Return to the Yasmin skirt


A return in 2 ways…..

If you have read any of my previous blogs you will know that this is my most used pattern. Before completing this skirt I had already made 5 others.


Secondly it’s a return to an UFO. I cut this skirt out in October 2017 and started sewing it whilst staying with my parents for the month of November.  Using their iron I burnt a hole in the front piece and had to stop making it until I returned home to the ( luckily) leftover excess fabric. Somehow I never got round to cutting out the missing piece, spring came and the project sat in a bag for months.

But now it’s finished!

The fabric was from Ditto in Brighton, and as usual with every fabric I have purchased there, it is lovely quality- a soft , drapey beautiful corduroy in a favourite colour


There’s not much to say / add to the pattern. It’s a pretty quick make for me now.

As usual I used a contrast fabric on the inside waistband – just because it looks pretty – and lined the skirt


And pockets and waistband are all top stitched.



Picture  above is of me wearing it for the One Week One Pattern 2018 challenge. It was my first time taking part in this on Instagram, and this skirt pattern was the obvious choice. No problems wearing the same pattern for a week, but much more of a problem wearing skirts every day. My lifestyle now , especially in the winter, tends to be fairly casual and active which means I wear a lot of trousers( or gym gear). But I did it, even if it was for only part of some days. And this particular picture even got featured as one of the makes of the day by Sewisfaction for the challenge




“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby Great Gatsby party gear:


“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I have been invited to a Great Gatsby themed engagement party in mid January.

My eldest son got engaged to his girlfriends last August and will be getting married August 2019, so they have decided to get the guests together in Plymouth to celebrate the engagement.

So an opportunity to sew something a little different, and something I will probably wear only once ( so don’t look for high quality finishing on this make!)

The first thing I did was look for inspiration , including of course the latest film . ( son plans to dress like Leonardo Di Caprio)


Then I went through the fabric stash to look for something suitable . Options were bling, black, gold – with the fall back of buying if I absolutely had to. But I found the following piece of fabric.


It’s extremely shiny silver and black, stretchy fine knit polyester jersey bought on impulse on line from Fabworks in 2017 . It was really cheap and I couldn’t imagine what I would ever use it for as it is really shiney – the photo does not convey this!

Perfect for wear once bling though…..

i decided that a dress pattern I had just made up in jersey ( McCalls 6886) due to a really good fit would provide the base dress/ body pattern, I then decided to play with draping for the first time to experiment with the type of look. I don’t have photos of all the iterations I tried, but I soon came to the conclusion that all stripe was a bit much. The dress form was invaluable for this. I could stick pins into it through the fabric to secure fabric and create shape before stepping back to view the effect

c446d181-9bb1-4235-829d-e41deee600a3.jpegCombining the picture inspiration and the draping experiments I decided on sleeveless and geometric/ angular. I liked the v neck emphasised with a piece of heavy lace . Reversing the fabric to show the black underside also worked to tone down the silver and highlight angular design features.

The next stage was to transfer my design to a paper pattern. To do this I drew round the front and back parts of the Simplicity pattern, and then plotted the triangle designs onto the skirt part. This was all then cut up , and the fabric cut out- remembering to add seam allowances.

At this stage armholes were not graduated for a sleeveless dress and the front and back neck were high / not cut to enable me to decide on depth


Following this I pinned the black lace into place to create the front and back v neck line, trying the dress on and adjusting it. I sewed it on befor finally trimming the neckline fabric back to the exact line ( the fabric does not fray and the raw edge is hidden beneath the thick lace) armholes were also adjusted and cut to fit and edges finished.

The  final addition was to add a fringe to the bottom hem. After some more draping I decided that the hem should also be v shaped rather than straight.


For the party just add long gloves, Diamante brooch and flapper style headwear…..and of course fizz!


And add Jay Gatsby


“I had taken two finger-bowls of champagne, and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental, and profound.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

2019 Make Nine plans and thoughts


Looking back at my #2018MakeNine I had a number of reflections

Make Nine 2018

1. I like having a plan , even if I don’t stick to it!

2. Combining intended fabrics from my stash with patterns gave focus to using my stash and worked – even if sometimes it was the fabric I made, not the pattern.

