The Great Champagne Twist Destash: Q&As, T&Cs and Sale Schedule

 

destash-2

Hello,

I thought it might be a good idea to post about the up coming destash I’m hosting on Instagram this Saturday 27th May, 2017.  I hope you will join me and grab a few bargains.

Questions and Answers

Where is the sale?

On Instagram – please follow Champagne_Twist_Destash

What time does the destash sale start?

12 noon GMT

Why host a sale?

I have accumulated so much stuff over the years, I have simply run out of room to work effectively. The choice is to either move to a new house the size of Buckingham Palace (I did ask, but the Queen said no) or to sell these things to a someone who can make use of them.

This will mean that I will have more time and space to make more videos and post more on my blog.

What type of things are you selling?

Items for Sale

You’re selling baby clothes? How come?

In regards to the baby clothes, they are all brand new and unused. They were purchased for research purposes (I was thinking about designing and selling baby clothes) and rather than throw them away, I thought it best to sell them on. There is a bit of a pink theme, but heck at that age babies don’t know, or care.

Buttons?

All buttons (and any relevant small items) sold will be sorted and presented in a brand new organza bag – who wants an envelope of loose buttons?

What’s for sale? How much?

Prices start from as little as 50p (excluding postage). All the items range from bargain basement finds to high end, including products from local London markets, Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston, John Lewis and Liberty.

I hope you will find this sale fun and you bag a few bargains for yourself and loved ones. Tell your friends, sit down with a cuppa and lets do this 🙂

Terms and Conditions

I know T&Cs are not the most interesting of things, but please do read before you purchase – and let me know if you have any questions.

The sale on Instagram starts at 12 noon GMT Saturday 27th May 2017.

Please visit Champagne_Twist_Destash to purchase items for sale.

  1. I can only accept Paypal payments, as I think this is the easiest, quickest and safest way to do this.
  2. All measurements stated are approximate.
  3. Any defects, marks or imperfections will be highlighted as clearly as possible.
  4. The Sale Schedule (please see below) is for guidance purposes only, and may be subject to change.
  5. To purchase an item, just reply back with your First name. The first person or people to reply with their First name, wins.
  6. I will then reply with the message, “Sold to [your First Name and Instagram handle]”. After that, please DM me with your Paypal address and the country you live, so I can work out the correct postage for you. This will take a couple of days for me to sort out, so please bear with me, I will keep you informed and email you when I have dispatched the item. Please note dispatch can only occur after I have successfully received correct payment.
  7. All sales once confirmed are final. If you win an item and change your mind, please reply again as soon as possible so the item can be sold to someone else.
  8. Packaging is free of charge – as I believe in recycling as much as possible, please be aware that the packaging will not be brand new – EXCEPT FOR BABY CLOTHING and BUTTON PURCHASES, where the inside packaging will be new.  Any recycled packaging will be of good quality and will be more than adequate to ensure the safe arrival of your purchases.  Postage will be charged at the lowest possible rate.
  9. I will obtain a proof of postage certificate. Please allow up to 5 working days for domestic delivery after confirmed despatch and 15 working days for overseas delivery after confirmed dispatch.

If you would like to post me pictures of what you have done with the items, that would be great. No obligation, I’m just nosy and would love to see how the items will be used.

 

Sale Schedule (subject to change)

Time Zone –  GMT

12 noon – Fabric – part 1

1pm – Knitting items, buttons and sewing collectables

2pm – Fabric – part 2 and buttons

3pm – BREAK TIME (approx 1 hour)

4pm – Baby clothes

5pm – Paper craft items/ Stationery

6pm – Books and paper sewing patterns

7pm – Misc

8pm – Sale ends (If there are a lot of unsold items left, I may host another sale the following Saturday).

I hope this post is clear and easy to understand, but if I have missed something out, you have any questions, or seek clarification, please contact me either here or on Instagram Champagne_Twist_Destash.

Hope to see you on Instagram on Saturday! Enjoy and thanks for reading.

 

Lulu Guinness Benefit Cosmetics Event

Today, I was lucky enough to attend the Culture Cloud, Benefit Cosmetics brow make up demo, hosted by Lulu Guinness at their Covent Garden in central London. It was fun and informative session, where the audience learned how to properly apply brow makeup, and were introduced to the Benefits make-up range.

We are also given the opportunity to browse the new Lulu Guinness Spring/Summer Collection, here’s a highlight video –

For the event I wore my “Round Things” skirt, together with a striped top and a “Marcie” bag from Lulu Guinness.  Unfortunately, the predicted 20 degree weather turned out to be a mini monsoon in reality. So as I write this, I’m loading up with hot cups of tea and any fruit which contains high levels of vitamin C.  To think it’s June in a couple of weeks!

Lulu Guinness Marcie bag in mist with round things skirt

Thanks for reading.

Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt – Completed

 

Hello,

A quick note about how I completed the Clothkits Big Birdie skirt –

CKits cover

Planned adjustments:

  1. I added a lining to the skirt, the fabric came from a stall in Walthamstow market.  It is 100% viscose, polka dot, for £2.50 per meter.
  2. To add a little length, I finished the hem with bias binding.
  3. I will add hanger tapes, made from the measuring tape ribbon provided.

Adjustments made:

I finished all the cut edges with an overlock stitch. This not completely necessary, but there is plenty of sewing thread provided should you wish to do the same.

Below is a short video featuring the skirt, enjoy!

Thanks for reading and watching.

The Great Champagne Twist Destash – Sale Update

Two weeks today, the Great Champagne Twist Destash Sale will start.

Don’t miss out!

destash-2

There will be all sorts of haberdashery and craft materials for sale, all at bargain prices.

Items for Sale

Register your interest by following on Instagram – champagne_twist_destash

Tell your crafting family and friends!

Me Made May – Day 9 | Champagne Twist

Today, I wore for the first time my new Big Birdie skirt, which I renamed the Birdie Skirt.  Yes it is May, and corduroy season is well and truly over, but it has ben so cold recent. So instead of saving the skirt for Autumn, I gave it a test run.  I must say I really like it, it very comfortable, and thanks to my bias binding hem, it’s not too short. I will be looking out for more designs from Clothkits.

Here’s a review of the skirt I made: review.

The video below is also an update on the lining I added to the kit –

 Me Made Wear – The Birdie Skirt

May Day: Beyond the Movement

https://www.womensmarch.com

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 19.56.13

Can you believe that in 2017 we still have to protest this? Argh!

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 20.31.25

Anyway, to everyone taking part in all the marches across the globe today, have a fun, safe and wonderful day.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 20.34.51

The CT Show New episode – Easter Week Look Book | Champagne Twist

Hello,

As promised, here is a short video Look Book of the items of clothing I wore over Easter Week.

