Snappy strap

I mentioned in my recent (actually, not so recent anymore…) post on the backpack I made to go to Japan that I’d made a matching camera strap as well. With apologies for the delay in posting, here it is.

I looked at bits and bobs to make this from scratch, but it was all a bit complicated and expensive to get the necessary pieces, so in the end I bought a strap of Amazon for £3 and just sewed a tube of fabric and (with some difficulty) yanked the strap through it. I’m very pleased with it!

Here I am in Nara in my Nani Iro Reeta dress with my camera.

Also, I’ve started making stuff again after a particularly stressful and exhausting few months at work, so I should start posting a bit more often now.


Fabric shopping in Japan

I just got back from Japan, where I spent 11 days exploring Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo. It was the best trip I’ve ever taken and I am already planning what I’ll do next time!

Anyone who reads this blog will know about my obsession with Japanese craft, from Nani Iro fabric to Japanese knitting patterns. (You can check out some of my Japan makes using the hashtags japanese fabric or japanese knitting.)

So although I was travelling with three boys I still made time for some crafty shopping!

In Kyoto, I went to Nomura Tailor. This was the best fabric shop of the whole trip, in terms of range and value for money. I got a whole lot of double gauze and Nani Iro (linen!). They also proactively offer tax free shopping, and all the staff wear great home-made blouses in wild prints.

In Kyoto I also visited Sou-Sou, which designs its own textiles as well as producing various things with them. There’s a cluster of their shops, each specialising in different things (eg kids, adult footwear, home/textiles, adult sized garments) just north of Nishiki Market. I didn’t get any fabric but I got some awesome Kyoto-made gifts.

Finally, I checked out Walnut Kyoto (I also went to Walnut Tokyo). This is more of a yarny place, and was lovely – but mostly sold European yarns that I can get easily at home, so I didn’t buy anything.

In Nara there was a lovely shop called Yu Nakagawa which sold handkerchiefs and other products in its custom designed textiles. Again, didn’t get anything but I regret that!

In Tokyo, I had great expectations of Nippori textile district. Maybe I was just exhausted (it was 28°C, super sunny and humid), but I didn’t leave inspired. I went to a few shops, including the gigantic Tomato store, where I combed through all five floors, but left with less than I expected. It was also more expensive than Nomura Tailor for the same stuff (and I know that because I got a further three metres of the same Nani Iro linen here!) and didn’t offer tax-free shopping. I did get some good tools and an excellent book from one of the smaller Tomato shops nearby, as well as some nice double gauze (pictured with some jersey from Okadaya, below).

I really liked Okadaya at Shinjuku although Shinjuku itself was a bit overwhelming (if you go, make sure to spend some time at Shinjuku Gyoen, which was a wonderful oasis in the midst of the chaos). Okadaya has two shops – one labyrinthine shop facing the street selling wigs, cosplay cosmetics and all the habby in the world (plus yarn), the other across an alley, with a fantastic selection of garment and tailoring fabrics. I got some yarn and some thick cotton jersey.

There are a few branches of Check & Stripe in Tokyo. I went to the one near Kichijoji (on my way to the Ghibli Museum!). The staff were lovely and were telling me about a workshop they’re running in London shortly, at the Chelsea Physic Garden. They also helped me pick out a book. In terms of their stock, it was mostly Liberty and plain linen – lovely, but not what I wanted.

I also popped into nearby Avril, but didn’t get anything.

Yuzawaya was also good – I went to the one at Kichijoji very briefly, and had a proper visit to the Ginza shop, just south of Tokyo Station. I read online that they sometimes have special Japan-only Liberty prints, but there were none in evidence when I visited. Sadface. But I did get some delicious triple gauze and the Nani Iro sewing book.

The nearby Muji (so big!) had some great craft books in its extensive book selection. Sewing, mending, embroidery, knitting, basket weaving…

Finally, I popped into Ginza Hands (a branch of the ubiquitous Tokyu Hands) while in Ginza. I spent a long time drooling over random stationery, but there wasn’t much in the way of fabric/yarn.

