• Seamwork Sadie Top

    My February Monthly Sewing Challenge also incorporated my #makeyourstash entry in the form of this Seamwork Sadie top. I’ve had this striped ponte in my stash for over a year. It was meant to be stock for the shop, but the last 2m had a stain on it so it joined my stash instead. I cut the pattern around the 50p sized mark (which looked suspiciously like a coffee mark). It’s taken me until April to finish this as I got making the 2 Albion Duffle coats.

    Seamworks Sadie

    I’m not usually a fan of funnel or turtle necks, but I needed a top that would go under a particularly scratchy cardigan with a high neckline so it works well! I chose to line the pocket, collar and cuffs up with vertical stripes and the given the number of stripes, I’ll take the pattern matching as close enough for me.

    Seamworks Sadie

    The Seamwork Sadie is meant to be boxy according to the pattern instructions, but I think if I make it again, I’ll either use fabric with more drape or I’ll taper it down a size at the waist as I prefer it to be more fitted than this one is.  I added 7.5cm (3 inches) to the sleeve and body lengths and this seams to always work for me with Seamwork patterns. It would suit being a little longer to turn it into more of a long tunic/short dress for wearing over leggings too. So, that’s another everyday item sewn for #everydayeverymonth and I better get on with April’s actual item which is the True Bias Hudson Pant in some leftover french terry.

  • Colette Albion Duffle Round 2

    After last months’ Albion Duffle coat was finished, I realised 2 things: firstly that coats are a major project and secondly that I still needed a coat of my own. So off I set again! I was going to make a Kelly Coat like I’d said on my Monthly Sewing Challenge post, but I figured that I’d already made an Albion for the hubby, so I knew how to construct it already and I’d already got a toile to adjust.

    This time, I did a shorter version as I didn’t want to be too matchy-matchy with the hubby’s Albion Duffle. I lined the coat in the same way as version 1 but did the version 2 length. I removed the external pockets as they looked a bit much on the shorter coat, but I did include the optional zip again which makes it far more cosy. Again, I made basic toggles using suede cord and toggle buttons from Duttons for Buttons in Harrogate.  The grey coating was a bolt end I bought at the knitting and stitching show in November and the flannel is from Fabworks.

    Colette Albion Duffle Shorter Coat

    The lining choice proved to be a mistake as I chose a thicker flannel and it’s a little too rigid on the sleeves, as well as making the shoulders look a little puffy when I’m wearing a sweater or hoodie underneath. I should learn to trust my instincts as I knew from the drape that it was stiffer than I needed! I also made the error of cutting the outer coat to the version 2 length which doesn’t include an overlap for covering the bottom edges of the lining. I corrected that by removing 3cm off the bottom of the lining, so my coat is now 3cm shorter than I’d planned, but that is fine since I’d already added 10cm to the length to take into account my longer torso.

    I’ll still make a Kelly later in the year, but I’ll do an unlined one in waxed canvas or laminated cotton.


  • Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress

    One of the first things I made last year was a Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress (which I have in stock here) whilst on their Introduction to Dressmaking course (where I met the lovely Harriet of Sew Me Sunshine).  I could actually make clothes fairly competently at that point but I wanted to make sure I was doing the basics properly and it seemed like a good thing to use my birthday money on! Plus, a full weekend of sewing and socialising is never to be sniffed at. We made a circle skirt which involved so much hemming that I wanted to just leave it partially unhemmed at one point, and then the shift dress on day 2.

    Now of course I’m tall at 5’10” so I had to add 4″ to the pattern to have it a reasonable length but thankfully that was really easy to do.  I find the fit to be a little boxy on me as I have wide hips and a reasonably large chest but I do have a smallish waist. The shift dress obviously doesn’t pull you in at the waist, so I lose the hourglass shape completely. I could get around that easily by adding a belt but then I’d need to add a couple more inches to the length to stop that pulling the dress up.

