New! Issue 1 of Sew Now Magazine

Have you heard of the new Sew Now magazine? Issue 1 was released last week from Practical Publishing (the people behind Love Sewing magazine) and I was very kindly sent the first issue to have a read through. I thought I’d share my favourite bits!


Issue 1 comes with a free accessories mini-magazine (containing all sorts of quick projects, from bags to necklaces and the fab Liberty-print shoes photographed below), plus the Simple Sew Zoe dress pattern. I’ve had my eye on this dress pattern for a while so to get it free with the magazine is a bonus!


The projects inside the magazine range from beginner to more advanced, with some projects taking just a few minutes to throw together and others that could take you a whole weekend. I quite like the mix of projects too – bags, shoes, knickers, dresses, tops, placemats, upcyling… I found myself looking forward to turning every page to see what would be next!

(Also, this issue of the magazine gives you a link to order the By Hand London Victoria blazer for free! How great is that?)

sew-now-magazine-issue-oneMy favourite parts of the magazine (that I think set it apart from most other sewing mags) are the pages featured above. I really love how they show you high street clothes, but also give you ideas for which fabric and sewing patterns you could use to recreate these looks for yourself. I thought that was a very novel idea! I also love the ‘hot off the press’ page which gives you an overview of all the new patterns that have been released by indie pattern companies.

Alongside the features I’ve picked out here, the magazine this month also has an interview with lingerie-maker Maddie from Madalynne, instructions for how to cross stitch a design onto an old denim shirt, and tips for sewing a leather bag. If only I had time to make everything!





Yarndale 2016!

This weekend (24th-25th September 2016) saw the return of the annual wool-based festival in Skipton, Yorkshire – Yarndale! I love going to this huge knitting, crafting (and some sewing) fair every autumn with my favourite crafting friend and this year we certainly weren’t disappointed. Here are a collection of my favourite pictures from the day – enjoy!

yarndale-2016-buntingThe walk down to Skipton Auction Mart was covered in Yarndale bunting.

thirsk-yarnbombers-yarndale-2016All the posts on the way into Yarndale were also decorated by the Thirsk Yarnbombers!

yarndale-2016-bunting-mandalas-ice-cream-van-sheepYarndale sheep, a yarnbombed ice cream van (selling finger puppets!) the mandalas outside above a knitted Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the bunting that makes an appearance every year.


Knitted animals! A rag rug sheep, an enormous knitted bluetit (I nearly bought the kit for my Grandma) and a faux-taxidermy tiger rug from Sincerely Louise.


Real animals! Goats, alpacas, sheep and a man with a massive Angora rabbit on his knee.

yarndale-2016-with-lucy-attic-24We met Lucy from Attic 24! And what a lovely lady she is, too.

That’s it! Did you go to Yarndale this year? Did you enjoy it? We went first thing in the morning before the crowds got too mad and had a great time. I came away with the Mini Knitted Christmas book (signed by the author/designer, Sue Stratford) plus a box full of coloured yarn to make all the Christmas decorations with. My friend bought a crochet blanket kit full of Stylecraft DK. Until next year!

Stylish Home Sewing – A Book Review!

stylish home sewingTorie Jayne’s Stylish Home Sewing‏ is a gorgeous new sewing book that’s just been released last week. I got sent a copy by the publisher (lucky me!) to review and, to be honest, I’d never actually heard of Torie Jayne before… however, I did a bit of detective work and came across the Torie Jayne website and realised that this book was definitely worth getting my hands on! Here’s the official press release description of the book:

The book features over 35 projects for you to make, to bring some of Torie Jayne’s style to your home. Each chapter is centred on a space in your home. The entrance hall chapter includes useful storage projects, such as square storage boxes made from fabric plus fabric and oilcloth bags. The kitchen chapter includes table linen, a bread basket and utensil holder, while the bedroom chapter features a padded headboard, make-up bag and eye mask. The garden chapter showcases practical projects such as a garden kneeler with carry-handles and a polka-dot tool belt, as well as decorative bench cushions, a child’s play tent and bunting. Each project is in fresh, appealing colours, and reflects Torie’s sewing expertise, as well as her eye for patterns. Beautiful step-by-step artworks and clear instructions make each project easy to complete.

