Cinco de Mayo dress

Cinco de Mayo! Flora-worth

So here is my Mexican dress for a crayzzeeeee Cinco de Mayo party (already previewed as part of my first May Made May round up). ¬†Yep there were Margueritas, wraps, amazing veg enchiladas (made by me & they went down a storm ūüėČ ), Sol beer with wedges of lime (I know, it’s so 90s, but we love it) & of course a pinata. Folks came dressed with differing levels of commitment to fancy dress, but there was a fine array of sombreros, ponchos & oversized fake moustachios (& you should have seen the men hahahaha!).

I felt so bad: I finished the pinata off- I know that's the point but it meant no one else could have a go after me :-(

I felt so bad: I finished the pinata off- I know that’s the point but it meant no one else could have a go after me :-(

So I am glad that I made the effort therefore to make a dress that received compliments aplenty, even from the blokes. I think they were visioning the fabric made up as shirts for themselves. Or couldn’t believe how lucky I was to find a dress that was so appropriate. Well it’s because I sew, innit?

I was organised & made this up with a few weeks to spare. Funny for me, not my usual seat-of-the-pants sewing for an event, but with the marathon I somehow predicted the unexpected lack of time, or more true, lack of energy to spend sewing afterwards.

 Cinco de Mayo dress

The fabric was the starting point. I had a most pleasurable time surfing Fancy Moon (totally obvious choice for themed fabric- I did not need to look anywhere else. ) I had remembered some Frida Khalo fabric, but it was out of stock & also too day of the dead, which when I did my research was so far away from what Cinco de mayo was all about. Like Der. This might seem obvious to peeps living in much closer proximity &/or with much better world history & general knowledge than me, but I admit to blanding out & generalising. I am so sorry- I am truly ashamed to admit how ignorant I was. It always goes to show- do your research! Having done my research it was much clearer that I needed some fierce lady Mexican riders with cacti & even fiercer steeds! Giddy up! This ‘Charras Bright ‘ Folklorico Alexander Henry fabric shot the can right off the range.

Cinco de Mayo dress

But I was only able to stretch to 1.5m so had a challenge on my hands with choice of dress pattern. AND with such a large & bold print there was real danger of being drowned in senoritas & flaring nostrils. BUT (lots of emphasis here with the capitalisation- this is important!) – BUT ‚Äď I also wanted a pattern that allowed the images on the print to show & not get lost in gathers or pleats. So where do I go for such a dress pattern ‚Äď one that I have used before? Why the Hepworth dress by Sinbad & Sailor. However, due to the size of the print, I felt that I needed a different bodice, one that showed more flesh. Not knowing how low the neckline would be on me I went for the Flora dress ‚Äď By Hand London.

And I moved the zip from the centre back to the side. What forethought, I am still pleased with myself on that one!

Matching the bodice to the skirt though was not without its trials. I lengthened the bodice when I cut it out first of all as I wanted it to hit at waist level. Then there was the trial & error exercise matching the bodice darts to the skirt darts. That took a few attempts & lots of line drawing on the skirt ūüėČ

Dart matching

Dart matching

But got there in the end.

Cinco de Mayo

Once I had done that I could attach the skirt to the bodice & then try on. I did have to adjust the bodice length ‚Äď I think I had been over generous, so once on I could mark where it needed to be & resew. But for all that, it wasn’t too much hard work & it came together relatively easily ‚Äď even if it was over the course of a few stints rather than solid sewing.

Cinco de Mayo

So it went down very well at the party, especially with my suede jacket & cowboy boots. I am not sure if the strappy Flora neckline suits me particularly- it’s probably why I held out originally, but it’s different from usual & nice to wear. In fact I really like the neckline with the jacket on ‚Äď just not so sure about the square straps. I won’t be making any changes though & love Mexican food, so think I will definitely use it as my no thought required outfit whenever we have Mexican! Hahahaha!!!

Now I have a bit of catching up to do, so tune back tomorrow if you are at all curious about my second Me Made May round up Рthe second ten days.  Ta ra!


