Makegood Festival #2

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

18 June 2014

When I spent the day at Makegood, I spoke to so many lovely makers and creatives! I've just finished writing up my article for our August issue (on sale 17th July) and I still had so many lovely images and interviews left over, that I thought I'd share with you all here! 

Over the course of the day at Makegood, I was finding it increasingly difficult to choose which stand to look at, who to talk to and what (not!) to buy! The endless stream of makers, creators and visitors just shows what a super successful enterprise Doug Richard has organised. Everyone we spoke to had nothing but praise for Doug and his School for Creative Startups, citing the community vibe as the biggest inspiration. Michelle Kent, the creative genius behind Suitcase Susie, told me that everyone on the course would pool ideas, inspirations and business plans, "even though our concepts were so different. We all helped each other out, sometimes visiting suppliers together or buying trips. I'm sure we'll keep this network going now the course has finished." Michelle had been selling her ceramics at markets for a few years before she encountered S4CS, but she was still finding herself hitting walls. "The school helped me flatten the kinks and organise my ideas. No matter what stage you're at, there are always issues that need dealing with, even in established businesses!"



Our next stop is Fable & Base, a sustainable design-led textiles house. Having grown up on a farm, founder and designer Francesca Baur strongly advocates organic products and sustainable living: “the products all made-to-order to minimize waste, using high-quality textiles -  including hemp and British wool.” Her graphic floral designs are stunning, and printed locally, she tells me. “I want to offer a creative hub for the community. I’m a teacher too, so I’d like to offer workshops as well as workspace for other artists.”

Fable & Base1

Fable & Base

I spied some colour-pop shawls on a nearby stand, and went dashing over to have a closer look. Helen Stewart is the creator of Curious Handmade, she creates and sells knitting patterns that will "soothe away fretful days without having to concentrate on mysterious instructions that leave you tense and dissatisfied." Each pattern is simple to read and "give you percentages to show how far you've got, so no matter how many interruptions you get you won't get tangled up!"

Curious Handmade

Curious Handmade 1

Just before we left, Katie Henry's Art in Offices stand caught my eye, with it's multitude of arty books piled up around her. Her company sells or rents out great artworks to offices and homes to fill up empty space. "Doug was my first customer, so he's really my lucky charm!" Katie describes the course itself as "liberating and empowering: teaches you marketing skills, bragging rights and how to get rid of time wasters!" Not wanting to find out how she does that, we make a swift exit..



My full article will be in the August issue of Making (on sale 17th July). It's a lovely mag, filled with a beautiful bunch of projects, PLUS it's our 50th issue!! We're celebrating in a BIG way, so keep your eyes peeled for more details..

Images courtesy of Callum Dickson.



National Sewing Machine Day!

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

13 June 2014

In honour of National Sewing Machine Day, I thought I’d share with you my absolute favourite sewing blogs!
(It may be worth noting, I’ve only ever sewn a scarf…last week! But I dream of being as talented as this lot) 





Community is the main aim of this: getting together and sharing ideas and tips for a beautiful bright new future…or dress! Sarai Mitnick, author of The Collette Sewing Book, and her collection of stitchers are on hand to help you through any problem – day or night.

Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing 


With her fuschia hair and 50’s styling, Gertie shows you how to make beautiful clothes in simple terms! She’s recently started her own YouTube Channel, subscribe here so you don’t miss out on her fabulous how-to videos!

By Hand London


We love the By Hand London girls, and their blog is as super as their patterns! Filled with pattern hacks, tutorials and DIY ideas – bookmark it quick.

A Fashionable Stitch


Sunni, the genius behind A Fashionable Stitch doesn’t just offer tonnes of tips, tricks and tutorials – she has a online store brimming with fabrics and ribbons aplenty!

The Liberty Craft Blog


It's not just dressmakers that makes my list though. The fabrics of Liberty are renowned, and their blog is almost as good! With pages and pages of tutorials and inspiration, it's guarenteed to motivate you to update your home (and rush out to their haberdashery!)

The Sewing Directory


This really should be in your favourites already. It is a sewing bible: with lists of workshops, fabric suppliers and tutorials galore, it also lets you know the latest fabric sales (uhoh!) pages of inspiration and projects to work on.

