Show us your Stash…. Rachel!

One more brave blogger has held up her hand and admitted stashing.  Rachel from House of Pinheiro has graciously answered Kat & my questions about her stashing habits, and sent us some lovely photos as evidence.  The longer we do this, the more I am ashamed about my organisation – or lack thereof!

How long have you been sewing & stashing?  How big is the stash?

Rachel from House of Pinheiro
Rachel from House of Pinheiro

I first threaded a machine in Sept 2009, completing my 1st ever project (a denim skirt) early December. By then, I was hooked by the sewing bug and my fellow had no choice but to get me a machine for Christmas.

For the 1st year, I only bought what I needed for each project. That meant fabric, threads, zippers…  nothing extra, very controlled.  My stash actually started building when my sewing books started to take space out from my baking bookshelf.  As I enjoy quilting too, those little fat quarters sure know how to multiply….

By mid 2011, when I started to engage with other sewists and the blogsphere, my fabric shopping attitude changed and I started to buy a lot more fabric, specially during meet ups.  Blogging is the biggest stash enabler.  That’s why I loved your idea to community de-stashing.  Last year my stash has grown from 10 pieces of fabrics to 40.  That’s not considering my quilting fabrics.

I’m trying to avoid shopping online and only buy maximum of 3 pieces during meet ups shopping trips and that seems to do the trick and stabilise my fabric stash growth.

I don’t know how many sewing magazines or haberdashery I own.  I like to keep it all tidy into boxes and dive in when I need something.  I only recently stated cataloguing my stash using APP Evernote.  It’s fantastic.  I used it often at work.  I use it for adding blog post ideas, general notes and visual photo and info of my stash.  I’m hoping to catalogue everything I own by the end of the year.  I have been meaning to blog my progress as a means of getting me doing it.  My last pattern count was a bit over 130… Scarily growing.

Books, fabrics, notions...
Books, fabrics, notions…

My sewing addiction is actually stashing a bit of everything.  I hate when I am in the middle of a project or at the start of an idea and I got to go out to buy something.  My buying reflects that… I have at least something of everything I would need – like running a small shop!  Now that I tidied all my equipment in one place I found I had a bit more than one, lol.  My current pincushion collection count is 10.

Where do you keep your stash?  How do you store it, etc?

I keep my dressmaking fabrics divided into sections inside the bottom of a wardrobe.  It’s sectioned by left side being summer and right side being winter.  Every few months I pull the fabrics out and check what I want to sew with.  Then I arrange the ones I want to use first at the top of the pile for easy access.  I would love to have separate drawers so I could also separate by season and content.  My more expensive fabrics are also in a transparent plastic bag.  Some fabrics have note with description of size and content.  That’s another problem I hope Evernote will fix.  When you have a small stash, it’s so easy to control what you have but now, I feel if I don’t get organised immediately my stash will explode and I will really loose time digging in.

My daily sewing equipment is kept in 2 drawers on the sewing table.  Everything else on my bookshelf, he bookshelf arrangement keeps changing as I buy more stuff and try to fit in.

My patterns are kept in 2 big baskets, the light colour is the patterns already cut and the blue are the uncut patterns.  All the cut patterns are stored in individual plastic folders.

rachel stash2 Collage

What is the oldest piece in your stash?  What was your original plan for this piece, and why hasn’t it happened?

My oldest piece is this beautiful and flimsy Diane Von Furstenberg inspired silk.  It was on sale, and I bought it by the end of 2009.

I like to find special fabrics for special projects.  At the time I didn’t have anything in mind for it or even now, I don’t… so it’s back to the stash.  That fabric will have it’s time to shine sometime in the future.

Diane Von Furstenberg inspired silk
Diane Von Furstenberg inspired silk

What’s you favourite piece in the stash? Where did you get it, what do you love about it and what do you think you might do with it?

That all time favourite piece has been transformed into  V8674, version C and recently I used the left over on Cynthia Rowley Tulip Skirt 2512.  This beautiful Mohair wool from Macculloch & Wallis cost me £30 per metre.  I had bought 3m of it and don’t regret at all. I love wearing it.  It’s warm, soft, elegant and looks very expensive!

The next one, it’s a lovely black and white houndstooth wool that I bought back in 2011 and It’s going to be Colette Anise.  Very Chanel inspired.  I love it for the same reason of the mohair wool above.

