Heather Heather 

The summer break from school, combined with the first signs of autumn and a couple of newly acquired patterns, means I’ve recently sewn up several garments. Two have been photographed, two are finished and ready for photos and another is cut out so I can begin sewing it up. I’ll be blogging them in no particular order.

I bought the Sew Over It Heather PDF when there was a 30% off sale, and unusually for me got it printed, taped and cut out quickly. This is actually my second Heather, but the first to be blog ready.


It has huge pockets which make it a cosy make – but may mean the fit looks a little odd on some of the photos! 

I added 3 inches to the length of this one, and went for the three quarter sleeves, a length I really like, especially for when the weather is chilly but not properly cold. 

The sleeves seem to go in so easily on this pattern, though I may nip a tiny bit more out of the neckband next time ~ I feel like a little excess fabric can make it appear a little square on this version. I used a lilac/grey (heather, if you will!) jersey that I think I may have bought at Sew Up North last year. Sewing with jersey (successfully) is still a huge novelty for me, so I’m really pleased with how this turned out.


I cut out a size 12 but kept the seam allowances to 1cm. I used the overlock stitch on my sewing machine to finish all of the seams, and am really happy with how neat this made the insides. 


I’ve already worn this dress a few times – it just seems so easy to throw on, and perfect for the current climate. I already have a third Heather cut out and fabric on standby for a fourth. These photos were taken in Sheffield, during a visit to a pub for a lovely lunch with my mum and dad – thanks Mum for taking the pics! 

The Doris Dress

Hello! My first post in a very long time, and uncharacteristically I’m blogging about a garment I’ve made this week – wonders will never cease. 

Let’s cut to the chase. The pattern is the Sew Over It Doris Dress, which I purchased last year as a PDF. I printed and assembled the pattern a while ago – somewhere between 3 and 6 months. I knew I would need to use a wide cotton fabric, due to the skirt having seven panels, and pretty much dating back to when I cut out the PDF, I knew I wanted to use this pretty floral fabric. It was not expensive, bought as part of a batch from The Textile Centre. The listing said it was ex-Zara and when it arrived I was pleased with the appearance and quality, as well as the delicate muted colours. 

I chose to make the view with the tie back, in the longer length. This is still fairly short on me but a nice length for a summer dress. 

As it’s half term I’ve just returned from a night away with my mum in sunny Scarborough. It was the first time either of us had visited since we went on a day out with my mum’s work ~ almost 20 years ago! We stayed at North Bay and didn’t stray too far from our accommodation but found Scarborough to be lovely, and the perfect place to get a few photos for this post. 

I’m happy with how this dress has turned out. I took my time with it, and it probably took me around 8 hours in total. I’m pleased with the fit – I cut the pattern out as a 14 which actually fits me fairly perfectly on the bodice. I don’t love the finish of the sleeves; just a double turned hem, but apart from that I think I would remake with very few adjustments. 

It’s ages since I made anything with buttonholes and buttons but they went pretty well using my machine. I used some buttons from my stash, after canvassing IG for opinions on which matched nicely. On bank holiday Monday I made a quick sleeveless top, and my next dress is already cut out and partially sewn. Who knows, perhaps I’ll get photos AND write another post soon! Perhaps..

Trails v Treadmill

I’ve been planning on writing this post for a little while, and as it’s half term plus I’ve just finished reading Born to Run, now seems to be the ideal time. I toyed with the title Trails Trump Treadmill, but, despite my love of alliteration, the risk of being associated with anything Donald caused me to adjust. 

When I had completed, then blogged about my half marathon, I wondered where to go next with running. As the short days at the end of the year approached, I knew I needed to find a purpose to running to keep me motivated. With the pressure of the half behind me, I realised I could enjoy my runs more, and tailor them to be what or how I wanted. It would be ok to deviate from a structured training plan and run when and where I fancied. I could even pause to admire the scenery and take a quick photo on my phone. 

