Wednesday, 26 December 2018

My Christmas Sale Shopping Edit

Another Christmas has almost been and gone and I find myself hovering online today checking out the many sales that have started and hunting for bargains...

Here are my top picks of both bargains and investment pieces and pieces that i'm lusting after this boxing day. I'm a firm believer of sale shopping and if there's a designer something you've been wanting now is the time to get it! 

Happy Boxing Day and shopping!

Zeena X

PS. This post contains affiliate links, this means I may earn a very small % of any sales that are made through the link, this doesn't add any cost to you it just helps me run my blog :) Thank you for reading!

Sunday, 25 November 2018

DIY - How to start making your own clothes

I recently shared this snap over on my instagram feed and it received an amazing response. The reason being is that I made this pink gingham dress of dreams myself. Hand stitched with love and care and it came out exactly as I had hoped. I am still incredibly smug about it. 
This is the By Hand London Eloise Dress pattern with fabric from The Fabric Godmother.

I've dabbled in dress making since I was a teen and wanted to share my top tips and insights into starting to make your own clothes and how you might go about it if you're new to the world of sewing and textiles and really want to have a go but just don't know where to start. Hopefully this guide will give you the confidence and some of the know how you need to get started. I'm sure i'll be back with a few more posts on this but will cover the basics for now.

As much as I love to shop (and if you follow me on instagram then you'll know I do) there is nothing more rewarding than sewing your own clothes and making something unique by hand that will be treasured AND that no one else will be wearing!

1. The Sewing Machine
First things first you will need a sewing machine. It is possible to make clothing by hand stitching but who has the time for that. John Lewis have some brilliant models and this very pretty pastel pink machine is under £100 and a very good basic starter machine. If you've ever been into their haberdashery department you'll also know they are always on hand with lovely friendly trained staff for advice. That's where I bought my machine about 20 years ago (OH GAWD) and it's still going strong.

Now if you have never used a sewing machine do not fear, it is much easier than you think often all you need is someone to show you how or a bobbin tutorial. 
If you're in London there are some great introductory courses run by brilliant independent sewing brands to name a few here;
And if you'd rather an online course this one is fab;
There are of course thousands on Youtube you just need a cup of tea and google and some patience.

You'll also need a good pair of fabric scissors, some pins and a tape measure. (I've linked some of my recommendations at the bottom of this post). 

2. Sewing Patterns
I suggest you start with a super simple sewing pattern. I would recommend some of the newer more modern pattern brands (I've linked some below) out there rather than using a vintage pattern or something found purely because of the amazing blog sew-a-longs and step by step tutorials you'll be able to access to accompany them. It really helps when you haven't read a pattern before and have no idea what serging is for example. (It's a zig zag stitch way of finishing seams) and all of these pattern brands come with a glossary so don't worry.
Most patterns come as PDF downloads, all you need to do is print them out at home and assemble them. This can be quite time consuming but I just zone out and do mine in front of netflix. It does mean you can't ruin it as you can can always print it out again.

The online #sewist community is also amazing and you'll always be able to find a friendly person to answer any questions you might have.

Seven Indie Sewing Brands I am loving right now;
1. By Hand London fashion forward and come with an online sew along to follow.
There's also a Zeena Dress which is a great sew for a beginner and super flattering dress.
2. Named Clothing Stunning patterns set up by sister duo based in Finland.
3. Closet Case Patterns Canadian brand that has great denim patterns. These are on my sewing list.
4. Stoff and Still Danish husband and wife team who have the dreamiest fabrics as well as great patterns.
5. Tilly & The Buttons super stylish and really wearable patterns, you'll want to make each one about twenty times in all of the rainbow.
6. Alice & Co Boilersuit goals.
7. Nina Lee Patterns some great ruffles.

There are also some incredible free patterns available online too;
Peppermint Magazine has a library of free patterns that are great for beginners.

The Fold Line is an amazing resource of sewing patterns and a great place to join the sewing community.

