Ogden Camis ( and hacks) for summer

What would summer be without the Ogden cami?
This pattern is one of my most used – and once again it’s come out for a few quick summer makes.

Ogden cami for me

A quick make to take on holiday using up scraps from fabric used to make trousers for my daughter in law. I can never resist the challenge of using those scraps! There really was barely enough fabric left even for an ogden , so it has some piecing together of fabric on the front panel. ( I managed to pattern match to get a pin almost invisible join)

And the border pattern layout has created an interesting look ( which I love)



Two Ogden camis for my daughter in law. Both last minute makes for the beach after she saw mine!

Again both were made with scraps ( no time to acquire fabric 2 days before a holiday). I only have photos of one – the other was made from left over fabric from her Zadie maxi dress. ( see previous blog post)


Ogden Hack

Lastly I wanted a beach dress – something I could wear to walk to and from the beach. I had already created a long straight Ogden from a sarong a few years ago, but decided this time to go for a short dress with a ruffle hem. Not only is this on trend at the moment, but the scraps I had weren’t long enough for a straight dress. This was fashioned by simply elongating the ogden cami and then cutting the ruffle to 1.5 times the length of the lengthened cami’s hem , gathering and attaching it

The hat I’m wearing was also me – made.

The photos were all taken on the beautiful Greek island of Lemnos where my son and daughter got married 2 years ago .

Zadie jumpsuit dress hacks

If you recently took part in The Sewing Weekender you may have seen the session on how to hack the well loved Zadie jumpsuit pattern into a wrap dress. Bizarrely a little while earlier I had decided to do this myself – and decided that for the weekend itself I was going to make another one….

The first hack was the result of a request from my daughter in law for a maxi dress based on the following RTW inspiration

So the search was on – a fabric which had a border print and plenty of drape plus a pattern for a wrap dress.

The fabric I found was from The Textile Brothers. They had a number of suitable options . Nikki chose the one she wanted, and I of course weakened and bought some for myself too…

I spent some time looking though my pattern stash but a lot of the wrap dress patterns were for a knit fabric, or didn’t have the grown on sleeves I wanted. Plus I knew I needed a simple skirt to utilise the border print. I also wanted the pattern to be easy to adjust for sizing. ( Nikki is very petite )

Which is when I thought of the Zadie jumpsuit I had made myself one sometime ago so had an idea how to adjust sizing (the bodice is loose fitting so no complicated armhole adjustments/darts etc) and I could see no reason not to attach a simple set of gathered rectangles to make the border skirt.

I redrafted the bodice to take it down in size slightly, using the indications of where it was sized down for larger sizes as indicators of where to remove volume/ adjust sizing. I also changed the front neckline slightly to make this straighter as I wanted to use the border print along the front bodice wrap as a feature.

I toiled and trialed the fit on Nikki, adjusting the placement of the front bodice pleats to sit correctly.

The skirt was cut as 3 rectangles with the width being 1.5 times the width of the waist piece of the bodice and then simply gathered to fit the waist .And I added in seam pockets.

As you an see the placement of the pattern across the bodice, the hem and the tips of the ties worked well.

Following the success of the hack, I decided to make myself a midi version too during The SewingWeekender. I decided to use some stash fabric for this one – a satiny feel polyester border print purchased in January 2018 from Adam Ross Fabrics ( now Pound Fabrics) for the princely sum of £3 for 3 metres on a sale.

The process was identical, wIth one exception.I made a mistake cutting out the front bodice pieces. My mistake – the pattern piece I had drafted wasn’t quite long enough on the sleeve ( lack of paper ) and in the interim I forgot about the requirement to add a bit on when cutting ( lesson – write the instructions on the pattern piece in future) . To solve this I have added a cuff- which I actually love! It gives the sleeve a bit of weight which helps it fall well.

I haven’t used the border on the bodice this time as experimenting with some draping convinced me that it was just a bit much with this particular pattern.

