Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


A/W O3

Just bear with me here for a wee minute……….look at these images…….nice?

Used as inspiration for colour matching, co-ordination options, pairings, etc. the Oska website displays images (mostly from nature but not always) that perfectly capture the tones, tints, looks and outfit options for each season. Below – some of the Oska inspiration images.

Normally I would never even consider wearing yellow and green together, although it does occur in nature quite liberally – mind you, it might be better in nature than on me, you can be the judge!


This is the outfit for A/W O collection, number 3.

While I waxed lyrical about a good hairstyle on my last post, I am only going to the hairdresser tomorrow and it is well overdue. Look beyond please. Additionally, it is half-term here – hooray! These photos were taken at a very empty college by a very obliging colleague. Yeah, us poor lecturers have to work at some time over the holidays.

Patterns and Fabrics

Jacket: Vogue 8430 Marcy Tilton. Made ages ago for SWAP “14 but hardly ever worn so I modified the rather loose neckline on the original to form a collar and provide a little bit of structure.

slide1Fabric is a yellow boiled wool and if I remember rightly was bought in real life from Craftswoman, Carrickfergus. I felted the red/burgundy lines.


Trousers: Vogue 1550 Paco Peralta.

V1550If you didn’t buy this first time around – get it now! These trousers are brilliant. You will also get the tunic too, so it’s a bargain pattern. Wide-legged in two lengths but you can always change length to suit, with the simplest of constructions; facing instead of waistband, a centre back invisible zip. I did add two in-seam side pockets and changed the front darts to pleats. Firstly, I cut the long length but then cut off the difference for the cropped version and used the cut-offs to make turn-ups. I think cropped trousers always look more finished with a turn-up – like this is the length they are supposed to be and just not ‘too short’.

Fabric: Wool tweed from Fabworks in a lemonish/brownish sort of colour. Possibly too heavy and robust for this pattern as I’m getting knees and bum after wearing for a day – or maybe they should be lined!


Under top: Hemlock (yes, again!)

Fabric: Green jersey from EmmaOneSock. Delight to sew and is a soy/organic cotton/spandex 4-way stretch lightweight jersey. This is my first time purchasing from EOS and believe me, it will definitely not be the last. The personal touch is part and parcel of your order, immediate dispatch, fabulous choice of fabrics and generally an all round very pleasant shopping experience for even those of you who live beyond the north American border. I bought way more fabric than this green jersey of course just to justify the shipping costs, so stay tuned……

Over top: Vogue 1526 Paco Peralta. Really, really modified:


I used the jacket pattern mainly for the over sleeves but made this top double layered with all edges and seams enclosed; closed up the centre opening and added cross grain panels for interest and included a very wide neck band that becomes a cowl. Very similar to the blue over-top. Some seams were kept as raw edges. This was inspired by this Oska top


Fabric: From Minerva. A ribbed knit in dark forest green but is a very loose weave and slightly transparent, which explains the double layer.



Behind me taped on the cupboard doors are my weekly timetables and more importantly – my days off! No wonder I’m smiling!


I just can’t leave those leftovers alone…..I got a drapey scarf with all raw edges to match the Hemlock.

I’m like one of those flower images except I’m upside down –

Regardless of the colours, I do feel really comfortable in the shapes and style of this outfit. Worn today with Clark’s lace-up tan ankle boots and bad hair (access badge is optional).



Hallowe’en is getting out of hand in my opinion. Just saying…….



A/W ’17 O2

Sewing like a demon for the last few weeks has produced another outfit for my intended A/W ’17 O collection. This one focuses on navy and mustard but, of course, not limited to these two colours.


Reversible jacket can be found here.

45wTrousers and Top: Fabric is from Fabworks – a fine checked wool predominantly navy and biege. The pattern is Vogue 9193, Marcy Tilton. The matching top is made from leftovers and is the free Sorbetto. 



The T-shirt is yet another Grainline Hemlock in mustard/straw coloured viscose jersey from Minerva Crafts.  Honestly, this pattern is perfect with lots of room for versatility and adaption, place any original touches you like and is so easy to wear and sew.


The scarf is leftover jersey, trimmed and sewn together – all raw edges. Boots are Clark’s, as usual – I hardly wear any other make.


