My Knight in Adjustable Shining Armour

Once upon a time there was a damsel in distress who was being held captive by the wicked Internal Critic.   Internal Critic punished her for every bit of wonky top-stitching she hastily produced.   He demanded nothing but perfect accuracy in everything the damsel did.   The damsel shrank inside each day as her stitches had a life of their own.   She soon became very friendly with Internal Critic’s archenemies Seam Ripper.

The damsel thought she would never conquer Internal Critic and would be destined for a life of ‘home-ec’ style projects.   Until one day her prayers to the Tailor in the sky were answered and a Knight in adjustable shining armour arrived to save her.   He had come from the Far East via the Amazon and he went by the name Blind Hem Foot.   With his adjustable guide she was able to destroy Internal Critic and create the most beautiful top-stitching in the land.   The garments she produced with the Knight at her side fractured Internal Critic into a thousand pieces and scattered him to the winds.   And she was no longer a damsel in distress; she was Sewcial Warrior.


Do you want to know the serious bit about this make then?


This little top is the Atalie top by the pleasantly named Spit up and Stilettos.   Now, I know there’s been some rumblings regarding copyright infringement and spit up patterns but, to my knowledge, the Atalie top has not been attributed to any other pattern designer so I’m going to go ahead and blog it.   This was a free pattern.   I really don’t want to get into the argument about the morality of this pattern company, but I don’t necessarily want to increase traffic to the site either so if you want a copy of the pattern you’ll just have to go ahead and google it.

The Atalie top is a pop-over blouse with turned up sleeve cuffs, polo style button placket and neckline finished with bias binding.   There’s no bust or waist shaping and it’s quite boxy.   The pattern suggests that it would be ideal for garden work where a loose-fitting, hard-wearing garment is ideal.   It’s cute, but not my usual style.   I’m a curvy lady and rather than smother my curves in fabric I prefer to show them off with more fitted garments.   Otherwise I feel I have no waist and look like a giant sausage.   But, I decided to roll with it and see how it turned out.


For this make I used a printed cotton that I really can’t remember the provenance of.   I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a charity shop find but I can’t remember who gave it to me, think it was a colleague.   Anyway, you may have noticed I usually favour bright jewel colours and I wasn’t sure about this print as it’s so light and I didn’t want it to make me look washed out.   I fell in love with the little blue and pink flowers and the delicate almost egg-shell blue of the ground colour so I decided to step out of my colour comfort zone and go for it.

The pattern calls for a heavy weight canvas or similar and the instructions try to reassure you that it will work well but I wasn’t convinced myself so went with a lighter weight fabric.


The sizing chart on this pattern is really confusing.   The range goes from XS to XL but there are two lots of measurements for each size. How does that work then?   You think they’d put from X” to X” but they don’t.   My bust fits the bigger L measurements but my waist and hips hit the larger XL measurements (very usual for my bust to be two sizes smaller than waist and hips).   As it’s designed to be a loose fit garment I figured a bit of extra ease around the boobage department was no big deal so I cut the XL and didn’t bother with a toile.   I just roughly held the front piece up to my body and decided it looked about right.   I know, really accurate!

The fit’s not bad though.   I think if I make it again I would lengthen it slightly as it feels like an odd length to me.   I was worried about the sleeve width too as I’ve got flying squirrel wings.   My fears were unfounded and there’s plenty of room in the sleeves.   I like the cuff feature too.


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Button plackets!! Eek!   I mainly chose this pattern as this style of button placket is new to me and like to add a new technique to my arsenal with every project.   This is the first step you do, bar stay stitching the neckline, and actually the instructions were ok, although the diagrams leave a lot to be desired.   While we’re talking about stay-stitching, it has you stay stitch at different distances on the front neckline and the back yoke neckline.   The instructions say this is because you trim off the seam allowance later on but I still can’t fathom why they’re at different distances and why they even bothered putting seam allowance on the neckline if they just get you to cut it off later on. Anyway, I was surprisingly successful with the plackets.   I did have to do a tiny bit of hand-stitching on the inside as I hadn’t quite caught the bottom of the left placket when I stitched down the right placket.   Also, the left placket seems to be drafted too long, I had to cut about 5/8” away where it overlapped the neckline.   Although, that conclusion could be due to my inexperience at this technique.   /my new-found best friend, the blind hem foot, helped me get damn near perfect top-stitching.   I can adjust my foot so that the guide is either on the left or the right of the needle, making it really versatile for all sorts of jobs. I was very proud of my nice neat top-stitching.