Details of each outfit will be posted soon.

Please comment and add any suggestions you may have in the comment box below.

Don’t forget to subscribe and also remember that I am hosting a destash sale in May.  Please sign up on Instagram champagne_twist_destash.

destash-2

Thanks for reading.

Stationery Week 2017 – Top 5

Well I never knew there was a national stationery week. So in celebration of all things stationery, here’s my top 5.

My top 5 stationery items

1. Pen pots – Various sources, Free 🙂

tin can pen holders

As I like to reuse and recycle items where possible, any pretty tin, container or cylinder  will be reused as pen, brush or pencil holders. I have also redecorated old tins with cut out pictures from garden catalogues and wallpaper samples.

 

2. 5 pack Fineliner pens – Wilkos, £1.25

fineliner

I particularly like these fineliner pens for writing and sketching. Working out at only 25p each, there are nice and cheap too.

 

3. 72 Inktense pencils – Derwent, around £70

inktense 72

My all time favourite colouring pencils, the Inktense pencils can create numerous effects from subtle watercolour to vivid strong paint effects.  They are my favourite colouring pencils, even if they cost an arm and a leg.

 

4. A5 Wiro Notebook, ruled 80 sheets – Wilkos, £1.50

notebooks

My go-to store for affordable and good quality gardening and stationery supplies, Wilkos has taken over where Woolworths left off. The fact that the cover colour matches my logo may or may not have some bearing on my decision to buy them. (It totally did.)

 

5. A4 Sketchbook – Rymans, £7.99

sketchbooks

Expensive, but great quality. As a student I bulk purchased loads of these sketchbooks, to take advantage of my uni discount, and I’m so glad I did. Trends will come and go, but somehow a plain covered black sketchbook adds an air of class and sophistication. So what if they are filled with pictures of puppies and kittens, on the outside it looks cool! I like the useful ribbon page marker and the elastic holder which keeps everything together.

Tip; if you have a student card, you can save loads by stockpiling during the half price sales.

Wish List

Journal book square paper – Wilkos, £3.75

I really keen about getting into journalling, and would like to start with an A5 sized journal.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 18.57.34

Picture source : http://www.wilko.com/notebooks+pads/wilko-a5-pu-journal-square-paper/invt/0416975

 

Large personal planner – Kikki. K, £42

I fear this one will remain on the wish list, as it’s out of my price range.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 18.53.21

Picture source : http://www.kikki-k.com/personal-planner-large-mint

 

Don’t forget I will be selling a few stationery items during my Instagram destash sale, so please subscribe for more information.

Items for Sale

What are your favourite items of stationery? How are you celebrating stationery week? Please comment below.

Thanks for reading.

The CT Show: Easter Spring Dresses Videos | Champagne Twist

Hello,

I recently posted 3 makes for the recent Easter Spring Dress Sew Along challenge on my YouTube Channel.  Please check out episodes 16, 17 and 18 of the CT Show below.

There is another video coming up, showcasing the outfits I put together for the entire Easter week festival.  Stay tuned for that by subscribing!

Don’t forget I have a destash sale next month and I shall be releasing more details soon. Subscribe to Instagram champagne_twist_destash for more info.

destash-2

Thanks for reading 🙂

The Late Spring Destash Sale – News Update

Hello,

A quick word about some of the items for sale …

Items for Sale

Please subscribe to keep up to date – more details nearer the time. Please also register your interest via Instagram – champagne_twist_destash.

Thanks for reading.

The Great Late Spring Destash Sale – Save The Date | Champagne Twist

Hello,

This is an early heads up for the forth coming Late Spring Sale.

destash-2

I’m currently in the process of organising this mammoth task, so please click the subscribe button to keep posted.  Thanks for reading and don’t forget …

Saturday 27th May 2017.

National Tea Day – top 3 teas of the year so far | Champagne Twist

Today is National Tea Day, so you can guess the theme of today’s post.

Here are my top 3 teas, of the year so far.

Teapigs Matcha Green Tea Drink - Elderflower - Champagne Twist ChampagneTwist.wordpress.com
Teapigs Matcha Green Tea Drink, with Elderflower – Champagne Twist

3rd – TeaPigs Matcha Elderflower 

teapigs-liqourice-peppermint

2nd – Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint

Niche Tea, Champagne Twist

1st – Niche co. ‘Skin’

What’s your favourite cuppa? How are you celebrating National Tea Day? Let me know in the comments section.

Thanks for reading.

EasterSpringDress2017 Reveal: Part 2 Palm Sunday

Hello,

Today I will show case the outfit I wore on Palm Sunday.

Original plans:

To make a simple top made with especially purchased palm tree or palm leaf print, to co-ordinate with items already in my wardrobe.

Issues:

Could I find a suitable palm print fabric? Could I heck! I searched the internet, visited Walthamstow fabric market – twice!, went to every fabric shop in Goldhawk Road, and found … nothing.  I’m pretty shocked by this as Greenery is the Pantone colour of 2017, and palm prints are all over the place in high street and home decor shops.

I won’t give up on this and will try other fabric haberdashery districts, but due to running out of time, I adapted my plans and came up with this:-

Palm Sunday Inspired outfit

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The skirt is purchased, but I made the top from some fabric I had in my stash. The fabric is a olive green polyester and made from a self drafted tank top pattern. The combined neck and arm holes facing is made with the same fabric.

What I would change or do differently

As I mentioned, I wanted to make a top with an element of palm tree or palm leaf print to represent Palm Sunday.  When I do find a suitable fabric, I will buy some for a tank top, and maybe some more to line a simple plain cream jacket to co-ordinate.  If you have any ideas as to where I can locate this fabric, please let me know.

That said, I have a top, which was quick to make and comfortable to wear. I have only recently embraced green as a colour to wear and so far, apart from the palm fabric hiccup, it has been fun.

Tomorrow, I will showcase my outfit for Easter Monday, please subscribe to Champagne Twist so you don’t miss it.

Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow.

#EasterSpringDress2017 – The Reveal : part 1

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Hello,

The Easter Spring Dress 2017 Sew a long has been a great opportunity for me to tackle my fabric fabric stash and review my Spring Wardrobe. So much so, that I decided I didn’t want to limit myself to making 1 dress for Easter. Oh no, I’m not one to make life easy for myself. I decided to put together outfits for everyday of the Easter festival.  This meant either creating items or completing UFOs to wear everyday from Palm Sunday right through to Easter Bank holiday Monday. 9 outfits with at least 1 element I have made.

Yes, this is a completely mad, totally unrealistic and impossible task but, when has a little thing like that ever stopped me?

