Hello friends! I have October's #vintagepledge stash interview just in the knick of time and it's another fabulous one! I've been a fan of Zilredloh since forever, lusting over both Liz's vintage-inspired sewing and knitting projects. Although renovating her stunning 1885 house has slowed her crafting down a tad, she's making a exciting comeback (look at this insanely amazing faux leather Robson Trench)! And did I mention she's a fellow bunny mummy? Gotta love a bunny mummy!

How and when did you start collecting vintage sewing patterns?

A very short 7 months after I enrolled in my first sewing course, I was collecting vintage patterns. I wanted to learn how to sew, primarily to make Colette’s Macaron dress after seeing it on Gertie’s blog.  From there I made the Ceylon which is very 40’s inspired. After that it was all downhill as I quickly realised there were mountains of vintage sewing patterns to be had and were begging me to make them up.

How many patterns do you have, and how do you store them?

To be honest, I only went to count how many patterns I have in order to answer this very question.  

As I’m renovating my, new-to-me 1885 house, all of my patterns are safely boxed up in what will eventually be my mega sewing room. But for now it’s the storage room. My first inclination was to just say “Around 200” but then I wondered… “How many do I have???”

Elbow deep into my first box yielded a count of 180. I have about three boxes of patterns which makes around 540 patterns in total. I do have some non-vintage patterns mixed in with this bunch, so I’ll be generous and say 450-500 patterns that I own are vintage.  *Squeee*  

I love being organized and can’t abide all of the different sizes of pattern envelopes creating disorder on my shelves – where I used to store them.  

So for protection and my own sanity, I have them all in comic book sleeves (uv protection) and on a backing of acid free board so they're all the same size on my bookshelves.

Having the patterns in roomier cases means I can flip through my collection without fear of hurting the delicate envelopes. Plus the extra room gives me a place to put notes for next time and my altered, traced pattern.  

I trace all of my vintage patterns so that the next person can use them free of marks. While I feel very attached to my collection of patterns, I know that I'm only a temporary caretaker for these beauties.  I hope the next seamstress after me will appreciate them as much as I have.  

What attracts you to collect the patterns you have?

My love of vintage extends beyond vintage patterns into movies from the 40’s and 50’s along with home d├ęcor from the same eras. I often see garments on the screen that I want to recreate along with being inspired by the iconic actresses themselves and their daily attire.

One of my favorite patterns was worn by Katharine Hepburn in one of my favorite films, Desk Set – so naturally I made it my life’s purpose to hunt down that pattern for my very own.

Do you have any favourite style eras? 

Back in 2011 and 2012 I would have told you 1950’s beyond a doubt. The full skirts and accentuated waists seemed best suited to my pear-shaped physique.  

But as I’ve gotten a bit older, I’ve been leaning more towards 1940’s patterns. I’ve been able to fit them to my pear shape just as well as I did with patterns from the 50’s.

When I first started sewing vintage, the wide shoulders of the 40’s always turned me off. After sewing for 6 years, I’ve gotten better at modifying these patterns to fit my narrow shoulders and I love the challenge that the tailored styles and unusual style lines provide from patterns in the 40’s.

What’s the oldest pattern in your collection, and have you made it?

I have this beach pajama pattern from the 1930’s that I believe is the oldest in my collection, a New Deltor Butterick pattern #4297.

I had just watched Cheerful Day for the Wedding and I was hooked on the main character’s lounge set.  

So after searching for a few weeks, this pattern popped up on Etsy and I had to have it. I haven’t made it yet, but I hope to one of these summers.

Can you pick three favourites - and have you made them?

Picking a favourite pattern to me, is like trying to pick a favourite child – they’re all special and lovely for one reason or another.  Not to mention, my favourites are always changing from one season to the next.  

So for now, these are probably my favourites:

And this one is just the best:

I mean come on - a tuxedo apron with happy 70's 'gents?! It's so funny, it always makes me chuckle when I see it. One of these years I'm going to make it up for my dad.

Is there a pattern you think you’ll never make, but will never get rid of?

Hmm…. I’ve always tried to only purchase patterns that I will eventually make myself.  I have fallen out of love with certain patterns, but I know that one day I’ll fall in love with it again and will be reminded how much I loved it in the first place.  

I'd love to make this one day:

I think the odds are slim that I'll need to be this swanky for my Research Analyst 9-5 job, but a girl can dream. 

I also doubt I'll be making Bert & Ernie or Big Bird - but my mom made these for my sister and I when we were young and I have such fond memories of them - they'll never leave my stash.

The only patterns I get rid of are duplicates or if something doesn’t work out on me after trying to sew it up.  I know it’s still a great pattern – just not for me – so off to a better home it goes.

