#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

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 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.

Monthly Resolutions – March

Wait! It’s March already? How did that happen?

Well, to be honest, I’m happy that March is finally here, because it means that Spring is officially around the corner. It’s been a long, cold and dull Winter. But now hope Springs anew and we can all start acting on our plans for the season of hope and renewal.

This month is Spring Clean month, which means at CT HQ, there will be a lot of clearing out KonMari style, a lot of decorating Hygge style and tons of fashion and dressmaking, my style!

Spring clean theme for March - Champagne Twist

I have actually made a start on my life spring cleansing, focusing mainly on my new look blog and social network. But March for me is the official kick off of Spring and all related merriment. So please join me as I stitch, hammer, bake, knit and paint my way through March.

February Favourites | Champagne Twist

February was a fun filled, choc-a-block month. And it looks like March with continue the pace. Here is a favourites video, highlighting the events of the 2nd month of 2017 on Champagne Twist.

feb fav.jpg

 

Top 5 YouTube Sites of 2016 | Champagne Twist

TECHNOLOGY
Photo Credit ‘Death to Stock’.

These are my top 5 YouTube Sites for 2016 (in no particular order) –

  1. Kristabel Always interesting, and often thought provoking Kristabel’s YouTube channel has given me loads of inspiration during 2016 in the realms of travel, fashion and lifestyle.
  2. Lorraine Pascale My favourite ever chef and one of the most multi talented and inspirational people ever, Pascale proves you can achieve your dreams and eat cake too!
  3. At Home With Nikki If you love anything to do with home decor, you need to check out this youtube channel.  Nikki plus Homes and Gardens to shame.
  4. TED-Ed another highly inspiration and educational resource, Ted-Ed has 100s of videos covering a wide range of subjects – there is something for everyone.
  5. The Resistance with Keith Olbermann – Keith Olbermann is a riot! If like me you were disappointed with the results of the recent US election, check out Olbermann’s posts. If nothing else he will give you hope for 2017.

And as a bonus, why not check out my YouTube channel – Champagne Twist

champagne-twist-logo

What were your favourite YouTube sites of 2016? What YouTuber are you currently excited about? Please share in the comments below. Thanks for reading! Please subscribe to Champagne Twist for more.

Why I’m staying home during London Fashion Week

The sun is trying its best to shine, but it’s attempts are thwarted due to the London grey skies. However it is unseasonably warm, ‘only 3 layers of clothing required’ temperature.

Yet, I’m staying home, and contemplating a host of tasks – laundry, ironing, gardening, catching up on telly, sewing, on-line window shopping, drawing … basically anything that doesn’t involve me moving more than an few metres from my home.  On a Saturday. During London Fashion Week.  An event I had been looking forward to for weeks.

I don't like Mondays

Why? Because I just haven’t felt the good vibes to go. Despite the talk, the fashion industry is still one of the most non-diverse in the world. When an industry says they believe in diversity, yet the powerful and the influencers in that industry tend to talk alike, walk alike, think alike, act alike and look alike, I being to wonder if there is any real meaning to their diversity hype.

Yes, I have attended many a LFW event – fashion catwalks, product launches, fashion talks and they have in the most part, been good. I have traveled to parts of London that I would never have visited, seen and met loads of interesting people and generally had a great time, at the time. But afterwards, I have more often than not felt a little underwhelmed. The goodie bag half filled with stuff I would never use in a million years, and the other half never intended for me.

The models with expression-less faces, looking like carbon copies produced from a plastics factory, wearing clothing that seems to showcase the designer’s inner-porn king desires, rather than the art of dress making. What are we saying to our young girls and women? The message I’m getting is that male designers are still the majority, in an industry, mostly owned by men, that uses expression-less and voice-less young girls and women to showcase their work, in order to sell their dreams of youth, and promote their own power and dominance to wealthy middle-aged women. The irony being that some of these women achieved their wealth from their fathers or husbands and have little real power of their own, having being taught that having their own opinion or voice is somehow unfeminine. The myth of equality continues, season after season.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn – plant in blue pot

Recently there have been 3 events (Vegan Life Live, a blogging talk with Ella Gregory and #YouCanSitWithUsLdn) which have made me think about my role in this ever madding world and less philosophically, how to make this corner of the internet reach more people and encourage conversation. Where do I want to take the website? Why do I really want to grow this blog? Why am I willing to get up at stupid o’clock to go to the other side of London, using a sub-par and expensive weekend transport system, it’s raining cats, dogs, rabbits, horses and a couple of hedgehogs, suffering from a bad head cold at the drop of a hat to help promote some ‘new thing’, but take 3 weeks to decide if I should purchase business cards for my own website?

