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 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.

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!

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.

Completed items · Wardrobe

Cocobella and coatigan

A couple of successes, the top was finished in April and I finally hemmed my coatigan this weekend.

First  a Tilly and the buttons Coco with sleeves from the Simple Sew Bella dress pattern.  I could have just cut down the Bella dress pattern, but I know the Coco pattern fits. I was going to make a dress with this ponte, but think it will get more wear as a top.



Then another cardigan/coatigan from the pattern I used for my navy and white coat.

This fabric was originally intended to be a dress too, but it’s wool ponte and quite heavy, I think it would be too warm.  The colour is superb, and I think it will be great for the cooler summer evenings, but it’s been so cold I’ve worn it all day, today.  It goes really well with my coral grainline scout top.


These two are both great basics that will work well with lots of other items in my wardrobe.


#Memademay 2017 round up

The statistics are as follows – which may be converted to pie or bar charts at some point!

Tilly and the buttons Coco 5 variations worn  7 times

Grainline scout tee variations worn 4 times

Sosew easy wrap dress variations worn 3 times

New look 6808 variations worn 3 times

prima pattern jacket variations worn three times

Lottie blouse variation worn twice


single items worn twice include Cynthia Rowley Delaunay top and my vogue dress

Other patterns  worn once include a sewoverit  cowl necked top, itch to stitch Davina and Kathryn dresses, my teal ponte dress, navy Santa Monica tee shirt, ponte trousers, Cynthia Rowley jacket, tweed coat, new look wrap dress, Ponte trousers, bronte afternoon top and my Van Gogh maxi.

What do I think?

– No more cocos! Find another pattern, maybe the sewhouse seven toaster pattern.

-If  the weather had been better I’d have worn more dresses.  I wore dresses on only ten days.

-I’ve been wearing jeans and trousers more, but feel no inclination to make them!

-I really like the prima jacket pattern I’ve made in ponte three times, smart enough to wear to work, but comfortable enough to wear with jeans at home.

-I need to cull my wardrobe more often, and make sure I wear flattering items, rather than hanging onto things because I’ve made them.  I like  plain or geometric fabrics and plain necklines, but it would be good to see something more adventurous.

May was unproductive for sewing, I made some fails, and toiles that didn’t work out, but that’s the way it happens sometimes.

I definitely want to do Me made May 2018, so I can see what’s changed, since this year, and whether I’m still wearing makes from 2014!



#MemadeMay week 4

So, the last week barring a few days. Its getting boring, but will be really interesting to look back on, and I would like to do it next year as well, to see what the changes are.   Without further ado, as a lot of sewing bloggers seem to say, this is what I wore this week! And some silly versions of photos that didn’t make it to Instagram!


my selfies of the Delaunay blouse are a lot more flattering than the photo I put on Instagram

And a grainline scout double

And my coco top on Sunday as I spent most of it cycling!


I will do a round up and statistical analysis (joking!) of what I wore, during May. All I will say now is there is a distinct lack of collars!


#Memademay 2017 week three

Another  normal busy week but a quieter weekend. I’ve been thinking about sewing again. I did a toile for the Edith dress, but it didn’t look right, kimono sleeves are definitely a no no for me!  I haven’t got time to make a shirt dress by June despite putting it out there on instagram, I need to make a dress to wear to boy number two’s graduation.  I will focus on a dress pattern that is flattering on me, and that I can make at least two versions of, so the fitting process is worthwhile.

Anyway,  I have done loads of exercise this week, two cycles, a boxercise class and Pilates. I went out with the other half and shared a bottle of wine and a pizza. I also went to book group – a man called Ove.  So not too bad for a working week!

Monday, Tuesday Wednesday in the office.  I am still being quite smart, but generally people wear more relaxed casual clothes.

Thursday working from home, so Jenifer Lauren’s afternoon blouse which I haven’t worn for ages, it feels a bit boxy but I really like the Liberty flowered fabric.  Friday dress down Friday, so this double gauze grainline top with rtw jeans and cardigan.  Saturday my sewover it cowl necked top.


And today, a relaxed dress for Sunday, I’m baking, making a Sunday roast for seven, and hopefully doing some sewing!