The best kind of day

Hello everyone.

Remember when I posted about the Festival of Quilts and Gillian Travis’s prize-winning Nordic Jumpers Quilt and said I would love to go on one of her courses but they were usually in term time?

Quilt show - jumpers quilt

Well I found one that wasn’t and had the very best kind of day in a beautiful quilt shop, The Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge with Gillian and a small group of other textile enthusiasts.

The course was called, ‘ Take a Simple Shape’,  and was based on the idea of, ‘counterchange’, using one or two simple shapes, cutting them out of fabric and swapping the cut pieces to create different combinations of colour.

We started with Gillian showing us some of her work which is amazing, I lost count of the number of times I said, ‘wow’. The shapes she uses are not complex but the use of colour and machine stitching and in some cases printing combines to give stunning effects. Go and look at her blog  for more of the stunning inspiration.

This is one of her recent pieces, beautiful trees with outline stitching and printing using a stencil over each tree.

Quilt course - Gilian's trees

Gillian was a really good tutor, she showed us all her original designs as well as the finished products and took us stage by stage through the design process. The nice thing was that she encouraged us to use images from all sorts of sources so you don’t have to be a great artist to do this

My inspiration was all my lovely flowery Liberty fabric, I wanted to make a wall hanging for the craft room.

Quilt course - flower inspiration

I started with drawing different types of flowers until I decided on the shape I liked best. I want to use some of my flower buttons to embellish the finished product so thought this shape would work well.

Quilt course - flower drawings

The next step is to trace the flower onto fusible web and put onto fabric then you cut it out carefully so that you have a shape and the border to use.

Quilt course - flowers on bondaweb

Quilt course - flowers cut out

The clever bit is putting it onto different background fabrics doing a little mix and match until you are happy and can fuse everything together. Apologies for the upside down picture above – have misplaced my camera 😦 so am back to phone with limited editing!

Quilt course - flowers on fabric

You then add your backing and wadding and zig zag between the squares before embellishing and binding.

Quilt course - flower hanging

Mine is at this stage at the moment, I have chosen the buttons but need to do some more machine stitching to secure the flowers and some hand stitching as well, have just taken delivery of the most gorgeous Cottage Garden hand dyed variegated thread from this site so will be using some of that.

Here I am stitching at the workshop – action shot by Elaine from the quilt shop.

Quilt course - me machining

These were two of the others that were made by people on my course, I love the beetroot one and the bauble one might just have to used as inspiration for one of my own, I do have a bit of Christmas fabric to choose from 😉

Quilt course - other quilts

Quilt course - beetroot hanging

Looking forward to using my new machine for finishing this project, it has made such a difference having a good machine to work with, I finished the toile of the wedding jacket in 2 and a half hours with no problems with tension or jamming, it was a really pleasurable experience.

We are off to Lincoln Bishop’s Palace this weekend to do our last show with our group, hopefully there will be lots of sunshine and happy visitors!

Hope that you have a lovely weekend as well, take care and thanks for visiting.

Made Up – blogging for good causes

Hello again, hope you are all well and happy. The sun is shining here after a hot day and an impressive thunderstorm last night so all in good is this little corner of the world.

We got all the planting done and then they were very well watered in by the storm 🙂

I have just dropped in to share with you an initiative by another one of my, ‘imaginary friends’, as my children called them, the lovely Karen of , ‘Did You Make That?’.

I really value blogs as a source of knowledge and ideas and reading them makes me happy as well. Karen has decided to use her very popular blog for a good cause, she is an editor and is raising money for the National Literacy Trust through her Made Up Initiative


As an adult education tutor for 10 years and now as a teacher trainer for 14 years working with trainees who are in the same field I have seen first hand the effects that poor literacy has.

It is not just about reading for pleasure, it is about not understanding rights and responsibilities, not being able to get a good, stable job, the risk of being exploited by employers, landlords , financial institutions etc because you haven’t got the skills to understand information.

Karen is asking people to pledge through her Just Giving Page  and to comment saying what they will make by Sept 10th. Everyone who does fulfil that pledge will be entered in a prize draw to win £300 of stitching loveliness – full details on the blog post above.

There is also a Facebook page  for updates on the campaign.

I have pledged to finish a Christmas ornament by the 10th Sept, just a small thing but this will be done alongside the making of the jacket. Karen has been so helpful to me with her advice that I was very happy to support the initiative.

I love the fact that blogs and social media can be used in such positive ways, every little helps and as Mother Teresa says ….

