Monday, 1 February 2016

Win £25 to spend on sewing patterns at Sew Essential

To mark the end of dreary ole January and the start of my birthday month, we're celebrating the addition of indie lines to the already extensive pattern range at Sew Essential...with a giveaway! You could win a cool £25 to spend on any combination of patterns your heart desires...just imagine how much bang for your buck you could get in their half price McCall's sale!

Before I outline the giveaway details, let me introduce you to the indie pattern lines now stocked by Sew Essential, which you can browse directly: Tilly and the Buttons, Colette, Grainline Studio and Sewaholic. I've highlighted just a few of my personal favourites below, you know, just for fun :o)






If you want to win the £25 to splurge on sewing patterns, there are a few simple rules to follow:
  • Leave a comment below to let me know which patterns stocked by Sew Essential are at the top of your wish-list. Don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you if you're the winner.
  • For extra entries follow Sew Essential on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Make sure you let me know in your comment if and where you're following them.
  • You have two weeks to enter the giveaway, so leave a comment by midnight GMT on Sunday 14 February 2016.
  • The giveaway is open to readers in any country!

Good luck and happy Monday!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Sign Up To #VintagePledge 2016!

Friends, I have exciting news! #VintagePledge is back for a third year running, thanks to the support of my wonderful co-host Kestrel Makes, and thanks to 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 rectify this I invited you to join me in using vintage patterns more regularly and last year over 200 of you did so, sewing up more than 400 makes between us! Those figures are double what they were in 2014, so let’s make 2016 even bigger!


We’re changing things up a little this year, but rest assured that #VintagePledge 2016 will still be fun and fabulous! As always, the pledge will run all year with grand prizes at the end for a select few. Instead of a monthly schedule, we’ll be dedicating one solid month to Vintage Pledge activity in July! This will include daily contributors sharing their vintage-inspired makes, as well as daily photo prompts on Instagram for the chance to win cool prizes. We’ll be keeping the momentum going throughout the year with round-ups and highlights of your makes, using #VintagePledge across social media. Full details will be shared nearer the time, but in the meantime make sure to save the date!


Your pledge can be as specific or as flexible as you like, the only ‘rule’ is that you must use vintage or reproduction patterns.

  • 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 makes them vintage by definition…sorry!
  • As well as genuine vintage patterns, we’re allowing reproduction patterns too.
  • 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, for example by pledging to use your first ever vintage pattern, sewing up a specific pattern from your stash, exploring patterns from a particular decade or setting yourself a numerical target.
  • Knitters are welcome too! The same criteria applies.
  • Use #VintagePledge when sharing projects across social media.


As in previous years, we’ve set up a dedicated Pinterest board to show off your makes and inspire others. Our end-of-year prize winners will be chosen from this board, so make sure you share your finished projects with to be in with a chance. 

  • 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 request 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 us photos of or links to your makes and we’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.
  • You can also contact Kerry through Kestrel Makes, via email kerry[at]kestrelmakes[dot]com, or on Twitter and Instagram.

MY #VintagePledge

During 2016, I, Marie Koupparis, pledge to tackle some of the older vintage patterns in my stash, especially from the 1940s and earlier.

Are you in? If so, grab a button (beautifully designed by my Charlotte), spread the word and start stitching vintage!

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Sunday, 17 January 2016

2015 Vintage Pledge Winners Announced!

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that I've been away these past couple of weeks, but what better way to return to blogging than with a celebration? It has been such a treat to help select the winners of the 2015 Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge end-of-year competition. There were some truly wonderful items sewn up this year and the competition entries were seriously challenging to chose between. My fellow judges - Kerry, Amy (editor of Love Sewing Magazine) and Hazel (Assistant Buyer at Remnant Kings) - and I pondered long and hard before coming to our decisions, and I'm delighted to announce that the winners are.....


Allie J for her beautiful wedding dress!

