the makery

Sewing Guide to Bath- the Makery

I’m slowly pulling together my Sewing Guide to Bath – my favorite things to do in this fabulous city if like me, you love to sew & love to be inspired to sew.  This is another instalment in my mini series currently includes the Sewing Studio, and the Guildhall Haberdashery, Sew and Sew.    Once I’m there I’ll collate it all into an easy to read blog post.  Next up is one of my favorite inspirational places, the Makery, a multi layered den of creativity.   Found within the lanes in front of the Guidlhall /Abbey in Union Passage, look for its bright yellow door!

Set in the heart of Bath in one of the old Georgian terraces  this is a hotbed of crafty dreams coming to life.  Here it is on the map.

It’s the kind of place with an atmosphere of wholesome crafting, and I can’t stop going all Enid Blyton writing words like ‘oodles of fun’ and ‘inspiration’ and, well, ‘making’ .

Make Aways

As a crafty emporium there are plentiful sewing goodies all picked carefully to delight: quality crafting cotton fabrics, kits ( the Makery’s own Make Aways as pitched on Dragons Den and made a huge success without Dragon interference or support!) ( eg lampshades, knickers, coin purses)

You can make all this with the kits!

You can make all this with the kits!

And guess what?  I saw a couple of the Makeaway kits when I was recently in Ljubljana, Slovenia- they have got legs!

Sewing goodies

And haberdashery – kit your sewing room out with hand picked favourites.

buttonssewing stores


And hitting the sewing world by storm last year, a display of espadrille supplies.

Espadrille kits

The Makery however is not just a retailer but a place to learn and it has a full programme of workshops for the beginner or the improver over a wide range of crafts. Sewing, crochet and lampshades are course regulars, but there are always new ideas being added such as fabric printing, chabby chic your furniture, upholstery and even mastering techniques such as inserting zips and buttonholes. They also host hen parties and courses for young people. I bet if you wanted to organise something for your friends you don’t have to be getting married to justify a Makery workshop just for you!  I have done  a few of the Makery courses – tie making, knicker making and also freehand machine embroidery.  All totally addictive & a massive way to indulge in sewing fun.  It all takes place here …

The makery

Through this unassuming frontage ( with staircase hinting heavily at what’s to be found inside) there lies a crafting tardis. The Makery emporium is found in the first floor but think of an old terraced house, with its interesting rooms and staircases over three floors and mezzanines. Each room has been accessorised and styled to create inspirational workspaces, decorated with vintage sewing machines, repurposed furniture  and sewing equipment and handmade touches that make you smile and want to get started making your own all at the same time.  I could not resist taking photos – so many ideas for decorating your home or even your sewing/ craft room.  Let me share them with you now …

the craft roomcrafty touchescraft roomsewing roomcrafty

vintage sewing machines

I bought the Makery book when it was launched 18 months or so ago and I recognised a few of the projects bringing some fun to the decor. Like the flying ducks….casually decorating one of the walls in a hallway

flying ducks

Oh and of course it’s the kind of place where you meet enthusiastic fellow creatives- both customers, workshop participants and the lovely lovely people who work there. And even Gorgeous Kate Smith, the owner who I cannot get enough of!!
The Makery has also a prescence in John Lewis, London, running workshops there too.  Perfect for those who love to make & love to be inspired.

the makery

All views are genuine and my own. I have not been paid to write this but just love it here!

new look 6100

New Look 6100 shorts- on location

Hello again!  Here are some shorts I made for going to Croatia.  New Look 6100.  And you know what that means?  I managed to get some gorgeous sickeningly beautiful location shots- same day as my swimsuit wearing at Orlec on the Croation Island of Cres.  (see previous post for my travel notes on Cres) Sorry…. blue sky & turquoise sea alert….seems such a long way from our current rain & semi autumnal week we have been having.

Orlec Croatia

So I have made New Look 6100 twice before – both versions.  They are a lovely style – a yoke waist, side zip & front pockets.  Two styles – a straight cut pair with a cuff – view A and the slightly flared version (almost culottes!) – view B.  I loved my pink pair the most, version A – the most -straight cut shorts with a cuff.  However (cough) I have added a few pounds since making these (it will drop off again once I am back training for September’s half marathon) – but wanting to avoid any kind of wedgie & discomfort in the heat- & knowing shorts are a pretty quick make – I squeezed a pair in before I went, adding a slither to most of the seams.

