The Landgate | a review

the landgate

Pattern: The Landgate

Fabrics: waterproof cotton fabric from The Cloth House warehouse.

Notions: Epic [polyfil] threadhardwear, zip & elastic.

Pattern description: The Landgate Jacket is the first unisex pattern from Merchant and Mills, it’s versatile, functional and thoroughly modern.

Pattern Sizing: Medium.

Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?:  Yes

What did you like or dislike about the pattern?: Nice, straight forward make.  Easy to follow pattern, I prefered to bind the seams inside for a nice finish.

Did I make  any pattern alterations or design changes?  Yes, I dipped the hem at the back into a curve, just to make it good in a storm.  Also used the same fabric for the pocket linings.

Would I sew it again or recommend to others?  yes, its a good pattern. If you’ve not made a jacket before, take it slowly and maybe use a waxed cotton.

Conclusion:  This is the second Landgate I’ve made.  The first in a Merchant and Mills waxed linen, re-waxing it proved tricky and thought this waterproof fabric would be perfect.  The fabric is thick and didn’t like pressing all that much (used lots of steam aand a pressing cloth), it’s waterproof rather than shower proof and with wear the fabric will soften.  Using the metal eyelets gives a really professional finish and instead of using cotton cord, I used a thick elastic cord in a contrasting khaki.  The jacket is easy to wear and unisex, so would make a great make for a guy.

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


#Plasticdetox June


I have been using Aesop on and off for quite a few years, finding the packaging really attractive.  Trying to go plastic free, they do have a good range of products with only plastic lids and the bottles are recyclable and also reuseable too.  Some of the products I thought were recyclable and discovered I had completely misunderstood the symbols!


I have assumed this means recycling as it appears on deodorant bottles and all sorts of things.  In my London borough we can recycle spray antiperspirants like the Sure bottle in my bathroom cabinet.  The symbol above actually means that the producer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging – NOT that the packaging is recyclable.  But I’ve at least learn that now.  The cleanser I chose is an oil base and good, my skin clean – alough still unsure.  So the search continues….  The eye makeup remover is fabulous and so is the facial scrub – but that it appears to be totally recyclable and I am waiting to hear back from Aesop.

Marks-and-Spencer-lambs lettuce

Failed miserably with salad – why do salads items always come in plastic?  No where can I find a lettuce not wrapped in plastic, so have taken matters into my own hands and now have a small space on a friends allotment.  I can not get an allotment of my own in my borough, our garden is a very small courtyard that appears to home bugs of all descriptions that eat all my attempts at growing any veg.

plastic plant pots

I then became aware of gardening without plastic was going to be more tricky, seeds in paper will be fine. I’ve started growing some and will transplant when they are big enough.  Found some woad seeds and thought they would be interesting to add in, then I could experiment with dyeing linen and wool.  But all potting compost appears to come in plastic – pre planted veg, fruit and herbs are all in plastic – it’s everywhere!  But I’m sure I can find a way and have plans, the others at the allotments grow the most amazing things.  So inspiring!

With holidays coming up I am researching sun creams etc and busy emailing companies to gain more information. More on that next month!


T:203 cuff top | a review

T-203 cuff top

Pattern: T:203 Cuff Top by The Assembly Line.

Fabrics: clerical cotton from Fabrics Galore, I bought this in store and can’t see it on their website.

Notions: Epic [polyfil] thread & elastic.

Pattern description: The Cuff top has a straight fit and kimono sleeves with wide elastic cuffs.  Kimono sleeve with top stitch detail on centre and shoulder seams.

Pattern Sizing: X Small, Small, Medium & Large.  I made the medium.

Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?:  Yes

What did you like or dislike about the pattern?: Well written pattern, with clear instructions.  Simple and straight forward and classed as very easy.  It is beautifully packaged and the instructions are in booklet form, complete with drawings and lots of helpful tips.

Did I make any pattern alterations or design changes?  yes, used a thinner elastic – 1.5 inch wide as I have a large reel at home.

Would I sew it again or recommend to others?  Yes, I will definitely make it again. The top has a real Cos look to it and very easy to wear, would be great in other colours and also think washed linen and silk would work.

Conclusion:  Great pattern, simple and would be a brilliant first pattern for some one.  I bought it direct from The Assembly Line although The Draper’s Daughter is now stocking them.

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


The Holiday shirt | a review

the holiday shirt

Pattern: The Holiday Shirt by The Maker’s Atelier.

