What’s the alternative to plastic packaging?

Welcome to the worlds first plastic-free supermarket aisle in the Neatherlands.Launched in Amsterdam, the aisle has more than 700 plastic-free products including meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables. Products are packed in paper, metal, glass and plastic alternatives made of compostable materials, such as plant cellulose, wood pulp, algae, grass, cornstarch, shrimp shells, etc. These look like plastic, but are considered different because they are not not made entirely from fossil fuels and are biodegradable.The most popular is Polylactic acid (PLA), a plastic substitute made from fermented plant starch (usually corn) which is quickly becoming a popular alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics. But it still takes a long time to biodegrade. Although it will biodegrade in 3 weeks in an industrial composting unit, it can take up to 100 years in regular composting. The message is still to avoid single use plastics of any kind where possible but at least this is a step in the right direction. UK supermarkets are a major source of plastic waste, producing 1m tonnes a year. A recent pol showed that 91% of UK shoppers backed the idea of a plastic free aisle- we want to make the change, we just want shops to make it easy for us! And surely shops what to make it easy for us to shop! Read more about the plastic free shopping experience in this article from the Guardian and find out why the alternatives still need some work here. Sarah x


Plastic packaging pitfalls already!

Plastic packaging is everywhere! Even when the company is going to an effort in so many other ways!

Take this for example – biodegradable paper straws in biodegradable cardboard box printed with food safe ink (it says so on the side!) – with a non-recyclable plastic window! Gahhh!

It is impossible to buy meat without it being encased in a layer of shrink-wrapped plastic. And you cannot buy a lettuce, even from our local greengrocers, which isn’t encased in plastic film.

I think it comes down to this, we’ve got to get used to seeing less of our food before we buy it!

That’s no mean feet, with food scandals and the like there is definitely a level of distrust when I comes to food buying.

We need to trust that the images on the outside of the box are representative of what’s inside. And companies need to create that trust by using great photography and illustration and not relying on a plastic window.

This is one thing that drives me mad too – plastic sealant on glass jars. I specifically didn’t buy the brand of peanut butter that I usually buy because they’ve now put it in a plastic jar! But I still have to deal with “plastic-gate” no matter what!So much of this is about trust though. We need to be able to trust manufacturers are looking after our food before it gets to us and we need to be able to trust that other customers aren’t meddling either.

Iceland is the first UK supermarket to introduce a new plastic-free “trust mark”, allowing shoppers to see at a glance whether products use plastic in their packaging.

The label will be prominently displayed on food and drink products, making it easier for consumers to choose greener alternatives. Sounds good to me!

You can read more here

For today’s lunch I was super organised and made myself a delicious couscous salad. How long this level planning will continue I don’t know! Probably until about Thursday!

Sarah x

Can I really go “Plastic-Free?”

Plastic- right now it’s about as popular as a cockroach in your kitchen. But it’s there lurking on every surface, in every cupboard and pantry! Sneaking up on you when you least expect it!

It’s unavoidaiable… or is it? I’m going on a mission to find out how to dodge the peril of plastic overload!

#plasticfreejuly is a hashtag challenge on instagram. The organisers of plastic free July compel us to ‘Choose To Refuse’ single-use plastic during July.

I love this graphic from supporter @treadingmyownpath with some top tips on where to start!

The aim of the challenge is to help us change our habits, supporting behaviour change to habitually #choosetorefuse shopping bags, straws, takeaway containers and coffee cups – to name a few. Sounds do-able, sounds like it would make a real change, I’m in!

This conveniently coincides with opening of Nada, our new neighbours at Crafty Sew&So in St.Martins Square.

Nada is a zero waste shop meaning they aim to be Leicester’s first plastic and packaging free store.

So how it works is you to bring your own containers, glass jars and bags to refill directly from a bulk supply of various dry goods, liquids and household products. But unlike those old skip shops I remember going to as a child, Nada has invested in gravity dispensers which provide hygienic way to dispense all kinds of food. Buying in this way also reduce food waste as you only buy what you need. Sounds like a win!

They will also enable you to buy all you would need to help you on your way to living without plastic, with a range of bags, glass containers, toothbrushes, straws and reusable cups and bottles and even more to help reduce single use plastic in your everyday life. Nada will offer all the staples you will need for your kitchen, bathroom and everyday life.

I signed up to their crowd funding campaign to support their launch thinking this would be the the perfect kickstart for my challenge too.

So I’ve decided to spend first week of my challenge looking at what plastics I use and dispose of.

I’ll take a look at what plastics I use everyday and what I throw away and then work out what I can replace these with.

I really think there are going to be some easy swaps but I can already see some things which will be very hard to source without plastic getting in the way. Milk for instance! I’m pretty sure we don’t even have a milkman that I could sign up to have milk delivered from in glass bottles.

