When Karen announced her Pyjama Party Sewalong I selflessly thought, “Great, a chance to finally do something nice for the boyfriend"! You see, he really hates my saggy comfy PJ bottoms. In fact, they depress him so much that a curfew has been imposed and I'm not allowed to wear them before 9pm. Which may sound reasonable to you guys, but I could truly live in my PJ bottoms given half a chance. 

Anyway, I thought I'd pick out a sexy, smooth fabric that he would find irresistible. But sometimes my taste in prints is questionable and I'm afraid this make turned out fugly as sin!!! My fabric choice – cotton viscose - is a buttery soft dream against my skin and my PJ bottoms look harmless and unassuming all folded up on my pillow...

...but coupled with a mismatched cardigan, it's astonishing how much I resemble The Dude (Jeff Bridges) in The Big Lebowski!
Seriously, which one's which?!?

But surely the boyfriend can't hate these babies as much my other pair can he?!? I only wish you could have seen his face during my big reveal. He was speechless for a while before asking me if I was going to combat or planning a trip to the jungle. I explained my intentions which he patiently listened to and simply asked, “What sane person wastes their time on fabric that looks like tie-dyed sick?”. I'm wondering exactly the same thing myself...they are truly hideous! Karen, is it possible to enter your Ugly Amnesty a second time - I think these PJ bottoms totally meet the criteria, don't you?

Luckily, Simplicity 2116, coupled with Karen's expert sew along, was a ridiculously easy project, so I'm determined to make amends sometime soon. For now, here's a couple more photos for you to enjoy, as this will be the last time you see these PJ bottoms on this here blog...EVER! 

Settle down tiger and read a book (I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith if you're interested)

To see much nicer PJ's, make sure you check out Karen's blog post and the comments left on it!

Sure you do! So hop on over and join Karen's Pyjama Party Sewalong! Even though the big reveal is this coming Saturday (28 April), I reckon if you have a spare evening this week you totally have plenty of time to get involved...if you want to of course ;o)

In sadder news, my sewing machine's misbehaving and I was wondering if any of your experts might have some advice...

Basically, I think the thread from the spool is not feeding through properly. The best way that I can describe it is that it keeps 'tripping' while I'm sewing. Initially the 'tripping' would completely jam my machine and I'd have to prize the fabric away and start again. For some reason I think the tension isn't quite right, so the thread slackens and then gets caught up around the bobbin holder. I've checked and I don't think there's any random thread in between my tension plates, everything's threaded properly and I've even removed the bobbing holder and given the whole thing a good clean (boy did it need it!). 

What did seem to help though was changing my tension from #4 to #5. I've always sewn on #4 with no problem, so that's a bit weird. Anyway, with my tension set to #5 the 'tripping' is less frequent and when it happens it doesn't jam everything up. But it does create little knotted loops on the underside of my fabric:

Any ideas how I can fix this? Do you think I should send it off to get repaired anyway in case it's something serious?

Finally, I wanted to thank you all for replying to my post about lamenting the demise of Picnik. You came up trumps with all you suggestions. I now know that elements of Picnik have been incorporated into Google + and that lots of you rate Gimp (which I personally find brilliant for re-sizing and adjusting colours), but conclude that it's not easy to use for collages etc. Picasa  seems to be a popular alternative among many of you and after your recommendations, I will also be checking out iPiccy, Aviary and BeFunky. For today's post I used PicMonkey and it seems pretty cool, with collages 'coming soon' apparently. I hope all this proves helpful for others too!

Is anyone else absolutely devastated that the awesome photo editing website – Picnik – is closing tomorrow? I feel I discovered it way too late, through the sharing nature of Karen and Lauren. We’ve had such little time together, but in that time we’ve created beauty that has transformed my blog posts for the better.

I don’t want to go back to how things were...stark and unimaginative. So this is a plea to you my friends! Can any of you recommend any similarly awesome sites? Even if they come at a reasonable cost...I’m willing to explore all options. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, I’m happy just being able to round off the edges of my photos and create little collages. I’m a simple creature at heart.

Please help...