Easter for me is a time for renewal. I like to celebrate the long awaited arrival of Spring and new beginnings, whilst remembering the true meaning behind Easter. Whist the focus is Easter Sunday, Easter is actually a week long festival. Quite frankly in these strange times any excuse for a week long festival involving creativity, love, inclusion, chocolate and fun, is a festival I’m signing up for.

So over the next few days on Champagne Twist, I will showcase my outfits, some which have been made especially, some are adapted and some were UFOs, all completed for the Easter festival.  I hope you will join me on my journey.

Thanks for reading, please sign up for updates, and subscribe of more from Champagne Twist. Spread the word.

#EasterSpringDress2017

Hello and Happy Easter!

 

First day of Spring, equinox

I’ve finally posted a short video of one of the outfits (yes one – ahem!) I made for the #EasterSpringDress2017 sew along. I posted some information here – Easter Spring Dress.

I have spent so much time planning, designing and thinking about this project. I crazily decided that I couldn’t settle on just one outfit, so I designed outfits for every day of Easter Week.  Yes, the entire 9 day Easter festival. That’s how I roll. Here is the outfit for yesterday – Easter Saturday, otherwise known as the “Apple Blossom Outfit”.

It would be great to read your comments about the outfits, if you have any suggestions please let me know. There will be more detailed information tomorrow about the other outfits, shortly followed by a YouTube video all being well. Please subscribe so you don’t miss out.

Thanks for reading, and again have a very happy Easter 🙂

April Resolutions | Champagne Twist

We’re already half way through April, so far I have managed, to a certain extent, to keep up with 2 online sewing challenges, (#EasterSpringDress Sew Along and #SewApril2017) completed a number of UFOs and even started making a Chanel style outfit.

None of the above have anything to do with this month’s resolution, as it happens to be Gardening. But never fear, I have planed for April a number of indoor and outdoor creative ideas to share with you.

gardening april

Over the next few days, watch out for loads of creative makes all with a garden theme, including haberdashery tools, home decor and even an outfit!

Make sure you subscribe to this blog for more information. Like and share as well to help spread the word,

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday Thinking – Is there enough diversity in the world of arts and crafts?

Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorialv

When I heard there was going to be a new shopping TV channel dedicated to all things sewing and quilting, it almost made my year.

Then I started watching.

Here are some of the main cast of presenters and designers on the new shopping channel, Sewing Quarter.

Group1Edited.jpg

Picture credit/source: Sewing Quarter/https://www.sewingquarter.com/the-sewing-quarter/about-us/

Only 1 male presenter, no male designers, as for ethnic diversity – well here’s the picture, need I say more?

A while ago, I published a piece about the lack of diversity in the music industry, referencing the issues regarding the dominance of a single artist in the UK charts.  Sadly those same themes appear to dominate the world of art and crafts as well.

As much as I enjoyed the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, I was saddened that the range of crafts displayed didn’t reflect the wide diversity of the cratfters, producers and makers in the UK. During my 2 days at the show, I only saw 2 crafter/bloggers of colour at the event – Megan of Pigeon Wishes and Chinelo Bally. There also seemed to be very few male crafters live demonstrating at the show.

When I visit areas such as Goldhawk Road in West London, Walthamstow Fabric Market in East London and areas in-between such as Berwick Street and Portobello Road,  I see a united nations of crafters – beginner hobbyists to professionals, shoppers, shop owners, artists, young and the young at heart. So why is this not reflected in the main stream crafting media, fairs and TV shows?

I know there’s always YouTube, but I also know there is a strong appetite for new challenges, materials and techniques. Chinese jacquards, Indian silks, Nigerian Cottons, Japanese Embroidery, Italian Wools are all highly popular at the moment, but there are few places on the web to inform you how to use these wonderful fabric and techniques. When they are showcased, it is usually by people who are so far removed from the historical and social context of these crafts, the results becomes diluted. An recent example was highlighted during a quilting demonstration on Sewing Quarter where the cultural heritage of quilting was only briefly mentioned.

 

While personally I’m not a huge fan of Colette patterns for various reasons, at least they are attempting to reflect their diverse clientele, featuring models who are diverse in both shape and skin colour. It’s at least a small step the the right direction. Sadly, of all the independant pattern designers, Colette patterns is the only one I know of, who actively do so. None of the top 5 UK independent sewing pattern designers do, as far as I’m aware, which sends out subtle messages of exclusion.

It seems a great pity 2 genres; music and arts & crafts, ideal mediums for bringing people together, appear to be doing the opposite.

What you think? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Elizabeth D Bakes – Vegan Baking Masterclass

This time last week, I was enjoying a great masterclass, held by the owner of Elizabeth D Bakes, hosted by the Piccadilly branch of Whole Foods Market.  Elizabeth demonstrated no less than 3 different recipes – pistachio brownie, carrot cake and lime tart.

My absolute favourite was the carrot cake, with it’s wonderful spicy mix and delicious carrots.  The lime icing really brought out the flavour of the gluten-free cake, much better in my opinion than the traditional cream cheese frosting, and for far less calories.

The brownie while delicious, was my less favourite of the trio, partly because as much as I would love to, I still can’t really get my head around chia seeds.  To me they look too much like frog spawn when reconstituted and they don’t match the flavour and consistency of eggs.

In contrast, the lime pie was a lovely treat – delicious, moist, crumbly and full of delicious citrus flavour. It came a close second to the carrot cake, and it’s nice to know that the entire pie can be frozen at different stages, so that you will always have one ready on standby.

The masterclass was a great eye opener for me. Simply substituting just a few inexpensive ingredients can produce cakes and bakes which are just as delicious as the traditional version, if not more so. The added bonus, these recipes tend to be a whole lot healthier and less calorific, due to their free from, gluten free and/or vegan attributes.

We are all given goodie bags, which included 2 Elizabeth D Bakes banana breads. I shall review the banana bread at a later date. I will also try the recipes given at the event and report back.

5-starOne of the best masterclasses of the year so far – fun, informative and generous  yummy samples provided. Eating cake for Sunday brunch can’t be beaten.

Quick Vegan Flat Bread – recipe | Champagne Twist

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for quick flat bread. This recipe is just as quick to make, and perhaps a tad healthier. I even managed to make an extra 2 flat breads with this recipe.

Quick Vegan Flat Bread – recipe by Champagne Twist

quick vegan flat bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 4 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup warm water

Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food mixer, until a slightly sticky dough is formed.
  2. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the dough to rest.
  3. After resting, divide the dough into 14 equally sized balls.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a heavy bottomed saucepan or frying pan over a medium to medium high heat.
  5. Roll each dough ball on a well floured board, into a circle about the size of a tea saucer.
  6. Cook each flat bread in the pan, for a minute on each side.
  7. To keep the flat breads warm whilst cooking, cover a plate with a clean tea towel, and add the freshly cooked flat breads on top. Cover again with another clean tea towel to keep them warm.

