Watch the birdie! Biscayne blouse strikes again!

Hello again!  I seem to have taken a bit of a blog break & haven’t had time to do much writing.  Luckily there are some photos.  And pretty recent ones too.  I am managing to find some sewing time & that seems to be my release & reward when I have done some of the ‘preparation for house moving’ tasks which are quite that, ‘chores’.  I am starting early though so only have to do a little each day, but that still cuts into time I would otherwise spend blogging or sewing ….

 birdie fabric

So let’s get onto my blouse of the summer.  Usually it’s a dress but this summer I seem to have made more separates.  (If I was to pick a dress of 2015 it would definitely be the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt dress – every time I wear it, every time I iron it, I hanker for another one.  The weather is too bad to consider making another sleeveless one,  & to see if I bought enough Liberty lawn….which I am itching to.  But it might mean that I make one with sleeves in the autumn….who knows?!  )  Anyway sorry, digression over, the Biscayne Blouse by Hey June has to be my blouse of the summer.

Biscayne 1

I have made two and they both fill me with delight.  My first was a surprise joy, but enabled me to make my second out of the precious birdie fabric I bought in Truro fabrics in May.  Now I only bought 70cm of this fabric (yes, it felt expensive & I wanted to max my budget that day ;-)) & I knew I was only making a summer top out of it.  But it is wide enough for me to cut the two bodice pieces next to each other on fabric folded twice with the selvedges meeting at the centre – plus being able to get out the other pieces too.  It was tight, but I managed it.  Hurrah!

I have to say that sewing it a second time was a lot easier as I knew what to expect with the wonderfully technical details.  The placket with the hidden buttonholes:

The welt pocket of happiness

Gimme more welt pockets!  I am in love

Gimme more welt pockets! I am in love

And the all round gorgeousness of making this blouse with its blousey fit out of such awesome to work with and awesome to wear fabric.  This lawn loves the gathers at the neckline:

biscayne 3

It holds the slimline half collar beautifully

biscayne 4

I did not however have enough fabric to make self bias binding so instead found some flowers in the garden for the birds  from my Fifi summer PJs. This is used for the armhole facings.

biscayne 7

The Biscayne has to be my favorite this summer because it is so light & airy to wear & the technical details have really elevated it in my sewing memories.  It’s nice to make something just a little more complex without having to go full blown tailored jacket.  And I think getting the fabric choice right really paid dividends as well.

biscayne 8

I would make another, as I could so easily be hooked on the dual feeling of accomplishment & essential easy summer styling, however, these pics were taken a couple of weeks ago indoors as it was raining outside & it doesn’t really look as if we have much summer left to dump cardigans & run around with shorts on in wild abandon.  But let’s cross our fingers anyway shall we?

I’ll be back soon with more summery makes and more…have a very good week :-)

Made Up Initiative- and my pledge

Well hello again!  I am sure that you will have seen the buzz that’s going around sewing blogs caused by Karen as she launched  the Made Up Initiative last week.

In case you have missed it, returning from your hols or some such, Karen and Love Sewing Magazine have concocted a great fundraiser, where you pledge a donation and set your own challenge to make something before September 10.  It can be anything, small, big, complex, simple and not necessarily sewing related either.   There will be oodles of prizes for those who complete their challenge on or before the deadline. All the money raised goes to the National Literacy Trust.

Once again Karen has thought ‘big picture’ with regards to the online community for a cause close to her heart & probably a huge number of us too.  I take reading from granted I have to say & read voraciously.  I got huge amounts of pleasure going to the library as a child each week & finishing my pile of books so that I could go back again.  And sitting down with a brilliant book was the perfect way to entertain my boys as children, & they would be forever soaking up as many stories as we would read them.  But at work I have seen a number of projects started to spread the love of reading amongst children in our district who for various reasons have not been filled with the same love of reading.  Projects with much the same objectives as the National Literary Trust that always resonate with me.  So how brilliant to combine support for more reading & sewing!

So for my part here’s my pledge – I will be making the Ginger jeans before September 10th this year.  Yes, this is also going to be my September Minerva Network project (I have cleared it with Vicki at Minerva to spill the beans way early!) & it was the kind of thing I wanted to do for this initiative.  i could have made anything, remember, but I chose Gingers because it’ll give me an added incentive to get going!  I am really looking forward to making some not as skinny jeans as my Jamies & will make the lower rise version.  Fabric is prepped- (several pre washes), but pattern is not as yet printed out.   Oh, and I have sold my house so I have the no small task of starting to clear ready to move.  Oh, and don’t forget the marathon training too!  I’ll be busy this month then!

