I’m excited to have been asked to write my first ever blog for The Fabric Guys online.
The Fabric Guys gifted some beautiful cotton lawn fabric to review, in return for an honest blog post.
What did I make?
As soon as my fabric arrived, I decided it would be perfect for a dress project. Initially I considered making the Sew Over It Betty Dress, but eventually settled on the Butterick B6556 pattern I got free in Love Sewing magazine over the summer.
This is the second version of this dress I have made. I made the first version in a cotton sateen for Goodwood Vintage Revival Festival in September and couldn’t wait to try it again.
The pattern includes a fitted bodice that you can make with or without sleeves, a square neckline and a full pleated skirt.
The bodice is fully lined in the same cotton lawn fabric and I lined the skirt in a black anti-static material I had in my fabric stash.
I found the sizing on the pattern a little confusing as I couldn’t find the finished garment measurements. The first version I made was a little on the loose side, so for this version I sized down to a UK size 10 and the fit is much better.
I think this pattern is really versatile and could be made in many different fabrics. I cannot wait to wear my new dress to a party I’m going to soon.
I would describe this fabric as a light-weight cotton lawn fabric.
As I’m planning to wear my dress through the winter months, I decided to line my dress, but the fabric could work well for many unlined projects too. Albeit if you are making a dress or skirt ad are not adding a lining you may want to consider wearing a slip underneath as the material is slightly see-through in the light.
I found that the fabric washed and ironed well, plus the colour didn’t run which is always a bonus.
The fabric is 58 inches wide. I used just over two and a half metres to make my project, which is good for a smart dress like this. I don’t like projects that are too fabric hungry as it can be expensive!
Would I recommend it?
Yes, this is a great quality cotton lawn fabric and has a really pretty design. I think it would be suitable for lots of projects including tops, smart shirts, dresses or even pyjamas.
I really enjoyed working with this fabric and would consider buying some more in a different colour if it was available.
This week’s YouTube video is all about the dress I made to go to Goodwood Vintage Revival Festival. I used a beautiful cotton sateen from Material Girl Laura online for my blue and white version.
The pattern I used was free in Love Sewing Magazine – It is the Butterick B6556. I was inspired to make this pattern after reading a great review in the magazine, as well as seeing lots of beautiful versions of this pattern popping up on Instagram.
My second version is made in fabric gifted to me from The Fabric Guys online and is made out of a cotton lawn. I’m looking forward to wearing this for a party I’m going to soon.
I really enjoyed making these projects and would encourage you to try this pattern if you are looking for a new dress project.
Don’t forget to like my video and subscribe to my channel to keep up to date with my latest content.
This week’s video is all about what I’ve been sewing in September. It has been a few weeks since I made a video as I’ve had a really busy few weeks, but I have been looking forward to showing you some of my latest projects.
I’ve wanted to make the Sew Over It Betty Dress for ages, so taking part in the British Heart Foundation’s Big Stitch competition was the perfect opportunity.
I made my dress out of a duvet I bought from my local charity shop. I’ve never considered how much fabric there is in one double duvet cover, but I managed to squeeze my full dress out of only one side!
I loved making this project and can’t wait to try this pattern again soon.
You can learn more about my project in the video blow I recorded for my vlog:
This week’s video is all about how I have hacked the Tilly and the Buttons Stevie pattern in to both a different type of top and a gathered skirt.
#TheHackOff is a project I join up with Adele from Button and Pip (visit her on You Tube and Instagram) every couple of months to create fun alternative design using some of our favourite patterns we already have in our collection.
I loved creating my project for #TheHackOff this time, so I hope you enjoy watching this video.
I got my top fabric from Coles Sewing Centre in Nottingham and the skirt fabric from Guthrie and Ghani.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel to keep up to date with all of my latest content.
My latest Minerva Crafts review is all about the Alex Shirt dress from the Sew Over It City Break book.
I was sent three metres of viscose fabric to review and thought it would work well for a dress that I could wear everyday (rather than for a special occasion).
I purchased this e-book a while ago and I am slowly trying to make my way through each of the sewing patterns. I previously made the Molly Top and Mia Jeans and hope to try out the other projects soon.
The e-book is suitable for sewers of all levels as there are a range of things to make.
I’ve wanted to make a shirt dress for ages but I kept putting this off due to the time involved. However, I really want to try out new types of projects this year and would like more practice sewing collars so thought the Alex Shirt Dress would work well.
As soon as I saw the London Skirt by Selkie Patterns, I knew it had to jump to the top of my to-sew list.
I’ve recorded a vlog all about my Selkie Patterns London Skirt, this will be part one of a three part series. The next edition will be focused on the peplum top and then the dress all made from the same pattern pack.
My skirt is made from a medium weight grey denim fabric from Material Girl Laura (I bought this around Christmas time). This works well if you want to create a structured skirt that shows off the pleat detail.
The project is fairly straight forward to make as the paper pattern comes with a detailed instruction booklet that guides you through each of the steps. You can also buy the pattern as a pdf version if that works better for you.
I decided to add pockets into the side seams of my skirt. There is no pattern piece included for this so I made my own using baking paper and simply drawing about my hand to create a curved shape that had a straight edge at one side to be stitched in to the seam of my skirt.
The skirt has a beautiful curved detail on the front waistband and overlaps at the back allowing you to make a feature of the button closure / bar-tack closure if you want to.
I decided to close the back of my skirt with a lapped zip and button closure, this is a fun detail that makes this skirt different to any of my others.
The pattern is designed to be fairly long so I shorted my skirt by three inches so it finished around my knees instead.
I’m really pleased with my final skirt and have already worn it out twice. Plus, I’m now planning to make another version in a light blue denim fabric for summer!
A free pattern from Love Sewing Magazine caught my eye a few weeks ago, so I decided to step outside my comfort zone to make an overnight bag.
Bag making has lots of benefits including creating something that is a really practical edition to your wardrobe.
As you probably know if you have read my previous posts, I normally sew my own clothes rather than bags so this project encouraged me to think outside the box to consider what I wanted out of this experience and what are useful bag features.
I wanted to create a bag I would get lots of use out of so, although this is a big bag it will be perfect to take away for weekends. I normally drive my husband crazy by taking lots of small bags so hopefully this will be an easy fix for this!
The bag, based on the Super-Sized Kwik Sew pattern free in issue 63 of Love Sewing Magazine, was supposed to close with a clasp at the top and include handles made from the same fabric as the bag.
As the bag is really wide on the top, I decided to add in a zip closure instead as well as using some grey canvas handles (bought from my local fabric shop).
The bag is made from a heavy-weight cotton duck fabric from Cath Kidston. I picked this material up last year in the sale originally thinking I’d make a dress with it, but actually I think it works perfectly for this project instead.
The lining and inside pocket made from a green cotton poplin (I’d had this in my fabric stash for a while) to add a contrast to the overall look of my final project.
Although the project is a ‘Kwik Sew’ project, it took me a while to make although this could be due to me being new to making my own bags.
I’m planning a trip away to Northumberland soon so I will definitely be packing my things in this bag to take away with me.
It was fun to try a new project. The instructions were fairly straight forward, although depending on what you want to use your final bag for you too may want to consider altering the top fastening like me to make your bag more secure.
My latest vlog is all about creating some new curtains for my home as well as two cushions using my fabric scraps.
I’m still quite new to the world of You Tube, but I’m enjoying recording videos based around different things I’ve been making.
There are lots of creative vlogs out there, but through my videos I hope to share how I found making my projects, any challenges involved and my top tips to remember if you are trying something similar yourself.
I guess my motto for sewing tends to be just have a go and if it doesn’t work out, you will always learn from your mistakes next time. I kept this in mind as I dived in to making some curtains for my spare room.
Buying some light blue spotty cotton duck fabric from Cath Kidston in the sale last year, it has taken me ages to get around to making my curtains (this was my first ever curtain project). However, I’m not sure why as they were actually fairly speedy to make.
