Creative Craft show-Excel


It’s been a while and I’ve just been given this fabulous excuse to get your creative juices flowing.

I have a discount code for tickets to the Creative Craft show at Excel, London.  Whoop!

The show is full of all sorts of crafty things to get your teeth into be it knitting, paper craft embroidery or sewing (hello, fabric addicts).  This show covers them all plus a few more.

You could also make a contribution towards a giant 13ft knitted commemorative poppy to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.  As someone just learning to knit this could be a challenge but nothing should be easy all of the time right.

Anyone with a love of knitting and crochet can pick up their needles and wool and add a square to the feature in association with charity and knitting fanatics, Grans on the Make – it’s a really special project.


The discount is available up until the 16th of April.

If you make it to the show have a most fabulous time and let me know what treasures you find.  Obviously I need to see all the fabric.

Pippa x

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Head out of the clouds…

Is it too late to say Happy New Year?

I’m not big on January.  I think it’s something to do with the lack of light and the long list of to-dos I created.  Thank the Foo for February…


Some time before Christmas the lovely Laura from More Sewing asked if I’d like some fabric to make up.  Well, it’s fabric isn’t it. So, this is a collaboration piece with Laura donating the fabric but the opinions are my own.


Such a variety to choose from, I decided on a jersey with clouds all over.  It’s what might be called a Cadbury purple but the pictures don’t show the colour very well.

I could see a clouded  Lane Raglan from Hey June.


I’d made it in a sweatshirting which has been on regular rotation so I knew the pattern would be good for the soft jersey that arrived.

I made up a large which gives me a shaped but not close fitting top.  I normally work up a 12 but these can vary so always go with measurements and go up a size if you’re not sure.

It’s a good t-shirt weight and due to it being winter and all I went for a long sleeve.  A tad too long as it turned out but only by about an inch.

With this being a cotton/elastine jersey it worked up really nicely.  You just have to be sure not to stretch the neckband too much as you put it on.  Once stitched on and wizzed with the overlocker I used a twin needle to top stitch the seam allowance down.


I twin needled both the sleeve and hem edges too.  It gives a nice finish and helps you hold on to the stretch of the fabric.

I always put a ribbon tab on the left side of my tops to avoid labels irritating my neck and so I can tell front from back.  How cool are these sheep which somehow work perfectly with the clouds.


Over all this fabric worked up really well and I’m now of the mind that I’ll make more of my t-shirts than buy them.

It’s not always going to be cheaper and it most definitely won’t be quicker going by my rate of making up for me but I think everyone should give it a go.  Just look at the fabrics that are now available.

There’s a gamut of t-shirt/top patterns you can get hold of now.  The world is your lobster once you find a pattern that works for you.  My next is a Sew house 7 Toaster

Go on,  give it a go and let me know how you get on.

Toodle pip xx


Diving into Tilda’s Toy Box

When I was given the chance to review the Tilda Toy Box book by Minerva Crafts I heard Christmas bells straight away.


It’s the perfect excuse to make my niece a dressing up doll. She loves dressing up so what better present. A whole wardrobe is coming her way.  I’ve found the perfect foil for all of those bits that are too big for me to throw away but not big enough to do much with.  I’ve curated fabrics for her and found I’m buying fat quarters too…everyone should have a dress with ladybirds on right?  It’s for my niece, honest.

I also found myself falling for the whale, there are soo many options to make for small ones and maybe one or two for grown ups.  I’m going to have so much fun.



Check out the full review and find out how I got on, on the Minerva crafts blog

Fabric addicts unite!!!

It was dark, cool and we could see a glimmer of light on the street.  Our destination was in sight.  The lights were on at Anglian Fashion Fabrics and once given ‘The Knock’ we were let in.

Sounds quite dramatic doesn’t it but Tim and the team at the shop agreed for Norwich Sewcials to have a ‘lock-in’.   An evening with a fabric shop to ourselves!  What more could a girl ask for.  We were very excited and as we gradually gathered for the love of fabric Tim took us through the latest treasures that he’d had come in.  There were many jerseys and sweater knits, beautiful textured fabrics and colours to choose from.  I was so carried away I didn’t take any photos, despite reminding myself I needed to take lots.   Luckily Emma Of Crafty Clyde was ‘on it’.  I have her to thank for all of these.


