Category Archives: Sewing bloggers

Made Up Initiative- and my pledge

Well hello again!  I am sure that you will have seen the buzz that’s going around sewing blogs caused by Karen as she launched  the Made Up Initiative last week.

In case you have missed it, returning from your hols or some such, Karen and Love Sewing Magazine have concocted a great fundraiser, where you pledge a donation and set your own challenge to make something before September 10.  It can be anything, small, big, complex, simple and not necessarily sewing related either.   There will be oodles of prizes for those who complete their challenge on or before the deadline. All the money raised goes to the National Literacy Trust.

Once again Karen has thought ‘big picture’ with regards to the online community for a cause close to her heart & probably a huge number of us too.  I take reading from granted I have to say & read voraciously.  I got huge amounts of pleasure going to the library as a child each week & finishing my pile of books so that I could go back again.  And sitting down with a brilliant book was the perfect way to entertain my boys as children, & they would be forever soaking up as many stories as we would read them.  But at work I have seen a number of projects started to spread the love of reading amongst children in our district who for various reasons have not been filled with the same love of reading.  Projects with much the same objectives as the National Literary Trust that always resonate with me.  So how brilliant to combine support for more reading & sewing!

So for my part here’s my pledge – I will be making the Ginger jeans before September 10th this year.  Yes, this is also going to be my September Minerva Network project (I have cleared it with Vicki at Minerva to spill the beans way early!) & it was the kind of thing I wanted to do for this initiative.  i could have made anything, remember, but I chose Gingers because it’ll give me an added incentive to get going!  I am really looking forward to making some not as skinny jeans as my Jamies & will make the lower rise version.  Fabric is prepped- (several pre washes), but pattern is not as yet printed out.   Oh, and I have sold my house so I have the no small task of starting to clear ready to move.  Oh, and don’t forget the marathon training too!  I’ll be busy this month then!

Will you join in?  Go on!  It doesn’t have to be a big project – it can be as small as making a tote – or even not using sewing but another craft.  You just need to make something by the deadline. And even if you don’t think you can manage anything by the deadline, you could always just make a small donation.

For all the info on the Made Up Initiative, visit  Karen’s blog post. You can also donate directly to the Just Giving page.  Wow, this could be huge!

Who won and real life Maria

I have got lots to write about but *stuff* happens and as a result I’ve written not very much!  And meanwhile it gets ever bigger. So instead of this mass of unblogged stuff clogging my head, I thought it was about time I put fingers to the keyboard & tap tap tapped.

I have so many sewn things to share, a couple of “how tos”, I have a giveaway to announce, and I’ve even met one of my sewing inspirations…. And I have some runs that deserve a mention. Don’t worry- there is no way I can cover all of this in one, or even two goes, but where to start?

SewSee later for who these belong to…

I should start with the giveaway, how about that? Thank you to everyone who entered & shared some inspiring ideas for using contrast fabrics- you are all winners (sigh). The winner of the Champagne skirt pattern is no. 2 as picked by random number generator ….and that is Lou Sewcial Warrior – congratulations – I will be contacting you and forwarding your email address to Capital Chic Patterns! Now there were some awesome ideas for using contrasting fabric, Lou’s by the way will be using pleather.

She says,

“ I’ve been planning myself a colette meringue with pleather facings on the outside with an orange and blue plaid wool for the skirt. But I think this combo could work just as well for the champagne skirt, which is gorgeous by the way.”

Can’t wait. There were so many racy ideas using animal print (grrr), solid colour blocking, sweet ideas for tartan and even florals. Go check them out for some inspiration! I was also taken with Cat’s suggestion:

“What if it would be a play on transparency? Like a white or cream eyelet with a turquoise lining, but only the body of the skirt is lined. “

which also got me thinking about transparency for a lace skirt with the flounce not lined…

Lovely! Think you’ll be giving some use of contrasts a go? Do tell!

And which sewing legend did I meet? Well none other than Maria Denmark!

