A Year of Embroidery

If you’ve been following me for a while you will know I started sewing around 2015 and have been hooked ever since. This blog has been a place for me to share my sewing and making journey, but I have definitely fallen out of the way of blogging in the last couple of years. When my son was born, I never stopped making things, but I found it even harder to get myself in gear to go outside and take blog photos. I would like to try and get back into blogging again, as it’s always been my favourite place to talk about sewing, and I find instagram can be quite overwhelming with the amount of content available now.

So, lately I have learned to embroider and it has become a really big passion of mine. I’ve also been doing drawing classes online to help improve my embroidery designs so I want to tell you a bit about that today and show you some of my work and how I’m progressing.

I began learning to embroider properly during the first lockdown. I started following the textileartist.org instagram page and discovered that they were running an embroidery challenge where each week an established textile artist would set a challenge for us to complete. There was a facebook page where you could share your final work and your experiences and hear from the artist themselves. I really enjoyed having a go at this and it inspired me to start making more of my own embroidery work.

I played around with a few ideas and ended up doing this embroidery of some bananas.

This piece was based on a still life drawing I did in pencil. I then scanned the drawing, increased the contrast on the image and printed it onto dissolvable paper to stick onto my fabric. This paper is really cool as you can stitch right over it and wash it out later. I would say however, that I found it quite difficult to wash the paper out of this piece, so I’ve stopped using it as much, and am now just tracing my images onto fabric with carbon transfer paper.

I was really pleased with this piece as it was my own design, and I didn’t really know what I was doing and didn’t really plan much before I started, but I did consider how to make it look more volumetric. I used atmospheric perspective, using more washed out colours for the bananas that are further away from the viewer in space and brighter, more saturated colours to bring the front bananas forward. I think this worked really effectively. I also made sure the colours in the shadows were darker values than the lit side. I didn’t consider complementary colours I just went with my intuition, but luckily it turned out well.

This piece took a long time to complete, I worked on it for about 2 months, doing about 2 hours a day, mostly when my son was napping, so it was a long slow one, but I really enjoyed the process and seeing it coming together was really exciting.

It got me excited about the possibility of creating more embroideries so I have been playing around with different ideas.

I’ve also been doing online drawing classes to improve my designs. I did a free trial of Skillshare and completed Brent Eviston’s drawing courses, which were amazing. I am now doing classes on figure drawing and portraiture on New Master’s Academy and am hoping to try doing some embroidered portraits, but I imagine this will be tough going so need to do a lot more drawing practice first.

I have found embroidery a fun medium to work in. There’s something really incredible about the textures you can achieve, and I love the colour mixing possibilities and the control you have over the colours by working in small stitches.

I think part of the appeal for me also lies in the fact that historically it has been such an underrated skill, “womenswork”, which was in recent history largely criticised for being twee and something your granny did. I think this is a big mistake, it’s such a cool and versatile medium. I have seen so many incredible artists using it to great effect and I’m excited to learn more and join the conversation.

Sabrina Sweater

It has been a long time since I wrote a blog post and it feels good to be back! The long absence has been due to my having a baby. Finn was born in August 2018 and we have been very busy getting to grips with our new found parenthood. As a result blogging has sort of taken a back seat, but I want to get back into it now and share all the things I’ve been making.

First up is the Sabrina Sweater. This pattern came in a kit that was very kindly gifted* to me by We are Knitters. I chose this kit as I loved the texture of the sweater, I liked the relaxed off the shoulder style and was excited to learn a new skill, knitting bobbles.

The kit includes the pattern, 5 balls of the 100% Pima cotton yarn (I used 4 balls to knit mine in a size large), wooden knitting needles, an embroidered label and a needle to sew up. I chose the colour ‘natural’.

When choosing which size to knit I opted for a large. I decided to go for the large as the model in the photo on the website was said to be wearing an XL for an oversized look and I wanted to replicate this. I feel it was a good call size-wise as I am happy with the fit. It is a lot more cropped than I expected, although I wonder if this is just because I am tall, 5’11”. I only made one modification to the pattern, which was to add double the number of rows of ribbing on the sleeves to account for my long arms. I know this probably looks a bit weird, as now the ribbing on the arms doesn’t match the ribbing on the body, but I don’t really mind that.

