The Flora in tana lawn

Flora | by hand london

So in my last post I said that I’d be making the Vogue 8993 and as I was pinning it out – up popped the Flora into my head.  Last year I made 4 silk Flora inspired bridesmaid dresses and they worked beautifully – patterns swapped and this was a dream to make.  Using a deep dark navy silk dupion from the Silk Society as piping around the neck line, arms and waist – do love piping.  Just hand stitching the lining and hem to finish.

flora | by hand londonI moved the concealed zip to the side and cut bodice|skirt on the fold to avoid any back seams – I felt it just looks better that way.

flora | by hand londonNow to find a jacket – probably a cardigan and make the hat!  I’m a trained milliner and had to give up working as a milliner after major surgery 8 years ago.  Anyway a little fascinator is well on its way and have had fun making flowers out of left over bias and piping, just have to find my feathers tomorrow.  Will post a photo next week on the day!

silk rose

Rosalind PJ’s

The Rosalind

Finished on pair of pj’s using the Rosalind pattern and made the trousers into shorts, perfect summer pj’s. The cotton is light weight and sews beautifuly, I found a rather chunky piping to try out and although it works well will use a finer piping for the next pair.


Above are my all time favorite pj’s and I guess I’m trying to get as close to these as possible.  While looking online I found the Carolyn pj’s by Closet Case Patterns, they make the Bombshell swimsuit and ginger jean that I’ve read great things about.  Meanwhile this will have to wait until I’ve made


Vogue 8993.   I’m off to a super smart party and just havent beeb able to find something I love within my budget – Kate Spade was fabulous but oce I had the skirt, top and shoes………  and did kind of head off my slow fashion sign up too.  So have 3 meters of Liberty tana lawn and will start cutting as soon as i’ve finished typing this post.  It has pockets and princess line to give a great fit, seemed to add up to the afternoon dress code and will match it with a navy jacket or cardigan and little hat.  Right must make a start!

friendship quilts & thoughts | activism

tumbling blocks friendship quiltimage from The Metropolitian Museaum of Art.

Last month I borrowed a book from the London Modern Quilt Guilds roving library on friendship quilts.

friendship quiltThen I saw this quilt above on Pinterest from Hooked on needles, it got me thinking about the possibilities.  It would also be a wonderful idea wedding gift – with everyone attending the ceremony signing. Or children’s hands as a teachers gift, so many ways to interpret the idea.

friendship quilt

image from

A fantastic make for a guild, group of friends or bee and then I started to search for more ideas and the history behind them.  There appear to be two kinds of signed quilts, a friendship quilt was usually made of several blocks from the same pattern and the more formal quilts are album quilts made from many different blocks.

friendship blockimage via

The quilts originate in the USA from the mid 1800’s, at a time if loved ones moved away, they rarely returned home to see their families. The pioneers were also quilters and as part of their preparations were required to take 3 quilts or blankets for each child, man or woman making th,e journey.

friendship star tutorial

image source

I supposed, that the quilter would make a block, sign it and for it then to be used to make into a friendship quilt. Although this was a common, there were other ways a friendship quilt could be created. Sometimes one person collected scraps of fabric from others, made a block from each person’s contribution then signed each block with that person’s name.  This would have taken several years to make and often blocks were kept for many years before being made up into whole quilts.

wagon wheel signature quilt

image source

The embroidered quilt above I found on Etsy and is a twist on the theme.  Although we in Great Britain have a long and rich history of quilt making, dating back to the middle ages, friendship quilts don’t appear to have been part of our quilting heritage.

jigsaw craftivist collectiveimage source

I saw a piece on Craftivisit-collective in Red’s May edition, the jigsaw fabric pieces caught my attention.

