My freestyled New Look 6895…

Like the majority of patterns in my stash, I’ve had the New Look 6895 for a while now so I decided that it was time to make good use of it. This blog post actually comes to you a little late as I made the top on Saturday but hubby and I went to watch the London Marathon on Sunday so I haven’t had the time until now to post. My intention was to make view C (the top right-hand-side one) and I had some lovely cream fabric (again from the stall in Watney market) that I bought a few weeks ago.


The pattern calls for a button at the back but I decided to freestyle and insert a zip instead. Only thing is that while sewing the back seam I sewed it all the way to the top! I could have unpicked it to insert the zip but I had already pinked the seam allowance to combat fraying and felt that if I put the zip in I would have had to sew so close to the fabric edge that the zip would be quite revealed, which I didn’t want.

I think I managed to overcome this error though by inserting a zip into the side seam although the knock-on effect was that I couldn’t then add sleeves, Doh! So now I have a vest instead of a t-shirt but at least I can get it on and off! I also have some spare sleeves now waiting to be used as a contrast on another top :o)


I also decided to add pleats to the front instead of the gathers written in the pattern instructions. I bound the neck and shoulder edges with some plain bias-binding but for the bottom edge I used a cream binding that has little pink flowers on. I spotted it in my Quality Street tin full of ribbons and bindings and since it’s been sitting there for ages I thought I should use it up.


I wasn’t sure at first if I liked the flowery edge on this top but it’s growing on me, the more I look at it the more I like it. So overall the lesson of the day is if you make a mistake, freestyle and make it work! Have you made any sewing mistakes that have turned out okay in the end? Let me know! Char x



And just in case you are interested, here are some pics of some of the amazing fancy dress costumes that I saw on Sunday, Enjoy x







Posted in Top

The Monthly Stitch Collective April Challenge!

The monthly stitch collective – I love it! So much so that I have jumped straight in and stepped up to the ‘sewing double’ challenge – basically sew something that you have made before. I actually took it a step further and ‘sewed triple’, my third, yes THIRD version of the slouchy tee that I first made in a class at the fab Thrifty Stitcher studio. Can’t really call it a Breton tee anymore as the fabric has no stripes!


I had cut the fabric a few days ago and had every intention of sewing it up that day but hubby was at the kitchen table studying so my sewing session got axed! Luckily today I got the table all to myself so I began my next attempt at sewing jerseys and I must say each time I sew with this type of fabric it gets easier (thank goodness, my first go was such a disaster!).


As usual I tested a few rows of stitching on some scrap fabric first and for once it was okay first time round. No idea what needle was in there but hey if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

The pattern is really quick to sew up seeing as there’s no need to press all the seams open and it’s quickly becoming one of my fave patterns right now. Shoulder seams, side seams, neckband, cuffs, bottom hem and voila! Top done. Job’s a good ‘un!

I’m very happy with this for a few reasons: 1) it’s a quick and easy make, 2) the fabric was an absolute bargain, thanks, to the stall in Watney market selling fabric for £1.65 a metre, and most importantly, 3) I’ve now fulfilled my first Monthly Stitch Collective challenge!

I’ve already got another one in mind as I have some more jersey in my stash, I just need to wash the fabric and get going. As it happens next month’s challenge is ‘sew stretchy’ so if I can just hold out till then… Or will that be a bit of a cheat given that it will be my fourth one! Either way I’m looking forward to the next challenge and also seeing what other people post. In the meantime I have a few other sewing projects to get on with so thank goodness for the bank holiday weekend coming up, methinks it will be a busy one…

What have you got planned over the Bank Holiday weekend, any exciting Easter projects?





And the nominees for the Liebster award are…

And the nominees for the Liebster award are…

Lady Stitcher

Love from Dolly

Male Pattern Boldness

Two in the Hand

And last but not least, French Seams and Pipe Dreams

I really like all of these blogs, they each have something different to offer the blogosphere and I wish them all the best in their sewing endeavours!

The questions I have set are:

What inspired you to start making clothes?

What is your favourite handmade garment and why?

What is the worst sewing mistake you have ever made?

What is the best thing you have ever made with a metre of fabric?

When did you last sew?

Why did you set up your blog?

Ice cream or Sorbet?

