Category Archives: Dressmaking

My Named Delphi Maxi dress …. as rather a special balldress

Oh yes Cinderella, you shall go to the ball even though you haven’t made your dress and you’ve got to get to Devon in a week’s time…. It wasn’t that I made a last minute decision to choose dress & even buy fabric – supplies were procured in reasonably good time (4-6 weeks ahead).  I just did not have the sewing time in September and October until – er- the weekend before!  But I had long envisioned the graceful style, comfort & ease of making me my first floor length ball dress in a jersey using the Named Delphi dress.  This is how it turned out.

delphi dress

First of all please allow me a smidge of smug because it turned out absolutely brilliantly.  Not only was I pleased with how it looked (unique & a bit classy), fitted (spot on & very comfy) & performed on the night,  it is the ultimate to pack & wash- unlike most balldresses.  I could have screwed it up & chucked it into my weekend bag (I loosely folded it, didn’t screw it into a ball, but it would have survived) & not a suitbag & dry cleaner in sight.

delphi dress

So let’s rewind.  It started with the pattern.  I’d been returning to the Delphi off & on, not being a maxi dress wearer, but being strangely drawn to the floaty bodice & Grecian lines.  I also wanted to make my balldress for my October charity ball as the group of girls that I went with all decided that we would wear long dresses & I didn’t have one.  I was prepared to make something with glitter & sequins but even though I was shopping for fabric a good month or so beforehand, I didn’t really leave myself a huge amount of time to do my research.  So I ended up visiting my local fabric shop in Midsomer Norton, Rose Crafts for any of you interested (a fab shop with a really surprising selection of good value fabrics).  I was almost pulling out a roll of electric blue lycra when I spotted the purple/grey crinkle jersey (a Makower fabric and not cheap cheap, about £11 per metre).  ‘Now that’s Grecian’ I thought and just as I pulled the slim roll out of the shelf, I spied the matching (Makower) jersey lace in a purple/grey and fate stepped in.  This was it.  I had my dress.  I also bought some stretch jersey lining as I planned to make an internal bra to avoid buying a strapless one and to line the skirt as the fabric could be a little sheer .  I should note that I bought far too much of the plain crinkle grey as I needed to cut the skirt across the width (so that the crinkles fall vertically) but bought the yardage advised on the pattern which aims to cut skirts down the length.  I could have saved myself some dosh there, but it seems I have enough left over to make a day to day skirt ….soon.

Gosh! A ball dress with an elastic Waist!

Gosh! A ball dress with an elastic Waist!

Onto making notes.  I made a toile using some ordinary jersey to judge waist position & length of skirt.  (My toile is now a nightdress!) I thought the length may have been designed for Amazonians & I didn’t want to waste posh fabric as I planned to make an overlocked  rolled hem)  however I didn’t really need to shorten the skirt – I cut off the equivalent of the hem on my ball dress & on my toile just made a normal kind of hem.  My toile did throw up bodice adjustments needed- There was far too much width at upper front & upper back which resulted in gaping – I therefore had to adjust the pattern by taking out a good wedge from the CF bodice front & back.  In my toile, it hangs a bit like a cowl.  Another good reason for making the toile was to test run the construction and work out how it all pieced together, enabling me to make some design decisions for the actual posh dress.  I had thought I would use fold over elastic (FOE) for the straps, but having used FOE for my toile I decided that the weight of the posh dress with lining might place too much weight on the narrow FOE straps – so I made straps using strips of posh fabric instead (not on the bias though due to the direction of the fabric crinkles, but down the length).  I also needed to work out how I was going to make an integrated bra!  How the layers would sit & sewing order.  I also needed to understand what the finished length of the bodice top layer needed to be so that I could cut my scalloped lace edge at the right edge.  As it turns out, this layer is curved and cannot use the scalloped selvedge edge at the hem- I will show you what I did later.


I was really pleased with my toile despite it being too big at my upper bodice.  The style is very flattering – & made in a jersey that hangs deliciously I was really excited to make it up in posh fabric- for real.  The waist is elastic and allows some growth & shrinkage over time (ball dresses are investment pieces afterall).  The elastic waist is also simply made with the seam joining the bodice and skirt being used as the tunnel for the elastic.  It was a very straightforward and quick make – I used my overlocker for most of it.

delphi dress

I bet you want a bit of info on making the integral bra?  This would be useful for whatever reason you were making a Delphi dress – as a summer dress or ball dress.  I looked in my patterns to find a sports bra that I have already made to get an idea for how narrow it needs to be to squash my ‘girls’ adequately to avoid bounce, & how long (from top to bottom) the bra needs to be.  (The photos show the lining/ bra in navy fabric for info).


