Author Archives: scruffybadgertime

carey top

Itch to Stitch Carey Top in a ditsy floral jersey

Happy birthday to Itch to Stitch!  Kennis contacted me to ask me if I would like to participate in the birthday tour, & whilst I said yes, I went to check out what has been happening over at Itch to Stitch and was pretty impressed with the pattern collection that she has grown in the last year.  (10 patterns from shorts & culottes to dresses!)

As part of the tour, Kennis has arranged for various bloggers to make one of her patterns up – but as a hack.  And there are also giveaways – you get a chance to win some prizes. Kennis has got 7 designers to give away their patterns and 7 product sponsors to give away their products. She will feature 1 designer per day on her site, and one lucky winner will get 2 patterns from that designer.  So make sure you check Itch to Stitch out between the 8th to the 14th October.  Check out more information towards the end of this post …..

So what did i chose to make?  And what kind of hack did I come up with?  Bearing in mind I did not get this sewn before my move ?

Well I chose the Carey top.  I think I do have a thing for slouchy tees after all!!  This is a batwing top with a nice scooped neckline that can be made in a knit or a woven.  It has sleeve panels and drawstrings to ruche the sleeves up.  I opted for knit and bought some of this luscious delores viscose jersey from Fabric Godmother.  Oh it is so soft & so drapey, and the florals are soooo pretty.

Another slouchy top!

Another slouchy top!

So to make mine a hack I decided to do something other than use a contrast lace in the sleeve insert- as that is to me, just a design option.  (But it had been my first thought! hahaha)  I decided to leave out the drawstrings altogther and to incorporate piping (or faux piping) instead.  I used Fold Over Elastic (FOE) in hot pink as my piping – it seemed the way to go.  It did involve a little thought however & an additional step to the sleeve sewing process.  This is what I did if you are interested.  (Sorry no pictures, I am ‘camping’ remember & haven’t the usual space for my sewing paraphernalia ..)

carey top

So I folded the FOE in half & then pinned it to the seamline of each shoulder seam on the front and back bodice pieces.  I stretched the FOE so that it was 4 or 5cm shorter than the actual shoulder seam because 1. the elastic needs a bit of tension otherwise it has a tendency to wrinkle & 2. If there was a ruched effect that too would be OK because this top is designed for ruching. I reckon you could stretch the elastic even more & it would replicate the drawstring, don’t you think.   And the FOE was pinned so that an even amount would show to form the piping.


Once I had machine basted the FOE to the seamline I could attach the sleeve panels.  I sewed the shoulder seams with the bodice piece on top so that I could follow the basting stitches & sew the piping at the right distance.

carey top

And I think it has worked out nicely!  A bit sporty, don’t you think?!

carey top

I followed the instructions for the Carey top for the most part, but did sew the neck band to the outside as a deliberate design detail- I liked the idea that it would be shown this way.

carey top

For info I have sewn this on my regular machine with a narrow zig zag for the seams and a three step zig zag for the hems.

carey top

Looking at the neckline inside too

But due to the order of sewing the seams (eg hems are sewn before side seams) – I did sew a few lines of stitches at the hem edges to keep the seams open but not showing seam allowances at the hem edges. (Are you still with me?!)

carey top

What do you think?  Maybe the sleeves are longer than when ruched & it’s a very roomy batwing, but it is sooo comfy.  Do you think this qualifies as a ‘hack’?

I was provided the Carey top pattern at no cost in exchange for taking part in this birthday tour, and enjoyed making it and now wearing it- it so suits my casual working at home wardrobe.  I have started the Lindy petal skirt (which is free peeps!) & am also attempting to add some piping – but not FOE this time.  I will of course keep you posted :-)

As promised here is the info about the birthday tour.  Enjoy!

Itch to Stitch Birthday Fun

(scroll to the bottom to enter to win!)

Follow these blogs to see their awesome creations from Itch to Stitch patterns:

Scruffy Badger Time | Call Ajaire | Wally and Grace | Sew Wrong | Bella Sunshine Designs
Seaside Notions | Made by Jaime | Sweet Little Chickadee | Inspinration | Friends Stitched Together
Stoney Sews | Just Keep Sewing | My Little Sewing Dreams | Allie J. | Creative Counselor
Love, Lucie | Girls in the Garden |  FABulous Home Sewn | Goddess of Sewing | Rebel & Malice
The Telltale Tasha | House of Estrela | Made by Sara | Sew Shelly Sew | Red Knits

Be sure to scroll to the bottom for your chance to win great prizes by these sponsors:

