A change of life – a change of blog (and a GIVEAWAY winner)


Life is spinning faster than normal these days and, for fear of things slipping away unattended to, I’m here to announce the winner of the Lotta dress pattern.

Thanks to you all for the entries and for stopping by to say hello!  I’ve loved reading all your plans for summer sewing – you’ve inspired me to get thinking of some of my own!

Without further ado, the winner is…..KELLY SUMMERS who said

Lotta dress giveaway winner

Kelly, you should have received an email with more details.  Congratulations!!

And in other life news…..

A few months back I wrote an exuberant post about our decision to move from Brussels, Belgium to the English countryside.  At that point it all still felt like a pipe dream – something I wasn’t even entirely sure would happen.  But here we are, 9 months on, and it’s happening, folks!  It’s really happening!!!


We thought we would settle in East Sussex but it turns out that Kent is the place for us!  We found this house (parts of which date back to the 14th century…it kind of feels like being in a museum exhibition but still somehow manages to be genuine and cosy).

And the best part?!  I will have my own sewing room!!  After years of sewing in the basement I will now have natural light and space…and a fireplace!  Check out the room on the left.


If there are any readers from Kent out there then please get in touch – I’d love to hear any tips, suggestions, cool hangouts, great things to do with kids, fabric and sewing shops (I’ve already discovered The Sewing Shop in Canterbury), and anything else you think might be interesting, entertaining or in any way useful.  We’ll be located equidistant between Faversham, Canterbury and Ashford.
hurst farm collage

When we make the move in early July we will be filled with the joy of new beginnings and the sorrow of leaving friends and family behind – we have had a most splendid 10 years in the capital of Europe!

hurst farm collage-walks

And in other blogging news…

Amongst all the moving furor I’ve seized an opportunity to update my little blog space!  For now you won’t notice anything different (I’ve totally chickened out about doing it myself – no “How to transfer your blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org” here – and hired the talented and oh-so-efficient Sarah from Sew What, Sherlock? to do the transfer for me).  Over the coming months I hope to tweak and change a few things to keep you lovely readers (as well as myself) more engaged and interested.  Anything in particular you’d like to see?

The downside…

With so much going on I feel that my poor little sewing room has been rather neglected.  I am working away on some projects for the Willow and Co Glamping Tour (which is already underway and looking fantastic!) but not much else is happening on the sewing front I’m afraid.  It feels strange not having multiple projects on the go!

Image Map

I have been fulfilling my pledge for Me Made May of wearing at least one handmade garment a day for the month of May but I’m afraid I haven’t been so good at capturing the photographic evidence.  I must try harder for the last three weeks of May!

Do you guys have any big changes on the horizon?  Have you sewn any of the Willow&Co patterns yet?  Are you participating in Me Made May?  What other exciting stuff is going on?!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing,

Laura x

The Compagnie M. Lotta Dress Pattern Tour + GIVEAWAY

Lotta Dress // Behind the HedgerowThe Lotta Dress Pattern Tour is in full swing and, my word!, I’ve been blown away by all the great versions being shared on the Compagnie M. blog! Today is my turn.

Here are the reasons why you should hop on over to Compagnie M. to take a look:

  • You can see all the photos – eye candy’s always fun, right? And these particular photos were taken in a park…with greenery…and NO white brick wall – yay! (Are you guys as sick as seeing photos in front of that wall as I am?!).
  • You can get a glimpse of Margot’s fading nautical tattoo (a happy accident that birthday party tattooing actually tied in nicely with a nautical themed dress!).
  • You can check out all the cool details of the dress and decide if you want to enter the giveaway to win a copy of your own.
  • I even made a matching hair accessory.
  • You can learn about one of my irrationally hated sewing tasks.

Is that enough to convince you? And once you’re there have a poke around – there are lots of beautiful versions of this dress to make you giddy with excitement to make your own.

The Giveaway {Giveaway now closed}

Simple – enter a comment below telling me about your summer sewing plans for your chance to win a PDF copy of the Lotta Dress pattern. If you feel like following me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter (if you don’t already) then that would be swell too but no pressure.

Thanks for reading and good luck with the giveaway!

Laura x

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress (Selfish Sewing Week)

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

This dress very nearly didn’t happen.  I bought the pattern and fabric back in January with a flurry of excitement about the possibility of it all.  Like all good sewists, I dutifully pre-washed my fabric and left it…for months!…on top of the washing machine.  When it came time to sew I unfolded it, looked down, and shrieked in horror for this is what I saw.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Stain remover + Irish linen + 2 months = bleached out fabric disaster! *sob*

What’s a girl to do?!  I had already only bought 2 metres of fabric (instead of the suggested 2.3 metres) so I really thought this project was over before it began.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

But, what do you know?  With a bit of creative pattern placement and good chunk of patience I managed to eek out all the pattern pieces!  The moral of that story:

