Edinburgh – anyone know of any good fabric shops?

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My hubbies treated me to a short golfing break in Scotland. We’re staying just outside Edinburgh, only here for 2 more nights but I’m hoping to squeeze some shopping in between the golf.

Can anyone recommend anywhere? I’ve found a couple on the internet, but wondered if there were any others tucked away, or any markets near by?

Ikea Throw Transformation

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Last Saturday was Day 3 of me being a non-smoker. So to take my mind off things I thought I’d sew the current challenge for Stitch Once Rip Twice, organised by Diane over at Vintage Zest.   The challenge is ‘A Simple Top’ so I decided to make SergerPepper’s new pattern which I’d recently downloaded from Craftsy.

MammaNene’s new pattern…click HERE to view her patterns on Craftsy.

On a recent shopping trip to ikea I bought a lovely red super soft throw with the intention of turning it into something wearable. Here it is on their website:

An absolute bargain at £5.50 for 1.2 x 1.8 metres of fabric!

 The 2 ends of the blankets were hemmed which I thought I’d used for the bottom, but once I came to positioning the pattern piece I thought the hem would be too bulky so used the selvidge which had a nice neat finish.

The fabric wasn’t quite big enough for me to use the selvidge as a hem so I lost 2 inches from the back and front pieces (both the same) placing the centre of the top 1 inch past the centre fold.  It’s a loose fitting top and I had cut the biggest size so I knew it would still fit me.

I cut the first piece with the rotary cutter and when I lifted it from the mat it nearly fell to pieces in my hands!

Arrrhhhhh! This was the top where the shoulder seam and neck meet.

At the rate it was fraying there wasn’t going to be much left of the first piece before I’d even cut out the second piece! I quickly set up my overlocked and carefully overlocked all edges before cutting anything else out. After cutting piece 2 I gingerly moved it to my overlocker and overlocked this too. Phew! This was a very tense 1/2 hour in my sewing room, and under normal circumstances I probably would have had to retreat to the garden, count to 100 and smoke a cigarette. But I’d resisted.  I carried on chewing gum ’til my jaws ached.

The back and front stitched together easy enough. The fabric was surprisingly easy to sew.  I finger pressed the seams open then top stitched either side of the seam for added strength. I had visions of it dropping to bits and unravelling on its debut night out.

For the neck I daren’t attempt to cut the required strip on the bias as I instructed, so lazily I turned and stitched it with not very good results.

It wouldn’t lay flat, and really spoilt the top.

I retired from my sewing room for the day at this point to gather my thoughts, chew more gum and get ready for a rare night out with my hubby and another couple.


I looked at what fabric I had left and had a full length from the other selvidge. I cut along the whole length of it about 3 inches, and them sewed a straight line about 3/4 inch for the extremely frayable edge. Then pulled the loose strands and frayed it to the stitch line.

Then, with Gertrude wearing the to, I set about handstitching the above to the neckline with a ruffled effect.

Loved the effect immediately, but once I reached the other shoulder it became apparent that I wouldn’t have enough trim to complete the ruffle at the back too.

It’s a bit blurred, sorry, but you get the idea – I stitched the trim with no ruffle.  When I reached the other shoulder seam I took the trim to the bottom of the sleeve then back under itself and added a button. It looked a bit like an eppaulette. For the other sleeve I pinched a pleated and added a matching button.

A bit of a rushed pic before we went out. Was really comfy and easy to wear. Can’t wait to wear on it my next shopping trip to ikea! Wonder if any of the staff will recognise it!

Boss me around please -Better late than ever!

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For those of you who don’t follow the Monthly Stitch (and I don’t think that’ll be many) here’s a chance for you to boss my around and choose a pattern for me to make in March.
Thankyou, in anticipation!

Originally posted on The Monthly Stitch:

I’m not used to being bossed around, but for one month only I’ll make an exception. My post is a little late, but as I’m not planning on making my Monthly Stitch make until the end of the month there’s still time for you guys to boss me about.

I don’t have a huge stash of patterns as I usually buy them as I intend to use them. However I do have 3 PDF patterns already printed and stuck together waiting for the right moment to be made into something wonderful.

