striding onwards

They’re finished! Two years ago I told my best sewing friend “I am not making trousers again”. Yet here I am, trouser aversion conquered. I finally have a waistband that stays put.

I discovered this morning after a night of restoring the brain cells that I hadn’t totally removed my full thigh adjustment. So more fabric got removed from the back after this got sorted. It fits better now.

I also reduced the length of the back darts by a cm after getting some feedback. I ended up using pinking shears to finish the facing waistband as the overlocked edge was showing through the outer fabric.

These may not be ultra fitted but to me they look decent and are comfy. That’s a good enough starting point for me given the position I was coming from. This project is of course, totally out of season. Its going to take a LONG time before I can consider wearing them outside

Such was my positivity I bought some purple poplin cotton (hey, it was in the sale for £3 a meter, bargain!) so who knows, come summer I may well tackle the full trouser option. I’ve also included the pattern pieces so you can see how I have adjusted them. The front centre crotch seam still needs me to add a quarter inch graded to the waistband seam.

Thanks for being encouraging in terms of feedback.

an upward curve

This week has been something of a disappointment in terms of output. Both at work and at home. At work there were severe telephone problems which meant when I got home with zilch brain power left for anything, let alone tackling adjusting my shorts. I consoled myself with a few bits of tailor tacking and prepping for all the other projects I have mentioned previously that have yet to be sewn.

Such has been the range of projects my housemate asked if I intended to finish anything. A reminder that I really needed to get some things completed before moving on. So, back to those shorts. I’ve spent this evening focus on tweaking the existing fit. I don’t know if a day spent enjoying chocolate brownie, buying yet more fabric and relaxing has done something to my brain, but I suddenly have felt like I have made progress.

So, before showing the next “in progress” photos here’s what I did. Removed the full thigh adjustment. Didn’t seem to be needed. Removed the full tummy adjustment changes from the upper seam (but not the crotch curve), decreased the seam allowance at the top of centre front crotch by a quarter inch. This appears to have fixed the line pulling seen in earlier photos.

The waistband was not lying smoothly against my waist at the front. This has been fixed by tapering in the waistband by a quarter inch inwards towards the top. It now lies flat. I’ve also hemmed them so you can get a better idea of the finished article. Still need to add a zip and the waistband facing.

Wearing them is an odd experience. Everything feels unflattened (normally have something digging in somewhere) and the waistband sits completely still without dipping. I guess this is how its supposed to be with all trousers……

Will see if there are any other minor changes to make but I am hopeful tomorrow I might actually get these finished and move on to the next projects!



So I previously stated my aim to make an attempt to get trouser fitting under my belt (yes, another pun) and dedicated part of this week to modifying, cutting and sewing Simplicity 1371. I chose this pattern after discovering my local shop had decided to stop stocking Burda patterns due to “customer demand”, a rather confusing statement given how often I see their patterns reviewed online.

I went for my other short listed pattern (both highwaisted, side zip, fairly close fitting) and started analysing what changes I would need to make, based on the measurements taken by a trusted and very kind friend.

Not being familiar with these type of adjustments (skirts/dresses normally require width or length adjustments only when I make them) I deduced I would need a full derriere, full tummy, full inner thigh and lengthening modification. I guess this all stems from having slimmer side hips than drafted for, but making up for it elsewhere. For such a small expanse of fabric this required a lot of work!

The result (minus zip, waistband facing, or hem finishing) looks better than some retail wear in that there is no gapping at the back at the waist band, a pet peeve. Plus its sitting where it should – yanking my trousers back UP is another regular feature in my life.But, its not fitted as I would like.

So what does it look like? judge for yourselves!…..I think I have to adjust the waistband/tummy area as its rippling a little. Anyway, off to get some advice from the experts on pattern review.




ready, steady, 1, 2, 3

Today has been a Dressmaking Day (note, not sewing day, some further work before that!) and its nice not to have been distracted. It’s also been freezing, with icy pavements and a distinct chill in the air. Not being someone who enjoys developing cold feet of which I have experienced frequent episodes already a day inside was no hardship.

