The Purple Stitcher

A sewing blog

2015 Sewing Round Up

2015's Sewing Part 12015's Sewing Part 2

This year has been a very hectic one for me as I’ve started a new job, had a few health issues and also had building work done on my house. This has resulted in me blogging less than I intended, although I have had some time for sewing but usually a little last minute when i need something for an occasion, oops! So I thought I’d do a round up of my sewing projects from this year, with little explanations about them.

1.Dad’s Batman upcycled waistcoat:

Dad's Upcycled Batman Waistcoat

My dad wanted a fun waistcoat to wear to work (he’s a teaching assistant) but that wasn’t too over the top. I decided to upcycle this plain black charity shop waistcoat, with some Batman ribbon. My dad loved it and so do the kids at his school!


2. Zara’s tiny baby blanket

Zara's Tiny Baby Blanket

My friends Ije & Si’s little daughter Zara was born at just 27 weeks in January and therefore spent the first 3 months of her life in the Special Care Baby Unit at Arrow Park Hospital. I therefore decided to make a personalised baby blanket for her to use. Because of her delicate skin I researched premature baby blankets and only used top quality cotton fabrics and sourced some top quality pure cotton wadding from Simply Solids for the filing.



3. Zara’s incubator covers

Zara's Incubator Cover

In SCBU the babies incubators were often covered in order to provide some shade and darkness for these little babies that should really still be inside their mummies tummies! There were generic boring hospital issued ones, so I decided to make personalised ones for Zara. After checking the dimensions required with the nurses in the SCBU and know that Ije loves right colours, I made these two fun covers, 1 with a balloon polycotton and  the other with rocking horse polycotton, both and both were backed in a strawberry polycotton and filled with synthetic wadding, all from Abakhan Fabrics. I appliqued Zara’s name onto both to add that personal touch.



4. Zipper pouch

Zipper pouch

I took part in my first ever swap this year and this is the practice pouch I made for my swap partner. Very much me colours and love the little lacy zip closure.



5. Julia cardigan

Julia Cardigan

Time to get back to the dressmaking and selfish sewing, so I made myself a version of the Julia Women’s Cardigan. The pattern is from Mouse House Creations and the funky fabric, which appears to have a Spanish theme, is from Abakhan Fabrics. This is pretty easy to make, all sewn together on the overlocker and is very comfortable to wear, love the fact that the sleeves are actually love enough for little miss monkey arms here! :-)



6. Dad’s saxophone padding

Dad's saxophone strap padding

Not the most exciting of sewing projects but very practical! My dad is learning to play the saxophone and finds the neck strap rather uncomfortable. Therefore i used some black fleece to back the strap to make it more wearable.



7. Wedding bunting

Wedding bunting

My friends Jenny & Adam got married this year and I asked if there was anything they would like me to make as a wedding gift and Jenny requested bunting to decorate the top table. I found this beautiful blue lace online and used blue satin bias binding to make 10 foot of bunting.



8. Wearable Wedding guest toile

Wearable toile tiramisu dress

I wanted to make a new dress to wear to Jenny & Adam’s wedding, so used this funky hot air balloon from my stash (originally from Abakhan Fabrics) to make a toile, to ensure the fit was right before making the actual dress. It’s good fun and the fit isn’t too bad but I did shorten the bodice by 1″, remove the side inseam pockets and lengthen the final dress by 3″



9. Wedding guest dress

Wedding guest tiramisu dress

This is the final dress i made to wear to my friends Jenny & Adam’s wedding. The fabric is a Liberty jersey from Sewbox and the pattern is the Tiramisu dress from Cake Patterns. I’m really please with the fit and shape of the this dress after making the changes discussed an the toile version. It was also very comfortable to wear all day and of course the flowing skirt was great for dancing the night away in.



10. Handmade holiday – beach cover ups

Handmade holiday beach coverup 1

Handmade holiday beach coverup 2                     Handmade holiday beach coverup 13

I went on my first beach holiday in almost a decade this year, so deiced to make a number of items for my holiday. I’m rather self concious, so deicded to make these three beach coverups from light weight cottons and vopiles. The fabric was all from my stash and i used this tutorial Board & Crafty but altered it to make it much longer than the tutorial states. I had a great time in Sharm-el-Sheikh and would love to visit again.


 11. Handmade holiday – simple maxiskirt

Handmade holiday simple maxiskirt

I don’t really wear maxi skirts very often but decided to try one for my holiday. I have lots of this lovely black polka dot lightweight cotton which I bought in the Abakhan Secret Sale, which I have previously blogged about. I then used this DIY Maxi Skirt Tutorial from Sew Caroline but I did hem mine as I wasn’t used a jersey fabric, like she had.



12. Handmade holiday – maxiskirt upcycle

handmade holiday upcycled maxiskirt

I loved this maxi-dress that I bought from Asda years ago but never wear it as being very pear shaped although it fit me well on the hips it was way too big on the bust, so it just sat at the back of my wardrobe gathering dust! I decided to convert it into a skirt instead! I pinned it at a suitable length, then added 2.5″ and then cut off the bodice. I then turned over 1.5″ at the top and sewed and inch wide channel  and feed in a piece of 1″ wide elastic that I had already worked out would hold up the skirt but stretch enough to get on & off. Hey presto – one new, usable maxi skirt!



13. Liberty Sorbetto top

Abakhan Liberty Sorbetto top

As I recently blogged about Abakhan Fabrics have recently had 22,000 meters of clearance Liberty fabrics delivered which they are seling at great prices. I chose to work with the Dragonista tana lawn to make a top and in order to show off the beautiful fabric wanted to pattern that had simple clean lines without too much fuss. Therefore I decided on the Colette Sorbetto pattern. However as I don’t suit loose sleeveless tops at all I chose to add the Sorbetto sleeve pattern by Sew Incidentally and then made a few alterations to the pattern to fit and suit me better. More info is available on the blog post I wrote about it here



14. 3 quick cushion covers

3 easy cushion covers

I decided to sell off some of my fabric stash recently at my church’s Christmas Market. SO I made some samples of quick & easy cushion covers to make. I used this tutorial from The Happy Housie for the 1 piece envelope cushions – the purple rectangular one & the embroidered cushion. I then used this tutorial from The Wonder Forest to make the yellow daffodil envelope cushion as it has different fabric on the back and front.