Does the fabric you buy go straight into hiding, or do you wash it first?

Confession time, with all my good sewing habits, I don’t like pre-washing my fabrics… (Horror face???) They go into storage.  When I wash them (If I do… I overlock the edges before…)

Rachel's bookshelf
Rachel’s bookshelf

How do you add to your stash?  Do you buy with a purpose in mind, or is it fabric lust?

I have Poly-phobia.  I don’t like to buy polyester (knowingly) and rarely will buy man made fabrics unless blended on natural fabrics like cotton satin.  I have a passion for wools and linen.

For my wools and more expensive fabrics, I buy them when they are on sale out of season.  Linen, cottons and knits I buy when I find a nice drape and colour.  Well, recently I have been buying loads on the cheap markets (and maybe turning a blind eye on the content…)

Do you have something in your stash that you cannot bear to cut into?  Why?

No, everything is fair game.

Do you just stash fabric, or does the problem include patterns and notions? 

What you guys think? lol


Have you decided to do a “Stash-busting” resolution this year?  If so, what have you decided to do?

I will rarely buy fabric for a specific project.  I will always try my stash first, so I am constant stash busting mode, but to help the cause I’m on a fabric shopping ban until my birthday.  That’s 6 months away!

Thank you so much, Rachel, for letting us have a peek at your sewing room.  I think it’s time I did some re-organising of my own!  Don’t forget, if you’d like to take part in our stash swap, leave a comment below.  Check out the guidelines etc on Kat’s blog.

A Tale of Two Skirts

Better late than never, right?  These are two skirts I ran up after New Year for Daughter No1.  They both use up fabric from my stash, score!

Straight skirt
Straight skirt

One very simply cut from the straight skirt block with a shaped waistband & invisible zip.

Gored Panel Skirt
Gored Panel Skirt

Another developed from the straight skirt block, same shaped waistband as before, but this time a gored panelled skirt with piping in the seams.

Fitted straight skirt
Fitted straight skirt

The straight skirt first – the fabric was from my stash, the left overs from the trousers I made in the Autumn.  I usually over-buy fabric when I’m not 100% sure what I will make.  Anyone else have this problem?  Thus I am frequently left with pieces of about 50cm or so.  Thankfully daughter No1 was happy to have me use up this little bit for her skirt.  The lining also came out of the stash in the cupboard, (as did the lace & invisible zip) so I did well on this!

Dressed down with t-shirt & puffy jacket
Dressed down with t-shirt & puffy jacket

I thought it would be nice to have a pretty hem detail, the hem was edged with some black lace and hand stitched in place.

Hem treatment
Hem treatment


I used a skirt hook & bar for the waistband closure, rather than a button.

For skirt no2, I had some black & white heavyweight herringbone wool that I’d got from Harlequin Fabrics in Leamington Spa in September (£8 for 1.5m in the sale!).  I had originally thought to make a 60’s style skirt for Daughter No1, but she nixed the idea.  Instead she wanted a skirt with the same waistband as the straight skirt, and the same length.  I still wanted that a-line shape, and we compromised on a gored panelled skirt.  I had in my mind an idea to emphasise the panels, so went digging to see if I had any black bias binding in the stash boxes.  Instead, I found pre-made piping, perfect!


That piping has been hanging around a while, the lable is in Afrikaans, with a very cheap price tag in South African Rands.  I shudder.  It could be as much as 22 years old…  Nevermind, it has been used now!  😀  As you can see from the shiny black stuff in the picture, I didn’t use the wool to face the waistband.  Daughter No1 is a sensitive little thing, so I used some black crepe backed satin, again from the stash.

Piping in the seams
Piping in the seams

I piped the seams in the panels, and along the lower edge of the waistband.


The result…  I also bound the hem with black cotton bias binding.  The idea was that as it is fairly stiff, it will add bulk to the hem, making it stand out.  This herringbone also frays like mad!  I had overlocked all the seams to make sure we had no mad unravelling, because this skirt has to survive being washed in a machine at Uni…


Art student??