New Look 6100

I had some of this gorgeous polka dot chambray in my stash (remember shorts don’t take a huge amount of fabric!  Good stash busters) as I knew it would be a good mixer colour for various tops I’d be taking.  This time I did not have a well matching invisible zip so I used a regular zip & lapped it.  Looks fine don’t you think (sorry photo looks a little like I had the shakes of urgency- I think I took the pics just before packing!!).

New Look 6100

I love the hem cuff – it adds a little more character to the shorts & also gently holds the shape nicely.  I always edge stitch around the whole top folded edge just to make sure it stays in place.

New Look 6100

These are my dream shorts.  It is official.  I just love wearing shorts.  But you really have to have the weather to accompany them – I am not that desperate that I can be spotted accessorising them with goosebumps & socks.

New Look 6100No I like to wear them with a strappy top – bathe me in that sunshine!

New Look 6100And roomy enough to avoid any risk of a warm weather wedgie.

Hope you’re having a great week – are you dreaming of shorts-wearing, are you making shorts for your holidays?  Or are you lucky enough to be wearing them?

Me?  I’m still in my PJs as I have a few days off & I am going to do a hill training session shortly…..

And the winner with their dream outfit is…

Hello everyone!! Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway to win a copy of Wendy Ward’s Beginners Guide to Dressmaking by sharing their dream outfit using the patterns from the book. 

Wendy and I were so inspired by all of the thought that went into your outfits,go have a look at the comments full of heavenly combos on Wendy’s blog here and also there are a couple on my original post here.  It was a really tough decision and loved the way there was heaps of personality in your outfits too.  But we both agreed that Fraggle was our winner who dreamed up something we thought was the essence of what the book is about- stylish practical everyday clothes that are great basics to dress up and down.  

Ohh, definitely the zipped jacket in a black / charcoal faux suede (I just love the feel) with a bright jewel lining – maybe emerald, ruby, amethyst or a deep sapphire blue, and the shift dress – nothing beats a beautiful shift dress in a good wool crepe or maybe a crisp cotton – not sure what colour or pattern, but I may just venture outside my comfort zone and use something with a big loud floral print. I could wear it with the jacket for nights out, or without the jacket for work meetings in the summer months.

That said, the trousers and t-shirt would be incredibly comfortable for wearing whilst working at home – those trousers look so snuggly.

Well done Fraggle, the book will be in the post to you before the weekend. 

Bye for now! Back tomorrow with something new…. Have a good one 😊 

Maison Fleur swimming costume

Maison Fleur Halterneck Swimming costume- on location

OK this is a mash up of a blog post with some sewing chat (the awesome Maison Fleur Halterneck swimsuit) as well as a little view of my holiday photos (I’m taking you to the Croatian island of Cres).  I’m still catching up with everything, so apologies for not having replied to some comments earlier in the week yet.  First onto the sewing chat.

Have you been keeping an eye on the Indie Pattern Month (June) and the great pattern bundles that are being put together to promote Indie Designers, offer you some great value and also to give money to charity.   Not just pattern bundles there are also sewing contests, interviews with designers, and an annual pattern swap. Check it out here

I have been checking out the Getaway Capsule bundle – there are two options – the basic bundle, and the extended bundle.

2016_06_IPM_Pattern Bundle 02_Getaway

The basic bundle

Contains three patterns – the Amber trousers by Paprika Patterns, the Warabi tunic by Waffle Patterns, and the Jacket Express by Islander Sewing Systems.  This is available like this for a limited time only – up to the 6th July 2016- details below.

Regular price for all three patterns is $36 USD. When purchased as a bundle, the three patterns cost only $21 USD, which means you save over 40%. (Insert an ‘ooooh’ emoji)

The extended bundle

Contains six patterns – the three from the basic bundle, and three additional ones.

