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 🙂

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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’




The 70s Clemence Skirt

I came across this fabric whilst browsing in a local charity shop. It’s a bit graphic and a bit 70s in a browny-rusty-orangey kind of way. It’s not my usual type of print, but I thought it might just be useful for something. And at the princely sum of just one British pound, I couldn’t leave it there for that! Had I known the grief it would cause me, I wouldn’t have paid one British penny for it…. Boy, did it make me curse and fume!

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I’ve been slowly working my way through Tilly’s ‘Love At First Stitch’ (starting with the Brigitte scarf, here, and then a couple of versions of the Delphine skirt, here and here), and this week it was the turn of the Clemence Skirt. My very expensive 70s fabric might prove a very wearable muslin (my very first attempt at one), or so I foolishly thought. The first new skill this skirt demanded was making a simple pattern. This was, as Tilly promised, really straight forward. Being rubbish at maths, Tilly’s worked sums really helped me work out my dimensions (did anyone else find this, even though it’s probably pretty basic?) The only paper in our house large enough to accommodate the pattern was a roll of last Christmas’ wrapping paper, that somehow escaped being put back in the garage in January. It worked reasonably enough, but it’s probably not that durable…

My bargain fabric was some kind of nylon-y horror, lacking, according to my husband, any kind of stretch whatsoever. Thus, even pinning my pattern pieces to the fabric proved problematic. I resorted to forcibly stabbing my pins into it. Possibly this should have been a hint to stop right there…

My machine hated, veritably loathed this fabric from the outset. The needle did not want to go through it. I changed to a new, slightly sharper needle, which helped a little, but not that much! I ended up having to sew each section of my French seams (a skill I’d only previously used on napkins) several times as there were big gaps that the needle just didn’t catch. Sewing the three rows of contrast colour that were to form the gathering, almost caused me to throw the blasted thing across the room. Time for an overnight break, and a whole lot of unpicking…

Turning up the speed the next day somehow seemed to help a little more, I guess it gave my poor machine more of a run at it? Another new skill involved in the making of this skirt was ‘stitching in the ditch’ which again, I had to do several times to stitch up the gaps, grrr…. I didn’t bother with any pattern matching as I figured the gathers would be kind in disguising any blips, although I did attempt to select an appropriate run of the pattern for the waistband, which kind of worked. Here’s a close up the 70s print in all its garishness…


Overall making this skirt up was a royal pain in the backside, but only because of the fabric I used. The pattern itself is great, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some nice, ‘normal’ fabric to run one up in. Tilly’s instructions were clear at all stages, and the detailed ‘technique’ sections were especially helpful. Much though I hated the process of making this, it is actually very wearable. As with the Delphine, the wide waistband is really flattering. I’m only hoping, that despite all the pain it caused me, it will prove to be the most useful item in my wardrobe, here’s hoping…

Love at First Stitch – The Delphine, mark two!

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During MMMay I realised there was a clear gap in my wardrobe. I needed a fairly simple, black skirt for work to wear with patterned tops. I also really wanted to make another of Tilly’s Delphine Skirts, so it seemed the perfect match.

As you can see I was heavily inspired by Tilly’s ‘Make It Your Own’ section. As a beginner, I often find myself lacking in foresight as to how to adapt patterns so these sections are just perfect for me and it’s a great book for a lazy flick through (cup of tea in hand) of an evening when it’s turned too late to sew:-)

It’s not the most exciting of makes, but I figured the buttons just about raised it to post-worthy. I added an extra inch to the length which was perfect and felt much more comfortable. Again, I machine stitched the inner waistband. It was neater the second time around, but I think I have to admit that hand sewing this would be better, and worth the extra effort.

My slightly heavier fabric, a fifty-fifty linen and cotton mix, emphasised the shape of the design better this time I felt too. Really pleased with this one, so much so in fact that I wore it on two consecutive days this week. Once for work and once for pleasure. The perfect, adaptable skirt 🙂

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