Let me know if you try this recipe. Please don’t forget to subscribe for more recipes – Easter is coming up and I have a few treats in store 🙂

Thanks for reading.

#SewApril2017

Hello,

I’m taking part in the #sewapril2017 challenge over on Instagram. If you love anything to do with sewing and clothes design, please go and check it out.

Champagne Twist on Instagram (@ champagne_twist)

 

sq-neck-shirt-fabric

Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist
Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

CT Show, episode 15 now live

Hello,

whole orange and fresh coco nut cake | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Episode 15 of the CT Show is now live on YouTube, featuring the Whole Orange & Fresh Coconut cake recipe I posted a few days ago.

More coming soon, so please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe.

Thanks for reading.

Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt Kit – review and construction progress

Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt Kit | Champagne Twist

As I mentioned in my previous Clothkits review, I am new to the company and was excited to try their Big Birdie Skirt and matching bag and purse set.  The kit was beautifully presented, wrapped with a measuring tape ribbon, which is actually accurate!

Clothkits inches measuring tape ribbon | Champagne Twist

The kit consists of a large piece of fabric, on which is printed 6 skirt pieces – skirt front, 2 skirt back pieces, 3 facings – a zip, a spool of matching thread and an instruction leaflet.

Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt Kit | Champagne Twist

Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt Kit | Champagne Twist

The kit includes more than enough thread for the project, I overlocked all the edges of each of the 6 cut outs and still had plenty of thread left on the spool. A good quality zip is also provided, but you could swap this out for an invisible zip if you prefer.

clothkits big birdie skirt kit - 6 pieces | champagne twist

Overlocked edges Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt Kit | Champagne Twist

Instructions – pros and cons

The instructions are printed on a sheet of A4 sized paper, with a few helpful diagrams. In the most part they are clear to follow, but as the instructions say, I would strongly advise that you take a few minutes to read and reread them. There are a couple of minor typos, and the facings instructions were duplicated, but nothing of much concern.

There was 1 issue, the instructions didn’t make clear which size I should cut, but I happened to find details on the Clothkits website, with bust, waist and hip measurements for each size from 8 to 20. All well and good if you have internet access, not so much of you don’t.

There are separate instructions for lining the skirt. You have to call Clothkits for the information, which are then emailed to you within minutes. Nice to have the option, and the extra service is quick and easy, however, for those without ready internet access this could be a problem.

Pattern/Kit

As the kit doesn’t include a separate paper pattern, and I wanted to make a skirt lining, I traced the cut out pieces onto Swiss paper. My tracing will enable me to use the pattern for future projects, thus making the kit very cost effective. I also drafted in-seam pockets, but you could easily add patch pockets from the fabric remnants, if you wanted to add your own touches.

On me for some reason, the A-line design fits more like a straight skirt, but I still like the shape.

Tip – Do not discard the remnants. Clothkits have been very generous with the fabric they provide, with many of the left over pieces featuring printed motifs, many of which I used to supplement my Clothkits bag and purse set.

Value for money

At nearly £40, initially the kit seems expensive, but bear in mind that the fabric is baby corduroy, which features a lovely printed design by Jane Foster. Everything to make the basic skirt is included in the kit and there is extra fabric with printed motifs, if you wish to embellish your skirt further.

Construction

In all, it took about 2 hours from start to finish (not including the planned extras) to make the skirt.  I took my time and overlocked the edges, otherwise this skirt can easily be made in under an hour. For beginners, I think this is a lovely, quick and simple skirt, which is very attractive and fun to make.  For more experienced sewists, there is plenty of scope to add your own embellishments, especially with the remnant pieces of fabric.

I especially like the fact that I am able to make use of the left over pieces, which adds to the value of this kit. The customer support is very good, as is the product itself.

In marked contrast to the bag and purse kit, I really enjoyed making this skirt. I plan to add a few more embellishments, but for now here is the almost finished item.

Jane Foster Big Birdie Print A-Line skirt Clothkits | Champagne Twist
Back skirt view – Jane Foster Big Birdie Print A-Line skirt by Clothkits

CKits cover

4-star

 

 

 

 

 

Clothkits bag and purse kit review | Champagne Twist

Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

 

I am new to the Clothkits phenomena, which I’m reliably informed was a huge thing back in the 70s and 80s. Clothkits were as the name suggests kits made up of everything you need to make a dress, skirt or doll, all in a kit, including fabric with the printed pattern ready to cut out, doing away with the need of a paper pattern. The system appealed to newbie crafters as well as sewing people who were time short.  After a hiatus, Clothkits were relaunched about 10 years ago, and this year seem to be making a strong impact for people who would like to start crafting.

Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

I came across Clothkits after watching the Sewing Quarter, where the demoed a wonderful skirt kit.  Sadly by the time I got around to ordering, they has sold out.  Fortunately, a few days later the kit came back in stock together with a matching bag, which I immediately snapped up.

Yesterday, a week after ordering, both the kits arrived, and I immediately set to work, thinking the bag and purse kit would be the easiest and quickest, before embarking onto the skirt.

Upon opening the well presented package, I was surprised to see how small the printed sections were.  Where I was hoping for a large tote, the final piece was barely large enough to enclose a computer tablet. I add at this point that in my haste to order the bag before it sold out, I didn’t make a note of the size of the bag, and assumed it was the size of a shopper tote, but as you can see below, the Clothkits bag is considerably smaller.  The only picture on display on both the Clothkits website and the Sewing Quarter website show the kit all wrapped up, so you can’t gauge how big the finished bag will be, until you purchase the kit.

Source: sewing quarter.com

So already disappointed, I ventured on with the project, to discover that the rest of the contents where equally ungenerous when compared with the skirt kit. The thread reel was smaller than the one included with the skirt kit, the lining fabric was barely adequate for both the bag and purse, leaving little room for error.  I had the use the striped lining horizontally for the purse and vertically for the bag in order for it to fit, which is a pity as the 2 items won’t exactly match.

There was also little scope for pattern matching, but as this kit is aimed at beginners, and it was lining fabric hitch no one else would see, I could let that slide. I like the striped fabric, but for this kit, maybe a plain lining would have been more suitable.

Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

From the instructions, depending on pot luck apparently, the kit includes either webbing, printed straps, or as in my case, extra cord fabric which you cut out yourself. For a supposedly pre printed kit, I thought it was rather odd I had to work out how to cut out the bag straps, while the main body of the bag and purse was printed with cut out lines.  As an introduction to Clothkits, I found this more than a little disappointing.

Most of the instructions were easy to follow, although I’m not sure if that would have been the case if I was an absolute beginner.

