Trick or Treat?

I was very excited to start my Halloween Sewing as it was the first thing I made with my shiny new amazing sewing machine!

I had a new sewing machine for Christmas (Singer Simple) however I’ve been really disappointed with it, I had numerous problems and Argos wouldn’t have it back as my husband hadn’t kept the receipt! I ended up reverting back to my 20 year old Janome which was very clunky but surprisingly reliable.

I looked at lots of you tube reviews and had a few machines in mind, but knew if I was going to spend ‘that’ much money I needed to test them out first.

I planned to go to the NEC stitching show, but that was on holiday, then I planned to go to a shop on Sew Saturday, but I knew with two bored children in tow that wouldn’t work well either! Then one lunchtime at work I drove past a see it machine shop and decided to pop in and have a look (had to be a sign surely!).

The lady in the shop was so helpful! I tried out the Janome M200 QDC and the Brother F420. They were both amazing but it was the Brother I fell in love with and I ended up going back to the shop on my way home and buying one.

I was lucky that I bought it when the special offer was on with the free quilting kit. I love the extension table and I’m sure the walking foot is going to be ever so useful. I ended up buying a new sewing table from Ikea so I can fit my sewing machine and overlocker on.

The first thing I made to try it out was some Halloween Bunting, nice and simple straight lines!

Once I’d got use to the controls and the speed I was well away and I’d soon made a Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress with secret spiders.

I was very pleased with both the bunting and the dress for Halloween, the bunting looked fab and I wore my dress all day, including a trip to the market.

I think the Lilou dress is a fab pattern and I’ve now made three of them. I ended up lengthening the bodice by 2 inches and shortening the straps by 1 inch which has made the perfect fit for me.

Now time to start Christmas sewing I think!

Sew Photo Hop 2018 – Days 8 – 14

Here is part 2 of my Sew Photo Hop 2018 and covers days 8 to 14. Loving this challenge which @houseofpinheiro is hosting

8. Specially made for

In my last post I showed my Shift dress I was working on for my night out. Had a neckline issue which I could fix in time so I quickly made this skirt – see my full blog post for more about it!

9. Lightbulb moment

Moving into our house last year and finding this sewing machine in the garage kick started me into learning to sew! I’d had a sewing machine for a very long time but back when I had it is struggled with the basics and never really go anywhere. Then my lightbulb moment! You tube! It wasn’t around when I first had a sewing machine but now with all the opportunities to learn on line there were lots of way to learn!

10. Fresh of the sewing machine

The two “freshest” things I showed you on Friday, but I also have the dress that didn’t work out for Saturday!

This is the silk woven tee shift dress hack (from fashion with fabric) ….hacked again into a double layer dress. I was rushing and the neck got all rumpled (is that even a word?). I will fix it….but I think it’s going to have to sit there for a while.

11. Creative Process

I love a note book! Everything I make is planned out in this notebook first, it has fabric swatches, measurements and if it’s an online pattern like this bunting I briefly write what I need to do in case I can’t find it online again. I also write what I would change next time I make the pattern.
In the back of the book I make a note of any patterns I see that I would like and fabrics which I need to buy.

12. Tips and Techniques

Recently my adventures into sewing chiffon lead me to find this fantastic tip of pinning the chiffon to some tissue paper before cutting it out to stop it slipping. I left it on whilst sewing everything together then ripped it off at the end.

13. Game Changer

Definitely my overlocker! Love the finish it gives my clothes and I’ve even been brave enough to change the thread!

14. Wardrobe essential

I could easily have posted another Cleo dress here! But trying to be more diverse and have discussed this lovely quick sew. The fashion with Fabric Great British Sewing Bee book – Sleeveless Shell Top. The fabric was from Pound Fabrics. Really pleased with it, will be making more, next time I will maybe lengthen it but it was fine with the high waist jeans I wore it with.

Sew Photo Hop 2018 – Days 1-7

Im taking part in this year’s Sew Photo Hop hosted by @houseofpinheiro

Here are days 1-7

1. Hello

Im Anna, I’m 37 and I love in Staffordshire with my husband, two boys, retired racing greyhound Woody and Alan the hamster. I started sewing in January this year and am loving my sewing adventure.

2. Currently Sewing

Im currently making the Silk Woven tee shift dress hack from The fashion with Fabric great British Sewing Bee book.

3. All in one or separates

I tend to go for all in one as I’m drawn to pretty dresses. However after looking through other people’s answers to today’s prompt I can see the sense in making more separates so will be making a conscious effort to do this!

4. Signature Style

Struggled with this one but Instagram seems to indicate I like my Cleo dresses or denim skirt and leggings, all with a pair of converse! Not sure how accurate this is but it’s certainly been how I’ve spent my spring/summer.

