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Hello everyone

Hope that you are all ok and not too battered by wind and rain. In Yorkshire we have been having very dark days and lots of colder weather, it is lovely to stay inside at this time of year and snuggle up with some stitching. I spent all of yesterday with my fleecy blanket and some hand embroidery in front of the TV which was brilliant.

I have been reading some very inspiring letters this week, written during the American Depression of the 1930s and contained in a beautiful book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt.

Farmers wife book

I had seen this book on various blogs and had been tempted by it for the beautiful hand piecing but told myself I didn’t need another quilt block book.

Then I read the info and realised that it was actually reproductions of letters from the Farmer’s Wife magazine of the era and since I love anything that ties history and crafting together got a copy.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 8

The letters were obviously published to try to inspire and support women living through that time of poverty and uncertainty and talk of the joys of a simple life, growing your own food, valuing time with family, (and putting that first above cleaning!) and the beauty of your surroundings.

I have really enjoyed reading them and plan to make a few of the blocks for a hanging in my craft room, I think they would look lovely out of the Liberty scraps I have.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 9

I also have some new fabric to show you, bought last week at Simply Solids. This I just had to add to my Christmas fabric stash because it is so cute, look at these reindeer! This is from the Festive Modern Christmas Collection by Makower.

Fabric Nov

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 2

This one below will look lovely with some of the bird embroidery designs from Jenny of Elefantz, I am doing well with my hanging for the craft room so will be back to ornament stitching next week.

I am intending to use this and the Makower snowflake one as surrounds for more pretty Noel birds. This fabric is called Evergreen Marshmallow Goodwill by Basic Grey.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 3

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 4

My lovely friend Helen also gifted me this – she thought it would well for the Steampunk costumes that we are making for later next year, I love all the whimsical things here. I don’t know where this fabric comes from though.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 5

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 6

I think all of this fits in very well with one of my favourite letters from the book a woman talking about how she was having a bad day and saw this quote from the bible, ‘Whatsoever things are lovely….think on these things.’

It is very soothing to have lovely fabric and lovely things to look forward to when it is cold and dark and I am very lucky to have lots of lovely things in my life, hope that you are too!

One very lovely thing is happening this week as we are having graduation.

There is always a great sense of achievement for my students and their families on this day and it is lovely to meet so many parents, children and partners who have supported my students along the way. Most of them are mature students and like the farmer’s wives in the book have so much to do as well as study.

The best bit for me is when the staff line up on the way out of the hall and clap them all as they leave, that always makes my day as they are not expecting that and is great to see the smiles on their faces as they pass us.

I do have a great job and am very thankful for it, despite the funding cuts and stresses of teaching it is a very lovely thing to do ;-)

Hope you are going to have a great week ahead with lovely things in it, see you soon and thanks for visiting.


Hello everyone, hope that you are all having a good week, back to normality this week which has been good fun though I do miss my craft room,especially when it is now looking so lovely and coordinated!

I have just finished making some more handmade gifts, the first one for me and also some for my lovely sister-in-law Amanda, it is ok as she doesn’t read my blog so won’t know what I have made her for Christmas ;-)

ELEFANTZ homemade stitched with heartstrings button

The stitching designs for all three pieces come from the lovely Jenny of Elefantz and can be found in her Craftsy shop.

The hexi flower stitch design is a freebie and I had just enough of the lovely Cath Kidston style fabric to make this gorgeous little needlecase.

Needlecase Jenny

I am very pleased as this was the first time I had ever done lazy daisy stitch.
Needlecase Jenny 2

The needlecase is lined with a white on white print and has a layer of wadding in between and felt for the needle storage.

Needlecase Jenny 3

I also used the decorative stitches on my new machine to quilt the back part.

Needlecase Jenny 4

Needlecase Jenny 5

For Amanda’s presents I used Jenny’s Stitchin Machine and Stitch in Time designs, I have already used the full Stitch in Time one for the paper piecing case for my Mum but just used part of it to make a cute little scissor pillow.

Needlecase Amanda

Needlecase Amanda 2

I have used some gorgeous variegated thread to stitch these as I thought it went really well with the fabric. It is called Cottage Garden Threads, this colour is 601 Tulip. They are an Australian brand and I got them from Quilted Hearts.

