My New Favourite Thing #9 Sew Crafty Dressmaking Journal

After writing this post, I decided to have a notebook moratorium. Then this popped through the letterbox. The new Sew Crafty Dressmaking journal! Their general makers journal was so popular that they added two more to their collection; this dressmakers journal and a knitting and crochet journal.

It’s about A5 size so it fits in your bag and it’s spiral bound so it lies flat when you open it and if you stick swatches in it still closes. There’s space for over 20 projects in there. Each project has a planning section and review section.

Sew Crafty Dressmaking Journal

Each project takes up two double pages (a total of 4 A5 sides):

  1. Page 1 is titled Notes and is a page of lined paper.
  2. Page 2 has two mannequin outlines, presumably one for the front, one for the back. The beauty of the mannequin outlines is that they don’t have boobs drawn in so you could use them any way you want. I almost prefer these to the usual croquis style outline, those are usually way too thin and are an strange contorted positions.

    Pages 1 & 2
  3. Page 3 has a half page section for swatches. The other half of the page is for listing fabric and notion sources.

    Plenty of space for swatches and such
  4. Page 4 is for general information and review. There’s a space for a photo and pattern number. There are question sections (what went right/wrong, what would I do differently?)

    Evaluation time…’s like being at school again!

The only things I would change would to have page or project numbers and have an index. If you had multiple books on the go it may be difficult to find the project you’re looking for…. although it would be easy enough to do that yourself and have the index on the front page or inside cover.

I can see myself getting plenty of use from this and at £12.50 it’s very reasonably priced.


disclaimer:  the good folk at Sew Crafty provided the journal for review,  all opinions and crappy photography however are mine.

My New Favourite Thing #9 Sew Crafty Dressmaking Journal

James Bond Style Measuring

Since the demise of the Filofax, people tend not to carry rulers around with them anymore. Sad but true although even might think it odd if someone pulled a 30cm or even 15cm ruler out of their bag or pocket and got measuring in public.

But there has been many a time where I’ve been at the haberdashery  out and wished I had a little ruler with me. Well my friends, not anymore! I’ve found a ruler in disguise as a pencil, metric and imperial for all you stealth measuring needs. And it’s a full 15cm long…unsharpened! It would take a centimetre to get there.

Here you can see the imperial side too.
If it had a bottle opener it would be perfect

It can’t get any better…except it can! In spite of the cheapo looking box this would make a great gift for the James Bond wannabe (or baddie) in your life. It’s also perfect for “I got you a pressie, mum…o, you don’t like it…? That’s ok.”

According to the website it is

  • Stylish metal-cased multi-tool
  • Small and lightweight
  • Matt black finish
  • Flat-head and Philips head screwdrivers hidden in the end
  • Measure in either inches or cm
  • Black ball-point pen
  • Luminous green spirit level
  • Measures approx. 14cm x 1cm in diameter

It also has a touch screen stylus on the end and the pen ink is black not blue. It has a nice, comfortable weight in the hand when you write. My only concerns so far are:

  1. Can you get on an aeroplane with one without it being confiscated?
  2. I can’t tell if the rulers are etched or printed. Either way, how long would you be able to see the lines in an average handbag?
  3. It weighs 39g. For comparison the pencil is 8g, a frixion pen is 11g and a fancy rollerball is 28g.
  4. why is the spirit level so tiny!

But on the whole I love both these items….now I’m off to practice my stealth movesStudio_20160811_063212

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James Bond Style Measuring

Organising Your Feet

The Works always seem to have lovely wooden boxes in stock. I got this one there but could not for the life of me find a link to it.

In my excitement I put the masking tape on before taking a picture of the box naked

Anyway, I thought it would be the perfect size and shape to keep the most commonly used feet handy and close to the sewing machine. At the moment, all my feet are kept in a biscuit tin in a wardrobe all the way across the room. If I want to change feet I have to….dun dun duuuun…GET UP! O the horror!

So I got out my tin of trusty black board paint and got busy painting the lid (inside and out) and the tops of the inside dividers.

I give it two layers of paint and let it dry completely before priming the surface with some plain white chalk. I labelled the sections using normal chalk but I’m pretty sure I have a chalk pencil somewhere round here which would look a lot neater but this will do for now.

*sigh* no more getting up for feet!

The best bit? It’s just the right size to slide under the extension table…..aah, simple things!