Adjustments:

  • From the leftover material from the skirt kit, I made inner pockets for both the bag and purse.

    Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
    Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist
  • I will purchase some webbing to make a longer crossover body strap, as the handles I was supposed to make from the ‘left over’ fabric as instructed, were far too small.
  • I added a piece of the ribbon used to tie up the kit, to the zip pull to create a pull tag.

Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - zip pull

  • I attached the inner lining of the purse, by sewing it by hand. I used a natural coloured thread, which matched the lining fabric for a better finish. I didn’t like how the red thread showed up on the inner white and black striped lining fabric.
  • I will make a button closure for the bag, using the leftover scraps from the skirt kit. Details will be posted as soon as the webbing arrives and I have completed the bag.

In short, had I not purchased the skirt kit, I wouldn’t be able to make the bag work for me at all. For £19.95 plus £2.95 p&p, I don’t think this is good value for money, as the bag is far too small to be useful for an adult, unless you have the skills and knowledge to make it your own. I still have to purchase webbing, as cord fabric handles I don’t think will give a nice finish to a bag of this type. This should have been a quick project, but it will take me a couple of days waiting for extra supplies, for a kit that I think should have included webbing in the first place.

Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The purse is the one saving grace for this kit, but it’s not enough to save this product. If I was a starter, this kit would have discouraged me from buying any more Clothkits. In short, very disappointing, and in marked contrast the to skirt kit, I regret purchasing this bag and purse set.

1-star

Yes, the rating is harsh, but when compared with similar products, including other kits from the Clothkits range, this particular one just doesn’t make the grade. I’m glad to say that I’ve started the Clothkits skirt kit, and so far I’m very impressed with the product and can’t wait to finish it, and start wearing it.

I will post my full review of the Clothkits skirt kit on Thursday, so please stay tuned for that. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep updated on all things new on Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

How to make a mini travel sewing kit

spring clean - march

As part of this month’s Spring Clean theme, I am posting related articles to help with every day tasks and organisation. Today’s post is about creating a mini travel sewing kit for sartorial emergencies.

Whether you sew or not, it’s a good idea to carry a sewing kit in case you lose a button or a hem unravels. Here’s how I made my mine:

  1. 3 needles, 2 ready threaded
  2. small scissors or snips
  3. spare shirt buttons
  4. thread bobbin, with about 5 different coloured threads
  5. safety pins, in various sizes

Plus, a small container to hold the above items, such as an old sweet tin.

mini travel sewing kit | champagne twist

Needles –

sewing needles | champagne twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Place 3 needles on a small fabric scrap. Thread 2 with white and black threads, leaving one spare. This will help save time in case you’re in a hurry.

 

Small scissors –

scissors | champagne twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

If you have one from last year’s Christmas cracker, this is where it becomes useful. If not, raid your sewing kit or consider purchasing a pair.

Spare buttons –

white shirt buttons | champagne twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

You could make a small paper envelope to store spare buttons, but I just usually keep 2 or 3 loose in the tin.

Thread bobbin –

thread bobbin card | champagne twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Wrap different coloured threads around a small piece of cardboard. The colours I use reflect the colour of the clothes I usually wear. Adapt the thread colours according to your daily wardrobe.  Add extra black and white thread, as these tend to be the most useful.

Safety pins –

safety pins | champagne twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

These are quick to use, if you don’t have time to do a temporary repair. I used a piece of ribbon to store my pins together, but you could use a small envelope, pin them on a fabric scrap or simply pin them together.

 

 

mini travel sewing kit | champagne twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Add the above 5 items in a box or tin, place in your every day travel bag*, and you will never be caught with a lost button or unraveled hem again.

*Note, if you’re travelling by air, chances are you will not be permitted to fly with sharp objects such as scissors. Check with your carrier before you add your sewing kit to your hand luggage.

mini travel sewing kit | champagne twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

I hope you found this article useful, please comment below and add your suggestions. Do you carry a sewing kit? What’s in yours?

Don’t forget to subscribe for more tips and tricks. Thanks for reading.

This is London

Tower Bridge

 

What is London?

Multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-sane.

A city of grafters,

fighting daily, just to get from Alperton to Brixton.

London, where mighty oak leaves stop trains in their tracks,

and imaginary daily rain stops play,

but bombs from wars ago are instantly overcome.

A city of villages and villagers,

of nomads, of dwellers.

High rise flats, and occupants with higher dreams.

Where fisherfolk fish alongside skyscrapers,

and farmers plough fields next to palaces.

Computer techies and hand crafters,

city suits and planning drafters.

Bespoke tailoring in greasy spoons,

eating fish and chips like it’s going out of fashion.

Paddington Bear, Wimbledon Wombles,

Big Ben, Little Venice.

John and Sherlock, Naomi and Mary,

Super heroes, armed with courage, intelligence, grace and magical flying umbrellas.

Of disappearing red phone boxes,

And an omnipresent blue police call box.

Double hearted souls, who run hot and cold,

towards both adventure and danger in equal measure.

The ever expanding city, that never stands still,

living in the the past, present and future.

Taxi drivers who rule the metropolis,

chauffeuring MPs to their duck ponds.

Laptops in coffee shops,

connecting lives to the world outside.

Streets paved not with gold, but from the stolen toil

of kidnapped lions and Kings.

A city of many bridges, with more to come.

People from every country cross

with people from every country,

hoping to reach a destination full of wonder.

A city that trumps hate,

voted for inclusion,

demanded equality,

marched for the planet,

hosted the greatest games.

Of art, and science, and music and

laughter, and tears, and dance, and sound, and

colours, all the colours.

Where everyone is different, which makes us family.

Extraordinary in it’s ordinariness,

perfect in its imperfections,

the world in one city, the city of the world,

and more, so much more.

This is London.

Flowers from Columbia Market,

to celebrate a birthday, a wedding, a birth,

to remember the fallen.

In sympathy with a brew,

for that’s what we do.

This is London.

We make tea.

We carry on.

 

Whole orange and fresh coconut cake recipe | Champagne Twist

whole orange and fresh coco nut cake | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

I fancied baking today, and spied a couple oranges in the fridge and a very tired looking coconut in the pantry which needed to be used quickly. However, I would recommend you use desiccated coconut instead, if you have a very sweet tooth, or wish to avoid hand grating a coconut.

