

The little cropped jacket (2nd row, 3rd col) is not dissimilar to the Vogue jacket I made recently. Excepting the flared sleeves. And I think if I could get past that fabric it would be a cute cape-like addition in wool or silk.

The skirt, (3rd row, 3rd col) has the same laid in pleats as the strides in the first section, but I can’t see a side view here to see what happens. The gold lamé is a good distraction and defo a new fabric consideration though!

burda 11-13 metallic garments

I need no encouragement to make black clothes. It was my ‘colour’ of choice before sewing and I only sew coloured things because I think I ought to veer away from black. Because black is boring, no? Actually I don’t think it is boring and there’s a part of me that wants to revert to black every winter. The other inner me just fights it off all the time!

And so here temptation is laid before me once again in the shape of the inevitable LBD’s.

I love the idea of a massive silk flower added to an otherwise simple and classy dress. (row 1, col 1) and I really want to incorporate some cotton lace into garments. If I can find some, that is! Looks great on the bodice section of that dress (row 1, col 1). No sweaty pits either!

The line drawing of the fitted dress (row 3, col 1) didn’t sell well to me at all. I didn’t see the point in sewing quite so many sections together unless one is doing some serious colour blocking. But if the effect is a sophisticated dress which moulds to the figure, such as this one. I’m sold!

I quite like the coat dress with it’s low cut V-neck and front snap fastener band too (3rd row, 3rd col). Well, that is of course if somebody would sew on those little darling snap fasteners for me. Serious pet-hate!

I’m not quite sure what’s going on with the crêpe de chine dress (3rd row, 2nd col). It is fundamentally the same as the coat dress but with gathering at the vertical seams and leg of mutton sleeves. A bit too much pouffiness going on for me. Apparently this dress is reminiscent of the ‘wirtschaftswunder’ era. Learn something new every day!

burda 11-13 black garments

Alessia Giacobino is the highlighted designer in this issue. I find these mini Burda features inspiring as I never studied fashion so never had any prompting to delve into the lives of designers. Guilt always overcomes me when I confess (or not) to not having heard of a certain designer. And I love it when I come across one that I truly love. I googled some more on Alessia and I really like her classy, flattering and surprising designs. I’ll leave you to do your own recce. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Burda has supplied patterns for this designer-style outfit below. Imagine how luxurious that washed silk blouse would feel. I think the flounce would annoy me in the front. Would much prefer it at the side. But I do appreciate the detail, nonetheless.

Alessia Giacobino blouse and skirt

It always surprises me, how drawn to campus style I am. I am neither the age or of the leaning towards these fashions so I can only assume that Burda sells them well or that students have properly upped their game recently!

Let’s start with the dress (row 1, col 1). Not dissimilar to some of the summer dresses I have made this year, but with the addition of a midriff (how I love a midriff), a low V-neck, long sleeves and made with a delicious mousseline (a very fine, semi-opaque fabric similar to muslin, apparently). So actually quite different, really! But I do love it!

I also love the cowl neck knit dress (row 2, col 3). Mostly because anything in tartan/plaid makes me go ‘ooo’ right now. And because I am dreaming of being behind the spools of an overlocker soon!

I don’t wear strides. Mostly because I have never found any to fit properly. But if I get the inclination one day, I will definitely be fashioning some like the ones in row 2, col 2.

The wind is starting to pick up now. We’ve got ghostly ‘wooooos’ whispering round the windows. So that’s why I guess I’m being drawn away from ‘classy’ and towards the ‘practical’ of the odd hooded-scarf (row 1 col 2). It’s not knitted but sewn from a knitted fabric and it has pockets too! Might need an overlocker for that one too!

burda 11-13 campus style

Sophistication is definitely the theme for the plus fashions this month. Loving the star-shaped darts in the wool jersey dress (row 1, col 2). The neckline is lovely too and the shoulder line is really sharp. The dress in row 2, col 3 is pretty much the same but with a different neckline, creating a less formal but nonetheless still stylish look.

The tie-waist dress (row1, col 3) is very flattering too. Or is it that I’m just sold on the idea of animal print angora jersey?!

burda 11-13 plus fashions

The kids section is great as always. A great selection of fun, versatile staples for little girls. But what about the boys? Not that I have a little boy but it does seem a little unjust to leave them out.

I’m also a little bit miffed as Little Miss O sits outside these sizes. I tried to make a pair of shorts from a very small ladies size recently but of course the proportions were all wrong and though they fit round the waist, they were massively massive elsewhere. So perhaps I need to attempt to scale up the shorts pattern (row 3, col 1) to see what happens. The dress is super cute too but I am sad to say that most 9 year olds seem to have ditched the dresses for now.

burda 11-13 kids clothes

Well the sun has gone in. The ‘ooos’ are getting a little more howly so I better get finding some patterns… I mean battens!

Keep safe and warm everyone xxx

Pinstripes & parasols

pinstripe skirt

Now there’s nowt very exciting to say about a pinstripe pencil skirt. It’s pinstripy and pencilly… and that’s about it really. But it can’t possibly go without documentation, especially since Mr O and his buddy the camera made it look more interesting than it actually is!

pinstripe skirt outside St. Pancras station

I self-drafted the pattern so it fits well and it used up just under a metre of leftover wool-mix fabric and  a piece of purple stash lining which makes it cost-free, sort of!

pinstripe skirt and parasol

The main reason for making a garment so dull, was to rehearse the fitting process before I make a long awaited-skirt for my friend, who bid for it in the school auction! (More about that soon hopefully). But dull and boring as it may be, this skirt does make for a great go-to for work.

back of skirt

I made it a last week but needed some divine inspiration before shooting it. And then I spotted these beautiful brollies over at Masato Studio Boutique! (Yes, they are brollies and not parasols but that would kind of ruin the whole alliteration thing, don’t you think?)