I always feel a bit intimidated every time I approach learning a new skill in knitting, such as knitting bobbles, but it was so much easier than I expected. It did take me a few tries to get it right though. I found I was struggling to knit the bobbles well using the method in the instructions. In the end I discovered the knitting backwards method, which meant I didn’t have to turn my work. This ended up being the way I knit my bobbles for the sweater and helped me achieve a neat result with the smallest hole next to each bobble. This video helped me figure out how to do this properly. There are a few options you can use so I would advise knitting a swatch to try them out and see what works for you.

I was surprised by how quickly this came together. Once I had got the hang of knitting bobbles, it was quite a speedy project and I found it really easy to sew up.

I would definitely recommend this kit if you are considering it as I thoroughly enjoyed making it and I am so happy with how it turned out. I think it looks so cool and quite different to anything else I own. I am wearing it in the images above with my Ogden Cami Dress and I love the combination.

*This Sabrina Sweater kit was very kindly gifted to me by We are Knitters. They contacted me offering me the chance to review a kit of my choice and I chose this style and colour. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not paid to advertise this product, but the kit was given to me for free, so just wanted to make sure that was clear for full disclosure.

Maternity Artemis Coat

I have spent a lot of time considering what kind of maternity outerwear to make as I wanted something suitable for maternity and beyond. I didn’t want to invest time and money making something I could only wear for a short time.

One problem I’ve encountered when it comes to maternity wear is that it is really tricky to find suitable ready to wear (RTW) clothing to fit tall pregnant women. I think I might have mentioned this in my last post, but it is annoying me enough to mention it again.

I am 5’11” and always find my arms are too long for RTW coats and jackets,  the second hand maternity one my friend lent me, while still lovely, is slightly too short in the sleeves for me.

I decided on the Artemis pattern by I AM Patterns, a company I had never tried before. I’d had my eye on the pattern for ages and I’d seen some really nice ones popping up on Instagram. I was particularly drawn to the laid back, oversized style.

I had some leftover navy corduroy after making my maternity dungarees, and think it works really well with this pattern. I bought the corduroy from Merchant and Mills and I couldn’t recommend it enough. I seem to have a bit of a corduroy obsession right now, my last 3 projects have all been made using it.

Sizing wise I decided to go for the biggest size available, which I think was a UK 14? the fit is very oversized and even with my bump it is probably a bit big for me. I am not complaining though as I’m growing rapidly so extra room is always appreciated :).

I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern other than lengthening by 10cm , as I wanted it to cover my bum.

I didn’t lengthen the sleeves as I don’t think the pattern piece would have fit on the width of my fabric if I had, but I finished them with bias tape and used a small seam allowance, rather than double folding, to give me a bit more length and they hit at the perfect point on my wrist.

I used a combination of techniques to finish the seams, binding the pocket seams and sleeves with homemade polka dot bias tape and overlocking inside the sleeves where the seams wouldn’t be visible. I thought this would help reduce bulk at the underarm where the sleeves are cut on the bias. I worried that if I bound them they wouldn’t hang nicely.

I didn’t originally add closures, but on wearing the coat out once in the Shetland wind I realised this was a mistake as it was blowing open and driving me mad. I covered some buttons in the corduroy and evenly spaced them down the front. I think they look really smart so I’m glad I made this addition.

In terms of the fit of the jacket and overall style, I am really happy with it, it feels really laid back and easy to wear. I do find with the low armholes I sometimes feel it a bit tight across the chest when I raise my arms and it sort of falls off my shoulders when I wear it, but this might be as it’s a bit big. I think without the baby bump to contend with I would have preferred to size down.

Overall though it is definitely serving its purpose as my maternity cover up and I hope I will continue to get a lot of wear out of this for years to come. I love the big pockets and the relaxed style, especially paired with my newly finished hand knit scarf which I will be sharing a blog post on soon.

Artemis Coat Attie and Dora Blog Maternity

Artemis Coat Side View Attie and Dora Blog







Self-Drafted Maternity Dungarees

I’m so excited to finally share this make with you. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to put it up on the blog, but it is probably because I’ve had a lot on my mind recently. We are on a bit of a mission to get a million and one things done before the baby comes.