Mother-Teresa quote

I have been working on the wedding jacket, cutting out the toile from an old sheet

Karen is working on a toile for her Made Up pledge as well and suggested that you could mark the toile to make it easier to sew together so I have done that with my new fabric marking Zig Millenium pen, (bought on the advice of Jenny of Elefantz).

Just a sneak peek of the work so far, today’s job is to sew the toile together for the first fitting.

jacket cutting

jacket cutting 2

jacket cutting 3

It is all very exciting, I haven’t made anything from a proper pattern for a few years!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

The first of many

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.

In colour order

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.


Quilting inspiration

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.

‘There are worse things I could do……’

‘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.

Quilting wonders

Hello everyone, hope that you have had a nice weekend. We have had a wonderful trip to this year’s Festival of Quilts, Sharon, Helen, Emily and I from knitting group enjoyed a very lovely girl’s day out, it was their first trip to this show and my second.

The quilts, as always, were amazing and I took so many pictures I have split them into two posts.

I love traditional quilts and there were some exceptional examples on show. This was the first one that we saw when we went in and I love the unusual appliqued blocks.

This is, ‘Stonefields’, by Coriene de Has and Kay Bell.

Quilt show - Stonefields

Quilt show 3

Quilt show 4

It has given me some ideas for other things to do with hexis – love this hexi in a square in a square idea.

Quilt show 2

I also really liked this hexi quilt – called, ‘The Joy of Hex!’, by Penny Chattey. As well as some brilliant quilting there were three panels at the bottom explaining the technique.

Quilt show 10 Joy of Hex

Quilt show  Joy of Hex

Some fabulous examples of wholecloth quilting as well, this first one by Ximo Navarro from Spain, entitled, ‘This is not a Dream, this quilt is real’.

Quilt show wholecloth

Quilt show 6

And this from Sandy Chandler, ‘Juno’, this is just the centre of a double bed sized quilt, a beautiful piece which must have taken hours to do.

Quilt show Juno

My favourite quilt in the whole show was this one by Liz Jones, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’. I love the combination of the Elizabethan style design with modern fabrics and the machine applique is perfect.

Quilt show Liz Jones

Quilt show 23 tent

Quilt show 24

Quilt show 25

Quilt show 26

I have been looking at some of her other work, this is her Pinterest page where I found this earlier Tudor Rose quilt.

Liz Jones Tudor Rose quilt

The other thing I like about quilt shows is the range of work as well, there are quilts from all levels of skills including some lovely quilts by children, including school groups.

This one was really nice from the, ‘First Quilt Category’, ‘Everything she does is Magic’, by Lucy Currie. I really like the colours and the wonky Sudoku blog.

This looks like my level of quilting and is similar to the Stained Glass Window pattern  I used some years ago for my Christmas throw and cushions.

Quilt show first quilt

There were also some historic quilts from the Quilt Museum in York, a quilt pieced from printed handkerchiefs and a bible quotes quilt.

Quilt show historic quilts

Quilt show 8 bible block quilt

There was also some retail therapy of course 😉 I had been reading some statistics about visitors from the Festival web site and it said that the average age of visitors was 57, (so we brought that down a bit as our average age is in the early forties), and the average spend was £197!

I am pleased to say that we were very restrained despite all the temptations and it was nowhere near that much.We did go and say hello to Lisa and Justine from our local quilt shop Simply Solids, here they are with Helen.

Quilt show  Simply Solids

I will post pictures of my new stuff once I have stopped admiring it and stroking the large pile of Liberty scraps I now have 🙂

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Help is at hand

Hello everyone, hope that you have had a good week. As I mentioned in a recent post I am going to be doing some special garment making and thought I would share with you some of the very useful resources I have found recently for sewing clothes.

The internet if fab isn’t it, I really love the way that it supports face to face things as well and new businesses. One of my favourite blogs of recent months is Karen at Did You Make That ?

She has been so helpful to me in her discussion of all the things she makes and how she has learnt to alter patterns.

She mentioned Sew Over It a while ago in her blog and I went and had a look at their website and found some really helpful videos as well.

Lisa set up her business in Clapham teaching sewing and designing and selling patterns in 2011 and thanks to word of mouth and virtual contacts has been successful enough to open a second shop in Islington.

I wish that I lived nearer London as I would love to take a class. That is something to put into the diary for a little trip away some time. The Islington shop looks so inviting – isn’t it a beautiful colour and here is the lovely Lisa as well, (picture from Sew Over It website).

Sew Over It - shop

She designs some beautiful patterns – look at this gorgeous vintage tea dress, this would be perfect for my friends who do World War 2 re-enactment. You can buy the pattern from here.


I really love Lisa’s style of presenting, (much friendlier than my old sewing teacher!),  and think that visuals are so helpful for explaining techniques.

