In the folds Peplum top


The moment this pattern popped up on my Instagram feed, it elbowed its way straight to the top of my sewing queue. I had an October holiday to Seville coming up and this top looked perfect for the 30 degree heat. I actually finished it the day before my flight!


The In the folds peplum top is a free pdf pattern available from the Peppermint magazine web site. I love the ruffles on the peplum and the loose breezy design is perfect for hot weather. The pattern is layered which means you can select the size you want and all the other lines magically disappear. I’ve not come across this before and it’s brilliant, no need to concentrate on cutting the right size as there is only one!


The pattern and instructions were easy to follow. However, I went off-piste and didn’t follow the instructions. You’re supposed to sew the binding together and attach it to the neckline working out from the back V. I attached from the front and had difficulty joining the binding to form a point at the back. I had to do a bit of hand stitching to fix it and will follow the instructions TO THE LETTER next time. The armholes are also finished with bias binding so whilst this pattern has few pieces, it’s not a quick sew.


But don’t let this put you off, it’s a great little top and I will definitely be making more. I cut out a size D and added some small darts at the bust line to do away with the gaping at the armholes. Maybe a smaller size would rectify this? The top has a lot of volume as the side seams flare out slightly. I do like the volume but might taper the side seams to reduce it a little for my next iteration. I plan to use some delicious navy gingham gauze from Merchant and Mills.

The splatter print fabric is soooo pretty. It’s a Liberty tana lawn from my stash. I threw caution to the wind and cut into it without doing a toile, hence the need for the darts. But my gamble paid off and I had a lovely top to wear on holiday.


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1920s Jazz age exhibition at FTM museum



This is another show stopper of an exhibition from the Fashion and Textile Museum. There are over 100 costumes on display in this beautifully curated exhibition.




Women’s dress changed dramatically in the twenties with clothing becoming less restrictive. Flashing your ankle was no longer considered scandalous by the mid twenties. The exhibition features floaty day dresses, glitzy evening wear and sportwear. Some dresses are displayed flat so you can get a closer look at the intricate embroidery. I love fashion from this period, it’s so glamorous. Just look at the lounge wear!


Dotted amongst the costume notes were excepts from novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald, including a memorable passage from one of my favourite books, The Great Gatsby. This was an inspired touch as it made the scenes and costumes come to life. You can just picture Daisy Buchanan in one of these dresses.



Home sewing became increasingly popular during the twenties with the widespread availability of paper patterns. Dressmaking magazines also featured the latest styles. There’s a fascinating timeline in the exhibition which documents how fashion changed over the decade. The show is on till mid January.



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A Linden for my sister


Just a quick post to show off the Linden I made for my sister’s birthday. Isn’t it gorgeous. You know you’ve done good when you don’t want to hand it over!


This was sewn against the clock one weekday evening. Fortunately, I’d cut everything out so only had the sewing to do. It was finished near midnight, in between making dinner and washing up.


I used some grey marl jersey for the main pieces (same stuff used for my recent Linden) and some Liberty fleece for the front. I love the contrast panel, it works really well with the grey. The sweatshirt was a hit with my sister and perfect for autumn. Think I’ll have to up my sewing game for her next birthday!




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Grey marl Linden v.4

SAM_7147Before I bought the Linden pattern, I did not own one sweatshirt. But now that I’ve made three (one being a dud), I don’t know how I survived without this wardrobe staple. I wear my bicycle print Linden most weekends and was most put out that I couldn’t take it on a recent holiday as it was in the laundry.

SAM_7149Isn’t this grey marl the most delicious fabric? I’ve been on the lookout for quality loopback jersey for another Linden and found this gorgeous stuff on Goldhawk Road. I then found the perfect ribbing to match from The Man Outside Sainsburys. It’s hard finding the right shade so I was made up.


The main changes I made were to the neckband and cuffs. To make the neckline slightly wider, I added 1cm to the width and used a 1cm seam allowance. I also took off 1cm from the cuff ribbing and sewed a 1cm seam allowance. Having sewn Lindens a few times now, I think I will reduce the seam allowance to 1cm on my pattern to reduce bulk and overlock all seams before sewing on the machine. I like to sew on my machine for more control.


I hand sewed some Liberty bias binding to the back. No more putting on clothes back to front! It’s the small details like this that make hand made garments so special.


This is my favourite Linden to date and fulfils the brief I set myself after Me Made May to sew more solids. I can see this being in heavy rotation. I’ve also got enough to make another Linden as the fabric was extra wide. Not bad going to get 2 sweatshirts out of 1.5 metres of fabric.




