Pattern Drafting - Frog Dress

Hello again :) 

I suppose this is a part 2 installment of my earlier post about drafting a dress bodice block. 

With Norwich Sewcials we hosted a second drafting retreat, and again I thought it would be nice to wear something from my own drafted bodice block. 

My previous dress was an 'easy fit' version with just bust darts and no further shaping. I thought I would take the next step and create a 'fitted easy fit' bodice. I think that just means you can breathe.

I bought this gorgeous stretch cotton from Beyond The Pink Door - no prizes for guessing why I was drawn to this print. (Ahem - frogs.See top left shoulder!)

The Winifred Aldrich drafting method has you pop additional darts in the front, back and waist shaping in the side seams to achieve a more fitted block. I duly undertook these amendments to my pattern - and low and behold - a fitted bodice was created. 


This project was not without it's issues though. I absolutely could not get the skirt to fit - and that is my fault for not actually drafting the skirt pieces to match the bodice. I sort of - winged it. What I ended up was with a huge amount of sway back. 

Had I drafted the skirt properly I would have found this fitting issue a lot earlier. But of course this was all last minute as usual (:sigh:). 

This was resolved by pinching out the excess at the back waist seam and tapering to the side seams, taking a wedge of fabric out which mimicked a sway back adjustment. Thank you to The Fabric Wrangler who received about 400 photos of my bum during this process. (And that was before I showed her the dress.) (Just kidding.)

The second fairly obvious issue was that I didn't have enough fabric and the dress is a lot shorter than I'm comfortable with. It looks cute with opaque tights but an issue of a big booty - is of course that any amount of bending makes the length a bit obscene. I just have to stand up straight when wearing. 

I found some buttons from Hobbycraft that had a slight 'swampy' vibe and they seemed to go quite well. They are actually bright green pearl on the right side, but the underside looked better amongst the leaf print of the dress.

My absolute hero piece of this outfit is the belt! I found a lovely vintage 'kissing frog' belt buckle on eBay, a lengthy of green elastic and viola! Frog Belt of Dreams. I'm thinking of getting some other colours of elastic so I can swap about as needed.

 I wore the dress all day for our sewing retreat and whilst the fit was comfy - I just don't think I'm a fitted kinda gal. The length bothered me a bit and I felt I kept pulling it down all day, especially with tights on. The fabric was much stifffer than I'm used to aswell. I have a feeling this may get chopped to short tunic length to make it 'intentionally short' and wear it with leggings more like a peplum stop type situation. Unsure yet. Let me know what you think :)

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(Not So) Spooky Sewing

This is about as close to 'spooky' as it's got this year so if you came for an epic Halloween costume you may feel short changed with this blog post. In fact the state of the UK is probably scarier than any October makes I've made. 

None the less, I love a theme and here we have a little selection for you!

I did have grand plans of making some long black Elvira style vampire dress, just because I fancied it. However time was not on my side, common sense took over and I settled for a spider t-shirt. I think I made a good choice. 

This pattern is the Itch to Stitch - Soller Top - a lovely little alternative to a classic tee. I cut my usual Itch to Stitch measurements at sizes 14/16/18 graded and sure enough it fit. 

The fabric is a really cute cotton jersey from the stash - I think it was probably from Jelly Fabrics. There was only a meter in the stash and so the grown on sleeves were ideal for this as it didn't take up much space in the cutting layout.

Next up I made myself a pair of spiderweb gym leggings. This is the Apostrophe Patterns - My Fit Leggings pattern which I have made many times. Big fan of this pattern. Pop in your measurements and it generates a custom fit pattern!

I've always fancied a pair of web leggings and so I treated myself to a meter of lycra from Funkifabrics to whip them into reality. Whilst you may think their lycra is expensive, it is incredibly good quality and definitely passes the squat test at the gym! No transparent tights here. Plus the little pocket is very handy.