Love the flared hemline
Love the flared hemline

You will notice I didn’t pipe the side seams…  There is a good reason, I promise.  1 – the invisible zip is in the other side seam, and invisible zips do not play well with added bulk, or piping.  2 – I had run out…

The making of these two pieces allowed me to buy that fabulous giraffe print for Daughter No2’s Jungle January jacket, and another two pieces from my stash have been allocated to another two projects, which is why I was allowed to buy some spotty twill from Ditto for Daughter No2 to make her Polka Dot offering for February.  In addition, I have (almost) finished a project from February’s Burda, just the hems to do, also using a piece from my stash.  Phew, this is exhausting!  I have finally succombed to keeping a note book to keep track of everything!

Has anyone else signed up for the Sew for Victory sewalong with Lucky Lucille?  That’s another job for February!  I have started on the pattern cutting, and identified 4 pieces of fabric to use!  Daughter No2 and I will both benefit from this little challenge, we have chosen blouse patterns, because we can bring them up to date with jeans etc.  So I had better get some sleep, because I need to crack on with the toiles tomorrow!

Don’t forget the Swap your Stash party is continuing, if you’d like to join in the swap, leave a comment below or on Kat’s blog.  You can also just show us your fabric stash.  Maybe it’s madly chaotic and leaves you a little frazzled, maybe you are a queen of organisation and can share some secrets with the rest of us.  The “questions” are available, just copy them onto your blog, fill in some answers and post some photos of your fabulous fabrics for us all to drool over!




Show us your Stash……. Anne!

In our ongoing investigation into the sewist’s tendency to hoard fabrics, patterns and shiny, pretty things, I can now reveal what goes on in Anne‘s fabric room – yes, you read that right, she has a room!!!

anne b small, manageable   

How long have you been sewing & stashing?  How big is the stash?

Gracious- I would say that my stash is anywhere from 2 days to 15 years old. I’ve sewn off and on forever, but stopped and started again when I moved to SC.  My stash is safely contained in 1 room in a variety of boxes and (cue sinister music) the closet of infinite textile hoarding

anne b under the loveseat

Where do you keep your stash?  How do you store it, etc.

I hang all dress fabrics after pre-washing on hangers in almost no order (although current season in the front) in the closet already mentioned with reverence, fat quarters are all in tubs under the love seat (thought of as beds by some less-respectful 4 leggers) and upholstery and quilty stuff is in a series of giant totes stored in dangerous teetery stacks in said closet. One day a cat will pull the wrong thing jenga style and the entire side of the house will collapse in a black hole style vacuum of fabric doom. But I’m sure it’s fine. You aren’t a fire marshall, right?

anne b Katze Lu (1)

What is the oldest piece in your stash?  What was your original plan for this piece, and why hasn’t it happened?My friend Deanna gave me a ton of fabulous sheer fripperies and I have used them almost- almost. This brown sheer floral print is my fave and it must be used just right- so it’s been supervising the closet for at least 8 years.


The oldest piece
The oldest piece

What’s you favourite piece in the stash? Where did you get it, what do you love about it, what do you think you might do with it?

Honestly, I am shallow- they are all my favourite pieces, because I think of this as textile fostering and wouldn’t want any of my charges to feel like I didn’t love them and nurture them equally. This helps me with the guilt when I swap. I’ve sending them to permanent homes where they will be loved and each given an invisible zipper and a pony.

anne b flocked tafetta

  Does the fabric you buy go straight into hiding, or do you wash it first?

I’m rewash gal. It goes right into the laundry room. I think the husband thinks that sometimes I only do his laundry if I haven’t bought enough to fill an entire load.

anne b mine, mine!

How do you add to your stash?  Do you buy with a purpose in mind, or is it fabric lust?

Ok, sometimes I have an idea, a grail project, sometimes…ok, most of the time, it’s just lust. What if it goes to the wrong home? What if they don’t love it as I do? What if they use it to make shortalls or something? I just can’t have that!!!

anne b paisley terry
Paisley Terry

Do you have something in your stash that you cannot bear to cut into?  Why?

The first time I saw the generosity of the sewing planet in action was over a year ago. I coo’d at a piece of fabric and that gorgeous blogger sent it to me! It’s the most distinctive and lovely plaid fabric and it screams Vivienne Westwood. It must be the perfect pattern and I would curl up and die if I didn’t do it justice in form and finish.  ElleC– I haven’t forgotten my treasure- you sweetie!

The untouchable...

Do you just stash fabric, or does the problem include patterns and notions?

