Our tenth Castaway, Karen from DidyoumakeThat

Hi de Hi castaways!  I must apologise for the break in desert island service.  Blame it on my apparent residence on both the fair isle of Prevarication and the atoll of Indecision (when not on my own sewing desert island that is).  And why?  Well I had it in my mind that I would publish some stats after the first 10, & er, I haven’t.  Should I/ shouldn’t I were my thoughts.  And since I hadn’t actually analsysed & hadn’t managed to find time to analyse I put my head in the warm shell strewn sand for a while.  And then I realised that you don’t care if the stats don’t come yet – let’s just get on with some more inspiration & temptation!

And who better to bring us right back on sunny track than Karen of Didyoumakethat.  Now I am sure Karen is no stranger to you, a prolific blogger, an adventurous, thoughtful and philosophical sewster with a natural sense of humour.  I am thrilled that she has taken the time to scribe her thoughts on what her desert island sewing choices would be in between sewing up a storm in the Guardian Style blogging world, sewing up a real storm with the second pyjama party (Tofino style) as well as what must be infinite cuddling distractions with potentially the most coveted schnauzer [have I spelt that correctly?] in blogland.  So let’s get on shall we?  My ice cream’s melting ….

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?

1. The Elisalex Dress.

I desperately want to make this in duchess satin, underlined with silk organza, but it’s finding the time. On the island I’d have all the time in the world! I could fashion a matching necklace out of sand blasted precious stones gathered on the beach and drink imaginary martinis served my imaginary waiter.


2. The Bombshell Swimsuit pattern,  released by Closet Case Files.

I’d need something glamorous for when I go snorkelling! (Bombshell Pattern available here for download)

3. A Hawain style sarong dress for walking barefoot on the beach. Isn’t this Simplicity 1168 fun-looking?

Could a lobster print work?!


4. Cargo pants. When I shimmy up trees to gather coconuts I’ll need somewhere to keep my machette.

Maybe these Style Arc Kerry Cargo Pants.

5. Something self-drafted? I’ll have a lot of time on my hands for pattern tweaking.  [Oohh, Karen, I can barely guess what it might be?]

6. I’d need the perfect summer dress!


I think the Vogue Vintage 8812 is sweet.

7. Maybe I could make a waterproof version of the Minoru Jacket.

There will be storms on this desert island, and I need an excuse to make a third version of this pattern. [ Editor note: the image shows Karen’s second version].

8. Let’s push the boat out with a tailoring make. Something to challenge me.

I’ve often had my eye on the Vogue 8333 jacket. The only thing that’s held me back is my lifestyle doesn’t really lend itself to jackets like this. I wouldn’t need one on a desert island, either, but heck – what else am I gonna do?

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

I would take The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide To Sewing.

This was one of my early sewing book purchases (secondhand) and it’s been my most useful book resource. It’s extensive and would supply me with lots of reading material and opportunity to try new techniques!

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

This was a really difficult question to answer! My all-time favourite novel is The Great Gatsby, but that’s too slim a volume to keep me occupied for long. Hmmmm. Maybe, I would take the collected works of William Boyd. I love his writing and he’s tried several different genres, so I’d have a great variety to pick over.

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

My dog, Ella! She would make me laugh, force me into regular exercise, and be a snuggly hot water bottle on those cold, exposed nights.

[I took the liberty of seeking a suitable pic from Karen’s blog, it’s appropriate, yes?!]

Maybe I would weave her a dog basket out of palm fronds – though she’d probably chew it to pieces.

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

I have an album on my iPhone that has been my surprise success: Classical Chill Out. I’ve gone back to it time and time again. A music aficionado might pour scorn on these ‘easy listening’ classical extracts, but the music there has been my salvation many times: during awful tube journeys, when writing or reading, walking the dog. I think the 59 tracks would be enough to save my sanity on a desert island!

Well there are some unique & inspiring choices in there, I think you’ll agree- with a vintage -inde showing also.  And I might be repeating myself but I find it super interesting to discover new ideas for music & reading.  Love it!  Thank you Karen.  Shall I give you a hint as to our next castaway?  It’ll be Melissa of Fehr Trade.  Watch this space.  It’s another cracker.

13 thoughts on “Our tenth Castaway, Karen from DidyoumakeThat

  1. Philippa

    What a great idea to take your dog! I would, too. Elegant pattern choices, I really liked the 50’s beach set, and the cargo trousers and Minoru for when practicality was required. A girl after my own heart!

  2. Liz

    I love these posts, they are a fun insight into the sewers. I also love that they sometimes introduce me to new patterns that I might have previously overlooked.

  3. Kerry

    What! I did not know there was a sewing pattern that shared my name!

    Nice choice of patterns Karen, and I love that Readers Digest book too.

  4. Penny

    I love how much thought goes into these posts, both interviewer and interviewee. As for the Atoll of Indecision. Fabulous. Now I have an excuse for any procrastination – I’ve been to the Atoll of Indecision!

  5. sylkotwist

    What a great selection of patterns and I too have the Readers Digest book (also second hand), it’s brilliant! Sounds like heaven to be stuck on the island, I love these posts, long may they continue!

  6. Gjeometry

    Aw, very nice desert island interview! I have my eye on the Elisalex dress pattern as well, have seen it sewn up and it looks so beautiful! And, so good that Karen would bring her doggie. I would have Kitty in tow, for sure!

  7. Gjeometry

    Oh, BTW, I just got the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing at a charity shop last week for $2!! I had heard so many people say it was their fave sewing book, and now so excited to have a copy.


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