Sew In Tune: Step On

Watermelon Twisted Trousers by Craftstorming

I am joining in with the Sew in Tune series today, hosted by Stacey of Boy, oh Boy, oh Boy and Melissa of Melly Sews. If you haven’t heard of it before the idea is to sew up an outfit inspired by a song. This series has run a few times now but just before it was first announced I was getting ready to run a very similar series! After I heard about it I went with a completely different series idea (Sew Yummy) so I’m very excited to be sharing a song related outfit after all this time.

Watermelon Twisted Trousers - front pockets

The song I chose is called Step On and is by a band called the Happy Mondays, who were popular in the UK in the late 80s / early 90s. You can watch the song on here. They are not really one of my favourite bands but they were fairly influential in the British indie music scene. They also helped to pave the way for a lot of bands in the Britpop era. It is probably their most catchy, well known tune and I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head.

Watermelon Twisted Trousers

I first got the idea to make some watermelon trousers from Kristin’s fruit strip skirt tutorial. I wanted to try and find a way to make it work for boys and decided piping would be the best way to add the contrast colour. I followed Kristin’s suggestion to carve a seed stamp out of the eraser on the end of a pencil.

So what has Step Up got to do with watermelons? Well, the more memorable line from the song is “You’re twisting my melon, man”, which basically means “Hey, you’re really confusing me”. My Twisted Trousers pattern was the last piece of the puzzle and the piping on the side seam really highlights the twist and makes the watermelon more obvious.

Watermelon Twisted Trousers - back pockets

I had grander plans for the top but decided this T-shirt, with a subtle “Why?” on it, was a good balance to the vibrant trousers. I cheated a bit because I made this two years ago for Casper. Also, when I say “made” I actually mean I added a some vinyl to the front of a ready made T-shirt.

Why? T-shirt

I ended up making the trousers a bit too long for him because I wanted to make sure he could fold up the inside green layer as cuffs. Fortunately Rowan absolutely loves them and will be glad he can wear them for a long time! It does mean that they bunch up a bit too much and the front and back twists get hidden – you can see them better below. You can also see that they are fully reversible. I am addicted to doing this to trousers now and it’s included as an option in the pattern (currently in testing and due for release next week).

Watermelon Twisted Trousers - collage

Thank you so much for Stacey and Melissa for having me today. Don’t forget to visit their blogs to see what the other 3 guests have made today.





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365: Week 5

I find I am in the habit of taking a daily photo now but I was also editing daily and that has gone out the window for the time being. It didn’t help that I was getting the Twisted Trousers ready for testing but that is finished now and they should be ready for release in a week or so. I will be back on Wednesday sharing a pair for the ‘Sew in Tune’ series.









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Love Sewing Magazine: Issue 9

Rise and Shine Raglan by Titchy Threads

Rise and Shine Raglan in Love Sewing magazine

Love Sewing is a fairly new sewing magazine that was launched in the UK last year. You can buy copies of several issues here – their international postage is pretty reasonable too. I have worked with them on a few issues now but my feature in issue 9 was my favourite so far because it included both of my boys. Of course I wasn’t saying that when I was trying to get a decent photo of both of them at the same time!

Rise and Shine Raglan by Titchy Threads

For this issue I created a brand new raglan pattern called the Rise and Shine Raglan. I also shared an updated version of my puppet sleeves tutorial. This will be included as an option when I release a full version of this pattern along with at least one other extra option.

Puppet Sleeves Tutorial

The boys were pretty excited to see themselves in the magazine, especially as we were all out together when I found it on sale and they could see themselves on the back cover.

Love Sewing magazine

Love Sewing magazine 2


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365: Week 4

I can’t say I’m happy with all of the photos I took this week. However, I am really pleased to have now completed the first month of my 365 (you will see the last 3 days of the month in next week’s post). I feel like if I stop for even one day then that might be the end of the whole project.








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365: Week 3

I’m a little late this week. The last three days have felt like a real struggle, fingers crossed I can push through this. I really need to become a morning person to try and capture the best light we get in our house.








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Stop Motion Jelly Baby Cheesecake Invasion

Slow Motion Jelly Baby Cheesecake Invasion

Back in August last year I made a cheesecake with my boys, not just any old cheesecake though – a baked vanilla cheesecake using a Jamie Oliver recipe that I’ve made many times before. It’s my favourite type and has never failed me. Even though I typically choose a chocolate dessert I much prefer a vanilla cheesecake.

