Month: July 2019

The Nestify ads on the tube are disgusting, and TfL should stop taking the company’s money

Oh, FFS. Image: author provided.

Note: This article was updated at 2000hrs on 30 July to add a comment from Transport for London. 

I was not, in all honesty, sure whether to publish the image at the top of this page. Partly because I’m a terrible photographer, as you can almost certainly tell at a glance; partly because I am, in effect, giving free publicity to what can only be described as a truly appalling ad campaign. But there’s unfortunately no way of talking about this without showing you what I’m talking about, so there the image stands.

Some background on this. Nestify is not a lettings agency, in the traditional sense of those parasitic companies that sit between landlords and tenants, sucking as much money as they can from both while providing the absolute bare minimum in terms of actual service. It’s something new: a company that sits between landlords and lettings platforms like AirBnB, who in turn provide tenants. That, you will notice, is a whole new layer of middleman. Why this is meant to be a good thing, rather than just another thing that bumps up the costs for tenants and diverts the money from landlords (poor lambs), I’m not exactly sure.

Anyway. Nestify promises a bunch of services – “professional photography”, “guest relations, “24/7 key exchange”, and so on – to take the pain out of putting your home on AirBnB and bumping up your rental income by a whopping 34 per cent*. That “*” represents the fact it’s what happened with some specific two bed flat in central London. That makes me wonder why the company isn’t using an average, except not really because the answer’s incredibly obvious, and I would bet my right kidney the average isn’t nearly so flattering.

In that last paragraph, I’ve instinctively been using “your”, because it makes it easier to write. Except, the odds are, it isn’t “yours”, is it? As of 2016, the last year for which figures seem to be available, 29 per cent of households in inner London were in the private rented sector (PRS), and another 33 per cent in social rent; just 38 per cent were owner-occupied. That means that a clear majority of inner Londoners don’t have property to rent. Nestify isn’t talking to them – even if it is getting uncomfortably close to talking about their homes.

What’s more, you’ll be stunned to hear, those figures have been moving steadily in one direction. Back in 2006, just 24 per cent of inner London households were in the PRS, while 39 per cent were owner-occupied. The share of Londoners who might look at a Nestify ad, read the “you” as addressed to them, and think, “Oooh, higher rents! Great!” has fallen, slightly. The share who will read the “you” as refering to their bastard landlord, who might even now be thinking, “Oooh, I can jack up the rent”, has grown, significantly.

If all this sounds very familiar, it’s because it is. At the end of May, Nestify’s rival Hostmaker ran an extremely similar campaign, promising landlords an extra 30 per cent on their short term rents. The result was an outcry from tenants and a petition organised by campaign group Generation Rent.

Hostmaker rushed out a statement apologising for the “misguided” tone and promised to remove its ads. Barely two months later, Nestify is doing exactly the same thing. Whether the result will be a similar outcry remains to be seen. We can but hope.

The company would no doubt respond – it’s difficult to be sure, because it’s thus far ignored my repeated requests for comments, but I’m guessing – that this is not an attack on tenants. These campaigns are not aimed at homes in the PRS, but at owner-occupiers hoping to make a few quid from the places they actually live.

But the housing market doesn’t work like that. There are a finite number of properties, and if landlords think they can get more money from short-term lets than long-term tenancies, more of them will pull out of the PRS altogether in favour of going full AirBnB. That will leave tenants fighting over even fewer, even more expensive rented homes.


This is not a theoretical problem: in some big tourist destinations, short-term letting sites have hurt locals so badly that city governments have moved to crack down. In 2016, Berlin introduced a blanket ban on renting entire apartments, rather than individual rooms, through AirBnb. Last year Barcelona introduced a licencing scheme to make it possible to regulate the sector, while Amsterdam has limited the number of nights homes can be rented out for. All such policies are intended to nudge homes out of the short-term lettings sector to leave them available to locals.

Earlier this month, even Manchester announced pilot plans to make it impossible for purchasers of homes on a new estate to cash in through short-term lettings. Yet despite pressure, TfL continues to take money from companies like Nestify, whose entire business model is built on making it harder for Londoners to find homes.

It shouldn’t. Ads like this are an insult to the huge number of Londoners whose rents are too high, who live in poor quality housing, who live in fear of being turfed out at short notice by landlords who think they can get a few more quid from somebody else. Transport for London is a service for all Londoners. It should act like it.

Update, 2000hrs. Transport for London has provided the following comment. “This campaign was booked several months ago. It has now ended and the adverts are being removed. Any proposed future advertisements of this nature will be properly reviewed to ensure any concerns are fully considered as part of the approval process for advertising on our network.”

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook.

SEWING, BOOKS AND PUPPY—WHAT A TRIO!

That’s how I’ve spent my time since the last post…


This vest is Sandra Betzina’s new pattern, Vogue 1510 and the fabric, which is a wool mix with shiny dots woven in it, is one from several seasons back via Marcy Tilton.


I love this fabric…but it didn’t behave very well, so I learned a new-to-me technique from a tutorial written by Bunny at La Sewista, flatlining with seam finish.


It involves sewing a layer of fabric, in this case silk organza, to each pattern piece before any sewing takes place. The resulting double fabric is treated as one piece, so the unsightly parts of the interior are masked, and the hems are
encased in Hong Kong seams. It took a lot of time, but the results were worth it!

