Dragonfly Fabrics Giveaway Winner

charlie caftan bodice

Just a bit of housekeeping this sleepy Sunday morning. The Random Number Generator picked the 72nd person (out of a massive 475 – thank you!) to sign up to my newsletter – and that’s Emma Martindale.

Emma wins 2.5 metres of Japanese cotton and a copy of the Charlie Caftan sewing pattern.

Thank you to Dragonfly Fabrics for their generosity. Below, their beautiful stand at the Handmade Fair. Isn’t that boiled wool to die for? 10% off on all orders!

I always really like it when there are samples on hangers (as opposed to mannequins) – it’s much easier to handle them and imagine how they’d look on me.

dragonfly fabrics

dragonfly fabrics samples

dragonfly fabrics jersey

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What To Expect From The Handmade Fair, Hampton Court

Kirstie Allsop Handmade Fair 2017

The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court opened today and I popped along. Here are my Top Five Things To Expect.

Handmade Fair Prosecco Tent

  1. To bump into friends. Even better, arrange to meet them at the prosecco tent.

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A Fabric Buyer’s Guide To Walthamstow Market

walthamstow market fabric stall

Feeling the fabric – when markets trump interwebs

I first wrote a guide to Walthamstow market years ago, and it felt time to update it.

charlie caftan did you make that

Did you know?

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Dragonfly Fabrics Giveaway – Sew This Dress

dragonfly fabrics japanese cotton

I’ve made another Charlie Caftan – and so could you!

Dragonfly Fabrics kindly provided me with this swoon-worthy Japanese cotton. You can see the full range here. It’s the perfect weight for a transitional caftan, just heavy enough and warm enough to carry a person into Autumn. If you raise the cut of the sleeves, this dress twins happily with a cardie. Wear a slip beneath and you can pull on tights or leggings, too.

Best of all? The fabric barely creases with wear.

charlie caftan bodice

For perfect pattern matching, baste together the bodice centre seam before sewing.

The knee-length caftan takes 2.5 metres of Japanese cotton. 2.5 metres that you could have for free! Not enough? Okay, we’ll throw in a copy of the Charlie Caftan pattern, too.

See? You could replicate this entire outfit. (Dog not included.)

To enter this giveaway for 2.5 metres of Japanese cotton and the Charlie Caftan pattern, all you need to do is sign up to the Did You Make That fortnightly newsletter here. The deadline to enter is midnight GMT Thursday 13 September.

charlie caftan did you make that

Happy Mondays, everyone!

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A Simple Guide To Tailoring A Coat

V1537 coat

We need to talk about the innards of this beast. How do you sew a coat or jacket and avoid failure?

Start with the details. This coat pattern has 76 – count ’em – steps.

Ignore the running order of the step-by-step instructions.

Read ahead.

Begin by sewing up the smaller details and putting them to one side for when they’re needed. (Below, sleeve tabs marked up for top stitching with a Pilot Frixion pen.)

This tactic really does speed up the sewing.

how to top stitch sleeve tabs

Once that’s done, move on to the guts. Oh, the guts. Crucial!

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The Cocktail Hour Sewalong – V1537

vogue 1537 did you make that

How long does it take to sew a coat from scratch? Three weeks. What’s the best fabric to use? Keep reading…

When it comes to sewalongs, The Cocktail Hour is a marathon not a sprint. In aid of The Eve Appeal, it features 26 bloggers, highlights 20 Vogue patterns and runs for a massive eight months. Phewee!

This is my contribution.

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How To Sew A Back Stay

attaching a back stay sewing

If sewing a coat or jacket, it’s a good idea to add a back stay. This:

  • Stops fabric from stretching out across the shoulders
  • Stabilizes the back of the coat
  • Increases the longevity of the make
  • Improves the line of your coat

Here is the back of my coat, with princess seams sewn. Fusible interfacing is attached to the shoulder and armhole area.

back of coat

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What To Sew For Afternoon Tea

afternoon tea collage

It’s afternoon tea week! I consider myself a bit of an expert as my sister and I love to track down a good afternoon tea. It’s the perfect occasion for dragging out your glad rags.

vintage handbag


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The Village Haberdashery & Hampstead Heath

Did You Make That At The Village Haberdashery

Yesterday was Ella’s 5th birthday – so what better way to celebrate than with a trip to see Annie at The Village Haberdashery, with Ella wearing her High Five Kerchief? Sounded like a good idea to me!

Make Day Amazing

This was my first visit to the new, larger store in West Hampstead. It’s amazing – and beautiful. Here is their oh-so-serene teaching and workshop space…

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Practising bound buttonholes

Bound buttonhole red cotton

I’m working on a project that requires four bound buttonholes.

Bound buttonholes seem scary because you slice your scissors through a pattern piece. If you mess up, you mess up – and you’d better have spare fabric to hand.

So, how do you make sure that doesn’t happen. Practice!

I always practise my bound buttonholes before starting on the project itself. Even if you count yourself familiar with this technique, it’s important because you…

  • Flex your memory muscle
  • Familiarise yourself with fabric quirks
  • Prep for those details you might overlook ie ensuring that the fabric grain on your welts matches the fabric grain of your pattern piece
  • Build your confidence. Hey, I can totally do this!

If you want a good step-by-step guide to bound buttonholes, you can buy my ebook here. It’s a bargain, and covers steps such as these…

thread tracing bound buttonholes

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