Friday, 24 July 2015

A giveaway: Tilly & The Buttons Agnes pattern + online workshop place


This is going to be an uncharacteristically quick post, due to it being the last day of the school term before the summer holidays begin, which means that time for work/blog posts/eating surreptitious chocolate brownies with my husband/sewing is rapidly dwindling. Today, I have a few things to share with you (well, in reality, just one of you, but I always find hope and anticipation can feel like a gift for the time that they last, so hopefully that makes the sharing more widespread!).


I know that when I first began sewing with jersey, it almost felt like learning to sew from scratch again - so many different rules apply and I also found that so many previously unencountered tools, needles and tapes can help to make things easier. So, as well as the Agnes pattern, Tilly has also recently launched an online workshop and if you're new to sewing with stretch fabrics, teaming a specific pattern with a tailor made workshop would, I imagine, be the perfect way to launch yourself into jersey-land without the steep learning curve of trying to work everything out for yourself. Slowly. Ruined garment by ruined garment. As I did myself several years ago.


So, Tilly has very generously offered both the Agnes pattern (printed or PDF, whichever you'd prefer), along with a place on the online workshop (to be used at any time, in your own home) to one of my readers, anywhere in the world! I think that equates to a value of around £56/$88USD, so it's a rather lovely giveaway.


So, how to enter. Last weekend, I met Judy Blume, who wrote the backdrop to my (and nearly every other girl's of my generation) early teenage years with Superfudge, Are you there God? It's me, Margaret, Deenie, Tiger Eyes and, most famously, Forever. Judy Blume was in London at the Young Adults Literature Convention, in conversation with Patrick Ness. As I also love his books, it was a huge treat and Judy, now 77, sparkled and delighted the entire audience and my cheeks ached with smiling throughout their discussion. Afterwards, we had our books signed (my sister bought us both a copy of her latest book for adults, In the Unlikely Event) by Judy and continued in our ridiculous levels of delighted starstruck beaming.

Aside from Judy Blume, between the ages of about eleven and thirteen I also loved Francine Pascal and Paula Danziger, authors who delivered papery slices of America, a place which seemed infinitely cooler than England (and seemed to have more summer camps, more fun, more proms, more boys, more romance and more of everything 'good' in it). These books discussed all manner of rites of passage that largely went un-talked-about in everyday life, but for as much as they clarified, they also confused, presenting cultural mysteries to be solved: like why didn't we have any 'ky-ha-kee pants'? It felt like we were missing out on a whole range of clothing as it was what every American girl seemed to put on before going off on a casual date. I later discovered how to properly pronounce the word 'khaki' and learnt that Americans call trousers 'pants' and was disappointed to realise it just meant sludge-green trousers, which I never would have worn; In Francine Pascal's book, 'Love, Betrayal and Hold the Mayo', with no internet to consult, my sister and I were left puzzling over what 'mayo' might refer to and why one would need to hold it, and it wasn't until our twenties when this term started appearing on English menus that it finally dawned on us that the book we'd read all those years ago was just curiously requesting 'no mayonnaise' in its title.

Either way, these books ultimately left me with the idea that the world would be a much, much better place with a boyfriend in it and so I studiously kept one (although not the same one) by my side for much of my teenage years. It wasn't until hearing Judy Blume talking about censorship at the weekend (her books were banned in many libraries following Ronald Reagan's election), that I began to wonder how different those years would have been if my own choice of reading material had had a substantially different focus.

I'd love to know which book or author made the biggest impression on you when you were growing up and perhaps maybe even contributed to the person you were at that time? And if you weren't much of a reader, was there a film that you remember loving?

Florence x

Ps. Tilly has just released two gorgeous new patterns (using woven fabric and unrelated to this giveaway). I'm really tempted to make a pair of these for my teenager. The other pattern is this one - perfect for a beginner as it has no darts or zip or button fastenings, but looks chic and minimal, rather than beginnerishly simplistic in finish!

51 comments:

  1. I think I moved directly from Enid Blyton to Marguerite Duras (with a small interval of Agatha Christie). A huge benefit of a older sister was access to “mature” books at a early age, so I fell into Duras shadow and didn’t emerge until I was well over 18. I’ve never heard of Judy Blume before....
    Thank you for the giveaway!

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  2. That's so cool you met Judy Blume! I also loved Francine Pascal and Paula Danziger books too. I hope today's tweens have got such great books at their disposal

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  3. I love Diana Wynne Jones and still read her books!

