I first met Carrie  on Instagram, I noticed that she had posted a Tilly and The Buttons Cleo Dungaree dress in the exact same fabric that I intended to make mine! I sent her a message commenting on the fact that I’d bought the same. We got to chatting and soon became good friends. We would often find that we’d order fabric independently of each other but end up with two of three of the same fabric. It’s been bit of an on-going joke really.

Recently, we decided that we wanted to do something together on Instagram, not a challenge as such, just more of an experiment! We had a few fabric options that we had both bought and had ‘in stock’ and we thought it’d be fun to make 1 fabric two ways!


Carrie has a beautiful, feminine curvaceous figure whilst I have more of a boyish slim athletic figure. We have both learned to love the way we look and dress for our respective figures. We thought that it’d be interesting to run an experiment whereby we both made an item of clothes with the same fabric, firstly so people could see how the fabric looked as two separate garments but also so people could look and realise that it doesn’t matter what type of figure you have – you can wear the brightest fabric, denim, jersey, bold colours etc Your body doesn’t dictate what you wear, you do. It’s just about finding out what suits your body type and that’s where we hope to be able to offer some inspiration and body confidence. Both Carrie and I have found the best thing about dressmaking is that you can literally create the perfect wardrobe for you.


All too many people will not wear something because it’s too bright, too clingy, ‘makes me look like a sack!!!! It doesn’t have to be that way. You can choose the bright fabric, it’s just that all important pattern choice.

Over the next few months Carrie and I will be experimenting with all sorts of different fabrics in an attempt to show you that you can look good in pretty much any fabric, obviously there will be certain colours that don’t suit you but on the whole you can get away with anything. If you wear something with confidence you shine. We hope to have you trying fabrics that you wouldn’t necessarily choose, believe in yourselves and love your body. We are all different and we must complement each other more and be kind. If you see a larger lady rocking a bright dress – tell her so, if you see a slight lady looking good – tell her so…because you have no idea what’s going on inside, she might be full of confidence but she may also be riddled with anxiety. Women need to be strong and support each other – this world is cruel enough without us disliking ourselves. We need to learn to love ourselves and also to spread love. None of us are perfect but we can make an effort to behave perfectly – spread body confidence. Love yourself – life is too short for anything else.

Support Carrie and myself to promote body confidence on Instagram in #1fabric2ways. Our next challenge is with denim!!


Carrie Marshall @carrie_can_make_it

Emma Coker @thezipperfoot

Thanks for reading!


This is me…

As I approach 2000 followers on my Instagram page @thezipperfoot, I felt I wanted to properly introduce myself and give you a small insight into what this sewing journey means to me. I’m not writing this for dramatic effect or to have anyone feel sorry for me – I’m writing it because I know there will be people out there who are going through tough times and feel like there may be no light at the end of the tunnel and I just want to try and reassure those people that there is. There’s not only light but adventure, strength, fun and friendship. This is not a sewing blog as such but a blog that explains a little about how it’s helped me. So, let me take you back a few years and also introduce myself.

My name is Emma and I work in Occupational Health for a Railway Company. I have worked here all of my life in various roles and am on the approach to my 20 years service. 8 years ago Jenson, my son, entered the world and my seemingly perfect life was turned on its head. At that time I was working in a high earning management role and I had a nice life. This changed dramatically when my sons father left us, never to return. Jenson was 6 weeks old, I was recovering from a C-section and I was about to fall onto half pay. Undeterred (naively) I went into survival mode – fight or flight – and boy did I fight. I moved into a smaller property, I put on my big girl pants and went back to work full time placing my son in nursery 4 days a week from 08.00-17.30. Fine I thought, the money is still coming in, I’ve still got a great career, a house – I can do the strong single Mum thing. No problem. The only thing being, it was a problem, slowly and unknowingly, I must have lost myself. I woke up one morning, a morning I will never forget as long as I live. Jenson was screaming in the room next to me and I was in my bed crying, feeling the most broken I have ever felt. I felt alone because I hadn’t told a soul how I felt, I just wanted to be the best Mum in the world. I felt frightened and almost child like. I called work and said I wouldn’t be in, followed by a call to my GP to say I would be in!!! I went and was signed off work for 6 weeks – I couldn’t be signed off was my immediate reaction! My GP told me it wasn’t something I had a choice over, it was happening and I would be attending counselling sessions across those 6 weeks. I was also advised not to be alone and so I moved home for 6 weeks where my folks welcomed me with open arms.

