Category Archives: Generosity

Heritable Crafting

Unfortunately I returned home from holidays to sad news. I didn’t sew for the remainder of August, instead slowly sorting through four biscuit tins of crafting items with mixed emotions as you might imagine. I wanted to share some of these things with you as it’s always nice to see crafting implements of days gone by and I need some help identifying some of them!

Unlike me, this lady had a penchant for scissors with 5 pairs in these four tins alone (I am told there are more if I want them – I wouldn’t use them though as I really like my left-handed fabric scissors). I’ve also never seen a tailor’s chalk holder like that but I imagine it’s quite useful.

Inherited Scissors

This next little lot tickled me. Coats bias binding for 27 1/2 pence – the half pence went out of use in 1984. The lace is a little faded but what a racy colour of red, don’t you think?27 and a half pence binding

Next up just a tiny selection of the thread that was stored in the tins. Some are wooden like these ones but most are plastic spools. One of the biscuit tins has dividers in so I sorted the thread back into it by colour. Limes and yellows were the most popular and I got wondering whether this was because my relative liked to sew garments in those colours or if the thread is leftover as she made those shades less frequently?


Inherited wooden spools


And finally, can you help me to identify any of these items? I think the top left is a stitch holder for knitting but the other two have me baffled. Any ideas?

Inherited mystery items


Spring Sewing Swap Success

A few month’s back Kerry of Kestrel Makes announced the Spring Sewing Swap 2014 and having missed out by a day last year, I signed up early this year.

I was paired with Joanne of Sew Little Time, who’s blog I’d been following for a while already.

If you’ve ever taken part in a sewing swap, you’ll know that you have to turn yourself into a blog detective and get into their sewing psyche in order to put together a parcel for your swap partner. So what did my research tell me about Joanne?

  • Joanne’s Colour Palette: navy is her staple neutral, blues and reds as accent colours and a hint of nautical here and there.
  • Silhouette: gathered waists on skirts and dresses with an A-line flare.
  • Practicality: As a self-confessed “busy Mum of one” Joanne likes practical but feminine outfits, she’s fond of the Megan Nielsen’s Kelly skirt pattern in particular.

With all this knowledge I put together a sewing parcel that I hoped Joanne would like but I’ll let her reveal that to you.

What I can reveal is what Joanne sent to me… my little heart was beating with excitement unwrapping it. And I felt like I’d unwrapped three parcels because inside the first layer was some blue and purple floral fabric, a vintage pattern (dress, skirt, jacket and coat – practically a wardrobe full!) and the most amazing 70s style pattern tin.


And inside that tin was some cute and colourful stripey buttons, some Hug Snug rayon seam binding (I’ve heard good things about this stuff but never used it before so it’s nice to get to try something new) and another tin.


And inside that tin was some colourful pins.


Great detective work on my blog Joanne and thank you so much you’ve been a fab swap partner.

Voting is Open on TMS

So you’ve seen my Sewaholic Lonsdale dress, now go check out the makes of my fellow contestants for The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month New-to-Me Competition and vote for your favourite!

Sewaholic Lonsdale Such Fun



Stash Swapped Lilac Briar

Less than 3 weeks into Stash Diet 2014 I was having withdrawal symptoms from fabric shopping. Luckily Andrea, Gail and, swap organising veteran, Morgan came to my rescue with a swap to end all swaps (open to non-Stash Dieters and it’s on-going throughout the year on Flickr; rules, additional info). The exact swap details are flexible but most people are offering to send fabric/yarn/patterns if the postage costs are paid by the receiver. Reciprocal swaps are also occurring where each person pays the postage but also receives an item of their choosing in return. Stashes are being reduced, those on fabric abstinence are getting a little light relief in a guilt-free form and our group goal of reducing our stashes is being achieved.

So what I have been swapping?

To protect the identity of senders/receivers, I've been deliberately vague about their location... nothing to do with my poor geography!

To protect the identity of senders/receivers, I’ve been deliberately vague about their location… nothing to do with my poor geography!

I sent some 1970s poly fabric to Austria, red yarn to America (reciprocal swap), aqua floral fabric to Canada and a dress pattern to elsewhere in the UK. I have received three vintage patterns from America (reciprocal swap) and some lilac sweater knit from Canada.

I was certain that I didn’t want things I’d received to go from one stash to another so I got going with the lilac sweater knit that Kristin sent me the weekend after it arrived (6 weeks economy shipping from Canada was well worth the wait). Can you believe it’s been another 6 weeks for me to get round to posting this make? It’s just so cosy to wear that it slipped right into my regularly worn clothing rotation and fell off my blog post radar.

I made an executive design decision to use the wrong side of the knit. Less fluffy, more texture. Although using the 'wrong' side did trouble me - I'm goodie goodie two shoes at heart!

I made an executive design decision to use the wrong side of the knit then my first seam was sewn right sides together and suddenly I was using the right side of the fabric after all!

I knew even before the parcel was delivered that I was going to make a Briar top with the fabric. Although I want to make the Briar top and bit more fitted and perfect the arm/shoulder area following my first time using this pattern… a sweater knit was not the right fabric type to start tweaking these aspects when future makes are likely to be cotton jersey. Plus a sweater knit calls for slouchy, comfy and loosely fitting so I knew I could get away with it.

sweater knit briar a

It took quite some time and lots of scraps to get the settings on my overlocker right but after that the fabric (my first time using this type of loose knitted stuff) sewed up like a dream.

sweater knit briar b

In contrast to my overlocker being a bit fussy, my sewing machine loved twin needle stitching the hem and sleeves. It worked perfectly first time on a piece of scrap fabric with no need to faff about with the tension or stitch length and there are no skipped stitches.

sweater knit briar f

I used the longer length of the pattern options to get good bum coverage and allow for wearing with leggings.

Thanks again to Kristin for offering this fabric up for swaps. Since it’s quite distinctive fabric and I had plenty leftover, I’ve put the remaining part back into the Stash Diet Swap.

Welcome to the world…

My bestest buddy just popped out a baby! I’m hoping the bundle in the photo below is her second favourite delivery of 2013!

Baby bear hatBaby bear new born hat, Cath Kidson Duck Towel, Keyring Tabs

Christmas might come early…

Tilly is hosting the mother of all Christmas giveaways at the moment… hop on over and leave a comment. You gotta be in it to win it.

And Tilly is throwing in a Mathilde Blouse pattern as one of the prizes too. I made this blouse earlier this year under the expert tuition of Tilly!

Mathilde Garden 1


Scissors, tracing paper… start hacking

I desperately wanted a Mathilde blouse in this gorgeous Hiro Liberty Lawn. Even eliminating tucks and reducing some of the sleeve volume there was no way on earth I was going to squeeze the pattern pieces into the remnant I had. As a compromise, I hacked the Mathilde button-up back with New Look 6808.

Hiro Hack 3

I made a few other alterations to the pattern too: shortening the length, removing neck gape, adding width to accommodate those hips of mine.

Hiro Hack 2

I used the pearl vintage buttons Anne had kindly included in the parcel with the DVD giveaway. I think they echo of the moons hidden in the fabric. And while we’re talking about those moons… I had a real nightmare placing the front pattern piece to avoid twin moons… if you know what I mean?!?!

Hiro Hack1

Anyway back to buttonholes, Catherine of Sewing the 60s has a fantastic tip for buttonholes when your buttons aren’t flat.