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  • Would you like to award someone special a knitted rosette? See the pattern to knit one here!

  • Little Squares Scarf, (quick pattern).

  • Little Squares Scarf, (step-by-step pattern, with lots of step-by-step photos).

  • How to sew up crochet or knitting with an invisible stitch, step-by-step tutorial

  • Sisterhood Crochet Blanket pattern for square.

  • step-by-step pattern for Sisterhood Crochet Blanket square. Makes crocheting this pattern a doddle for beginners!

  • step-by-step tutorial for some basic crochet stitches

  • Tara's failsafe cup cake sponge recipe

  • knitted slipper pattern

blogs I read

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I wonder if the other reason for so much sewing is that the end result can be seen in a day, rather than the weeks it sometimes takes with knitting.

Dachsies can be very 'sticky' when they're a little down can't they, Wilbur is just the same.


You have such eye candy to illustrate this post, I was having trouble focusing on your words. I wanted to dive into your yarn!!! Actually, I have a real thing about lime green, so your socks and sneakers really captured my attention and refused to let go.

I've been wanting to get back to my sewing machine for more than a year now, and I think you've given me just the motivation i need. I have a pile of lime green batiks I've been collecting for a couple of years calling my name...

(I hope I'm not double-posting; the computer locked up after I tried posting a first time.)

The Muse of The Day

I like making my own clothing, Vanessa, because I make it just the way I like it - no shorter, no longer, with just the right of give in the most necessary places. To top it off I can personalize it - I like my clothes to say "it took a little extra time, but I got a little extra". I also like it when I can pick all the colors. Although some moments can be frustrating, overall it is soothing because I am focused ... just like when I am knitting or painting. You "gotta" love that! Lovely post. Carolina


You should check out There are a lot of free patterns and techniques shared by users, very similar to Ravelry.

Kelli Woodall

I love your tights and shoes!Cool!

sarah-jane down the lane

such glorious colour - in fact a riot! I think you are right about making your own, I wish I had the skill, I am such a terrible knitter/seamstress! Can't wait to see your dress, it will be lovely, I know it!

Sarah x


Oh the suspense! I can't wait to see it. x


Considering how much sewing I do, I would have no idea where to start with making clothes! I do like the idea of making myself a dress one day though so will maybe look up the book you recommend and see where I get... Hope you feel better soon, there is nothing worse than an ear infection :( Jenny xx

Marion Elliot

Agree with you Vanessa, loads of people are having a go at making their own clothes nowadays. I started making my own clothes as a teenager (with mixed results...!) I find most of my patterns and fabric remnants in charity shops, which keeps the cost down. Anything leftover gets recycled into new things!
Marion x


Oh Vanessa ou never fail to disappoint with your beautiful colourful images. Love little Douglas' face her looks so forlorn and his little eyes are saying 'no I'm not moving from this blankie and being near you today'. Too sweet!
I've alwas enjoyed making my own clothes, my mum is such a fabulous sewer and taught me all the basics which I am forever grateful for. When I was at Uni in South Africa I bought lots of african fabrics as I was never a conventional girl ad wanted to make local rather than shop global from shopping malls etc. Since coming to the UK in 1996 I got lazy ad it became evident that it was the minority who made their own clothes but I like to think the sewing revolution is turning and now people are much more into saving pennies and are looking back to previous generations for skill learning and adopting the make-do-and-med mentality.
It is as you say exhilarating to complete a garment and wear it knowing it's unique to your tastes. I am knitting a short sleeve cardy nd the diamond pattern has gone horribly wrong, I just can't bring myself to frog it again, so I am carrying on purely out of he fascination of seeing a garment materialise from woollen thread, it's mindblowing stuff... so addictive.
Hope your ear gets better soon, happy hand made weekend to you xox


Oh and I forgot to say...WOW to the verypurpleperson's lingerie, just beautiful and way out of my sewing league!


I don't dress make myself but economic facts apart I think it's probably the whole creative process that is the most important and enjoyable thing. The satisfaction of actually making something. As a knitter and crocheter though I am love with your photos, you make me want to reach for my needles!!
Vivienne x
P.S. Yes I have had that ear problem and it's horrible, hope you feel better soon.


