Monthly Archives: June 2019

Bold Floral Scarlett

Readers of my blog will know that I have been searching for my ideal Cowl Neck top/dress pattern for some time. I have already made two versions of the Prima pattern but not been completely satisfied, the search continued.

SCARLETT by Pattyboo

Purely by chance, I returned to the pattyboo site to browse their patterns. Pattyboo is a German Pattern company and as I do not speak any German, I use the translation option to read about the patterns. This is what they said about ‘Scarlett’:-

The pattyboo waterfall shirt ”Scarlett“ is an elegant cowl neck shirt. The cascading neckline creates a sleek feminine feel and flatters the décolleté. 

The pattern contains:

  • all of the pattern pieces in sizes DE 32-54 / UK 6-28 / US 4-26
  • variations: short sleeves, half sleeve, 3/4 sleeve and long sleeve
  • measurements in cm/inch, as well as sewing instructions.
  • Pattern and video tutorial for an elegant waterfall shirt. This basic part can be worn very well on different occasions, by the cowl neck looks it to both pants and skirts very chic and can be combined under a blazer as well as casually to the leather jacket. You van sew it with long or short sleeves or combine itwith hem bands. So get to the sewing machine, learn to sew and get started right away with this great pattern for a waterfall shirt with which you can make you or a loved one a pleasure. The video makes it easy to sew a cowl neckline. Learning to sew is fun and the result is guaranteed to succeed.

All the written instructions are in German but there is a sewalong video that I watched. Whilst watching, I prepared my own personal detailed instructions for how to construct a ¾ sleeve version.

Poly Crepe Stretch Jersey Floral Print

I used 2 metres of L/Weight Poly Crepe Stretch Jersey Floral Print  at £4.70/metre from cheapesmaterialsuk – an ebay seller that I have used in the past.

The construction of this top was super-easy. In less than 1 hour I had completed the top. As my overlocker was still threaded with Jade thread, instead I used my sewing machine and the ‘lightning’ stitch for the construction. The only changes that I made were to reduce the length of the bodice by 2 inches and add a cuff of approximately 1 inch to the sleeves. This latter is now my preferred method for finishing sleeves as it means I can adjust the length if they are too short and it is also provides a good clean way to finish the sleeve without having to use the twin needle.

Scarlett version 1

I was so pleased with this new pattern that I almost immediately cut out and stitched another version using a plain Jade viscose jersey. More about that in another post.

Sequinned Lace Dress

This project that took so long to complete. It is the dress for which I made the wearable toile featured in an earlier post. The dress is made using re-embroidered and sequinned lace over a matching Satin lining both of which were bought from Fabricland, Salisbury branch.

Front Bodice – careful motif placement!

I laid out the lace so that I could identify the major motifs in the design and decide on placement. In order to ensure that the motifs were centred correctly on the bodice I traced off the front bodice onto folded paper so that I had a full pattern. This enabled me to centre up the main motif and also, very important, ensure that there was no flower exactly over the apex of my bust.

I cut the exact same patterns from the satin and mounted the lace onto its corresponding piece. Construction was quite straight forward.

Back Bodice, nb beautiful lapped zip insertion

I finally finished the centre back zip insertion for which I used my favourite lapped insertion method with a hand-picked final stitching.

To add a little extra feature, I machined the hem of the lining using a ‘scallop’ stitch.

I had hoped to get the dress completed in time to take to the retreat but it was not to be. Instead I wore the Iced Rose Scuba Velvet Jodi dress – that’s me third from the left in the front row.

KB Sewing Retreat, May 2019

Still,now I have a fancy new dress, just waiting for a party or function to attend so that I can wear it.

Lace Dress – waiting for the right party!

Frida Kahlo Dress

I have long been an admirer of the flamboyant Frida. She had an unmistakable style which I personally reflect in some ways in the unsubtle prints of my clothing.

Frida Kahlo de Rivera

Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican artist who painted many portraits, self-portraits and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico.

When visiting the Malvern Quilt Show I was fortunate enough to come across some Frida printed cotton fabric. I bought 3 metres at £15 per metre with the intention of making a full gathered skirt. Thinking about it later, I changed my mind. Due to ‘wonky’ hip issues I decided that a pinafore/sun dress where the garment is supported from the shoulders would be a much better use of this fabulous fabric.

Frida La Catrina in Dark Marine Blue by Alexander Henry

I used my standard bodice pattern with the scoop neckline (as used in the bold appliqué corduroy pinafore dress) with a box pleated skirt. The pleats are lined up to coincide with the body darts and side seams of the bodice and there are pockets in the side seams.

Front Bodice under construction
Back Bodice under Construction

The bodice is lined with Teal satin (remnants from the lace over satin dress) and I included a ‘facing’ around the neckline, just in case the lining flipped out.

Fab-u-lous Frida Dress- Front view
Fab-u-lous Frida – back view

I am delighted with this dress with only one slight niggle and that is that most of the figures are hidden inside the pleats at the front of the skirt. However, when I sit down and the pleats spread open, the figures will be revealed so perhaps it is a good thing – a little surprise.

