Category Archives: Inspiration

A month of #dresslikeacrayon

It’s has been SO nice to see #dresslikeacrayon resonating and taking off a little bit with other people on Instagram during January. I started it primarily to kick myself into re-sharing outfits and thinking about new sewing plans, so for other people to get on board was a huge bonus. It ended up being incredibly inspiring seeing how other people crayoned; I found a lot of new folk to follow and added a lot of ideas to my sewing list!

I have to give a shout out to some of the most dedicated crayoners in particular: jessiejessyg who I think was the most frequent hashtagger and most dedicated to complete-crayoning with a really eclectic range of outfits. KatieKortmanArt who again really took the theme to heart, especially with bright colours, and invented the crayon box dance! And Charlotte who shared some wonderfully textural outfits as well as a cute armful of crayons.

Personally, the crayoning theme largely achieved what I hoped. I was able to look at my wardrobe with new eyes, combine items that I hadn’t considered before, and come out with quite a clear idea of what I might be lacking in terms of adaptable pieces that my wardrobe would benefit from to unlock a load of new outfit combos. I also learned what I already expected; that since I gravitate towards a fairly constrained palette anyway I had a fair amount of crayoning choice and it definitely often reduced the time it took me to decide what to wear. I also learned that I CAN wear bright(-ish) colours and not feel horribly self-conscious. The red and green crayon outfits were some of my favourites, even if I didn’t feel completely myself in them..

That said, the theme became really difficult to follow the crayoning theme over the last couple of weeks as it got really cold and my only completely full-length pants, and winter boots, are black! So I did end up either defaulting to boring black-crayoning quite a bit or my usual pair-anything-with-black outfit formula. I fully expect to keep crayoning all year round, and I think it will only be easier and more fun in the spring.

What has been added to my sewing plans as a result? Definitely pants in more colours to pair with my collection of sweater and tops. Tan/brown was a really popular colour on the hashtag and I am scouring the world for the perfect shade of corduroy for wide-leg trousers. Likewise I’m fond of the idea of more powder blue, which seems to span a nice area between the logistical difficulties of wearing full-on white and the ubiquitous boringness of denim. And more jumpsuits/overalls! I wear my small collection of all-in-ones so frequently and they are the first thing I turn to on indecisive/nothing-to-wear days. Instantly dressed, layer-able for all weathers, instant crayon.

I have saved just some of the posts from the hashtag into colour-themed Instagram stories which you can explore from my profile, and I highly recommend browsing the hashtag for a dose of colourful crayon inspiration. Thank you so much to everyone who’s taken part, it’s been such a joy to ‘host’ and kick off this fun theme. Keep at it!

Dress like a Crayon

I have a fun little idea for January dressing and sewing plans to get me back into taking photos, identifying potential wardrobe gaps, and trying out different ways to pair up my clothes, as well as brightening up a rather dark month. Dressing like a crayon; that is, wearing the same colour outfit from head to toe.

My theory is this will be a really easy way to not have to think too hard about getting dressed while still looking fairly put-together thanks to the restrained palette. I hang my clothes by colour and tend towards mostly solids in a rather fixed palette these days (green, pink, blue, white and black – that’s pretty much it!), so it will be interesting to see how many whole outfits I can make while wearing just a single hue at a time. In terms of rules, I’m not really imposing any. Any shade of the same colour will do, and if I can include footwear, accessories and outerwear I will do so, but I don’t have a full spectrum of shoes, coats and hats!

I’ll take pics to document my daily outfits on Instagram – though it may not be every day – and other inspiration (all these pics are from my Pinterest board). If you feel like playing along use the tag #dresslikeacrayon on Instagram so I can see your outfit too!

Plans for 2015


Happy new year and all that, chaps. I don’t really like new year time to be honest, and I won’t be doing any sort of 2014 retrospective. But one thing I do like to do is look forward and plan some exciting sewing projects for 2015. I certainly did learn a lot in 2014 across technique, fitting and my personal style so I feel like this’ll be a great year for my stitching. Seemingly like a lot of others, my key plan is to make less, but make it all with increased thought and care.