They’re all Collette patterns:

  • The Sorbetto – needs no introduction (am I the only person on the blogging sphere who’s not made one?!)
  • The Madeleine Bloomers
  • The Cinnamon bias cut slip

I’m I need of nightwear so as I’ve joined the 2014 RTW fast this is an ideal time to boost my bedtime wardrobe drawer!

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TMS – Pants Challenge

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Phew! Talk about Cutting it fine.  February’s challenge for The Monthly Stitch is to make pants. Or trousers, or slacks depending whereabouts in the world you might be. 

So here’s my moleskin Manhattan Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick trousers. I bought the PDF version of the pattern for $12 (about £7) as I didn’t want to wait for it to be shipped from the USA. 

This pattern company designs patterns for petites – I’m 5’4″ so not too small but not tall either. Neither am I a skinny bitch or a curvy chick, but hey ho, I loved the free Tonic T pattern that I made here, and here for my mum in law, so thought I’d given the Manhattan pants a whirl. 

Sticking together the PDF pattern pieces wasn’t the easiest of tasks. Not sure if it was my printer but I lost some of the lines near the edge of the paper and had to draw them in where I thought they might go…..


The red lines are what I needed to draw in. Not such a big deal really.

Once I started sewing they were a dream to put together. The instructions and diagrams were very clear, and there is also extra help on SBCC’s blog to help with the fly construction, some handy tips for choosing your size and adjusting the waist. And fitting. 

I didn’t make a muslin as I was fairly confident that if I went with my hip size they’d fit. And they did! 

The fabric is a 100% cotton moleskin in a dark, not quite chocolately, brown. I’ve had this fabric about 15 years, and there was 3m of it. I can only think I must have bought it with the intention of making my hubby some trousers otherwise I wouldn’t have bought so much. (He’s 6′ 3″ with a 35″ inside leg, think he got my share!). 

I soooo glad I didn’t make him some. These trousers are sooo comfy and warm. Perfect for walking in on a cold day. I can wear them with my boots and a big jumpers or with my loafers and a couple of thin layers on top. The only down side is that they take forever to dry when washed. 

So, moving on,  more pix of the pants……..


My favourite part and of which I am most proud is the fly. A couple of times I’ve even be known to unzip and show it off to friends who’ve admired my new trousers! 


This is a bit overexposed (the photo not me!) but it shows the front quite well. It looks on the photo that there’s some tension in the waist band but there isn’t – honest!


Before I go, I have to say, Have you noticed the scarf? I can’t believe it’s only 2 months since I took the Craftsy course and learnt to crochet. I found this pattern on Craftsy for only $1 and started it 3 nights ago. I just had a couple of quietish night shifts and 3 hours yesterday and it’s done! Love it. The wool was an inherited UFO from my mum.  She started making me a cardigan a year or so ago but only made the back. So I’ve a few balls of this lovely wool, not sure what the rest will be yet, I might have a go at some mittens before the weather warms up. 


Happy Birthday Mum!

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A little belated Birthday wish for my lovely mum, and introducing my niece to sewing!

It was my mum’s birthday at the end of January but unfortunatley whilst my sewing mojo has been in overdrive I’ve had writers block with the blogging!   Think it’s due to a combination of finding the time candy crush saga and also having some decent photos to add to it.

So here we are, I’ll share with you what I made for my mum:


My mum’s always super busy in the kitchen making yummy things. As she is vertically challenged I thought I’d make her an apron that wouldn’t reach her ankles.


And a crocheted scarf that turned out so well it was really difficult for Thimberlina to part with!


I found the pattern for the scarf in an old copy of Crochet magazine. I followed the instructions but mine turned out much shorter, which has made it warmer and cosier.

The scarf can be worn a few ways:

The scarf who really easy.  The only challenging part was counting the chains for each length – over 100!! 

 I also made her a top which is on an earlier post here.

Just after my mum’s birthday my brother and his family came up from Southampton for a long weekend.  It was great to see them, and I was able to spend some quality sewing time with Ebony, my niece.

