Another race, done and done...........

Pre race, sporting the ever so popular bin bag look.
My husband and I ran another race this weekend in Gosport. I booked this half marathon a few weeks back after we ran the last half because I am still chasing my sub 2 hour half marathon time.
It was also the first time I ran all by myself. Usually my husband runs with me to pace me and keep me company. I felt it was time he got to run his own race to see what time he can run it in. He was going for a sub 1:30 and ran an amazing 1:27. I am so proud of him.

My super fast husband/running god!!
Unfortunately I didn't make my goal of under 2:00 :-( I ran 2:04, close.
I was hoping that a little speed training after running the full marathon would be enough but I guess it takes a little more than that. However I am happy that I can run as fast without my hubby by my side as I run with him pacing me. That was a big thing for me to accomplish. My plan for next year is to start racing in Triathlon. My husband doesn't like swimming so I am all by myself there and I feel confident now, that I can do it. Plus I will obviously keep chasing that sub 2 hour half marathon. It'll happen, watch this space ;-)

Post race - Sporting my new medal.


The Judith apron (including tutorial), cute little Christmas gift idea

My friend Judith started sewing a little while ago and really got into it. I am always excited when any of my friends pick up sewing as a hobby as I love to see what ideas other people come up with and the things they create.
A couple of weeks back Judith asked me if I could help her figure out how to recreate an apron she had seen, for her friend. She would like to make it as a Christmas present for her and didn't know where to start. I thought that was a very sweet idea and I liked the look of said apron myself which led me to making myself one, taking a few pictures along the way for Judith.
Since Christmas is sort of around the corner for anyone planing to make any presents by hand, I thought I'd share her "tutorial" here. I hope this is helping a few of you readers who are still thinking about what to make for Christmas. It's a good beginners project.
This is the picture of the apron Judith wanted to recreate. 
I used this opportunity for some fabric stash busting and went for a yellow and black colour combination.
my version. I hope you can read the measurements. Please adjust where necessary.

I am not very good with fancy computer stuff, so I hope a picture of what pieces to cut helps. I think the original apron is cut as one piece or a middle piece and two side pieces but this layout was the most economical for my fabric scraps and the end result looks the same.
The measurements I used
 12.5" long at center fold
5"wide at waist (for a total of 10")
6.5" wide at the top
I drew the sweetheart free hand

12.5" wide at waist
18" wide at hem

I drew the pocket free hand, the size I wanted it to be
I cut the top on the fold, as well as the "skirt" piece. Not pictured in the pattern are the straps I made from the same fabric. I cut 5cm wide and 50 cm long rectangles (two for the waist strap and one for the neck strap that I cut in half) for that but you could just use ribbon instead. It's less work and works just as well. I just ran out of ribbon.
I used about 1/2m (140cm wide) cotton drill, 2m of 2" satin ribbon (more if you want to use it as  and some black bias tape that I had left. This is a very inexpensive project (depending on the fabric you use).
Cut out your pieces.
Top with pleated detail: Pin your ribbon onto the top piece around the sides and sweetheart neckline. The right side of the fabric is facing up and you pin all the way around the outside. You can buy pre-pleated ribbon for that. My shop didn't have any so I had to pleat it myself.
pleat all the way around the pocket, too
Stitch all the way around about 1cm from the outer edge. I also zig zagged the raw edges (you can do that before pinning the ribbon on, too. I find doing it after sewing on the ribbon reduces the bulk a bit and also secures the ribbon even more.
Then fold the ribbon edge around to the back and press. Topstitch all the way around et voila, you have a rushed finish.
 Now overlock or zig zag the waist line- edge of your top piece and also the upper edge/waistline of your "skirt" piece.
Pin the top piece to the skirt piece along the waistline (center lines matching, right sides of the fabric facing) sew both pieces together and press seam allowance toward the skirt. Top stitch along the waist of the whole "skirt" for a nice finished edge.

Now you are almost done.

Place your pocket where you would like it to be, pin in place and sew. Hem the sides of the "skirt" and the hem. I finished my hem with bias tape in black to pick up the fabric one more time. You can also apply the pleating as on the bodice to add any other trim.

All that's missing now is the ties and a few finishing touches.

I made my own straps. You can either cut strips of fabric the width and length you want plus hem allowance and sew a double folded narrow hem all the way around.

Or you can cut the strips double the width of the strap plus seam allowance, fold then lengthwise (right sides of fabric facing) and sew along the long side and one of the short sides. Turn them inside out, press and ta da, you have a strap.

Attach to the top and skirt and you are done. Add bows and other details if you wish and you have your finished apron.


I am not very good at explaining things, hence I never do tutorials. I am lacking the teacher-patience-gene I guess. Thankfully this is a very straight forward project so I hope it all makes sense, especially to beginners, who have not made any clothing yet.
Please send me a picture or a link to your blog if you are making an apron like this. I'd love to see how they turn out.


1930s/1940s inspired outfit: blouse and beret

I made this blouse a while ago. I'm very much into separates this season and thought I could do with another pussy bow blouse. I went with a small print cotton in a light brown-ish colour which I think gives the top a very retro look.
I also made the trousers but I am not 100% happy with them yet so no details until I have perfected them to my liking. The beret is made from scraps I had left from making the trousers.
I am totally into berets this Autumn/Winter, so I think I need one in almost any colour.
I am so in love with Autumn colours everywhere. I hope they stay a bit before we have to live with naked trees for months :-(


Is it Christmas yet?

