A New Killer Resource for Sewists: ‘Fashion Style – die Mode zum Selbernaehen’.

Fashion Style - die Mode zum Selbernaehen
Fashion Style – die Mode zum Selbernaehen

This German sewing magazine, brand new this year is fast becoming one of my favourites – here’re 5 reasons why.

1) It’s Good Value for Money

For just six euros, each monthly issued is packed with over 30 patterns including traceable pattern sheets.

fashion style patterns

2) Trendy, Modern and Classic Styles in a Range of Garment Types

fashion style styles

fashion style contents

Each issue includes a range of tops, skirts, pants and jacket patterns in modern styles and a range of sizes including plus sizes.

Plus sized fashion included.
Plus sized fashion included.

I particularly like the recurring feature of one pattern, five ways which shows one pattern in five different fabrics and ways to style it.

One dress made in five different fabrics and styled in five different ways
One dress made in five different fabrics and styled in five different ways

3) Includes Added Extras

The magazine has bonus features such as ‘how-to’s’ for accessory making and tips and trends showcasing new products on the sewing market.

fashion style diy

There’s also a knitting pattern and ‘how-to’s’ for home crafts included.

4) Styles and Designs for Range of Sewing Skill Levels

Patterns are rated according to sewing skill levels and each issue includes a range of patterns from beginner to advanced sewer levels.

fashion style patterns 1

Also there’s a helpful section at the start of the pattern instruction booklet with diagrams and explanations of basic sewing techniques, tricks and tips such as zip and sleeve insertions, seam finishes, waistbands, etc. Useful for sewing beginners.

fashion style sewing explanations

5) Pattern Drafting 101

Another regular feature in each issue is the inclusion of a pattern drafting exercise and demonstration using a garment seen on the catwalk as the design inspiration.

fashion style pattern drafting

The only downside of this magazine for the majority of English speaking sewers is that it’s only available in German at the moment. Although with some sewing experience and Google translate, I think this magazine is accessible to most sewers.


I think this magazine’s worth checking out! Here’s the cover jumpsuit pattern from this issue that I’ve made using organic twill cotton self-dyed with natural indigo.

fashion style jumpsuit

Happy sewing and wishing you a good rest of the week,


YoSaMi’s July Pop-up Shop – 3 German Sewing Magazines You Don’t Want to Miss.

For July only, I’m selling German sewing magazines. I feel fortunate here in Germany that I’ve got access to many sewing magazines and resources but I realise that it’s not easy for all of us to get them so I’d like to level the playing field and make them available so we can all benefit from them.

Over July I’ll blog pattern reviews and peaks inside the mags.

I hope you find this service useful and please let me know if there’s a magazine that you’re interested in that I’m not featuring.

Happy sewing,


#MeMadeMay15 Roundup: How Many Times Have You Failed Today?

My #MeMadeMay15 takeaway – I need to ‘fail’ more!

Let me explain with a story I heard recently about Spanx founder, Sara Blakely.

Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studios in organic cotton sweatshirt jersey and Alexandra peg trousers by Named Clothing in organic cotton denim.
Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studios in organic cotton sweatshirt jersey and Alexandra peg trousers by Named Clothing in organic cotton denim.

As a young girl, the father of Sara Blakely, the founder of famous shape wear brand, Spanx, would ask her, how many times she’d failed that day. He wasn’t interested in the things that’d gone well but in the things that hadn’t. It wasn’t that he wanted to dwell on negatives but rather that ‘failing’ is a sign that you tried something and if you don’t try and fail and learn from your mistakes, you can’t grow and improve at what you’re doing. Sara credits this habit of acknowledging and analysing the ‘failures’ over the ‘successes’ for what made her persist and achieve the success she has with Spanx. She pushed through many failed attempts until she had a product that worked. This concept resonates with me and my attitude towards my sewing.

My #MMM15 challenge this year was to only post garments made with organic fabrics. I can remember a time in Germany when you could only buy beige, cream or brown coloured organic fabrics and the choice was really limited. Now you can buy a vast array of colours and types of fabric, the choice is growing all the time. I was curious to see if I could make everything I wanted to make using organic fabrics.

