Tag Archives: Lining

Anya bag in Harris Tweed

I have made a few bags in my time, but never have any made such an impression as this one.  Partly due to pattern, but also thanks to the fabrics, it has to be said.  I felt it was time to make a new day bag & had heard how deceptively roomy the Anya bag by So Zo is.  Zoe had kindly sent me the pattern as a housewarming gift (so kind!) & with Spring in the air & a few free hours in the afternoon I tried to bring together some suitable fabrics from my stash.

anya bag

I had initially thought of using some of the pleather I had left from my Madrid tote bag made last year.  But then I remembered I might have enough Harris Tweed  left for some of the bag, if not all.  Excitement raised, I hunted it out & gleefully discovered there was enough (just) to make the whole bag out of the Harris Tweed & use one of the genuine labels too.  Don’t cheapen it, I thought & discounted any use of a contrast yoke.  Keep to the Harris Tweed.  Line up the checks.  Find a lovely lining.  I looked through my Liberty remnants thinking that a Liberty lining would be classy enough for such a fine tweed.  Nothing really zinged though.  Especially when I found a piece of pink satin lining.  Oh my, the shine!  The pink that took out the pink lines in the tweed!  It was a match.  Cutting & sewing started.

anya tab

I was going to add to the pattern slightly by including an inner pocket (in bird print cotton ) & instead of a button tab, use one of those magnetic clasps.  As long as I could remember where I had stored it.  Luckily I did.  Considering my flaky memory, the list of ‘things I can’t find after unpacking’ is very short.  And now does not include magnetic clasps.

anya tab sewing

So the thing to remember is that if you are using magnetic clasps, they need to be added / installed early on to both the tab & the yoke piece before you really start sewing.  It’s fine though, just use the markings on the pattern & they will meet up once the bag is constructed.

anya pocket

The same with a pocket.  I sewed the pocket & attached it to the lining, once the lining yoke was attached to the bag lining piece but before sewing the two linings + yokes together.

Everything else carries on like usual & Zoe’s instructions are mucho comprehensive.  There is also a one page quick sheet if you don’t need all the detail.

The Goy-jus Handmade Jane remembers my fondness for Harris Tweed & had bought me some genuine Harris Tweed covered buttons as a birthday present last year.  The perfect gift & I am glad to say, I have added two to this bag as a classy finishing touch – they are not exactly the same Tweed pattern, but the colours are spot on.  And I still have four buttons to embellish something else 🙂

anya buttons

I am absolutely smitten with the lovely shape & soft pleats of this bag.  But it’s the use of this my last  last piece of Harris Tweed that fills me most with joy.  I know my Dad, who bought it for me, will be so pleased.

Tweedy to the max

Will I wear it with my skirt?  I do not know….what do you think?

Let me tell you though …this bag is roomy…I was able to fit my usual stuff PLUS my DSLR without any particular strains – tab closed nicely & bag’s pleats accommodated it all without any fuss.  What a star bag …. Its only shortcoming is its owner …insisting on using it on rainy days when perhaps she should have been looking after the precious tweed a bit better (It’s OK, nothing ruined !)

So if you’re on bank holiday today you could find some beautiful remnant in your stash to breathe a new lease of life and productivity into? Making a bag can be such a rewarding project for a rainy day! 

Bellatrix blazer

Well hello ! At last I have something to show you which means a winning formula of having completed my sewing plus engineered the opportunity to to take my snaps.  So you saw I have been making the Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut patterns, supplied  very kindly by Susan of Sewbox.   I have been coveting a blazer for some time & when I settled on the Bellatrix I did not appreciate what a lovely design it was until I started sewing, and in my recent post about welt pockets I think I waxed lyrical about how it has been designed brilliantly with a lovely cut that also makes it a great first taste of welt pocket sewing – the shaping is created by princess seams & upper bodice and lower bodice piecing so that the welt pockets are inserted at this waist seam.   Sewing adventures!

Bellatrix blazer

It has a long collar with a curved edge – so special.  To achieve the contrast collar you need to plan your front facing to be cut out of your collar fabric- it is all one piece.