Maria Denmark

I have been online friends with Maria for a number of years now but had always missed her visits to London. But this time I took the afternoon off & whizzed across by train to meet Maria and her Danish business partner (& lovely family) at the V&A. They had already managed a visit to Portobello Market and bought lots of vintage sewing nick nacks.

maria denmark

Once in the V&A I am afraid I didn’t pay that much attention to the exhibits as I was far too engrossed in chat!  It was so brilliant to meet in real life – we talked sewing and stuff barely drawing breath. Maria is such an interesting and dynamic personality & as well as her current projects and her sewing/ design background I was also inspired to hear more about her running her own business(es), her online Danish sewing magazine she creates and produces with her business partner Signe (who was also in London with us and who the MD halter dress and top is named after).  It was also fascinating hearing more about Denmark.  You know, I am so going to visit one day 🙂

Bathing suits

We cruised the exhibits, some distracting us enough to discuss the sewing & design! Like these knitted swimsuits which I am sure everyone has the same saggy thoughts about 🙂


Can you see Maria in the mirror? Trying to be arty, but not sure it succeeded as well as it played out in my head!

Afterwards we managed my first trip to Shaukat & I was blown away. I was grateful that the baby needed us to be focused (bedtime called & she had been so content). It could have been serious dither city – I have not seen so much Liberty print in such an expanse of fabric heaven! Lawn, poplins, cord, silks & jerseys. Bolt upon bolt plus shelves of pre-cut pieces. I did not know where to start so just honed in on the jersey.

I had the most amazing time Maria and Signe and baby Saga & Karen.   Interesting fact- Signe’s baby is called Saga (as in the incredible female character from “The Bridge”, pronounced like the computer games Sega)  But no, she wasn’t named after her, but after the Nordic God of sewing.  Talk about a perfect start as a sewster!

Wanna see my loot?

Liberty jersey

I had to buy just one piece, didn’t I? As a double celebration. And it was this jersey. It is quite possibly going to be the most expensive dress I have ever made. But people, I do need to think more about quality rather than always quantity!   There will be a “test” garment before I decide which pattern to make it up into (I have two possibilities, one being the Colette Monetta). Any thoughts yourselves?

Right, that’s it for today, stay tuned for my next catch up. Cheerio for now!

Guest post at Handmade Jane on scarf styling for OWOP

Hi de Hi !

Just a little signpost to something I’ve put together after an invitation from the lovely Handmade Jane in the lead up to OWOP.  I was asked about writing something about my personal style, & as you know it is rather eclectic, but contains red, turquoise, stripes, florals & polka dots for cohesion 🙂 .  I chose to approach scarf styling & how scarves are my outfit-saver when feeling drab or un-cheeky.


Have a look if you haven’t already.

And as for OWOP (One Weel One Pattern).

I am being rather silent on that, but will be taking part.  I have just got to decide what to go for as the one pattern I wear all week.  It’s a toughie – I can tell you it’s going to be between:

Maria Denmark’s Edith blouse & dress

Colette Patterns Laurel dress & top

Sew Over It Ultimate trousers. 

Minerva Meet up and Me Made May

Well hello one & all!  Another info post before I dash off to make busy this weekend.  First a big thank you to everyone who left a comment on my Tweedy post.  I can report back that my Dad even read the comments & so a big thank you for sending him some of your warm fuzzies too!  And you know I do have a small amount of Tweed left, so have all summer to decide how to use it….I’m thinking a bag or a hat …or for some gratuitous LOLs I just have to show this image again in case you missed it the first time…

(Visit on Pinterest)

So, I’m hoping to contribute to a buzz that’s going around about an exciting event – the Minerva Meet up, June 14th 2014.   Vicki at Minerva has been busy planning this for a while now & it’s just gone official!  And I’m going!  I’m so excited as the day itself looks full of incredibly awesome workshops & guest speakers…plus I will get to meet lots of other sewing/ crafting enthusiasts & some of my fellow Minerva Sewing Bloggers – how cool ?  ICE.  Read more about the full itinerary here.  Now the thing I have to decide is how long to visit for.  I might take extra time off & have an extended tour of *The North*.  There is also a page set up with things to do around Darwen (useful if anyone is bringing a +1 who might not be up for a whole day with sewing/crafting chatter).  It is of course close enough to Manchester where my sons live, so that is another option.

So my question is – will I get the chance to meet any of you?  Might you come along?  Please let me know!!

