Tag Archives: Named clothing

Farewell my friends and thank you, thank you – it’s been a blast x

Dear all lovely blog readers, generous commenters and all round warm hearted lovers of sewing.  This post has been a long time in the offing, attested by me not having posted for er…. quite a few months.

In a month’s time I will be closing my blog down.  I just haven’ got the time to write these days, nor photograph myself in all the things I continue to sew.   So I wanted a chance to say a massive thank you to you all, for the fun I have had over the years expressing myself …in the means of my wardrobe in daft & less daft scenarios.  I have loved sharing my sewing process & mistakes and learnings.  I have soaked up (& still soak up) everything I learn from others to make me a better sewster.  From the bottom of my heart thank you for all your support.

One last update.

The last 18 months have been a time of vast change:  moving house from the city to the beautiful Somerset countryside and leaving my employer of 15 years to work for a wonderful new company.  I work full time in four days sat at a PC all day (my hours will change soon) and this has squeezed my free time & energy meaning that I have had to prioritise.  Sadly for this ol’ blog, but not surprisingly, the last thing I fancy is yet more screen time!

A badger sett- no kidding this wood is festooned with them

I have a new relationship – with my surroundings.  I am besotted with the countryside & love being outside in my garden.  I am a yearning runner – I need to get out and about after being restrained for the first four days of my week.  There are millions of footpaths to explore & lambing time?  Oh simple pleasures, but such a novelty for a town mouse like me.  I take walks/ runs through the fields to check on their progress.

Sewing still gets a big chunk of my time.  I am truly addicted to sewing new things to wear- there is always a reason – whether it’s a holiday or a night out.  Or just a new look.  I am a sucker and over the next year will try to channel my sewing & design skills into a few cushions & a bit of patchwork for the cottage.  Don’t expect me to be making covers for my food processor though 😉  And when I say channel, it’s just to check myself that I am not becoming too obsessive & a serial sewer!  I am making much more ‘value’ clothing using more expensive fabrics so that I feel I am less of a consumer of fast fabrics/ sewing.  This summer I have invested in a few linens to make what I hope will be timeless classics….

I did patchwork!

I had wanted to write to tell you about some of my recent sewing adventures.  For example I bought myself a sewing holiday.  The Sew La Di Da Vintage Body Blueprint course.  Four days in Caroline’s studio creating a pattern that fits my body shape, developed ( using pattern cutting superpowers) into a dress design of my choice.  It is even more of a sewing holiday as the setting is Beautiful Lyme Regis, on the Dorset coast, which is a place worth visiting in its own right.   I cannot recommend this course enough.  We all come in different shapes & sizes & it’s amazing how even a customised toile in calico can make everyone look a million dollars.  Seeing everyone in their own beautifully fitting toile was a delight.

My day’s sewing


With the ace support during the course I wanted to make a basic ‘quick & easy’ perfect  dress – ‘A’ line skirt, sleeveless bodice with French darts.  Tick.  (And I whipped up one of these yesterday to wear to a Hen do -photo above) From this basic I designed something a bit more special.  Flared the skirt a bit more, adapted the bodice –  added a bias collar, ruched waistband, gathered bust darts.

All conjured up in beautiful cotton lawn.  Serious adoration.

I’ve also been pattern testing – most recently the Orsola dress for By Hand London.  I made the wrap skirt in red linen & it’s been a firm fave this summer.  So pretty.

I have made a maxi dress – for the daytime- this has always been a challenge for me as I don’t like covering myself up if the sun’s out, but recognised there is a time & a place for a longer skirt … on holiday for me.  This is the Named Kielo Wrap dress in a viscose.  Lovely to wear – in my case early evening when it’s still warm enough but once the sun’s gone down I’m grateful for a little more leg covering, but still so lovely & cool & floaty.  A gorgeous pattern.

I have also made the Deer and Doe Datura top in a silk from the Fabric Godmother.  With piping.

Since taking the photo I went back & stabilised the hem and resewed it.  Where its silk & has some bias in the hemline, it really benefitted from being secured by that double sided hemming tape (this disappears in the wash).

My favorite this summer has been a pair of 1980s cropped wideleg trousers.  Sadly no photo to show, but this is the original!

Betty Jackson wideleg cropped trousers in a lovely indigo soft chambray.

I have also been compulsively sewing Grainline Scout Tees for the summer.  They must be one of the best wardrobe builders & perfect for showcasing cute fabrics.

