Guest post at Handmade Jane on scarf styling for OWOP

Hi de Hi !

Just a little signpost to something I’ve put together after an invitation from the lovely Handmade Jane in the lead up to OWOP.  I was asked about writing something about my personal style, & as you know it is rather eclectic, but contains red, turquoise, stripes, florals & polka dots for cohesion :-) .  I chose to approach scarf styling & how scarves are my outfit-saver when feeling drab or un-cheeky.


Have a look if you haven’t already.

And as for OWOP (One Weel One Pattern).

I am being rather silent on that, but will be taking part.  I have just got to decide what to go for as the one pattern I wear all week.  It’s a toughie – I can tell you it’s going to be between:

Maria Denmark’s Edith blouse & dress

Colette Patterns Laurel dress & top

Sew Over It Ultimate trousers. 


Minerva Make: Sewaholic Lonsdale in Gingham

Yes you heard me – a Sewaholic Lonsdale in gingham!   That was my plan for my August Minerva make.  And what’s even more of an achievement is that we’ve had a Lonsdale kind of summer (well in parts!)

I got the making of my August Minerva make just in time for some Cornish wear. And that often means that I can ask my Dad to be my photographer. I know he loves taking photos with his posh camera but rarely has any willing subjects. I like to oblige ;-) & so try to keep a new make to be photographed by him when I visit. So thanks Dad – your photos are ace!


OK, onto the dress. This is the Sewaholic Lonsdale & it is the first time I have made it. I chose some simple purple gingham from Minerva’s vast range – with a small enough check that didn’t need to be matched (hands up for laziness) & gingham is such a light fabric I knew it would make a great summer sundress. Purple? Why not. I know here in UK gingham can be associated with summer school uniform dresses, but I have never seen purple… my very limited experience! And I like purple of course!

Sewing the Lonsdale was a treat – I love Sewaholic patterns as they are always well illustrated & steps are described with just the right amount of detail. I think there is an online sewalong as well…but I didn’t need that.


This dress has a self lined bodice (as the straps are part of the bodice which are knotted & any contrast lining would show). The straps tie at the centre front & create the amount of gathering you need at the top of the bodice for fit & modesty (genius) & are designed to go over your shoulders & slide into loops & tie in a bow at the back.


Well, I did not order enough fabric for the bow, but wanted the straps to be fixed & sewn into place. It also has a floaty flared A line style skirt with front pockets & a centre front seam. You can make the Lonsdale dress with shorter straps, like me, with 3m of 112cm wide fabric.


I whipped this dress up easily. I have changed shape since my last Sewaholic dress & forgot that Sewaholic’s patterns are designed for the pear shaped woman. I think I am still a bit in between two sizes for top/ bottom but did not actually need to take in my usual wedge out of the CB seam allowance. This was an alteration I had to undo (after these photos were taken) Fancy that!


This dress is so comfortable to wear – it is the perfect summer dress! The fabric really is cooling & all that skirt floating is light & breezy.

Lonsdale Look at that blue in the sky ….heavenly!

I also love having my shoulders out….I can honestly say I don’t have another dress like this, & I love it.


And don’t you think the gingham gives it just a semi retro vibe?

Lonsdale I’m telling you what- it’s being packed for my next long weekend in Cornwall this summer …

Ultimate trousers

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers x3

Boy you’re in for a bumper blog post today!  Not one, not two, but THREE new makes – from the new  Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers pattern.  I will be showing you the “test” shorts, a looser fit linen pair of Ultimates & then my favorite ditsy floral Ultimates.  So let’s begin.  I’m afraid it is a longer than normal post with even more pictures.  Can you stand it?  maybe not.  You can always tune out :-)

Ultimate trousersUltimate trousersUltimate trousersI was lucky enough to be sent a copy of the Ultimate trousers by Sew Over It.
When I saw the design I was ever curious, after my Colette Clover fitting histories how would the Ultimate Trousers measure up? I noticed that unlike the Clovers, the Ultimate trousers do not require stretch fabric.  Hmm. Interesting I thought.  And to be honest, I couldn’t wait to be let loose on them, thinking that the shorts would be a good test make and potentially offer up something for my holidays.

