Wednesday, June 14, 2017


 Hello sewers!

My friend is getting married in July, and my fellow bridesmaid and I are making our dresses. In preparation, I've been finishing up old projects and making toiles of the By Hand London Anna Dress. This is a hack of that bodice, with sleeves from the Emery Dress and a bodge-self-drafted A-line skirt.

I'm really happy with the fit of this, mostly - I think the armscyes could be a little bigger and lower next time. But I made an error with the zip, and put in a 7" side zip (the buttons are sewn-on, no button holes) - it doesn't really leave comfortable space for getting it on and off. So next time I'll go with the 22" back zipper as instructed in the Anna pattern.

The fabric is a block printed cotton from indianstores on Etsy, and the buttons are stash. Thanks to Shelley for taking the pics!

Until soon!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress

Hello Sewers!

Last year I took the Vintage Shirt Dress course at Sew Over It in Islington. I loved the last class I took there, and the fact that their lovely teacher Julie was once more taking this class made me even keener. The three-evening course was great, and I left with my dress finished apart from the buttons. Then... queue it languishing in a bag for the next several months. When I tried it on I loved the bodice, but the skirt was too short and full for my liking.

Finally last weekend I took some volume out of the skirt, and added some panels in a slightly haphazard way to lengthen it. Mismatching green stash buttons and lo! The dress is done. I also added some tie tabs at the back to cinch it in a little.

I really love the fit of this dress now. I think it's kind of 80s-meets-40s - which was pretty much just the 80s anyway. The fabric is from Goldhawk Road, and was only about £4 a metre - bargain dress!

Until sooner next time, I hope! This dress took waaaay too long!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rosari Skirt

Hello spring sewers!

I've finished what I think will be the first of a few Pauline Alice Rosari Skirts! This is in a lovely dark cornflower denim from the Cloth Shop. The yellow buttons came from there too in fact. 

I made up the midi skirt in a size 38 and it fits pretty well straight off. The denim I used is very un-stretchy, and so this skirt feels a bit tighter as the day goes on; perhaps next time I'll use 1/2" seam allowances instead to add a bit more give.

Hmmm, appears this denim is prone to wrinkling!

But I really love this skirt! Thanks to Shelley for the alley photographs - nice to have a change of backdrop!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Horse jumpsuit

Hello sewers!

Last Saturday was a beautiful day for the Unite for Europe anti-Brexit march in London. There were lots of homemade EU-themed signs, hats and flags on show. I wore my less themed but equally handmade new jumpsuit, and took the chance before the march began to get some photos by the vile horse head statue at Marble Arch. I am really not a fan of this guy. Why is he SO huge and Godfather-overtoned? Run away, horsey, vite vite!

And that concludes public art criticism for the day. Onto the jumpsuit! This is a mash up of the trusty True Bias Hudson Pants pattern, with a Nettie bodice hack. The fabric is a lovely jersey from the Organic Cotton Company.

I extended the rise of the Hudsons by 4.5" to avoid the atomic wedgie situation from my last jumpsuit, and then raised the pockets to match. Apart from leaving off the ankle bands, I made no other changes.

With the bodice, I added a button placket to the front centre, and interfaced both sides. The sleeves are self-drafted tulip ones - I can't find the online tutorial I used now, but this one looks good too. The neckband is just serged and folded under.

I really like this jumpsuit. It's comfortable and practical. And not at all a total man-repeller!

What ho! Public art in front of public art.

Thanks for reading, until soon!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Beaucoup des volants!

Bonjour mes amies!

Here I am with two new and French blouses, La Brune from Dephine et Morissette and the Suzon Shirt from Republique du Chiffon. I'm very into the ruffles that are springing up everywhere, and was excited to have a go with both these lovely patterns.

First up is the Suzon. I've seen lots of beautiful versions of these on people's blogs (Anne-Charlotte's one in particular). I used up some stash Robert Kaufman chambray I had for this, and made self-covered buttons,  which were fiddly but fun. I didn't have enough fabric to make the ruffle, but I think the contrast ended up quite nice. This is a size 38 with no alterations - I like the fit, though I wonder if I could go one smaller...

