Patterns arrived

I’m planning to enter the Simplicity competition that is currently open, where they are searching for¬†the Simplicity Star Sewist.

First stage is complete as the two patterns for the categories I plan to enter have arrived. ūüôā



I’ve also been doing some thinking on exactly what I might make with them, and from what fabric.

Let the creativity begin….




Gertie’s Vintage made Casual

I got the great new book by Gertie for my birthday – fantastic range of patterns along with a selection of pattern modifications to extend the selection.

As with her first book the descriptions are detailed and well explained. I enjoyed being able to follow the steps to alter patterns enabling you to create something unique.

This week I’ve tackled trousers – something I’ve not really done much of. First off I drafted a pattern for some shorts, similar to the Sailor shorts but longer. I used some leftover old fabric as it was really a muslin (although hopefully a wearable one!)

I made a few mistakes.. Missed the darts on the front as I forgot to trace them onto my pattern. Also messed up the length for my waistband, making it too short.

Having made them I used the book’s guidance to work out what modifications were required. Removal of droopy bottom, and baggy back.

Then I realised that what I really needed was light weight trousers not shorts!

Redrafted the pattern full length, keeping most of the extra width.

Success, a comfy pair of summer trousers. Perfect to fend of mosquitos.

To round off the evening I then rattled off a knit pencil skirt. Great idea to stitch in the ditch on the seams to hide the stitching for the invisible elastic waistband.


Next up was a long sleeve version of “the pin up sweater”. I found some rib knit fabric in Leeds market – perfect to emulate the jumper in the book. My fabric is green, so a little different from the blue in the book. I decided that as we’re approaching winter in the UK that full sleeves were called for. Drafted the sleeves by extending the short ones. Next time I might make them a fraction longer. They feel quite tight, but I think that’s the look. The only other modification I’d make is to widen the front slight around the bust. As there are no darts it could do with a little more room if you normally need a fba.


Overall, great book and patterns so far. Well done Gertie.

Appearing in Threads Magazine

I’m so proud to have had one of my outfits selected for the current issue of Threads Magazine. This is a great magazine, from America that provides lots of fantastic articles and tutorials on many of the more advanced sewing techniques.

I’d recommend it to anyone looking to take their sewing to the next level.


The outfit of mine that it features is the dress I made to wear to my friends wedding last year. The journey of its creation can be read about on this blog.

Threads can be bought in many ways Рideal for those not living in America. They do a print version, which comes with free access to the online edition that is now available for Apple and Android, an online only subscription, plus they can be individually bought via the Kobo store. So lots of options for all you keen sewers. Find out more about the magazine at:

Spring jumper

Whilst the weather is improving its definitely still spring. Warm one day, then cold the next. A few weeks ago I picked up some light weight knit fabric which I thought would make a nice light weight jumper.

Having made the fitted jersey dress, I decided to modify the pattern and make a tunic length jumper, with 3/4 length sleeves. In keeping with the warmer weather I also lowered the neckline to, so that although its a jumper it’s not too wintry. Again I used my overlocker to sew all the main seams. This time as I was using the sleeves, I fitted the sleeves into the main body before doing either the main seams on the edge of the tunic, or on the sleeves. The side seams are then sewed in one long seam along the arms and then down the sides. I find this a great way to fit sleeves.

Another trick that I use alot when sewing with any stretch fabric is not to gather the sleeve head before fitting. As the fabric is stretchy I simply pin the cap of the sleeve to the shoulder seam, then pin both the start and end point of the sleeve head to the edge of the fabric. I then stretch the fabric and perhaps add one more pin in the middle (between the edge and the cap). Then it’s straight onto sewing the seam, making sure you stretch the fabric so that it fits between the pinned points. This same technique can be used when adding elastic onto garments too.

To finish the neckline, I used the overlocker to edge the neckline, then simply turned under and top stitched. For the sleeves and lower edge I did the same thing, however I tried to manually do a double seam. This didn’t work great – it’s almost parallel, but not quite. I have tried to use a double needle in the past, but had problems getting the tension right – maybe its time to try again?



As with the dress version it’s nice to have a slightly fitted shape.

Spring into the jersey dress trend

As spring approaches I thought it was time for a new Jersey dress for work. Jersey dresses have been in the sewing trends recently both the the Great British Sewing Bee, and the new book from Collete.

I’ve made quite a few jersey dresses as they are so quick and easy to make with a serger. My normal route is to start with a vintage dress pattern and ditch the facings. I then use strips of the fabric, folded and the served onto the neck and arm holes. Stretch the strip slightly when you’re attaching to stop it ending up baggy. This means it’s easy to reshape the neck into a new scoop shape as you want. Remember keep the new scoop at 90o in the middle to help keep it balanced.

The finished modern dress.


I think it looks a bit different from the pattern picture!


The sleeve picture really doesn’t do it justice. The dress has darts front and back which give it a lovely fitted shape and stops it looking like a big baggy tshirt.

A serger is great for jersey and I love using it to do a lettuce edge rolled heam.

Vintage tunic

Another version on vintage butterick 3460. This is the third dress I’ve made with this pattern.

Like the grey geometric patterned one posted previously I shortened the dress to make it above the knee. I made it slightly longer than the grey one so that it looked better with tights rather than needing leggings.


The fabric was a lovely burnt out velvet jersey from a German manufacturer. The mixture of jersey, with a hint of velvet made this a great, easy wearing dress to wear for winter night out, or even for smart occasions during the day. A great all-rounder.

Vogue 8551 Evening dress

First made this vogue dress 21 years ago! Last time it was in dark green velvet.

The pattern is for an unlined dress which I didn’t want to do. With having the high slit on the left thigh I made the lining shorter at the front than the back.

As I mentioned in a previous post – using the through the shoulders technique to attach and turn the lining is very difficult when the straps are as narrow as they are on this pattern.

Another problem encountered was that it was designed for a B cup. The front pieces for the ptincess seams need adjustments to give enough room for a C cup.

There were facing pieces on the front slit which I held in place using wonderweb tape to stoo them flapping out. With the dress being such fine fabric this was easier than my usual invisible heaming stitches.

I found that I didn’t like how it sat under my arms, was possibility a bit too low for me.


Dress was saved by making a quick shrug. Started making less than 2 hours before we were going out!

Traced the shrug from an old one I had. Three simple pieces. Used my overlocker to sew shoulder seams and underarm/sides. Then set the overlocker to a roll heam to finish neck and lower edge. Sucess.