Ultimate trousers

Never being over cocky with trouser making I opted to make a test pair of shorts out of some striped drill that I’d used to make my Vintage vogue ( Butlins) jacket.  Shorts are ace- they do not take much fabric at all! Bargain!  I whipped these shorts up, and tried them on before adding the zip and facing.  How strange. They appeared to fit with the exception of needing to take out a mini 1″ long wedge at CB and CF.  Putting the zip in next, trying on before adding the facing, all was looking good still.  I was floating on a cloud! They really are the ultimate trousers for me. I like the way that they sit an inch below your belly button.  The crotch line is *my* crotch line. I wouldn’t assume that it will be right for everyone but it works perfectly for me.  I went ahead and got the shorts made up to hem them.  They have cute turn ups which means that there is a big hem allowance to enable this.  The only thing that didn’t work for me with the fit of these shorts was the width of the leg, at hem line, with the added bulk of the turn up.  Clearly my over muscular runner’s hamstrings ( !!!!!) made the leg width at the point at which the turn ups sit, too snug.

Ultimate trousersUltimate trousers

Once I took the turn up off, they were fine.   So even with no revisions to the leg width they would make a cool pair of almost Bermudas too?!  But not in this fabric.  I will be making them with turn ups & adding a smidgeon to the lower width of the leg as I really like the length with the turn up & they are such a good fit.

Ultimate trousers

And not as a suit. Hahahaha

So what did I make next? Why, a pair of longs! I made them out of some kind of linen mix bought with Rachel and Jane at an off the beaten track drapers near Goldhawk road.  Exceedingly cheap and dispensable should it not work out.  It’s got a nice stripe to it, and it was initially going to be a BHL Victoria blazer….

Ultimate trousers

But then spontaneity kicked in & they were destined for Ultimates!

Ultimate trousers

Due to a. My runner’s leg discoveries as shorts and b.being linen I didn’t want the trousers to be too tight and bag and sag in an unsightly fashion, so when I cut them out I added a little bit to the leg width from upper thigh all the way down.

Ultimate trousers

And made these trousers as per instructions.  Except using a lapped zip as I didn’t have an invisible zip. I think they’re great. Once again, even though the fabric has a different quality, is thinner and less robust, the crotch line works for my ‘undercarriage’ ( that is such a granny phrase, isn’t it!!)

Ultimate trousers

I realise I have made them with a looser leg, but that is by my design and I still think they look sharp- I didn’t want a tight pair of linen trousers, remember.

Ultimate trousers

And I am loving what the striped linen pairs with. This is my Liberty top which I love wearing because it always reminds me that the fabric was a gift from my boys….

Now for those Dandy trews shown at the very head of this post. My latest pair of Ultimates. And boy are they groovy – I’ve made them tighter in the leg & they are dandy with a capital “D”! Party pants!

Ultimate trousers

I made these using some ditsy floral twill I scored on Ebay yonks ago, thinking at the time that I’d make a Colette Ginger skirt or a floral jacket with it.

Ultimate trousers

And then came along the Ultimates. This fabric is light weight enough for summer to early autumn wearing, but firm enough to get a bit closer in the leg without suffering from too much strain.

Ultimate trousers

It was a case of fit as you go – sew them, try them on, pin a bit more out of the leg until happy. And I am happy. Boy am I happy with these funky pants.

Ultimate trousers

And what gets me is that they fit so nicely, are tightly fitted trousers, but have no lycra whatsoever – yet are supremely comfortable. It is a revelation I tell you.

Ultimate trousers

Now if you are a little cautious about making trousers this is a simple pattern to make up, & what’s more there is a sewalong on the Sew Over It blog guiding you through each stage. Might make it easier for you to take the plunge!

Me? I see many more of these to come- I am thinking a solid colour for work, & maybe using some bright blue denim- it has lycra in it though, so I may reserve that for trousers that need it! Plenty of time to think on it though…..

feature hudsons

Rural Hudson Pants

Gawd When I saw these casuals appearing across Instagram even during pattern testing I went weak at my (rural) knees. Is it the unfulfilled dancer in me that could imagine looking all hip & super caj in sweats with style? I envisioned Irene Cara style off the shoulder cut off sweat top (ironically emblazoned with “RELAX” perhaps) & some of the coolest sweats adorning my undancer’s pins.

hudson pants These Hudson pants have been created by   True Bias, who describes her blog as “urban sewing” & therefore I guess in the case of True Bias “urban” reads “uber cool”, because she is.  She has what I think of as nonchalant style – she doesn’t look as if she has to try – to look amazing  – & in inspirational handmade clothing too.  Anyway, in case I appear sycophantic, I’ll move on!