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

What is the most interesting place that you have visited?

and finally, Tell us a random fact about yourself…




Gotta love a sewing challenge…

I feel as though I have been sewing a lot recently having made about 3 or 4 garments in as many weeks. Despite this I like the idea of a challenge and have signed up for a few!

My first pledge was to take part in Me-Made-May 14, a brilliant sewing challenge, the brainchild of ‘So, Zo… what do you know ’ blogger Zoe. I initially came across this last year after reading Sinbad and Sailor’s weekly blog posts about it and knew from then that I wanted to get involved. Unfortunately I was quite ill at the time and hardly doing any sewing so I didn’t have much to wear and I was also pretty much living in pyjamas because I was at home most of the time! This time around I must say I’m quite looking forward to #MMM14 and seeing how other participants choose to ‘pledge their allegiance’ to MMM. I’ve gone in and set myself up for wearing 1 handmade item each day which is going to prove a little difficult as I don’t have that many handmade clothes, so there will probably be quite a few repeats but hey, it’s not against the rules so I’ll just go with the flow. Not sure I’m going to blog about it though. A daily post seems a bit much to me so maybe a weekly round-up of my wears, I’ll give it some thought, let me know though if you have any ideas…


I have also joined the Monthly Stitch Collective, who set monthly sewing challenges of all sorts from sewing a vintage pattern to sewing capes. This month’s challenge is sewing double – sewing a second version of a pattern that you have used before. I have the perfect pattern in mind, my beloved McCalls 3341. I wore my pocketed version on Tuesday and loved it – I have a thing for skirts with pockets you know! I was thinking of making a summer maxi version although I’m not sure how a long version of this will look – I fear that it may not be a ‘swishy’ as I would like. Failing that another short one would be a welcome addition to my wardrobe, and it would also allow to me kill two birds with one stone, (metaphorically speaking!) as the current Sewcialist challenge is #PinkApril, you guessed it right – sew anything pink this month :o) I have some bright pink cotton drill which would be nice for this skirt (and has been in my stash for ages) or I could get creative and somehow combine the pink with my left over black cotton drill, and with pockets of course!


As if that isn’t enough, I have also pledged to give vintage sewing a go with A Stitching Odyssey’s #VintagePledge . I actually bought my first vintage pattern this week, a Maudella 5987 skirt which I love the look of, I just need to find that right fabric (a good excuse for more fabric shopping). Are you taking part in any sewing challenges? If you are, let me know how you get on ♥



My first vintage sewing pattern!


I’ve been nominated for a Leibster award!

What a lovely email to open… I’ve been nominated for a Leibster award! A huge thank you to ksgentry at it lovely to know that someone has read my blog and thinks that’s it’s okay! For other sewing blog newbies, the Leibster award is a way of recognising blogs with a small following. The nominees are set a list of questions to answer, have to nominate other blog and set those people questions aswell. They say that one good turn deserves another so I’m more that happy to accept my blogosphere version of an Oscar and nominate others in the process! Here we go…

What is your most cherished memory?
Graduating from Uni – It was a tough ride but worth it in the end.


What four words would you use to describe yourself?

Do you have ambitions for your blog?
Yes, I hope that it will be something that I can look back on and be proud of. I want it to serve as a record of my progress and all the new sewing skills that I will learn.

Not counting family, what do you feel is your greatest accomplishment so far in life?
Gaining my Graduate Diploma in Psychology. I left halfway through as I was really struggling but after a couple of terms out I returned with fresh eyes and never looked back!

What is your favourite sewing pattern right now?
Ooh, that’s a tough one because I have a few! At the moment I would say McCalls 3341 because it’s so versatile and super easy, New Look 6003 because I love peplums and the skirt is a really lovely shape.


What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Watching daytime TV – So much of it is trash but it serves as a useful background sound while in whirring away on my sewing machine!

Which blogger inspires you the most?

What is your go to fabric choice?
Easy – cotton drill, so easy to sew with, durable and lovey for making skirts with.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

What is the best advice you have ever received?
Never lend more than you can give away because you might not get it back!


What is your dream job?

