Liberty Work Shirt

IMG_20170110_105838058I struggle to get button down shirts that fit correctly. Getting the right bust size so you don’t have a “between button peep show”,  without it looking like a tent is hard enough. Then there’s getting a shirt long enough in both the waist and the arms. So I have, over the years, attempted to sew my own shirts for a more custom fit.

The advantage of the V9029 pattern is the use of princess seams, which allows for an easier full bust adjustment. Having said that, I didn’t end up needing one as I went for a slightly fuller fit for comfort. Still, it’s nice to have that option. I lengthened the body but didn’t need to lengthen the arms.

IMG_20170110_071038025This is a nice pattern, with just the right amount of detail to make it a good work shirt without so much detail or technique that it becomes a pain to sew. Some of the detail is lost in the pattern of the fabric, but I reckon this would look smart in a solid colour as well.

The fabric is a Liberty print, purchased for £15 per meter – so overall the shirt cost about what I would expect to pay for a standard off the rack shirt. I’ve no plans to make another just yet, but the next time I feel the need for a new work shirt, this will be at the top of the list for patterns.


Slinky Thurlow

IMG_20160408_093049718_HDRSince having kids I’m increasingly in the position of having way more in my pattern and fabric stash than I can possibly get through. I’m trying not to buy new things, but it’s tricky when the Knitting and Stitching show comes round each year and it’s just minutes from my house.

These trousers, however, are a triumph of sewing from the stash, as the pattern and fabric have been knocking about for ages. They weren’t originally intended for each other either. The fabric was purchased in Ipoh, Malaysia, probably about 10 years ago. It was intended for a suit, but when I tried to make said suit, I realised the pattern was for a slimmer version of me, so it just wasn’t going to work. It’s a lovely, drapey synthetic that washes well – perfect for a pair of work trousers.






I have had the Sewaholic Thurlow pattern for maybe 3-4 years. It has all the things I like in trousers – a slight boot cut, back welts, proper pockets. And it’s a nicely constructed pattern too. My only issue was that it sits a little low. But all in all, I’m pretty happy with these.

IMG_20160408_070042231I made a muslin, which was a good move, as I ended up adding to the crotch curve to correct for a bit of tightness in the back. Otherwise, no adjustments were needed, not even to the length which is usually an issue for me. These took about 6 weeks to complete, doing 5-10 minutes a day when I could. Not sure I’ll make them again, but am happy to finally have this fabric out of the stash and into the closet.

Alice in Wonderland becomes a Librarian

IMG_20160210_091959959When I was a teenager, I discovered a lovely green and blue plaid woolen dress in my mother’s closet. She’d made it when younger and said she was so sick of it by the time she finished making it (with all the pattern matching, etc to be done), that she didn’t wear it much. She was happy for me to have it and I wore it ALL THE TIME. I still have it, even though I haven’t been able to fit into it in decades, and though it’s a bit worse for wear, I still love it.


Back seam along invisible zipper

Back seam along invisible zipper

Perhaps this dress has a similar fate. It was finished sometime in 2014. I wore it once before becoming pregnant again, and so it languished in the closet until I returned to work earlier this year. This is my first ever attempt at matching plaids and, while Butterick 4386 isn’t the most complex pattern I could have chosen, it was still challenge enough to get everything lined up. In the end, I’m very pleased with the matching – the back on each side of the zipper lines up very well and the pockets are spot on. It’s an accomplished make, from fine medium weight wool fabric.

IMG_20160210_070251805But it’s not a firm favourite in the wardrobe rotation yet, for two reasons. The first is easy to fix: I need to find better accompaniments – from the shoes to the tights and the shirt underneath. Currently, I’m stuck with white. And that brings me to reason number two – when I wear this with white tights, I feel like Alice in Wonderland has grown up and become a librarian. Maybe I’ve been in Britain so long I’ve internalised the distaste for white tights (even without fully understanding it). Or perhaps I just feel I can’t quite get away with white tights at my age. In any case, until I find a better complete ensemble, I think this lovely dress may stay closet-bound. Maybe my daughters will discover and rescue it in 10-15 years.

