Ogden Cami Dress

If you write a sewing blog you will know how frustrating it is when you make a plan to finally take photos of that fabulous new dress you have made, only to discover that it is pouring with rain.

Well today Aaron, who takes most of my blog photos, and I decided we would brave the rain and take the photos anyway.

It was a pretty hilarious experience and very luckily after being soaked by rain, chased by waves and watched by curious seals, we actually came home with some good photos of my latest make.

I bought the Ogden Cami pattern, by True Bias, as soon as the news of it’s release dropped into my inbox. I absolutely love the design, and instantly had visions of a dress version.

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen my first attempt at this pattern. I made one for my mum for her birthday with some silk from India. It fit her beautifully and I was inspired to try making another for myself.

The fabric I used was from Merchant and Mills and is a lovely hand block print summer weight cotton from Jaipur. I bought it intending to make a shirt dress, but it occurred to me that it would look pretty awesome as an Ogden cami, I am glad I went with my instincts.

For both myself and my mum’s version I added 5cm to the length of the top (we are both tall). Then, for my dress version, I just extended the existing design lines until the length of the blouse was sufficient to achieve a midi length dress. I roughly estimated the length I’d need by holding a tape measure against my body.

The construction of this pattern is so simple, but so effective. I love the rouleau straps and the facing/modesty shelf. It’s such a satisfying, but quick sew, and there are so many amazing versions appearing on Instagram for inspiration.

I am so happy with this make, it is such a great pattern, I will definitely be making more of these.






Morgan Jeans

Lately I have been making jeans.

When I first set eyes on the new Closet Case Files pattern, Morgan Jeans, I was overjoyed. I had actually been on the lookout for some boyfriend style jeans, so the timing was excellent, I bought it straight away. The pattern is so well drafted, Heather seems to have a real knack for designing patterns that flatter women’s figures. I also love that she caters for sewers who want to attempt more challenging projects. I am always keen to try sewing new types of garments and to learn new skills, but sometimes jumping into a new area of sewing, such as making your own jeans, can seem a bit daunting. Heather’s patterns give you the confidence to stretch the boundaries of your sewing skills. Making Jeans was a really interesting process and I definitely learnt a lot.

I ordered denim needles, topstitching thread, rivets and buttons from Jaycotts and my denim was purchased from Merchant and Mills online shop.

I didn’t make a toile, which is rare for me as I love a good toile, I just lengthened the pattern pieces by 5cm to account for my height and basted the seams together before stitching and checking the fit as I went. I was happy with the fit of the end product, but next time I might try lengthening the crotch depth slightly.

I found the construction straight forward with the help of the instructions, although I have managed to sew my coin pocket on the wrong side…oops. I decided to just go with it as I’d already top stitched it down, so please excuse that faux pas.

Speaking of topstitching, that was probably the thing that I found the most challenging about making jeans, and oddly the most satisfying once I’d got the hang of it. My machine struggled a bit over the bulky seams even after I flattened them down with a mallet. I found it took a bit of practice to achieve neat topstitching, so I recommend practicing on scraps before you attempt it on your garment. I don’t have an edge stitch foot for my machine so I used my hem foot which when lined up against the edge of the fabric acted as a guide and helped me to achieve neat even stitching close to the edge. For the second row of topstitching I drew a line of chalk to act as a guide to sew along and this worked well for me.

Some progress shots….

Making Jeans Topstitching

Making Jeans

Making Jeans buttons

I chose some lovely soft cotton from India from my fabric stash to use for the pocket bags. I love that you can personalise your jeans in this way, it makes them feel even more unique. The pattern suggests you can try out your own topstitch design on the back pockets, but I kept things simple for my first pair. I did, however, change my topstitching thread colour from light grey to black for the waistband and hem, I was worried it might look a bit odd, but I quite like the effect.

I’ve been wearing my Morgan jeans rolled up. I love the look of these jeans, the relaxed style is so laid back and cool, and they are so versatile as they can be dressed up or down.I’ve always been a skinny jeans kind of girl, but I am totally embracing this new looser jean trend.

What do you think?

Morgan Jeans frontMorgan Jeans front

Morgan Jeans side

Morgan Jeans back closeMorgan Jeans Yoga Pose

World Map Dress

I went to my friend’s hen party a couple of weekends ago and the theme was colours or countries. I was at a loss as to what to wear, I’m usually a bit rubbish at dressing up, but then I realised I can sew and decided to make myself something fun.

The first thing that came to mind was a flag dress (Geri Halliwell at the brits style) but it’s been so overdone. I then had the idea of a world map dress so I could be ALL the countries. I googled world map fabric and found this on eBay  Most of the world map fabrics I found were more suited to upholstery projects and the one I chose was still rather thick, but I thought it would be fine as long as I chose a pattern which would work with a stiffer fabric with very little drape.