Will you join in?  Go on!  It doesn’t have to be a big project – it can be as small as making a tote – or even not using sewing but another craft.  You just need to make something by the deadline. And even if you don’t think you can manage anything by the deadline, you could always just make a small donation.

For all the info on the Made Up Initiative, visit  Karen’s blog post. You can also donate directly to the Just Giving page.  Wow, this could be huge!

Anita tie top

Anita tie top in silk- from Sew Over It Vintage

When I was planning this month’s Minerva make, I was suitably vague as I wasn’t sure which top I was going to make out of this silk. But I knew I wanted to make some kind of silk top. I had a couple of choices, possibly the Biscayne Blouse by hey June (one of my faves this year it has to be said), or something from the Sew Over It Vintage book. And there are a couple of choices in this gorgeous book – I could make the simple basic bodice as a top, a cowl neck using the dress pattern, or the Anita Tie top, which indeed I chose.

Anita tie top

Before I dwell on the pattern, the silk, this fabric, is stunning. It’s patterned with little leaves in bottle green & navy & is so luxurious. It was perfect for what I wanted to make – a silk top that would be good to mix with jeans or trousers as well as a pencil skirt or a denim skirt- something I could wear out in the evening. The top should not be fussy I felt as this silk was just classic & needed to be the star.

Sew Over It vintage patterns

My two new patterns – the left shows the basic bodice, to the right is the Anita tie top to show how there is no side shaping

So the Anita Tie top it became. Let’s talk about the method. In Sew Over it Vintage, Lisa Comfort, the author, includes the methodology to make many things – clothing, accessories, homewear, by drafting your own pattern. But don’t let this scare you away – the whole point of this book is to make pattern drafting much more accessible. If you are making something to wear, you draw patterns based on the measurements of the person who will be wearing it. Lisa guides you through each stage & clothes are drawn on the whole with straight lines, simple curves where needed. And if I can do it, anyone can! It really is step by step.

sew over it vintage bodice (1)

The starting point is the basic bodice which I felt would be sensible to make out of some spare fabric – making sure the measurements worked out OK before progressing to the variations needed for the Anita tie top & cutting out the silk! I made it out of some viscose I had spare in my stash left over from making a kimono gift last year. I knew it would drape beautifully, which seemed a requirement for such a loose fitting style.

sew over it vintage bodice (2)

I followed all the instructions to make what I think of as a bit of an 80s top. It’s the boxiness & the slashed neckline – I hasten to add that the neckline is wider than it should be because I forgot to add the seam allowance to the neckline on my pattern when I was drafting it.

….people will see me & cry…

It is reversible too – in that the front & back are the same!

Sew Over It Vintage bodice (4)

This bodice was a quick make, & I was confident it would be eminently wearable with a vest top underneath (a la Fame).

The Anita Tie top has an even looser style with virtually no shaping at the sides from the arms – it is designed to flow down your sides, with a hip hugging band that also houses the amazingly long ties.  And it is evoking the dropped waist styles of the 30s

Anita tie top

The top is gathered onto this band & you really should use a fabric that drapes otherwise it would probably look like a sack. No problem with this silk and its draping qualities!

Anita tie top

After drafting the pattern I was ready to face my inner fears & cut into the silk, all the while trying to take my usual calm confident strokes with my scissors & put to one side that this was actually silk I was cutting into! I did not take any precautions for cutting silk- I know that slippery fabrics such as silk can cause problems. I often find that cutting out on my lounge rug contains tricky fabrics to some extent, but there are lots of tips out there for cutting and working with slippery fabrics, such as these shared by Tilly.

Anita tie top

Making up, I also followed the instructions in the book, stay stitching the neckline I think is a must when sewing with fabrics like this. I also sewed using my walking foot & as a result cannot report back that I had issues, because I didn’t! I think there are probably silks & satins that are far more slippery than this!

OMG- look at that bow & how the silk is so sumptious!

anita tie top

I should have sewn French seams as that’s such a neat finish for such classy & delicate fabric, but at the outset, my first seam (attaching the gathered bodice to the hip band) was done right sides together & I really did not want to unpick seams in silk in case it left any spoilers. And having started with regular seams finished with my overlocker, I wasn’t going to switch into French seams later on.

