The Cocoon Dress – Simple Sew patterns

I know, it has been a long time-no sew. It feels good to be back in sewing world!

I have seen many lovely cocoon dresses made by other sewing bloggers and knew that I had to join in. This is a different silhouette to my usual one (A-line), but it is good to try something new even though I was not sure whether it would suit me. What do you think?

For the cocoon dress, I have chosen a medium weight linen in a blue pinstripe from my stash (view B). Other fabric suggestions are cotton, viscose/rayon, crepe and even ponte roma knit. View A has 3/4 length sleeves.

I have cut a size 12 on the fold but omitted to remove the centre seam allowance as I was not sure of the size (the sewing pattern only states the finished garment measurements). However, I had to take in quite a bit from the side seams as it was too large. Next time, I will remove the centre seam allowance!

This dress has a V-neck which is not my usual neckline and deep in-seam pockets. I think this style of dress would look better in a lighter weight drapey fabric. I would like to make it in a ponte roma knit for the Autumn. Its wonderful to find a dress sewing pattern in which you can use either a woven or knit fabric!

Image result for audrey hepburn givenchy sack dress n1958

Givenchy had incorporated the cocoon design with his sack dresses of 1957/8. It was also modelled by the Hollywood film star Audrey Hepburn.

What is your opinion of the cocoon? Would you wear it?

Posted in Dress | 2 Comments

Slovenia Postcard

Greetings from Lake Bled, Slovenia!

Lake Bled is a beautiful lake in the Julian Alps. We booked our holiday via Inghams, the lakes and mountains holiday specialist.

Here I am on Bled Island, which is a tiny, tear shaped island and can be reached by a pletna (gondola). A most enjoyable and peaceful ride with stunning scenery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A magnificent view of Bled island from Bled castle which is perched atop a cliff more than 100m above the lake.

Bled island and Church of the Assumption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Bled island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did a 6km walk around the lake and another walk, alongside cornfields and woodland, up to the picturesque village of Zasip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stunning views in the Julian Alps. Travelled by coach to the Triglav National Park on a route with 54 hairpin bends!

Wearing my comfortable Owyn Pants.

The Soca river which is the clearest and most beautiful river in Slovenia.

At Predjama Castle which is a Renaissance castle built within a cave mouth to make access to it difficult. It has an interesting history relating to Erazem Luegger, lord of the castle in the 15th century and a renowned robber baron.

Sewing a Tapestry                                                      Spinning Wheel

The capital city of Ljubljana. In 2016 Ljubljana was awarded the coveted title of ‘Green Capital of Europe’. It is a beautiful city, full of culture and striking architecture.

We took the funicular railway up to Ljubljana castle and also did a guided walking tour of the city which is easily walkable. There is a lot to see and do.

Bled Castle can be reached on foot via one of three trails. It dates back to the 11th century.

On my hotel balcony (wearing my Summer Tunic) with views of Lake Bled, Bled island, Bled castle and St Martin’s church.

Postojna Cave is one of the most famous show caves in the world and the only cave where you can experience an exciting train ride through a breathtaking underground landscape. Riding under magnificent underground arches is an experience that I will never forget. It has 24 km of galleries, tunnels and magnificent halls with an enchanting beauty.

There was a walking tour of the cave (around 90 minutes). The first ascent is quite steep and there is a handrail for assistance. Wear comfortable shoes and a warm sweater inside the cave as the temperature (10 C) does drop significantly when entering from outside (25 C in summer).

There was a stall (Zankarija/Romana Gaspirc)) of lovely hand knitted goods on display by the lake. I bought an asymmetrical poncho which is light enough to wear in the summer. I like to support the businesses of fellow crafters as I appreciate their skills.

Slovenia is one of Europe’s most forested countries. It is rich in outstanding natural beauty and a feast for the eyes. It is an amazing place to partake in outdoor activities  i.e. walking, cycling, rowing, sailing, climbing and skiing. I do hope to return one day.

Posted in Travel/Places | 2 Comments

The Capable Wife

How hard it is to find a capable wife. She is worth far more than jewels.

She keeps herself busy making wool and linen cloth.

She is a hard worker, strong and industrious.

She knows the value of everything she makes, and works late into the night.

She spins her own thread and weaves her own cloth.

She doesn’t worry when it snows, because her family has warm clothing.

