As a fairly new sewer – I started sewing around a year ago – I was absolutely thrilled to be asked by Kate to write a blog about the haystack pack.

Firstly, a bit about me. I’m a teacher, farmer’s wife and mum of twins (I like to keep myself busy ?). I sew mainly for myself and my girls and occasionally for gifts. I made the decision in November (probably later than I should) to make as many Christmas presents as possible, so I thought the haystack pack would be perfect. It didn’t disappoint!

I loved the idea of a surprise in my inbox every month and November’s was a brilliant introduction. It felt like Christmas when I opened the email!

When the pack arrived I began by reading through all the information and interviews. I loved hearing stories of other people’s sewing journeys and discovering new companies which I hadn’t used before. I then noticed that the pack included a pattern by Twig and Tale. This was the company which hooked me on sewing in the first place a year ago. I have made several Twig and Tale patterns over the past year and have loved every one so I knew I was on to a winner.

On studying the cape pattern I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I had plans for a party dress and would need something to go with it. I settled on a shrug-length cape with a collar.

I enjoyed going fabric shopping online and found some beautiful teal stretch velvet on the Fabric Godmother site which was perfect to make the dress I had planned and decided to use the same for one side of the cape. The pattern being reversible made the shopping even more exciting as I got to choose two beautiful fabrics. I struck lucky on the same site and found a remnant of navy faux mohair which was beautifully soft and just big enough.

When I began cutting out the fabric I realised it wasn’t going to be as straightforward as I’d hoped, the pattern was super easy and the instructions were great but faux fur and stretch velvet made for a tricky combination!

The fur made a nice trail of fluff everywhere I went and the velvet loved to move in all directions when I tried to sew it. I also hadn’t thought about the fact velvet doesn’t like being pressed. I just used lots and lots of pins to hold things in place instead! Once the main parts of the cape were sewn I started to fall back in love with the fabrics. They do look beautiful and I can see me wearing it a lot. I just need to get my act together and sew the dress to match now!

My Christmas present-making plans were helped out by the lovely little extra pattern  [in the pack] for an elastic wallet. I already had some elastic and found some great little leather scraps on eBay. The thickness of the layers made for a tricky sew, but I took my time and on the whole I won. I did manage to break two needles in the process though. Note to self: turn the hand wheel when going through the very thick part where the loop is for the metal ring, or at least go very, very slowly with the foot pedal!

The wallets turned out looking nicer than I’d hoped. Most were gratefully received, although my mum did give me hers back and said it didn’t hold enough cards. There’s no pleasing some people!

Overall, I was absolutely thrilled with what the pack gave to me as a relatively new sewer. There was lots to read, great discounts, interesting patterns and little extras which made for a lovely treat to myself.

I’d highly recommend the haystack packs for any budding sewer. I certainly won’t be cancelling my subscription any time.

To see more of Kathryn’s makes, check out her Instagram page.

If you’d like to try a digital sewing pack, there’s still time to sign up for next month’s here! Gift subscriptions are also available. There is plenty more information, plus testimonials and reviews for you to have a peek at. Every month you get an indie PDF pattern, fabric shop discount, exciting treat and lots more goodies and knowledge straight to your inbox.