Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 summary

As the year is finishing, some reflections and the ubiquitous summary are in order.

This year I had a long making and blogging dry spell, that started at the end of the summer in 2013 and finally finished at the beginning of the summer in 2014. Moving halfway across the country and changing jobs twice had a lot to do with it. But in June I made time for sewing again and I am so so happy I did. As far as hobbies go, it is my biggest love.

So the below is what I blogged in 2014. Some of the things were made in 2013 and some things made in 2014 are yet to be blogged, so it's not the ideal yearly summary, but ah well!

And let's not forget the OWOP Plantains.

The Plantains are definitely my favourite makes of 2014. So quick and fun to make, so comfortable and versatile to wear. An all round winner.

So looking at the above photos it is clear I favoured making separates over dresses. And I also used a lot more patterned fabrics than I remember. It was definitely a year of fun makes compared to practical makes.

Looking at these photos I am happy with these makes, I enjoyed making them all and I enjoy wearing them. But I also see a clear vision for next year. So let's deal with the 2015 re-sew-lutions at the same time.

In 2015 I will....

1. Sew more 'boring' clothes. I.e. practical items for every day use. Focus on high quality fabrics as opposed to fun fabrics.
2. Make more things. The time is there, I just have to learn to use it better.
3. Learn to take better photos. Too easy not to.
4. Finish and blog two quilts currently in progress.
5. Learn to knit and blog knitted projects. (Pleased to say I've started on this one....)

Righty-o! I hope you all are having a wonderful New Year's Eve and HAPPY NEW YEAR! xxx

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Sewing: Salme pattern Liberty blouse

This is looking like my penultimate post of 2014. And it's about a very special fabric. This fabric goes way back. To around spring 2013, if I'm not mistaken (for me that's ages, I don't really keep a stash but rather buy fabric specifically for a project).

So in 2013 I bought the Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges pattern and this fabric to make it in. The fabric is a Liberty archive (1940s, I think) reprint cotton lawn, bought from...I think it was Stone Fabrics.

However, I ended up having all sorts of trouble with the Darling ranges pattern (read about it in the original post), so I didn't use this fabric in the end.

Then in the autumn of 2013 I drafted my own, very simple dress and made it in this fabric. And it was great! Very comfortable, nice-looking...a great dress, basically. And ink pen broke and leaked all over the skirt part. What are the odds?

Anyways, I didn't really have enough fabric left to replace the skirt front, so I instead chopped the dress up, saving as much fabric as possible and hoping a real nice project would come along.

And it did!

This Salme pattern is actually for a dress. But no reason why it can't be a blouse. became a blouse. This blouse.

However, I let this special fabric down. I made the blouse when I didn't really have time to make anything. So I rushed through it. And didn't match the pattern. And also messed up the collar. No biggie, I'll simply have to wear my hair down whenever I wear this blouse, but it's annoying me. I probably have just about enough fabric left to re-do the collar, so I'll probably do that at some point.

I wanted to blog about it now, because the colour of this feels very Christmassy and it is fourth of advent today after all.

So on that note, I hope you all have a very merry Christmas, and see you on new year's eve for a round-up of this year's projects and some thoughts on next year's sewing.

Blouse, make-up and styling: me. Photos: Josh /

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

BIG NEWS! The Peppermint Store - The SHOP!

Guys, tonight I have big news. I have....*drumroll* opened an Etsy shop!

It's been a long time coming. When I started the blog the plan was to at some point open a shop. So in the summer of 2012 I was buzzing with ideas! And probably that was the problem. I had too many ideas, I saw too many possibilities, and I didn't know which one of those I wanted to do.

I've been going back and forth so many times over those 2.5 years and finally realised that I should probably sell the items I enjoy making.

Well, I like little floral beautiful but unnecessary items.

I have a magpie-like attraction to floral fabrics, yet I don't tend to make a lot of floral clothes. I'm most comfortable dressing in plains and neutrals. So by making floral, polka dot and gingham things to sell I can gorge on those fabrics without overcrowding my wardrobe with stuff I won't wear.

So that's my selfish motivation (I think we all knew sales wasn't my strong point) for the shop.

Why I think you'll love my handmade items? Well, look at them! They're adorable! ;) Just kidding.