This make was my first attempt at maternity sewing and was self-drafted. I’ve decided to try and push my pattern cutting skills a bit more this year and try making more complicated garments from scratch. I really enjoy the problem solving element of pattern cutting and dungarees were an interesting challenge.

I hadn’t originally intended these to be maternity suitable, I started drafting the pattern before I found out I was pregnant. When I found out I put the pattern aside thinking I’d wait, but my desire for dungarees was too strong and after a couple of months I decided to make a couple of adjustments and get on with sewing them up.

The modifications I made to my original pattern were relatively minimal:

– I widened the pattern at the hips to give a looser fit (I had originally planned for quite a close fit at the waist and hips, but I actually prefer them looser).

– I extended the width of the side seam button plackets, which are sewn to the side seams of the back waistband. This meant I could add extra buttons to allow me to adjust the fit as my bump grows.

I think they turned out pretty great. I love wearing them and they have been a life saver for occasions which call for something smarter than my current maternity uniform of stretchy tops and leggings.

The corduroy, from Merchant and Mills, is so comfy to wear and I love the deep navy colour. The bib is lined with Atelier Brunette fabric leftover from this project .

The one problem I ran into making these was that I tried to hammer on the buttons for the buckles and managed to break one of them. It turns out you just push them on by hand, so my trusty mallet was completely unnecessary. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Self Drafted Dungarees by Attie and Dora

Dungarees designed and made by Attie and Dora

Dungarees Designed and sewn by Attie and Dora

Attie and Dora Dungarees Back View

Close Up Self Drafted Dungarees Attie and Dora

Self Drafted Maternity Dungarees

Maternity Dungarees

As my bump grows (see photos above) I’ve been adjusting the bib straps to better fit the bump. I haven’t had to add new buttons to the side seam panels yet, and I’m nearing my third trimester. I’m really pleased that I’m still fitting into them.





Spring Dora Dress 25% off Offer Code

The weather is finally warming up in Shetland and it is really starting to feel like Spring. Two lambs have been born on the croft and if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I am expecting a baby, we are so excited and the baby is due in August 🙂 .

To celebrate this I wanted to share an offer code with you, for 25% off the Dora Dress and Top pattern in my Etsy Shop.  I hope this post will inspire you to give the Dora Dress pattern a try for your Spring/Summer sewing wardrobe.

Use the code SPRINGDORA at the checkout for 25% off. Follow this link to buy the dress.

This change of season has inspired me to make some new Dora Dress samples to show how the pattern can be worn during warmer times of year. You will notice I am not modelling these samples, as thanks to my growing baby bump I no longer fit in them, ha! I really enjoyed not being in front of the camera this time. I am definitely not a natural at having my photo taken so it was a relief to get to hide behind the lens and help Aaron to compose the shots.

The Dora Dress made up in a cotton lawn fabric is so comfy and breathable and great for hot weather. We don’t get much hot weather up here in Shetland but I did wear a cotton lawn Dora Dress while on holiday in London last year, it was above 30 degrees celsius  (very hot for a Shetlander), and wearing the dress certainly helped me cope with the heat.

Marjolein, a good friend of mine who you may remember from this post if you have been following me for a while, kindly agreed to model these samples for me. She is an amazing comedian, I would recommend going to see her perform if you get the chance. You can follow her here.

The blue and white fabric was from Merchant and Mills and is a beautiful weight and drape for this dress. I love the print.

We took these photos at the Lodberries in Lerwick, if you watch the BBC series ‘Shetland’ you may recognise the building behind her as Jimmy Perez’ house.

Dora Dress Side View 2 Attie and Dora

Dora Dress Front View Attie and Dora

Dora Dress Front View Attie and Dora Patterns

Dora Dress Back View Attie and Dora Patterns

Dora Dress Back View

Dora Dress Side View Attie and Dora

Dora Dress Close Up Attie and Dora


This second version was made using a burgundy poly crepe fabric from Stoff and Stil.

Last summer I wore a green crepe version of this dress to a couple of weddings and I thought it made a lovely wedding guest dress.

