Thursday, 27 February 2014


Sew Grateful Update: Thank you very much for the fabulous response to my Sew Grateful Week posts. I'm really looking forward to reading everyone else's testimonials over the weekend. There are 2 patterns still left up for grabs in my giveaway - an 80's skirt patterns with a v-shaped yoke and a modern jersey sundress/vest top/sarong pattern. It would be great if they all went! Closes Tuesday 4th.

Also, if you've asked for a pattern - please make sure you've left your email address.

Colette Wardrobe Architect: The themes for weeks 5 and 6 both revolve around colour - choosing a palette and then organising it. Details of week 5 here, and week 6 here. Colour is something I've thought about extensively before and had a professional opinion on so I've combined these exercises into one (I want to participate fully in this project as I'm learning so much, but I don't want to cover ground twice.) To read a bit about my colour analysis, go here.

Week 5 - Your Colour Story
So, far from finding finding colour analysis impersonal, I was thrilled to discover so many new colour possibilities I wouldn't have found by myself. I loved learning how colours work together, too. The colours below are my most worn and I always feel like 'me' in them - I'd call these my base colours.

Navy blue and purple

Soft and bright corals, ivory and cream

Warm golden beiges

Dark chocolate and golden browns

Oddly the first photograph on the Coletterie post (of the woman holding the drink) pretty much illustrates my favourite colour palette, if you disregard the pale blue shirt thrown over the bench.

Sometimes I have to wear black, so I'm including it in my palette even though I don't enjoy wearing it very much now. I try to soften it with cream, pale peach and golden beige tones or accents when I do.

Finally, these are the colours I'd most like to add to my basics or try out:

Hot tomato reds

And this lovely soft green

There are some brighter colours in my House of Colour* wallet too. I'm working up to those!

When writing this post I wanted to try an online palette creator but found many of them need you to do a tutorial before you start. I found* really intuitive if you want to get going straight away. You can also save the palettes you make to return back to whenever you want. The photographs above are some of my swatch cards from my colour analysis though, as in the end these gave the truest representation of the colours on screen. They are made from a (synthetic I guess) jersey with a slight sheen and the colours are very precise and saturated.

Another thing I find useful is this colour wheel, especially when combining fabrics. It's (quite a bit) more expensive than ordinary colour wheels, but it has windows you can put your fabric (or whatever) behind, which gives a very accurate colour comparison.

Week 6 - Organising Your Palette

Neutrals: navy blue, purple, ivory, cream, warm golden beige, dark chocolate brown.
Nearly Neutrals: khaki, tobacco, soft green.
Statement Colours: tomato red, burnt orange, tangerine, coral.
Metallics: all gold based metallics and mixed metallics (I like pewter and jewellery that has more than one colour metal in it, too).

Maybe you will review what colours you like to sew and wear, and discover some new ones to complement your old favourites :)

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

*Just for reference, when I mention a brand name I am only expressing my opinion on how useful or otherwise I found the book, magazine, pattern or product, in the hope it might be of interest to someone else. I don't accept sponsorship or get paid or supplied with anything free for anything I mention on here.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sew Grateful Week 2014 - Reflections Day

Eep! Two posts in one day, what bad blogging form. I should have published the giveaway yesterday in accordance with Debi's schedule but I was busy painting the kitchen! Don't worry I'm not going to bombard you with daily posts. I'm just participating in these two days for Sew Grateful Week this year.

Today is the day for reflecting on the role sewing has played in our lives. Sewing entertained me as a child, clothed my dolls, and allowed me to be creative as a teenager. Learning this skill also enabled me to make a bridesmaid's dress for my daughter and give many personal presents made with love :) As I've grown older and realised what an increasingly fragile world we live in, being able to sew is helping me create an ethical wardrobe I can be proud of, and thanks to the Internet connected me to many people who share my interest and want to talk about it! Some of them are in countries I most likely will never visit - I love the international perspective this gives me and of course some I now count as dear friends.

