The Willow & Co ASH Jumpsuit

ASH Jumpsuit - Willow & Co patterns // Behind the Hedgerow

Willow and Co is coming!!  Have you heard of this new pattern collective??  It’s run by a small group of skilled and creative independent designers and their first collection, Wanderlust, will be released for sale next Tuesday 22nd April.  These are all brand spanking new patterns and, let me tell you, each one of them looks pretty irresistible for the coming summer months.

I was lucky enough to be a tester for Celina Bailey’s Ash Jumpsuit.  This is a one or two piece pattern that ticks all the boxes for comfort and style.  Celina’s attention to detail is impeccable and it really was a joy to make.

ASH Jumpsuit - Willow & Co patterns // Behind the HedgerowI actually bought some Liberty lawn to make this jumpsuit but I chickened out at the last-minute!  Since the pattern was still in the testing phase I was worried that I might inadvertently ruin my fabric.  In hindsight I shouldn’t have worried – Celina had it all under control.  You know what that means though, I just have to make another one!  How many jumpsuits is it acceptable to have in one’s wardrobe?!

ASH Jumpsuit - Willow & Co patterns // Behind the Hedgerow

I made the one-piece version just for the sheer novelty of it!  I love that, like a dress, it’s just a throw-it-on-and-walk-out-the-door kind of outfit.  I tell you – that makes mama and daughter happy!

ASH Jumpsuit - Willow & Co patterns // Behind the Hedgerow

There were a few goose bumps in this photo shoot – warm temps haven’t quite reached us in Belgium – but once they do this will be a wardrobe staple.

ASH Jumpsuit - Willow & Co patterns // Behind the Hedgerow

Thanks to Celina, as well as to all the other designers, for coming up with such unique, versatile and fun patterns.  Which do you like the look of?  My boys are crying out for some new duds so I think I’ll be trying the Kudzu cargos or Hawthorn zip-up sweatshirt next.

ASH Jumpsuit - Willow & Co patterns // Behind the Hedgerow

So, set your alarms, mark you calendars and get ready for next Tuesday!  You’re bound to see lots of these patterns popping up in the blogosphere – it’s futile to resist!!  In fact, you can already see some more Ash Jumpsuits here, herehere and here.

And the final test….the jumping….

ASH Jumpsuit - Willow & Co patterns // Behind the HedgerowThanks for reading,

Laura x


Looking forward and a GIVEAWAY


Cappuccino Pattern Giveaway \\ Behind the Hedgerow

Happy Monday!  Well, we’ve all survived another Kid’s Clothes Week.  How much do you have to show for the last week of sewing?  For me it’s only one Celestial tee, one Hanami Dress and a handful of upcycled tees that I haven’t bothered to blog about.  Not my most productive KCW but hey-ho, onwards and upwards….

Now that our children are all accounted for in the clothing department (or at least that’s the idea!) we can happily turn our attention to selfish sewing.  There are two events coming up in the next month that I can’t wait to get involved in…and I hope you will too.

The first is Selfish Sewing Week and runs from 28 April – 3 May.  It is organised and run by Rachael of Imagine Gnats and this year, for the first time, will be hosted on Kollabora (as opposed to on Flickr).

Do you know Kollabora?  It’s a great place to share your makes and gather inspiration from others and aims to “unite makers, crafters, and DIY enthusiasts of all skill levels to get inspired, share projects, buy and sell PDF patterns, and connect with each other and their favorite brands.”  If you have a moment why don’t you get familiar with it before SSW gets underway?  You can see all my makes here and you can follow along with all the Selfish Sewing Week projects here.

If you’re familiar with adding your projects to Kollabora the only thing extra you need to do is add Selfish Sewing Week to the Inspired by box.  It will look something like this:

How to add your sewing projects to the Selfish Sewing Week group on Kollabora

I’ll be posting over at imagine gnats that week as one of the featured stitchers.  I’m going to be sewing and reviewing the Julia Cardigan from Mouse House Creations.  I love the look of this pattern and I can’t wait to get started on it!

You can also get lots of inspiration from the Selfish Sewing Week Pinterest board.

Once all that selfish sewing is complete, you’ll want to start wearing it, right?  Well, why not get involved with Me-Made-May 2014??  It’s hosted by So, Zo…What do you Know? and is a one-month long personal challenge of wearing your handmade duds.  You don’t need to have a blog, you don’t even need to sew anything in particular – you simply take the pledge and set yourself a personal challenge of wearing your handmade clothes for a certain proportion of the month.  For example, I have pledged to wear at least one item of handmade clothing a day for the month of May as well as having at least one handmade item on at least one of my kids each day.  You can read all about it and sign up by clicking the image below.

