Tag Archives: Sew Over It

Learning by video, musings

So I am curious to know what you think about learning with video?  It seems to be a growth area with both Tilly and the Buttons and Sew Over It embracing this more interactive approach for learning in their business offer.   While video is still a bit of a novelty in sewing blogs, who can bypass Karen’s Christmas message , and recently I have enjoyed Lisa’s Vlog (Behind the Seams) tremendously- you just know she is having so much fun behind that camera!  Rachel, our resident sewing muse, supports us bloggers with ‘posing tips‘ right here.

YouTube Preview Image

There is also the recent foray into video that Colette Patterns have introduced with Sarai’s video guides – here’s a link to the film  helping with buying knits  .  Don’t you love hearing the real voice of the blogger, and being surprised and knowing at the same time? Karen I think speaks as she writes- optimal word usage, with precision, style and always there’s a twinkling of amusement.  It should not have surprised me that Sarai’s got the most dulcet honeyed tones but being British I would have read the words from the blog in my own English voice , so delight in hearing her authentic Portland accent. And Rachel, the exotic enthusiastic warm hearted Brazilian, her vlogs bring bursts of sunshine.

So video is definitely a curiosity as a blogging medium, especially for me when it adds another dimension to what you think you know about the blogger.  But for learning, with Tilly’s online sewing class and now Lisa’s (Sew Over It) does this herald a swell in online learning ?

Craftsy of course have hours of friendly footage with teachers covering so many different crafts- some free, but most is paid.  If you do invest make sure to wait for the crazy deals in the sales that come around fairly frequently.  yes,  if you do invest, the Craftsy platform app is now even better with the ability to download for offline viewing which I really appreciate, frequently finding myself with dodgy wifi .  And the ability for replaying a 30 second loop when trying to understand and master a new step?  Much used in my current knitting project – the Artemesia sweater (more on that another time).

So both Tilly and Sew Over It already offer face to face sewing classes.  Video classes should bridge the gap between   written instructions, or step by step photos and being able to attend a face to face class,    Learn to Sew Jersey tops  by Tilly and the Buttons gives you a live view of what your sewing should be looking like whilst Tilly guides you through every step of the process.  And all the time getting a Tilly fix.  ( I remember hearing Tilly on an American podcast last year and the host being fixated on Tilly’s very English accent.  Plenty of that going if it facilitates your sewing experience- it’s the equivalent to my Portland comment above!!)   I have had a dip into this class, but am not giving a review, but can tell you that The lessons I’ve looked at so far are filmed around the construction process and are very cleanly captured- different angles provide the view that you need all the while Tilly’s demonstrating and providing guidance.  It is aimed to be used with the Agnes top, and you get a digital copy of the sewing pattern included.  But the principles for using a regular machine to sew knit tops can be applied to any standard knit top pattern you already have.  A proper confidence boost I reckon, launching you into making more with knits.  A good pattern / concept to start with?

But what provoked me to muse over video learning was the recent launch of the Grace dress online sewing class from Sew Over It.

Whilst I haven’t seen any of the lessons, the content looks more than just a video showing you how to sew the basic dress- as well as the expected lessons, steps include Lisa’s top tips for sewing an invisible zip and even when and how to do an FBA or an SBA.   Relatively complex procedures, but the things that will make the difference to get a more customised fit and polished finish.  By distance learning!  And judging by the video tutorials on the Vlog, (eg adding a waistband to the Ultimate Trousers) you will be in a pair of very calm, knowledgeable and safe hands.

So I am not reviewing these classes by any means, I’m just curious.    Youtube has so much free content- but I suppose it’s a bit of a lottery finding exactly what you need to know, and then how well the youtuber is explaining and filming it.  No guarantee on a. finding exactly what you need and b. quality.   Making an online video class must take such a lot of time, effort and investment – I hope that these online classes do well, I know how useful i am finding following a video knitting class, as I am such a basic knitter and this covers a whole load of new knitting techniques & I make soooo many mistakes.  I just wish someone else would do the ripping back for me!  What do you  think? Are you a video learner?  Is youtube a frequent port of call & what have your experiences been like?

and no, I am not writing this as any kind of market research.  And no again, I am not planning to stick myself in front of a camera and either make some parody of myself with an overdone Somerset accent or go through that trauma of hearing what you really sound like to other people. Too freaky for me!  I’m just musing …. What do you think?

