Norwich Sewcials - September Super Sew Day!

Myself and Pippa (aka The Fabric Wrangler) are so pleased to announce that we are hosting a Super Sew Day on 8th September!

We created a little sewing community in Norwich in August 2016 after realizing there were absolutely no dressmaking groups, social groups of that sort in our area. And mostly because we decided we needed more friends that loved stroking fabric and chatting all things pattern related. Norwich Sewcials was born.

We now have a wonderful group of regulars and often have people drop in when they can for our monthly evening coffee meet-ups. We have been hosting Sew Days since that time, pretty low key, where we hire a hall and spend all day whipping up projects fueled by tea.

To mark our two year sew-aversary we did however brave up and decide to run a Super Sew Day to treat our lovely sewcialists! We have loved seeing all these meet-ups pop up over the country but alas we have missed out by dates or distance - so we created one for us out here in the sticks!

Super Sew Day will consist of a morning coffee, and attendees will be getting some absolutely AMAZING goody bags - and I mean AMAZING. We'll be having free sewing all day, breaking for a nice lunch and a massive pattern and fabric swap. Let the rummaging begin. We have accumulated an incredible amount of stuff over the 2 years so anything left over will be donated to charity.

In the afternoon we'll be providing an afternoon tea with cakes and drinks, and announce the winners of our Super Sew Day Raffle!

We cannot get over how kind the sewing community and businesses have been in helping us put this day together. A massive thank you to those who have donated goodies for the bags and for raffle prizes. A little shout out goes to the following businesses for their donations:

Fabric Magpie; Simple Sew; Girl Charlee Fabrics, Helen's Closet; Love Sewing Magazine; Minerva Crafts; Sewisfaction; Naked Wines; Empress Mills; Janome UK; Sew Me Sunshine; TiaKnight; Print Your Pattern; Fehr Trade; Pink Coat Club; Sew Over It and Closet Case Patterns

I cannot tell you how much restraint I have been showing in not sharing the entire contents of these bags and raffle with you. Not to spoil the surprise too much, but here's a little glimpse, seeing as I have already released these pics into the wild this week (oops). 

Fingers crossed this all goes well and people want to come- for two fairly socially awkward people this was quite an achievement to put together in the first place.

If you fancy a trip to Norwich, tickets are available now! x

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Pony, Seasalt and Seagulls

This is a pretty mish-mash post today but thought the patterns and fabric were worth a share. And the seaside theme seemed appropriate for the weather :)

First up is a pattern new to me - which is the Chalk and Notch 'Pony Tank'. This totally appealed because me and things that go over leggings will always be friends. And a loose tank that covers the butt - yes! Also I recently been on a mission to find the perfect tank/vest top to make some basics.

Of course, I did not make it basic. I made it seagull.

Breton stripe with a twwwiiiiiisssssttt!!

If anyone was interested the amazing seagull and chips necklace is from Sugar & Vice and was part of a collection for the Maritime Museum.

The fabric is a really soft cotton jersey from Caboodle Textiles, a great source of novelty print and jersey. I've bought a few things from there now, including some Breton stripes with dinosaur! (Will I ever grow up?)

As for sizing, that was great. The shape is not fitted around the waist and hips so I went by the bust measurement and that worked just fine. The original is supposed to be a bit looser I think but that's why I love jersey, so size forgiving!

Having found a bit of leftover fabric in my stash whilst having a clear out, I made my sister a dog version! She's not a fan of tight fitting either so fingers crossed this will fit just right. You may notice a slight 'make it work' moment on the side where I had to add panels in the sides as the fabric was just a tad too small for the entire front piece.

Second up today is the ever so amazing Closet Case Patterns and the Ebony Tee Dress.  This stemmed from a trip to Southwold (the loveliest seaside town ever on the Suffolk coast) where we also took my sister on a recent visit. Beach huts, seagulls and chips there were a plenty (although oddly we could not find a doughnut anywhere) as well as Seasalt shop for browsing.  My sis loves this store and was in heaven and picked out a great stripey dress - however in true crafty family style we thought.....let's make that.

The idea of a simple stripey dress got slightly amplified.

Voila, the Southwold Seagull Ebony Tee was born. Now with added pockets.

I'm happy to report this has been tried and tested and fits. Yay! Selfless sewing success.

