Sew A Dino­saur (1992)

I was given this book as a gift as a child. I never made anything from it because it’s defin­itely much too diffi­cult for chil­dren, I just admired the projects.

A gener­al update

I haven’t posted much this month because I was ill- not ill enough to need medic­al atten­tion or be bedrid­den, but not ill enough to do anything much either. Was it the virus, or not? I have no idea because of course I wasn’t able to get tested, but the symp­toms fitted, and the people in the flat next to and below me were equally ill with the same symp­toms, and I live in one of the most affected parts of the UK. I also felt tired and grey for a long time after recov­er­ing- simil­ar to after having glandu­lar fever and shingles (not helped by doing some­thing pain­ful to my shoulder in the mean­time). So it seems likely.

Trees and Snails

I’ve got some more of those 70s badges people liked so much (plus some mush­room and moth ones leftover)

Halloween Sale- 25% discount

I’ve got a Halloween sale running until the 1st of Novem­ber. 25% off anything with code PUMPKIN. That’s zines, stick­ers, patches, pins, anything.

Check out what I have avail­able here.

Categorised as Crafts, Zines

Craft as radic­al?

I’ve split the article up into four sections- my criti­cisms of radic­al spaces and scenes I’ve known, of the fash­ion industry, and of the current commer­cial craft reviv­al, and then at the end explain­ing the ways I think doing textile crafts can be radic­al. In writ­ing the article, I was specific­ally think­ing of crafts such as sewing and knit­ting, both because they are things I do, and also because they are stereo­typ­ic­ally done by women and often dismissed as silly and frivol­ous, but a lot of the points can apply to any handi­craft. As well as deal­ing with the topic of crafts, it’s really more of a kind of wander round my thoughts about “radic­al”. The section on crafts is actu­ally the shortest, but I’ve used it as the over­all fram­ing device. I’ll prob­ably manage to piss off both the cliquey punx and the craft blog­ger people with this, but never mind.

Patch­work quilt- a work in progress

For the past six months I have been hand-sewing a new patch­work quilt for my bed to replace the worn out one my nan made for me when I was a teen­ager. I’m still no-where near finished, but I’ve done the bulk of the work. These photos are from my Instagram account over the past few months, so they’re not as sharp as if I’d taken DSLR photos of the work.

Categorised as Crafts

How to design and make a skirt in any size

I wanted to learn how to make things for ipads, so I’ve rejigged an old zine of mine with improved instruc­tions and colour diagrams. It has step by step instruc­tions and diagrams for draft­ing a skirt pattern to your own person­al size, whatever that may be, and then making the skirt. For anyone really who would like to have skirts, but struggles to find any they like or that fit, and who would like some help with sewing.

Categorised as Crafts, Zines

Fabric stash

I have a lot of fabric. Mostly remnants from char­ity shops or from my nan’s stash (she was a dress­maker /​ tail­or). I haven’t done any sewing this year, because I lost a lot of weight in Febru­ary due to a nasty bout of gast­rit­is, and it seemed silly to make some­thing that would later be too small, or to try to guess at what my normal fitting would be. I’m back to my normal weight now though, so I can go ahead.

Prague Puppet Shop


Puppetry is a big thing in the Czech Repub­lic. As well as being the home of Jan Švank­ma­jer and Jiří Trnka, there are a few puppet shops in the Old Town in Prague selling the work of local puppet artists. I’m afraid I didn’t get the names of the artists who made these ones I photo­graphed. I really wanted to buy a small puppet, they weren’t hugely expens­ive, but I didn’t have much chance of getting it home in one piece, so I reluct­antly gave it a miss.

Golden Hands Book of Crafts

While I was at my grandparent’s place, I scanned some books. Here’s the Golden Hands Book of Crafts from the 70s. I have some of the magazine of the same name, which I scanned before. You can see that here. Most of the tutori­als in the book weren’t very excit­ing, but there were some nice 70s stock pictures.



I’m currently at my grandparent’s place in West Sussex. I picked up some teach­ing work in Germany over the summer (and some as yet unknown other destin­a­tions too), so I gave up my sublet room, put my stuff in stor­age for the summer, left London for a while, and am spend­ing the next 10 days wander­ing around Kent and Sussex until I fly off. My grand­par­ents’ place is in a small village called Aldwick near Bognor. There’s a shingle beach, lots of bunga­lows and old people, and hydrangeas every­where. It’s about 3 minutes from a very quiet beach (appar­ently Robert Smith lives here too, but I haven’t seen him). My nan died last year, and my grandad is now in a home, with demen­tia, so the house belongs to my mum and aunt. They are currently refur­bish­ing it and clear­ing out decades of things. The heavy lift­ing had already been done, but the other day I went through my nan’s fabric stash for anything I wanted.

