Xanelé Shorts - French Navy

It's a shorts kinda day on the blog today!

These are the brand new Xanelé Shorts (pronounced shan-a-lay) from French Navy and I was lucky to test this pattern out back in winter. There was a call out for the more bootylicious amongst us to test the pattern and well...what could I do but assist. 


Shorts inspired by hiking Table Mountain sound like excellent shorts to test. They have an elasticated waistband, pleated front, cuffed hem and best of all - are a good length!

The size I went for on the chart was H at the waist grading to I at the hips. I went into this expecting full well to make a load of changes to the crotch curve but not so!

This is the first incarnation in some cotton and everything fit where it was supposed to. It's a shorts miracle.

My second test pair were in stretch linen that I had left over from 1st for Fabrics. The pattern does not need stretch it was just coincidental as I was trying a drapier fabric. On this pair I added some eyelets and a drawstring to the waistband for detail and practicalities of fluctuating weight.

On this pair I also shortened the pattern by 1.5" just to see what happened, and stitched the cuffs down to stop the softer fabric from flopping around. 

Yes that is Clyde with a small tracker on his ass

Enter the comfiest pair of shorts ever. 

The pattern instructions are for top stitching the elastic (I don't like doing this so I can have the option to adjust elastic after the fact) however there are the drawstring and belt loop options too!

Test pair three consisted of 100% woven cotton, just to be sure that a non-stretch would actually be comfortable. It is. 

Same shorts, different substrate. I like how they fit at the back, despite being entirely elasticated they don't bunch (I have a 12 inch difference between waist and hip so that does tend to happen). The length of these is so practical for roaming around and not flashing too much upper leg. Just my preference but there's options to go short as you like!

Nice big pockets for collecting rocks, sneaking sweets, hiding your phone camera clicker or just a place for awkward hands.

The final incarnation was a pair of 'smart' shorts made from Flow Viscose Linen - buttery soft and airy. Since the testing phase there is now a belt loop option so I obviously had to try that too.

Same shorts, no drawstring this time, just added belt loops and a much softer fabric. 

Shorts win.Would 10/10 recommend this pattern. 

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Fifi Pants - Style Arc

 Fifi Pants sounds like I'm describing a well groomed pink poodle however the reality is far from flouncy.

These are some damn fine trousers from Style Arc!

The pattern is for elasticated waist (with a flat front) woven wide leg trousers with pockets and a thick waistband.

I made a toile of the full length version and did have to tweak the fit but thankfully, only very slightly. I started out with a size 16 but they were quite baggy in the bum and I think a 14 would have been better for these are they are spacious.  

For a better fit I took about an inch from the back seam (after having sent The Fabric Wrangler an obligatory and unsolicited picture of my bum for fitting advice!) tapering into the crotch curve and also about an inch from the waist at the side seams. 

Toile 2 was a lovely pair of blue crepe full length wide leg trousers. Which were wonderful until I realized my adjustments to the paper pattern mean I could not longer get the waist over my hips. After some encouragement from The Willowers (our newly re-named Thursday sewing class group) I plucking up the courage to give a side zip a go A miracle happened and that was the best fitting pair of trousers I've made to date.


I think Closet Core Patterns actually did this hack ages ago but I wasn't aware of it. For those with big booty and a smaller waist it's an absolute dream to make elasticated pants fit better. The tutorial is here

I have since modified the pattern again just to simplify it further.

The original Fifi pattern has the waistband in 3 parts. 2 pieces for the flat front and the larger piece for the rest of the waist band. I eliminated that faff and my waistband is just one massive 5" wide rectangle that can house 2" elastic when attached. (I like 1 piece/ non-topstitched waistbands also because in future, you can take in or expand the elastic if needed without losing a garment to the recycle pile).

The fabric is viscose crepe - I wanted to retain that slight stretch and softness so this was ideal. The pictured fabric is Eglantine et Zoe bought from Makeat140. Dreamy fabric both to wear and work with. 