Although not that selfless as I bagged the leftover fabric to make the Pony Tank above. Oops.

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BOOM. Heather Lou drops the mic with another absolute beast of a pattern for Closet Case Patterns.

When this pattern first came out, I didn't rush to make them as I have trouser-fear in so far as there would no doubt be so...much...fitting....

I cut the pattern pieces according to my measurements - grading from a Size 12 at the wait to a Size 16 at the hip, remembering to do the same for all the pocket pieces! To my sheer amazement, when I cut a toile in preparation to spend the next 5 years trying to make them fit - there was nothing wrong!!!!!! The only ::teeeeeennnnyy::: change was to nip it the back seam very slightly for the curve of my back. Barely a scratch in the world of trouser fitting.

These trousers are a real classy affair, with that tailored look to them. You can see from the technical drawing how the pockets and details lay. (My jazzy floral pair make it hard to see!)

Pic from Closet Case Patterns
I went for view A with the diagonal pockets...because pockets. I did however wimp out entirely in making the welt back pockets as that particular thing is not in my repertoire yet and the fabric pattern would have just drowned it out anyway.

After lamenting the sad loss of my Trigger's Bloom floral trousers which never really did fit, I always fancied a floral pair again. Like the speed of light, 3 years later another pair were born! This fabric is stretch sateen from Minerva Crafts bought a little while ago (ahem...about 2 years in the stash).

The construction of these (welt pocket aside) was relatively straight forward and I made them in 30 minute lunch break sections over the course of a week.  If you need a fly front zip tutorial - I have one here!

The best bit is the clashing print on the inside of them. #prettyguts

If you thought these were loud on the outside you should see them inside out. To quote another Only Fools and Horses classic...."Hello?! Can you hear me over those trousers?!"

There's also a cute aqua blue YKK zip in there, just because I thought they needed that extra pop of colour ;-)

The fit on these beasties is absolutely dreamy - they are stretchy and comfortable and for some reason make you feel like you can handle the world wearing them. Have I worn them? No.

But I will. I swear.

If anyone has seen instagram I've had my tattoo updated so my entire back is floral - what with my floral leg aswell my other half remarked that it was difficult to tell where I end and the trousers begin.

These are potentially a tad too cropped - but I don't think it matters as I'd be wearing them with sandals anyway.

Another marvelous feature of these trousers are how the pockets don't stick out like cat ears, which can happen when you have larger hips. I'm pleasantly surprised that the front is nice and flat, but even if it had been a problem, Heather Lou has a solution for that too! Bar tacks on the top and side keep it stuck to your body.

Another Closet Case Patterns love affair starts.... I would make them again as they are wonderful, but I just don't have much need for more tailored trousers right now. A good one for the arsenal though.

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Pin It and Spin It - Maxi Shirt Dress

It's this year's labour of love!

Firstly - let me explain the faux flowers. There has been some complaint (Paula I'm looking at you) about the lack of vegetation on my trellis is the background of my pics. Voila. I hope this is satisfactory for now! (There are passion flowers and Jasmin growing now so hold on!)

To the sewing...

It appears to be some sort of unintentional annual tradition that I crack out the Winifred Aldrich pattern cutting bible and spend forever trying to realize some pipe dream idea.

This time around it was this picture that kicked it all off:

I had it on my Pinterest board for ages and just loved the casual vibes of what could actually be a fancy dress. And of course, it's just beautiful.

Merci to The Fabric Wrangler for some assistance with this, as I spent several weeks at sewing class drafting out the basic bodice, then altering everything to have button plackets, sleeves that actually go around my bicep and a lovely collar and stand.

I did want this to be a loose fitted dress, taken in with a belt however I do now feel it should be a touch more fitted. The original draft has small horizontal darts in the front and vertical darts in the back to shape it to my body a bit.

Unfortunately I added double seam allowance at the waist in a drafting error and so this fell very low. It bothered me for ages so I dismantled the whole thing in the quest for some satisfaction. Whilst I was at it I also added some extra vertical darts in the front although it's still very loose.

I am generally quite pleased with the outcome - but a mini gripe is that as I took up the waist level, this shortened the dress so a bit of an awkward mid-shin length rather than the intended flowy maxi I had envisaged swanning about some Italian piazza with wine in hand in. I also feel a bit 'wide' wearing it which is annoying. Basically what I'm saying is that it didn't magically turn me into that woman in the Pinterst pic haha.

