Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A Christmas gift guide - day four, men

Ok, so socks are NOT a very original gift idea. A pair and a spare though? That's a brilliant idea. Makes you wonder why they're not all sold in threes!

It appears we now live in a world where To Instagram is now a verb. If you know someone who's a fan of the dreamy, retro style shots (is there anyone who isn't?!) then this makes a great gift.

Love the look of a mounted animal head on your wall but want a humane alternative? Look no further. We have Bucky the deer on our wall at home and it's always a conversation piece (not to mention a great place to hang some Christmas baubles!).

A classic messenger bag for those on the go. This one's also on sale, quick!

Some may say that scented candles are a teensy bit girly (not us!) but this one smells of bourbon and brown sugar. To be precise, Double Oaked Bourbon and Salted Brown Sugar Caramel. Very manly. 

This one isn't particularly cheap but Etsy is an amazing source of mens watches, old and new. The tricky part is buying gifts without getting distracted by all the vintage fabric for sale....

Friday, 13 December 2013

A Christmas gift guide - day three, magazines

Magazines for me are a real luxury and I don't think there's anything better than an unread magazine and an hour to yourself (that's a mother of two small children talking!). I've been given subscriptions as a present before and it was the gift that kept giving - quite literally, every month. You can get subscriptions to most of these but even one issue would make an amazing present. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Christmas gift guide - day two, children

Since having children, Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning. There's slightly fewer festive cocktails and slightly more noise.... but shopping for presents is lots more fun!

These lovely hand printed blocks are made from environmentally friendly rubber wood. There are masses of different faces and patterns to make so this might buy you an hour or two of peace while you get the turkey on. 

For those cosmopolitan children who've grown up drinking babyccinos! Their very own coffee machine so they can host their own coffee mornings. 

Teeny weeny cherry red DMs - possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen! For all those mini punks out there. 

Some great stocking fillers, albeit noisy ones. 

This set of t shirts might be a bit summery but they're brilliant for confusing the grandparents over the course of Christmas day...

This pillow case is so perfect for those that can't sleep without their precious bear. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A Christmas Gift Guide - day one, cosmetics.

Remember when Christmas smellies meant a Body Shop basket with Dewberry scented bath salts? Well those days are long gone. We're now obsessing over luxe, grown up skincare and make up with extravagant packaging. 

This is my absolute favourite product at the moment and it's amazing value for money. It feels divine and makes my skin look smoother. All for under a tenner!
These Chantecaille palettes are not cheap but HELLO? Wild horses! Coral Reefs! What's more, a percentage of the proceeds from each one go to specific conservation charities. So not only are you looking gorgeous but you're helping to save the planet. What's not to love.
Buy here (Elephants, sharks, horses) or you can buy the full range here (US only)

Giving soap at Christmas time is a given really but this one is so delicious you'll want to keep it.

Tromborg is a brand new Danish make up and skincare line which uses organic essential oils and plant extracts. I love the sound of a Recover Mist, could be an essential for after the Christmas party….

This is my favourite and most Christmassy set from Butter London. It includes The Full Monty which is worth it for the name alone.

Monday, 25 November 2013

A long overdue progress update

Hello there!

All SORTS of exciting things have been happening behind the scenes at gather HQ (amongst others, a wedding proposal!) and both of us have been flat out with both gather and real life (work and children never seem to cut you a break when you most need it right?!).

But, the website is nearly finished and everything has been sent to print! Within the next few weeks we should have large boxes turning up with all our packaging and patterns! It’s an exciting (and nerve-wracking) time to say the least… We’ve still got testing to do on the site but keep an eye out in the New Year and you should see the results of our hard work!

If you want to keep updated and be among the first to see the new patterns, please do sign up to our newsletter (via the link on the right of this page).

(a sneaky peek...)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Jelly Jelly

If, like me, you're a child of the 80s (actually the 70s but only just) you'll probably remember jellies! Those colourful plastic shoes that conjure up memories of holidays... Well, they're back.

