Tag Archives: Desert island sewing

Our next castaway, Anna from Paunnet

Shall we take a break?  Fancy some sun, sand & sea?  It’s Friday & I have another special guest who’s splashing her feet in the azure waters, idly planning her next makes to use that never ending stash of fabrics on her desert island.  I am thrilled to welcome Anna, from Paunnet, who I have to say is one of my sewing goddesses.  I just love her style & how she puts colours & pattern together.  She is such a skilled sewster, she tackles all sorts of interesting makes & for me epitomises the cute & unique Deer & Doe look – maybe because she was the one that introduced me to that inde pattern company (thank you heartily!)  And she’s Italian too – maybe that comes through her style and is definitely why her photoshoots are set in glorious outdoor settings.  I always look forward to catching up with Anna’s latest wardrobe additions.  Now, what will her desert island choices be?

1. My first pick would be the Bleuet dress by Deer and Doe.

Probably not the most practical choice for a tropical island, but it’s my favourite pattern ever.

After sewing it three times (1, 2 and 3), constructing it became a fun process (even with all those buttonholes!) and by now I learnt that this dress is incredibly versatile. It’s very comfortable, but feminine and girly as I like to dress. Perfection in a dress, really.

2. Second place would go to the Tania culottes by Megan Nielsen. I was very sceptical about this pattern, but once I found out I just needed to add some length to the original pattern to make it more comfortable for me, we became best friends.

It looks like a circle skirt, but it’s a pair of pants! Genius! And so flattering.

3. Next is a pattern for knits that I recently fell in love with (although the blogosphere has loved it since last Summer): it’s the Lady Skater dress pattern by Kitschy Coo. I recently made it in a leopard print knit (meow!) and in a black and white print that will be blogged in the future,

but the fit of this pattern is so good that I also want to experiment and turn it into a t-shirt.Yay for multifunctional patterns!

4. If I’m a on a tropical island, I’ll need a swimsuit! The Bombshell swimsuit pattern by Heather Lou became incredibly popular last summer and it totally deserves the attention.

This swimsuit is universally flattering and helps hiding some critical spots of my body, but it’s still functional enough to swim in. I love it.

5. I’m not a huge fan of shorts, but I definitely would want a pair on an island, (especially a desert one where no one could see my thighs). I really like the Sweet Scalloped Shorts by Pattern Runway;


I tried to make them a couple years ago but I managed to botch both the fit and my fabric choice, so I only wore a couple of times, but ever since seeing Sophie’s beautiful polka dotted pair, I really want to revisit the pattern. Alternatively, I’d choose the Chataigne shorts by Deer&Doe, which I love to death.

6. Next, one of my favourite sundress patterns (that can be easily become a super cute pinafore in colder months): the Parfait dress by Colette Patterns.

My striped version is still one of my most worn handmade items.

7. In case it rains on my tropical island, I would want some practical but cute outerwear, and I’d choose the Minoru jacket by Sewaholic.

I’d love to make a waterproof one, but for the moment, I’m still using my grey version and get compliments every time I wear it. People cannot believe it’s handmade, but it’s actually much easier to sew than it looks.

8. Finally, I would choose a pattern to have fun with. For me, the perfect pick me up when my sewing mojo is down is an accessory! My favourite is the High Tea clutch pattern by Charlie’s Aunt (although all of Emma’s patterns are gorgeous),


but I also love all of the cute, practical patterns of Michelle Patterns. I also love to sew plushies, and Dolls and Daydreams has the cutest patterns ever! Right now, I’m sewing a fox doll for my future nephew/niece, and I’m having so much fun with all the details.

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

–  Ugh, this is a hard choice! I would probably choose Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing.

Gertie has always been a huge inspiration to me, and it’s also thanks to her that I started my blog. Her book is a great source for sewing techniques, and it also includes some beautiful patterns. At the moment, I only made up one of them (the Portrait blouse with an added sailor collar), but I hope to tackle most of them sooner or later.

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

– This is even harder! My nerd side would probably answer “The Chronicle of Ice and Fire” by George R. Martin or “The Hobbit” by Tolkien, but my more romantic side would choose “Saltatempo”, by Italian author Stefano Benni. It was translated into English (with the title “Timeskipper”), although I think it’s one of those cases where too much gets lost in translation. This book is brilliantly written, it’s full of weird, hilarious characters, and it’s set in a small Italian village, which reminds me a lot of the one I grew up in (which is also where I’d like to return to live, having now spent a few years in the city).

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

– Even though it’s not exactly considered a luxury (although in a sense it is), I would choose… a dog! I’m an introverted girl and I don’t mind spending time by myself, but dogs are the only company I’m always happy to have. My dog recently passed away and she left such an emptiness in my life, I miss her so much!

Doggies!Luckily, I have my boyfriend’s two adorable dogs to snuggle, Ciro and Linda. I love them to pieces! Sometimes, they make an appearance in my Instagram feed, because I just have to spread the love.

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

– Again, this is so tough! I have a very diverse taste in music, but I grew up with rock, hard rock and metal (to the surprise of many). One of the bands that stuck with me through the years and I’m most attached to is the Foo Fighters. Their music is perfect for any occasion, when I’m happy or sad, when I want some hardcore guitars or a sentimental ballad. And I’m also a massive Dave Grohl fangirl, of course.


It’s impossible for me to choose just one of their albums, so I’d have to take their discography with me.

Thank you Anna for taking the time to write and share your choices.  And those doggie pics – soooo cute!!  Not surprised you keep giving them loads of cuddles.  You’ve reminded me exactly why I covet your wardrobe! I found it hard to pick which images to use – all of Anna’s makes have links back to her website if you want to see more views & details- recommended!  The trouble with desert island sewing?  Total disruption to any kind of a sewing plan I might have – so inspiring & tempting 🙂  . That striped Parfait dress is particularly divine…. Do you find the same?  



News flash, Kerry from Kestrel Makes is our next castaway

Paddling my canoe and a strange current took me to new waters and who should I come across but Kerry from Kestrel Makes. This lady has moved in on her desert island. I mean she’s settled with all mod cons ( cannily made from bamboo, palm fronds and mud) and has a fully equipped tree house kitted out with the magpie finds she’s been making across her island (& boy does it look stylish with more than a hint of retro!). And the home decor she’s managed to knit out of seaweed!  This lady appears self sufficiently stylish.  She’s been here for months, how could I have not seen the survivalist’s nirvana upon any of my my daily scours of the horizon? Sorry Kerry, I’ve been sitting on your choices far too long.   Time to share!

Ooh this is difficult! I’ve chosen a mix of patterns I’ve made often with patterns I’ve been meaning to make, reasoning that I might want some favourite patterns to build up my wardrobe plus I’d have the time to finally get round to making a few patterns that have been on my wish list for a while.