The Gerbera Mini Crossbody Bag – by Blue Calla Sewing Patterns

The Gerbera Crossbody bag is a FREE pattern and can also be made as a companion wristlet to the Daisy Cross Body bag. It has a feature centre panel where you can focus a small piece of your favourite fabric, a gusset and a few pleats along the bottom. You can make the Gerbera as either a wristlet or a mini cross body bag. The Gerbera has one interior zippered pocket but you could easily add more! The measurements are width: 10.5 inches, height: 6 inches, depth: 4 inches

Gerbera Cross Body Bag


Exterior fabric:1/2 yard, Lining fabric:1/2 yard

Interfacing:2 yards Fusible woven interfacing , 1/2 yard Fusible fleece

Notions and supplies:(1) 6-inch zipper (or longer, will be cut down)
(1) 10-inch zipper (or longer, will be cut down) 

For Cross Body versi.on:(2) 1” D-rings,(2) 1” capable swivel clasp
(1) 1” rectangle slide

For Wristlet version:(1) 1” D-ring, (1) 1 inch capable swivel clasp

I was able to use fabrics and notions from my stash for the first ‘trial’ make. Next time I might use a lighter weight fabric. This particular version is made using a 100% linen fabric that was donated. As I had some coordinating Cream satin piping to highlight the shaped top I decided to ignore the contrasting central panel. Instead I ‘fussy cut’ the Bird design from the printed fabric.

Gerbera as a Wristlet Pouch (front)

As I had sufficient fabric I made both the wristlet strap and the long cross body strap which is just long enough to go over the shoulder and tuck the bag neatly at one’s side.

Gerbera as a Cross Body Bag (reverse)

The bag has turned out well and there will definitely be more in the future as this is an ideal candidate to make as gifts for my sewing friends and relatives.

The Gerbera is very simple to make and relatively quick to construct. It will therefore be an ideal project for beginners to bag-making in this size or perhaps graded up to a larger-sized cross body bag.

Celine Zip Top Tote by Swoon Sewing Patterns

Those that follow my blog will know that in early May I attended the KB Sewing Retreat on the Isle of Wight. I was looking forward to the retreat as it would provide an opportunity of meeting again a few ladies that I had previously met on the Southampton Sewcial in August last year. It would also give me the the chance of some dedicated sewing time in the company of a group of avid stitchers!

I knew in advance that we were going to be making the Celine bag by Swoon patterns with the Pocket Supplement A from Chris W Designs.

Celine Bag by Swoon Patterns

The Celine is a handbag look with tote bag functionality, this is the perfect everyday bag. The top zipper keeps your belongings secure, and the closure straps provide a little added security while giving this bag its unique shape.

Pocket Supplement A from Chris W Designs

The Pocket Supplement A is perfect to use for adding extra pockets to the interior of your bag. With The Pocket Supplement A you create two large slip pockets, a pen pocket and a pleated pocket perfect for your sunglasses.

I had not made either of these patterns before and as I wanted this project to be extra special I visited Purple Stitches in Basingstoke and purchased all the fabrics required.

I had chosen Teal to be my main colour theme for the trip (clothing and project) and this fabric certainly fit the bill as it incorporates not only the Teal colour but several others as well so would be easy to choose complimentary prints/colours.

Outer Feature Fabric
Outer Side Gusset Panels Fabric

I was able to pick out a ‘low-volume’ print for the side panels and a Pale Orange/Blush picked from the outer print to be the contrast for the lining.

I ordered Nickel Silver hardware and metal zips with White tape from Sian for my accessories which also included the iron-on stabiliser and Bosal ® foam wadding.

We twelve ladies (no gentlemen on this occasion) were set up in a large room on the ground floor of the hotel with access to plenty of ironing stations. We spent Friday and Saturday cutting, pressing and sewing our bags with a ready supply of refreshments and lots of chat! Sian with her Mum, Jane, as ‘understudy’ was an excellent tutor, always swift to answer queries with a ready smile.

My Celine Bag

By the end of the two days I had an almost completed bag and had learnt a some new techniques to incorporate into my future bag making.

Outer Zip pocket on my Celine Bag
View from above of my Celine Bag

I have to say that although the finished project is OK, I am not in love with it. The bag took a long time to make (longer even than the companion carpet bag which I much prefer) and in the final analysis is not really ‘my kind of bag’ as it is rather too capacious for my needs. I don’t think that I will make this design again but if I do, I will use different fabrics. I need a more substantial outer fabric, combined with faux leather for the gusset as even with interfacing and foam in my opinion, the quilting cotton fabric used on this iteration is simply not ‘man enough’ for the job.

In the final analysis though, I had a great time, enjoyed the ‘holiday’, accommodation, location, project and most important of all – the company.

Clematis Wristlet Pouch by Blue Calla

Clematis Wristlet

The Clematis wristlet design is a free design from Blue Calla. The finished bag is approximately 10 ins x 5 ½ ins x 2 ins.

