Last of the Summer Sewing Part VIII

 It's another annual 'Last of the Summer Sewing' post - andddd potentially the last of a bit of sewing for a wee while. More on that later.

But first - a little round up of bits and bobs that never made the blog! 

I am a massive fan of Sew Dynamic fabric as it's made from recycled ocean plastic pollution. Not only does it have that to it's name, the lycra is ridiculously comfortable, comes in fun designs and is perfect for a crazy gym outfit. Exhibit A:

This particular print is a load of chameleons! I was trying out the Greenstyle Power Bra and it is AMAZING. Massive recommendation for this one if you're looking for good activewear. Supportive, great coverage and true to size. 

Another wonderful print I picked up at Sew Dynamic is this beautiful seascape with a whale shark. For the leggings pattern both are the MyFit Leggings from Apostrophe Patterns

Gratuitous action shot to show how the print is when stretched out. Perfectly opaque and squat tested! 

Now for something entirely different - a summer space dress!

My Closet Core Kalle obsession continues into 2023 and in need of a little number to meet my hero Col. Hadfield I whipped up an A-line dress version. An astronaut dress felt appropriate for this event. I can confirm I was not the only person wearing 'space' gear.

The only adjustment to this was to extend the skirt out from the waist point. I used a belt buckle and a wide piece of elastic to make the belt just to break the print and pull it all in a little.

This amazing fabric was from Stitch Fabrics and I believe it's a stretch cotton sateen. Easy to work with but a little crispy to wear. 

Kalle also came out for my absolute favourite shirt in my wardrobe right now. A viscose Dip in the Lake by Lady McElroy meets Kalle. :: Chef's Kiss :: I feel very much myself wearing this and I love that feeling.

 I also started doing a Closet Core Nicks Dress however it was very oversized and the toile turned into a top for the MIL. I need to revisit that pattern as it was quite nice to make but size down a couple. 

And this is where most of my sewing, patterns and plans become a little defunct. 

Whilst I had some grand plans for sewing for an upcoming big birthday holiday, life came along and slapped me in the face. Well...boobs. Some of you may have seen my post on Insta however I've now got to clock off for a while.

I'll just repeat my post where I said that my near future involves a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However I'm not saying that for sympathy as many people have and are going through this. But obviously, my shape, and my sewing, are going to drastically change in the coming months.

So I think I'll be back on the blog :) Until then wishing you good sewing!

P.s. I found the perfect post-op t-shirt. You may laugh.

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Bright Blanche and a bit of Bagel

 It's a very colourful post for you today!

I'm continuing on the Style Arc journey with another little number called Blanche. Despite being named after an 80 year old lady who loves Bingo, it's a very stylish and modern take on a simple tee dress.

The Blanche dress fits my easy breezy criteria for getting dressed - minimal fuss but feel good. 

The pattern is described as a 'short sleeve pull on dress, below knee length with side splits'. 

The features included in the pattern are: 

  • A round neck band - which I did not do. 
  • Mitred corner side openings - which I forgot to do. 
  • A-line shape - which I had to change.

Needless to say me and Blanche went on a little journey. That being said I certainly enjoyed the destination. 

I went for a 16 which seems to be my new Style Arc size, however I did feel this was far too big in the bodice area. The sleeves were giving me a bat-wing effect and so I did have to alter that. The sleeves came out and I reattached them and took in the bodice about 1cm all around. In fact I think I basically just made a size 14. 


The style of this dress is an A-line and loose fit. Unfortunately just as the top was too big, the lower half was too small on me and I could have gone for an 18 around the hips to get that A-line silhouette. 

As it happened the shape did not like my booty and I ended up with a big sway back issue with fabric pooling. The pattern does have a lovely back seam which meant it was quite easy to nip that in and create shaping against my back. 

What I've actually ended up with is more of a semi-fitted tee dress instead of an A-line. I don't mind that at all, it's still comfortable and skims over everything it needs to nicely. 