Patterns included are:

  • Warabi tunic by Waffle Patterns
  • Amber trousers by Paprika Patterns
  • Jacket Express by Islander Sewing Systems
  • Ute dress by Schnittchen
  • Southport dress by True Bias
  • Halter neck swimsuit by Maison Fleur

Regular price for all six patterns is $67 USD. When purchased as a bundle, the six patterns cost only $33 USD – a saving of over 50%

Insert another ‘oooh’ emoji )


And what’s more, sales go towards the designers and the nominated charity – more info at the end of this post about the charity and how to buy…

So the getaway Indie Pattern Sewing Bundle came at just the right time for me to make something to take with me to pack for my own little getaway. What a brilliant mix of patterns, I absolutely love patterns in this bundle, already have the Islander jacket (Just wish I’d got round to making it …!)

maison fleur swimming costume

I’d love to make all of them, but only had enough time to pick one before my hols and was sorely tempted by the Ute dress…but it was the Maison Fleur halterneck swimming costume that seemed the best option. I chose the one piece which has cute side gathers & the option to make it low back or high back. I chose to make the low back version which also has an optional supporting back band (which I most definitely needed).

I used some swimming costume lycra & lining I had in my stash- the cutest red & polka dots.

maison fleur swimming costume

You don’t need to line all of it, but I like to. (Although I realised this adds to drying time- a consideration next time).  And be prepared with plenty of elastic – it’s used all round the edges to finish them & also provide some tension.  Optional success story- the way that you can add elastic to the rouleaux makes it sturdy & uniform to look at as well.


The instructions give guidance on how to sew the elastic- it’s a two step process, sewing the elastic to the wrong side edge, then folding over & finishing with another line of zig zag (I used three step zig zag).


I ended up using a tougher ballpoint needle than I started with as there are quite a few layers with elastic to sew through.

maison fleur swimming costume

So, sewing up was satisfying – working with something that’s relatively small & feels more complex than it actually is. It’s also nice working with the slinky swimwear fabric & its lining – feels like a quality sew.

The big surprise for me was trying it on – the fit is awesome – especially the bottom half – you can ruche the legs up (or down) as much as you prefer, but the way the cut hugs your buns is pretty perfect – it seems to hug right underneath without cutting across the flabby bits, I will definitely be making the bikini up in it as well!

It looks like the leg elastic flipped out on the right

It looks like the leg elastic flipped out on the right

I even swam in it & everything remained where I wanted it – in & out of the water afterwards!

maison fleur swimming costume

So whilst the instructions are pretty good, there are a few minor bits that I think could be improved- but if you have sewn swimwear before you’ll be laughing.

The pattern is a pdf & you can select to print only the size you want (or as many as you want) which is really great- avoiding all those confusing extra lines– saying that, to print off costume (with its two backs ) & the bikini version still produced about 60 pages of printing…how can something so small need so much paper…but that’s my only whinge.   I am sure if I was smarter I could have looked out which pages I needed just for the costume. But I was not that smart this time!

Attach the lining to the costume pieces before sewing seams

Attach the lining to the costume pieces before sewing seams

It was also a little unclear how to treat the lining if you are going for a full lining – here’s my answer – you need to attach the lining to all of the costume pieces as if you are underlining (ie stitch lining to fabric wrong sides together all around the edges close to the edge and with a longish straight stitch on your machine – then the lining is integrated & sewn as one with the costume pieces.

Maison Fleur swimming costume

And want a bit of info about the pics?  Can I tell you about this very special place we visited?  There will be more pics to come when more new outfits are revealed.  This is the Croatian part of our holiday where we travelled to the island of Cres.  It is apparently Croatia’s largest island & is so unbelievably beautiful.  It can be reached by numerous ferries but there is just one car ferry & we had hired a car & so arrived on the island at Porozina with a 45 minute or so drive along a sheep inhabited road to get to our accommodation in the town of Cres.  (More on the town in a later post).


We used Trip Advisor to get some ideas (I had absolutely no time beforehand to do any research ) – & whilst there are so many secret coves – some only reachable by sea, we saw this one at Orlec which was just a 15 minute drive from Cres.  We parked in the village and therefore had a 45 minute walk down the lane to the cove.  There is a carpark nearer the beach but we wanted to enjoy the scenery.  It was the hottest day we had in our week.


The track down to the beach from the carpark was super windy & rubbly – a little steep in places & I have to say that my heart fluttered & breath escaped when I first glimpsed the emerald- to turquoise water under the protection of the craggy rocks.  It is here that the griffon vultures soar & we were so lucky to see a couple (or was it the same one returning) checking out the cove with graceful sweeps.  It took shelter high up in a shady spot & we saw it later heading off across the sea….so lucky.