I used my block to draft this pattern a few months ago, made myself a dress which I am still yet to blog, and left it lying under my cutting table. I now have no idea why i abandoned this pattern as I love it. The design is quite simple, a fitted bodice with a half-circle skirt, but it is so flattering and I am now a complete convert to circle skirts, I love the way they fall so nicely and are simple to draft. I added side seam pockets to the skirt forgetting that the zip was to be in the side seam, so that was a bit silly, but I managed to make it work. Next time I would definitely add a seam allowance to the centre back and place the zip there instead. The bodice is lined with the same fabric and all the seams were finished with my overlocker.

I have been really busy lately, with various projects, so this was a bit of a rush job. I didn’t spend time worrying about pattern placement as I really didn’t expect to ever wear it again, other than for fancy dress, but it turns out I actually really like it and might get more wear out of it than I first thought.

I think I will make a few more of these for myself for summer, the length is perfect for casual or formal wear and I might even make one in my silk from India, which I think I have mentioned a few times. I have been hoarding it for so long and still haven’t been brave enough to use it. What do you think? Should this dress be relegated to the fancy dress wardrobe or is it nice enough to wear day to day?

world map dress front view

world map dress front view

world map dress front view 2

world map dress side view

World Map Dress back view


Sewing Life Update and a Scrap Busting Summer Dress

This week I have been working on a pattern design for a top which I have scanned into illustrator to use as my first trial pattern for the pattern workshop online course I am currently doing. If you aren’t aware of it already Pattern Workshop is a website that runs Courses for PDF Pattern Designers and creative entrepreneurs. I am enrolled on the ‘Creating PDF patterns: from sketch to sale’ course. So far I am loving the course and I am learning so much so quickly. I am completely new to Adobe Illustrator and at first it seemed daunting, but Lauren Dahl’s (the course creator) tutorials are so easy to follow and well explained. I would thoroughly recommend it. I am still just getting started with the tutorials and this week I scanned my first pattern in and began tracing it in illustrator. I will keep you posted on how I get on with the course.

I also started making my version of the Closet Case Files Morgan Jeans this week. When I saw the pattern I almost screamed with excitement. I think Heather Lou read my mind with this one, I have wanted a pair of boyfriend jeans for a while now, but am never quite satisfied with ready to wear offerings, so now I can make my own!  I bought denim from Merchant and Mills and I am so happy with it, it’s excellent quality and quite heavy weight so I may have some fun experimenting with distressing the denim after I’ve assembled them. Rather than make too many adjustments at the paper stage I have just gone up a size (I want them to have a loose fit) and have added 5cm to the length, so hopefully I can tack my seams together first and make any required alterations as I go. I will let you know how I get on with these.

Sewing Jeans

I have a lot of projects on the go at the moment, including making a wedding dress, in collaboration with a friend. I am planning to do some detailed posts on that after the wedding. It’s been such an interesting project and a great exercise in developing my pattern cutting and fitting skills.

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me post a picture of another self-drafted dress a few weeks ago.



We finally managed to get some pictures of me wearing it at the weekend, when I wasn’t out enjoying all this glorious sunshine we have been having.

I had originally planned to wear this dress to my friend’s wedding in June, but when I wore it for the first time on Saturday I felt it would work well as a casual summer dress. I really like the midi length as it covers my extremely pale legs, but doesn’t feel as over dressed as maxi length can.

This dress was drafted using my block. I was playing around with different bodice shapes and to be honest I think it needs more work,  but I will still get a lot of wear out of this and I used up some fabric scraps making it – so that was really satisfying. The skirt fabric is the leftovers from this dress. I just managed to squeeze this skirt out of the remaining fabric.

Black and white Dress attie and dora design 2

Finally, how great is this weather we have been having? I have been out on some lovely walks in the last couple of weeks. It’s been slowing up my sewing a bit, but it has been wonderful to spend some time outdoors.


Nesbister Böd Door

Culswick Cliffs

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset




Double Denim Smock

I think I mentioned a while back that I have been having a go at designing some of my own patterns. I attended a pattern cutting class at the London College of Fashion last year and on returning home drafted my own block with the help of a very useful pattern cutting book (Your Pattern Cutting by E.Sheila MacEwan).

Since then I have designed a few trial patterns, some of which are still in progress. I made this dress a few months ago and it was one of the first patterns I drafted.

Denim Smock Dress Pockets

Denim Smock Dress Back

The dress is very simple, so was an easy first design project. I got my inspiration from a RTW smock I owned for years, which recently wore out at the armpits and was unfortunately too far gone to repair.

I love oversized relaxed garments that are comfortable to wear lounging around the house, but still look reasonably smart for wearing out in public, so that was what I was aiming for.

The first version of this didn’t have the contrasting neckline piece. It was far lower cut and the neckline was finished with bias binding, but it wasn’t working as the neckline was a tad too low. I left it in a drawer for a couple of months and then the other day ripped back the neckline and finished it with this contrasting denim neckline insert, raising the neckline back up to a more modest level and adding an interesting design feature. I am really pleased with it now and think it’s far more wearable like this.

I think I will get a lot of wear out of this. It feels so exciting to make your own designs, I really love the process and it’s great to have creative control over what you wear.