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  4. Wow, Judy Bloom! Heard her on Radio 4 the other week, still as fresh to listen to as ever. I loved her books so intensely, perfect for those in-between years. I also liked Paul Zindel and S.E. Hinton for their teen/young adult Americana before moving on to Flannery O'Connor and J.D. Salinger.

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  5. Ilord of the rings! I liked the idea that someone so small could make such a difference! It's a real tale of courage! X

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  6. Some of my favorite authors were Beverly Cleary, Lenora Mattingly Weber, and Maud Hart Lovelace. Thanks for the chance!

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  7. I loved Beverly Cleary and various girl detective books, such as the Trixie Belden series. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

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  8. I loved this post. It was like a trip down memory lane. I read it because I had just seen these patterns, have a few in an online shopping cart, but was delighted to find all of the book discussions too. I loved Judy Blume (just started Unlikely Event), Beverly cleary, Francine pascal, e.b. white but my favorites were Laura Ingalls Wilder and L. M. Montgomery. Fave book was a Little Princess which I acted out in my dollhouse for years. I was probably as flummoxed by the British terms in that as you were by khakis and mayo ; )

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  9. Whoa, you met Judy Blume?!! I read some of her books as a teenager, but my favourite was another American writer, Mildred D Taylor - we did 'Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry' for GCSE English but I think I'd already read it and the two sequels before that. I loved Nina Bawden and Michelle Magorian, too, and a bit later I was really blown away by 'The Catcher in the Rye' (such a teen cliché, I know!).

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  10. A little earlier influence for me but I think it must be Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons - I loved Nancy Blackett, she was the original girl power and she showed me that you could be a tall confident girl and do what makes you happy. I still love sailing!!

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  11. I loved E Nesbit's books for their sense of family and looking out for each other. Last year my own daughter started reading them, encouraged by her own favourite author, Jacqueline Wilson writing a book inspired by E Nesbit's 'Five Children and It'. It just shows that good books not only stay with you into adulthood, but reach across the generations.

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  12. I loved Judy Bloom. I got into huge trouble in school when caught reading one of her books by the uber strict Nun principal. My mum was called and everything. That was 80s Catholic Ireland for you. I also loved Sue Townsend and was gutted when she died this year.

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  13. I can't remember any books after my childhood favourites - little house on the prairie/ Anne of green gables - and those I had to study for English classes - must have missed a whole phase of my development (would explain a lot! Ha ha)

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  14. I loved Gemma and Sisters by Noel Streatfeild, when I read them I WAS Gemma!
    I too read Judy Bloom and wondered about some of the terms, but this only made the idea of being a teenager in America more exciting. The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden was a favourite of mine. I still enjoy reading her as an adult - always a good sign that a writer has not written 'down' to teeenagers.
    Can't wait to read what other say and to take a trip down memory lane.
    Would love to win as I am Jersey phobic at the moment and need therapy! Thanks

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  15. I loved the romantic poetry of the Spanish poet Gustavo Adolfo Becquer and I remember how much I loved Dead poets society the first time it was released on the cinema. Thanks for such a fantastic and generous giveaway!! I love Tilly's book and patterns. Have a lovely summer, Pati x

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  16. Ann Tyler forever and always is my favorite author. Her books helped me to see people as they are. Thanks for the lovely giveaway!

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  17. Oh, Judy Bloom!! I had forgotten all about her - I wonder if my newly 13 year old is past the age where she would love them. I remember lots of Sweet Valley High and Sweetdreams romances around her age and then S.E. Hinton and Liz Berry before discovering sci-fi at around 16. And filmwise I have never lost my love of John Hughes!! Although Andy in Pretty in Pink really should have picked Duckie. *g* Fab giveaway, I am new to garment sewing and have yet to dip my toe into the knits pool!

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  18. I loved Judy Blume's books, too. Though I can't remember any particular book or author that had a huge impact on me, I do remember loving Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree. We had a deluxe illustrated edition that was truly beautiful. Mom lent it to someone and it promptly vanished and we spent years trying to locate another copy. Then, through the magic of the Internet, Mom found a copy in Australia about 12 years ago (we live in Canada), and she gave it to me. I have since read it with my boys and they all loved it too.

    On another note, I've just purchased Tilly's book, Love at First Stitch. Thanks for a great chance to win her pattern and workshop!

