Flora skirt no.4 and a night out for my kidneys…

I love this pattern. Big time. And given that I’ve made this pattern three times before I feel quite confident with it. It’s a quick make usually but this time around I wanted to really take my time to try and get a perfect, neat finish. This was my first successful attempt at adding a lining to a skirt (my last flora was underlined but this one has a loose hanging lining) and also my first attempt at attaching a lining to an invisible zip by machine. I so glad that my buddy Louise educated me about how awesome Craftsy is because I learned how to attach the lining to the zip by enrolling on their class ‘Mastering Zipper Techniques’ which is not only really informative but it’s free! I’m just about to get started with an embroidery class that I purchased about a week ago but I’m just waiting for some materials that I need for the class to be delivered. I’ve already started getting some ideas together, thank you Pinterest! I particularly like this one and probably need to take note of this advice!


But back to Flora no.4… This time I went for the straight hem variation as I wanted a skirt that I can wear to work/everyday. Although the dipped hem variation is my favourite of the two options I think it would be really quite dressy in this type of fabric – cotton sateen.

The construction was straight-forward mostly. I cut the back piece on the fold (after cutting off the seam allowance from the pattern) and added a left side zip instead of one at the centre back. I French seamed the right seams on the lining and shell fabric and added a waistband as per the BHL online instructions. As adding a lining and attaching it to the zip were new to me these were the bits that I found most challenging. I really took my time over this but when it came to hemming the lining I realised that I had sewed the lining in the wrong way around so it’s a bit weird, but luckily all hidden on the inside of the skirt. Next time I’ll attach the lining to the skirt with wrong sides together and turn the hem up to the wrong side of the lining. I’ve still not yet mastered the art of attaching an invisible zip but i’m getting there.

All in all I am happy with my new skirt although it’s not the 100% perfect garment that I had planned. It’s been a learning experience though and I’m glad that I learned about adding a lining, attaching it to the zip and also had another go at adding an invisible zip.

In the spirit of taking my time over this skirt I bound the inside of the waistband to hide the rough edges – I had some matching navy binding but that was a bit boring so I went for this contrasting red instead, I think this is one of my favourite bits ūüėÉ


Although intended as a work or casual skirt I wore this out to a charity event on Saturday night. ‘An Evening with CKD‘ is a great charity that has been set up to raise awareness of chronic kidney disease in the afro-Caribbean community. Not only was the event really entertaining with the live singers and comedians, it was also really informative about CKD. I learned a lot, in particular that the prevalence of CKD in people from black and minority ethnic communities is much higher than in the white population. It’s not clear why that is but the main take home message was to get your kidneys checked! – which can be done by having a simple blood test and keeping an eye on your blood pressure (high BP can be an indicator of poor kidney status). I’m going to see my GP anyway this week so I’m definitely going to ask about getting the test done. Congratulations to Amma Rose on producing such a brilliant event!!!


And here I am in the finished article…



And just because here’s one of me and my hubby ‚̧ԳŹ




Ease-y, breezy, New Look 6030 skirt

I was in desperate need of a really casual skirt so I had a look through my pattern stash and found the New Look 6030 pattern which fitted the bill perfectly. I ordered some denim on eBay but had half a metre of some leftover denim in my fabric stash so attempted to make a toile of view D of this skirt (without the tie belt or pockets as there wasn’t enough fabric for all of the pieces).


I’m have a 29″ waist and 35″ hips so going by the pattern sizing on the envelope I should have cut a 14/16 at the waist grading to a 10 at the hip but I cut a straight size 10 as from measuring the pattern pieces there seemed to be a lot of ease at the waist. After basting the front and back pieces together and trying it on for fit the skirt was huge! So I took in 1.5″ at each side seam and it fitted a lot better. Hurrah! Until I got to the the part where the yoke was to be added and then I realised I had made a mistake. Silly me measured the front and back pattern pieces instead of the yoke ones (which sit on the waist) and also hadn’t added the yoke before I tried on the basted together skirt pieces. So what I thought was the waist of my skirt wasn’t. Argh.


I continued anyway as I thought it would be good to complete this as a practice for my next version with my new fabric when it arrives. I really like the pattern and it was easy and fairly quick to make and perfect for what I need in my wardrobe. I also I think it will look even better with the pockets and waist tie belt.

So what about the sizing? Well it fits, just. The finished waist is 28″ so is a little tight. I could wear it but I think it would get uncomfortable after a short while!


