During this year, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and sewn up more trousers/pants than what I was expecting and I’m still kinda shocked on how straightforward it has been, ok there has been some minor issues but nothing that has put me off so far.
This blog post will be summarising what I’ve sewn and tried so far and what I’m looking forward to sewing up next!
First up is the Winslow Culottes by Helen’s Closet. I’d say if you don’t want massive fitting issues and you want an easy trouser project to ease yourself into then, I’d totally recommened the Winslow’s right now!
The Winslow’s are designed for ultimate comfort and style and that they are! They come in four lengths and so many possibilites with all the hacks. You don’t even need to have the original zip as there are elasticated waist hacks that to get you round that one.
I started my trouser journey a while ago with the Megan Neilson Opal Pants but have reignighted my confidence and sewing trouser journey with the Winslow’s, don’t fret – I’ll talk about the Opals shortly.
Right , before I move on I’d better sit down and mention the Opals. The opals have 2 views and 2 lengths. It has that adorable paperbag siloheutte that’s strong on the high street at the moment as a standard elasticated waist band. I was one of the testers for this pattern and really like the fit of it. It’s a great match for a viscose particuarly in standard elasticated waistband version as I’ve done two of that exact look. I’ve yet to finish a linen paperbag version … which is is still in the wip pile as we speak – oops!
Next up, is a very new pattern on the scene and I love making them up. Perhaps it’s because the instructions are really detailed and there was little confusion or the fact that they go up to a 64″ hip … It’s the Soline Culottes and Shorts from Staystitch Patterns. If you follow me on instagram, you’ll have seen all of my versions so far. I don’t think I’ll be stop at three, I’m not quite ready for that.
The latest in the trouser addition is the Nina Lee Portobello Trousers, which are now in the 16-28 size range and yep, another tester under my belt. I really like the shape of those although the zip closure and button is at the back, there’s a degree of tactic when needing to go to the toilet! I’ve also got a couple of tweaks where I want to adjust the crotch curve to give me slightly more room and maybe I could move the zip to the side?
So, what’s the next trousers on the table, you ask. Well, I’ve got the Chandler Trousers by Untitled Thoughts printed out to which I have a dark aubergine wool suiting that I’m thinking of pairing it with and I would like to use the reminder of that wool suiting to make a Friday Pattern Heather Blazer. The other trousers that I’ve got firm plans are the Megan Neilson Dawns for some stretch corduroy that I’ve been gifted by The Rag Shop for my A/W Edit and there’s gonna be so much more chat about that very soon!
Back in 2017 I wrote this post up by I thought it was high time I rewrote it as it’s now over half way through 2021!
All views are my own and I’ll also mention if they have a Brick & Mortar store too that you can visit. As I write this, please note some stores may have “appointment only” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
First off is a very new favourite of mine and that’s The Rag Shop. Stephanie, the owner of The Rag Shop has a lovely curated collection of fabrics and haberdashery items.
I’ve also collaborated with The Rag Shop and have written a couple of blog posts which you can find here and here.
The Rag Shop has only very recently opened a Brick & Mortar store and judging by the photos it looks lush inside, I’m planning a trip (in my head) and hopefully soon I can visit!
Next up is Sewisfaction and Shona is the lovely lady behind the Business. From a teeny cupboard to a two storey business, including a few members of staff and classes, Shona has grew this flourishing fabric collection from a few bolts.
This is my first stop if I’m looking for Art Gallery Cotton Jerseys, occasionally I like to treat myself to one!
As you guessed, It is a brick and mortar store as well as online, which you can find here:
Hey Sew Sister are a small yet beautifully curated online store but based in my Hometown Edinburgh!
It’s always nice to see small businesses like this pop up in your local area. I love the fabrics that they’ve got too, it’s just ever so different from the other stores but still has top notch quality.
When you order something from Felicity Fabrics, Caroline and Fliss have the packing to an absolute dream. No matter what fabric you’ve choosen, be safe in the knowledge that you will be receiving a well wrapped parcel. It’s bespoke and it’s taken fabric wrapping to the next level in my opinion. I absolutely adore the way the fabric comes – I don’t want to give too much away but you are in for a treat.