I love this pattern, and see more in my future!

La Brune is a simpler blouse, with two darts into which you insert the ruffles/volants (Google translate kept giving me versions of "steering wheel" for volants, helpful!)

I made up a size S with no alterations. I was planning sleeves, but didn't have enough of this cotton from The Cloth House to manage it. And actually I think it's pretty sweet without them anyway. Next time I'll take a 1.5cm wedge out of the shoulders, and stay stitch the neckline, as I think it bagged out a little.

I liked this fabric when I bought it, but feel it's still too much for me now. I've recently read a few other sewing bloggers saying that they are moving away from wacky prints - something I've started to feel the same about. When I first started sewing I bought quite a lot of jolly fabrics, and I'm still very attracted to them in the shops. But I just don't wear them - they don't suit me. From now on, I'm all about small small prints, and colours I actually wear - black, grey, cream and cornflower. With a bit of orange and red every now and then!

I feel excited to have realised this (again, maybe?), and to start making lots more things I'll hopefully actually wear.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Papercut Guise Pants

Hello January sewers!

I'm here with a pair of Guise Pants by Papercut Patterns, made up in the first fabric I bought online when I started sewing again two years ago. I can't remember where I bought this fabric now, but it's a quilting weight cotton with leopards on it. It turned out not ideal for these trousers, but I was imagining a wearable toile.

I made up the size S with no adjustments, except to shorten the elastic at the back to really cinch them in. As with my experience of making the Rigel Bomber, the Papercut Patterns instructions are clear and helpful. My first go with back welt pockets and my first lone fly front were managed pretty well thanks to these instructions.

The final product - major meh. It's partly the fabric - the nice pleats at the front are lost in the leopards, and the drape is lame with the quilting cotton. But I think more than that, this shape doesn't suit me. They're too low-rise for my preference - I like trousers to sit at my natural waist, and I like to tuck stuff in. These bring back memories of low-slung big trousers from my teens, not in a good way.

So, I think these will be heading charity shopwards pretty soon. But they were good experience. Onwards, to bigger and better trousers in the future!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Mélilot for Mum!

Hello fellow festive sewers!

My South African mum left for Cape Town today for two weeks. So she needed to get her Christmas shirt early! She and I went shopping a couple of months ago to the Cloth House where she spotted this elephant Indian block print cotton. I was being boring, steering her towards more neutral small prints, but she knows what she likes, and she was absolutely right!

Elephants for Mum feel particularly right (and I was reminded watching her pack today that she already has another elephant shirt!) - not only does she love them, but they are a presence in the area of South Africa she has spent most time in, the Western Cape. For many years Mum's home was near Knysna, and there is a beautiful novel by Dalene MattheeCircles in a Forest, a cry for conservation and the last remaining elephants there. So I'm thinking of this as Mum's good luck Circles in a Forest shirt...

This is my third time making the Deer & Doe Mélilot shirt, and my love for this pattern continues strong. I love everything about it; the fit is loose but still flattering, and I really like the mandarin collar option. I made this one with long sleeves as requested by this elephant fan, and I am pretty thrilled with my first finished placket effort. The instructions are clear and helpful, and though I scratched my head a bit for sure, but I'm dead proud of how they came out. 

Pachyderm placket!

As with my last two versions, I sewed up a straight size 38 and made no adjustments. We left off the pockets so as not to interrupt these tusky dudes! I French-seamed the lot, and when I was tempted to bodge that and overlock the seams I reminded myself that it was a present for Mum and that kept me honest...! 

She seems to love it, and I think she looks so very lovely in it, it makes me proud of her, and the shirt!! What a wonderful thing sewing is, to be able to cover the people you love in tokens of that love. Especially if the tokens are all-over elephants!

Merry Christmas everyone!