Saturday, June 28, 2014

Enter our Fashion Show!!

Are you a designer? Do you love to sew? Do you want to use your creativity and talent for a good cause?  Do you want your designs to get noticed at the Edinburgh Festival?

Enter our Fashion Show Contest!!

I'm super excited to tell you all about this exciting news.  We have managed to secure space during the Edinburgh Festival – the largest arts festival in the world!!  And we are planning to have a Weaving Destination fashion show and we are inviting you to submit garments or crafts using Weaving Destination fabric that we can showcase in the show.  

How to Enter:
Register and Purchase your Weaving Destination Fabric
Enter 'FESTIVALFABRIC' as the code in Etsy to get a 20% discount on your purchase 
Weaving Destination is a social enterprise benefiting women weavers in India, many of whom are survivors of human trafficking.  Their beautiful hand-woven, cotton and silk fabrics are organic, ethical (vegan), naturally dyed and of the highest quality. Proceeds from the sale of fabrics go back directly to the women weavers and their families. All contest participants will get 15% off their purchases. Email us your name, contact details, category and number of entries at: We will confirm your participation.

The Categories:
 1. Garments
a.    Sew Up a Garment Using the Weaving Destination Fabric and Send it to Us.
Send us Your Garment Postmarked by 20th July, 2014 (outside the UK) and 28 July (within the UK). The address for posting your garments will be sent to you when you register.

b.     We will Include Your Garment in the Fashion Show
Your garment will feature in the Fashion Show on 14th August 2014 (18:00 – 19:30) in Edinburgh right during the month-long Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital city.  We will showcase all the designs featured in the fashion show and your design may get media attention!

When purchasing your fabric, let us know if you plan to model the garment yourself in the fashion show or if you would like to make the garment for one of our models.  If it is for one of our models, we will send you measurements and you can get started on sewing up your dream designer outfit!

                 c. You Will Be Automatically Entered in the Fashion Show Contest
You will automatically be entered in the fashion show contest which will feature a long list of fabulous prizes (to be announced soon).  The winners will be decided by a split vote between the audience at the fashion show and an online vote through the 'My Happy Sewing Place' blog.

  d.  At the End, You Can Either Donate Your Garment to Weaving Destination or We Will Post it Back to You. We are happy to send you back your garment for you to cherish or you can donate it to Weaving Destination!  Just let us know what you prefer!!

2. Housewares, Crafts and Other Items

Garment sewing not your thing?  No worries!  We are opening the contest to housewares and craft sewers as well! We will be having a Weaving Destination stall at the Fashion Show event if you want to showcase your creativity.  Do you love making bags, pincushions, headscarves, etc?  Why not use Weaving Destination fabric and we can showcase your items in our stall and sell them for you!!  You get to keep 60% of the profits and the remaining 40% will be donated to Weaving Destination.  If you'd like to participate, email us your contact details, what you plan to make and how much you would like to charge.  That way, we can plan our stall accordingly.  All items made for the Weaving Destination stall will also be entered into a separate category of the contest with equally cool prizes!! 

You can send more than one entry.  Do let us know your number of entries when you register.

You can also come and see the show, tickets on sale here.

Don't wait, precious sewing time is ticking away :-)  We will share all the photos from the event with you all!  I can't wait!! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Week with Tilly: The Lilou 'Queen Anne's Lace' Dress

I'm back from a lovely short holiday and am excited to show you my most recent creation!  I was delighted to pattern test the Lilou dress pattern from Tilly's new book: Love at First Stitch.  It's such a fabulous dress pattern with a chic no-fuss bodice and a beautifully draped skirt.

I cut into some precious Japanese cotton fabric that I purchased last year for the bodice.  It reminds me a bit of a 1950s pattern with hearts and flowers.  The bodice is very straightforward to sew together and has a neat lining.  I used a polka dot fabric for the bodice lining (fun!)

The skirt fabric is a lovely twill blend that is stable but with some drape.  This dress fits fabulously into my work wardrobe as it works well under a wool blazer:

Here's my best Tilly pose....have you seen the pictures from the book??  One of my favourite things to do is to read it before bed and look at all the beautiful pictures and imagine all the clothes I am going to make!!

There's something about the faux separates look that I just love in dresses!

I am really pleased with the way the dress came out.  I feel like I could wear it in almost every season – it's perfect for hot summer days or paired with a jacket for those cool autumn and spring nights.

