No Shopping Experiment made easy….

Wow – nothing like an international pandemic to help with this! I’ve basically not left the house (like most people) since the end of March. This has definitely helped with my no shopping experiment as online shopping seems somewhat pointless when I’m living in pyjamas… Not quite but I was at the beginning for sure. I think the mental health implications of this lockdown are huge. I really struggled in the first few weeks to get a routine and get any sort of organised. My kids have found it really hard to be away from their friends, particularly my son who can’t stand Zoom calls!

Anyway, it’s also had a big impact on my ability to get some sewing time – and my sewjo too! Like many people I’m not used to having my kids here 24/7 for so many weeks and finding any time to be able to sew has been a challenge. I decided I wanted to conquer trousers though, so I experimented with Moji (Collete/Seamwork’s) and Safiya (TATB). I didn’t have much luck with either of these, Moji needed a higher rise for me which I wasn’t able to execute effectively. Safiya was better – and has a great sew along on Tilly’s Insta page but still not great.

So I decided to hit the many sewing books I have and tried the Jumpsuit trouser hack from The Sewing Bee book Fashion With Fabric. Finally a pattern that worked for me! I did adjust the pattern slightly partly from the great advice given in Tilly’s tutorial on Safiya. I learnt about doing a FBA – no, not Full Bust – Fat Bum Adjustment!! Made all the difference!!

I’ve also made these in a jersey which is even more comfy – definitely secret pyjamas!

I’ve also done some other sewing and online classes but I’ll do another post on those! Kids are busy building dens so I’m sneaking of to the sewing machine…..


Adventures in ‘me made’

Oh dear oh dear… it’s going to be a long ‘no buy’ experiment I think!

Although I’ve made loads of clothes for my girls I have never really got the hang of making things for myself unless it’s in a class. I made a lovely dress with Claire-Louise Hardy aka The Thrifty Stitcher last autumn but trying to do it myself doesn’t go so well!

Here is my attempt at the Drape Top (free pattern with Simply Sewing) I’ve used a jersey knit Dashwood fabric that I’ve been wanting to try out. I actually started this before Christmas but never got a chance to finish it. The fabric is in the shop and I like knowing how my fabrics sew up. This top has a cowl neck at the front which is currently too baggy and will leave me very likely to flash my bra…

As you can see there are some definite fit issues! A lot of the things I try come up too big, I don’t know if I’m measuring wrong or use a too small seam allowance but something has gone awry!

It doesn’t look too bad from a distance but I’m going to have a go at taking some width off each side and see what happens!

Have any of you tried making the Drape Top? Would love to see how it sews up in different fabrics, or if you’ve done a pattern hack, am already thinking about adding some sleeves for this cooler weather.

Am not going to get a chance this week as it’s half term and me and the kids are off on a ‘visiting family’ tour so this one will have to wait a while longer….

No clothes shopping experiment

Ok, I feel I may regret this but I’m going to give it a whirl anyway! It’s an idea I’ve been mulling over for a while for a couple of reasons.

1 – I have too many RTW clothes that don’t quite fit right

2 – I have lost my sewing mojo somewhat and have a problem with never quite finishing projects properly

3 – I have waaaaay too much fabric languishing in my sewing room

Hopefully this experiment will provide the incentive to crack on with some sewing, using up fabric and will allow me to have more me made clothes so I can ditch the ready to wear stuff.

Plus it will be me made May before we know it and I may actually be able to participate this year!!

So, officially, my aim is to not buy ANY ready to wear stuff for as long as possible in 2020. Wish me luck!!

Out of curiosity, do any of you never buy ready to wear anymore? Is it possible?!?


Missing In Action..

Wow I’ve been gone from here for a long time! I’ve been on a little journey to try and convert the blog to being self hosted.. needless to say it didn’t go well with my non tech brain and I got totally confused and lost in the process! I seem to be able to resurrect this one again though, so for now that is what I’ll do!

I’ve still been sewing and crafting for the duration and still go to my weekly ‘Knit/Crochet night’ which keeps me sane! I’ve discovered more beautiful fabrics and have ventured into jersey knits and rayon for the first time. I’ll be listing those this week and possibly getting a spare 5 minutes to make something to test them out too!