I guess the type of customer I'm hoping to appeal to is somebody like me. Who loves pretty fabrics put together into something neat, yet rustic-looking.

I'm terrible at selling anything, so let me instead show you my current stock. If you haven't done your Christmas shopping yet I dispatch in 1-2 days. Just saying... :)

Union Jack patchwork-style cushion covers

Floral jewellery pouches 

 More floral jewellery pouches

And yet some more jewellery pouches 

White Christmas cards 

And cream Christmas cards.. 

Or why not both!

Until the new year I'm planning to only sell the Union Jack cushions, jewellery pouches and Christmas cards. I have a few other things planned further ahead, so if you don't see anything you like, bookmark me and pop back in a few months!

Whether you plan to buy something or not, I'd love to hear what you think!


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Sewing: Deer & Doe Chardon -the autumn version

I may have found my favourite skirt pattern! As soon as I finished my first Chardon I started dreaming up another. And while it spent a lot of time as a WIP, here it is - my autumn (& winter) Chardon.

The key difference between this and my summer Chardon is that this one is fully lined. I initially made it without lining, but the material kind of glued itself to my tights as I walked and scrunched up in the front in the most unflattering manner. So I went back to the sewing room (corner) and added lining. Problem solved! And it's a teeny tiny bit warmer too! That bit might be imaginary, but this is one thing I'm happy for my brain to deceive me about.

Two other small differences: I made the belt loops larger from the previous version and I sewed in an exposed zipper. The belt loops were the only issue for me about the pattern, but luckily that's probably the easiest problem in the history of ever to fix. The zipper is exposed because I simply didn't have an invisible zipper at home when I was making this. But I actually quite like it.

Aside from that, this one is very similar to my summer Chardon. Similar material, cotton poplin. Though not particularly wintery, poplin is so irresistibly easy to work with that I just couldn't help myself. Also, similarly to my original Chardon this one is in navy tones, but with a beautiful rose print.

This is probably the most accurate representation of the colours. I'm too lazy to go back and re-edit the others.

This fabric really made me think of Dolce & Gabbana's A/W campaign. You know the one with Claudia Schiffer?  Where she is wearing a gorgeous purple gown and smelling roses?

So I sort of drew inspiration from there for the result photos. Unfortunately I don't have a couple of leggy models, a mythical-looking forest and a team of photographers available, so when I say I "drew inspiration," please interpret that in the loosest sense of the word! As in, I went out and bought a few roses.

Ok, enough with the over-saturated, super high contrast photos. Please see below plain no-nonsense photos of the skirt.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sewing: Autumnal Salme Camisole

Hey guys! Hope everybody is having a lovely weekend!

Firstly, apologies for the silence on the blog since OWOP14. I photograph things for the blog on weekends and the last four weekends I have spent one in Stockholm, two in London, and one teaching a friend to sew.

But because of the above I haven't made much either, so you really haven't missed anything.

Right, let's get to it then. Let's talk about style.

The last 12 or so months have been very, very busy for me and there has not been much time left over for sewing. As such I've had to be very selective about what I want to sew. And without thinking about it I've noticed how I choose to sew things I'm likely to wear as opposed to things that look/seem fun.

Ideally, I should choose projects that teach me new techniques or perfect those I'm weak at. But in the Venn diagram of my sewing habits 'ideally' and 'actually' have only a small overlap.

So...where I was going with this is that I've realised what kind of clothes I feel most comfortable with. And the answer is simple. Simple, elegant lines and cuts, very few fancy details, basically an opportunity for the fabric and/or print to do the talking. So when I stumbled upon Salme patterns (I know, I must have been living under a rock last few years) I was beyond excited. All simple, classic looks.

I had the perfect opportunity to give the Salme camisole a go recently. I was going to the opera with a friend. But spending the day in London with another friend beforehand. Since I live about 1.5 h from London I had to dress in something that could easily be taken from day to evening. A cami is perfect for this kind of situation. Paired with a cardigan in the daytime and with red lipstick and big earrings in the evening.

 Wore it with: black jeggings, blue pumps, fake pearls (I know, I know) and for evening Mac Lady Danger.

I made it with leftovers from this fabric. It has such a gorgeous autumnal print that felt very appropriate for this time of year.

It sewed fine. I hadn't used Salme patterns before, but I found this one great! The instructions are definitely not as thorough as some other indie patterns, but to be honest, unless you are a complete beginner you don't need every single step illustrated.