Croft Mill bumble bees 

Cotton and Steel from the Village Haberdashery (a few years in my stash)

Liberty Lawn from Sewbox (I got this at the Knitting & Stitching Show when I actually met Susan, the lovely owner 🙂 )

I’ve been playing with my firm favorite: ric rac.  On a Tilly and the Buttons Rosa shirt in yellow polka dot poplin.

And was obsessed with the latest Papercut collection, having fallen hardest for the Kochi Kimono jacket via MisforMake.

I used a textured linen from Minerva Fabrics. This is teal (but I’d say more blue than teal).  I have only just finished this so will be test driving it this summer.


Merlin & I are super content in our little cottage in the country.

I shall be making the odd appearance on Instagram (@scruffybadgerti ) and will think about using my facebook page a bit more.  No promises though!

In the meantime, all I can wish you all is for much happiness and successful sewing!

I am eternally grateful for the friends I have made through blogging that I can share more than just my love of sewing with.

Big hugs xxx



Happy Christmas with a Satsuma Blair top by Named

Dear wonderful blog friends,

Thank you all for your support & friendship, wit & banter this year.   I hope you all have an amazing holiday period & a wonderful new year.  I shall be dipping in & out of this blog as time allows this week, but I am well & truly looking forward to a very different 2014, & as well as hoping to be a be a bit more responsive (through finally upgrading my mobile technology later in Jan!) it is also going to be *the* year for me & I  hope that it percolates through this blog & delights & entertains even more than in previous years.

Blair topIn the meantime, I shall show you another of the things I made for “going out” in.  (But not with this hair.  I’m experimenting with the “wild untamed” look today. ) This is a simple top that makes me feel a bit more grown up when wearing jeans/ trousers.  It’s a Blair top by Named, but this time made out of some slubby orange fabric from Minerva.  It was exceedingly cheap & I have no idea what it is made from (just some kind of polycotton) , but to tell you the truth it was the colour that grabbed me, then the texture.   And this time of year I feel all satsuma!

Blair topIt felt right to make it into a loose fitting top, possibly suitable for other seasons wearing with different levels of layering.  Oh, stop the pretense, badger, ‘fess up!  OK,  I’d seen a friend at work wear such a loose bright orange top (in the summer) with a white skirt & a black vest top underneath & it looked incredible.  It was from Monsoon but I have not been able to locate an image of it, so have converted my memory of it into the Blair top.  This is really one of those “greatest form of flattery” makes.  A shameful steal.  Well, as much as a two hour memory can commit.  Yes, I do feel better after some honesty, but let’s move on.

Blair topThe Blair top is designed for knits, however it is such a baggy fit with a low enough neck that it could work in woven fabric (such as this too).  This woven fabric has a loose weave & nubbly bits in it.

Blair batwing top

It’s quite transparent & part of me was tempted to construct using french seams, however the stronger dominant (lazy) part of me won & overlocked all the seams.  With a combination of orange thread (for the two needles) & cream thread for the loopers.  The cream thread does not show through.  Even if it did I would probably claim that it was a design decision.

Blair topOne real design decision was the neck & sleeve finishes.  I felt that using satin bias binding on the outside would make a nice contrast in texture for the neck edge & sleeve edges.  I was thrilled to find orange satin bias binding at my local haberdashery.  I love the shiny satin versus the rough looking fabric.

Blair topWhat else is there to say?  I won’t bother writing more about the Blair top’s sewing, as that has already been done in my first make.  This version is an altogether different Blair & I’m happy with it.

Blair top

I may even make a white skirt to wear it with in the summer as an over top.  With a dark vest underneath.  Shameful copycat that I have become!!

And are you as excited as me to know that the next season of patterns from Named is just around the corner?

The question is, I have a number of unblogged things I’ve made this year.  Will I be able to share them before the end of 2013?  I don’t think anyone knows the answer, certainly not me.  I’m going with the flow….Have a wonderful holiday folks, be back soon when I can. And again a big thank you to you all xxx

Named Blair batwing top and a midnight mini

Hello folks.  Today I am revealing not one but two recent makes. Wowzer.  Hold onto your seats!

Named Blair topAs suggested by the title, one of them is a brand new pattern from Named, the Blair batwing top.  I have to say that since I first saw the first collection by Named I have been itching to try & buy.  But making the choice as to what I would prioritise was the hardest.  I mean as well as the Blair top, there’s the Tyler raglan sleeved shirt, and I am smitten with the Jamie jeans (not that I have made jeans ….yet).  I could also easily be persuaded to buy the Dakota shawl collar dress, the Fran tie shirt and the Laurie striped tee.   And if I were to tot that lot up, well, I’d be on gruel for a month.  But the Blair top it was to be as I’d already bought this lush striped jersey for the purposes of a sweatshirt type thing to cosy up in during the winter evenings.