Second up, Me Made May 2014.  I have been a past Me Made Monther & love it, however, these days, if I wear anything that isn’t made by me, that’s the rarity.  So I need to up my game a bit.  This year I will be adding sportswear into the mix, & my coats.  I shall not resort to knitwear made by others even if it was second-hand.  And I shall be recording a daily instagram (@scruffybadgerti) with a few summary posts on my blog- round ups if you like, but not to bore anyone not interested!  So to get with the thing of it, my pledge,

I, scruffybadger, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear only me made outfits, sportswear & coats each day for the duration of May 2014.

And last but not least, we all love the talented By Hand girls now don’t we?  I mean, designing sewing patterns for cats?!  Crazy!  (My cat would be embarrassed by his girth I fear, so no loss of dignity there, Merlin, it’s a promise).  But there are just a few days left for their Kickstarter campaign to set up a design-&-print fabric service- they are already so close, but if you were intending to be a backer & haven’t quite got round to it, or like me were waiting for payday (;-) ) here’s the link.  Deadline Saturday April 12th 2014!!!

Have a good weekend everyone

Big Spring Contest: difficult decisions

Good morning!  After a technology scant weekend (due to mega lovely weather & the lure of taming the garden & a couple of runs) here is a small post about to showcase a couple of the entries in the Big Spring Contest that I put through as “Highly Commended”.   Now you know I would have rated all of the entries this way if I could, don’t you?  And judging was one of those things that I had no idea would be so difficult ….

PROMO 728x90SpringContest1WEB

Well, time for the Highly Commendeds, now that  Offset Warehouse’s Facebook page is now showcasing them across all four categories.  Check them all out here.

As for First Frock of Spring, my category, these two creations pipped the others to the post.

Lauren’s Spring Frock:
Lauren’s spring frock has beed designed around this cornflower voile fabric


Lauren’s design notes say:

The embroidery on the midriff of the dress will be based on an embroidery transfer I found in my Mums old collection, but it was too small to put on the design so I put some other little flowery things on there instead (including a little bumble bee) so you get the idea. I have included the motif on my inspiration board so you can see what it looks like

Now I had this dress in my mind’s eye, & thought the simple choice of the cornflower voile with its embroidery perfectly springy, but also the ideal canvas for such pretty construction details.

Zoe’s  Butterfly Dress:
Zoe’s designed a long summer dress with crochet back and straps.  It would be made using jersey fabric: Red Butterfly Interlock Jersey  This will be for the main body of the dress, as well as the crochet details.

I thought this was so clever, a butterfly themed dress designed around the butterfly fabric.  It’s another dress that I could imagine, although not how to crochet those straps – I would have loved to see that come to life.

Maybe Zoe and Lauren will make their dresses anyway?  Let me know if you do?

And Marilla, our finalist for the First Frock of Spring, as an update, has written about her entry here– see how she is getting on, leave her some support?     I think we’ve just over a week until voting opens?  I hope Marilla is getting on well.  Go Marilla!!

Remember you can check out all of the “Highly Commended” entries for all of the  categories here.


Big Spring Contest: First Frock of Spring finalist

First of all a big thank you to everyone who sent me their “First Frock of Spring” design for the Big Spring Contest.  I received 19 awesome designs – all of which I would have loved to have seen made up.  There were all sorts of wonderful using a whole range of fabrics & classically simple as well as more ornate.

I have to tell you people that being a judge is not actually all it’s cracked up to be.  The pressure!  The responsibility!  Sooo many lovely ideas & designs.  I hummed & haaed for hours let me tell you.  I tried to judge fairly & my criteria were:

  • How much did the design showcase the fabric?
  • How “Springy” was the frock?
  • Points for originality.

Even then it was a tough one.  Good job I left the whole evening aside to complete this very difficult task – I picked one winner with two “highly commended”& I tried to wheedle in more “winners” in my email to Offset Warehouse, but rules is rules!  You are all winners in my eyes, contestants!  Thank you again.  So who is the winner of “First Frock of Spring”?  Which design will be created & pitted against the three finalists for the other categories?

Well done Marilla with your design cleverly using the striped fabric. I was entranced by this design and cannot wait to see it sewn up and modelled.

Marilla says, My first frock of Spring would be this 1950’s inspired dress. I would cut the Pink & White Organic Stripe Chambray in different directions of the grain to emphasise the detail and style lines. Very springy and swingy!


