Category Archives: sewing obsessions

Selfless Sewing and Simple Sew Shannon Collection

The non selfless bit!
Finished measurements and fabric

Well life so far goes on dear IBFs. From your comments or lack of them I can see my recent life changing news has just not touched you at all…ah well let’s keep it simple and just sew. My alliterative title would have been brilliant if I’d made the Shannon shorts but no I had to ruin it by making the wide legged sailor trousers. Saw people wearing them out and about…..( possibly Seasalt bought ones?) and just had to try and make some! I duly cut out the pattern after studying the garment finished measurements on the packet and rather than trace the pattern I went straight to it and cut the size 12 but I did photocopy the smaller pieces (cut out but with all the sizes intact) just in case. I also kept the bits I cut off the main pattern pieces as I have been known to stick them back on to the pattern if needed (with okay results). I had some calico ( bought from BST fabrics ltd) so made a toile in the size 12 which came together quickly and immediately I could se that the size 10 would fit much better.

Shannon Collection trousers

So this is the finished article. They are slightly large but as I’m going through radiotherapy at the moment my appetite is decreased due to the the mouth ulcers and taste changes and I’m a bit smaller than I hope to be post radiotherapy. Also I expect although I washed the linen pre sewing it there may still be a bit of shrinkage. I’m hoping to wear them later in the year. The buttons I struggled with stylistically as hubby thinks bigger statement buttons should be used. I quite like the smaller understated look but feel free to disagree ibfs.

Simplicity 1563a (it says on my pattern)
Selflesssewing for the mister
Stand up straight hubby!

So this is hubby in simplicity. He wanted some lounge around in trousers. These came up a bit large to the size chart but I sliced a couple of inches off the large size in the upper thigh and around the hip area and took out some fullness in the crotch area. He was pleased with them and wears them in the evenings. They were very easy to make, just two legs with grown on waist which is turned down to form the casing for the elastic to thread through as the waistband. He is really fussy about not having a tight waistband so this always has to be tried on then off and adjusted a couple of times at least. No outer leg seams just inner leg seams for this pattern which makes it a very quick sew. The hems have been left long and at some point he will let me know how long he wants the legs left. In the meantime all raw edges have been overlocked with my Lidl bought Singer overlocker. I keep threatening to upgrade to a more plush model but holding off in view of my recent health issues. The fabric is a soft cotton with a brushed cotton feel on the underside, it washes beautifully and was nice to sew. I bought it ages ago from when they had some reduced prices.

Well that’s all for now IBFs. Fingers crossed that I can make it through radiotherapy. If anyone needs some advice on how to cope with radiotherapy post parotidectomy and facial nerve sacrifice just ask. It’s tough so be ready for it. You never know I might be around to blog some more soon. Happy sewing.

Sewing and another journey



It’s been a bit of a difficult time as I was diagnosed with cancer just before Christmas.  Of course I needed to keep it quiet over the Christmas and New Year to minimise the impact on other people but it was tough.  I’ve had an op and now have radiotherapy to contend with over the coming weeks.  It’s one of those that they can’t necessarily eradicate but you have to hope for the best and wonder if something else will get you first…..  The operation severed my facial nerve so you definitely won’t be seeing mug shots but I’m grateful I can eat, drink and communicate.  I can’t blink or close one eye completely so that makes life difficult for sewing, reading etc so that’s not cheering me up any.  The gel I apply makes vision difficult and I worry about damage to my eye but there are so many things to angst over they have to take their turn in coming to the fore.  A moan, a cry, various swear words and on again.

I went to The Royal Marsden for pre op assessment and had a chance to look around at fabric shops….Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush market, Sew-over-it, Williams Gee (don’t go there to browse… fantastic online to order and collect or deliver or if you know what you want but gave me a laugh getting there and realising my mistake….glad I saw it just the same).  Maculloch and Wallis ….fantastic, Liberty…all good.  Would have liked to enjoy it more but a bit of a cloud over me.  So glad I did look around though, would do a lot more if I went again but life is difficult now I can’t smile.

So anyway I’ve tried to keep sewing.  A fake fur jacket…… never again, furry stuff everywhere and what a pain getting stuck in the presser foot!  2 A Line skirts with pockets, a city back pack and sew-over-it Carrie trousers.  I’ve also made a necessary clutch wallet but quite sure I wouldn’t have managed it without Sian – kittenish behaviour sew-a-long videos.  I made it with various scraps so if I tackle it again I will be a little more stylish!