15. Liberty infinity scarf

Wrapped liberty jersey infinity scarf

Abakhan Fabrics then received even more clearance Liberty fabric in, this time including the tana jersey. I chose to work with 2 of these coordinating jerseys to make this snuggly infinity scarf, which I’ve blogged about here previously. It’s a great fabric to work with and very warm and comfy scarf to wear.



16. Christmas day top

Christmas Day top

I saw this red jersey with little green and white polka dots on in Abakhan many years ago when i was pretty new to sewing and it just called out Christmas Day top to me, so that’s what I started making. I liked the look of this Retro Top pattern on the Burda Style website, so decided to give it ago using that. Unfortunately the pattern is only available in a size 12, so I had to try my hand at drafting it up to a much larger size, which turned out not too bad. However I didn’t mange to complete it in time for Christmas that year and completely forgot about it until i found it again a few months ago! However in the meantime I’ve lost almost 2.5 stone, so it was rather large on me! With the help of my friends at Liverpool Sewing Club I decided that rather than trying to take the side seams in I’d add waist darts at the front and back, giving it a more fitted look but also leaves enough room for Christmas dinner! :-)


Here’s to a great, sewing filled 2016!

Happy New Year

Abakhan Clearance Liberty Infinity Scarf

Wrapped liberty jersey infinity scarf

As I have previously discussed Abakhan Fabrics have recently had 22,000 meters of Liberty fabrics delivered! Initially just the Tana Lawns were available to buy but now the Cotton Twills, Kingly Cotton Cords, JerseysLifestyle Craft Cottons and Mayfair Silk Chiffons  are all available to purchase from Abakhan at great discounted prices.

New Abakhan Liberty Fabrics


As with all Liberty fabrics, their jersey is of great quality & is a beautifully soft fabric with a distinct stretch, jersey is your go-to for versatility and comfort. The jersey composition is 95% cotton with 5% elastane and 150cm.
Liberty Tana Jersey Fabric Mitford PinkAfter browsing through all the Liberty jerseys available, I chose my favourite 2 and ordered 1m of each. I love abstract prints and find the swirls and bright colours in the Liberty Tana Jersey Fabric Mitford Pink beautiful and my much my style.

Liberty Tana Jersey Fabric Robin Pink



I also love the slightly quirky but still pretty and colourful Liberty Tana Jersey Fabric Robin Pink and ordered 1m of that also, as I reckoned the two would work beautifully together.

And I was very pleased when my parcel arrived and as expected they do look fabulous together:

Liberty Jersey

I decided with winter approaching (yes I know it’s pretty mild one so far) to make a big snuggly infinity scarf with this jersey. You can’t make too many stylish scarves at winter and a beautiful soft Liberty jersey infinity scarf will be the perfect stylish accessory perfect to snuggle against on a cold winters day! Just in case you don’t know – an infinity scarf is basically one giant loop of fabric and is sometimes also known as a circle scarf.

imageInfinity scarves are quick and easy to make, as well as stylish and comfy. I have made a few before, so this took me even less time as I already have my head wrapped round the concept, which i admit took a little getting used to at first. I cut this out on Sunday evening and then stitched it together on the overlocker at Liverpool Sewing Club on the Monday evening – took me less than 2 hours in total!



I used the overlocker to sew the Liberty jersey with as it makes it much quicker and easier and I am rather fond of sewing with an overlocker. You could just a standard zigzag or overcasting stitch to sew jersey with on a standard sewing machine however.


The Liberty jersey is beautiful to sew with, so soft and easy to handle and with just the perfect amount of elastane in that it stretches well but also returns back to it shape quickly and uniformly. No skipped stitches, no tension issues or any other hassle at all with this jersey!

I’m really happy with my new scarf and love the fact that in this milder weather I can wear it open as one long loop and when it get cold wrap it round again and snuggle up in it’s softness.

Open Liberty jersey infinity scarf

Wrapped liberty jersey infinity scarf

Liberty jersey infinity scarf

I’ll write a tutorial on how to make one of these lovely Liberty jersey infinity scarves, however that will; have to wait till the new year as it’s now Christmas Eve and I still have some hand sewing and pressing to do on my Christmas day top, oops!

Merry Christmas – let me know if you get any of Abakhan’s lovely Liberty fabric from Father Christmas or any other sewing related gifts.

NB: I received this fabric free of charge to try out from Abakhan. All opinions about it however are fully my own.


Abakhan Clearance Liberty Sorbetto Top


Abakhan Fabrics have recently had 22,000 meters of LIBERTY fabrics delivered! The tana lawns are now available to buy online as well as in-store, with 50 fabulous designs to choose from. This Liberty clearance range is just £11.24 per meter, a lot cheaper than the usual selling of £22.50pm, which therefore often makes them unaffordable for dressmakers like me who need a decent length of fabric to work with. The Twills, Cords, Jerseys and Lifestyle Craft Cottons will be available to purchase from Abakhan soon.

Abakhan Liberty Clearance Fabrics

A selection Abakhan's Liberty clearance fabrics

A selection Abakhan’s Liberty clearance fabrics

Liberty Art Fabrics

Liberty is a well-known brand name and many sewers and crafters use and love their fabrics. Tana Lawn is one of Liberty’s most well known and loved fabrics, with the name originating from Lake Tana in East Africa, where the original cotton grew.  Made from specially selected ultra-fine long staple cotton and finished without the use of crease-resisting chemicals or irritating allergens, the result is a famous masterpiece of fabric technology: fine, cool, comfortable and durable, with brilliant reproduction of colours and prints.