I’m satisfied with the quality and variety of organic fabrics I’ve got and the range of garments I’ve made but I’ve played it safe with styles. I latched onto the Linden sweatshirt pattern for instance because the pattern is easy to make and conveniently fast to squeeze into my limited sewing time. But as much as I like the pattern, I ended up remaking it countless times rather than moving on and challenging myself to make something more technical – trying something different. Overall my makes from #MMM15 were ‘safe’ style-wise but I want to shake things up and make more exciting stuff.

So my take away from this year’s #MMM15 is to make and fail more. I need to give myself more space to mess up. I often worry whether styles are age appropriate for me and if they show my old gnarly knees etc, LOL but I need to get out of my head and onto my sewing machine more and experiment. As well as admit I’ve been sewing for years now and it’s time I pushed myself to use more difficult sewing techniques. I’ve got many failed garments that I haven’t shared because they disappointed me. I wanted to discard and forget about them but I need to accept them as learning experiences and learn to embrace them instead.

So my new post-#MMM15 pledge is: ‘FAIL MORE!’.

How about you? How many times have you ‘failed’ today? How are you pushing yourself out of your comfort zone? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Happy ‘failing’,


P.S.: If you’d like to receive sewing resources buying tips in Europe, sign up for the YoSaMi newsletter – updates are free! Just leave your email address in the box at the top of the sidebar.





#MeMadeMay15 – My Organic Me-Made-May 2015 Pledge.

Me Made May 2015 kicks off today and this year I’m showcasing my everyday organic wardrobe.

me made may 1

I joined Me-Made-May last year and loved it! It’s a great way to connect with other sewists and share wardrobe creations – but it was a lot of ‘work’ to get the pics!

This year, I may not manage a pic every day but I’ll post a weekly roundup on the blog and pics on Instagram @yosamicontact.

Over the last twelve months, 98% of the fabrics I’ve bought have been organic so a fair chunk of my me-made wardrobe is organic, so to keep things interesting, I’ll only post clothes I’ve made with organic fabrics. Tala vest by Named Clothing in organic cotton fleece and sequinned wool coating.

For this rainy and chilly May 1st, I’m wearing this cosy Tala vest by Named Clothing in organic cotton fleece and sequinned wool coating and Alexandra Peg trousers by Named Patterns in organic super lightweight cotton denim. It’s a comfy outfit, with a bit of sparkle but still practical at the same time.

I’m a recent convert to Named Clothing. I’ve been trying out their patterns after picking up a few in their last sale. I’d been put off buying them before because they’re one of the pricier pattern companies. Some of their patterns are double or triple the price of Vogue patterns in a sale for example or Burdastyle magazine and I couldn’t justify splashing out on them.

I was also apprehensive about the sizing because they’re drafted for taller models than me – I’m a 162cm shorty. But now I LOVE Named Clothing and I haven’t had any problems with their pattern sizing, so expect a few more patterns from them as the month goes on!

What do you think of Named Clothing patterns? Are you in for this MeMadeMay15 challenge? Let me know in the comments below.

And if you’d like to stay updated (it’s free) with latest info and blog posts from this blog, then sign up for the YoSaMi newsletter by leaving your email in the box at the top of the sidebar.

Happy sewing,



Monday Make: 3 Tips for Hand Dyeing Fabric with Indigo Crystals.

Three years, that’s how long it took me to do this!

indigo fabric 1


I’d had indigo crystals for a third of decade and only got round to using them a week ago.

What took me so long and why now?

Cooking up chemicals with two small children and an inquisitive dog around scared me a little and I never seemed to find an opportunity to set it up.

But last weekend, disappointed I couldn’t go to the Amsterdam Denim Days festival to try the indigo dyeing workshops, I dug out my dyeing kit and had an indigo party in my garden! Not quite as cool as a weekend in Amsterdam, but hey, we can’t have it all.

After two weekends of dyeing experimenting, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Tip One: Be Prepared

Gather everything you’ll need before you begin and make sure pets and children are out-of-the-way.

Obvious points, but you don’t want to be in the middle of cooking up your dye vat and realise you forgot something important like the thermometer – ahem like I did!

What you’ll need:

1) The indigo dyeing chemicals.

Indigo dyeing kits vary and many online suppliers offer them. Follow the guidelines and instructions of the supplier of the kit that you’re using, it may differ from the kit I used.

