Sugar, spice and all things nice – Ideas and inspiration for my Autumn/Winter wardrobe

Sugar, spice and all things nice – Ideas and inspiration for my Autumn/Winter wardrobe

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that I want to make for this Autumn and Winter. I’m pretty impressed with Jodie’s sewing plans and attention to detail, I only wish I was as organised! I’ve tried to … Continue reading

Woop woop, I’m on the blog hop!

Ooh yeah. I’ve seen this doing the rounds and now I’ve been nominated! Big thanks to Jodie over at her adventures in sewing land, she writes fab posts so I sure recommend you pop over to her corner of the blogosphere and have a looksie.

For those not in the know just yet, the blog hop is a way of finding out a bit more about each bloggers reasons for writing. Each person has to answer 4 easy questions and then nominate someone else for the next ‘hop’. So here I go..

Why do I write?

Simply because I enjoy it. I wasn’t sure when I started my blog if it would be something that I would keep up but so far I have and I am really enjoying writing the posts. One thing that I really like is connecting with others via blogs and that’s something that I didn’t expect as I was a newbie to the blogosphere, long may it continue.

What am I working on?

A few things…I’ve got the Deer and Doe Plantain t-shirt pattern printed and cut, I just need to get sewing. I have also just washed the fabrics for my next By Hand London Flora skirt and a Simplicity K1609. Also in the pipeline are another Tilly and the Buttons Coco and a Colette Sorbetto.


How does your blog differ from others of it’s genre?

Many other blog hoppers have given similar answers to this question and I’m inclined to agree, I think that my blog is very similar to the many other sewing blogs out there, it’s a record of my makes and my progress, like a diary really, so I can always look back over the things that I’ve made, done and thought.

Although there are a LOT of sewing blogs out there all quite similar I think that the thing that makes each of them unique is the writer and that is probably why many of us read so many blogs. We could all make the same dress pattern and all have different experiences, loves, hates, mistakes, joys and of course fabric choices.

How does my writing process work?

What usually happens is that I just sit down and write! Whatever comes to mind gets written down as a rough draft.

Then I spend a while humbugging the Mr to be my photographer before going outside for little photoshoot of me in my make. I think I like that part the best as I get to play around…


If the weather is rubbish I’ll take a few pic of my make hanging up inside instead. Once I’ve added the photos that I like the best I’ll usually go over the text a few more times to check the grammar and make sure it all sounds okay and then nervously hit ‘Publish’!

So there we go, that’s my hop done! Now for my nomination…

I nominate Sarah who blogs over at Notches and Notions! She’s a fab sewer and I’m in love with her polka dot Moss skirt! Over to you Sarah…


How can I control my life if I can’t control my fabric stash???

My fabric stash is out of control. How did this happen??? One minute, I learned to sew and needed a little fabric to practice with, next minute, this stuff is taking over my life! I think I’m addicted. How amazing is a trip to the fabric shop though? I do actually have credible plans for some of my stash but a fair amount of it was bought in anticipation of making something particular that I just never got ‘round to. So what do I have?






And some plain wovens in navy and black that really aren’t that interesting enough to photograph! They’re lovely but much better in real life than in pictures.

And now that the cooler months are approaching what are my plans?

A few more Cocos…

A few more Sorbettos…

2 Skirts – another BHL Flora skirt and a DIY couture pleated skirt…

And 2 dresses – another Elisalex and a Simplicity K1609…

And as of today, a Deer and Doe Plantain t-shirt.

So not much to do then! This is definitely a challenge for me, although I must remember that this list can be made throughout Autumn/Winter, it doesn’t all have to be done by end-September (which would be difficult as I would literally have to be sewing all day every day given my speed!)

There is one type of fabric that I need to buy though and I have been looking for a while with no luck – I really want either a black and white striped or blue and white striped, stable, cotton, ponte roma fabric with a tiny bit of stretch to it. The type suitable for a Coco as I have a top like this in mind…


If you can help me find this fabric I will be forever grateful!