I also love this initiative because it gives us all pause for thought over the clothes we wear and ties in nicely with Fashion Revolution Day taking place NEXT WEEK on 24th April.  Sorry for repeating myself for those of you that already know, but Fashion Revolution Day is a wonderful opportunity for all us home sewists to stand together the help shape and change the future of the fashion industry on the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza textile factory collapse in Bangladesh.  I would love for you to take a moment to read about it and sign up to wear something handmade inside out (#insideout #handmadeinsideout) on the 24th and share on social media.  Over 120 people have taken the pledge so far!  You don’t want to miss out!!

Now for the juicy bit…

The Giveaway!!

To help get you ready for these two events and to kick-start your sewing mo-jo, I’m hosting a giveaway of Liesl & Co’s new Cappuccino Dress and Tunic Pattern!

A while ago I wrote a Top 10 for Tuesday list of patterns similar to the Lisette Portfolio Dress (Simplicity 2245).  It’s this pattern that I used to sew the orange dress you see on my profile picture up there on the right.  Sadly this pattern has been discontinued but Liesl Gibson has updated and re-released the pattern as the Cappuccino Dress and Tunic under the Liesl & Co brand!!  Lucky for all us sewists!!  You can read all about the pattern here.

Liesl has kindly offered a copy of this PDF pattern to one lucky reader!  What a great way to kick off Selfish Sewing Week and Me-Made-May!

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment and tell me something fun!  The giveaway will be open until midnight on Monday 21st April (CET).  What fabric would you use for the Cappuccino dress?  How do you think the pattern compares to the original?  Do you have other specific plans for Selfish Sewing Week or Me-Made-May?  Have you signed up for Fashion Revolution Day??  I would LOVE to see some more names on the sign up!!  You don’t have to have a blog to participate.  To make it easy, all you have to do is click on the image below to take part:

Fashion Revolution Day. #insideout #handmadeinsideout

Thanks for reading and good luck to everyone with the giveaway!
Laura x

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2 – Hanami Dress

Straightgrain's Hanami dress \\ Behind the Hedgerow

Kid’s Clothes Week is rapidly coming to an end and I’m afraid I haven’t done nearly as much sewing as I anticipated.  The kids have been off school, the sun’s been shining, there’s been al fresco dining, walks in the woods, visits to local attractions and even a day trip to Paris, but, alas, not enough sewing.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress \\ Behind the Hedgerow

I did manage, however, to get this dress done for Perfect Pattern Parcel (read more about PPP here) – and I am so glad I did!  The pattern, the fabric, the whole process in fact just confirmed my love of sewing.  I sew a lot – some projects tick along as you would expect, some are unmitigated disasters, and others go above and beyond your expectations.  I’m so pleased to say that sewing this dress was firmly in the final category.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress \\ Behind the Hedgerow

The details

This is the Hanami Dress and Top by An of Straightgrain Patterns.  It’s a great versatile pattern that includes options for the neckline (collar or no collar), sleeves (flutter or tulip), length (top or dress), and back closure (zip or cross-over).  With so many options you could easily make this multiple times and it would still look fresh.  Also, it comes in a huge range of sizes from 12 months to 10 years.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress \\ Behind the Hedgerow

What I did

To choose which size to make for this dress you have to do things a bit differently.  Instead of comparing your kid’s measurements to a chart, you only have the finished garment measurements to work with.  This stumped me at first (I even emailed An asking for my ‘missing’ chart) but now that I get it I think it’s a great idea.  Basically, An wants you to decide how fitted or loose the bodice should be so you simply compare the measurements of an existing dress to the chart and make your decision that way.  Perhaps not ideal if you’re making this for a gift but I do think they pretty much run to what you would expect – I made a size 6 for my 6-year-old and the fit is perfect.

The options I chose for my version were:

  • Dress length – I did hem it slightly more than instructed as I liked the shorter look and can always let it down as she grows.
  • Cross-over back – I’d never tried this cross-over technique so decided to give this a go (plus I love the pop of neon with the button holes).
  • No collar – as much as I LOVE the collar, it’s not possible to combine it with the cross-over back so I left it off.  It’s going on next time though!
  • Tulip sleeves – just because they are lovely!