Potentially I'm being rather harsh on myself as at the end of the day, I drafted a bloody shirt dress wooop!! The looseness is also rather handy for the heatwave so it's probably a good job its not any tighter.

Time to get it worn now!

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Sailing Away with Kalle...

No you're eyes do not deceive you. Yes its the Kalle dress. Again.

Old English sea shanty - "Yo ho ho, those are the pasty knees of an Englishman..."

I know I can't do much of a review here as I've made 4 already... so really that's all the review you need I think.

I did make some very minor changes to the pattern on this one though so it's not technically identical! (::trying to justify it to myself::) I omitted the deep curved hem and just cut it straight across. This was just you're basic shirt dress so no leg flashing necessary, I'm fairly tall so found the height of the curve came pretty high up my thigh last time. Leveling off the hem still gave it that nice dipped shaping which I quite liked.

Vogue Edit - "White Leg and Trucker Arm Tan all the rage this season"
Second minor hack was to miss out the sleeve cuffs. The pattern calls for a couple of bands around the arms but to be fair it really doesn't need them, its just a nice addition to the full design. This print is pretty busy anyway so I left them out.

I do need to rave for just a second about this awesome fabric. It's from Cotton Reel Studio
and is the most beautiful drape viscose. Yummy. As luck would have it I also had the best buttons for this project in the stash. Now these buttons were bought right when I first started sewing, I had no clue what to make with them I just thought they were nice and ended up with about 50 of them! They've sat in a jar all these years so I'm so pleased they got to fulfill their button destiny after all this time, especially on something I know I will actually wear. (Anyone else get sentimental about their stash?!)

This one was made to be belted and the blousy-ness lends itself well to that, the back pleat looks lovely and straight even when nipped in.

I think I shall be hanging up my Kalle obsession for a little while and trying something new - however like all addictions it will be difficult to kick the habit.

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Union Street Party - Dress Hack

Sooooooooo........ this pattern lends itself pretty well to a tee dress. 

::disappears stage left to make ALL the tee dresses::

Don't get me wrong, I love a Lodo like the next guy but damn there's something juicy about the Union Street Tee. It's my new favourite basic dont'cha know. It's all about that wait, I mean drape. I just LOVE how this relaxed tee hangs. 

Much to my dismay/reluctant acceptance I can no longer wear anything too body clingy or tight. I just ain't shaped for that any more. My brain and body has taken a right ol' bashing this last year and I've dramatically changed shape, for the larger. That being said I've started weight lifting (shout out to Sallie Oh and Gemma Lipstick, Lettuce & Lycra for that help and recommendation) so some of that is becoming muscle....which is nice.....but not all. Anyway what I'm saying is, I need new summer clothes and this fits the bill! It's loose but not a sack, its comfy and its so easy to throw on and go. My ideal criteria as you may well know.

This hack from t-shirt pattern to dress was really as simple as just drawing a line down from the hip. The t-shirt pattern itself is already quite long i.e. it hits the hip rather than above it and so drafting downwards was quite straight forward - in fact there was no drafting involved, I just laid out the front and back pieces with enough room below and kept on snipping.
So how about this fabric?! My love for a sea creature continues and I was lucky enough to bag a bit of this Cotton + Steel jersey fabric in 'Mystery Food' from Sew Me Sunshine.

Harriet has been absolutely killing it recently with her fabric stock, so much so that the next purchase turned me into a fabric-hunting-lunatic and was checking my phone daily for restocks. Then it reappeared! Yes, it's that rainbow jersey that is all over Instagram (or at least it was - there's always one late to the party).

Those colours, those lines! The reason I was obsessed about this is because it reminded me colour-wise of a Sonia Rykiel dress that played on my mind for years. Sad, but true. Of course unable to afford an original I gave up, however H&M brought out an affordable(ish) range in 2010 but alas that sold out within about 60 seconds. In fact that was about the time I started sewing...

source: H&M

But like fate, the stripes came back into my life and now I can make my own dress! There was a time where I only ever wore black, so the fact I'm willing to pop on a multi-coloured stripey dress is bizarre. Yet great. Life now has colour in it :)

Wishing you all a good week x

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Thread Theory - Strathcona Men's T-shirt

A bit of selfless sewing here today - one for the gents. This one is the Strathcona T-Shirt by Tread Theory.