5. Sewing Corner

I don’t have an official sewing space but I am slowly taking over a corner of our conservatory. Im hoping to get an Ikea peg board for the corner and ideally a little desk as it’s not that comfortable sat here with nowhere to put my legs!

6. Seasonal Favourite

We’re coming into Autumn now and I’ve got my Cord Cleo, thick black tights and a cardigan on! I have 2 more Cleos to make for AW18 so this is going to be my seasonal outfit I think!

7. Colour/Texture

This charity shop find covers both colour and texture, this is for one of the Cleos I plan to make.

So that’s the first week completed and I’ll be doing days 8-14 next week. Loving this challenge so far.

Fabric Shopping and Night out

Finally 8 months in to my sewing adventure I managed to go actual fabric shop, fabric shopping! Up until now I’ve bought pretty much everything online. After taking the boys to see Dippy the Dinosaur I managed to drag them along to Barry’s Fabrics in Birmingham.

I had heard a lot of people talk about it and was very excited. I went with a list though and had to stick to my budget! I could not believe my eyes when I saw inside

I bought some lining for a couple of dresses and I bought a lovely £2/metre fabric for an Autumn dress, but my main fabric was for a dress to wear on my work night out. I bought this lovely embroidered chiffon and some crepe de chine to line it with.

My initial plan was to make the “silk woven tee shift dress hack” from The fashion with fabric great British Sewing Bee book. However, I messed Up The lining on the neck and it would not sit right and I didnt have enough time to fix it.

Luckily I had enough fabric left over for a skirt, so I had to do a morning before the night out emergency make and went with the Lace Pencil Skirt pattern from the same book. It was a quick pattern and I whizzed through it while watching Back in time in the factory on my iPad

I was worried that the fabric would be a nightmare to work with but I overlocked the layers together and it all went together really easily even the zip

I needed a bag for my night out as well so I made another Necessary Clutch Wallet, this time with some pvc snakeskin! It was however a nightmare to sew and too thick for my machine, so I had to go without card pockets. I made a strap this time and it’s the perfect length having made it myself! Usually cross body bags are too short on me as I’m tall.

I’m really pleased with this skirt and it’s a super quick pattern to make! I wore it with a RTW silk cami and leather jacket.

I’m thinking of making a work version and some holiday ones next year as the pattern was so good.

August Makes

August a little bit cooler, two weeks annual leave plus a bank holiday! Sewing Heaven, I’ve been very productive

1. Woody’s new bed

2. Teeny Tiny keyring purses and key fob

This was a free crafts tutorial I found via Pinterest. I made a teeny purse for my keyring, perfect for when you don’t want to take a bag and then the black on was to clip on Woody’ s collar so he can carry his own doggy bags when we go for a walk! The key fob was very easy and used up another tiny scrap of my flamingo fabric which I love and can’t find where I got it from (would love to make a dress out of it!)

3. Kefalonia dress aka Butterick B5488

You can read all about this on my Great Big Pattern Swap post

4. Little Miss Sew n Sew Easy Peasy Grown up dress

Wasn’t too sure about this one to begin with but it’s grown on me as it’s so comfy! The photo didn’t want to show the flamingo seersucker in all its glory, but this is an accurate representation of what my eyes went through whilst sewing!

5. New look 6023

My second make for the Great Big Pattern Swap, read all about it in my post

6. Handbag and purse

My third make for the Great Big Pattern Swap made a little purse to match

7. Woody’s Huggle bone

Made from and stuffed with our old clothes, he loves to snuggle up to it!


8. Mice!

Made these mice for my friends new cat, I’m not very good with hand sewing so they are blind mice!

Looking forward to September and some Autumn sewing, I have a massive “to sew” list. Going to have to man up and change my overlocker thread to black as well.

Great Big Pattern Swap #3 -The Husband Bag (Butterick B4088)

There has been a fantastic swap/challenge happening on Instagram during July/August using the hashtag #greatbigpatternswap. The swap is hosted by Emma @thezipperfoot and Alice and the idea was to list any patterns you didn’t want so people could request them. Then when you receive you patterns you’ve got until 18th August to make them and there’s a chance to win some lovely prizes

This is my third and final entry and I am calling this The Husband Bag! This is because I made it out of a pair of my husband’s jeans and lined it with his shirt (he had put both in a bag to be got rid of, honestly, I did not raid his wardrobe).

The pattern is Butterick B4088 which I was gifted by @rosielee_cupoftea. I made view A but had to make it slightly smaller so used the lining pattern for the outer bag also.

This was a really fun pattern to make and was even quicker as I used the shirt and the pocket from the shirt as the lining

The pattern suggested a magnetic clasp to fasten but I used a zip as I prefer my bags zipped up.

It came together very quickly, my only delay was breaking 3 needles sewing the straps on so had to wait for some more to arrive in the post.

