no sweat – some easy projects!

Normally when I make a project, it either involves fitting adjustments, or complicated cutting/sewing. For once I have had several weeks of neither. First, the Lekala S3002 pattern I started a while back. I think I am something of a convert! the fit was really good, and I only had to make a small adjustment by taking in the hip side seam slightly by about 1cm in total on each side.

I added a lining, and reduced the hem allowance as my dupioni silk was quite stiff and not forgiving to easing. Plus it frayed badly. So I did a generous baby type hem by turning over 1cm, then turning over again and stitching. The one other thing I had to do was reduce the seam allowance for the facing as it was a bit too small for some reason to fit the skirt.

Due to the fraying I hand overcast all the seams (don’t expect this kind of work with all projects) and added a lining as it was close fitting. I am surprised this isn’t included.


I still have a matching bolero to make which is half finished. Totally out of season of course given that it is now really cold. Still, something to look forwards to next summer.

I also happily cut up an old work sweatshirt from a previous job which has produced both trousers and top for a friend’s toddler. Very happy with the result, and even better both patterns were free. I even got to reuse the hems. So apart from the trousers elastic the entire project was free.



If you are interested here at the links (to fit a 3 year old):


sailing through more projects

It’s been a while since I last posted – rest assured the time has been spent busy on projects. I just hadn’t quite got round to posting about them! One of the reasons I now have time to do so is that I am without my sewing machine for a whole week whilst it is being serviced. I am going to do my best to console myself by cutting out new projects.

In the mean time, here is a look back. I decided, with only two weeks to go, to make a quilt for a friend’s son’s christening. You would have thought after deciding to make a full sized quilt a month in advance of a wedding I would have learned this isn’t such a good idea, but I did manage to get all bar two seams of hand stitching done on the day, and hand it over the following day.

I was asked to look at a boat theme, and of course as I don’t go for simple ideas I made it reversible. This made the quilting a bit tricky as I wanted it to look good from both sides. So I ended up quilting around all of the animals. I’m pleased with the final look, and was even able to eek out a cushion cover the left over scraps.



The above work sidelined the coat (Vogue 9219) I had already started making a while ago, and once I got to the button hole stage my enthusiasm waned and I took a bit of a break. I finally sat down one weekend and worked my way through them all. They’ve not turned out too badly. I did discover I had miscalculated the width of the hem facing (I used a different size for the width to the height) so added an extra section and machine embroidered the recipient’s name in the middle.



I’m pleased to report that both parties were very happy to receive the completed work, and so am I as it means I can now return to my original (shelved) plan to make a matching skirt and bolero.

all boxed up and ready to go

As is often the case I have ended up working back to front. I was intending to make a Vogue 9219 coat pattern. After cutting out the many pieces (it will be interlined with wool, the outside layer is cotton) I made the discovery that there would be a good amount of fabric left. This was not entirely unexpected, as originally when I bought the fabric (a while ago now) I intended to make a matching dress and coat (both colour blocked).

Other sewing projects came first, and the girl I am sewing for had definitely outgrown the maximum size of the pattern I had bought. So, a new pattern was chosen and purchased. Although it used more fabric then the original there was still some left, so I ended up making a dress, which used the fabric from the coat for the skirt, and two different (leftover from other projects) fabrics for the bodice. Both of these had stretch which should make it comfy to wear.

Its been nice to use them all up. The pattern Simplicity 1211 is pretty cute. Alas, my leftover fabric for the skirt wasn’t wide enough to create the full range of box pleats required for the design. I – drumroll please – redrafted the entire lot from scratch to ensure it would match the bodice. I am pretty pleased with the finished result and the side box pleats almost match the side seams.

I also fully lined the dress instead of the originally planned bodice only as specified by the instructions. To help ensure it continues to fit, I increased the depth of the hem to 10cm so it can be adjusted at a later date.

I’ve now been able to turn my attention back to the coat. As like most Vogue patterns that are rated “average” there are a fair number of pieces to cut out and assemble. I rapidly decided to skip the instructions to use sew in interfacing for everything that needed stiffening and used a good quality iron on instead.