She loved the fabric I used for my 1950′s outfit and ‘we’ made her a zipper pouch with some of the leftovers. We worked out the maths and she did all the cutting out (she loved the rotary cutter!!) and she did all the straight stitching – I inserted the zip, and when we turned it the right way round at the end I think she was amazed by how it turned out!

Once we’d finished, in typical 11 year old style, she disappeared to play on the xbox with Harrison, so I made her a little purse so match…..

Hopefully over the weekend I’ll be able to get some photos of my moleskin trousers I’ve made for this months challenge on the Monthly Stitch, and what I think will be my most favourite skirt ever that I made yesterday.

The Great British Sewing Bee

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At last! The wait is over! If you’re reading this and in the UK switch on the telly, it’s about to start!! Just a reminder in case anyone’s forgot!!

Meet Godzilla – a.k.a. Simplicity 2150

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I think this is my first totally me made outft!! The black top is the SBCC Tonic T (free pattern!) blogged here, and the skirt is a self drafted A Line skirt, blogged here.

A couple of weeks ago I stayed up late to make a start on my latest project Simplicity 2150.  I bought the black furry fabric last year and intended to use it to make the front and collar part of this Vogue 8757 jacket:


I ummed and arh’ed about which other 2 fabric to use and never gotten round to making it.  I loved the black furry fabric and decided to use it to make something more straight forward that would be more useful, so went into town and bought this Simplicity 2150 pattern:


I chose view D (top right).  It was one of the only patterns I could find that suggested a fur fabric and the simple style I thought would be purfect!

I was between sizes so chose the larger size, tho there was no need to as this jacket has 7 inches of ease!!  This sound way too much, but when I’m wearing it it doesn’t feel so big, and it’s the only jacket I have that fits my favourite winter jumper underneath.

When I was cutting out the fabric it was a night mare – I had a major Gorilla malting problem which stuck to socks and rapidly spread over the whole house.  This was one project that had to be done in a few days, as my usually very tolerent husband was loosing his patience as everything was turning black and fluffy.  It’s a wonder it didn’t end up in his food!  I don’t think i’ve ever vacuumed as often!

So, it took 3 days. And I loved making it. I’ve never made a lined jacket before.  The lining!  It’s amazing!  

 If I’d have known the inside was going to turn out so well I’d have taken more care inserting the arms. Friends who i’ve shown it to wearing it inside out think it looks great, but they don’t sew and aren’t as picky as me.

Here’s the back:

I’m not sure of the composition of the lining, I think it’s viscose.  It’s really soft and not at all slippy or rustly like normal lining fabric. I used a fine black fabric for the sleeves as I wasn’t sure if the fabric would be shown from the cuffs and thought  if I made the lining black there if I made a mistake it wouldn’t show. 

Here’s a close up of the fur. It almost shows the deep pile and how fluffy it is, but it doesn’t show the colour very well as it’s really black in real life.


The instructions and construction were really easy, probably because there weren’t many pieces and no zip or buttons holes (it fastens with hooks and eyes).  The only part I got stuck on, or should I say really stuck on, was stitching the cuffs.

Some of you more seasoned sewers out there might be able to help me out with this.  It said to sew the jacket and lining together round the neck, front and bottom and leave a gap at the bottom.  (managed this no problem)  Then some how pin the cuffs then pull them through the gap at the bottom and stitch.  Sounds simple but I just couldn’t do it.  I googled. I You Tubed. I re-read the instructions.  I read lots of tutorials and eventually I got out a needle and cotten and handstitched! 

I love the finished result and have worn it so much.  It’s so light and snuggly and I feel like I’m wrapped in a cosy blanket.

Here’s a quick funny……

Me: “Harrison, Have you seen my Gorilla Jacket? I’ve finished it. Gertrude’s wearing it.”

H: “No, I’ll have a look when I go downstairs……”

comes back up….

H: “Mum, is it real gorilla fur?”


Pricless!!  I really wish I’d have kept a notebook of all the funny things he come’s out with.


Here it is on Gertrude. With it being black it doesn’t photograph too well.