Sunday, 9 April 2017


So, after a very long hiatus, I thought it was time to get back to blogging.  A combination of factors, like busy life, trickiness of getting proper photos in winter light and different priorities meant the blog took a back seat.  But I have been making and this is the first make I want to share (bad hair and all!)
It is the highly recognisable Tillyandthebuttons Zadie dress, a jersey dress with lots of scope for using different colours of jersey and putting your own slant on it.

It has striking diagonal seams on the front and back bodice, pockets (Yeah!), option of long, 3/4 or cap sleeve and a flattering pleated skirt.

Tilly has a little mini Zadie that you can print off to try out different combinations of colours/fabrics which is a good idea.  She also sells ready made kits in various colour combinations.

For my version I used the Saint James ponte jersey in navy and emerald stripe.  I got a few different colour variations from a while ago.  It's amazing quality, cosy and a lovely weight, very cosy indeed.  The navy and emerald are from a local fabric shop.  I don't think I will use a stripe fabric again personally, definitely not in the skirt section.  It's never going to be straight because of the curve of the pattern where bodice joins the skirt and because of the pleats.  It looks as if it is really sloping down in the photo, it's not as pronounced in reality but I think I will avoid stripes.

It's a pretty straightforward sew, the only potentially tricky bit is the pivot points where bodice, skirt and side panels are joined.  All I would say is make sure you mark the dots accurately and clearly and hit those dots bang-on with your needle. With all Tilly's patterns her instructions are excellent with photos all along the way.

So, overall a lovely comfortable, cosy dress which has been perfect in winter to spring, but I am planning a more summery one with the cap sleeves.

Will be back soon to share some other makes before I make my summer sewing plan and look forward to Me-Made-May!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Oh for the wings of a Dove

There have been a couple of new additions to the wardrobe recently.  The first is a winter version of the Emerson crop pants, winter in that they are navy and in a fabric with wool in it for a little bit of warmth.  I got the fabric in Clothspot, it's this midnight blue worsted wool fabric   and it is 100% wool, but enough drape for these trousers.  They are proving to be a great winter staple. I made these first in the summer, here and loved the shape and design of them with the front pleat detail and pockets and an ever-so-comfy half elasticated waistband (that isn't too obvious), so an all round success.  I've been wearing them with a pair of heeled ankle boots, the ankle of the boot just comes roughly to the hem of the trousers.

The other item is the Megannielsen dove blouse.  I loved the pattern as soon as I saw it with it's three sleeve options.  Version 1 has a normal straight elbow length sleeve, version 2 has flared sleeves and version 3 has crazy bell sleeves, very Abba'esque!!

I went for version 2 with the flared sleeve, just enough flare for my liking.  I would say the sleeves are ever so slightly long on me so I would shorten them about an inch if I were to make it again.

In fact, overall I feel the style is quite lengthy, so I would reduce the length of the front and back by about 1-2 inches .  (I am 5'5")  It does have a lovely curved hem front and back with facing pieces, but as my fabric is quite a silky fabric, I chose to do a rolled hem.  It was the first time I'd done rolled hems, so there was lots of practising beforehand, but once I got going it worked out well.

The neckline is a 'V' neck with a lovely neat understitched facing, which finishes it off nicely.  My fabric was a bit 'mad' in that the pattern was all over the place.  There was no way it was ever going to be pattern matched, so I went for the alternating pattern with the white background on one side and the navy background on the other.  Turned out a bit crazy, but I think it suits the design of the blouse. Definitely more of a 'going out' blouse as opposed to an everyday blouse (fabric wise)

I then went on to make a Liberty version which will be a Christmas present for someone.  It sewed up beautifully in the tana lawn fabric.  I went for the elbow length, straight sleeve this time and used the hem interfacing pieces which really does finish it nicely.  It looks really different from the other more silky one, but I still think it looks good too.

The fabric is a geometric circular design with taupe, white, grey and turquoise.