I made another iteration of the PaperCut Rise and Fall Turtleneck, using a lightweight Ponte knit, also from Marcy Tilton. Unlike my previous attempts,
the collar on this was “upright and uptight”, so I removed it and recut it.

I really like this fabric, which Marcy called “Black Marble”.


And here I am with Teddy, who is growing up fast! He had his final puppy shot this week, so he is safe to go “out in the world”, he got microchipped, AND
he and I are signed up for 6 weeks of puppy school. We both need it!


 Here he is in the kitchen last night, trying very hard to trip Dave and me up!

And the books…The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead…I had a little trouble getting into this, but I persevered and am glad I did. Quite an insight into slavery and the attempts to end it, and very well written.

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrick Backman. Enjoyable and quite a good character study of a difficult man.

And I just started listening to Louise Penny’s new book A Great Reckoning, another chapter in the life of Three Pines and Armand Gamache. I haven’t tired of this series yet.

These 3 books were on Audible, which I listen to in my studio. As far as my Kindle books go, I have discovered a new mystery series by Inger Ash Wolfe which features a 63-year-old female D.I. in Port Dundas, in a Canadian county. I’m on #2 and enjoying it.

There are 7 ½ weeks till the Tilton Paris Trip. I THINK my travel wardrobe is in
good shape, except for a pair of pants I will sew in a couple of weeks. We shall see!

Other than enjoying the amazing fruits and vegetables available right now, I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen. Except for this…

I adore fresh figs, and the season is so short…these are Roasted Mission Figs with Blue Cheese and Honey. AH…so delicious!

My 5-year blogging anniversary is coming up next week...first post! And, as long as I’m looking at stats (which I don’t do very often), I hit over-a-million page views a little while ago!

I’m headed over to the party at Patti’s Visible Monday…come join us!

TTYL


The Daffodil Dress – Free Sewing Pattern

Free dress pattern, maxi dress, summer, cold shoulder, chiffon dress

Flowy and lightweight, we all know that chiffon is the go-to fabric for special occasion garments. That being said, chiffon can also be great for everyday wear as well; try using chiffon for your next summer dress project! The Daffodil Dress free sewing pattern has plenty of eye-catching details like cold shoulders and a stunning, high neckline. Add a belt and throw on a denim jacket to carry this look effortlessly into fall. Mood Fabrics’ cotton voile or charmeuse are great options for the Daffodil Dress as well, particularly if you’d like to bring a whole new vibe to the silhouette. Are you going for a casual or formal look? Let us know!

Free dress pattern, maxi dress, summer, cold shoulder, chiffon dress

Purchase Materials Used Below:

Alternative Recommended Fabrics:

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PATTERN

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and you’ll be sent a link to download our free Pattern.
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All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise stated. See chart below for sizing specifications. Note, this specific pattern is available up to a size 30.

Mood Sewing Pattern Size Chart

First, with right sides of the fabric together, pin your back bodice pieces together. Starting right below your key hole opening, stitch together down the center back seam. Make sure to backstitch.

Now, pin your back and front bodice pieces together at the side and shoulder seams. Stitch to finish.

Next, fold each sleeve and stitch down the seam. With right sides of the fabric together, match the side seam of the bodice to the sleeve seam. Pin together and stitch in place along the lower edge of the cold shoulder opening.

Turn your sleeves right side out. Using a rolled hem, finish the outside edge of your cold shoulder opening.

Free dress pattern, maxi dress, summer, cold shoulder, chiffon dress

Attach your cuffs and gather them at the wrist with your elastic trim. Measure your wrist to determin how much elastic to cut. Make sure it’s a comfortable fit.

Set aside the bodice for now to work on the bottom skirt portions. Assembling each piece is pretty straight forward. Attach each back section together first, then sew the backs to the front of each section at the side seams.

Use a basting stitch to gather the waist on the bodice and each tier of the skirt bottom.

Pin the top tier to the waist of your bodice and stitch in place. Apply your elastic to your waist as you did with your neck band and cuffs.

 

Free dress pattern, maxi dress, summer, cold shoulder, chiffon dress

After gathering the bottom tier, leave 1/4″ edge exposed to create a ruffle effect.

Finish by inserting your lining and adding your hook and eye neck closure to the key-hole back.

Free dress pattern, maxi dress, summer, cold shoulder, chiffon dress

The post The Daffodil Dress – Free Sewing Pattern appeared first on Mood Sewciety.

Madrid’s new mayor is trying to scrap the city’s traffic reduction scheme. It’s not going well

No go: the boundary of the Madrid Central traffic scheme. Image: Getty.

Madrid’s new mayor could not have chosen a more politically explosive moment to pull the plug on the fledgling Madrid Central scheme. As governments across Europe declare a state of climate emergency after months of protest and direct action waves, the Spanish capital intends to roll back green measures introduced by the previous city hall – for reasons, its critics say, of little more than revanchism and knee-jerk party politics

The Madrid Central initiative, which comprised a series of traffic restrictions in limited but key areas of Madrid’s snarled-up city centre, was one of a number of proposals encompassing the former mayor’s green vision for the city. Launched late last year, the scheme was found this May to have reduced air pollution in the city to its lowest levels in a decade. 

