Thrifty August


I can’t believe the month is almost over, time really is just slipping away from me at the moment! Anyway I thought I’d add a new feature to the blog to share all my bargain buys over the past month. Times are tight for a lot of us at the moment, but I don’t think that has to mean we can’t have nice things, just that we have to try to be a bit smarter about where we find them.


(Yes another terrible selfie! I need to buy a proper tripod!) This skirt is from a car-boot and it was new with tags for 50p, there’s a nice man there every week who sells old dead stock, it’s pretty hit or miss, but I did get a really jazzy 80s cardi off him a few months ago, so it’s always worth having a rummage to see what he’s got. The elastic is totally dried out, so I put it away to be fixed at a later date, but when I got this top in the H&M sale for £2 (plus a £5 off voucher) I knew it would be the perfect match and with a belt the skirt stayed up fine (I’m still going to fix it though!).


I love it when I find hand knit clothes for the girls, they wash and wear really well and you can tell that so much effort has gone into making them. I bought this bright yellow vest for Rosie for £1.50 from our local salvation army charity shop, they had loads but this was the only one which fit her, it’s perfect for layering when the weather turns cold. I also couldn’t resist this 80’s giant snakes and ladders board game for £1.50 (pictured above), the box is just to funny.


These wedge boots are from the Simply Be sale for £14 reduced from £35,  unfortunately I’m not great with taking care of shoes especially suede type ones so I can’t see them lasting more than one winter.


Lastly this isn’t really a thrifty find, but I enter a few give-a-ways each month and I finally won one!! This gorgeous goody bag arrived yesterday from Penni at Sew Smitten. I’ve been following her brand on Facebook for a while and love seeing all the things her and her partner (who I went to uni with!) make, now I own some!! It’s well worth checking out, the screen printed teas towels are amazing!

Working on another bed sheet makeover


I bought this sheet a few months ago for £2 at my local charity shop, I love the print so much and it’s in amazing condition, but I’ve found it hard to come up with ideas for how to make it work as clothing. Last week I just decided to take the plunge and make a simple kids 70s style sundress, I always find once I’ve cut into fabric I’m a lot less precious about what to use it for!

70s dress

The great thing about having two little girls is being able to try stuff on them and then gage the size! I sewed this to be a size 3, but it’s can be a little hard to work out if that’s 3-4 or 2-3, this definitely worked out more 2-3.

skirtdress cut

I’ve cut the pieces to make a little shirt-dress like the one I made for lily, it was a bit of nightmare to pattern match so I hope  it works out ok once its sewn together! I think I’ll probably use the rest of fabric as an accent with a more modern polka-dot or stripe to make some women’s clothes.


Oh and yesterday I ordered my ‘label’ fabric from Spoonflower, it was really easy to use and surprisingly cheap especially compared to getting cotton label’s printed! I ordered one fat quarter in quilters cotton and with postage to England it was $11.90. It’ll take up to three weeks to arrive and of  course I’ll share it when it does, I’m really excited to see how it’ll turn out! I’ve also ordered my laundry care labels, I decided to go for hand-wash only to be on the safe side, although most of the fabrics I use are cotton which will withstand the washing machine some of the trims might not. Now I’m wondering if it’s worth hunting down some size tabs as well, it seems to be a lot easier to get s, m, large labels so I might just go for that? Its starting to seems like as soon as I get one thing sorted I think up a long list of other things I need to do!

DIY Fashionista – Geneva Vanderzeil


DIY Fashionista encourages you to rejuvenate your wardrobe in new and cost-effective ways, through refashioning items you already own and making low-cost pieces look high-end. The variety of the 40 projects is brilliant there is everything from how to draft your own simple shorts pattern from scratch to updating an old pair of boots with fabric inserts. Throughout the instructions are very easy to follow and each project is given a time frame, so before you even start you’ll know if it’s something you can do quickly before you walk out the door or if it’ll take a couple of evenings. However most of the projects should take under an hour to make, so are perfect for those with busy lives, Geneva even makes the great suggestion of inviting your friends round to a DIY fashion party!

