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.

Big ideas

I have a Dorothy Perkins Maxi dress, from their Tall range, which I love but it’s falling apart. Last time I wore it I sat there thinking ” I could definitely make one of these”. I had a look around for a pattern but couldn’t find one I liked so I decided to have a go at making a pattern myself.

So off I went drawing around bits of the dress and adding seam allowances….confident that this was going to be amazing!

Then I ordered some gorgeous summery Viscose and then when it arrived I lost my bottle part way through cutting it. It was a bit awkward to cut, and I was hot and flustered, so I literally scooped it all up and threw it to one side whilst I sulked and made bags and bunting and other none clothes items!

This weekend it was cooler and I was desperate for some clothes sewing so I decided to have another go. I finished cutting it out and started assembling.

I think part of my fear was the shirring elastic at the back, but that was probably the easy bit! I whizzed through that and it’s such a good way to avoid lots of fitting issues.

It was a bit tricky attaching the waistband to the bodice and the skirt but I managed it with no problems….or so I thought…..then I realised I’d sewn the skirt to waistband inside out.

Seriously gutted…..I was on a high from it all going so well that I really had to make myself unpick it all and have another go. It was so tempting to throw it back in its heap to think about how uncooperative it was being!

However, I gave it another go and I’m pleased I did. It’s far from perfect, but I did bite off more than I could chew with this so I’m happy with what I’ve got! It’s long enough which is amazing as this is not something I often get with dresses. I absolutely adore the fabric and it’s nice and cool and floaty which is definitely what’s needed at the moment.

I think I may stick to patterns for a while….more relaxing that way. My To Sew list is huge at the moment. I have two more summer dressed to make then I think I’m going to move on to my autumn wardrobe.

I just edited this post to add a photo of the dress on, having worn it for a day out I have forgotten the pain of making it and want to make another one!

Birthday Bunting

It’s coming up to birthday season in our house! One a month for the next three months. I have some cardboard bunting which is getting really scruffy so I thought I would venture into the world of bunting, it’s something people keep asking if I make so thought I should try it out.

I found a tutorial on you tube from Ashwood fabrics. I used all their sizes and spacing but cut out in triangles so I had less waste of the fabric.

The fabric is from Oh Sew Crafty’s eBay store, although I must go to their actual shop soon as it’s not too far away.

The bunting was ever so easy to make and came together very quickly. I can see me making it for all occasions now….Halloween, Christmas, Easter…can’t have too much bunting can you??

The flags are quite large so I may make them a bit smaller next time. It looked lovely hung up though andI managed not to set it a light with the scary firework type candle I bought, which was good!

Schools out for Summer!

It’s that time of year again, schools out for six weeks! Unfortunately this year we aren’t going on holiday, but still looking forward to lots of adventures closer to home, and the weather has been amazing so far so don’t feel like we’ve missed out too much.

This year I was very prepared with teachers end of year gifts and had them made in June! I decided to make something practical and went for these book bags in some fab pencil fabric that I found on eBay. The lining is a fitted sheet I picked up on sale and I’ve been using it to line everything!

The tutorial I used I found on Pinterest from the life in color blog and will definitely be making some more of these!

June Make’s

I am a little bit late posting this but here are my June makes!

1. New Look 6532

Another New Look 6532, this time two sizes smaller (a combination of losing weight and it coming up very large). This one I made an inch longer and finished on my overlocker, so even quicker! Fabric from Adam Ross (before it was pound fabrics!). It’s a nice top for work and has been great in the heat.

2. New Look 6217

Using up my butterfly dress fabric so I made another 6217 (lack of adventure so far in June!). These tops are fab with a denim skirt and leggings, which I live in if I don’t have a cleo dress on!

3. Cleo Pineapple dress

Talking about cleo dresses! I ordered some pineapple fabric from the sewing quarter website and didn’t read the description properly! It wasn’t suitable for a top but made a lovely cleo. This time I lined the pocket with the same fabric as the facing which I love, it’s left me wishing my other 3 cleos had lined pockets. I’ve already ordered the denim for a 5th cleo so will be lining that. I’m preparing for autumn with the denim one.

4. Necessary Clutch Wallets

Already done a post on these, love them so much. Plans to make a black leather one and a denim one (recycled jeans), also know I’ll be making a few as presents for Christmas.

5. Teachers book bags

I’ve got a pending post on these, just need to add the tutorial links. I made these for end of year gifts for teachers, loved the fabric so much I made my necessary clutch out of it.