Hacci Blackwood and the #cosycardichallenge

I thought I'd join in with this years' #cosycardichallenge set by The Stitch Sisters
and Amanda of I Sew Alot which has been going on Instagram this autumn.

What other pattern was there than the good ol' Blackwood Cardigan by Helen's Closet. A solid favourite amongst many a sewcialist, this sews up like an absolute dream in a matter of hours.



I previously made a coral version and so had the pattern already cut to size and ready to go! Mine is a size Large to Extra-Large at the hips and fits wonderfully.

This one is made from some pretty funky 'Hacci sweater knit' from Girl Charlee UK which I bought in the sale and stashed for such a cardy making opportunity as this.

Hacci is apparently another name for a sweater knit, that has a more loopy weave and much lighter weight than what you may imagine a 'sweater' to be.


This Hacci went through the over-locker like magic and best of all, it doesn't crease or crinkle.

I'd say this cardi (cardy?) was 'fairly' cosy. So I'm not sure if it still counts as a cosy cardi for the challenge?! It's cosy if you're indoors and there's a bit of heating on. It is not cosy if you're walking about the moors in it.

Hiding those handover eyes...
 Girl Charlee has this fabric in a few different prints but I just love how this 'Indian blanket' inspired print forms its own hem borders and cuff lines. I'm quite tempted to pick up the same in the black and white colourway aswell!



If you haven't tried the Blackwood pattern, give it a go, no regrets!

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Roarsome Shirt Dress

Back this week, on a lighter note, a leopard print dress!

Trying not to look pissed off as it was FREEZING when pic was taken

This is part success, part disaster, but so is life.

Once again I used my self-drafted shirt dress pattern to create this feisty little number. Now, as it's autumn and cold - this was intended to have long sleeves an be a midi version.

On cutting out my pieces, I discovered I had nowhere near enough fabric for what I envisioned. Short sleeve and shorter skirt it would have to be.

Upon inserting the short sleeves, some weird bit of distorted physics occurred again and they were tiny. I couldn't even get my arms in the sleeves so sleeveless it is! Red satin bias was the only thing in the stash so on it went.



I had reservations about making this dress again after the last one, where the bust darts went a bit astray however I spent so much time drafting it I figured it needed to get some use. I checked the darts religiously, I got The Fabric Wrangler to check the darts I sewed the darts and checked them again. WHAT THE $%^ IS WRONG WITH THESE DARTS?!

AGAIN the bust point ended up somewhere around my ears. Not to worry, when the collar is open it distorts the fabric anyway and you can't really see. It's definitely back to the drawing board with the self-drafted block though - god knows why it only worked that once!



I actually quite like this dress though - it's comfy and on trend for the autumn. My other half is not a fan though - says I look like an extra from Eastenders or like every 3rd person he saw in town that day. He's got a point, leopard print is everywhere and on everyone.

My favourite bits are these buttons! I found the perfect accompaniment to leopard print in the form of these big cat paws on eBay. Oh I do love a whimsical button/garment theme.


I do have a question for you stylish types out there - what do you wear over dresses like this?! I tried this cardigan and its ok, but I seem to automatically reduce a good dress to a slightly grandma-esque frock with one swish of a cardy. What kind of cosy top goes with shirt dresses without making it frumpy? Any tips gratefully received!


Just a little reminder (hey, its my blog, I'm allowed) that if you want to support my chosen charity Mind and get yourself one of these funky pins grab one over at my Etsy shop :)

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Sewing Saves Lives

Strap in people – this is going to be a weird one.

::Dramatic pause of about 2 months whilst debating writing the next bit::



Fuck it, here we go.

About 18 months ago I was told I had psychotic depression. I hadn’t spoken about it with my close family or friends and only a small handful of people knew. (Until today I guess.) I think I was worried people would treat me differently. Like I was labelled with ‘approach with caution’. ‘Psychotic’ means dangerous crazy right? No.

Thank you to my friends that knew – you saved me. (Sis that's you too). Thank you to friends that did not – you saved me too. You just didn’t know that when you were talking, I was probably seeing insects on the table or fire behind you. And they were just the bearable bits.Weird huh. I'll not frighten you with the rest, no-one ever needs to see that. (Tarantino has nothing on me baby).

This is nothing new, we’ve all seen it - people’s online persona, and even what you see in reality, is not necessarily the whole picture. If you look at my blog for the last 3 years I look ‘fine’. I was not fine. Trust me. But sewing played a HUGE part in getting to be more ‘fine’ than I’ve ever been before. Sewing is indeed therapy. (Yay to the Norwich Sewcials crew and all you sewcialists out there).



I KNOW I’m not the only one, this is just my story out of a million others. I know crafts and sewing play a massively similar role for many of you out there. I’ve seen your inspiring stories. (Many thanks to Elle of Sew Positivity who after a chat also inspired me to ‘come out’ and go for this project 😊)

To raise a bit of a glass to sewing (and also kick off my new Etsy shop!) I wanted to bring out these lovely pin badges (who doesn’t want to up their pin game?!) in order to have some fun and also raise some funds for the folks who also save lives. 20% of all the sales will go directly to Mind – a charity assisting those with mental health difficulties.




You can grab one from my Etsy shop (which as if by magic, has appeared in the top right menu bar of my blog) or just send me an email/DM for a quick Paypal deal- it would be wonderful if you’d support my mini-campaign!

Please do share with all enamel pin lovers and sewists alike!! x



This is not a moan, cry for attention or whatever other bullshit like that. It's just an important message that if anyone is going through some dark times of their own, just know that you CAN come back. It ain't easy but you can, so hang in there my loves we have your hand.

