Ginghamalong Goes Live!

ginghamalong button iii

Squeeeee! The great gingham day has arrived. If you’ve spent the past month sewing up gingham, now is the time to share your work. Leave a comment on this post, linking to your social media share. If you don’t have a social media profile, you can email me a photo of your make to didyoumakethat[at]fastmail[dot]fm. I’ve already received quite a few emails and some awesome photographs.

These are the only two ways to enter the prize draw. None of us can rely on me rigorously trawling through various social media platforms, because I’m just not that rigorous.

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1960s Flapper Girl


This is a real meeting of decades. A 1920s flapper print and a vintage 1960s pattern. 1967, to be exact. Sometimes, you just have to sew as the spirit moves you.

The fabric is a silk/cotton mix from The Man Outside Sainsburys, bought for £5 a metre. It’s really lovely. A fellow customer and I gleefully compared notes on what we’d make with this fabric. ‘Dare I sew a dress?’ she asked. Absolutely!

I bought two metres. In the meantime, a friend had gifted me some vintage patterns. Then, I had one of those nights. You know the kind. Eyes ping open at 4am:

Angel: Just lie here. Even if you don’t go back to sleep, stay here. If you get up now you’ll mess your body clock up for the next 48 hours.

Devil: Or you could get up and sew…

Can you guess who won?

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Ginghamalong Prize Draw


With our deadline hoving into view (13 September, people – four days from now!) it’s time to announce what one lucky winner, drawn at random, shall receive.

The prizes, collectively worth over £100, are supplied by this blog’s generous sponsors, myself, and a couple of bookish people.

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The William Morris Colouring Book

William Morris Image

Clockwise from top left, my Ginger jeans, my Anna dress, my dog, and my Deep V Tunic.

Long-term readers of the blog will know that the William Morris Gallery pops up here on a regular basis. It’s a beautiful museum with free entry, in the gorgeous Lloyd Park. Perfect for inspiration, dog walks and blog photography. I really do urge a visit if you’re ever in Walthamstow. No more than a ten-minute walk from the market and surrounded by cafes and pubs.

So, when a blog reader got in touch to ask if I’d like a copy of The William Morris Colouring Book I snatched her hand off!

William Morris Colouring Book

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Ginghamalong – The Bettine Dress

Bettine Dress Collage Gingham

I have a sudden urge to hoist a nautical flag!

This is my third make for the #ginghamalong. (My first here and my second here.) With this make, I decided to test Tilly’s assertion that the Bettine dress is perfect for adapting to jersey. Guess what? She’s right!

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Deep V Tunic With An Accessory

deep v tunic diy couture

The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that my latest make comes with an unusual new accessory. Five stitches in me beak! The weekend saw a visit to A&E after I tried to squeeze a curtain rail into a wheelie bin. The curtain rail fought back. Moral of the lesson: don’t start squeezing curtain rails into wheelie bins at 8am on a Saturday morning. Understood? Good!

Moving on.

This is my second make of the Deep V Tunic from Rosie Martin’s No Patterns Needed: DIY Couture from Simple Shapes. I have worn my first version to death. It’s a perfect piece in what has become my summer uniform – shorts and a floaty top. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do when the weather turns too cold for shorts.

rosie martin deep v tunic

This version is made from an Italian floaty coral viscose bought from The Fabric Godmother. Yes, those are flamingos and no, this fabric is no longer available. You have to be quick off the blocks when you visit Josie’s shop! No hanging about. Fortunately, it looks as though Ditto Fabrics stocks something similair.

The fabric is a devil to work with, but once you’ve sewn your last stitch and the tunic slides over your head, you gasp at how awesome this viscose is to wear. So soft, so floaty, so cool. So worth it!

I added an interfaced hem band to this version, one of the variations in the book.

hem band

I really love this pattern! I particularly love the sleeve caps. Best of all? The colour matches my bruises.

sleeve band ii

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Harvesting Patterns


Lots of colour inspiration from the natural world right now. Which means it’s a good job someone’s gifted me some Sixties and Seventies patterns that would really suit autumnal. Planning, planning, who else is planning?

autumn vintage patterns

I’m intrigued by these pintucks…


And who can resist a spot of 1967 nautical chic?

style 2087

Do these inspire you? Would you modify any of the details for wearing today?

simplicity 3928

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Sewing A Roman Blind

roman blind

roman blind ii

roman blind iii

roman blind iv

This is my first completed project for the #ginghamalong. Huzzah!

