Tag Archives: Maria Denmark

Minerva make: Rachel Wrap dress by Maria Denmark

I took a  sojourn from the Minerva Blogging Network & my usual mega obsessive sewing, & replaced it with all things moving house etc but am pleased to take up where I left off now that life in the country is in a steady state & sewing is very much back on the agenda. Whoopity whoop!!

Rachel wrap dress

I’ve made the Rachel Wrap dress by Maria Denmark & for my full write up visit the Minerva Blogging Network here.  Photos are taken by my very own David Bailey father, can you tell ? 😉

Funki runners #2

It’s more funki runners! Enter the peacock pair and matching sportsbra (read on below, you think I’m showing that at the top of this post?)

Duathlon and OliviaAnyone remember the Green Goddess?

I did warn you back when I shared my first pair of Funkis that there were more delights to come, and here is part two. Again, disclosure- Funki Fabrics sent me this fabric to review.

Again, I made the Capri length Duathlon leggings by Fehr Trade since, as you know, it’s such a damn fine pattern- pocket for iphone & keys. Dead quick sew. Love them ordinarily but in PEACOCK feathers? Adoration!!


I have been running & done workouts a few times in the pair of leggings I made first & they have been excellent in terms of comfort & get lots of comments! And I wore these this week for an early morning 7am “assault session” (kind of circuits, different every week), having got them out the night before did not really think about them as I blearily put them on at 630am & headed down to my group.  It did not occur to me how others’ bleary eyes would be assaulted by my peacocks hehehe!  They got noticed!  I think it was before I had even got a “hello” there was a “wow”  they’re cool!  You made them, right?!”

I don’t know about you, but when I make exercise wear I am interested in using performance fabrics that wick moisture away from your bod.   I have not yet put my roseskin pair to the test in temperatures other than our mild October temperatures we have been experiencing, so do not feel qualified to have any observations about how they perform in heat or even in colder conditions.


Melissa is happy to wear non technical fabrics for anything up to a half marathon, so that’s a good rule of thumb for me. I am considering making exercise wear in different lengths for different conditions – so am planning to make a short pair of running leggings for the summer (thigh length), whilst also planning a long ankle length pair for the winter (my next make!).  The two pairs I have made so far, including this pair, are capri length which is ideal for autumn.

Duathlon (7)Using that flash of solid makes it easier to find the pocket!

 I am told that the Funki fabric is not technically wicking (which I thought anyway) – however, it is superb quality- it feels so nice & soft against the skin & its stretch and recovery is superb. They’ve recently got a blog post on exercise wear, here.  The fabric is printed on demand & from what I’ve seen & how it’s worn to date, the printing is quality printing- it doesn’t stretch out & doesn’t fade (so far). So just as a tiny technical update on the fabric from the suppliers, it’s ultra chlorine resistant, pilling resistant, excellent UV protection, shape retention with two way stretch.   Interesting – makes me think this would be superb swimsuit fabric. Hmmm.

Jalie 2563 It could be a swimsuit, but why does it feel so exposing?

And there was enough left over to have a go at making a sportsbra using Jalie 2563. I tried it on as I was making it so that I got as snug a fit as possible to squash them bewbs down (& I think it’s successful). This is a good shaped top with a racer back so it’ll be interesting to see how it performs in the field as it were.

Jalie 2563

I meant to give it a go before writing about it, but sadly didn’t get around to it, just been jumping around in the house to test the bounce. It’s true. But may I stress….this will not see the light of day – it is purely underneathies that could reveal a bit of strap, not more, under a baggy vest perhaps. I am definitely not going cropped out in the big bad world where I cannot crop out the bits I’d rather leave out.


Now what about the green top? Well that’s another Olivia oversized tee from Maria Denmark patterns. I have made this quite a few times as I find it a really comfy exercise top – dolman sleeves, baggy enough with a waistband. Its’ made out of wicking “mock eyelet” that I bought from UKFabricsonline. Good price.  This week’s training I wore my magenta Olivia with these peacocks & I have to say it looked even more awesome than the green combo.

This fabric makes me so happy, can you tell???!

And thanks for the advice on the overlocker blade change – it appears it takes two screws.  I shall be on it!

