Made By Me – I Finished a red raglan jumper (links to free pattern)

50s Roll Neck free vintage knitting patternI have been a bit lax at blogging about my finished projects this year. Partly it’s because I’m a bit camera-shy. This is a project I finished a while ago, and wore on Saturday to the Classic Car Boot Sale. It was a great day and I managed to sell more things than I bought. The pattern for this jumper is already up on this website here: More »

Learning About Patterns with The Thrifty Stitcher

The Thrifty Stitcher

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to a workshop with the Thrifty Stitcher, aka Claire-Louise Hardie, aka the Sewing Producer and chief of sewing knowledge and pattern designer for the TV Show the Great British Sewing Bee. She a WI member too, belonging to the London Stoke-Newington group. (Here is a story from the WI Life Magazine all about Claire-Louise). We learned that there will be a Series 3 of The Great British Sewing Bee and it might be filming pretty soon! You can do sewing classes with Claire-Louise and her colleague Rosie at her studio in Stoke Newington and are guaranteed not just to learn how to make a dress, but a dress which fits you perfectly.  I can’t recommend her classes more, I learnt so much- she has been making clothes professionally for stage and screen for years, but is also familiar with commercial patterns used by a home sewer and the problems of getting stuff to fit. She knows easy methods for copying existing clothes to. Read More »

Sew For Victory – Tara Starlet Tribute

I just remembered to share my inspiration for the Sew For Victory dress!

Top two Tara Starlet Lace Collar dress, bottom two my Sew For Victory dress
Top two Tara Starlet Lace Collar dress, bottom two my Sew For Victory dress

As previously mentioned in my Sew For Victory challenge posts, this is the “Blitz” Dress from Sew La De Da Vintage patterns, but what it really reminded me of was a dress from a few seasons ago from Tara Starlet – a wonderful vintage inspired fashion label, both ethical leaning and local to me. I have a few pieces from Tara Starlet and if money allowed I’d buy more. Unfortunately this one was out of stock in my size before I could afford it.

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Sew For Victory Second Try and a trip to Liberty

My Disaster Dress

Oh my! Did I get over ambitious and oh did it go wrong. But finally I have a wearable dress and a bunch of fabric and stuff happened. This is the Blitz dress pattern again, for the first time made out of fabric rather than an old sheet, but not yet made with the very expensive fabric. The lovely lacy collar was a thrifted find, from Leona who has a online shoppe called Thriftola.

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Sew For Victory – The First Try

So I have my Blitz dress pattern and a sheet. First job was to trace from the printed pattern sheets onto tissue. I normally do this so I don’t have to cut the original pattern, in case I want to go back and cut a different size, but on this occasion it was also necessary as the original pattern is on such thick paper, it would be difficult to work with. The pattern handily has the the different sizes marked with different colours, so no following a dotted line, I just followed the purple one.

After the chat I had with Caroline of Sew La Di Da Vintage when I bough the pattern at the Selvedge Winter Fair, I decided to cut a size 12. She had mentioned the discrepancy between UK high street sizing and sewing pattern sizing and told me her patterns follow the high street.

The pattern looked a little strange, as the grain lines were abnormally enormous (see photo below). Tilly assisted by sitting on things when ever she could, and occasionally trying to eat the tissue paper.

Wondercat on pattern

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Sew for Victory – Beginning and Pinspiration

I’m taking part in a vintage fashion sewing challenge from Rochelle of Lucky Lucille blog, to make something 40s style between  March 15th 2014 and 30th April 2014. Have a look yourself at The challenge allows for new and vintage patterns with a forties style, that can cover some late 30s and early 50s patterns too.

I already had a Pinterest board dedicated to every decade from the 20s – 90s. Here is the 1940s one.

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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.

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A top book to help make your own clothes (plus my first making disaster)

The Encyclopedia of Sewing Techniques

The Encyclopedia Of Sewing Techniques by Wendy Gardiner

Before I bought my sewing machine, when it was just a whim that I might make my own clothes, I checked out this book to see what kinds of thing I might need to learn. It convinced me that it was a sound idea and so I bought my sewing machine and haven’t yet regretted it (unlike the knitting machine, much regret there). It was so useful that I ended up with library fines for not returning it on time and had to buy my own copy.

So with this book, having read the sewing machine manual and bought some charity shop sheets, cotton saris and curtains to practice on, and some sewing patterns from eBay, I got on with making stuff. I had some disasters, but that I made anything at all is down to this book, as I’m completely self taught. (More after the jump, this is a long post!)Read More »