Clara Rackham Banner Square

Sew-in-Company’s contribution to a ‘100 Years of Women’s Suffrage’ celebratory banner is a square based on the cover of a book by Clara Rackham (1875-1966).

Clara was an astonishing suffragist, local councillor, magistrate, factory inspector, suffragist, educationalist and prison reformer in the early 20th Century.  Her civic legacies are numerous around Cambridge (even the swimming pool by Parker’s Piece was one of her achievements); she was also one of the dignitaries present at the opening ceremony for Rock Road Library in 1936 – one of the Rock Road Library’s first ‘Friends‘!


Recycle-recycled Nightshirt

My favourite nightshirt (September 2016) ripped down the back on Christmas Eve – fabric fatigue – so I have replaced the top half with a shirt purchased from a charity shop – I think Sid approves.

The shirt was new so will hopefully last a long time – perhaps longer than the white skirt section – which, of course, I will replace! (

PS Needless to say that the scraps of my favourite blue stripe have been saved to make bunting.

Recycled Maternity Dress Part 2

The skirt of an old dress has already been turned into two skirts – October 2017 – now the bodice has been turned into a padded jacket to wear on my bike (somehow the bright shade of purple no longer pleases me for more general wear) – the Liberty lawn used for the lining has also appeared before (March 2017).

Construction was a major, but enjoyable, challenge (not helped by Sid) – achieving a padded lining without raw seams and hidden, zipped pockets.

1986 Original Top Half of Maternity Dress



October Activities

A month of minor projects:

  • binding the frayed edge of a much-loved cashmere coat with fine leather (a nightmare to source from Canada incurring tariffs and PO handling fees);
  • a half-term sew day in two parts, in the morning, a knitting class and progress on Sebastian’s quilt – the afternoon mainly planning projects – a padded toy bag and a blouse made from a car-boot-sourced white cotton sheet;

    Knitting lesson

  • creating spooky, silver-starred Halloween aprons with pockets to distribute treats + updating the fabric bags for a ‘feel what’s in the bag’ challenge for FRRL;
  • turning a pair of trousers (originally cropped c. 1997 for a Morley School, Kentwell day) into Victorian breaches (by adding black velvet bands) and covering the football image on a cap to create a John Kemp Starley costume for another Morley history day.

    John Kemp Starley, Inventor of the modern bicycle

    ….. and a pair of funky culottes!

The combination of navy and black and shiny pocket edging was necessitated by shortage of fabric – the elasticated back of the grey stripy version of the pattern was replaced by darts to avoid the potato sack look.

Tie Project Completed

March 1st seemed like a good day to plan a project using a donation from Eastbourne of a large bag of stunning silk ties, bought at auction, to make a ‘house coat’.

Choosing which ties to use was fun – but there was competition for the prettiest ones (work on a smaller size gown has begun)!

None of the experimental configurations quite worked – but inserting some dark strips provided a good contrast and, as the ties were simply joined, only the sleeves of the garment needed lining.

Despite the large range of ties to choose from (including top designers and chain stores), many did not chime with my colour theme and charity shops in Norwich, Shelford and Cambridge enjoyed my custom  – for pure silk ties, I paid from 99 p to £3.99.  Sourcing suitable complementary fabrics to complete the garment was also a challenge – some were found in the family ‘stockroom’ but a trip to Goldhawke Road in Shepherd’s bush (see April post) was necessary.

So, the final garment (which weighs a ton), cost around £60 in materials – but is certainly unique!