torie jayne stylish sewing 1

torie jayne home sewing 2

I took a few photos of my favourite projects from the book – what do you think? The little peg basket is so adorable and I love the weaved fabric cushion and that fantastic teepee! Can you imagine having one of those for summer?! This book is perfect for gift inspiration – I’ve already noted down a few of the projects that I’d like to make as wedding gifts, birthday presents and in preparation for Christmas. Look at the felt rose garland (below) too – isn’t it great?

rose garland

The instructions in the book are written out in illustrated/written steps like most other craft/sewing books – I actually thought that the layout was very similar to the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing that I got a little while ago. The templates for the projects are printed at the back of the book but you do have to photocopy and enlarge some of them (as with the Liberty book) which does infuriate me a bit! Mainly because I don’t know how to do that…

felt rose broochI’ve not had the time to start on any of the larger projects out the book yet but I did make a little felt rose brooch the other evening – all you need to do is cut out the flower templates in felt and then artfully twist and stitch them into place. Simple but effective, don’t you think?

Overall, the Torie Jayne Stylish Home Sewing book is definitely one I would’ve picked up had I not been offered a copy. The projects in it are all so adorable and 90% of them are things you’d actually want to make – unlike some other books out there! I can definitely see myself ordering some broderie-anglaise trim and turquoise felt in the near future….

Drum roll please! And the winner is…

… Emma Grace from Fall From Grace Crafts! Congratulations! You’ve won yourself a shiny new copy of the Simplicity Simply the Best Sewing Book!

Thank you to everyone that entered my giveaway – I appreciate the time you all took to leave me a comment or Tweet about the competition. Just so you know that the result was fair, here’s how I did the draw, using a technical method of lists and the Random Number Generator:

winner!Emma I’ve sent you a message telling you that you’ve won – as soon as I get a reply with your address I’ll have the book on its way to you 🙂

Win a Copy of the Simplicity Sewing Book!

simplicity simply the best sewing bookHands up – who’d love to welcome the addition of a shiny new sewing book to their collection? Thanks to the lovely people over at Simplicity I can help you with just that! The Simplicity Simply the Best Sewing Book is a must-have for all seamstresses – whether you’re just starting out or need a reference guide to look back over as you complete more advanced projects.

The book contains pages and pages of information on how to carry out various sewing techniques, including inserting a sleeve, creating a cuff, working with lace, doing French seams, getting the fit right, sewing with satin and silk, washing fabric, choosing an overlocker… literally everything you can think of. It sure is the Essential Reference for all Home Sewers!

Here are a few snapshots of what’s inside the book (it’s hardback and ring-bound too so no matter how much you use it, fold over the corners or use it as a straight edge for pattern drafting it’ll withstand the test of time!) simplicity book So would you like to win a copy? I’ve got one copy of the Simplicity Simply the Best Sewing Book to give away to one of you lucky readers! To enter:

  • Leave a comment on this blog post telling me about your current sewing project for one entry.
  • Follow me on Twitter (@Sew_Sensational) and Tweet about this giveaway (be sure to tag me in it!) for a second entry.

And that’s it! The closing date is FRIDAY 6TH JUNE 2014 at 12pm, where I will select one winner at random from all the entries. Unfortunately the competition is open to UK RESIDENTS ONLY because this book weighs a gosh darn tonne and would cost me an irrational amount of money to post abroad. I’m sorry! Next time I’ll give away something a bit lighter 😉

Good luck! (and I might throw in a few little extras with the prize, too!)

*This competition is now closed* Thank you to those who entered!

Roald Dahl Lickswishy Sweets Lampshade

Roald Dahl lampshade making kitYes, you read that title correctly – I’ve made a lampshade covered in Roald Dahl sweetie fabric! When the lovely folks over at Elephant in My Handbag got in their range of Roald Dahl fabrics I knew that I just HAD to make something fun. I love Roald Dahl and I absolutely love the new range of Quentin Blake-designed fabrics that have been popping up around the internet. Don’t believe me? Go and have a roald dahl charlie and the chocolate factory lickswishy sweets fabriclook at the range available –  you’ll be convinced!