The pattern is a free download from the V&A –

You can see the other three finalists on Offset Warehouse’s Facebook page.  A list of highly commended submissions will also be on there in the next few days – and you might be on it – so please do keep an eye out!  And finally, don’t forget to VOTE for Marilla (or one of the other three finalists) from the 9th April!!  The judging will be open to public votes on Offset Warehouse’s Facebook page, and we want her to win!  I shall remind you when voting is open 🙂

Last few days to enter The Big Spring Contest

Hi all!

I’ve been receiving some lovely entries to the First Frock of Spring for the Big Spring Contest, but this is a reminder that you’ve still a few days to enter before Sunday’s deadline.

PROMO SpringContestmainWEB

Even as we have been running this contest, more fabrics have been coming into Offset Warehouse (eg some fantastic chambrays & denims for your delight!)

And there are more prizes being added.  Take this for example:


Eco footwear brand, Po-Zu, are giving a £50 voucher towards a pair of their amazing shoes, boots or sandals!



Check out their range on their website and keep a look out for their spring summer collection which they will be launching in the next couple of weeks

The Good Wardrobe

Sew It Forward is a frock-friendly initiative from The Good Wardrobe that encourages people to share their sewing, knitting and mending skills. You could be the lucky winner of a Sew It Forward Knitting gift set which includes a Sew It Forward gift voucher, Rowan yarn, knitting needles and Rowan pattern book in a gift bag.
In the spirit of the initiative, this prize is an ideal present to share with someone else: The “Sew It Forward” voucher doesn’t have a monetary value, but is a lovely way for you to give the promise of your time and skills to a loved one, and the yarn, needles and book provide all you need to fulfil a knitting “share”. (Or you could just keep the Rowan knitting goodies all for yourself!).

Tempted?  Remember there are four categories that you can enter (find them on the original post here).  And you have until the end of Sunday 16th March.  Some come on!   Looking forward to receiving more “First Frocks of Spring” to brighten my day & herald the turn of the seasons…lighter evenings, daffodils, birdsong, sunshine ……….sigh

BLOGGER ScruffyBadgerWEB

The Big Spring Contest is launched: Over to you

Are you ready for some fun?  A challenge I shall lay out before you?  Well here goes, something very exciting is afoot and it’s officially started as of today!  In the midst of The Great British Sewing Bee this is your chance to get creative & channel your sewing inspiration!

Offset Warehouse has just launched the Big Spring Contest, and guess what…? I’m one of the blogger judges!


As one of the judges, I’ve been asked to come up with a theme and judge all the entrants for that theme.  I get to pick one lucky winner who will have three weeks to make their design and get the chance to win a whole goodie-bag of prizes!

My theme is clearly Spring related, like we look for the first signs of Spring, my take on it is “First Frock of Spring“.  Design me the frock you want to show that the dark days of Winter are over & Spring is here!  You need to pick which fabric you’d use from the array at Offset Warehouse, but I’m happy that you show me any added details/ embellishment in your design too.  At this stage this is about the design.  No sewing yet.  The winner I pick will then get sent the fabric to make up their design.

All you have to do is send in your design or pattern along with the Offset Warehouse fabric you’d make it with to me by Sunday 16th March.  You can submit it by emailing me at


Send me an image file(s)  (jpg) – it could be a drawing of your design that you’ve photographed  or if you’re more technical & want to do something whizzy with photoshop then that’s good for me too. Or a link to the pattern you’re using, anything to illustrate your design.   Just remember to include a link to which fabric you’d use.

To get started, have a browse on Offset Warehouse’s site and see what fabric inspires you!   Or have a browse of the other themes.  I’m sure you can enter as many as you wan, but only one entry per category. Here are all the bloggers participating and the themes you can choose from:

BLOGGER AliVeryberryhandmade-WEBVisit Ali here

And then there is

BLOGGER CherryBlossomzoe-WEBVisit Zoe here

And also

BLOGGER kerrypennydogWEBAnd Kerry here
And they made me an image too – do you mind it I share that (even though you know what my theme is already!  It’s so cool!!)

BLOGGER ScruffyBadgerWEB

As well as the lucky finalist getting sent the fabric from Offset Warehouse to make their design up in ….if you win these are in the prize pot of goodness…, but I get the feeling there will be more, judging by the website …

PRIZE GreenTulip-Cork-&-Denim-Bowl-WEB
These bambu Adjust-A-Bowls are the ultimate ‘hold everything’ bowl and Green Tulip are generously giving one of each – a hemp organic denim one and a cork one. Fold ’em down, or pop ’em up, use them to store your sewing bits and bobs, pop it in the kitchen for fruit, vegetables or bread, or why not in the bathroom for bottles? Hemp has eight times the tensile strength and four times the durability of other natural fibers, and is mildew resistant and anti-microbial. Cork is renewable and biodegradable, and cork forests are essential to preventing soil erosion, maintaining water resources and storing CO2.

