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!

I wish I could say that I specifically made this gorgeous Martha dress to celebrate my birthday today, but that would be a lie! Nevertheless, I certainly feel party-ready! 



The idea for the dress was inspired by the badly-hacked, much-loved and long-gone Renfrew dress I made nearly three years ago. I was besotted with the luxurious-looking tie-dye velour fabric I used, thinking I'd take another punt at finding it, and BINGO!

I was so delighted it was still in stock that I bought enough for this dress AND a future project, as I can't bear to not have any in my stash. Sad, eh?!? 


Predictably, the pattern is my beloved Tilly and the Buttons Martha dress, which I've made four times now. As usual, I omitted the Mandarin collar and used stay-tape to stabilise the waist, but this is the first time I've opted for the bell sleeves. I adore them even if it does make layering up a bit tricky!

Martha skirt pieces are usually cut on the bias, but I had to cut them on the grain due to the pile of my velour. It doesn't hang quite as nicely as my other versions, but it's nice enough.

Despite the fluffy residue and edges with curling tendencies, this fabric is really nice to sew with and has a slinky satin reverse. I was careful only to iron the wrong side on a low heat and it took surprisingly well to finger-pressing when it came to the hems.



I really, really love this dress! I can't seem to put the pattern down and this fabric makes me ridiculously happy...in fact, being back in the sewing seat has done wonders for my well-being so far in 2017!

It was inevitable I guess. I finally made a Martha dress I don't like, so after two successful versions (ditsy print and polka dot) I was third time unlucky! 

This has nothing to do with the Tilly and the Buttons pattern of course and everything to do with my fabric choice. You see, Martha's predominantly designed with drapey fabrics in mind and although my two ponte versions worked out wonderfully, I think scuba was a step too far.



What I dislike most is how bulky the scuba makes it look. The princess seams are fine to be honest, but the sleeves pull and crease in annoying ways and I really should have adapted them to eliminate the gathered sleeve-heads. 

The weight of the fabric also pulls down on the bodice making it a smidge too long, even thought the length is perfect on my other versions. 

Finally, I assumed scuba would be stable enough to not need reinforcing at the waistline, so I omitted my go-to waist-stay on this version. I really regret this decision now as it doesn't nip me in quite as much as I'd like it to.


The worst thing is that all of this could probably be rectified without too much hassle. But having started this dress back in August/September and dragged my feet about it, I'm kind of sick of the sight of it. I wore it once to a sewing blogger meet-up in Leicester (organised by the lovely folk at Crafty Sew & So), but I honestly don't think I'll ever wear it again.

It's ok though, being a die-hard fan of the pattern I've made a fourth Martha (you can't stop me!) and it's my favourite yet. I'll be sharing it later this week!

Have you ever fallen out of love with a version of a tried-and-tested pattern? What went wrong for you?