The shoulder yokes on this are another anomaly that confused me.   The pattern only has you cut one and suggests you interface it if using a lighter weight fabric.   What’s the point of having a lovely yoke if you can’t use it to hide the horrible seam allowances on the inside.   Therefore I completely disregarded that instruction and turned to the instructions from Colette Patterns Negroni shirt, which I made for Tobi a few months ago, to line the yoke using the burrito method (or shirt sausage as I like to call it) and hide all those raw edges.   The extra layer also added some body so the interfacing was unnecessary.

The pattern states that there are 3/8” seam allowances throughout, but halfway through the instructions it starts referring to 5/8” allowances, even on parts where the pattern piece labelled them as 3/8”.   Confusing and inconsistent, I found.   But I did follow the instructions and the fit turned out ok.

I used ½” self fabric bias binding on the neckline.   The pattern calls for 1” but I only have a smaller bias binding maker gadget so I went with that.   I think it maybe looks a little too delicate for the style of the top but oh well, it looks neat because I used my fabby blind hem foot again.


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Not really sure about this make.   I couldn’t decide if it was too casual to wear to work or not but decided to go for it and wore it with a black pencil skirt.   I did get a couple of compliments on it but I can’t make up my mind whether I like it or not.   I was pleased with the finish I achieved though and it’s another technique in the bank.

I don’t think I’d recommend the pattern though for the reasons I’ve mentioned above; inconsistent instructions, confusing sizing, poor diagrams and odd construction decisions. I’ve just read the two reviews on the pattern website and they too comment on the poor instructions and diagrams.   Not just me then.   I might make it again but, to be honest, probably wont.

Project cost

Pattern: Free

Fabric: Free

Notions: already in my stash

Total: zero! That’s right, a completely free project.

See, it is possible to sew on a budget.

What do you guys think of this one?   A hit or a miss?

A personal note & One Lovely Blog Award Nominee

Hi Guys.   Sorry I’ve been a bit on the quiet side lately.   I don’t want to be a moaner, and I’ve done my best to keep my day job off the blog, but the short reason I haven’t posted particularly regularly recently is that I’m really stressed with my day job.   Stressed to the point that my GP signed me off sick for three weeks.   So I have three weeks to collect my thoughts and decide where I want the next 30 years of my career to go.   I need Careers advice, anyone know where an adult can get that these days?

I’m hoping to use the time off for a bit of self-care too.   For my day job I look after other people all day long, I come home and have two young children to look after, with some support from my husband, and family stresses and strains to support with.   All this means I rarely get time just for me (I’m sure a lot of you ladies out there are in the same boat), so I’m going to look after myself in the bits of time I can snatch to myself.   My three-year old son, Eli, goes to nursery on a Wednesday and Friday mornings so I will have at least two mornings a week to do what I want to do.   Of course, for me that means sewing and hopefully a bit more frequent blogging…   That note brings me smoothly to the next point.

One Lovely Blog award Nominee

One Lovely Blog Award

I was blown away when Laura at the Accidental Seamstress nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.   Here I was thinking I was talking to myself but there really are people who are vaguely interested in my waffle.   Thanks so much, Laura, I’m really flattered, particularly as Laura’s blog looks so much more professional than mine.   Although, I’m hoping the quality of my photos will begin to improve as Tobi bought me a digital camera for my birthday at the end of November, especially for the blog.

You’re probably scratching your heads wondering what this award thing is all about.   Well, the One Lovely blog award is given to bloggers by bloggers.   It’s funny because I’d not really considered that I’d reached the point of having earnt the title ‘blogger’ but I guess it’s official now.  Of course there are some requirements to the award.