I got a fair way along with making the dress on the weekend – enough that I could put it on the Sunday . The sun was shining brightly which makes the dress look a lot brighter yellow than it is in real life!

Since then I have finished all the hems etc so here is the final version without the bright sunlight !


Victory Patterns Chloe dress replacement

I originally made the Victory Patterns Chloe dress about 5 years ago

My first version was a navy blue with small white and fuschia flowers cotton sleeveless dress with contrast fuschia neck and armhole binding, pocket flaps and added piping in the front and back vertical seams.

The dress has been worn and worn. It has travelled Europe. It has that wonderful combination of feeling well dressed but not too smart and loose enough ( no waist seam) to be both cool and comfortable ( plenty of room for gelato)

As the fabric has begun to look more and more worn , I decided the only option was to recreate the dress as closely as possible.

Of course it wasn’t possible to buy the same fabric, but after some time searching I found the cotton below which has the same colours and is also floral.

I have tried to copy the arm sync and fit as closely as possible to the original ( I have a purple version of the dress where the armholes aren’t quite as comfortable).

And here is the result


It has been worn once, and I hope will have as much wear as the original

My thoughts are that my piping is neater second time around , but the best armhole sync is still the original oneThe question remains, can I bear to part with my first make. I have already begun muttering that it will be ideal for the garden…..

Jacket and Shorts continued

It’s been a while since I’ve written up my sewing…so this is the start of a catch up. Both quantity of sewing and blogging has been low – I think it’s the Covid effect.

I have finally completed the jacket and shorts started for my son’s fiancé back in February . At the last stage I had just posted off the wearable toile of the shorts and a sheet toile of the jacket. Report back on the sizing was that the jacket was perfect ( well it was a boxy one so I hoped required fitting would be minimal) , and the shorts were wearable, but a little bit big round the waist , and ideally a higher waist band would be preferred. The shorts were tried on over zoom to give an idea of the fit

The green wearable toile was worn almost immediately .

So it was on to the actual make. As the fabric was a loose knit it needed to be stabilised and lined .


The jacket actually went together fairly quickly and easily.




Of course the shorts, with a side zip, took longer. I tried to make them similar to the original cotton sheet toile, but slightly smaller on the waist and higher. In the end I decided to treat the side seams as one piece of fabric rather than an outer and lining – just in case I needed to alter the sizing.


Both items were posted off to Manchester. The initial response was that the jacket fitted , but that the shorts were a bit big ! I don’t think 5 months of running training for a half marathon had helped my attempts to fit at a distance!!!! Whilst the claim was they would be wearable, I decided immediately that alterations sounded necessary if they were to be worn.

Revised fitting was helped by a visit to Manchester – a visit planned for when lockdown restrictions were lifted. Seeing the shorts on made life so much easier – and confirmed my suspicion that they needed altering . I was also asked to put some darts into the back of the jacket to create a more fitted waist, and to add a button to the top to hold the jacket closed.

The alterations were turned around in a day once I got home. The jacket again was the easiest – unpick lining side seam, add fisheye darts and resew lining back together. And chose a button from the button tin.


Fdart


The shorts were not much fun. I was really glad I had just sewn up the side seams , but there was still much unpicking, including taking out the side spoil and setting it back in – and much muttering under the breath before the resizing was completed.

And this is when I realise I forgot to take any pictures of the remade shorts before sending them back to Manchester……. Well to be honest, they didn’t look much different from the original ones- and a photo probably wouldn’t show the size difference anyway!

I haven’t seen a picture of Nat in the outfit yet – but I am told the fit is now good.

Jacket and Shorts Stage 1



My next project is going to be a lengthy one, so I’m doing more than one post as it develops.

It’s also going to be a challenge as the make isn’t for me – it’s for my son’s fiancé who’s is about 250 miles away, which would present fitting problems even without the current U.K. lockdown!
The request was for a spring / summer shorts and jacket suit, with the RTW pictures below supplied for inspiration.

