Grey Funnel Neck Coco

Just a quick one today. I wasn’t planning to blog this make, but I love it so much I had to show you. This is my third Coco (pattern by Tilly and the Buttons), you may have seen my first already here. My second (unblogged) was a grey and burgundy striped version with the same boat neckline.

This time I went for the sixties funnel neck style and kept it simple with a lovely dark grey ponte knit fabric from Backstitch.

Grey Coco Dress

Gold Converse

Grey Coco Dress

I am really happy with the result, a versatile addition to my handmade wardrobe.

Update// The Vintage Pledge Pattern Project is well underway, so I should be blogging about that soon. Can’t wait to show you what I’ve been working on.

Contrast Lilou

Lilou dress contrast lining There is a project queue forming in my sewing room this month. I have so many plans for sewing projects waiting for me to find time to sew them up. As you may know, one of these is my vintage pledge pattern. The contrast Lilou idea was conceived as an ‘in the mean-time’ project, while waiting for the vintage pledge pattern’s fabric to arrive. I thought it would be a quick make, as I had already used this pattern before here.  Alas, I decided to try a different size, with different modifications and due to the see-through nature of the mint green polka dot fabric, decided to line the entire dress in a contrasting red lining material. Needless to say, this project became far more labour intensive than originally anticipated and therefore put the vintage pledge project on hold. Whoops.

Oh well. In short, I am really happy with how this project turned out. I like the style of the dress, it has a vintage, sort of ballerina feel to it in this fabric. There are still some issues with fit. I made it a size smaller than my last attempt, and increased the bodice length by 2 inches. Mostly the fit is good, but it is slightly tight under my armpits. The size up from this was far too big in the bodice before I altered it, so I think for my next attempt I will stick with the smaller size, but try and do a full bust adjustment. I am really starting to appreciate the art of fitting. I have a lot to learn.

Polka dot Lilou dressLilou dress

I followed Tilly’s excellent instructions again for construction and was really chuffed by how much easier I found the process second time around. My sewing skills have definitely improved since my first Lilou. I used my new Bernina overlocker to finish some of the seams and it was so exciting to try it out on a project and see what it can do.

Finally, a little off topic, but thought I would share a picture with you of the newest addition to the croft this week. Our first Lamb of the season. Happy Sunday everyone.

Shetland Lamb

Pattern: Lilou Dress- Love at First Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons

Fabric- Mint Spot Cotton Lawn from Backstitch

Vintage Pledge

Today I signed up to the 2015 Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge. I kept my pledge simple, as I am new to sewing with vintage patterns. I have pledged to use my first vintage sewing pattern in 2015.
Now, I could have made things a lot easier for myself I am sure, but I am so tempted to give this pattern a try…

Joan Holloway style dress
I was looking through my stash and just couldn’t resist it. Its not my usual style and looks complicated, but I love the cut out detail in the neck and I think it could look really awesome in the right fabric. I’m putting this choice down to my obsession with Mad Men and possibly the fact that I just finished reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

View 1 (Right) reminds me of something Joan Holloway would wear in Mad men, while View 2 (Left) is more Betty Draper. I think I will go for the Joan.

Not entirely sure which fabric to use at the moment, the pattern suggests a variety of fabric types from silk to linen, satin, wool or even jersey. 

I think I will make a toile first as I am guessing the vintage proportions may not favour my height.

This project will no doubt be a long one, so I will keep you posted.

An Alder on the Croft

It is a glorious weekend. The sun has come out after a spell of horrible weather and it finally feels like spring is coming. Here is my finished Alder shirt dress by Grainline Studio. I made view A using fabric from Backstitch, Klona cotton in Ash. I originally increased the length of the dress by 2 inches, but I managed to get all the way to hemming before realising I had forgotten to adjust the length of the button band to fit with my alteration. As it was all sewn in and the collar was already attached I couldn’t adjust it and had to cut the additional 2 inches off the dress length….woops. Thankfully, I think the length turned out fine. Alder Dress 1 Alder Dress 3 Alder dress 4 Other than that the project went rather smoothly, with the help of the excellent Alder sew along. The only bit I struggled with was enclosing the end of the collar stand. I just couldn’t get my head around it at first, but after a lot of messing around and re-reading of the instructions, it finally clicked. Alder 5

Alder 4

This was my first shirt type garment, so I learnt a lot from this project. I found it really enjoyable to sew, turns out I really enjoy topstitching. In hindsight, the fabric choice maybe wasn’t quite right for this garment. It is a bit stiff for this style, it creases easily and doesn’t have much of a drape. I don’t think it helped that I went one size up for a more relaxed feel, possibly if it was more fitted, the fabric would have been fine. Next time I will try this dress in a cotton lawn or maybe even silk if I’m feeling adventurous. Alder Dress 7

Recycled Slouchy Hat

With winter dragging on, I was desperate for a new warm winter hat, but didn’t fancy knitting one. I wanted an instant result, so I thought I would try making one from an old wool dress I had been planning to recycle. I sketched out a basic hat shape on dot and cross tracing paper for a pattern and added a 1cm seam allowance. Placing it on the bottom of the wool dress, double thickness, I cut both pieces in one go. The hat was assembled by stitching around the curved edge, right sides together. It really was as simple as that. I ironed the seams flat, as best I could, with a cotton cloth between the fabric and the iron et voila. Using the already finished edge of the dress as the base of the hat made it so easy, no need to add a band or finish the edge. I made it very oversized as I prefer my hats floppy. I am very happy with this result. It looks a bit like a tea cosy….but I love that.