PRIZE buckle-classic-basket

This gorgeous leather trim buckle basket is handmade in Morocco with palm leaves. It is lightweight, strong and free standing, great for shopping, the beach, picnics, gym, nappy bag and much more! The leather handles are incredibly soft and long enough to go over your shoulder and tuck under your arm. With the added bonus of a leather strap and buckle to keep everything safe – it’ll be your new best friend!


DIY Couture: Create Your Own Fashion Collection, by Rosie Martin
The DIY Couture collection is 10 stylish, easy to make pieces of clothing that can be endlessly reinvented in different fabrics, textures and colours. Anyone who enjoys sewing and creating something unique will love using this book to make their own couture wardrobe. With no complex sewing patterns, even beginners at sewing can make their own beautiful clothes.

PRIZE Make-It-Your-Own-Review
Make It Your Own, by Anna Alicia
Anna Alicia, the designer-maker behind eco-ethical homeware and jewellery label A Alicia, brings you 25 beautifully designed projects to help transform your home into a wonderful living space that truly reflects your personal style. The gorgeous photography throughout shows how the projects can work with your existing décor to transform your space. Anna also gives tips on using eco-ethical and vintage materials, a subject close to her heart. Whatever kind of space you live in, this book is about creating beautiful handmade objects that will make it really feel like your home.

So you’ll notice a theme here in the prizes & it relates to Offset Warehouse’s principles- it’s about making it easier & more accessible to make purchasing & living decisions that are environmentally sound.  Whilst we all sew for different reasons, some of us see sewing as a way to avoid buying into the Primark revolution of disposable fashion.  Offset warehouse stocks fabrics (& paints & haberdashery) that have either been diverted from going to landfill or have been produced ethically in the first place with respect for the labour, working conditions and raw materials that have gone into the process.  Every fabric you buy has its history shared with you, which as well as being kind of nice in a getting to know you kind of way, it really makes you think about the other fabric you purchase.  Well it does me anyway.

So! For more details, like deadlines and all the prizes, check out Offset Warehouse’s site.

 At a suitable stage I shall share via Pinterest & on my blog.  I have to say, I cannot wait to see what you creative geniuses come up with!

Desert Island Sewing: Our third castaway, Rachel from House of Pinheiro

I happened to be paddling my canoe one day when I came across another desert island, & guess who I found?  Why Rachel from House of Pinheiro, much loved Brazilian blogging from the UK who I have to say stuns me with her modelling looks nearly as much as her prolific & stylish sewing.    Added to that the tempting baking treats that she has been known to blog about means that I am frequently inspired &  wish I lived close enough to visit House of Pinheiro’s House (I can write that, can’t I?! 🙂 )!

Setting the scene then …

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 I will leave it up to my interviewees to imagine that their desert island’s climate & their adventures did not only require bikinis & sarongs but maybe more of a variety of clothing- but up to them! This is about designing their dream but limited wardrobe.  The patterns might be practical choices, or maybe they have more sentimental meaning).  So what will it be?”

The weather in the UK is grey, cold and uninspiring… Thank you, Winnie for sending me a ticket to the Desert Island Sewing…  Yupiiiii…
I spend ages thinking what to pack: With only 8 patterns from a personal collection of 100 plus and wish list of thousands. Serious decisions ladies!
Excited to see what I have packed? To give you an idea what I would sew, I have attached some inspiration….
The first pattern was an easy choice: Vogue 8766. With 6 variations already in the pattern cover this pattern will offer me endless fun of mix and matching…
The second pattern, very useful for the masked balls I will be hosting… Simplicity 2253
Rachel Simplicity 2253
And a chance to tackle some fabulous and difficult  fabrics.
Of course, I need to run chic errands while away and I love comfort of trousers/pants… I have in my stash the perfect pattern and fabric (found the perfect fabric on Edinburgh) that is dying to be sewn! Vogue 8604 offers a cape and high waist skirt too.
Rachel Vogue 8604