Floral hudson pants

These pants have two lengths: full length & calf length with neat front pockets, wide waistband & leg cuffs. They are described as “The piece of clothing that you will wear all of the time.” (Agreed) and have an “urban fit”.   Being from the West Country I wondered if I qualified, if I could carry it off. Coming from the West Country therefore I brought a rural them to my urban Hudsons. Yep. I went floral.

hudson pantsI went off map a bit & used some light weight jersey that I had bought ages ago from Birmingham’s Rag market. It was destined for a wrap dress that was never fulfilled.   The instructions advise using a mid weight knit with 40% stretch so I knew that I was taking a risk as this could potentially be a bit too light. I think I got away with it though. I’d say the waistband is a little fluted & could do with being made out of something more robust, but I’m not bothered…

hudson pants

I was overjoyed at how easy they are to make. Even including the pockets they whipped up in a couple of hours – but with details like this look far more involved. I used my overlocker for everything apart from the top stitching along the waistband (performed using a narrow zig zag).

Hudson pants

I fancied contrast bands, & originally made these up with a nice flash of red at the top of the pockets (retained) & at calf cuff & waistband. But that only made them look like pyjamas & definitely not “urban” – more nocturnal!

hudson pants

I hastily took off the offenders & replaced with black. I think they look a lot better for doing that (despite fluting mentioned above). I’ve threaded black grosgrain ribbon through the waistband as the waist tie & fasten with a bow. Because.

hudson pants

But am I wearing these all the time? You bet! They have become my go-to change from work garb, my getting up at the weekend but not quite ready to put running clothes on yet garb too.

They are exceedingly comfortable – having a bit more room around the low slung bum than leggings, & with a slightly more relaxed fit than leggings around the thighs too. Worn with my Drafting Top I feel a spot of street dance brewing. And you would be seriously scared (heebie jeebies guaranteed) if I told you the acrobatics I avoided doing when wearing with a simple vest (tank) top!

hudson pants

This is the first time I have brought out my tacky (plastic) boots to wear them with though- just for the photos you understand. Trying to look more …..”urban”.  Just for the poor quality pose.  Normally?  I’ve been wearing them bare foot, padding around the house. Or with flip flops….

There will be some more of these I promise. I will make some up in ponte next, long length for the winter, & by virtue of more limited colours & designs available in ponte they are likely to be more urban (oh dear- I am mixing my definitions of “urban” here, confusing perhaps with “industrial”?!) & less rural. But I shall see what I can do to bring a touch of the country to them J

Have you succumbed yet to these pants/ trews?    What do you think?  Aren’t they just the business?!

making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

How to make a scarf using your overlocker / serger’s rolled hem

If you have got some lightweight fabric left over from a special make, have you ever thought about getting even more pleasure from it and make it into a scarf that you can use to spruce up an outfit?

How to make a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

You need fabric that is light & floaty – from silk, chiffon, satin, polyester, some viscose/ rayons – you will know whether it will behave well as a scarf or not!  I recently made a wonderful scarf back top for a work’s evening event & so loved the fabric I made it out of. But as it’s a bit of a posh top I won’t get to wear it very often.  Using remnants to make it up as a scarf brings it out in the open a bit more often & I can enjoy it in the day!

Now there are all sorts of tutorials for using rolled hem feet on standard machines (the By Hand girls’) (see this one too by Miss P) & even sewing rolled hems by hand (by Colette Patterns).    I like to use my overlocker which has a lovely neat & tidy rolled hem stitch- no special feet, just a few tweaks to the settings from using a normal overlocking stitch.   The benefits of using your overlocker?  That’s easy in my view – it produces the loveliest narrow hem that cuts the edge, rolls it under a narrow wrapping of thread that looks neat & professional.  All in one go.

The hardest part is turning the corners & getting neat right angles, but I’ll show you how I do it – & also give you a back up plan.  What I would advise is that you have a practice- corners & all first on some scrap fabric.  I find I need to try two or three test corners to get warmed up!

So let’s get started .

You’ve got your fabric – what size do you have and how does it compare to a scarf that you already have?  I would say that the smallest scarf I use is gents’ pocket square size – 45cm x 45cm so wouldn’t make a scarf smaller than this.  I tend to opt for a square shape, but have been known to make larger ones at whatever size my fabric is.

