Overlock success

I haven’t finished blogging about my sewing projects from last year. With parenting, home life and returning to work all packed in it didn’t feel like I was creating much but, in fact, I’ve been surprised at how much sewing I managed during that 12 months. Whilst I work through the backlog, I’ve managed to fit in a few new projects – yes, you know life is good when you manage to spend time on your favourite hobby. Unfortunately, the luxurious free time doesn’t extend to using a decent camera to take nice pictures so you’ll have to put up with these snaps for now.

Here is my version of the Burda 09/2012 V-Back Top.



This is the first wearable thing for myself constructed using my overlocker. Everything else has been too small, too big, or uses hideous fabric. I’m happy with this sweatshirt and have worn it a few times already but, as always, there are a couple of things which let it down:

1) It’s far too warm. The fabric (from Pennine Outdoor) is probably better suited to an over-sized zip up top.
2) The fabric is bobbling. I wear an across body bag whenever I’m out (pram pushing and shoulder bags don’t go particularly well together) and after the first wear, the fabric had bobbled where the bag rubs at the hip which is annoying because none of my ready-to-wear clothes have done this.
3) I wasn’t careful enough with the neck binding so the V doesn’t line up at the back and there’s a tiny gap in one of the seams wear one layer wasn’t quite caught in the stitching.


One evening, at 5pm I began cutting borders off the printed sheets ready to piece together while Baby Pie ate dinner and then, between watching him and eating my own dinner, I had the sweatshirt finished and everything packed away by 9.30pm. Fantastic! Weekday sewing and parenting can happen, albeit rarely.


Way back when I was a student living a stone’s throw away, I used to walk through Shepherd’s Bush market and past the fabric shops on Goldhawk Road often. How I wish I’d know what was right under my nose! I was too busy thinking about Bernoulli’s Equation and Laplace Transforms (and cheap drinks of course – goes without saying) to bother about wool crepe and cotton sateen.

A few years ago, whilst in London I made a trip to Goldhawk Road to visit the fabric shops and reminisce about samosas from Jeffrey’s Tandoori (long since closed), live music in Walkabout and gang shootings in Nandos. Hmmmm, maybe not so much reminiscing about that last part. Anyway, I had no plan or shopping list for fabrics so I was completely overwhelmed in every shop. I came away with 3m each of some floral lightweight cotton and a couple of metres of spotty chiffon. I’ve since learned that spontaneous fabric shopping and I don’t mix. I need ideas, patterns, and yardage already thought out.

You’ve already seen both the floral cottons from that shopping trip in Sorbetto tops. The Sorbetto top uses a tiny amount of fabric so I had plenty left of the blue colourway to make a Colette Parfait.


Since the fabric was quite sheer, I underlined all pieces with an old cotton bed sheet. Good quality bed linen is great to use for the innards of a dress because all the laundering turns it incredibly soft and smooth. (And if you’re a sleep addict like me, you can pretend you’re between the sheets all day)


 Overall I’m happy with the dress but it doesn’t live up to the name. A couple of things which I’m not too happy with are:

1. The neckline. My sewing line may have been wrong because I don’t think it’s meant to have a square/flat portion in the centre.
2. The facings. Admittedly I didn’t bother stitching them down so they flip out but even so, they seem really narrow and hardly worth the bother.
3. The fabric isn’t holding up very well. After a few wears and washes it’s quite faded and a little bobbly. This is a big disappointment with self-made garments and is something that’s been playing on my mind lately. If I spend hours upon hours making something, I want it to last more than a season.

The negatives aside, I’ve mentioned before that the colours work well for me and I managed quite a bit of wear over winter with leggings and long-sleeved tops underneath or a cardigan over. I even managed to wear it on a recent holiday in Spain, albeit with leggings and a cardigan – it was wet and windy.


No, it’s not summer. No, it’s not warm outside. And no, it’s not time to bring out the sleeveless tops. I’m so late jumping on this bandwagon I’m surprised it hasn’t gone right round a second time and passed me again. Last summer I made 2 versions of the Colette Sorbetto pattern. Here they are…

IMAG0262_1 IMAG0265_1

The pattern is very popular, easy and free. It doesn’t take much fabric and is straightforward to assemble with the most difficult part being to attach the bias binding at the neck and arms. So, I’d say it would make an excellent beginners project.

I can’t remember what size I cut but I didn’t make any adjustments other than to lengthen the second version a little because I found the first a bit too short. Both fabrics are from a trip to Goldhawk Road a really, really long time ago. I’m hopeless with fabric names but these cottons are very thin and light and something in my head says “voile” but maybe they’re not quite as fine as that. Whatever it is, I was glad to finally use some of the fabric. I love, love, LOVE the black, yellow and pink print but the tone of the blue and white one works much better on me.