3. Fabric 
Fabric shopping has become a bit of a guilty pleasure for me lately and you'll soon get addicted. 
I've listed my current favourites here but there really are lots of brilliant sources out there Ebay and your local charity shop can be a low cost start to your first sewing project. I've even made dresses out of old duvet covers and have an old Cath Kidston one waiting for it's turn.

If you're based in London these are my favourite stores to shop for fabric in (they have online stores too);
Goldhawk Road (Classic Textiles, A-One fabrics & more) is another haven for low budget fabric shopping and you're guaranteed to never find the same fabric twice but if it's for a one off and you're on a budget head there. When I was studying textiles at Chelsea School of Art our studios were a short walk away and we'd go in daily trying to grab the latest bargain or ex-designer fabric. 

I would say you're even more spoilt for choice online and here's a list of some of my current favourites here;
4. Reading List
Geek up with these magazines and books. I love to flip between magazine and books. I'd highly recommend Stretch by Tilly Walness and the new Named Clothing book.

I really hope this post has inspired you to have a go at sewing your own clothes and do comment below if you have any questions or would like me to add anything in a new post.
Above all remember sewing is not something you can rush, enjoy it and you're doing this for the first time and you're only human. The first dress I ever made was a total D I S A S T E R but I learnt from it, fixed it and gave it to my cousin.

Happy Sewing!

Zeena X

PS. This post contains affiliate links, this means I may earn a very small % of any sales that are made through the link, this doesn't add any cost to you it just helps me run my blog :) Thank you for reading!


Saturday, 24 November 2018

The Boilersuit and how to wear it

It's the big Black Friday weekend here in London and almost every store has a discount so i'm asking myself if there's anything i'd really like to buy...? and do I really need it...? Which of course I don't but I can still browse right...?

I've always loved wearing jumpsuits and have found myself drawn to yet another this season. It's inevitably pink and I found it here at Urban Outfitters which is now 30% off for Black Friday - annoying for me as I picked it up a while ago but great for you!

Boilersuits or jumpsuits are incredibly easy to throw on and work across the seasons which make them a great investment. They are also incredibly comfortable, the only downside being the need to get almost completely undressed every time you need the bathroom. 
As it starts to get cold i'll layer mine with a poloneck and a jumper or cardi and keep it simple and unzip a little in the springtime. You can do the same with your choice of shoe and easily dress it up with a heel or down with trainers.

I've popped together a collection of my favourites here for you to join the boilersuit club. I might just give in and get the floral one...!

 PS. This post contains affiliate links, this means I may earn a very small % of any sales that are made through the link, this doesn't add any cost to you it just helps me run my blog :) Thank you for reading!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Christmas Crafting - Make Your Own Christmas Crackers

As we draw closer to the end of November and a looming Black Friday... i'm suddenly beginning to think about Christmas and more importantly all of thing things i'd like to make this year. 

I thought i'd share a simple crafty make with you all for some festive colourful Confetti Christmas Crackers to kick things off. Why not make your own this year with my simple 'how to' in collaboration with Stylist. You can find the full step by step guide here along with plenty of other crafty makes for Christmas. They double up as excellent place settings by adding a name tag or personalising the centre panel. Or why not super size your make and use it as a home for some presents!

You'll also be able to find some real cracker snaps here to make them go off with a real bang!

Happy Making!

PS. This post contains affiliate links, this means I may earn a very small % of any sales that are made through the link, this doesn't add any cost to you it just helps me run my blog :) Thank you for reading!


Saturday, 17 November 2018

The Pink Palace - What It's Like To Live In An Art Deco Home

I've been wanting to write a post about my home for a while now so here it is. If you follow me over on instagram you'll know I live in East London with my boyfriend in what I like to call the Pink Palace. It is of course not a palace in the slightest - and actually a very small rented flat - but it is PINK and it is most definitely home! 

What does home mean to you? For me it's somewhere to rest, relax and plan but also somewhere to really make my own through interior design and decor. I for one like to live surrounded by things that inspire me so wanted to share some images of the interior. It's a work in progress still as with most things taste is ever evolving and I am yet to find that perfect gallery wall piece.