Unfortunately, I think January and February will pretty much be a no-sew zone for me which isn’t a very good start. Over the next 6-8 weeks I’ve got: building work starting on my sewing room (to make it bigger! yay!); two demanding work contracts; ten days in Barbados; a weekend in Berlin, and my 30th birthday. Phew. So here’s what you might be seeing on here some time around March…

(nb if you can’t see the pins in a feed reader, click to view.)

Jacket (not)January

I was really hoping to crack on and get a Rigel bomber out during Jacket January, but due to the reasons above I don’t think it will get done in time for the sewcial sewalong – I hope it will be done in time for wearing in spring though. I also really want to make Marilla’s Freemantle coat in a black tweed.


I actually kind of need another swimsuit for Barbados, so that’s a high-priority sew. I’ve been tinkering even more with my self-drafted pattern and have got everything I need to give it a go. I may well still make it available for download too, don’t hold me to that though.


I’ve got a pair of Ginger jeans in plum-coloured denim (with baby pink topstitching) half-constructed already, so they need finishing up and I’m excited to see how the fit compares to previous pairs. I’m going to back to basics, closely following Heather’s fantastic instructions and sewalong to try and pick up some tips and hopefully get my best results yet. Hopefully more will follow!


Confession: I have a bit of a weird vendetta against sewing tops. Basically if I have enough yardage of a fabric for a dress, I feel like it’s sort of a waste to make a top instead. Stupid, right? I need to change that way of thought as it’s really too cold for a lot of my dresses at the moment and it’s much easier to layer a top. I wear a few of my favourite me-made woven tops to death so need a few more in a similar vein.


After making the short Turia dungarees for my sister, I rather fancy a dress or long-trousered version for myself. Definitely in something very neutral like a plain black denim so I’m actually inclined to wear them. Oh alright, maybe tiny polka dots.


I’ve been wanting to try sewing bras for a while as I’m fussy with RTW ones and they look so fun to put together. Plus as Lauren mentioned, lingerie is a great way to get to sew obsessively without adding yet more garments to an already-full wardrobe. I think I’ll pick up a kit and pattern and see how it goes.


I’d like to carry on with my self-designing and drafting experiments this year, I find it incredibly satisfying. First up I’m desperate to have a go at knocking off a dress similar to these two beauties, with the darts converted into concentric square pieces. Shouldn’t be too difficult a job and I can probably stash-bust some complementary fabrics.

I want to make use of some of the pretty trimmings I’ve collected so have been saving some fun placement ideas.

And I’m really interested to experiment more in making unique textiles for garments, whether that’s piecing/patchworking, printing or dyeing.


I have two quilts for myself in the pipeline. One, for the bedroom, is half-done and is more abstract with muted shades and lots of linens mixed in – very inspired by the Season Evans one above. I’m also planning a more geometric ‘tumbling blocks’ one for the living room in solid grey and yellows.

Well, I think all of that will keep me busy for a bit :) What do your 2015 sewing plans look like?

Inspired by… A trip to Manchester

I had a lovely weekend just gone visiting my parents in (an unusually) sunny Manchester. We hit one of my favourite fabric shops, checked out the high street then popped to a fashion exhibition at the Art Gallery.

Abakhan, Manchester

Obviously the first port of call was a trip to remnant superstore Abakhan. It looks pretty unassuming from outside, but I think it’d be impossible to come away from here empty handed: a rummage always turns up some goodies. I think surprisingly it’s actually pretty much the only fabric store in central Manchester, so luckily it’s a goodun.

Abakhan, Manchester

In case you haven’t been, one half of the store has racks with fabrics organised by type. It’s especially good for craft cottons (with some especially brilliant/bananas Americana prints), soft spandex jersey prints, viscose dress prints, swim lycra, plain georgettes and coatings. The pieces are generally 1-3 metres, and the staff will usually cut them down for you if you want less. You pay by the weight, which range from £8-12 per kilo. That works out at roughly £2-5 a metre depending on the fabric type.