 Lastly, and we're really stretching the ol' spooky theme here, is another Shelby Dress by True Bias. I'm classing it as spooky as it has moths on. Oh, and I saw a load of bats when wearing it.

On a previous version of this dress, my toile came up really big especially across the bust. I put some real effort into fitting this properly by taking a panel of 2cm out of the center front bodice piece and reshaping the bust curves. The effort paid off and I absolutely LOVE this dress. I've worn it several times since making it and definitely will get good wear.

The fabric is a Lady McElroy viscose that has also been living in my stash for several years as it was 'too special' to cut. Enough of that now.

The fabric is called 'Moonlight in Madagascar' which is wonderful in itself and feels lovely to wear. I think it found it's destiny to be this Shelby. It also saved me in a weird bit of October heatwave in Barcelona when it was too warm for much else!

As always, many thanks for stopping by and wishing you all happy stitching! 

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Sewing Inspo from Saint + Sofia

 I'm going to slide into Sunday today with something a little different. A sewing mood board!

This actually started from the Internet's obsession with advertising the shop Saint + Sofia to me at any given opportunity. And the algorithm won here, because yes, I pretty much like everything on their website.

That being said - all they are doing is giving me sewing ideas!

As I cruised the pictures I realized how similar some of Indie patterns were to be able to recreate some pieces.  

Whilst some of the prices for the RTW are well out of my price range, the fabric and pattern may well be reasonable in this case.  (P.s I'm not slagging off their prices, they seem like they have a good sustainability/ethic policy and well...they can charge what they's just out of my budget!)

Case and point is this camel coat in the top left (£329) and a really similar recreation in the form of the Helen's Closet Pona Jacket. I have already made this twice, adding a belt and loops. With a few more tweaks I think you've got a pretty good dupe!

Sticking with Helen's Closet - the Cameron Shirt also makes an excellent version of the 'boyfriend shirt' which features zero darts and a loose fit. In a nice viscose like Helen's...or indeed mine here...the resemblance is uncanny.

Another one I have already tried to replicate is the jersey maxi skirt - which can be achieved using the True Bias - Mave pattern, or alternately draft your own. Vague instructions here if you are interested!

Pictures from Saint + Sofia UK

Moving on to the new season stuff - here are a few patterns that really stood out.

The first top I loved was this amazing moto jacket in the top left - why is it amazing? Because it's ponte and stretchy! Hey June Handmade came through here with this Evergreen Jacket - really similar style features, and also designed for stretch. 

In the top right we have a pair of wide leg trousers - Closet Core Patterns were band on trend with their latest release of the Mitchell Trousers. I've bought the pattern and fabric - just need to toile as I don't trust the fit yet! The feature that really appealed with this pattern is the addition of a side 'tie' which you can pull in and out to adjust your waist size! Perfect when a fixed size is a waste of trouser making.

Pictures from Saint + Sofia UK

Bottom left is my ol' faithful pattern the Style Arc Ponte Pants. I love this pattern and wear a pair weekly. There's a few blogged here but I would definitely wear a classic black pair with a side stripe for a bit of added jazz. 

The last one is a 'future' pattern. (Depending on when they release the pattern - October some time). The Saint + Sofia Halcyon Coat (£399) has that great classic collared coat feel with some edge. A sneaky peek released by Atelier Jupe would indicate they are bringing out their own version! I'm hoping that those are in seam pockets rather than welt pockets - as I really want to make a coat, but don't fancy doing welts. #tooscared I have the Avid Seastress - The Coat pattern which could also be an option but there seems to be some good fit lines on the Atelier Jupe version.  

Anyway that's about it for now - I could have continued as there was pretty much a pattern for everything on the site but I shall let you browse instead.

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Pattern Drafting with Norwich Sewcials - Cheetah Dress!


As you may already know, myself and The Fabric Wrangler run our local sewing community group called Norwich Sewcials and the other week we headed out for our first Pattern Drafting retreat!