I instantly fell in love with some soft shimmery fur.  It was on the first table so, I fell at the first hurdle.  I didn’t stand a chance really.  I left it promising to come back for it.  Yes, I talk to fabric.  It was not allowed to go home entirely with someone else.

We stroked fabric, discussed ideas and pattern options.  Talked buttons, shiny/matt, ooh dinosaurs. They have such a nice range, it’s difficult to choose at times.  23518870_409508996131203_4054104019944175201_n


There were lots of oohs and ahhs as everyone moved around the shop.  Queries were made and decisions were finalised which kept Tim and the girls on their toes.  I’ll take cake if we’re allowed back to keep their sugar levels up.


It was a happy evening with everyone there open to ideas and meeting up at such a nice venue.  It was lovely to see one or two new faces and bump in to some which I hadn’t seen for a while.  The sewing community is a lovely one, everyone is happy when talking fabric and sewing.

So, what’s the next project?  Yes, I went back for the furry goodness that I fell for.  along with some ponte knit of a similar colour which, just so happened, had been put right next to it.  Clever people these fabric bods.  There was sooo much goodness to see that evening but I had to limit myself to stand any chance of making something up before Christmas.


I’m thinking a Toaster sweater from sew house 7 or a Talvikki from Named.  That’s a whole other decision.  I considered a jacket but it is a soft fur so I think it’ll be ok as a jumper.  Jim Henson was mentioned…I’m going to look like a muppet.  Well, I’m guessing it’s not Miss Piggy so I’m fine with that.

As for what everyone else bought, I watched many bags leaving the shop so look forward to seeing them made up.  Maybe we need to organise another sew day for sewcials.  Let’s get these made up.  The stash needs to flow, Ha! Who am I kidding.  I haven’t made up all of the fabric from the sewing bee yet.  I also have some viscose from fabric godmother to make into a Christmas shirt…The To-Do pile isn’t getting any smaller.

I’m going to narrow it down so that I don’t completely overwhelm myself.  Let’s see how that goes shall we.  I’ll check dates for a sew day.  Who’s with me?

Mnamna, Do dooo do do do, Mnamna…


Shopping for fabric addicts

Now you might have guessed this is a subject close to my heart. I love fabric.  I can quite happily look at fabric all day.  Like many sewists I have a substantial stash that I take in hand on occasion and actually use.  Sadly I don’t appear to make it up at the same rate as gaining it.  There are worse habits to have.

At the beginning of each beginners course I talk of thinking about what you want from your fabric.

What do you want to make?

What’s your budget?  consider this very carefully if this is your first foray, but don’t start with the cheapest of the cheapest.  Unless you’re making a toile of your final garment.  Then I’d use an old sheet or something cheap to check the size and fit.  Charity shop duvets are a favourite.

What do you need in your wardrobe?  Make something you’ll actually wear.  We all get carried away with lovely fabric and who wouldn’t want a fabulous evening top or dress, but will you have the occasion to wear it.  I’m going to put a little thought of my own out there…If you’ve already got the me made sitting in the wardrobe with no-where to wear it, take it shopping.  I still have a problem with wearing pjs or a onesie to do the weekly shop.  Sorry if it’s just me.  Wear the fairy outfit instead,  Go Glam. I for one would find find that far more fun.

Start simple.  The big four have simple sections and a lot of the Indie patterns are suited to beginners.  Each of them work towards their own style and will appeal to some but not all of us.

Choose your pattern first, because it’s so much easier to buy fabric with a project in mind. Particularly at the beginning, there’s such an overwhelming choice of beautiful fabric. The soft, shiny, textured not to mention the colours…I could go on, in fact I probably have done already.