Straightgrain's Hanami dress \\ Behind the Hedgerow

The one only other changes I made were adding neon piping to the sleeve edges and waistline.  It’s no secret that I’m nutty for piping and this neon version has had me fall in love all over again.  I know I’m a little late to this fluoro party (and, tbh, I thought I wouldn’t join it at all) but I think this flash of colour is just perfect!  In my head I’m adding it to every new project!  Do you ever do that – learn a new technique or find a new notion that you just can’t stop using??  I was the same with fabric covered buttons a couple of years ago…and bias-binding before that.  What’s your go-to notion to personalise your sewing?  Sorry, I’m getting off track…

The fabric is from Ditto – a treasure trove of a fabric shop that I stumbled upon in Brighton, UK a few months ago.  It’s one of those shops where the beauty doesn’t necessarily jump out at you (like it does at Ray Stitch,  The Village Haberdashery or de Stoffenkamer, for example) – you have to shuffle and re-arrange a bit to find a gem…but when you do it really is like finding treasure.  This fabric was in a tiny room upstairs – rolled up and almost out of sight.  My only regret is that I didn’t buy more!

Straightgrain's Hanami dress \\ Behind the Hedgerow

The piping I found locally in Belgium – at the chain store Veritas that sells everything from sewing supplies, to tights and underpants, to handbags, hair clips, and knitting supplies.  It’s a strange concept for a shop but ask any Belgian sewist – you also couldn’t live without it for the essentials.

The construction

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this pattern.  With so many options available there is a tiny pain barrier to get through in terms of choosing which bit of the pattern and instructions are relevant to your project but, hey!, that’s a small price to pay for all this versatility.  With its combination of photos and illustrations the whole process went smoothly and, dare I say it?, effortlessly.  My only added tip or trick would be to use dental floss when gathering the sleeves and waistline for more glide (but pay attention to An’s tips for getting that waistband gathered evenly).  Check out this photo for a visual of how dental floss helps with gathering.

Straightgrain's Hanami dress \\ Behind the Hedgerow


This is one pattern that I’m sure to make again!  What about you – have you tried the Hanami yet?  Have you purchased your Perfect Pattern Parcel so you can get this as well as four other fabulous girl patterns??  I’ve gotta try those Hosh Pants.  With Kid’s Clothes Week and Perfect Pattern Parcel in full swing – the inspiration is almost overwhelming!  Once we all come down from that, who’s gonna join me in Selfish Sewing Week and Me Made May??  I just wish there were more hours in the day…

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

Straightgrain's Hanami dress \\ Behind the Hedgerow



A big useful bag for spring [Minerva Craft Blogger Network]

McCall's Tote bag 6588 \\ Behind the HedgerowSpring has arrived and if, like me, you want to get out and about in the sunshine then you’re gonna need a big easy bag to cart around all your stuff.  This bag covers many eventualities – days at the beach, picnics in the park, a quick run to the shops, or a jaunt around a city centre.

The pattern is McCall’s 6588 and comes in two views.  I made view B (the one with the flowers in the picture above).  This bag is a generous tote – you can load it up with any number of items and still have room in the outside pocket for your phone, keys and wallet.  The large top opening is perfect for just piling items in without having to be too organised – so you’re all sorted for spontaneous trips to the beach or countryside.

McCall's Tote bag 6588 \\ Behind the Hedgerow

The pattern makes a bag that I’m sure you’ll love and use again and again and I do recommend it.  However there are a few specifics to bear in mind:

  • Don’t underestimate the time involved in this project.  I naively thought I’d quickly whip up 2, 3, maybe 4 or these bags for this post but when you consider the multiple pattern pieces – all of which have to be cut in triplicate (main fabric, lining fabric and interfacing) – the process is not as speedy as I had hoped!

McCall's Tote bag 6588 \\ Behind the Hedgerow

  • Choose your interfacing carefully.  The pattern doesn’t specify the weight of interfacing needed and I used a medium weight that was in my stash.  Not only did this make my bag a bit floppy but also almost impossible to photograph nicely (not so much a consideration if you’re not going to blog about your bag :-) ).  In terms of function I honestly don’t mind this floppiness.

McCall's Tote bag 6588 \\ Behind the Hedgerow

  • Consider using something other than cardboard for the base of the bag.  In fact, don’t just consider it, DO use something other than cardboard!  If you use this bag on a regular basis the cardboard will quickly break down – I was surprised this was even recommended.  I bought a thin sheet of perspex which I cut to size.  This means that the base is much more robust.