The new administration in Madrid’s city hall, though, has campaigned ferociously against the project and made it as much their flagship issue in opposition as it was the flagship policy for the previous government in office. It now finds itself stuck to a pledge to reverse Madrid Central since re-entering the Cibeles Palace (before 2015 the conservative Popular Party, or PP, had controlled city hall since 1991). But overturning the scheme has not proven straightforward.

Its earliest attempt to suspend Madrid Central stalled several weeks ago, as the traffic reduction measures were reinstated by a court order after a short-lived ban. During the days the scheme‘s traffic fines were lifted in the city centre’s new clean air zones, emissions were found to have risen sharply.

A map of the scheme. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

The push to dismantle Madrid Central encountered further setbacks last week, as the precautionary decision to halt the new mayor’s moratorium was upheld by another court ruling. And last Friday a third judge in little over a fortnight ruled against city hall’s action.

Jorge Castaño García, a councillor who oversaw the rollout of Madrid Central as part of the previous city hall administration, told me: “This was the first experience of traffic-reduction measures in a historic part of Madrid. Really it was a small step and it has worked even better than expected”. He pointed to “the emissions decrease, a fall in road accidents and a rise in consumer activity around the city centre, smoother circulation for public transport, and a marked rise in the purchase of electric cars” as indicators of its success.

The attempted repeal of Madrid Central has provoked a considerable civic response. Two days after the ban was imposed, in sweltering temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, over 60,000 demonstrators gathered in central Madrid to protest the proposed scrapping of the scheme – marching down Gran Vía, the city’s main arterial thoroughfare, where one of the ex-mayor’s key traffic-reduction initiatives was piloted. June saw record-breaking temperatures not only in Madrid, but across almost all of Spain, as a series of wildfires devastated parts of Catalonia and other regions.


In light of the Madrid Central dispute, the European Commission has warned Spain it could be hit with fresh punishment for its failure to comply with air quality standards, adding to the 12m fines it incurred for urban waste and water treatment infringements in 2018. The role Madrid Central played in the decision last year to put on hold infringement proceedings was recognised by Europe in December. Still, Brussels has urged both Madrid and Barcelona to ramp up their efforts to combat climate change, beyond simply restoring Madrid Central. This week, it escalated its disciplinary action threats for the cities’ failure to take more “serious” measures, reopening the shelved case.

As the Madrid Central row rumbles on, Barcelona looks to press ahead with a more ambitious green agenda after its left-wing mayor, Ada Colau, successfully formed a new government last month. Colau’s administration is seeking to bring in its own extended low emissions zone in the city next year, alongside a raft of other environmental measures currently being debated as part of a “participatory process” forum open to Barcelona residents.

Manuela Carmena, the recently-departed mayor of the Spanish capital, told El País this month it is “unthinkable that the capital of Spain should be against the fight to prevent climate change”. She believes the new administration will soon run out of road and be required to perform a U-turn on Madrid Central.

Yet such a move is still far from certain. Carmena’s party won the most seats in May’s elections to city hall, but she herself missed out on re-election. As has been the case in other municipal and regional governments in Spain, a tripartite right-wing administration has been formed in Madrid with the combined votes of the PP, the more liberal-tinged Ciudadanos (Citizens) party and new far-right force, Vox.  

The newly incumbent mayor, José Luis Martínez Almeida, has complained about the New York Times’ recent coverage of his administration’s decision to reverse Madrid Central’s driving ban, openly criticising the newspaper in the Spanish press for allegedly having not consulted his office before running the story. The PP’s Madrid branch did not respond to a request for comment.

At both the regional and municipal level, PP leaders have raised eyebrows with their comments regarding Madrid Central – part of what García Castaño describes as the “culture war” a “radicalised right” has whipped up around the project. On the campaign trail, the party’s regional leader Isabel Díaz Ayuso bafflingly argued that congestion represented an integral “part of the city’s identity”, while national leader Pablo Casado asserted that Madrid Central actually fuelled pollution. Moreover, Ayuso and Almeida both suggested in recent weeks that Madrid Central had helped increase crime rates – claims that have since been rubbished by police and crime experts.

Despite the wild rhetoric, the new mayor has been forced to accept the principles of Madrid Central to a certain degree, even if critics say he intends to do so “in name only”. PP leaders now say they are instead looking to modify the scheme, rather than ditch it altogether. But, as the series of court defeats and Brussels’ ultimatums have made clear, the metre is running low for the new administration on a number of fronts.

Hyacinth Gown Redux – Free Sewing Pattern

Not all wedding gowns need to be long trains and mountains of tulle. The Hyacinth Gown free sewing pattern features a billowing sway back and a daring leg slit for the bride that’s loving the current minimalism trend. Paired with Mood’s fluid new metallic chiffon, this redux sets a gold standard for being simple, yet endlessly chic.

A huge shout out and thank you to The Legacy Castle for providing the gorgeous background for this photo shoot. Follow them on Instagram!

Purchase Materials Used Below:

Alternative Recommended Fabrics:

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PATTERN

Simply fill in the form below, verify your email address
and you’ll be sent a link to download our free Pattern.
Please wait…
Loader

For full pattern instructions, please visit the original post here! All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise stated. See chart below for sizing specifications. Note, this specific pattern is available up to a size 22.