I made a pattern using the existing Delphi bodice upper edge to get the shape of the upper bodice, used the length of the sports bra (with extras for seam allowances), and started off by drawing a line joining the width at the bottom edge of the sports bra with the width at the upper edge of the Delphi bodice.  I made the sports bra in a double piece of jersey lining & basically kept trying it on until I was happy with the fit.  It’s really important though to make sure it doesn’t vary too much away from the bodice edge that it will be joined to otherwise there is a greater risk of pulling as the size differences wrestle with each other (I have found this in the past, anyway).

I did not have black elastic for the bra!

I did not have black elastic for the bra!  This is the bra being pulled out of the top of the bodice


Once I was happy with the fit, I sewed some 1cm elastic to the bottom edge of the bra so that it was hidden & to the inside of the bra & to fit my underbust.  I then basted the bra to the upper edge of the bodice – right side of bra to wrong side of lining.  The dress is then constructed by placing the bodice top layer right side together with the wrong side of the bra (I think!  Play around with it to see how it would look once sewn if you are unsure!).

delphi dress

I also mentioned the scalloped edge of the bodice layer- in my case I used lace.  The bodice layer has a curved edge so it cannot benefit from the readily available scallops at the side on the selvedge edge.   But it didn’t stop me trying!  I cut a new pattern piece for the front & back layer as one unfolded piece so I could be careful about positioning.

One piece bodice patterns

One piece bodice patterns

I therefore cut the layer without cutting on the fold & then manually added some scallops, cut from the fabric’s selvedge, to the hem of the bodice, with a small zigzag, like sewing scalloped lace to undies.

I also said that I lined the skirt – I just cut two versions of the skirt – one in jersey lining- & basted them together at the top of the skirt, wrong sides together, before attaching skirt to bodice.  I roll hemmed both lining (A little shorter than the posh skirt) and roll hemmed the posh skirt with my overlocker.

delphi dress

And a great time was had by all.

ball laughter

I did not feel trussed up like a chicken in boning &/or magic pants.  I had plenty of room for a three course dinner & sashayed on the dance floor until it was time for carriages.  Once home I chucked it into my washing machine (cool wash) & before I knew it, it was packed away, hibernating until the next posh floor length do.


Oh yes, more another time, but I made myself some accessories to suit- this clasp bag


& some earrings out of Fimo roses.  I shall report back a bit more on that some time soon.

Ahh, happy memories.  Hope you are all having a great week.  Cheerio for now….


The Rosa dress

hello all!  I have had this dress to post about for a while now & what with life & last week blog technicalities I have only just now managed to find the opportunity to get it out to you.  But this is the Rosa dress, by Tilly and the Buttons and I was lucky enough to be one of the testers so I have been wearing this for absolutely yonks.  Because I love it.  In a nutshell.


The Rosa dress is a shirt dress or a shirt – button down shirt- that is gently fitted with princess seams  and has a yoke, the usual collar stand and options for pockets.  Its clever 3/4 sleeves avoid cuffs altogether with fold backs and tabs.


Due to its various seamlines & pattern piecing there is also plenty of scope to go wild with piping (check out Ooobop’s idyllic piped Rosa dress) or use of contrast fabrics if you feel the urge.  For once, I did not.  (I am toning down it seems now I am out of the city…)  But Tilly’s website contains plenty of tips and tutorials for sewing up Rosa including this post on how to add piping to the collar


I made it in a pale green chambray & used that multi-primary-coloured machine embroidery thread for topstitching (hehehehe!!) and some perfectly coloured pale green buttons.


Now as I was pattern testing I am not going to dwell on much more – Tilly’s patterns are always well illustrated with photos and simple language that takes you through the process simply & calmly.  It is described as an Improver’s pattern due to navigating collars and a pointed yoke however, if you have never sewn a shirt before this would be a good place to start.  You even get to find out how easy faux flat felled seams are ! Tilly is clearly offering extra support for sewing the Rosa as there is also an online class for sewing the Rosa dress.


What I must swoon about is that this dress has been well worn by me- through those slightly overcast summer days and also now in the mild autumn we have been having.  I can also see it being worn with tights and a cardi.  These photos were taken earlier in the year when there was still blossom on my honeysuckle.

What I particularly love about it, is the fit.  I made a size three and it fits spot on with the perfect amount of ease.  It is flattering with its shaped waist & gentle curves – but also hides a multiple of sins (eg Sunday roasts and biscuit indulgence). I feel so good in it!


I am looking forward to making it up as a shirt as well….and the pink hair?  Sadly temporary….but big fun!

Happy weekend- soon – all!

