Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane




Last week while I was sewing up a storm with OOP Vogue 1467, a few minor interruptions relating to Life interrupted proceedings. I took a small break and temporarily lost my mind. I went shopping at Linton Tweed. I know, I know, it’s a really good shop to go browsing but the actual shopping tends to tilt this side of “How much???”

I may have spent my entire Autumn/Winter ’18/19 budget in one fell swoop. And I’ll be requiring lining, zips, buttons, interfacing and what-have-you. So I’m not done yet. I’ll be sewing with scraps until next April!

Hopefully this week the adorable postie will be delivering the following:


The main problem was that I couldn’t decide between the pink check or the green check and this where I lost it and bought both and then I bought the co-ordinating herringbone tweeds too. 100% wool.

Now I need your help. Imagine you have 3m of each check and 2m of the herringbone with which to sew an outfit……anything you like.


Say ‘Linton’ and I immediately think of Chanel. I’m quite prepared to do some slow, haute couture because, quite honestly, there won’t be too much more fabric purchased this side of Christmas.  I was gifted some fabulous Linton by The Material Lady a few years ago and I made use of every inch (including selvedge on neck, pockets and hem) to make my Christmas dress a la Oscar de la Renta.


I already have four Chanel style jackets that are in constant rotation plus a traditional tailored one all using Linton tweeds but let’s face it, one more won’t hurt my wardrobe.


Vogue magazine is promoting checks and tartans for this season with a nod towards the 1970s and please check (ha ha) out Pattern Vault’s recent post on Ralph Lauren.

I’d love your suggestions for making this delicious fabric into something stunning, timeless and of course, something that suits me and that I will wear, although I am always open to new ideas and new patterns so don’t feel you have to go full traditional. I don’t know the actual weight/hand of the tweed yet but sure I can control that with interfacing and lining.

Thanking you in advance and hopefully I’m giving you the chance to go flawless virtual sewing and imagining the perfect finished outfit.





Navy Daisies

I’ve used so much solid navy in my A/W ’15 wardrobe that it needed a bit of a lift. There’s a small hint with the small neck scarf……..


clothhouse-swatch-0347183001441879350849210776The fabric is from The Cloth House, London and was purchased in real life when I there a few weeks ago: it’s a Japanese hammered polyester with a genuinely silky drape and hand – just lovely. Presses well, slight fraying but not excessive and wrinkle free. Black background with navy, cream, lilac and amethyst flowers, all outlined in matt gold. This can be worn with black, grey, navy, cream and purple.


spiral_blouse_patt_image__76239_zoom_grandeThe pattern is an old favourite but I’ve not sewn for quite a while – The Centre for Pattern Design Spiral Blouse. There’s just one piece.


I’ve previously made this with and without centre back seam; with a front button opening and a sewn closed front; lengthened, shortened; long sleeves and 3/4 length. The original pattern comes with a simple round neckline but you can add any shape of collar you like – and I have – pointed, mandarin, funnel, ties, scarf and scooped out for a lower neckline.

The version presented today has been lengthened 3″ with a centre back seam, enlarged all round by simply cutting 1/4″ bigger than the pattern; scarf-style collar (so as to use all available fabric), and a “design feature” of pointed sleeves. I’ll explain later.

Worn today with cotton navy twill Jeanius jeans, rolled up for styling but in reality they fall slightly over the foot to wear with boots and other shoes. I’ve lost count of how many pairs of jeans I’ve made using this Craftsy class and drafted pattern but certainly way more than I could afford or bothered to buy.


The scarf ties can be worn in lots of different ways too, depending on mood and outer-layer jacket: pussy bow, wrapped around and tied at back, casual and loose.


This little blouse also goes with existing wardrobe staples – the cream and the navy Chanel-style jackets – respectively Vogue  8804 & 8259 (OOP) with modifications:




The pointed sleeves are due a cutting error while trying to lengthen them but failed miserably. The sleeves are sewn with a spiral seam and I just kept sewing until I got to the end. However, I kind of like the origami-nature of the point and the slit hem – like an exaggerated elbow dart – so it stayed. It also fits with the natural bend in my arm, so as long as I stand with my arm bent, it looks fine!


The blouse is cut on the bias and drapes/folds/puddles/ drops quite attractively at the back to create an uneven hemline.


I sewed all French seams within and hand rolled all outside hems using this super quick, absolutely magic and easy method.


I think I need to alter my Jeanius pattern a little bit to eliminate those back thigh wrinkles using this method – The paper pattern has been used so much that I may need to make a new one! At the same time, these jeans have been worn for two days in a row, so a bit of stretch and wrinkling is to be expected. I just keep thinking…better than RTW!


And most importantly and significantly …. no-one in the whole wide world has a blouse like his or jeans like these. So pointed elbows and wrinkly thighs – all part of the “look”. You couldn’t do it if you tried!

PS: the neckscarf is made from all the savable leftovers, sewn together into a length long enough to go round my neck and tied in any way that I can. No pattern, no rules, no respect for grainline or pattern – just do it!



