House Move: Why We’ve Decided to Stay Put

We made a very hard choice this week.

We’re going to stop the process of buying a house and stay put in our current home for another year. The reasons are multiple but mainly it’s down to the stress and the house not being as perfect as we’d like.

The house search was pretty fun, but with our current life changes it was hard to find what we needed in a home and within our budget. We had a long chat and decided that actually we’d be better coming at this again in a year, with a bigger wallet. This now gives us 12 months to save up, to search for the perfect home, to improve our credit even more and then settle into a place that meets all our needs.

The stress was brutal, and we didn’t realise the toll it was taking on our health (both mental and physical) until we stopped doing it. The relief was notable by even those around us, so you can imagine how we felt!

There are so many changes in our lives at the minute, and so we really are concentrating on cutting the stress and bullshit out of our lives to leave more room for the important and cool stuff! I have been accepted for a masters course, I have applied for the accommodation internship, OH is taking on different and interesting sites/responsibilities at work so we’ve got lots of factors to give ourselves too.

We are still intent on buying a house next year, but in that time OH is going to learn to drive! He’s said I’m allowed to pester about it as well, which I think that he will live to regret. Where we are from, there are lots of smaller villages outside of town and you get significantly more house for your money out there, so he’s finally given in on the whole driving shindig!

So there we are! I’ll keep posting here, but on sewing topics, travel, making the most of a student flat, and loads of other things as they happen.


How To Draft and Toile a Corset – Part 1

Well, it’s a bit hot here in the UK, isn’t it!?

I’ve been working on a couple of projects, one of which is a corset for a customer/family member/friend. I thought it might be useful to document how I do it, and then talk you through it in blog post format!

IMG_1794 So let’s start with pattern generation! Whilst drafting a corset isn’t the most difficult pattern drafting task, I prefer the accuracy given to me by computer algorithms! I love this one most, you just throw your measurements in it and then off it goes, buzzing and whirring before spitting out a lovely printable pattern! You can then go ahead and download it and print it. I have mine printed on the cheap plotters at the uni, and I suspect that your local university library will have similarss facilities that you can use as a member.


This is a quick shot of the pattern details and information of the generator on the PDF print out. It helps make sure you’ve got the right scale. I tend to print the first one at half scale, so I can check any issues, and gosh did this pattern have one!


SIMG_1797o as you can see, there is a problem with this pattern… the seam allowances! I’d put in the wrong measurements for the seam allowance to be generated and told it that I’d like 15cm allowances instead of 1.5. Whoops! I stood and stared at it for a good 45 minutes before I noticed, but in the end it was just to lop off the seam allowances to a better size.



After I’d hacked off some seam allowances, I transferred the shapes over to calico and marked where the seam lines are. I did this by folding back the layers to mark it with a Sharpie, my weapon of choice when it comes to marking mock-ups and fitting garments.


These last three images are my process! I start at the centre back, and pin each panel together using the seam lines. I pad out the stand as I go so I can create a smooth line where I need it, and work around to the centre front. Once I have pinned the panels to each other on the seam lines, I start to decide on the shape and work again with sharpies to make adjustments to the shape before hacking away with scissors!






After these processes are complete, I’m at a stage where I can print the pattern full scale and then make any adjustments, making sure to scale them up for the real toile! Part 2 will be me sewing a proper toile at full scale and putting in boning channels and plastic boning.

What are you sewing now?

And have you entered the Instagram competition?! There are still a couple of days left to enter, over at @ashleighellan

Instameet: Why Creativity Lives Outside of Comfort

Me again!

It’s been an incredibly hard week for me, overall. On Thursday, I realised that I’ve not really been coping well with leaving uni and I was just pretending to be fine. After lots of tears and some pressure for OH, I had a couple of days off work just to self-care and to get back into feeling myself. I did some design work and painting, and realised that the reason I wasn’t coping was because I wasn’t channelling. I am always happiest when working on essentially anything creative so thought it would be good to push my creativity. That is when I found out about the Lincoln Instameet. I obviously knew other people locally used Instagram but had never thought that I could meet them in the outer-net!

OH and I are very much home birds a lot of the time, people are great but we love the company of each other and video games so much more a lot of the time. OH had seen how much I was hurting and agreed to accompany me to the Instameet, just to see. He doesn’t really use Instagram but was being the supportive cutie that he always is. We both had some ideas about what would be involved in an Instameet and what everyone would be like, but gosh were we wrong.

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The morning came, I was rearing to go with very little anxiety, until we reached the Castle. Oh gosh the anxiety hit hard, and OH was also a little distracted by his own anxiety, but we managed it! We spoke to people, we interacted, we got involved. I entered all of the three competitions with my photographs, and hopefully they do well. I was surprised by the range of people and the amount of high-end DSLRs around. I only ever use my phone for Instagram but maybe that isn’t the way forward. I live by ‘the best camera is the one in your hand’ but maybe that has some flaws.

We had a great hour or so wondering around the castle walls, seeing bits we’d not usually look at and in new ways. The chance to be creative and around other creatives turned out to be exactly what I needed. Which leads me to the point: Sometimes, you need to experience new things that fit into the theme of your comfort zone, but present whole new challenges. Now I’m not saying take on EVERY SCARY THING EVER. I am saying that if you know you like say, PokemonGo, get involved with their community and see how inspiring the company of others with the same interest can be!

Oh, I almost forgot to post my photographs from the event! The competitions were in three categories, so I’ve only posted one of each here but you can find the rest of the photos I took (including a cool one of a squirrel!) over at my Instagram.

