2016 Review

I’m quite behind on blogging my sewing efforts, and this post won’t get me much further ahead either, however I didn’t want to leave 2016 behind without marking it in some way so I thought I’d do a mini review of my hits and misses this year. I hope you enjoy it.

So, let’s dive right in!



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This Burdastyle dress was on my list for so long and I’m so glad I finally made it. I love the design and the fabric, from Fabworks, is a perfect match.



This Vogue 1465 Donna Karan jacket paired with a Style Arc Emily skirt  is in regular rotation at work and I feel stylish and cosy in it.  The jacket seams were left unfinished and I don’t think I’d do it again as they’re now fraying slightly, however I’m considering making the jacket again as it’s a good shape for me and one up on my normal cardigan/skirt look.



A bit of a surprise, this, as I didn’t care for it much after I’d made it. My first Makers Atelier pattern is an oversized cocoon shape, not particularly flattering, however it’s loose enough and the colour versatile enough to wear over most of my outfits, so it gets taken out of the wardrobe regularly.


My Named Jamie jeans are being worn as I type although sadly they have shrunk a little lengthwise so, not for best any more. I loved making them too. I’m  going off the low rise style lately but will definitely be making more jeans in the future.


The semi-self drafted dress was a real labour of love and I’ve worn it a quite a few times and absolutely love it! It’s that rare combination of comfortable, beautiful and versatile.

This Burdastyle outfit got worn quite a bit over the Summer and I got a few compliments from people too. The Liberty Tana Lawn fabric really is the star but the culottes are very easy to wear and the top has a few nice touches too. I’d like to make some Winter culottes from this pattern and have some fabric lined up all ready.


I didn’t blog this Butterick 5926 jacket as I thought it was too boring but it’s worn regularly and has proved to be a very useful basic. It does make a change from wearing cardigans to the office too.


Lastly, my Simplicity 1504, Liberty Tana lawn PJ’s are oh so comfortable and luxurious. They were a lot of work tho,  so I certainly won’t be rushing to make more.




I only recently made this Named Helmi dress but it was just a bit too snug across the back and one of the seams has already ripped.  Due to it only having 1cm seam allowances it’s not repairable. I do like the pattern though so will probably be making more, once I adjust it properly.


This Butterick B6168 is just a little bit too revealing to be worn regularly. I might donate it sometime in the future.


This StyleArc Ethel top  is just a bit too boxy for me and doesn’t feel very flattering on so I’ve hardly worn it. The Burdastyle jeans are keepers though!

In summary, I feel my skills are now practised enough that I can sew most things confidently to a good standard. Fit is something I can struggle with, but I’ve got a reasonable handle on my issues and because I don’t like doing toiles, or repeating patterns it’s something I have to live with.

Also, after a few years of making my own clothes, I’m at the stage where I’ve sewn enough variety to have a good few patterns that fit well and that flatter, and that I should really use again.  So in 2017 I’m going to try and aim for a few pattern repeats. Sorry?  Not sorry! I’ve already started making another pair of jeans using a pattern that I’ve used before and my list of to do’s is a mix of TNT and new patterns. I must also use some of the “special” fabrics I can’t bear to cut into too.

I’m really looking forward to some extended sewing time as well as sharing a few weeks off work with friends and family over Xmas. Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful holiday,  wherever you are,  and hope to see you back in 2017!


Mmmmm pie

Hi fellow sewing peeps

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will  already know that I’ve been working on reviewing my wardrobe the past few weeks. I’ve been struggling recently deciding what to make next and I think, other than the fact that I’ve got quite a few clothes already, it’s because I’m not putting enough planning into co-ordinating my outfits and, probably more importantly, I don’t have a solid base of neutrals to pull things together.