P.S. This is a pictureless post to illustrate my devastation.
Do you ever walk into your sewing space and feel overwhelmed instead of inspired? I've been feeling a lot like this lately and annoyingly it's all self-inflicted. I've accumulated too many patterns and fabric and I just don't know where to start. Then there's all the awesome sew-alongs and challenges that are constantly taking place and I just feel panicked that I can't keep up. As a result...I end up doing nothing and then feeling guilty about doing nothing. 

It's a vicious circle and quite a ridiculous one at that! I actually know I'm lucky to have all these resources and in a moment of clarity, I realised that all I really needed was a manageable plan - serves me right for not setting myself any goals for 2012! A mini plan perhaps – something realistic to keep me focussed and productive in the short-term, yet flexible enough to change directions when I want to.

APRIL / MAY – I'd like to get three things sewn up by the end of the month if possible, but realistically the odd one may spill over into next month:

I'm making the view with the ruffle and it's all cut out and waiting patiently for me to get on with it!

I've also had Burda's Sleeveless Blouse cut out in a peach eyelet for a while. It was originally inspired by Ooobop's version, but seeing Karen's equally adorable take on it has convinced me that I need to sew mine up pronto!

I'm also tacking part in Karen's Pyjama Party sew-along and I couldn't help but be drawn to some cotton viscose animal print...I just love me some tacky fabric!

MAY / JUNE – I'm allowing myself plenty of time for these next two projects as they will both be challenging for me and also May's a really busy month at work:

Inspired by our Walthamstow outing, Rachel is organising a blogger picnic in June. I'd love to turn up wearing something made from our swap, so I decided to put Michelle's red wool, some polka dot lining and the yellow view of McCall 6916 to good use. I've never made a jacket before, let a lone a fully lined one, so this will really test my skills!

After seeing this and this version of Rachel Comey's Vogue 1209, I thought it would be perfect for my boyfriend's brother's wedding in July. The boyfriend's not convinced about the floral print, so this fabric isn't yet set in stone.

Now, I know this doesn't sound like that much...but I'm a truly slow stitcher...especially when new techniques are involved. Fingers crossed I can pull this lot off in time...eeek!

Either way, I do feel relieved to have regained a sense of stitching purpose again!

Do you ever feel like this, or am I just a weirdo?
Yesterday, Krafty Kat and I made our way down from Leicester to meet up with some lurvely stitchers and bloggers in Walthamstow. It's been a year since I last attended something like this, so excitement levels were running high on my part - photographic evidence of this has been kindly provided by Karen ;o) 

The day was meticulously planned by Clare of SEW, Incidentally..., who was the most gracious host – the lady baked us all treats and even had a first aid book to hand! One of the day's highlights was the swap element and to give you an idea of the volume...this is just one pile provided by one participant – I'm looking at you Suzy!

I did very well out of the swap indeed!

Red wool from Michelle / Floral linen from Jane

Knitting magazine from Rachel / 1970s sewing pattern from Suzy / Vintage bias binding from Jane

And I even added to my newly-acquired, yet ever-expanding jersey stash...

I really can't stress enough how cool it is to meet stitchers in the flesh – I hope you all get the opportunity to do so at least once! Being around such lovely, talented and like-minded people is very inspiring. There's also the feeling of being star-struck that you are actually talking to bloggers who you've obsessively followed and admired for some time...and they're not running away scared...much! 

So thank you ladies for making my trip down to London incredibly fun:

Alana - Lazy Stitching 
Catherine - Catherine Daze's Blog 
ClaireSEW, Incidentally... 
Jane - Handmade Jane 
Kat - Krafty Kat
Melizza - Pincushion Treats 
Michelle - Naughty Little Epoch 
Rachel - House of Pinheiro 
Rehanon - MissDemeanour 
Suzy - Suzy Patterns 

And the best thing about the train journey? I got to make a start on a double moss stitch scarf that I've been hankering over for months!

"I, Marie of A Sewing Odyssey, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear a self-made accessory or item of clothing for at least three days a week for the duration of May 2012."

So I met up with some awesome sewing bloggers in Walthamstow today (more on that tomorrow) and after some bullying encouragement from Zoe, I decided to join Me-Made-May '12 – the only official month of its kind taking place this year! I'm breaking myself in gently as I don't think I have enough self-made clothes that I actually wear to see me through an entire month...but here's hoping I exceed my expectations. I'm very excited to take part as I've always loved seeing people's outfit posts and daydreaming of one day joining in!