Needlecase Amanda 3

Needlecase Amanda 4

Needlecase Amanda 5

The lovely sewing notions print is one that I got from Simply Solids last year and made Amanda’s sewing case out of which I have put pictures of below.

I was lucky enough to find the last fat quarter of this print there last weekend so have some more of it for future gifts :-)

Xmas 2014 sewing case

Xmas 2014 sewing case 2

I really love these stitching designs from Jenny and am planning to do them again for me as a wall hanging for my craft room – they will look wonderful next to my new sewing machine themed wall rack!

Have a lovely rest of the week, see you all soon and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone, hope that you have had a good weekend, a lot of my time this week has been spent in my lovely craft room which makes me very happy ;-)

Even though I have been here over 3 years now it is still a work in progress adapting the layout, adding to the furniture and decorating so I thought that I would share with you some of the prettiest bits. I am enjoying not finishing it all at once as it is lovely to buy things bit by bit.

If you are anything like me you love seeing rooms in people’s houses on their blogs, especially their craft rooms. I am currently really loving Vanessa from V and Co’s blog, she has a beautiful home with lots of quilts displayed.

One day that will be me, at the moment it is just quilt blocks but I am building up a good selection of these.

I decided against a full design wall but went for some pinboards where I can store blocks. I need to get some more of these as now I am making better progress with the Block of the Month challenge am getting into double layers.

Craft Room Oct 7

I went to The Range  this summer with my daughter, that is just the most gorgeous shop for homewares and craft things and I could have spent a fortune, I did spend a small amount on practical things like more storage for pins and magazines and got some bunting as well.

Craft Room Oct 3

My lovely daughter also keeps me well supplied with pretties such as all of these cute jars with buttons that she buys me for Christmas and birthdays and this lovely crochet basket in the picture below that came filled with delicious fruit curd and now holds some of my pincushions.

Craft Room Oct 4

Craft Room Oct 5

This stand was originally supposed to be a cake stand and is now the one I use for craft fairs, when at home it is for displaying my collection of cross stitch exchange ornaments, the Autumn ones are out at the moment but can’t wait to get the Christmas ones displayed as well.

Craft Room Oct 6

To be honest can’t wait to decorate the whole house, been playing with Christmas fabric since July and really want to cover the whole house in it ;-) Is it still too early do you think? Maybe I can now Halloween is over just like the shops do lol.

Last month’s treat for the craft room was this beautiful flower clock from Wilkinsons , I had been looking at this for so long and it goes really well with my framed flower prints.

Craft Room Oct 2

This month’s treat was an unexpected purchase, I had been thinking about maybe getting a cotton reel holder for near my machine when I saw one on a friend’s post and a quick search later found this gorgeous one that had to come and live with me. I got it from Vintage Pink and they have some really lovely craft room things, might have to go back for more later!

Craft Room Oct

Also on my wish list is this newly discovered accessory rack from Quilt Direct I was actually looking for simple hangers for some quilted hangings I am making but wouldn’t that go so well with my cotton reel rack! Like it was meant to be.

sewing machine rack

Also rather in love with these button themed things here – go and have a look at the cute button print drawer handles!

Thank you internet for all the lovely online shopping opportunities that are out there, I do love you!

I also had a very good time at Simply Solids  yesterday making a lovely thread catcher and pincushion so will post some pictures and info about that project later in the week.

Hope you all have a very good crafty week ahead, half term is over so it is back to lots of teaching next week but hopefully the weekend will be here very soon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.


Hello there, hope that you are all well and happy and are doing something nice.

I am looking forward to a wonderful weekend of sewing, I have just finished up two more Christmas ornaments and have a present to finish later and then just may have a play with the latest addition to my retirement fund.

I saw three ladies at the Birmingham Festival of Quilts who had brilliant t-shirts on with the logo, ‘I have a retirement plan, I plan to quilt’. I always tell the kids that one of the reasons I buy fabric now is so that I will have enough when I am living on my pension, well it won’t go off will it?

