Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane



It was only a matter of time before I dived headlong down the Tina Givens rabbit hole. I started long ago with the Tiltons (slightly quirky), then progressed to Oska rip-offs (quirky and loose) and have now advanced to TG (quirky, very loose and extreme). I have summarily decided that the rest of this year will be the year for making slightly unusual and slightly weird clothes. I mean why not? I already have jeans and Chanel jackets, pencil skirts and frocks, so what’s missing from my wardrobe? The slightly weird and unexpected.


In order to ease myself into the TG aesthetic, the Plinka pants were downloaded, tiled and taped because they’re free. During a recent fabric clear-out I uncovered 4m of dark navy stuff. I have no idea what this fabric was originally purchased for, where it came from or what’s in it; that’s enough to tell you that it is definitely not made from natural fibres. I’ve had this stuff for so long that it now falls into the category of ‘free’.


TG patterns are almost free-form: no fitting required which allows for a certain freedom in cutting and sewing but I would strongly advise that you cut at least a size smaller than you need in order to avoid being overwhelmed by swathes of fabric. I regard myself as a UK 14 and always cut a Vogue (US) 14 but I make alterations as I sew. With TG I happily cut out a Small.


Plinka pants are essentially bloomers (take note Demented Fairy) that are perfectly acceptable to be worn on their own. Elasticated waist, patch pockets, comfortably loose with interesting details at the hem. Taking my time, I contently pressed the navy stuff into pleats, made binding, hem pleats, pockets and, out the other side,  a matching Ogden cami. Now I have an “outfit”……


I also uncovered a little bit of navy/ivory linen that became another Ogden. This time I utilised all the leftovers and cut them into strips with pinking shears, sewn along the centre line only and left to fray at will.


Pinking shears are the most recent tool added to my sewing arsenal. These were a Christmas gift from my son and they have been indispensable. 286-9061_PI_1000017MNGenerally overlooked nowadays because of overlockers/sergers but these amazing scissors have been used in haute couture since its inception to reduce bulk in seams and they prevent fraying in the simplest way. I don’t cut out a pattern with them but use them for seam finishing under a lining, trimming inside collars and cuffs, neatening the edges of patch pockets and sometimes using them for effect.


The little patch of linen on the Plinka pants hopefully ties these two together. My label was sewn on using another patch of linen on the outside – an idea from and a small acknowledgement to our dearly departed TwoToast -who sent me to TG in the first instance.


I totally love these!  I hope I wear them and carry them off with the confidence and aplomb that they deserve. They do have that dropped crotch of which I am not generally a fan but somehow it works with these.


Went to a gin tasting a few weeks’ ago, even though I don’t like gin, but doing my best to support the local Belfast hospitality industry – I’m such a martyr to the cause……. and I didn’t have to think about what to wear………..


Back soon.


20 thoughts on “Evolution

  1. Your pants and top are amazing and you wear them so well! I am very happy you are continuing your posting. Although I am too short to carry these pants, the inspiration is appreciated.

  2. Absolutely love them. You look fabulous

  3. They look good. Helena Bonham-Carter style.

  4. You’ve inspired me to give the patterns another try. I had to cut the very smallest size, and it was still quite roomy. But I really like how you paired the pants with the cami. A really nice balance.

  5. What an inspiring outfit! Love love love it, I have some loose linen pants that I put a pleated grill on the bottom, but I feel like they are too long for summer, so I may try a similar treatment !

  6. LOVE these bloomers they’re totally not weird but perfect for my HOT Florida life especially in a gauze, light weight linen or rayon. Im 5’8″
    so they ought to look fabulous length wise. Thanks for the heads up on the sizing too. This will be my first pattern download if I can figure out how to download & print this pattern from my tablet or phone I’ll be sewing these up next.
    BTW: I’ve used my pinking sheers for years cutting out patterns especially the neck, armhole, sleeve caps & any other curves as it helps ease the pattern pieces in while sewing & cuts down on the fray during handling of the fabric, still leaving it possible to use any seam finish you want.
    These bloomers look fabulous on you. Thanks for the heads up to the pattern. Yes I think DF would love these!

  7. Wow…fabulous Ruth! They have a kind of a look of culottes about them but funkier. The hem detail is lovely. Great detail on your top too.

  8. You look positively super in all of the above!
    Love your idea for fraying that linen.
    (I use pinking shears all the time \. 😉 We always had a pair at home, so I’ve kept the habit.)

  9. I love the Ogden made from strips of fabric and the fabric patches on the pants and matching top just pull it together and add just a little bit more of quirkiness.

  10. I just finished my first Tina Givens pattern this weekend. And like you I’ve enjoyed sewing the Tilton sister’s designs. Your outfit is super fun, I wish I could pull off this look but I don’t have the height to pull it off. It looks great on you. If you’re looking for another TG pattern, I recommend the Iris dress, it’s very comfortable.

  11. Nice! I do like the linen patches.

  12. Ruth, you look great in this outfit I would look frumpy, short legs don’t go well with these types of garments.

  13. Hola senora! p.s. I’ve nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award (info on my post), no pressure 🙂

  14. What a great looking outfit. You make size smalls? I’ve made two tops in medium. The second, the Lotus shirt dress, definitely needs to be medium for me. (check out the Lotus — I think you’d love it). When I make bottoms I will consider the size small then.

  15. Perfect pants for holiday eating and roaming around in hot climates…OLE” Like others, being short keeps me from wearing bloomers or dropped crotch fashions but you sure can make it work and look so happy! Pinking shears are an essential tool in my sewing room and have been for over 50 years before sergers/overlockers took over. What a great way to use up orphan/free fabrics!!

  16. Good lord, those are so cute on you! I love the designs of Tina Givens, and wish I could pull them off. Not enough height. You wear them well 🙂

  17. Well, these turned out so well! You can definitely carry off the look.

  18. Tina Givens is new to me so I must investigate. Your outfits look both comfortable and funky. It’s so easy to go for the expected so thank you for sharing the unexpected 😉

  19. You carry off the bloomers very well, but I really love the pieced together cami. So chic. The style reminds me of the Kaliyana clothing line, which i’d really try to knock off. Their “anti suit” keeps it professional and comfy. Keep cool this summer.

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