Apart from that, since I have so much, I have promised myself to only buy more fabric now if I have a very specific project in mind that I’ll make straightaway. This was exactly what I had in my mind when went to Ray Stitch today, thinking about a fabric to make my next Sorbetto with. And I found it! It’s a really soft brushed cotton which I think is perfect for autumn. Have a peek…


Fingers crossed I can continue to keep to this promise! What’s happening with your fabric stash these days?


I call it my ‘Chambrettto’ top…

Colette’s Sorbetto pattern is such a quick and easy top to make that I’m surprised I haven’t made loads of these really. I know that’s in part to me having difficulty in working with lighter weight fabrics – finishing the edges with a zigzag stitch always made the edges scrunch up in the stitch. Very annoying. That was until I discovered my overedge/overcast foot and problem solved! It has a little bar on it which holds the outside of the stitch while the inside stitch is made, and this is what stops the fabric from scrunching up, geddit? I hope so, because I can’t think of a better way to describe how it works!


Anyway, back to the sorbetto. The last time I made one was ages ago and to be honest I don’t even know where the top is. What I do remember is that the pattern was a little short so I lengthened the pattern pieces by about 2 inches. I wanted to add a zip to the back so instead of cutting the back piece on the fold I just cut around it entirely, leaving me with 2 back pieces (as I’m a bit narrow in the back I didn’t need to adjust the pattern). I used some lightweight chambray for this and it sewed up really easily as most cottons do. And really quickly as it really is a simple pattern.


The only change i would make next time is to draft some pattern pieces for a facing. This time I bound the neck and arm holes with bias binding but I think using a facing would be quicker really.

So what can I say?, I like it! A lot. So much so that I already have another sorbetto planned which I already have the fabric for. It’s a really dark navy/black lawn with red stars on it. The picture’s not great but here’s a sneak peek anyway…


So what’s on your sewing table today?


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 ♥ 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…

















Happy birthday to me in my Elisalex!

I’d had my eye on the By Hand London Elisalex dress pattern for over a year but never really felt that I has the skills to create a dress from a pattern. I’d used patterns to make tops and skirts before but dresses just seemed that little bit more complex – linings, joining bodice to skirt and fitting, OMG fitting, that’s for the experts! I bought this pattern to make myself a dress for my birthday – I had asked my husband to get us theatre tickets and I wanted to go handmade for the occasion. I thought this dress would fit the bill nicely ♥


 It wasn’t as difficult as I initially expected (thank goodness). I made a toile and needed to take the centre back seams in a little. I think this pattern (and patterns in general) are designed with quite tall people in mind because I also had to take about 12 inches off of the hemline!

I had to spend a fair amount of time playing with the pleat notches on the pattern because initially they didn’t match up, although I’m no expert so it may have been down to pattern-user error rather than problems with the pattern itself (anyone else have this problem?). Thankfully, in the end it all worked out!

I learned quite a bit during the process of making this dress, firstly this is the first time that I’ve ever lined anything – the bodice is lined in a soft red cotton and I really like the way it makes the garment look and feel (albeit from the inside).

image image

Secondly, I learned that I need to be more accurate with my sewing – the back waist seams either side of the zip are slightly out of line. Boo. Fixing it would have meant unpicking half of the dress so I’ll just have to live with it!


And lastly, the next time I use fabric with a big pattern I’ll cut the skirt pieces (the biggest pieces) first and then cut the bodice pieces because they’re smaller and therefore it’s easier to match the pattern. I would have liked to at least match the skirt front with the bodice front but I couldn’t fit the pattern piece onto the fabric in a way that matched the pattern. To be honest I was a bit worried about that but I actually love the finished result, who cares about pattern matching!!!

So I think that’s all to say for now, apart from confessing that I put in a regular zip instead of a invisible one – the result of a combination of not actually buying an invisible zip and being scared of sewing one in, surely it can’t be that hard?

So, time for the reveal!…



And just in case you were wondering what we saw at the Theatre, we saw ‘Wicked’ after a lovely meal at a South African restaurant. Lovely, lovely, just lovely :o)

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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…