Felicity Fabrics have also just very recently relaunched a very shiney new website which handles searches more effectively and most importantly showcases what they’ve got. I didn’t have any quibbles with the old site and it’s nice to see that Felicity Fabrics are growing so can branch out on these big investments.
One of the most successful Sewing Bees from the TV show, Great British Sewing Bee is Lauren and yes if you don’t know it already she has a store based in Birmingham which looks so heavenly!
I haven’t yet made the pilgrimage to Guthrie & Ghani’s store but I do pay a visit to the online variation quite a few times a month and then stroke my screen, wishing I could play supermarket sweep in that store.
One of my favourite places in that store … yes I know I said I haven’t been there but hypothetically talking … I’d go straight to the pattern room! There’s just something mysterious and very exciting about a paper pattern room full of indie pattern companies! And yes, then there’s the massive shop floor full of fabric to limit myself from going into further debt 😂
Talking of pattern rooms and I’ve actually visited this brick and mortar store in Person, yes – hallelujah! It’s RayStitch, London and oh my golly gosh it legit my favourite places to be in that corner of eeeh, London!
I love the actual shop as it’s set up almost like an old style general store but beware you will be bedazzled with sweet joyful fabrics on two floors! Ok the online shop is quite spectacular too, don’t get me wrong! I’ve got patterns and a yellow bamboo silk which I’ve still to use as well as this lilac and white cotton shirting that I used for my Gilbert Top and this beautiful soft linen and cotton Kokka for my Sudley Dress.
Next up, is an online shop that regularly makes me break any Fabric holiday/ bans/ rests no thanks to their Instagram stories … any guesses? It’s Fabric Godmother, of course! How can I mute their stories, I’d be forever wondering and then checking anyway 😂
I am absolutely loving the collections that Fabric Godmother are bringing from using old archives of prints! There’s been a fair few that I’ve missed out on but hopeful that they are on order so I can get maybe a metre or three off!
Not stopping there, I’m really intrigued by the monthly boxes that Josie and her team bring to the table … one day I shall suffice!
If there’s one online fabric business that grabs me with their deadstock range, it’s got to be Harriet’s Sew Me Sunshine and oh boy, I’ve been captivated by one or two and even in the nock of time to manage to be able to buy them.
I love Navigating around Sew Me Sunshine’s Website, it’s easy to find certain fabrics and the first thing I do is sort it into newest to oldest, even in the New Arrivals just to see if there’s anything that tickles my fancy!
Both Sew Me Sunshine and Fabric Godmother do have Open Days where you can pop along and shop but as you know we’re in the midst of a Pandemic albeit restrictions being completely lifted and madly masks & physical distancing are now scrapped in England – which isn’t a wise decision in my opinion, as you can tell.
Lamazi Fabrics are another online store and at the time of writing this have only just moved into a new premises.
Lamazi’s website is one of my favourite websites to navigate through. It’s easy to find fabrics, too easy in fact but I’ve bought some fabulous pieces of fabric, to which many I’ve still got to use – no surprises there!
Almost forgot Sister Mintaka – how dare I! I love watching her fabric drops, she’s got some special fabrics so it’s worth checking out.
I’ve a good handful of fabrics, most I’ve been scared to cut into but 2021 has been that year where that’s changed.
Overall, I have to say the stores I’ve mentioned all have excellent customer service. I’ve often emailed to ask about a fabric or other item they’ve sold and have received a reply within hours. They all dispatch paid items quickly and I’ve never had that sinking feeling it’s not lived up to the description and that’s what you want in my humble opinion. I’ve bought from these stores, some more frequently than others but all have been positive, I wouldn’t recommend any business that I haven’t bought from.
Last but not least … which online shop would you recommend (it can be anywhere in the world) and why?
Thanks for reading and Happy sewing!
