A quick update to say I have finished making the halter-neck dress (using the Simplicity pattern again)!  Here it is:

Also, I was thinking back to previous sewing exploits, and I forgot to mention I made my friend’s baby a cushion cover to match the curtains in her nursery using this material from kidsfabrics.co.uk:

I have quite a bit of that fabric left and so I’m going to use it to make a cot tidy for the travel cot.  I just need to get some good quality plain white cotton for the background.  I’m going to sew around two rectangular pieces of cardboard to make it sturdy and then sew large pockets on with the curtain fabric.  But who knows when I’ll finish it as I have other crafty things on the go too – knitting and painting!


I have been coveting this Sailor Jerry-esque, tattoo-print  fabric from Alexander Henry for a long time now. Whilst I was on holiday a month or so back I saw a stunning shirt dress made from the black version which I was desperate to have. Unfortunately, the shirt dress was over Aus$200 and was only in a size 8. So, what’s a girl to do but make her own? Finally, yesterday, I decided that enough was enough and I bought about 5  metres of it. My plan is to make a shirt dress and then possibly a skirt with whatever is left over.  Now, the problem is that the only shirt dress pattern is the Colette Ceylon Pattern which I don’t think will suit the pattern or colour of the Tattoo fabric.Perhaps something in this style? Or something a little simpler? I’m going to have to sit down and really look at it, I think!

As I had to purchase 8m of fabric (well, I didn’t, but postage was going to be the same either way, so why not?) I also ordered 3m of this:

Luca Aubergine Fabric from Alexander Henry

TicTacSew has made a lovely halter neck dress out of a pattern with a small floral print (something I’d never really thought of using before) so I thought I might try my hand at something in a small print to try it out. It’s nice and summery anyway, so It will be good for work and can hopefully be teamed with a cardigan and dark tights for winter.

I went a bit mad yesterday when buying fabric and also saw this really unusual and stunning Underwater Sisters fabric (from TheFabricLoft.co.uk. I’ve been planning a Macaroon dress with this, possibly with a white contrast, but I shall have to wait and see what it’s like when it arrives. I fell in love instantly, and I  really couldn’t help myself buying it.  I do often cringe at how much fabrics cost, then I think to myself: “Would I be able to buy this garment for the same price?”. The answer is invariably no, and I love the fact that I can sit down at my machine and make something that I truly love, that fits me perfectly and that I have created with my own hands. As a consequence, I often find I’m more careful with my home-made clothes and I wear them that little bit more confidently.

At the minute, I have a lot more time than I normally would to sit down and make things but I can see that going out the window very shortly, so I’d better make the most of it!

Last night, on a whim, I idly searched the internet for a dress pattern for Lyra so I could use up some scrap fabric left over from making the red pinafore dress.  I came across this link, and used it as a starting point:

I began by making the skirt section, which I did 10” by 20”.  I used lining material for the first time, but got a little confused when doing the side seams and realised I had sewn the skirt with the wrong sides together.  I considered my choices: to unpick and resew the seams with the right sides facing, or have the lining material (red satin) on the outside of the dress instead.  And then it came to me: I was sure I had some red ribbon which I could sew over the seam on the outside of the dress.  I wasn’t sure whether it might make the dress look as though it had been designed by Adidas, but I thought I’d give it a go anyway.  It looked good.  I then had to gather the material at the top of the skirt, which I have never previously done, but I managed to do that successfully.

Now for the bodice!  I knew I would need to enlarge the bodice pattern for my plumpalicious girl, so I enlarged it by about one inch.  I tried the finished bodice on her this morning to find it was nowhere near big enough, so I had to improvise.  I cut the centre back open, and inserted two extra panels, the left with four button holes and the right with four small buttons which I managed to find in my button box.  Then I thought the button detail looked rather good, so decided to turn the bodice round, swapping back for front.  Then I thought that to complement the strips of ribbon on the side seams of the skirt, I could add two strips either side of the buttons for a little extra detail.