McCall's Tote bag 6588 \\ Behind the Hedgerow

  • The fabric I used for this bag is a poly/cotton blend from a green themed bundle from Minerva.  This option is great because you get coordinating fabrics (and you can just about eek the main or lining fabric from one metre) but I think this would also be fun to make using lots of different scraps.

McCall's Tote bag 6588 \\ Behind the Hedgerow

So, if you’re in need of a big, multi-functional bag for all your outdoor adventures this season then go ahead and carve out an afternoon or (long) evening and get sewing!  You can find the full kit here which includes 6 meters of fabric so you can make a total of three bags (of either view A or B).

Thanks for reading and now back to sewing for Kid’s Clothes Week!

Laura x



Perfect Pattern Parcel #2 – Figgy’s Celestial Tee


Figgy's Celestial Tee \\ Behind the Hedgerow

Have you heard about the new and innovative way of selling modern sewing patterns?  It’s called Perfect Pattern Parcel and, in short, it’s a bundle of sewing patterns from independent designers that are available for a limited time on a semi-regular basis.  What makes it unique is the way they are sold - you choose the price you want to pay and how that money is divided between the organisers, the designers and a charity supporting children’s education.  You can read all about the initiative and purchase your parcel (available until 18th April) here.

Figgy's Celestial Tee \\ Behind the Hedgerow

This is the second bundle of patterns that’s been released and it’s centred around staples for a girl’s wardrobe.  It includes five patterns and really is a stylish and versatile collection – I can’t wait to sew them all.

Celestial Tee by Figgy’s

September Tunic and Dress by Too Sweets Patterns

The Caroline Party Dress by Mouse House Creations

Hanami Top and Dress by Straightgrain

Hosh Pants by LouBee Clothing

For this post I sewed a version of Figgy’s celestial tee.  I had a small amount of Liberty jersey leftover from this dress and I was determined to turn this into a tee.  I had to get a little creative with the pattern pieces to make it all work but, in the end, I’m happy with the look.

Figgy's Celestial Tee \\ Behind the Hedgerow

This pattern is a great staple and very easy to whip up (the sleeves are integrated so you don’t even have to fuss with setting them in).  I made a size 4/5 for my 6 year-old and you can see that it is a bit on the small side (but there is always something irresistible about little tummies poking out under shirts!).

Figgy's Celestial Tee \\ Behind the Hedgerow

My only other comment about this pattern is the method or attaching the neckline.  I’m used to dividing out the stretch of the neckline piece evenly around the whole tee before sewing.  Here Shelly instructs you to attach it without pinning and just stretch is gently as you sew.  This is by far the quickest method but you need to be careful about how much you stretch that neckline piece – too much and you’ll end up with a tiny, distorted neckline; too little and you’ll have a big gaping neck.  I did mine slightly too loose and actually pulled it all out and started again.

Figgy's Celestial Tee \\ Behind the Hedgerow

So there you have a quick, easy tee for the coming warmer months.  Everyone needs t-shirts, right?  You can even cut up some old adult sized t-shirts to make something new and wonderful for your little girl.  And let’s not forget that is it Kid’s Clothes Week so you really have no excuse to not get sewing!

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

Top 20 (!!) for Tuesday – Kid’s Clothes: Refashion, Recycle, DIY

Top 10 kids clothes refashion

Today is April the 1st and I just can’t figure out where this year has gone – is anyone else suffering from the feeling that time is flying by faster than ever before?  Well, whatever the pace, this month is going to be a great one!

Today’s Top 10 (erm, I mean Top 20) list is all about refashioning, recycling and DIY.  Kid’s Clothes Week gets underway next Monday 7th April and, at least for me, it’s going to be all about making lots of quick summer clothes for the kids – especially the boys.

This list is a great starting point if you too would like to get creative with some of the old clothes, blankets and towels around your house!

There are so many inspiring refashion tutorials out there that I couldn’t narrow it down to 10 – so, lucky you!, you get 20 today.  I hope you feel motivated and ready to sew!

Kid's clothes resfashion1. Sweater into pants by The Daily B.  2. Long sleeve tee into sleeveless tee with bows by Make It & Love It.  3.  Undies (can be made with scraps of knit fabric) by Fake It While You Make It.  4.  Colour block sweater or t-shirt by Lexi Made.

