Desert Island Sewing, our fourth castaway, Sarah of Rhinestones & Telephones

And here’s one for the weekend!  I was thrilled when Sarah of Rhinestones & Telephones agreed to be my fourth castaway.  Sarah’s blog showcases her passionate and very hand-made approach to life, style and how she loves to set a challenge!    She’s got a great eye for spotting an inspirational look & transforming it into a highly successful self made outfit.  Her love of vintage is not only sewn, but extends ever wider into knitted makes too.  She can be relied on for interesting reviews, views and exceedingly good taste!  So once again, the scene …

You are stranded on a desert island, surrounded by beautiful crystal blue water populated by turtles & tropical fish (no sharks!).  You have a comfy cosy shelter, an abundance of food & drinking water & a solar generator.  Upon exploring the island you find a container that has fallen off a cargo ship & guess what?  It is filled with what seems to be a never ending supply of fabrics of all descriptions, threads & notions!!  What chance! 

 You are allowed to take your sewing machine & sewing box but which would be your 8 desert island patterns?  (Note you need to imagine for a second that your desert island’s climate & your adventures did not only require bikinis & sarongs but maybe more of a variety of clothing- but up to you!  The patterns might be your choices based on a practical reasons, or maybe they have more of a sentimental meaning to you, or you have the opportunity to create your dream wardrobe – what will it be?)

1.Colette Patterns Sorbetto

Goodness knows I’ve made so many well-loved and well-worn garments from this trusty pattern, including a sleeveless top, a blouse, and a dress.  I simply could not be cast away without it!

Dot Sorbetto & Refashioned Linen Skirt

 2. Sewaholic Renfrew

This is the pattern that started my love affair with knits.  Prior to owning this, I was terrified of working with them and when I did take the plunge, disaster ensued.  I have made many versions of Renfrew, from the short sleeve tee to the long sleeve cowl neck.   Perfect for a castaway!
Sewaholic Renfrew Dress[And check out the Renfrew Dress too – part of Sarah’s 52 dress project]

 3. Lisette Portfolio Tunic & Dress

Since I’m to be swanning about on a deserted island, the Lisette tunic and dress pattern is the last word in comfort.  I have made the tunic version, which Liesl Gibson was kind enough to include in her newsletter (!!), and, more recently, the dress version for my 52  Dresses Project.  Both are amazingly comfortable yet I manage to look put together when sporting them.   Always handy not looking like you’ve fallen out of a skip, no matter your surroundings!

Portfolio Dress[ooh look at the rick rack too!]

4. Butterick 5763

Keeping with the comfortable castaway clothing theme, Butterick 5763 is another must for me.  An easy, bias cut wrap skirt is ideal and is a cinch to make.  This pattern produces a below the knee, swishy version which is very practical, yet still feminine.  I have used this pattern to make my Lady Mary’s Walking Skirt, which I gave to my friend who looks smashing in it.  I went on to make myself a lined white linen version which is on constant rotation in the summer months and looks great with my lemon yellow Tess Designs’ silk blouse.


5. Colette Patterns’ Jasmine

I’ll definitely need a nice blouse to go with my wrap skirt, no?  Colette Patterns’ Jasmine is so chic and easy to sew.  I have made three versions of Jasmine (plain white, black and white polka dot, and hummingbirds) and plan to make many more.  The sleeve from this pattern makes frequent appearances in my FrankenPattern efforts, such as my Home Sewing is Easy Dress.

Polka Dot Jasmine

6. Colette Patterns Oolong

I know I won’t want to be fussing with fastenings whilst stranded on this Sewing Utopia and Colette Patterns’ Oolong is just the ticket.  A gorgeous bias cut vintage tea-style dress? Yes, please!  I have a blue rose printed rayon challis earmarked for this dress.  One never knows when one will be rescued, does one?

 (Image from Colette Patterns)

7. Simplicity 3688

You’ll notice that I have not yet included a trouser pattern.  That’s because I am an avowed dresses-and-skirts lady.   However, I do recognize that island living does require a pair of comfortable and versatile linen trousers.  Enter Simplicity 3688 – the only trousers that I feel comfortable wearing (next to my gorgeous Heyday ones – worth every penny!).   The fact that this pattern also includes a terrific skirt and blouse is a bonus!  I don’t think Winnie will mind that this one is a bit of a cheeky cheat. [Not at all!!]

(Image from

8. Sew Chic Cloche Hat

The steaming sun of my exile means that I need a fashionable topper.  I am a huge fan of cloche  hats and Sew Chic’s pattern is both pretty and versatile.  Simple in construction, I can easily turn out a utilitarian version for everyday or a fancy feathered concoction for dinner with Lovey and Thurston Howell!


You are also allowed to take two books, firstly which sewing related book would you take & why?

Definitely The Colette Sewing Handbook! I cannot overemphasize the incredible value of this tome.  In my opinion, it is a must have for any stitcher of any level.   My Meringue skirt is one of the most worn garments in my wardrobe.


Secondly, which non-sewing related book would you take & why?

A Prayer for Owen Meany.  This is an outstanding novel and one I highly recommend.  It is beautifully written and will make you laugh one moment and weep the next.  It’s a powerful story of enduring love and friendship and the unexpected impact people can have on your life.

Next your one luxury.  What would you choose (doesn’t have to be sewing related this time!)

Knitting needles and yarn!  I started knitting again just over a year ago and am thoroughly hooked.  I recently completed Susan Crawford’s Quick Work in Thick Wool jumper, which I love.  Being stranded on a desert island without my knitting gear?  Oh, the horror!

And finally if you could only take one disc of music what album would you choose & why?

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s ‘So Far.’  Every song on this album has personal meaning, not to mention beautiful lyrics and music.

Thank you so much Sarah for such a well thought array of sewing inspiration & another book to look out for.  I can picture you now, polka dotted Oolong, Cloche hat (with feathers) walking barefoot along the beach….


14 thoughts on “Desert Island Sewing, our fourth castaway, Sarah of Rhinestones & Telephones

  1. Kerry

    I love the Renfrew dress! Great idea. And the pretty spotty Jasmine – maybe that’ll spur me on to finally get to grips with the pattern 🙂

  2. Andrea

    I love reading these. It’s always interesting to see what patterns people actually enjoy wearing — after their initial blog post about it! Oh, and I must say, Sarah, A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my favorite books, too. I’ve read it three times.

  3. Sarah

    Thank you SO MUCH, Winnie, for the opportunity to be a Desert Island Castaway! 😀 I adore your blog and am very tickled to have joined you today!

  4. Carolyn

    A Prayer for Owen Meany; one of my favourite books of all time too! Sarah will be so glamorous on her island getaway… that tea dress pattern is so gorgeous!

  5. Zoe

    Oooh, what a lovely selection of patterns, they really do reflect a perfect capsule wardrobe that reflects Sarah’s style so well. xxx

  6. Vicki

    I’m with you on a few of these patterns, and Simplicity 3688 is my choice for my first pair of real trousers this month (first pair without elastic waistband!).

    and So Far is such a great album. I had the casette in the ’80s and wore it out, so I had to buy a CD. Now I have the download on my computer for the 21stC.


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