Vintage Sewalong – Vogue 9127

Have you enjoyed following the bloggers’ posts in the Vintage Sewalong that has been running since March?  There has been a programme of reveals through the blog world – loved seeing which patterns our sewing friends have chosen & it’s coming to a close….but not before you get to see the dress I took on.

vogue 9127

There were quite a few patterns, stretching across quite a few decades and I decided to pick a dress that would be challenging.  Vogue 9127.

vogue 9127

Why did I do this?  Do I never learn?  Don’t I ever remember that when I have deadlines to meet I usually sew by the seat of my pants, not making use of the months lead in time, but apparently allowing a dose of pressure to heighten the sew.

vogue 9127This dress is from 1939 and I was drawn to the intricate details- the curved seams & interesting top pockets.  Just how would this be achieved?  I wanted to find out.

vogue 9127

Fabric choice was a cinch – a solid crepe- I chose the much adored Luxury Crepe from Sew Over It– in aubergine.  It is truly lush- perfect weight, drape & style (I know that everyone who has the pleasure to sew with it raves about it & I am no exception)

vogue 9127

The pattern was interesting for sure.  It never occurred to me that the repro vintage pattern would be faithful to the sewing methods that were used in the 30s- but it’s true!

Preparing to edgestitch the seam together

Preparing to edgestitch the seam together

Curved seams are achieved by pressing one of the piece’s seam allowances to the wrong side and then lapping it over the edge of the other piece you are joining it to, then edge stitching close to the pressed edge.

I sewed my first ever prick stitched zipper (there is one in the side seam).  Took a while, but pretty pleased with the end result.  This hand stitching thing is more widely used in this pattern (obvious really isn’t it) so I tried to honour that & not take any short cuts that might be possible with machine sewing.

vogue 9127

There is also embroidered arrow heads to contain some of the inner curved edges- to reinforce and also in my case to mask the odd less than perfect edge…

vogue 9127

Fit-wise it is also worth noting that the style is meant to be a bit blousy on the top- saying that though this challenged me.  Just how blousy should it be?   I did have to take out extra across the side front’s princess seam.  Luckily I did make a toile as I really thought I could get into trouble with this pattern!

vogue 9127

Making a toile also showed me that I needed to take several inches off the bodice length and the length of the skirt too.  By the way, I did not just take a deep hem to shorten the skirt, but used shortening lines to cut the pattern down but keep the shape of the skirt faithful to the original.

Vogue 9127

Like the details?  I chose black buttons from Liberty ( not very expensive at all) & look at the pop of Liberty in the back belt buckle.


Now these breast pockets….I was tempted to omit them but in the end went for it thinking it was quicker to follow the instructions…however they are floppy.  Whilst they are intended to curve upwards, mine prefer to form a fold.

vogue 9127See…

vogue 9127

The pattern also includes shoulder pads and the pattern and instructions to make your own out of batting.  This I am afraid I did not do!  I am still recovering from the 80s – I avoid shoulder pads like the plague!  You might think the look would be improved with said pads, but sorry, it’s a personal choice.  And the faff of washing when using cotton batting?  You’d probably have to remove each time & sew back in- or if they miraculously survived the wash, the drying time would take forever ages.  But the sleeve cap is pretty – shaped with darts – not gathers.

vogue 9127

The point of the Vintage Sewalong is to celebrate the beautiful vintage patterns that have been reproduced for the modern sewer and to raise awareness for the Eve appeal, a charity supporting research into prevention, risk detection and prevention of all five gynaecological cancers and for every sale of the 20 vintage patterns featured, a donation will be made to charity by the Sewalong’s hosts.  Thank you McCalls Butterick Vogue for hosting this brilliant sewalong.

vogue 9127

Fancy giving this one a try?  I have to say that I enjoyed transporting myself back to times when there was far more handsewing- basting, prick stitching a zip and even the embroidery (which I need more practice at!).  I also think this dress is going to adapt to my (now much more casual) wardrobe and be brought into use when I need to feel a little more brushed up- I think it’ll look lovely with my winter boots and a chunky cardigan too.  And I must have more of this luxury crepe in my life…. a dream to sew and then to wear.

Photo notes- where’s my tan?  Sorry for the extreme blanching- I think it was the camera’s flash – oops!!  And looking at the pics, will be wearing with a slip out in the open 🙂

Excited about the City Break Capsule wardrobe ebook

Well hello everyone!  Hope all is good with you?  I have a bit of a logjam occurring and a few things to blog about once I get writing….so you’ll see something rather special on Friday….(I should have written it by then!) but today I am rather besotted with thoughts of making myself a City Break Capsule wardrobe.  Because surely it has been created just for me & my mini jaunts to wonderful places?  I could have done with it in Prague and Norway this summer for sure.

What am I rabbiting on about?  What is this ‘City Break Capsule Wardrobe’?  Well, it’s the latest innovation from Sew Over It– in the form of a digital collection of patterns (ie all pdfs) but created as a collection – a capsule wardrobe of pieces that can be mixed & matched & provide ideal separates to take away for fun in the city.


I have to say I was pretty stunned when I saw just what is included.  When you read that it includes five patterns, it does not convey the variations in these patterns so it really feels as if you are getting much more than five.  The five patterns are:

  • Erin skirt – button up pencil skirt in two lengths (so Parisian!)
  • Molly top and dress – long or short sleeves- top or dress (in a knit)
  • Alex shirt and dress (yes, that’s a shirt dress and a button up shirt)
  • Mia jeans (with fly front no less)
  • Lola coat- a waterfall front coat that looks super snugly & has real potential in different weight fabrics I reckon.