Those who know me well know that I am not really into floral prints, unless abstract, however Liberty offer a wide varity of prints, including a number of unusual and distrintive designs and I love the Dragonista design that Abakhan currently have available in the tana lawn in three different colourways:

Liberty Dragonista in Blue, Aqua & Terracotta

Liberty Dragonista in Blue, Aqua & Terracotta


Liberty provide some great info on their website regarding their designs:

Dragonista: An archival design chosen by the antiques guru Martin Miller; the name behind the famous ‘Miller’s Antiques Price Guides’, and creator of the fabulous ‘Miller’s Residence’, ‘Glencot House’ and ‘Martin Miller’s Gin!’.He is also a poet, writer and artist with an infectious love of antiques.

Martin added a Miller twist to the design ‘Dragonista’, incorporating antiques of his own into the Liberty design, which was originally a ‘Chinoiserie’ style design for a Liberty scarf dating back to the early 1990s.

“In effect, it’s like taking a static work of art into a form that gives it movement and vitality. The iconic brand of Liberty is renowned for blending the classic with the modern which both complements and appeals to my style, and I am excited to be part of this wearable, living collection.” Martin Miller.


I chose to work with the Dragonista in blue, as I love bold and bright colours. This can be purchased from Abakhan’s website.

I wanted to make a top and in order to show off the beautiful fabric wanted to pattern that had simple clean lines without too much fuss. Therefore I decided on the Colette Sorbetto pattern. However as I don’t suit loose sleeveless tops at all I chose to add the Sorbetto sleeve pattern by Sew Incidentally.

I did have to do some pattern moderation, which is pretty standard for myself, as being extremely pear shaped I had to add a few inches to the waist & hips measurements as the pattern wasn’t large enough and grade from the size 16 bust to these new waist & hip measurements. Also being rather tall (5ft 9in) and long bodied I decided to add 2 inches to the length of the pattern. Still, even with all those additions I do love the Sorbetto as its pretty quick & easy to make (although I just can’t get on well with making my own bias binding!)

I took a few photos whilst working on my top. If you want to see in-progress photos and info of my projects then feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram:

Cutting out my top

Cutting out my top

The front of my Sorbetto top

The sewn front of my Sorbetto top

Sewing the sleeves on

Sewing the sleeves on


The tana lawn was so lovely to work with and drapes really well, I can definitely recommend it for clothing and the Sorbetto top. I am very pleased how my top turned out and I reckon it’ll look great for both work with smart trousers and a jacket, or with jeans and a cardy for the weekend.



Neckline & pleat detail

Neckline & pleat detail

Shoulder & sleeve detail

Shoulder & sleeve detail

See, I told you it's work suitable!

See, I told you it’s work suitable!


Abakhan have loads of other tana lawns available, these are some of my other favourites:

Some of my other favourite Liberty fabrics


Why not go have a look at the range and let me know which are your favourites!


NB: I received this fabric free of charge to try out from Abakhan. All opinions about it however are fully my own.

Abakhan Secret Sale – 18th July 2015

Me, Susan, Nele and Eleanor with out golden ticket!

Me, Susan, Nele and Eleanor with our golden ticket!

I was lucky enough to receive 2 Golden VIP tickets to Abakhan’s Secret Sale last Saturday, the 18th July at their Mostyn branch and was able to take 3 of my friends from Liverpool Sewing Club. We had a great day, buying lots of bargains in the secret sale, shopping in the rest of the large Abakhan store, sitting in the sun eating, drinking and having a great day all round.

As I blogged about a while back I went to Abakhan’s first secret sale on the 28th March. This was a ‘Warehouse Style’ Sale with discounts of up to 85% off normal retail prices and held in one of their stock warehouses. This caused a few issues with long queues due to the size of the warehouse and therefore the related number of customers that could be in at any one time for health and safety reason. I’m happy to say that Abakhan learnt from this and at the most recent sale used a much larger warehouse, with well organised tills inside and an orderly queuing space, with a marquee providing shelter, in case of rain! Therefore queuing time was much reduced at this second secret sale as 150 were allowed inside at once, as in opposed to 40 last time! Also there was much more fabric was available for us to browse through, which made me very happy!

Golden ticket secret Sale time

Golden ticket secret Sale time

On arrival with our golden tickets we were signed in and given exclusive 15% off discount vouchers and then we were allowed early access to the sale, an hour before the general public, so there was lots of time to browse and of course rummage! The warehouse was very well laid out with the different options very clear and well organised and the walls were lined with rolls and rolls of fabrics. I also loved the fill a bag for £10 section and of course had to have a proper rummage, as you can see!

Gotta have a proper rummage!

Gotta have a proper rummage!

The £10 fill a bag haul!

The £10 fill a bag haul! All of this plus another 3m of polyester that’s already been used!













It was also a good opportunity to meet members of the sewing community that I chat to on line but only get to actually see occasionally, – Rachel from House of Pinheiro, Celia from Sew Fundamental, Michele from Swiss Army Wife and Paul Clarke who appeared on Great British Sewing Bee and of course – Will Abakhan!

Myself, Rachel & Paul

Myself, Rachel & Paul

Myself with Michele & Ceilia

Myself with Michele & Ceilia

Myself & Will

Myself & Will

There might be a slight chance I bought a wee bit too much fabric but the bargains available were amazing. Dress and house fabric rolls and bolts started at just 50p a meter and could only be bought in full rolls, so the price depended on the amount of fabric left on the roll! To be honest there were a lot more rolls and bolts of fabrics that I almost bought but I didn’t want to scare the bank manager too much! I love wearing jersey, so tending to sew a lot with it, therefore that was what I was mainly on the lookout for but some other fabrics just jumped out at me and had to be purchased! My secret sale purchases were as follows:

Some great knit fabrics

Some great knit fabrics

2 great rolls of fleece & a lightweight double sized faux fur

2 great rolls of fleece & a lightweight double sized faux fur

Lots of other fabrics

Lots of other fabrics – purple voile, household Clarke & Clarke polka dot, great loose weave, mid weight grey & lightweight abstract florals.