To those who have been supportive on my journey. I thank you all, starting with my mother who is not fond of sewing and put up with the huge messes I created all over the kitchen table and floor for years. Also my primary school teacher Mrs Foster who taught me as a 10 year old to make my first dirndl skirt (dusty pink floral if you're interested!). I wore that thing to shreds, and I think that's what really kicked off my interest in sewing clothes. Next up: my college tutor. She really believed you could make anything you imagined! Not forgetting a big thank you to my family now. I'm making a mess and encroaching on space again! Finally, to all of you with sewing blogs who take the time and trouble to create, photograph and write. You have opened up a new world of social sewing for me. I've learnt so much from you and am so grateful for all your advice, tutorials and support when I make my inevitable snafus! Keep doing what you do, you are fabulous!

Thank you, and happy Sew Grateful Week to you all!

Sew Grateful Week 2014 Sewing Pattern Giveaway!

While reading Minnado's House the other day, it became apparent that a thing called 'Sew Grateful Week' was...a thing. Being curious, I found out what this was. It's "an annual event to give back to the sewing community and to show gratitude for everyone that supports us in our sewing hobbies", hosted by Debi of My Happy Sewing Place. Yay! I'm in!

Today is Giveaway Day. I've been pruning my pattern collection as you may know and hope you will find something that appeals to you below. There's a good range of sizes and styles, from original vintage patterns to modern day designs.

*All modern patterns are uncut in factory folds.

*All vintage patterns are unchecked for completeness and vintage sizes do not equate to modern sizes so please consider carefully whether they will fit or if you have the skills to re-size them.

*I've made a few brief notes in case the pictures aren't clear enough, but can't answer individual questions, thank you!

Happy browsing!

Original 1950's skirt pattern UNPRINTED one size waist 24" CLAIMED

Original vintage top & skirt pattern UNPRINTED one size Bust 36" CLAIMED

Original vintage pattern printed multi-size Hip 88cm - 102cm CLAIMED

Original vintage skirt pattern printed one size Waist 30" Hip 40" CLAIMED

Orignal vintage skirt pattern printed one size Waist 67cm CLAIMED

Original vintage culottes, skirt & trousers pattern printed 3 sizes Waist 25 - 28" CLAIMED

Modern skirt pattern multi-size UK 4 - 16 CLAIMED

Modern blouse & skirt pattern multi-size UK 4 - 12 CLAIMED

Original vintage tunic, trouser and shorts pattern printed one size Bust 34" CLAIMED

Original vintage tops pattern printed one size Bust 36" CLAIMED

Modern dress, sarong and vest top pattern multi-size UK 8 - 18 CLAIMED

Modern dress pattern multi-size US 4 - 16/EURO 30 - 42 CLAIMED

Orignal vintage bikini, dress, tunic, trousers pattern printed One size Bust 92cm CLAIMED

Modern dress pattern multi-size UK 14 - 22 CLAIMED

Modern dress & top pattern multi-size UK 12 - 20 CLAIMED

Modern jacket & top pattern Multi-size UK 8 - 16 CLAIMED

Modern bag pattern with variations One size CLAIMED

My usual pattern giveaway rules apply - state which pattern(s) you would like and they will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and most important PLEASE leave your email address in your comment so that I can contact you for your mailing address.

UPDATE: I've just realised I haven't put a closing date on the giveaway. I think it would be nice to give it a full week so close date is Tuesday 4th March 2014. I would also like to have all addresses by then in order to do one big mailout, thank you and I should have said all unclaimed patterns will be donated to our local charity shop.

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

P.S. Apologies this post went out Tuesday instead of Monday!


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide - The Sideways Croquis

When I looked at my finished croquis last week, I didn't recognise it as my body...somehow it's not as I imagine myself. I think there might be a disconnect between how I actually look and how I think I look. Interesting (if a bit self-absorbed!). 