The water was crystal clear & totally warm enough for me to swim in – I have so many mental scars from bone chattering swimming in UK waters that I am a bit of a chicken now.  However this was serene.  And then I dragged myself out with the exception of my legs so that the sea gently swished over them as I sunned myself.  Pure heaven.  This beach has no shelter from the sun though so people there had either brought shades or were constructing them between the rocks. We were mad dogs & English men- of course….but were only there a couple of hours before a sweaty hike back to the village (it really was uphill all the way!) to then explore the island further.  It is beautiful.  Keep tuned for more instalments if you are interested.

Back to the Sew Indie pattern bundles – your questions answered ….

Where does the money go?

The money is split evenly between the designers involved, The Monthly Stitch, and a charity chosen by the designers. For the Getaway Capsule, the charity is Little Sprouts (website:  ) Little Sprouts are a great charity run completely by volunteers. They provide care packages for families with new babies or small children who need support – people living in poverty, refugees, people fleeing domestic violence, etc. They give the families everything they need for their child – clothing, nappies, safety gear, even cots and buggies when needed, making an immediate difference in the life of the child.

The Monthly Stitch will be using their share of the bundle sale price to move the Monthly Stitch website to a self-hosted platform. This will mean lots more storage space for people to upload photos of their sewing projects, and it will also mean we can implement other community functions, such as forums.


Bundle sale dates

The Getaway Capsule bundles are on sale for two weeks only – the sale will be begin at 00:00 UTC on 23 June, and it finishes at 00:00 UTC on 6 July. Both bundles will be found here during the sale dates:

There will be sneak peeks of the patterns that will be included over on The Monthly Stitch Facebook page


Aviator shirt

The Ultimate Boyfriend Shirt – Burdastyle Aviator shirt 03/2012 #113B

Here I am, back from my hols- I have LOADS of new makes photographed on location so I cant wait to share those with you.  But as this is my first week back & I am kind of not at all sorted it’s lucky that I have my latest Minerva Blogging Network make to signpost you to- the Ultimate Boyfriend shirt – using Burdastyle Aviator Shirt 03/2012 #113B

Aviator shirt

This is the next instalment to how I achieved THE look (maybe) from the Burdastyle Aviator lookbook I hinted at last time. No, Hint suggests that it was subtle, this was not subtle. I blatantly wanted to emulate the style showcased in this particular lookbook. This one here. So I bought the skirt & the shirt. It is called the Aviator shirt. Take my Breath Away?

Worn with my pop up skirt this shirt is full of fab details.  Head on over to the Minerva Blogging network to find out more…..

Welt pockets!

Welt pockets!

And don’t forget there are just a couple of days until the competition ends to win Wendy Ward’s Beginners Guide to Dressmaking with the capsule wardrobe of patterns supplied that I adore.   Check out the book review and then head on to Wendy’s blog to leave your perfect combo that will make your dream outfit using the patterns from her book….you have until midnight GMT Saturday 25th June ….

I’ll be back soon with a barrage of sewing projects … I have a veritable Glastonbury festival traffic jam of them ….

New Look 6351

Boucle casual jacket- New Look 6351

New Look 6351 is a pattern that I have been interested to make for a while now and is one of the patterns I chose as my prize of the year’s supply of sewing patterns.  It was the jacket that I liked the most, it seemed a little like Grainline’s Morris blazer, but not quite so sharp.  It has a centre back seam, princess seams in the front & a casual flippy collar.  Of course I also liked the styling – linen trousers (but not with heels for me!) & the striped t-shirt.

New Look 6351

I am wearing jackets + jeans a lot at my new job & wanted to make yet another jacket up.  (I say ‘yet another’ because I have finished my polka dot Simplicity 2446 as well, and this is leapfrogging it in terms of blogging…) I wanted to choose some jacket fabric from WeaverDee (remember 10% off your order when you use the code ‘SCRUFFY’)  as I had been kindly offered to test some of their fabric out- I am familiar with their super extensive range of haberdashery & sewing patterns but haven’t ventured forth into choosing fabric from Weaver Dee and there is also quite a lot to choose from.  And at reasonable prices.  So, it was a jacket that I wanted to make.  I ordered a couple of samples and plumped for this purple tweedy boucle.  With matching lining.