To cut a long story a little shorter I realised across those 6 weeks that I didn’t even really know my son. Someone else was taking care of him more than I was. I was missing milestones because they were happening at nursery and I just couldn’t miss anymore. I started looking for new work within the company and found a part time admin role. I applied, interviewed and got the job. This made me so happy, I was in Tesco car park at the time I received the call and I told the caller from HR that I loved them…!!!! Not an entirely appropriate response I know but I was elated and it just popped out! I would now have a Wednesday off and finish work on the other days at 14.00! I wouldn’t know myself and I didn’t!! However, this demotion brought another issue with it, overnight I had kissed goodbye to 30k a year. I would be bringing in much less money and have zero responsibility. Two things I was incredibly unsure how I’d feel about. I had worked for a decade to reach the position I was in and overnight I was back earning the same as I had on my first day as a 17 year old with the railway. I was worried….again!

Alongside this worry my health had taken a bit of a bashing and after numerous, invasive investigations which I won’t go into I was diagnosed with IBD. This brought along it’s own issues, mainly anxiety related. I was worried to go anywhere as my body was not behaving quite as I’d like it to!!!! Haha!! I’ve never been a fan of public toilets but I soon learned, if I wanted a life, I was going to have to overcome this fear!! Getting out of the house in the morning was an issue as this was when it was at it’s worst. Looking back I think the madness of my mornings, getting myself up and ready, getting Jenson ready, fighting the traffic etc. None of it helped, all I would think was ‘what if I need to use the bathroom and I’m stuck in traffic…!’ Guess what started happening…I started to need the bathroom whilst stuck in traffic…! The mind is a terrible thing, so strong when we are so weak.

So, these two issues ruled my life for probably the next 3-4 years. Lack of finance and a toilet as a best friend. However, there were positives…I was happy. Jenson was happy and there were no wolves at our door. We had a very modest lifestyle but actually somehow I felt happier.

I never met anyone in the time that Jenson’s Dad left until last year. I was a single Mum and I was determined I wasn’t going to carry the unfortunate tag that seems to go with that title…scrounger / benefits mummy / just out to get pregnant. I wasn’t having it, there was a strong desire to still succeed within me and to do it alongside being a single Mum. I didn’t feel like I needed or wanted a man and actually that was the best decision I ever made. I don’t hate men or anything so awful as that, I was just focussed. I wanted to feel better and I wanted to achieve. Years passed and the IBD was kept at bay with both medication and some cognitive behavioural therapy – this basically gives you coping strategies to stop you panicking when it all kicks off! I put it into practice and it has helped me immensely. I learned to live within my means and go without certain luxuries. The greatest thing that happened across this period of time though is that I re-found myself but this time I found a much stronger version of myself, someone who wasn’t afraid anymore, someone who didn’t care what people thought anymore and someone who was wholly independent and self sufficient. What a feeling.

I started to look for new work on the railway, Jenson was at school by now and I had more time. The opportunity within Occupation Health arose and I could finally put my education to good use! I retrained to get the additional qualifications that were required and I got the bloody job!!!!! Yes!!!! I knew this would be good for us, it would give me the opportunity to once again earn a better salary, to satisfy my need and thirst for knowledge and to be able to provide and offer better opportunities for Jenson. This almost brings us up to date, I have been in Occ’ Health for three years now and I finally feel totally back to me. Prior to this, I felt like I was climbing up a mountain, a beautiful one but I was keen to see the view from the top. It’s amazing what you can see when you’re above the clouds, you see that a lot of life is false, people aren’t as happy as they make out, social media does have a lot to answer for and life can be happy without loads of money. We live in a very materialistic, pressurised world and we need to take a step back sometimes. Appreciate the small things, appreciate each other and just appreciate your life!!! I feel so lucky and yet I have nothing really…nothing of financial value anyway!!