And there you have it: totally different to how I had intended due to a series of mistakes, but so much prettier!  And my first experience of lining a dress and gathering a seam!  Here’s the finished garment:

Unfortunately, in my moment of sheer triumphance, I accidentally stood on, and broke, my lovely button box, which I’ve had for a long time and which had sentimental value.  The buttons scattered all over the rug.  They are still there…

First thing’s first: I want to thank lemonianta for inviting me to contribute to her blog.  My sewing talents are currently fairly limited, but I’m enjoying the challenge of learning.  I have always greatly admired people who can make their own clothes, so when lemonianta suggested going on a dressmaking course last year, I jumped at the opportunity to learn how to use my hand-me-down Singer sewing machine, which was not unlike this one:

This splendid piece of equipment had been used extensively by my great aunt, and was in desperate need of a service, but when I trundled it along to the Singer shop in Coventry, the repairman informed me it wasn’t worth the cost of the repair, and that I should consider buying a new machine.  Sadly, I left the Singer there to be scrapped (and later invested in a new machine).

The sewing course taught me the basics: how to thread a machine, sew a basic seam, use bias binding and cord to make piping, insert a zip, cut material evenly, and insert boning into a bodice.  Whilst on the course I converted a long wrap-around skirt into a shorter A-line skirt with zip fastening, and made my first dress.  Making the dress was the first time I’ve used a sewing pattern, so I made sure I chose a really simple dress (which looked more like a tent).  With a few tips from lemonianta on cutting out pattern pieces, basting and tailor-tacking, I was able to make it successfully.  It isn’t one of my favourite dresses, but I certainly felt a sense of achievement that I had followed a pattern and made a garment that was wearable, even if it was tent-like!  (I made a belt to go around the middle and that helped to make it look better).

Since then I’ve done some altering of clothes, for example I shortened a mid-calf length skirt into a knee length one, rehemmed some trousers, lengthened a short dress by adding a plain band of black cotton at the bottom, converted a pair of hubby’s old, irreparable jeans into a small denim handbag with cherry print lining, and inserted a panel into the neckline of a practically-porno maxi dress (Fever designs do not cater for breasts!).  I also started work on my next dress, the pattern for which I downloaded from Burda Style.  This was a challenge and no mistake: interfacing, pleats, pockets, zip, and button holes (the latter being partly responsible for inducing labour I think!).  As I was with child when I finished making this dress, I knew I would not be able to squeeze me and the bump into the thing to try it on, and suspected that my post-delivery body may take a while to recover, so I sold it to a dress-buying friend for £25; less than what she would usually pay for a dress, but still making me a profit of just under a tenner after the cost of material, the zip and the beautiful buttons.  A modest profit considering the time it took to make and its originality, I think!  Here it is in all its glory:

Since having Lyra, I’ve had bits of spare time in between the feeds, the naps, the changes and the crying episodes to start work on some new things.  My third dress was less of a challenge due to increased experience and a simpler pattern, and I managed to achieve a more professional finish on the inside of the dress.  Here it is:

I’m now using the same pattern to make another dress but this time a halter-neck.  I have some nice cheap material I picked up at Coventry market for this, and I will post a photo when it’s done.  I also got some other lengths of material in Coventry for future projects: new patterns = new challenges = new experience = new achievements!

I’m also very inspired by lemonianta’s quilting skills.  There was a patchwork quilt I wanted for years for sale in a textiles shop back home, and I never got round to buying it, but now I’m thinking I’d like to make my own.  But for now, it’s all about the dresses…

An unusual title, eh?

Last night some friends of ours had a Bad Taste Party. I thought and thought about what to go as for weeks and really couldn’t settle on anything. Then, yesterday, whilst I was at the hairdressers, it came to me: I’d go as a MASSIVE POO. So, I had to think up a costume quickly and here’s what I came up with:

It’s made from a very long triangle of brown jersey material stitched to a point and stuffed with wadding to give it a bit of “texture”. I coiled it around and made it look like what it’s supposed to (isn’t this fairly grim?) adding some flies purchased from Paperchase for a bit of interest and some chin straps to hold it in place as my hat for the night. It took about 20 minutes to make in total so it looks a bit rough, but that’s half the charm, don’t you think?