Tropical reef runners! Jalie 3351

Good morning! ¬†I was asked to take part in Dress Up Party that’s happening this month at Sewsweetness – check it out, there’s loads¬†¬†of pattern reviews¬†(like sometimes several in a day!)¬†going on there! ¬†For my part I contributed my first attempt (so far) of Jalie 3351.

I shall give you a summary here, but for more information head on over to find out more :-)


I have made the Jalie running skort a few times & have been so impressed with it that I recently invested in Jalie 3351, described as ‘swim shorts’ as they have integral undies. ¬†Having made them up I can see they would be excellent as swim shorts! But that was not why I bought the pattern. I was first intrigued when Dawn, from Two on Two Off, a prolific sewist, blogger & amazing runner shared her version that she made for running. I tucked this away, with interest, but no commitment at that point. And months later Maria from How Good is That made some swim shorts using the same pattern.

When I looked it up I found it was available as a pdf download & went for it. In the UK you can get Jalie patterns from Habithat & the turnaround is very speedy! Here’s the pattern if you are buying in UK.

shorts 1

Well I made them up using my remainder of tropical reef fabric from Funki Fabrics which would be totally suitable for using for swim shorts as well (in fact that’s what Maria used, above). But remember that this fabric is not however strictly speaking ‚Äú wicking or breathable‚Ä̬†but I forsee it being less of a problem, even on warmer days, when so much of my legs are actually out. We shall of course see! No days warm enough here yet to try out. I made them without the integral undies ‚Äď just shorts. They have a side panel constructed very much like the skort (2796) to create a side pocket & interesting shaped hem.

shorts 2

What was really odd to me was the way the waistband was sewn. I still can’t get my head around it to explain it in any way useful, but it looks really neat on the outside.


I am not 100% sure that I got it right‚Ķ.it looks as if there is excess on the inside, but it is very comfy to wear. Dawn explains it much better than me & hers look like the facing is not baggy on the inside. ¬†In fact I wished I’d gone back to Dawn’s post when I was making them, as I think I would have done it differently …

Now the wearing. They are SHORT! I have to confess that the public at large did not get to see this much of my spring legs wobbling around on my run- I wore inner lycra shorts underneath & felt more decent :-)

shorts 4

But it has to be said, I do really love running in shorts & these are no exception. I like the pattern. I love that I have fishes on them & that if I want, I can use them at the beach too….

scuba circle skirt feature

Tropical jungle explosion- scuba circle skirt!

I have already shown you this skirt… hanging on rather a run of the mill wooden coat hanger against a rather mundane white door. ¬†But this, I think, is not a mundane skirt. ¬†Absolutely not.

This wild scuba fabric ¬†was a surprise gift from Josie at Fabric Godmother – she picked out something that she thought I would like. ¬†Such great gift-picking- it is totally me! ¬†It’s positively bursting with vibrant colours, lush tropical flowers with a very cheeky blend of leopard skin thown¬†in! ¬†I know of quite a few people who would be drawn to this fabric hahaha!

scuba circle skirt 1

So, this is scuba, and to be honest I had been a bit unsure of scuba. ¬†What to use it for? ¬†I did not really think I was a bodycon dress wearer. ¬†Marie at A Stitching Odyssey made a scuba skater dress (in fabric that looks very similar too!) ¬†But as it was coming into Spring, did I really want to make a dress out of something so “polyestery”? ¬†And that’s where my imagination stopped. ¬†Until that is I saw a post on the Fabric Godmother’s blog where she used black scuba to make a Hollyburn skirt. ¬†That really opened my eyes – you mean scuba can be used for skirts….with pockets? ¬†(I am wary of assuming ¬†knits can¬†handle pockets – side seam pockets & even the front pockets as on a Hollyburn- because I think you need a knit with some kind of a structure for the latter & am still uncertain about side seam pockets per se for most knits ….but that’s probably my own experience & not having cracked it yet).

scuba circle skirt 2

OK, sorry, back to scuba and skirts. ¬†I googled ‘scuba skirt’ & then narrowed in on either a scuba circle skirt or a scuba skater skirts. ¬†It became clear to me that I had enough fabric to make a circle skirt & that the scuba would give it structure, yet its weight should allow it to hang pretty well but with a sleek waist. ¬†No more prevaricating. ¬†The whole decision process possibly took longer than the making once I had decided.

