Two weeks ago today, my beloved grandfather passed away, aged 78. It was unexpected and he faded away over the course of three days. Even though there wasn't enough time for me to get back to Cyprus to be with him, I'm grateful I managed to fly over for the funeral and to spend time with my family. He was surrounded by loved ones at the time of his death and knew how much we all adored him.

I'm thankful that he was spared a drawn-out end, yet heartbroken about our loss. My grandfather had a super-sharp brain, the kindest of souls and brilliantly eccentric ways. He was progressive, revolutionary and without any doubt, one of a kind. Did I mention that he was devastatingly handsome too?!?

I'll miss so much about him - the soothing sound of his voice, his mischievous laugh, his sense of humour, his encyclopedic knowledge, our intellectual chats... 

Circa 1965

A lot of people have a special bond with their grandparents, but for me this couldn't be truer. My mum and I actually lived with my grandparents from when I was 5-10 years old and I still get all warm and fuzzy when I remember how safe and loved I felt. My grandfather used to tell me that he's two times my father, to make up for the fact that my dad wasn't around. I saw them everyday after that too, until we moved to England when I was 13, and have visited almost every single year since then.

I will forever remember him sitting at the kitchen table into the early hours of the morning, reading a newspaper or one of his thousands of books. His collection was remarkably diverse - academic, political, religious, philosophical, fictional, factual, name it - and legendary among all who have witnessed it. He kept a log since 1958 of every single book he bought, and his collection is well over 4,500!

When he retired he decided that he was going to live in pyjamas, sleep during the day and read all night when the house was quieter...which is exactly what he did! Although it's easy for us grandkids to remember him this way, he was actually a very academically and politically active man in his youth, which I want to do justice to in this tribute.

Pictured on the left

Born in 1937 in Leonarisso, my grandfather was orphaned at a young age. When he met my grandmother in his late teens - in her neighbouring village of Koma tou Gialou - he was immediately embraced by her family and he finally felt like he belonged.

Pictured behind my grandmother who is leaning against the side of the car

He was just 18 years old when they married in 1955 and he enjoyed reminiscing about falling in love with the long plaits my grandmother wore her red hair in.

Pictured second from the right

Pictured in the middle, crouching down

By 1957 he had fathered his first child and was studying at Morphou college. At the same time, his strong sense of patriotism led him to join EOKA - a Greek Cypriot nationalist organisation that fought to end the British rule in Cyprus. He had an active role in this, which also involved giving refuge to fighters wanted by the British military, until the organisation disbanded in 1959.

Pictured second from the right

Pictured in the middle

Pictured on the right, the embodiment of The Great Gatsby

My grandfather had always been a man 'of the people', seeking social justice and striving for 'the greater good'. By 1962 he was the General Secretary of the Commercial Employees of Cyprus, and he joined other trade unionists on a two-week visit to the UK, as a guest of the Commonwealth Relation Office of Information.

It included visiting a Government Training Centre at Perivale, and an informal dinner with regional officials in Birmingham.


1967 - my mum pictured on the right

My mum pictured on the left

In 1965, my grandfather moved his young family to England, so he could study Politics and Economics as well as Industrial Relations at Ruskin College, Oxford. He then went on to study Law as well. The family grew (four kids in total) and ended up working and living in England for 13 years, joined by my grandmother's sisters and families. These were financially challenging times, but my mum remembers them as full of love and happy family times.

By the time they moved back to Cyprus in 1978, the Turkish invasion of 1974 had cost them their homes, their villages, their much loved lifestyle. They settled in the capital, Nicosia, in a welcoming house which has always felt like home to me. 

My grandfather eventually turned to primary school teaching, but remained politically active and patriotic to the core.

His final resting place is picturesque and serene, befitting of the special and universally-loved man that he was.

Rest in peace my Bappou.

In terms of sewing, I've had a sluggish start to the year. Life's been full yet challenging and my new job is enjoyable but tiring. I recently found the time and energy to squeeze in a quick project though, and it felt good! 

The moment Sewaholic's Fraser Sweater pattern was released I knew I had to have it. Not only do I love sewing with knits, especially when I'm pressed for time, but the design details and variations are really cool.

I used a snuggly, fleece-backed knit from my stash which is heavyweight and delicately flecked. I paired it with a lighter weight knit which is beautifully textured. I really, really like the colour combination of the black and biscuit - it gives a basic make a sleek finish.

Construction-wise, this was a doddle. Quick and fairly easy. But the instructions didn't go into tas much detail as you'd expect of Sewaholic, which might be an issue for those who haven't experienced sewing points like the ones on the front and sleeve yokes. 

Fret not though, because this tutorial should help with both Views C and A.

For a comfortable fit, I cut out a size 10 from top to waist and graded to a 12 from waist to bottom. I also shortened the sleeves by 6cm, although they could do with being a smidgeon shorter really. I'm pretty happy with the overall fit, but the length hits at my widest part...good ole muffin tops! I can just about get away with it with a black hem band, but I'll probably lengthen the bodice a little next time.

And there will be a next time as I already have Versions B and C planned!

What do you think to the Fraser Sweatshirt? Have you sewn one up yet?

Whether you're joining in with the #VintagePledge or not, your vintage pattern dreams have been answered! Newbie on the block, SEWN, is offering one lucky reader a vintage pattern of their choice! I've shared details on how to enter the giveaway at the end, but first, a little bit about SEWN.

SEWN is a freshly-designed online shop offering vintage sewing patterns that are carefully checked for completeness and helpfully searchable by size, type of garment and era. New patterns are being added all the time and there is a growing selection of independent patterns on offer too.

Keep up to date with Marie's (great name, right?) lovely makes and top tips on the blog, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

I've picked out some of my favourite vintage patterns of hers...because a girl can dream, right?!?

Entering this giveaway couldn't be easier and it's open internationally...whoop! All you have to do is:
  • Pop over to SEWN, have a cheeky browse of the vintage patterns and let me know which your favourite one is.
  • Tell me in a comment below, but make sure you include your email address / contact details so I can notify you if you're the winner!
  • The giveaway closes on Saturday 12 March at midnight GMT and a winner will be announced shortly after.

Many thanks to Marie for her generosity and have a happy stitching weekend all!