The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show – review

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Photo Credit:

So off I went to Kensington Olympia, in fear. Financial fear. When it comes to fabrics and now increasingly knitting products, all reason temporarily escapes me and I end up with reams and reams and reams of fabrics, to add to my reams and reams and reams of fabrics in my stash, and enough wool to make each sheep in a huge flock a jumper and matching scarf! But I digress!

Tips and suggestions when you arrive

My suggestions if you attend the show – wear some comfy shoes. And for heavens sake, if you’re arriving by train, when you get out of Kensington Olympia Overground Station, turn right and follow the signs to the venue. Trust me, your legs will thank me later.

I attended 2 days, the first I went the long way round, and had to wait in a very long queue. That said, I didn’t have to wait too long, within 20 mins of arrival at the station, I was in the building.  It was the first day, so I will let that slide. On the 2nd day I was in the building within 10 minutes. So please  – turn right!

Is it worth buying the official show guide or bag?

The show guide is I think a rather pricy £4 and the show bag is £3, for which you get the bag and nothing else.  Save yourself £7 and bring your own bags and note down any stalls, demos and exhibitions you would like to see from the website beforehand.



The demos in the Creative Living Theatre to my surprise were not as fully attended as I would have expected, a great pity as many of the high flyers of the sewing world were leading fantastic demos for free.  I took full advantage of this, and strongly suggest you do to.

My favourite demos were lead by Laurie Guthrie, Chinelo Bally both former contestants of the Great British Sewing Bee and Tree Walsh from Stitchless TV. Chinelo Bally may be signing copies of her book tomorrow (Saturday) after her demo. The book costs £20 – bring cash if you would like to purchase. They don’t have debit or credit card machines at the Creative Living Theatre, the ATM is out of order at the show and the ATM in the foyer charges £1.99.  But note most of the stalls I attended do accept debit and credit cards.


Internet Access

There is free WIFI, apparently, but I couldn’t for the life of me get connected, and sadly I was unable to report live from the event.  There wasn’t an area dedicated for bloggers, which I think would have added to the excitement. It certainly would have been wonderful to meet fellow bloggers, some of whom I saw on Friday, but felt it wasn’t appropriate to introduce myself whilst they appeared to be working. (I know, I should be more forceful, I’m just too polite!)


You can purchase food and drink at the venue, and there is plenty of space to sit and enjoy your meal. I saw sandwiches sell for around the £4- £5 mark, so at London prices, not too bad. But if you can, bring a packed lunch and a flask of tea, you will save yourself a few pennies.

Bargains and Must Visit Stalls

Check out Bombay Stores – stand F2 and M Rosenberg and Son – stand L20 for bargain fabrics, Montreux Fabrics – stand D70 for Chanel type Linen Mix Tweeds. For yarns, you could do worse than visit stand 78, Neil the Knit.

The McCall Pattern Company – M2 stall sells McCall’s, Vogue and Butterick sewing patterns, and there are ‘buy 3 for £12’ deals.

Don’t forget to visit the various exhibitions, including the Textile Galleries and make sure you take plenty of breaks so that you don’t exhaust yourself.

As per usual I spent a small fortune on fabric and supplies, but I’m glad to say that I had enough change left for my bus fare home … just.  I will post a haul video on my youtube channel. The prices of the products on sale suits all pockets, so you will find it difficult to leave empty handed.

I had a great time at the show, and would happily attend again. I’m looking forward to the next show in October at Ally Pally.



My Great Big Sewing Resolution – Cherry Gingham Dress


Have another one for you! I am pleased to introduce to you the Cherry Gingham Dress.

Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist
Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist

Like the daisy meadow dress, I used the bodice from Simplicity pattern 2444, and self drafted the skirt. Pockets were added in the side seams, and the dress has an invisible zip installed at the back. I have added a red ribbon belt, and finished the arm hole facings with gingham bias binding.

Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist
Cherry Gingham Dress, by Champagne Twist

I’m pretty pleased with this dress, the only slight snag, and I’m only saying this because I’m honest, I didn’t match the back skirt seams as well as I should.  I didn’t even notice until I gave it’s final pressing. However, the nature of the pattern means that you have to have pretty sharp eyesight, and be purposely looking for it to notice.  If you can see it, and your name isn’t Bradley Cooper from the A-Team, you’re too darn close!


  • Fabric: 100% cotton
  • Fabric name: Fruit Basket
  • Print Pattern: Red cherries with green foliage on a black, grey and white, small gingham check background
  • Fabric designer/brand: Robert Kaufman
  • Finishing: Armholes competed with black, grey and white mini gingham check bias binding (purchased)

Currently watching NCIS … again … I know I said I wouldn’t, but it’s either that or another back-to-back rewatch of all the Sherlock episodes … again.  I have to pace my Sherlock rewatches, otherwise I will be climbing the walls by Autumn.

Also, as much as I adore the Simplicity 2444 pattern, I think it’s time for a change.  I fancy making either a pair of trousers, or my first Vogue pattern. Details are on my Instagram account or you can subscribe to my blog to find out more.

What are your sewing plans for the rest of the month?  I would love to hear them, please comment below.

Thanks as ever for reading, see you soon 🙂


Great British Sewing Bee 1 hour challenge – week 7

GBSB 1 hour

Yesterday the Great Britsh Sewing Bee ended, and if you didn’t know already, Charlotte won.

I’m still working on my final GBSB challenge, but I thought I should let you know about my week 7 challenge – the Red Cherry Outfit.

Yes, outfit! I set myself a hard challenge of making a self drafted, fully lined skirt, with in seam pockets, and a matching neck tie which doubles up as a hair tie. We don’t do things by halves here at Champers Towers!

Anyway, here it is …

Red Cherry Outfit
Red Cherry Outfit



  • Fabric: 100% cotton, red cherry and green leaves on a black background print, by Robert Kaufman
  • Pattern: Self drafted design
  • Style: Pleated skirt, fully lined with solid red, light weight cotton fabric, with 2 in-seam pockets.

Neck Tie:

  • Fabric: Same as above
  • Pattern: Same as above
  • Style: Straight tie with rounded corners, based on my Ghislaine Chelsea pattern.

The skirt is lined with red cotton (I know, I’m becoming very radical theses days!), and has an invisible zip closure at the back.  There are 2 in-seam pockets.  I did toy with adding slanted pockets, but I only had 2 metres of fabric and I wanted to make sure I had enough to make a couple of neck ties and a waistband just in case the waist didn’t work out.

Speaking about the waist, this is a very close fitting waist, and luckily the pleats were handled in such a way, I didn’t need to add a waist band, leaving a clean line.

The red cotton was recycled from the lining of a dress I made a couple of years ago, which I never wore.  So it’s good that the fabric didn’t go to waste. I added a jumper, and there we have an entire outfit made with less than 2 metres of fabric.

Cherry scarf

I’m posting regular updates of my final GBSB challenge on Instagram. If you would like to see my updates, please follow and like.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more information.

As ever, thanks for reading, see you soon 🙂


Great British Sewing Bee 1 hour challenge – week 6


Well, it’s been an interesting week in London. I’ve been glued to the news 1 minute and distracting myself from the news with my sewing machine the next. I decided to keep calm and carry on sewing.

As a result, I have created the Daisy Meadow dress.  As a person who rarely wears dresses (I’m more of a t-shirt and comfy trousers person), I’m so happy with this dress.

daisy meadow dress, michael miller fabric pattern simplicity 2444
Daisy Meadow Dress by Champagne Twist


Pattern: Simplicity 2444 bodice, self designed skirt, with in-seam pockets

Fabric: Daisy Meadow by Michael Miller

Fabric Composition: 100% Cotton

Comments:  This is my first green dress.  From afar, I will probably look like a walking meadow, but I honestly don’t care, I’m so happy with my new frock. This dress was on the to-do list for months, using a pattern that I purchased years ago.  I finally managed to make the famous Simplicity 2444 dress, and I’m pretty chuffed with it.

