Wowzers! How are we over halfway through March before I'm announcing this year's #VintagePledge?!? I'm returning solo for the fourth annual #VintagePledge in 2017, which has blossomed into more than I could ever have imagined thanks to the support of Kestrel Makes and your growing enthusiasm.

If you’re unfamiliar with the pledge, it all started in 2014 when I realised I was hoarding vintage patterns faster than I could sew them. To put things right, I invited you to join me in using vintage patterns more regularly and last year over 200 of you did so, sewing up nearly 400 makes between us! Those figures are double what they were in 2014, so I have high hopes for 2017!

For some serious inspiration check out the dedicated Pinterest boards for 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.

VINTAGE PLEDGE PLANS FOR 2017

I'm scaling back a little this year due to conflicting demands, but rest assured that we'll still have a fabulous time during #VintagePledge 2017. I'm hoping to bring back #VPJuly with daily photo prompts on Instagram for the chance to win cool prizes - it was really fun last year! I’ll also be keeping the momentum going throughout the year with round-ups and highlights of your makes, so please use #VintagePledge across social media to make sure I don't miss you out.

JOIN IN AND MAKE THE PLEDGE YOUR OWN

Your pledge can be as specific or as flexible as you like, the only ‘rule’ is that you must use vintage or reproduction patterns. I'm afraid that contemporary vintage-style patterns don't count.

  • You can sew as many or as few items as you like. You may want to choose one or two if you're new to vintage and/or sewing, or create a whole vintage-inspired wardrobe
  • 1990s patterns are eligible for the pledge as they’re over 20 years old, which scarily makes them vintage by definition
  • As well as genuine vintage patterns, you can also use reproduction patterns
  • It's not just about dressmaking for you or the special people in your life (kids, partners, etc) - you can also join in if you like to sew accessories, toys, homeware and so on
  • Make the pledge your own - there are many ways to do this! You could pledge to use your first ever vintage pattern, sew up the oldest pattern from your stash, explore patterns from a particular decade or set yourself a numerical target
  • Knitters are welcome too - the same criteria applies
  • Use #VintagePledge when sharing projects across social media
HOW TO SHARE YOUR MAKES

As in previous years, I've set up a dedicated Pinterest board to show off your makes and inspire others.

  • If you’re on Pinterest, you can add your own makes to the board, but please stick to just one picture per project. To pin your own you need to first follow the dedicated board, then ask me for permission to pin by letting me know your Pinterest name - the name that displays at the top of your Pinterest page when you log in (usually your real name) and not the user name that appears as part of your Pinterest board’s URL
  • Alternatively, you can send me a link to a specific blog post (or photos if you don't have a blog) and I’ll pin them for you
  • To request permission to pin your own, to ask me to pin for you, or if you have any questions you can leave a comment on my blog, email me on astitchingodyssey[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk, or contact me on Twitter or Instagram - don’t forget to include #VintagePledge
MY #VintagePledge

During 2017, I, Marie Koupparis, pledge to sew at least one pattern in my stash from each of the following decades: 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Are you in? If so, grab one of the buttons below and spread the word!





Happy vintage stitching!

I first laid eyes on a Zadie Dress prototype months before it was launched - it was a solid red version worn by Tilly herself and I was smitten! I loved how intricate and structured it looked despite being made in a stretchy fabric...finally a stable knit dress pattern to get my teeth into!

When I finally got my grubby hands on a copy, I was unsure of how an empire line would look on my big bust, so I decided to make a wearable muslin that wouldn't break the bank. So off to Leicester Market I trotted, leaving with a novelty stamp-print spandex/lycra and teal ponte. I'm happy to say that this turned out to be a very wearable muslin indeed!



To better accommodate my shape, I added 5cm to the bodice and side panel pieces, which was a right faff, but worth it for a waist that sits at my natural waistline. As a consequence I had to hack about 8cm off the skirt length, but I'll know to shorten the pattern pieces for next time. Other than than I cut a straight size 4 and my only qualm is that the armhole feels a little tight. I'll definitely size up for that in future, especially if I make a Zadie with sleeves.

From the diagonal seams and in-seam pockets to the fitted bodice and pleated skirt, Zadie's one sophisticated lady. But she's high maintenance too. There are a fair few pattern pieces and lining up those diagonal points takes a lot of patience...and unpicking in my case. It's not exactly hard, there's just so many of them which is particularly challenging when you're a slap-dash stitcher who also happens to be a perfectionist!

Having said all this, Tilly's step-by-step instructions are spot on as usual and there's even a comprehensive sew-along on her blog.





With endless colour-blocking and print-placement fun to be had, it's no wonder that Zadie has taken the sewing community by storm. I already see a solid red one (copycat) and a telephone-print one in my future, with plenty more contenders in my stash.

What do you think to Zadie?

Don't freak out friends, but my YouTube debut isn't sewing-related. It is, however, Charlotte-related and you guys can't seem to get enough of her! Ever since we broke the news that she's transgender you've shown us both endless support and kindness, which is appreciated more than you'll ever know. Many of you even invested 55 minutes in listening to our story on Seamwork Radio, which is bonkers!!!

