The James Dean jacket is finished!


As always these projects take much longer than anticipated, but finally the red jacket for my son is finished.

If you remember from my first post it was a pattern hack / modification of 2 patterns and a rtw jacket





All the alterations and pattern hacking were worth it as he has just the jacket he wanted. And a further upgrade was made to the final design – the jacket is lined( which of course added time to the project). Yes, it has black lining in the sleeves to slip it on and off easily but the star of the show is definitely the lining for the jacket body. Pure inspiration!

The fabric lining was found on Ebay by searching “James Dean fabric” . It’s actually a Hollywood Stars compilation but features the man himself.

This does confirm my belief that you can buy anything on ebay.

All other pattern hacks were successfully applied

Smaller collar than the original Lekala 6006 pattern, but using the collar stand overlay from the pattern which has worked really well ( after figuring out what it was and how to do it by searching the Internet)


Addition of flat bottom band and cuffs (self drafted). Narrower sleeves


Addition of welt style pockets- again using online resources plus referencing his H&M jacket for position/ sizing etc


Addition of lining using modifications to the basic pattern I hacked together.


It took some persuading to get him to model the final jacket but I managed to get a few very un-posed snaps as he wore the jacket out for the first time last night.


Overall thoughts on this project

It’s really difficult to find men’s patterns

The Lekala patterns provided a good cheap base for hacking, but instructions are really poor – you need to have good sewing knowledge to use them

After all the effort I hope he wears it LOTS!


Rebel without a cause


“Can you make me a jacket?” Says my 26 year old son .

Sewing has been on complete hold for almost 2 months. Our bedroom has been completely refurbished and decorated- which has meant that whilst new wardrobes etc were being done ALL the contents of the room have been stacked in my sewing room ( plus the garage and conservatory). So access to everything has been impossible.

But that question , and the start of moving stuff back has kickstarted the sewing again.

Of course , it’s never that simple. He doesn’t want any old jacket- he wants to be a rebel without a cause. His vision is a red jacket that sort of crosses over between his black H&M jacket and the James Dean red bomber jacket – in red of course

Luckily ( and incredibly) given a self imposed ( or is it husband imposed) fabric buying ban , there was a piece of red fabric in my stash! About 30 years old I think – not quite James Dean era, but suitable.

Then it got difficult. I have made very few men’s clothes, and therefore do not have many patterns. Easy I thought, as I started the online search. I couldn’t believe how few menswear patterns are put there. Of course it’s even more difficult when son knows EXACTLY what he wants.

So in the end I have bought 2 Lekala patterns and plan to do a mash up. I haven’t tried this brand before, but I’ve put in his measurements, ordered the PDFs and spent hours assembling the 2 jacket patterns.

lekala 6006for bloglekala 6057 for blog

They seem HUGE to me – well I am used to sewing size 8/10  for a 5′ 2″ female dresses and he is a 40″ chest , 6 foot male.

So the plan is to take the basic shape from Lekala 6057 and add the facing from this pattern too ( Lekala 6006 is lined) Collar and pockets will also be taken from Lekala 6006

First step has been to amend the patterns

I have added height to the front of the Lekala 6057 bomber jacket to match Lekala 6006 and incorporate the shirt collar.

Sleeves have been lengthened on Lekala 6057 to allow for changes to the cuff.

This has been cut out as a toile in a rather fetching yellow patterned old sheet

First try on last night has indicated that fit is generally not too bad- but the sleeves are too baggy ( I think Lekala 6057 is designed to have pleats in the sleeves to be inserted into ribbed cuffs) . So next stage is to try to remove some of this excess on the toile and adjust the sleeve pattern. I will also be experimenting with the facing from Lekala 6006 to see how to add this to my mashed pattern.

Also  other changes

-can I redraft / change the shoulder / sleeve? At the moment  the shoulder is slightly more of a dropped line than sitting on the shoulder. Not too sure how difficult this is going to be.

– Also ( and hopefully easier) slight reduction in width of the main jacket body ( taking in the side seams) and replacing the bottom gathered bomber style of Lekala 6057 with a straight non gathered band like his H&M jacket- both slightly easier requests than the sleeve/ shoulder change I hope!

-reduce the height of the collar and change the angle of the point slightly to resemble H&M jacket

So all in all a good start I think but plenty to do!

One comment, I have sewn quite a bit over the years and my thoughts on the Lekala patterns are that the instructions are not for beginners! They are very sparse, no images and there has been quite a bit of head scratching. It has helped that I have made the Rigel bomber in the past but I definitely have needed the toile to figure things out.

Next installment will hopefully be sooner than 2 months and whilst I originally hoped it would  feature the red jacket in progress, realistically with the number of changes another toile is required. Just hope I can get my son to do the final modelling!


Moving my Sewing Space


imageThis is it – the new location for my sewing!

When I started sewing again I initially used the dining room table with all the downsides of clearing up every time I wanted to sew even for a short time. Then I decided to use my son’s old desk ( not the one in the photo- much smaller) and happily used that in my bedroom until last autumn.