Diy fashionista

Its packed with useful information including lists of the basic equipment you’ll need, where to source items and of course step by step instructions to creating some stunning pieces. This book is the perfect springboard for anyone considering refashioning their wardrobe, it’s even full of inspiration to start thinking up your own projects.

Diy fashionista 3

As I’ve only really refashioned clothes before and never even thought about updating accessories I was really excited about this part of the book. It didn’t disappoint as the 15 projects included are super stylish and wearable! I made two accessories projects, the Cap-toe shoes and Peter Pan Collar necklace.

DIY Projects

To make the necklace I used broken chains I had in my jewellery box and a pair of tweezers, it was really simple and quick to make. The final necklace is really cute and a great way to update a plain top or dress.


While I bought these pink H&M shoes in the sale a couple of weeks ago, but since I haven’t got round to wearing them yet I figured they were ripe for a refashion. I followed the instructions, but added an extra layer of varnish over the paint. They’re cute but I think they need a little extra something, maybe some lace or ribbon across the join?

Shoe refashion

There are a lot more projects I’m planning on attempting once I’ve sourced the right bits and pieces. I especially love this dip dye dress it’s so pretty and simple to do, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for the perfect plain dress. While these glitter straps are going to make me look at sandals shopping this summer in a whole new light. The watch idea is great and I know I have a watch face with a broken strap knocking about somewhere so when I eventually find it I’ll definitely be adding fabric straps!

Diy fashionista projects

Geneva Vanderzeil founded the most amazing and inspiring fashion DIY website called ‘ A pair and a spare‘.  Her projects have been featured in popular fashion magazines and websites including Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Cosmopolitan.

DIY FAshionista

DIY Fashionista by Geneva Vanderzeil

Published by Carlton Books Ltd, RRP £16.99 , Available on Amazon UK here

Crafty Sunday

Crafty Sunday

Sorry there was no crafty Sunday last week, but I hadn’t made much so at the time it seemed a bit pointless, but now I’ve got loads to post so maybe I should have done!


Anyway I spent most of the week doing embroidery trying out the projects from ‘Little Sew And Sew’ by Christine Leech, I really loved it and you can read my review here.

Colette - Licorice

Yesterday evening while my boyfriend was watching Avatar for like the hundredth time, I made a start on the ‘Licorice’ dress from Sarai Mitnick’s ‘Colette Sewing Handbook‘. I cut the pattern pieces ages ago, but I’ve just not been motivated to actually sew it together probably because I wasn’t sure if it was my style and now that it’s almost finished I’m still not sure. I haven’t made any major modifications to the pattern, but I left out the zip as I found I could get it on and off just fine without it, all that’s left is to add the elastic to the arms and sew together the matching belt. There are some really cute variations and modifications of this dress on flickr and I really wish I’d seen these before I started sewing mine!


A little while ago I also made the ‘Meringue Skirt’ also from ‘The Colette Sewing Handbook’ I haven’t really found anything to go with it yet, but you can see a picture of me wearing it in my last ‘Me Made May‘ post. I love the bright colours, but the inside waist facing starts bunching when I’ve been wearing it for a little while so I’m going to have to hand stitch it down. I think maybe this is down to the interfacing I used?



Yesterday my mum took me to the ‘Wimbledon Sewing Machine‘ shop, I haven’t been in there for about ten years but it’s just as I remember it, the staff were really friendly and there is a brilliant haberdashery. My mum treated me to a load of fabric and sewing bits, I think the boat fabric is just perfect for little girly summer dresses.

Boot sale

I also went to the car boot yesterday which wasn’t great for my stash-busting! I bought two pillowcases and a dress pattern, the women I bought the pillowcases from had loads of beautiful vintage bedding, but unfortunately she wanted an awful lot of money for them. I also picked up these cute wicker picnic baskets to store fabric in, at £6 for the pair they were a real bargain!