Nat is particularly interested in having a pair of shorts that fit her – she has a lovely hourglass figure which is very unlike my straight rectangular frame. I am used to my issue in RTW / pattern alterations which is if the hips fit, the waist is too small, and of course if the waist fits the hips stick out bizarrely! ( if anyone is interested I find that the Japanese Uniqlo RTW trousers are generally good for this shape!)

For Nat I need to do the exact opposite – reduce the waist size. As I am afraid the whole process may be a disaster, my one requirement is to make sure the cost ( fabric, patterns etc) is minimal so that it’s not a. Expensive mistake if it all ends up in the bin…..

So stage 1 – choosing patterns

Luckily I have a lot of patterns ! After a extensive review I found the following:

Seamwork Iris shorts. These have a nice shaped waistband , fitted hips and the looser leg Nat wants.

For the jacket I found a pattern in one of my Burdastyle magazines ( March 2017)

So 2 patterns with no additional cash outlay.

Stage 2 – fabric hunting

Nat lives within walking distance of an Abakhans and found a piece of fabric there which she likes. At £6 it seemed worth the risk, although it is not boucle ( as the RTW suits) and with the level of stretch plus a very loose weave it will require lining.

Nat also had a small amount of fabric left over from a dress she had made. It’s a pale green medium weight poly of some sort which she also posted down to me as I had said I would try making a wearable toile of the shorts first. So zero cost on that fabric.

Of course, having bought the cream fabric , what pops up on one of the fabric sellers I follow? …… very reasonably priced boucle. With some concern over the stretch in the cream fabric I decided 15. For 3 metres the peach boucle was a good buy.

Stage 3 – toiles and fitting

The first toile – shorts made in cotton sheeting – was completed at the very start of this year, and felt tip lines drawn for alterations


Marked waist adjustment

The changes have been transferred to the wearable toile and made up into pale green shorts.


Fingers are very firmly crossed that these might fit! I have left the hem of the shorts unfinished as I am unsure about length required.

A first sheeting toile has also been made of the jacket. Seam allowances have been added only where seams were required for toile purposes ( ie shoulder seams, armhole seams and side seams) for fitting purposes.



Stage 4

The green shorts and the jacket toile will now be posted to Nat. A zoom call will be set up to assess fit and I think I’m going to have to get my son involved with a felt tip pen to mark up alterations to the jacket! I can then hopefully use the toile to set about cutting out from the intended fabric. The next post will cover how well the items fitted and the next stages.


First make of 2021

Not only my first make, but also the first #makenine2021 item completed.

So I had decided to make more trousers and improve my skills in this area. I wanted to find some patterns that were slightly more unusual than my usual straight leg jean styles( RTW) or leggings, and bought a a number of patterns in 2020 with the intention of trying some out. All had an unusual twist….

Papercut Patterns Palisade pants with their unusual decorative side pockets.

Papercut Patterns Twist pants with a twisted side seam

and the pattern I chose to make up first , Style Arc Kew woven Pants.


The pattern description is as follows

“This is a designer pant with a slight rounded shaped leg that narrows at the hem opening. The dart and front split at the hemline give this pant a unique look. The back is extremely flattering with a centre leg design line that shapes over the bottom and into a one-piece shaped waistband. Wear this pant casually with sneakers and windcheater or dress it up with heels and a blouse.”

The fabric I chose was low risk due to the unbelievably low price of £3 a metre. Bought online from the Textile Brothers (Facebook shop) I was really pleased when it arrived – it’s lovely and soft with a great drape the fabric has more of a purple in it than this screenshot suggests

I have made up a few Style Arc patterns before. I like their modern stylish look, but the instructions are really sparse. I knew I could find a tutorial on line to help with the fly ( found for some shorts). However this time it was the pockets that had me stumped.

I started with a cotton toile for fitting purposes, but spent most of my time trying to work out how the pockets should be constructed. Despite even contacting Style Arc I don’t think I have got it “right” , and seemed to have a spare pattern piece!

