Miriam Cardigan, Quince & Co

Miriam Cardigan Quince And Co

If you want a summer cardigan to throw over outfits, meet the Miriam cardigan from Quince & Co, designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge. A neutral colour can be your best friend. I learnt that last summer when I bought a white cotton cardigan and wore it to death. It went with everything.

So, I invested in some Chickadee 100% wool from Loop. I think this project took seven skeins. This is not a cheap make. I often feel conflicted about the financial feasibility of certain crafts, and the implications for who is attracted to and felt included in making. I don’t drop £9.50 on a skein of wool lightly. But when you’ve experienced quality wool, the genie is out of the bottle. It’s difficult to go back to anything else. This is gorgeous wool and I’m quite certain there are lots of very good reasons it costs what it does. Still. There’s my middle class angst for the day. Feel free to throw your rotten kale at me in disgust!

knitted sleeve miriam cardigan

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Help Me Understand Cosplay

Did You Make That Cosplay

I’m wearing a Hollyburn skirt. My companion is wearing…?

The first time I became aware of Cosplay was in 2014. I attended London Comi Con through my day job and stumbled upon … a whole other world of outfits. Outrageous outfits. Glorious outfits.

But I didn’t have a clue what was happening.

Since then, I’ve become aware that a lot of people sew their Cosplay outfits. Pattern companies have even begun producing Cosplay-specific patterns. Today, someone told me about her daughter:

She sews. Because, you know, she’s into Cosplay.

I nodded knowledgeably. But honestly, I’m still a bit in the dark. I’m fascinated, impressed and in awe. I’m also ignorant.

Can you help me understand Cosplay?

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The Humility Of Making


This summer, I’m determined to wrestle my garden into order. This means getting down on my hands and knees, shoving my hands deep into the dirt and stretching so far that my muscles ache.

I feel embarrassed. My body groans. I wipe a hand across my face and hope that the neighbours aren’t watching.

I feel humiliated. I also feel alive.

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5 Reasons To Sew A Shirt Dress

5 Reasons To Sew A Shirt Dress

1. Bite-Size Tasks

The construction of a shirt dress can be broken down into digestible chunks of work for tired brains at the end of the day – pockets, cuffs, plackets, waist ties, collars, button holes… If you want a 15-minute task, sew a shirt dress.

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M6885 – Flower Girl

Mccalls 6885 shirt dress

I’ve never considered myself to be much of a flower girl, but on a recent sewing blogger meet up there were a lot of summery chintz prints on display. The synapses in my brain kept firing. Ooh, pretty! Swoon! Love! Want.

I needed to make a cotton dress using a classic floral design. Pronto.

Fortunately, I had this poplin in my stash. It’s still in stock at Ray Stitch. (Did you see the article in The Observer interviewing the owner of this shop?)

M6885 details Did You Make That

The joy of the M6885 shirt dress is all in the details. A button band, waist ties, collar and collar stand. They make for nice, digestible chunks of sewing – perfect for tired or busy people. But there’s enough interest in the construction to keep you engaged.

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Shopping And Wine (Maybe Some Sewing)

Tokaree Bag Lisa Comfort

It’s the May Bank Holiday here in the UK, which puts me in a shopping and wine kind of mood! Here’s a run down of items I can vouch for, having selflessly put all of them to the test. Yes, even the wine.

The Tokaree Bag

Have you seen Lisa Comfort’s latest initiative? Phewee! When she’s not having first babies she’s setting the entrepreneurial world on light. As soon as I saw the Tokaree Bags I ordered one (a medium pink), picked it up from the sorting office, tore off the wrapping, carried it to Walthamstow Village and filled it with goodies. That’s how excited I was about this bag.

tokaree bag detail lisa comfort

It’s really bright, really sturdy and now lives by the kitchen door, brightening up the room and ready to grab when I dart to the shops. Mine is a medium and it’s large enough to carry groceries.

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The Difference Between Poplin Cotton And Lawn Cotton

poplin cotton left lawn cotton right

Left: Poplin Cotton, Right: Lawn Cotton

If you’re anything like me, you’ll often struggle to discern between poplin and lawn cotton. I believe people often buy poplin, believing it’s lawn cotton. But there are some distinct differences that can make all the difference to your dressmaking.

lawn cotton versus poplin cotton

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Sewing And The Brontes

bronte parsonage signpost

Did any of you watch the recent dramatisation of the Brontes, To Walk Invisible? It was greatly reviewed and I adored glimpsing the Yorkshire moors and those cobbled streets on my small screen. I grew up reading the Brontes, worked at the parsonage as a student and even once wrote a (sadly unpublished) time slip novel inspired by the sisters. So, you could say, I’m interested.

My recent trip to Haworth inspired me to contact The Bronte Parsonage with a request for a blog interview about the Brontes and their clothes. I was delighted when Ann, Principal curator at the museum, agreed to answer some of my questions. If you’re as fascinated as I am by the twin topics of the Brontes and sewing, read on!

Bronte dress

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What To Do With Fabric Scraps

dog kerchief gingham did you make that

Well, if you’re a dog owner – show some love. I used this tutorial and the iron on patch came from Stoff & Stil.

I think we can agree this is the cutest sewing I’ve ever done.

Nothing more you need to know. Go forth and sew kerchiefs!

dog kerchief gingham

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Gingham Yuki Dress

Yuki Dress Collar Black Silk Tessuti Fabrics

I’ve sewn a second Yuki! (Where does that name come from?) This time in gingham cotton for the shell and black silk for the drawstring collar. Goyjus! The drawstring was much easier to turn in this finer silk, and it makes for a really lovely detail. Top tip – don’t press your drawstring tie. You want a nice bouncy cylinder.

Yuki Dress Gingham Collage

Interesting to see the back collar details

Good gingham is like a good man – hard to find. There’s a lot of school uniform poly cotton out there. So I snapped this up from TMOS, especially at £3 a metre.

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