Tag Archives: Piping

Red hot chilli: Colette Patterns Ginger skirt

Hurrah!  Pop the corks this post will have links (& many!)  Following all my issues with shockwave/flash crashing in Chrome I have moved across to Firefox & it’s great.  No more problemos & very user friendly for a webnoob like me.  Just thought you’d be glad – no more moaning on that front!  So, sewing it is.  PS The giveawaywayhay post (deliberate typo!) is being penned & just need some photos to launch later it this week, sorry for stringing you along.

Here it is, my second Colette Patterns Ginger skirt.  I had intended it to be a quick & dirty affair making an unlined version using a red linen/ cotton mix, perfect for summer. But then I saw Karen’s holiday Ginger, & saw that she had taken the trouble to line it & thought “Come on Scruffy!  Make an effort!”

I’ve lined my previous Ginger, & found that it could have done with a bit more ease in the lining.  So this time, cutting out the lining I added an extra cm to each side seam to allow for ease of wearing.  I also cut the front on the fold rather than create an additional seam which isn’t needed inside.   Just used gathers to ease the lining to fit at the waistband at the appropriate point in the making up.

I think I’m a bit into petticoats at the moment … look at how I’ve finished it off (& some secret rick rack also! Makes it feel like Christmas!)

The Waistband

This I think deserves a bit of space all to itself.  To avoid the gaping at the top, I referred back to my first Ginger & the alterations I made to it.  Luckily I had transferred these to my pattern pieces & was therefore able to line up & transfer these with the sweetheart waistband that I wanted to make this time.

The top piece is how it is before I made adjustments – the bottom two pieces show the weird wedge I need to take out of this waistband side seams.

** Post edit – please refer to the comment left by Mrs C below to develop this alteration to the next level & make a rounded waistband translating the adjustment evenly across the pieces – it’s a good read!! **

It was weird sewing it though – it seems counter intuitive seeing the angle that the three pieces make when sewn up together.  But it worked, it fits my clearly counter intuitive body shape.

So, to detour again from the “quick & dirty” I felt obliged to add some detailing, to invest some more love into this skirt.  It was worth it I think.  I cut some strips of the skirt fabric on the bias & made piping.  Nothing too obvious, as this skirt is going to be a basic colour blocker, but the piping just makes me feel it is a bit more special.

Since reading Roobeedoo’s note that the waistband in this version can wrinkle I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.  My interfacing, although medium, had already ironed on a bit awkwardly & therefore became my waistband facing (oh, I wasn’t going to admit to that!)  I didn’t want to risk it on the waistband proper in case it ironed on all gunkily again.  All through the construction the need for stiffness (stop sniggering) was niggling me.  Was I going to risk the quality of the skirt for lack of thought & effort?  My fix in the end was to create a template of the space inside the stitching, ie the finished waistband & create a buckram duplicate in the hope that it keeps it standing up right.  It seems to be OK…. but makes a crinkly noise when you move around sitting!

My invisible zip went in fine, piping just about even both sides if you squint.  It’s just the top didn’t finish as neatly as it could, but looks like a design feature.  Perhaps it is because of the piping.

I think this is going to be useful.  I’ve already discovered LOADS of tops that it goes nicely with & today I wore it with my Vintage Vogue jacket no less (it’ll appear in a Me Made May roundup)

Worn here with an old New Look 6808 top in linen…

The perils of long damp grass of a morning ….

Colette Patterns Rooibos

Cartoon-esque Rooibos


Colette Patterns Rooibos


So I finished my Rooibos, just lagged a bit behind the Colette Patterns Sewalong, it being September and not August now.

I wore it out last night & I swear I have never been so embarrassed having my photo taken.  I don’t know how Karen & Debbie manage others’ curiosity in their beautiful & interesting settings.  I thought a photo “on the town” at the top end of Milsom Street would be a bit of a change from the garden.  I tell you, it took courage.  There was I grinning – but with an audience of bemused strangers.  ”It’s OK” I wanted to pretend, “I’m a tourist too”  (rationale there being that tourists have their photos taken all over Bath & no one blinks an eye).  But that would have been a lie.  I just felt vain & preening ….Oh well,  you don’t know till you try!  Perhaps if I was pulling a silly pose I would have felt happier???

Who does she think she is?

And yes, that it the Vogue jacket too – I will be writing this up in a later post.  I am rationing you.  Well me, actually, only having a certain amount of time.  Perhaps it was the BRIGHTNESS of the outfit that made me feel so brazen amongst the dour tourists & sedate shop facades.   And it’s possible shorter than I would normally wear a dress so that made me feel even more self conscious, although it looks OK in the pictures …

And here’s another – you know I have to add another one of the street views – you don’t think I’d go through that trauma for the sake of just one picture do you?  And check out all the people behind (who stared at me on the way up) & that child, unable to tear his intrigued eyes away. (No you can tell I am not a model nor am I famous, I’m just trying to have my picture taken, right?!)