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  19. Wow!! Judy Blume, how cool! I think I read a few, and I remember the secret passing around of 'Forever'! I was more of a fantasy geek tho so Tolkien and Diana Wynne Jones for me!

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  20. I grew up without electricity so that meant no television so I was forced to find entertainment with the written word. I read every book that passed under my nose and by eleven I was decked out in glasses lol. I honestly have never heard of Judy Blume, I of course read the harry potter series and found great delight and happiness in them but then at age seventeen I discovered the disc world series and it basically changed my entire outlook on life. it also made me question exactly how the harry potter wizarding world economy truly works because somehow it seems it may be very shaky. lol, Terry Pratchett has made a student of the world out of me. before I was all shallow and unthinking. now I am interested in too many things to list and I can't wait to possibly study evolutionary biology and anthropology. His passing was very sad and may his soul rest in peace. Some day I hope to be as brilliant and as witty as the man Terry P.
    also, thank you for this generous offer :)

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  21. I'm a big reader and I primarily read fantasy books. I have Terry Pratchett to thank for that, with Truckers, Diggers & Wings starting me on that journey when I was 10 then discov ering discworld in my teens. The path that's taken me down has led me to most of my friends now and I hadn't realised how significant that was until I wrote this!

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  23. I didn't read Judy Blume and I don't know why as I'm the right age and practically lived in the library as a kid. Buff card 'library tickets' in those days. My earliest memory is of reading Enid Blyton. I read everything she wrote but my favourite was 'The Magic Faraway Tree' series. I liked to draw too and spent hours drawing the tree world. I also loved the 'Just William' books by Richmal Crompton, the 'St Trinian's' books by Ronald Searle and the 'Molesworth' books by Geoffrey Willans. Anything really that promoted anarchy and explained how utterly wrong and criminal it was that children had to go to school.

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  24. Loved this post! I read some Judy Bloom I remember reading super fudge but my favourites were probably Enid Blytons famous five and the Diana Wynne Jones books. I still go back and read them now!

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  25. My favourites growing up were the Ramona books by Beverley Cleary. I loved Ramona! She had a best friend who was a boy, she was creative and she was her own person.

    I also liked Judy Blume's Fudge book

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  26. I absolutely love The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis: they were favorites when I was smaller for the stories themselves, and they continue to impact my life with their deeper messages. I re-read them every year or so, and they have a place of honor on my "absolute favorites" shelf.
    ~Natalie (QSOgirl)
    http://vegetablog.wordpress.com

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  27. Growing up in America pre-Judy Blume, I loved English books (Frances Hodgson Burnett, Noel Streatfeild, A.A. Milne), and there were certainly bits I didn't understand, though I can't think of any examples right now. I was fascinated to learn some time ago that Eeyore, when pronounced with an English accent, is the equivalent of our "hee-haw."

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  28. We read exactly the same books growing up - it's like I wrote this post myself! I still have a guilty pleasure for the occasional American teen book even now - and I have the new Judy Blume on order at the library! x

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  29. For me my earlier years were consumed by reading C.S Lewis's chronicles of Narnia. I still have my old copies complete with ink stains from carrying around in my school bag. My big obsession from my mid teens (and still) was for Angela Carter. I think her rich, strong female protagonists had a big effect on me going into adulthood.

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  30. I think I read every Enid Blyton book in the library - I don't think they changed my life, but I did grow up wishing I could go to boarding school and have midnight feasts! However, my absolute favourite film is Field of Dreams (and if you haven't seen it I really urge you to give it a try) it made me realise how important it is to have dreams, to believe in magic, because sometimes it DOES happen, and that everyone who comes into your life is probably there for a reason, even if it takes a while to realise what that is.
    Great giveaway, and good luck to everyone xx

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  31. I used to love Enid Blyton too, as a little girl I used to curl up in bed with my book and read and imagine I was having exciting adventures. Famous Five were my favourite! Samantha / Crafternoon tea hostess

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  33. Without a doubt it was Judy Blume who helped me navigate being a young girl/woman. However, Laura Ingalls Wilder was my escapism with the Little House series. Sadly, my girls aren't as moved by the same books - even when I dragged them to several Little House historical sites and begged them to wear sunbonnets for pictures(I still had mine from when I visited the same places years ago). Disappointing as that was, I'm amazed at the sheer volume of good books available to them today in addition to my classics.