The tops filled a gap in my wardrobe last summer although I don’t think I’ll wear them this year because one of my new year’s resolutions for 2013 was to avoid scoop necks which I find incredibly unflattering on me. It’s a shame because it’s so quick and easy to make….I wonder if I could adapt the neckline to be more flattering….

Look what I made

Look what I made!

Since deserting this blog back at the end of 2010, I’ve been working on my biggest project ever. I grew, birthed, fed and nurtured a real baby human. It’s an ongoing (read lifelong) project and Baby Pie is now almost 20 months old. Eeek. These days he’s always on the move so it can be a struggle to catch a good photo. Image

I managed a few sewing makes last year which I hope to show you soon, and some woolly wonders.

Second time not so lucky

I first made McCall’s 5661 View B back in May using the black and white floral stretch cotton, leftover from my Heidi dress. I took photos of me wearing it but somehow lost them. Over the Summer I wore it loads and sadly the fabric didn’t hold up well and it no longer looks it’s best. The flowers are rather washed out and the black is almost completely worn around the hem and seams. I love it so much I thought I’d make another for Winter.

This version is from a beautiful quality shirting cotton I found on eBay. The colours are a little odd but fine for office wear. Back in may, I did a tissue fit, toile fit and adjusted the pattern. So this time all I did was whip out the pattern and start cutting. Now, here’s the problem, I’m a few pounds heavier than in May and this striped fabric doesn’t have any give like the black and white floral did. You guessed it, it’s skin tight. Not the look I go for in the office – especially when I sit down and the back buttons gape! So you’ll have to be satisfied with seeing it modelled by duchess…

The top is lovely, very much like a bodice sloper with capped sleeves and back button fastening (a lovely detail providing you can do monkey arms and button it yourself). The Palmer Pletsch pattern has great fitting instructions which are wonderful for a relative novice like me. I’ll certainly be looking out for some more patterns Palmer Pletsch in the McCalls range. If I make this again, apart from checking it fits (!), I would probably redraw the neckline because it is a bit too high for my liking.


3-2-1 aaaand she’s back in the room. Phew, what happened there? A few months just disappeared at the blink of an eye. Good job I didn’t miss Christmas, eh?

This weekend I spent some quality time with my sewing machines and had a mammoth sewing session. What’s that? Yes, yes I did say machines but I’ll keep you in suspense and save that for another post. And before I show you the 2 and 1/2 things I completed this weekend, here’s a sweet little bag I made for my neice’s birthday.

It’s a scaled down version of the Classic Tote on Sew Mama Sew (link to the tutorial here). She’s 10 so I reduced the size and missed out the corner gussets to make it a mini-tote and added some decorative buttons to the front pocket to brighten it up a little.

I absolutely love this tote pattern and have made it many many times. If you know me and haven’t received one as a gift then you should probably expect one sometime. It’s quick, simple, a good design and easy to obtain a professional finish. Just the right size for shopping, files, books or gym clothes. Actually, the one I made myself has mysteriously disappeared so I need to whip up another.

If you’re looking for ideas for Christmas gifts, make this!


Long time, no see

Hello? Anyone still there? I’m here, still living and breathing but not managing a great deal else. Most of my Summer was spent at weddings, sorting through wedding photos and training for a marathon. Well, the weddings are all done now for a while although there is still some post-processing to do, and this weekend I passed a major hurdle in marathon training when I completed my last long training run. For the next 3 weeks the training slowly tapers before the big race.

In between all this, I managed a few tiny bits of sewing including these cushions for a friend’s birthday present.

Yeah, I know cushions aren’t the most exciting present but he’s 30 now so has to expect gifts to become a little less exciting. There is some reasoning behind the cushions though, the recipient has a lovely house with a swish new sofa and these will go perfectly. When I saw the fabric it was a case of “I saw this and thought of you”. It’s a lovely, buttery soft Japanese linen from U Handbag called ‘Silly Sausage’. With the miserable weather we’ve seen in the UK the past few days I wouldn’t mind some cosy cushions to snuggle up with for myself.

Things will probably be a bit stop-start for the next month or so for my sewing but I’m confident and excited that I’ll have much more sewing time in the Autumn and Winter.

If you want to have a nosey at what I’ve been busy doing then pop over to www.darlingimages.co.uk and look under ‘Recent Weddings’. These are weddings Mr Pie and I worked at this Summer and they were all so much fun and beautiful in their own way. Go on, go and have a look because I’m so proud of what we’ve done in the past few months.


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