Category Archives: Dressmaking


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

Simplicity 1459 Feature

#vintagepledge Simplicity 1459

Apparently reproduction patterns qualify for the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge curated by Marie at A Stitching Odyssey and Kerry at Kestrel Makes.  That got me excited because I had been slowly making Simplicity 1459 with some awesome poly viscose I’d snapped up when visiting Minerva’s shop (& this was from Minerva’s  massive warehouse) last summer.  I am not able to link to the fabric, I am sorry – it was a random roll in the warehouse, & please don’t hate me when I tell you that it was *silly cheap*.  The fabric has amazing drape, but it suits my colours & I just loved the vintage vibe given off by its pattern – a kind of splatty check/ plaid.  Which is not on grain so that immediately helped give up any notion about trying to match it up.  [Score!  Hassle averted!]

Simplicity 1459


Simplicity 1459, as mentioned, is a repro 50s dress with a button bodice, that also has a side zip, and the most amazing collar.  There are also sleeve length options too.  I am picturing the most romantic sleeveless version for the summer.  Gingham perhaps?  Candy stripes?

I made view A, 3/4 length sleeves and instead of a side zip I converted the dress to a shirt dress with buttons all the way from bodice through to skirt.    I couldn’t see the point in adding a zip and buttoning up the bodice.  This was not that difficult –  I cut the skirt from a straight piece of fabric – as opposed to the pieces provided in the pattern & maximised the width / length of fabric I had left to do this- making a back skirt that was about twice the width of two front skirts.  Some of the front skirt width needs to be a front facing- & I interfaced this facing.  Apart from that, & making more buttonholes, all the dress sewing is the same as in the pattern, except for not having to insert a zip.  Result.

Inside out- can you see the facings?

Inside out- can you see the facings?

My skirt facings are not as wide as the facings used in the bodice- so I could have  managed that better-  if I was worried about the inside!  But I am not.

Simplicity 1459

The collar is a shoulder covering wonder!  Not being sure just *how big* it would turn out, & whether it would suit a small framed person like me, I felt safe in experimenting in this fabric, afterall, if the collar was oversized, the pattern would mitigate.  I don’t think it is oversized, but if it’s a dress pattern you like, but would feel as if the collar was too much of a statement, think about what fabric you’d use.

Simplicity 1459

This dress has plenty of swoosh!  From behind the collar almost covers your shoulder blades!  I have worn it with a cardigan, collar on the outside, & it didn’t cause me issues.

Simplicity 1459

So making this up was fine.  I didn’t make any changes to the fit, but made sure to try on as I went along, well the bodice anyway.  Potentially bust darts could do with being lowered (as always, it’s my age!), & with that belt on it seems as if I could probably do a small swayback adjustment next time too.

The sleeves were interesting.  Can you see from the technical diagram that there are three darts?

Simplicity 1459 I don’t know if you can see them in this picture?  The sleeves are pretty sculpted because of this- & in keeping with the snug fit (not much ease across the back) this is not a dress for hanging pictures in.  The sleeves are also finished with facings at the hem which is a nice clean touch.

I love the movement of this dress!  As I said above, I did not cut out the skirt pattern, but used three rectangles in as much of the width of fabric that I had left.  There is a load of gathering going on with this skirt, but because the fabric is so light, drapey & copes so well with gathers, it works like a dream.

I started this thinking I could finish it as part of Miss Clara’s Autumn of 1,000 shirt dresses, but failed to get in there in time (but I still kept the blog badge in my sidebar- the intention was there) .  So with that knowledge, I sewed this slow time, and it lived on Barbarella while other projects were being completed.  I suppose I treated it as something I really wanted to savour the making of, since it would not be an everyday dress, but I knew it would kick being worn with boots (yay for boots & dresses!).

Simplicity 1459

And yay for the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge!  I am aware that I have not actually pledged yet.  But I will be making some vintage inspired makes over the year, promise!


And maybe, just maybe, my entry for Simplicity’s Blogger Challenge could qualify if I channel some vintage vibes ….are you going to give the challenge a go?