The answers to the questions by the way, I want to take this social network as far as it can go. I want to grow this blog, because I want to be heard, within my own terms and not those dictated to by convention. The 3rd question – well the answer to that is a bit more tricky. And it’s taken me a long time, too long really, to figure out the answer. I’m seeking approval. I want to be accepted, I want validation and I want someone to say, ‘yes you are allowed in this group’. It’s so ridiculous, yet sadly true.

The business card thing was a manifestation of my lack of self confidence. ‘My brand isn’t good enough yet. I’m still on wordpress.com, it’s not perfect, the colour scheme isn’t right yet, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ If I was advising someone else, I would have said, “What are you waiting for? Get the darn things printed already. So what if your website look isn’t 100% ready, are you seriously going to wait for that day, because let me tell you, you’re a perfectionist – that day ain’t gonna come.”

So this weekend, instead of going to a number of LFW related events, most of which I know I wouldn’t enjoy, I’m going to work on me. It’s vital to remember that being your best self is a continuing work of progress. You evolve from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. You are a living masterpiece, you have to be seen now, not just when you think you’re ready, or worse, when you think the world is ready for you. The world knows you’re ready. You were born ready. That’s why you are here. So go and get seen already!

 

 

Lulu Guinness – Metal Eye Keyring: Christmas Gift Ideas and Review

Ever had to buy a gift for someone who appears to have everything – in triplicate? Well if you have a Lulu Guinness fan in your group, then why not buy them a key ring.

A key ring?  Yes, you read that correctly, a key ring.  But I warn you, they are not cheap, but then when else can you indulge other than Christmas or birthdays?

Metal Eye keyring - Lulu Guinness Gift Idea and Review
Lulu Guinness Metal Eye keyring. Picture source QVCUK.com

This particular keyring – the Metal Eye – costs around £45 and can be purchased in store or online at both LuluGuinness.com or QVCUK.com. As a keyring, it does a good job, it’s robust, clunky and works as an attractive accessory.  But I don’t use it as a keyring because a) I fear with all the junk I have in my bag, it would be easily scratched or otherwise damaged, and b) it’s too nice to be hidden away in the depths of my hand bag.  Hence why I have converted this keyring into a bag charm.

Lulu Guinness Metal Eye Keyring
Metal Eye Keyring by Lulu Guinness

I wish this keying included a clasp so it would be easier to convert into a bag charm.  Other Lulu Guinness key rings do include a clasp so bear that in mind if you are thinking of trying this gift idea.  I temporarily tied mine to a vintage Lulu Guinness bag with some black ribbon.  The hardware matches the keyring, providing an instant contemporary update.

You could also attach the keyring to a purse, wallet or clutch to instantly transform a plain accessory into something that could add sparkle to your evening wear.

Try tying a long piece of grosgrain or sheer ribbon to the ring, and wear as a piece of jewellery, such as a pendant necklace, a choker or a bracelet.

Metal Eye Keyring by Lulu Guinness review by Champagne Twist
Lulu Guinness Metal Eye Keyring Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The ‘eye’ could be threaded with a very long piece of ribbon and used as a belt buckle.  Tie it to the branches of your Christmas tree and attach a gift tag, as a on-trend way of gift giving.

So don’t just view this as an expensive one trick gift, if presented in an unusual way, the Metal Eye keyring could provide many years of multi use.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Disclaimer: The item mentioned was gifted during a Lulu Guinness promo event.

 

 

My Great Big Sewing Resolution – Cherry Gingham Dress

Hello,

Have another one for you! I am pleased to introduce to you the Cherry Gingham Dress.

Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist
Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist

Like the daisy meadow dress, I used the bodice from Simplicity pattern 2444, and self drafted the skirt. Pockets were added in the side seams, and the dress has an invisible zip installed at the back. I have added a red ribbon belt, and finished the arm hole facings with gingham bias binding.

Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist
Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist

I’m pretty pleased with this dress, the only slight snag, and I’m only saying this because I’m honest, I didn’t match the back skirt seams as well as I should.  I didn’t even notice until I gave it’s final pressing. However, the nature of the pattern means that you have to have pretty sharp eyesight, and be purposely looking for it to notice.  If you can see it, and your name isn’t Bradley Cooper from the A-Team, you’re too darn close!

Details:

  • Fabric: 100% cotton
  • Fabric name: Fruit Basket
  • Print Pattern: Red cherries with green foliage on a black, grey and white, small gingham check background
  • Fabric designer/brand: Robert Kaufman
  • Finishing: Armholes competed with black, grey and white mini gingham check bias binding (purchased)

Currently watching NCIS … again … I know I said I wouldn’t, but it’s either that or another back-to-back rewatch of all the Sherlock episodes … again.  I have to pace my Sherlock rewatches, otherwise I will be climbing the walls by Autumn.

Also, as much as I adore the Simplicity 2444 pattern, I think it’s time for a change.  I fancy making either a pair of trousers, or my first Vogue pattern. Details are on my Instagram account or you can subscribe to my blog to find out more.

What are your sewing plans for the rest of the month?  I would love to hear them, please comment below.

Thanks as ever for reading, see you soon 🙂

 

My Great Big Sewing Resolution – The Zebra Skirt

Hello,

mgbsr logo

I have wanted to make a wide, horizontal striped skirt for a very long time. I’ve searched on the internet, in fabric shops both here and abroad, but it took a recent trip to IKEA to finally source the wide striped heavy weight cotton fabric I required for my Zebra skirt.

Zebra Skirt black and white wide stripe pleated skirt by Champagne Twist
Zebra Skirt: black & white wide stripe, pleated skirt by Champagne Twist

OK so it’s really a wide striped skirt, but that doesn’t sound as exciting! Besides, I had a few minor problems with this little number – where do I begin?…

  1. I pre treated the fabric, following the laundry instructions to the letter, and an hour later I pulled out the material from the drum, only to find a powder like substance all over it.  Turned out, the washing machine needed fixing. ARGH!
  2. After getting said machine fixed and the 2nd pre wash, negotiating the UK weather to dry the fabric, various political shenanigans and terrorist attacks, my heart wasn’t really into sewing, so the project was left for a few days.
  3. Got my sewing mojo back, the cutting went well, the pleating worked out first time, and the zip went in perfectly.  I worked on the skirt for 4 hours straight, without a break, and raised my head only to see the hour hand approaching 1 o’clock … AM! Made the sensible decision to go to bed, a decision that I regretted at 10.03am.
  4. 10am, after a refreshing shower, delicious breakfast and an essential cup of tea, I was ready to tackle the skirt. Only, I had forgotten that I didn’t finish the zip ends, then I closed the zip. At 10.03 am a very loud scream was heard far and wide.  Fortunately, I was able to reuse an old zip from another project. But the whole thing put me back an hour, unpicking the old zip and having to manoeuvre a large amount of fabric to machine sew in the new zip.
  5. The waistband was hand finished, and skirt tried on. Oh heck, I’ve lost weight!  But quite frankly I couldn’t be bothered to redo the waistband, so will add a couple of hidden pleats and make a it decorative feature … eventually.

So why the zebra name tag?  Well, the skirt is black and white, Zebra’s make me smile, and after recent world events, anything that raises a smile can’t be a bad thing. But the most important thing to note is … I’ve lost weight!

Self drafted black and white wide strip pleated skirt by Champagnetwist.wordpress.com
The Zebra Skirt by Champagne Twist Champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Details

Fabric: 100% heavy weight cotton

Brand: IKEA

Pattern: Wide black and white horizontal stripes

Design: Self-designed skirt

Garment: Pleated, knee length skirt, with in-seam pockets and invisible back zip closure

Unusually, I machined finished the hem, because the fabric is very difficult to hand sew, as I discovered when I hand finished the waistband. I’m pleased to say that you really can’t see the machine stitching, so I don’t feel so guilty.

I’m now on a mission to complete my UFOs and wear them before the sunshine disappears. On one dress, I just need to complete Hong Kong seams and hem, so that will be up next.

What do you think of my new skirt? Was have you been sewing recently? If you like this, please click the like button, and subscribe for more news from Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading, and keep sewing 🙂