It can be a minefield if you not sure what you’re looking for.  That’s where the store can help.  Now, granted, if you can only make it in on a busy Saturday afternoon they’re not going to be able to give you masses of attention.  They will however be able to give you a rough idea as to the fabric that will work best for your project. If you’re shopping online then check out the description, give them a call and ask about it, more often than not they’ll send you a sample if you ask nicely.

If you fall in love with a fabric before finding a pattern then life does indeed become more interesting.  What does that fabric say to you?  Yes, really.  Sometimes it tells you exactly what it wants to be.  Does it drape?  Does it have body? Is it asking to be made into a dress, a skirt,  that perfect pair of trousers that seem to elude you.  Maybe just a scarf if it’s a beautifully soft silky number that you haven’t plucked up courage to sew with yet.   Note to self- I bring out the snakeskin silk chiffon every year but never get around to making the top up.  If I made a scarf it would at least get used.

Consider what you would make before buying.  If you have to have it, check to see how much that pattern might need.  Don’t buy blind.   I can see those of you that might know me, laughing, I know.  Will she be taking her own advice?

I’ve got better at it.  I now keep the TNT patterns on my phone.  I photograph the back of the envelope so that I can quickly work out how much I need.  It saves carrying the patterns around and it’s there at a moments notice.  Keep your phone charged.  Just saying.  I will only buy if  I know what I’m going to make.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still those impulses but I’m better prepared.

I’m girding my loins ready for the Norwich Sewcials open evening at Anglian Fashion Fabrics on Tuesday.  More on that over here  Locked in a fabric store!!!  Life just doesn’t get any better, well, maybe there will be wine after.

If you’re not local or can’t get out then More Sewing  are having a sale weekend.  If you’re near to Worthing on the south coast of the uk then get yourself down there.  If not,  then have no fear.  They’re having an online sale on Sunday!!!  20% Off ALLL fabrics!!!  Patterns at the ready people.

I hope my ramblings  might help, if you’ve made it this far I hope you had a cup of something to help you through.  If not, pop the kettle on.  Mines black with one sugar. x





A September of shows

Hello.  Anybody there?

It’s been a while.  I’ve come through the fog and out the other side to grasp the nettle.


September saw the opening of the Great British Sewing Bee live show.   Crafty Clyde and I  took the plunge and as Norwich Sewcials, booked a coach.   What if we were the only ones that wanted to go?  It’ll be fine!  Well, turns out we weren’t on our own. Phew!

I love a sewing show.  The opportunity to see different shops (we’re a little short in Norfolk)  the latest trends and exhibitions of other peoples work.  It’s good to get out there and see what everyone else is doing.

I know we now have this fabulous thing of the web but to see, with your own eyes, the beautiful work that is normally behind glass in a museum or shut away in a cupboard for storage is for me a treat.

Emma has done a lovely review of the day over on Crafty Clyde .  I found I was rubbish when talking into a fixed microphone.  I got the giggles big time.  I’d be no good at karaoke.  Crafty clyde was far better, Norwich sewcials DJ anyone?  Almost as soon as we got there we ran into Eliza-sew-little and Melissa of Fehr Trade whom I hadn’t seen since the sewing weekender last year.  Melissa does the most amazing active wear patterns and has a book coming out next year.  It was also lovely to see the The Fold line girls with their swap stop.  The show wasn’t as big as some of the others but I think this made it nicer to get around.  We could sit on a bench to eat lunch (something the other shows could take note on)  and Bubbles!  Just one honest, but how civilised.

I gathered a few treasures to add to the stash and the exhibitions were great. I feel a trip to the fashion and textile museum is in need.  I think it’s fair to say we enjoyed the day.   I’ll admit I was far more relaxed on the way home than on the way there.

Now, only a week later I made the trip down to thread Festival in Farnham.  It’s a show that I’d seen on Instsagram, as you do, and it looked really interesting but it was miles away.  It would probably just be one that I watched from afar in instaland.  Then I won tickets!  Whoop!!!  Well, now I had to go.

