Saturday, 23 December 2017


Unlike some people who make life difficult for themselves by committing to write a post for everyday of December, I have barely managed one!  So, here it is.
Earlier this week I made a Christmas wreath ....
Not my typical style - all very natural and rustic - not a sparkly bauble or ribbon or glitter in sight, but I was very pleased with it. I didn't have anything on the door that I could hang it from though, and I don't have the kind of door which takes one of those purpose-built metal wreath-hanging things, so I went to the Pound shop and bought a plastic suction lever hook.  
That lasted for about a day, before a clattering at the front door revealed that one hook wasn't man enough for the job.
Not to be defeated, I hastened back the next day and bought another two hooks and lined them all up next to one another, in the hope that if one fell off there would still be two more.  A kind of 'belt and braces - and then another belt' idea.  Anyway, so far its stayed put.  
My other 'handmades' this month have all been made by other people - the first is Harold the Hare from Flint Cottage who were at Thornham Christmas craft fair.  He's made from recycled wood and painted lavender grey on one side and left natural on the other.  Check out their instagram page HERE for other designs

He's going to sit in my window, but I've photographed him in front of my tree - just to prove that I am fully entering into the spirit of the festivities. 
Then I helped out a friend at the Blackthorpe Barns Christmas Fair.  I didn't seem to do very much 'assisting', but I did quite a lot of 'acquiring'.
I bought this wonderful handknitted and natural dyed cotton jumper by Jacki of Island Knitwear 

How's this for coincidence - I first met Jackie at a garden show at Capel Manor, Enfield about 25 years ago when I was married and living in Woodford. I bought two jumpers from her then, a natural colour one which unfortunately I no longer have, and a denim blue one - now somewhat faded, but which I still love and wear. By chance, she happened to have the next table to my friend at Blackthorpe.  We swapped stories - I've divorced, she married, I moved to Hertford, she moved to Scotland, I moved to Norfolk, and she moved to Suffolk, and there we were - sitting next to one another at a craft fair.  Now, you don't get that if you shop at Primarni.

Then a beautiful and unique clock, made from recycled timber - an old fence post - and slate, made by a very talented man who makes them as a hobby (and doesn't have a website I'm afraid) 
I love this, it now stands in my hall on a secondhand sideboard I bought in Dersingham, amongst my Dad's turned wooden bowls, pots and apples.
And finally, a lovely stitched fabric picture from Sparetime that I bought at the Christmas Fair at Burnham Deepdale.
I haven't suddenly turned into a shopaholic - in fact, since I decided not to buy clothes and to make my own instead, I mostly avoid shopping - but it is lovely to have beautiful unique things that give me pleasure whenever I see them.  And I just totalled up what I spent - altogether my purchases add up to £160 - which equates to a quarter of a pair of the cheapest Jimmy Choos, or 134 packets of HobNobs, depending on how you measure your wealth.

I promise next time I'll return to 'handmade by me'

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wreath - Opeth   (For the uninitiated - including me until about five minutes ago - 'OPETH' is apparently a progressive death metal band from Sweden.  Check out the track - you'll find its  a great antidote to all the jolly Christmas music on the airwaves at the mo!)

Monday, 27 November 2017


Back to simple sewing again.  I made not one, but two Tilly and the Buttons Agneses (Agnii??) this weekend.  Not very much to say about them,  except that this is one of my favourite top patterns, its smooth and close fitting and is perfect for layering.  I had bought some beautiful flamingo fabric on Thursday, and I was going to cut that out on Saturday morning, but I suddenly realised that I hadn't washed it, and although it was tempting to cut it out without bothering, well, we know how that sometimes pans out, don't we?
So, as I'd got all organised and ready with my pattern, I had a hunt round to find what was washed - and I found some bunny fabric I'd bought sometime last year.  
Oh yes, very age appropriate, as usual.  I used my slightly adapted pattern - a size 5, graduated to a size 4 at the hips.  
I've mentioned before that I don't really go in at the waist, or indeed out at the hips.  When you look at those 'know your shape' guides, I'm not a pear, or an apple, or a triangle, or a rectangle.  I'm more a lumpy tube.  Or, if I must be a vegetable, maybe a cucumber, gradually transitioning towards a marrow.
Oh, and I lengthened the sleeves by a smidge too.  Anyway, it was all done very quickly, all made up on the overlocker, apart from the neckline and the hems, which I topstitched with a twin needle.

