I sew ..

And draft patterns. This blog will log some of the processes.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Congratulations Carmen!

I’ve been away on RL issues again, and guess what one of my fellow sewists in this corner of France has done in the interim?  Well done Carmen!

She’s walked away with the best amateur couturier in France trophy from the Sewing Bee à la France, Cousu Main. The winning dress was chic and original. I just watched the nail biting finale here


Such a brilliant idea for a dress – I want one!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Teeing Off

Anyone remember a couple of years ago I designed and drafted some fitted Tee shirts?
T Shirt cI’m using this navy striped one for the  Pattern Review Contest as a base to make four different looks. The contest called for using a TNT.  This is the pattern .


It has the side seams moved to the front and back, giving the pattern that twisted look.

There are cap sleeves drafted on, and the bust darts are angled from a half yoke seam from one shoulder. Many commercial T-shirt patterns don’t have bust shaping, and rely on the fabric stretch to do the work.

Making up is a breeze. One angled dart is sewn first, then the half yoke seam that extends into a second dart, side seams, hems, and neck binding.

First adaptation is a  Tee top in black stretch lace and black jersey.  I extended the half yoke seam  to make an asymmetric yoke in the lace front and back, and finished the shoulder of one side with a tie instead of a cap sleeve.


Second adaptation is in a natural white jersey with a raised knitted pattern, and plain black jersey  for shaped sections to emphasise the displaced side seams. It gets a new neckline, faced to the right side in black with a decorative shaped facing. I moved the darts to shoulder drapes in this one.


Third adaptation in  brown jersey , the original top extended to dress length. I used the darts as folds  and redrew the neckline to use a purchased beaded collar. I’m using a purchased belt with this.


Fourth adaptation took on a seventies vibe with a bit of flower power appliqué, and a flounce wrapping round the edge of the cap sleeve and extending down the displaced side seams. I used a pink viscose jersey, appliqué in black cotton jersey. pnkt


When I designed the original pattern I worked it in a standard 12 before drafting it from my personal block. I still have the 12 draft. Would anyone like to do a test run of this?

12 finished garment measures 35 inches at bust, assuming moderate stretch in the fabric.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

More of the Stashy Things

In the spirit of full disclosure, more of the Pattern Stash Comp insanity coming up.

Small bits of fabric stuff this time

Ist row

babe dress in red cotton trimmed with green silk from ancient pattern (well 60s ish)

babe hat in printed jersey long time readers may recognise, made from pattern from the French mag ‘Fait Main’

Even older pattern causing nostalgia attack of momentous proportions (doll’s clothes)

2nd Row

Another trip down memory lane – 50s dolly pattern

Beanie hat from My Image magazine pattern

Knickers from Burda magazine pattern

3rd Row

Beret in faux suede from Butterick 6308

Babe dress in blue crinkly satin from a Burda Magazine

Dolly dress in cotton from aforementioned nostalgia trip

4th Row

Babe dress in yellow cotton with flower pocket and mauve trim from Patrones magazine pattern.

Dolly jacket from 50s memorabilia

Babe jacket from Patrones Magazine

5th Row

Knickers again! This time a short shorts pattern from Idées Couture Magazine, made in scrap of jersey left over from a dress.

Dinky little baby mittens from Burda magazine

Hat from Vogue 8405

What can I say? I  kept seeing those scraps we all save so religiously as pattern fodder. Luckily, no pattern for scrunchies has yet found its way into my repertoire. The scraps from the scrap makes would not have been safe.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Pattern Stash

Last month I sewed 46 patterns from my stash, entering Sewing Pattern Review’s Pattern Stash Contest. Beanchor sewed a truly amazing 51, which you can see here.

Here is the Pattern Review gallery. There were some lovely contributions, and what can I say, all together, a heck of lot of sewing went on.

I was asked how I sewed so much  and don’t really have an answer. I have manic sewing episodes, this was just a slightly longer one.  I made no plans to take part, it just happened after I made this hat.

Vogue 8405DSC_1444

This dress came nextdress1Made from the truly dire vintage Vogue 8707.

Then I started rifling through stashed patterns and old magazines, and imagining styles made up in stashed fabric. A few skirts got made.