Anita tie top


Apart from that, I have nothing much more to add. It was a hugely fun experience drafting the pattern to fit me- I mean the hip band is a perfect fit! I also really enjoyed sewing the silk because I was sure it was going to turn out to be the top I had envisioned. And it is! I wore it out to a meal the other evening.

anita tie top

Testing out its danceability!

And we went to the Gin Bar – yes, that is gin in that tea cup :-)

Yummm so refreshing- with lime leaf

Yummm so refreshing- with lime leaf

I had lots of compliments – it is one of those styles that stands out in its simplicity.

Tea cup

Carefully positioned with the sign behind, causing the photographer much hilarity! And then seeing the guest fingers afterwards was even funnier. The top’s far classier than we are!

One of those styles that allows classy fabric to shine. And one of those styles that suits all sorts of shapes & sizes- I have a feeling I may be making the odd one as a special commission for special friends…

Here’s the link to the kit on Minerva’s Blogger Network if you want to see the fabric again (& the version of the Gin Bar photo that is more grown up!)

New look 6100

Hot pink shorts! New Look 6100

I’ve only gone & made another pair of shorts!  After the joy of my last pair I tried view A this time of New Look 6100.

New Look 6100

I have to confess that this is a spontaneous make caused by the equally sponateous purchase of some new adorable ‘wear-everywhere-when-not’working’ shoes.  They are pink, embroidered & also have rick rack decorating them.  Heaven as footwear.  Purchased at a street market & made in Thailand I think.  And filling a gap in my extensive shoe collection.  Funnily enough that is true.

So I needed therefore to bring more solid pink into my summer wear in order to maximise the new shoes & options for wearing them with lots of my brightly coloured summer tops.  Enter cerise cotton.  It’s reasonably starchy, thicker than a poplin, but not a canvas.  i bought it when Evie was having a destash.  It could have been all manner of things – jacket, skirt, trousers.  but it has become shorts.

New Look 6100

I am incredibly pleased with these shorts- New Look 6100.  I made this time view A- a straight leg short, with a yoke, front pockets & turnup cuffs.  There is also a tie belt & belt loops.  This time I cut a size smaller, size 10, & they fit perfectly.  I may have to revisit my previous polka dotted pair & alter them, but you know how much I hate revisiting garments once they are ‘finished’.



There was immense satisfaction in making them- the fabric was really well behaved & loved being sewn & pressed (but wearing it creases like Billy-o).

New Look 6100

I did not have an invisible zip to match, so used a lapped zipper & I think it looks fine.   What else can I say about them?  I followed a ‘Workroom Tip’- after making the belt loops I read that using ribbon would be a nice alternative, so I found some lime green ribbon instead.  I like it :-)

New look 6100

The cuffs are cute & add a little bit of interest & weight to how the shorts hang.  I have secured them by stitching very close to the top edge, & they will always look neat.

New look 6100

I love wearing shorts, sorry, I do sound like a broken record.  I am modelling them above with my most fave t-shirt.  I hardly ever wear anything shop bought, but I think this t-shirt is awesome & it was a gift.

New look 6100

Not only is the cut unusual for a ‘tour’ t-shirt, (love the scoop neck & slouchyness of it) but David Lynch’s face, slightly muted across my front is too cool for words.  It was a t-shirt that accompanied his exhibition of art in  Brisbane  – I did not go, of course, but I really am thrilled to get the t-shirt!

New look 6100

Here are the shorts worn with my Mississippi Avenue top.  Sweet!  Are you squeezing as many shorts wearing days in as possible?  It was a grey day when I wore these, but still warm enough, if not quite a typical shorts day….

Invisible zips

New sewing tools

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while now, having splurged a few months ago on some new sewing tools when WeaverDee opened for business.  But before I wrote about them I thought it was worth actually using them first to report back!  Do you like new toys for sewing too?

Needle twister

So first of all I was captivated by the needle twister because I had previously been such a lazy (but completely normal) sewist, sticking needles in my pin cushion.  What happens when you do this?  They sometimes get lost- poking right through & losing themselves in the insides.  Or you accidentally pick a needle when you really want a pin & growl with frustration as your speed has to slow & maybe something has slipped in the meantime.  AND it also meant for me that I really only kept three needles at most in the pincushion & when I needed them, it would be a challenge locating them amongst the pins.  Sound at all familiar?