Red Dora Dress Attie and Dora

Red Dora Dress Attie and Dora Side

Use the code SPRINGDORA at the checkout for 25% off. Follow this link to buy the dress.


A Little Lawn Party Dress

I’m really excited to share my #alittlelawnparty dress with you. I was asked to be an ambassador for this spring themed sewing challenge by the organisers Atia @thebrightblooms and Mel @handmadebyditsytulip. There are lots of amazing prizes on offer so if you like the sound of making something spring themed you should definitely get involved. For more info check out this link.
When I was asked to get involved in this challenge it took me a while to figure out what to make. I was unsure as I don’t tend to sew seasonally. In Shetland there isn’t a massive distinction between what you wear season to season, you need to dress reasonably warm all year round. However, I thoroughly enjoyed choosing a pattern and fabric based on Spring, and it got me feeling all cheery and prepared for the changing weather, so maybe I should start doing more seasonal sewing.

The pattern I used is from the Stylish Dress Book, Simple Smocks, Dresses and Tops by Yoshiko Tsukiori. It is such a cool book. I actually got this book when I first started to sew, I made one top and then forgot about it. When I found it the other day I was overjoyed as I still absolutely love all the patterns in it. It was so funny sewing something up from this book again as I have come so far with my sewing abilities since I first used it. I remember struggling a bit with the first garment I made about 4 years ago, mostly as I didn’t know what bias binding was yet,  but this time it was a breeze.

The construction of the dress was fairly simple. The neckline is finished with bias binding, leaving it open at the ends so that the cord can be inserted through. All the rest of the construction is fairly standard as it is such a simple shape. I overlocked the seam allowances and finished the hem on the machine. The dress came together really nicely and the sleeves were a breeze to insert. I think this pattern is really well drafted, simple but effective.

I’m not sure if I chose the right size, as I went for a L. It does swamp me a little, but being tall I think I can pull off that oversized aesthetic. I also lengthened the skirt by 5cm to account for my height 5’11”. This was a good idea as it would have been far too short otherwise.

The fabric is by Atelier Brunette. I purchased it from Backstitch a couple of years ago. I didn’t know if this fabric choice was going to work with this pattern. I thought it might  look a bit like a moo moo or a nightie, but it is a beautiful colour and I think layered up with a cardigan it looks really good. Once the weather heats up a bit more, or if we go on holiday anywhere hot, it would be a really comfy summer dress.

I also included a photo below of my newly finished hand knit mohair cardigan. Another Needed Me Cardigan from Wool and the Gang. I wear my first one so much I thought I needed another. I love that this is a lighter colour than my first version as it works really well with more summery outfits. The great thing about mohair is it is so lightweight it works for cold and slightly warmer weather. I think with the weather in Shetland the dress with this cardigan is a more realistic example of how I will be wearing it.

I was really keen to take more photos outside, but it was so windy on the day that we couldn’t get a photo where you could distinguish the silhouette of the dress. So we had to move indoors. I’m excited to be able to do more outdoor scenery shoots again as the weather improves. These are my favourite to do and to share.

A Little Lawn Party Dress

Attie and Dora Pattern from Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori

Attie and Dora Smock Dress and hand knit cardigan Wool and the Gang

Back view Attie and Dora. Dress from Stylish Dress book

A Little Lawn Party Dress Attie and Dora










Ikat Scout Tee

At the beginning of March I was contacted by Fibers to Fabric and very kindly offered a voucher for fabric in exchange for a review * . I had a look at their fabrics and was thrilled to be given the opportunity to try them out. I took my time over my choice and eventually decided on this black cotton ikat fabric. There were only 2m left and it was quite narrow in width, so I knew I would be limited as to what kind of garment I could make, but I loved it so much I had to choose it.

*I only ever share products and promote things that I love and I think you will too. I was sent this fabric in exchange for an honest review on my blog and social media and all opinions and thoughts are my own.

The fabric was shipped from India and I was very surprised when it arrived so quickly, unfortunately I forgot to write down the date it arrived argh sorry, but it was surprisingly quick, especially as I live in Shetland and the postage was reasonable at £3.72.

