In a couple of days, it will be December which means: the Christmas season is almost here and there are so many things to do!
Besides the fall season, the holiday season is my favorite. I love the decorations, music, the cookies and everything about the season. For the last couple of weeks between my study sessions (its finals season) I have managed to squeeze in the time to bake and decorate!

Here at the Sewcialists it’s the Giving Challenge month and we’ve been having lots of discussion about Sewing and Giving Back and all the different ways we can do that. We’ve seen all kinds of amazing sewing ideas: sewing for people who need special items to help them heal from life threatening illnesses, cozy blankets and toys for animals waiting for adoption, warm winter garments for charities that help people stay warm; blankets and stuffies for children and other needed items made from fabric scraps saved from the landfill. The list is endless and the creativity limitless. There is always a need.

Today we’d like to highlight some of the non-sewing ways that our editors give back. And of course, we’d love to hear from you guys, too! Feel free to respond in the comments — how do you give back?

I got the opportunity to test the new Dionne Duster Cardigan from Sew Altered Style.  The pattern is described as follows:
The Dionne Duster is a perfect combination of comfort and drama. This duster-length cardigan completes any look and is great for fall or spring layering. Or make it sleeveless for a light summer layer. View A features dramatic balloon sleeves, a thick 2-inch band to finish the front, and generous slash pockets. View B has a narrower front band perfect for a button closure. Both views come with 3 lengths and multiple sleeve options. All views come in sizes 00-30, with the choice of either an A/B cup or C/D cup front bodice piece.

The pink version was a muslin of the view B cropped cardigan that I made from a 1½ yard cut of what seems to be double brushed poly that was part of a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart.  I used the C/D front and so the... [read more]

When we sew for others, we don’t just give them unique hand made items, we give them our time, thoughts, effort and love. And if, like me, you have a tendency to sew tired and get multiple sewing related injuries or have pets that enjoy sleeping on the WIPs, then your (and your pets’) literal DNA is entwined within the gift you have made for someone. On so many levels, you aren’t giving just the physical gift, you are giving a little part of yourself.

My first handmade presents as an adult (I made some pretty awesome art as a kid) were made when I was a very poor University student. I am talking “scavenging the shared house for food no one else would eat because it was out of date or mouldy, and down to the last pennies of my overdraft” poor. I scoured charity shops in the beautiful city of Norwich and bought fabric that I hope my sister... [read more]

PHP is still one of the most popular languages used to build the web. The newest version, PHP 7.4, was released today — and Business and eCommerce plan customers can opt to start using it immediately. sites run PHP 7.3 by default — it’s still our recommended version, since it’s been stress-tested across all of — but if you have a site on the Business or eCommerce plan and want to be on the leading technological edge, you can opt to switch to version 7.4 immediately.

Head to My Site > Manage > Hosting Configuration to find the new PHP Version Switcher:

Choose which version of PHP you want your site to run on, click the “Update PHP version” button, and voilà.

(Note: All sites with eCommerce plans can make the switch right now. Sites on the Business plan need to have either an active plugin... [read more]

It's a holiday week in the US, and while it's got a shopping day in it, I would like to give you a present.
Please, enjoy this other person's blog, specifically:

It's an avalanche of photos of mosaics concerning William Blake, but it's mostly a fine fine exhibition of art in an unlikely location. Just the kind of art I adore.
Photo by the gentle author of Spitalsfields Life

And generally,

And in honor of promotional sales events 

and the machine in action
Faux Fur Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

Pattern: Tamarack Jacket by Grainline Studio

Sewing time taken (excluding cutting out): 4 hours

Fabric: Faux fur from Samuel Taylors / Sew Up North 2018

Faux Fur Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

This faux fur Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket was a long time coming. I first decided to make a Tamarack in faux fur in November 2015, after seeing a RTW faux fur jacket in a similar shape. It then took me until 2018 to spot a faux fur fabric I liked enough to buy it – in Samuel Taylors, Leeds during the 2018 Sew Up North meet-up.

Faux Fur Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

I cut out all of the pattern pieces for this jacket (including interfacing and lining) last winter but didn’t find the time to sew it. A few weeks ago I plucked the pattern pieces out of my unfinished objects basket and after around four hours sewing time I finally had a finished jacket. Further evidence that sewing only makes up a small part of many sewing... [read more]

We're nearing the end of the year, and I have about fifteen things I've sewn and haven't blogged about. So there may be some doubling up moving forward! Today, I've got a scrap-busting sweatshirt and some more Ginger Jeans.

The Geodesic Sweater is a pattern from Blueprints for Sewing. I'm not familiar with this company at all, but I've seen this top floating around Instagram. I decided to grab it from IndieSew during their final days of selling patterns (sob!!). I have to say, I was impressed with the pattern itself. The directions were thorough, including detailed steps for grading out at the hips and maintaining the right shapes (which I needed). There was a page with outlines that you could print and color to plan your top. The PDF went together quickly and the directions were great. One tiny gripe is that the seam allowance was only 1/4". Not a lot... [read more]
My favorite: a pattern round-up! I wanted to get this to you so you could start planning and plotting about what you might make for Sew Twists and Ties!

