Denim skirt – Thinking ‘Outside the box’


I had a piece of colourful denim fabric in my stash and wanted to do something different, make it stand out from the crowd! Time to think ‘outside the box’

Being inspired by the current trend of ‘asymnetrical’ I redrew a favourite skirt pattern to incorporate a band/panel across the hip at the back and down to the centre front.

So, I now needed to find a piece of fabric for the bands that would compliment/contrast with the colours in the denim. If you have ever tried to find a fabric with the same colours then you will know just how difficult that can be.

I started with a piece of silk twill fabric that has a ‘zig zag’ design. I selected a couple of machine embroidery threads the same colours that are in the denim fabric and had a play with the embroidery stitches on my machine. You know the ones – we have them on our new modern machines but rarely use. After a little play around with a scrap of the silk backed onto a lightweight wool I came up with a simple design by just stitching along the design lines using the saddle stitch. Using the lightweight wool as a backing gave additional weight and body to the piece, now a similar weight to the denim.

I stitched sufficient lengths for the panels and then cut them to the pattern pieces later.

To finish, I top stitched around the inserted panels using a twin needle with the 2 different colours of machine threads.

The skirt is also lined with silk, to add body and for ease of wearability.



Dress/ Dressmaking/ Evening Dress

Gold & Silver Evening Dress

On a fabric shopping trip sometime back in the summer my husband spotted a gold/silver shimmery jersey fabric and suggested that it would make a lovely evening dress for a forthcoming festive dance, so who was I to discourage him! I purchased the remaining 3 metres left on the roll and took it home for deliberation. As Christmas approached I had a scan through my patterns, I found a suitable vogue design, but this dress needed a bit of lace adding to it. So armed with a sample piece of the gold jersey I set off to a local fabric store and found a lovely piece of border tulle lace fabric.

Vogue Pattern

Fabric & Lace















I felt that the shoulders of the design where possibly a little to narrow for me so I adjusted the front & back bodice pattern pieces at the shoulder line making them wider. 

  Bodice 1



The upper front lace inserts are cut along the border and attached to the lover front pieces.

The centre front line is gathered giving shaping for the bust.




 Back Bodice


I hand stitched a diamante trim at the centre back opening, back neck and around the armholes,




Bodice 2


…….and the centre front.

The bodice was stitched to an ‘A’ line skirt. Along with a ruched belt which defined the waistline.




With the remainder of the lace trim made this little bolero jacket to complete the ensemble.

Lace Bolero Jacket Back Bodice 2




New Curtains for the Dining Room

My first project for 2016 is complete. I went off  to Abakhan Fabrics in North Wales and found this lovely poppy design fabric for new curtains in the dining room. I added a red and green border at the top of the curtains for a modern look. They hang from the pole with 6″ double pinch pleats.

I love them. Just have to make some cushions to go with them now!



Dress/ Dressmaking

Grey Jumper Dress

There seems to be a lot of jumper dresses in the shops this autumn so thought I would add one to my own wardrobe!

I purchased a length of a really good quality grey wool rib fabric at our local fabric store just recently. I am not normally a fan of the colour grey, think it can be a bit boring on its own, but was sure I could add something to it to brighten it up.  In amongst my stash in my studio I found a short length of grey polyester georgette with a silver design printed on, which teamed with the rib fabric perfectly.


I drafted my own pattern for this dress which has raglan sleeves, a ‘V’ cowl neckline and deep shaped cuffs. I made piping from the contrast fabric and added it to the collar and cuffs which highlight the design details.  I covered small 11mm buttons with the contrasting fabric carefully cutting the fabric to show the silver colour.

I am really pleased with the outcome with this dress, fashionable yet different from the crowd.

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Cake/ Dressmaking

Time out for Cake

One of the most important part of sewing is taking time out for cake!

This week we celebrated a birthday for one of the ladies on the dressmaking course. Unfortunately she was not able to attend on the day as she was feeling a little under the weather so we celebrated in her absence and wished her a happy Birthday – well we couldn’t let the cake go to waste!

But the best bit was that there were no calories in it.

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Dressmaking/ Jacket

Tartan Jacket

With this Jacket I won a Stitcher of the Year competition with Love Sewing magazine, Sept 2016

I recently made this ¾ length jacket ready for the Autumn. The pattern for the coat is based on a Burda princess line coat pattern 8292, which I have had for some years, but I chopped it up to create the various panel pieces of the coat.