1.  Thank and link back to the blogger who nominated you

2.  Follow the blogger who nominated you

3.  List the rules and display the award

4.  List seven facts about yourself

5.  Nominate your own Top Ten Bloggers (let them know on their “About” page).

So, without further ado, here’s seven facts about me…

1. I married my first boyfriend.   We’ve known each other since we were eight and grew up in the same village in rural Hampshire.   I couldn’t stand him as a child but clearly that changed along the way.

2. I have a filthy mind.  You know the phrase ‘mind like a sewer’? Well, my friend Martin reckons that the sewers in my mind are so big there are people punting gondolas down them.  He has dubbed me ‘Gondola Mind’ as a result.

3. I once, very briefly, had a food blog.   I think there were only one or two posts on it and they were lame.   I can’t even remember the name of the blog or where it was hosted.

4. I love music and I’m a bit of a rocker really.   I have an eclectic taste in music; from Marilyn Manson to Bedouin Soundclash.

5. I’m incredibly lazy.  My car looks like a rubbish bin for my children, my bedroom floor is always covered in clothes and I think I’ve only cleared my car twice in the three years I’ve had it.   There’s more important things than housework, like spending time with my children, blogging and sewing.

6. My claim to fame is that my Dad was on UK chat show called Kilroy, hosted by Robert Kilroy-Silk,  twice and was also in a UK magazine called Woman’s Own.   I’m not going to share what the story was but feel free to have a guess, I bet you’ll never get it.

7. I find blogging a real effort.   I started the blog to be able to take part in the conversation and the amazing Sewing community that exists online, but I find it really difficult to motivate myself to blog.   I’m a bit of a hermit really and not the most social of people in real life.   Bear with me on the blog when there are big gaps between posts, I’m probably just psyching myself up to actually put something out there.


Well there we go, that was actually harder than I thought it was going to be trying to find 7 vaguely interesting things about myself.   As per the instructions of the award, I will be nominating my top 10 bloggers for the same award  but I’ll have to have a think about who to nominate.   So I’ll come back to you again and let you know who I chose.

Ninja Palazzo Pants

I’m a bad blogger.   I’ve got pics all ready to rock and roll but no text typed.   I don’t know about you but when I get home from a stressful days work and it’s already dark outside all I can motivate myself to do is snuggle up in front of the television and drool over Idris Elba in Luther.   I’m not good in the Autumn/Winter anyway and suffer from a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder, so my mood and motivation are even lower in the dark days.

Anyway, there has been something this month that has really kept me motivated, helped me meet loads of new seamstresses and kept me inspired.   It’s #BPSewvember over on Instagram.   If you haven’t seen it, this is an idea that Amanda from Bimple and Pimple came up with.   There is a sewing related theme for each day of the month and the idea is to post pics relating to the theme each day.   As I type we’re on day 20 and amazingly I have kept up and posted a picture each day.   I have also lost at least 50% of my productive working day by browsing that hashtag.   I think I’ve said before that I don’t really have any friends who are into sewing so getting a sneak peak into others sewing lives is a rare treat.   Check it out if you haven’t already, it’s addictive.   Here’s a selection of some of my pictures this months so far.

The Make

So, onto some actual sewing then.   You may recall me saying when I posted my Welt Pocket Tutorial, that I was working on a pair of culottes from a Burdastyle magazine.   Well, the culottes were more of a wearable muslin for the real deal, palazzo Pants.   I used this pattern from burdastyle for this make, although it came from my copy of the magazine rather than the website.   For the wearable muslin I used a cream poly cotton that was in my stash which I believe was given to me by a colleague.   My measurements were slightly larger than the largest pattern in the magazine so I had to grade up the pattern slightly.   I added two inches at the waist and three inches at the hips.   Construction was actually fairly straightforward once I had deciphered the aforementioned welt pocket instructions.   Surprisingly the fly zipper instructions were much clearer than the welt pockets.   This was much first ever fly zipper and I really couldn’t get my head round it until I read Jen’s tutorial over at the Grainline blog.   Thinking of the fly zip as a lapped zipper with an underflappy bit helped me make sense of it all and it came together fairly easily.

