A Pair of Pennies 

A couple of months ago I joined the Sew Over It PDF club, even though I typically prefer buying printed patterns. When the Penny Dress was released I knew I wanted to make one. Once I’d printed and assembled the pattern I realised I needed wide fabric, which restricted what I could use from my stash, but I found some summery pink checked cotton that I’d had a while with no particular project in mind. I can’t remember where I got it but I know it would have been inexpensive. As the Penny only calls for three buttons I had plenty to choose from, and settled on some which came free with an issue of Molly Makes. 

I cut the size 12 as the fit looked fairly relaxed. As I was making it I came across a couple of people online who were having difficulties with the collar, both of whom I consider to be much more adept and experienced. My collar went ok until it came to joining it to the interfaced button placket, as when I turned the bit under the collar (the lapel?) the right way out, the corner curled in. I trimmed my seams and wasn’t otherwise sure how to resolve it, so left it. It isn’t too noticeable but did mean I wasn’t able to topstitch the two front sections. I left the dress to hang for a couple of days before hemming, although I think it’s just a single fold hem, and as this fabric is quite prone to fraying may need a second fold at some point. 

This dress is comfortable to wear, and although I initially considered shortening it to knee length, I think the midi length is right for the vintage style. I just borrowed this beautiful front door for a quick photo mid dog walk. 

I didn’t make any fitting adjustments to the second of my pair of Pennies, and this time used some crepe/viscose type fabric bought online from The Textile Centre. I love all things bird related so at £4pm this fabric was an obvious choice. I had some dark wooden buttons which seemed to match nicely.Although I didn’t do anything differently, for some reason I didn’t have the collar curling on this dress and so was able to topstitch as directed. Again I left the dress to hang before hemming – for a couple of w weeks for no particular reason. The only thing with this fabric is that because it’s a directional print, I have birds facing every direction at some point in the skirt. I think I could have reduced this by adding an extra seam – the skirt only has one – but I just tried to make sure that the birds right at the front were upright.These photos were taken at a pretty little National Trust property called Acorn Bank. Believe it or not we managed to fit them in between two heavy downpours, even though the sun shone so beautifully for just long enough for the dogs and I to pose. 

I like both of my Pennies, though the bird one is my favourite. I think they will both get some autumn wear, with the colours of the bird fabric making that one particularly appropriate for the new season. 

Both of these dresses were complimented by complete strangers on their first time of wearing. The checked dress was commented on by a lady cycling past, who called out “Beautiful dress!” and, as I held open a door whilst wearing the bird dress, another lady thanked me and then said my dress was stunning. I told her I had made it and she said she loved birds, and she was a vet who cared for them, how interesting does that sound? 


Vintage pattern destash

As well as having a clear out of my modern patterns, I also thought it was time I sorted through my vintage patterns. As before please let me know in the comments or @makingnmarking on Twitter if you would like any and I will happily post them out. If you felt like you’d like to donate a small amount of money to a charity of your choice in return that would be brilliant.

With the vintage patterns I want to make it clear that I haven’t sewn up any of these patterns and I don’t know whether all of the pattern pieces are included. They have all come from charity shops or been inherited, so please don’t be too disappointed if there is something missing. You’ll see that some of these patterns are very old, and many have been cut and used by previous owners. However, I can’t help but think they would still be of use or interest to some people, and I would really love to see anything that is made using some of these. It always intrigues me who originally bought these, and what their makes might have looked like. 

I’ve photographed the patterns in fours, then turned each one over so you can hopefully see a bit more info or the line drawings.

Names – first photo challenge of 2017

Here’s my entry for the first photo challenge of the year. It’s a vintage cardboard box that I use to store Christmas decorations. It originally came from my grandparents house from when my mum was a little girl. I love the retro design, and the provenance. 

One Man’s Trash

Carry CaseFly tipping is a pet hate of mine. I seem to encounter it more than ever since getting the dogs and heading out down country lanes more than I used to. It makes me feel a bit sick that people are so lazy or indifferent about the effects of dumping their unwanted items. When I learnt that a heap of rubbish had appeared on the edge of Clumber Park, where the dogs are walked on weekday mornings, I was saddened. But this wasn’t your usual pile of refuse; sofa cushions and old tyres. Beside a cheap mahogany table lay a curved, wooden dome-shaped box. Carefully kept key
At home I was surprised to find the key was still intact, and tied safely to the handle of the box. The cord was cut and the box opened, revealing a beautiful vintage Singer sewing machine. Other than a small hole in the case, the machine was in good condition. I gave it a clean and a wipe with some antibacterial spray. It had that old, fusty smell that something gets after a long time locked away at the back of a garage or up in a loft. I separated the case, stand and machine and spread it out in front of the radiator to air off. Inside the little storage section was a crude screwdriver, an old toothbrush (an effective lint remover, I imagine) and  a few old pins. I discarded all but the screwdriver. Atop the machine was an attractive old cotton reel filled with khaki coloured cotton. The needle was still threaded, as if the machine had been waiting patiently, ready for the next time it was called upon.
Still ready to stitch I already have one vintage Singer, which is currently up in my own loft, but I imagine is a fairly similar model. I know where that one came from, and who it belonged to, but I quite like the mystery that comes with this ‘new’ machine. I can’t help but feel sad to think that this machine, once, belonged to someone who looked after it. What projects did they create on this machine? What were they sewing with that khaki coloured thread? I also have a distinct suspicion that somewhere there must have been a sewing box, likely filled with more wooden bobbins and sewing paraphernalia. Somewhat sadly, these items were not deposited on the edge of the woods. I’ve blogged before about how personal someone’s sewing basket seems to be, but I feel much the same about a machine, especially when you consider the hours a sewist spends stitching. Intricate Engraving
I don’t need this machine, by any stretch of the imagination – it brings my total to four. I’m also aware it’s not particularly valuable, machines of this sort seem readily available in charity shops and at vintage centres. So, for now, I’ll keep it, because, to me at least, it’s much closer to treasure than trash.
Serial Number
Good working order