Who won and real life Maria

I have got lots to write about but *stuff* happens and as a result I’ve written not very much!  And meanwhile it gets ever bigger. So instead of this mass of unblogged stuff clogging my head, I thought it was about time I put fingers to the keyboard & tap tap tapped.

I have so many sewn things to share, a couple of “how tos”, I have a giveaway to announce, and I’ve even met one of my sewing inspirations…. And I have some runs that deserve a mention. Don’t worry- there is no way I can cover all of this in one, or even two goes, but where to start?

SewSee later for who these belong to…

I should start with the giveaway, how about that? Thank you to everyone who entered & shared some inspiring ideas for using contrast fabrics- you are all winners (sigh). The winner of the Champagne skirt pattern is no. 2 as picked by random number generator ….and that is Lou Sewcial Warrior – congratulations – I will be contacting you and forwarding your email address to Capital Chic Patterns! Now there were some awesome ideas for using contrasting fabric, Lou’s by the way will be using pleather.

She says,

“ I’ve been planning myself a colette meringue with pleather facings on the outside with an orange and blue plaid wool for the skirt. But I think this combo could work just as well for the champagne skirt, which is gorgeous by the way.”

Can’t wait. There were so many racy ideas using animal print (grrr), solid colour blocking, sweet ideas for tartan and even florals. Go check them out for some inspiration! I was also taken with Cat’s suggestion:

“What if it would be a play on transparency? Like a white or cream eyelet with a turquoise lining, but only the body of the skirt is lined. “

which also got me thinking about transparency for a lace skirt with the flounce not lined…

Lovely! Think you’ll be giving some use of contrasts a go? Do tell!

And which sewing legend did I meet? Well none other than Maria Denmark!

Maria Denmark

I have been online friends with Maria for a number of years now but had always missed her visits to London. But this time I took the afternoon off & whizzed across by train to meet Maria and her Danish business partner (& lovely family) at the V&A. They had already managed a visit to Portobello Market and bought lots of vintage sewing nick nacks.

maria denmark

Once in the V&A I am afraid I didn’t pay that much attention to the exhibits as I was far too engrossed in chat!  It was so brilliant to meet in real life – we talked sewing and stuff barely drawing breath. Maria is such an interesting and dynamic personality & as well as her current projects and her sewing/ design background I was also inspired to hear more about her running her own business(es), her online Danish sewing magazine she creates and produces with her business partner Signe (who was also in London with us and who the MD halter dress and top is named after).  It was also fascinating hearing more about Denmark.  You know, I am so going to visit one day 🙂

Bathing suits

We cruised the exhibits, some distracting us enough to discuss the sewing & design! Like these knitted swimsuits which I am sure everyone has the same saggy thoughts about 🙂


Can you see Maria in the mirror? Trying to be arty, but not sure it succeeded as well as it played out in my head!

Afterwards we managed my first trip to Shaukat & I was blown away. I was grateful that the baby needed us to be focused (bedtime called & she had been so content). It could have been serious dither city – I have not seen so much Liberty print in such an expanse of fabric heaven! Lawn, poplins, cord, silks & jerseys. Bolt upon bolt plus shelves of pre-cut pieces. I did not know where to start so just honed in on the jersey.

I had the most amazing time Maria and Signe and baby Saga & Karen.   Interesting fact- Signe’s baby is called Saga (as in the incredible female character from “The Bridge”, pronounced like the computer games Sega)  But no, she wasn’t named after her, but after the Nordic God of sewing.  Talk about a perfect start as a sewster!

Wanna see my loot?

Liberty jersey

I had to buy just one piece, didn’t I? As a double celebration. And it was this jersey. It is quite possibly going to be the most expensive dress I have ever made. But people, I do need to think more about quality rather than always quantity!   There will be a “test” garment before I decide which pattern to make it up into (I have two possibilities, one being the Colette Monetta). Any thoughts yourselves?

Right, that’s it for today, stay tuned for my next catch up. Cheerio for now!

Edith, Edith, Edith

The trouble with having had a summer sewing bender is that I’ve got lots of blogging to do to catch up with my productivity.  I mean, I’m being forced to cluster makes together in order to blog about them before the seasons totally change!  And why is that a problem?  Well, maybe it’s not, but you do end up having lots to read about & even more photos than normal….  Beware!