Ultimate Pencil skirt in autumn florals

I have been captivated by the colours this autumn, even more than usual because my current journey to work involves walking through Royal Victoria Park (aka ‘Vicky Park’ or ‘RVP’ to locals ) whose 57 acres takes you into town under the gaze of the Royal Crescent.  It was actually opened by Queen Victoria herself apparently when she was 11 years old, & is a wonderful mix of formal flowerbeds, (the Parks teams are so talented) a landscaped duck ponds & discrete gardens inside the Park- like the Botanic gardens.  I love it for its abundant trees which are currently on high show & in various breath taking colours.

And of course passing underneath the Royal Crescent is pretty special too.  Oh and counting squirrels to  identify whether I have a ‘two squirrel walk’ or even a ‘four squirrel journey’ – simple pleasures!

I should try to get some blog photos here, shouldn’t I, but guess what?  If I love it so do countless others- visitors and residents alike- & it takes me a supreme effort to pose in public, as you know ….so I didn’t this time …

ultimate pencil skirt

Anyway, this fabric is from Fabric Godmother & I only needed a metre to make a pencil skirt.  It’s stretch sateen, called ‘Mandy‘ & I suspect before too long the gold/ black/ blue colourway will be sold out but it is still available in blue.  That’ll be because it is so seasonal, surely, but Fabric Godmother has pages of stretch cottons & sateen …..

ultimate pencil skirt

I bought this fabric with a little pencil skirt, above the knee, in mind.  Having a black background it would be a great match with darker winter woollies, & of course black tights.  Choosing the pattern was also a cinch – having made the Ultimate Pencil Skirt by Sew Over It before (my grey lined flannel version here) & it fitting right out of the packet, a second skirt was destined.  Remember this skirt has awesome curves in its design but is also eminently wearable- the style of a wiggle but with room to move.  It’s also an easy to sew skirt – centre back zip (I used a lapped zipper), a faced  high waist, with curvaceous side seams, & I made a kick pleat instead of a vent.  This time I did not line it.

ultimate pencil skirt

It took next to no time to make, but that much longer to finish as camping sewing means things like irons & ironing boards are not set up & I am actually using my sleeve board.

ultimate pencil skirt

I’ve been wearing it today & it’s very comfy & totally seasonally appropriate.  The stretch in the sateen has just the right amount of comfort so that it doesn’t really feel like other high waisted pencil skirts can.  Do you join me with a ‘Hurrah’ for autumn dressing?

Elephants +Vintage Shirtdress = delight of the highest level

Oh I couldn’t think of anykind of title for this blog post, so forgive the arithmetic!

shirtdress 1

I gave you fair warning in a recent blog post that I was sewing up a cracker didn’t I.  That I had bought the latest dress pattern from Sew Over It – the Vintage Shirtdress almost as soon as it was published?  And look what fabric I had reposing in one of my fabric drawers, just waiting for *the right* dress to come along.  I think I found it, don’t you?  I bought this fabric a few years ago from Ditto fabrics, but it is available in other places too.  Ditto just has pink elephants at the moment (I’d forgotten I’d made a Colette Violet blouse out of this too!) , I even saw the red elephants (such as I had made my Simplicity Lisette Traveler dress out of) last month when I went to Truro Fabrics– in the shop, not online.   This fabric is a crispish cotton, almost a poplin, if I had to describe the drape, but I’m not sure if that’s officially correct.  When cutting it out, I did try my hardest to align the elephants along the horizontal & I think it’s just about worked.  This time the elephants were not too off kilter with the grainline, unlike my red Lisette traveler.

shirtdress 2

I launched into the Vintage Shirtdress for a weekend’s sewing.  i know I am lucky in that I have the kind of existence where I have weekends that are completely my own to do with as I wish, & quite often I finish my chores on Saturday morning & then it’s an afternoon of guilt-free sewing.  Saturday evening might involve a bit of cooking but then once Sunday comes around I get up early for a run in the country with my running buddies & might have the whole of Sunday afternoon to finish what I started on Saturday!  The trance is broken later on Sunday afternoons as I’ll emerge out of my badger burrow (officially ‘sett’) & catch up with family.  Come the sunshine though, the garden competes with the sewing machines…but that’s another story.

shirtdress 3

So we’ve talked about the fabric, what about the pattern?

