Tag Archives: desert

Desert Island Sewing: Our first Castaway, Roobeedoo

Here starts some fun!  Who better to leave her foot prints on the sand than Roobeedoo, that definer of individual gorgeous personal style and inspiring stitching & mind-blowing knitting, whose provocative blog also shares great reads & glimpses of life in a rural Scottish hideaway.

I was thrilled that she agreed to be my Desert Island Sewing guinea pig.  Let me set the scene …

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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?”



So I’m stranded on an island and can only take 8 sewing patterns.  Hmmm.  Am I starting my wardrobe from scratch?  Do I have to work for a living?  Is there public transport available?  Or can I just stay in one place and do nothing all day except sew, read, write, knit and think?

What’s the weather like?  Can I assume it’s neither too hot or too cold and that it doesn’t rain or snow?

1. Straightaway my first thought was the Pattern Runway Scalloped Shorts pattern.  Yes, really!

My “wearable muslin” in caramel-coloured cotton twill is the garment I reach for most often when I want to take photos of a new top.  Even though my trousers in the same fabric went to landfill a long time ago, for some reason these shorts are my go-to blank canvas.  Why?  They fit so well.  They just do.  I love the scalloped front – it seems so sculpting.  My thighs are honestly not my best feature, but with these shorts and some thick tights, I feel invincible.  What a shame they aren’t work-appropriate!  But I am on my dream island and I can wear whatever I like.  Since I am stranded out here, I might take the time to draft some longer legs and turn them into trousers.  Now there’s a good project!

2. Next up has to be the Blouse Airelle (Deer & Doe patterns).  I have made it twice (here) and (here) and I am not done with it yet.  To be honest, I need to tweak the fit a little, but even in its current straight-from-the-packet size 36, I know it is a “keeper”.

It has no annoying fastenings to grapple with, all the pieces fit together perfectly and I have so many plans for variations – a lace yoke, piping, a curved collar instead of a pointy one, no collar at all, a dress-length version…  And it is just so French!  It has a certain je ne sais quoi, n’est pas?

3. But I also need knit tops.  The winner in this category has to be the Renfrew.  It is fearlessly fitted, with good slim sleeves.  I have a deep dislike of wide-sleeved tee shirts on myself (I blame 1990’s maternity wear) and this pattern is the perfect antidote.

(Roo’s post about this make here)

4. A skirt pattern.  I need at least one of those.  I am torn.  My instinct is to say Megan Nielsen’s Kelly Skirt because I have made it 4 times and I wear it so often.  But do I really need a pattern to make another?

Couldn’t I draft it out of my head?  Ach, soddit, throw it in my trunk!

Oh my, I am half-way there already…

5. A dress.  I need a dress.  Well, that’s easy – it’s the [Deer & Doe] Robe Sureau.

(Link to Roobeedoo’s post about her Scottish Sureau)

I need to do a small bust adjustment next time I make it, but that’s OK, as I have all the time in the world on this island of mine.

6. OK, I am going for a “four for the price of one” offer now, and I am going to nominate the Lisette Portfolio pattern.  I love the top, the dress, the tunic and the trousers.  I could live in this pattern.  I am not trying to impress any employers or gentlemen out here, so I can go for comfort-dressing can’t I?


7. Shoot me – I forgot my pants!  My self-drafted knicker pattern please!  I can live without a bra, but I need my knickers!

8. Oh dear.  The last pattern on the planet.  What is it going to be?  I think I will go for a wild card.  Just in case I am marooned here forever, I would like to have one impossible dream pattern for something I have no occasion to wear and that would take me forever to make.  A magnificent silk evening dress.  Something like the Eva Dress E20-6632, 1929 German Evening Frock and Scarf.


The other luxury would have to be an unlimited supply of sock yarn and needles.  I could get by without patterns, but I couldn’t survive without yarn and needles.
And the book?  I have to be completely honest – I don’t have a sewing book that I care that much about.  Here’s an idea – I would like this one, and would teach myself to make bras

A non-sewing book… that’s really hard!  I think I will have to say “Middlemarch” (George Elliott) even though I am already immersed in the audio-book.

I have been listening to it in installments for months now, when I am sewing at home alone.  I am really appreciating the humour when I hear it read aloud.
And music?  Oh dear.  That’s SO difficult!  Only one disc?  Maybe I ought to go for something that is repetitive by its very nature… how about “Glassworks” from Philip Glass?  Beloved of a million soundtracks and adverts for good reason.

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But I think I would go mad if I had it on repeat…!

Thank you Roobeedoo!  I have so enjoyed reading about your choices and going through your blog to revisit some pictures to use!  You have not disappointed with your castaway style!  Huge swoonings going on here, & thank you for introducing me to some Philip Glass I’d not heard before- I love it.

Thank you to everyone who replied to the first post proposing this “Desert Island Sewing” idea.  It’s the kind of thing that could get you thinking what your choices would be.  If you would like to let me know your patterns please email me at scruffybadgertime(at)gmail(dot)com and I can start to compile some stats.  If you want to blog about it, leave me a link because over time I will try to feature as many of these as I can!  I’m sorry I can’t get to everyone all at once, but for now I have lined up a few bloggers to participate, just to get some momentum & spark some interest 🙂

(Yes I know we’re looking at the machine’s behind, but it was nicer distribution of palm trees etc…)!

Here’s the code if you want it:

<a href=”http://scruffybadgertime.co.uk/search/castaway”><img src=” http://i1090.photobucket.com/albums/i374/Scruffybadgerti/DesertIslandSewing_zps8d7ffe79.jpg “></a>

Happy weekend everyone 🙂