I contacted Style Arc via messenger. They said that the piece in question was useful if youeed to have a pocket bag lining in a lighter fabric. Despite their input I never solved the mystery of the additional pattern piece 5 but I do have a pocket construction that works and seems logical. I will probably never solve the mystery.

I did read up on the pants before cutting and the common comment was that these are short / sit above the ankle. As I intended them for winter wear I lengthened the pattern before cutting out ( note I am only 5’ 2” so I am usually shortening , not lengthening garments – so it is well worth checking this before you wield your scissors).

Other alterations I made were :

I increased he seam allowance slightly in the top leg as they were slightly too baggy for my liking

Before seam adjustments ( red top and guest appearance from Gizmo the cat also showing rear view) . Fit post increasing seams on right hand side

I used bias binding to finish the front slit as suggested by Sewinglikemad having read her review of this pattern on The Fold Line

I omitted the coin pocket

Trying to take photos in the mirror – spin bike on left hand side

The fly has actually gone well on these pants – am I finally getting the hang of sewing flies?????


I topstitched all the seams with a slightly contrasting purple thread (pictures below are closer to the actual fabric colour!)

Belt loops are perhaps not quite as neat as I would like ( I had this problem on the Itch to Stitch shorts I made too). If anyone has any tips or tutorials on this please let me know.

The finished trousers

Front of pants
Back of pants

It’s a shame I can’t go out anywhere to wear my new trousers as we are currently in lockdown, but I think they will fit the requirement of slightly smarter trousers with a difference.

My #2021makenine

Quickly following on from my review of #2020makenine here comes my 2021 plans.

I have kept 3 of the projects that I didn’t do last year ( Itch to Stitch jeans, Helen’s Closet pinafore and the Misusu jumper) but added 6 new projects

I am attempting to improve my trouser making skills so will try to make 2 pairs. I have chosen the Style Arc Kew pants as they are a very different design and shape to any trouser# I own. I also plan to make a pair from Papercut Patterns( palisade or Twist pants)

I want to make another Stacker jacket. I love my corduroy one finished last autumn and would like a lighter weight one.

There are two piece# of fabric from my stash – patterns to be determined. The embroidered gingham will be a dress, the pink rib will be a jumper.

Lastly in the centre is probably the most challenging project. A request from my youngest son’s fiancé ( they got engaged on Boxing Day!) to make her a shorts and jacket suit similar to the RTW picture. Biggest challenge will be getting the fit right as it will need to sewn remotely.

So the plans are completed- 2021 starts.

My 100th post summarising 2020 with #2020MakeNine

I have done the Make Nine (#2020makenine ) challenge for the last few years and have never actually completed all nine planned projects. Well this year is no exception, in fact it’s probably the fewest I have ever completed!

Here is what I managed to do

Three of these projects were completed very early in the year and were all taken on holiday to Sri Lanka. The fourth completed project – the corderoy Stacker jacket – was completed in October , and is probably my favourite make of 2020.

So what happened to the other projects? I think Covid probably had an impact. Dress / holiday clothes planned were supplanted by casual shorts for walking during the summer. A lot of time was spent sewing scrubs, masks and hand sanitizer covers. And as always new ideas came up during the year and got ahead of the planned makes in the queue.

So will I still make the unmade options. For the top two in the grid I already have the fabric, so at some point when holidays are back on the agenda I am sure these will get made.

And I would still like a spring weight Helen’s Closet pinafore. And I still want to master making trousers ( Style Arc Kew trousers on the table) so I would like to make the Itch to Stitch stretch jeans ( finally)

Given the low level of projects completed , will I do this again in 2021? Yes! I enjoy planning projects and always find it interesting to compare where my intentions and thoughts were at the beginning of the year with what actually happened. And let’s face it, nothing went to plan in 2020.

The flip side of only completing 4 put of 9 of these projects is that I did make many other things that weren’t plNned – and I don’t just mean face masks,

I have also been keeping a picture record of what I have made in 202o as I go along…..