Topless isn’t illegal on the sewing island, however I think Butterick 2682 vintage shirt would do the trick to keep me nicely covered and I would own a few shirt dresses too…

Rachel Butterick 2682

My most used & loved garment of last year (Ikat dress) was made using the dress pattern from Sew U by Wendy, so that’s also packed.
Rachel Sew U
You probably don’t know yet but I have a personal obsession with trench coats. I have my eyes on Threads Simplicity  4084 for ages. I am actively seeking this pattern like a mad woman. Can someone swap with me?? I am in a constant scan of ebay and etsy. I promise It will be so loved.
Rachel Simplicity 4084
Of course,  my Sew-resolution dress for this year, the bombshell.
Rachel Bombshell
And lastly, Elisalex…. I had a blast sewing it and would be great to sew more versions. Have you head of the reversalex? Elisalot? [Editor: Lol…..]
Rachel Elisalex

My sewing book.. yummm that decision was even harder because I am a bookworm nerd with a shrine of books around the house… I own more than 55 sewing books. Don’t get me started on the baking books. One would think I own an independent book shop lol.

I’m taking my Brazilian pattern design book. I have made a toile for trousers, jacket, dresses, skirts and tops from the instructions.
Rachel Sewing book

I simplified its instructions to draft a pencil skirt in 4 steps. I was very lucky to take one week course when I was on holiday home and really enjoy their pattern design techniques.

On my ipod, I would be listening to Seu Jorge, specially ” American Brasil” album…
while re-reading Sherlock Holmes Complete Works from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Like Winnie, I would take a notebook as my luxury item. I cannot sew without one… I also like drawing, writing lists and secrets..
Ps, Did you notice the lack of bikini patterns? Well, I got to wear my 32 pairs I have stored in my wardrobe…
Well,that’s all from me, see you all in the island!
Sources: Fashion Clothes courtesy of
Book Cover courtesy of Penguin
Thank you Rachel for such inspiration!! I have loved reading your choices & seeing your images.  There are some patterns I never knew existed that are incredibly swoon-worthily stylish (very you!).  I am also Spotifying everyone’s music choices & what a wonderful way to discover new delights.  🙂
Coming soon to a desert island near you ….Sarah from Rhinestones & Telephones….

Desert Island Sewing: Our second castaway, Zoe of SoZoWhatdoyouknow

Hello!  Onto our next eagerly awaited castaway on the most awesome of desert islands: the lovely Zoe from SoZoWhatdoYouKnow.  I was about to try to write a sentence describing “in a nutshell” what we know Zoe for, but let me tell you, this sentence would be very long!  This ultra stylish & super lovely lady  with a keen eye for retro style which spilled beautifully into her 2012 hand-sewn wedding, provides us with a seemingly endless supply of refashioning ideas,is the genius behind the Me Made month challenges & responsible for so many of us becoming successful at sewing pants (hers was the first blog post that demystified the process to me) & enabler of vests.  I guess she could be clearly described as an influential facilitator of me made &  sustainable fashion…. See, told you it would have been a long sentence, & that’s only the nutshell…

Setting the scene then …

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 I will leave it up to my interviewees to imagine that their desert island’s climate & their adventures did not only require bikinis & sarongs but maybe more of a variety of clothing- but up to them! This is about designing their dream but limited wardrobe.  The patterns might be practical choices, or maybe they have more sentimental meaning).  So what will it be?”

Ok, so to clarify before I begin, this desert island I’ve landed on is WARM! Maybe in the interior of the island it can get a little cooler, but along the shoreline there are palm trees and a fair amount of sunshine to be enjoyed. Oh and the sunsets are beautiful, you really must swing by sometime. Bring a bottle of wine with you, I’ll barbeque some prawns.

So I imagine my life is going to be a moderately active one, there may be some fire wood that requires collecting and those prawns aren’t going to catch themselves. So I’m thinking jersey, comfortable and practical (plus doesn’t require ironing, I’m not going to want to iron too much unless I’m working on a sewing project).

1. Therefore, my first Desert Island pattern is going to be my self-drafted batwing top, both the slash neck version and the woven collar version

[Editor’s note:  I understand that Zoe aims to have at least the slash neck version available for download soonish, so other sewers can experience how comfortable this top is! What a scoop, you heard it here first!!]