scuba circle skirt 3

I used the Cake Pavlova skirt as I had previously made it in jersey (& linen here) & the jersey skirt has had a lot of wear & it is one of my faves. ¬†It has two seams & a waistband. ¬†The waistband is elasticated for the knit¬†version. ¬†I omitted the pocket this time as I thought it would mess up the already wild print ¬†& would take extra time! ¬†This skirt, people, took next to no time to make! ¬†But this is just a circle skirt, people. ¬†In a knit, perhaps one of the easiest skirts to make- seriously. ¬†No fastenings. ¬†Sew with a stretch stitch/ narrow zig zag or an overlocker & you’re away.


And guess what else saves time? ¬†Following Josie’s example I have left the hem unsewn & unfinished. ¬†[Gasp] ¬†I let the skirt hang a few days before measuring up from the floor ….& I just cut the hem at the length I wanted. ¬†It feels kind of naughty!

scuba circle skirt 4

Now wearing this skirt is like a breath of fresh air. ¬†It really does hang beautifully & being a circle skirt is not too bulky around the waist. ¬†I hate to say it but the elastic waist is also very comfortable (OMG I must be getting old!!!!! ) ¬†I would love to be wearing it as I am modelling it, wedges & bare legs- but I’ve had to layer up & stick leggings underneath it to stop the May chills. ¬†In my view though this¬†is one of those pieces that glams up causal wear! (even with leggings on!) ¬†And being a circle skirt it is so much fun moving around in it, letting the wind catch it (encouraging the wind to catch it too!), swooping down the stairs. ¬†Heaps of pleasure for those of us easily pleased :-)

Now I understand if this fabric isn’t quite to your everyday wear, but there are quite a few scuba fabrics at Fabric Godmother¬†– some more prints as well as some gorgeous solid colours with embossed details in them (so not “plain” at all but very practical !).

I am no longer fearful of scuba!  Hurrah!  I get it!


Me Made May #1

How many days should I include as we are already half way through the month & I have quite a few pics as some days had multiple outfits….I shall play it by ear & will completely forgive any lack or losing of interest if this becomes too much or if Me Made May is not your thing.

May 1st

01 May 2015


This is a new fave for lounging – but for me brings a little controversy as it is a departure from my “style” – even from my usual casual style. ¬†Expect some elaborating when I come to write about it!

May 2nd

02 May 2015


  • Blue long sleeved tshirt (unblogged)
  • Julia cardigan (mauled by cat claws after a desperately traumatic visit to the vet & is consequentially sporting a fair few holes on the right neck/ shoulder)
  • Miette skirt¬†
  • Anise jacket

I’d been to the hairdressers, whoop whoop. ¬†I love this skirt & my jacket. ¬†They must rank pretty highly in all time favorite things I’ve made.

May 3rd

Hahaha! ¬†Enter the selfie stick! ¬†I shall now look as if I am learning (badly) to play golf, or am fancying myself as a jedi….warning – shots will now have their own distinct “character” & I don’t have long enough arms to include my feet ….

For the run …

For the rest of the day pic I found a beautiful cherry tree to catch in the backdrop on my way home from visiting a friend

May 4th

04 May 2015


A trip to Stourhead for the bank holiday with a picnic!

May 5th

A day at the office:

Out with for a meal (a marathon celebration with running pals)

May 6th

06 May 2015

A full on day at work & I didn’t manage to get out to take a photograph :-(

May 7th

07 May 2015


Now it was election day & I was a poll station clerk, which was hugely interesting, but there are all sorts of rules about not leaving the building, clearly no photos & since I left the house at 6am & got home near 11pm – no proper photo. ¬†The outfit above on a hanger looks completely ‘Golden Girls’ in my mind, but truly it was much better on! ¬†And I needed the pashmina as it was blimmin freezing! ¬†I even wished I’d worn thermal tights….

May 8th

08 May 2015


Another brilliant, but long day- I was involved in the count for the local elections.

May 9th

A day with a party !  So for the domestic part of my day at home & running errands:

For the Cinco de Mayo Party

May 10th

I foolishly entered a half marathon- it was very local to me & a route that I love running. ¬†Only I was not really up for it physically & let’s just say I struggled! ¬†So the rest of Sunday was kind of me being wasted ….