If you're going to talk the talk I figured I better walk the walk and make a dress to wear from a bodice block I had already drafted for myself. (By the way I don't teach this class, I'm very much the behind the scenes technical/admin side of the Norwich Sewcials partnership! Pippa is very much the tutor with over 30 years' experience and there's no way I'm getting in the way of that. #knowyourplace #assitanttothemaster)

I love shirt dresses so a natural step from my bodice block was to make an easy fit maxi shirt dress. Once you have your block this is surprisingly quite straight forward! I did however want to make a toile. Hopefully a 'wearable' toile. 

The block was extended at the centre fronts for the plackets then a simple collar band and collar drafted to attach. I cut the sleeves 6cm off and added 6cm cuffs back on for the 'shirt' feel. The skirt is a large A-line shape, no darts, with a button placket also added at the centre front to match the top bodice.

Some soft viscose challis from Rainbow Fabrics called out to me from the stash - mainly because there was 3 meters of it. This was the result!

It was giving me 'school ma'am goth' vibes so I added spider webs being as it is October. 

 On my bodice block I have little neck tucks at the back to deal with a mini hunchback from hours of computer work. This makes it sit nice and flat against my neck.

This toile is FAR from perfect and I could reel off the 800 things that went a bit wrong (waist too low as I double added seam allowance, buttons in wrong place and don't even get me started on the sleeve I accidentally cut off at the cuff....etc etc) however overall I think it's perfectly wearable.

I was overjoyed that the back and arms fit, but of course they were drafted to my measurements so why wouldn't they. 

I did wear the thick belt during the class but had to take it off about midday as I could no longer breathe. This is why I like a loose fit dress!

All in all a good first toile off a self-drafted block and definitely room to go back in and improve. 

As for the weekend it was so much fun. It's amazing being around such creative people. Plus we got to see new gadgets including this seam allowance adding thingy which did the trick nicely.

Janome very kindly provided us some goodies for arrival bags which was very exciting and a lovely treat for our attendees.  I won't say more about the goody bag as we have another group in November who may or may not be reading this. 

 I'd say good company, new skills and a nice dress is a good win for a weekend :)

If you fancy seeing more pics of the retreat head to the Norwich Sewcials social media as we saved some pics as stories.

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In The Leaf Litter - Knitted Bugs and Beasties!

 Starting October off with something bit different today. Knitted creatures!

You may or may not already know I became obsessed with knitting animals a while back and really enjoy the process of these smaller makes. So much more interesting than knitting a bit jumper.

A fun little fella to make was this gorgeous frog (this is Turner) - the pattern is by Dot Pebbles Knits and seems to have reached absolute cult status. If you have instagram search #imadethisfrog and there is so much comedy content!

Of course I joined in...

No frog's were harmed in the making of the following photo.

For a while I've also been messing about just making 3D shapes and different textures with knitting and eventually this manifested itself into making my own little patterns for some bugs!

Look away now if you're scared of spiders. Although he is super cute so don't worry too much. 

The messing around escalated as I made spiders, beetles, slugs, woodlice, moths etc.... So as a means to justify this bizarre behaviour I started a little project called 'In The Leaf Litter'. It's a little space to share some humour and ridiculous in a strange ol' world. Please do follow my account if you want to see these little bug adventures.

 Finally I decided it might be fun to actually write down my spider pattern - just in time for autumn and Halloween! So meet 'Big T' my first proper knitting pattern available now on Ravelry and LoveCrafts. It's a 10 page photo illustrated PDF if you fancy giving him a go! 

 I may do the same with the other creatures in due course but like most things it's a matter of time. 

 Thanks for reading if you got this far as I appreciate this one is not everyone's cup of tea! I shall be back with sewing content shortly :)

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Sew Purple for ALZ - Lois Returns

Morning all - sliding in today with a couple more Tessuti Lois dresses! 

