Laurel feature

The Laurel pinafore

The Laurel dress by Colette Patterns has to be one of my staples.  I have made *quite a few* with the last one showcasing how well it works with a lining as my LBD.

Laurel dress

Upon my last expedition to Goldhawk Road with Jane, a blatant copy of sorts was afoot, when she happily showed me where she bought the teal  crepe she used to make her Francoise dress.  After hearing how it worked well with thermal tights (we are such goddesses) I felt that it could well be possible to wear a cute dress – above the knee- in winter- & still be warm enough.

Laurel dress

But somewhere along the way between deciding I would buy a length of this fabric (£12.99 per metre) & asking for a proper amount, I sort of, er, didn’t ask for enough.  In my head I thought a metre would be plenty, as this fabric was pretty wide.  Yes,  I can get a shift dress out of a metre of fabric, but not the sleeves.  Doh!

Laurel dress

Anyway, I discovered this when venturing forth to cut out my Laurel.  Sleeves, even short sleeves, were out of the equation.  Some mad brain computing later churned out the alternative Laurel – the pinafore (or jumper?) in teal with purple lining.


Now when I made my LBD I sewed this in an evening.  Exactly, or almost exactly the same.  Not so this time.  I attempted to add pockets – which I lined – but were nothing beyond the pockets provided by the pattern.  Apart from that, I did nothing different.  I used the same tutorials as they are pretty darn excellent, for lining a sleeveless dress by machine.   Although, the final time I inserted the zip (yes there is a story here) I attached it by hand.


So what’s the story?  Firstly the crepe is more of a challenging fabric to sew if a crisp finish is desired.  I am not 100% pleased with the pockets – they look decidedly amateur & I didn’t achieve brilliantly square edges.  But that is the fabric I am sure.  It’s reasonably thick & bouncy.  Doesn’t hold a firm fold.

Laurel dress

The zip though?  I usually tend to opt for lapped zippers, & was anticipating this not being straight forward so I remembered to interface the zipper  seam edges (ie centre back) before attaching the zip.  Despite this look how it has a tendency to bulge through sewing.  I even basted the zip with perpendicular pins to counter this fabric jokery.

But this is not the reason why I had to unpick the zip more than once (I think I took two attempts to get it this far).  Sadly I was all ready to try the dress on to hem it, when I discovered that one of the shoulders had twisted.  Aaaargh!

SO I had to unpick & start again.  On a positive note the zip went in a lot better.


I also forget that some of Colette Patterns dresses are a bit short – this is no exception.  But hey ho.  I should maybe add a note to my pattern piece for future memory lapses.

Laurel dress

I’ve only been wearing it with jersey long sleeves, but really do need to see whether it works with a button-up shirt.  I will have to report back to you if it’s a goer.  Anyone else a fan of the sleeveless dress= pinafore/jumper?  Could an aging badger pull it off, or would the collar be just a little bit too Lolita?

You choose! Just what shall I make out of this Funki Fishy fabric?

I am clearly insane giving up control to you, my readers!  I have one last Funki make, and am in a sewing dilemma.  And have been for a while.  You are going to decide….

Check it out first then I am hoping that the polling widget I have found will allow you to tell me what to do.

Funki fishy fabric

Yep.  Tropical fish.  And coordinating ripples.  Up close.

Funki fishy

funki ripples

This was given to me by Funki fabrics and as I have already made rather eye catching Duathlons out of the peacocks and the leopardskin roses I feel making Duathlons again would be too lazy of me.    First of all, you need to know this is going to be made for running in.  In public.  I know.  My imagination is just too excitable.  However, it’s going to happen.  I originally ordered the two fabrics to make PB Jam leggings as there are flashes of contrast through the legs.

Source: Fehr Trade

Or should it be Ooh La La leggings using the contrast in a clever way somewhere amongst the piecing?

Source: Papercut patterns

But then I then thought, “whole legs of reef? ????” should I make a running skirt instead?  Maybe Jalie skort – but maybe another of my own concocting.

Source: Jalie

So that is the choice dear readers.  You decide.  I don’t want to skew the results too much by splitting the vote between two different leggings patterns.  If you have an opinion you want to share you can always leave a comment :-) if you can be bothered!  But otherwise I shall make either a skirt or leggings depending on the final vote!

What shall I make using my Funki Fishy Fabric?

