So sew!


Model wearing a Weird Fish dressSorry I didn't do a blog last week, but I gave myself a week off as I was so busy writing my book. I'm pleased to report that there is just another twelve chapters to write, which may sound a lot, but I managed twelve in the space of four days while I was away on my own last week. It's amazing how much you can get done when you don't have the interruption of work, family mealtimes and constant phone calls. 

One of the chapters I was writing was about the little 'cottage industry' my sister and I had making clothes for a boutique called 'Quintessence', in a small town in Scotland. As I was writing I realised how much I used to enjoy making all my own clothes, both sewing and knitting, so I've decided that I am going to start again… just as soon as I have some spare time!!!

Talking of clothes, I have a new fashion range this afternoon at 5pm called Weird Fish. Last night I tried on a dress from the range, that had appeared by magic in my dressing room, and fell in love with it. It has a hint of 'hippy chic' about it, and is actually a little reminiscent of the clothes I used to make for 'Quintessence'. Let me know what you think of the range and also if any of you create and make your own clothes.

The latest update I have had from Sophie, on her travels 'down under', is that she has learned to surf, and is heading for 'Surfer's Paradise' tomorrow. The only down side is that it is very expensive out there, so I have had to top up her 'pre-pay debit card' for her already. Good thing she has a new job to come back to as I think she will have blown all her savings… still, it could be a once in a lifetime adventure, so I guess it had to be done!

Surfer's Paradise is on the 'Gold Coast' of Australia but we have our 'Silver Day' on QVC on Tuesday. Jilly and I are doing the 3 hour finale together so I hope you will be able to join us for that!

Much love, Julia x 


  1. Liz March 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, I still dress make and one of my daughters does too. We are eagerly awaiting QVC’s venture into dressmaking with sewing machines, fabrics etc. See if you can make this happen for us! My other daughter is a crafter so she is already catered for on QVC. Kept waiting for your proposal to Chris on 29 February but heard nothing…what is happening, did you pluck up the courage to ask him?
    Great to hear Sophie is having a great time in Australia. It is an exciting place for young people and also expensive. Thank goodness for Mums !!!
    Saw you last night and thought you looked a bit tired so try to make some time for yourself and relax.
    Love Liz.

  2. Annette Roberts March 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    I did sewing at school and bought myself a Husqvana sewing machine in a rust colour, which is in the wardrobe, still working and I still have the receipt!!
    In the early 80’s I made a number of items of clothing for evenings out…a pair of black trousers with a red ribbon strip down the outer seam, somewhat military looking, together with a little boxy jacket. Then there was a very shiney gold brocade dress, with a square neck and straight skirt, it was so tight round the knees that I did more of a shuffle than a walk in my stilettos…if I still had the dress, I doubt that I’d be able to get one leg in it now LOL!
    Don’t know if it’s a Gemini thing, but I loose interest very quickly with things and start something, then go away for a while, then pick it up again afterwards. The last thing I made with my machine was a blind for the bathroom in our old house, nothing fancy, just a piece of material hemmed round with a couple of ties going down front and back and you pleated the material up and tied it in place, if you know what I mean?
    Must say that the dress really suited you, with red shoes to match. I particularly liked the bit with you and Richard J on your knees together and can only imagine the laugh you had getting up again!!
    Annette x

  3. Michelle Roberts March 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, I love the Weird Fish range I have bought my dad a fair few item over the years including a bag which he uses on his motorbike.
    I know how Sophie feels I found Australia very expensive too, we came back broke and that was buying food at the supermarkets and parking the motorhome in cheap camp sites but I don’t regret a penny we had a holiday of a life time, we spent my hubby’s birthday the big 40 in Bryons Bay, if I win the lottery I will retire here and run a little bits and bob shop.
    Have a good Julia
    Love Michelle x

  4. TINA S. March 10, 2012 at 10:07 am -  Reply

    Dear Julia,
    Wow, yet another “string to your bow”, I don’t know how you do it.
    Your life sounds so busy and full. Fancy having had a boutique. You should set up your own fashion range on Q.V.C. I used to do a lot of dressmaking . I did my O Level dressmaking in school. Part of the exam was that we had to make a garment with hand stitching on it as well as machine work. I made a babies dress with smock work on which I still have on proud display. I also made a trouser and waistcoat set in herringbone fabric.
    I could’nt decide between art or design but in the end I chose nursing!
    As a keen reader I would love to write a book. My husband has had several books published which he is very proud of.
    If I were you I would retire and concentrate on writing.
    Can’t wait to see if you have your book published to read about all the many jobs and careers you have had.
    I tried to do other things but ended up 25years in my career!
    Regards Tina.