    Sew over it ultimate shift dress

    Because I was a little more experienced than some of the other ladies in the class, I took the time to sew neatly and even hemmed the edge with handstitching. It really does make a difference, I’d highly recommend taking the time to do it! I made my dress with some gorgeous Atelier Brunette Twist Dark Blue and I’m really pleased with the results. It’s a great dress for when I’m teaching as it’s comfortable and doesn’t show any cleavage when I’m bending over desks. I just need to make another a little longer and with a belt!

    Sew over it ultimate shift dress

  • Colette Albion – an epic sewing task

    Last week marked an epic sewing journey into the world of coat making when I decided to make the hubby a Colette Patterns Albion Duffle Coat.  Now, being a novice to coat making I looked at the pattern, looked at the number of pieces and thought to myself, “that’ll take a day or two, no probs”. It took so many more days than I thought! I should’ve had an inkling really when I saw there were 88 pages in the PDF pattern… Now part of that was just that I was being a perfectionist and the rest was because there’s so many stages to it all.  Now that’s not to say I wouldn’t do the whole coat thing again (in fact I definitely will as I’m still going to make myself a Closet Case Kelly coat), but next time I’ll know how much time goes into it.

    I started with a toile and found that the waist was really generous and although there’s an optional drawstring (see the sewalong over at Colette if you’re interested in adding one to your own Albion), the hubby didn’t want one on his wool coat as he thought it’d look odd on the thick fabric. So I graded the pattern in, avoiding any curved bit on the inseam pocket area. I added 2″ to the arm lengths as JK is tall and all tops are short on his arm area. I’d add a couple of inches to the length of the body if I did it again but he’s happy enough with the length as it is really. I decided that since its a winter coat, I’d interface the flannel lining as well as quilting it and I decided to use some thermal curtain lining to do it with. It’s a nice, sturdy, woven material but not too thick so doesn’t add lots of bulk. It is, however, a little heavy! I did the customisation of adding a zip which was definitely a good move as it would be a little chilly without it.

    Colette AlbionFor the outside of the coat, I used some Classic Navy Melton and for the inside I used a green and yellow checked brushed cotton, both from Fabworks. I made my own toggles with some leather cord and wooden toggle buttons from Duttons for Buttons in Harrogate, following the instructions over on the sewalong. I used a leather needle to make that bit easier, and quilting clips to prevent pin holes. It worked well after a few practise runs! While I was using the leather, I also made a little hook for hanging the coat up and attached it in the same way as the toggles.

    I definitely made a great decision at the start by attaching my walking foot to my machine and I seem to have avoided a lot of skipped stitches by using a step behind the foot whenever I was starting at a thick seam. My little Janome coped well with all the bulk, which was a little surprising! I used a point turner to push bits under the walking foot whenever I hit a really thick bit and it started to get stuck. Colette AlbionAll in all, I’d highly recommend the pattern if you’re up for a major project and have a few sewing projects under your belt. The instructions weren’t visual enough for me at times and I managed to get myself confused with the zip insertion on the facings and the sleeve lining insertion as those areas weren’t clearly explained enough for me to work out what went where. Even with the sewalong pictures, it took a lot of tacking and unpicking until I understood! I ended up referring to the instructions on the Grainline Cascade sewalong for help as the images and explanations gave a different angle that I could understand.  But, that might just be me overthinking things!

    I think the effort was worth it anyway as JK is now warm on his commute to work and it won’t take me as long to do the next coat either.Colette Albion

  • Candy Cat Cushion

    The reason that my Rosa took so long this month is because I got a little distracted by Jo Hart’s (aka Unicornharts) Candy Cat pattern that can be found for FREE on Craftsy right here.  Jo has some lovely Foundation Paper Pieced (FPP) patterns on there to buy as well as a few lovely free ones.

    I found out that Schnitzel and Boo were having a quilt-a-long over on their blog and I decided to have a go at a block. It’s been a good year since I did any quilting or patchwork for myself, other than to make samples for teaching it to a class, so it was great to just sit down and make a cat block. I used a selection of Kona solids, some from my stash and some from the Skep Knitting and Stitching shop in Leeds (soon to close down, boo!)  as well as some of the Meow range from Riley Blake for the backgrounds.

