Gilbert Got The Chop

 It's the turn of the Gilbert Top by Helen's Closet this week. ' A button up shirt with a camp-style collar and a relaxed fit'. It's certainly relaxed.

Size wise I went for a 16/18 however I think it would be alright a size smaller. 

The first version I made of this was View A - the cropped shirt with waist tie. I love the fact that it's not 'cropped' i.e belly-exposing, but just enough to sit nicely on top of jeans/trousers.  

(These back ponte trousers are Style Arc Parker Pants - LOVE them. No adjustments straight up size 14.)

Raiding the stash I found some lovely yellow viscose from Fabrics Galore which was waiting it's turn for a pattern match. Bingo. Just enough fabric. The buttons are from Texile Garden and made for a great partner colour-wise. The white cotton however was me being lazy as I ran out of black thread.

The shirt is really simple in terms of pattern pieces and it's a good chance to have a go at the 'burrito' method of doing a shirt yoke. I did have to split the back into 2 pieces to fit on my fabric but that's ok with me, don't mind an extra seam!

 The collar and facing fit really well, no wrangling and wrestling into place which is always a bonus.

This pattern also has a 'dress hack' where it can be lengthened and in the height of summer I thought a luxury blue linen version would be amazing. I was wrong :(

I was a fraction short of fabric for length so it turned out pretty short. The pictures aren't too bad but in reality if I lifted my arms up I was flashing my bum. The linen, despite having invested in some good quality stuff, is was really itchy and scratchy and just annoyed me.

Gilbert then got the chop. I chopped it to tunic length to wear as a shirt. I also added an extra button at the top as the lapel was gaping quite low and wide on this version and took the sides in a couple of inches. 

It's an improvement but to be's a bit boring.That being said I've actually worn in a fair bit, it's softened as promised with a wash and wear and I think it's growing on me. 

Little shot out for the trousers here which are the Patterns For Pirates 'Loggers'. Leggings with pockets. What's not to love about that. This Gilbert will absolutely get a lot more use than a dress so that's a mini win in itself.

My personal favourite part of this is that I got to use my lovely Turtlebird buttons!


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Dressed - Le T-Shirt et Le Pantalon


Gone all French today as  the Deer & Doe 'Dressed' book has arrived and I've been diving right in with some of the patterns.

Dressed is a beautiful book about creating a capsule wardrobe. The principle is that the 9 patterns give you over 100 outfits when combined and they all have that simple chic about them.   

It's now available as an e-book in English however I ordered the French paper copy as I like having the book out as reference and something tangible. There's bound to be something I've got lost in translation but so far the patterns are working as they should!

Starting very simply, I went for Le T-Shirt. I figured that I could get a good idea of how the patterns fit from doing this one first.

 The size I went for was a combo of sizes 46 bust /48 waist / 50 hip graded throughout. Bingo. It fit.

 It's a little scruffy here in the pictures but the t-shirt drapes really well at the front. The sleeves are grown on so it's a very quick make - 2 shoulder, 2 side seams. Hem.

The length is really good too, it comes to just above the hip line and is flattering tucked in or out of clothes. I messed up the neckline point but no matter - it's black and not very visible anyway!

The fabric I used is bamboo jersey and soooooo comfortable to wear. This Le T-Shirt is definitely going to be in heavy rotation as a brilliant basic. 

Onto Le Pantalon.

These are elasticated waist, pull-on style casual trousers with turn-ups. Knowing my previous with elasticated trousers I was nervous. I cut a straight up size 50 for the hip measurement and thankfully had to make NO CHANGES to the dreaded crotch curve. 

The pattern calls for stretch cotton and that kind of thing but I had some heavy duty ponte roma with little stretch from eBay that seemed like a good idea. I love how they turned out! A million miles from French sassy chic but they suit my purposes.