The dress is also perfect for twirling :-)

Do you have the book?  Are you planning to make some of the patterns?  I can't wait to try them all!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sewing for the Kitten

It's been crazy weather 'round these parts.  One day is sunny and warm and the next day is cold and rainy!  Perfect time to sew up a little treat for the kitten.  When I say 'kitten', I'm using that term in an affectionate way as our 'kitten' is 19 years old!  Like most cats her age, her digestive tract is not what it used to be and she is prone to tummy aches.  She loves her belly rubs and we thought she might like a cat-sized hot water bottle as well.  David bought one of the mini hot water bottles and I sewed up a tartan cover for it.  We basically laid the full hot water bottle over the fabric and traced around it, adding the seam allowance and making a flap to insert the bottle:

And boy, does she love it! Look at her....and doesn't the hot water bottle look like a mini-Scottish cat toy?

Our sweet little chickpea...

Have you ever sewn for your pets?

Monday, April 28, 2014

McCall 3834: The 'Windy' Skirt

Thank you all for your wonderful comments on my last two makes!  I don't know what happened between last week and this week but the sun has disappeared!  Perfect for a good ol' wool project.  Enter the skirt from McCall 3834:

I had enough fabric left over from my jacket (McCall 3769 or the 'Lantern Army' jacket) to make a matching skirt.  McCall 3834 was super easy and quick to sew with maybe 2 hours or so of construction time.  The skirt is very straight and there's only two major pieces.

I decided to leave the hem a bit longer because I love how it looks with the jacket.  What you can't see from the brown wool fabric is that there are tiny little flecks of blue in it.  So, I am planning on making a matching blouse in a similar blue colour to the one I'm wearing here (what can I say, I like blue blouses!!)  This blouse is from a 1950s Maudella pattern but I'd like another blouse without the bow necktie.

The beautiful flowers (violets?) give a false impression that spring is here! But as you can see from the photos, it was very windy and cold.  Scotland is very changeable in terms of weather.  Locals often joke that if you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes and it will change!

Of course, that means I'll get a lot of wear out of this suit!!  I can't wait to make more suits from the 1940 McCall patterns...

Happy spring (or autumn) to you all!

Friday, April 25, 2014

McCall 3684: The 'Clackett Cantina' Dress

Late as usual for the party, I was stuck in the Clackett Cantina and didn't manage to get out in time for yesterday's deadline for the 'Sew Dolly Clackett' challenge.  For those of you that haven't heard of's a lovely wedding gift for our beloved fellow blogger and sewist extraordinaire, Roisin.  I had the pleasure of meeting Roisin and Nic in London and I am over the moon at their wedding!   And yes, she is as nice and stylish in person as on her blog (with a killer shoe and me-made dress collection)!  A definite source of inspiration.

So, I wanted to pick an extra special pattern and photoshoot location for my 'Sew Dolly Clackett' dress.  Do you believe this western-looking street is hidden away in an alley in the heart of Edinburgh?  It is basically several false fronts on a bunch of sheds that an innovative furniture store owner (who used to work on movie/theatre sets) created for their business.  So great!

Of course, I didn't actually follow the rules for the challenge...I sort of made up a "If Dolly Clackett wore 1940s dresses" challenge.  Or "Dolly Clackett Sews for Victory".  But, I do think Roisin would approve of the bright and colourful!  It brings a smile to my face.

I chose McCall 3684 for the extra drapey fabric (fabric content unknown but I'm guessing some sort of jersey blend).  I will definitely have to make this dress again because I wasn't able to make the awesome sleeves that are part of View A.

The bodice is really neat.  It includes gathering at the shoulders and then two w-shaped bodice pieces that are sewn together with a lapped seam just below the bust area.  I think the shape really elongates the torso (I like this look so much better sans belt, though I know they would have worn one in 1940).

The back has the 'bloused' effect and the dress zips on the side.

Raising a glass to you, Roisin and Nic!!!  Happy almost wedding!

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Butterick 5152: The 'Empress' Dressing Gown

Hello!  I know it's been awhile...things have been busy here as of late BUT I have managed to fit some sewing in!  One of the items I have wanted to add to my wardrobe the most is a 1940s dressing gown.  Enter Butterick 5152, a reissued vintage pattern from 1948 in perfect time for the Sew for Victory 2.0, a 1940s sew-along:

I made the dressing gown out of a rich and heavy silk jacquard fabric.  I've used a similar version of this fabric before (in red) to make a 1930's gown.  It sews like a dream.

The pattern consists of a yoked shoulder front, long 'puffed' sleeves and a wrap front held in place by a hook and eye.  I didn't have enough fabric to make the belt and my local fabric store is no longer carrying this fabric.  But I think that's fine as belts on robes are sometimes a bit annoying!  So I just wear my sans belt.  There are also subtle gathers on the front waist and more gathers on the back yoke.

The dressing gown goes perfectly with my 1940 McCall 'Wish Upon a Star' nightgown!  It's nice because the dressing gown doesn't have a collar which allows the collar and ties of the nightgown to show through.