Throw _1798

And now that you've caught the sewing bug, look out for the July issue of Making as we show you how to make this beautiful, reversible linen throw.

MM49 FB CoverOut next Thursday, 19th June!

MakeGood Festival

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

6 June 2014


Last Friday, Sophie, Callum (photographer) and I sped up the the big smoke to see this years uber talented graduates from the School for Creative Start Ups. The festival, at the Old Selfridges Hotel, was brilliant! Rooms and rooms filled with gorgeous fabrics, beatiful ceramics and scrummy cakes. That's all I'm going to tell you for now (look out for an article in August's Making!) and instead, show you a few sneak peeks at our day..



Makegood - Paper

Stationery is a girls best friend?

Makegood - Cards

Oh la la indeed!

Makegood - Embroidery

A very Making idea!

Makegood - Milinary

I'd be as happy as they are in hats like those!

Makegood - Tilly

I had a lovely chat with Miss Tilly - when I could get through the scrum!

Makegood - Howl

The lovely Howl-ers kept us going with freshly brewed coffee.

Makegood - Sewing

That's not panic on my face...! (thanks again to Tamasin for her patience!)

Makegood - Brighton

Keep your eyes peeled for these guys wheeling their way through festivals near you!

That's all folks! My article all about these lovely people will be out in the August issue of Making (on sale 17th July!) 

Images courtesy of Callum Dickson.




Me Made May

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

2 June 2014


Me Made May is the brainchild of Zoe Edwards, author of So, Zo...What Do You Know?, and has gone from strength to strength since the original challenge in March 2010. It began as her own sewing challenge: "I'd been sewing clothes for a couple of years and my passion for doing so was really stepping up as I began to see it as part of living a more self-sufficient life." She then repeated it in May of that year, and was blown away by the number of people wanting to take part! For Zoe, it's the community aspect of the project that she loves best: "I get many people emailing or messaging me saying that their self-confidence and body image has improved because of taking part, or that they have met some really awesome new 'e-friends' through the community element of the challenge, which has enriched their lives."

Fabric Brooch Mmm 14Image courtesy of MiyDiy

What is MMM'14?

Me-Made-May'14 (MMM'14 for short) is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to actually wear and love them The me-made and self-stitched challenges have been taking place for over four years now and they work on both a personal and community level. The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge pledge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them. A very common pledge is for a participant to aim to wear one self-stitched or refashioned garment each day for the duration of May 2014. The participants can also choose to document their challenge with daily photos (though this is in no way compulsory for taking part) and share them with other participants.

What isn't MMM'14? 

  • The Me-Made-May challenges are NOT all about taking daily outfit photographs. However, many participants do choose to document their challenge with daily/weekly/as-often-as-you-like photos and share them on their blog if they have one or on Flickr if they are a member. The challenge is about wearing your handmade clothing more often than you usually do, if you choose to take documentation photos, then that is fabulous and we'd love to see 'em, but taking photos isn't necessary or compulsory and really isn't the point of the challenge. 
  • MMM'14 also isn't reason to panic-sew/knit/crochet/refashion etc. This challenge is about wearing the items that you have already created, not about stock-piling more makes. However, if you want to use taking part in MMM'14 as the kick in the butt you need to finally hem that half-finished skirt, or rework an ill-fitting garment, then great. Remember, this challenge is meant to be fun, and panic-anything isn't fun! 
  • A competition. It doesn't matter how many self-stitched items you already have or haven't. You can take part even if you just have one solitary self-made item! You just need to set your pledge to make it challenging for YOU, no matter what criteria other participants have set themselves. 
    Courtesy of Zoe's blog.

Now that it's over (I missed the bandwagon in April - sorry guys!) here are a few of my favourites. Perhaps they'll give you some inspiration for the next Me Made May!! 

Mmm 14 Avonlea

Image courtesy of Dreaming of Avonlea

Mmm 14 Assorti

Image courtesy of Mademoiselle Assorti

Mmm 14 Jennifer Lauren

Image courtesy of Jennifer Lauren Vintage

Mmm 14 Day 31 Pinterest

Image courtesy of Pinterest user YoSaMi

 Mmm 14 Fancy Frugality

Image courtest of Fancy Frugality

Mmm 14 Carlotta

Image courtesy of Pinterest user Carlotta Stermaria

This is our contribution, a vintage inspired crafting dress! Find out how to make it in this months Making.