I think I am part crow on my Father’s side. No, not the tribe- the birds that like shiny, tacky objects. I have an obscene amount of potential use items- covered button kits, bias tape, buttons, ribbon roses, rulers and lets not even talk about patterns. That part of the fire hazard is pretty scary!

The magpie's hoard


Have you decided to do a “Stash-busting” resolution this year?  If so, what have you decided to do?

Um, well, I mentioned it briefly to the husband and he took great umbrage with the whole idea. His shopping for his hobby out-costs mine, so his guilt is assuaged every time fabricmart comes a creeping up to the door. You don’t want him to feel bad, do you? I mean really, have a heart! Also, I must say that now that I have seen a particular young ladies walls of catalogued pretties, I feel like I’m still in the minor leagues, so I think I’ll do a little shopping when we are done here!

anne b Flannery is bored
Flannery is bored

Wow, I think I need a wardrobe for my fabrics too now that I’ve seen yours all hung up like that!  I wonder if husband will swap his cupboard space for a few plastic boxes..  :/  Thank you, Anne for letting us into your sewing space!  A reminder that you can see the list of participants here, and check out the offerings on the Pinterest board.  If you’d like to take part in our great swap, have a quick look at the guidelines and then join the fun.


Show us Your Stash….. Kat!

The stash swapping party seems to have go off to a very good start over the weekend, it’s been great to see some of the lovely things up for grabs on Pinterest and blog posts.  A reminder that you can see a lits of all the participants here.  If you’d like to join in the swap, just leave a comment below with a link to your blog, and we’ll add you to the list so that other sewists can find you easily.

As promised, Kat and I have decided to reveal our stashes to the world.  You can see mine on Kat’s blog, but here we are revealing Kat’s collection of fabrics etc.  I set her the same questions as I answered, and demanded photographic evidence too!


How long have you been sewing and stashing?   How big is your stash?

Oh gosh, do I really need to answer this?!?   (*Goes and hides in a corner in embarrassment.*)

Um, well, I got into sewing again back when I was in the early days of university, so around about 14 years ago now.  And I’ve been stashing since then.  I come from a long line of stashers – my mother has a nice big stash (part of which has migrated to my stash, haha!) and my grandmother apparently has a stash of sewing and knitting patterns (which I hope to be able to see one day soon, she keeps them hidden away).  So you could say I come by my stashing tendancies naturally, and there wasn’t really any way to avoid stashing.  I’ve also inherited a few stashes from friend’s mothers when they found out I sew.


Yes, my stash is out of control.  It’s bigger than I want to contemplate.  Here’s some of it…..

Very full fabric crates
Very full fabric crates

Where do you keep your stash?  How do you store it?

Anywhere there’s space!  😉

About half of it is stored in boxes lined up against the wall of our spare bedroom.  The rest is stored in my bedroom (which is quite large, and half of it is my sewing area).

The fabric in boxes is all labelled to make it easy to find – I group it by knit or woven, and often by season as well.  I list all the contents on a label on the outside of the box, and cross it off when I’ve used it.  (And write in when things get added, naturally!  😉

More fabric!
More fabric!

I’ve got three suitcases full of fabric as well – I’ve got labels written out and attached to the suitcase handles to tell me what’s in there.  Having labels on the outside of the fabric storage containers is great – I can browse my stash at a glance and easily find what I’m looking for.  (And yes, I know pretty much all of what I have in there, so usually I’m just looking for a specific piece for a project.)

Vintage suitcases
Vintage suitcases

I also have a cupboard full – patterns (grouped by era) on the top shelf, and fabric on the bottom shelf.

And three shelves in my wardrobe have ended up being fabric.  And one shelf is patterns.

And there are a few bolts of fabric in the wardrobe in our spare room.

(Yes, I have a fabric “problem”.  *sigh*  But it’s all so purty!!)


Pattern shelf - or is that shelves?
Pattern shelf – or is that shelves?

What is the oldest piece in your stash?  What was your original plan for this piece and why hasn’t it happened?

Eek!  Good question.  I have no idea.  The oldest by age would be some I inherited from other people’s stashes.  Oldest I bought myself?  Probably one of these crazy bright synthetic knit things – I went through a stage in early university years of dressing in crazy bright 1970’s print fabrics and flared jeans.  I still have some fabric left over from those days, heck knows what I’ll do with it as it so isn’t my style any more……  (Maybe swap it??)  Pretty much as soon as I started sewing I started accumulating fabric faster than I could use it!