Just noticed a hair on the fly on this zip- sorry guys I moult like an Alsatian.

These were intended as a muslin but I was so pleased with the finish I decided to chuck them in the washing machine with some Pillar Box Read Dylon dye to see if I could make them wearable.   They came out somewhat pink but I still quite like them.

I know culottes seem to be all the rage and the moment and Lily Sage & Co has put up some amazing versions here, here and here (she’s even just made her daughter a version here) but I’m just not sure if this style suits me.   It certainly confuses my children as they have an unhealthy obsession with crawling on the floor under my skirts and they cannot work out why it doesn’t work for the culottes as they look so skirt-like.   They are growing on me the more I wear them though.   The fit was so good once I’d made them up that I stuck with the flat pattern adjustments I’d made for the culottes to make up the real deal palazzo pants.

The dreaded welt pockets.


For my palazzo pants I used a navy blue something that I was given by a colleague.   I have no idea what the fabric content of this fabric is but it’s a bit scratchy, like a coarse wool.   I think it’s synthetic though as it didn’t press brilliantly.


For my wearable muslin I had a hard time remembering which direction the arrows for the very wide front pleats pointed so I laid them out towards the centre front as I preferred the shape that this gave the front of the culottes.   However, the pleats are so wide they got a bit in the way of the fly.   So, I double checked the pattern when I made up the trousers and sure enough, they’re meant to be laid the other way.   Doh!   Again, a pretty straightforward make once you have mastered welt pockets and fly zips.

I used a new technique to hem the palazzo pants as I’ve just bought a load of new presser feet for my sewing machine and in amongst these was a blind hem foot.   So, I decided to avoid the inevitable hand sewing and stitch a blind hem on my machine.   This is a bit more visible than it should have been because the thread colour was a little too light for the fabric.   However, I like the finish and it was quick and relatively easy.   The blind hem foot it my new best friend.


Look how wide these trousers are.

I feel like a ninja in these trousers and have pulled a lot of very silly poses in the office while wearing them to work.

I had no problems fitting these trousers whatsoever.   I think it’s because they’re so wide that it compensates for any fitting issues there may have been.   The top I’m wearing with them is another matter though.   It’s my third version of Gertie’s Bow Blouse from her first book “The guide to better sewing”.  So as not to overwhelm you I’ll blog this separately at some point.


I’m not sure about these trousers.   I had visions in my head of looking elegant and sophisticated but think it comes off like a ninja tree-trunk as they fall from my widest part, my hips.   They’ve only been worn to work once and I still may shorten them to make them 3/4 length culotttes.   Particularly as I keep nearly killing myself when going up and down stairs as my feet get tangled in the excessive flappy fabric.


Culotte length:

Fabric: Free

Zip: 69p from a charity shop

Thread, interfacing and buttons: all in my stash

Dylon dye: Approximately £7

Total: £7.69

Palazzo pants length:

Fabric: Free

Zip: £3 approximately

Thread, interfacing and buttons: all in my stash.

Total: £3


By Hand London Anna Dress Number 2

I apologise for the highly unoriginal post title- what can I say? I never started this blog for my writing skills.   The autumn makes are slowly being churned out and I would like to introduce you to the newest member of my handmade family, By Hand London’s Anna dress.

This is my second Anna, the first being the red cotton lawn version I made in the summer.   I had originally attempted to alter the pattern to have a cowl neck at the front.   I used this tutorial from Craftsy to hack the pattern and used a soft red floral twill I had in my stash, acquired through hand-me-downs from someone.   I think it may have been a liberty print as I’m sure I spotted some dunagrees made by So Zo… for her beautiful daughter, Dolores, in the same fabric and she labelled it as Liberty.   Although, having now checked the post again, the floral pattern on mine is very similar but not the same- must be a Liberty rip-off.   Anyway, I sewed up a muslin of my altered bodice, cutting the front bodice piece on the bias to help with the drape.   This was not a success, there just wasn’t enough drape at the front for the cowl to be successful.   I was too desperate for a new dress to faff around hacking the pattern again to get a better drape so opted to just go for the slash neck pattern.