*Please note that some of these stores may or may not deliver outside of the Uk. It is solely up to you to check this out before you purchase if you are outside the UK. ☺️
When Friday Pattern Company contacted me, asking if I like to test there most recent pattern there was no hesitation in saying “yes”.
I’m sure you’ve seen the features of this dress but if you haven’t, here’s a illustration below.
The ruffles and the sleeves were the small details that sold it to me in the first instance. But as I made the tester up, the elasticated neckline and the cinched in waist literally blew my mind (in a good way) !
When the Davenport Dress was released, last Friday (16.4.21) – it was a double celebration as Scotland lifted the travel restriction which of course couldn’t pass by without a photo opportunity at a different location without a beige wall! Now don’t get me wrong, I love my beige walls as they allow the details on my garments to speak for themselves but sometimes you just need a different location!
I’ve had this Dashwood Rayon “the Secret Garden” in my stash for a good while and when Emma said she had bought some of the same fabric another wee collab was in motion. I think I bought it from Lamazi Fabrics way back in the day!
Emma @CoffeeAndGlassSlippers made the By Hand London Anna Dress – and boy, she’s knocking it out the park! Absolutely adore this and I think it’s one of my faves thats she’s made so far, Emma never fails to surprise me with her amazing style and sewing talent. I seemingly remember Emma telling me she got her piece of Rayon from John Lewis in Glasgow and it was half price, I think it was just after the 1st Lockdown and shops were just opened. Half price – Utter bargain!!!
I found that the Rayon was a fray magnet. Way worse than the Ravishing Rayon that I used on my Kew Dress.
For some unknown reason, I didn’t finish the edges with the overlocker after I cut which is what I usually do. I did, however finish most of the open edges once I put it together.
Ok the pattern is absolutely fabulous, I can’t fault it, so much so I had a second Davenport Dress ready as part of a collaboration with Felicity Fabrics, before the pattern was released, which you can read all about it here.
Both the Rayon and the viscose serve the pattern well with regards to the the ruffles and gathering. It drapes beautifully.
However, both times I had to slow down at the outer waist piece and how to attach that. Also adding the bodice yoke had me for a moment. I somewhat remember that the first time I did the pattern I had to walk away twice because my head wasn’t picking up the instructions right. You know, that cotton wool fuzzy head … uh huh?!
Im looking to do a third Davenport Dress soon but it will be in a cotton. This pattern in the fabric will be quite different for me but it has such summer like pastel colours I couldn’t say no to it! I also see a hack coming very soon – keep your eyes peeled for that too.
As always, thanks for reading. I’ll probably talk about both Davenport Dresses on my YouTube channel very soon.
The Bardot Dress has a decent size range and a good amount of ease. The body measurements start from high bust 28, full bust 31, waist 24.4 and hips 34.6 inches to high bust 51, full bust 53, waist 46, hips 56.3 inches.
Because of the ease and the amount of fabric I had I choose size H for the bodice and I.
The fabric that I choose was “Bird Parade” viscose twill from @FabricGodmother … which I think suits this dress so well, especially for a spring summer print and dress!
I used 3 metres of this viscose twill and that’s all I had. I didn’t use the fabric layout … recently I’ve been playing pattern Tetris and loving the challenge!
Sewing this up I noticed the fabric was fraying ever so slightly but it was as bad as other viscoses but I did try out French seams and they are on the majority of seams including the pockets and the bodice! This was my first time trying out such skills and I’m gobsmacked that it worked out so well.
I made my own bias to add to the edges just by cutting out strips of 2cm wide on the bias on a s small piece of left over fabric. It wasn’t straight or neat but it does the job and you can’t see the wobbly edges as they are on the inside.
This dress took a lot of gathering and I mean a lot! Lots of patience, even more pins and delicate precision were required to get even gathers.
I’d definitely recommend this dress for summer holidays or lounging about at home on a hot day. The instructions are really good but I really didn’t use them that much. I kinda just went for it!
