Friday, 27 December 2013

Wrapping up 2013

As the year draws to a close it's only natural to look back and reflect. I have very mixed feelings about this year, I withdrew a bit from all my online social activities and gave in to my need for a little solitude. As good as the quiet has been, at times it also made me feel like I missed (out on) a lot.
I have started way more projects than I finished, I've shared less than what I made, I still have quite a few belated bee blocks to finish (oh the shame!) I did not finish a single quilt but my wardrobe is starting to look better and better. I think that all the while what I've really been working on was creating  more space. Removing the clutter, in my brain in my home, in my sewing, in my parenting. More space to grow, more space to create, more space to just be. It's been a bit of an intangible subject for me to share as most of it happens beneath the surface.

Anyway that was 2013, no predictions or resolutions for the new year as I tend not to stick to them anyway ;) Just out with the old and in with the new, isn't that what the new year is all about?

Wishing you all a very happy and creative New Year!

x Leila

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Blair Batwing

I am sure most of you have already stumbled upon Named patterns by now. The fresh clean designs are beautiful and modern - I love them! The patterns come in PDF format (I'm a fan) but unlike most indie PDF sewing patterns you will have to trace the pattern pieces yourself. I did not mind this so much as for the top you only need three pattern pieces and it was still quick and easy to go from printing the pattern to cutting the top. I also appreciate saving some paper and ink by not having to print out a ton of pages.

Blair Batwing Named

I opted for a slinky knit blend to make my Blair Batwing top because the colour and drape are lovely (not sure what sort of jersey it is exactly but it has considerable shine so I bet it contains some lycra?)  I knew it would slip and slide all over the place and would be a little frustrating to deal with but I didn't expect it would be near impossible to press the fabric properly - yikes! This made an otherwise simple and quick top to sew a little more challenging to deal with.

Blair Batwing Named

Lots and lots of pins and patience got me through in the end ;)
I think I mentioned this before but when working with slippery knits I like to cut on the carpet rather than on a table this helps with sliding somewhat and makes it easier to cut accurately.
If the garment keeps sliding off my ironing board I will pin it on and move the pins as I am pressing.
As for pressing fabrics that don't want to be pressed, I have little advice to offer. Use a pressing cloth, use the lowest setting on the iron, use your fingers, use lots of pins, keep fingers crossed and try your best not to ruin the fabric!

In the end I am glad I did not opt for a more stable jersey knit as I think the drape of this fabric really makes the oversized rather boxy shape of the Blair Batwing work for me. Plus it's super soft and comfy to wear which is always a good thing if you ask me!

x Leila

Monday, 21 October 2013

Good times

I have a few winners to announce for the Patchwork Please sew along but before I do I wanted to share some happy news.
This weekend my dear brother married his childhood sweetheart. They have one of those rare loves that was always meant to be. They grew up together, fell in love in their early teens and haven't stopped falling in love ever since. All the more reason to celebrate their love with a beautiful wedding :)

One of the things I loved is that they pulled together all their friends and relatives to help them design the entire event. Everything from the invitations, wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses to the flower arrangements, cake, menus...well too much to mention really! It was all done with so much love and care it was simply spectacular!
It was a perfect wedding my heart still overflows with love for you both! xxx

My brother and his wife back when they were five years old.

ring cushion
I made this felt flower ring bearer cushion for them.

On to the winners of the Zakka Sew Along.
First winner receives a mini fabric bundle and stickers from Form and Fabric as well as an Aurifil sample pack


Next three winners will receive an Aurifil sample pack.

And the winner of the Pellon charm pack is:
Congratulations to all of the lucky winners! Please email me your postal address so I can send your goodies to you :)

x Leila

Monday, 7 October 2013

Zakka Sew Along - Prettified Pincushion

It's the final stop on the Zakka Sew Along, did you enjoy it?