Whilst the pattern isn't new to my blog - having already written about it here in more detail - I thought these were worth a mention just for the pretty fabric and associated 'challenge'. 

The Lois dress has to be my favourite pattern from this summer. These versions are made with all my adjustments - a more centered bust dart, no zip and a slightly raised neckline (7cm).

Firstly I made this great 'animal glow' version using viscose challis from Minerva (bought not gifted!!).

A hugely practical dress this turned out to be! I wore it to a work function in summer with heels, it then rained but fortunately the fabric dried out really quickly, then later I threw trainers on with it and it was suitable for dashing about and grabbing dinner. 

I then really wanted to use some Mauve Cobra Corsage fabric that I had been saving from Lady McElroy. Yes - this print again. 

Michelle from MichelleSewsAgain has been hosting a charity event throughout September to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimers and Dementia. The idea was to sew something purple and make a charity donation. Unfortunately our family lost a loved one only a few weeks ago to this and it seemed appropriate to join in and make something. 

Step up Lois again!

This one whizzed up really quickly and I just love how the colour pops on this with the contrasting blue bugs. My tattoos also appear to blend with this one!

Who is that handsome purple gentleman in the picture above you may be wondering? Well that is Snaily - who also formed part of the 'purple' challenge. I mean why not accessorize with a cute snail?

 If you'd like to knit your own snail he was made with a free pattern from Hobbycraft available here.

Thanks for stopping by again it is appreciated :)

I'm thinking of getting a little Halloweeny for October and may post some slightly darker makes now we're getting into autumn! Although I can't promise that some colour won't creep in, I can't resist. 

Wishing you all well... 

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True Bias - Shelby Dress

 Sorry I couldn't think of anything remotely witty or interesting as a title today. 

As you may have guessed from the plain talking - today I'm writing about the True Bias Shelby Dress.

Full disclosure as always - I did not pay for the fabric.

I mean I didn't nick it or anything, it was a brand ambassador gift from Minerva in exchange for popping the pictures and details up on their site which you can see here.

I’ve had the Shelby Dress on my radar for some time now, and bizarrely it seems to be having a bit of a resurgence in the sewing community it seems.

After finally getting the pattern printed up, this Minerva Viscose Challis in ‘Pause Play’ was the perfect accompaniment to a fresh project!


This fabric is so vibrant in real life. It has the perfect drape but remains opaque for sewing any kind of project. The colours really called out to me in these neon greens and my usual fondness for mad print won out again.

The Shelby Dress now goes up to a size 32 which is great. I did download the 0-18 range however my measurements put me in the 16/18 size.

With regards to sizing, there is a LOT of ease in this pattern and there was potential to go down one. That being said, the 16/18 fits by shoulders and back well so any smaller and it starts getting tighter in those areas. As the pattern has princess seams it was fairly easy to pin out some excess in the bust area. As you can see above, my top button missed the mark somewhat so I had to pop a stitch at the top of the dress to keep it from gaping open.

I realised True Bias patterns are drafted for a larger C cup and so it did feel baggy across the bust initially. After pinning out the excess I’ve transferred that onto my pattern so hopefully next time it will come up a little better fitting. I already have another planned. 

The pattern is quite fabric hungry and took the full 3 meters. I also had to patchwork the neckline facing a bit as I couldn’t fit the whole piece on the remaining fabric. I think the pattern actually called for 3.4m which may explain that.

I did go for the shorter length dress but it’s quite long. I’m 5’7” and thought it would fall above the knee but I do like this length. I think for tights and boots in winter it would be good to go a little shorter. 

 I love the swish of this dress and the causal feel. I’m transported back to the ‘90’s wearing this and can feel the urge to pop some chunky boots on! 

The back ties give the dress a nice bit of shape without feeling and looking overly fitted. 


The construction of the dress is really simple with princess and side seams. The neckline and button placket are just a simple facing. The one thing it is missing though…. pockets. 

Note to self for next time. 


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