She makes bedspreads and wears clothes of fine purple linen.

She makes clothes and belts, and sells them to merchants.

She is strong and respected and not afraid of the future.

She speaks with a gentle wisdom.

A woman who honours the Lord should be praised.

Give her credit for all she does, she deserves the respect of everyone.

Proverbs 31: 10-31  (the Good News Bible translation)

 

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Cherry Cleo – Tilly and the Buttons

Yes, I admit it, I am a Cleo addict! I bought this dreamy cherry print denim and could not resist making another one. Thought this is my summer Cleo so I can justify making a third one.

This light-medium weight denim with some stretch is from  M Rosenberg & Son (they stock a fabulous range of fabrics including printed denims) and they are my favourite fabric supplier. It is a light enough denim to wear for the summer. It would be incredibly uncomfortable to wear a heavier denim in this heat wave.

The dress is knee length although I omitted the front split as I cut this fabric on the fold (removing the centre seam allowance) so there is no centre seam. I think it looks better to do this when the fabric has a busy print. Cutting on the fold also makes this dress a quicker make so its a winner. I made a front top pocket and two patch pockets.

This is my last Cleo for now. It is my favourite sewing pattern and I do recommend it. Though this pattern will more than likely have you hooked especially when there are so many dreamy denims to choose from.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Pinafore/Jumper | Tagged | 4 Comments

A Cornwall Postcard

Here I am on a cliff and admiring the lovely view (my reward after a long climb) of Cornwall’s coast. A great walk of St Anthony’s Head (6.5 miles) which includes a coast path, cliffs, tidal creek, sailing boats and lighthouse. A steep climb from the lighthouse which you can see faintly in the distance.

Walking/exploring/travelling is a love of mine which I do with my hubby. I also love to sew but spending time outdoors is equally important.

Discovering a beautiful bluebell wood on a walk around Lanhydrock (3 miles), its National Trust House and its parkland which runs along the River Fowey.

I love walking and exploring as I do not know what is around the corner!

We are members of the National Trust and have visited many wonderful historical buildings and gardens.

 

Views of Polruan from Fowey on the St Catherine’s Castle walk (2.5 miles). Afterwards, we went to the beautiful harbour town of Fowey for a Cornish ice-cream and watched the sailing boats. I had witnessed a seagull swipe an ice-cream out of a man’s hand so I ate mine in the back street away from its view!

 

A wonderful wall of wisteria at the National Trust’s Trelissick Gardens.

The Trelissick walk (3.5 miles)includes a peaceful woodland path overlooking picturesque Lamouth Creek.


At the Eden Project, looking at the Biomes (Rainforest, Mediterranean and the Core). The Eden Project and its numerous plants are amazing and it is most educational. A great day out.

The outdoor botanical garden is also vast.


 

Inside the rainforest which is the largest indoor one in the world. The warmth was a welcome relief from the downpour of heavy rain. The enormous plants are spectacular. One half of the Biome grows crops: coffee, chocolate, rubber… It also shows other crops i.e. palms, sugar, bananas, coffee, bamboo, nuts and spices.

The plant based exhibits show the plant/people stories that reconnect us all to our world, to encourage us to care about it.


 

 

The view from the walkway at the top of the rainforest.

 

 


 

Having fun on the canopy (wobbly) rope bridge – not for the faint hearted! Walked all the way across (23 metres).

 

 

 

A lovely view of sailing boats at St Mawes on our walk of St Anthony’s Head.

 

 


 

Secluded Polridmouth Cove on the St Catherine’s Castle walk.

 

 


 

 

A riverside view of Truro Cathedral.

 

 

 

 


 

A magnificent stained glass window of Truro Cathedral. The sacred art inside is beautiful. Incredible craftsmanship.

 


 

Little knitted figures of Jesus and his disciples on the altar of Lanhydrock parish church. Most original!

 

 

 

 

Our walks were taken from the yellow book Crimson short walks of Cornwall. I hope that I have inspired you to get your walking boots on and discover the beauty of nature.

I love Cornwall, it is a lovely and charming county. Its a great place to enjoy the outdoors. The coastline and cliffs are spectacular. The walks are wonderful. For food lovers – Cornwall has the best fish and chips, ice-cream and of course, Cornish pasties!

