Adrianna Dress


Firstly, hello again after a long pause of no blogging. For no particular reason other than a busy life that has to encompass a great deal more than just sewing. However, there is time to do this, and I enjoy documenting how things come together and reminding myself how satisfying my makes are. To take stock instead of diving into the next project is how I should be working. So I must make more time to write. It does prove most tricky to get decent pictures though. I have discovered that in the afternoon, which is usually when I’m ready to takes some snaps, the sun creates glare and shadows on my only blank wall in the house that lends itself to photography. I need to remember this and snap in the morning.

When I saw this dress pattern from The Friday Pattern Company I had a sharp intake of breath. A lot has to do with the brilliant fabric choice that lends itself to showing off this simple clever design.

I didn’t have immediate plans to make it but was certainly tempted. Then one afternoon I was musing over my fabric stash trying to decide what to sew with what fabric. One of my plans for this year is to seriously reduce the amount of fabric I have hanging around.  Anyway I came across a recently gifted piece of viscose crepe with embossed birds. A massive light bulb popped above my head and before I could say “stash buster” I’d ordered the pdf and got it all cut out!

To my delight, I just had enough fabric! This makes me very happy. The pattern called for a bit more, but I did squeeze this size L dress out of just 1.8 metres. Very satisfying.

I have previously made the Adrienne Blouse from The Friday Pattern Company. This is a similar, knit t shirt version of this pattern, but I decided not to try and adapt that. Good call, as the construction with the facing over the shoulder seam is very neat and clever, something I would not have come up.

The make up was not all plain sailing  The elastic on the shoulders was far too short for me. The measurements for lengths of elastic are given on the pattern as a guide, but of course will depend on the elasticity of your elastic. I did think mine was a bit tight, and then when inserted it I had my shoulders up round my ears! I had tacked the sleeve in place with this problem in mind, so it wasn’t too much hassle to take apart and re-insert longer lengths of elastic.


I love the way this dress looks on the inside. So much so, I have added the picture below to show you how neat it ends up. When you insert the sleeves the front and back facings are also incorporated and then these cover the seams. Neat!

This is the dress inside out.

When it came to the hem, I wasn’t sure that a turned up machine sewn hem was going to work on this fabric. My unfinished hem was wonky, meaning I had to lop some off to even it up. This in mind I didn’t want to do a hand sewn hem either. I think hand sewn hems look good when they are deep, but I didn’t want this dress any shorter. So I got my overlocker into a 2 thread rolled hem mode and whizzed round. Very quick, neat, and I think it suits this fabric. Also it meant that I needn’t show any more leg than I wanted to!


I made no alterations to this size L version apart from the fore mentioned shoulder elastic.

Many thanks to sewing buddy Hannah who gifted this fabric. I am so pleased I was able to use every last drop and I love the results.


Bye for now. Thanks so much for reading.


Underwood Tank Dress

What  inspirational artwork for this pattern cover from Sewhouse 7. Could be a cool band album cover. I had to have a go at my own version! Ha Ha poor teddy!


I wouldn’t have chosen this pattern if it hadn’t been for a friend.  It wasn’t on my radar. Why not!? It is fantastic. I’m just annoyed that I haven’t had it in my suitcase for every single holiday I’ve been on! It will be great for packing rolled up, and then used for the beach, site-seeing or anything, then easily ramped up for evening with a long drapey necklace or funky earrings.

To begin with I made it from an unknown lightweight jersey (probably viscose).



There are lots of hints and useful tips included in the instructions of this pattern. It gives two options to finish the neckline and armholes. For this version, I did the turning under method, after using a bias forming tape to stabilise. However, when I tried it on the armholes were too tight and the neckline seemed higher than on the pattern photos. I later found out that this it due to the fabric I used being no where near as stretchy and springy as the bamboo jersey that the pattern is based around.

So I unpicked and and then cut away a couple of cm from armholes and finished them by turning under, but decided to ditch the seam tape here. I left the neck line alone as perfectly acceptable. Now writing this, I am criticising myself for unpicking. Could have just cut away! DOH!!!