Fabrics: Washed linen from Ray Stitch.

Notions: Epic [polyfil] thread, 3mm white elastic  metal cube cord ends, white cotton tape and cord locks.

Pattern description: An easy pull-on top in two lengths, with options for short or long sleeves, collar or hood and with or without drawstring waist.

Pattern Sizing: 8 – 18.  I made the size 12.

Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?: yes

What did you like or dislike about the pattern?: Well written pattern, with clear instructions.  Simple and straight forward to make.  The cotton tape worked beautifully to hide the seam in the hood.

Did I make  any pattern alterations or design changes?  No.

Would I sew it again or recommend to others?  Yes, I will definitely make it again.  Thinking of a winter weight version – slightly longer with pockets, may be in a denim.

Conclusion: A great pattern, that will be easy to wear and add to my wardrobe.  Perfect added layer and with some lovely details.

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


Tea and crafting with friends


Last week I sent a few hours with friends and other ladies learning how to paper cut at Tea & Crafting in Covent Garden.  There was lots of tea and coffee and cupcakes galore to keep us going and a great treacher who showed us the basics and then helped us along the way.


The crafting space is lovely, with walls full of makes, from giant arm knitting to tiny strawberry pompoms.  I did manage to finish my cut, using on of the templates provided and so enjoyed the process.


I’m certainly going to try paper cutting again, practice will help my technique, below is what one of my friends made – all hand drawn and no template used!


I need to work on my technique and going to use some Etsy templates I have found, there are some truely amazing artists there who sell paper cutting templates and also artist who sell there fabulous original works.


New year sewing plans

Happy New Year!!  I thought I’d share some sewing plans I have for this year.  A friend of mine is a professional declutter, she gave me a simple tip to see what clothes I wear and those that just hang unworn.  Go through your wardrobe and turn all the coat hangers the wrong way round.  When you wear the item it goes back in with the hanger right way round, simple!  Do this for 3 – 6 months and it will be easy to see what you actually wear.  I have been wearing my trapeze dresses by merchant and mills, both in super warm wool.  Although a lot of the time I wear my jeans, white shirt and sweater or cardigans – sometimes all 3 when its cold!

shirts from top left clockwise: Paula Wilson, white company, Wolf in sheeps clothing, Old Town, Zara.

My wardrobe is lacking good shirts, some have worn and now have been darned, my favorite blouse is really looking past its best.  I’ve been searching for some good patterns and have found a few brilliant looking versions, thought I’d show you a few I’ve found that fit in with what i wear.

Etsy is always the first place I look and discovered a fab shop in Japan called Patternerie.

LINNET Pattern : No.81 Blouse with Small Square Collar


love the simplicity of line in the Linnet patterns.  In fact I found it hard to pick just 1, but this one above I think would work best.

melilot shirt pattern

Melilot Shirt by Deer & Doe

The covered placket and simple line works beautifully and in silk would be so lovely to wear.  Great in tana lawn or linen as well.

nell shirt

The Nell by A verb for keeping warm

Thought this would be great in a fine cotton lawn.  Some of the images show the bib looking stiff and bulky, thought I’d use a very fine interfacing and see if this would work.  I found this pattern over 18 months ago while I was in New York.

trudy tunic style arc

Trudy Tunic by Style Arc

Lovely tunic shape and so very like the Zara blouse.

and finally

Box Shirt The maker's atelier

The Box shirt by The Maker’s Atelier

An easy to wear boxy shape that would be great with jeans or a skirt.  The Maker’s Atelier patterns are brilliant and never had a pattern not work.  I love all 5, just need to choose which one’s to make.  Do you have a good shirt pattern you could recommend?



new year challenge | 2018


This isn’t sewing, but thought I’d share what a few of my friends and I have decided to do in January 2018.  Instead of a dry January and attemps at a healthy detox, we have decided to do a plastic detox.  It was sparked by the WI’s plastic soup campaign [plastic soup], its such a huge topic and seems to be in everything – what could we possibly do.

The first change I  made is no take away/disposable  coffee cups (i do fail at times) and asking for a mug/cup instead.  One Starbucks branch have charged me more and I have questioned why, no answer given (kensington high street branch).  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall did an amazing job at raising awarness of the coffee cup, well worth reading if your interested

The second change I made a few weeks before Christmas was to not buy plastic wraped toilet paper.  I discovered a company called Who gives a crap via Kate Arnell’s youtube channel & blog, great to watch as full of ideas.  WGAC rolls are wrapped in paper, our box had 48 rolls and only had a little tape to seal the box.  Its soft and quality and would reccomend it.