And of course, The Great British Sewing Bee…… 😁 Hooray…. something great to watch.  My winner is still there for now.


Fake Fur Simplicity 8218 unlined jacket – could have gone down a size methinks.



New Look 6106 A Line skirts with pockets.


Simply Sew City Back Pack (pas demo’d on sewing quarter several times since July 2018)


Sew over it Carrie Trousers


Emmaline bags – necessary Clutch Wallet

Well what’s next… me something Kate dress with frill hack.  The last one was a disaster with my choice of fabric so…..lighter weight drapier fabric and size it down a bit.

Keep sewing IBFs and be glad of what you’ve got …you never know when it might change. Oh and don’t I take simply the best most flattering photo views😀.

Making for me



Decided to start using up some seasalt fabric and use a couple of patterns from the pdf stash that I haven’t got round to sewing yet.  The seasalt fabric I splurged on when it was on sale during the really warm summer.  As usual I didn’t have anything in mind but thought it was worth a trial for a bargain price.  Although I keep saying I am going to stick to the big four patterns I still have several indie PDF patterns I have not yet sewn.  The SOI Clara blouse style seemed too hot for this year’s summer but perfect in a lightweight cotton for autumn/ mild winter/ layering option so out it came.  I don’t think I am suited to understanding any words pictures or instructions of most kinds on sewing pattern directions so the neck pleats were sewn incorrectly as were the sleeve placketty things but this is a lovely weight shirt that I can wear.  There’s not much point in me saying what you should or shouldn’t do but if you even sort of follow the gist of the pattern then it comes together and is pretty wearable.

Obsessed with all things sewy and watching The Sewing Quarter, I bought the PDF version of Julia Fallon’s Sewmesomething Kate dress/tunic.  Loved the posted pic versions I saw and made my version in some  midweight cotton but …..


I don’t like the stiffness of the fabric and it feels too rigid and country kitchen aprons for me.  I wanted soft drape and relaxed elegance.  The gathers just look like poor fitting (not a million miles away from the actuality) and poor picture taking does feature in making it look even worse.  The fit was very generous and I did size it down three sizes but the pattern does direct you to make a size based on the finished garment measurements rather than actual body size. The finished garment measurements are very easy to find but being the first garment I have made from this range I cut a size allowing for adjustment.  Next time, the smallest size and drapier fabric (and probably more of a tunic length as that tends to be more wearable for me) will be sewn.

Next… a couple of alterations to my Chloe coat which I have worn before making the alterations but felt it would benefit from a bit of tweaking

Now you might think ‘mad cow she thinks this looks good’ but I am fully aware that it’s not of most peoples’ high standard but I can’t seem to take a good picture and all the small flaws that you wouldn’t see in the wearing stand out like massive sore thumbs in my pictures.  I feel the coat is now much more wearable and I am glad that I sized it down a bit.  I did struggle when I was making it originally and was on the verge of binning the lot so at this stage I feel much more relaxed and pleased with the coat and could even consider making another.


Used up some spare cotton jersey for a plain TATB Agnes and some panda print cotton jersey for another Agnes worn with the Silhouette Capri pants in linen, from the last blog.  Yesterday I finished the Vogue V9057 knit top which I chose to make up in view B size large but had to size it down by 4 inches in width and next time I will make it at least 2 inches shorter.  I couldn’t find the finished garment measurements otherwise I would have sized it down ahead of making it but I really wanted to use some fabric from the stash and chose a pattern that was uncut from the pattern pile. Unfortunately I only had the larger size ZZ packet so the smallest size I could cut was the large.  With vogue patterns I personally find there is a lot of ease and a medium would have been a better starting point.  Fitting my shoulders,  back and bust tend to be tricky as I often need to fiddle with darts and shoulders to get rid of gaposis but need to leave enough room for the girls and middle back.  I’m toying with a smaller high bust size and FBA but it makes it sound too involved but just as you abandon rtw sizes when you come to dressmaking you also have to abandon worrying about what you call whatever it is you do to make that perfect fit garment.  I never think of myself as busty so FBA sounds too industrial for purpose but I have this sneaking suspicion that this what I need to consider and it will only be a slight FBA but the shoulders etc might just fit better….who knows, I’ve tried everything else!

