And the Winners Are…

Love Umbrella's Give Away

Congratulations Jane!  The red umbrella will indeed go perfectly with your new rain coat!  You should have an email from me!

Also, congratulations Annabelle!  A surprise pattern will be on its way soon (unless you’ve thought of one!!).  You should have an email from me too.

Rain Rain Go Away… Or Maybe Not?

Happy Monday, all!  I’ve got a little give away for you today.  With the chaos of exams and life in general I utterly failed to do a birthday giveaway back in November.  I hope this will make up for it!

Love Umbrellas Give Away 3

Last year, in October, the rather glamourous and lovely Oobop wrote a post about her pencil skirt and her rather show stealing umbrella!  Ever since I’ve been coveting something to brighten a rainy day.  Janene’s red flower umbrella would not leave my head!

Love Umbrella is a small independent company that makes unique umbrellas.  Living in the UK, this is something that we need on a dismally regular basis, so why not make it fun?!  Love Umbrella made the wonderful parasol in Janene’s post and also a purple sparkly one that I have.  They also do bespoke designs, and I have one to give to one of you!

Love Umbrellas Give Away 2

I got in contact with Love Umbrella and requested a flower umbrella with a button centre.  I’ll be totally honest and say that this was a purely selfish move on my part.  I wanted it for me!  I then though, why not get two and give one of them away?  I missed my birthday give away, so why not do one now?

Love Umbrella's Give Away

There is a catch though, I can not for the life of my find a cost effective way to send an umbrella abroad.  This really irritates me – how can it cost north of £30 to send something that doesn’t weigh a lot offshore?!  So, the umbrella is only open to my UK readers.  But fret not my international friends!  I’m not going to leave you lovelies out in the rain (ba-dum-tish!).

My international winner will receive the pattern of their choice.  So if you’ve been coveting Emery, Mortmain, or any other pattern it will be my gift to you.

In the comments, let me know which umbrella you’d like (if you’re in the UK) – Red or Black.  If you’re outside of the UK, let me know where you are and what pattern you’d like!  Make sure that your profile links to an email address or include it in your comment so I can contact you if you’re a winner!

I’ll pick two winners this time next week – the 17th February.

This Giveaway is now Closed!

Simplicity 2217 or The Juicey Juice Dress

I was among the host of lucky bloggers Simplicity contacted wondering if I’d like to choose a pattern to review and also hold a give away with.  After talking it though with a rather lovely blogger who’s got more experience of these sorts of posts, I gratefully and somewhat gleefully accepted.  This was back in June.  I owe Hannah a massive apology for the length of time it has taken for me to get the dress sewn and also get the post up.  Hannah, I’m so so sorry.

One of the most enjoyable parts of this whole process was trying to come up with a short list from Simplicity‘s massive catalogue.  I was intrigued by the Amazing Fit concept having seen Karen’s version of 1882.  I was also intrigued as to whether the concept would work for me as I have a 6″ difference between my high bust and full bust measurements.  I chose S2217 to try out and I’m rather pleased with the results!


In a nut shell, Simplicity have taken a lot of the flat pattern fitting adjustments out of the equation for you.  THere are different sized bodice pieces to fit your bust and different sizes at the hip for those with more (or less) curves.

Here’s how I selected my pattern pieces:
My upper bust is 38″ so I started with a size 16.  For each cup size the pattern increases by 1/2″ and an A cup was 40″ (this includes wearing ease) up to a D cup at 41 1/2″.  I needed 42″ but for the sake of science decided to go with the pattern piece for a D cup with no further adjustments.

At the hip the options were for a slim fit at 43 1/2″ (again this includes wearing ease), 44″ for an average fit or 44 1/2″ for someone with a little more curve.  I chose the curvy fit.  And to make fitting even easier the side seams are sewn last and have 1″ seam allowances to make those final tweaks!

And you know what, to get this information I didn’t have to measure a single pattern piece.  It’s all printed on the back of the envelope.  This is a big deal for me as I can’t remember the last time I used any of the big four’s patterns and had this information so easily accessible.  I’ve always had to measure the tissue to work out the ease so not having to do that extra piece of work to ensure a good fit was lovely.

