Looking back over the last few posts I can see there's been a whole heap of sewing around here recently but, and I can't quite believe this, our schools break up next week for the Summer and experience tells me it's all about to come to an abrupt end. Just time to slot this one in and maybe one more, with luck.

I found some pretty cotton gauze in a local sewing shop recently and thought it would be ideal for the Model this Summer. But it's really quite lightweight and given the white background, not great for a dress so it's been sitting on the shelf. Also on that shelf has been a copy of Suzanne by French company Citronille. I bought it about 18 months ago but then read about Citronille's sizing being a little off, and it never came out of the packet. But time and time again I've wondered about this cute little pattern and when it suddenly occurred to me that, with these muggy nights, the Model could do with a light nightdress, I thought I'd give Suzanne a whirl and use that single gauze.

It was the quickest little dress I have ever made. And a joy to do as well because its construction is so different from the dresses I'm used to. Despite the instructions being in French, they are accompanied by very concise illustrations. In short, this beautifully drafted pattern works, it all slots together just like a well made jigsaw. The Model is a slender aged 9 and I made a size 8 which fits beautifully. I think a larger size would fall off the shoulders, however, when I make a dress version I'll add some length as this one is just overlocked at the bottom.

I'm quite fired up to make another actually, perhaps in linen with a floral panel at the yoke. Or vertical stripes for the body and sleeves, horizontal for the yoke? Ooh, the possibilities ..

Happy weekend everyone. See you next week!


italian job

As well as recently choosing the country for our summer holiday destination this year, I now have another reason to love Italy.

One of my Iona tunic dresses (here and here) is currently on its way over there after a lady found my website by searching Google for 'Irish linen dresses' and this blog post popped up.

She asked about alternative Irish linens and after a few suggestions, this one was chosen, which is quite possibly my favourite. I just love the purpley/beige colours; subtle, muted, earthy and precisely how I like it.

It just goes to show the importance of a title and wording of your post, especially in that opening paragraph. There is lots of advice out there about keeping SEO operating to maximum efficiency for online shops and this order reinforced the advice tenfold for me. But I've naively never really played the SEO game before .. is it something you ever think about?

Today I'm going to do a mini blitz on the garden where the interminable rain has strengthened those pesky weeds. Then I shall head off to the Model's sports day, which hopefully won't get rained off. Unlike the Boy's, whose school had four attempts before theirs finally happened! What are you up to?


playing shops .. and two winners

Thank you for all your kind words. It never ceases to amaze me that the crafting community is such a supportive place to be, whether it be online or offline.

Despite the fact I knew Saturday's fair was going to be quite small and low key, I was still nervous on the morning because I didn't know what to expect. I told the Husband that I wish I'd already done a mock-up of what my stall should look like but he helpfully said I'd have plenty of time to think about that when I got there. Ho hum ..

But taking someone's money in exchange for putting a handmade part of me into a paper bag is just the best feeling in the world. I know that everything I make I would willingly give a home to myself but, nevertheless, there are still some things that I feel loathe to let go. That day, it was all about cushions and they were flying away. Many of my favourite ones are now gone and I know it sounds dumb but I felt a little sad as I sent them on their way. I got over it pretty quickly, mind!!

My aim was to break even at minimum and take home a lot of experience. But I made quite a haul and when I came home, my tin filled with notes and a couple of cheques, I was positively euphoric. Oh, and I also traded a couple of cushions for a large framed panoramic photograph of the London skyline by this clever guy, who was also there.

I had such a great time, chatting away with other stall holders and the public, too, who showed a lot of interest. I've been cleaned out of business cards and feel that a few more people out there know about me now and that's what it's all about really, isn't it?

Ah, now I did mention a lack of organisation didn't I. I only managed a few little snaps and that was after the stall had been decimated somewhat, plus I had the council bins behind me (thankfully not smelly!) which obviously didn't add much to the visual beauty of the setting. And now that I've done it, I've started the research. Why the heck didn't I do that before? It didn't occur to me because I'm not organised enough!

This bit I did organise though and as promised, the giveaway draw took place over breakfast this morning. It was a joy having two names to find, simply because there was no fighting between the children. They each picked a name out of the breakfast bowl, which thankfully had no milk in, and congratulations go to Kylie and Ana. You, ladies, have just won a Hammam towel each, courtesy of Urbanara. Please let me have your address details and Urbanara will do the necessary.

Have a great week, everyone. I'm just finishing off another dress commission, so I shall tell you more about that next time. And guess what? It is sunny. Hurrah!!


making lists

Well, it has been all systems go here these last few days, I don't know where the time has gone. The Model has been off on a school jolly all week, the boy relishing his time as an only child and, even though the house is markedly quieter, my time has been taken up with several to-dos, some I could have done without quite frankly.

On top of that, my stall-holding initiation is tomorrow and, despite knowing about it for the last month or so, I'm feeling distinctly unprepared. I'm going to look upon this exercise as a learning curve I've decided, being a little unsure of where to set my expectations.

But thanks to your suggestions, I do have labels ready for pricing, tissue paper and stickers for wrapping, baskets at the ready for display purposes. Then there are fabrics to cover my table, some wooden wine cases for a bit of height and storage. Now I know why I was hoarding those! There are lists and lists of other unforgettable things to remember, things that funnily enough escape me just now. And bags. Yes, I nearly forgot about those. Nice brown, paper ones with twisted handles, all eco friendly and fancy they are. Perhaps I'm not so unprepared after all.