Making the cheesecake 2

Making the cheesecake 1

I tried to let the boys get on with as much of the recipe as possible without me while I took photos of them. I can’t believe how much younger Casper looks in the photo above, even though it’s only about 6 months ago.

Cheesecake 9

We all had a great afternoon and decided to decorate it with jelly babies. I thought it would be fun to make a stop motion video of the jelly babies invading the cheesecake. Casper loved helping to move them around and got very involved but Rowan was just a little bit too young at the time. So here is the video….

I think it took about an hour to get 13 seconds of video.

Jelly Baby Cheesecake Invasion 3

You can find the recipe here. Other than omitting the fruit compote the only change I made was to use hobnobs instead of digestives for the base. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad Jamie Oliver recipe and this one is amazing.

Jelly Baby Cheesecake Invastion 2

I’ll just leave you with a few more photos of the boys making the cheesecake. It reminds me that I need to do some more baking with them soon.

Cheesecake 8

Cheesecake 7

Cheesecake 6

Cheesecake 5

Cheesecake 4

Making the cheesecake 3



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365: Week 2

I’m still sticking with the daily photos and it’s been great for forcing me to get the camera out each day. The days where my boys are at school and pre-school all day are the hardest for me as it’s dark until after they leave and is almost dark by the time I’ve collected them. I can’t wait for spring when there will be more hours of daylight.

The other thing I am finding difficult is narrowing down the photos I’ve taken each day to just one. Some days are easier than others.








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365: Week 1

Hello and Happy New Year to you! I took a slightly unplanned blog break over the holidays and have been easing myself back into things over the last week. This includes making some fun plans for this here blog.

One commitment I have made this year is a 365 photography project. There is no set theme, I just take a photo a day – otherwise I find I tend to be very sporadic and take lots of photos one day then don’t take my camera out for several days. I am loving it so far although I don’t feel like I’ve come out of my comfort zone yet. I have decided to post the photos here once a week, with very few words, so here is week 1. You might be able to tell that one of the family had a birthday this week.








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New EU law threatens crafting / sewing community worldwide


Today, I have a different kind of post. It’s about a tax change that is happening in the European Union on the 1st of Jan 2015. Wait! Don’t fall asleep just yet – hear me out because it potentially affects all of you and could be catastrophic for the crafting/sewing community. Even if you are outside of Europe. Please note that I am not a tax expert, this is my interpretation of the application of the rules based on a lot of research. Also, some aspects still require further clarification.

What is happening is that VAT (sales tax) on digital products will now have to be paid where the buyer is located – instead of where the seller is based. It’s designed to catch big companies like Amazon that base themselves in countries with low VAT rates. Sounds like a good idea, right? But incredibly the EU commission has decided that there will be no lower threshold on income before you have to implement this. Yes, if you sell just one PDF pattern for $10 to an EU country, you have to pay the VAT to that country. Unless you want to register in all EU countries you sell to (and file returns in all the different languages) you have to register for VAT in your own country and continue to file quarterly VAT returns. Those outside of Europe can register with HMRC’s non-union VAT MOSS scheme in the UK.

I know what you are thinking if you are outside the EU – that this doesn’t affect you. But actually the EU are trying to apply it to everyone. How can they enforce it? Well, we don’t know how much enforcement there will be yet but the US signed a treaty with the EU in 2003 which agreed to enforce each others tax regimes. This is enough to make many US designers say they will not sell to the EU any more!

If you live in the EU, next year you could find a lot of non-EU websites refusing to sell their digital products to you (PDF patterns, training courses etc).

It doesn’t only affect digital sales – applying this to digital sales is only a pilot for applying it to physical goods too – possibly as soon as 2016. This means that if you are in the EU you may find that many US companies will not sell or ship items to the EU because they don’t want to risk being liable for VAT, however small the chances of enforcement are.

If you use a marketplaces like Etsy and Craftsy then in theory the marketplace is the one liable for the VAT – not the designers. However, neither of those platforms has admitted liability yet and so many users of the platform do not want to risk it and will cease selling on the 1st of January.