I couldn't resist and bought not only a pair for me in red but also a pair for my son in bright orange! They make a great alternative to crocs for kids (and are considerably cheaper too) and have the advantage of protecting those little feet in the sea or on stony beaches. What's not to love?

It took me ages to pick a colour, ideally I'd have one of each! Which colour would you choose?

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Presents for Isla

There was a bit of excitement at Gather HQ last week as we both became aunties again! Isla Lily finally made her appearance last Friday - is there a better reason than a new baby to get crafting? No.

I made a pair of rain clouds for the nursery (at the request of the new mama - I made similar for my first son) to hang over the cot.

Sandra made this adorable bear (she's a pretty mean knitter, I'm in awe - my knitting skills extend to squares or rectangles in garter stitch...). You can find the pattern in this book.

Both the clouds and the teddy were made over a long period of time - grabbing a few minutes here and there in order to finish in time. They'll be off to their new owner shortly where I'm sure they'll be cherished! There's something so lovely about making baby gifts and there are endless patterns and ideas out there and on pinterest to inspire (which is lucky as I've got three more baby gifts to make before the year is out. Maybe it's time I improved my knitting...!)

Friday, 14 June 2013

Something for the weekend

Let's be clear about one thing - you don't need ANY of the following items to become a better seamstress. They won't stop you sewing things together upside down, they won't prevent you having to use the seam ripper or tipping your pins all over the floor. Of course, we NEVER do any of these things...ahem...

But there's a joy in having lovely sewing equipment. Here's just a few items that will make you feel like a pro, even if you've just sewn that sleeve in back to front...

1. There's something about that sound of a heavy pair of shears cutting smoothly through fabric that is SO satisfying. These Whitely scissors are made in England and will make you feel like you're on Savile Row.

2. I'm terrible at scattering pins around my table as I sew. Which invariably leads to them ending up on the floor and we all know that isn't a good thing. I need a pin cushion. This pin cushion to be precise. So cute!

3. Merchant and Mills has a wealth of wonderful old-fashioned, good quality sewing notions that we covet. Drape this tape measure around your neck and channel Coco Chanel whilst you sew your chic creations.

4. Tea. Tea is an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY whilst sewing. As well as allowing you to quench your thirst, this mug is a zen-like reminder of how to approach your dressmaking.

5. The classic stork scissors. Officially for embroidery, I find them invaluable for snipping threads and  keeping my work neat whilst at my sewing machine. These Gingher scissors are expensive, but worth it - they should last for years.

6. As a child, I remember being fascinated by my Granny's box of mis-matched buttons. This lovely jar takes me back...

So tell us, what are your favourite items that make sewing just that little more pleasurable?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A To-Make list

I've not been doing much garment sewing for myself recently - the reason being that my figure was expanding at a rapid rate. Having given birth 6 weeks ago I'm itching to get my waistline back and start making again! Funnily enough, I wasn't inspired to make any maternity clothes, partly as I knew they had a limited wear period and partly as I didn't see any patterns that particularly grabbed me. Having lived in ONLY stretch fabrics for what seems like an eternity I'm ready to wear some new me-made clothes!

I seem to live in my faithful skinny jeans most of the time and I'd like to break the habit. Having been inspired by these

I'm now planning a pair of my own using the Clover by Colette. I've also been hankering after a light summer jacket (for our glorious English 'summer'...) and really want to make a leopard print version a la Kate Moss:

I'm currently on the look out for a leopard print gabardine or cotton twill - planning a trip to Goldhawk Road in the near future. I initially wanted to use the Sewaholic Robson trench pattern but as she cuts for pear shapes (and I'm the complete opposite!) I decided to find one that will need a bit less altering - the winner seems to be this Vogue 8884 pattern.

Lastly, for a summer dress I loved the Laurel from Colette but as I'm nursing (and will be for a while) I need something a bit more practical! I'm probably going to go for the Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen.

