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The Great British Sewing Bee Live: Tickets Giveaway Winners


Hey Everyone,

Thanks to those who entered.

Without further ado, here are the winners, as selected by random number generator:

  1. Faye Ward
  2. Hazel
  3. Camila
  4. Diane Hall
  5. Anne G

Edit: Anne G cannot make it so Jane – you have been selected.

Edit number two: sorry Jane and Faye – I did leave replies to your original comments informing you that you had won but as neither of you got in touch I have had to redraw. The last two tickets have now gone to Shauni S and Diane G. Well done ladies.

Please can you all get in touch with me (my email address can be found under my “About” tab in the header at the top of this blog), and let me have your full name, address and which day you would like the tickets for.

Thanks again for entering and hope you all have a wonderful time!



The Great British Sewing Bee Live: Tickets Giveaway


Hi Friends,

This year marks the first year of The Great British Sewing Bee Live, which is going to run from 21 – 24 September 2017, at ExCel in London. I have been lucky enough to be offered 5 pairs of tickets to give away for either Thursday 21st September or Friday 22nd September. It sounds like it’s going to be an amazing event, featuring:

  • Comedienne Jenny Eclair hosting 2 live shows a day featuring Patrick Grant and Esme Young, as well as past contestants from the show


  • Patrick and Esme sharing some of their tailoring and dressmaking tips
  • Members of the audience and former contestants putting their sewing skills to the test live on stage (there is still time to apply to be an audience contestant I believe!)
  • 250+ workshops and demos

Janome sewing machine workshop

  • Dressmaking drop-in clinics
  • A make at home fashion catwalk
  • Garment and vintage galleries
  • 200+ dressmaking and sewing suppliers
  • An exhibition of archive Liberty pieces presented by the London Fashion and Textile museum

Sounds like an amazing day to me and I am very sad I won’t be able to make it 😦

To be in with a chance of winning one of the 5 pairs of tickets for either the Thursday or the Friday just leave a comment below and tell me, what’s your favourite pattern or item to sew in 3 hours or less? Winners will have to get up on the stage infront of 1000+ audience and prove it at the live event*.

Patrick Grant & Esme Young 2

*Patrick: Oh Esme, that made me chuckle. Esme: yes, I mean, we would only give them an hour!

Terms and conditions:

  • Comments must be left directly on this blog post by midnight GMT on Sunday 23rd July 2017
  • 5 winners will  be picked at random. You can specify whether you want a pair of tickets for either Thursday 21st September or Friday 22nd September
  • You must use a valid email address to leave your comment, or check back for the follow up post which I will publish next week to claim your tickets. If tickets are not claimed within 3 days of me announcing the winners I will re-draw.
  • Winners are responsible for all travel costs incurred

Good luck everyone and I look forward to hearing all about it.

*This giveaway is now closed*



Dressmaker of the Year Competition – please vote for me!


Dear Friends,

I have some exciting news and a favour to ask of you.

Remeber this coat I made for Kezia?


Vogue 9043 DIY Linton Tweed Girls Flared Coat

I entered it into The Dressmaker of the Year Competition, and it has been shortlisted in two categories: the childrens wear category (which will be decided by the judges), and also in the Readers Choice category – which is where you come in. I would be so grateful if you could take a moment to click on this link and go vote for me!

Voting is open until 25th April and if you do vote you will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win a bundle of 11 sewing books and subscription to Sew or Make it Today magazine – that’s a prize worth over £230.

It’s a great honour to have been shortlisted and tomorrow I have to parcel the coat off and send it off to be judged! Exciting.

Until soon. I mean, how could you resist that little face? 🙂


Vogue 9043 DIY Linton Tweed Girls Flared Coat

The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny: Giveaway Winner


The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny – mouse capelet. Image taken from book.


Thanks to all who entered this giveaway. The lucky winner (as picked by random number generator) is: Angela.

Angela, please get in touch via my email address (found under the About section at the top of this blog), with your full name and postal address. You may even be able to whiz something up in time for christmas 🙂

Back soon!

Edit: Angela you have until the end of Friday 26th November to get in touch otherwise I am afraid I will have to draw another name. 

