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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Floral bettine dress


Here’s something I made back in the Spring. I made this dress over a bank holiday weekend and almost finished it but was distracted by the sunny weather. Tilly’s pop over design with kimono sleeves and elasticated waist makes for instant sewing gratification. It’s a super quick sew and I could probably knock this up in a day next time.

This was meant to be a wearable toile. I know what you’re thinking, that fabric’s too good for a toile. It’s been in my stash for ages and I’d gone off it. However now that it’s a dress, I take it all back. I never wear red but this orangey shade is rather lovely. I like the print again and viscose crepe de chine has the perfect drape for this casual summer dress.


I cut a size 4 bodice and graded the skirt from a size 4 at the waist to a 3 at the hip. I assumed this was the right thing to do as I have slim hips compared to my waist measurement. However this turned out to be premature thinking as I can only just squeeze the skirt over my hips! I’m hoping there won’t be any washing shrinkage as this will render my dress unwearable. Wah!


I shortened the sleeves and bodice but left the length of the skirt unchanged. I read reports that the skirt comes up short and guess what, it does. I’m 5′ 3″ and it’s short on me! And it rides right up when you sit. Although I shortened the bodice, there is too much bagging around the waist area, especially at the back. I know this is part of the look but I prefer a less blousy silhouette as I have a short top half.


Construction was really straightforward and this is a brilliant pattern for beginners. I only came unstuck when my safety pin opened and got caught when I was feeding elastic through the casing. Lots of cursing and unpicking enabled me to free the frigging pin.

This is a great little dress and I’ve seen so many iterations on instagram. It’s also addictive and I went on to sew a knit version straight afterwards. I think the pattern works well as separates too if you lengthen the top. Anyone else sewing a Bettine?





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GBSB casual trousers


SAM_7108On top of wearing an item of handmade everyday in May, I challenged myself to make a pair of trousers by the end of the month. I confess I had intended to make a Burda pattern but the toile was an abomination and required far too many changes. So for plan B, I went with this easy pattern which I finished just before the last day of May, yay!


It’s the trouser part of the jump suit from the Great British Sewing Bee’s Fashion with Fabric book. Same pattern with just a lower cutting line for the waist. The trousers were a straightforward sew and I made very few changes to the pattern. I pegged the trousers too much, so they’re a bit tight round my calves and will stick to the original stitch line next time. I eyeballed the pattern placement and it looks great from the front but was a bit tardy with the back. But it’s at the back so out of sight and mind!


These trousers were a quick sew and I love this pull on elasticated style. Funny how tastes change. I used to associate elasticated trousers with frumpsville, polyester and beige.


I wanted a light pair of holiday trousers and used this graphic print viscose from my stash. They are perfect holiday wear and the only thing missing from them are pockets. I’m glad I got round to sewing this pattern as it’s been on my to sew list since I got the book last year. It’s now a TNT. Who knew that quick sew trouser patterns existed! I’m planning more iterations in solids for work.


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