At The Heart of Vintage Wales

During my week in Wales, I paid a visit to the small town of Narberth. We’d driven through it on the way back from Tenby, and spotted a couple of interesting looking shops. After a walk along the beautiful coast path, we drove back inland and parked up in search of lunch. Burgers, chips and a couple of litres of lime and soda later and we were refuelled and ready to explore.

   The first stop, just around the corner from lunch was Giddy Aunt Vintage. I was even more intrigued/bemused by the tearoom sign displayed in the doorway outside – an alternative life, perhaps?

  Inside Giddy Aunt’s I couldn’t help but smile. There was a rack crammed with vintage patterns, most in great condition with prices that reflected it, around £8. There was also a basket with some more thumbed patterns which I think were £3 each. In addition to patterns, the lady behind the counter was beavering away at her sewing machine. It was clear she designed and made garments to order, using predominantly Alexander Henry fabric. The fabric was also available to buy off the roll. There was a range of garments for sale, new and vintage, and a fairly eclectic collection of items filling the rest of the shop, including old maps and some very sweet bird buttons that I will forever regret leaving behind.

  Next, just next door and with their wares spilling out on to the pavement, was another vintage/antiques shop. As this one looked a bit more classy, and someone has to stay outside with the dogs, I contented myself with just peering through the window.

There were a few charity shops which are always worth exploring. The one I went into had two baskets of vintage sewing patterns – seriously, I have never visited a town that had so many vintage pattern outlets – priced at either £2 each for the more intact or £1 for the less. I was a bit overwhelmed and overheated, so had a rifle through then left.

  After this, we wandered though town, basked in the hot sun and felt ready to return to the cottage and rehydrate properly. Before going back to the car, I paused at Fay Phillips Vintage – the store I had spotted on my first drive through town. I wasn’t really surprised to discover MORE SEWING PATTERNS, as well as kitchen ware, garments, and all manner of vintage items, as well as very friendly shop keepers. Again, I left with nothing.

Once back in the car, I couldn’t help but feel regretful that I hadn’t bought anything from any of the wonderful shops here, so we called back down to the charity shop where I chose 5 patterns and was charged £6. Yes, I know, strictly speaking I didn’t need more vintage patterns, after my Cardigan haul, and I don’t even make clothes for children, but they are very sweet, stylish and sometimes it’s simply too hard to resist. And it was for charity. Mostly. 


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Yesterday I spent most of the day at this beautiful old hotel. It even had a doorman. •
#manchester #hotel #conference #christmas #christmastree #traditional Today I travelled to a conference in Manchester, and whilst exploring the local area came across an extremely festive German Christmas market. •
#manchester #manchesterchristmasmarkets #christmasinmanchester #festive #market #christmasmarket #garlands #wreaths #decoration #trimmings #santa #fatherchristmas Festive fun at today’s #PercyPud
10k road race ~ plenty of Christmas costumes, dogs wearing Christmas jumpers + even Christmas music 🎶 Lovely route & love the Christmas pud + tshirt. •
#10k #race #roadrace #christmas #christmasrace #festive #christmaspud #christmaspudding Second day of #ru2c ~ definitely motivating me to get there + start counting the miles 🎄 Today’s run was just a steady jog with dogs off their leads.
#run #running #rungry #runuptoChristmas #weekend #dogjog #runningwithdogs #runnersofinstagram Up and out early this morning, transporting players to a football match in the middle of the beautiful Lincolnshire countryside. The sun shone so brightly it was hard to see, but that’s not something to complain about this far into November. The team played well and they won 🙌🏼
#football #localfooty #matchday #footballmatch #footballboots #mud #muddy #win #victory #goretford #retfordstripes #sunday Ending a busy week with a bit of quilting ~ trying to plan my Christmas gifts as I know time will run away with me! Watching Children in Need and indulging in a @masonsyorkshiregin Yorkshire tea gin 🍸
#quilting #christmas #christmasgift #friday #fridaynight #homemade #memade #weekend

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