Willow & Co Contest

In case you haven’t heard – over at Willow & Co we have just announced our first sewing competition and it has over $2500 worth of prizes. Yes, you read that right! All you have to do is make a new (previously unposted) Willow & Co pattern and post a picture of it. You don’t need a blog to participate.

There are four prize pools: most stylish, most practical, best remix and a random draw. We’ve got some amazingly generous sponsors – far too many to list here, so check out this post over on the Willow & Co blog to see all the prizes.

Back to School Competition

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World Cup Footballers T-shirt


I’m sure you’re aware that it’s Kid’s Clothes Week this week. I used to love taking part, it gives such a great sense of community, a chance to find a few new blogs and some motivation to get at least one or two projects finished. I also love the recent introduction of themes, with the theme for this week being Kid Art. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to join in for at least a year. This T-shirt doesn’t fit with the theme but I’m happy to be sharing something.



The pattern is my own and will be released some time later this year. It’s called the Rowan Tee, although this one is modelled by Casper. Expect to see a few more versions pop up in the future. The fit is on the slimmer side of regular and it will include a few different options. It also has a slightly lower neckline than a lot of tees – partly because I don’t like to wear high necklines myself and project that onto my children and partly because my boys have really big heads!


Casper finished his first year of infants school earlier this week and during the year he has developed a passion for playing football. It wasn’t until the recent World Cup that he started watching football on TV though. It’s safe to say that during that month it turned into an obsession for him. I loved his innocent enthusiasm and the fact that he remain hooked despite the early exit and terrible performance of the English team.


I stumbled across this footballer fabric on a Belgian website and knew he would love it. I think I got the last metre though and I cannot find it anywhere else. It’s a lovely quality fabric and really soft to touch. They have a lot of other unusual jersey fabrics. I arranged the fabric with the England players down the middle of the front, German down the middle of the back, a Brazilian on one sleeve and a Dutch player on the other. We can’t quite work out the player in red, white and blue with a stripe across the body – is that meant to be France or maybe Costa Rica?



You might have noticed that Casper isn’t playing football in these photos. He had been to a football birthday party earlier in the day and then we went at a family BBQ. He got to play cricket for the first time and has since been asking to play cricket almost as much as football. If you spot any cricket fabric then let me know!


Are you joining in with KCW? Have you managed to make much so far?



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Make It Perfect Pattern Parade: a linen Poppy Tunic + a giveaway

Linen Poppy Tunic

I’m very happy to be joining the Pattern Parade from Make It Perfect today. If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’ll know that I haven’t sewn very much for myself. I learned to sew because I wanted to make clothes for my boys so it’s taken me a while to make the jump. I’m still not quite there but two posts in a row of things for me isn’t bad. I was delighted when Toni asked me if I’d like to join her tour though – signing up to sew women’s pattern is the perfect way to push myself. Toni has a wide range of patterns for women and children and if you read on to the end of the post you’ll have a chance to win one. It was really easy to choose the Poppy Tunic as I’ve considered buying it a few times before but there’s a few others I like the look of.

Linen Poppy Tunic

The pattern has options for a tunic and a dress. I’ve been craving a new summer dress so went for that option but would love to add a couple of tunics to my wardrobe later in the year. I used Robert Kaufman yarn dyed Essex linen in black for the main fabric and a lightweight cotton cambric for the contrast. The latter is called ‘Shine Green Coral‘ by Atelier Brunette and I bought it from M is for Make. I’m not sure why I’m sharing my source because I want to buy the whole collection! Promise you’ll save some for me, ok?

Linen Poppy Tunic - close up

Linen Poppy Tunic

The pattern is well written, concise and easy to follow. I chose to make a medium based on the size chart. My chest tends to measure in a smaller size than my hips so I made sure that it would be wide enough on the hips before I cut into my fabric. I did make a couple of changes to the pattern…

- I lowered the front neckline by 1cm at the front centre and graded it to the original pattern line at the sides. I am a bit funny about wearing things that are too high on my neck and wanted to make sure I’d be happy wearing this.
- I added 1/2″ (the amount of the seam allowance) to the side and bottom of both the front and back chest inset pieces. I then sewed them chest inserts in with regular seams rather than binding and stitching down
- This meant changing the order of construction a little – so I sewed the front shoulder pieces and chest insert together, then the back shoulder pieces and chest insert
- Sewed the bottom of the contrast band on with a 1″ seam allowance instead of folding and pressing the bottom of main fabric before attaching the band
- I added inseam pockets in the side seams. I’m always more likely to wear a dress if it has pockets.