The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny:a Kids Clothing Sewing Book Giveaway


The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny

Hi Friends,

I was contacted a little while ago by Natalie Martin, who is one of the authors of a new sewing book, The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny, and also (together with co-author Naomi Regan), one of the owners of British indepent children’s clothing brand, Olive and Vince.(Check out their etsy store for lots of cute, colourful children’s clothing with personality).


The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny (image from book)


Natalie and Naomi have just had this beautiful book published which contains a range of sewing patterns for boys and girls aged 1 – 5 years with a playful animal theme throughout, and asked me if I would be interested in reviewing the book. Full disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review and invited to blog about it if I wanted too. I decided that as my daughter no longer fits in to the size range presented (such a shame!), that I would introduce the book to you guys and give you my overall impression, and offer the copy sent to me, as a giveaway. It really is a beautifully presented and fun book, and it would be such a shame for it to just sit on my shelf gathering dust instead of being put to good practical use. All the opinions expressed in this post are my own.


The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny – bunny duffle coat. Image taken from book.



The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny – bunny duffle coat. Image taken from book.

The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny is, in lieu of chapters, split into 6 animals: the bunny, the cat, the fox, the mouse, the owl and the bear. There are different projects within each “animal” – all kids clothing. For example, within the bunny there are two projects: some puffball shorts and a bunny duffle coat. There are 17 projects in total, ranging from paw print mittens to a bear duffle coat. Projects are rated by difficulty so you can have some confidence in finding  a project that matches your experience.


The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny – the owl cape worn over the party dress – image taken from book.

The book contains full size, pull-out patterns that require tracing. Seam allowances are included, as are cutting layouts and applique templates.

The book contains step by step instructions for each project and they are very well illustrated and seem very clear. There are plenty of projects appropriate for both boys and girls and there are also some great basic, practical patterns like the long sleeved T shirt, and the slim leg trousers which could easily become wardrobe staples to be made multiple times over.


The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny. Image taken from book.

I think  my favourite projects would probably be the fox duffle coat (seen on the front cover of the book and below) and the mouse capelet: cute beyond cute and so many ways you could personalise these to suit your own child/ grandchild/ niece/ nephew/ godchild etc! My only regret is I don’t have anyone to make anything for right now 😦


The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny – fox duffle coat. Image taken from book.


The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny – mouse capelet. Image taken from book.

A really lovely and different book with some magical illustrations. If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a copy of this book please leave a comment below before midnight GMT on Sunday 20th November. Sorry, but this giveaway is only open to UK residents.

Thanks for reading and entering.



The Tunic Bible Giveaway Winner

Hey Everyone,

Without further ado, the winner of The Tunic Bible, as selected by random number generator, is:


Congratulations Calypso, you have won this giveaway. Please get in touch by the end of Friday 14th October 2016 otherwise I am afraid that the winner will be drawn again. My contact details are under my “About” section at the top of this blog. You need to specify whether you are in the USA, in which case please give your full postal details, otherwise email address if outside the USA for an electronic copy of the book.

Thank you to everyone who entered. I hear The Tunic Bible is already on its second print run, so if you would like to purchase a copy for yourself aside from Amazon you can also try Barnes & Noble, Overstock, Book Depository and direct from the publisher: CT Publishing.

Back soon!


Linton Tweed Meet Up: Cancelled

Hi All,

Just a quick note to say I have had a few people contact me to say that they are not going to be able to make the Linton Tweed meet up, which was scheduled for September 17th, so I have decided to cancel it for now.

Hope this is not going to inconvenience anyone.

Back soon!

NYC Garment District Fabric Shopping Haul


Hey Peeps,

Bit of a picture heavy post today sharing my fabric haul from the Garment District in New York. Where to start?

Well, as a Brit who has never been fabric shopping in that particular part of the world before, I was concerned that it might be a little….overwhelming. But I needn’t have worried. Rather than start with a biggie (like Mood), I started with the smaller shops first and actually did a round of all the shops I wanted to first before comitting to buying anything.

Backing up. We were staying in a hotel on West 44th Street in NYC so it took me like 10 minutes to walk to the Garment District on the day I went shopping. Phil and Kezia headed off to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry that day (Kezia’s choice), so I was left to my own devices, although they came and met me later in the day.

