Rosie in the Rainforest – and a Sew Over It giveaway!

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Ah, Sew Over It. I frequently feel as though they’re designing patterns specifically for me, and this latest has done nothing to break that particular delusion. The Rosie Dress is a 1950s-inspired summer dress of dreams, perfect for pretending you’re on a Roman Holiday, or helping Miss Marple solve a riddle of a crime (those are the kinds of daydreams I have). It features a fitted, boned and lined bodice and a twirly, girly pleated skirt (that can also be made as a garment in its own right), two strap and two neckline variations. And of course once you’ve exhausted all the featured options, it would also be a marvellous pattern to adapt – you could swap the pleated skirt for a gathered or circle option, play around with contrast fabrics, or make the skirt up in a lined wool for winter. Options: endless.

I was lucky enough to be asked to be a pattern tester again – and if you’re reading this you’re lucky enough to be in with a chance of winning a free copy of the Rosie pattern!

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These pics were taken on a Sunday family outing to the Barbican Conservatory. Hands up if you had no idea that such a place existed – I certainly didn’t! But it is in fact London’s second-largest hothouse (after Kew), a lush and unexpected oasis in the midst of the famously brutalist estate. I had been determined to find the right backdrop for this gorgeous parrot fabric (a lightweight lawn from SOI), and a tropical combo seemed moreover the perfect little nod to Rio – I’m an Olympics addict 🙂

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I made an initial attempt at pattern-matching the parrots, but the six bodice pieces of Rosie ultimately defeated me and I’ve ended up sporting the odd headless parrot. Something to be aware of if you’re using a very distinctly patterned fabric. I also made a simple muslin petticoat as the lawn was rather transparent; it gives my dress a fuller skirt than it would naturally have. And one more thing – the tester pattern had straps way too long (now corrected) so I criss-crossed mine over the back – that’s another easy hack right there!

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Anyway, if you would like to win a copy of the Rosie pattern, all you have to do is leave a comment below! The competition runs until midnight GMT next Sunday, 14 August, and I’ll announce the randomly chosen winner on Monday. Easy peasy, right? And, to boot I’ll also enter anyone who follows my blog (either via WordPress or Bloglovin) over the next week into the draw, so should you be so keen as to want a double entry you can boost your chances! Good luck and good sewjo!

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Oh, and in the meantime stay tuned for this Friday, which will see the reveal of my Butterick Big Vintage Sewalong make!

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Things aren’t always black and white…

You know when you get a new item of clothing and suddenly it’s all you wear, and you can’t quite work out what on earth you used to wear before it arrived in your life? Well, if you follow me on Instagram you might’ve spotted this top on its first outing in the Alps two weeks’ ago, and I don’t mind admitting that I’ve barely taken it off to wash it since.

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A crafty guide to the V&A

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Display in the V&A’s Fashion galleries

This time six years ago I did a six-month stint as an assistant curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. I sat with two other young curators in a tiny office overlooking the central courtyard, where we were occasionally joined by a tiny mouse with extraordinary escapology skills. He came, no doubt, for our ever-copious supplies of cake and gossip. These, and the experience of handling diamond-encrusted snuff boxes on a daily basis (it’s very motivating, regular exposure to diamonds; tends to bring one’s ambitions into sharper focus…), left me with an enduring fondness for the big old place.

But my fondness aside, the V&A is in fact a quite extraordinary resource for those of us interested in design, fashion, fabric and craft. We’re all probably vaguely aware that it holds the UK’s national collection of Fashion and Textiles, some of which are on permanent display, but I thought I’d write a little blog post to flag up some of the resources that you might not be aware of, especially if you’re not UK-based. For example, did you know that the V&A website contains a selection of vintage knitting patterns, free to download? Or lists of recommended books on everything from care of textiles and dress to the history of mourning clothing? Continue reading

Beautiful Basics – Sewaholic Renfrew

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Oh, this blogging malarkey. In order to spare you all another glamorous ‘me in my living room’ photo shoot, we took the camera with us on a Sunday stroll along the South Bank, where I ‘modelled’ my new Renfrew top and tried not to look too much of a wally. Luckily, this is London, and I could’ve been standing there naked and most people would either be a) entirely unsurprised, or b) pretending to be entirely unsurprised. Still, I’m a Brit, and posing in public makes me feel like, well, a right poser. Continue reading

Amongst the flora and the fauna, a Hampton Wedding dress!

Hello, friends!

After giving you a little glimpse of this glorious dress in my Provencal post I thought it was time to show it off a bit more. By posing with a statue of an enraged pygmy hippo, obvs.

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