A random reference by Ruth recently to this website led me down a rabbit-hole of beautiful colours, capsule wardrobe plans and a format for pulling together a whole wardrobe which seems to make the effort of choosing what to wear each day both simple and straightforward. And when life is busy and your time is precious,  that did sound awfully attractive. Also I’m not being paid to say this, all these opinions are entirely my own.

Now, I’m not normally big on planning what I make more than a couple of items ahead, and I don’t think that’ll change, but what I did learn is that if I work on simplifying the colours I wear, using just a few key neutrals, then I’ll have a wardrobe that co-ordinates better. Apologies if this seems obvious, and yes it is, but I’ve been working for a long time with a palette of about 30 colours I was given by Colour me Beautiful, years ago, which apparently should suit me. Of course I wanted to be able to choose ALL the colours. And I did!

After reviewing some of the suggested colour schemes I then set about Powerpoint,of all things, to pull together some of my favourites and came up with this Pie chart. Mmmmm pie!


If I’ve understood correctly, the idea is to choose a couple of neutrals which work together (in this case I chose olive and khaki, the large sectors of colour at the bottom) You then pick a light neutral (which should work with all your colours, the ivory at the top) and then a couple of highlight colours. I was drawn to a rusty red and teal.

For a wardrobe to work you need to have a base of clothing, as well as shoes, bags etc in your neutrals and you can then use items in your highlight colours to add some pizzaz to your outfit. The rules aren’t strict, but ensure most things in your wardrobe will work together. These items can be casual, smart, funky, classic, whatever suits your lifestyle and preferences but the colours you use bring it all together.

After looking at my wardrobe,  I refined my colour palette slightly, since I realised that I really enjoy wearing brown more than khaki as a neutral.


It was hard to get to these colours, and I in real life I won’t limit myself only to these, but the exercise was both worthwhile and enjoyable.

So, the last few weeks I’ve been trying out the colour combinations from my existing wardrobe and these are some of the results. Apologies for the poor quality of photographs but the season of the Winter indoor shot is upon us, I’m afraid.


I don’t know what I was thinking when this photo was taken (pie?) but I’m using brown as the neutral and rusty red/orange as the highlight. The jacket is an unblogged Butterick 5926  in a wool ponte from Fabworks with a hand knit scarf I made recently. The suede skirt is thrifted .


This photo illustrates the problems with trying to pin down a particular colour, such as olive. I’d say this jumper was olive green, but there’s a lot of yellow in it and I don’t think it works too well with the tan skirt.

So, I’m continuing to work out my colours, and what works best for me but I’m already planning to make up a few items in the ivory especially, as that seems to be missing most from my wardrobe, as well as the neutrals. Is that, can I, almost, feel a SWAP 2017 in the air?

In other news, I’ve been busy with Christmas gift and party wear making, so they won’t make it to the blog anytime soon I’m afraid. This year I’ve chosen to work with ALL the sparkly and the shiny and the green 😉

I did also make a wearable toile of the Style Arc Marilyn Dress in preparation and I think it is going to be a very comfortable and stylish addition to my wardrobe. Plenty of room for pie in that silhouette I think!


Have a fabulous, pie-full,  and stress-free sewing December everyone x

Restraining Order

OK, you might want to settle-in now and have your favourite beverage at your side, as this is a bit of a long post, but there’s plenty of pictures too if you did just want to skip through quickly.

So, the last few weeks have been pretty crappy both at work and at home, and I’ve really needed some full bodied sewing distraction to get me through. I don’t have a burning need for more clothes but a wedding invitation in December meant I had a pretty good excuse (not that I always need one) to make something new and fabulous!    I had also bought these from the newly opened John Lewis in Leeds with the wedding in mind and was feeling pretty inspired.

The new Stylearc Marilyn pattern landed on my doorstep about the same time. I bought as soon as it came out because I just loved the combination of gorgeous sleeves, lovely neckline and a back seam for fitting.