The dress came together very quickly, it was stitched up within an hour, however I had to order a green zip, hence the delay in completion.  I didn’t have to make any adjustments to the bodice, but I did have to draft a new skirt as the fabric wasn’t wide enough.

dress made with michael miller fabric daisy meadow, made by
Daisy Meadow Dress by Champagne Twist

I also didn’t bother with the arm hole facing pattern, as would like to use the left over fabric for something else.  So I used some pre-made bias binding I had in my stash. Yes it’s not green, but the trend this year is to use a surprise lining, and facings are sort of like surprise linings, right?

Bias binding facing, in a contrasting print.

Anyway, I aim to post some more pictures over the next few days, but over all I really like this pattern – expect to see more soon.

What do you think?  Thanks for reading, please don’t forget to subscribe and comment below.


Great British Sewing Bee 1 hour challenge – week 4

GBSB 1 hour

WEEK 4 – International

This week’s theme on GBSB is ‘international’.  So looking for an alternative challenge, following my far too quickly completed Birdie Cami, I have been eyeing up Sewing Bee’s contestant Rumana’s sewing pattern weights.  At first I wasn’t sure what they were, but now I know, they have become a revelation and an instant must have!

I had been toying with the idea of purchasing some metal rings to use as weights, from the local builders merchants.  But these I think are more environmentally friendly, economical and pretty.

I researched a couple of methods, eventually creating an amalgamation, adding my own little twist. Here are the links, if you would like to make your own pattern weights:

I had a bag of really old rice that I was about to throw onto the compost heap. I mixed the rice with some lavender flowers, to create the filling, doubling up the weights’ role as scented pouches.

Sewing pattern weights construction summary
Sewing pattern weights construction summary
Sewing pattern weights construction summary
Sewing pattern weights construction summary

So here’s the result, 2 sewing pattern weights, with more on the way.  It is certainly a great stash buster, as well as a practical tool which didn’t cost me anything, as I already had the materials.  And as this was an amalgamation of 2 construction methods from bloggers from other countries, plus a couple of ideas of my own, this fits in with the international theme.

sewing weights champagne twist
Sewing pattern weights

In all, both the weights took about 45 mins from start to finish to make. I plan to make at least 8 more, as well as a patchwork storage bag, made from the left over scraps. This potentially means this project is one of my most economical ever. Makes up for burning the fabric for my Birdie Cami.  That’s another successful challenge completed.

I will let you know how I progress with the other weights and the bag.  Next week’s GBSB theme is 1960s.  I feel it’s time to make a 60s style skirt, don’t you?

Thanks for reading, don’t forget to like, subscribe and comment.




My Great Big Sewing Resolution – Birdie cami


Sew over it silk cami top
Birdie Cami, by Champagne Twist

This little number was supposed to be my weekly GBSB 1 hour challenge for today – but I got carried away and finished it late last night!

It’s 100% polyester, a fact I found out whilst I was ironing prior to cutting.  Note to self, do not iron polyester material on the cotton setting.

In my defence, it has been a good while since I had any dealings with 100% polyester fabric, as I normally use 100% cotton (hence the setting on the iron – rookie mistake!). Fortunately, it was near the end of the material, so I was still able to cut out the pieces for the cami.  Sadly, due to my mishap, the planned for matching hair tie may have to be shelved, unless I can think of a creative way to patch together the left over scraps. Ugh! Still, for a remnant piece of fabric that I purchased for about £2, I can’t complain.

I have previous made a camisole top  and yet again, this version came together easily and quickly.

Silk cami pattern by Sew Over It.
Birdie Cami

I’m very pleased with the result, I have a versatile monochrome print top, which can be worn with jeans for a casual summer look, or with a suit.

Now all I have to do, is find an alternative 1 hour GBSB challenge, by tonight – yikes!

Find out if I succeed by tuning in tomorrow.  Please subscribe, comment and like if you enjoyed this post.

Thanks for reading.

mgbsr logo


Champagne Twist now on Polyvore


I’ve recently joined Polyvore, which I have found to be really useful for planning my  sewing projects.  I have made physical mood boards in the past, but they involve a lot of time and effort sourcing pictures, and also includes a lot of paper wastage.