Well I have seen this dress on Sew Over It’s classes for a while now & coveted from afar.

shirtdress 5


I love shirtdresses, and this has sleeveless (my most fave) & a longer sleeved warmer version (hmm very appealing!).

shirtdress 4

I have made a few shirt dresses already.  You could call the Lisette Traveler dress already mentioned one, then there is Vogue 8829, which although I made the bow neck, actually is a shirt dress too, the Hot Patterns iconic Shirtdress (a knit), an early shirtdress in swimmers’ fabric, my happy denim shirtdress, my swoon gingham vintage shirtdress, Edith too and I am sure i have more patterns not yet made up.

shirtdress 6

So you see I feel great love towards the shirtdress- no zip, nipped in, shaped  waist, open collar – perfect for summer especially without sleeves, potential button showcase.  So why Sew Over It’s Vintage Shirtdress?  Surely I have enough to choose from?  Well, it’s all in the details isn’t it.  I have sewn a few Sew Over It patterns now & they fit me brilliantly and the patterns come together really well, with instructions to match.  But the styling folks!  Its named “Vintage” not without cause- it screams retro loveliness with its rounded collar & gathered yoke.  The skirt is a a generous A line & the bodice & skirt darts are the open kind that are actually better described as pleats- no darts with pointy ends but flattering pleats at the waist.  So lovely to sew.  And if you have a fabric with a design that you’d rather not break up with dart lines ….well this is the bodice for you, as there are pleats, in case you didn’t catch that, and no bust darts.

shirtdress 7

Speaking of sewing then, this is unsurprisingly a great project.  What’s the hardest part of sewing a shirtdress?  The collar I think, you might say differently (eg if you hate buttonholes!  But then there are only 8….).  Yes, the collar & attaching the collar to the neck edge can often be fiddly with differences in ease around the neck edge & the length of collar & facing to make fit into that curved area.  Sometimes I have made shirts/ shirtdresses & the fit requires so much easing that you are supposed to clip curves to enable the collar & facings to fit with a lot of stretching.  Less fun than the Vintage Shirtdress I can tell you.  Unless you like the Bruce Willis danger factor & the unknown of whether clipping will actually fit without any puckers along the way.

shirtdress 8

The Vintage Shirtdress collar & facing fits very nicely thank you without any undue manipulation, clipping or stretching.  Phew.  A breeze.  And the rounded edges even make turning the collar right side out a joy.  Curved collars are ‘my thing’ as I was told once when I had my colours done & had a style consultation too, that due to my rounded face & chubby cheeks (she put it more diplomatically than that!) that I should look for clothes & accessories that are soft & have rounded corners.  Crisp lines apparently flatter people with angular features.  I mix it up sometimes just . because.  😉  But it’s a good rule of thumb for me- curves & scrunchy bags.

shirtdress 11

I made no adjustments to this pattern for fit.  Looking at how it fits me with the belt you can see that the dress waist is higher than my natural waist.  if you look really closely that is. the ellies kind of disguise it.

The fabric’s crispness & how I pressed the collar made me think that I may have had a little bit of extra room in the bodice front, but luckily I was able to ask Lisa, the designer herself (:-) ) for her view when i first wore it & she thought it looked fine & that not to worry as it is designed to have room in the bodice due to the gathered yoke.  I was also able to ask about a pattern drafting question I had.  The sleeveless bodice has a different cutting line than the sleeved version & I understood why that would work for the armsyce but why the shoulder line needed to be different flummoxed me.  I can enlighten you if you have the same question!  It’s to reduce the shoulder pad effect that the sleeveless bodice would have without the sleeves – ie the shoulder stuck up too much.  It was so much better knowing.

shirtdress 9

The sleeves do not have a facing but are finished with bias binding.  I used some floral binding & hand stitched it.  I finished it with red flower buttons as I know i shall be wearing it with red shoes and a red belt sometimes.

