Christmas Gifts to make for children

Trying to reduce plastic waste with children’s gifts is so very difficult and depending on the child’s age it can be difficult to make what they most want.  My daughter and nephews all love dressing up clothes and I love making them.  So below are just a few fun makes.

mary poppins

Mary Poppins doll & clothes

With the new Mary Poppins film due out next year this adorable PDF pattern would be a fu make.

t bear

Teddy bear

This super smart bear pattern comes with the clothes patterns.  Would be great fun to make the clothes to match its new owner as well.

Rag dolls for every occasion.  Top left is a lovely Alice doll & clothes.  Top right is a superhero boy & girl.  Bottom is Scout and her sausage dog.

Super softies.  The mouse is adorable, complete with the papier mache boat.   Velvet Elephant, and sweet bear.

Fancy dress clothes are always a winner!  Top left wings, girls cloakJedi, Knight, Sir Gawain and unicorn mask.

And finally some super hot water bottle cosies and Playhouse tent.  The kitbag bag is from Dandy star, but one could make the bag or buy a plain kitbag and add on some fabulous patches and pins.  That would make a great bag for girls or boys and also appeal to Tweens and Teens.

Christmas Gifts, sewing

Crafty Christmas gifts – kits

Some friends and family love making things when they have time, although don’t have a particular favorite craft.  And over Christmas so many have 2 weeks to wind down and recharge and its great to be able to switch off and make something.  I’ve collected a few ideas for my family and friends and thought I’d share.

Having a ready-made it to embroider is fun the Constellation embroidery kit by Jenny Blair Kits is lovely.  Puffin by Hawthorn Handmade, sparked by my trip to the Faroe Islands this year and so much fun for a friend I made there.  Revolution by Hannah Bass Needlepoint would be a fabulous year long make in our home and one I have on my wish list!

Yarn crafts, weaving is super popular and this small loom is a great starter kit, by Wool Couture Company.  Macrame is fun, my daughter learnt how to make a hanging plant holder by at The Goodlife Experience and so loved it and has asked for more! This wallhanging by The Wool Couture Company is great.  And if you know someone who would like to knit, this shawl is brilliant as its made from chunky yarn and would knit up quite quickly and be super to wear, again by the Wool Couture Company.

The ring kit really appealed to me, makes a sterling silver ring.  Quite a few friends enjoy calligraphy or want to learn and I met one of the lovely girls from Kirsten Burke when Etsy had a pop-up shop last month.  Making a leather bag could seem daunting, but with a kit – would make a great gift.

bath bomb kit

Finally, making bath bombs is fun and great to be able to use!  These egg bombs look so lovely and  perfect for all ages.  And if you know someone who would like to learn a craft you could always put together a little kit just for them.


This is not a sponsored post and I have not recieved any gifts – just loved the items.

sewing, slow fashion

Dutch wax fabric dressing gown


I’ve been working on another shawl collar dressing gown as a Christmas gift.  The fabric is a great Dutch wax pattern I found when I went to Middlesex Street, a treasure trove of fabric shops! The fabric, I thought called out for a little lift and I ordered 3 super bright neonish Kona solid.  The yellow worked brilliantly, wish I had recut the cuffs and will do that next time, possibly adding to the pockets as well.

The fabric has to be pre washed, because of the treatment it has and washed brilliantly.  Not had any shrinkage problems so far and it comes in 5.5m [6 yard] lengths, this dressing gown takes 5 metres.  I’m a huge fan of this type of cloth, great quality and in an abundant array of patterns. The pattern is based on a previous dressing gown I made earlier this year and blogged about here.  That was also made in a Dutch wax print and I use it everyday.

Now to get back to work as I’m busy with commissions that need to be finished before Christmas!

sewing, slow fashion

sewing gifts for men

I wanted to share a few DIY gift ideas for men, I have made a dressing gown for my brother this year [more of than in my next post].  But with @my_plastic_free_journey_uk have tried to come up with some good gifts that don’t require much or any plastic.  First up:
purl soho tie.jpgPurl Soho tie

A fun gift for a tie wearer and can be made out of any fabric, be that comic book, silk or Liberty Print.  Or you could knit a version – there are lots of patterns and the Wool Warehouse has a free pattern.

Shaving items can be very synthetic and bad for the skin or packaged in lots of plastic, so here are a few ideas:

For a pre shave oil:  Pour 100mls olive oil and 100mls jojoba oil into 200ml bottle.  Add 4–5 drops of essential oil to the oil mixture – lavender, rosewood, vanilla and frankincense are great.  Seal and shake bottle to mix ingredients.  Don’t forget to add a lovely label.

