Navy Linen-look Cotton Wrap Around Skirt

navy wraparound skirt 1

You may recall an earlier post when I made a wrap around skirt for myself using camouflage fabric purchased from New Threads, Weyhill. That incarnation was a “Tester” to see how I got on with drafting the pattern from a grid diagram and enlarging same from a size 16 to a ?X! After several pieces of “finessing”, I arrived at a well-fitting skirt pattern.

Having re-drawn the pattern including all those little adjustments onto fresh paper, I decided to proceed with a second skirt. I used a linen-look cotton purchased from Fabricland in Salisbury. I laid out the pattern pieces onto the 45 inch wide fabric and noted that because of the wide width of the skirt at the hem line they did not fit. I had already drafted a dart in the back so opened this up and at the same time folded out the width at the hem until the pattern fitted the width of the fabric. For the front I identified midway between the side and the centre front. I then slashed a dart and again folded out the fullness from the hem which at the same time enlarged the dart. I am hoping that this technique for reducing fullness at the hem will work. In any event it will be a “learning experience”!

The overlocker was threaded up with White thread and as this fabric definitely requires some sort of finish to the raw edges I decided to use Hong Kong binding. I cannot remember the last time I used this technique thus it was a good idea to re-visit. I cut the bias strips ¾ inch wide from a pretty blue floral printed cotton and finished the raw edges of all the side seams of the skirt, i.e. two side seams on the back plus side seams and “leading edges” on each of the front panels before proceeding with the construction of the skirt.

Once the side seams had been stitched the fit was fine-tuned again by making a seam in the centre back and taking out approximately 2½ inches, adjusting the darts slightly and re-cutting the “leading” edge of the overlap of the right front. To do this I unpicked the left dart and cut a straight line through the centre of the dart down to the hemline. I restitched the hong kong finish to the “leading” edge and finished binding to the hemline. I pinned the hem plus the “leading edges” of the two front pieces. These were then stitched by hand with a fine hem stitch so that the stitches were almost invisible. I hung the skirt up whilst I got on with the waistband and tie fastening.

I used Vilene 220 fusible interfacing in the waistband which was cut from 3 widths of the fabric x 4inches wide. Having decided on the length of tie required to hang from the right front (overlap) I pinned the remainder of the waistband to the skirt. By auditioning the length of the waistband wraparound I ended up by cutting of an excess 10 inches or so from the original 3 fabric widths of waistband and tie. I stitched the short ends of the ties right sides together, then folded in ½ inch turnings before folding the band and ties in half and pinning before top stitching the ties and “stitched in the ditch” the waistband. Finally I machined a vertical buttonhole in the waistband just close to the side seam of the back right panel. The tie slips through the buttonhole from the left underlap and is then on the outside, goes around the back of the waist and is tied to the shorter tie extending from the right overlap. The photo below shows the overlap turned back to reveal the Hong Kong finish on the seams and hemline. I am very pleased with the result and think that I may well make this skirt again in another plain colour to co-ordinate with all my Autumn/Winter tops. If I can find a wide width fabric I will be able to make the skirt long enough to wear with boots and without exposing my knees!

navy wraparound skirt 2 shows hong kong finish

Bold Print Cross Body Bag number 10!

catherine's bag 01 01 reverse

This is a gift for my sister who celebrates her birthday in October. I just managed to get it completed together with a co-ordinating purse for inside and is now ready for packing and posting to North Wales. Catherine originally requested jewel colours and although this may not fit exactly her idea of jewel colours I feel sure that with the Navy background and bold, bright print of flowers this will be acceptable. The lining is a deep Cerise Pink which I recycled from a skirt that I no longer wear. The hardware is nickel and I used my favourite twist lock closure.

Infact, I am so pleased with the bag that I shall be buying another metre of the fabric to make a bag for myself which will co-ordinate with my Cerise Pink car coat.

bag no 10 open


Bags, bags and even more bags!

cross body bag no 9

Today I spent a most enjoyable time at New Threads, Weyhill Fairground Craft Centre. I set up my sewing machine in one of their units and using prepared fabric pieces was able to complete two bags. I used the same fabric combination for both bags, a charming print of school buses, bus stops, “little people” and trees in two colourways that I had bought on “sale” from Franklins in Salisbury. The same print is on either a Cream background or Blue background.

The first bag that I made was the Muti-purpose tech bag which is also ideal for use as a straightforward cross body bag but does not have quite so many pockets as the standard Cross Body Bag. I used a “silver” gromit and strap hardware of 2 nickel rectangles and a strap adjuster, plus a self-covered button fastening on the closure strap. Because of the print feel that this bag will appeal to the “younger” generation.

The second bag was that TNT Cross Body Bag. Again using the combination of printed cotton I included all the usual features. A two-tone strap with adjuster, Tabs with D rings, swivel hooks for the long strap and a twist lock. The lining is in the Cream background colourway to give a totally co-ordinated finish.

Both bags are on demonstration at New Threads in anticipation of the two workshops planned for October and November. .

Cluck, cluck, Chicken-themed Cross Body Bag no. 8

chickens cbb no 8-2

I had originally intended to make a chicken-themed bag for my sister, born in the year of the Rooster and anything related to Roosters and Chickens seemed appropriate. However, I was asked to make a bag in jewel colours eg. Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald – chickens would not cut it.

I had already prepared the pieces of fabric which was bought from Fabricland, Salisbury  and applied both fusible interfacing and fusible wadding where required. I then set the bag to one side to use as part demonstration for the CBB workshop held at Franklins.

With one thing and another I did not quite get the bag finished in the classroom but this afternoon with an hour to spare managed to get the final details completed. Here is the finished bag – all dressed up and nowhere to go! I will probably use it myself when wearing similar autumnal colours and it will also come in handy as yet another demonstration bag. Cluck, cluck – now to make the jewel-coloured bag!!