My kit consisted of indigo crystals, spectralite and soda ash bought from Wild Colours online shop. Some kits have the chemicals pre-combined but I bought mine individually and had to concoct the dye vat mixture myself.

The chemicals - indigo crystals, spectralite and soda ash.
The chemicals – indigo crystals, spectralite and soda ash.

2) Equipment and shibori-making materials.

10 litre bucket, protective gloves, spoon, thermometer, glass jars, clamp, string, wooden shapes.
10 litre bucket, protective gloves, spoon, thermometer, glass jars, clamp, string, wooden shapes.

2 Buckets or similar containers – one 10 litre. I used one bucket filled with water to pre-soak my fabric in and another to transfer the dyed fabric from the dye vat to the washing line to hang.

measuring jug to measure the water needed to mix up the chemicals.

spoon for mixing the chemical/water solution.

– protective gloves otherwise your hands’ll be like the rubber gloves in the pic above.

measuring scales to weigh the chemicals. 

– 2 glass jars to put the chemicals in.

– thermometer to check the dye vat temperature.

Shibori - the fabric on the left was clamped with wooden circular pieces and the piece on the right was folded and tied with string.
Shibori – the fabric on the left was clamped with wooden circular pieces and the piece on the right was folded and tied with string.

– string and/or clamps and wooden shapes, scissors for shibori resist dyeing to make the patterned pieces. I got the clamps and wooden pieces from my local DIY store.

Indigo dye vat on gas camping stove in the garden.
Indigo dye vat on gas camping stove in the garden.

– stainless steel pan suitable for heating to make the dye vat in. Mine has a lid and is 10 litres – the volume needed to dye one kilo of fabric. Make sure you use a pan that you don’t use for cooking because you won’t be able to use it for cooking food again.

– portable cooker such as a camping stove to heat up the pan of water, if you’re cooking up your dye vat outside like I did.

– face masks. I used this the first time but didn’t bother the second because being outside, the fumes didn’t seem strong but it’s recommended to use face protectors.

– apron or old clothes – any splashes are going to stain whatever you’re wearing blue.

– white vinegar for adding to the rinsing water after the fabric’s been dyed.

temporary hanging line in garden using climbing rope.
temporary hanging line in garden using climbing rope.

Washing line outside to hang the fabric so that the oxidisation process can occur (when it turns blue). I set up a temporary line using some climbing rope I had.

Fabric for dyeing.
Fabric for dyeing.

3) Fabric

I used organic natural coloured hemp jersey, off white coloured linen/cotton, a heavy duty untreated cotton jersey and organic cotton twill in for-dyeing quality. You could use anything including garments already made but it’s advisable to pre-wash fabrics and garments before dyeing.

Tip 2: Give yourself plenty of time

One mistake I made first time was not allowing enough time. We spent so long preparing, by the time we started to heat up the pan of water and mix the chemicals it was already getting late in the evening and the kids were hungry, etc, etc. Not an ideal start!

The preparation, such as gathering all the things we needed and folding and clamping the fabric for the shibori experimenting took much longer than we anticipated. You then need to heat the water in the pan to 50 degrees celcius, mix the chemicals, add these to the heated water in the pan and then add the fabric. The fabric remains in the vat for about five minutes and then is hung for 15 minutes, rinsed and then this process is repeated if you want a darker colour.

The fabric then needs to be rinsed and hung outside overnight. Depending on how many times you put each fabric in the vat and how many items you’re dyeing, this process adds up to a fair chunk of time, which ideally you don’t want to rush.

Rushing isn’t good because it can mess up the indigo oxidisation process which is what makes the fabric turn blue. When you put the fabric into the dye vat, the indigo dyeing mixture is green/yellow and it’s only when the fabric emerges from the vat, hits the air and oxidises, that it changes colour to blue. For this reason, you have to lower your fabric into the vat slowly and remove it carefully and slowly to avoid introducing air into the vat which’d oxidise the indigo crystals prematurely before they’ve had a chance to bind the colour to the fabric.

Rinsing the dyed fabric pieces.
Rinsing the dyed fabric pieces.

I’d also suggest keeping a time slot open the following day post dyeing for the rinsing and washing of the dyed fabrics. This process is time consuming so don’t underestimate this.

