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?

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

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...

Wowzers! In between starting a new job and getting ready for the Christmas holidays, I've barely had any time to sew...which is scary considering I'm still one project off my #vintagepledge! Speaking of the pledge, have you entered our end-of-year competition yet? Don't miss out on our amazing prizes!

Anyway, I did find time for some mini sewing recently, which I always enjoy. I was kindly sent the unisex ELIAS pattern by Zierstoff, a German-based pattern company run by two passionate mums (Ilka and Joanna) with over 100 PDF patterns under their belt! Their patterns range from accessories and homeware to garments for kids, teens and adults...quite the selection! Better still, they're offering a generous 20% off all Zierstoff patterns until 13 January 2016! Just use stitch2015 to claim your discount.

ELIAS is available in two size ranges (6mts - 5yrs and 5yrs - 12yrs) and includes cute variations like the one I made, contrast cuff-less sleeves and an easy dress hack. The instructions and photos are pretty clear, and even though some terminology is slightly lost in translation, it's not hard to decipher. I must admit that I didn't really need to follow the instructions, but for the less experienced stitchers, Zierstoff have filmed step-by-step tutorials to accompany many of their patterns...including ELIAS.

When I shared a preview on Instagram, loads of you said you'd love a top like this for yourselves. Well, you're totally in luck as you can easily recreate it using Jennifer Lauren Vintage's Bronte Top! You can also get the kitty fabric from Plush Addict (available in blue too). The teal and monochrome prints are from my stash, so have a good look through yours as I'm sure you have some scrap gems knocking about.

Finally, I bet you'd like to see the cutie pie I made this for, right? You can see Miss Kestrel rocking her new top whilst doing a spot of shopping! Hope it survives the wash, Kerry...

About a week ago on Instagram, I alluded to a collaboration with Bags of Love, and I thought it was high time I wrote about it properly. If you've never come across it before, Bags of Love is a personalised gifts company which prints your photos/designs onto pretty much anything...their product range is quite literally overwhelming and best of all, they print and manufacture everything at their base in West London.

Anyway, Bags of Love offered to print my choice of design onto 3 metres of any combination of fabric, which I could choose from their extensive range of over 60 fabrics. Seriously, get a swatch pack their fabric printing options range from silk and waterproof to scuba and towelling!

Now, I must admit that when faced with such a creative opportunity, I totally froze...like completely drew a blank! Luckily, my good friend and talented photographer, Ed Melia, came to the rescue. He takes the most amazing photos and I knew that a particular bunch of flowers he photographed would be perfect for this collaboration. Typically, you design your own prints online, with a helpful video on how to use tiling effects, but Bags of Love were kind enough to design mine for me to make sure we did the photos justice. The results are pretty special, don't you think? 

(Original photo by Ed Melia Photography)

I had this stunning photo tiled in a half drop pattern on 2 metres of Panama Flo - a soft, mat, woven poly. It will need lining as it's ever so slightly opaque, but it's destined to be a dress...once I decide on a pattern. Something simple to let the print shine...any suggestions?

(Original photo by Ed Melia Photography)

This dramatic picture was cleverly designed into an irregular cluster repeat, with a cool oil painting effect, onto 1 metre of utterly divine Silk Sensation. It has an incredible drape and is very lights and floaty, so a blouse or tank of some sort is on the cards. Again, if you have any pattern suggestions I'd be very grateful. 

Starting at £14.50 a metre (the price of both Panama Flo and Silk Sensation) and with no minimum order, I think Bags of Love is a really great way to personalise your makes for special occasions. Especially if you're a keen photographer and you have an eye for design! 

What do you think? Would you be tempted to use a service like Bags of Love? Personalised Christmas gifts anyone?!?

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?