Whole orange and fresh coconut cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges, 1 to be used whole, 1 for decoration
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 3 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vanilla caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated or desiccated coconut, plus extra for decoration
  • 1 1/4 cups self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, for decoration (optional)

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 (180°C/160°C fan assisted).
  2. Grease and line with baking parchment a 22cm diameter round baking tin.
  3. Wash the oranges and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Set aside one of the oranges. Roughly chop the other orange, and then using a food processor, puree the orange until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a food mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the beaten eggs, followed by the orange puree.
  5. By hand fold in the coconut and flour to form a fairly loose batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake tin, and level off the top to help even baking.
  7. Place the tin on the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for 50 minutes. Check the cake is cooked with a skewer pushed into the centre. If it comes out clean then the cake is finished. If not, bake for a further 10 minutes and test again. You may need to cover the top of the cake with some foil to prevent burning.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin for 5 minutes, before transferring  to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Zest long, thin strips from the 2nd orange. Juice the orange, ensuring any seeds are removed.
  10. Sift the icing sugar into a small, clean dry bowl. Stir in just enough orange juice to make a smooth icing and then drizzle over the cake.  Sprinkle the extra coconut and the orange zest on top. Allow to set and serve with a hot beverage, preferably a nice cup of tea!

 

Top 7 Dressmaking Trends for Spring Summer 2017

These are the top 7 sewing Fashion trends for Spring/Summer 2017, and my personal interpretation;

1. Greenery –greenery-colour-of-2017

Pantone’s colour of the year is so apt for Spring/Summer 2017. If you haven’t already, expect to see lots of green fabric and notions in the coming months. Check out my Greenery Pinterest board for further inspiration and ideas.

2. Gingham –

Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist

The ever popular, evergreen print is still dominating the fashion catwalks and sewing community network, including mine! So if, like me, you didn’t get round to finishing your gingham UFOs in 2016, you still have time.

 

 

 

 

3. Cold shoulder –

image from New Look.com

I’m not keen on this trend. It was made popular last year, and as resurfaced again this season.  We only get 10 days of sunshine with warm weather in the UK, cold shoulders are not warm enough! Try making with chambrays and finish with lace, in case we get a heatwave.

Picture Source: http://www.newlook.com/shop/womens/tops/blue-crochet-lace-trim-cold-shoulder-top-_513352849

 

4. Ruffles –http://www.instyle.com/fashion/clothing/shop-spring-2016-trend-ruffles

A throw back to the romantic 80s era, again another trend I’m not fond of. Done in a subtle way, it can be very effective, but it’s a waste of good fabric if you ask me.

Picture Source: http://www.instyle.com/fashion/clothing/shop-spring-2016-trend-ruffles

5. Embroidery –https://www.zara.com/uk/en/trf/tops/top-with-embroidered-dasies-c358032p4276074.html

Something I adore. I’ve plans to embroidery anything that makes the mistake of staying still for more than 2 seconds.  You have been warned.  Expect ideas for updating your wardrobe with simple and more advanced embroidery techniques. Check out my embroidery ideas collection on my Pinterest board.

Picture Source: https://www.zara.com/uk/en/woman/tops/shirts/floral-embroidered-shirt-c401033p4310643.html

6. Sleeves –

https://www.zara.com/uk/en/woman/tops/view-all/striped-top-with-scalloped-hem-c719021p4253051.html

Now I like a sleeve. I like short sleeves, long sleeves, no sleeves even.  I’m still figuring out how to successfully avoid the ‘mega long sleeve in soup’ scenario, but it’s definitely a trend I can get on board.

Picture Source: https://www.zara.com/uk/en/woman/tops/view-all/striped-top-with-scalloped-hem-c719021p4253051.htmlv

 

7. Slogans T-shirts – http://www.dior.com/couture/en_gb/womens-fashion/the-spring-summer-2017-collection?gclid=CjwKEAjw5M3GBRCTvpK4osqj4X4SJAABRJNCkXLLrOAr9qP0H5AD11vUwoH2TogZ5NuvZ6plB4cCTRoCWi_w_wcBhttp://www.dior.com/couture/en_gb/womens-fashion/the-spring-summer-2017-collection?gclid=CjwKEAjw5M3GBRCTvpK4osqj4X4SJAABRJNCkXLLrOAr9qP0H5AD11vUwoH2TogZ5NuvZ6plB4cCTRoCWi_w_wcB

Yet another 80s throw back, with limited success. I like a good campaign slogan or a famous, inspirational quote, but if we start displaying designer names on our chests, then I’m out.

Picture Source: http://www.dior.com/couture/en_gb/womens-fashion/the-spring-summer-2017-collection?gclid=CjwKEAjw5M3GBRCTvpK4osqj4X4SJAABRJNCkXLLrOAr9qP0H5AD11vUwoH2TogZ5NuvZ6plB4cCTRoCWi_w_wcB

What are the sewing trends you’re following from ss17? Comment below and subscribe for more from Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading.

Spring clean your wardrobe in 1 weekend – day 3 (Final day)

Spring clean theme for March - Champagne Twist

To recap, on Friday, you separated your Autumn/Winter clothes from your Spring/Summer clothes.

Yesterday you will have:

  • Completed your laundry,
  • Taken your clothes to the repair shop, dry cleaners,
  • Taken your unwanted clothes to the charity shop,
  • Set aside any clothes you wish to sell,
  • Prepared your clothes for ironing and/or mending.

Now for today’s tasks:

Spring Clean Your Wardrobe in 1 Weekend –

final day

spring summer wardrobe 2017

Sunday afternoon

You deserve a lie in, it is Sunday after all. Unless you absolutely have to, don’t get out of bed before noon.

1pm; Let’s make a start on those repairs, get them all out of the way.  Next, complete the ironing and put away your clothes. Prep your work clothes as well while you’re at it.

2pm; Give your wardrobe a quick wipe with a dampened cloth. There is no point organising your lovely clothes, only to place them in a dusty wardrobe. If you wish, you can line your drawers with scented paper, and add lavender bags to your hangers.  This may help keep your clothes freshly scented, and the moths away.

After all that, spend the rest of the day online shopping. Yes, shopping. You can browse your favourite online shops, order those pieces missing from your wardrobe, and look forward to receiving them in a few days. If like me you like sewing, you can purchase haberdashery according to your wardrobe tastes. You will find the notes you made on Friday and yesterday useful.

Your evening should be free for rest and relaxation, safe in the knowledge that your spring wardrobe is up to date. It’s nice to know another task that we so often put off, is done and you helped a charity in the process.

spring clean your wardrobe in 1 weekend

I hope you found this mini series useful, please leave your comments and suggestions in the comments box below. Don’t forget to subscribe for more. Thanks for reading.

Spring clean your wardrobe in 1 weekend – day 2

Hello,

Spring clean theme for March - Champagne Twist

Friday has finally arrived, and I hope you are looking forward to the weekend. Yesterday I posted suggestions on how to steal a March (see what I did there?) on spring cleaning your wardrobe, focusing on sorting your Autumn and Winter clothing before storing. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, please click this link.

