I have been to The Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show at London’s Excel today. Its the place to discover ideas, inspiration and craft supplies. There were some wonderful exhibits too!
My first stop was at the stall of M Rosenberg & Son which is my favourite fabric supplier. It is a small family run business with fabulous fabrics and a friendly service. They have an amazing range of denims and this has become my indulgence – watch this space!
A Cardigan for Cardigan designed by Lisa Hellier in celebration of the 900 year anniversary of Cardigan. Depicting the town’s heritage and created by people from all walks of life over one year.
A Sea Quilt of Cardigan Bay
Costume collection (1920s and 1930s era) from the film, The King’s Speech, worn by Colin Firth as King George and Helen Bonham Carter as the Queen Mother.
A couple of lovely quilts
There are also other exhibits, craft demonstrations and workshops. Its a crafter’s delight. Catch it while you can!
Easter Blessings to you!
I would like to share with you some Easter Sacred Art which I have discovered. All of the art was found in a church apart from the first painting which was found by Lake Garda.
A painting of the Crucified Christ and Mary, His Mother.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
A beautiful sculpture scene of the risen Christ.
The Christ had to suffer and on the third day rise from the dead. Luke 24:46
A Mosaic Cross.
A painting of Calvary with colourful plants.
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. Matthew 21:22
An embroidered banner of the Cross inside the Crown of Thorns and decorated with flowers.
An embroidered banner of the Madonna and Child. Beautiful!
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
When your handbag just isn’t big enough to carry the extra items you need, this bag comes in handy. It makes a great shopping bag too.
A simple tote bag from the book Learn to Sew with Lauren which made use of the remnant denim fabric in my stash. I love a stash busting project, don’t you? This bag is practical, durable and looks good. The contrasting front pocket really makes this bag and is most useful for holding smaller items.
The main rectangle measures 18″ x 16″ for the front and back. The pocket measures 16″ x 10″. The straps measure 21 1/2″ x 4″. The cotton pocket has been stabilised with interfacing and divided into two sections with a button in the centre.
I will look forward to going out with this bag!
Here is a Birds Cushion (envelope style) for my spare bedroom. It makes a nice change to make something for my home rather than to wear. I have used a green floral cotton fabric for the cushion and made two bird appliques which were hand sewn using a slip stitch. The bird template is taken from the book Sew! by Cath Kidston (other templates include a heart, flower, dog, aeroplane, elephant and hexagon) and the birds are made using a multi tartan wool. I am a Cath Kidston fan and love her designs especially her bags.
I would recommend a really lovely book Making Cushion Covers by Debbie Shore which I own. This book contains many beautiful cushion cover styles (envelope, zip, corded, patchwork, box pleat, pleated edge and more). Debbie is the Queen of Craft and has many Youtube tutorials.
I find that sewing craft projects is relaxing especially hand sewing. I hope this will inspire you to create and craft!
The fabric of my Box Dress is a lightweight wool/cashmere blend and I love the texture as its so soft. However, the grey colour of the dress and the relaxed fit, made me look dowdy (like a nun) so I decided to give it a makeover with some black giant rickrack.
Rather than consign a garment to the back of the wardrobe, why not use some trim to jazz it up instead. I am so glad that I did! The rickrack has given the dress a different look.
There has been some high fashion nun-chic:
Back in the habit: Yves Saint Laurent
Posted in Dress
The Cleo pinafore/dungaree dress is my style of dress – versatile, comfortable and simple to make – so utility chic. I love the ‘all in one’ style of this dress with no waist seam, top pocket and front split. Tilly, this pattern is an absolute triumph!
I have used a heavy weight navy blue corduroy fabric (blue is my favourite colour as you have probably realised) which gives the dress some structure. I chose the knee length version with front split which is appropriate for a 40 something woman.
Tilly has a beautiful brand. I have also made the Coco (3 versions to date) and the Mathilde. The reason why I have not made more garments from Tilly’s patterns is that I think they look too ‘girly’ for me. I love the Cleo because it is a casual, practical utility garment which makes me feel comfortable. I need to feel comfortable wearing a dress otherwise I do not bother.
I had the pleasure of meeting Tilly at the department store, Selfridges, about a couple of years ago where she was showcasing her business along with other entrepreneurs. It really made my day to have a photograph taken with her and we had a brief chat. I purchased a couple of patterns from the lovely lady herself.
