Another black t-shirt gets Béa-ed

One of my aims for this year was to get on with my many and various ideas for tarting up my boring plain t-shirts. Here’s the next one…


This is not an innovative project. It’s basically the same technique that I used on my Two Becomes One top. I wanted to use some of the smaller scraps of black jersey left over from the first SewDots Batwing Dress. I cut out some random floral shapes, some a little bigger, some a little smaller. To apply the shapes to the t-shirt, I sewed black seed beads on randomly, maybe 5-7mm apart, to mimic the stamens on a flower. I wanted there to be a some texture and for the petals to flare a bit, so when I sewed, I shifted the fabric a little, to give the centres a tiny bit of pouf between beads. Hopefully you can see it in the pictures:



The only advice I would give is to do the very visible section of the appliqué first (i.e. the front), and make that nice and neat. If you get to the back and the gap between the flowers is bigger than one flower, you can use a couple of small flower shapes, and squish them together, in the hope that it won’t be too noticeable. Which is totally what I had to do!

The Batwing dress #2

I went on a bit of a fabric buying spree last week.

My pretties!

My pretties!

Since I’m trying to keep my stash under control, I wanted to use at least part of my loot sooner rather than later. And I figured I still had a few days left of October in which to sew another #sewdots dress. So although the three other fabrics – blue floral jersey, pink/purple scuba, olive green and pink jersey (are we seeing a theme developing here?) now officially join the Stash, the navy polka dot jersey has been used.

I bought this knit fabric at a little shop in Shere, called Mad Jaks. Half the shop stocks fashion garments, the other half fabric and haberdashery goods. It’s a small selection of fabrics but some of them are gorgeous. This double knit Jersey drew my eye because it has an interesting texture, a little bit like ice cream, which I haven’t been able to photograph properly. It’s a synthetic fibre but I don’t know what it is exactly. It’s going to be toasty warm for the winter. However, I can’t help thinking of it as crimplene, which doesn’t make it sound very modern or stylish!


That texture is *really* hard to capture!

This is the second version I’ve made of the Simple Sew Batwing dress. Having had the experience of sewing it once already this month, and having already tweaked the pattern, I was quite confident this would be a quick sew. And so it proved.


Ahh, the glamour of office life!

I wanted to change it up a bit so I decided to do a slash neck instead of the roll neck. This involved changing the dress pattern from a one-piece to separate front and back pieces. I left out the head hole and kept the top line straight, at least until I had the chance to try the dress on. As it turned out I decided to create a slight dip for the neckline, slightly deeper at the front than the back. As it’s difficult to tell which is the back and which is the front I have added a small ribon inside at the back so that I know.

I also changed the way the cuff was attached because I prefer to keep the edges enclosed. As the cuffs were quite tight on my first version, I widened them by an extra half centimetre, and now I think they’re just right.

I think my spot matching worked better this time round. I did try to take care with this. The pattern is well centred and the lines match at the side.


This view really reminds me of my French grandmother, who had the same sort of build as me, or rather I have the same sort of build as her.

So a final #sewdots challenge garment makes it just in time for the end of the month.

Finally I should mention that the poppy brooch on my work lanyard was made by one of the members of our supported learning classes, to raise money for the Poppy Appeal. It’s lovely!

Isn't that delightful?!

Isn’t that delightful?!

I’d like to get another of these fabric purchases used up in the near future.  The scuba fabric is going to be a first for me, and it’s calling to me. I’m trying to do a bit of Internet research, before I do anything rash and ruin it, but I suspect there may be a third Batwing dress in the offing.

Autumn Stashwatch Update


It’s been a while since my last update. I’m feeling pretty good about most of my Stashwatch aims.

To recap, the aims for the year were:

  • to catalogue the stash.
    This is done, and it’s all here.
  • to use 10 pieces of stash fabric, of which 5 would be used *up*.
    Again, done – and I’m ahead of the game now!
  • to fix/mend/refashion 10 items.
    Sadly, these have been few – only four so far, with one of those still to be blogged.
  • to not buy any new fabric until I’d used at least 5 stash items.
    This was done a while ago, and I’m still working on not acquiring much more new fabric. I’ve been getting some free fabric for my Simple Sew Bloggers makes, but I’ve tried to use stash fabric for toiling and extra versions. But even so, it’s nice to allow myself a few guilt-free acquisitions.

I’m thinking more, now, about the refashions and fixes aim. I don’t know why I don’t work on those more. My refashions are usually quick and easy and they tick all my boxes on making my clothing more personal and unique. So I’m trying to get more of those done. The fix-ups are the ones that aren’t so creative or fun, and they might take me longer to get done. But I think I can get a couple of them done as quickies, in the next couple of months.