Dress _7872 (1)

Did you get involved in Me Made May 2014? If so, please send us your photos/a link to your blog.

Delicious Delicious Delicious!

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

16 May 2014







prty spoons
The Real Welsh Love Spoon

Tell us about your craft & how you got started?

I have loved baking ever since I took it up as a student. I could lie, and tell you it was because I find messing around with flour and eggs helps me to unwind, but I would scarcely be telling the truth. I do it because I love sweet things!

How do you find inspiration for new projects?

Travelling, and reading. I’ve recently been spending time in Finland because of work, and am loving the cinnamon/cardamom combination that is so prevalent in all of the sweet breads you find there. I’m currently reading ‘The Help’, which is very famously set in the Deep South of the US. I haven’t been there (yet!), but am feeling very inspired to try whipping up a pumpkin pie and a glass or two of sweet tea in lieu of 11 hours on a plane.

icecreamMascapone Ice Cream

Where did the idea of the blog come from?

I felt like my job didn’t offer me a creative outlet; I missed writing and I had lots of free time on my hands. I liked baking and decided just to try starting a blog. I certainly never envisaged it becoming what it is now. My writing style has really changed, as has the look of the site. I prefer shorter posts these days, and less photos. Maybe I am getting lazy as I grow older!

How have you built it up to be the successful and popular blog it is today?

I honestly do not know. I have just kept at it. People email me and tell me that they love the way I write. They say I make them laugh and that feel like they know me through reading my little witterings. Obviously, that it not what appeals to every single reader, but I hope it’s what most of my audience keeps coming back for. I doubt it’s for my photos, since most of them are terrible!

What advice or tips would you give anyone planning to start a craft blog?

Be unique, and be yourself. You aren’t trying to compete with anyone. Write about what you want to. Swear if you want to. A blog is a personal space. Don’t worry about what people might think. Don’t look on blogging as an obligaton. If you fancy a break, or don’t feel inspired to write every week, take the time out you need. It’s for fun after all!

mcaroonsMango & Jasmine Macarons

What so far has been your biggest achievement?

I would love to say the award from Channel 4, or being asked to do other pieces of writing, because those things made me very proud. But, honestly, the best part of all this is the emails from readers. I had one last year from two baking-novice sisters in Australia who made one of my cakes for their mother as a birthday surprise. They said she was so happy she cried, and that they had a great time making the cake and icing. It made me so happy to see people getting pleasure from my blog, I was showing people the email for days!

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Coming up with fresh ideas for my annual ‘Re-Inventing the Lamington’ feature. I was tempted to stop doing it, but my readers didn’t like the suggestion!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t dream it. Be it. (I’m a big Rocky Horror fan!)

lamingtonWhite Chocolate and Pomegranate Cream Lamingtons


All images from Peter's blog:

Read more tips and advice from the best craft bloggers around in the next issue of Making, out 22nd May!

MM48 Cover

Brighten up your bedroom

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

30 April 2014


My bedroom is looking rather shabby around the edges, and to top it all of, my wardrobe collapsed this morning! It's safe to say, it's in desperate need of some creative TLC! Before my bedroom and I fall out completely, I've trawled the internet (ie Pinterest!) for inspiration to make the whole room sparkle (or look like the room below..!)  

Blue Room

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Fix a brightly painted ladder to the wall...and your done - it really is that simple (&stylish)!!!
Image courtesy of Pinterest.


Alternatively, use a pole or branch hung from the ceiling for a statement rail.
Click here for tutorial.


This is such a lovely idea - and much better value than a traditional inlay dresser!
Click here for tutorial.

Books headboard

I absolutely love this as an interesting headboard project - but I'm not sure I would be happy destryoing the books!!
Image courtesy of Pinterest


This walk-in bookcase is definitely more book-friendly! (But what about my clothes?!)
Image courtesy of Pinterest


I love this ever so quirky project. And it looks like a very stable wardrobe!!
Image courtesy of Pinterest

Hangers Main _6888

Have you seen these crochet hangers in this months Making? It's in the shops now - so grab a copy! 



