Clothkits Skirt – Rob Ryan ‘Hold Me’

My lovely Stitching Santa gifter who I now know is the lovely Kate at Fabrickated gave me a clothkits skirt kit for Christmas. I really liked the idea, and seeing as it was Christmas/New Year and I didn’t have as much to do, I thought I’d sew it up sharpish. And to motivate me further, The Monthly Stitch’s first theme of the year is ‘Not Stashed’ (use up fabric before it reaches your stash) – challenge accepted!

If you’ve not heard of Clothkits, they basically print a pattern directly on to the fabric, so you just have to cut the pattern in your size from the fabric!


The kit was designed by Rob Ryan, and is called ‘Hold Me’.


So during Chrimbo Limbo (you know the bit between Christmas and New Year) I sewed it up!

I cut the size 10 and it fits perfectly.

clothkits skirt

The pieces included are: 2 x back panels, 1 x front panel, 2 x back facings, 1 x front facing.

I like how there’s not an extra waistband; you just sew the facing right sides together with the skirt pieces and flip it over. I just stitched in the ditch (at both sides seams) and that holds it in place.

clothkits skirt

I inserted a concealed zip in between the back panels of the skirt, sorry there’s no back view photo!

You can add a lining if you wish, but for time and laziness sake I didn’t bother. The fabric is a lovely corduroy, so it’s not see-through at all to warrant a lining for that reason. Perhaps it would have benefited from one to prevent it kind of sticking to my tights, but I’m happy enough without!

I decided I didn’t want a line of stitching around the hem so I took the extra time to slipstitch the hem in place, so that nothing is visible on the front. I’m really happy I did that!


All in all, I would recommend you all to get a Clothkits kit! It was lovely to be able to cut the pieces straight from the fabric, and it took no time at all to sew up!

clothkits skirt

Now back to old fashioned pattern pieces…

Beth x


Christmas update!

Hello! I thought I’d write a quick post as it’s been a while!! I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth! I have been super busy with my little sewing business, with the mad Christmas rush and all that. But I did my last post office run before Christmas today – I’m DONE! For now! Also the courses I run have either stopped til January or finished completely so I feel I have a bit of time to catch up with some blogs! Hooray! So this evening I have painted my nails for the first time in a loooong time, and that’s stopped my picking up a needle! And here I am, writing this.

Along with all the orders I posted today went my rather last-minute Stitching Santa gift. I didn’t have a chance to take photos of what I bought, as I was in a rush to pack it all and get it to the post office! But hopefully my recipient will blog about it, and I will re-blog! Here’s a photo of it all wrapped up though – in some snazzy Christmas fabric, which is a little gift in itself! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out Sewchet’s post about #stitchingsanta!)

#stitchingsanta gift

I will of course share what I received after I’ve opened it; it’s all here waiting for Christmas, I can’t wait! Thank you in advance to whoever sent it! (A card arrived the next day; I only briefly looked inside to find that it was from the Stitching Santa sender, so quickly shut it and will re-open on Christmas Day!)

stitching santa

So, do you want to know what I’ve been up to?

In a nutshell: skirts, bows, skirts, bows, skirts, bows…!

I can sew up a simple elasticated-waist skirt really fast, and they look great and are easy to fit – so they sell really well. My customers love that you can purchase matching hair accessories; you don’t get that on the High Street!

I’ll just add some examples – I realise I haven’t shared much at all of my Pink Bobbins creations!

This is a lovely fabric; I sold out pretty quickly (note to self: get more practical black coloured fabric next year!)


But I think this red snowman fabric was the most popular. I didn’t make a single dress out of it, but plenty of skirts and hair bows!


Talking of hair bows, I also sell them in sets like this, which are really cute! I like making them because I do them by hand; my bag of pre-cut fabric for bows comes everywhere with me!


Ooh, a dress! I love this fabric!


And this is by far my best selling bow fabric (shown here as adorable little bobbles) – mustard foxes!


