Britain’s got talent

CaptureWithin my fabric collection I have a small selection of hand-printed fabrics from the marvellous Sarah Waterhouse.  The only problem is that I love the fabric so much I cannot bear to cut into it, unless I am absolutely sure I am going to be making something that will turn out fabulous first time.

Kiwi-Plum-Bird-Brolly1I came across Sarah via a crowdfunder project aimed at helping her expand her business.  And I am pleased to say that she achieved her finance objectives and ever since then has seemingly gone from strength to strength.

Capture2Based in the aptly named Persistence Works in Sheffield, Sarah produces her stylishly hand-printed range on a range of eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics.  They have a wonderful organic feel to them, not so much in the pure technical term, but the texture seems to tell a bigger story about where they came from.  (Much as I like buying fabric online, I have to get a regular fix of actually touching fabrics as it can be this which is often the deciding factor in a purchase.)

Designer-maker success stories like Sarah’s make me believe that perhaps we are at last turning back to the idea that investing in something original and made to last is much more satisfying than the disposable consumer culture we are constantly steamrollered by. This in its turn will help to retain our craft and skills heritage, enabling a wider choice of careers for all.

If you would like to buy some of Sarah’s fabric or possibly sign up for one of her screenprinting classes, visit

Wool Tweed Lengths For Sale

If the post earlier in the week about tweed had you hankering for some of the lovely new colours that are now available, take a look at what’s on offer from Quilting Antics.

Quilting Antics

We have had so much interest in our wool tweeds that we thought it was about time that we started to offer them for sale on line. Below you will find our first batch to be photographed. We only have one role of each colourway so it really is a case of first up best dressed…you snooze you loose! When you have made a selection you can either ring the shop on 01729 824708 to reserve your wool or you can leave a comment here. Good luck and I hope you like what you see.

We are also working on some simple patterns, using the tweed, which we intend to give away free on here. Yay!

wool 1 and 2 second attempt copy

Roll number 1. shades of purple, blue, black red and white. 136″ x 10″ (3.46m x 0.26m) £27.50 (can sell as a half length.)

Roll number 2. shades of blue, purple, Grey, white the piece…

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Hot pink upholstery

hotpink chairThis week I have been researching interiors fabrics, which has been both fun and a little bit onerous at the same time.  It’s been a while since I was a student and I haven’t yet worked out whether I am writing too much, not enough or veering dreadfully from the project brief.

For my historical period I chose the Arts and Crafts Movement, mainly so that I could avoid the Victorians, but it is actually an architectural style that I rather like.  Some friends recently bought a beautifully preserved Arts and Crafts house with all of the lovely wooden features still in tact.  They did feel the need to replace the green and black bathroom for something more modern though.  Can’t say I blame them.

Then it was the turn of contemporary fabrics, where I discovered that this year’s Pantone colour is Marsala, an earthy red whicdownloadh apparently will images (1)be giving all designers their theme for the year.  I’m not sure I like it in its purest form, but it is very warm and welcoming. The perfect contrast for this is Indigo Blue, so there are lots of linens around for use as curtains and other soft furnishings.

But my favourite modern fabrics have to be the new tweeds.  Taking a traditional woollen fabric and reinventing it with brilliant new colours is inspired.  I love the feature chair at the top of this post, and one day I hope to do some upholstery so that I can make one for myself.  That’ll be the next course then…

Cat x

It’s all gone a bit ‘Wa’!

Well life here at Planet Cat has been a bit manic over the last few months and my little bloglet has been the most high profile casualty. However, rest assured I haven’t been idle and I do have some lovely things to show you.

One big piece of news is that Kid is off to Japan!

20140525-122716-44836446.jpgHe is very lucky to have been chosen as part of the UK contingent going to the World Scout Jamboree next July (I’ve been dropping hints about the wonder of Japanese fabric crafts but I don’t think I have made any headway yet). Consequently we are planning lots of fundraisers to help fund him and a scout from a less well off country who would not otherwise be able to go.

The symbol for WSJ2015 is the Japanese peace crane – Wa (please note that my fact checker is currently playing on the Wii with K.C. so do tell me if I’ve got it wrong!) and therefore we are making lots to give away and sell. Yesterday I made my first one out of fabric so I thought I would share it with you, together with the stages of construction.

Cat x








Origami – fat quarter style

Back on the subject of that old fabric addiction, is there anything nicer than leaving your favourite emporium armed with a selection of fat quarters, especially when they come all neatly packaged together like this.


As I now sell some fabric myself, I’ve been trying to work out how to do this lovely boat fold in order to present my wares in a more attractive manner. I couldn’t quite work out how to do it, so this afternoon, while doing yet more tidying in Spare ‘Oom I set about documenting how it is done.