Not bad for just £65 in total!

A very kind member of staff helped us get the cage to the car!

A very kind member of staff helped us get the cage to the car!


All the staff were encountered in the warehouse, were very friendly and helpful. Myself and Nele bought that much fabric that we had to use a cage to take it all out to the car!


I was also very glad that I swapped my little Ka for my dad’s much larger Meriva for the weekend! Made packing the car a lot easier, although we still managed to fill the boot that much that extra purchases had to be put on the back seat!




By this point we were very grateful of our free breakfast bap in the onsite Abakhan Cafe, as it had been a very early start of 7am to ensure we got there in time to use our golden ticket early access opportunity and maximise our bargain hunting!

Breakfast time!

Breakfast time!

I’ve been to the large Abakhan Mostyn branch before but Susan (being originally from America) had never been before and this is much larger than the Birkenhead and Liverpool stores we’re all used to, so with our 15% discount vouchers we headed off into the main store for some more fabric based retail therapy. The store was busy but there were ample friendly and helpful staff available to help us and we had great fun exploring the rolls and remnants available, with all of us making more purchases and again more bargains were to be had – Susan even managed to get some Hello Kitty rip stop, of which I’m very jealous! The liberty lawns available were beautiful and I spent a while admiring them.

Abakahn Mostyn

Abakhan Mostyn

Lots of Liberty lawn

Lots of Liberty lawn

Lots of fun was had exploring the rolls and remnants both upstairs and downstairs in the main building with both myself and Nele making more purchases. The prices in Abakhan are great to start off but then with our special 15% discount vouchers we got even better bargains and therefore erm, seem to have purchased even more fabric, oops!

Main store purchases

Main store purchases


After all that shopping we needed another break and decided to have a light lunch in the Abakhan Café and as the sun was shining we took advantage of the outdoor seating to relax and then to enjoy our free golden ticket desserts – a delicious and well-presented summer fruits brulee with a handmade shortbread biscuit, a perfect summery desert to be enjoyed in the Welsh sunshine.



We all had a great day out at the Abakhan secret sale and got loads of great bargains, am already figuring out and planning what projects they’ll be used for. If you would like to find out when the next Secret Sale is then complete this form on Abakhan’s website (you might also spot a familiar face in the photos of the day).


Did you also visit the Abakhan Secret Sale? If so, why not leave a comment below telling me what you thought and what you bought?



Liverpool Make Fest 2015

The first ever Liverpool MakeFest was held on the 27th June 2015 at Liverpool Central Library and as most of you will be aware I run Liverpool Sewing Club. I therefore decided it would be good fun to get involved and to have a stall there. So what is Liverpool MakeFest?


 Liverpool MakeFest is a FREE family friendly festival for all ages celebrating all things ‘makey’ in the north-west, showcasing things people have made, projects people are working on, inventions, gadgets and hands-on activities including, coding, hacking workshops and demonstrations.

It’s a place to see how science, technology, engineering, arts and crafts are shaping our world… a place to get you thinking and learning about cool stuff you could make yourself!

Sounds like fun doesn’t it? I decided that instead of just showing off what the members of Liverpool Sewing Club have made it would be great to show others that despite what they might think, sewing isn’t scary and anyone can give it a go! A few years ago I had a stall at OggCamp (the biggest free software and free culture event in the UK) with the same idea of introducing people to sewing. Dan, the OggCamp organiser told me had lots of t-shirts leftover from the previous year’s OggCamp so donated them to me. After some research I discovered the great upcycling idea of converting old t-shirts into bags which is quick, easy and suitable for complete beginners. This worked very well at OggCamp, so I decided to do the same again at MakeFest.

Our stall at Liverpool MakeFest

Our stall at Liverpool MakeFest

Having a small table to work with, we setup 2 sewing stations and 1 cutting station, all provided with health and safety information. We also provided leaflets for Liverpool Sewing Club and as we don’t provide sewing classes we also provided copies of the new brochure for the local fabric store Abakhan, who provide a wide range of sewing classes, including those suitable for beginners.

A sewing station

A sewing station

The cutting station

The cutting station

Myself and a number of other lovely ladies from Liverpool Sewing Club then spent the day helping people to turn the leftover stash of old t-shirts from OggCamp into new stylish bags, great for a variety of different uses as well as being both environmentally friendly and practical – being t-shirts they roll quite small and can easily be squashed into the bottom of a handbag, ready for all those last minute purchases!


I will blog at a later date with a more in depth tutorial on the process. However the basics are: Firstly, turn the t-shirt inside out, then cut off the sleeves and cut the neckline deeper:

Better get cutting

Better get cutting!

Got to cut those sleeves off

Got to cut those sleeves off


Pin the front and back of the t-shirt together so you are ready to sew the bottom of your bag together:

A dad & his lad pinning the bottom of the bag together

A dad & his lad pinning the bottom of the bag together


Now the cutting and pinning is done, we’re all ready to use the sewing machine:

Time to see the base of the bag

Time to sew the base of the bag

Me helping a young lady to sew her bag

Me helping a young lady to sew her bag

Rosie helping a young lady use the sewing machine

Rosie helping a young lady use the sewing machine

Jan showing a young family how the sewing machine works

Jan showing a young family how the sewing machine works


As you can see from the photos all ages can do this, from young kids (with a bit of help) through to adults and both male and female – sewing isn’t just a female activity! Although, smiling and having fun is of course a necessity!

Jan having fun chatting to a lady about sewing

Jan having fun chatting to a lady about sewing

Hehe see I told you we were having fun!

Hehe see I told you we were having fun!


And we have a finished bag – Quick, easy and fun to make!

A completed t-shirt bag!

A completed t-shirt bag!

