Attempting to run before you can walk…


Mmmmm…. Ever been totally seduced by beautiful illustrations and other bloggers’ accomplished creations, when in reality the design just plain doesn’t suit you or your lifestyle?

Guilty as charged your honour!

I purchased ByHand London’s Elisalex Dress at the same time as their Charlotte Skirt pattern. At least I’ve got my money’s worth out of the latter! I loved the feminine design of the Elisalex, but this beauty really hasn’t worked out great for me.

Trying to be economical, I thought I’d use up the leftover material from my first two Charlottes.The fabrics coordinated pretty well and the pattern stipulated that heavier fabrics would work well. In retrospect, I think the fabric choice was the key problem. The fabrics are both very much ‘work’ wear rather than evening wear but the design is very clearly ‘dressy’. The two just don’t tally 😦

On the plus side, the skirt came together pretty easily- knew all that Charlotte practice would come in handy- but I really struggled with the construction of the bodice and the neckline just wasn’t working at all. I’ll be honest: it’s a complete mess inside. The addition of a lining helped to cover some of this up eventually, but I know it’s a mess and that doesn’t make for a happy garment. It kind of hangs awkwardly off my shoulders too, and is far too revealing at the back for work, which is really the only place I’d wear it. I forced myself to wear it once, but succumbed to covering most of the bodice up with a cardigan. Because of the full length zip, the length has ended up stopping at a really unflattering length on me too. I think I can just about pull it off with knee high boots and opaques, hence I’m wearing them in the photos despite the spate of unusually pleasant weather we’re experiencing currently. I’d never wear this just with shoes though – I’d look incredibly dumpy…

It doesn’t look too bad on the hanger, which is just as well as I think that’s where it will be staying! Maybe I’ll return to this pattern again once my skills have improved, but for now it’s back to attempting to master the more simple patterns…



A Sunny Sorbetto or Two


This is a great, free pattern from Colette. If you’re a beginner like me then I’d definitely recommend trying it. It only took me a couple of hours to run up each of these and with the exception of the somewhat fiddly bias binding on the second, they were really easy to put together.

I used a fairly stiff, white poplin for the first one. As you can see I broke out the embellishments for both of these 🙂 On the white one I used a chevron ribbon I got free with a sewing magazine a while back, to break up the white. I also used some white, embroidered trimming I had spare. I used it around the neckline and armhole circles instead of bias binding too. This seemed to work, but I hope it doesn’t start to unravel… I improvised a little and used more of a fold on the front, rather than the pleat as guided, in order to show the embroidery off better.

I used a light-weight blue and white gingham for my second version. The ready-made bias binding I bought was really narrow and proved pretty fiddly to put in, but I just about managed it. Again I used some embellishment to the pleated front. This time a pretty, swallow print ribbon, that again came free with a sewing magazine.

My only reservation with the Sorbetto top is that the length is pretty short. At five foot two and an important half I’m clearly no giant and it only just works. This might end up being pretty cropped on someone taller.

I’m really pleased with both of these. I used up fabric I already had in, but it would be nice to try them with some especially bought fabrics next time – I’m thinking florals? I’m hoping these two will work just as well for work as they do with jeans. Just in time for MeMadeMay too, phew!



The Liebster Award



Well, this made my day 🙂

The lovely Barbara Jane from has nominated me for the Liebster award: an award given to bloggers from other bloggers with the intention of recognising and promoting newer and smaller blogs with less than two hundred followers.

Barabara Jane posed a few questions for me to mull over. Here are my responses…

My favourite sewing skill and why? Well, that one was easy- inserting an invisible zip. This was the cause of much frustration the first time I attempted it. The air was positively blue. I’m not known for swearing usually, but attempting to insert one of these monkeys really did push me over the edge. The trick: an invisible zipper foot! But even with one of these beauties I’m both amazed and relieved every time it goes in… First sewing fear conquered!

Thirdly, how did I learn to sew or knit? Well, My mum taught me to knit many moons ago. She’s a brilliant, and deeply addicted knitter. But whilst I enjoy knitting the odd item, usually during the Winter months, it’s sewing, which I only discovered recently, that has really ignited my passion. I think because items tend to come together much more quickly and if they don’t? Well, it’s relatively easy to unpick and readjust at any step of the process.

Lastly, my favourite time of year and why? I love Autumn. Maybe because it’s my birthday month or maybe because I’m a teacher, so I never fail to get that shiny-new-shoes-and-pencil- case-feeling as September rolls in. Either way I love that it’s a fresh start: a chance to pause, reflect, or simply to do things differently. I also love Autumnal colours, the leaves turning and that slight nip in the air.

I’ve chosen to pass the award on to a fellow newbie who charts her adventures of a new sewing apprentice at, the ‘chronically overdressed’ Bec of, Suzie, over in Montreal in Canada at, creative writing student Charlotte from Birmingham at http://www.aplaceonthebookshelf and lastly, but of course not least (ly!) enjoy some beautiful scenery over at with Emma from Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

If you wish to accept the award, the rules here, are copied from Barbara Jane’s blog:

Thank the person who gave you the award, linking back to that person’s blog. Copy and paste the Liebster award to your own profile.  Answer the 5 questions your nominator asked. Pick 5 blogs you feel deserve to be noticed (they have to have under 200 followers). Ask them 5 questions. Let your nominees know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog.The award I’ve copied from the

My five questions are:

when and why did you catch the sewing bug?

who infected you?

which handmade item are you most proud of?

and lastly what’s your favourite sewing soundtrack?


Many thanks again to Barbara Jane for paying it forward my way 🙂