What’s your favourite piece in your stash?  Where did you get it, what do you love about it, what do you think you might do with it?

Oooh, so many options!  I love most of my stash, it makes me happy and I see ideas and pretty things whenever I look at it.  🙂

Some of my favourites are:

This cotton fabric with retro swimming ladies printed on it.  I got it as part of the Sewists Secret Santa swap – whoever sent it to me totally nailed my style!  (And I really want to know who it was!!)  I’m going to turn it into a 1950’s shirt at some point soon.

Swimming ladies
Swimming ladies

My mother just gave me this Mondrian-style cotton drill.  Ain’t it fabulous?  It’s going to be a 1950’s full skirted dress, to make the most of that awesome bright print.

Mondrian style drill
Mondrian style drill

I’ve had this stitchbird printed quilting cotton for a couple of years now.  I absolutely adore it, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to turn it into a dress.  1950’s or 1940’s style?  One or the other…..

Does the fabric you buy go straight into hiding or do you wash it first?

I always wash it as soon as I get it home.  When I want to start a project, I want to start straightaway, so everything needs to be ready to use as soon as I want to use it!  (Impatient?  Perhaps.)

Bags are packed!
Bags are packed!

How do you add to your stash?  Do you buy with a purpose in mind, or is it fabric lust?

A bit of both.  I stash patterns as well, and sometimes I find fabric that I know will be perfect for a pattern I’m wanting to make up.  Most of the time, the fabric is what dictates a project for me though – I see something, it calls my name, whispers in my ear that it wants to be a dress or a shirt or a skirt, and next thing I know I’ve bought it home and it’s sitting on my desk while I try and find space for it.  Oops!

Do you have something in your stash that you cannot bear to cut into?  Why?

I bought a length of gorgeous lightweight dark green silk, with gold metallic thread spirals on it, a few years ago.  (Read: about 9-10 years ago.  Oops.)  I love it – it was one of those (very very few) times when I bought fabric without knowing what it was going to be turned into.  And I’ve never used it.  It’s so pretty, it seems it needs to be an evening dress, but I never wear those so see no point in making one.  And so, it languishes in my stash.  Every so often I bring it out to look at it and admire it, and feel a little bit guilty that I still have no idea what to make out of it….

Green embroidered silk
Green embroidered silk

Do you just stash fabric, or does the problem include patterns and notions?

Oh no, I’m a nice well-rounded individual.  My problem includes everything.  I have boxes and drawers full of patterns and notions.  I even have two sewing machines sitting around unused, both vintage ones I’ve picked up somewhere, intending to get them working and try them out.  So many plans, so little time…..

Notions boxes
Notions boxes

Have you decided to do a “stash-busting” resolution this year?  If so, what have you decided to do?

Hah, yes indeed!  No fabric or patterns or notions buy for me.  At all.  (Unless it’s something I need to finish off a project, like interfacing or a zip.)

(You will note, however, that there are a couple of little loopholes in this.  I’m allowed to be given fabric etc, win it, or swap for it.  All permissible activities.  I need some way to refresh my stash, even if I’m not allowed to purchase things, after all!  😉

Thanks Kat for letting us have a glimpse into your fabric hoard!  I love your vintage suitcases, and I think I may have to start labelling my boxes, like you do.  You certainly do have a lot of fabric, good luck with the swapping!


The Stash I need to Swap

After going through my boxes, bags, drawers and hidey-holes, I have grudgingly put together the following to swap in the great stash swap party…

There are also a heap of patterns, please check out the Pinterest board for more.  If you fancy a piece, leave me a comment and I will reserve the fabric for you.  I will remove the item when we have done a swap.  Comments can also be left on the pinterest board.