 1. Sewaholic Renfrew

Since I’ve only just started sewing with jersey I’ve got to bring the Renfrew. I’ve made two versions so far (only one blogged) and know I’ll be making more.

It’s just such a fantastically put together pattern and perfect for a knits newbie like myself. I’d love to make a version in this fun apple print fabric from stonefabrics.co.uk

 2. Sewaholic Minoru

I’ve been meaning to make this pattern for ages, and I think I might appreciate a nice raincoat on the desert island for those rainy days. I fancy making a dark red waxed cotton version, a la Barbour jacket, and I’d add pockets on the outside. I might put a Liberty fabric inside too, like their range with Liberty.

3. Simplicity 4903

I love this pattern and some days I might want to feel a bit smarter on that island! Plus it’s a versatile pattern and I’d make it up in some kind of fun printed cotton. I’ve made this pattern twice already (here and here) and it’s a great way to showcase a fantastic print, like the Michael Miller Eiffel Tower print I used.

4. McCalls 9458

I’ve made a couple of versions at this pattern – the Peter Pan collar version and sleeveless tank top, however I’ve not been happy with the fit due to difficulties making wide shoulder/broad upper back adjustments.

Being on the island would make me crack that once and for all, and look how many cute variations of this pattern there are!  Plenty of scope of loads of tops.

5. Simplicity 3983

(Image Source)

This is such a great, and easy pattern. I’ve made it three times (in sea green cord, patterned fabric and a red cord-esque fabric), each time shortening it a lot from the pattern length to a more flattering length of just above the knee.

This skirt is a great shape for me, and I also love the pocket details. It works really well in cord and would also be great in denim too.

6. Practical 5608

(Image source)

Since I’m going to have lots of time to relax on the island, better pack a PJs pattern. I haven’t made it before but I think this pattern is both practical (ha!) and stylish – I love the Peter Pan collar version of the top and have a hankering to make a cute version in black and white gingham with red buttons and red ric rac around the collar (that’s your influence, Winnie!)  [:-) ]


7. Style 2667

I’m going to need a sun dress so I’m choosing this pattern – I made a maxi dress version

of the view 3 with a square neckline which I really enjoyed wearing on holiday, plus I like the gathered shoulder version too.

8. Style 1565

Winnie, you might recognise this pattern! I got it from you in the Crafters’ Ceilidh swap back in January last year. I’d really love to make myself a pretty slip – perhaps starting with a lovely Liberty cotton lawn and graduating onto a more intimidating slippery fabric.

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

It’s hard to choose just one sewing-relate book.  My most frequently used sewing reference book is the Reader’s Digest Step by Step Sewing and Knitting Guide. There is SO MUCH information in there, plus it was a £2 charity shop bargain. However I’d really like to be confident about drafting which I also generally can’t be bothered with since there are so many great patterns out there – why reinvent the wheel? But my sewing book choice would be Design it Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch, so I can use the time to make my own patterns.

I already own this book and it looks like a non-intimidating starting point for drafting. Maybe by the time I get off the island I’ll have developed a whole pattern range!

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

Non-sewing book would be The Mitfords – Letters between Six Sisters edited by Charlotte Mosley.

The Mitford sisters are absolutely fascinating and led such interesting lives. This book covers the 1920s to the 2000s and is an amazing way insight into their lives as well as a view on 20th century history. I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in history, family relationships or just life, really!

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

Radio 4 please! I enjoy listening to the radio while sewing and am a lifelong Radio 4 listener, cheerfully bringing down the average listener age of 55. There’s some rubbish on there I’ll admit, but if I can have some good drama, comedy, The Archers and the Shipping Forecast I’ll be set.

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

It’d have to be The Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication.

Image from wikipedia, link above.

I absolutely love this album, although I could probably recreate it without the album since I’m sure I know all the words. Hip hop is the one area of music where my tastes and my husband’s coincide too. So maybe when that cruise ship finally picks me up off the island I’ll be wearing gingham pyjamas and a raincoat, singing the Beastie Boys…

Kerry what a plethora of patterns – interestingly most of them are vintage (I am not surprised to be honest though!  So it goes without saying that I love your choices, but even without doing the stats (I know, it’s a Christmas task I think) I am sure the Renfrew has to be the most popular choice to date by a clear mile.  As for the juxtaposition of Radio 4 and the Beastie Boys – love it!!  Thank you Kerry for your wonderful choices.



The Amazing Taracat is our next castaway!

Oh fellow island dreamers I’ve got my act together & am proud to provide you with a Friday treat. Yes, too long coming, we have another girl Friday, none other than the Amazing Taracat.

I am overjoyed to welcome Taracat to the island life (ref Grace Jones in the 1980s – is this relevant to Taracat’s choices – we shall have to see – it could just be one of my silly red herrings….) Oh I love reading Taracat’s stories around her sewing. I feel a certain sisterhood with Taracat as not only do we seem to be sewing in parallel universes – even if she is sometimes a garment ahead of me (& no it doesn’t mean that I am Taracat’s stalker seeing her great ideas & then making them up myself!). No, not only do Taracat & I share some similar making choices, but we also seem to have a similar approach to blog photography – some might say a devil may care attitude, others that we just like having a laugh at ourselves. Although I feel I have a lot to learn from Taracat – she exudes so much energy! So when Taracat accepted the invitation to don grass skirts & kick away her heels I was overjoyed. Let’s see what Taracat has chosen as her desert island sewing pattern pics of her pops!!!

I am so excited to be stranded on this desert island. My ticket could not have arrived at a better time. It is grey and miserable in England, I had to wear my winter coat this week and I need some sun. And sun, combined with unlimited fabric and notions and no interruptions to my sewing time is my idea of heaven. Choosing so few patterns was not easy. Maybe I’m weird but I realised I have an almost emotional attachment to my patterns. I felt really bad about leaving some out. But rules are rules, so here are the eight that I am hoping I would never get bored of making.

1. Merckwaerdigh MIX30, with Bra, Pantie & French knickers.

Image source: a very purple person

I never go bra-less, and with all those tropical creepy crawlies I think going commando would be unwise, so my first choice is this bra and pants/ knickers pattern. I haven’t made it up yet but I was inspired to order it after seeing a Very Purple Person’s gorgeous makes. I am particularly inspired by her red plaid set, and it would be easy to turn into a bikini.

2. Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit.

I love in vintage style swimsuits and bikinis, they are flattering for pretty much all shapes and sizes, and the ones I have get worn so much they are starting to go baggy. When this pattern came out I bought it immediately.

Unfortunately I didn’t get round to making it this summer but I’ll have all the time in the world on the desert island.

3. Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers.