I’m intending to use bound button holes instead of the snaps the pattern suggests.Given the thickness of the interlined fabric this is practical as well as a nice finish. I’ve got a lovely viscose duchess satin type lining sewn up to insert shortly once the collar is added. Not too long to go now!



paws for thought: the latest projects

Although I have been busy at work, the same cannot be said as convincingly about my sewing. I have finally got some projects to share. First of all is a blouse which (unintentionally) ended up looking almost exactly like the pattern cover image. The fabric is the same striped cotton. Due to being a bit tired the last month I didn’t do a great job reading the instructions so messed up inserting the peplum. There is dart to add to where the peplum is inserted, so pay attention closely to the instructions so you don’t make my mistake!

Other than some mistakes, I dropped down to a 14 at the waist, which is close fitting but ok. I ended up reducing the seam allowance to 1cm for the peplum as it was gapping at the front. This fixed things nicely. I also attempted my first go at shortening at waist, by removing about a cm. I compared the pattern to my sloper and decided this was a good idea as a result. Ironically this now looks awful on my dress form and bunches up.

I think (when the weather is warm enough for me to wear this) I won’t be buttoning up all the way to the collar. I have some more fabric in a floral print which I intend to use to make the other version of this pattern.

Simplicity 1590

Burda 9792

Long term readers will recognise this pattern already, as I made it last year. I discovered I would have some fabric left over after laying out the pieces for my blouse, and this fit (just!) in-between the spaces. In essence a free project. Apart from the (adorably cute) buttons which actually have ladybirds on them. This was a project for a friend, and I practised my finishing techniques by using french seams and hand overcast stitching. So much quicker than on big projects! I used my (now favoured) neckline bias binding finishing technique.


Newlook 6462

This is for another friend who specified nothing pink and nothing floral for her daughter. When I saw this fabric it was the perfect match, as she has a scottie dog. I messed up again on the arm holes as I didn’t read the instruction about the seam allowance being more narrow. So, I ended up with more bias binding. But it doesn’t detract from the overall look so I have escaped unscathed! Again, I managed to eek out another pattern, making the hat out of a free Oliver + S pattern. The hat was so simple it got made in an afternoon and is reversible.

I liked the unusual vintage look, and think it strikes a good balance between cute but (as requested) not too girly.


Which means (drumroll please) I can think about starting another project. The above have collectively been waiting to be finished, so it is quite a nice feeling to be starting from afresh.

excess fabric and alterations

I had high hopes for Burda 6722, having seen someone else review a lovely version. They had only needed to shorten the waist. If only my version had been as simple.

Alas, apart from lengthening the skirt by 20cm (a given, if I didn’t want to to create a top instead of a dress), extensive work was required to create a garment which looked flattering.

Here’s a list:

* shortened waist by 1cm
* took out lots of bunching fabric in my mid back by removing an almond shape wedge from the back (on top of the shortened waist) of another 1.5cm in total
* took in the sides from just above the waist to mid hip several times as it was way too big. Maybe a few inches in total?
* reduced the length of the sleeves to create cap sleeves

It’s been a relief to get it finished, as although technically it’s very quick to put together, I’ve spent the better part of an afternoon repeatedly trying it on to check if the adjustments I had made worked.

The nice thing about working with fabric which contains evenly spaced lines is that it’s nice and easy to keep things straight, for example when hemming. It does mean you have to carefully lay out your pattern pieces if you want all those nice lines to match at the side seams (I am very fussy about this!). If you look carefully at the photos below, I am pleased to say both side seams and sleeves all match ūüôā

I think I am going to need to top stitch the neckline, as due to the facing instructions (you fold the fabric over instead of the usual attach and sew) it shifts about a bit. Hopefully I will have photos soon of me wearing it. In the mean time, here’s the dress dummy showing the results:

Making short work of using up fabric

I’ve been busy cutting up the latest fabric (a cotton jersey) for a new project, which will be Burda 6722. It’s a nice navy, with a small white stripe. I quickly realised I was going to have leftover wasted fabric. I struggle not to make use of leftovers, so quickly succumbed to a mini project to make the best use of the extras.