I think that’s given you a little taste of Pink Bobbins! I do make more than skirts and bows, but I will share more with you another time.

After all the bright colours I’ve been sewing recently, can you guess what colour I painted my nails tonight? Haha – shimmery black!! I was originally going to go for red (Christmas!) then changed to blue, then… black. LOL. That’s got to say something about me!

Ooh, one more thing before I go – on Saturday night, I actually sewed something for myself!! A Tilly & The Buttons Coco dress (my third!) – I will share soon… ish! I need photos! I cut the pieces out many months ago, and finally sat down to sew it up, I am so happy!

I hope to be back with another post soon, but til then… have a wonderful Christmas!

Beth x

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse *Tutorial*

I fell in love with this pattern the first time I saw it. I have a soft spot for peter pan collars! And I’m happy to say I also love the finished garment now I’ve sewn one up!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

It has a beautiful slightly large peter pan collar, slightly capped sleeves, and buttons down the back. There aren’t any darts to get flummoxed over; it’s quite a straightforward pattern. With this tutorial we’ll have you sewing one up for yourself in no time!


I made a size 8, and needed less than 1m of fabric (Liberty cotton lawn, which I recommend due to the lovely drape).

First off, trace and cut your pattern pieces; there are just three! (Yes, I took a gamble and cut down to a size 8; I actually NEVER usually cut patterns but I was too excited!!)

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

With your fabric on the fold, cut your pieces as follows: top front cut one on the fold, top back cut two, collar cut four. (I cut two collar pieces, then removed the collar piece; pinned and cut two more).

Iron interfacing on to the wrong sides of two collar pieces (these will be on the reverse/underside of the collar). Pick an interfacing that is the same or lighter weight than your fabric (I used a lightweight one).

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

With right sides together, sew around the outside edges of each pair of collar pieces with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving the inner curve open. Clip and trim the edges; or cheat and use pinking shears!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Turn right side out and give each piece a really good press, rolling the seams slightly to the underside (which is the interfaced side). Set these aside.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Sew your top pieces together at the shoulders (two back pieces to the shoulders of the front piece) right sides together, with a 1cm seam allowance. Finish these seams in your desired way (I overcast them) and press either open or towards the back.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Lay the top right side up. Mark the centre front of the top. Place the collar pieces right side up (interfaced sides down) on top, matching raw edges. You want the collar to meet in the middle and slightly overlap about 1cm; this is so that when you sew the collar to the top with your 1cm seam allowance the collar will meet exactly in the middle – without crossing over and without having too much or a gap.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Pin in place and tack.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Sew the back pieces to the front piece at the sides. (With right sides together, so straight down with a 1cm seam allowance. Finish the seams in your desired way.)

Now you’re going to hem the sides of the back pieces. Fold and press over 5mm, then to the notch (20mm). Sew close to the inner folded edge.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Hem the bottom of the top (you can do this last but I just did it at this point as the fabric was fraying!) Turn the hem up 5mm then 1cm and sew close to the inner fold.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Now, bias binding. Make some or buy some! I made some 1” wide single fold (you could go smaller). In hindsight I should have made it in the same fabric, but I didn’t want to cut diagonally into it and waste it!!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Sew bias binding round the neckline, using a 1cm seam allowance, right sides together.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

When you get to the ends, tuck the ends of the bias binding in to create neat ends – and sew right to the edge.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Trim the curves, and cut notches. Or cheat and use pinking shears like me.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Flip the bias binding to the wrong side of the top, keeping the other edge of it folded. Sew close to that fold. This hides entire bias binding underneath the top. You could sew it so that it shows around the edge; like I did with the armholes. It’s personal preference.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Sew bias binding to the armholes in a similar way. Leave a gap of a few inches and a few inches of bias binding either side, so that you can join it in the middle. It’s really difficult for me to describe how to do this in text – if you need any help with bias binding there are some good videos on YouTube!!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Now, I tried to sew this bias binding the same way as I did the neckline but it didn’t work; it would have created too many puckers. So I sewed it so that the bias binding was folded a further time, then I handstitched it in place on the inside. This is where I wanted bias binding of the same fabric as the white doesn’t work very well… oh well, it could be worse!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Now on to the buttonholes. Mark these on to the left side of the back piece – starting 5mm from the top, and 1” in. Mark them every 10cm. Sew the buttonholes with your machine.

