Tag Archives: sewing

Month 5

This has been an unexpectedly busy month of creativity. The month began finishing off the grey pinstripe dress from the end of April. It is proving an absolute pleasure to wear! A pattern mash-up of the bodice from Simplicity 1652 with the skirt from Simplicity 1873. The fabrics all came from Ditto in Brighton. You can read all about them in Month 4, meanwhile here’s the finished product!


There’s been adventuring in the woods, and so photo taking. 


Then there has been a wonderful weekend away for a friend’s very important birthday in Boscombe, and so baking and more photographs. A coffee cake and birthday biscuits!

All month I have been wearing the items made last month, they’re bringing smiles to my face! This past week there has been bag making for a friend’s Mum, daytime pyjamas (at least, that’s the plan!) and making some alterations to a top I made last summer – another project which will run into another month. 


 The bag is coated cotton, with webbing straps and Laura Ashley pink spotty cotton for lining. 









 These are another fabric from Ditto (did I mention I love that shop!) feeling proud of myself that I’m actually using them! I remembered I had an old favourite pair of pjs perfect for taking apart and using as a pattern. I plan to wear then as daywear, but not sure yet what I’ll wear with them….there’s a little left over, enough for a top – not convinced by the idea of matching, never mind what the current fashions might be! 

I made apricot and ginger jam this week. The ginger is very subtle, but enough. I also took inspiration from a blog which mentioned using far less sugar. This is only around 500gr of sugar to a kilo of fruit. There’s a glorious soft set to it like a french preserve. It brightened up my morning toast this weekend. 


 Finally a little pattern cutting. I took a cotton top and used it as a template. Wimped out of trying to organise the darts, partly due to the amount of fabric available. I’m altering a top I made last summer, it was too big and too square and too see through. It’s still going to be a little square, but lined so hopefully appropriate for work and I’m still loving the neon! 

That’s all for May, until June x 

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 😉
  • 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 😔 though the production of pretty things soon fixes that😉)


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

Month 3

A month filled with ideas for projects. New fabric. Old ideas remade. Little to show but a starting point.  These patterns loitering since last year, finally begun. The fabric was a gift to my mother from Spain I believe, sometime in the Seventies. Eventually it will become Simplicty 1652, with a tweak here and there. Made up the lining so far to check the process…the rest to  

spent a little time making adjustments to the tie I made for my brother two Christmases ago, now and again it can take a little while to make a project good!

I do hope he’s going to like it, if not I’m certain I can find a willing recipient somewhere! Meanwhile, there has been a visit to Ditto Fabrics in Brighton. This is, quite possibly, my favourite fabric shop of any I’ve visited in my crafting career! I’ve purchased another round of fabrics, a gorgeous navy blue cotton and a grey pinstripe (Paul Smith!) for summer work dresses – there are ideas swirling for the navy and the grey will be another Simplicity 1652. Finally this utterly gorgeous sail boat pattern for a summer skirt. I can hardly wait! 

Month 1

I’d been pondering the idea of moving my challenge into this next year with a dress a month, turns out, so far it’s an item of clothing! This month (mostly last evening and today in fact) the item of clothing in question is a pair of shorts for a dance class. I’ve enjoyed it, though I did have to make the waistband twice, mostly due to cobbling together my own version of a pattern! It’s been good to be back on the sewing machine again. IMG_0074.JPG


Some of the inspiration came from the fabulous PurlBee and their City Gym Shorts

Day 365 +1

Time to reflect on the journey – WordPress kindly furnished me with a summary of my year – showing me the infographics and so on which illustrate my year. I am so proud that I managed to stick with it – even on the days where I could barely breathe for tiredness – a little doodle, a small moment made a difference to me. I didn’t talk much with people about the project, it had enough meaning, weight and challenge just held close to myself. Mentioned now and again – I’m not sure people necessarily understood the commitment, the intent or the effort involved in keeping going. Talking about it today, the question posed – would I continue. The answer, well, of course. Creativity had been an integral part of life even before the challenge – though certainly not as formally or determinedly as this challenge made it. Perhaps it may not involve something literally every day – but the creativity will continue, it cannot help but continue. Into this next year though, I think there will be new challenges. More of those in a moment.

I’ve created with food, paper, yarn, fabric, iPad, iPhone, paper, pencils, pens. Made clothes for me, clothes for small peeps. Home decorations, decorations for others. Baked cakes, made sweets, preserved fruit – sharing this manna with an appreciative few. Shared creative ideas and taught family, friends and students new skills. Watched my nieces and godchildren be influenced and want to create. Written and received letters. I’ve learnt new skills and honed old. I’ve made and remade when making didn’t quite work. Most important I think is that I’ve committed to the completion of a project for myself, and seen it through from one end to the other. Not for my work, my career; not for family or friends; not for financial gain or necessity – it’s been completed for me, for my well-being.

On to this year then…there’s a few things on my mind:

  1. January plank challenge – plank every day for as long as possible
  2. 12 dresses in 12 months (or items of clothing, for me, for others…)
  3. House jobs – redecorating, sorting, all *that* stuff
  4. Picking up a violin again…

Meanwhile to maintain the everyday creativity as far as possible (nothing so far today, but if I try deliberately not to do anything I may get itchy fingers and just have to do something!), including writing letters regularly not just to nieces but to other friends and family. Using up my yarn stash (and really not buying any more until everything I already have it used up!) and my fabric stash – including actually making things from all the pieces of fabric I have purchased due to falling in love with the patterns – I have to get past the fear that it might not end well!

Either way – I’m fairly certain this will be the last post on this blog (unless I end up blogging whatever challenges I aim to rise to this year – in which case there’s a chance there might a post here directing peeps to the new one!). In the meanwhile – thank you to everyone who has visited, liked, commented; it has meant a great deal to me as the year has progressed to know others have been sharing a little of my journey and from an awesome diversity of countries too!

The countries from which people have visited.
The countries from which people have visited.

Day 365

Wow. It’s here. Gosh. Busy day with this and that. Made a salmon mousse for the first time this morning, so reckon that counts. Finished my pink net petticoat for wearing tonight (which I am wearing under the frock I made back at Easter!). Made a small flower to decorate it. Happiness. Contentment. Feels like quite a monumental achievement. 365 days unbroken, but for Internet issues for posting at times. Anyway, tomorrow shall be time for reflection. Tonight, enjoying people.