New bag: House of Klum Oberlin tote in waxed canvas

This was one of the #sewmystyle projects for 2018 and I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to make one for my sister for Christmas as the styles were pretty much up her street. I got a little distracted with other things and didn’t make it in time for the October #sewmystyle deadline, so just aimed for Christmas and here it is now!


House of Klum has a range of different bag patterns and kits – and the first thing to say is that they aren’t cheap. I was originally going to make the Fremont bag, but the finishing kit (straps and hardware) for that was $60 and then there was the pattern and fabric on top. Now, I’ve made a few bags and I know sourcing good quality finishing can be pretty difficult and expensive, so I’m not saying the price is unfair – but there’s no denying that it’s at a level that makes you think twice about your project.

Continue reading “New bag: House of Klum Oberlin tote in waxed canvas”

Social sewing in the fall: #sewmystyle, #seattlesews, Seattle Frocktails and Deyonte

Hi folks! I’ve been laid out with a miserable cold the last week or so, and I’ve been also meaning to write a little social round-up for a wee while, so it seems like opportunity is knocking on my door, given that I haven’t been doing much sewing! Every cloud has a silver lining and all that, eh? Hmmm.

Anyway, October turned out to be an incredibly social month for me in my sewing life and I thought I’d post a few highlights here for your amusement. And also as a record really, since I’m not sure anyone will be terribly excited to see what I do in my spare time, but, yeah, whateva; here we go:

Sew My Style 2019


First up, I received an email from Maddie at Maddie Made This to tell me I’d been chosen as one of the leaders for Sew My Style 2019. I don’t know if you’re familiar with this challenge, but it’s in its second year at the moment and comprises a monthly pattern (or patterns) that participants sew up by the end of the month for a “reveal”. They’re all indie patterns and all sewists who sign up get a discount, but one of the main reasons I like it is that it’s an absolutely no-commitment challenge. There’s no fee, or payment and you basically make the patterns you want to, so no big pressure either.

Continue reading “Social sewing in the fall: #sewmystyle, #seattlesews, Seattle Frocktails and Deyonte”

New dress: Colette Wren for #sewtogetherforsummer

I took part in the #sewtogetherforsummer challenge last year, when it was the push I needed to make my first shirtdress: the Grainline Alder. This year, the theme is the wrap dress and, after raking through my pattern collection, I decided to make the Colette Wren dress. I have already made the Named Kielo wrap dress and the M6884 wrap dress, so it was never going to be a technical challenge in the way that the shirtdress was, but wrap dresses definitely have their own fitting issues to be overcome – and so it was in this case too.


I also recently purchased a coverstitch machine after many, many months of watching out for sales. Finally, my luck was in, and I managed to pick up the Brother 2340CV for a decent discount. The Colette Wren is an ideal garment to practice coverstitching as there are instructions for hemming the neckline, armholes and the regular bottom hem with a coverstitch technique. Continue reading “New dress: Colette Wren for #sewtogetherforsummer”

Social housekeeping: Me-Made-May 2018, Seattle sewing meet-ups and the Sewcialists

Whew! That’s a lot of alliteration going on in that title! As it suggests, this is a quick wee post to note down a couple of fun developments as 2018 really gets into gear.

Firstly, it’s getting close to Me-Made May 2018 and I’m going to take part this year for the second year running. Woohoo! I had such an interesting experience last year and, in fact Heather from @heatherhandmade and I, met virtually to talk about it for the Sewcialists’ theme month: “Sewcialists love Me-Made-May”. You can read all about it in over on the Sewcialists blog right now if you feel so inclined…


Continue reading “Social housekeeping: Me-Made-May 2018, Seattle sewing meet-ups and the Sewcialists”

New shirt: Kalle cropped shirt for #sewmystyle March in not-ombre


Hi again folks – another cool pattern that I’ve been meaning to try for ages is featured in #sewmystyle2018 this month. Now, I’ll admit that the Closet Case Patterns Kalle shirt/shirtdress was a slow burner for me. The first iterations I saw were of the longest dress version and that particular view is a style that doesn’t do much for my shape. However, once the other versions started appearing, and particularly when I spied the chambray tunic version on Heather’s website, I started to come around. Continue reading “New shirt: Kalle cropped shirt for #sewmystyle March in not-ombre”

Indie garment patterns that use quilting cotton

Have you ever looked for a list of garment patterns for which you can use quilting cotton?


I’m consciously trying to work through some stash fabric and, as a relatively new sewist, I have the inevitable stack of bright, fun and attractive quilting cottons that are just that bit too stiff and unyielding for many garments. It’s a common problem for us newbies and I have an impressive array to get through. Sadly, I’m not in any rush to make a quilt, and there are only so many cotton clothes you can make a little boy (they just ain’t that practical). Home décor is definitely an option, but there must be more I can do with cottons than make napkins for aunties, right? Continue reading “Indie garment patterns that use quilting cotton”

New dress: Sunny dress for #sewmystyle January!