Head scarf

This isn’t really craft related but I bought this beautiful scarf at my local charity shop for £1.5o and when I got home and googled Jacqmar I found out how collectible they are. There are so many beautiful ones available on Ebay and they’re just the right size to use as hair ties, I’m seeing a new obsession coming along!

fashion crochet-diy fashionista

Lastly I just wanted to quickly share two books which the lovely people at Carlton books have been kind enough to send me for review, they haven’t arrived yet but I’m excited to see what they’re like! I already have ‘Knitting Vintage‘ by Claire Montgomerie (I’m still knitting my way through a cardigan pattern!) and I really like the variation of projects so I hope ‘Fashion Crochet‘ is just as good. ‘Diy fashionista‘ is by Geneva Vanderzeil who has the most amazing website called ‘a pair and a spare‘ where she shares really easy ways to update clothes and accessories.

Crafty Tuesday

Crafty Tuesday

Things have been a bit hectic these past few days so it’s a crafty Tuesday this week!


Last week I was and still am knitting away at a new cardigan pattern from Knitting Vintage by Claire Montgomerie, so far I’ve finished the back which always seems like an achievement as it’s the biggest part!


I’ve started making some children’s clothes from my massive fabric to be recycled stash, but I’ll do a post about them when I’m closer to actually opening an etsy shop! Above is a refashion I’m right in the middle of at the moment, I bought the dress on the left from ebay and it was described as a size 16-18, but when it arrived it was huuuuge! Probably more of a 22-24, there was just so much fabric, I think its handmade from the early 80s/late 70s? Anyway the fit was way out, I guess I could have taken it in everywhere, but then I remembered the above modcloth dress I’d pinned a few weeks ago and knew this would be a perfect refashion. All the fabric is cut ready so hopefully I’ll post the finished dress on Sunday.


I ordered these vintage knitting magazines off of ebay a little while ago and they finally arrived on Saturday  I think I’ve been a little bit of an ebay addict lately both selling and buying! Anyway these are so lovey and the patterns are all simple styles.

IMAG1320-tileI picked up these cute patterns at my local rspca charity shop, they have a basket full of patterns all priced at 10p each. I really love the bottom two, the girls would look so cute in these!


Last week when the sun was shining Rosie and I took a stroll to Battersea and Lavender Hill to visit the fabric shop and wool shop, I picked up 3 meter’s of yellow gingham and I’m in the process of designing the most summery dress imaginable! The wool is to finish off the bolero cardigan I started in January and ran out of wool for twice!! I also picked up a copy of Burda magazine from my local whsmiths, I’ve never bought it before so fingers crossed the patterns are easy to follow. In fact I sent one of the patterns off to a friend who wants to make some high waisted shorts, hopefully she’ll let me share a picture when she’s finished!


Lastly I’ve signed up for My Me Made May hosted by ‘So Zo… what do you know‘ and pledged to wear something hand made/refashioned every day in May. I’ll post a weekly update post with how I’m getting on.

Crafty Sunday – Week Eleven

Crafty Sunday – Week Eleven


Last week I bought Sew magazine for the first time, mostly for the free Simplicity  project catwalk pattern (K2444) which is for the most beautiful bias cut dresses. I have already almost finished making one, all that’s left to do is the neck facing, armhole facings and the zipper. I’ve only altered the neckline so far, but I’ll definitely lift the hem a bit as its way to long, although to be fair I think I just added to much seam allowance. I love this fabric, however it frayed like there was no tomorrow! So the inside doesn’t quite have the finish I’d like as I just wanted to bind the edges as quickly as possible before I lost too many inches!



