Biensûr Coco Mademoiselle…

This is the very lovely Coco dress pattern from Tilly over at Tilly and the Buttons. How awesomely talented is she? I LOVE this pattern. If you don’t know what the fuss is all about, seriously where have you been???

Coco Dress, Jersey Dress

Ok, so this should have taken me about 2 hours to make but you know when you’re really tired and do stupid things? Yep, all i’m going to say is overlocker & inside out sleeve…..

Coco Dress

And though at the beginning I did think my colour choice feels a bit Vicar of Dibley, the colour combo is definitely growing on me. But never mind, I finished it and I love it. The dress is so easy to put together, so much so that number 2 is all ready and cut out.  Don’t be too surprised if you see that appearing on here in the not too distant future!

FYI, I lengthened the dress about 5 cm and if you’re tall like me (5 ft 10″) you may want to do the same.

Coco Dress

Black & White Coco Dress, Sewing Pattern

Finally, Thanks to my friend Kat for taking the photos in the park and making me giggle. :-)

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All the Wild Horses…

This is the Deer & Doe Plantain Top – I actually finished this on the last day of January in time for the sewcialists #bluefebruary. DSC_0120I was so pleased with myself, finishing something off for myself for once… Then I had a knock on the door from my builder, turned out he could start the re-decorating my flat earlier than anticipated. The next thing I know – CHAOS! I think I’ve only just recovered from it. Don’t get me wrong, they did a great job but it definitely makes you appreciate not moving house or packing your stuff up for a very long time. Still, it has been a great time for de-cluttering my place and I feel a lot better mentally for it. Weird how clutter just seems to drain you mentally and physically. DSC_0122_01    Details: Viscose Jersey from my local shop: Fabrics Galore and I used thicker navy blue lycra jersey for the neckline & patches. I think next time that I would probably use the thicker lycra to finish the wrists too.

DSC_0129_01 Love the patches! DSC_0133 This is a really easy make, if you haven’t already made it – do it! Plus it’s a free pattern – bonus! Click here.

Also in other news – I’ve just joined Pinterest (and am now completely obsessed). If you’re on Pinterest, come and say hello :-)


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A Little Retro Magic….

So this kind of happened over Christmas…. I bought a vintage Singer 317 off eBay.

One minute I was looking for a cheap second-hand (read: portable) sewing machine that I could have at my parent’s house when I stumbled across this lovely (not portable) machine in a beautiful mid-century cabinet that matches my furniture at home.


The next thing I know I’m bidding on this without thinking through the logistics of this…. It was located an hour away and I don’t have a car…. Minor detail, Watson, Minor detail…

Enter one very kind friend of mine who was willing to use her 4 by 4 to good use and venture into the flood plains of Surrey with me in return for dinner and cinema.

Singer 317, Vintage Sewing Machine

What makes this sewing machine all the more valuable is that when I got to the seller’s house, I met the owner of this sewing machine, his mother. She told me that her husband had bought it for her in the 60s and that it had brought her a lot of happiness. (She had looked after this machine impeccably getting it regularly serviced, the machine came complete with manual and accessories.)

It was lovely to be able to say to her that her machine would be going to another sewer’s home and that it would be well cared for.

I just love the cabinet and the machine works perfectly. I’ve even finished a couple of things on it already…. I am so happy with my eBay win.

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Reasons I’m a terrible Aunty: I never seem to be able to post presents to my nephews on time…

Reasons I’m an awesome Aunty: When my nephews ask me to make them superhero capes, I make them…

Superhero Cape for children

Bonus for me is that I used up some stash fabric and finished off two UFO’s from December.

DSC_0058_01 DSC_0062_01

If you want to make something similar, these are my construction details:

I didn’t measure anything, I just eyeballed everything and then tore along the grain to get 2 rectangles of fabric. I folded the edges over twice about 5mm then sewed them down as the fabric frays like mad. I applied elastic loosely to the top and applied a small adhesive velcro square at the front of the cape so they are able to get them off easily and are safe to use. I used Bondaweb to fuse the initials (which I had drawn paper templates for) onto the gold polyester then edge stitched around them. I interfaced the gold squares and slipstitched them onto the back of the capes.


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10 things I hate about Knitting…

There are reasons why I don’t knit and usually it’s because I am rubbish at it…

So I blame Lauren from Lladybird for starting my latest attempt at knitting. I saw the Owls Jumper she made and immediately wanted to make it too. Forgetting that I’m actually pretty rubbish at knitting.

I needed to start off small, so I found myself this hat pattern with owls on Ravelry by Ruthie Nussbaum as a happy compromise. Bonus – it’s a free pattern and has owls!