New Look 6351

I had been slowed down in my choice when I read the fabric suggestions for New Look 6351 – it’s designed for stretch knits.  ***Post publishing edit**** I misread the envelope – it’s just the top that’s designed for knits. This is a jacket for woven fabrics****** That could have scuppered my plans, but I decided to make a toile (sleeveless) & to compare jacket pieces with a similar type (Channel style) jacket designed for wovens.  No I did not want to make a tweedy boucle Channel style jacket – that was too obvious!

New Look 6351

This jacket pattern is also unlined so I had to manage that too, but not a problem seeing as I had recently finished my polka dot jacket & was more in the swing of linings.  I cut the same pieces in lining, but with an extra 2cm down the centre back.  I also made life difficult for myself slightly by adding a combined back neck facing to the back lining.

I thought it would give a nicer finish to the neckline with none of the lining peeping out.

New Look 6351

It’s a really nice jacket pattern -the collar is joined on as part of the centre front piece.  I used a reasonably stiff interfacing, but it would have still been nice with a softer one I think.  It must be dead easy to make up in a knit!  But even in a woven plus lining it was a breeze compared to my Simplicity 2446 – so few steps in comparison – less details of course.

Plenty of ease

Plenty of ease

So in this particular woven it came together really well.  The toile did not indicate that there would be mass problems with fit – & all I had to do was to take extra out of the side front’s princess seam- once the jacket was constructed.  There was too much at the side front.

Adjustments to the side front

Adjustments to the side front

Apart from that, it was a joy & is rather cute.  Despite it being a woven made into a pattern for a moderate stretch knit, there is plenty of ease & I have worn it & worked in it.

New Look 6351

It’s a very wearable jacket and everything you need to make it is available at WeaverDee.

I was lucky enough for the fabric & thread to have been provided for me by WeaverDee but all views are my own.

What do you think?  Would you make it up in a jersey next?  Would you venture to try it in a woven too?

I’m actually on holiday this week, so sorry no quick replies from me & no other posts this week.  Remember the giveaway if you haven’t already entered it!

Shift dress

What’s Your Dream Outfit? Giveaway & a review – The Beginners Guide to Dressmaking by Wendy Ward

Celebrating the end of another successful Me Made May and the current series of The Great British Sewing Bee Wendy Ward (the uber cool sewing genius behind MIY (Make it Yourself) has kindly offered me a copy of her book, The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking to giveaway to one lucky winner!

Beginners Guide to Dressmaking

I’m going to give a little review of the book here to whet your appetite before details for how to enter.

Timing could not be better as this is the perfect book to inspire and support anyone wanting to sew themselves a cool, practical wardrobe. There are 6 basic patterns (with suggested variations which instantly multiplies just how many outfits you can make – limited only by your imagination and by your time to sew!)

So let’s dive in!

The book is divided up into your usual intros, equipment etc (just a few pages) then the project section that guides you through how to make each of the patterns that come with the book. Following from this the other half of the book is devoted to techniques- from the things you need to know before even cutting out (working with fabric & using the patterns) to how to take measurements, all the various things you come across when you sew a garment (seams, hems, darts etc) to other techniques like using bias binding, adding sleeves, zips & sewing knit fabrics. There is also a whole section on customising- ruffles, pockets, collars and more!

Making pleats

Making pleats

I have to say straight up that although this book is designed to help teach you to sew and gain new skills, the projects themselves are enough to get the book for, even if you are more of an experienced sewer. I love the aesthetic – Wendy’s got a modern minimalist style – all projects are everyday garments designed to mix & match – shouting comfort & practicality ! And hurrah , a good proportion of the projects use knits – Wendy is confident in allowing beginners to work with this wonderful fabric and see that it should not be reserved for the ‘more experienced’ sewer. With the right pattern & appropriate guidance, making yourself a knit t-shirt is a brilliant first entry into making your own clothes that you want to wear every day. And relatively quick to make too! Knit waistbands mean no tricky fastenings on skirts & trousers, but also ultimate comfort 😉

Inserting a zip

Inserting a zip

And if you want to extend your skill base, zips feature in the more complex projects at the end.


So if you are like me, you want to check out the patterns, don’t you? There are Six projects. They are designed to help you progress –starting with the easiest, a t-shirt, collecting new skills and techniques to make you confident at tackling more complex projects like a zipped jacket and then the shift dress :

  • T-shirt
  • Maxi dress/ skirt
  • Trousers
  • Fishtail skirt
  • Zipped jacket
  • Shift dress

T shirt


You are taken though each project in detail, with signposting to the various techniques you might want to look up.



fishtail skirtzipped jacketshift dresses

At the end each project has a ‘Make It Your Own’ section showing what it could look like in different fabric combos & ideas for customising.