I had left my cutting board out on the dining room table, so that I was already to go  on Sunday morning with the washed and ironed flamingo fabric

I was up and dressed by 7am, and by the time I went out at 9.30 I had another Agnes.
Very satisfying.  and enough left of the bunny fabric to made a dress for Gracie, once I've taken a pattern from one of her dresses.  Much more age appropriate.

Agnes - Johnny Flynn

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Girl With The Red Shirt

I'm ridiculously delighted with my latest make, and I suppose I could just show you pictures, and tell you how I made it, but that wouldn't be me, would it?
The idea started in February this year when I was watching The One Show.  Now, I don't often watch it, mostly because I'm usually listening to the Archers at that time, but occasionally, especially in the winter, I might catch the tail end of it.  
On this particular episode they were interviewing Danni Minogue, and I really loved her shirt.  You can see a little bit of it here
I haven't previously styled myself on Danni Minogue, nor indeed on either of the Minogue sisters.
(Well, apart from the tiny gold leather hotpants, but in fairness I hardly EVER wear those anymore.)
 I just kept thinking about that shirt though, and after trying to find a similar one online to no avail. I then searched for fabric, and found something very similar from Higgs & Higgs - here
I'm ashamed to say it then languished on my ever-increasing pile of fabric, while I cracked on with quicker makes.  But then I saw it again, and determined that it WAS going to become a shirt.

I looked through my pattern stash, but there was nothing that exactly matched what I had in mind, then somehow I came across Simplicity 1538, which seemed just the ticket.  I had a browse of the internet and saw some lovely versions, so that was the decision made.

I started on it last week and I made my mind up that I wasn't going to rush it (it's not like it was an 'emergency' garment project, but I wanted to make it slowly and carefully.  I have made shirts in the past, with varying degrees of success, but not for many years.
I wasn't sure whether to go for a 14 or a 16, but in the end I went for the larger size, as I detest gaping shirt buttons. I made no alterations at all to the pattern I have to say it fits just as I wanted.

Thanks to my niece Sarah for taking the photos yesterday.  I only wore it briefly for the photoshoot, as she had her two gorgeous girls Grace and Bethany with her and one or other of them always manages to smear me with some form of food detritus.  Even when they're not eating.

As I say, this wasn't a quick make - the shirt has a back yoke, a two-part collar, proper cuffs and front bands for both the button holes and the buttons. 
I only mention this because I saw some cotton shirts in an expensive ladies dress shop whilst I was mid project, and they only had a band on the side where the button holes were, but the button side was just folded over fabric.  AND they were more than five times what this cost me, which was just over 20 quid.
I used a soft iron on interfacting in the front band, collar stand and cuffs, and a slightly heavier weight in the collar, to make it crisp.  The cuffs are slightly on the wide side, but it means you can move your arms without feeling restricted, which is a good thing.  
Its always a bit nerve wracking making the button holes - the rest of the garment is finished and nigh on perfect, and it only needs ONE disastrous buttonhole .... but I had several practice goes on a scrap on interfaced fabric, and all went well.  That just left the vintage pearl buttons which I sewed on with red thread.  I won't put it in the wardrobe at the moment, I just want to look at it!

I will definitely be making more of these, and it lends itself to using contrast fabrics for some parts of the shirt.

Anyway, thanks for the inspirations Danni

Incidentally, other thing to come out of that episode of The One Show - I started watching Nashville from Season 1 (starring Sam Palladio - the guy with the guitar).  I'm on the last season now which I bought as a Box set and now I'm having to eke out the remaining episodes as I'm going to miss them when they're gone!

Right, must go - I'm off to try on the shirt with the gold leather hotpants....

Girl With The Red Shirt - The Pocket Gods

Wednesday, 20 September 2017


Yesterday was the Textile coffee morning at Thornham, and surrounded by all those lovely textile-y ladies, I always feel duty bound to wear something I've made.  It was a bit chilly when I went out, so I wore my newly 'pimped' charity shop jacket.  
I bought the tweed jacket a couple of years ago from a charity shop in Pokesdown near Bournemouth when I was staying with my cousin Annie.  I was attracted to the colours - purples and maroons - it was 100 per cent  wool, fitted perfectly and I seem to remember it was six quid.  Even better - when I tried it on, the pockets were still sewn up and I don't think it had ever been worn.
Its been hanging up in my wardrobe, awaiting transformation ever since, so this weekend I finally decided to customize it.
I changed the two plastic buttons on the jacket for two beautiful vintage glass ones  (they cost more than the jacket!) - and then I added an assortment of others, some vintage, some new. In fact, the purple heart button was one I'd made in my pottery class. 

