All the cool kids seem to be on YouTube, so I decided to give it a go myself...for better or for worse! By way of introduction my first video centres around #TheSeamstressTag, a clever initiative by Holly Dolly which enables sewing vloggers/bloggers to link up with each other. As I'm late to the party I can't think of any new vloggers to tag, but it's open to absolutely anyone...so do play along if you'd like to!

I have a few ideas for regular videos if time allows, but please do let me know if there's anything specific you'd like to see on my channel. And if you like what you see - I'm hoping to become less wooden with time - don't forget to subscribe :o)



This is the Monet Messenger Bag from Simple Way. I took the kit down to Brighton with me in December as a way to stay creative while Charlotte was recovering from surgery in hospital, and completed it over a couple of days. It was the perfect portable project - flat to pack (on the way there at least) and no sewing machine required!




Like the Heart Bag Kit I made in 2015 while Charlotte was recovering from another surgery, this one includes the bag pieces pre-cut and pre-punched too. It also comes with a special needle and thread, as well as an instruction booklet. The instructions are pretty basic, but for a project this ridiculously easy they're fine.



I'm really fond of the scarlet colour and streamlined design, but I think the Monet Messenger could benefit from a couple more features. At just £8 cheaper than the Heart Bag Kit, I'd rather pay a bit more for a magnetic closure and inside pocket. 

The biggest disappointment with my second Simple Way transaction was the delivery. Charlotte paid extra for a speedy service because it was a last minute birthday present for me, yet the kit took ages to arrive. They did refund P&P posts for her though, which was good, but still a tad inconvenient at the time.

Also disappointing was the bizarrely uneven front piece, something I didn't notice until I finished hand-stitching the bag. It caused the front flap to sit askew and really annoyed me that Charlotte had paid good money for a faulty kit. However, after much sulking, it was a very easy fix - I used a ruler to draw a level line across and just cut away the excess (seen below) with a pair of scissors.  




Saying all this, the quality of the leather is really good and hard-wearing if my Heart Bag is anything to go by. I really enjoyed making both bags as they're satisfying projects which you can relax in front of the telly with and then enjoy donning daily.

Despite the hiccups we encountered with the Monet Messenger and the fact that the kits are pretty pricey,  I'd still love to try my hand at some more designs. I'm currently crushing on their satchels, the Cartridge Bag, the Toggle Bag and the Fox Handbag.

Have you tried a Simple Way kit before? What do you think?

Your commitment to #VintagePledge never fails to inspire me, you guys! As we're already a quarter of the way into 2017, I thought I'd share a taster of what you've been busy pinning to the dedicated Pinterest board

I'll be posting quarterly updates on the blog and more regular ones on Instagram, but in the meantime don't forget to sign up to #VintagePledge here. I've shared my plans, what are yours?

Vintage Gal - 1930s crochet jumper and matching hat in mustard


English girl at home - 1930s reproduction pattern paired with velvet


EM Originals - 1940s blouse pattern paired with vintage rayon


Mermaid's Purse - 1950s pattern paired with an autumnal cotton


Allie J - 1960s pattern paired with a lightweight cotton sateen


These Days are Few - 1960s pattern paired with a cotton floral print


Try Curious - 1970s pattern paired with silk

You guys seemed to fall pretty hard for sneaky shots of this make on Instagram, so I hope the full reveal of my Stoff & Stil 23127 top doesn't disappoint!

Before you scroll down any further, a disclaimer: The following photos could not be helped for it was impossible to not pose in such ways that show off the dramatic sleeves reminiscent of 1930s glamour.  




Don't say I didn't warn you about the cheesy photos! Anyway, moving on... 

The dress and top pattern is designed for woven fabrics, but I really fancied pairing it with this delightful french terry that Portia coerced me into buying during our trip to Stoff & Stil's headquarters earlier in the year. With it's textured metallic look and luxuriously slinky feel, it's hard to believe it's actually a snuggly loose-weave knit.



Like all Stoff & Stil patterns, this one's only available in single sizes, so I went by my largest measurement and chose a 14/42. I think I would have struggled with the fit across my hips for the dress version, but the top turned out pretty fine. I just pinched a bit of surplus out from the neckline and side boob area.