The race:

The recovery:

  • Grey dot leggings again (Unblogged as yet)
  • Grey knit skirt again (unblogged as yet)
  • Merino Coco top

I think we should call it a day there, with the end of the first installment of Me Made May. ¬†How are you getting on? ¬†if you are in the UK are you as frustrated as me at the weather? ¬†I have suffered from over optimism in getting sandals out, but they are gathering dust and I am still wearing tights & had to bring my winter boots back out ….!!! ¬†Oh the weather!!!!

Emerging from a very tired place with some sneak peeks

Hello all! ¬†I think this is the longest break I have ever taken since I started my blog. ¬†I have just been near exhaustion what with post marathon recovery & an exceptionally busy time at work that clearly had to be the priority for my energies. ¬†But I am not one to harp on about things like that, but in case you were wondering about the silence….it is surprising how my creative energies get zapped & writing & social media is more vulnerable than sewing as I have managed to sew a few things before & after the marathon.

I have not taken photos / modelling shots of many of these though, so I thought, for a change I would give you a preview of what’s to come. ¬†Hanger shots ahoy!

I have made skirts.


This is using some John Kaldor fabric from Sewbox – Susan kindly gave me a remnant – not enough to sell she said, but my beady eyes had clocked it previously as being something with potential. There is no more left unfortunately, but some other John Kaldor fabrics here. ¬†It’s a brushed cotton- possibly not enough for a waistband I thought so I ordered some extra wide elastic….


Then there is this, a straight hemmed version of the Meringue skirt from the Colette Patterns Handbook using this fabric I bought from the Village Haberdashery which was in the sale earlier in the year, that has sadly sold out now.


But this one packs a punch!  This is a circle skirt using the pavlova pattern and some wild (& I mean rrrroooarr !) scuba from the Fabric Godmother.  What a treat!

I’ve made leggings, and a couple of tops, including a stripey v neck Aberdeen from Seamwork (being worn now, so not even a sneaky peek of that one today!)

dot leggings

Leggings for day wear in grey polka dots, from Tissu Fabrics


red ponte Manila  leggings by Seamwork and


leggings for running in this fabulous flashy pink/purple snakeskin also from Fabric Godmother – it has gold highlights!


And rather a fun dress for a Mexican themed party- using this Alexander Henry fabric from Fancy Moon, but you will have to wait for more pattern details!

I’ve also made some pants using the new pattern from Kitschy Koo- the Barrie boy cut briefs! ¬†But they are ALWAYS either in the wash or being worn & therefore are very elusive to photograph….a sign of success….

Now most of these, with the exception of the dress, were simple quick makes- just what I needed when feeling less than full battery powered. ¬†The dress I made over several installments, as some of it was tricky & I’d get too tired to follow it through in one go. ¬† It was good that I knew when to stop!

So I shall get photographing to show them all in 3D & as part of an outfit so that I can tell their individual stories, you know, like I usually do….

I have stacks (well more than 14) photos for Me Made May. ¬†I’ll have to split them as that’s far too much for one blog post! ¬†You see I have a lot of catching up to do¬†……so now I have made a start & got back on the blogging horse, keep watching, more to come. ¬†And a big big thank you to everyone who was so kind about my marathon in the last post …. mwah xx


Checking in! Me Made May 2015 and the Marathon

Hello!  I am here, promise! Just a mini update today while I am still recouping my energy & creative juices.  I have been sewing simple things, and actually have quite a few things to photograph & blog about Рwhen I get some energy together!  I am on leave for a few days now, so I am hoping that recharging will be complete after the long weekend.

First of all, the marathon. ¬†It went amazingly! ¬†I can report back that I have had the experience of a lifetime (which was always my goal- not the time). ¬†I ran all the way to finish in 4:51 (beating Chris Evans – just). ¬†I did not hit ‘the wall’ as we ran it to plan- keeping slow & steady.


I ran with my friend Jodie who had more in her legs & could easily have shaved a faster time, but she chose to stick with me.  As I silently internalised the mental effort to remain steadfast,  Jodie told me jokes!