Just before Christmas my toothpaste ran out, I found a natural toothpaste in Holland & Barrett and at the time it must have been on special offer as I didn’t pay the listed price on their website.

IMG_2056  As someone who loves Pearl Drops or Colegate whitening – both very much plastic, this is a huge change. Some toothpaste also contain microplastics, there is a good website where you can look up items that contain microbeads and Polyethylene (PE).  Will be looking at others – although this pot is probably going to last at least 3 months, if not longer.  It’s a powder, you are supposed to take a pinch into the palm of your hand and then with a damp brush mix.  Only did that once as way to messy for me and grey dust went everywhere.  On the plus side, it does clean my teeth very well.

Single use or plastic bags in general a huge problem and the Welsh assembly stopped the use of them.  It took a short while, but things do seem to have changed there.  I visit Monmouth regularly and take along my cloth bag or my favorite basket bought from Didier & Dandelion in Monmouth.  I’ll be sharing a pattern hack of the Burda Style Charlie reusable grocery bag.  I have made mine with bias binding on the raw edges, slightly slimmer handles, french seams for strength and the small pouch has a drawstring closure not envelope.  It scrunches up so neatly and easy to carry around in a handbag, rucksack or briefcase.  Made quite a few as small gifts.  And finally

beeswax wraps DIY

My WI made beeswax wraps and will hopefully very soon be selling them on Etsy.  We used local London beeswax, although any food grade beeswax works.  There are lots of tutorials around here are 2 ONE TWO.  The wax wraps work really well, covering food instead of cling film.  Cheese doesn’t sweat, its non toxic and just need to be wiped down to clean.  If washed they loose the wax, but the fabric can be recharged by adding more wax.  One tip, we used an iron wrapped in tin foil as it it so much easier to control.

I’m going to try to post a short catch up on my progress once a week, though out january and hopefully find my way through the maze.  If you have any tips or things you do, please do let me know!  I also have a pintrest board on plastic free things I find.



Sewing by Heart | Tilda | a review


This is the newest book by Tone Finnanger [Tilda] published earlier this year.  Inside the book are quilts, appliqued cushions, patchwork animals, pumpkins, bee hives complete with bees, Father Christmas with a quilted beard and patchwork Christmas Stocking to name a few projects.

The Bumblebee quilt is a kind of drunkards path design, it comes with good instructions and full size templates.  The Elephant is adoreable and would make a great child’s gift, simple and quick to make.


Tilda has an unusual way of constructing some of the shapes, prefering to draw on fabric and stitch along the line, then cutting out.  I tend to trace a template and add a seam allowance and sew that way, just because it makes more sence to me.  If I have time before Christmas I’ll make the Father Christmas, although the beehive would be a great make and the bee is the symbol of my local WI.

This is a lovely book and I have so enjoyed reading it.  The cottage quilt has inspired me to plan a baby quilt for a friend in the new year. I found the video below on you tube and thought I’d share, as it’s so sweet.

This is not a sponsored post, all opinion are my own.



Little piggie pies

Last week my WI Borough Belles were invited to have a stall at Borough Market.  It was a lovely day even though it was freezing cold and we also got to meet The Duchess of Cornwall, who was so lovely.  We had lots of delicious gingerbread people, lemon drizzle cakes, chocolate brownies, chocolate mocha fudge cakes to name a few, so I thought I’d try a savory.

As we were selling the bakes, decided to go with a good quality ready-made butter pastry [one of the girls said Mary Berry’s short crust recipe was the best she had used] and used free range pork sausages.  Cut a piggie shape, this is the template I based my piggie on, although it was too big for a pork pie.  I think I drew it around half its original size on card and then cut out my pastry, filled the centre with sausage meat, popped on the top and washed with egg and baked.  They were so much fun and will make them again for picnics, we were thinking up vegi alternative fillings on the day.  Been thinking about fun Christmas ideas with mincemeat instead of the usual mince pies and also maybe turkey leftover ideas for boxing day when I have a house full of guests.  I’d forgotten how much fun I used to have making food fun when Miss T was little – all started by the amazing Annabel Karmel book I was given when T was tiny.