Love your green shoes so much! and that Baby Cashmerino just next to them!
happy snuggling and knitting ...
Barbara :)


I quite agree. Shop clothes - particularly unusual ones - are sooooo expensive. If I ever do buy anything now, which is very rarely from a 'normal' shop, I wait until it is sale time. Loving sewing clothes now. As long as they are simple. The materials you can choose are so much nicer and wonderful too. My latest love is a very simple dress from the wonderful Merchant and Mills patterns. The dress is so easy to sew and easy to wear, and I have had countless compliments, that I have made several in different materials and made hairbands and accessories for each. The only trouble is there are not enough hours in the day for sewing, knitting, baking ................ Have a great weekend. x


First of all, LOVE your green conversers! As for the wool stash, I could just dive into that luxurious basket of colourjoy! A long time ago I used to always make my own clothes because it was so much cheaper but I haven't done in recent years because fabric is so much more expensive now. One day I will again I'm sure! Thanks for a shot of colour to see me through my weekend Vanessa. :)xx


I do hope you are feeling better soon, it is totally discombobulating not to be able to hear properly. Hope Douglas helped to make you feel a little better too, perhaps he knows you are feeling under the weather and wants to do his bit? Is that a knitted blanket you are snuggling up to Vanessa? I am not sure if we have seen it before. I love the colours and would love to see more of it. You look mighty cosy there, surrounded by colour and the comforts of life. Loving your shoes too! Am looking forward to seeing your new dress.

Everything ebbs and flows doesn't it? Some people continue making stuff regardless but otherwise there are definitely trends for knitting, sewing etc. I used to sew because it was definitely cheaper - much! When I was a teenager I was quite creative, making stuff with things left lying around; I remember I made a silk top that way once - I would be too scared now! I used to snip into things I already had or alter clothes from charity shops and draw around things for patterns, or even make them up but again I am not sure how anymore. Much braver then than now!

Back in the 90's it probably cost of third to half of the price to make something rather than buy it. However, you could find fabric easily - in department stores (which have all gone), in fabric shops and on markets. It is really hard to find fabric on the high street now. Buying on-line is lovely but it is mostly expensive designer stuff and actually as it is mostly meant for quilting it doesn't always fit the requirement. Making clothes regularly would be prohibitive. I'm also shocked at how expensive patterns are now. There is a technique I came across on Amazon which explains fully how you make a copy of an item you already have by making a pattern from it. I keep meaning to buy it. As soon as something is a 'hobby' it becomes more expensive than to buy it ready done I find. Raw materials for anything and everything are expensive - why artists starved for their art I suppose! The price of clothes went down so much it became cheaper than making them. That's when all the fabric shops disappeared. Prices of clothes (everything!) have definitely gone up recently. I never used to buy from charity shops but now I do as I find loads of stuff - probably linked to clothes being cheap. I am amazed sometimes by what I find. Now they are more expensive, people will probably keep them longer and there will not be such good stuff in the charity shops any more. I am not nearly so interested in clothes anymore and seem to wear the same things all the time!

I have been seduced by the portability of knitting and crochet - which is why I used to like hand sewing too. I am now doing embroidery to get that portability factor.

Am off to look at the lingerie now, sounds impressive!


Don't have troublesome ears, I have troublesome sinuses and yes, knock me sideways when they play up, so my sympathies.
Making addiction,I have made my own patterns from favourite garments, then I re-make them.The fun is in finding really interesting buttons, using different threads for top stitching, adding applique,embroidery,edgings, name it, you can customise with it.
The difficulty,apart from sourcing fabrics, is finding the time in-between everything else! If I buy clothes it is something I can't readily make ( T shirts) ,can't be bothered to make ( trousers terrify me,had a bad experience making trousers years ago, too put off to try again:yes I know that is silly,I really should have another go.) and then only if it is in a sale or a charity shop.


Hi Vanessa, yes, you do get a distorted view of the cost of things when you shop in charity shops, well I do. 'Ordinary' clothes shops seem so expensive. My next sewing project will be some dresses for the little girls in Malawi. I bought a lovely sheet in the charity shop yesterday which will be perfect.......... and I must crochet one of the flower cushions featured on Lucy's Attic24 blog.
Hope you have a good weekend and soon feel better. Carol xx


Beautiful pics as always Vaness. Request for 'that' skirt pattern purlease!

harmony and rosie

I have ear troubles too. Apparently I have very narrow ear canals so I have to wear a hat if it's cold and windy or I get earache and also I need them syringing once in while which is not overly pleasant. (I posssibly wouldn't be telling you this if I hadn't had a glass of very nice red!). Anyway, I am so thrilled to hear I am dead fash because I make my own clothes and no, I don't think it's a passing fancy for you, not if you have worn your lovely dresses anyway. I think once you start wearing your own, and knowing that no-one else in the whole wide world is wearing the exact thing that you are is enough to keep you going. When I look at lovely catalogues, like Toast, I think I can't possibly spend all that money on such simply styling because I know I can make something just like, or pretty similar to, that myself for a whole lot less. The annoying thing is finding similar fabrics to those used by the likes of Toast and Noa Noa but aside from that ...