Yes, I’m going to have to conquer my fears and sew me some trousers.

I love every version of this pattern that I’ve seen but it was Lauren Lladybird’s many Thurlows that convinced me this would be the perfect pattern for my desert island. I can make them in denim as jeans, the shorts will be perfect for day wear and the skinnified versions will be great for the cooler evenings. I reckon once I got the hang of making trousers I could even tweak them and add a couple of extra pockets to make combats for trekking through the jungle.


4. By Hand London Anna dress.

Okay, that’s enough practical stuff. Time to bring out the dresses. I couldn’t not pack Anna. With two necklines and various lengths it is versatile enough to keep me wanting more. I have made it three times now and have another cut out and ready to go. This summer my Starry Anna got worn constantly so all the variations I would make would be on constant rotation on the desert island.

Taracat’s Starry Anna dress blogged here
5. Colette Hawthorn dress and blouse.

Another really versatile pattern, and everyone needs a shirt dress. I wore my Bathing Ladies Hawthorn dress at least once a week through the summer and would have worn it more if I was more efficient at doing laundry. And I can make up the peplum blouse version to wear with my skinny Thurlows. And of course on my desert island I will be toned, tanned and muscular from all the foraging, tree climbing, shelter building, etc so I will want to show off my belly in the cropped version with the Thurlow shorts.

From Taracat’s wardrobe


6. Colette Laurel dress and top.

Another Colette, I have made four of these and plan to make more. You only have to look at the entries in the Laurel competition to see how many different ways you can make this pattern. I don’t think I would ever get bored of it. As well as dresses I can see myself making it with long sleeves in a floaty fabric as a beach cover up. I have also made the top in a knit so I know I could use it to make long and short sleeved T shirts.


From Taracat’s wardrobe

7. Disparate Disciplines Dandelion Dress and top


I know, another dress, now there’s a surprise, But it’s also a top, there are two different necklines, it works in wovens and knits and even though I have made two already I think there are endless possibilities for this pattern. I am dying to make one with a lace yoke. And one in denim. And in a knit it is perfect to throw over a swimming costume after a day at the beach.

From Taracat’s wardrobe


8. Jamie Christina Sol Hoodie

When I got to pattern number eight I really struggled. That little devil sitting on my shoulder was screaming – More dresses! Want more dresses! But I decided to be practical. I do like a hoodie and this pattern is one of the ones I have been lusting over. I love the contrast trim and the option for thumb holes. I’m not sure if my sewing skills are up to it just yet but on the island I will have plenty of time to practice.

Luxury item – I am assuming that there will be plenty of fruit to ferment into alcohol, otherwise I am bringing a fully equipped and supplied gin distillery, and it would probably be cheating to bring my friends and family, so my luxury item will be a laptop so I can write. Apart from sewing, writing is what keeps me relatively sane. I think my head would explode if I didn’t write so I would like to bring a decent laptop with me.

Okay, now for the books. I have Winifred Aldrich’s ‘Metric Pattern cutting for Women’s Wear on my Christmas list. I’m hoping that this book would equip me with the skills to adapt my eight patterns and then draft some more of my own.


I really struggled choosing my non-sewing book because I read a lot, almost compulsively. In the end I have cheated a tiny bit and chosen four books in one by one of my favourite authors, Patricia Highsmith. I have read the Talented Mr Ripley over and over again so The Ripley Omnibus, which contains that and three more books in the series, should keep me going for a while.



Music – A difficult one. Actually I quite like silence because I get it so rarely. But of course I will need some tunes on my desert island, so I would take the Natural Born Killers Soundtrack. Leonard Cohen, Nine Inch Nails, Bob Dylan, Jane’s Addiction and Patsy Cline all on the same album – what’s not to like?


Thank you so much Winnie for inviting me to escape to the desert island. I have really enjoyed it. Now it’s time to sit back with a home brewed Mojito and enjoy the sunset while deciding which of my patterns to make first.

And Taracat- you have a well thought out & varied choice of patterns – a collection of beauties – you absolute cutie! I think you’ve got a perfect balance – not too many dresses at all!! Some severe temptation from where I am standing & a reminder of some of those other patterns that are on my wish list! Thank you for taking the time for giving this some thought & sorry for taking my time to share it.

Our sixteenth castaway, Kathryn from Yes I Like That!

Hey it’s a Friday Girls & boys!  I’ve managed to shimmy up the tallest palm tree on my island to see who I could see, & in the distance, up her very own palm tree was none other than Kathryn from Yes I Like That.  Now whilst I haven’t (yet) met Kathryn in real life, I love the voice she has through her blog- she brings a certain understated humour, & I imagine she’s the kind of comedian who remains deadpan whilst delivering side splitting funnies (I hope I haven’t done you a disservice Kathryn – it’s meant as a compliment & provoked by your photo at the end here!).  But her sewing skills are certainly not understated – this lady is the skinny jeans guru.  She seems to have made pair upon pair, each perfecting the previous.  And anyone who makes their own jeans is up there on my sewing podium in flashing lights.  So what would someone like Kathryn add to her limited portfolio of sewing patterns on her desert island?

You are stranded on a desert island, surrounded by beautiful crystal blue water populated by turtles & tropical fish (no sharks!).  OR you can choose a deserted island in different climes if you so wish!  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?)

I have lizard blood and am always cold, so my island would be lovely and warm all year round, with the occasional refreshing rainshower so things don’t get too dusty.

I’ve chosen some versatile patterns so I could have an infinite wardrobe and keep myself occupied inventing variations on a theme. I don’t tend to repeat patterns very often, so this was a tough one for me!

1. Firstly, I’d have to take McCalls 6355, a basic shift pattern with bust darts and optional back darts that can become a dress or a top. My favourite version of it so far was this Whistles knock-off top I made from scraps.

mccalls 6355

2. For trousers, I’d take Burda 7863. I’ve made three versions of these trusty stretch skinny jeans, including these blue ones. A new pair would be perfect for tree-climbing and exploring.

Burda 78633. I’d need a skirt pattern, and I think I’d take Simplicity 2258, which was my first pick for the Minerva blogging network. It comes with trousers and shorts options too, which would work for my island pyjamas, and it’s super-quick to make. It would showcase all those nice cotton prints I hope to find at the bottom of the shipping container…

simplicity 22584. For tops, this Burda Magazine kimono sleeve top from the Sept 2011 issue is so easy to sew, and the perfect base for jersey dresses and t-shirts. I find kimono sleeves very comfortable in jersey (bonus – no sleeves to set in!).

burda 9 20115. Dresses are a tough one, as I don’t tend to repeat patterns. I think I’d take the Anna dress by By Hand London, I’ve only made one version myself, but from the evidence of other sewing bloggers it’s a very addictive pattern, and versatile too. I can see myself sashaying over the sand in a maxi length crepe version with a thigh-high split.

anna dress

 6. I’d also take along New Look Workroom 6070. I’ve just made my first version of this, and it’s a wonderful pattern. I think the pleats look very RTW – I’m planning another version in a solid. I won’t have anywhere to wear it on my desert island but at least I can languish amongst the palm trees in style.

