Tag: stash

The Fabric Tag

When #theseamstresstag did the rounds (you can see mine here), there was a phenomenal result from it – the tag did lots to bring seamstresses together and so when Renata and Lisa put together #thefabrictag, I just had to take part. Here are my answers – I would love it if you did this whether you are tagged at the end or not 🙂

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Any sewist knows that it is not possible to merely use one’s fabric stash for up and coming projects. With this in mind, I had to seek out the local haberdasheries on a recent trip to Wales. I live on the Isle of Wight where haberdasheries are very limited and so being let loose in City Road in Cardiff last week was a fabric haul waiting to happen. Here are the gems of my trip:

Banana Chambray £3.99 per metre

Banana Chambray £3.99 per metre

I bought this banana chambray fabric in Fabricland en route to Cardiff. I didn’t want to spend all of my cash in there, which would be so easily done, so just stuck to this novelty textile. It is really good quality for the price of £3.99 per metre. I bought myself two metres. Not sure what I will make, but possibly a gathered skirt for myself or shorts for him indoors.

Blue Screen Print £5 per metre

Blue Screen Print £5 per metre

The first stop on City Road in Cardiff was in Calico and Co where I bought these fabrics. I bought the blue print mainly because it was on offer of £5 per metre. I got two metres. This is screen printed I think, and its quite stiff (very structured) so will need a pre-wash first. I might make a jean skirt out of it.

Canvas Black Polka Dot £8.99 per metre

Canvas Black Polka Dot £8.99 per metre

I bought only one metre of the black polka dots because this was £8.99 a metre (not reduced). This is also very structured, so I might make a gathered skirt, or some shorts with it.

White Lace £3.99 per metre

White Lace £3.99 per metre

For the first time since I started to sew, I purchased some lace. I have a vague interest in making a bra or three and so I bought this for my stash. I think it was £3.99 a metre and I bought half a metre (which is more than enough for my needs).

Birds Cotton Lawn £8.99 per metre

Birds Cotton Lawn £8.99 per metre

Next stop was Butterfly Fabrics. To be honest, when I come across this shop it was a surprise and I wasnt planning on buying more fabric but thought, well I am here now. I picked up this quality cotton lawn which is so soft and drapey. It was £8.99 a metre so just got one metre. I might use it for a cami top or possibly to line something.

Lemon Gingham £2 per metre

Lemon Gingham £2 per metre

The final stop was John Lewis back in the town centre. John Lewis can be expensive so I only ever go in there to see what bargain’s they have. It was my lucky day! I picked up this gingham, which was reduced from £5 per metre to £2. I took the opportunity to pick up 4 metres of this so I could make either a SOI Betty Dress (like my wedding dress) or perhaps I will self-draft a dress similar to the By Hand London Charlie dress and SOI new release (I really cannot justify buying any more patterns at the moment). This is really good quality fabric.

Rose trim £2

Rose trim £2

While in John Lewis I also picked up some of this rose trim. Not fabric, I know but I think this will look fabulous with whichever fabric I match it with. It was reduced from £4 to £2, so couldnt resist.

Sheer Calico £2 per metre

Sheer Calico £2 per metre

John Lewis were doing me proud this day; I also picked up this lightweight sheer calico. This was reduced from £5 per metre down to £2. It was the end of the roll, I think I got 2.7 metres. This will be fab for draping my patterns.

Crochet hook and Yarn

Crochet hook and Yarn

I have recently given away a lot of my yarn (in fact, most of it). However, I was in Cardiff and wanted something to do in the evenings (I couldnt lug my sewing machine to Wales!) so I picked these up. The crochet hook is lovely to work with. I got three balls of wool for £2.95 each and the hook was £5.

Clear Elastic £3.95

Clear Elastic £3.95

Last but by no means least, I picked up some more clear elastic. This is the only shop I have ever seen this in so I always try to pick some up when I can. I used my last lot on my moneta dresses and it works so well as a gathering method, I must always have this in my stash. I am sure you can get it cheaper online and I must look into this. Really good stuff.

There is nothing like visiting a new town for stashables! I am going to try not to buy any patterns or fabric for the next month, but we will see! I have quite a few seamwork patterns to work through, and I have just received a pattern from Simplicity to take part in their Vintage sewalong. Look out for a favourites post coming in the near future.

What do you think of my buys? Have you bought any good fabric recently? If so, do share in the comments.


I havent posted much about what I have been making to date so with this in mind I thought I would introduce a new regular slot – Makes for this month. The first make is the Dahlia dress by Colette but I wont talk about this now because I will have a post all of its own coming out shortly. I’ve also been making a toile of the Aster blouse by Colette but I am waiting on my buttonhole function to be fixed to show this off. There are two patterns I do want to talk about though:


LS26_Pussy_Bow_Blouse_ENVELOPE_1The Pussy Bow Dress by Simple Sew

This was a freebie pattern with one of my sewing magazines, I cant remember which though! I’ve accumulated quite a few free patterns but have never used them so thought I would give this a try. I had some elephant crepe-de-chine from Fabricland (I think it was either 3.99 or 4.99 a metre) so I thought this would go well with this pattern. The pattern has patterns for a dress or a blouse and I went for the dress pattern.

