Modest Fashion

The first London Modest Fashion Week started yesterday at the Saatchi Gallery. The show’s main focus is Muslim fashion. However, modesty can apply to all women regardless of their faith and even to women of no faith. Faith can be fashionable!

Modesty means high necklines and low hemlines. Nothing clingy or too revealing.

Box Dress no.2 - SDB

Box Dress no.2 – SDB

I think a woman loses her decency and dignity when her lack of dress leaves her body overexposed. Take a look at some celebrities who parade in public wearing little more than their underwear! Its sad that girls want to emulate them.

There is a lot of pressure on women to look sexy – take a look at fashion magazines, ads, the catwalk, film and music videos. However, there is a difference between sexy and trashy (flashing the flesh).

My style icons are Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. Beautiful women who were stylish, classy and graceful.

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The modesty, simplicity and relaxed fit of Japanese fashion is also appealing to me.

One reason I started sewing my own clothes was that I was frustrated by the skimpy and clingy dresses in high street stores. I need to feel comfortable wearing clothes. Also I feel the cold and so need to be warm!

The people who read my blog know that my clothing is modest. I like knee length or longer hemlines. I do not show cleavage. I do not wear body-con dresses.

A woman can dress modestly and still look and feel beautiful. She does not need to flaunt her body to feel special. Modesty is also about behaviour and how you carry yourself.

I am sure there is a big market for modest wear. Here’s to covered-up chic!

What are your views on this? I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Cutie Cats

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Have you ever wandered in a street market and found something lovely? It happened to me recently. I had found a couple of little trinket boxes of cats sitting on a ball of wool, they were so cute that I could not resist them!

The first one reminded me of my tuxedo cat, Carla, who has featured on my blog a couple of times before. Carla is small, sassy and has the run of the house (as do all cats).

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The second one reminded me of my mum’s cat, Fluff – a beautiful Burmese who loves human company and a lot of attention. She is extremely vocal until she gets what she wants (food and lots of cuddles).

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These are the two lady cats in my life. Yes, I am a cat lover and proud of it!

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I have given my cats strips of fabric to play with rather than balls of wool. Are you a fellow cat lover?

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Popover Poncho – April Rhodes

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The Popover Poncho sewing pattern by April Rhodes is a sporty update on the bohemian staple. A clear instruction booklet with colour photographs is included.

This poncho looks more like a cape than the traditional poncho and that is why I like it so much. Thanks April for this fabulous design. Its great to wear a poncho and not look like Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western!

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I chose a cosy fleece in forest green for casual every-day-wear. Although this poncho could also be made in wool for a smarter look. Its so versatile.

The cowl neck and hoody style pocket hand warmer are fantastic features and really make this poncho. I also like the hi-low hem which looks dramatic.

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I lined the cowl neck with a contrasting cotton fabric in a tiny floral print. The cowl neck means that I do not need to wear a scarf to keep my neck warm – its a winner! I cut the S/M size and a L size for the bottom as I wanted a longer length. The poncho took 2 yards of 54″ wide fabric.

This poncho makes a really warm, cosy and comfortable sporty outerwear garment for the chilly winter weather.

Ladies, go and pop on a poncho!

Posted in Cape/Poncho | 2 Comments

Fabulous Faux Fur Set

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I hope you are all enjoying this Christmas season!

It is time for a vintage style faux fur trio of headband, collar and hand muff. These pieces can be worn individually or as a set. Winter warmer chic!

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The hand muff (tutorial on Youtube by A Vintage Vanity) measures 14″ long and 18″ wide (plus seam allowances). It consists of 4 layers of wadding/batting for warmth and is lined with wine satin. The long cord/piping is covered with wine satin bias tape.

For the collar, I had cut a slightly curved collar shape on the fold of the fabric which measures 34″ long and 4.5″ wide (plus seam allowances). It is lined with wine satin and is hand stitched.

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The headband measures 25″ long and 9″ wide (plus seam allowances) though you would need to measure your own head. It is hand stitched. Tutorial on Youtube.

This terrific trio adds a touch of glamour for dull winter days.

Posted in Accessories | 1 Comment

The Olivia Cardi (CNS04) – The Craft Network Sewing magazine

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This sewing pattern accompanied The Craft Network Sewing magazine (issue 07). It is an ideal wardrobe staple and is designbed for firm stretch knits.

