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A letter to my newborn nephew

November 28, 2017

Tuesday, 28th November 2017


Dear Luke

Welcome to the world, my new nephew baby Luke!  And guess what?  I’ve been working on a Christmas stocking for you, just like your big brother’s!  You are only three days old today, but I started making you this whilst you were still in your mummy’s tummy.  I hope you like it!

Now, I’m going to tell you about how I made it, which you may or may not find interesting.  I like sewing – it’s my main hobby.  I mostly like to sew dresses for myself, as you’ll see when you get older and I’m wearing some mad fabric creations.  Don’t worry though – I’ll save some for you and make you some mad pyjamas one day! 🙂 Most months, I work on a project I have chosen to do with materials provided by a company called Minerva Crafts.  It helps boost sales and interest for them, and it helps me fund my costly hobby, so I like doing it.  For this month I chose a Christmas stocking to make for you, for your first Christmas, which you won’t remember, but hopefully your mummy and daddy will keep the stocking safe and you’ll see it every Christmas from now on.

Two years before you were born, I made your brother Jacob the same type of stocking.  You might notice that yours is a little bit different, because this time I remembered to use toy stuffing inside, so it’s nicely puffy and squidgy.  I did the beard wrong though!!! You see the lines of blue stitching?  I was supposed to sew those through all the layers, including the stuffing, to give a more quilted look, but I sewed them on first before I even appliquéd the beard onto the stocking!  Hopefully you can forgive me.  It still looks good, I think.

Shall I tell you a funny story about what happened one night when I was making this?  I had a bowl of crisps to munch on, and I was sewing on sequins, and in a moment of distraction, instead of picking up a crisp to eat, I picked up a sequin instead and I ate it!  Luckily, I didn’t sew a crisp onto your stocking by mistake (BBQ Doritos, in case you wondered).

I also broke three needle threaders whilst making this.  Last night around 7pm my last needle threader broke, and your cousin, Lyra, came up with ingenious idea of fixing it with blu-tac.  I didn’t think it would work, but it did, just about!  She’s a clever girl, that one!

I’ll tell you another secret – we have bought Lyra her own sewing machine for Christmas!  It’s a surprise, so you have to promise to not tell her when we all come to visit in a few weeks, ok?  She’s been working on a hand-sewn present for you, so I’m sure once she’s got her own machine there will be no stopping her and you’ll get all sorts of weird and wonderful creations!

Well, dear nephew, I shall leave it there.  I’ll thank Minerva Crafts for providing the kit for you, so don’t worry about that.  Hope you have a wonderful, magical, first Christmas, and many more to come.

Lots and lots of love

Aunty Louise xxx

I made a pair of jeans!

October 24, 2017

I finally did it!  I made jeans!  Making jeans is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I was quite nervous about doing it.  After making myself some trousers over summer, my confidence level increased enough for me to treat myself to the ever-popular Ginger Jeans sewing pattern designed by Closet Case Files.

To read more about it, check out my full post over on the Minerva site – they provided my fabric, zip, twin needle and rivets.

The verdict?  I either need to size up or I need a stretchier denim!

Lace-trim bloomers!

October 10, 2017

Earlier in the year a friend of mine asked me to make her some ‘below the knee bloomers’, with frills and ribbons at the bottom of each leg, as part of a fancy dress outfit she was planning to wear to Shambala festival in August.  She sent me these images for inspiration.

Inspiration images

We settled upon a design – she didn’t want the frilly bum/bustle thing, she wanted creamy ivory fabric with pale pink bows, and she wanted fitted on the thighs rather than loose.

She asked for an elasticated waistband, but I couldn’t think how to do that and still have close-fitting trousers, so we ended up using stretch fabric instead for a bit of extra give.  I chose a two-way stretch woven polyester suiting fabric in ivory.  With it being such a pale colour I wanted to use a medium weight fabric so that the trousers would not end up see-through!

My starting point was using the pattern for Gertie’s Cigarette Pants, but adapted to fit the design brief.  Here she is at Shambala festival with the whole outfit on:

Doesn’t she look fantastic?! Such a fun sewing project!


Vintage Sewing: The 70s dress

October 3, 2017

Over summer, a good friend of mine turned 40, and had a 70s themed birthday party to celebrate.  I had a rummage through my vintage patterns and found these…

Vintage 70s patterns

…and a search through the online treasure troves of Minerva resulted in me finding this completely mental fabric that was very much the right price for fancy dress!

