It seemed like such a good idea at the time

20140212-110733.jpgI bet the marketing team at Seasalt thought this was a really good idea back in June… Poor old Cornwall, like most of the south-west of the UK is currently being battered by horrendous weather and I suspect that floral anoraks and funky wellies aren’t cutting it in Wraysbury or Marlow right now.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take joy in gorgeous design and the optimism of small businesses.  It isn’t just passion and an eye for style that creates a great brand.  Having a consistent story and a clear business head are essential.  I only came across Seasalt five years ago, courtesy of a wonderful hemp long-sleeved shirt purchased in a bijou boutique but a little scoot round their website tells me that they have been around for 30 years.

Seasalt wellies

I’m in the market for a new pair of wellies for walking Destructa Dog because this weather doesn’t look like it is going to end any time soon and Mr Cat’s are just a tad too big for me.  What do you think of these?

Cat x


The secret’s out…


People keep sidling up to me, slightly surreptitiously, as if they want my autograph. But instead of pressing a pen and paper into my hand they keep giving me carrier bags. Generally these are clutched expectantly by the throat rather than being held nonchalantly by the handles and contain nothing more than than a single garment.

It is nothing more sinister than the word getting round that not only can I sew but I can also fix things. And suddenly the favourite shirt or dress need no longer be consigned to the scrap bin. Word has reached so far that on Wednesday one of KC’s 8 year old classmates accosted me in the playground demanding “has Mum given you my shorts? The rip isn’t too bad. I’m sure it won’t take you too long to fix.” Apparently there had been a wardrobe meltdown previously that week when aforementioned shorts (his favourite pair no less) had been discovered with a substantial tear. When Mummy informed him that she was not Mrs Cat apparently he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Perhaps it is just a small step now to bespoke tailoring but that would mean buying yet more fabric….

Cat x

Sew near and yet sew far

Esme_top_patternAs my return to dressmaking was not unsuccessful I thought I would have another go – not least because my wardrobe is extremely sparse and I hate  clothes shopping (isn’t that right Kitty?!).

One of the great things about the resurgence in all things crafty is that it is now possible to buy patterns from wide variety of independent designers who are able to get their ideas to market much faster than the larger conglomerates.

I’ve been toiling away at this Esme Top from Sew Liberated this weekend in some lovely London Calling fabric I bought from the nice people at Raystitch.  The colour and style of the cotton voile are a bit of a departure for me as I normally stick with plain colours (well purple actually) but the sun was shining and I was in the mood for adventure.

Esme_topSew Liberated have taken the decision to create very simple instructions backed up by a video tutorial.  On the whole this is a good idea but the video wasn’t well recorded, in particular the sound and I had quite a hunt to find the bit I needed to answer my particular query.  I also ended up putting in the sleeves the traditional way as there was no way I could make them fit without putting in a gathering thread.

I’ve also come a bit of a cropper on the sizing.  You see nowhere on the pattern does it give finished dimensions nor is there any clue as to the nationality of the designer.  It was only when I  tried the bodice on for the first time that I realised my mistake.  In the UK a 12 is a US 10 and I had added a little bit extra so what I am left with is a bit of a tent!  Coupled with the fact that my sewing machine wasn’t playing nice yesterday either I was not a happy camper.

However, it’s redeemable (at least it wasn’t two sizes too small!) and I’ll know for next time…


Cat x


Lilac_blouseIn the end Kitty and I watched all four episodes of the Great British Sewing Bee (her Dad very kindly recorded it for us so that he wouldn’t be forced to watch it himself!).

We were decidedly uninspired by the first episode… why include two men and then make all of the challenges to do with making or altering women’s clothing.  It was so unimaginative and I can’t pretend that we weren’t just a little bit disappointed.

However, by Episode 3 we were getting into it, rooting away for our two favourites Lauren and Ann.  There was something magnificent about the latter’s command of all things needlework, but we were rather fond of Lauren’s more modern execution of most of the tasks.  In the end the best woman won and let’s hope that I can still wield a needle with such precision in my eighties.

One positive aspect of watching the programme was that I was inspired to make a blouse for myself, something I haven’t done in years.  Every since a certain young man made a comment about my homemade clothing!  I used to make about 60% of my own clothes well into my twenties.  This is probably what contributes to my dislike of clothes shopping – nothing is more infuriating than spending hours trying to find something to wear which fits correctly, is well made and which doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

I chose a fairly simple pattern to get myself started, but have experimented with the fabric.  This is an organic cotton/bamboo mix which I bought from Raystitch – one of my favourite online shops.  It had it’s first outing today and I even got a couple of compliments.  Maybe I might just snitch that green fabric I bought to make Kitty a skirt…

Cat x