I used the old curtains as a template and literally drew around them, amending the length to my preferred measurements. I then used my left over fabric to create two envelope cushions for the bed.
I’m pleased with how this project turned out and it got me thinking about how I should push myself out of my comfort zone more often to make different projects.
My latest vlog is all about fabric shopping in California.
As someone who makes most of my own clothes, I love fabric shopping so was delighted to be able to visit a few shops overseas.
I was in California for two weeks during which time I travelled from San Francisco to Mendocino (north of the city). It was an amazing trip where I got to meet some lovely people, eat lots of yummy food and visit a range of famous sites.
In my latest video, I talk about the fabric shops I came across on my travels and what I picked up along the way.
Spotty fabrics are always at the top of my list, so I was pleased to be able to review a black and white crepe fabric from Minerva Crafts recently.
I decided to make a Tilly and the Buttons Orla Top with the material I received. My husband bought me the pattern a while ago, so after making a sparkly ponte roma version at Christmas time I decided that I needed to try this pattern again but this time using a woven fabric.
Lace zippers are always fun to work with so I decided to add one to the back of this top.
A few metres of some pretty Jersey fabric and a bit of sewing time allowed me to make two new dresses and a new t-shirt for my recent holiday.
I was lucky enough to travel to San Francisco a few weeks ago so planning ahead I decided to make a few things that would be practical to take away with me.
If you have read my blog before, you will know that I’m a big fan of Tilly and the Buttons patterns so this seemed like the ideal starting point for my holiday makes.
I firstly added a twist to my favourite Coco Pattern by shortening the sleeves and adding a different coloured panel to the section of the front bodice just above the bust. I’d love to tell you that I dreamt up the idea because it was my perfect top, but in actual fact this was not the case.
I bought 70cm of cranberry cotton jersey from Guthrie and Ghani a while ago because I liked the colour. However, I knew I would need to add another fabric to this to make a t-shirt so I looked through my off-cuts and pulled out a piece of rainbow striped jersey fabric that seemed to fit the bill nicely. I then measured the pattern to my desired length and then cut the different fabrics to fit my design (I used a 1cm seam allowance to join the two different fabrics).
To mix things up a bit, I also added a narrow neckband and cuffs to my Coco top. I’m pleased with the final t-shirt, albeit it does feel a little high on the neckline for me.
Next, I used the Agnes pattern to create two different dresses. One is made out of a lovely pink animal print jersey from Material Girl Laura and has a gathered skirt, and the second is made from a mustard cotton jersey and has a fuller skirt.
I always think its crazy the amount of different looks you can create from using the same pattern and different fabrics.
Thinking ‘outside the box’ to maximise my mustard fabric (I only had 1.5 metres), I cut the front and back bodice on the bias as I didn’t have enough material to cut the pattern on the fold as directed.
The skirt section of this dress was made using the Joni pattern from the book Stretch!
It was the second time that I had joined both the Agnes and Joni patterns to make a dress and I’m sure I will make another version again. I really like the fitted top and a-line skirt, plus the two patterns fit perfectly together if you use the same seam allowance and cut the patterns in the same size. I made the size 3 top / skirt and used a 1.5cm seam allowance.
If you would like to learn more about these projects, head over to my latest vlog as I talk you through the fabrics / projects in more detail.
Although it was a bit of a rush finished these projects before my trip (I was sewing until about midnight the evening before we drove south to go to the airport), I was pleased I was able to wear my latest projects on my holiday.
What are you making at the moment? I’m hoping to work on some curtains for the house this weekend and may be a top for my husband inspired by the latest series of Sewing Bee.
I had the opportunity to attend my first ever Crafty Sew and So meet up last month.
It’s always great to meet fellow sewers and if course do some shopping.
Ahead of the ahead of the event, that happened on Sat 19 Jan, I’d looked on the Crafty Sew and So website and had eyed up a couple of my things I wanted to buy.
I picked up some lovely black and gold lightweight jersey and some cotton poplin in a beautiful red colour (this looks a bit like something Cath Kidston would use to make their clothing products).
The day started meeting at a cafe in Leicester city centre. I had to pre-plan my journey there as I haven’t been into Leicester before, the park and ride worked well for me!
The lovely Freya from Crafty Sew and So then guided us around the market pointing out some fabric stalls before showing us where to find a number of other sewing and knitting shops in the city before finishing the day at Crafty Sew and So.
Crafty Sew and So really is a beautiful shop. Its packed full of gorgeous fabrics, zips, buttons and of course patterns too. I love shops that feel bright and airy, as well as having lots of choice of products too so this store was right up my street.
The event lasted about four hours in total, including lunch to start the day. It’s always fun visiting a new city and I discovered that Leicester has a lot to offer in terms of shops, cafes and restaurants. I think its weird how you can live less than two hours away from places yet you have never before found time to visit!
The event was advertised on the Crafty Sew and So blog if you fancied attending a future event, I will definitely try to go along to the next meet up too. Even if you don’t buy anything, it is still great to be able to browse the shelves packed with craft supplies and dream of what you could make, as well as chatting to lots of different like-minded sewers. I was hoping to attend the sewing ball being organised by the shop in March but unfortunately I can’t make it this year, hope you have a fab time if you’re going.
I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a few weeks but I’ve been busy with holidays and other boring house ‘admin’!!
What are you making at the minute? I’ve got a few things on my to-make list so I will keep you posted on how I’m getting on both here and on my You Tube channel.
This week’s post is all about making my first ever Tilly and the Buttons Nora top.
On the face of it, this is a simple project that doesn’t take long to make but if you want to spend of a bit of extra time adding in some ‘extra special’ top-stitching you could do. I also think you could have some fun teaming up contrasting fabrics, adding cuffs or stitching on a fun patch or applique.
I made the cropped version but I was a bit worried the front bodice was going to be a little short for me so I added 1.5cm to this section before cutting out my fabric.
My Nora top is made out of a medium weight ponte roma fabric that has a lovely gold shine to it. January is such a dull month if you let it be, so I decided a needed a bit of extra sparkle in my life so this worked perfectly.
In terms of the hem detailing Tilly’s instructions as ever are very clear, but I didn’t read them properly the first time (before I cut out my project) so had to change the way I hemmed my top to keep my final jumper as long as possible (I didn’t want my tummy to get cold). Rather than folding up the deep hem as directed in the pattern instructions, I simply overlocked the bottom of the front and back bodices and used my twin needle to
If I was to make this again (and I’m sure I will) I’ll consider lowering the neckline as I think it is a bit high for my taste, although it is probably ideal for the colder months.
I’m pleased with my final project and have already worn it out this week for coffee with friends.
If you want to learn more about my project and see more pictures, I have included it on my latest You Video.
Hi everyone, hope you had a fantastic Christmas and New Year. Today’s post is all about my new You Tube channel.
I had quite a quiet festive period really apart from cooking our Christmas dinner, I didn’t have lots of entertaining to do this year so this allowed me to watch lots of Christmas TV!
I’ve been thinking about starting my own sewing vlog for ages, so I have decided that the time has come to give it a go!
There are loads of inspirational people out there who share their makes online already and I really enjoy spending any spare time I have reading blogs, watching vlogs and pondering images of gorgeous clothes / craft projects other people have made so I hope that mine is of some use.
My vlog is going to be focused around my hobbies: sewing, crafting, baking and day trips (mainly walking in the countryside with my doggie) – although there will be a constant theme of me wearing / sharing something I have made with you.
Inspired by Kirstie Allsop’s handmade Christmas programme on TV I have decorated my tree with lots of homemade bits and pieces this year.
I love Christmas but if I’m honest I haven’t been feeling completely in the festive spirit this year. So, to try to change this I decided to make a few new things for my tree using crafty bits I already had in my stash.
I made pom poms in red and green using wool I’ve had for a while. There’s something about making these little things that is really relaxing. I could literally sit on my sofa for hours making them if I had both the time and loads of wool, although I’m not sure what I would actually do with lots and lots of pom poms in reality!