The straight silhouette of this dress makes it look smart and I like it so much that I am already planning to make another Cleo in a black/grey denim. This has become my favourite pattern!
Have you made the Cleo?
The first London Modest Fashion Week started yesterday at the Saatchi Gallery. The show’s main focus is Muslim fashion. However, modesty can apply to all women regardless of their faith and even to women of no faith. Faith can be fashionable!
Modesty means high necklines and low hemlines. Nothing clingy or too revealing.
Box Dress no.2 – SDB
I think a woman loses her decency and dignity when her lack of dress leaves her body overexposed. Take a look at some celebrities who parade in public wearing little more than their underwear! Its sad that girls want to emulate them.
There is a lot of pressure on women to look sexy – take a look at fashion magazines, ads, the catwalk, film and music videos. However, there is a difference between sexy and trashy (flashing the flesh).
My style icons are Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. Beautiful women who were stylish, classy and graceful.
The modesty, simplicity and relaxed fit of Japanese fashion is also appealing to me.
One reason I started sewing my own clothes was that I was frustrated by the skimpy and clingy dresses in high street stores. I need to feel comfortable wearing clothes. Also I feel the cold and so need to be warm!
The people who read my blog know that my clothing is modest. I like knee length or longer hemlines. I do not show cleavage. I do not wear body-con dresses.
A woman can dress modestly and still look and feel beautiful. She does not need to flaunt her body to feel special. Modesty is also about behaviour and how you carry yourself.
I am sure there is a big market for modest wear. Here’s to covered-up chic!
What are your views on this? I would love to hear from you.
Have you ever wandered in a street market and found something lovely? It happened to me recently. I had found a couple of little trinket boxes of cats sitting on a ball of wool, they were so cute that I could not resist them!
The first one reminded me of my tuxedo cat, Carla, who has featured on my blog a couple of times before. Carla is small, sassy and has the run of the house (as do all cats).
The second one reminded me of my mum’s cat, Fluff – a beautiful Burmese who loves human company and a lot of attention. She is extremely vocal until she gets what she wants (food and lots of cuddles).
These are the two lady cats in my life. Yes, I am a cat lover and proud of it!
I have given my cats strips of fabric to play with rather than balls of wool. Are you a fellow cat lover?
The Popover Poncho sewing pattern by April Rhodes is a sporty update on the bohemian staple. A clear instruction booklet with colour photographs is included.
This poncho looks more like a cape than the traditional poncho and that is why I like it so much. Thanks April for this fabulous design. Its great to wear a poncho and not look like Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western!
I chose a cosy fleece in forest green for casual every-day-wear. Although this poncho could also be made in wool for a smarter look. Its so versatile.
The cowl neck and hoody style pocket hand warmer are fantastic features and really make this poncho. I also like the hi-low hem which looks dramatic.
I lined the cowl neck with a contrasting cotton fabric in a tiny floral print. The cowl neck means that I do not need to wear a scarf to keep my neck warm – its a winner! I cut the S/M size and a L size for the bottom as I wanted a longer length. The poncho took 2 yards of 54″ wide fabric.
This poncho makes a really warm, cosy and comfortable sporty outerwear garment for the chilly winter weather.
Ladies, go and pop on a poncho!
I hope you are all enjoying this Christmas season!
It is time for a vintage style faux fur trio of headband, collar and hand muff. These pieces can be worn individually or as a set. Winter warmer chic!
The hand muff (tutorial on Youtube by A Vintage Vanity) measures 14″ long and 18″ wide (plus seam allowances). It consists of 4 layers of wadding/batting for warmth and is lined with wine satin. The long cord/piping is covered with wine satin bias tape.
For the collar, I had cut a slightly curved collar shape on the fold of the fabric which measures 34″ long and 4.5″ wide (plus seam allowances). It is lined with wine satin and is hand stitched.
The headband measures 25″ long and 9″ wide (plus seam allowances) though you would need to measure your own head. It is hand stitched. Tutorial on Youtube.
This terrific trio adds a touch of glamour for dull winter days.
This sewing pattern accompanied The Craft Network Sewing magazine (issue 07). It is an ideal wardrobe staple and is designbed for firm stretch knits.