It looks like it’s pulling and wrinkly in places on these pictures but that’s more to do with the poses and poor camera work.  It’s lovely and comfy but a bit too long for my preference.  There are other style options which I may also try in the next makes.  The other styles are on separate pattern pieces so they can also be tweaked before cutting out now I know the large is too large.  Anyway IBFs off I trot to watch some Vanished by the lake… not exactly riveting  but I’ve watched up to episode eight so I may as well watch this last one.  See you soon for another round of ‘what I make doesn’t fit and anyway I can’t photograph it’ or ‘Invisible Blogging Friends delight’.

Pattern fitting


My first try of a silhouette pattern, the #3009 Capri pant.  I love Peggy Sagers YouTube videos and thought I would give one of her patterns a try.  Great instructions and lovely pattern but I’ve got a funny crease/weird bit on the front crotch area on my right side.  Not sure if it’s bad sewing or a fitting issue.  If anyone can help please feel free to comment.  It’s a damn shame you are IBFs or there might be some help forthcoming!

However the Capri trousers are so comfy to wear.  The material is a linen mix and I could see myself wearing these a lot in the summer and if I fix the crease/wrinkle thingy I shall make more and change the leg width and length etc for a few style options.  The recommended size to sew is taken from a sitting hip measurement and the waist adjusted by darts and the four piece waistband.  The pockets are lovely and there are some great fitting tips in the instructions.  I would highly recommend the pattern and am encouraged to buy more Silhouette patterns.  The pattern packet photo is not greatly inspiring but the end result is very pleasing.  This was the easiest fly zip instruction and insertion I have ever done.  The postage and pattern cost approx £15.00 in all and it took about 5 days to arrive.  It was very easy to trace and huge amount of sizes to choose.   Sorry about the photos but I rolled my TATB Agnes top up so the waistband of the Capris could be viewed, I am never properly ready for photos.  Be grateful I try to hide my weird grimacing face which tends to be my normal photo look!

My other make which I am a bit cross about is a Nina Lee Carnaby dress

Now I love this pattern and used my seasalt needlecord to make this version but I must have done something weird as the fit is off.  It bunches at the neckline and shoulders so I think it must be tight and I must have sewn or cut badly at the pocket side seams as it pulls into an odd shape there rather than falling straight.  Anyway I shall still be wearing it.  I’m always optimistic that if I wear and wash anything enough it will miraculously mold itself to my shape.  Ever hopeful.

My last make I havent even photographed, a farfar cardigan by Wardrobe by Me.  It’s hubbies and he wanted it large.  It’s a better attempt than last time but not sure I want to share it yet!  Okay I relent……

It’s not going to win the cosy cardi challenge that’s for sure!  Love you all IBFs, happy sewing!

update ****

advice from the lovely Peggy Sagers



The pant crotch is too wide for you as I suspect the whole pant is a bit
large…but you can have it that way…however, to fix the crotch, scoop
it as shown in this drawing and that will fix the center wrinkles, only
take enough out to get rid of the wrinkles…too much will cause other
issues…the depth of the scoop should be about 1/2 inch…let me
know…thanks, Peggy

Thanks Peggy not perfect but improved.

Closet Case Patterns – mid rise Ginger Jeans


Well they are not ginger and they are perhaps not perfect but this was a lovely pattern that came together easily and quickly.


Lets start at the beginning.  I had my eye on the pattern last year and persuaded hubby that this was a great birthday present (he always likes ideas for gifts and never sticks to just one present).  I have got used to the idea of PDF patterns as being a great idea although I nearly got caught out by my computer failing out of the blue at the end of last year.  Belt and braces being my middle names saved the day there.  So I duly printed and stuck the pattern together, ummed and aaahhed and got on with sewing everything but the gingers.  I think I was a bit in awe of them, all those perfect top stitched, flat felled, well fitted, happy jeaned people on social media flashing their skills and joy at me, dissing RTW as poor fitting cousins, hardly worthy of a second glance.  The thing is I seem to fit in to ready to wear jeans okay and find them good value for money.  I also think the fabrics that they use in RTW are often far superior to my ability to source the perfect project companion.   I just like/love sewing.

Common sense prevailed re making these little puppies up and I had some geometric stretch denim (ish) material which was a bargain price in the stash and for the life of me couldn’t think what  else I would use it for.  It’s original purchase purpose escapes me, truth be known it was probably the price that attracted me.  I thought I would make the gingers out of this material as a wearable toile (my get out of jail phrase for anything that might go wrong).  The material was stretch but not so much across the weft but more down the vertical line (warp?) which I thought was a bit odd but even more reason to use this stuff and try it out.  According to my measurements I cut out a size 10 in pattern and fabrics for the stovepipe design. I decided to sew the pockets and stays in lining fabric, budget priced cotton lawn and faced the waistband in the same. I interfaced the fly thingys but not the waistband.   I never think of this type of finish being jeans as all my jeans tend to be all over denim but it matters not what you call them as far as I am concerned.