I already had a few felt crafts I made for the tree a while ago so I decided to add a few more to my collection making heart shapes as well as snowmen, Christmas puddings and Xmas stockings. To make these I used a mix of felt (you can buy sheets really cheaply in the kids section of shops like Wilko in the UK), iron on interfacing and bits of ribbon I had in my craft box.
Don’t know about you but I am always on the look out for little bits of ribbon, buttons or items I think I may be able to up-cycle at some point.
I’m pleased that I was able to use up old bits of fabric I’ve had sitting doing nothing for months by making some of these decorations. I think next year it may be nice to spend a bit of time making Christmas decorations for friends and family for gifts, I know I always appreciate a handmade Christmas present.
2018 seems to have gone so quickly and Christmas seems to have come around so fast this year. I know they say as you get older time goes quicker, I always thought this was a myth but may be not, or may it is just because we all live such busy lives these days.
Next year, I need to take a bit of extra time for myself and spend more time doing things I enjoy like crafting, walking and baking. Life sometimes just gets too busy and I am too tired or feel too stressed to enjoy anything – so I’ve decided I need to be a bit more selfish and sometimes say ‘no’ to things to free up a bit more ‘me time’ (I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, right?)!
Whatever you are doing for Christmas I wish you all the best for both the festive period and the New Year. Thanks for reading my blog in 2018, I hope to be a bit more organised next year and post each week (or I will try to at least!).
I do love a pre-Christmas adventure and this year I was lucky enough to have one to Krakow in Poland.
Of course, no trip would be complete without me making a few new bits and pieces to take with me, so I thought I’d share both what I made and a few more details about my visit in this post.
I love to travel and any excuse I get, I try to make the most of it. Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to be able to visit Christmas markets with friends in both Berlin and Hamburg, so this time it was cool to visit a different country.
I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able travel anywhere early last week as I’ve been suffering from a horrid virus, but I tried to rest lots before I went away as I really didn’t want to miss out if I didn’t have too. I guess it’s the time of the year or may be being a bit run down but I still can’t shake off my cough, rubbish.
Unfortunately i didn’t find any fabric or haberdashery shops on my travels, but I did buy a few handmade treats from the market including a pretty bookend and some slippers (neither are for me – they are presents, sshh!).
So, thinking it was going to be freezing in Poland in December I thought I needed to take warm clothes to wrap up in.
Looking in my pattern stash before I went to plan my makes I turned to a couple of my old faithful patterns (what can I say if you love a pattern why not make it loads of times)!
I’ve been trying use up fabrics I already have recently although couldn’t resist buying some cool cherry printed material to make my latest Agnes top, oops.
I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the front and back bodices on the fold so instead added one centimetre to the centre seam so I could join this with a straight line of stitching. I actually think adding a centre seam adds a bit of extra detail to the jumper and makes it look different to my other sweatshirts. I used a mixture of medium weight jersey and look back jersey for this project from Guthrie and Ghani, I love that the colours are a bit autumnal!
I also made a plain pink coco top great for layering. I added some star transfers to the front of this I got from eBay. They were super easy to use, I literally ironed them on it a few minutes.
My final make was another Agnes top, j can’t get enough of this pattern! The cherry fabric is from Material Girl Laura and is great quality, not too thick and not too thin. It’s a cotton jersey of medium weight, my favourite to work with.
My Christmas projects seem to be on hold a bit at the moment but I need to get motivated and get making as the big day is really not far away now (only days in fact, I’m going to be busy this weekend)!
Making my own anorak was a huge project but it certainly pushed me to learn new skills.
December is just around the corner and the cold weather has now set in, so this meant the coat project I started in May this year really had to be finished!
Making a coat of any type can be hard work and even harder if it involves a range of different techniques like a zip, pockets and press studs but some how making something of your own that you can wear over and over again makes all of this worth while.
I made a Closet Case Patterns Kelly Anorak – this is the first anorak I have ever made and the first time I have ever used waxed cotton so this was a new experience all around.
You can choose to make the anorak with or without a hood – I decided to include one as I’m planning to wear this out in winter so I’m sure i’ll need it at some point to protect me from the rain.
As this was such a large project, I decided to treat myself to book on to a course at Guthrie and Ghani in Birmingham to make my coat alongside some other sewists. The course was great fun, the other ladies on the course were all really nice (I’ve not actually met any sewers I don’t like) and we also spent quite a bit of time socialising so that was super too.
Most of day one of the course was spent cutting out the pattern and the fabric. There are quite a lot of pattern pieces and depending if you decide to line your coat or not, this adds extra materials to cut too. I’m not sure about you but I don’t really enjoy the ‘cutting out’ process, its hard work at times as well as being a bit tiresome – although I know it is always worth it in the end.
The best thing about starting a project like this on a class is that you have the reassurance that you are moving at a similar speed to other people and you can check any instructions you are unsure about with other fellow sewers – like your body measurements or what length you want your final garment to be.
By day three of the course, my project was well underway – although I didn’t manage to finish it may be due to chatting too much!
Since then months have past by and my unfinished coat has sat in a box at home. This was partly due to the fantastic summer weather we had and me not wanting to spend my time sewing a winter jacket and that partly I was quite scared of making a mess of any of the anorak by myself at home.
Its funny really that I put off sewing the final parts of my jacket for so long, as when I got down to it – it only took a few hours to put on the arms, cuffs and finish adding my press studs.
If you are thinking of making this pattern, the instructions are detailed and do guide you through the steps of the coat making process nicely – although this is not a project for beginners.
I found the project really challenging which can be good and bad. By day three of the course, I had managed to melt the top of my zipper a bit on the iron (note to self use a metal tooth zipper in future for coats) which upset me a little as I couldn’t stand the idea of having to undo all of the stitching I had done so far to ‘set in’ the zip. However, I managed to save the zip in the end my using my unpicker to ‘pick’ the random melted bits out of my zip teeth so it will now zip up almost to the top of the coat (which is good enough for me, I always wear a scarf anyway).
I’m really pleased with my final project although don’t think I will rush into making another version too soon as it took a long time as well as lots of concentration (something I’m short of sewing in the evenings at times)!
I got my tan waxed cotton from Guthrie and Ghani (they have a few other colours too), lined the body with a mustard cotton lawn I picked up on holiday earlier this year and lined the arms with some anti static dress lining I had left over from something else.
This post all about my Christmas gift planning and how I’m trying to get organised earlier this year!
I have always loved Christmas. I enjoy the fact that there always seems to be a bit of festive cheer in the air, with people wishing each other a Merry Christmas (or happy holidays if you are in the US) and that I have a good excuse to do some extra baking.
Christmas present buying can be stressful and trying to make gifts at the last minute can cause unneeded pressure too.
This year I’m trying to plan in advance what I’d like to make for my loved ones, trying to use patterns or materials I already have in my stash (although I guess this may not be possible in every case).
So far, I’m thinking of making book bags for a few friends (they are a great way to use up fabrics and I can have a bit of fun mixing and matching materials to act as the lining).
Book bags are so simple to make and can be made big or small depending on if you imagine it will be used to carry supermarket shopping in or just someone’s lunch on their way to and from work etc.
I’ve made one book bag already out of some pink cotton sateen I had left over from a recent skirt project. If I’m honest the handles are a bit too long but this probably doesn’t matter too much.
My brother is really tricky to buy for generally so even though he is a grown up, this year I’m hoping to make him a cuddly animal toy from a pattern I picked up at Kirsty Allsop’s Handmade Fair in September. The pattern is by Curious Rose and includes a bunny, mouse, cat and hare design.
In 2017, I made my husband a sweatshirt for Christmas based on a ladies jumper pattern I got free in a magazine.
It was an oversight on my part though not to raise the neckline as when I’d made it the neck area was quite low. He has worn it a lot though in the house, but this year I’d like to better my previous efforts and make a jumper he can wear out and about too. I may turn the men’s t shirt pattern from one of the Sewing Bee books I have into a jumper by lengthening the sleeves and adding a hem band.
