Pushing myself

20170927_141150So, some time ago now a friend of mine gave me some material left over from one of her projects, it was such lovely material that I was frightened to cut into it so it sat for a very long time in my stash.  Does anyone else do that? buy or acquire material and then pack it away because you are too frightened to actually do anything with in case you ruin it!

Well my plan was to use the material to make my daughter a dress and if I didn’t hurry up and get on with it, she would have grown too much and I wouldn’t have enough material! so I set to work.

With no pattern to work from I decided to base it on a dress that she already had (picture below).  I drew round the existing dress on to tracing paper and added a 1.5cm seem allowance all the way round to each panel.  The back of the dress was elastic so I also dabbled with shearing elastic too, you can read about this here in a separate blog.20170927_141245

I assembled it all and added a lining and although the ‘guts’ of the dress is not going to win any prizes for neatness I am pleased with how the dress has turned out and I think my daughter is too!

I hope reading this inspires to you rummage through your stash and get creative!

Thanks for stopping by

Jane x

Shirring Elastic!

20170905_113645-1I decided to take on a project that involved an elastic back, quite brave I thought!  I had a brief look on line for how to use it but I was so impatient and didn’t really fancy doing a lot of reading I just wanted to get stuck in.

So, if like me, you to just want to know the basics on sewing with elastic, keep reading I have put together a short ‘need to know’ list

  1. Your shirring elastic only goes in the bobbin,  wind it by hand careful not to stretch as you wind it round
  2. Thread your machine as you would normally on top and select a long stitch
  3. I used my presser foot as a guide for the distance between stitches

My three steps in pictures below, ensure you practise on a spare piece of fabric before attempting the real thing


Good Luck!

The Charlie Shirt Dress

I received this  pattern from one of my mum’s lovely friends who was giving it away.  It caught my eye immediately as I have been looking for a shirt dress pattern and this one has a bit of vintage style about it which I liked.

I wont lie, this make has been challenging with techniques I hadn’t used before such as armhole facings and oh that collar! that had me puzzled a few times.  I came across new terminology too, like,  Staystiching and Understitching.  Luckily the instructions did come with a glossary of sewing terms hopefully I interpreted them correctly!  If you are reading this and know what they mean, please leave a comment on what you do, I’d love to know if I got it right.

20170811_152416[1]My favourite part of construction was the collar although it caused me the most headache, once it was finished I really felt I’d achieved something.  On the pattern there are various markings to transfer to the fabric, which I do religiously every time I make something, using tailor tacks or dress making chalk.  This time was no different and I happily transferred them all even though on some I had no idea why they were there! Well the circles round the collar were sewing stopping points! DON’T SEW OVER THE CIRCLES, who knew? well me now, after many attempts of sewing, unpicking and then throwing it in the corner in a huff when it didn’t turn out right, I worked it out.  If only I knew this before, the dress would have been finished weeks ago!  Although I wouldn’t have said so at the time, making these mistakes are a good thing, it is improving my skills every time I make something and I’m loving learning something new from every make.

20170811_152457[1]I will definitely make this dress again, maybe the version with arms in a lightweight denim for Autumn.  This dress got its debut at a wedding I attended this month I loved wearing it and couldn’t resist a twirl.

Thanks for reading x

It’s in the bag!

20170524_101730I decided this year that I’d like to make as many of the birthday and Christmas gifts as I could and first on my list was a lunch bag for my lovely friend.

I had in my mind exactly what I wanted the bag to look like and with no pattern to hand I decided to draft my own.

I based my measurements around a 7″ zip, making the length of the bag 24cm, width 13cm and the height 14cm.  I added 1.5cm seem allowance to all measurements.

I lined the bag but decided against a hard base, being a lunch bag  I wanted it to be able to go through the washing machine if needed.  I couldn’t think of anything that would withstand a wash.20170524_101830

Once I cut all the pieces of fabric and wadding it was fairly straight forward to sew together.  For the handles I cut strips of tape that I had in my sewing box, a picture of it is below, I have no idea why I originally bought it or what it is supposed to be used for, any ideas anyone? but it has come in handy now!