When my jersey bamboo arrived from Raystitch I realised how different the fabric is to the viscose I had used. So springy and elastic! Very soft with a lovely matt appearance. I did add length to the shoulder straps to try and rectify the afore-mentioned fit issue, but because of the increased give, the issue didn’t exist and so I reverted to original pattern. You live and learn!


Due the luxurious fabric I decided to try the binding method for the finishing this time. I am very pleased with the result. Feels proper, but visibly no different.

I ordered the prescribed 2.5 meters of fabric for my size, and used just about all of that for the patterned version, but managed to squeeze it out of 1.5 for the plain bamboo one. The dress is basically a triangle, so I inverted the pattern pieces on the the same width of fabric moving my fold accordingly, if that makes any sense. Difficult to explain. Should have taken photos.



To sum up. Bamboo Jersey gets my vote for this super versatile dress that is such a wardrobe staple. It would have been easily overlooked. I am guilty of making treasures that are occasionally worn. I need to make more items like this that are true to my style.


Roscoe Dress

I have difficulty saying the name of this Pattern with out adding “P Coltrane” said in the voice of the mad Sheriff from the ridiculous Dukes of Hazard series from way back when. His name was Rosco P. Coltrane!

My dress was at one point almost as ridiculous, as originally I planned it to be a maxi, but to be honest I looked as if I was wearing a nightie. Unfortunately in my haste to get it right I didn’t take a picture prior to it’s conversion. I am so much happier with it now. I  think I’ll get so much more wear. I can wear it in the winter with tights and the summer, as I have already done.

My inspiration was from Jo Whiley’s amazing dress that she wore at Glastonbury this year. I asked Kate from The Fold Line if she could find a pattern that I use to recreate it, and meanwhile looked myself. We both came up with the same idea. The Roscoe Blouse /  Dress from True Bias. A 70’s inspired relaxed kaftan looking frock that could easily be extended. Only I extended the dress and not the bottom ruffle, which had the night dress effect.

The fabric was from my stash and bought in a sale from Sew Over It a couple of years ago. It’s a very drapey, decent weight, quality viscose that does not crease much and it’s super soft. I have been dying to use it but never seemed to find the right pattern until now. I was under the assumption that it needed to be something without too many joins to avoid breaking up the pattern. After making this, I’m not sure that would have mattered as much as I’d imagined. I found it difficult to identify seams even though I made no attempt to match them.


I pondered for some time over what size to make. I know it’s a voluminous style, but I did size down. I am very happy I did as there is still plenty of room and it still floats and moves beautifully. I am a regular size 12 in most RTW clothes and I made the size 4 in this pattern. The version I have ended up with is the mini dress, but I added a few cm to the length of the skirt before adding the frill. I also took off a bit from the sleeve length,(slightly too much) they do ride up past my elbow and get stuck after a stretching movement. Some people have opted to put elastic in the cuff, but I chose to stick with the prescribed binding.

Lou from Closet Case Patterns has made a great version of this and inspired me to add tassels to the end of the neck ties. I did think I would use cord instead of the fabric ties but it didn’t look right. I bought the tassels attached to the cord from ebay and then ended up tugging off the tassels and pushing through my fabric ties instead. I was just lucky that the tassels are the right size as I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting.

I am a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to use less fabric. I’m sure I have been wasteful making it long and then converting to short. I now have a piece left that is probably not much use, but I am hoping I can combine with some lightweight denim chambray to make some kind of top. I still really want to be a bit more Jo Whiley and so next I’d like to use another dreamy drapey fabric and add a large ruffle to make a maxi version. I think the fabric needs to even draper than a viscose. A cotton voile or a Georgette. I will also make the sleeve a wee bit longer. Can’t wait!


Zadie Jumpsuit.



The Zadie jumpsuit from Paper Theory Patterns was not on the agenda for #memademay! For the first half of the month I stuck to my pledge of a more slow examination of my wardrobe and some long awaited adjustments. Even a couple of up-cycled refashions. Then one evening I was on instagram and had an overwhelming need to make something new! We had booked an overnight stay with dinner in a very nice Cornish hotel and I really wanted to have something I felt comfortable and cool in. I fancied a block colour linen dress and was very tempted by the Sew to Grow Charlianne Wrap Dress

CharliAnne Wrap Dress

I had some black linen blend fabric in my stash but unfortunately not enough. So then I got thinking about jumpsuits, and since I get on well with the seamwork fit I was also tempted by the Sky Jumpsuit. After lots of instagram investigation and I plumped for the Zadie. The wrap over front looked stylish, easy, and practical.