Before pre-washing I overlocked the edges of the fabric, as it looked like it had quite a loose weave, I didn’t want to lose any yardage to fraying. I think this was a good call as the fabric did fray a lot after cutting. I found it easy to work with other than that. It is quite light weight and is extremely comfy to wear. It is 100% cotton and so breathable.

I selected the Scout Pattern by Grainline Studios to make with it, as it required under 2m to make. I had been eyeing up this pattern for a while and thought it would perfectly compliment this fabric.

I made a few minor adjustments to the flat pattern before cutting. I lengthened the body on the lengthen/shorten line by 5cm. I then added another 5cm to the hem length. I added notches to the side seams 20cm up from the hem to leave open as side slits.

This was a very quick pattern to cut out and sew up. I followed the instructions to finish the neckline with bias binding and I really like the result.

For the side slits I sewed the side seams to the notches I added earlier, then pressed the seams open, overlocked the edges and topstitched around the openings. I then bar tacked the top of the opening to secure in place.

We took these photos at one of my favourite locations in Shetland, Nesbister böd. It was such a beautiful sunny day I only managed to get photos at the back of the böd, out of the direct sunlight, but coincidentally the yellow lichen on the back wall matched the yellow in the fabric, which was cool and totally accidental.

I absolutely love this top! I have been wearing it constantly since I finished it. I think the combination of this pattern and this fabric was perfection and I love the bold ikat print, it just feels really cool and modern in these colours.

Scout tee Attie and Dora

Back view Ikat Scout Tee Made by Attie and Dora

Ikat Scout T-shirt made by Attie and Dora

Ikat Fabric Scout Tee made by Attie and Dora

Ikat Scout Tee Attie and Dora

Terracota Kalle Shirt Dress


Well the Kalle Shirt Dress is clearly a hit with me as I am on my 3rd version. This time I bought the sleeve expansion pack. I had originally planned to make my 3rd Kalle in a grey linen or chambray. I wear my first chambray Kalle all the time and my 2nd more “dressy” version on special occasions. This one was supposed to be a daytime appropriate option. My gut instinct on fabric choice was overridden by my desire to use up some of the fabric I already have in my stash. This terracotta cotton lawn from Atelier Brunette was originally destined to become a pair of PJs, but I changed my mind at the last minute and made another Kalle. To be honest I’m not convinced by the pairing of the fabric with this pattern, the colour feels a bit much especially with the addition of the long sleeves, but I really like it layered with my handmade cardigan. So this make has been a sort of unexpected hit.

Ordinarily I am drawn to a neutral colour palette, but the more I have experimented with colour lately, the more I feel I need a bit of colour in my life to brighten up my complexion. I can look so pale and washed out in photos and colour really seems to perk me up.

We took these photos at the Scalloway Castle. The dress really could have done with an iron, but we were on location at a castle, so a few creases couldn’t be helped :).

I made the same variations for this version that I did for my 2nd Kalle. I lengthened the dress and the sleeves by 5cm to account for my height (I am 5’11”) and long arms.

The fabric is from Atelier Brunette and the buttons are from Merchant and Mills.

The cardigan is handmade by me using a Needed Me Cardigan kit from Wool and the Gang. I just realised I haven’t blogged about this cardigan, but I made it last year and have since worn it so much I am in the process of making a second one in a lighter grey wool.

Kalle Shirt Dress and Needed me Cardigan made by Attie and Dora

Kalle Shirt Dress made by Attie and Dora

Kalle Shirt Dress and Needed me Cardigan Attie and Dora made by Attie and Dora Shetland

Kalle Shirt Dress and Needed me Cardigan Attie and Dora 2

Kalle Shirt Dress and Needed me Cardigan Attie and Dora

I still intend to make the neutral long sleeved Kalle that I had in mind originally, but in the meantime I think I will get a lot of wear out of this one.

Has anyone else made the Kalle shirt dress and loved it? It is fast becoming a wardrobe staple for me. I would love to hear your thoughts on this pattern.

These photos were taken on Monday when the weather in Shetland was spectacularly sunny (albeit still very cold) but today we have snow and it is absolutely freezing and if I’d tried to do this shoot today I would probably have frozen solid. I think this dress will be layered under many many hand knits for a while longer.





Vintage Pledge 2017 Dress

I finished my 2017 Vintage Pledge dress just in time, on the penultimate day of the year.