What great outfit potential and buying a collection like this gives me the opportunity to think of what I make as being part of a whole, with the aim that they can mix & match with each other & I think this will really add to the usefulness of the things I make.   That’s just my take on it.  I know some of you will think that some of the patterns on their own are worth getting this collection for.  And just for £20 seems such a reasonable price (see below for a discount that’s got 24 hours left on it)


The patterns as I said are all pdf downloads and presented with a beautifully presented ebook that contains all the instructions and is brilliantly illustrated with photos on location in Paris.  Have a look at the blog post here that explains the japes that were had in Paris with the aid of something that pops up….


So, when I can I am letting my sewing imagination go wild and decide what I am going to make and the theme for my City break capsule wardrobe, determined to make it all.  Here’s the link again to check it out – and I saw that if you buy before midnight Tuesday 20th Sept, get 10% off  with code CITYBREAK.

I sadly (?) cannot get cracking just yet as I have a ball gown to make for a ball the first weekend in October, but  have a cunning plan to make something very surprising …. watch this space.  But I’ve just been overwhelmingly busy and haven’t started it yet….


Disclaimer- I have been sent a copy of the ebook to get an early view with no requirement to write about it or use it.  To tell you the truth I would buy this collection myself – this is an honest review & I am excited about making it up.

Vogue 1085- My Prague top

Another fabric souvenir, this time from Prague.  I managed to find a fabric shop close to Wenceslas square – Latky Galanterie – website here (not sure if it is a national fabric chain) and location in Prague on this map.

Fabric shopping in pragueA lovely shop, large and full of tidily arranged bolts of beautiful fabric.  I was visiting Prague with only hand luggage and so only looked for one special piece of fabric and sadly kept away from all the temptation

Fabric shoppingApart from a really unusual piece of jersey with fragmented patterns of the outdoors, a splash of red from the garden and colours that to be honest reminds me more of Scandinavia than summer in Prague, however, I bought it in Prague so it is my Prague top.

Prague topI wanted to preserve the pattern as much as possible – no fancy details.  I also wanted a very slouchy loose fit – it’s what the fabric whispered to me.  So I found Vogue 1085, a ‘Today’s Fit’ pattern by Sandra Betzina that has an unusual reversible wrap / cowl sleeveless jersey top and this raglan sleeved cowl neck top.  I have had this years and I think that it must be out of print now, judging from my quick search online.  I do still fancy making the sleeveless reversible top…but this is about the other style on the pattern!

Vogue 1085

I cut it in a large size for ultimate bagginess but shaped it at the side seams to give a little better definition at the waist.

Vogue 1085

I thought carefully about pattern placement so that the front view captures the part of the pattern I wanted to be the focus with that bloom of red & cottage nicely placed.

Vogue 1085

I did not have enough fabric to make full length sleeves (in terms of the pattern’s 3/4 length sleeves) so I cut some extra wide cuffs to extend the arm length a tad.

Vogue 1085

I also wanted to finish the hem with a fabric band instead of turning the hem & stitching – I made the band just a little smaller than the hem, so that it drew it in a bit from being so slouchy.

The back

The back

I know that the fabric’s pattern plays tricks with your eyes – the raglan sleeves hardly show.

Love the cowl!

Vogue 1085

I have started to wear this a bit more now the weather is cooling & have had compliments galore.  I give the fabric credit for this as it really is all about the fabric!

Have you enjoyed sewing fabric souvenirs?  Do you love wearing them & remembering where you bought the fabric?

I am happiest …. in my garden wearing a Biscayne

Hi all!  I hope you have been enjoying the week?  I am seriously loving the mellow summer we have been having, especially since I have the most gorgeous garden (which I take no credit for- I feel blessed every day for inheriting this when I moved).  So I have been outside as much as possible.  And as stated in the title, my happy outfit has to be shorts plus a Biscayne blouse (by Hey June).  This is my third, and I wont have that much to say this time as I have written more –  my first here and my birdie Biscayne here.

Biscayne (5)

Biscayne (6)

This is some fabric that I bought last summer when I went to Soho for a Simplicity meet up and I visited Cloth House afterwards & felt a fabric souvenir was in order.  It is a block printed Indian cotton and I fell big time for it.

Biscayne (10)

Cloth House has a very different range of fabrics- it’s not cheap, but fabrics are sourced from some really interesting global suppliers – but by ‘global’ I mean to describe lots of different ethnic styles and influences – block printing & natural dyes, some really tempting denims are the year long memories that have stuck with me.  Visit and see for yourself if you get the chance.

Biscayne (9)

So having made two Biscayne blouses already and finding that I am absolutely living in them this summer- work and home (because hoorah!  I tend to have little difference between the two).  It’s such an attractive comfortable top – with its petite stand collar, slightly gathered neckline.

