Making Stacie a bit of a saga – Part 1

I have been trying to get on with my jacket but have been occupied fully in other directions. Anyway, I had printed out the Style Arc Stacie pattern and trimmed the pages ready to stick together so while I had my dear old mother-in-law to stay I thought I would get the sellotape busy. I made a lovely job of sticking all those sheets together. Brilliant I was. Then I realised it was in a size 16 and I should have printed the 14. Doh!

So back to the printer. Print, trim, and stick before tracing off the pattern. I thought I wanted to change the length and make one or two other little tweaks before hitting the fabric but I decided to make the first version up exactly as intended by Style Arc.

All going well again so I got the fabric out. It was the remains of the orange denim I made the Islander Patterns Jacket Express so I knew it had been pre washed and only needed to be ironed. I think it must have shrunk in the stash – there was a maximum length of 150cm – but it had chunks cut out at both ends so it wasn’t anywhere near as much as I remembered and I had severe doubts I would ever fit the whole pattern on.

Readers I think my luck may have changed. I got the pattern on with just shreds to spare. It was just as well that I didn’t decide to change the pattern at all as I’m not convinced that I could have fitted the adapted pattern into what I had. Check this out….

Not much here for the scrap bag

Not much here for the scrap bag

At last the jacket is cut out and the markings clipped – all done very carefully as I can’t afford any slip ups here. I’m told that Style Arc instructions can be a bit scant but since I draw my own patterns I’m used to working without instructions. Even so I will be going steady as we can’t be at home to Mr Mistake. No sir.

Stacie finally cut out

Stacie finally cut out

The client work is back under control so I might even be able to get back to the 30 minutes for me at the end of each day regime. Seems like the only way I actually get anything done for me when I’m busy.

I hope all your lives are under better control than mine!

Marathon Weekend Visit and more

I haven’t been able to post recently – partly because I had nothing really to say, but also because I am still buried in client work.

I did have a trip to Birmingham to buy supplies needed for said client work a couple of weeks ago and despite good intentions of buying NOTHING that would end up in the stash – even if only for a short time – I really couldn’t walk away from this….

Liberty at Birmingham markets!

Liberty at Birmingham markets!


I could barely believe it when I spotted a pile of fabric bolts that couldn’t be anything but Liberty (the name had been scratched off the end of the bolt) at £8 a metre. I’m not a big fan of fussy Liberty print but I really liked this one which looks a little like a sea shell – and as a bonus goes brilliantly with the orange twill which may become the Stacie jacket. I came away with the end  of the bolt which was just under 2m for £12. Score.


Birmingham Library books

Birmingham Library books

In addition I made a detour to the Birmingham City Library, which I had visited on the way to the theater a while ago, with all the necessary information needed to obtain membership. I was amazed on my last visit to see just what a large fashion/tailoring/dressmaking section they had. In the local library it is lucky to cover a shelf – in Birmingham it was two bookcases. Oh, happy Hoody. It was quite difficult to make the choice, but I knew I had to carry whatever  was chosen back to the car park which was quite a way away. I eventually limited myself to the three on the right which I will review in good time.


Despite still having lots which really needed to be done I escaped over the last weekend on a planned visit to my daughter in West London. The plan was a visit to the V&A and whatever else I could fit in. I did get to the V&A on Friday and managed to get round both Underwear, and Botticelli in the time available. Kate, at Fabrickated , has reviewed both of these exhibitions very well so I wont go over old ground. I confess that I wasn’t as impressed with either as I have been by other similar sized exhibitions at the V&A. Had I traveled only for this visit I may have been disappointed.

On Saturday we decided to visit the Tower of London and Kensington Palace. The Tower is always good fun, and this time we went into the torture exhibits (yes, we really are little boys in real life), and the White Tower, but had to miss the crown jewels as there was a large queue and we wanted to eat!

Jess at the Tower

Jess at the Tower

My main reason for wanting to visit Kensington again was that the Royal Rules exhibition had been renewed – so lots of new Royal dresses to be seen. Jess is very tolerant and came willingly (although as you can see she was probably happier at the Tower!) The dresses were fabulous, as one would expect of our Royals, and even though you may not actually ‘like’ them all it is almost impossible not to be impressed by the thought and work that has gone into them all. I think that over all I preferred this exhibition to either of the others this time. I have just made a slideshow rather than trying to put the pictures in individually so I hope you like it.

I was absolutely exhausted after we got home and needed a little doze before going out to eat which my darling daughter documented on Twitter. Doh!

The following day was spent at the London Marathon before driving home (which I documented on The Old Bat  so I wont say more here) and getting stuck into the client pile again. Hopefully it will start to show signs of shrinkage soon!


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Sometimes you just need to tweak a bit

Sometimes when I don’t know quite what to do (sew) I head back to my wardrobe to see what is in there, and what I am actually wearing from it.