Edith dress

OK, today we’re talking about the Edith dress or blouse  by Maria Denmark.  Remember I made it previously here as part of my Oonapalooza outfit?  Well so enamoured of it was I that I hastily made up another in white repurposing a white formal ladies’ shirt given to me by my Mum – it has a lovely embroidered “bib” front & the quality of the cotton is too fine to hand over to charity when I could re-use it myself.

The shirtThe shirt

I had thought I would do a simple upcycle to it – maybe cutting off the sleeves, keeping the high collar, but after discovering what an essential style the Edith is, it felt as if a plain white version would be incredibly useful.   Effectively I cut out all of the Edith pattern pieces from an existing garment- there was no refashioning here – just unimaginative pin & cut.  There were elements that needed a bit of imagination to eek the shirt out to provide enough fabric – eg the front facings were cut from the sleeves but in two pieces & had to be joined (but that’s inside & doesn’t show).  The shoulders also do not extend quite as far as the pattern designs them to extend.  BUT I did manage to cut out two fronts with the embroidery placed in the mirror positions of each other.

Edith blouse details

There were not a lot of scraps left over from this shirt.  I even recycled the buttons – the cuffs & the collar both had fancy buttons with some kind of black centre & marcasite style detailing.  But I needed 5 for the front, so alternated them with the plain buttons also from the shirt.

edith blouse

This top delivers as a useful wardrobe addition – a sleeveless white shirt is always handy as a mixer & it’s so summery as well.  It seems to always be in the wash (or being worn).  So a hit there.

After two such successful blouses,  I was desperate to make the dress & raided the stash to bring out some adorable lawn that I had been saving for *the right make* and at last I was able to release it from the cupboard & put it to use.  Bearing in mind you need enough length of fabric to cut both front & back in one piece there was just enough.  It’s just as quick to make it as a dress as it is the blouse.  Just slightly longer seams 😉

Edith dressEdith as a dress

I rapidly constructed it & eagerly matched some buttons using the turquoise in the pattern to add a little bit of interesting contrast.

Edith dressI love this dress to wear!  It is the most comfortable hot weather dress ever – it looks cute & shapely, yet, since it doesn’t have a tight fitting waist (& remember I avoid waistbands in the heat) it is sooooo coooool.

Edith dress

I am a little disappointed that I made it later in the summer to be honest – as I feel as if I missed out wearing it through some of the hottest days & I would have loved to have swanned around in it more.  I reckon I could get away with this as a work dress too with different sandals.

Edith dress

I can also see this dress in linen, can’t you?  Particularly a lovely navy linen with red buttons?

Edith dress

Now the last Edith is the Edith blouse.  As a consequence of the white Edith success, I thought that another solid coloured Edith would be most useful & found some sky blue linen type fabric that I had recently bought from one of the Abakhan rummage bins.

Edith blouse chambray

You know, there is not a lot to say about this one apart from the detailing I added.  I used some self made bias (out takes from my Liberty Laurel ) to bind the armholes.  I also found some cute white flower buttons to strike a girlie contrast.

Edith blouse details

It’s also maybe come a bit late in the season as we are all surviving plummeting temperatures & rather a lot of rain.  Still, I have managed to wear it.  Now look out!  The following photos were taken by my very own David Bailey (my photographer father who now has a new camera!!)

Edith blouseI’m wearing a shortened version of my polka dot rick rack culottes too.

Edith blouse


This pose made my Dad chuckle, hahaha!!

I just didn’t wear them as they were, so opted to lop off the scallops at the hem to make them into “shorts/ culottes”.

Edith blouseHere you can see how the Edith nips in at the waist & has flattering & practical slightly extended shoulders.

Edith blouseGuess what people?  I adore the Edith blouse – it could be my OWOP, but I’m still vacillating ….I love its rounded turn back collar, its sleevelessness – its extended shoulders, its nipped in waist.  It is a doll of a pattern, but in terms of OWOP, I’m anticipating autumn…..  What do you think?