Named Blair top (4)What I have ended up with is a cosy sweathshirt weight top that is not confined to the house as “lounge wear”, but could stand its ground in public as rather a stylish casual top.  Now that is Blair for you.  It’s the batwings that are not so 1980s that I feel a curly perm coming on.  Its the drape caused by some clever oversizing at shoulders that isn’t too boxy & narrows down over the hips.

Blair top

Hey, I guess I’m describing a “designer sweatshirt” here?  Despite all that it is quite the opposite of figure hugging- quite a departure from my usual style, but that’s OK, I was after this loose & comfy look.

Named Blair top (5)

So now that I’ve waxed lyrical about the Blair styling, let’s get onto the fabric.  We are venturing into navy territory, namely some navy needlecord (for the skirt – more of that later) and some wonderful jersey doubleknit (?) bought from my local fabric shop (doesn’t sell fabric online but thought I’d give Mark a shout out as it’s where I get my sewing machines & they’re so helpful and friendly there ).  This fabric is gorgeous – quality quality quality, and it was pretty reasonably priced.

Named Blair top (6)So onto the sewing.  Folks, did you expect the Blair to be a complicated make?  You’re not idiots, so of course you didn’t & it isn’t.  But before we get onto the construction, be aware that these are downloadable patterns.  I reckon the folks behind Named have thought long & hard about the relative merits/ downsides for downloadable patterns & unlike any other that I have downloaded, the Blair (& the couple of others – ahem – I downloaded) follow the same principle to reduce printing and I think in total extend over 12 printed pages.  But what this means is that the preparation of the pattern before using has the added step of tracing since the different pieces overlay each other.  It’s all very nice & clear, but not being a natural tracer, I’m not looking forward to the other patterns I’ve bought that have more pieces that will need tracing.  The Blair top thankfully only has three pattern pieces. What this will mean for the other patterns is far less taping all of the sheets together, which can be soooo tedious when you get longer larger patterns.  You can tell I just can’t be bothered with preparation & I like to dive in & get sewing!!!  I think the fabric cutting stage is my least favorite regardless of how it’s delivered.  Necessary of course, but not usually enjoyable.  Call me a weirdo.

Named Blair top (3)So now we can get onto the sewing.  With three pattern pieces the sewing is a cinch.  Even stripe matching.  Zoom zoom.  The instructions are all very clear, but there was a term I hadn’t come across  .  Named have this on their glossary to explain:

Framilon band – A thin and translucent rubber band that is used the same way as a regular elastic band but is slightly stiffer and slimmer.

By looking how it is used, I took it to mean a form of stay tape or clear elastic (for sewing in the shoulder seams to prevent saggage).  I used clear elastic.

Named Blair top (2)

The neckline on tops is always a question.  How will it be finished?  Well, in the Blair Top the neckline is just a narrow double turned hem.  I used my coverstitch machine, but you can see that the size of the head hole is quite large & probably won’t be under any stretching pressure to get it on / off (even with a curly perm).

I’ve found wearing it that in order for it to be snuggly I need to wear something with longer sleeves underneath, as the sleeve length ends just about bracelet length on me.  But I’m sold.  I love it.  Wait till I show you my latest “lounge pants” that it gets worn with in the evenings after work!

Named Blair top (7)(Deliberately hitched up the sweatshirt for this shot – not the best look!)

So the skirt.  This is Vogue 1247.  My second incarnation, the first also being in a type of needlecord here.  The first skirt I made I lined.  I even cut out lining for this version, but to my shame “couldn’t be bothered”.

Remember this skirt has awesome pouch pockets?

vogue 1247 skirtThose pockets on the inside

And has a large amount of bias binding used.  Spot another area with lack of bother?  I had to use two different types of bias binding – the patterned is home-made, but that ran out.

vogue 1247Inside back of skirt

What does this say to you?  Speed sewing, no time to waste on buying a whole batch of matching bias or making a lining.  Yes, it was one of those spontaneous makes with a wearing deadline!  And it has been worn quite a bit.  It’s a versatile casual skirt.

I love it with striped leggings & chunky boots.  And now with my Blair top.  Winter seems to be going navy!