I downloaded a pattern from a small independent called¬†Boo L√® Heart¬†(not something I usually do as I can’t be bothered to stick lots of pages together) but as these were shorts it was very quick. They were also nice and cheap (a few pounds) so fit the bill.

I quickly discovered that my fabric didn’t have enough stretch when I cut out the waist band. Not being in the habit of wearing corsets with shorts, some modifications were clearly in order. Luckily I hadn’t cut anything else out yet.

Changes made:

Added panel inserts in to waistband (5cm per panel), used wider seam allowance of 1cm for the back facing panel seams to prevent gapping at the back, and 5mm seams for the front facing seams of the panel.

Added a total of 8cm to the side seams (so 2cm per pattern piece side).

Added 3cm to the length for modesty

Changed the depth of the crotch curve by 5mm by reducing the seam allowance.

Reduced the waistband seam allowance to 5mm as I needed as much height as I could get.

Still need to finish attaching the inside of the waistband and complete the hemming. Currently only used 5mm (recommended to use 1cm, turn, then another cm).

But I am pleased with how these are turning out (also feeling proud I got all those lines to match up!). These aren’t intended for public outings, my fitness classes have been getting harder due to the heat so I hope these will help keep me more comfortable.


on to take 2

So, here is the top/dress on me. The actual silk version is going to be constructed in a bit as it will require a fair bit of time investment. Still, it’s nice to have a summer type top available. Excuse the mismatched sleeve lengths, I promise they are the same!

(k)not an easy project

My toile, bar tidying up all the many ravelling seams, is finally done. The elbow darts have been moved down, I’ve added a short skirt so it functions as a dressy top and I am in the process of removing the last stubborn tailor tacks. You have no idea how many this project has!

After putting my brain through such a complicated set of contortions I have decided to give it a calming break¬†by making a child’s denim skirt and matching sailor style¬†top. No darts or oddly shaped pieces to contend with.

After some struggling, I finally managed to get the toile on my dress dummy. It’s so close fitting I had a job getting it past the shoulders (I have the same problem getting it on myself, this pattern is not for the claustrophobic!).

So, here are some pictures. It does require some more pressing, but it’s the end of the day and I need to get some rest for work tomorrow.


crossed lines

So, work has commenced on Vogue 2401. I did so like the design, until I had finished sewing the neck, shoulder, elbow, bust and back darts. Then acquired a minor headache working my way through the origami like instructions. This pattern is not for the faint of heart!

Given I was going to be working with a) silk and b) chequered silk I figured a toile would be a Good Idea. Despite the amount of work required to make a bodice I’m glad I did as it’s looking a bit on the short side and it’s given me a chance to practice (read rip seams) without worrying about the delicate silk being torn to shreds.

Here is the progress so far, forgive the slightly awkward side pose, I am rubbish at taking photos of myself from an angle. I’ve left all the tailor tacks in so you can clearly see where the darts are. Any comments to help improve the fit are welcome!

I think the bodice needs to be lengthened and the elbow darts need to move downwards a bit.

time to line up a new project

It’s time to bid farewell to simplicity 1282, as it’s finally done. It’s taken longer than I would normally expect after having a busy time at work and with other events. I got to do lots of top stitching with this skirt around the waistband. It’s just a shame no one else will get to see all the work as close up as I have!

I normally line skirts but as this intended more for summer wear I didn’t add one. Which has been an opportunity to add some nice decorative touches I don’t normally use a turned over seam finish but it looks very pretty and is worth the effort. Given how badly this fabric frayed ignoring seam finishing was not an option….

I have used yet more of my bias binding (I love the two rolls of unpressed bias I bought so much, they were amazing value!) to finish off the hem and it has become my go to in order to create a more structured hem if it is looking a bit floppy.

So, on to Vogue 2401. Given the check pattern on the silk fabric I have chosen a toile seems to be a very sensible plan (I know, pinch me, I don’t normally invest in them) so I am hoping I won’t have to make too many amendments. I will report back soon – happily I have a whole weekend to enjoy and I intend to make the most of it.