Striped fabrics for summer

It’s Monday and I needed some cheery thoughts after a wonderful weekend. Then the sun came out (just for a minute!), so my creativity reached out for stripy fabric for summer days – what can be more cheerful than these stripes in candy colours at Black Sheep Wools?

Candy stripe fabric for summer from Black Sheep Wools
Sippy Straws in Strawberry from the Sodalicious collection by Emily Merrick for Michael Miller; Tent Stripe in Tart from the Elizabeth collection by Tula Pink.

Making some round summer cushions with a beautiful piped edging, using this lovely Amy Butler pattern would be a great project to raise the spirits if you’re working with these sunny stripes.

If relaxing with some crochet or knitting is more your thing, then you’ll be pleased to know that the Black Sheep Wools continues with its fabulous line of clearance and sale bargains. This week they have added Sublime Yarns to the sale section – one of my absolute favourite brands, because the quality is fantastic for the price. I am particularly fond of Sublime Natural Aran, one of the yarns I used to use when I was regularly crocheting up my Big Ears Bunny pattern.

A gang of bunnies

At the minute you are getting an even bigger bargain (bigger than the big ears!) because there is 55% off this gorgeous yarn just now. Snap it up!


There are lots of lovely dressmaking stripes at Dragonfly Fabrics. For me stripes and summer tops go together like Wimbledon and strawberries. I’d love to make a Catrin sweatshirt (I love these Schnittchen designs – some of which come in plus sizes too – yay!) with some fab pink and purple stripes:

Stripes from Dragonfly Fabric
Cotton jersey in loads of lovely stripy colours; Catrin sweatshirt pattern from Schnittchen

I guess because BBC’s Sewing Bee has come to an end (I won’t spoilerise you, but I am very pleased about the winner!), Dragonfly’s series of Sewing Bee special offer is also coming to a conclusion. Why not check them out to make the most of the discounts before they run out!  And if you have a day free on Friday, the Dragonfly Fabrics Open Day, down in East Sussex, looks like it will be a brilliant day.

Have a great week – whatever you’re doing. And please support me here at Very Berry by checking out all the lovely goodies my sponsors have in store for you.



Something blue, something new

Something blue and something new from each of my sponsors’ shops – with special offers and other news too!

Something blue something new from Black Sheep Wools

Something blue:

King Cole Baby Alpaca (dk)Special Offer: there’s 15% off all King Cole yarns at Black Sheep Wools until 9am on 28 June with the code COLE15

Something new:

Large floral Zenbroidery printed fabric – this fun printed fabric design comes with a needle, an illustrated guide to free for stitching and a QR code to lead you to fantastic design ideas. A really fantastic holiday hand-stitching project!



Something blue something new from Dragonfly


Something blue:

Ponte Roma fabric in blue – a lovely soft double knit and perfect for dresses, tunics, soft skirts, light jackets and cardigans.

Something new:

Pauline Alice – Reina shirt pattern – a very pretty, romantic shirt pattern, new in stock.

Check out Dragonfly’s Sewing Bee page for great special offers on jersey!


Something blue something new from My Fabric House
Something blue:

Bold floral tulip fabric – a lovely quilting fabric

Something new:

Cats in the streets print on natural hessian linen – a great fabric when you need something more sturdy and I love these cute cats!

There’s also loads of great reductions in the My Fabric House sale.


Something blue something new from Cloud Craft

Something blue:

Lovely 1mm wool felt in French Navy – top quality felt in a lovely shade of blue.

Something new:

Gorgeous stack of 1mm felt in Macaron colours – almost good enough to eat!


Insect life

My garden (and house!) is beginning to fill up with moths and butterflies, and me and the kids are planning to do something for Moth Night which is coming up shortly.. So inspired by our insect friends, here’s a flutteringly fabulous post about my wonderful sponsors!

Butterflies and moths from Black Sheep Wools

At Black Sheep Wools: Tim Holz, Butterflight – taupeButterfly birth sampler


Butterflies and dragonflies from Dragonfly fabrics

At Dragonfly Fabrics: Japanese cotton print, Dragonflies – indigo; Moody Blues (Cloud 9), Butterflies


Moths and butterflies from Cloud Craft

At Cloud Craft: Floss and Mischief cross stitch, mustard moth trio; What Delilah Did, Fanciful Flutterbies cross stitch kit


Butterfly and Bees from My Fabric House

At My Fabric House: Bugs cotton fabric; Butterfly wooden buttons


Do flit off and have a look at all these lovely goodies!