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  34. Gosh, this takes me back, Beatrix Potter books, loved the litte animals especially the little mice in the Tailor of Gloucester, mice who could sew really inspired me to learn to sew. All these years later I still sew! Sharon x

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  35. I read a lot of girl boarding school stories. Fun as they were, they also made me realise that I wouldn't want to adapt my own ways in order to be part of a crowd. I'd rather live my life as an individual and part of a family. And that hasn't changed. It was an important bit of self realisation.

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  36. Enid Blyton to start (of course I was George from the Famous Five!) which I am coincidentally now reading to my eldest and he is enjoying the Famous Five just as much as I did. Later on it was the Nancy Drew mysteries - hmm seems to be a mystery solving theme!!

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  37. My sister was a big reader and I remember the Judy bloom books from her, before she moved onto reading the next library shelf full! I on the other hand didn't do much reading, I'd prefer to play with plasticine or a sink filled with water. I did though have a favourite in Milly Molly Mandy when I was little. Must find it out ready to read to my 4month old little lady. Lovely giveaway . thanks Kirsty
    kirstystewart1 at hotmail dot co do uk

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  38. As a middle-schooler, I was really drawn to Tamora Pierce's Alanna book series. The series was about a girl who pretended to be a boy in the middle ages so she could become a knight. It talked about periods and boob-binding, and it felt so scandalous to read at the time, lol. I was very into the entire story line and it made me feel slightly more grown up to read at the time.

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  39. I was a sci fi fan. I read every classic sci fi novel in a four year period between 1982 and 1986, before moving on to classics because you could buy a book a week for a pound.
    But my favourite book from teenage years is The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter, an early 20th century story about a man who harvests herbs in America. It's romantic, and lovely and has some of the best interior descriptions I know. Probably entirely responsible for me having willow pattern as my plate of choice!

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  40. I loved (love) Beverly Cleary and her character Ramona. I always wanted to be as creative as she was and I still think back on her and laugh. And of course, I'm right there with you with Judy Blume books!

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  41. I always loved the Wrinkle in Time series... maybe because the protagonist was also named Meg!

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  42. I loved Judy Blume too (I just bought her new book too) and of course Enid Blyton (all of them but especially The Famous Five). I have been reading through my childhood collection with Enid Blyton with my eldest and it has been so fun for both of us. The other author I really loved was Rumer Godden.

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  43. I read a lot of Francine Pascal (Sweet Valley High) and Ann M Martin (Baby Sitters Club) growing up. I only found Diana Wynne Jones recently, and absolutely love her books!

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  44. One of my favorite book series was the "Dear America" diaries. I read ALL of them. They each feature a story of a girl who lived in (or immigrated to) the US in some point in history. It helped make historical events real to me, I it helped learn to see things from others' perspectives and to appreciate diversity in the U.S. instead of fear it.

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  45. Think it was called children of the dust about the world after a nuclear bomb. The only survives were a group of young children who survived living under a table like a den and they developed a sort of immunity. They found the only other man and the eldest girl and him had to start populating the world again he was in his 70s ! I'm not doing it much service but it was amazing and 25 years later I still think about it xx

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  46. For me it was roald dahl. I love how you learn so much about the world at large and get to analyse your own views on it by reading books. Especially as a child. The magic finger and fantastic mr fox both spoke to my animal loving, vegetarian self.

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  47. I think the books I devoured the most were Enid Blyton's. I so wanted to be at boarding school. Judy Blume made an impression too, so amazing that you met her.

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  48. I devoured the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy in high school. I wandered into the empty school library and just randomly grabbed a book. It was so wild and full of amazing insight and perfect advise to not just survive traveling through the galaxy, but to survive high school and all it's perils.

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  49. Oh this has brought back such a lot of lovely memories The Famous Five of course and The Faraway Tree, The Chalet School and Mallory Towers, My Friend Flicker, Sweet Valley High I also got really into Fantasy role play books for a while. I also had my mums copies of Heidi, Little Women, Black Beauty, What Katie Did that I unfortunately lost along the way :-(

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  50. I loved the Norwegian fairy tales, Astrid Lindgren's books and the Moomins. Tove Jansson was a genius. Also Anne Cath. Vestly, and Roald Dahl. Esp. his "tales of the unexpected". Oh, and Dick Francis and Agatha Christie. And the Maigret books. Not typical teen lit, perhaps, but there yoy go.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

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