Spotting 'Team Badger' at Mile 21

Spotting ‘Team Badger’ at Mile 21

If you are interested in reading more about my London Marathon experience, I’ve written about it on my other blog, here. ¬†But a massive thank you to everyone who sent me words of support, tweets, comments, crowd shouts, good vibes, the lot! ¬†I am incredibly wowed & am hugely thankful – it meant such a lot to me & still does. ¬†I could not fail to be positive when so many of you were rooting for me. ¬†I am sorry I did not reply individually to all the wonderful support on my last post – I have reread them many times in my recovery! ¬†THANK YOU xxx

Me and Jodie, 5 miles ahead

Me and Jodie, 5 miles ahead

And squeaking in, skidding across the start line, I shall be taking part in Me Made May this year, of course!

‘I, Winnie¬†of ‘Scruffy Badgertime¬†, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear only¬†me-made garments for the duration of May 2015, including run-wear. Plus I will take off-site¬†photos¬†five days per week’.



I was in two minds about my approach for Me Made may this year – either try to limit my clothing to a “capsule” wardrobe – which is more of a challenge as I have so many me made clothes in my cupboard, but then, part of the fun is rediscovering other things I don’t usually grab as I get dressed in the morning, so I scrapped that idea. ¬†The other thing I thought that was good a previous time I did it was taking pictures of the sights in and around Bath as why not? ¬†People come here to look at them. ¬†It is a challenge though as I am REALLY self conscious taking photos with any kind of audience. ¬†Don’t laugh at me – I have ordered a selfie stick- at least I can blend into the crowds of tourists!!!

I looked at the original post for Me made may and there are 573 comments – one per participant + Zoe? ¬†Are you doing it? ¬†Right, it’s May 1st and I need to get out of my me made PJs….


Trying to stand out amongst the 40,000- marathon outfit

You might know that I am running the London marathon on Sunday. ¬†Yes, all sorts of emotions are circulating, this is going to be the experience and pinnacle of my running adventures and I am going out there to soak it all up. ¬†It’s about enjoying as many of the 26.2 miles as possible, not about a time. ¬†I may have to walk, that’s OK. ¬†I might take 4 and a half hours, I am more likely to take five or more. ¬†That is OK too. ¬†My goal is only to enjoy the amazing experience that is the London marathon. ¬†The sights, the crowds, the other participants…..I mean it’s the biggest….& I am incredibly lucky to have some awesome support. ¬†My family and friends are coming to London to cheer me on! ¬†And my parents will be watching all the coverage on the off chance that they can catch a glimpse of me. ¬†So I want to make it easy to spot me in the sea of runners. ¬†I know I will need to feel their love, it’s helped me – the only other time I completed a marathon– at critical times. ¬†Of course I decided to make my own marathon¬†outfit.


I took ages choosing fabrics on Spoonflower with the primary aim of looking as stand out as possible amongst a mass of colour and fancy dress.

I looked at fabrics as if I was seeing them from afar. ¬†Using the performance knit, again I made the top out of these rainbow scallops and the skirt out of these fishy scales in turquoise and white. ¬†Remember, I wasn’t trying to look neat & matchy but as eye catching as possible without becoming Mario, She-Ra, Paddington Bear or an oversized item of kitchen equipment.

I can’t tell you any more about the top and skirt as the skirt is made up by me, and the top has mutated too much from its original for me to even remember where it started.

I will be sharing a tutorial soon for how to make the headband though.


There is a bit of a theme… friend has given me nails that on their own will stand out from the crowd!!

marathon nails

And I added rainbow elastic to my bumbag to match the rainbow ribbons another friend gave me that I have added to my shoes :-)


Worried about how to carry various bits & pieces around, I also made an armband using my lucky badger fabric – I only had enough to make the pocket, but it’s badger power! ¬†I used Melissa’s free and revamped running armband pattern, available here. ¬†Super useful – & btw it comes in different sizes.


Now lovely readers, here’s the thing. ¬†If you are watching, you might even spot me now. ¬†I know when I watched last year (the origin of my entry this year!), with the vain hope of spotting people I knew were running, I had no idea even of what colours they were wearing. ¬†Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of the rainbow?

