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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Makers for Grenfell – Destash or Donate & Win Fantastic Sewing Prizes!


It’s not overstating to say the past few months here in the UK have been crappy. Crappy is too lightweight a word really. (But I don’t want to unleash the vocabulary I would really like to use) Terrorist attacks. A country seemingly more divided than ever over social injustice and inequality and racial division. And then there was Grenfell. A tragedy so unfathomable, so incomprehensible, so heartbreaking, that I think it sucked the air out of most of us. I know I’m not alone in saying, I have shed tears. Felt helpless. Sat there with my head in my hands, staring in disbelief at what was unfolding on our screens. Not just Grenfell but the tragedies that went before it. The Queen described it as a “sombre mood, pervading our nation”. But it’s more than that. It’s sadness and anger and helplessness. My absence from this blog of late is no coincidence. I haven’t had the heart to talk to you about sewing.  I’ve barely sewn. It’s just seemed a bit….pointless. Insignificant. I’ve felt beaten down by all this death and tragedy.

But at some point a few weeks ago I realised that I was allowing the “bad stuff” to win. That we don’t overcome by curling up into a ball. We overcome by reaching out and pulling together. That’s the one positive that’s come out of the past few weeks. It’s the shining example of communities reaching out and pulling together. THEY are the many. WE are the many. The rest are the few.

So I decided to channel that sadness and anger and helplessness, into something a little more positive. A few weeks ago I launched a fundraising initiative over on Instagram called Makers for Grenfell. I hold this sewing community of ours in such esteem and I thought, there is something here that we can do. So I put a call out on IG…..and people responded.  Sewists and businesses alike responded. And so far we have raised just over £1200. A drop in the ocean some might say. But the ocean is made of many drops. And we’re not done yet anyway 😉

So today I wanted to share with you a number of ways you can get involved, if you feel moved to do so. The bonus is, there is sewing loveliness involved in this fundraising effort!  So without further ado, here’s what you can do….


The generosity of the businesses in our sewing community has been heartwarming. When I put the call out for some prizes for a fundraising raffle I was inundated with offers of help. Between us we have managed to put together a selection of prizes worth well in excess of £2k. Including some money can’t buy experiences not to be found elsewhere! Tickets cost £5 and details of how to purchase are at the end of this prize list. But in the meantime….take a look at what you could win! (btw….make sure you scroll all the way;))

Fabric Godmother has donated 2 prizes. A £50 voucher to spend online and an amazing “Day Out” package of goodies as follows:

2 x Entry tickets for the Handmade fair at Hampton court palace (must be available 15th-17th Sept does not include transport or accommodation)
Face to face style consultation with the Fabric Godmother including a bottle of Prosecco (or mocktail, to be done at the Handmade fair)
£50 gift voucher for Fabric Godmother to spend at the Handmade Fair. Overall value approx £250.

Makers4Grenfell - Fabric Godmother


GBSB Live have kindly donated 5  x pairs of tickets (worth £33 a pair) to their exciting new event launching in London’s Excel Centre on 21st – 24th September. (Tickets are for Thursday or Friday only. 5 winners will each receive a pair of tickets).

Makers4Grenfell - GBSB Live


Named Clothing have donated a bundle of 3 patterns worth £30. Winner will receive a pdf copy of Reeta Midi Shirt Dress, Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress & Top and Ninni Elastic Waist CulottesMakers4Grenfell - Named Clothing


Elisalex of By Hand London is inviting you into her haven! Learn the basics of dressmaking with a one-on-one intensive three hour session with cofounder and Head of Design at By Hand London sewing patterns, in her own home studio. The class will be curated specifically according to your skill level and what you want to learn or improve on. And as an added bonus, you will leave the class with your choice of three By Hand London patterns to keep you going! This workshop is based in London, NW10. Approx value £140. (Fabric not included).


The Fold Line are also offering 2 prizes. 1 winner will receive a half an hour social media coaching session via Skype with Kate Underdown from The Fold Line. Kate will answer your questions and share lots of tips on how to grow your online community. Approx vlue £100.