I was really trying to talk myself into using some fabric from the stash but I’d seen this stretch sateen on the Minerva Crafts website and it was just calling to me.  I prevaricated and sought the opinion of Twitter.  A certain Australian gave me the final push I needed; Lizzy you were right (as always!).  I love the combination of this fabric with this pattern!  Some of you may have also noticed that the rather wonderful Dibs used the same fabric for her Minerva Blogging Network dress.

Construction wise this was really straight forward.  It’s an unlined dress and with the stretch of the fabric I chose I was happy to forgo the lining.  If I want to wear tights (and as it’s decidedly autumn now I will be!) I’ll just wear a half slip with it.  If you did want to line it Sew It Anyway has a really thorough post on how she lined hers here.  She wore it to the Goldhawk Road meet up and it’s a divine dress!

Simplicity Detail

There were three variations I made to the construction of the dress;

The first was to put a box pleat in the skirt.  I just could not understand what the instructions were asking me to do and the pattern envelope illustrations and photo suggested a box pleat so that is what I went with.

The second was to use bias tape instead of facings.  I really hate facings and avoid them where ever I can and this was no exception.  It meant a ton of hand stitching to secure it on the inside but I think it was worth it.

The third was to cut the wrap portions of the bodice on the bias.  The pattern instructs you to cut on the straight grain but I wanted to play with the direction of the pattern on the fabric so bias it was. I’m really pleased with the effect.

Inside is finished with the aforementioned bias tape and serged seams allowances.  The waist panel is self lined and gives some gorgeous structure to that area; it was supposed to be interfaced but as the fabric has quite a bit of body I didn’t bother.

This isn’t an every day dress for me, it’s a bit too vavavoom for the office but for an evening out its perfect!  And the name?  I’m drinking a home made juice as I write and the colours of the fruit and veg that went into it remind me of this dress:

2 apples (red & green)
1/2 lemon (yellow)
2 carrots (orange)
1 beetroot (pink / purple)

Simplicity Giveaway

So, if you’re keen to give this dress a go I have a give away for you, thanks to the lovely people at Simplicity!  A copy of S2217 or if the dress isn’t your thing I also have a copy of S3688 a gorgeous vintage inspired top and trouser set that Debbie at My Happy Sewing Place has made.

I have each pattern in both size ranges so four prizes!  All you have to do is leave me a comment below letting me know which Simplicity pattern is your favourite and which of the patterns you would like to win and the size range you need by midnight on Sunday 22 September (that’s the midnight just before Monday, I always find that a little confusing!) BST (GMT+1) .  I’m happy to post internationally. 

**This give away is now closed **

Thank you again Simplicity for the wonderful opportunity to try the pattern and also for the chance to give away patterns to my readers!!

Karma; But in a Good Way

I have been ridiculously lucky in blog giveaways recently.  I have a whole heap of gorgeous things heading my way from fellow sewing bloggers!

Karma Collage 1

First I have two pieces of fabric on their way from Alessa at Farbenfreude.  A green and blue batik style cotton and a brown/blue/green plaid corduroy which will make a fabulous skirt, probably another Colette Sewing Handbook Meringue!

Then I was lucky enough to win Simplicity 2444 from Helen at Helen Made as well as a length of fabulous bright blue fabric with summer daisies printed all over it.  A fabric and pattern match for the summer!

And finally I received an email from Fiona at Diary of a Chain Stitcher to let me know I’d won Simplicity 2406 a Cynthia Rowley pattern.

Not to mention the gorgeous fabric from Lizzy I mentioned in my last post and the lovely fitting book Ros sent me.  There are some seriously awesome people out there who write and read sewing blogs!