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I made View A with extended shoulders and cut a size M (12-14). There is the option to make the cardi with long sleeves and pockets. The Olivia Cardi has a wide front and neckband to form a chic collar. It has easy bound armholes. I used a two-tone warm woolly jersey knit and it is so cosy that it feels like I am wearing a dressing gown!

Forget about the comfort blanket, this will be my comfort cardi!

Posted in Cardigan/Shrug, Knits | 3 Comments

Hoodie Cardigan – McCalls M6802

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Its Autumn (my favourite season) and that means sewing with knit fabrics and making a long hoodie cardigan. Sewing for comfort!

I made this cardigan in a lovely cotton jersey forest green knit fabric. There are 4 versions of the cardigan in the sewing pattern. I chose view B, cut a size 10 and lengthened the sleeves slightly. I bought this gorgeous tartan bias tape from a notions market stall in the beautiful town of Bath.

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I must say that this is a rather smart hoodie, it is versatile and can be worn over a dress or trousers.  A touch of tartan really makes it!

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I hope that I will enjoy wearing my cardigan just as much as I had enjoyed making it.

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There are more knit garments to come so watch this space! Do you enjoy sewing with knits?

Posted in Cardigan/Shrug, Knits | 6 Comments

Infinity Scarf – Sewing Happiness

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I had to make another project from the delightful book, Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida and chose the Infinity Scarf. I love a good scarf and I am known as the ‘Scarf Lady’ rather than the ‘Bag Lady’! A statement scarf can really change an outfit and add some style.

I have used the measurements recommended in the book of 60″ x 25″ so the scarf can be wrapped twice around the neck.

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I bought this red polka dot cotton fabric during a holiday on the beautiful island of Madeira. I had found an enormous fabric store in the town of Funchal and I did not want to leave – the hubby had to grab my arm and drag me out (after I had paid, of course)! This was the one holiday that I wish that I was on my own so I could spend the whole day browsing in the store and buying a lot more fabric, although I did buy some jersey. The hubby saved me from going on a crazy shopping spree and buying another suitcase to fill it with fabric!

A scarf is my favourite accessory. What is your favourite accessory?

Posted in Scarf

Cross-Back Apron in denim – Sewing Happiness

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I have indulged in yet another Japanese project! This time its a Cross-Back Apron from Sewing Happiness book by Sanae Ishida.

This lovely and simple book is half memoir and half craft, it tells Sanae’s story of using sewing as therapy after a period of stress and chronic illness. It is divided into seasons and the projects include: Origami Pillow, Triangle Eco Bag, Book Cover, Camera Strap, Infinity Scarf, Everything Bucket, Heating Pad, Zip Pouch and Dopp Kit.

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There are no sewing patterns, only simple hand drawn illustrations. For the apron, I followed the instructions in the book and made a Size M according to the measurements. This apron is made entirely out of rectangles. No closures, no ties, just slip it over your head, easy-peasy. I used a contrast bias-binding at the top of the apron. There is a double pocket on the front.

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I have used a mid-weight denim from my stash. As it feels too thick to wear in the kitchen as an apron, standing over a hot hob and cooking, I think that I will be daring and wear it out as a casual dress. In denim, I should be able to get away with it, don’t you think? Would you wear it out? Though, I may hear someone say “You forgot to take your apron off!” I will reply “This is utility chic!” I will give it a try and see what happens.

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I hope to make another apron but in a light-weight cotton or linen so that I can actually wear it as a kitchen apron!

Posted in Japanese, Sewing Books | Tagged | 2 Comments

Box Dress (D) no.2 – Stylish Dress Book

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I have fulfilled my desire of making another boat neck Box Dress (D) in a printed fabric and I am delighted with it! This sewing pattern is from the Japanese  ‘Stylish Dress Book – simple smocks, dresses and tops’ by Yoshiko Tsukiori and the dress (D) features on the book’s cover.

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I had been attracted to the multi colour striking print of the fabric. It looks rather leafy which is appropriate for the Autumn. Its a heavyweight cotton with a little stretch and it holds the shape of the dress well, giving  a rather structured appearance and enhancing the A-line silhouette.

