Hits, Misses and a Dress with a Destiny

Yes it's one of 'those' blog posts - a little yearly round up of the hits, misses and the great unworn. 

I'm going to start with the epic fails because let's be fair, we all like sewing a sewing fail.I've only done a few here, the list could have been much more extensive! As I was looking through my pictures there seems to be far more fails/unworns that loved makes - hmmm, that needs to change.

1. Jarrah Sweater - the cropped version just wasn't for me. It sat awkwardly on my waist and felt bizarre. I am happily able to report I did repurpose it into a long line jumper but cutting off the ties and adding in strips. 

2. Marlo Cardigan and a Maxi monster - the Marlo cardy makes me feel 90 and the dress was utterly see-through!

3. An attempt at The Blouse by the Avid Seamstress - absolutely not designed for people with biceps. No fault of the pattern, just not my cuppa. Both pieces got re-homed.

4. The 'Grab a Cuppa Cardi' - whilst a nice pattern, I made it far too big and the fabric was not a great choice as it is synthetic and itchy. 

5. Sigh - my lovely frog dress - I still don't know what to do with this - it's way more structured that I like to wear so it bothers me - I do however LOVE the fabric. 

6. The biggest fail of the year has to be this Fayma pattern!!!

7. It breaks my heart this is a fail. My late mum had a lovely spanish dress and I finally plucked up the courage to make something from the fabric. I had loved the Saltwater Slip pattern however as I popped this on in Spain - it's completely sheer!!! Unwearable :(

8. Just nope. 

To the Hit Parade! I genuinely really loved these makes and patterns and would happily re-make them again. 

1. The Sauvie Dress - an absolute hidden gem of a pattern and fantastic for that 40 degree hit this summer. 

2. Tilly and the Buttons Indigo - I didn't expect to love this as much as I did. I wore it so  much this year and got a lovely complement just about every time it went out! Mysterious. 

3. Whilst not the most fun to make, the Closet Core Pouf has had some great use in our house, and is currently the favourite snoozing spot of Bagel the Cat.

4. Tessuti Lois - my goodness this is my favourite pattern of the year. Once tweaked to get the neckline height it was a dream to whizz up and a pleasure to wear. 

5. Saltwater Slips - plural. I made loads. Such a great dress to pop on or layer up.

6. Not necessarily the tee pictured - but the free Closet Core Tee pattern is fantastic! I have found a real fondness for his pattern and it's flattering shape and have now used it several times in other makes. 

7. True Bias Shelby Dress - another winner once I'd tweaked my pattern to fit. Love this. A beautiful silhouette and very comfortable to wear.  

8. My all-time favourite pattern features again here - Nina Lee Kew Dress - I felt so good in this maxi dress (a rare feeling for me) and that's what it's all about right?

 Below are a few makes which are in the 'great unworn' category!

1. This bloody thing. I worked my ass off for this for an exhibition, what a waste of time and energy. Note to self- don't do that again. 

2. The Cameron Shirt by Helen's Closet - I made this great version for my husband but unfortunateoly despite the 'unisex' title we definitely thought it looked a bit blousey and feminine. It keeps getting  swerved. 

3. Lots of effort for a lovely ladybird made with my Cricut machine - LOVE this tee but I daren't wear it because of the white! I will. In Spring. When I'm not eating.

4. Oh this was a labour to find the right pattern - after months of trying most shirt pattern I mashed up my own to make this annnnnndddd never wore it. I think the seasons changed so perhaps it will get an outing in 2023. 

5. Love this. Made it too late though as we went from summer to deep winter overnight. True Bias Zoey Tank has a great shape and I would definitely make a couple more for summer.


Well done if you've made it down here! Finally the Dress with a Destiny. This was actually a 2020 dress and inspired by The Good Place final episode. (I dare you to watch that last episode and not question your very existence).

In 2022 it got to fulfil it's destiny and walk summer Mediterranean streets just as intended. The wait was worth it.

Thanks so much for everyone that hops on here and has a read of my ramblings. I do often wonder if blogs are on their way out or whether to bother but actually it's a fun thing to do so for now I'll keep going. Wishing you a Happy New Year and see you on the other side! x

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A Festive Union and a Fairy Lit Octopus

Sneaking in just before Christmas with a little festive cheer and sparkle in the form of some party wear!

First up is good ol' M6044 which is the absolute nuts of the men's shirt world in my opinion. I have made this many times!

This was completely inspired by the fabric. This wonderful octopus fabric, with added fairy lights, is from Like So Amazing. It's my husband's favourite print - now with a festive twist! It's a Sarah Watts design which was in a collection called 'Mystery Food by Cotton + Steel' but has now cropped up as Ruby Star Society 'Jolly Darlings' collection.