Today, I’m posting suggestions on how to tackle your Spring and Summer clothing for the coming season.

Spring Clean Your Wardrobe in 1 Weekend –

Day 2

Saturday morning

Arise nice and early, make yourself a hearty breakfast and set to work on sorting out your wardrobe. Ideally the following should be completed by 12.30pm.

  • Anything that needs mending, set aside, you will be repairing these later this evening or tomorrow.
  • Anything that needs dry cleaning, add to your dry cleaning bag you started last night.
  • Anything that needs washing, add to the laundry pile.
  • Next, quickly sort out the clothes you don’t want or need any more. Spend no more than an hour doing this, and be ruthless. If you haven’t worn it in a year and it’s not of sentimental value, out it goes. If it doesn’t fit, say bye bye. If you have never ever worn it, and it’s in good condition, consider selling it or send it to the charity shop. Either way, it’s leaving. If you can alter it to make it into something new, then by all means keep it, but be honest with yourself. Will you have time to adjust your items in the next 12 months? If you know you won’t, consider donating your clothing instead.

You should now have:

  • a set of Autumn/Winter clothes drying,
  • a set of Spring/Summer clothes in the wash,
  • a set of clothes ready to take to the dry cleaners,
  • a set of clothes ready for repairing or altering,
  • a set of clothes for the charity shop.

SC wardrobe

That’s enough hard work, time for tea and cake.

Saturday early afternoon

Time now to take your stuff to the dry cleaners/seamstress/charity shop etc. Aim to be back home by 2.30pm.

When you return, make yourself a hearty lunch with loads of fruit, veg and plenty of water. Enjoy, for work starts again at 3.30pm.

Saturday late afternoon

Time to check the washing – hopefully they should have dried and be ready for ironing and/or storage.  That said, this is England, where it rains … a lot.  Do what you can!

Take a good look at the remaining clothes and your notes of the clothes you have taken for repair and/or dry cleaning, you will need these later.

Is there anything missing from your wardrobe? Do you need a pair of jeans, or a little black dress? Perhaps you fancy a new shirt, or some Summer shorts. Make another list of any gaps in your clothing collection.

Saturday evening

It’s Saturday night. You can have a night in and start on the mending in front of the TV, or enjoy a well deserved night out.  Whatever you do, enjoy yourself, Spring is here!

Tomorrow, I will post further suggestions on how to Spring Clean Your Wardrobe. You are 2/3rds of the way done now. Whooppee!

I hope you are liking this mini series so far, if you have any comments and/or suggestions, please write them in the comment box below.  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the final instalment tomorrow.

Easter Spring Dress 2017 Sew-along | Champagne Twist


“#EasterSpringDress2017"

Hello folks,

In addition to the #2017MakeNine sewing and knitting challenge, I’ve just signed up for the #EasterSpringDress2017 sew along hosted by Akram of Akram’s Ideas and Judith of Judith Dee’s World.

I already have the bonnet, which I have never worn – long story, will explain one day – the fabric and most of the notions.  When I dig them out from the darkest depths of my fabric stash Indiana Jones style, I will show you.  I have a pattern in mind too, again I will show you in another post shortly.

The deadline is Easter Sunday, 16 April 2017, (I believe the absolute deadline is Tuesday 18th April, but I want to wear my frock on the actual day!) so if you would like to participate you still have time, but maybe start thinking about putting your skates on.

For more information, please head over to judithdeesworld.com and akramsideas.com. Please find below links to Judith’s and Akram’s YouTube channels.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing all your wonderful Easter sewing creations.

Spring clean your wardrobe in 1 weekend – day 1

The weather is getting warmer, and for me that signals a change over of seasonal clothing. It’s also a good opportunity to ditch, repair and rethink my wardrobes pieces.  As the weekend is fast approaching, why not dedicate it to sprucing up your wardrobe?

Spring clean theme for March - Champagne Twist

Equipment:

  • Basic sewing kit
  • Refuse bags
  • Cardboard boxes, to send items to the charity shop
  • Laundry basket
  • Clothes hangers
  • Notebook and pen
  • Long term storage bags (optional)
  • Lavender bags or cedar blocks (optional)
  • Dance music (optional)
  • Tea (essential)
  • Cake (essential)

Please note: I have excluded footwear, evening wear and specialist clothing such as ski wear or uniforms. There will be a post about these items on a later date.

hangers clean wardrobe

Spring Clean Your Wardrobe in 1 Weekend –

Day 1: Friday evening

Empty your wardrobe and place everything on your bed or a large, clear and flat surface such as a table. Get rid of any wire hangers and where possible recycle them, or if you think they will accept them, donate them to your local charity shop. Your reaction to wire hangers who be on par with this …

 

On a slightly more serious note, try not to use wire hangers as they tend to mis-shape and generally shorten the life of your clothes. Any broken and damaged hangers should ideally be replaced too. If possible recycle any plastic clothes covers you have from the dry cleaners.

Sort your clothes into 2 piles;

  • Autumn/Winter clothes
  • Spring/Summer clothes
Spring clean your wardrobe weekend | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Separate your clothes into Autumn/Winter clothing and Spring/Summer clothing

Autumn/Winter clothes

Making a note of what items are in each section, sub divide your Autumn/Winter clothes into 5 piles as follows;

  • Repair pile: Anything that needs repairing, do so right away if you can, or place in a bag to take to your dressmakers or dry cleaners tomorrow afternoon (Saturday). When repaired, store immediately and if possible away from your Spring/Summer wardrobe. Use lavender bags or cedar blocks if you have them. These will help to prevent moth damage, and should add a lovely scent to your stored clothes.
  • Laundry pile: Anything that needs cleaning, prep for washing and if you can, start washing them. If your clothes are dry clean only, make a note and take to the dry cleaners tomorrow afternoon.
  • Sewing recycling pile: If you’re handy with a sewing needle and can transform an old piece into something new and useful, add this to the sewing recycling pile. In the past, I’ve changed a well loved dress into 3 adored new pieces – a top, head band and matching scarf. Now that’s what I call ultimate recycling!
  • Charity pile: Donate any clothing you don’t want but is still in reasonable condition, to your favourite charity shop tomorrow.
  • Anything remaining should be in the Return to storage pile. Store carefully and if possible separately from your Spring/Summer clothing.

You should now have plenty of space for your Spring/Summer clothes in your wardrobe. Your Autumn/Winter clothes are either ready for the laundry, in the repair, recycling, charity shop piles or stored ready for next season.

