Sew Yourself Happy

how to sew a seat pad

Are you one of those people who rescues furniture from the street? I am! Here is my ancient wooden chair, adopted years ago and given a slap of paint. Now, it’s the item I throw my PJs onto each morning when I climb in the shower.

I recently sewed a new seat pad for it, using my BRILLIANT HAPPY fabric bought ages ago from TMOS, along with some RIDICULOUSLY giant pom poms.

I’m not sure I’ve used enough capital letters in that sentence.

seat pad

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Winter Dressing Made Easy – Sew It!

Sew Over It Shift Dress

It’s cold, it’s grey, I don’t want to leave the house and when I need to look smart, I want my outfit made easy. If this rings true for you, sew the Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress.

  • It has sleeves – leave the cardie at home
  • The outfit pairs well with tights
  • You can dress it up with heels or down with sneakers
  • The jewel neckline keeps you warm
  • Because of the dress’s simplicity, it layers well
  • It packs small for weekends away

This has become my go-to dress for work trips abroad. (Here’s my faux leather version  and another crepe version here.) Sewn in the right fabric, you can shake the dress out of your carry on case – no iron required. Throw on a piece of statement jewellery, and you’re good to go.

how to accessorise a sewing project

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Getting My Sewing Machine Serviced

Bernina Going To Be Serviced

When my Bernina sewing machine started misbehaving, I decided to get it serviced. Here are my tips from that experience.


My first course of action was to do a Google search for sewing machine services in the London area. But I was casting my net wide and non too carefully. A lot of sewing businesses still have barely functioning websites. How could I possibly choose where to take my beloved machine?

So, I asked my blog readers for places and you came up trumps with suggestions.  Personal recommendations are so reassuring.


The three stand out recommendations in the London area were:

Sew Amazing in Mile End

Tony’s Sewing Centre in Tufnell Park

Chapman Sewing Machines in Camden


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Sew Hayley Jane Giveaway Winner

karen and ella in brighton

The winner is Olivia – congratulations! A box shall wing its way to you in January.

In the meantime, I have family coming to stay, beds to make, cakes to ice (anyone know where the heck in London a person can track down glycerine?!), a turkey to get out of the freezer … and a lot of thanks to give.

I was so busy speaking quickly in my vlog that I forgot to say a proper Happy Holidays to you. May we all stay warm, safe and happy over the next few days. And if you’re one of the people who feels isolated, excluded, afraid or grieving over this festive period, know that you’re not alone. You are never alone.

We’re all in this together! Isn’t that right, Ella?

christmas tree

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Christmas Vlog & Giveaway


Good news, guys! I’ve recorded my annual Christmas video message – these vlogs are legendary for their amateurishness, so lap it up.

This year we have two added extras – an unboxing AND a giveaway.

Please do watch and enjoy a) the too-loud music and b) the details of Sew Hayley Jane‘s monthly subscription box. It’s a goodie! I was VERY excited.


Would you like an early Christmas gift? A subscription box of your own? We have a giveaway!

Leave a comment below, telling me the name of the second Christmas tune that kicks in halfway through the video AND what would be your perfect 2.5 metres of fabric to find in a subscription box. Do that, and you’ll be automatically entered into a prize draw for the Sew Hayley Jane January box to go out in the New Year.

This giveaway is open internationally – my Christmas present to you. Entrants close on Thursday 21 December midnight GMT.


With thanks to Sew Hayley Jane for supplying the gift.

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V9275 – Sewing A Bomber Jacket

V9275 sewing pattern

This is the V9275 – a longline bomber jacket – made in beautiful designer wool bought from Fabric Godmother a gazillion years ago. The fabric sat in my stash for so long because I just couldn’t decide what to make. After all, that pattern is random and challenging.

I needed those squares to line up. I didn’t cut fabric out on the fold – I cut in single layers for accurate pattern matching. I think I made it work, though I can’t stop seeing a horse on my bottom!

I used the wrong side of the wool as I loved the fuzzy grey. The collar and cuffs were made from boiled wool and the coat was lined in quilted lining fabric from Stoff & Stil.

The pattern is pretty simple and straightforward. It would make a perfect first coat project.

I’d suggest you don’t use contrast lining fabric as there are no facings and the lining goes right up to the hem. You don’t want your quirky flash of colour to become distracting or draw attention to inaccuracies.

V9275 collar detail

V9275 cuff

how to sew a zip

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Let’s Play Spot The Mistake

Shawl Error

Who can tell me what’s wrong with this shawl?

Look closer…

error shawl ii

And closer…

error shawl iii

I don’t think the straight edge of a shawl is meant to suddenly curve round. The problem lies in the row where those neat little parallelograms suddenly split in half and change direction. Darn. I must have duplicated a row and started knitting back to front.



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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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