You may wonder where this fits into my sewing story! Well, a few months back when I reached the peak of my mountain I felt it was right about time that I did something for me. I had spent the previous 8 years living and breathing for my son. I had an existence in some ways, I was Jenson’s Mum. I have friends, obviously, but we always end up talking about our kids which is fine but I just wanted something else, something more and I’m not talking about with regard to my friends as I love them dearly. I mean I wanted to do something where people knew me as Emma and where nobody knows me or my history.  This is when I started my Instagram page, @thezipperfoot. Four months ago now I signed up to Instagram and I started learning how to sew and I shared it all with the sewing community. I could never have imagined what was to come, never. I was met by a community who warmly welcomed me into their lives, who encouraged me, praised me and advised me. I have made friends who I know solely because they sew too, I know nothing about them and they know nothing about me! We are joined by one common thread, a love of sewing. I now chat to some of these people almost daily, sometimes just to check in, sometimes with sewing issues! I love it and I love them!!!!  I feel like I’ve been given such a great gift and this is where social media does shine – by connecting people. People that otherwise would probably not have met. Best of all, it’s mine. It has nothing to do with Jenson, it’s mine and I’m Emma there. It’s the icing on my cake. I feel very blessed.

I’m sharing this because I had a chat with a lady on instagram last week who is having a rubbish time, outwardly you would never know and I just saw myself in her. Don’t damage yourself as I did, share. Talk to someone, a friend, a relative, a professional…don’t keep it bottled up. The greatest gift we have in this life is humanity, people can be cruel but they can also be kind…in fact they can be amazing and sometimes help comes from the most unlikely of people! I think we need to look after and protect each other – praise each other and be kind. Life is hard enough without competition or unrealistic materialistic expectations!!!!

Live within your means and be proud of them, don’t be afraid to take a backwards step – sometimes it’s just preparing you for the greatest leap forward, love those around you, believe in yourself and don’t feel bad to do something that’s solely for you. We all need that.

Climb your mountain because the view from the top is pretty outstanding 🙂


And thank you @sewersofinstagram for giving me the best gift I could wish for – acceptance, encouragement, praise and friendship. There are too many to mention but I can’t not mention @notimetosew, @mummabmakes, @make140, @robinsnest1926 @pocketortwo, @the.polka.dot.palace, @carrie_can_make_it and @louisalovestosew … you guys rock!!

What shall I do with all these leftovers?!!

So, I’ve been sewing like crazy now for around three months. This has left me with mountains of fabric leftovers!! I gave my first lot away and then I sat and thought, maybe I could make a small business with them. I had previously owned a small framing business and had quite a successful and fun time with it on Etsy and Facebook so the framework was there, it was just a case of changing my shop name on Etsy.  Wordlove, my previous small business was great, I ran it for around three years and ended up closing it because in a way I lost my passion for it. I love craft, I always have but I’m not convinced that this was the correct avenue for holding my passion. Sewing on the other hand has grabbed me like nothing before, it allows the creative juices to flow and is somehow relaxing at the same time. It brings me huge joy and happiness and im grateful for that. On top of all this there is an amazing sewing community over at Instagram and I think I can say I’ve met a few ‘virtual’ friends who I connect with regularly – it’s just lovely.


Anyway, back to the leftovers! I sat and thought for a while. It needed to be something just fun, quick and enjoyable but something where the quality would be there as I’m a big believer in if you’re going to do something – you need to do it right. I work 30 hours a week and so my spare time is limited – I’m also a mum, so time is extremely limited! The obvious answer to my question seemed to be ‘easy makes’, travel wallets, make up pouches, bags etc. I ordered myself some branding and set to work on my next day off. I made up a little production line of simple zip closed pouches. I cut them, matched them up with some linings, interfaced them all and set to work! A few hours later I’d done it. I had my first little batch of stock, 12 zip closed pouches. I was excited! Since then, I’ve made a few other little bits and bobs – all of which still need to be photographed for my Etsy page! I need more time!!

So – here we go, onto the next little chapter! It’s funny, I still don’t really know what I’m trying to achieve here! I just know that I love what I’m doing and I want to do much more of it. Who knows what the future holds, all I do know is that I want to push it as far towards sewing as I can! Nothing comes for free, you have to work hard and you have to put the hours in – and you have to remain true to yourself and always be humble and BELIEVE! Sometimes then, just sometimes – great things happen.