shirtdress 10

The dress is loose fitting so makes a perfect summer dress.  I wore it to the office last week & a chap was the first to say, “Love the elephant dress”! before the hordes crowded me with compliments & begged me for my autograph.  No?  You think I am exaggerating?  OK, guilty.

shirtdress 12

Out of all of the shirtdresses I have made, this has to be my favorite.  It is not too heavy on fabric, I  sewed the 8 & maybe used 2.5m but don’t quote me on it, I had a 3m length to cut from and haven’t measured what’s left.  But the style!  It’s so feminine!  It’s so cute.  I am certain that I will make more (I KNOW it’s something I often say with a pattern I love but then take ages, if ever to follow through on, but this is different.)  The dress is one of those dresses that is at much at home on holiday as in the office.  I’d wear it to a BBQ & to the V&A (oh actually the latter is already achieved 😉  ).

So what fabric next?  Lisa has made a version that is a trompe l’oeil (if that is possible in sewing)- the bodice is made out of broderie anglais (white) & the skirt is made out of a navy, so that it looks like separates.  YUM! I will be investigating my Liberty lawn to see if I bought enough & whether I can eeeek it out, but I think the odds are against me there, only having bought 2m & I wouldn’t want that to be a trompe l’oeil dress, not my Liberty.

And if you fancy making yourself one of these beauties, do so before the 8th July & send an pic to Sew Over It and you could win an overlocker!!!  Woo hoo!!!

The real Betty Dress by Sew Over It

In readiness for the sun making itself known to us, welcome Betty, made out of this lovely lawn – it’s a rich but gentle mid blue with bursts of orange flowers. It is so light as well- like a breath of cotton & consequently hangs beautifully for a dress like this. And you need to know, it is a pleasure to sew.

The dress pattern in question is the Betty dress by Sew Over It & mostly a new one for me, although I have referred to it before, tracing its bodice onto my 80% Betty dress.


Oh my grass needs a cut – behind me it reaches to my shoulders. Checking out the daisies …

It is sleeveless with four-darted bodice & a v back plus the most wonderful circle skirt.


I did make a toile for the bodice, just because I often have to mess around by taking a small wedge out oif the centre front, & needed to check such manoevres for this particular dress bodice. I did remove a small piece at CF & then had to scoop the armholes out a little to make up for it.

So this is a dress with a circle skirt and for this reason you need a good yardage. I thought I had enough & cut out the bodice before laying the rest of the fabric out to cut the skirt – two circle skirt halves only to have that sinking feeling that there was no way on earth the piece of fabric would accommodate this size of skirt cut in two half circles.


Thinking cap of desperation on & I concocted the most cunning plan to join the two circle skirt pieces to make one whole circle, omitting the back seam (for now) & losing a lot of the length of the skirt. That is fine for shorties like me. It worked.


And then I cut the back seam into the skirt, no side seams necessary. I was prepared to manipulate at the waist (because cutting the skirt this way did have an impact at waist level) but when I came to sew it, the skirt waist was easily eased into the bodice since there was a lot of bias going on at the waist of a circle skirt – & I used it to my favour.


So this was in theory the most complicated part of construction. I whizzed the dress up, attaching skirt & bodice to then add the invisible zip. Facings are attached afterwards to enclose zip ends, & the Betty dress method for nice neat facings/ shoulder seams is very neat & well explained. No hand sewing, all performed by machine in two stages.

Look what I failed to do though?

I forgot to stay stitch the neck edges, which is particularly important for the back when it is cut across grain in a diagonal through the fabric. Yuk! I had to unpick the back, stay stitch & reattach the facings.


But it is worth it. Such a pretty dress and actually so much less OTT than I thought a full skirted circle skirt would be to wear. Without having made one before, I had imagined that a circle skirt dress would feel rather ‘special occasion’, but I could dress it up to make it so, but it is very wearable as an every day summer dress. Love it!

Has that ever happened to you?  A pleasant surprise that a dress you imagined was going to be more of an occasion dress turned out to be so much more?

This is my Minerva Blogging Network project for June, all fabric, notions supplied by Minerva Crafts .  if you want to see what you would need to make this, then the fabric and notions are listed together on my project’s Blogger Network page here.  But warning – you might need more than 3m if you are not a shorty like me.