I used this 70’s-esque soft wool (I think) twill which was another charity shop bargain.   I can’t remember how much I got it for and I removed the tags and threw them away when I pre-washed but I know it was probably in the region of £5 and I got at least 6 metres of it.   This Anna took about 2.5 metres and I still have about 3.5 metres left!   I’m thinking of using it to make a button-down shirt for nice snuggly winters.   I did my best on pattern matching and was pretty chuffed with the results, although the waist seam doesn’t quite match up.   The matching was never going to be perfect because of the diagonal seamlines on the gores but all in all it’s not bad at all.

I love the colours in this pattern.   From a distance it just looks black and orange but as you get closer you see the green and purple thrown in there too.   Loverly!


I hate neckline facings as they never seem to want to stay tucked in for me so I opted to use bias binding facing on the neckline.   I’ve fallen in love with this technique recently.   If you’ve never tried it yourself here’s a link to a tutorial.   I used some vintage satin bias binding I had in my stash to do this.

Otherwise, construction was very straightforward and I made no changes from the pattern- I used my overlocker to finish all the seams.   Unlike the last time I made the Anna, I made sure that I hadn’t missed any notches and I kept the pattern pieces pinned to the fabric until the moment I needed them.   Last time I got completely muddled which triangle was for what. Keeping the paper pattern attached meant that I knew immediately which piece I needed and the skirt came together easily.

This was a very quick make.   Tobi left for work at 2pm on the Saturday and I was just cutting out the last skirt pieces.   I finished the hem on Sunday morning while the kids had their breakfast.   Almost instant gratification.


Although I made a muslin for my last Anna, I have noticed that when I wear a slip with it the slip sits approximately an inch lower than the waistline of the bodice. Therefore for this version I lengthened the bodice by and inch so it will sit on my natural waistline. As usual, I graded the pattern from a 16 at the top of the bodice to an 18 at the waist and used size 18 skirt panels. I used my previously altered pattern in which I took some of the excess out at the underarm seams too.

This is definitely my best fitting dress so far and now that the waist is lower the shape of the skirt feels much more natural to me.

Project costs

Pattern: By Hand London list the Anna dress at £14.   I’ve so far used it twice, bringing the cost to £7 per dress.   As per my recent Emery, this cost will go down if I continue to use this pattern

Fabric: £2.50 approximately

Zip: £3.20 from Hobby craft

Notions: from my stash

Total cost £12.75 approximately

I really like this dress and, as it fits well, it feels really flattering.   The fabric is just thick enough to keep me warm on the coler mornings.   All in all, a success.


How’s everyone else’s Autumn/Winter sewing going?

An Autumnal Emery Dress

Believe it or not, I’ve already made a good start on my Autumn Sewing Plans   . I’ve got several warmer weight pieces of fabric in my stash and the first I decided to use is this gorgeous piece which I picked up in a local charity shop for the bargain price of £6 (I got about 5 metres for that!).   It’s a woven fabric with different colours used for the warp and weft threads- pink and purple, woven in a diamond pattern with four coral coloured stripes woven into the border.   I have no idea what the fabric content is but it feels like natural fibres to me.

I wracked my brain to think how to use the border woven design the best, knowing that I wanted to make a dress with this length.   After a lot of Googling and Pinterest gawking I decided to stick with what I know and make my third version of Christine Haynes Emery Dress, (which is now available in PDF format btw).   I decided to have the stripes placed along the bottom of the skirt and around the bottom of the ¾ length sleeves I’d opted for.   In order to do this I had to cut the pieces on the cross grain and I was a bit concerned about how this would affect the fit.   Thankfully it didn’t seem to make a difference and I actually think the fit is better than my two previous Emery’s.

