Aims for 2018 and a blogging break

No resolutions, but I’m going to focus on the number 18 this year for obvious reasons. Over the last couple of years I have bought lots of fabric, clothes, shoes and bags.  This year I want to enjoy and use what I have. So my goal is to sew at least 18 items of clothing from my existing fabric collection.  I can’t achieve buying nothing so   I want to buy 18 or less items of clothing, shoes, bags or fabric.  I’ll exclude spending with birthday and Christmas money, and buying lingerie, socks and pyjamas.

My cuurent fabric collection according to Cora is 90 metres.

I could do with buying no patterns, but maybe I should say no more than 18 patterns, sewing magazines or books.

Ive enjoyed #memademay, #bpsewvember, the #sewing togetherforsummer shirt dress  challenges.  Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time and energy for #thelittlereddress this year.  The #sipandsewwas a worthy cause but stressful  as it took me three attempts. This year I’d like to do the shirt dress and red dress challenge, I’ve already got ideas and fabric!

I want to make the  two Named Pilvi dresses that I never got round to making last year. Other ideas for using my fabric collection include  grainline archers with these fabrics  . So I’ll be a perfect shirt maker after that!

An oraguse Amsterdam blazer in navy and black taffeta


The Helsinki oraguse top in this coral white and grey stretch fabric.


The papercut  coppelia wrap top in liberty black and floral jersey.


That will do to start with!  I’m sure I’ll change my mind along the way.

I’m  giving up blogging for a while, and will document my makes using a notebook or Instagram. Bye for now!


October and November makes

By the end of October the only thing I’d finished was this pink bag from some leftover fabric,  although lovely not worthy of its own blog post.


I succumbed to the Ogden cami pattern and used it to make a pyjama top and one to match my sip and sew kimono.



I also made the grey velvet skirt and a matching scarf, from a metre of ready pleated velvet from fabric godmother.


A navy sequin Poppy  top, the top half of the Sew Over It poppy playsuit.

2 Santa Monica tees

So I’ve used 10 metres. But I bought  20 metres! Mostly cause I was a bit fed up and had had a glass or two of wine, ordered five fabrics, then to the knitting and stitching show….. and bought four fabrics, a pattern and some vintage Scandinavian buttons.








#Sipandsew Kimono

The  #sipandsew Eve appeal where you sew  something using  one of a selection of McCalls patterns is such a good cause, I definitely wanted to join in.  But it took me three attempts with different patterns before I was happy.

A lot of people have used this V8997 pattern, I spent a lot of time making a muslin and altering seams on the bodice. When I added sleeeves, it just pulled and didn’t fit properly.


The second one using the Tom and Linda Platt pattern was shapeless, but I did use a scuba fabric and didn’t cut it on the bias which didn’t help. Also my taste in fabric has toned down recently, and this was just too bold for me.


So third time lucky!

I have started going for cocktails every so often. It’s usually really informal, I walk to the cocktail bar , often  a precursor to cinema, comedy club or meal. So I made something that can be dressed up or down. A kimono  from the  Zandra Rhodes pattern  V1505. I used view A  here with a bit of a high low hem, but not majorly so. I used a soft viscose Liberty jersey I bought from Guthrie and Ghani at least 18 months ago.  Using jersey meant you have to take account of the stretchiness, so  I used a soft stretchy interfacing for the cuffs and neck band, and let it hang overnight before hemming it.  I know there are loads of kimono patterns out there, but the dramatic hemline on both options makes this stand out. I’d like to make this in a soft floaty georgette next time.



It’s great with an RTW jumpsuit or jeans and an  Ogden cami made from scraps.



A fake cocktail, tap water and frozen raspberries for the photos, but I’ll definitely be drinking the real thing soon!

So I’m happy with this make,  I’ll wear this more than a dress.  I really need to make sure I think about wearability when I’m assessing what patterns to make? Looking  forward to the afternoon tea party at  the Northern Knitting and Stitching Show at the end of November, where hopefully I’ll get to see lots of other cocktail creations!


Completed items · Purchases · sewing · Wardrobe

September makes and purchases


I’m really pleased with my September makes.

I made a dress for my neighbours wedding, using this pattern and lovely drapery viscose from Guthrie and Ghani.

I was good and made a toile. The darts are really unusual as you can see in the toile.


It also gaped, so I pinched out two inches from the neckline.  I also decided to keep the skirt front flat, rather than draped. I added flutter sleeves from the  prima pattern, I’ve not made any of the tops yet but have used the sleeves twice this month to hack patterns.  I used orange bias binding rather than making facings, which I definitely prefer.