Black jersey with spotty circles - detail
Black jersey with spotty circles – detail
Black wool with sparkly stripe.  55cm x 150cm wide
Black wool with sparkly stripe. 55cm x 150cm wide









Black jersey with high elastane content.  Drapes very well, cool to wear.  1.6m x 150cm wide.
Black jersey with high elastane content. Drapes very well, cool to wear. 1.6m x 150cm wide.
Stripe cotton seersucker 1.5m x 140cm wide
Stripe cotton seersucker 1.5m x 140cm wide


Grey poly jersey 2m x 150cm wide
Grey poly jersey 2m x 150cm wide









Black cotton corduroy. 50cm x 120cm wide
Black cotton corduroy. 50cm x 120cm wide
Very dark blue wide wale cotton cord.  50cm x 150cm
Very dark blue wide wale cotton cord. 50cm x 150cm









Black & white wool/poly blend.  50cm x 140cm wide
Black & white wool/poly blend. 50cm x 140cm wide


Black wool with sparkly stripe.  55cm x 150cm wide
Black wool with sparkly stripe. 55cm x 150cm wide

Join the Party!

Fabrics.  Patterns.  Buttons.   Ribbons.  Boxes, drawers, cupboards and bags full of lovely things.  That’s what is hiding in my sewing space.  Some aren’t doing a terribly good job at being discrete.  Just about every year I tell myself I have to make more from what I have before picking up a delectable new something or other.

This time I decided I’d have to use two pieces of fabric from the stash before being allowed to purchase anything new.  So far, so good, but I have to admit that some of what’s “hiding” just isn’t me anymore.  And because I bought it for me, it won’t suit the girls either.  What to do?  SWAP!!

Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes and I have been planning a swap.  One person’s unsuitable fabrics or patterns could be just up someone else’s street.  And there’s no buying involved!  A win-win if you ask me!  Join us to Swap Your Stash this February – yes, just for February!!  We even have a button!  Thanks to Kat for this part, I’m hoplessly low tech on that front!

swap your stash

<div align="center"><a href="" title="Didyoumakethat"><img src="" alt="Swap Your Stash" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

We’ll be revealing our own swap items in the next day or so, along with interviews from bloggers about their own stashes, how much they have, how they hide store it and how they add to it.   We have set up a Pinterest board for you to browse, and to add your own pictures of swap items.

Join us – it’s easy!  Read the guidelines, write a blog post showing all the things you want to swap, pin to Pinterest and let us know in comments on one of our blogs (Kat‘s or mine) what the URL of your swap blog post is. We’ll add you to the participant list, so other swappers can find you.

Get digging!  😀



Swap Your Stash!!

Welcome to the Swap Your Stash party! Want to join in? We’d love to have you!

Here are the guidelines on how to take part. We’ve designed them so that everything runs nice and smoothly and awesome swaps are made by all. (If you’re looking for other details, you can find pretty much everything via the Swap Your Stash page.)

What can I swap?
Stash Swapping is open to everything stash-related – fabric, patterns, and notions. (Heck, even sewing tools, if you feel that way inclined!) It’s up to you and the person you’re swapping with what you feel is a good swap for what.

How do I get added to the participant list?
Joining in is easy – just do a blog post (or two, or three…) featuring the things you want to swap, link back to the master list by leaving a comment on it or one of the stash swap pages with the link to your swap blog post (we’ll see your comment and add your post to the list), and start swapping!

I see there’s a Pinterest board – what’s that about?
There’s a Pinterest board set up as well so that people who are participating can see all that is being swapped in one place. It’s a good idea to add things you’re swapping to the Pinterest board, as it means it’s a lot easier for people to find things they like and want to swap for. Leave a comment below with you Pinterest handle/name and we’ll find you and add you to the group board so you can pin away. Once you’re added, it’s nice and easy to add things to the board – simply pin each of the images from your blog post.

What should I include in my blog post?
The more details you put about what you’re wanting to swap, the fewer questions you’re likely to have to answer – it makes things easier for both you and your swap partner/s too!

If you’re swapping fabric, tell people:
– the size of the fabric (length and width)
– if there are any flaws/odd bits cut out/etc
– fibre content (if you know it)
Ideally, photograph fabric with a tape measure included in the picture, so people can get an idea of the size of any texture or print.

If you’re swapping patterns, let people know:
– the size of the pattern
– whether it’s complete/pieces are missing

If you’re swapping notions like lace or ribbon, say:
– length and width

With everything, the better the pictures and descriptions, the more they’ll appeal to people!

What about sending things?
It’s up to you whether you’re happy to send internationally or not. (Or maybe you’re happy to post patterns overseas, but not fabric?) Either way, make it clear on your blog post so there’s no confusion.

The swapping finishes on 24 February. Aim to have all of your swap items posted off by 3 March.