Mood Sewing Pattern Size Chart

For this Redux, rather than have the two princess seams go all the way to the hem in the front, I decided to combine them and simply cut the slit along one of the original seams. This created a slightly more elegant skirt silhouette and I absolutely love the result.

To do this on your own, simply cut the front dress panels at the waistline and tape the center front skirt to the side front skirt, overlapping them 1″ to account for the 1/2″ seam allowance. Cut the new skirt panel with the center front on the fold and add 1/2″ seam allowance along the top edge. Add a 1/2″ seam allowance to the bottom of the front bodice pieces as well.

I absolutely adore the double layer created by the metallic chiffon and the satin. Will you be trying out this Redux? Let me know what fabric combinations you’re considering in the comments!

A huge shout out and thank you to The Legacy Castle for providing the gorgeous background for this photo shoot. Follow them on Instagram!

The post Hyacinth Gown Redux – Free Sewing Pattern appeared first on Mood Sewciety.

but first, coffee (& cake!)

this guide has been a long time coming as, believe me, i’ve drunk a lot of coffee and consumed far too much cake since i first arrived in the city two years ago!

sometimes when i head into town i’m at a total loss as to where i want to end up, there are that many great coffee houses to choose from. but i’ve whittled down my absolute faves here and, whilst this list will no doubt evolve and expand over time, can hand on heart say that whichever of these you choose to visit, you’ll be greeted with a big smile and a steaming mug of quality coffee, and plenty of delectable cake options to choose from as well.

enjoy!

hampton & voúis

located just across the road from the majestic town hall, hampton & voúis offers one of the best window seats in the city for people watching in my opinion, and happily have fantastic coffee and a wide range of sweet treats (from local bakery trove) to provide the perfect accompaniment to the activity. their house coffee blend is hand-roasted by buxton roastery, while their sleek minimalist interiors have been designed by one half of the founding duo, niko voúis. great coffee aside, i’ve also lost count of the number of people who’ve told me i have to try their whole spice chai latte, it’s that good. i have, of course, and can attest to it being every bit as good as they say!

31 princess street, manchester m2

grindsmith bridge street

there are three outposts of manchester-based coffee roasters grindsmith across the city, but the newest opening on bridge street is definitely the one to make a beeline for. while their media city café (my local) has an exquisite stained glass window, the facade of the four-storey building in which the new opening is housed is awash with a beautiful, colourful, floral mosaic that even on the greyest of manchester days is mesmerising. inside, the brilliant white, almost lab-like interior is punctuated with caramel-coloured leather seating, and vibrant neon signage. with a firm emphasis on sharing the craft, ritual and passion for coffee, grindsmith offer a wide range of speciality coffees, as well as breakfast, brunch and lunch menus.

62 bridge street, manchester m3 

pollen sourdough & viennoiserie bakery

i never made it down to pollen‘s former home under the railway arches of piccadilly, but since their relocation to the waterfront of new islington marina i’ve been making regular pilgrimages across town to savour their incredible homemade pastries and legendary sourdough. their premises at cotton field wharf are light and airy, with textured concrete walls juxtaposed by light plywood furniture for a classically scandinavian vibe. i usually shun dairy, but will always make an exception for one of pollen’s amazing sourdough pastry cinnamon buns; all crisp and flaky and sugary. coffee is served in sleek ceramic cups by jono smart, and if you’re lucky you’ll be greeted by adorable fluffball maru (a chow chow) at the front door.

cotton field wharf, 8 new union street, manchester m4

idle hands

idle hands is “not just for those who enjoy drinking, tasting and making coffee, but those who enjoy discussing and researching it.” it’s definitely my go-to in the city when i want to enjoy a long black coffee, as opposed to a (non-dairy) milk-based one, although they do those damn well too. there’s a regularly rotating brew bar offering filter coffees from roasters from around the world, hand brewed on v60 or aeropress. the interior is light and airy, with plenty of plywood and an abundance of greenery, while at the counter you will always find a good selection of pies on offer; the (vegan) cherry pie is certainly one i can vouch for!

35 dale street, manchester m1

just between friends

just between friends is a coffee shop recommendation i like to keep just between friends (haha), because it’s such a tiny gem of a spot! serving up single origin coffee from brixton roastery assembly, which is one of my faves, the interior of the shop features a low, wide window seat with a couple of stools, and three hexagonal tray tables that hinge from the wall to offer an expanding range of seating. on warmer days the front window is pulled back to really open the tiny interior up, whilst there is also a ‘secret’ internal courtyard just behind the cafe (part of the freemount pub) where you’re able to sit with your coffee and feel secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city outside.

56 tib street, manchester m4

siop shop

from humble beginnings baking doughnuts in the basement of northern quarter bar common, siop shop (aka blawd) opened their first premises on tib street last year to much acclaim. the spacious corner café feels refreshingly fun and down-to-earth, with mismatched furniture, eclectic wall art from a selection of local artists, and a vibrant green counter by manchester design studio you &i. the coffee is good, of course, but what you’re really there for are the doughnuts. there are daily vegan offerings – the glazed ring is a personal fave – alongside tantalisingly tasty sounding options like caramel custard, rhubarb & pistachio glaze, and  peanut butter glaze with peanut & chocolate crumb. yum!