I booked a stopover and with a friend drove down ready for the morning of the show.  This is where it got quite interesting, once in Farnham it appeared near impossible to park.  We hadn’t realised there was also a food festival on in the town so all car parks were chocka.   Once ensconced in a spot, we witnessed a particularly ugly incident between two “ladies” after the same space.  We grabbed our scarves and scarpered.

We stumbled into a charitiy shop within 5 minutes of leaving the car park,  Lou picked up some very pretty lace.  We decided if we had time to come back after the show.


It was held in the Maltings, a perfectly crafty place.  A beautiful building with several rooms to work our way through.

There was so much to see and before long I’d fallen in love with some cork fabric.  Yes, really.  Then the foxes, my fate was sealed.  Purple Stitches had such a fabulous range I could have just bought everything.


It was all small independents so there were loads of different stalls.  From your fabulous fabric shops to vintage stalls and fabric designers.  The jewellery by Silverdashery was very tempting.  (Cough, Thimble necklace) If my other half reads this.


I totally fell in love with Mama and Boo , the most beautiful illustrations which are then transformed into textile art.  My photo just doesn’t do her work justice.



There was so much to see as you made your way through the rooms, sometimes we did them twice just in case we missed one.

There were of course tea breaks, and a very nice soup.  The Maltings had two areas for food and drinks so you didn’t have huge queues, though seating was limited.  It would have been lovely to sit outside and admire their garden but I can see how that may have been difficult to manage.

They had a wall of ‘I stitch because’ notes.  We added to these, some of the  reasons just ticked me.  One or two were even stitched.

Unfortunately we never found the exhibitions.  We did stumble across the Farnham quilters who were running small workshops and had a display of their beautiful work

Over all it was a lovely show, nice to see lots of small businesses getting the foot fall.  If you’re in the area it’s definitely one to take a look at.

Farnham itself was also a very pretty town and the food festival looked like a good one.  We caught it just at the end so everyone was packing up.  We did come across this display outside a restaurant, the most beautifully carved fruit and veg.


I think if I made the journey again I’d make a weekend of it.  It’s such a pretty spot and there seems to be loads to see in the area.  Maybe next year…

Which is your favourite stitching show?


End of term musings

I’ve made it to the end of term! Whoop, whoop!


So it turns out I don’t just contemplate in the bath, I have time to think on my car journey to and from my classes. In the last couple of weeks I’ve finished all of my classes for the summer holibobs. The realisation hit’s, that…I’m going to miss them. Yes, really.

Grab yourself a cuppa,  this is a long one.

Whether I see them for a term, a days workshop or a whole year, they become part of my life.  Granted, we have our ups and downs.  It’s noted I’m not infallible but generally we rub along ok.  As we all get to know each other we learn how each person ticks.  Well mostly.

That awkward first night when no-one knows each other, I feel it too, grows into something more, we’re all here with something in common.  We all want to sew, create something.  I try to wheedle out any good or indeed bad experiences to gauge which way it’s going to go.  Will everyone get on?  I always hope so.

As we all get to know each other people relax, friendships grow and it’s no longer just a sewing class.  It’s sewcial.  People, generally, want to get on.  Each class becomes a community, small granted but they’re all supportive of each other.  It’s a nice atmosphere to be a part of.

Humour plays a large part in my class.  I have to hope most people have a similar sense of humour to me or I’ll be apologising quite regularly due to my general ‘foot in mouth’ syndrome.  I hope I’ve not overstepped the mark but I also hope someone would say if I’ve offended.  We laugh.  It feels like a lot, so I think we’re ok.  I’m not naturally a serious person, I try but it doesn’t last long.  We discuss many  things in class, the fabrics we love and occasionally hoard.  Where we might go to add to our collection and how to avoid buying the wrong type for a project.

Life in general gets an airing as we get more comfortable with each other.  As straight lines are stitched or zips put in we cheer in celebration of the achievement.  We commiserate when handing over an unpick and occasionally smile  at a wonky seam.  Well I can’t help myself when it’s been sewn around the pin.

