GBSB Live: 5 x pairs of tickets to Give Away!

GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)

Billed as “the UK’s biggest, most exciting new dressmaking event”, earlier this year  Upper Street Events and Love Productions  announced the launch of The Great British Sewing Bee Live. The spin off event to the TV series.  Will that be back?? What IS going on with that?! If you’re a fan of GBSB then this live event,  which takes place from 21st-24th September 2017 at ExCel London, may just give you your fix.  And I’ve got 5 pairs of tickets for either the Thursday or Friday events to give away to you guys!

As well as Patrick and Esme being in attendance (when I grow up I want to be Esme), the event will see comedian, writer and TV personality Jenny Eclair take the reigns and  host the 1,200-seat Super Theatre. Jenny was the guest host of TV’s first ever Sewing Bee Celebrity Special in 2014 in aid of BBC Children In Need.  A keen stitcher, she enjoys tapestry and is involved with Fine Cell Work, the social enterprise that trains prisoners in needlework.  Sewing even features in her fiction writing in ‘A Slight Alteration’, a dark tale about a seamstress…..GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)


Contestants from  four  seasons of GBSB  will be there to share their dressmaking and tailoring skills at numerous live workshops.  From beginner to professional level, there are over 250 workshops and demonstrations on offer. You can even apply to take part in one or their “Live Challenges” and find out what it really feels to take part in the show and work under all that time pressure that keeps us on the edge of our sofas….seriously…hats off to participants of that show. I think I would crumble, lol!GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)


A collection from the world’s leading pattern companies has been curated to create a catwalk show packed with inspiration. From high-end fashion and couture creations to vintage designs, bespoke tailoring and wedding garments, it will be a feast of dressmaking fashion from both independent and larger pattern companies. With three shows a day, free to attend on a first come first served basis, along with a daily showcase of garments from leading fashion and textile students. Grab a front row seat and bring your pap worthy sunglasses 😉GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)


If you’re a fan of Liberty, then London’s Fashion and Textile Museum has curated a stunning exhibition of archive Liberty pieces especially for the event. Liberty has been a part of the British landscape since its founding by Arthur Lasenby Liberty 140 years ago.  Originally a warehouse supplying fashionable goods from the Far East, Liberty soon established a distinct style and approach.  Its contribution to British fashion, both that produced by the company and its impact on the work of other designers, is celebrated in the Liberty in Fashion exhibition.

Dennis Nothdruft, Curator of The Fashion and Textile Museum says: “‘Liberty has long held a unique place in British culture.  Not only has it sold fashion produced in the store, it has sold Liberty Art Fabrics directly to the home sewer and actively encouraged the making of garments from their distinctive textiles.  It even provided a cutting service for homemakers to bring in their patterns to be cut in Liberty fabrics.”GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)GBSB Live - Ticket Giveaway at makery (1)


As well as Jenny Éclair , Patrick Grant and Esme Young and over 250+ workshops and demonstrations, and that catwalk show and Liberty exhibition… there will also be a  dressmaking drop-in clinic,  vintage and garment galleries and shopping with over 150 dressmaking and sewing suppliers under one roof.

***GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED*** So, if you would like to win a pair of tickets, I have 5 sets to giveaway. Deets are as follows:

  • Tickets are for EITHER  Thursday 21st or Friday 22nd only
  • Each winner will receive 2 tickets with a face value of £16.50 each
  • Simply leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway (one entry per person. multiple comments will not be counted)
  • Giveaway closes at Midnight GMT on Friday 21st July
  • Winners will be drawn at random and notified via the email address attached to their profile


And if you would like another opportunity to win a pair of tickets as well as some other fantastic sewing related prizes, then check out the Makers for Grenfell raffle here.

Good luck!! Might just see you there!

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FO: Vogue 9160 & The Eve Appeal + a Giveaway



Cocktails anyone? A couple of weeks back Vogue Patterns (The McCall Pattern company) launched a year long sewalong in aid of The Eve Appeal. Part of this includes a blogger tour which is where your’s truly comes in today. Yep I’m up….and….well….running a liiiiiitle late this morning. Might be to do with all the champagne and peach schnapps I had to drink last night. (My fave cocktail. Dunno what that’s called, lol!) So why the references to cocktails? Well you may remember I took part in last years event The Big Vintage Sewalong….and well….you gotta have a theme right? And this years theme is cocktails! Yum! They’ve even come up with their own recipe and you can sup it while joining in with sewists nationwide, by sewing up one of the patterns from a selection of 20, and raising money for The Eve Appeal in the process. Savvy? Good…here’s me with an empty glass having drunk the house dry…VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE (9)

Soooooo, what did I make then? Not being a cocktail dress kinda gal, (and actually not at ease in any kind of “formal/dressy” attire), this one really pushed me out of my comfort zone. But not one to shy away from a challenge (that would be super hypocritical of me considering what I put you all through every year with The Refashioners , ha!), I duly accepted said challenge and this is what I came up with. You know….if I ever get invited out for cocktails….VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE (9)

My Idea of dressing up is heels and a bold lippy, whilst keeping the outfit itself understated. Indeed this make (in a gorgeous grey washed linen from Ditto fabrics that I’m in love with) would look equally at home with a cropped stripey tee and birkies! I love clothes that do double duty don’t you?