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 🙂

Not another pair of Ultimate Trousers…and a giveaway

Hohoho!  Guess what?  I have made another pair of Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers. Yes.  Not content with a pair in denim, ditsy drill, linen, suiting & houndstooth enter my navy sateen Ultimate Trousers!

Ultimate trousers

I bought this beautiful sateen from the Fabric Godmother – read on for a special offer & a giveaway!

Ultimate trousers

It won’t take long to read this post, because there are no surprises – the pattern worked its usual magic, but let me tell you that the fabric seems to have elevated, what I consider to be a top trouser pattern through sheer virtue of its quality.  It sewed so easily, it’s a semi crisp but at the same time is soft with some give from the lycra.  It holds its seams once pressed (& OK, might hold onto creases through wear a bit too, but that is easily forgiven.)

Ultimate trousers

I wouldn’t say it is warm enough to make up as proper winter weight trousers, & I am not the kind of gal that wears tights under trousers (I think I might be missing out here).  However, on days that feel the warmth of the sun rather than our current freezing temps, these trousers are warm enough for me, with socks of course.  They will truly come into their own in Spring and Autumn.

Ultimate trousers

But, hey.  It’s another navy revelation as well.  Don’t you just love navy?  Isn’t it so smart, yet softer & less severe than black?  And this is a proper deep luscious navy too.   (There is a downside- white cat hair/ fluff).  Is that contrasting overlocker thread an affront or a delight?

Ultimate trousers

Onto the special offer & giveaway.  Josie, the Fabric Godmother will post the winner 2m of sateen in the colour of your choice (go & check out the red & beige as well as the navy and please someone buy the silver & make disco pants!  ).  What’s more, this is open to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Ultimate trousers

Just leave me a comment telling me what colour you’ll pick & what you’ll use the fabric for.  I’ll pick a random winner in a week’s time, out of all comments left by midnight 13 February GMT.

*** This Giveaway is now closed, but  ….Josie is offering 10% off any fabrics (apart from sale) at the Fabric Godmother by using the code


at the checkout.  This fabulous offer is valid until the 10th April!  Woo hoo!!

(Wearing my Ultimates with my Merino Coco. )


Sew Not Over It! Pussy Bow Blouse and Ultimate Trousers

It has to be said that I have taken a long time to photograph my last pair of Ultimate trousers, despite them being more successful fit-wise than the previous pair.  The fabric was given to me by the resourceful Claire (Sew Incidentally ) many moons back at a Birmingham meet up.  It’s gorgeous quality, a suiting in what I call a mole colour & it is sleek to the touch and has some stretch to it as well.  Not my usual colour, but I just love browns with turquoise.  Another winning combo, but then anything with turquoise goes as far as I’m concerned.

Pussy Bow Blouse

Let’s just check out those Ultimate trousers shall we before we move swiftly on … they caused me no trouble sewing them up, & were a whizz bang pair of Ultimates.  Do they look summery to you?  I was wearing them last week – OK with turquoise shoes – & was told that I looked very summery – in November!

Ultimate trousers

OK that’s enough.  They’re useful, comfy & I love them….let’s get onto the turquoise.  And hey, this is not just any ol’ turquoise.  This is a dream of a fabric, with polka dots and shiny silkiness, from Sew Over It’s Islington‘s remnants bin.  It’s a polyester and feels like a light crepe de chine, but what do I know?  It could be similar to this, but don’t take my word for it.

Just because it was a remnant, doesn’t mean that it was junk, it was a quality 2 metre piece & had my name all over it.  When I visited Sew Over It’s parma violet painted shop, I have to say I reverted to “child in sweet shop”, such was the temptation.  I confess to spending more than I should, but it felt like Monopoly money, & I lost any sense of self control, snapping up the Pussy Bow blouse pattern too (& some fabric for my 1940s tea dress & another jersey remnant too.  Shhh.  Don’t make me feel any more guilty!).