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Burda #139 Nelly dress


I wasn’t a big fan of frills but now I love them. Isn’t this dress adorable?  It ticks all the boxes: pink, frills, elephants and teeny buttons down the back. I made this dress for my friend’s toddler having made this dress for her little sister. I used a Burda pattern – #139. It has only three pattern pieces which lulled me into thinking it was a quick sew. It wasn’t. The first hurdle was locating the pattern on the massive scribble of pattern markings which are standard on Burda pattern sheets. It didn’t help that I was doing this past midnight in bad light.Image result for burda magazine 139 girls dress 4/2014I didn’t follow the instructions from the magazine as they were patchy and because I changed the pattern slightly. I decided to sew the frill only at the front, so I shortened the frill and tacked it to the front shoulder seam before finishing the shoulders.


Sewing the frill was tricky and I basted it first before sewing it in. With the second frill I had the brainwave of drawing in my stitch line with a wash away pen. This helped with getting the stitch line even as the gathers distorted the edge somewhat. I wasn’t sure how to finish the point of the frill and the instructions didn’t go into this.  So I folded the point back on itself, trimmed it and hand sewed the bottom of the frill to the dress to hide it. I don’t think it looks too bad and the stitches hold the frills flat to the dress.


The armholes and neckline line are finished with self bias as per the instructions, which was a pain especially on such a small pattern. Facings would have been much easier and quicker. So whilst this pattern looked fairly simple, there were a lot of time consuming processes. I finished the neckline before finishing the button band as this produced a neater finish on the corners. If you’ve made Tilly’s Mathilde blouse, it’s the same method.


Check out those rows of elephants!

I used a cotton poplin from Saeeds which was easy to handle and press. It’s so lovely and cool and would make a great pair of PJs. I cut a size 98 which I guessed would be the right size for a 3 or 4 year old. I love how this turned how despite it taking double the time I thought it would. Now the hunt is on for adult patterns with frills.

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Oliver & S bucket hat and birdhouse dress


I love sewing presents for kids as the finished makes are so diddy and cute. I made this hat using the reversible bucket hat pattern from Oliver and S. This is an easy pattern and it’s FREE.


I made a small and hope this is the right size for a 2-year-old. I guessed the age with a rough calculation. Anyone else bad at remembering how old friend’s kids are?


I wanted to make a dress to match the hat and used this NL 6578 toddler pattern I’d sewn before. If you want to make a present for a little girl in a jiffy this is your go-to pattern. I think this took less time than the hat which involves some hand sewing. The size here is a 2.


It’s easy to get a professional finish with this pattern if you don’t have an overlocker. I french seamed the side seams and the bodice facing takes care of the neckline and armholes. I used a different fabric for the facing as I love to contrast prints. I only got the overlocker out to finish the edge of the facing but a narrow fold works too.


The fabrics are quilting weight cottons from Saeeds Fabrics in Walthamstow. They have a great selection of children’s fabrics. Unfortunately, I passed by a few other fabric shops on the way to the station and picked up some goodies for myself. Sorry not sorry!



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Pink clouds Bettine in jersey


The Bettine pattern is seriously addictive. Whilst I was sewing my floral version, I went through my stash to single out fabrics for further iterations. It’s such a versatile pattern and the loose style means you can use knits as well as wovens.


I found this pink jersey in a shop in Walthamstow and scored it for a jaw dropping 50p a metre. So the cost of this make was £1! I would’ve paid more as I love the print. The design reminds me of little pink clouds.


I made a few changes as I was using jersey and followed Tilly’s tips here. I cut a neckband to replace the facing and this is the neatest knit neckband I’ve done to date. The jersey pressed really well and the neckband lies nice and flat. No need for top stitching, which always freaks me out in case I mess up.


Having already made this in a woven, I knew I had to shorten the bodice further to do away with the excess bagging. I also shortened the sleeves, leaving out the cuffs and tapered the seam lines at the hips to remove the exaggerated tulip shape of the skirt. I had to do this a few times as the jersey was sagging at the side seams. I also lengthened the skirt to just above the knee. I sewed a size 4, same size as my woven version.


The one glitch I had with this was finishing the hems. I used a twin needle but I couldn’t get the tension right and kept getting a bump between the two stitch lines. So in the end I unpicked the worst of it on the sleeves and used a zig zag instead. I left the twin needle stitching on the hem as I convinced myself that it wasn’t too bad. Oh to get the same finish as RTW hems. Any tips welcome!

This dress is the perfect summer dress and I got to wear it last weekend when the sun finally made an appearance. The cotton jersey is soo soft and comfy. Bettine sewn in jersey is the secret pyjamas of the dress world.


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