Being last in line means there isn't much more left for me to say about Ayumi's beautiful book that hasn't already been said before. I truly love it! The projects are as cute as can be which is to be expected from Ayumi. And the instructions are so nicely written, it really makes me feel like she's right there with me. If you have not got yourself a copy yet you really should!

I had the pleasure of sewing the prettified pincushion. A perfectly fun little project just right for when you need a quick sewing fix. I love small sewing projects for the instant gratification of going from start to finish in just a few hours.

Prettified Pincushion

The pincushion is great for showcasing a few of your treasured scraps. It has just the right amount of challenge to it in trying to make those corners nice and neat and matching up the small paper pieced patchwork top which makes it a lot of fun to sew.

So last chances to win some great prizes from the sew along sponsors: Aurifil, Form & Fabric, Pellon and Pink Chalk Fabrics.

give away prizes

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one of four prizes.
  • First winner will win a small fabric bundle and stickers from Form & Fabric and an Aurifil thread sample pack.
  • Three more lucky winners will win an Aurifil sample pack.
These prizes are available for EU entries only.

  • If you are located in the US you can leave a comment on this post to win a charm pack offered by Pellon.

To enter please leave a comment on this post. Make sure there is a way for me to contact you should you win.
The winners will be drawn randomly and announced Monday 21st of October 2013.

But that's not all

Please head on over to A Quilter's Table to link up your finished projects. You'll have a chance to win a $25 fabric bundle from Form & Fabric and a $20 Gift certificate from Pink Chalk fabrics!

I hope you enjoyed the sew along!

With the new Flickr format I'm finding it a lot more difficult to keep up with these kind of group activities I feel like I missed quite a few projects because I just couldn't be bothered to try and navigate my way through the 'black hole'. It used to be so simple, why did they have to change it.
Thankfully there's Instagram and Pinterest or else I'd be lost!

x Leila

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Victoria blazer

What can I say, I absolutely love everything about my latest make!
For a while I had been shopping for just the right casual blazer without any luck, so when I stumbled upon the Victoria blazer pattern from By hand London I thought I'd try to sew one myself.

victoria 1.1

I've always been a bit daunted by the prospect of sewing a blazer because it's one of the more advanced garments to sew. But the Victoria blazer is so cleverly designed that construction is surprisingly easy!
I love how well it fits where it matters around the shoulders and arms, the sleeves are perfection and I adore the cuffs. This is such an easy to wear jacket I can see many more versions in my future!

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Pattern: Victoria Blazer from By Hand London
Fabric: Black suiting with small pin dots and black voile lining both bought local.
Size: 10 UK
Alterations: none

x Leila

Monday, 26 August 2013


Today you're eight years old.
You are growing up to be a bright young boy and I am so very proud of you.
You have a kind and generous heart and a talent for making others around you laugh.
You're smart, stubborn and an excellent dancer.
You still do not like kisses but you tell me you love me often which never fails to make my heart skip a beat :)
I am so immensely thankful that I get to be your mum.

Happy Birthday sweet Hunter!!

I love you more than rock & roll,

xxx mum

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Vogue 8870

I made a dress and I'm not sure if I like it! One minute I do, the next I'm a bit 'meh' about it.

Vogue 8870

I haven't quite figured out where my ambiguous feelings come from exactly because I like the fabric, and I like the style of the dress, and I do think it suits me. Perhaps it's the combination of fabric and  style that makes me wonder how often I'll wear it. Or it could be the lack of proper accesories. It needs a belt and I don't have one that goes well with it. Could it be the length, would it be better without the dropped hem? I'm tempted to chop the back off and make it all one length... Let me know if you have any thoughts on this!

Vogue 8870

Anyway, it was a pretty easy dress to sew which is what I expected from a pattern classed as 'easy'. It has a mock wrap front, raglan cap sleeves, an elastic waist, side seam pockets and a dropped hem. I found this silky soft viscose satin at our local fabric market. Not exactly the easiest fabric to sew with but I've had a little practice and it's worth the extra trouble. You should feel how soft it is!