Red Umbrella

It was well worth the investment. Total distraction from skirt but much more interesting photos… win! My little red beauty is made by Love Umbrellas. They do some really cute heart shaped ones too. Rainy days most certainly wont get me down any more!!

pinstripe skirt

Mr O took these shots around St Pancras Station, London, today, Just after I had the most lovely lunch with some of my favourite sewing ladies: Amy, Sally, Clare, Rehanon and Alison. They had all done their fabric shopping in the morning and I was so pleased to catch them for a couple of hours and a couple of G&Ts over at Drink Shop & Do. Boy I love that place! Should have really got Mr O up earlier to get an impromptu shot of us all but heyho can’t have it all!

St Pancras Station

ooobop! review: Burda Style October 2013

Burdastyle magazine October 2013

Before we skip to some of the inside shots of September’s Burda Style Mag, I just want to reiterate the wording of the flash on the cover.

16 Free patterns, 51 different outfits worth £61, for only £4.75!

So whether you like 51 or just 1 of the following styles, you must agree, it’s still such an amazing cover price.

There’s a bit of a War and Peace theme this month but before we launch into that, it opens up with a softly, softly approach. I’m not really a pastel person or a boxy one for that matter and so I wasn’t grabbed by any of these. A close fitting ‘nude’ dress would have me feeling just as self conscious but I like the wrapped over pleats on the front waist of the dress, bottom row middle pic. I also quite like the asymmetrical skirt, top right, but I’d have to see views all round to be convinced. I think it might not look so great from the other side! Now generally, I do like a square neckline as in the tunic, top centre pic but what is going on with it rolling out? Too big/too small, not pressed? That would annoy the pants off me!

The A-line skirt that sits directly below has large hip yoke pockets. I am so going to incorporate those into another skirt.

Nude jersey dress

Light and breezy is the theme of the next section. Lavish cocktails of lace and silk, flowers and bouclé, jersey and sequins.

Of all these, the sequin mini skirt grabbed me the most (bottom row 3rd column). Not that I would make it with said crunchy fabric, more tartan or plaid wool. Quite by coincidence, I was planning on drafting one of my own last week. Looks like I wished hard enough!

The dress is quite nice. I think I’m being sold on the print though. Its a great shape but it is a variation of that tunic in the first section so I’m assuming the same issues with the neckline.

I may have liked more in this section had it not have been for the accompanying style tip on the page of the pink bouclé coat. Apparently ‘The egg shape form is ‘in’…’  Noooo! I don’t want to be an egg shape!

Light and breezy fashions burda october 2013

So to war it is then with the New Military section.

I love the opening furry lined mini cape. No fastenings. Nothing complicated. Just a chic little snuggly accessory. There is another, more practical cape of coated twill, top row, 2nd column. But I’ve never been one for a practical choice!

Now it’s probably the styling. This model and her mane is very striking, it has to be said, but there is something about that camo mini dress, top right. It is fundamentally a long-sleeved T with batwings and a front placket closure, cinched in with a belt, and I like it a lot!

You can keep the metallic voluminous  shirt though!

The dress certainly looks better to me in darker contrasting colours (middle row, far right). I’d wear that and those fancy gloves!

military fashions burda october 2013

And just as the army greens take hold, the Peace section comes bearing flowers and paisley. Never did I think that flares, ponchos and banana skirts would make such a return. But hey, each to their own.

The maxi coat is lovely (top, centre). Ankle-length with fitted upper section and gathered skirt. A standing collar with hook and eye fastening is a neat touch too. But I already have the loveliest coat pattern, as you know!

It’s a bit difficult to see the detailing of the jacket, middle row, far right, but it is essentially a uniform-style Sergeant Pepper jacket. Timeless and always so cool. Apparently its the ‘it’ piece of the season!

70s fashions burda october 2013

Plus fashions are a bit slim on the ground this month.

I’m not sure I approve of asymmetrically cut blouse with laid-in and partially stitched pleats with one white lapel (top row, middle pic). Far from being clever and a little bit unusual, it just looks like a bodge job. Sorry Burda. It looks far better in the ‘dark gemstone shade’ below it. All those odd fancy details are a little more subtle!

However the leather trousers (opening pic) save the day. I had no idea you could get ‘stretch leather’. Perhaps they are referring to ‘pleather’. You know how things get lost in translation. But maybe there is such a thing. mmmmm…. the possibilities!

Plus size burda fashions october 2013

And so to the kids! Shirts, dresses and strides in jersey and denim. Perfect for mucking around in.

I love the little girls jersey dress, made from patches with cute ruffles on the shoulders and ribbing on the neck cuffs and hem. Quite a bit of faffing I should think but the end result is really neat.

The little boys blazer steals the show though. Also made from sweatshirt fabric, it looks so cool but with the elements of stuffy and prep taken away.

kids burda october 2013

There really are only a couple of defo makes for me in this issue: The skirt and the little fluffy cape. But that never ever deters me from looking forward to the next issue of Burda Style.

I can be inspired by a sleeve or a shape or a colour or a photographic location… and inspiration is what so totally floats my boat!