I just need some customers now .. and some sunshine to entice them all my way. Oh, and a note to self: Mustn't forget the camera!

Have a super weekend everyone.

Last chance for the giveaway? Click this way.


caitlin dress

Thanks so much for your lovely comments on my wintery purse making. However, despite feeling decidedly chilly and having a need for all things cosy, I'm still dressmaking with Summer in mind.

I've already made similar versions of this dress for the Model, here, here and here and all the while secretly longing for one for myself. It's never a good idea to want to wear your daughter's clothing but it was only a matter of time before I made one up in a 'big girl' size. It's a simple sleeveless shift dress in beautiful, drapey, Irish linen. That explains yet another Irish name, just like the others in my shop. And with its subtle pastel blue background and darker blue and beige stripes running down the length, I'm loving it.

I nearly called this the Napoli dress because I shall be holidaying not so far from Naples this Summer and you can betcha I'll be taking this dress along with me. But 'Caitlin' it is and so it remains true to its provenance. And on the subject of holidays, have you made any plans yet or do you tend to leave it till the last minute .. like we usually do?

Well folks, that's me done for this week, I'm off to get myself ready to meet up with a few bloggy gals. One I already know but the others I've not met before, so I shall let you have all the gossip next week. If you don't hear from me by Tuesday, please send a search party!

Happy weekend, everyone.

Don't forget, you can still enter the Urbanara giveaway, it's right here!


reverting to winter

Oh, well this is just ridiculous. My heating has been back on, clothes are being retrieved from the winter wardrobe and we've brought out blankets to cosy up the bed that was stripped of its high tog duvet only weeks ago.

And as an act of defiance, yesterday I said ya boo to this weather and sewed wool again.

I had put away my vintage wools in favour of lighter, more summery fabrics but what the heck. A touch of vintage lace, a soup├žon of Liberty, an offering of natural dye left from my recent Tank et voila, a couple more purses. These are intended to go to the fair I mentioned a while ago, unless they get snapped up from here first.

Having said all that, as I look out of my window I can see bright, beautiful sunshine .. only my radio presenter tells me it'll be raining by mid afternoon, so talk about different seasons in a day. One good thing though. The hose pipe ban is being lifted tomorrow .. hmm, can't think why that would be now.

Enjoy your day, rain or shine.

Oh, and don't forget to enter my giveaway. See the previous post for that!


urbanara giveaway - NOW CLOSED

Have you had a good week? I do hope so. We Half Term-ed down in Dorset, which was wonderfully relaxing, as ever. My only gripe is we spent too long watching the rain pouring down the window frame (thankfully the right side of it) and wondering whether the Great British Summer has been and gone already. Even now that we're back, I must confess that the heating has come back on again. As per usual, not too many photos were taken but I may sift a couple out and post them later in the week.

I realise it's not so very long since I last had a giveaway but I recently received an email from a lovely lady at Urbanara asking me if I would care to check out their site. I think this is a fantastic shop and I thought perhaps you may think so too. If you've not heard of them before, prepare to be impressed as Urbanara offers high quality homewares at affordable prices. Their products are seriously lovely and most definitely worth a look. Linens and accessories for every room in the house, as well as the garden and the beach and you can read all about them here.

One of my favourite things is their Hammam towel. But to call it a towel is a bit of an understatement. Made of Turkish cotton and looking like something fresh from an upmarket bazaar in Istanbul, you could use this in a multitude of ways - wrap it round as a scarf or across your shoulders as a shawl, lay it along the foot of your bed, throw it over a comfy chair, fashion it as a sarong or cover the sand at the beach. And yes, ok, you could use it as a towel.

Urbanara have very kindly offered a giveaway prize of not one, but two fabulous Alanya Hammam towels and they are currently waiting, all ready to be sent to anywhere in the world that they may be needed. And for those of you who don't win one of these beauties, fear not because if you spend £50 or more, as a reader of this blog you qualify for a £15 discount. Just quote QWERT135 at their checkout.

There is no catch, everyone is welcome and all you need do is leave a comment on this post. Perhaps you could let me know what you think of the Urbanara site for example, or how you would use the Hammam towel. If you put the button (here, or on my side bar) onto your blog, or mention it on facebook/twitter etc, I will enter you as many times as you promote this giveaway. Don't forget to comment for each of these things you do, in case I do the random generator thingy.

Giveaway remains open until midnight GMT on Saturday 23rd June and two winners will be announced on the Monday. What a gift to receive just in time for the holidays.

Good luck everyone.



It's all about the Jubilee in London right now.

It's so uplifting to see the Union Jack bunting festooned in shop windows and outside in the street. Large UJ flags hanging from windows. UJ packaging in the shops. Even the schools are getting in on the act. Both the children are involved in street parties today, oh to be a fly on the wall, and it is 'home clothes' day. For the Model it is all about the red, white and the blue, so I made a quick dress for her to wear. It was very simple, just a front and two halves at the back. No additional sleeves but a little trim at the neckline and a button loop at the back. I didn't want to make too much effort as I don't see her wearing this much but all the same, I'm hoping she'll wear it when we go to the Olympic Games this summer; waving her flag as she cheers on .... oh wouldn't it good if it were team GB?

And that lovely boyo of mine? British fiction it is for him and his mates. Britain's finest ..


Happy Jubilee weekend x