FO: Simplicity 2931 white seersucker top


I’m backed up with sewn makes to blog about. This top was made in the summer for my holiday. One of my goals this year was to revisit patterns I’ve already made before. You save time on the fitting and it makes good sense to use a pattern more than once. I previously made this top Simplicity 2931 (view F), in a gorgeous orange paisley Liberty lawn.

Simplicity Liberty 2931

Simplicity Liberty 2931

And view C from the same pattern in a poly cotton. Both are pre-blog.

Simplicity 2931 - view C

Simplicity 2931 – view C

This time round I used some seersucker bought from Belle fabrics in Leigh-on-Sea last summer. I love white cotton tops but only have one in my wardrobe which gets worn to death.

SAM_5133  SAM_5132

I used some Cath Kidston bias binding to add contrast to the yoke. The binding is just folded in half and sewn along the seam line.


There’s not much else to say really. Only that I should carry on revisiting patterns and sew more white tops.

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Horst exhibition at the V and A

Summer Fashions, American Vogue cover, 15 May, 1941. © Condé Nast/Horst Estate

Source V&A

Last week I saw the Horst photography exhibition at the V&A. Horst was a fashion photographer who came to prominence in the 1930s working for Vogue. Most of his work is in black and white and shot in a studio setting. He was a master at lighting and composition and his most iconic photograph is The Mainbocher Corset. Looks familiar? Madonna clearly paid homage to Horst in her Vogue video.

Source V&A

Towards the latter part of his career Horst started to work in colour and there are some lovely 50s era Vogue covers in the exhibition too, as well as travel and still life photography.

Dress by Hattie Carnegie, 1939. © Condé Nast/Horst Estate

Source V&A

As an added bonus, the V&A displayed a few dresses from their costume archive. I adore 1930’s evening wear and these were Hollywood starlet A-list glam. I don’t think they’d look out of place on the red carpet today. All the dresses are haute couture and the detailing is exquisite.



My favourite is this one.


I love the diamante bows on the dress on the right.

If you are interested in fashion photography or period costume, this exhibition is a real treat. It’s on until the beginning of January so there’s still time to catch it.

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FO: Spotty Renfrew


This is a make from back in the Spring. I was so taken with this coral jersey I bought in Berlin that I started sewing with it shortly after I got back. It looks very pink in the photos but it has a more orangey hue to it.


Don’t you just love polka dots? I’m in love with the colour too. The cotton jersey is so comfy and came in lots of other colours. If you are going to Berlin and sew, you must go to the Turkish Market – it is fabric heaven and cheap too. My jersey was 3 euros a metre.


This is my best fitting Renfrew. I increased the CF by 1 cm and it fits better than my previous versions. The jersey has the right amount of stretch too. I love this pattern and am so pleased to have nailed the fit. I’ve got some scrumptious grey star jersey from the same stall which is destined to be a Renfrew too.

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FO: Portfolio weekend top

 SAM_5136This top was made in a weekend and is hacked from the Lisette Portfolio top. The original pattern is made from 3 front pieces, which I simplified by re-drafting so it’s just one piece cut on fold. When I made this top before, I felt I could do with more room at the front, so I added 2cms to the CF this time round. However, I forgot you need to divide by 2 when adding width here, so I ended up adding 4cms to the front – oh dear! To get round this, I made a pleat at the front to reduce some of the fullness. It’s a little blousey but not too noticeable. As well as adjusting the collar band to match my new front pattern piece, I also reduced the depth of the collar band by 1cm and lengthened the top by 3cms.

SAM_5138The materials used are all freebies picked up at fabric swaps. I got the plaid fabric at the recent Sew Brum meet up. Thank you to whoever brought it along. It’s got a lovely drape, I think it might be vintage rayon. The bias binding was also picked up at another meet up and breaks up the pattern nicely. Check out the pattern matching on the collar. I admit that was down to luck rather than skills.


My pattern hack needs a few more tweaks to get right. I’d like to take out some of the excess around the front armhole, but I suspect that my be part of the deal if you have kimono sleeves. Nevertheless I like how it’s turned out and it makes for a nice work top.