  5. Marie Mugford March 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, Love reading your blogs but don’t usually post a comment but I watched the Wierd Fish fashion last night and as usual the dresses are all too short! I am 5’6″ quite slim but don’t like showing my knees it just does not feel comfortable.
    There are so many dresses on QVC I would love to buy but they are all too short. I find dresses on the high street that are long enough so why not QVC? I can’t be the only one who thinks this. Please Please can you ask the buyers to bring me and others like me some slightly longer dresses.Carry on doing such a great job QVC would not be the same without you.
    Love Marie x

  6. Marian Bolton March 11, 2012 at 9:57 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    ‘Not so sew’ in my case I’m afraid, needlework was never one of my strengths! Glad to hear your book is coming along. Will it be sold through QVC?
    I missed the ‘Weird Fish’ show so am unable to give you any feedback. What a strange name though!! Sounds like Sophie is having a great time, it made me smile reading about how you’ve topped up her debit card!
    I’m really looking forward to the Elemis mini series, especially Friday’s show! I have to keep pinching myself cos I can’t quite believe how lucky I am. See you very soon.
    PS. I see Dale is around on Friday evening!!! I hope Chris doesn’t see that beforehand cos I might not get my pass out!!!

  7. Janet Roberts March 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, just been reading your blog.Dont do much sowing but wandered if you could suggest a dress I could wear for my nephews wedding in april. I must have looked at every dress on the qvc website. Thanks Janet x

  8. Joy Padley March 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Yes like you I have made my own clothes as I did A level Textile & Dress at school. But the cost of patterns and material is so expensive now that I haven’t made anything for a long time.
    However I am also a knitter and after almost 17 years having exhausted myself knitting for my nephew and niece I had the ‘urge’ to pick up the needles again last year. I started a really pretty summer cardie which was too late for summer and have just dug it out to finish off for this year. If money was no object I have always wanted to work in a haberdashery/wool shop or a bookshop as books are another huge passion of mine which is why I cannot wait for yours.
    Just finished the Sunday ironing (not a passion!) and guess what my new t shirt has some little holes in the front. I remember you asking us about them last year LOL.
    And if you do get the time and want to see a really good film go and see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, (one of Debbie Flints must sees) I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would love to go to India.
    I think you must have bought this glorious weather back with you lets hope it lasts.
    Love Joy xx

  9. Jean Pugh March 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi, Julia,
    Wow you are certainly doing well with your book. You certainly need no interuptions when you are trying to concentrate. Yes I used to do a lot of sewing, but dont have the time anymore, we all say that, we should make time shouldnt we. Maybe if you start sewing again you will have your range on QVC, watch this space? Sophie sounds as if she is enjoying herself, why not, opportunity of a life time, enjoy while you are young and while you can. Looking forward to the Silver day.
    Love Jean X

  10. alana March 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    You are certainly coming on with your book. Can’t wait to read the final version, bet you’ve got lots of stories to tell. Sounds like Sophie is having a great time in Australia – I’ve never been before but it is definitely somewhere I’d like to visit.
    I really liked the Weird Fish range, especially the dress you had on but I would prefer the other colour. Also Looking forward to Silver day and Silver day prices!lol!
    Not long to go on Daning on Ice. I think they are all great and it will be hard to choose the winner but I have to admit my favourite is Jorgie! I think Louis Spence was harsh on her on Sunday, she did the best she could with a ribbon!lol!

  11. Julia Roberts March 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm -  Reply

    Hi Liz
    Did I say I was going to propose to Chris on the 29th?? If so I chickened out! I suppose if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!!
    We used to sell sewing machines on QVC so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we will do again, particularly as we seem to be diversifying in terms of craft now.
    Sophie is back from Australia tomorrow although by the sound of things she is keen to go back – good for her I say!
    Julia x

  12. Julia Roberts March 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Annette
    I learned to sew on an old treadle machine, courtesy of my Dad ( more of that in the book ) although I have an electric machine now. Like you I mostly use it for making things for the house now, curtains etc.
    I used to make most of my own clothes and my Mum’s too when I was in my early teens. I’m not sure Sophie can sew a button on which is probably my fault for not showing her!
    I loved the red Weird Fish dress and yes it was a little surreal finishing the show on our knees – almost like praying!!!!!!
    speak soon
    Julia x

  13. Julia Roberts March 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm -  Reply

    Hello Michelle
    Sophie is due home first thing in the morning – gosh that three weeks seems to have flown by!! She is enamoured with Australia after a slightly unsure start – I think Surfer’s Paradise swung it for her!! Trying to think if I have a big celebration coming up so that I can justify a trip there
    Julia x

  14. Julia Roberts March 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Tina
    I didn’t actually own the boutique, I just made clothes for them. My own fashion range ……. now there’s an idea, in fact one I’ve already had, although I don’t know if QVC would be interested in selling it.
    I did a word count on the book the other day … 85,000 words and I’m aiming for 100,000 or thereabouts, so not far to go. I think I may self publish to start with, as then I will keep editorial control and what is written will be in my own words.
    I do hope it will be as interesting to read as it has been for me to write ….. memory lane and all that!
    Julia x

  15. Julia Roberts March 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi Marie
    Thanks for your lovely compliment – I haven’t got any plans to retire just yet!
    We do do longer lengths in some of the ranges – some of the Nina Leanard, Tianna B, Kim and Co. and Ronni Nicole come up almost mid calf on me, but then I am only 5ft 4inches ( and a half LOL!!!! ). I will pass your comment on as I have a meeting with one of the fashion buyers this afternoon.
    Julia x