You'll be relieved to know that today's offering is under five minutes. It's part of a weekly YouTube series for nGendr, a brilliant platform which gives trans and non-binary people the chance to have their voices heard. This week's subject is 'relationships', hence the double act. Given the time-limit it's definitely more of a quick overview than an in-depth exploration, but it's something we may cover in more detail on Charlotte's YouTube channel sometime.

Anyway, if you plan on watching we hope you find it enjoyable and educational...


My fabric haul from my recent visit to Stoff & Stil's Danish headquarters arrived last week (not a day too soon), so I thought I'd use this as an opportunity to tell you a bit more about the trip. As you know, myself and a number of other bloggers were invited over at the end of January to get to know the company and the people behind it.

Although our flights, food and accommodation were paid for, they asked for nothing specific in return, yet were the most welcoming, generous and thoughtful hosts you could ever ask for. Of course they were hoping we'd like what we saw and would spread the word, but their laid-back approach ensured no pressure was applied.

Personally, and I actually think I speak for everyone who went, I loved what I saw and my reasons for promoting Stoff & Stil are purely selfish. If they get enough interest in their newish UK website, then they may consider opening a bricks and mortar shop in the UK, which you'll see from below is nothing short of a crafty stitcher's heaven! 

MY STOFF & STIL FABRIC HAUL




First, let's talk fabric! We were given a generous voucher to spend in-store, which I then topped up with my own money because I wanted ALL the fabric. I'm on a serious knit binge at the moment and their selection is fabulous, so all the fabric you see above is knits. Also pictured are the tools and notions they gifted us, including the cutest cactus pin-cushion 'plant'.

In addition I picked up a couple of their patterns to try out. I'm intrigued as they come in single sizes and are pre-cut on an interfacing-type fabric which you can sew up as a toile. It's a great concept, but I'm unsure of how this will work for people like me whose proportions usually mean grading between three different sizes. In this case I've gone with the size corresponding to my largest measurement as I figure it's easier to take the pattern pieces in if necessary...we'll see!

Don't forget that if you're in the UK you can get 15% off your entire Stoff & Stil order by midnight on Wednesday (15 February) - just us the voucher code stitchodysseyxstoffstil

A VERY DANISH WELCOME





Back to the trip! We were in Herning, Denmark less that 48-hours, but the preparation and thought that went into every aspect was truly overwhelming - from the warmest of welcomes at the airport to personalised gifts and place-settings everywhere we went. 

Our hotel oozed Scandinavian style and we were greeted with handmade bath robes, bubbly and a sweet treat in our rooms. We dined with the CEO in a private area of a seriously excellent Japanese restaurant and only on the next morning did we get to see the exciting agenda for the day.

FLAGSHIP SUPER STORE






With just an hour before its opening to explore the Stoff & Stil flagship store, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say we were like kids in a candy store...times 10! Honestly, what a treat it was! I've never seen anything on this scale and of this quality in the UK. Sure, I've been to big places like Barry's Fabric Superstore in Birmingham, but it just doesn't compare.

Stoff & Still is like a high-end department store catering to all crafty and stitchy needs. It's clean, bright, spacious, orderly and everything is carefully thought out and beautifully displayed. Their selection of fabrics, notions, yarn and so on is off the scale and there is inspiration everywhere you look.

I was particularly impressed by the clothes rack displaying a selection of their patterns sewn-up. It's sometimes hard to visualise how a garment will look despite good artwork and line-drawings, so this is such a great idea. I also love how their patterns are displayed like records and how they have examples throughout the store of how their products can be used. Mannequins entice you with ideas for fabric and pattern combinations, while their made-up kits tempt you into crafts you'd never considered before. All very appealing and all very clever.  

STOFF & STIL HEADQUARTERS




Their headquarters - made up of a factory, warehouse and offices - was another brilliant space full of light, squeaky clean and with endless countryside views. It's there that we found out about the company's humble beginnings as a market stall in the 1980s and their admirable integrity when it comes to customer service. 

For example, they only sell to countries in which they have a dedicated website or brick and mortar stores (currently Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Norway and the UK) so that they can provide the best customer experience possible in the given country's native language. 

We also found out about the highly-anticipated catalogue they produce three times a year, which is more like a print version of Pinterest or a high-end look-book. It's not usually something that would interest me at all, but theirs is such a stylish offering filled with the loveliest ideas from home-sewing and kidswear to knitting and jewellery-making. And best of all, you can buy and make absolutely everything you see in the catalogue. Sadly, it's not yet available to UK customers, but Portia has shared a few sneaky peeks on YouTube.

After a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of all their processes from pattern cutting and print designing to fabric washing and packaging, we got to play! We were given samples of every single fabric in the new Spring/Summer collection and got to create our very own mood boards. So I can personally attest to the great quality...hehe!

Phew! That's one long post! Anyway, go grab yourself a bargain with my discount voucher and if you like what's on offer please do spread the word...there's a heavenly bricks and mortar store at stake here!