Shaving cream tutorial.  or this recipe: Place 100mls coconut oil and 100mls shea butter to a glass bowl and microwave for aprox 30 seconds. Stir and microwave an additional 30 seconds. If mixture is not completely melted, microwave an additional 10 seconds.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to mixture and a few drops of essential oil and stir.  Refrigerate until solid and then whisk for until mixture is fluffy.  Decant into a jar and add a lovely label.

Mustache Wax, here is a good tutorial.

Beard Oil: 50ml coconut oil, a few drops of argan oil, few drops of essential oils – rosemary, lemon or mandarin are great.  Pour into a jar or metal tin – Baldwins do a great range and have all the ingredients as well. Do add a lovely label.

Bags are a great choice if you have time, there’s still a few weeks to go!  Merchant & Mills have fabulous patterns and I liked the Costermonger.    The kitbag is a fab tutorial, has a real vintage look to it.  And if he takes lunch into work, what could be better than this lunch bag by Purl Bee?  If you add an insulating batting would be fab all year round.

Do hope this may have helped spark a few ideas, if you don’t have time Etsy has some fabulous products.  If you have a gadget mad man, there is a wooden iphone speaker that is brilliant – not just for men either!

Please note this is not a sponsored post, all items chosen by me.


Christmas gifts to make


This week Greenpeace have dubbed #makesmthng week.  So I thought I’d kick off a simple Christmas guide with some lovely things to make as gifts.  I’ve started my gift making, some quick and simple & others are taking a little more time.  One thing I do is pin ideas throughout the year, so if I am stumped for a gift – I’ll click over and scrole through.  If I can’t find one it often sparkes a new idea.  So first up:

lisa mario.jpg

Image and to buy

Great idea for a simple backstitch embroidery and can also be done on woolen jumpers.


tutorial available here

japanese knot bag

image & pattern

These are lovely gifts, great for young, old & anywhere in the middle.  Would be super special made in vintage kimono silk or Liberty tana lawn.


The Orton bag – free pattern

Lots of bags!  I have made many boxy pouches with applique and embroidery, named, first aid even insulated for lunch boxes.  All using this basic tutorial and making changes to size and adding a lining hiding the raw edges etc.

swan scalf.jpg


If your a fast knitter this is brilliant and and you can’t knit they are also available ready made.

frida quilt top.jpg

modern Freda pattern

This Freda quilt pattern is fabulous and would be great in lots of different colourways, it a PDF pattern with instructions for a speedy bondaweb version and also a traditional needle turned method.  Etsy has some also readymade if you love the look but don’t have the time.  The pattern would be great on a tablecloth for Christmas, or small sections for napkins.  Urban threads has lots of embroidery machine patterns and they all have hand embroidery versions of every pattern.

Hope this sparks some fun ideas for your Christmas makes this year.


pattern review, sewing, slow fashion

the box shirt


I have been super busy over the last 6 weeks, curtains and home furnishings taking up lots if my time.  So when I was able to carve out a day to sew for myself, I decided to make the Box Shirt by The Maker’s Atelier.  A while ago I was in Ray Stitch in Islington and I found some bamboo silk, it has a wonderful sheen and weight to it.  And now they have a selection of beautiful jewel colours, would so love to make another shirt in this fabric.  I decided not to make a vent in the side seams and construct with french seams.

It looks great tucked in or out and can see this becoming a real wardrobe staple, just hoping it doesn’t shrink as I didn’t prewash the fabric.  It’s a brilliant pattern.  I did a quick twirl, sharing on instagram stories – kind of shows the fabric better.


plastic detox

#drowninginplastic simple swaps

If you haven’t seen Drowning in Plastic that was shown this week on BBC1, do.  It’s a hard watch and shows the horrific scale of plastic pollution that is killing marine life, poisoning rivers and how we are now eating microplastics in our food and the damage it is reeking.  Finding alternatives is hard, in our daily lives we are all bombarded by plastics.  From our first cup of tea in the morning to closing our eyes, plastics are everywhere – polycotton sheets = sleeping on plastic, it seems to be never-ending.

swap shop

There are some simple swaps that are low cost and will make a difference, some swaps do require a change of habit or more investment and that does take quite a while to get going.

Having a reuseable bag, rather than a plastic bag.  If your up for DIY burdastyle has a good pattern and its so simple.  Perfect to make as gifts.  I use a basket for food shopping and try to carry a string bag or a homemade bag packed in my handbag for other purchases.

If you drink dairy, try a local milk delivery company – there is also 1 company that does make dairy free milks in glass bottles available from Hetu (always best to call ahead as they sell out so quickly).

