Sewcializing with a Sewcialist – November Edition

Hello fellow Sewcialists!  It’s Nisha from Blue Sunday  back with the November edition of Sewcializing with a Sewcialist.  This is our monthly highlight of a sewist from the Flicker pool.  We can never have too many resources or sources of inspiration … and that’s what Sewcializing is all about.  Sharing resources and inspiration.

The holiday season is fast approaching.  Why don’t we kick it off with a with a bit of happy?  I can’t think of a better catalyst for all things that bring joy than Winnie from Scruffy Badger Time.  I was initially exposed to Winnie’s blog during Oonapalooza, where she made the dress pictured below.  Queue the upbeat holiday music and the beverage of your choice … let’s settle in and hang out with Winnie for a bit.

Scruffy Badger Oona


How did you start sewing?

I have been sewing since I was a child (I’d say from about age 7) and was taught by my Mum (who was taught by her Mum who was taught by her sisters).    I can remember dreaming of the dolls’ clothes I was going to make as I fell asleep, these days it’s my clothes….I picked it back up again with gusto in a reaction to my emptying nest when my children left home….

What are a few of the ways you learn new skills and challenge yourself?

Learning new skills is such fun!  And for me that generally comes by picking something with a harder skill level & following the instructions.  I generally am a pattern instruction reader, as opposed to researching on the internet, & really enjoy seeing different approaches for completing the same process.  For example I have tried quite a few different methods for invisible zip insertion & it fascinates me how results can vary & be improved by small bits of others’ know how.  HOWEVER saying that, I love reading sewing blogs & some bloggers also leave revelations they discover about making a particular process easier by doing xyz.  It’s just one of the cool things about the online sewing community.

Scruffy Badger Pants

What is your best sewing organizational tip you can share and how has it helped keep you organized?

Oh I am organised am I?  My best organisational tip at a time when I had a long list of projects with various events to sew for, was to get down in the detail and project plan, with a whiteboard and my google calendar.  It was the only way that I could understand if this long list of projects was achievable.  I wrote more about that here.

What is your favorite online shopping retailer (for sewing fabric, notions, supplies) and why?

There are so many wonderful fabric shops, and I don’t think I’ve had a bad online experience.  I’ve had quite a few dealings with Minerva Crafts and Plush Addict.  Minerva offers a vast choice with a massive range available online, with quite a lot of bargains- if you know what you want it’s a good place to look first.  Plush addict on the other hand may cost a little more, but the quality of fabric is superb, and the prints available are cute, quirky and interesting. It’s a browser’s heaven, and sure to inspire.

Scruffy Badger Red Dress

What sewing tool can you absolutely not live without and why?

Now this is an interesting one!  In addition to the standard kit of scissors, pins, seam ripper I would have to say I’m a late convert to a silk organza press cloth & a sleeve board.  If I had to pick one, it would be the sleeve board – it’s good for so much more than sleeves – trouser legs can be pressed so much easier using one of these minis.  The silk organza is a huge boon for pressing whilst being able to see through the press cloth.  I use it to get a hotter iron heat on fabrics that maybe would shine, or scorch if ironing directly on them.  I also use it for attaching fusible interfacing to save my iron getting goo on it.

How do you sewcialize?

I have a workday routine that most days involves checking out Bloglovin with my morning cuppa to get a quick overview of what’s been happening.  During the workday I can’t sewcialise (and the temptation is greatly reduced by lack of wifi/ 3G coverage in my office :-)  ).  In non working hours, like everyone else I have to limit myself otherwise I wouldn’t get sewing,  I mean there is just so much out there!  But I dabble in twitter, instagram and a sprinkling of facebook- but I will generally return to Bloglovin or Pinterest for a quick fix maybe over my evening meal.  Then Saturday mornings spent lost in Pinterest …..sound familiar?! I reckon my contribution on IG/ Twitter has to be noticeably larger at weekends!  I love the Firehose – I think it’s such a cool idea.  (Then there is my own blog which I try to update with a couple of posts a week & respond to the lovely comments & queries- I suppose that is Sewcialising too)!

What’s your proudest sewing moment to date?