Baby cord jacket for my grown up baby

FrontKwik Sew 3113 is adorable and I couldn’t resist the challenge of making a ‘jean jacket’ for my pre-schooler. And I had just enough blue-green baby cord to make it work.
This is the first Kwik Sew pattern I’ve ever used, but I’m smitten. There were some very clever construction details, such as the in-seam pockets, and it was very clean and neat to put together. With the fake flat-felled seams, I didn’t need to finish many seam allowances at all, meaning this was a pretty quick make, all things considered.

BackMore accuracy in cutting and construction would have given me a cleaner edge on the internal collar, but I got round this by binding the inner edge with cream bias binding. Not ideal, and still not as neat at the edges as I would like, but not too bad. I finished with some lovely floral printed wooden buttons, which just happened to match quite nicely.

OpenPlacketMy big mistake was lack of attention on the cuffs. As I was nearing the end, I was getting cocky and/or tired, and didn’t pay attention to which side the buttonhole (sewn and cut before adding the cuff to the sleeve) should go on. So I put the wrong cuff on the wrong sleeve and didn’t notice until all the top stitching had been done. I could have unpicked and tried again, but I couldn’t be bothered. So the button closes to the inside, to make the sleeve and cuff lie straight. On the plus side, the lovely button shows if you wear the sleeves open and folded up once.closedPlacket

I thought my daughter would love this when it was finished. Alas, she didn’t give it a second look and I had to cajole her into wearing it once for a fitting issue. She’s definitely not a baby that I can dress up in whatever I want any more! Never mind – perhaps her little sister will want it in a few years’ time.

Toddler T’s

I have never sewn myself a t-shirt. What’s the point when you can get them for so cheap in most stores?

tshirts1I have, however, now dabbled in sewing toddler t-shirts. I don’t know why this is different, exactly. It’s not like my toddler needs more t-shirts or that they are expensive. Perhaps it’s just a challenge worth taking on a small scale.

The fabric is from the Knitting and Stitching Show and depicts 2 things almost every toddler loves – cats and dinosaurs. I did a 3rd test version that was way too big and stretched out and is relegated to the bottom of her ‘spare clothes’ drawer at nursery. These 2, however, get sufficient wear and were each whipped up in about 2 hours.

Will I make more? Perhaps if I run across more cute fabric like this, but to be honest, she has so many t-shirts as it is, there isn’t much point.

Something like a Sencha

fullSenchaI finally got round to trying Colette Patterns and made myself a Sencha blouse. Verdict? I can see why the patterns are popular – nicely presented, well written, interesting designs. The only bit I struggled with was the placement of the buttonholes and buttons. I wasn’t paying attention and they ended up too close to the edge. Not sure if that’s just my problem or if newbies might struggle with that as well.

backSenchaThis shirt was made out of some leftover blouse material, purchased many years ago in Malaysia. It was previously used on a 1940’s dress, which was a huge mistake – it didn’t have the necessary weight to pull off the design and the dress was rarely worn. It went to the charity shop in the last clear out. This blouse is more successful though – comfy and cool – I just wish I’d paid more attention to the length as it’s almost too short. I modified it by taking out the bottom darts. When they were in, the middle ballooned out in a very unattractive way (not necessarily a fault of the pattern – more of the type of fabric I chose).

So, overall, happy to finally have made something wearable out of this bit of fabric that came halfway around the world.


Neckline dart details – my favourite feature

Who? Who? Whose cute owl dress is this?

OwlDressFrontThis adorable little jumper dress is for my daughter, based on a 1970’s Style 2263 pattern gifted me by a fellow mum.

The fabric is a lightweight small-wale cotton cord, which was purchased at the Knitting and Stitching Show last October. It wasn’t cheap at £16 a metre, but it’s just so cute, it was totally worth the money.

OwlDressBackI didn’t match up the pattern on the back seam, but I’m really ok about that. It seemed random enough to get away with it, and the gathering on the back means that when the dress is worn and in motion, it’s not too noticeable.