When it’s cold and dark, early or late, some people choose to run on a treadmill. Now, I remember my last visit to a gym. It was 2003, and for a few weeks I tried to persuade myself that I could be someone who went to the gym. I already knew that I would never be someone who enjoyed going to the gym. Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake alternated on the music channel. I’d complete a circuit of about four machines, including the treadmill, then trudge home. As I was a student I went during the day so the gym was fairly quiet, but I hated it. So dull, repetitive, monotonous. Yes I burned calories, I probably even lost a bit of weight but, looking back, it wasn’t worth it. It was something to endure, feel relief at having completed, and then begin to dread when a day or two had passed and the next workout edged nearer. 

Since 2003 I’ve barely returned to a gym. I can’t imagine I would feel any different now. They don’t fill me with inspiration. About ten years ago I did invest in a cross trainer, which is just about bearable, but if I’m honest is tucked away in the loft. I think I used it once last year to get my steps up to 10,000 after a late finish at school. 

Given the choice, I’d exchange a treadmill for trails any day. The fresh air, the scenery, the sky, the landscape. There are so many reasons I would rather lace up my trainers and opt outside. I love to spot wildlife and birds, and can easily do so in the fields and woodlands within easy reach of my front door. On a recent run near home without even trying I spotted jays, buzzards, yellow hammers, gold finches and long tailed tits. In a couple of months I’ll hear cuckoos at Clumber Park and, if I’m lucky, maybe an occasional woodpecker. Rabbits, hare and squirrels often make an appearance too. All thrown in for the price of going outside for a run. 

I’m currently mulling over everything I read in Born to Run, and in particular what the rationale of my own running is. To me, running on a treadmill lacks the purpose of going outside for a run. The pleasure is removed and replaced with a dreary sense of duty; a box can be ticked when you’ve completed a run on a treadmill – job done, but are you itching to go again? Planning your next route? Hoping for a decent night’s sleep and a clear sky so the sunrise can pave the way for your next run, or are you just glad it’s over? 

A voucher code for Feel Unique 

Just incase you’re thinking of purchasing any new makeup or skincare, here’s a link to get 15% off when you shop online at Feel Unique. It worked out the best value for the products I’d been searching for so thanks to the discount I placed a sizeable order. I’ve used Feel Unique previously and always found the service to be speedy and reliable. If, like me, you’d rather shop online, maybe it will come in useful. Oh, and watch this space – I’ll be blogging my Birchbox subscription very soon! 

Here’s the link. Happy shopping! 

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Running (with dogs)

Since taking up running last April there have been lots of pluses for me, (fitness, weight, energy levels) but there have also been a couple of minuses. If you’ve been here from the start you’ll know that this blog was first and foremost created as a sewing blog, in order to share my makes with the online creative community. You’ll also have noticed that that type of post has become more sporadic over the past months. Aside from sewing, which I’m still passionate about, though has become something now largely reserved for school holidays, it’s the dogs who have lost out to my new love. Do they still get two walks a day? Almost always, yes. Do they get as many long walks as they used to? No, probably not – although again this is rectified during the holidays.

Wilf accompanied me on my first ever 5k, and trotted along merrily beside me, when I couldn’t possibly imagine running so far without feeling incredibly sick, dizzy and exhausted. But I quickly realised that holding his lead affected my posture, and as I began to try and learn about running, I knew holding a lead was a hindrance and not a help. Last year I worked on my technique, speed and my ability to just keep going. After long/harder runs I would usually walk the dogs after, albeit for shorter times and distances.

Around Christmas, I wasn’t training for anything and had accepted that steady runs are an important part of any running schedule, so I took Wilf out on a 5 mile run. He did great! I used a regular lead that I looped across my body, giving me adequate control over Wilf but enough freedom for him to  run (or at least walk quickly) beside me without requiring constant holding. It wasn’t the most comfortable set-up but it was ok. I did my usual 5 mile route, maybe 30 seconds – 1 minute per mile slower  than my usual pace – and of course we made around 10 stops for Wilf to cock his leg. He kept up with me well and only pulled a couple of times to try and investigate items of interest such as molehills and distant rabbit burrows.

