Selvedge Magazine

I’m glad so many of you have been enjoying my recent book reviews, but I’m sad to say this is my last for a while. Selvedge is technically a bimonthly magazine, but with the page count it’s really more of a mini-book, kinda how (no longer in print) Craft: magazine was.

But that’s where the similarity ends, because instead of a bunch of how-tos, Selvedge focuses on the celebration of fabric and textiles, with a bunch of really interesting articles. It’s total fabric porn, written and produced by a small band of dedicated enthusiasts, and I came away not only reading it cover-to-cover, but feeling like I’d learned so much from it. I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a sewing/craft/fabric magazine or any magazine for that matter cover-to-cover! This was like 3 weeks’ worth of breakfast reading!

My scanner really doesn’t do these pages justice since the page size is bigger than my scanner size so a lot of cropping had to take place. The pages are nice and thick and the ink SMELLS amazing, so with the artistic layout, it really does feel like a treat to read.

This issue I have here is about quilting, but each issue focuses on something different in the world of textiles (the next one is “the romance issue” with lots of wedding stuff, hooray!).

This feature was celebrating the crisp cleanness of White fabrics. “Life is not an egg and spoon race”, indeed.


The moorings’ first Crafternoon was a smashing success! We normally have a monthly craft night amongst the neighbours, rotating around to different boats so no one person always has to host. Since our usual craft night falls on a Bank Holiday Monday in May (and again in August), we decided to move it to the afternoon and outside to the Arts Ark (which is like our little floating, communal village green).

Rather than everyone coming at once, it was more of a drop-in thing, with different waves of crafters coming throughout the afternoon… Clare from Selvedge Magazine and her flatmate helped out with the organza wedding flowers, as did Susannah from Cargo Cult Craft! I was a bit crap with taking photos, though, so I missed the bulk of the crafters, sorry!

James raised the bar for “boy craft” and built a step!

IKEA print Alexander dress

As soon as I saw BurdaStyle’s “Alexander” blouse I feel in love with the floaty gathered sleeves and the retro-styling, but I also knew this blouse was meant to be a dress!

I had some pretty IKEA “Josefin” fabric in my stash since last June that I’d bought for £3.99/m and was just waiting for the perfect pattern to come along. This seemed like a great match, and as a bonus, I probably only used a little over 2m of the 3 I bought here, so there’s enough left over for something else, too.

A doubly-recycled denim coffee sack jacket

This blog post title is quite a mouthful but the “fabric” I used has such a great origin story that I didn’t want it to get lost in view of the final jacket. It all started last summer, when I found out that a local coffee roasters here in London had partnered up with a Guatemalan company to reuse waste cotton fibres leftover from the denim industry. They mix the waste denim in with a small amount of virgin, undyed cotton, and produce fabric on giant looms which they turn into coffee sacks. These are then filled with local beans and shipped all over the world, and after the coffee beans are off-loaded, you can buy the recycled denim sacks to reuse however you’d like.

There’s a lot more about the super-interesting process over on Square Mile Coffee’s blog, but as soon as I heard about it, I instantly bought two sacks with the idea that I’d make myself a pair of jeans with it. But when they arrived, I realised that, while the original fibres were denim, the recycled sacks were more like a cotton bouclé, and far too loosely woven to be used in place of denim.

So I pre-washed the sacks, dutifully unpicked all the seams, and thought about making a jacket while the seasons rolled around to something more befitting an unlined jacket (since I knew I didn’t want to cover up the cool coffee sack printing!). A couple of candidate jacket patterns caught my attention, but then I saw New Look 6532 as a free covermount pattern on Sew Magazine and thought it was pretty much exactly what I had been imagining for my coffee sacks.

Friday goodies

Give yourself a big round of applause because… team, we made it through another week! I know, I once took this for granted, too, but it really does feel like an accomplishment these days, and this decidedly grey, damp, and cold February weather here in London certainly isn’t helping. So I thought I’d talk today about a bunch of little things that have come up recently that make me happy, so that possibly they’ll brighten your day a little bit, too.

