Stashbusting Sewalong 2015 – I’m in!

Stashbusting Sewalong Challenge Button 2015.pngOkay, I KNOW I said I wouldn’t be making any New Year’s resolutions or anything like that, but when I read about EmSewCrazy’s Stashbusting Sewalong on Béa’s blog this week, I couldn’t resist!  I’m as much of a fabric junkie as the next girl, despite my meagre budget and attempts to keep my hoarding under control.  So this is the PERFECT challenge for me!

Given how spectacularly I failed to rise to the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge last year (I sewed NO vintage patterns and ONE vintage fabric), I’m wary of setting my bar too high this time.  I’d really like to actually complete this challenge: not only to ‘clear the decks’ of fabrics that I’ve had for ages, but also because I do pretty much LOVE all the fabrics in my stash and would be so happy to be wearing them instead of sighing over them!

So, here’s my pledge: “I, Sarah Star, commit to using at least 5 fabrics from my stash for dressmaking projects in 2015, and I also commit to not buying any new fabrics until I’ve completed at least 2 projects”  

Anyone else joining in? – Would love to hear your plans! 🙂

2014: Makes and Moments

Ah, it’s that time here in the Blogosphere, when the hols are over, the New Year has arrived, and we look back fondly (or not so!) over our favourite stuff from the past twelve months.  I’m not much of one for making resolutions (apart from resolving to hibernate during January!), but I do enjoy reading the ‘annual reviews’ on people’s blogs so I thought I’d do one of my own, with just my favourite Makes and Moments from each month…

All in all I’d say it was a pretty colourful year!  And despite the ups and downs of my health, I still managed to do a lot of making and get out and about a fair bit, and share a lot of laughs with good friends and family.  And I’ve loved posting here, sharing all the highs and lows of my year’s creative adventures with all of you!

Thank you so much for reading – here’s to a Big Fat Funky 2015! 🙂


Vintage sewing patterns treasure trove!

reposted from 27 Oct 2014

Remember last month, I mentioned that I’d spent a happy evening rummaging through a treasure trove of vintage patterns at my friend Jas’s?  Well I also took LOADS of pictures to share with you!  CHECK THESE OUT!60s&70s Along with a gorgeous batch of funky 70s wear, I also fell in love with a whole bunch of Vogue Designer originals from the 60s, and even some 40s and 50s lingerie patterns that had belonged to Jas’s mum, with all the pieces and instructions (not that they gave many!) still complete:40slingerie

We managed to find a few of these older ones on Vintage Pattern Wiki, but the daywear dress below left, with half the number missing, we couldn’t track down.  Judging from the style I reckon it must be 1950s.  Any info, anyone?50sDress&slips

Now, what about these Vogue Designers from the 1960s?  Here’s a Belinda Bellville from 1969.  She was the founder of Bellville-Sassoon, went on to design for the likes of Princess Di and was responsible for that pink number she wore on her wedding day. Think I like her 60s styles better!belindabellville

Or this Oscar de La Renta from 1968.  Look at that styling – straight out of a cult 60s movie or what??delarenta

This next one by French design house Patou, was featured in the trendy French magazineL’Art et la Mode in 1964, as shown in the repro by Paper Pursuits belowPatou1432


Jas was obviously fond of Galitzine (inventor of the palazzo pyjamas in 1960), and has a whole bunch of her designs from the 60s and 70s.  Here are three I really love:galitzine1648galizine2123


The top two are from 1968 & 69; this last one has been hard to date, but I reckon early- to mid-70s.  It just oozes that lazy-but-glitzy-but-slightly-sleazey 70s style!

And now we’re on to my favourite decade, how about these great vest ‘n’ flares combos from Simplicity?  Gotta love a pattern that calls for ostrich feather trim on your trousers!70sSimplicity

And finally, could it be that Vogue were plagarising  channelling their own classic Stan Herman design from 1975 here, famously modelled by Billie Blair – what do you think?!V1169

70shoodieI hope you’ve enjoyed these little highlights from a truly amazing vintage collection.  Many thanks to Jas for sharing them!

Now I’m off to rethink my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge yet AGAIN….


PS – many apologies to commentors whose comments were obliterated in the Blogmove Disaster – please do feel free to re-post!

Fabric fun on a wet weekend: Bunting!

cuttingupOh, the disappointment of rain all day Saturday, gloomy cloud on Sunday…

Oh, the JOY of spending said Saturday rummaging through my entire stash, cutting up triangles from remnants of the brightest, most colourful fabrics from just about every sewing project of the last four years, and stitching them together… Fabrics from clothes I love but no longer fit into, gorgeous things I’ve made for other people, and of course favourites that are still around me every day.  It’s a lovely way, as well, to remind yourself of just how much sewing you’ve achieved and all the creativity that’s happened over time.laying outThen, EVEN MORE happiness getting up this morning (despite it being grey and gloomy outside when the forecast had been for SUN all day) to arrange it all into a rainbow of funky patterns and pin everything to the bunting tape…pinning… and then stitch it all up on Auntie Janis, who for once did not complain or throw a tantrum over all the different weights and weaves going under the needle together (a sharps 80, set to a medium zigzag stitch, seemed to be able to cope with everything from lawn to jersey)…readytosewBut most joyful of all, was hanging the finished bunting up on the balcony this afternoon, just as the sun finally decided to put in an appearance!balcony3There is something just so, I don’t know, FUN about bunting, isn’t there?!  balcony2 All those bright colours and patterns together make me SO happy!balcony1Yep, I’m LOVING the bunting!  My only concern was that my regular bird-feeder visitors might be scared off by all that colour flapping around, however I needn’t have worried, as you can see:bovvered“Bunting?  Am I bovvered though??” Have a wonderful, colourful week! 😉

WhooHoo! Purple Plantain T-Shirt


At last!  Some sewing has happened!  Actually this happened a couple of weeks ago but you all know how tardy I am by now…  Here I am posing by some beautiful textile art by Gill Everard in my Deer & Doe plantain T-shirt! (Follow the link to download the free pattern).