New Look 6070 7. Let’s talk essentials. I have to be honest here. If I’m all alone on a desert island I’m not going to bother with fancy underwear or swimming costumes. So I’d take So Zo’s basic pants pattern just to cover the necessities. I’ve yet to make a pair of these but I am saving up my jersey scraps to have a go.

So Zo pants pattern

8. Finally, I’ll have a lot of time on my hands. I’ve always wanted to sew a complicated tailored jacket, and I am in love with this one from the October 2013 Burdastyle magazine (photo borrowed from Paunnet’s blog review). I am far too lazy to trace off and sew any pattern with more than about 4 pieces, and this one is marked ‘advanced’ which I also normally avoid like the plague, so it would be a good challenge to pass away the weary hours.

Burda October 13 jacketYou are also allowed to take two books, firstly which sewing related book would you take & why?

I don’t really use sewing books very often so this is a hard one. I am much more of a googler when it comes to sewing problems. I think I would take David Coffin’s book on shirtmaking as I’ve owned it for about 4 years and never read it properly. I find all that talk about flat-felling feet and drafting your own plackets very intimidating.

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

I would take Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I have to say that living all alone on a desert island is my idea of hell. I’d last about a week before attempting to fashion an escape raft from coconut shells in order to find some human company.

Villette is one of the best books ever written about loneliness and isolation, and I think it would console me in my plight.

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

I guess that taking my husband as a luxury wouldn’t be allowed, although he would be very helpful in constructing the aforementioned coconut raft. So instead I’d take a radio. I love sewing while listening to the radio or podcasts. I wouldn’t feel quite so homesick if I could catch up with Paul O’Grady on a Sunday evening.


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

I’d take The Velvet Underground, the eponymous third album from, well, The Velvet Underground. I listened to this on a daily basis from the ages of 16-21 so I know I could never get sick of it. The melancholic/drug-addled tones of Lou Reed would be a fitting soundtrack to my lonesome desert island adventures.

Image source

Well what a fine collection of patterns!  I am inspired, having not quite recovered from Kathryn’s first top (how could something so beautiful come from such an ordinary pattern?  That is dressmaking vision for you!)  Thank you Kathryn for taking time away to imagine your sewing life in the sun.  I have truly been inspired and as always, it’s the music & reading material that are also great recommendations!

Our fifteenth castaway, Alessa, from Farbenfreud

It’s Friday, Fridays & I’ve spied a splash of colour climbing up one of the palm trees on the adjacent island.  Why it’s none other than Alessa from Farbenfreud!  I have severe wardrobe yearning over Alessa’s makes as she has a definite self sewn (& knitted) style: intense colour, polka dots & plentiful use of knit fabric.  She usually takes parts in the Me Made Months and I love to catch her cheery outfits & location shots (she lives in Germany).  But apart from being an inspiring creative, did you know she has recently qualified as a doctor?  Of the medical variety?  Talk about years of study &  dedication.  Huge congrats again Alessa.  Now over to you ….

“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?”


Oh, my very own desert island, wouldn’t that be nice! I’ve always wanted to live close to the water. Although I can’t quite decide if I’d rather have a temperate island with ragged cliffs and blustery winds, or a balmy tropical island with sandy beaches, colourful fish in the torquoise waters, and an abundance of yummy fruit. Hmm. But maybe, if the island has seasons, I can have both? So there can be leisurely knitting on the beach, and balmy evenings spent sewing silks on the porch and sipping exotic cocktails, as well as warming up from windy walks by knitting and having a spot of tea on the couch overlooking the cliffs, and fingering my warm, wooly fabrics thinking about what to sew next. Ah, my wonderful, trusty box of endless fabric!

1. So. Patterns. Let’s see. One pattern that I definitely don’t want to miss is my self-drafted knit top/dress block. The first time I used it, I made a navy striped top from it, but I can think of five tops of varying sleeve lengths, including the flowery one with the Macaron-like yoke, as well as the same number of dresses, with different sleeves and skirts, that I made from it. It’s my go-to pattern whenever I want a quick jersey top or dress, and it’s great fun to alter little details, like the neckline, or the sleeves, and to imagine it in all kinds of different fabric combinations.

I actually have a boat-necked version all planned out, to be sewn soon, and I imagine that the different skirt parts I’ve come up with would also work great on their own, with a simple elastic waistband.

2. So I now have a motley band of knit tops to get me through the seasons, but what bottoms to pair with them? My current favorite skirt pattern (apart from the simple jersey half-circle skirt) is Simplicity 2451 (blogged here )

Image source

which has several options for gored or pleated skirts. I made one up in green corduroy, but have also planned a red version, and probably one in denim. I love the subtle a-line shaping from the pleats, and it’s got pockets!


3. I don’t often wear trousers, but in summer, shorts and a pair of linen trousers are essential for me. Although I haven’t tried any pattern, yet, I’ve heard great things about Sewaholic’s Thurlow Trousers  and I’ve seen quite a few cute versions out there!

I’m sure they’d look great in all sorts of colours of flowy linen (I’ve been thinking about turquoise, or grass green). Or maybe a pair of jeans?

4. So. What else do I want to wear on my beautiful island? I’m thinking that Victory Patterns’ Lola would be perfect. Totally comfy and it’s got big pockets for all the little treasures I’m bound to find on my island walks. Seashells, interestingly shaped pebbles… Not to mention a bottle of water and an apple. 😉

My Coral Lola blogged here  and my summer lola blogged here.

My summer version has shorter sleeves and a wider neckline, and I’m thinking that a winter version made from fleece and featuring longsleeves and a hood might be fun.


5. I also definitely want to take the Colette Macaron pattern. I’ve made it three times to date and I love the sweetheart shaped yoke and the endless possibility of fabric combinations! Plus, it’s got pockets. And I still need to make one with a circle skirt. 🙂

Blogged by Alessa here

 6. I’m tempted to take another dress pattern, but thinking about it, what I’d really like is a pattern for a bias slip dress. While I usually line my woven dresses, sometimes I’m too lazy, and there’s also the jersey dresses, which need a slip when I start layering them with leggings or tights in colder weather. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to have an assortment of luscious silk slips in all kinds of colours? They could double as night gowns, too, and made of cotton, they’d probably make cute sundresses.

Source: The Wardrobe Reimagined

Like Ali’s version of the vintage Simplicity 1144. Isn’t it pretty?

