Friday, 23 January 2015

Love At First Stitch- Mimi Blouse and book review

I've been super busy with college work recently, so this post is a bit overdue, but I finally got my sewing machine back! (It only took a week to be fixed but I did miss it dearly) This meant I could finish the Mimi Blouse from Tilly Walnes' book 'Love at First Stitch'. You can read her blog here.

For the blouse, I chose this fabric from John Lewis which was on sale for £7 a metre. The print is really cute and features flowers and mushrooms, with teeny tiny insects on it. The snails are my favourite. I wanted to add piping into the seams, like shown on the variation in the book, but I couldn't find any, so opted instead for a green trim. I really like the style of the blouse, although the sleeves on mine are verging on too tight- not sure if that's the style of it or an error by me, but all-in-all I love the finished result. I did make a small mistake in sewing the buttonholes on the wrong side so it now fastens up the same as a traditional 'men' shirt' but it isn't obvious when you look at it, and it makes me feel rebellious.

Just look how cute the snail is...

Close-up of the buttons 
Sleeve pleat
Here are some close up images of the finished blouse. I absolutely adore the little pleats on the sleeves and, considering it was only the second time that I'd made something with sleeves, I think they turned out well. As for buttons, I used some plastic blueish-grey ones from my local fabric shop, and I think they go nicely. By far the most difficult part of the project was adding the green trim, as it wasn't easy to sew in so it was perfectly straight. (As demonstrated by the above image...) However, the rest of the pattern wasn't too difficult, and was so easy to follow with numerous photos and tips throughout. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes dressmaking, maybe not to beginners to sewing, but I think there are some projects earlier on in the book which confident sewers ,but who are beginners to dressmaking, would be able to handle. 

I wore my finished blouse for college the other day with my beloved Primark cardie and my new skinny jeans from H&M. I think the blouse works well as an everyday piece and could also be worn with a skirt, tights and boots in winter, or shorts in the summer. I'm unsure as to what my next project will be, I love all of the things in the book but am also quite taken with the idea of making a 60s coat.

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x

The book is available to buy on Amazon UK- here

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Black velvet cape

After spending £44 in the John Lewis fabric department *gasp*, I now have a finished cape and a pile of pattern pieces waiting until my poor sewing machine pulls through and comes back from being serviced. I'm not sure if the excessive amounts of sewing I did during the holidays  for last minute gifts has caused it to conk out, but I miss it dearly.
Before the machine gave up, I managed to rustle up a velvet cape in a few days, however it did cause a lot of angry tweets about lining fabric. (Which is really annoying to sew with, by the way!) I used a pattern from Mollie Makes issue 45, and I think it turned out rather well.
The only time I have managed to wear it was when we were staying in York and had dinner at the hotel, curse the cold weather...
The velvet was a bit more than I'd usually pay at £14 a metre, but it feels really nice and looks amazing. The lining was a fair £6 per metre and I already had the thread. (John Lewis did also offer their own 'premium lining' for a mere £12 a metre- bit steep for polyester, no?)

Buttons from Duttons!
Arm hole in the cape 
As you can see from the first close-up detailed photo, I had an accident with the lining when I was ironing it. I had the iron on too hot, which caused the polyester fabric to shrink and shrivel a bit. Sadly I didn't have enough fabric to cut it out again, and knew it wouldn't be very noticeable when I was wearing it, I decided to leave it as it was. You may remember me mentioning buying the buttons in this post, and I think they work really well with the cape.

My eyes aren't usually that black, I had to remove red eye with Photoshop... 
For the meal, I wore my cape with my Yumi jumper from a couple of years ago, and a skirt I got for Christmas. The skirt, believe it or not, is from Primark and I love the unusual waistline with the pleats. It's something I'd love to try when I make a skirt. 

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x
Thursday, 8 January 2015


Just a quick post tonight, and then back again with a post about the cape I made. Recently, my dad asked me to design a front cover for a book he's been working on for nearly ten years.
It is a sci-fi book about a boy called Archie who lives below a prosperous city.

Above is the cover I designed, it would be really great if anyone wanted to buy it on Kindle, it's available here and is only £2.28!
You also may have noticed that I have a new blog header, which I also illustrated myself. Sadly, to get it onto Blogger, I had to distort it slightly and am still working on trying to make it look better, as I am really happy with how it turned out. I think this type of header looks a lot more professional than just photos, like I had before, and I was determined to do it myself, as you don't get an A in GCSE art for doing nothing, and I didn't want to commission someone else when I'm capable of it.
Let me know what you think of it.

Until next time,

Holly Olivia x

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Photographing the York Minster in black and white

At the weekend, my grandparents took our family to York, to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary, so naturally it was a good chance to take some photos.
York is such a beautiful city, which is good for us photographers! I've never shot the Minster before, but think these photos which I edited into black and white from the trip look really effective. I also completed a roll of film from my Minolta camera, so will post the images after they come back from being developed. Even if you aren't religious whatsoever, you can't help but admire the architecture of the stunning building. I especially love the first couple of images, where the top of the Minster is visible above the street, it looks slightly unrealistic, but that's why I loved the composition of the image.

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Product review: Janjira Therapy Toner

When I attended the NE bloggers movie night a few weeks ago, I was given a product to review by Suzanne, who is one of the organizers of such events.
The toner retails at £20 and is used to 'remove dead skin cells and dirt' as well as 'reduce the appearance of pores'. Although the product is a little out of the price range I'd usually prefer to pay for a toner, I thought it would retail at a higher price due to the packaging. It is very clean and simple, and the floral motif instantly draws attention to the fact that it is made in Thailand, as it looks very oriental.

The first thing I noticed about the product when I used it is the smell. If there was a perfume that smelt of this product; I'd buy it. The toner has extracts of lemongrass, lime and burgamot in, so smells quite citrusy. 
I've been applying the toner using cotton wool pads, every night before I go to sleep and it leaves my skin feeling really soft. Some toners can dry out your skin, but that isn't the case with this one. 
Overall, I'd recommend it if it's within your budget as it defiantely feels like a quality product and smells amazing.

The toner is available to buy- here

Until next time 

Holly Olivia x