Who gives a crap, paper wrapped loo roll.  Since buying the first box, been impressed by this loo roll and not gone back to the supermarket plastic wraped stuff.

bin bags

When I can I use Biodegradable bin bags, I buy them from Baldwins and As Nature Intended (both in store) and am writing to all my local supermarkets asking them to stock biodegradable waste bags.

Try a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush, I bought mine at The Source Bulk Foods and there are lots now available.

Tea there are a few options, PG Tips loose leaf is the only 100% plastic free I’m aware of – unless you have found some.  Do comment below if you have.  Coffee I tend to go out for and use my insulated cup, found in TK Mazz.  It’s not leak proof but keeps my coffee hot and is easy to take around.

I love stationary and this one has been very hard, I’ve switched to a fountain pen with a refillable converter to use bottle ink.  I know it can’t be used everywhere, but has solved my daily needs and I love using it.

Switching liquid soap, Baileys Home & Garden have bars of un-packaged soap and it lovely.  I tend to buy quite a few bars when I am visiting Herefordshire.  There are lots of lovely options.

Cotton handkerchiefs (ebay) rather than tissues, I have found paper tissues in Tesco that are plastic free – but have invested in a dozen and now in the habit of grabbing a new clean hankie every day.

These are just a few suggestions, if you have more do please comment.  Would love some skin care suggestions!

All views are my own and i have bought all the items at my own cost.

I have a new instagram for my plastic free journey @my_plastic_free_journey_uk

pattern review, sewing

The Utility Coat: a review


This weekend I went to North Wales to the Good Life Experience, a wonderful festival that is so much more than music – although that was brilliant.  As advised packed for all eventualities and my new rain coat came along.  It is the Utility Coat by the Maker’s Atelier and lined with a warm quilted fabric.

Pattern: The Utility Coat by TheMaker’s Atelier.

Fabrics: Water proof cotton fabric from The Cloth house wearhouse & quilted lining.

Notions: Epic [polyfil] thread.

Pattern description: A relaxed, unlined coat with hood or round-necked collar.

Pattern Sizing: I made the size 12.

Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?: Yes, although a little fuller because of the lining.

What did you like or dislike about the pattern?: I love the simple clean lines for the pattern.

Did I make  any pattern alterations or design changes?: Yes, I fully lined the coat, so didn’t bind any of the seams.  I also used eyelets on the hood, as well as the waist,  simple patch pockets, poppers instead of buttons and made a parker shape at the back.  There is a very simple ‘how to‘ on The Maker’s Ateliers website, I used a parker of my daughter’s as a basic shape.

Would I sew it again or recommend to others?: Yes, a very well written pattern and if making the basic unlined version it is a quickish make.

Conclusion: delighted with my new winter raincoat and had some really lovely comments about it when I took it away for the weekend.


This is not a sponsored post, all opinion are my own.  I purchased the pattern and fabric.

pattern review, sewing

Simplicity 2587

I have been working on some dresses based on Simplicity 2587.  I have increased the fullness in the skirt, raised the plung V neckline and also made the sleeves more bell like.  I love the floatyness of the sleeves and it is super to wear, the cotton embroidery anglaise is lovely in the heat and lined with cotton voile.

I added some piping detail to the neckline and midriff panel, really love how well the piping works.  Its a fabulous dress to go from day to evening, with heals or flip flops.


For lunch with friends or just running errands.


I love the fit and have made a couple for customers – who saw mine and wanted a version for themselves!


sewing in the heat

Over the past couple of months we have been experiencing an amazingly hot summer, something my wardrobe is not used to.  I have very few pieces that are for extremely hot weather and those that I do own are rather more beach/resort wear.  So in between commissions I have been snatching a few hours making up a couple of dresses and on Saturday bought some fabulous pure cotton white broderie anglaise, cotton voile and light weight cotton print to make up Simplicity 2587.

simplicity 2587

making view c, with a few modifications  pics in my next post.

vogue 9253.jpg

Another much worn dress has been Vogue 9253, I love this dress!  East to wear and simple to sew, did take 5.5m of fabric as I chose a narrow width.  I made a neckline alteration as I didn’t want such a low V and worn it lots, the african wax print I used is also brilliant and washes like a dream.


Just finished Butterick 5898 for a client in Liberty Tana Lawn, it looks really lovely and perfect for a hot summers day and also smart.  If you can not face getting your sewing machine out, Justine Tabak has some beautiful pieces, made in London and from beautful fabrics including some super Liberty tana lawns.

Will post the photo’s of the finished dresses soon, but for now must get back to work.