Biscayne (7)

I love its placket too.  And the shape is just perfect summer shaping – the right side of A line so that it skims & is nice & airy.  No armhole facings, but bias finish.

This time I omitted the welt pocket since I felt that it would not add to this version of the top – it would not only get lost in the fabric’s pattern, and how much do I use it anyway ?  The welt pocket for me is more a sewing delight than a practical feature & this time I could live without the pride I feel after completing a welt pocket (always easier in cotton I think !)

Biscayne (8)

I have no more to say.  Except that I actually bought these shorts & didn’t make them.  I know, I have not bought any clothes for years, making practically everything except undies & the odd cardigan.  What’s with these shorts?  Well, they came from Prague where it was so hot & I had not packed any shorts, thinking city break would certainly not require shorts as they would be too informal.  However, so many people were wearing them & it was so casual that when we went to C&A (yes!!  C&A still thrives in Europe) my curiosity was overcome when I actually weakened & snapped up these shorts…..I love them I am sorry to say!

My polka dot blazer, Simplicity 2446

My first version of Simplicity 2446, an amazing fit pattern, to create my attempt at Boden- the polka dot blazer.  I made this a while ago now, and have only just got around to blogging about it….this jacket has turned into such useful Spring outerwear and as the summer fades it’ll again be something that I grab for on the way out of the door, with jeans mainly, and maybe one of those cotton scarves….

Simplicity 2446
This is quite a long piece. Should I have split it? I’m not sure. Didn’t realise how much I’d have to write until I came to review it afterwards…so get a cuppa and put your feet up. Or just skim or not. As suits!
So time to tell the story of my ‘wearable muslin’ or the test jacket I made but hoped would be good enough to wear. This is the pilot before I make Tweedy out of my purple houndstooth Harris Tweed.  ( This is on my sewing plans for the Autumn )

Simplicity 2446

I looked for some cheap as chips cotton with a bit of weight, prepared to use calico until I saw that this cotton, with polka dots was almost as cheap. How can that be possible? Still, having seen Carolyn’s beautiful polka dot blazer using the same pattern, simplicity 2446 , an amazing fit pattern, the idea was hatched to make me a Boden style jacket.

Simplicity 2446
I did even cut up some sheeting to make a very rough toile before cutting into the polka dot. (Makes a change doesn’t it?!) At sheet stage, there did not appear to be any glaring fit issues. And I know that toiles should be made out of similar type and weight fabric, but I wanted to get an idea that I was cutting the right size. The amazing fit patterns all have 1″ seam allowances included in key fit zones to allow plentiful letting out & additional shaping, so I felt this was not too risky a strategy. It also allowed me to practice constructing the details before laying into my posh tweed.
My plan evolved to optimise time with my Mum in Cornwall, bringing basted jacket with me so that I could benefit from sewing guru’s fitting skills to help me customise my jacket pattern. In the 5 days that I had there as my holiday I managed to squeeze in a few short ( for me ) sessions so that I could take away the completed polka dot shell with me, knowing that we had worked through the fit and it *seemed ok*.
It is strange that an amazing fit pattern with all of the extras to help achieve a custom fit- wide seam allowances, sections in the instruction on common fit alterations- was not actually needed as I think this fits me just about out of the packet. I made a size 10 at bust graded to a size 14 at the hips. This is usual for my body shape. I also wanted to make the longer length as this seemed more like the classic blazer….and suitable for my heirloom Tweed jacket.  I did not want it too snug as I wanted to be able to wear some layers with it too.
So let’s talk about the jacket then?

One thing I rarely do, but always do for something like this, is transfer all the markings with tailor tacks. Ok some of them fall out by the time I get to the sewing, but the rate of loss is better than if I just used pins.

There are some lovely details for an almost tailored finish. As with the other amazing fit pattern I’ve made ( chinos using simplicity 1696) there are extra ‘amazing tips’ presented in the pattern instructions if you want to get a bit closer to some of the nice finishing details. For example, applying fusible interfacing at hem edges and also across the upper back and upper bodice – certainly at hem edges this provides a nice bit of extra structure.

Adding the piping

Adding the piping

Also having seen Carolyn’s awesome pop of even more colour with the addition of some contrast piping between facing and lining, that too was an amazing tip I took on. Check out the cute play of colour with my shiny green bias. I did not add piping cord per se, just used the satin bias ( left over from my abundant supply purchased for my tartan circle skirt).


On the subject of the lining, do you like? It’s GOLD and has little polka dots and ‘w’s all over it. Oh ok, apparently they are ‘m’s as this lining was a Max Mara end of line that I bought from Ditto fabrics when I was in Brighton last April. I’d hunted Ditto out, determined to visit and what a treat. Set in the fabulous North Laine area I found heaps of inspiration and shopping temptation. And then there is Ditto. yay !. I did purchase some other fabric, but was drawn to this lining (yes it’s still on sale!) by someone’s little boy whose hand had glided over its silky goldness, saying ‘look Mummy, it’s so shiny’. Ok, got me, I listen in on conversations between children and parents, but if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have also been drawn to this most beautifully perfect lining. Dots and ‘w’s?! At the time I’d not bought lining for my blue polka dot jacket. I just knew when I saw this egg yolk satin that the wait was over. When I cut it out, I allowed an extra 2″ ease in the centre back and created a little pleat at the centre back to allow for ease. I didn’t want any feeling of splitting lining when wearing it!
More jacket details?