Bellatrix blazer

I was using some reversible fabric which is great because I knew the contrast would work & be the right weight & colour tone.  It meant that I used the reverse side of the fabric for all of the facing pieces so my jacket has a pinkish lining (with polka dot satin) and the grey outer,

Bellatrix blazer

See the princess seams and welt pockets

I am in love with the style – it’s almost got a peplum, but barely.

Bellatrix blazer

Bellatrix blazer

It is a snug fit, mind you.  And I haven’t quite got around to sort the buttons out.  So I am holding the edges together in the first pic with good reason.  I had a slight problem.  The instructions are printed on the paper pattern and you cut them out to make a book –  it comes in a few fold-constructed pieces that should be glued together (but of course I didn’t get around to that).   Because I am camping sewing & have a few bags that I am using to pack away my sewing after each sitting, I seemed to have misplaced the last part of the instructions ….& so felt my way through the last part of making up my jacket (attaching the lining & adding buttonholes).  And when I came to try on, the waist is very small on me- probably quite rightly, but there is no room for your usual overlap that one button and one buttonhole needs.  But I wasnt able to reference the instructions to see if my approach is the right one – I think this needs a double buttonhole approach-barely  joined together so that the fronts meet at the centre- by a pair of buttons attached to each other with some ribbon or some elastic.  I havent bought a pair of buttons to tell you how it works, as I wouldn’t wear it like that.  I wear this unbuttoned.  But do you understand what I mean?

bellatrix blazer

And the welt pockets are a decent size….not purely decorative.

bellatrix blazer

I did make my interior welt pocket and might explain my understanding of welt pockets at some point.  maybe.  It meant that I was able to design & sew my own with a satisfying degree of accuracy.

Bellatrix blazer

That pocket has not been road tested however and I placed it at the widest part of the front facing, however it is just a weeny bit high up the body, but apart from that I’m very pleased.


Inside welt pocket

Inside welt pocket

In the end I used Lladybird’s classic welt pocket tutorial to steer my sewing of this welt pocket- it really is so simple, & despite trying to follow the David Coffin article in this month’s Seamwork it acted as inspiration as I work better with step by step photos.  Hurrah!  Let’s see how they perform in the wild as there were so many comments in my last post about why women’s jackets do not always have inside pockets …

Fit?  As already mentioned it is a snug fit- I made the lining up as a toile to gauge what adjustments I needed (decided upon shoulder pads- an optional ).  Considering I have less access to mirrors at the moment, it’s not too bad at the back is it?  OK, not perfect but I am not sure how much I would have detected & been able to change – I find the back such a tricky body part!!  I think if anything I could have taken out a little as a sway back looking at these pics carefully. But when I’m wearing it I can live with it. Incidentally I did lengthen the sleeves as there is nothing I hate more than cold wrists …

bellatrix blazer

I found the instructions I used very easy to follow & the construction went well, with easy to  match princess seams, markings in the right place for sewing the collar/ shoulder. As I couldn’t find the last part of the instructions I remembered that the Spearmint coat sewalong has a great method for bagging the lining and sewing by machine, but the Bellatrix blazer is simpler to line than the Spearmint coat, & didn’t need all the steps, however it was the video on three dresses blog explaining the steps for sewing the sleeve linings by machine that was invaluable, avoiding Gordian knots of sleeves & linings…

Bellatrix blazer

The worst thing is that I have hardly anything with me at the moment to wear this jacket with –  the few skirts & trousers I have with me  just don’t work with it so it is currently awaiting a jeans-out night.  That I think is all that I have –  I can’t wait to see what it’ll look good with from my wider winter wardrobe when it comes out of storage.

Bellatrix blazer

You see this is a warmish jacket – the fabric has some wool/ acrylic content & with all pieces (except the satin lining) being interfaced, it has some weight to it.   It has potential to be worn a lot this time of the year …..

Thank you for reading x

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?

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 🙂

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?

Love to hate my saucy velvet skirt

A final foray into my posh makes. The velvet skirt to go with the scarf top of extreme slinkiness. I bought this fabric from Goldhawk Road once I had bought the slinky top fabric. The greeny bluey hues make my heart flutter just a bit faster. There is something so delicious about velvet, don’t you think?   I feel I could drown in the pools of its colour intoxications.

velvet skirt

And then I sew it & it’s a cow.  It’s one of those makes that after the event I feel like adding to the saying “Never work with small children, animals …… & certain kinds of velvet”!