I’m still knitting away at my boleros, I wasn’t going to share them again until they’re finished, but I’ve spent most of the week working on the pink one. It’s almost done all that’s left to do is set the sleeves and knit the trim around the edge. I really want to get them finished by the end of the next week. The pattern is from Knit Vintage by Madeline Weston and Rita Taylor, it was featured in Making magazine, I really want the book now, but some of the reviews on amazon have mentioned that it contains quite a few mistakes which is putting me off.


On Tuesday it was my daughter’s fourth birthday, so I spent Monday night knitting her a case for her new Leapster explorer toy. It was just a very basic knitted square sewn together, but it does the job!



Yesterday I bought just over three meters of this funky floral print heavy cotton fabric for £3 at my local salvation army shop, such a bargain and it’ll make great bags and a summary swing coat for one of the girls. I also got a plain zip for 30p, I bought it to save me having to travel to my local haberdashery stall in tooting market, but tops up I’ll have to head there next week anyway as it’s too short.



I hit the jackpot on eBay this week scoring 58 children’s patterns for £4!! There was no postage to pay as it was a local pick up, if it hadn’t been snowing I could have walked and saved on bus fair to. Below are some of my favorites I can’t wait to try out, but there are so many I’ll probably do a whole post on them during the week.



Love the not for Chubby Girls statement!

Crafty Sunday – Week Nine

Crafty Sunday – Week Nine

I’m pleased to say that this week has been much more productive than last week! IMG_1322-horz

IMAG0913 I made this shirt-dress for my three (almost four) year old daughter Lily from a 1979 Style pattern (2584) and I’m so pleased with how it came out. I recently finished reading ‘A Vintage Affair’ by Isabel Wolff and it goes into great depth about how beautifully made true vintage clothes are. This inspired me to make the inside of this dress as lovely as the outside, so it’s all french seamed and hand finished details, I think in the future I’m going to make all my garments to this standard. The fabric is from Ikea, I bought it a couple of years ago so I can’t remember how much it cost, the fit for the pattern is perfect so perhaps vintage children’s patterns don’t run as small as adults? IMAG0857-tile This dress (bottom left) is an upcycle of a New Look dress I bought in the sale last summer, I was never happy with the top section for some reason the bust was cut really small, but I loved the print. I bought a plain peach vest from Primark for £2.50 and sewed them together, adding some elastic, making it a lovely simple dress for summer. img_0588-horzIMAG0878-horz IMAG0878 I’ve been watching a lot and I mean a lot of Mad Men recently, Betty Draper’s dresses are all stunning but true vintage one’s in my size are rare and quite expensive, so I decided to make one. I used the top half of  the Elizabeth Gathered Waist‘ dress pattern available from the Burdastyle website and a circle skirt tutorial also from Burdastyle. I reused the eyelet fabric from a dress I made a few months ago which I never wear and made the skirt section out of one of the charity shop table cloths I’ve recently bought. It’s almost finished, all I’ve got left to do is attach the skirt and the zipper. IMAG0902 It’s finally finished! It felt like I’d been looking at this half finished painting forever, so it’s nice to see it all done and ready to go up on the wall tomorrow. I’m not 100% happy with it, no doubt some time in the future it’ll become something completely different, but it’ll do for now. IMAG0932 I’m still knitting away at bolero number two, the back is finished and I’m half way up one side of the front. If you’ve been reading this feature for a while you’ll know I’m not the worlds fastest or most dedicated knitter, but I’m hoping to get this and it’s predecessor  finished by the end of March. $(KGrHqJHJCYE-df1Im3vBPo(VZ!ZM!~~60_57-horz I haven’t bought any crafty things this week as I’m trying to save all my extra cash for the spring knitting and stitching show which I’m heading to next Friday and hoping to find lots of lovely things. I did come across this dress which I featured in my Friday Favorites post and I’ve decided to make a copy of it using this polka dot fabric from my stash, so keep a look out for it in my next Crafty Sunday post. Also I’ve just made a Facebook page and if you haven’t already I’d really appreciate a Like ( new box in sidebar).