Great British Sewing Bee Live


Had an absolutely fabulous day out at the GBSB Live! I went with a friend ( who also sews of course) and we got there at about 10.30 and left at 5.30 – so a full day of shopping, chatting and entertainment.

For me the experience didn’t disappoint ( i have seen some Facebook posts to the contrary).

Things I loved.

  1. The catwalk show  Seeing patterns made up and modeled  was great and very inspiring
  2. The Super Theatre  I was wondering what they would do to entertain us in this. It was really enjoyable – the compering was entertaining, Esme and Patrick were engaging and interesting and the refashioning challenge and demos added the live sewing interest
  3. Seeing the GBSB makes close up ( I admit they look more perfect on TV , but they were still pretty impressive given the time they get)IMG_6491
  4. Shopping ( of course). A great opportunity to browse fabric and talk to owners/ pattern drafters
  5. Saying hi to people I,ve met before at various meet ups ( even if they didnt all remember me) and who I follow on blogs – Rachel (Pinhiero), The Fold Line girls. Sorry to have missed Melissa (Fehr Trade) who was on a well earned break

So what did I buy?


Here is the haul. I wanted to make a casual-ish jacket so came with the intention of looking for a pattern and fabric. The idea was that I can wear it in autumn / spring, it will be not too heavyweight and ideally can be shoved in a bag when it gets too hot walking around sewing shows!

I bought the navy blue wool first – a bargain on Simply Fabrics stall at £10 a meter. I eyed up some lovely teal fabric too, resisted the temptation, and then when I decided I really should have bought it after all found it had all been sold.

I came across  Sew Different for the first time. There were some lovely made up samples on display. the use of fabrics / contrast fabrics especially on the cocoon coat was lovely! ( and , no I wasn’t looking for a cocoon coat)

I was allowed to try them on even (all a bit big but i still got the idea!)

So three patterns bought intending the biker cardigan jacket for my original project but thinking the blue wool would look good as a cocoon coat if I can find appropriate heavyweight contrast fabric.

I signed up for Love Sewing magazines trial offer and bought some machine needles and stretch iron on interfacing.

The last purchase ( or rather the first on the actual day) was a real impulse buy – waterproof cat fabric. There were some lovely sample bags so I’m hoping to get round to making a new toiletries bag with matching make up bag


All in all a very enjoyable day. And of course, not complete without a picture of Patrick who was happily wandering around later in the afternoon talking to everyone and posing for any photos requested


Look out for the post on my Biker cardigan!



Sewing Weekender Scout Tee


The Scout Tee was my chosen make for the Sewing Weekender after tips that choosing something quick and easy or tried and tested would give plenty of time for chatting- a very wise advice!

Whilst I hadn’t made this pattern before it really was an easy make. I had some cotton voile in my stash that I had ear marked in my stash for this type of top. It was originally acquired at the Brighton Sewmance from The Fairy Godmother where I had seen a similar fabric made up with this pattern as a sample.

There really isn’t very much to say about the construction of the top- it is pretty straightforward.


Its a great pattern for a quick and easy sew and showcasing a pretty fabric

Another Maria Denmark Yasmin Skirt

This was one of the first patterns I bought when returning to sewing. It was certainly my first ever PDF pattern  and I think I can probably say now the one that so far this  has been the one I have used the most –the Yasmin skirt

This skirt really is my ideal design! It is straight which is a style that I find comfortable and flattering. The deep band across the waist/ hip provides interest, and it has pockets ( optional- but I have them in every version I have made) the back invisible zip and the pockets are all designed so that the skirt sits flat across the body- no lumps/ bumps/ bunching- so that a jumper or cardie sits neatly on top. Depending on the fabric it can be smarter or casual.


This skirt has now been made up 5 times- and yes I am planning a 6th.

It has been made in royal blue cord as a winter weight casual skirt. This first skirt has been worn lots.


Then I had a small piece of red floral corderoy fabric left over from making a winter Bettine dress. The Yasmin skirt can be squeezed out of under a metre of fabric in my case( yes , I am only 5 foot 2, wear it above the knees and would probably be classified as petite), and I just about got it out of the scraps.