Catch up Chanel

A piece of Linton tweed is a precious thing and I had some left over from the summer Chanel jacket, so it was kept wrapped in cotton wool and in a secure area until I could think of something to do with it. After trimming off the scraggly bits I had two pieces 20″ X 40″. What ya reckon ? Just enough to make a pencil skirt?

My hips are 40″ and I need a length of 29″ so there was only one direction these bits were going to hang. I took the extra few inches off the length, cut them up into 5″ pieces and sewed them together, added this panel to the right side seam to give me a skirt with a finished hip size of approximately 42″ – just fits! And there’s nothing left of the Linton either – all usefully used.


Close up of added side panel, made up of even smaller scraps of Linton.



I didn’t use a pattern.

Make your own couture pencil skirt using two rectangles: half your hip measurement and add 3″ to each rectangle; choose the length you want the skirt plus 4-6″ – 2″ for hem and 2″ for self facing waist band.


  1. Machine tack the two rectangles together using regular seam allowances leaving an 8″ gap on the left for the zip
  2. Try on. Pin the gap closed and keep the side seams at the sides – pin to your knickers.
  3. Pin out the excess at the waist into 2 or 4 darts on the front and the same at the back. They will be different lengths on the front from back. This is normal.
  4. Take the skirt off and check the darts are evenly spaced. Sew the darts. Try on again just to be sure.
  5. Rip out the machine basting.
  6. Make lining using same measurements as the skirt but instead of darts just pleat the fabric to fit. Put the shell and lining together and sew as one.
  7. Sew side seams, leaving a gap for the zip on the left.
  8. Fold under 2″ (whatever you can spare) for a self facing waist band; finish the raw edge and insert grosgrain, interfacing or wide elastic. Hand sew down to the skirt or lining if using.
  9. Insert zip with the pull right to the top of the skirt.
  10. Hem.
  11. Wear

Needless to say – press well at every step.

I had a meagre amount of the cream silk dupion that was used to line the jacket. This was transformed using Sorbetto into a sleevless top, with the neck trimmed in Linton selvedge edge (also stashed from when the jacket was cut out – see how precious, and useful, the Linton is?)


I now have a complete suit, jacket, skirt and top. I’ll never wear all three together in real life but the jacket and top look great with black trousers and the skirt and top look great with a black cardigan. Please excuse the paparazzi-style photos – something went wrong with the camera.

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I never did a separate post about the jacket as all construction details are the same as this one. But here’s a montage of close up details:


Chain sewn round the hem to the side seams only as the four front pockets provide enough weight to balance the jacket.

Selvedge edge used as trim on neck and fronts, pockets and the Sorbetto top neck edge.

Quirky wooden buttons ( a gift from Prettynpink). Sleeve vents left open without buttons or closures.

And the moral of this story is – Never throw anything out!



No Hawaii in front of the 5 0 today, because it really is 50 years since I was born – yesterday in fact.

I’ve had a weekend of parties and get-togethers and quiet times and fun times with friends and family starting on Friday evening and finishing with dinner last night with my boys -teenage son and DH.

So a sort of MM-weekend for your interest and feedback – suitable dressing for a 50 yr old (well actually, only 49 when most of these were taken)?


Friday – party pants as Marcy Tilton calls them for a barbecue organised by super-duper friends. Vogue 8641 which recommends moderate stretch knits only but these are made in sateen cotton with just a little lycra and they worked just fine. The red cotton top is from the same pattern which should also have been made in a knit/stretch fabric but wasn’t.



No zips, no pockets, two tubes for the legs with a rolled over waistband encasing a length of elastic. No alterations and easy make.


Saturday, hanging out with some ‘old’ girlfriends from school days – we all turned 50 this year!

Running amuck around the city centre and generally causing mayhem and chaos wherever we went – just like the old days….except we are all much more confident about who we are and what we look like.

The Pattern Company Jigsaw dress made in flowery, summery chiffon with a satin slip underneath. No waist at all in this one! Cut this version of the dress much larger than the first and it is loose and cool to wear.


Sunday, family party time. A combination meal of barbecue/dinner/high tea/birthday party  – just lots of food eaten outside in glorious sunshine and every age from 75 – 3.

Hawaii dress for church in the morning. Yes, an elastic waist stay on the inside – yikes!



Then the temperatures kept rising and the sun was shining so I changed into an infinity dress for the afternoon party.

No pattern for this just cobbled together from bits and pieces of advice I found on the internet. With sleeves and without: there really is an infinite way to wear this dress. If you’re interested in finding out more, leave a comment and if there’s enough to warrant it I’ll do a separate post in a day or two.












DSC00135Monday, birthday girl heading out for posh dinner in, what else? The latest completed Chanel jacket.

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Good for you – you found the new me!

You may have come from Sewruth or you may be new – regardless – I hope we’ll have a very happy future together as we go through my sewing successes and failures and have a few laughs along the way.


I’m making a summer version of a Chanel jacket – buttermilk coloured Linton tweed with an ivory silk lining.It’s Claire Schaeffer’s Vogue couture pattern,


so I may be some time…….