After a few hours (days) of contemplation, I decided upon the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ‘Lickswishy Sweets’ design – isn’t it great?! I mean, just say ‘Lickswishy’ a few times out loud, right now. It’s fantastic. Anyway, if sweets aren’t your thing, have a look at the awesome Matilda  fabric  or the fabulous Fantastic Mr Fox designs. I think I love them all.

The lampshade kit that I used for my project is from Need Craft, and one that I actually won in a competition last year (!!). You can also buy similar kits at Elephant in My Handbag right here. The kit I used is a 40cm drum lampshade and the box comes with everything that you need (aside from the fabric) to make your lampshade from scratch. And it’s surprisingly easy too! Here are a few pics of the process:

roald dahl fabric diy lampshade

What do you think of my finished Roald Dahl lampshade? It matches my blue bedroom perfectly (despite what my other half says!) Now show me your own Roald Dahl creations!

Oh and here a few tips for DIY lampshade making: make sure you have LOTS of space, don’t be afraid of everything getting stuck to everything else and definitely DON’T break the lightbulb when you’re changing the shade for photographs: it hurts and you’ll need a bandage!

GBSB Series 2 Episode 6 – Vintage Blouse and Coat Sewing Patterns!

Hollywood Patterns 1087 GBSBWho else was wow-ed by the Sewing Bee contestants’ vintage blouses and coats last night?! I know I’d certainly struggle with those patterns! I’ve definitely been inspired to have a go at making my own short-sleeved blouse for spring though – a lovely Liberty cotton lawn would go perfectly with the sewing pattern used on the show…

If you fancy making a vintage blouse exactly the same as the one on the Sewing Bee, see if you can pick up a copy of the sewing pattern that they used: Hollywood Pattern 1087. The pattern envelope looks so lovely I’m not sure I’d want to open it!

simplicity 1590For a similar, still-in-print vintage blouse pattern, try Simplicity’s 1590  retro blouse sewing pattern – it’s one I’ve had my eye on for a while and this GBSB episode has convinced me I was right to do so!

The contestants also made a round of outdoor, heavy, woollen coats. After seeing the Colette Albion pattern that was released recently, the idea of making a coat is looking more and more accessible.

Want to make the same coat as one of the Sewing Bee sew-ers? Here’s a little round-up of the sewing patterns that they used:

lynda's gbsb winning coat b5824

Lynda’s winning coat sewing pattern – Butterick B5824

david's military coat sewing pattern gbsb McCalls 4745

David’s military coat sewing pattern – McCall’s 4745

heather's swing coat sewing pattern gbsb b5716

Heather’s swing coat sewing pattern – Butterick B5716

You can also view my other Sewing Bee pattern round-ups at the posts below:

GBSB Series 2 Episode 4 – Dungarees and Prom Dress Patterns

GBSB dungareesEpisode 4 of the Great British Sewing Bee (series 2) challenged the sewers to make several things that I really have no intention to ever make…. at least in the near future. I neither have no children (yet) or no teenagers (yet) to hand, so this post is more of an episode round-up!

First up the contestants had to make some toddlers’ dungarees using heavy duty cotton or corduroy. For a beginner dressmaker this looked Burda 9464 dungareesquite intimidating! If you’re looking for instructions on how to sew a flat felled seam like in the episode then head over to the tutorial on the Colette Patterns website – it’s full of pictures and incredibly useful!

If you’re looking for a similar dungarees sewing pattern, try Burda 9464. It has shoulder buckles and buttons at the side, like the one the Sewing Bee contestants made, as well as a long-length version to keep those knees from grazing!

For heavy-duty fabric try cotton drill, corduroy or denim.

The final challenge was to sew a teenager’s prom dress – and once again Lynda won ‘garment of the week’ with her lovely, mini, embroidered, sweetheart neck creation!