The new names given to things.  Technical language can be very overrated.  Squash rather than press, ‘ Wang’ when a facing or collar doesn’t lay straight.  I think ‘stiffy stuff’ might be my present favourite as the new name for interfacing.  (Pipe down with the giggles at the back there.)  The double entendres, that’s a whole other blog post.

No two classes are the same.   Some will have a gentle buzz as they sew in quiet concentration while others will roar in laughter at yet another wonky stitch line or the sewing up of the armhole.  It’s a look but not a comfortable one.

I’ve been told by one or two of my students that they feel ‘safe’.  It’s ok if they’ve had a bad day, in class they can have time to themselves.  I think it’s often given the term mindfulness, when you can just do.  Physically doing allows your other brain time out.  We all need that from time to time.  It was once described as a ‘Zen-like feeling of calm’.  This was a tongue in cheek dig when given paperwork which asked a student what she hoped to gain from such a class.  I wish I’d photocopied that sheet as the phrase has been used many times.  Sometimes it’s having a chance to vent, to reflect on the day and just let go.  To enter the sewing zone.  I’m not here to judge.  What happens in the sewing room stays there.  From size measurements to health issues and divorce proceedings.  We’re in this together.

As skills and friendships develop I see people grow, blossom even.  It’s taken me a while to realise it but that’s what I love about this job.  It’s not just me sharing my skills, which is essentially why I’m there.  It’s being part of that community of support.  We laugh with each other and occasionally at me,  apparently I make faces when I’m thinking.

We drink tea, we eat cake and put the world to rights.

It’s not just the student that grows though.  I also gain from this gathering.  Over the years I’ve also gained in confidence, they’ve encouraged me to ‘grasp the nettle’.  I’m more likely to say ‘I’ll give it a go’.  What if?  Sod it, I’ll give it a go anyway.

I’ve met many students I now count as good friends.  I guess it’s because we all have something in common but just occasionally it goes deeper than that.  We connect.   I’m pleased to bump into any of my students in a fabric shop,  Yes that’ll work for that top.  No, I think you’d be better with a softer drape…Yes, that’s very pretty, buy it!

Don’t underestimate the power of sewing or the ‘community’ it creates.  It’s a positive pastime.






Time flies…apparently.

So, we’re well and truly into June. Hell, we’re nearly into July!  Can someone please slow time down a bit.

I’ve been well and truly remiss in keeping up with things here.

I wasn’t quite so successful with my #mmmay17 pledge this year.  Work, life, all the usual culprits got in the way.  I think we all struggle with that at some point,  for me it’s one of the side effects of being self employed.  I don’t say no very often.

I was told saying no can be very empowering, I’ve already made a fairly major decision which really has lifted my mood. (A sign that it was the right one)  I’m starting to get to grips with being empowered…

I’m making decisions and finishing one or two things.

I think the first #mmmay17 to be finished was my Makers Atelier raw edge jacket


It went together really nicely, if I’m honest I’m still getting used to having all of the seams on the outside of the jacket.  I’d picked up a lovely fine boiled wool on a shopping trip with some girlfriends a couple of years ago which was perfect for it.  The Beccles sewing shop ,  has a lovely range if your ever in the area.  As the wool was quite fine I decided to put a facing on the front to give the snap fasteners some support. I found some mother of pearl buttons in the stash (as you do) which worked perfectly.  I’m still getting used to the boxiness of it but I think it’ll be a really useful jacket.  We hit a heat wave shortly after finishing it so it’s been waiting for more  opportunities to wear it..  I’m sure it won’t be long, I’m in the UK after all.

Next up was my dog tooth skirt which has been hanging around for WAY to long.

It’s been waiting for a hem (yes, really.) That’s all, for at least 12 months.  Simples. Done. Just like that.  Why haven’t I finished this before now?  Aah, because apparently I have nothing to wear it with.  Note to self- make more tops that will go with stuff.






I found a part finished skirt in a pile as I was moving a few bits about.  I’d hemmed it as a sample a few months before and and forgotten it.  It just needed the facings putting on and it was done.  Again, Have a word with yourself Pippa.