Anyway, back to normality, the Rooibos dress is a little big so I’m going to take that in. A picture will undoubedtly appear once that’s finished.

Today, I’m setting my targets on the macaroon dress. I have some Michael Miller Owl fabric Which I’m going to use for the main body of it with some greed or black for the top (I’m, as yet, undecided). I’m also going to make it in a sizwe smaller than the Rooibosto start out with so I can check the fit as well.

Pictures to follow!

…is off to a great start! I figure if I have 8 or 9 pieces I can probably pull it off. So, yesterday, I remade the Rooibos pattern in navy twill with the daisy chain fabric. It’s pretty much done but It’s coming up a little short so I[‘m going to add a band of  fabric around the bottom to make it a little longer. I hope it doesn’t spoil the look of it! Here’s everything ready to go:

Raw materials

The raw materials - Pattern preiously traced and cut out, navy twill, green daisy chain fabric and instructions and

All pieces cut and ready to sew

Of course, it wouldn’t be a good sewing day if I didn’t sew at least one thing wrong and have to unpick at least 4 seams, which is exactly what happened. Thankfully everything turned out alright – although I probably need to redo the invisible zip since I couldn’t find it yesterday. I will post pics of the finished product once I have fixed the zip and added my little panel to the bottom. It’s a little on the large side (I forgot the previous one I made was too) so for the next version I’ll make it a size smaller. I also didn’t do the piping, something I promised myself I would this time, mostly because I just didn’t have any cord. Next time, for sure!

After having (alsmost) finished the rooibos dress I was in the mood for more sewing so found a pattern similar to the Beignet Skirt in one of the Burda magazines I subscribed to a while back. I made it in some of the remaining navy twill but have yet to add the little pockets to it (Pics will follow, don’t worry!). It doesn’t have the same elegance though, and I think I will buy the Beignet pattern anyway as it has a nice high waist anda nicer front. I’m also hoping to win the Sencha blouse in the red dotty fabric from the competition at The Sewing Directory which will be lovely with either my Burda skirt or, for a bit more elegance, the Beignet. It’s also one less Colette pattern to buy!

Back to the plot…

For Me-Made-June, so far I have:

The Burdastyle Danielle Dress. (that’s me on the left a good while back. Look at those chins!) This was a free pattern and the first dress I ever made. It’s terrible, but I kind of love it. I ran out of black polycotton and used normal cotton for parts so it’s two different colours, I hemmed it on the wrong side (I know!) and the zip is placd really badly. But it’s ok to get away with under a cardigan for work.

The Rooibos dress – I have two of these now – a maroon one and the new navy one.

The Burda skirt – Very easty to make so I may make another few as staples.

And opefully, soon, the Sencha blouse.

My mission today is to finish the Rooibos and start either the Macaroon  or the Parfait dress. First, there’s CPD to do (damn you, RPSGB!) and some cakes to make…

I have been a little inspired by Zoe’s Blog about wearing only clothes made by your own fair hands for the whole month of May. Whilst I would love to do this I simply do not have as many items of handmade clothing as I would wish so I am making it my mission for April and May to make as much as I possibly can to do my own version (without the beautiful alliteration): Me-Made-June.

My starting points for Me-Made-June are as follows:

Colette Patterns:

1006 Rooibos

I have made this dress already in some cheap polyester and linen I found in a charity shop in Oxford – I just have to insert the zip. I really love the pattern and I have a plan for navy twill and some Amy Butler Daisy Chain Fabric for the contrast.

I am also planning on making their coat, the Lady Grey which is shown over the Rooibos dress above. I love the wide lapels, and in a light fabric for the summer this would be perfect. (image from Colette patterns)

I also plan to make the Ceylon dress and the Parfait dress using some gorgeous fabric I bought in Australia recently.

I am really drawn to Colette Patterns due to their lovely vintage look and, unlike a lot of older patterns, they are completely practical and wearable. I may well make these dresses in a range of fabrics, and I’m hoping to try and alter one of these patterns somehow: something I’ve never done before.

I’m also planning to try out a vintage vogue pattern I’ve had knocking around for a while, and some patterns I got in a charity shop on holiday. Pictures at a later date!

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