  • Running skirt (58%, 163 Votes)
  • Leggings (42%, 116 Votes)

Total Voters: 279

Loading ... Loading ...


It’s up to you!  And thank you!

I’ll leave the poll open until I am ready to make them….I am not sure yet when that will be ….March sometime perhaps.

ultimate pencil feature

Ultimate pencil skirt or is that ultimate suit?

Hello everyone!  Forgive my excitement …. but have you ever made something that turns out better than you imagined it would?  I know that I have frequently been surprised the opposite way!  Like when I made those Burda trousers for example (which I cannot link to because it was *one of those posts* that got deleted when my laptop got spannered, honest).  Or when my visions are maybe executed too hastily & I am aware of less than polished finishes/ bodges!  BUT today my expectations have exceeded my vision.

Ultimate pencil

When I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the Ultimate Pencil skirt by Sew Over It I had no doubts that it would be a corker.  But as I usually look to my stash first before I hunt for new fabrics I came upon the idea to use the swathes of grey flannel left over from the generous yardages given for my Anise jacket.  My vision developed from here – but this is the important thing- as an incidental shrug: “Oh yeah, it might make a wintry suit”.

Ultimate pencil

Folks.  I give you the wintry suit of AWESOME.  Well I think so anyway, and I am sorry if my lack of humility is on the offensive side, I just can’t help it.  I had no idea these two garments, made independently of each other would look so fantastic as a two-piece.

Ultimate pencil

I have worn this to work.  (Different shoes because I was walking) .  But as a whole, with the Pussy Bow Blouse of course.  And my beret & leather gloves.  If it wasn’t for the beret I’d feel a little Miss Marple.  Maybe I can create that look with my Mimi blouse & brogues.

Ultimate pencil

OK so you understand now just what I think of the end result.  Want to know more about the skirt as it is a new pattern?  Folks it has CURVES drawn in.  You look at the pattern pieces & they are staring at you right under your nose- a curvy high-waisted wiggle skirt- no poker straight side seams here, but curves swinging from hips to hem- which means if you are shortening it, shorten using the lines in the pattern (which I did being of small stature).  Another simple pattern (like the Ultimate trousers) –  a front, a back & a waist facing.  Having no idea about how this would fit, I cut generous seam allowances to allow for some finetuning – especially as my sausage waist might not fit the wriggle aesthetic.  I also decided to line it in the polka dot satin, also left over from my Anise jacket.

ultimate pencil

So in cutting the lining I decided that I wasn’t going to use the facing pieces to cut flannel facings, but instead I cut the full skirt pieces (with a little bit extra width) in the polka dot satin.  I used the facing pieces to cut interfacing and fused this to the skirt pieces- to the flannel.  I don’t like itchy waists do you?  When attaching the lining to the top, I understitched to make sure it wouldn’t peep out unwanted.

ultimate pencil

Hahahaha – typical me – rushing & not getting the t-shirt tucked in nicely!

As with the ultimate trousers, this is a simple skirt to make with clear instructions, but a vavavoom end result.  I found the fitting was not far off.  I really wasn’t sure how much ease would be needed in a skirt this snug & with such thick fabric- so I played along with the pattern & then tried it on as I went along.  If anything I could do with taking a little bit of excess out at the very  top of waist, but it’s eminently passable- my dummy, does not mirror my measurements, so it is better on than what you see on Barb.

Ultimate pencil

This adorable skirt has a kick pleat as well.  I would love to know if there is a tutorial any one can recommend for lining the kick pleat.  I tried.

ultimate pencil

I used Sunni’s excellent tutorial for lining a vent & tried to adapt it, but gave up & made it a skirt with a vent after all.  Love that there is a cheeky pop of lining every now & then!

ultimate pencil

Did I tell you that I love the whole concept of a winter suit?   The whole concept of clicking around the streets with the full ensemble (handbag in the crook of your arm of course) then arriving at the office, removing your coat/jacket for work is rather compelling.


It does of course rely on the point of arrival being centrally heated & toasty enough to survive in just a blouse!  This skirt is super cosy yet as it is lined it feels incredibly luxurious to wear.  The whole outfit looks pretty good with my tan chunky boots as well, & if I was to float the idea of heels & pencil skirts you would already be there.

Ultimate pencil

 Polka dots to the max!

