FO: Love Sewing Kimono top

I’ve been on a sewing break as my employment situation has been a bit up and down this year. I feel guilty about sewing when there’s job hunting to be done. But things have settled down now so (fingers crossed) I can get back to my machine.
This kimono top came in really handy on a recent holiday to Spain. Temperatures reached the high 30s and I wore it all the time to prevent sun burnt shoulders. I used a pretty floral print viscose brought from the Man outside Sainsburys. I love the bold print and it looks fab made into a kimono.
The pattern is from Love Sewing magazine issue 5 and was a breeze to sew up. The front, back and sleeves are all rectangles. I decided to taper in the sleeves at the under arm seam as they were a bit too flappy for my liking. I also took a bit off the length as I was short on fabric. These kimono tops are everywhere at the moment and it’s great to be able to make my own. As it’s so quick to make and the sizing is quite forgiving, it’s perfect for a present. The pattern comes in different sizes and I made a small.
My hand made hat from last summer also had an outing. Don’t you just love clashing prints and wearing hand made on your holidays.
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Lucy toddler dress Compagnie-M


Isn’t this dress adorable. I made this for the baby sister of the little miss who is getting the Red Rover dress so she wasn’t left out. The fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn, bought many moons ago. I have a dress made from this fabric and had quite a bit left. It’s such a pretty print, perfect for this little girls dress. This was a complete stash buster of a project as the shearing elastic, thread and buttons were all from my stash too. Isn’t it brilliant to be able to knock up a gift from notions and fabric that you already have.


I used the Lucy dress pattern from Compagnie-M. The pattern came free with an issue of Love Sewing magazine. It’s a very simple pattern, basically two rectangles that you run some shearing through. This technique was new to me so I practised first and it’s quite easy. It’s really fun watching shearing develop, I want to do more. The results aren’t bad for a first attempt!


I cut out the pattern for a 1 year old but the dress looked too long to me so I lopped 2 inches off at the hem. Fingers crossed it fits. The great thing about this pattern is that when she’s outgrown it, the ties can be cut off and voila, she can wear it as a skirt.


I’m looking forward to gifting my dresses. It’s always better to give than receive, and more so when you’ve made the gift yourself. I leave you with a picture of my cherry tree. Have a lovely May bank holiday.


Posted in handmade, kids, Kids clothes week, Liberty, sewing | Tagged , | 4 Comments

New Look 6578 Red rover toddler dress


I get such a kick out of making children’s clothes. Fun fabric, miniature pattern pieces and the finished result is super cute. This dress is a gift for a dog mad friend who is visiting soon with her small family. I sewed most of it on Sunday, the last day of Kid’s Clothes Week. The theme is Wild things so I think this fits!

Isn’t the fabric fantastic? It’s called Red Rover from Cloud 9. I saw it on the Village Haberdashery’s website and just had to buy it for this project. The other fabrics in the Small World collection are equally scrummy. It’s designed by the super talented Rae Hoekstra from Made by Rae.  The collection isn’t just for kids. I think Red Rover would make a cool Moss mini. Here’s the Up so high print as a Moss mini.

Small World Moss Skirt

Source: Made by Rae

The fabric is a super soft fine needle cord and a delight to sew with. I love the gingham facing which contrasts so well with the red. I bought the white buttons from The Button Queen in London, one of those quaint step back in time shops.



NL 6578 is a very simple pattern that takes no time at all to make. I like the A-line shape of the dress and the giant buttons. The pattern goes from 6 months to age 4. I made a size 3 ready for bubba to grow into it.


I’m very pleased with the finish of the button holes. I hardly ever sew anything with button holes so it was a big deal sewing these giant ones. Fortunately my new Janome computerised sewing machine took all the guesswork out of sewing them. I just had to fiddle with the button hole foot.


Anyone else sewing kids clothes at the moment? I’ve also finished a baby dress made from some delicious Liberty tana lawn – post on its way.

Posted in Cloud 9, handmade, kids, Kids clothes week, New Look, sewing, Small world | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

FO: Burda young 7148 sweatshirt


I wanted a quick sew project for instant sewing gratification after finishing all my UFOs. So I opted to make a sweatshirt using Burda 7148. The fabric is bog standard sweatshirt fleece bought from Goldhawk Road. It’s super snug but as it’s warmed up proper here not well timed!

I made view B omitting the skirt part of the pattern, although I do like the sweater dress variation and will give that a go in the future. I also like the kangaroo pockets which are great for cold hands but left this out as I wanted a simple top.


I didn’t toile the pattern and made fit changes as I sewed. I cut a size 10 and found the sleeves way too wide so I tapered the underarm seam in by a couple of cms. I also hated the neckline. I tried the top on with the neckband half sewn and the opening was cavernous.

To fix this I decided to build up the neckband. Instead of turning the neckband over to form a binding, I cut another piece of the neckband and sewed the two neckband pieces together to form a funnel neckband. I looks a bit spaceman like when I wear it like so.