A fresh take on old favourites

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

24 April 2014

Our new issue hits the shelves today, and inside you will find 22 pretty projects to help you fall in love with you home again.
So, to celebrate this, I've searched the internet to bring you the best 'upcycling' projects out there!




Transform a simple sweater with this easy 'done-in-an-afternoon' project.
Click here for tutorial.


An ingenious way to display your wares; at home or at fairs! 
Click here for tutorial.

Necklace (2)

Make a statement with nail varnish and a junk-shop necklace.
Click here for tutorial.


Spruce up your worn leather bags for Spring.
Click here for tutorial.


The effect of this revamp is amazing, and yet you need little more than old newspapers and glue!
Click here for tutorial. 

Sunny -yellow

Brighten up a boring filing cabinet with bold paint and patterned fabric.
Click here for tutorial.

I also fell in love with these simple ideas...


Image 1: Jewellery holder
Image 2: Sewing jar


Image 1: Washi tape stool
Image 2: Lightbulb vase


Grab your copy of Making today!! (Comes with FREE kids crafting magazine!)

MM47 Cover


The Sewing Bee Finals!

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

9 April 2014


After 8 weeks of tears, trimmings and taffeta, we've made it to the final. May and Patrick have left no technique untested, nor any fabric unfiddled this season; each week asking the contestants to jump through higher and higher hoops! But for the grand final, there is only one thing sufficiantly spectacular: Couture.


finalistsImage courtesy of Facebook

Challenege 1: The unseen pattern 

Handsewing seems to strike fear into even the hardiest of stitchers; Chinelo's normally smiley face was grave as she sat down to her machine. Neither Tamara nor Heather looked any chirpier, and when they discovered the intricate silk tie pattern provided, silence desended. Chinelo, consistantly competent and confidently calm, fell apart: her point was not pointy, her  hems were unhemmed and her sewing was non-existant! It's no surprise she came 3rd, but it is a shame. Heather kept her head above water - just! - and produced a passable tie, in a really lovely fabric, her handstitched hem was her only downfall. Tamara impressed the judges with her 'very wearable' stripey silk number: her tipping was impecable and her pattern matching was faultless! Well done Tamara, off to a super start. 

tamara tieImage courtesy of Facebook

Challenge 2: Alteration 

For the grand final, the alteration challenge could be no mere t-shirt project! No, instead the girls are presented with a collection of wedding dresses and told to 'make something lovely' for a child. Gulp! A scary prospect for Heather, who willingly admits to despising this task each week - especially when facing the two champions of alteration: Chinelo & Tamara are always neck and neck. Tamara, as always, illustrated her ambitious ideas but didn't have the time to turn them into reality - her handstitched tulle sleeves suffered in the last few moments. Heather's simple bridesmade dress used the fabric weight beautifully, but time ran away from her too! Despite professing she didn't like children, Chinelo produced the cutest, sweetest, loveliest little dress I've ever seen! The cap sleeves and the rolled hems had the judges in the palm of her hand - a well deserved win for Chinelo. It really is all to play for now! 

weddingdressImage courtesy of Facebook

Challenege 3: Bespoke

The Big One.

For once the judges are kind, and surprise the contestants with their new models...better known as their best friends! Big hugs and a few tears before they get down to business ('I'm not being rude if I don't talk - I'm busy.' Quite right Tamara!) Each design is strikingly different, but immediately identifiable. Heather's elegant red and black number is personalised with her horse-y chain-link back, and the removable bustle turns it into a show-stopper. Chinelo's form-fitting (so fitting, she'd used her friends measurements....before the surprise was revealed!) peplum gown was intricately decorated with 'invisible' mesh and jewelled flowers. Tamara's couture gown echoed her fabulous neopreen prom dress in it's bold and bright design (as well as echoing Patrick's 80's childhood!).

FriendsImage courtesy of Twitter

The results


heather winImage courtesy of Twitter

Congratulations to Heather and her gorgeous gown. She had gone to great pains to push herself this week - and boy, did she?! Her bustle was genius - who doesn't want to waft around in an 18th gown, before whipping it off Bucks Fizz style for a night on the tiles?! The sun-ray bodice was also a triumph, with every fold delicately sewn and secured. Well done Heather, and well done to the pin-dog (who certainly deserves half the praise!) 

