Monthly Archives: May 2018

Ruby Wedding Anniversary Dress

Over the weekend my husband and I will be celebrating our 40th (RUBY) wedding anniversary. On browsing through some of the photographs from our honeymoon I see that I sometimes wore a Red cotton floral print dress. Inspiration then to make another to wear on the anniversary….

I will use my TNT bodice pattern with the cap self-lined sleeves and centre back zip fastening. I will add the circle skirt from ‘Betty’dress by Sew Over It to make my favourite dress style.

Later the same day…

Construction was very straightforward. After about 3 hours I had an almost-completed dress.


Now – a decision to be made. Do I make the dress sleeveless or should I insert the sleeves that are made up and ready for insertion? Hmmm, I will leave the dress on the mannequin overnight and decide in the morning.

Colour Blocked Fraser Tee by Sewaholic Patterns

Hot on the trail of making the Green Butterfly print Fraser top and whilst the sewing machine was threaded up with the Pale Aqua thread, I scouted around for some more jersey that would co-ordinate. I found a length of Apple Green cotton jersey that I had purchased from Girl Charlee in their sale (according to my spreadsheet – November 2017 for £9.52). There are 2 metres of fabric – more than enough for two new tops especially when combined with the Butterfly and other print fabrics. To add to the delight, the fabric had already been laundered and is therefore ready to go&sew!

Back to the Fraser pattern, this time I would use version A which utilises different prints and/or colours of fabric. A great stash buster.

It was plain sailing for the construction. I lowered the neckline by 5/8 ths of an inch – and made a point of centring up the neckband. As a result there is an ‘interesting’ part of the print exposed at the neck.

The contrast yoke and shoulders have been pressed down and top-stitched with a straight stitch (length 3.5). 

The only downside of this plain cotton jersey is that it is very fine/light. I encountered some difficulty when twin-needle stitching the hemline. It is a little ‘fluted’ but I can live with it.

Butterfly Print Fraser Tee by Sewaholic

        Back in December last year I purchased 1.5 metres @ £6.00/metre, of this charming Butterfly print from Fabrics Galore. Having been washed it has been waiting patiently in the ‘roudtuit’ pile.

I recently made a version of the Fraser Sweatshirt by Sewaholic using a Ponte Roma which turned out very well. I decided to re-visit this pattern but this time would make version B and use a cotton/spandex jersey.


As I had previously adjusted the fit, I was able to sew up the top at record speed. Most of the construction was stitched on my sewing machine (Brother 4000D) with zig-zag stitch no. 1-09 width 1.00, length 2.5. The only time that I used the overlocker was on the neckband – and that is going to be removed. I am not keen on the neckline as it is ‘out of the packet’. There are two reasons, firstly it is a little too high for my taste and secondly the centring of the butterfly design is just off and that really annoys me! I will re-cut the neckline and when I apply the neckband, this time I will ensure that the design is centred.

The length of the body was extended by 3 inches then for the hem I simply turned up 1 inch and zig-zag stitched in place. I have added the bands on the sleeves which I do like and will repeat on the next version that I make. 

Whilst the sewing machine is threaded up with the correct coloured thread and I am ‘on a roll’ I will have a scout around my stash and see what else I can make with the ½ metre remaining of this fabric……




Inspired by garments made by my pen friend in Germany, I decided to try out a tunic top with faced hemline. Back in March 2018 I purchased the pdf pattern of TEDDY DESIGNER TOP and tunic by Style Arc.

The product description states “This uniquely crafted design comes in two lengths – top or tunic. The gorgeous collar sits high on the neck. The stitched facings and swing back with a high-low hemline give this style a luxe look. Make the top to give your look an instant update or make the tunic for a more effortless silhouette.” The fabric suggestions are linen, silk, crepe. For this wearable muslin from my extensive stash of cotton prints I chose some pre-washed fabric in a Blue stripe print that I thought would be ideal.

By comparing the body and ease measurements I decided to use the size 20 and add a little extra at the bust and hips. I then steamed ahead and cut out the pattern.

                                                                   No pattern matching!

In my haste I forgot to take note of pattern matching and centring of the stripes – I just wanted to get on with construction of this new-to-me styled tunic top.

According to the fabric requirements I would need 2.2metres of 148 cm wide fabric. I had just 2 metres of 105 cm wide fabric but by cutting the collar in half and placing the collar on the bias with the collar facing on-grain I succeeded in cutting all the pieces required.

