Itch to Stitch Newport Top with a Christmassy feel


This fabric was bought during my recent stay in Reading at Fabric land. It was available in two colours, but the red and grey version I chose has( I think) a Christmassy feel to it. The red flowers remind me of the poinsettia I buy every year to put in my lounge!

I decided to finally try an Itch to Stitch pattern. I have admired and bought quite a few of Kennis’ patterns over the past couple of years but somehow never quite got round to sewing any of them. So finally I printed out the Newport top which has a really nice neck line , and with the option of long sleeves provides a bit of extra warmth for winter.

The most difficult part of this sew was definetely the pattern matching. With such a pronounced horizontal stripe design I spent quite a lot of time matching up all the various lines- the side seams, the balance of the sleeves, the sleeve to body and I think more by luck than judgement the back part of the top that comes over onto the front. I am very happy with the end result.

I made up a size  X. I think I could have graded the hips down slightly but I think this is also down to the fact that most items in my wardrobe are slightly more fitted in this area so I am just not used to the swing shape at the bottom.


The  neckline is lovely. The method gives a very neat finish and the way the back comes over onto the front is a nice design touch


The instructions are very clear with lots of tips. Whilst the top can be sewn with an ordinary sewing machine, an overlocker is also an option. The instructions even tell you which can be used on which seams. There are also very useful tips about stitch length. Hems are finished with twin needle stitching

Overall the finished result is a well finished garment with lovely style lines. I would make another- and I am definetely inspired to make up another ITS pattern – maybe the new free pattern just released?



Another make whilst away – Sew Different Cocoon Coat


Yes, I’ve finished another make.

I bought the Sew Different Cocoon Coat at the Great British Sewing Bee Live show after falling in love with the sample on the stall


Whilst it was too big on me, the cut of this little coat – in particular the way it scoops round underneath your bottom at the back- is flattering and comfy.i also love, love , love the pockets


i also bought the fabric at the show, and then bought some contrast textured fabric to make contrast sleeves like the sample. This was probably the most difficult part- it’s really difficult to match navy!

i cut size 8 having recently made up Sew Different’s Biker Cardi jacket. As I was not sure about the three quarter sleeve length for winter I also lengthened the sleeves on the basis of its easy to shorten later.

I used standard lining for the inside of the coat front

The  pattern isn’t difficult to make up. The thickness of the fabric did make the sewing when crossing over layers a challenge though. If I made it again in thick fabric I would make one layer of the pocket from the lining fabric to help with this.

Finishing  the lining was the longest part. I added under stitching to the machine sewn edge along the centre fronts to get a cleaner finish having decided that top stitching to hold in place was not on due to fabric thickness. The other edges of the lining all required hand sewing into place, it kept me occupied in front of the TV in the evenings, but I can’t help but feel there must be a quicker machine based option for the finish.



The lengthened sleeves were not entirely successful. I misjudged the extra length required! Not by much, but enough to annoy me if I just hemmed them. So I have added cuffs. Having worn the jacket I like the length , even if it would be a bit smarter without cuffs in my opinion. I still may shorten the sleeves to the intended length after the winter!


I love the cocoon coat though, it’s comfortable , warm and makes my jeans feel stylish / more dressed up than the usual casual padded jacket I throw on. Everyone coI  am already thinking that a spring weight linen one would be useful for next year. I wore it out to meet up with Nicky again for another away from home shopping expedition- this time to visit Sewisfaction, a lovely little shop in a craft village near Wokingham

This meant I was tempted to buy more fabric. The cat sweatshirt fabric I had eyed up on line and seen made up by Sew Dainty recently had unfortunately been sold. However I found another 2 sided sweatshirting in a grey and yellow which is beautiful quality and in all honestly is probably more practical for my wardrobe.

I am planning to make a sweatshirt that somehow allows both sides of the fabric to be seen- either through contrast cuffs, turn backs or something.

Any  suggestions are welcome


Away from Home Sewing


For most of the month of November I am staying with my elderly parents. My sister ( who lives round the corner from them) is on holiday, and after my mother fell in September and spent a month in a community hospital it became clear that the original plan of them staying with me while she was on holiday just wasn’t going to work

So here I am in Reading on a prolonged” holiday” with my parents.