Sewing for an English spring

I was all set to tell you about the beautiful fan-patterned pima cotton lawn and scrumptious chambrays (have you seen all the lovely colours?) that my sponsors Dragonfly have in stock just now, but it is HARD to get excited about summer clothes when it is 7 degrees outside and an overnight frost is forecast. So I decided to talk, instead, about the Morris blazer from Grainline Studios, because during spring in these parts (and, let’s face it, in summer too) you need something to throw on when the sudden northerly breezes take hold.

This time last year, the Morris was all the rage, so I am behind the curve as usual, but the good thing for us is, there are masses of examples of the Morris out there – check out Pinterest – and we can learn all we need to know from the dressmaking gurus of the internet… Ponte Roma is a really popular choice for this jacket…. I love these 3 options for spring – but there are lots more to choose from.

Ponte Roma from Dragonfly


French terry is also a recommended choice.. and Dragonfly have some gorgeous colours, a couple of which (the pretty salmon colour and the dusty blue) are colours of the season according to Pantone, but I love the teal myself:

French Terry from Dragonfly

Stretch denim is another choice – I would love to make one using this gorgeous barkweave denim

What would you choose? Have you already made an Morris blazer? If you fancy a go and are in a quandary over fabric choices – don’t forget you can use Dragonfly’s sample service or you can contact the lovely folks there for expert (and I mean expert – Dorte worked for Vivienne Westwood for goodness sake!) advice.


Making patchwork with wool

I am back at my sewing machine! Yay! My wrist is much better, still a little weak and achey, but really now only giving me trouble (sewing-wise) when it comes to using scissors and my rotary cutter. So it’s a good reason to crack on with some ancient Works in Progress where a lot of the cutting out has been done already. I last worked on this patchwork panel made with wool tweed from Magees of Donegal back in (ahem) 2013. It got put to one side because I lost enthusiasm for the bag I had intended it for – it was NOT a well written pattern, and perhaps I had been a little ambitious for the level of my sewing back then.

I unearthed the panel again whilst I was using some of my no-sewing-allowed time to tidy up a bit in my workroom, and had a sudden thought that it would look fabulous with some velveteen that I have from Dragonfly. When I put them together, a lovely cosy cushion (I know it’s spring, but sooo cold today – ironic after yesterday’s summery post!) seemed the obvious plan:

Tweed cushion 3

I’ve learned such a lot about working with wool, and with velveteen too! It is blissful stuff (the colours! the textures! the designs!), but next time I work with tweed, I will use a significantly bigger seam allowance (it frays sooo much). The finished cushion looks pretty good on the outside, but even though the cover is lined, it looks pretty rough and muddly inside, so I can’t sell this one (shame… 😉 ). I am going to have to bind the seam edges because they are so fragile and the whole thing will probably fall apart when I wash it.

Tweed cushion 1

I will also (until I have more experience) leave the ambitiously small scale  patchwork – these are half square triangles made from 2.75in squares – until I have more experience. As you can see, some of my point matching is a bit uneven – although it could have been a lot worse! I found a walking foot was essential for ensuring that the 2 fabrics (and also velveteen against velveteen) didn’t drift away from each other as I sewed up the cushion edges. I didn’t have a walking foot when I made the panel – perhaps it would have been easier to get control of the squishy wool tweed if I had. I also needed a heavy duty machine needle (not that surprising) – so used a microtex 90/14.

Tweed cushion 2

Is it sad to love the back so much? I’ve used my own tutorial to make a covered zip. I don’t think I’d use to make the cover for the zip next time – it was a real menace trying to stitch through four layers of tweed, 2 layers of interfacing, 2 layers of lining and 2 layers of velveteen all in one go, at the zip ends, even with the walking foot. I think I need some kind of super-powered industrial machine before I try that again.

Tweed cushion 4

Have you ever tried making patchwork with wool? How have you found it? I would love to do some more, and am trying to commission people to pay me for it…! I now have a plan raw edge folksy appliqué hearts on red velveteen as yet another idea on my project list…




Fabric & sewing inspiration from my sponors

Dragonfly Fabrics - Designer Dressmaking Fabrics

There’s so much going on at Dragonfly that I’m not sure where to start…  I absolutely love the new range of patterns they have in called Closet Case Files designed by Heather Lou. There’s a fab coat pattern,  and these ace PJs amongst other lovely things in the range. The pyjama pattern got me browsing for fabrics and I spotted this lovely chambray (which has a very Toast feel about it) and this scrummy Leah Duncan voile – gorgeous for a pair of light summer PJs.

