Craft Plans for April and something from my UFO closet

I’ve got a holiday coming up, which I am really excited about. It’s quite a niche sort of thing. I’m off to Torquay, which is on the south coast of Britain, to stay in a barn ten minutes from Agatha Christie’s house (shown below). I’ll be spending the week visiting country houses, castles, going on a steam train ride and having afternoon tea with scones with Mr Useful. Agatha Christie called the area the loveliest place in the world.


In preparation, I’ve bought a book of her short stories to read before I go and an audio book of a play called The Spider’s Web to listen to while I sew up some vintage style outfits to wear.

My sewing bee  challenge for March/April is shorts or trousers with a zip. I’m planing to make the trousers from this Simplicity reproduction 1940’s suit, skirt and blouse set.

I have two fabrics – a lucky find in a charity shop of fine blue wool from Traid in Dalston and some pale green light wool from Dalston Mill, shop which is hidden in Ridley Road market. The wool fabric room is at the back and I’d visited several times before I turned a corner at the back and found it. This time there were lots of rolls of fabric marked NW3 and Hobbs, which are UK ladies-wear brands. I also discovered the shop has an upstairs (though not needing any lurex I skipped visiting it).

Just in case that wasn’t enough sewing, it is also Sew For Victory challenge time, but I’ll blog about those plans separately.

And I also have a few UFOs* to revisit too.

This amazing bargain blouse pattern was 20p from a charity shop. I’ve made it from a tricky, fraying bit of see through shirting (lesson learned about impulse buying) and gave up when I realised what I was working on was unwearable. Now I have suitable stash fabric I should give it another go and treat the disaster as a muslin. [*UnFinished Objects]


Pattern blouse 1940's


I also have a unfinished make do  & frakendress from October 2011, which was a shirtdress from a print on demand New Look pattern 6815. It taught me a lesson about patience, in that print on demand makes you think “Great, I can get started this evening” only to spend two days moving furniture out the way so you can lay the whole thing out and stick it together. Better to wait for it to arrive in the post, it saves a lot of headache and backache.

To make things worse I had limited fabric and early on I sewed one of the panels incorrectly, but had already trimmed the seam allowance when I realized. So I improvised with some plain red and it turned out really well. The fabric is from Beyond Fabric on Columbia Road in East London, which specialises in quilting fabric.

6815 Dress print sew red floral

Except my hips were to large, so the dress wouldn’t button up all the way along. So I snipped off the bottom completely and ordered some more of this fabric, this time from America as it seemed the UK had sold out. Then I bought a different pattern and made just the skirt of a dress and then for some reason threw the whole thing into a cupboard for two years. I didn’t twig that America uses different measurements and thinking it was metres, not yards, somehow ended up with enough for two whole new dresses. I think the design was “American Jane” patterns for Moda.

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