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 .

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

Woven tops – what to make?

I have been looking  for inspiration for quick and easy lightweight woven tops.

Why  woven ? I want to make them in a lightweight cotton or viscose to be cool in a hot humid climate.

Why quick and easy? I need a few by early 2020 as I’m off to Sri Lanka for a holiday

This also means I want to follow the suggestion of a more modest style to be sympathetic to the local culture, so ideally with short or capped sleeves. This definitely rules out the numerous Ogden tees I made this year, and whilst the SOI camis which I also wear sightseeing in Europe may be suitable on occasion, they are not ideal.

The first pattern that sprung to mind was the Grainline Scout Tee.

I have already made a few of these , and it certainly fits the required criteria. I also found an option to ring the changes by adding petal sleeves.

Then I also found a number of blog posts praising the Seamwork Akita top. I subscribe to Seamwork but this was not a pattern I had previously decided to download. It did however look very straightforward – it is one pattern piece only!

My plans are to make tops primarily in a blue and white palette to go with the shorts, culottes and skirts I am packing . Hopefully easy mix and match wardrobe for travelling, and sightseeing which will include towns, temples, walking and safaris.


All the fabrics above are ready and waiting in my house.

I have made a start and have completed 2 tops – one from each pattern. The Scout Tee has once again turned out well. The only modification I make to this is to shorten it slightly as I am only 5’ 2”.


I decided to make the Akita out of the white broderaise anglais ( which is an off cut passed down to me by my mum. I have the suspicion the fabric is probably 50 years old!) . It did not have enough length for the single piece Akita pattern piece, but I saw that another blogger after making her first Akita modified her second by creating a shoulder seam. I am pleased with the finished Akita top. It gives some arm coverage, and with the front bust darts there is a bit of shaping.


Other  modifications I needed to make to the pattern were

1. I shortened it slightly ( as for the Scout Tee)

2. I adjusted the position of the bust darts. The points were too low for me . This is not a standard adjustment I make ( if anything I would often need to lower the bust apex point in indie patterns)

You should also note if you consider making this top that whilst the one piece pattern makes it a really quick easy sew, it’s not particularly economical on fabric layout as you need length but not width of fabric .a result  Alos importantly – this means that any directional pattern is upside down on the back , so think carefully before cutting. This can of course be overcome by the simple addition of a shoulder seam as I have done.

So the fact that I already own both of these patterns at no cost has tipped me towards making up these, but if anyone has any suggestions for other patterns that fit the criteria – even slightly more complicated so they have a bit of added interest value, – please comment with your suggestions below



Christmas Sewing


Its not often I sew decorative objects – dressmaking is more my thing – but this Christmas has seen 2 new Christmas decorations sewn in my weekly Cotton Clubs Sewing classes.

The first project was to use free motion machine embroidery . The proposed project was to create a hoop hanging decoration – and this is what the rest of the class did. I however decided to create a coffee table runner for my lounge.

Work in progress

The design was changed from round to square, and I planned three panels for the runner which would be individually created before being mounted on the runner itself. My room features blue and maroon so these colours were picked up.


Designs were researched on the web and drafted on pattern tracing paper before being cut into sections and applied to a backing fabric with


Then the fun bit – the machine embroidery, whilst this had to hold the pieces in place, we were also encouraged not to make it too regular /  appliqué like, and to use it to sketch in elements.


I think the details on my reindeer and  snowman have probably been the most successful at achieving this


And just for interest , here is some of the beautiful work of others in my class.


The second project was much quicker – many people made multiple  versions. This was a cute little reindeer. The bottom of its legs are weighted with rice so it stands up


And just to complete my Christmas decorating creativity ,here is the Wreath I made for my door at my local WI’s wreath making session!


And a somewhat scarey Christmas tree snowman for the local tree competition ( again with my WI).


And just heard Frosty the snowman got 2nd prize!

Final Ogden Camis of 2019

There has been a reason these haven’t been posted earlier – they are Christmas presents.  But as we had our family Christmas yesterday ( 22nd December) I can now write and publish.

After the success of the Cami sewing for my son’s partner earlier this year, I asked what she wanted for Christmas, and guess what? More camis

This time as I was visiting Manchester – and Abakhans – I took her with her to choose her own fabric. She chose 3 very different  fabrics- a drapey sequin fabric, a grey knit and blue polyester.


And here are the results.


Once again she loved them, and changed into the sequin cami immediately, she looked beautiful in it!

Enter a caption

Boy,a  have I got my money’s worth from this pattern this year! I think i could almost  make it with my eyes shut now.

Itch to Stitch Uvita top

This is my second itch to Stitch Uvita top. ( see the first here). I bought the fabric at the same time for both from Abakhans in 2016 but this second piece has sat in my stash up until now.


I decided to make up the top in the same pattern as it worked the first time and is a comfortable basic top to wear, so why not?

So this is made up pretty much without any pattern alterations. I did take the side seams in slightly , but I think this was mostly down to the fact that the fabric is really stretchy.