What do I do once something has been swapped?
Once you’ve swapped something, make it clear that it’s no longer available. Update your blog post to say it’s been swapped, and (if you put it on) remove it from the Pinterest board. That way, there’ll be no confusion!

And the most important thing of all?
Have fun!! This is all about making friends, and reinvigorating your stash. Enjoy it!

How can it be February already?

Where does the time go??  January has been a blast, so many new things!  Resolutions are still going strong, I wonder how long they will all last!  I decided 2013 would be the year of “Do something different“.   So what am I doing?

  • Fabrics & sewing:  I have to use up my stash of fabrics and patterns!  I have decided that for every 2 pieces of fabric I use from my stash, I am allowed to buy 1 piece of fabric new.  IF I need it.  Of course, notions, linings and interfacings are completely absolved from this!
  • Getting out & about:  Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim has a “A Photo A Day” challenge.  There are word prompts for each day, and you’re encouraged to interpret these for your photo.  I’ve had a great time so far.  I do not have a fancy camera, and sometimes have to rely on my phone, but I’ve discovered some really cool apps and editing software online.  My new header was made using PicMonkey‘s collage options!
A couple of my photos from the January prompts
A couple of my photos from the January prompts
  • Burda challenge.  Melissa of Fehr Trade made something from each of her Burdas every month last year.  Now sometimes you get your new issue and think, “meh, there’s nothing really in there”.  Or there’s too much on & you don’t get round to making anything at all.  I have way too many Burda magazines that have folded down corners bookmarking the patterns I wanted to make, but never got round to it.  So this year I am going to make at least one pattern from each Burda of 2013.  Not necessarily in the month it comes out, but during the year, at least.  This one’s got off to a rocky start, because I haven’t even chosen one from January yet!
  • Joining in.  Jungle January was just the start!  Daughter No2 and I will be partaking in Scruffy Badger’s Polka Dot Fest, but not with a dress.  Remember the spotty fabric sample we got from Ditto Fabrics at the beginning of January?  She fancies that for some capri trousers, so I have traced out an older Burda pattern for her and we’ll get that done this month.
  • Karen from Did you make that? has the 2013 Sewlutions, and I’m in the jar!  I promised to pattern cut some (a) shirt for husband this year.  I must do this, I’ve had fabric form him hanging around so ling some of it has migrated to becoming shrits for the girls & myself!  Poor bloke!  I may even make him a whole suit, but let’s not push my luck too far, ok?
  • Fancy a 1940’s sew-along?  Rochelle from Lucky Lucille hinted earlier in January that she may be hosting one in February, I’m looking forward to that!  I have the perfect fabric for a little summer dress for Daughter No2.  I bought it on impulse 2 years ago from Linda Harper’s in Kenilworth.
Vintage feel cotton fabrics from Linda Harper.  I'm going to use the blue floral print on the right.
Vintage feel cotton fabrics from Linda Harper. I’m going to use the blue floral print on the right.  So far I’ve only managed to use the bright green one and the blue & green next to it!
  • The biggest something different is going to be starting this weekend!  I’m not going to say any more about it just yet, suffice to say it will be fun!  Pop back tomorrow …

I have managed to make the pattern & toile of a biker-style jacket for Daughter no1, which Daughter No2 is kindly modelling here.

Biker-style jacket toile, & no, I haven't ironed it  yet..
Biker-style jacket toile, & no, I haven’t ironed it yet..

Daughter No1 will be home this weekend, so I will get to make some fitting adjustments and get cracking with the grey herringbone twill.  I think it’s going to loook fab!

How are your resolutions doing??




A Giraffe’s Tail – The Long & the Short of it.

So suave in her new jacket
So suave in her new jacket

I need to warn you all, this is a photo heavy post!

Phew, I have had such a blast sewing this month!  Jungle January has been a real hit, with sewing bloggers all around the world taking part.  Thank you Anne @ Pretty Grievances, this was a fantastic idea!