Pussy Bow blouse

Now if you’ve read previous posts you know I have a thing for the Pussy Bow, & had just been inspired by how a Pussy bow blouse, made of the right fabric, can be dressed down with jeans & is not necessarily strictly for the office.  Karen & I got to fondle one of Lisa’s blouses that she had made up as a sample, out of navy georgette or chiffon.

Pussy bow blouse

It was upon spying the details – the rouleaux fastened slimline cuffs for example that we swooned a little, then both caved.

Pussy Bow Blouse

So this fabric and pattern were burning a hole in my consciousness.  If I didn’t make it up soon, I was in danger of becoming an unrequited obsessive, even though it so did not feature in my current sewing plan (which is quite heavily gift oriented at the moment).  So selfish urges were satisfied & I just got on with it.  It’s designed with plenty of ease, & I cut out the 8- according to my bust measurement & went for version 2, the v neck version.  This turned out just fine, fit-wise.

Pussy bow blouse

It must have taken a few hours to make, so my selfish streak did not last too long.  There are no fastenings, you just pop this pop over your head, so that makes the bodice come together nice & quickly.  Before you know it, you are attaching the tie neck.  The pattern instructions were very clear about how to do this if you haven’t done it before.  The fabric being silky (but with a slight crepey feel to it) did not cause me any issues sewing, (I always use a walking foot though) & I took my time sewing the neck facing & cuffs down by hand.  I could have sewn French Seams throughout, but  after having recently made a gent’s shirt & French seamed it to then make faux lapped seams I just couldn’t be bothered.  Lisa’s sample had been overlocked so that convinced me & I do not regret it- my overlocker gives such a nice finish anyway.  There are times when a French Seam feels the right thing to do, & times when you just lose the halo.

Ultimate trousers

Little discussion on this blog post about the Ultimate Trousers, but I am pleased with them

What else do you need to know?  The sleeves have gathers at the cuffs at the top (so cute) & also to ease them into the arm hole – but they are not overly pouffy at the sleeve head – the kind of sleeves I like.

*Something I have added since writing – check out the Pussy Bow blouse Sewalong over at SewOverIt’s blog here.*

Pussy bow blouse

This blouse has been down to London town and worn with jeans to see Morrissey.  Of course I had noodles & managed to splatter soy sauce amongst its polka dots.  But I LOVE it.  I did not feel “Dog Toby” as Jane would say.  It was a wise purchase, one of those investment buys that feels naughty at the time, but that pays dividends in being a firm wardrobe favorite.   And I can see some future blouses in solids using this pattern.

Pussy Bow blouse

I think this could be something I try harder at next year – making investment buys to sew *just right* garments.  And making sure I sew them, & don’t leave them shrouded in tissue paper in my “special” drawer.  What do you think?  More investment pieces?  Maybe that’s how you sew already?  If so, do you have a mantra that could help me shift my fabric buying & sewing behaviour??  I’m interested to know what works for you?!  It’s time for a change!

80% Betty Dress

During the spring you may have seen the appearance onto the sewing scene of sweetest dresses sporting rather a lot of skirt under the cover of the Betty Dress by Sew Over It.   My first peek was via the impeccably stylish Jane as she was pattern testing the Betty & even though such testings are secret I think I was staying with her *just as* the pattern was being launched, & couldn’t help but notice rather a spectacular swish swoonworthy skirtsome Betty dress adorning her dress form during an overnighter before a trip to Goldhawk Road.  I think we all agree that this is so perfectly Handmade Jane, wouldn’t we?   Rachel was with us too whose Betty in all its swishing glory was making itself known – that skirt!

Betty dress But I left it at that for then- I had so many other things to sew, but I did carry on doing some serious admiring.  And then Jane & I met up at the end of the summer with a few friends with the intentions to do a few swaps, among other things.  Jane brought a cut out Betty dress with an underlined skirt (yes – the hard work had all been done for me- what a veritable sewing saint).  She said she was on the verge of dispatching it to the recyclers, but thought some opportunist (like me 😉 ) might be able to do something with it.  Plus she brought an untouched copy of the Betty dress pattern with it.  I mean it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?

Betty dresss

The fabric is a delicious linen floral with a beige background & rich red flowers.  From Goldhawk Road apparently.  Just.my.cup.of.tea (as well as Jane’s clearly).  Jane had made some kind of mistake when she cut it out.  I have no idea what kind of mistake, but it was irredeemable apparently.