I had some wool leftover from some long abandoned project years ago – No idea what the wool is except that it goes from thick to thin and is variegated in colour. And it had 5.5mm needles with it. So I went out, bought myself some circular needles in the same size and started knitting – courtesy of an old book in my bookcase and my long suffering knitting friend – Kat. Seriously, the amount of panicked texts I sent her…

So I started casting on 90 stitches and started knitting…. about five attempts of casting on later I gave up with the blue wool and found myself some nicer wool.


Rowan Cocoon Lavender Ice to be exact. Pretty pricey too… So I only bought one hank/ball/whatever you call it. I’m only making a hat, I’ll only need one…. right?

So I start casting on and knitting again… Only to discover I’ve started doing a diagonal rib. I literally wanted to scream at this point…. So for, attempt number 7 of casting on, I begin…. and then things seem to magically start coming together….


I’ve finished the ribbing and cabling (and typically, I’ve lost my cabling needle after 1 row).  Then, I tell my mother about all my knitting dramas and she just laughs at me…

But things are going well and I start getting cocky – I take my knitting with me on the bus and train to work…

It’s going great and i’ve started decreasing the stitches now and i’m on the home stretch until…. I sodding run out of wool of course. So, I end up having to buy another ball of wool in order for me to finish the darn thing! After I finish the hat, I block the hat using a kitchen plate.

Clearly, the hat still has the last laugh as my camera then stops working as I take pictures because I haven’t charged the battery.

Lavender wool Owls Hat DSC_0086_01 DSC_0097_01 DSC_0098_01

Despite all the drama, I am actually really happy with the hat and I’m already planning on knitting something more ambitious. However I have now ordered myself a load of bamboo yarn because it was on sale and I don’t know what the hell to do with it! I didn’t realise it wouldn’t be suitable for the project I had in mind until it got to me as it has an irregular tension.

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A precautionary tale about blog advertising…

So, I woke up this morning to an interesting email – from a company called Media Discovery. Telling me how they would love to advertise on my blog blah, blah, blah…

Initially, I was pretty chuffing happy that someone had thought my blog worthy of a bit of advertising. When I first started blogging, I must admit that my viewpoint on advertising was somewhat different. I used to think that selling advertising space was a bit of a sell out. But you know what, as the years have gone by my ideas have changed and now I’ve come to think that if you can give up your day job and subsist on just blog advertisements, then good for you! (Although, in my opinion, there is nothing worse than a person pushing stuff ALL the time on their blog though! I like reading what people have made not adverts – I could definitely name a few blogs guilty of that…)

Anyway, I must admit that the capitalist side of me this morning was not averse to making a few extra quid if the conditions were right.


Anyway, back to this ridiculous email – Apparently sent from their headquarters in the UK…. Well I tell you what, you lot at New Media, I’m in the freaking same time zone as you apparently are and I was comfortably tucked up in my bed last night when you sent it at 11.04pm…. The fact that my blog was so important to you that you had to stay that late at your office is frankly flattering but a little unbelievable to be honest.

Anyway, a little bit of google detective work later this morning… Yes, Media Discovery, you stupid fools – I, like probably 99% of the population Google everything!


And, I don’t even have to scroll down halfway of page 1 of the google results before hitting paydirt…

Where I found suspiciously identical emails to the one below –  except for the sender’s names.

“Hi Freya,

I was wondering whether you’d be interested in selling advertising space on The advertisement would be unobtrusive and we can pay you an annual upfront payment for the advertising space.

We can also provide guest blog posts from industry experts in many cases.

I am from Media Discovery, a new media agency headquartered in the UK. We plan out and acquire advertising space on major websites and portals, as well as smaller niche sites. I personally deal with our smaller publishers, increasing brand awareness and share of voice for the major brands that our group works with.

We’d love to work with your site. If you have any questions or would like further information, please do not hesitate to email me directly.

Kind Regards,
Alice Bell”

The really interesting thing about this company is that they trade in something called Black Hat SEO. Basically buying/placing links in order to increase a website/company’s standing in search results. Except in this case, they pay you to advertise surreptitiously in your blog posts (and preferably without you admitting that you are writing a sponsored post!) until you get discovered by Google and your blog gets blacklisted because of it. They even admit to this practice in this post over at Terence Eden’s Blog.

So, fellow crafty people, if you have a blog and you are approached by the same company, don’t bother. It’s a scam and you’re better off ignoring it.

For more sites explaining this a bit better than myself…

What Jean Likes

A Texan in Tokyo

Rose Tinted Gamers

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