I made View A with extended shoulders and cut a size M (12-14). There is the option to make the cardi with long sleeves and pockets. The Olivia Cardi has a wide front and neckband to form a chic collar. It has easy bound armholes. I used a two-tone warm woolly jersey knit and it is so cosy that it feels like I am wearing a dressing gown!
Forget about the comfort blanket, this will be my comfort cardi!
Its Autumn (my favourite season) and that means sewing with knit fabrics and making a long hoodie cardigan. Sewing for comfort!
I made this cardigan in a lovely cotton jersey forest green knit fabric. There are 4 versions of the cardigan in the sewing pattern. I chose view B, cut a size 10 and lengthened the sleeves slightly. I bought this gorgeous tartan bias tape from a notions market stall in the beautiful town of Bath.
I must say that this is a rather smart hoodie, it is versatile and can be worn over a dress or trousers. A touch of tartan really makes it!
I hope that I will enjoy wearing my cardigan just as much as I had enjoyed making it.
There are more knit garments to come so watch this space! Do you enjoy sewing with knits?
I had to make another project from the delightful book, Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida and chose the Infinity Scarf. I love a good scarf and I am known as the ‘Scarf Lady’ rather than the ‘Bag Lady’! A statement scarf can really change an outfit and add some style.
I have used the measurements recommended in the book of 60″ x 25″ so the scarf can be wrapped twice around the neck.
I bought this red polka dot cotton fabric during a holiday on the beautiful island of Madeira. I had found an enormous fabric store in the town of Funchal and I did not want to leave – the hubby had to grab my arm and drag me out (after I had paid, of course)! This was the one holiday that I wish that I was on my own so I could spend the whole day browsing in the store and buying a lot more fabric, although I did buy some jersey. The hubby saved me from going on a crazy shopping spree and buying another suitcase to fill it with fabric!
A scarf is my favourite accessory. What is your favourite accessory?
I have indulged in yet another Japanese project! This time its a Cross-Back Apron from Sewing Happiness book by Sanae Ishida.
This lovely and simple book is half memoir and half craft, it tells Sanae’s story of using sewing as therapy after a period of stress and chronic illness. It is divided into seasons and the projects include: Origami Pillow, Triangle Eco Bag, Book Cover, Camera Strap, Infinity Scarf, Everything Bucket, Heating Pad, Zip Pouch and Dopp Kit.
There are no sewing patterns, only simple hand drawn illustrations. For the apron, I followed the instructions in the book and made a Size M according to the measurements. This apron is made entirely out of rectangles. No closures, no ties, just slip it over your head, easy-peasy. I used a contrast bias-binding at the top of the apron. There is a double pocket on the front.
I have used a mid-weight denim from my stash. As it feels too thick to wear in the kitchen as an apron, standing over a hot hob and cooking, I think that I will be daring and wear it out as a casual dress. In denim, I should be able to get away with it, don’t you think? Would you wear it out? Though, I may hear someone say “You forgot to take your apron off!” I will reply “This is utility chic!” I will give it a try and see what happens.
I hope to make another apron but in a light-weight cotton or linen so that I can actually wear it as a kitchen apron!
I have fulfilled my desire of making another boat neck Box Dress (D) in a printed fabric and I am delighted with it! This sewing pattern is from the Japanese ‘Stylish Dress Book – simple smocks, dresses and tops’ by Yoshiko Tsukiori and the dress (D) features on the book’s cover.
I had been attracted to the multi colour striking print of the fabric. It looks rather leafy which is appropriate for the Autumn. Its a heavyweight cotton with a little stretch and it holds the shape of the dress well, giving a rather structured appearance and enhancing the A-line silhouette.
The sizing of this sewing pattern is most generous and I traced a size M (not adding seam allowances). I made the alteration of increasing the length as I prefer it longer.
I think the fabric really makes the dress and it is my favourite garment so far! Do you have a favourite garment that you have made?
Here is my THIRD pair of Owyn Pants and it will not be my last – I like this sewing pattern (in Everyday Style book) a lotta, lotta, lotta!
This time I used a lovely lightweight denim and these are the perfect summer pants. I love a good polka dot print and to find it in denim was a dream! The pant’s tapered leg style has really grown on me since I made my first pair.
The flat-fronted waist really does make the pants more flattering and the side/back is elastic fantastic. I cut a medium size and lengthened the pants as a cropped and tapered leg does not suit me.