So I think for now that's enough to keep me busy for a while... Not entirely convinced I can fit it all in in between the 3am feeds and the business but I'm going to give it a go!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Something for the Weekend

At last! Those of you in the UK will know only too well what a rubbish summer we've had so far but FINALLY we seem to have a bit of sunshine. This should be all you need to work it by the pool...

We're both having a bit of a love affair with & Other Stories at the moment. These are yet another pair of shoes from the store to add to our wishlists (sigh...)

This sunhat would no doubt make you feel chic, elegant and ready for a holiday in the French Riviera. Even if you are just wearing it in the garden during an English summer.

Although I have a tendency to chuck my sunglasses in my handbag only for them to emerge much the worse for wear, I wouldn't do the same to these beauties. Promise.

Want to look 10 pounds slimmer instantly? Ruching! Ruching is your best friend when it comes to swimwear. Plus this little beauty will never date (which is a good job considering it's nearly £500. Ouch.).

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A progress update

A huge thank you needs to go to our all our fabulous pattern testers for helping us out! I won't lie, it was slightly terrifying to put our hard work out there for people to judge so we were waiting with bated breath to start getting the feedback. The overall response was fantastic! Really positive, lots of nice things were said about the design, the pattern and the instructions so huge sighs of relief all round. That said, there were a couple of fitting issues that we discovered but the pattern is being tweaked as I write this and we're looking forward to having the finished version by the end of this week!

So what have we been up to in the meantime? We're in the process of building our website which is a HUGE job but extremely exciting! There's a new blog design in the pipeline and we've also designed and lined up printers for our tissue, packaging and instructions. Phew.

The other exciting news is we're thrilled to be working with an amazing illustrator who will be creating the drawings for the patterns - all will be revealed in due course!

It's all go at gather - the downside being that this space has been a bit neglected while we work on the rest but that is all to change soon. So watch this space!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

An Arts & Crafts Day Out

Following the recent Tate Britain Pre-Raphaelites exhibition (which I thought was ace), I've been on a bit of a Victoriana tip. And so, last week I took a little trip to the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. Now, we all know how fab Walthamstow is for fabric shopping. You only have to see the great textile scores that Karen from Did You Make That? makes on a regular basis to know that it's a total mecca for sewing lovers. But if you can tear yourself away from the shopping, the gallery is well worth a visit.

As a graphic designer by day, I loved all the typography dotted about the building, as well as that that Morris himself designed for his printing venture, Kelmscott Press.

But of course, the real stars of the show are the fabrics and wallpapers with Morris's distinctive and beautiful patterns. Morris aimed to colour all his fabrics with natural dyes and spent ten years perfecting the process, which is amazing when you see the vibrancy and depth of colour in real life.

All in all I'd definitely recommend a visit, despite the fact that the gallery doesn't have a guide book for sale. What a missed opportunity, I love a guide book! It's not a huge gallery, so a couple of hours is enough to have a good wander round and a cup of tea in the cafe afterwards, leaving plenty of time for those fabric shops on the way back to the station...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Pattern testers wanted

Well we're starting off 2013 with a call for help! We're now looking for some pattern testers to help us test out our first Gather dress pattern.

The dress is a lovely, chic day dress with a sleeveless or long sleeve option, in sizes 8-18 (UK). We're looking for all levels of sewers although the pattern is aimed at ambitious beginners. We will send you out the pattern with full instructions absolutely free, all you'll need is the fabric (appox 3 metres of cotton - full details will be provided) and notions. All we want in return is your invaluable feedback and comments!

So are there any budding dressmakers out there who want a FREE dress pattern? We're looking to send out the pattern packs within the next couple of weeks so if you're interested then get in touch with us as soon as possible on info@gatherkits.com or you can tweet us @gatherkits

UPDATE: we've had a really fantastic response, thanks so much for all the interest and we now have enough testers. Watch this space for future opportunities though!