When I do this dress again and I will do it again, I’ll size down further on the bodice and shorten the shoulder straps and I’ll probably shorten the bodice. I’ll still swan about in this dress though as it’s got swoosh appeal!
I just want to thank both Ruan and Sam for this amazing challenge. It’s been so nice to see so many lovely makes from the community and find some more free patterns that are size inclusive. On that note, I think I’ll be trying the Peppermint Maxi Dress and the Lucia from Mood fabrics, very soon.
Disclaimer: I was given the Block Tee from Tara (Paper Theory Patterns) in exchange for my thoughts. I didn’t have to post anything but here you have it!
Formerly known as the Kabuki Tee it’s been given the new name and now goes under The Block tee.
After some feedback and consultation with the community, Tara felt that having no Japanese heritage herself, it was only right to change the the name.
As well as a big name change, The Block Tee has has some small changes in the grading. This was also from feedback from previous customers. The change is small yet will help with the fit on the shoulders. The shoulder grading increments has decreased between the sizes 18-28, so the length of the sleeves aren’t as long.
Making the Block Tee was fun, quick but somewhat challenging as doing sharp right angle turns is not a quick job and you want to take care doing it.
If you are stuck and I was just needing that little extra visual, Tara has a really good video of how to do the Right Handed corners on her website, which helped me a lot.
Without any doubt, I cut two Block Tees’ … yep I didn’t do a toile, yep I’m a bad ass but I had totally faith in Tara’s design. I used linen: mustard yellow from Selvage and Bolts and the green from Blackbird Fabrics.
I graded from a 22 at the arms and bust to a 26 at the hips. I could always go down a size all over since the pattern has lots of ease.
I found that I used under 1.5 metres especially without needing to cut the piece for the bias binding as I wanted to use some of the bindings that I bought from The Specky Seamstress (The “Sewing Appreciation Society” Bias was received as a gift).
It’s quite a handy pattern and I feel I’m going to potential do a Block Tee with some of my scraps (watch out for that!).
I’m pretty chuffed with the results and yes I feel I need to practice these right angles! It’s a lot trickier than I thought but don’t let that put you off. Just take your time and pin pin pin!
Like most makes these days, before I start sewing pieces together, I overlock the edges. One for finish and two, to stop any fraying.
The details of the Block Tee are really smart. I like the lines that it has. It’s just has a different spin on the Box top.
I’m super chuffed that the block tee goes to 57.5”/146cm hip body measurements. It’s got a good amount of ease in it too. It’s going to be a nice staple in my wardrobe, especially in linen over the summer period.
If you haven’t tried The Block Tee yet and would like to give it a try, I’d definitely give you a gentle nudge of encouragement. However (again!), go slow round those corners!
The Mustard Yellow Block Tee Details:
Mustard Linen from Selvedge and Bolts
Label – “Handmade” This is for Makers
Label – “Slowly Does It” The Pink Coat Club
Bias Binding “Ruler” – The Specky Seamstress
Label – “Sewing is the F♥️cking Best” – Kylie and the Machine.
Necklace from Lynsey Walters
The Green Block Tee Details:
Green linen from Blackbird Fabrics
“Perfect Me” label from Little Rosy Cheeks
Bias Binding “Sewing Appreciation Society” – The Specky Seamstress.
Gold and white cord necklace from Stitching Me Softly
The Southbank Sweater is one of those patterns that since it was released was on my radar.
Unfortunately, when it was released back in the day, the sizing wasn’t inclusive but it didn’t stop me from buying the paper pattern and forever procrastinating whether I should or should not try and grade it up.
But when Nina Lee updated the Southbank with more inclusive sizing I quickly bought the pdf and then destashed the paper pattern to a new home.
However, the pdf lay waiting to be used for a while until December 2020 when Caroline (cme_202) and I collaborated on the Sew Cosy Winter Party.
The Southbank Sweater was one of the 6 sweaters I had on my short list but me being me, I always take too much on and only get half done … Southbank was in the batch cut though, it just didn’t get Sewn up until very early February.