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The sizing of this sewing pattern is most generous and I traced a size M (not adding seam allowances). I made the alteration of increasing the length as I prefer it longer.

I think the fabric really makes the dress and it is my favourite garment so far! Do you have a favourite garment that you have made?

Posted in Dress, Japanese | Tagged | 10 Comments

Owyn Pants (Polka Dot Denim) – Lotta Jansdotter: Everyday Style

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Here is my THIRD pair of Owyn Pants and it will not be my last – I like this sewing pattern (in Everyday Style book) a lotta, lotta, lotta!

This time I used a lovely lightweight denim and these are the perfect summer pants. I love a good polka dot print and to find it in denim was a dream! The pant’s tapered leg style has really grown on me since I made my first pair.

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The flat-fronted waist really does make the pants more flattering and the side/back is elastic fantastic. I cut a medium size and lengthened the pants as a cropped and tapered leg does not suit me.

These are the most comfortable pair of pants ever and they are not pyjamas!

Shoes by Hotter (made in Britain) in cornflower blue.

Posted in Trousers/Pants | 4 Comments

Floral Eco Shopper – The Liberty Book of Home Sewing

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I have received The Liberty Book of Home Sewing from my in-laws as a gift and was delighted (as I am with all sewing related gifts)!  I have made several of these Eco Shopper bags as gifts for family and friends, but the one featured here is mine. It is floral, summery and vintage inspired. The book recommends Liberty Tana Lawn in ‘Kayoko’, a lightweight cotton fabric in a small-scale print. The fabric I chose resembles a Cath Kidston print.

P1000183You can keep this eco-conscious cloth shopper with you at all times as it is a fold-away version made from a lightweight cotton and can be slipped into a tiny bag holder.

I had to draw my own bag sewing pattern by following the directions, measurements and diagram in the book. The bag is made from 2 pieces of main fabric and 2 pieces of lining fabric. I have lined the bag rather than just make a facing as it is more sturdy and it can be reversible.  I find this bag most useful and it is much nicer to use (and greener) than a plastic carrier bag when shopping. It is pretty and feminine.

The book is beautiful and fully of vintage style projects all made in Liberty print fabrics. They include a cook’s apron, frilly pinny, kimono, keepsake board, doorstop, beanbag, Tote bag, book covers, gadget case, drawstring bag, cushions, roman blind, curtain, lampshade, throw, cot quilt and contemporary brick quilt.

There are no sewing patterns included, only diagrams, measurements and directions to make your own sewing patterns. The book is full of inspiration and dreamy.

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I have also made a Lavender Heart in matching fabric!

Posted in Bag, Sewing Books | 4 Comments

Wonderful Whitstable

Greetings from Whitstable, a delightful traditional seaside town on the Kent coast.

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Looking rather nautical by the harbour! Wearing my sailor top by Marilla Walker, Irish linen trousers by Simplicity K1620 (to be posted) and ‘cornflower blue’ shoes by Hotter (made in Britain).

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Looks like a Pirate ship – is Jack Sparrow on board? Eye, Eye, Captain!

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A part of the beach covered in Oyster shells (Whitstable is famed for its Oysters).oyster

There are Oyster bars everywhere.

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A beach front row of terraced houses painted in pretty colours – charming.

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A folk band accompanying a group of Morris Dancers.

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The Morris Dancers were entertaining and fun to watch. The chap wearing a dress, apron and shower cap was most amusing!

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Dancing ladies. Liked their colourful costumes and swishing skirts.

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More Morris Dancers, wearing jingly bells and waving handkerchiefs.

My day was made complete by discovering The Fabric Shop in Harbour Street and I bought some gorgeous knit fabric.

It was a great day out!

Posted in Travel/Places | Tagged | 6 Comments

Monochrome Shift Dress – Christine Haynes

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I have revisited the Shift Dress sewing pattern in the book Skirts & Dresses for First Time Sewers by Christine Haynes.  This time I made it in a magnificent monochrome black/white circle print viscose/rayon with French seams. Very 1960s, don’t you think? And it also colour co-ordinates with my tuxedo cat, Carla!

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I adopted Carla in October 2015 and we are now very good friends. Carla is great company and sometimes sits next to me on the window sill when I am sewing!