Even worse – the law requires sellers to store two items of non-contradictory evidence of the buyers location for 10 years. Impossible for many sellers with limited IT skills.

So how am I dealing with this? If you didn’t know, I am based in the UK. I have the ability and resources to make the necessary changes to my website and will register for VAT. I intend to keep the price the same for everyone and just be less profitable when selling to EU countries. HMRC have clarified that the standard UK VAT threshold will apply to sales I make in the UK but I will still have to comply to the new rules for any sales in the rest of the EU. Unfortunately, I know of many small scale designers that are planning to give up selling because of these rules.

It affects all of us even if you don’t sell crafts or patterns because it reduces the choice of patterns available and kills fledgling businesses before they have a chance to grow into bigger businesses. It’s an unfair law, and instead of penalising the big companies that it was targeting it actually drives people to have to use third-party platforms instead of their own websites. It is a little ironic that it will create more business for Amazon.

Want more information? This facebook post has all the details and links.

What can you do?

  • Sign this petition and this petition.
  • Join the planned twitter storm this Tuesday (16th December 2014).
  • Join this facebook group where there are some great people organising opposition.
  • If you sell digital products, complete this survey.
  • If you are in the EU, write or email your MEP (although the EU commission is unelected – they are appointed by the MEPs).
  • If you are outside the EU write to your senator or equivalent – most are unaware of these changes and how they will affect their citizens. The US government in particular could put a lot of pressure on the EU if they choose to.

Thanks for listening!



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Understated Christmas outfit

Understated Christmas outfit 2

Hello! How are your preparations for Christmas going? This time last year I was co-hosting the 12 Days of Christmas series with my friend Suz. It was so much fun to see everyone’s Christmas outfits – you can find a round up of all the guests’ outfits here. However, December is such a busy time of year with plenty of opportunities to have some impromptu fun with the children, so this year we decided not to run it this year. We still love sewing some special outfits for our children though, so today we are both sharing what we have made. Read to the bottom of the post for a link to see what Suz has made.

Understated Christmas outfit 3

I was hoping to make outfits for both my boys this year but didn’t quite manage it, maybe I will in time for Christmas though. I started with Casper’s first as then it can be passed down to Rowan later to get more use. As I said last year we tend to dress quite casually at Christmas, so I didn’t go too over the top. These are items that Casper can wear every day.

His sweatshirt was inspired by this Yay sweatshirt and I added the Ho Ho Ho using a freezer paper stencil. The raglan pattern is my own and is the same one I used for last year’s Christmas sweatshirt, which was also grey. It could become a tradition.

Understated Christmas outfit 1The trousers are made with my twisted trousers pattern that I’m working on at the moment. I actually bought the fabric for these in time for last year’s series but didn’t quite get around to using it. Unfortunately it is out of print now but it was from the Oh Deer range by Momo for Moda. The base blue is one of my favourite colours and I couldn’t resist the cute little deer. I was having trouble deciding what colour piping to use when I realised that my usual Christmas decoration colours and blue and silver. Luckily my mum was able to track down some pre-made silver piping for me at short notice (from Fabricland) and I love the subtle effect.

Understated Christmas outfit close up

Understated Christmas outfit pocketI try to involve my children in outfits I make for them, so they are more likely to wear them. Casper chose the faux bois fabric for the pocket bags and the purple fleece lining. Yes, this is the other reason he loves these trousers – they are fully lined in purple fleece. The outer fabric is a fairly thin quilting cotton so I wanted to give them some warmth for winter. The fabric is from a £3 Ikea blanket and the trousers are actually fully reversible but definitely more cozy with the fleece on the inside. I would love a pair of these myself for the chilly weather we’re getting at the moment.

Reindeer twisted trousers - lining

It had rained quite heavily the night before I took these photos and Casper managed to fall over twice before I’d even taken any, so you might notice a few dirty marks. I think I need to embrace them though as he gets older. I love how I can look back and compare this year’s photo with last year’s – hopefully I will keep this up every year now!

Understated Christmas outfit back view

Understated Christmas outfit 4

Now make sure you head over to Sewpony to see the gorgeous dresses Suz made for her three daughters. Aren’t they adorable in this photo? I’m also a bit jealous of how warm they look, it’s freezing here.

The Christmas Dresses by Suz of Sewpony

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