Categorised as Crafts

Laine, Wolle

On Sunday I went to an exhib­i­tion about wool at Somer­set House with Natalie. As well as the expec­ted demon­stra­tions of things like Fair Isle and weav­ing, they had interi­ors and artworks made out of wool.

I saw mush­room head, I saw skies are red

Here’s a dress I recently made. I’m not very prac­ticed at taking photos of myself, I’m usually on the other side of the camera, and it felt very awkward (and that’s prob­ably why I look so bad tempered). The remote control only cost £3, and has to be poin­ted directly at the camera, which doesn’t help. It also didn’t help that I don’t have any space to use the 50mm lens, so I had to use the 28mm, which is really not a good idea around faces, espe­cially if you’ve recently been having sinus trouble like I have, with the result­ing puffy hamster face. None of the photos facing front were at all to my liking, and the ones from the back just emphas­ised my scoli­os­is, so you’re not seeing those either. I still need to finish off the hem and the sleeve edging, I prefer to slip-stitch those by hand.

Categorised as Crafts

Fake fur collar

I recently made this fake fur collar from a free pattern on the Collet­ter­ie blog. It’s easy enough to draft some­thing like this your­self, but having a pdf to print is far more conveni­ent. I used some fake fur fabric and white satiny coat-lining. I cut out the pom-poms, but they looked scraggy with the wispy fur fabric, so I used a satin ribbon instead, and turned the ends in. When you sew with fake fur, it pays to snip all the hairs off the seams once you’ve sewn them, because it makes the fabric lie flat­ter than slash­ing the curves alone. With dens­er fur you can tease the ends out of the seams, but it made the edges look too messy with this fabric. The collar was very easy and quick to make. If you can’t sew, my friend Kaitlin Kostus often has some very nice ones simil­ar for sale.

Categorised as Crafts

How I Make my Zines

This is how I person­ally make my zines. There’s no right or wrong way (aside from doing things like acci­dent­ally making it unread­able once photo­copied or forget­ting about your margins and cutting off half the text). If you want a more in-depth guide to all things zine-related, I can recom­mend Stolen Sharpie Revolu­tion. You can see all the back issues of my zines on my website.

Golden Hands Monthly

got this stack of 70s craft magazines in a junk shop in Devizes a few years ago. That place was amaz­ing, a multi-floored cavern of junk. It’s gone now, I think. Here’s some photos.There’s the usual ultra-cheesy raffia work projects and crocheted plant hold­ers and so on, but the clothes patterns are actu­ally mostly pretty nice, which is why I bought the magazines. What I’ve scanned is a mix of nice things and weird stuff though. I also couldn’t scan double page spreads very easily, because the bind­ing on the magazines is dodgy, and I didn’t want to pull them about too much in case they broke. These issues are from 1972 and 1973. I have anoth­er issue from 1976, but it’s prin­ted on much cheap­er paper (the paper qual­ity wasn’t ster­ling to begin with) and the contents are pretty dull.

Endless card

This was some­thing I made as devel­op­ment work on my MA, and never finished. It’s an endless card. Basic­ally you cut four rect­angles of card, and fold and glue them in such a way that you create a card that opens to reveal anoth­er open­ing, which then opens to anoth­er, and so on. You get four differ­ent pictures that open up. There’s a tutori­al to make one here. I went to a work­shop where they showed you how to make them, and the woman running it had made a very nice card of the story of Dori­an Grey.

Write more letters

Today I screen-prin­ted some patches. When I’ve done screen-print­ing before it’s been with prop­er facil­it­ies, not on my dad’s news­pa­per-covered kitchen table, with a cheap kit I got in the clear­ance sale, so I was a bit nervous. Prepar­ing the screen and print­ing is a lot more fiddly when you don’t have a light table, spray wash­er or anything to rest the print on except a piece of card­board. I thought that I’d messed up my screen when I was rins­ing the emul­sion after expos­ing it, and the water suddenly turned hot.

Effect­ing my disguise

Last Saturday me & Tukru decided to go to a party on a boat at the last minute. I saw that a friend of mine, Rob Bidder, who I hadn’t seen in person for a looong time, was doing some music at the event, and it would be good to see him, and the party looked like fun anyway. Being on a boat, and near Hallowe’en, the dresscode was aquat­ic, so I had to come up with some­thing to wear in an after­noon (and Tukru in even less time). Good old Costumes for Plays and Play­ing came to the rescue. A fish hood/​cape with scales for me, and a button-on mermaid tail for Tukru.