I have struggled with this one!!  I think I am probably most proud of things that use more skill (whether sewing techniques/ tailoring or learning about fitting) particularly if they are made from expensive fabric.    And out of all of my sewing output, I do not tend to sew a lot that fits this category!  (That’s a useful bit of self reflection!! And an area for improvement) So, my top three garments:  The Spearmint Coat that I pattern tested for Lolita patterns – it is made from Wool Melton and has a bound buttonhole, is embellished with some badger ricrac too.  It was my first coat & it feel so special.

scruffy-badger- Spearmint Coat

The Crepe Dress by Colette Patterns – I have only made it once, but it was my first real fitting challenge – I learnt soooo much through trial and error.  (The fabric was from Walthamstow, so not an expensive one).

Colette Dress

And my Flora dress by By Hand London – the fabric was awesome John Kaldor “pansies on acid” and I’d lined & piped it.  I love this dress.

By Hand London Flora

Since the holiday season is right on our heels and we’ll all need something FABULOUS in our closets to wear … what’s your “go to” party outfit?

My holiday staple over the Christmas period? It has to be my peplum charlotte skirt! It’s my party skirt without ever feeling over dressed!

Scruffy Badger Charlotte Skirt

Winnie’s my kind of girl.  There is no better way to end an interview than with a glass of champagne!  Winnie, thanks for taking the time to answer the questions AND for tolerating the emails.  It is greatly appreciated.  I love the happy you bring into the world with your enthusiasm and passion for sewing … its reflected in all you do!

What about you fellow Sewcialists?  Do you have “go to” pattern or outfit for the holidays?  Please share in the comments below.  Until next time!!



Wrap up your “Grease is the Word” projects!

It’s nearly time to choose the winners of the Grease Sewalong!

The deadline will be midnight GMT on  Sunday 16th November so please join the Flickr group here:

and upload your pics by then for a chance to win a fabric bundle from the lovely Minerva crafts people.

Can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with – there’s some really cute entries in already!  I am hoping I manage to finish mine as I’ve had my machine packed away for weeks due to home renovations!


It’s #SewDisney time!

Happy Halloween, sewcialists! Can you believe November starts tomorrow? And that means it’s time to kick off our new sewalong theme for the month–all things Disney/Pixar! I’m very excited to be co-hosting this with Katie–she’ll be checking in soon with some ideas for the kids in your life, and I’m going to show some things that will work for the rest of us!
After all, Disney costumes for adults can be a lot of fun. I was lucky enough to get to DragonCon this year, and made sure to take as many pictures of Disney-related costumes as I could find!
(Counter-clockwise from the left: a historically-inspired Cinderella, Anna and Elsa from Frozen, a lovely Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and my own Belle costume! Which you can read more about here if you’re interested.)
Practically speaking, though, aside from days like today and conventions, there’s not always an excuse to make a full-blown costume. But there’s still lots of ways you can bring some Disney magic into your everyday wardrobe! I’d heard of “Disney Bounding” before, but hadn’t really looked into it until recently. Apparently there’s a rule at the parks that adults can’t dress up in full costumes so they don’t get mistaken as park employees. So instead, costume-minded fans put together outfits inspired by their favorite characters, but with everyday modern clothes! The main blog for it is here, and I’m going to highlight just a few looks for some popular characters. (All of these should link to her original Polyvore sets.)
For instance, if you’re heading into winter like me, there’s always the Frozen option, like this one for Elsa:
 Perhaps you’re feeling a little more tomboyish, and Merida from Brave is more your style:
If villains are more your thing, this outfit is perfect for taking over Agrabah in style!
Jafar by leslieakay featuring a waist belt
And since it’s Disney, who says you have to go with a human character? How fun is this feminine take on Donald Duck’s nautical style?
Donald Duck
ariel-lieke-1One more example—Lieke recently posted her modern-day take on Ariel at The Monthly Stitch, and kindly granted me permission to share her lovely creation here! The sequined fabric couldn’t be more perfect for a mermaid, and adding the purple cardigan to give a nod to Ariel’s shell top was a pretty brilliant move. You can read more about her creation at her blog.
Katie and I are looking forward to seeing all of your creations in the Flickr group! You can also tag your Twitter posts or Instagram sneak peeks with #SewDisney. So what’s your favorite Disney/Pixar movies? Or what characters’ outfits inspire you to borrow their style?

Grease Is The Word Inspiration – The Bad Girls!

Hi Sewcialists!

Did you see Rachel’s great post on Grease good Girl sewing inspiration?  If not, you can read it here.  I love it!  I was 100% decided on a bad girl inspired look but she’s swaying me to the land of circle skirts and peter pan collars!

In my opinion, all the best clothes in Grease are worn by the Bad Girls – who doesn’t love Rizzo and Marty in a pencil skirt?  And Frenchie with the pink hair?  Jan maybe not so much!