So here’s how day one has gone so far…

Day one – lunch, and my first hurdle. I decided I needed to get out of the house, it’s my one day off this week and I needed a refresher before diving headfirst into work tomorrow. So headed out along Queens Road towards Victoria Park. This presents a range of tempting offers but having been off work for the last two weeks getting married and on my honeymoon (more on that in a future blog post!) my budget is somewhat depleted (the perils of being self-employed) and I expect this will be one of my downfalls in this challenge.

I could go for something exotic from Sainsbury’s, maybe a peaking duck wrap or a smoked salmon sandwich. But they are all presented in air-sealed non-recyclable plastic containers. So instead I opted for the local bakery, a slightly tired and old-fashioned looking place but the lovely lady serving inside makes up for that and I (paper) bag myself a egg mayo with salad on brown cob.

No plastic in sight!

Like a good little zero waster, i’ve got my Morsbag with me ready to fill up with fresh fruit and veg from the grocers, but alas, it doesn’t open on Mondays now – when did that happen?! Pftt! Shrink wrapped cucumber from Sainsbury’s it’ll have to be then!

I’m thirsty but I forgot to bring a refillable bottle with me so I guess I’ll just have to wait until I get home. This challenge is going to be a test of my organisation and my memory as much as anything!

Sarah x

Ginger jeans mark 4!

ding ding, round 4 -it’s ginger jeans vs rivets for this exciting revisit to one of my favourite patterns! Yeah, pretty sure I won this round!

And the rivets really finish of my 4tg pair of gingers nicely. I used Prym 12mm rivets and the various pliers tool to attach them. I also picked up a top tip from Guthrie and Ghani’s vlog about using a leather punch to create the holes before attaching the rivets which helped massively.

I added a cute back pocket design to this pair which I think I will carry over to any further pairs I made to “brand” them a bit!

I tweaked the fit taking them in at the knee and out at the calf as usual but this time I actually transferred the alterations to the pattern! So next time I won’t have to fiddle about with that bit too much!

Really happy with these- I’m actually wearing them right now as I write and they are super comfy!

Happy days!

Happy sewing!

Sarah x

Hi new followers!

Hi there! I see that quite a few of you are new to my blog, I’ve had quite a flurry of new followers in the last month or so which is lovely but also makes me realise that I haven’t been blogging as frequently as I’d like. So thanks for the kick up the new-Ginger-jeans-clad butt guys!

It’s also made me have a good think about what I want this blog to be all about. I currently blog, vlog and share my crafting and sewing activities and a number of different channels, both work related and personal…

Crafty Sew&So blog: Www.craftysewandso.com/blog

The blog for all things related to my business, Crafty Sew&So

Crafty Sew&So Youtube:


Our bi-monthly Crafty Sew&So Vlog on Youtube

With news from the shop, makes, reviews and plans. Our makes showcase the patterns, fabrics and tools we sell and our own range of My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns.

Crafty Sew&So on Instagram:


Craftysewandso on Facebook:

@ craftysewandso1

My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns Blog:


And the newest addition… the My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns Makers group on Facebook, a place to share your MHW Patterns makes and for me to share our news and updates and answer any questions about the patterns.

So that’s the business side of things…

But I also like to share my personal makes and thoughts and for a while I did do a personal vlog, blog, Instagram and Facebook – which was just crazy! And pretty repetitive! So I’ve streamlined it and now this is what you’ll get!

Here on the CRAFTYSARAHSEWS blog:

A fortnightly blog showing my latest make.

Fabrics may be from the Crafty Sew&So store but are most likely to be from my stash.

CRAFTYSARAHSEWS on instagram: @craftysarahsews

Snippets of my sewing and general life interspersed with pictures of my cat trying to jeopardise my sewing endeavours and various cheese eating sessions!

Real and un-curated.

And my wedding planning channel (which is private but anyone can join- except my fiancé!)

On instagram: @diyweddingdresssupportgroup

This has turned out to be a really successful way for me to visualise my wedding and bridesmaids dresses, colours, accessories, decorations, flowers etc.

I am abandoning my Facebook page and leaving that to fend for itself.

I’ve signed up to Vero but not really using that at the moment.

So that’s that. It feels great to have a spring clean so my plan is all nice and clear in my mind now!

So look forward to more focussed, regular and hopefully entertaining content on here very soon!

Happy Sewing!

Sarah x

February I’m ready for you- with my 2018 Make Nine

Soooo… many people who know me will know that I don’t make January new years resolutions, I figure it takes pretty much the whole month to get over Christmas and January is a crap month when I usually get a cold (tick) and generally just feel a bit rubbish and battle through! I make February plans instead.

