Front View of the Walkaway Dress

It seems ages ago now, but when I first saw the walkaway dress on the Great British Sewing Bee, I knew I wanted to try and make it. The construction alone seemed so different from any of the dresses I have made (admittedly not that many!) that I wanted to make it to just see how it was made. A year later, and I was given the book to accompany the series (Fashion with Fabric) and in that book was the pattern for the Walkaway Dress. I still wanted to make it, but I knew that I wouldn’t ever want to actually wear it! As that realisation dawned, I set aside the idea of making it, as really, who wants to spend precious sewing time on something that is never going to be worn – add to that the use of precious fabric, and that was it – the dream died.

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Portfolio Dress (Simplicity 2245) Front View

Recently I decided to see what Instagram is all about, and signed up (if you want, you can follow me @sewsmartuk). I stumbled across another sewists post regarding a pattern relay for Simplicity 2245.

Simplicity 2245, Lisette Portfolio Dress Pattern

Simplicity 2245, Lisette Portfolio Dress Pattern

Essentially the idea is that if you win, you trace the pattern (no cutting allowed so that it can be passed on to others) and then make up one of the views in a month. You then post your finished garment, and do a giveaway for the next person to make it up in a month. Well, as I think you may be aware, I’m not the fastest sewist in the world, and when I found out I had won, I was rather nervous about making up a garment within a month – especially over the school holidays, with work, children at home, and all of the other calls on time.
I decided that although it’s not my usual style, I just had to make the dress, so once the pattern pieces were traced, I started cutting the fabric that I had bought especially for this pattern (typically, I didn’t have anything suitable in my stash) which meant I just had to buy some of this gorgeous Liberty Tana Lawn, from Abakhan.Continue reading

See & Sew 5704

OK, so here’s the thing; I love wearing pyjama bottoms – I’ve reached that stage in life where when I’m home and not entertaining I want to be comfortable. There is just about nothing better in the world than coming home after a busy day and changing out of work clothes into pyjama bottoms. You’ll notice though, I’m stressing the bottoms here – I don’t actually find woven pyjama tops all that comfortable, and I’m afraid my favourite pyjama tops are actually long or short sleeved t-shirts that have pilled (I’m pretty certain that’s the official way of saying “gone bobbly”) or are otherwise not suitable for wearing out of the house any longer.Continue reading

New Look 6150 in purple jersey

Hi, it’s been a while since I posted here. Sewing has been continuing, but not blogging unfortunately. Anyway, I’m really pleased to say that I’ve completed another project with my Use 5 fabrics. I started off with about 1.5m of beautifully soft drapey t-shirt fabric. I’m afraid I can’t be any more specific than that – I bought it from Abakhan’s from their “T-shirt” fabric basket. I bought the pattern a couple of years ago from Jaycotts, along with a load of other New Look patterns that just happened to be on sale when I was browsing. Unlike everyone else it now appears (just see the number of reviews on pattern review) I wasn’t particularly excited about sewing all the gathers; I bought it because I wanted to have a knit top pattern. When it came to making this top I was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t have enough fabric for view A, but I had more than enough for the simple top, so I decided to chance it, working on the theory that worst case I would end up with shorter sleeves, or possibly a sleeveless top. The one thing I didn’t like about view A was the 3/4 length sleeves. I find I fiddle with 3/4 length sleeves all the time when I wear them, so long sleeves would be ideal, as with a double layer of fabric in the front I didn’t think this would become a summer top.Continue reading

Navy Ponte Lindy Petal Skirt

I have been intrigued (and scared) of sewing knits for a good couple of years, never quite knowing where and how to start, but about 18 months ago I came across the Lindy Petal Skirt from Itch to Stitch. It’s a free pattern, and looked to be a pretty good place to start – only 3 main pattern pieces plus a simple elastic waistband, and to top it off, in a style that I thought would work well in my office wardrobe. Once I had found the pattern though, I had to find the material…loads of things I’d read mentioned that Ponte di Roma is a good knit fabric to start with, but I had no idea what it was like, so didn’t really want to order it online, and none of my local fabric shops stocked anything in a knit, so I had no clue what sort of fabric it would be. That then, led to a big delay in actually doing anything about it, until my husband and I went away for a couple of days and found, just around the corner from the hotel, a branch of Abakhan’s! Wow! I was overwhelmed, and very pleased to find some navy Ponte di Roma for a reasonable price. Googling the fabric requirements, I popped in to Abakhan’s the next day, and bought the required 1.5m to make my very own Lindy Petal Skirt.Continue reading

GBSB A-Line Skirt Pink Striped Wool

This is the first time I’ve made a pattern twice. I’m not sure why I’ve never done it before, I just haven’t, despite having some patterns that I’ve loved. (Does it have something to do with my childhood, where my parents would buy one of whatever in every colour? I can understand why, I’m notoriously picky about clothes in some ways, so to find something I like was probably a minor miracle which shouldn’t be wasted!) That, in itself, was enough of a novelty that I felt that this fulfilled my objective of something new with every make. I really wanted to learn from the mistakes that I had made the first time around and make a much better skirt the second time around, treating the purple as a wearable muslin. Continue reading

Finished Mistake Rib Scarf

Years and years ago, my mother, and her mother tried to teach me to knit – I had bursts of being interested, but mostly I was disinterested. Making clothing out of fabric was one thing, but making the fabric in the first place? Well that’s quite another! Recently though, I have had a change in my work circumstances: I now work from home most days, but on the other days, I travel on the train for about 4 hours a day. I try and work for most of the journey, but when I’ve been going for 11 hours, I need a break. I would love to sew at these times, but unfortunately I can’t really find any bits of sewing that are mobile – I’ve tried unpicking, but I have to really plan my mistakes in advance for that to be an option!Continue reading

Front view

When I bought fabric for my daughters shirred dress I decided that it would also be useful practice to make a dress for myself following the adult version of the pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric book. (OK, so I’ve had my daughter asking me for years why I don’t wear dresses more often, and I succumbed!). As such, I also bought 2m of some very cheap striped navy and white cotton (or poly cotton?) with the intention of turning it into such a dress. Six-months down the line, and I actually started this project. When I showed my husband the material to ask whether the stripes should be vertical or horizontal, he laughed, and said that it didn’t matter, as I was going to look like a deck-chair either way, so now it’s the deck-chair dress!Continue reading

Me in my purple skirt

As I discussed in the previous post I have recently made the A-Line tweed skirt from the Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric book.

GBSB Fashion with Fabric book

Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric Book

Construction of the skirt was pretty straightforward – I sewed the side seams, pinned the back seam, and then pinned and sewed the darts. I then cut out and constructed the lining (black viscose that was on sale at sewoverit). At this point I was ready to tackle the invisible zip. Now then, when I bought my machine, it came with a zip foot, and up until this project, I had assumed it was an invisible zip foot. I have used it in the past to put in invisible zips, and to be honest, not been all that chuffed with the result.Continue reading

Me & my skirt

Up until now, you would be forgiven for thinking that I only sew for one person, but in reality, I’m quite a selfish seamstress. I really want to be sewing things for myself. The first project I have sewn for myself in a long time is the Great British Sewing Bee A-Line Tweed Skirt. Given my desire to make sure that every project challenged me, what was the novelty about this one? Well, there were a few things that I thought were novel (and I was right) I have never made a lined skirt before, so that’s a definite novelty, and I’ve also never sewn woollen fabric before, so that’s also a novelty. Continue reading