Be In It To Win It!

Since discovering my love of sewing last year and becoming part of the wonderful sewing community I have joined various sewing related sites on the internet.

Several of these sites run various competitions and it’s true what they say: ‘You have to be in it to win it’, that’s exactly what I did last week, not 1 but 2 wins in a matter of days, how luck am I😀

My first win was over on Facebook:

This site sets a challenge every week and to participate you simply add a photo of your make for the weeks theme, the winner is chosen at random at the end of the week. My prize was sponsored by

They are based in California but I contacted Mel through Facebook and she was so helpful, fabric selected (I went for 3m of a lovely mustard and white stripe double brush poly spandex), less than a week later it was here with me in the UK

So pleased with it and I will look forward to making a sunny springtime dress. Just the colour to remind me of sunny days when I am sat here on a particularly cold day in February

The day after my first win I couldn’t believe my luck when I won another prize over on Instagram Alice was running a competition to celebrate hitting 500 followers, you can find her at:

Also check out her wordpress blog:

This prize consisted of fabric and a pattern from

I am feeling very luck winning such great prizes and should be busy sewing for a while with my lovely fabric. I will look forward to showing you my makes.

Charity Shop Bargain

Who doesn’t love a bargain! We have several charity shops in our high street and I tend to have a browse once a week – usually looking for sewing patterns (the local hospice shop sell 3 patterns for £1). No patterns that caught my eye today but what I did find on the shelf at the back of the Oxfam shop was fabric😊.

Most where plain colours and what I think would be described as upholstery or crafting fabric. This particular one caught my eye:

At a bargain price if £2.49 for what looked to be about 1.5 metres (I need to start carrying a tape measure in my bag) I couldn’t resist. I knew straight away it would be an ideal fabric for the Delphine skirt from Tilly Walnes ‘Love at First Stitch’ book, I already have 4 of these skirts in my wardrobe.

Another bargain I recently pick up was a job lot of zips on eBay – advertised as a mixed bag of 65 zips for £14 (this included the postage), when they arrived I actually counted 86 zips, there is a great collection which are already proving useful, I have included a link to them (at the time of writing they are still available).

Because the fabric is quite scratchy I decided to add lining, again this was a remnant that had been lying around in my cupboard from a previous project. Once again Tilly to the rescue with some easy to follow instructions on lining a skirt:

The total cost of the skirt works out at about £3.65 so very pleased with my bargain finds.

Would love to hear from anyone else about your bargain makes😀

Feeling Sew Achieved

At the end of my last blog I really wasn’t sure if I would come to the end of this project with something that was wearable. After abandoning the instructions in the book and turning to the internet instead ( YouTube I couldn’t of done it without you) I am feeling pretty pleased with myself. My husband now has a wearable shirt which I think looks pretty good for a first attempt.

It certainly isn’t perfect but I have learnt from my mistakes and hope that I will do better the next time (yes there will be a next time despite the frustrations along the way). I think that this was quite a leap on from my previous makes so I am feeling pretty accomplished.

The book I used ‘The Gentleman’s Wardrobe’ is definitely not aimed at beginners, the instructions seem to assume you know what you are doing (I didn’t 🤔). It seems to be difficult to find easy to follow patterns for men, in fact mens patterns in general seem to be lacking (unless I’m looking in the wrong place), there is definitely a gap in the market that I hope someone will fill.

The fabric was very reasonably priced shirting material from Minerva Crafts, I didn’t want anything too pricey for the first attempt and it seems good quality and a nice pattern.

The buttons (from the same place) are lovely shiny with black and white stripes and I picked up the colour of the red stripe for the buttonholes and hem which adds to the overall look.

The best videos I found on YouTube where a set of 6 from The English Tailor, well worth checking out with each video giving clear details of each stage. I have put a link to the first video below:

This has definitely given me the confidence to try some more adventurous projects and I think my husband is excited at the prospect of getting a handmade personalized wardrobe.

