Sew Over It class – Ultimate trousers

SAM_6444Ta dah! I’ve made a pair of trousers thanks to the Ultimate trousers course at Sew Over it. I haven’t done a sewing class for ages and treated myself, especially as it was 20% off at the time. I really enjoyed the class which was held over 2 evenings. It was well thought out and the tutor, Julie was lovely and good making sure everyone was occupied. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a sewing class, twiddling your thumbs with nothing to do. Not only did I learn how to fit a pair of side zip trousers, I also learnt lots of other useful tips such as inserting tape to the waistband to prevent it from stretching out and how best to sew a concealed zip. In fact I did my best ever concealed zip on this course.


In the first session we tried on ready made toiles which did away with the guess work on which size fitted. It saved on the prep time too. I tried on a 10, but it was tight around the tum, so I went with the 12. We cut our patterns and fabric and overlocked each piece. It was a busy 3 hours but I thought the pace was just right. I managed to get in some sewing too. We were told to leave the side seams unsewn so they could be pinned up for fitting.


In the second and last session we continued fitting and sewing our trousers and transferred changes to our pattern. I used a concealed zipper foot for the first time and it makes zip insertion so easy. I usually use a normal zip foot but now I’m a convert. I just about finished my trousers and only had a bit of hand stitching to do at home. The rest of the class were nearly there too with facings and hemming to do.


If you are new to making trousers, I’d recommend this course. My trousers turned out just how I wanted. I love the funky print and slim fit. If I’m being picky, I think there is still a bit of work to do at the back but I’m pretty close. The other trousers I saw in the class looked really good too. Now that I have a TNT pattern, I’ll be setting up a production line to make more!

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FO: Plantain no. 5


I think I’ve made more iterations of this pattern than any other pattern. You probably recognise the Plantain tee from Deer and Doe and have sewn one up already.  If you haven’t why not! It’s an essential wardrobe basic and it’s free. This time round I sewed all the seams on my overlocker, using my sewing machine just for the neckband and hems. As a result it’s a bit roomier than my other Plantains, so I think I’ll go back to my machine to get the right seam allowance.


It’s taken five of these tops for me to realise I’d prefer it to be more fitted around the hip area. Deer and Doe patterns cater for pear shapes so there is extra ease around the hip. I’d like to wear this tucked in so I’ll shave a bit off the side seams for make number six.


The fabric is the last of the jersey I bought in Berlin. I love the soft dove grey colour and funky star print. What’s your most sewn pattern?

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Cataloguing my stash


I have a modest stash and store my fabric in a cupboard and a few plastic boxes. So I’m forever going through my fabric to see what I’ve got. I used to keep a spreadsheet of all my fabric but it was getting out of date as who wants to use Excel when they’re out of the office. I’ve seen some sewists use index cards and found the perfect box for 6×4 inch index cards – it’s actually a caddy for the BEST tea ever.

I cut a swatch of fabric and staple it to each card so I have a visual reference. As well as yardage, I like to make a note of price and where it came from. I plan to add project ideas too when I have a spare moment. I’ve grouped my fabrics by type, e.g. jerseys, cottons and voiles (anything drapey goes in here). I have A LOT of prints and very few solids. Hmmm an excuse to go shopping methinks! Anyone else have a system for organising their stash?

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FO: The Refashioners – Datura blouse


I’ve been so awestruck by all the amazing transformations coming out of Portia’s challenge, I just had to take part. See here, here and here. Plus the prize package has some seriously good sewing booty.


The idea is to rework a man’s shirt into something new. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to raid man friend’s wardrobe as he’d recently had a massive clear out. So I picked up this number from Marks and Spencer in my local Samaritans shop. Coincidentally, man friend used to have the same shirt in beige.


I used a pattern as I was new to this and didn’t want to go free-style. I had in mind the Datura pattern from Deer and Doe. I thought it would be perfect for refashioning a man’s shirt as you could do away with needing to sew the back panel.


After positioning my pattern pieces, I found I had enough fabric to cut out the main bodice pieces but not enough for the back yoke. I had planned to cut just the back yoke from a scrap of white seersucker which matched perfectly with the slubby texture of my shirt. However I decided to do the front as well. This left enough fabric for the peter pan collar. I think this was a good call as the collar looks so cute in the minty green stripes and the white seersucker breaks everything up.