Itch to Stitch First Anniversary Sponsors

The Fabric Store – $100 Gift certificate

Elliott Berman Textiles – Fabric bundle from France & Italy

Craftsy – three online classes of your choice

Girl Charlee Fabrics – $25 Gift certificate

Indie Sew – $25 Gift certificate

UpCraft Club – $25 Gift certificate

Quarto Publishing Group USA – the SHIRTMAKING WORKBOOK by David Page Coffin

The featured designer of the day will give away 2 patterns to a lucky winner:

 Baste + Gather

Straight Stitch Designs

Megan Nielsen Patterns

Jamie Christina

Hey June Handmade

Wardrobe by Me

Filles á Maman

Follow Itch to Stitch’s blog closely to win these patterns!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

slouchy tee

Slouchy or off the shoulder tee?

Hey people!  How are you?  I have now moved out of my home & everything is in storage.  Well almost everything.    I am cosily installed in the spare room with my family (who are also still moving in to their new home 😉 We are surrounded by boxes & blue IKEA bags! ) and brought a suitcase of clothes, a suitcase of sewing projects  (hehehehe!), my  camera/ laptop bits & running kit, just my regular machine, and of course my cat :-)

slouchy tee


Oh the pressures of packing light – the ultimate capsule wardrobe !  Complicated by being in a beautifully hot Indian summer & not being sure exactly sure how long I shall be living like this.  And what about the sewing projects?  Well that was a good way to focus my planning.  I can’t wait to write about that a bit more.  I tell you, I have allowed myself plenty of options and have also packed Christmas present projects – just in case I am here for longer …. but managing without my overlocker?  Now that will be a culture change!

slouchy tee

Merlin and I have settled in well and I have managed to sew something already!  Watch out for the reveal on Thursday.

Today I am waking up the blog with something I made last month.  There is not much to say about the sewing, but when I look at the pictures I have a few pangs for the sewing room I left behind …

From the back

From the back

So this is the Slouchy tee pattern that was free with September’s Love Sewing magazine.  I was thrilled to see a knit pattern as part of the Love Sewing offering actually, and knew pretty quickly that this would be one of the Simple Sew patterns that I would definitely give a go.  It has raglan sleeves – kerpow! I couldn’t wait!   A bit different to my usual t-shirt sewing patterns.  And looked like a nice comfy tee to – er – slouch around in.

slouchy tee

I used some of the black/ grey knit that I bought from the Village Haberdashery & used to make the MIY Walkley top out of.   There was just enough, even for a little stripe matching at the side seams, but I did have to make the sleeve cuffs out of two pieces 😉

So this is the first Simple Sew pattern I have made & it was pretty straight forward (but then it is a t-shirt afterall!)  I did find the notches were not that helpful- unless I misread them & they weren’t notches at all.

slouchy tee

Look at the levitating shoulders!

So a tee that was made in a pretty short space of time.  Nice deep cuffs and hem bands as well as a much deeper than usual neck band.  With this fabric the neckband appears to stand up rather than collapse in a slouch, which was maybe not intended in the design vision!  And I wasn’t going to play around with the neckband to accommodate this by any fancy shaping.  Once it was sewn on, it was staying there.

slouchy tee

It is very slouchy though and you’ll just have to take my word for the off-the-shoulder styling that I quite often find myself sporting.  I like wearing it with a vest underneath & once again evoking Kids from Fame.  Am I just getting too slouchy for my own good?

Here is a newsround

Hello people!  Just checking in!  I hope you enjoyed the Girl Charlee discount, apparently the teal oriental blossom fabric I made my knit Bettine out of is coming back in stock soon – keep looking out for it!

This blog post is not my usual type as my head is sooo full of all sorts I am in ‘superfast download’ mode for a change.  I’d find it hard to sit still long enough to write about one of my recent sewing makes, so there will be some pieces of things that might interest you, a few teaser pics.  And then I might disappear again for a bit more whilst I move out.  So let’s start…

I've been visiting!

I’ve been visiting!  More below

If you like a discount, don’t forget you can get 10% off at Weaver Dee – just use ‘SCRUFFY’.  Did you know Weaver Dee sell lots of fabric (including over 100 John Kaldor fabrics) as well as  a host of haberdashery & patterns (50% off Simplicity, Kwik Sew and Vogue at the moment!)