Kid's clothes resfashion

Clockwise from top left: 1.  Re-sizing a polo by Shwin & Shwin.  2.  Men’s button-down shirt to polka dot dress by Me Sew Crazy.  3.  T-shirt into craft apron by Charming Doodle.  4.  Fabric scraps into shoelaces by Maureen Cracknell Handmade.  5.  Beach towel back pack by Me Sew Crazy.

Kid's clothes resfashion

 1.  Upcycled hat and scarf by Petit a Petit and Family for The Sewing Rabbit.  2.  Two towels into a kid’s bath robe by Things for Boys.  3.  Tie-back t-shirt dress by It’s Always Autumn.

Kid's clothes resfashion

1.  Tights into leggings by Make It & Love It.  2.  Man’s shirt into toddler shorts by Maika Made for Imagine Gnats.  3.  Old t-shirts into bibs by A Little Tipsy.

Kid's clothes resfashion

1.  Knit dress with lace by The Mother Huddle.  2. Women’s cardigan into girl’s dress by Caila Made.  3.  Man’s cargo pants into toddler dress by Bludor.

Kid's clothes refashion

1.  Man’s shirt into superhero cape by Behind the Hedgerow.  2.  Bed sheet into dip dyed toddler dress by Craftiments.

Another exciting event for April is Fashion Revolution Day on 24th April.  If you haven’t already signed up then you can do so right here!  You don’t have to have a blog to get involved.  By taking the pledge you’ll be showing your support for textile workers across the globe on the one year anniversary on the Rana Plaza collapse.  Plus, it’ll be fun creating a virtual flash mob of home sewists wearing something handmade inside out.  You can find out all the details here or simply click on the image below to sign up – over 100 people have signed up so far!

If you do have a blog then feel free to grab a button with the HTML code on the sidebar to show your support.
Thanks for reading and have fun giving all those old garments new life!
Laura x

Fashion Revolution Day: Handmade #insideout

I love to sew.  If you’re here then I presume you love to sew too.  But what if instead of being a creative outlet that enriches your life, it was more like a prison sentence – something you had to do day-in, day-out in cramped and often unsafe conditions?

Next month marks the one year anniversary of the tragic collapse of the textile complex Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh where over 1,000 people lost their lives while producing the cheap and accessible clothing that the Western world has come to expect.  I sat in horror seeing the images from this disaster and then felt a huge pang of guilt and disbelief when popular high-street brands, ones that I could identify in my own wardrobe, were implicated.  Those €5 t-shirts didn’t feel like such a bargain anymore.

Fashion Revolution – a global campaign to increase standards and awareness within the fashion industry – is hosting the first Fashion Revolution Day to mark this anniversary on 24th April 2014.  In order to help re-establish the relationships and transparency within the fashion industry people are encouraged to wear an item of clothing inside out and ask brands/retailers, ‘Who Made Your Clothes?’  The voicing of these questions, on a global scale, will raise awareness and encourage the fashion industry to continue the process of change.  In short – be curious, find out, do something about it.

Using Fashion Revolution’s theme of “Who Made Your Clothes?” as a starting point, Abby (Things for Boys), Celina (Petit a Petit and Family) and I want to get the online sewing community involved with this initiative by creating the first


of sewists wearing something handmade inside out.  The goal is for all of us to stand together for a united cause and help to show sewing (in all its forms) as an ethical and sustainable alternative to fast fashion and mass consumerism.  It’s one piece in a very large puzzle but by showcasing home sewn items we will help spread the word that in some cases the answer to ‘Who Made Your Clothes?’ can proudly be answered, “ME!”

How to get involved

  • Photograph yourself wearing something handmade inside out on 24th April 2014.  If you’re camera-shy feel free to photograph something on a hanger – or even get the kids involved…the message is still the same.
  • Share!  If you have a blog, blog about it!  If not, no problem – share on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with hashtags #insideout and #handmadeinsideout.
  • Grab a button to show your support – just copy the code below the button on the sidebar and add it to your own blog.
  • Sign up!  Our efforts are stronger in numbers!  We already have over 50 people on board and, with your help, we call fill people’s blog readers, Instagram feeds, Twitter pages, and Facebook timelines with inside out clothing and encourage everyone to take notice and ask questions!  Just click on the image below to register.

Please consider taking part.  It’s important to start these conversations and what better way to do it than to show off some of those french seams, contrast facings, and beautifully installed zips!?  Since starting to read sewing blogs back in 2010 I’ve always been amazed at what a welcoming, informative, accessible, fun and all-around awesome community ours is - now’s our chance to stand with one strong united voice to help encourage positive change!