I left the original buttons in. The Blue Harbour inscribed shirt buttons give a hint of a former life. Plus the bottom shirt button is sewn in pink thread which is a cute detail.



I sewed up a size 40 and took 2cms off the length of the bodice. I found the finished blouse too roomy so took a further 1cm off the side seams at the hem, tapering up to nothing at the arm hole. The pattern is well drafted and my blouse fits well. I like how most seams are self enclosed and there is no need to bind the arm holes. I’ll definitely be re-visiting this pattern.

However, I was confused by this instruction, ‘press the seams open and pull the straps of the front yoke for about an inch’, but managed to sew the yoke regardless. One of the shoulder seams doesn’t sit very flat but maybe that’s a result of my seam allowance being a bit off.

SAM_6117SAM_6119I love the finished result and you’d never guess this blouse was once a man’s shirt. Thanks Portia for an amazing challenge. I really enjoyed refashioning, it forces you to think outside the box and see old garments in a new light. I found I wasn’t as precious about the project as I would be with fabric. I will be rummaging around charity shops more often in future.

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Made up initiative -70’s dress re-fashion


I chose to re-fashion an old dress of my mum’s for my Made Up Initiative pledge. She’d given it to me last Christmas and I had a vague idea that it could be a skirt. I’m dead chuffed with how this turned out as I was a bit dubious about the purple wool brocade. But often something magical happens when needle and thread come together and I absolutely love this little skirt. Here’s what it looked like before. Talk about top to toe coverage, it came down to Mum’s ankles!


The dress is something she had custom made and the innards are skilfully hand finished. There is a lot of hand sewing going on.


Arm hole binding


Neckband facing



I cut a front and back piece for the skirt, loosely basing it around a rub off pattern I’d made for this skirt and sewed up the side seams. I added darts to the back as the front piece fitted ok. I then fitted the skirt again, taking in a bit more around the side seams. Although the skirt is wool, I didn’t need to add lining as the dress was completely underlined.



I decided to add a piece of ribbon to face the waistband, as this reduced bulk and did away with having an itchy wool facing against the skin.


I arranged the pattern so I could make use of the original hem which is nice and deep. In keeping with the vintage theme, I inserted a hand picked lapped zip.



The fabric is made of woven purple, violet and orange threads. It also has silver metallic threads running through it too. I wasn’t sure about the pattern or the colours but it’s grown on me. It’s a skirt I’ll be wearing a lot this autumn. It’s been fun taking part in this challenge and I hope Karen raises lots of money for the National Literacy Trust.

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Back to sewing skool – Ultimate trousers at Sew over it



One of my resewlutions for this year is to make a pair of trousers. I’m completely clueless when it comes to sewing pants so I’ve signed up for this course at Sew Over It. It comes highly recommended by other bloggers who have made some lovely trousers on this course. I trekked over to see the Man outside Sainsburys last weekend and bought some stretch cotton in preparation. His selection didn’t fail me. Aren’t these prints gorgeous? I’m going to use the black/grey print for my first attempt. The floral fabric has a textured weave and is quite sturdy. They’ll see me into autumn nicely. Anyone doing a sewing course at the moment?

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Made Up Initiative – my pledge

didyoumakethatYou are probably aware of this wonderful fundraising idea from Karen at Didyoumakethat and maybe taking part already. The challenge is to make something by September 10th in support of  the National Literacy Trust, a charity which aims to raise literacy levels in the UK. Reading for me is one of life’s pleasures. I struggled with reading at primary school but thanks to dedicated teachers, I moved on from simple first readers to mini novels. A visit to the library soon became a weekly event and I quickly devoured the complete works of Enid Blyton!


All you have to do to make a donation is go to the Just Giving page. I’m pledging to re-fashion this vintage dress belonging to my mum. I’ve been given permission to cut it up. Which is just as well as it won’t go over my head or above my hips. Mum was super skinny when she had this dress custom made. Re-fashioning isn’t something I do much of so I’m looking forward to the challenge.

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