Yikes! How is the 2015 Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge coming to a close so soon?!? I had high hopes for overachieving this year, but I think I'll be lucky to squeeze in my fifth and final make. You lot, on the other hand, have been blowing my mind with your wonderful creations!

End of Year Competition

Before I share some of your gorgeous makes, I'd just like to remind you of our End of Year Competition for the chance to win some really great prizes. As long as you made your #vintagepledge item this year, you're eligible to enter no matter what type of make it is (we have a number of categories for you to choose from) and regardless of where you are in the world! Find out how to enter over at Kestrel Makes and check out the competition so far!

Your Makes in November

The Antipodean Stitcher used denim to make her 1940s shirtdress pattern look distinctly 1970s. I absolutely love how it works so well both as a dress and an overcoat.

Fadanista knitted her beau a jumper using a 1957 pattern. She's not 100% happy with the result, but I think Mark looks rather dashing in it!

Almond Rock is going to be toasty warm this winter in her gorgeous peacoat. She's managed to make a 1970s pattern look very contemporary indeed.

#VintagePledge's very own Kestrel Makes made this 1980s dress up in a lovely geometric viscose, giving it a cool mid-century feel. I totally copied her and bought the same fabric...I just hope I can do it the justice she has! 

Betty Stitchup has captured the best of 1960s mod with this monochrome beauty. Bravo!

November's #VintagePledge Posts

This month we also enjoyed a fabulous fabric giveaway from Girl Charlee, the lucky winner of which is Stefanie! Congratulations Stefanie! I'll be emailing you soon to to sort out the details :o)

Coming Up for #VintagePledge in December

We're still going strong in terms of giveaways and discounts right into our last month of #vintagepledge. Tune in to Kestrel Makes tomorrow, who will be announcing our exciting collaboration with Bamber Sewing Machines and Sew Essential.

Until then, happy stitching and keep sharing your makes!

There are two patterns I keep coming back to when I'm (more often than not) making gifts for newborns - Straightgrain's Lua Sleep Sack and Anna Maria Horner's Quick Change Trousers. The sleep sack gives a ridiculously professional finish with a handy side-zip fastening and instructions for attaching the buttons very securely. The trousers are super cure, fully reversible and fast to whip up. Both patterns come in a good range of sizes, so can be used again and again...something I've certainly taken advantage of!

My recent makes were a gift to welcome our gorgeous baby nephew into the world. Isn't he a cutie pie?!? I used Robert Kaufman's bright and fun Message in a Bottle print, which I bought from Miss Ginger's, and paired it with some lightweight chambray from my stash. I really, really love the result!


There was a little confusion with my Miss Ginger's order, but Verity was quick to communicate with me and even quicker to rectify the issue. I ended up with a free metre each of the beautiful prints above (Playful Fox and a pansy print which seems no longer available), which I felt deeply guilty above. So to make things right with the sewing gods, I'm offering these two metres up to one lucky reader! To enter the giveaway, pop over to Miss Ginger's and let me know which your favourite fabric print(s) by midnight (GMT) on Thursday 3 December!

As an related aside, HUGE congratulations to Joanne Fox of A Zigag Road...the winner of Chinelo Bally's Freehand Fashion book which I gave away as part of my review!

Whilst Tilly and the Buttons' Bettine dress pattern took the whole world and its dog by storm, I was left feeling sad that elasticated waists and tulip skirts are not a good look for me. Then Tilly shared tips for making a jersey Bettine dress and a light bulb went on in my head!

I absolutely love Bettine's scoop neckline, kimono sleeves and sweet tab cuffs...all details that I associate with the perfect T-shirt design. With that in mind and the abundance of jersey in my fabric stash, I'm well equipped to fill that smart T-shirt shaped hole in my wardrobe.

For my first Bettine T-shirt, of many no doubt, I used some super cool, reversible jersey I snagged for £1 on Leicester market. Sadly, I didn't realise that it was heat sensitive until I pressed the life out of the neckline, which has left an unsightly mark. I've still been wearing it though, because I love the shape and print...I'm just pretending its tie-dye fabric ;o)

The only modification I made to the pattern was to add around 15cm to the hem, making sure I followed the natural curve of the side seam to accommodate my muffin-top hips. I also opted to finish the neckline with the facing provided, instead of drafting a neckband. I love a good neckband, but sometimes feel it can look too casual and I wanted this to be a smarter T-shirt. The facing worked really well as my jersey is sturdy and I just trimmed it all the way down.

I'm sure you agree that the tab cuffs are a really sweet feature, especially in a different print. I'm excited to make an army of Bettine T-shirts, in both jersey and woven fabrics. Who's with me?