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UPDATE: I won the Good Vibrations category! I am useless at portraits and photos of people in general, it’s my weakest area, but apparently that wasn’t the case on Saturday! I won a Bailgate food experience selection including a meal for two at The Magna Carta, and afternoon tea for two at Bells Tea Shop.



House Move: Expensive and Hard

It’s been three weeks since we viewed the house and we are pleased to say that so far, we’ve been accepted for a mortgage in principle and had our offer on the house accepted! Hurray!

The next step is to find a solicitor and have a survey done, then dotted lines can be signed and boxes can be packed! This got me thinking though about all the costs involved with moving house. It has not been anywhere near as stressful or time consuming as I thought but it has definitely been more expensive.

So far it’s cost:

  • Mortgage adviser: We used one based in the estate agents that we are using, and he was the grand fee of £499. That figure however was due in two chunks, one when he’d submitted an application and one when all paperwork for the property has been signed. This was expected, and money well spent as we were having no hope with researching mortgages ourselves.
  • Solicitor: Again, using people suggested by the estate agent seems to have been a good idea. They want £1020 to execute the sale and make sure everything is in order.
  • Housing Survey: Another £480 but we didn’t look around too much for this one as that seems to be the going market rate. We could’ve had one through the solicitor but had already decided on this one, as they had great availability to hopefully reach our really quick turn around!


There we have it, lots of chunks of money with very little time between them, but that is partly due to our speedy turnaround. In this time too, I’ve pinned a million things for the new home from wallpaper and flooring to storage options for the sewing room! I am super excited to have a dedicated sewing space again with everything I need in it, and it can’t come quickly.

So this coming week hopefully has a meeting with OHs dad to discuss the deposit and some other things, then an interview for me on August the 2nd. Still working that side hustle, and making ends meet where I can. Some ends even overlap!

Catch you soon, shall we have a fashion post next maybe? What do you think? How did you find the house buying process? Do you have any advice?



Why It’s Good to Have a Side Hustle

Side Hustle

Sideline that brings in cash; something other than your main job. Maybe playing weekend gigs or life coaching.  When start up your own business you probably want to get some side hustle going. Maybe a small low stress consulting job on how to get a side hustle going.
#job #career #cash #part-time #making ends meet
SO I had seen this phrase floating around the ‘gram and had always been curious as to what it meant, and more importantly, what it meant to me. I have always worked at least one part time job at a time, sometimes two. Since being almost 200% decided on taking my place on the masters program, I thought it was time to look into this deeper.
My OH is a site supervisor, and had a few people call in sick/get sacked/disappear over night, and so he was having a nightmare filling those house. Innocently I mentioned that I was free until the interview for the internship, and maybe even longed depending on how that pans out. And lo, I had obtained said side hustle.
My main goal and love will always be my education (the end goal is a doctorate so hopefully I can keep this blog up until then!) then eventually working for myself and in theatres, but bills don’t pay themselves. The time spent at the new job is actually also great for those goals, as it gives me time away from the tasks to think about the best way to get them done. The repetitive and predictable nature of the new job is also giving me great stability. The bike ride there and back isn’t doing me any harm either.
The point is, having a side hustle may sound like a trendy but scarily pointless thing, but trust me, it adds so many more dimensions to your life than you thought it could.

Death Pledges and House Viewings

Hi everyone!

So on Tuesday morning we went to view our first choice of house. It has a couple of manageable issues but nothing of any genuine concern.

I wanted to talk about the whole process of selecting a property, or at least how I went about it. First off, I identified a budget. We were lucky enough to be gifted an inheritance early from OH’s dad, but otherwise we’d have started saving long before now. We both has poor/thin credit files, so getting as much deposit as we could together could be the difference between house and no house.

After we’d organised something that resembled a decent deposit, I looked at houses in our area, close to where we are now and close to where OH works. I work from home and plan on continuing that, so the location wasn’t a big factor for me. I started on Zoopla then Purple Bricks then some independent estate agents too, which brought me precisely three houses that fit our budget, location and general needs. Two of the properties were in the worse bits of Lincoln, which left us with one single property, that was not part of a chain and was pretty much ready to move in to. I don’t wanna say it was fate but equally…

Image result for manby street lincoln

The house is a two bedroom terrace with garden, 2 outbuildings and is 110 years old, in historic Lincoln. It’s perfect for OH’s work and for my studio space.

The next step is speaking to a mortgage adviser. Ours was linked to the estate agent but working independently. He talked us through some key points of service and how mortgages work, and then asked us a load of questions relating to our finances. We thought it would be super serious and a lot like a telling off, as OH has debts, but we couldn’t have been more wrong. After about an hour in his office, he was relatively confident that he could find us a mortgage with at least one of his 90 lenders! From here, I need to get a job (already in the process!) and he needs to clear his debts, and then we can move forward with everything.


Graduate Collection

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Fashion degree is over, thank Heavens!

It was a wild ride, I learned so much about everything including myself. My graduate collection was affectionately known as a ‘not shit steampunk collection’ and involved prop building, tailoring, Victorian shapes, chain mail, colour change fabrics and custom prints. Everything you can see has been designed and manufactured by me, as well as styled by me too! Hats were by the lovely Ornamentology and I can’t recommend her enough.

I really loved the whole journey of creating a collection, and I am aiming to produce another one (perhaps two!) over the next couple of years. I imagine they will be steampunk or costume collections but I will be sure to upload the process here along with guides on how I work and what I’m working on.