Summer Reading

Wednesday, 29 July 2015


One of the best aspects of being on holiday is working through your summer reading list. Now half way through mine, I simply had to share some of my favourites. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce is every bit as enchanting as her first novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note to him had explained she was dying from cancer. How can she wait? A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write a second letter; only this time she must tell Harold the truth.

My 2015 summer reading list:

  • Anything written by Rachel Joyce
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  • Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
  • Daughter, by Jane Shemilt

Feel free to share you book recommendations. Happy reading.


Designer Sewing Pattern

Friday, 29 May 2015

If you're looking for a truly stylish sewing pattern, visit Muse Attire. I know I'm biased, as I was one of the testers, but this is gorgeous!



Designer Sewing

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Here's what I've been working on at Muse Attire last month:

Sewing patterns; what’s the difference between a regular, commercial pattern and designer patterns? Wholesale commercial patterns reflect high street trends, allowing the home seamstress to recreate current fashions. Designer patterns don’t respond to trends; designer patterns are the result of a creative process. Since March, Muse Attire has posted glimpses into the research and design process behind their new pattern Grace. Obviously, a sewing pattern which is rooted in a creative process offers a distinctive style.

Home seamstresses are clearly creative individuals so they've rethought the pattern envelope itself. When we’re sewing at home, it’s a continuation of the creative process that started with the designer. When you purchase a pattern, you’re essentially taking on the project construction. To reflect this sense of process and project they’re sending their patterns out in a project folder rather than an envelope. An A4 card folder is also far more robust than flimsy paper envelopes which require the skill of origami to restore used patterns!


Create Your Own Sewing Pattern

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


If you're interested in designing your own sewing patterns, there's a great series of posts running on Muse Attire.


Design Focus

Saturday, 25 April 2015

You all know how much I love sewing but recently I've been lucky enough to work on a design project with Muse Attire. They're a fashion conscious pattern design company that aims to help the working woman create her own fashion identity.

It's been great to see the process behind pattern design; I had no idea how much creativity and work goes into research and design. After nearly a month of creative input, the drafting process has been equally fascinating. Watch this space for one of the most distinctive designs you'll see this year.

The experience has totally changed my sewing perspective; well worth a visit.


Not a Knitter?

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Neither was I but I've been converted by this cosy aran cardigan.

Why I've fallen in love with knitting:
  • Knitting fits in with a busy life: I can knit for a few minutes in between cooking, marking essays and all the other daily tasks;
  • When I'm watching television, I often start snacking. This temptation never seems to arise if I'm knitting;
  • A pretty cardigan is the perfect accompaniment to all the summer dresses I sew.
As you can see below, I'm currently knitting a summer cardigan; I'll post on this once I've got a little further.

Belt Tutorial

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Before we start the tutorial, let's talk supplies.If you're reading this in America you're super lucky: belt making supplies are readily available. Spare a thought for sewers in the UK where belt making supplies are rarer than hens' teeth. Usually, I import Dritz belt backing at huge cost but even that has proved impossible this month. I have twenty meters of aforesaid backing on its way from the USA but it has yet to arrive.
While I wait, or actually fail to wait, I thought this would be a great opportunity to see if it is possible to make a half decent belt by substituting belt backing for Fuse and Fold. It is possible.
For this tutorial I'm using a 1 1/2" buckle kit, 1 1/2" Fuse and Fold and 4mm Prym eyelets.

Firstly, set a dry iron to the correct temperature for your fabric. Pin the waistband interfacing onto your pre cut belt fabric: press each section for 7 seconds rather than ironing across the fabric. Allow the belt to cool completely before stitching.

Iron on Fuse and Fold
Check that the interfacing is fully bonded with the fabric. If you find any loose spots repress. Continue as follows.
Taking your buckle cover kit, remove the paper covering one side of the adhesive pattern template. Smooth onto your fabric and trim.
Using sharp scissors, pierce fabric in the centre and remove the excess. Be careful not to cut beyond the slits.
Having peeled back the paper from the other side of the pattern, centre the buckle over the pattern and smooth the edges down.
Next, place the smaller buckle bottom into the finished buckle top and press firmly together. Press edges (inside and out) all around to clinch tightly together.
Lastly crimp the centre bar together with pliers. Place the tong over the bar and close with pliers.
How you create the eyelets is dependent upon the supplies you're working with, this is probably the most basic way. If you're using the method below, remember to place the rounded side through the front side of your belt so that the crimped side is underneath. The plastic part of the tool rests on the front, smooth side of the eyelet whilst the metal part crimps the back.
Once you've placed the tong through the eyelet, you just need to turn the belt end under the centre bar and sew securely. Try your belt on to mark your other eyelet and you're done.