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˜‰


An Overlocked Megan


I’ve seen some lovely, Winter Coco dresses on various blogs of late, so much so that I was almost tempted to change my overlocking plans, but I stuck to my original instinct with the Megan Dress instead (Tilly and the Buttons) : A pattern I’ve already made up twice before, here and here. Β Those princess seams are really flattering on my body shape. Maybe a Coco next time…

I spotted this lovely, light-weight, sweatshirt fabric at John Lewis. At Β£8 a metre (half price in the sale), I was paying a little more than I usually do, but I knew it would be perfect and worth paying that little extra πŸ™‚ Happily, it turned out well!

As for my previous Megan, I cut the smallest size, but added an extra inch or so to the length. I lengthened the sleeves to 3/4 length (my favourite), using the Coco top sleeve pieces (thanks for the great tip Teri). I haven’t adapted a pattern like this before, so I was a little apprehensive. The two different sleeve patterns were pretty different shapes, but I kind of tapered one into the other, which thankfully worked out just fine. Phew!

I started on my sewing machine, sewing up the darts and tucks, but then switched to my overlocker to attach the various body pieces to each other. I’m not sure what I’ve done with the placement of the darts on this pattern, (maybe I traced them slightly wrong?) but I’ve never yet managed to line them up perfectly. They’re not too far out, but the smaller things like this are starting to annoy me more, which I’m presuming is a good thing. I must check my tracings before I attempt this again.

Switching between the sewing machine and the overlocker certainly provides the best of both worlds in terms of stitches and finishing, but it’s not easy when you don’t have your own sewing room. I’ve promised myself I can only have one out at a time, in an attempt to keep the kitchen reasonably tidy of sewing clutter πŸ˜‰ This plan is certainly keeping me fit, traipsing up and down the stairs. It’s a pain, but maybe a good pain as it did force me to pause overnight and therefore slow down, as I couldn’t face switching them over yet again.

When I got my overlocker out again a couple of days later though: disaster struck! I stupidly didn’t raise the thread arm before I began, and yep, you’ve guessed it: two of my threads snapped as a result 😦 Oh well, it was going to happen sooner or later! And at least it wasn’t all four of them… It took me several attempts, but it finally produced that lovely chain again.

I hesitated at sewing both the facings and the sleeves on my overlocker, but decided to just go for it! The sleeves went in just fine, and I was dutifully careful with my pins, taking it very slowly and removing them well in time. I was warned that overlockers and pins really don’t get along too well on my course, much more disastrous than running over one on a normal machine apparently.

Next time I must remember to cut both facing pieces on the fold if I’m using a knit fabric and avoiding zips. The flappy bits were annoying, and frustratingly resulted in me slightly misaligning the two back bodice pieces at the top. It’s a good job I wear my hair reasonably long, so no one’s going to really notice, but annoying all the same! As I’d used the overlocker, I couldn’t really unpick it either, so there are disadvantages too… Not too many though πŸ˜‰

However I LOVE this dress! Spending a little extra on the fabric really does seem to pay off for me πŸ™‚


My husband put a selfie stick in my stocking this year! Do you think he’s trying to hint at something?! Anyway, today was the first time I’ve attempted to use it. Quite frankly it made me feel ridiculous! I’ve seriously got the giggles in these last two photos and I can’t quite manage to cut out the stick, or my daftly raised right arm from the finished photos, but at least you can see a close up of this beautiful fabric πŸ™‚


The Megan Dress

After despairing for the umpteenth time at the growing clutter in our spare room, where I keep my sewing paraphernalia (although I actually sew on the kitchen table, as the light’s so much better), I have categorically banned myself from buying any new fabric until I use up / sort out what I’ve already got 😦 Not as much fun, but unless you have a dedicated sewing room, I wish, I suspect this is an all too familiar problem for us all? Although maybe a better storage system would help too…

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First up was this striped fabric left over from my second Coco top, see here. Not really sure why I bought so much in the first place, but it’s a good neutral. I spied that Tilly had run up a pretty Megan dress in a knit, so this seemed the ideal solution. And because of the short sleeves, I just about had enough.

The first half of this sewed up a dream in one afternoon. The second half, inserting the invisible zip, was a pain in the backside! Not sure why, I’ve inserted many a successful invisible zip before… Eventually it went in, after some serious unpicking, and with a knit fabric that wasn’t that easy. But I could not for the life of me match up my waist seams at the back. I’m suspecting it had something to do with cutting the fabric out. Knits do tend to move around a fair bit, especially for larger pieces. Maybe a rotary cutter and board would help with this? Not sure.

As I’d intended this dress for casual use anyway, I’m guessing no one will really be looking too closely. And with a jacket on, it looks just fine. It was also a toss up between a size 2 and a size 3. I went for a 3, but it’s ended up a little on the loose side. Again, the jacket helps. If I run another of these up in a knit, I’d definetly go for the smaller size next time, but maybe the bigger if I do it in a cotton. Overall, it’s, yet again, a really flattering shape, even in a size too big, and I’m really pleased with it πŸ™‚

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And lastly here’s our cat, Mr Jinks, ‘helping’ with tracing out the pattern…



Very cute, but really not a fat lot of help Mr Jinks!

The Megan Dress from Tilly’s ‘Love At First Stitch’