I would not have bought this were it not for my friend Debbie who came to knitting with this lovely and incredibly cheap fabric from our local haberdashers, only £2.20 a metre, you just have to buy some at that price!

Xmas fabric oct 15

Xmas fabric oct 15 3

Xmas fabric oct 15 4

Xmas fabric oct 15 5

Then there was this that was a little bit more expensive, (so I only bought 1/4 metre lengths of this), the latest Makower print.

Xmas fabric oct 15 1

It is going to be the best sort of weekend as it is followed by half term, (yippee :-) :-) !) I am not off anywhere as I saw all the family last weekend but am working from home for most of it that so that means late starts and early finishes and lots of time for nice cooking and crafting.

I am very much in soup mode at the moment as I have had a horrible cough and cold and not felt like eating much else so have purchased the pumpkin for the annual soup!

Sadly it is raining which means that I won’t be going out, but more excuse to stay on the sofa, under the fleece and sew – what a lovely life.

Here are the Christmas ornaments that I finished yesterday, another one of Jenny of Elefantz’s wonderful designs, this is an adaptation of one of the designs in the Nov Stitchery Club set.

Elefantz Christmas Hearts stitchery

I altered the little flag to say Merry Christmas and am very pleased how neat the little letters have come out, Jenny’s designs are great for practising neat stitches. Just ignore those bits that aren’t so neat at the bottom of the bird ;-)

Xmas bird ornie 1

Xmas bird ornie 2

Xmas bird ornie 3

The little brass charm is from Stitch Direct.

I think these would look great in redwork stitching with that Makower snowflake fabric above so that might have to be my next set.

I have also treated myself to this book, it has been on my Amazon wishlist for a long time and once I have finished all the outstanding block of the month challenges, which I am hoping to do this week, I will be making a couple of runners for my house.

Xmas blocks book

Xmas blocks book 2

I have taken the decision not to do any craft fairs this year, what with making stuff for Sarah’s Yarndale stall and the wedding outfit and the possible trip to China with work that sadly did not happen, I felt that I would be too rushed so all my Christmas crafting this year will be for me!

I have already made most of the gift ornaments, that’s what you get for starting in July lol.

Have a very lovely weekend, thanks for visiting and see you all soon.

Hello everyone

Hope that you have all had a good week. It has been a busy one for me and very little crafting is being done at present, partly due to the start of term but also I am trying to rest my wrist as I still have a problem with tendonitis which is quite painful.

However I have lots of photos from trips out over the last few months, mostly involving lovely textiles so I thought we could look at some of those over the next few posts instead!

Sharon and I recently visited Cannon Hall House and Gardens. We used to go there a lot when the kids were little as they have an excellent farm but had never been in the house.

The reason for our visit was an exhibition of costume from the Downton Abbey TV series.

There were some really lovely pieces, starting with some of the very simple outfits worn by the cook and Lady Sybil in her role as an Army nurse.

Downton costume - Cook

Downton costume - Sybil

But then they got more elaborate. It was lovely to see them in the room settings with the all important afternoon tea laid for Lady Violet, I did love her character, she was so witty with her put downs!

Downton costumes

Downton costume - Lady Violet and Lady Sybil

The daughter’s costumes were beautiful, but they were all so tiny, they must have only been size 6 or 8.

Two of these ones in the drawing-room were made for the series.

Downton costume - young ladies and housemaid

This one was an original 1920’s dress and was worn by Lady Sybil in the series.

Downton costume - Sybil original

Though the below stairs costumes were very plain the housemaids who would be in the family rooms had some pretty detail on their aprons.

Downton costume- housemaid

And for serving dinner they had lovely black dresses and lace aprons.

Downton costume - evening maid

Though nowhere near the glamour of the dresses worn by Lady Sybil, Lady Edith and Lady Mary. I love these, ‘new fashion, looser more unstructured gowns.

Having worn corsets and very restraining dresses in my medieval roles I can really appreciate how the women must have felt to be able to wear this rather than the Edwardian costume of their parents and grandparents.

Downton costume - evening gowns

I always love seeing the laundries at old houses as well, when I was little my grandmother had a tub with a mangle, it did plus in so the water was heated by electric but I used to love using the mangle!

