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

The Stitching Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show

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I went to the Stitching Sewing & Hobbycrafts show at the ExCel, London yesterday. Obviously, I did some fabric shopping but there were other features, workshops and displays.

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My favourite had to be Yarnia which is the incredible life-sized knitted and crocheted display.

This display was created in Canada and the USA and it depicts scenes from C.S. Lewis’s children’s classic – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

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I am a Narnia film fan so seeing this unique display was a treat.

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I am not a knitter but I do appreciate and admire the talent and craftsmanship on display here.

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Here is the Forest Forever display which is a project based on leaf shapes and motifs in different shades of green and hand-embroidery.

The above work is named Happy Tree (Switzerland).

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The above work is named Fall in the North Wood (Denmark).

I do not hand embroider but again, I do appreciate and admire this magnificent craftsmanship. It is wonderful to see such incredible talent.

Posted in Craft | Tagged | 1 Comment

Dungaree Dress (Roberts Collection) – Marilla Walker

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I have made the Dungaree Dress (View C) from Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection at last. This pattern has made me feel so excited as it is right up my street! There are four sewing patterns in the collection and it is a bargain, thanks Marilla. I was delighted when I discovered that Marilla had paper copies of this pattern available and I ordered one pronto!

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I chose a lovely printed fabric of a medium weight blue denim with little white birds. It was the end of the roll, only 1.35 metres of fabric remaining, but as the fabric was a generous 60″ wide, it was just enough! Although I had to use a different fabric for the front bib facing and for the pocket lining.

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This is a dress with a dungaree style bib and straps, and I made version C2, the midi length. I cut a size 3 but it was too big for me so I had to take in the seams by 3cm – next time I will cut a size 2! I shortened the hem by 2″ as I thought it looked too long on me (I am 5″5). This is just my preference.

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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.

This dress is similar to my Apron Dress  (pattern G) from Stylish Dress Book 2. I love these functional pockets.

This is one of my favourite sewing patterns! My next garment will be the Dungarees (View B).

Have you made anything from the Roberts Collection or do you plan to?

Posted in Dress | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Venice Postcard

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Greetings from the beautiful city of Venice!

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Here I am admiring the view. Venice is a feast for the eyes and there is so much to see!

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Venice is full of bridges, canals and …

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… Gondolas!

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This is the beautiful Basilica in St Mark’s square. There is a fantastic view of the square at the top. The Basilica is a real treasure, it has glittering mosaics and a wonderful collection of sacred art.

Venice has the world’s highest density of Unesco-protected masterpieces and it is an art lover’s delight. I loved Bellini’s 1507 Madonna and Saints masterpiece in the Chiesa di San Francisco della Vigna.

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Here is some Gondola fashion! All the Gondoliers wear striped tops and the nautical style is everywhere in Venice!

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A  charming Charlie Chaplin impersonator!

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The shop windows are full of elaborate costumes and masks to celebrate the Venetian Carnival tradition.

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The gowns are extravagant.

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I love this cat mannequin and lion mannequin which are dressed so elegantly. Purrfecto!

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Venice is famous for its glass and the shop window displays are magnifico! Clowns are popular.

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These colourful glass parrots are striking.

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I found this non-profit boutique which has a great story. All the exclusive garments in this shop are designed and sewn by inmates in a retraining program at a women’s prison.

For the food lover, there is the great Italian cuisine –  Pasta, Pizza, Risotto, Panini and Gelato. I love Italy!

Posted in Travel/Places | Tagged | 6 Comments

Baggy Capris – Simply Sewn Book

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These Baggy Capris were made from the Japanese sewing book of Simply Sewn: clothes for every season book by Michiyo Ito (the Designer of May Me). Please look at my Bolero Cardigan/Shrug post for this book review.

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The book recommends using a cotton fabric but I decided to take a risk and made my capris from a mid-weight denim fabric. It is still too cold for me to wear cotton trousers/pants! I would prefer to wear these capris with the waistband covered.

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I like the midi-length of the capris and that they look like streamlined culottes. I love culottes (having made 3 pairs) but its nice to make trousers/pants that have a slight flare rather than a divided skirt. P1000631

I made some alterations: the waistband is cut 4″ wide instead of 3″ as I prefer a wider waistband and the width of elastic is 1″. I stitched along the top of the waistband before inserting the elastic which prevents the elastic from rolling. There are back pleated pockets.

Denim gives  these capris a smarter and more structured appearance. I would also like to make capris in lighter weight fabrics.

Sometimes it is worth taking a risk and using different fabrics than the ones recommended. You may have a nice surprise! Have you ever done this?

Posted in Japanese, Trousers/Pants | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Bernadette (Denim) Skirt – The Magic Pattern Book

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I had the need for a denim skirt  and came across The Bernadette Skirt pattern in The Magic Pattern book by Amy Barickman (founder of Indygo Junction). For more information on the book, read my post. I have also made The Abigail Dress and The Diana Cardigan from the same book.

