World War 2 Weekend-Make Do & Mend

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For the Bank Holiday at the end May, I packed my ration book, coupons and ID card and journeyed up to  Cambridgeshire to set up my “Make Do and Mend” stall as part of the Word War II weekend at the Denny Abbey Farmland Museum.

Welcome to the Farmland Museum

Every year at the second May Bank holiday, you can step back in time to explore rural life in the 1940s. We had both British and American soldiers, land girls and many others in the appropriate costumes as well as some vintage cars, motorcycles, jeeps, farming tractors and a maypole!

I set up my sewing table and invited everyone to have a go at making a “Suffolk puff” fabric flower with leftover fabric scraps and buttons.  Here is a gallery of the beautiful embellishments everyone created. See if you can pick yours out!

To all those who were contented to watch- go on, have a go at home!



suffolk puff in a purple ditzy printsuffolk puff in rainbow colours

perky polka dots

pretty retro rosepretty braid embellishmentroyal & multi colourful combo

elegant black & whiteinstant bag chicmulticolour swirls

black & white and gold on toplovely royal bluescool blue & button





















It wasn’t all sewing and mending.

Have a glimpse at life back in the 1940s. Come and visit everyone next time!

Jeeps at the ready in the Abbey grounds.

Jeeps at the ready!

Motorcycles and their lovely ladies.

Motorcycle personalityPeriod MototcyclesA lovely lady


Tractors, vans and traction engines.

tractor and bikeperiod vana quiet moment for the traction engine



Everyone likes a shiny red motorcar!

everyone likes a red motor!


Everybody likes sailors too!

Hi Sailors!



The Land Army was there digging for Victory.

Land Girls ready to work

Lots of music and dancing with nostalgic songs and energetic maypole dancing.

Maypole music & fun

That’s Mike singing all those tunes from the 1940s with his accordion.

Mike's sing along


Do I have enough coupons for any of this? These things are in short supply.

dainty things in short supply

Found one in your size madam!I just happen to have one in your size

Always time for a natter….

Always time for a natter

…..and a yummy ice cream.

Yummy Ice Cream as well!

But the star of the weekend had to be Patch who could keep going all day long.

Give him a like on the Just Sew Inspired Facebook page!

Patch- a real perky pooch!

It was a great weekend and can’t wait for next year. Hope these photos tempted you to try a little 1940s wartime style.

If you like music and ice cream, also have a look at and too.

Until next time with more stitch & stuff……

Button card

Beautiful Beaded Buttons by the Essex WI

Silver and sparkle
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At the beginning of May,  beautiful beaded buttons  bloomed (say that five times fast) at our workshop held by the Essex Federation of the Women’s Institute (WI) at the Hatfield Peverel headquarters .

Using self cover buttons, widely available from sewing, haberdashery and craft shops , these buttons were beaded within an inch of their lives to create tiny canvases of colour and texture.  All the participants designed and stitched on a 29mm self cover shank button. These  can be used for brooches or embellishment for bags , hats or garments. Really, anywhere you would like to add a special button. The variable sizes allow you to stitch tiny sets of buttons for  a special outfit or garment or go bigger if you prefer. Readily available sizes and sets go all the way up to 38mm-the possibilities and ideas are endless for where they can be used. I bet you can think of at least three right now!

I’m always delighted and impressed by the  quality of workmanship, variety of colours and designs that are created in these workshops and am pleased to share this session’s completed tiny treasures with you.

Here’s a quick look at what happened on the day…………

Everyone started by taking  time to think about a simple design to transfer onto fabric and the beading and embroidery options they could include. Their chosen fabric was then tacked onto backing material and placed firmly into embroidery hoops ready for action.

creating a baseline swirl to start designkeeping fabric tight while stitchingdesign area marked and starting to bead!

simple circles but so effectivetie dye for colourful background for beadingfollowing the fabric print to outline

Once everyone was satisfied with their stitching and with the odd nip & tuck, the fabric was then positioned over the button form and “click”,  their compact masterpieces were complete.