I am used to PDFs so when I opened this pattern envelope I noticed immediately how thin the pattern paper was. I cut straight into it because I have two copies of this pattern (bought the same mag twice by accident!) and went for the largest size (20). I started cutting with scissors but soon changed to a rotary blade as it is so much more time efficient. The pattern paper did rip on one piece, but it was in the middle and not a big tear so it was okay.

Once cutting the pieces was completed it was time to move on to cutting the fabric. With wovens I always start with ripping across selvage to selvage at the top and bottom, this ensures that I can line up the fabric correctly and it gets cut on grain. It can seem like a waste if you lose quite a few inches of fabric but its not once you take into account that you wont need to recut pieces that warp! Because crepe-de-chine is quite slippery I ensured I pinned generously (also used pattern weights). I would not advise cutting with scissors with a slippery fabric, a rotary cutter and mat will be much more accurate.  I would not advise forgoing pins either, for the same reason.

Once I began sewing the garment sewed up nicely. Its a largely simple pattern: a front and a back with 6 darts and an invisable zipper. I made the garment with french seams which took longer, but worth it for the lovely finish.The neck finish was simple enough – I’d never made a pussy bow before so did not know what to expect but the instructions are straight-forward and I didn’t run into any problems. It did require some hand stitching at the back of the neck and I am reluctantly becoming more accepting of this. The invisable zipper was probably the biggest challenge of the dress – if you are not experienced in this I would practice first but this is one of the things that has come to me quite easily. I think the trick was that I started doing them almost as soon as I started to sew so now they are simple enough (especially with an invisable zipper foot – great investment). Buttonholes however are another matter but luckily this pattern didnt have any! The armholes were simple enough, mainly because you put them in before you sew up the side seam, so much easier than setting them in. Then it was just the hem to finish. I initially tried a special foot to do a thin hem but this messed up so I went the traditional route and folded twice.

This is a pattern that an advanced beginner could do – I say that due to the zip, otherwise it is very beginner friendly. Would I make it again? Yes for sure, though I might try the blouse next time, and you could probably omit the zip in that version.


Pussy Bow Dress
Pussy Bow Dress

This looks a little top heavy because I have pinned back the waist so you can see the shape



LOVE_AT_FIRST_STITCH_8Mimi Blouse by Tilly and the Buttons

The Mimi blouse is a pattern in the Tilly and the Buttons book Love at First Stitch. I bought this book when I first started sewing but I’d never gotten round to making the Mimi blouse. I was also trying to stop myself from purchasing more patterns when I dont need to( we wont count the three I bought while making this!!). I’d just bought some Cotton Lawn from Fabricland for 4.99 a metre that I wanted to use and it was perfect for this.

Firstly I had to trace off the patterns because I definitely did not want to cut into the patterns that came with the book. This was simple enough but the blouse had 8 pieces to trace so it did take quite a long time.

Once this was done it was time to cut the fabric out. Cotton lawn is light and floaty but perfectly managable. I torn the ends and lined it up and pinned really well. I have to say, cotton lawn might just be my new fabric fabric of all time. It cuts so easily! I also had to cut my interfacing out – I used the lightweight one to go with the cotton lawn and by the end I was struggling to have enough. I cut two pieces for the neck line instead of one on the fold and stitched it together – who will know?!!!

Firstly I had to stay stitch – Tilly is a big advocate of this and while it does add extra time to your makes it can stop your fabric from stretching out of shape so is worth doing. Its just a line of stiching along curves within the seam allowance. Next up I had to run a basting stitch across the back and front pieces. I hate gathers with a passion, its a lot of work to make them even. You should do three lines of stitching at 5.0 length but I am lazy and only ever do one. They advise against this but I have never had a problem. As it turned out attaching the yoke to the back and front pieces in this way was fine and it looked good.

Then I had to attach the side seams, which I did using a french seam. A french seam is where you sew wrong sides together first and then right sides together encasing all the raw edges. Its a lovely technique but i would only use it on light-weight fabrics – anything heavier I use the overlocker.

Once this was done I had to attach the collar – I did not read the instructions carefully and attached one side of the collar without making it up first. Cue the unpicker. Once I made the collar up and attached that, it was quite easy to attach the neckline facing. Rather than turning the hem under and stitching to finish the facing, I overlocked. This worked well except going around the curve – if you have any tips for doing this please share in the comments.

The sleeves were easy enough – first a pleat needed to be made; I couldnt really understand what Tilly was instructing so I did my own thing and it worked out fine. I’m not sure I gathered the sleeve correctly but the end result was acceptable. Attaching the sleeve facing was a breeze although I did have to do some dreaded hand basting to finish it.