January was pretty much taken over with preparing for the launch of our new pattern range – My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns – at work, and outside of work I spent most of my time under a blanket feeling January-ish.

But February- now that’s whole a different story! February is the start of wedding making! And I am sooo excited to get stuck into it!

I’ve taken a bit of time to think about a make nine which will encourage me to make items I need rather than just want to make.

So here goes from the top left to right:

1. My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns Cosy jersey Tunic and Dress. I’ve already got a dress cut out in this fabric below.

I plan to make lots and lots of variations on this pattern but I need a cosy jumper to get me through the rest of the chilly winter in the Crafty Sew&So Shop so I’ll be making one in super snuggly soft denim marl brushed back sweat next.

Honestly, this is pretty much THE softest sweatshirt fabric I have ever felt, can’t wait to make and wear this! I’ve got some mid blue rib for the cuffs and hem band too. I might do something fancy with the neckline like an add-on shawl collar maybe.

2. So Over It Eve dress

I’ve got 2 m of this poly crepe bought from Walthamstow last August. Not sure if it’s enough for the eve dress but I’ll give it a go. I want to wear this for a wedding in March.

3. This Chaffinch on Navy cotton lawn by lady McElroy

…is another one from the Crafty Sew&So Shop and it will be a full circle skirt. I realised on review of my wardrobe, that I don’t actually have a full circle skirt! I love them so I don’t know why not! I think I might want to line this in navy poplin to avoid a Marilynn moment!

4. Now onto the juicy stuff! I bought a second hand wedding dress from Loros which I am reworking. It’s pure silk- there must be at least 3 metres of it in the skirt- and it’s at the dry cleaners at the mo. I’ve got 2 whole days off next week so I’ll be finalising the design and starting on alterations of the top half then. I won’t be saying much more about it on here for obvious reasons (not that Matt reads my blogs normally but just in case!) so to follow my progress check out @diyweddingdresssupportgroup on Instagram. It’s a private feed but just request to view and I’ll let you in!

5. My fabulous bridesmaid Chloe has designed a gorgeous print which I will use to make the bridesmaids dresses. The style will be similar to the photos- simple fitted bodice with a pleated skirt and cap sleeves- and maybe the low back detail although that could make fitting more tricky. It’s going to be tricky enough with my bridesmaids in Scotland and London! My sister Libby is in Leicester so she will be the first guinea pig!

6. This is the fabric Matt chose for the waistcoats so I’ll be making 4 waistcoats- one for him, his best man and my dad and his dad. They will have navy lining, covered buttons and back and gold buckles and the back.

Serious face for serious fabric shopping! Haha! I think he’s happy with his choice though! 😂

7. Named clothing Kielo- I literally have everything I need for this – fabric, lining- except the pattern. This will be great for our Indian honeymoon. If it goes well I’ll make a few to take with me. Including one with the sleeves add on.

8. I really want to make a swimsuit this year. We have a coverstitch machine at work now which I need to conquer. Attempts so far have been less than successful with lots of skipped stitches. I found out it might be because I need to use stretch needles not ballpoint ones?!?! And a top quality thread like Metler. Anyone have any other tips?

Anyway I like this style for a swimsuit.

9. This is the first draft of a potential new pattern for the MHW range.

Continuing in the theme of making a whole handmade wardrobe of super wearable garments we’ll be adding more wardrobe essentials patterns to the mix over this year. And I’ll be making lots of samples of them all!

Right, best get on with it then!

Happy sewing!

Sarah x

Hello 2018!

Hi guys, just checking in to say a very Happy New Year to you all!

I’ve been a bit absent over here on my blog and my personal vlog over in YouTube of late because I’ve been working on the very exciting “My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns” project.We successfully ran our Kickstarter Campaign and reached our target in time for the deadline at the beginning of December.

Since then we’ve been beavering away completing pattern testing, sampling, photographing, formatting the pattern instructions, arranging printing and sending out the kickstarter rewards. We’re now in the final push towards the launch and we will be celebrating with a lovely launch party on the 20th January at the Crafty Sew&So shop!

Take a look at the My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns blog to find out more and see all the designs!

So a new year always brings new creative plans! My plans for this year include:

– Making my wedding dress! Plus bridesmaids dresses, waistcoats for the boys, miles of bunting and a few other little secret plans!

– Replacing my much loved handmade items which are looking a little tired (handmade every day= actually wearing-out my handmade clothes 😩)

– Making lots and lots more versions of our MHW patterns!

I’m still toying whether to do a make nine – I know will make a lot more than nine garments so not sure if it will be that useful to me but some kind of plan will be needed!

