The Refashioners 2016: The Blogger Line Up Revealed….!!!

Refashioners 2016 - Line Up

So this is it! The countdown has begun once again people!!! For the entire MONTH of August (launches Mon 1st August) this blog will again play host to an awesome line up of makers ready to take on The Refashioners challenge!! What’s more, you can take part too and be in with a chance of winning a FANTASTIC prize. Your part of this challenge runs from the start of August right through until the end of September! More deets on that and how to enter in a future post coming soon. So stay tuned for that!)

For those of you unfamiliar with the challenge, (this is the 4th series) participants are challenged to refashion a garment for your delight and inspiration,  basically to highlight how cool, creative and ecologically and ethically sound refashioning old garments actually is. The kicker is, they don’t get to decide what that garment is. (insert evil laugh here) This year we’re tackling jeans. Yep, The Refashioners is all about all those unloved and ill fitting pairs of jeans languishing in wardrobes and drawers everywhere, and showcasing some #jeanius (see what I did there?)  ways to reuse, rework, and reimagine this classic garment; so beloved of cowboys and fashionistas alike!

So without further ado….I am unbelievably excited (like I could pass out with excitement excited) to announce this years STELLAR line up!!!!

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

Rosie Martin: Sewer, author, drummer and all round dudette. Rosie’s second book is due for release this summer. You can find Rosie on IG here or via

Marie Koupparis: Marie is an utter delight. Her style is decidedly vintage but increasingly with an edgier “rock chick” twist. Co-founder of The Vintage Pattern Pledge you can find Marie on IG  here or at

Zoe Edwards: Founder of the global Me Made challenges, roving sewing tutor, blogger and burgeoning pattern designer. Zoe is an established advocate of refashioning and zero waste fashion. You can find Zoe on IG here or via

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

Marcy Harriell: AKA Oonaballoona! Actress, sewer, blogger and general force of nature. Look she made jeans already!! Deconstructing them next then 😉 It’s OK Marcy you can pinch a pair of Ruggy’s right? You can find Marcy on IG here or via

Megan Nielsen: I don’t think you need me to introduce Megan! Pattern designer extraordinaire and one of the first blogs I ever read, I am super stoked that Megan agreed to be on board this year! You can find Megan on IG here or via

Mirjam Liechti: Last year’s winner of The Refashioner’s community challenge. Mirjam ditched a career in teaching last year when she discovered a passion for sewing and is now studying at the Swiss College of Textiles. You can find Mirjam on IG here or via

Refashioners - Line Up

Elisalex De Castro Peake: Designer and Co-founder of the By Hand London pattern line and all round gorgeous and talented individual. In fact all the things that might make you slightly hate a gal….except you can’t because she’s.just so.darn.lovely!  😉 You can find Elisalex on IG here or via

Heather Lou: Blogger, designer and founder of Closet Case Files Patterns. Arguably already a jeans #jeanius this year’s challenge should be right up her strata! You can find Heather Lou on IG here or via

Ingrid Weimers: Blogger and fellow sewist. Ingrid has a really lovely style and an even lovelier way about her.  Such a cool Scandi style. Plus she’s made me want a Podenco! You can find Ingrid on IG here or via

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

Sarai Mitnick & The Colette Team: The founder of Colette Patterns and editor of Seamwork Magazine. Sooo excited to have not only Sarai, but 3 other members of the Colette team (welcome to Anna, Delaney & Meg!!) taking part as a group this year too! You can find Sarai on IG here or via

Sasha Werner: Talented seamstress, photographer, knitter and budding pattern designer. Stylish. Italian. Just. Awesome. Sasha sometimes describes her style as “Radical Nun”. Nun’s never looked that stylish in my day, lol! You can find Sasha on IG here or via

Beth Wood: Sewer, blogger and emerging pattern designer. I love Beth’s easy style and can’t wait to see what she makes of this year’s challenge. You can find Beth on IG here or via

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

Erin Hagstrom: Fashion and style blogger, Erin was relatively new to sewing when she joined last year’s challenge, but she made quite a splash! You can find Erin on IG here or via

Marilla Walker: Pattern designer and all round “polycreative”. I made that word up but I think it aptly describes Marilla! Her Maya top remains one of my favourite sewing patterns. So simple but so perfect. You can find Marilla on IG here or via

Joost De Cock:  Welcome the first ever “bloke” participant of The Refashioners! So excited! Joost has great style and totally mad skills. Founder of you can find Joost on IG here or via

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

Rachel Pinheiro: So pleased to have the inimitable Rachel Pinheiro joining in this year’s challenge. In her own words “tall, Brazillian & opinionated”. This should be fun….and most definitely glamourous! You can find Rachel on IG here or via

Sally Ward Foxton:  Serial refashioner, pattern designer and lover of cocktails. I’m still reeling from Sally’s refashion of a giant trenchcoat in the 2013 series of The Refashioners! You can find Sally on IG here or via

Lisa Poblenz: Last year’s runner up for The Refashioner’s Community Challenge. I hadn’t planned on having a runner up prize. But Lisa’s project was so epic it just had to be recognised! You can find Lisa on IG here or via