Use a pen or pin to mark through the centre of each buttonhole; this will be where you sew your buttons.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Sew your buttons on. I used some vintage buttons I’ve had stashed for far too long. They’re mismatched but I love them!

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Give it all a good press… and that’s it!!

Any questions, do ask.

Now here are a few more photos of my blouse. It’s sooo comfy, I really do love it.

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse

Simple Sew Peter Pan Blouse
Beth x


GBBS Asymmetric Skirt

Do you remember that skirt made from a tricky Japanese pattern in the last series of the Great British Sewing Bee?

This one:


They all look really happy there, don’t they?

Well the pattern is in the new book, ‘From Stitch to Style’. I crazily told my dressmaking class that I will make the skirt. So I did…

gbsb asymmetric skirt

I made it in a scuba type fabric that I picked up in my most local fabric shop for an unbelievable 30p per metre (“because we don’t know what it is”). I used some of it to make a Coco dress, and now there’s this. I have a little more that I can probably use to make something for a child! It’s brilliant because it’s nice and swishy, a knit of course so doesn’t fray which is essential for this project, and it was so cheap that I wouldn’t be upset if I messed it up!

And the skirt wasn’t as difficult to make as you’d think. I survived! There are perhaps a few small things that Patrick and Esme would pick up on, but overall I’m 90% happy with it.

The cutting out was the most time-consuming part. Because you have to cut every piece (of which there are 6) individually, and really carefully because those raw edges are on show – and you must mark the notches carefully too as they have to meet up.

gbsb asymmetric skirt

I cut out the pieces then got busy so left it on the side for two and a half weeks; but if you can’t sew for yourself on Bank Holiday Monday, when can you? So I sewed it up in the afternoon.

Have you made anything out of the new book yet? I found the instructions to be good; in the past the Sewing Bee books haven’t always been too great but I had no issues with this one.

The biggest annoyance is in this photo…

gbsb asymmetric skirt

Yeah, the lines don’t match up across the seam. Quite frankly at that point I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to go back and redo it all. It’ll do. The skirt took some patience, a lot of tacking and careful sewing, so by the end I’d had enough!

To finish the “waistband” you sew grosgrain ribbon to the top of the skirt and flip it to the inside. Ahhh, I rummaged through my ribbons and the widest I had was this bright green! I had exactly the right amount, so that was to be it! As it’s on the inside, you can’t see it. I love how little this skirt cost me! Excuse the poor photo.

gbsb asymmetric skirt

And as the fabric doesn’t fray, I didn’t actually hem it. Which feels weird but I love how there’s no bulk at the bottom.

Finally – essential twirling shot!

gbsb asymmetric skirt

So are you going to make this? Have you already?!

Beth x


Tilly Walnes ‘Love at First Stitch’ Book Review

I own several sewing books and I have to honestly say this one is my favourite. It’s so beautifully presented; from the bright and eye-catching photography, to the fonts and backgrounds used in each section, right to the back cover.

Image credit;

Image credit:

It comes with full-size pattern sheets with patterns for five of the designs in the book (Tilly explains how to make your own simple pattern for the other two projects). You do need to trace the patterns as they’re printed on double-sided paper; but this is best practice regardless.