  16. Julia Roberts March 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm -  Reply

    Hi Marion
    See you tomorrow, assuming your Chris didn’t see the comment about Dale and gives you your pass!!!!! Maybe he should come with you as a chaperone?
    I’m not sure if QVC will be selling my book as I haven’t really spoken to them about it yet. Don’t worry either way, I’ll let you know how you can get hold of a signed copy if you want one
    Julia x

  17. Julia Roberts March 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Janet
    It’s difficult for me to recommend a dress for you for your nephew’s wedding as I don’t know the sort of styles you like. I wore a Ronni Nicole for my niece’s wedding three years ago and not only did it look nice, it was very comfortable to wear all day and into the evening party.
    Give me a clue with colours and shapes and I’ll have a think
    Julia x

  18. Julia Roberts March 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm -  Reply

    Hi Joy
    I know what you mean about patterns being expensive – I think I used to make some of my own from patterns I already had – not sure I can still do it though! Hope you get your cardie finished for this summer – I’m sure this Spring weather will inspire you.
    You mention wanting to visit India. That is really weird as one of the chapters I have just finished in my book is about places I’ve visited and I start the chapter by saying I want to visit India as my Dad grew up there!!! I so hope you will find it a good read
    Julia x

  19. Julia Roberts March 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jean
    I hope you enjoyed Silver Day – I really enjoyed doing the finale with Jilly as we rarely get to work together.
    Sophie is home tomorrow and I can’t wait to hear all about it and see the photos. Judging by her text messages I’m sure she will go back out there to work at some point.
    I have been playing around with some ideas for a fashion range, but my big thing is it has to be made in the UK so it could wind up being a bit pricey – we’ll see.
    speak soon
    Julia x

  20. Julia Roberts March 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alana
    Hope you enjoyed Silver Day and all the treats we had for you? Sophie is back in the morning and will be full of stories I’m sure. Chris has family in Australia but has no desire to go, whereas I have always wanted to go. I guess if Sophie goes to live there for a while I will have an excuse.
    I’m loving Dancing on Ice – my top 3 have always been Jorgie, Matthew and Chico and I agree, I was shouting at the TV over Louis Spences remarks about Jorgie last week ….. what was he watching? Felt a bit sorry for Chemmy as I thought it was her best performance.
    speak soon
    Julia x

  21. Alana March 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Yes I enjoyed Silver Day thanks, I was good though and resisted buying anything as I ordered the Lola Rose TSV earlier in the week and I’ll definitely be getting the Bare Escentuals TSV on Sat! Really enjoying the Elemis mini series, it is one of my favourite skincare brands and Keely seems lovely. I’ll be watching tonight when you’re on with Keely.
    Bet you can’t wait to have a good catch up with Sophie and see where she recommends you should visit if you do get to go to Australia.
    Hope your book is coming on well this week and please keep me posted as to when and how I’ll be able to get a signed copy.
    Really not sure who will be leaving Dancing on Ice this week, but I definitely think that Jorgie and Matt should be in the final – can’t wait to see what they’ll have in store for skills week on Sun.
    Take care

  22. Chris Page March 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm -  Reply

    I was really looking forward to your Weird Fish show last week, as I’m a fan of their stuff – but imagine my annoyance that they didn’t bring any of their MEN’S range. This is a serious mistake, because you’re cutting us out of the picture. QVC ought to serve us fellas better. We don’t all garden, do DIY or use gadgets. Please ask them back for a men’s show.

  23. julia roberts March 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alana,
    So sorry I haven’t posted in a while but I am away using up annual leave before the end of the month. It has given me the chance to get some writing done, and pleased to say I only have another nine chapters to go which I am hoping to manage before I am back at work next Tuesday! I will let you know when it’s available to buy – hopefully not too long now.
    I must admit I was disappointed that Jorgie did not win Dancing on Ice on Sunday. I think Matt definitely had the advantage after the fantastic choreography of his ‘Singin in the Rain’ routine – wasn’t a fan of ‘Fame’. I preferred Jorgie’s ‘Bolero’ – what did you think??
    speak soon
    Julia x

  24. julia roberts March 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm -  Reply

    Hello Chris
    I am so sorry to disappoint over the ‘Weird Fish’ show. I have referred your post to my immediate boss and requested that he raise it with the buying team. I am sure you appreciate that the Presenters personally have no control over what the QVC buying team buy although we do pass your suggestions on.
    For what it is worth, I agree with you re men’s fashion.
    Again sorry to disappoint

  25. Alana April 2, 2012 at 9:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Yes I also preffered Jorgie’s ‘Bolero’, I felt sorry for Jorgie but it was always going to be tough deciding between the two. I am already missing Dancing on Ice! Another good ‘Sunday viewing’ is Once Upon a Time on Channel 5, it started last night and seems quite good.
    It will be good to see you back on our screens this week.
    Take care,

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