All the fiddly little bits are dealt with first in the pattern directions, the pocket assembly with facings and lining and interfacing bits and bobs before attacking the fly zip insertion.  Now because usually you have the right side of the lining in the pocket it made me doubt myself more than once making these up with the right side of the lining facing into the inside of the jeans but I did as I was told.  I struggled a bit with the idea of having the lining wrong side showing inside the pocket but it does mean that when you look inside your jeans the right side of the lining smiles back.  I used the instructions that come with the PDF but belt and braces again I used the blog on the closet case site and watched a YouTuber video that a vlogger had made to help with getting the construction right.  I tend to cut out one day and start construction the next which I find suits me otherwise I tend to skip transferring the notches and markings properly as I get too impatient with myself and inevitably bodge the lot.

When it came to the zipper fly construction (in spite of making trousers and skirts quite successfully with them previously, I have never really understood this type of insertion) I read the accompanying blog post and didn’t really get it however I totally got it when I got near the end of making these up. It was a proper job light bulb learning and I now understand why you position the zip where you do and the effect it has on the depth of the fly to the trouser or skirt front.   The waist size is not affected. Consequently these do not have much of an overlap on the fly but I now know how to avoid this in the future (wearable toile only for this pair).  I didn’t worry too much about flat felled seams but overlocked and did two lines of top stitching on the overlocked seam (from the right side). I think this is known as a faux flat fell seam. I did it in a similar colour to the fabric rather than in a highly visible contrast stitching where every stitch is a potentially glaring error . I made a small slit at the ankle on the outer seam having seen a Mimi G tutorial for a pattern I haven’t got ( I think it is an Autumn 18 new release one) as I liked the finish. 007369d1-243b-4d28-8101-9b5c0e570d2b-e1537730107245.jpeg

I did have to look up how to do a blind hem and I think this is the first blind hem I’ve done on this machine. For the waistband I decided to insert the belt loops under the lower end of the waistband for strength  (tack them in position right sides facing before attaching the waistband) as I often end up using a belt when the jeans loosen up during wear.  I attached the waistband facing  and when all constructed and top stitched I flipped the belt loops up allowing a bit of play at the lower end and top stitched the other end of the loops in on the top of waistband using the existing topstitching as a guide.  I forgot to interface where the button and buttonhole will go on the waistband and jibbed out on doing a buttonhole just in case it all went wrong cos as things stood these might be worn. Instead I did a hook and bar closure more in keeping with a fitted trouser and I didn’t do rivets on the pockets either.  The back pockets were too low which a few people have made comments on so I did these at the end of construction, a little higher than the pattern markings. My fly shield was not brilliantly placed but as the fly was not my best work I didn’t fuss.

My biggest surprise was that these fitted with no fit adjustments (other than about 2 inches off the length and trimming the excess off the waistband) as normally I have to faff about quite a bit especially with the yoke pieces and crotch depth as well. Heather Lou comments on how she adjusted this after pattern tester feedback and released an updated pattern. I love the pocket stays but not sure how they would have turned out in denim (maybe a bit bulky?) and I love the waistband being faced in lawn. Really happy with these and if I didn’t have so many pairs of jeans I would make another pair right away.  I think I will probably will buy the Megan Nielsen Ash jeans as well as I can’t resist something everyone (?) else comments on favourably but so glad I made these and would highly recommend them.

So it seems the big four patterns will have to wait a bit longer, I’m still sewing the Indie ones! Okay IBFs ….see you soon, just off to cut out a proper Nina Lee Carnaby dress in needlecord. Let’s hope it turns out okay. Happy sewing.

Ziggi no more

CDA788D0-C399-41DD-A69F-3BB1A19D3969Oh dear … may I present the Style Arc Ziggi.

Here it was yesterday:

I came to the decision that this pattern is not salvageable and showed it the seam ripper.  I now have three chewed up zips, a pile of faux leather, thread, lining and interfacing and a rather expensive Indie pattern with very sparse instructions……goodbye my friend, you tortured me for many an hour.  As far as I am concerned this little number can go the same way:

The sew over it Vintage Shirt Dress.