One lady decided not to turn her t-shirt inside out when sewing, so that the plain side was visible and then embellish it, using trims and an embroidered elephant she made with the stall that was situated next to us – The Merseyside Embroiderers’ Guild, isn’t it beautiful!

Beautiful embellished t-shirt bag

Beautiful embellished t-shirt bag


Overall a great fun day was had by both Liverpool Sewing Club members and by the general public. My only regret was that I was having that much fun on our stall that I never had a chance to actually go visit all the other stalls at Liverpool MakeFest, doh!


Have you made any t-shirt bags? Why not comment below & tell me?

Abakhan Secret Sale – 28th March 2015


Abakhan Mostyn

I was lucky enough to receive a Golden VIP ticket to Abakhan’s Secret Sale last Saturday and as I was allowed to take a friend, Nele from Liverpool Sewing Club joined me. We had a great day, shopping and having fun, although I’m not sure my bank manager would agree. However the bargains we received should make him happy!

Exclusive to their Mostyn Store & for one day only, Abakhan’s Secret Sale was a ‘Warehouse Style’ Sale with discounts of up to 85% off normal retail prices.

The VIP tickets had a number of advantages, which made the day even better. On arrival we signed in and were given exclusive 15% off discount vouchers and then received free sausage butties and coffee in their onsite cafe – setting us up well for the shopping to come.

Myself & Will Abakhan

Myself & Will Abakhan

Our golden tickets meant we could get into the warehouse for the secret sale between 10am and 11am, a full hour before the sale opened to the rest of the public. This gave us a nice browsing time and both being dressmakers we headed straight to the rolls of dress fabrics and had great fun sifting through them, choosing what we did and didn’t like. All fabrics were priced at 50p a meter and could only be bought in full rolls, so the price depended on the amount of fabric left on the roll. My purchases were:

Rolls of Fabric

The rolls of fabric:
0.5m of heavy weight purple patterned polycotton,
10m of black & white polka dot cotton seersucker,
4.5m of grey checked poly & spandex gabardine,
14m of blue lightweight cotton viscose jersey

3 Bolts of Fabric

These 3 bolts of fabric are:
15m of muted patterned print spandex, which is 95% poly & 5% PU. Has a slight wooly feel to it.
10m of charcoal jersey, with embroidered design and is and wool & viscose blend.
5m of patterned lilac polyester dress wear.

2 Bolts of Fabric

2 Bolts of Fabric:
12m of black towelling
13m of red wool coating, which is a wool & polyester mix.

Pale blue cuddle fleece

Pale blue cuddle fleece that myself & Nele shared

All the staff were encountered in the warehouse, were very friendly and helpful. Myself and Nele got that much fabric that the staff actually located a wheeled trolley to help us get it to my car. This was one of those occasions when I regret buying a tiny Ford Ka! LOL


I’ve been to the large Mostyn branch before but Nele (being originally from Belgium) had never been to Wales before, never mind Abakhan in Mostyn, so we decided to investigate the rest of the site, after a refreshing cuppa in the cafe of course!

The craft shop had some great polystyrene eggs for Nele’s family Easter crafting sessions and I got some great brushed cotton for baby blankets.

Brushed cotton

Beautiful baby themed design brushed cotton

By this time the sun was out and the main secret sale was under way with lots of people queuing to get in. Due to the size of the warehouse for health & safety reasons Abakhan staff could only let a limited number of people it at once and the event had turned out to be very popular. From what I could see the great British tradition of queuing was well under way and amicable.

The queue

Part of the queue!

Lots & lots of happy shoppers

Lots & lots of happy shoppers With Will supervising



Then off to the main store we went, after having a quick stop off at the waterwheel location and a quick history lesson regarding the building’s history.

info about the history of Abakhan's building

info about the history of Abakhan’s building

Me & Nele

Me & Nele











Lots of fun was had exploring the rolls and remnants both upstairs and downstairs in the main building with both myself and Nele making more purchases. The prices in Abakhan are great to start off but then with our special 15% discount vouchers we got even better bargains and therefore erm, seem to have purchased even more fabric, oops!

Fabrics by the meter

Purple cotton with white numbers,
Upholstery weight cotton with a bold & bright pattern,
White PVC with colourful butterflies,
White PVC with buttons,
Lightweight polycotton with tiny macaroons.

Jersey Remnants

Jersey Remnants:
Black with little grey bows,
Plain dark red,
Blue with large black polka dots

Lots of Lace

Lots of Stretch Lace:
Black & green,
Fusha & black,
Dark lilac
All just 35p a meter!


Full roll of lilac bias binding (£1 for the roll),
Full roll of mint green bias binding (£1 for the roll).

As Abakhan was packed due to it being a Saturday and the secret sale there were lots of queues but everyone was friendly and chatting to each other, discussing their purchases and what they were going to make. As always the staff were friendly, helpful and efficient, processing orders quickly but without rushing us through like cattle. As were admiring the rolls of dress fabric we bumped into the lovely Deborah from Series 3 of the Great British Sewing Bee.

Nele & Deborah

Nele & Deborah

Myself & Deborah

Myself & Deborah


After all that shopping we needed another break and by this time the sausage butties were a distant memory, so time for lunch in the onsite Abakhan café followed by our delicious free VIP desserts

VIP Desserts

VIP Desserts!


Then came the fun of getting the rest of the stuff in the car! Thankfully I’m rather good at Tetris and we managed to get everything in my tiny Ka! If we’d had an accident I’m pretty sure me and Nele would have been safe with all that fabric padding, LOL.

Erm, the backseat of my tiny Ka is rather full!

Erm, the backseat of my tiny Ka is rather full!

And so is the boot!

And so is the boot!


Now I know that the car looks very full but somehow we managed to go to a pet shop on the way home and buy a cat carrier, then go to Costco and buy lots more stuff there! See, it’s amazing what you can fit in a tiny car if you put your mind to it!

We had a great day at the Abakhan secret sale, got loads and loads of bargains, which both myself and Nele already have plans for. I’m on the lookout for a pattern for a floor length coat with a fitted waist and fuller skirt to use for that large roll of red wool coating material, suggestions very welcome!