Until the next time….

The Zipper Foot


True Bias – Ogden Cami. The perfect Beginners pattern?

I felt compelled to write a short blog about the Ogden Cami pattern created by True Bias. I had heard various people talking about this one and has seen a number made up on Instagram but nothing compared with the reality. This is such an amazing pattern, its very quick to make, you can get away with around a metre of fabric on 150cm wide and the final garment is perfect for dressing up or down. What’s not to love! The worst part of the make is turning the straps and that is probably down to the fact that I don’t have the proper turning tool required for these more fiddly bits! I am sure if I invested in one that would be a breeze too.

I made my first Ogden out of a ditsy print viscose. It was an absolute nightmare to work with as with most viscose it was more keen to slide off the table than do as it’s told. It also seemed to think I had invited it to a fraying party as it needed no encouragement on that front either….!!!! I persisted though and the end result is beautiful – the top has amazing drape and it just feels lovely to wear. It almost has a peachskin feel to it.

Another great point about the Ogden is that it has been designed with an internal modesty panel. Now, if you’re like me and have been blessed with beestings for boobs this means that you can confidently wear the top braless in the summer (not that I would but…if you want to, you could!)

The second Ogden I made was from a beautiful cotton lawn that I bought from Guthrie & Ghani online. It is called Golden paradise which seems very apt as I think it looks a complete dream! My idea of heaven is fabric overpowered with florals and birds!!!! This is such a beautiful print and I will be trying my absolute best not to drop the jam from my doughnut all down the front of it – something that happens to me when I’m wearing something I love!!!! Maybe I should give up doughnuts….hmmmmm, no. Anyway, getting back on track the drape is obviously less with this version but it was a DREAM to work with and the V neck is so sharp you could cut your finger on it…! This fabric behaved well and I think it looks just as nice. The whole make was just a pleasure from beginning to end.

So, my advice, if you haven’t treated yourself to the Ogden Cami pattern yet….do it!!! It’s perfect for summer and will look great layered up in the cooler months. The measurements are true to size, I didn’t make up a muslin here I just used a really reasonable viscose and it’s probably now one of my favourite tops! There is nothing particularly technical to fear either, there are no darts, pleats, zips or buttons…just plain old straight stitching and a little under stitching making it the perfect pattern for a beginner sewer and a very quick sew for an experienced sewer!

What are you waiting for….! Go make one!! Ha!

Until next time…

The Zipper Foot

Two months in…!

Today marks my two month relationship with sewing and what a little journey it’s been so far.

Let me tell you how it all started. I was bored, really bored!  Post 7pm when my son had gone to bed I pretty much either sat and read or sat and watched TV. I live alone with my son so there’s not really an option to pop out so to speak. I had a good sit down and think about what I’d like to do and having always enjoyed craft I thought I’d give sewing a bash.

I bought a pretty basic singer sewing machine, a few essential supplies to get started and started a search for what would be my first project. I stumbled upon a you tube tutorial made by ‘The Textile Tutor’ and it was basically how to sew a little make up bag with a zip. I followed the tutorial religiously and actually ended up with a half decent little bag! I was so happy with myself! Haha! From there I made a few different little bags and Totes to get used to my machine and to try out different fabrics. I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to get home from work each day, have time with Jenson (my son) and then once he was settled in bed asleep get my machine out and sew away. The nights drifted by one after the other, I was sewing like years worth of lost time was pouring out of me – I still am really, the only difference being the projects tend to take a couple of days now as opposed to a couple of hours.

I decided upon my first pattern, Tilly and The Buttons – Bettine, by way of a recommendation from a friend. This is the point where I became truly hooked and realised I had stumbled upon a hobby that would last a lifetime and probably ruin my bank balance in the process! I was buying fabrics because I loved them, I had no idea what I was going to make – I just knew I wanted them in my collection. Then came the patterns, Tilly and the Buttons, Deer and Doe, The Grainline Studio, Burda, Simplicity…just to name a few. My Instagram feed was filling my mind with inspiration on a daily basis, inspiration that to a degree, I didn’t need as my mind was already bursting with ideas….!!!! However, it is the inspiration of others that helps you to develop, it helps to continue your journey, it helps you to share ideas and make new friends. I have been amazed with how supportive and friendly the Instagram sewing community is. My world is truly forever changed.