The Burrito Roll!

A rainy Saturday in the Midlands has put paid to any idea of walking or cycling this morning so it is back to the sewing machine to start the very daunting task of making my husband a formal shirt. He did ask if it would be ready to wear on Wednesday when we go out for the evening – I think the look I gave him told him the answer to that one😀

I am using a pattern from ‘The Gentleman’s Wardrobe’ by Vanessa Mooncie. The pattern needs to be traced because all the pieces are printed onto 3 large sheets, various parts overlaying each other. This wasn’t a problem for me as tracing is my preferred method anyway.

I managed to get all the shirt pieces cut out during the week so it was straight down to sewing today.

First up was joining the yoke to the back, this was done by sandwiching the back panel between the 2 yoke pieces and sewing along the pinned edge. After this the front pieces need attaching to the top of the yoke at the shoulders. I really couldn’t get my head around the instructions in the book so it was over to YouTube where I found a really good video which showed a method called a burrito roll, this is one of those little sewing tips that are great to discover, I have put a link below:

My burrito roll ready for sewing. Once it is sewn across where I have pinned you simply pull the shirt pieces out at the neck and voila front and back pieces all sewn together with no seams showing.

The instructions for the buttonhole band, front facing and pocket where pretty straight forward and then it was onto the collar. I took it slowly and read the instructions through several times to make sure I got it right, so far so good but when I attached the collar to the back panel things didn’t quite work out. For some reason the collar stand is too long and overhangs at the front😣

So that’s it for today, I need to step away and come back to it another day. I am going to unpick the collar and try to figure it out. I am hoping that I can come back with part 2 of my blog with a success story but right now it is feet up with a glass of wine.

#sewing #gentlemanswardrobe #shirts

Scrap Fabric Purses

Since I started sewing last year I have acquired a large bag of fabric leftovers. I hate throwing things away and some of the fabric is so gorgeous it would be a crime to bin it. I have seen various ideas for using up remnants on the net and an excellent use of the smallest pieces is stuffing for cushions and pillows.

I have started turning my remnants into little coin purses that I can give out as gifts to friends and family throughout the year.

The fabric pieces I am using up are only about 5.5 inches square, I use 2 outer pieces, 2 for lining and then use spare wadding to pad them out a little. The frames I purchased from an Etsy store and they worked out less than £1.50 each.

Simply attach the padding to the 2 outer pieces and then sew the outer pieces together (right sides together) at the straight sides and the base and then sew across the boxed corners. Sew the lining fabric in the same way but leave a 2 inch gap at the base to turn.

Once this is done then put the outer purse section inside the lining section, again right sides together and sew along the curved top.

Turn the purse the right way round through the gap you left earlier, give it a good press and sew up the rest of the lining.

It is then time to attach the metal frame, I found this the hardest part, the first time I did this it was rather wonky but I found the best way round this was to line the centre of the frame up on the purse and sew from the centre out (this worked for me), the stitching inside is hidden inside the frame.

Tilly and the Buttons Coco

I have mentioned previously my love for the Tilly patterns and Coco is definitely a favourite. A quick look on Instagram and other social media sites tells me I’m not the only one who loves it; it appears to be a staple make of most sewests.

It’s a very versatile pattern having tunic and top options with choices of addings cuffs, collars and pockets, the variations are endless.

I have made both the tunic and top patterns with my favourite to date being the one pictured.

The fabric was purchased last year at the Sewing and Craft Fair in Birmingham from a company called Dots n Stripes, it is a lightweight jersey fabric with a plain navy reverse side which was ideal for adding a contrast to the cuffs and collar.

The only problem I had putting the top together was when it came to the cuffs, I got myself into a bit of a muddle when reading the instructions – maybe I was reading them wrong but after a break and a cuppa and thinking it through logically I managed to get them sorted.

Links to the fabric and pattern are shown below.


#sewcialists #sewing #coco