It’s silk velvet the man in the shop said. £10.99 per metre. I only needed one metre as I knew that’s all I needed for the kind of skirt I had in mind. I was thinking pencil skirt. Just above the knee. With a thigh split of sauciness. A bit call-girl-esque. This would need me to crack my knuckles & employ a bit of pattern cutting. I found a straight skirt pattern (From Burda 8438 actually – my Cheong Sam pattern) that I was never going to make up as it was (because I have other straight skirt patterns I already use.) This skirt pattern had the required front darts. Using my head a little (but not quite enough) I changed the darts into vertical cutting lines to create a centre front panel with two side fronts. The darts became seams – just needed to add on seam allowances. Quite straight forward really. I could have checked the placement of the seams better as they do veer to the side more than I had in mind, & I won’t pretend to you that it was a deliberate design feature. But it’s OK, I am happy.  I wanted the lining to peep through as the split moved around, but in actual fact, maybe it’s not as nice as having added vent extensions to the split.  But hey ho.  Too late now.

velvet skirt

I cut out some spare turquoise lining I had from my bolero of extreme happiness (giving the lining a bit extra width for ease). And sewing commenced. Ye gods. I sewed cotton velvet for my bolero of extreme happiness & it was a breeze – its only fault was the amount of velvet fluff it shed! This velvet was another challenge altogether. It is a seriously delightful fabric with amazing fluidity & drape. Arguably best used for a swirly drapey shaped skirt. The clue is in the reverse – it has a knit-like finish. I thought about underlining it, & maybe with hindsight I should have. But I didn’t, opting to make the lining separate so that I could finish the edges of the front split nicely. (I’d forgotten to cut extra vent extensions for the split out of the velvet so my options were limited).

velvet skirt

This fabric danced all over the pace despite many pins, parallel to the seam & perpendicular to the seam. Its pile seemed to be playing me around & creating extra movement. I got the measure of it in the end, but not without some less than accurate sewing! I think another approach could have been to edge all of the seam allowances with strips of silk organza or interfacing, as that approach worked really nicely for the invisible zip.  Would that have worked for the seams as well?


Speaking of which, the invisible zip went beautifully- & then I saw that I’d managed to twist the skirt pieces into some kind of infinity loop (anyone else ever done that?) So I had to unpick one side of perfect sewing….

velvet skirt

I had a fair few try-ons to get the fit how I wanted it. And even had to let out the side seams a leetle.  I regretted that as I am just about able to still see traces of the original stitching.  But I didn’t want to split it when sitting down!  Despite the knit effect on the reverse of the fabric, there is no ease at all.  Just movement.  And come the waist seam – I had to baste a line of stitching around where I wanted to waist seam to be, against my natural waistline whilst wearing the skirt. The moving fabric had squished around & I couldn’t rely on the cut edges as they were not straight!

velvet skirt Putting it through its paces – will it dance?

I used waistband Vilene (fold a band or something like that?)  to stabilise the waistband & that was worth it, definitely. Not only keeping the waistband in shape for actual sewing, but also giving it some structure when finished.

velvet skirt

I let the skirt hang on Barbarella overnight before setting the hem, & sewed it up by hand. As with my bolero, I used velvet as a press cloth (the same velvet as the skirt, as its pile will be the same & this prevents crushing it out of existence when pressing).

So all in all I’m Ok about this skirt.  I was making it in the midst of a huge long list of projects with deadlines, & other posh makes.  I started it thinking it would be relatively simple & quick in comparison to what I’d just been sewing, & maybe it wasn’t as straight forward as I expected!  I wish I’d underlined it – all the seams that involved stabilisers worked out the nicest!.  I wish I’d added vent extensions to the front split.  It is not as perfect as I intended.  But I will get over it.  I mean, I am still enraptured by the velvet- just not the sewing of it!

And next, I have to put the top together with the skirt. Now I hope I get the look I was hoping for!  Oh I am such a tease.  Really milking this one….but it’s not everyday I sew for a black tie event….

Minerva Make: The “What would Dolly Clackett wear” dress

Even though I knew I would miss the deadline for #sewdollyclackett with my May Minerva make, it still felt current enough to make another dress in honour of the Sew Dolly Clackett challenge, out of fabric that is loud, bold and would materialise into a full skirted dress.