I’ve been wanting to have a go at sewing knits for ages, and was very inspired by Scruffy Badger’s lovely Dotty Plantain a while back.  I have a lot of fitting issues with tops so I was *super-chuffed* to find that this pattern worked so well for me with fairly minimal adjustments – I just added some extra width around the body and in the upper sleeves.  And speaking of sleeves, how can you RESIST a T-shirt with elbow patches??elbowpatch

I wasn’t sure old Auntie Janis (my ancient Singer Samba) was totally up to the job: I don’t own an overlocker, so I used this post from Tilly to get the stitching right.  A little practice run making a matching headband, and we were away!  I did think the whole twin-needle thing would be asking too much of Auntie J, but check this out – she did me proud!  I reckon I’m going to sew EVERYTHING with a twin needle from now on…


I absolutely LOVE this fabric, a soft cotton jersey print (in my favourite colour!) from Minerva that has washed & tumble dried OK so far.  I admit I’ve worn my Plantain to death already, and will definitely be making more.  Next time though I’ll add a couple of inches to the length to hide the old tummy bulge, and perhaps take an inch or so out of the upper chest – that neckline is just a little too low for me!

If you haven’t succumbed to the delights of the Plantain yet, I urge you to have a go!

I mean, look – funky elbow patches!  What’s not to love??elbows2



WhooHoo! Blue batik tunic

It feels like a long time since my last ‘WhooHoo’ moment, but after much pattern-adjustment and alteration, I’ve finally finished my first dressmaking project of the year!bluefishbatik2

Now, as I’ve not done any dressmaking for a while, I thought I’d begin with something *simple*.  Enter New Look 6086, a relatively straightforward tunic pattern that I’ve made before.  Only trouble is, I’ve gone up a dress size and changed shape a bit since I last made this.  Dim problem (as we say in Wales): enter Barbara Deckert’s ‘Sewing for Plus Sizes’, everything the curvy girl needs to know to make things that fit her.deckert&NewLookWell, except… having altered EVERY SINGLE seam apart from the centre back, doing an FBA, altering the length & position of the darts, changing width and length of the sleeves…

bodice alteration

…I’d trashed the pattern so much I ended up having to trace off a new one.  I wish I’d just bought another and cut it the right size in the first place!  I was so fed up fiddling with the pattern and itching to get on with making the actual top that in the end, I forgot to do a crucial little ‘petite’ adjustment above the bustline.bluefishbatik top

So as you can see, there is a bit of bagginess going on in the upper chest, but overall I’m pretty happy with this as a first sew of the year.  So much so that I wore it last weekend’s World Textile Day, hence the slightly creased look as I took the pics when I got home!bluefishbatikagain

Now if we could just have a bit more of that lovely sunshiney stuff, I can pack my jumpers away and get on with the summer wardrobe!


Funky festive round up with gifts galore!

Well hello!  I hope everyone is enjoying the festive season and looking forward to the New Year!

It all got a bit busy for me the week before Winter Solstice and Christmas, what with making gifts to parcel up and send off in the post, and parties and gatherings to attend.  headwarmeronpurple2 First up are these funky chunky headwarmers, made for my best friend’s two daughters in chunky WOOL: yes, I have found a brand of sheep wool I’m not allergic to!!  I wanted to make these very thick, super-warm and snuggly, so I decided to try Drops Eskimo.headwarmeronpurple I’m VERY pleased with the way they turned out, the wool was lovely to work with and although ever so slightly itchy on my hands, no sign of a rash – hurray!  I made these from my own pattern so if I can remember it (!) I’ll put a tutorial up in the New Year sometime.

Next up is this little critter, made from a fab pattern by Little Muggles: shelley profileHow cute is he??!  Now, I have to confess that he was made with the intention of being given away as a gift, but you know how it is, when it came to it I just couldn’t bear to part with him…shelleyfrontAfter all that crochet I fancied a bit of a change, so out came my fabric stash, cutting mat, and good old Auntie Janis (that’s my old Singer sewing machine!).  What better excuse for rummaging through all your favourite buttons, ribbon and embroidery bits than making a special gift for a lovely friend?   This was my second go at making one of these journal covers, using the excellent tutorial posted on BySmallMeans.  You can have a look at my first attempt over on my Flickr page, which was a bit on the tight-fitting side!  The tutorial is for a paper-cover spiral notebook, but mine was for a hard-cover bound book.  This time round I found it works out fine if you add 1/4″ to your measurements to allow for the thickness of the cover.purple journal2All in all a very creative Christmas, but just to prove that I do get outdoors sometimes, this is what I did on the Solstice:Solstice Tree plantingMe and my friend Annie in 10 layers of clothing, planting the very first tree of her new woodlands on her land!  Only another 3,000 or so to go…

Happy New Year, everyone!