Here's a few tips on sewing with slippery fabrics:
  • I cut everything on the rug in the living room rather than on the table so the fabric can't slip and slide underneath the pattern pieces. Pattern weights come in handy too, they don't have to be proper pattern weights either I tend to use whatever is in reach. Remote controls and toys work just fine ;)
  • Use sharp thin pins for pinning, this is not the type of fabric you want to use your flowerhead pins on!
  • Use a new microtex needle for sewing I prefer a size 60/8 -70/10. These needles are sharp and thin and leave minimal marks which is good in case you need to unpick a seam.
  • When pressing the fabric I often pin it to my ironing board to help hold it in place. I find this especially helpful when ironing the bottom hem for instance when the dress is constantly sliding off the ironing board.
  • Be sure to test a scrap of fabric to see how hot you can press it and to check if marks left from pinning and sewing remain visible after pressing.
  • I didn't bother with fancy pretty seam finishes. Besides being slippery this fabric frays a lot so I tried to handle it as little as possible and used my overlocker to finish all raw edges.
  • I've read starch can help stabilise the fabric but I did not use it myself so I have no thoughts on it other than I believe it should work. :)

Vogue 8870

Dress pattern: Vogue 8870
Fabric: Viscose satin
Thread: Gutterman all purpose thread
Needle: Microtex size 60/8

x Leila

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

On blogging

In my last class at retreat John talked with us about blogging which really got me thinking. You may have noticed the decline in blogposts from me this year and I have been wanting to do a post about it but I just wasn't able to find my voice. I think I've got it now though :)
John had a list for us of blogging do's and dont's and covered some of the pitfalls in blogging, some of which I think I fell into head first!

When I started this blog it was so I could share my passion for all things fabric and patchwork and to reach out to like minded people. Somewhere along the line however I found myself stuck with deadlines I didn't want, worrying about living up to expectations that may have only existed in my mind, working on projects that could not be revealed yet and grasping at straws what to blog about, thinking 'I must sew so I can blog!' This is completely backwards of course. 

Prepping to make the first cut. This fabric is so slippery! Wish me luck

And then there's the matter of keeping up with the Joneses. The virtual world makes it seem like the grass is always greener on the other side. They all have the perfect homes, perfect lives, perfect fabrics, finishing up one quilt a week etc. I am well aware that things aren't always what they seem but it still makes me feel bad sometimes when I'm sitting here knee deep in toys and laundry in a house in desperate need of a spruce (at the least), attempting to 'have a life' or whatever that means, and most of all trying my stinkin' best to do the single mum thing which is messy and downright sucks some days. 
Blogging through the lows can be an amazing outlet for some people, for me however it's not. I go silent. I suppose it's because I'm an introvert by nature. But it's also a matter of wanting to keep this a positive space and not airing out my dirty laundry on this big anonymous world wide web.

Vogue dress in progress

So for a while there I lost my desire to sew - like completely gone. This would not be a first for me. I have been passionate about many things in the past that I now have no desire to pursue. This time round though I found a slight change in direction from patchwork to dressmaking did the trick. Tracing back to where my love for sewing first began now fuelled by a desire to one day be able to sew a wardrobe of clothes that are just perfect for me. 

ignoring the vacuum cleaner

This is where I'm at now; sewing a dress and ignoring the vacuum cleaner I placed in the middle of the room so I would use it! Enjoying our summer holiday while it lasts. Allowing that little man to drive me up the wall and instantly forgetting it all when he smiles at me.  

How are you doing with this blogging thing? Do you feel the pressure, do you sew to blog sometimes, do you hop from one craft to the next, ideas, thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!

x Leila

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Fat Quarterly Retreat London 2013

I'm finally back home and feeling somewhat like myself again. I've been travelling and holidaying for nearly a month and it was absolutely wonderful, so it feels strange to be back to normal again.
Last stop on my trip was Fat Quarterly Retreat London.

