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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Parkinson's, Sewing and Me.

With thanks to

I have been asked many times to write this blog post and I kept putting it off. It is not easy to write but if it helps anybody then that makes me very happy.
The tools and equipment featured are all from jaycotts and I will give you the links as we go along. Please note that the products featured are suitable for use no matter what your disability, be it arthritis or poor eyesight.

Parkinson's is not what I want for myself or anybody else for that matter,quite frankly it stinks. One day I may feel well (ish) there is always an ish! Other days I cannot even get out of bed.

Currently around 127,000 people in the UK are living with Parkinson’s, an incurable, degenerative neurological condition which leaves people struggling to walk, talk and sleep

It's made harder by the fact that I live alone, people with disabilities become somehow undateable, I mean it's not the best chat up line in the world is it? " Hi, I'm Angela, I suffer from Parkinson's, I have chronic fatigue, I drop things constantly, I can't always find the word I want and I might fall over and appear drunk" come on! Yes I know I am positive and I am a fighter but sometimes I don't want to be, you know? I want to be " normal" I don't want to have to collect two carrier bags of medication every month and spend two hours every week sorting it out.

And I am really not complaining because I am grateful, but I would love to be able to earn my own money and not be means tested. Hey I'd love new carpets! Correction I NEED new carpets but I don't have that sort of money! I cannot just go out on a whim if I am feeling low or buy myself a treat - like those carpets, or anything really.
I lost a 30K + salary when I was diagnosed, now I have to prove to people that I really do qualify for the little I get, just like millions of others.
I didn't want to give up work. Early " retirement" was not an option. It was tough giving up a career I loved.

Most people go out for a coffee occasionally right? Well for me - unless I pay by card, contactless is so brilliant! I struggle to get the money out of my purse, then - have you noticed - you are given receipt followed by a £5 note followed by loose change..err? What am I supposed to do with it? I just stare at it and shove it in my pocket. Then there's the impossible task of trying to carry an overfilled cup to a vacant seat - if I can find  one.... Imagine that scene??? Yes, I could ask for help, but honestly, would you?
It is very frustrating when I cannot do something like chop vegetables - I have to buy them ready chopped - more expense. I can't eat a lot of the foods I used to love because I now have allergies to certain proteins in various foods.  Hey, I don't even have the energy to cook a huge meal, even if I could manage to eat it! Stir fries are my salvation AND healthy - all that veg!

Don't think I am moaning, I'm not this is reality for me and thousands like me, and I am telling you how it is. You need to know.
Not only do we struggle with day to day life, try managing on what the benefits system pays out! Our daily living expenses are much higher than able bodied people and that's a fact.

This report is by another Parkinson's sufferer
Parkinson’s can creep into so many aspects of your life. For the first time,research has exposed the full financial impact of Parkinson’s, and it’s shocking that people affected by the condition are being hit by such devastating losses – especially at a time when families are already feeling the strain.” Steve Ford, Chief Executive, Parkinson’s UK
Because Parkinson’s is progressive, new symptoms can present at any time. I started to experience problems with swallowing, and combined with medication, this caused dramatic weight loss. I had to replace all my clothes as well as buy protein powder and high-calorie drinks to help me get the nutrients and essentially daily calories I need. I also pay for visual aids to help with the cognitive problems I experience due to the condition, and I’m determined to keep as active as I can, but again that leads to me paying out for more equipment. All the things I pay for help me to live well with Parkinson’s for longer – so it isn’t a choice to buy them or not, they are all essential for me. It may seem at times ideal to be retired so young but people forget why, they don’t know from a post on Facebook that I had absolutely no sleep last night or that I can’t even complete the alphabet some days.

A quote from another Parkinsons sufferer says “Parkinson’s can creep into so many aspects of your life, and with that comes extra costs that can really add up. That’s why my husband refers to it as “The Burglar” it’s taken part of his wife and continues to take. We just try to make the best of it.”