53 tib steet, manchester m4

trove

trove, levenhulme’s acclaimed bakery and cafe, opened in ancoats late in 2018, bringing with it their legendary sourdough loaves and simple, seasonal grub. as one of the most popular suppliers of baked goods to many of manchester’s central cafés, trove’s own outpost has distinguished itself by offering a wonderfully serene atmosphere in the up-and-coming ancoats area. set within a light, minimal, scandi-styled space – with triple height windows that let the light flood in on even the grimmest of days – everything is made by hand in-house, using locally sourced and organic ingredients. quality coffee (allpress) also plays a huge part in their menu, from flat whites to v60, served in ceramic cups by local artisans little torch.

5 murray street, manchester m4

atkinsons

located within bustling foodie mecca mackie mayor, atkinsons is a speciality coffee roasters and tea merchants established in lancaster in 1837, who are now sourcing, roasting and brewing some of the highest quality coffees from around the world in manchester’s bustling northern quarter. housed within mackie mayor’s 1858 grade ii listed marketplace, atkinson’s occupies one corner of building and has it’s own external entry, meaning it can open earlier in the day than the main market.  the menu offers an ever evolving range of seasonal, single-origin coffees, and there’s even a vintage uno coffee roaster on the premises, dating from 1919, which has been lovingly restored and operates once a week for production roasting.

mackie mayor, 1 eagle street, manchester m4


all photography © kate baxter, aka fabricofmylife 

The post but first, coffee (& cake!) appeared first on fabric of my life | UK interior design, lifestyle & travel blog.

but first, coffee (& cake!)

this guide has been a long time coming as, believe me, i’ve drunk a lot of coffee and consumed far too much cake since i first arrived in the city two years ago!

sometimes when i head into town i’m at a total loss as to where i want to end up, there are that many great coffee houses to choose from. but i’ve whittled down my absolute faves here and, whilst this list will no doubt evolve and expand over time, can hand on heart say that whichever of these you choose to visit, you’ll be greeted with a big smile and a steaming mug of quality coffee, and plenty of delectable cake options to choose from as well.

enjoy!

hampton & voúis

located just across the road from the majestic town hall, hampton & voúis offers one of the best window seats in the city for people watching in my opinion, and happily have fantastic coffee and a wide range of sweet treats (from local bakery trove) to provide the perfect accompaniment to the activity. their house coffee blend is hand-roasted by buxton roastery, while their sleek minimalist interiors have been designed by one half of the founding duo, niko voúis. great coffee aside, i’ve also lost count of the number of people who’ve told me i have to try their whole spice chai latte, it’s that good. i have, of course, and can attest to it being every bit as good as they say!

31 princess street, manchester m2

grindsmith bridge street

there are three outposts of manchester-based coffee roasters grindsmith across the city, but the newest opening on bridge street is definitely the one to make a beeline for. while their media city café (my local) has an exquisite stained glass window, the facade of the four-storey building in which the new opening is housed is awash with a beautiful, colourful, floral mosaic that even on the greyest of manchester days is mesmerising. inside, the brilliant white, almost lab-like interior is punctuated with caramel-coloured leather seating, and vibrant neon signage. with a firm emphasis on sharing the craft, ritual and passion for coffee, grindsmith offer a wide range of speciality coffees, as well as breakfast, brunch and lunch menus.

62 bridge street, manchester m3 

pollen sourdough & viennoiserie bakery

i never made it down to pollen‘s former home under the railway arches of piccadilly, but since their relocation to the waterfront of new islington marina i’ve been making regular pilgrimages across town to savour their incredible homemade pastries and legendary sourdough. their premises at cotton field wharf are light and airy, with textured concrete walls juxtaposed by light plywood furniture for a classically scandinavian vibe. i usually shun dairy, but will always make an exception for one of pollen’s amazing sourdough pastry cinnamon buns; all crisp and flaky and sugary. coffee is served in sleek ceramic cups by jono smart, and if you’re lucky you’ll be greeted by adorable fluffball maru (a chow chow) at the front door.

cotton field wharf, 8 new union street, manchester m4

idle hands

idle hands is “not just for those who enjoy drinking, tasting and making coffee, but those who enjoy discussing and researching it.” it’s definitely my go-to in the city when i want to enjoy a long black coffee, as opposed to a (non-dairy) milk-based one, although they do those damn well too. there’s a regularly rotating brew bar offering filter coffees from roasters from around the world, hand brewed on v60 or aeropress. the interior is light and airy, with plenty of plywood and an abundance of greenery, while at the counter you will always find a good selection of pies on offer; the (vegan) cherry pie is certainly one i can vouch for!

35 dale street, manchester m1

just between friends

just between friends is a coffee shop recommendation i like to keep just between friends (haha), because it’s such a tiny gem of a spot! serving up single origin coffee from brixton roastery assembly, which is one of my faves, the interior of the shop features a low, wide window seat with a couple of stools, and three hexagonal tray tables that hinge from the wall to offer an expanding range of seating. on warmer days the front window is pulled back to really open the tiny interior up, whilst there is also a ‘secret’ internal courtyard just behind the cafe (part of the freemount pub) where you’re able to sit with your coffee and feel secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city outside.