Just pop along over to So, Zo...What do you know? if you want to find out more about the challenge and to sign up.

Are you in?

Sewaholic's Renfrew transformed me from a jersey novice to a huge fan of the stuff. Ever since, I've kept an eye out for suitable patterns and I'm glad I was able to see past McCall's 6435 dog-ugly cover! I love the sweetheart detail (not so much the 90s asymmetrical look though!) and I can never get enough of comfy tops that can be dressed up or down. This pattern was easy to follow and fast to sew up, but it's no Renfrew. Tasia is the master of construction, ensuring the Renfrew is immaculately finished with arm, hem and neck bands. McCall's 6435 just requires hemming these areas, which doesn't give the smoothest or most professional finish. Next time I'm definitely tempted to draft my own bands a la Renfrew.

The neckline definitely doesn't look as finished as the Renfrew and it's a bit wide for my frame too - will have to alter it next time. It also looks like the sleeves are pulling a little in these pics, though they don't feel tight at all! 
Still, I do like how this top looks good worn tucked in or out!

I couldn't decide whether this crazy, tropical flower print was tacky or cool - I love it either way!

So why does making a harmless little top make me a jersey addict, you ask? I blame Clare   wholeheartedly! She suggested I check out a particular stall at Leicester market on a particular day...and OMG! The stall itself is a disaster zone, but boy does the man have jersey. So much jersey...all piled up into a jersey mountain and you have to really dig for the gems. But there are gems...so many gems! I ended up leaving with too many metres (in the double figures), but with it working out to just £1 p/m, who was I to resist?!?

I love these busy prints - the first Aztec-inspired one is crying out to become a maxi dress...oh yes! 

Cannot resist sweet floral prints - don't you think the second one down has a bit of a 50s look to it?

OoOoOoOoOoh, animal print!!!

And possibly my favourite of the bunch - the very Parisian, scarf print jersey! 
Coincidentally, I walked into New Look on a whim today and saw the bodycon dress on the left. It's made in exactly the same jersey as mine and it's also available in the lighter print too. Does this mean I have famous fabric?

Erm, so yes...do you think this makes me a jersey addict? I don't really think I can live in denial any more, do you?
Well I don't know about you, but March was a whirlwind of sewing activity for me what with OWOP and the Mad Men Dress Challenge! Have you had a chance yet to read Tilly's round-up (I'm so chuffed that I was featured alongside another 6 OWOP bloggers out of a whopping 105 participants) or to drool over Julia's big reveal of all the Mad Men dresses? Swoon!

Anyway, amongst all the March excitement, some lovely bloggers decided that I was worthy of an award or two – how nice is that!?! I was generously given with the Versatile Blogger award by three talented ladies - Sorbet Surprise, Ruffles And Whiskers and The Musings of a Dedicated Housefiancee. Further to the award's rules, pop on over here if you want to know 7 random (and a bit boring) things about me.

I was also lucky enough to win the Sunshine Award, passed onto to me by the very sweet Ginger Makes. For this award, you get to find out some even more random things about me..lucky duckies!

Favourite colour: It's not possible to choose just one! My most favourite are probably purples, greens and blues.
Favourite animal: I like animals, but not enough to have a favourite I'm afraid.
Favourite number: I'm a big fan of the odd numbers, particularly 3 and 5.
Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Possibly a tropical fruit smoothie.
Facebook or Twitter: Both, although I'm much more proficient at using Facebook.
My passion: Stitching!
Getting or giving presents: Both for sure!
Favourite Pattern: I've yet to find it.
Favourite day of the week: Friday and Saturday.
Favourite flower: Is it too weird that I don't have one? I like them all I guess!
Favourite celebrity role model: I wouldn't say I consider any of them role models to be honest, but I do have a few favourites like Zooey Deschanel.

Because I believe that sometimes rules are made to be broken, I just want to pass on some of this kudos to some well-deserving recipients, whose blogs I've only recently discovered. Please don't feel you have to partake in the award rules, but if you want to play along just take your pick of awards ;o)

Oh, how good it feels to exchange awards...what a giving blogland we live it!