It doesn't take a genius to spot that my sewing productivity has been somewhat lacking this year, but I've been busy y'all! What with a demanding 'new' job and home improvements on the go, there's been precious little time for stitching. Don't panic though as I have a few exciting projects under my sleeve and our fun-packed #VintagePledge schedule for July is really taking shape.

On the plus side, I do have another epic room makeover to share with you...behold our biggest of the spare rooms!

Before we tackled it, the room was a mismatched furniture dumping ground and rather green...light green walls, green floral wallpaper and dark green carpet. Also, when we first moved in over two and a half years ago, we replaced and moved the radiator only to discover an unsightly wallpapering job. It shamefully remained that way until recently.

As you can see, we stripped the walls right back to the plaster and painted them a subtle grey to offset our loud geometric wallpaper. We freshened up the ceiling, revamped the woodwork with a lick of white satin paint, varnished the door for a richer look and, with the help of Charlotte's dad, we replaced our tired old carpet with good quality laminate (it has a tangible grain and everything!). In hindsight I'd have opted for the slightly darker laminate, but you live and learn!

Anyway, it was all pretty straightforward, but it still took about six weekends worth of work...painting rooms with high ceilings, coving, dado rails and skirting boards is not for the faint hearted...hah!

With this being a spare room, we decided to compromise in the way of furniture so we could spend more on our own bedroom makeover. So the bed, side tables, chest of drawers and wardrobe are from our old bedroom. We've had them for eight years so although it's not the style we would have chosen now, it's held up very well and isn't exactly offensive.

At least we had lots of fun with soft furnishings and accessories. First came the artwork, which inspired the splash of orange lampshades, then we added some much-needed storage boxes and picked out a new rug and curtains. We're not sold on the duvet we panic-picked after a long day at the shops, but it'll do until we find something a bit more fun.

In case you like what you see, Charlotte compiled a handy shopping list for you! And if you want to see more of our home improvements, I've almagamated them under a new tab at the top called House.

The good news is that we now get to enjoy this room while we decorate our own. The bad news is that we've settled in a bit too comfortably and with the stumbling blocks we've encountered with our room, we might be here for a while... 

Hands up if your delicate handmades have ever perished in the wash! I've lost count of the times my carefully stitched clothes have come out mangled beyond repair, no matter how gentle I set the spin cycle on my powerful washing machine.

It normally happens to items with a lot of hand-stitching or bias-bound edges, which probably says more about my sewing skills than my washing machine! Nonetheless, it's pretty devastating and I was determined not to let it happen to my lovely Afternoon Blouse.

Enter the humble mesh washing bag! My mum has always used one for her sheer tights, bras and the like, but I stupidly never thought of using one to protect my me-mades. You just place your item(s) in the bag, zip it up and chuck it in the washing machine with the rest of your load.

It works an absolute treat and I no longer dread investigating freshly washed laundry for unsightly rips. It's the small things in life, eh!?!

Do you use washing bags? What other simple tricks have transformed the way you sew/care for your handmade wardrobe?

On another matter, I have lucky giveaway winners to announce!

A copy of The Great British Sewing Bee: From Stitch to Style goes to Moody Cat Crafts and the Simplicity goody bag goes to The Crafty Pinup. HUGE congrats Kirsty and Abi...I'll be in touch shortly to arrange delivery!