I did alter these after they were made up as they did come out really quite big at the waist and didn't look as streamline as the pictures in the book would suggest. I took the waistband off and pinned the sides in a little, tapering up from the hip. It meant a bit of pocket was lost but they are still big enough to be useable. The end result was more like a 50 hip graded to a 42 waist. This was still enough to be able to comfortably pull them over my hips and bonus, the waistband was therefore not as bunched up with elastic.

It can be confirmed that these are most certainly secret pyjamas. We took a trip to the seaside and I wore this outfit all day, feeling a bit paranoid I had actually gone out in nightwear.

In a break from TORTOISE photo-bombing, here's a bonus pic with the lovely white wolf Chilli who came for a visit and beach walk. Le Chien. Pattern not available.

 And an outtake just to prove I have to take about 300 pictures for every 3 decent ones. 

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Seaforth Pants September

 Happy September!

It's transition time and the summer wear gets  sidelined by slightly cooler weather clothes. I had a go at the new pattern by Hey June Handmade - the Seaforth Pants and they are ideal for less than warm days!

The pattern is for a pair of casual loose-fit trousers that has both an elastic waistband and drawstring. The pockets are zipped which makes a nice addition and there are two views. View A is a longer straight leg version with a bit of a 'kick' flare and View B has an elastic cuff ankle for more of a 'woven jogger' vibe. 

I made all views and a bonus 'View C'. Such was my liking for this pattern.

Size wise I cut a 16/18 but it DID require a toile and some tweaking. I can't actually tell you what size I ended up with in the end as I did so much nipping and adjusting. Probably nearer a 14/16 I think. Ish. 

The pattern with no adjustments was 'fine' but for me it was a little baggy in the butt and the rise was too long. I took 4cm from the rise front and back and added the same to the length to make up for the lost height. Crotch-wise I did a full butt adjustment but then had to tweak the crotch height, length and general shaping of the crotch curve but I did that by trial and error. I'm still not 100% on the fit of the back leg but I gave up.

These sew together really quickly so ideal if you're after a quick-fix make with good results.

View A

These are my 'banana pants'. Yellow stretch linen from 1st for Fabrics.

It's a bold choice! Yellow seemed like a good idea on a sunny day. They now feel a bit ridiculous! I added the patch pockets on the back of these and the placement of the pattern is really good. Best bit of the pattern - back darts for shaping!

View B

My favourite of the bunch. Navy stretch linen also from 1st for Fabrics.  I also used some gold eyelets and gold and navy zips for these which stand out nicely as a feature. 

The pattern has you insert the zips directly into the pocket by slicing into it however I found that to be really messy at the edges. It was recommended that I do the zip on a facing and flipping that to the inside of the pocket and that worked out well.


And last but not least 'View C' which doesn't actually exist but I just made it anyway, straighter legs and a turn up..

I love this version but they are made of Ramie Linen, with no stretch and so they are difficult to get over my hips and also sag a little after wearing. That being said they are casual trousers so no big deal. 

The Ramie Linen is from Textile Express and is such an amazing texture! It's soft, but has a weird bobbly texture that feels really durable. 

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Last of the Summer Sewing V

 Just thought I'd throw out a little end of August round-up of some other makes that never got blogged this summer.

I had myself a little True Bias revival during the hotter days and whipped out the ol' Southport Dress pattern. I'd made this many years ago and needless to say I had to cut fresh pattern pieces for my new size. I'd forgotten how lovely this pattern is to sew. The bound neckline and arms are great and the front button placket can easily be made 'faux' as the dress just pops on over your head anyway.

The fabric is some lovely Lady McElroy viscose from the stash but I really liked the bright pink tones in there. I never had myself down as a 'pink' kind of person but I do like a bright fuschia!

Also in the stash I found a bit of purple cords and some pink binding so they did the job nicely! I must remember this pattern for next year should holidays become a thing again as it's a great option for throwing on and keeping cool.