7. For a little challenge, and since it’s sure going to be windy some days on my beautiful island, I’d like to take a jacket pattern. I’ve never made outerwear, and I think it would be a nice challenge for the slow days on a desert island! As for which pattern to take, I’m leaning towards Sewaholic’s Minoru.

It’s practical, feminine and cute! Although I recently saw a very cute rendition of Colette’s Anise jacket over at The Handstitched Files

and now I’m in two minds!


8. Last but not least, I’d take my self-drafted (well, copied from my favorite pair) knickers pattern, which is very similar to the free Rosy Ladyshorts pattern from Clothabit. Why? Well, one can never have too many cute knickers, and they’re my favorite method of jersey scrapbusting. And since I have a neverending suppy of beautiful jersey scraps and lace… 😀

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

Good question. Since I probably won’t have the Internet for troubleshooting and looking up techniques, I’d best take a book like the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.

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

With this one, I’ll cheat slightly and take Diana Gabaldon‘s (entire) Jamie&Claire series. For reasons I’m not quite sure about, myself, I’ve read all seven (for now) books multiple times, and between them, they’ve got about a million pages, so that should keep even a voracious reader like myself occupied for a while.

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

Does my boyfriend count? If not, I’d take my ebook reader. 😉

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

A very good question, and not so easy to answer. I think I may take my good friend Lili Sommerfeld’s album “Opposites Attract”, although I wish she’d already have out an album with her newest songs, which are even more amazing.

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Wow! and aaah!  for your non sewing choices!!  And some more new experiences to discover.  Thank you Alessa for your desert island choices.  Your patterns did not disappoint & as always refreshed me with (yet) more inspiration & revisited some of the things you have made that I thought at the time were top makes – & if they score as your favorites after many wearings, then that’s always interesting too.  Thank you for taking the time to pull this together.

Our fourteenth castaway: Marie of a Stitching Odyssey

Hey it’s Friday & you know it’s when I like to scour the horizon for any fellow girl Fridays to launch my canoe for a visit to another desert island in this particular archipelago.   Always such a joy, but who have I spied today through my monocular & cocktail umbrella?  Why it’s none other than Marie from a Stitching Odyssey!  I’ve loved following (& meeting !) Marie too as she has this natural modesty, and big style where vintage meets modern & I do believe she is getting ever braver in the projects and designs she is tackling!  I can’t wait to find out what her desert island sewing patterns & essentials are!!

Away you go Marie …

Having had a decent summer in England this year (over 4 continuous weeks of sunshine is a BIG deal for us), I can definitely see myself adapting well to such glorious weather all the time. So, yes please Winnie, sign me up and ship me off to this wondrous desert island of yours! Conveniently, the island I’ll be inhabiting is warm-to-hot in the daytime with a cool (not cold) breeze in the evening and maybe the occasional (warm) tropical rainstorm thrown in for good measure.

I found it surprisingly easy choosing my 8 patterns, possibly because you have to go right back to basics with this exercise.

Pattern #1 – Ohhh Lulu’s  Ginger Body Suit & Separates

 Ohh Lulu Ginger Bodysuit


Let’s be honest, when I’m not sewing, I’m mostly going to be sunning myself on this desert island. At least until the novelty wears off, which could take a while! This is the perfect pattern for adapting into a bikini like Kristin’s awesome version below.

Ginger SeparatesSource

but I can also use it to make all my undies…which a girl still needs on a desert island!

Pattern #2 – By Hand London’s Anna Dress

By Hand Anna Dress

For a relatively new pattern there’s already a myriad gorgeous versions of it out there! I’ve got plans for an animal print maxi version like Lizzy’s – which I imagine wearing for a stroll down the island’s beach at sunset – and a 40s-style floral version in the shorter length. I’m also smitten with these two versions by Heather and Kathryn, so I’m glad I’ll have all the time in the world to sew once Winnie ships me off!

Image 4
Pattern #3 – Colette Patterns’ Hawthorn

Colette Patterns Hawthorn

I adore this pattern for its simple lines, flattering shape and versatility. I’ve made two seersucker versions so far,  (hawthorn dress and hawthorn blouse )with plans for many more!










Pattern #4 – Sewaholic’s Renfrew

Renfrew pattern
This is a great basic pattern! The longer sleeves and cowl neck would keep you warm at night (I would totally make Renfrew PJ tops) and the short sleeved versions are perfect for an active day of pruning coconut trees and fishing. I’ve already made many versions, but can’t seem to get enough.

Marie's Renfrews

Pattern #5 – 1940s Butterick 3756


I’ve had this lovely 1940s pattern in my stash for a little while now and I can’t think of a better opportunity to use it than some desert island sewing. It’s super cute and provides separate options that are a total winner for me!
Pattern #6 – Pattern Runway’s Scalloped Hem Shorts

Scalloped hem shorts

Ever since I saw Sophie’s mint polka dot shorts , I can’t get this pattern out of my mind. They’re so cute, but look really comfortable…spot on for desert island adventures! I’m not the biggest fan of my legs, but I’ll gladly get them out when no one’s looking – plus if I know a handsome merman is likely to stop by, I can always change into one of my pretty dresses instead!

Sophies shorts(Source)

Pattern #7 – Grainline Studio’s Maritime Shorts

Maritime shorts

 Is it wrong to choose 2 shorts patterns when I’m only allowed to take a total of 8 patterns with me? Thing is, I don’t really do skirts and I have dresses, tops, swimwear and undies covered…so more shorts it is then! I like how practical and fun this pattern is – see how cool Lauren’s version is below. It will work well with my Hawthorn blouses and Renfrew tops, and I bet if you omit the zip and swap the waistband for elastic they would make great PJ bottoms.

Laurens shorts(Source Lladybird)

 Pattern #8 – Dixie DIY’s Hot Cocoa Sweater

Hot cocoa sweater

 Finally, to keep me snugly at night, I’ve chosen this lovely freebie pattern. It’s not too bulky for a moderate climate and can easily be modified and experimented with. If you extended the hem to thigh length and made it out of a voile fabric, I reckon it could easily become a beach cover-up.

 Marie Hot cocoa sweater


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

Due to my luxury item being what it is (I’m such a cheat), I would definitely take Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing with me. It’s so enjoyable to read, full of useful sewing techniques and includes some gorgeous patterns that will help quench my thirst for vintage glamour!


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

I enjoy a good read, but I’m not a book snob at all. I’ll read anything from horror to the classics and whatever titles have been recommended to me. So I wouldn’t say I have a book that I simply can’t live without, but one that really moved me and that I could happily re-read is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.


