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.

Completed items · sewing · Wardrobe

#sewtogetherforsummer shirt dress finished!

My sewing has had a torrid time of it lately, so I’m really really pleased to have finished a dress that I love!


Sarah from @sewsarahsmith, Suzy from @sewing_in_spain and Monika from @rocco.sienna set up a friendly challenge to sew a shirtdress in time for Summer.

It’s such a great idea to set up a challenge that is so versatile, as everyone needs a shirt dress in their wardrobe! Prizes will be awarded at random, rather than being judged on ability or Instagram popularity which is a brilliant way to encourage sewists of all abilities to have a go.

So I finally made   McCalls M6885. I made attempts at two other styles but they just didn’t look right.   Sewmanju has made two versions of this pattern. I have to agree with her that turning out the ties was a real pain, but  worth it. I used this Tutorial   to attach the collar, as I don’t think I’ve sewn a collar with a collar stand since doing O level dress at school.


I had a bit of trouble with the button holes, having to unpick four of them, I think my machine and me had forgotten what to do, I can’t remember the last thing I made with buttons. The buttons were from a charity shop in Lincoln, so a bargain!

Fabric was from the Remnant House, in Harrogate, the pattern is so busy you can’t see any of the details like the pockets and ties in these photos! I made the sleeveless version, which has been lovely and cool today in the sun.


Despite my other half telling me it looks likes wee willie winkies nightshirt, l like the high low hem.  I’d love to make some more shirt dresses  using this pattern or perhaps  vogue pattern V8829, which is a shirt dress with no gathers anywhere, my preferred option.


But I need to get on with a couple of dresses for events in July and September, it will probably be next year now before I’ve got time to tackle another shirtdress, which is a bit of a shame.


Success and failure March and April


I’ve lost heart with some of my sewing over the last two months. I’m still having a lot of failures, partly from rushing to use up fabric, and partly not always identifying what looks good on me.

I made two tops  from the new Makers Atelier book.  Using drapey fabrics is really important for these patterns. The draped neck top is a wearable muslin,  the knit stitch runs across the garment, as that’s the only way I could fit the pattern on, it would look better with the knit stitch running length wise.   Next time, I’d cut 2cm off the back neck, as it’s a bit high, and I don’t really like it. It’s too baggy, and makes me look enormous.


I like the tie neck blouse though, even though I don’t think it’s that flattering. I’ve sewn the front up and just sewn the buttons on. The fabric is a thin cotton linen mix, and creases easily.



I also made two  Cynthia Rowley tops. One   I added ruffles onto the sleeves and body, but  I really don’t like the fabric made up, or the ruffles, and only wore it for half a day, but  really like my Delaunay one.


A couple  of other fails, my skirt from the same fabric as my Cynthia Rowley jacket just looked frumpy, so I haven’t bothered hemming it. I also made most of a navy ribbed ponte dress, but it looked like a maternity dress, and the fabric was too cheap and Polyestery, so out it went!

And a fail which is really disappointing. I made most of this shirt dress,  but managed to cut the front pieces shorter than the back! The fabric flower pattern is also a bit big and wears me, rather than me feeling I’m wearing it.  The sleeves don’t fit that well, and I wonder if it looks like a 1950s housecoat on me!  Will I ever learn? I need to do a toile first, before I decide that it’s the right pattern for me, then I need to make three or four with the same pattern!


But I have had some success.

I made a pair of the Margot pyjamas, they are a baggy style, the palazzo pants of pyjamas! I ordered the fabric cause I thought it would make a nice summer wrap dress, but I felt it was too thin for that, but it’s turned into pretty and comfortable pj bottoms.   I also made a dressing gown, orange cardigan and cocobella  top which I will blog about.  So I’ve used around  23 metres of fabric in March and April.

What have I learned? After three years of sewing, my skills don’t feel like they are improving.  I’ve had six fails and four successes in the last couple of months. It would be cheaper just to buy clothes!


My Cora app now says I have 99 metres left to sew. TBH I just want a break, and don’t feel like sewing anymore.  Looking back, I’ve had similar experiences for the last two years. What does that say about me? That I shouldn’t sew from January to April?