Aaron and I took the photos this morning down at the Lodberries in Lerwick. It was a beautiful but breezy day so not the easiest weather to try and photograph a floaty dress, but we got a few good snaps.


Happy Sunday!

Flowery Breeks (Trousers)


This was a quick project which I have really enjoyed making. I thought it would be fun to make something a bit outside my comfort zone and different from my usual style.

I had high hopes for these flowery Ultimate Trousers (Pattern by Sew Over It) and they didn’t disappoint.

I decided to adapt these to a high waisted version using this tutorial. I found Lisa Comfort’s instructions really detailed and simple to follow. Just a side note – I have been really enjoying the Sew Over It Youtube videos lately, if you haven’t already checked them out have a look.

I followed Lisa’s advice and made a toile of the original pattern to check the fit before I made the high waist adjustment.

My fit modifications of the original trousers were minor, I just added 5cm to the length of the hem to account for my height. I then followed the instructions in the tutorial (mentioned above) to raise the waistline to my natural waist and drew a pattern piece for the waistband.

The fabric I chose was from Sew Over It’s online store. I really love their fabrics, I buy from them a lot and am yet to be disappointed. I wish I’d bought more of this material as I think it would make a lovely shirt dress.

I am really happy with these trousers. It’s a style I have always loved, but I have never found suitable ready to wear versions. They were always far too short for me in the leg and the body, but drafting the high waist from your own measurements means you get the perfect length for your torso, which is far more flattering and comfortable.

Flowery Ultimate Trousers


Flowery Ultimate Trousers

Flowery Ultimate Trousers

Flowery Ultimate Trousers

We took these photos early this morning, so now I am off for a day of relaxing. My plan is to make homemade pizza, go for a walk and do some more knitting. I’ve recently started knitting my first handmade garment and I am really enjoying the process. I’m planning to make a very chunky cardigan. I bought some beautiful wool from Jamieson’s called Mirrie Dancers (Shetland term for the Northern Lights), it’s a dark navy colour with flecks of various other colours which are only visible in the light. It will be interesting to see how it goes as I have no idea what I am doing, but I find knitting really relaxing.

Bye Bye Birdie Vintage Pledge Dress 2016

This year I signed up to the Vintage Pledge challenge for the second time. Last year I pledged to try my first vintage pattern and this is what I made. I really enjoyed the challenge and loved the resulting dress, so thought I would give it another go this year.

My pledge for 2016 was to try and sew at least 3 of the vintage patterns in my stash.

The first I have chosen to make is this pattern:


which if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me mention a few times.

This was kind of an odd choice for me as I am not a fan of 80’s fashion and if I’m honest I didn’t immediately like the style, but something about it grew on me and looking past the shoulder pads I could see potential.

I thought that the shape of view B was quite minimalistic and modern looking and chose a fabric with a modern feel to reflect this. I bought the black Bye Bye Birdie Atelier Brunette fabric from Sew Over It’s online store. I have used Atelier Brunette fabric before here and the quality is sublime, I am a big fan.

I found the construction of this dress really odd, particularly the collar construction. I am used to assembling the collar separately, topstitching and then sewing it between the facing and the dress, but in these instructions you sort of attached it piece by piece, first sewing the undercollar to the neck edge of the bodice, then the top collar to the facing and finally sewing the top collar and facing piece to the undercollar and bodice piece. The topstitiching was done after, and personally I found this method confusing, however I got there and to be honest I don’t think the method was bad, I think it was just the fact that it was new to me that threw me a bit.

The other thing I have to remark upon is the really odd zip placement. The top is very loose fitting and kind of boxy, and the zip is placed 1/4 of the way down the bodice through the waist and into the skirt. I found my zip stuck out oddly at the middle of my back where there was excess fabric. I ended up having to remove the long zip and just insert a 9 inch zip into the C.B. of the skirt starting at the waistline and this seems to suffice as the top is so loose fitting I can pull it over my head fairly easily. I am not sure if this was an oversight in the drafting or whether I added too much fabric when I made my lengthening modifications for my height (adding 5cm to the length of top and skirt). It may have been worth removing the excess fabric from the back, but I liked the look of it, so I kept it in and changed the zip position, as mentioned, to overcome this.

Another thing to mention is I left off the belt as I didn’t feel it was required and I added a snap fastener to the inside of the lapel to hold everything in place.

Here is my version of the dress

Vintage Pledge Dress 2016 Bye Bye Birdie Fabric

Vintage Pledge 2016

Vintage Pledge Dress atelier brunetteI am actually quite shocked by how much I love this. I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I do. I think this is one of my favourite makes to date and I love the style! I might be a fan of 80’s fashion after all.

I originally tried to take photos at the very scenic Noss Sound, but it was freezing, windy and started to snow, so we abandoned the mission and took some photos before Sunday dinner at my parents house instead. I left a couple of the Noss sound shots in as even though they weren’t the best images to show the detail of the dress, they sort of act as action shots….