In typical fashion I am busy working on more than one thing, both in my head and also this time in reality. Unfortunately due to the first pattern only having fabric requirements for 1.15 meters wide fabric (what I bought was 1.50 meters) I have ended with buckets to spare. Naturally you know what happens next. Another pattern. Even then I will still have a bit spare!

I have also got a good friend to help with some measurements in an attempt (note the pertinent word) to get at least the upper section of a pair of trousers to fit by making some shorts. If that goes well I will feel a lot more confident about tackling the full length item.

So far pretty much every measurement I had taken has exceeded the flat pattern measurement (crotch curve, rise) as well as requiring full tummy and by the looks of it full rear adjustments. Good job I left this lovely task until I had a bit more sewing confidence. I can imagine my reaction had I started this in my early dressmaking days. Probably had a full on hissy fit and flounced off in to the blue yonder.

So, having done my best to decipher what alterations to make I think the best thing is just to make this up in muslin fabric and see how it translates in to reality. At least there aren’t many pieces or much fabric required for this project.

So, on to the patterns themselves, I am making Colette 1005 (skirt) out of stretch cotton lined with more stretch cotton. I have learned the error of making snug skirts out of non stretch fabric. Sitting is not very comfortable. Next Simplicity 1371 which are nice and highwaisted shorts. Plus finally to use up the left over fabric, and because I love cute projects, a kitty kat dress from simplicity again, 1208. With matching handbag (because a cat handbag when you are 4 years old just polishes it all off right?

I’m doing my jigsaw puzzle of efficient fabric use – funny really given that I have more than enough. Its the frugal part of me that just can’t stand seeing it waste.







This project was determined to remain unfinished. Despite using this pattern 3(!) times already for two slips and the knickers I clearly had an imp paying havoc with my fabric, instructions and pattern pieces.

You may remember me mentioning making V8888 for a friend’s christmas present. Well, having cut everything out carefully before hand I then discovered some of the cut fabric had gone astray, alongside the pattern pieces. SO I had to buy, prewash and cut them out again. Grrr.

Then I appeared to have a complete loss of direction in terms of spatial awareness and sewed things inside out. So I shoved the entire thing to one side and decided to return to it in a better frame of mine. So confident was in remembering what I was doing I didn’t peruse the instructions very carefully. Bad idea. I forgot the seam allowance was 1.5cm instead of what I actually sewed, 6mm.

May I point out this is a fully lined enclosed bodice?….after calling myself a fool several times I decided to see if it would fit my friend. Miracles of miracles, I appear to successfully completed an unintended full bust adjustment (she’s bigger than the B cup drafted) and it actually fits! I can’t bank on being this lucky in future so let this be a lesson to me…

Anyway, the pictures……


In further news I am going to try and sort out getting to the bottom of my fitting problems with regards trousers . I cottoned on to the great idea of making shorts as a thrifty way of doing the upper section leg work (how am I doing on the puns?) without needing as much muslin fabric. Watch this space…..

Best foot forward

After cutting out 36 odd pieces for three sets of shoes yesterday a knuckle is sporting a nice shiny patch from all the use. I have two sets of shoes finished (for my neighbour who is expecting a little one in February) and two more nearly finished.

These have been fun, but rather fiddly. Think 6mm seam allowance. Round lots of nice little curves and corners. Kind of like a sewing machine of three point turn gauntlet. Still, all good practice for acquiring better handling of my machine right?

I’ve had this pattern (simplicity 1677) for over a year and thought it was really time to get it sewn up, so at least that’s one more pattern used. Part of my Christmas break was spent tidying up all my dress making paraphernalia. I had to buy another box as I have so many children’s patterns they were sliding avalanche style from their home on top of my dvd player.

Happy new year (and dress)

My sewing productivity appears to have declined in direct correlation with the approach of Christmas, and all the distractions that come with it. I’ve just consumed the last of the chocolate and feel relieved my fitness classes will shortly resume to help counteract the effects of lots of lovely nice food.

Another culprit (if I can shift any more responsibility) is currently sitting on me right now. The cat I help look after (please note the wording, he eats at two neighbouring properties as well!) needed vet treatment and has taken to claiming the ironing board. He isn’t best pleased when I use it for its intended purpose and I am cautious about leaving a hot iron near a cat.