My three kids are all in full time school now which theoretically means I have so much spare time. Somehow doesn’t seem to work that way though! Suddenly it’s 3:00 and I have to go collect them. Am volunteering in school a lot too which I’m thoroughly enjoying!

Anyway, enough rambling! I just wanted to pop in and say hi, will be writing about the new fabrics soon, possibly even this side of Christmas.. (optimistic!!)


Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top pattern review

I decided to do a little review of this pattern because I don’t often make things for myself so am still learning when it comes to making grown up clothing!

I bought the Sailor Top pattern from the wonderful Village Haberdashery in West Hampstead. They’ve just moved in to their beautiful new shop so I went to check it out! The pattern retails at £18 which is obviously quite a bit more than McCalls/Simplicity et al. However in my opinion it’s worth it if you’re going to make several versions of it. The information is great including advice on how to measure your body to figure out pattern size. I made the large for this first attempt because it’s a woven cotton with no stretch at all, so I didn’t want to risk it coming up way too small. 

I would say the fit is pretty great and accurate to the measurements given. 

This is what you get in your cute little folder: I love this style of instructions being in a booklet! I invariably lose bits of standard commercial patterns when instuctions are just printed on sheets of paper!

Also because if the way it is written it’s a doddle to follow, handy little diagrams and ‘hints and tips’ boxes make it very user friendly.

And so here it is finished!! I had to fit it in around nap times and school run but I reckon without interruptions I could do the whole thing in a couple of hours. 

Attaching the neck facing was a wee bit fiddly as you gather the neckline with basting stitches all the way round to fit the facing, but there’s plenty of help in the booklet. Other than that it was all pretty straight forward! 

Also I love the fact that you can type in #fancytigersailor to Instagram to get a load of inspiration for other makers! Fab! 

I’ve used this gorgeous Mori Girl fabric which I am seeking in my Etsy shop (link in bio) It’s by Dashwood Studio. 
I have already got the next version of this too ready to be cut out, this time I’m trying it in a jersey…… watch this space! 😍

All things Vintage

I am lucky enough to live in an area where we have several fabulous local Vintage Fairs and also the IACF Alexandra Palace Fair.  I absolutely love the thrill of finding something you’ve been on the look out for.  A totally different kind of retail therapy!

My two most recent jaunts have been to the IACF Antiques Fair at Alexandra Palace which is conveniently just down the road. I got there early and was lucky enough to find a lovely lady in the queue who had a ‘buy one get one free’ voucher on the entrance fee and was looking for someone to share it with. So I got in for the bargain price of £3! More cash for treasures!

I have a soft spot for beautiful Ally Pally as a venue, love the Palm Court entrance and am a regular visitor and supporter of the venue in general (this is where I also Ice Skate) It is also great because unlike a lot of the IACF venues it’s indoors! Necessity in this weather! It looks great filled with all the stalls too and I always deliberate over the best strategy to get round all the aisles! There is such a wide range available, from vintage posters, 1950s clothing and home ware, royal daily on figures, china, jewellery and so much more!

I always check out the vintage patterns, fabric and haberdashery

This time I bought this sweet selection of flower embroideries, I think they were from cigarette packets in the 50’s/60’s but am not sure. I’ve got a bit of a botanical theme going on at the mo so these were perfect! 


I also visited the North London Vintage Market which is a much smaller local fair held monthly in a local church hall.  It has a charming community feel to it with regular stall holders and the all important cake and tea served through the church hall hatch.  Lovely!

I was delighted to find a vintage Indian Quilt (at the back of the picture) and also these vintage pinking shears and an unusual coloured cotton hanky which I’m thinking would make a great cushion cover front! 

I love the ‘recycled’ element of vintage shopping and love the feel that vintage items bring into a home, much more interesting in terms of textures and colours. I feel like it brings a warmth and coziness in a way that brand new items don’t seem to do! 

That’s all for now, I’ll post the cushion cover upcycle when I get a chance to make it!! 



Adorable baby ‘bloomer’ shorts! Simplicity Pattern 1378 

How adorable are these! And who says shorts are just for summer! This little monkey loves to take her socks off, now the weathers is chillier tights are the perfect solution! And what better to go with them then these adorable little shorts. They were so easy to make and really quick too! They are part of a set really with a little sundress tunic but I love them on their own.
I’ve already made two pairs and will absolutely be making more! The pattern only goes up to age 2 I think so will have to find some bigger ones or figure out how to size these up. (any experts in pattern sizing please shout!!)