Lynda's winning prom dress GBSB2Simplicity 4070If you fancy having a go at making your own version, the prom dress sewing pattern used by Lynda was McCalls M6646 which may need a few modifications if you want to make it yourself (note the frills!) If you want something similar and more simple, give the Simplicity 4070 prom dress a go that I’ve pictured here!

I’m not sure I’m quite ambitious enough to start making dresses like this but I’m sure many of you will now have children, nieces and cousins all wanting you to make them something for this summer’s prom!

For similar fabric to Lynda, try satin, dupion, taffeta or crepe and of course corset boning!

Don’t forget to check out my other Sewing Bee pattern posts:

GBSB Series 2 Episode 2 – Lynda’s Men’s Pyjamas Sewing Pattern

After watching the second episode of the Great British Sewing Bee last night, who’s inspired to make their boyfriend/ brother/ dad/ husband/ postman a lovely new set of pyjamas?! It’s Father’s Day in June guys, so get planning now!

The winner of Best Garment this week was Lynda (#TeamLynda!) with her lovelyyyyy candy-striped pyjama set. Want to make the same pattern for yourself? Lynda used the Simplicity 2317 sewing pattern to make her men’s pyjamas which you can find right here.

Simplicity 2317 men's pyjamas sewing pattern (Lynda GBSB)Looking for some nice candy striped cotton?

  • Hobbycraft sells the same Tanya Whelan striped cotton that Lynda used for her pyjamas.
  • Minerva Crafts has some nice candy shades.
  • Elephant in My Handbag has a wide selection of striped fabrics in rainbow colours.
  • Truro Fabrics has various pastel-coloured candy striped fabrics.
  • MyFabrics has loads and loads of striped cotton fabrics to choose from.
  • Etsy is also a brilliant place to look for one-off designs

Has anybody made this pattern before? Send me your links or tips for making it if you have!

I also did a round-up of the silk nightgown patterns that the contestants made last week. Click here to see the links to the sewing patterns.

Great British Sewing Bee Series 2 Episode 1 – Nightgown Patterns

The-Great-British-Sewing-Bee-JudgesLast night my Twitter feed went crazy as the first episode of series 2 of the Great British Sewing Bee hit our TV screens here in the UK. Despite achieving fairly poor ratings and reviews last year when the series premièred, the BBC have (rightly) chosen to bring the sewing contest back for the 2nd year – and 3rd year if the online call for applicants is anything to go by!

In this episode, the new contestants had to make items based on three of the most common fabrics we sewists generally have in our stashes – cotton, wool and silk. This included a sleeveless top each, the customisation of a long wool skirt and the request to create a unique silk nightgown for a real-life model (who, might I add, are not ‘model proportions’ but actual real-life women).

This episode seemed to spark a lot of interest in people looking to now go and make their own silk nightgowns, and why not?! So, to save you the trouble, I’ve rounded up the patterns used by some of the contestants to make their silk nightgowns. Let me know if you make one of them!

great british sewing bee simon nightgown vogue 7837

Simon’s shot silk dupion nightdress –Vogue V7837

greath british sewing bee tamara nightgown mccalls 5989

Tamara’s Babydoll nightgown – Mccalls M5989

great british sewing bee julie nightgown new look 6244

Julie’s Bias cut nightgown – New Look 6244

great british sewing bee cerina nightgown vogue 2859

Cerina’s bias cut nightgown – Vogue v2859

Chinelo and Jenni both drafted their own nightgown patterns (incredible!), with Jenni’s being based on the vintage Simplicity 3508 pattern, and Lynda, Heather and David moved so gosh-darn fast I couldn’t work out which patterns they were using, haha – if you spotted something I didn’t, get in touch!

Oh and one more thing – looking for the cotton sleeveless top pattern? This one from Simplicity/New Look is incredibly similar! I actually made it myself too  – see my GBSB challenge here.

great britsh sewing bee cotton sleeveless top

Great British Sewing Bee cotton sleeveless top pattern – New Look 6483