It always amazes me how little of my clothing I wear on a really regular basis. I admit I am almost always in casual clothing, usually the sort that I don’t mind crawling the floor pinning client garments in, so I really need to consider this when I sew.

However, when you have got right to the back of the wardrobe and dragged everything out it is a perfect time to try on and clear out. There were a fair number of things I immediately decided had to go – if they hadn’t been worn in 12 months there had to be a reason. Sometimes it was clear that something could be done to make things wearable, on other occasions it just wasn’t worth the time.

Better.. but not quite

Better.. but not quite

Frumpy in extreme

Frumpy in extreme

Remember this dress? I was slightly amazed that I made this in August 2011 (yes, I do hang onto my clothes a long time) and have worn it a number of times. I really like the cool cotton fabric – and it has birds on it. whats not to like? However, with the exercise I have been doing I have changed shape a bit so the picture on the left shows the horrid reality of how it looks. Ouch.

I pinned the back and  hem to see if that would make it work and I am happier, though I think it needs a proper assessment of what is needed rather than a quick whiz round with the pin box. When I have more time I will get at this with a fully engaged brain.


The other thing that almost ended up in the recycling/charity bag was a pair of RTW shorts. I rarely wear shorts but I have been recently tested for Vitamin D levels which turned out to be very low so my intention this summer is to expose more skin whenever the sun is out. Sorry world.


Image result for lofty it ain't half hot


Shorter shorts

Shorter shorts

'Lofty' shorts

‘Lofty’ shorts



This pair reminded me very much of Donn Estelle as Lofty from the old TV program ‘It ain’t half hot mum’. Not quite the look I wanted. Once pinned up a couple of inches they looked acceptable. Not lovely, but I will wear them until a better option is available.


With regard to the sewing I was considering in my last post I have decided to make the Stacie jean jacket first. I circled the patterns many times before making the decision which was entirely based on the fact that I had everything I needed to make Stacie but would need to plan and buy supplies for the other options. You will be surprised to hear that the fabric is another bright – either yellow or orange (again) depending on how I feel when I go to cut out – but I have a soft rayon or cotton type fabric (nice, been around for ages so I can’t be bothered to test) which will make a coordinating dress or those wide trousers. wow, wardrobe planning.

Since the weather changed here in the UK to be a little warmer lots of my clients have come out from hibernation (or I think that’s where they have been) and I have too much ‘work’ to sew for me at the moment. Oh well, the sooner I get it done the sooner I can sew for me again. Bye!

My style – or style rut?

Every so often something happens that makes us question our choices. The prompt this time was a blog post I read by Sew Tessuti who was showing a selection of patterns bought over a number of years – and so many very similar patterns.

This weekend I bought a couple of Style Arc patterns using the discount. Great time to try out a new to me pattern company who seem to have a very good following. Then I looked at what I had bought in the light of what I had read.

The first was a pattern bundle which included the Stacie jean jacket, Sally jean skirt, and Diana top. I really only wanted the jacket but it was such a good buy… well, you know the feeling. The other option was the Ziggi biker jacket.Stacie Jean Jacket + Diana Top + Sally Jean Skirt








These were both styles I really thought I would use – but wait a minute – do these look familiar?

Start with Stacie. I love jeans jackets. I have made a few in the past, check out this post, this one, and finally this one. Also, in a recent Patrones post I showed a jacket that isn’t a million miles from this. See a theme developing? All OK, but none exactly what I wanted.

The first (McCalls 5860) was a great basic shape but I followed the instructions pretty much as is and hated the way the lining was installed from the word go. The second was self drafted and just OK. I still wear it on occasion but it has never really thrilled me. The third was from a Craftsy course. I learned a bunch of stuff from the course, have worn this jacket quite a lot, but it seems a bit of a compromise jeans jacket. A ‘home sew’ option. I have read a number of blog posts about ‘Stacie’ and most are positive – but the pockets are just decorative rather than functional, and the cuffs seem to come in for some criticism. It would seem that the pattern companies are on a hiding to nothing as we have very specific ideas of what we want, but we don’t all want the same thing. Clearly I am going to have to do a bit of adaption to make Stacie exactly what I had in mind.


Fabulous fully lined biker jacket with zip features


Now then Ziggi. I have seen some blisteringly good versions of Ziggi online. Check out Ruths version at Core Couture, or Shams at Communing with Fabric, or ….  any one of loads. Brilliant jacket. Perfectly biker – just what I want. But I have already got the Janet Pray MotorCity Express pattern as part of another Craftsy course (not yet started). I have put off starting the course because I had slight reservations about the pattern. I knew the lack of a collar was something I was going to have to change, and no matter how much I know I have gained from the other Janet Pray courses I have watched this one languished. Is Ziggi closer to what I want? I think so, but I really must watch the course because I’m sure it will help construction when I decide what I am to do.

