Sewing with the Ruby

So you have a meter of a lovely piece of lawn for example , but it could be anything really. And you want a super fast sew , that doesn’t require a lot of construction . Meet the Ruby from Made by Rae patterns!


I had some beautiful Cotton + Steel Cookie Dough in lawn that I have had sitting in my stash for a couple of years, but only a meter of it. I paired it up with some beautiful linen which was not only a great contrasting fabric, but also gave a great weight to the top of the bodice , letting the lawn flow nicely underneath it.

The pattern gives you the option of making either a dress or shortening it to a top. As I only had a meter, a top it was.

The pattern is great for beginners, it has very little detail on it and it’s printed on normal paper, not tissue paper making it easier to trace using Swedish tracing paper and then packing it away for the next time.


Construction of this is really straight forward. If you have made the Germanium for a little girl this is the same kind of pattern. Separate top bodice and then a gathered body all  sewn together. There are no zips or buttons either!

There are a few options to finish the raw edges around the neckline and armholes. I went partially lazy, bias binding finished with a sewing machine. I could have made proper bias binding to match the two different fabric., but I’m not the most patient of sewist’s . So although I didn’t make it exact, I did make my own bias binding- but I did not finish it neatly by hand sewing skills leave much to be desired.


Making bias binding is always easier than I remember. I always go into it dreading it a bit, but end up doing it all quite quickly (even without using my bias binding maker, which is missing somewhere!). The instructions ask that you cut a fat quarters worth, but I didn’t need that much and stopped half way and still had quite a bit of binding left over.

It’s a great little sew and I adore the feel of Cotton and Steel’s dress making fabric, it’s a dream to work with.  The one thing I will say is that when I make this next time, I won’t make the gathers as close together. I’m a busty lady, and the excessive gathers can give my chest a bit of a mountain’s look.


It’s been a while but I’m back

I know I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve put anything and in the mean time quite a lot has happened. I got married (yes I know!), I had birthdays, other weddings, visitors from Australia, finishing quilts, making clothes, the shop is slowly starting to take off and there is a quite a few changes going on at my other job, no more taking it easy.

But I have written a whole heap of entries that I will pace out. Baking success, and failures, trying to to put together the cheapest wedding possible and so on. But today I’m going to start easy with a quick dress I made up quickly for Rockette. I have lifted it from my shops website  (just so you know).

Hello Sushi!

Sushi dress 1

Since the release of Cotton + Steel’s 2016 Spring collection I have loved this Sushi’s antique’s from Sarah Watts From Porto with love range. I’ve been looking for a project to use this with, and my little one decided this week when she saw it that she and her Rapunzel doll both needed dress made out of it.

I’m was looking for a quick-ish sew and I found it while having a little mooch in my sewing books. Sewing Girls Style is by Japanese pattern maker Yoshiko Tsukiori. It was first time I had used the book but glad I had picked an easy pattern, which was excitingly titled Pattern W.

Coming mainly from using independent pattern makers work for a single pattern, this one was all a bit mad. Parts of the patterns were on different sheets and all of the patterns overlap each other in no particular order. Bit of chaos but once you get used to it , it was straight forward.

I traced the pattern using Swedish tracing paper, and it was only 3 pieces (joy!) , one for the whole dress and two bits for the interfacing on the neckline. The pattern called for linen, and that is great for Autumn/Winter as it would give the dress a more a-line shaped dress. The medium weight cotton of Sushi gives it a more flowy relaxed, less formal look. I wasn’t too sure if it was going to work without the stiffness but, I think it worked out great.

I finished it within an hour and a half, it was so easy and it looks so cute in the amazing cat fabric. There is a jacket that goes with this but it seemed a bit too time consuming.

To make Rapunzel’s dress I just sketched out a basic sleeveless a-line dress on some tracing paper and cut out the fabric. Placing right sides together I sewed the shoulders and the sides together. I then zigzagged around the neckline and folded and sewed the hem at the bottom. I left the armholes because it was 5 pm and I couldn’t be bothered.

Once finished the dress was a bit wide so I tied some bias binding around the waist and tied it in a bow round the back. Done, I’m hoping Rapunzel liked it, it suited her.

You can see Sushi in our shop here , but we don’t carry the book,  hopefully your friendly local independent book seller can help.

I will be back again soon with some more entries!