The pattern is Vogue 9160….yep…. a jumpsuit pattern….Now I have been admiring the jumpsuit trend from afar since it emerged. But I’ve steered clear as I KNOW it won’t suit me. I’m too conscious of a tubby middle section right now (I’ve gone up a whle dress size recently!) One piece garments rarely do. So my original intention was always to adapt this into a two piece, with the appearance of a jumpsuit, by making it out of the same fabric.VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE

I knew I didn’t want the scalloped lace or lining elements of this pattern. I wanted to pare it right down and simplify it by just using one fabric for the whole thing. But I really struggled to find a fabric (in time) that would be substantial enough for the bottoms but not too heavy for the top. Crepe would be a good one I think.  Or a mid weight cupro or sandwashed silk. In the end I decided that the linen was not quite right for the top portion, which led me more towards view C.  A Contrast top and bottom with a tie belt. I swapped out the top portion of the pattern for a looser fitting top in a lurex knit (I’m not a fan of anything too close fitting up top), then set about turning the bottom half of the pattern into trousers by adding a simple narrow waistband and back zip fastening.

But what elevates this make to something dressier I think….is the tie belt. I made a slightly longer version than the pattern so I could wrap it round twice and wear it more Obi style…VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE

I like…..NEVER…wear anything tucked in. That’s how conscious I am of my (lack of ) waist. But I do have proportionately narrow hips so from a “glass half full” perspective, I try to focus on those instead. But what I like about this make is what the belt does. Aside from the added interest, it cinches me in at the waist and draws the eye down to hip level where I’m narrowast. The overall effect is actually quite slimming and I don’t feel self conscious at all in these…VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE


It even camouflages my Mum/crisp/bloaty/bulge at the front! So the obi style tie belt may be a bit of a revelation for me!

Vogue Patterns  are giving one reader the chance to win a copy of this pattern…VOGUE PATTERNS BLOGGER TOUR FOR THE EVE APPEAL - VOGUE 9160 - PORTIA LAWRIE

To enter,  share this post on social media, then leave me a comment to let me know where you shared. Multiple shares gives multiple entries. Giveaway is open UK only (sorry) and closes at midnight GMT on Friday 24th March! Good luck!

More info on this year long event and the list of patterns can be found here and you can find out more about this fantastic charity and their other awareness and fundraising activities here.




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FO: Cable Ponte Coatigan (+ Dragonfly Fabrics Giveaway!)

This is a hack I’ve been wanting to test out for a while. A simple raglan sleeve sweatshirt pattern, to my mind, had potential to be hacked into coatigan. And what do you know…RAGLAN SLEEVE COATIGAN

I’d been eyeing this cable knit jacquard ponte from Dragonfly Fabrics. When it arrived I wasn’t disappointed. Yes it is as soft, squishy and bouncy as it looks. The only unexpected thing for me was the reverse of the fabric wasn’t grey but a black synthetic mesh type affair. The best way I can describe it is a sandwich of layers. I’d been flippy flopping between a skirt, dress or jacket for this fabric. Once I saw the reverse I decided on the coatigan. Because of the warmth of this fabric and the underside, imho, lends itself well to outer garments as opposed to sitting in direct contact with the skin…RAGLAN SLEEVE COATIGAN

To work with…it’s delicious. My serger and standard machined uttered not the slightest resistance. It’s very stable and cuts and sews like a dream. No stretching, wavy seams, curling or skipped stitches. Up the stitch length on your standard machine and use universal or jersey 80/12 needles would be my advice. But the speciality needles are in no way necessary as this fabric isn’t the least bit tempermental

You can use any “loose/easy fit” sweatshirt or raglan sleeve pattern for this hack. The Linden would be a good choice. I happened to have the 2 Hour Top Pattern from Sew Different cut out so that’s what I used.  I simply  lengthened the front and back pieces, and the sleeves; then made up to this stage…RAGLAN SLEEVE COATIGAN

Sliced up the middle…RAGLAN SLEEVE COATIGAN

Drafted a facing for the neckline and opening…RAGLAN SLEEVE COATIGAN

Applied the facing RS together, turned through to the inside, pressed and top stitched down. The sleeve hems were simply turned and stitched. The main hem was finished in combination with the bottom of the facing in the same way as my shirt kimono for The Refashioners.