    Candy Cat


    The Candy Cat QAL is still going on over at Schnitzel and Boo and Unicornharts has made a cute Mr Squeak mouse and a fishy bones block to add to it too! I decided to add sashing to the Candy cat block and then an envelope back to turn it into a cushion cover for my sewing chair. I’m going to make a Mr Squeak block and turn him into a pin cushion at some point soon. For now though, I’m back to making my #everydayeverymonth item along with a better fitting Paxson for Mr Bobbins.


  • Rainbrella Rosa

    I’ve finally completed my first #everydayeverymonth item and sewn myself a Rosa shirt in some lovely AGF Charleston Rainbrella shadow fabric, which I’m calling Rainbrella Rosa! I have both in stock and given that I’ve got a long torso, long arms and am ample in the boobage area, I figured Rosa would make a perfect start to increasing my everyday wardrobe with an item that I struggle to buy. Rainbrella Rosa shirt

    For a change I made a toile and I’m glad that I did as I did loads of adjustments to it! I’m incredibly lazy with doing this step usually and I just usually fudge my way round the fitting as I go but with the collar and all the mock flat fell seams I thought this might not be a great idea. My measurements had me between a 5 at the waist and smack bang between a 6 and 7 at the hips but that toile showed that this was really loose fitting and I prefer a more fitted look. I cut a 4 from the top to the waist and a 5/6 at the hips and then did an FBA to make room for my boobs (no popping buttons here!). Idle Fancy has a fab tutorial on FBAs for princess seams here if you’re interested on how to do that. The shirt is actually really long in the torso so I didn’t add any length to it whatsoever, but if you’re a regular sized woman rather than 5’10” like myself, you might need to shorten it a fair bit. Rainbrella Rosa shirt

    I’m happy with the results although I’ve got to spend some time this weekend adding the buttons as I didn’t have enough when I came to attach them. Even the inside looks pretty with all the overlocked edges and mock flat felled seams! I will however, do the optional longer cuffed sleeve when I do a flannel version of this later in the year. These sleeves are quite loose fitting and because they’re 3/4 length, a cardigan or sweater over the top makes them bunch up a bit underneath.

    As per usual with Tilly and the Buttons patterns, the instructions are lovely and clear so I had no issues at all despite this being the first time that I’ve done a full collar and stand.

    Rainbrella Rosa shirt

  • Megan Nielsen Kelly Skirt


    Another catch-up of the last few months here and this time it is the Megan Nielsen Kelly skirt. Now I’m not really a skirt wearing kinda girl usually, I live in jeans and sweaters in the winter and the few days a year that count as British summer, I live in floaty dresses. The exception to this being work days when I tend to wear a lot of shift dresses and Coco ones too. So imagine my surprise when I found a skirt that not only complemented my little (ish) waist to big bum and hips shape! At the minute I’ve got the very similar Brumby pattern in my shop (it doesn’t have the buttons at the front though) but obviously everyone else agrees with me as they sell out regularly.

    I made this one from a cosy and thick moleskin fabric from Fabworks and although its really comfy and warm, it is a little thick to take the pleats around my bum without sticking out further than it should. I’ll be using a drapier fabric next time. More importantly though it was a quick make, was easy to add 4 inches to for my crazy leg length and ITS GOT POCKETS!

    Megan Neilsen Kelly

  • Sew Over It Betty

    Another one of the dresses that I’ve made in the past few months is the Sew Over It Betty, which I now stock here. Betty has a fitted bodice, full circle skirt and is sleeveless, making her the perfect party dress. I first made this lovely purple polka-dot version in cotton bought at Fabworks to wear at a friend’s wedding and despite the blustery day I managed to avoid flashing my underwear (circle skirt issues!).