This fabric frayed like buggery and I was finding bits of pink and purple thread all over my house.   Martin, my kids nanny and Tobi’s best friend, was cursing me when I came home from work one day as it had taken him half an hour to hoover the sitting room carpet because of all the threads that had been walked through from the dining room/my sewing space.   This frayiness (I’ve decided that’s a word and I’m sticking to it) caused a bit of concern when I hand stitched the lining down at the waist line as the graded seams wanted to poke themselves out.   But I think I succeeded.

I got as far as construction of the bodice and attaching the skirt when I realised I had no invisible zips around and, being a few days before pay day, I was going to have to wait to complete the dress.   However, I had a good old rummage in my sewing drawers and came across a pink, scalloped zip with flower cut-outs that I won earlier in the year in a bundle from Sew Magazine.

After a quick bit of advice seeking on Instagram I decided the zip went well with the fabric and started working out how to insert the thing.   Most of the tutorials I found for inserting an exposed zip, including this one from Project Runway, have you stitch the zip on the inside and only have the zip teeth showing.   However the feature of this zip is the zip tape so I had to work out a way to stitch the zip to the outside.   I basically used the same method as Project Runway just stitched on the outside.   To cover the bottom of the zip I just turned it under and stitched it down.   However, this left a scratchy bit on the inside at the bottom of the zip so I cut a small rectangle of the fashion fabric, folded it in half and overlocked the edges then stitched it down on the inside of the dress, covering up the scratchy bottom of the zip and slightly untidy seam.   This worked a treat and, although you can see the stiching on the outside, the pink thread I used blends really well and is barely noticeable.

I was concerned about the sleeves on this dress as I’ve used short sleeves on my two previous Emery’s and these were a little snug.   For safety I stitched the sleeve seam with a 3/8” seam allowance to give me a little extra room.   This was eased into the armscye seam.   These were the best set-in sleeves I’ve ever achieved.   They went in perfectly the first time with no puckers and no unpicking.   I was dead chuffed.   The change I’ve made is not having my gathering stitches on the loosest tension, as most books, tutorials instruct you to.   I find the gathers slips about all over the place and it’s difficult to get even and keep that way.   With the tension set a little higher- say on 2 or 3- the increased tension helps keep those gathers where you intend to.   Also, it turned out I could have stuck to the 5/8” seam allowance as there’s plenty of room in the sleeves.

After recently moaning about an RTW dress I have that has a polyester lining, I stupidly lined the bodice with… you guessed it, polyester lining.   But how could I not team this beautiful royal purple colour with my fashion fabric?

My kids got yogurt on the lining while I was stitching it.

The first day I wore it to work my office was so over hot that I felt as though I’d been wrapped in cling film for the day.   However, I’m sure it’ll be nice and cosy when the temperature really plummets.

I absolutely adore this dress.   It’s really the amazing fabric that sings and, as usual, the Emery dress is perfect.

The fit on the back of this looks a bit rubbish but I swear it’s not like that in real life.   I wore this dress to the Knitting and Stitching show with matching purple tights and purple converse all-stars (Tobi’s wedding shoes, we have the same size feet!) and you certainly stand out in a crowd wearing that much purple!

As I’ve been trying to show you all that it is possible to Sew on a Budget, I thought I’d start showing you the cost of my projects:

Sewing Pattern: Christine Haynes Emery Dress= already in my stash and used twice so perhaps £5

Fabric: Charity shop bargain £6

Zip: Free

Lining: Charity shop bargain bought for me by my mother-in-law so zero cost to me

Total= £11 approximately but this cost will go down if I use the Emery dress more


Giveaway Redraw:

Finally, I haven’t heard from Bunty W, whom I drew last week to win the copy of All the Fun of The Fair, so I have redrewn the names and the winner is…………….          Sammy!   Sammy could you please e-mail me at with your postal address so I can arrange to ghet the book posted out to you.

The Knitting and Stitching Show and Giveaway Results

Look at me go, two posts in one week.   I’m still trying to find the perfect window of time to get some pics of finished makes done.   However rain and Tobi working the last two weekends has meant it’s been impossible so far.   Do not fret, it’ll be worth the wait. I’ve been pretty productive since I got a dedicated sewing space in our new house.