Finally, I’m hoping to make my friend Jane a Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress. I made her one a while ago and it’s great to see that it fits so well, I will may be make version two in a different colour fabric with cropped sleeves but I’m not sure yet!
This week’s post is all about attending Sew Brum 2018.
Sewing is fantastic as it’s a hobby you can do on your own or collectively with friends or at classes. More often than not though, I sew on my own at home squeezing in 15-20 minutes on my machine in between making the dinner or doing something else. That’s why it is lovely to meet other sewists in person at events like Sew Brum and exchange ideas and tips on projects, as well as of course admire each others handmade outfits.
I’ve never had the opportunity to visit Birmingham when Sew Brum was taking place before, so I was really excited to see what it was all about.
This years event was attended by around 300 people, some of whom stayed for the whole event and others who just attended some bits depending on their other commitments.
It was an early start for me and it was freezing when I left home, but the excitement of meeting up with ‘old’ sewing friends and meeting new ones kept me focused on why I was up so early on a Saturday morning.
The day began in Birmingham’s John Lewis cafe, where many people enjoyed a bite to eat. The large group then split up to visit the rag market, Barry’s fabric store and the silk shop (located not too far from the market). A lot of people then made their way over to one of my favourite fabric shops – Guthrie and Gharni by bus to do some more shopping and take part in a charity raffle.
I left home with a few ideas in mind of what kinds of fabric I may like to find, but I’m afraid to say this list kind of went out of my mind when I arrived (note to self – write down ideas next time)!
Fabrics I picked up included some jersey remnants to make a jumper, some denim to make a new skirt and some waxed cotton fabric to make a dress with. I might take me a while to work my way though the fabrics I bought, but I’m looking forward to using them anyway.
Sew Brum is an annual event organised by the English Girl at Home. If you weren’t able to attend this time, and don’t live too far away I’d recommend going next time – I had a great day 🙂
This week’s blog is all about my office capsule wardrobe.
I set myself a challenge a few weeks ago to make a selection of outfits that I can wear into work. Working in an office means I need to be fairly smart each day, so it’s great to be able to create exactly what I want to wear from fabrics I have chosen.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me due to starting a new job, but I was able to squeeze in making two new pencil skirts before this.
The skirts are both based on patterns I’ve used before but the bonus with this is that I knew what I would like to amend/change from last time.
The pink floral skirt was made using the Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt pattern and a bright cotton satin (also from Sew Over It). If I’m honest the cotton satin did have stretch but probably not quite as much as I would like in a fitted skirt like this.
I graded between two sizes at the waist to make this skirt, as I’m a different size on my waist to what I am on my hips. This was fairly easy to do, it just took a bit of trial and error tacking the skirt on my machine, then trying it on to check the fit. I also reduced the length by a few inches, which is surprising me being so tall but I only wanted it to come down to my knees.
The second skirt I made was the Tilly and the Buttons Bibi Pencil Skirt, made using a very stretchy ponte roma sourced from a local shop (I can’t include a link as they aren’t online). Last time I made this project I decided I didn’t really like the waistband as it seemed to go a bit baggy after I wore it, so this time I decided to make a facing around the waistline instead that simply folds to the inside and was sewed in place using a few a stitches along the seam lines.
I’m pleased with these skirts, albeit I don’t think the floral one is quite as comfortable as last time due to my fabric choice.
I’m still trying to work my way through the other projects I wanted to make for my capsule wardrobe, but I’m getting there slowly. I will keep you posted on my progress.
I’ve been a Disney fan for as long as I can remember so thought I’d use this as the theme for my Sewing The Scene entry for 2018.
Sewing The Scene is an online competition hosted on Instagram by @theunfinishedseamstress and encourages sewists to make something they love inspired by film or TV and share pictures of their projects by the 1st of October.
I gave a lot of thought to my entry wondering how I could create an outfit based around one of my favourite films or TV shows, but in the end settled for the general theme of ‘Disney’.
If I had to choose a favourite Disney character I’d go for Minnie Mouse so used this as my inspiration to make my 2018 competition entry. Minnie, as you probably know, is famous for wearing a red spotty dress. I love polka dots but felt that a red spotty outfit, although lovely, wouldn’t really fit in to my everyday wardrobe so I decided to go for a black spotty fabric instead and accessorise it with a red cardigan (from Bettie Vintage), belt and necklace (one my husband bought me for Christmas a few years ago).
I used the Tilly and the Button’s Coco pattern to make my dress, picking the fabric up from the recent Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey. I loved the ponte roma material as soon as I saw it on the Sewalicious stall so had to buy it, it’s a beautiful medium weight that has spots on the outside and stripes on the inside so you could actually have a lot of fun with using both sides of the fabric if you wanted to.
The dress also ticks off one of the handmade makes I wanted to create for my new ‘office ready’ wardrobe too, so I’m pleased about that. I actually wore the dress out for dinner tonight and it is super snuggley – great for a cold September evening.
Are you entering the Sewing The Scene competition? It’s a fun challenge as there are so many possibilities of things you could make.
This week I wanted to share my plans to make a few new outfits for my new job.
Working in an office I need to look smart each day, but the cool thing about making your own clothes is that you can choose the fabrics and designs that work best for both you and the wider work environment.
The Sew Over It Work to Weekend E-book literally couldn’t have been published at a better time for me. I’m just getting ready to start a new job and want to update my work outfits so the trousers and Dana Blouse from the book will be perfect.
If you have ready my blog before you will know that I generally like to make clothes that I can wear for lots of different occasions, including for work, so I thought I would make myself a little ‘to sew’ list to try to organise my sewing plans.
I picked up some gorgeous black spotty ponte roma fabric from the Sewalicious stand Handmade Fair – I think this will be a great Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress.
I’m planning to make a plain purple Sew Over It Molly Dress, this will be great for winter to wear with thick tights. I’ve had some purple ponte roma material in my stash for ages and this will work well for this project.
Blouses are great to wear for the office so I’m planning a floral Sew Over It Dana Top from the latest e-book. I bought a remnant of black viscose fabric from Sewalicious to make this (this project is now cut out and ready to go).
Since I started making my own clothes, wearing pencil skirts has become something I now enjoy as they actually fit! My smaller waist and bigger hips just don’t work for shop-bought patterns. I’m planning my second Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt in a beautiful stretch cotton satin (I got this as part of a kit my husband got me for Christmas last year).
I made a Tilly and the Buttons Bibi Pencil Skirt a while ago (from the Stretch book) and have since had loads of compliments on it – so want another in my wardrobe. A stretchy skirt is really comfortable to wear in the office as well as looking smart. This also works well as I want to make more projects from the sewing books I already have rather than buying new patterns all the time.
Finally, I’m hoping to make a few more plain jersey tops (the Tilly and the Buttons Coco or Agnes tops but have’t decided yet) to wear with my new skirts that can be mixed and matched over the course of the week. I often find myself swayed towards patterned fabrics when a few new plain tops would be much more practical for my everyday wardrobe. I just need to find some suitable material now!
I’m hoping to make a start on my sewing list soon, so will keep you posted on how I’m getting on.
So far this week, I haven’t had a lot of time but managed to make a quick Agnes Top in a spotted viscose jersey I got on a recent Sew Notts meet up. I’m sure I can wear this in to work but its great to wear on the weekends too. Plus, the fabric only cost me £1 as the shop was closing down, amazing!
What are you working on at the minute? Have you made any projects from the new Sew Over It E-Book yet?
This week I’m sharing my experience of visiting the Handmade Fair, a creative paradise for craftaholics like me.
I was so excited to visit Surrey this week and explore Kirstie Allsop’s Handmade Fair.
If you are unfamiliar with the fair it is one of the biggest craft events around and allows visitors to take part in workshops, listen to talks and visit a number of craft-based stores exhibiting on site.
I booked tickets pretty much as soon as they went on sale and have been looking forward to attending for months.
Wanting to make the most of my day, I booked a couple of workshops themed around crafts I hadn’t tried before. I took part in a class to make a wild bird feeder which gave me the chance to have a go at basket weaving. This was actually really tricky, particularly as the willow we used was really long and seemed to have a mind of its own moving in every direction apart from where I wanted it to go in the weaving process.