Following this success, I ran a couple more times with Wilf on a similar route/distance, each time he seemed to tune in better to me and my pace and stride. I read something that said it was important to remember that running with a dog meant the dog is joining YOU on a run, when things like stopping to sniff a tree trunk should be discouraged and reserved for dedicated dog walks. One evening, I even bit the bullet and took both dogs out, somehow managing around 4 miles in a not too poor time – although Oliver has since returned to being an incompatible running buddy, confirmed this week when a mile into a run, I was forced to loop back to the house and shove him through the back door – he had no interest in picking up his pace and keeping up with me and Wilfie.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a special cannicross lead, which goes around your waist, attaches to a harness and is very stretchy, to ensure if the dog comes to a sudden halt the runner isn’t yanked to a stop or worse. So far I have worn this a couple of times, and realised part way through the first run that it is something that I need to adjust to, rather than Wilfie – it almost gives him too much freedom, especially for running beside roads – which is our main surface on dark and damp January evenings. Now, about 5 runs in, he is able to match my pace throughout a 5 mile run. He is learning that we only stop for a sniff and a wee when I have slowed down and walked a couple of steps first. I believe that fitness-wise, he would be capable of running twice as far, though I have’t yet experimented with this – but I do plan to.

The downside is that even when I do and have run with Wilfie, Oliver still needs to be exercised. Wilfie adores his walks, and will cry to be taken out on evenings when I would rather not. Oliver, on the other hand, is much more of a fair weather walker – if it’s too damp/cold/frosty, he’s happy to stay home, so a short post-run wander of a mile or so is often adequate for Oliver, fortunately.

As January comes to a close I’m looking with interest at races that I may wish to take part in during 2017. I’ve already spotted one or two where I can run with a dog. I haven’t yet taken Wilfie to Parkrun, but I’m thinking that would be a good way to see how he copes with running in a group – surrounded by people, pushchairs and dogs. If that is a success, I feel like we could make a good team in a cannicross-friendly run. Even off the lead, he just loves to run, too.

Instagram ccmercer

New up on the blog today ~ it's the summer so I've been sewing! Could it be the perfect pattern for autumn/winter? Link in profile 🔗
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@sewoveritlondon #heather #heatherdress #knits #sewingwithknits #jersey #autumn #winter #winterwardrobe #cosy Today I ran my third half marathon, in the glorious August sunshine. It was a warm one, but fairly flat, and a lovely way to spend a few hours on a Sunday.
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#halfmarathon #newarkhalf #roadrace #august #feelinghothothot Summer delights homegrown in dad's garden 🌱
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#homegrown #tomatoes #fresh #eatfresh #5aday #runners4runners #runnerbeans #green #vegetables #eattherainbow #Heatherdress #2 is now in progress. Hard to tell from the photo, but it's a lilac-grey jersey I've had in my stash for a while, possibly from last year's #sewupnorth ? I'm planning on the 3/4 sleeve option, and adding 3 inches to the length rather than the 4 I added to version 1. This fabric is a lot less beach than the other, so I'm interested to compare + contrast the two. I'm thinking this one will be more casual, although my stitching needs to be neater as it will be in plain sight on this one 😬 .
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@sewoverit #sewingwithknits #memade #autumn #sewingtheseasons #cosy #lilac #sweatshirt #dressmaking My first @sewoveritlondon #heatherdress is all cut out and underway. I've added a couple of inches to the length, hoping this turns out to be a colourful dress for late summer/autumn. If it were finished I'd be wearing it today - it's torrential! ☔️ Fabric bought on my last trip to @fabworksmillshop .
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#jersey #dressmaking #memade #knits #floral #autumn #colourful #pockets Yesterday I washed all of my class's karate kits. Never one to miss an opportunity to create a comfy bed, Oliver made the most of the heap of laundry for somewhere to snooze. .
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#baddog #laundry #washing #karate #karatekits #summerholiday #rescuedog #luxury

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