Betty dress

But from someone else’s disaster, this Badger was able to profit.  Our long late summer created the ideal conditions for me to get stuck in to this rather pronto.   I could see it having quite a few wearage miles with a cardi.

Betty dress

So having a little less up top than Jane I recut the bodice, keeping the higher back that Jane had also cut for (True Betty has a lower ‘v’ back). I  tried the skirt against my waist & being a circle skirt, assumed that there would be enough volume for my hips.  I then began to sew.

Betty dress

Gee I love that neckline in a very crazy kinda loving way

But I was bugged.  What was the problem?  Why had Jane not been able to complete it?  I felt it might have had something to do with the skirt- there was only one piece.  So in moments of paranoia I kept measuring it against me & against the bodice.  Somehow it all fit together.  Don’t ask me how!  I had quite a bit of adjustment to get the centre back the right size – (nothing new there for me – I always have to do this) sculpting out some strange wedges out of the centre back.  Luckily I sewed with a lapped zipper, which is heaps more easy to install/ try on/ unpick/ adjust/ sew again …& again a few times.  Well I think it’s easier doing it with a lapped zipper than an invisible one….but that might just be personal preference.

Betty dress

Sorry, back view photos are a bit lacking! 

Betty dress

So, once I had finished it, I recognised my skirt had quiet a lot less swish swoo than an original Betty.

Betty dress

I think I have made a half Betty skirt, hence calling this “80% Betty”.  See? It works, don’t you think?

Betty dress

But isn’t it just perfect for autumn?  The linen fabric has just a little more to it, giving structure & warmth.  And with the underlined skirt, this is still very seasonally appropriate.      Initially tights were not even required, such was the ambient September/ October.  These pics were taken once we were in November- & even my arms show that I haven’t seen a suntan session for a number of months – legs are equally in tan-blight.  I should have worn natural tights, as I usually do with Betty, but this was a weekend wearing, & I was wearing booties….

Betty dress So a massive thank you to Jane – your rubbish is someone else’s (namely moi) treasure!

The Contingency Pants: more Ultimate Trousers

“It’s about time”!  Another pair of Ultimate Trousers. Yes, these trousers were made way back in September & I have only just got around to posting about them.    That’s mainly due to not having taken photos of them in action – as you will see they crease a little following a day’s wear- & so any post work photos are just plain out of the window since I am highly unlikely to feel the urge to iron straight after a day at the office & a two mile power walk uphill.

Ultimate trousers

OK, rewind.  The Contingency pants were born for OWOP (One Week One Pattern), when my pattern of choice was the Ultimate Trouser pattern.  The only shortfall I had was trousers for work.  But why did I call these the Contingency pants?

Ultimate trousers My deviation from the pattern – lapped zipper, not an invisible zip.

Well, I had actually cut out another pair of Ultimates in work appropriate autumnal suiting, however, when I came to sew them up, discovered I hadn’t the right coloured thread.  This fabric – a mini dogtooth check (100% silk remnant from Mandors in Edinburgh) was always tucked away at the back of my mind as a potential pair of ultimates, & when called on for OWOP, therefore became the “Contingency Pants”.  I might be doing myself no favours referring to them as “pants” because I really don’t want you to confuse with “incontinence pants” .  But there you go.  Please do not be confused.

Ultimate trousers

So, you know by now that I love the Ultimate trousers by Sew Over it. My OWOP adventures this year chart their versatility & my love of their cut & style.  The sewing of these Ultimates is a cinch- as I always say- once you get the fit just about right.  But I have made quite a few pairs of these now (5 pairs) & I  have to say that allow for fabrics to behave differently.  Do not assume that because your last pair was body perfect that you have no need to try on as you sew – different pairs have given me a different fit experience.  These are made in a silk that behaves almost like a light weight polyester (I have the label though to prove that it is silk!), these, came up huge.