Unfortunately this wearable toile has no attraction for me so it’s another wasted pattern as far as I am concerned and anything that requires a buttonhole will be treated with the same  disparagement in the future.  Poppers and zips rule.  Onward and upward IBFs, back to the drawing board.  I still have the closet case mid rise gingers to attempt/murder and then I think mainstream patterns all the way.  See you soon for more ways to waste your time and money but still be strangely attached to something you have very little skill for.

August sewing

Carnaby Nina Lee dress6167Nina Lee Carnaby dress

Well here we all are together again.  This dress from Nina Lee is lovely.  I’ve seen so many lovely versions of the Carnaby dress and have made this as wearable toile.  The fabric is a glitter linen from Minerva crafts and unfortunately It was a little sheer when made up so I had to line it with some lightweight cotton also from Minerva crafts.  I posted a review on   For inspiration as this (my) version doesn’t do the pattern justice try #carnaby dress (instagram) or see Like Sew Amazing vlog or Daffodiledger vlog on YouTube.  Di is closer to my age and Sarah is a younger vlogger (late 30 to early 40s). The only reason I say this is because of the way they both look fantastic in their versions and sometimes there is a bit of a niggle about how the over 50 sewing community are possibly ignored by the Indie pattern companies but this pattern works on younger and over 50s.  I hoped that Di might post on the pattern review website but to date she hasn’t.

carrie trousers SOI6161Sew over it Carrie trousers and RTW (Asda) top

I have had this pattern for a while as I bought the online trouser class from sew over it and both the ultimate trouser and Carrie patterns were included.  Personally I found the class expensive and not brilliant but my expectations were probably far too high.  Others have mentioned what good tips were included.  Making these trousers just happened to coincide with the pattern being released as one of the pdf club patterns.  I was simply trying to use up some fabric from the stash as I had bought this rayon type fabric for a kimono or similar from Minerva crafts a while ago and having made one Kimono couldn’t see myself needing another.  They are okay and I slop around the house, watch YouTube, read sewing blogs and generally laze around wearing these.  Can’t get over excited, they have elastic in the back, a flat front band and pockets, loose fit and I think pretty comfortable.

Mimi G simplicity 1167 trousers and McCalls 6729 top

Love the MimiG sew-a-long videos and buy those patterns whenever the half price deals come up.  Only problem is knowing which size pattern to buy as I straddle the middle sizes and if there is a top and trouser option I have to have the larger size for the top and smaller for the waist hips.  I know I could grade which is what I had to do here as the pattern had a blazer and a trouser option and I chose the pattern based on my bust size.  I had to grade the pattern down several inches and lost pocket opening size especially on one side as I wasn’t incredibly accurate or symmetrical and made the changes when the pattern was made up.  I know some clever souls measure the pattern and make adjustments before cutting but guess what…… nope not able to do that yet as I tend to forget seam allowance etc.  Also the ease needed I find is difficult to assess unless it’s a previously tried pattern.  Having made up the trousers and adjusted them I have now traced the original pattern pieces and made the changes to the traced pattern so that next time I should have proper sized pockets and the symmetry on both sides.  I have still left some wiggle room for less stretch in the fabric but I needed to take two inches off each side and 2.5 inches out of the centre back with this pair when using size 16 so it was not really surprising that the pockets suffered.  I expect I will find, if I ever make up the blazer, that I could have got away with the smaller sized pattern but that’s a live and learn thing. The pictures I have taken are not brilliant but they give a flavour of what it all looks like.  The fabric is a stretch denim from

The top is a nice simple one with keyhole opening at the back and a thread loop and button closure. I think I could skim the sides in a bit to make it a bit more fitted but it’s nice and airy as it is.  I used some seasalt cotton voile, which was in the sale.

Well that’s all lovely IBFs.  I have plans to make some more Nina Lee Carnaby dresses with a couple of tweaks to fit and a few other things but I like to keep it fluid.  Decided to do less indie and more from the standard big four or whatever people term them.  I have loads of patterns, some free with sewing mags and some bought when the patterns were on sale and a few Indie ones which I normally buy as PDFs to save on cost(?!!!).  Might even try and finish the Style Arc ziggi which is languishing on the mannequin currently.  It sits on top of the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress which I made a wearable toile of.  Not keen on the VSD for me but a huge fan of the Ziggi however not so much the really sparse instructions……..grrrrr! Keep on sewing.