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

I desperately want to be really vain and say my makeup, or at the very least my liquid eyeliner! But, I absolutely couldn’t live without internet connection…not only do I look up sewing tutorials all the time, I would hate to be disconnected from my blogging pals and I’d love to update you on my tan!

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

This for me was the toughest question of them all. Could I make myself a compilation album please Winnie? Music is so important and I’d need to have a good selection with me to cater for all my desert island moods and occasions!

 I think you’ll all agree there are some fabulous desert island choices here!  A very pretty and practical capsule wardrobe….Some surprises?  And a few sneaky items too!  Thank you Marie for taking the time to share your desert island sewing must-have patterns.

Our twelfth Castaway: Karen from Kbenco

Hey Fridays!  We’ve been island hopping again.  Every two weeks or so I get itchy feet & love to see who I’m sharing the ocean with.  Today I have had the good fortune to come across another inspirational sewing blogger – none other than Karen from  Kbenco.  I am usually to be found in awe about Karen’s makes.  Not content with making & blogging about her own immaculately sewn (& knitted)  wardrobe which features plenty of tips & good practice for sewing (which I have lapped up)  she creates beautiful & wearable capsule wardrobes for her family, & the MOST amazing special occasion dress with the most fabulous lattice smocking I have ever seen.  And she runs too, & makes her own leggings and wonderful merino-wear.  In two words- sewing envy!  So I have been like a child waiting for Christmas in the anticipation of seeing what Karen’s choices are on her desert island…

Here we are….

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?

This is a very interesting exercise. I have really enjoyed reading about other people’s choices, but when asked the questions for myself, I found the whole task rather tricky. Being an insatiable pattern collector may have something to do with the trouble I had in choosing!

First I thought of my tried and true, “Very Useful patterns”. I thought I would need these for practical purposes on this desert island, but then I realised that the question was also about reasons for my interest in sewing, as if I were truly alone on a climatically unrestricting desert island, I would probably revert to the most comfortable clothing available, which is not necessarily what I would like to sew, given unlimited time and resources.

However, having practical tendencies, I cannot ignore fundamental necessities in my 8 patterns, so here is a nice shady hat pattern, that I have never made, although I get it out every summer,

1. Vogue 9207


On the desert island I will need a hat, and I would like to make this pattern eventually instead of my current shameful reliance on RTW hats. I have owned this pattern since it was released in 1995, and my intended versions are  A and B. Fortunately for me on the desert island, the pattern also includes a long sleeved bolero that I am sure will come in handy.


2. Burda Style Magazine 02-2010-106

DSC00091Kbenco’s blogpost here

I will also include a long sleeved shirt to keep me protected from the sun – this shirt I have only made once so far  but  have worn frequently ever since for hiking, gardening and camping, so I will be making  it many times again in real life and it would be very useful on the island. As it is a classic shirt pattern, I can also use this to make  blouse variations for my post island wardrobe, and as the top part of a dress.

3. Burda World of Fashion Magazine 04-2009-118

SAM_1024Kbenco’s blogpost

I usually wear this shirt with trousers – they are shown with the shirt in my hiking trouser version of my TNT Burda 04-2009-118/9 trouser pattern (made at leas t 10 times as everything from denim trousers, to lined wool work trousers, to pyjama pants), so I will take that pattern too, even though I keep thinking that I dislike wearing and sewing trousers.

So that takes care of covering me up in 3 patterns.

Now I need something interesting and technically challenging, and as yet have no  practical underwear for my island.

I have not yet made a successful bra. I am really hoping there is a truly excellent fabric and notion selection in that container, as I strongly suspect these items have a big role in the success of this sort of sewing – also unlimited time for the fitting, and 3 way mirror

4.Kwik Sew3300


I have made one bra from this pattern, but my lack of technical skills in this sort of sewing let me down, and it needs fitting tweaks. I am not giving up on it though.

I am not wasting one of my patterns on knickers. I will trace off whatever I happen to be wearing when I am stranded. These two can also give me options for a swimming costume, which is something else I would like to sew more successfully and will give me a lot of interesting work for my fabulous frivolous lingerie collection that is in my lifetime sewing plan.

Now I can take care of some more of my impractical sewing ambitions, so that I will have an amazing wardrobe back in my real life once I return from the island.

5.Chanel style jacket, Vogue 7975.


Fortunately for me, I have been collecting various instructions from sewing magazines and the internet for about 5 years now in order to make this jacket, and currently all this extra information is stored with this pattern in printed form. Is it cheating to bring extra technical information? I am pretty sure I could also use this pattern to make another leather jacket, because that would be fun too.

6.I also want to make a classic trench coat, just because I do.

I will use a Burda  Magazine pattern for this, I don’t really mind which one, not having tried any of them, maybe 11-2012-118


This leaves me only two patterns, which is just not enough, this is so hard!I decided that straight skirt would give me maximum sewing options.

7. Burda Style 02-2011-103/6/7
SAM_1254I will include my TNT princess line straight skirt, because this is well fitted to me (made dozens of times), and as it has 6 pieces, I can easily use it to make a 6 gore  A line skirt as well, or a straight skirt with waist darts.  (Kbenco’s Blogpost here)

I will also use this to make back darted A line and wrap skirts by converting the princess  lines to darts and angling the side seams, endless possibilities (that I don’t use in real life, because it is much easier to trace out another pattern)

8. Vogue 8648


Last of all, I want a dress pattern. I love sewing and wearing dresses, and have a lot of favourite patterns, that I have made several times, but my choice is a completely new to me pattern, that I own but have not yet made. I chose this because I  really like trying new patterns and cannot do without them on the island. This one has a fitted bodice, fitted waist, sleeve variations and a skirt I can make in different ways. I think it has a lot of possibilities for repeat sewing without terminal boredom, and as I took the Sarah Khaljie Couture Dress  Craftsy class that used this pattern, I have a few ideas about how to make the construction interesting.

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

My other sewing treasure was equally difficult to choose. My sewing related book in the end came down to Claire B Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques


I decided that I could live without my standard sewing technique books, having referred to them so many times in my (ulp!) 30 years of sewing, so that an aspirational technique book like this would allow me to improve my sewing whilst on the island and help me use all the unusual and beautiful fabrics and notions that just happen to be in the shipping container as it has so many examples of beautiful garments for inspiration.

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

My non sewing book I decided could not be a novel, as even a favourite novel has limited re- reading possibilities. I though a new hobby might be good on the island and borrowed one of my husband’s books. Boatbuilding, by Howard Irving Chapelle as  endless time to sew, all by myself, with no other responsibilities, might pall after a while, (although this is difficult to imagine at the end of a busy week!) and passively waiting for rescue would be a bit defeatist. Is there a mini-sawmill and woodworking tool chest in the shipping container too?

