So, the sewing odyssey begins!

The Guardian article that inspired me to finally dust off (quite literally, I assure you) my languishing sewing machine led me to Tilly and the Buttons. A fantastic blog which has a wealth of guidance for the novice. I had no idea how I would take to sewing and Tilly took all the worry out of it. I spent hours each day reading all her tips for learning to sew and ordered the Miette pattern and some dark blue cotton and, ultimately, I bought her book, Love at First Stitch.


The book teaches you to sew by taking you through a series of increasingly complex (but all beginner!) makes. You can start with a simple Bardot style headband and work your way up to a lined dress.

I read the instructions for the headscarf but I didn’t want to make it. I want to learn but I don’t want to make anything I do not think I would actually wear and the scarf just isn’t my style. I was itching to get making so I started with the second project: the Margot pyjama trousers.

The book arrived really quickly (I ordered the Miette pattern and fabric first, but from a different shop and they took an age to arrive!) and I had no fabric. After a rummage through the flat I found an old table cloth that I didn’t like and got to work!

Tilly and the Buttons Margot PJ trousers, poorly photographed in the wee small hours.

Tilly and the Buttons Margot PJ trousers, poorly photographed in the wee small hours.

I made the Margot trousers in one sitting. That isn’t to say it was quick (I’m sure a more experienced hand could sew this up in a few hours but, alas, not I!) but just that I was determined and sewed into the night. Not my best laid plan as towards the end I did start to lose focus and make mistakes in my bleary eyed and excitable sprint to the finish.

Bed Time!

Bed Time!

The pattern was really easy to follow but I was disappointed to find I had made some mistakes and misunderstood a bit of the description so I decided that I wanted to get this pattern right before I moved on and made a second pair. This time I got to choose the fabric (one of the real delights of hand-making clothes!) and went for a lovely lightweight cotton in a plaid pattern.

Men's Margot

Men’s Margot

I loved working with this fabric, it has such a nice feel to it. I’m really happy with the finished article and I feel confident I can move on to my next pattern.


(Apologies for all the awful pictures! These were taken on my phone in poor light. In hindsight, I wish I’d taken better pictures and perhaps taken a few of the process too. Oh well! We live and learn!)


Starting Again


I cannot quite believe how long it has been since the last time I posted. I was so full of good intentions! It is time, I think, to start again. I’m facing a lot of changes in my life and I think it might be fun (read: useful for my sanity) to keep a record of what is going on and what I’m learning.

In two weeks I’ll be moving to Oxford to start a one year trainee placement working in an archive. Meanwhile planning a wedding with my other half, who is not moving to Oxford. Naturally, in this hectic time in my life I decided that now was the time to learn to sew!

I read this article in The Guardian and felt inspired. In the article, Jenny Rushmore talks about how learning to sew her own clothes changed how she felt about her body:

I grew up believing that no matter how successful, kind or loved I was, if I was overweight I wasn’t good enough. This feeling was most acute in my teens when, regardless of my nerdy achievements, constant diets and countless sit-ups, I knew I’d failed. […] It turns out, I’d been wrong all along. I didn’t have to dedicate my life to becoming smaller, but just had to learn how to make clothes that fit me as I am now. […] Your physical dimensions become simply a numerical input and not a value judgment. And trust me that you’ll never look better than when you’re wearing something you made, in a fabric you love, in a size that fits.

I found the article truly inspirational. I, like so many others, am two different dress sizes on the top and bottom, I’m too short for standard length clothes and just a little bit too tall (no one is more surprised about that than me!) for petite collections, and most of my clothes are a compromise – not quite the right size or fit, not quite the right colour or fabric. I’ll be the first to admit that I have too many clothes. I don’t really need any more! But at the heart of my massive clothing collection is the fact that I am still searching for the right clothes. Clothes that make me feel confident.

I’ve always wanted to learn to sew, so why not?