Simplest of chic tops


It’s been so long since I blogged about anything! Social media is sucking all of my time up like an evil black hole. I’m still making my mums quilt..but there is a light at the end of that tunnel, but in between I wanted to whip up something fast that I was selling in the shop.

I picked probably the easiest thing to make and one of the tops I had on my list of things to do since I went to see Ride in October and wished I had made it to wear then.

I picked Grainline Studios studios Scout top which you can find here. It’s perfect for beginners or if you want to make something straight forward that wont make your brain explode.





I traced the pattern using the Swedish Tracing Paper, it was the first time I used this properly and it was awesome!!! I fashioned it into a mock up to get the size about right. the beauty is that it’s soft enough to bend around all your curvy bits and you can stick pins in it (I’m sure you can sew it together too) It’s cheaper than using cheap fabric and it means I could re-use the pattern again, double bonus.



Anyway I wanted to trail it up because A) I always accidentally make stuff too big for some unbeknownst reason and B) the fabric I was working with isn’t the cheapest of fabrics even by my own standards.

But my god what a beautiful fabric!!! It feels like silky luxury but it’s a rayon. It’s Cotton + Steel Zephyr Gust in black, lovin’ it. As I have never worked with rayon before I was nervous..literally crapping, but it was great! I even remembered to change to a smaller size needle so the holes wouldn’t be too big. There’s a point , don’t stick too many pins into this, it doesn’t like it.


I used a meter and a half of this amazing fabric to make the top, but the with the way the pattern was laid out there was quite a bit left over running the width. (Im sure I can use it  to make a kids skirt or bits of a quilt). The whole pattern was in 3 easy parts, front back, sleeves and bias neckline. The instructions were straight forward and easy to follow, even inserting the sleeves was too easy. I haven’t done a lot of  curved binding so I was pretty flipping nervous…but it turned out awesome….amazingly.





I’ve got to do some press shots this week, I think I’ll wear this as it’s now probably one of the coolest things I own.

Not to sound like a dirty cheap salesman but you can find everything to make this top in my amazing store The Crafty Mastermind. If you know anyone who would love to make this, or are starting out in dressmaking let them know! Alright sales pitch over.

this is the dress your looking for.


After the excitement of my shop launch, it’s all back to business on this blog. Im hardly writing at the moment and when I do it appears to be about Star Wars craft, it’s not going to end I’m afraid as I’ll probably put up some more stuff up later January. Its all Star Wars fever aglow here .

Ages ago I bought Rockette some Star Wars fabric with a view to make a dress for Christmas. I had the idea of a jersey top because all of her favourite dresses are jersey based with this medium weight cotton skirt. But as December approached I still didn’t have any jersey and not having actually sewn with it before, I was scared…. so I cheated.

1 Cheap plain black top from Next and half a meter of fabric later and it was pretty straight forward. I found quite a few tutorials on pintrest but all I did was use one of Rockettes dresses for the sizing and cut the top to the same size as the bodice




Then I used the full half meter length, cut it in half and then sewed the seams together using a french seam as I hate raw edge’s. I made a gathering stitch along the top.


This is where I stopped taking photos. It was 11pm and the light in my front room is bad for any kind of photography. I slipped the jersey top head down and joined the two together.

It lacked the shape I was after. I then sewed a thin elastic on top of the seam, which did improve things. But next time I make this I’ll try it with stay tape or bikini tape to make it more lightweight. Med weight cotton and the elastic together made it a bit more bulkier than I would have liked.


I would have liked a much more defined gather. I thought I had done enough to give it a good gather and make it “fluffy” but I think I lost a lot of it when I sewed the bodice to the skirt. Next time….


To finish I wanted a cute little pixie collar. All I did was draft the shape on some tracing paper, (including the seam allowance) cut out 4 pieces and 2 bits of interfacing . After sewing then together I left the end at the shoulders open, then tried to fold them neatly under & top stitched. I attached it with a running stitch to the top (running/ slip stitch on the back) . I tried to be lazy and do this with a machine but it turned out awful.


She was happy she wore it on boxing day and it held together (except the collar which needed resewing).

Thanks for everyone who had a look at my new online shop last week! it’s been great and have had some amazing feedback from some well respected pattern makers, it’s been thrilling. The highlight was the nod from Colette patterns. If you still haven’t had a sqizz come have a look !


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The horrors of the fray.


I am currently working on the Colette Walden shirt ,which I am really impressed with the pattern and instructions. But as all things go in the Crafty Mastermind universe things do not go smoothly.