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

As my non sewing luxury, I am taking an endless supply of Lindt  Dark Chocolate with Ginger.

(Maybe I should have included some patterns for running gear to counterbalance the chocolate?).

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

My one  permitted music disc, is one I find very beautiful,  Hildegard Von Bingen- Canticles of Ecstasy . I have chosen this album as songs can become incredibly annoying if you hear them too many times, but I feel that never hearing another voice on the desert island could be terribly lonesome.

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This  vocal  music was written by a Benedictine abbess, a Christian Mystic of the 12th century, being her interpretation of visions of angels  – I might as well start out with an encouragement to benign and holy craziness to hopefully stave off the other sorts!

What a rich mix of well thought out wardrobe planning (shouldn’t have expected anything less!), and some true inspiration.  It’s interesting that most people feel they can still learn more & master new techniques, no matter what their skill level.  And boy, would being on a desert island enable you to do that!  Thank you Kbenco – I have loved reading about your choices & revisiting some of your classics.  And books/ music choices are always a different kind of treat.  I have already tracked down the wonderful calming music on Spotify


Our eleventh Castaway: Melissa from Fehr Trade

I love leaving this series for Fridays, girl Fridays!! Have you been eager with anticipation for this?

Because Oh I am so excited! I was out looking through some binoculars I found on the beach, scouring the horizon for hunky dudes, when I spied some fabulously dressed athlete taking in some beach running on a distant island. When I zoomed in who should I spy but Melissa, from Fehr Trade. Now Melissa has to be up there as one of my ultimate sewing heroes & I have a huge sewing crush on her (you didn’t know that did you Melissa? ;-s) . She sews everything, I mean from lingerie to garments that have interesting & unusual construction details, jeans, coats – oh you name it, she’s sewn it. But most of all Melissa continues to wow & inspire me with the clothing she makes to run in – leggings (colour blocked no less), running tops, refashioning race day shirts – this lady is queen. I am in awe of her creations & her actual running achievements (I mean she’s done more than one marathon & not been put off!) see why I’m a superfan now? So when she agreed to place herself on the desert island I squealed & couldn’t wait to see what she would choose to take with her.

Here we are….

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?


Ok first of all – let me clarify that my desert island is TEMPERATE. None of this sand, sun, and palm trees stuff – that really doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time, and I’d just end up sunburnt and bored with (as Pam from True Blood put it) “sand in my cooch”.

I’m more envisioning my desert island to have a nice beach or two, yes, but also rocky inlets, forests for exploring, and plenty of mountains and waterfalls in the interior! I just felt I needed to explain why you don’t see a single item of clothing you’d find on your typical beach is all!


  1. Jalie 2908 jeans

Everyone needs a great pair of jeans, and for myself and many others, these are IT. With a tweak or two you essentially have an endless supply of perfectly fitting and perfectly flattering jeans. So far I’ve made these three times, and I’ll make more only when my existing ones wear out from overuse!

Melissa’s write up

2. Papercut Patterns “Ooh La Leggings”

My time on the island will likely involve a lot of trail-running as well as lounging, and these hold the record for the pattern I’ve sewn the most times ever – currently SEVEN TIMES!

I’ve run marathons on these, as well as found they work just as well paired with teeshirts in “denim-look lycra”. The curved seams and side panels are super flattering, too.

3. Ruby Slip

Who cares if anyone else is with me on the island – a girl deserves to feel pretty no matter what her circumstances, and the gorgeous lace and bias-cut slip of a good slip or camisole is one way to guarantee you have a good day.

I’ve made this four times so far (two long and two short), and playing with lace placement may be my ultimate guilty pastime.

4. Burda chic sweatshirt (09-2012 #106)

The evenings are likely to get chilly on my desert island, so I’ll need something to throw on to keep warm, and there’s nothing finer than the “chic sweatshirt” pattern Burda produced last year, with curved darts, back V neck, and ¾ length sleeves.

So far I’ve made it twice for myself and twice for my mom, and it’s once of those pieces you can truly dress up or down depending on your mood.

5. Burda September 2010 cover dress (#122)

As far as I’m concerned, you absolutely cannot beat a good knit sheath dress, and this pattern is totally unique in its series of curved, horizontal panels in front giving way to a long panel in back.

The boat neck is super flattering, and I’ve already made both winter and summer versions by just changing the sleeves and fabric, so I’m certain I wouldn’t get bored making this a few more times with the fabric that washes up on the beach (we do get fabric, right?? Not just patterns to forlornly thumb through??) [Yes- a never ending supply of fabric – floor to ceiling of a massive container of all fabric imaginable 😉 ]

6. Hot Patterns Nairobi handbag

A handbag is not only a fashionable accessory, but in my eyes is also very practical – in my normal life I use mine to carry around my wallet, phone, chapstick, umbrella, and a staggering array of crumpled receipts. I imagine on my desert island I’ll want somewhere to stash the fruits and nuts I find in the forest, but also one of my chosen books and a nice bit of hand sewing to work on.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve sewn this handbag pattern, but I can remember it in red leather, yellow leather, black leather, brown faux suede, black corduroy… and I’m sure there are more!

7 & 8. My knit slopers

I was very close to listing “Patternmaking for Underwear Design” by Kristina Shin, PhD as my sewing-related book, but then I realised what I really truly wanted from it was my knit sloper.

I drafted both a top and leggings from her instructions recently and they have quickly become an irreplaceable part of my sewing diet, having formed the base of not just my running gear but also the starting point for everything in the “Pattern Magic: Stretch Fabrics” book, so there’s a ton of versatility in these!


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

This was a difficult one for me, but ultimately I think I’d pick the first “Pattern Magic” book by Tomoko Nakamichi, because there’s just SO much in there and I never have enough time to try everything I want to.

I figure on my desert island I’ve got time in abundance, so I could take a few weeks on each of the designs in the book and really explore the design idea. It took my taking a course on the second book to realise that some of the designs which look completely insane and unwearable could easily become the highlight of a garment when they’re just changed slightly – an open-weave detail on the front looks shocking, but switch it to the back or sleeve and it’s stunning!

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

This one was an easy choice – Neal Stephenson’s “The Baroque Cycle”, nevermind that it’s so long it had to be printed in 3 parts!

This book covers everything I love – history, adventure, drama, feminism, epidemiology, codebreaking, espionage, and all woven together into a story that you just can’t put down. I can’t look at the London Monument anymore without envisioning a zipline carrying Jack Shaftoe from it into the Tower, and cross-stitch for me will forever be about hidden, coded messages! When I reached the end of the book I realised with great sadness that I could never again read it for the first time.

