And the winner is…

Well done to Mara Kockaerts! How fitting to have a Mara win the Mara blouse pattern!

Send in some pics when you’ve made the blouse!

To those who didn’t win don’t forget, if you entered, you can get 10% off when the pattern is launched next week! There’s also a whole host of other blogs on the launch tour, if you’re quick you may be able to enter another giveaway.


Mara Blouse Pattern Giveaway

I’m really excited to announce that our blog is doing its first ever giveaway!

A few blog posts ago I reviewed a pattern from Compagnie M called the Mara Blouse – a cute, vintage-inspired little girl’s blouse – remember?

hanging cu

Well after toiling for weeks over final tweaks and exciting additions to the pattern Marte from Compagnie M is now ready to launch her first ever commercially available pattern! To celebrate the momentous occasion we are taking part in the ‘launch tour’ and giving readers a chance to win a free copy of the digital pattern. On top of this all entrants will also be eligible for 10% off the 7 euro purchase price  – after the pattern is launched on 1st October (assuming you are not the lucky winner).

I loved making the blouse and a thinking of whipping up a long-sleeved dress version for S to wear to an upcoming wedding.

The prize up for grabs is the full Mara Blouse download which includes…

  • The pattern includes:
  •  Sizes: 1y, 18 months, 2y, 3y, 4y, 5y, 6y, 7y, 8y, 9y, 10y.
  • Three sleeve patterns are included: butterfly, flutter or long sleeves. The flutter sleeve & long sleeve can also be combined. Sleeveless is of course also an option.
  • Two tutorials to easily adjust the blouse to a basic A-line dress or a gathered skirt dress. Detailed drawings will guide you through this process.
  • The 46 page PDF file includes:
  • Instructions (22 pages).
  • A pattern WITH seam allowance included (12 pages)
  • A pattern WITHOUT seam allowance included (12 pages) (This way you can choose the version you prefer to work with).

Click the link below to enter the comp!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition closes 11pm 27th September 2013

There are a host of other blogs on the ‘Giveaway Tour’…So why not check them out too…

Good Luck!

Mara blouse give away tour

National Needlework Archive

It turns out the British National Needlework Archive is 10 minutes from my house.  It turns out I drive past it every day amongst the run down building of the converted Greenham Common Airbase – now an industrial park on the outskirts of my home town Newbury. Turns out someone my mum knows arranged for a Quaker Tapestry to come down from its permanent base in Kendal to have a special exhibition at the archive. With all those coincidences, even though tapestry hasn’t ever really been a particular interest of mine – overwhelming curiosity took me and my mum on a visit to the archive this weekend.

I am so glad I did – This place is awesome! The building is a little odd, it’s a converted chapel and I’m pretty sure I did kung fu there when I was a teenager for a few weeks…but inside now it is a real Aladdin’s cave with amazing works of textile art. There’s a library with knitting and sewing magazines archived back to 1900…there’s a small haberdashers with a stock of quilting cotton and there’s a room for workshops and two exhibition spaces, as well as a little tea room. It’s all run by volunteers.


They also run textile art competitions which I find really exciting – I have made quite a few fabric pictures and love doing stuff like that but finding sufficient inspiration to make me realise I do have the time and it is worth doing is difficult. Having a competition to work on would be fantastic. Watch this space! The next one is the ‘Poetry in stitches’ competition so I’m going to investigate that when the details are realeased.

The Quaker Tapestry

I found the Quaker tapestry a little confusing at first, it’s in a very traditional style (I mean 17th century traditional) but it was only made from 1981 – 1996. I couldn’t help thinking it if I had done it I would have gone for something a bit more modern. It charts the story of Quakers up to modern times. It’s interesting and some of the needle work was wonderful, I found the depictions of modern life (peace protests etc) the most interesting, because it contrasted with the overall style.


The Country wife by Constance Howard


This totally blew me away – I am besotted with it, I can’t believe it has been just down the road for so long and I never knew! Made for the 1951 festival of Britain this wall hanging depicts the life of a countrywife in the 1950’s, it’s like a Stanley Spencer painting, only made almost entirely from fabric, embroidery and raw edge appliqué. Mary Quant worked on this when she was a student of Constance Howard’s. What you can’t see from the picture is that this wall hanging is huge – maybe 4 meters by 3 meters, and a lot of the figures are 3D, partially stuffed with 3D props in their beautifully crafted hands. The faces were all done by Constance herself and the style of the faces is strikingly 1950’s (not to mention the clothing – those hats!).


The hanging is being painstakingly cleaned and conserved by local volunteers, I was so captivated that I put my name down. They are trained by a textile conservationist and have been slowly cleaning the fabric and documenting its condition for the last 3 years.


All in all it’s a funny little place but charming and I will definitely go there again, hopefully to do a bit of conservation myself.

Ugandan Skirt by Lucy

In 2005 in my final year of University I went to Uganda to make a short film, whilst I was there I brought two piece of bold African printed fabric in a market in Kampala. The first I made my first ever piece of clothing with, a long A line skirt with a zip that my mum helped make. I didn’t do my measurements before hand and ended making it  a tad too small. I still wore it though and it felt like a real accomplishment.

The other piece of fabric has been moving house with me, from airing cupboard to airing cupboard ever since then – until now that is! I finally took the plunge and chopped it up to make a summer skirt. I decided on a Simplicity pattern, mainly because it was on sale when I was having a look online! Supposedly the good thing about these patterns is that you get a few different garments in every pack but I’ve never ended up making more than one piece of clothing  from a pack of patterns.

Simplicity pattern

Luckily I washed the fabric first because it pulled in a few places, shrank considerably and warped a bit too. I think this skirt will be hand wash only from now on!

The fabric is thin so I lined it in black cotton, I meant to line the pockets but got a bit carried away and  forgot! The pockets are a bit floppy so it might have done them good to be lined in a heavier fabric.

skirt smallerlooking backdull length small

Must remember to smile…need to get better at posing if this blog is going to continue…

Project summary


  • This was quick to make and I’m pleased I’ve finally used my Ugandan fabric!
  •  I like the way I cut the pattern on the pockets with the writing at the top and the chevron going down to the bottom of the pocket.
  • This is the first time I’ve used French seams and I will NEVER go back!

Room for improvement?

  • Floppy pockets look a little odd when you don’t have your hands in them
  •  I probably could have made this a size smaller
  •  An elasticated waist band has never been flattering
  • The fabric warped so the pattern isn’t exactly matched going around the hem

Top tip

French seams…I’ll let the experts at Collette explain the process!

Hello sewing!

I started to learn to sew a while ago, but it’s only recently that I’ve taken it back up with a passion! After trawling the fabulous world of sewing blogs I decided to start my own, both to motivate myself to continue to make things and to act a record of the things I make.  So here I am. Hello!