These are the most comfortable pair of pants ever and they are not pyjamas!
Shoes by Hotter (made in Britain) in cornflower blue.
I have received The Liberty Book of Home Sewing from my in-laws as a gift and was delighted (as I am with all sewing related gifts)! I have made several of these Eco Shopper bags as gifts for family and friends, but the one featured here is mine. It is floral, summery and vintage inspired. The book recommends Liberty Tana Lawn in ‘Kayoko’, a lightweight cotton fabric in a small-scale print. The fabric I chose resembles a Cath Kidston print.
You can keep this eco-conscious cloth shopper with you at all times as it is a fold-away version made from a lightweight cotton and can be slipped into a tiny bag holder.
I had to draw my own bag sewing pattern by following the directions, measurements and diagram in the book. The bag is made from 2 pieces of main fabric and 2 pieces of lining fabric. I have lined the bag rather than just make a facing as it is more sturdy and it can be reversible. I find this bag most useful and it is much nicer to use (and greener) than a plastic carrier bag when shopping. It is pretty and feminine.
The book is beautiful and fully of vintage style projects all made in Liberty print fabrics. They include a cook’s apron, frilly pinny, kimono, keepsake board, doorstop, beanbag, Tote bag, book covers, gadget case, drawstring bag, cushions, roman blind, curtain, lampshade, throw, cot quilt and contemporary brick quilt.
There are no sewing patterns included, only diagrams, measurements and directions to make your own sewing patterns. The book is full of inspiration and dreamy.
I have also made a Lavender Heart in matching fabric!
Greetings from Whitstable, a delightful traditional seaside town on the Kent coast.
Looking rather nautical by the harbour! Wearing my sailor top by Marilla Walker, Irish linen trousers by Simplicity K1620 (to be posted) and ‘cornflower blue’ shoes by Hotter (made in Britain).
Looks like a Pirate ship – is Jack Sparrow on board? Eye, Eye, Captain!
A part of the beach covered in Oyster shells (Whitstable is famed for its Oysters).
There are Oyster bars everywhere.
A beach front row of terraced houses painted in pretty colours – charming.
A folk band accompanying a group of Morris Dancers.
The Morris Dancers were entertaining and fun to watch. The chap wearing a dress, apron and shower cap was most amusing!
Dancing ladies. Liked their colourful costumes and swishing skirts.
More Morris Dancers, wearing jingly bells and waving handkerchiefs.
My day was made complete by discovering The Fabric Shop in Harbour Street and I bought some gorgeous knit fabric.
It was a great day out!
Posted in Travel/Places
I have revisited the Shift Dress sewing pattern in the book Skirts & Dresses for First Time Sewers by Christine Haynes. This time I made it in a magnificent monochrome black/white circle print viscose/rayon with French seams. Very 1960s, don’t you think? And it also colour co-ordinates with my tuxedo cat, Carla!
I adopted Carla in October 2015 and we are now very good friends. Carla is great company and sometimes sits next to me on the window sill when I am sewing!
Going back to the dress. It has a slightly A-line silhouette with a round neckline, blouson sleeves and gathered cuffs. I lengthened the dress to just above the knee as it is short.
This was the easiest and quickest dress that I have ever made! There are no darts, zips or buttonholes. Christine says “This dress is a very simple front and back with gathered cuffs and an easy dress to toss on and look and feel pulled together”. I agree.
The ultimate colour co-ordinating cat has to be Choupette
who belongs to the fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld. Choupette is a super model moggie with earnings to match. Purrfect!
I like this tunic/dress sewing pattern so much that I have made another one! The simple style of this dress really suits me and I feel comfortable wearing it. This pattern is by Sewgirl for Love Sewing magazine (issue 3) and is based on the gorgeous and simple designs in Japanese pattern books. The design of this tunic/dress is similar to the Box Dress of Stylish Dress Book.
This time, I made it shorter than my first dress (it sits just above the knee) and I added patch pockets to the front. I used a multi colour check print in a lightweight viscose/rayon which makes it airy for the summer.
I had made this dress for my holiday to Norway but read the online weather forecast prior to departure and realised that this dress would not be appropriate for the cooler and rainy Norwegian climate. Rather disappointing! The good news is that I wore my denim Owyn Pants a lot.
Have you made any garments to take on holiday and discovered that the climate was not suitable?
Posted in Dress