Because I don’t like pdf’s I ordered the pattern as a hard copy, but as you know if you’ve bought Style Arc before, you can only order one size.  I chose this based on my bust size and as this pattern isn’t fitted around the hips I thought I could get away without doing many sizing alterations, however on doing a tissue fitting I realised I’d need to do a few more.

So, for the first time in ages I did a a small full bust alteration, cutting the front full-length pattern in half at the waist and just altering above there. When I rejoined the 2 pieces obviously they didn’t fit but I just drew a connecting line from the upper to lower piece, it’s a pretty unfitted style there so no problems with that.

I also had to do my usual shortening of sleeves. They came almost to my wrist, but the pattern shows them just below the elbow. That was fine. The forward shoulder adjustment to the sleeve cap wasn’t though!

I use this tutorial to change my sleeve after doing a forward shoulder. I find it very simple and intuitive. On this pattern the sleeve is in 2 parts so I had to tape them together first, then do the alterations, which was straightforward.

What you’re doing is moving the sleeve shoulder point forward (where it meets the shoulder seam) to match the new location of the shoulder. The Marilyn sleeve is split so I then had to make a further adjustment to redraw a new split line from the shoulder line all the way down too

That took a while!

I’m making a toile for a change and have cut it out already in  a lovely deep aubergine poly crepe fabric (Fabworks, still in stock!) which I’m hoping will be wearable. I only had  1.5 metres and the pattern called for over 2 so the dress length will be quite short, but basically as per the pattern, because this dress is REALLY short, as drafted.   I will lengthen it to knee for the real version, which I hope (if I like the toile) will be in a gorgeous deep green silk/viscose velvet fabric that I’ve been sitting on for a while.

I did consider another drapey fabric I own, a beautiful quality heavy, pure silk crepe I got from Evilbay, which is in a no-good-to-me shade of bridal ivory and is a bit boring therefore too. I’m fancying doing a Shibori job on it so bought some brown Dylon hand dye (suitable for silk) last week and am quite liking something like this effect.


I’m of the thinking that if if it all goes wrong I can just overdye it again, so I’m happy give it a bit of a try to see if I like it.

In other news, I’m not knitting (ok, I admit, I did do some knitting, but at least I am trying not to) but have started an embroidery project. It’s Cats on a Wall by this lady .

I’m not an experienced embroiderer, so I used the wrong needle at first, however once that was sorted it’s all looking ok-ish, and is probably a good learning project for a beginner like me. Longer term I’ve always wanted to hand-embroider a white on white table runner, Scandi style, something like this.

I have a couple of old embroidery books, from when my interest started a few years back, but I haven’t got round to doing anything about it yet.

This book is fab

I also love this one from the 1970’s  You’ve gotta love a table setting where there’s room for a pot of cigarettes for everyone to share, ha!

And, drum-roll please, after 7 long years, we finally got rid of some the deep red carpet we inherited when we moved to our current house. It’s all through the downstairs, sob, and  we only did our living room, but yay, and double-yay.   So I thought I’d celebrate by sprucing up the soft furnishings in there, and treated myself to this little kit. Thanks to Kate at Fabrickated for pointing this lady’s work out.

Progress shots on my projects tend to get posted on Instagram straight away. Like I’ve said before I’m really enjoying it. Lots of sewing people are on there, some you’d expect, and some not. Like Kenneth King for example.  I used to buy Threads magazine so first came across him there, and then I did the Jeanius class on Craftsy, which I loved. He’s warm and super-stylish and a great teacher. Some of the jackets he’s made are incredible. He’s always got a cheeky twinkle in his eye, and a smile hovering at the edges of his mouth. An inspiration in fact.

