Shopping list!

I am looking for some simple dress patterns to get a bodice fit that’s perfect (some day I will show you my Peony issues but in the meantime I would love to find a basic shape that I can play with).  And a skirt with a bit of body!

Here’s what has made it on to my wishlist:


Sorry about the crappy pictures – they are the best the website could offer!  I have yet to make a long sleeved dress that looked good.


Love anything with neck pleats –  but would it be worth fitting a new pattern when I already have a bodice block with these?




Intrigued by the  draping over the front of this one but not sure what fabric I would want to use?


I’m a sucker for a red dress (not sure if it is really appropriate regular wear for a doctor?) and this features a lining to help the knit skim.  I don’t fancy another shot at knits for the time being though.  Hmmm. I’m off to pattern review… anyone made these or have an opinion?



Still no machine…

It seems that the belt has broken or come off the machine so its been out of use for nearly a week! And no sign of it coming home anytime soon 😦 It may be time to retrieve the back up machine from my mum’s….

Thankfully I managed to run up the muslin for my dress bodice block just before this disaster occurred, so at least I can play with the fit in the meantime.  I know it looks like there are waist darts in the picture – in fact its my Sharpie markings where I drew around my pins!  You can see it’s still quite boxy here, which makes sense as Sorbetto is a loose top without closures.  As it fits quite well across the shoulders it still makes sense to use the pattern.



I’ve pinned where I think the neckline and armholes should go.  I also have a little bit of room across the upper chest – all you can really see is that there isn’t much contour there.  I may need to pinch out a little pleat horizontally.

Next step:


I was too lazy to try to pinch out extra fabric at the upper chest area in the end – I’ve added at little 0.5cm dart at the armpit, and will probably just add the extra onto the side dart to make life easy!  Another option is to extend the waist dart higher which will pull the top down a little overall.  Tempting when the seam allowance is still on your neckline and it is sitting right over the notch there.

You can see I’ve also pinned out the fabric below the breast until it is snug (I can be quite severe as I already have a top on to take some space).   I like this area quite fitted so my darts will often be an odd shape!


Back darts are much trickier!  Some truly scary markings when I took it off – in the end i guesstimated the length of these.


Repinned and made more symmetrical.  Of course normally I would restitch the new darts and check.  But no can do!

To transfer the changes my preferred method is to unpick the muslin and re-pin it to the pattern before placing pins or basting through the new dart legs and other markings to make them show on the pattern.  Although if just a side seam adjustment I will often just eyeball it…


So I will be doing a lot of this instead (Peacock Eyes cardigan –  Sigh.  Have you ever had a forced break from sewing? It’s maddening!

Pre-blog – copycat Sorbetto tie bottom

Yes, it’s a total rip off of one of the Seven Days Of Sorbetto tops:


I changed the side darts to two neck tucks in my version.  Slimmed down the sides as I wanted a more fitted shape and was willing to put a zip in to achieve that.  Other than that I used the tips from the website.

The fabric is a bit of a mystery – I bought it in John Lewis where it was not tagged with any branding but cost around the £13 a metre mark.  Then I saw it referred to on the web as Liberty.  Which wouldn’t make sense – a) because if it’s Liberty you make sure people know; and b) I don’t think a rival department store would stock their fabrics!


I have found it here online although I’ve never seen this site before.


I drafted an identical facing piece to apply to the bottom of the top as the fabric is not reversible at all.  It doesn’t look too obvious in the picture – but disappointingly that’s because the fabric faded on the first wash!  I now don’t mind how it looks so much except for the zip which was well blended in before:


But what can you do? Getting it in to a curved side seam was work enough.


Striking resemblance to silk blouse tucks (no coincidence!)


Rabbits are indifferent.  That’s all for now; happy sewing!


Silk blouse – take 2

Or more like take 5, as I can’t make a lot more progress on this until my buttonhole thread comes through.  Last week I basted the sleeves to set them in (flat, as per the facings tutorial in my last post).  The sleeves were drafted as a free pattern to accompany Sorbetto from  There seemed to be about 5cm of ease in the cap. And seeing as my experience with setting in so far has consisted of trying it, getting annoyed, giving up and pleating instead I was a bit worried about getting it in smoothly.  I don’t much like gathers, especially over a puffy sleeve (shudder).  Conquering this on silk was not the right battle!


I wussed out and pleated 5 1cm sections across the cap and eased the rest in.  Truth be told I prefer the way it looks.  In future I will subtract the excess from the pattern as I always shorten the sleeve anyway.

IMG_2821 IMG_2822

Yes this is the same fabric – just in and out of direct light!  In the interests of experimentation (read: laziness) I false french seamed one shoulder (which also included the raw edge of the facing).  This was a bit too bulky, so the second time round I folded this raw edge under and stitched it invisibly to the seam.  I much prefer this method in the end.


I started the French seams for the sides and sleeve seams but have not completed them (and commited myself – the silk marks once stitched).  Until I can get hold of my buttonhole bits from The Lining Company (UK) this project is on the back burner!

I might use that as a excuse to start a muslin for a fitted/circle skirt dress I have in mind for this coral faille:


It has a lovely ridged texture and slight sheen.



Hands out of the notions jar!

I FINALLY finished the Ginger skirt.  Actually I don’t mind projects taking a long time, as long as they are not frustrating from start to finish.  I have had my fair share of annoying moments (mostly due to own stupidity) with this – like stitching the in seam pockets between the front pieces of the skirt and so on.  Gah.

I added the vent and vent lining using tutorials from Sunni at A Fashionable Stitch.  Her blog is quite technique focused and clear enough that I was willing to give the vents a try for the first time.  I suspect I did not spread my pieces enough though as the vent lining curve does not sit where it is meant to (and then got topstitched over anyway…)


IMG_2667[1] Vents edged with spotty ribbon 🙂


I stitched blue ribbon to the hem and turned up with catch stitches

Please note I didn’t sew the vent lining on as instructed.  I just couldn’t get my head around it! Essentially once I had secured the lining to the zip I fudged the seams between the vent and the lining on the machine however they looked and hung right.  I think it’s ok and will leave it at that.

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IMG_2688[1] IMG_2691[1]

In typical British fashion when I managed to get my other half to take some photos it was wet and horrible, but the last day was sunny and bright.  Can you see the curved pocket?  I used some quite chunky twill tape along the edge to prevent stretching but it seems to still want to curve away from the body.  Probably not such an issue when stuffed full of things!  This has happened before so if you have any bright ideas I would love to know.

All in all I am quite pleased with it; it’s perhaps not as curve hugging as I would like, but as I can only JUST sit down wearing it thats probably as good as it’s going to get!  The top is inspired by various renditions of Jalie 2921, but I didn’t fancy it in a knit.  I altered my Sorbetto draft (I use the pattern minus the pleat with a few adjustments as the basis for most tops now), adding length and a curved V neckline.  The neck tie is just a 10cm strip of the fabric, turned and stitched into tie shapes at each end and attached to the neckline.  The inner side of the band was stitched to the neckline wrong side (ie inside the top) and then turned to the outside to be topstitched.

I may have to wear the tie in a bow at work as dangling ties are a no-no now in hospitals.

So what next? I am currently re-learning to knit so I can make this lovely cardigan:


But I will try to blog some older clothes in the meantime.  Then after that I have a gorgeous green silk from Stone fabrics to play with (but not to be rushed so I am waiting until I can give it proper attention).  For now I will have to make do with occasionally rubbing it on my skin.