This make was very much me testing an idea out. So what I might do differently next time revolves mainly around the neckline. Sometimes when I’m experimenting I get carried away and don’t consider all the elements! For me the neckline is a little wide and a little low (at the back in particular) for this. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fine and I’ve worn it plenty since I made it. It’s just one of those “even better if” kinda things you know? And POCKETS! Why the hell didn’t I put in seam pockets in?? I have a little fabric left so I may go back this week and add on some oversized patch pockets.RAGLAN SLEEVE COATIGAN

In terms of variations, I’m thinking a gold zip right down the front would look ace. Add a hood…make a cropped version…anyway…I digress!

Back to the giveaway.  Simon and Dorte at Dragonfly Fabrics are generously offering the following: First Prize: £25 to spend in their online store. Second Prize: A sewing pattern of your choice from their extensive range. To enter all you need to do is complete a super short survey then leave a comment here to let me know you’ve entered. (It’s really quick, I promise). What’s more, while the giveaway is running there’s 15% off all orders when you use the code DRESSMAKING at checkout. 

Giveaway (and code) expire Sunday 29th November at Midnight GMT. Winners will be selected at random and notified by email.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Code has been extended to 20th December.

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Hemlock Tee: How to Sew a Deconstructed Jersey Neckline Finish

Not really a secret that I love the Hemlock Tee pattern from Grainline Studio. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen a few of these pop up recently that haven’t yet been blogged. One you will have seen in my previous post. This one is just a simple grey jersey…DECONSTRUCTED JERSEY NECKLINE FINISH

This would not be particularly noteworthy apart from the fact I wanted to let you know this jersey from Minerva Crafts is frikkin gorgeous! So soft. So drapey. Not too flimsy. Need more in my life!

I also wanted to share my favourite jersey neckline finish of the moment! I’m not a massive fan of conventional ribbed neck bands . I like my tees to look a little more deconstructed and I really like the raw edge of jersey fabric. The way it curls  when you stretch it! But obviously  a neckline still needs some stability. So recently I’ve been opting for this neckline finish…DECONSTRUCTED JERSEY NECKLINE FINISH

It’s applied in exactly the same way as the pattern describes, with one exception. Instead of the folded edge of the neck band edging your neckline…you flip the band the other way round before applying it,  and have the raw edge exposed instead!

Here’s a quick step by step. If you’ve never applied a jersey neckband before you may also find this useful as it covers the whole process…at least this is how I do it!DECONSTRUCTED JERSEY NECKLINE FINISH

Take your neckband pattern piece and press it with some spray starch (helps stop the edges curling too much as you work); sew together the ends to form a loop then fold in half.


Taking the join as your centre back marker, mark your centre front point using a pin. Do this by folding the band in half with the join smack band in the middle. Mark the CF point with a pin on the opposite side.


Mark the sides with of the neckband with a pin too..


Pin the CF of your neckband to the CF of your neckline. I’m going for that raw edge finish on mine remember. So I’m lining up the folded edge of my neckband with the raw edge of my neckline. If you want the clean/folded edge finish to your neckline, then line up the raw edges of your neck band with the raw edge of your neckline. Savvy?


Pin the sides of your neck band to your shoulder seams and the CB of your neck band to the  CB of your neckline. So your neckband is now pinned at both shoulders seams, the BB, and the CF of the right side of your neckline.


Serge to join. I work in 1/4 sections at a time. ie from pin to pin. Hold the layers of fabric under just enough tension for the neckband to match the length of the neckline. It will be drafted ever so slightly smaller than the neckline circumference which enables it to naturally want to turn to the inside .  So pull on it juuuust enough as it runs through the serger, but be careful not to stretch it out.


Press! Seam allowance/serged edge downwards…


Top/Edge stitch around the neckline to secure the seam allowance. So you now have a finished neckline with a raw edge detail (or if you attached the band the other way, a finished neckline with a clean folded edge!). If you want it a bit narrower you can start with a narrower band in the first place OR trim it down at this stage….


Make a notch/snip to the depth you want…


And trim!


I went even narrower on this one and part of me wishes I’d  restrained myself a little, lol! After laundering, the edges will soften, and depending on how long you’ve left them, (ahem) curl a little too.

You might ask what the point is in lining up the folded edge of the band with the raw edge of the neckline in the first place. You could just attach the band as normal, trim, and you still end up with a raw edge. I just prefer to do it this way because I find it easier to line up a folded edge with one raw edge, than it is to align 3 raw edges; and I find the inside finish cleaner this way too. Either way would work and it’s one of those cases of personal preference.

I’ve done a variation with a twist  of this on the hemlock in my previous post. The one I’ve yet to blog about! Then there’s one more that I’ve made; (and two more that I’m about to make). Plus my first stab at Suzy Pants and 3 completed Maya variations that are also unblogged!

I literally have too many blog posts to squeeze in before the launch of The Refashioners 2015.

Oh yeah, and I ought to refashion a shirt too, gasp!!

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