First stop was Paron Fabrics (West 39th Street) (not the best of photographs; my camera lens needed cleaning I think!):


Paron Fabrics

Fabrics were well organised by type (lots of choice) and they had lots of high end European imported stuff (Italian), which I avoided…because I was basically trying really hard to buy things which are hard to get here in the UK. I can’t remember the name of the older guy who served me but he was lovely (and gave me a discount – there was a sale on at the time too), and I could easily have spent a lot of money here.

This is what I bought here – top to bottom: top: a heavy weight waterproof fabric which has been bonded on the reverse side to what looks like a knit interfacing (i.e. it’s needle ready – love!), middle: medium/ heavy weight weight cotton flannel plaid and bottom: heavy weight satin lining (for the waterproof jacket).


Paron Fabrics


Paron Fabrics


Paron Fabrics

Next I went across the road to Gray Line Linens (West 39th Street). Again, fabrics were well organised but prices were not marked and you had to ask them. There were lots of lovely metallic linens but I resisted. I figured linen is something you can get here. There were a few rolls of eyelet cotton but I held out and got some from Metro Textiles for a better price (see below):


Gray Line Linens


Gray Line Linens

After that I called into Daytona Trims (West 39th Street). Now here I did feel overwhelmed and didn’t purchase anything. I guess I am just someone who likes to buy notions and trims on a “by project” basis, so it was hard for me to buy something without a specific project in mind. However, if I had a trim shop like this near me, it would be heaven!


Daytona Trims


Daytona Trims


Daytona Trims

Next was the much advocated Chic Fabrics (West 39th Street) (despite some confusion on Instagram it does still exist).


Chic Fabrics


Chic Fabrics

This place had some wonderful silks and cottons but I walked away with just one piece which is incredibly hard to capture the true colour of. In real life this amazing washed stretch silk is an olive green colour, but here it is photographing more brown. Utility shirt dress with lots of gold hardware methinks.


Chic Fabrics

I walked over to West 37th Street after that (because I was meeting Philip and Kezia there) and called into Metro Textiles where I met the famous Kashi!


With Kashi of Metro Textiles

The charming Kashi, of course, was open to a bit of bargaining, and he had a smaller selection of good quality fabrics of all kinds. I ended up purchasing two pieces from him: (top) a piece of red cotton eyelet (very hard to get in the UK) and (bottom) some printed silk crepe de chine which appears to have gone off grain so I am going to have to do something about that.


Metro Textiles


Metro Textiles


Metro Textiles

By this time Philip and Kezia had arrived and Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic also joined us for a quick foray into Mood Fabrics. Can I just say it was wonderful to meet Carolyn and it felt as if we had been friends forever, instead of meeting for the first time for a quick shopping trip.It’s a shame we didn’t have more time.


With Carolyn of Diary of Sewing Fanatic in Mood Fabrics, NYC

I pretty much had only one thing in mind to buy from Mood…silk jersey. Finding silk jersey in the UK is like finding hens teeth. Anyway, this is what I walked away with: a panel printed silk jersey (I took 2 panels) and a half yard of plain orange silk jersey for accents. This was the most pricey purchase of the day and I hope that, when it eventually happens, I can do justice to this piece. I don’t need to write much about Mood as so much has already been written about shopping here. It is definitely a fabric shoppers paradise, but I found I prefered the scale and pace of the smaller shops.


Mood Fabrics


Mood Fabrics

The last place I hit was Spandex House (West 38th Street). Now I am not a huge knit wearer (in case you hadn’t noticed). Nor I am a huge lover of novelty prints. But if those things are your bag then this is the place for you.


Spandex House


Spandex House


Spandex House

Here I bought three pieces of supplex (again very hard if not impossible to buy here in the UK) to make workout tops for myself.


Spandex House

And finally, for Kezia I bought two pieces of glittery printed lycra (spandex) to make gymnastics leotards/ shorts, in her requested colours. These photos (all of them in this post in fact) were taken post washing and the glitter hasn’t come away which is encouraging. Again, Spandex House gave me a decent discount (your man Jean was the star here) and that’s always nice.