Abakhan, Manchester
Abakhan, Manchester

The other half has fabrics by the roll – I usually only skim these, they aren’t that exciting – plus there’s an upstairs with notions/haberdashery. AND there are grab bags of zips, elastic and buttons for super cheap (25 zips for 2 quid), great for stash building. Heaven, in other words, and pretty much worth the trip to Mancs alone for the dedicated sewist. They do sell online as well, but not nearly as much range and you miss out on the joy of the rummage.

This time I was pretty focused in my buying (like with Shaukat, it’s good to go in with a plan) and I came away with a very cohesive little set of black/beige/brown prints. These are mostly nice drapey viscose prints with a couple of spandex blend knits. I’m going to have to be careful to not just make a billion camisoles which will only be seasonally appropriate for another month, so perhaps some sleeved tees and dresses are in order. I can’t wait to get sewing. Oh and my bill for this lot, about 8m of fabric – under 25 quid. My mum and my sister also bought fabrics for me to make things for them. Eek!

Afterwards, I was quite inspired by a nose in Urban Outfitters on Market Street. I hardly ever go into high street stores these days (though I still browse for sewspiration online) but it was nice to go and soak up some ideas for how to use my new fabrics. Here are some things that caught my eye.


I’m still into playsuits in a big way, and the neckline cut outs here remind me of the Deer and Doe Datura. *plots pattern mashup*


A slightly grungy button up skirt with lace trim. I did actually buy a dress with trim like this recently because I had some store credit, and I want to make a ton of copies. I think little details like buttons and lace trims help to make me-mades look a bit more rtw, and they don’t take long to do.


A few variations on the cami/babydoll dress. I’m going to self-draft my own dream version – so much scope for fun strap placements and skirt options.


Oversize roll-back sleeve Scout? Yup please.

Manchester art gallery

Finally, we popped to the Manchester Art Gallery, where coincidentally there was a temporary show called Cotton Couture, displaying a range of 1950s garments commissioned by the Cotton Board to promote the area’s cotton production and show its versatility as a fibre.

Manchester art gallery
Manchester art gallery
Manchester art gallery

The aim was to show that cotton can be used for everything from suits to ballgowns, not just the traditional workwear and undergarments. All these samples have an 18″ waist by the way, to fit the models of the time – JEEZ. All in all a lovely trip with plenty of sewing inspiration fuel.

Swimsuit sewing ‘spiration

Maybe it’s the approaching summer, maybe it’s my love of sewing all things stretch, maybe it’s that I’ve just booked my plane ticket to Barbados for next January… but I have swimsuit sewing very much on the mind at the moment.

swim wear

I want to hop on this bandwagon because I’m continually disappointed with the fit and flatter-factor of RTW swimsuits. I usually end up going for a one-piece or (unpleasantly-named) tankini because I don’t like my midsection being out on show but I always feel a bit frumpy in them, so it’d be great to actually make a two-piece that fits and flatters exactly right. Either way I want my dream suit to look cool and modern, probably in a print paired with graphic black panels.

swim fabrics

Luckily for me, Funki Fabrics saw some Twitter chat about my swim plans and jumped in to offer me the fabric for my suit from their amazing selection. I’ve got samples of the above (Prism, Chrome, Space, Feathers, and Lightning) on the way. I also picked up a clasp and some plain black swim lycra for toile-ing this weekend. Any tips for where to look for other notions: lining, cups, elastic?

swim patterns

I still haven’t decided whether to go one or two-piece, or indeed what pattern I’ll use. I’ve ruled out all of the Big 4 (so dated!) and also the most popular indie pattern around, the Closet Case Files Bombshell. Much as the Bombshell looks awesome on others, I have a ruched swimsuit already and don’t like it on me: I think it adds thickness along the torso. The newish Papercut Soma is a definite contender: I think the one-piece’s wrap top would be cool in a print with a plain black lower half. Another option is to look at lingerie patterns. I think the Ohhh Lulu Sophia pattern could be great for bottoms: I’d do the ruched side panels in black with a print centre. Maybe paired with the Ginger or Soma bustier as a top?!

So many options! Any more ideas or swim-tips to throw in for me?