Refashioner 2016 - Line Up

The Foldline: Founders of new online sewing community hub The Fold Line, Kate and Rachel are going to be taking part in this year’s challenge as a team! You can find The Fold Line on IG here or via

Jenna Bennett: Sewer, blogger and magazine contributor, Jenna lives in the same neck of the woods as me. So we occasionally hook up for coffee, thrifting, and mutual piss taking 😉 You can find Jenna on IG here or via

Wendy Ward:  Designer, Author, Teacher. Many strings to this lady’s bow! The sequel to Wendy’s best selling book The Beginners Guide to dressmaking is also out later this year. You can find Wendy on IG here or via

So what say you? August and September are gonna be pretty awesome right??!!! Get rummaging through your drawers and wardrobes and have your old jeans at the ready. This is gonna  be SERIOUSLY good!

If you want to help spread the word…(and I’d LOVE it if you did!) then use the following hashtags on social media:  #therefashioners2016 #jeanius

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Top Tip: An easy way to store your sewing machine needles!

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

So having dealt with the issue of storing my hand sewing needles with my origami needle wrap (free pdf pattern here) my attention turned to my machine needles. Up until now I’ve had them stored in one of the drawers of my Ikea Moppe mini drawer unit. I think every craft space must have one of those right?

In any case, that storage method was certainly adequate. But for some reason it bugged me that I had to rummage around to find the needle pack I needed and couldn’t see at a glance when I was running low. So I’d occasionally go in search of a particular type of needle only to find I’d run out of that size/type. Not a massive issue as other needles will always do the job at a push. But I find my machine produces a better stitch when it has the right needle for the right job…An easy way to store sewing machine needles

I had just restocked all my machine needles. So it seemed a good time to sort out an improved storage solution for them. As it happened, I’d been on a bit of a purge/sort out mission all week. Among the things I’d  donated  to the charity shop was an old organiser/ring binder; (like a cheap filofax thing) but I’d kept back the plastic inserts above. They had multiple sections for business/credit cards and it occurred to me they were the perfect size  for machine needle packs!

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

So I simply cut them into separate pieces…

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

Hole punched each corner…

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

Then whacked in a split ring with a lobster clasp connected.

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

So every needle pack now has it’s own little see through pouch. So I can find the one I need quickly and easily and see at a glance if I’m running low etc…

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

And the whole thing hangs right next to where I sit at the sewing machine for easy access and makes the little organisational addict in me smile inside, lol!

An easy way to store sewing machine needles

There!! Much better than having them bundled in a drawer or strewn across my worktop!

How do you store yours? Any other nifty storage tricks you use in your sewing space?

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FO: Denim Kimono (+ maybe a future pattern?)

So one of the first gaps I noticed in my wardrobe a few days into Me Made May was a Spring jacket that went with everything. When it comes to a versatile little jacket that goes with everything then denim jackets are a classic. However, a classic denim jacket is not quite my style. So I decided to have a play and come up with a slightly different take on the wardrobe staple that is the denim jacket, but a little more aligned with my personal style. And I have to say, this hasn’t been off my back since I finished it!

Enter the denim kimono jacket…denim kimono diy (2)

So we all know I love a kimono as evidenced here, here and here 😉  Originally this was going to be a longer length. But during construction I tweaked and played with the proportions and decided that actually, the cropped proportions of the body and sleeves were exactly what I needed to complement the looser trousers and shorter tops I’m wearing most at the moment. And indeed more of a reference to the proportions of the classic denim jacket that was my starting point….denim kimono diy (7)

There are some fit issues at the back that I need to address. I ended up taking a big tuck out of the CB to get it to hang the way I wanted. The back neckline needs to come in closer to the neck so the kimono band sits a little snugger to the neck, (which will involve a little shaping to the band itself too). Then there’s the width across the back at armhole level. Excess fabric there so I need to have a play with the sleeve and armhole configuration and remove a little of that. BUT, that said, for something that started out as an experiment I am MORE than happy with how this turned out. It’s kinda my perfect jacket! And none of the above is going to stop me from wearing this all Summer. They’re issues that only us sewists would notice. (Although I can’t help myself pointing them out to everyone that says they like my jacket. Sewist or not, lol!)

I wanted to reference the classic denim jacket a little further by adding little details like contrast stitching and jeans hardware…denim kimono diy (8)

Which brings me onto a close up of those pockets. The long rectangular shape was initially to do with what I felt best fit the overall proportions of the jacket. Then it occurred to me that they were almost identical in size and shape to my my mobile phone!! Which of course I have on me at ALL times because I am addicted. So naturally, they are now sized perfectly to accommodate my Samsung Galaxy, ha ha! Well…what is designing your own clothes about if you can’t add in little details like that to perfectly suit your needs 😉 (And no, as someone asked me on IG, I don’t have two mobile phones. But one pocket would’ve just looked weird 😉 )denim kimono diy (1)

My other favourite detail on this make are the split cuffs. They echo the kimono band on the jacket opening and kinda unify the style I think…denim kimono diy (9)

The fabric is this denim from Remnant Kings, who incidentally are celebrating their 70th anniversary this week! So basically, they were around the last time that sewing was this popular, and they rode out the dry spell of the intervening years between then and now. Which to me is pretty darn impressive. So I’m taking this opportunity to wish them a very warm and heartfelt Happy Anniversary and a thank you for the way they continue to support this blog 🙂 Mwah to Hazel and the team there!