Cross Body Bag Workshop @ Franklins, Salisbury


It has been a very exciting day as I hosted my first  ever Cross Body Bag sewing workshop at Franklins, Salisbury. There were 6 ladies attending and by close of business we had six completed (or very nearly completed) new bags. I thoroughly enjoyed the day although I now have a sore throat and appear to have almost lost my voice but it was worth it!

This bag design works well with a variety of fabrics, those made today were in 100% quilting cotton or linen blend. The  bags that the ladies made were diverse and each one totally covetable as you can see from the photographs above and below.

Anne BAnne JLinda


Autumnal Stripes Cross Body Bag by Deby Coles Mark VII

cbb no 7 front   cbb no 7 reverse

You may be thinking that this fabric is never-ending but I promise that I am now down to the last few scraps which I will use to make a scissor case and pin cushion.

For this bag I used a magnetic snap fastener which does not “interfere” with the stripes of the printed cotton. I now have three sample bags which demonstrate different methods of closure:- tuck lock, twist lock and this magnetic snap. The remaining “hardware” on the bag  has a brass finish, two D rings, two swivel clip hooks and a strap adjuster.  I used a bright Tangerine zip fastener on the reverse pocket and inside the linings are made from Cream curtain lining from my stash. The zip inside is a neutral beige.

The colours and print of the outside of the bag are very BOLD so it won’t be easy to hide in a crowd or get mislaid!

Next project on the list is to cut and part-make three bags as “Blue Peter” demonstration examples for the workshop…….

cbb no 7 open

Another Needle Organiser!

another needle organiser

I am getting all the bits and pieces ready in anticipation of the first Cross Body Bag workshop being held on Saturday 26th September at Franklins, Salisbury. Using the scraps left over from making the Tunic Top (previous post) I have made myself a new needle organiser. The old one has been very well used over the past 5 years so a new one was definitely overdue.  You will notice that by way of a change, I have cut the top and bottom strips on the bias which I think gives a nice effect.  Next, I plan to make a new scissors case and pin cushion so that will use up every scrap of this lovely stripe print cotton and have all my accessories co-ordinated!

Loose fitting Tunic Top version V

01 crop

As mentioned in the description of Loose fitting Tunic Top III and IV, I decided to re-visit this garment and make another for me. This time however I hacked the bodice from my TNT Prima dress pattern.

I extended the length to cover my hips and tummy but shaped the hemline in a similar way to my blouses. I find the gentle curve much more flattering than a boxy straight hem or even hem slits. Due to my generous bust I included the bust darts but omitted the body darts, instead I shaped the side seams using my dressmaker’s french curve ruler.

I used a 2 ¼ “ bias strip to bind the neckline and thereafter all seams were overlocked and then faux flat felled using a khaki green thread. The sleeve caps have some gentle gathering into the armhole but the shoulder seam is still a little wide for my choice. The hems on the sleeves and the shaped hemline were overlocked, turned inside and then stitched with my favourite wide-spaced twin needle.

Overall I am pleased with the result which I am wearing as I type. Next time I will reduce the width of the shoulders by a further ½ “ and maybe raise the neckline very slightly.



Go Anywhere Wraparound Skirt – promotional garment size 10-12!

go anywhere wraparound skirt 10-12

Using fabric supplied by New Threads, Weyhill Fairground, I was asked to make a wraparound skirt to advertise an upcoming workshop. Having previously made a similar skirt in camouflage fabric for myself, I decided to draft the size 10-12 skirt and use that for this project. The fabric supplied was a charming printed cotton but I felt it needed a little something to add substance to the skirt so I underlined with a plain White polyester cotton from my stash.

When cutting out I took care to match the pattern across the centre front and side seams. To ensure that there was sufficient underlap on the left front, I cut it full width I.e. Placed the centre front on the fold. I did the same for the right front piece with a reminder note to cut back some of the width later. I put the scraps of the printed fabric to one side and you can see in the next post how I used some of them to enhance a co-ordinating top.

I pinned the underlining to each panel piece of the patterned cotton skirt fabric and overlocked the edges. Thereafter the construction was very simple. Sew the centre back seam, sew the side seams. Turn up and top stitch the hem and outer edges of the underlap and overlap with twin-needle. Attach the waistband/tie belt. Top stitch. Make a large buttonhole for threading through the tie belt. Press and admire!

I am pleased with the final result although I still think there is room for some adjustment to the width of the overlap but meantime I have a finished skirt which I think will demonstrate the workshop project well and hopefully encourage people to sign up.



Go Anywhere Loose-fitting Tunic Top IV

go anywhere loose fitting tunic top

The previous posting describes the demonstration wraparound skirt that I was asked to make to advertise an upcoming workshop at New Threads, Weyhill Fairground.

I cut out the skirt and realised that I could utilise the scraps to enhance a plain top that would be fitted onto the dressmaker’s dummy when displaying the skirt.

I cut out the top to a size 12 using some plain White polyester Cotton and in just over 2 hours had completed the tunic top.

I made reverse facings using the scraps of printed cotton and also added bands to the hems of the sleeves. All construction seams were overlocked and then faux flat felled into place. This gave a really neat finish to the insides of the top. I allowed 5” slits to the side seams and then topstitched the hem using my widest-set twin-needle. The hems on the sleeves are hand slip-stitched inside as I did not want to sew over the printed design.

Now that the demonstration garments are completed and bearing in mind the dissatisfaction with the recent tunic top that I made for me, I plan to re-visit my TNT Go Anywhere Dress pattern. I want to draft a tunic top which will be a little more fitted and also have set-in sleeves with narrower shoulder seams. Watch this space…..

go anywhere 2-piece outfit