The main tartan fabric is from Linton Tweeds, the background is black with a white and dark red threads woven through to create the tartan design. For some of the accent panels I used a dark red fabric which has little squares embroidered on. To this I added a layer of wadding and quilted each panel either with just straight lines or oblongs to mirror the tartan design. I used a black suede leather on the sleeves, lower collar and pocket welts. The back of the coat also has black suede and red panels. The trim used to highlight some of the design lines is a silver and black stripe. 

Several toiles where made up beforehand to check and change the design lines and panel piece sizes.  The princess lines where moved from the underarm to the shoulders. Laying the pattern pieces on the fabric and the cutting out had to be precise to ensure that the pattern of the fabric lined up at the seam lines. The coat is underlined with a silk organza and lined with a red silk twill fabric. There are six bound button holes on the front. For the upper three I used black suede and for the lower three I used the quilted red fabric. I also quilted the red fabric for the front facings. There are two lower welt pockets which line up with the front lower panel. Silver buttons on the front and sleeves completed the coat.

I hope you enjoy looking at the photograph of my coat as much as I enjoyed making it.

TJsleeve2 TJCollar TJBack

Dress/ Dressmaking

Blue Sequin Dress

Needing a new dress for a ‘Black Tie’ dance I took myself off to the local fabric shop and purchased some blue allover sequin fabric.

Because of the beauty of the fabric it didn’t need a complicated style. I used a Butterick pattern 4778 which I have had for many a long year! It’s a simple princess line with a low cut front, a square cut low back and a sexy little split at the left front side! Not having used this pattern for some years (and put on a few pounds in the meantime) I had to make a few adjustments to the pattern to make it fit. To ‘bling’ it up, and you can always add bling for a ‘Black Tie dance’, I added a few bows with diamonte in strategic places. The dress is fully lined using a silk lining.

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Dress/ Dressmaking

Red Silk Dress

I recently made a gorgeous red silk dress for a friend of mine for her son’s wedding in the sout of France. The design was based on a Vogue jacket pattern by Belville Sassoon but I altered the pattern into a dress ………… like you do!!

Made from a silk dupion I created lots of ruffles around the ‘boat’ neckline and because this sat at the top of the sleeve/shoulders it needed a boned bodice to prevent the dress from falling off the shoulders. 

Made from a silk dupion I created lots of ruffles around a ‘boat’ neckline and because the dress sat at the top of the arms/shoulders it needed a boned bodice to prevent the dress from falling from the shoulders. The back of the boned bodice was shaped to a ‘V’ and attached to the dress with yet more ruffles stitched into the back neckline and shoulders. The bodice fastened with hooks & eyes beneath the zipped back of the princess line dress. The back vent at the hemline of the dress was echoed in the ¾ length sleeves and highlighted with simple bows and adornments. The dress was underlined with a silk organza and lined with a silk habotai.

This dress took much deliberation to work out both the design and the construction process but was worth it in the end as she looked absolutely fabulous!

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Bra/ Dressmaking/ Knickers

The Cloning of a Bra

I was having a little trouble with my bra just lately, the underwire was trying to make a break for freedom, so on examining what I would needed to do in order to repair it I thought ‘just how difficult can it be to clone one that I know fits me well?’


I set to and carefully unpicked all the parts from just one side of the bra being very careful to remove the stitching only and not to cut into the fabric, this took me a good hour to do. I carefully pressed each bra piece and copied it to a paper pattern.  

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Using lace and a firm powernet I placed and cut each pattern piece in the correct orientation on the fabrics – the stretch goes around the body! I used both the sewing machine and the overlocker to construct the pieces together, carefully pressing between each stage. I used a lovely picot edged lingerie elastics, boning channeling for the underwires and finished it off with a bow – of course!

I have now made 3 altogether and along with a pair of matching briefs I was utterly pleased with my achievement!!

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Dress/ Dressmaking

Spotty Frock

I needed a new dress to go to the Valentines dance, and as usual ‘I simply did not have a thing to wear’ she says. I needed a dress that wasn’t overly dressy up, but looked smart and would give me room for dancing in. I used a Butterick pattern 5710 and some blue spotty fabric with plenty of drape. The dress is cut on the bias which allows the for a beautiful drape over the body, whilst the cowl neckline is added to the front of the dress by way of an additional pattern piece. It has little ‘cap’ raglan sleeves to which I added a small pair of shoulder pads. I know lots of people shy away from these things, but they really did give a lovely finish to the shoulders. The dance was a success and my husband loved the dress.

Spotty top