56 tib street, manchester m4

siop shop

from humble beginnings baking doughnuts in the basement of northern quarter bar common, siop shop (aka blawd) opened their first premises on tib street last year to much acclaim. the spacious corner café feels refreshingly fun and down-to-earth, with mismatched furniture, eclectic wall art from a selection of local artists, and a vibrant green counter by manchester design studio you &i. the coffee is good, of course, but what you’re really there for are the doughnuts. there are daily vegan offerings – the glazed ring is a personal fave – alongside tantalisingly tasty sounding options like caramel custard, rhubarb & pistachio glaze, and  peanut butter glaze with peanut & chocolate crumb. yum!

53 tib steet, manchester m4

trove

trove, levenhulme’s acclaimed bakery and cafe, opened in ancoats late in 2018, bringing with it their legendary sourdough loaves and simple, seasonal grub. as one of the most popular suppliers of baked goods to many of manchester’s central cafés, trove’s own outpost has distinguished itself by offering a wonderfully serene atmosphere in the up-and-coming ancoats area. set within a light, minimal, scandi-styled space – with triple height windows that let the light flood in on even the grimmest of days – everything is made by hand in-house, using locally sourced and organic ingredients. quality coffee (allpress) also plays a huge part in their menu, from flat whites to v60, served in ceramic cups by local artisans little torch.

5 murray street, manchester m4

atkinsons

located within bustling foodie mecca mackie mayor, atkinsons is a speciality coffee roasters and tea merchants established in lancaster in 1837, who are now sourcing, roasting and brewing some of the highest quality coffees from around the world in manchester’s bustling northern quarter. housed within mackie mayor’s 1858 grade ii listed marketplace, atkinson’s occupies one corner of building and has it’s own external entry, meaning it can open earlier in the day than the main market.  the menu offers an ever evolving range of seasonal, single-origin coffees, and there’s even a vintage uno coffee roaster on the premises, dating from 1919, which has been lovingly restored and operates once a week for production roasting.

mackie mayor, 1 eagle street, manchester m4


all photography © kate baxter, aka fabricofmylife 

The post but first, coffee (& cake!) appeared first on fabric of my life | UK interior design, lifestyle & travel blog.

Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top & GIVEAWAY!!!

Contents:


Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top

A few months ago Mood Fabrics seduced me in that way they do. I had purchased some denim and they sent me one of those “you may also like…” emails. It featured this Denim and Ivory Novelty Cotton Lace, and I was smitten. This fabric is a bit misnamed: it is not denim. It is a cotton chambray, but it is denim colored. 🙂

I purchased 2 yards. I rarely buy or wear lace, but I have been focusing on hot-weather clothing (for Florence and NYC this summer) and this was just.so.pretty!

I played with the fabric and quickly decided that I wanted to use the lace vertically, rather than horizontally. (I posted these pics to Instagram and Facebook and most people thought I should use the fabric horizontally, but I didn’t like it as well when held up to my body.)

I quickly decided I wanted a simple angel-wing-style top. I didn’t bother with a pattern, so I started with a tape measure. The fabric is 60″ from selvedge to selvedge, or 58″ if you ignore the lace peaks. I measured from wrist to wrist and my wingspan is 52″.

What… you don’t tape your tape measure to your body?

That means I needed to remove at least 6″ from the width. I didn’t want to cut the lace, or mess with the lace at all, so I had to remove the extra fabric from the section between the lace. That section is 16″ wide. To complicate matters, I didn’t want to remove width in the area where I would have a neck opening, and I needed about 10″ for the neck hole, so I had to remove 3″ on each side of the neck opening (or 6″ total). I sewed the tucks so that they would end above the bust—they release above the bust, providing my full bust adjustment (FBA).

Sheesh, I didn’t have a lot of room because, as it was, I had only 3″ on each side of the neck opening. So I decided to take 1/2″ tucks, directly on top of each other, at each side of the neck opening. This required careful marking, sewing, pressing, and topstitching.

Next, I drew a standard round neckline opening, but it was too small for my head. I added a slit. It now went over my head, but I didn’t want a slit, so I turned the slit into a v-neck. (A boat neck would have been easier, but I avoid boat necks – I don’t like them on my frame and, anyway, I didn’t have enough width for a boat neck once the tucks were sewn in.)

I used a scrap of fabric to make a neckline facing.

I wanted to place the hem on a lace “valley”. The valleys occur every 4-1/4″, so I experimented pinning the hem at different lengths, but always landing on one of the valleys. I even tried a hi-low hem, but I ended up choosing a longer hem that was the same front and back. I thread basted the hem.

Thread basting
I hemmed the chambray portions by machine and the lace portions by hand

I finished the top by strategically tacking the front to the back at the side bust and side waist. I also tacked a pleat into the front, below the bust, to control the volume a bit.

Twirling
This top was made from a rectangle and has no shoulder or side seams. I used a 60″ by 69″ rectangle, plus some tucks and tacks for shaping and taming the fullness.

Do I like this top? I think so. I made it specifically for hot weather and wore it over a cream tank top for these pics at 7am this morning. I was freezing, so I take that as a good sign, as far as hot weather goes. I wore it over a sweater for a local arts festival today and it is fun to wear with those lacy wings. I can’t wear a sweater or jacket over it, and I put my cross-body purse under it, which maybe wasn’t the best look, but I didn’t want to carry a satchel. I doubt I’ll take it to Florence, because the cotton has a tendency to wrinkle, but I think it will be a cool and fun wear on a hot day!


