One day I’ll stand on the beach and look at the pier whilst I eat a stick of rock, a Graham Greene novel in my hand.

Perfecting my stick of rock look

For Christmas this year, I asked for a copy of the most recent book written by Wendy Ward, A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts. I follow Wendy on Instagram, and had seen a couple of the pictures and designs at the point of publication. They’d grabbed my attention and I was intrigued, particularly by a button-down skirt I’d seen.

I’ve been after a decent pattern for a button skirt for a while; I really like the versions of the Sew Over It Erin skirt that Gabby and Vicki have made, but wanted something with a bit more swoosh to it. Step in the Brighton skirt (all the skirts are, rather beautifully, named after places that have a special association for Wendy), which ended up being one of my Make Nine patterns for the year.

It took a while for me to sit down and actually sew, but boy, am I pleased that I did! Continue reading

Sixties mania!

A lot of the time my work wear is the same as my rest of the time wear; it’s one of the joys of both working in the arts and (mainly) working from home. It means I get to spend most days wearing dresses I love with the added bonus of vomit jumpers on days working from home.

Whilst dressmaking has really added to this ability, my most recent make for the Simple Sew bloggers network has bucked this trend somewhat, as – despite it’s cute vintage stylings – it really could count as “office wear”.

What is it?

A tailored shift dress with three quarter length sleeves and a contrast peter pan collar

Is it blue?


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

The body of the dress is made using an adorable navy floral print cotton poplin that was very kindly supplied by Abakhan for this make. The collar also came from Abakhan and is a super soft cream coloured viscose.
What’s the pattern?

The Simple Sew Trudy dress in view B.

What was good about making this?

The first thing to say is that this dress was super easy to sew up. I made a toile first to check for bust fit after the issues I had with Ruby, and once I’d made some minor adjustments it went up in hardly any time.

In addition, although I’m not sure if good is the right word, this dress did push me out of my comfort zone due it’s sixties styling; whilst I love classic details, the sixties aren’t usually a decade that I look to for inspiration as I tend to find that the styles just don’t suit me. Making this dress has helped change that assumption somewhat (although I doubt I’ll be emulating Twiggy any time soon!).

What was bad about making it?

For some reason I couldn’t get the collar to stay put at the back, although that was fixed with a bit of invisible stitching. I found I had to make a really thin hem on the dress, which might have been a design feature (the 60s were all about the mini after all) but I think might be more to do with a combination of my height and personal preference to not show my bottom to the world!

Would you make it again?

Hmmmm….. So I think I might be a bit swayed towards the sixties aesthetic, but I’m not sure I’d make this dress again without making a few tweaks first. There’s also a couple of other similar but different dresses out there which I might give a try. Or maybe I’ll just go back to my usual fit and flare style. Only time will tell. (And Instagram. Instagram always tells.)


Disclaimer: whilst the Trudy pattern was provided by Simple Sew Patterns and the fabric generously provided by Abakhan, I received no other forms of payment for this blog post and the opinions expressed are my own.


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)