Linen Poppy Tunic - back view

I absolutely love wearing this dress and have had it on a lot since I finished it. I wasn’t sure whether the relaxed fit would suit me but I really like it and it’s so comfortable. It’s really light and airy for summer but would also be perfect in winter layered with a long sleeved tee, leggings and boots. Next time I will try and bring up the bottom of the armhole a bit as they are just a bit too big for me. Otherwise it’s great.

Linen Poppy Tunic

All these photos were taken on Sunday when we walked along the river from Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard in the New Forest. I’d like to say a big thank you to my husband for taking them and to my friend Toni-Maree who generously offered to edit them. I have been trying to improve my photography and have recently started to find out more about post processing. Toni-Maree is a lot further along this path than me and I absolutely love her edits, she is very inspiring to me.

Linen Poppy Tunic

Don’t forget to check out the other posts in the Pattern Parade, so many talented bloggers are sharing what they’ve made during the month.

MIP Pattern Parade Button

The Make It Perfect Pattern Parade Virtual Catwalk introduces…

Linen Poppy Tunic - back view

Toni has generously offered to give a free pattern to one of my readers. This is open until 2pm BST on the 23rd of July. I will notify the winner by email after this date. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* The pattern was given to me for free. All opinions are my own.

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I love Nani Iro


I am not sure exactly when I first came across Nani Iro prints. I have a vague feeling that I saw some on Sophie’s blog and immediately headed over to the Miss Matatabi shop to find out more. I’ve been shopping there ever since and Frances has the most amazing selection of Japanese fabrics. Naomi Ito’s designs are unlike any other I have found. The prints are so unusual, varied, abstract and seemingly random, even if there is a repeat in there somewhere. At the same time the different substrates are so beautifully soft you will feel like you’re still wearing your pyjamas. Once you have tried Nani Iro there is no going back. When Frances asked me if I would like to join Nani Iro month I was powerless to resist.

Nani Iro Month

Until I made this skirt I had only sewn with the Nani Iro double knit fabric. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been buying any though. I have been squirreling away several cuts of double gauze and cotton for the day when I sew more for myself. Although I love seeing both of my boys in their Nani Iro tees I do slightly regret that I didn’t use the fabric for me, especially as it is no longer available. This post finally gave me the push to make something for me and it didn’t hurt that Frances gave me the fabric.


I chose the Kokka Nani Iro Freedom Garden double gauze – C – Greece. I wouldn’t normally choose such a bold colourful print for myself but when I looked through the new spring collection I kept finding myself drawn to it. Now I’ve made my skirt I am so happy I made this choice. I need a few more neutral tops to wear with it but I love the colours and all the unexpected details I keep finding in the print.


The skirt is self drafted and is so comfortable to wear. It has a wide waistband and several pleats to add volume. The length means it’s still decent enough to chase my boys around on a hot summer’s day while it can be dressed up with a fancy top and heels for a night out. The fabric is quite sheer so it’s fully lined and has an invisible zip closure. I definitely see myself making a few more of these.


These photos were taken in an area of the New Forest where a lot of ponies roam. At one point this was our view from the bridge.


If you want some more Nani Iro inspiration then you will find many beautiful projects using Nani Iro fabric from the spring 2014 collection by visiting the blogs listed below.

Straightgrain   ∆   you & mie   ∆   Lizzy House

A Little Goodness   ∆   Make It Perfect   ∆   skirt as top

imagine gnats   ∆   Petit à Petit and family   ∆   Saké Puppets

Sanae Ishida   ∆   verykerryberry   ∆   Craftstorming

Ada Spragg   ∆   Groovybaby And Mama

elsie marley   ∆   Miss Matatabi

Thank you Frances for inviting me to join in with Nani Iro month!

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200th Post and 20% Off Patterns

This is the 200th post on Craftstorming. 200 posts! When I started this blog with two of my friends, I was expecting to do all the baking posts. I never expected to get so hooked with sewing and even start my own pattern company. You can see all the things I have made by clicking on the category tabs above.