Well it worked for me, but husband wasn’t quite so keen on the stray pins


Then in October I got a new overlocker for my birthday from my husband ( was there a cunning plan ?) My desk was too small to fit both a machine and an overlocker side by side.

I already owned the larger desk – made up of two old base units and a kitchen worktop bolted together – this had been my first sewing table in my first house( about 30 years ago!) . Unfortunately it does support my belief- never throw anything away!

The new location is my son’s bedroom.This has stood virtually unused for nearly 6 years ( a hoarder, and sentimental…) while he has been at university. Yes he does come home to visit, but as his course( medicine) has progressed “term” times have become increasingly longer as his course extends beyond normal uni dates , and visits home became shorter. So at Xmas I asked him if he minded if I moved my sewing into his room. No sentimentality there- he was quite happy! Realistically his home is now Manchester and having passed his finals last month and planning to stay there for the next 2 years for his hospital job he really won’t be back here often.And the final part of the motivation- our bedroom is being re-fitted so everything has to be moved out.

Yes the planets aligned and the sewing space moved accordingly.

As you can see my machines sit perfectly side by side and there is even room for a coffee mug!

On the right is my tool caddyimage

I think this was originally for cleaning materials but I keep all my essentials to hand here- it means that if I want to hand sew in front of the TV or cut out downstairs on the dining table ( it still has its uses) I can quickly and easily transport everything.

I also have other containers holding desk bits and pieces And containers holding cotton,labels lace and ribbons and finally a box holding my zips.

last but not least the fabric stash

imageIt hasn’t reached the ceiling yet But maybe when I get to all that fabric at the back of my wardrobe from sewing 20+ years ago( does that count as vintage?), it just might…….

which is why I should be sewing, not writing my blog

2017 Secret Valentine Exchange

This year I took part in the 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange – the first swap I have done. #2017sve

I found out about it on a blog ( good old Bloglovin) and signed up . The idea is that the organisers take some info from you, eg likes ( colours, type of fabric) and then send your details on to someone who puts together a secret Valentine parcel for you. In return you also get someone else’s details and make / put together something for them. The idea is to use your stash and creativity.

So firstly I put together a little something for my Valentine. This was a lady called   Kathy, alsoo from the UK. A bit of blog stalking was also undertaken to see who my blind date was!

I knew she liked floral prints and turquoise/ purple so I went through my stash and used some fabric to make a little make up pouch. It’s lined with waterproof fabric and I managed to get hold of a couple of Clinique samples to put inside it.


I also sent her a letter to tell her about myself and was absolutely delighted when she emailed me back to say that the parcel had arrived and tell me about herself too I really hope she liked the bag and that we may even meet up one day in the future.

So today it was my turn to open my parcel. It was a bit like Xmas- it had been sitting waiting for the last week and I had no idea what was inside . How exciting!

YFes- my details had definitely been read carefully- favourite colours teal and purple. Inside were loads of bits and pieces- it was like a little treasure chest

Thank you Eleanor

i really enjoyed taking part in this swap- sign me up for next year!

Toasty in my Toaster Sweater

First make from my #2017makenine completed – and sneakily also ticking the box for the #wardrobebuilder on Petite passions blog challenge. the #dressmakingbloggerschallenge AND the #sewmystyle if I choose to complete that!


I bought the PDF for Sew House Seven Toaster Sweaters in  December and changed my mind about 20 times about which version to make. In the end the fabric helped to make the decision


I ordered the fabric online from The Textile Centre Boxing Day sale and then crossed my fingers until it arrived hoping it would be the right weight ( I did of course get tempted into buying another 7 pieces of fabric as they were all such bargains , AND I qualified for free postage…..I’m sure you’ ve heard it all before).

This grey fabric seemed ideal – and substantial enough to support the turtle neck for version 1



I read a few comments about this pattern being on the short side in terms of body length . I did however want to have the option of wearing it with skirts as well as trousers and I am only 5′ 2″ and normally need to adjust patterns to shorten between bust and waist as I am short waisted. So I measured the pattern pieces and cut a size small unaltered.

The sweater was easy to construct. The instructions are clear.


My new overlocker was a huge success- the first time I used it to completely make a garment. It finishes the seams beautifully and it is so QUICK! the fabric description of being ” an absolute dream to sew” was also right!img_4588

The only bit that was a bit fiddly was trying to line up the front / back to the waistband to try to get the pattern in my fabric to run sort of straight. But that’s a function of my fabric choice not the pattern, and I think turned out pretty well.

Not bad on the texture/pattern matching …..

I’m really pleased with the final result. It is the length I wanted and is comfortable and warm.


Would I make another one ? A resounding yes. I would quite like to try using 2 different colours or fabric textures to highlight the cuffs and waistband detail better although I already have some lovely blue knit fabric with a fleece backing that I purchased in the same Boxing Day sale which would really suit thus pattern.

…..and of course there are another 8 patterns in my #2017make nine waiting to be sewn…

First make completed – replacing pattern shots with a finished make as I go

And that Moneta party looks interesting too…….