It felt a little bit plain when it was finished so I decided to try making some flowers to embellish it. For these I used my Kirsty Cuttlebug which sort of cut through but needed trimming with scissors. I cut 3 pieces of denim and one from the shirt for each flower and riveted them together.

I placed 3 together on the corner of the bag and painted the top ones with frey stop.

I love bags so am really excited to be able to make my own now, I am pleased with how this has turned out, but I would make the straps longer if I made another.

I decided to make a little purse as well to go with the bag as I know none of my purses would fit in the bag. It was very quick to make and I embellished it with a flower to match.

This is definitely my last entry to the challenge, I have one more pattern to make, which is The Ultimate trouser pattern, but I have no fabric suitable at the moment so will be looking out for some on my fabric shopping trip next week and will of course blog when completed even though it will be too late for the challenge.

Great Big Pattern Swap #2 – New Look K6023

There has been a fantastic swap/challenge happening on Instagram during July/August using the hashtag #greatbigpatternswap. The swap is hosted by Emma @thezipperfoot and Alice and the idea was to list any patterns you didn’t want so people could request them. Then when you receive you patterns you’ve got until 18th August to make them and there’s a chance to win some lovely prizes!

Here we have my second entry to The Great Big Pattern Swap, this one has tested my patience!

I have always liked this style of shift dress and have a ready to wear Long tall Sally one very similar which I have recently started wearing for work and love. I was sent this pattern by @jennylovestosew and knew straight away I’d make a work dress but in my head I had a wool type fabric in mind. However due to time ticking by for the challenge I decided to make a wearable toile from some navy patterned cotton fabric I had 5 metres of from the charity shop (which I got for a bargain £3!).

I made view D but decided to line the bodice therefore did not go for the neck facing as thought it would be too much. Everything went together like a dream and the bodice didn’t need much alteration just took it in ever so slightly at the shoulders and I added my standard two inches to the skirt length.

I was very pleased with the lining and I love the square neck. I also did French seams as I love the look they give to the finished dress.

Then I did my final try on and realised the skirt was too small around the hips!!! I could get it on but there was absolutely no chance I would be able to sit at my desk or drive my car wearing it.

I was very disappointed as I’d slowed down so much and made everything perfect. I could have easily given up, but no! The dress was not the boss, I was! Luckily I had the 5 metres of fabric as I decided (after letting out darts and trying to reduce seam allowance) that the only way was to cut the skirt in a bigger size!

I reduced the seam allowance on the waistband and graded it in to the bodice by letting out the sides slightly, which gave me enough room to add the bigger skirt. It took ages and doesn’t look as neat as it did, but I’m so pleased I persevered and feel like I learnt a lot with this one!

I still plan to make a wool version for work and hopefully will see something I like next week when I plan to go fabric shopping to Birmingham, which I’m combining with a trip to the museum so the boys can see ” Dippy the Dinosaur”.

My face reflects how long is spent messing around adjusting things!!

Thanks again to Emma and Alice, this challenge is certainly keeping me motivated,otherwise this would have got thrown in my work in progress pile and untouched for ages.

Great Big Pattern Swap #1 – Kefalonia dress (Butterick B5488)

There has been a fantastic swap/challenge happening on Instagram during July/August using the hashtag #greatbigpatternswap. The swap is hosted by Emma @thezipperfoot and Alice and the idea was to list any patterns you didn’t want so people could request them. Then when you receive you patterns you’ve got until 18th August to make them and there’s a chance to win some lovely prizes!

My first make for this challenge is the Butterick B5488 which was sent to me by @pinball_widow on Instagram.

I had in my head exactly what I would make when I requested this pattern. Unfortunately we are not going on a summer holiday this year, and as a family who go on holiday a lot this has been tough, we moved to a lovely house last year though so just a temporary hold on holidays!

I have a picture of our last holiday in Kefalonia in my sewing room, Kefalonia is a beautiful place and the colours are truly amazing. These colours inspired my fabric choice and I chose to make a dress I can wear in Kefalonia next year (yes we’ve booked next summer’s holiday already).

I’m so pleased with the results! It was a really easy make and I have added some sparkle to the neckline with some silver studs which I had in my sewing stash.

It’s quite short and maybe could have done with being extended by an inch or so, but I think I’ll get away with it on holiday.

If not I can always wear it with leggings!

I will definitely be making another one of these. I could kick myself as I popped into the local charity shop yesterday and they had some black velvet and I didn’t buy it. It would have been ideal for one of these for Christmas, with some gems around the facing. I will have to go back and see if they still have it.

I’m definitely pleased with my first make, perfect colours for Kefalonia!

I’m hoping I’ll finish my other patterns before the deadline of next Saturday, wish me luck! Thanks again to Emma and Alice as this has been a lovely way to get to know some of the sewing community on Instagram and it’s good to know patterns that were gathering dust can be used by someone else. I’m hoping there will be another soon as I’m sure I have quite a few more patterns I could offer to swap, just need to sort out my cupboard.