With using your overlocker you will lose a smidgeon off each edge- possibly 1/8 “ or so.  I would press your fabric once you have cut it to the size that you want it to be.

1 Rolled hem scarf

I use a three thread rolled hem – one of the standard stitches offered by my overlocker.  I have to set my machine up a bit differently to do this but it’s relatively easy- take out my left needle & twiddle a few dials – I always have to follow my quick thread guide!  It lives under my machine :-)

2 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Three spools of thread – I am sure you can get different results using different types of threads, but I have not experimented much to feel in a position to advise on options!

Ready to roll it?  Start at one corner of your fabric, placing it so that your overlocker blade will be trimming away about 1/8”  (it doesn’t matter if you trim away more – it just means that your scarf will end up being smaller).

3 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Sew your first edge with a rolled hem

4 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hemSee the hem forming behind your foot?  Stop with your needle in the last thread of the fabric – ie before you run over the edge.

5 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Leaving your needle down. Lift the foot up, pulling the stitches that make up the final fraction of the rolled hem just sewn, backwards off the “stitch fingers” (but not too far back)  and pivot the fabric 90 degrees.

6 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem(I’m showing you this having taken my foot off so that you can see those stitch fingers – the two prongs at the back ) .  See this tutorial for another view of the stitch fingers.

I find you get a neater corner if you can balance the amount of “pulling back” off the stitch fingers with making a nice snug start to the beginning of the next rolled hem edge.  The further you pull your fabric back off the stitch fingers, the more loose threads there are hanging around at the beginning of the next corner.  The ideal is that you pull the hem back enough to pivot, but without adding excess threads through too much pulling back.  This is why I always practice first – to get a feel for the right amount of pulling back!

7 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Away you go & sew the next edge, stopping as you did for the first corner with your needle down in the very last thread of your edge.  Keep your needle down, lift your foot up & gently pull back off the stitch fingers & pivot.  Keep the corner nice & snug to the start of the next edge & carry on as above.  This is how you do the three corners.

9 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

By the time you reach the fourth corner, just keep going, running 90 degrees over the first edge that you hemmed & create a nice long chain.  You will have sealed off the corner & now have a chain to darn back into the rolled hem (on the underside of your scarf).

There you have done it!  Pleased with what you’ve just achieved?

10 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Back up plan: Finding the continuous corner approach a bit of a faff & giving you inconsistent unreliable results?  No problem!  All you have to do is to sew each edge separately, running over the end so that you have a chain and darning each chain into the four corners.

I hope you found this easy enough to follow!  Now enjoy wearing your lovely hand made scarf.

11 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Do you think you will now try giving a new lease of life to some special fabrics or even to some of your outfits with swanky new accessorizing?  You could also use rolled hems for making napkins too.  Go ahead & try it – make a scarf using your overlocker’s rolled hem!

Julia cardigan

Perfect summer cover up: Julia cardigan

One of my most worn newly mades this summer has to be a cap sleeved Julia cardigan.  After making a lovely fluffy long sleeved Julia cardigan & loving its style lines, its ease of construction & well, being able to whip up a cardigan without having to develop knitting super powers I had ear marked this as rather a useful pattern.  So if you want to make one this is the Julia cardigan, Mouse House creations, available here on Etsy.

Julia cardigan

As part of my summer wardrobe plan I had planned to make the cap sleeved version – a lightweight breeze inhibitor- out of some very light weight jersey.  Yes, photos of me wearing it were taken on location :-)

Julia cardigan

Now as well as sleeve options, this cardigan also has hem options for the massive circular piece of hem/ collar that envelops the cardigan’s body.  You can either cut two of all hem/collar pieces to make a  double hem (ie it is self faced) or using a single layer, make other arrangements for finishing the raw edge.   I didn’t have enough fabric to make a double hem so I had to go for the single layer & use my overlocker’s rolled hem stitch to finish the edges.

Julia cardiganRolled hem along the front of the collar

I really like the result for such a light weight fabric actually, but top tip if you choose to do it this way – think about the construction of your circular “hem” pieces.

I realised that the collar’s centre back seam needed to be wrong sides together, as it folds over when you wear it.

Julia cardigan

The side hem seams I put together right sides together.  Do you see what I mean?  Looking at the pic below – the cardigan’s collar CB seam is at the top – you can see the edge just curling over, but apart from that you are looking at its right side.  To 5 o’clock & 7 o’clock you can see the side hem seams- wrong sides showing.