Spandex House

I left my hotel at 10am and was back by 4pm, exhausted but very pleased with my purchases (I haven’t had by credit card bill yet, haha). All the fabrics came home safely and I am looking forward to sewing them up. I tried hard to buy fairly classic pieces – nothing too outlandish or unusual – just because that’s me. I know when I eventually wear an item made from these pieces I will cherish the memories of our great holiday.

See you soon!


With Swatch at Mood Fabrics NYC


Fabric shopping in NYC and a Linton Tweeds Meet Up

Hello Friends,

Two things today:

  1. I am going to have a whole day to do some fabric shopping in NYC on our forthcoming trip to The States. I am thinking of heading to Paron Fabrics for 10:30am on Wednesday 20th July. From there I was thinking of Chic Fabric, but have just been informed that it no longer exists. So…maybe after Paron’s then Metro Textiles/ Spandex House and Pacific Trims? This is all completely loose, as I haven’t even checked how close things are to each other (any experts feel free to chime in!) In the afternoon if I have any energy/ money/ space in my luggage left, then try for Mood fabrics? So if anyone is feeling jobless on that particular Wednesday and would like to join me please leave me a comment below or PM me (my email address is under my “about me” section.
  2. A couple of people have mentioned they would like to come visit Linton Tweeds. I am proposing a meet-up there on Saturday 17th September. At this stage this is just to guage interest. I have contacted Linton Tweeds asking if they might be able to organise anything for us (like a tour of the production side/ a talk or something), but, till now, have not heard anything. So it might just be a chance to pet the fabrics (and add to your stash), but more than that, meet other folks with a shared interest in sewing, eat some lunch and enjoy some sewing related craic. I will put out more details nearer the time but everyone is welcome.

Until soon. Enjoy the weekend.


Custom Woven Clothing Labels from Dutch Label Shop


Custom woven clothing labels from Dutch Label Shop

Hey Friends,

Some time ago I was contacted by a representative from an American company called Dutch Label Shop asking if I wanted to try some of their custom woven clothing labels. This company specialises in manufacturing high-quality, customised woven labels in quantities as small as 30, which makes it a cost effect solution for individual users (like me!) as well as emerging smaller sized brands. The labels were provided to me on a complimentary basis, with an invitation for me to blog about my experience if I wanted. So here is my honest review.

As far as my personal interests were concerned there were two relevant options open to me: basic woven labels or woven logo labels (the latter option being the one that I took). That’s not to say that I wasn’t tempted by the basic woven labels, because I was. If you check out the pre-loaded symbol options with the basic woven labels you will see there is a sewing (and fashion) category, with loads of very cute symbols like a reel of thread, scissors, buttons, a tape measure, a dress form etc. If you chose to use this option I guarantee it is super easy and fast to create your own basic woven labels with your own wording included.

Anyway, the reason that I went with the woven logo labels was that you have a greater choice of label type (I went for the centre fold just because I often prefer my labels to be placed more discretely in a side seam and this way I can have them in a side or neck seam). Example below:


McCalls 7058 White Cropped Linton Tweed Boucle Jacket – side view – inside lining – custom woven clothing label from The Dutch Label Shop

Creating my woven logo labels was very simple using The Dutch Label Shop’s website. It’s pretty idiot-proof with a good selection of options, including label type and size, label and logo colours and sew on or iron on options. There is also a “preserve light background” option which weaves an additional layer of white thread into your label to vibrantly brighten the background color, and prevent shine-through. As my labels featured a light background with a black logo I included this option and I have no complaints.

In terms of quality, the labels I went for have a very luxurious feel to them. They are heavy and thick and really add that special finishing touch to my handmade garments. 200 labels came to just under $100USD (excluding shipping) and I think that’s pretty good value for money. I also have to really compliment the Dutch Label Shop customer service team because they really were brilliant. They checked my label and answered all my questions.

In conclusion, I love my new labels. I wouldn’t recommend them to you if I didn’t. I am very grateful to The Dutch Label Shop for giving me the opportunity to try their labels out, and if any of my readers fancies trying them out for themselves then there is a discount code which you can enter at the checkout, active for the next 30 days: sewmanju. That code will get you 15% off.

Be back soon!


Custom woven clothing labels from Dutch Label Shop



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