To celebrate, there will be 20% off all patterns in my shop for the next 200 hours with the discount code 200POSTS.

In other exciting news, I will soon be releasing a reversible swimsuit pattern (in both boy and girl versions) with Celina from Petit à Petit and Family. Here is a sneak peek of the girls’ one:

Azur swimsuit cover


The patterns are going out to testers in the next week. If you want to be the first to know when they are ready and also find out about exclusive discounts then be sure to like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter.

Also, check out these amazing free printable paper dolls from Imagine Gnats. Rachael has even included my Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern as one of the options.


Finally, thank you everyone for the friendship and support I’ve received since starting the blog. It really is the best bit about blogging.



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Titchy Tips: Top Ten Uses for Twill Tape


Today I want to share some great ways to use twill tape in your projects. I use twill tape to finish the split side seams in the Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt. While I was working on the pattern I discovered an amazing source for twill tape in all colours of the rainbow and couldn’t resist ordering several yards. This got me thinking – what other uses are there for twill tape? I thought it would be the perfect topic for a Titchy Tips post.


Before we get started though let’s cover a couple of details.

What exactly is twill tape?

It is a flat woven ribbon that has a distinctive herringbone weave and feels a lot more sturdy and durable than other types of ribbon. It can be made from cotton, linen, polyester or wool. Just like other types of ribbon it comes in all sorts of widths, colours and designs.

Where can I buy it?

I found it difficult to find a source in the UK where I could buy small quantities in a variety of colours at a reasonable price. In the end I searched on Etsy and found ichi… my love, a great shop for all kinds of trim in all colours of the rainbow. In addition to selling several colours individually they also sell a set of 3/8″ twill tape with a yard each of 22 different colours for £8.80 and the service has been fantastic. I also bought a 3/4″ twill tape set from them, which is shown in the top picture, but they don’t seem to have that in stock at the moment. I have been very happy with the quality and it’s so soft.


Another great source is twilltape.com, who sell a wide variety of colours at very reasonable prices. You need to buy in larger quantities though. One great service that they offer is custom printed twill tape, which I will talk about more below.

You can also search Etsy and find a lot of printed twill tape with a wide range of designs. The Inky Pot offers a lovely hand printed range.

OK, so now we’ve covered what twill tape is and where you can buy some, let’s look at the top 10 things you can do with it.


1. Split side seams

I love the look of split side seams on sweatshirts and T-shirts, it just adds such a lovely little detail. Using twill tape here gives such a clean finish to the split side seams on both the inside and outside, as you can see in the photos below from the Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt tutorial.


10 9b

2. Stabilise seams

This is quite common on store bought T-shirts and helps to stop the shoulder seam getting stretched out of shape over time. It is especially helpful for seams that are cut on the bias of lightweight stretch fabrics. Professor Pincushion has a helpful Youtube video showing you how to do it.

3. Bag handles

Wide twill tape is a great option for bag handles and straps as it is so sturdy and strong. I love the contrast of the twill tape against the knitting in this knitted tote that Meg of Elsie Marley made. Her post was part of Twill Tape Week at Crafterhours and you can read more about the tote here.

Knitted tote by Meg from Elsie Marley

4. Drawstring

Twill tape is perfect to use for drawstring on waistbands and cuffs. You need to fold over the ends about 1cm twice and then sew them down. It would also work well for drawstring bags or anywhere else you might want to use drawstring.

5. Tags and labels

Plain twill tape can be used for tags for holding up tea towels and pot holders. It is also suitable for handmade clothing, for example add a loop to the back of a jacket for hanging it up or sew a folded piece into trouser to indicate the back. You could step it up a notch though and add your own designs to create clothing labels. There are many techniques you could use to do this, such as stamping with fabric paint or using transfer paper.

Another option is to buy some custom printed twill tape, which is what my friend Stacey from Boy, oh boy, oh boy did. You can read more about her labels here.

Custom twill tape labels from Boy, oh boy, oh boy

6. Bunting (Binding)

In some cases twill tape can be used instead of bias binding. It works particularly well for bunting – just fold the twill tape in half, sandwiching the fabric triangles in between, then sew in place. The Cottage Garden bunting below, from Homegrown & Handmade on Etsy, is a great example.

