Let me take you by the hand and lead you though the streets of London


Last weekend I ventured across the Channel to London as I was lucky enough to get a place on one of Chinelo Bally's very popular freehand cutting workshops. The workshop was so great and I'd highly recommend it! I tried to be cool when I met Chinelo but I was about 40 minutes early and I hugged her when I arrived, so I think I failed there.


Chinelo (who is just as lovely in real life as she is on the telly) introduces you to freehand cutting by teaching you how to make a fitted peplum top from your own measurements - but with no pattern! Yes, no pattern! As we all saw on the Great British Sewing Bee, Chinelo's method involves 'drafting' straight onto the fabric.


I found it hard to get my head around the idea before I did the workshop as the idea of not using a pattern felt odd....but it is great to push yourself out of your comfort zone. What I like about the method is that it helps you gain a better understanding of the relationship between your own measurements and the final garment.

I was really pleasantly surprised by how well my top fits me - I've rarely made something that fits so perfectly first time round.


Such a fitted peplum top is not really something I would wear very often, but the idea is to use the method and modify it to your own dressmaking needs, for example Chinelo told us how we would make modifications to drop the waist and adapt the peplum into a longer skirt.

The workshop itself is intense (in a good way) and Chinelo really makes the most of the time. She is a great teacher and you never feel like you can't ask a question.


(You can't meet someone 'off the telly' without getting a picture)

And while I was in London I also took the time to visit the famous Goldhawk Road, after reading so much about it on other people's blogs. And it didn't disappoint.



In such a small concentrated space there are just so many fabric shops! It's hard to remain calm! The great thing is that lots of the shops are connected, so if you ask for something in one shop and they don't have it they'll send you three doors down. Let's just say I went to London with a more or less empty rucksack and it came back full to the brim.

I printed out this really good guide to the different shops like a real fabric geek.

I wish we had a Goldhawk Road in Belgium!


I can live without the stuffy tube rides and the sheer overwhelming scale of the place, but you can't deny that London is pretty amazing if you are into sewing.

Is anyone else going to the By Hand London Kickstarter party on 11th July? When I saw the date I was delighted as by amazing coincidence I'd already planned to go to London that weekend as I am going to a friend's wedding the next day. Whoo!

And hopefully I can squeeze in another trip to Goldhawk Road.


  1. Your top looks fantastic - a perfect fit! I would love to attend Chinelo's workshop, she has incredible skills.

  2. ohhhhh!!!!! I am So perfectly, wonderfully jealous x3! I'd love to attend one of Chinelo's workshops and I'm sure I'd squee with delight (I don't tend to do nonchalant very well...)
    I do love cutting straight onto the pattern, but it always feels a bit naughty, like it will end up a red hot mess, so I've only done it with knits..., your peplum top looks fabulous!
    .. and I'll be visiting Goldhawk Rd & the BHL party in spirit only as it's a tad far from Aus ;( enjoy! ;)

  3. Brilliant top! It looks like a great fit on you. I'd love to go to one of Chinelo's workshops as I find her methods super interesting.

    1. You should for sure, especially being close-ish to London. Keep a look out for when they come up next. She said the best way is through her Twitter. I should try and convince her to come to Belgium!

  4. Your top is gorgeous! It's so interesting to read about Chinelo's class, I thought she was great on The Bee and loved her pattern making method.

  5. Wow! that sounds like an amazing class! Your top looks awesome! And a super cool skill to learn :) I wish I could join the kickstarter party, but I have to work the next day and London for one evening is not really doable from The Netherlands.. But have loads of fun!

    1. Yeah it might be a bit far - even for a sewing party! :) Hopefully see you in Leuven though!

  6. Hi Emily! I emailed you the other week but not sure if you got it....your email went into my junk mail for some reason so came across it really late, so sorry fo not replying sooner! I sent you a pic of my top too! :)
    PS - did you see Chinelo has a maxi dress workshop?? I'm going on 5th July if you decide to do it as well ;) x

    1. Hello!

      Oh I'm just seeing your email now, it was also in my spam! Weird! Internet conspiring against us!

      Your top looks great! Will reply to you toutesuite! x x x

  7. Hi Emily, so glad to see you finished your top and it fits so well. lots of love, Chinelo Bally xxx

    1. Aw thanks! I had such a great day, Chinelo! So thank you!! Lots of love! x x x