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

Since we’re already supplied with a sewing machine, I’m going to definitely say that I’ll need an overlocker (w/coverstitch capabilities) in order to not have a frustrating stay on the island! Some of you may be surprised I didn’t say running shoes, but I figure I’ve got enough time to toughen up my feet to run barefoot, but I can’t easily reproduce the magic of a good overlocker with time alone!

And finally your one album of music/ audio …

Strangely, this was the toughest one for me to answer. I’ve worked in the music industry for 11years and before that, was heavily involved in student radio in two different countries, have been to countless gigs and music festivals, and eagerly compile my Top Albums & Singles of the Year each December. So narrowing it down to one album for the foreseeable future is very difficult! Should I go for the album I’m most into now, or go for one I loved intensely in the past? One that encompasses a time in my life full of memories, or one that reminds me of absent friends? Perhaps I should choose a compilation that allows me to get a wide variety of moods? No matter what I choose, I’m sure I’ll want to change my mind the instant I hit Send, so perhaps I’ll just go for one I know I could sing along to for the end of time, and one that’s intrinsically linked with my husband – The Bird and the Bee “Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future”.

Oh Melissa you have really inspired me & shown just a few examples of your intrepid & skillful sewing. Thank you so much for taking the time to narrow down your pattern choices.  Readers I urge you to check out links to Melissa’s posts about her makes as you’ll also get to see many more photos showing the details – & they all have details to shout about. Now, I’m just off to check out Melissa’s book choice ….I love new recommendations & this sounds like perfect holiday reading to me!

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.

Our ninth Castaway, Solvi from Delfinelise

The sun has shone in bits today.  Now wouldn’t it be lovely not to have to grab every scarce moment of sunshine that graces this too often grey & uneventful climate, to be able to rely upon heat & sunshine as a normal phenomenon.  That’s what it must be like to be  on a desert island ….but what kind of desert island is best?  Why the sewing desert island of course!!  Today’s castaway is Solvi from Delfinelise.  Now Solvi never ceases to amaze me both in how stylish this lady looks & her technical sewing savvy.  She’s got an awesome sense of colour & as a faithful participant of me made months (here’s a summary of her first third of May 2013)  you get reminded just how creative she is with combining colour to result in individuality & panache.  She never fails to brighten my day….& so I wonder what she would consider to be her desert island sewing essentials?

Shall we see?

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?


I am imagining my desert island to be somewhere off the coast of North Africa. The weather is hot in the summer, but somewhat milder during the winter months. This makes it easy to imagine growing olives and grapes and a bunch of yummy vegetables. And of course lots of fresh fish. Perhaps my favorite fish, the tasty red mullet with a side dish of deep fried squash? But what do I now? I am stranded here, and no nothing about my location!

The patterns:

delfinelise Burda 113-12-2006

1. BurdaStyle 12-2006-113 dress.

First up is a dress pattern that is as versatile as it can be. Having a princess seam bodice, a midriff and a half circle skirt, it is the ultimate dress pattern for me -flattering, easy to adjust and works with different types of skirt lengths as well. I could probably attach some sleeves or insert pockets too if I wanted it. And what is better to wear on a desert island than a breezy summer dress?

By the way, the original dress in the Burda Magazine has a lace overlay skirt and a cute little bow on the belt. Cute!

Vogue 8604

2. Vogue 8604.

It is one of those patterns that just keeps on giving. It has trousers, pencil skirt and bolero patterns all in one, and the trousers looks equally good in linen and cotton as in wool! I have made the trousers three times now. It´s starting to get ridiculous.…

New Look 6808

3. New Look 6808 blouses pattern.

It is a multi-pattern as well (are you starting to see a trend?), it´s got different sleeve options as well as a couple of different collars. An easy pick! I´ve made this three times already, but on a desert island I might need to make myself some new versions!

Lisette Portfolio

4. On to the next one : the famous Lisette Portfolio aka Simplicity 2245!

This is such a comfortable style, both the tunic and the dress – it´s perfect for warm weather, and would, I imagine, be great to wear when I´m out fishing or building a tree hut, or something. There is a trousers pattern included in this as well that I have yet to try, but on this island I would have all the time in the world, now wouldn´t I?

Casual tee

5. BurdaStyle 02-2009-108 boatneck tee.

Now, everyone needs a casual tee now and then, and my favorite pattern is BurdaStyle 02-2009-108. It´s a boatneck 3/4 sleeve number that works well in all sorts of knits and jerseys.

Simplicity 2362

6. Simplicity 2362 dresses

It´s marvelous for warm weather – and I am assuming that my island is quite hot and humid. The pattern has practical pockets, and different length options. And it fits me right out of the envelope, which never is a bad thing. 🙂

Vogue 1169

7. Vogue 1169 separates.

Now that I have built up a wardrobe to wear on my island, it´s time for some sewing for the fun of it. One pattern I´ve been wanting to make for a while now is Rebecca Taylors design Vogue 1169 . I have chosen this suit because I have been longing to set my teeth into something REALLY challenging, and with a million pattern pieces and some quite cute details this is a time consuming and exciting pattern! And I recon with a container full of sewing supplies, there will be some for a suit like this as well!

Advance 5434 slip pattern

8. The final pattern I will bring is Advance 5434.

It is a vintage slip pattern I have yet to use, but one that I have been planning on making for years! I am a huge fan of slips – they are the best way to make your clothing hang better on your body, and they will make your clothes last longer. And, with all this desert island time, I might get to it and make a slip in every thinkable color there is.

Vogue Sewing


My fav sewing book is easily Vogue Sewing. Every trick in the book is in…well, this book. 🙂 It´s coming with me.

For the non- sewing related book, I´d bring something by Norwegian author Jan Kjærstad. He writes the most lovely novels, and my favorite is called “Tegn til kjærlighet” or “Signs for Love”. I do recommend all his books, though! [Scruffy badger note: It seems his Jonas Wergeland Trilogy has been translated into English- Nordic prize winner in 1999.  I may have to give it a go….]

Charlie Winston Hobo


Now onto the music. My line of work is in the music business, so choosing one record is hard for me! I listen to so many different kinds of music, and have many favorites. But if I have to chose one, and clearly I do, I think I´d go for Hobo by Charlie Winston. There are so many musical references back in time, without it been uninventive, as well as there are some great lyrics on this album. And together with the soothing voice of Mr. Winston I think we have a winner! (Although Chet Baker Sings as well as Stevie Wonder´s Innervisions came pretty close…)


My luxury item? My iPad. Easily. On it I can write, draw, make music, play, learn and have fun!
So there you have it, thanks for following along, I hope you have been enjoying this imaginary trip as much as I have!

And thank you too Solvi, I am seriously inspired & am pleased to see some of my favorites that I’ve seen you make (your green dress has been etched on my memory since last year I think & I hadn’t realised I have this pattern too, uncut as yet….  )