And what’s happening at the Village Haberdashery?  Not only are they planning a move to West Hampstead next year (very exciting – another part of London for me to visit in the interest of ‘fabric tourism’!) But they are opening up the opportunity for us as customers to own a little (or bigger) bit of a fabric shop!  Has this ever been a dream of yours?  I know it has been something that I think of as a killer job.  Well, crowdfunding is maybe not quite turning up to flop bolts of fabric over on the cutting table,  to pull out a river of fabric out, measuring against the ruler on the side of the table then to then slice a very straight line with super sharp shears that sound as if they are eating the fabric.  The glamour of the fabric shop!  OK.  Not quite!  This is crowdfunding !  For as little as £10 we can own a bit of the Village Haberdashery.  Find out more here.

Ok, time for my news?  I can tell you that 2016 is going to be a very different year for me, but that can wait until I have lined all my ducks up.  For now I am progressing my new life plan.  Yes, I am living in an unholy cardboard mess.  And I am feeding my cat real chicken breast (you know the stuff for sandwiches that is not compressed &  if reprocessed, doesn’t look like it.  Yep.  The expensive type) to supplement the dried catfood he prefers in order to rekindle his callous cat-affection for me in advance of our house move.  (It’s working- if someone else has been feeding him, I am winning now! )  But it shows how desperate I have been.

I shall be moving out of my house this week & putting my things into storage.  I will write separately about this as I suspect there will be some telling facts in the proportion of my ‘decluttered life’ that is for sewing & specifically fabric.  Gulp.  It’s not all packed yet.

Crazily I am also in the latter parts of my marathon training plan & am finding it really hard to get all the runs in when I need to pack!  I am not expecting the marathon which is at the end of October, to be a very comfortable experience!  Hey ho.

So what’s new?  Well, I can give you some idea of what’s going to come up:

  • I met the lovely May Martin at the Simplicity Blog meet, where I & other sewsters were captivated by her charm, funny stories and wide range of tips for everyone –

May martin

  • novice sewsters and experienced alike I think we all took something away.

me and may

She is my heroine!  And I am wearing Simplicity 1459, in case you wonder.

  • I got to visit Soho, somewhere I had never been before.  And we were hosted at that household name – the Good Housekeeping Institute.
  • Afterwards Rachel and I visited Cloth House where I had to buy a souvenir, of course!
  • I have also chosen my ‘year’s worth of sewing patterns’- my prize for winning the Simplicity blogger competition.  Which 12 Simplicity or New Look patterns did I choose, considering the mass of patterns I already have?  That will be an interesting story!
  • I had a great sewing catch up with the gorgeous Handmade Jane before we went on a trouser block workshop at Raystitch. Oh I am desperate to progress my first pair of trousers using my block, and I can assure you it will be packed for sewing in my temporary home!  I will write about the whole experience, promise!
  • And speaking of Handmade jane, did you know she is shortlisted in the Sew magazine Awards for best sewing blog?  You can vote here if you want to support her …
  • I have a few things I’ve made to blog about, including some gifts (yes, I am not a 100% selfish sewer!)

And yes.  My hair is naturally curly.  I have ditched the straighteners.  It might mean that I am in disguise until more recent photos of me percolate this blog.  He he he!

Right, boxes are calling me, I must leave you now!  Normal service will resume….shortly!  Happy sewing everyone xx

Girl Charlee Fabrics UK discount !

Hello peeps!  So you may have seen that Girl Charlee UK provided me with some fabric to review for my Knit Bettine.   And i have a feeling they are still out of stock of this particular fabric.  But just to show it off again – to tempt you cruelly here it is …

So Girl Charlee UK is relatively new on the online fabric scene – I had  been aware of the US Girl Charlee,but now we have a full blown UK store, eager to develop their UK & Eurpoean market.

This is an online store specialising in knit fabric.  Oh the glory!!  Loads of collections, of course I go straight for florals but there are nauticals , wildlife themed fabric and the biggest & funkiest ponte roma selection I think I have seen in one place!

Check them out if you dare- & if you get tempted Girl Charlee are offering a 10% discount (on non sale fabric) for UK & European orders up till and including Monday 21st September.  Just use the code BADGER at checkout.

Enjoy!  I must keep it short & sweet.  I have dates now for my move out  & it all feels rather imminent!  So sewing & blogging will have to fit in as & when.  And replying to lovely comments too.  I will get there in the end. Keep crossing your fingers for me!

I am going to split my move & put my things into storage, with temporary funtimes living with family (taking sewing machines & cat of course!) That in itself needs some sound planning – what will I be sewing in September/ October/ November?