I was in two minds about posting this as the shirt is so far removed from the original pattern that I'm not sure it counts as an actual Strathcona t-shirt anymore... In fact I spent the entire time calling it Strathclyde by mistake. I guess that is fitting. (Unlike the first attempt at this tee).

The men's t-shirt pattern was recommended to me by the lovely Laura of Fabric Habit who has made several for her fella and highly rated it. 

I had just under a meter of this amazing Octopus fabric (Mystery Food by Cotton + Steel) from Sew Me Sunshine leftover from another project (coming soon ;) and really wanted to make a present out of it as my other half loves this print.

This was my first foray into Thread Theory patterns and I am a bit of a convert now I think. I bought the PDF ad had it taped up within the hour. This was an XL which looked huge once cut out but actually ended up fitting really well in the important places- so the measurement chart is very accurate I would say.

The only odd fitting part was that we found the length of the t-shirt to be really long. I cut a bit off - however I obviously misjudged and cut too much off - therefore I folded that piece into a band and sewed it back on. Impromptu hem band.

I also totally messed the neckline up as the neck band was way too big and therefore gaped horrendously. After putting it down and mulling it over a while (look no hissy fit, my how I've grown) - it was fixed by pinching the excess out of the front and creating a mild v-neck instead.

So considering the Strathcona is actually supposed to be a rounded-neck, Henley style shirt - this one looks nothing like the packet. Although that is entirely my fault. And the end result is entirely wearable and the best bit is he loves it too :)

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Palazzo Pant Parade

Damn do I love a comfortable trouser.

I think my face says it all in the right hand picture! These bad boys are sooooooo comfy. Not so secret pajamas. I always feel the need to wear jewellery with this kind of outfit to make it very clear to outsiders that I am not wearing my PJs in the supermarket.  Home working in the heat, errands, casual weekends with a cold beer. These have got you covered.

Essentially you are looking at the summer of what leggings and a jumper are to my winter. Now having struck gold with this pattern the possibilities are unending! :::insert evil laugh here:::

Polka Dot pair all whipped up from left overs...
This pattern is a copy of a pair of 'palazzi' (is that the plural?!) I have had for YEARS. I have worn them to death and always wanted something similar. They are not just any palazzos you see, they have a really smooth flat front with no elastic - the elastic is only at the back and they drape nicely over the bum rather than showing loads of gathers.

Now I know some people are averse to copying RTW however I am highly averse to the phrase.....'rubbing off'.... ::gag::  which seems to mean (amoungst other things hence my aversion) copying an RTW pattern.

The Fabric Wrangler ran a class in Norwich a while back about how to create a pattern from RTW. I was running late (what's new) and hadn't found anything straightforward to copy to threw the palazzos in the bag. Much pinning and tracing was involved but thank you past-self for future-self enjoyed her new trews! I had forgotten I had created the pattern and cut out pieces, then rediscovered them recently when sorting out UFOs.

Whilst the construction isn't perfect it's certainly passable and wearable. And wear them I shall.

The lesson here, and one I like to implement in all areas of life these days: always do your future-self a favour.

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Jurassic Park! An Everyday Tote for Minerva Crafts

Oh I have been looking forward to sharing this!

Since making this beautiful bag (flaws and all) I have not stopped using it - it is so ridiculously practical and seems to fit in everything you could possibly need and more, a la Mary Poppins.

This is the Everyday Tote bag pattern by Bagstock for a product review on some spectacular dinosaur canvas fabric for Minerva Crafts

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Riding that Blackwood Bandwagon

This pattern is one that mystifies me as to why I hadn't made it earlier..... I cannot count the times I have needed a good cardigan and gone searching high and low around the shops for something suitable. (To no avail either!) I think it was my last foray into knitwear that may have put me off.

It's not like it hasn't been across the whole sewing world or anything is it... Man is this a popular pattern and now I see why!

Another minor mystery is why I cut it out in February, and then only just got round to finding it in my UFO pile and finishing it off. All told it took less than an hour to cut out, then less than an hour to sew up. In just happens that those two hours were about 3 months apart.

So here it is, and just in time for the spring weather - my Blackwood Cardigan by Helen's Closet!