I think it can be worn dead casual, to a gorgeous wedding outfit and anything in between.  All this brain frenzy took place one evening, resulting in a sleepless night. I really struggle to switch off sewing thoughts at night, especially when planning a new garment. Does anyone else suffer with SRI? Aka sewing related insomnia!

Zadie Jumpsuit PDF Pattern

So, the next morning, my day off, I bought the pdf pattern, printed it and out stuck it together with masking tape. I’m usually a pritt sticker, but had run out. Then I needed to choose a size. In a ready to wear garment I am pretty much always a standard size 12 top and bottom. On the Zadie size chart I was also closest to their size 12. However looking at finished measurements there is a generous amount of ease in this jumpsuit as you’d expect from its relaxed style.Zadie Jumpsuit PDF Pattern

I really didn’t want too baggy, so decided to cut right between a 10 and 12. So, already to cut into that black linen, and then realise that its in fact quite narrow and there is no way it’s going to work.  So a trip to the fabric shop is now a necessity! I am so lucky to have  a very large fabric centre very close, so off I trot, (literally) it’s an eight minute walk. (I know very dangerous!!!) I have had to use extreme will power not to go too often! I find their linen section and have a good rummage through, holding different rolls up in front of the mirror. They did have black but now faced with an array of colour I found myself drawn to the red. Partly because of the just right shade of red and partly for its crispness. Some linens were more of the floppity kind and on this occasion that wasn’t what I wanted. I liked the crispness and slight sheen of the mustard one on the pattern cover.


Back home I put it straight in the washing machine on a 40 degree super quick wash and got it out on the line to dry. During this time and did all other chores for the day, including eating lunch (not a chore), so I could crack on and dedicate the rest of the day to the project.


The instructions are excellent, so I had no issues with the construction. I was a little confused what exactly was going to happen on the neck line, as I had read some had swapped binding for facing. Then I noted that the binding is fixed so that it is visible, not turned in as I originally had assumed. Therefore, I felt that despite my fairly bulky fabric that it would work well. I did have concerns that I wouldn’t be neat enough, but I took it very slowly, and did not use the method given in the instructions. I sewed the binding right sides together with the front openings and then after pressing turned it in and top stitched from the right side catching the binding inside. Lauren Guthrie has a great clear couple of YouTube videos that I referred to first. I slowed my machine right down to do this. The result looks crisp and with the top stitching I managed a really good neat finish. So I also decided to give the same treatment to the arm holes since I made the sleeveless version. 


I used my overlocker to finish all the seam allowances and actually my linen didn’t fray much at all. The fabric was lovely to work with, a good stable woven.


So the fit… Well I did have a baggy bottom! Also a very low crotch seam. I probably could have got a way with leaving it but it was simple enough to just take in the entire back crotch seam all the way up and including an inch out of the waist seam making a small pleat that I don’t think looks out of place since there is one either side anyway.


Because of these adjustments, when I make my next I may well make a 10 on top and grade down to an 8 on the hips. I am already thinking about another, but what fabric???


Shirring Elastic Gathering Tutorial.

I used this method when making my Deer and Doe Myosotis Dress which has gathering on the sleeves, waist and a ruffled tier at the hem. It was very successful, even for the 2.6 metre hem ruffle. No gathering in stages, pulling (breaking) threads or having to distribute the fabric. It produced really tight even gathers with no hassle!


The method uses two rows of gathered stitches using shirring elastic in the bobbin. I had previously used the Stitch Sisters Youtube tutorial on How To Use Shirring Elastic.


You will need to use ordinary thread in the top spool and shirring elastic in the bobbin. It is easier to remove at the end if you use a contrasting colour, but not essential. Increase the stitch length to at least 4mm.



Firstly, take note of the seam allowance for joining your gathered and non gathered pieces. You then need to stitch, using the shirring elastic approximately 0.5cm either side of this measurement.



