#sewtogetherforsummer shirtdresses

This challenge caught my eye on Instagram. Easy to do, sew a shirtdress by 21st June, no requirements for specific patterns or colours.  Shirtdresses are one of my favourite styles of dress, and I only have one, which I love.

Favourite Dresses

Obviously I have a choice of patterns!


And fabrics!  Bought when I was into woven fabrics rather than knits as I am now. So if I could make eight shirt dresses, that would reduce my fabric collection. Seriously, I’m thinking of a polka dot navy one, which I could wear to work,  and then using the poppies fabric for a weekend shirt dress. I’d like to use the top right hand pattern, which is similar to my map dress. If I got those two done,  I’d like to try the McCalls pattern in denim or the navy and white floral.


#SWAP2017 March update

I have still been working away on this. BUT,  I am losing interest. The combination of some failures, and trying to stick to using my stash, means I’m not sure I like all the items.  My biggest issue, is that I don’t really like my bottom half, so I prefer to make and wear dresses, and the swap rules focuses on separates.

Anyway, where am I with #SWAP2017? Let’s start with my favourite items.

I love wearing this matching dress and jacket in a beautiful shade of teal, but the dress is starting to go bobbly already.


I like the unlined coat I made in February


And the navy ponte jacket and pink teeshirt, that I made in January.


So  it’s pushed me to think about versatile items, And I’ve made my first coat. But, some of the teeshirts I made, I’m not sure I’ll wear. I dislike the ponte trousers, which feel like clingy unflattering pyjama bottoms.

I’ll probably have enough to say I completed the swap , by the end of April. I’m not interested in posting my results anywhere official.  I’ll review everything in a months time.


Continue reading “#SWAP2017 March update”

February update

No fabric bought this month! Mind you, that would have been different if I’d gone to #sewdowndewsbury, but it was half term and I was away.

Successful sewing this month was about jackets. I completed my Italian tweed one. It’s ok, but… I think I should have lined the front with some sort of interlining to firm it up, I’m not sure I like the sleeves, I think the fabric was a bit chunky for the band at the bottom. I’ve worn it three times with with this  RTW dress, and am liking it more, the more I wear it.  Hopefully I  can squeeze a skirt out of the left over fabric.

I really like my second make of the month though, it’s an unlined coat. I had bought this fabric for a suit, from Fabworks last year, but it’s quite a heavy wool, and works better as a coat. I have hong konged all the seams,  look!


I’ve also top stitched the edges which makes them lie flatter.


I saw a girl in her twenties at York station in an RTW coat, which was virtually identical in style to this, so feel it’s quite on trend as a spring jacket. I used some Liberty tana lawn scraps as pocket lining.

So my fabric use this month is 10.5 metres, including lining and toiles. Yes I did toile both the above jackets, go me!  Oh yes I made another  tshirt,from left over jersey and the pattern used twice already.  Ive already managed to get a blob of glue on it, messy pup!


I did have a fail, this is my third attempt at sewing with stripes, they never match up, no matter how hard I try. Life is too short, to bother with stripes again!


So three successes and a fail for February!





Purchases and plans

I know I need to post my February makes, but haven’t taken any photos yet!

I have been spectacularly good on the fabric buying front so far. In 2017, my only fabric purchase has been this.



5 metres of a poly cotton suiting from the fabric godmother  my plans are a dress, jacket and skirt.

But time wise, this won’t happen until the autumn. Any fabric I buy tends to sit in my stash for a while. I wish I could make an item a day!  Anyway given it’s my birthday in march, I think there will be some more fabric buying, maybe ponte from Leeds market.

I also bought this book, for its simple and elegant designs. I might start with the tie neck blouse, I know it’s similar to my four lottie blouses, but I’d like something with long sleeves. I have got the sewover it pussy bow blouse pattern, but I think this is more casual, and less vintagey looking. I’ll be good again, and make a toile.



My planned march makes are two skirts from leftover fabric from my jackets, and a tie neck blouse.

I bought some wool, I love wearing the lime long cowl I knitted, more than anything else I’ve made, so I bought some hot pink malabrigo yarn to make another one.




January update

I’m pleased with my sewing achievements in January. I’ve made a dress, two tee-shirts, cut out another one,  sewn  two toiles for a jacket and completed half a jacket.  I’ve also  made a disappointing wadder!  so I’ve used about 12 metres of fabric (but bought 5). Let’s have a look then!


I was pleased with this, a dress that had to be black, purple, silver or white to fit in with a theme for a 50th party. This was  some purple velour fabric from fabric godmother. I found I did have to keep fiddling with the neckline to stop it moving about, so if I ever wear it again, I would sew it in place.

Two teeshirts  – both from the Santa Monica tee pattern from Textile studios. This is designed to go under suit jackets. I love this pattern, its definitely a TNT ! This fabric cost me £2  from a charity shop. I wasn’t sure of the fabric pattern it feels a bit 1980s with the strange shapes and mixture of colours but the jersey is lovely quality. Once I was wearing it, I really liked it though!  I’ve cut out a short sleeved teeshirt too, from more left over fabric!