Two things went wrong sewing this. Firstly, my fabric stretched too much as I was sewing, hence it doesn't hang as well as it could on the body. Secondly, the bust darts ended up too low on my camisole. I'll have to amend this on the next version.

Note that I have made my camisole shorter than the pattern suggests, so if you are reading this and thinking the top looks too short, don't worry, the pattern is a fair bit longer.

All in all, a nice quick little project!

Monday, 15 September 2014

OWOP 2014

So...OWOP 2014 is over. I'm torn between two emotions. Relief. And inspiration. Relief because I can finally wear other things! And inspiration because I've realised the possibilities of the Plantain top.

Let me talk you through it. With pictures.

So I chose the Deer & Doe Plantain tee pattern for OWOP. I mentioned in the previous post that I wanted something that is easy to style because Mon-Fri I work in an office with a smart casual dresscode, but Sat-Sun I loooove my jeans. So it had to go with both jeans and heels. 

Let's take a closer look at the outfits. 


My original Plantain. Blue viscose jersey with sleeves in fine blue silk (old scarf). Paired with jeans for pottering around at home.


Plantain dress (just elongated the pattern using a similar T-shirt dress as a template) in the most fun, colourful print fabric. It's some kind of polyester mix. About £4 per meter from Goldhawk Road, with a quality that matches the price. But with a silk slip under it's fine. Wore it with tan shoes and a tan belt to a winetasting/vineyard tour at Stanlake Park. Recommendation from a friend. Now I'm recommending it to you all! Go, it's amazing!


First workday. Blue Plantain again. This time with black straight leg trousers, black pumps and a drapey black cardigan (photographed without because it's in the wash).


Grey Plantain T-shirt with black lace details. I was going to do a lattice pattern with the lace, but it was such a pain in the a**e sewing onto the very slippery jersey I changed it to diagonal lines. Not sure I like it to be honest. The lace makes it look a bit...ugly.

Anyways. Styled with a black skirt, black patent leather belt and little black high heeled bootie-style shoes.


The Plantain cardigan. This one I love! See, this one was long coming. The background story is a bit long, so those of you with better stuff to do, keep scrolling.

There is a certain style of jacket that is quite in at the moment. Just slightly longer than waist-length, with no collar or lapels. A bit like the Chanel suit jacket, but shorter. I love this style! But my office is way too warm for them. And the whole taking it off, putting it back on - I don't have the patience for that. So I wanted a cardigan version of one. Basically similar in style but way thinner.

I found the perfect fabric on Goldhawk Road for having a go. A very sturdy brown jersey. I did it with the Plantain. I changed the neckline to be not quite as deep, removed some fabric from the back (will put some darts in too next time) and just cut in the middle in the front to make the opening. Ruffled lots of black lace (same as for the Plantain above - funny story, I accidentally ordered 38 meters! of it) and sewed on each side of the opening. Added a hook and eye for discreet closure. And black jersey sleeves.

Success! Love it! Let's have a closer look:

Wore it with a black top, black trousers and black flats.


Ugh, so wrong. By this point I was tired from a long week with lots of 5 am starts and completely uninspired. Got out of the shower and didn't fancy any of my Plantains. Felt like improving my mood by wearing something colourful. I forgot how short and not formal this was and pulled it on. Left the house and realised only when I was on the train to work. Sartorial fail.


Last day! Finally! Also casual Friday. And I was leaving work at 1! So happy. Didn't care what I wore. So I wore the grey lace tee I'm not sure I like. With black jeans and tan shoes.

So that was my OWOP week. I'm glad I did it, but I'm also glad it's over. I still love this pattern, but wearing the same style of something all week is so not my thing. I have a very simple, basic style that involves a base colour scheme of black, grey and navy and the only thing that makes it not completely boring is mixing up the style of things I wear. Remove that and what's left is...boring. So yeah, it was a fun challenge, but I sure am glad it was just a week!

Saying that...guess what I wore on Saturday when I could wear whatever I wanted? A long-sleeved T-shirt.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

OWOP 2014 - My pattern

Whoop whoop, OWOP is finally here! (Read all about it over at Handmade Jane's blog.) I'm superexcited because it is my first one!