I really adore the big puffy sleeves and I feel so glamorous when I wear this around the house!  Plus, it's nice and toasty – perfect for virtually every season here in Scotland!

Awww...look at the kitty...our dearest little Echo 'Chickpea'.  She's such a sweetie!!

I'm really trying to develop an entire wardrobe of 1930s and 40s inspired 'at-home' lounging and nightwear garments!  I just love how beautiful all the garment designs are from those time periods!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Guest Post: David's Top Ten - Part 2

     Here is the second half of my top ten.   It really has been difficult to choose, but I’ve enjoyed going back through the photos, with the images sparking memories of how Debi has worked through each project, and the fun we’ve had on the photo shoots.  It's been interesting developing our communication as "model" and "photographer," and I've enjoyed seeing its progression affecting the quality of the images over time.

6. The 1939 'Marlene Suit Jacket' (McCall No.3260)
     I believe this was Debi’s first attempt at a suit jacket, and she did an amazing job.  It’s not easy (and I know this first-hand).  I love the patterned wool, and the cut of the whole suit really works on Debi – it’s playful but serious when needed, just like her.  This was also a particularly enjoyable photo session.  She totally nailed the pose.   This brings me to…

7. The 1941 'Yipppppeeeeee Trousers' 
(in navy, brown tweed, green and black) (Simplicity No.3688)

     Definitely one of the most versatile and oft-worn of her sewing creations, these trousers really suit her, and paired with her collection of “me-made” blouses, and Ness Tweed Jackets, it’s a good everyday look.  The current Ness Tweed Jacket collection can be viewed at their site.

8. The 1943 'Raspberry Sorbet Dress' (McCall No.5384)

     I thought this dress looked amazing when she made it, and I hope it makes a comeback this Spring.  I really like the colour on Debi, as well as the details in the sleeve caps and pockets, and the short yoke across the top.

9. The 1940 McCall dress (No.3638)

     This dress is another staple of Debi’s wardrobe, and I love both the fit and flow of this particular fabric.  I also really like Debi’s choice of buttons.   The grey goes well with her Ness jackets, shoes, and bags.  You can see posts of those pairings here.
     I remember her finishing this dress, then quickly donning her wellies as we ran out to climb East Lomond Hill, hoping to catch the light, leaning on me to change into her shoes, as it was muddy.  The view from the hill was great, and we got some interesting images.  
     I also liked it paired with her The 1940 '
Faux Bunny Love Jacket' (Simplicity No.3529).

10.  The 1952 'Now or Never Halter Top' (Simplicity No.3879)

     I haven’t seen Debi wear this one in a while but as it’s been winter, I’m not really surprised.   Hopefully it’ll re-emerge later this Summer, if we get halter top weather.  
     I enjoyed helping her with this one, making the belt out of a Ness tartan scarf, to match her shoes and purse.   We took theses photos on a trip up to St Andrews, in the ruins of the Cathedral.
"This one goes to 11…"

11. The 1939 'Lady of the Lake Dress' (McCall No.3228)

     I love the look of this patterned fabric on Debi (it's very silky as well),  the details of the mother-of-pearl buttons and buckle, and the small, white ruff at the collar.   This was a great photo shoot, where we got out on the rocks into theWater of Leith, with the sun streaming through the trees.

Honourable Mention:
     Well, I could quite easily go on, as there are more of her “me-made” creations that certainly warrant mention on a “Top” list.   If Debi needs another guest post, I'll continue the list with the above outfits.

     Of my own wardrobe, my favourite item of clothing is one I’ve only worn once but so much went into it that we will have to find another formal occasion that requires it:  It’s the Prince Charlie Kilt Jacket Debi made for me on the eve of my graduation from The University of St Andrews.   It fits incredibly well, and the detail is flawless – Debi put even more care into it than she usually does, and it shows.   

     We stayed up all night the night before the ceremony, trying to get the lapel right – a real struggle, but a good learning experience, and the outfit turned out amazing.   The midnight blue British wool we found was perfect, and it looks “blacker than black” in photos, which is why the colour was a popular choice for formal wear in the 1930s and 40s.   A very special outfit that I will always treasure. 

     Well, that's me done - thanks for your patience while Debi's been away.   She'll be back next week with more of her own posts.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Guest Post: David's Top Ten - Part 1

     Hey, all!
     Debi is traveling on business this week, so she’s asked me to do a guest post.  

     I’ve chosen my top ten favourite outfits; a very difficult task, believe me, as I’ve loved her sewing projects, and delighted in watching how her skills have improved with time, practice, and helpful advice from other sewists.