OK, onto business.  There will be more photos, I’m afraid.  I took others back in the safety of my own home.

Ah, that's more relaxed

It's going to be a creaser!


I think mine’s a bit too big from the waist down  really, that’ll teach me for only making the bodice muslin/toile & not the whole thing.   The bodice I think fits well after a few tweaks (lowering the armholes & adjusting side seams) Anyway, it’s a totally different dress than I expected  - it isn’t as tightly fitting as I thought it would be.  This is the dress that will get pulled out of the wardrobe when the day is oh so sultry & promising thunder.  The dress for sticky humid work days.  The dress for skipping along a gravel path.  I don’t know.  It makes me feel cool (not “hip” but not hot) & should I say this, young?!  That might have something to do with the fabric & binding choices.  There is something childish about solid powder blue and red polka dots.  I am relieved it went that way as opposed to looking like an air hostess uniform, which I felt it was in danger of becoming as I sewed the red satin piping to the blue pockets with no polka dot to be seen from the outside.  However, don’t you think it’s like a cartoon character dress?

So, what was ace about making this dress?  Apart from the oft quoted quality of Colette Patterns’ instruction, of course.  I actually supplemented the sewalong posts with the written instructions.  I’ve never followed a sewalong before.  This sewalong had just the right number of pictures and hints & tips.  The only silly thing about sewing along following a blog once the sewalong has finished is that the “next step” posts are not next in a blog, as we all know, as they have not been written yet.  The sequentially “next” posts are actually earlier posts you should have already followed.  Navigating around the sewalong therefore involved a few extra clicks & scrolling.   You all know that though!

So, apart from the excellent instructions, both online & with the pattern what did I love?  I am very much taken with the style, & whilst I’ll make it smaller next time, & perhaps an inch longer, I do adore the collar with the contrast facing.  I actually found making the choice for my facing extremely challenging.  I’d picked the fabric from my stash (a Walthamstow linen) mainly because I had already bought the invisible zip to match it but the dress it was earmarked for is lounging in my “can’t face it pile” due to a far too tricky for now muslin failure.  So having decided on the powder blue, & plumping for red piping, what would be the contrast?  Eventually it clicked, I was enlightened with vision & I bought 75cm of the polka dots (25% off in my local shop ).

More design loves – any obvious opportunity for piping pleases me immensely, & this was no exception.  I chose red satin bias binding, just to see what it was like, as other bias tends to be quite coarsely woven.  The satin was fine (hope it survives the wash).   And those pockets!  Oh so cute!  I know I’m stuffing my hands into more polka dots which will make me smile.  I could have done the piping better, & didn’t read this part of the sewalong instructions which advised me to fold my piping at the “nicked” bit in the curve.  So my piping is a bit straighter than it could have been.

Now, invisible zip sewing is a new one for me, & I also followed Colette Patterns online tutorial.  It was very clear, but didn’t stop me messing it up first time.  Never mind.  I am really pleased with it- I followed up one of the comments to Jane’s post where she also was converted to invisible zips.  A comment from Lladybird advised that getting an invisible zipper foot for her Pfaff made it all so easy.  So I looked up my model & bought the invisible zip foot (as well as the pin tuck foot & the narrow hem foot ….. well, you have to make the postage worthwhile don’t you?).  Wow, sewing with the right foot makes it SO easy (as long as you place the zip the right way!).

Oh the shame, a pucker!

My only yuk bit is the end of the zip & where it gets subsumed into the side seam.  Lots of sewing, unpicking & sewing it’s still not right.  There’s a little pucker that won’t iron out, but if I resew anymore I may wear the linen out, so it stays.  Apart from that I have been revolutionised by invisible zips!

As the final design detail I took up the “design tip” in the pattern instructions & made a couple of self covered buttons from the facing fabric.

Another things that occurred to me when I was sewing this, was this: do cotton reels pack less length?  What I mean by this is didn’t you used to get more on a reel of cotton ? Is there less metreage of thread being sold these days?  I only ask because for making this dress I was very prudent, only using my blue thread for main seams.  All finishing was done on my overlocker and I also changed thread for any tacking & sewing of facings. And the resewing of the zipper took place over the smallest distance.  Despite this, I still ran out of thread – get this – less than 10cm away from finishing the hem.

Does any one know the answer?  How many reels of thread do you buy per project?  Is it worth buying two?