Downton costume - laundry

Sharon and I ended the day with visits to a couple of garden centres and of course some afternoon tea and cake!

I think I could easily live the life of a Downtown Abbey daughter, not that I don’t appreciate all that feminism has done for us but lots of time to read, embroider and take afternoon tea, I think I could cope with that ;-)

Meanwhile I shall content myself with organising Crafternoon Teas for my friends – we have another one coming up in a few weeks so chance to get the cake stand out again.

Hope that you have a nice weekend planned, take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone – welcome to another damp weekend in Yorkshire ;-)

This weekend I do have some outdoor activities planned, a little planting of the new things I bought while out with Sharon garden centre visiting yesterday and a walk with Ted, so am hoping for some bright spells to do those.

I wanted to share with you the first of my lovely Jenny of Elefantz stitchery patterns. I have just had my first monthly Stitchery Club PDF e-mailed to me and there are some gorgeous Christmas designs which I have started on as ornaments for family.

This earlier design is one of my absolute favourites and will be stitching it again in different colours to frame for my craft room as the sentiment is so good as well as the design being very pretty.

 Jenny of Elefantz stitches booklet

new sewing room - stitches booklet 2

new sewing room - stitches booklet 3

I am not sure where I got the tape measure charm from but the cute clock one is part of a set that Kerry gave me for my birthday.

The fabric came from the Barrington Patchwork shop that we found as part of our National Trust visiting holiday in early June, I knew it would come in handy for stitching related gifts!

new sewing room - stitches booklet 4

new sewing room - stitches booklet 5

new sewing room - stitches booklet 6

new sewing room - stitches booklet 7

I am intending it to be for carrying English Paper Piecing templates and this is going to be added to my Christmas gift pile.

new sewing room - stitches booklet 8

new sewing room - stitches booklet 9

It is a really easy and pleasurable design to stitch and am very pleased with my end result. The binding could be neater and I have attached it to the two sides differently but it is all about learning from experience!

I am also counting this as Project Number 1 on the Sewing Bucket List – a project for your sewing space, ok it’s not for me but I think it still counts!

I am very behind with projects due to the still poorly wrist, it is officially tendonitis and I have to rest as much as possible so will be extending the list into 2016.

This weekend’s crafting activities are to cut out and sew up the ,’toile’ for Amanda’s wedding jacket. On the advice of Karen from, ‘Did You Make That?‘, I am making a mock-up of the jacket from an old sheet to get the sizing right before cutting into the £30 a metre silk brocade!

Will give me a chance to play with my new machine which makes me very happy!

Hope that you have nice things planned as well. Thanks for visiting.

Hello, hope that you are all having a nice week, I have been busy stitching away at my hexi pincushions and needlebooks, in between some sorting out of the craft room.

One of the many quilting blogs that I like reading is called,  ‘In Color Order’ , run by Jeni Baker who regularly contributes to quilt magazines that I read.

I have long admired those quilters who have their stash organised by colour as mine was piled in a few boxes which meant getting everything out if I wanted to find something for a specific project.

Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom even has her scraps sorted by colour – go and have a look at this storage bucket tutorial for details of how to make the cutest scrap buckets!

Not any more! My lovely friend Sharon has been doing a bit of sorting in her own craft room, when we went round a couple of months ago to help her with a stash sort I admired these drawers and said if she ever wanted to get rid of them I would buy them off her, (she had two sets so still has some herself).

new sewing room - coloured boxes

They arrived on Monday and then something else arrived yesterday – more on that later – so I had a good sort out in the craft room yesterday and I am very happy with the result :-)

I also got the chance to declutter this area, this old shelving unit is very rickety and was just getting used as a dumping ground so things have been made much neater by its removal and it will now have a new home in the shed.

new sewing room old shelving
I can see exactly what I have got in the pinks, blues, turquoises etc. I had great fun sorting and found fabric I didn’t remember having!

new sewing room - pink fabric

new sewing room

new sewing room - blue fabric

I also got chance to put up some new pictures and pin boards for my quilt blocks, thanks to our block of the month challenge I now have four of those – more to come as I am still behind, (given that it is the eighth month of the year ha ha),  so will take some pictures of those once I have finished a few more.