Homegrown & Handmade

You could also use it to bind edges or to finish seam edges.

7. Accessories

There are so many different ways you could use twill tape for accessories. Turn it into a hair accessory organiser, layer some in a photo frame for an easy way to display pictures, make keyrings or garlands. You can find a lot more ideas on the Crafterhours twill tape Pinterest board.

8. Make casings

Since twill tape is durable and doesn’t fray you can sew it down to form a casing for drawstring or elastic. Don’t forget to leave a hole to insert those though.

9. Decorative

Use twill tape anywhere you would use regular ribbon – sew it onto clothes for decoration, use it to add details such as tabs on sleeves or wrap gifts with it. The options are endless here, you just need to use your imagination. For example, you could add a creative back pocket detail like Christine of Heidi & Finn did on some Small Fry Skinny Jeans.

Back Pocket Detail from Heidi & Finn

10. Sturdy ties

Twill tape is ideal for strong ties – for aprons, hospital gowns or even cables. Melissa from A Happy Stitch has a great tutorial for an apron with twill tape ties here.


I hope that has given you a lot of inspiration for things to do with twill tape. Share in the comments if you have any other ideas.

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Willow & Co Glamping Tour

Visit the Willow & Co blog today to find out the two guests that I chose to go glamping with me. This is day 5 of our pattern tour and all of our guests have made the most amazing outfits, so make sure you look at the other tour posts while you’re there.

Probably Actually

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Piece Out Tee

Piece Out Tee by Craftstorming

I am joining in with The Fashionable Type series today. This is a fun series hosted by the lovely Stacey of Boy, oh Boy, oh Boy. The idea is to use typography in fashion.

The Fashionable Type Button

I had so many ideas for this series – too many in fact. I just couldn’t make up my mind what to make. In the end I settled on the idea of a T-shirt that basically states the obvious and labels each pattern piece.




The font I’ve used is the one I label my own patterns with. It’s a very clear, easy to read font. I wrote all the text out in Inkscape and printed it out onto transfer paper. Don’t forget to reverse the image before you print. Also, try not to iron any of your words on upside down! Fortunately I cut all the pieces out and ironed on the images before I sewed the T-shirt together. Initially I intended to make it look like I’d just picked up the pattern pieces and sewn them together. I decided it looked better to play around with the angles and sizes of some of the words though.


The pattern is one of my own that I’ve been working on. It is called the Rowan Tee and will have a few other options in addition to the basic tee you see here.



While I was making this T-shirt I kept thinking it seemed vaguely familiar. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I realised that I’d been channeling George Michael the whole time! I think hope the back ribbing for the neckband gives it a slightly less 80s feel though



If you have been inspired by the series then you can add your projects to the linky party below. Also, don’t forget to visit Stacey’s blog as she has had an amazing giveaway each day of some of the best typographic products you can find.

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Titchy Tips: Sweatshirt Fabric Sources


It has been three years this month since I first tried sewing. I tentatively started with a table cloth before moving on to sewing clothes for my boys, something that I still love to do. During those three years I have learned a lot, from a variety of places. I thought it would be good to give back and share some of those things with you, so today I am kicking off the regular series ‘Titchy Tips’.

For the first installment I want to share some of the great sources I’ve found for fabrics that are suitable for the Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt. Keep reading to find some great discount codes for some of my favourite shops too!



The recommended fabrics for the pattern are sweatshirt fleece, fleece, French terry and double knit. Unfortunately these seem to be the fabrics which have the least variety and you are often left with the option of solids or novelty fleece. Not that there’s anything wrong with these but it would be great to have a cool print every once in a while.

My preference for sweatshirts and hoodies has always been sweatshirt fleece. These are one of my favourite items of clothing as well, so I am quite picky. It is typically a lot easier to find fleece with prints so I am not going to focus on that today.

So what is sweatshirt fleece? It is basically a jersey with the finished knit on top where the purl side has been brushed. This makes it a bit denser and warmer. Until recently that is what I would search for but somewhere along the way I discovered French terry. One side is flat like jersey and the other side can be cross loops or brushed. When the back isn’t brushed it is generally more lightweight than sweatshirt fleece, so more suited for spring and summer than a cozy winter layer. As you will see though it does open up a lot more possibilities for prints. Both sweatshirt fleece and French terry can have varying levels of stretch in them, some with no stretch.