Man, this roman blind nearly killed me. The sash window is a mammoth 130 cm wide and with a drop of 175 cm. That’s a heck of a lot of fabric to handle and I spent a lot of my time on my hands and knees on the parquet floor. Back breaking!

roman blind on floorroman blind on floor ii

The project involved many, many trips to the shops for various bits and pieces. I ran out of nylon cord, couldn’t track down a cord cleat, needed screw eyes, staples for my staple gun, a cut-to-measure rod and dowel… The list seemed to go on and on and I was for ever darting out of the door with my purse tucked into my armpit. So, here’s one of my biggest tips if you’re making a roman blind…

Don’t rely on chain DIY retailer centres. They won’t have what you need, or they’ll only sell them in packs of 100, you shan’t be able to find a helpful member of staff and if you do, they won’t know what you’re asking for. They certainly shan’t be able or willing to cut a single piece of wood to a specific length for you. You’ll find yourself listlessly wandering endless aisles, tears tracking down your cheeks, having lost all sense of time, place and self. ‘Who am I? I used to sew, I think. Used to be good. Can someone staple me to this trellis fencing, please? Just put me out of my misery. JUST. DO. IT!’

Instead, I silently thanked the gods that I lived near something as rare as hen’s teeth – a high street with independent traders. My local ironmongers saved me from suicide by trellis fencing! If you’re making a roman blind, find your local independent shop too.

This sounds like a lot of belly aching, and it was at the time. I hand sewed on 48 rings in order to ensure that the blind’s folds wouldn’t sag. (I wasn’t using rods in my folds.) I’ve since been informed of marvellous inventions such as this.

blind rings

blind rings ii

blind rings iii

I followed the Craftsy course on roman blinds (sadly, no longer available) and the teaching was excellent. So is the standard of roman blind. There’s not a single visible stitch from the right side of the blind. Even the dowel rod is hidden behind matching fabric.

dowel rod roman blind

This was a big old project and I’m glad it’s done. But yeah, I love my blinds. They add a great detail to my new office, which I spent four (five?) days redecorating from scratch. An important step, I felt, in the mental preparation for life’s next chapter. A room of one’s own, and all that.

I bet Virginia Woolf never had to climb a stepladder.

Office Instagram Image

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Ginghamalong Launch Giveaway Winners!

gingham bias tape

Okay, guys, the #ginghamalong has sure struck a chord. There’s a lot of people out there who love gingham and have been salivating over the Pinterest inspiration board. Are you one of them? Going to  join in the fun?

But first, our two launch winners…


Three metres of the Checkers gingham from The Village Haberdashery goes to Me And Two Makes Three, who has vowed to make a top for herself and an outfit for her 20-month-old daughter. My teeth already hurt from the sweetness!


Thimberlina wins two metres of gingham jersey from Girl Charlee UK. (To find out about more unique jerseys you can subscribe to their newsletter here.) I can’t wait to see what this fabric becomes!

To the winners, I’ll be in touch for postal addresses. To everyone else, good luck with your gingham goals. I’ve been working hard on one of mine and followers on Instagram will know how I feel about it so far…

Right. I’m off to organise the grand gingham prize to go with our reveals. Remember, 13 September is our deadline.

May the gingham force be strong in your lives and sewing!

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Ginghamalong + Giveaways

gingham and pins

gingham pyjamas

gingham neckerchief

gingham dress fabric

Ah, gingham. The stuff of school uniforms? NO! The stuff of dreams. Just check out my Pinterest Gingham Inspiration Board, if you don’t believe me. From that gorgeous Brigitte Bardot cinched in dress, to shorts, menswear, accessories … once you disappear down the gingham rabbit hole, it’s difficult to scramble back out.

Gingham is versatile as heck. It can represent rockabilly, mod, happy school days, 1950s domesticity, James Bond suave… Worn by Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Jackie Kennedy, and now you.

I’ve been planning a Ginghamalong for AGES. I’m hoping this sewing challenge will enable me to accomplish certain goals. Actually, I’m hoping I’ll accomplish more than one Gingham Goal. What about you? Is there something you can immediately see yourself making? (Gingham Ultimate Trousers with pom pom trim?)


  • Sew an item from gingham by the deadline of Tuesday 13 September – a month from now.
  • It can be anything at all, as long as it’s made from gingham.
  • Leave a comment and link to your item on the blog on Tuesday 13 September, for automatic entry to a prize draw.
  • If you don’t have a social media link to share with me, you can email details to didyoumakethat[at]fastmail[dot]fm

To inspire, here are a few fascinating gingham facts for you:

  • The checkered pattern was first produced in 18th-century Manchester mills.
  • Brigitte Bardot was married wearing a pink gingham dress.
  • There is no right or wrong side to gingham – sewing win!


It can be difficult to find decent gingham. There’s a lot of poly cotton out there. You deserve better than that, don’t you? Yes, Karen! So, here’s a little giveaway to launch the Ginghamalong.

Checkers by Cotton and Steel

Winner 1: Three metres of Checkers gingham, seen above, is generously on offer from The Village Haberdashery. Swoon! Which colour would you choose? I think I’m slightly in love with this mint.

Winner 2: Gingham doesn’t just have to be about cotton. I also have two metres of gingham jersey on offer to a second person from Girl Charlee UK. It comes in four different colourways – so difficult to decide!


  • Be confident that you can sew and share on social media a gingham item by 13 September.
  • Leave a comment below by Friday 19 August midnight GMT, explaining what you’d make with your gingham.
  • That’s it.

Got it? Good. Go Gingham!

ginghamalong button iii

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