This very cute little embroidery was in one of our local charity shops so had to come home with me for the vintage embroidery wall.

It was only 75p and the amount of work in it is amazing, look at the detail of the little mother mouse tucking up the children and the picture on the wall.

new sewing room -mouse embroidery 1

new sewing room -mouse embroidery 2

new sewing room - mouse embroidery detail

The other arrival for the craft room was very exciting – took a bit of getting out of the box!

new sewing room - machine in box

I have a new sewing machine, a very sooper dooper, 80 stitches brand new quilting machine with an extra-large additional plate for doing machine quilting, lots and lots of feet for quilting and automatic needle threading :-)

new sewing room - machine in room

I was not really planning to buy myself a new machine at this point though was getting very frustrated with my 5-year-old Janome which just kept losing tension and jamming all the time.

Had put it to one side for a service and got out the older spare machine but when using it this week for a small piece of finishing realised that the reason that I had retired it was because of the faint burning smell when you use it!

Was just doing a little browsing of new machines as you do and came across this little lovely, reduced and with free quilting accessories so treated myself to a very early Christmas present.

Well I do have the special sewing to do and it would be nice to spend more time actually sewing than sorting out a machine!

Looking forward to spending more time this weekend practising with all those lovely embroidery stitches. Hope that you have lots of nice things planned and thanks for visiting.


Hello again, today I wanted to share the rest of the pictures from the Festival of Quilts, these are mainly the modern and art quilts.

Unlike the traditional ones where the inspiration are blocks or wholecloth patterns that have been taken from lots of different published sources these really showcase the very wide and varied arts of quilting and the different inspirations that people use.

I love both types of quilting, I think traditional ones are my favourite just because I favour traditional things more but these examples below are stunning in their execution and really show some serious quilting skills as well as design skills.

This first quilt is called, ‘Marshwood Vale’, by Kate Dowty and was one of the most popular on display. A really unusual quilt with amazing quilted trees on top of the fabric landscape.

Quilt Show trees quilt

I think this one below was my personal favourite from the non-traditional quilts, this is , ‘Wish You Were Here’, by Tracy Aplin.

It still has some traditional elements like the hexi pieced centre and border but I love the quirky touches such as the appliqued sayings, (one of which is ‘it is Pimm’s o’clock?’ ), mini bunting and washing lines.

Quilt show 12

Quilt show 13

You can’t see in my picture but each corner is finished with a little caravan as well, a really unusual edging.

I have just found her Pinterest Boards and will be going back to them – so many pretty pictures and some of caravans! Especially this board her, ‘My Quilts’  , one – go and have a look at her, ‘Love of Liberty’ quilt – divine!

I love caravans, spent many very happy holidays in them as a child and am hoping to buy one myself when I retire and this quilt is a wonderful representation of that very British holiday!

Sharon has been on few quilting courses and one of her tutors is Gillian Travis who won second prize with this very unusual machine embroidered wool quilt called, ‘Jumpers’. This is beautifully executed and very original.

Quilt show - jumpers quilt

The lovely thing was that Gillian was wearing a shirt made from a print of a photo of the quilt as well. Here she is in that in this photo taken from the Facebook page of the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge where she regularly teaches. Really wish that I could go on one of her courses but they are usually in term time.

Jumpers quilt and Gillian Travis

I was also very impressed by the Tent Makers of Cairo exhibition – not modern in the designs or the beautiful applique that makes up each pattern but in the sense of it being good to see men quilting.

These wonderful quilts are based on the traditional embroidery done for the inners of tents and were really stunning.

Quilt show 18 tent

Quilt show 19 tent

Quilt show 20 tent

Quilt show tent quilts

There were a few men at the show – Luke Haynes was exhibiting and we spotted Kaffe Fasset wandering about but the festival stats page shows that 97% of the visitors are women.

Come on boys get quilting, this is an amazingly versatile and relaxing hobby and it would be great to see more men doing it and crafting in general. Far more interesting than football ;-)

My stitching is going well, just adding beads and doing the finishing touches and then can reveal all. Am sorely tempted to keep this one for me but will see, really need to build up the pile of Xmas pressies and though I have lots of WIPs have very little finished.