However I noticed this week that almost every post he makes results in an automatic “like” from me. It’s because I genuinely do enjoy them, probably, secretly, more than anyone else’s that I follow and certainly much more than anyone I’ve never met, or are likely to meet. I’ve commented quite a few times on them too, and he’s often replied. It did get me to start wondering lately whether I’m beginning to become slightly annoying. You know, that person who gushes way too much and is just overly friendly. And where the line is drawn between simply enjoying someone’s output versus officially stalking them, ha!   So, when does liking every single post someone does become a problem to them? Do they even notice? Would they actually say something too? Anyway, never in a million years did I think  that the result of joining IG would be a restraining order from the likes of Kenneth King, ha! Anyone else in his fan club? OK, only me? I’ll get my coat.


Named Helmi

The Autumn season is definitely upon us over in this part of the world, and is when I start to think of berry colours,long sleeves, layering up and soft comfortable fabrics. I also remember that my winter wardrobe is sadly lacking in the work appropriate area, since I did a massive clear out of items which no longer fit me, due to weight loss last year.

So, when the Named Helmi dress started popping up around the internet I thought I’d dive straight in!  I liked the loose fit, the simple design, the on-trend hem and, as Mr SM pointed out, the fact that it could almost be your nightshirt. So, pj’s basically.



Even the model looks like she’s just got out of bed!

The dress comes with a shirt version too, which is equally delicious. I got my pattern from Raystitch online and it was delivered really quickly. I do avoid pdf’s if I can.


Apologies for the quality of the photos , they’re definitely not my best.  It’s rained here on and off all week and we’re in the middle of decorating at home, so it’s been difficult to get decent shots.


For my version I used the collar from the shirt version and changed the concealed placket to a normal placket, to add interest to the very plain fabric, which was an eBay purchase and was described as a viscose blend. It feels like a chambray and is lovely and soft, and was easy to work with, although it shows every mark when ironing.  The 2 metres I had purchased was plenty.


I did my usual size UK 12/40 at the shoulders grading out to a UK 14/42 below the armhole, which in hindsight was a slight mistake.  That’s happened to me on a couple of patterns recently, so maybe I’ve been getting away with some mis-sizing. I definitely should have done a 14 at the shoulders as it’s a bit snug there.  I can rectify that easily if I make another.

The instructions were great but I didn’t really follow them. I’ve made a few shirts recently, so had some practice. It’s all finished on my overlocker and came together very easily, once I fixed the swayback problem and adjusted for my forward shoulders. The waist seam really helps with fitting my figure and it’s a very loose shape so almost beginner friendly, (apart from the collar and placket, ahem)

I’m not sure it’s that flattering a shape on me, partly because I’m a slight pear, so I would recommend it for apple or inverted triangle shapes, or anyone with hips less wide than their shoulders. I also think it would be improved for me if the button placket went all the way down to give an illusion of length to my figure.

I’ll definitely be wearing it to work though with woolly tights and, when I get round to finishing it, a long cardigan that’s been missing it’s fronts, from my neglected knitting machine. It’s also VERY comfortable.


In other news, I’ve been busy sewing for Christmas, for family, but I do have a couple of other items I might share, that I’ve made recently. This time of year is really hard for getting photos so I don’t want to promise anything. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve  seen some of them already.

I get a proper buzz out of having lots of projects on the go and challenging myself, however I’ve realised that I can’t do it all, so I’ve decided to curtail my handknitting, as I think of all my hobbies, it’s the one that exacerbates my RSI most. I guess something had to give, working at a desk most days, then going home and hunching over my various sewing and knitting machines, for years on end, and hand knitting has been the one. So many of the things I love doing involve sitting down and using my hands and arms. Sitting down is bad for you, if you do too much, so outside of work I do have to be fully active. Thankfully, I love to play tennis, which is ARMS and SHOULDERS, again. Also cooking, and yoga.  I really do love hand knitting, so it makes me sad, but I already have lots of gorgeous hand knits in my wardrobe and I will still knit, just not nearly as much, for now.  My shoulders and arms ache most of the time and I need to take better care of myself.

So, I hope you’re all taking good care of yourselves whilst you’re doing what you love and that you’re enjoying what the new season brings to your sewing. Can’t wait to see what you’ve all been up to.