The patterns are nested but full size – tracing is required.


The book itself is clean, crisp and has the feeling of the workroom about it! Projects are shown on hangars against pale backgrounds in a light bright space. The instructions are all illustrated with line drawings, and the techniques are described and illustrated with a combination of line drawings and photos. There’s also a rather cute Jack Russell taking a cameo role (no, not a sewing dog!).  It all provides a sense of simplicity, order & calm.  Perfect start for a good sew!

What do you think? Like what you see?  I really think this is a wardrobe builder book.  Perfect for those who have been inspired by the Sewing Bee and also the fun that is wearing clothes you have made yourself in an everyday style.

OK, now for the chance to win a signed copy of this book!  To enter head on over to Wendy’s blog and once you’ve decided which are your favourite garments in the book and have your dream outfit in your head, share your ideas in a comment. Just tell us your favourite 2 patterns from the 6 in the book and then describe your dream outfit that you would make using those 2 patterns.

Wendy and I will pick our favourite and the winner will be announced on Monday 27th June.

The giveaway will be open until midnight GMT Saturday 25th  June.

And don’t also forget that Wendy’s MIY patterns are further examples of what Wendy brings to simple everyday style (eg the Tapton skirt and the Walkely top are just two that I have made).

wembley cardigan

Seamwork Wembley Cardigan

Hello all!  This one is a short & sweet one – reflecting the short & sweetness of the sewing!  And the photos …. forgive me…. you may not learn a great deal about the garment I am talking about because, well, it just doesn’t show up much in them!  Is there any point ?  Well bear with me, you can get the gist plus I have not edited the cat out of some of them & I know there are a few cat lovers out there.  What more reason do you need to read on?

wembley cardigan

I have made me the perfect summer cardigan.  Even though I love round neck cardigans (Muse Jenna cardigan is my ultimate fave) sometimes you need a v neck or a straight edge cardigan to wear with some of those shirt dresses or just on top of t-shirts.

wembley cardigan

I did not consciously aim to make a straight edge cardigan when I got my precious black wool jersey out & played around with the patterns I already had.  However, I also had the Wembley Cardigan, a Colette Patterns Seamwork magazine pattern, printed out ready to sew.  I’d recently made my Sew Over It Vintage shirt dress and thought it was an idea pairing.

Wembley cardigan

Zoom.  There is not that much sewing to the Wembley cardigan – shoulder seams, sleeves to set in with cuffs, waist & neck bindings.  That’s all.

And I have to say that this is a really useful style for spring/ summer.  I’ve been pulling it out of the cupboard a lot & it is very mixable with trousers & skirts & dresses.  What a winner!  Has anyone else come to the same conclusion about the Wembley cardigan?

And if you got this far you might be interested to know that that massive bush of a hairdo has been tamed now.  No more grandma bouffant.  That makes me feel better already!

fishtail skirt

MIY Fishtail skirt in denim

So it started in Brighton. I was lucky enough to meet some of the local sewing crew at the Fabric Godmother’s open day and amongst them was the very lovely @Diannebowles (on Instagram).

Fishtail skirt

As is often the case with sewer meet ups, we were talking fabric and sewing plans and ogling each other’s outfits and Dianne was wearing the most impressive skirt.  I’d go so far as to describe it as a super hero skirt- with secret magic powers. From the front it looks like a well fitting A line denim skirt, but get behind ( Ie give it a phonebox) and POW you’ve got something awesome going in  the way of a fishtail!

Fishtail skirt

Upon further discussion I drew a comparison with the Tapton skirt I’ve made in jersey  (top tip – it’s available with the current issue of Love Sewing Magazine!) and wondered how I could translate that pattern to make with a woven….it turned out that this skirt is also from Wendy Ward, the creator of the MIY wardrobe patterns (Make It Yourself).  Therefore I got in touch with Wendy to ask her my question……

She came back to me with the offer to let me have a copy of her book, The Beginner’s Guide to dressmaking by Wendy Ward, from which the skirt pattern comes from, to giveaway to a lucky reader ( *more on that in blog post next week*) plus a review of this book and the patterns within will follow as part of the giveaway.  But this is how I managed to make my very own fishtail skirt…

fishtail skirt

The principle is much the same as the jersey version- the front is in fact your standard A line, and the back is cut twice, as mirror images, as it is wide.  The skirt also has waist facings- the  Tapton has a yoga style waistband.

fishtail skirt

SORRY! Blubber ahoy

So constructing this skirt is a bit counter intuitive- you think you know which seam you’re sewing, but actually you might be creating part of the fishtail and leaving the hole that becomes your waist … It’s all dependent on sewing to the large dot. Get that right and you’re ok.  A beautifully draped fishtail results at the centre back of your waist.

fishtail skirt

Looks not very much like a skirt doesn’t it?