3. A January decided nine WILL change. Inevitably it reflects my current intentions, needs and ideas. By mid year ( and onset of better weather) this changes, new patterns and revised requirements/ events mean new priorities.

So my thoughts on my selection for this year are to acknowledge right up front that this reflects my hit list NOW. I won’t make all of these but will revise some half way through the year. I will also include slots which are event based, even if fabric / pattern are not yet decided, if I know these are a requirement.

First  – without the fabric


The top right reflects the requirement for a Great Gatsby dress for a fancy dress engagement party in January.

And  the bottom left and middle are places for as yet undetermined dresses- one for a relaxed cocktail reception and the other for a Mamma Mia style wedding both in Lemnos Greece . Yes my son and his girlfriend are getting married in August ( it will be HOT)   I am planning to make something for myself but am currently still searchinG for pattern inspiration. And I haven’t even got to the fabric shopping yet! Yes glee- I reckon this warrants specific fabric purchasing not stash busting.

Other  items ( from top left)

A cord pinafore dress. This has been an intention since November. Better get on with this before winter is over,

Cord dress (TAB)

More knickers after the success of attending a course in 2018

Yes, the Hvaar jacket – again

Another Toaster sweater using my long hoarded fabric from Sewisfaction

Another man’s shirt. This may be a formal shirt again, or a informal short sleeved one with a Greek design for my son.

I have attempted to add fabric from my stash ( or spoon flower in the case of the Greek themed shirt) wherever I can to create the final 2019 Make Nine plan.


So only fabric required is for the bottom line. If I only buy 3 pieces of fabric in 2019 that would be amazing…..


2018: hits, misses, challenges and highlights


And Another year almost gone, and time to look back and reflect on my sewing.


First the fun bit – the 2018 hits. It was hard to choose these as I made a lot of things I really liked – but here they are and why.


Starting at top left hand side…

Named Tavliki sweater : love the dart details and suits my everyday style

Butterick 6184 dress : finally used a beautiful embroidered and scallop edged fabric I had been hoarding. Got the fit right on this one

Linden sweatshirt ; probably the last blogger to make this popular pattern . Made 2 this year – a great day to day wear.

SOI camis; an unexpected hit. I made 5   Wore and wore these on holiday and the lovely weather this summer. Definitely get the prize for most worn items this year. And the pattern was free with a magazine!

Knickers: made at Sew in Brighton with Kats pattern. They were on my “I will never make…” list. But I will make more. They are so comfy and a great fit

Scout Tee : another internet favourite made more than once and worn loads this year. Just goes to show again that the basics are sometimes the best makes.

Maria Denmark Yasmin skirt : corduroy this time. Always going to be a favourite – I have made so many.

Mcalls shirt : I haven’t blogged this one yet as it was a Xmas present for my son. Hours of work, but so pleased with the result.

Shirt dress : easy to wear and comfy day to day summer wear


The  biggest miss is my Patty Do dress. It just doesn’t seem to fit me well,and doesn’t flatter my body shape. The fabric stretched loads when making, and isnt my favourite colours. I just don’t feel great when I wear this one



I took part in a number of internet based challenges





design my wardrobe ( Seamwork wardrobe planning 2 week internet program)

And a few self imposed challenges – a couple of pattern swaps with Sonja of sewingalacarte and reviewing a pattern ( Sew Different Denim Dress)

I loved doing the swaps, although I have not yet heard from the person I sent my secret Santa to, and neither swap ( so far) has made new friends like my first every secret valentine exchange ( hello Kathy!)

One week one pattern was a great challenge with me getting loads of wear from my Yasmin skirts

2018MakeNine has again been a mixture of things I have and haven’t done. Once again it highlights that whilst  it’s great to set out some goals at the beginning of the year, things change, new patterns catch my eye and different/ unforeseen requirements intervene


This year I planned not only patterns, but fabrics from my stash . I actually made 6  out of the 9 planned patterns. Interestingly the ITS Hvaar jacket which dropped off my list in 2017 did it again in 2018 , as did the Marbella dress. I like the look of both and can’t understand why I don’t get round to making them.