Hardly any alterations or modifications are involved in this outfit. The only thing is a few belt loops added to the trousers and a thread-through belt for when I want to tuck a top in, provide a little bit of visual interest and disguise the elasticated waist.


When viewed from afar, the navy check has the appearance of grey, so the reversible jacket can be worn one way or another and still work. I do like the combination of grey and mustard, so I’m thinking this top will go with loads of other items already in my wardrobe.


You will forgiven if you fail to notice much difference between outfits O1 and O2, apart from colour. This is becoming something of a nagging issue with me in choosing these designs – will my A/W wardrobe just be lots of the same thing? More like a uniform rather than the original and slightly offbeat clothes I thought they’d be.

Anyway, I’ll carry on for a bit longer and see what transpires. Greens next


Better get stuff cut out and keep sewing then…

Would you prefer to see a complete head to toe outfit or individual pieces, bearing in mind that a lot of the tops are just T-shirts and the trousers are repeats of the same patterns?

Thanks so much for all your encouragement and comments and a big welcome to new followers : I hope you find some little bit of inspiration for your own sewing.




O1 Jacket

As promised, here’s the low-down on a few of my pieces for O1 specifically, the reversible jacket made as part of my O autumn/winter collection and the doubled layered top. My first outfit has the really imaginative title of O1 and this jacket will also form part of the equally imaginatively titled O2 ensemble.


The fabric is a double sided wool knit – navy and grey – comes from Fabworks.

The pattern is Vogue 9162: Kathryn Brenne design which includes shirt, trousers and the jacket. I made all the pieces last year so I already knew what was involved in the construction of the jacket – the original is fully lined with hand top stitching and acres of interfacing – there were many modifications made for this version, mostly eliminations!

Interestingly, when I look back on the photos from May 2016 I see a change in myself; I don’t know if you do too- but only 18 months ago and I appear completely different. Maybe it’s a state of mind. One of the added benefits of blogging is not just a diary of sewing but the alterations in one’s self:

I started this log of sewing adscn0495nd other things back in November 2011 – almost six years ago – and while the photographs document the onslaught of age I also see a change in personal style and knowingly personal attitude.  I’ve lost weight, started exercising regularly and generally am feeling much better about my life and really comfortable in my own skin – clothes are just the accessories.  I also found a hair stylist who understands and knows me and what’s more important, knows what suits me – invaluable!

Look at that hair! I thought is was great at the time! I still have the boots, scarf and the jacket  and still wear them.

Let’s bring you back to the present……

Double faced (two sided) fabric is made with two separate fabrics that are bonded together. It tends to be heavy-middle weight, obviously, but is perfect for reversible garments or those whose inside will be on display, like the revers of a jacket or a turned back cuff. On the whole, this type of fabric does not fray so leaving edges unfinished and naked can only add to the overall style.


There are various ways to sew seams on double faced fabric, depending on what you want the final the garment to look like:

  1. Sew as usual; no special treatment or considerations. This produces a ‘raw’ edge on one side that displays both sides of the fabric and can be attractive. It is best to trim the raw edges evenly.


2. Flat felled seams, as in a shirt, which results in a tidy, neat finish but tends to be bulky and lumpy, depending on the weight of your fabric. Sew the seam as usual, trim away one side, fold over the untrimmed edge over the other side to hide the raw edge, sew in place.


3. A half flat felled seam. Sew as usual and trim one side of the seam allowance; fold over the larger seam and stitch close to the edge. Less bulky than 2. On one side some colour of the reverse will be visible.


4. Overlap seam. Match the seam allowances on both pieces and overlap, ie. lay one on top of the other. Sew both seam allowances close to the edge like an edge stitch. Much flatter than 2 and 3; the reverse side tends to show on both both sides, however minutely and might well add to your final design.


5. Separate the two layers by pulling apart. It helps to hand tack or machine with a very large stitch to mark the seam allowance as this stops you separating the two fabrics too far. Sew one layer as usual, right side to right side. On the reverse, trim the excess from seam allowance, on the matching seam allowance fold over and under the trimmed side – totally encompassing the raw edges of the original seam. Hand stitch the reverse fabric in place using a fell stitch or slip stitch – whatever is best for your look, fabric and finished garment. This produces a neat, relatively flat seam that is equally tidy from both sides. The downside is that this method is time consuming and laborious.Slide5You then have the option of machine top stitching the finished seam or leaving as is, albeit with an extremely good press.

