Sunday, 1 November 2015

autumn Linden

Well, hello November!  Time to draw the curtains, light some candles and hibernate until April.  While I live for the freedom of summertime, there's a big part of me that equally loves the forced hibernation of late autumn and winter.  For one, it gives me a chance to sit down and focus on my sewing without that pesky sunshine beckoning me outside like a vitamin D public service announcement.

The other reason I love it is that emerging from winter makes the transition to springtime feel all the more glorious and envigorating.  (Remind me I said that come March.)

Anyway, let's get down to business.  Our long sunny autumn has stopped me from posting my second Grainline Linden sweatshirt until now.  This one was as easy and fun to make as the first.  I added a band to the short sleeves and and the hem of version 2, for not reason other than playing as I go.
Have you made more than one Linden?  I have a feeling this isn't my last, and that now I know what my whole family is getting for Christmas...

Happy sewing and happy hibernating x

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Adlib Fashion

One last shout out to summer before it all turns wool and fleece on here!

A last crucial bit of my Ibiza wardrobe was something to fit in with the island's own brand of "Adlib" fashion.  Adlib has its roots in Ibiza's hippie cutlture of the 60s and 70s and is still going strong today (I think read somewhere that it was coined by a Yugoslavian princess who visited there!)
It basically means white, lightweight, comfortable clothing with lace and embroidery.  Ibiza and Formentera even have their own fashion week and Fashion Board, devoted to Adlib clothing.  Cool, eh?

This Burda maxi dress 06/2010 fit the bill, and so I spent an evening tie dying a couple yards of cotton voile to really get into the spirit...
 This was the first time I tie dyed anything since I was about 10 years old and it was all, shall we say, very ad-lib... but if you want some proper inspiration and how-to, I just discovered Justine at Sew Country Sew Chic's amazing tie dyed jumpsuit which shows you how to make this pattern yourself (and line up the print, to boot!)

Well summer, it's been delightful.  Until next year, where are my wooly socks and mug of tea...

Happy sewing everyone x

Saturday, 26 September 2015

A quick Spanish Cockerel dress DIY

Happy week-end everyone!  Just thought I'd share some more pictures and a 
quick how-to of the spanish cockerel print dress I posted on Instagram a while back, 
using fabric with a repeat print.  

A basic shift dress pattern is an easy one to get started with for this, just make sure 
any darts on your pattern are at the side seam of the bodice and not elsewhere. 
I know this is not not rocket science, but a diagram would have saved me a few head 
scratches very late in the evening when I was sewing this!

1)  Mark the point on your fabric where you want the centre front to be (in the drawing 
below, in the middle of the heart)

2)  Find the mirrored half of the pattern (the right side of the heart) when you have an 
appropriate amount of fabric for the fold.  

3)  Now that you have marked your two "external" mirrored centre fronts, go back and 
find the midpoint between the two.  This will be your actual centre front.  Extend the 
centre front of your paper pattern to this point by growing it from the original 
centre front, and cut your fabric on the fold from here.

Keep in mind that you want a deep enough fold to make a strong feature and  that 
some of the folded fabric is likely to lay under the bodice and lay underneath the 
shoulder as well.  Your cut off point is ideally the bust point if you want to 
keep the fabric as one piece. Any further than that and you are in dart territory 
and it may not lay flat.

If you are working with a very large print and you have to go beyond the bust point,
 at construction stage I would trim the folded fabric in one vertical cut at the bust 
point on each side and sew back together.  Then you'll have a nice, sharp underfold 
that dosen't interfere with the dart.

To sew, stitch down the length of the fold at the centre front, to below the bust 
point, otherwise it will keep flipping open.
Oops...I know mine are not perfectly lined up ( was very late at night!), but if you 
are working with a repeat print like this I think still better than having half bodied 
cockerels cut in half randomly on the front of a dress!
 No excuse for the back either, in an ideal world that should have been one piece.
I just didn't have the extra fabric needed to match this up either.  Don't forget to
bargain for extra fabric you'll need if you are trying this!

The cockerel wax print cotton fabric is from Fabric Godmother  - there's a heap of
beautiful fabric on sale at the moment.

Happy sewing!  

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sallie in Ibiza

Here she is... my Sallie jumpsuit by Closet Case Files.  I wore this chica more than any other on a quick end of summer trip to Ibiza, only forced to take her off when I had to squeeze back into warmer jeans and sneakers for the plane journey home! 
Heather Lou's pattern was a dream to sew and the fabric is a charcoal bamboo jersey, triggered by a too late night watching Marissa Tomei skip around Italy in wide leg black jersey trousers in the film Only You...ahh.
Still catching up on everyone's sewing and other late summer adventures, until then happy sewing everyone!

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