This shirt comes together so quickly. There is no yoke and the cuff plackets are formed from a 2 piece sleeve so no fiddly bits to contend with there either. A seriously good beginner pattern if you haven't made a shirt before.

Mr Crafty Clyde wanted to wear cuff links and I realized I'd done the button holes in the wrong direction. These have been sewn up and re-done so it just looks like a blue cross. Plus, the cuff link covers the stitching anyway.

It's been a while since I've made this shirt and let's say, it could have done with another inch of breathing room this time. I must re-trace the pattern as it's such a great one for showing off a fantastic print.

As this little number was made for a work Christmas party, I popped an appropriate label in (from Sew Anonymous). Oh yeah - and I hand stitched the cuffs and collar - wooooo!

As for me - I WAS going to make a Gala Gown by Patterns for Pirates. About 5 minutes away from cutting it out I changed my mind, as it was snowing and the idea of a dress and no tights felt a bit chilly considering we're in minus figures outside now. 

So instead I genuinely just 'winged it'. Out came the velvet sparkly leggings - maximum comfort and jazz factor combined. I then figured it needed some kind of tunic top - with a difference.

I used my TNT Union St. Tee pattern as a base and cut it at the waist. The greatest thing about this pattern is that there's a shaped back option that fits amazingly on a sway back. (It's for the Sheridan Sweater but works on all their patterns :)


The peplum is made from a circle skirt shape - with wiggles in. That's the only way I can describe it!! Diagram alert:

 Attach the skirt to the t-shirt and BOOM - super comfy party outfit. In need of a press here!

 This fabric is really sparkly in real life - but incredibly difficult to photograph! It's from Pound Fabrics and AMAZING! The quality is lovely - it's a viscose jersey but has good weight to it and sews up really well. I actually ordered another piece for the stash as it's so good. Would recommend - think it's on sale right now too!

So off to the 'ball' we go in our handmade outfits! (And a quick selfie was all I had for you...)

Wishing you all a happy holiday period whatever you may be doing. 💖 From me and all the creatures!

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Seasonal Stitching and Sewing


 It's that time of year where the blog gets a little neglected. I haven't posted in ages as I've mostly been working/poorly/sewing up secret Christmas gifts that can't be photographed yet! 

I'm back today with a very random array of seasonal sewing and knitting for you - a bit of 'sew and tell'. Nothing life changing, just a bit of 'sewing sorbet' in between bigger projects. 

It's no secret I'm a big Snoopy fan and so this Hey Sew Sister jersey leapt into my basket in November. (It's on sale now if you want a piece!)

It called out to be a roll neck - total 80's ski vibes. I used the Tilly and the Buttons Freya top which I've found to be very comfortable around my neck and not particularly tight.

Next is my new love, in the form of the FREE Closet Core Tee pattern. I'm really loving the loose yet feminine shape of this one. 

I snapped up 1 meter of this super cute penguin fabric from Like Sew Amazing and managed to squeeze the tee onto that piece. 

I also raided my stash a while back and whipped up a Helen's Closet Jackson Pullover from this 'glitter bug' french terry. Another fantastic basic pattern that can be re-made a zillion times. 

I popped this on with some snazzy Style Arc Parker Ponte Pants for a recent festive Sew Day and was nice and cosy all day.

As you can see it's all simple TNT patterns that I've made before and take about an hour to sew up. I can't handle anything too challenging at the moment!

Next come the knits. Dark nights and sofa sitting lends itself well to knitting and I enjoy faffing about making random stuff. This included some knitted fairy lights! This was a free pattern from Ravelry, but a little boring to make if I'm being honest. Fun to hang up though.

I FINALLY finished a pair of socks that have been on the go for the best part of a year. Not perfect but nothing is so who cares. It's self-striping yarn called 'Pairfect' however they are definitely not identical. 'Sisters not Twins' as a lady once said about eyebrows....

My Christmas present to the world this year is a little knitted ladybird pattern called Linden Ladybird. Beginner friendly. Knit him in sparkly yarn and hang him as a decoration or keep him as a pocket pet! If you'd like a copy of the pattern you can download it here.


I gave myself a little introduction to Fair Isle knitting and had a go at this mouse with an integrated sweater - so cute! He's called Slyp.Another freebie pattern that you can find here.

I shall pop back on the blog before Christmas as I do have a couple of party pieces to show you! Just need to actually finish them off.....

Until then I'll leave you with Elf on a Shelf - lovely Big T in a Tree!

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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 like...it'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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