To begin with whenever I started sewing, I was interrupted, so the early part of construction was completed in blocks of 20-30 minutes at a time. In fact this worked out well as I was able to prepare the collar, facings, sleeve cuffs and hem facings in advance of the construction of the main body of the tunic.

I did find the different seam allowances a little confusing. Mostly it was 3/8ths of an inch but on the collar and neckline this was reduced to ¼ inch. I was pleased that I had read somewhere NOT to sew up the centre front seam of the neckline facing before completing the rest of the collar/neckline facing stitching. Leaving that step until later certainly made life easier. Also I completed the collar and facing construction BEFORE stitching the side seams which meant I could more easily get to this important section for pressing. Slow and steady working my way through the sparse instructions I was then able to whip through to the final construction.

At fitting stage I realised that the additional width was not required and it was removed thus the tunic has been made to a standard size 20.

A lapse of attention meant that I stitched the hemline facings upside down so that the shaping at the side seams did not match. I was able to ease the additional fullness in so that was not too much of a disaster.

I am pleased with the final result and will definitely be making the tunic again. This style is very comfortable to wear and looks great with leggings or skinny jeans.

From the photograph on the website there does not appear to be as much fullness in the back.

Next time I will be reducing the fullness by approximately 5-6 inches of excess. I am sure that can be removed without spoiling the design feature of the ‘swing’ back.

Drunken Caribbean Birds Quilt – the next step

I was somewhat overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead…. I have now completed the patchwork of the quilt top.

To the original 25 blocks I added a narrow border of Green background bird print cotton purchased from Fabricland (this print is also used for the backing of the quilt).Then, and I  don’t know what possessed me, I made a further 28 (yes 28!) drunken bird blocks for the outer border. This has brought the size of the quilt top up to approximately 64 inches which is a little over the size that I normally make for later display on my husband’s grand piano.

I purchased some polyester wadding from New Threads Quilt shop and on a rainy Sunday afternoon I laid out the backing, wadding and quilt top on our twin beds and ‘layered up’ the quilt. I used 505 temporary spray adhesive and quilting safety pins to keep all the layers together and set the quilt aside whilst I thought about how to quilt…..

Three weeks later I had a couple of additional blocks that I had hand-stitched at Sprat & Winkle Quilters club evenings. I used these for trialling a quilting design.


I am happy with the quilting within the bird shapes  but at present am not sure  how I will deal with the empty spaces of the backgrounds. Possible cloud shapes?

For now I am taking yet another break from this project so that I can make a Red dress to wear on 3rd June when my husband and I will celebrate our RUBY wedding anniversary.

Sprat & Winkle Rookwood Retreat Day

I have previously mentioned the Rookwood Retreat Day that is arranged by the Committee of Sprat & Winkle Quilters. Now three weeks after the event, I have finally got around to posting on the blog!

This year the event was held on Saturday 12th May at Rookwood School in Andover and was very well attended by both members of the quilting group and several guests.

Having registered we took our places at the tables set out in the assembly hall. Christine and Lizzie regaled us with a brief review of their recent weekend away at a hotel in Oxfordshire that had been arranged by Purple Stitches followed by a quick re-telling of Lizzie’s adventures in the world of Singer featherweight sewing machines.

After instruction and demonstration we then set about making up the kits of ‘granny squares’.

One set was for personal retention, the second set was entered into a draw. Each of the seven winners was handed 4 blocks to make up as per their heart’s desire! I did not win from the raffle but my good friend donated her spare block to me so now I have two with which to make into ‘something’!

We enjoyed an ‘American Lunch’ and whilst that settled went on to make the divided baskets. I was ‘almost’ able to  finish my basket on the day. The finished basket measures approximately 11 inches  x 6 inches x 8 inches deep. All that was required was some hand sewing of the binding around the top of the baskets before I could put it to good use in storing and transporting fat quarters and sewing accessories for yet more Caribbean bird blocks (see yet another post about those later!)


The Wedding Guest Outfit

It has been over a week now since I attended the wedding of my husband’s eldest grandson, Michael to his fiancée Lisa.

Since then I have attended a Sewing Retreat day and a Patchwork & Quilting class. It was only today I realised I had not posted a picture of the final outfit that I wore for the wedding.

As you will see from the above photo, the wedding ceremony was held out of doors in a Bluebell Wood. Very romantic!