There were a lot of entries in this category with a great representation of different decades. But it's tricky to beat someone who has made a beautiful silk and lace dress for arguably the biggest event of their life.

Congratulations Allie, you win a £100 voucher to spend online at Minerva Crafts.


Tasha for her cropped top!

This top is a double whammy - a restyle from a shirt as part of The Refashioners challenge that uses a vintage McCalls pattern. Tasha has turned a huge man's shirt into a fun crop top.

Congratulations Tasha, you win a £50 voucher to spend online at Remnant Kings.


This category was dominated by jumpsuits and playsuits but Carmen's gorgeous dungarees were a huge hit with all the judges.

Congratulations Carmen, you win a £50 voucher to spend online at Abakhan.


Nicole for her Plaid Swing Jacket!

There were some really strong entries in this category too, but Nicole's pattern matching skills gave this jacket the winning edge.

Congratulations Nicole, you win 5 Simplicity Reproduction patterns of your choice and a year's subscription to Love Sewing magazine.


Lauriana made a stunning 1930s dress which was really popular with the judges, as well as drafting a gorgeous 1950s style suit. She was really committed to the pledge and a well-deserved winner.

Congratulations Lauriana, you win a $20 credit to spend online at Adele Bee Ann patterns and £25 voucher for The Village Haberdashery

If you're one of our lucky winners, please email Kerry at kerry[at]kestrelmakes[dot]com to claim your prizes!

I bet the unveiling of our winners has left you feeling inspired to get busy with your vintage patterns, eh? Well, Kerry and I will be announcing plans for the Vintage Pledge 2016 before the end of the month - so watch this space!

Finally - a big thanks to our generous sponsors for the end-of-year prizes! A special thank also to all of our sponsors throughout 2015, who offered up giveways, offers and discounts. 

Friday, 1 January 2016

Reflections And 'Resewlutions'?

Happy New Year, friends! Wishing you all a happy, healthy and stitchy 2016!!! I don't know about you, but 2015 was a pretty challenging one in many ways, both personally and work-wise. The love and support of family, friends and the sewing community got me (and Charlotte) through though, as well as the physical and rewarding act of sewing of course! 

With an idea of the challenges that lay ahead, I had enough foresight to set myself realistic 'resewlutions' for 2015, which I always find interesting to reflect back on at this time of year.


I was only 50% successful on this front, but my psychedelic Francoise turned out pretty rad if I do say so myself! I still really want to make my floral, gathered-back Archer though, so here's hoping I get around to that this year.


Well, there's no denying I had my planned fun with knits, is there? And I'm not about to stop, as I can't get enough of comfy clothes!


I wanted to explore full skirts that weren't gathered and I'm so pleased with the results. I'm looking forward to more pretty dresses to fill my wardrobe with!


As usual, I had heaps of fun sewing for loved one's kids, who are growing up mighty fast! I've revisited tried and tested patterns, and have discovered some lovely new ones too.


Just in the nick of time, I managed to complete my #VintagePledge to sew up five garments using the vintage patterns in my stash. It may not sound like much over the course of the year, but with the time-consuming fitting adjustments required for each make, I'm pretty thrilled with my result!


More #VintagePledge of course! Kerry and I are currently finalising plans, as the pledge will have to take a slightly different (but still very fun) format in its third year to fit in with our various commitments. 

Other than that, I'm not setting myself any 'resewlutions' for 2016. I know I want to sew even more knits and pretty dresses, that I need cute tops to wear with jeans, that I'd like to challenge myself a little (maybe by making jeans or coats) and that I want to tackle some of the older vintage patterns in my stash. But I also know that Charlotte and I face many more challenges this year (including a trip for surgery in South Korea this month), as well as exciting plans to renovate more of our house. So I just want to play it by ear, not stress myself out and just enjoy the creative projects I get stuck into.

How about you? Do you enjoy a good reflection? What are your goals for 2016? 

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

#VintagePledge Simplicity 4147: Done!