I would prefer to save a tree, and while using electronic devices isn’t always the ideal solution, this method does use less paper.

Here’s the first of my mood boards, a gingham based number, with a fabulous bag.
Sunny day city trip outfit

I am going to purchase some gingham fabric and make a similar dress for the summer.  I already have suitable sunnies, and a bag I can make over, so just the shoes and hat to source and I will have this outfit.

If you would like to purchase any of the actual items, there are further details on this link – Sunny day city trip.

I hope you like the mood boards I have created so far, please comment and add your suggestions. Add you can subscribe to this website, to make sure you don’t miss out on news from Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading.

My Great Big Sewing Resolution – Pineapple Skirt: The Result


Well, it took longer than expected due,  but I’m happy to introduce to you my brand new skirt.

Pineapple Print Skirt ananas jupe
Pineapple Print Skirt

The inspiration

I discovered a beautiful skirt on Kollabora, made with a pineapple print fabric, and immediately wanted to make one. I was attracted by the golden pineapples, which somehow made the skirt look luxurious.

It took me a few minutes to track down the fabric, but I struggled with the justification of purchasing more material, to add to my already ridiculous stash.  So I left the fabric in the online basket.  The very next day, it was on sale at half price! I figured after that it was meant to be.

It’s strange how a sale can justify so many things in life.

The making of the Pineapple Skirt

I ran out of black invisible zips.  The closest I had was a grey one, so after much self debate, I concluded that I couldn’t break my resolution. So I did the only thing I could – now please don’t be alarmed – I used the grey zip on a black skirt.  I know, I know.

Not only that, I coloured it with a permanent black marker pen!  Hey, it worked! I’m proud of the fact that I’m resourceful, but still a little ashamed that I committed the sin of using a zip that didn’t match.  But the point of an invisible zip is that you don’t see it, so I think I got away with it – just.

Here is my pineapple print skirt, together with my Bailen top.

Skirt, slanted pockets, jupe, anana
Golden Pineapple Outfit

The fabric is lovely to handle and great to sew.  It was a little sheer, hence the reason I lined it.  I think the lining gives the skirt a great structure, without making the skirt too heavy.

I hand stitched the hem, although I was tempted to try out the blind stitch facility on the sewing machine. However, something inside me just screamed – NO! So, 1 hour of hand stitching followed.  My fingers still hurt.


  • Fabric used: Ananas Pineapple print in Caviar, cotton mix, by Aime comme Marie and plain black polyester lining
  • Pattern used: Self drafted box pleat skirt, with slanted pockets
  • Amount used: 3 meters (1.5 m shell and 1.5 lining)
  • Special features: Slanted pockets, side invisible zip opening

Ananas by Aime comme Marie

Outfit design

I designed the skirt to go with the Bailen top, and when the weather is warmer I shall team it with a black cardigan, shoes and accessories, then pretend to be a trendy gal about town.

New skills learnt/Practiced

Slanted Pockets

It as the first time I have drafted a pattern featuring slanted pockets, and now that I know how to do it, there will be no stopping me.  I often use in seam pockets, but I wanted to do something special with this skirt, and I’m so glad I did. I was inspired by this post featuring a guest tutorial by Lisa of Sew Over It.


As it was a self drafted skirt I’ve made before, it was a pretty straight forward sewing task. The only major-ish issue was running out of the correct coloured zip.

Overall result

Very happy with the skirt, and can’t wait to wear it.  I adore the pockets and look forward to incorporating that style into other garments. As it’s lined, I can wear the skirt from Spring right through to Autumn.

Next sewing challenge

Having discovered a free t-shirt pattern online, I’m going off grid from the schedule, so my next item is going to be a Liberty print top. I’ve just completed assembling the paper pattern, so I hope to be able to complete by the end of the month, if not sooner.

Please comment!

What do you think of my skirt? Please comment below as I would love to hear about your sewing adventures.

Thanks for reading and see you soon 🙂