Tip 3: Dye Outside

If possible I’d recommend dyeing outside. Dyeing in the garden was perfect because we were able to immediately hang the fabrics on a line to drip while they oxidised when we removed them from the dye vat. It saves a lot of mess indoors and is well-ventilated for the chemical fumes.

We kept our dye vat for a week sealed with the lid on the pan after dyeing but it had already oxidised by the second dyeing session and could no longer dye the fabric, so we disposed of it down an outside drain and rinsed the drain with water.


Indigo dyeing is lots of fun and produces beautifully imperfect results. We didn’t know how each piece of fabric’d turn out until the end of the dyeing process, which made each hand-dyed piece unique and kept the dyeing process exciting.

Different fabric types reacted differently to the indigo dye. The way the fabrics were pre-treated before they were dyed also affected the results. For instance I ironed the fabrics before I dipped them into the dye vat in the first dyeing session and put them in the vat twice. For the second dyeing session, I didn’t pre-iron and only put the fabrics in the dye vat once. The second batch is much patchier and less saturated than the first ironed batch and a lighter shade of blue. I like the results from both sessions though so I definitely recommend experimenting.

Have you tried indigo dyeing? What tips would you offer someone indigo dyeing for the first time? Please let me know in the comments below.

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Have a great week and happy dyeing,




What the Japanese Can Teach Us About Sun Hat Making.

It’s been like summer here in southern Germany this last week. We were collecting Easter eggs in freezing conditions with a few flakes of snow a couple of weeks ago and yesterday we were basking in 28 degrees sunshine. Spring’s often like that here. Suddenly you’re packing away your woolies and trying to remember where you left your sunglasses months ago and rushing to buy sun cream.

Yoda all wet and muddy after jumping in the stream, trying to cool off in the heat!
Yoda all wet and muddy after jumping in the stream, trying to cool off in the heat!

The Japanese take sun protection very seriously. At least they did when I lived there. My husband’s Japanese and whenever we see his family I’m reminded about sun care. Products designed to block sun exposure are everywhere in Japan, from UV cutting face creams and cosmetics to umbrellas and hats. And this care and attention to maintaining pale skin seems to pay off. Many elderly women in Japan have the most beautiful wrinkle-free and flawless complexions. It’s inspiring.

When I first went there in my early twenties, I was admired for my pale skin. I felt colour-less and washed-out looking but for the Japanese it was the goal. You only have to look at the traditional make-up of the Geisha to understand the white-skinned beauty ideal of the Japanese. Now in my mid-forties, every time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and shudder, I wish I’d adopted more of the Japanese sun-protecting ways over the years LOL.

I did learn the necessity of finding a good sun-hat though. Many people don’t wear sun hats here in summer and there aren’t a wide selection available to buy, so on my last visit to Japan I picked up this Japanese hat-making book so I could make my own.

‘Adult’s and Children’s  Hats’ ISBN978-4-529-04977-1.

Japanese hat making book
‘Hats for Adults and Hats for Children’

It’s helpful for novice hat-makers like me because it offers patterns that gradually build in difficulty from basic level to advanced allowing you to progress as you gain skills and confidence, to making more complex styles.

From basic beginner styles to advanced hat making skills.
From basic beginner styles to advanced hat making skills.

It also has patterns for children and adults in a range of sizes so I’ve been able to make hats for myself and both of my daughters from when they were toddlers till school age for the last couple of summers.

I first made this simple make for my older daughter. It’s one of the entry-level patterns and comes together really easily.

sun hat 10

It’s been well-worn and has now been passed on to the younger daughter.

sun hat 8
Hat made from organic cotton twill for the outer shell, and an organic cotton batiste for the lining and Japanese cotton for the brim.

Last summer I let my daughters choose the pattern they’d like because I wanted them to like and wear their hats. They both went for this style below with a small brim all the way around – not the most sun-protecting model in the book but I decided that if my daughters were happy to wear them, then they’d be better than no hats.

sun hat 2

This design is a level two hat and slightly more complex to make than the first because of the split brim and multi-pieced segmented crown. It’s still do-able, just with more pattern pieces.

sun hat 3
Linen/cotton outer shell and Liberty Art Fabrics cotton tana lawn for the back turn up brim and organic cotton batiste for the inner hat lining and grosgrain ribbon for the band.