Anyway, sooo looking forward to seeing your next creation Vanessa, I just know it'll be worth waiting for.

Happy weekend to you all (perhaps Douglas is suffering with ear troubles too) Kate xx


Hello Vanessa,

First, yes I have had ear trouble as you describe it in the past. Mine was due to travelling in a very rapid French TGV train. (Of course it's rapid; it's French right? ;-) ) Anyway the problem soon passed with anti-inflamatory ear drops and a little patience. It is horrid though. I was a mess for a day or two even though it wasn't serious.

Second, a big high five for the green Converses! I'm wearing pink at the moment... Green tights are the business too.... (Actually I have teamed that bright green with pale pink in my latest post... I was a little worried it would look weird.)

I totally agree with your other readers; the pictures are stunning; colours make my heart sing so thank you.

The great thing about blogs (such as yours) is that they inspire us to CREATE more and that is certainly a GOOD thing.

I cannot wait to see your next dress.

Very best wishes to you, Hugo, and, OF COURSE, Douglas.


ps I mean I am wearing pink CONVERSES at the moment!

Oh dear, it must be late.

Alice and Raymond!!!

Hello Vanessa!
Poor you having sore ears! It's not fun being in pain, I get quite grumpy and short tempered when I am... I'm sick right now, a nasty cold is circulating Wellington at the moment, every second person you see it coughing and sneezing, and now I am too, so my sympathies!
I agree with the clothing bizzo, wow, how expensive are clothes right now? $100 for a pair of pants or a nice cardigan in the mid-end shops these days, it's so terrible, no wonder so many people are in debt, it makes me mad that this is the way things are when so many people do not even have the necessities in life... These days (because the part of my income which is to be spent on fun things is not spent on wool!) I live in jeans and cheap colourful cardigans with cowls and scarves and hats I've made myself... a bit boring really and hardly high fashion but I don't really care! It's all about having fun and I love your green chucks, I had pink ones which I wore until they fell off my feet,
Looking forward to seeing your latest dress my Lovely, you are very talented and while this may be a passing fancy, it may also be a lifetime love for you, and it's great to see you having fun with it!
Lots of love from Alice XXXXX


Looks like I lost my previous comment. I think I forgot to post it and got caught up in reading other comments instead and following them to their blogs. You certainly have a lot of wonderful people following you Vannesa.
I got back to do some dressmaking a few years ago when my daughter asked me to make her a dress. She then started to make her own, and for friends which I thought was great. I keep meaning to copy a top I own. But might have to use some fabric I have already as everything here is too expensive.
Love seeing your latest makes.
Hope you're feeling better now. Douglas seems a sensitive chap. Do you think he was sympathising with you?


Hello Vanessa, from a still pretty darn hot New York City.

I know that I have previously written to you about changing cultural/economic aspects to home sewing. Looks as if this post of yours has summoned up more such comments.

I particularly share Siobhan's comments.

Back when I used to make most of my clothes it was because my taste stretched far beyond my ability to purchase designers I admired.

Nowadays, I find that my cumulative sewing experiences make me very critical of ready-made garments, no matter what the price. I am back to the beginning, cannot really afford my taste.


Poppy Black

I've just found your lovely blog! So beautiful with all of those yummy colours. I really hope to make some clothes for myself soon- once I've got through my list of current projects!


I am fond of making my own clothing, too. I even have a degree in it (well costume design/construction). However I find that after making medieval clothing for my family ~ we do medieval recreation as a hobby ~ I tend to not be in the mood to sew more. I guess that is why I am so addicted to knit and crotchet.
I just can't wait to see what you have created! I know it will be fantastic!


i admire people who can make their own clothes, i personally am afraid of the sewing machine. but knitting and crochet? i couldn't agree with you more on that. and your stash! i envy your stash, all that glorious color! i am particularly interested in the crochet piece in the last photo. where would i find instructions for it?

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Hello and welcome!

  • Hello, my name is Vanessa Cabban, and I'm so pleased you've dropped by! I'm an artist and illustrator, working from home. I have two Miniature wire-haired Dachshunds, Ellie and Douglas. I love being part of the blogosphere, reading your comments, and feeling like I'm part of a community. I hope you enjoy reading about my small world.

Books I have illustrated!

  • The Best Gift of All

  • Book and dvd,(narrated by Kevin Whateley), of Bringing Down the Moon

  • There's a House Inside My Mummy

  • The Magic Donkey Ride

  • Down in the Woods at Sleepytime

  • Dear Tooth Fairy

  • Dear Mermaid

  • No Place Like Home

  • Diamond in the Snow

  • Bringing Down the Moon