Not much else to add other than if you haven’t already their FREE pdf, it really is worth doing so.  If you haven’t printed st home before , ITS pdfs are a joy to put together ( take a look at Kennis’ tips on how to assemble her pdfs), and this one is a small. Item to start with. I’m writing this with feeling as I struggle to stick a Papercut Patterns pdf together……

Have you ever used a soldering iron in a a sewing project? Or My Allie Olsen Monarch Jacket


This jacket popped up on my Bloglovin feed when it was launched recently and I loved some of the versions sewn. It seemed to have a good balance between casual and well put together, and I thought it might provide a solution to a lightweight throw on jacket for layering.

With  this in mind I wanted to make the jacket in a fabric that didn’t crease badly (yes, I’m guilty of stuffing jackets in a rucksack when delayering). I already had a couple of pieces of scuba type fabric in my stash. These were bought in Abakhans in 2018 ( definitely another #offwithherstash ) with the intention of making something like a bomber jacket with contrasting sleeves / body.

Whilst  the fabrics look different colours in the above photos, the navy blues actually match perfectly in real life! The flower pattern fabric is quite unusual as it is textured, with the flowers being slightly raised.

Finally, with the thought of warmth I decided to line the jacket. The pattern itself does not include a lining. However I have added linings to garments before ( it isn’t much more complicated than making a second version of the garment ) and I found a YouTube vlog by Lifting Pins and needles very useful in showing the steps

The key thing is to cut the front lining narrower to allow for the turn back facing from the front of the jacket – whilst also allowing a seam allowance at this point to join the two together,


For a bit of extra warmth I chose to use some left over sweatshirt fabric to line the jacket. As I didn’t quite have enough , I “cheated” by joining some of the fabric in the sleeve.( well you cant see it) . Unlike the You Tube vlog I also chose to line all the way down to the cuff.


Of course, one of the benefits of lining is a lovely internal finish.


The finished jacket was all bagged out through a side seam( into which I also inserted a handmade label before closing by hand.)7BAE63E4-1590-4370-A5DD-8BD8C7240745


I did my best to line up the flowers when laying out pattern pieces, or at least to get them looking reasonably placed. This was something I hadn’t thought about when choosing a pattern for the main body as lining up the add on bottom band was not entirely possible

The whole jacket came together pretty easily with the help of my overlocker. Two elements too a bit of time – ensuring he collar was inserted neatly and making sure the bottom band depth was identical on both fronts of the front so they matched when fastened.


And now for my single biggest tip from this project. Inserting the popper closures. Now I ( well actually I get my husband to do this as he is much more adept with hammers and tools) have done this before – but with woven fabrics. The scuba  fabric presented a challenge as it is a totally different thing to pierce. And that’s where husband came up with a brilliant idea. The position for the poppers were marked and then he used a SO!DERING IRON to burn a small hole through he fabric.


It also seals the fabric edges nicely. You do have to do this quickly, but it works. I have had to also insert some firm backing ( denim scraps) at the point where the popper is bashed through to strengthen the area and prevent the popper pulling through the fabric.


And finally here is a rare picture of me in glasses wearing the jacket. This was at the Cotton Club where I sew, andhowever much I love contact lenses for daily wear and sport, close up sight for Sewing is miso much better with my varifocal glasses


Sarong to Ogden cami beach dress

My son bought me a beautiful sarong from Thailand 7 years ago. He rode elephants whilst on holiday there, so bought one with elephants on it .Confession time  – I’ve never worn it. A number of reasons. We don’t usually do beach holidays and try as I might , I can’t seem to get these things to drape alluringly and attractively over my body. Whatever I do I seem to end up looking like I’ve been bundled into a tablecloth.

So in case you haven’t already gathered from my numerous recent blogs making clothes for hot weather, I went to Greece and the beaches for my son’s wedding Once again I attempted to drape this fabric over a bikini to try to use on the beach. I even quizzed the bride to be on advice on wearing a sarong. It went like this ( with demo) …you just take this end, and this end , wrap it like this and knot it. She twirls, looks fantastic and realisation hits that she would actually look great in a sack.

And that’s when I decided it was time to wield the scissors , view my sarong as fabric and actually wear it.

Enter a caption

Trimmed off the fringe edges but kept them to use for a tie or trim.


After the success of my recent Ogden makes, I decided to try making an Ogden beach dress. The plan was to lengthen the pattern, using the border elephant print as the hem , slit the side seams to the knee and add the fringe edges at the waist to create a tie belt.

Once again I used my lightweight viscose for internal facings to make the main fabric go further.

I did not draft a pattern for the additional length. I simply laid the top onto the fabric and extended the line of the side seam to the bottom of the sarong using a long ruler.

As I have now made 4 camis in quick succession, this is becoming a very easy and quick make!

The end result – one new beach dress


Look it’s got side slits



These pictures were actually taken in Corfu ( not at the wedding in Lemnos) where the dress got a second holiday at the end of September- and I actually managed to get some photos!