What do you think?  Have you ever had such a serendipitous result?  Do you wear winter suits like this?   Are they practical – or not?  And does anyone have a link to how you would line a vent?  So many questions!!!  Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.  Nearly the weekend everyone- have a great one :-)

Simplicity 2451

My Liberty Betsy Ann needlecord skirt

Hello everyone! Back on the ball again, here I must tell you about more divine fabric. Meet Betsy Ann – She’s a Liberty *needlecord* or actually a Rossmore cord. I write it in stars because there is something hushed about the beauty of this fabric- not only its vibrant hues & sweetest of florals but the feel of it is exquisite: I would not know better if someone told me there was silk in this. I mean this is needlecord, but so unlike any normal furry piley needlecord I have come across. This is fine, with a definite nap, yes, but lighter than your usual cord. If I could rename it, I would call it “angel’s hair” cord, only that’s a bit overly romantic for me. Sorry! Maybe that’s what Rossmore means in Liberty language.

Liberty cord

The story of how this came into my possession, well it was a gift from my friend Jane, a voucher for using at Sewbox. I took such a long time to choose, Susan’s array of Liberty and John Kaldor in particular and then all the patterns ….(Hot Patterns included!) Susan was so patient with me! And she always turns orders around so quickly (she also sometimes adds a little surprise into your parcel) Anyway, as part of my pledge to buy quality, buy less, it felt totally right to invest in some Liberty. And I when it arrived I swooned, but I already hinted at that above. But just to say the photos (which do allow you to check it out up close) do not do it justice – you need to see it with your own eyes & handle it….

Simplicity 2451

OK, so with a metre of this amazing Liberty what was it going to be transformed into? A skirt of course. Simplicity 2451 (in between view B & C for length) – I always think of this as Zoe’s skirt. I made it before but even then it was a bit big & low slung, & then I lost a couple of inches. However, it’s a great skirt for a cord, it has shape & structure, a slightly pleated skirt – tulip-like. Ideal for the Liberty cord. The time had come around again to bring the pattern into use. All the while I could envisage wearing it with chunky boots and my red cardi…. (& look, I made it a reality in my pics!  It looks even better with an ivory top)

Oh but the temptation was to whip it up in a flash, it hurt that bad! I wanted to make it so desperately! But I forced myself to slow down. And I cut a lining for it out of some polka dot peachskin/satin.

Simplicity 2451

It is such a cute skirt. I tried fitting the waistband (or yoke as it is called in the pattern) better this time. I think I am an odd shape in comparison to the fit of the skirt around the waist, as I needed to take a chunk out. But when I compare myself generally to standard sizing for patterns my waist does seem to be thicker (It makes me think I am not a fruit shape but a sausage that has been overly squeezed up top)

Simplicity 2451

So the lining. I have written about adding a lining to this skirt before. This time though when I sewed the zip, I sewed through both layers- Liberty outer & lining- as if they were one. I am trying to remember why I took this course of action, but am at a loss, & therefore assume it was laziness – but it looks good I think.

Simplicity 2451

When I came to try it on though, & as shown in these photos, despite the waist appearing to fit well, & sit in the right place on my sausage body, I was not happy with the back. Does it show in the photos? Luckily I was down with my Mum & asked her opinion. She advised letting out the zip a bit, which I did. (But have not photographed the end result!

However I am still not 100%. Maybe this pattern needs some kind of sway back for me? I don’t always have to do a sway back adjustment, so it’s not something I click into everytime. What do you think dear readers?

Giveaway winners!

Happy Monday everyone!  I know, I set the deadlines for the giveaways over the weekend, thinking, foolishly with hindsight, that I would be drawing the winners, and even writing some blog posts.  [Cough].  Sorry.  That just didn’t happen.

But here I am now. Thank you so much for the incredible response to both the Fabric Godmother sateen giveaway and to the tickets for the Knitting and Stitching show.  I was overwhelmed!  I feel bad that I can only make a few people happy today.

For the wonderful sateen from the Fabric Godmother it will be:

Kathy E

Enjoy making & wearing the navy scrummy sateen !  And remember Josie is offering  10% off any fabrics (apart from sale) at the Fabric Godmother by using the code


at the checkout.  This fabulous offer is valid until the 10th April!  Woo hoo!!

And getting two tickets for the Knitting and Stitching Show are:



Ann Warner


Barbara Abbott

Make sure you have oodles of fun!