How epic is this fabric by the way! It's a beautiful viscose jersey called 'Cleo the Leopard' from Mr. Rosenberg at Stitch Fabrics. If you've never cruised that website have a go... however I accept no liability for any money you spend.

The pattern also has a neckband however I chose to use mine as a binding on the inside for a slightly cleaner finish. The cat felt appropriate. (Labels from the Sarah Hearts - Animal Friends range).

I wore the dress immediately and decided I needed another as it was so comfortable. Curse of the second make again!!!!

Full Disclosure - Minerva kindly gave me this next floral fabric for free. It's a beautiful viscose jersey called 'pained bouquet' which I was enticed towards due to that pop of fuchsia pink on the tulips. 

Having made all my adjustments above to my paper pattern, I thought this version would be an absolute breeze. Not so. 

I whipped it up and initially it just looked....awful. I couldn't put my finger on it. Then I realized. I looked like Blanche. My husband confirmed it was giving serious old-lady Nightie vibes because of the florals. 

Not one to give up so easily, me and Blanche wrestled about for a few hours, tweaking, nipping, reshaping. A little bit of figure shape made all the difference, now I love it again!


I like the side slits as a detail I think that makes a great little feature on a fairly standard dress. This is demonstrated below as I saw the biggest spider ever run up into the bat house just as I did the photo!

During the process I had my little furry sewing assistant Bagel Cat to help out. Here she is with the fabric playing a game of 'who wore it best'. Hint - it was her.

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Itch to Stitch - Nosara

 Sliding into Sunday with a fairly new pattern to the sewing world!

The Itch to Stitch - Nosara Shirt is a new release (from July) and immediately appealed to my senses. 

Then I realized it's because it bears a remarkable resemblance to my favourite shirt pattern - Closet Core Kalle. 

(That is not a dig at the pattern companies, inevitably some cross-over in designs will occur especially with trends etc.) 

In the interests of science I figured I better make the Nosara to see how it differed from my gal Kalle. 

The main points of difference on the Nosara is that it has bust darts, cup sizing options and there are no arm cuffs and a much more subtle hem curve. 

Just for info here are both line drawings:

I picked a size 14/16 based on my bust and hip measurement. I did make a little forward shoulder adjustment as I had to do this on Kalle and figured the same would apply here. 

 Apart from that I made it straight up in 14/16 and this is the finished result:

 It is a lovely breezy loose shirt - although I'm inclined to say maybe too loose? I'm not sure the dart is serving much purpose on mine however it's only a B so larger sizes would find it a nice shaping feature.

It's a nice shirt length, good coverage and incredibly easy to whip up. The lack of arm cuffs makes this a really simplified shirt to make - perfect if you're after a quick and dirty project or you are after an introduction to shirt-making.

Another comparison pic incoming. I'm not sure this is fair though as I have just realized I did nip the Kalle in at the waist on my original pattern. 

Personally I've found my Nosara a bit awkward to style as I don't often wear 'trousers'. It's a tad too short to go over leggings, and a bit too full for tucking into jeans.

Then a brain wave - tie it up. I've since worn the shirt out and about like this:

If you fancied putting some shaping into the Nosara,  Norfolk Daphne has written about the darts and changes needed. I may give that a go in due course. 

Fabric-wise, I pulled out the big guns with my posh Guthrie Ghani Bee Happy Blooms ecovero viscose. This was an exclusive print for Guthrie Ghani and the details are stunning. Every time I look I spot a new little plant or bee. (I think the bee is on the back!).

 I wouldn't normally choose white, however the bright illustrations won me over. And the bee. I'm a sucker for a bug as you know.  I popped the matching label in for finishing touches.

The fabric itself is INCREDIBLE. It's got a lovely weight to it but feels soft like silk. An absolute pleasure to wear against the skin. Very high quality so i would definitely recommend that.

As always Itch to Stitch patterns are just wonderful and well explained. (I did have a glance even if I didn't use them fully!)

Yep - I like it! I would make it again. Perhaps with a few shaping tweaks. 