So people, onward and upwards - enough with feeling bad about ourselves, enough with those who judge us and do not understand, enough trying to be perfect and enough with trying to please everyone around…..

I’m Emma. I’m a bit crazy (I have been tested) – and I am enough. And so are you.

Thanks for reading x - feel free to comment and come and say hello on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin too :-) xx

Union St. Tee really is the Bees Knees

Another reincarnation of the Union St. Tee by Hey June Handmade today. Nothing groundbreaking or new but a wonderful pattern that fits so well. If you're after basics this is an absolute win in my books.

This time I tried out a crew neck, long sleeve version - and found the fit once again to be just perfect for this basic (but not so basic, it has bees) tee.


The style is semi-fitted and I just love how flattering that is across the bust and stomach with a little drape but not baggy or hiding in a sack.

It's been a bee heavy year for me this year - we got LOADS of bees in the garden (yay) and bumble bees kept flying into our bedroom in summer from the neighbour's lavender tree. I got a couple of bumble bees added to my tattoos and for some reason bees just kept 'featuring' in life quite noticeably.

What better way to celebrate the bee than making my fave basic top with this BEEautiful fabric from Jelly Fabrics.  I may be repeating myself but Jelly Fabrics is another jersey supplier that I just can't get enough of right now. This is the softest cotton jersey, perfect t-shirt weight, with foil embossed bees. The quality is unBEElievable.





BEE happy people - enjoy the week xxx

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Last of the Summer Sewing - Part IV

Today I wanted to round off the summer months with what has become somewhat of a personal blog tradition with 'Last of the Summer Sewing'.

Me-made in Barcelona (the dress, not actual me. I think.)
This time it comes in the form of a self-drafted shirt dress, which, I'll be frank, went seriously awry.  None the less I just wanted to share it and give the fabric a royal shout out because it is like wearing MELTED BUTTER.


Blue yarn-dyed stripe viscose come to mama and stick on my body. Actually more to the point it did NOT stick on my body and that's why it makes the ultimate comfort wear for 30 degree Spanish heat. This gorgeously soft piece of deliciousness was from Fabric Magpie - a shop who is rapidly becoming one of my favourites and who has recently taken most of my salary.


I used the very same template I used for my polka-dot maxi but for some reason this turned out huge. Granted it's a loose fit and needs a belt but the bust darts were way off! I have no idea what I've done wrong but for a casual, cooling and wearable dress it's still a keeper.
 
 And let's just skip past the Harry Hill style collar and say no more about that shall we.

As you can see I only had 2m of fabric to work with so some stripe placement playing occurred and I really liked to effect. Does it have pockets? Is the Pope Catholic?


I very nearly omitted pockets (::gasp in horror and hides face::) due to having really used every last inch of the yarn-dyed viscose however I found some scraps and voila, the pockets were born. Mish-mash patterns but again, I don't mind and it seems to have charm!

The dress above was made for a late trip to Barcelona where we experienced  La Mercè - a festival celebrating the end of Summer. Interestingly it was really nice to put a full stop on the end of summer as the next week did then feel like the beginning of autumn was like opening a new chapter.  

Now bring on that knitwear!  

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Frantically Finishing Fiona - Closet Case Patterns strikes again!


Nothing like a self-imposed sewing deadline is there? (Why do we do this people.....WHY?!)


I cut this out weeks ago and had a bit of a sewing lull for a while. Then decided a few days before our Norwich Sewcials Super Sew Day that it would be a great thing to wear on the day.

It is of course - the Fiona Dress from Closet Case Patterns (yes I hear you all yawning - the next one will be a different pattern maker I assure you!)

The thing that drew me right in with this is the back - check that sexy navy t-shirt out. In my mind I was going to wear it with nothing underneath - it was the heatwave when I cut it out. Then I totally bottled it because I felt a bit exposed and whacked a tee underneath for the milder weather on the day.


Fitting situation: this was a dream!! Usually skirts do not fit me and I have to mess with them for an age to get the waist/hip/sway back just right. I cut the pattern as per directions. Grading between 10/12/14 and the result was fabulous. No messing needed.

I did however make the mistake of using my normal bust measurement - forgetting that going backless means no bra - which meant the top looked a little sad and baggy with nothing to fill it out - hence the t-shirt was not just weather related but it also made the dress fit way better on top.

In all fairness I think it will get way more wear with a t-shirt anyway - for the handful of days its hot enough to wear this and nothing else, was not worth the epic alterations it would have needed to change the fit.

The straps I found super tricky. Even yoga could not prepare me properly to pin the back straps in alone. I also decided not to sew the top facing bands down until the very last minute as the straps also needed a little adjustment for length and angle to get them to sit flatly on my back and shoulders. It was like the rubix cube of construction.

These pictures were taken at stupid o'clock in the morning and the fabric isn't very clear - but its a lovely blue and white stripe chambray from Higgs and Higgs. Soft and easy to wear but it had just the right amount of structure to hold the shape of the dress.


Let me tell you though, if you're not into button holes this is not for the faint hearted. 15 of them keep this beauty from falling off your body. 15.

Fortunately I am lucky enough that my machine does some pretty nice button holes and it made short work of them. I did rotate the top buttonhole however as I did not want to play chicken with the final hole and have it chew up by bodice band. There are a lot of layers in there and no doubt it would have got stuck in them.


Once again the instructions and construction method of this pattern were flawless and gave beautiful results inside and out. Although it took a while to materialize, I'd definitely recommend giving this pattern a go. Just don't forget your bra.

It got finished just in the nick of time and I had some lovely comments on it from people at the Super Sew Day (thank you :blush:) Thank you again to all the sponsors involved in the day, attendees and suppliers of tea for making it a great success :)



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