SIM bundle 2

Sew Indie Month – Bundle 2 and what I have made

I am coming up right at the end of the sales period for the second bundle of patterns for Sew Indie Month (SIM).  Whilst you probably haven’t missed it, you might be like me with things like this & think that you’ll remember to grab it later- well if so, hurry! Today is the last day people to get your mitts on this cornucopia of sewing goodness- up to 10 patterns at good value with 20% going to charity.  Plus of course this is about support to those Indie sewing designers too.  This time there are even more lovely patterns on offer- what a treat!  This bundle contains some patterns for knits, which of course grabbed my attention as you know how I am a sucker for a knit project.    (I’ll put more information about the bundle, pricing and the charity supported this time around at the end of this post.  )

I reckon this bundle could be a new season’s wardrobe with :

There are a couple of new patterns unavailable except through this bundle for now until they are released & I have to say I was almost tempted to make the Kinga skirt, by Kate & Rose myself & keep getting drawn back to it….I could imagine it in a needlecord with chunky boots for the autumn (check out three dresses’ goth version) .  There is also a lovely coat – the new April 1962 Coat by Soma Patterns, drawing on style inspiration from the 60s.  In fact I want to make the Nettie (which I already bought), the Jasper hoodie & I quite fancy a proper swimsuit too…so what did I make?



Well, I knew how busy I was going to be so elected to make a couple of speedy makes- The Walkley vest by MIY Collection(it can also be a dress) as well as the Pinot Pants Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick.  Now I could wear them both together, and maybe I will ….at the end of this post?

I chose the Walkely vest because I was attrated to its boatneck – it looked quite sharp – in a smart kind of way.  I really liked the nautical striped dress featured on the cover art as well & almost made a dress, but considered what would be most useful- the top (vest) won this time.

I had some black & grey stripe bought in the Village Haberdashery sale – & there’s still some left – am I repeating myself if I say grab it before it runs out?  It’s a lovely quality- perfect tshirting & not too flimsy.

The Walkley vest can be made with a centre front/ centre back seam – or cut on the fold.  As much as I was tempted to be lazy, I decided to make something of a centre front seam as a feature.  The sharp style of this vest made me think sharper & I deliberately mis-matched my stripes- bot at centre front & centre back.  Now I could have kept one of the pieces on the fold, as they are both cut from the same pattern piece – this top is reversible.  But I cut out four individual bodice halves, thereby ensuring the stripe mismatching (& side seam matching) that I required.

The pattern suggests that you can cut diagonal seamlines for effect too- but instructions tell you how to do this, there are no specially printed pattern pieces already made.  This means you can slash your bodice to suit you.

The vest is a very simple sew, especially if you cut the front & back on the fold.  All the hems & neckline are just turned over to hem – no bands or cuffs.

walkley vest


I wonder if I would have done better by using a little elastic to support the neckline?  Not sure.

It’s turned out to be a sharp top though – one that’s just a bit smarter & could be worn with jeans as well as a potential work appropriate tee shirt.  Useful fit to have in your wardrobe!

pinot pants

OR how about going all out ‘lounging in style’ & pairing with the Pinot pants?  I was interested in sewing these as they look as if they are your classic yoga pants & I almost made them up in a running fabric (but did not have a long enough length of something suitable).  So I did manage to rescue some jersey that has been sitting in my stash for a good few years now.  It was from Croftmill & is a metallic effect gunmetal jersey.  Disco!  Or is it wet look? You tell me!

pinot pants

As well a bit of a shimmer & glimmer it also has a twill weave effect, & its reverse is quite a soft cotton.  No idea what I had in mind when I bought it, but making some Pinot pants out of it seemed a good idea.

pinot pants

They were a very straightforward make – I think it took me no more than an hour to make them using my overlocker, if that.  Four pieces for the two legs & a waistband with elastic.  The pattern has inside legs options marked – how helpful!  Unless of course you mis-measure.

But it wasn’t the end of the world- it just meant that I did not have enough for a hem, so I just overlocked the raw edge to reassure myself that they were ‘finished’ & not half made.

pinot pants

I’ve been wearing them around the house & will also be brightening up my pilates class with them in the autumn.  They will love me & my shiny Pinot pants.

So that is two elements of the SIM bundle 2 that I have made in just a few hours.  I am still thinking about the Kinga skirt though …for winter….

Here is more detail about the bundle.  yes, it’s true.  you are more than likely to have seen these same words used on others’ blogs.  Why reinvent the wheel?