First pair (above) made in this cute white polka dot on green. It’s called Applebloom by Freespirit Designer Beads and I still have it available in my Etsy store. It’s 100% cotton and is a bargain at £4.10 per metre (I got a great price on it so I’m passing it on to you lovely folk!)  Also available in FQ or half metre.

This is basically all you cut out! Just two pieces… Easy as pie!

Next up is this gorgeous dusky pink ditsy print by Tilda fabrics. This is from the Autumn Tree range (called Ilse Lilac) and again I have plenty still available to buy. Its £15.99 per metre but you can also buy a FQ or half metre as always. These are the 12- 18 month size.

 I’ve just got some lovely needlecord which I might use for my next pair, but more autumnal! 

That’s all for now



Varigated yarn projects

I have recently got in to variegated yarn as I am not experienced enough at knitting to do actual Fairisle patterns but I like the look of it.  So it seemed like a good solution.  One of my Knitting Group buddies made a gorgeous pair of socks and they looked fab!

So, I started with a little hat, I am new to knitting in general and this was a very satisfying little make. Also a relief because I don’t like how the yarn looks when crocheted (and I have quite a few balls!)

Let just ignore the face that this little diva won’t actually wear it!!!!

Then I saw this pretty yarn by Hayfield on a trip to Hobbycraft so thought I’d give it a go! I got their pattern for the blankets and thought it would be good practice to do a whole blanket in stocking stitch, especially with the little border too. This was slightly more frustrating to knit up as the little ‘flowers’ don’t seem to match up perfectly, but looking at their own examples online and on the pattern it’s the same so maybe they’re not meant to! I like the overall effect nonetheless.

The colour way is very pretty and nice for a baby without being overly pink and girly! It’s a chunky weight yarn too so works up fairly fast and is brainless enough for me to take to my weekly knitting group ( no counting etc)

I think it has been a good intro to variegated yarns, hopefully I will have the confidence to try a pair of socks someday- maybe for next winter!

Quick dress upcycle project

I bought this dress in H &M in the summer and have never worn it, I liked the pattern on black background but it was too baggy and ‘swing dress’-y for my liking (ie made me look like I ate all the pies!!!)

I was going to shave a load off each side with my overlocker to try and resize it but despite lots of pinning and fitting couldn’t get it to look right as a dress. So I decided to turn it into a vest!!

I started by tracing round a vest I already own and like the shape and length of:

Then it got the chop!!

A few whizzes through the overlocker and  voila!! A new top that I will actually wear!!! 

Very quick and immensely satisfying! The best kind of sewing project! 

A happy end to a truly bizarre day… 



Ooooo Hello Block Craft!!

I first saw these gorgeous blocks and the prints they create at a Country Living Fair ages ago (like about 4 years ago) and had been meaning to try them ever since!  I finally got a set at the Knitting and Stitching show and I am in LOVE!  They are so easy to do and the colours are so vibrant its pretty impossible to go wrong!

I mean seriously – how stunning is this for a stall?  They are sold via The Arty Crafty Place who are a UK company based in Oxfordshire.


I started off with one of their starter kits which worked out at a very reasonable £30 for everything you need to get started, and then of course added in a few extra little blocks to play around with.  I had some tea towel blanks at home already from a little dabble in applique a while ago!

This is one end of a tea towel and the very first line of prints I tried.  It couldn’t be easier – this literally took me about 5 minutes.

They sell a lot of ‘blanks’ for you to practice on but the possibilities are endless – I am already eyeing up all my daughters plain t shirts!  I also think that you could make very pretty things from plain cotton fabric, calico or linen.

We have some wonderful friends that live in India, they are due to visit later in the summer and I can’t wait to show them and see what they think!

If you would like to have a go they website is here.   They sell everything you need online, including the starter kits and the blanks.

This is not a sponsored post and I am not affiliated with The Arty Crafty Place – I just genuinely love the blocks!!  If you give it a go or have any brilliant pieces you’ve printed I would love to see them!!