Category Archives: Dressmaking


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 “ wicking or breathable” 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 – 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….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!

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


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 – ever.

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 – it makes me feel quite parisienne & in denim is super useful – dressing 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 – no 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.

kwik sew 3334


Here it is from the back, undone.

kwik sew 3334


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 ‘was there’, 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.

kwik sew 3334


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.

surf to summit badger (6)

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 😉  )


Fabric designing the easy way

I took my time, admittedly.

I had been a By Hand  Kickstarter backer & my investment reward included a chance to get designing before this service was offered to one & all.  That was at the end of 2014 I think.

By Hand package

I think I had a bit of a creative/ mental block.  I mean, designing fabric.  Out of what?  Should I learn how to do the clever stuff – you know- it’s about tessellation & clever design stuff if you want  your square of design to repeat seamlessly across your fabric.

Needless to say I did not invest the time in that.  I find it so hard to make time to do even more than I am doing at the moment.  No.  If I was to design my own fabric it had to be dead simple.  But I resolved I was not going to buy from the gallery of heart meltingly beautiful fabrics already designed by someone else.  This was a one off chance, and I was not going to squander it.

By Hand printed fabric

These By Hand ladies are not stupid – they want fabric design to be accessible regardless of your design credentials.  There is a very clever & easy to use Customizer  to create your own designs.  All you have to do is upload your image & you can tile, brick it, mirror it.  There is a zoom function that allows you to play around with scale & believe me, that has a big impact on your design, creating new shapes & interesting patterns.  You can clearly see what the fat quarter or metre of fabric will look like before you commit to printing.

Fabric designed by me

I had thoughts of making some Morrissey fabric & sewing into a shirt for the biggest Morrissey fan I know.  But I don’t have my own photo, & it would have been weird, right?  This is the photo that I used (one of mine from my garden).

Grape hyacinthI wanted to get a horizontal stripe effect.  I also wanted it to retain its digital photographic origins.  I am so in love with it.

The fabric is a poplin and comes with care instructions.  i haven’t pre washed it yet to see how it settles down.  But it will be a dress for sure.  Either Simplicity 2444 or, by rights it should really be a By Hand pattern, to complete the eloquence.  This will also be a “high hitter”, as I will not want to make any mistakes with this fabric.    Can’t wait, but will relish the waiting..Watch this space.

Have you printed any of your own fabric?  What do you think?  What would you make from my fabric?

Grandad shirt

Chambray pintucked shirt- grandad style

Hey folks, here is the “High Hitter” I mentioned at the end of my last post.

Grandad shirt

Thinking back to my New Year reflections, I had said that there were going to be more “high hitters” in my repertoire- that is things made out of special fabric that might take longer to sew, & that will warrant more attention to detail and potentially a little fear.

Grandad shirt

Let me introduce the fabric- the reason this is a high hitter.  This is Chambray Union  from the Village Haberdashery & it is a delight.    This fabric is not cheap and it has definite quality with a lovely mottled slubby weave & it is so soft – almost linen like.  But it also loves holding a crease – which means it presses beautifully (& OK, it holds wear creases beautifully too).  I have been given this fabric to review & feel pretty proud of what I did with it.  That, then, means that my high hitting plans can be considered a success.  :-)

Grandad shirt


I had originally wanted to make a pair of Chinos, but when this arrived & i handled it, I knew that it was crying out to be a shirt, or a dress.  It would make great looser summer weight trousers, but it is quite thin & not robust enough in my mind for some spring chinos that would need to be up for the rigours of a more tightly fitting butt.

Grandad shirt

So, having decided upon a shirt, I then played around with some ideas.  I have my old faithful shirt pattern – the Sew U Built by Wendy button up shirt.  And you may or may not know this, but there has always been an unscratched itch to make a pin tucked shirt.  This chambray cried out for some pintucking- how better to honour it?  But, here’s the thing. I did not want to *just* pintuck in parrallel to the button bands, I wanted to make a pin tucked bib.  And for this I needed to get pattern cutting.  Woo hoo!  Adventure time!!!