Julia cardigan You need to construct this circular piece before attaching it to the cardigan body, so it helps to have this in mind.

Apart from thinking that through, the Julia cardigan is such a dream to make – a quick make- all overlocked seams.  I like this capped sleeve version too & am thinking of making it up as a present for someone in a knit knit for a spot of autumn layering over long sleeved t-shirts.

Julia cardigan

I’ve worn it loads over the ever present Maria Denmark Signer halter dress & tops.  I’ve also used it as a little more layering over sleeveless dresses at work & love that look too.  This has proved to be a wardrobe essential- are you tempted?

Signe top

Signe halter neck tops : holiday supreme plus Giveaway winner

As soon as Maria released the Signe dress & top  I snapped it up, even though I was actually in Darwen at the Minerva meet up. This could not wait until I got home- I used the hotel wifi and placed my order!!

Signe halter neck top
I do not have any halter neck tops, never being a fan of strapless bras, it has not been a clothing choice I have ever made. But being less busty than days of old and of an age where I care less, I whooped when I saw this design – a knit dress ( maxi or knee length ) or top with a halter neck and elasticated slightly at the back. I’d seen that it was a guaranteed quick make and did not need any convincing.

Signe halter topThese beach photos are all taken in Cornwall- divine conditions!  I even swam in the sea without wet suit!

Once another decision was made- that of booking a long weekend in sun soaked Spain, the requirement for one or two halter tops was also established. I raided my stash and found a plain white ( with some strange knobbly seersucker- like stripes to it) which would be useful and would be good paired with a lot of things, including my tomato shorts.

Signe halter top

I also found some fun floral print jersey that I had bought reduced from Clothkits with some money for my birthday which had huge potential as a kooky sun top.

Signe halter top


Weird garden fact- those gladioli are “weeds” – I never planted them – they just showed up…

Speedy cutting out and then it was not long before I was sewing. The top has a lined upper bodice which not only facilitates the creation of the all in one piece halter straps/ upper bodice but also affords an extra layer should one decide to avoid the strapless bra….the upper back is kept taught by the addition of some elastic, feeling eminently secure. The top really does come together quickly and the dress takes only a little longer, purely due to there being slightly longer side seams!

Signe dress

Yes I also made a knee length halter dress.  In red & white stripes.  I couldn’t resist.   Another holiday essential.   This feels quite the sultry little number, hugging those curves, yet comfy.  I even traveled home in it after the morning sipping coffee by the pool avoiding thoughts of leaving.

Signe halter dress

These halter necks are so comfy!

Signe halter top (3)

And slightly more robust than wearing a cami.

Signe halter top Styling secret – bad hair day = sun hat

They have been getting plenty of wear, even when not on the beach!  I’ve also made a cover-up that looks great with them- extends their use beyond just sun-catching – I’ll show you that soon.

And thank you to everyone who entered the Giveaway for Lisa Lam patterns.  I have great pleasure in announcing the winner – using 

It’s Liza Jane!! I’ll be in touch to get your details so that we can organise you getting your cute patterns, & you can make Jane that playsuit….adorbs.

Feature image

Oonapalooza! Edith blouse meets box pleated skirt in eye bending stripy florals!

“Betty Draper on acid”?  (to quote @angelfishcrafts on IG)

On acidLoL- I have totally played around with the filters of this pic!!  It really is on acid!

It started with the fabric, of course.  How could it not?  The fabric was pulled out with tremendous glee from a rummage bin in Abakhan fabrics, Manchester.  My fondness for visits to this shop & all the loot I have scored over the past few years has been well documented on this blog.  Most of my early visits did not even make it to the shop’s upstairs to the rolls of fabric in the more traditional fabric buying part of the shop, so much was there to investigate in the rummage bins.

edith in white with box pleated skirt
And this delight was too good to put back.  Now I have been on the hunt for some fabric with wide stripes to make a horizontally striped box pleated skirt, but have struggled to source something apparently so simple in two colours.  And I do believe that serendipity often plays a role & the reason I hadn’t found any two-tone wide striped fabric is because if I had, I may have not been so darned sure of what I would make when I encountered this wondrous fabric.

the fabric
Let’s have a tour of the fabric shall we?  Well, it is vibrant, indeed, with a safe navy background but plenty of cerise & wide stripes of varying sizes containing two different flavours of pink vintage roses- one of these on a turquoise stripe.   And in between?  Two different (but similar) stripes of what I feel should be described as scrolly lattice/ tracery type pattern – in pink of course.  Maybe there is a more succinct word?  There is also however what I think is a discordant stripe within it – it’s a gold scrolly stripe on a cream background right through the centre which I think looks out of place with the rest of the pattern.    I hid this stripe in the skirt by taking a canny seam, but I could not avoid it appearing slightly on the blouse back, despite careful pattern placement.