For instructions on sewing with double faced fabrics, download this and keep it for future reference. It’s really useful.

I opted for No. 5 seams to sew O1 jacket but didn’t do the machine top stitching, just left the hand stitching to pucker and display for all to see.

There are pockets on both sides of the jacket – rather, there are pockets on one side with an opening on the other: navy side has a welt opening, the grey side has patch pockets that cover the welt’s insides and are the actual pockets. The stitching that sewed the patch pockets on the grey side defines the pocket on the navy side.

The collar is a 2X2 rib, knitted on large needles in mottled grey wool. The fabric was separated around the neck edge, raw edges folded under and the knit collar sandwiched between the two. Machine stitched in place. I took this idea unabashedly from Shams – thank you.  



Along all the edges – fronts, hem and cuffs – I separated the two layers, folded under the raw edges and slip stitched together for a neater, tidier finish, although this is unnecessary because the fabric doesn’t fray. I just liked the more ‘complete’ look.


What I didn’t do: a lot!

No lining. No interfacing. No front facings – these were cut but trimmed narrower for the jacket’s fold over. No hand top stitching. In fact, all I cut out was a back, two fronts and sleeves. I lengthened the body by a few inches. The sleeves are just folded back to whatever length I fancy on any given day which means the reverse side, whatever which one, is always on show.

There’s no closure on the original jacket and no closure on this one either. I’ll have to get one of those impressive and elaborate safety pins to hold the front closed.


My jacket is too big. My original is too big too and I should have remembered this or at the very least, read my own blog! The sleeves are mega long and I always fold them up.  Anyway, I’ll still be wearing both (not together mind you)  while going for that oversized look.


May 2016

Which now makes me wonder if I have always had a secret hankering for an Oska look without actually admitting it. When I surveyed my pattern stash I found quite a few that fitted with the aesthetic and I have a few completed items that will already work with my intended O collection.

I still love a pencil skirt and a fitted dress that defines the waist and skims curvy hips but loose, relaxed clothes certainly have a strong pull, especially for the everyday. Maybe there’s a way to combine the two…..


Double Layered Top

The double layered, front-split top was self-drafted. Made from cotton jersey, elbow length kimono sleeves, scarf-type collar (cut from whatever was leftover) and is as versatile as it is practicable.


Underneath layer tucked in with outer layer loose. The fronts have centre front seams that allow for the split to made easily.  It’s just a scooped neck T-shirt with an off-centre round edge collar.


All loose; It can be worn on its own but I usually have a long sleeved T underneath – I like the contrast colours worn together.

The layers are both right side out and the hems in the sleeves are sewn on the inside which does require a wee bit of fabric manipulation and 3D mental rotation but there are no raw edges on show.  All finishing was done on the serger/overlocker.


And then the realisation hit that while I had plenty of fabric for trousers I had very little for coordinating tops etc. Christine sent me to EmmaOneSock…..a mega amount of dollars lighter I’m hoping to complete some of these outfits in time for winter. Of course, I completely adore and appreciate everyone’s advice, suggestions and information -and I know Chris was trying to help and be a good sewing friend however, I do have a mortgage to pay and while I still own a dining table, I need to put food upon it!!! Mind you, hopefully, I’ll look damn good serving.

And we if can’t afford heating, I have a cosy jacket (or two) to wear!


Out of Step

The academic marking season has begun and my time and mind are being forcibly distracted away from sewing – my blogging updates are suffering the consequences and are therefore sporadic and random, so much so that I am now “out of season”.  We have had a wonderful week of sunshine and warmth to accompany it – as usual, just when the exam season starts the weather improves immeasurably. And so here I am wearing a lined boiled wool jacket with matching scarf (slightly wrinkled) in 25 degrees C!


It’s a perfect example of one of those strange ironies of life – when it rains constantly and you don’t have a raincoat, then you go off and make one and then it stops raining for weeks on end. Or you don’t have a sun dress to wear when the temperatures unexpectedly hit 30, so you make one and the first day you wear it you need a cardigan, thick tights and a pair of boots because by now it’s freezing.

