The irony is not lost on me that I'm standing here posing in activewear, when I'm at my heaviest and un-fittest...well, ever! But, when you get asked to take part in a blog hop to celebrate a book by the incredibly inspiring Melissa Fehr, you say "yes" and check your self-consciousness at the door. 

Even during my more active stints, I've never been interested in making my own workout gear, but Sew You Own Activewear has definitely changed that. Now I want to start exercising again, just so I can sew up Melissa's patterns!

There's a sneaky peek of the book here, which takes you through making a capsule wardrobe comprising of 13 activewear designs using just four basic pattern blocks. The book takes you through sewing techniques and performance fabric selection, sharing useful insight that even the seasoned jersey/knit stitcher will find beneficial. 

I decided to break myself in with the Raglan Tee, which can be made in regular jersey fabric. RTW workout tops are what I've always struggled with in the past, with many being sleeveless, too clingy and almost always too low-cut. 

This loose fitting top with raglan sleeves, banded V-neck and wraparound side seams is the perfect mix of comfortable and cute. The fun thing about it is the clever concealed pocket in the back - for stashing a key, some cash and so on - which I left out as I'm more of an indoor exerciser. 

As a self-proclaimed lazy stitcher, having to 'draft' the Raglan Tee using a basic block was a little off-putting. However, the process was faster than I imagined and the satisfaction I got from it was worth the effort. Following the instructions and illustrations was easy enough, but be warned that getting a sharp V-neck band takes a lot of patience...and unpicking in my much unpicking!

There are so many tempting designs to choose from in Melissa's book, but some of my favourites are the Crop Top, Yoga Bottoms, Winter Base Layer and Split Shorts.

Having dug out my neglected workout gear to use as props for these photos, I'm actually seriously considering rejoining the gym. So, Melissa and her awesome book could end up being responsible for motivating me to get back in shape this that's no mean feat!

How about you? Do/would you sew your own activewear?

With our kitchen-related building work finally nearing an end (if you follow me on Instagram you'll know it's been a looooong time coming), I realised I never did share our bedroom makeover with you!

We finished it about 14 months ago, but it took us an embarrassingly long time to get there. This was partly because Charlotte insisted on doing it straight after our spare bedroom and we were totally burnt out. It was also because everything seemed to go wrong from the wallpaper not budging despite copious steaming to discovering a ceiling crack which resulted in stripping all the lining paper off. 

Anyway, it's hardly a new look anymore, but we truly love it!

Unbelievably, I have no before photos other than the ones we took when we looked around the house just before buying it. So the styling in the two photos above is not ours, but you can get an idea of the previous decor including busy wallpaper, lots of lilac, dodgy green carpet and poorly located radiator.

Moving said radiator and laying new flooring was Charlotte's dad's excellent handiwork, but everything else was our own blood, sweat and tears. And there was plenty of each...ok, maybe not the blood bit, but everything else.

If I had my own way, our whole house would be decorated in a vintage aesthetic with a mid-century vibe, but apparently when you're in a relationship it's customary to compromise. Charlotte prefers modern lines and I've discovered a fondness of Scandinavian design, so this explains our new decor. Much like the rest of the house, our choices are also dictated by my intolerance to clutter (dusting is my most dreaded chore), love of light/space and our need for storage.

So what do you think? If you like any of what you see, Charlotte's put together a handy shopping list below. Word to the wise though, if you're interested in our ceiling light fitting, it's much longer in real life with red and black cords. We cut ours down and coloured the cords with a black marker pen!
You can find our other room makeover projects here. Do you enjoy a bit of DIY? What's been your most ambitious project so far?

It was with a heavy heart that I announced I'm taking a break from hosting the #VintagePledge this year, but I promised to celebrate your beautiful makes from 2017 and celebrate we shall!

Thanks to the generosity of lovely sponsors, I have SIX fabulous prizes up for grabs. 

If you haven't yet pinned all your 2017 makes to the dedicated #VintagePledge Pinterest board...get to it!!! To give you plenty of time, I'll be picking winners on Sunday 11 February and announcing them on Tuesday 13 February. 

A £25 gift card to spend on a range of knit fabrics at Girl Charlee UK and two vintage-inspired PDF patterns of your choice from Decades of Style.

Three vintage-inspired PDF patterns of your choice from How to do Fashion and a 12-pack of delicious Doughnut Pattern Weights from Oh Sew Quaint.

A £30 gift card to spend on your choice of fabrics and sewing patterns from Sew Essential.

A £30 gift card to spend on gorgeous sewing accessories and tools at Beyond Measure.

A beautiful dressmaking fabric hamper worth £50 from Minerva Crafts.

A Simplicity gift hamper including three sewing patterns of your choice and from their 90th anniversary range a tote bag, iron-on transfer and sewing planner stickers.

As I've said before, even though I'm not up to hosting this year, I'll still be sewing vintage so feel free to keep using the #VintagePledge hashtag on social media so we can stay in touch and continue to inspire each other!

Hi friends! We're halfway through January already and I'm still getting around to sharing all of my 2017 makes, one of which is this faux leather McCall's 7253 I made for Charlotte as one of her Christmas presents.

The pattern was a freebie with Sew Now magazine and a dead ringer for Charlotte's favourite faux leather RTW skirt. I knew it would be a big hit with her, especially when I found the perfect print from Fabric Godmother. Sadly, this gorgeous floral faux leather is all sold out, but Jodi has plenty of other beauties to chose from!

With just three pleated rectangles and a waistband, the pattern couldn't have come together easier and the sizing was spot on too.

I made a couple of changes, including installing an exposed zip for an edgy finish. It's really not my neatest zip ever, but I'm letting myself off as this was only my second time sewing with faux leather. The other change, inspired by Charlotte's RTW make, was to finish the waistband with bias binding and secure it by topstitching from the front. This RTW technique was perfect for reducing bulk and I'll definitely be using it again.

Tips for sewing with faux leather

Sewing with faux leather is nowhere near as tricky as you may think. Here are some tips I've picked up along the way:
  • A lot of faux leather can be pre-washed at 30 degrees Celsius, but test a small piece first
  • Always use a needle suitable for leather fabric
  • Pin your pattern pieces within the seam allowances to avoid unsightly perforations
  • A walking foot will save the day
  • If you don't have a walking foot, try masking tape on the bottom of your sewing foot for less resistance/drag
  • Increase your stitch length slightly
  • Set your iron to a low heat and always use a pressing cloth to avoid direct contact with your faux leather

So, what do you think? Doesn't Charlotte look peachy in her skirt/outfit?

Have you made McCall's 7253 or sewn with faux leather before? I'd love to hear your top tips...