Grandad shirt

I traced a copy of the shirt front & then drew (using a ruler) where I wanted the bib to be.  I drew it so that it hit about a third of the way in to the shoulder seam, with the vertical edge drawn in parallel with the shirt front.  I worked out that I wanted the bib’s horizontal to finish around the bottom of my ribs, & way above my belly button & drew this at right angles, with a curved corner.  I then had to add seam allowances to both sides of this bib line – & then traced another new (bib + seam allowance)  piece before cutting the new shirt front minus (the bib less shirt seam seam allowance).  Does that kind of make sense?  I hope so…

pin tucking

Then it was time for some pintucking adventures with my pintucking foot.  The foot has two needle holes & ridges underneath for you to use as channels that run over the previous pintucked ridge.  The twin needles make the pin tuck & keeps you parallel with your previous lines of stitching.  Magic.  As I remember, it was not that expensive, & you just need the  right size twin needle to match your machine foot’s pintucking channel-making-needle-holes.  Warning, it does use quite a lot of thread!I decided pintuck some pieces of my chambray before cutting them into the finished size required for the front bib pieces.

So once I had cut my pintucked bibs, I also cut out the rest of my shirt pieces.  Constructing the front shirt, adding the bib to the front, is one of the first steps in construction.  After that, it’s sewn very much like a regular shirt.  Turning the curved corner was the trickiest part of inserting the bib – I stay stitched & made quite a few clips to allow the shirt to accommodate the corners in a smooth seam.  A good press afterwards to set it & then I overlocked the seams together.

Inside out

Inside out

The BBW shirt does have front vertical darts, but with a bib that was not going to work, so I left them out, but did include a bit of shaping at the back.  And the rest is pretty standard.

I took the faux button band approach – sewing the front facing to the outside & top stitching its outside edge.  I like this finish.

Pin tucked bib

My continuous laps at the cuffs were pretty neat – I blame the fabric – it behaves wonderfully.

Continuous laps

Quite early on I decided that this was to be a collarless shirt, even though I had originally cut out the collar pieces.  There is something very simple about the grandad collar & pintucked bib.

Buttons?  I am very pleased that I chose some contrast buttons to lift it slightly & provide a little femininity.  They are not shell, but look like they are, & in the shape of flowers.  Perfect.

Grandad shirt

I am really pleased with this shirt.  I feel it fits nicely, & is really special.  The pintucks are there when you look for them.  And are at the same time understated.  This is definitely an all rounder to see the spring in, & as a cover up in the summer too.   I thoroughly recommend using a specialist foot & twin needle, rather than attempting the manual method, which must be fraught & super time consuming.  And I also heartily love this fabric- it is a joy to sew & is a classy wear.  I know I was lucky enough to have been given this fabric, but it is an investment worth making, in my view.  For the price of a metre and a half, you have something that far surpasses anything you could hope to find on the High Street at anywhere near the money.     Gorgeous!

Giveaway Winner & stuff

Hello all!

I have been preoccupied, hence the radio silence.  But first of all, who won the Fancy Moon Giveaway?

Using Random Org’s fancy random generator the winner was picked and It was Shelley who thinks she is going to choose some Kaffe Fassett paper weight or millefiori fabric in teal or blue or…

and she thinks she will make an Emery dress or maybe give Tilly’s Megan dress a go.  But then, if she is anything like me, that could all change next time she visits the delights of Fancy Moon….

– I have emailed you Shelley, to confirm.

Miette at the Moz

Miette at the Moz

Here I am wearing my Miette skirt at a very special gig.  Hahaha!  I made myself laugh because I was even wearing the same t-shirt that is usually sported by Barbarella…. spot the difference 😉

So what’s been happening?  Well.  I am training for a marathon, and I guess I am a bit more tired than usual.  AND my head get a little screwed up about it…when I let it…as I have not yet run more than 16 miles and it’s my longest run on Easter Sunday.*  I have actually started a new blog for my running exploits RunLikeaGirl where I go into my marathon mind battles in a little more depth.  It’s also going to be where I post my crazy running outfits (hence the title!) It would be great if you are interested in any of my running adventures to pay me a visit :-)  Still early days & I am looking for great running blogs (like real running blogs) to follow.  When I say real running blogs, I mean written by the non-natural athletes amongst us.  I might be running (shuffling) a marathon, but I am not a natural athlete….& I love reading stories about others who have the same kinds of challenges as i do & can laugh about them & can share how they overcome them too.  Any recommendations?


* Oh yes, and I got a knee injury too, so have been resting it this week after a physio session on Tuesday.  That plays even more havoc with one’s feeble mind….

And back to sewing.  I have cut out the Funki Fishy fabric for making up this Easter weekend.

Funki fishy fabric

The poll’s results were ….

Of the 279 votes cast, 163 have instructed me to make a running skirt.  Your wish is my command!

I will be back before the weekend is out with something I have made from my “High Hitter” list.  That is, something that I think is rather special & something that I took my time on detail ….

Happy Easter everyone