Lisa Comfort Magazine – The One Where Lisa Takes Over The World!

Lisa Comfort Magazine

Recently, an author said to me, ‘Why should I let a publisher sell my books and give me a few pence a copy, when I can publish, market and sell books myself for £1 a copy?’

She has a point. Has she been talking to Lisa Comfort?

Did any of us see this five, six, eight years ago? A sewing pattern designer who would go on to produce and sell her own ebooks and magazines? Along with Tokaree bags, vlogs, two stores, a baby and lord knows what else in the pipeline!

As the diner said in When Harry Met Sally, ‘I’ll have some of what she’s having.’

Lisa Comfort Magazine Inside Spread

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Sewing Secrets Are The Best Secrets

Have you seen the news about The Phantom Thread? Ooh, I can’t wait to see this film! I might enjoy watching it as much as I loved reading The Pink Suit. I do love to see sewing in my other cultural pursuits.

There’s a lovely detail from the film’s trailer, about the designer sewing secret messages into his dresses. This made me think of all those sewing patterns we come across with their rusty pins, scribbled notes, newspaper clippings and love letters. I live in hope of inheriting a pattern or sewing machine that hides a secret love letter.

hidden stitching

Hidden compartments, invisible stitches, the innards of a make that are covered up for ever with the final stitch … the world of sewing is rich with secrets.

Do you sew messages into your clothes or scribble on patterns? Do you have any stories to share from inside a couturiers or your own sewing room?

Sewing secrets are the best secrets!

old tape measure.jpg

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I Had To Google Parallelogram

How To Knit A Shawl

Look at that beautiful snaking curl of shawl!

My Bernina is serviced and ready to pick up! But how have I occupied myself whilst we’ve been apart?

I’ve been knitting. My Heaven And Space shawl definitely wins the award for most alien-like.

I knit this on the tube. As soon as the knitting emerges, I sense the intense prickle of scrutiny as any mathematicians or coders stare hard, trying to work out the formula for what I’m creating. I keep my eyes down!

Isn’t it a wonderful pattern? All or some of that 3D texture shall melt away when the piece is blocked. What shall be left are parallelograms of neatest, repeating delight.

Heaven And Space Shawl

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My Ancient Toyota Sewing Machine

The Button Box Lynn Knight

First things first, the winner of my The Button Box giveaway is Ciao Linda. Do read the 157 comments about buttons – there are some lovely stories there.

Whilst my Bernina is being serviced, I have done what I swore I’d never do – returned to the deepest, darkest crevices of my under stairs cupboard. The cursing was violent and imaginative. Ella hid under the bed.

So, say hi to the first sewing machine I owned as a sewing blogger – an ancient Toyota that I inherited from a little old lady via Freecycle.

Did you know…

  • The first Toyota sewing machine was built in 1946.
  • The founder of Toyota, Kiichiro Toyoda, wanted sewing machines that were both functional and beautiful.
  • They are known for their strong motors.
  • Mine is a Model 401A.

toshiba sewing machine

This is a very basic machine, compared to my Bernina. There’s no seam guide on the throat plate so I add a strip of masking tape to mark where the edge of my seam should line up for a 15mm seam allowance. I have to peel back this tape every time I want to change the bobbin.

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National Button Day Giveaway

Bernina Going To Be Serviced

Well, that’s my Bernina, off to be serviced. See you in a week, little fella.

A week.


Distractions, distractions, need distractions… How about a giveaway?

The Button Box Lynn Knight

Did you know that it’s National Button Day today? Yup, turns out that there’s a day for everything, even buttons. Which gives me a great opportunity to share this book with you guys.

Lynn Knight The Button Box

The Button Box is a lovely social history from Lynn Knight via the medium of buttons. No, really! It looks at different aspects of women’s lives down the decades, from domesticity to derring-do, war time uniforms to childhood teas. Each chapter is inspired by a button the author finds in her inherited button box. Gorgeous concept, isn’t it? And it’s a really gorgeous read.

Did you know:

  • The introduction of the zip democratised evening dresses. Why? You no longer needed the help of a servant to pull on your floor-length gown.
  • In the early 20th century, the number of bones you had in your corset became a status symbol. A lady might aspire to a 28-bone corset.
  • The linen button was the humblest button of all, worn by colliery and factory men and their wives. Why? It survived the mangle, unlike mother of pearl.

This book is also a social history of Chesterfield in Derbyshire, the author’s home town – and mine. Which means I can’t quite bear to give away my hardback copy of this book. But I’ll happily give away a paperback edition!

Leave a comment below by midnight GMT Saturday 18 November, and your name shall be thrown into the hat. As ever, this competition is open worldwide.

Happy Button Day!


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What Does A Sewing Blogger Do When She Can’t Sew Or Blog?

sewing machine and ipad

This is quite the dilemma. What does a sewing blogger do when her sewing machine isn’t working?

Those issues I had with my last make? Tiny stitches and fabric that doesn’t want to feed. I’m having the same issues with my current make. Which leads me to conclude that the issue is neither fabric nor needle based.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my Bernina sewing machine has never been serviced since I bought it … um, er, well, you see, the thing is – SEVEN YEARS AGO!

Anyone know a decent sewing machine repair person in North London?!

I could use my John Lewis sewing machine but it’s currently loaned to a friend…

JL Mini sewing machine

And my original Toshiba machine is stuck behind a pile of boxes in the under stairs cupboard.

To add to the dilemma, my Internet access is playing up. Without wifi or a sewing machine … DO I EVEN EXIST ANY MORE?

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Sewing A Jersey Breton Stripe Top

Tilly Buttons Agnes Top Red Stripe

I can’t claim that this Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top was the easiest make but I can claim to love it!

Why so tricky, Karen?

Well first, there were the one million pins needed for stripe matching.

pins in red stripes

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Top Five Tips For Sewing Meet Up Nerves

Over the years, I’ve been to a lot of sewing meet ups of all shapes and sizes…

Sewing Meet Up Five

Sewing Meet Up Three

Sewing Meet Up Two

Sewing Meet Up One

Whenever I meet someone new, they always tell me how nervous they are to join a bunch of sewing pals they’ve only previously known off the Internet.

I know, it is kind of odd when you say it like that. Except it’s not. It’s totally natural – or that’s quickly how it feels!

So for all the nervous newbies out there, I thought I’d share my Top Five Tips for tackling first-time sewing meet up anxiety.

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Winter Culottes

autumn colettes

Can you wear culottes in the winter? I think so. Pair wool and chiffon? Definitely!

This is my third pair of B6178 worn with my chiffon Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse. The culottes are a dream to wear, sewn from uber high quality men’s wool suiting bought from TMOS. The selvedge tells me the fabric was originally made for All Saints and I could definitely feel the quality. In fact, once I googled the suppliers – Fox Brothers – I felt a bit intimidated. What had I stumbled across? Maybe I shouldn’t sew with this beautiful fabric? Nah, crack on!

There is a minuscule violet and minuscule coral stripe running through the fabric. Delicious.

all saints wool

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Just Add Water

Water is water, isn’t it? Not when it comes to ironing – or should I say pressing.

Do you know the difference?

Ironing is when you use pressure and friction; when your iron glides across fabric. Pressing is when you use pressure alone; you hold your hot iron down on a section of fabric, lift the iron and place it on a new section of fabric. No gliding, which can stretch fabric or add shine.

I find the difference essential when adding fusible interfacing – you must press rather than iron, which just drags the interfacing out of place.

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