I felt a bit sorry for the man running the class as he had a lot of people to help to make the bird feeders, but I think everyone had a good time and all left with their own individual project.
The next 30 min class I tried was based around paper crafting. I made three butterflies using origami techniques following what the teacher was demonstrating at the front of the workshop. I’ll be honest I wasn’t very good at this but it was still cool to test out a new craft.
There were two large tents filled full of small shops selling fabrics, craft items and jewellery, as well as two smaller tents selling food-based products (I did pick myself up possibly the best tasting brownie I have ever had there).
As well as smaller retailers being on site there were also brand names you would recognise like Sew Over It, Tilly and the Buttons and Sewalicious. Kirstie Allsop could also be found wandering around the event too (I was really excited about this) so I got a photo with her.
If you are planning to visit, I’d recommend planning your day carefully, particularity if you want to take part in a few workshops, to make sure you can fit everything in. I wished I had got more time to try out the class upcycling some old wooden pallets into a new usable storage box, but this was fully booked.
It was such a fun day and definitely worth the long trip to Hampton Court Palace and back. I’m looking forward to next year’s event already.
I had promised myself that I wouldn’t buy anymore patterns for a while, but I love the Sew Over It brand so had to order the latest e-book particularly as there are at least three things in there I would like to make.
Finding clothes that I can wear in to the office and out during my time off is always a challenge so hopefully these designs will fill a gap in my wardrobe.
The only thing that puts me off buying PDF patterns and e-books generally is the printing. The idea of spending hours sticking A4 pages together fills me with dread as I just want to get on with the sewing. I find it a pain having to print out the patterns and lay them out on the floor to stick together with sticky tape, if I wanted to do a paper-based craft project I would!
Discussing the draw backs of PDF patterns with a friend, it was suggested that I try printing my patterns on A0 sized paper – completely reducing the time I would have spent sticking the A4 pages together.
I’d researched how much printing on A0 paper would cost at my local printers and was horrified to be told it would be as much as the e-book itself to do this. My friend said I should check out Net Printers as she had used them before and it was really cost effective.
It was actually really straight forward to order my printing online – I literally uploaded the files and added in my payment details. Just two days later my patterns were delivered to my door by courier, amazing. It was about £1.50p per A0 printed sheet plus delivery and I was pleasantly surprised at the good quality paper the patterns are printed on.
I will certainly print my patterns online again. Saving that vital time sticking means I can maximise my time sewing my new outfits, yey 🙂 . I only wish there was more hours in a day to squeeze in more crafting!
Not sure which pattern to make from the e-book first, the trousers and the Dana Dress both take my fancy 🙂 . I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
This week I’m sharing a project I managed to make over the course of a week for a party I was going to.
With a family birthday party on the horizon last weekend, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make myself a new dress.
It probably sounds boring, but I hardly ever go ‘out out’ these days so the idea of going out for dancing and drinks filled me with excitement so I wanted to try to look my best for the occasion 🙂
The party was held on the Thames in Surrey in a pub and was the perfect location for people watching and catching up with old friends and family.
I didn’t know what people would wear for the party so as normal I just decided to do my own thing and wear what I felt comfortable in. I picked up some lovely mustard kitten heel shoes from Marks and Spencer and a matching cardigan from Hell Bunny so wanted to make a dress that would work with these things.
After hunting online for ages and then ordering a few things, no fabric I came across seemed to be right for my project. Then I had a brainwave and dug deep in my fabric stash to find a lovely chiffon fabric I’ve had for a while that is navy blue and has a lip design all over it. I thought this would work perfectly, so with one week to go launched into making my second Simple Sew Patterns Sienna Dress.
I got the pattern free on Sew Now Magazine last year and the design of the dress is right up my street. It is fitted into the waist and has a flared skirt. As the fabric I used was a bit see-through I lined the bodice in the same fabric I was using on the outside and lined the skirt with a black anti-static material.
This was the second time I’d tried this pattern so I tried to learn from my last attempt. I reduced the seam allowance slightly to make the dress a bit more roomy (I used a 1.2cm seam allowance instead of the 1.5cm noted on the pattern), and this time I tried the sleeveless design instead of the version with cap-sleeves.
I’m pleased with my final project, although it is may be slightly on the long side. If I decide to make a third version I may reduce the length a bit so the skirt finishes just above my knees.
Now the party is over I’m hoping to get plenty of wear out of my dress in the daytime after all what’s the harm in dressing up to go shopping or out for coffee?!
Have you tried the Sienna Dress? How did you find the pattern?
This week’s post is all about trying to fit sewing into a busy lifestyle.
This week, I thought I’d share a few sewing projects I have ‘on the go’.
I don’t know about you but I often find myself day-dreaming about what I’d like to make and immediately feel the urge to start whatever my latest idea is (time permitting of course) 🙂
Life has been so busy recently though with working, trying to get fit (I’ve started to do the ‘couch to 5k) and other boring house stuff like shopping, cleaning and DIY there hasn’t been much time for sewing. However, trying to be resourceful I have cut out and started a few new projects so that when I do have time I can sit down at my machine and dive straight in!
You may have read one of my previous posts about trying to make more patterns from my sewing books – I’m challenging myself to make more projects from resources I already have rather than buying new paper patterns or downloading new patterns all the time. Plus, buying new patterns is expensive so using books I already have on the shelf should be good for my purse too!
The first project from the Sew Caroline Weekend Style Book I’ve decided to make is the Tilly T-Shirt. It’s just a really simple top, but I honestly think I can’t have too many t-shirts in my drawer, plus I can maybe use it as part of my new exercise regime! I’m going to make this in some bright pink cotton jersey I have left over from a project I made ages ago so I will keep you posted on my progress.
Next on my list is another Sew Over It Cami Top. I’ve made quite a few of these already but I’d really love a plain white one to wear with patterned skirts. This project is cut out and ready to go soon 🙂
Finally, I’ve been rushing to the finish line to make another Simple Sew Sienna Dress for a party I’m going to over the bank holiday weekend. I’m using a chiffon fabric with red lips all over it to make my new outfit. I’m really annoyed at myself that I have left it sssooo late in the day to make this but time just seems to fly by sometimes. I’ve been squeezing in 15 mins here and there though so fingers crossed this will work out.
I don’t know about you but even if I sewed non-stop for a few weeks, I’m sure I still wouldn’t be able to make all of my dream projects. If only there was more hours in a day… 🙂
What have you been making this month? Do you cut out projects so they are ready to go when you want them?
This week I delved into my pattern box and pulled out one of my favourite ever patterns to make myself a little present!
It’s my birthday this week so I decided to make myself a new skirt. I’m not really going anywhere special but I wanted to make myself something new to wear anyway, is that sad?!
I picked up a lovely blue and cream cotton poplin fabric for about £2.50p per metre from Material Girl Fabrics (can be found by searching on Facebook) which I thought was a great bargain.
I fancied making a light-weight gathered skirt and thought the Gather Pattern called The Mortmain would fit the bill nicely. I’ve made this pattern as a dress I few times and absolutely LOVE it.
In order to make the skirt I literally used the two skirt pattern pieces and then added a waistband, along-with a 9 inch invisible zipper. The pattern is designed to have a pleated skirt but gathering is also an option of course.
I don’t normally go for the ‘gathered’ look mainly because it always takes me ages to make gathered skirts/dresses and I’m always a bit worried the gathering is not completely equal. Plus, I often prefer an a-line or circle skirt design but I thought I would give it another go.
I’m really happy with my new birthday skirt and will definitely wear it out for lunch.
Have you tried The Mortmain pattern? I’d recommend it if you haven’t – it’s one of my favourite ever patterns as it looks smart but has a relaxed fit.
Here I describe how I recently had the opportunity to put my sewing skills to good use in making a tie hat for a friend.
This week’s post is focused around a project that I was asked to do by a friend who was recently diagnosed with an illness meaning she may temporarily lose her hair.