Edith buttons
With self cover buttons

So we’re onto pattern placement next aren’t we?  For the top I used Maria Denmark’s Edith blouse pattern (this is a dress & a blouse in one with grown on sleeves, front & back darts & a cute turn back collar with curves (oh & back shoulder darts too which I like a lot!).  I cut each front out separately anticipating the turquoise stripe being the strongest feature flanking each side of the buttoning up.

edith back

I also gave careful thought about what to centre on the back & as above, could not avoid a small amount of the gold stripe peeking in at one side.  I suppose I could have created a centre back seam…. But that didn’t occur to me at the time!   But I didn’t want to have to include an extra seam hiding the gold stripe in a blouse – I thought it would be a bit too clunky.  The collar was fun to plan –  what part of the pattern could appear on the lapel?  Bearing in mind the turquoise front, I thought the navy striped roses would make a good contrast, but use a different part of the pattern for the back collar.  I cut each front facing individually to make sure they were in balance.

Edith collar
The skirt was my own invention for box pleats – a straight piece of fabric, with a waistband.  As mentioned above I hid the offending gold coloured stripe then had to play around with which stripes I wanted to fall at the hem/ waist before knowing how deep to cut the skirt.  I needed to know the depth (or length) before I embarked upon setting the box pleats up.  I opted to keep the turquoise stripe at the hem, furthest away from the predominantly turquoise blouse front.

edith and box pleats

With all the navy at the top of the skirt, I did feel that the turquoise stripe would make the best waistband, but wanted the pattern to fall a particular way, with the edge of the stripe on the top of the waistband – ie the centre fold.

edith in white
I followed the instructions to sew the Edith blouse as this was my first.  This is a quick make – no sleeves to insert-  help with the time saving, clearly!  Some interesting design & construction details:  no arm facings or bindings – Maria instructs you to turn the seam allowance (pinked) to the inside, clip & hem.  I overlocked mine once I had clipped them, I didn’t pink)  And the side seams are sewn after the armholes have been hemmed.


I have since made another (in white, shown in the photos) which I did my own thing- I sewed the side seams first then used bias binding to finish the armhole edges.  It’s just my preference & is probably a bit more time-consuming.    Apart from that I love this blouse I have to say.  The styling is delightful!  It is not only harking back to that glorious vintage look with nipped in waist & cute collar, but the capped/ grown on sleeves are sweetly nostalgic also.  I love curved collars and often take the sharp edges off collars I sew, so was really pleased to see that the curves had already been drawn in for me!  So lovely.

oonapalooza 2

I am a huge fan of this type of blouse as I think they can be worn tucked in our out & be dressed up for work or casualified (good word?!) for home with shorts/ jeans even.  I really want to make the dress & have two fabric contenders.  I have already made two of these blouses in a week – there is a high chance that I love the dress so much I make two of those too! ( The dress looks a great summer make – no waistband, but darts to nip in the waist enough to give shape but comfort.  Great for hot sultry days – if we have any more of those coming…)

Edith and box pleats 1
I’ve already written so much about this so far I will save writing about the white blouse for when I have another Edith to show you – whether it is another blouse or a dress!  As I need to give just a bit of info about the skirt.  Not much to say really.  I have discussed how I needed to work out length (for pattern placement) before setting the pleats.  To set the pleats I started in the centre with a box pleat meeting at that point, then every pleat I then made was reflected each side of the centre.  I kept measuring the width of the skirt, knowing what my destination waist measurement needed to be, & finished the pleating in relation to this.  There is just one seam – the centre back.  Which of course means no side seam pockets- so if you wanted pockets, you’d have to incorporate side seams into your design & pleating arrangements.

oonapalooza back

Lengthwise- I felt it could be longer than my usual to balance out the top when it gets worn together – those vertical stripes create the illusion of a long torso which would look even longer with a shorter skirt!

