Secret Sewing 2018

Buenos Dias people.

It's that time of year again when all goes a bit quiet on the blog and 'secret sewing' occurs in the background!

That's right, me and a million other crafters who have left it well too late, are beavering away at Christmas presents, all made with love of course.


I'm fairly chuffed with myself this year as I've managed to come up with some quite unusual presents, that will also be useful (and not all sewn I might add!). I also don't make presents for people who don't really like that sort of thing, they aren't 'inflicted' upon anyone. No-one's getting pasta and glue pictures to put on their fridge and politely smile at. Us crafters can see that fear in your eyes. 

The pressies will of course be wrapped with this ribbon which is absolutely amazing - I picked this up in Tiger while I was looking for a turtle tree decoration (obviously). Perfect for all those handmade goodies this year! 

What a boring post this is then I can't show much really can I!?

Maybe this... for the dog lover who also enjoys a good nap.


In other news I also discovered the joys of Moon Thread - super cheap and really good quality thread for jazzy over-locking. There shall be many a multicolour finished edge in my future...
 In other news - I aim to make the full donation to Mind Charity at the end of the month for my mental health Sewing Saves Lives pin project, if you would like to grab a pin in time for crimbo just click here!

Lovely photo taken by SewPositivity - much better light than mine hehe!

So the next few weeks bring several Sundays of secret sewing, with some sparkles and glitter thrown in for good measure - you gotta have a festive bit of clothing somewhere right?!

Let me know what you've been making :) Feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too xx

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!

Thanks for reading - feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too :-) xx

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 :)

Thanks for reading - feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too :-) xx Etsy shop now open!

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!  

 Feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too :-) xx

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 :)



Feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too :-) xx

Amy Jumpsuit - Closet Case Patterns

"My jumpsuit brings all the torts to the yard....."  (That's how that song goes right?)


Well, Sammy and Clyde got extremely curious when I was taking pictures of today's creation and they came scooting on over to join in!

I didn't think I was a jumpsuit kind of person, especially RTW where there's actually no chance my top and bottom halves would be the same size. I also didn't think I'd be making any more warm weather gear this year either but here I am with Amy.

The Amy Jumpsuit by Closet Case Patterns seemed to come out of nowhere and initially I was not wholly sure due to it's romper style in the pictures. As more tester pics came out though, and the version with the belt materialized I became a bit obsessed with it, and to get that out of my system, made it.



This fabric is BEAUTIFUL black Tencel from Fabric Magpie.  Perfectly flowing but sturdy enough for an easy sew without it shifting around. Jet black soft natural fibers....yum. A perfect pairing for this pattern.

This was the Craig David of jumpsuits really - bought it from Heather on Monday, pdf printed on Tuesday, arrived and cut it on Wednesday, Thursday sewing it up and wore it on Friday.

Much thanks to Sarah of Print Your Pattern who got this out within minutes of ordering or so it seemed!


Size-wise the instructions said that there was no real need to grade between sizes due to how roomy this jumpsuit is. I spanned 10/12/14 so decided to grade between 10 and 12. It does fit but it's not as loose as others look and it is a tiny bit tight on top. I think next time I would go up a size to a 12/14. I do like however the slightly more fitted feel of this though as the back looks nice and smooth.

I love this jumpsuit but my only gripe is that the zip isn't long enough for me to get in and out of it comfortably. The side zip ends at the top of the pocket, which wasn't quite low enough to get it fully over my hips. (Have I done this wrong?!) I do have to do a rather spectacular wiggle to get in and out of this. It's a one cheek at a time situation. (I'll leave you with that wonderful image) Big booty issues. Not a huge problem but it does make me worry I'll break the zip if I'm out and about! Always travel with a safety pin?

It may also need a slight body lengthen for me however perhaps the larger size would have accommodated this and the zip entry issue, I'm not sure. I wonder also whether the zip could go up the back instead for extra length. I do not want to forgo the pockets as they are obviously a keeper-feature.


The pattern is of course beautifully executed as always, simple but beautiful. The bodice has a lining and the method of attaching this, by rolling the zip seams inwards, was a wonderful new technique to me. The top very much reminded me of the Ogden Cami however I do prefer this method of construction as there's less faffing about involved with the straps.

The shaping of the back is just beautiful and I would love to hack this into a dress version next year. The thick straps get a thumbs up aswell as you can still wear a bra. I reckon this would be good dressed up or down for daytime. What an all rounder!

Feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too :-) xx

Norwich Sewcials - September Super Sew Day!

Myself and Pippa (aka The Fabric Wrangler) are so pleased to announce that we are hosting a Super Sew Day on 8th September!

We created a little sewing community in Norwich in August 2016 after realizing there were absolutely no dressmaking groups, social groups of that sort in our area. And mostly because we decided we needed more friends that loved stroking fabric and chatting all things pattern related. Norwich Sewcials was born.

We now have a wonderful group of regulars and often have people drop in when they can for our monthly evening coffee meet-ups. We have been hosting Sew Days since that time, pretty low key, where we hire a hall and spend all day whipping up projects fueled by tea.

To mark our two year sew-aversary we did however brave up and decide to run a Super Sew Day to treat our lovely sewcialists! We have loved seeing all these meet-ups pop up over the country but alas we have missed out by dates or distance - so we created one for us out here in the sticks!

Super Sew Day will consist of a morning coffee, and attendees will be getting some absolutely AMAZING goody bags - and I mean AMAZING. We'll be having free sewing all day, breaking for a nice lunch and a massive pattern and fabric swap. Let the rummaging begin. We have accumulated an incredible amount of stuff over the 2 years so anything left over will be donated to charity.

In the afternoon we'll be providing an afternoon tea with cakes and drinks, and announce the winners of our Super Sew Day Raffle!

We cannot get over how kind the sewing community and businesses have been in helping us put this day together. A massive thank you to those who have donated goodies for the bags and for raffle prizes. A little shout out goes to the following businesses for their donations:


Fabric Magpie; Simple Sew; Girl Charlee Fabrics, Helen's Closet; Love Sewing Magazine; Minerva Crafts; Sewisfaction; Naked Wines; Empress Mills; Janome UK; Sew Me Sunshine; TiaKnight; Print Your Pattern; Fehr Trade; Pink Coat Club; Sew Over It and Closet Case Patterns

I cannot tell you how much restraint I have been showing in not sharing the entire contents of these bags and raffle with you. Not to spoil the surprise too much, but here's a little glimpse, seeing as I have already released these pics into the wild this week (oops). 


Fingers crossed this all goes well and people want to come- for two fairly socially awkward people this was quite an achievement to put together in the first place.

If you fancy a trip to Norwich, tickets are available now! x

Feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too :-) xx