Of course if I spent less time blogging and reading blogs and Pinterest boards and going, ‘ooh how lovely’, I would get more done lol. My excuse is that my wrist is still a bit painful and needs rest.

Are you like me, lots of projects on the go? Trouble is I keep seeing new stuff I want to do and thinking I have far more time than I really do. Apparently it is only 19 more Fridays until Christmas!

Take care, keep busy and thanks for visiting.

‘Than buy a bit of fabric or two… ‘, apologies to the Grease songwriters for my shameless adaptation of their classic sung by Rizzo, (one of my favourite characters from a movie ever, I so wanted to be that cool!).

Anyway I did buy a little bit and some fantastic accessories for crafting and my spending this event really emphasised what I say to the children about supporting small businesses.

I know that they think that is an excuse but in truth a large amount of my crafting money each year goes to small businesses set up by women like me who are crafting and selling whatever they create or source so as far as I am concerned I am supporting the sisterhood!

The fact that I get lovely things in return is a bonus ;-)

One of my best purchases was this set of papers from the lovely Jesse of the Messy Jesse blog. I would not have found this stall but for my friend Helen who was very excited that she had found her.

Quilt Show papers

Helen reads her blog and had met her in person for the first time that day and introduced me to the joys of lots and lots of pre-cut papers for all sorts of English Paper Piecing.

Jesse has just set up this side of the business, Sew and Quilt , and it was a real delight to talk to her, about how this was all part of the maths topic of tessellation and technically to do with the angles at a point, while patchworking we are all actually applying rules about the interior angles of regular polygons don’t you know! As well as some irregular ones like apple cores and clamshells, two patterns I have wanted to try for ages.

Having taught Maths for a long time I am always trying to find ways of getting people interested in it and have used quilts as examples before.

The back of her show leaflet was this really useful cutting guide which will go up on my craft room notice board. Another practical application of Maths.

Quilt Show purchases  - cutting guide 2

I also bought some more Liberty from Alice Caroline. Much as I am enjoying piecing the blocks for the Block of the Month Challenge my real passion is English Paper Piecing so with this lovely rainbow and the extra papers from Jesse I can patchwork to my heart’s content!

Quilt Show Liberty

She also had these cute handbag mirrors so I can see a few matching make up bags being made as presents. Isn’t this the prettiest business card ever?

I find it so relaxing sitting watching TV and piecing, whereas using my machine always gets frustrating when the points don’t match. Will persevere as love the end results but will mix and match techniques.

I love reading magazines for inspiration and have just changed my subscription as I like to vary them every couple of years. With the new Fabrications Quilting one I got this set of threads for free – how shiny! I had this magazine a few years ago and like the inclusion of embroidery projects as well.

Quilt Show purchases  - Fabrications

And another new one, Today’s Quilter  , was giving away this tote bag as well as first 3 issues for £3 , this sums up my idea of a perfect weekend and I am seriously considering stitching this saying and framing it.

Quilt Show purchases

I also picked up a copy of Australian Homespun, I like this magazine and was especially loving this quilt design on the front cover, what a great idea for using my vintage embroideries.

Quilt Show purchases  - Homespun 2

There was a little bit of Christmas fabric that snuck its way in as well from the lovely Sue at Springwood House Designs. She has a new design called Fun with Leaves, beautiful hand-made leaves which would look great in wreaths.

Quilt Show purchases - Xmas fabric

Am still working on the scissors stitching from Jenny of Elefantz  – have enjoyed it so much that I have subscribed to her Stitchery Club, it has been a long time since I have done any stitching and just love her work.

Would have had that completed but spent 4 hours on one quilt block over this weekend. I am so slow at this and am in awe of people who can piece a quilt in a weekend.

I got such a nice e-mail from her as well about my subscription and again am very pleased to be able to support a small business. I am eagerly waiting the 17th when I get my patterns, there is Christmas stitchery in this month’s set so I will be able to do a little bit of Christmas in August :-)

Right sadly the day job is calling so I had better go now. I love these summer mornings, I have been awake since 6.30 having a few cups of tea and bogging and it is so nice to have more time and feel like doing things, sunshine makes such a difference.

