Category Archives: gifts

Snippets of fabric …

Jeepers, how did that happen? I seem to have turned 45 and lost a whole month of sewing/ blogging time all at once, very strange …

photo 2Ignoring my latest (and hard to get used to) age, let’s move straight on to presents. What’s that you see above? Yes, a beautiful pair of Merchant and Mills, made in Sheffield, superduper, sheeny, shiny, spectacular scissors (thank you Jimmy). Yes, they are red! Also, a beautiful Liberty (Made in England), vintage silk hanky from my exceptionally well trained, eagle-eyed, charity shop enthusiast/ daughter, Lily.

Indulge me and look at those scissors again, only this time with another ‘Lily gift’, a piece of striped cotton …

photo 3Sadly she didn’t pay 60p, that would have been amazing but heyho, she made her mother very happy! (Gordon Thoday was a fabric shop in Oxford in the 1970s, where HMV stands today, it must have been huge! Imagine a huge fabric shop in Oxford … sigh!)

I also got a bundle of V&A fat quarters from my lovely friend and work buddy, Lauren …

photo 4These will be used in a very important little project I have coming up (more on that another time).

Lovely gifts aside but with finds in mind, I also stumbled (I know, I nearly passed out I was so excited!) upon a vintage fair whilst reluctantly shopping one sunny Saturday in Milton Keynes …

photo copy 2Large pieces of upholstery fabric, along with some linen and brushed cotton, enough to bring me out in a sweat (it’s a hormone thing, it happens when I see newborn babies too … actually any sort of babies, I’m not fussy) and some fat quarters from a different stall selling all things French.

photo copyI also found this tin of Dorcas pins which took me back to the 1970s (nice close up of my brushed cotton too), how exciting is that?!

Enough consumerism for one post, I shall go forth, dust off my sewing machine (it’s been too long) and snip things with my new scissors.

Go on then, just one more look at them …

photoSnip. Snip x







Filed under finds, gifts

Sunshine, sandals and sewing …

Not a lot of sewing going on here, work, work, work and a mini (Guinness fuelled) trip to County Wicklow have sort of taken over lately. Let’s not mention the missed flight and tears in the airport toilets (I was knackered and a plonker), I got home in the end, that’s all that matters!

So, rather than disappear completely, I thought I’d show you what my lovely girl made me for my birthday (I know it was weeks ago but I like to drag these occasions out) and it is sewing related …


A sewing box covered with old patterns and filled with goodies (which are removed so that you can see the lovely insides) …


Let’s not focus on the fact that she tore up vintage patterns (not mine thankfully but ones left over from her art project) to make this brilliant box … She’s an artist (and a treasure)!

I can also reveal my birthday sandals which I LOVE …


You may well have a few pairs of these in your hallway? Your five year old lives in them and your eight year old won’t be seen dead in them unless they need to paddle? I know, I know, they are designed for kids, but I love these sandals! Toast sell them in adult sizes (hallelujah!) but mine were purchased from here. Sod the fact they look a bit sensible, I’m forty four now and so long as they are comfy and red, I don’t care!

Back to sewing, I am about to cut out another Airelle, a sleeveless version this time in a summery cotton. I am also edging closer to a Cambie (I have the ingredients, I just need to find the time it deserves) and I also have the new Colette Hawthorne (thanks to my lovely sister-in-law, hello Clare!) to look forward to, so I should be busy for a little while.

For now though, the sun is shining and I need to find a rockpool so I can test my super sandals! Have a lovely, sunny weekend x



Filed under gifts

Spring Sewing Swap …

Getting a parcel in the post is very exciting, especially if you know it’s going to be a sewing related one. If you know it’s going to be a sewing related one from Kathryn of Yes I Like That, then all the better! Low and behold, I came home last Friday to a lovely squidgy package oozing with sewing goodness.


I left it on the kitchen table (so restrained) while I did my hellos, checked the days exam situations, praised, soothed and hugged, supplied Jaffa cakes and drinks before settling down with a cup of tea and my parcel. What’s all this about? Did I mention Kerry’s Sewing Swap? Ooh, it’s great: You say “yes please Kerry, I’m in” and she pairs you up with another willing participant and basically you have a really thorough nose at their blog and make up a parcel of sewing goodies that you sincerely hope they will like.

I met Kathryn at the epic meet up in London where we had briefly spoken about her brogues … I greatly admired the way she stood at the edge of the room when the swap began with the seasoned others, while I tried hard to look nonchalant when actually I was chomping at the bit to get to the fabrics! She is absolutely lovely and has, amongst her great makes, a very thought provoking blog (but you probably know that already!). Look at what she gave me …

IMG_3040Look at these patterns (and gorgeous moth card)! A shirt dress with a pretty yoke and a sophisticated yet “very easy” (I like that bit) dress with a bateau neckline that will be great in the autumn. Then as if that’s not enough, a robe (or is it a dress?) with a hood. I can see myself in this on a summer evening with a G&T in the garden, very Margo Leadbetter (only without the poshness), I love it!

IMG_3042Fabrics galore, including some jersey polka dot! I love the blue and beige piece and that African wax print is gorgeous.


Ooh and that pink bit at the top, yes that’s for me too! Everything was wrapped in pretty ribbons and I thought I’d come to the end when I saw a polka dot paper bag hiding a gorgeous lace collar and a yoke insert that a certain young lady immediately held up and oohed over, so I think I know what I’ll be doing with that!