I’m already looking forward to the next Abakhan Secret Sale, just don’t tell my bank manager!


Knitting & Stitching Show Harrogate 2014

On Sunday (23rd November) I organised a day trip for some of the ladies from Liverpool Sewing Club to the Knitting & Stitching Show over in Harrogate. It was a very full on & long day and now I’m feeling sufficiently recovered to be able to write about it! This is the third time we’ve attended and a tip to the show, fooling by dinner at Betty’s Team Rooms is now starting to become a sewing club tradition.

Liverpool Sewing Club Ladies

Rosie, me, Nele, Pollie


The drive over to Harrogate took a few hours and after a little drama finding somewhere to park we got started on a visit to the Harrogate Knitting & Stitching Show. The show can be a tad overwhelming as there is so much to see with the exhibitions and stalls split across a number of different halls on the ground floor and then downstairs to the workshops, university fashion students display areas & refreshments area.



There were lots of exhibitions to see and unless you visit for a couple of days there just isn’t enough time to visit all the exhibitions and stalls. As I’m a dressmaker I felt drawn to the ‘Black Sheep – The Darker Side of Felt’ exhibition, especially as the lead item was this purple felted dress.

Black Sheep - the Darker Side of Felt 2

The exhibition explores the edgier side of this extraordinary and versatile material. More information about the show can be found on their blog:
Black Sheep - the Darker Side of Felt 3

Black Sheep - the Darker Side of Felt






Downstairs there was a number of displays showcasing the fabulous work of fashion and textile students from a number of different universities and colleges:
Fashion Student Creations

Fashion Student Creations 3Fashion Student Creations 2









The wide range of stalls at this years show spanned 3 different large halls, offering a wide range of knitting and stitching supplies and services. Nele was looking to buy an overlocker, so spend a fair amount of time at the sewing machine stalls and eventually managed to get a great deal on a Janome, which she is very excited about being delivered soon! A few of my favourites stalls:


Simply Solids.

Simply Solids

Helen, me & Lisa on the Simply Solidas stall

I love the rainbow of bright solids on display here as well as the textured basics. Pollie bought some of the 505 spray for basting as they’re one of the cheapest around for this and it can difficult to buy online due to legal restrictions on posting aerosols! Had a good natter with the lovely Lisa and Helen who was helping out due to Justine’s rather recent delivery of her daughter


M Rosenberg & Son
M Rosenberg & Sons

I always make sure I visit these at any sewing shows as they usually have bold bright abstract fabrics, according to the staff they are Italian silk designs printed onto high quality cotton. I love these designs and the cotton is soft and silky, an example can be seen in the back of this photo. Unfortunately as this visit was in the afternoon of the last day of the show they’d sold out, so no purchase for me this time!


Japan Crafts
Japan Crafts

I love the fabrics available from Japan Crafts, so unusual with beautiful intricate designs. They also sell great craft kits to make some unusual bags and brooches. I’ve bought the Kanzashi Flower Brooch Kit and some of their unique mini charm packs from previous shows which I’ve made into the flap on a messenger bag and an autumn themed cushion. I bought another one from the show as it was really pretty but not sure yet what it’ll be come!


Simple Way

Lots of Leather choices from Simple Way

Lots of Leather choices from Simple Way

Simple way sell unique leather kits so that you can make your own leather bags and accessories. I’ve already made a purple and green leather satchel from one of their kits which I love and get lots of compliments on. The kits are great value and work out a lot cheaper than a mass produced, machine made commercial leather satchel. Plus you get to say “I made this” and get all the compliments! The kits come with everything you need, even including the blunt needle and leather thread to sew with.


I decided to treat myself to another kit at the show but wanted something a little different from the satchel, so went with the Monet Messenger Bag Kit. You can also buy these on their website and just choose a colour and it’ll be sent out to you in the post. However as they make these kits themselves and the staff are lovely and friendly they’ll let you customise he kit, which is what I did last time by ringing them. This kit I have chose the bright pink leather as the body and then they’ll add a buckle to the flap for me as I’m not comfortable without a proper fastening on a bag. I chose both the buckle and strap to be in black leather, and added a shoulder pad top make it more comfortable as I tend to put loads of stuff in my bag! The shoulder pad will be in the pink to match the bag body. All of that for just £44, isn’t that great value! So excited for my kit to be delivered in a few weeks.

Simple Way's Monet Messenger Bag

Simple Way’s Monet Messenger Bag


Fabrics Galore

The Virgin Of Guadalupe fabric

The Virgin Of Guadalupe fabric

I always like to have a look at this stall as they always have a great selection of Liberty Fabrics and Alexander Henry Fabrics. I love both of these designers, the abstract designs of some Liberty and the soft luxurious feel of their tana lawn whilst the unusual, fun and often daft designs of Alexander Henry always keep me intrigued. I just loved this “Virgin Of Guadalupe” design of Alexander Henry’s and was very tempted to buy half a meter as I reckon it’d make a fabulous messenger bag flap!


Workshop – Perfect Fit & Finish, Bust & Neckline
Workshop Handouts

Workshop Handouts

This year I chose to do a workshop along with Nele. The workshop was run by Gillian Hargreaves from The Yorkshire School of Sewing. Gillian is a very good teacher, patient, well spoken and happy to explain things. However I was rather disappointed with the class. I expected to learn how to fit a bust and neckline, and all I really learnt was how to sew a curve and how to under stitch, both of which I could already do. The fact that the sewing machines provided by the show clearly weren’t checked or in full working order was also disappointed. A number of them still had the free machine embroidery feet on from the previous class, so students had to waste precious time changing them back. Also my machine had been left on an odd stitch, so didn’t sew properly at first. After a ‘reboot’ it started sewing correctly but the started skipping stitches and gathering the fabric so badly that I had to unpick it twice and ended up missing what Gillian was saying! Another lady had left the class early, so I was able to use her machine and Gillian was very happy to help me catch up.