It feels a little odd to be making a summery dress in January, but it’s actually quite a pleasant experience. It’s a bit like walking past a patio heater at a Christmas party – if you close your eyes you can almost believe it’s the middle of June. Although don’t close your eyes while sewing a dress. That’s definitely not advisable.


The Sunny dress from Friday Pattern Company is the first pattern for #sewmystyle2018 and is a fast and simple make, with lots of opportunity for customising. I was excited to make this for two reasons: 1) I’ve been itching to make a t-shirt dress for ages, even though I suspected it wouldn’t suit my midriff too well (I was right – ah well) and 2) I’ve been wanting to try a Friday Pattern Company design for quite some time as well and it was a good little test. They have some really great patterns in their repertoire, possibly aimed at the slightly younger market, and this has given me some warm and fuzzy feelings about trying some of the others.  Continue reading “New dress: Sunny dress for #sewmystyle January!”

Top 5 Misses of 2017

With every success comes a failure… or something like that. Time to take a look at five of my most impressive 2017 scunners as part of Gillian’s Top 5 round-up series:


  1. Cali Faye Pocket Skirt and Valley Blouse

I made both of these garments as part of the #sewmystyle challenge this year. Many people made great versions of both patterns and there was only one problem with mine. The largest size was still way too small. It’s a shame because these were some of the patterns I was looking forward to making most, but with an XL that’s sized fairly small, I guess I wouldn’t have been the only sewist who didn’t have success.


The skirt may fit me one day soon (I’m losing a little weight from my recent triathlon training) and I love the fabric, but the top is a no-hoper. My boobs will always look like a mono-boob in this style of blouse. On the bright side, my sister tried on the unfinished shirt while visiting recently and it looked great on her. She fancied it sleeveless, so I’m going to try and bind those soon, hem it and then I’ll post it off to her. Not a total waste after all!

2. Colette Moneta Version 3


I like the Colette Moneta, but this experiment didn’t quite pan out the way I hoped. I used the wrong fabric for the body piece – too light and stretchy a rayon, and my adjustment to lengthen the body didn’t work out as intended either. I think it’s good for me to try things out, but this dress probably won’t get much of an outing – except perhaps as a costume to somewhere. Less glam 30s tea dance dress and more body sausage.

3. Vintage Kwik Sew tee and Simplicity 8019 skirt


I haven’t even blogged about these guys yet (see above) – and maybe I never will. They are both makes from my #makenine list and they’re failures for different reasons. The tee is made as a wearable muslin really and the fabric is pretty horrible and cheap. I thought it would be cool to try something vintage and the fit is indeed… vintage. It’s quite roomy, but I just don’t see myself wearing it – it’s a little dated (not in a good way).



The skirt is perfectly fine, but I made it too small. I don’t know what I was thinking (I don’t even know how that’s possible with a Big 4 pattern), but it is several inches too small around the waist. I can’t actually lay my hands on it right now for a quick pic, but believe me that I’m not going to the bother of adding buttons or snaps until it fits! That may be when hell freezes over though.

4. Seamwork/Colette Gretta and Mabel


I wrote about these as failures on my blog earlier this year, so I won’t repeat too much about them here. I have pretty good luck with Colette and Seamwork in general actually, but the drafting on the Gretta top was way off for me. Too many adjustments for a simple tank top. The Mabel, on the other hand, was another case of dodgy fabric choice by me and an unflattering style for my figure. The idea was sound, but the result sadly unwearable.

5. Bridgetown dress


This is a nice dress, but after wearing it a few times I came to the conclusion it just doesn’t suit my figure. It’s too short in the body for me and the elasticated waist annoys me and rides up a bit as I’m busying about my daily life. I also snipped a hole in it while making it and sadly my repairs turned out to be pretty shoddy and it frayed like heck in the wash. However, once again, my sister tried it on and it worked for her perfectly, so I think I will knock her up one in a different fabric. I do love this Cotton and Steel rayon though, so am going to try and salvage the bottom half of the dress and refashion it into a skirt.

Overall: as you can see, most of my failures were from bad fabric choice, poor sizing decisions or from experiments gone wrong. I think I’m getting better at matching fabrics to patterns and also at figuring out what works for my shape, so I’ll be interested to see how this list looks next year. Will I learn my lesson(s)? Let’s see…*




New garment: Brindille & Twig zip jacket

As  anyone who’s read my blog for a while will know, I have a soft spot for Brindille & Twig patterns for kids. It’s not so much the drafting or design (although both are solid) as it is so much the modernity of the patterns. These are clothes that kids actually want to wear. They’re practical (virtually all knit), quick to sew and they always look funky and fun. Their new pattern is the zip jacket and as soon as I saw it, I tossed it straight into my virtual basket and coughed up the dough. This is very unlike me – I’m not usually an early adopter – but I thought it was cool.


Continue reading “New garment: Brindille & Twig zip jacket”