I used Liberty tana lawn cotton on the back underside of the brim to give the hats a fun contrast when the brims are flipped up. I got the Liberty fabric from Shaukat’s online shop in their crafter’s section. I bought a pack of smaller fabric pieces in a variety of prints and they’re perfect for using on smaller projects such as these hats.

sun hat 4
Teddy bear motif from lace manufacturers in Switzerland – I’ll reveal where I got this in the next YoSaMi newsletter – leave your email in the box at the top of the sidebar to sign up – it’s FREE.

I made one of the book’s second level intermediate sun-hats for myself.

sun hat 1

I used linen for the outer layer and an organic cotton batiste for the lining and a hat band I bought in Japan. The hat band makes all the difference in keeping the hat’s shape but the grosgrain ribbon I used for the children’s hats also works well.

sun hat 5

It was still relatively easy to do but the side pleat added an extra challenge.

sun hat 6

I thoroughly recommend hat making. It’s satisfying because it’s relatively quick to do and sun hats are everyday items that get lots of wear in the summer – at least they do in our family.

Some people are put off by hats but I believe there’s a hat shape for everyone and this book covers many different styles to suit different face shapes and activities.

Hat Making: What You’ll Need

You don’t need special tools or materials to make these hats but you’ll need a lightweight woven lining fabric such as cotton batiste and either a grosgrain ribbon or ideally a hat band for the inside. I’d recommend using sturdy light to medium weight woven fabrics for the outer hat layer such as lightweight denims or linen. You’ll also need lightweight interfacing for the brims.

What’s your favourite summer accessory to make? Let me know in the comments below.

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Happy sewing as always,








Friday’s Fabric Focus: Can We Really Trust Organic Fabrics?

Organic GOTS certified cotton
Organic GOTS certified cotton

I’m a fabric-aholic! Self confessed and unashamed.

I started this blog as a way to share this addiction to sewing and fabrics, but particularly my love of fabrics.

Fabric Love

There’s something about textiles that I find irresistible and I’ve built up quite a sizeable fabric collection over the years. I began acquiring bits and pieces of cloth, here and there, long before I started sewing.

I’m coveting batiks from Singapore and Malaysia; silk from Thailand; cotton wax prints from Namibia, Africa; denim from Japan; silk from Italy; Breton striped jersey from Brittany, France; boiled wool from Austria; lace from Switzerland; Welsh woven wool; German jersey – the list goes on and on! I even have ostrich leather given to me by a German ostrich farmer!

I’m as curious as Curious George and like my little terrier dog, have a nose for sniffing out fabric manufacturers wherever I go!

yoda 11

Switch to Sustainable Textiles

Since moving to Germany and having children, I’ve got more interested in sustainable fabrics particularly those made in Europe. I studied sustainability in Sweden a few years ago which added fuel to my organic-textiles-choosing fire, but sustainable textiles aren’t always easy to find on the high street and tend to be pricier than non-organics.  Frustrated with the lack of choice, I started going to international fashion fabric trade fairs to dig deeper.


What I found has raised more questions than it’s answered. The organic textile world isn’t as clear-cut as we’d like to think it is. Yes there are a wide selection of organic and sustainable fabrics are on offer and the variety and number is expanding every season and now also includes additionals such as buttons and thread.


All encouraging signs, but it starts to get murky when we try to define what we mean by ‘organic or sustainable’ textiles and clothing in the fashion industry.

What’s in a Label?

The problem is we don’t have a global brand, global label or global governing body that can certify that a fabric or piece of clothing is organic. Fabrics and fashion are produced all over the world, across many different countries, making it almost impossible to have transparency in every step of the production process.

GOTS and CERES certified organic cotton
GOTS and CERES certified organic cotton

For instance, I was browsing the site of my go-to online sustainable fabric supplier today – Lebenskleidung, winners of the Global Source Awards 2013 for best sustainable fabrics supplier to the fashion industry. When checking out their ‘made in Germany’ linen, I noticed that the linen plant was actually grown in northern Europe and only the cloth was woven and finished in Germany. Just like all ‘Italian-made silk’ starts life as raw imported Chinese silk that’s dyed and printed in Italy and finished with ‘Made in Italy’ labels. Don’t worry, it’s all legit and above-board. I’m telling you this, not to discredit either, just to illustrate it’s not always as clear-cut as it first appears.