I’m not just here to waffle at you though.   I want to tell you about the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace that I went to courtesy of a giveaway from Charlie at This Blog is Not For You.   I don’t have any sewing friends in real life and I wasn’t sure who to take with me.   Tobi volunteered but I pointed out he’d have to trail behind me while I bored him with sewing talk all day.   The plan then changed to him sitting in a cafe while I gawped but I thought I might as well go on my own.  My mother-in-law, Jayne, has been talking about getting a new sewing machine, after her last one was pronounced dead when it went in for a repair.   Like most of us, with our different shaped bodies, Jayne finds it difficult to find ready to wear clothes that fit well and so plans to alter charity shop buys to fit.   So, she seemed like the best person to ask to come with me and she agreed immediately.   Yay! the first day out with just the two of us.   Now, I know for some people this would be their worst nightmare but Jayne and I get on really well so I was really looking forward to the day.   Plus, FABRIC!!!!!

Although Andover is only and hour away from London on a direct train, we had to get across London on the tube and catch another train. Despite leaving Andover at 9:46 we didn’t get to Alexandra Palace until about 12:15.   I think the entrance was like a magical portway that induced a slightly maniacal grin from the moment I entered to the moment I left.

I wish we’d had more time to look at the galleries as we missed big chunks- I was too set on the shopping, having been told the night before by Tobi that my budget was about three times what I had originally planned.   We did see some amazing textile artists though.   As soon as you enter you were greeted by the knitted Pergoda, complete with budgies and a birds nest.

I did tear myself away from the shopping to see this lovely delicate head made of thread.   Unfortunately I didn’t make note of the maker.

My favourite display however was the Renate Keeping display with these amazing stuffed heads.

This Granny stole the show for me.   She had whiskers round her mouth and everything.   They reminded me of all of my social work clients, in a good way.

So I bet you want to see the haul.   I blew half my budget on this lovely mutli-coloured dahlia print on the Lady Sew and Sew stand.   This colourway is all of my favourite colours all bundled into one and the fabric feels really soft.   I have a feeling it’s going to be worth the money.

This is my favourite though- The COWS!!!   As my lovely friend, Chelsea, put it- it’s amoozing!   I had to have it as I’d seen this dress by Vanity Project dresses with the same fabric.   I practically elbowed someone out of the way to get my hands on the bolt.   I love the way it just looks like a black and white pattern from a distance but up close you see it’s a herd of beautiful bovine.

Last but not least was this lovely African Wax print.   It’s only half a metre but I’ve wanted to add some wax print to my stash after seeing so many amazing makes around the blogosphere, so it was snapped up.

Thank you again, Charlie, for your amazing giveaway.


On to the Giveaway.

Thank you to everyone who commented on the All the fun of the Fair post.   I’m glad you liked the makes.   They’re still much loved by my brood. And now, drumroll please…. the winner, chosen by the scientific method of putting names in a hat is…..

Congratulations, Bunty W!  Please e-mail me your postal details at so I can get your prize out to you asap.   To all of you who didn’t win you can still grab your own copy over at and you can be stitching up your own animals in now time.

Catch you again guys.

Autumn Sewing Plans

The mornings are most certainly getting chillier and my summer wardrobe is increasingly leaving my cold and shivering whilst waiting in the playground in the morning for my daughter to go into school.   My thoughts are therefore turning to Autumn/Winter sewing, as I know a lot of others are.   I thought I’d share some of the plans I’ve schemed up.   Whether I actually achieve all of these remains to be seen but, here goes…

Border Weave Emery

I’ve tweeted a couple of pics of this work in progress, so this is one that I should definitely be able to achieve before the New Year, fingers crossed.   I love the Emery dress by Christine Haynes and this will be my third version (and the first not made out of a duvet!!).   I’m using a gorgeous pink and purple woven fabric with border stripes woven into it.   There is a subtle pattern woven into the fabric and the warp and weft threads are different colours so when you move the dress appears to change colour.   The fabric was also a complete bargain as I managed to pick up about 5 metres from a charity shop for £6.   I’ve cut the fabric so the stripes go along the bottom of the skirt pattern and around the bottom of the ¾ length sleeves.   I’ve also had to substitute the invisible zip the pattern calls for with an exposed scalloped, flower patterned zip that came in the bundle I won from Sew Mag a few months ago.