My seam allowance to was 1.5cm, so the first row I stitched with a 1cm seam allowance and the second a 2cm seam allowance.  During the second line of stitching you will need to gently pull out the existing gathers in order to sew over flat fabric.


Then anchor the ruffled piece to the plain piece with pins, starting at the side seams and centres.


Then just stretch and pin until the gathered piece fits with the non gathered piece.


The gathers loosen but in a very even fashion. Now its time to join with stitching, so change the bobbin thread from elastic to matching thread, along with top spool if that is contrasting. (I forgot to do this and sewed up with elastic the first, time!) Also reduce the stitch length. 



Now you need to sew between the lines of elastic stitches you have just made, at your given seam allowance. This is where the gathers are neat and tight.


Then check your work. It may appear a little over gathered until you remove the elastic stitching. So, if you are happy, do this. Pull the elastic out, (in one go if you are lucky) then the thread will be released and easily cleared away. All that remains is to finish and press seam allowances.


I hope you find this as useful as I did. I really struggle with pulling threads and evenly distributing the gathers. This seems so easy in comparison and gives superb results.


Oh My! Myosotis Dress.

Ruffles galore and a heavy, drapey  viscose crepe. My  Deer and Doe Myosostis Dress is a success and I love it!


Not usually a shape I would go for, but so glad I made this dress. I have had this fabric for sometime and have seen it on several online shops. It’s a Lady McElroy, quite weighty and lends itself well to the look I was hoping for. I was inspired by Karen who has the blog  Did You Make That. She has made a few, and suggested drapey fabric. Others I have seen made from cotton have a more structured puffed out appearance.  I wanted a more relaxed boho. vibe. It think it will be a great cross seasonal piece as it looks good with tights and bare legs.



I really enjoyed the construction. It’s been a while since I made a woven dress and this was much easier and quicker than I anticipated. I made view A with all the ruffles!



I did lengthen the sleeves a few inches and unnecessary did a broad back adjustment. To be honest, I probably could have gone down a size, but I’m happy enough with the over all fit.  I went with a longer length, but will be happy to try another shorter version. My button holes were  a nightmare! I later discovered a piece of fluff in my bobbin compartment that I think was causing all sorts of tension issues. Also may have added to my buttonhole problems. It’s always something very simple when there is a tension problem, but  always takes an age to find!

All those ruffles were not a chore though. I  discovered a fab method for gathering the fabric that doesn’t involve pulling threads and spreading the gathers evenly. It came to me when using shirring elastic to repair a dress that I had bought in a charity shop last summer. I have a tutorial to share. It’s so simple and produces such great results.

Look how even those gathers are!


Southbank Sweater Dress


My latest sewing has been to use some black flocked leopard jersey fabric from Sewalicious. I had seen it on their Instagram post and had to have some! I ordered the fabric with a Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt in mind, but somehow it didn’t seem to lend itself. The fabric is a good weight, but not much drape, probably due to the flock that stabilises it. Also it really doesn’t stretch too much. I didn’t do stretch test, but it felt tight. So instead of a tried and tested Linden I went with a Nina Lee Southbank Sweater dress that I had no experience with at all!

I had a meter and half of fabric, so ditched the pockets, but then made a boo boo by cutting the bands on the fold (to save time!). However, I didn’t pay attention to what was going on with the under layer and discovered a large chunk missing. Whoops! I had no fabric left along the correct grain so used the only piece large enough (retrieved from the bin) and cut it along the grain.


It sewed up in the usual manner of a jersey top/dress and I mainly used my overlocker to do this. Recently I have had trouble getting a few layers, especially over seam junctions through the overlocker so opted to sew all the bands on with my standard machine and then neaten but not necessarily cut with my overlocker.

I did have doubts that the dress was big enough due to the lack of stretch and never having tried the pattern before, but once the bottom band was on it transformed into a lovely LBD.



Then I discovered my second boo boo! I had sewed the neck band on with seam at the front! Yep, looking directly at me in the mirror! Working with black in the evening has it’s perils, and I didn’t pay enough attention to what was back and front when I pinned it. I had no fabric left to put it right and having sewn it on with my lightening stretch stitch there was no way of getting it off anyway. I will only be wearing it at night and due to the print it really isn’t noticeable. You certainly won’t spot it on my picture. Sorry the quality is not great, but that has it’s advantages when there are minor flaws!