  • The sale will run from Tuesday September 1st through Thursday September 10th (yes just a few hours more!)
  • Visit the sale at:
  • 20% of bundle proceeds will be donated to Women for Women, which helps women dealing with violence, marginalization, and poverty due to war and conflict.
  • Sewing Indie Month (SIM) is a month-long celebration of indie sewing patterns where designers collaborate to bring you fun blog posts and informative tutorials. This year SIM is taking place in September. It’s accompanied by a sewalong contest with fantastic prizes. Since the patterns in the SIM Bundle 2 are mostly knits, this sale gives you time to make quick projects for the contest 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


Pay what you want for the bundle! The more you pay, the more rewards you’ll receive.
  • Pay $25 or more to get the VNA Top, 6101 Fit & Flare Skirt, Bess Top, Nettie Dress & Bodysuit, and Pinot Pants.
  • Pay $32 or more to get the Walkley Vest & Dress and Jasper Sweater & Dress.
  • Pay $38 or more to get the Nautilus Swimsuit, the NEW Kinga Skirt, and the NEW April 1962 Coat.
Check out these Bundle 2 bloggers to see what they made:
And apologies for the sudden rush in blog posts this week.  I really did not plan it at all well !  There were a couple of timescales I forgot about.
ginger jeans

I made jeans! (Slightly) embroidered Ginger jeans!

Ok I know I have already shouted that message before when I made my Jamie jeans, twice. But this time I have made traditional 5 pocket jeans and am so chuffed with the result.

This is not only my Minerva make this month, but also what I pledged for the Made Up Initiative and I have managed to finish them well ahead of the deadline. And worn them too (once!) And the Made Up Initiative has just a few days left to run & has so far scaled huge heights in how much money has been raised …


I used the Ginger jeans pattern by Closet Case files, having seen so many examples popping up in my blog reader that all extolled wonderful sewing & fitting experiences that I caved in. Pattern selected, I hopped across to Minerva and looked for some awesome denim & thread. I wanted an aged look & nothing too bright (on my scale of brightness that is!) so with the help of Vicki at Minerva I went for this ‘distressed’ (it’s not full of tears & bleach, don’t worry!) stretch denim & bronze top stitching thread. Immediately I have to say this is a magical combination – the denim is absolutely divine to cut, sew & wear. It has the look that I was after – aged – but not overly, plus it is very dark indigo. The top stitching thread too is muted enough but most definitely delivering on the detail 5 pocket jeans provide. Note you need enough thread, even though you only use it in the upper spool with a regular thread in your bobbin, I eeked out two reels (you have to allow for a few mistakes afterall!).

And pre wash your denim, a few times. I washed mine at least three times – it helps to finish the cut edges otherwise you can end up with unravelling threads, denim & the lycra tangling up in the wash.

ginger jeans

OK, so onto the jeans. I followed the written instructions at times but mainly used the sewalong. If you want to sew any jeans, use this sewalong. The detail, the guidance is second to none- photos, tips and demystifying jeans construction. Of course it is supporting the Ginger jeans pattern, which I have to say has worked out brilliantly for me. I REALLY enjoyed making them too. These were going to be an investment make, one of my ‘high hitters’ this year & so I knew that I was going to perfect as much as I was able, spend a decent amount of thinking time as well as sewing time on making a pair of jeans to see me into autumn/ winter.

ginger jeans

The Ginger jeans have two styles- a low rise style (this is what I made) & a higher waisted version. I kind of wish I tried the higher waist version after making these – so I am sure that’s what my next pair will be. I think the leg cut are slightly different, however & I really like the way these are not skinny jeans. I did not want a skinny cut, I wanted more of a straight leg & this is absolutely spot on- as designed in the pattern I should say.

ginger jeans

So I made a size 8 (UK 12), according to my measurements & basted the jeans, including the waistband, to get my fit right. It was exciting doing this, racing with long stitches to get a pair of jeans around my bod. I could almost immediately see what I was aiming for! I did have to make some fitting adjustments. But not many. These were:

  • Sway back adjustment – the back waist sat way higher than the front waist, I whilst it might not be 100% perfect now, just think how odd it would have been had I not done this.
  • Waistband needed a couple of cm taken out of it at the top – I did not take this out of the centre back as a wedge, but cut the waistband several times vertically & distributed this around the waistband, taking 3 or 4 ‘darts’ out of it. There is still the littlest bit of gaping, but would I want it any tighter when I wear them? Not sure.
  • The upper thigh inner back leg also had a small bit taken out, blending into the rest of the leg
  • Finally I needed to take a smidgeon out of the front crotch seam.

So you can’t necessarily tell from the photos, but I am pretty happy with the fit- the horizontal lines are mainly wear lines & are not pulls caused by fit. Honest! And this denim, can I reiterate, is the loveliest denim to wear ……

OK so that ‘s the fitting. Once I had basted & fitted, I took them all apart again & started sewing jeans – for real. I am not going to go into a load of detail about the construction of jeans. But I will say again how brilliant the Ginger jeans instructions are and how the sewalong is super comprehensive & an invaluable resource. What I will share are some of the things that I revelled in doing, some of my trials & errors.

ginger emroidered pocket

OK, I am either not square to the camera or have really wonky hips!