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Going back to the dress. It has a slightly A-line silhouette with a round neckline, blouson sleeves and gathered cuffs. I lengthened the dress to just above the knee as it is short.P1000110

This was the easiest and quickest dress that I have ever made! There are no darts, zips or buttonholes. Christine says “This dress is a very simple front and back with gathered cuffs and an easy dress to toss on and look and feel pulled together”. I agree.

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The ultimate colour co-ordinating cat has to be Choupette who belongs to the fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld. Choupette is a super model moggie with earnings to match. Purrfect!
Posted in Dress | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Summer Tunic/Dress (No.2) – Love Sewing Magazine

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I like this tunic/dress sewing pattern so much that I have made another one! The simple style of this dress really suits me and I feel comfortable wearing it. This pattern is by Sewgirl for Love Sewing magazine (issue 3) and is based on the gorgeous and simple designs in Japanese pattern books. The design of this tunic/dress is similar to the Box Dress of Stylish Dress Book.

This time, I made it shorter than my first dress  (it sits just above the knee) and I added patch pockets to the front. I used a multi colour check print in a lightweight viscose/rayon which makes it airy for the summer.

I had made this dress for my holiday to Norway but read the online weather forecast prior to departure and realised that this dress would not be appropriate for the cooler and rainy Norwegian climate. Rather disappointing! The good news is that I wore my denim Owyn Pants a lot.

Have you made any garments to take on holiday and discovered that the climate was not suitable?

Posted in Dress | Tagged | 3 Comments

Norway Postcard

Greetings from Norway, land of the fjords!

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Our holiday started in the city of Bergen which is the gateway to the fjords of Norway. Bryggen aka the Wharf (above) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bergen was designated European City of Culture in 2000.

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To stroll through Bryggen’s narrow alleyways and overhanging galleries is to step back into time. It is also home to speciality craft shops.

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I am wearing my denim Owyn Pants which I made for this holiday – they are comfortable and ideal for travelling. I wore these pants a lot in Bergen as it rained every day!P1000034

The house of the world famous Norweigan classical composer, Edvard Grieg. Visitors of the nearby museum can also enter the house. In the museum there is an exhibition and a film showing the stunning scenery of Norway accompanied by Grieg’s beautiful classical music. The house is on a hill with lovely views and is worth a visit.

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The elaborate christening gown of Edvard Grieg – beautiful embroidery!

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The hubby and I took a 4-hour boat cruise in the fjord – a highlight of our holiday.

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Please excuse the fleece hoodie but it was chilly and extremely windy up on deck!

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Boat views of the fabulous fjord.

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A market stall of beautiful knitwear by the Norweigan knitwear designer, Susan Fosse, on the famous Fishmarket in Bergen. Susan completed her BA (Hons) Degree in Knitwear Design in London but she returned to her roots in Norway in 1992 to launch her own design label, Susan Fosse Knitwear.  I bought a lovely knitted hat.

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The view from our hotel balcony in the charming village of Balestrand in Sognefjord (the longest and deepest fjord in Norway).

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The famous Flam Railway. This train journey was a highlight of our holiday – the views are breathtaking!

A stunning mountain view of a waterfall from the train.

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The magnificent Kjosfossen waterfall on the Flam Railway route. The train stopped at this point for passengers to disembark and take photos. A dancer (not shown) appeared briefly to the side of the waterfall, accompanied by enchanting Norweigan music.

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I have discovered a lovely little sewing/craft shop, Spindelvev in Balestrand. The front of the shop sells goods which have been sewn and knitted by ladies with ‘special needs’ in the back of the shop which is used for crafting. I bought a pretty pincushion/thread catcher to support the shop and their wonderful work. The goods are gorgeous and made to a high quality.

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A colourful Norweigan tapestry hanging on a wall in our Balestrand hotel.

As well as the above, we took a tram up to the top of Mount Floyen which overlooks Bergen and visited museums, hiked a 5km nature trail in Balestrand and watched several porpoise swimming in the sea outside our hotel window.

Visiting Norway was a dream come true for us and we will cherish the wonderful memories.