Now, onto the (hopefully intriguing) subtitle of this post! I’ve had a few people on social media ask if I am thinking of releasing this (and previous self drafted makes) as a pdf pattern. Well….there’s a short answer and a long answer. And being of a slightly verbose disposition I will give you the longish answer! And also because I am AWFUL at keeping secrets, and now that the question has arisen, yes. I HAVE, behind the scenes been working towards the goal of developing a line of sewing pattern designs under the “Makery” brand. And yes, this jacket has now been added to the list of patterns that I want to develop further. There is alot more that I could say on this subject, but that’s kind of another blog post. Which I will write in due course. Suffice to say for now, in all likelihood, I will be releasing a line of sewing patterns in the near (ish) future. But as this is a new avenue for me, with lots to learn, explore and consider, I can’t yet say exactly when that will be. I have not yet figured out how long the process will take.  But essentially I’m gradually building up a stack of “personal” patterns that I think will appeal to some of you out there. It feels like a natural progression for me now, to start working towards the goal of refining and making these available online. So yep. There’s my little bit of news. Watch this space over the coming weeks 😉


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DIY: Origami Needle Wrap (+ free pdf pattern)


Sometimes I need a break from sewing and just need to get my craft on! For ages my sewing needles have been scattered about between my pin dish and various other little pots and drawers; and I could never find the needle that I wanted, when I wanted it. And so…this little leather origami needle wrap was born…ORIGAMI NEEDLECASE - FREE PDF PATTERN FROM MAKERY.CO.UK

The origami needle wrap features  a simple envelope shape, with a wrap around magnetic closure. The whole thing opens out to lay flat on your work surface and 3 separate felt inserts allow you to organise needles by type/size etc. It’s super simple to make and you can download the free pattern at the end of this post if you want to make one of your very own 🙂ORIGAMI NEEDLECASE - FREE PDF PATTERN FROM MAKERY.CO.UK

I made mine from 1mm natural leather. I got the whole thing out of a 20cm  x  20cm square purchased on ebay here. I used 1mm wool felt for the inside. Also purchased on ebay here. Magnets used here are strong neodymium disc magnets that I had left over from my air dry clay fridge magnets and are available here. ORIGAMI NEEDLECASE - FREE PDF PATTERN FROM MAKERY.CO.UK


First step is to cut out and trace the template onto the leather. I used a Frixon pen for this, as the marks can be removed later simply by applying heat from an iron (through a pressing cloth as opposed to directly onto the leather)…I use these quite alot directly onto fabric when I’m sewing too. Awesome pens!ORIGAMI NEEDLECASE - FREE PDF PATTERN FROM MAKERY.CO.UK

To mark the position of the slit opening for the strap, I simply used the tip of my seam ripper to make an indentation through the paper pattern and onto the leather…ORIGAMI NEEDLECASE - FREE PDF PATTERN FROM MAKERY.CO.UK


Cut the whole thing out carefully…


Then using a scalpel cut the slit opening as indicated on the pattern. Note the pen marks that are currently still visible…


…and after the application of a little heat, magically vanished!!


The wrap is then assembled as above. The strap slides through the little slit from the RS. Magnets are super glued in place. Make sure before you stick the magnets down that they are the right way up. If you stick them the wrong way, the closure magnets will repel away from eachother as opposed to fastening.  The placement marks on the pattern are right for the materials that I used. But different materials will have a different “turn of cloth” value (they will fold slightly differenly) which may subtly affect the placement of the fasteners. Tape the whole arrangement above in place, and just test it all wraps up and closes to your satisfaction before you commit to gluing the magnets in place and securing all the element permanently. ( I use magic tape as there isn’t the sticky residue that you get with sellotape)


The strap is stitched in place from the outside, and there is a dotted line on the pattern piece for the strap that lines up with the slit to help you get it in the right position. (if you sink it too far in to the slit, it will effectively reduce the length of the strap which then won’t wrap around fully).


Cut and stick in the felt (magnet is now nicely covered!) I used bondaweb for neatness , but glue/spray adhesive should be fine too; as long as it doesn’t soak the felt too much or seep out onto the leather around the edges


Add your needles and stand back and admire!


I really am a little in love with the neatness and simplicity of this shape…


The absence of any visible closures adds to the clean lines 🙂


The pattern is available, free to download, here and conveniently prints onto just one sheet of A4.  I’d love to hear from you if you make one so do let me know in the comments, or tag me @portialawrie over on Instagram so I can see!


Enjoy your new “luxe” needle wrap!!


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