I wondered if this was because all the curves so apparent in profile were missing. Not any more!

I think this gives a much more accurate representation of my body including the areas I have difficulty fitting.

Just for fun, I tried some of the styles I'd blocked on to my front view croquis on this one:

think some of them look quite different in profile and probably more as they will look when worn.

I don't think I'll make a sketch of everything I sew but I think using both croquis might be useful for 'trying out' patterns I'm not sure will suit me.

So there you have it - would you make a sideways croquis?

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

Thursday, 13 February 2014


This week's exercise was about taking a look at the silhouettes you like to wear. For all the details, go here.

I really struggled this week. I'm not sure why - I've driven a lot of miles over the past few days so tiredness could be a factor. Anyway, for some lovely silhouettes take a look at Sarai's gorgeous Polyvore images, here.

The idea is to find silhouettes you like rather than silhouettes that create a perfect body shape, but in the past I've overdosed on Trinny & Susannah-type advice, and have somewhat rebelled...I know that lower/wider/wrap necklines will flatter a large bust, but if it's cold and snowy outside I want a polo neck regardless. Possibly I am too much of a practical person to take a lot of interest in investigating silhouettes!

Anyway I was determined to do something this week towards this project which will be useful for me and future sewing, so I decided to make a croquis:

I've wanted to do this before but was too lazy, so this project gave me the push I needed. I used a traced photograph to make my croquis, but I suspect there is a much more hi-tech way. I wore leggings and a vest top for my photograph and that worked out quite well except I think I have a bit more waist definition in real life, as the vest top skimmed over the indent a bit (if that makes sense).

I then drew on some different shapes and styles, mostly 'bottoms', as that's the area I was mostly looking at last week. They aren't whole silhouettes as was intended in the exercise but it is quite interesting to see how different lengths and styles appear on my (pretend) body.


    More skirts and a couple of dresses


I'm keeping an open mind as to the usefulness of my croquis. I think I may need to be a little less tired to decide whether I've learnt anything! One thing I feel is that a side view would have been useful especially for seeing what styles of tops look good, but I have to confess I'd run out of steam by the time I'd done these!

Have you ever made a croquis and do you think they are useful (be honest - I'd love to know!)?

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


This week's worksheet was all about the shape (as in the actual style lines) of the garments you like to wear. A full explanation is on the Coletterie website here. In brief, the worksheet is quite a detailed chart where you rate your feelings about wearing different shapes using a numerical system. You can rate the ease, length, fullness, waistline, necklines and sleeves of clothes with 0 rated as 'I hate wearing this', 5 'I am neutral about wearing this' to 10 'I am happiest wearing this'. I urge you to give it a go. It really was very enlightening for me as I've never seen my preferences mapped out like this before. 

You can download a copy here if you would like to try this yourself.

My Results

I've put a few illustrations in here as one of the things I've learnt since I started sewing more and blogging is just how highly visual I am. I rely on diagrams more than words in patterns and remember pictures better than text, so I think this will remind me of my favourite styles more quickly than just lists.

10's - 'I am happiest wearing this' went to:
Skirts - knee length, A-line, mid/natural waistline
Dresses - somewhat fitted, knee length, mid/natural waistline
Tops and blouses - somewhat fitted/somewhat loose, above hip length
Jackets and blazers - somewhat fitted/somewhat loose, above hip length
Cardigans - somewhat fitted/somewhat loose, above hip length
Outerwear - somewhat fitted/somewhat loose, tunic/above hip length
Necklines - V-neck, square, scoop
Sleeves - cap sleeve, full length sleeve

Home » Skirts & Pants » Navy A-line skirt
Advance 6245 Misses 1950s Blouses Semi Fitted Nofched Convertible ...