In all of my excitement I measured Mr CM, made a copy of the pattern and eagerly cut out the fabric, all good. I began to add the pockets to the shirt front and then suddenly realised that I hadn’t washed the fabric. Crap.

I was in a dilemma, do I just make the whole shirt and just hope for the best when I stick in the wash or, do I wash all of the pieces now and see if it does shrink? As this was my first time working with linen I thought it’s best to wash it , I had no idea how it would react.

Important lesson.. ALWAYS wash dressmaking fabric!!!! The linen shrunk, weirdly in some places more so than others.



The other annoying thing was probably the centimeter I lost in fraying. Just look at it! It looks like some trucker shirt from the 80’s. I suppose if I used pinking shears on my fabric before I wash it, it may stop fraying.

Even the quilting weight fabric didn’t escape the wrath of the fray.


I’ve only got half a meter left of the linen so I have washed it and I’m going to try to add bits and re cut some cuff to try to get it back to the right measurements without it looking rubbish. Wish me luck!!!

on Eurovision…

It’s the Eurovision final  tomorrow night and after two nights of semi finals , with some predictable and shocking choices made by Europe (and Australia) of who should get into the Grand final . I’m now looking forward and crossing my fingers for Australia to win…although I think we will come 3rd if I’m honest.

In the jungle


Amazingly in a shorter time than I thought, I got Rockette’s Playtime dress finished over the weekend. That’s no small feat for me. I feel bad that I did ignore Rockette for a lot of Sunday… but she got a dress out of it, im sure all is forgiven.



I’m loving the pattern for this Oliver + s dress/ tunic/ legging thing. I went for the dress as leggings are so cheap to buy in the UK that I don’t know if I would make a pair.

I normally get my patterns out of sewing books which generally overlap each other. It made for a nice tracing experience.


The sewing was all straight forward and both parts of the dress were quite similarly constructed to other of clothing I had made in the past. I only got a little excited when I was finishing the inner seams and….( important lesson here, if your on the phone put the scissors down), I cut a bit of the  seam too far and hacked into the dress. What a donut I truly am .But  I think I’ve hidden it well,  It’s mostly inside the seam now.

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I love the cute little hot pink detail round the neckline. So sweet.

It was also my first foray into pattern matching…was crapping myself just a bit. Everything you read and hear on the matter is so intimidating. Look at the Great British Sewing Bee ” oh you haven’t matched your pattern” “look at that complete lack of pattern matching”  “that’s not aligned”, “You’re going to hell because you didn’t pattern match” (alright not the last one, but you get my drift).

So I was super careful and used the lion heads for guides. To be honest I’m pretty pleased, nay amazed at the results. I expected it to be upside down here, back to front there etc etc.

Yeah yeah it’s  not perfect ,the GBSB would have kicked me off the show but It’s good enough for me.

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It’s a bit big and roomy for her (super long and skinny) but I wasn’t brave enough to adjust the pattern yet. Maybe when I make it next time.


The reason for the bias binding in the middle was to break up the pattern it. It was just a bit too much to have an all over print.

wpid-20150420_172816.jpgIt’s really hard to get a kid to pose properly…

The fabric was Michael Miller Origami Oasis.

Next I really need to get on with the unfinished quilts. But I also want to go to Goldshawk and buy some more dress making fabric. I’m a bit addicted.

On the baking front?

This week I made the Australian classic Lamingtons, which was fellow antipodean’s  Dan Lepards recipe from his book Short and Sweet. Bloody delicious! Sponge, jam, chocolate and coconut. What more do you want?


I make an actual skirt…

Whenever Tilly Walnes released ‘Love at first stitch” and around the time I started this blog in fact, I started to make a mock-up of her Clemence skirt. It looked easy but it took until last week to finish it. About 10 months! True, I have unfinished quilts older than that, but it was the first piece of adult clothing I attempted.

Anyway I don’t know what possessed me, but I got it in my head that I was going to finish that friggin’ thing and make the real thing. Surprisingly I did it all within a few days!


I’m not entirely sure how it ended up looking perfect, seams matching up etc etc. I do have my BFF for helping with the zip  insertion. But as beginners go, It’s pretty bloody fine if I do say so myself. It does ride up slighty, I could have done with making the waistband a bit smaller but I love the swooshy feel of it. It was quite easy to make saying that from a quilter’s perspective.