However, I like the style with the back turned up and the front turned down. It tends to flip up at the front so I’ll tack it down.

SAM_5480     SAM_5479

The pattern calls for you to hem up the sleeves but I liked clean finish of the neckband so I drafted some for the sleeves and hem. I  think the bands make the top look a bit smarter than your average sweatshirt. I’ll make a smaller neck opening next time and will taper the sleeves in more too.


I really happy with my finished sweatshirt and think it could pass for something in Cos. More minimalist chic, less astronaut!

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FO: My last UFO – Simplicity 2418


This is my last UFO, Simplicity 2418. I think I began making this pattern at the beginning of 2014 but poor fabric choice meant this project came to a halt. I originally chose a clingy poly crepe which went straight from machine to bin.


This time round I went for a grey polka dot viscose which is perfect for this pattern as it wants to partner with a slinky fabric. I went off piste and didn’t cut the fabric on the bias as the print didn’t work from that angle. Cutting on the straight made no difference to the overall look of the top as I was using viscose. I’ll cut on the bias next time if using a print that isn’t directional.


I sewed size 10, view A and made a few changes to the pattern. I reduced the fullness in the gathers at the back by 2 cm as they puffed out a lot, lengthened the yoke at the front by 1 cm and back by 1.5 cm and extended the sleeve edge of the yoke by 0.5 cm. I also shortened the bodice by about 8 cm as view A is tunic length. I didn’t bother making the tie belt.


This is the first time I’ve worked with viscose and it’s now one of my favourite fabrics. It has a soft handle and drapes beautifully.  Plus it’s a natural fibre, so no static. I’m really happy with this top and I can see it in heavy rotation now that the weather has warmed up. This pattern is a straight forward sew and a new TNT. It’s a versatile pattern and I can see lots of these tops in my wardrobe. I’ve even cut out my next iteration in navy blue linen. The yoke is crying out for colour blocking and it’d look cool in lace too.

It’s been very satisfying tackling my UFO mountain, rather like having a sewing spring clean. Now that I’ve sewed my way through all my UFOs, I can finally start some new projects, yay! My aim is to be disciplined and not have too many UFOs by the end of the year.

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FO: Mexican oil cloth tote bag


I had a long Easter break and spent some of my holiday finishing UFOs. This self drafted bag was one of them. I used a fabulous oil cloth bought from Kitsch Kitchen in Amsterdam a few years ago. If you like colour, kitsch and bright Mexican oil cloth, this shop is heaven. It’s one of my favourite shops in Amsterdam after the waffle shop.


It was my first time sewing with oil cloth and my new machine didn’t fail me. I got away with using a standard foot and didn’t even need to put masking tape under it. I increased the stitch length and sewed a bit slower.


Oil cloth tends to colour over time, especially on areas like bag handles. To get round this I backed the underside of my handles with gingham and folded it over to bind the edge.


I also lined the bag as I wanted to add an inner zip pocket. I followed this excellent tutorial on the U-handbag web site and my pocket turned out rather well. It’s similar to sewing a bound buttonhole or welt pocket.

This bag is so cute and I adore the happy print. It will cheer me up when I go back to work this week.

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Upgrading my sewing machine – Janome XL601


I realised I had outgrown my sewing machine when I was making my Gerard Coat. My beloved Elna struggled with making a buttonhole on wool and I ended up making bound buttonholes instead. However, I knew I wouldn’t want to do this for every tailoring project. Time for a better machine.

My Elna is my first machine (model 2130), bought about 9 years ago. It’s served me well and has never seized up. I’m meticulous about cleaning the lint out of the bobbin every time I use it, so this could be the reason why it’s chugged away without ever needing a service.

Buying a new machine is quite daunting and whilst I was prepared to go up to £350-400 for my next model, I didn’t want to buy an expensive machine with lots of features, when in all probability I would only be using two stitches: straight and zig zag.

I went to a couple of stands at the Knitting and Stitching show and decided Janome was the brand for me. I weighed up a couple of computerised models and decided to go for the XL601. It operates without a foot pedal, has automatic threading (welcome to the 21st century) and a choice of three buttonholes, so great for tailoring. What sold me was the free quilting kit that came with it, including a walking foot and extension table. Quilting is something I’d like to do one day, so this was a machine I could grow with.

I’ve had my new machine a few weeks now and it’s so easy to sew with. I love the computerised stitch selection. No more having to fiddle with manual settings. The top loading bobbin is great as I know when I’m going to be out of thread. Fabric glides under the feed dogs and it made light work of the thick fleece I was sewing the other day. The stitching is very even and it’s a lot quieter than my old machine. Now that I’ve used a fancier machine, I wouldn’t want to go back to a basic model.

As for my old sewing machine, it’s going to a good home. My sister’s got the sewing bug, so it’s going to her. I hope she gets as much pleasure from it as I have.

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