When you really love something…

29 Mar

The first shirt I ever made G. was McCall’s 6044 in a blue poplin with white spots. I was super proud of it at the time and G loved it. Seven years later he still loves it but I look at it with horror  – all I can see are the mistakes, the poor stitching, terrible choice in buttons etc. But it’s been wearing thin and just the other week it literally fell apart. But it is G’s favorite shirt and, when you really love something…. he  wanted an exact replica. Luckily the poplin is pretty bog-standard and available in almost every haberdashery.

This time I was extra careful with my top stitching, used flat fell seams for almost everything and chose simple white buttons. And he’s over the moon to have his favorite shirt back. Having made this shirt so many times there really isn’t anything new I can say about it. It’s a great pattern, but I’m looking forward to trying something new next time.

Spring fun

20 Mar

Seeing as Spring is in the air, it seemed like the perfect time to make myself something whimsical. And I had the perfect fabric all lined up. My sister bought this cotton print for me after she found me mooning over it in Saeed’s fabric store. I knew exactly what I wanted out of it – a sleeveless button up shirt with collar and bright red buttons. And that is what I set out to make.

I’ve used Burda 7136. It’s been a long time since I’ve sewn anything other than Indie patterns (so I’m feeling spoiled with hand-holding instructions). And it has probably years since I’ve sewn a Burda pattern.  It is a straightforward enough top and luckily I had my sewing wits about me as there are a few things that really niggled me in the instructions. Such as instructing you to baste a seam but never, in subsequent instructions, telling you go back and stitch to seams….

The pattern is described as ‘semi-fitted’. To start off with I spent ages trying to find the measurement chart to work out which size I wanted. In the end I used one online only to discover the the measurement chart is on the tissue pattern. Based on the measurements I cut out size 14 – which corresponds to a 36″ bust. Half way through I based the side seams together to get a sense of the fit. And while the front  and yoke fit quite nicely, the back seemed much too big.  After a bit of thinking I decided to increase the size of the darts – ultimately adding a 1/4″ extra to the darts seemed to take it in the right amount. This created a nice fit across the back.  I am really pleased with the fit across bust and waist, but after using self made bias tape to finish the arm holes (instead of using sleeves) the upper bust leaves a little more room that desirable. I mean I’m happy with my top and all, but next time I’m debating whether I should reduce the upper bust/shoulders a size  as it gapes a bit.

A new skirt for all my tights

16 Mar

I really love tights. Particularly hose. screen-printed tights. I’ve got about 6 pairs. But very few things to wear with them. The other day I realised what I really needed was a nice little jean skirt. The moss skirt from Grainline Studios seemed like the perfect pattern.

While I was trying to make room in my fabric stash for the fabric I purchased at the Knitting and Stitching show the other week, I found a denim I had bought several years ago and deemed that it is the exact perfect color for the skirt I had in mind. The pattern itself was really lovely and the instructions super easy to follow. I made a size 6 which seemed to match my body measurements. I however made some aesthetic changes and a few additions to make it more like a jean skirt:

  • Flat fell seams and dark blue top stitching thread
  • Rear pockets and belt loops (borrowed from the Ginger jeans pattern)
  • Top stitching around the waist band and slightly on the back of the skirt along the side seams to just below the pockets – secured with a bar tack
  •  Jeans button and rivets

All in all I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I struggled a little with the button hole because of the thickness. In the end (after unpicking the failed button hole three times!) I had to abandon the idea of a  vertical button hole in favor of a horizontal one. It is also a wee bit snug across my belly but not uncomfortably so.

Best of all it looks great with all my favorite tights. And seeing as the weather doesn’t seem to know whether it is coming or going, I suspect they’ll be in use for a few more months anyway!


12 Mar

The oak tree is my best friend and I’s favorite tree. She has an amazing tattoo of oak leaves winding up her leg and I dream of having an oak tree spread across my back (except I am much to much of a wuss). So when I saw this fabric available for presale on Bizzy&Boo’s etsy page I knew I had to get some. It is ‘Fallen Acorn’ in a dusky green, organic jersey knit and it is lush.

Because the print is so wonderful on its own, I wanted a simple pattern that would let the fabric do all the talking. In the end I settled on the Kirsten Kimono Tee from maria Denmark which I’ve made myself a few times.

At Christmas I gave my BFF an acorn in a little box with a coded message along the lines of ‘a hint of what’s to come’. Pretty mischievous right?  This is number 4 of my post-Christmas sewing presents. Well the fabric was delayed in getting here, which actually suited me well as I haven’t been doing much sewing. But when it did arrive I was able to quickly whip up the Maria Denmark’s Kirsten Kimono Tee.

