Book Review – Make It Own It Love It by Matt Chapple


Matt Chapple, winner of last year’s Great British Sewing Bee, has written a new book. It is a mixture of alteration techniques, making clothes and how to look after what you’ve made.

The book starts with straightforward information on what types of kit you need, the items you might ‘grow’ into and basic fabric information. Which is all useful stuff to know.


It then goes into some simple sewing processes broken down into projects; hems – how to shorten jeans, seams – slimming trouser legs, for example. What I really like about this section is that it also encourages you to customise and alter an item of clothing, one of the features of the GBSB. Using a specific sewing technique you can transform a particular item of clothing, such as using gathering or pleats to change a dress or tunic. This is a great way of showing how to use an abstract technique and then make it relevant to everyday sewing.


Once the basic sewing techniques have been explained, the book then goes into creating items of clothing from scratch.  It includes simple and easily put together projects that are great for beginners but also act as a reminder for the more experienced sewer that just wants a short, sharp sewing fix.

The last sections of the book hark back to an almost forgotten age of ‘repair and maintain’. When we take so much trouble to sew and make something, surely it is worth looking after.  These sections describe how to fix a missing button or repair a fallen hem and how to launder and care for the things we make.

The photography is excellent, and all the ‘how to’ steps are shown as well drawn and clear images. A mixture of illustrations and photos is interesting visually.


I think this book will be of most use to beginner sewers, although those with a little more experience will greatly enjoy some of the projects. This is Matt’s first book, and I’m sure his next books will explore more advanced techniques and projects.

Matt and the team behind the book have done a fantastic job in putting this book together. As Matt says in his introduction – this book “showcases something extremely close to my heart, the fact that we can all create something unique, whether it be from scratch or as a part of a customisation.” A sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.

This is a delightful book. More than just a beautifully photographed coffee-table book, it has relevant and interesting information about creating your own sewing projects and how to care for them, definitely worth buying.

Happy Reading


How To Keep Warm – Skandi Style


I do rather like the cooler weather and the nights drawing in. It makes you want to retreat into your own home and cocoon yourself with blankets in front of the fire with a darn good box-set.

Having recently read A Year of Living Danishly I have realised that there is a name to the feelings I have each Autumn of wanting to bury myself beneath blankets and find comfort in a warming latte or lighting candles and drinking wine with my friends around the dinner table – it’s called Hygge.

We have all been doing it for ages, but now it has a name and has hit the spot light. Hygge is traditionally done with friends but you can enjoy hygge on your own too.


My personal bit of hygge is wrapping myself up in scarves,  (and those who know me know I do scarves!) and enjoying a creamy soya latte made with coffee from my friends at Monsoon Estates.

It’s about finding the positives in the normally negatively perceived long and cold winters and enjoying the simple everyday things. I find sewing for myself such a pleasure and I have earmarked another scarf to make up for myself in some laundered linen before it gets really cold.

How do you find a little bit of Hygge for yourself?



Early One Morning…

Walton Hall Bridge

I must admit that when I have a day off I will try my best to have a lie -in, if at all possible. I suppose it’s the inner teenager in me that just wants to duck my head under the covers and shut out the world.

But having a proper day off also means I can do ‘other stuff’. Stuff that isn’t work or chores. So I agreed to get up early the other Sunday morning – yes I know those three words shouldn’t normally go together – and go for a walk with Charlie and some of the other *Clicks photographers.

I am so pleased I did.

It was a soft, misty morning at 7:30am when we met up at Walton Hall. The leaves were still changing from their Summer finery into the spectacular reds and golds of Autumn and it was pleasantly chilly.

Autumn leaves
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What’s the collective noun for a group of photographers?

A wonderfully slow amble took us through the woodland taking pictures of whatever took our fancy, trying to experiment with and capture all sorts of images.

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I think there might be something up there.


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Dew drops on a feather


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Is there something in the reeds?
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Iron work

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When we were all ‘ambled out’ a cooked breakfast at the Wellesbourne Airfield cafe revived us and I looked forward to the rest of the day.

Although I was reluctant to go and had to really work at getting out of bed that morning I am very grateful that I did. It had such a positive affect on the rest of my day. The memories of watching a group of swans take off from the glassy lake and circle around us or the pungent stink of a fungus we found at the bottom of a tree have remained much longer than any fuzzy thoughts I may have had hiding under my duvet.

So is it what we do that counts or what we don’t do? Being just that little bit out of my comfort zone made me enjoy the day and achieve a lot more than I would have thought.

Do you find this with your sewing?

Teaching the Love Your Overlocker workshop made me think about this, as often we have a new machine or sewing project to complete but are just a bit reluctant to get to grips with it. But once we do, it was really worth while.

Happy sewing

Jules x


*The Stratford Clicks is a friendly and informal photography group with both professional and amateur photographers who just like hanging out and getting nerdy about camera lenses.