Me at the workshop

Me at the workshop

Nele at the Workshop

Nele at the Workshop






Gillian assisting Nele

Gillian assisting Nele

My bodice

My ‘completed’ bodice front


Therefore I would recommend investigating thoroughly what is to be taught in a class before signing up and I don’t recommend taking a class on a Sunday as the sewing machines don’t appear to be very well taken care of over the weekend and by Sunday afternoon, are too tired!


This least amount I’ve ever come home with from a sewing show, partly due to time spent at the workshop, having an injury to my foot, which meant walking slowly round as well as M Rosenberg not having any of the Italian cotton left. However I did also make a purchase from Simple Way who will deliver my kit in approximately 3 weeks.

My swag

Little purse kit from Simple Way, dress stand cotton fabric (can’t remember who from), stained glass stretch lace from The Shuttle, mini charm pack from Japan Crafts and Gutterman threads from Elna


Betty’s Tea Rooms

After a long day the Knitting & Stitching Show it’s great to retire to Betty’s Tea Rooms for dinner and of course a glass of mulled wine and a selection from the dessert trolley! This visit is now becoming a sewing club tradition and was greatly enjoyed by all of us. A great way to finish up a great visit to Harrogate.

My meal at Betty's

My meal at Betty’s Team Rooms – mulled wine, pork schnitzel, mocha toret adn finished off with Christmas coffee

Betty's Desserts

Our desserts – raspberry macaroon, engadine torte, praline & chocolate eclair and mocha torte







LSC at Betty's

Enjoying our desserts at Betty’s Tea Rooms


Did you visit the show this year? What did you think? What were your highlights? Please go share in the comments below.



Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater

Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Overview
I was recently given the opportunity to pattern test Bluegingerdoll’s new Bonnie Sweater pattern. This is their first pattern designed specially for knits so I jumped at the chance as I love knit fabrics, so comfy and easy to wear.


Designed for comfort and elegance Bonnie is a vintage inspired sweater that works in every season and for any occasion. Made with knit fabric Bonnie is a quick and easy make and can be created in a matter of hours.

View A is an iconic 1940’s inspired cropped sweater design, featuring flutter sleeves and fitted waistband its perfect to pair with those high waisted skirts and pants.

View B also cropped at the waistline and features a scooped neckline and 3/4” sleeves.

View C features a boat neckline, long sleeves and hip length bodice. All three variations feature subtle, feminine gathers at the top of each sleeve reminiscent of a bygone era.

  Buegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Line drawings


I love polka dots, so chose to use this black and white spotty jersey from my stash, which had originally been purchased from Abakhan Fabrics. After checking that I had enough of it in my stash I went ahead and checked the garment measurements against my body measurements.

  Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Front

I love the fact that there’s such a variety of mix and match options for this pattern – 3 different neckline, 3 sleeve options and 2 different bodice lengths. I chose to use the lower neckline (seen on view B in the pattern line drawings and the longer length of view C, as being pear-shaped and long-bodied a hip length top suits my shape better. I then chose the shorter flutter sleeves as these tend to suit my bingo wings better and as I’m a fan of layers I wear short sleeves tops all year round.

Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Back


As is a common pattern fitting alteration for myself, due to being very pear-shaped, I graded the side seams from a 20 at the bust down to a 24 at the hips. Cutting out took a very short time as with the options I chose there’s only 4 pattern pieces involved. Construction was also rather speedy using my trusty overlocker and it all went together very quickly. The instructions were easy to read and follow with detailed diagrams where needed.

 Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Neckband

I instantly loved the shape and fit of the Bonnie sweater and found it very comfortable. The little details included in the Bonnie pattern are also very cute, the gathers on the sleeves give them a lovely effect.  Since my bingo wings are a tad on the larger side I didn’t think the sleeve ‘fluttered’ as much as I’d like, so to give them a little more flutter-ability I finished them with a narrow hem and zigzag stitch as suggested in the pattern but pulled at the jersey whilst doing this to create a ‘lettuce-edge hem’ which even if I do say so myself, looks fab!

 Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Flutter Sleeves


I can easily see this being one of my wardrobe staples. Plain fabrics and simple patterns such as polka dots and stripes will be great for work wear and the more funky patterns will be great for the weekends with my trusty jeans. I already have a great hot air balloon print in my stash which I reckon will suit the Bonnie sweater pattern perfectly!

 Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Overview 2


The wide variety of differing Bonnie sweaters that have been created by the pattern testers shows just how versatile this pattern is: A Stitching Odyssey – Pattern Testing: Bonnie Knit Top – Bluegingerdoll Patterns;  Made by Meg: Bonnie TopHandmade by Heather B – A Pair of BonniesSewn by Elizabeth – Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Knit Top and Tanya Maile.


To buy your own copy of the Bonnie sweater sewing pattern visit the Bluegingerdoll website:


NB: As part of the testing process, I received this pattern free of charge. All opinions and the decision to blog about it are however are fully my own.


Bluegingerdoll Odette Dress

A few months ago I used the then newly released Bluegingerdoll Winifred dress to make a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding and made 2 ‘wearable toiles’ first. As this was a new pattern Bluegingerdoll ran a great sewalong, which I found very helpful & entered my dresses into the sewalong competition. I was lucky enough to win the competition! More information about my dresses can be found on the Bluegingerdoll blog when Abby interviewed me.

I was then lucky enough to be chosen to pattern test their latest pattern, the Odette dress.

‘Odette is a one of a kind dress for your wardrobe. A fitted, fully lined bodice featuring a bateau ‘V’ neckline with a distinctive contrasting insert that frames the face.

The waistband highlights the waistline along with a seven gored skirt that skims the hips and has just the right amount of flare, as well as in-seam pockets for added practicality.

