Tag Archives: fabric

Month 4

All excited about sewing this month. It’s been a busy one, fuelled by fabric shopping at Ditto in Brighton and a holiday from work! First of all I got all excited about some pretty bird fabric and gloriously soft tulle, so created this:   


I’ve been thoroughly enjoying wearing it with a little hint of tulle. No pattern, just pleated to waist size, lined with a bright blue muslin cut in an a-line and a couple of rows of finger pleated tulle. 

Next up was finally working up this pattern, Simplicity 1652, using some vintage fabric from my Mum’s stash. I used the fabric last year for an idea which just didn’t work, but here it’s found a perfect form. I debuted it last evening, and felt brilliant in it.    



Then a pattern mash-up, pattern hacking fun! The bodice from Simplicity 1652 mixed with the skirt from Simplicity 1873. The fabric, another from Ditto (apparently a Paul Smith cotton with a tiny bit of stretch) is grey and pinstriped. Alone it looks in this design a little 1950s school dress, but I’ve a plan to line it in hot raspberry pink muslin, perhaps with a little more of the pretty tulle attached! That way it’s a little bit formal with a twist. Should be finished soon…



For those setting out on their sewing journey…

There are so many blogs out there from lovely and talented creative folks who can tell you all about their sewing journeys and with hints and tips of how to do the best job. I make no claim to this blog post being one of those, but it is a blog inspired by @vivschreibke @LesleyMunro4 @ms_jamdangory @blondebonce amongst some other truly lovely people with stitching in their fingers (or at least daydreams of stitching!)

This blog itself started with a plan on 1 January 2014 to feed my creative soul and give me some ‘flow’. I think I talked then or at least on my first sewing post, about how I learnt to use a sewing machine from my Mum. She wasn’t overly fussed about patterns, for my first attempts we drafted patterns ourselves. At 12 I made a crop top and skirt from an old sheet (old bedding is great for cutting up and experimenting with!). Wore them proudly all summer 😊. I returned to sewing about 5 years ago, and gradually I’ve built up my repertoire, it’s still building. 

Here I thought I’d share some of the blogs and books and resources I’ve accessed to develop my skills as they might be of use to others. (Special mention here for Ellie, hope you have some particular inspiration!)


  • Library – check them out for free, see if you like the contents, if there’s enough good stuff, think about buying. 
  • When buying visit The Works, great for discounts! Also of course, you can flick through before committing πŸ˜‰
  • Choose carefully, what does a book add to your creative library?

These are some of my favourites:


I’m not much of a hand stitcher, but it has some lovely motifs and a great luggage tag pattern and passport cover pattern. I used this when I added the embroidery to my cardigan. 


Love the ideas in here, it’s been the starting point for embellishing (and sometimes mending) small people clothes, making handmade cards and generally using my sewing machine to doodle! (also makes me feel pangs of sadness for the demise of Mum’s old Singer sewing machine πŸ˜” though the production of pretty things soon fixes thatπŸ˜‰)


This was a fabulous gift from a friend right when I was reacquainting myself with sewing. The photographs and explanations are so clear for almost any skill you might need (if it’s not in here, try YouTube or searching the net!). There are also some great simple projects for accessories and for clothing with clear guidance on how to draft simple patterns for items such as a circle skirt (and who doesn’t love to twirl?). As they are patterns for you to draft they are also suitable for numerous ages and sizes. 


Like this of all Kelly Doust’s books best, again some glorious and generally simple and straightforward ideas, and more than just sewing. I use this for purses particularly, but I’ve taken inspiration for several different creative ideas.  

Patterns online/blogs/websites:

  • Ditto Fabrics – a must visit whenever I’m in Brighton. They are so helpful, love fabric and they’ve a fantastic range at really reasonable prices, even after postage. 
  • Simple paperbag pattern dress with free printing of a pattern – I confess I have yet to make it, but possibly going to give something similar a go soon. 
  • Any ideas as to why I might love this? I say again, who doesn’t love to twirl? Simple Tulle Skirt she also has several other free patterns which again, you draft yourself, so good for all sizes and ages. 
  • Several free patterns here from Peppermint Magazine many different items of clothing with reasonable instructions. 
  • Free patterns for quite small people from Oliver & S
  • Want some fancy shoelaces? Here’s the site you need 
  • Fabulous blog where the creator uses all sorts of mainstream and sometimes independent patterns along with some pattern hacking (using the parts you like best from different patterns to make something new)
  • Pyjama trouser pattern. Fairly straight forward to follow or adapt, look at your own quite closely to see how they’ve been made up. 
  • The Purl Bee, all kinds of different crafting ideas.

There it is, all the lovely things I can think of for now. Last year I made all kinds of things and usually explained where the inspiration came from or how to do it in the blog, feel free to steal away 😊 all posts are tagged so you can search for sew or sewing and will find all related posts! Hope this helps…always feel free to ask as I’m always happy to help as far as I’m able x

Day 63

I’ve been taking apart to prepare to make. When I first had my sewing machine and felt brave enough to make something adult sized I made this top. It had bias taped armholes and facing inside the neckline. Neither went quite to plan and the top has been languishing ever since. I’ve been inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee to revisit and remake. My plan is to line it, perhaps make a reversible top even with navy blue polka dots. Either way it required the last of the bias tape removing – good company to watching this week’s episode of the Sewing Bee πŸ™‚
There’s a chance I also made pancakes. Reckon they may also count as creative, due to the fact that I definitely don’t normally make them!


Day 7

Simple, easy, effective, quick – just how I like week day sewing!

Inspiration today arrived from thinking about ideas for activities accessible to teenagers with no/limited crafting experience … as I approached home I began to think about flowers. How could I make a simple flower which could be a brooch or a hair slide?

From the recesses of my memory – where I can visualise instructions I’ve seen somewhere, sometime, in a magazine, book or online – I recalled a design which called for using circles of fabric. I’ve created flowers before using circles, which are less challenging than you might think to make accurate – jam pot lids are a perfect size! My previous plan used the circles folded into quarters, 6-8 circles tucked inside a fold in opposite directions and fastened (sewn) together at their points. The circles can then be fanned out and arranged into a flower shape with a button in the centre.

Today’s plan is different though, same circles folded twice, but this time stitching along the curved side and pulling tight, 6 ‘petals’ (circles) in a row, then the button stitched to the centre before carefully fastening a brooch back to the reverse. Simple.

I may have to make a few more and stash them away ready as small gifts for those moments you just need something.

6 circles of fabric cut using a jam pot lid, needle, thread, button and brooch back – done!

I do love to sew – I learnt at my mother’s knee, she had a beautiful old Singer, which my father had made electric as part of her wedding gifts I think. The most beautiful curves to the machine, with fabulous inlay. Sad to say the machine is long gone – a victim of an over zealous moment – but one day I hope I might have another…Mum encouraged me to make things and allowed me independence in sewing items together, after helping me to design patterns on newspaper. I still like to personalise the ‘recipes’ and happily create my own patterns on brown paper or newspaper.

This is highly unlikely to be my last adventure in sewing creativity!

Just as I finish I realise I’ve made it a week – and in that week I’ve used 5 different methods to express my creativity – feel pretty good about that!

Couldn’t help myself, second time better…