Sew not buy project #6

So here is my May make, if a little delayed! June and July will follow shortly! This make was to wear for a vintage soirée held at the Bakewell baking festival. My husband had bought me a fantastic dress kit from cloth kits, including some stunning fabric. I was too scared to make the initial dress with the fabric it came with and so raided my stash and decided to use some black and white spotty fabric that I had bought from Abakhan ages ago.

With being so busy before the festival I had contemplated buying a dress, however I really did want to stick to my sew not buy pledge. I still think it looked great, even if I rushed some bits of it. I definitely know the bits that I need to work on when I come to make the next dress.


The instructions that came with the pattern were extremely easy to follow. The pattern is designed for those at an intermediate level. I wouldn’t quite say I’m that advanced, however there were parts where it just said ‘insert zip’ or ‘princess seams’ and you would need to know what to do. However a bit of googling and I was sorted! I love the fit and style of the dress and can see it might become a wardrobe staple. It would look fantastic with a little petticoat underneath to flare out the skirt a little.

The soirée was held at the start of the baking festival and was to raise money for Helens trust. There were nibbles, cocktails in teapots and fantastic music from Vintage 78 djs.


It was a fantastic night and a great way to raise money for the charity.

Pattern: free as was a present
Fabric: approx £6 (not too sure as had it that long!) plus £1.20 for zip. Interfacing for neckline used from stash.

Sarah x

Great British Bake Off – dessert week

I decided this week I would go for making something the bakers made, plus something I’ve always wanted to make – creme brûlée. I didn’t quite have the right dishes to do this, I think they were a bit big and too deep, but still I thought it would be a good challenge!

The making of the mixture is fairly straight forward. I followed a BBC good food recipe and opted to just do a standard/plain creme brûlée instead of doing anything more fancy like the bakers did. After watching the programme I was terrified I would end up with sweet scrambled eggs! I tentatively watched the clock and after 30 minutes I did the wobble test, putting them back in for another 2 minutes as there was certainly too much wobble. At 32 minutes they came out, I’m not quite sure what made me make that decision, but out they came and went quickly into the fridge. After they had cooled I then sprinkled the sugar on the top. I went for the traditional method and stuck them under the grill (Mary Berry would be pleased!). I think this was the most trickiest bit as the sugar didn’t seem to get a lovely glaze on it and just looked burnt!


Now for the taste test…was there going to be scrambled egg?!


Definitely no scrambled egg, in fact they were runny under the top bit that was set. They still tasted lovely – nice and creamy with a good vanilla taste.

I have to say I don’t think I would make these again, too much that’s unpredictable! Think I’ll stick with them as dessert in a restaurant!

Sarah x

An interview with Radio 4

Last week I got an exciting text from Katie who is the president of my WI group, asking me if I wanted to be interviewed by radio 4 for a feature on baking, how could I say no?! They were wanting to do a feature on the cost of baking and whether baking a cake at home is any cheaper than buying shop bought. In line with the first episode of the Great British Bake Off, they asked me to bake a black forrest gateau and we would then compare it with a shop bought cake as part of the interview. Continue reading

Sew not buy project #5 -August

After a break from sewing for a month or so (lovely holidays have got in the way!) I knew I needed to get back to my sew not buy projects. My WI group for August were holding a swap shop where you bring along up to 5 items of clothing and then you get to exchange them for other items people have brought that you may like. At each meeting there’s always a competition too, this month it was to come in a charity shop outfit. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to buy something from the charity shop and modify it. I had a few ideas already that I thought I could try, so I bought a pair of jeans and I also got a long sleeved black top and a really colourful girls dress.  Continue reading

Sew not buy progress

So…I’ve failed miserably at doing my May and June projects. I go on holiday in a weeks time and I’d hoped to have finished 2 more items of clothing, however I really just haven’t had the time. Since finishing my first year of my masters degree, I really thought I’d have more time, but lots of other things have got in the way, resulting in very little sewing time. However I’m not deterred and look forward to returning from holiday and getting back to my sewing machine.


I plan on taking a few crochet projects away with me and have managed to finish a few projects recently. I’m planning on making more of these baskets to sell at this years WI tea and tents camping weekend, so I’ve got a massive bag of yarn to take away with me!

Sarah x

Sew not buy project #3 – March

My third sew not buy project was to be the easy sew short skirt from the 2nd Great British Sewing Bee book. This is a very basic pattern with an elastic waistband. I’ve had the fabric that I wanted to use for a while, a quirky print of tape measures in oranges, browns and creams. I haven’t tried any of the other patterns from the book and this one didn’t even require a pattern, just some basic measurements. However this was where this simple project started to go wrong – the diagram and the measurements weren’t right.
Continue reading

Sew not buy project #2 – February

After the success of my first project, I was keen to make another item from the Tilly and the buttons Coco pattern. I had been browsing Louise’s blog and saw she had bought some warm Jersey from White Tree fabrics. They had a good selection of colours and even a discount code for using whilst The sewing bee is on! I went for a colour that looked like a petrol blue, but was quite tempted by the purple one too. In hindsight I think if I was to order again I would use their sample service. It’s always better to feel the fabric and see the colours before buying. Continue reading