What does ‘Organic’ or ‘Sustainable’ Mean?

Here lies the problem – it can mean all sorts of things. It can mean the plant was grown organically, or it can refer to the production or the social conditions of the workers or all of these things at once but it can’t be assumed that a textile or garment labeled as sustainable or organic was necessarily produced in an organic or sustainable way for its entire life cycle – that global label unfortunately doesn’t exist at the moment.

A couple of years ago, German Federal Development Minister Gerd Mueller announced he was going to initiate a global organic textile label, unaware of the complexity and inter-relatedness of the fashion industry and the almost impossibility of the task.

At last count, there were roughly a dozen labels developed and managed independently, each one dealing with a different part of the value added chain. And all of them work well, unfortunately not together.

Until a global sustainable textile label can be created, the hope for the future is that these existing different sustainable labels can unite forces and work together to improve the standards and the overall sustainability of the fashion industry and organic-ness of our textiles.

Friday’s Fabric Focus

I’ve started Friday’s Fabric Focus to discuss the different organic textile labels as well as to feature fabrics and fabric sources I find locally in Europe.

Now let me know what you think

Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you sew with organic fabrics or buy organic clothes? Which organic labels are you familiar with? Please let me know in the comments below.

YoSaMi Newsletter Signup

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#aweekofturias Final Week – The Auction!

My #aweekofturias cancer charity sewing challenge is over! Seven pairs of Turia dungarees are completed and the final lace pair are READY TO BUY!

#aweekofturias Charity Sewing Challenge finished! Seven pairs of Turia dungarees - one for every day of the week!
#aweekofturias Charity Sewing Challenge finished! Seven pairs of Turia dungarees – one for every day of the week!


Don’t miss out on two very special collectors items kindly donated by Lladybird!!!!

Where will your money go?

All proceeds from the auction will be donated to #teamirfon Irfon William’s charity at JustGiving.com to support the mental health of cancer patients.

For Sale

1) A pair of ramie lace and linen dungarees in European size 38.

Turia Dungarees - pattern by Pauline Alice Patterns in Italian ramie lace and Italian linen.
Turia Dungarees – pattern by Pauline Alice Patterns in Italian ramie lace and Italian linen.
Lace turia dungarees.
Lace turia dungarees.

2) Two unique pieces of sewing blogging history! Original sketches by Lauren of Lladybird.com! Collectors items for sure!!

These are for sale individually so please make sure to say which one you’d like to have in your bid – Lady in Grey or Lady in Red Coat.

Lady in Grey - Original sketch by Lauren of Lladybird.com.
Lady in Grey – Original sketch by Lauren of Lladybird.com.
Lady in Red Coat - Original sketch by Lauren from Lladybird.com blog.
Lady in Red Coat – Original sketch by Lauren from Lladybird.com blog.

How to Make a Bid

Bidding is easy, just make your bid and leave a contact email in the comments below. If you have any problems, please shoot me an email at yosamicontact.com or leave me a comment on @yosamicontact on Instagram.

The Deadline

This auction will be live for one week. I’ll announce the winners at 09.00 CET on Monday 9th March 2015.

The Winners

Once the winners have been contacted, please make the payment to #teamirfon at JustGiving.com and leave a message stating it’s for the Turia auction and which item you’re buying and once this is confirmed, I’ll contact you by email to organise shipping payment via Paypal.

I’ll post the details of making the lace dungarees in my next post.

Irfon Williams Update

This has been a challenging four weeks for me and my sewing for this is now over but Irfon’s fight continues! He’s been denied the drugs that he needs by the Health Authority in Wales because the National Health Service in Wales doesn’t have a cancer drugs fund. His story has now been picked up by the Welsh BBC national media and is being discussed in the Welsh government so hopefully this problem that affects many cancer patients in Wales can be addressed.

In the meantime Irfon is moving to England in the hopes of getting the treatment he needs there. Characteristically of Irfon, he’s still positive and hopeful and has been posting his favourite tunes on Facebook. Here’s one of my personal favourites – Our House by Madness!