To get to the location involved a walk up a hill via a couple of fields and a wood. I therefore changed from my Silver stiletto shoes into ‘much more appropriate’ Cerise pink loafers.

The day was lovely and Mike and Lisa make a charming couple.

I shall be wearing my dress and jacket ensemble again in the future but do not foresee many outings for the fascinator!

And finally – an MIU padded wristlet purse

What you may ask is an MIU? It stands for Make It Up (as you go along!)

There was STILL some remnant of this Cerise linen fabric so I had to make just one more item…. a padded wristlet purse seemed like a good idea.

Using the largest piece of remnant fabric for the outer shell plus some strips that had been parallel to the selvedge, I designed and stitched the purse as I went along.

Recently I had bought some sets of hardware and now seemed like a good opportunity to try them out. I referred to a You tube video for instructions on how to put together the wrist strap but it really was intuitive.

The fabric gathered together nicely for the frills and I was able to use yet another zip from my father’s stash for the closure. A small piece of wadding and a scrap of the lining as used for lining the jacket were all the materials required.

The finished purse measures approximately 8 inches x 6¾ inches. Having completed the make, I will note the construction for future iterations.

Now – there will be no more postings about Cerise linen-look as that is the final make from the original fabric purchase!

Cerise Linen Bag – Simplicity 2396

On completing the Cerise Jacket ( I still had approximately 1/3 yard of fabric left over. What to make? I know, I will re-visit a favourite bag pattern – Simplicity 2396.

After a search of my pattern stash I located the pattern and also a copy of the workbook that I had prepared when teaching a class for making up this bag. Result!

I cut out the Cerise fabric and having checked my remnant stash decided to use some bold-patterned stretch cotton sateen that was purchased during a visit to Norfolk.

The original dress has long-since been sold (shame as I really liked the fabric) but there was still sufficient to line this bag and maybe make another.

I had some remnant ‘headliner’ wadding (replacement for Bosal ® or Soft & Stable by Annie ®) and decided to ‘trial’ this in the new bag. I used the headliner inside the straps, fastening tab, bag top bands and also the main sections. Conclusion – the wadding is fine, easy to cut and stitch but is more appropriate for a structured bag not a ‘soft’ bag. 

As both the Cerise linen and the cotton sateen lining were fairly ‘robust’ I did not use fusible interfacing.

Construction was straightforward although I did reduce the size of the main body of the bag so that it fit the headliner fabric that I had cut from remnant. I added a loop to hang between the top band and the body.

This can be used for attaching a bag charm or tassel, for now I have added an Art Nouveau-style brooch. The fastening tab which conceals a magnetic snap is my usual addition together with several pockets incorporated into the lining.

This bag sports a zip pocket with two slip pockets behind plus a divided pocket just the right size for a mobile phone.

Finished size is approximately 13 inches deep excluding the straps which are just long enough to go over a shoulder, by 12 inches across. The bag will coordinate well with my outfits and as I frequently wear shades of Pink I think it will have many outings over the coming Summer months.


Yet another Deer & Doe Plantain Tunic!

Yes, here is yet another Plantain tunic top!

For the first time I have used a heavyweight Scuba fabric to make up this garment. I purchased Large Scale Print Scuba Stretch Jersey Knit Dress Fabric Cream & Gold (polyester and elastane) at just £4.99 per metre from Minerva Crafts. I bought 3 metres in April 2018 and now there are just a few scraps left.

The Plantain tunic did not use all the fabric, I also cut out a Paolina top for a friend to practice using an overlocker for garment construction. Lizzie took just about two hours to complete the construction and I think is now all set to buy her very own Overlocker. That will be when she has finished buying and playing with Singer Featherweight machines!

Singer Featherweight 221K

Let’s not go down that particular rabbit hole today ….back to my Plantain.

At first I thought the completed tunic would coordinate with my White trousers but in hindsight it does look a little ‘off’. However, it will go well with an alternative pair of Capri pants in a rich Watermelon colour.

As I have now made up this pattern several times it can safely be referred to as a TNT. My usual alterations applied :– raised the centre front neckline by 2 inches and reduced the sleeve length by 4 inches. I added approximately 4 inches to the length of the body whilst taking into account the placement of the design. I have managed to centre up the main features of the design on the neckband, front, back and sleeves of which I am very proud. The hems of the sleeve and the bodice are stitched with a twin-needle.

This particular Scuba has a very silky finish and is easy to wear, although possibly a little too warm for our current ‘heatwave’.