Posted in Travel/Places | Tagged

Reversible Tabard Apron – Dottie Angel

 

I am dotty about Dottie Angel’s apron dress/reversible tabard sewing pattern, Simplicity 8230. I have a pinafore/apron habit and this pattern is my latest fix! The Dottie Angel apron dress (view A) is on my list too.

I love Dottie Angel’s vintage style of lovely floral prints, pretty aprons, cute cardigans, shawls and crochet.

My tabard (View B) consists of floral and polka dot fabrics which are vintage style prints, appropriate for a Dotty Angel apron. Dots and an angel (by my feet) = Dottie Angel!

This tabard is perfect to wear while crafting, cooking, baking or gardening. There is a kangaroo pocket on the front.

The old Granny look meant wearing rollers in your hair, headscarf, pinny, wrinkly tan tights and orthopaedic shoes. Hilda Ogden and Nora Batty spring to mind!

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Granny Chic is a big fashion trend. Some young women have fully embraced Granny Chic and have dyed their hair grey.

Only last week, the pinny, headscarf and curlers of the Coronation Street character, Hilda Ogden, sold at auction for £4,200 to a film producer. The auctioneer said “the iconic outfit was part of media history”.

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A daring shade of grey

 My blog posts include utility chic, nun chic and now Granny chic. What will be next?

Posted in Apron/Apron Dress | Tagged | 1 Comment

Dreamy Denim Cleo – Tilly and the Buttons

I have been dreaming about making a denim Cleo. Though this is no ordinary denim – its a striking black/grey tie-dye print denim! I bought this fabulous fabric in M Rosenberg & Son which is a family-run business and my favourite fabric store. They have a wonderful range of fabrics and I have made 2 pairs of Owyn Pants and a Dungaree Dress with their denim.

This denim Cleo is in the same style (front pocket, knee length and front split) as my corduroy Cleo but I added two front patch pockets which are larger than the hip pocket included in the pattern. For the top stitching, I have used a matching grey thread and opted for large buttons instead of buckles as I prefer the pinafore-style rather than dungaree-style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1969 a writer for American Fabrics magazine declared “Denim is one of the world’s oldest fabrics, yet it remains eternally young”. This is so true.

Denim is an amazing fabric, so practical, versatile and durable. I have bought another dreamy denim so watch this space. Denim has come a long way since it was invented. Today, with many different colours and prints to choose from, denim has never looked so good!

Posted in Pinafore/Jumper | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show, 20-22 April 2017

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!

Posted in Craft | 4 Comments

Easter Sacred Art

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

Posted in Craft

Simple Tote Bag – Lauren Guthrie

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!

Posted in Bag

Birds Cushion

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!

Posted in Craft | 5 Comments

Box Dress (D) Makeover – Stylish Dress Book

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:

YSL HABIT

Back in the habit: Yves Saint Laurent

Valentino Pre-Fall 2014 <a href="http://Style.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Style.com</a>

Valentino Pre-Fall 2014

Will nun-chic catch on?

Posted in Dress | Tagged | 4 Comments

Corduroy Cleo – Tilly and the Buttons

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

Posted in Pinafore/Jumper | Tagged | 2 Comments

Modest Fashion

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

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.

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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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Cutie Cats

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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).

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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).

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These are the two lady cats in my life. Yes, I am a cat lover and proud of it!

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I have given my cats strips of fabric to play with rather than balls of wool. Are you a fellow cat lover?

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Popover Poncho – April Rhodes

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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!

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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.

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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!

Posted in Cape/Poncho | 2 Comments

Fabulous Faux Fur Set

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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!

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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.

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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.

Posted in Accessories | 1 Comment

The Olivia Cardi (CNS04) – The Craft Network Sewing magazine

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This sewing pattern accompanied The Craft Network Sewing magazine (issue 07). It is an ideal wardrobe staple and is designbed for firm stretch knits.

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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!

Posted in Cardigan/Shrug, Knits | 3 Comments

Hoodie Cardigan – McCalls M6802

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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.

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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!

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I hope that I will enjoy wearing my cardigan just as much as I had enjoyed making it.

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There are more knit garments to come so watch this space! Do you enjoy sewing with knits?

Posted in Cardigan/Shrug, Knits | 6 Comments

Infinity Scarf – Sewing Happiness

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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.

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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?

Posted in Scarf