Excited that I had wide leg trousers that fit I then made another pair in blue (I am currently obsessed with this print and overbought it, it will be cropping up again in other makes!).

Despite me ruining the effect by having my hand in my pockets in all pictures, they lie beautifully flat at the front and drape well over the back. You'll just have to trust me on that! I have yet to work out how not to be awkward in all pictures.

There was an attempt at a faux jumpsuit effect using the Ogden Cami however I think I need to take it in a bit as the top is looking a bit voluminous. 

And why not go the whole hog with this pattern and make some shorts!

 Worthy of a little mention here is the Ashton Top by Helen's Closet. I appear to be the only person in the world who hadn't made this yet. Turns out - it's worth the hype!

Scrap busting a bit of Lamazi Flow Viscose Linen I whipped up this top in a 14 (I'm usually a 16/18 for Helen's Closet but the under arms gaped a bit too much so sized down). Love it!

Necklace by KirstinStride
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Kalle ReCut

It was third time lucky for this shirt. 

I know I post mostly about successful makes - but don't get me wrong, there are many fails!! 

I'd got this idea in my head about a nice black shirt with bright trim around it - about a year ago. I tried the Melilot pattern. That went wrong, way too small and I couldn't move my arms. I tried a Style Arc shirt. Same issue so I cut off the sleeves, then it looked ridiculous, then I put a hole in it. 

The idea went on hold until a realization hit me - why not stick with a classic. The Kalle Shirt. It's like going home...

I completely re-cut the pattern as the old version no longer fit. This one is a 16-18. It's roomy and has tons of ease so a great option for these cooler summer days. 

The fabric is excellent Viscose Linen Flow from Lamazi Fabrics. Same stuff I used for my Wiksten. I could not recommend this fabric more if I tried, it's just gorgeous to work with and wear. 

 The lines of the Kalle shirt worked well for my trim as it followed the shoulder and yoke lines really well, and turned out to be the exact width of the cuff - that was pure chance.

The trim is from Mokshatrim and they have some utterly gorgeous trims, ribbons and appliques. 

I feel better for getting this make out of my system as it was a long time coming. And what better label for the third time lucky?

Couldn't have said it better myself. 

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Lovely Lyra with Lions

 I'm back on the gathers - and as non-gather lover - this pattern is a whole lot them.

This is the super popular Lyra dress by Tilly and the Buttons It appealed to me as last year I found myself surprisingly fond of the Myosotis dress and who doesn't love a collared shirt dress so pop those 2 together and you get Lyra. 

I cut a straight Size 7 for this dress - my hip measurement put me at an 8 however there is so much ease in this it was not a problem at all. I could actually have still gone down to a 6 for the top for a more fitted shirt - however I do like oversized shirts and the loose feel in the heat. 

There are some lovely details on this pattern including the button placket (love a button, check out those paws), pockets, a waist tie and some funky little thread loops for the belt.

 I'd never tried this type of loop before and it did take some practice. I watched the video about 10 times and eventually got the nack of it. Once you get knotting the thread properly they come together quickly. Just not immediately!

 The fabric is a viscose from 1st For Fabrics and full of great animals. It's soft, breathable and drapes very well indeed for this pattern. 

I only had 2 meters but did manage to squeeze the whole thing into that EXCEPT for the pockets. Which are still an animal print of sorts...

I burn like a crisp and so these longer 'short' sleeves are good coverage when sitting in the sun, as is the collar for neck protection if you flip it up like Cantona. Here's my #showitseated pic for you:

I'm a bit obsessed by Mysostis v Lyra as at first glance they looked incredibly similar. I thought after I had made the Lyra there would be a clear winner but actually they are quite different dresses. I can't really put my finger on why though! 

The Lyra is certainly a lot more 'full' and feels a much more flouncy dress that's for sure. I think the Mysostis dress feels slightly more..sophisticated? 