oonapalooza 3

I was always going to make this up as a two piece, once I realised I had far too much fabric for a skirt.  Thank heavens for the sewcialists’ #oonapalooza month as it brought making this combo forward.  As soon as I saw this July  theme, I reckoned this would be something rather colourful, eye bending & joyous.  Oh yes!  Would Oona be happy that I dedicate this outfit to her?  Fingers & eyes crossed…

But then what’s happening on Ada Spragg’s blog?  There has also been a two-piece- set-acular launched & in a strange way, this fits that too! Not quite the chic elegant babe look that it was perhaps initiated with, but hey, it’s a two piece never the less!  And the benefits of a two piece?  Why, you can wear it as separates.  I am really enjoying wearing the skirt with the white Edith blouse for sure.  And it is early days, too early days having only just finished it this week, to have stories to tell about other wearing fun!

tomato shorts

(These are not rotten) tomato shorts- Vintage Pattern Pledge

I’ve already shown these to you along the way, but now comes the writing of them – the (most definitely not rotten ) tomato shorts.
Is it a silly question to ask a whole load of people who sew, if you ever have a completely spontaneous moment and find yourself making a purchase when you know restraint should be practiced? I think I know the answer!  I’m supposed to be spending less over the summer, since I had a holiday to afford and should be saving up for other things. But then I saw this fabric (It also comes in black). Just one metre won’t hurt will it? And my thought process rationalised that it would keep one metre of the rainbow fabric I showed in my previous post company in the post.  The deed was done. When the fabric arrived I could not believe how soft it was. I was expecting a kind of crisp quilting cotton, but this is much softer.
You can make a lot of things with a metre when it’s summer: tops, bags, hats, and …. definitely eligible for ….Shorts!!!

butterick 4186Remember these?  A cute pair of vintage shorts out of tomato fabric! Why yes please! I pulled out one of my vintage sportswear patterns for the 70s – made up previously here to great success, and cut them out before I changed my mind.

cutting out (Don’t you just love how vintage patterns have seam lines shown & cutting lines marked on them with scissors?!)

I love this pattern because it has a centre back zip, front & back waist darts, nice leg flare, but not too much, and has a flattering fit. It’s almost like a skirt at its top.  I wear these chambray shorts a lot, but when it’s hot don’t like the high waistband. I find myself undoing the button and folding the waistband over.

back of shortsThey are quite low slung, but great for feeling hot hot hot in.  I hate waistbands in the heat…

So when cutting out my tomato shorts, I omitted the waistband, and recut a new line an inch or so shorter so that the shorts would sit below waist. I created a facing to use instead and lo! sewed them up in a jiffy.

shortsYou know what’s else good when it’s hot, apart from low slung shorts?  A nice cold beer :-)

I’d forgotten that I’d added to the length of my chambray pair, so these shorts are quite a bit shorter, especially without the lace. But I like that. They are just what I like in a pair of summer shorts.  And I loooove wearing them.  So much in fact that I am half wondering whether to whip myself another pair up in some cool owl fabric I have got.  But that would shunt off some majorly important makes already on the sewing table & also in my head.  Now I’m back at work I guess my shorts wearing days are reduced :-(

And as a bonus they were the start of my sewing for the vintage sewing pattern pledge (even if I have blogged about them in the wrong order – after the bikinis).   These shorts are the third of my four vintage pattern makes that I have blogged about.  Just the dress to come.  Soon!

Bag and hat

Me Mades on the beach: bikini,sun hat & beach bag

Hola!  I’m holidayed & have had a lovely dose of Spanish sun, culture & gorgeous scenery.  I’m now at the Cornish coast too so have plenty of sand between my toes. As promised here are some action pics to determine the success or failure of some of the things I made for my three days in Spain on the beach.  Today I shall be revealing:

– Simplicity 9392 – the vintage 70s bikini

-McCalls 6450 – sun hat

-Rainbow beach bag using Handmade Jane’s fantastic tutorial for making a reversible shopping bag.

So the bikinis were made first & I was surprised at what a relatively quick make they were. The pattern is described as a “Time saver” – that should have given me a clue! I decided almost immediately that it would be effective to make two at the same time & actually having two bikinis on holiday is useful, isn’t it – you can alternate with always a dry one to put on.

bikiniLOL!  This is soooo disco!!

I chose fabric based on what I had in my stash & had some extra emerald lycra left over from my original retro style bikini. I also had some of that crazeee almost day-glo hologram lycra that I have used for other sports makes & worked out that there was no reason why it couldn’t also become a bikini. I did actually cut linings for each piece – even though this is not part of the pattern requirement, but it seemed “good practice”. So the only extra step this involved for sewing up was to baste the linings to each piece before sewing as per instructions. No biggee.