Signe halter neck tops : holiday supreme plus Giveaway winner

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

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

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

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

Signe halter top

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

Signe halter top


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

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

Signe dress

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

Signe halter dress

These halter necks are so comfy!

Signe halter top (3)

And slightly more robust than wearing a cami.

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

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

And thank you to everyone who entered the Giveaway for Lisa Lam patterns.  I have great pleasure in announcing the winner – using http://www.random.org/ 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edith buttons
With self cover buttons

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

edith back

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

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

edith and box pleats

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

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


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

oonapalooza 2

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

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

oonapalooza back

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

oonapalooza 3

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

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

Lotta Lady Bag, Mark II, in gingham

Peeps, this is a victorious post!  Remember my beautiful attempt at making a Lotta Lady bag out of what I thought was polka dot oilcloth with a lime green lining?  Remember how it ended rather unceremoniously with the sound that strikes fear into any seamstress’s heart?   Rrrrriiiiiipppp ……. and all because my chosen “fabric” was in actual fact just PVC & had not strength, nothing woven ie a distinct lack of “cloth” to it.  Well, at the end of this post I discuss laminating your own fabric & how exciting that would be …but in the meantime, I made another version, but this time out of a woven.  In the true form of someone who sews, this was my “last minute madcap make” especially for the Minerva weekend.  I made it the morning I traveled.  It was a classic seat of the pants sew.

Lotta Lady bag

I made it using some gingham, furnishing weight (so definite strength there!) – the leftovers from my Gingham Christmas Elisalex dress.  I lined it with some ditsy floral lawn.  And when I made my last bag, I had ordered a couple of chunky long zips so I had all the supplies to hand.  (And having made two of these now, one with a regular dress zip, & this one with a chunky zip, I’d recommend chunky zip every time – looks more “bag-like” & has to be stronger …).  Cut, cut, sew!

Lotta lady bag

The pattern recommends that you interface your fabric with heavy interfacing – this I did not have, but that wasn’t going to stop me- I was on a mission!  I cut interfacing for both the shell & the lining pieces as a compromise.  I am sure it would have been better with stiffer interfacing, but like I said, this bag was going to be made *that morning* interfacing or not.  Other changes I made – I did add inside pockets this time as well since I knew that things like purse, phone & keys would easily get lost in such a voluminous vessel.  You just need to prepare the pockets & attach them to the lining before you get assembling lining pieces together.

Lotta Lady bag

There is something very satisfying about bag making, particularly a lined bag with a zip.  Attaching the zip, hidden between the lining & shell pieces is to me a process that fills me with glee.  The way that this bag’s zip is integrated into the bag at each ends, is a joy to behold.  It’s one of those technical makes, that is easy but looks so smart.

Lotta Lady bag

Sadly I didn’t time myself making this to know how long it actually took.  But I achieved my goal.  Perhaps it was between 90 and 120 minutes from start to finish?  It has since been my travel bag.  You can fit a lot of crap essentials *without breaking it*!  The pockets are in my view essential for traveling & I would almost be tempted to add a secure pocket (with zip or flap) to the outside as well as an easy access ticket repository.

Now, when I had my mock oil cloth disaster, Karen kindly mentioned laminating fabric yourself & I have looked it up on the ol’ webs & found this handy write up for fabric laminating.  

And don’t you think when you can make your own laminate, the world’s your lobster?  The product is Thermoweb Iron On Vinyl.  But see Liz’s comments about using it below ….I have tracked it down in UK on Amazon, and am perusing some awesome fabric choices to use for my next bag…..Rainbows seem to be a clear fave for me, but if I let my imagination run away with me ….how about  Liberty, folk arty, film noir, Betty Boop, stripes,   “dotty” froggies– ie frogs that look like dots!, elephants , or what about pink and floral?  You could make it really personal, and what about the perfect gift ?  Well, I’ve ordered my vinyl.  Not sure when I’ll get it made up.  But I sure will enjoy deciding on the fabric! Do you think you’ll give it a go?