I used some coral cable knit fabric from Higgs & Higgs  which turned out to be PERFECT for this pattern. The right amount of weight-cosy-colour ratio together with being incredibly workable and sewing machine friendly. I hadn't considered myself to be a 'pink' kind of gal but I really love this. So cheerful to wear. It's already been a staple go-to piece for the last few weeks so it must be a winner.

The pattern size for this one was a Large graded out to Extra-Large at the hips. I'll be honest I did fall prey to vanity and exclaimed at the 'extra-large' label however it fit like an absolute dream.

The only change I made was to give the sleeve a wider width at the bicep than the XL called for, which then meant pinning and tapering it back down from the elbow to the wrist. Not a big deal though as it was so easy to alter with the ol' pin and fit method.

I went for the full length version, with cuffs that come mid-hand for keeping warm. You could easily omit the cuffs, as a friend of mine has done, which made for an equally very smart and chic look.

Pretty much the entire thing was done on the over-locker save for attaching pockets and top stitching the edges. It's been an absolute revelation to me  that you can use regular thread in an over-locker to do decorative stitching. So coral and yellow insides it is!

The pattern is so versatile - colours, fabric types, weights. I'm particularly looking forward to trying the maxi-hack with split hems. Definitely a repeat make pattern!

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Grainline Linden - It's the absolute dogs...

Hellloooo! Back up on the blog today after a mini-break and another minor loss of sew-jo. However, I'm pleased to report that's now back in action - funny what a bit of sunshine can do.

Today is not a massive post and nothing particularly original however I did want to share this make due to the absolute epic nature of the fabric.

Now, we all know that the Grainline Linden is an absolute gem of a pattern, and despite not having made myself one yet, I did make a polar bear version for my sister. This time another bit of selfless sewing for my sis in the form of this Dog Linden!!

She has a lovely little dog called Treacle and when I saw this fabric from Stoff + Stil I knew it would make a great present. When I bought this fabric, the shipping costs where absolutely crazy so it did make this a rather expensive make, however I have noticed just now that they seem to have added a UK site with UK shipping prices. This is still priced at £8 for DHL but free over £50 spend so maybe if you were buying in bulk it would be good as some of the jerseys are beautiful and very original.

 I am pleased with how this turned out and the fabric was superb to work with, such high quality and went through the machine like butter. There was even a fair amount left so maybe a summer vest top could be squeezed out of it? Any pattern suggestions for a vest-top?

So it's bank holiday weekend here in the UK and weirdly the sun is out so off I go like every other person in the country racing outdoors whilst it lasts! Happy weekend folks x

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Cobra Kalle and Heist Tights Love

It's bacccckkkkkkk.... of course I made another Kalle. I bloody love it.


This gorgeous fabric is the Cobra Corsage viscose crepe from Fabric Godmother. I already used the lawn version for a McCalls shirt (which has already hit the 'out' pile as I didn't really like the shape)

The fabric has a lovely drape and is opaque so I wanted to make an easy to wear shirt dress - enter Kalle! This is the 3rd Kalle I have made - and I like this one as much as the others. The style is pretty roomy so this one got belted for a sleeker silhouette.

The high/low hem still works I think and adds a bit of interest, great with tights underneath for this cooler weather.

And just a little minute here to appreciate the wonder of Textile Garden buttons that added that extra pow to this beauty. 

On the subject of tights - I really just wanted to share something I have recently discovered (I may be 100 years late to this but whatever, revolutionary for me!) - Heist Tights!!

This is in no way sponsored, I just wanted to give them a shout out as I hate wearing tights, they make me feel like a segmented worm. However, I gave these bad boys a go and MAN are they comfy!!!! Firstly - just look at the pretty packaging (all recyclable aswell)

I received HANDS DOWN the best customer service of my life. The lady online advised as to what size I needed, high waist requirements and she sent me 2 pairs that arrived the next day. One of them was a bit tight so I inquired again - and they sent 2 more pairs in the next size for free!!!

The tights themselves are so high quality its unbelievable. You get a little cotton bag to keep them in labelled with the size, denier and style and the tights have a ridged marker inside indicating the back.

They don't pull or move, they have no seams, the waist stays up and over your tummy giving a nice shape and also pretty wonderful is that they don't really stick to clothes!

If you have also seen these and were wondering, here's 20% off. 

  Now time to make some more shirt dresses I think...

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