Check out the pockets. They are welt pockets ? Oh no they’re not.

The princess seaming, as well as creating a sleek shape, ( different cup sizes on this amazing fit pattern) allows side pockets in the front seam under the pocket flaps.

Simplicity 2446

It’s a really nice finish, but wearing it, I’m still expecting proper welt pockets under my flap. To achieve this in my Tweed jacket would involve starting with a different pattern I think- one without princess seams otherwise there’s just too much going on with a welt pocket, under a flap, crossing through a vertical seam.   But having thought about it some more I am less sure, and might try to keep the princess seaming and just add welt pockets….do you think that would work?

Even more lovely details? The sleeve packets are pretty awesome. They are almost non faux. They almost operate as sleeve plackets. They are lined and everything. I made buttonholes in them, but didn’t bother slicing the buttonholes as why, if the buttons are just going to sit on top of them? Can I show you something I really enjoyed sewing?

Simplicity 2446
The sleeve hem. It’s cut with the edges shaped to provide a perfect mitre. Oh pure joy.
I’d read that there might be some easing difficulties when it came to work on the collar and getting round those corners, but for some reason I did not come across any excessive swear moments. None actually. And I really liked the way that the upper collar attaches to the neck and blends into a lovely upper shoulder dart that hides under the collar….

Collar/ (under collar ) detail

Collar/ (under collar ) detail with shoulder dart

The lining is bagged and the pattern tells you how to do it. All machined except for one small bit of closing. The interesting thing is that instead of just one hole to use for turning the jacket in and out of, there are three- you leave turning holes in each sleeve and at the hem. It was less tricky to sew each sleeve hem through its own hole this way. Good trick I think. You can still machine the lining holes shut with care.  I’ve since used this approach with other lined jackets I’ve made.

Secret to a nice finish where the facing meets the lining is this staggered hem edge

Secret to a nice finish where the facing meets the lining is this staggered hem edge

What else am I chuffed with? Well I actually like the finish at the inside hem. That’s worked out well. Even my usual weak point, where the lining hem meets the facing. Looks neat enough to me. Next time I just need to make sure that my bias piping is turned the right way when sewing the facing’s hem – I’ve just coaxed it to sit the right way here with a couple of well meaning hand stitches.

Simplicity 2446
It took me a while to complete the jacket – last thing to add were the buttons, and I didn’t have them. I’d snaffled some options for the sleeve cuffs ( you need 6 of these) but didn’t have anything that could be used for the front, and therefore was reluctant to make buttonholes. So I wore this jacket, buttonless and buttonhole-less on my shopping trip….(complete with tailor tacks marking position of buttonholes for when I did come to make them. I don’t think the wispy bits of thread on the front showed that much….) & chose buttons whilst wearing it 😉
So I’ve now worn this jacket a few times. There is plenty of ease in the shoulder and upper back area. It is comfy. And I like wearing jackets and jeans. It kind of elevates the humble ( but much loved) Ginger jeans…. And now I’ve written it up, I’m looking forward to rekindling the experience for Tweedy.  A few other things to make first!

By the way, I’ve heard that there is a 10% off at Fabric Godmother this weekend running till Monday

august 10% discount

and 15% off fabric at Weaver Dee using code 15% OFF *All fabrics! Use code: HOLIDAYTREAT !  Half price Simplicity New Look patterns ends soon too.  If you feel like some fabric shopping this weekend. Hope you have a glorious bank holiday/ weekend folks…

Style Arc Daisy Tunic and Ethel Pants

So hello again everyone, how are you all?  I’m gathering a few thoughts today about an outfit I made especially for travelling.  This was also my first foray into Style Arc patterns – the Style Arc Daisy Designer Tunic and Ethel Designer Pants.  (Did the word ‘Designer’ in the name sway me?  Not really but it did generate a little confidence when I came to wear them!)

daisy tunic ethel pant

So when I saw this pattern duo I thought it would be great for travelling- you know when you have to be cool but need to cover up (modesty reasons perhaps) or even to wear in an evening that chills once the sun goes down.  Or something that is a great interface between a cool start & potential heat later.  Not my usual style I think you’ll agree.  However, this is what’s great about sewing – make new things to suit the occasion.  I bought these patterns , via Amazon’s Style Arc store of all places, during a Style Arc sale, however Style Arc runs monthly promotions where two patterns are often paired in a promotion (with a choice of free pattern) and it’s always interesting to see what they put together.


