There's nothing like a year ending to make you reflect and I must say that 2014 has felt like a really busy one for me in so many ways, not least because I also started writing for Craftsy. Yet, I somehow still managed almost 2 sewn makes a month, which is not bad for a slowcoach like me! Woven dresses won the popularity contest, but I have a feeling I may re-focus in 2015. My little blog has also enjoyed some great collaborations and features during 2014, for which I am ever grateful! Onto some observations and highlights...

2014 was definitely a pattern testing kinda year for me, with 8 new patterns tested and a fair few other offers politely declined due to other commitments. I can't tell you how very exciting and rewarding the pattern testing process can be, but make no mistake, it's also incredibly time-consuming. Although I'm always grateful for the opportunity, the process can seriously hinder personal sewing plans, so I want to achieve more of my own goals next year.  


I say it every year, but the best part of our sewing community is the online and real-life socialising! 2014 saw the exciting return of One Week, One Pattern and two new Hawthorns from me - my Cropped Hawthorn Blouse and my Collarless Hawthery Dress - and the very fun #SewDollyClackett challenge. As always, I also enjoyed some great meet-ups - Minerva and Jean Paul Gaultier to name but a few - and had the privilege of celebrating Tilly's book launch.  


My most treasured part of 2014 has been hosting the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, with an overwhelming number of you joining in! A final round-up and 2015 plans will be unveiled soon, but in the meantime the dedicated Pinterest board speaks for itself! 

As for me, even though I only managed to sew up 3 of my 5 pledged makes - Vogue 5671, Simplicity 5489 and Butterick 2315 -  I had a ridiculous amount of fun and I'm feeling super motivated to use more of my vintage patterns this coming year.


Our home improvements are ongoing with our biggest project this year being our dining room. Just as we did with our living room, we feel we've completely transformed the space from a dark, depressing room to a bright, inviting one. We have plenty more plans for the house...we just need to save cash and find time!

So there you have it, my 2014 in a nutshell with 2015 plans to follow soon! How was your year? What are your aspirations for the next 12 months?

Merry Christmas friends - and if you don't celebrate the holiday I hope you're enjoying a nice break anyway! I'm celebrating the day with a novelty-print dress, inspired by Sarah of A Million Dresses, which also happens to be my third (of five) make for my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge. It's my first ever occasion-specific, novelty-print and I can totally see the appeal!

I used vintage Butterick 2315, which caught my attention due to the unusual gathers used to shape the front bodice. It turns out that this detail, coupled with the kimono sleeves and gathered skirt, make for a really speedy dress.

I don't really have anything to say on the construction of this dress, because it was so ruddy easy. The finished result is more of a wearable muslin before I make it with a plainer print to show off the bodice detail. Next time I think I'll pinch a centimetre or two out of the centre front neckline, somehow reduce the amount of fabric around the side of the chest (any ideas on how to do this with kimono sleeves?) and change the skirt to a more flattering (non-gathered) shape.

Showing off my baubles in a bauble-print dress...

Remember, you can be in with a chance of winning one of four awesome prizes, as long as you share your makes for the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge with me by 31 December 2014 on Twitter (#vintagepledge), through a comment on my blog, or by emailing me.

Ooopsie, I appear to have taken an unintentional blogging break for a couple of weeks. And at the risk of sounding like a right Debbie Downer, I'm back with a less-than-festive admission: I'm a gift-making Scrooge at Christmas! There, I said please tell me I'm not alone!

It's not that I don't enjoy the festivities or the gifting aspect of the holiday, I do! But I don't enjoy the pressure to / expectation of sewing gifts for friends and family. There are just too many people to make for, meaning I'd either have to start earlier than I'm prepared to or pick 'favourites' which I just can't do. There's also the added factor that I don't much enjoy non-garment sewing and there's no way I have enough time or skill to sew clothes for others! So it's thoughtfully shop-bought gifts all around.

The only gifts I positively love making are for babies and toddlers, of which my family and close friends have produced over fifteen in two years! So making tiny Christmas gifts for tots is also out of the question, based on sheer quantity alone. But, I'm absolving myself of any guilt knowing that each little cherub gets something handmade for his/her birthday. I find gift-making for birthdays to be far more meaningful anyway...everyone gets presents for Jesus' birthday, but individual birthdays are more personal. In fact, just to prove I'm not totally selfish, here are some of the baby gifts I've made recently:

Anyway, enough about me! Are you a gift-making machine or a gift-making Scrooge at Christmas?
Can you believe it's December (aka the last month of our Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge) already?!? I'm not going to dwell on the fact that I'm only two projects down of my five pledged! Instead, I want to share some of the latest makes which have taken my breath away...all of which you can see on the #vintagepledge Pinterest board.

It's a plaid thing...


Wintery partywear...

Summery frocks from Down Under...

Remember, you too can be in with a chance of winning one of four awesome prizes, as long as you share your makes with me by 31 December 2014 on Twitter (#vintagepledge), through a comment on my blog, or by emailing me.

So, I'm back from my two-week American adventure and I can confirm that reality sucks! I'm still clinging on to the memories though, so I thought I'd cheer myself up by sharing some of my favourite photos. Apologies if you follow me on Twitter, as you've probably already seen most of these!

It all started in the Big Apple...

...including a delightful couple of hours with Sonja from Ginger Makes. Yes, she's every bit as cool, funny, kind and gorgeous in real life as she seems online. I now wish we were neighbours!

We then flew out to visit my parents in Charlotte, North Carolina...

...with a fun overnight trip to explore the quaint Black Mountain and bohemian Asheville.

We rounded off our trip in Connecticut, visiting my aunt and uncle...

...with a breathtaking roadtrip to Cold Springs, which certainly lived up to its name!