When you hear 'Chinelo Bally' you'd be forgiven for thinking of last year's Great British Sewing Bee winner. Inexplicably, Chinelo wasn't actually crowned the winner, but her enviable talent and creativity when it comes to freehand drafting and all things sewing, have certainly got her far since the show. When Pavillion asked if I wanted to review a project from her brand new book, Freehand Fashion, I couldn't resist having a go at chanelling the legend that is Chinelo!

However, having to fit this project into the margins of my time resulted in a major error. I chose to make the Hi-Low Top for speed's sake, knowing full well it wouldn't suit my shape. Although I enjoyed the freehand drafting process very much, it's a crying shame that I won't be wearing this top.


There were so many interesting things about the process though, that I barely know where to start! The book first takes you through drafting blocks for pretty much any pattern piece and then it moves onto the projects where you can put your blocks into practice. Drafting your pattern pieces involves taking detailed measurements that you plot onto muslin fabric or paper, drawing lines or curves to join them all together. Best of all, seam allowances are included at the plotting stage, so you don't have to worry about adding them in later!

I played it safe and drafted my top onto paper, as I felt drafting onto fabric could have resulted in additional waste. In hindsight, I should have gone with fabric and treated it as a proper muslin, to test the fit along the way. Naively, due to the number of measurements required, I thought fit was a sure thing. Turns out it's not and in the end I was pretty unhappy with the bust dart placement, the armhole shape, the way the neckline sits and the overall bagginess. I ended up having to take the side it by a couple of centrimetres each side and it's still not a great fit.

The biggest lesson I learned from this experience is that having Chinelo's book doesn't automatically equip you with Chinelo's skills. There's still a lot that can go wrong when drafting all-important curves, but nothing a bit of practice can't rectify, I'm sure.

The fact remains that I thoroughly enjoyed the meticulous drafting process, which I found oddly therapautic. With Chinelo's guidance, I'm inspired to nail freehand drafting, if only to tackle some of the more advanced and seriously stonking patterns in the book!

If you'd like to have a go and stretch your skills, then Pavillion have offered up a free copy to a lucky reader in the UK. Leave a comment with your email address below, by midnight (GMT) on Saturday 21 November!

Don't just take my word on all this though, English Girl at Home and Pavillion Craft have already shares their reviews, with more projects coming from:

The Foldine - Sunday 15 November

Lady Sewalot - Monday 16 November

Almond Rock - Tuesday 17 November

House of Pinheiro - Wednesday 18 November

You know the kind of project that's troublesome from start to finish, through no particular fault of its own? Well, this delightful make was one of them, to the point of embarassment. I was approached by My Fabrics 7 months ago (!!!) with an offer of free fabric in exchange for a review. I predictably pounced on some of their seriously awesome bunny-print jersey, yet I only finished this simple dress last month! 

Why did it take me so long to finish this dress? For all the reasons! 

I had overcommitted at the time, so this project went on the back burner for way too long. Eventually, I settled on a summery dress pattern, cut it all out and got busy sewing. But as the bodice came together, I really wasn't liking it and I couldn't bare the idea of not loving my bunny print dress. So I decided to start again and turned to my Tilly and the Buttons Agnes pattern for inspiration. Luckily I'd ordered 3 metres of thefabric so I managed to cut a circle skirt (using my Bluegingerdoll Violet pattern) from the leftover fabric and squeezed out my new bodice and sleeves from the old skirt pieces. I thought I was plain sailing, but ended up encountering the most frustrating issues with the sleeve elastic. At that point I almost gave up, but I didn't want to disappoint My Fabrics or waste such cool fabric. So I powered through and I'm glad I did. 

I'm still not 100% happy with this make, mainly because the front neckline gapes. I'm really annoyed about this, but it hasn't stopped me from wearing it and Claire has suggested a clever fix which I'll be testing out imminently. Also, my sleeve ruching is far from perfect as my stupid elastic kept twisting. I tried unpicking, but that left holes in my fabric, so I settled for less than in the end!

Have you ever made something you love wearing, regardless of its imperfections? To make amends I've just ordered another couple of metres of the bunny-print jersey!

Eeep...it's the penultimate month of this year's Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, so make sure you enter your existing and upcoming makes into our competition for the chance to win amazing prizes! 2015 might be winding down, but we're certainly not, with a fun schedule and giveaways right up until the end!

November Schedule

Look out for this month's stash interview over at Kestrel Makes

I'll be showing off your makes and announcing our giveaway winner at the end of the make.

November Giveaway - 3m of Girl Charlee Fabrics

I'm so excited that Girl Charlee Fabrics UK & Europe are this month's sponsor...my love for their knit range and quality is well documented (especially here and here). They are generously offering up 3 metres of one reader's choice of fabric, open to anyone in Europe! To enter the giveaway, browse the Girl Charlee range and tell me what you would choose if you won, by midnight (GMT) on Saturday 28 November. 

Below are are some of my favourite prints, but they also have plenty of sublime solids too!