Sheer Folly?

I seem to have fallen down the gauzy/lacey/ivory rabbit-hole recently, don’t I?


This skirt was made as a result of seeing Ada Spragg’s midi-skirt mini-shorts and shamelessly immediately purchasing 2 panels of the same skirt fabric from Etsy’s Lazy Ruler, as I had been looking for something similar for quite a while. Another lovely design may also have fallen into my shopping trolley too, ahem!

The fabric is lovely quality and quite soft,  and I knew it could be made up into a very simple skirt very easily, so I set to work cutting each panel into a very slight A line shape (suits my figure better than a rectangle) and pleating the top to fit my waist. In hindsight I should probably have gone more A line, as it still looks very rectangular, but the panels weren’t that wide unfortunately.

I tried it with a pale lining but black seemed to show off the subtle stripes better and perfectly preserves my modesty too.


I cut the lining fabric much shorter than the skirt and inserted an invisible zip into the side. Although I would have preferred to sew my zip into the back I didn’t want to cut up the beautiful panels.

For the waistband treatment I’d seen some high end RTW skirts using petersham on the outside with a raw edge finish so I decided to try it out.


I used the 1″ petersham you can buy pre-curved and it worked well in terms of fitting that area but I’m not convinced the raw edge really adds much, if anything when you see it on.


I did a tiny rolled hem with my machine foot to keep the bottom stripes even.  I’ve done a few recently and am really enjoying doing them, and with practice they’re coming out pretty good if I might say so myself. Straight edges are much easier too, of course!

Hope you’re all enjoying the last of your Summer sewing. That’s it for me I think for this year.  Autumn plans are beckoning and my Xmas list won’t make itself either!










Another pretty dress on the blogosphere


Yep, like I need another one in my wardrobe too, but how could you (I) not resist doing justice to  this lovely number, which is no longer available and out of my budget anyway.  And what’s the point of sewing if you can’t make what you want, when you want it, right?


So I dug out Simplicity 1801, which, other than the sleeves, was a pretty good approximation of what I wanted, and started on the supplies.

Fabric . Higgs and Higgs do a good range of broderie anglaise/eyelet mostly in white.

Lace insertion – this was more tricky and I ended up ordering it from the USA, to get the look I wanted. It’s called all sorts of different names, entredeux being one of them.

The lining was some white cotton lawn I already had in my possession.

Once my supplies were together I set about warming the colour of the broderie, from it’s original bright white, to a pale ivory, which is much more flattering for my skin tone.

And, since there are no commercial dyes available to get the colour I wanted I ended up using good old British tea!   After testing on a few samples to get the shade I wanted, I filled a very hot bath, added 15 teabags (no sugar, ha!) and gave it 5 minutes, swirling the tea around to distribute the colour.  I then removed the teabags, added fabric and left for 30 minutes, again swishing things around. It was then rinsed in my washing machine and dried.

The colour change is subtle. Time will tell whether it remains colourfast. It took a while to get the stains from the bath, in case you want to try it.


Making up was fairly time-consuming, since I had to make small adjustments all over to allow for the extra width of the insertion lace. Also adding a lining the bodice, so the lace remained a feature, involved some head-scratching and I ended up finishing some of the seams by hand.

Inside shot. Front bodice, lined, with lace insertion. You can see the comparison of white lining against the dyed broderie much better here.


I finished most of the seams with my overlocker, since they can be made pretty narrow and won’t show through. I did consider french seams but my sanity was already at risk on this project.

There were a few pattern alterations too. I used the sleeves from another pattern, can’t remember which, I just measured the armscye to make sure they’d fit.



Fitting below the waist was fairly straightforward with all those gathers. I took of 3 inches from the back length, to accommodate my sway/erect back. I also took in about 2 inches in total from the waist at the side seams, which I don’t normally do, I guess this pattern runs big around that area.  I also added an inch at the centre front as it was too low cut for my tastes. Others have done the same.


