Easing in Gently

A simple 1950s style pencil skirt

To put it quite simply, I LOVE TO SEW! I think everyone needs some sort of creative outlet, and for me, it’s making beautiful garments which are unique to me. Sometimes, when life gets particularly hectic, I have long breaks between sewing projects – but no matter how long the break, sooner or later I will get an irresistible urge to get the sewing machine out, or get on the internet and start researching sewing patterns for inspiration. Are you the same? Or are you one of these people who are lucky enough (or organised enough) to always have a project on the go.
When I have had a long break from sewing, I always like to ease my way back in with something simple – like this skirt, for instance, which was my first project for 2015.

A simple 1950s style pencil skirt
A simple 1950s style pencil skirt

I am determined this year to reduce my rather large fabric stash, and this skirt was made with a rather lovely stretch crepe fabric remnant which I bought some years ago from High Street stalwart, C&H Fabrics. I didn’t use a pattern as such, just cut it from a skirt block I made to fit my measurements. Luckily I made a calico toile first as my skirt block (made some years ago) needed a little adjusting over the hip area – a sign of my increasing years no doubt!
It’s surprising when you haven’t sewn for a while, just how much you forget – or I do anyway! I had to remind myself how to insert a concealed zip and how to deal with the slit at the back of the skirt – I can never remember how to cut and stitch the lining around the vent! So as usual, it was out with my sewing bible – The Reader’s Digest ‘Complete Guide to Sewing’. This is a fab book for any level of experience, and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone. You can quite often find a copy for sale in charity shops, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for.
Considering I hadn’t sewn anything for some time, I was pretty happy with the cut and finish of this skirt. My only reservation was that it was a little plain, so I decided to add a ribbon trim to the waistband to jazz it up a bit. I’m not sure now whether this was a good idea, or whether it just makes the skirt look ‘homemade’ – what do you think?

A ribbon trim was added to the waistband
A ribbon trim was added to the waistband

I will definitely wear this as it’s a lovely skirt for work – very smart for the office!
What sewing projects have you got on the go at the moment?

Sewing Bee – Back on our Screens!


So, The Great British Sewing Bee got off to a strong start yesterday with the contestants already forming strong bonds and supporting each other in their quest for sewing supremacy.


Judges May Martin and Patrick Grant (Photo by Colin Bell)

It was nice to see four male sewers – I don’t know why I’m always so surprised that men like to sew, after all, we have so many talented male designers and tailors. It was interesting that one of the men compared sewing to engineering –  the use of this comparison in schools and colleges could encourage a lot more men to take up sewing, and not see it as a predominantly  female skill.

Military man,  Neil was amazing wasn’t he? He was so well-organised and accurate with his sewing, even unpicking a seam because his polka dots were out of alignment by about 1mm. What a difference this act of professionalism made though – his polka dot dress was outstanding. What a lucky wife he has!

I felt sorry for Annie. It’s a shame that anyone has to go out in the first week. I would imagine that the pressure to perform well  in front of the cameras is so great that it would take a few weeks to find your feet and get into your stride.

Ex-air hostess, Lorna interested me. I think she is quietly talented and definitely one to watch. I loved Deborah’s vintage style and I particularly liked the vibrant fabric she chose for her dress – beautiful! I also admired the fabric which Amanda chose for her trousers. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to choose something like that, but they looked fab.

I sympathised with Alex. She strove for perfection but didn’t perform well under  pressure and made some silly errors which nearly cost her dearly. I’m sure if I was on the show, I would be exactly the same. I hope she gets her nerves under control and stays in the competition. I admired her creativity which was evident in her redesign of the denim shirt.

Inserting a concealed zip certainly wasn’t the easiest task with which to open the competition. I use the same concealed zipper foot as the contestants but rarely manage to get the foot as close to the zip as I would like. Generally I prefer to use a standard zipper foot as I find the results more effective – maybe I just need to practice more.

I’m already itching to see next week’s show when the contestants will be demonstrating traditional tailoring skills whilst making a child’s waistcoat, and making children’s fancy dress costumes.

What did you think of Episode 1, and the contestants and their creations? Any thoughts on who you think will be crowned Sewing Bee 2015?

Hello world!

Hi, well here it is my very first post, and hopefully the first of many. I’m looking forward to sharing my sewing successes and disasters with you. My plan for this year is to sew as many outfits as I can and finally make inroads into my huge fabric stash. Yes, I’m a bit of a fabric hoarder but I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s not a lot of point in having a cupboard full of gorgeous fabric if I’m the only person who ever sees it!

I think my fabric hoarding stems from fear – the fear of cutting into a stunning fabric and ending up with a garment that doesn’t fit properly, or doesn’t suit me. Experience definitely helps here. When I think back to the number of items I’ve made in the past in styles or colours that don’t flatter me, or chosen unsuitable fabrics for the pattern, I honestly cringe! Plus I was sewing through the 1970s and 80s when, in my opinion, fashion design generally was not at its best.

This year I plan to sew from both modern and vintage patterns (I love the 1950s), and, if time  permits, I also want to create patterns by draping on the stand. I want to learn to create my own unique designs rather than recreating items on sale in High Street stores. One thing I’m really keen to do is to learn how to make lingerie, particularly vintage-inspired styles.

I will be sharing my successes and disasters on this blog. Sewing can be a lonely pastime and I’m really looking forward to joining an online community who share my passion. Please feel free to join me on my journey and comment and share your experiences with me. I’m really looking forward to talking to you all.