First up is a bit of news from the world of press (did you see I’ve started compiling these sort of things over on a new and shiny Press page, btw?), where I’m featured in the latest issue of Women’s Running (UK) magazine! Seriously – you can’t miss me – as soon as you open the cover, there I am (with my mom!) on the contents page, plus a lovely two page spread inside, too.

The silk chiffon maternity maxi gown

I finished Holly’s silk gown on New Year’s Eve, so this is officially my last project from 2011. If you recall, it’s Burda 08/2008 #125 and is one of the designer maternity patterns from this issue (and in my opinion – a really nice maxi dress whether you’re pregnant or not!).

We muslined the bodice portion of this (minus the drape pieces) back before Christmas, and made a few changes: taking a few tucks out of the neckline here and there, and increasing the bust space on the standard size 44.

I totally missed the chance to finish this for her Boxing Day birthday, but I figured I’d be still in time for any January parties before the birth in late January, and we were even scheduled to go over for dinner last Friday, where I was going to bring the dress along and sew up the hem on my little red machine after we ate (the hem is just raw here, as I can’t do that without her wearing it).

Manequim silk birthday blouse

I love this blouse!

It all started in Paris last June when I saw this amazingly gorgeous silk satin (charmeuse) in Tissues Dreyfus that I just had to have. But it was €22/m (zoot alors!) so I only bought 1 metre. But even now I still love it love it love it love it so it was worth it worth it worth it!

Ever since, I kept my eyes open for a good blouse pattern that only needed 1 metre of fabric, and along came Manequim Feb 2011 #158, which called for exactly the amount I had – 1 metre long and 150cm wide!

These two were clearly meant to be together! I don’t often do prints, but this one is just so gorgeous with the psuedo-floral/paint splatters of silver, black, orange, and fuschia that I wanted it to form both the centrepiece of my March Mini Wardrobe as well as be my special birthday garment this year!

Manequim April & May 2010

Are you ready for some exquisite eye candy? Remember when I showed you my one and only Manequim magazine last year, and I raved about how amazing the designs were? Well, Susannah from Cargo Cult Craft came over for Crafternoon and brought not one but two issues of Manequim with her that a friend recently brought back from Brazil!

And she is WAY nicer than I am, because she actually let me borrow them! I can’t believe she let these pretties out of her sight for a week while I scanned and traced like a mad woman… I actually only ended up tracing three patterns, but I scanned a lot more so I could go back and draft others in my size when the inspiration strikes. Manequim may have an amazingly talented design team, but the sizes offered are really limited – usually only one size per each design, with a few patterns being offered in three sizes. Not to mention that the roadmap pattern sheets are crazy to trace from. They make the new Burda sheets look like child’s play…

So thanks to Susannah, we can all have a few minutes of total escapism, as we marvel at the inventiveness in these designs (no really, some of the pattern shapes are mental!).

Manequim April 2010

I actually rather liked the dress shown on the cover, until I saw in the tech drawing that the ruffles extend from the shoulder down to mid-thigh, and are only being held in by the belt. As far as I’m concerned, belts should never be required for a dress to look good!

Bravo, UK Vogue!

I don’t read many mass market magazines, but when I feel the itch for something glossy, I nearly always reach for Vogue. Sure, I can’t afford to buy anything in it, but I never fail to take inspiration from the designs, and the articles are generally of a higher intelligence level than “eww doesn’t celeb X look fat??” you find in most fashion mags.

So I was utterly, utterly thrilled to discover that the November 09 issue of UK Vogue is almost entirely about DIY fashion, sewing, and customising. Quite literally, Make Do and Mend, though Vogue for some reason insist on using their awful “More Dash Than Cash” tagline (ick). In any case, this is seriously the best issue of Vogue that I’ve ever seen, and is a must buy for anyone with even a passing interest in sewing or DIY fashion.