  • Don’t be a lazy sod and leave treasured fabric lying around.
  • It really is amazing how far you can stretch your fabric if you take your time.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Whew – so I was back on track!  After my visit to the Merchant and Mills shop (read all about that fabulous experience here) I knew which size Factory Dress to make (10) because I was lucky enough to try on a muslin of this very pattern.

merchant and mills - purchased items

The fabric is grey Irish Linen with a faint line of blue running through it.  The texture is soft, yet slightly stubbly; it creases which (IMHO) adds to its charm; it drapes well and is up there with Liberty as my favourite fabric to sew with.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Tips and Observations

  • There is a lot of ease in this pattern.  Of course it’s meant to be slouchy and loose (which is what I love about it!) but I actually made a size smaller than my bust measurement and it’s still plenty roomy.
  • The instructions are quite brief.  This is really not a difficult sew but there were a few moments (particularly when attaching the collar) that I was scratching my head.
  • When in doubt, ignore the words and focus on the illustrations.
  • If you’re petite check the sizing before buying this pattern.  The smallest size is an 8, I made a 10 and I don’t consider myself to be the second smallest size of woman.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow


I knew from the moment I walked into the Merchant and Mills shop that I was going to like this dress.  The style, the fabric, the design details all have a timelessness about them.  My husband thinks it has a Scandinavian feel to it – I think it’s quite Japanese with its shape and construction method.  It’s one of those garments that makes you feel grown-up and mature but in a good, non-stuffy kind of way.

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

I love every single thing about this dress and it’s quite possible that I will wear it every single day of Me Made May!  Ok, maybe every other day!

Have you had a successful Selfish Sewing Week?  Will you be joining me in Me Made May?  Have you ever sewed a Merchant and Mills pattern?  I’d love to hear what you thought!

Thanks for reading!

Laura x




Selfish Sewing Week – a wardrobe essential

Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations // Behind the HedgerowI’ve stitched up a something fun for spring that I’m sharing over at imagine gnats for Selfish Sewing Week.  It’s something we all need in our wardrobes and I honestly have worn it every day since making it!

Also, there’s a GIVEAWAY!  A BIG GIVEAWAY!!  This is a good one, folks!  Head over to imagine gnats for your chance to win one of these amazing indie patterns.  Can you guess which one I’ve sewn here?

Rose Hip Tights from Seamster Patterns
The Perri Pullover from CaliFaye
Mia Tunic from Tessuti
Archer from Grainline
Lane Raglan from Hey June Handmade
Cooper from Colette Patterns
Lola from Victory Patterns
The Penny Pinafore from KitschyCoo
The Riding Peplum from April Rhodes
Julia Cardigan from Mouse House Creations
Ballet Dress from Dixie DIY
Out and About Dress from Sew Caroline
Sally Shirtdress from Serendipity Studio
Roza Blouse from Kate & Rose
Swoon from Thimble Blossoms
The Necessary Clutch from Emmaline Bags
Betty Bowler from Swoon Patterns
Olivia from Chris W Designs
The Bess Top from Imagine Gnats
Cozy Morning Mitts from Nerdy Gerdy
Bonny from Tin Can Knits
Thicket from Brooklyn Tweed
Waterfall Blouse from Make It Perfect
Thurlow Trousers from Sewaholic
Emery Dress from Christine Haynes
Belladone Dress from Deer and Doe

Also, a group of featured stitchers will be sewing up these patterns all week to give you more inspiration!  Make sure you check them out.

milkybeer · Behind the Hedgerow · jm_subrn · Sew What, Sherlock?
Lladybird · sew Amy sew · the Brodrick Design Studio · adirondack inspired
The Crooked Banana · Sewbon · Idle Fancy · girl like the sea
oona aloona · Lauren Dahl · verypurpleperson · la inglesita
Groovybaby…and mama · Buzzmills · La Pantigana · sew a straight line
Dandelion Drift · JustMeJay · B Yazoo · Disaster In A Dress
the quirky peach · Fishsticks Designs · Seamstress Erin · a happy stitch
Casa Crafty · Sarah Jane Sews · YoSaMi · Call Ajaire · miss matatabi

So, what have you been making for Selfish Sewing Week?  Don’t forget to share on Kollabora (you can read more on how to do that here) and/or use the hashtag #ssw #selfishsewing or #selfishsewingweek on Instagram or Twitter.

Hope you all have a few new additions to your wardrobes by the end of the week!

Laura x

Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations // Behind the Hedgerow

Fashion Revolution Day: #handmadeinsideout #insideout

Fashion Revolution - #insideout #handmadeinsideoutToday is the day!  Happy Fashion Revolution Day everyone!  Are you wearing something inside out?  Have you shared it yet?  There are so many amazing images popping up already.  Remember to add the hashtags #insideout and #handmadeinsideout to your photos on Twitter and Instagram so we won’t miss them!

A year ago today the lives of thousands ended or were changed forever when the textile factory Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh.  These workers were making clothes – clothes for high street retailers that most of us have in our wardrobes.  That’s a disturbing feeling and one that I’ve struggled with ever since so it’s no surprise that I wanted to get involved with Fashion Revolution Day by wearing my clothes inside out.