I’ve made it for myself a few times now and love the simplicity of the design and the shape. And I think it really shows off the fabric well.  I opted to use a matching neck band; finished the seams with the overlock stitch, and used a twin needle on the sleeves and hem. PS did I mention she’s a shit hot scientist?

Fairfield Button-up Shirt

9 Mar

Second on my list of Christmas presents I’ve made for my nearest and dearest this year is the Fairfiled Button-up shirt from Thread Theory.  I’m a little behind  in getting these finished I must admit! One is for my father-in-law and the other is for my BFF’s boyfriend. fairfield-buttonup-illustrationsIt’s the first time I’ve used a Thread Theory pattern but I really liked the look of the design and the end results I’ve seen floating round the blogosphere. I decided to make version both versions: one with the back darts and one with the gathers.

Both men ended up choosing a interweave cotton chambray fabric from Dragonfly Fabrics. Plus BFF’s boy asked if there could be a splash of red on the inside, so I chose a cherry crimson chambray (from Minerva crafts) for the lining of the collar band and cuffs. The interweave is a little bit heavier than other chambray but I hope it will soften with wear and be quite nice.

In terms of the pattern: I love it. It has both a regular and a large fit, ie good for those supper skinny bean poles and for the more well endowed men. And it really is such a great design.The instructions were super clear and really well laid out.  I loved the ‘burrito’ technique for the shoulder seams which leaves no raw edges or stitching visible! It was the first time I’d ever come across this technique and by carefully following the instructions it came out excellently. I also really appreciated the clarity on how to do the sleeve placket. I’ve only tried this once before and really struggled  but this time my results are pretty smooth.

On my first version however (the one with the red facing) I  slightly f*cked up on the sleeve and side seams. Because I was running low on my matching thread I decided to just use French seams instead of flat fell seams. So without reading the instructions I jumped straight in and did them on a 5/8″ seam allowance. But when it came round for the second shirt I realized that oh no the seam allowance on the shirt back and sleeve back was just 1/4″ while on the front it was 5/8″ and that the seam allowance had already been offset. Which i think means that on the first version i did the back of the shirt and sleeves will be pulling tight. I hummed and hawed for a while on this and decided that as it was all finished and ready to be posted, I’d let him try it on first before unpicking the lot.  I did however get it right on the second version. And the detail of the stitching I am quite pleased with.

In summary: I love this pattern, the instructions are great and the design is lovely. It takes a while to cut out but it is definitely worth it!

Version 1 with back pleat:

Version 2 with back darts:



Fuel for my sewing mojo

3 Mar

IMG_20170227_161904_703.jpgI’ve been a little low on sewing mojo lately. After finished my friend’s fancy dress back in mid January I got started on a few projects (actually they were Christmas presents) but totally lost any interest in sewing. And so they have been languishing in the corner, making me feel guilty every time I see them.

I decided that I needed a little fuel for my sewing mojo and lo and behold: the Spring Knitting and Stitching show! Hurrah – perfect timing. So this afternoon with a tight budget and a detailed list to keep me on track, I set off. And let me tell you, I was very well behaved.

I got myself three denims, from left to right:

  • denim with colored motes 83% cotton/17%polyester to make Gainline’s maritime shorts;
  • unknown denim with estimated 2% stretch for a pair of Closetcase’s Ginger jeans AND the Gainline Morris skirt;
  • dark blue denim 50% cotton, 42% polyester and 3% elastane for another pair of Ginger jeans;
  • as well as some 100% cotton swiss knot for an unspecified top;
  • plus I got myself the Cleo dungaree dress pattern.


Now  I hope to polish of those garments languishing in the shadows so I can get on to my newer and exciting projects.


Blogger Recognition Award

28 Feb

Turns out last month the lovely Emma from Emma and her Machine nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award. And I have to say when I saw this last night I let out a small EEEKKKK.


See I first started this blog a few years ago when I was out of work and in a new country. I was sewing a lot at the time but didn’t know many people. I thought it would be a great way to organise my sewing thoughts and document my projects, reach out to people outside my little sewing corner and, well, occupy myself. I didn’t at the time realise how much I would come to love  it. Maybe one of the reasons it was so exciting to be nominated now is that I’m in a similar situation. Back in London, but again out of work. My sewing mojo has been on the ebb as I struggle with job applications. But I’m feeling the inspiration creeping back in. Like Emma I really love the online interaction and encouragement!

My advice to new bloggers is just get writing/photographing.  Don’t worry too much  about perfecting your posts: you’ll find your voice, your strengths and what you enjoy, as you go! And like Emma’s advice: interact with others – it’s the best part of blogging.

Some of my favorite blogs are (I know it’ suppose to be 15 but that seems like quite a long list):

If those I’ve named choose to participate, the rules for receiving this award are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.

Thanks again Emma!


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