Style ’17 & Giveaway

Last year I blogged about Style ’16. The Style show provides a great opportunity to buy gorgeous wearable art and jewelry directly from the artists. I love events like this! I made sure to get Style ’17 on my calendar many months ago—April 29th and 30th. This year the event will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View—walking distance from where I work one or two days each week.

Then, last week, one of the co-producers of Style ’17 kindly reached out and offered me two free tickets. I bought my ticket months ago, so I asked if I could offer the tickets to my blog readers. She agreed, so, if you would like two free tickets to this fabulous event, please leave a comment indicating your interest! I will post the winner next weekend, so you have until Friday to enter.

For those who don’t win, you can still save! They offered my blog readers 40% off the ticket price, so it will cost $6 instead of $10. (To be honest, I don’t mind paying full price for this event because it benefits Art in Action, a national non-profit that provides visual arts curriculum to 75,000 students each year, including children in 185 Bay Area schools.)

To get the ticket discount, enter SHAMS40 on the last page of the checkout. If you do come and you see me, please say hi! In short… a fun day at the Computer Museum, great shopping, benefitting arts programs—it’s a win-win-win!

(By the way, two of my artist-friends have booths at this event. Winnie of Eccentric Designs jewelry, and wearable artist Carol Lee Shanks, who sometimes teaches at Design Outside the Lines.)


Can you believe it’s April already? My weekend calendar is becoming uncomfortably full. Things are heating in my History of Italian Fashion class. In fact, we are each giving a presentation while in Italy and I’ve selected my subject. I am giving a short preso on designer Antonio Marras. Mr Marras has been designing for Kenzo since 2005 and he also has his own line—his designs are quite compelling. I plan to visit his high-concept store while in Milan this summer. I hadn’t heard his name before, but it was instant love when I googled his designs. You might check out his Fall 2017 line.

I’ve just washed the fabric for my next Britex project, and I’ve selected a pattern, so that’s my activity for next weekend.

Please join me on Patti’s Visible Monday. I hope you have a great week!

Made by a Fabricista: Classic Ponte Knit Pieces!

Happy Saturday All!
I am so over this heat here in South Florida!  The humidity and the high temperature feels like 100+ degrees each day.  I can’t wait for Fall so that I can truly enjoy the cooler temperatures.

Whenever Fabric Mart has designer ponte knit fabric in stock and on sale, I grab as many yards as I am allowed to.  I absolutely love sewing with ponte knit versus other knits as the stability and structure are perfect for my personal taste (See my previous Fabric Mart post using ponte knit here and here).

 For my July post, I quickly grabbed a few yards of this midnight black viscose/nylon/lycra blend ponte knit as I wanted to add a simple classic black dress that was not fitted.  I also selected a designer rayon/nylon ponte knit in eggshell (off white) for my July post. Unfortunately both colors are sold out, however, these two here and here are absolutely perfect for these look.

When I came across this Simplicity S8874 pattern a month ago, the midi/maxi length and bust dart caught my attention.  I knew I  wanted to make at least 2 looks from this pattern as the bodice would be a perfect fit for my smaller upper frame. Working with knit fabrics can be tricking and I have learned a few tips from Erica Bunker’s recent post.  In addition, because of the neckline and armholes and my previous experience from my February blog post, I decided to do a little research before cutting and came across two great articles here and here.

When I sewed up the bodice for “View C” first, I fell in love immediately. For the bodice, I graded the size 10 to the 12 at the waist and for the skirt, I graded the 12 to the 16!

Loving my custom pattern weights!

Grading skirts and pants can be tricky, however, my High School friend Trudy shared a trick to always use a yard stick (meter stick) when grading or altering certain patterns.  This worked out perfect for the skirt and fit. (CUSTOM PATTERN WEIGHTS  purchased from my sew sister Bianca)!

I am so proud of my clean finish around the neckline! 
For my makes, I ensure the inside is just as clean as the outside.
In addition, I made sure I did not forget to add elastic at the shoulder seams and waist.  I actually use clear elastic at the shoulder and sewed regular elastic in between the seams of the skirt and peplum before serging (black and white).
For my second look, I hacked the bodice of the same pattern Simplicity S8874, “VIEW A” and created a peplum top instead of a dress using the peplum of  McCall’s M7752 pattern.  I am not 100% fond of the skirt pattern so I decided to switch it up a bit. I was a bit hesitant to cut this bodice view at first because of the boxy neckline but found that it was just the same sewing it as the curve. 
 I quickly cut the pattern pieces, including the front peplum piece of the McCall’s pattern  (cut 2 of the front piece).  I had to size down the peplum a bit to the 8 after measuring it. This was a quick sew and I whipped this up from cut to finish in about 3 hours.

I also took my time and made sure that my neckline and armhole band were sewed and pressed for a clean and crisp finish.  Spray starch was all I needed to have handy which did the trick!
Both makes are absolutely great staple pieces! I may not reuse the skirt pattern pieces but will draft a circle skirt for my next make based on the look and fit of this peplum top.  
Thank you so much for reading and the love and support you have shown. Be sure to stop by my Instagram page to check out my recent makes.
Photos were taken by my daughter Arielle!
One Love,
  

Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top & GIVEAWAY!!!