The fabric is quite stiff and I did wish it draped better. That’s my only regret really. Other than that I’m delighted with the results.

We have a few special occasions coming up later this Summer where it’ll come in handy.   Bonus too, for not worrying about spilling tea down the front, for a change,  either!








B Cup misadventures and other musings

Why, oh why do I always forget I’m not a B cup, especially  when the dress I’m making is a low cut wrap front style and will inevitably gape like a hungry dog waiting to be fed a juicy bone.

I present exhibit A, in evidence,  m’lord!



Most of the time I get away with not doing an FBA, but in this instance I should have known better. So, this dress is just about wearable, but only comfortably when I don’t move my arms, or, erm, bend over.

I still like it though, so will be wearing it with a camisole, which does spoil the lovely neckline somewhat. Better, would be to  just sew that cross over bit shut when I get a minute.

The details :

Pattern : Lisette B6168 available from Butterick. In dress and also in tunic version.

I cut a size 12 and graded to a 14 at the waist and hips. I did a 1.2cm forward shoulder adjustment and a 2cm swayback adjustment.

The bodice is a tighter fit than I normally get when I sew this size. The sleeves are also quite tight too. I don’t like things too tight, so maybe I’m just being picky.

The fabric is a beautiful quality soft linen from Merchant and Mills. I bought it a couple of years ago when I visited their shop in Rye, whilst on holiday. It’s not really my colour and that’s why I haven’t sewn it up but I needed more conservative clothing for work and it matched the pattern perfectly.

When my arms are by my sides it looks great, despite the wind playing havoc the day I took the photos. I really like the neckline and waist detail. Also, linen, creases, ahem.


The back fit is pretty spot on too and my stripe matching is acceptable. The fabric is a mix of checks, plain and stripes  so was somewhat tricky to work with.


You can see here the tighter fit at sleeve and bustIMG_2040

The  garden is still doing it’s thing at the moment, despite a definite lack of sunshine. Which sort of leads me in to another subject I feel I couldn’t let slide past unnoticed

That is the momentous events happening in the UK right now, which have led to our voting to leave the European Union. These past few weeks have been unprecedented in scope and scale,  and I’ve personally felt pretty upset by all that’s happened. I studied European politics and the EU whilst at University and have worked for large European companies for most of my life, until recently.  That gave me a positive perspective on the benefits of being in the EU, which left me totally unprepared for the result when it came. I don’t think I was the only one.

One major flaw was the structure of the Brexit campaign team. They worked just like a pop-up shop; here one minute, gone the next.  This meant they  could conduct their campaign  knowing full well that they would bear absolutely no responsibility for delivering on their promises, should they win. .  None of them had any mandate, or power to implement the kind of political change they advocated.This led them, I believe, to make the most scandalous of promises about where money would be spent should we vote to go.

Both sides have let themselves down in their campaigning, further discrediting our political system, and politicians.

I find it particularly paradoxical that those who wanted us to de-couple from the rest of Europe are now asking for unity.

I really hope we can find the right way to emerge from this. I do want to do something but I’m not sure what, yet. Our politics are in a mess and we have no real leadership at the moment. It is a time of unprecedented change, and real uncertainty. I am trying to remain positive.


Me Made May Review

Hi there!

A bit late, I know, but I thought it would be nice to have a look at how my first me-made-May went. I’ve watched interestedly each year as others have participated but have never felt I had enough self made clothing to join in, until now. It’s supposed to be a challenge too so I decided I’d try and wear 2 items I’d sewn or knitted myself each day. From a selfish viewpoint I was interested to see where there might be gaps in my wardrobe, but really who am I kidding, gaps are absolutely the very last thing in my over-stuffed closet!

Also, I decided to start posting on Instagram to log what I was wearing and was surprised to find I really enjoyed looking at what everyone else was up to, which was probably one of the most unexpected sides to the challenge.