I don’t think black is a flattering colour for me, and if I was going to be really critical, I think the sleeves should be an inch longer.  But I loved wearing the dress, it was a perfect ‘wedding guest’ dress, and the black background stopped it being too summery.  I know I’ve changed the pattern quite a bit, it’s very similar to the sewoverit Eve dress now. It’s my first proper wrap dress, as all my others are mock ones, it was fine though, as the wrap part is big enough not to lead to any flashing of next weeks washing as my mum would say!

The wedding was in North Yorkshire, and the temperature was decidedly on the cool side.  I wasn’t sure what to wear as a cover up, and started looking at pasminas, but my coral coatigan matched the orange middles of the hydrangea perfectly!  So although the dress fabric was a case of “beautiful fabric I must have” without really thinking about if it suited me or went with anything in my wardrobe, it actually worked with something I’ve made this year!

This dress was my attempt to have some thing that reflected current fashion in my wardrobe. I think it’s worked, it’s a great colour and a comfortable weekend dress. Apart from the fact I’m a lot shorter and wider than the model from the Finery website! I used McCalls M6886 for the dress, and the prima pattern above for the sleeves.


Here is my third sewhouse seven toaster top. It’s my favourite one, the fabric is beautiful faux suede from the fabric godmother.


I also made some pyjama bottoms using the TATB Margot pattern that I’ve used before.


I think I’ve got enough to make a top to go with them, but it will be next month now. Might even get a photo!

My purchases this month were the faux suede and some turquoise jersey from Fabrics Galore  that I couldn’t resist.


So I’ve bought five metres this month and used eleven.  So it’s going in the right direction, and the best thing is that I’ve made clothes I like and will wear.

sewing · Sewing plans

Summer sewing and purchases

Do you remember the recent blog post with my plans for the rest of 2017? Have I stuck to it? Of course not! I blame #sewupnorth. I got this  New Look pattern in the fabric and pattern swap, and despite planning a week in Wales this year and not a Caribbean cruise, I made the dress. I love the  fabric, but it’s so bright I’m only going to wear it on holiday or on a really hot day.


I’m so pleased with my zip insertion. I’ve never managed a successful concealed zip before. The lovely Amanda  included her technique in a vlog post which I used, and it’s brilliant – look at it!


So so the next thing I made, again more suited to a cruise, was this Polly  Margot  mashup jumpsuit.



I printed out the Polly playsuit PDF,  the top and bottom are two separate pieces. The trouser shape was very different to the Margot pyjamas, which I knew fitted successfully, so I decided to use the Margot pyjamas for the bottom half.  I made a toile of the top, and ended up lengthening it by 2 inches.

I put a handpicked zip in the back, as found it was a bit difficult to get on and off with the opening  suggested.

Part of me thinks  I should have kept them as separate pieces, but I’ll see how much I wear this. I posed the question on Instagram, the consensus was wear it, and maybe split into two pieces when no one is wearing jumpsuits anymore.

I also made some bags this month, using fabric and pleather from the fabric godmother.  The fabric was black coated with silver lurex. It looked great, but the silver is coming off.  The pleather was lovely quality, but too stretchy and soft, when hemming or trying to make straps the fabric twisted. Out of three bags only one was really successful, which is the gold one.   I used stiff interfacing behind the lininng, and used the back of the silver coated lurex as handles.  The black and silver ones have gone in the charity bag, but I’ve used the gold one quite a bit this summer. The tutorial I used is here



I made a navy toaster sweater, but the fleecy backed sweatshirting didn’t have enough stretch so feels constrictive and is a bit heavy really. So I made another one in the navy and white ponte I bought on the #sewupnorth day. I combined the two versions of the pattern, and like this a lot!




I also made another Santa Monica tee shirt,  but am not sure about it either. The colours aren’t good for me,  I look drained and tired here, and its a really bad hair day! I’ve worn it again since, and looked exactly the same, drained and tired, so off to the charity shop this goes!


I got sucked in by Instagram into buying this lemons fabric from pigeon wishes on Etsy, it will  probably be made into a spring or summer dress next year. I also bought 8 metres of lining fabric, navy with tiny polka dots but I don’t mind that, and it doesn’t count in my fabric collection.



So ive used  10 metres of fabric this month, and bought 2.5 (excluding the lining!) which is pretty good for me, I might finally be getting into using my stash!



Sewing plans · Wardrobe

Autumn plans and updating my wardrobe


I wore an RTW dress and a pair of high heeled black court shoes today, and felt  a bit frumpy! How can I update my wardrobe this autumn  using what I’ve already got in my fabric and pattern collection?