Liberty Tana Lawn Maddock from the Alice in Wonderland Collection (Spring 2015)
 So even thought the sleeves can be quite fancy, this pattern is still quite a good basic, the one with the straight sleeves would be ideal as a work blouse.  It will look very different depending on your fabric I guess, but I recommend it.

A more everyday photo of the Emerson pants with one of my many Liesl & Co maritime tees.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Bodacious Rosa

So, I made Rosa a few weeks ago, but life has been pretty busy, so thought it was high time to share with you.  It's a shirt/shirt dress pattern from Tilly and the Buttons and has curved princess seams, a front yoke and a shaped back yoke and a two-piece collar and stand.  I made mine from a mauve/lilac corduroy from which is quite lightweight, but I do like the colour.  I'm glad I didn't go for the dress as I'd have been freezing in it.

As with all the 'Tilly' patterns, you are taken by the hand in every step and he photographs are a great help too.  The seams are done in a mock felled way and if you are new to this method the instructions will take you through it easily.  The princess seams also lend themselves to a nice bit of top-stitching.  It hasn't come up too well on the photos but my thread was a multi-shade luminescent type thread, a bit different.

There are pockets, but I decided to leave them off this shirt, thought there was enough going on.

Even though I've been sewing a while now, I always find the buttonholes a bit stressful.  The only way is to practice a few times first on the fabric and then hope for the best!  Thankfully, no catastrophes this time.

I suppose one possible tricky bit might be the pointed back yoke, but again it's explained really well in the instructions.  I would use a fine marker to get to mark the pivot point so that it can be stitched exactly where it's meant to be.

I used some Liberty fabric for the under collar and the button stand facing.  The colours in it are amazing lots of blues, greens and, of course, purples.

The sleeve is finished with a cute button tab, which is definitely quicker than a full cuff, although I think there is a post on how to do a full cuff.

Anyway, it's another great pattern and I really enjoyed making it.  I think it's quite flattering because of the princess seams so I will definitely be making a dress version, but don't think I'll have time before Christmas.  Any sewing time now will be devoted to warm, cosy makes for a trip to USA over Christmas and some pressie making.  Can't believe we're nearly at that stage again, EEK!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

How the Autumn 10 x 10 Challenge went.

So, can't quite believe that 10 days have passed and I have survived with only wearing 10 items! Including shoes!! 

You can see my 10 items here.

I did no planning beforehand or any real thinking about it.  Purely based on my trip to Iceland in September when I packed just a carry on for 6 days, I picked my items fairly quickly the day before I started the challenge.  I just wanted to see if it was possible and if I would learn anything along the way.  I have been striving for a smaller wardrobe, aka 'the capsule', over the past few years and have progressively been discarding LOTS of items from my wardrobe that just weren't working for various reasons. 

So, the bottom line is.... IT IS POSSIBLE and it's not even that difficult.

I may, however, have gone off anything that happens to be blue or green for a while.

Days 1-3
 Nothing to crazy for the first three days, pretty much how I dress normally, jeans/trousers, tops and cardigan/jacket.

Days 4-6

By days 4-6, I realised I was going to have to try something different.  The first was wearing the pussybow blouse under the dress, I'd only ever worn this dress on its own, so it was good to see that it could be worn as an overdress.  The other two days were just using different accessories and different top/bottom combinations.

Days 7-9
I suppose days 7-9 were similar in that I was going for the 'what can I wear under the dress/dungarees?'  Perhaps trying to make things a little bit different with different tights, jewellery, scarfs.

Day 10
By today.... not going to lie, I had an 'at home' and really just wanted to wear trackies and a sweatshirt, but for the sake of completion I pondered and came up with the scenario of wearing a top OVER the dress.  Aha, I think it actually worked, now why didn't I think of that before!!

So, what have I learned from this challenge?


All my items were fine for the challenge because the weather isn't too cold yet.  Any colder and I'd be wanting warmer sweaters and certainly a longer coat.