Seeing my sewing machine sat on my dining room table, my friend asked if I would be able to make her a head scarf or tie hat of some description that if needed she can wear during the course of her treatment.
It’s not my place to go in to the ins and outs of her illness, but I can say it is an illness that touches the lives of too many people around the world.
I felt honoured to be asked to undertake such a useful project and wanted to do my best to make something that was both comfortable to wear and stylish.
Hunting through the internet I managed to find the perfect downloadable pattern made by brimmingwithlove.com . The pattern comes with easy to follow step by step instructions, as well as including images for the more tricky steps.
Having never made a reversible tie hat before, I had to concentrate on how to construct the hat as I wasn’t really sure how it would all come together.
I used a pink floral viscose fabric to make both the inside and outside layers of the project, although there is an option to use contrasting fabrics on either side if you wanted to wear different colours / patterns on different days.
I thought a floral viscose was light-weight and perfect for summer, meaning that hopefully the hat wouldn’t be too hot to wear in the warm weather we are experiencing in the UK at the moment.
The pattern actually came together really easily in the end, and I was delighted to be able to hand it over to my friend who was over the moon with her gift.
To be able to bring a little bit of joy to someones life who is battling a serious illness was amazing. Sewing is often something I do to pass the time or selfishly make myself something new, so to be able to put my skills to a much better use was amazing.
I wish my friend all the best and know that her positive attitude to life will serve her well.
This post is all about my love of sewing patterns and making a pledge to myself to make more from my collection of lovely craft books.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a hoarder of sewing patterns. Recently my husband bought me a filing cabinet for the spare room with the idea that I could have two drawers for my sewing patterns and the other drawers would be used for other things.
Until I was forced to delve into my drawers, on to my shelves and in to cupboards to sort out the patterns I had accumulated, I honestly didn’t realise how my ‘collection’ had grown.
Not only had I got a number of printed and pdf patterns I have purchased, I had also got loads of ‘free’ patterns I’d either been given or (in most cases) got free on sewing magazines.
As well as more than filling two drawers of my new filing cabinet – I also tided my numerous sewing books and wondered how many of these publications I had actually made projects from.
So, I made a promise to myself that firstly I would donate my unwanted patterns to my local charity shop (this was before the recent ‘pattern swap’ hosted on Instagram) and that I would make more clothing and craft projects from my much loved books that in the past I’ve spent ages browsing through but not done much else with!
For this year’s Big Stitch I’ve turned a man’s shirt in to a smart sleeveless top. Read how I did this here.
The British Heart Foundation’s ‘The Big Stitch’ has taken place during July, designed to inspire sewers to create something new from something old.
If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that although I’m new to upcycling, I actually really enjoy it.
It was about this time last year when I upcycled something for the first time, and I had never really considered the vast array of potential new projects that could be found amongst various things previously donated by someone else.
If you can be bothered to unpick an item of clothing from the charity shop you could end up with some fabric, a zip and buttons for a fraction of the price of buying all of the items individually.
To do this I unpicked all of the buttons, I will use these on another project, and then cut along all of the seams in the original shirt. I cut up the seam of the arms, cut off the cuffs and slowly opened each piece of fabric out flat on my table to see how much fabric I had to make something new with.
I really had no idea what I was going to make in the beginning, I considered making a book bag and make-up bag but finally settled on a sleeveless top.
I used the Sew Over Cami Top as a basis for my transformation although due to limited resources I couldn’t cut the the sections as directed on the pattern pieces. For the back – I cut two pieces adding a 1.5 cm seam allowance in the centre back seam and cut the facing pieces on the bias as I couldn’t squeeze them on to my fabric in any other way (I used the shirt arms to do this).
I used the front of the original shirt (minus the button band) to make the back of my new top, and used the back of the original shirt to cut my new front on the fold.
This probably sounds like it took ages to do, but actually this was a fairly speedy process and more than anything I really enjoyed being creative in a different way.
Although the deadline for The Big Stitch has now passed, I’d still recommend popping along to your local charity shop to see whats available. In my opinion its a win win situation – you are donating to charity by purchasing something in the first place and then you get some new fabric and other supplies to use on a project of your choice.
Did you take part in The Big Stitch this year? I’d love to hear what you made. There are some fantastic pictures of competition entries on the British Heart Foundation website if you want to check them out.
This week I have reviewed the new Tilly and the Buttons Stevie pattern, find out how I got on here.
As soon as I saw the new Tilly and the Button’s pattern I thought it was right up my street. So, I got online as soon as I could to order myself a copy, carefully planning a bit of time to sew myself a new dress.
If you haven’t used Tilly’s pattern’s before they are ideal for beginner sewists as well as more experienced sewers wanting to make, in this case, a quick project.
The Stevie pattern can be made in to either a dress or a top and is ‘boxy’ in its design. The pattern has kimono sleeves and cute back detailing that can either be finished with a neck-tie or button closure. There are no darts or zips to insert and no sleeves to set-in – meaning there are limited pieces to both cut out and sew together.
I cut a size 3 at the top and eased down into a size 4 at the bottom. I initially used the 1.5 cm seam allowance advised on the pattern, then tried on the dress to check the fit before I finished the side seams with my overlocker.
At this point the dress felt a bit too loose for me. The dress is supposed to be loose which is perfect for summer, although I just didn’t think it was a very flattering shape on me personally.
In order to tailor in my dress, I decided to put the dress on inside out and pin the side seams to get my desired fit. I then marked over my pins with my chalk to ensure that even if any of my pins fell out, I would still know where to sew when my project was back on my sewing machine.
This process was a bit of trial and error and I repeated the above steps a couple of times before I was happy. Although this took a bit of extra time, I have to remind myself that its not about how quickly I make a project – its about enjoying the process and at the end of the day wanting to wear what I have created.
I used a blue floral quilting cotton to make my dress. It’s a fabric I’ve had in my stash for a few months, but it thought it would be perfect for this.
Thanks to other people noting the dress comes out of the pack a little short, I also lengthen the dress my 4 inches as I wanted it to finish just above my knee (I’m 5’10).
I also lowered the neckline slightly and amended the shape of the neckline facing accordingly.
I finished the back of my dress with the button option – although rather than using a hair elastic to make the ‘button loop’ I simply folded a piece of the dress fabric in to a similar shape and sewed that in place instead. I didn’t really like the idea of using a hair band as I’ve tried that before and with a bit of wear I discovered that it popped out of my facing (even though I stitched it in place) – but I guess this is down to personal preference.
I couldn’t wait to wear my new dress out and about so spent every spare moment I had last weekend to try to finish my project!
I think I will try to make the top version next time with the neck ties instead of the button closure. I have a lovely cotton lawn fabric in my stash that has a pencil design on it so think I will use that 🙂
Anyway, back to my new top, I was excited to see that free in the latest edition of Love Sewing Magazine there is a quick Simple Sew top to make called the Zadie Top. It’s a boxy kimono sleeve top that is designed to be easy to pull over your head – ready to go out the door, easy especially in the warm weather we are having in the UK at the moment.
The top is supposed to stitched down the centre seam and back seam (joining two sections together on each side) and finished with a facing. Although, instead I decided to cut my pieces on the fold and then tailor it in a little at both sides to get the desired fit.
I did find that the pattern came up quite big, I cut out a size 10 at the top of the pattern and eased down into the size 12 at the hip. It is supposed to be a loose fitting top but – it was a bit too loose for me so I took quite a bit out of the side sections and still have plenty of room to pop it over my head to wear comfortably.
The top is also supposed to be finished with a facing around the neckline – but I simply overlocked this area, created a double fold and stitched it in place. This worked okay for me, but it may not depending on how stable your fabric is.
I’m really happy with the finished result, particularly as I made it in just one evening when Neil, my husband, was watching the football. Plus, I picked up the floral material I used on holiday earlier this year – so that adds an extra something special to it for me.
I hope you’ve had a good week? What are you working on at the moment?