So how did I get on?

Week one.


I was getting used to photographing myself each day and worked out that the most reliable way of doing it was the good old selfie, so apologies for some poor quality images. It wasn’t hard to dress in my home made items and I even managed to dig out an old Colette Laurel dress which I’d always loved, but hardly ever wore. All of the other items are in regular rotation.

So, clockwise from top left we have Burdastyle 05/2015 shirt unblogged, Style Arc Ethel top with Burdastyle 03/2014 jean unblogged, Colette Laurel unblogged, Burdastyle Vintage Rosa jacket unblogged,  Vogue 8333 jacket with Sewaholic Fraser sweatshirt,  Sewaholic Granville shirt with Hollyburn skirt, and lastly a close up of the Sewaholic Granville shirt, worn again with the Hollyburn skirt, phew.

Week 2

I had started to repeat myself so didn’t take photos each day. Most of the items are unblogged.

So from top left, those Burdastyle jeans again with a hacked Vogue 8939 t-shirt, rtw shorts and tee, Burdastyle  04/2016 culottes and top, Burdastyle 05/2016 dress, Vogue 1546 DVF dress and self-drafted silk tee with rtw fuchsia cardigan.

Week 3


Lots of repeats, so the only new items were, clockwise Burdastyle ?top, Burdastyle 05/2105 athletic jacket and the same top as the first picture but in a textured white ponte.

Week 4

The last week I added a green Kara lace cardigan I’d knitted and a pair of altered rtw jeans.

Still with me? That’s good. I love my Burdastyle don’t I? That’s encouraging since I have a monthly subscription. I do use all the pattern companies but find other than Burdastyle I really like Style Arc’s drafting and Vogue also for their designer range.

Work clothes tend to be smart-casual and weekends are mostly relaxed in jeans and tees. I’ve tried to address my lack of jeans, but probably could do with a few more relaxed tops to go with them.

I didn’t get to wear me-made every day as I still have quite a few rtw items in my wardrobe. I won’t be changing that in the short term, especially things like shorts and tees. I’ll just replace them as they wear out, but probably will still continue buy some basics.

I definitely wear lots of separates and love my trousers too.  Comfort is really important to me. My colour choices seem mostly good, browns, greens, teals, creams basically anything warm toned and mid coloured are best for me.

In terms of style, I don’t seem to have a singular aesthetic, but obviously colour is at the top of my list.   In my head I am mostly  attracted to simple, clean asymmetric styles but my magpie tendencies mean I do often get sidetracked, especially by pretty or unusual fabric.

Hope you enjoyed having a look through my wardrobe. I really enjoyed participating. Maybe see you next year?



Definitely not brown jeans



Hello matey peeps. No, stop looking at the shiny shoes. Not them. Look, I made jeans!

This is my second time and I am obviously a glutton for punishment. I do wear jeans quite a lot but if you asked me whether I liked them in general I would probably say no. They are ubiquitous, but I am lazy and really can’t think of anything else to wear when dressed down, they are so comfortable and hard wearing.

I got the Named Jamie jeans pattern last year but didn’t need any new jeans until recently, when, after losing a few pounds I realised I didn’t have a good fitting pair any more.

Many people have made these and I can see why. The design lines elevate them from the standard 5 pocket design and I do like quite a skinny jean still, even though wider styles and even flares seem to have come back into style.


Fitting wise on these I found overall they were quite generous in size, however the legs were super-slim below the knee, although I am not endowed of slim calves, others have noted the same.

I also did something I’ve never done before. I chose a different size for the front legs than I did for the backs, below the crotch. Ssssh don’t tell the Sewing Police!

Past experience has told me that I often end up doing a wide inner thigh adjustment on the front of trousers, then a narrow leg alteration at the back, to resolve bagginess.  In RTW I have trouble with inseams on trousers being pulled forward,  and twisting, but that’s another story.