Between starting the blog and circa June this year this blog was very much a neglected project. But the more I started reading other sewing blogs the more inspired I got. The sewing blogging/social media community is amazing and really the perfect place to learn, develop skills, feel inspired and challenge yourself.

And OWOP seems like such a fun challenge! It requires a little bit of soul searching (which one is actually my favourite pattern?), opportunities for pattern hacks to get different looks, styling challenges to make that one look last all week, but also a perfect excuse to finally make another of that top/dress/skirt/whatever.

So, which pattern am I going for? Well, because I work in an office I had to go for something that can be styled to look smart. But if I'm going to wear it all week it better be comfortable too! And since this late summer/early autumn weather is most unpredictable, it needs to be a great layering piece.

So I've decided to go with a marvellous and free pattern! The Deer and Doe Plantain T-shirt. The love I have for this pattern is hard to describe. It sews easily and quickly, it is very comfortable, incredibly flattering and so versatile.

I made a blue short sleeved Plantain with silk sleeves earlier this year, and I wear it so often I'm surprised it hasn't fallen apart yet. I've been meaning to make more, but have been distracted by other sewing projects.

But now finally, a good excuse! I like to do things last minute (working hard on those grey hairs!), so I made a Plantain dress on Thursday night, another Plantain T-shirt last night and I'm just about to cut a Plantain cardigan. I'm still in my dressing gown, so once the cardigan is made up the difficult part starts: which one to wear?

Right, let's do this!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Sewing: Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

Happy Thursday y'all! Don't you just love Thursdays? Tomorrow it's Friday and then....WEEKEND!

But I didn't want to talk about Thursdays. I wanted to talk about a Sunday. Last Sunday. The last day of August. On this spectacularly sunny day my lovely friend Nicola and I decided to head over to Kew Gardens and frolick in the sunshine.

It was amazing! The manicured gardens were beautiful, a display of perfection and explosion after explosion of colour. And the landscaped ones were lush to walk around in with a cup of Earl Grey in one hand and iPhone in the other excitedly taking photos of everything.

Also, what a perfect setting for some blog photos?! Nicola kindly played the blog photographer for the afternoon. Unfortunately I didn't bring the camera so the below are iPhone photos.

So let's talk about the actual skirt.

One of the best things about sewing is having a quick and inexpensive resolution to that situation when you are on the hunt for a garment, you know exactly what you want it to look like's nowhere to be found. Well, luckily you can just make it!

I wanted an elegant high-waisted, flared skirt with pockets (I swear, once you start wearing skirts and dresses with pockets, you don't want to go back) that would be suitable for work. I found lots of skirts that tick the high-waisted and flared boxes, but not the other three.

So I started browsing my favourite patternmakers' websites. And found the solution in Deer and Doe's Chardon.

It came together in one day, and was very simple. Yet for some reason wasn't a particularly enjoyable sewing experience for me. I think I got overambitious and tried to do a pattern hack, which didn't really work and took ages to fix. I also worked impatiently, without taking a break. Bad, bad idea. What made me think that ripping up incorrectly sewn tiny stitches while tired and hungry is part of relaxing afternoon?

I only really have two comments on this pattern. Sizes are on the small side - do your measurements carefully before taking to the scissors. And the belt loops are on the short side. Perfect for thin belts, but if you want something chunkier it won't work. Considering this pattern piece is just a rectangle it is the easiest thing in the world to make them slightly longer.

In terms of the pattern - it's beautiful! Printed on proper hard paper, with simple but straightforward instructions. The pattern comes with both English and French instruction, which, I'm not going to lie, makes you feel well and truly chic.

This 'detail' is not part of the pattern. It is my attempt to fix my pattern-hack-attempt-failure in a somewhat aesthetic way.

Not much to say about the fabric. Simple, easy to work with navy poplin from Minerva Crafts.

I have another Chardon in progress at the moment. Also navy tones, but with a rose print. This is such a wearable pattern that I forsee many many Chardon skirts being introduced into my wardrobe over the next couple of months. I'm tempted to make it up in a wool-mix tartan for winter!

And now....a little bit of Kew.

How pretty is that?! Hold on, there's more! Ah Kew, I fell a little bit in love.

Oh, and let's not forget Nicola's and my favourite part:

The gin garden! Cheers to this Thursday guys! Have a great day! xx