Not sure it beats my lovely Kalle though but I may be biased. 

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A Super Nova


Welcome back to the blog (or hi if you're new :)

It seems I've come over all girly and twirly this week.  

If you’re after a super wafty, comfy, throw-on-and-go, kinda dress that doesn’t touch your skin – I can recommend the StyleArc Nova Midi Dress!

I was kindly gifted this amazing viscose challis by Minerva and whilst I wouldn’t normally choose something so ‘floral’ I just loved this print. It reminded me of countryside days and tulip fields and the zig zag stripe of the print was interesting. I love how that red tulip just pops amongst the pastel tones.

The print is called ‘Nursery Blooms’ and is a great opaque viscose with lots of movement but no need for lining. (I’d recommend a Microtex needle for Minerva challis when dealing with this to avoid any snags.)

At the risk of looking a bit ‘Little House on the Prairie’ I did go for a tiered and gathered little number to show off the print. 

 The Nova Midi Dress is ROOMY and so if you’re in some hot hot heat right now I imagine it would be ideal. Without belt it sits away from your skin and swooshes about around your legs. I particularly like the wider shoulder straps on this pattern as it makes a change from all the spaghetti strap patterns around, giving nice shoulder coverage. Bra hiding and sun protection in one.


I made a size 16 but easily could have gone to a 14 I think. I did have to adjust the bodice and bring it in under the arms. The 16 fit, however the armholes were so low they came to below the side of my bra. I just pinched a little wedge out under the arms to bring that to a higher point.

The pattern is for a lined bodice – however I only cut 1 out to check the fit, then decided just to bind the neckline and arms rather than fully line it. Works just fine so I’d say lining optional!

The tiers are massive but not difficult to do. My preferred method of dealing with tiers and gathering is to use a row of shirring elastic at the top of each piece. SO much faster to stretch that out to meet the tier above rather than fiddly gathering with threads. It also gives a much more even gather as the elastic is doing all the work for you. 

Going with a theme of rolling hills and country meadows I popped a little rabbit label in the back for extra cuteness. 


I preferred my dress belted so popped an elasticated straw belt on for those haystack vibes to cinch it in a tad. 

I really wasn’t sure I was going to like such a ‘girly’ dress but I’m totally loving it! Now if it would just stop raining whilst I find somewhere to actually wear this…..

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Striding out with Greenstyle

 Coming in with a little activewear today!

This gym set came about from a little piece of amazing swim fabric from Hey Sew Sister made from ECONYL - a type of recycled nylon made from old fishing nets and waste. (It is still in stock at the time of writing alongside some other prints.)

This recycled factor, and the beautiful wildflower print, drew me in so I bought 1m. And the 1m really went far!

I've increased some training recently and found myself running our of gym kit - what better excuse to make a summery little set.

I'll start with the tops. Which by the way, I do wear a shirt over the top I'm not brave enough yet to just go crop top alone. Pics just to show what it looks like.

This strappy little beauty is the Dani Strappy Sports Bra by Made for Mermaids - how amazing is the back!!The pattern is fantastic, coming with small bust, full bust and regular bust options all pre-printed. The sizing is in colours and I went for 'Orange'. I made this toile in black to check the fit and it was very comfortable, however a little test drive at the gym determined it was not particularly supportive so I sized down for the floral version above. Now it is a bit too tight however on looking at the pics I think this is because I misplaced the cross-straps and they should be lower. 

I snipped off the straight top bar and it really loosened up. As it happens the slightly too tight version is quite good for supportive purposes!

Despite what it looks like, this is a really simple sew. Made for Mermaids also have a full video tutorial to guide you through the process which was extremely useful. I would rate it as 'fiddly' rather than difficult. Clipping all the binding and straps is a bit of an art form but once down it's all stitched down with Maraflex and a straight stitch!

I had bit of fabric left so I also managed to squeeze a more simple top out of the remnants. This is the Lulu Sports Bra and Crop Top - Made for Mermaids

 I like the neckline shape very much and it's a comfortable wear. Both tops have removable cup and lining options but I didn't bother and they are fully lined with sturdy performance lycra.