Anyway, on to the sewing. I seam to be all stitch ripper at the moment, having redone quite a few bits and pieces. I have to get some more thread in order to continue with the V8888 slip I mentioned previously. But at least the dress (another version of the good deeds dress on Craftsy) for my ex manager’s expected baby girl is done. Can I say I really don’t like quarter inch bias tape? it is SO fiddly to stitch in the ditch.

Still, the finished item is pretty cute. But I am not making one of these again for a while. The skirt has been interlined and lined, the bodice is just interlined (due to the outer layer being cotton lawn and a bit light).

the wrong trousers (aka wallace and gromit)

So, I finally had a whole lovely free day to myself. The washing was drying, most of the cleaning done and nothing was standing in my way from sewing. Apart from the small problem of not being able to find the wretched pattern that I wanted to use to go with the fabric I had already cut out for my yoga trousers. Some time later (after much tidying up of outstanding fabric/other patterns) it dawned on me I had previously tidied up the yoga pattern, so should I not look in my pattern folders?

Finally, time to get sewing. This shouldn’t be too bad, they don’t even have a zip (I have bad memories from making my last trousers) and its stretch fabric so more forgiving on fitting right?

Ummm, wrong. By a margin of 12 whole cm and counting. I have no idea what kwiksew were thinking when they created 3988. Given my fabric doesn’t even have the full amount of stretch required, which is why I cut out my recommended size despite other reviewers saying it ran large, I had not anticipated it would be this roomy. The whole point of close fitting is that you don’t need a belt!

Anyway, after taking in the inner seams, the outer seams, the crotch both front and back, it no longer feels like in immediate danger of a severe wardrobe malfunction. I think some more tweaking may be required before I add the waist band. Which I sensibly decided to delay cutting out until I had got this bit sorted. Have I mentioned I don’t like making trousers? well, let me say it again….

Forgive the smudged mirror! you can see the massive seam allowance after taking it all in.








zig zagging across blue sky, it’s time for this UFO to fly!

I think I have finally got through my little (as opposed to adult sized) to do list in terms of children’s patterns. My revisiting of Newlook 6236 has been completed with the creation of another set of leggings and bolero. Although this time without the sensible cotton jersey that I used last time.

The silk/modal blend replacement is a lovely fabric. To wear, stroke, stretch, but less so to sew. It slinks, it slithers, it slips away. Sound like something you have heard of before? In short, far less tame to handle than my previous attempt. Resulting in lots of unpicking and less control when trying (I gave up trying to get it perfect) the elastic gathering. I think the additional stretch factor can be blamed. The stuff could be used as trampoline!

Just in time too, as I really need to get my act together if my friend’s christmas present is going to sewn up in time. My only consultation is that my present (being knitted) from her is still a work in progress.

Still, at least this batch (including the previous post’s dresses and skirt) can all be packaged up and posted. Which will relieve my housemate who has been freaked out by my dress dummy looming (with menace) from the corner of the dining room since it was used for photography purposes.

finding my feet

So, the UFO pile is one down and it finally feels like I have got the pace going. After cutting out the last blue tunic it was quickly clear another project could be made out of the remaining fabric. So I found a skirt pattern on craftsy

It was a great base for my fabric, as I had one long rectangle left and with some pink side panels there would be just enough. The lining fabric came from the remnant bin at my local fabric shop (£2.50) so, along with some left over elastic I had at home this was almost a free project.


The flower on the waist band is because I accidentally snipped into it when trimming the seam allowance. Call it a design feature! So I cut a flower out of the scrap I had left over and used appliqué to attach it.

As for the feet comment, I have treated myself to some new feet for my bernina. I have an older machine so these are not cheap (if you get the originals without the adaptor). I have purchased an invisible zipper, walking foot  and gathering foot. So I have tried the invisible foot with great results (it always bugged me if I haven’t got a close finish). I need to remember to use them though as I could have used the gathering foot for this skirt.

I have high hopes for using the walking foot as when I made my last quilt trying to keep the layers even was a real pain. Anyway, next on the list is a matching bolero and leggings. This shouldn’t take long but will have to be careful cutting out as its a silk blend and will be a bit slinky.









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