I had conceived that my jeans would be embroidered. I wanted some form of love & creativity added to these jeans to elevate them from my usual sewing. I did not know what I was going to embroider, I am not a seasoned embroiderer so it would be a bit of an experiment. I had thought it would be flowers, but after choosing the peacock fabric (left over from my Fancy Moon Miette skirt) I was inspired by peacocks. I thought I could simplify a peacock’s tail & embroider the eyes in the colours that I adore. So I made a few tests & this shows some experimentation.


I rejected all of these as they were too brash, even for me! I wanted something that was ‘there’ but not so ‘there’. So I plumped for a less brazen design using decidedly less gold, & altogether less solid thread.


Tools – this time I asked for a jeans twin needle- & forgot about it at first! Doh! Having two reels of topstitching thread makes life much easier when you sew with a twin needle. What I found out about the twin needle was that it was good for some seams, giving a pure parallel seam finish. However, there are areas in jeans sewing that it is less effective. Sewing around corners- I had a few missed stitches.


As you can see I tried to sew the pockets on with it, but wasn’t pleased with the result so took them out & used two separate lines of topstitching instead.


It also looks different on the reverse- see the zig zag of the twin needle against the traditional parallel lines?

Plus my machine, brilliant as I find it, (it is seriously good at coping with all the thick layers of jean sewing) sometimes struggled & when it struggles, the bobbin & top threads get chewed up & create a mini mess on the reverse- this happens a bit more with a twin needle for me.


The yoke seam is sewed with a twin needle and looks ace. Not that you can see it in this pic!

Top stitching – I upped my stitch length from the usual 2.5 to 3mm – I like the longer stitch length for top stitching.  I didn’t find it too much of a pain to keep swapping thread around- it is just the thread spool, at least the bobbin stays the same.  And another top stitching tip you might like – I tried not to cut my top threads on the right side of the jeans, but pulled them to the inside by pulling the bobbin thread & hooking it through with a pin to then tie them both together.  That avoids wispy cut ends that with topstitching thread can be more visible & fluffier!


Ever heard of a ‘humper bumper’? Well this is something you use to help your machine deal with thick seams- particularly sewing over/ across thick seams of which there are a lot in jeans sewing. I used a folded up piece of cardboard – you use it once you have actually just started to sew the lumpy bit, pausing, to add the folded cardboard underneath the back of the sewing machine foot to equalise/ steady it for going forward. Even though I use a walking foot, the added ‘humper bumper’ was a boon. I used it a lot – eg crotch seam intersection, belt loops, hemming.

humper bumper

And while I am onto it, belt loops. Heather Lou suggests using fabric glue instead of pins to place them for sewing. Wow I thought! Have I got anything I can use? I used Wondertape & it worked a treat- belt loops stayed in place while sewing. No pins to contend with. Pins did not get bent out of shape whilst being contorted into such awkward positions through so many layers. What a result!

I am especially pleased with my jeans fly. The method for sewing is one I will try to remember to apply to other front fly trousers. Really easy to get a precise result.

Jeans fly

Other details I love. The front pockets. In the Ginger jeans pattern Heather Lou suggests using the pocket fabric the other way so that you get to see the lovely fabric more than as the inner of your pocket. I got this wrong. Doh! I can’t pretend that it was deliberate- I just messed it up so that I get to see peacocks when I am shoving things (hands usually) into my pockets.

pocket innards

But I opted to line my waistband with this awesome peacock fabric & am loving that I did. It feels lovely to wear, & looks super joyful. I interfaced it, which made the waistband top stitching process far easier to control I felt.

top stitching

I actually got the finish I wanted for my waistband – outside & inside- by handbasting the facing in place first. I have sewn so many wasitbands that were either top stitched or stitched in the ditch that look great from the outside, but on the inside the seam on the facing is not aligned against its edge so evenly. This time I was going to make sure that both sides looked neat, & as much as I stay away from handbasting, there are times when it brings the difference you need, & this is one of them. Look, a great & simple idea (in the Ginger instructions) to mark on the waistband where your top stitching lines need to be- so hard to see when you are actually in the process of sewing it.

thread left

This is how much top stitching thread I had as I finished the last hem!

I finished my seams with a mixture of flat fell seams & overlocking. This is the overlocked finish – I used grey thread so it isn’t too startlingly visible. Looks OK doesn’t it?