This was an interesting project,  it took a long time to make despite not looking too complicated. This was mainly because I hacked the pattern and kept changing my mind about the style details.

The pattern was a gift from a family friend last Christmas. I posted a photo of the pattern cover on Instagram earlier this year as I had hoped sharing my intention to make this dress with the sewing community would spur me on to get it done. My major stumbling block was that I couldn’t make a decision about which fabric to use. I had an image in my head of a beautiful version in silk dupion, but as I had never attempted the pattern, that seemed a bit of a risky investment. Towards the end of the year I searched through my fabric stash and came upon  this forgotten peach cotton lawn from Atelier Brunette.

On finishing the toile I realised the style of the pattern wasn’t really to my taste. The full gathered skirt swamped me and looked very old-fashioned.

I shared some images of the toile on my Instagram stories seeking advice from my fellow makers about whether to proceed with the pattern as was, or to hack. The majority chose hack, so hack I did.

I drafted a completely new skirt, kept the cool back detail, and modified the front bodice to give me a bit more coverage across the bust.

The instructions included with the pattern weren’t the best, and as I had made so many changes I basically had to disregard them and make up my own anyway.

The original pattern called for a button closure, but I extended the wrap and added ties, which I prefer.

I decided to finish the front edges of the dress with bias binding, rather than facings, and I am please with how this turned out. I admit I did intend to finish all the seams with bias tape too, but I got lazy and overlocked most of the seams instead. I love to finish a garment really carefully so it is as beautiful on the inside as the outside and to extend its life, but I was worried that this dress might not turn out wearable, so I found I was a bit reluctant to invest so much time into beautiful seam finishes.

Happily, I am really pleased with how this dress turned out and really surprised by how much I love this colour on me – I really need to experiment more with colour. It was out of my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I went for it, as I think it really suits me.


Vintage Pledge 2017 dress Attie and Dora 3

Vintage Pledge 2017 dress Attie and Dora 4

Vintage Pledge 2017 dress Attie and Dora

Vintage Pledge 2017 dress Attie and Dora 6

Vintage Pledge 2017 dress Attie and Dora 7


A Dora Top, a Knitted Hat and a Walk

So far I have only blogged about my Dora Dresses, but if you have had a look at my pattern on Etsy, you will have seen that the download includes the option to make a hip length top version also.

The best part about the top version is that it is a great scrap busting pattern requiring very little fabric to make, approximately 1m for most sizes. You do also need 0.5m of lining material, but with wider fabrics and in smaller dress sizes you may be able to squeeze the whole top plus the lining out of 1m.

The fabric for the version in the photos below was from Backstitch. I bought it quite a long time ago, and had some scraps leftover from another project. This top was made out of those scraps, win!

The Dora top is a great layering piece and very versatile. In the summer I would wear my cotton lawn versions by themselves with jeans (it doesn’t really get warm enough here for shorts), but in winter I am layering them up with big cardigans and still getting so much wear out of them.

Below I’m wearing mine with this long cosy cardigan I bought a while ago from Celtic and Co. I love their knitwear and it’s made in the UK. I really should try and knit some cables at some point, but I’m still a bit intimidated, maybe one day.

If you like the look of the Dora top you might enjoy these posts about my Dora Dresses. The silver one and the green one.

Handmade Dora Top Sewing Shetland

Handmade Dora Top Attie and Dora

Speaking of knitting, I just finished making this hat for Aaron. I had a couple of balls of wool left from this jumper project and the pattern for the jumper came with an additional hat pattern, so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s just a simple hat, as I left off the colour work, but Aaron says it is his favourite hat ever, so not a bad result. I think it looks a bit weird on me, but it really suits him and my dad has already requested I make him one, so I think this hat has been an unexpected hit.

Hand Knitted Hat Attie and Dora

Aaron in Hat Attie and Dora Blog

We took the above photos on our Sunday walk a couple of weeks ago. It was really fun taking photos of Aaron. It made me realise I should probably make more handmade clothing for him. Can anyone recommend any good menswear patterns? I really struggle to find any I like. I did buy the Aldrich menswear book ages ago so maybe I should try drafting my own. So many ideas, so little time 🙂