Little guide to York

A couple weeks ago I went on a little holiday trip to Yorkshire and the Peak District. Despite our plan to just drive around the countryside and see whatever village, castle or hiking trial we would see I’m one of those people who weeks beforehand sources the internet to find out what there is to do, which route to take to get the best views and in every hotel I grab every flyer on activities in the neighbourhood.

So though I can’t call myself an expert after a onetime trip, specially for everyone like me here are some suggestions to do in York.


First things first, it’s important to find a good place to sleep. We stayed at the Sycamore Guest House, a lovely B&B run by Elizabeth who is absolutely lovely and makes you feel very much at home. The walls are covered in floral wallpaper and the rooms have antique furniture which matches perfectly and is very comfortable. Full English (and continental) breakfast is served on pretty English china. Seriously I wouldn’t mind to move in there.

Sycamore York

Love or hate it, but I want this wallpaper.

But it would be a shame to stay in bed all day when you’re only a couple minutes walk from the very picturesque city centre of York.

First the museum gardens are lovely for a stroll or a picnic surrounded by trees, flowers, historical buildings/ruins and squirrels.

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Ruin of a cathedral in the park.


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Sew for Victory completed

Sew For Victory

Ready for the warforce. Sew for Victory blouse with black pencil skirt.

Just before the deadline I’ve completed my Sew for Victory blouse. Initially I was planning to make a top and bottom, thinking a month gives me plenty of time to sew. Well no, not combined with essays, exams and other uni stuff. Also I think this blouse has given me enough skills to show off; sleeves, collar, button holes, tucks, gathering, fit, it’s all in there.

This was the second time I attempted attaching a collar, no idea how I did it first time, but got many a confused moment this time, think I spend an evening staring at the pieces, assembled it to only take it all apart the next day. Think I sort of know now how it’s done, but help is welcome. I’m still not a big fan of this collar, the attachment is fine now, they’re just a bit too pointy and big for my liking, but it is more 30/40s style like this.


Straight line down the sleeve!

Back blouse

Neat matching up stripes and gathering, no?

I have to admit, I probably wouldn’t have bought this shape blouse in a shop. Not that I don’t like the end result and won’t wear this one (because I’m wearing it right now and loving it). But the tucks that make it tight at the bottom and wide in the body did feel strange to sew for me. This pattern is perfect for big boobs, which I don’t have so there’s just a lot of fabric flapping about.

If I were to make it another time I’d find a way to use less fabric, but maybe keep a little more down the bottom. The puffy sleeves and big collar are both probably period appropriate, but not my style so I would cut on them too. (Guess I’ll be using a lot less fabric.)

Having said that I’m very proud of my sewing skills on this blouse, practiced a lot of skills and think they came out pretty good. Though the bottom darts felt strange whist sewing, wearing the blouse with a pencil skirt they make perfect sense to ease it under the skirt and make it nicely puff above.


Oh yes I’m happy with my new blouse.

Finally I’m very proud in the make-do-and-mend style, apart from the pattern that I bought at Wearing History, I haven’t spend one penny on this blouse. Already had the fabric, waiting to be used and the buttons are from a button card that I once got at a flea market and used for display.

x Ilse

Sew along for Victory


That I am obsessed with dressmaking and vintage style is no surprise. Recently I discovered Rochelle’s blog Lucky Lucille and I am in love with her 1940s style and selfmade wardrobe. At the moment she is running a ‘Sew for victory’ sew-along and though I usually go for a ’50s look I decided to go a little further back in time and join the sew-along.

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Easy make: skirt from old dress

In a vintage shop in Amsterdam I found this dress in the discount pile. The top had some holes, but the skirt still looked fine and fitted perfectly.

VOC dress before

At home I cut off the top, put some stitches at the top of the zip so it would stay put and technically the skirt was ready to wear. However I found it a bit too short so I added a white border at the bottom to give it a bit more length.

VOC zip

Voila from a shabby old dress to a brand new skirt in less than half an hour!

VOC skirt after

Ps. Who else is excited Downton Abbey has started again, my perfect watch while crafting.

VOC skirt make

Sewing boxes


In my opinion you can never have too much sewing equipment and therefore also never enough storage. I found this little red sewing box at a charity shop the other day. It was in need of a new coat of paint and one of the wooden bits on the side was broken so I could take it home for a mere £1.


The next day at a flea market I found another sewing box, completely filled with crafty bits and bobs. I picked it up for £5 and didn’t look until I got home what was actually inside. Going through it I could throw most of it away -short strings of thread, mysterious plastic circles- but it also had everything to make a tapestry, who knows I can give a go at that one day, and a ‘woollen-flower-maker’. In the bottom was written ‘April 1960’, so guess thats when the box was first purchased.



It had a lot of scratches on the top, so I decided to paint both sewing boxes. There was some white paint lying about, so used that. 2 weeks later I still haven’t repaired the small one so I can only properly open half, but the big one looks as new again.


ps. Grandmothers tip on getting paint off your hands: rub them in with butter. I didn’t believe it at first, but it works really well and as a plus it doesn’t dry out your hands (like most chemical stuff does) it actually moisturises your hands at the same time as well. From now on I always have a pack of butter when I go painting.

Meet Alice, my lovely little caravan.


This summer I’ll be working at a theatre festival, which means I’ll be living in a caravan for about 3 months. Until 2 years ago I said I’d never even go on holiday where I don’t have my own toilet and shower, but with the prospect of a fun job I’ve caved in and bought a funny little caravan. Now I can’t live in a boring old caravan all summer and I had a couple of weeks off before I started the job, so I’ve done some decorating.

Initially my plan was to paint the whole thing inside out, but that seemed to be a bit too much effort. Instead I put coloured plastic foil on the cupboards, lots of posters on the walls, a pile of cushions on the bed and made fresh curtains.


I used a green, pink and blue colour scheme. Partly as I still had accessorise in those colours lying about, and it looks very cheerful.SONY DSCSONY DSC

Most of the images on the walls and the collage on the wardrobe door are from Flow magazine, one of my favourite Dutch magazines (that now also has an international edition). Of course I also opened my pandora box of postcards to choose some nice ones to hang on the wall.


I’m hoping to get a good and sunny festival season this summer, at least my caravan will bring some sunshine.

Oh and why Alice? Well the caravan is officially called ‘Adria’ so it had to start with an A and I do have a bit of an ‘Alice in wonderland’ feel for the whole thing. Like you’ve gone down a technicolour rabbit hole and landed in a flowerbed.
Ps. A tutorial on making those curtains are up later this week, super easy!


The last couple of days I’ve been busy behind my sewing machine making curtains. I don’t mind doing it, but all those straight lines do get boring. For variation others might get up and do something else, I only swap the sewing foot and dive in my scrap box for some fun freehand embroidery. Today only I’ve made this telephone and typewriter.


Not entirely sure yet what to do with them, you can have only so many cushion covers. Might make some more similar images and put them together in a quilt. Should make a nice display of vintage items I like.