I shall be emailing the lucky recipients as my next action today!  Then I’ll prepare a little blog post for tomorrow.    Sorry to all you disappointed ones.  Have a good Monday and see you tomorrow!


Adventures in pleather – the Madrid Tote

Hello! This month’s Minerva make falls into the accessories category- I’ve made a bag. A tote bag using the Madrid pattern from the Seamwork magazine (Colette Patterns online magazine which is available for free, however when you subscribe you get the patterns too.) Issue 1 had an informative article about making bags which gives lots of tips and answers some of those questions that I’d had.

I have already made a Madrid Tote out of some oilcloth, very appropriate for one who sews and I used it as a practice ground in advance of going a bit more courageous for my Minerva make. Having found out how easy it is to install a magnetic clasp, add ready made handles & generally get a feel for how the Tote is designed to be sewn, I embraced PLEATHER and faux snakeskin using these pretty incredible coordinating materials. I asked Vicki at Minerva for a heap of samples to make my choice as for my Minerva make, I wanted to go for a contrast with piping. It was fun choosing, there are so many options, but burgundy with black piping & handles seemed to work for me and this funky snakeskin goes so perfectly with the burgundy pleather- I could not resist!! Get samples, it’s really worth it when you are ordering online.

And lining? I was mooching around the very inexpensive poplins for something snappy, & where there is an opportunity for a surprise, I feel obliged to take it ….yes, kitties! Minerva sells quite a range of bag making supplies, including the magnetic clasps and ready made handles, which again can be overwhelming if you haven’t used them before – but my choice was based on a simple colour scheme which narrowed down my options, plus having already sewn with the ready made handles in my previous tote, I kind of knew what I would be getting.

The Madrid Tote is just a simple tote – I am sure you could make it up yourself with some appropriately sized rectangles. It has a two tone outer and lining with an interior pocket for phone/ keys etc. Having also made Handmade Jane’s tote, you could also use that as a starting point, buying ready made handles and playing around with the dimensions. Jane’s tote also involves “3Ding” the corners of your bag to give it some depth, as does the Madrid.
Anyway, How did the sewing go? Well I made two interior pockets and added a zip to one of them to make it much more secure for keys.
The plain burgundy is true pleather, something I had never sewn before, so I was looking forward to using my leather needles that came with my machine when it was new, er, about 20 years ago! The faux snakeskin however is more of a fluid fabric, & reading the Seamwork article on sewing with different materials including pleather, it seems that leather needles should not be used with non leather (or pleather) – so the actual sewing mileage of my leather needles did not actually amount to much this time as I swapped back to a normal needle when sewing any seams that involved the snakeskin. And as for the snakeskin, due to it being very much thinner than the pleather, and for general good practice, I interfaced it before sewing with fusible interfacing. I didn’t think the pleather needed it.
Of course, the big thing sewing pleather is that you don’t really want to make a mistake as you are puncturing holes in the material. This is where a lot of my fear came from!
I took some photos of sewing the piping- it’s faux leather and feels really nice. I just sewed it with a zip foot, as you would normally sew piping.
Once the piped seam is completed & your front & back are whole you have to topstitch above the piping – I used topstitch thread. I am still not the best at using topstitching thread, but I always only use top stitching thread in the needle, and normal thread in the bobbin. It’s probably best to play around with your tension too, as I got a whole load of “messy string” underneath where the top thread was too loose.
Are you wary of inserting a magnetic clasp? Don’t be. It’s easy & really elevates your finished bag, making it look so smart & much easier to use than a press stud or button. (And easier to install). The packet has good enough diagrams, and check out this tutorial from Craftapple- this is for a cotton/fabric bag, but for pleather it’s not going to fray – I followed the advice in the Seamwork instructions to use fabric glue around the cuts you make to reinforce them – no buttonholes required in my case.
Madrid 9

The handles are sewn on by hand, and I learnt from the last time I made this bag to attach the handles well below the seamline of the upper bag. These handles are sturdy things & are awkward to manipulate out of the way when it comes to sewing the top seam – lining to snakeskin. When I decided on where to attach the handles, I played around with how much I could move the handles around out of the way to get to that top seam – remember your machine foot needs to get in there too, then there is the top stitching.
Madrid 10
So that’s the pleather tote, and I have been using it a few times around & about. To work – great for carrying around the essentials plus notebooks, lunch & even a pair of shoes! And in the evening it was a great way to transport a birthday present for a friend. And another friend entirely covets it. Part of me wants to give it to her, or make another one.
Madrid 11

The yardages suggested by the Seamwork pattern do allow for some remnants- I am not sure if there is enough to make another bag, but I could see some funky matching purse / wallet or make up bag… my fear of pleather has been banished!