Since Christmas stuff is available in the shops everywhere already (and annoyingly has been for months) I decided to jump onto the waggon and make a dress suitable for upcoming holiday parties. It's the colour that makes it suitable for those occasions otherwise it's just a cute little red party dress. Whatever the occasion, I am in love with it.

I used a simple strapless bodice pattern and drafted the shoulder/back yoke. The skirt is a slight a line shape pleated at the bodice front seams and back seams for detail.

I also added a belt which is an organza ribbon with lace flowers cut out from the scraps. I also had a few scraps of the same lace in black from a dress I made for a customer earlier this year and two black velvet ribbon bows.

I also made some self fabric bias tape from the satin underneath the lace to go around the lace yoke. he dress is also fully lined.

Hopefully I will get some action shots soon.


A short break in Hamburg

My husband and I spend the last few days in the beautiful city of Hamburg. It was my friend Eva's 21st (plus some ;-)) birthday and she thought it would be fun for a group of friends to get away and spend a fun weekend somewhere else. Since everyone apart from us is living somewhere in Germany, it made sense to pick a place there. Hamburg is a perfect location to do some sightseeing, relaxing and some serious partying. If you haven't been, I suggest you add it to you list of places to visit.
We stayed in a hotel just across the road from the main train station and had a great view of the impressive construction that it is.
We got to Hamburg first, on Thursday afternoon. The others didn't get there until midnight. So we went out for some beer sampling ourselves.
Dave and I went out for some exploring on Friday morning. We went down to the harbour.
checked out a WW2 Russian submarine
not very spacious
Walked around the Alster, which is a huge lake in the middle of the city.
Small Alster (this little bit is split off the main lake. The grand old town houses lining it, are absolutely gorgeous.
So is the cake.
Caught up with my friend Eva, her boyfriend Thomas and friend Harry
at the Hard Rock Cafe
In the evening Dave and I met up with my friend Ivonne and her boyfriend, who live just on the outskirts of Hamburg. Ivonne and I went to school together and had not seen each other for 11 years. It was amazing to see her. We immediately clicked again and had the best time catching up. I am sure the next time seeing each other, will be much sooner that in 11 years.
Saturday morning was spend with more sightseeing/city walking
city hall
Hafen city with all the beautiful old brick warehouses
Otto von Bismarck memorial. This is enormous.
We went to the Hamburg Dungeon in the afternoon (no pictures) It was good despite the fact that I am not a fan of ghost rides and such. And then we went back to the harbour areas for dinner followed by a good night out on the Reeperbahn/St Pauli, Hamburgs crazy Party district, for which Hamburg is very much known for.
Sunday was spend with recovering ;-) packing and saying our goodbyes. It's always sad to leave again but I'll be back in Germany for some Christmas market action in December.
Love you Eva, happy birthday and see you soon!!


I ran a Marathon.....

Yes I did! I ran my very first marathon yesterday and haven't stopped grinning since that. I am either smiling because I am so chuffed and proud or I am pulling a grimace due to the pain I am in.

before the race: super sexy bin liner outfit

My husband and I ran the Abingdon Marathon, which is a relatively small marathon. About 1000 spaces but it looked like less participants to me. I guess this is due to some getting injured in training and then have to drop out. That must be heartbreaking.
This race was one of the best organised races I have ever ran. It didn't have a great crowd of spectators but the ones that came out were awesome at cheering us on. The scenery along a lot of the track is beautiful and makes up for the lack of people. It certainly took my mind of the task ahead. There were also a lot of marshalls all along the course and plenty of water stations, jelly babies and Lucozade.

after the race

I didn't have a time goal for this one. I only wanted to finish. Since I never ran a full marathon before I didn't know what to expect so I didn't try to put even more pressure on by setting a time goal. This strategy paid off big time as I was cheerful all the way through. I didn't hit "the wall" once and enjoyed the experience. It was hard, don't get me wrong but I usually get frustrated and "stuck" at some point when I am chasing a time goal. It did get tough after mile 19 (this is the furthest I ran in training) but I then started to take one mile at a time and made it to the finish line.

My blingy proof of achievement

my personal trainer superstar

Once we had made it (my husband ran with me, I am so lucky I have him, I don't think I would be the runner that I am without his support) it got REALLY bad. My legs just stiffened up and walking back to the car was a struggle. The only reason I got out of the car again was this:

and then this a little later:

I could barely get into bed last night but once I made it I was sleeping like a stone. My legs are a little better today but I still have to lift them in and out of bed. I am also wobbling instead of walking and look like an old lady or a penguin. I hope I'll be fine again by Thursday. I am off to Hamburg for a few days to celebrate my friend's birthday. In case she is reading this HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVA!!!!

My time: 4:46 and for some reason they had my husband down as Chris? We finished holding hands....we are so cheesy ;-) that's why our times are the same

Anyways, end of story....would I do this again? Oh yes, despite all the pain, stiffness and soreness this is one of the best experiences ever. I have the Brighton Marathon booked in April. This is long enough to forget how crippled I am today and to get ready to do it all over again. I also have another half marathon booked in about 2 weeks time. I am hoping that after running the full marathon I will finally be able to get that sub 2 hour half marathon time. It should feel relatively "easy".
If you have toyed with the idea of running a race, any distance. Do it!!!  Get a good training plan and go for it. It's the best feeling when you make it over that finish line and get that medal.

I am still wearing mine today....don't judge
This made me laugh. Apart from the bloody shirt, this is me today, and probably tomorrow, too.