I'm back in the country and firstly wanted to thank you all so much for your well-wishes regarding my granddad. His bypass operation was successful and aside from some later complications, he's making a slow recovery.

Now, I know I say this every time, but your vintage pledge makes keep leaving me speechless - I honestly never expected so many of you to join me! With just two months left until the end of this year's pledge, I'm working on getting some prizes sorted to thank you, so watch this space! There may also be some exciting plans brewing for next year, but right now I'll leave you with the latest roundup of your stunning contributions...

Find out more about the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge.

Check out everyone's makes on Pinterest.

Share your contributions with me on Twitter (#vintagepledge), through a comment on my blog, or by emailing me.

This afternoon I'm flying to Cyprus because my beloved granddad was taken ill suddenly and is having a very risky operation on Monday. Despite his ongoing and complicated heart problems, we're staying positive as a family and are relieved to know that he's being looked after by some of Europe's best.

You can never plan for 'breaks' like these and it has completely thrown my sewing/blogging schedule. It may seem weird to even mention that, but I'll be gone a week and I know I'll get withdrawal symptoms from our lovely sewing community and this wee blog. I'm sure everything will go well though and that I'll be back here again soon! To cheer myself up and leave this space feeling positive, I'm leaving you with my most recent (and totally gorgeous) vintage fabric finds...

1940s rayon stitched together in panels to form the prettiest tablecloth. 
I'm sure I can squeeze a dress out of it!

1960s (I think) curtains which feel like a luxurious sateen.
The warm colours would make a gorgeous A/W dress!

A kooky novelty print poplin with random bunches of radishes. 
I love the stripy and heart-print radishes the best!

I lied a bit...this isn't a vintage find at all! 
A recent buy from Fenwick's which needs to be a jacket with a leather trim.
Wonderful and amazing texture!

I hope to be back and blogging regularly soon, but I'll catch you on Twitter in the meantime no doubt and won't be able to stop myself from reading what you're all up to! Take care for now!

Remember my second #vintagepledge make, Simplicity 5489? Pretty cute, no? But it wasn't without its fitting woes, which I've finally got around to sharing, along with a tour of the pattern instructions.

Typically for me, the fitting issues I encountered were with the bodice and didn't affect the waist or skirt. After making a bodice muslin, I noticed the following problems: side boob gaping, back keyhole gaping and extra width across the back and shoulders. I pinned out the excess on the front pieces quite easily. For the back pieces I eyeballed the excess, took the muslin off, pinned out what I thought necessary, put the muslin back on and repeated until I got the fit I was after. 

At this point I need to apologise to my ever-suffering boyfriend. I stormed downstairs, demanded he pin out the excess at the back for me without any guidance whatsoever (he should just know what I mean instinctively dammit!!!), then proceeded to get really mad at him when he struggled. I recall stamping my foot and storming back upstairs while he looked on hurt and bemused by my reaction. I'm so sorry boyfriend!

Anyway, I marked the excess on my bodice pieces and even remembered to transfer them to the relevant facings too...yay me! After that though I fudged the rest in a totally non-technical way and it's probably down to sheer luck that this worked out for me. You can see the changes I made in the picture above...I basically treated the excess as darts which I violently flattened down (creases and all), taping them as I went along. This is *not* the proper way of doing things, which involves slashing and overlapping probably. So please don't do as I say, but I do think it's interesting to note that not everything has to be done by the book always...though it's probably best practice if you want to be on the safe side!

Right, onto the pattern itself! If you're into bygone styles, but are reluctant to use vintage patterns, I seriously suggest dipping your toes in the water with a 1960s pattern. The pattern pieces are usually marked really clearly and the instructions are a lot more detailed than older patterns.

Simplicity 5489 dedicates a whole sheet to using and altering your pattern, as well as nifty tips on cutting and preparing your fabric, transferring pattern markings and finishing your seams.

Amusingly, a disproportionate portion of that sheet is all about cutting layouts! So much detail! Could it be because resources were scarcer back then, so people had to be really frugal?

Reassuringly, the pattern's construction instructions are also pretty good, with clear illustrations to accompany each step.

I sure hope you found this little glimpse inside Simplicity 5489 interesting. How are you getting on with your Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge? If you've not told me about your finished makes, please do so I can add them to my badass Pinterest board and spread the inspiration!

I know, I know...another post another pattern tested. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it! On a more serious note though, I honestly can't rave enough about the Bonnie Knit Top from Bluegingerdoll Patterns!!!

During the colder months, my daily uniform consists of jersey skater dresses or jeans, with a cropped jumper that sits above my muffin tops! That's the shape I'm most comfortable in and the one I think suits me best. But finding RTW cropped jumpers is not easy, so for me, this pattern is quite literally the solution to my wardrobe woes! Don't worry if you're not into cropped lengths though, because Bonnie's a versatile lass!

Minor changes may have been made to the pattern and instructions since I tested it, but you guys, it's a total winner in my book, and not just because of its vintage vibe! It has three super cute variations that can be mixed and matched, few pattern pieces and takes minimal time to sew up on a regular sewing machine, and even less using an overlocker. The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, with plenty of top tips for sewing with knits.

The only change I made for my version was to half the width of the waistband and stitch it on using a 1.5cm seam allowance, instead of the recommended 1cm. This is due to my very personal muffin-top issues and wanting to avoid unnecessary bulk.

Can we talk about my amazing fabric now please? Isn't is AH-MAZING?!? It's a soft and snug knit (perfect for jumpers) in a gorgeous charcoal colour with vibrant little floral clusters. It was just £4 p/m from Leicester Market and my only regret is that I didn't buy 10 metres!

Ok, back to Bonnie! Aside from my beloved cropped feature, I also adore the gently gathered sleeve-heads. It's a sweet detail which provides just enough volume without being over the top.

I don't think I've ever been this excited about a 'cake' pattern before, but it's definitely got the potential to become winter frosting. I'm thinking metallic knits, sequins...the lot! I've already planned a Bonnie production line with snug knits from my stash and I'm just dying to try View A next!

What's your go-to cake pattern? Are you tempted by Bonnie?

When Zoe - So, Zo...What do you know? - asked me to test her Dolores Batwing pattern, I thought it fitting to honour her cool sense of style with something equally cool. Admittedly, this print is a little more crazy than cool, but you can't argue with £1 for over 1.5m...can you?!? Twitter friends informed me that it's a Versace or Hermes style scarf print, which I scored ages ago on Leicester Market, alongside a navy colourway I'm saving for a dress. It's ok, you can call me crazy!

Can you believe that this pattern from Zoe (named after her supremely cute baby girl) is her first ever for sale? Considering her creativity and experience, it's hard to believe, but better late than never I say. The Dolores Batwing pattern is an absolute bargain, with six possible variations when you combine the different sleeve and length options. It takes no time at all to assemble the PDF and almost as little time to sew up. It's also the perfect stash-buster for shorter lengths of jersey if you make the short sleeve top version, which I'm hoping to give a go soon. Although the pattern and instructions may well have changed a little since I tested Dolores, I can assure you that it was incredibly easy to follow and understand...everything you'd expect from stitching goddess, Zoe!

I really love the slouchy sleeve detail, which is fun to sew up and comfortable to wear. For my next go I'll size down the neckline for a snugger fit, but size up the sleeves and hips for a slouchier feel. 

Have you tried the Dolores Batwing pattern yet? If you're undecied, keep an eye on Zoe's dedicated Pinterest board for inspiration!