The essential make is the Pink Ladies jacket.  It’s a simple collared jacket with a zip in the front.

It’s suprisingly hard to find a pattern match for this – maybe as the winter patterns have hit so everything has switched to coats (sorry, southern hemisphere!)

How about Butterick 5683, Kwik Sew 3890?  Or if you prefer an indie pattern, the Papercut Rigel bomber (very Grease 2!)?

jacket collage

I didn’t know until I was researching this post that the Pink Ladies had certain colour palettes – Frenchie always wore spring colours, Marty wore more blues and greens, Rizzo wore bright colours and lots of black and Jan, well, I’m not entirely sure – brown tartan?

The bad girls wore much more grown up clothes that definitely harked more towards the sleeker lines of the 60s rather than the full skirts of the 50s.  For me the styles that stand out are the capri pants and pencil skirts.  Here’s some ideas of patterns you might use:

capris inspiration

pencil skirt inspiration

And no round up of Grease bad girls would be complete without Bad Sandy:

sandy inspiration

I hope I’ve given you some good ideas for your bad girl look.  Have you decided what you are making yet?  I’m leaning towards this look of Rizzo’s personally!

rizzo in black

Jenny Burda Jersey Dress

Sewcializing with a Sewcialist – October Edition

Hi Everyone, it’s Nisha from Blue Sunday and I’m so excited to introduce to you our featured sewer for the month of October.  If you’re seeing Sewcializing with a Sewcialist for the first time … these articles are all about getting to know those friendly faces featured in the Sewcialist Flickr Pool.   Every month a Sewcialist gives us a little peak inside their world to inspire and share their knowledge.

This month we’ll be hanging out with Jenny from Cashmerette & Curvy Sewing Collective.  This sewcialist is going to be fun and inspiring!  She’s already inspired me to get out of my sewing comfort zone, buy a Burda pattern & add making a coat to my sewing list!  Grab your favorite beverage and let’s hang with Jenny.

Jenny Cashmerette Featured photo

Jenny – how did you get your start sewing?

A colleague came to the office one day in a fabulous skirt and when I asked her where she’d bought it, she said she’s sewed it with fabric from IKEA! I was stunned at the idea of being able to make my own clothes. It took me another year, but I took a simple introduction class and then jumped straight in, using lots of online tutorials and following blogs. I’ve been sewing for about 4 years now, and I’m constantly learning.

What is your best sewing organizational  tip and how has it helped keep you organized?

I hang all my pattern pieces on clothes hangers, which I keep on a rail in my sewing room. Everything’s easy to access, and there’s no need to fold the pieces.

Jenny Cashmerette Swim Suit

What sewing tool can you absolutely not live without and why?

My rotary cutter and mat – I’m so much more accurate using them, and an awful lot faster!

What is your favorite online shopping retailer?

For fabric, I absolutely adore Emma One Sock - she buys fabric directly from designers, and the variety and quality are fantastic.

Jenny Casmerette Wrap Dress

Where do you find inspiration?

I find a lot of inspiration from plus size fashion bloggers, like Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason. They show how curvy women can wear the latest fashions – thanks to Gabi, I even recently made a crop top and wore it out in public!

How do you sewcialize?

I set up the Curvy Sewing Collective with some of my other plus size sewing blogger friends, and it’s been a fantastic way to come together and help the whole community of curvy sewists. We have a forum and lots of guest contributors, and it’s been a  lovely way to meet other women just like me. In addition, I go to the Crafty Foxes sewing group every Wednesday night at Grey’s Fabrics - it’s such a fun group, including Katy and Laney, Ping, and many others.

Jenny Cashmerette Dress

Speaking of the Curvy Sewing Collective what’s your best advice for curvy sewists?

While everyone can enjoy the fun of sewing, I think it’s curvy women who can get the most out of it! It’s so hard to find well fitting and modern RTW clothes, but once you learn how to sew, you can create your own wardrobe that flatters and fits. If you’re starting, great options are making things like a simple wrap skirt or the Colette Moneta dress which is really drafted well for plus sizes. Then, you’re going to need to learn the basic adjustments, like a Full Bust Adjustment and widening waists – they’re actually pretty simple, and once you have them down it will make a huge difference to your fitting.