    SOI BettySOI Betty

    As per usual I had to make adjustments to the length, adding 5cm to the bodice so the waist fell in the right place and then another 5cm to the skirt length so it didn’t finish half way up my pasty thighs. Adding to the skirt brought up a few cutting issues with it being a circle as it no longer fits on the fabric easily if you add even a little bit of length and it can easily get quite wasteful. A bit of creative pattern piecing got me there though! I placed the skirt on first, cut it out and then refolded the remaining fabric to cut the rest out, being careful to stay on the grain still.

    Although I was happy with the dress as it pulls me in at the waist and covers up both my bigger thighs (damn you running!) and mummy tummy area, I found that there was some pulling over my boobs and it was baggy on my high chest. FBA definitely needed even though I technically only need to add 2″.

    The second version I made was for a charity casino night and I had every intention of buying a RTW dress for this as it fell smack bang in the middle of packing for the house move (as well as finding primary schools for the kids, applying for high school for the eldest, starting the Christmas shopping and finding a house to rent…). But of course I couldn’t find a dress that was long enough, fitted across my chest and hips properly and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

    So with 24 hours to go I bought some lovely and very slippery black satin and set about making Betty number 2.  I was still hemming the never ending hem that is the circle skirt with 30 minutes before I had to leave… Needless to say the hem is a little messy but enough that you can’t tell unless you’re looking closely!  I’m not happy with the zip insertion as it was moving about and I was rushing it so I’ve an area that is slightly baggy where it shouldn’t be. I’ve decided that rather than correct it, its going to become a circle skirt as I’ve enough material in the bodice to make a waistband and enough length that I can slice off the dodgy hemline without having to unpick it all and resew it properly. The FBA prevented the pulling on the boobage area and bagging across the neckline at least.

    Here’s (woah) black Betty (bam-a-lam).SOI Betty


  • Noodlehead Supertote The Supertote

    One of the patterns I’ve been using quite a bit recently is the Noodlehead Supertote, although I still need to make one for myself. I seem to like gifting this one! I made a version for my friend Helen as a birthday present over a year ago now and it was a sneaky geek product as she loves her geeky TV shows. On the outside its mostly just plain navy blue but on the inside and the top its all Star Trek themed. I made the internal pockets big enough for shoes as this was to be used as a gym bag.

    Noodlehead Supertote


    The most recent one I made was for my Mum’s birthday out of this gorgeous Cotton+Steel swallows fabric along with some denim and Cloud 9 scraps.

    Noodlehead Supertote

    This one has smaller internal pockets (they’re sewn into sections) as she goes lots of places with my Dad and likes to take her knitting and sewing with her. Noodlehead Supertote

    The bag works in most quilting cottons and canvas. I can’t wait to finally make one for myself!

  • Monthly Sewing Challenge

    Fancy a new monthly challenge? Over the past year I’ve gone from about 3 me-made items in my wardrobe to somewhere around 25, not including the ones that just didn’t work out or I’ve worn to the point of having to bin them. Now, like a lot of you, I went a bit crazy making gorgeous dresses. This is despite the fact that I rarely wear a dress unless its crazy hot outside (I live in England, enough said there) or if I’m going out for dinner or similar, which is a rarity.

    This year I’m setting myself the challenge of making some everyday clothes so I can properly join in with Me Made May and so that I have clothes that fit me properly all the time. I’m going to Instagram and Blog my monthly make and I’m hoping to learn a few new skills or perfect some that I’m less confident in as I go. I’ll be making other things on the way too, especially as I’m a sucker for wanting to try new patterns as the come out!

    So, who’s with me?

    Here’s my list if you want to join in with #everydayeverymonth

    January – Tilly and the Buttons Rosa

    February – Seamwork Patterns Skipper or Sadie

    March – Closet Case Files Kelly

    April – True Bias Hudson

    May – Grainline Scout Tee

    June – Sew House Seven Bridgetown Tunic

    July – Colette Moneta

    August – Grainline Lark Tee

    September – Tilly and the Buttons Mila

    November – Sew House Seven Toaster Sweaters

    December –  Victory Lola