Looking back over the 2020 makes a couple of things stand out

  1. Nothing in March – lockdown impact?
  2. Very few makes after February are for me . Whilst some of the face masks were, even many of these were made for friends. Indeed of the 65 makes pictured above, only 22 were for me. This isn’t my normal sewing pattern

So onwards to 2021

Satin Christmas Pyjamas

I can write up this now as the present has been opened. My daughter in law had put some satin pyjamas on her Christmas present list – so of course I decided to make rather than buy them.

I needed fabric in gold and silver anyway for a Christmas tree craft project, so bought 3 metres of gold satin fabric from Coalville fabrics. It’s good quality fabric but (I was warned) , it frays. And I had to use an awful lot of tins of tuna, beans, soup etc to stop it moving around during cutting out.Next fine any pyjamas I make will be in a nice easy to handle brushed cotton !

The pyjamas are a combination of 2 patterns. The top is from Lekala patterns, and the trousers were a free pattern from 5 for 4

Unfortunately no fancy piping ( couldn’t face that with all that fraying) but I did manage the monogram on the pocket. Thank goodness the letter N is just 3 straight lines!


I’m not sure how durable these are going to be. The seams tend to pull apart as the fabric frays ( most are overlocked). I did top stitch some key seams to hopefully try to prevent this in wear.

Not my favourite make of 2020, but hopefully they will get some wear.

And in case you are interested here are some of the Christmas tree decorations made for a star themed tree in Our local community

Birthday dress

Close to my birthday I decided a new dress to wear would be a great idea. I wear dresses a lot in the summer, but have very few winter ones

My thoughts were – long sleeves for warmth, not evening wear and importantly to try to use fabric and a pattern from my stash.
Looking on lone there seem to be some definite trends. Midi length dresses are everywhere. And three styles seem to dominate – wrap, shirt dresses and dresses with a gathered peplum / frill. Sleeves also remain a point of interest.

Pinterest board RTW dresses

I went through my pattern stash first . My gut feel was that a fitted shirt dress would take a little too long to make ( all those button holes) . I had a number of wrap dress patterns, mostly for jersey fabrics. I had a number of sleeve options on various patterns but no dresses with a gathered frill ( although I knew this would not be a difficult hack)

A quick look at the fabric stash and I settled on a medium weight fabric. I have no idea what it is! It is soft , with drape and is woven. I think I bought it in the late 80s, or may have acquired it from my Mum! I liked the autumnal colours and it felt right for my project. This of course knocked out the jersey wrap dress option.

Based on fabric ( woven) and the RTW styles , here is the sketch of the dress I decided to try to create

The design of the dress is based on New Look K6723 pattern – with a number of modifications / hacks. I have kept the princess seam bodice much as the original pattern making fit adjustments. These included grading the waist up a little, reducing the bodice length and adding two darts into the back bodice neckline to reduce gape. I also decided not to line the bodice, so I cut a neck facing to finish the neckline.


The sleeves were modified to increase their width and to add a frill and elasticated cuff.


I used the width of New Look 6524 as a guideline for the sleeve fullness as I had used this sleeve before when hacking a top and had been pleased with the results. No changes were made to the sleeve head ensuring that it still fitted well into the bodice armhole.

The skirt had two modifications. Firstly I added pockets using the pattern pieces from the Moneta pattern. Secondly I added the deep frill to the bottom of the skirt ensuring the skirt would be a midi length. I looked at pictures of dresses and worked out roughly where the top of the skirt frill fell on the models. I then adjusted the length of all skirt pattern pieces to be this plus seam allowance. I measured around the new bottom of the pattern piece and calculated what length the frill piece needed to be to give a circumference of approximately 1.5 times to allow for gathers and the required depth to allow for a seam allowance onto the skirt plus a hem.

And here is the finished dress

I wore it out to a beautiful local hotel for afternoon tea( a birthday present)

Afternoon tea – with scones of course