Another bit of topstitching love is the upper side seam. Just a detail that is precise & makes me feel glad.


I did leave hemming my jeans for a couple of evenings after making them as I wasn’t sure how long to make them. After allowing various thoughts to percolate, I remember that I like a little turn up for everyday flat shoe wearing so went for that. This allows a little essence of a contrast (which I do enjoy) but I could always turn them down if I wore them with some kind of a heel.

ginger jeans

Oh my this is a long post! Have you snoozed off OK? It’s odd that making these jeans is one thing that is helping me to face the cooler weather. Definitely going to be wearing these a lot! Are you a jeans-maker? I had thought that sewing jeans was the holy grail of sewing, but with a certain amount of confidence & a little experience all you need is enough support – & I think Ginger jeans might give you that….

Bettine neckband

Knit Bettine dress – of course!

One of my first thoughts after sewing my first Bettine dress, was, ‘I bet this would be a cracking dress in a knit’.  So when Tilly started to reveal on Instagram that she had made  Bettine out of a knit, & that she started the thinking for me by showing how the neck facing is replaced by a neckband (of course!  simples!)  I charged ahead.  The knit Bettine dress would be even more of a constant wear than my chambray version which to be honest gets a bit too comfy in the ironing pile.

Bettine in a knit?!

Bettine in a knit?!

And when Girl Charlee UK contacted me to offer me some fabric to try out, well it was a match made in heaven.  Until this point I had of course heard about the US Girl Charlee, but tucked that gem away for interest – I had no idea that we were getting a full blown UK store, so I was eager to give them a go.  Because an online store specialising in knit fabric?  Oh I am so there!  Loads of collections, of course I go straight for florals but there is the biggest & funkiest ponte roma selection I think I have seen in one place!  I chose this teal oriental floral jersey (temporarily out of stock I hope)  & when it arrived I was really pleased with the quality, the colour & how it would work as either a dress or top.  But Bettine it was to be. (Without pockets)


So here are the things I did to adapt a woven Bettine to a knit Bettine.  Tilly has some tips here too including measurements & process for adding a neckband.  I made most of my Bettine using my overlocker (serger) but there are some steps that need a regular machine.  I will point these out too, but you may have your own thoughts about how you would do it.

I added clear elastic to the shoulder seams, I always do it for knits, it’s in my genes now I think, as it supports the seam which has to carry a bit of weight & avoids stretching out of shape.  i think!

bettine shoulder

The invisible clear elastic in my shoulder seam

Of course the neckband is a difference, but use Tilly’s guide and you will be fine.

Bettine neckband

I kept the tabs at the sleeves, but sewed these using a regular machine with a straight stitch- it’s not as if these will suffer any stretch during use, they are just decorative really.

Cute flower buttons x

Cute flower buttons x

I think the part of the dress I was most conscious of sewing was the elastic casing.  Joining the bodice to the skirt can of course be done on your overlocker, but not the next step in making the casing out of the seam allowance.  You need to use a narrow zig zag.

Zig zag the casing seam

Zig zag the casing seam

On the inside it looks like this

bettine knit casingAnd the effect in the finished dress is ….

Knit Bettine


At back

Bettine back


And what about on a real person?  Looking at how this fits me I think I should have done an SBA as the creases at my shoulders disappear when I pretend I have bigger boobs.  (NO- not with socks in my bra!)

bettine (6)From behind …


She loves it, you know!

knit bettine So might you be tempted to try a knit Bettine dress?  It really is the perfect combo of comfort, style & lazy washing!!!!  This one does not languish in my ironing pile & has not seen the iron since it was made…..

summer river scene skirt

Summer river scene skirt

Oh this has been a long time coming!  As I sit here, typing with a very wet & rainy vista in front of me I think back to the handful of days that this skirt has served me well & brought a smile to my lips.  My summer river scene skirt made using Makower fabric I bought in Truro fabrics back in May.

summer river scene skirt

As soon as I saw this fabric I knew its destiny – a simple gathered skirt making the most of the horizontal ‘stripes’ brought by the repeating strip of river’s edge with row boats, yachts & edged with sludgy green summery vegetation- the odd tree, shrub & grassy river bank.

This is a classic no pattern skirt made out of a couple of rectangles of fabric, gathered onto a waistband.

summer river scene skirt

But my design process did not begin with the button up skirt vision, nor the patch pockets- they came later as I was sewing.   I had sewn the centre back seam & suddenly thought ‘buttons!’ – a button up skirt! That’s how premeditated I am.  You can’t see that well, but the buttons are a gorgeous shiny limey green too, gorgeous!