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A denim skirt is an essential and classic garment which should be in every woman’s wardrobe. The difference with this skirt is that it is a pull-on style with a smooth, flat front and a hidden elastic casing in the back so its very easy to wear and most comfortable. Elastic Fantastic!

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I used a medium weight denim fabric (instead of jeans) with a little stretch. There are        4 panels to this skirt which gives it a lovely shape. I cut a size M and lengthened the skirt by 3 inches as the pattern is short and I omitted the ruffle. There is no interfacing for the waistband (it is not required for denim) and I used the ‘stitch in the ditch’ technique.

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The skirt sits slightly below the natural waist. In the book, the skirt is a repurposed jeans mini and it has a raw-edged asymmetric ruffle at the front. There are instructions how to deconstruct a pair of jeans.

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There are more super styles of skirt in this book: The Blythe (A-line with an inverted centre front pleat), The Beatrice (maxi), The Betsy (pleated hem), The Bridget (pencil-wrap) and The Billie (flared bias-cut). They are all pull-on skirts!

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The jersey twin-set with the Missoni look print is by the American designer, Nina Leonard.

What is your favourite skirt style/silhouette?

Posted in Skirt | Tagged | 2 Comments

Vintage Style Fleece Hats and Flapper Fleece Headbands

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I have been watching the sumptuous period drama, Mr Selfridge (the fourth season is set in the 1920s) and admit that I have become fixated with the Flapper Fashion and with ladies hats! It has given me the urge to make a couple of vintage style fleece hats and flapper fleece headbands for the winter.

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This is the hat tutorial. As a template for the top of the hat, I used a pan lid measuring  8.5″ wide. Instead of using fleece for the band and flower, I used some stretch lace and 3 circles of wool in different sizes with a zig zag stitch on the edges and a tiny rose (grey hat) and a small button (brown hat) in the centre of the flower.

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This is the flapper headband tutorial. For the dark green headband, I used wool for the flower as above and a small button in the centre of the flower. For the purple headband, there are small crochet flowers.

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To model the hats and headbands, I bought a polystyrene head from Amazon.

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These projects are enjoyable, make lovely gifts and are great winter warmers.

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Are you watching Mr Selfridge? There is a working sewing room and a seamstress named Tilly!

Posted in Hat/Headband | Tagged | 4 Comments

French/Fabric Memo Board

IMG-20160116-00390This French/Fabric Memo Board makes a pretty addition to any room and it displays photos, cards and papers. I made mine using an artist’s canvas, oilcloth, wadding/batting, ribbon, buttons and a staple gun. It hangs in my sewing room. This is the tutorial.

My canvas measures 18″ wide x 25″ long although you could choose any size you like. You could also choose a different fabric to oilcloth. I stapled a ribbon loop to the back of the board to hang it.

It is simple to make although it was quite time consuming to sew the buttons through the canvas. A quicker, easier and cheaper option would be to use a cork board and substitute the buttons for drawing pins.

These boards make great gifts and I have made a few for my family and friends.

Do you like making craft projects?

Posted in Craft, Sewing Room | 1 Comment

Sewing Room

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This is my new sewing room! I had to remove the single (spare) bed by the window in order to accommodate my sewing tables, equipment, dress form etc. The whole room has been transformed. I will now take you on a tour!

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Here are my ornaments of a cute angel, a vintage style decorative mannequin from a charity shop and a ‘Singer’ style sewing machine from Homebase.

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The great thing about sewing by the window is the light! Prior to the makeover, my table had been in a dark corner at the other end of the room and I had to rely on a lamp.

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A Shabby Chic display stand from Amazon with crafted hearts. See my Lavender Heart post.

IMG-20160116-00383Laura Ashley boxes containing trims and ribbons. The boxes have sewing images on them i.e. sewing machine, needle, thread, scissors, tape measure and buttons.  There is also a fabric storage bin from TK Maxx which contains fabric scraps.

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I have an Arrow 601 sewing table with an inbuilt platform (to adjust to a flatbed position) and a small Shabby Chic painted table for my overlocker.

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This chalk board from a pine furniture store has a sewing theme. On the table is my sewing tin (a biscuit tin) containing bits and bobs and a Cath Kidston pencil sharpener.

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A vintage style ‘Sew it Yourself’ metal sign from Amazon.

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Here is the corner in which I used to have my sewing table. It is now my ‘calm and pray’ corner. Instead of Julia Robert’s ‘Eat, Pray and Love’, it is ‘Sew, Calm and Pray’.

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This is a fabric memo board which I made using an artist’s canvas, oilcloth, wadding/batting, ribbon and buttons. I had to sew the buttons onto the fabric/ribbon. There are tutorials on Youtube.

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A bookcase from IKEA for displaying some ornaments which I had received as gifts. Also on display are tins of buttons/beads and a box containing binding tape.

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A Cath Kidston sewing box and a storage trunk for fabric from TK Maxx.

I love to see other women’s sewing rooms. I hope you enjoyed the tour and that you may have been inspired.

Happy Sewing!

Posted in Sewing Room | 10 Comments