Reward yourself with a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

clothes folded

If you have taken notes of the items in your Autumn/Winter wardrobe, you can work out what items to make or purchase over the next few months. I noticed that I have a lot of black and navy clothes, so I will avoid making any Winter clothing in theses colours. Since I’m donating a number of trousers, I will need to replace some of them at a later date. Creating an inventory is a useful shopping reference, helping me to stay organised and avoid doubling up on items I don’t need.

By the end of the evening, you should only have your Spring and Summer clothes left to sort – leave these in a safe place and tackle them tomorrow.

I will post the tasks for Saturday’s great Spring/Summer wardrobe spring clean. For now, relax and enjoy the rest of your evening.

Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday Thinking – Music Diversity?

Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorialv
Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorial

Is Ed Sheeran’s dominance of the UK music charts a cause for celebration, or does it highlight the lack of diversity in the music industry?

Last week, much was said about Ed Sheeran’s remarkable feat of having no less than 9 singles in the top ten singles chart. News commentators made much of the phenomenon, and music industry experts celebrated the success of the British artist and his huge record sales.

Ed Sheeran is a great talent. He has achieved in his short career levels of success than can only be arguably beaten by the likes of Adele, Robbie Williams and Coldplay. A host of number 1 singles and albums, Brit Awards, Sheeran is a young man, dare I say, precocious talent with a very long career ahead of him. His reputation as a musician, singer songwriter of unique talent, particularly in an overly commercial world, is well deserved.

His dominance in the British Music Charts, in any other era, would rightly be a cause of celebration. However, the Music Charts today, in the time of instant downloads and streaming, have perhaps unintentionally shown one side of the industry’s personally, which if not checked, could signal its rapid demise.

In a world where civil liberties are more under threat than they have been in decades, 2017 has already seen children dying from starvation and families destroyed in war-torn countries. Many in these uncertain times turn to some form of escape, such as music, and therein lies the problem.  In an industry which is still predominately run by white men, it appears that it’s true face is now being exposed by the one young, white male artist who has 90% of the top 10 singles in the chart.

Actually, it’s worse; Sheeran has no less than 16 singles in the top 20 chart. If it wasn’t for Chainsmokers and Coldplay, who are currently residing at number 7, Sheeran would have made a clean sweep of the top 10.  The entire top 20 is dominated by White artists, with Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley, the sole female act featuring the sole Black artist, (who happens to be the grandson of Bob) at number 17. Chainsmokers, a 2 piece DJ outfit from the US, collaborating with Coldplay, a 4 piece British band. The entire top 10 therefore consists of  7 White male musicians – only 3 acts from just 2 countries. Hardly an endorsement of musical diversity.

While the talent of these artists is undeniable, I’m disappointed that there was little mention of the screamingly obvious lack of diversity. When there are so many musical acts, playing a huge range of genres in the UK alone, coupled with the current global political climate, it is more than worrying that there are so few different artists and music genres represented in UK music charts. It is even more worrying in Brexit Britain, that the captains of the music industry, still predominantly white males, are celebrating this, especially in the week of International Womens’ Day.

If after all these decades fighting for equality, today women are only represented in the music charts by Katy Perry, and people of colour are represented by a ‘featured’ artist, then we have a very, very long way still to go in terms of diversity in the music industry. I hope that 1 person dominating the charts in this way, is a fluke. I fear that this may signal the start of a more aggressive move towards exclusion, in the pursuit of profit and we will all be poorer if that continues.

#2017MakeNine – March Update

Hello,

This is an update of my #2017MakeNine challenge.

grid make 9

fullsizeoutput_9f93Greenery knit set – I am re-doing the hat because I made it far too big for my little head. I tried blocking it, and then shrink washed it, but it didn’t help. I even thought about adding a couple of pleats, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy with the end result, so I spent half an hour in front of the TV and unravelled it.  I shall start the remake as soon as I have completed my current knitting project.

I also plan to decorate my Greenery Knit set with embroidery, and I think I may have found a nice pattern to adapt. Watch this space.

fullsizeoutput_a019

Protest hat – I managed to get the sizing correct, but ran out of wool. But no fear, I managed to find another ball of yarn in my stash, so this will be next on the list after the Greenery knit set.

 

 

Neptune wrap cardigan – this is not part of the Make 9 project, but is the reason for the delay in the 2 projects above.  I don’t like to have too many projects on the go at the same time, hence I won’t be starting anything else, until these 3 knitting goals have been completed._DSC5427

However, I will take this opportunity to explain my Neptune wrap cardigan, so called because of the beautiful sea greens and blues of the yarn.  A cardigan made of this wool, caught my eye during my visit to the Spring Knitting and Stitching show. I was inspired and nabbed myself a couple of balls – and they are huge.  Lovely to knit, vibrant of colour and a bargain at £5.25 per ball, I initially thought I would make a simple, quick scarf for spring. As the wool features a shade of green close to the Patone colour of the year, Greenery, I figured it would be an affordable way to update my wardrobe.

fullsizeoutput_a3df
Neil the Knit Stall at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show. 

Then I started knitting. And knitting and knitting. My ‘scarf’ grew into the the size of a blanket. Then, somehow, I thought, ‘I have more than enough scarves, I should make a cardigan’. I’ve never knitted a cardigan before, but heck, I’m not going to let a little thing like that stop me. I have knitting needles, courage (or madness, not sure which yet!) and wool. How hard can this be? Famous last words …

It’s taken me about 3 days to knit the back piece, and now I’ve sort of come up with a plan to make the front – a 2 piece affair which I hope will have an wrap over effect and self ties. And maybe some sleeves. Did I mention I was winging this?

I have employed my bamboo stitch skills for all of the back, which took up about 75% of the first ball of wool.  For the front I think I will start with the bamboo stitch at the bottom of the bodice to the mid way point, and then switch to good old stocking stitch. That’s the plan anyway, fingers crossed.

It feels strangely liberating to be free style knitting like this. I love the fact that I am utilising my knitting skills in a slightly different way. I’m looking forward to finishing it, and showcasing the final results in the near future. Keep posted via my Instagram account and fingers crossed, I will be able to model it here on the blog soon.

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#PrayForPeace

It’s the day after the day before, and I’m still thinking about the awful events in Manchester. Sewing yesterday was the last thing on my mind, and today I had to force myself to sew a simple belt for my jumpsuit.  If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I’m on a bit of a daisy and gingham vibe.  Well I was until 2 days ago. Daisies are one of my favourite flowers, and happens to symbolise innocence and youth. I, like many school children, had a gingham dress which my mum made for me. I adored that dress – not a lot of people can say they liked their school uniform, but I did, because Mummy made it. It was a lovely shade of yellow and reminded me of sunshine.

So surrounded by gingham fabric and masses of daisy trim upon hearing the absolute horror about Manchester – well it didn’t seem right somehow to sew something so symbolic.