Now for these epic leggings. These are the Stride Tights by Greenstyle Patterns and they are performing some miracle right here.

Real talk - I have a belly, like many people, that hangs and is annoying but these leggings suck everything in like spanks! I believe this is due to the 'Ultra High Waist' option which should just be called 'Bee Gee Waist' they are that high. It was refreshing not to spend most of class pulling my leggings back up.

Sizing I was between an H-I and should have graded - however I was too busy chatting whilst doing that I made a straight H. Which turned out to be the right decision as they fit really well. 

(As it turns out I made the Tempo Tights some time ago and they were too loose as H-I graded. My brain must have stored that subconsciously!)

The pattern has an optional side pocket and the contrast band curves around the body to the back giving a great shape. There is also a motion gusset included which is easy to install.

 With regard to fabric for the main black pieces - I used 'Perform Muscular Compression Stretch' from Funkifabrics. I find this is one of the best for comfort, compression, and opaque qualities!! It has a little sheen to it. Another good option is the 'Olympus' base which they now do in plains as well as printed.

Construction is very straight forward and whizzed up on the overlocker. There is a piece of clear elastic inserted into the top seam of the waist for extra hold.

I will definitely make these again as I enjoyed wearing them and it's a fab way of using up the little lycra scraps in the side panel! (And wow do I have some scraps...)

A recommended set all round - if you're thinking of making activewear just go for it!

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Shoulders and Saguaros

 Hello there and welcome back to the blog. 

I'm coming in with an entirely new (to me) set of patterns that I just had to try out this year. Mostly out of a pre-holiday panic regarding having 'nothing to wear'. (::eye roll::)

I'll start off with my slightly controversial view on the Saguaro Set by the Friday Pattern Company. 

It would seem like every sewist in the world has tried the Saguaro Set - and everyone is raving about how wonderful it is. I'm not sure I understand why. 

Credit where it's due - Friday Pattern Company have beautifully constructed patterns, great instructions, video tutorials and the pattern pieces go together where they should. And I like the trousers.

For reference I made the XXL. I did have to make some adjustments to these. I found the legs to be a little short so I added an inch to the length. I also found the front rise to be too long and was giving a baggy crotch effect - so I shortened the front rise by an inch aswell by taking out a wedge.

But the top - it's really not for me. 

Be kind, I don't like my middle but the pics show how the pattern sits.


I knew that a 'cropped' midriff showing top was never really going to work but I had leftover fabric from the trousers (the part of the set I actually wanted) and gave it a go. Even lengthening a bit I just can't love it. It's very tight at the elastic and there's absolutely no way this could be worn without anything under it.The top says it can be worn backwards which I thought may be nice, but again, no. It's too high around the neck and looks like I got dressed incorrectly.

Hey-ho it works for other people just not for me.

Now to flip the script on the Saguaro Set entirely by seeing what a bit of styling can do!

So much more chic! 

The top here is the Pattern Emporium - One Shoulder Tank in some very soft bamboo jersey. Yet again Pattern Emporium pull it out of the bag with this excellent basic. It's a drapey tank with a lot of different options including ruffles, waistbands and also a built in bra!

I made a 16 however I did have to nip it in a lot under the arms to make sure it wasn't sliding down. I think this was due to my fabric choice. 

I tried the bra and cup version and it's really comfortable. Here is the insides:

I do like how this looks with the Saguaro trousers and it would definitely be comfortable on a hot day. 

The top was actually a wearable toile for a dress idea I had for an event a few months ago.

You may have seen on Instagram that I had a disaster with some lavender sequin fabric monstrosity. If not I basically looked like Little Bo-Peep on crack. 

This is it's last minute replacement.  

Using the One Shoulder Tank pattern I just extended it down to a slight A-line shape. This was in a thicker glitter jersey from the stash. 

Easy to make and even better, easy to wear!

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