I picked this Blue & Coral floral print fabric eagerly from the Minerva website- attracted by the saturated unnatural colours, the bold photo-like florals and well, it is described as a medium weight 100% cotton (but warning peeps, I would actually say it’s light weight – like a voile) and appeared to me to be perfect for a full skirted summer dress.   It’s a Michael Kaldor design, posh eh?!


I ordered the fabric, 2m, enough generally to sew a frock.  When the fabric arrived I was delighted by it: it’s almost voile like, super fine and light.  The colours are vivid and shocking ( my mum would hate it!), but the scale of the pansies was beyond my expectations: they are massive !  Recognising the importance of choosing a dress pattern that could carry off such a large scale print on my pint sized frame, I took a while to decide.

flora (12)

The Palavar of making a late decision on which pattern to use had me flustered.

But I had in mind with such a large scale print – I needed enough skin showing near my face – it had to be a style that owned the print, & didn’t allow the print to drown me in pansies on acid. I also fancied a swish-worthy skirt & had considered drafting my own circle skirt…. but in the end I opted for the By Hand London Flora dress –  the faux front wrap low cut & sleeveless, fit the criteria I was looking for… a lot of skin on show in the bodice, yet this is a style that is incredibly feminine and so very Dolly Clackett ( she has made a few floras, naturally!). I was tipped over the edge by the Amazing Taracat’s version– the faux wrap which she added faux piping… I was hooked.  I would revisit my piping past, not having utilised its awesome power to completely uplift a garment from pretty nice to fan-dab-ee-dozey for a while now.


flora (8)


I mentioned above that this fabric is posh, didn’t I? Using posh fabric has a good effect on me- I make toiles.     So I made a bodice toile, hoping that I would be making that into another Flora. But the fit took me three toiles to get it right. I scoffed at myself – I used to be a “D” cup & here I was doing my first SBA with the help of the Colette Patterns Handbook (for toile 2) then enlisting the support of Fit for Real People for Toile 3. My traced bodice front was almost reinforced with scotch tape from all the cutting & slipping. The biggest irony? When I compared my new fitted bodice piece with the original By Hand paper copy – it looks as if all I needed to do was to go down a size & move the darts (for less perky bewbs – thanks Vicki Kate for that new spelling!)  Now I don’t think the bodice is perfect- looking at the pics there are still some lines that I can’t tell are due to bad posture/ movement but I do think there is still work to be done!

flora (10)

So three toiles down I could get on with the sewing.  I only had two metres and whilst I didn’t want to make the high low hem, I knew that others had said the skirt is quite short, so I cut the length of the largest size.  The fabric was not quite wide enough to make the full circle skirt flare so I altered my cutting line, just reducing the angle that I was able to cut from the waist down to the hem.  I didn’t think it would be that noticeable and there would still be loads of volume in the skirt, and there is.

Flora (3)

So in making this dress I had to add extras that are not included in the kit- I bought piping cord and satin bias binding separately.  The Flora dress is also designed with a lined bodice, so I had to bring in some lovely silk/ cotton that I bought from Goldhawk road into action, but to be honest, the fabric is so fine you would be better off lining it unless you wanted to exhibit your small clothes.

I used a combination of the pattern instructions and the online sewalong, which has some brucie bonuses.  For example, using stay tape at the faux wrap neckline, works a treat.

flora (6)

Sure, adding piping adds a lot more effort to making this dress up, but it was worth it.  I’ve piped the neck edges to highlight the pretty wrap overlap and also the sleeve line.  I will write up how I did it in a later post on my blog as I took lots of photos.  I am particularly pleased with the finish that I got under the arms where the piping joins , making up my own way to do it.  It’ll be interesting to see if anyone has got an explanation for the proper way to do it!

Flora (4)

The silk/ cotton lining was the perfect match, light and voile-like, but the two light fabrics together were not the best behaved fabrics to sew! Not the worst behaved either, they were just very fine and there are a few bias edges in this pattern with opportunity for stretching out of shape.  For some reason my shell bodice came out about an inch shorter than it should have been, was that the fabric, the fussing with the piping or operator error, I don’t know.  It means that the waist sits about two inches above my natural waist.  And my skirt is shawt!