Here’s another one to whet your appetite

2. Continuing on the jersey theme, I’d also bring my self-drafted T-shirt pattern as I’ve made a squillion variations from it, including contrast yoke tops, short sleeved versions and gathered sleeve head options.

3. But what to wear those with? Probs some sailor trousers of some description. I’ve recently located some other sailor trouser pattern options I plan to give a whirl, but on this island with only 8 patterns, I’d best take my tried and tested option: Burda 8488

I really hope there’s some navy, red and mustard linen in that fabric store that’s washed up with me.

4. For warmer days and for prawn-catching, I could do with a pair of shorts. I’m pretty excited about my recent purchase of Kwik Sew 3854, but once again my judgement leads me to taking a tried and tested pattern instead, so probably the Burdastyle Ruby shorts pattern would do the trick (my previous versions can be seen here: and here)

I hope there’s some sets of super cute buttons washed up with me, because between the Ruby shorts and Burda 8488, that’s a lot of buttons I’ll be getting through…

5. I don’t wear skirts very much these days, but that’s largely because I don’t trust the British weather. On my desert island the predictability of sunshine would make a skirt pattern a wise investment. I’d go for Simplicity 2451. The mini skirt version (view D) is so quick to make and easy to wear, plus the pockets would be useful for all the intriguing little things I might find when walking along the shoreline.

6. For days that are too hot to wear clingy jersey tops, looser woven tops would be preferable. Simplicity 4589 gives lots of options to create a variety of loose fitting but super-cute woven tops. I’ve made this a whole bunch of times before with great success and have another currently in the pipeline.

7. And although I haven’t used it myself for a while, my one true pattern-love, Simplicity 3835 [Editor’s note: link to very bargainalicious e-pattern] would have to come along. I’d be able to make all sorts of easy to wear tunic tops and dresses, some with contrast sleeves, some with and some without the neck band, some using the fuller sleeve pattern I adapted, some with a keyhole back, some with patch pockets, and so on. I think this is the only dress pattern I’d bother to bring.

I don’t think there’d be much point in getting ‘dressy’ if I’m basically hanging out on my own the whole damn time.

8. Oh no! I only have one pattern left! Hmm, I’m hoping Winnie might bend the rules and let me bring my vest and pants patterns as a kind of undies set?! [ I don’t know, what do you think people?] If that’s too cheeky and not allowed, I’d take the pants pattern and redraft the vest one using my T-shirt pattern as a base!

A sewing book? If the definition of sewing book can be stretched to include pattern cutting, then it has to be Winifred Aldrich’s ‘Metric Pattern Cutting’.

I’m always tweeking and adapting my sewing patterns, and with a limited number of eight on this island, I’d be even more likely to mess around with them to create different looks and styles.

My luxury item would have to be my overlocker. I’ve grown way too used to it making finishing raw edges and sewing jersey a breeze. I think I’d feel it’s absence during sewing projects bitterly. And with not much to do with my time except sewing and trying to ferment the native fruit into a primitive alcohol, I’d best take it with me!

Disk?: Beck ‘Odelay’. I haven’t listened to it for a while but it’s very upbeat and diverse, plus comfortingly familiar so a good choice I think in the circumstances (I’m a bit concerned I’ll get a bit lonely on this island).

Non-sewing related book: I was toying with bringing Hunter S Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, which is the only book I’ve ever read more than once and enjoyed just as much the second time, I find it really entertaining. However, I would be mental not to take a copy of ‘Nella Last’s War’, which is the published diaries of a British housewife during the Second World War who took part in a Government ‘Mass Observation’ Initiative.

(Image from Good Reads whose review is here)

She was such an intelligent, perceptive, deeply thoughtful and caring woman, and her diary reading touched me deeply. With a lack of human contact on this Island, I think I might need to be reminded about how challenging and multifaceted human interaction can be.

Thank you Zoe for taking the time out to draw together your choices for your desert island.  I think I might have been able to guess your skirt choice ;-s !!  But you have also given us some other interesting patterns to explore, totally perfect for desert island life!   [And you know it was a complete toss up for me whether my luxury would have been my overlocker.]  I am looking forward to following up your musical & book choices too.  Loving all that is coming out of this series, any one else finding new inspiration?

Next Castaway will be Rachel from House of Pinheiro.  Watch this space!!