And if any of you are in the crowds….please shout for me! ¬†There might be times when I REALLY need some words of encouragement.

If I am looking like this- that’s good, cheer me on!



If I am looking like this….

marathonGet me back on my feet! ¬†Even more so if I am in this position….bring me gin!

marathon And don’t let me get like this until the end …

marathon But hopefully this is my end…

marathon 7Followed by loads of hugs (maybe with random strangers as well as loved ones) & a hobble to an Italian for the best pint of beer & pizza Рever.

u badger

To anyone else running the marathon this Sunday, have a great time & I hope you get what you want out of it too. xx ¬†To anyone who shouts for me a massive thank you in advance- you won’t know just how much it will help us all :-)





Arielle skirt

Arielle skirt – two times

Have you seen the latest pattern by Tilly and the Buttons? ¬†It’s the Arielle Skirt and I was one of the testers this time. ¬†I have to admit to copious amounts of glee when I saw the line drawings as it is rather a cutie- a skirt than can be sassy or sweet¬†depending on how you make & style it- slimline pencil skirt, buttoning up distinctly off centre. ¬†It can be lined or not lined and comes in two lengths (although you can make it the length you want if happy to decide as you are sewing- that’s what I did).


So I made two versions, wanting to be a diligent tester, but using fabric I already had in my stash (isn’t that what’s so great about fabric stashes – almost spontaneous sewing?!) ¬†I made a lined denim version first (using a poly satin lining) , followed by an unlined jumbo cord dusky pink number (with pink flower buttons – wheeee!) ¬†None of the fabrics had any lycra content, but I could imagine it being one of those skirts you don’t know you are wearing¬†in a stretch sateen or a stretch denim.

Arielle skirt

My measurements came in between sizes, so I blended between sizes & fit as I went along, basting the side seams until I was happy with fit.  The photos you see are of my tester versions and how I sewed them to get the fit I wanted.


I have since changed the buttons as these were *a bit inferior* – were they even metal I have to ask myself. More than one popped off at times of strain!

It is such a flattering style & I have to say I have worn the denim version a lot Рit makes me feel quite parisienne & in denim is super useful Рdressing up or down (eg it looked awesome with my suedette jacket and sixties blouse on Friday evening with heeled booties).  The cord version a bit chunkier & is one of those fabrics that will come out again for winter & will be worn with something big & incredibly fluffy.

So it’s slim fitting with a high waist, no waistband, but a curved facing. ¬†It reminds me of the Colette Patterns Beignet but it is different in a number of respects. ¬†There are far fewer pieces – the Beignet is made up of lots of panels – three backs and maybe four fronts – plus th linings & facings. ¬†I can remember how many seams there are to sew….the Arielle skirt has one back and two fronts, plus facings. ¬†And Lining too if you go down that route. ¬†I also think the shape of Arielle is a little more pencil skirt & less A line than the Beignet too. ¬†Plus of course, the button front is very much off centre over your hip. ¬†And no belt loops/ tie belt.

As I mentioned earlier, I went a bit off road with the length- Tilly provides finished measurements & I saw that my usual above the knee-but-not-too-mini length fell in between the two, so I veered from the pattern in just this aspect.

Here is a shot of the lining & the beautiful curved seam that this involves.

Arielle skirt lining


This is probably the most complicated part of the process, but Tilly’s instructions offer lots of detail about how to achieve this, and if you don’t feel up to it, you can always make an unlined skirt (like my pink one). ¬†But if you do go for it, make sure you allow time to admire. We sew such a lot of straight lines usually don’t we? ¬†Well I do anyway.

So what do you think? ¬†I think it’s really cute & just right for seeing in the beginning of Spring. ¬†I also love the ideas Tilly has put together for using different fabrics¬†here. ¬†I feel quite pedestrian making mine in solid colours!