Just in the nick of time, I'm proud to announce that I've successfully completed my 2015 Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge! Before I launch into some details, I wanted to remind you that there are still two days left (excluding today) to enter our end-of-year competition with awesome prizes up for grabs. In the meantime, Kerry and I are cooking up plans for #VintagePledge 2016, so watch this space!

I chose the rather beautiful Simplicity 4147 from my stash and paired it with this gorgeous rose-print jacquard from Weaver Dee, alongside some black taffeta. I wanted a perfectly festive dress and I got it...a bit too late for Christmas, but still in time for New Year's Eve!

Undeniably, the most stunning thing about this pattern is the bodice design. It's a tricky little mistress for sure, but well worth the effort in my opinion. I blogged about the interesting construction, but I must admit that I was lucky my choice of fabrics were a pleasure to work with, much to my surprise. 

As with most vintage patterns, I had to do a fair bit of tweaking to get the fit right, but I'm so pleased with how it turned out! All in all, I had to shorten the bodice pieces by 2cm, pinch 2cm out of the front neckline, increase the back neckline dart, slim down the sleeves and shorten the skirt by 18cm.

The pattern came with instructions for a bow belt, but I decided it was high time to give Tilly's popular tutorial a whirl and I'm glad I did. It really does add a lovely finishing touch to the dress. There was no way I had the patience for hooks and eyes though, so I chose to fasten mine with a well-hidden button/buttonhole.

Did you join the #VintagePledge this year? The creations are simply phenomenal!

Are you up for some more #VintagePledge shenanigans in 2016?

Friday, 25 December 2015

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to one and all and here's to a healthy and happy 2016! 

If you don't celebrate the holiday in a religion way, I hope you're enjoying a relaxing break and getting up to all sorts of craftiness. I'll be back before the year is out with one last finished make...hopefully.

Don't forget, there's still time to enter the fabulous end-of-year #vintagepledge competition

Monday, 21 December 2015

#VintagePledge Simplicity 4147: Progress

Friends, as I stitch my way through my last #vintagepledge of the year, I feel strangely liberated. I originally planned on finishing my gorgeous Simplicity 4147 in time for a party on 12 December, but the date came and went without me getting further than a bodice muslin. I then figured I could make it for Christmas Day, but I've been so busy lately that it's more likely to be done in time for New Year's Eve. Then again, it may not be. And I'm not at all bothered, because I'm just enjoying the process, content in the knowledge that it'll be worth the wait. It feels so good to be rid of my self-imposed deadlines!

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a progress post with you, as Simplicity 4147 has some lovely design details, typically associated with vintage patterns and what often makes them so desireable. I apologise in the advance that the photography isn't up to scratch - I blame Winter gloom and my indecision in choosing editing software for my new laptop.

Anyway, when I first cut out Simplicity 4147 I was left scratching my head about constructing the bodice. How on earth are you supposed to stitch a right angle to a curve?! The answer came in the shape of a bias-cut square.  

You slit the centre front/back pieces up to the armhole then you sew on a square, matching its centre to the tip of the armhole slit. 

After carefully trimming, you turn the square to the wrong side and press it neatly, revealing a much gentler curve in place of the right angle. 

You then slit the tip of your side bodice piece up to the seam allowance, which allows you to magically fit it to the front/back bodice with some careful manoeuvring.

I won't lie and say it was easy or that the seam-ripper wasn't deployed numerous time...after all, I had to repeat the process four times! But, the result was worth it I think.

So, slow and steady progress...which is probably wise when using this beautiful jacquard fabric from Weaver Dee. Pssst, did you know you can get 10% at Weaver Dee using STITCH10? You're welcome :o)

How are you getting on with your #vintagepledge? Have you entered our awesome end of year competition yet?

Also, congratulations to the winner of my Miss Ginger's fabric giveaway, Frankie Carson! Frankie, I'll be in touch soon for your postal address...