I thought I would write a bit of a different blog post this week as I think it’s important to remember why as sewers we do what we enjoy and sometimes take a step back and reflect about why we love to be creative.
I thought I would write a bit of a different blog post this week as I think it’s important to remember why as sewers we do what we enjoy and sometimes take a step back and reflect.
As you know if you have read my posts before, I love to sew. I, like many others, often spend ages online browsing blogs, Instagram and vlogs in search of new ideas or inspiration for my projects but it can be a bit overwhelming when your ‘to sew’ list is growing and (in some cases) out of control!
As I write this post, I’m sat at home sheltering from the hot sunshine (I’m not good with the heat) and wondering which project I should make next. There are always so many competitions or sewing challenges to take part in online and my gut reaction is always to say ‘yes, count me in’, however, sometimes I just want a bit of ‘me time’ rather than racing to the finish-line to meet a deadline of some sort.
Our lives are filled with challenges of lots of different shapes and sizes and our hobbies, sewing or not, in my opinion should be enjoyed rather than being just another thing that stresses us out.
Being a part of the online sewing community is amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some lovely people both in person and via social media. There are hundreds of gorgeous things being created all of the time and i’m so thankful to be a very small part of such a wonderful group of people – that inspire and encourage each and everyday.
From now on though, I’m going to be a bit kinder to myself – thinking what I want to make and how this will fit in with my other clothing. Hopefully this will allow me to take a much needed step back and remember why I sew – to chill out and be happy.
I don’t know about you but if I have an evening to myself, I can’t think of anything better than putting on my PJs, getting some snacks and sewing something – it takes me away from any worries and allows me to simply concentrate on being creative.
If you don’t sew already, I’d recommend it. I wish I’d started to sew years ago.
My latest pattern obsession is with the Sew Over It Tulip Skirt. I’ve made three so far and hope to squeeze in another soon.
I’m not sure what is is about me and getting obsessed with patterns but when I find one I find one I like I LOVE it.
My latest pattern obsession is with the Sew Over It Tulip Skirt. I’ve made three so far and hope to squeeze in another soon.
I was initially a bit worried about if the shape of the skirt would suit me and if it would make my hips long bigger than they are, but actually I was pleasantly surprised that it clinches me at the waist and skims over my hips nicely.
So far, I’ve made one from a medium weight blue denim, one from a pink denim with a bit of stretch and another from a lightweight cotton (I lined this one as I thought it may not stick to my tights so much then).
The tulip shape is completely new to me. I mainly wear a-line skirts mixed in with the occasional pencil skirt for good measure, but I guess the tulip shape is a cool middle ground!
I’ve worn my skirts for lots of different things so far including into the office (not the blue denim one) and out for lunch etc. I’d love to be able to say I’d worn them on an evening out too but I’m quite boring these days and hardly ever go out for
Now I need to think about what my next version will be made of. Have you got any ideas? It would be great to hear some of your thoughts. I’ve uploaded a few pictures of my current skirts – I’m thinking may be a spotty version, a floral cotton sateen or a different coloured denim next perhaps?
My latest sewing project was upcycling a floral skirt I bought from a local charity shop.
I had a bit of free time last weekend so decided to take a wander into town and browse the shops. I don’t know about you but I love exploring my local charity shops as there are often lots of bargains to be had and interesting pieces to be found that you wouldn’t necessarily find in the regular high street chain stores.
If you have read my blog before, you will know that I try to make as many of my own clothes as I can but sometimes it is nice to treat yourself to something new that is ready-made.
Last year, I got a taste of upcycling for the first time by turning a short sleeved jumpsuit I found in a charity shop into a long sleeved cropped jumper. This sparked by enthusiasm to try to breath a new lease of life in to other clothes too, whether that be items I already have in my wardrobe or other items I could pick up from a second-hand shop.
My most recent project centres on a floral skirt I found in my local Sue Ryder charity shop. The skirt was too big for me but I loved the print of the fabric and thought it had a lot of potential to be transformed into something I would love to wear over the summer months.
Here’s how I did it…firstly I cut the original waistband off (this was a simple elastic band in-cased in a material tubing). Then cut straight up the back seam and ironed the fabric. I then measured the length and decided to cut a new waist band from the top of the original skirt (this worked well on two counts….1) I wanted to create a new waist band and 2) I wanted to shorten the length of my new skirt anyway).
The original skirt only had one seam so immediately I thought it had potential to be gathered – turning the original back seam in to a front button front closure instead.
I gathered the skirt to fit my waist band that I had interfaced and folded 1.5 inches in on both sides of the skirt (these were interfaced also) to form my new button placket.
To finish – I then added the waistband facing, measured where I wanted to position my buttons on the front, stitched them on and hemmed my skirt.
This was a fairly speedy project but it was so satisfying to know that I had been able to breath a new lease of life into a previously tired looking skirt that someone had donated to the charity shop I visited.
Refashioning and upcycling has become trendy in recent times, but I have not decided to try it out for this reason. For me its about being able to be creative and using my imagination rather than a regular sewing pattern to create something truly original. Its also a really inexpensive way to buy fabric whilst also being a bit environmentally friendly – reusing old fabrics rather than buying new materials. I’d definitely recommend giving upcycling a go if you haven’t tried it – I am no expert but I’ve really enjoyed altering the projects I’ve tried so far.
What are you working on sewing-wise at at minute? I’d love to hear about your projects.
To date, I’ve used the pattern seven times and I’m sure that will not be the last. I love clothes that you can just pop over your head, that don’t need any particular styling and you are good to go. The Coco pattern allows you to do just that.
For my most recent top, I decided to slightly deepen the neckline and shorten the sleeves so I can wear it right now. As I write this blog post it is very warm outside so I’m sheltering indoors to take a break from the sun for a while. I know I shouldn’t complain, I love the summer but I don’t handle the heat too well for long periods of time 🙂
My new top is made out of a beautiful mustard cotton jersey that I picked up from Coles Sewing Centre in Nottingham when I met up with a group of lovely local sewers recently. I only bought one metre of jersey and with a bit of careful cutting, managed to squeeze in my new top.
As part of this post, I also wanted to share with you a few of my other Coco outfits and why I like them so much. So, to do this I’ve made a list!
Its quick and easy to make
The instructions are suitable for beginners through to more advanced sewers
The pattern has loads of options as it can be made in lots of different colours / patterned jerseys and looks completely different
The dress looks great with a narrow belt
I lengthened my dresses by two inches so its perfect for tall ladies like me
It can be worn for loads of different occasions including to the office under a jacket or with pumps for a more casual day out
There are lots of pictures to be found online of other peoples Coco projects so there is lots of inspiration available at the click of a button
Have you made the Coco pattern? What did you think of it? I’d love to see or hear about your projects.
I was lucky enough to get bought the book as a gift and literally couldn’t wait to jump in and make my first project.
About the book
If you are new to sewing with knit fabrics this book will guide you through the motions every step of the way. One of the things I like best about Tilly’s patterns is that the instructions are written in an easy to understand format, that makes them straight forward to use and helps you to increase your confidence as your skills develop.
The book includes info about buying knit fabrics (talking you through the different types available), fitting knit clothing, sewing with stretch fabrics on a regular sewing machine or with an overlocker and a variety of patterns that can be traced from the pattern pages at the back of the book.
Whether you like lounging at home in jogging pants and a hoodie or like to wear simple yet stylish dresses, this book has a bit of everything. Basically, as long as you like the idea of sewing with knit fabrics, this book will have you sorted!
What I made
I made the Bibi Pencil Skirt. I’ll be honest, me and pencil skirts don’t normally get on! The amount of times I have gone in to shop changing rooms and tried on ‘ready to wear’ fitted skirts and they have not looked great cannot be counted on two hands. The problems normally arise as I have a small waist and larger hips, plus I’m quite tall (5’10) so generally I’m just not the right shape to buy shop-ready pencil skirt designs!