Nevertheless, I love it. It’s so cosy and easy to wear. I can also layer up underneath or treat it as a cosy dress.
The fabric is from Pin and Sew UK. It’s a sweater loopback jersey and like always, it’s amazing quality!
Again, another pattern that I can see I’ll get more use out of. I see myself using the cropped version over a dress and trying out the hip length with a pair of jeans or dressed up with a skirt.
Disclaimer: Jennifer Lauren Handmade gave me a copy of the Dulcie Pinafore in return of a honest review.
The Dulcie Pinafore is one of JHL’s most recent patterns and it really did appeal to me. The pinafore is in the new size range which goes from a size 6 to a 34 and also includes 6 cup sizes.
One of the design aspects of the pinafore that appealed to me was the square neckline as was the princess seams and the button details.
For sizing, I carefully followed Jennifer’s instructions and cut a 22 C-cup size in the new curve range for the bodice. And for the skirt I cut out the size 28. I used the back darts in the skirt to take out the excess that was left where I matched the bodice and waistband to the skirt piece. Ideally I think if I had realised how much excess there was before I added the side pockets I would put some of the extra fabric in the dart behind the pocket. Nevertheless it seemed to work out.
Talking of the pockets, they are a really good size and I like how theyare positioned. I had to add a label to one of them just to highlight them!
This red corduroy was from my stash, unfortunately I can’t remember where I bought it from but it’s a lovely jewel tone. I had 2.5 meters of the corduroy and it worked out well although I seemed to have got the nap upside down … you know the stroke direction. The corduroy has a slight stretch to it as well which isn’t a bad thing especially with a pinafore and lockdown weight!
Lovely stretch corduroy and perfect for the Dulcie Pinafore!
The 22mm buttons were from the Textile Garden. I wanted something that was going to compliment the red earthy tones and I think I did pretty well matching up via the internet. If I was stuck on buttons I would have normally went and checked out The Cloth Shop (Remnant Kings) but they closed just before the pandemic hit and if we are in lockdown and in tiers, it makes it more difficult to factor in travel and sourcing locally. Anyway, I think the Textile Garden buttons are just the match for this pinafore!
I love how the bodice is lined. It just finishes it well. I used some lining that was gifted to me by a friend and it lay in my stash waiting for the right project. I wonder, if I could line the skirt on and future Dulcies’? I probably could, I’d would just need to sit down and work it out.
Ok, the verdict – I really do love it. However, I know I need to make some knit tops that will work with it other than this black RTW top but that’s not a bad thing now is it?!
I might go up a size in the bodice, just for a little more wiggle room, cancel that – its fine. Stretch corduroy is a good friend!
Ok. I’m definitely loving this pinafore. Prepare for another one in the future!
Disclaimer: I was given this fabric in return for a review over on Minerva. This is a basic post, so please check out my blog post over on Minerva!
What is happening? After three years of not completing make nine and a year off, I am powering through this years make nines.
Could it be I’ve managed to get confidence with my sewing skills – who knows, but I like it.
So, the Pona Jacket by Helen’s Closet Patterns kinda reminds me of similar RTW jackets that I’ve had in the past and will be a to go to pattern for the future.
I really enjoyed making the Pona Jacket. Helen’s instructions are second to none one of the best instructions around. I used the lining hack on her blog post on her website to insert the lining to this jacket.
Oh Bakerloo … ha ha (yes easily changed from ABBAs classic “Waterloo” Song.
As part of the new inclusive sizing (18-28), I was part of the tester team for Nina Lee’s newest pattern, the Bakerloo Blouse and Dress.
With it’s Statement collar with a frill and big voluminous sleeves, what more could you want?
You can either go for the blouse or you can add a skirt.
For the tester version I made the dress, yes … I am a sucker for a gathered skirt!
Before we get into the details. I want to say thank you to Nina who, after I reached out when the 6-20 range was released to say I was slightly disappointed to not seeing both of the size ranges being released at the same time, asked me to be a tester. So Thank You Nina!
Ok details … I’m sure you want them, yes?
