I know that some of you haven’t been reading my blog for all that long, so before I start, this is just a quick overview of the premise of my Use 5. This is not a challenge designed to reduce my stash (although that is a great benefit) it is more to get me to tackle my fears and expand my skill-set and confidence levels. Essentially, if I don’t cut into one of my Use 5 fabrics in the year they end up on the fire in the new year. It sounds rather drastic, but it does rather free me from that feeling that I can’t make anything with the special fabric unless it’s going to be perfect, and well, perfect is the enemy of good, right?

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The contents of the box from SewHayleyJane

A while back I made a cardigan for myself, and at the time the Cosy Cardi Challenge was going on on Instagram (I’m @sewsmartuk if you want to follow me there). As such, I decided to enter, and a couple of weeks later it transpired that I won one of the prizes. I won a super Stash Box from SewHayleyJane. Just to be clear, I don’t think this is one of Hayley’s usual monthly boxes, so I wouldn’t take my stash to be what you’d receive each month; I think this is more of a pick & mix. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but suffice to say that when the parcel was opened, I was so happy. Just have a look at the goodies.

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A Selection of 5 Fabrics to Use in 2018

Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted here, so sorry for that if you’ve been wanting a catch-up! Sewing has been happening, but I think it’s fair to say that it hasn’t been my top priority. I have been somewhat hampered by a bad back, but we’ve also just had a lot going on as a family that has significantly hindered my sewing progress. I’ve just not found myself able to settle to anything, and sewing has felt like too frivolous a pastime to really deserve my limited free time. I do know though that I need to be doing something creative to retain my sense of self and balance.

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A Selection of 5 Fabrics to Use in 2018

Last year I set myself a challenge to use 5 fabrics from my stash that I was nervous about using for one reason or another. The intention was that any of those fabrics that I didn’t use would end up on the log burner at the end of the year if they weren’t touched. Well, to summarise, last year I only cut in to four out of the five fabrics. I have however, not thrown the last fabric on to the fire, because I have good reason for not cutting in to it. Over the past six months I have lost quite a lot of weight, and after losing that weight my shape has still to stabilise. I have decided on the pattern for this piece of fabric, but I don’t want to make a dress that is unlikely to fit me a month after I have made it, just so that I can complete the challenge. As such, this one piece of fabric has been added to my Use 5 list for 2018.Continue reading

A beautiful summer sky

So another three months have gone past, and it doesn’t feel like I’ve had all that much time to spend at my sewing table. I have been busy recently doing other things; work has been busy, I’m trying to do more work on our house, spend more time with the kids and get more exercise. I’ve never been all that keen on exercise, but I’ve always liked to do a bit, but I’m getting more focused – I am really enjoying challenging myself to run that bit further or faster. As a consequence, I am losing weight, which is also having an impact on my sewing; after all, I don’t want to sew something for me if it’s not going to fit me at the end of the process, and I think we are all aware by now that I’m not one of those sewers who can rattle something off in an afternoon.
So, now the excuses are out of the way, let’s just have a quick update on progress on my Use 5 2017 challenge:Continue reading

Use 5 - 2017

Well, somehow we’re already 25% of the way through the year. Spring has sprung and we’re right in the middle of March winds and April showers.

Spring has Sprung

I don’t quite know how we got this far, it certainly doesn’t feel like Christmas was 3 months ago. Anyway, I think it is time to see how I am getting on with my Use 5 challengeContinue reading

Use 5 - 2017

I have spent this festive period enjoying time with my family and lounging around reading sewing blogs and eating too much. In doing so, I’ve noticed that lots of bloggers are doing their version of a best and worst of 2016 and plans for 2017 posts.Continue reading

Great British Sewing Bee Books

Like most British sewists (I prefer sewers (sowers) but as you’ve probably just noticed, when it’s written down, it doesn’t sound so great in your head – I don’t think I want to be known as a sewer, even though I sew!) I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of GBSB 2016. Since watching the first series, I’ve been hooked, but every time it’s on, I wonder whether I’d really like to take part.Continue reading


Hi, I’m Fraggle and I juggle my time between work and family, sewing in my spare time (yeah, right!) I’ve sewn all my life, but never enough to really know what I’m doing. This is my journey, from inexperienced to hopefully more accomplished seamstress. A lot of the sewing blogs out there are fabulous, and I really enjoy them, but I haven’t found a lot of blogs that are from people like me, all seem to be from people that know what they’re doing!

My aim for this blog is to share my journey, the good, and the bad and most probably the ugly too, so that for anyone starting up, they don’t need to worry that they’re not producing perfect items; that they have to unpick seams several times; that they don’t know what the difference is between all the technical terms. I don’t know the difference between a lawn and a poplin,

Four different cottons

Lawn? Poplin? Quilting Cotton?

I don’t know when you should use different stitches for example, I can’t tell you what a welting foot is for. (What on earth is welting? I thought a welt was an injury!) I’m also hoping that someone out there will eventually read this, and be able to tell me the best way of doing things, when I’ve just been hacking my way through with a way that works, but isn’t very good / efficient / pretty etc.

Assorted sewing machine feet

Feet, glorious feet!

Basically I’m relying on the effect that the best way to find out how to do something on the internet is not to ask a question, but to show the way you’ve done something so that people can tell you just how wrong you are! I have also decided that everything I make should now be a challenge to myself – to test my sewing skills in some way that I haven’t done before. These challenges can be big or small, just something that I’ve not done before, a new technique, a new material, a new tool, anything as long as it’s not resorting to the same thing over and over again.

I am learning; I’m not going to be one of those bloggers that posts a new finished item every week. I’m also not going to be posting tutorials, but I will post “this is what I did, and this is what went well, and these are the problems I found with this method” in the hopes that it helps both myself, and others, learn from my mistakes. I hope you enjoy joining me on this journey, I am really hoping you can smile at my successes, have a little chuckle at my failures and maybe learn from them yourself, and finally, I’m hoping that you can give me the pointers I need to improve my skills.