I also made an Ogden Cami dress a couple of months ago, again when any fabric near the skin was annoying due to the heat. Seems like the Ogden 'dress hack' is having a thing right now so a good time to share this make.

The only change to make it into a dress was to lengthen the pattern, and make sure that it was big enough to go over my hips at the side seams. 

The fabric is a freesia print viscose originally from Fabric Godmother but had been in the stash a few years. Another I'd been saving for a special occasion but we have learnt these may never come so this lovely dress was made :)

A nice feature of this dress is that I gave it adjustable straps! I had some rose gold bra findings so used those on the straps so that it was more comfortable to fit and stop sliding off my shoulders. I need to remember to do this on future cami tops as it's really useful for my one slopey shoulder.

I had a good chunk of the freesia fabric left so I thought I'd try something entirely different -  The Hunter Tank by Jennifer Lauren.


 Not a style I've ever worn before but I figured it would look nice with high waist jeans (on the off chance I'll ever fit into those again).

It's cut on the bias so that was also a new one for me. The neckline and arms are bound with yellow bias tape. The top itself didn't actually take up too much fabric. I definitely didn't pattern match as you can see! 

Not worn yet but I will be giving it a go when it's trousers weather. Which is probably in about 5 minutes given how changeable it is right now.

Lastly a bit of menswear! I've made quite a few Liesel + Co t-shirts in bamboo jersey for the fella, however a photo is quite elusive! The pattern is lovely though and fits really well. Here's the black version (rainbow coverstitch of course heehee).

Wardrobe By Me also brought out some men's 'summer pants' and these turned out to be brilliant! I cut a size 3XL and didn't have to make any alterations at all. 

 They have a faux fly, side pockets, elastic waist also with a drawstring and the back has a yoke and flat felled seams making them look really well thought out. For me, there are about 8 pieces too many with regards to the pocket and waistband however it's a very well drafted pattern and expertly done. My machine did struggle at some points where there were about 6 layers of fabric where the pocket, facings and waistband all sat on top of each other. I'd be tempted to leave out the pocket facings next time as they were structured enough due to the fabric. 

These are made in Ramie Linen from Textile Express and it's such a good fabric. Soft but sturdy and durable. These are the shade 'midnight' however I also bought purple (for myself) and a denim look version too. The denim version was however vetoed by husband as he said he didn't want to look like he was wearing cut-offs! 

So at least someone got successful shorts this summer!!

Onwards into September 2020 then people, I wonder what's next...

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When Style Arc Saved Summer

 You can tell how long I've been making these Clare Pants for by the progression of my hair cuts!

This pattern by Style Arc seems to have been incredibly popular and I can tell why there are so many converts. Despite the 'thin' (yet perfectly understandable) instructions they are superbly drafted, easy to put together and the fit is fantastic! Not a crotch seam scoop or a hem tweak in sight for these ones. Wow.  

These have been through many iterations to end up with my new favourite pair or summer trousers!

The pattern is for pants which are are elasticated in the back, with a flat front, a tie belt that hides the elastic gathers and HUGE pockets. There's also a couple of front pleats for added interest factor.

I made these in a straight size 14 and due to the ease and elasticated back, they go nicely over my hips and fit well at that size. Any smaller and I think there would be a struggle to get them on despite how roomy the legs are.

The first pair I tried out were made just after Lockdown started in April in some gorgeous triple crepe from Sewisfaction. Ooo this fabric really is 'Luxe' as described. The drape is beautiful and it's a great weight for trousers. The fabric really took the front pleats well and they hang over la derriere just right. The only tweak to these I would like to make is to take the legs in a bit as they are very wide to the point of trip hazard.


Almost immediately after I made these the weather turned and we were all sweating away in 30 degree heat for a while there. Returning to the Clare pants, I thought they would make excellent shorts! Now, yet again the curse of the 2nd make struck and some black linen shorts I made with this pattern totally failed. I still don't know how. Same pattern pieces, same elastic length but NOPE my legs and butt were not going to fit in them.