I also lined the skirt – as I said some kind of lining or slip would be needed and it makes it more special this way.

flora (5)

Let me tell you about the invisible zip!! Last time I wrote about invisible zips and how they either go in right first time or take three long winded attempts, Sophie-Lee commented to provide a very useful tip.  So I deployed said tip this time, and you’ll never guess what?  It worked first time!! So the trick is:

  • sew the first side of the invisible zip like usual
  •  do zip up and mark where the waist seam needs to match on your next side to be sewn.
  • position the zip with pins around where the waist needs to match and do the zip up and down a few times to check it’s in the right place
  • sew using your invisible zip foot  just the piece of zip that includes the waist seam matching about 1 or 2″ each side.
  • do up zip and check to see if it matches, if it’s out, it takes far less unpicking!
  • when happy with waist seam matching. Sew the rest of the zip, making sure the top edge of the zip matches with the other side.

When I inserted my zip, I also sewed it only to the shell, opting to machine finish the lining.  I had assumed that this was the way to do it, but the by hand instructions allow you to sew the zip to the entire thicknesses of lining and shell, treating it as underlining. That would have been easier, but maybe not quite as neat.  Doing it my way, you’d need to leave a couple of inches free when you attach bodice lining to skirt so that to does not get caught up in the zip insertion process.  Once zip is done, you can hand stitch this extra bit of lining.  Of course I didn’t do that at the time….

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So I feel I had a real journey making this Flora up, but by golly it’s a keeper, and I will be making more.  It’s such a pretty style, the stay tape on the neck edge is amazing, really securing and preventing the ever present ‘wrap gape’ worry.  I still haven’t quite got the fit right as there is still some excess fabric around my less than ample bust, but luckily this is masked to a certain degree by the very loud and busy print!!

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Yes, I had to shave off some of the skirt flare, but there is plenty to go around this time.  Because of my problem with the front bodice coming up a bit short, I was eternally grateful for my dummy’s hem marker- I have no idea how I would have managed without it.

But seeing these pics just makes me crave the suntan I know I deserve.  Come on sun! Come out at the weekends and give this badger some rays!!

To be clear, the kit that Minerva are selling only contains 2m of the awesome John Kaldor fabric, matching thread, and an invisible zip.  Enough for a dress- you might need to find a bit of lining/ deploy a slip!


Oh tweedy!  I hope I have done you justice.

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I asked my friends, from all corners of the globe how I could revere you in the manner you deserve.  I listened to all my counsel & recognised that less is more: let the Tweed do the talking.  Create a lifetime garment not subject to the whims of fashion, but to the tenants of classic style.


I resisted my more outrageous design temptations and instead reflected personality through accents of carefully chosen lining & notions, not flaunting other options tweed brings such as in your face ruffles, pleats or clever use of bias.


It’s all about simplicity (yes really – Simplicity 2154 hahaha) of design and the very best I can possible sew – using my  TNT pencil skirt pattern.


Investing time, understanding the cloth (did you know that for Harris Tweed the right side shows when you hold it up to the light & the twill should run from left to right? – thank you to Natalie,  who left me a comment).


Expending effort  in ensuring fabulous check matching & placement.  Cutting everything in single thickness & with attention to the sewing lines & how they would be fall in the tweed checked pattern.

Attention to detail:


Finding the colours in the tweed & matching the less obvious ones: orange lining & a purple zip.


Crochet lace on the lining hem.


Inserting the waistband three times to make sure front pattern matched & was the right way up (not that the right way up actually mattered at the end of the day since waistbands fold over, don’t they?!  The fold over would have hidden evidence that it was the wrong way up- der!!)


5 star finishes:

  • Bias finished seams.


  • Waistband Vilene for a really crisp & non slouchy finish.
  • Lapped zipper with checks in alignment

tweedy (Waistband and every bit of the zip & top CB does match before you sympathise – I just hadn’t fastened it)

  • The official Harris Tweed label.



This very special fabric was a gift from my dad.  It is only right and fitting that he takes the blog photos.  (Oh it’s so nice having a photographer !)

tweedy A humungous “Thank you ” BG!

(My Tweed skirt is being worn with my Merino Coco – what a perfect match!)