If the dresses were people I think Myosotis would be sipping a fine chilled wine being very chic and cool. Lyra is it's chatty happy-go-lucky cousin sipping a pink cocktail with umbrellas. There's room in life for both.

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Hey June - A Colourful Union

It's back again. 

The Hey June Handmade - Union St. Tee (dress) now with added 'back-hack'.

I know I've blogged about this tee and it's many incarnations several times but the 'back-hack' pattern piece deserved some more air time I think. Plus - I have some fun fabric prints to show you. 

For anyone with sway back, curves or a need for back shaping this FREE add-on is an absolute game changer.  It took my favourite tee dress to a way better fit and I can't get enough of it. The best bit is that the add-on can be used with ANY of the Hey June Handmade top patterns. Yay. 

Contours without Cling. There's a fit I can get on board with. 

This pattern is fab for showing off a great print - if you're into that kind of thing. Which I am. 

Here are some different prints and weights of fabric that this pattern has been whipped up in.

Let's start with this epic 'Cat Portrait' Frida Khalo Cats organic knit jersey from Flamingo Fabrics. Ridiculously soft and stretchy and an easy weight to sew with. Bonus points for the 'mad cat lady' look.

Equally as ridiculous, but not as obvious at first glance, is this striped Snoopy print jersey. This was from a German company called Stoffe-Werning - back before #brexshit when you could order from the EU without issue. Great quality again, a little more tightness to it.

Neon Turtles and Jellyfish - the natural look. Another great cotton jersey from Jelly Fabrics.

 Back with the bugs again from Flamingo Fabrics.

Turning the dial down a bit now to more of a subdued look is some single jersey from Sewisfaction - it is Cerise Leopard and a lot thinner than the others making it very stretchy and breathable.

Lastly, and possibly my favourite although it's hard to choose, is this 'Dark Mirror fabric from.. you guessed it. Flamingo Fabrics. This also feels a little thinner than to other cotton jersey however it's gorgeously soft and opaque. I still have some of this left for more of a strappy summer dress in due course.

There we have it - day of the week dresses for Spring! Well done if you made it down here. 

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Wiksten Wonders

 Hello! Back on the blog today after a bit of a break...largely caused by terrible weather for photos and a general lack of time.

 Up today is the rather popular Wiksten Shift by Wiksten - again, not a new pattern but one I have failed to make for several years on end despite it being in my pattern drawer!

Drawn in by the super-chic versions on Insta I really wanted a basic black version. I'd read a lot about the sizing of this pattern coming up really big and so I wasn't sure whether to immediately size down or stick to the pattern guide. 

Enter the wearable toile. I fished out some lovely soft viscose linen from the stash (Sew Me Sunshine in origin I believe) and set about a straight Size 16. 

There's a brilliant blog post by Wiksten here - explaining how to choose the size and also showing each size on a body! It recommends choosing from bicep size and so paranoid my arms wouldn't fit into a smaller version I went with my regular measurements for bicep and hip. 

I think the size is fine for this, it is an 'oversized' style and the belt takes the waist in nicely. The only slightly annoying thing is that it pulls backwards quite a lot.

Adjustments made were a slight front shoulder adjustment to try and even out the pull, and also I hate gathers so I put a pleat in the back instead.


Bagel Cat photo bomb

Happy enough with these results I cracked out some lovely black viscose linen from Lamazi Fabrics called 'flow' and dammmmmmm it's soft. 

 Despite being an identical replica of the toile (save for being longer length) it seems a lot bigger and still pulls down my back a bit. 

Don't get me wrong, I really like it! With a jazzy necklace I think it would be cool - however I may nip this one in a bit at the top and waist to shape it a bit more. Undecided yet!

Sammy getting in on the action here

I feel good to have made these, it's definitely been on my sewing list for a long while and it does give me that freshly 'just checked off' feeling. Now to wait for the weather to catch up to wear these things. It's May but it still thinks it's winter. Come on sandal weather we need you....

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