And so here we are, month two. It is beyond comprehension to me that two months ago I hadn’t sewn a thing, not because I’m amazed that I can sew but because I’m amazed at this fire that’s burning away inside of me. I’m excited, I’m happier, I feel productive…sewing has given me so many more gifts than clothes and that’s the point here, for me. I still look forward to getting home each night and considering my next project, browsing the beautiful websites with the most gorgeous fabrics – Make at 140 Vauxhall Street, Sew Me Sunshine, Thimble and Notch, The Fabric Godmother, Fabric Magpie to name a few. All of these internet shops and their owners inspire me daily! Sewing is still so new to me but I can’t imagine a time where it won’t be part of my life, I am certain I will slow down but I’ll never stop – it brings me too much joy.

What’s next? Well, for me, I want to slow down and focus on the detail. I want to tidy my work up. I’m after basic sewing perfection!! Once I’ve mastered the basics and by this I mean sewing an item so it looks good inside and out  (I have recently achieved this and the satisfaction was great, Ha) I’ll move on, move on to more complex patterns and challenge myself further.

So, there it is – my journey so far! The best couple of months I’ve had in a long time (aside of time spent with friends and family of course) I recommend it to anyone – not necessarily sewing but doing something for you. Something that is selfish and demands your time and focus – It’s not a bad thing, it’s allowed. Spend time with yourself, challenge yourself, create, exercise…just do something for you. I promise you, it’s worth it.

Until next time –

The Zipper Foot.

The realities of my ‘sewing room’

I love Instagram, it is a truly inspirational site but it also makes me green with envy at times! As I scroll through my feed, at least on a daily basis, a fellow sewer will post a picture of their beautiful sewing room with all the cotton reels on little pegs attached to the wall, baskets of beautiful stash fabrics in nice gloss units, patterns all filed away in stand tall desk folders, scissors and other items all hanging from magnetic strips attached to the wall and then the pinnacle…. the sewing table…! A perfect table with a machine and sometimes a serger sat side by side, nothing else…just the two beautiful machines sitting on a table especially allocated for them! I have even seen a room with an ironing board and a cutting table in it….jealous, jealous JEALOUS!!!!!!

I simply cannot be the only person whose reality is somewhat different to this absolute dream! I use my kitchen table to sew, my bananas, apples and grapes keep me company whilst I sew! My ‘cutting table’ is the rug in the lounge…now so engrained with scraps of cotton I’m not sure it’ll ever be the same again! Whilst on that subject, how do scraps of cotton find their way all around the house?!!! They are everywhere…I hoover ALL….THE….TIME!!! Anyway, let’s get back on track. My cutting table poses various issues from the cat wanting to use it at the same time as me, to my son wanting to use it to get a snack from the fridge. I must book my time with my sewing table carefully as it is always a major walkway through the house!!! The same applies to my sewing table as we are a family who eat dinner at the table so I have to move my beloved machine around to be in keeping with meal times.

The top of my fridge brings me the biggest smile and giggle. No longer is it the top of a fridge but a storage space for fabric scraps, my tool box and my patterns. My favourite happening being reaching for my tool box and the piles of patterns falling to the floor…breathe Emma, breathe. Don’t swear. Just pick them all up and put them back on top of the fridge. FOR F**************k sake!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Sorry – I do only ever say that in my head! I promise!)

My fabric stash doesn’t live in pretty baskets either. It lives in my airing cupboard with my towels and other various items!! The same happens here, as I reach for the piece I’d like to use more often than not the whole lot comes down and I find myself biting my lip again. Heaven forbid the two things happen on the same day…worse again if they occur at the wrong time of the month!!!!! Arghhh!

Seriously though, I’m sure I’m with the majority here. Please tell me that you don’t all have beautiful sewing rooms or I might have to go and do some seriously ugly crying somewhere!!!! (I am, of course, only jealous!) I think the point I’m trying to make is that I do it anyway. Would I stop sewing so I could have the top of my fridge back? No. Would I stop sewing to have a tidy kitchen table again…No. I love it. I love the chaos that sewing has brought to my life, it’s a beautiful creative chaos where fabrics are waiting to be made into garments, it’s chaos that brings me calm, helps me to relax and makes me smile. It’s a way of life now. I have only been sewing for a very short time so there is also hope, I guess, that I may tidy my workspace over time as I realise that this is a more permanent hobby.