Irfon, rock on my friend, we’re all behind you!!


Christine x

This auction is now CLOSED. 

Thanks to all the bidders and congratulations to Tom, the dungarees are now yours for 65 euros and Aubrey has the fashion sketch ‘Lady in Grey’ for 20 dollars.

Would you both now please pay at justgiving.com – you can click the link on ‘pay’. Please leave a comment with your donation and say that it’s for this auction and once that is processed, we’ll organise shipping.

Thanks again to all those who took part and good luck to Irfon and his family – we’re rooting for you!

#aweekofturias Cancer Charity Challenge Week Three: How to Resize the Turia Dungaree Pattern for Children.

I’m almost done with the #aweekofturias challenge!

#aweekofturias Week Three Six pairs of Turia dungarees finished.
#aweekofturias Six pairs of Turia dungarees finished.

It’s my final week of the #aweekofturias challenge to raise money for the #teamirfon cancer charity appeal on justgiving.com. Please sponsor me here.

I’ve now made six pairs of the Turia dungaree pattern by Pauline Alice and last week I made a discovery – by reducing the size of the digital pattern printouts, I could also make dungarees for my young daughters!

I enjoyed some unselfish sewing and my daughters were also pleased to get some new clothes. They literally ripped the finished dungarees out of my hands, they couldn’t wait to wear them! A rare happening!

Turia dungarees pattern printed smaller for children.
Turia dungarees pattern printed smaller for children.

Resizing the digital pattern by reducing the print out size isn’t a perfect science as the proportions of a women’s body and a child’s body are different. However by calculating what proportion of the length of my torso my daughter’s torsos are and printing the patterns that size, the dungarees worked out fine. The fit’s good on both children. The gentle curvature of the hips of the Turia pattern isn’t that noticeable on my children and besides, in this relaxed style of pants, a little extra room in the body is welcomed by active kids.

For my almost-seven-year old daughter, I printed the pattern at 75% and cutting out size 38.

Turia Dungarees by Pauline Alice in Liberty Art Fabrics babycord.
Turia Dungarees by Pauline Alice in Liberty Art Fabrics babycord.

I used Liberty Art Fabrics baby cord for both pairs of dungarees. It was very easy to work with and the fabric’s so soft, it’s perfect to make comfortable clothing for children. The busy fabric pattern is also handy for disguising sewing mishaps such as not-as-neat-as-they-should-be topstitched seams and spills etc. when children are wearing it!

mika turias

It was my younger daughter’s fourth birthday last week so we all wore our Turias for her party – that’s her in the above photo waiting for her party guests to arrive.

Topstitching on the Liberty baby cord Turia dungarees.
Topstitching on the Liberty baby cord Turia dungarees.

One of the main features of the Turia dungaree pattern, is the flat-felled seams and lots of topstitching. I used the same light grey topstitching thread on both of these dungarees. I chose not to use contrasting topstitching thread on my last denim pair of Turias, because I didn’t want to distract from the exposed denim selvedges.

For my four year old’s dungarees, I printed the pattern out at 67% and cut out size 40. I reduced the seam allowances to about one centimetre instead of following the one and half centimetre seam allowance in the pattern, in accordance with the pattern resizing.

This final week of the #aweekofturias challenge, I’m making the pair of dungarees that I’ll be auctioning, so stay tuned.

Here’s a sneak peek of the fabric.

Italian ramie lace and Italian linen.
Italian ramie lace and Italian linen.

These’ll be my most challenging-to-make pair yet in but I’m hoping they’ll be unique and worthy of your bid!

Please go to justgiving.com, #teamirfon and sponsor me if you haven’t already done so. I’d also like to thank the people who have sponsored me, I know Irfon will be happy!

To stay updated for this blog, sign up for the YoSaMi newsletter (at the top of the sidebar) – it’s free.

As always, enjoy your week and happy sewing,



#aweekofturias Cancer Charity Challenge Week Two – Turia Shorts Review

‘If you have hope you have everything’.

(Irfon and Becky’s Motto – Quote taken from Becky Williams, Irfon’s wife’s Facebook page.)