Needle twister


SO this gadget made me smile, especially when I saw the video.  I have to confess i do not usually watch products on YouTube, but I wanted to understand how this worked. I treated myself to new needles as well and couldn’t wait to play with it when it arrived.

And it hasn’t disappointed.  It’s a slim little tube with a click on lid.  Wind the tube to raise the magnetic ‘home’ of the needles.  By doing this, all your needles fan out like a team of synchronised swimmers’ legs making a star in the water, but don’t fall out.  I have dropped this on the floor, with the lid off (maybe not whilst the needles have been on display) & the magnet keeps needles in the holder.  It makes selecting your needle very easy.  It also fits very nicely in one of the pockets of my sewing tidy – easy to hand.  And if you carried projects around with you it is an excellent way to transport your needles without fear of stabbing yourself accidentally or losing any.

Aqua glue

OK, what about this aqua glue marker?  I was also intrigued – as I love using Wonder Tape for setting hems on knits particularly, and also for setting zips in zip pockets.  This was a wash out glue.  how would it compare to Wonder Tape?

I tried it out first on a zip pocket in lycra and I have to say the fixing did not work.  This glue didn’t like the lycra, maybe it was because it was sports lycra & it resisted the “aqueous” part of the glue.  However, I did try it on wovens – look here, I took some photos.

Using it on the first side of the zip

Using it on the first side of the zip

I used it to set the first side of the zip (using the lapped zipper technique) in some shorts i will be sharing later on this blog.  No pins at all – it was great.

Look no pins!

Look no pins!

However, for the second side of the zip I was not convinced I would get a perfect match with the waistband seam, and so reverted to pins again.  It may have been OK, but somehow I was not confident that the glue would hold for a double thickness of folded zip lapping.

Gluing belt carriers

Gluing belt carriers

I was really impressed with how it worked for creating belt loops – gluing the folds down before sewing.  (Even if I didn’t use them in the end!)

Glue is white

And I also used it to fix the ribbons that I used instead of belt loops.  You can see here that when the glue dries it is white, no longer yellow.  It also came off really easily with water.  I shall be using this glue for some of the jobs that I do, but still have my Wonder Tape for working with knits.  (I stacked up in the sale!)

Wonder tape

This is like double sided tape, except it dissolves in the wash.  Not only is it a great way to fix hems before sewing without pins, but it is a really good way to set hems when the fabric is messing you around & you want it to behave.  I’ve used this tape on fine knits & also crochet knits where the hems want to stretch out of shape.  This tape asserts the sewist’s control once again.

OK, they are a couple of reviews I’ve made – & if you want to buy anything from WeaverDee, including any of these products, use ‘SCRUFFY’ at the checkout to get 10% off.  I have shopped a few times with WeaverDee & they turn orders around really quickly & have had awesome sales!  I stocked up on invisible zips & the wonder tape above at the last one!

Invisible zips

Now, what some other gadgets/ tools? I have not used them yet but will give them a go soon.

Collar stays- I bought these in Truro fabrics as I make a lot of men’s shirts as gifts for my boys.

collar tips

Has anyone used them?  Any top tips?  I guess you have to sew little diagonal pockets for them?

And then I also bought this pencil from WeaverDee.  Iron pattern  transfer pencil, water eraseable.

Transfer pencil

Basically it looks like it would be brilliant for embroidery and maybe applique too – Trace a design onto plain paper, then iron onto fabric. Pink pencil marks will disappear after the first wash.  Has anyone used this yet?  I am planning some embroidery, but I am not sure this will be helpful as it’s to be done on a dark fabric….I will let you know.

And finally can I share what is my idea of the ultimate comfort?

Elastic by the reel

It’s having whole reels of elastic!  I have a couple of different widths & it makes life so much simpler – not having to buy on demand….what about you?  Have you worked this one out before?  Places like WeaverDee & Minerva sell by the roll as well as by the length.  As a convenience I think it is definitely worth the outlay- & it will all get used.

Do you have any top tips for tools / shopping that make a sewists’ life that bit more relaxing & easier?  Please share!