At last: Maria Denmark Olivia tee

Hey chickens.  I am about to show you some makes that have been fully put to use over the last couple of months, only I have been a bit behind posting them …I’m going to review a pattern I downloaded as soon as it was released- the Olivia oversized tshirt by Maria Denmark.  It’s nothing new for me to say that I love Maria Denmark patterns and have not only made plenty of casual wear out of them,  ( Laura lounge trousers, birgitte tee, day to night drape top, it’s just a tank, kristen kimono tee – free) but I have also used some of them as sportswear, using technical fabrics to make up as running tops.  But by far my favorite to date for running in has to be Olivia ….let me show you …

Olivia is my perfect run top ( except in hot weather when I’ll wear a vest like the XYT top by Fehr Trade). I have now made up a 3/4 length sleeved version and a short sleeved version out of technical wicking fabric (bought from the Sewing Chest) and what a success!!

Olivia Tee

I’m would like to think they make me  run with more speed  ( if only!)!  But in actual fact I love them for running because they are reasonably long line and have a nice hip hugging hip band that doesn’t ride up when running.


Being dolman sleeved there is also loads of breathing space around the under arms for air to flow and keep you cool.  And you know you need that.

Olivia tee

And this top is a quick make- I can make two in a couple of hours. You see with dolman sleeves there is no sleeve insertion – just cuffs.  I made it all on my overlocker, and as always, the instructions are crystal clear, no nonsense, with photos to guide you through.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!


I’ve also made a non running version – recognise the fabric? The drape suits the Olivia is tee perfectly. It’s a good top for work with a pencil skirt, or also over skinnies.  The Olivia tee really suits fabulously drapey jersey.  I feel I am hooked as I also have two more cut out for when I have completed this weekend’s “sewing plan”.  I know that Shanni over at Shanni Loves also seems to have an addiction – many of hers are in beautiful thick stripes

And, just in case you need to catch up on what’s happening –  It’s Sewing indie month  – with 21 Indie Sewing designers!  (I just want to queue up some music for that, don’t you? ..)

YouTube Preview Image

and Maria Denmark is one of the 21 indie pattern designers taking part. Click here to find out more about Sewing indie  month, what’s happening when,  the challenges, the tips, inspiration and no doubt temptation!  There is already so much sewing indie sharing going on – I’m loving it!    And Maria Denmark is offering the Audrey knit dress at 25% off to celebrate.  And I have to tell you I am wearing my Audrey dress as I type….get on over there!


Potty for spots – Lotta Lady Bag by Maria Denmark

Have you seen Maria Denmark’s new website?  Very smart.  She’s also been releasing some gorgeous patterns – & spreading tips for customising them to make them look unique.  I’ve bought the Olivia tee and love it – will be posting more on that shortly.  However today is all about accessories.  At Christmas/ New Year I think, Maria released this cute pattern to make a perfectly wonderful every day handbag.  The Lotta Lady bag.

Lotta Lady bag

It is “just the right size” to load up with ipad, book, water bottle, other ladylike essentials plus that imaginary wad of cash that is too big to fit in your back pocket.  It is lined, has an all round gusset which houses  a long zip (longer than a dress zip people, be equipped), and I have to say looks adorable with its graceful curves & shoulder straps (x2) – there is something that feels just a little bit vintage about its style & proportions.

Lotta lady bag

This is the Lotta Lady bag.  You can add your own inside pockets to help organise your effects (& make it easier to lay your hands on that imaginary wad of cash), but pocket pieces are not specifically part of the pattern – you make them to suit yourself (or not).

Lotta lady

So I bought some “oilcloth” not long after downloading this pattern & had it waiting patiently for the bag-making urge to hit me.   It arrived with the onset of spring & the prospect of being out & about more & wanting to look more “like a lady” rather than rely on coat pockets.  Plus, what better reason to adopt a new bag than a trip to London?

Lotta lady bag

Cutting out was simple, lining & outer fabric done quickly.  I used a tip from Dave (Sewing Bee) to use the odd bit of scotch tape to secure pattern pieces to the waterproof oilcloth instead of pins.  Nice one.

Lotta lady bag (6)

I contrived pockets based on phone & wallet & was ready to sew.  It felt like it should be a quick Sunday afternoon’s project.  Maria’s instructions are laden with photos & explain the construction very well.  But guys.  Manipulating *oilcloth* around those curved edges was a beast.  Not only did it pucker but there was absolutely no ease in this awful “fabric” & that meant unpicking & that meant unwanted permanent puncture marks.  So I did the best I could & didn’t swear too much.  On the plus side, I absolutely love the zip insertion steps of the bag-making process- especially when there is a lining.  So neat.  So sharp.  Love it.