So, I think it’s high time I held a little sewing give away of my own to keep the Karma going!  I have three prizes for three winners (one isn’t pictured, you’ll see why…):

karma 2

  1. 3 yards of Michael Miller Ahoy Matey Stay the Course cotton fabric 44″ wide and the pattern is parallel to the selvedge
  2. A sewing pattern of your choice (Up to £15GB)
  3. Two vintage patterns and the (not vintage) scarf you can see behind them.  The patterns are: McCalls 4191 Bust 34″ and Butterick 3354 Bust 29″.  The scarf is a long oblong with a navy zebra print on a mink background with more zebras on top

To enter all you have to do is tell me which prize you’d like to win and how you follow the blog.  Simple as that.  I would love to know what you’d use the fabric for or which pattern you’d choose if they’re your choices.  If you go for the vintage patterns what sort of fabric do you think you’ll use?

I will ship any where in the world and the give away is open until midnight (British Summer time / GMT+1) at the end of Tuesday 14 May.  Please make sure your profile links to an email address or you include it in your comment so I can reach you if you win.

Good Luck!

***This Giveaway is Now Closed***

Wendy’s Travelling Pattern Stash

I’ve got to apologise to both Wendy and Zoe for not saying thank you earlier (although I did via email!).  Back in early January Zoe wrote a post about Wendy’s collection of patterns;

‘Today I’ve been rethinking my future sewing plans and have cleared out my small pattern stash.  I have thirteen patterns (most used, some not) that I know I will never use, they are all women’s clothing.  Sadly here in Luxembourg we have no charity shops to which I can donate them and I have no sewing community either.’

So Wendy and Zoe decided to hold a give away and guess which lucky girl won?!


I’ve decided to keep three patterns I know I’ll use in the near future:

Wendy's Patterns - Keep

I promised in my entry that I’d pass on any patterns I wouldn’t use, so yep I have some patterns to pass on!


These descriptions are the same as provided in Zoe’s post and I haven’t checked the envelopes – I’ve taken Wendy at her word:

Burda 8361 size 6-18; cut to 18
Burda 7293 size 10-20; cut to 18
McCalls 4769 size 12-18; uncut
New Look 6945 size 8-18; uncut
New Look 6104 size 10-22; cut to 16/18
New Look 6669 size 8-18; skirt cut to 18
New Look 6937 size 10-22; view E cut 16/18
Style Arc Samantha Top; cut to 16
Vogue 7837 size L/XL; uncut
Vogue 8634 size L/XL; cut

Wendys Patterns Giveaway

I’ll post anywhere in the world and I all I ask is that if there are any patterns you don’t think you’ll use that you do the same and pass them on to somebody who will use them.

This give away is open until midnight GMT on Monday 25 February 2013 and then I’ll use the random number generator to pick a winner!  Just let me know in the comments below if you’d like to put your name in the hat.

And the Birthday Giveaway Winner Is…


Comment Number 3 as decreed by the random number generator on

Congratulations Roisin who blogs over at dollyclackett – an email is on its way!

And on an unrelated note, I just received an email from Denise who blogs at Dottie Doodle to say that I’ve won her 12 in 12 pattern giveaway for November.  I’ve scored this awesome 1969 dress.  This is going to be amazing as a summer maxi!

December’s give away features a lovely 1950s blouse pattern – go and have a look!

Happy Birthday to Me, And YOU! A Birthday Give Away!

It’s turning into a tradition for me to do a giveaway on my Birthday, and I’m glad that I’m doing the same again this year as I really enjoy them!  As today is the day I celebrate being another year older, I’ve got a present for you…

I’ve put together a little package for sewing knits:  With two really popular knit patterns in the blogosphere (Sewaholic’s Renfrew Top pattern and Cake’s Tiramisu dress pattern) as well as all the knit inspiration that’s been circulating in the blogosphere lately (knickers, vest tops…) , I hope this will be useful and inspirational all at once!

I’ve got a copy of Sew-U Home Stretch, The built by Wendy guide to sewing knits which includes tips on using a serger or a regular machine to make tops, dresses and skirts from the included patterns in the book.  There’s also loads of pattern variations so the possibilities are enormous!  There are some gorgeous and inspiring items out there made from this book, I am looking forward to having a go at making my own hooded top…  Perfect lounge wear for the winter (once the curtains etc are done of course!)