OK, the patterns- the Style Arc Daisy Designer Tunic is long (like tunics are) with 3/4 length sleeves, a scoop neck and pockets if you want.  It has an interesting detail at the hem with a double folded hem (like two folds) and with fab angles at its side seams due to it being longer here.  I don’t know how to describe it!   Style Arc calls it a ‘double angled hemline’ there.  Succinct.

daisy tunic

I made it with some gorgeous fine Indian cotton from Ditto fabrics in Brighton – sadly no longer in stock.  It has burnt out ovals with embroidery.  Perfect for this tunic.

daisy tunic ethel pant

So the sewing was interesting.  Style Arc patterns do not have such detailed instructions as some other patterns, and rely more on diagrams.  I did have the odd head scratching moment trying to work out how the hem & the facing (to create the double hem) was sewn.  But I got it right first time.  Everything else was straight forward.

I have to say I love this tunic – I get complimented on it everytime I wear it.  It is cool and flowy.  and it looks great with the Ethel Designer pants….


These are baggy, low crotched elasticated waist trousers.  But the Ethel pants are just a bit more sophisticated than pull on PJs.  The leg shaping has been carefully designed to give a cool ‘balloon’ shape, coming in at the ankle.  The elastic waist is managed with some small pleats as well, making it just that little bit more sophisticated (or ‘edgy’ as described on the website).  And they have pockets.  Yay.

ethel pant

They came together very easily.  It has to be said.  Well they would, wouldn’t they?  A very simple pattern, the secret is in the shaping.  And I wasn’t expecting them to be so baggy around the crotch & having such a baggy bum.

ethel pants (2)

Such a departure from my usual style but as long as I remembered they are deliberately ‘low crotch baggies’ – Indian style- I was OK .  Hot heat pants for sweltering climates when shorts are off limits.  I made them in a very light chambray from my local fabric shop (Sewing Studio, Bath).  I can’t wait to see what they would be like in an even lighter viscose.

ethel pant

I have worn the trousers with other tops as the Daisy tunic wasn’t ready for my Croatia holiday and I experimented with vests (showing off that baggy bum- gasp!) and my baggy boyfriend shirt, but I think it’s wearing them together with the Daisy tunic that I love the most.

daisy tunic ethel pant (3)

Photos have been shot on location (whoop whoop) in Prague and in Croatia.



The Day Dress by the Avid Seamstress

Why hello everyone!  Hot off my first day’s wear I give you the Day Dress by the Avid Seamstress The Day Dress

made from some of the most gorgeous glazed cotton from The Fabric Godmother when I visited one of the legendary Open Days back in April. (The fabric, let me say now is sadly sold out).

So I had seen the Day Dress pattern and not really registered until I saw Josie’s version in a floral  & then my tickle was fancied.  The Day Dress is essentially a classic dirndl – fitted bodice with gathered skirt.  But then I saw Josie’s floral linen viscose version   …. how might this differ from Simplicity 2444, that classic ? I was extremely fortunate that Lisa, the Avid Seamstress herself, was there at the Fabric Godmother’s Open Day to tell me about her pattern range and she gave me this copy to review on my blog – so you know therefore that I did not have to pay for this pattern, but have roadtested it for you 🙂

The Day Dress

The objective of the Avid Seamstress patterns it seems is to provide the gold star treatment for some classic styles that are aimed at those classic style-wearers amongst us!  Aimed at confident beginners wanting to improve with full support online.  The patterns are not cheap at £17, however they ooze quality- it does not feel as if anything has been scrimped on from the sturdy gusseted envelope (that one’s for you Frances! 😉 ) with string closure to the thick cardstock instruction booklet.  the paper pattern is of tissue paper but strong yet crinkly.  There are separate cards to explain sewing terms & measurements ( presumably to save you flipping backwards & forwards through pages of your booklet or grabbing loose bits of paper), making it easier to keep to hand to refer to.

The pattern as I said is a classic dress with a fitted bodice and gathered skirt.  There are three options for the bodice – buttons, centre front seam or plain bodice, no seam (the version I made).  It has an invisible zip and side seam skirt pockets.


The fabric I bought was of such pedigree that I felt beholden to make a bodice toile, of which I was grateful since I had to make my usual adjustments: a wedge out of upper CB, a small wedge out of the back shoulder seam (remembering to compensate at the underarmand a slight swayback adjustment too.  Having done this, everything sat beautifully, even with the resonably high neckline which always gives scope to show off a bad fit.

The Day dress

So I followed the instructions and was delighted to discover some novel approaches, despite this appearing to be a classic style.  Yes it has neck facings, it has pockets inserted in the usual way…

I freestyled here, sewing the outer facing right sides together to the interfacing before fixing, then turning and then ornong the interfacing to the facing ...

I freestyled here, sewing the outer facing right sides together to the interfacing before fixing, then turning and then ornong the interfacing to the facing …

but what I enjoyed was sewing a dress like this with sleeves inserted flat before sewing the side seams in one (like I would always sew a knit t-shirt).

