Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Great British Sewing Bee

I wonder how many of you, like me,  are hooked on this BBC sewing programme. I have so enjoyed the first two in the series and I’m looking forward to the next two. I think it’s a shame that the BBC have only seen fit to give us four programmes in the series but, as the viewing figures have been good, hopefully they will make a second series which will be longer. The contestants have all been very good and, as much as I love sewing, I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like working under such pressure. My initial favourite was Tilly, she had such great ideas and creativity. I was disappointed that she went out in the second round. The remaining four contestants have all got their own individual style, it will be very interesting to see which two are eliminated tomorrow. If you are following the programme, do have a look at Tilly’s blog

Tilly’s enthusiasm for sewing and encouraging others to sew, comes across on every page of her blog. Tilly has also designed two pattens, both of which can be downloaded from her site. I downloaded the skirt patten and made it for myself over the weekend.

Miette skirt designed by Tilly


Encouraged by the GBSB, I made the skirt in the way I was taught to sew when I was at school, taking measurements first,  making sure the patten pieces were going to fit correctly, steam pressing as I worked, sewing the seams with a French seam etc. and the results were quite pleasing.  I’m now going to download the blouse patten from Tilly’s site, so watch this space.

My other little foray into dressmaking recently, was to make an edge to edge jacket in some of the batik that I brought back from my holiday. It’s an unlined jacket and I thought it would be useful in the long hot summer that we are going to get (positive thinking now!). It will go well over T Shirts and jeans and be very easy to wear.

Edge to edge jacket

Thank you for reading my blog, it would be lovely to know if you are also following the Sewing Bee.

Till next time, a stitch in time…………….

Jenny xxx


Evocotive Smells

At the moment we are spending a lot of time in the house where OH did most of his growing up so you can imagine the memories that have been stirred. It got me thinking about the smells and perfumes that instantly remind us of things that may have been long forgotten. We all have our favourite, memory evoking fragrances I’m sure. One of mine was brought very much to the fore this week; as a child I can remember sitting in church beside my dad, and realising that I hadn’t got a handkerchief. I nudged dad and indicated that I needed to wipe my nose and he immediately gave me the large, spotlessly clean, Persil white hankie from his pocket. It smelt deliciously of his favourite pipe tobacco, the pouch for which was also in his pocket. When I was emptying a drawer at F-I-Ls this week I came upon his old pipes and a well worn, leather tobacco pouch, all with the pungent smell of the same pipe tobacco that my darling dad smoked. I was immediately transported back to church with my dad. Such happy memories!

Our dad.

Our dad.

Another of my favourite smells is Max Factor Creme Puff, a face powder that mum always used, it had a perfume like no other make-up had. I’ll let you into a little secret, the last Max Factor Creme Puff that mum had now sits in my dressing table drawer and I often open it just to smell mum’s presence.  It reminds me of mum getting dressed up for an evening out with dad, and anyone one who knew her would agree that she always went out looking good. Even in her nineties, mum never went out in clothes that weren’t colour co-ordinated, never a hair out of place, and of course the Creme Puff and her lippy!

Our mum.

Our mum.

Freshly baked bread, freshly mown grass and ground coffee are among my other favourite smells but this wasn’t always so. When I was pregnant with my first, I was working in Windsor and had to pass a coffee shop on my route from home to the hairdressing salon where I worked. I would be fine every morning until drawing level with this shop, it would immediately set me off in great waves of morning sickness. In the end I had to to take a considerably longer walk to work to avoid the smell of the coffee. I remember thinking I would never be able to face coffee again, but now it is one of my favourite smells, strange that.

Fresh coffee beans.

Fresh coffee beans.

I would love to know what smells evoke happy memories for you, please feel free to send me your thoughts.

Till next time, make some happy memories!

Jenny xxxx


I’m Back!

Sorry for the long gap since my last Blog, but everything is back to normal now, well almost. After the sad loss of my dad-in-law, we are now busy clearing his house which is quite a task as he had lived there for forty two years. We are coming across all sorts of things, including some lovely photographs of OH when he was a little boy, he’s dared me to show them to anyone, LOL.

We did take a week out for ourselves after Dad’s funeral, and went away for our long anticipated, previously cancelled, trip to Las Vegas. We had a very restful and relaxing time, which we both needed and enjoyed. We ate in some lovely restaurants, walked miles (not difficult in Las Vegas, you can walk a mile just from one end of a casino to the other), we shopped till we dropped, and soaked up some sunshine.

Much of our shopping was in craft,  fabric and quilting shops, I am lucky to have a very patient husband who was happy to drive me to these wonderful shops. Just within Vegas itself there were at least a dozen such shops and the range of goodies was quite remarkable.  OH also shopped for clothes and gadgets, both of which there were great choices. Suffice to say, we went out with one suitcase weighing 17 kilos and came home with two cases, each weighing 23 kilos!

Since coming home, I have had a little bit of ‘me time’ and have used this time in my craft room. Here is a bag I made using a patten and some fabric that I bought on holiday.

Lots of lovely pockets inside.


I think this is going to be a very useful bag over the Summer, if we get one that is! Would you believe we had snow again today, perhaps we are going to jump straight from Winter to Summer and miss out Spring altogether.

Another thing I have been trying this week is machine embroidery using Mylar. I was introduced to this by my lovely cyber friend Mabel, who showed some of this work on the Shortcuts to Sewing Forum. Mylar is a thin film that has an irredescance to it and can be used for all sorts of pretty crafts. I managed to buy some on ebay and started playing as soon as it arrived.

To use it for machine embroidery it is placed over a double layer of water soluable stabiliser that has been tightly hooped;

Mylar placed over stabiliser, ready to sew

This is then placed on to the embroidery unit of the machine and the outine stitched out. Before continuing the hoop is removed and the excess Mylar cut away before replacing the hoop.

Patten being stitched out.

Patten being stitched out.

The embroidery design is then stitched out completely. Once finished it is removed from the hoop and the stabiliser cut away from around the design. The piece then needs to be soaked in warm water, this needs to be changed several times until all of the stabilser has dissolved and no residue left.

Two pieces soaking to remove stabiliser.

Two pieces soaking to remove stabiliser.

The pieces are then allowed to dry flat.

Completed angel

Completed angele

I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at this embroidery technique, I’ve certainly enjoyed sharing it with you.

Till next time,

Jenny xxx