Sweatshirt sewing at the Cotton Club


The  theme for this half term at the weekly sewing club / lessons I attend  ( The Cotton Club in East Grinstead West Sussex) was to make a sweatshirt. It is always optional whether you join in with the theme  or just make something else. (For newer sewers completing the suggested project is usually the preferred option so they build their skill set.)

I decided a quick sweatshirt for the changing weather sounded a great idea , and I was determined to use my stash.


This beautiful fleeceback sweatshirt came from Caboodle Textiles – I actually won it in an on line competition in 2017  It is super soft and has lovely sparkly raindrop shapes on it. Bizarrely I loved it so much I have been holding on to it for something special.

So to guarantee a make I would like ( and because I love the pattern) I chose the Sew House Seven Toaster sweater to make again.. the only alteration I make with this is to shorten the bodice by about half an inch as I am a petite 5 foot 2inches

And here is the result


It’s not been cold enough to wear it yet, but I have the feeling it’s going to get plenty of wear. It feels a lot more comfy than my previous make( which isn’t uncomfortable) as the fabric is so soft and flexible – quality fabric does pay off!

Out of interest, here are a couple of makes from other Cotton Club sewers.




One  of the fun fun bits of attending , for me, is the social side . Sewing can be a solitary hobby, but this gives me the opportunity to meet up with other sewers, chat about sewing and ideas, and see what everyone else is making, as well as picking up tips and help from our lovely teacher Abi.

Here is a picture of us all hard at work on Wednesday morning this week .


I still can’t believe Abi managed to get a shot of us all with heads down , at our machines. There’s usually a lot of chatting and wandering around to see how everyone’s getting on!!!!



The 10 year UFO and 5 take outs from finally finishing it

This was my oldest UFO. Now , I don’t have many of these – in fact there is only one other garment (which is much more recent ) lurking in my sewing room. My weakness is Un-Started Objects ( the fabric stash) not unfinished ones.

This dress has however hung around in a plastic carrier bag for ( estimated) about 10 years.

I only really returned to sewing seriously just under 5 years ago when I retired/ was made redundant. I had sewn when I was young, and dipped in and out as my boys grew up, being much to busy raising a family and having a career to indulge heavily in sewing. But occasionally I had a go.

I can’t remember where this fabric came from! It may well have been in my Mum’s stash which I acquired ( as well as the gene to hoard) as she sadly went blind and could no longer sew. It is a beautiful soft cotton – I am guessing a cotton lawn. I had decided to use a free Prima pattern, and before my days of regular sewing and learning about pattern adjustments for my body, I obviously just cut out the dress  and sewed it up – to a point.


And this is when it became an UFO. The bodice just didn’t fit me well. The V neck was much too low, the neckline/ shoulders too wide,the top of the back around the zip gaped and the sleeves just pulled and didn’t sit comfortably.

So it sat, unfinished, unhemmed…

Every now and again I would take it out of the bag and look at and try to work out how to make it wearable. Most of these thoughts centred around how to fill in the neckline (lace?)but nothing looked right.

So ten years on, and five years of sewing and trying adjustments, and I pulled it out again this summer. This time I finally decided to go for broke. After all it certainly wasn’t doing any good in a plastic bag.

So based upon adjustments I have been making I decided on

1. Darts in the back neck to pull upper shoulders in and prevent gaping around the central zip.

2. Raise shoulder seams/ increase shoulder seam width to raise Vneckline (too late to take length out above bust as fabric cut )

3. Remove sleeves . Recut armhole to sleeveless shape and recut / lower underarm to adjust armhole depth after raising shoulders.

4 Straighten the skirt to reduce the A- line flare.  Not a fit issue, just a preference regarding how fabric fell and dress looked on me.

This did mean some serious unpicking of the lined bodice to access the required seams for adjustments.

Internal lined bodice. Seams neatened with overlocker

The other thing I did not like about the dress was the finish. Now at the time of making it, I really don’t remember I had any problem with this. But isn’t it interesting how your standards and expectations change as your skills advance? So out came the overlocker ( I didn’t have this ten years ago) and as many seams as possible were neatened.

Recut armholes finished with bias binding

So all completed, adjustments made and a dress that fits and is wearable. One empty plastic carrier bag added to the pile of reusable bags.


Darts inserted either side of zip at neckline to prevent gaping. Before the days of pattern matching……


And then I realised……I didn’t take any before pictures. If you have read this I am sure you would have liked to see the ill fitting version. I would have liked to have had a record of it too as I think it’s really useful to see the failures as well as successes. But too late I’m afraid.

So what have I learned from this UFO?

1. Prima bodice patterns are much too wide on my body ( I had another failure with this brand)

2. You don’t always notice your own progress. My knowledge and ability to fit to my body have improved dramatically.

3 My standards for finishing have increased – and my overlocker is a tool I would not now be without.

4. Don’t be afraid to hack / substantially alter something that hasn’t worked. Better to try and maybe get a wearable garment .

5. Take “before” photos!