1 winner will receive copies of both the Parker and Billie Collection sewing patterns worth £25 from Tribe PatternsMakers4Grenfell - The Fold Line


New Craft House are offering an exclusive 1 2 1 prize worth £200: Learn to make your own bra with Hannah and Rosie from The New Craft House. In the session you’ll get hands on tuition and learn all of the bra making basics, including fitting, cutting and sewing up your bra. You’ll be able to pick from a few bra patterns and styles and have your pick of Rosie and Hannah’s lace stash! The class will take place in The New Craft House’s studio, just behind Broadway Market in East London and will take 4-5 hours. Exactly date and times to be confirmed with the winner.Makers4Grenfell - New Craft House


Wendy Ward is donating one of her fabulous Fulwood Dress Kits woth £65 which includes:

  • a copy of the printed paper version of the Fulwood Dress pattern (which can be re-used to make more dresses!)
  • over 2.5m of a beautiful quality medium weight cotton denim fabric in a choice of 2 shades to make one dress
  • a reel of matching colour Gutermann polyester sewing thread

Makers4Grenfell - Wendy Ward


Cocowawa Crafts have gifted a bundle worth over £50 that includes the following:

3 balls of jersey yarn, 1 x Lily Dress and Blouse pdf pattern. 1 x Marshmallow Dress physical pattern. 1 x Mini Marshmallow Dress pdf pattern.Makers4Grenfell - Cocowa Crafts


Girl Charlee have also been amazingly generous with this fabric bundle worth approx £150!Makers4Grenfell - Girl Charlee


Minerva Crafts too with this bundle worth around £200 (this is not even all of it!)Makers4Grenfell - Minerva Crafts


Cotton Reel Studio have donated a £50 voucher to spend online…Makers4Grenfell - Cotton Reel Studio


Sew Hayley Jane have donated a “Super Stash Box” worth approx £50, packed with sewing and haberdashery goodies. (photos are for illustrative purposes. Actual contents may vary as each box is unique)Makers4Grenfell - Sew Hayley Jane


Love Sewing have donated a bundle of 6 sewing patterns as follows :B5988 sizes 8-16; K3955 sizes xs-xl ; M7094 sizes 4-26;  B6178 sizes 6-22;  M7533 sizes 8-24; M7536 sizes 6-22… well as a copy of Matt Chappel’s book Makeit, Own it, Love it. Total value over £70.Makers4Grenfell - Love Sewing - Pattern Bundle


Makers4Grenfell - Love Sewing - Matt Chapple Book


Village Haberdashery have offered this Rifle Paper Co Fat Quarter bundle worth £80. This bundle contains fat quarters of all 21 quilting cottons (including 10 metallic prints) in the Wonderland collection.Makers4Grenfell - Village Haberdashery


Cico Books have donated this phenomenal bundle of 6 book titles (as pictured) worth around £100!Makers4Grenfell - Cico Books


Beyond Measure is donating this amazing collection of luxury Hiroshima needles and pins worth £39. (I can attest….these are gorgeous!)Makers4Grenfell - Beyond Measure


Simply Sewing are generously donating a 1 year subscription worth £77Makers4Grenfell - Simply Sewing


Cloth & Candy have donated 3 FQ bundles as pictured worth £30…Makers4Grenfell - Cloth and Candy


Suzy Magazine have donated three, year long subscriptions to Suzy. (Please note, these are UK only prizes. ) That is a total of four issues per winner at a value of £40. Suzy magazine is an independent sewing magazine for fashion forward sewists. This keepsake magazine is your perfect sewing table companion, full of dressmaking inspiration, glimpses behind the scenes of sewing businesses, chats with your favourite sewing bloggers and a gorgeous editorial fashion spread of handmade clothing you can make yourself.Makers4Grenfell - Suzy Magazine


Sew Essential have done exactly what it says in the picture 😉

makersforgrenfell - sew essential


And last but not least, rounding up this epic list of prizes…

Claire-Louise Hardie is offering up her time to one lucky winner  with a full day 121 session at her North london sewing studio. AKA The Thrifty Stitcher-Sewing Producer for the Bee! If you can’t make it to london, then the session can also be taken via Skype! This 121 session is worth £170, and you’ll not only get expert sewing advice, but insider stories from “the bee” and a life lived backstage. 121 sewing sessions allow you to tailor your learning to exactly what you want or need. No dressmaking problem is too hard!  Originally trained as a Costume Designer at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Claire-Louise has worked in all aspects of Costume for Theatre, Film and TV with an impressive CV of employers that includes-