This is one I made a couple of weeks ago out of some more left over ponte roma.



The toiles I made were for the Cynthia Rowley jacket to the right of this photo, Simplicity 1688. img_2634This is the second toile,  which I used to make the final pattern for my jacket. I needed to lengthen the body and increase the bicep width using  these guidelines   making your sleeves fit   I also deepened the armscythe


I’m using some cotton Italian tweed from the fabric godmother for the jacket (and hopefully I can squeeze a straight skirt out of the 2m too!), the navy dogtooth lining came from St Gemma’s vintage fair a couple of years ago, and cost me 50p! I’ve sewn the basic body and lining, not added all the bottom panels yet.


My wadder disappointingly was the Sew over it  Suzie blouse. I couldn’t get the neck to lie properly, I didn’t like the thickness of the facing,  I had to move the bust dart, the sleeves were a bit tight, and to cap it all, I did something I have never ever done before – I sewed one of the sleeves in upside down!  at that point, I decided it was time to give up. I think the pattern is my style, but the thing I’ve learnt this January is that I need to make a toile for anything new. I might return to the Suzie blouse, but not for a long time! so I need to think of something else for my Swap2017 tops.

I’ve sorted 27 patterns for the charity shop – definitely just keeping what I love and will use this year, as per the Kondo way.

But – I have bought fabric and a pattern – blame Camilla and her blog!  I really liked this jacket pattern


that she used, and it doesn’t look too difficult.  I would like to make up my vintage tweed, into the jacket the model on the pattern is wearing


rather than another Cynthia Rowley 1688  which was my original intention.

But feel I need to practice on something else first, so have bought 5 metres of  navy pinstripe stretch suiting cotton from the fabric godmother, to make view D. I’ ve got enough to make a skirt and dress too!  I had to get the pattern from ebay as its discontinued.

I’m hoping to finish the Cynthia  Rowley jacket in February and maybe make a skirt too, anything else would be a bonus!

SWAP 2017 update

Just an update on progress on the eleven items in different categories so far:

my premade item is a teal dress

my two early bird items are a teal jacket and a navy and white dress

My rtw item is probably going to be jeans

Over  the christmas holidays I’ve made another jacket in navy ponte, and some trousers in the same fabric. Here’s the jacket, but I’ll need to get a photo of me wearing the trousers. I’ve also cut out two tops, a pink ponte tee shirt using the Santa Monica tee pattern, designed to go under suits and a  Susie blouse in blue/white rayon.

So that’s eight items completed or in progress.  That’s 2 overs, 2 uppers, 2 rogues and 2 bottoms. I’ve used 5 patterns.

So I need 3 more items.

I’m planning another Susie blouse in the teal/blue/green Liberty tana lawn in the photo.  Also a navy wool skirt using simplicity 2451.

I’m not sure about my final item, a pink ponte jacket would be the easy option. But I like the idea of an unlined navy and white coat using simplicity 8265.

Or Cynthia Rowley pattern 1688 jacket in blue/pink tweed and I would love to squeeze a pencil skirt out of this too.

Anyway, if I get to 10 items, that’s great. I’m sure the decision will become clear!

Sewing plans for 2017


So what are my ideas and plans? How will I use all those patterns and fabric I’ve bought?  I’m not going to  do #makenine2017, as I  don’t want to set myself up to fail.

My main aims are:

To finish SWAP2017, and will put on regular updates here.

I seem to  have some special occasion fabric which is all dark blue, that I want to sew, mostly towards the end of the year. These include a sew over it poppy jumpsuit  in some navy satin backed crepe from Calico  Laine. An Elisalex dress in a black/navy  satin fabric from Guthrie and Ghani. Is this a good idea? Who knows, I am hoping to end up with an elegant cocktail dress, but will I ever wear it? And a  scout grainline in navy sequinned fabric from Guthrie and Ghani.


But the first thing I need to tackle is a 50th party with very specific dress requirements in purple, black or silver and it has to be long! I have ordered some crushed damson velour from the fabric godmother and am going to make simplicity 8045 a simplicity mimi style pattern.



I hope it works! I’m not sure what to do if it doesn’t! I’ve got some other purple jersey, but not enough to make something long.

So that’s all the party wear plans, for my non existent glamorous life style. I hope the play suit and sequin top will get some wear at least.

I’d like to focus on shirt dresses this year, I have 3 patterns which are contenders for casual summer dresses to use up my bright patterned cottons.

1. the Maria Denmark Edith pattern                                                                                                 2. vogue 8970, which looks really frumpy in the long length, but the one with collar and short sleeves looks like my map dress, so I think is good style for me.
3. McCalls m6885, and I’ve got some navy and white flowered and some denim that would look good in this.

I would like to make at least two of the named pilvi coat dress, as I think this a really good style for me. I’ve got navy and coral ponte that would be good for this, and a good style for work too.

I bought the Pauline Alice Aldaia pattern, for its versatility and would like at least three of these.Apparently there are 27 variations!

So thats enough to be going on with, I’m sure I’ll change my mind a few times.