From left to right first row

1. a dead simple skirt from an old Burda magazine pattern, made in a jersey fabric which has horizontal flounces of grey knitted in to a black background. Waistband black jersey done yoga pants style.

2. printed cotton skirt lightly gathered onto a shaped yoke, old Patrones magazine

3. Straight skirt with side pockets from a pattern passed down to me

Second row

1. A line skirt in fine black and white stripe cotton

2. Skirt from a Burda magazine pattern, 18 small tucks at the front. Yes, I am crazy.

3. Skirt in a printed voile with a shirred top set onto a yoke (why shirring not gathering? Ask Patrones)

Third row

1. Gored skirt constructed from ancient Burda mag. pattern, in a printed crepe, set on a black waistband.

2. Bias cut flared  skirt in a printed chiffon with woven satin stripes

3. Bias cut flared skirt from freebie Marfy pattern (well free with pricey catalogue that is)

Fourth row

1. A line skirt in wild print on cotton.

2. Black poly basic straight skirt with side slits.

3. Velvet skirt with overlapped shaped side slits faced back.

More next post ha ha.




Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Waking Up

I put this blog to sleep for a few months during some Real Life roller coasters and a couple of those creepy events which sometimes land on ladies who blog. Sorry to buzz off without explanation and suspend so many helpful and encouraging comments from readers while pulling down the shutters. I’m back now with a different nom de plume and avatar, and will be blathering on about the same sewing and pattern making obsession. Cheers and Happy Stitching.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Coat Tales

acThe swing coat, made before Christmas, in a navy wool and burgundy lining from Crescent Trading, trimmed with navy velvet from a shop on Balham High Street. Pattern is own draft.bcCollar can be worn open.ccOr buttoned up.

dcLarge buttons from The Button Queen.

ecPockets have velvet trim.

fcNice lining with a twill weave, facing trimmed with the velvet.

gcBack has inverted pleat.

Next, method madness and bound buttonholes.

Which way do you do them?

I’ve usually used this one, also shown in this Threads article, and in many other good tutorials on the web. Or, sometimes this one, also shown here.

But then there’s this one, which feels a bit like cheating.

Here’s a nice variation. And this one is on my to do list, as is this, and who wouldn’t want to try this ?

Have you a favourite method, or a quirky one to add to the list? Do you enjoy making bound buttonholes, or approach them with trepidation?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Purple Roses

Throwing common sense to the winds again here. Disregarding cement dust, leaking water and smashed tiles to sew a little.

This time its Donna Karan V1257.

DKNot a new baby, and for some  an unloved one. Still, as I’m altering the tissue on my knee,  cutting out on the bed, and stitching in a pile of tins, cutlery and pans, I thought I might as well pile on the punishment and nurse a troublesome little pattern as well.

The front  is cut like a kimono sleeve, front bodice and sleeve in one, with the added frisson of the back sleeve joining on, but as the back half of a set in sleeve. This part of the sleeve joins to the back bodice, where a regular armhole  takes the half sleeve head. With me so far?

Several reviewers mentioned that the sleeve was circulation stopping tight. You don’t even need to get your tape measure out to see that, but I did anyway. Biceps is 10 and a half inches at the widest point.

I cut through the pattern front from underarm to neck point and added a wedge in, increasing the sleeve head by 3/8ths and the underarm by one inch, then added five eights to each side seam, altering the back so it would match up. The result in my two way stretch jersey  was a reasonably comfortable fit. I think the pattern measurement is closer to leotard tight, so maybe it would be ok if you use a stretch lycra and can take having your upper arm encased in a sausage skin fit. Or have very skinny arms of course.

Other pattern beefs? The neckline has the usual problems of gape and plunge, I stitched some elastic along the facing edge. The knot makes extra bulk, where pleats in both the bodice and skirt also join bulkily. I did some ad hoc hacking with messy hand finishing inside to get rid of the unseen bits of the pleats and the underside of the knot.  You could use a lighter jersey, but wouldn’t you want a skirt lining if you did? The pattern doesn’t have one.

Photography is still minimal I’m afraid. A selfie in the boxroom was all flash, so here it is, flat out on the bed again.


back view.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 11 Comments