Mississippi avenue top

Mississippi Avenue top – Sew Indie Month Pattern Bundle

So folks, it’s going to be Sew Indie Month next month & there is going to be stacks going on all through September celebrating indie sewing where designers collaborate to bring you fun blog posts and informative tutorials.  It’s accompanied by a sewalong contest with fantastic prizes.   And to accompany it there is a cool Sew Indie Month bundle of patterns from your fave designers – the sale has just a few more days to run – see below where I go into the deets.

So this time I was asked to take part in the promotion & whip myself up something from one of the patterns in the bundle.  It was so hard to choose, & clearly these patterns are highly desirable because I have already bought some of them!  So I decided to choose something that was totally new to me  the Mississippi Ave Dress & Top by Sew House Seven.

Click image to visit website

I was totally taken by the images of a few Mississippis hung on the washing line, light filtering through from behind, showing the seam lines & evoking, yes, something of the deep south.  Or pics of my Great Grandma…..

Mississippi avenue top

The Mississippi Avenue dress & top is sleeveless with a v neck & not quite an empire waist that is cleverly constructed using elastic, thereby making it comfy & simple with no zips or buttons!  No facings but bias is used instead- you can cut your own from the fabric – or I used store bought.

Mississippi avenue top


I made this in just a few hours, but made it a bit more of a challenge for myself by being awkward and using a secondhand Boden linen bias cut skirt that I had bought at a car boot sale a few years ago.  Yes.  note italics.  This could have gone horribly wrong.  I had to cut all of the pieces on the bias as there were no other options for squeezing this top out of it.  And I was being stubborn.

Mississippi avenue top

The fabric was perfect – soft, light & with flowers in vintage faded hues.  Ideal summer top material.  And I could eek this skirt out to cut out all pattern pieces except for the bias facing pieces to make the arm hole & neckline bindings.  As long as I contended with each piece being 45  degrees off grain with the risk that a. it would come out bigger or b. stretch out of shape.  To combat this I cut out carefully trying not to stretch the fabric out of shape at the outset.  I also cut the pattern notches whilst the pattern pieces were still in situ, on the floor, just having been cut & before I moved them.  I then stay stitched every edge of every piece 1cm from the edge, using a long straight  stitch.  It worked a treat.  The stay stitching helps to keep the shape of the fabric true to the original pattern piece & avoid stretching out of shape, and the pattern notches are really useful to make sure I did not stretch seams in the wrong places.  I also used my walking foot when I sewed & used a light touch – not dragging the seam through at all!

Mississippi avenue top

So, as I said, I made this beauty in a few hours.  It just has a few pieces & a few seams.  The pretty gathering at the waist is created with elastic & made by an elastic casing.  This is done the same way that Bettine’s elastic casing is made- with separate pieces for the upper bodice and lower bodice – & then using another seam to enable the seam allowance to become an easy to sew casing.  But there is slightly more sophistication in the design as this casing does not quite encircle, but starts & finishes either side of a pretty shaped centre front.

Mississippi avenue top

I think this is such a pretty design with the diamond like centre front bodice.

Mississippi avenue top

It has ties to gather the shoulders.  I tried making it without – but you can see that the shoulder seams are not designed to be worn tie-free – there is extra fabric designed in.  Better tied.  You can see I took some of the other photos in this write up pre-ties too.

I can see me wearing this lots.  And I do fancy making a dress now.  It’ll not only be a quick make, but in the right fabric (light weight, a bit drapey with definite vintage florals), I know it would become a firm favorite.

Mississippi avenue top

So onto the Sew Indie Month Pattern bundle details.

The sale will run from Monday August 3rd to Wednesday August 12th, so only a couple of days left!

Remember the Perfect Pattern Parcel?  Well SIM bundle builds on the success of this and supports charity like the Perfect Pattern Parcel.

This is what is in the bundle, including the launch of  two new Patterns:

The Saltbox by Blueprints for Sewing and Sorrel Dress & Top by Seamster Sewing Patterns are brand new patterns that are being released with the bundle. During the sale you can only buy them as part of the bundle.

Links to participating Bundle 1 designers and their patterns:  OOOOhhhhh!!!  what goodies!

So remember I said that Sewing Indie Month (SIM) takes place in September and is accompanied by a sewalong contest with prizes. Well, since the patterns in the SIM Bundle 1 are mostly wovens, this sale gives you time to make muslins before the contest begins in September while supporting small women-owned businesses and raising money for charity.