So, I measured my own front leg width, from inseam point to inseam point, all the way down the leg (below the crotch) and decided I needed the biggest size at the front. I then did the same at the back and this led me to choose the 2nd smallest size there.  Width only, guys, not length. My figure is slimmest from front to back, and is comparatively quite wide otherwise. I alway imagine that someone drove over my lower half with a steamroller, like they do in the cartoons, and that’s why I ended up this shape, ha!

I have my patient husband to thank for pocket placement and I added some scraps of leather trim to shuzsh them up.


The fabric is a stretch denim from Joel and Sons. I needed stretch and couldn’t find any good quality locally. Also it was described as brown, hahahaha! No, your screen isn’t lying, it’s black. This is the second time in a few weeks I’ve been totally surprised by what’s been sent from an online order, and from reputable sellers who are charging top dollar. I kept the fabric because I liked it and they sent me an extra metre, but really. I don’t think I need to order a swatch with everything before I buy.  Their descriptions should basically be reliable.


The topstitching is quite distinctive and next time I might try a more subtle contrast. They are mid-rise which is as low as I’d like to go. My waist doesn’t curve in until much higher so I have problems keeping anything low up.

For construction, i used a combination of the  indiesew and Ginger jeans sew along. The latter, especially,  is a fantastic resource for all things jeans. I tried the waistband without interfacing and it is lovely and comfortable. Time will tell whether I will do it again.

I don’t usually want to make anything twice but I’m sure I’ll make these again. There are so many options to change them up. Once the fit is right they aren’t that difficult to make, really.











Breaking news…..Summer hasn’t arrived yet

I am slowly ticking off all the things I want to make when this Summer finally arrives and one of those things is getting a bit more out of my comfort zone style-wise.



The project started with an amazing soft cotton remnant from Joelandsons. As soon as it arrived I wanted to work with it and decided a dress was in order, but one which didn’t have too many pieces as I only had a metre and a half and I realised pattern matching on this large scale print would be pretty difficult.

I always look online at the Burdastyle website for inspiration rather than search through the 3 years worth of magazines I own. Once I find the pattern I like I dig out the actual publication and get the details from there.

It did help that the dress I chose was featured on the front cover of the March 2016 edition, number 102B.


I loved the pleated neckline on this as well as the loose, comfortable style. I usually avoid gathers round the waist, so this was a diversion for me.  The dress also has sleeves, which makes it much more practical.


The first thing I did was eliminate the welt pockets from the front for a number of reasons. My fabric was very thin and I also felt they would get lost in the folds. Really I didn’t want to have to match them either so I substituted inseam pockets instead. I also lined it using the original pattern minus facings, in a soft cotton lawn.

The front is a single piece with ties at the waist to give it some shape. (The colour here is most very accurate in real life)



The back is much more fitted with an invisible zip and back waist seam. There is a panel at the bottom, , which is just basically a rectangle folded in half, so no hem to do, yay!


I managed to do a good job with the invisible zip, tacking it in first (for a change!)  and pattern matched the upper back too. The sleeves have a lovely dart in the cap which is lost in this fabric unfortunately. I think the pattern would be very nice in a plain fabric to show the style lines better.

I always try and think what I learned new on every project and for this one I found out I can look ok in a dress with a belt.

I also discovered that the thread I’ve been sewing with for years, Gutterman all-purpose has a hidden feature


All these years sewing and I didn’t realise you can just pull the end off to release the start of the thread.

In other news I’ll tell you that there are different sized machine needles for sewing different fabrics. Only kidding!

I’m in the middle of Me-Made-May and if you’re interested you can find me over on Instagram most days under KarenJKayes. It all started well but I’m finding daily photos a bit of a bind when I really just want to get on with sewing??!!  I’ll do a round-up at the end to see what I learned but have found I am loving Instagram for seeing what people are getting up to.