To go with it I’ve got a 40yd pack of 1/4″ Steam a Seam 2 Lite.  Steph (Author of 3 Hours Past and Cake patterns designer and owner) did a great post on the use and abuse of this stuff.  Very useful for knits, but also useful for wovens, patch pockets, zipper insertions…  Looking at it, you may even be able to use it at 1/2″ width too (but then there’d only be 20yds) but don’t quote me on that!

So, if you’d like to have a chance at winning this bundle, please leave a comment!  If you’re a follower, please leave a second comment letting me know (and how you follow – wordpress, email, twitter…) and I’ll put another entry into the hat for you.

Entries are open until midnight on the 30th November and I’ll announce (and contact) the winner on the 1st December.

I’m happy to post internationally.  Good Luck!

Of Clouds and Silver Linings


In some ways this week has been a success, but in others an epic fail!

The not so great stuff:

Husband has been suffering a bit from depression due to lack of work, which affected me causing me to lose the plot at my place of employment on Wednesday.  Tears and sniffling in the middle of the office is not the normal me!  Husband is a plumber and heating engineer and the early part of every year is always slow work wise, not just for him but for the whole sector.  However he is not good at doing nothing and when given too much time to think he gets tunnel vision and starts to spiral and its very hard to pull him out of it.  I try and support him but its quite tough sometimes, particularly when I’m dealing with the effects of…

My medication being doubled.  Hello insomnia, nausea and generally feeling rubbish until I become accustomed to the higher dose!

Then to top it all I managed to infect my work laptop with such an evil virus (and I have no idea where it came from) that it had to be wiped and re-built.  So I didn’t manage to do anything productive until about 2pm yesterday.  I feel so guilty about it even though I can’t think where I’d been online that would have had such a nasty file.  Ack.

But on the flip side there’s the good stuff!

I’ve found a way to give Husband some control over the work situation.  One of which is to finally sort a website out for him so I’ve made an appointment to go and see a hosting and design company next week to see about getting a site made.  He’s also been contacted to do some short notice work and to quote for some jobs so I hope his mood is lifting…

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods

Thursday night I went to the theatre to see the touring production of Legally Blonde: The Musical.  I enjoyed it, although for me the characters of Paulette and Kyle stole the show – probably because they provide the comedy and I was in need of some laughter!  The portrayal of Elle Woods was more annoying to me than Reese Witherspoon’s in the film although I warmed to it much more in the second half.  And no, I hadn’t been drinking!

I also wore a me made outfit – my Beignet and Sencha.  Both now need altering though as I’ve lost over 9lb since the start of the year.  The Sencha should be quite straight forward but the Beignet is going to take some thinking about and will probably involve removing the facing at the waistband and then nipping in at each seam…

And finally I finished two items this week!  My Taffy Jasmine and my Minoru!  I’m really pleased with both and will try and get some pictures to bore you all silly with next week if the sun ever appears today…

Colette Sewing Handbook Pattern: Meringue

So all I have to do now is decide what to make next…  I think a work appropriate Meringue is a strong contender as is a Renfrew.  If anyone has any tips for cleaning and caring for wool garments I’d love to hear them!

Wool Plaid from Annabelle

I also plan to get out my Renfrew pattern and do a FBA so that I can make one or two of those as well!  Would you like me to photograph the steps I’ve worked out for a dart less FBA on this top for a tutorial?  Lauren uses the technique of grading from one size to another, but as I start at the top end of the size chart that’s not an option for me.  Let me know in the comments…

PS – don’t forget to enter my give away here

Give Away and my Final Fashion Sewing For Everyone Post

Happy Leap Day Everybody!

This is my final post in my short series about the Adele P Margolis book; Fashion Sewing for Everyone.  I need to apologise first of all though as the images aren’t as clear as the previous two posts – my scanner has started to make some really hideous noises and refusing to work so I’ve had to photograph the pages I wanted to share with you instead.  This means that the text isn’t quite so clear and the images not so straight.  I hope you still enjoy them though?