Anyway, who cares about shop-bought when you can just make your own?! If you haven’t made a pencil skirt before I think the Bibi Skirt would be a good one to start with as it only has a couple of pattern pieces (one cut four times for the skirt and a second for the waistband).
How I found making my new skirt
Well, the book suggests that the skirt is crying out for different coloured panels to be used – may be one colour for the side panels and another colour for the panels at the front and back. I’m sure this would look fab on loads of people, but when I tried it I just didn’t think it was for me. Initially, I cut out two panels in a emerald green ponte roma and the others in a floral knit. I sewed it up (this is pretty quick to do), and tried it on but it just didn’t suit me. I felt really ‘hippy’ in it as the different coloured panels were drawing my eyes to the widest part of my bottom / hips, basically I just knew I wouldn’t want to wear it if I felt uncomfortable.
So, I decided to ditch my first effort (I always find it sad to put something I have spent time making in the bin) and start again.
My husband said that he liked the skirt shape on me which was lovely of him as wearing close fitting skirts is new to me, I’m normally more of an a-line girl.
Second time around was SO much better. I used a green ponte fabric that has a black rose design printed on it, I picked this up from a local shop. The skirt can be made out of a metre of fabric so it was not only easy to make, it is fairly inexpensive too.
I found that the hips fitted me correctly but the waist so a bit baggy at first. I would recommend basting the skirt together on your sewing machine to try it on inside out, this way you can check the fit and mark where you need to make any changes.
When I was happy with the fit, I then used my overlocker to stitch it together. I used the same fitting method for the waistband to, I basted it to the skirt, alining the side seams and seeing where I needed to bring it in a bit.
Apart from the fitting described above, I added two inches to the hem of the skirt (before cutting it out) as I wanted my hemmed garment to come just above my knee. This is something I often do with Tilly’s patterns as I find they always come up a bit short on me.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, definitely! I’ve worn my Bibi Skirt into the office a few times, but I think it would also look nice dressed up with heels for a more snazzy night out on the town.
Can’t wait to start my next Stretch! project – not sure if I’m going to make the Frankie Baseball T-Shirt or the Joni Dress next, I will keep you posted.
Have you made anything from this book yet? I’d love to hear about your projects 🙂
Carrying on with my mission to make myself clothes that I can get maximum wear out of, I made the Sew Over It Cami Top.
Carrying on with my mission to make myself clothes that I can get maximum wear out of, I considered where I had a gap in my wardrobe and decided I needed more tops that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
Enter the Sew Over It Silk Cami Top Pattern. I’ve never made a cami top before, in fact I am often completely put off making them as the idea of having to ‘turn through’ tiny shoe-string straps fills me with dread.
However, the Sew Over It Cami Top is different. It has quite sizeable straps, plenty wide enough to both construct easily and when made up is fine to wear a bra underneath.
The PDF pattern didn’t take long to piece together as it is such a quick project too, which is always a winner in my eyes.
The pattern suggests using French seams although I instead stitched the top up in the ‘regular’ way and overlocked the inside seams instead. I don’t think it really matters – I guess it just depends how you want it to look on the inside.
So far, I have made two of these tops but sure I will make more. One is made in a cream cotton lawn and the other is made in a grey sateen fabric with a flamingo print. I also have a few other bits of fabric in my stash I’m already thinking may work as a cami too so I will share any more I make on Instagram! I managed to get both tops out one a metre of fabric (with a bit of creative cutting) so its a great stash-buster if you want it to be.
I’ve already worn these tops on my recent holiday, out for food and plan to wear them into the office over the summer months maybe tucked into a skirt.
Before I make any of my sewing projects I tend to do a bit of looking around online to find inspiration. The idea of sharing creativity to me is ace so I hope you enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy seeing all of your wonderful makes.
I’d love to hear what you’re making at the moment.
Jeans for me are an essential wardrobe item so I decided to make the Sew Over It Mia Jeans and love the pattern!
Jeans for me are an essential wardrobe item. At the start of this year I decided that I wanted to make myself a few more clothes that I can wear all of the time, rather than just launching into making cute dresses etc that can only be worn on special occasions.
My free-time wardrobe is essentially denim, whether it be me wearing my favourite denim skirts or pulling on a pair of comfortable jeans – I seem to go to my ‘denim staples’ more than anything else.
This was a first for me really as I had never bought an e-book before and had never really been interested in the concept of ‘digital learning’. However, as the Sew Over It book is filled full of cool projects I felt were right up my street I decided to make an exception and purchase a copy.
Having already made the Molly Top (the Molly Dress is still on my ‘to sew’ list but haven’t got round to it yet), I wanted to have a go at making the Mia Jeans.
If you are unfamiliar with this pattern, I would say the finished product is more like a jegging than stereotypical jeans as they don’t have any front pockets and are a fairly skinny design through the legs.
I ordered the stretch denim for the project from Sew Over It and then picked up a regular zip and jeans button from my local market.
The instructions are easy to follow for this project in the e-book and helpfully you can amend the seem allowance down the side seams to suit you. The pattern suggests that you machine tack the side leg seams in place with a 2.5cm seam allowance then try on the jeans to see how they fit. you can then adjust as needed before stitching in place for real.
I found that the 2.5cm was fine for me, although now I have been wearing the jeans for a while I think next time I may make the calf area slightly looser for comfort.
The pattern suggests using a stretch interfacing for the waistband, which is a good idea if you want the waistband to mould to your body shape. I’m pleased I followed this tip as I think if I’d used a regular interfacing the jeans may have been too stiff around the top.
Unfortunately, the denim I used doesn’t hold its shape very well so after a couple of wears they do need to be washed but generally I love the fit.
The only point (apart from maybe altering the seam allowance slightly) I would change next time would be tailoring in the ankle seam slightly so they look more like shop-bought skinny trousers.
If you are taller than me (I’m 5’10) you may also wish to make the jeans a bit longer – they sit around my ankle but look ace with pumps / flat shoes and will be perfect to wear when the weather finally warms up!
Overall, I would certainly recommend making these jeans and I will definitely sew them again myself at some point 🙂
Have you made these jeans before? I’d love to hear what you are crafting at the moment.
Last year I took part in an online British Heart Foundation challenge to buy something from one of their charity shops and turn it in to something else. At that time, I took a short-sleeved jumpsuit and turned it in to a cropped long-sleeved jumper.
This challenge has given me a real taste for up-cycling and has made me consider how my sewing could be extra-creative (as well as more sustainable) if I started to make new clothes out of old ones.
A few months on (sometime before Christmas to be precise), I bought two jumpers from a charity shop again with a view to making one completely different sweater for myself.
One jumper was red and the other was grey – so I wanted to incorporate both colours in to my new make.
After spending a while contemplating what pattern to follow, I settled on the Sewaholic Frazer Sweatshirt. It took a bit of creative cutting to fit all of the pattern pieces on to the fabric I had to hand, but I did it in the end.
Basically, I followed the side seams on both jumpers to cut the jumpers in to flat pieces of fabric. I ended up with the original two fronts and backs to work with, as well as the fabric from the former arms too.
It was a bit surprising how I had less fabric than I thought to work with, but I made full use of everything available to me, including reusing the grey jumpers waistband – transforming it in to the new jumpers neckband instead.
As you can see from the pictures here, I decided to make the main body of the jumper grey and the contrast collar, cuffs and bottom band red.
I’m really pleased with the end result and I feel kind of proud (I know that sounds silly) that I managed to put this together for just £6 – all of which I’m sure the charity shop I got the original jumpers from will put to good use.
I’d definitely recommend upcycling if you haven’t tried it before as it adds an extra element of fun (and I guess unpredictability) to what your making.
I’d love to hear what you’re making at the moment.
This week’s YouTube video is all about what I have been sewing in October.
I have included three different projects in this video: a Grainline Linden Jumper made in fabric from Material Girl Laura (pink animal print fabric), a Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top made in material from Crafty Sew and So and a blue denim skirt using a remnant from Guthrie and Ghani.
I am also sharing a new project I have planned to make a cover for my dog’s bed. I hope you enjoy this video.
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