Right. The instructions are pretty much really detailed. Lots of illustrations and descriptions with step by step details on how to get the statement collar and fabulous frill perfect.
Size wise, I went with a 22 with the bust and then graded out at the waist to a 28 but could probably go down a size as it is quite roomy. The skirt is a size 28. My measurements are: Bust 46, Waist 46 and hips 57/58.
For my fabric, I chose a tencel twill from The Fabric Room, which I’ve had in my stash for a good while now. I think I heard about The Fabric Room’s Tencel Twill via my good friends in Sew Scottish. Minimum order is 3 metres and the colours are limited but it’s worth a look as it’s £4.50 a metre!!!
Also, worth noting if you have a plain fabric you can really play around with the cross grain of the woven. For my size, it quoted 3.10metres but I managed to use 2.6metres out of the 3m of tencel, which is pretty good I’d say.
Maybe tencel twill wasn’t the best fabric choice as I think the collar pulls the neck down a little because once you’ve got the interfacing in the collar and added the frills, it’s quite a substantial weight. But it won’t stop me from wearing it – oh no!
Will I make this again?
Yes, but I’ll make the Blouse version with longer sleeves. I might raise the darts at the bust on any future versions. And when I do the dress I’ll shorten the bodice. I think that’s all. But yeah, I’ll make it again 😄
So I’ve added a few labels …
1) “One of a Kind” by Stitch Collective on the Frill.
2) Worth the Effort by Kylie and the Machine at the back closure.
3) “Handmade” by This is for Makers on the inside at the back
I think the most favourite thing about this make is the sleeves! It’s so simple, the elastic cuff but punches a statement as does the collar and the frills. Overall it’s a great dress, It delivers and it’s very now but I’m sure I’ll wear it to lots of occasions in the future.
Ever since I did my tester on Friday Pattern Company‘s Sagebrush Top, I’ve been hooked!
Hooked in the sense that recently I did a batch cut and I’ve already sewn one of the up – yes already I’m churning Sagebrush Tops out!
I really love this pattern and the details of it. From the frill at the front to the gathering at the sleeves it just makes me happy.
This Sagebrush is slightly different to the others and I’ll explain why, in a moment.
You see it lies with the fabric choice. Previously I’ve went with a viscoses and a viscose-linen blend but I decided to take inspiration from the lovely Jen (@jenlegg_teescreatives) (I’ve met her in real life, as she came up to Edinburgh Frocktails, October 2019 and she is really lovely) who has already sewn the Sagebrush in the very same fabric.
The fabric is a Lady McElroy Chantilly Single Ladies Cotton Lawn from Sister Mintaka which I bought a wee while ago after seeing Jen’s version and looks like there is some in stock. It’s a lovely quality and has sewn up a treat. I love the colours of the print, it will be so diverse! I’ve already thought of a few outfits featuring this top, including pairing it with Jeans, as shown in the photos.
And apparently I’m not the only one who was inspired by Jen, Louisa was too!
Ok, my top was going so well until I decided to use my overlocker to finish the seams on the sleeve and front and back pieces …
At that point of seeing the blade chop into the shoulder what like watching a horror movie. Urgh. I had to step away. It didn’t stop me from sharing my disaster on Instagram stories that night – but it also helped me come up with a plan to save this make.
I had two options, one seeing if I had enough fabric to cut out a new sleeve altogether but I couldn’t really justify using it as I was going to try and make a scrunchie and hair band plus other things from it. The other option was two interface the wrong side and the right side and hope that I wouldn’t need to do a patch work … my needlework is erm shockingly bad 😂
So once I got that bit out the way I could move on and get it finished – yes that’s what we like – a happy ending!
On this Sagebrush I took a bit off the length off and made the hem deep And I actually really like it. So I think I’ll do the next couple this new length.
As you can see, using the cotton lawn gives the frill real structure and the sleeves extra va va voom! I do really like the effect that this cotton lawn has on the pattern.
Well, that’s the 4th Sagebrush of many more to come … I’m excited to do more!