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 🙂

Silver Dora Dress


It’s starting to feel very wintery up here in Shetland. The nights are drawing in and it’s getting really cold. I’ve been getting back into knitting and have been trying to use up the left over wool from my last two projects to make hats. I am also really getting into a bit of drawing and painting again. Anyway back to the sewing chat.

You may have seen my blog post at the end of October where I announced the launch of my first sewing pattern for sale on Etsy, the Dora Dress and Top. I was so excited to put it online and finally share what I have been working on. Thank you so much to those of you who left me lovely comments on here and on social media. I was so nervous to put it out into the wild, so I really appreciated the support :).

I have quite a few more Dora dress and top samples to share with you, so lets kick off today with my favourite version, the silver Dora Dress. I used this awesome silver pleated fabric from Stoff and Stil.

I was so excited to try working with this fabric as I had never seen anything like it. I really wanted to create a statement piece that would showcase this pattern.

Working with this fabric was odd, it was quite strange to cut as it has a 3D structure. I personally found the best way to deal with it was to stretch it out flat for the bodice pieces before cutting, which was a bit of a risky move, but seems to have payed off. Then for the skirt I just lightly held the pattern pieces against the fabric (not stretching it out this time) and cut them out with my rotary cutter.

The best thing about this fabric is it doesn’t fray so I didn’t have to finish seams or hem, which was a treat!

I did fully line this version in black cotton voile to make it comfy to wear, I worried the fabric might cling to my body otherwise. The pattern calls for a lined bodice only, but it is really easy to do a fully lined version. I basically just made another dress in the lining fabric and sewed the two together along the neckline, understitching to keep the lining from rolling out and making sure to hem the lining to be slightly shorter than the dress version.

I love my silver Dora Dress. I think in this fabric it will make a great Christmas or New Years Eve party dress.

Have you started making a party dress for the winter festivities yet?

Dora Dress Silver Plisse by Attie and Dora

Dora Dress by Attie and Dora Patterns Side viewDora dress by Attie and Dora Back View

Dora Dress by Attie and Dora Patterns

Dora Dress by Attie and Dora PDF


Introducing the Dora Dress and Top by Attie and Dora


I am thrilled to let you know that I have just uploaded my first digital sewing pattern design for sale on Etsy. The pattern is sold as a digital PDF file which can be downloaded and printed at home. It is available in sizes 8-18.

Attie and Dora is a sewing pattern company based in Shetland, Scotland. All the patterns are designed, cut and graded by me, Eleanor Coutts. Each pattern is designed with the goal in mind of creating the ultimate between seasons capsule wardrobe.

The Dora Dress is a modern take on the traditional slip dress with a 3 part empire line bodice. The pattern includes the additional option to make a hip length top version.

The bodice finishes just under the bust and the skirt is slightly flared skimming the body, to give a flattering silhouette.

Dora is suitable for makers who already have some experience of garment sewing. It is a relatively easy sew, with no tricky closures to deal with, but looks best when made with slinky fabrics with a lot of drape.

I had some help in the development of the Dora Dress and top from my wonderful testers. I couldn’t have done it without you. Megan, Allison, Miriam, Jenny, Georgia, Hannah, Laura, Jennifer, Lizzie and Linda.

I also need to say a big thank you to Leanne, Lens in the Lane, the wonderful photographer who captured the photos below.

If you make a Dora Dress I would absolutely love to see how you got on. Please share your makes using the hashtags #sewingdora #attieanddorapatterns

Also check out my Etsy Shop if you would like to see more photos of the Dora Dress including my silver version 🙂

Dora Dress by Attie and Dora

Dora Dress by Attie and Dora

Dora Dress by Attie and Dora





Fern Shorts

This month I was asked to do some pattern testing for Afternoon Patterns.

Their new pattern, the Fern Shorts, is due to be released today, the 1st September 2017.

I was really excited to be asked to pattern test for them. I have followed and admired Afternoon patterns for a long time. If you haven’t heard of them check out their amazing website. I love the aesthetic of their designs and their printed pattern covers are gorgeous.

When I first heard that the pattern I would be testing was shorts I did have an ‘uh oh’ moment. As you know I live in Shetland, and it isn’t really known for its shorts weather :). However, the lovely Jenny of Afternoon patterns mentioned that they would look great sewn up in lightweight wool fabrics and worn with tights, so I knew I wanted to go in this direction to get the most wear out of them all year round.

I had a piece of cotton and wool blend liberty fabric in my stash that was gifted to me by a really kind friend who knows how obsessed I am with fabric. It was 1.85m length which just happened to be the perfect length for this project so I felt it was fate.

I am so happy with how these turned out. I was nervous about the fit as I have struggled in the past to find shorts that I feel comfortable in, but I think these are really flattering. I did lengthen them by 2cm on the “lengthen or shorten here” line and that seems to have given me the perfect amount of room and they don’t ride up or feel remotely tight. I did size up to make sure they were loose fitting as I feel self conscious in tight shorts.

I would thoroughly recommend this pattern. It was a fun sew and I love my Fern Shorts. I can see myself wearing them a lot as they can be dressed up or down. The fabric is so soft, I could even get away with wearing them without tights on warmer days in the summer.

Fern Shorts Afternoon Patterns made by Attie and Dora


Fern Shorts Afternoon Patterns made by Attie and Dora

Fern Shorts Afternoon Patterns made by Attie and Dora





Chambray Kalle Shirt Dress


Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet recently. We were on holiday, then moved house so I have been rather busy.

Anyway. I got my new sewing room set up, and finished this Kalle shirtdress (pattern by Closet Case Patterns).

Kalle Shirt Dress 2

I didn’t make any modifications, which was silly as it is a bit short for me. I also possibly should have sized down. For some strange reason I cut a size larger than I would normally. I think I thought it would look good even more oversized.

However, I still think it’s a great pattern. I will definitely make another in the right size. I am planning to make one in a slightly lighter weight fabric with more drape. Will let you know how it goes.

I am really into the style of this garment. I love how effortless, yet put together, it looks.

The fabric was some chambray from Merchant and Mills. It’s really soft and comfy to wear. Plus I love the colour.

Aaron and I took these photos on a beautiful evening in Burra. These photos were taken at 8pm. I love how bright Shetland is at night in the summer. We even spotted a whale on the way home, which was so exciting. Oh, and a wave splashed into my boot while I was trying to pose near the waters edge, the perils of blogging.



Attie and Dora

Emptying my sea water filled shoe

Attie and Dora Kalle Shirt Dress

Attie and Dora Kalle Shirt Side

Attie and Dora Handmade Outfit