Apologies about the state of the mirror, it’s been dusted since this photo was taken.



I wore it a week later, feeling very smart.  Whilst sitting talking to a student I found I had a hole in either side of the skirt where the pleats met the front…Awkward.  Not a small hole you understand, about 2″ long.  On both sides!

I’d originally made it as a toile for the sew simple High waisted skirt but it turned out better than expected.  I obviously decided to finish it off by overlocking  the pre-stitched seam and hadn’t gone back to re-stitch it.  It’s done now and goes with quite a lot of my wardrobe.  Bonus!

I finished the Rosie Bralette vest version before the workshop in may.  This has proved very successful and has got me thinking of more underwear workshops.  Maybe a camisole/slip workshop to work with those slippery fabrics and more lace.

I didn’t get a lot done this May.  I’m leaving the list where I can see it.  Hatty is still sitting on the dummy so that I can decide what to do with her.  She’s a bit of an autumn make so maybe that’ll help when the days cool off a bit.  Maybe I’ll just turn her into a skirt…

I don’t feel I’ve been that successful this year.  I’ve got lots of projects planned for the future though so maybe once I get a moment to myself I can plan a bit more strategically.  Wow!  I don’t know where that came from.  But I’ll plan never the less,  I have a note book and everything.

Now.  Those tops that I need to go with stuff…






So, we’re into May now. How did that happen? I must be getting older because time really does fly.

I’ve decided to continue on my challenge to finish a few things off for Me Made May.
I’ve tried not to start too many things over the last few months but I’ve still got a list of UFOs waiting in the wings, staring at me. It’s quite uncomfortable at times.

I’ll make another list…20170506_200524 (2)


There’s my Navy wool Pea jacket that’s been cut out for about 12 months now, in fact ot went on the last list for mmmay.
I’ve got the sleeves ready to put in but no further. I guess it’ll be ready for next autumn/winter. The skirt will have to wait until the end of summer/autumn as it’s not even cut out yet.

Buttonholes- yes these may look familiar. I’m going to put the buttonholes in so that I can wear them. I finished them last #mmmay.
This dress…


Apparently I bought to mind Hattie Jakes. As much as I enjoyed watching her in films, NOT quite the look I was going for. It’s a Burda magazine pattern from a year or two back.  It’s quite a boxy pattern by all accounts so I’ll be slipping a zip in the back and taking it in a touch.

My Makers Atilier Jacket is half way there…


At the same time as I bought the Hattie fabric I picked up some lovely boiled wool.  The lovely town of Beccles has a couple of sewing shops, Beccles sewing and Handycrafts is where I picked these up.  A lovely tea room nearby too.  Anyway, I digress.  Just the sleeves to do and we’re done.

Undies- well, lI’ve talked about my love for Rosie more than once to anyone that’ll listen.

20170403_152007 (2)

I’ve another variation to make before the workshop happens in a couple of weeks.
I also have a Harriet half way there, I just need to adjust the wires.

Then there’s the silk dog tooth skirt that’s been waiting for a hem for far too long.

That’s what I’m going to concentrate on for now.

How about anyone else?  Are you taking part in #MMMay17 ?  It’s great to see what everyones making and their varied pledges.

I’m off to #finishsomething xx

Rosie Workshop

20170407_103950I’ve not hidden my love for Rosie, now I want to share her with you. I had such great feedback that I thought a workshop was in order.

A day to find out how/where you measure to get the right size, which fabrics will work for the best results and how to adjust it to suit you.
This pattern is a great introduction into sewing underwear and working with jersey and lace. As I’ve said before, there’s no fiddling with boning where Rosie is concerned.

20170311_174401 (2)A kit to make Rosie up is included in the day, pattern, fabric, lace and all the notions you need to make her.  Beautiful Lace and pretty elastics await.


The workshop will be held in the fabulously lit Willow centre in Cringleford on the edge of Norwich, Norfolk.

You can sign up by clicking  here!  If you fancy it.
Join me to make your very own comfy wonderunder.