Jigsaw-craftivistimage source

Made with fabric and embroidered with wonderful inspiring words in support of Save the Children’s race against hunger campaign.  So with friendship quilts, fabric jigsaw pieces, craft activism whirling around in my head – ideas are becoming more formed about how I ‘d like to progress with this.  I did wonder if anyone else would be up for making a block – signed, initialed or with a quote to be made into a quilt and would when finished be auctioned off and all funds donated to UNICEF.  I thought the simplest way would be a quilt baced on the Purl Bees’s Agate quilt, so a 3 3/8th inch square with what ever message, quote, inital or name inside and I will make it up.  If there are a few people interested in London will hold a sew day at my home and people can drop in at any time to stitch a square.  Please email me or leave a message below if you’d like to join in.

sewing pj’s

Rosalind PJ

Been making a couple of pair’s of PJ’s this week. I bought an adiaional meter of each fabric to account for piping and discovered I can make one pj top, shorts and full lenght pant.  So will have spring/summer/autumn covered, the monster chose dark blue and I went for the lighter blue, the Rosalind pattern by Sew me somthing is easy to make and well explained instructions – perfect for a beginner.  More on these in my next post.

Datura blouse  the Mortmain  IMG_7327

I’ve been instergramming my made by me May wears, on the left is the Datura Blouse by Deer & Doe in a Henry Alexander fabric, right Mortmain dress fabric from FG in Battersea.  Now to dash off to work!  Todays work wear x

Utility Coat

utility coatI’ve been looking for a new spring jacket, easy to slip in and walk the dogs, jump on my bike or run to meet friends for coffee.  As soon as Francis at The Maker’s Atelier released the Utility coat pattern I knew this was my new coat, the patterns are beautifully made, wonderful instructions and sizing is perfect.


The pattern has 1cm seams and my machine doesn’t have a 1cm mark, so I made my own mark instead.  The jacket made up very quickly and seams are taped to give a lovely finish, did think of using light reflective tape for when I’m on my bike, but for now it has white tape.

utility coat

I’ve managed to work the time delay on my phone so here are a few snaps of the coat

utility coatand

utility coat

The denim I used has a glazed sheen and a deep indigo, my fingers ended up with a blue tinge!   But I love it and if you’ve not tried The Maker’s Atelier patterns do, they are brilliant!

nb I’ve been asked for a few more photos and the back view, here they are:

utility coatand the back

utility coat

Slow Fashion


The Slow Fashion movement has been going for quite some time and I guess many of us in a small way are moving towards its values – hand making our own clothes, knitting and embracing upcycling.  So along with Made by me May and handmade 365, I’ve also signed the Slow fashion Pledge.

slow fashion pledge

If you’d like to learn more about slow fashion here’s a link.  I know we can not make everything our selves and don’t want to, but when making a purchase we can stop and think where is it made, by who and how long the item will last.  Sustainable fashion seems a good way forward, a start at least.

finishing projects

McCalls 6436

I have been working full time over the past few weeks and not had a chance to start my Makers Attelier coat, have been sewing simpler projects (thats to say didn’t want to take my new pattern to work and too exhasuted to sew at home).  The dotty chambray fabric sleeveless shirt is for the monster and my second from the brilliant McCalls 6436.  It is a well written pattern with bust ajustments included, so no bust ajustments needed.  The dotty chambray is from Fabrics Galore and buttons from John Lewis.

McCalls 6436

I used my sewing machine to sew on the buttons, so much quicker than by hand.  If you haven’t tried and you have a foot for this on your machine, do try – saves so much time!

vogue 8968

The second finish today is Vogue 8968 in a lovely soft grey linen again from Fabrics Galore.  The dress is very quick to make, only time consuming thing to sew is the hem.  The ‘asymmetric  skirt’ is double, one side stitched to the bodice and then folded under and hand stitched.  I guess this stops any seams being seen, but if I made this again may well skip this and have the seams on show or use a very light weight fabric as lining.  Hoping to wear this in the summer, when ever it arrives!

bustle and sew stitch along

I have also joined up for the Bustle & Sew stitch along, for the times I curl up on the sofa and watch a DVD – with Poldark having finished my weekly tv watching is almost zero – just Vera keeping me tuning in.  Thought I’d did each book spine a title – although think I may well take a little longer to stitch than some other brilliant needle women.  Any suggestions for must watch tv or DVD’s?