70’s print Anna

Anna Dress

Again using fabric I’ve picked up in my charity shop trawls.   It’s a medium weight wool twill and drapes beautifully and is so soft.   Think I’m going to go for the slash neck knee length version and I’m contemplating swapping the skirt pieces out for the pleated skirt pieces from the Garden Party dress I hacked earlier in the year.

Navy Palazzo Pants

I only own one pair of work suitable trousers and I’ve wanted a pair of vintage style high waisted, wide leg trousers for ages.   Following on from the success of the Burdastyle culottes I made in August (yet to be blogged) I decided to make the trouser length palazzo pants in a fabric I was gifted by a work colleague.   I’ve already got the pattern cut for this but got distracted with other prettiness and sewing for money!

Lilac floral Gertie bow blouse- Key hole variation

Again another one I already have cut out and did start construction but then unpicked what I had.  This isn’t necessarily Autumn appropriate but I planned it to go with the palazzo pants I had in mind.   Again, charity shop fabric.

Plaid Colette Meringue with pleather facing

I picked up a gorgeous piece of neon orange and blue plaid wool again in a charity shop (are you seeing a theme?   I’m really practising what I preached in my Sewing on a Budget post) for about £1.   I’m pretty sure there’s enough there for a Meringue skirt and I plan to put the facings on the outside, like I did with my first Meringue and use leather or faux leather for the facing fabric.   However, I won a copy of the Champagne skirt from Capital Chic Patterns through Winnie’s blog, Scruffy Badger Time, this week and this is the fabric combination that won so I may well try out the Champagne skirt instead of the Meringue.

Coral peachskin bow blouse

To go with the Meringue skirt I’ve had thoughts of using this pattern that my mother-in-law picked up from a vintage fair for me and make the dress but rather than as a dress, as pictured, shorten it into a blouse.   I have this coral coloured peachskin type fabric in my stash (another charity shop find) to make it out of (see above pic)

Mauve Gabrielle Blazer

I have a distinct lack of Autumn appropriate outerwear in my wardrobe and I would love to dip my toe in the waters of tailoring so I’m looking to make a blazer  out of a mauve 100% Worsted Wool suiting fabric that I picked up from…. you guessed it, another charity shop.   I think I got about two metres for the complete bargain price of £1.   I’m thinking of a pattern something like the Cropped Blazer from Salme Sewing patterns.

The colour has come out really blue in this picture but it’s a heathery mauve colour.

Button down shirts

I don’t have any button down shirts in my wardrobe at all, and I feel this is something that needs rectifying as they are so classic.   There are loads of gorgeous patterns around, I particularly love the recently release Bruyere shirt by Deer and Doe and it looks like a great Autumn staple with leggings and boots.   Or I could stick to the classic shape and go with the Archer from Grainline Studios.   I’m thinking of using the fabric below to begin with but I may also make a version out of the wool twill I’m going to use for the Anna dress as I have a million metres of it (that may be a slight exaggeration).

Last, but by no means least, I want to make the 40’s style blouse from Gertie’s new book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.   Yet another charity shop bargain (am I getting predictable yet?), I picked up the below fabric recently and I think it may be a genuine vintage print.   It feels like cotton and I got about 1.5 metres for only 50p.

Soooooo, not many plans then. Ha ha.   I may well have bitten off more than I can chew with all of these ideas and I have no idea how much I’ll actually be able to achieve as my sewing time is so limited.   But I will do my utmost to at least make some of them and share with you all.

How about you guys?   Have you achieved any Autumn/Winter makes yet?   What are your plans, I’d love to know.



Edit: I have changed some of the links in this post as I have been made aware of potential copyright infringement.   Not cool guys.   Use the sewing community for inspiration, support, hints and tips but ripping off someone elses work is all kinds of wrong.