My first vintage sewing pattern – Maudella 5987

My first vintage sewing pattern – Maudella 5987

Can’t wait to get sewing with my first vintage sewing pattern…

McCall’s 3341 #2

I’ve been wanting to make a casual denim skirt for a while now and I decided to go with my McCalls 3341 pattern. I really like the shape of this A-line skirt and it’s super easy and quick to sew up. I also wanted to add some pockets in a contrast fabric so I redrafted the front pattern piece according to this tutorial from sewing bee’s Lauren (season 1).

I had a couple of options for the contrast pocket and was torn between these 2 wax prints and some faux leather fabric. I love the brightness of both prints but I thought that I would be able to wear the skirt with more things if I went with the faux leather. Maybe the answer is to make 3 skirts! Perhaps. But for now at least, it’s leatherette (I played it safe!)



I searched my stash for some scrap fabric to use for the pocket lining and found some leftover camper van fabric which I absolutely love. Although I knew no-one would be able to see it on the finished skirt I really liked that the pockets would have this little hidden detail.


I followed Lauren’s pocket-sewing instruction to the letter and was really happy with the result. I made my first pocket! So of course I had to put something in it…20140407-172036.jpg

I used my beloved walking foot for this make because the denim has a little stretch to it and I wanted to be especially careful when staystitching the pocket as that area was really stretchy and I didn’t want to end up with baggy pockets. I bought my walking foot especially for sewing jerseys but have come to realise that it’s really useful for all sorts of sewing projects using fabrics that stretch. I’d certainly recommend one for every sewing box…


As expected the skirt sewed up really quickly. When I say quickly I mean quickly for me, it took about 4 hours in total. On the sewing bee the contestants get about an hour to make something like this! Well it was 4 hours of enjoyment anyway. Any suggestions for other patterns that can be whipped up in a few hours?

Here’s the finished article…


Fabric shopping + Walthamstow market = Joy!

I LOVE shopping for fabric! I think it’s one of the best things about sewing my own clothes, being able to choose the material and the pattern to make my dress/skirt/whatever just the way I like it. There’s so much to choose from aswell! Natural fibres are my favourite and I was tempted by some nice linen today but ended up going with cool cotton flowery, leafy, not-really-sure-what-it-is print from ‘the man outside Sainsburys’. The plan was to make a wearable muslin of New Look 6180 although I like this fabric so much I think it’s too nice to be classed as my muslin. Might have to make a muslin of the muslin!

The Textile Centre also had some lovely fabrics. I usually pop by their stall in Watney market when I’m in the area and they always have something I like. This striking red, blue and white striped pattern immediately caught my eye and at £2.75 a meter I took 2! I have a skirt in mind for this and might even get round to sewing it up this week, if I have the time. I also picked up this ivory lacy fabric. Who knows what I’ll make with it, but I think I think it’s a nice addition to my stash. So where do you go shopping for fabrics? Are there any great other East London fabric shops/markets I should know about?




Breton Tee – Take 2…

Today I decided that I would have a go at recreating the Breton tee that I made at The Thrifty Stitcher sewing class on Sunday. I love the casual style with the dolman sleeves and I really wanted to make another version in the XS size as my first one was a tiny bit big. I also recently bought a couple of jersey fabrics and though that my orange print would be quite nice for a casual tee like this one.


This was my 4th attempt at sewing with a stretch fabric (1st and 3rd attempts failed) and I have realised that with each fabric I need an an initial trial and error phase with different needles, stitch lengths and tension on scrap fabric to work out the optimum needle/stitch combination needed. At first I was a bit worried because I couldn’t seem to get perfect stitches but with a little perseverance and a few adjustments I finally got it right. I think it will always help to have a decent amount of spare scrap for this trial and error phase when it come to jerseys.

The construction of this top is really easy so for an introduction to sewing jerseys the pattern is great. I zigzag-ed all of the seams and top stitched around the neckline to keep the neckline laying neat and flat. There are a couple of puckers around the neckline where I didn’t get the stitching 100% perfect but I still think it looks okay. I switched to a twin needle to sew the hems and for some reason they are not a stretchy as I think they should be, when I pull the hems it feels like the thread might pop! Maybe I need to practice more, which, which I will do, but for now I think I’m happy with the end result. I certainly enjoyed making this today and I have some more jersey fabric in my stash which would be prefect for another one of these tees, watch this space!



I, Charlene Griffith, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear one item of handmade clothing each day for the duration of May 2014image