Some of the fabrics changed too – but again 6 of the chosen stash fabrics were used.

Design  my wardrobe. This actually was a really useful exercise. As a result of this my fabric buying became ( and I think stayed) more focussed. And the SOI camis and Scout Tees were a direct result of this exercise, and all made my 2018 hits.


My 2 pattern swaps with Sonja (sewingalacarte); were great fun. I feel like I have a sewing friend and love her makes. I hope we do some more challenges in 2019 and keep in touch.

Finally  my pattern review for Sew Different. This was a challenge as I did make a lot of alterations to the pattern, and reviewed this honestly. The resulting dress now meets my personal style and fit preferences and is often commented on positively as it is a striking design.



I have to mention The Sewing Weekender back in August

So so now it’s on to 2019. And I’ve enjoyed so much of 2018 that I plan to repeat most of the challenges, and fingers crossed for a ticket to Athens Sewing Weekender again

Itch To Stitch Uvita Top made from leftover fabric


Despite having a large fabric stash I cannot resist the challenge of using up fabric scraps. It’s so satisfying when you succeed in making something out of fabric which isn’t enough for a project

So the main fabric was left from  another ITS top that I made last year. It came from Fabricland, is a stretch knit type fabric and has a winter slightly Xmas snowflake design


As Christmas was approaching I decided using up the scraps for a casual top would be a great challenge. I have already made the ITS Uvita top ( a free download by the way) and loved its slimmer cut and fit.

But there was definetely not enough fabric to make this pattern.

The  solution was to use a plain black medium weight jersey alongside the fabric scraps. I played with numerous ideas, including black sleeves, yokes, but in the end went with just a plain black back.


Then a friend at sewing club suggested adding a strip of the patterned fabric to the back too.


The  result is a great casual top which was made up quickly on my overlocker, and which I think of as a “free” garment!  Free pattern, free (leftover) fabric and I’m cheating by not allowing for the thread! Very happy with the result.

“I’m never going to make knickers or bras……”


Or so she said.

Well I still haven’t made a bra ( and I repeat, I’m never going to make one) but I have finally succumbed to the underwear making trend and made some knickers.

I blame my sewing pal Helen who suggested we treated ourselves to a pre Xmas sewing class at Sew in Brighton. So this was booked ages ago and I have taken great delight in telling people ( especially non-sewists) that I am busy on that day because I’m going on a knicker making course. The expression on their face alone is worth every penny of the course fee.

So on to the course and the knickers. The day started off well with an excellent cup of coffee in Hove and picking up some yummy supplies from Gales bakery opposite the venue. The sewing room is small and cosy, but light ,bright and with lots of interesting sewing stuff around the walls. Kat , the owner of Sew in Brighton was welcoming and friendly and on got us started on the process of making our first pair of knickers using her own pdf pattern.


The first stage was to calculate the size pattern to use based upon the stretch of the fabric you had brought along. Now this seemed a fairly unscientific process, and I have to say the results were not good! It involved stretching the fabric around your hips and then measuring the fabric. Fitting would be done half way through to check sizing. However I could tell fairly on that mine were going to be too large  ( I had also brought along some favourites to compare sizing.)

So before attaching elastic some major adjustments were made. Luckily Kat is really good at fitting and walked us through these. Both Helen and myself are fairly petite and ended up making similar adjustments.

I took a good inch off both side seams. The back of pants were also recut in slightly – this was not just down to the previous adjustment but apparently a not uncommon adjustment for smaller  bottoms!

The knicker pattern design was Kat’s own, with the emphasis on getting the backside covered and not having knickers that ride up or disappear into the crack! And the design works. The height of the knickers was made slightly higher by my use of wide elastic along the top. I wouldn’t want them any lower, and may even raise them slightly next time.