Stash busting and slow sewing

The problem with setting goals like reducing your fabric collection, is that it can become a chore.  I have ended up making things that I’ll probably never wear, because of wanting to use up fabric. It also creates a sense of urgency, about the number of items I should be making every month.  I’ve also been watching a few sewing vloggers who produce a lot of finished items every month, whilst that’s great for them, I’m not sure it’s good for me.

What if I tried an alternative approach? Maybe only aim for a dozen items a year?  Take the approach that Kate of the fabulous Fabrikated blog does, which is not to bother making cheap tee shirts. I’ve just bought a striped uniqlo Breton tee for £12.90. This makes nonsense of my three attempts at stripe matching fabrics, which must have cost at least £20.  I’ve bought two pairs of jeans and two pairs of trousers recently, which I enjoy wearing, and I felt relief at the instant process of being able to buy them. It is ridiculous but, because I sew I have subconsciously been thinking I should sew everything I wear!

I’ve got one friend, a self taught sewer, who only makes coats and jackets, as she says they save the most money, and are worth her effort.  I’m not sure I’d go that far, but could see myself sticking more to dresses, jackets and coats, with the occasional simple top thrown in.  It’s also confused by sewing being a hobby, and wanting to try new patterns and fabrics mixed in with a bit of FOMO, which leads to the creation of a fabric and pattern collection!

I’ve got a choice to make. I’ve got fabric that I don’t want to wear anymore, but would be happy with as pyjamas.

So do I buy a pattern? Which could cost me £15 if I buy the Carolyn pyjamas pattern by  Put in probably 15 hours of work cutting and sewing, to save probably £50 at most if I bought them? I don’t know yet, I think I’ll put that decision off.

I know I spread myself too thinly, and try to do too much. I need to refocus on how I spend my time.

I’m probably going to start a shirtdress next,  I’ve decided just to make one style this year, instead of the three I first thought of.  I’ll aim to make at least two in the same style, and get the fitting right.  I’m going to use this pattern and fabric .


a new direction for my creativity

Well, its about returning to something I used to do about 15 years ago….   dressmaking or the current terminology being a “sewist”.  I did sewing or O level “Dress” at school, and made a lot of clothes when I was in my twenties. My current inspiration started last year when I organised a street party and decided to make myself a dress to wear! Inspired by Dyan Reavley and her complete change of image over the last couple of years, and also the frustration of not finding clothes I liked that fitted well.

I made this dress as a one wear Jubilee street party dress but I actually wore it to help at the school jubilee party, to an Olympic themed 50th party and to a burlesque show (not me doing the burlesque part you will be pleased to know!) .  The thing is,  I loved wearing the dress and the compliments I got – even though the quality of the sewing was shocking.

Recently Dyan introduced me to some sewing blogs – and I was hooked again!  I have bought 3 sewing books, a handful of vintage patterns and some current patterns.  I went fabric shopping at the Shuttle in Shipley, Bradford where I used to buy fabric for our school projects .  I am well on the way to completing my first project this year – another dress. As with all first  projects I probably would have done things differently with the benefit of hindsight – but I am willing to accept that it’s a bit like making pancakes – the first few don’t work that well!

This is the fabric being sewn on my retro New Home machine.

 I am using a New Look 6864 pattern.

I have made the design on the right, but with a midi length skirt. I would have liked to have added sleeves but didn’t like the ones on the pattern, and ended up with not enough fabric to do so anyway. I think that my dress will be always be seen out in public with a cardigan – unless its really hot!  I am hoping for a first outing tomorrow at–faith-journaling-with-father-andrew–dyan-2—10-3pm-9336-p.asp. I know that it’s a safe encouraging environment at AFTH!
My goal is to wear a dress at least once a week – but at the moment I only have two dresses – so I need to do some more sewing!
Something else I have done recently – my April Calendar for Kate Crane’s calendar challenge. I am still thinking about a quote for this. It is probably going to be the Papa Roach lyrics “roll the dice, never look back and never think twice”.