Flared Jeans.


These jeans have a back story!

Quite some time ago (maybe 2006) I had a pair of flared denim stretch jeans from Topshop and I loved them. They were sooo comfortable as they had a high waist and fitted very well. They looked good so why did I ever rid?! I imagine I looked a lot like Kate Moss in hers!

Image result for 2006 topshop flared jeans

With the recent trend towards the 70s I have wanted those jeans back and I haven’t found a replacement in any shops, so I decided to make my own. I started making a toile with some leftover denim, so I just made shorts.

I used the Seamwork Tessa jeans pattern as a basis for my new jeans they as they have a high waist to my amazement the fit was pretty much perfect with no adjustments.

So, I then went on to cut out my full length pair in a dark grey corduroy that was actually ear marked for a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Pinafore, but I just couldn’t wait to get cracking and hadn’t seen the right denim. I only had 1.2m, so no back pockets and no margin for mistakes!

The Tessa jeans are not flared so I needed a guide to get that aspect sorted. For this I  merged on the legs from McCalls M747. I did toy with the idea of using this pattern entirely, but there are darts rather than a back yoke.

I didn’t want classic jeans pockets, so instead used the Rosari Skirt pattern square pockets by Pauline Alice. These were easy to stitch on and my top stitching just about passed!

I did have some problems with the fly zip fitting. In my toile I totally messed up, despite clear instructions by  Heather Lou from Closet Case Patterns on her great tutorial. It was great to make the mistakes then, as it meant the real thing went very smoothly in comparison! It wasn’t until I got to the waist band top stitching that I really struggled. My machine just kept jumping stitches and I had to stop and start multiple times and fill in gaps. I think I needed to pay more attention to grading my seams within the waistband to reduce bulk. Maybe a bigger needle would have helped too. I was using a size 100.

With all these problems I was really not holing out much hope for a half decent button-hole. I tried a couple of tests with similar bulk and it was infuriatingly useless. Damn and Blast were not the words I used when I continually tried testers and unpicked 3 attempts on the jeans themselves! I finally went with another Closet Case Patterns method to sew a manual buttonhole with a zig zag stitch. Successful enough.


So, I am very pleased with these jeans. I did need to tweak the flare shape a bit in the end and have no record of what I did there so will be in the same boat when I come to my next pair. I guess these are my very wearable full toile. If I make again in a stretch denim I am guessing they may need to be a bit smaller? Maybe I’ll stick with non stretch!

In the pictures I am wearing these jeans with my Adrienne Blouse from The Friday Pattern Company. Until now I haven’t known what to wear it with. I do now. Win win!

These were a very economical make. As I had credits from my Seamwork subscription to download the Tessa Jeans patterns. The Mccalls was a freebie with a sewing mag back along and I have previously made the Rosari skirt. Corduroy was from my stash. Really I didn’t need another pinafore right now.





Hi and welcome to my blog that has been a long time in the making! It wasn’t lack of content, but knowledge of how to set this whole thing in motion! Who knew blogging is so tricky? So, if you are reading this it’s nothing short of a miracle!

I am intending to write mainly about sewing projects, but may slip in a few other makes. I am currently knitting and have recently made macramé wall hangings and plant hangers.

I am primarily the mother of two teenage boys, and live with them, and my other half in Devon UK. I work three days a week as a specialist nurse, and the rest of the time try to cram in as much sewing and making as I can. My brain is constantly aching with the need to get things cut out and there is a continuous queue of makes. My inspiration comes mainly from the online sewing community I found on Instagram.

I have always sewn. With my mum as a child, we would make dolls clothes, she also taught me to knit, crochet, and cook. In the past 10 years or so, since going part time at work, I guess my production in all things handmade has increased. I really love the feeling I get when I’ve created something from scratch. I have often felt a little embarrassed about my handmade life. Many people cannot see the point, and I do think there is still an old fashioned “spinster type” label that goes along with sewing to those who “just don’t get it.” However, many people are very impressed and I’m hoping by sharing my makes here I can give inspiration and connect with like minded people. It may help me not to feel apologetic for my fabulous hobby!