Then it the turn of the hemming process. I learned a fab technique watching one of Gertie’s videos; you sew a line of stitching 1/8th away from the edge, then turn it under and sew another line on top of the first line. Once this is done trim away any excess and fold under again sewing a final line of stitching. This is by far the easiest way of hemming in my book.

The last thing to do is create buttonholes – eak!!! I havent done this yet because my 1-step function is not working and I  need to speak to my dealer but once I create these and sew buttonholes it will be finished.

Love at First Stitch is a book aimed at beginners, and it certainly has beginner patterns in it but the Mimi blouse isnt one of them. I feel this is an intermediate pattern because there are a lot of different techniques to be used and it takes some time to complete (even if you are not a beginner), so I wouldnt use this pattern as your first attempt at sewing. I will possibly make more but it depends on time constrains as this did take quite a while to make.


Mimi Blouse

Mimi blouse sans buttonholes!

Mimi Blouse

I have pinned the waist back so you can see the shape


I have decided to write a monthly sewing haul post as I do tend to enjoy my fabric and accessories shopping! In these posts you will find fabric bought, notions, books and anything else sewing related that finds its way into my basket.

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How gorgeous is this fabric – so gorgeous, in fact, I had to post two pictures of it! I bought an off-cut of this last month going cheap and when I went back to that same shop this month they were selling another off-cut. I’m going to make ‘im indoors a waistcoat with this. The lady in the shop said you could colour it with fabric markers but I would prefer to leave it as it is.


I have just purchased the Sew Over It Cami Top and was looking for some silky-type fabric. I saw this on Weaver Dee and I am sure it wasnt as bright on the website. It is very loud but I think coupled with black trousers and cardi, or even white, it might work out okay. If not then it’ll be a bedtime cami but we will see!


I bought this a while ago and its been sat in my stash. I got it cheap on eBay, its a sheer fabric, probably chiffon (scary face!). I’m not sure what to make with this? I thought perhaps a Tilly and the Buttons headscarf, from her book Love at First Stitch, but otherwise I am stumped. Do you have any ideas? Please let me know!


I got this a month or so ago on a trip to Fabricland in Portsmouth. Fabricland is such good pricing for the quality. You do have to be careful what you pick up (eeak polycotton!) but there are some real treasures there. This is a woven cotton and I bought it to make an Ultimate Pencil Skirt by Sew Over It. It’s fairly high on my to-do list (behind the cami and ultimate trousers).


I bought this locally in a Haberdashery here on the island. Its a lovely good quality viscose. I bought this with Tilly and the Buttons Martha in mind. I’m hoping to get around to this after the pencil skirt.




I’m currently teaching myself to draw croquis (fashion figures) so that I can draw my pattern designs and wanted to invest in tools of the trade. I didnt intend on picking these up yet but I saw them in a craft shop for half the price that they are in WHSmiths, so I had to snap them up. I love helping that craft store as they are always so lovely. They have the correct balance of friendliness and allowing you to do your own thing. These pens have a thick nib on one end and a thin one on the other, perfect for my needs!


I wanted a wrist pin cushion for when I am draping on the body form so I bought this from Weaver Dee. It isnt very comfortable and its quite snug but then I paid less than £2 for it so I cannot complain. I have another wrist pin cushion that I bought from Sainsbury’s but it doesnt have any protection underneath so the pins go through and I think its quite dangerous. I might make my own but if you have a good wrist pin cushion please let me know where you got it so I can order one of those.



I’m in the process of teaching myself pattern cutting/drafting/designing whatever you’d like to call it. I saw this book in Waterstones and picked it up. Its a really good overview of everything you need to know from chosing a pattern to make, through to making your own patterns. Because it is so comprehensive it doesnt go into a lot of detail with each thing but if you want a reference book you could get worse than this.



I’ve been looking for a good book on draping for a while and I have to admit this is an investment as it wasnt cheap. I havent used it yet but I have flicked through and it teaches you everything you could need to know about draping. I’m looking forward to getting started with this book, it’ll be exciting to see my own creations develop a life of their own.

Hobo Bag

It’s been a while since I have updated; I am not sure where the time has gone! I’ve been busy with a mixture of work, play and crafting. It is scary to think Christmas is upon us – the weather has definitely turned sour the last few weeks on the beautiful Isle of Wight. Still, bright side and all of that; more sewing time!

Recently I discovered Creativebug, a subscription online craft tutorials website and I am hooked. They have really good tutorials on there (this isnt an advert of any kind…) . At the moment I am obsessed with making bags and to my joy there are plenty of those tutorials on the site. Recently I have made a Flight bag (which I havent managed to photograph) and a Hobo bag (below). There are also lots of other tutorials on the site and each month you get to download and keep one forever.

The bag below was my first try, a toile of a kind using fabric from my stash. I love the pattern and have bought some new fabric to make another one in but I wanted to share this one with you.





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