The RSC:The Royal National Theatre:Regent’s Park open air Theatre and “The Audience” with Dame Helen Mirren.
Her diverse professional experience made her the perfect candidate for the role of Sewing Producer for TV’s “Great British Sewing Bee“ A role she’s done since 2012 when the show was first developed.In her spare time Claire-louise is undertaking a Masters Degree at London College of Fashion!Makers4Grenfell - Claire-Louise-profile #2


How about that then people? Is that not a sewing raffle on steroids?!!! If you want to be in with a chance of winning one of these fabulous prizes then you’ll need to buy a ticket! Here’s how:

  1. Head over to the Makers for Grenfell page on Just giving here.
  2. Donate the £5 cost of a ticket (by all means buy more than one!)
  3. In the section that says leave a message of support type “Raffle” followed by your full name.


Raffle will be drawn on 5th August 2017. Winners will be announced on this blog and prizes will then be allocated (ie winners will get to choose) on a first come, first serve basis. If after 7 days, no contact has been received, then another ticket will be drawn until all prizes have been allocated. You can subscribe to this blog by email to ensure you get notification of when the winners are announced. Or keep an eye out on my social media accounts.

But…..that’s not the only way to get involved! Here are some more…


Most of us have a few things in our stash that we will never use. So I have set up an Instagram account where anyone can go & post photos of their unwanted sewing/knitting/ craft related or handmade items. You then simply state how much you would like the “buyer” to donate to “purchase” the item. They donate directly to the dedicated Just Giving Page and you sort out postage etc between you. If you want to get involved and sell your unwanted stash, then DM me over on Instagram, either to @portialawrie or @makersforgrenfell and I’ll give you the login deets!


Of course if you have nothing to sell but are in the market to buy sewing goodies, then make sure to follow @makersforgrenfell to stay up to date with new items being loaded. But be quick as items sell very quickly. So would recommend turning on post notifications for @makersforgrenfell on IG so you get notified as soon as someone posts. The goodies have not been hanging around for long. When you view the site, it may look full….but that is because posts will eventually get deleted once the transaction is complete. So don’t be fooled if you only see a handful of items 😉


Organise a craft jumble, a stitch and bitch coffee morning, a fabric swap, a raffle of your own, an auction. There are all manner of fundraising possibilities that you can organise independently, either online or in your local area and donate the proceeds to Makers for Grenfell. If you want to let me know about an event then email me at  or tag me in social media and I’ll do my best to help you spread the word


A couple of businesses have already designated a “Makers for Grenfell Day” where a percentage of all sales on that day has been donated to Makers for Grenfell. It needn’t be all sales. Maybe sales of a particular type of product would be a better fit. And please don’t worry that it may be viewed as opportunistic self promotion. I know some businesses worry about this. At the end of the day it’s a good cause. That’s really all that matters. If you want to let me know about an “Makers for Grenfell Day” or something else you have planned. then email me at  or tag me in social media and I’ll do my best to help you spread the word.

And last but not least….makers4grenfell

I rarely ask people to share and tag and all that jazz. But we all know how massive and awesome our online sewing community is. This blog, and me, is just one teeny tiny part of that. I can only do so much as one person. My reach is limited. But as a community we can do so much more. When we reach out and pull together. I’ve done what I can to get the ball rolling on this.   Now I’m passing the baton to you.  Let’s see what we’re capable of.

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Not a girly girl…(or am I?)

Most of you are likely aware that I have worked with Simply Sewing Mag since their launch a couple of years ago. I produce a little something for them every month. (Usually a refashion or a patternless project).  It’s a funny thing producing work for a magazine.  In a way, you could say I’m restricted by the magazine’s vision for that particular issue. But that’s never really been the case in truth. (apart from I get pushed on colour and pattern which SS love and I don’t naturally migrate towards, lol!) The Ed, Charlie and I collaborate on the garments I produce for them. And while our personal aesthetics are somewhat different, we pretty much always find common ground and an idea that makes us both go “yessssss!” in unison.