Contents:


Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top

A few months ago Mood Fabrics seduced me in that way they do. I had purchased some denim and they sent me one of those “you may also like…” emails. It featured this Denim and Ivory Novelty Cotton Lace, and I was smitten. This fabric is a bit misnamed: it is not denim. It is a cotton chambray, but it is denim colored. 🙂

I purchased 2 yards. I rarely buy or wear lace, but I have been focusing on hot-weather clothing (for Florence and NYC this summer) and this was just.so.pretty!

I played with the fabric and quickly decided that I wanted to use the lace vertically, rather than horizontally. (I posted these pics to Instagram and Facebook and most people thought I should use the fabric horizontally, but I didn’t like it as well when held up to my body.)

I quickly decided I wanted a simple angel-wing-style top. I didn’t bother with a pattern, so I started with a tape measure. The fabric is 60″ from selvedge to selvedge, or 58″ if you ignore the lace peaks. I measured from wrist to wrist and my wingspan is 52″.

What… you don’t tape your tape measure to your body?

That means I needed to remove at least 6″ from the width. I didn’t want to cut the lace, or mess with the lace at all, so I had to remove the extra fabric from the section between the lace. That section is 16″ wide. To complicate matters, I didn’t want to remove width in the area where I would have a neck opening, and I needed about 10″ for the neck hole, so I had to remove 3″ on each side of the neck opening (or 6″ total). I sewed the tucks so that they would end above the bust—they release above the bust, providing my full bust adjustment (FBA).

Sheesh, I didn’t have a lot of room because, as it was, I had only 3″ on each side of the neck opening. So I decided to take 1/2″ tucks, directly on top of each other, at each side of the neck opening. This required careful marking, sewing, pressing, and topstitching.

Next, I drew a standard round neckline opening, but it was too small for my head. I added a slit. It now went over my head, but I didn’t want a slit, so I turned the slit into a v-neck. (A boat neck would have been easier, but I avoid boat necks – I don’t like them on my frame and, anyway, I didn’t have enough width for a boat neck once the tucks were sewn in.)

I used a scrap of fabric to make a neckline facing.

I wanted to place the hem on a lace “valley”. The valleys occur every 4-1/4″, so I experimented pinning the hem at different lengths, but always landing on one of the valleys. I even tried a hi-low hem, but I ended up choosing a longer hem that was the same front and back. I thread basted the hem.

Thread basting
I hemmed the chambray portions by machine and the lace portions by hand

I finished the top by strategically tacking the front to the back at the side bust and side waist. I also tacked a pleat into the front, below the bust, to control the volume a bit.

Twirling
This top was made from a rectangle and has no shoulder or side seams. I used a 60″ by 69″ rectangle, plus some tucks and tacks for shaping and taming the fullness.

Do I like this top? I think so. I made it specifically for hot weather and wore it over a cream tank top for these pics at 7am this morning. I was freezing, so I take that as a good sign, as far as hot weather goes. I wore it over a sweater for a local arts festival today and it is fun to wear with those lacy wings. I can’t wear a sweater or jacket over it, and I put my cross-body purse under it, which maybe wasn’t the best look, but I didn’t want to carry a satchel. I doubt I’ll take it to Florence, because the cotton has a tendency to wrinkle, but I think it will be a cool and fun wear on a hot day!


Style ’17 & Giveaway

Last year I blogged about Style ’16. The Style show provides a great opportunity to buy gorgeous wearable art and jewelry directly from the artists. I love events like this! I made sure to get Style ’17 on my calendar many months ago—April 29th and 30th. This year the event will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View—walking distance from where I work one or two days each week.

Then, last week, one of the co-producers of Style ’17 kindly reached out and offered me two free tickets. I bought my ticket months ago, so I asked if I could offer the tickets to my blog readers. She agreed, so, if you would like two free tickets to this fabulous event, please leave a comment indicating your interest! I will post the winner next weekend, so you have until Friday to enter.

For those who don’t win, you can still save! They offered my blog readers 40% off the ticket price, so it will cost $6 instead of $10. (To be honest, I don’t mind paying full price for this event because it benefits Art in Action, a national non-profit that provides visual arts curriculum to 75,000 students each year, including children in 185 Bay Area schools.)

To get the ticket discount, enter SHAMS40 on the last page of the checkout. If you do come and you see me, please say hi! In short… a fun day at the Computer Museum, great shopping, benefitting arts programs—it’s a win-win-win!

(By the way, two of my artist-friends have booths at this event. Winnie of Eccentric Designs jewelry, and wearable artist Carol Lee Shanks, who sometimes teaches at Design Outside the Lines.)


Can you believe it’s April already? My weekend calendar is becoming uncomfortably full. Things are heating in my History of Italian Fashion class. In fact, we are each giving a presentation while in Italy and I’ve selected my subject. I am giving a short preso on designer Antonio Marras. Mr Marras has been designing for Kenzo since 2005 and he also has his own line—his designs are quite compelling. I plan to visit his high-concept store while in Milan this summer. I hadn’t heard his name before, but it was instant love when I googled his designs. You might check out his Fall 2017 line.

I’ve just washed the fabric for my next Britex project, and I’ve selected a pattern, so that’s my activity for next weekend.

Please join me on Patti’s Visible Monday. I hope you have a great week!