I often find myself collecting objects, books, postcards that inspire me and love to curate my shelves with these precious things so they can be seen and not hidden away in a drawer or cupboard. Being named Zeena also means I have a bit of a thing for anything with the letter Z on it. Trust me they're harder to find than you think and so I make sure to buy anything I see.

Our furniture is a mixture of Vintage a West Elm pieces. I love the quality and sustainable ethos of the brand and was so impressed with their delivery service too. Our coffee table has a clever storage compartment inside it to hide away any clutter. The problem with living in a listed art deco building is storage. There is none. So we've had to be very creative and clever with our purchases. The media console from West Elm is really beautiful and hides away many things.

Plants are also super important for me to have in the home, I love the pop of green against the pink of our building - there's no better colour combo. They're also very revitalising and lend themselves so well to the style of our building. As long as we manage to keep them alive that is. 

All images are taken by Tia Tuovinen as part of an article for The Collective, have a read of the full post here.

Click to shop the style;

PS. This post contains affiliate links, this means I may earn a very small % of any sales that are made through the links. This doesn't add any extra cost to you it just helps me fund my blog :)
Thank you for reading!


Thursday, 6 September 2018

WIN Tickets to Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair

Kirstie Allsop's The Handmade Fair is fast approaching (there's almost one week to go) and i'm super excited that i'll be back again this year hosting an array of craft workshops to inspire your creativity. It's such a lovely event based in South West London at Hampton Court Palace which is definitely worth a visit too. To celebrate this wonderful event i've got 5 pairs of tickets to give away! Just head over to my instagram to find out how to WIN!

The event runs from Friday the 14th of September until the 16th of September. 
You can find the full listings over on their website here. Do say hi if you've already got a ticket. I hope you can join me at either my printmaking workshops, covered button workshop or spot you in the crown at my Mollie Makes mash up on Sunday.
If you don't have your ticket yet make sure you enter my competition to win a pair and if that fails here are two special discount codes you can use instead;

*Use code EXPERT3 to save £3 on Entry Only Tickets or Use code EXPERT10 to save £10 on VIP Tickets when booking via
Ts and Cs: Booking fees apply. Offer applies to Hampton Court Adult Entry Only and VIP tickets. Entry only tickets cost £13 + BF (usually £16 + BF) . VIP tickets cost £85 + BF (usually £95 + BF)*

Hope to see you there, and don't forget your pom poms!
Zeena x


Saturday, 18 August 2018

Weekend Brunch Ideas: A Recipe for Blueberry Pancakes

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It's rare that i'll find a weekend to myself with no plans but when I do there's nothing nicer than spending some time in the kitchen with my favourite weekend brunch recipes. 

I wanted to share this simple recipe for blueberry pancakes (the american soft and fluffy style) with you all as it's so easy to make and they always come out right every time. Plus i'm just generally obsessed with brunch ideas and pancakes so if you're like me and love both this is the perfect crowd pleaser. I'll often make a batch, pop them in the over to stay warm whilst I set the table. So here's the recipe, enjoy.

You will need:
135g plain flour 
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp caster sugar 
130 ml milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
50g blueberries 

Butter or your chosen oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl using the back of a wooden spoon to get rid of any lumps. Throw in a handful of blueberries right at the last minute. Apple and banana chunks also work super well you can get creative.

Heat up a medium frying pan with a little butter or oil then dollop 2-3 spoonfuls of batter into the pan spreading into the perfect even round shape. 
*If you're feeling adventurous you can also drop the batter into metal cookie cutter moulds resting in the pan to create fun shaped pancakes - this is great for kids*  
Cook for a few minutes on one side until tiny bubbles start appear in the surface and then you're ready to flip onto the other side and cook for a further minute or so.

Sever with more fruit, creme fraiche, maple syrup, bacon, eggs or whatever takes your fancy. 

You can also experiment with this recipe by changing the flours and replacing the egg with a banana if you're looking for a gluten free alternative.

While you're waiting for the bacon to get crispy I love to get the table ready. Simple styling tips for a great brunch table are simply to pop ingredients into a variety of bowls and onto serving trays. I adore these plates from H&M Home, they were a real bargain and look much more expensive than they were. This golden cutlery from West Elm also really finished the table. All I need are some simple linen napkins and then brunch is served.

