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Is craftiness inherited?

Earlier this week I attended the funeral of my Great Auntie Margaret - a lovely celebration of her 96 years on this earth.  Margaret was my grandpa's sister and she is the one person in the family I am compared to the most. I had lots of good parties with her over the years and loved going to her house to visit her and Uncle Cyril. We would eat cakes, listen to stories and hear her play the organ or laugh infectiously. In recent years she would be sat in her lounge with toy meerkats, other fun ornaments and a garden full of gnomes - watching Big Brother on the I pad or learning about something new across the world. ...

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Becoming a guest designer on Sewing Quarter

Hi everyone,  I think it is fair to say I have been neglecting this blog.  It began to feel scary, like a long overdue library book that you are too ashamed to take back.  The simple fact is that I have been all carried away with my other social media - easy to post from my phone and to share in seconds.  However, this blog is important to me.  When I read back over the past few years it is the best record I have of my creative and business journey.  It has helped me to record experiences, and the important and inspirational people I have met.  It is a way to connect with an audience of like-minded people and...

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A statement summer dress in Silhouette by Alison Glass

Alison Glass is a fabric designer I love.  Her fabrics are bold, colourful and I have had a lot of pleasure from working with them in the past few years.  Handcrafted was my choice for this Improv Quilt I made in 2016.  It is a collection of Indonesian batiks - very modern and fresh.  I have also sewn up a storage basket with her Indigo handcrafted, and Kay made this cushion by Jeli Quilts recently for the studio.  I met Alison and the Andover team at Quilt Market in May in St Louis.  Her booth was a little heavenly corner of everything I would like in my life. The most exciting range for me was definitely the Silhouette collection, just...

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The Big Stitch Campaign: How I made an evening dress from a curtain

My studio has over 50 lovely sewists passing through each month and many hours are spent stroking fabric and getting over excited about new projects in like-minded company. Occasionally we do some work. Grace came in a few months ago with a vintage curtain and I literally jumped up and down when I saw it.  The design had bold fruit in gorgeous colours, surrounded by a vine in turquoise. It reminded me of Marimekko fabric and Josef Frank all rolled into one. I helped Grace to construct a simple shirft dress with it and she took it away to finish. A few weeks later, Grace came back with the other half of the pair of curtains and gifted it to...

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Girl with a Sewing Machine book review by Jenni Smith

  Girl With a Sewing Machine is a craft book with genuine soul and one of the nicest dressmaking titles I have read in quite a while. The reason it resonates is because Jenni is a down to earth person who truly wants to get people over that initial fear of making their own clothes. It is a much bigger step than some might imagine and it makes perfect sense to get cracking with old clothes or charity shop finds and to upcycle them. Looking back this is was I was doing from about the age of 9 with my best friend Laura – creating garments from our dressing up box, letting my imagination run wild and then enjoying the...

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