Fabric from Minerva

Originally I had envisaged making a jumpsuit, but I chickened out as I didn’t think anyone could cope with me being head to toe in that fabric, so I chose the zip front dress pattern instead.

Style 4744 from 1974

The pattern was a size 18, which I knew would be too big, but I made it without alteration at first and then took it in to fit afterwards.  I had to take it in significantly!!

Taking the dress in at the side seams

Once I had taken it in and paired it with the right belt and shoes, it began to look acceptable and I thought I could handle wearing it in public.  There were some fantastic costumes at the party – I made sure to take photos to show on the blog (with permission).  I made a headband out of selvedges and even wore false eyelashes to complete the look!  My shoes are Swedish Hasbeens (Kringlan High, orange).  They are handmade in a traditional way and their design is based on original 70’s clogs.  Perfect for the party, and pretty darn cute to wear all summer!

Me and the birthday girl

Paisley shirts, green flares, orange jumpsuit and wigs – all from Smiffy’s fancy dress


Catch you on the flip side!

Tilly and the Buttons duo – Agnes top and Cleo dress

September 26, 2017

Autumnal greetings to you.  Today I’m showing you a t-shirt I have made for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.  It’s the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top – a really useful pattern for a plain, long sleeved, scoop neck t-shirt.  My inner child chose some whale print fabric to make it in, and when making it I realised I wanted a navy blue Cleo dress to wear over it, so I made both the top and the dress the same day.

Cleo dress with Agnes tshirt underneath

I bought the Agnes pattern in a two-for-one deal from White Tree Fabrics, so all I needed from Minerva for this was the fabric and the matching thread.  I had some clear elastic left over from a previous project.  You can read the full post over on Minerva’s blog here.

Agnes tshirt

For the Cleo dress, I used some navy cotton drill I had in my stash.  I only had 90cm, but it was 150cm wide, so I was able to squeeze the Cleo out of it.  The only adjustment I had to make with the cutting layout was that I couldn’t cut the back facing on the fold, so I added seam allowance and cut two instead.  Despite the small amount of fabric, I had enough room to add two inches to the length of the Cleo.  It’s still mini on me, but not quite as mini!

WOW! buttons

I didn’t have any dungaree clips this time, so I used these awesome buttons I got recently.  Love them!  I didn’t bother with buttonholes, just sewed through the strap and bodice front, and I anchored the straps below the button to the inside by sewing along the topstitching line through both the bodice and the bottom of the straps.  This means they won’t be flipping out, and it adds a bit of extra strength.

Love my new outfit! 🙂


Stripy Colette Wren Dress

August 29, 2017

This month for my Minerva project I chose the Colette Wren pattern and some stripy black and teal Ponte Roma to make it in.

Colette Wren dress

The Colette Wren dress is a pattern which I hadn’t really noticed much, until Me Made May came along and I saw a few cute versions out there.  I think the envelope photo does it absolutely no favours – the dress shown (version one – the sleeveless dress with a 6 gore skirt) is an insipid colour, the fabric looks too sheer and I think it looks too tight!  I chose the pattern for version 2 – short sleeved, wrap style bodice with a gathered a-line skirt.


The dress was very easy to make – I made it in one day and wore it out to the pub that night!  If you want to read more about it, see my post over on Minerva’s blog here.

The Hideaway Hoodie dress

August 25, 2017

I’m back, in black!  This is a dress I made before summer and suddenly it got too warm to be able to wear it!  I think I made it in May.  I discovered this pattern thanks to Maeve of Dress Fabrics.  I saw hers, fell in love with the pattern, and immediately tracked it down.  It’s an Ottobre pattern from one of their magazines, and the patterns are as mental as everyone says they are!

It was the design that appealed to me most of all, but the name had something to do with it, too: the Hideaway Hoodie.  YES.  We all need one!

This was me the moment after I had finished making it. It was LOVE.

The fabric is a textured ponte roma I bought from Minerva some time ago.  It works well although obviously sweatshirt fabric would be the absolute best choice for this pattern…so I might have to make another one 🙂

The dress got its first outing to an amazing circus-style outdoor acrobatics event show thingy – it was in the park and started at 9:30pm so I knew I would need something cosy.  I love the hood!  I’m basically planning on living in this over winter.  It’s just perfect.  I think I’ll throw all my other clothes away now.

Must remember not to wear a slip under it though – that’s what you can see peeking out of the bottom!  In these pics I’ve got a long sleeved tshirt underneath, thick tights and boots.  Perfect cold weather apparel!


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