Categorised as Crafts

Costumes for Plays and Play­ing

When I was a kid I used to borrow this book again and again from the local library. The first thing I ever sewed myself was from it. A friend of mine at juni­or school’s older sister was in a school play of Toad of Toad Hall, and we went to watch. When you’re 7, 13 year olds seem incred­ibly impress­ive. What impressed me even more were the weasel costumes. I wanted one for myself. Armed with an offcut of brown fabric and a toy sewing machine I’d got at a boot­fair, I made a hood with ears like the ones in the book. It was wonky, and I was a bit ashamed of it though, and wished I knew how to sew straight (look­ing back, I’m not sure the toy sewing machine was actu­ally capable of a straight seam). My opin­ion of my sewing projects has improved slightly since.

Radio silence over

Here’s the embroid­ery I’ve been work­ing on for my MA install­a­tion. The whole thing (islands and sea) took me about 70 hours. I am thor­oughly sick of embroid­ery at this point. In a week’s time I’ll be finished with univer­sity.

Long time no see

I haven’t posted much in the last few weeks, because I’ve been work­ing all hours to finish my MA project and disser­ta­tion (I handed in my disser­ta­tion last week). This is the kind of thing I’ve been doing. Yester­day I stuck on the Beatles Antho­logy, the longest docu­ment­ary I could think of, and sat and just sewed and sewed until about 70% was done. I was in Spain for two weeks before that. I’ve got lots of photos, but I haven’t had time to devel­op the film ones and organ­ise and post-process them. It will have to wait until later.  The first week was fine, but the second was far more stress­ful than a holi­day should be. There was a 40C heat­wave, and the air condi­tion­ing broke down, and there were ants, and we both had insom­nia and short tempers and it was too diffi­cult to concen­trate on the work we’d both been forced to bring with us. Stress. In two and a half weeks I should hope­fully be all finished with my MA, and free to find a full-time job, and actu­ally earn steady money again (I hope). I’m really broke right now, and I’m tired of being broke for so long.

Fork­beard Fantasy

I went to see this exhib­i­tion at the Fest­iv­al Hall a little while ago. Fork­beard Fantasy are a group who create stage costumes and props, and make films and peep­show art install­a­tions. (I misspelled it as “Folk­beard Fantasy” when I was labelling the Flickr set, which kind of makes sense). There’s a strong theme of fantasy, humour and surreal­ism in all the work, and most of the things in the exhib­i­tion were for touch­ing and using rather than being locked away in glass cabin­ets.

All the cheese­cloth & macrame you can eat

I got this 70stastic book for £1 from a char­ity shop, mainly because of the pictures. The textu­al parts are worthy and Blue Peter-ish, with lots of making things out of tea chests and copy­dex (why doesn’t tea tend to come in chests these days?), guides to home tie-dying, and sentences like “and kitchen foil gives a touch of glam­our”.

Baking a Human Heart

I needed a brooch in the shape of a human heart for a photo­graphy project I’m doing this week, and decided to make it out of fimo. I used to make loads of fimo stuff when I was a kid, and taught some classes to kids a while back, but I haven’t made anything in about 5 years. It was a mix of fun and frus­trat­ing, but came out as raw meaty look­ing as hoped.


I’ve got a box full of unfin­ished sewing projects and a huge fabric stash, and as I’m unem­ployed at the moment, I decided to get them all finished/​used. Here’s the first thing I finished, a dress made from a 1960s pattern


A rosette I made from an old Bulgari­an stamp and some ribbon.

Categorised as Crafts

Making stuff

Some badges made out of sequins, foil sweet wrap­pers and a torn copy of a Tale of Two Cities. I need to draw his eyes back on, he went through the wash­ing machine by acci­dent a while ago, that’s what happens when you’re an elderly toy elephanto­saur­us. (Made by my nan by adapt­ing an elephant pattern).

Categorised as Crafts

Knit­ting Ahoy

When I was back home visit­ing my family in Kent, my friend Tukru came round and she fixed my issues with circu­lar knit­ting, and we learnt some lace knit­ting patterns out a book my nan gave me. My mum laughed at us, and said we were very rock and roll. I won’t show my lace sampler I made, because it looks really weird, but here’s a stitch I learnt out of the book after my friend went home, it’s very simple, and looks very 70s when knit­ted in chunky wool.

Categorised as Crafts
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