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Organising Your Feet

Make your own pattern weights

If you like rotary cutting, tracing patterns, can’t use pins on your fabric, etc etc, you’ll know how vital pattern weights are. Usually I just reach for the closest heavy objects, books, scissors, cup of coffee (you can guess how that one ended). So I nipped into John Lewis to see what they had. Of course I left empty handed and decided to make my own instead. This is how to do it:

  • Rummage around in the garage. Look for something weighty and flat bottomed.  Failing that go to a DIY shop and see what they have there. Washers are popular and inexpensive (and can be painted up to look like biscuits). I found some square and rectangular washer type things.
    Expect the man in the shop to look at you funny as you attempt to explain what you’re looking for

    On their own they weren’t particularly heavy but remember, you can stack them to get the weight you want.

  • once you get home give them a good wash to get rid of any greasy bits or labels and allow to air dry.
  • stack them up and decide on how heavy you want them. At this point you can glue them together if you like.
  • I cover mine in Washi tape.
    Around the edges first

    I start by sticking a strip of tape around the edge to keep them together and then cover the remaining sections with more tape

    Fill in the rest
  • I use different tape for different weights. The lighter ones are best for tracing patterns onto paper and the heavier ones are best for cutting out fabric.

    Left- 82g; Middle- 152g; Right- 69g





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Make your own pattern weights

Life hack: loyalty cards

These days it’s seems like everyshop has some sort of loyalty card. It’s great for saving money but puts a real (literal) strain on your wallet. So I stole this idea off my friend Claire,  who saw it on pinterest.

you will need


  • A hole punch
  • the ring bit from a key ring
  • a stack of loyalty cards

All you have to do is punch a hole in the top corner of each card.

Try to get the holes in approximately the same place on each card

You want to avoid punching the magnetic strip or any chips or code numbers. You might end up doing some upside down or back to front but that’s no big deal. I like to organise mine in catagories to make them easier to find:

  • Supermarkets
  • coffee shops/ food and drink/pubs
  • chemists/health and beauty
  • department stores

Then carefully I thread them onto the ring. If I have any paper cards I use plastic hole reinforcement stickers so they don’t tear off.

There, job done, all your cards are easy to find and not clogging up you wallet/purse. And everytime you go into a shop, the assistant will say “ooooh, that’s such a good idea!” And you’ll leave feeling a little bit smug 🙂

Life hack: loyalty cards

My new favourite thing #7, muslin face cloths

Waaaay back in the day, when my small sister was a baby (late 80s), muslin face cloths were everywhere. I got my one with a tube of hot cloth cleanser stuff and I rediscovered how fantastic they are! Especially for getting gunk off your face without getting your hair and clothes soaked. So I had a mosey around the local supermarkets and I couldn’t find them anywhere, neither in the adult beauty section nor the baby section.

So I went to a specialist baby shop…they had cloths of all colours of the rainbow! Pinks, blues, gender neutral greens and yellows! All in massive packets of 12. I started to leave, disappointed but on the way out I had a rummage in the bargain section (habit really, I don’t even have a kiddy). Guess what I found…? A lone, solitary cloth, 60cm x 60 cm

I got it home and cut it into quarters.

Quartered up and ready to sew

I hemmed the raw edges by folding them over twice as sewing them down. That was taking too long so I got out the hemmer foot which gave me a messier but quicker hem.

Top: hemmed with hemmer foot. Bottom: hemmed the proper way but forgot to mitre corners

So all done! I’ll have complexion perfection in no time!


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My new favourite thing #7, muslin face cloths

My New Favourite Thing #6, pattern bags

Well, they’re not really pattern bags but that’s what I use them for. I got mine in my local craft shop and they come in a range of sizes. The ones I’m using at the moment are A5 and 8″x 8″. I believe, in North America you can get a better version in the comic book store. The ones I have are used to put your pretty home made cards in to keep them nice to sell. I haven’t been able to find a 7″ x 7″ bag locally yet.1462343005852-248880145

Me, I’ve been using them to put patterns in. Generally the A5 size is perfect for Simplicity but the larger sizes are good for indies, vogue and other big envelopes.

Perfect for keeping grubby fingers off

genius! I realise I am probably the last person ever to work this out but still! And another fantastic way to procrastinate! 


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My New Favourite Thing #6, pattern bags