Another alternative is double knit. This looks the same on both sides and has very little stretch to it. The two striped Hawthorns that you can see in the lookbook were made using this type of fabric and you will be able to purchase it from Willow & Co very soon.


For the image below I have concentrated on places to buy prints. These are all shops I have purchased from myself and therefore feel happy to recommend. I have listed some other sources below, split by UK and US shops. Feel free to mention your own favourites in the comments at the bottom of the post.

Top sources of sweatshirt fabrics

1.  Cats (in three colourways)   2. Blue Owls (also in ivory)    3.  Leopard Khaki    4.  Red Strawberries (also in black and blue) – all from Bonita Fabric

5. Lovely Roses  6. Black Stars on White  7.  Blue Bunny 8. Zebra  - all from Land of Oh

9. Charcoal diamonds (also available in green)  10. Simply Apples in Aubergine (also available in red) – both from Kitschy Coo

11. Black and grey stripe (also available in blue and white) 12. Bright Stars (also similar print with polka dots) – both from Miss Matatabi


I am very happy to share some discount codes with you. All of the shops above offer great value for money so these offer a fantastic deal.

  • Get 12% off at Bonita Fabric when you use the code Laura12 at checkout (expires June 30th)
  • Kitschy Coo is offering £3.50 off with the code hawthorn (expires 8th of May at midnight GMT)
  • Land of Oh will give you 15% off when you use the code welcome15 (expires May 31st)


Although I have only featured prints for the shops above they also offer some great solids, including quilted knits, so take some time to look around.


  • Tissu – a good selection of reasonably priced sweatshirt fabrics with the occasional print
  • Vend Fabrics - a wide select of sweatshirt fabric in solids. They also sell co-ordinating ribbing but I did not find the recovery very good
  • Neotrims – some unusual colours (sometimes with co-ordinating ribbing). I used the jade sweatshirt fabric for my Jade Hoodie
  • Dots n Stripes – stocks sweatshirt fabric with a few child friendly prints and some vibrant colours


I hope you’ve found this useful. Of course you don’t just have to use these fabrics for the Hawthorn – they are great for hoodies, cardigans, tops, trousers, baby blankets, bibs and burp clothes. Also, for those of you who are nervous to sew with knits this is a great fabric to start with. Just buy a couple of your favourites from the shops I’ve mentioned above and you’ll soon be back for more.

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Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt: Details


Hi everyone. I have two posts up today about the Hawthorn pattern – this one is all about the options and details included in the pattern. My other post is over on the Willow & Co blog where I’m sharing some amazing sweatshirts that my testers made. Testing is such an important part of the process before a pattern is released and I’m so grateful for all the help and suggestions they gave. Listening to their feedback helps me to make the final pattern the best it can be so make sure to head over once you’ve read this post.

My initial idea for this pattern was a classic half zip sweatshirt. They are such a staple in my house. It made sense to add a full zip option too. I also wanted to include some special details that work for either zip option, like the split side seam and facings. While I had boys in mind with this design you will see from the tester photos that it works just as well for girls.

You can see all of the options in the sketches below.

Hawthorn Line Drawings

One thing the sketches do not show is the view from the inside. If you use the front and back facings then the inside of your sweatshirt will look just as neat as the outside. You can see the inside views of both the half zip and full zip options below.



The photos below shows the subtle detail the back facing adds from the outside of the sweatshirt.



In all the photos in this post Rowan is wearing a full zip sweatshirt in royal blue. It has inseam pockets and regular side seams. Casper has the half zip option in purple, which has split side seams. Both were made with sweatshirt fabric.



You can see a close up of the split side seam below. The inside is finished with twill tape and I love how neat it ends up looking.


The boys love wearing their sweatshirts and as we move into spring they are the perfect weight for an extra layer on the sunny but cool days we’ve been having.




I will be back later this week to discuss some great sources I’ve found for fabrics suited to this pattern.

Don’t forget to visit the Willow & Co blog to get inspired by all the Hawthorns my testers made.

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