I really like Tilly’s down-to-Earth, ‘chatty’ writing style; the language she uses is easy to understand, even for beginner dressmakers. She explains all the jargon that comes with sewing throughout the book, and adds helpful hints and tips along the way.
The book begins with a little background on Tilly, then goes on to explain how to use the book (i.e. how it is laid out), and there’s just one page on sewing equipment you will need. The book then jumps straight into the first project; a simple headscarf. This is unlike many other sewing books, which tend to have a good chunk of pages at the beginning based on techniques. Instead, techniques are incorporated into each project (which makes each chapter). Tilly makes it easy for the reader to distinguish between project instructions and explanations of key techniques by displaying the techniques on a gridded background, and the project steps on a plain yellow. You can easily skip the technique sections if you’re confident with them already; just look for the plain yellow background. Some may find this slightly confusing, but once you use the book a few times you will most likely get the hang of the layout.

Another difference between this book and others is its fun, fashionable edge. In each chapter Tilly has added a ‘Make it Your Own’ section, where she gives ideas of how you can use the basic pattern and customise it to do just that – make it your own. An example of hers is adding a fabric bow belt to the skirts and dress; she shows you how to make this, too.

Image credit:

Image credit:

‘Make It A Lifestyle’ is the final section in each chapter; these sections give the reader some inspiration and an insight into Tilly’s own lifestyle and personality. Her background in blogging really comes into play here.

Another idea I love of Tilly’s is the way she sizes her patterns. All five patterns in the book are not sized in the traditional 8, 10, 12… format. She has devised her own sizing structure, labelling sizes with numbers 1 to 8. This encourages you to sew your true size rather than the size you think you are on the High Street – which often varies when it comes to dressmaking patterns. Tilly doesn’t go into much detail about altering patterns, but seeing as the book is targeted at the beginner dressmaker, this is understandable.

I think the one aspect of the whole book that really stands out to me is the quality – and sheer amount – of the photographs. There is a very clear, real photo image (not an illustration or diagram as is common in other sewing books) for each step. For a beginner, especially, this is so important. And if the photos weren’t enough, the clarity of the text should be sufficient. The book is written with true passion, which really comes across and pours into the reader.

I have made three out of the seven projects in the book so far (consisting of one pair of Margot pyjamas, one Delphine skirt and four Clémence skirts), and the construction of them all went swimmingly. The one bugbear I have – and I have learnt others have had too – is the chunky, untailored waistbands on the skirts; it doesn’t suit many figures and does need some alterations to be comfortable if you actually have a waist. Annoyingly, everything looks perfect on Tilly!

Overall, this book makes sewing fun. As a 20-something-year-old, I can see myself making all the projects – which is not something I say about every sewing book! It’s a beautifully written and presented book.

Beth x

I have to tell you something

I’m soooo busy at the moment and I think it’s about time I shared this with you as I kind of feel I’m leading a double life…

LOL I know what it sounds like… read on!!

The thing is… a few months ago I started selling my handmade creations, on Facebook and Etsy. I didn’t want to share it on here because I didn’t want things to change – I don’t want my lovely loyal readers to look at me differently and I don’t want to try to sell you anything!! So I do want to keep it separate, but feel like I should just tell you all, because I want to explain why I don’t post as often as I used to.

I’m a bit shy now, haha! I’m selling girl’s clothing and accessories, and my business is called Pink Bobbins. Surprise!!

pink bobbins image

So I haven’t posted less because I’ve stopped sewing (far from it). I just don’t sew for myself so much (erm, for ages!) now. And as I said, I don’t want this blog to be all “I made this and I’m selling it” – this blog is about ME!!

I’m not really sure why I decided to sell stuff – one day I just did it. And now it’s actually going really well, I’m snowed under at the moment in the run up to Christmas…. so I’m guessing there’s no going back (at least for the time being) so I’d better give in and tell you!!

I’m also still teaching dressmaking, I’m studying for a teaching qualification, and I’m also studying Foundation Journalism. Oh and I’m looking after my girls and all the usual stuff of course. So assignment deadlines are looming, my order book requires attention, and I’m trying not to neglect my children…. sewing for myself and blogging comes last! 😦

I do have several plans of clothing to make for myself, but I just don’t have the time to do it!! I am enjoying my little business but I do want to do a bit of selfish sewing soon!!