Where do you get your patterns from?

I’ve bought a great deal of patterns off ebay and Etsy when I first started collecting. But every time I go to the flea market or a vintage market I’m always on the hunt for new patterns.  Flea markets are THE best places to go for vintage patterns on the cheap – a lot of the vendors don’t realize the gems they have.  But if I’m looking for a particular pattern or style, Etsy is generally the place I go shop.

Thank you so much for sharing your precious collection with us Liz! I really appreciate you digging it all out of storage and I hope doing so has unearthed some hidden gems for you.

To all Vintage Pledgers out there, don't forget to enter our end-of-year competition to be in with a chance of winning awesome prizes!

Calling all Vintage Pledgers!

You've been sewing up a perfect storm this year, so we thought we’d reward you with an End of Year Competition! First I’ll talk you through the fantastic prizes, categories and panel of judges, then I’ll explain how to enter...


Prize 1: Dresses #vpp1
Probably the most popular garment type, the winner will receive a £100 voucher for Minerva Crafts.

Prize 2: Tops #vpp2
Whether you’ve made a demure 40s blouse or a 70s halter top, the prize for this category is a £50 voucher for Remnant Kings.

Prize 3: Skirts & Trousers (and other bottoms) #vpp3
This category includes all 'bottoms', including shorts and culottes, as well as jumpsuits and playsuits, with the prize of a £50 voucher for Abakhan.

Prize 4: Outerwear & Accessories #vpp4
For coats, hats, and all other accessories including toys and homewares, the prize is 5 Simplicity reproduction patterns and a year's subscription to Love Sewing magazine.

Prize 5: Judges' Favourite
$20 credit for Adele Bee Ann patterns and £25 voucher for The Village Haberdashery. This isn't a category you can enter for, but will reflect a favourite item of all the judges.


The judges will be myself, Kerry of Kestrel Makes, Amy, the Editor of Love Sewing Magazine and blogger at Almond Rock) and Hazel of Remnant Kings (and blogger at Disaster in a Dress).

Hazel, Amy, Kerry, Me (clockwise from top left)


To be eligible, you need to pin your entries to our dedicated End of Year competition Pinterest Board. This is NOT THE SAME as the general Pinterest Board we have been using so far this year, but is solely dedicated to the End of Year Competition.

To use the board, you need to have a Pinterest account and follow the Competition Board. You can then request permission from Kerry to pin by emailing her at kerry(at)kestrelmakes(dot)com with your Pinterest name - this is 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 the address of your Pinterest board. Alternatively, leave Kerry a comment with your Pinterest name and she’ll add you to the board (though you'll need to be following the board first).

You don’t need a blog to take part and if you don't have a Pinterest account, just email your picture(s) to Kerry and she can add them.

Make sure that you hashtag the description of your picture with the category you wish to enter:

#vpp1for dresses
#vpp2 for tops
 #vpp3 for bottoms
#vpp4 for outerwear and accessories


•    You can enter as many items as you like for each category
•    Please only upload one picture per entry

Closing Date

The competition will close on the 31st December 2015 at midnight UK time. We will announce the winners in January 2016.


Kids clothing fits into the same categories as above, but please comment below or email us if you have any questions about the competition.

Anyway, I hope you’ve been enjoying the stash interviews and decade inspiration posts here and on Kestrel Makes. We’ve worked hard to get monthly giveaways and discount codes for you, partnering up with so many generous sponsors throughout the year so far – so a HUGE thanks goes to all of them. Plus there are more posts and giveaways to come, right up until the end of 2015.

Until then, happy sewing and happy pinning!
I'm not usually one to get overly excited about Christmas and similar holidays, probably because my family is scattered across the world. But, I am one to get excited about presents, so I've totally started to think about my Christmas wish-list already!

Usually, I opt for pretty presents over practical ones. You know...gorgeous fabrics, lovely patterns, the latest sewing books...the list goes on. The reality is though, that I actually buy myself plenty of pretty sewing things all year round. What I really need are the practical items which I can't seem to bring myself to buy.

So, my practical present wish-list for this Christmas includes two main items:

A big cutting mat. I'm a recent convert to and serious advocate of the rotary cutter, so a 90cm by 60cm one which should do very nicely!
A walking foot for my Brother. I know these babies are dear, but I sew a lot with jersey, so having one will make a huge difference to the finish of my makes.

WeaverDee stock both of these items and always seem to have amazing offers on. If you weren’t aware, you can go one better with an extra 10% off your orders using STITCH10. Also, on a timely aside, have you seen their Halloween doggy costume?!? There’s even an adorable Vinny The Vampire Pug film to brighten your day!