I forgot to pack quite a few essentials amongst which my camera so I'm stealing borrowing a few photos from others for this post. Please see links below for the original source of the photos, I asked for permission but got impatient so I went ahead and used them ;)

My classes were all fantastic, I took embroidery with John, Touchdraw with Lynne, Portholes with Lu and ended with John again in his blog design class that wasn't about blog design at all ;)
They were all wonderful teachers and left me feeling very inspired to sew, embroider, design and blog.

One of the highlights for me this year was the Liberty talk I was lucky enough to attend on the Friday morning. It was just wonderful to see how these beautiful prints are made and learn a bit more about the history of Liberty.

The good thing about delayed flights and long train rides is you can get lots of embroidery done! Home now :) #fqlondon embroidery class by @j_q_adams pattern by @alisonglass
John provided us with some excellent embroidery patterns this one is by Alison Glass

In between classes there was plenty of time for socialising. Having been to retreat last year I found this a little easier but still slightly daunting. There are just so many people! I'm not overly shy but I worry about imposing so butting in when people already seem to be grouped together and chatting isn't the easiest thing for me to do. It was exciting to reunite with some old friends from last year and make a few new ones.
Getting to meet your online friends in real life is truly the best part about retreat!


And then there were fabrics of course and tons of pretty bags, dresses, quilts etc. from so many talented people. There were goodie bags, swaps, a pub quiz and quilt market. The Baden Powell House was positively buzzing with creativity. For someone like me who is used to being home alone with the kiddo, it was soooo much to process!
It was exciting, exhausting and overwhelming all at once.

Goodie bag
Goodie bag and some of it's contents

Then quite suddenly it was time to say goodbye and catch the tube with my new friend Rachel. Once she had reached her stop and we said our goodbyes it hit me that it was really all over :(
Well that is until next year of course!

x Leila

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Liberty Stile Sunglasses Case and Passport Cover tutorial

I am over on the Liberty Lifestyle blog today sharing tutorials for two summer projects using their latest fabric collection; Stile.
I made a sunglasses case and a passport cover, both come in super handy for going on summer outings or a holiday.

Head on over there to get the full details on these projects.

I hope you like them!

x Leila

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


So the word is that Google Reader is on it's way out and we should all switch to something else. I'm really not great with these things so I just did what I saw most other bloggers do and claimed my blog at Bloglovin'

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I've also added the cute widget to my sidebar, so if you'd like to click on the link and follow me :)

Leila x

Monday, 17 June 2013

Fortune Cookie Clutch

How was your weekend?
I finally got round to making a Fortune Cookie Clutch. I've had the frame for about a year now it's shameful really! 
Fortune Cookie Clutch

You can get all you need to make this cute little purse at U-handbag
I dug into my scrap pile and cut a bunch of 1.5" squares for the main body, paired with my favourite Essex Yarn dyed linen.

Fortune Cookie Clutch

No matter how hard I try not to I always end up with glue everywhere trying to insert the pouch into the frame! Some of it ended up on the fabric unfortunately, I'm hoping I'll manage to tidy it up somehow. I was wondering if nail polish remover would work...but then I'm worried I might damage the fabric- any ideas?

Fortune Cookie Clutch

The phone charm was another sweet gift from Kerry.  I have an old crappy phone unworthy of such a cutie so I thought it was better suited here. It's a little bear sitting in front of his house eating from a bowl, so cute!

In other news the first glimpse of our book popped up, I'm sooo excited my umbrella block even made it to the cover! It will be a while before it's out yet but at least I can share this little preview now :) 

x Leila

Friday, 14 June 2013

Theresa Dress

With only two weeks left before our summer holidays start I'm in a frenzy to whip up some new clothes. I will be away for the entire month of July and want some handmade garments to wear to Fat Quarterly retreat. Wasting no time I plunged myself right into the Theresa dress.

I know it's not modest or anything but this is the best dress I have ever sewn! I'm actually quite proud of myself.

