The Westcliff Dress & Cobra Rerun

The Westcliff Dress by Friday Pattern Company has been on my radar since it first came out, however despite eyeing it up constantly I never chose to buy or make it. 

Until now!

The Westcliff is a faux wrap dress - the top has some little gathers into a shoulder yoke, a wrap front, but the top is sewn entirely into a skirt so there is no wrap around or inadvertent flashing to contend with. 

The intended dress was supposed to meet the brief of 'winter appropriate maxi dress to be worn with boots'. It absolutely did not meet this criteria but I love it anyway. 


My first attempt at the Westcliff was with this great neon leopard jersey  just to test the fit.

According to the charts I was an XL-XXL and so that's what I made. I would say that was pretty accurate! It is a stretch jersey dress and so there is of course leeway on fit which is great.

 My only adjustment was to take a little wedge out of the back bodice as I was getting pooling from sway back. There is a belt that you can add over the top of the waist seam and so it hides that a little anyway.

 I think this will be a great dress for Spring. I can't put tights under this as the jersey just sticks and gets annoying. It is however a very comfortable option to throw on when it's a bit warmer.

My actual vision for this pattern was a stretch crepe black Cobra Corsage version. I did previously try to make a maxi in this which was an epic fail as it was so thin. I had convinced myself I just bought a 'bad batch' and so gambled on another piece. 

Nope. It's still very thin and also not very black. HOWEVER, armed with a much better pattern idea the end result was surprising. After some fiddling....

The top went together just fine however upon attaching the skirt, the weight of the skirt itself pulled the top down a whopping 4 inches. I did a bit of creative pinning and took 2 inches our of the bodice and the skirt to get rid of the drop. 

It's also incredibly long! I'm wearing trainers under it here and I don't know whether to take it up a little or not. Time will tell.  

The casual maxi-dress I was after is now a bit more of a fancy dress! I didn't have enough fabric left for a belt and so popped this leather wrap over the top which I quite like.

The dress is fairly sheer which is ok (ish) on a dull day in the photos - but I will have to test it out when it is brighter. 

In looking back for the fabric details I discovered Chelsea from Friday Pattern Company has made the exact same dress!! Her's looks much better though and has that casual vibe I wanted. 

I do really like this dress, and pattern, and would definitely make it again. The cotton jersey definitely worked a lot better to hold it's shape though. This one can be a drapey evening dress.

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Atelier Jupe - Alex Coat Duo

Good morning good morning, 

I'm happy to bring you something different today - a coat! Well actually, two coats!

No these were not whipped up in a week I can assure you of that. They have been in the 'slow sew' department of the sewing pile, picked up as and when I had the time, and concentration to do them properly. And what a wonderful learning curve...

Firstly the pattern. This is the wonderful Alex Coat by Atelier Jupe. 

I spent much of last year searching for the coat pattern of dreams - I did by 'The Coat' from Avid Seamstress but it wasn't calling to me. The Alex Coat however, I completely leapt on that when it was released. It just looked like a classically beautiful, timeless coat. Princess seams, no welt pockets, good collar shape. 


My first version of this coat was for my sister's Christmas present to I started it mid-November. We're similar size so a quick toile was done and then I fit it to myself as I went along.

Size was a 46/48 with a few changes along the way. I took the princess seam in a small amount and also took about an inch off the shoulder length.

The instruction booklet for this coat is very good. Picture diagrams, detailed steps and also a video tutorial for the vent at the back which I found a little complicated. It could do with a sew-along or video step for the finishing of the vent and hems too though as I got a bit lost there and couldn't see what the illustrated picture was doing. I've ended up with a weird step at the front but it does not concern me much. Nonetheless, a coat was produced at the end. Note to self if ever there's a third version.

I learnt so much doing these it was great. The collar attachment is a bit peculiar on this pattern so I used a Youtube video for another method which just snipped into the corners and was far easier to handle. 

Tailored shoulder pads were also a saving grace (as recommended by The Fabric Wrangler) and were absolutely worth hand stitching in for a nice lift and shape. Woven interfacing on all pieces was also fantastic (despite costing more than the coat fabric itself) and worth the investment.

Both coat fabrics were from Rainbow Fabrics and an absolute bargain for the quality. I also picked up a fuschia pink one (more on that soon!). 

Following my personal mantra of 'linings must always be jazzy' I also used some Rainbow Fabrics deadstock satin for the lining of my sister's coat! How fun is that pop of colour!

I then found the ultimate button destiny in my stash with these incredible pink glitter buttons from The Magpie's Eye on Etsy  The pattern calls for one button but I found three looked a bit nicer.

And of course it wouldn't be complete without a label for the inside and this one from Sew Anonymous felt appropriate. ('Rustic' hand stitching!)

I am please to report she loved her coat and it fit - yay!

For my own version I opted for this lovely blue boiled wool which has flecks of colour in it. I came across an Etsy shop called Bitsandbagsco and discovered some amazing resin buttons! There was also an option to customize and so I requested 'blue and gold swirly - like dark starry night' and these absolute beauties came!! Absolutely nailed the brief.

I also raided my stash for some lining and came up with this wonderful ship satin, which I think is ex-Ted Baker from FabWorks. If you also like a jazzy lining do check them out. 

Annnnd of course the obligatory label. Can you tell I was on a high at finishing these?

Very pleased at having tackled a more challenging project as it did feel very satisfying. It's still cold at the moment so it has some wear to go yet!

I would absolutely recommend this pattern. The measurements were true to size, customer support was amazing (I emailed about some instructions I couldn't find), and it is very 'step by step' making it manageable over time. 

Let me know if you have tried this or have a favourite outerwear pattern that's a good 'un!

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Party in Jurassic Park

Life finds a way!

I'm back again, this time with a bit of ridiculous. In the form of a dinosaur skirt. When I saw this fabric my first thought was ‘Jurassic Park’. Which in turn made me think of Alan Partridge… Anyway…

 I was gifted some 'Dino Party' fabric from Minerva in exchange for a post - which you can read here - and thought a dino safari outfit was in order. 

Wow, my garden got wild over winter.

(I realize this is yet another Minerva make, please excuse this - normal content coming soon! I've lost a bit of sew-jo, been ill and also been making a coat so not my to report on as yet).  

This project was a great bit of fun to lift the spirits!

Once again, I’d also seen a Saint & Sofia skirt which looked nice and wanted to recreate that look. I picked out the Nina Lee Kew Skirt pattern (also again!)

The skirt also has front dart which seem to be flattering over a belly and very comfortable to wear. I liked the flat front feature, but wanted a bit more give for weigh fluctuations and so opted to put in an elasticated back to this. This is the same pattern hack I did for my summer frogs version here.

The button placket is not real. I simply cut the front skirt in 2 pieces on the centre front line and stitched it back up to get the opening at the button. As the skirt is elasticated there was no need for real button function.

Talking of buttons – how amazing are these dino buttons I found on Etsy that match the theme!


For that added safari look – and to allow a belt to hide some of the bulk of the gathering, I also popped on some belt loops before attaching the waistband down.  

The waistband was made as one long strip of fabric and sewn together to form a circle. I stitched one edge onto the skirt, then folded and tucked the hem under on the inside to leave casing. With regards to the elastic this was stitched down at the side seam point, stretched through the back channel, and stitched down again at the opposite side seam placement.

The Dino Party fabric is fun, if a little dark and sinister in illustration! Here I was minding my own business taking pictures of my new makes, when my skirt brought all the dinos to the yard. 

 Great fabric, great skirt - just be careful where you wear it. 

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