Look at some clothes on the Finery website, the ones I like look quite simple to make.  I like this top, I haven’t got any pink fabric but I’m sure I could modify the toaster sweater pattern to get a similar look, by combining the two pattern variations.


I bought an old prima pattern from a charity shop for 10p which I could use for this blue dress. I’ve got some purple wool jersey that should look good in this pattern.


A mashup of a couple of patterns I have could lead to this dress


The Bella dress pattern could be used as a basis for this dress, don’t think I could manage that lovely curved zip though!

I’ve got some blue and teal ponte Roma that could used for these two dresses.

I could probably hack this McCalls  shirt dress pattern, to get a similar look to this Cos dress.


So my plans might be changing again! But that’s part of the fun of sewing, you can keep changing your mind until you cut into the fabric!

Sewing plans · Wardrobe

More wardrobe planning


I spend lots of time planning my wardrobe in my head and then changing my mind! I definitely don’t have the perfect wardrobe that covers all eventualities but maybe I will one day.  The  categories that I think I need to cover are:

Work  clothes
Being at home and relaxing clothes
Out with friends and family
Occasion wear : weddings, graduations, interviews, funerals, posh party
Physical activity wear
Hot holiday wear

That should cover 99% of my life. Obviously clothes can overlap between the categories.

If I started from scratch my basic ideal wardrobe would be:


Suit combos i.e. 3 jackets, 3 pairs trousers,  3 skirts
Dresses 6 all weather  dresses one of which is suitable for funerals or interviews
2 summer  dresses
2 winter dresses
10 tops
3 cardigans
Smart coat
3 pairs of court shoes, 1 pair short boots
3 work bags navy, black and other

2 pairs jeans

2 jersey skirts
4 tee shirts short sleeved
4 tops long sleeved
2 jumpers
2 long cardigans
2 short cardigans
2 casual dresses Summer
2 casual dresses winter
Flat boots
3 pairs flatties

3 pairs of sandals
Casual coat
Warm Jacket
Selection of bags casual and funky


6  pyjama bottoms  – 3 winter 3 summer
6 tee shirts/ pyjama tops
Summer dressing gown
Winter dressing gown

Going out 
Palazzo pants and/culottes
3 funky tops
Formal – one long dress, one short dress

1 or 2 smart dresses
Clutch bag

Weather specific 
Waterproof jacket
Walking boots
2 summer very hot weather maxi dresses

1 pair shorts
1 fleece

4 pairs leggings long and three quarter length
Cycling shorts
4 teeshirts
Cycling top
Cycling jacket
Cycling shoes

I don’t want to make everything I need, I haven’t got the time or the desire to do so. I will probably focus on making dresses, and would love a couple of jackets that look professional.  I’ve been rereading Kate Davies blog Fabrikated and realise (again) that I don’t spend enough time thinking about fit and wearability. I get drawn in by FOMO of seeing fabric and patterns on blogs and websites.  It’s ok up to a point, sewing is my hobby after all, but I’ve got a wardrobe which doesn’t have enough of the basics,  and too many dresses that  I’ll probably only ever wear once or twice.

sewing · Wardrobe

Vintage scuba dressing gown

Despite owning at least thirty vintage patterns, I’ve never made any of them! Until now. This one features in my list of  vintage patterns I really want to make.


I bought this blush pink scuba with a large floral design, because I thought it would make a great dress. But, the floral pattern is so big, I feel the dress would wear me rather than the other way round.  I’m also in need of a summer dressing gown.  This vintage pattern came from a local charity shop, and cost less than a pound. It’s from the 1970s and still widely available on Etsy.

The pattern had already been cut out, so I just used it, as I’m not that bothered about keeping it for posterity.   The scuba  from FCfabricstudio  sewed up with no problems. Although the seams don’t need finishing, to make neater insides I used stitch H on my janome.  I think it looks a bit like overlocking. I regularly contemplate getting an overlocker , but  I just don’t think I could be bothered with the re threading of four reels of thread every time!

I also used some lace I bought three years ago at the Rose and Brown vintage fair in Saltaire, to finish the hems.  So a bit more stash busting!

So my winter dressing gown is waiting to go into the loft with my other winter clothes, and I’m lounging on the sofa watching Danish drama, in my oriental kimono!  As a dressing gown, it will get loads more wear than if I’d made a dress.  So finally I got some photos taken.



Here’s me on my birthday wearing my dressing gown with a glass of fizz for breakfast !


So yes, I love it and use it most days.


#Sewupnorth and June purchases

I had an absolutely fabulous day at #sewupnorth! When you live in a house full of males, there is something really lovely about shopping for fabric and chilling with other dressmakers.  The day was wonderfully organised by  Rebecca   and  Sally  who worked incredibly hard to give us all a day to enjoy and raised over £700 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance !

Just to reflect on the whole day, it was just such an uplifting experience. Just seeing women of all shapes, sizes and heights, all looking unique and individual in our handmade clothing, was so brilliant!  I wore one of my favourite dresses.



We started in Costa, in our own private area,  and received a goody bag each containing discount vouchers, badges, sweets and a pattern. We had about an hour to meet new sewing friends, and reconnect with old ones. Sally and Becca explained what was planned.


Then off we went round Leeds  Kirkgate market and local shops in smallish groups , before hitting the newish John Lewis. I was reasonably restrained ! Lovely white embroidered cotton from John Lewis, navy and white ponte and grey, pink and white jersey from B and M fabrics, and raspberry red ponte from Jaks fabrics.  I went round with Eleanor  and Liz  who were great shopping guides to the fabric delights of Leeds.  They have both made the sew house seven toaster tops, so I decided I needed to buy the pattern before the winter. Hopefully I’ll make the navy and red into toasty toaster tops!



Liz and Eleanor bought some African wax fabric from this lovely  stall. The fabric is sold in 6 yard lengths.



We reconvened in The Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen which had a bar and cheap tasty pizza. We took over the top floor,  as there was loads of room for a swap table, raffle prizes and seating. Here I am having a good nosey at the patterns and fabric. I took five patterns and two lots of fabric to swap.  I know that  Eleanor  took a pattern and Ali    took my fabric so I look forward to seeing what they make.


Everybody had a good rummage!


My final haul included four patterns from the swap, and some grey and red satin I’m hoping to use for lining.  I also bought a packet of needles in the market, probably the only thing I really ‘needed’


Liz had also made a bag and jacket from the Makers Atelier book I’ve got, so when I got home, I went onto the Fabric Godmother site to buy the toaster pattern, some faux leather ideal for bag making  fell into my basket, and yes I’ve decided to make a loud jumpsuit to wear to graduation seeing as my dress failed!   I intend to use the poppy playsuit pattern by Sewoverit, I’ve not had a lot of success with their patterns,  so am hoping this works.


Managed to sneak in a visit to the Shuttle in Shipley on the way back from a meeting. I was very restrained though! I bought 12 metres of fabric for toiles or lining, two metres of fleece backed sweating shirting to try a warm version of the toaster sweater, and a one metre piece  for a teeshirt.

I’ve used 56 metres of fabric so far in 2017, but bought 45 metres! Which doesn’t include the three metres for bags above. I’ve had a lot of failures in the first six months so here’s to successful sewing and no fabric purchases for the rest of the year! Well, except for Black Friday!


Sewing plans · Wardrobe

Wardrobe planning

I’ve been thinking about my clothes, what I like wearing, and all those typical musings of someone who sews!  I don’t want a capsule wardrobe, or to over analyse my look, as I feel most of the time I’m ok with what I wear, it just needs a bit of evolution and keeping to what suits me best, and not getting diverted into what is the current trend for the sewing community, or the latest  Sewalong.

Kate  has been considering her wardrobe recently, and is looking to pare  it down into a small plain coloured, almost capsule wardrobe. I love a lot of the colourful suits and hand painted fabrics she has made and think it would be a shame if she didn’t wear those again.

But it’s made me think about what I wear and want to wear . I still like my jersey dresses and silver jewellery look. But sometimes it feels not quite right  for my new  office environment which is more casual. I need an update, but need to use my stash first!

My favourite style icon is Claire Underwood from the House of Cards, I like the straight angular  lines of her characters clothes. Personally I want more colour and pattern in my clothes though.

My fabric collection has been gathered over the last four years, so some of it doesn’t fit in with what I like now. For example I’ve bought 3 metre lengths of cotton prints, that I wouldn’t wear if I made them up as dresses, but I could make shirts or tops. So taking into consideration using up my fabric and making things I’ll actually wear (apart from the scuba cocktail dress which I’m not sure will be seen in public!) , these are my plans for the rest of 2017.

Scuba cocktail dress for the #sipandsew Eve appeal

Hydrangea dress for a wedding

2 Aldaia dresses from  aqua and kingfisher ponte which are really similar colours.

2 Named pilvi pattern dresses in  red and navy

Navy and navy chevron  ponte dress

Sequin fabric to make a Grainline scout

Flannel for  pyjamas

These aren’t in order and I’ve  already got ideas for 2018, but let’s see how far I get with this list! No doubt there will be more fabric and patterns purchased this year, maybe next week when I go to Sew UpNorth?  I’ve also got ten vintage patterns I’d love to make one day!