PJ inspiration

There are some more ideas for the Closet Case patterns over on the Dragonfly blog.

Maybe I will get over my fear of sewing with knit fabrics, bite the bullet, and order some lovely Ponte Roma jersey, especially now that Dragonfly have lots of new colours, including this delicious burgundy version in stock. I like the idea of making a classic Sewaholic Renfrew top, or maybe a cosy easy-to-wear jersey dress like the Sew Caroline Out and About dress – I’m sure I’d have it ready for next winter 😉

Ponte Roma Jersey

If you want to see all this gorgeous dressmaking goodness in person, then you’ll want to know that the next Dragonfly Open Day is Saturday February 27 – you can find more details just here. Apparently there will be cake…


My Fabric House

Whenever I want something cute to sew with, I always think of My Fabric House first… whoever is doing the buying definitely has the same kind of ‘this is soooo cute’ taste as me.

Russian Dolls - pink rabbit bear & cat matryoshka cotton fabric FQ1505-40

I mean, who doesn’t need rabbit, bear and cat Russian Doll fabric in their life? I had a mooch around for an Easter-themed make that would suit this adorable fabric – how about this awesome Baby Binky Bunny by Larissa Holland? And just to turn the cute factor up to 11…. there are tons of cute bunnies at My Fabric House!

Bunnies collage MFH  ***

My brief news from Black Sheep Wools is that I have a lovely fabric giveaway coming up for you next week! Keep your eyes peeled for some beautiful Kaffe Fasset… And if you can’t wait, Very Berry readers have a special discount code to use at BSW until 31 March – there’s 10% off with the code VB10 (this code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and gift cards are not included). Enjoy!

Quick velveteen scarf project

My sponsors, Dragonfly Fabrics, sent me some gorgeous velveteen from their lovely selection. I am super keen to make a zippy pouch with it, paired with some lovely Liberty lawn from my stash, and a while ago I gauged opinions on FB and Instagram about the best partnership of fabrics: Velveteen choices

A lot of people went with the bottom right choice, which all you experts will recognise as Ianthe (E). It is gorgeous, but I have to confess that the seventies child in me was more taken with the top right selection, the awesome paisley print called Karm (B) (which is a variation of another Liberty print called Mark – see what they did there?). There’s something about velvety fabric plus paisley that says Jimi Hendrix to me, and that is *always* a good thing.

The zippy pouch has yet to appear, but the velveteen and a piece of Karm have been sitting, looking gorgeous together, on my shelf for about a month now, and I couldn’t resist them any longer. Here’s what I threw together on Monday morning:

Flower Power scarf

A funky (and Glam with a capital G!) but very simple scarf/wrap to keep me cosy and to cheer me on these wet, (very) cold mornings of an English winter.

If you’d like to have a go – it’s so easy. You need a 30cm or 12 inch length of velveteen from Dragonfly (happy news – they will cut exactly 0.3m for you, and it’s just £4.47) and a similar length piece of Liberty (you can always ask me if I have a piece in stock, although I can’t always guarantee it!). The velveteen in 135cm wide and the Liberty is helpfully just 1cm wider, so all you need to do is trim a little bit off the Liberty, then pin the 2 strips wrong sides together. Stitch all round with a 3/8inch or 1cm seam, leavning a 6inch or 15cm gap in one of the long edges – make sure you reverse stitch at either end of this turning gap to stop the stitching unravelling when you turn the scarf through. I like to curve my seam line round the corners (rather than make right angles), but it’s not essential. One problem you might encounter is that the velveteen and Liberty become misaligned as you sew, because of the nap of the velveteen – you can solve this problem by using a walking foot, if you have one. Finally, turn the scarf through, press (NOT on the velveteen side!), and then stitch up the turning gap with a ladder stitch. And that’s it – my version looks great with my bargain eBay coat!


I’ve been looking at combinations…

Velveteen & Liberty combos

Velveteen & Liberty combos 2

And there’s loads more you could try. And now I’ve started thinking of a cute skirt with Liberty-trimmed pockets… what would you make with these gorgeous fabrics?