Next it was a panic make. Last September I was off on a sightseeing holiday to Puglia Italy. When starting to pack I realized my usual holiday wardrobe of active clothes probably wasn’t quite suitable! I also wanted a versatile item that would go with different tops. A quick hunt in my stash revealed a lightweight blue cotton- and of course out came the Yasmin skirt pattern as with only 2 days to go it really needed to be a tried and tested make. The end result has probably been one of the most successful. It fits really well, goes with so many of my tops and has been worn so much on the holiday and since

My next make was using some beautiful heavier weight slightly stretch fabric from Ditto Fabrics Brighton, I was told this was ex Dolce & Gabbana and wanted a dressy skirt for Christmas. Whilst I have worn this , opportunities are limited, and I have not quite got the sizing right( it has come up a little large)  Maybe it will be altered for next Christmas

Which brings me on to my latest make- version 5. The fabric was picked up at Ditto Brighton and is a beautiful quality ( isn’t all their fabric?) soft denim with a small star / asterisk design on it. Only worn once so far – but a big hit. Even husband commented that he liked it.

There are a number of things I do with my Yasmin skirt

I use contrast fabric for the inside of the pockets and the reverse of the waistband. This allows me to reduce bulk by choosing a lighter weight fabric if I want to. It reduces the quantity of fabric required if  it is being made from leftovers too. And more importantly it’s fun- even if only I get to see it!

For my last make I used a striped fabric ( left overs from husbands nightshirt) and deliberately allowed it to roll back ever so slightly. I love the fact that you can just glimpse it at the waist and top of pockets


In all cases I have also added a lining either in a lining fabric for winter skirts( so they don’t stick to tights) or a lightweight cotton in the case of the summer skirt. This is personal preference and is not included in the pattern. It is pretty easy though – I just use the bottom skirt pieces and attach them to the base of the band facing.

I would of course highly recommend this pattern- although it doesn’t seem to be one that has made it on to the general popular list on line. Maria Denmark also has a number of other interesting looking patterns too- have bought some but haven’t made them up yet,

Next? I have some teal cord( Ditto Fabrics again) waiting in my stash which was bought for this pattern some time ago.


Or should I try another pattern?

Anyone got any recommendations?

The Sewing Weekender

imageA week ago I was at The Sewing Weekender- a much anticipated weekend of sewing indulgence.

A number of posts have already gone up about what went on and they all have much better photos than me- yes, I was so busy enjoying myself and chatting I forgot to take photos. So I thought I would concentrate on what I enjoyed most/ got out of the weekend rather than running through the format.

1. Seeing other people’s makes

I love reading blogs and the ideas and inspiration they provide for dressmaking. So what could be better than seeing makes in real life? Of course everyone had a project on the go so you could wander around, look at the fabric, ask what was being made and chat about the pattern. In some cases the end result was even worn on day 2- not in my case though as my Scout Tee didn’t even get started until 10 minutes before lunch break on Saturday!

Then of course people were wearing outfits they had already made.  Plenty of indie patterns on display, and plenty of inspiration for what I would like to make next.

Of course this probably means I will end up buying more patterns….

There were quite a few TAB Cleos around, with at least 2 being made . All lovely but not for me ( too young!)

However I did fall in love with the Anna dress( By Hand London) and despite initially dismissing the Charlie Caftan the versions I saw being worn have made me rethink. Lastly there were a few Orla dresses around including Self Assembly Required in her lovely modified one which have confirmed my wish to make up this pattern




2 Talking to people who love sewing.

I attended on my own. Everyone was so friendly though and of course there was never a problem regarding what to talk about! The organisers and sewing prefects were super friendly and really interesting to talk to. Elle ( Sew Positivity) was really knowledgable about machine embroidery and shared her sewing background whilst we made the lovely sewing weekender patches. Melissa ( Fehr of Fehrtrade) has inspired me to have a go at active wear. I make lots of dresses and really don’t always get the opportunity very often to wear them – a combination of British weather and lifestyle. BUT I go to the gym daily so as she pointed out I’m an ideal person to make active wear!

And of course I chatted to so many other attendees. One of the highlights was meeting Kathy ( Sew Dainty )who I was paired with in the  Secret Valentine earlier this year. We have exchanged a few blog comments since. So lovely that she was actually using the little bag I made too!  I also met Zoe who had chatted to me on Facebook and saw her Linden sweatshirt I had admired on line . Rachel( rach against the sewing machine) who I sat next to on the first day also gave me some tips on walking feet ( more expenditure planned)

There were so many others too, and I picked up so many tips. I enjoyed chatting to you all- and I think the pre attending tip of making something simple was a great one as I’m sure I spent more time talking than sewing.