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend! 

Zeena x


Monday, 6 August 2018

Things to do in London this Summer: Be the Maker with Emergency Exit Arts

If you're like me you're always on the look out for fun and creative things to do in London. Especially being the summer there's even more reason to explore and get outside and visit areas you haven't been to before.

Emergency Exit Arts create magical creative events and are hosting a very special one this summer in Wembley Park. They'll be giving you the opportunity to make a giant scale public art work and getting you to be the maker through their programme of hands on workshops. 

They've collaborated with a host of artists to give you an opportunity to learn how to use your hands to turn a craft. What particularly drew my attention are that they'll be running printmaking workshops over the summer. As I often get asked to recommend workshops and print course this is the perfect opportunity to go and have a go at some making. What's more your work will then be displayed across Wembley Park in September - Amazing right!

There are also some wood carving sessions to try after you've had a go with printmaking.

To find out more and get a ticket head over here.
PS. They're also running free activities for kids during August and over the bank holiday which is perfect if you have some children to entertain this summer holiday.
Do let me know if you go and happy making!

Zeena X


Monday, 23 July 2018

How To Print Your own Fabric And Make A Dress

Hi guys!
Happy Monday. Here's a little bit of Monday Motivation for you all by way of this dreamy new Stevie dress sewing pattern from the power house that is Tilly and the Buttons. 
Here's a little behind the scenes video with fellow model the lovely Sew Happy Alex.

You might notice the model is rather familiar and you're right. Not only did I model this gorgeous new dress pattern Tilly created but I also printed the fabric! And you can too via this DIY guest post I wrote all about it over on Tilly's blog. Oh and I used a Parsnip to print with if you can believe it! Get the full how to over on Tilly's blog. I used a parsnip to had print a random repeat pattern for this pink linen from my fabric stash. It's so simple and so much fun. The best thing about it is that each print is totally unique. If you're keen to learn a bit more about print design and fabric printing then check out my book How to Print Fabric for all the know how, tips and tricks.

Here are some more snaps of the dress so you can see the complete print design.


Zeena X


Thursday, 12 July 2018

How To Create A Seamless Pattern Repeat Workshop

Last month I was invited to host a repeat pattern design workshop with Spoonflower at the gorgeous fabric store Sew Over It in London founded by the lovely Lisa Comfort.
I teach regular workshops and love to share my skills to inspire more creativity. I always start my print design process with a drawing and from there turn my drawings into repeat patterns to create a finished surface pattern design. I was joined by eight lovely ladies who were keen to learn a bit more about pattern design, drawing and repeat pattern making.

Almost everyone will have owned a printed garment, piece of fabric, scarf among others in their lifetimes as it’s one of the oldest and more traditional fabric printing techniques so it was great to be able to show the group the differences in the types of patterns designs across the Sew Over It fabric collections in store. There were simpler block pattern repeats where shapes are repeated in a regimented fashion as well as more organic all over pattern designs. The focus of today’s class was the latter an all over print design and how to create one from scratch.


I started by demonstrating the repeat pattern making technique using some very simple drawings using textured pencils, pens and crayons to create interesting marks onto paper. They were all surprised at how simple the technique actually is and so I set them off with the challenge to create their own collection of repeat pattern designs by the end of the class.

We had a variety of art materials to work with from pencils and pens to watercolours and crayons so the breadth of mark making was lovely. The class were inspired by their favourite things, nature and the Spoonflower catalogue. It was wonderful to see their designs take shape as they grew in confidence throughout the session. Lisa Comfort herself even popped in to say hi and see how everyone was getting on.

It was so lovely to meet such a great group of ladies and be able to inspire and encourage their creativity. They all left with a brightly coloured bundle of pattern designs that they were ready to scan and upload to Spoonflower to turn into future projects. I can’t wait to see what they do with them!

To find out more about creating print designs for fabric check out my book How To Print Fabric for simple tips and techniques to start printmaking at home.

Zeena X

PS. You can make my jumpsuit, find the fabric over on Spoonflower here and the free in the folds pattern here.

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