For links for  the materials used or to buy the kit, this post is also published here on the Minerva Blogging Network website – it looks as if you can buy the bag making accessories in the kit.
And also this is a good opportunity to mention that Minerva are running a competition which involves the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. To enter all people need to do is tell us their favourite post from the network by leaving a comment. Then at the end (12th March) 3 people will win the kit to make their favourite project. They have launched the competition to celebrate the start of the sewing bee again and also to encourage people to start leaving comments on the blogger network posts (as this is a new feature on the new website).
Good eh?!
Madrid bag being modelled with Tweedy skirt, Bronte top and Muse Jenna cardigan plus a new crocheted scarflet that was a birthday gift from my talented crocheting friend.

Tweedy, the sequel

Remember the amazing Harris Tweed (like genuine, certified woven from the Isle of Harris that my wonderful Dad bought me last year? And how I gently & patiently made it into a classic skirt, paying proper attention to detail?  (Which was not my usual operating model when it comes to sewing & last year’s activity in particular).

Well, my Dad’s only gone & bought me some more!!! For my birthday that was last week. I am such a lucky badger .   He so loves his tweed jacket, bought from the Harris Tweed and Knitwear website, plus matching cap, that he wanted to support my passion even more by asking me to choose again.  What a hero :-)

I gulped. Really? Imagine me bopping around at the other end of the computer. I mean there are so many beautiful colours, such gorgeous tartans,herringbones, overchecks, houdstooth & barleycorns.

But did he really mean I could chose anything? That I could chose enough to make a jacket perhaps? Yes. He has such a big heart :-)

So I chose carefully. A jacket. In colours that I would want to wear LOTS. And in a design that would not beat me up trying to match patterns. I am not quite that gung-ho.

Harris Tweed

This is my choice, beautiful isn’t it?

So my plan is to sew a neat little hacking jacket, again, a classic style.


Now I am unlikely to go for a full on hacking jacket, with back vent & some also  have a third pocket, I just want to reflect that kind of style & fit.  Or looking at the weavers themselves, Harris Tweed and Knitwear weave the cloth and make this as the classic jacket:


 I have two potential patterns to choose from. And I will make both of them up before selecting the most appropriate. (I think this will turn out to be the year of the jacket, don’t you?!!)

The first is the Perfect Fit, Simplicity 2446

I studied the style lines with my Mum for a second opinion & we thought that the slanted pockets, & where the front seams extend all the way up to the shoulder looked most like a hacking jacket. I like the shorter length though, my Mum prefers the longer version. It will be useful to make the first up in the shorter version and see how it looks.

The other contender is the Bellatrix blazer by Papercut patterns. OK so this diverges a bit from the classic hacking jacket, but it could be so cute in tweed.  (And have you just seen Amanda’s Bellatrix?  That’s enough to get you steamed up, I’m telling you!)


Now if you have a view on which I should make, feel free to go ahead & let me know.  However, I am seriously not making up my mind yet.  So next steps are to make both the Simplicity and the Bellatrix up & see which one becomes Tweedy, sister of Tweedy.

Harris Tweed

Look they even look cool together!  I’m so excited!!

Another giveaway – tickets for the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show, Olympia

Hi folks.  Here’s something else to banish the winter blues – fancy a chance to win a pair of tickets for the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show in Olympia, London, 5th- 8th March?

Well, I have five pairs up for grabs!   (Not valid for the Saturday of the show)

The Show celebrates a whole host of crafts, from knitting, sewing and dressmaking to quilting, crochet, cross stitch and home furnishing. Visitors can shop from over 200 exhibitors, attend a fun-packed workshop and browse outstanding displays of fashion and textiles.