Posted in Travel/Places | Tagged | 3 Comments

Owyn Pants (Denim) – Lotta Jansdotter: Everyday Style

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Making these Owyn Pants was a better experience for me this time and it has a lot to do with my choice of fabric – a lightweight denim which feels like linen – so lovely! These pants are simple and tapered with a flat-fronted waist and side/back waist elastic.

My first Owyn Pants were made in wool/polyester blend (because it was Winter) and the length is a bit shorter. I really like these denim pants a lotta!

It is important to note that on the pattern (in Everyday Style book – I recommend it), the end of the pants leg is on a different page to the main pants.

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I have changed my mind on the tapered leg. Making the pants in denim has made all the difference. I am so glad that I revisited this pattern and used a nicer fabric.

The book recommends using a mid-weight cotton or linen. These pants are perfect for the summer and I shall be taking them on holiday to Norway!

Are you making any garments for your holidays?

Posted in Trousers/Pants | Tagged | 6 Comments

Summer Tunic/Dress – Love Sewing Magazine

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For this dress, I modified the Summer tunic pattern by Sewgirl for Love Sewing magazine (issue 3). Based on the gorgeous designs in Japanese pattern books, this version is a simple design and made to fit and flatter every shape.

To give this dress a smarter and more dressy appearance, I omitted the lower sleeves and attached lace with a pretty scalloped edge. The keyhole at the neck and pockets were also omitted.

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I used a floral print mid-weight viscose/rayon which has a lovely drape. As this pattern’s sizing is rather generous, I made a Small and took in the sides.

I will probably make this pattern again but as an actual tunic with pockets. I cannot resist the Japanese aesthetic as it is so appealing to me.

Is there a style/design that you cannot resist and turn to time and time again?

Posted in Dress | Tagged | 3 Comments

New Look 6892 – Peasant Blouse

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Here is a peasant style blouse which is ideal for the summer, New Look 6892. There are 5 versions of this blouse pattern to choose from. I made View B with French seams and used a pretty floral cotton fabric. I cut a size 12 and lengthened the blouse by 1″.

This blouse has a Japanese look and is similar to smock blouse B (with garibaldi sleeves) in Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori. Although this blouse has some shaping in the waist which avoids the ‘smock’ look.

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The neckline on the pattern is quite deep so I adjusted this. To create the gathered look of the front/back neckline, I made a bias binding casing and inserted elastic. The gathers create a feminine look.

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The raglan sleeves are elbow length. I omitted the flounces at the sleeve ends (for View B) and did the same as the neckline to create blouson sleeves.

The small floral print of the fabric gives the blouse more of a Japanese look.

A pretty, feminine and comfortable blouse to wear in the summer!

Posted in Top | Tagged | 6 Comments

Sailor Top (No.2) – Marilla Walker

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My trip to Venice (the city of gondola fashion) has made me want to revisit the Sailor Top pattern by Marilla Walker. This top is a cool design and perfect for the summer. Here is Sailor Top No.1.

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This is a quick and easy top to make. I used a mid-weight stretch jersey knit fabric with a navy/grey nautical stripe. This time the seam is on the inside and  I attached the ribbon on the inside of the top to stabilise it.

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I love the shoulder gussets – these are a great design feature and really make the top unique! I used a stretch twin needle to stitch the hem and sleeve ends.

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Are you a fan of nautical/gondola fashion?

Posted in Knits, Top | 5 Comments

Dungarees (Roberts Collection) – Marilla Walker

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I knew that I had to make the Dungarees (View B) of  Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection after making the Dungaree Dress.

I used a mid-weight and soft denim which has a good drape. I like the front trouser pleats as this adds more shape and the functional pockets are fab.

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I was not sure whether dungarees would suit me but I like them more than I thought. Although my husband asked me “where is your paintbrush?”. Yes, this is the ‘overall’ look but I am determined to pull it off and look ‘utility chic’!

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I had an issue with the fit of the trousers and had to make quite a few alterations especially taking in the front trouser seam. Though it was my fault in cutting a size 3.

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As there is quite a bit of ease in this pattern and there is a little stretch in the denim, I was able to remove all fastenings and this was a real time saver.

The Dungarees are casual and comfortable. Do you like the utility look?

Posted in Trousers/Pants | Tagged | 4 Comments