My catalogued stash includes a few works in progress which need finishing, but some of them are more summery, so I don’t have so much incentive to finish those right now. I’ll be trying to get the less summery ones finished by the end of the year.

A late night fixer upper

This is a quick refashion that’s only been in the To Do pile for two or three weeks, and I finished last night. Which is pretty good going, for me!

It always pays to keep your scraps

This is another refashion of a boring Primark t-shirt, into something that’s a bit more me. I wasn’t wearing this t-shirt, because the neckline was higher than I like, and I always felt claustrophobic in it. So I cut the existing binding out and widened the neckline, bringing it a bit lower, so that it’s more flattering, as well as more comfortable.

The binding was cut from a scrap of knit fabric that I had cut off a circle skirt to even out the hem, two or three years ago. I could have thrown that scrap away, but I’m always reluctant to throw bits away, if I think there might be ways to use them. So I knew it was lurking in my scraps bag, and would be a perfect contrast.

I cut a long thin rectangle, didn’t even measure it (Bad Béa, naughty, naughty Béa), and folded it in half lengthways, wrong side to wrong side. I sewed it onto the right side of the neckline, making sure I gave it some stretch, so it wouldn’t gape. Then I folded the edges of the binding to the inside, and whipped out my lovely twin needle, to top-stitch it down. I didn’t have the right lavender coloured thread, but made do with black. It’s a design feature, right?

And bingo, I had a t-shirt I could happily wear to work today.


It looks like it was meant to be like this from the start!

I’m pleased that it’s adding to my personal Stashwatch aims, which include refashions, fix-ups and mending. I am behind on this particular aim, but I think it’s kick-starting a refashioning phase. It’s a really good way to practise skills!


I posted the sewing details for my Sew Dots Simple Sew Batwing Dress on the Simple Sew Blog, which went live a few days ago. You can read all the making details there.

This was going to be a toile for the Batwing dress, but as it became clear that a) it would be wearable b) it was going to be awesome (though I say so myself!) c) I wanted to get the dress posted on social media for Rosie DIY Couture’s Sew Dots challenge, it became my official version. I wore it pretty much as soon as I could, to go out with friends, on Saturday evening, but I’ve also worn it to work this week , and here it is, presented in daylight!

The office selfie is not going away


The Sew Dots Challenge is running for the rest of October, and it’s helping to raise funds for the RNIB, as part of their Wear Dots, Raise Lots campaign, to help raise awareness of the importance of Braille. I’m very happy to boost the signal. All you need to do is sew something dotty in October, share a picture of it somewhere on social media with the hashtag #sewdots and make a donation at Rosie’s Just Giving Page for the RNIB. Don’t forget, if you are a UK taxpayer, you can increase your donation at *no extra cost* to yourself, by clicking on the Gift Aid option, so that they can claim tax back on your donation. Go on, you know it makes sense!
And having finished this dress, I realised that I *have* got a spotty fabric in one of my UFOs, so I need to get on and finish it, so I’ve got two dotty makes for October.

Rosie of DIY Couture has rounded up some amazing prizes for the lucky winner of the Sew Dots draw. What more do you need to get going with some dotty sewing?


A couple of finished projects

Lovely and warm!

The holiday cardigan was finished a while ago but today is the first time I’ve actually worn it. I’m pleased with myself for two reasons. Firstly,  I was adapting a pattern on the fly, to suit my sizing and what I wanted for this cardigan. I knitted this in the round rather than in pieces, which meant a fair bit of head-scratching maths when it came to splitting the body for the sleeves, and calculating the Raglan decreases. I took out the eyelet detail on the Raglan decreases from the original pattern and added a bit of lace patterning just after the ribbing, instead, for interest.

Secondly, I was using buttons that I made myself!!! I took a pottery workshop at the Farnham Maltings on Buttons and Beads, two years ago, and I made two sets of buttons, these and some smaller ones. These were decorated with a fern press. I’m keeping the others for the time I nerve myself to make a shirt or shirtdress.

It’s really tricky capturing that texture!

The cardigan is proper toasty and such a glorious berry colour that I can see myself wearing it a lot over the winter months.
The second finished project is a top, which has been in the Work in Progress pile for months! All it needed was hemming, and I finally got round to it at the weekend.

This top is made in the same aubergine ponte that I used for the stretch skirt I’ve been wearing since March. They were always intended to go together.  I used the same self drafted pattern that I used for the Cairo top. It works but it feels very plain. I might try to tart it up with some beading, or possibly embroidery.

Matching with the skirt

I’ll have to wear it layered with a cardigan for the next few months, since we’re moving into Needing Sleeves weather. I’m determined not to wear tights until the start of October though!

Ready for the cold weather