As I mentioned last time, the vast majority of my post-its are in the tailoring section.  As I have come to expect, there’s a large amount of information on pressing as this is a hallmark of tailoring.

“On of the hallmarks of fine tailoring is the pressing.  One cannot thing of great tailoring without also thinking of those crisp edges, the flat seams and that subtly blocked-to-shape sculptured form.  As important as pressing is to dressmaking, in tailoring it is raised to a fine art.”

She also describes the ingredients for pressing: Heat, Moisture, Pressure and Protection.

She uses analogies for the heat settings – high heat for vegetable fibres (cotton, linen) as “You can boil vegetables”!  And a moderate heat for the animal fibres (silk, wool) as “Any gal can tell you that moderate heat is a beauty aid – setting your hair, getting a tan – but high heat can scorch hair and skin.”  Erm, I see the point but this is about the only instance (other than some of the illustrations) that date the book – we now understand much more about tanning and its effects.

There’s also a section on pressing aids:

She includes instructions on how to make each of them, and that “others can be made by your father, bother, husband or favourite beau”.  I’ll eventually be shelling out cold hard cash as I have no hope of persuading my husband to make a clapper or point press for me!

She also goes into details on pressing more delicate fabrics.  The section on velvet immediately made me think of Debi at My Happy Sewing Place and the Scarlet O’Hara velvet dress she made.

And finally, for Peter over at Male Pattern Boldness, who has recently undertaken a coat in fake fur for his cousin Cathy,there’s a whole chapter:

There is so much in this book I wish I could share.  As I’ve mentioned previously I’ve found it fascinating reading and it’s helped me out already.  There are tips on lining which I’ll use when finishing off my Minoru.  A chapter on sheers that I’ve already employed in my Taffy Jasmine (which has made no further progress as yet…  The whole sew-life-work-Mother balance is a whole other think!) as well as tons of information on hair canvas, collars, buttons and their placement, seam construction for unlined jackets that will come in useful for future projects!  But I don’t want to bore you all silly with it, or risk infringing copyright.

So as a solution, I’ve bought a second copy of the book!  I’ll happily give it away to one of you lovely readers, anywhere in the world!  All you need to do is:

  • Comment below and if you’d like, let me know your new favourite sewing resource.  Text or web, or some of you may even have a real-life person you can turn to who is always a fount of knowledge?  I’d love to hear about the resources you’ve discovered and that have proven really helpful!
  • By Midnight GMT on Wednesday 14 March 2012

Please make sure that you leave some way that I can contact you if you win so I can find out your shipping address!

Thank you for reading and Good Luck!

Sew Grateful Week Give Away(s) Winners!!!

I’ve really enjoyed Debi’s Sew Grateful Week and I’m looking forward to the next one!  I’ve discovered blogs and talented people I may never have come across, and there are a few more feeds in my reader as a result!

So on to the winners of the Yarn, Snood, Burda Pattern and Vintage Pattern!

The winner of the Yarn is:

For the Yarn the Random Gadget Chose...

Comment Number 46!  Congratulations Jeannine, an email is on its way to you…

The winner of the Arthelia’s Attic Snood is:

The Virtual Randomness Generator Chose...

Congratulations Sarah, again an email is on its way…

The winner of the Burda Pattern of Choice is:

The Random Number Thingy-wotsit chose...

Forrest!  Congratulations and an email is on its way to you too!

And last but by no means least we have the winner of Vintage Simplicity 3829 with the starry bias tape:

The Number out of the Electronic Hat Is...

Ashley!  Congratulations and an email is on its way!

Thank you to everyone who has entered and taken the time to read this blog of mine, it means so much to me!  I have at least one more giveaway planned in the next few weeks as I have a series of posts planned about a vintage sewing book I’ve discovered and it will tie in with that…  I also hope to do a Burda Pattern giveaway again too in the not so distant future as it was so so popular!

Please go back to Debi’s blog and check out all her round-up posts, there are some amazing tutorials and patterns being shared (check out Annabelle’s German Pattern Experiment…) as well as so much inspiration, if you’re like me you won’t know where to start!