So when last I posted, I had received the samples from Ditto, and was drooling quite nicely over my pretty bits of fabric, sewing up all sorts of plans in my head.  I had drafted the flat overgarment block from Winnie Aldrich, just needed to toile and get on with the playing.  The block toile was fine, baggy, but about what I had expected with the size and (non)shape of the pattern pieces.  Moving on to fiddling and playing with paper, and the toile of the working pattern…


The first toile, and the baggy, ugly sleeve
The first toile, and the baggy, ugly sleeve & armhole

So, I used this block because I figured there was no point in going for a tailored jacket block and all it’s shaping etc.  The flat overgarment block is for fleeces.  Baggy, shapeless, ugly clothes.  I know that now…  The sleeve on the right in the photo above is the original.  I took out the left sleeve and reduced the ease in the head to try to get it to look better.  I also narrowed the sleeve, considerably. It didn’t work.  The back is too baggy, the armhole massive, and we hated it on sight.  So it went into the fabric recycling bin and I started with the tailored jacket block instead!

The sleeve in the 2nd toile, developed from the tailored jacket block
The sleeve in the 2nd toile, developed from the tailored jacket block

So how much better is that!  And the back…

Back of 2nd toile.
Back of 2nd toile.

The relief was palpable!  Daughter no2 was happy with this one, the length, the width at the hem, and particularly, the sleeves!  Then I ran into the next hiccough.  I didn’t want to order the fabric until I had done the toiles and worked out how much I’d need.  Unfortunately for me, Ditto only had about 1m of the giraffe print left! Nooooo!  We did get the dot fabric though…  That’s another project, and one that daughter no2 is going to tackle herself.

After a quick hunt on tinternet I found the same print at ukfabricsonline, and for £1/m less than Ditto, and cheaper post too.  I ordered my 2m and set out to find a suitable lining and contrast fabric.  Lining was pretty easy actually.  I got a superb satin finish lining in raspberry from Fred Winter in Stratford on Avon, but had no luck with a contrast to do the binding on all the edges and to cover the buttons.  Running out of time, we decided to forgo the contrast this time.  Oh yes, I’m making this again!

I love the contrast of the lining when the sleeves are turned back!
I love the contrast of the lining when the sleeves are turned back!

I was hoping for an emerald or turquoise lining for the jacket, thinking fucshia may be, ahem, “slutty”, but this raspberry is the bomb! 😀


FR0054I should say that these photos are all taken on my phone camera.  Husband is working on a new project at work, so has nicked my camera for “research” purposes.


ACan you tell how much daughter no2 likes her new jacket?

09Not too keen on me calling the shots with all the photos though!

If there was ever a reason for doing another it is this:  Parent’s evening at her school was last night.  Her art teacher took one look and wanted to know where she’d got it, wanted to pat it, and warned that if it ever came into the art studio, she wasn’t to be suprised if she couldn’t find it at the end of the lesson.

Once again, thank you soooooooooooo much, Anne, for starting us all on this Jungle madness. It’s been fabulous to read the round-ups of all the projects, and I have found some new blogs to follow too!

Now, what’s on the cards for February??

Giraffe in the Jungle!

Whoop!  The postie really suprised me this afternoon by delivering not only the lavender I ordered last weekend and a letter excusing me from jury service, but the long awaited fabric samples from Ditto Fabrics as well!  😀  Yes, samples – plural….

Sample swatches from Ditto Fabrics
Sample swatches from Ditto Fabrics

Did you really think I’d only ask for the giraffe print??  There’s a oh-so-pretty spotty twill that’s perfect for a pair of 60’s capri pants for Daughter No2 to wear with the giraffe print jacket, a grey wool that would make a fab pair of trousers for me, and a zebra print cotton that was the fall-back should the giraffe print not be up to scratch.  And the stripe cotton…  that’s for me too.  No idea what to make from it, but I’m having some! So the issue with the giraffe fabric when I saw the picture on Ditto’s site was, will it be too fluffy..

Giraffe print - slightly fluffy, but just enough.
Giraffe print – slightly fluffy, but just enough.

Answer – nope!  It’s just right.  There is a very short pile that works very well, so we are going ahead, full steam!  Look out for us in the jungle pretty soon!  😀  Here’s a reminder of the jacket:

Sketch for 60's style swing jacket with contrast binding and bound buttonholes
Sketch for 60’s style swing jacket with contrast binding and bound buttonholes
Jacket in the giraffe and capri pants in the spot
Jacket in the giraffe and capri pants in the spots

And boy am I glad I don’t have to do jury service for the next two weeks!  Apparently there were too many people who filled in their forms and returned them to the summoning officer, so they had too many.  It’s quite nice to know there are plenty of civic minded people out there.