The 60s Grey Shift


I’ve been ummming and ahhhing for ages now, over how best to use this beautiful grey, swirly fabric which I was gifted as part of the #secretsewingsanta exchange. I was really torn between this 60s shift dress, which I’ve sewn once before, see here, and a Clemence skirt, again attempted just once before. I thought the slightly stiff texture (I think it’s a kind of linen with netting for the swirls), would really suit a full skirt, but I figured if I had enough for a whole dress, then it would be rude not to!

The pattern is Simplicity 1609, which came free with a magazine some time ago. This time I chose view A with a kind of scalloped, Peter Pan-style collar. The darts went in easily. I substituted a regular zip for an invisible one, which behaved itself perfectly πŸ™‚ The collar was a little fiddly. I’m guessing a slightly lighter fabric may have helped here, but I gave it my best… I was contemplating whether to unpick it and attempt it again to neaten it up, when I realised I’d forgotten to switch back to a light grey thread after completing another quick project in between in a darker grey! Frustrating though this was, it made the decision as to whether to unpick or not a whole lot easier πŸ˜‰ And my second attempt, with the right colour greyΒ thread, was a whole lot neater. Funny that!


Because I substituted with an invisible zip, I ended up free-styling the order and did most of it by instinct. The bit I did try to consult was how to insert the facings. The neck edge made sense, and went in pretty easily, but the arms made no sense at all! I just kind of made it up, which seemed to work reasonably well, before hand stitching it down to the main bodice. The rest was plain sailing πŸ™‚ The design suggests placing three, small buttons beneath the centre of the collar, but I resisted as I felt this might have drawn the eye to my least neat part of the project…

I was so pleased when I tried this on: it fitted perfectly. And from the outside, it’s a pretty neat job all-in-all. However the insides left me just a little disappointed. They’re pretty neat around the facings, but I’d really like to get my inner seams finished off just a little more professionally. I guess a lining would have covered them nicely, but I like the idea of using bias binding or a ribbon to neaten them up. I think it’s a result of using my overlocker more recently, which always gives such a great finish. I’ve read about other bloggers overlocking seams before sewing, so maybe this would be an idea too. Any suggestions would, as ever, be greatly appreciated. It’s an area I’d really like to improve on in the future.

Many thanks Vicki once again for the beautiful fabric. It was a perfect choice for me πŸ™‚

And for those power-girls amongst you who may just have thought there was a little something missing from this post…


Ahh, that’s better! I did try to keep them down, honest! πŸ˜‰


Holiday #sundaysevens, week 2


Oh wow, what a beautiful surprise: sunshine in Manchester! Yep, you heard right, and for the school holidays too, who would have thought it possible? Hope everyone’s been enjoying it as much as we have πŸ™‚

Easter Monday, after seeing the relatives off, called for a chilled day (mostly) at home with the kids. We did pop out to a local park, so that my daughter could have a go on her new bike though. You can just about make her out, cycling off into the distance…

Tuesday was a family day out for the four of us. My vote was for Alton Towers,Β but I was outvoted in favour of Chester’s Crocky Trail. My son had been here earlier in the year with his cub pack and it was both nearer and cheaper I guess… Not an ideal place for a worried mum though, if only I’d had a pound for every ‘slow down’ or ‘careful’ I uttered, and that was just to my husband πŸ˜‰


Wednesday was a ‘jobs’ day, which included getting my daughter her new Brownies uniform. It seems much more grown up than the Rainbows one 😦 I keep telling them both to stop growing, but they just won’t listen…

Thursday was a beautiful day here in the Northwest, perfect for our first picnic of the year at Tatton Park, a National Trust property nearby with friends. And what a change not eating it in the car makes πŸ˜‰ Sorry? You mean you didn’t come here for a guide to National Trust properties in the Northwest? Whoops, sorry! (Photo shows the beautiful Japanese garden, my favourite spot).


Friday: seriously, look away now! Yep, we’re back at Dunham Massey, again catching up, but with different friends this time, our favourite destination, and another beautiful day πŸ™‚

Saturday was time to pick up my daughter and her friends’ creative efforts from her birthday partyΒ at The Bean and Brush in Sale. And the perfect excuse for cake for the monkeys and coffees for the grown ups…


And finally, Sunday called for a last-day-of-the-holidays reading morning in bed with plenty of cups of tea. I finished the top one which is a really original novel about an American family who adopt a chimp and raise her alongside their own children. It’s incredibly and surprisingly moving. And I made a start on the second one down, which got me hooked straight away… Shame I won’t have much time once I’m back at school 😦

The one thing I didn’t manage to get to do much of over either of these weeks is sewing… I’m beginning to suffer serious withdrawal symptoms!

Hope everyone has had a lovely, Easter break too. To find out more about #sundaysevens head over to Nat’s blog

Smokey Grey, part two


I had enough lovely, grey crepe left to run up a matching top too. I love this aspect of sewing, where you can extend the versatility of an item by adding in a ‘dress’ option. I’ve worn my black BHL Charlotte and matching TGBSB tunic top loads together (despite the top’s shortcomings), so this is an obvious way to go for me. I was tempted to attempt the same top, as I often get really hot at work (an age thing? Or maybe we just live in an old house, so anything modern seems hot…) . But that darn, two-in-one facing business just didn’t take my fancy after a long half term.

Something simple was needed and that ‘something simple’ happened to be staring me in the face. In the same free, pattern pack that I made my side-split skirt from, there was a t-shirt style top too (NewLook K6217). It was a loose style, but I figured in a crepe this wouldn’t be too bulky or baggy, and I could always just tuck it in.

Again, I forced myself to slow right down and enjoy the process. And I did! πŸ™‚ The pattern consisted of just three, simple pieces and it came together in no time. I was particularly pleased with my button and loop fastening, where I improvised and just used a small piece of black ribbon that had come with a RTW label (my natural, hoarding habits do come in handy sometimes πŸ˜‰ ). It’s ended up pretty neat, despite my machine’s desire to chew it up! In the end, I simply hand sewed it in place.

I’m really pleased with this fake ‘dress’. The kimono-style sleeves are lovely and airy too. While I’m not sure what else I could pair the top with, I’ve no doubt that this duo will get plenty of wear for work together. The skirt will be easy to wear separately too.

It’s been really enjoyable sewing a couple of simple, but useful items, but I’m probably ready for something a little trickier now I’ve had a good rest from school. Maybe it’s about time I was brave enough to tackle the lovely fabric I was gifted as part of the Secret Sewing Santa swap…


Anyone else find themselves continually adopting this rather matronly, hands on hips pose for their blog images?! I clearly need something to do with my arms and I guess it does work well at pulling everything in…Β 

Looking at this photo, this top is also crying out for a statement necklace of some shape or form. Will have to have a rummage…