8's - Runners up
Mid-thigh length dresses (to wear over leggings/thick tights)
Boat necklines
Three-quarter length sleeves

look 3 breton top

5's - 'I am neutral about wearing this'
Gored skirts
All pants (trousers) - full-length 10, midi-length (below knee to mid-calf) 8
Very fitted cardigans
Cowl necklines

0's - 'I hate wearing this'
Mini skirts
Any trousers above the knee
Cropped jackets
Strapless, halter and off the shoulder styles
Spaghetti straps scored a 1

DONDUP Blue Denim Super Mini Skirtstrapless dress in pink | All Good Fashion

Some of the styles I couldn't score as I've never really tried them or haven't worn them for years:
Very full circle/dirndl skirt
Straight/very fitted pencil skirt
High waistline anything
Above elbow (as opposed to short) sleeve

Vogue 9268 50s Bias Circle SKIRT Wounded Bird Vintage Sewing Pattern ...Vintage 1950s Sewing Pattern Pencil Wiggle Skirt Fitted One Yard ...

My Conclusions

*Looks like I fall squarely into the 'classics' camp.
*I didn't know I like skirts so much. I NEED MORE SKIRTS! I scored a 10 for (certain) skirts, just a 5 for trousers.
*If I ever get bored there are a few styles I could experiment with that are still within my comfort zone.

As a result of all this I will be doing a pattern giveaway of styles that I won't wear soon so please keep an eye out. You never know, what I give away might be just what you're looking for!

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

Captcha - Apologies and Thank Yous

Oh no! Thanks to Jessica, who left a comment about a very co-incidental word (dressmakers, if you're interested!) she'd been asked to verify through Captcha, I discovered it was in operation on my blog! I honestly thought I'd removed it.

Big apologies - I've removed it now, and I owe everyone that's commented extra thanks. I know how irritating Captcha is and how hard some of the words are. Occasionally, I've even given up on leaving a comment on other people's blogs after the third attempt to guess an especially blurry word.

I'm now relying on Blogger's own spam filter and as a precaution have switched off anonymous comments. I'm sure this won't be a problem with any of you :). If I get a lot of spam I'll consider moving - maybe to Wordpress? We'll see what happens.

In the meantime THANK YOU so much for your patience and leaving comments despite having to jump this hideous hurdle. You're the best!

Happy sewing, 'till next time!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Boot Rescue

I mentioned briefly in my last post that my much loved thrifted boots had started to leak. Apparently it only takes a couple of days after boots start leaking before they disintigrate. As these were my daily dog walking boots I couldn't wait to find a replacement.

I found these:

Virtually no wear with tread and maker's name intact (they are Scholl with leather uppers, made in Italy). They had a number of features I was looking for - they are brown, they have a low wedge heel (these are for walking), they are just the right width at the top for tucking skinny jeans in, they are padded and comfortable inside and they weren't expensive (£7.50).

Downside - the tops of the boots inside were pretty worn. This seems at odds with the intact treads (these are definitely not replacement soles - they are as one with the heel unit and still have the branding stamped in).

Maybe they were stored and started to degrade or maybe this was just a cheap finish.

Anyway I decided that rather carry on looking I would try a repair. I found some shiny brown ribbon in my stash. I don't generally buy ribbon so it's probably from a chocolate box or a gift. I pinned it to the boots, making sure to overlap the ends so that the cauterised ends covered the cut ends to prevent fraying.

I then hand-sewed the ribbon down at the top and bottom using a short running stitch and a sturdy needle. The whole repair took 30 minutes. Then I polished the boots (not that they really needed it, but it's the finishing touch).

The photo doesn't do the boots justice. They are actually quite shiny and lovely in real life :)

New thrifted boots ready for action!

I know some people will find the idea of second-hand footwear disgusting. I can understand this viewpoint, obviously I bypass any pairs that look worn, dirty, squashed or moulded to the foot of their former owner, but there are plenty of new or very nearly new pairs out there waiting to be discovered. I am as happy with my 'new' boots as if I'd bought a new designer pair. What do you think? Is secondhand footwear something you would ever consider?

Happy sewing, 'til next time!