I picked up quite a few tips on machine settings and elastic sewing and have ended up with a pair of knickers that fit really well.


Many people made theirs from jersey scraps. This is a great use of scraps and can result in some really funky knickers!


My fabric was bought from the Abakhans bargain section last summer with this project in mind – and I have 2 more colour ways to go.


The elastic was also bought from Abakhans. I have a number of their bargain elastic bags ( £1 for a bag full) so just matched up some of this. I also bought a metre of white cotton jersey to use for gussets. I think I now have enough gusset fabric to last a lifetime…..






Sew Different Essential Denim Dress


This is one of those projects that has taken me a long time to complete and is finally getting blogged.

I wrote about my plans to make this dress back in August with the intention of starting it at The Sewing Weekender.

Here is the inspiration and planning boards I put together then. The pattern was recommended for  rectangle body shape.




I also did some internet searching to try to try to pick up any tips on making up the dress and it’s sizing / fit.

As a reminder , I was gifted this pattern, but the views here are my own.

Firstly, there was not a lot of info or reviews on this pattern, but I did get a response from a lady on Facebook who had tried to make it and had a really bad experience with the fit. The diagonal of the front cut across the high bust even at its lower point, and frankly looked just weird.

This was enough to persuade me to do a toile before cutting into my fabric!

I made the dress up out of sheeting in the smallest size, which according to the measurements should fit me.

The toile did not give me any problems with the placement of the front diagonal, but it did highlight that for me the pattern sizing was much too generous. A couple of points on this – I am petite and generally prefer a more fitted silhouette so clothes do not swamp me. My view from the pattern photos and the Cocoon coat I had already made was that the dress looked as though it would skim / have shape. I should maybe have been wary of no zip ( with woven fabric) . And I have to repeat, a more fitted look is a personal preference- I know that many people love the loose fit of many of the current indie patterns such as Stevie tunic or Felix dress

Anyway, here are some pictures of the toile. It didn’t look too bad on the dress form


But on me it lacked shape. As you can see from the photos below I had to pinch out large amounts of fabric to get near to the fitted shape I prefer.


Now, I am not easily beaten, and really like the colour blocking of the dress so I decided to make some modifications and try to produce a dress to my desired fit. This is what I did….

Firstly , I have added a zip in the back. Whilst this makes it more difficult for a beginner to construct the garment, it does allow for a more fitted option with woven fabric. Adding the zip was not difficult if you have done zips before – just create a a centre back seam where the fold placement is on the pattern piece ( not forgetting to add seam allowance) , and insert an invisible zip into it.

In addition to this I also added fish eye darts to the back to give more shaping to the waist. Placement and size of these was done by looking at a previous dress I had made which had these, plus trial and error pinning!


The front was a little more complicated.

The width across fthe front was too much, and again lacked shaping around the middle section and up into the bust area.

My solution was to create the equivalent of  front fish eye darts. The complication was the panelling, which I needed to retain.

So on the dark top panel I added darts , the bottom of which lined up with the vertical seMs of the lower dress panels. The photo below shows placement but due to the dark fabric the actual darts are not visible.


To continue the equivalent fish eye dart effect into the lower part of the dress I took the amount that would have been pinched into the fish eye dart off either side of the panels themselves

The only other adjustment I needed to make was to lower the armhole openings slightly ( no more than 1 cm)

And here is the finished dress.


I love the fabric combination. It’s still really comfy to wear as it isn’t tight fitting – so room to layer up underneath for winter wear with tights and boots.


And I like the contrast bias bound neckline and the top stitching and the pocket


The changes I have made to the pattern have worked for me, and will mean that it is a dress I will wear. I think for many people they would be happy with the looser tunic style fit, and certainly the front colour  blocking is striking and has already received many positive comments.

I appreciate not everyone would want to, or be able to make these changes, so if you can’t and like a fitted silhouette , this pattern probably isn’t for you. But I hope this illustrates the potential for this dress if you like a more fitted style in your wardrobe