Theresa Dress

It is such a flirty and feminine dress with it's twirly skirt and fitted bodice, I simply love it. The pattern is available for download on the BurdaStyle website. I love being able to download a pattern and get started straightaway. The instructions that come along with the pattern however...well let's just say they could be better ;)

I panicked a little at first, I had this beautiful Liberty lawn that I for sure did not want to mess up. I could not remember the last time I had sewn an invisible zipper (if ever I still don't know!) The construction of the yoke had me puzzled. I wasn't feeling overly confident I could knock this one out.

Theresa Dress

I took my time with it but did not have to make any major adjustments to the fit of the pattern. Which was a big plus as I think I may have chickened out otherwise. I did have to take out the yoke and the armbinding as the yoke was wavy and the binding gaped. I am glad I went back to fix them as they look much nicer now.
Like I said I can not remember if I had ever sewn an invisible zipper before, I had to rush out to go buy a foot for my machine so if I had it was a loooong time ago. It was easy enough really I had no problems with it.  I found this tutorial to be very helpful.

Theresa Dress

Did I mention I love this dress? It's been far too long since I spun around in my new dress :)

x Leila

Monday, 10 June 2013

Datura #2

If I like something I usually can't stop at just one so I made another Datura top. This one was made with beautiful Liberty lawn a sweet gift from Kerry.

#widrn prepping a second Datura listening to Laura Marling's latest.So good!

The construction was as straight forward as can be, no alterations no mistakes my seam ripper was starting to feel sadly rejected ;)

Datura Liberty

I should have taken pictures of me wearing it of course but I was really not in the mood to be in any photos today so it's on the hanger instead.

Datura liberty back

I don't particularly enjoy sewing buttonholes and since there is no real need for them I sewed the buttons straight onto the placket. I really like the way the back of this top is designed, all too often patterns have a lot going on in the front with very little attention to the back.

More dressmaking has ensued I'm making the Theresa dress next. I'm excited about this one if my quick toile is anything to go by I think it will be a cute fun summer dress!

Oh, and the CD in the first photo is Laura Marling's latest album I've been listening to it non stop, I'm in love!  Have a listen if you like :)

x Leila

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Excuse me while I interrupt your sewing for this quick reminder, I'll be on Creative Mojo tonight! (or this afternoon depending on where you are in the world)
Nessa has some fun guests lined up so I think it will be worth the listen. Me, I'm just hoping I will not stumble over my words too much!
That was all, you can carry on sewing ;)

x Leila

Monday, 27 May 2013


I hope you all had a lovely weekend!
I managed some selfish sewing and made the Datura blouse a pattern by Deer & Doe.


I used black voile for the main body of the top, it looks like black is sold out but there are some other lovely plain voiles. I'm not sure if it is from free spirit but it has the same soft silky feel as Anna Maria Horner's voiles. I paired the voile up with some black lace that caught my eye at our local fabric market.


The lace has some stretch to it which made it a little tricky to sew on the front yoke since it's underlined with slippery voile. I messed up a little there as some of the lace got stuck in a seam where it wasn't supposed to. In the end I managed to fix it but there were a few intense moments with my seam ripper!

I made a size 38 which I think is a good fit, no alterations. The pattern is printed on nice sturdy paper with three different options for the neckline ( I chose the most simple version) It  comes with two instruction booklets in both French and English. There are diagrams but the written instructions are rather limited. I'd say some previous dressmaking experience is required for Deer & Doe patterns.