This year the Sewing Indie Month HQ will be Sew Independent, which Mari from Seamster Sewing Patterns took over from Donna, who decided to step back from the site. You can buy the bundle and keep up to date with the latest SIM news on SewIndependent.com 


Pay what you want for the bundle! The more you pay, the more rewards you’ll receive. 

  • Pay $25 or more to get the Sutton Blouse, Cressida Skirt, Sugar Plum Dress, Mississippi Ave Dress & Top, and the Ultimate Trousers.
  • Pay $32 or more to get the Cookie Blouson and Bonnell Dress.
  • Pay $38 or more to get the Melissa Dress, Blouse & Skirt, the NEW Saltbox Top, and the NEW Sorrel Dress & Top.
  • The 10 people who spend the most will get printed copy shop versions of the patterns mailed to them as a free bonus.

Pop on over to the other bloggers taking part and see what they made:

Exciting!  And did you see it is called ‘Bundle 1’  which suggests there will be another one……don’t you think?

I love Sew Indie Month, I can’t wait.  There is always so much activity, new ideas, hacks & challenges.  I really appreciate the extra work all the designers put into it as it is a month of inspiration.  Really looking forward to what’s in store.  Are you?


Biscayne Blouse the first, by Hey June

If ever there was a nirvana of a toile for a summer blouse, this has to be it.  But it came about not without a degree of risk – hence calling this a nirvana of a toile – you see it worked out!  Rather than experiment with a style that to be honest could have been a total failure on my frame (the shape is so different to anything I usually wear) I made my first version out of some fabric that probably had the right properties but had become a stash malingerer.

biscayne 1

This fabric was bought the first time I ever visited Goldhawk road & is some kind of light weight cotton, maybe even a voile. Never having sewn with a voile I am uneducated in that department hence using the ‘maybe’ word.

biscayne 2

But let’s recap. This is the Biscayne blouse, spied & coveted over on Florence’s blog, Flossie Teacakes. It is sleeveless, with a small stand up collar, a placket with hidden buttonholes & in this case a welt pocket (but there is an option for a patch pocket too). The shape of it is pretty loose & if anything is A line, with a few gathers around the neck, no darts. It’s quite long line & has a curved hem. Not my usual style, as I said, but I was captivated.

So I cut it out & made it over the course of a few sewing sessions, handling the different technicalities in different stages. If you are not familiar with sewing plackets, it is a bit of a brain bender. The instructions are reasonably clear, and logical, but somehow it took me a while to figure it out. It’s important to do all the pressing – lots of pressing lines- & this really helps. It did work really well (with no unpickings). Score!

Ooh!  Welt pocket!

Ooh! Welt pocket!

Then there is the welt pocket. Oh how I loved how this came together. It is made with only one extra pattern piece that makes the welt, and the pocket lining through some clever interfacing, folding, snipping etc. The first time I have come across this method of doing it. Very clever & easy to follow. I want to do more like this!

The back of Biscayne

The back of Biscayne

The rest of the blouse is constructed once you have conquered the placket and the pocket. Simple stuff by comparison- a breeze. I love the dainty slimline collar with little gathers. I love that it sits on a reasonably low neckline because its effect is not one of a collar at all.

biscayne 4

The arm holes are finished with bias – either self made or bought (in my case I found some lime green that matched the green in the fabric). And I think I sewed french seams for the sides and shoulders due to the fine fabric.

Biscayne inside

Biscayne inside

I LOVE this top. It feels totally summery & I wear it with shorts and also with my Ultimate jeans (I live in these!).

biscayne 5

The choice of fabric is important I think- this is so floaty that it doesn’t feel at all tentlike, but I can imagine feeling self conscious & uncomfortable in a stiffer poplin version of this perhaps.


I am now looking at potential fabrics to make another with and am thinking I might venture into a Nani Iro from Village Haberdashery and have already cut out my birdies.


Attaching lace to summer PJs or slinky undies!

Hello!   While I was making my second pair of Fifi Pjs I thought I’d take some photos of what I did to add the lace to the top of the cups & also to the shorts’ hems. This was really to remind me how I did it, but look, I can share and maybe it’ll be useful to you too?  Maybe you bought the Fifi boudoir set, or have another pattern to make summer PJs.  This method could also be used for a special camisole & french knicker set.