Another practical item on my wish-list is a set of pattern weights. I'm a huge fan of using household items for sewing (baking parchment instead of tracing paper, pens instead of chalk...), but store cupboard tins are losing their appeal as pattern weights. I’ve been longing for something less cumbersome which is flatter and doesn't get in the way. Plus, there's so much fun to be had in pimping up pattern weights! I stumled across this Pinterest Board full of fun ideas and I love Tilly's 'party ring' tutorial!

Have you started compiling your Christmas wish-list yet? What's on it?

Remember this ridiculously cool skirt I drafted under the guidance of the very awesome Alison Smith of the School of Sewing? Well, she's just released her 2016 workshop dates and has also launched her own pattern range called Sew Wardrobe! Pretty exciting stuff, eh?

Sew Wardrobe patterns are contemporary with classic, fitted lines, ideal for building up a capsule wardrobe...unless like me, you're attracted to all the colours and all the prints ;o) As well as the individual patterns, Alison also offers kits, so she kindly sent me a Clara Blouse kit to try out! The kit came with the pattern (obviously), beautiful cotton lawn, notions (thread and buttons), a sew-in label and the most wonderful interfacing ever! Doesn't good quality interfacing make such a difference? It would have cost me £25 to buy, which I think is a bargain considering the quality of the contents and the fact that the pattern alone would have been £14.

So, what can you expect from a Sew Wardrobe pattern? First off, the Clara Blouse is beautifully drafted and you'd expect nothing less from Alison given her expert background. The design is minimum fuss, yet has enough detail to keep things interesting and enough shaping to keep things elegant. On the other hand, the instructions are pretty basic compared to many other indie designers out there, but then again, Alison's patterns don't claim to 'cater' for beginners. Fear not though, for redemption comes in the form of online instructions accompanied by detailed photographs. Phew! 

Isn't the little collar cute as hell? Before we get distracted though, let's talk sizing. Sew Wardrobe patterns are currently only available in sizes 10 - 18 and they are based on high street sizing with very little ease. Luckily, Alison forewarned me about the lack of ease, so having gained some weight recently I opted for a size 14. Boy am I glad I didn't go smaller! I ended up cutting 12cm off the hem because it was a little too snug across my bum and muffin tops, which is a shame as I like a longer blouse. I could probably also do with a bit more room around the bust. Overall though I'm pretty pleased with this sweet blouse and my small fitting issues could have easily been resolved by making a muslin!

Oh, do you like my red buttons? I swapped them out for the clear ones that came with the kit and I love how they pop against the turquoise whilst accentuating red flecks in the fabric!

So, what do you think to Sew Wardrobe patterns? The Bella Dress is being added very soon... 

By the way, if you can't make it to Alison's excellent workshops, you can find her on Craftsy at your own convenience!

I've been wearing a lot of monochrome recently (maybe I'm running a temperature) and decided it was high time I made something monochrome too. The opportunity presented itself when Girl Charlee Fabrics got in touch about reviewing their jersey. I instantly fell in love with their triangle ponte (it's no longer in stock sadly, but they have many more gorgeous ponte prints on offer) and knew immediately that I wanted to make Grainline Studio's Morris Blazer.

Let's talk fabric first, shall we? Just like the triangle stag print jersey I tried out before, Girl Charlee's triangle and plain black ponte is a lovely quality and handles beautifully - both pieces washed, cut and sewed up perfectly for me. I also can't stop waxing lyrical about the range of jersey and prints they have! Better still, they're offering my lovely readers a 15% discount for two weeks, so hop on over to Girl Charlee Fabrics and use ODYSSEY until 21 October!

Moving onto the pattern next, Grainline Studio's Morris Blazer. What made it so attractive was the prospect of sewing something other than a dress, that was a bit more involved, but not too involved. A huge selling point was that the pdf is only 28 pages with relatively few pattern pieces. Jen's written instructions are top class as always, so this sewed up remarkably fast. I did, however, struggle with some of the diagrams as I found them a little too 'zoomed' into the detail and out of context. It's probably just an issue with my brain to be fair...it seems to work in mysterious ways!  

Sizing wise, I cut a 6 across the shoulders and an 8 elsewhere. I'm really inspired by Katie's boyfriend version of the Morris Blazer, so if I attempt her hack next I too will grade to a size 10 at the hem.

I'm pretty pleased with my pattern matching on the back seam and I like how raw edges are neatly concealed, despite Morris being unlined. I also like the pointy, dipped front with interesting stitching detail.

The long and short of it is, that I really dig my Morris Blazer. The design details, the cropped length, the monochrome...everything about it makes me feel rather cool!