Chinelo wowed everyone, again, with her self-drawn pattern and figure hugging haute-couture gown. The peplum, which was so carefully created with its 7 different layers of organza, was thought to be 'too heavy' with the rest of the delicate dress. I feel the judges were being particularly picky with this one - over and over again Chinelo produced wonderous feats of design and sewing without the praise she deserved. I am sad to say, she fell short of the judges (clearly very high!) standards and came a solid second overall. I am pleased to announce, however, she will be hosting her own sewing classes at Fabric Rehab's new sewing school: The Cloth Clinic

Tamara's unique creation, unfortunately, didn't win the judges over. May was distraught at the loss of the crystal organza (I agreed with T - it was far too much with the rest of the dress...but could she have made it into a petticoat?) and both were disappointed with the use of a glue gun. So despite her consistancy throughout the competition, Tamara fell at the final hurdle, letting the pressure and timings get the better of her. Best of luck T - I loved all of your outfits!! (Fingers crossed for a Tamara's Trimmings Tutorial soon!)

And now it's over. Are you bereft already? Was Heather a worthy winner?
Please send me your thoughts about the past 8 weeks! 

heather claudiaImage courtesy of Facebook

In Making..

In next month's Making, we're lucky enough to have an interview with last years contestant, Tilly Walnes!! With the forthcoming release of her new book, Love at First Stitch, she chats to us about everything from celluloid to ripping seams... 

Book Cover (2)

We've also had a go at our own alteration challenge - just minus the over-bearing judges!

The next issue hits the shelves on 24th April, so don't miss out!! 

coming next

Sewing Bee - the semi-finals!!!

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

4 April 2014


Oh-er! It's all getting a bit tense now, isnt it?! And since David's gone, the lovely Claudia is running out of fellow trouble least she has Lynda and her pin box!

Challenge 1: the unseen pattern...without the pattern!

I say it every week, but the judges really did concoct a nasty challenge this week! With drapery and pins aplenty, but no pattern to rely on, the remaining contestants looked more than a little scared. Despite starting out with a strong plan, Tamara fell slightly short of her grand 'picnic dress' vdesign, while Heather and her trusty pin-dog rushed to finish a very lovely draped neck dress. Chinelo suffered from Patrick's quick tongue, but created yet another stunner of an outfit. Despite claiming to 'wing it' all the way through, Lynda's maxi was a brilliant example of patternless sewing. I must say, Claudia's little excursions into history are getting better each week! But I am a sucker for a bit of bias cut silk!

 Vionnet (1)
Image: Vanity Fair

Challenge 2: the alteration task

I cannot sew. I mean, a button is doable and I could stretch to a hem on a good day, but otherwise I'm in the dark. (This is aspirational viewing for me!) Saying that, it seems no matter how knowledgable one is with a needle, sleeves are a tough one! The tension defintiely escalated in thay sewing room as everyone fiddled and fussed with their shoulders and seams. Poor Lynda floundered after such a great first round, and sadly, Tamara's dinky capped sleeves also failed to wow May & Patrick. Heather (& her pin dog!) presented a very professional pair of sleeves, but it was Chinelo's show stoppers that won the afternoon - both in technique and height!

Image: Facebook

Sleeve 12
Check out last year's contestant, Tilly Walnes blog - and her fab sewing-lite tutorial on sleeves!

Challenge 3: the bespoke garment 

The last challenge of the semi-finals had to be a good one, and recreating a treasured item is definitely a teaser of a test! No pattern and no guidance other than the pre-made garment in front of them..eek! Lynda fell apart pretty early on with her fabric disaster (what that disaster was though, I'm still baffled - I must have been making a tea, so answers on a postcard please!) Heather's simple shift was elegant enough but not as well fitted as M&P demand. Chinelo's party dress was, as Patrick decreed, 'better than the original!' Tamara's yoga outfit was a unique, yet potentially foolhardy, choice..but it paid off! For the first time in a good few weeks she nabbed garment of the week with her multi-coloured, multi-fabric sweat top & pants. 