Lotta lady bag (5)

Anyway.  Apart from a few dodgy corners, my bag came together fine.  The acid green polka dot lining provided some tang to the sky blue polka dot exterior.  Spring colours.  I was looking forward to using it.

So come the morning of my trip to London I loaded it with my bits & pieces & a whole lot more.  You can fit a lot in- for information!  I’d just put it onto my shoulder when I heard an unmistakable tearing sound

Lotta Lady bag

& saw that the bag’s seam where the straps are inserted & stitched (although reinforced) had shredded – the “fabric” literally split.

Lotta Lady bag

It has taken me a while to realise what went wrong.  You see the fabric that I used is not real oilcloth, but more like tablecloth PVC.  It has no strength, no fibres.  It is plastic.  Oilcloth contains a woven element & would be strong enough to cope with weight.  This “fabric” was not suitable – my poor choice.

Badgers bag

I had to make a quick swap on that morning for my trusty shopper (made using a “White Stuff” carrier bag as a template many moons ago.)

Badgers bag

I am not giving up on the Lotta Lady bag though, the design is lovely & in email chat with Maria, (to try to understand where I went wrong) she’s said how much she uses hers & it has withstood all sorts of wear & tear.    So the good news is that this bag does not use a lot of fabric and I have a couple of long zips, bought especially , waiting for inspiration to strike, plus allsorts of fabric in my “too big to throw away” scrap pile.

If I didn’t have other plans, this would be a perfect make in a few spare hours in the Easter break …..

Maria Denmark Audrey dress

Well, you’ll be glad to know that I’m back on planet earth now after the emotions that sent me sky high after the last post.  Thank you to each & everyone of you who wrote such kind, wise and supportive words.  If I could hug each & everyone of you, your shoulders would get soggy !!

But sewing it is now.  [Sound klaxon: warning!!!  Maria Denmark superfan alert!!]

audrey dress-001

A dress I made in the summer, just as summer arrived.  I got the timing all wrong and have only started wearing it in September, but folks, it’s a winner.  (Of course it is as you know I l.o.v.e every Maria Denmark pattern I’ve made)

This is the Audrey dress by Maria Denmark.  (available through Craftsy)   It’s a basic knit dress, with some back darts for a bit of shaping, the side seams also shaped.  But this dress skims styishly: it’s not a figure hugger.  Maria has made patterns for a B cup pattern & a C cup – I went B. I used some polka dot jersey I had in my stash (which had been earmarked for a Day to Night Drape Top originally).  Let me tell you this is so easy to wear as well – I’ve worn it with leggings & boots (see pics) for a weekend dress, & last night wore it with red tights, ballet flats, cute cardi & a warm red scarf for a meal out.  It is also the perfect travel dress – it packs into a small roll in your bag, & is so comfy for travelling around in.  And I wouldn’t advise you something I had not tried for myself – it was in my bag for my trip to Newcastle & was worn on the journey home.

audrey dress-002

Making it up is a cinch- being a knit & using my overlocker on nearly all of it (not neckline).  In fact it classes as one of my “quick satisfying makes” done in a few hours and eeekd out of not much fabric as well (this one could possibly have been made up from a metre of 150 cm wide jersey)- score!  It has cuffs & neck in contrast – you could really get creative with colour matching, but I went for plain navy on top of my mass polka dots.

audrey dress-003

Let’s talk about the neck though.  This is not a t-shirt bound neck.  This has another treatment.  It’s not an exposed facing, but a shaped neck piece that is interfaced.  Maria calls them neckline edges.  It was easy enough to sew & I must say I like the shape of the neckline too.  Next time I might make it a bit shorter, but it feels absolutely fine like it is for this one.

audrey dress

Oh my word.  I just want more!  You know this is so easy to wash & wear.  Yesterday I was that desperate to wear it, I took it straight off the dryer & hoped my body heat would get rid of the slight dampness remaining from its latest wash!!