I would love to see  The Knitted Farm Competition in conjunction with the book ‘Knit Your Own Farm’ by Sally Muir and Joanne Osborne. They’ve provided four knitting patterns from the book. Download patterns for a cow, pig, sheep and lamb where you’ll also find the entry form and rules.  Additional farm animals and objects are welcome too and prizes for the most innovative and best executed items will be awarded at the show!  If you are a speedy knitter there’s still chance to enter- follow the link above to submit your entry form by 9th February and you have to get your knits in by 20th February.

Sadly I can’t make it this time around.  I have yet to visit one of these shows, but they sound so full of crafty lovely stuff & stitchery that I bet you need to prepare with an early night, & a bag of snacks to keep the energy levels high.  So I am happy to be helping some of you to have a good time on my behalf :-)

If you want to win a pair of tickets, leave me a comment by midnight 15th February and I will pick 5 random winners & post on the tickets to them the very next day.  (I guess this really is only for UK residents – sounds obvious !)

***Thank you to everyone who entered, this giveaway is now closed***

Ultimate trousers

Not another pair of Ultimate Trousers…and a giveaway

Hohoho!  Guess what?  I have made another pair of Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers. Yes.  Not content with a pair in denim, ditsy drill, linen, suiting & houndstooth enter my navy sateen Ultimate Trousers!

Ultimate trousers

I bought this beautiful sateen from the Fabric Godmother – read on for a special offer & a giveaway!

Ultimate trousers

It won’t take long to read this post, because there are no surprises – the pattern worked its usual magic, but let me tell you that the fabric seems to have elevated, what I consider to be a top trouser pattern through sheer virtue of its quality.  It sewed so easily, it’s a semi crisp but at the same time is soft with some give from the lycra.  It holds its seams once pressed (& OK, might hold onto creases through wear a bit too, but that is easily forgiven.)

Ultimate trousers

I wouldn’t say it is warm enough to make up as proper winter weight trousers, & I am not the kind of gal that wears tights under trousers (I think I might be missing out here).  However, on days that feel the warmth of the sun rather than our current freezing temps, these trousers are warm enough for me, with socks of course.  They will truly come into their own in Spring and Autumn.

Ultimate trousers

But, hey.  It’s another navy revelation as well.  Don’t you just love navy?  Isn’t it so smart, yet softer & less severe than black?  And this is a proper deep luscious navy too.   (There is a downside- white cat hair/ fluff).  Is that contrasting overlocker thread an affront or a delight?

Ultimate trousers

Onto the special offer & giveaway.  Josie, the Fabric Godmother will post the winner 2m of sateen in the colour of your choice (go & check out the red & beige as well as the navy and please someone buy the silver & make disco pants!  ).  What’s more, this is open to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Ultimate trousers

Just leave me a comment telling me what colour you’ll pick & what you’ll use the fabric for.  I’ll pick a random winner in a week’s time, out of all comments left by midnight 13 February GMT.

*** This Giveaway is now closed, but  ….Josie is offering 10% off any fabrics (apart from sale) at the Fabric Godmother by using the code


at the checkout.  This fabulous offer is valid until the 10th April!  Woo hoo!!

(Wearing my Ultimates with my Merino Coco. )


Anise jacket

Anise jacket

Apologies in advance for repeating this post- but through all my laptop debacle & having to use the WordPress app on the iPad I have inadvertently deleted some of my recent posts.  I am trying to put it right, but I’m sorry I lost all of the lovely comments you all left me.  I need to keep a record of this jacket on my blog though, so here it is again.  Hopefully word for word.  If you missed it the first time around, hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

So here it is, the most proud moment of my sewing history I think I can say. I am reporting back on my Anise jacket and I am stoked. It’s lined, it has welt pockets and bound buttonholes. It has the cutest Peter Pan collar that sits with such a lovely roll over the neckline. It fits me like a glove, with enough room for a cardigan or sweater. I feel a little je ne sais quoi in it, when I wear my beret and leather gloves. It’s cute, cosy, but most of all, I feel I have done a really good job. You might be like me with the things you make – the first one to point out the flaws when someone offers you a compliment? Well, that is my default position too. However for this jacket there is only one slight 80 degree corner at the inner lining I would hastily show you if you said, “nice jacket”. And for me that is a record. I see just one flaw, & if you see any others, please keep them to yourself & maintain my illusion!!