Outfits styled with:

Maria Denmark Birgitte basic tee (cream) with Brigitte scarf and my Breton Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top

suede jacket (3)

Replacing an old fave- my new suede jacket

For this month’s Minerva blogging network project I decided to try something new.¬†¬†This time I decided that I would embark upon a new adventure.¬†¬†¬†¬†I was inspired to try to replace an old favourite¬†–¬†a suede¬†jacket that I have¬†to say was pretty cool. My original ¬†suede jacket was from the 70s it had been custom made out of real suede for my Mum and in the late 80s it fell into my hands.¬†¬†It was a classic. It had huge rounded lapels¬†and it was double-breasted but snug fitting with an¬†A line skirt.¬†¬†¬†¬†When I took it over as a¬†sixth¬†former¬†who¬†wanted who wanted a cool suede jacket, I chopped it off¬†and glued¬†a¬†new hem¬†to make a bum¬†covering¬†jacket.¬†¬†A successful transformation.¬†¬† This jacket became my favourite companion to gigs, the pub, and was synonymous with my¬†social¬†life.¬†It was my partner in crime of good times.¬†¬†Imagine then my dismay when over 25 years later we became parted forever when it got lost¬†(or stolen I think¬†and sold on¬†eBay).¬†¬†¬†But it occurred to me at the time that I could try to make myself a new one. It would probably never be as cool as the 70s suede jacket with big lapels¬†but¬†it might¬†become my new¬†companion of good times.

kwik sew 3334


And what better place to seek some kind of suitable suedette than Minerva?  I’d asked Vicki to send me some samples so that I could pick the ultimate suede jacket.  Even though I do not wear very much brown, I plumped for a chocolatey brown,  and found some awesome kind of tortoiseshell animal print kind of buttons that I thought would look pretty sharp against the brown.

kwik sew 3334

I have been wearing it- hence the slight creasing …


Choosing the pattern took me a few swipes. I sort of knew what I wanted-  it had to be semi-fitted single breasted with quite a low neckline.   And I encountered Kwik Sew 3334 which has options for sleeve length and jacket length and a notched collar or a shawl collar.   It is also princess seamed and designed to be unlined which I thought could be interesting with the kind of suede I would be using.  It has a nice finish on its reverse after all.

kwik sew 3334

So sewing suedette requires a reasonable amount of confidence as you do not want to have to unpick & resew seams- there will be needle holes.  I did use a regular machine needle, however, suedette is a fabric with a sueded right side, and almost a knit look wrong side- quite a silky feel, which is good for wearing as an unlined jacket Рno friction getting arms in and out!  Pressing seams I found worked well with a hot iron through a silk organza press cloth.  I was far to scared to try anything directly on the suedette as I worried about leaving a possible shine.

suede jacket - finishing

It wasn’t until I started sewing, that I recognised a need for seam finishing. ¬†Again, being an unlined jacket quickly led me to bias bind the seam edges (?Hong Kong finish?)- but I added the binding once I had pressed the seams out, as the bound edges would be lumpy & potentially show through to the right side. ¬†How much binding? ¬†I estimate at least 6m! ¬†I had to go back to my local haberdashery for more. ¬†But it’s cute, don’t you think? ¬†Polka dots :-)

suede jacket


Another finish I deployed due to the unlined jacket imperative, ¬†turned out rather well I think. ¬†You may have come across that trick to sew your fusible interfacing wrong sides together with the facing along the outside edge of the facing – the edge that doesn’t get caught in the neckline seam? ¬†Well, this was one of those very welcome lightbulbs, since the edge of the facing didn’t need binding, overlocking, or anything else, once I had sewn it tis way. ¬†Very tidy.

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Here it is from the back, undone.

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and from the side.

Now the issue I anticipated was how to hem the jacket when there would be no lining. I talked to Vicki about it  and she sent me some hemming tape to experiment with. I haven’t ever used this before but did some trials comparing iron-on hemming tape with instant hemming and also seeing what it would look like if I hand sewed really carefully.   Here are the samples.

suede jacket

I decided in the end that the hemming tape gave a better finish than the others mainly because it did not show up as much inside  and from the outside it seems seems to have less impact.


Jacket from the back buttons done up

I think I could have managed to¬†sew a nice hem myself, but wanted to give the hemming tape a go, because it ‚Äėwas there‚Äô, and it was also a neat way to finish the hem edge at the same time.¬† I tested it to make sure it was not too rigid from the outside- it would have been rather¬†awful if you could see the line of the hemming tape as a stiff edge.