As I work a lot from home, some days I was a bit overdressed for the activities I was doing, but it didn't matter too much really.


All of my items were blues or greens, both of which I love, therefore everything went together, but it was nearly all a bit too matchey.  Think if I were doing it again I would add in a completely different colour to provide variety and relieve potential boredom.


I think I was quite lucky with my rash choices.  The Bettine dress proved to be a godsend in that I could were tops under it and, as it turns out today, over it too.  This is definitely a factor to consider when choosing items for a capsule wardrobe, what shapes work well with others.  The slim jeans and tops is what I would were mostly so that was fine.  The dungarees were fairly versatile too, they are maybe not MY ideal silhouette in that they are quite oversized in style but for comfort they won hands down.


Not going to lie.  I did less washing than I normally would.  Well, we wash clothes too much anyway. The tops were each washed once and that was it, eek!

Reactions from others

Well living in a house of males.... NO REACTION, ie they never noticed.

Also I never see the same people all the time.  If I were going in to an organization and seeing the same group of people all day, every day I might feel more self-conscious, but I know I shouldn't, but honestly I'm not sure people really do notice that much.

Most worn item

Definitely the dress.  I will be aiming to sew dresses similar to that for day-to day wear from now on, either in a woven or a knit fabric, that can be layered in different ways.


Two pair of shoes.  Who thought that would be possible, but I managed no problem at all.  I'm glad I chose the Russell and Bromley ankle boots.  They were a special purchase and expensive and I have been keeping them for 'good' but it was lovely to just wear them, they're not doing much good in a shoe box in the bottom of my wardrobe.


This is very important to me anyway as I have mentioned a lot on the blog.  If you have less items in your wardrobe, you want them to be comfortable and suitable for the weather.  Those are a given, but for me I ideally want them to be as natural and breathable as possible.  I also try to use organic fabrics if I can, although honestly I've had mixed success with the more natural fabrics.  For me, my go-to fabrics are cotton, linen, double gauze, merino jersey and wool fabrics.

What next?

I really enjoyed doing this challenge.  It really does highlight what works best for your lifestyle. (And how little you really need)  It has also made me more aware when I go to buy an item or make an item, exactly how it can be worn with the rest of my wardrobe and if it can be worn in different ways then that's all the better.  Thanks also to stylebee who instigated the challenge and whose blog has been very helpful and motivating.  I'm now going to aim for the 20 x 20 challenge, haha!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

10 x 10 Challenge!

Reducing this down!

So, for Autumn, something a little bit different - some might say crazy, mad, extreme!  I have decided to embark on the 10 x 10 Challenge.  This is something I have been aware of for a while from following various blogs that focus on capsule wardrobes.  In this case it was the blog, she did her 10 x 10 in September, but now her friend is doing the challenge for 10 days starting tomorrow Monday 10/10/2016 (just realised that date is rather appropriate!)

So what is the challenge?

You pick 10 items from your wardrobe.
Style them into 10 looks.
Give yourself 10 days to it.

That's it, easy, haha!

Things I considered in selecting 10 items.

Weather:  On checking the weather high are between 12 and 14 degrees and lows between 8 and 10 degrees, if the weather forecast can be trusted! So, definitely getting cooler, but not too cool, hopefully.

Lifestyle:  Things I'll be doing over the next 10 days, working from home mostly with occasional meetings and some casual social occasions, so maybe not quite as taxing as if I were 'working out' if you know what I mean.

Colour:  Whenever I first looked into capsule wardrobes, the one thing that struck me was how a lot of them were monochrome or very similar colours.  I had enough of that when I worked in a big organization, so I love colour and definitely incorporate colour in my wardrobe.  Having said that I do get that items have to go together, especially when you have so little.  My colours for this are based around blues and greens, which I love.

Shapes: Not sure if I'm going to be that successful from this point of view.  Again, items need to be interchangeable with eachother and silhouettes need to work together also.  We shall see.  This is part of the challenge.