Whilst I am collecting badges, I think this dress could fit with the Simplicity Blogger Circle?


I’ve definitely got the intention to make this dress again.  I love it.  I am also interested to see how it compares to Butterick 5747…..same kind of statement collar ….

Moneta feature

Moneta Monday?

It’s exactly a week since my last Moneta post, and here I am with another one to show you- a Moneta dress (by Colette Patterns) made using some lovely teal interlock from Plush Addict.(Disclaimer I received this fabric free from Plush Addict to review)


Now remember,  Moneta is Colette Pattern’s pattern of the month.  And  there is a 20%. discount if you want to buy it this month too- marvelloso! Follow that link!


Now it’s only recently that I became aware of what interlock actually is, & ask me a couple of months ago what it was, & I would only be able to suggest that it was some kind of jersey, but I had no more knowledge than that.  It all changed when I read the article in Seamwork about doubleknits by Alyson Clair & discovered What you clever folk will doubtless already know, that interlock is a kind of double knit (or double knit is a kind of interlock hahaha).  She writes, “Interlock jersey is in fact a double jersey, with a smooth surface on each side. The wales of the fabric on each side are alternated, with the back loops knitted together. This means both sides of an interlock will look the same”.  And the penny dropped.  This interlock is indeed more structured than the Liberty jersey I made my last Moneta out of.  It has less drape & it’s one of those knits whose edges behave & don’t curl up.  It’s easy to work with, & as you’ll see it gathers easily, so it’s not that thick, in fact it feels like quality t-shirts from M&S that your Mum rates highly.  It has less stretch & recovery though, so I would reckon it’s not such a good choice for leggings & truly figure hugging things.


I chose it based on its colour, with a Moneta in mind.  I LOVE teal.  But it’s one of those colours that are sometimes hard to find, which is why I snap them up when I do find them (& why you might be under the illusion that they are common place based on how often I make things up in teal!).


I have already peeled on about how I have found making the Moneta (easy).  I took some photos this time of the elastic waist shirring process.

Fun hey?!  Then there was the collar.  More on that in a minute, but look what happened.

Blade needs changing

This is the ugly mess that results in the overlocker blade not being able to cope with the thickness of fabrics.  YUK.  It persuaded me to get my screwdriver out & replace the blade.  Only, when I came to swap the old for the spare (provided at time of purchase), they were different sizes, so I had to put the old one back in.  SOB.  At least I tried.  I won’t be so scared next time.


So, let’s talk about the collar.  Once again, I opted for a collar, not wanting the plain turned under neckline.  I wanted to make the roll collar, which has been designed with a two piece back.  But I just couldn’t shake off the desire to make it without a break in the back, and using the roll back that is used for the tie collar.  I am sure there is a practical reason for making both these neckline options split either in the front (the tie) or the back (the roll collar), but perversely I had to find out for myself & potentially make the mistake, ignoring the styles provided & cobbling together the roll collar front & the tie collar back.  Nothing special needed for this, since the bodice & neckline shape does not vary, so the collars all fit & are therefore potentially interchangeable.  I was preparing myself for a fall however.


Shall I tell you now?  Did I make a boo boo?  Well I don’t think so….as far as I could guess, the practical reasons for the collar being split in the original designs could be either to make the collar sit down at the back/ front & not flip up.  There is a slight tendency for my collar to be a bit perky, but once under a cardigan it gets flattened into submission.  The other reason is to tell which is the front & which is the back!  Hahaha.  I need to sew a ribbon or something into the back as the only way I can tell is to look at the shoulders to see which way the seams are facing!


So that’s my teal Moneta dress.  I have three Monetas now, & they are so easy to wear – extremely comfy for working at home too.  I could see a sleeveless version in my summer future (with a collar of some description) – but for now, I think three “semi wintry” versions that will also see me into Spring is enough for now- so no Moneta next Monday- promise!  Have you see the tips for Moneta month – especially how to bind the edges?  I like the sound of that!