We will start with the shorts as they are arguably more complicated but will get you in the swing for the camisole top.

First of all press the hem allowance on the shorts with a single fold.

Attaching Lace to PJs 1

Open out the fold then pin lace right sides facing the right sides of the shorts with the edge of the lace 2mm across the fold – 2mm closer to the raw edge of the hem than the fold itself.  Does this diagram below help at all?  The lace is on top of everything, but I’m showing where the folded edge sits in relation to the top of the lace.


lace diagram

Join the lace before you attach it to the shorts. To do this you will need to just about pin your lace around the edge of your hems so that you can see how long it needs to be. When you get to the join, unpin a little each side and pin your lace together to join it, right sides of the lace facing each other. Play around with the pins to make sure that the seam you sew gives you the right size of lace circle to sit nicely around your shorts hem.

Stitch this seam  in your lace, trim the seam, then re pin the lace circle back to the 2mm from foldline of your shorts.

Time to attach the lace to the shorts!

Attaching lace to PJs 3

You should still be looking at the wrong side of the lace, it should be sitting on top of the shorts’ right side of fabric. Use a small narrow zig zag to attach the straight edge of the lace to the shorts’ hem allowance.  This will be a very narrow seam.

Attaching lace to PJs 5

Trim the seam allowance close to your zig zagged lace hem (maybe about 0.5cm).

Attaching lace to PJs  6

Refold the hem allowance along the original pressed hem fold & with a straight stitch on the right side of your shorts, edge stitch really close to your hem fold, making sure you catch the remaining trimmed zig zagged seam allowance – you don’t want the zig zagged edge to be visible through the lace hem.

attaching lace to PJs 7

That’s it! Repeat for the other side :-)

Attaching lace to PJs 8

For the camisole top, you just need to get your edge stitching ready. I finished off the cups as per the instructions for making Fifi- with a narrow double hem. I then attached the lace so that its straight edge was about 2mm behind the rightside’s edge of the cups & edge stitched it to attach it. When you come to attach the cups to the bodice, you can see there is an overlap of the lace at the centre – all it needs is a little diagonal seam to join the two pieces of lace together neatly. Pin it until you are happy with it then stitch on your machine, right sides together.

Are you going to give it a go? Will you be spicing up your summer Pjs with some ooh la la lace?


Motivated to sew cushions?

First of all, I would like to help spread the news that there is an open day on August the 15th at the Fabric Godmother. Check out Zoe’s blog for more info. I’m not able to commit due to house selling stuff, but would love to go if I could, sounds oodles of fun- sewing friends with plenty of fabric goodness ( special discounts too).

But onto today’s writing…

vintage barkcloth cushion

Everyone who has been following me for a while has either heard me decry sewing anything but clothing or else will have noticed a distinct lack of home decoration projects.  I only sew for my home when faced with the bitter truth that the cost of doing otherwise is far too outrageous when I have the power, skills ( and access to far more exciting fabrics) to do so myself. It’s just not something that floats my boat.   …. or is it?

However the curtains and blinds I have made fill me with joy, probably because they are made from vintage curtains, tracked down on eBay, delivering the vision, colour and style that I conceived.  Cushions fill the same barren place in my sewing heart.  Easy to make but not exciting enough for me to make stacks.   I’ve not got one of those sofas where you can’t move for cushions- just a couple will do to support better comfort ( my sofas are a terrible investment – leather – yuk- and so uncomfortable!).  However, once again house selling has kicked me up the proverbial to whip up a couple of cushions to ‘complete the look’.  Guys, cushions are so quick to make! It’s ridiculous. We all know it, but somehow clothing is far more exciting to make & Silly because now I’ve made a couple more cushions I get a huge amount of pleasure every single day.  And that doesn’t happen with the dress that gets worn once a fortnight ( or more likely every blue moon).

So first of all look at what is possible in less than an hour. Yes, it’s crazy that this luscious barkcloth cushion was that simple.

Envelope back cushion

It’s got an envelope back and I referred to the instructions in the Sew Over It Vintage book just to overcome any slowness caused by a faulty memory.

Sew over it Vintage book cushion

However, I made this using one long strip of fabric, folded in the right proportions, as opposed to three pieces so that the only seams needed were the side seams. This is the fabric that I have used for blinds in my bedroom but it so suits the colours in my living room too. Love it. Simple way to showcase the awesome vintage greens and turquoises & crazy huge flowers.