There is always a way though. If you have a dream you just have to make it happen, you have to work with what you have. I never look at the negatives – what’s the point and where will it get you. If you want to do something, do it…find a way because there’s always a way. It might be a little inconvenient, it might not be ideal but it might also light a fire inside of you that you didn’t know existed and if that happens, well, it’s worth everything.

Until next time…

The Zipper Foot.

McCalls Bodycon Dress M7531

A week or so ago I bought the most gorgeous jersey fabric from http://www.thimbleandnotch.co.uk. As soon as it arrived, I knew that it would lend itself well to a bodycon dress and so the pattern hunt began. I decided on the MCCalls M7531 pattern as I liked the different neck/sleeve variations and the lengths of the dress. On the approach to 40 years old I feel that I need to try and keep things as sophisticated and classy as possible whilst still wanting to feel good about myself!

The fabric I purchased was a high quality jersey covered in Flamingos, called ‘flock party’. I absolutely love this kind of fabric, it’s fun, bright, vibrant and happy….all of the things I feel closely match my personality!eb3eb77c-4e3d-4868-bbae-1163e7fe630b.jpeg

So, last night I spent time cutting the pattern and fabric and figured I’d get around to the make at some point over the weekend – at least it was ready to go! However, I ended up waking at 06.15 this morning and so I thought well I may as well make a start! I have pictured the various stages of this make as I honestly don’t think I have ever made such a simple dress…you could potentially whip this up a couple hours before going out if you’re an experienced seamstress! It only took me two hours and i’m still at the beginning of my sewing journey.

This is what the make entails:

First of all you sew the back seam, you are advised to do this at 1.5cm and then again at 6mm. I think this may be because the fit is snug and you don’t want any of those embarrassing stitch rip moments! Well worth taking the time to do this.

You then go straight into sewing the shoulder and side seams, in the same manner as you did the back. I like to try my garment on for size at this point as if it’s too small/big, there is no point in continuing until this is rectified. Once this is done and you are happy you can hem the neckline with a 1.5cm seam. I thought this was going to be quite a challenge but actually, it was fine and posed no issues.

Next you turn your attention to the sleeves, sewing them up at the side seam and finishing the cuff hem. This was quite challenging as the cuff is so small. You really have to be mindful so as not to pucker the fabric.


Then comes my favourite part, sewing the sleeves into the dress. Many people seem to dislike this but I find it strangely satisfying. You really need to spend time over this ensuring that the seams and notches match. With this pattern, as with many others, you are left with much too much sleeve to fit into the hole and so you must stretch it to fit. It is wise to pin this all into place and baste the sleeve first to check that you have a good finish. I tend to change my tension setting to a 4 and baste that way as opposed to by hand! I always make sure I keep a good tension when sewing the sleeve in too as if you don’t then more often than not you end up with a pucker in the sleeve…that is just annoying! The photographs below show the sleeves ready to be sewn in…its those ripples you see that you you to pull straight when sewing the sleeve, if this was to be sewn without tension you’d have a million little puckers. I know as obviously learnt the hard way!!

Once the sleeves are successfully sewn in it’s just a case of hemming the dress. Again, I try on the dress at this point and decide where I’d like it to finish. I then pin, press and sew! Job done!!

Here is the finished article…..

And this is how it looks once on…..

I was so happy with this dress, it’s just a little bit different and a lot of fun! I hope my fellow beginner sewers find this blog helpful. As we all know patterns come with instructions but I always find that you can’t beat a little additional help! Maybe it’ll even inspire you to make one of these. The pattern only required 1.2m of fabric for my size (UK 8-10) so it’s a reasonable make. You can splurge on some of your favourite jersey and whip up a party dress all in a couple of hours! On top of that I don’t think I’ve made a more simple dress, it really is an easy one!

I hope you all have a wonderful bank holiday weekend, enjoy the sunshine! I know I will!

Until next time –

The Zipper Foot