As a general observation, I’ve found that sewing swimwear usually involves very little overlocking/ serging – there might be some construction seams that you can piece things together using your overlocker, but there is a lot more done on your regular machine.  Interesting, huh?

bikini inside

As well as general construction for this design, I could tell from the pictures that there was some kind of ruching going on – I wasn’t clear how it would be achieved. There is ruching at each side of the bottoms & also in the middle of the bandeau top. It turns out that you need to sew these seams with a regular machine so that you can press the seam allowances each side of the seam to then gather up the ruching. Pieces of stay tape are top stitched down behind the gathering to secure.

Bikini(I debated putting photos of me in a bikini on the www.  BUT I was out there on the beach wasn’t I?)

There is a lot of swimwear elastic used – each edge – legs, waist, top & bottom edge of bandeau are finished with elastic & there are pattern pieces for each piece of elastic (rather than providing the measurements of the elastic that is needed).

Sewing it up then, in essence, was straightforward. Having made my retro style bikini earlier in the year I am confident with the process of attaching elastic to edges with zig zag – first sewing to the wrong side, then turning that over & sewing again.

emerald bikini

What about the wearing? Do I have as much fun as the girls on the pattern illustration?

Simplicity 9392

Way more! There a number of things I love about this bikini:

Security – This bikini has ample coverage in the bum department & the straps are discreet enough to wear whilst on the move, or swimming, but are easy enough to undo / tie behind to avoid extra white lines whilst collapsed on the sun bed.

Hassle-free wearing- no back strap buckle- just stretch the top over your head & position carefully. This was also a boon for construction too.

Swimability – no qualms about a gentle bob in the sea. It survived entering/ exiting via exciting breaking waves, however the bottoms are unlikely to survive diving in from the side of the pool.

back of bikini

I chose the colours of my bikinis to also match my tomato shorts but will blog about those separately.  But you might be asking why I didn’t wear my retro style bikini?  Well, whilst I love the bottoms, the top just doesn’t work for me – it has layers of fabric & feels too voluminous.  And needs straps to keep it up.  Its tie back is also bulky, so I have the best of both worlds if I use the new bikini top with the frilly bottoms now!

As you can see above, I also made myself beach essentials: a hat & a beach bag.

beach bag

The beach bag, as I said earlier was made using the excellent tutorial Jane has shared to make a reversible shopping bag. This was a quick make! All I did extra was to add some internal pockets to keep money & keys easy to access. It is the perfect size to carry a litre of water, book, beach towel, camera (& I bet there’s room for more!).

Lining bag

I made it using the rainbow fabric I have been coveting for ages, finally buckling & giving in one weekend (the same weekend I ordered the tomato fabric – you know how it works – you need to make it “worth” ordering so find something else you like!). I ordered a metre and was able to make this bag & the hat (but you’ll see I didn’t have enough to make the underneath brim). I lined the bag with some cake fabric I had in my stash that i had bought aaages ago & made a kids’ apron out of it.  So thank you Jane- great pattern & a really quick make. I shall be making one as a thank you present to a friend who lent me her suitcase. (A bit more enduring than a bottle of wine! Although maybe not quite so much fun!)


And the hat? McCalls 6450.  Well, I scraped around the leftovers of the rainbow fabric to whip it up the same morning. It is a simple make, to be fair. 6 crown pieces, interfaced and the brim. I have one crown piece with upside down rainbows (due to scrimping on the fabric) & the underneath brim should really be rainbows too, but there was no way I could eeek out enough fabric. (Although, had I cut bag & hat out together I think I probably could have).  The hat is lined (I used some macaroon fabric, matching the cake lined bag to a certain degree!). And I have to say I love it!

hat on head

My other sun hat was too bag (one I bought) & on top of a breezy headland I’d always feel at risk of losing it. This one fits me properly & is just right for keeping the sun off my head when I need it, & then scrunches up easily in the bag when I don’t want to wear it. I have designs on making this style up as a rain hat too, to match my trench coat out of microfiber fabric….

And as my recommended holiday read?  The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker.  A brilliant book.

Photo credits due to my awesome holiday buddy, Codename Cynthia. Thanks for the great time and documenting my makes in action!