First thought was – what shall I do with all that spare time and how do I manage for that long. So I set about making a list of things to do. They included meeting up with some skiing friends who live there, meeting up with an old school/ university friend I haven’t seen in ages, joining a Gym and -of course- what an ideal time time to catch up on all those sewing projects and  sewing related activities  that I haven’t quite got around to at home.

So I packed my bags – including a hold-all of stash fabric, loads of patterns ( don’t want to restrict my choice) and my sewing machine and overlocker. OK the pile wasn’t quite as big as the photos above but it’s amazing how much stuff is needed to sew away from home. I also contacted a lovely lady I met on a fabric meet up arranged by  Pattern  Review who I knew lived in the area , who volunteered to meet up for a coffee and show me the local fabric shops.

Well, of course, not everything has gone to plan. I am over half way through the stay and have not had as much time as I thought to sew! Looking after elderly parents does take a lot of time- so much for having spare time

I have just however finished a make! I used some mid weight cloche fabric from my stash ( purchased from The Textile Centre) to make a Toaster sweater. I have already made the #1 version, so this time I tried out #2

Cutting  out on the dining room table- no sewing room here!


After reading other reviews instead of making the usual reduction in bodice length for my short waist I added length( first time for everything) – 1.5 inches. So glad I did as the length has ended up perfect


photos were taken by my 93 year old Dad



I am really pleased with the end result. It’s made up in a size 8 which is still a loose fit, but with the drape of this fabric falls well.



There is one mistake. I think I must have been REALLY tired when I cut this out- I folded the pattern down on the neckline fold mark and promptly cut out the front and back without the integrated fold over neckline! I have managed to rectify this by then cutting out the missing part( with seam allowance) and reattaching it with the overlocker. Luckily if you didn’t know , you wouldn’t notice!

I wore it for the first time for my tour of fabric shops- John Lewis and Fabricland in Reading centre to be exact

Great find in the former- sale curtain fabric in exactly the colour my son wants for a table runner


Then  on to Fabric Land with the intention of buying some black jersey ready for a New Year fancy dress party

Having successfully found that and some fasteners required for some baguette bags I then proceeded to buy 3 more lots of fabric.



So the result was one piece of fabric used from stash, 4 gained( and that’s not counting the table runner).Not exactly what I had in mind for my stash busting sewing whilst in Reading…..

However I  was then spurred on to get on with sewing when I got back from shopping and cut out my next two projects- a cocoon coat and skirt.

Thanks to Nikki for a great time fabric shopping and looking forward to meeting up again next week to visit Sewisfaction before I return to West Sussex

Sew Different Biker Jacket Cardigan


This pattern was a buy at the Great British Sewing Bee live show . I wanted a lightweight jacket that I could throw on in the mornings/ evenings when on holiday which wasn’t too warm or heavy and could be carried around in a bag/ tote  whilst also being suitable for wearing with casual trousers or a skirt/ dress.

IMG_6514I had tried on a ( too large) sample on the stall at the show


I decided to trial the pattern using some leftover fabric- a sweatshirt fabric for the outer and leftover dress fabric for the contrast lining – and actually have worn this trial jacket.

The pattern is quite easy to sew up. One of the main changes I made was a sleeve join with piping to match the lining . This was to overcome the fact that I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the full sleeve length!


I made a couple of other minor changes. I top stitched all the edges to secure the lining. I also added a number of large poppers to enable the jacket to be fastened in different ways

Fastened to the top


fastened with contrast lapels





Thee jacket delivered against my requirements and was worn on short breaks in both Madrid and Florence. I may even get around to making one in the colours I actually wanted !


Moneta double take

I may be the last blogger to make a Moneta dress. But I have finally got round to making up this popular pattern- twice.

I haven’t made many stretch fabric items but have been trying to practise since acquiring an overlocker last year. The style seemed to be a nice comfy wear and the pattern is meant to be relatively easy.

My first make was a standard Moneta using a jersey from my stash. ( fabric from Leon’s in Manchester) In( almost) parallel I made up a second version ( fabric from Fabworks) with the addition of a collar ( add on pattern available from Colette patterns)

FItting of the pattern was easy. Jersey is forgiving, and the larger cup size in Collette patterns works for me. I made my usual adjustment to the bodice, shortening it as I am short waisted. I still had to readjust this slightly on the first dress due to the weight of the skirt pulling down the bodice when attached.