Beautifully stitched, here is the gallery of finished buttons ready to add a special sparkle to whatever they adorn.

you can never go wrong with classic pearlstie dye & bead mix with a green rosesuch a pretty combination

swirls on a magenta backgroundclassic sparkle in black & whitea  bold staement in blues and magenta

Make sure to click on each photo for close up details of all the yummy, beady textures.

Well done WI Essex!

Until next time with more stitch & stuff……………

my favourite button card

Silk Ribbon Embroidery to Mark the Coming of Spring

Purple silk ribbon roses
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The last dark days of February were chased away at the Warner Textile Archive, Braintree by participants creating their own beautiful floral silk ribbon embroidery pincushions.

We met in a most appropriate venue – a former silk mill that now holds a wonderful collection of Warner & Sons fabrics & wallpaper designs. For more detailed information visit .

In this peaceful and creative environment , the participants set to work translating embroidery stitches into silk floral motifs. They could choose to create a freeform pattern or follow one of the patterns I provided.

Most chose the floral heart pincushion to start with- everyone likes a pretty heart shape for a pincushion!

We started by laying the foundation stitches to wrap with silk for branches and stems and then to create luscious roses. 


laying the foundation stitches

budding roses

Then more wrapping, layering and stitches to build texture and form.

a budding branch

growing foundation of texture



Silk ribbons begin to bloom into roses, leaves and tiny buds.

a bold background alternativea pop of colour


More beautiful blooms with more silk stitching.

sweet & simplefloral heart begins to bloomblue & mauve mix

I’m so pleased to show you the beautiful work that everyone created.

From absolute beginners to those who have embroidered before, each person stitched their own bouquet to mark the end of winter.

a perfect little bouquet

A perfect little motif!

Don’t be afraid to experiment- you can create an edgier mood by selecting deeper, more saturated and unexpected  colour palettes. Instead of pearls and pastel beads as accents, substitute chunkier charms, fragments of jewellery or metal bits like washers, internal watch parts etc.

edgy style silk ribon purse

My steampunk inspired purse

Be it soft and floral or dark and mysterious, silk ribbon embroidery can deliver a unique result for your textile work.

Any comments or queries, just contact me through the website.

Until next time…..

Button card

Newly updated website is LIVE

Deco swirl bedjacket pinned
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Please come and have a look at our lovely new website and online shop

A Quick Design & Stitch Project……

trapunto pincushion
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Here comes a teeny, tiny little pattern just for some crafting fun.

It’s a simple floral motif that I developed form a corner of a William Morris fabric.

I have often included it in my instruction sheets for patchwork, applique and creative embroidery sessions for a great “get you started” point for practicing a new technique.  It’s also one of those designs that gives you instant satisfaction whether it is in a simple trapunto white on white stitch or taken to the max with creative embroidery.  Size up or down as you require.
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T-Shirt Transfer Transplant……

ready to wear again
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Not soon after the machine applique class with the WI, another similar machine applique technique presented itself right at my front door.

My next door neighbour definitely had a fashion emergency that needed urgent help! She had a favourite black T-shirt with a floral motif that was just one of those shirts that you could make about 4 different outfits from casual to super smart. But, it was beginning to get a bit faded and worn. The big problem was that a midwinter cruise was coming up fast and that shirt with that motif would have 3 outfits taken care of with minimal packing!

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When I was out & about…..

a Finished Cushion
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Had a great time in late September presenting a Machine Applique session at the Essex Federation of Women’s Institutes headquarters . If you are a member and want to see what’s on or just looking for info on groups in your area, have a look at their site.
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What’s on the Sewing Table………..

vintage blouses
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After reading, asking, looking, wondering, agonizing over, skulking about on other sites and trying to plan, organise and rationalise about how to start a blog, I figure the best way is to just jump in and share with you all the things that I find interesting about sewing, textiles and craft heritage.

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