Then it was my turn, could I recreate it with some of my own fabric?


The trick I discovered is to ensure that your first two folds are on the longest side of your fabric otherwise your folded triangles will overlap in the middle. After a couple of attempts I had mastered the art of fat quarter origami!


Cat x

Every colour of the rainbow.. And then some!

When someone says “I’m going to the US, is there anything I can bring back for you?” little do they know what they are letting themselves in for!

Just before Christmas some kindly neighbours gave me an address in California and offered to squeeze a package or two into their suitcase for the return journey. Like many of my sewsistas I look in envy at US based swing sites. It isn’t the range of fabrics, because we have most of them on his side of the pond, it is the price. Often a metre costs less in US$ than we pay in £ sometimes by as much as 50% which is a heartbreaking prospect. So the opportunity to get some at great prices, and in the January sales as well was too good to miss.

I was very good and restrained myself (not least because they are going again in July and if I play my cards right…) and bought these two gorgeous bundles. I use a lot of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton but normally I have to wait until a particular stage in a project then make the 90 minute round trip to the nearest warehouse which sells a decent selection to buy the right colour. By getting a complete set in this way I am going to be able to create my own colour reference board which will give me more options for buying online.

I’ll add that to my very long list of things to do!

Cat x

As addictions go, mine is fairly benign….

Oh the excitement when the doorbell rings. A glimpse of the courier’s van and the hope that it’s for me!

There is nothing quite like a bit of squidgy post to lighten the soul on a cold and wet winter’s morning.
I do try my very hardest to steer clear of the fabric porn sites, aka online sewing stores but it is very difficult. They have come a long way since the nasty brown polyester and floral curtain patterns (as Mr Cat calls it) of the seventies so that now there is a veritable cornucopia of choice. I have my favourite emporia and designers, but like any addict when I need a fix I am not actually all that fussy.

Those of you who have been following the Spare ‘Oom project will know that fabric is not something I am short of. While my collection is nothing on that of a few other people I know, I could sew for a year without having to buy another thread.
And yet still I need more. But in the general scheme of things there are much worse things I could be addicted to

Cat x

Day 4 – Twelve Days of Christmas challenge

I’m sorry to report that the Christmas cards remain unwritten. There are many and multiple reasons, all directly related to an ability to ‘get on with it’. There is an upside of this however. It means that I won’t have to buy very many next year. Again…

Santa’s chief elf is happy to report that all sello has been taped, all paper wrapped and all packaging recycled, so barring any unforeseen circumstances I AM READY! So there are no more excuses for not getting on with the challenge (unless you count the fact that Mrs Cat snr has arrived and my lackadaisical approach to family mealtimes has to be abandoned).

Today I present to you Four Floral Fancies in the guise of four little toiletry bags. Lined with satin and sporting some very pretty ribbon they are an unusually girly addition to my usual range but I’m pretty fond of these. We’ve been trying to work out how much stuff you can actually get in one and the answer is ‘quite a lot’!

Cat x


Staying organised

Please tell me that I am not alone…

In some areas of my life I am very organised; in others, ridiculously random. And no matter how hard I try I do not seem to be able to control my stash.

I’ve resorted to ‘job bags’ for some of my projects (a throwback to my office days when design projects would be kept in large folders to ensure none of the artwork went missing) and buying yet more ‘really useful boxes’ but I still have stuff trailing all around the house like a toddler’s primary coloured plastic.

Since I try to discipline myself not to cut out a project until I am actually going to sew it this leaves me often in a quandary of indecision. And despite the fact that I try to never have more than two unfinished projects on the go at any one time, I still manage to make an incredible mess.

This is my attempt to keep all of the pieces from a quilt I am making up as I go along together. It worked fine until one of the ties broke and I had to unwrap everything to put it back together again!

Maybe I just need to go back upstairs and get organising… Again.

Cat x

Sew near and yet sew far. Part 2

Well my skirt is finally finished.

I’m sure this will come as a huge relief to those of you who have been following the saga on Facebook. It is still a tad on the large side, but it fits, it’s comfortable and I’m happy with my sewing skills.

One thing it has demonstrated very clearly is that no matter how unhappy I MIT be about my own body shape (currently under review – hence the reason why I had to keep adjusting the waistband) I am definitely not pear-shaped. Sewaholic patterns are specifically for this profile so I going to have to be very careful in future to read all of the dimensions before I start.

I also think that I MIT give designing some of my own patterns a bit of a bash. So long as I take lots of care with the old ruler and measuring tape I can’t go too wrong?!

Cat x