Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


Bold 2 in 1

I didn’t wear the hat but I did wear the knickers!

I have only one photo on my camera that I’m in: isn’t the bridal party beautiful?

And I wasn’t the only one wearing homemade clothes – the bride’s mother made the dresses!


It was a perfect day.

But living in a castle, being waited on every minute of the day and night and eating and drinking for 12 hours solid  has to come to an end some time so all the glad rags are washed and packed away silently waiting for another grand occasion.


There aren’t too many gaps in my wardrobe – that’s the benefit of making your own clothes – but there are two styles of dresses that were missing – a shirt waister and a maxi. I’ve been avidly reading about shirt waister dresses and researching patterns and various styles and settled on Vogue 8829. V8829 V8829I believe this now OOP but it must be quite recently as I think I only bought the pattern in the one before last Vogue pattern sale. There is a multitude of options on this dress – long, short, A-line, straight skirt, sleeveless or any length of sleeve you want. It’s great.

I’ve avoided the maxi dress until now because – I don’t know why – just have.  Anyway, I combined the two into one…….


The fabric is an bold African cotton seersucker by Julius Holland and a meagre £16 gets you an amazing 5 yards (albeit only 45″ wide); a black and white geometric embossed wax print from Middlesex Textiles. I also purchased a few other black and white designs while I was there. The cotton is not a soft drapey fabric but  remains a little stiff even after washing, however  this means it keeps its shape. Just be aware that most of the prints are large motifs which is not always clear from the website photos. As you can see, I went for the maxi view C – this is achieved by sewing a band around the bottom of the skirt so easily removed if I change my mind about the length.

The fabric necessitated a bit of headache inducing pattern matching – want to see some good chevrons?


The dress has a centre back pleat for ease of movement and I just made a self-fabric tie belt. The pattern calls for only 8 buttons on this maxi length but I put on 14! I felt I needed the extra security and thought the last button was just too high – creating a crotch view split!




All in all – I’m happy with the length and the dress itself for summer wear. This is a kind of muslin as I have some delicious wool and linen mix for autumn workwear and it’s going to be this dress. I’ll make the collar a little smaller, make the straight skirt (turning waist pleats into darts), add some in-seam pockets and stick in some sleeves.


Are your thoughts turning to autumn/winter wear already too? Or spring/summer if you’re in the southern hemisphere? Regardless, happy and successful sewing to you all!




Literally, head to toe -


With the itty-bitty bits left over, I’ve now got matching underwear! Now, what boutique in the world could offer you that?

Pattern is Fehr Trade’s Lacy Thong, once again, downloadable and free.

I really am indebted to all the sewing sisters out there who give their time and designs for us mere mortals to abuse and misuse – from the bottom of my heart – THANK YOU.




We are getting towards the end dear friends ……..Thank you so much for all your very positive and encouraging comments over the last few weeks; they have really helped me slog through this – what a great bunch of folks you are! The almost last item is now complete.

The pattern is one of my favourites Vintage Vogue 1137 with some minor modifications. V1137Shortened to match the length of my dress, I also reduced the ‘swing’ from the back and didn’t line it. So all the seams were either flat felled or Frenched – well there are only two either side and one down the back.


I used the crepe side of the fabric for the outside as the satin side was just a wee bit too shiny for my liking but I used the satin side as highlights and features. I didn’t add the front facings either just turned back 1cm along each front and slip stitched this in place.

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The almost the last of the lace was added to a hem band and turn-back cuffs.



The coat should now make the dress into ‘An outfit”.



I have no more fabric left so there won’t be a short jacket – the 1m I had set aside for this very purpose was used up in making the flower for the hat – unbelievable! I do however, have one little last treat…. ’til next time….




The bag was always going to be a dainty little thing and I’d practically settled for Hot Patterns Crepe Suzette clutch until our dear friend and exceptional stylist, Rhonda, found just the right one on Sew Vera Venus, where you can find all sorts of vintage inspired patterns for all sorts of things and they’re all downloadable and free as well! Thanks Vera!

Mine’s nothing to write home about – Rhonda made her’s in gold leather and it’s absolutely stunning – really professional. Vera’s sample is made in black suede. This one is merely crimson taffeta to match the hat.

Made with just  5 pattern pieces, it is cute and pretty. The bag hangs from the wrist, which is also the closure so it’s hands free and no additional haberdashery required.

Lined in self fabric, I added an brooch for some bling and that’s about it.



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It’s tiny! I’ve never owned a bag so small and a complete contrast to the huge hat.




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