So matching the pattern was clearly very important – at the front and the only other seam – the centre back.  I did not bother to match the exact part of the river at seam lines, that could have been a night mare, but it was important that the whole rivery stripe gave a continuous stripe around the whole skirt.  Matching the sewing took me more time than I thought & I should have taken more precautions when sewing the waistband on for example.  First pass applying my usual carefree confidence was not good enough & I had one side of the waistband finishing far too low for a bodge – out of alignment by possibly a whole centimetre.  I had to take it out & revise my seamline & second time was OK due to more care & attention.

summer river scene skirt

I added the pockets almost as an afterthought too.  The skirt was finished, on Barbarella, & it seemed another good idea.  The first time I wore it for one of our pizza parties it served me well, bringing out beers for the guests!

Summer river scene skirt

A bit of a closer view :-)

Summer river scene skirt

So it’s been a cute skirt, simple design, but needing proper attention to match the stripes.


i love it & it really does symbolise summer & is very practical 😉

Clothing labels

Put a label on it!

I have never used clothing labels, partly because lasting memories of labels in clothing are of me having to cut them out because they irritate, tickle, niggle me somewhere – usually side seams or when labels are attached loose on three edges like a flag.  But over the times I have seen how  a handmade label can be used as the supreme finishing touch to a garment that has been made with pride- the crowning of a worthy make, saying, ‘I made this & I think it’s good enough to put my name to it’.  So I had been thinking about labels, but not too much, until I saw Melissa’s new Fehr Trade labels using Nominette’s online service (on Twitter actually) and it got me thinking just a bit more.  But before I could entertain the thought too seriously Nominette approached me and asked me if I would like to try them out in exchange for a review.  Well of course I would!   And here is my review.

Nominette is a Belgian based custom label specialist with a really easy to use English language website & great service, promising labels within 5 days of ordering.  The important thing is that the website really is  easy to use.  And quick –  I thought I would need to set aside quite a long time to design my labels, but no- it was all done within 20 minutes, and could have been much shorter if I knew exactly what I would say on my labels.


So you just upload your logo, choose your words & then your care symbols.  There are warnings about copyright (of course) with the logo you chose.  I played around with two versions- badger and rainbow as well as the badger, which is as you can see what I chose in the end.


The thing that I found hardest was trying to decide what words to use!


Then looking at the wash care symbols I wasn’t sure what they all meant (that says a lot about what & how I usually care for my clothes doesn’t it?! Chuck it in the washing machine on the eco 30 degrees wash with the highest spin generally!)  You have to use all 5 symbols on your label and  I was about to google the symbols to find out what they were  – but hover over the symbol and you get the description, making your choice even easier.  I picked washcare symbols that i thought would apply to the types of things I make as gifts for others, mostly cottons, because as I just confessed, I usually ignore them myself!


After that you can play around with the colour of the background and the text. This is a two colour system, rainbows were not allowed- otherwise I may have gone for the other logo!

While you are doing this though you can still go back and tweak your text choice & what you have on your label.  A great but simple design feature of the website is that it’s all on the same screen, it’s not like you have to make decisions & then scroll back through pages if you have a change of mind. Very easy to use and to see.

Scruffy badger wear

I chose purple text on a grey label.  It was that easy.  And then within days my bundle of labels arrived.  I was delighted- they looked even better than I had expected & I really like the colour choices I made.  Looking at the website again, I can confirm that they are made out of polyester with the  Oeko-Tex Standard 100 quality mark, certifying environmental and socially responsible standards.  They seem very well made & look very durable, again, as you’d expect- Nominette have been doing this since the 1930s!  Cost wise – that’s up front as well- £53 for 50 labels like this.   It may seem like an investment, because that’s what it is, and a reasonable one I’d say.  Just about £1 a label.

I have been adding my labels to ‘worthy’ garments & the first I sewed one into was an Anna dress that I made as a gift for a friend.


I seem to be making a few gifts at the moment & I am so thrilled to be able to personalise them with a ‘Scruffy Badger Wear’ label.  I am mid -shirt making and the huge joy I experienced when machining in a label to the inside yoke as I was making it was immense & made me smile.  of course I can’t show yet as it’s a gift to be given next month…As for my own makes this will be a proper test about how I feel about what I have just made- does it deserve a label? How big is the love factor?  How many years will it be worn for?  Is the finish deserving of my name?  It’s a good process!  And I bet I will take them out of anything that gets discarded!

This review is my own opinion, but I was provided 50 clothing labels free of charge to make this review possible.   I would go back – I am that impressed.


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 :-)