I’ve already got the fabric to make at least another two. But they also have patterns on them, so now I’m faced with trying to pattern match…scarry stuff.


Now I’m a woman possessed! I have started on making the Mimi blouse with fabric I bought from Walthamstow all that time ago. (Mr CM giving a surprised look”what your going to make it with buttons and all?”) I have a deadline for a quilt coming up soon, and I’ve just pushed that aside to itch this clothing scratch I’ve got.

It’s all quite a new adventure, dealing with pattern cutting and stuff. But it all seems quite logical.

Tilly’s website is pretty cool if you want to check it out.

What else this week?

I did go to another stitch show, the first one with Rockette…she got bored fast! I bribed her with quite a bit of cake and a Pez dispenser.


I did buy a beautiful echino layer set which I have plans for it to meet the Patchwork City book. Hopefully  they will be great friends. But I’m not starting that until all of my other unfinished stuff is done! I’m determined. If I leave the quilt I started a year ago for Rockette any longer, she would have grown out of all of that pink.

I did also pick up all these other brilliant bit’s of fabric. It was hard to be restrained.


On the baking shelf.

I made some cupcakes this week as is customary when it’s ones birthday in the UK (In Australia I recall people buying you a cake). I did whip up some Hummingbird bakery cupcakes which I thought turned out well.


But I wasnt expecting the comments on the note I left.


Its great when a bake turns out well.

And music?

Music wise I did get a turntable for my birthday (Along with Jack White and Pond lp’s) so I’ll be rediscovering the vinyl I’ve bought over the years. I have also been listening to Gaz Coombes (Supergrass) new album Matador. It’s brilliant. I’m always doubtful when artists go solo but this has been a pleasant surprise. Really enjoying it.

I’ll leave you alone now, you’re free to go!


Little by Little

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus the last two weeks, I’ve been doing a world of bit’s but not a load to write about. Most of my time has been filled up with trying to arrange a Hen’s do (past post) and trialing the wedding cake I’m baking for the event. It is taking up so much more time than I thought it would. Just trying to sort out the pop playlist is making me feel quite ill and cringe worthy…yes yes I’m a bit of a music snob and the list is reminding me of when I used to work in a shopping centre record store in the 90’s and had to listen to this kind of stuff ad infinitum. (just remember it’s not for me!).

So in light of all that, I’ll give you a round-up of the bits I’ve been doing.

The hen’s glitter top…


I saw this tutorial on A Beautiful Mess website    and said well instead of buying one of these tops for the Hen this will be easy to make. “WRONG!”

I sprayed temporary glue on it (5×5) and then just laid the sequins  inside the template (wish I had taken  a picture of that). Once I removed the template it looked great. Now I needed to sew every 4th sequin. Cracker what a nightmare, I am so bad at hand stitching this was hell. Sequins weren’t holding, I had wished I used the glue gun or just bought a small bottle of glue (like the instructions say, tight arse strikes again).

In the end I had to undo the whole surname as the stitching looked crap and start with the only template I had left which was smaller.

You know when you have an idea in your head that is so stupid and crazy that it may just work. I am so lazy and hate hand stitching and it will take me hours ,what about using the sewing machine?


Long and short of it was that it kinda worked but it was fiddly, sequins were flying off everywhere it took about two bloody hours, and for some weird reason the back-stitch didn’t want to work so I still had a bit of hand stitching to do. There are extra holes and I probably should have used a yellow thread instead of orange, but it was raining outside and I was carrying massive parcel of wadding so I couldn’t be bothered going to the shops.

Important lesson don’t sew the sleeve to the middle of the top…


It’s only for the evening it will be fine. I’m sure I’ll be picking up sequins for most of the night.

The Quilt

I have been working on Sarah Fielke’s Love Beads quilt as the wedding gift, which has been surprisingly easier to put together than I thought. Thinking I’d be clever while I was waiting for some fabric to arrive ,I would sew this in two halves…Im suffering for that now. Me and my bright ideas.

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More on that once it’s completed and given away.

The Fabric

I pre-ordered some Cotton and steel in December and it finally made its way to me…how exciting!


There’s a lot of music to write about so I’ll do a separate post for that shortly. For now I’ll leave you with these wise words. If you put deep heat on your neck and then touch your face it will give you an almighty burn and make your face bright red. This is not helpful when you’re at work in public view.