Winner (1)
Image: Facebook

The loveable Lynda was tearfully waved off thisweek and she will be sorely missed! (I think this was a very controversial choice - and I've seen on facebook that many other viewers agree. I don't believe Heather had done enough to stay in. But, that is why I am a mere blogger and not a talented tailor on Saville Row!!)

Image: Facebook

What did you think about this weeks episode? Who do you think is going to come out victorious in the final show-down? 

Tune in next Tuesday for the couture-filled final! BBC2, 8pm. 

Top (1)

If you fancy trying out some 1930's drapery, take a look at our pretty peplum top pattern here, from April's Making.



Great British Sewing Bee Quarter-finals!

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

31 March 2014


Now that we've reached the quarter-finals things are getting even trickier for the contestants! This time they're sent back to the 1930's with their vintage Singers and even more basic patterns! 

Challenge 1:

Although Heather and Lynda seemed to light up at the opportunity to work on a 'rustic' retro machine, everyone's face fell at the prospect of retro patterns. (Especially poor David's - who freely admitted he'd never worn or worked on a silky blouse before!!) Without the hints, tips and guidelines that litter modern dress patterns, the contestants were left slightly in the dark with mere pin holes and slashes in the template. Unusually Tamara struggled with her collar, despite choosing a lovely fabric, while Lynda 'talked a bit too much' rather than focusing on the job in hand! Chinelo's stunning blue faire was piped to the post by Heather's pale floral number. Heathersewing
Image: Facebook


This Liberty fabric would make a wonderful 1930's ladies blouse.
(Ombrellino B, crepe de chine, £45 p/m)

Challenge 2:

I say this each week, but the judges are definitely choosing some mean ol' alteration tasks for the sewers. This time they had to transform an old men's suit into something faaahbulous! And all without the haberdashery too! Tamara found herself at the bottom of the pile with her backless tuxedo-top, while Lynda's perfect pinafore won my vote. Heather and David hovered in the middle of the pack with their designs, while Chinelo wowed all with her incredible pencil dress transformation!

Challenge 3:

The bespoke coat! All of the contestants had some truly beautiful designs, along with some fab fabrics. Poor Tamara struggled with hers coming apart as she worked, while Chinelo found she was a little too heavy handed with her lining! Heather's stunning red & black swing coat was practically perfect, unlike Lynda's who WON garment of the week for the 3rd time this season! I think she's turning out to be the one to beat (I know, I change my mind every Tuesday!!)


Image: Facebook

Despite David's pretty suave PC's coat, we have to say goodbye to him. It's a shame, considering how many ladies items have been thrown at him, he did incredibly well!! He's got a lucky wife at home.


Image: Facebook

Patrick Grants teams up with Singer for a 'once in a lifetime', 'money can't buy' competition!

Patrickgrantcomp (1)


Image: Singer

Singer Sewing Machines is teaming up with with Savile Row tailor and television personality Patrick Grant to offer anyone purchasing a new Singer machine the chance to win a place at an informal and fun half-day sewing session with the star at its London Sewing School.

Anyone purchasing a new Singer sewing machine from an authorised UK stockist between 1st April and 30th June 2014 will be able to enter the draw. There will be two separate days for the winner's sewing sessions, one on June 19th and the other on July 31st. Each of the days will be divided into a morning and afternoon session, with seven different winners attending each session.

“To make the sessions as accessible as possible to all levels of sewing experience, winners will be invited to customise a garment of their choice with support from our Singer sewing experts,” explains Singer’s Stephen Bogod. “Patrick will be on hand to chat and offer advice. At the end of the session he will go round and judge and give guidance on each of the projects.”

Purchasers will enter the draw via a special web page or via the Singer Facebook group. Once the winners' names have been drawn they will be asked to provide proof of purchase by way of the original receipt.

The winners for the session to be held on June 19th will be drawn from all entrants who have registered up until midday on Friday 30th May. The winners for the session to be held on July 31st will be drawn from all entrants who have registered after midday 30th May until midday on Friday 11th July at which point entry is closed.

Details, terms and conditions can be found at

Tune in Tuesday 1st April, BBC2 at 8pm for the semi-finals...with no patterns!! 

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