Increased costs Households affected by Parkinson’s lose out on more than £16,000 each year due to a combination of reduced income and increased costs, a report looking into the financial impact of the condition for the first time reveals a shocking impact on sufferers, all this on top of having to come to terms with a diagnosis of something totally life changing and incurable
Research published by Sheffield Hallam University and Parkinson’s UK shows that a household where a person is living with the condition loses around £319 per week on average – 60 per cent more than previously thought. “I applied for benefits, but the process took so long that for nearly a year we had hardly any money coming in.” says Anna Cunningham

Half of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and one third of family members, have reduced their working hours, looked for more flexible roles or given up work entirely. The Cost of Parkinson’s report shows that overall, households affected by the condition experience a loss of income averaging £10,731 per year, as a result of reduced working hours, family members providing unpaid care without financial support, and the loss of state benefits and pensions. This is in addition to mounting health and social care costs, which add up to an average of £5,851 per household across the year and include assistance for daily living, such as transport and personal care, energy costs, healthcare related equipment and travel, and adaptations to the home
Early retirement? It's a joke!
Read the full report on this link The true cost of Parkinson's

Myself and my Brother

That's not a pretty picture is it. Unfortunately it's reality for me and people like me.

If somebody you know who has a chronic disability like Parkinson's and they laugh and say who me? Yes, of course I am fine! Why shouldn't I be? Don't take it at face value because often they are putting a brave face on. It's loss of independence which hits hard you see. We don't want people to know we are feeling low or that we are exhausted because we were in so much pain last night that we hardly slept a wink. Yes there is pain, lots of it .It becomes normal to be in constant pain.

So, those of you who read my blog wont know , because Parkinson's can be a hidden disease,  that I have lost weight because I can't eat, that it takes me three hours to get up in the morning and that I can no longer write my own name

This is me with my father and brothers.
So, what is Parkinson's?
There is no set pattern as to how long Parkinson's takes to progress or the age it starts or indeed the symptoms as  It varies from person to person. I have had young onset Parkinson's for around 20 years and at the moment there are signs that it is deteriorating. This is normal as it is degenerative and incurable.
The disease is very complex and it affects the whole body.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

How to alter Simplicity 8391 to make Palazzo pants and a darted printed top

A short blog post following on from before.

This is a continuation of my previous blog post Sew yourself Cropped pants and a matching top

The last post was an embroidered pair of crop trousers with a top featuring the same embroidery. I appreciate that some of you have no desire to embroider by machine or hand so this is another idea - Block Printing. 

I wish to thank the delightful Fiona from Hobbycraft in Preston who advised me on what I needed to purchase and how to use them! I have never done block printing before so her advice was invaluable. Hobbycraft Thank you Fiona.

 Everything is the same as in the previous post
All of the machines, zip, thread and habberdashery etc are from Contact Jaycotts

The Simplicity pattern is also from Jaycotts Simplicity 8391

The fabric is from MinervaCrafts I am just going to direct you to their section on cotton/linen fabrics as there is an enormous choice of colours, designs and prices Cotton Linen blend fabrics

The first step was to lengthen the sleeves slightly, I just added four inches to the length but some of this was taken up with the hem as I didn't add the sleeve band as previous. Then I did some simple printing around the edge.

Instead of embroidery I thought that I would attempt some block printing. I have never printed on fabric before so I was a bit nervous! The fabric paints have to be ironed with a high temperature to fix them, so make sure that your fabric can stand the heat, and do use a pressing cloth.

These are the blocks I bought from Hobbycraft and some Dylon fabric paints. They are easy to use but do practise first.
I had a comment recently from somebody who doesn't like my placement of embelishments. That's fine, the whole point of sewing your own clothes is that they can be as individual as you are and if you want to embroider yellow flowers all over your red skirt go ahead! We are making things to please ourselves, and so be creative, it's how we learn.
Another point is that I always try to keep my blog posts as simple as possible so that even a total beginner can make something to be proud of. I am a novice as far as machine embroidery goes too, so hopefully we will learn and progress together.

I made an alteration to the neckline of the blouse. Instead of the gathers I measured tiny darts all the way across the front, manipulating them slightly so that they still fit the neckband. I am quite happy with the effect.

