Feeling peachy


I'm sure that I've mentioned this before, but just in case I haven't, a major part of my love of dressmaking is down to the fact that it gives me the chance to wear clothes that are slightly less than conventional. In this case, a dress covered in peaches. With ric-rac. And a big pink border at the hem. Perfectly normal attire for a forty-three year old, amirite? The starting point was this fabric by Melody Miller, from her Fruit Dots collection for Cotton and Steel. Bright pink peaches printed on unbleached cotton. Love it. I managed to snag a couple of metres in the sale at The Village Haberdashery, as well as some pink ric-rac and a chunk of solid pink cotton to match. I then [Read more...]

That’s better, or how to fix a crappy zip


Anyone who has watched the final of The Great British Sewing Bee will probably know that I had more than a little trouble with the (bloody) zip in the back of my (sodding) evening gown. That damn thing reduced me to a sweating mass of gibbering tearfulness, all of which was totally unnecessary had I just taken a step back and thought for a minute. But, you know, time pressure yada yada yada. Excitingly, all the clothes I made on the show were sent back to me last week, so I finally had a chance to redeem myself. Also, to use the pintuck shirt as a fire starter (but that's another story). Here is the back of the dress with the original zip. Pretty terrible, right? I didn't [Read more...]



Well, that was quite a ride. Having kept the result a secret for the last three months, it's a bit of a shift realising I can finally talk about it. So if you'll excuse me for a moment...     EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!     Ok, got that out of my system. Much better. There's so much to say that I don't really know where to start. The most important thing is to say an enormous 'thank you' for all the support and lovely messages I've had throughout the Bee. You lot have made this experience even more amazing than it already was, and believe me that's difficult. Also, a huge thank you to my family, without whom, etc etc. My lovely husband, the kids, [Read more...]



So the cat is officially out of the bag, and I can now finally spill the news that I've been sitting on for what seems like forever. The most exciting thing that has ever happened to me (sorry, kids - it's nothing personal, but this is serious stuff!) - I am a contestant in The Great British Sewing Bee 2016! Tune in to BBC2 on Mondays at 9 pm (starting 16 May) to watch the highs, lows and general hilarity of the sewing room. It should be a lot of fun!

Piping – you can do it!


I don’t know about you, but when I see a pattern that says “piping optional” I always think, “good, I’ll just leave it out”. Because what could be more of a hassle than making your own piping, right? But actually, making piping is really simple and well worth the time spent to add that perfect finishing touch. Piping is made of two components: piping cord and bias-cut strips of your accent fabric. The Super Tote calls for piping that is 1/2” finished, so I used 1/4” cord and 1 1/4” bias strips of linen to match the bag gusset. The extra 1/4” width of fabric is needed so that the piping finishes at 1/2” once it is wrapped around the cord. The first thing you need to do is identify the [Read more...]

Prettify your sewing machine! A sewing machine cover tutorial.


  My sewing machine came with a very uninspiring vinyl cover, which is practical but utterly depressing. This tutorial can be used to make a cover that either fits directly over your sewing machine or over the vinyl cover, whichever you prefer. You will need:   About 3/4 yard of outer fabric (I used yarn dyed Essex Linen in Flax) About 3/4 yard of lining fabric (I used Postage Due from Dowry) Batting or fusible fleece Two 6” (finished) patchwork blocks (I made a couple of churn dash blocks in Dowry/True Colors) 6” x w.o.f. for binding. To make the cover:   1. Measure your machine. You need to take three measurements: the circumference of the machine base; the height [Read more...]