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Happy flower power hat


I needed a sun hat for my summer holidays and made this from a free pattern from Love Sewing magazine. I love the colours and funky flower print fabric, which I scored at a sewing meet up last year. It’s vintage fabric, possibly from the 70s and has a lovely soft handle.

The hat is made from 3 pattern pieces and is so easy to sew. It doesn’t use up much fabric so great for scraps. The pattern was one size and it fitted perfectly. The brim is nice and deep and shields you from the sun. I wore it every day on my holidays. Hat making is fun and perfect for a quick sewing fix.

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Me Made May musings – a very late post

I know Me-Made-May is long gone but I want to record my thoughts for posterity. I had a bit of an impromptu blog break in the summer with life laundry taking a priority.

What I wore

I wore 24 individual handmade items during May: 14 tops, 4 skirts, 3 dresses, 2 jackets and 1 tunic. There were only 4 days where I wore more than one handmade garment probably due to a lack of skirts and trousers. My tops get worn a lot  and I wore them 24 times. The winning top was my green Renfrew which had 3 wears. My new knits have seen a lot of rotation too. 

SAM_3400 - Copy


What I didn’t wear

Me-Made-May is great for highlighting what works and what doesn’t in your wardrobe. I decided to audit what stayed on the hanger and be ruthless. If items weren’t worn due to being too dressy or the cold weather, that was ok. But if they weren’t worn because I didn’t like them, I would get rid. It was painful to kill my darlings and in the 8 odd years that I’ve been sewing, I’ve never binned a finished item. But I’ve decided my handmades should get the same treatment as RTW garments. If it’s not being worn, it’s going to the charity shop.

SAM_4178  SAM_4179

So I got rid of a pair of trousers, the only pair I’ve ever made. They were quite snug to begin with and I never wear them due to muffin top spillage. I made them at a sewing class and must have been breathing in when the tutor measured me, ha ha. The other item was a dirndl style skirt – New Look 6872, which had a very poorly inserted lapped zip, with one side being an inch higher than the other. Not a good look.

SAM_4250  SAM_4254

I gave this silk top a reprieve as it was silk and I had a holiday coming up. I removed my main bug with it which was the flouncy sleeves. They always crumpled up in the wardrobe and under cardigans. I forgot to take a picture of the original but the pattern is New Look 6515 view D. I’m glad I saved it as it was so cool in the 40 degree heat. Avoid Morocco in August people. Pictures shown are post alteration. I’m wearing it with the first item I ever sewed, New Look 6494. See, I never throw anything out!


Wardrobe gaps include making more plains and more skirts, especially ones for warmer weather. I could do with making trousers too but I can’t get excited about sewing them. No one ever says ‘wow, great trousers’.

This year’s Me-May-May was easier with fewer wardrobe conundrums as my handmade wardrobe has grown. I think I’ll do it again next year despite wearing handmade most days.

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FO: Disco inferno top


If ever a fabric screamed Studio 54 it’s this one. My eyes were drawn like a magpie to the shiny multi-coloured metallic fibres at a fabric swap and I was persuaded to give it a home. Lord knows what I was going to do with it.


I think the sewing gods destined me to have this fabric as shortly aferwards a friend said she was having a birthday do at an 80s club. So I set myself a speed sewing challenge of making a top in 2 days to boogie along to Whitney and Cyndi.

    SAM_4168  SAM_4170

As I was time poor, I raided my stash for suitable patterns and went for this cowl top pattern – Simplicity 2418. It’s for woven fabric but I decided to throw caution to the wind. I cut out my normal dress size and the fit was perfect. It helps that the front bodice is cut on the bias which gives a bit more stretch.


Sewing up was super quick. I didn’t bother to finish the seams as I discovered the fabric doesn’t fray. I haven’t a clue what it is, it’s stretchy like jersey, feels cool to the touch and the underside is black. I also cut corners on the hem which is just a raw edge. The yoke is made from a glittery black jersey to add some contrast. I was worried the line between disco top and fancy dress would be crossed if I used the shiny fabric alone.


My mates were flabbergasted when I turned up with this number. It’s brilliant being able to knock something up for a night out and it looked the business against the backdrop of the flashing dance floor.

80s dance class for corporate parties


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