Of course I am blogging for Simple Sew patterns; I will be posting some tutorials when their new patterns and website launches soon….  I think I’m going to be in Love Sewing magazine this month so look out for me! (Only a little pic!)

I have a Seamwork Oslo all cut out and ready to sew… I need to finish my Simple Sew Tea Dress (I didn’t have enough fabric for the skirt part so it’s sitting waiting for some!)… I have some sewing-themed fabric (you’ve probably seen it around) ready to be sewn into a Clemence…. I have so much other dressmaking fabric (including those lovely Liberty pieces, and the beautiful floral cotton I won from Jane’s giveaway), I want to make things and share it with you but we just have to be patient!!

untitled^^ The fabric I won 🙂 ^^

That’s enough of me rambling now – just thought I’d get that out there. Give yourself a pat on the back if you read it all – you’re now updated on my life!

If you’re feeling nosey (curious!) now you can check my page out on Facebook, 😀 You’ll see I have been very busy!!

Beth x

Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair!

I had a fun day yesterday! I took my girls to the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. I was lucky and got a free ticket from someone giving one away because she didn’t need it… So I just had to pay for my 6 year old. Oh and the extortionate parking when we eventually got there after sitting in 40 minutes of veeeeerry slow moving traffic! Anyway let’s talk about the good stuff!

I was very brave or crazy to take my 2 daughters with me. I didn’t bother with any workshops as I envisaged that ending in disaster but I did book on to one ‘Super Theatre’ session which was Dawn O’Porter talking to Kirstie about lots of stuff from her new clothing line to breakdowns,  and working mums to the fact that she doesn’t like doing TV. There’s not going to be another ‘This Old Thing’ series!

Handmade Fair

Handmade Fair

Oh my word, it was busy. There were loaaads of stalls. But I didn’t buy any fabric! Yes I think I deserve an award for that! There were several fabric stalls!

Handmade Fair

This is my little haul:

Handmade Fair

Plus one more thing that is for my mum so I can’t show it here in case she’s reading!! But it was something handmade. I feel I did OK with my little mission to support small businesses!

So there’s a print of a poem that’s spot on – I’ve been wanting something like ‘House Rules’ but this is probably nicer! And there’s the Agnes pattern! And two hair bobbles that S spent far too long choosing the colour she wanted! Now I have to make her a dress to match apparently so if anyone knows the fabric…?! And the colourful box is nail polish pens. I never buy things like this but this was immediately after I made my girls sit in the Super Theatre for 45 mins, which was “very very very very very very very very very boring” haha, so this was a treat!

The seller did give us both a quick demo!

Handmade Fair

We met Tilly Walnes, and my daughter was a little confused!! Tilly was happy to pose with somebody shorter than her!

Handmade Fair

We bought pasta for lunch. I liked the look of the stall.

Handmade Fair

Well looks aren’t everything. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t as nice as it should have been and we are pasta-loving people – we didn’t even finish the bowls! I thought I’d treat us instead of buying a picnic but should have just brought a packed lunch in hindsight. Ah well. And yeah there weren’t enough tables so we sat on the floor. Luckily the weather was gorgeous!

Handmade Fair

We did have tea and cake in the Mollie Makes café (whoops no pics) and I got 3 or 4 refills for £2 so that wasn’t bad! They had colouring in there and plenty of adults were doing it. Crazy how when someone says it’s OK for adults to colour then everyone is happy to do it!

I wanted to sit in this vintage café where these lovely ladies were singing, but that was packed. Little A had a good time dancing just outside though!

Handmade Fair

There was so much inspiration and beautiful things to buy.

I loved the work but this artist – I can’t remember her name but she was very talented in freehand embroidery and applique work.

Handmade Fair

Yep, I was attracted to the blue polka dots!

Handmade Fair

OK, last photo. We liked these little purses by “love from beth” hehe, nice name!

Handmade Fair

I will go again next year – but leave earlier, expecting to sit in traffic, and probably bring a picnic!!

Beth x