You can find the videos here as well.


By coincidence there was a lovely article on Lisa and her business in my Simply Sewing magazine  recently.

They have tutorials and templates available from their magazine site including a tutorial for this cute teapot pincushion. I might just have to make one of these.


I also found some really helpful stuff on the Simplicity patterns site. They have a classroom section and some great information about measuring to get a pattern to fit with helpful diagrams and record sheets – might help me with my sizing issues for women’s medieval kit!

Measurement diagram

Well I will finish now, time to get on with some non-sewing related stuff :-(. Take care, have a nice week and thanks for visiting.

Elegant Elefantz Embroidery

Things have quietened down a lot at work  which means that I am home earlier, have more chance to work from home and thus more time for sewing which all makes me very happy 🙂

We don’t get the same school holidays as school teachers do so I am still working all summer but at a nice relaxed pace with lots of weekends free now.

As I am still having a bit of pain in my wrist I am avoiding knitting and too much machine sewing so am embarking on a few embroidered pieces.

I recently found Jenny’s Elefantz blog and embroidery designs, cannot remember how but think it was a link from another blog and she designs the most wonderful things so I had to go and buy some patterns. Some of these will be stitched for me and some will be gifts.

Elefantz The Stitchin Machine stitchery

Elefantz Make Do Mend stitchery

This will be my first project which I am starting this afternoon and I have the perfect backing for it in my stash.

Elefantz A Stitch In Time stitchery

She is an amazingly talented and generous designer as she has loads of freebies on her site as well. She has done so many lovely free block of the month sets over the years and currently has a Vintage Kitchen series. Look at these beautiful designs.

Elefantz Stitchery

Elefantz Block4 The Vintage Kitchen

Not only are the designs really lovely but they use very simple stitches, most are backstitch or satin stitch but she makes the most gorgeous things with the embroidery. My embroidery skills are limited, I would love to learn more complex stitches but for now I don’t have to.

I love the fact that she combines stitching with applique and quilting and I was also very impressed with this design which combines my hexi love with beautiful roses.

Elefantz Ring o Rosey stitchery

She also posts pictures of what people make with her designs on her blog and that gives you loads of ideas for different colourways.Here is the link to her Craftsy store  if you are interested, they would make lovely Christmas presents for stitchers.

She also has a monthly Stitchery Club and I am seriously tempted to subscribe to that, even I don’t do all the designs now I could consider it part of my retirement fund!

Also it is nice to support fellow designers and craftspeople in their business endeavours, I love knowing the person behind the work, that is one of the lovely things about buying re-enactment goods it is very personal shopping.

I am also enjoying reading all about her life in Australia, I have decided to read all her posts from the start in 2009. I quite often do that with interesting blogs, to me it is like reading someone’s autobiography and I love seeing other places around the world.

I have been a long time follower of Katrina in New Zealand’s A Kiwi Stitching blog which is great for a mix of stitching ideas and photos of the beautiful places around her home and of Mary Kathryn’s,  Impie, Hattie and Bea blog and webshop, she lives in the Rocky Mountains and posts beautiful photos of her surroundings.

I have recently found another Colorado blog Tanya Quilts in Colorado  , she is a very creative and very prolific quilter who amazes me with her output.

Another new one for me is Anna Scott Embroidery, lots of beautiful goldwork here that she designs and sells patterns for and pictures of the Australian vineyard where she lives.

Here in the UK I love Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits  knitting designs and her garden and walk pictures, she is a really good photographer and of course the animals are amazingly cute.

I have the patterns for some of the latest to make when my hand is better, she now has mice and cats to knit as well as rabbits, elephants, foxes and monkeys!

I also really enjoy Helen from Hen House’s  vintage style quilts and collectibles and her trips out in the South of England, she loves the 1940s and often visits events and vintage fairs in costume which looks fantastic.

I really enjoy blogs that combine beautiful crafting with information about life in other places, a bit like having lots of pen pals around the world. Although I don’t comment on people’s posts very often I do love the sense of being in touch with fellow knitters, stitchers and quilters.

That is one of the best things about the internet, the sense of community that it gives.

As well as the opportunity to buy cute things of course 😉 , I may just have indulged a little bit in some charm buying recently, will let you see what I have been acquiring soon.

Right there appears to be sun in Yorkshire, (a minor miracle), and the washing machine has just finished so I will make the most of it and see if I can get some stuff outside. Not to tempt fate but it may be 20 degrees and dry today which is great for August round here!

Thanks as always for visiting and I hope that you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy visiting all the others.

A very special bit of sewing

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.