But let me tell you more about this cushion!  It has an awesome secret.  Well, not really a secret, but it reveals an awesome function- only really of interest to fellow sewsters I suspect!


This is an idea that I had years ago when I was practising bound buttonholes (erm, looking back it appears that this took place in the summer of…..2012!!). At the time I was referring to Karen’s Ebook but without a garment to make buttonholes for. I thought that if I chose the buttons (some special wooden ones bought at a craft fair) and made the buttonholes for them on a big enough piece of fabric, they could form the closure for a rather nice cushion.

Bound buttonholes

The buttonholes were executed rather splendidly in several hours (three years ago.  [cough in embarrassment]).

bound buttonhole

And I had these wonderful felt flowers given as a gift ( also far too long ago, but at least they are being used now).

felt flowers

They were such a thoughtful gift along with some sweet beaded felt beads, so I decorated the front of the cushion with the flowers and used the beads to make tassles for the corners.


I’m so pleased to finally put the beautiful felt decorations to such everyday glory- this took 20 minutes to sew the cushion and an hour in front of the TV sewing the decorations. And it keeps on giving me smiles!!

So do you think you’ll put your bound buttonhole practice to good use ? Or do you leave them on fabric scraps? Do you also think that there is a greater return on ‘sewing time’ with sewing projects for the home when you get pleasure from them all around you? For me, as long as I can get them over and done with as quickly as possible I am more than happy to benefit from the inner sewing glow they deliver.  But my house will never be over run with home made table runners, cushions, bedding and the like, much as I like the idea & much as I probably collect such idyllic images on Pinterest….

Strawberry patch

Shorts! New Look 6100

Gosh, it’s been a whole week since I have blogged!  I know exactly where it’s gone – the final whirlwind of last minute DIY and paranoid cleaning before my house is on the market.  I missed sewing, desperately but at least it’s all done AND I managed to not let week one of Marathon training slip, which was all accomplished to plan, so at least I wasn’t thrown completely off track by house-selling craziness.

Anyway, here’s July’s Minerva make that I have finally got round to posting.  With the amount of rain we have had over the last three days it’s laughable to be blogging about shorts!  However, shorts are shorts & are always needed when the sun shines in my badger wardrobe.


I love a nice pair of shorts & had bought New Look 6100 – a Workroom pattern from the Project Runway collection a while ago, having been intrigued by the more flared version (B), and the pockets of course. The pattern has a yoked waistband with a side seam invisible zip. I had been an admirer of Dottie Doodle’s “Happy shorts” also made using New Look 6100, so I bought the pattern when there was a special offer on New Look patterns (of course !). And this being my July make for the Minerva network seemed like a good idea.


I chose the very popular polka dotted chambray in sky blue, and when it arrived I was super pleased. This chambray is cute! And it sews like a dream – nice to press too.


So I wasn’t sure what size to make these shorts up as, and actually think that next time I will drop a size, but as I will never wear them with anything tucked into them, being slightly roomy makes them feel almost culotte like, and I like that! There is definite culotte-ability going on with the width & flare! But I do admit that they could look better smaller!

Making them up was straight forward – you kind of know what you are getting with a New Look pattern, much as the other big pattern companies.

I did however manage the invisible zip & yoke facing differently. The instructions would have you sew the invisible zip through all layers of the yoke, facing & all once you have sewn the yoke facing in place on the inside waist edge. I did not sew the yoke facing down until after inserting the zip so that I could make a neater finish at the top of the zip.


I took this picture to show how irritating invisible zips can be – sometimes they go in right first time, and then other times it feels as if you are forever fiddling around with getting the alignment to seams – & this was even when I marked the waistseam with a pin.


I am not sure what else to say about these flirty shorts! Just don’t laugh too much at the top-tucked-in photos – I feel a bit of a dork! But with top out I love them, there is plenty of scope for wearing in all sorts of environments – but for now I have enjoyed them being garden wear.

So if you fancy giving these ago, you can even buy the pattern through Minerva if you wanted to get it altogether!

Now as a sneak preview the vest is a new addiction.  I have now made three of these- Jalie 3245– when I need something to make in an evening with minimal challenge but big satisfaction.  It hs a racer back & has involved me making some easy to wear undies too….watch this space.