Fabric requirements are minimal:

Exterior fabric: Fat quarter of quilt weight cotton , 12” W x 8” H Faux leather/Vinyl ,

Lining fabric: Fat quarter of quilt weight cotton, Interfacing: ½ yd Fusible interfacing

¼yd Fusible fleece, Notions and supplies: (1) 8” zipper (1) 5/8” D-ring (1) 1” Swivel clasp.

I was able to use fabrics and notions from my stash for this first ‘trial’ make. There is just one thing that I will do differently next time and that is to use a lighter weight fabric. This particular version is made using a 100% linen fabric that was donated but as it coordinated so well with the Lime Green Faux Leather I thought I would give it a try.

Clematis Wristlet – front

The wristlet has turned out well and there will definitely be more in the future as this is an ideal candidate to make as gifts for my sewing friends and relatives.

Clematis Wristlet – Reverse

The Clematis is very simple to make and is very quick to construct. It will therefore be an ideal project for beginners to bag-making in this size or perhaps graded up size-wise and to be used as a handbag.

A WearableToile

As I was planning to make a new dress using lace and satin I thought it best to first make a wearable toile for a scoop neck dress using my TNT bodice. The fabric used is a slightly heavier weight cotton and was in a bag of donated material. The print is very reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s.

Donated fabric

I drafted a scoop neckline freehand and adjusted the armscye slightly. Then it was straight into cutting and stitching.

I used a contrast cotton fat quarter from my stash to make the neckline facings and bias binding for the armholes. The skirt is box pleated and conceals side seam pockets behind the pleats.

Concealed pocket behind a pleat
The finished wearable Toile

I love this dress and the colours coordinate well with my Teal shrug but will also be good with an Orange shrug.

A Coordinating Shrug

There will definitely be more dresses in this style as it is so suited to some of the heavier weight cotton fabrics that I have in my stash.

This dress was to be a wearable toile for a Teal lace and satin ‘special occasion’ dress to be worn on the Gala night at the Sewing Retreat so onwards and upwards!

Pretty Paolina Tee

In addition to the Tropical cowl-neck top I needed a second top to wear with the Teal jersey trousers made to Simplicity 2289.

I purchased just 1 metre of a charming printed cotton elastane jersey (called Floral vines & birds flower) from ohsewcraftyltd at a cost of £8.60 for the metre.

Floral vines & birds flower

Although I refer to this tee top as ‘Paolina’, it being a hack of the Paola by Named, infact once I have hacked the neckline, sleeves and hemline it is absolutely nothing like the original turtle neck top.

I have ‘finessed’ and refined the pattern so many times that it takes just 1 hour to cut and stitch this top. I have drafted a gentle scoop neckline that is finished with a neckband. The sleeves have a cuff that is formed by folding back 2 inches and then running the overlocker around to make a seam before top stitching. The hemline is shaped, overlocked and then top stitched with a twin needle.

Paolina Tee Top

I am so pleased with the print and quality of fabric that I have ordered another metre in a different coloured background!

Same print but with a Blue background

Quick & Easy Jersey Trousers

When I originally purchased the Tropical print jersey for the cowl neck top, I knew that I would want to make some elastic waist trousers in a coordinating plain-coloured jersey.

I was fortunate to find a Teal cotton interlock at £7.00/metre. I bought 2 metres on eBay from pepe monty. The fabric arrived, was duly overlocked and laundered ready to make the trousers. But which pattern to use?

I auditioned several different patterns but in the end decided to go with what I knew – the trousers that I had previously made and ‘refined’ to a good fit, Simplicity 2289.

As I had made this pattern before the construction was again very quick. They were basted on the sewing machine using a large stitch before a double check of fit and then ‘whizzed’ through on the overlocker.

I inserted two lengths of 1/2 inch wide elastic into the waistline casing and hand stitched the hem with a loose herringbone stitch.

Simplicity 2289 in Cotton Interlock Jersey

The trousers are very comfortable and I plan to make more versions to wear in the Autumn/Winter.

Tropical Print Cowl neck Top

Despite being disappointed in the previous fabric purchased fromcheapestfabricsuk on eBay, I was ‘in love’ with this Tropical print at a cost of just £4.95/metre.

Tropical print jersey crepe

I bought 1 metre and was pleasantly surprised as this was a much better fabric to be used to make a second version of the Prima cowl neck top. Sadly the fabric is now out of stock as I would have purchased more if it had still been available.

Again the construction was straightforward and the top completed in record time. The only negative, and it is a small one, is that the fabric is not so ‘fluid’ and drapey as the toile thus the cowl does not immediately fall into the folds but has to be gently arranged by hand.

Tropical print Cowl neck Top

It is worth noting that the pattern is drafted to be used with either jersey or woven fabrics. When using the latter, the front and back bodice are cut on the bias which makes the garment rather fabric-hungry but if I can find a suitable length, I will definitely try the top in a woven fabric.