I only pieced the back piece due to lack of yardage and I was hoping to omit a closure altogether. However, the neckline's quite high and I didn't want to stretch it out over time, so I added an exposed zip. I love the way it looks, though the centre back of the pattern is curved so it doesn't sit as nicely as it could. That's an easy fix for next time though.



Another thing to note about Stoff & Stil patterns is that they come pre-cut on something that looks and feels like interfacing. While there's no tedious cutting out, don't get your hopes too high though about checking the fit without wasting fabric. Sadly they don't include enough pattern pieces for that (in this case only one back half and sleeve), but I worked around it by tracing another back half onto Swedish tracing paper and sewing the whole lot together (minus one sleeve) before cutting out my fabric.

Patterns also come unprinted with perforated shapes as markings, much like some of the older vintage patterns out there. This wasn't an issue for such a simple design, but could be a little intimidating for more complex ones I guess.

What is really remarkable about Stoff & Still patterns is the very resonable price, this one being under a fiver! They design, print and cut them all in-house (the cutting machine is so cool and clever!) making it more affordable for themselves.

Have you tried a pattern from their range yet? If not, are you tempted?

Despite a rather late announcement of #VintagePledge 2017, I want to thank you SO much for your enthusiasm. Many of you have already made a wonderful start to the pledge and I'm loving reading your plans - from using a vintage drafting book and tackling your first ever vintage pattern to knitting along and sewing a garment for each season! 

Given that my pledge is to sew at least one pattern in my stash from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, I thought I'd show you some of my favourite patterns from each decade. But before that, there are a couple of related things you might find interesting. Allie J has published a helpful guide to buying your first vintage pattern (with the chance to win a $25 Etsy voucher to help you on your way) and Mrs Hughes is hosting an awesome #DressLikeYourGrandma challenge until 17 April!

1930s
The 1930s just oozed glamour and I've managed to get my mitts on some stunning sewing patterns over the years. I seldom have the occasion to wear anything quite so lovely, so the challenge I'll face is tailoring this decade to my lifestyle. 




1940s
Despite times being tough for many people during the 1940s, even the more modest fashions were full of beautiful detail. I'm actually surprised by how contemporary the Hollywood and McCall patterns look, which is a reminder of how much recent styles are still influenced by vintage designs.



1950s
The 1950s are so very classic and sometimes downright extravagant. Controversially, it's the simpler designs of the decade that I'm drawn to, as I feel my frame could easily be swamped by oodles of fabric.




1960s
A lot of exciting fashion developments took place in the 1960s, but lacking the figure for wiggle skirts and mod styles, I'm mostly attracted to the fashion of the earlier part of the decade. I actually attempted the Vogue pattern seven years ago and ended up abandoning it as I wasn't skilled enough to tackle fitting issues. I still have the lovely monochrome cotton lawn, so I'm tempted to give it another go this year!




1970s
Until recently, I swore I hated 1970s fashion. Yet I'm finding myself increasingly attracted to it and it's ALL YOUR FAULT for sewing up super cool things like this! I've definitely warmed to the fuss-free and wearable sewing patterns out there.




The real challenge, of course, will be finding/making time to sew everything I want to this year. As well as my #VintagePledge I also have big contemporary sewing plans with new patterns sneaking in every week!

I imagine lots of you feel the same way, but I do hope you can join me for a spot vintage sewing...


Wowzers! How are we over halfway through March before I'm announcing this year's #VintagePledge?!? I'm returning solo for the fourth annual #VintagePledge in 2017, which has blossomed into more than I could ever have imagined thanks to the support of Kestrel Makes and your growing enthusiasm.

If you’re unfamiliar with the pledge, it all started in 2014 when I realised I was hoarding vintage patterns faster than I could sew them. To put things right, I invited you to join me in using vintage patterns more regularly and last year over 200 of you did so, sewing up nearly 400 makes between us! Those figures are double what they were in 2014, so I have high hopes for 2017!

For some serious inspiration check out the dedicated Pinterest boards for 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.

