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

So that Not-Entirely Skater Dress…

My first post for the Simple Sew Blog went live a couple of days ago, which was a real thrill! I’m still quite giddy!

This is my version of the Simple Sew Skater Dress 

See? I didn’t get it quite the same

The post was mostly concerned with pattern grading. I wasn’t wholly successful with that, mostly because I didn’t give myself enough time to fine-tune the amendments to get to the sort of finish that I wanted, and still work to the deadline I’d been given.  My bad. But I’ve learned from this first experience of blogging for someone else, and I know now what sort of timing I need to allocate to future projects. Also I need to recruit a tame photographer. Until such time as I can, though, I’ve invested in a selfie stick and one of those bendy grippy tripods for future photographic use.

So the dress… I don’t feel like it’s a proper skater dress, as it’s not as close-fitting in the torso as it was originally designed to be, and it’s longer than most of the RTW skater dresses I’ve seen. That longer silhouette takes it from being a flirty little number to being more dressy and retro. I feel like I should be wearing white kid gloves as an accessory! I have Plans to make a couple of other versions of this dress, which may be more skaterish. Or maybe they’ll take on their own identity like this one.

The pattern itself is ridiculously easy to put together.

  1. Sew the darts first
  2. Attach the bodice pieces at the shoulders
  3. Put the neckline facings (duly interfaced) together and attach to the bodice neckline
  4. Insert the sleeves in the flat
  5. Attach the skirt pieces to the bodice
  6. Sew lovely long side seams from the sleeve cuffs down to the skirt hems.
  7. Sew the back seam and insert an invisible zip (or a visible one, if you prefer, I guess, I’m not the zip police)
  8. Hem the sleeves and skirt
  9. Job’s a good ‘un.
  10. No really, that’s it.

So if you are a more standard size, than I am, and don’t need to faff around with pattern grading, this would be a super-quick make.

The fabric, I totally fell in love with. It’s a stretch sateen, in a fabulously vivid green floral (and I think we all know where I stand on big floral prints). The photographs really don’t do the gloriousness of it full justice. It’s from White Tree fabrics, and it was given to me specifically for the Simple Sew Blog, but I really want to make more frocks with the alternative colourways, it’s such a delightful fabric. It’s easy to sew with. It’s comfortable to wear, because of the stretch. It’s a cute print. What’s not to love?

I’ll confess, I was slightly disappointed with this dress initially, but that was because I had an idea in my head which it didn’t quite match up to. Ideas in the head are always a dangerous thing! As the original head idea gradually fades and I have the reality before me, I’m getting to love it a whole lot more. Some of the fixes I had to do quickly have turned into really nice design features – I’m thinking of the waist darts, which I had to extend into the skirt when the whole thing was too baggy. I think they look pretty good now.


Look at me, all matchy matchy!

So I’m going to remind myself, the next time I make something that I’m not immediately taken by, that sometimes I need some time to let go of the head idea and embrace the reality.

I still need to get used to the more open back!


A little bit draughty!

An Addition to the Undies Drawer 

My car passed its MoT earlier this month, so the money I’d set aside for essential car repairs became spendable on other, more fun things. I decided to treat myself to Sew It With Love’s Pretty Knickers intro to lingerie workshop. Because who wouldn’t love to make pretty knickers?

The teacher was Rehana, who was fun to work with. We needed to amend the basic pants pattern for my mahoosive butt, which took up a chunk of time. But it means I now have a pants pattern I’m happy to use.

We learned how to insert the gusset (tee-hee! the word “gusset” is never going to be not funny), use a zigzag stitch to neaten the side seams, and the most fun part, adding the picot elastic. We didn’t quite have enough time for me to finish my knickers. I’d still got one leg-hole to do. I drove home thinking I’d have to finish it at the weekend, when I’d have time to get the right coloured thread.

But once I was home, I realised I was too impatient and instead of trying to find some cream/ivory thread, I decided I was OK with using white, if it meant I could finish these knickers.

My newest pair of knickers!

I love them! I’m dying to make more!

Whenever I take a sewing workshop I find I learn extra bonus things, this time it was cutting techniques, especially using my Patternmaster to make sure my bias is true.
We talked about what sort of fabric to use for this pattern. It’s essentially for lightweight wovens. If I want to try with jersey/knits, I think I’d have to cut up a pair of my most comfortable pants to make a pattern for it. But I believe I have the skills to manage that now.

Thanks to Elena of Sew It With Love, and to Rehana, for enabling me to fulfil one of my sewing wishes!