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…).


Knife and fork

So I got my fantastic new Bernina, and then took myself off to Wales for the weekend and ended up sewing the majority of this skirt on my mum’s trusty Janome, which is now, following the demise of our Canadian Singer from the 70s, our very oldest sewing machine, hailing from – shock horror – the late 90s.

The outer and lining are both self drafted so a bit (a lot!) of trial and error went into this skirt. The lining is A-line with darts front and back, and the outer skirt is straight with knife pleats (following this excellent tutorial, which, unexpectedly, calls for a fork). The fabric is rayon from Cotton + Steel’s second collaboration with Rifle Paper Co, Wonderland, purchased in the summer from The Village Haberdashery.

What can I say? I really like this skirt! I also figured out how to use my Bernina’s automatic buttonhole feature, so can now realistically think about making some proper, button-down blouses (at long last). Time to really make progress on my extensive Liberty tana lawn collection.

Winter warmer

This year my mum asked me to knit her a hat for Christmas, to replace one she’d lost, so I sewed her a dress. I also knit her the hat, but wanted to make her something she wouldn’t leave on the train!

The fabric is Liberty “Poppytot” fluffy sweatshirt in which I hot as a remnant about two years ago (half price! What a steal). I already made myself this sweatshirt from it last year and there was thankfully still enough left for a dress.

For the pattern, I used the Grainline Studio Lark Tee as a base, but added darts and length, and altered the neckline largely in line with New Look K6145. I sized up one because of the thickness of the fabric, and also added patch pockets.

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. 

Italian job

I’ve had so much guilt around this project for so long – it’s been sitting cut out and ready to go on my bookshelf for four years…




I’m glad I waited too – four years have seen me get better at sewing, purchase an overlocker, and discard my original fabric choice for the yoke.



This is a self-drafted blouse based on one of my favourite tops, from the eternally wonderful Lazzari, a little fashion house in the Veneto. Here the two blouses are together:


The blue feathery fabric is Liberty tana lawn from Shaukat. The yoke is made of some cheap n cheerful broderie anglaise I picked up in Toronto.



The soul of the rose

When I saw this Liberty fabric it reminded me of Waterhouse’s painting, The Soul of the Rose, which has hung in poster form in my mum’s bedroom for as long as I can remember, and for which I have a big soft spot (although I have always been perplexed by her neck). It’s also very Arts-and-Crafts, or Morris-ian.

It’s called Rose Xanthe, and I bought as much as I could afford and turned it into a self-drafted skirt.

liberty rose xanthe skirt

The pattern is based on my favourite skirt, purchased at H&M six years ago and worn about weekly since. Frustratingly I couldn’t find a pattern that was even close. The skirt is made up of 6 tapering panels which together add up to something like a circle. But then it’s also gathered. Extensive research yielded only patterns for gathered skirts made from rectangles or patterns for circle skirts without gathers.

I took matters into my own hands and with a lot of measuring, tracing and smoothing out of gathered fabric I made myself a pattern.

liberty xanthe rose skirt liningThe lining is identical to the main pattern, but a tiny bit shorter. I got the gorgeous pinky-orange fabric from a wonderful little haberdashery, or merceria, in Florence. It is just perfect in this skirt.

liberty rose xanthe skirt

On the waistband I’ve continued with my resolution not to use interfacing, and used cotton muslin instead. It worked a treat.

This is all a very rambling way of trying to say, I adore this skirt. I wear it all the time and it makes me happy whenever I do. The shape, the flow of the fabric as I move around, and the Liberty pattern are just delicious.

At some point I’d like to make a matching top too, but it will be fairly minimal as I don’t have much fabric left.

liberty rose xanthe skirt