Far from being restricted, I feel more like I’m being challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone. Which is pretty much always a good idea creatively in my view. (I think you know from The Refashioners what my view on pushing and challenging is, ha!) In fact, producing work for the mag is kinda the opposite of restricting. It’s kinda freeing not to have to meet my own personal fit and style criteria so precisely.  I get to experiment with styles and shapes that I would absolutely never wear myself. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like them or have fun playing with them. Or, more importantly, that ther aren’t things i can learn from that experimentation. Always.

It tickled me this morning when I looked back at the last few issues of the mag.  As you guys know, I am probably the least “girly” person in terms of style you are likely to meet. And yet my last 3 contributions have turned out unashamedly feminine and girly. I blame Charlie. (Ed) But maybe there is a girly girl in me somewhere and I only let her out when I’m sewing for someone else, lol!

Issue 31 – July

This is such a super quick and easy make even for an absolute beginner.  Literally just rectangles and straight lines. Optional straps and belt tie included in the tute. Fabric was REALLY lovely to work with and comes from Stoff & Stil here. (Girly Rating 9/10)Press - Simply Sewing - Issue 31 - Patternless Ruffle Maxi Tutorial

Issue 30 – June

This is a self drafting tutorial for a wrap dress. Fabric is GAWgeous with surprising stretch . Requires care in the handling of it. Found this a tricky fabric to cut accurately because it crinkles after washing and misbehaves somewhat. But really lovely and glad I perservered with it.  From Dragonfly Fabrics . (Girly rating 9/10)Simply Sewing - Issue 30 - Wrap Dress - Patternless Project


Issue 29 – May

Believe it or not this Tulle “esque” skirt is made from a pair of voile curtains i found in my local charity shop. I then starched the hell out of them and pleated and gathered and layered to produce this! (Girly Rating…off the charts!) 😉ISSUE 29 - SIMPLY SEWING MAG - REFASHION



Issue 27 – March

Another refashion. Thrifted M&S cotton skirt made more fitted and a full length zipper added at the back. Not so much girly as feminine and oh so sexy! Size of the split adjustable by that chunky gold metal zipper inserted upside down! Raaaar!

So perhaps there is a bit of girly in me after all, lol.  Just highly unlikely in will be reflected in anything I wear, lol!

Back issues of the mag can be purchased here if you like the look of any of these and are not already a subscriber.

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BHF Launches “The Big Stitch”

An announcement regarding this years series of The Refashioners is just around the corner. So when an email popped into my inbox about The British Heart Foundation’s new refashioning initiative I thought…..what a perfect way to encourage y’all to start warming up your refashioning muscles in time for The Refashioners 2017!

And you also know what an advocate (ok addict) of charity shops I am. So this initiative is right up my strata, and hopefully yours too! BHF are calling on style-savvy shoppers to get crafty – all you need to do is use your sewing skills to personalise an item you’ve found in one of their shops.BHF - The Big Stitch

Taking part is easy, simply pop into your local BHF shop, buy an item and add your own fashion flair to it. (Refashion, embellish, customise. You know the drill!)

In addition to flexing your creativity,  and gaining a new addition to your wardrobe, any item bought from BHF shops allows them to continue to carry out life saving research and continue the fight against heart disease. Win. Win.BHF - The Big Stitch

BHF - The Big Stitch

For the whole of July BHF  will be asking you to “share your flair” by tagging your ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #TheBigStitch. The best photos will be featured on their photo wall of fame.

All tagged photos posted between 1st and 31st July will be entered into a competition for the chance to win a special night out at a West End show with Just Jodes (I didn’t know who she was either. It’s an age thing! Sorry Jodes!) for you and a friend.  Here’s the official skinny on Jodes:

YouTube sensation, Just Jodes, who has over 160k subscribers and nearly 80K followers on Instagram, will be lending her support to the campaign. With a keen eye for fashion and style, she will be holding tutorials on her channel throughout the month to provide her tips on customisation and upcycling. Just Jodes will demonstrate her key style tips, showing how easily an item can become a wardrobe staple.”

Hey, whoever Just Jodes is, it sounds like sewing related fun for a good cause….what’s not to like 😉BHF - The Big Stitch


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