The day dress

Even before this was another delightful method to achieve the most perfect gathers – ever– in – the -history- of sewing.  No double tramlines of gathering stitches,nay, not even a triple line of gathering stitches.  These perfect gathers are also achieved by using a method usually applied to knits (knickers anyone?)  In one word – elastic.  The length of your elastic is given for the size you are making,  then you apply it like you would to pants – attach each end, stretch to fit, then sew it, whilst stretched (but with a straight stitch) to your skirt edge.  I have to say it’s a sewing swoon.

The Day dress

Today was my first wear – a bit later than planned as I had taken it on my recent long weekend to beautiful Norway.

The day dress

Yes, I had thought that it being summer, a dress might be a nice addition to my luggage.  Sadly Norway is unseasonably *rather wet & cold* at the moment & as a result I lived in jeans, Ultimate trousers, socks & my kagoule.  I had not packed tights (for shame) so the dress had  a relaxing trip.  And there I was hoping to have some on location Scandi photos, but you’ll have to make do with my garden instead.  And some on location shots of what I did wear ..

It was a flying visit to Bergen and Stavanger, and there was a fjord trip, some sight seeing and plenty of good eating…and the clue for the visit is shown in the pic below …

NorwayBack to the dress …I wore it, as I said, today to work.  This is how it looks after a day of sitting around.  It is unscathed!  There is the perfect amount of ease – so comfy.  The waist sits slightly higher than my natural waistline & allows any beer bulges to become non-existent.  What a perfect dress just for that reason alone!  I can see this being a real favorite, wearing with a cardi & tights when the chill begins to fall.  I have to say the fit is now superb after my usual tweaks & it is likely to become my go-to everyday dress.   I’m not sure I’d try it with the other bodice variations as I like this classic style.  But who knows?

Remember I was given this pattern to review by The Avid Seamstress but all views are my own.


Yes, hello, and the new Rosie dress by Sew Over It, has been on my travels

No, I haven’t dropped off the planet…..completely.  Blogging I’m afraid has taken a bit of a pause as life’s just been too fab and busy. I’ve had some holidays which are bound to be revealed once I get my blog back on, I have also been working in a new job which has also been brilliant but takes my online stuffing out of me, and then I’m in my new cottage and it’s summer guys and I have the most tempting garden to just ‘be’ in….. So if anyone missed me, nothing sinister, and I hope you enjoy my curb appeal as much as I do- it fills me with delight each time I get home to be faced with Barbie blues and pinks….and my new bell….

Ok, now. Chance to show off the new pattern release by Sew Over It – the Rosie dress.  And I have a spare copy to giveaway if you bear with me.   It’s a sundress with option to make the skirt separately. The bodice has princess seams and a choice of straps and collar, and as with all Sew Over It patterns brings on a beautifully vintage vibe. The skirt is a beautifully full skirt with carefully placed gathered panels.  I was able to get my hooks in early because I was a pattern tester.

The sewing is as always guided clearly by well written instructions. But what a style eh?  And the fabric is a kind of viscose mix that actually wears really well as it doesn’t take the iron crisply ( and therefore doesn’t crease terribly).  It hangs beautifully and th pattern is just what summer means to me, I mean when in England can you wear white? It’s a rare occurrence and nothing looks better with white in my humble opinion, than a splash of turquoise.  And yellow.  Phewee.  I managed to find a piece of blue linen in my stash that matched for the collar perfectly. Now the fabric also came from Sew Over It and was provided for the testing, but sorry, it’s no longer in stock.

What I also really love about Sew Over It is that you can shop by garment for fabric , so here are the fabrics recommended for the Rosie dress.  So if I was to choose something similar in how it sends me into summer frenzies it could be this parakeet fabric or this linen with Spring blooms  

I have to say that I have had mass compliments every time I wear it.  And I like that the wider straps are aimed to cover bra straps ( I didn’t quite get mine lined up correctly but will get some help to adjust)

I’m not going to write too much as I am trying a new approach of fewer words to see if it helps me get my blogging back, so in summary this is a perfect sundress, and is modelled in Croatia on the island of Cres in the town’s picturesque harbour, populated by a huge range of wonderful restaurants.  I discovered that I do like squid as long as it is grilled ( not fried) and that red wine from the wine bar was on tap and was chilled.

Sigh….look at that sky! I have one more Croatia modelled make to show before I then embark on a unique outfit taken on location in Prague.  And this weekend I just might be gathering some more new makes in a very different location….

I hope you are all well and enjoying the summer. I am sorry I have been totally rubbish at replying to comments, I’m almost tempted to switch them off but can’t for this one because hey, guess what, I have a copy of the Rosie dress pattern to send on to a lucky someone in a giveaway!! Just leave a comment below before 0800 GMT on Saturday August 13th and I’ll enter you into a random draw ! Or buy your copy here. Good luck folks !