Anise jacket 1


I have made a couple of more complex semi-tailored items before, with my Vintage Vogue jacket, my Spearmint coat and more recently my Andy coat, so anticipated a lot of groundwork & preparation and quite a lot of nerve-wracking techniques in making this jacket. You have to be patient with a make like this. I would suggest it will not be completed in a day unless you are pretty pro or don’t sleep.

Anise jacket 2


I chose this grey flannel fabric for the outer and polka dot satin for the lining. I also used calico (muslin) for underlining. It took me about four sittings to make this (quite long stints- between 4 and six hours). It was my post Christmas – pre New year make. Something to lavish attention on having sewn like a whirling dervish as I made Christmas presents for friends and family in every spare moment.

The Anise jacket pattern by Colette patterns, has a supplementary instruction booklet you can buy if you need more help, but I have to say that the instructions were extremely clear in the pattern alone. Maybe though I have a few coat makes under my belt and so have those experiences to build on.

It’s funny that there is a whole lot of work that you have to do for a jacket like this before you start constructing the jacket itself, eg attaching the underlining, thread tracing the pattern markings.

If you opt for bound buttonholes you need to make them as one of the first steps, which feels odd since buttonholes and buttons are usually one of the finishing touches for a shirt or skirt. You can make this jacket with regular buttonholes, but I was always going to make bound buttonholes, and can never make bound buttonholes any other way than without followingKaren’s e-book. It is my bound buttonhole bible! And I think they look pretty smart this time.

Anise jacket 3


So having completed the buttons, you then get on to engineering the collar. It’s cut with two pieces- an upper collar and the undercollar. The undercollar is cut on the bias. There is also an extra piece of interfacing, with its own special pattern piece that looks like a stretched sliver of a crescent moon. This is for reinforcing the collar roll, and I am convinced it’s what adds to the collar behaving itself beautifully, with enough loft before, yes, rolling as it folds. When I mentioned this to my Mum, conversation went along these lines,

Anise jacket 4


ME:”There’s even an extra piece of interfacing like a crescent along the collar at the neckline”

MUM (matter of fact) :”Yes, I know”

ME: (In my head) “How come you know all this stuff – there is nothing you don’t seem to already know! I wish I could know as much about sewing as you do!” You see I can remember my Mum going to evening classes in the 70s, when classes like “tailoring” were run up & down the country at local technical colleges, even in Somerset! Sigh. OK back to the story, the Anise story.

Anise jacket5


I can’t remember if I made the welt pockets before or after the collar. But what a joy they were to make too, but you feel more practised having four bound buttonholes under your belt – welt pockets follow similar principles, with that nerve inducing & very final slashing through the centre of the rectangle you’ve just sewn in the actual front of your jacket, for the pocket linings & welts to get manipulated within.

Anise jacket 6

I’m afraid I have no drama to recount about putting the jacket pieces together to make a 3D garment.  The sleeves are cut in two pieces & set in with some gathering stitches at the sleeve head.  This fabric by the way sucks up gathers like a sponge, absorbing the tucks into its wonderful dense self.  And it is like a blanket.  I love it!  The jacket lining has special pieces for the front & back, but uses the same sleeve pieces (but with a shorter hem).  The centre back is designed for a massive expansion pleat.

Anise jacket 7

Attaching the lining to the jacket- this time I made the decision not to bag the lining.  That was quite a biggie for me as it is how I have done it before, & you know me, I try to machine as much as I can.  This time, however, I followed the instructions in the pattern – attaching the sleeves to the lining at their hems, then handsewing the lining sleevehead into the lining body.   The main hem is handsewn – first the jacket’s hem itself, then the lining’s hem is handstitched but hidden under the lining’s hem fold.

Anise jacket

My most fiddly bit is the front facing corners where the lining at hem & facing meet to form a right angle.  One side is better than the other, hence one side being 80 degrees & a bit squirched.

So, I promised to share the trials & tribulations with making this jacket, & I have to say they fall mainly into the whoop whoop department.  And working with this flannel was a joy – it was easy to press underneath a silk organza cloth, with steam.  I had no problems with it at all.  And it is very forgiving, handstitching just disappears within its dense fibres.

Sewing this jacket has helped me decide that I need more makes like this in my projects, so that some at least of my future handmade wardrobe is invested with risk & learning (as set out here).  I don’t need to always make fast clothes!

ANise jacket 9

A big thank you to my Dad who took the on location photos.  Aren’t they so much better than my usual! And I’m wearing my new Miette skirt..