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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Lost Your Sewing Nerve?

A blog reader (thanks, Jen!) recently made a fantastic suggestion for a post – how to push through when you lose your sewing nerve.

A wobble can happen for all sorts of reasons:

  • You take a break and lose your mojo
  • With increased sewing experience, you know what can go wrong
  • You’ve hit a brick wall around technique and lose heart
  • Your sewing space becomes a mess and you’d rather shut the door on it all

Any of these ring bells? Oh yeah, we’ve all been there.

So, here are my top tips for addressing these four wobbles.

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Happy Autumnal Sewing

tilly and the buttons cleo dungarees in jumbo cord

Is there anything more delicious for autumn than a new Tilly And The Buttons Cleo dungaree dress sewn in jumbo cord?

Answer: Yes!

New woollen tights to match the top stitching.

mustard tights

Buttons bought on a long-ago trip to Hay on Wye:

buttons on dungaree dress

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Less Than The Sum

simple pleat dress maker atelier

This is The Pleat Detail Dress from Maker’s Atelier, and I can’t help feeling that I’ve sewn myself not quite the most flattering dress! Which is an awful shame, because the pattern is super-lovely, so is the linen and so is the ribbon trim I attached to the neckline. In fact, there’s a lot to love here. I mean, look at this neckline!

collar ribbon detail

I had a lot of fun pinning that ribbon in place. It’s a detail I shamelessly copied from the samples on Maker Atelier’s stand at The Great British Sewing Bee Live.

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Moving On

charlie caftan fabric godmother lawn

Oof. One of those days where the moment you step out of the front door your hair goes to hell. Damn you, humidity!

I’ve finally worked this dress out of my system. I think. This is my fifth Charlie Caftan, but I wanted you to see the gorgeous Chaffinch Bough lawn cotton bought from Fabric Godmother at The Handmade Fair. The fabric is beautiful, isn’t it?

It also has acute puncture memory from pins and needles (ie the puncture holes don’t disappear when pins are removed). Don’t leave pins in overnight and if you need to do any unpicking, crack on straight away.

Now, I’m ready to move on!

pleat detail dress makers atelier

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What Would You Wear To A Party In 1940?

vogue dress

1932 design from Madeleine Vionnet: “When a woman smiles, her dress should smile too.”

Wanna help me with some vintage fashion research? Go!

  • You’re a young British woman in the late 1930s/early 1940s.
  • At a party.
  • Wearing a lovely dress.
  • You’re from the type of family who would have sent their daughters to finishing school.
  • But war has broken out.
  • There ain’t no finishing school for you.
  • You’re joining the WRENS.
  • This is your last hurrah.


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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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