I added a bit of vintage lace to one of the pockets, and some velvet ribbon to the cuffs, and a few tweed patches.  
Now I think about it, this must have been planned for quite a while as I'd bought a pack of tweed offcuts from FabricAffair at one of the Knitting/Stitching shows ages ago.
I also added a beautiful tweed corsage made by my friend Sarah Burt from the Thornham textile group 
Anyway, I'm really pleased with how the jacket turned out it and it got a few nice comments, and when we went to the Deli next door for more cofee, I remembered to get some photos for the blog.
Underneath the jacket I wore my first Esme dress from the Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style book
Ignore the pose - I was getting advice from the group on the most flattering way to stand for photos - but it just looks as if I've lost a leg.  I don't remember that happening to Mrs Beckham.  Anyway, here's the alternative pose, 
and a close up - excuse the creases, I'd been sitting down for a few hours.  The fabric is a lightweight chambray with little stars on.  
I love the pattern - really easy to follow, simple to make, and I'll be making more from this book.

Jacket - The Courteeners

Sunday, 27 August 2017


I have just made a Named Clothing Paola Turtleneck Tee.  It takes almost as long to say that as it does to make it.

This all came about because I'd seen such a lovely version on a mystery blog, that not only did I put the pattern on my to-buy list, ( I got mine HERE) but I also immediately ordered the same fabric too. Now, given that this sewist blogger was such an inspiration, I'd love to credit her and say thank you. However, despite (literally) hours and hours trawling the internet, I have failed miserably.  So, if you recognise this as the exact same Paola that you made,  or you know who did,  please get in touch!

 Anyway, here it is -
The fabric is a grey quilted Ponte Roma, £12.50 a metre from Dragonfly fabrics - still currently available.
Checking my measurements against the pattern, it was a toss up between 42 and 44.  Taking into account the thickness of the fabric, I decided to go for the larger size.  I'm glad I did, it fits just as I wanted, but if I make it again in a finer jersey, I'll think about going down a size.  Also, if was an 'under-layer' that I intended to tuck in, I'd probably make it a bit longer too, but that's not the version I wanted this time.
It took no time to cut out - only four pattern pieces - Back, Front, Sleeve and Collar, and not much longer than that to sew up.  I made the whole thing on my overlocker, except the sleeve and bottom hems, which I stitched with a wide zigzag.
I have tried it on and I'm delighted with it, and it'll look great under my Cleo dresses, but it is FAR too hot today to bugger about trying to take photos of me wearing it, so here it is on Lola, in my (currently) tidy & organised sewing room.
As the weather seems to have perked up, it may be a while before I get to wear it, but now I have this padded snuggly top with its cosy neck, I should be able to delay putting the central heating on for even longer than usual this year.

Turtleneck - The National

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Afternoon Tea

I've been going throgh a bit of a sewing frenzy recently - partly due to the inclement weather probably.
Here's one of my recent makes

Photographed on my ancient dress stand as I find it impossible to take photographs of myself in the mirror.
The pattern is from the July 2014 issue of Prima magazine, and my first version is blogged about here.  I've had the fabric quite a while, and it was originally intended to be a pair of SewOverIt Ultimate Trousers, then it was going to be my third Tilly and The Buttons Cleo dress, but in the end I knew I wanted to use the Prima pattern again, and this fabric was perfect - a woven fabric with a little bit of stretch It was lovely to work with, and very comfortable to wear.
And wear it I did - when I met Gina at the The Orchard Tea Garden in Granchester for afternoon tea. Admittedly it was actually at lunch time, but it was definitely afternoon tea.
Lets take a closer look at that plate ....

And that was just for ONE!  I had my own ...
The Orchard Tea Garden has quite a history, which you can check out here if you're interested, but suffice it to say they have had lots of famous visitors including Virginia Woolf, Bertrand Russell, Rupert Brook, Charles Darwin, Alan Turing, and HRH Prince Charles.  Never let it be said that we slum it! As for the tea, we did both make a valiant effort, but in the end we had to ask for doggie bags.  And I didn't eat again for the rest of the day.  It was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours, and great to catch up with Gina who I don't see nearly so often since I've moved to Norfolk.  

After we'd struggled to our feet and hauled ourselves out of the tearoom, I thought we should visit the church, even though neither of us was entirely sure if the TV series Granchester was actually filmed there.  
Well, it turns out it was -

Both the interior and exterior of the Church of St Andrew and St Mary are used for filming, as is the exterior of the village hall but there are also other locations in Cambridge, London and Hertfordshire. Apparently lots of the villagers are used as supporting artists too - that must be fun!

