I cord-n’t stop the awful puns

In the middle of the summer, I got in to my head that the dress I wanted for autumn was a blue needlecord dungaree dress. I didn’t know why, it was just what I wanted.

Time marched on, and I found myself in September, having not bought any corduroy. Tilly & the Buttons had just launched Cleo so suddenly the internet was awash with dungaree dresses.

Still I didn’t pull my finger out.

Then, I went to Hong Kong, and when I came back I knew exactly what the first thing I was going to make was. That dungaree dress I’d had my eye on for months. It took me until the middle of November. It was worth it.

Coupled with my trust Belle and Sebastian brooch

What is it?

A corduroy dungaree dress

Is it blue?


What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a thickish corduroy which is actually leftover sofa material from the time that I made a sofa cover that I then dyed blue with machine dye. The whole process made me feel like a wizard, which was pretty cool.

What’s the pattern?

It’s a mash up of the Hollyburn skirt and the Cotton & Chalk Sunday Set pattern, which I got free with a copy of Simply sewing magazine. I really liked the dungaree part of the Sunday Set, but wanted a longer skirt, and I also wanted slash pockets in the skirt which the Hollyburn has.

What was good about making it?

The sense of achievement pulling together lots of different patterns to make a dress was pretty cool. I also like the fact that I’ve managed to make something that combines my usual style with something a bit more casual.

On top of this, I got to use my trusty clamp (or whatever it is they’re called; the squeezy plier things) to squeeze the jeans buttons in place, and that’s always fun.

Look how neat it looks!

Finally, the two tone effect that occurred due to the machine dying meant that not only does the fabric have a really interesting variation in it, but the cutting and sewing was a piece of cake as everything was in clear straight lines.

What was bad about making it?

Turning the dungaree straps. Oh man that was a pain. They’re quite long, and quite thing, which, adding in the thickness of the fabric meant it was totally unwieldy to deal with.

Would you make it again?

Probably not. Not because I don’t love it (and indeed, I’ve had a load of wear out of it over the last two months) but, realistically, I don’t think I’d wear another dungaree dress!


(Cotton) diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Reader, I have a confession. I have become a bit obsessed by African wax print.

It started out innocently enough; I noticed on Instagram that some bloggers (particularly Roisin and Vicky) were posting up dresses made from super vibrant bold patterned fabric. Something about the vibrancy sparked an affection for the fabric, but it wasn’t something I saw when physically fabric shopping so I watched from afar.

Then I started to see wax cotton on my rounds of the rag market, and realised how well priced it is. The affection strengthened, moving into an attraction. I even bought a piece, relatively subdued in pattern as it was, and used it for my Colette Rue, marvelling at how workable the fabric was.

The attraction morphed further.

Things came to a head towards the end of September. In my day job, I work predominantly from home, but when I’m in London I work out of an office that’s based in Rich Mix.

Which is a ten minute walk from Middlesex Street, one of the hubs of wax print in London.

Which I then discovered having not previously realised it.

Faced with overwhelming choice and a serious heap of desire I caved, and came back two wonderfully joyful outrageous pieces of fabric. The obsession was fixed…


What is it?

A strappy summer dress with a princess seam bodice and gathered skirt.

Is it blue?

Some of the panels are blue, as are the lines that connect the little roundels.

My house is on Bank Street. Cue obligatory ridiculous posing….

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

An amazing piece of African wax cotton from Middlesex Street. I think I bought it in Good Luck Textiles, but, based on the number of stores in the area, you could into any of them and have a blast.

What’s the pattern?

I used the By Hand London Charlie dress, using a gathered skirt rather than a circle skirt, as per the strawberry dress.

What was good about making this?

How truly wonderfully vibrant it is. I did some pattern matching on the bodice that seemed to actually work (a feat for me….), and I also liked the pattern placement that I did with the roundels central on the bodice.
It came together relatively quickly and felt like a fun thing to sew, probably based on the happiness of the pattern.

What was bad about making this?

I spent a while wondering about the skirt length, and, although I ended up going for the shorter length, still wonder if I made the right decision and should have stuck with midi length (although it’s definitely too late for that now….). I also had worries that I wouldn’t actually wear the dress because it’s that bit more vibrant than my usual makes. I shouldn’t have though, as it was amazing to wear and, even if it ends up being mainly a summer holiday dress, it is still wonderful.

Would you make it again?

I do really like the Charlie pattern, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I made another. I also have a lot of fabric left (pretty standard where wax cotton is concerned as it comes in 6 yard chunks) so I may well make a skirt in the same fabric that might, possibly, be a way to wear the print more regularly.



It’s 2017. Goodness. Wherever did 2016 go?

With the approach of a new year, all sorts of resolutions get called, with people declaring that this is the year they’re going to lose weight, find a new job, run a marathon and all sorts of other big achievements that seem like a great idea when you’re fuelled by fizzy wine and it’s ten to midnight and you don’t actually think you want to do any of those things but it feels like a thing you should do.

Sometimes I think there can be a similar drive within the sewing community to commit to making all sorts of things over the course of the coming twelve months. We see the hashtag #2017makenine and all the plans other sewers have and get caught up thinking about our own plans.

For me, this has led to a #2017makenine but also a #2017usenine.

One of the things I am acutely aware of at the moment is that my stash is getting bigger and bigger, and that I keep buying new things with plans to use them, but then a new favourite comes along and pushes it to the side. So, with that in mind, I’m committing to using these nine fabrics in 2017.

These are actually all relatively recent purchases, but part of the plan here is that they don’t become like other parts of my stash where the drive has gone and they linger waiting for a new project (besides which, some of those are covered by my make nine pattern choices). I’m not saying I’ll use all of them, but it will certainly be interesting to see if I have when this time next year rolls around!

How about you? Do you have a #2017usenine alongside your #2017makenine?

(And for those interested, my make nine are: Sew Over It vintage shirt dress; Closet Case Ginger jeans; Simple Sew Trudy dress; Tilly and the Buttons Orla top; Deer & Doe Pavota jacket; Deer & Doe  Datura blouse; the Ripple Wrap Blouse from Rosie Martin’s No Patterns Needed; the Brighton skirt from Wendy Ward’s A Beginners Guide to Skirts; and a desire to finally use my bodice block and draft myself some more dresses)