Luckily my denim arrived really quickly so I could get going with skirt no.2 and this time I sewed a straight size 12. It came up a little big again so I took in the back seam by about 1.5″. I added the pockets and made the tie belt which I really like and also did some extra topstitching around the yoke/skirt seams to hold the seam allowances down. All in all I really like this, it is just what I was looking for. Next time though i’ll sew a size 10 which should be the perfect fit.

I wore this skirt while out with the Mr on Saturday and it was SO comfortable! I think I can wear this in so many combinations with different tops and shoes that this will get a lot of wear I’m sure. If I make another it will probably be in a different coloured denim, maybe black or a patterned denim, because I do like the versatility of a denim skirt, everyone needs one!

So here’s the finished pic of my new skirt…


McCalls 3341 skirt no.4

Today started off as a bad sewing day. I started to make a pleated skirt this morning but halfway through gave up as the fabric really wasn’t what I wanted it to be. It was too lightweight to achieve the structured look that I wanted to so I gave up, deflated.


However, this afternoon I made a comeback with my trusted skirt pattern McCalls 3341 of which this is my 4th one (talk about value for money)! This fabric is sort of a twill/drill and comes all the way from Florida when I went there on holiday last year. At last, I’ve got around to using it and now I’m happy :o)




And here she goes again, Flora no.2!

And here she goes again, Flora no.2!

Making the flora skirt second time around was really quick. I was done and dusted in 2 hours! (with the exception of hand-sewing on the hook and bar to the waistband which was done the next day because midnight was … Continue reading

Flora goes to the wedding!

I really do enjoy a good wedding (dont we all!) and i’ve been looking forward to this wedding reception since the invite dropped through the letter box. My old friend Nicky is marrying his lovely fiancee Sonya and i’m so happy for them ‚ô•¬†And of course so happy that¬†I get to make something special for the occasion! I ordered the BHL Flora dress pattern as a present to myself for my birthday and¬†was quite looking forward to getting started on this lur-vely pattern.


Unfortunately I failed before even getting the pattern out of the beautiful envelope! For this pattern you need 60″ wide fabric and mine was a mere 44″. Sad times. However, that meant¬†I had to go on an essential shopping trip to ‘the man outside Sainsbury’s’ who NEVER fails to please. I came away with some lovely green, duchess-satin-like-with-a-little-bit-of-stretch-to-it¬†fabric at a bargain ¬£3 per metre. Yes please, i’ll have 3 metres thank you very much!


I really ummed-and-arred for a while over this outfit because¬†I had a specific idea in mind for the dress which never worked out. The plan was to make the flora dress with a navy bodice and African wax print skirt but since that didnt work out I was a bit ‘whatever’ about making something else. I finally decided on making the Flora skirt (pattern hack on the BHL website)¬†and I was so pleasantly surprised¬†with how it turned out. As soon as those pleats were assembled I know¬†I had done the right thing. The fabric really is lovely and the silkyness of it just feels so nice, it’s perfect for a wedding, and I think it’s much better than my original idea. And of course with it being a circle skirt its fab to twirl in!image

I really wanted to create a neat finish on the inside of the garmant because (a)¬†a little bit of the inside is visible due to the dipped hem and (b) it’s just nicer when a garment looks all lovely and neat on the inside.


For that reason I french seamed the side seams and turned under the back seams where the zip was inserted. This was my first time using an invisible zip and after having to unpick it twice¬†I finally got it in and looking neat. I can’t believe that¬†I’ve waited so long to work with an invisible zip, i’m officially converted now, they’re so easy to insert!


Luckily¬†I didn’t have to work too hard to find a top to match. I met up with a few sewing gals for a fabric shopping trip to Berwick Street and Liberty on Saturday and found this gem in a vintage shop on Berwick street. I love it. The best thing is that it looks lovely worn the right way round as well as back to front. Thanks to Lyndsey for the advice!


So here’s the finished article and a few pics of me having a twirl…

















Digital print skirt

Another short post from me, I made this skirt in a hurry before going out to a friends birthday dinner on Saturday. Initially I went to Walthamstow to buy a zip and some bias binding but then decided to make a skirt last minute!



The fabric was a blue and black, cotton and silk digital print at a bargain ¬£6 for a metre and a half. As it’s just an elasticated waist skirt it was super quick and easy to make. I thought I had actually cut it a little short but it looked okay in the end. Here’s the finished article…



McCalls 3341 #3…

One of my favourite skirt patterns so far, this time I added in seam pockets following this tutorial from A Common Thread.

The fabric was gifted to me from my lovely friend Pamela and I have about 5 metres of it left! I’m thinking of an Elisalex dress in this fabric but I have to get ’round to making the muslin first. Anyway, here are some pics of the work in progress…


When finished…


And in the garden just for fun…


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?