Introducing Woody and his new bed

I’d like to introduce Woody, our retired racing greyhound who we adopted 6 years ago, Woody will be 10 next week. Woody is often on my photos of my makes as he loves to be around me while I sew and will often lie on the floor next to me while I make things.

Woody in his racing days was known as Farron Nodrog (Noddy for short) but when he came to live with us we changed his name to Woody.

I knew I had to rescue a greyhound after hearing all about them at one of their awareness stands outside of Sainsbury’s years before we actually adopted. Greyhounds can be treated very badly and are often “disposed of” in horrific ways if they don’t perform well or if they can’t be rehomed. A lot of people don’t like them because of the way they look, but I absolutely love them and their funny ways, they’re certainly very different to other dogs and surprisingly very, very lazy (until they see something small and furry to chase).

Originally we set out to have one greyhound and the one we chose was Nikki, or Bens Nikita as she was known in her racing career. Nikki was a lovely happy greyhound and absolutely no trouble to look after. After having her I kept looking on the Hall Green greyhound trust website and getting drawn to “Noddy” and wondering why no one wanted him? I researched Nikki’ s career and found out her owner had another dog Farron Nodrog. Well that was it! I couldn’t have Noddy without a home so, we ended up with them both!

They absolutely loved each other. Nikki was definitely the boss and Woody would do anything for her and would always protect her. We’ve been camping with them, on a ferry and on lots of very long walks.

Very sadly almost 2 years ago we had to have Nikki put to sleep because she had pancreatic cancer and got very, very poorly. It was such a horrible time and really difficult for us all to accept.

Now it’s just Woody. We love him lots and we were all very sad when we lost Nikki, but we were also sad for Woody as he lost his best friend, and how can you explain that to a dog. Woody seems to have adapted to being the only dog and he seems happy with his human family, although he’s not too keen on Alan the hamster.

Nikki and Woody used to share a huge bed and since Nikki has gone Woody likes to sleep upstairs with us (greyhounds are a bit awkward on stairs and Woody didn’t learn to climb stairs until Nikki died, because he wanted to be with us!).

The bed was huge and ugly and made the bedroom look a mess. I couldn’t find another one I liked at a reasonable price and so we lived with it.

Then I had a bit of a lightbulb moment and realised I could make a cover! But first it needed to be smaller, so out came the electric bread knife!

Due to the lumps and bumps I kept the old cover as an under cover and then made a piped cushion cover with a zip fastener to go on top. I used this fantastic Little striped cushion tutorial from Peg Baker on You Tube. I bought the piping but the tutorial covers making your own.

My Singer machine has stopped working again (it lets me down so much and as yet singer haven’t got back to me) so I used my 19 year old seized up Janome which I only have a standard foot for so I struggle with going straight by the zip, but the messy bits are hidden as is the very orange zip! Also a piping foot would have been nice but I managed without.

The zip is actually a tent zip I think! It was the perfect length and I got it in a £9.99 mixed bag of 65 zips from eBay! The only thing I did different from the tutorial was put some fabric end pieces on the end of the zips as I didn’t want it to rip when I have to keep taking it off to wash!

Piping was much easier than I expected and I love the finish it has given the bed. I used a cheap duvet cover for the fabric which is similar to our covers on our bed.

I added a handle so it’s easier to move it round to Hoover under it.

I’m really pleased with it and it looks so much better in the bedroom than the old one which bent up the walls!

I think woody likes it, now he’s got over the fact it’s a little bit smaller and smells nice instead of all doggy.

I have a few Woody related makes on my to sew list, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing him again soon.

July Makes

July was officially (in my opinion) too hot to sew. Not helped by the fact I use the conservatory as my sewing room and it was over 50 degrees in there. I left the iron out and it melted…how can an iron melt?!?

So, due to the heat, not many makes…

1. Bunting

I’ve already blogged about this, my birthday bunting was an easy quick make for a Saturday before it got too hot.

2. Work bag set

With a metre of oil cloth and a £2.99 table cloth from home bargains I made a lined bag for work, a diary cover (not photographed) 2 zip up pouches and a prescription pad cover! I am all coordinated now and organised. No patterns used just guessed it all really. I’ve had a few requests but I’m ridiculously nervous about making things for other people. Is that just me or do other people feel like that?

3. The Maxi dress

I’ve posted about this already, the self drafted (sort of) maxi dress which tested my patience to the max(i). It’s so pretty though I have forgiven it and am looking forward to wearing it.


And that’s it! Hopefully August will be a more productive month. I have a sewing note book to plan all my makes and there are so many things in there that I’m ready to make (have everything). My priority is going to be my #greatbigpatternswap makes, I was very lucky and had some great swaps can’t wait to make a start on them.