It is proving to be the coldest spring ever so I'm not sure if I will actually get to wear this top at all! But I have it, just in case the sun decides to shine ;)

x Leila

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Vin Rouge and Creative Mojo

In Ringo Pie Charise chose Paris as the theme for her month. I figured no trip to Paris would be complete without a nice big glass of 'vin rouge'.
One glass full, one glass half empty you take your pick ;)

Vin Rouge

I even found a piece of Suzuko Koseki fabric to use for the label listing different wines in French, I'm pretty pleased with that!
I started off with a dark green for the bottle for a more realistic look but I was having the hardest time trying to pair it up with other fabrics. Nothing in my stash seemed to work with it, at best it looked rather masculine.  So I had to opt for the easier solution and use white for the glass.
It really isn't an easy colour to use, bottle green what would you pair it with, blue? orange

vin rouge detail

Anyway, it always feels good to be able to check another belated bee block off the list!

In other news I'm going to be live on the Creative Mojo podcast tonight - eek! I'm pretty nervous about it but I'm just being silly that way. I'm sure it will be lots of fun! So if you fancy listening in come join me at Creative Mojo tonight\ this afternoon. I'm on around 4pm Eastern, that's 10 PM here and 9PM in the UK, that's all the time zones I know I'm afraid ;)

* edit to add: due to technical difficulties I didn't get to chat with Nessa on Creative Mojo, my interview has been rescheduled for next week.

x Leila

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Staple Dress

What do you do in the hours before you leave on holiday?
Me? well I whip up a new dress of course ;) 
The pattern is the Staple Dress by April Rhodes which is available for instant download on her website. It was the perfect thing to sew in the few hours I had left between packing up my last few things and leaving for the airport. I love it, it's quick, stylish and super comfy to wear on the plane!

Staple Dress

Apart from lowering the neckline slightly I made no alterations to the pattern.
I used a jersey knit fabric which I can highly recommend it makes for such an easy to wear dress. I made the drop hem version with pockets but omitted the shirred waistline. Since I'll only be wearing this with a belt I felt it wasn't necessary plus I was in a bit of a rush ;)

My holiday was lovely and we have a few more days left before school starts again. All I need to decide now is if I'll be good and get behind the machine for some serious sewing or if I'll go out and play in the sun some more... with my new dress on I don't think it's much of a choice now is it!

x Leila

Monday, 22 April 2013

Books and patchwork

My weekend was all about the books and patchwork.
I listened to the audio version of this amazingly brilliant book whilst sewing some more hexagon flowers for what one day will be a quilt- really it will! ;)
My weekend

I received Ayumi's book Patchwork Please in anticipation of the Zakka Sew Along.  Notice the sponsor goodies, I will be sharing these with you soon! I love Ayumi and everything she does so I knew I would love her book, and I do! Her projects are SO cute!  I started putting sticky notes on all the ones I want to make but soon had to stop as bookmarking each page seemed a bit silly.

patchwork please

 I left the comfort of my couch and audio book for a little while to sew this block from Patchwork 163. It is a tricky block with lots of Y seams. I must admit it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped.

Patchwork 163

I've gone blind to the good parts and can only see the faults, those uneven edges with not enough seam allowance - ouch. Oh well, I'm not in love with my work but the block is definitely pretty and worth another attempt some day.

163 block

It will have to wait though I have one more chapter to finish listening to before I'm ready to leave my couch yet :)

x Leila

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Lately I haven't been very good at finishing anything I start.  I am keeping myself busy but have nothing to show for it in the end which leaves me with very little to blog about. It's one of those things I suppose, it happens to me now and then. I'm never quite sure if it's too many ideas or a lack of ideas that are inspired enough to actually stick.
My sewing room is filled with half sewn blocks, sketches and stacks of fabrics. Quilt blocks on piles waiting to be made into something, lots of projects in various states of 'unfinishedness'

For a while I sewed endless rows of scrap squares together just to go through the motions of creating something without actually making something (does that make any sense?!) It helps clear my head so fresh ideas will emerge.

As for finishes, I sewed two more Schoenrock Cross blocks which brings the total up to ten. Far from a quilt top yet but I still love them!

Schoenrock Cross

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend!
Ours was cold with icy winds and even some snow, but there was some sunshine as well and an endless supply of chocolate eggs to see us through :)

x Leila