All did not go easily however! My first problem was with the use of elastic to create the gathered skirt. I used the suggested clear elastic. I am not sure what the problem was- maybe it was the quality of the elastic?- but  it tended to split when being sewn on. In addition- and causing more problems – the elastic seemed to coat the machine needle, and as the coating built up the thread continuously snapped. What I hoped would be a quick and easy method was lengthy and frustrating.

I also had problems with the necklines on both versions. On the first dress it seemed to stretch out- maybe next time I need to stay  stitch?. I have “solved ” the problem by adding small darts which are virtually invisible but reduce the size of the neckline.

For the collar dress I decided to make the collar in a contrast fabric. The neck   does not seem to have stretched out as much but the feature of the overlapping back seemed to create too much weight and resulted in it pulling the back of the neck over and down.


I have tried a number of methods of rectifying this but in the end settled for hand stitching  the back of collar into place to prevent the downward drag. I was not 100% pleased with the result.

So after wearing it a couple of times I made the decision to completely remove the contrast collar.

To keep the shape of the neckline and deal with the now larger neckline I finished it with a bias band- similar to a t shirt neckline. And I added a small pleat to reduce the now stretched neckline


Despite all the problems I do like the pattern! The dresses are super comfortable to wear and the shape is flattering. And of course the big deep pockets are lovely.

I guess I need to try it again with the aim of eliminating the problems. Any tips anyone?

Great British Sewing Bee Live


Had an absolutely fabulous day out at the GBSB Live! I went with a friend ( who also sews of course) and we got there at about 10.30 and left at 5.30 – so a full day of shopping, chatting and entertainment.

For me the experience didn’t disappoint ( i have seen some Facebook posts to the contrary).

Things I loved.

  1. The catwalk show  Seeing patterns made up and modeled  was great and very inspiring
  2. The Super Theatre  I was wondering what they would do to entertain us in this. It was really enjoyable – the compering was entertaining, Esme and Patrick were engaging and interesting and the refashioning challenge and demos added the live sewing interest
  3. Seeing the GBSB makes close up ( I admit they look more perfect on TV , but they were still pretty impressive given the time they get)IMG_6491
  4. Shopping ( of course). A great opportunity to browse fabric and talk to owners/ pattern drafters
  5. Saying hi to people I,ve met before at various meet ups ( even if they didnt all remember me) and who I follow on blogs – Rachel (Pinhiero), The Fold Line girls. Sorry to have missed Melissa (Fehr Trade) who was on a well earned break

So what did I buy?


Here is the haul. I wanted to make a casual-ish jacket so came with the intention of looking for a pattern and fabric. The idea was that I can wear it in autumn / spring, it will be not too heavyweight and ideally can be shoved in a bag when it gets too hot walking around sewing shows!

I bought the navy blue wool first – a bargain on Simply Fabrics stall at £10 a meter. I eyed up some lovely teal fabric too, resisted the temptation, and then when I decided I really should have bought it after all found it had all been sold.

I came across  Sew Different for the first time. There were some lovely made up samples on display. the use of fabrics / contrast fabrics especially on the cocoon coat was lovely! ( and , no I wasn’t looking for a cocoon coat)

I was allowed to try them on even (all a bit big but i still got the idea!)

So three patterns bought intending the biker cardigan jacket for my original project but thinking the blue wool would look good as a cocoon coat if I can find appropriate heavyweight contrast fabric.

I signed up for Love Sewing magazines trial offer and bought some machine needles and stretch iron on interfacing.

The last purchase ( or rather the first on the actual day) was a real impulse buy – waterproof cat fabric. There were some lovely sample bags so I’m hoping to get round to making a new toiletries bag with matching make up bag


All in all a very enjoyable day. And of course, not complete without a picture of Patrick who was happily wandering around later in the afternoon talking to everyone and posing for any photos requested


Look out for the post on my Biker cardigan!


Sewing Weekender Scout Tee


The Scout Tee was my chosen make for the Sewing Weekender after tips that choosing something quick and easy or tried and tested would give plenty of time for chatting- a very wise advice!

Whilst I hadn’t made this pattern before it really was an easy make. I had some cotton voile in my stash that I had ear marked in my stash for this type of top. It was originally acquired at the Brighton Sewmance from The Fairy Godmother where I had seen a similar fabric made up with this pattern as a sample.

There really isn’t very much to say about the construction of the top- it is pretty straightforward.


Its a great pattern for a quick and easy sew and showcasing a pretty fabric