This week I finished my fourth pair of Turia dungarees by Pauline Alice Patterns. I pledged just before World Cancer Day to sew #aweekofturias, seven pairs by the end of February 2015 to raise 250 euros for my friend, Irfon William’s cancer charity. I’ll be auctioning the final pair at the end and donating the proceeds to the charity, so stay tuned.

Before I share the pattern deets, let me tell you a little about my friend Irfon and why I want to help him.

Irfon and I worked together many years ago during our Group Study Exchange trip from the UK to the USA with Rotary International. The exchange programme enables professionals to travel abroad and teach and learn more about their field of expertise.

Rotary International Group Study Exchange Team 2001
Rotary International Group Study Exchange Team 2002

We were a group of five – four non-Rotarians and one Rotarian. The month long trip was intensive. We visited many places – ranging from prisons to funeral parlours, disused coal pits, court houses, even the United Nations on our whistle-stop tour. It was a cultural eyeopener and we were generously welcomed into the homes of many host families and escorted around and treated like royalty. We attended countless meetings and gave many presentations but most of all, we had a lot of fun.

Our group gelled from the get-go and we shared many belly-laughs – you know the ones that make your sides hurt! It was often Irfon who set us off giggling, he’s such a warm, funny guy.

I have many fond memories of that trip and the time we spent together when we got back to the UK – lifelong friendships were borne. The exchange was one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunities that I feel very grateful and richer for doing.

The motto of Rotary is ‘Service Above Self’ and Irfon embodies this. He’s a trained mental health nurse and an involved father to his five children. When Irfon got bowel cancer, him and his wife Becky, set up the #teamirfon charity because Irfon was inspired by the other cancer patients and he wanted to raise funds ‘to create good times and to thank the staff on the Alaw cancer unit of their hospital who support the cancer patients during the bad times’.

It’s heartbreaking to think of him sick. We’re the same age and the youngest two of his children are about the same age as mine but Irfon’s attitude is – ‘let the good times roll’ – and his zest for life is contagious!

Irfon’s and Becky’s positivity has inspired over 1,100 folks to join #teamirfon on Facebook – that’s the equivalent of 8% of the entire population of the Welsh town that they live in! They’ve raised over 65,000 British pounds, smashing the original target of 20,000 pounds and the money’s still coming in! It’s an incredible achievement and testament to Irfon and Becky’s amazing characters!

Please help and honour my friend and go to #teamirfon at JustGiving.com now and make a donation – it’ll make Irfon’s day!

My Sewing Challenges!

It may not seem much of a hardship to sew seven pairs of dungarees but this week it was so cold here, my hands dried out and my skin cracked and my knuckles were bleeding while I was sewing!

Check out these cracked hands!
Check out these cracked hands!

It’s carnival here now as well and I’d promised my two little daughters that I’d make them costumes but I won’t have time because I want to make these pants to help Irfon. My daughters understood and didn’t create any fuss. They said they’re happy to wear the costumes they’ve already got! They’re only three and six years old – it was a very proud-mummy moment!

The Turia Dungaree Pattern Deets

For these shorts I used up the leftover denim from my first Turias and a little of the leopard print from my third pair to face the straps.

The good news is, I managed to squeeze a regular pair and a pair of shorts out of just two metres of denim! I had to get creative though to maximise my usage and used the denim selvedge as a design feature on the pockets.

Denim selvedge pocket detail.
Denim selvedge pocket detail.

I enlarged the back pockets by printing the back pocket pattern piece (page 16) at 125%. I then cut the pocket pattern piece into thirds because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut two out whole. Again I tried to turn this into a design feature, which I find happens so often in garment sewing.

Patchwork pockets.
Patchwork pockets.

I only used one side zip which seems a standard Turia pattern edit, but other than these minor alterations, I followed the pattern completely.

I’m so excited about the final pair that I’ll be auctioning! I hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can technically chew – my fabric choice is challenging to say the least! I’ll be revealing some sneak peaks on Instagram so go to @yosamicontact #aweekofturias to follow along.

I’d love for you to join in the Turias making fun! I’m already in fine company – Kirsty from Top Notch is on board and so is Kelly from Cut Cut Sew. Come and join us, use the #aweekofturias tag!

‘If you have hope you have everything’.

I’ll be back soon with my fifth pair of Turias. This was a long post! Thank you for sticking with it!

Happy sewing,





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