Clothing · Sewing Projects · Uncategorized

No pattern skirt for my girl

my girl chose this fabric a few weeks ago when we were out Starting School shopping. imageIt’s a gorgeous light pink background with a super cute print. It also bears absolutely no relation to her school uniform, but let’s not think about that. (My BABY has started school! How is she FIVE?! My BABY etc etc) I promised her a skirt out of the fabric which was a pre cut 1metre offering.

that was a month ago. A fortnight ago I cut it in half and decided I would make a gathered skirt for her. With a waistband (I like waistbands) and a zip. And today, I turned it into this:

imageI did this in an afternoon. I am SUPER proud.

How did I do this? I had no pattern. So I made E stand and looped the fabric round her once, and pinned the ends together. The fabric is about 44 inches wide, E is about 22 inches all around. I pinned fairly regularly all around some gathers. And made them bigger to make sure it was taken in enough not to fall off her.

I really puzzled over these gathers. I wanted the skirt to sort of flooff out and eventually decided just to sew around the top, trapping the gathers in the thread. It worked! Hoorah! I also pinned in the zip to make sure it was in the right place for the next step.

next step was the waistband. This was slightly longer than E’s waist measurement and had a nice depth to it so that I could double it over, encasing the top hem and stitching of the skirt. I sewed right sides together at first, then turned it over and trapped the top hem in. This was tricky, I had to stitch in the ditch (assuming I’ve got the right term and am not referencing something else…) as I didn’t want visible stitches. It wasn’t totally successful But it is fairly neat so, you know, win.

imageThen I sewed in the zip and back seam

imageAnd finished off with the hem. Now, this is a long skirt, and I wanted to give E the option of being able to wear it until she turns 26, so I just turned the bottom hem up twice rather than cut the excess off. Finished with a zig zag hem, it is done.

I only hope she will wear it…

Clothing · Sewing Projects

Made a Pencil Skirt (3 years in the making)

is this a record for having fabric in a stash earmarked for a certain project? I bought the Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe about three years ago. Shortly after, once I decided I wanted a pencil skirt, I bought a ridiculous amount of tartan fabric to use. And then left it neatly folded in a bag until a fortnight ago. I know. I had even traced the pattern very carefully onto some plastic tracing paper which was also neatly folded in the bag. I know.

It took until a fortnight ago for me to build up the courage to make the skirt. I realised that the fabric was being wasted and I had now made a few items that I actually wear regularly, so there was no point waiting any longer.

so here it is!

imageI am SO chuffed with this, with some reservations. I followed the size guide in the book, which was something like an 18 (waist is 31.5 inches) but when I put it on before doing the zip and facing, it immediately slipped off me. It’s possible I’ve not used the right seam allowance, but I had to take just over an inch off each side and it is still loose. I’ve lost the pencil shape as well, the exaggerated shape didn’t suit me but that could be down to the pattern too.

I struggled with some of the instructions too.

I shall add the zip and kick flare whatsit to the “WTF now?” files. There was some instruction about how to stitch the kick flare thing which I genuinely ignored as I didn’t understand what it was going about with regards to overlapping and what have you. I read and read it. NOT A CLUE. Rather than dissolve into a hot tearful mess, I just ignored it and stitched it the way that made sense to me. It looks fine.

then the zip. Again, I read it. I looked at my zip. I looked at the fabric. I read the book. I closed the book and just sewed the zip in how I wanted to. Again, it looks fine. The pattern calls for an invisible zip. CLUELESS over here just had a grey zip. And I wasn’t sure how far up I was meant to have the zip. What’s that about a hook-and-eye closure? Pfft, I ignored that too. Whatever. Looks fine.

i am really pleased with my darts though.


And my facing has epic pattern I matching (and the side seams although that is harder to show). I’ve not interfaced it and not ironed/pressed anything (come on, let’s be honest, I never do and it’s only once I’m half way through that I remember I should have done this and possibly even pre washed but then I ignore those thoughts and they go away) so hopefully once I wear it, the facing will settle down.


I love it. I’m going to wear it with purple tights, natty shoes and a black top. And an insufferable smug look on my face.

Gifts · Sewing Projects

Thank you for being a star

my daughter starts school on Tuesday, so we decided that I should make a thank you present for her key worker. L has looked after E for the last 18 months or so, and in that time, E’s confidence has grown and grown. L has really helped her and I wanted to make something special to say “thank you for being a star”. And E decided that an actual star would do the trick.

in addition to the star, I thought I’d make a little pouch to put it in. Not much more to add other than I very nearly put the zip at the wrong end which would have made the chairs upside down. Happily, I realised something was wrong when I was fixing the wonky pins…

but they are done, and I quite like them. I hope L does too.

Alterations · Clothing · Uncategorized

Alteration! (Or: I want to wear this tomorrow, but not as a dress)


about five years ago, I bought this lovely dress. I’d had a baby (daughter E, now five) and wanted something light and summery I could wear that also let me breast feed. I’d decided that I was going to wear dresses, that summer of maternity leave, and possibly gladiator sandals, with my hair perfectly tousled and some understated yet on-trend sunglasses balanced on my head. This dress fit that picture. Real life, however, did not. I wore jeans and shorts and normal t shirts. So the dress stayed in the wardrobe and occasionally I would see it and paw the lovely fabric and pattern and then ignore it for a few more months years.

since then, I have actually worn the dress. With a belt because it was a bit baggy after I’d lost the baby weight. Then ignored it as I got pregnant, had the boy and again failed to wear it as by that point I realised that I loved the fabric and the top part of the dress, I didn’t like it as a dress. It was too baggy to wear without a belt, but when I wore it with a belt it became too short and the excess fabric bagged out, making me look GINORMOUS. So I ignored it again.

but this week, I pulled it out and thought “wouldn’t this make a gorgeous top?  I wish I had a top like this.” Then I basically slapped myself on my forehead, shouted “you IDIOT, it COULD be a top.”


So I made it a top. I tried the dress on, and pinned it where I thought it would be a good length for a top. It turned out to be 9 inches, so I hacked it off. Then the lining, well 10 inches came off that because I don’t want to have the lining hanging out. Who would, right?

I pinned up the outside fabric by half an inch then sewed it up. Then looked at it and cried, because the tension was too high for such a light fabric and it had pulled atrociously. I ripped out the seam at approximately midnight on Thursday night. Sobs.

Half an hour ago, I repinned both the inner and outer fabrics by half an inch, turned the tension waaaaaay looooooow and, starting on the lining, I sewed nice and slowly and ended up with a lovely hem. Hooray. Then I did the same with the outer fabric, took it even slower and… No pulls. Brilliant.


And done!

im going to wear it out tomorrow for lunch. And yes, I will tell everyone that I altered it myself. It’s my first ever alteration. I am proud. And very pleased that I now have an item of clothing that I will wear, rather than some gorgeous material I occasionally remembered about but never wore.