Read more »

Can I be upfront and honest here? My reason to start sewing for charity wasn’t that I was feeling particularly philanthropic, but since I have found out more about different charities and the kinds of home-sewn items they request, I’ve found myself trying to do more on the sewing to give side.

My sewing has been generally a selfish pursuit, besides the odd “can you act as my local dry cleaner and do my alterations please” type requests from the family. It was an initial desire to not waste anything that made me look at quilting and charity in the first place. As a garment sewist, quilting is never something I thought I’d ever do, until one day I was cleaning out my stash and realised I had a TON of offcuts and scraps I’d collected over the years. A lot of them were wovens and I didn’t really think about making... [read more]

I've been hinting at it for a little while now, but I'm so happy to announce that I'll be hosting the Sew Twists and Ties again this winter!

Read more »

We surprised the kids with a trip to Legoland this summer I wanted to add an additional surprise to make them dress properly for the occasion. On the second day of our Legoland stay the kids took on the park in colourful attire and received plenty of attention. I did not wear any of my Lego-shirts in the park (the jersey was too thick for the heat we had).

Two kids dressed as kids

Legoland is not that big and the two days we spent there were more than enough. The rides were just big and scary enough for the two kids (ages 6&9) and not too childish for us adults. My favourite ride was the pirate boats where all riders and spectators could shoot water at each and getting soaked was quite nice in the 30-ish degree weather we had. Plus the attention to Lego details is so good, I was really impressed. Big Lego-blocks outside, Lego-decorations in the hotel room... [read more]

I made a super easy, simple skirt to attend a wedding.  Only three steps: measure some 2" wide elastic for my waist and sew it together to create an elastic circle. Sew a side seam up the fabric to create a tube of fabric. And to finish, stretch the elastic as I sew it onto the fabric.  No hem required.  One elastic-waisted skirt all finished. 

But it is the fantastic, hand-printed fabric that makes this skirt anything but simple.  Look at this sumptuous, hand-printed gold leaf border!

I loved wearing it to the winter wedding.
The person who took this photo was tall, so
puts the gold border in the shadows, but it's
the only photo I have of the skirt on the day!

Unfortunately, I cannot remember where I bought the fabric panel from. I have been googling it, going through old receipts, but I can't find it. I do remember seeing it on instagram stories well over a year ago, and I bought it immediately.  The panel of fabric was £60 at the time.

I just can't get enough of shirt dresses this fall. They are all variations based on the Kalle Shirt Dress pattern. 

The inspiration for this one was the Ace and Jig.

I would LOOOVE to get some gorgeous hand-loomed textiles like the ones Ace and Jig are famous for... but the best I could come up with was this lovely stripe from It is a soft, smooth yarn-dye linen, and the stripes are actually blue and black but the overall effect is a wide stripe. 

One of the things I love about the inspiration dress is how full and swing-y it is. I started with the Kalle shirt dress pattern, but I made quite a few changes. 

I added about 3 inches to each of the fronts to create pleats, and added an extra inch or so to the pleats in the back. I also added an inch or two to the back band, and extra to the side panels. I extended the back yoke... [read more]

Let me just tell you about this! Earlier in the year I got an email or saw an ad or something that told me that the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo would be close to my house. I am pretty sure it’s been coming to Novi Michigan for a long time but I wasn’t paying much attention.

This year I had certain things I was interested in learning about and so I waited impatiently for the class list and registration to be available.

I wanted to learn more about fitting and pattern alteration so when the class list became available that’s where I went first. Of course there were a lot of other classes I wanted to take too but I couldn’t fit them all into the three day schedule.

I took a total of 10 classes over the three days. Some were just one hour lectures and a few were more hands on. In those 10 classes I had only 4 teachers though which ended up to be a great... [read more]

I think this is the fastest turnaround I've ever had between receiving a Burda magazine and sewing something from that issue. This easy tee is #115 from the October issue of this year! I traced it off last week, simple since there are only 3 pieces, and sewed it up from a piece of lightweight knit in my stash that I wasn't sure what to do with.

I only bought the fabric because I thought the print was faintly Egyptian in tone - those leaf shapes or something about it caught my eye. But then I found it also matched a fabulous painting that's on show at my library right now ;)  (artist is Kevin Kemp)

I wasn't 100% sure that I'd like this top, since the front is much shorter than the back, and I don't often like to highlight that area of my body. But once I put it on I realized it was fine, and the shape is really a nice flow from front to back. I did add 1.5" to... [read more]

Much of this month’s challenge is about sewing for others–whether you know and love them, or whether you are donating sewn items for people you have never met.