Thanks for visiting and have a nice week.

Hello everyone, hope you are all ok, another dull and damp day here in Yorkshire but a great excuse to sit in and do some stitching – not that I really ever need an excuse!

I did take Ted the dog out for a walk yesterday, only 20 minutes as by then we were both soaked to the skin, lovely August weather.

I am about to start on a very special project, details of which I can’t reveal fully until it is done but will keep you updated of progress here and if you could channel your good wishes for its success that would be greatly appreciated.

Like most women of my generation I learnt to sew at school though I was not keen at all, mainly due to a very stern sewing mistress and an overemphasis on procedure rather than creativity.

I seem to remember an awful lot of tailors chalk and tacking and don’t think I actually ever finished my final garments, which were a striped brown and cream blouse and brown cord skirt.

I loved the cookery classes, that seemed to me to be much more creative and I went on to take both an O and A level in that subject.

I still love cooking and even living on my own for most of the year really enjoy experimenting with new recipes.

My grandmother sewed and made most of our clothes when we were children, my sister and I were mostly dressed in identical outfits, sorry no photo evidence available as I do remember some cute poncho and kilt sets and her making me hotpants at one point!

It would have been something similar to this – currently available at this link eBay vintage poncho if you fancy it.

Vintage poncho

I did lots of altering during my later teens and twenties, mainly dying and refurbishing of charity shop clothes being was a huge fan then, as I am now, of a bargain for a good cause.

I was very fond of buying plain black pumps, the sort you wear for PE in school, and sewing bows and beads on to them when I was a poor student, then you could have a lovely pair of customised footwear for £2.

However I didn’t really do much actual garment making until we started re-enactment, apart from the Christmas that I made whole wardrobe of outfits for Ellie’s Barbie doll :-)

I don’t still have that pattern, (do still have the knitting pattern book with the ski outfits for Barbie in), but they were something like this gorgeous collection of gowns available from here – Barbie pattern . And while searching I found this Pinterest board with lots of links for free Barbie doll clothes patterns.

Barbie patterns

Having the whole family to clothe for events and children growing quickly meant that I learnt to follow patterns again and think I have done an ok job at what I have made. Here are some of my completions from the last few years.

chaperon - front

chaperon - back


ellie - turquoise dress




Two of the outfits I am most impressed with myself for making are two of my ladies outfits complete with head dresses. I don’t wear these much any more but did enjoy making them.

black surcoat and torque


The fit is not brilliant in some cases but people are generally impressed that we make our own kit.

Lately I have mainly made men’s kit, shirts, hose and brais, they are so much easier than ladies’ outfits ;-) and have invented my own patterns for those by drawing round existing garments like t-shirts and trousers and altering them to suit period clothing. I am pleased with what I have done and the recipients are happy so feel confident with that type of sewing.

Then there was the challenge of the checkerboard surcoat this season, I was very happy with the result of that and so was Jamie.

Jamie's surcoat

This new challenge is to make a wedding outfit for my brother’s partner Amanda. They are getting married in October on his 50th birthday after 25 years together which is brilliant :-)

She has asked me to make her a jacket, part of the ceremony is outdoors so she will probably be wearing a cloak as well for that.

Final details are not decided but we are meeting up to do that this week and go fabric shopping next week. It will be something Victorian inspired in a nice silk or brocade.

I am a bit nervous but very pleased that she has asked me, she said she would rather have something made by me as I understand what it is she wants and likes the fact that it will be made with love, even if it may not be the most perfect garment in the world!

This will count as the fulfilment of number 9 on the Sewing Bucket List – a project from a printed pattern.

So far I have only done number 2 – something for him, (lots of those with all of the kit I have made), number 14 – something with applique or embroidery, I am counting all those linen and Liberty pincushions as the hexagons are appliqued to the linen and part completed number 4 – a quilt or blanket for charity which will be the final result of the Quilt Block of the month that I am so far behind on!

So will be doing regular progress reports for you on the outfit.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

November 2015
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