In terms of pattern companies, unfortunately I don’t think there’s a single company that really meets all our needs right now. However, Colette’s new knit patterns go up to 3XL (the Moneta and Myrtle are particularly great), Style Arc has all their patterns up to a size 30 (although unfortunately the instructions are really bad, so they’re not good for beginners), and I’ve heard good things about Hot Patterns, too. And of course the Big 4 often (though not always) goes into plus sizes – if you do go the Big 4 route though, make sure you choose your size based on finished garment measurement and not the body measurement as they assume enormous amounts of ease. I often “size down” 2 – 3 sizes from the suggested size.

What’s your proudest sewing moment to date?

Making my winter coat last year! It took me a very long time and I painstakingly researched and executed every step. I ended up wearing it all winter, and felt fantastic every time I put it on. I’m planning an emerald green version this year!

Jenny Cashmerette Coat

What’s on your sewing table right now?

I’m making my second winter coat! I’m using an amazing emerald green 100% cashmere coating from Mood, lined with a flamingo poly crepe de chine from EmmaOne Sock. Last year I made Simplicity 1759 and fit it for my chest, so I’m going to use that pattern again, but use view B which is a narrow collar which stands up. I’m hoping to make a medium weight coat that will work for Fall and Spring, so I need to get going quickly!


You have got to love these makes and by the way that super hot black jersey dress at the top of the post that is EVERYTHING … is Jenny’s first Burda pattern. And if you want know more about Jenny and the Curvy Sewing Collective, definitely check our her blog, Cashmerette.  Jenny – big thanks for allowing me access to you and your pictures.

Don’t forget to post those makes to the Sewcialist Flickr Pool!  See ya next month.


Annnnd that’s a scrap: the Scraptember round-up

Scraptember has come and gone, but what a month it was! Thanks to everyone who shared their creations in the Sewcialists flickr pool. I’m excited to share them in today’s round-up!


A print and solid Polly top from Claire

A pieced blouse from Sophie, who made this awesome schematic of her scrap sources.

Heather’s floral and solid Scout

Lily Sage & Co.

Debbie’s neoprene top

Sara’s sweatshirt made from wool knits

Skirts & Pants:

Gillian’s Hudson pants with a floral scrap detail

HoffiCoffi’s cars skirt


Becky’s patchwork skirt in progress. What an undertaking!


Lily Sage & Co.

Debbie’s leather-embellished tunic

Katie’s patchwork dress

My dress

Accessories & Unmentionables:

Gillian’s colorful undies

Shannon’s back to school pouches


Marilla’s leather bag, made from inter-generational scraps!


And from Sarah, a sewing accessory! She made a pincushion from scraps, stuffed with – guess what – more scraps!

For the kiddos:

Shannon’s bear sleepover

Lily Sage & Co

Debbie’s self-drafted tunic

Lily Sage & Co Lily Sage & Co

Debbie’s Hide and Seek dresses

Meg’s Figgy’s rainb0w-winged Stellar tunic

Shannon’s scooter skirt

Gillian’s super stylish toddler leggings

Big thanks to everyone who shared their projects this month; I was thoroughly inspired by all of them and I hope you were, too. If you made something for Scraptember that I somehow missed, please let me know and I’ll do a follow-up post.

And!! If you still feel like you have an excess of scraps – who doesn’t? – please carry on the festivities of Scraptember into the rest of the year!


Theme for October – Grease is the Word!



Hi Sewcialists!  I’m Joanne and I blog over at Sew Little Time .  After much discussion on Twitter about the theme for October, we decided to resurrect an idea we all got excited about some time ago – the Grease sewalong!

Hosting with me are the lovely Claire from Sew Incidentally  and equally lovely Rachel from The Hollywood Sew.  Throughout the month, we’ll be posting pattern and fabric inspiration to get you going on choosing what to make, whether that is a recreation of an outfit from the film, or a look inspired by it.

The film was made in 1978, based on a 1971 musical, but set in 1959.  So you can take your inspiration from a wide range of styles from the 1950s and early 60s, from poodle to pencil skirts and sweaters to shirts.  There are even dance dresses to consider.

And the best part?  Minerva Crafts have kindly agreed to offer a fabric bundle to the maker of the best garment or outfit!  To be eligible for the prize, please post a pic to the Flickr group ( – to avoid Flickr weirdos, you have to request to join but we’ll approve asap!  To give you time to sew and photograph, the closing date will be 15th November, with the winner chosen shortly after.  Garments should be made between now and then, no previous makes to be entered please!

I’ll leave you with a song that’s been stuck in my head pretty much since we started planning this sewalong – you’re welcome for the earworm!

So what do you think?  Are you in?