For some reason I thought I'd go for 3rd time lucky - and it worked! This time a bit of stretch linen from 1stForFabrics won out. Linen. That stretches. Heaven.

By the time I finished these the weather turned again and the rains came. It became a joke in our sewing group that I needed to stop making shorts as it was ruining the weather!


No changes made for these save to chop them about 7 inches from the inside leg for shorts length. 

The shorts went away whilst the weather decided what it was doing, then the whole of Britain started chanting 'I'm too's so hot...' in unison. So wafty breezy summer pants were needed!

The fabric for these bad boys was some Art Gallery 'Tropicalia' viscose from Minerva (not a gift) which I had been 'saving' for a special occasion. But one day on a total whim I just wanted to cut it and see what happened. Jazzy pants is what happened!

For this version I took the leg seams in by about 1 inch either side and tapered up to the pocket. I should have interfaced the belt as it's really flimsy but no real issue. Super comfy summer Clare pants!

Just to finish off the outfit, I also whipped up an Odgen Cami by True Bias in some leftover black viscose and it feels lovely to wear together.  It doesn't tent quite as badly in viscose which is what I'll be using for all future Ogdens! - You know they'll be more. 

The sun shall set, the tides shall go out and people will still be sewing Odgens.

(Just FYI for the Ogden, I used a size 14 and added about 1/2 inch to the under arm/side seam for a slightly wider/looser fit. I tried the new pattern 14 with a bust dart but unfortunately it was way too big on me, so I reverted back to the original pattern for this top pictured.)

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Jenny Shorts and Ankara Adventures

 If you've read my previous posts you'll know I become a little obsessed with shorts this summer and finding some that actually fit properly.

Not finding too much joy in the elasticated woven kind, I figured it was time to bring out the big guns. 

Closet Core Patterns.

 It's no secret I love Heather-Lou and the best part of the Closet Core Patterns (formerly Closet Case Patterns) collection. Even the ones I don't love you know are going to be really well drafted. Her trousers tend to fit me pretty well without too many major scale tweaks so why not I thought, give the Jenny pattern a go. 

Granted it was a bit extreme to buy the full Jenny Overalls pattern just for the shorts version but hey, dedication to a cause. Plus a cheeky discount swung it. 

Size: I cut a 16 at the waist grading to 18 at the hips. A quick toile made up revealed that I did need to tweak the crotch curve a bit and I scooped a fair amount out of the back to accommodate the booty. 

I just love how this pair turned out. They seem to fit my contours really well and are very comfortable to wear indeed. They have been worn out and survived a full day of walking without much issue.

Pattern: The pattern has loads of choices for fastenings and my favourite part is this brilliant side 'arrow' which wraps around the waist. The pattern called for a lapped zip but I went for an invisible one which worked just as well. The overlap of the button placement on the waistband makes a nice feature and also allowed the waist to be nipped in a bit more aswell.

I also omitted the pocket facings aswell. I didn't want the extra bulk and the fabric was sturdy enough as it was.

 Here are the insides:

Fabric: This pair is some beautiful Ankara fabric from KTextile19 on Etsy. Whilst I was doing the toile for these shorts, there was Ankara Fabric Appreciation week over on Instagram. It was so lovely being able to see everyone's creations and learn about the history and culture surrounding these prints.  
Did I pattern match? Absolutely not. Does it bother me. Not one bit.
 I then decided that one pair was just lonely and so made a second in some more Ankara, this time from DiligentHandsFabric. I couldn't resist these lovely blues and paired them with a Turtlebird button.


 The curse of the second make struck though and despite using the IDENTICAL pattern pieces, the second pair seem to fit differently for some reason. The front rise seems 'off' somehow with too much fabric in that area. I have no idea why, and others I have asked say they look ok so I'll just go with it.
I appear to be far more joyous in the bright pair however this pic was taken very much on the fly!

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