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Whilst I am pleased with it, I think that needing to press it over the bias bound seam edges, has produced a couple of lumpy bits that do show if you are looking….

And finally, no photos to show, but I did not bother with bound buttonholes for once- I just sewed regular buttonholes on my machine.  Simple.

So that is my treatise on making my replacement suede jacket. ¬†Will it become my partner of good times? ¬†It’s such a cute shape, I really like it, and it comes into its own as Spring arrives. ¬†It doesn’t have pockets though- my original suede jacket was equipped in this requirement which is useful if you like going out without handbags. ¬† But I do love a good brown suede- it is a warmer kinder colour than black & I think goes with all sorts of colour combos, black included. ¬†It has so far been worn into town & also into work on some more casual days….it really makes me realise why I love jackets & why I could do with more – maybe even like this.

Surf to summit badger

Surf to summit running top – a very personal edition

I don’t just sew clothes for running, despite a recent spate, but since I have some new photos to share, here is the running top that was always meant to be. ¬†For me, that is. ¬†And you’ve already¬†see why :-)

Last year I invested in some Spoonflower fabric when there was a free shipping deal.  Along with the floral leggings of nothing but flowers, I also bought some badger fabric in performance knit.  When I went back to Spoonflower to link to the fabric I had used, I am sure there are now more badger prints than there were when I made my choice,   Are badgers actually cool to anyone else but me?

surf to summit badger


Anyway, this was always going to be a top, but just which top to make?  It was not clear until the Surf to Summit top pattern came out from Fehr Trade.  I have made a few of these and love the high neckline & long sleeves (with mitts) & general slim-but-not-too-slim fit for winter running.

With just a metre of badger fabric I needed to add some contrast & had some cream wicking lycra that matched the badger fabric well enough. That’s another¬†¬†good thing about the Surf to Summit top- plenty of pieces for playing around with colour blocking (or eeking out fabric!) ¬†Actually if it was 100% badger, maybe that would have been too much?

Surf to summit badger (2)

But it’s Spring! ¬†Yes, I know. ¬†The chances of me getting much wear out of this top this side of the year dramatically reduced as soon as the clocks changed, but you know, there could still be a frost half way into May according to the gardeners I know. ¬†An evening run in some inclement weather may require the badger to be brought forth! ¬†Otherwise it can have some summer hibernation, far away from any¬†horrible¬†busy roads! ( And there is an option to make a short sleeved surf to summit top but I wanted it to be for winter running you see.)

Surf to summit badger (3)

So you know I have already reviewed this top pattern here & another example here.  I am still not quite there with perfecting my fit, & luckily for me, I was able to discuss with my sewing guru (my Mum).  Nothing I can do for this particular top, which is OK as it is completely wearable.  But my next version will involve increasing the size to give more room in the top, bicep part of my sleeve, & probably a bit more scooping under the arm too.  I think I must have flabby armpits (NICE!  The things we share in the interest of sewing learning!).

Surf to summit badger (4)

Mitts folded back on one hand, in operation on the other.


You can see in the pic above that if you are using a fabric with a right & wrong side, that you need to decide which version of the mitts gets the right side. ¬†For me, and the way the pattern instructs you, is to make the open cuff show the fabric’s best side & mitts deployed show the fabric’s wrong side. ¬†This works out fine for this version especially with that cream contrast – almost looks like I designed it that way!

The other lucky thing was that my Dad, enjoyed being the man behind the camera as I larked around in the misconception that I needed to do something silly to entertain him.

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I didn’t stay still for long enough. ¬†It must be the lycra. ¬†And I didn’t come prepared with a whole running outfit to model. ¬†Ultimate Trousers as jeans if you are interested. :-)

Surf to summit badger (5)

I have some scraps of badger fabric left & have been inspired on Twitter by what to use it for. ¬†Possibly a Steeplechase leggings yoke, an armband pocket for gel carrying, & / or some badger running bows. ¬†So even though this will not be coming with me to London for the marathon, some scrap of badger will. ¬†(And let’s hope it’ll be more than just a scrap of me left at the end ūüėČ ¬†)