Ultimate trousers

I had to wear them, realise during the day that they were not snug enough & take some more in afterwards.  I think I altered the CF & CB about three times.  I still feel when I look at them in these photos that they are not the most flattering  on me. (I mean it would help if I wore better underwear – apols about that! Just pretend that you can’t see any vpls please, for me…)  But even still I am not 100% sure that I have finished them…I may take the lower leg in a bit more ….but then I do need enough calf room to be comfy & tasteful (!)….what do you think?  I mainly wear these with flat shoes & am not after a skinny look, but maybe they could look better a bit more skinny than this?

Ultimate trousers

I don’t tend to wear them with tops like this – I have just pulled this together for the photos since this is about the trousers & how they fit.  I don’t actually like tucking tops into trousers – I always wear things untucked on the outside unless trousers have belt loops & are pleated.  (Like my Vogue Baggy trousers). And this is my first Pavlova top that is too short unless I wear a cami/ vest underneath.  I’m always fussing with it – too much gappage even though I lengthened it from the original pattern.

Ultimate trousers See those post wear creases?

But I do wear these often.  It’s the time of year for trousers like this – t-shirts & cardigans, socks & flat lace ups.   Can’t wait to show you my next pair!  They are a huge success too 🙂 (Dare I say *even* better than these??)

Ultimate Coco weekending

Over the bank holiday weekend I was in Cornwall.  I know.  I get there a bit, don’t I?  Well it helps when your family lives there.   So, as usual, I kept back some recent makes in order to make the most of the scenery down there, & the availability of a tame photographer.  These photos are all taken by my Mum with my new to me DSLR.  It’s extremely exciting – but I feel so ignorant as well.  But, starting simple – the presets are already making me squeal with joy.

This weekend (rather a long weekend- I was there for five days) was only going to be casual- but not overly warm – and my newly made Coco top (my fourth now) was the ideal wear – not only due to its long sleeves & slightly heavier cotton fabric, but also due to its seasiding nature (oh yeah!  can’t resist some themes here!!).

Ultimate CocoThe fabric is genuine Breton fabric bought from Brittany, so kindly organised for me by my IG friend La Mouette Au Sec.  It’s a kind of cotton interlock (I think that is how you describe it), & has a real Breton shirtness about it.  I chose burgundy, as I have never had a burgundy Breton before, & believe me, in my time I have had a ton of Bretons, but only ever navy striped.

Ultimate Coco

I departed from the true spirit of the Breton shirt however, clearly using Tilly’s Coco Top pattern for all apart from the elbow patches.  For these I stole the size & shape from the Deer & Doe Plantain top.  The fabric is a cute ditsy jersey (no longer available) from Clothkits that I have since made another top out of – but more of that another time.

Coco elbow


How I love the Coco top – I can whip one up in less than 2 hours start to finish. It’s an overlocker make for me, with just the neck & hems that use either my regular zig zag or coverstitch respectively.

Ultimate Coco

But what about the natty trews? Way hey!  They are another pair of Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It – this time using a stretch denim.  Oh my but these are comfy.  I have to say that Ultimates are unusually comfortable for a fitted pair of trousers even without any lycra content, but when you add lycra, wow.  Super comfy almost like jeggings (I guess, never having worn any, but they must come close).

Ultimate Coco

Once again I made the Ultimates with a regular lapped zipper – my haberdashery’s invisible zips are ludicrously expensive compared to a 30p regular 8″ zip and in such limited colours too.  I like using lapped zippers so much, it’s so much more predictably finished than an invisible zipper too.

Ultimate zip

I am so addicted to this pattern- it’s another really simple make, once you are confident you know what you’re doing with the fit.  So I’ve got three pairs (& a pair of tester shorts) – but my Twitter friend @Ali_Goddard has 8 pairs!  Yes – she has fallen for Ultimate Trousers bad- but in a good way, clearly.  And that’s just for summer!!

Ultimate Coco

So this is my seasiding outfit for late summer.  I am still verging on Ultimates being my OWOP, but I would need to make a pair for work, & I am not sure I have the time (with other more pressing deadlines to meet).  And I know I need to decide like real soon, as it starts later this week!

Coco party

Tell you what, if I was on hols Coco would be my OWOP pattern – look- I took all four with me to Cornwall, & they all got worn!

As well as the one you’ve just seen there is:

Turquoise Merino CocoSpotty Coco and the nautical Coco Dress