It was a brilliant trip and I strongly recommend visiting Japan! I really want to go back (or ideally, be reincarnated asap as a Japanese girl). For fabric and yarn people, there are lots of good resources online to help plan where to go. I used these posts from Cashmerette, Tilly and the Buttons, Seamwork, Triple Rin and Bobbin and Baste. A lot of blogs reference the Tokyo Craft Guide, but it no longer appears to exist.


I’m going to Japan! I’m unbelievably excited, I’ve starred every fabric / wool shop on the map and I’ve even had my camera repaired.

In honour of such a longed-for trip I decided to make myself the perfect travel rucksack.

Here she is:

She’s based on my favourite (bootleg copy) Fjallraven Kanken, but made 1cm deeper to accommodate my reusable water bottle in the side pockets. I also added a little tab on one side to loop the inevitable bag charm through, for when I cave and buy one somewhere (and yes, “somewhere” probably means the Studio Ghibli museum…).

The fabric is from Miss Matatabi – it’s a canvas from Kokka. I love the cherries and cherry blossoms! Very fitting for a trip to Japan. Buckles and snap from Ray-Stitch, webbing from Maculloch & Wallis, lining fabric from The Village Haberdashery. I interfaced all the pieces and also put some fusible wadding in the base to keep my cameras safe. The zips came from somewhere in the US – I was surprised at how hard it was to find a closed end 2-way zip in the UK…

I also made a matching purse and camera strap (pics of the camera strap to follow later…).

Petal power 

I’ve spent a few years looking for a craft magazine which I actually enjoy. I stumbled across Making last year, and I’m in love! I even bought the back issues so I’ll have a complete collection.

Here are some “petal pouches”, from issue 1: “Flora”. I made these as part of Operation Christmas 2017 in a bit of a production line, but they’ve turned out pretty well.

The first set is made from Nani Iro linen (blue floral – which you may recognise from this favourite dress) and double gauze (white floral).

The second set is from my remaining Martha Negley feathers fabric (you can actually see some matching cushions in the photos, but I mostly made this skirt which I never wear) and Liberty poplin with little pencils. The poplin is great – really crisp and rigid and great to sew, but also thin.

Needless to say I’ve subscribed to Making for another year and can’t wait to see what’s in store! And meanwhile, I hope these petal pouches are loved by their recipients (because if not, I definitely want them back!).

Fox tote

It was my stepdad’s birthday last month and I made him a foxy tote for carrying his sketchbooks. 

Pattern is self drafted. Outer fabric is Japanese linen-canvas from M is for Make, inner is Cotton + Steel that’s been in my stash so long I can’t remember where it’s from. Base is from a furnishing fabric remnant I got at John Lewis. Strap webbing was left over from this project, and is from Ray-Stitch. 


Look at the awkward French joke I’ve made for the title of this post! Yay. Now let’s look at my new incredible bloomers I’ve made for summer sleep times. I also made a matching pj top, self-drafted but based on one I saw at Gap of all places.

I’ve secretly been dreaming of bloomers for infantile big people like myself for a long time; I have this vision of going to visit my friend Sophie in Cornwall and going to the seaside to go rock-pooling in Liberty-print bloomers.

As a first stab though, these make for very sweet dreams. I love the panda-breads and panda-pastries; they delight me every time I look down at them.

Top is self-drafted, bloomers are adapted from the free Madeleine bloomers pattern by Colette (added a few inches of extra waist length). Fabric is from Miss Matatabi.

Now we are two

My sweet little cousin across the pond is already turning two! Last year she got a romper and bonnet/blouse set. This year she’s getting… apples! And hedgehogs, and some Liberty fabric from her great-grandmother.


Bloomers pattern from Wiksten. Bonnet pattern free from Purl Soho. Apple/hedgehog double gauze from Miss Matatabi. Vintage tana lawn from my Grannie.