The block printing on my trousers was done after I had stitched the side seams and I was careful to make sure that the design aligned on both legs.
My design is rather amateurish, but I am not an artist, you I am certain can do much better! This is the beauty of holiday clothes, they are an opportunity to try something different, new colours, new styles. Things always look different in the sun!

All in all I am delighted with the way this outfit has turned out. Yes, it's in Navy Blue again, but I did have rather a lot of it which needed using!

Thinks just a very short blog post, I hope that it inspires you to have a go at doing some different embelishments on your clothes.

Thank you for reading this


I made a short video explaining more about what I did to alter the pattern
The link to the YouTube video is here in case it does not open automatically My YouTube Video

Thanks to Jaycotts for the fabulous machinery and sewing equipment and a special Thank you to the delightful Fiona from Hobbycraft.

Angela  x

#palazzo #trousers #sewangelicthreads #sewing #sew #cottonlinen #blockprinting #printingfabric #sewingblog

Friday, 18 August 2017

Sew yourself some Croppped Pants and a matching Top

This is a post using Simplicity 8391

This is such an easy outfit to make, with or without embroidery. It is suitable for beginners upwards.

Skills learned

Centred Zip
Positioning of embroidery/applique 

When I first saw this pattern I wasn't sure if it would suit me or not. Wrong! I decided as soon as I tried it on that I love this outfit.It is perfect for holidays, flattering and easy to sew. I like the 3/4 length wide trousers, they are cool to wear in the sun - I like to cover up mostly and I want garments which are easy to wear and light to pack.
I have paired the outfit with a pair of navy wedges.

The pattern is by Simplicity and is available to purchase from Jaycotts Simplicity 8391  In the envelope are patterns for a top, skirt, pants and shorts, everything you need for your holiday in fact.
The fabric is from Minerva Crafts and is a linen look Cotton, Linen look Cotton fabric This fabric is cool to wear and very easy to sew.
The pattern shows the garments made up in cotton trimmed with eyelet fabric or lace, but I wanted to use embroidery on mine - of course!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Pattern Hacking Simplicity 8376

This is my interpretation of Simplicity 8376, and how I turned the pattern from an ordinary top into something unique and special. A post 

Watch my YouTube video on this link here:- My YouTube video

  DEFINITION – Pattern Hack [pat-ern hack]: to modify or write a sewing pattern in a skillful or clever way.

I read a lot of blogs and some people think that if they have merely taken the hem up by  two inches they have created their own pattern hack. In my opinion a good pattern hack totally changes the appearance of the original design to make it individual and very different . It could be anything from creating a different sleeve or adding a lace overlay but  it has to significantly change the appearance of the original garment, so with that in mind I decided to have a go myself.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Appliqué made on my Brother Innov-is NV 800E Embroidery machine

It's so easy to use your embroidery machine from Jaycotts to applique garments, bags and household items.

My Brother Innov-is NV 800E     Brother Innov-is 800E from not only does beautiful embroidery and makes free standing lace but it also creates applique easily and quickly. In other words this one machine does everything you need to embelish your sewing project. Or indeed a ready made item!
I am currently making a red jersey top ( watch out for it in my next blog post)  and wanted a simple embelishment to add to it. A small appliqué flower was the answer.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Sewing Workshop ZONA Jacket . A MCBN post

This is the Zona Jacket, a pattern by The Sewing Workshop with fabric from MinervaCrafts. A Minerva Crafts Blogger Network Post

Once in a while something unexpected and magical happens, and that’s how I feel about this pattern. On first glance the pattern envelope shows a drawing of a rather ordinary looking jacket, but once sewing commences it quickly becomes apparent how complex and interesting this pattern is. I would say that if you have some sewing experience and if you are prepared to follow the pattern instructions and not go “off piste” then fantastic results are very achievable.  Do include the pleated back and resist the plain back as it is mainly the back view which adds magic to this garment.........

To read the rest of the post go to:-The Zona Jacket by The Sewing Workshop

#jacket #linen #MCBN #TheSewingWorkshop #Zona #topstitching #BiasBinding #elephants #patterncutting