However, it’s not just about people! It’s also about our furry companions (#dogsarethebestpeople) and showing our love for them with handmade items too.

Here’s a quick round up from our recent call-out:

Jamie: Sewing for Sally the Greyhound

This past April, my husband and I adopted our first dog, a greyhound named Sally. Since this breed gets cold very easily, I knew I wanted to make her clothes to keep her warm and cozy (and stylish, let’s be honest). Greyhounds’ bodies aren’t shaped like other dogs (little heads, long necks, barrel chests, little waists), so it’s not easy for me as a kind of new sewist to hack most dog patterns to fit her.

A greyhound dog standing in a house wearing a fleecy blue sweater with a funnel collar.

I got this greyhound... [read more]

Busy Days Planner 2020 Review

Sometime last week I realised that I hadn’t bought a planner for next year yet. You might remember that I’m a big fan of the…

The post Busy Days Planner 2020 Review appeared first on Thimble End.


Just been to hand off all the panto costumes ready for the shows on Friday and Saturday, much bagging and organising.  Everything’s got a laminated tag on the hanger stating what’s there, and how it has to be returned so I can sell off as much as possible…plus death threats if anyone even THINKS of smoking in costume!

There will be lots of pics and a final summing up very soon I promise, but meanwhile here’s a pic of some of the cast when they went out selling tickets and doing a bit of PR in the Gay Village, and the absolute final costume I made, a little sailor suit for Jim Hawkins.

While I’m here, here are some of the pics you’ve seen before, just to keep you interested!

Seeya soon!



Looking for a great way to celebrate the joys of a handmade holiday? I made these fun and cheeky laser-cut ornaments with a focus on sewing. Show your passion for your craft with these fun and whimsical ornaments. Each ornament is laser-cut from 1/4 in. craft wood and hangs from a ribbon. 

Sewing Machine to embellish it with your favorite fabric

"Roll with it" Rotary Cutter

Zipper with scissors

Shirt pattern with scissors

Dress with Pockets with scissors

Hem your own pants with

Each ornament varies in size use this 1-inch grid for reference.

Now available in my etsy store.

Happy Sewing,

I’ve finally added a pair of plaid pants to my fall wardrobe. My inspiration was the newly released McCalls 8006 pattern with a pair of plaid trousers featured on the front. The plaid plus the trending high waist and sash belt looks like a perfect pairing. When I found the plaid viscose from The Fabric … Continue reading Plaid Trousers for Fall

The Donovan skirt by Helen’s Closet is a beginner skirt pattern with an elastic waist and big pockets. It comes in two lengths: above the knee and midi.

The size of the pattern ranges from 0 – 30 or 24 inch waist to 48 inch waist and 33 inch hips to 58 inch hips.

What are your measurements, height, and body type?

My measurements are 48 inch waist and 56 inch hips. I don’t do body types.

What size did you make?

I made a straight size 28 since my hips are 56 inches and I knew that the elastic at the waist could be adjusted for a smaller size, if needed. The instructions also tell you to pick a size based on your hips. Where the skirt waist hits, I am actually 46 inches so I figured it wouldn’t be an issue to choose size 28 rather than size 30 based on my waist measurement.

What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?

I made no... [read more]

I loved the tropical Zadie jumpsuit I made earlier this year so much... I wore that jumpsuit weekly (and sometimes more frequently) all summer. It was high time I made another jumpsuit or another variation on the Zadie pattern!
Read more »

When my daughter told me she was short of trousers for her almost two-month-old baby, I immediately said I would fix that. They were leaving for Turkey in a week, where the baby would meet his Turkish grandparents for the first time. Many clothes are needed 🙂

I have a trunk full of knit scraps so I knew it would be great to use those, and I also had some spare time. What a perfect time to sew some speedy makes. Now, I’m a real batch sewer. When I start a project and I like it, I can’t stop; that’s part of my learning process. So I kept on going making baby pants and hats.

Baby  boy lying on his back, reaching towards the camera
My grandson with the denim harem pants I made for him from an off cut of my jeans.
Baby pant leg pattern laid out on part of the leg of an adult pair of jeans
Here I show you how you can make pants from the off cuts from jeans. The inner seam becomes the middle seam. All you need is some ribbing for the waistband and optional... [read more]
Who wants a little teepee? Sorry, let me rephrase that - who doesn't want a little teepee? I made one for Freya's first birthday, and seriously wanted to steal it and call it my own. 

Now you can make your own, too! 
DIY teepee tutorial cotton canvas-1

DIY teepee tutorial cotton canvas-2

DIY teepee tutorial cotton canvas-3
Check out my step-by-step tutorial with pattern template on the Minerva blog - can't wait to see your own versions! 

P.S. I can confirm that it fits a petite adult (me) with room to spare. 
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