The third and final item from Vogue 9162, this jacket completes The Look.

There’s quite a bit of work involved in this unfitted, loose and boxy jacket, such as interfacing on all hems and full interfacing on the fronts – I didn’t as my fabric is stable. Welt pockets – Oh my!


Catch stitching the hems to the interfacing and slip stitching the lining to the turned-up hems.

Hand top stitching around the edges and on and on…….


Well, it’s finished and will now be folded and packed away until next A/W! I’m pretty sure Mother Nature is watching my sewing room: she waits until I have wools and tweeds cut out and sewn, then she tells the sun to shine, the rain clouds to dissipate and the temperatures to rise


I know the jacket is supposed to be loose but mine is positively huge! I cut the medium size all round – for the trousers, shirt and jacket. The trousers are fine, the shirt’s a little big but the jacket’s a size all on its own. I suppose it has to be this loose to slip on over the oversized shirt without creasing it. The sleeves are really long. If you make this I think you could go down a size and still have room to play.


I’d love to get all dressed up for you and wear all three items together but, honestly…..just use your imagination and put them altogether


I’m out of step with my sewing makes and blogging too – I’ve got quite a bit to share but haven’t got round to taking pics or thinking of witty things to write. I’ll tell you all about the jeans in the next instalment.


SWAP A1 (again) & B2

I asked, you answered, I acted….

SWAP Combination A, first garment looked like this



I listened and contemplated your very appreciated comments (thank you), then I got to work……….

Method: Lob off a wack of fabric from the bottom and remove patch pockets.


Put on Doris and pin out two shaping darts at the back

and two fitting darts on the front – sew.

Fold over the big collar to narrow it and do some stuff with trims and topstitching along the hem, darts and other edges

Make a buttonhole and sew on an almost coordinating button found in stash. My little Janome’s buttonhole contraption won’t sew a hole for a button this big so I just cut a rectangle and small stitched in place for extra reinforcement. The fleece won’t fray.

So almost back to the original plan. I should have stuck to it the first place and not try to be smart.


Worn today with the first garment for SWAP combination B (slate greys).


The most delicious Italian finest fine wool in tiny herringbone bought from Joel & Sons in their end of year remnant sale. Made into Vogue 9162. I am planning on making all three items from this pattern for SWAP B. The pattern includes a loose-fitting, lined jacket with welt pockets, an oversized shirt and these wide-legged pants.

Slide3The wide legged trousers have in-seam side pockets and an elasticated waist (honestly, I really did type that and I made them and I wear them!).

Let’s have a word about elasticated waists – the good things are that you don’t need a matching zip, buttons, hooks and eyes to finish; easy to make; easy to fit; easy to pull on and off. The bad things are that it’s an elasticated waist! Gathering, bunching, I can’t help associating them with women of a certain age……and it feels like I’m not sewing a ‘real’ garment and taking an easy way out.


Anyway, the trousers are actually quite good. They are supposed to worn with loose shirts on the outside to hide the elastic, so nobody but you and me will ever know. Just in case I ever decide to wear a short top or tuck in a shirt I added belt loops and made a button belt for a more polished look.


The trousers are unlined so I always wear my trouser-petticoat to prevent bumming and kneeing in the fine wool. These are always excellent for extra warmth in wintery weather.

BTW – just look at the difference in my colouring when I wear just dark grey and how much warmer I am wearing the pink jacket, so I might now have to rethink the solid grey combination for SWAP combo B!


Only second garment in and once again a possible change of plans.


SWAP will have to be put on hold for a week or two while I go on safari for Jungle January. Actually, my contribution for 2016 is heralding from the frozen heights of the Himalayas rather than the heat of the savannah ….


As always I’m in two minds about wearing animal printed fabric. This is the 5th year of me joining in and every year so far my efforts are inside, under or otherwise somewhat discreet. This year I’ll either look devastatingly Parisian or else a very poor imitation of Cruella de Ville.

101 Dalmations - Live Action Remake.Copyright: Disney.

101 Dalmatians – Live Action Remake. Copyright: Disney.

Just for fun – spot the snow leopard