So here are my 10 items.

1 pair of shoes - Navy Trainers from Tedandmuffy

1 pair of ankle boots from

1 dress - Handmade, using pattern Tillyandthebuttons Bettine sewing pattern.

1 navy jeans from

1 pair of dungarees - Handmade using sewing pattern Roberts collection by Marilla Walker

3 Tops - All handmade   

1.  Navy/White striped top ( Liesl and Co Maritime Top)
2.  Floral Top (Mercury Collection by Marilla Walker)
3.  Pussybow blouse (pussy bow blouse sewing pattern by Sew Over It.)

1 cardigan (

1 Jacket (Sussex wax jacket from

So, why am I doing this challenge at all I might ask myself.

Well, partly just for the challenge.  Also, as this is mostly a sewing blog and I love sewing (but really sew too many things still) I want to try and be more mindful about exactly what I need, what really works for me on a day-to-day basis (both style-wise and practically) so that I can choose patterns more wisely.  I definitely have improved a lot over the past couple of years, but I would like to hone my style a little bit more (must be a turning 50 thing!) I would like this challenge to encourage me to get more out of my clothes and really WEAR them.

It could be really boring and repetitive (sorry in advance if that's the case) but I hope to have fun with it and maybe learn something along the way.

Wish me luck.  I'll be aiming to put a photograph on instagram every day #stylebee10x10

Not too late, anyone else up for an October challenge, you can check the details out here.

Monday, 26 September 2016

City Stroll Wrap Skirt

So, I've been meaning to make this skirt for ages, and finally did towards the end of the summer and have been getting quite a bit of wear out of it.  It is the Liesl and co City Stroll Wrap skirt which has a curved hem and pockets and a neat hem facing.

Worn with Sewaholic Oakridge blouse

I made mine in a fairly lightweight organic corduroy form in a teal colour which I bought a few years ago.  It's ok, but I think I would go for a slightly heavier fabric the next time.

Worn with Made-by-Rae Josephine blouse.

The pattern itself is very straightforward with great instructions as per all Liesl & Co patterns and the pockets give it more interest and, of course, are very practical.

The facing on the hem also gives a lovely neat finish and a little chance to use a co-ordinating fabric.  The one I used is one of the Atelier Brunette rayon's which worked very well.

I was thinking of lengthening the skirt, as I thought it might be too short, but I made no adjustments at all and I think it's fine especially now in the autumn with thicker tights.  It's been a surprisingly useful skirt (I wasn't sure to be honest, it maybe seemed a bit novelty)  and even had a trip to Reykjavik earlier in September.  So, all in all I am really pleased with it and will be aiming for a slightly heavier version for winter.

Even fine when sitting down.
Coffee stop in Reykjavik.

Friday, 19 August 2016

True Bias Emerson pants.

 I knew as soon as Emerson crop pant/shorts pattern came on my radar that I'd love it.  I've always loved the wide-leg style, like a palazzo style, but these are cropped 3/4 length, hitting about mid-calf, which is, of course, very en trend at the moment.  Well, you've got to try, haven't you?

As they have an elasticized back (so no zip insertion) but a flat front waistband which sits just below the natural waist they are both comfortable and flattering at the same time.  Also, they have nice pleat details at the front which gives a bit of shape.

 They also have in-seam pockets, well you've got to have those, don't you.  I made my Emerson's in a blue chambray lyocell fabric which is light-medium weight but with a great drape which I think works really well with this pattern.

I made a straight size 14 with no adjustments and they are spot-on, I'm really pleased with the fit, which makes me think I might try more True Bias patterns.

I love the length they fall at too.  I'm 5'5" and they fall mid-calf I would say.  I love them and have in mind a navy pair for autumn in a suiting fabric which I think will work with boots too.  I think they even work fine with flat shoes too, so overall a great all rounder.  Who knows I might even make a shorts version, but probably not this summer.  It's feeling very autumnal all of a sudden, where did that summer go to?