VINTAGE PLEDGE PLANS FOR 2017

I'm scaling back a little this year due to conflicting demands, but rest assured that we'll still have a fabulous time during #VintagePledge 2017. I'm hoping to bring back #VPJuly with daily photo prompts on Instagram for the chance to win cool prizes - it was really fun last year! I’ll also be keeping the momentum going throughout the year with round-ups and highlights of your makes, so please use #VintagePledge across social media to make sure I don't miss you out.

JOIN IN AND MAKE THE PLEDGE YOUR OWN

Your pledge can be as specific or as flexible as you like, the only ‘rule’ is that you must use vintage or reproduction patterns. I'm afraid that contemporary vintage-style patterns don't count.

  • You can sew as many or as few items as you like. You may want to choose one or two if you're new to vintage and/or sewing, or create a whole vintage-inspired wardrobe
  • 1990s patterns are eligible for the pledge as they’re over 20 years old, which scarily makes them vintage by definition
  • As well as genuine vintage patterns, you can also use reproduction patterns
  • It's not just about dressmaking for you or the special people in your life (kids, partners, etc) - you can also join in if you like to sew accessories, toys, homeware and so on
  • Make the pledge your own - there are many ways to do this! You could pledge to use your first ever vintage pattern, sew up the oldest pattern from your stash, explore patterns from a particular decade or set yourself a numerical target
  • Knitters are welcome too - the same criteria applies
  • Use #VintagePledge when sharing projects across social media
HOW TO SHARE YOUR MAKES

As in previous years, I've set up a dedicated Pinterest board to show off your makes and inspire others.

  • If you’re on Pinterest, you can add your own makes to the board, but please stick to just one picture per project. To pin your own you need to first follow the dedicated board, then ask me for permission to pin by letting me know your Pinterest name - 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 your Pinterest board’s URL
  • Alternatively, you can send me a link to a specific blog post (or photos if you don't have a blog) and I’ll pin them for you
  • To request permission to pin your own, to ask me to pin for you, or if you have any questions you can leave a comment on my blog, email me on astitchingodyssey[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk, or contact me on Twitter or Instagram - don’t forget to include #VintagePledge
MY #VintagePledge

During 2017, I, Marie Koupparis, pledge to sew at least one pattern in my stash from each of the following decades: 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Are you in? If so, grab one of the buttons below and spread the word!





Happy vintage stitching!

I first laid eyes on a Zadie Dress prototype months before it was launched - it was a solid red version worn by Tilly herself and I was smitten! I loved how intricate and structured it looked despite being made in a stretchy fabric...finally a stable knit dress pattern to get my teeth into!

When I finally got my grubby hands on a copy, I was unsure of how an empire line would look on my big bust, so I decided to make a wearable muslin that wouldn't break the bank. So off to Leicester Market I trotted, leaving with a novelty stamp-print spandex/lycra and teal ponte. I'm happy to say that this turned out to be a very wearable muslin indeed!



To better accommodate my shape, I added 5cm to the bodice and side panel pieces, which was a right faff, but worth it for a waist that sits at my natural waistline. As a consequence I had to hack about 8cm off the skirt length, but I'll know to shorten the pattern pieces for next time. Other than than I cut a straight size 4 and my only qualm is that the armhole feels a little tight. I'll definitely size up for that in future, especially if I make a Zadie with sleeves.

From the diagonal seams and in-seam pockets to the fitted bodice and pleated skirt, Zadie's one sophisticated lady. But she's high maintenance too. There are a fair few pattern pieces and lining up those diagonal points takes a lot of patience...and unpicking in my case. It's not exactly hard, there's just so many of them which is particularly challenging when you're a slap-dash stitcher who also happens to be a perfectionist!

Having said all this, Tilly's step-by-step instructions are spot on as usual and there's even a comprehensive sew-along on her blog.





With endless colour-blocking and print-placement fun to be had, it's no wonder that Zadie has taken the sewing community by storm. I already see a solid red one (copycat) and a telephone-print one in my future, with plenty more contenders in my stash.

What do you think to Zadie?