     I’ll admit to being partial to the 1930s fashions:  I think Debi looks great in them.   I love the 1940s McCall patterns too but I really enjoy the silhouette and drape of the 1930's patterns on her.  Here are the first five of my favourites:

1. The 1939 'Birthday Dress’ (McCall No.3560) 

     Without a doubt, this is my favourite of Debi’s collection.   The simplicity of the lines, the fit, the fabric she chose, and the hairstyle… va-va-va-VOOOM!   I’m a lucky man, oh yes, I am.  

     I particularly like the pleats on the sleeve caps, the stand up collar and the drape of the twelve-gore skirt.   It looks amazing on her, and she knows it.  Meow!

2.  The 1933 'Art Deco Love Dress and Jacket
(Eva Dress reprint of Butterick No.5756)

     A very close second, this was previously my favourite outfit.  Katherine Hepburn wore it in the 1933 RKO film “Christopher Strong.”  

Photos Courtesy RKO Pictures LLC

     I love the way this outfit fits, hugging her waist and hips, then draping away into a full skirt.  The jacket has great details like cutout mutton sleeves that gives the outfit a strikingly bold silhouette.
     I’ve been hoping that Debi will make another one in blue with Grant Tartan for the jacket, to match me in my kilt when we go to a ceilidh or similar event.  The fabric is in the stash now, so it will happen.

(Wearing History‘s “Manhattan Melodrama”)

     Definitely a Valentine’s Day to remember:   Debi was making this dress up until we had to run out for our dinner reservation at The Voodoo Rooms.  I think I may have even had to phone ahead to push it back for half an hour.   It was an amusing start to a wonderful, romantic evening, and she looked ravishing – I felt like the luckiest man in the world (as I often do).   She wore it again for my graduation ball in 2012, looking classically elegant.  This is another one I like enough to see made again in another colour, but the red looks great on her, and was perfect for Valentine's Day.

4. The 1938 'THE Awards Gown'  (McCall No.9777)

     Another fast-paced, up-to-the-last-minute make:  Debi had to leave for London  shortly after the photo on the left was taken, to attend the Times Higher Education Awards Ceremony.  
     I love the colour on Debi, the opalescent pattern (she did an amazing job of matching up the vines), and the silhouette.  
     It’s graceful, powerful, and feminine.   It has just the right amount of slink for a formal occasion, and the bolero is an elegant accompaniment.  The waist is fitted down to the small of her back, where it drapes beautifully down to her ankles.   A eye-catching look for a black tie event.

5. The 1937 'Birthday Dress Suit' (McCall No. 9156)

     This was another great outfit:  The autumnal colours look really nice together and I really liked her choice of buttons and contrasting fabrics.  Again, I love what the 30's lines do with the tailored bust and waist, accentuating the graceful, long curve from her shoulders to the middle of her hips, where the fabric falls away, flaring slightly to mid-calf.  It's a very flattering silhouette.  The hat is pretty awesome as well.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Scotland Sundays: Rosslyn Chapel

One of my favourite chapels in Scotland lies just 40 minutes outside of Edinburgh city centre.  Surrounded by intrigue (home of the holy grail? history of Knights Templar? murder? ghosts?) and recently made famous by a certain novel (which has allowed for some fantastic restoration work), Rosslyn Chapel has it all.

It's one of the most ornately carved chapels, both inside and out.  I love the gargoyles that flank the entrance.  They seem much more ominous in the winter time when the sky is overcast.

I wore my me-made 1940 McCall hooded dress, with my Ness beret and wellies.  It seemed a perfect pop of colour for such a grey day!

Here are some pictures of the inside of the chapel and all the amazing carvings:

The famous 'green man' carving:

Everywhere you look, there is a surprise:

The legend has it that there was a master stonemason who was carving the pillars of the chapel.  He decided to travel abroad to get inspiration and materials, leaving his apprentice in charge.  The apprentice, who was just a wee lad, had a dream about an ornately carved pillar.  When he awoke, he set out to replicate what he saw in his dream resulting in the most talked about set of carvings of the time period.  When the stonemason returned, he became enraged and jealous that his apprentice outshined him and legend has it, he murdered the apprentice in the chapel. 

The apprentice pillar:

Many people believe that the holy grail at one point resided in the chapel and that many other Knights Templar treasures may still exist somewhere within the chapel walls. 

Building on the chapel begun in 1446 and it has remained in the possession of the same family for its entire history (the St. Claire family).

The side of the chapel, with it's beautifully carved window:

There are a few gravestones and memorials in the chapel yard:

Overall, a fabulous (but windy) day, which caught me by surprise more than once! hahahaha

Blowy2 on Make A Gif

Have you been to Rosslyn Chapel?  Do you love mysterious stories from historic monuments?
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