Miette skirt

Fancy Miette skirt and Fancy Moon Giveaway

So in my last post about a certain investment purchase in Liberty jersey I was telling you how I was coming around to the idea of actually spending a little more for fabrics that have that wow factor.  That conclusion has been reaffirmed by this skirt I am about to show you, although, full disclaimer, I was lucky enough to be given a choice of fabric to review from Fancy Moon, so no purchase necessary (for now but I WILL be back!)


The trouble with trying to single out a fabric at Fancy Moon is that there are too many gorgeous fabrics!  I  had fabric-mania – my shortlist of fabric to die for was getting ever longer as I perused the categories.  Helpful hint – try not to look through the whole stock but decide upon what themes you want – I took a breath & focused on florals and Asia and Far East.

So after far too long looking at fabric treats I chose Peacocks- Black Oriental fabric by Elizabeth Studio.  After making my last Miette skirt, I knew that it is the perfect pattern to showcase a beautiful print – with an amount of flare but no gathers, the design details would be allowed to sing in full feminine chorus.

Peacock designs are just one of my weaknesses, (exhibit A: Colette Ginger skirt & exhibit B: Duathlon leggings) & being in the oriental design range ticked off another weakness!


Some thought went into how to optimise the fabric with the Miette pattern.  And I have to say that with such a bold print as this, even the cute bow details of the Miette are cast into second place – the fabric really does hog the limelight!  Which is why it was more about the shape of the Miette for me, not the usual Miette details.   I omitted the big front pocket, but as this fabric is cotton, crisp enough to hold the flared shape, but eminently soft enough to make an awesome front bow without being ridiculous, that was my priority- a pocketless bow tied Miette.  I cut the front piece on the fold (overlapping the centre front by 1.5cm to eliminate the seam allowances).  That was all the change that was needed.  Everything else was sewn following the instructions & came together really quickly.

Miette skirt

Now, you need to know that I have heard amongst Miette makers, that there is a certain degree of trauma/ tedium associated with turning the mega ties that make the bow- they are *rather long*!  Have no fear, you do not need to suffer any longer!  I found a usefully quick & painless way to turn the ties using  my handy unpicker (but any similar implement would do) .

This is such an old unpicker, I had it in my first sewing kit as a child.  I use it less for unpicking, and more as a point turner- the end is really useful!  Anyway, it’s perfect for this- it’s a bit shorter than a pen- maybe a pen would do (as long as the lid stays on- you don’t want any leakages!).  So I put the “implement” into the sewn end of the tie & push it through, squooshing the tie around it.  At some point you reach the part of the tie that is open at the waistband, & the “implement” can be pulled through, turning the tie right side out.  Once turned, you can shake the implement out of the tie and then do your usual for getting pointy corners.  Think you’ll try this out?

Miette skirt bow

I sewed the hems & waistband facing by hand because it was a lovely TV watching thing to do, in the warm during a particularly cold part of the month.  Don’t get me wrong, my sewing conservatory is *my most favorite room*, but at night, in the winter, I can only take so much chilling, so the proportion of hand sewing I do can increase as I dispatch to the cosy living room where I can put the fire on to defrost……& continue sewing :-)

This is the wrap back

This is the wrap back

The skirt though.  Do you love it as much as I do?  I don’t think it is possible.  Worn with a slip, woolly tights & my warm chunky boots I adore it- I think the black background makes it a winner for the winter as long as I keep myself warm enough.  Equally it’ll see me into Spring, as the fabric is a crisp-ish cotton.    Now that’s making a wise purchasing decision – longevity through the seasons! Despite the lack of photographic evidence, I have worn this a lot as it makes me feel so individual.  It is truly an awesome skirt.


So if you have skimmed the paragraphs above, to get to the giveaway, the time is right!  Yes, Nancy at Fancy Moon is offering a £30 gift voucher to the lucky winner who I will draw at random.  All you need to do is head over to Fancy Moon and leave me a comment telling me which fabric you would choose (& if you know what you would use it for, please share that too!  I am nothing if not nosey inspired by others) .  The giveaway closes at midnight GMT on the 27 March 2015 and I will pick the winner during that weekend.  Good luck!