3. Goody Bag and swap

Well let’s be honest who doesn’t enjoy this! The Goody Bag was amazing. It was just like Christmas- but ( in my case anyway) with more surprises! Thank you sponsors- so generous .  It was great seeing everyone’s faces as they pulled out their treasure!

The swap was great too. I managed to send some unwanted patterns to a good home, and of course acquired some new ones.


So thanks Kate and Rachel ( The Foldline) and Charlotte (English Girl at Home) for a well organised fantastic weekend. Would do it all again tomorrow





Baby bandana bib and matching booties


imageMy friend has just become a grandmother. I’ve known her since ours sons were babies and she stepped in when my childminder let me down a couple of weeks after I returned to work.

We are still great friends and regularly go on shopping trips- fabric included. She does her best to restrain me from adding too much to the stash

And now her son has a lovely little baby boy.

So as I have made him a couple of things. The little booties are made from a pattern published last year in Simply Sewing magazine


They are lined with plain fabric and have elasticated top. A bit fiddly to sew ( not used to such tiny items)

Then I made a little bandana bib – really quick and simple- from a free pattern I found on the web at Project Nursery.

To back this, and make it absorbent, I bought a hand towel from the pound shop and cut it up as I didn’t have any towelling. It worked well and I have enough for another two

imageFinally to complete the gift I made a really simple card!


Say No to Fabric Stashing- failed again!


I “needed” some white jersey to line a Moneta dress bodice which I was planning to make – so  I started to search on line.

I found the white jersey ( of course) but there on the same site were numerous other bargains that I just couldn’t resist.

Result – another 10 items of fabric added to the stash!image2

Lovely jersey which I will probably make a Pauline Alice Aldaia

with. I bought the pattern last year as it has so many interchangeable options for a jersey dress – and it’s on my #Make Nine list for the year.

Then this one


Thinking a plain jersey would always be useful, and yellow is very in this year. It happens by chance to be a perfect match for the fabric above. Opportunities for colour blocking with any leftover fabric? Maybe an Itch to Stitch Vienna Tank ?

Three floral stretch fabrics. The middle one is my favourite when opened- it has the best drape. I may go on a Moneta -make binge after the success of my first one ( yet to be photographed and blogged)

Some bright summery stretch fabrics – I’m imagining days by the pool / sea. Nt sure exactly when though as both my summer holidays are booked and involve cycling around the Loire ( June) and cycling from Venice to Croatia ( September). Not exactly the right match….

The far right piece is a Scuba bought as much to ” have a go” with a fabric I have never used before as anything

image4 (2)

A lightweight daisy woven. I may try a Grainline Scout Tee – another popular pattern that so far hasn’t made it into my collection.


This is a “honeycomb” textured stretch jersey for a top>

And finally a completely random purchase of silver and black stretch fabric


I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with this! It will have to wait for the festive season though as I just cant see me wearing a top out of this at any other time.

And of course , the piece of white jersey that started all this


All the fabric was bought from Fabworks – and most of it was on the sale ( that’s my excuse)


The James Dean jacket is finished!


As always these projects take much longer than anticipated, but finally the red jacket for my son is finished.

If you remember from my first post it was a pattern hack / modification of 2 patterns and a rtw jacket





All the alterations and pattern hacking were worth it as he has just the jacket he wanted. And a further upgrade was made to the final design – the jacket is lined( which of course added time to the project). Yes, it has black lining in the sleeves to slip it on and off easily but the star of the show is definitely the lining for the jacket body. Pure inspiration!

The fabric lining was found on Ebay by searching “James Dean fabric” . It’s actually a Hollywood Stars compilation but features the man himself.

This does confirm my belief that you can buy anything on ebay.

All other pattern hacks were successfully applied

Smaller collar than the original Lekala 6006 pattern, but using the collar stand overlay from the pattern which has worked really well ( after figuring out what it was and how to do it by searching the Internet)


Addition of flat bottom band and cuffs (self drafted). Narrower sleeves


Addition of welt style pockets- again using online resources plus referencing his H&M jacket for position/ sizing etc


Addition of lining using modifications to the basic pattern I hacked together.


It took some persuading to get him to model the final jacket but I managed to get a few very un-posed snaps as he wore the jacket out for the first time last night.


Overall thoughts on this project

It’s really difficult to find men’s patterns

The Lekala patterns provided a good cheap base for hacking, but instructions are really poor – you need to have good sewing knowledge to use them

After all the effort I hope he wears it LOTS!