Swimmers shirt dress for a sunny day – with piping

I’ve been enticing you with this – for how long?  Well done for being so patient!!

swimmers fabric

The swimmers: I’ve had this fabric since last summer.  It’s a Makower fabric.  I bought it when I bought the Brighton Rocks fabric & all I knew was that I loved it (having had a swimming childhood at the least I thought I’d use it for a cushion in my living room as I’ve got a bit of a watery/ swimming theme going on there).  Anyways, months ago it spoke to me & asked to be made into a sleeveless shirtdress- but I had no need to make it earlier in the year.  Why did it take the sun to shine for me to get ready to cut into the precious stuff?  Seemingly out of the blue, this really wasn’t on my plan, it was a real tangent, I cut it out using a pattern from an old Sew Mag.

My vision though, was drawn from the 60s, a casual garden/ beach dress.  I could imagine serving up a pitcher of home-made lemonade in it, or else putting it back on having dried myself at the beach in one of those “tube-towels” that had  drawstring neck to promote modesty.  Pale colours, big tan (if only!)

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The Piped trousers

I managed to complete my navy linen trousers yesterday morning (well save the little hook & bar fastener).  In fact after a bit of a photo session I still have them on (without hook & bar) whilst I type & attest to their comfort.

Remember my objectives?  1st was to complete the trousers to wear in March (fail!), 2nd was to learn a new technique – piping.  So I chose a Built by Wendy design from Sew U- the basic trousers & stole inspiration from the book with respect to the piping, then added my own.  The design was a kind of homage to the sailor trousers, however, I didn’t add width to the trousers being interested in what the basic trousers came out like.

Built by Wendy Trousers design



Just in the street the other week I’d seen someone wearing a top or jacket made out of denim with bows like pocket tops sewn on.  I wanted to do this too.  Added to that, I saw this piping & loved it.  ”Why, I can do that”, thought I, “but how can I combine that with a cute bow detail, a kind of faux pocket top?”.  So I needed some serious designing & playing around with this.   (No way was this going to be a speedy speedster make- who was I kidding?)  So with all my attention focused on the piping & bows, the trouser pattern could be made with as little alteration as possible.

Piped pocket flaps

Faux pocket flaps with piping



I had the linen already, before I even got sewing I struggled with piping choice, deciding to make my own (foolish, I know- clearly I decided to load myself with challenge).  What colour me made bias binding should I make out of fabrics already in my stash?  You can see I opted for lime green silk/cotton mix left over from Cinnamon slip.  Looking back on this I think I must have been in some kind of parallel universe- me, opting to make my own bias + piping= crazy.  But making bias + piping out of slippery fabric= super stupid.  It didn’t get my confidence soaring I can tell you.  Stitching the cord into the bias took numerous skidding & stretching lines of stitching.  Luckily I still had matching thread left over, & I thought I could always unpick it once in situ should it show.

Once I had my piping snaking across the table I tacked it onto the right side of each piece it was to be attached to, before adding the facing & using my tacking lines as sewing guides for getting nice & close to the piping with my zip foot.  I think tacking it as opposed to just pinning was useful as I was able to stretch the piping around corners better.  So pocket flaps, belt loops & waistband pieces all piped I had to see if the bow idea was going to work. Not only was I trying to design the bow, but to work out how to add piping to best & practical effect as well, thinking that it would look odd without piping.

So my bows are a wide piece of fabric folded over & stitched with the seam at the back then knotted in the middle.  Now, when you see the whole effect, piped bow plus all the other piping, you may think it’s a bit much- I am still not sure myself- but can always unpick them.  I’m trialling them at the moment.

I found the instructions brilliant to follow – the fly was the first thing attempted & it was all completed in less than an hour on the day for which my destiny for completing these trousers was not fulfilled.  The only query really is that I followed the design to the letter, buying a 7″ zip – but look – it sticks out the end.

(Oh yes – check out the beautiful overlocked edges:-))

So I really like this pattern – the fit was perfect first time – no adjustment needed.


They would work really well widened & whilst I have the legs of a struggling amateur long distance runner I would not describe my quads as rippling  & these trousers make up slim at the thigh.   They are very snug around the behind- but not uncomfortably so.  Arguably this is how the rest of my trousers should fit!  I also liked the back yoke, but chose not to topstitch at all- piping was enough I felt.

I struggled to find a top to wear to show off the frontage in all its piped glory.  What that tells me is that I won’t often be showing it all off (unless I make more tops especially!)  So if I have concerns about the luridness of all of the piping, perhaps it won’t be on display that much anyway.

And in case you hadn’t worked out – the buttons are self covered in the same lime fabric.

Onto length.  I’d be interested to know how you other ladies make the decision – heels or flats?  I hate wearing trousers that are too short, but don’t want them dragging on the ground.  I like a bit of draping over the front of my foot.  How do you get a pair of trousers the right length to give multiple wearing options?  I wear heels for work (sometimes) but not really for weekends & not really for going out.   I made the call that these will get worn more with flats or little heel but that means I’m ruling out wearing them with certain shoes when I may want to feel more glamorous or grown up.   Have I missed a trick somewhere?  Any secrets anyone would like to impart??