In addition to taking some snaps in front of my ever-present white, crumbling wall, today I have decided to wear my clothes inside out all day (and yesterday evening for that matter!) while going about my daily routine.  I wanted people to stop me, ask what the heck I was up to, and perhaps even challenge me.  I wanted to start conversations and get people interested.

These are some candid *very* shots of my day.

Fashion Revolution - #insideout #handmadeinsideout

You can see this dress the right-way-round here.


Fashion Revolution - #insideout #handmadeinsideout

Fashion Revolution - #insideout #handmadeinsideout

Fashion Revolution - #insideout #handmadeinsideout

Now that the day is coming to an end one question looms – Where do we go from here?  Fashion Revolution is an amazing initiative but it needs to be taken to heart day in, day out, every day by a large proportion of people for changes to be made.

I can’t answer that question on a global scale but I can address it on a personal level.

Going forward, all my clothing decisions – whether they be ready-to-wear, handmade or somewhere in between, will be guided by one principle –


This is not a new concept.  As it turns out, Slow Fashion, like the Slow Food Movement, is indeed ‘a thing’.  Kate Fletcher, researcher, author, consultant and design activist, is the leader in this field with her initiatives such as the Local Wisdom Project.  She has also inspired the creation of businesses such as Slow Fashion Forward which offer creative consultancy for sustainable fashion and textiles.

I don’t like fixed boundaries and rules like saying, “I will never buy from {insert evil company} ever again.” or “I will make all my own clothes until the end of time.”  Instead, I like guiding principles which will encourage a paradigm shift in the way I make, buy and consume.  So, broadly speaking, this is what Slow Fashion means to me:

  • Mindful consumerism – don’t purchase on whims and consider the life of a garment.
  • Being resourceful – try to break the direct link between needing something and simply buying it.  Are there any other ways around it?  Can something be upcycled or adapted?
  • Investing in quality (and beauty!) not just quantity.
  • Consider making/sewing whenever possible.
  • Not loosing sight of the bigger picture (which includes every step along the fashion supply chain).
  • Asking questions of brands and retailers about their garment production – even if they don’t know the answers, if there’s a ground swell of interest they’re sure to respond.

And what about you?  Has Fashion Revolution made you consider your clothing more carefully?  Is Slow Fashion something you’d like to achieve?  Or perhaps you already do? These thoughts are still being developed but, for me, this is a starting point I’m happy with.  Please join in the conversation – I’d love to hear what matters to you.

So, as Fashion Revolution Day draws to an end, here’s hoping that the ideas behind it and the awareness it has raised will continue to influence the fashion industry long after 24 April 2014.

Finally, there have been some great #handmadeinsideout outfits out there today!  Check them out here, here, here, here, here, herehere and here.  (And feel free to leave a link to your post/IG/Twitter in the comments!).

Thanks for reading,

Laura x



Fashion Revolution Day – Are you ready!?


fash rev one day to go

Tomorrow, 24 April 2014, is a big day!  Not only does it mark the one year anniversary of the collapse of the textile factory Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh but it’s also the day that designers, retailers, factory workers, cotton farmers, academics and individuals will stand together for the first Fashion Revolution Day to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH by wearing something inside out and asking brands and retailers, ‘Who Made Your Clothes?’

If you’re already aware of this campaign then I’ll be brief and just give you a quick reminder of what to do for tomorrow.  If you’re reading this for the first time scroll down for more information and read the introduction post here.

24 April 2014 – What to do:

Photograph yourself wearing something handmade inside out.

Share with #insideout and #handmadeinsideout on:

  • your blog (no problem if you don’t have one)
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Click on the image below to sign up (if you’re not one of the 145 that already have)


Abby, Celina and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with and we hope that this


will raise awareness and ultimately encourage people, brands and retailers to be more considered about garment production and purchasing.

For more details:

Until tomorrow,

Laura x


Cappuccino Dress pattern GIVEAWAY winner

Cappuccino dress giveaway

Thanks for all the entries and interest in the new Liesl & Co Cappuccino Dress pattern.  I was blown away by all your ideas and suggestions for the pattern – I can’t wait to make one up myself!!

So now for the fun part.  The winner of a PDF copy of the pattern is….TRACY who said,

Cappuccino dress giveaway

There were in fact lots of suggestions for using this pattern as a beach cover-up.  I love it!  Now I just need to book a beach holiday in the sun!

Tracy, you should have an email from me with more details.

If you’re not a winner then you can still purchase this fantastic pattern here.  It’s a downloadable PDF pattern so you don’t even have to wait for it to arrive in the post (although you do need to have your scissors and tape at the ready for the cutting and taping of the pattern pieces).

Thanks to everyone for entering and I’ll be back a bit later in the week with lots of #handmadeinsideout clothes in the name of Fashion Revolution Day.  Can’t wait!

Laura x