Saturday, 8 August 2015


Ah the dog days of summer...  sadly I am not in Spain but I'm having fun pretending!  I scored this flamenco style green cut out fabric in Seville a couple of years ago, and fell in love with it on the spot 
(propelled by a lot of sangria, a lot of cheese and general holiday euphoria)...

Back at home, after the high of the impulse purchase wore off, it was relegated to the back of my fabric stash, hibernating, out of context and unsure what it was supposed to be.   

A few hot days recently were the perfect remedy and gave me the impulse to whip up this simple raglan sleeved shift with some ladder trim on the sleeves.  Hey presto!  Sewing holiday make-believe.  Anyone also try this therapy?
 We're having a hoot over on Instagram at the #sewphotohop organised by House of Pinheiro.  I'm still finding my way around the place but if you're on IG would love to connect!

Hasta la vista, sewers! x 

Friday, 24 July 2015

cozy dress - Grainline Linden

Ahoy sewers!  Just back from camping on the beautiful Isles of Scilly.  If you've never heard of Scilly (I hadn't!) the islands are nestled together 3 hours by ferry off the southwest tip of Cornwall and, let me tell you, they are breathtaking.  Crystal clear blue azure water, fine white sand, lush tropical vegetation and - perhaps my favourite thing - wearing nautical stripes is seriously de rigueur.  Really, everyone wears them.  It's the cutest thing. Even the wannabe sailors like us. 
Well, I love a nautical stripe almost as much as I love a dress and so I combined both with Grainline's Linden sweatshirt, lengthened into a minidress (and, critically, didn't take up too much camping gear space -- though I would have forgone the portable cooker to pack this if I had to!)

The pattern pieces fit together beautifully.  For this version I blended into a size up at the waist to the hemline.

There are so many great versions of the Linden already out there (Ginger Makes, Closet Case Files, Makes the Things, House of Lane...and just today, Sew Tessuti) so you don't need me to tell you what an easy and versatile make it is.  But if you haven't already made this, what are you waiting for? 
I've even got the hubby asking for one in his size, with stripes.  

Did I mention we are wannabe sailors...?
Happy sewing x

Saturday, 4 July 2015


Before I start this post I just need say, that this is not my life...  In some of my last few posts I realise I have a drink in my hand (sorry Mom), and I might be giving the impression that its normal for me to saunter around from event to event swigging free drinks and canapés.  
Ha, if only!

The truth is that a recent and lucky last-minute substitute invite saved me from spending an evening organising my sock drawer, and when one of these comes up the real draw for me is that it's a great excuse to make a new frock!  (although the canapés were very, very good...)
Except, if there is one thing more unnerving than wearing your own design in front of highly critical architects its turning up at an event full of renowned designers at the Royal Academy of Arts in a few pieces of fabric you stitched together at your kitchen table.  Maybe you can sense my panic as the invitation sat staring at me from my mantle piece.
I also needed a quick turnaround and as luck would have it, I had recently bought 1 metre of this drapey poly chirimen geometric print from Textile Express Fabrics and was just able to eke a full dress from it using my waterlilies dress pattern.
I used the wrong side of the fabric so that it reads more blue/green instead of black-navy/green and lined the whole thing with a breezy lightweight bright blue lining from Truro Fabrics which arrived in the nick of time.
 At £9.60 a metre the lining cost more than the £6.50 dress fabric, but was worth the investment because I don't think I could have preserved the feather light feeling otherwise.
It was a really fun to see how this wild geometric print changed the feel of the dress pattern entirely, and blending in with the surrounding geometric pavilion was clearly an added bonus.

 With just 1 metre of fabric I didn't have enough wiggle room to line the prints perfectly.  But maybe sometimes a little chaos in sewing and in art is not so bad.

Do you have a go-to pattern that you use different fabrics/prints with to achieve different looks?

Happy 4th to everyone celebrating and happy sewing! x

Sunday, 21 June 2015


Hey it's officially summer!  As I type kids are preparing to run out of the classrooms, teachers ready to let loose and I get a chance to quaff free champers get inspired by all of the amazing design work on display at the end-of-year shows in London.

My hubby is an architect who teaches at a university here, and after a long slog of a school year (mine of course, by association) I love having the chance to revisit that annual feeling of achievement and relief that's in the air - even if I know scant little about architecture.

So this year I made a dress for the event.  This heavy stretch cotton waterlily fabric is from the Stofftraum in Basel where I also got the fabric for my Edinburgh dress.
I think i'll just stand over here and drink some wine...

The pattern has kimono sleeves and a slightly tulip shaped skirt with a couple of volume-ifying tucks and pockets.  I already have a couple more on the go in different fabric and colours.
I'm no expert in architecture or fashion, but I do love when our interests meet.   (Kind of like how the best architectural bookshop in Basel is next to the fabulous Stofftraum - kismet!)

 Or, as the lovely Elsa Schiaparelli says in her autobiography:

"[Shchiap] felt that clothes had to be architectural: that the body must never be forgotten and it must be used as a frame is used in a building."

It's something to work towards in every new sewing year...

Happy sewing x

Sunday, 7 June 2015

summer wrap dress

Hello everyone, I just thought I'd share my latest make!  It's the base pattern from the pink pleated dress I drafted on my Kimmy Schmidt week-end (still waiting for another one of those...!)  This time a wrap dress with a button closure rather than a side zip and using a much heavier weight fabric - light blue denim.   I also angled the hemline a bit on the wrap, and turned the waist darts into princess seams.
The denim was stiffer than I anticipated so I used this method to soften it (minus the tennis balls and sandpaper step), and it worked surprisingly well.  
For my pink dress, I used the same bodice base but with waist darts rather than princess seams, and "grew" pleats of fabric to the center front, and folded one by one before fastening at the waist.
My scarf is a piece of really lovely Italian cotton I found in a remnant bin a few years ago and have always been too scared to take scissors to.  I finally added a micro hem and it's no longer languishing in my fabric stash, but my favourite sunny summer scarf.  Should have done this years ago!
 I think the best thing about yesterday, other than wearing my new dress and scarf was finding this masterpiece on a floating barge bookshop:
What a find.  The author has done such a fabulous job of linking styles together using pictures from different eras.  I can't wait to sit down with it and a cup of tea.   Or a gin and tonic.
I hope wherever you are, your week-end is sunny!
Happy Sewing x

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