FO: Self drafted pencil skirt


I bagged this funky fabric at a House of Hackney sample sale last year. House of Hackney is an interiors brand but they do clothing too. The fabric was a steal; I paid £2 for this remnant. It’s a double faced knit and spongy like neoprene. The underside of the print is marl grey. I had intended to use it for a Linden sweatshirt but decided against it as the fabric is a little stiff and doesn’t drape like regular jersey. I was stumped as to what to do with it but then I noticed lots of jersey and neoprene pencil skirts in the shops.


This skirt was was a quick sew and I made it in an afternoon. I used a pencil skirt pattern to get a rough shape, sewed up the side seams and checked the fit. As I was using a woven pattern, I knew I’d be taking more off the side seams to compensate for the stretch in the jersey. Once I was happy with the fit and shape of the skirt I overlocked some wide elastic to the waist and turned this over to form a waistband. This was the technique used in the RTW versions.

SAM_6482I made this skirt back in the summer and it’s remain unblogged as I’ve only got round to wearing it. I wore it this weekend and the double faced knit blocked out the chilly weather nicely. Another reason why I haven’t worn it is because it doesn’t go with anything in my wardrobe. Nevertheless I really like the print and will be sewing some solid crop tops to go with it.


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FO: Raglan sleeve top NL6225

SAM_6461I’ve been meaning to make some dressy tops, so I can look like I’ve made an effort with very little effort. We’re already talking about Christmas lunches and parties at work, so time to work on those wardrobe gaps.


This poly has a slight sheen and fits the bill nicely. Isn’t this fabric gorgeous? It’s from The Man Outside Sainsburys. Honestly, I think the best place to buy fabrics in London is Walthamstow. Most of my stash is from here. Saturday is the best day to visit as all the stalls are out, including my favourite, TMOS. Other good places for dress fabrics are the Textile Centre and Saeeds, both on the same street. I’ve even spotted Zara fabric in the Textile Centre.


The colours of this floral print are so vibrant and the hot pink trim goes so well with the royal blue. I made the bias tape from wool crepe scraps bought in a sample sale for 50p! Being poly, the top has a nice drape to it and doesn’t cling for once.



I used NL 6225, view B and cut a size 10. I made minimal changes to the pattern and just shortened the hem by 2 inches. I also shortened the sleeves by an inch or two. The finished top fits well but I’ll cut a size 12 next time as I’d like more ease. This pattern is so versatile, I can see many more iterations. I have plans for a colour blocked version and adding lace to the mix would look cute too. It’s definitely a TNT for me.

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Hello Instagram

SAM_6459I’m always last to get with the programme and instagram is no different. I’ve recently signed up and I’m seriously addicted. My brain craves a regular fix of IG updates, I find myself checking it constantly, even in front of the telly. If you’d like to follow me, you can find me here.

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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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