The skirt is fastened with an invisible side zip and I have to say, it’s pretty invisible.  I ALWAYS line the seam allowances of my zips with a strip of fusible interfacing and I swear this helps with a better finish…

So the waist facing brings the waist under control- with the extra weight and bulk of the fishtail, the waist facing succeeds in smoothing it all out and helping it to stay as a regular waist oval.

fishtail skirt

All of the sewing up to this point took next to no time.  What took me a couple of hours was the hem.  Wendy suggests a bias faced hem as some of the hem is visible in the fishtail and this is the perfect opportunity to flourish the odd peek of something purty ( or ‘party’ as spell check wants me to write and it’s quite an intelligent suggestion. )

I made my own bias binding out of an old IKEA Rosalie pillow case, which took some time, granted. The attaching of it around quite a long hem took even longer, with two passes – first to attach the bias to the right side, second to secure it to the wrong side.  And with a couple of right angle corners to negotiate as well.

fishtail skirt


But ain’t it just the bomb? I love it.  Dianne was looking at other types of fabric for another very same skirt at the Fabric Godmother open day.  It was a printed denim. That would be so cool.  But it’s the kind of pattern that suits all sorts of fabrics by my reckoning, fabrics with a little bit of weight as this is an a line skirt you’re making. But what a secret superhero.

fishtail skirt

Come on, did you spot the cat mirroring my poses?  Did you also enjoy seeing that my washing line is usually full of stripes ….and the garden chairs are in odd places propping up fencing that has been blown down by the winds …

Catch more about the Beginners Guide to Dressmaking next week when I’ll be running a giveaway. Check out Wendy’s blog at where you can get more MIY (Make It Yourself) news, fixes, tips and inspirations.

Sewing Guide to Bath – Haberdashery heaven (sew and Sew) at the Guildhall Market

So to follow my first blog post about the Sewing Studio it is only logical to feature my second most favorite haunt for sewing supplies in Bath.  This is Sew and Sew, the most comprehensive haberdashery emporium in the Guildhall Market, Bath.

Sew and Sew

I used to work next door and I completely underestimated how much I took this for granted – the ready availability of *practically every conceivable sewing/ haberdashery need* right next door.  Ran out of thread?  That’s Ok, lunchtime fix ahoy.  Buttons for my latest make?  You should see the choice!  (Photo below!)

Guildhall Market - High Street

Guildhall Market – High Street

The Guildhall Market itself is a joy to visit- one of those places so central in the heart of city centre Bath- right near the Abbey & also Pulteney Bridge- a wealth of independent shops within.  (Check out the link for details) But we are only going to focus on the one.

Guildhall market

So, my homing pigeon zooms me in to the haberdashery – Sew and Sew.  What am I here for today?

Guildhall Market

Might it be the buttons?

ButtonsOr the many types of ric rac?

Ric racI have to say I was sorely tempted by the new decorated and embellished versions…

haberdasheryShelves and shelves of sewing aids, gadgets & dibidy-doos…

HaberdasheryThreads and craft materials…

Pom pom trim (getting a bit specialised here, I mean not everyone needs pom pom trim , do they?)

bias bindingThis is the bias binding shelf (well the fancy ones – solid colours are next door)

elasticsAs well as a wide range of black and white elastic, the FOR (Fold Over Elastic) comes in quite a few colours & I also loved this waistband elastic that comes in different colours.

IMG_5833Hard to get a shot without a customer- but there are shelves upon shelves of goodies.  From elastics, lace and bindings, there is also velcro. boning, curtain tape, webbing, shoulder pads, buttons, buckles and trims.  Hardware in all its forms like needles, pins, snaps & so much more.


And then there’s the knitting & crochet section, and all the other crafts that Sew and Sew caters for.