Homemade Hat 4

Wool Dress Recycle

One thing I could have done to improve this make, would have been to felt the wool first to prevent unravelling. I didn’t here as the wool content of this fabric was low, so I didn’t think it would work.
However, I recently acquired a pile of old 100% wool jumpers to recycle, so I intend to felt them and try again. Check out my felted jumper stash below, should get a few hats out of that lot.

Felted Wool

4 Colours Felted Wool

I was originally planning to share my latest make with you today, a Grainline Alder Shirt Dress, but unfortunately ran out of thread before I could finish the button holes. Living on an island doesn’t lend itself to last minute haberdashery shopping, so unfortunately I only have a sneak peak of the nearly finished product for you. Happy Sunday.

Alder Shirt Dress

A Coco in the Wind

The Coco dress by Tilly and the Buttons is another of my favourite Indie patterns. I have made two, so far, and have a third in the pipeline. It is a great wardrobe staple and is stylish and warm, which is an ideal combination. This was my first make with knit fabric, but it was nowhere near as tricky as I expected. It has inspired me to make more garments with jersey, so watch this space.

The version I will be showing you today is made from a lovely, soft, polka dot Ponte Roma jersey from Backstitch.I made minimal alterations to the pattern, adding 2 inches to the sleeve length and omitting the pockets. I normally love adding pockets, but I felt this dress would look more formal without them, and I wanted the option to wear it during the day or on nights out.

I made this last summer and I wear it often, so it is holding up well. I was planning to photograph the second version today too, but as you are about to see from the photos, the weather in Shetland this weekend made the photo taking a challenge. It was very wet and windy, so my hair is out of control in the pictures. I was going to give up and wait for a calmer day, but I find the photos kind of funny. I left one in at the end, which makes me look like cousin It, for your amusement.


Envelope Clutch Bag

A problem I’ve recently stumbled upon is, what to do with scraps of fabric, which are too small to make into garments? Mostly mine are left over from completed projects, but more recently from a bag of remnants kindly donated to me by a good friend.

I searched some of my favourite sewing blogs for inspiration and decided to try the Envelope Clutch by See Kate Sew.

The PDF pattern was free and the instructions simple to follow. There was only one pattern piece, so this is a good instant gratification project.
I found the printouts slightly awkward to stick together neatly, but I got there in the end.

The fabric used for the clutch was originally an eiderdown from India, which my friend had used to make a large over the shoulder bag. I was gifted the remains. I adore the detail of the fabric and it was a perfect weight to give the clutch some structure. There was one issue with my chosen fabric, it was impossible to pattern match or achieve a symmetrical finish, due to the way it had been cut previously. Thankfully the pattern is quite busy, which stops it being too noticeable.

I omitted the interfacing, due to the weight of the fabric and lined it with felt. The self cover button is just for decoration, as the bag is closed using a snap fastener. I originally planned to do a button hole on my machine, but the layers of fabric wouldn’t fit under my presser foot.

Here’s the finished product, modelled by my sister. I would love to hear any tips for what to do with small pieces of material?

Post 3.2Post 3.3Post 3Post 3.4

An Ultimate Shift Dress for India






I recently travelled to India and struggled to find suitable clothing to pack from my wardrobe, which is suited to cold Shetland winters.

The look I was going for was, simple tunic tops with leggings and The Ultimate Shift Dress pattern from Sew Over It, proved the perfect pattern for the job.

I bought some lightweight cotton from the online Sew Over It fabric shop and set to work. The construction was simple and the fabric, easy to work with. The instructions were great, and easy to follow. The only change I made was to omit the facing, as I was running out of time to finish before the trip (actually finished about 5 minutes before I left for the plane). Instead of the facing I simply folded the raw neckline in on itself like a double folded hem and stitched in place. It seemed to work reasonably well, but next time I would include the facing for a neater finish.

I’m really happy with how it turned out and I love the fabric. The only downside is that the cotton creases easily, as you might have noticed in some of the photos.

This dress survived over 2 months in India and is still going strong. It proved an excellent dress for summer and I’m still wearing it now in the winter with big cardigans and opaque tights, definitely a versatile garment.

Beginning my sewing journey

1.2 Hi, my name is Elie. I live on a small island in Shetland. I am starting this blog to document my progress as I learn to sew my own clothing. My love of sewing began, aptly, when I bought ‘Love at First Stitch’, the excellent book by Tilly and the Buttons a few months ago. I worked my way through the book, making each of the patterns in turn, until I came to my favourite pattern, which I will be writing about today. This is my attempt at the ‘Lilou’ dress. The fabric is 100% cotton and was from modes4u. It is, by no means, perfect, but I am really proud of this dress. Despite being quite a challenging make for a beginner, the excellent instructions provided in the book helped me through. I don’t have much to say about construction, as mostly, I followed the instructions to the letter. I did have a bit of trouble with the invisible zip insertion, think I need more practice on that front and I caused myself a bit of a headache with the fit, as I tried to grade between sizes in the bodice. My thinking behind this was to give a looser fit in the bust, but the end result was just too big. As a novice sewer, with no fitting or altering experience, I decided to rectify this by cutting some length out of the straps, to try and reduce the excess length in the bodice.  It worked to some degree, but there is still excess fabric in the back. Next time I will skip the grading entirely. I think the fit would have been better if I had stuck to one size. Despite the fitting issues, I am really pleased with the end result. I think, as this was one of the first things I made, I will always have a soft spot for it, flaws and all. 1.3 Follow my blog with Bloglovin © [], [2015]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.