I'm still not sure that vicars are meant to behave (or look) like Sidney tho.

Afternoon Tea - The Kinks

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Wild Horses

A little bird told me that the Household Cavalry were in Norfolk and for the next couple of days they may be exercising the horses at Holkham Beach.
It meant getting up early (before 6am) and I was parked up by 7.30 and walked down to the beach. Fortunately the heavy storms of the night before had gone, and it was just breezy with a hint that it might turn into a sunny day.
After about 30 minute's patient anticipation, they appeared through the dunes
and made their way onto the beach

They lined up for a bit of a photoshoot
Although it was clearly a bit too early for some of them
He definite LOOKS to be asleep
Then after a quick canter along the water's edge ...
they were in!
Some even went swimming out of their depth!
A fabulous sight, and well worth getting up early (and wet feet!) for.  

And for all those of you who aren't lucky enough to live in Norfolk - watch this video, its truly spectacular.
(There may be a random ad at the start, but the video IS worth it)

Wild Horses - Rolling Stones

Monday, 17 July 2017


I know its been ages - I had every intention of posting regularly for Me-MadeMay but that didn't happen and now its July.  (I did manage to wear Me Mades all through May, I just didn't get around to photographing or blogging)
In fact, I was thinking about packing up the blog altogether - I had lost my enthusiasm for blogging, I'm not sure if anyone ever reads it, and I've got more than enough things to occupy my time.
But then, this morning, I opened a parcel and it instantly inspired a post, so here I am.

Several months ago, a friend from my (then) local Embroiderers Guild said she had been clearing her loft and was I interested in some old dressmaking patterns.  Never one to refuse anything sewing related, I said "Yes please!" and she said she would get them to me via another friend.  I think that was about October/November time, but for various reasons, I wasn't able to meet up with the 'courier' friend until this weekend, when she handed over a large package. I didn't get a chance to open it yesterday as I found myself unexpectedly hosting two year old Grace's birthday party,  so spent the day shopping, cutting the grass, blowing up balloons, making sandwiches, pouring drinks, and cutting cake.  If that wasn't enough Grace, who had been given a beautiful pink pedal car from her Uncle Rob and Auntie Jess, picked me to be 'designated driver' so I ended up pushing her around what felt like half of North Norfolk, ('No, want to go THIS way Gilly!) until I finally convinced her we should turn around and go home, which meant that when everyone had gone all I did was slump in front of Poldark with more cake.

But this morning I was up with the sun, so I opened my parcel and I think I was more excited than Grace when she opened her presents yesterday

What a fabulous selection of patterns.  I think I must have fallen asleep because I had a dream ........
It was a balmy day (no, I do NOT mean barmy) and I was walking along a sun baked Hunstanton beach in my tiny bikini 
when suddenly from the opposite direction strolled a tall dark handsome gentleman - imagine a blend of George Clooney,  Ross Poldark and Noel Fielding with a hint of Jack Sparrow in his younger days.
We got chatting, and after a while he invited me out to dinner, meaning I could take the opportunity to wear my chic new lurex pants suit -
Then it was off to a nightclub to dance the night away ...
The next day we met up for lunch, followed by a spot of sightseeing
Anyway, to cut a very long story short, we lived happily ever after.

Anyway, back to the real world - there some really lovely patterns which I will definitely use (maybe NOT the bikini or the wedding gown though)

This is my very favourite - I love the neckline and the raglan sleeves and I think it would look good in a heavy jersey or maybe neoprene
I think I may have to adjust the length of this next one - or just wear it as a tunic -
 I've been looking for a pattern like this, but hadn't found one that was just right until now ...
 I'd definitely like to give these next ones a try

Val has added a note to this - that the neckline needs to be taking in before cutting it out, so I'll bear that in mind and I may decide to give the feather boa trim a miss too.

and I love this, just because it reminds me of one of the first garments I ever made in needlework classes at school - a bright orange polo neck blouse with set in sleeves and a zip at the back.  They say you should never go back ....
 Several shirtwaist dresses which are, as they say, very much 'on trend'

 And finally, because I realised that I don't possess a dressng gown ...

now you can see why I was so delighted - not just vintage paterns, but beautiful, wearable vintage patterns.  Not all in my size but some I like so much I may even have to learn how to pattern grade.

It just goes to show, when you are next having a declutter, don't throw anything out until you check whether anyone else wants your treasure.
So, on the off chance that anyone is looking to get rid of a Clooney/Poldark/Fielding lookalike, you know where I am.

Patterns - Band of Skulls