IMG_3041Thank you so much to Kathryn for a brilliant parcel and also thank you to Kerry for organising!

PS  It’s my birthday today, so parcels galore!


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No excuses …

Happy New Year! I have no excuses for my absence or lack of sewing, just a head full of silly stuff that has pushed all the lovely stuff into a tiny corner. I read in a magazine this week (yes, I have time to read magazines?!) that “a thought can only take up as much space in your head as you allow it to” (Pause Button Therapy by Martin and Marion Shirran, perhaps I should buy the book?). The idea being that by simply repeating this mantra stops your brain from allowing the thought to build up out of all proportion, magic!


Any old how, Christmas and the run up to it, as for everyone, was hectic. We went to Wales for the New Year which was heavenly. Beautiful landscapes, long walks in the fresh air and plenty of farm animals to entertain, all good for the sole.

As I have no projects on the go, I should show you what my mum made me for Christmas …


Two crochet flower corsages and two pairs of fingerless gloves (the photo does not do these justice) which are very useful when typing in the cold (Oh dear, I’ve just noticed the dog hairs on the teal gloves curtesy of the sheep dog where we stayed)!

I treated myself to two new books on a boxing day walk through town. The Works had Dottie Angel’s Granny Chic for £5.99 which was a pleasant surprise and the much blogged about Sew U Home Stretch also £5.99. I am now itching for a caravan with crochet blankets galore and a vintage curtained area for an overlocker so I can make a knitted fabric based capsule wardrobe!


I have also just purchased two new patterns (everything in twos), the Colette Jasmine blouse which I have needed for some time and the new Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt which looks like it may make my bottom look massive but I’m going to try it anyway!

I do have lots of things in mind to make which I will mention here just for my own reference. I must not forget the new Negroni shirt I have planned for Jimmy (a belated anniversary gift, he’s been so patient). The Ginger skirt that is now downloadable from Colette (as are Jasmine and Crepe, exciting!) and a dress which I’m hoping to recreate from memory using a mixture of patterns I already own (it could of course go horribly wrong). It was a vintage, velvet delight that I saw in Summertown just before Christmas. I stupidly told myself that I didn’t need it and even as I left the shop I knew I was making a mistake. The fact it didn’t have a price tag is why I hesitated, but I so regret not asking. Anyway, it’s gone now so I’ll never know! Perhaps I’ll recreate it, and my version won’t have the little hole in the sleeve or the musty smell …

As a final thought, I am working with an illustrator at the moment (in my day job) who is driving me mental with his fluffiness at not meeting deadlines, honestly you wouldn’t believe the excuses he comes out with in his emails  for not actually doing what he should be doing. It has occurred to me that maybe, just maybe I could possibly be his sewing equivalent? Oh Lordy! Just a thought, but I don’t like it …

I’ll be back x


Filed under gifts, ranting

All work, no play …

My head is spinning with work at the moment, work, teenagers and what to cook for dinner. I am home early today, but am I sewing? No mrs, I am not. I am too tired and all I can manage is to sit on the sofa with nothing more than a mug of tea and a vacant expression while my teens drink their milk and watch tv programmes designed for six year olds . We all feel the same I think.

I had a nice surprise this morning when a parcel arrived at the office addressed to me, look what was inside …

Buttons and buckles (yes more) from my mothers stash. The card reads “there’s more where these came from!”, exciting! A red buckle is just what I need to make a belt for my gingham number. Speaking of which, a new Simplicity 2444 is waiting in the wings of my sewing head. I just need to shove all the other stuff like work and assisting with UCAS forms out of the way to make room for a bit of me time first.

Maybe tomorrow I will get a wiggle on and at least pin the pattern to the fabric? I’ll let you know …


Filed under gifts

Birthdays and bugs …

I am in bed.

I have a funny bug that not only makes my throat hurt like hell and  makes getting up to visit the toilet feel like a treck to Timbuktu but also makes me look at sewing related web pages and spend money on sewing related products. It’s a nasty one.

I really shouldn’t be spending money, it was my birthday yesterday and I had lots of lovely gifts. Jimmy gave me a much hinted at and quite frankly desperately needed Lady Valet dress form, hooray! And the quite marvellous Colette Sewing Handbook which I have been wanting for an age and will keep me occupied for many moons. Eldest teen used her hard earned cash to buy me a lovely Cath Kidston bag filled with all a woman needs to re-ignite her forgotten love of illustration (it’s what I used to do), pens, pencils, sketch book etc, I was touched by her thoughtfulness and faith in my abilities. Youngest teen, a beautiful leather case for my iphone. As if that wasn’t enough, I also got vintage cups and saucers and chocolates galore, the Poliça album and some money too!

The photo above is completely unrelated to my birthday but is so lovely of Jimmy and eldest teen that I put it in because I’m in a soppy kind of mood!

In case you’re wondering, I bought myself two more Colette patterns (because I love them), some viscose to make ANOTHER sorbetto and there’s three metres of a rather fetching gingham (another Peony inspired by Handmade Jane) sitting in a basket waiting for me to hit the ‘Buy’ button too. I must finish this one first of course but … I’m excited! Cough, splutter, urgh, now I just need to get rid of this damn bug!


Filed under gifts