I’m taking part in the 2018 secret valentines challenge #2018sve which I’m really looking forward to.Matt and I don’t tend to celebrate mainly because it’s massively commercial but also because it’s very close to our meeting anniversary on the 6th! We tend to go out for a celebratory burrito (not sure why but it’s a tradition now!) the weekend after.

I love the idea that we are encouraged to use only materials that we currently own. I’m really looking forward to seeing who I get and riffling through my stash to find the perfect fabric!

If you want to get involved in the SVE check it out at http://sanaeishida.com/

o that’s most of the first half of the year planned out! I think things will probably be a little bit quieter and more work-focused in the second half as we hopefully prepare to launch a second range of patterns and plan for another Dressmakers Ball in 2019! So there are lots of exciting plans on the horizon!

Here’s to a happy, healthy and creative 2018!

Happy Sewing! Sarah x

My 2017 Colour Review

I always thought I was a “Pink” person but looking at my wardrobe I have made very few pink items lately. 

I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at what I have made so far this year to see if there was a theme in terms of colours I consistently choose.

I’ll never be decisive enough to have a ‘capsule’wardrobe but I do think to hone in on a few new colours for each season helps keep everything concise and helps with outfit building a lot. 

And my colours for this year so far it seems have been red, ochre and navy, not exclusively, but in the most part!

I made:

Red trousers

Navy bikes print Bettine

And shorts..

A simple tee in red and white stripes

Navy based birds print sun dress

A Denim Bettine

A Yellow, black and white bikes print gathered skirt 

My red satin Dressmakers Ball skirt 

A Denim Cleo Pinny- worn with my favourite Ochre cardi 

A red wool coat

A self- drafted pinny dress in navy and white check with a pop of red and bright blue. 

A navy polkadot Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress with a contrast tomato red pocket- I have worn this to death already!

Navy and white Roxanne blouse worn here with my Ochre Morris Blazer and coordinating man-friend! 

I’ve got my eye on these lovely fabrics from the Crafty Sew&So shop for my next lots of “on-palette” makes:

Mustard ponti Roma 

Navy with tan spots bonded jersey

Red with white blossoms crinkle georgette

But what to make next… 

A mustard Morris blazer

In case you hadn’t noticed I have a bit of a thing about Ochre/mustard/yellow in general at the moment!

Not only am I a big fan of richer shades of yellow in my clothing choices at the mo, Matt and I have decided to go for sunshine yellow shades with deep red, orange and navy for our wedding colour palette too!

I’ll never be decisive enough to have a ‘capsule’wardrobe but I do think to hone in on a few new colours for each season helps keep everything concise and helps with outfit building a lot. And my colours for this year so far have been red, ochre and navy.

So when this beautifully soft mustard loop back terry came into the Crafty Sew&So shop I decided to make the Morris blazer by Grainline studios from it.


It is perfect for an un-lined jacket as it’s super soft on the inside and outside. The pattern isn’t specifically for stretch fabric but it is quite a snug fit in the arms so suits a stable heavier weight knit well. I’d recommend measuring the sleeve pattern and your bicep to compare before cutting this out.

The pattern isn’t specifically for stretch fabric but it is quite a snug fit in the arms so suits a stable heavier weight knit well. I’d recommend measuring the sleeve pattern and your bicep to compare before cutting this out.

I made a size 10 (Us size) and lengthened the sleeves to full length. Other than that I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern

I used a lightweight fusible interfacing on the facing panel and stay tape in the shoulder seam.

I love that this jacket feels as comfy as a cardi but smart and business-like. The colour is fun and goes with so many things in my wardrobe.

I wouldn’t change anything about this make! I want to make myself another one in navy next for winter.

I’ve enjoyed wearing it on many occasions already including my friend’s Birthday BBQ party. I wore it with my lovely Roxanne top which I made in gauzy navy and whit warrior cotton. I must make another one of these too, it’s so cool! 

Bicycle Bettine

I decided I wanted a nice casual spring to summer dress that would go with a lot of the colours they currently have in my wardrobe. I’m really taken by navy and yellow for this spring with the usual sprinkling of red and pink. I chose a Dashwood studios cotton quilting fabric with super cute bikes print on. It’s the second bike printed fabric I’ve picked up this year – a bit mad as I don’t even own a bike and haven’t ridden one in several years but I like the vintage nostalgia of these cute prints!

I previously made the Tilly and the Buttons betting dress in a fluid viscose which draped well and I wanted to try making this pattern in a slightly stiffer cotton fabric for a more casual trans-seasonal look.

I am very happy with the scooped neckline and the overall fit.

I feel if I had used slightly narrower elastic at the waist it might be a bit more comfortable.

I think it goes really well with my Ochre Morris Blazer!