Your choice of three sleeve variations:

View A – Sleeveless, View B- Short sleeve and View C – 3/4 sleeves with complimenting cuffs’

Purple Stitcher Blueginerdoll Odette Dress


As 2014 seems to be the year of the weddings for me (6 in total!) and the timing was just rightfor the next wedding – Shannon & Peter Marsh on the 1st August I decided to make my Odette to wear on this special occasion. Those of you that know me know that I love purple (kinda obsessed) and I suppose the name of by blog The Purple Stitcher, probably gives that away! I went on the hunt for the perfect purple fabric. Generally I only do floral when they’re abstract and I was luck enough to find this beautiful almost pop art cotton in my local Abakhan Fabrics store in Birkenhead.

Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette dress main fabric choice Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette dress main fabric choice close-up


As I wanted to wear the dress at the height of the British ‘summer’ I decided to go with view A, the sleeveless version and to use a lightweight black cotton lawn for the lining and a lilac polycotton for the insert with cute flower shapped buttons, all purchased from my local Abakhan Fabrics store.

Blueginerdoll Odette Line Drawings


As always when using a new pattern I made a toile and is my usual style it was a charity shop duvet cover! This enabled me to get the fit just right. The fact that the bodice, waistband and skirt are all separate pieces was very useful as it enabled me to grade between these areas much easier. I’m very much pear-shaped, with my size going up by 1 from bust to waist to hips, so this is a very common pattern alteration for me. Now that Bluegingerdoll sizes come in plus-sizes this means there was no redrafting involved, which is a great time saver. I cut the bodice at size 20, the waist at a 22 and the hips at a 24 and with some help from the ladies at Liverpool Sewing Club I was able to check the fit and am very happy with the final results.

Purple Stitcher Blueginerdoll Odette Bodice


I’ve never actually sewn inseam pockets before on a dress, so was very excited to find these on the Odette and was very please at how quick and easily they went together. I also love having pockets on a dress how fun and practical is that! I also reckon they look fab and add another dimension to the dress:

Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette Dress Pockets

It’s also been a very long time since I made a dress with an invisible zip, so used the fab tutorial on Bluegingerdoll blog to insert this and was once again pleased just how quick and easy this went in.

Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette Dress Back Bodice


I’m very pleased with my Odette, the pattern is very flattering especially to pear-shapes like myself, and the extra little details like the interchangeable insert and in-seam pockets, add those extra special touches. I also love the fact that depending on your fabric choice it can be a more chilled day time summer dress, as seen in some of the other pattern testers blogs – Made by Meg, Handmade by Heather B, use pinstripes and make it workwear as seen by Kadiddlehopper or as with mine, add some glamorous heels, a beaded pashmina, fabulous jewellery and an evening clutch and suddenly it’s an elegant evening dress!

Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette Dress Evening Look

I loved wearing my dress to Shannon & Pete’s wedding, it was comfortable to wear all day long and managed to survive my enthusiastic dancing! Here I am with the beautiful bride at the wedding, doesn’t she look stunning!

Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette Dress With Bride



To buy your own copy of the Odette dresssewing pattern please go here:


Bluegingerdoll have written a great sew-along for the Odette Dress with some great hints, tips and detailed photos for the steps involved:

Bluegingerdoll Odette Sewalong Button Large


NB: As part of the testing process, I received this pattern free of charge. All opinions and the decision to blog about it are however are fully my own.



Ice-Cream Waterfall Tank – Sew Caroline

Recently I was given the opportunity to test a new pattern, the ‘Waterfall Tank’ for the fab indie designer Sew Caroline.

The Waterfall Tank is a really cute little tank top, aka a vest top, with a really pretty ruffled double layer top bodice, hence the name – waterfall tank. It is finished with bias binding, which is then used to create the straps, with 2 options here – either tie or fitted straps.

Ice-Cream Waterfall Tank


As soon as I saw this top previewed on Sew Caroline’s Instagram  feed my mind immediately went to all those short lengths of funky and designer fabrics that I have and no idea what to use for other than a bag! I love the fact that there are so many different options for the waterfall tank you could o as I have and use a different fabric for the ruffle and main body. Or you could use 3 different fabrics, one for each section, or just use the same fabric and make your own bias biding – the instructions for doing this come with the pattern!

Having a rummage through my stash I found a lovely Michael Millar Ice-Cream fabric that I cough just under half a meter of last year. So off I toddled to my local Abakhan Fabrics store in Birkenhead and found a hot pink polycotton an bias binding to coordinate.

Ice-Cream Waterfall Tank Detail


I chose the tie strap version as it looks like fun and I like the idea that I can wear it at different levels of revelling, depending on the situation! Sew Caroline’s instructions are very easy to follow, with lots of useful photos and great instructions on making your own bias binding, if you choose to. Sew Caroline also suggests using French seams and offers great, easy to follow instructions for doing this, which is very handy.

I’d recommend the pattern for advanced beginners for the fixed straps as the mitred corners & French seams could be tricky for complete beginners. Otherwise it comes together very quickly and easily. From printing the pdf to completing it took me approximately 3 hours to make. The only change I made to the pattern was to grade up a little in the hips due to being very pear-shaped. For the next version I’ll probably add a couple of inches to the length as being 5ft 9in and long bodied I prefer a longer length bodice.

Ice-Cream Waterfall Tank Side


The waterfall tank is comfortable to wear and flattering to a pear shape like myself, especially if you use a different fabric for the ruffle as it draws the eye to my slimmest part! As it’s a cotton, not jersey like most tank/vest tops, it skims over any problem areas, so again is more flattering. I feel that conformable in it that it’s going on my summer holiday with me this year!


If you want to see more versions of this top in a variety of different fabrics and sizes there are two round ups on Sew Caroline’s blog – Waterfall Tester Round Up Part One and Waterfall Tester Round Up Part Two

The Waterfall Tank pattern is now available from Sew Caroline’s online store, so if you fancy making your own version then why not hop over there and take a look.

Have you made your own version, or have any ideas or suggestions? If so, why not let me know in the comments below.