20170620_214357[1]I had lots of fun creating the bag and loved handing it over to my friend, I was that excited for her to see it that I made her open it early!

I have plans at some point to put together a more detailed pattern instruction post, I didn’t take any photos at the time of construction unfortunately but I am going to create another bag and will take photos and record my instructions as I go.

Thanks for reading.

Jane x

The T-Shirt

So for my birthday this year I received a book called The Beginners Guide to Dressmaking and in it are lots of projects to get the beginner sewist off to a good start. Knowing very few sewing terms I am hoping as I work through this book things are all going to become clear and I’ll be fluent in the language of sewing!

20170611_200318This post is about the first pattern in the book, the T-shirt.  The recommended fabrics to use were anything knitted, with or without elastane, so I chose a medium weight stripy jersey, at a bargain £2 a metre from a local high street shop.  The book has step by step instructions with handy pictures to accompany them.  I found it pretty easy to follow and it all came together fairly quickly.

Summing  up 

Make again – Yes, definitely.  Now that we have some warmer weather here I thought I would try a few more of these before moving on to the next make in the book.

Fit – I am really pleased with the fit, I cut a size 3 and didn’t have to make any alterations.

Pattern – easy to follow with only 4 pattern pieces.  The only tricky bit was using the twin needle and playing around with the tension on the machine.

Skills learned – Well I have learnt how to match up stripes – check these out below! I’m quite proud of this first attempt.


After a bit of unpicking and re-sewing the hem my t-shirt came together nicely and I am loving wearing another ‘me made’ Continue reading “The T-Shirt”

Solitude in Sewing

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I wanted to write a post to coincide with Mental Health week, which is next week, 8th-14th May this year.  The theme being Surviving or Thriving?

Taking time out for myself to sew helps me to relax.  Sewing for me has allowed me an escape where I can relax and forget the stresses of the day.  Once I have indulged in my favourite hobby I feel calm and it helps my mental state.  No matter what sort of day I am having I know that if I take time out to sew I feel so much better and get great satisfaction producing something myself.

Do you sew to relax? How about joining me in a sew a long for mental health week? My pledge is to sew something to give away as a gift. I get satisfaction from sewing it and I get to brighten someones day with a little surprise!

If you’d like to take part and spread the word about positive mental health please comment below, remember to include the #mhw2017.  I look forward to seeing what you make.

Jane x

Got to keep going


I debated whether to post about my latest make as I thought it would be a complete moan fest, but as it did  turn out okay in the end I decided to go ahead anyway as everyone likes a happy ending right?….

I chose to make the Megan Nielsen Axel skirt version 3  in the picture below, which says it is a complete beginners skirt, so I thought great! that is just the kind of pattern I’m looking for.  Only made up of 3 pattern pieces I didn’t think I could go wrong.170430_190931_COLLAGE-1

I used a lovely stretch cotton drill fabric from Cloth spot which I originally had different plans for but when it arrived it was much too thick to use in the intended make (note for future, Drill is a thick fabric!)  so I thought it would work with the Axel skirt.  The pattern comes with a handy stretch guide on the envelope and my fabric only just stretched enough, this may have been why I encounter issues during the make but I thought, in my beginners naivety, it would be okay.

My measurements sat between sizes so I cut the pattern to the larger size and tried tapering in where I needed to.  This is not a skill I am familiar with and I had quite a few attempts at getting the fit right.  If anyone can recommend any good Youtube tutorials or books on this I’d love to see it.  A tailors dummy would have been very handy, I think I need to get one soon, any advice on which one is best?


Summing up

Make Again? Yes but not for a while, and I would ensure I have the right amount of stretch in the fabric next time!

Fit – It required a lot of altering for it to fit my shape, now I’m not sure if this was mainly due to the fabric not being quite stretchy enough or my lack of skills when it comes to grading.

Pattern – As previously mentioned, this pattern only had 3 pieces so it was pretty simple to put together and the instructions where straight forward.

Skills learned – Using twin needle and Grading (although I’m not sure I have that one in the bag yet!)

Overall I am happy with my second make and I think it goes rather well with my first, the white shirt.

Thanks for reading,

Jane x

Added this just because it made me laugh!