Both of these jacket styles can be dressed up or down according to need but are arguably both fairly casual, every day jackets. That’s OK. Sadly my lifestyle doesn’t really have great need for spectacularly ‘dressed up’ clothing. However, my concern is have I just fallen into a style rut where I simply choose what is comfortable and familiar, or have I actually found that rare beast – My Style?



Style Arc Discount Alert!

Just a quick post as I received this e-mail from Style Arc this morning and thought I should share the love. I haven’t used a Style Arc pattern yet but have been eyeing up a couple of nice ones – I think a 25% discount could be the prod I need.

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Style Arc Sewing Patterns on Etsy

Hi everyone,

For many of us Easter is rare opportunity to have four days off! It’s a great time to sit down and work on some of those projects that you’ve been putting off for some time. Many of our sewing friends use the time to raid their fabric stashes (or maybe even add to them:) and spend some dedicated time working on a fabulous sewing project.

In case you’re struggling for ideas, as a special gift this Easter we’re giving you 25% off all PDF downloadable patterns from the Style Arc Etsy store but ONLY until Easter Monday. So get in quick! Just enter the coupon code HAPPYEASTER25 at the checkout when you place your order to get your discount.

Why not browse the store to find yourself a sewing project, download the pattern, assemble it and get to work right away! By Monday you could have some fabulous new additions to the wardrobe. Sale ends Easter Monday.

Until next time, happy sewing and have a happy and safe Easter.

Chloe and the Style Arc girls

I love (well made) PDF patterns so this is really well timed.

Have a good Easter break everyone!

P.S. Just to keep my exercise/running off this blog I have a new blog. Feel free to comment on there too.

New Patrones – Issue 357

My dear friends G and H brought me another issue of Patrones back from Spain, and I think this one is particularly nice.

Patrones 357 20013

I was immediately taken with the jacket on the cover. I can’t decide whether it is the style or the colour I like best.

This picture is small, but here are the designs in this issue.

Patrones 357 20019

Patrones 357 20015

This is a better picture of the jacket. It looks like something that could be styled for so many occasions that I am really tempted to add this to my already massive wish list. It seems to be mid way between a ‘jeans style’ jacket and something smarter. As someone who rarely has reason to wear the tailored jackets I so like this might be a good compromise. The shell top underneath with a longer back is also very appealing.

Patrones 357 20016


The top shown right is pretty too – although at my age it would need to be longer to cover my tum. The trousers are a very simple design – such a simple design that I stopped making these many years ago after I got my C&G qualification. Perhaps it’s time to revisit the style. The magazine has them shown at mid calf – I’m not sure about that length but an easy fit, elasticated waist trouser would be a good travel option as long as they didn’t start to look like the sort of ‘pair of comfy pants’ so beloved of elderly ladies.

Patrones 357 20017

I also love these very wide trousers, and I think they look wonderful made in very soft fabric for summer. This particular design is extremely wide. And long. I understand the ‘look’ but I must be getting old – my first thought was for the safety of the person wearing them. Maybe it’s just me that can fall over ‘flat Henrys’ but I would be guaranteed a fall by the end of the day in that length trouser.

Again I can’t remember the last time I wore this style but I am very tempted. I have recently altered a pair I liked for a client and took the opportunity to make a pattern from my block whilst the idea was fresh in my head. Maybe those first.

Patrones 357 20018

I really liked the blue top on the left. It starts off as an ordinary shirt down to waist level but then gets an asymmetrical  peplum for interest. Classic but with a little twist. I’m not sure its for me as I have a UFO I rediscovered recently with similar detail. I love the design but I’m not sure it likes me. I really need to bring this UFO out of hiding and decide what I am going to do with it – I really hate unfinished stuff.

The shirt on the right is an absolute classic shape with nothing different except for the buttons being hidden under a front placket. Nice.

Patrones 357 20014

This coat was pretty special too. The design is credited to Alberta Ferretti and though simple I just love it. Maybe it’s just the fabric?  I really liked the styling around the neckline which could be made in any sort of wonderful trim you wanted. I have been reading blogs by both Kate and the Demented Fairy recently and wondering why we don’t make more use of trim. Maybe it’s time to break out not just in style but also the bling.Patrones 357 20020


The jacket to the right was just fabulous in my opinion. If I were even to consider making it for myself I would want to make the bolero section separately so that in effect I would have three jackets. The style is very ‘Chanel’ and I know I have a selection of Linton tweeds in my stash that almost qualify for a pension. Definitely time to make some of them up. I think I have been avoiding them as they seem to have attained ‘ too good to use’ status. (No I’m not gloating, honest).Patrones 357 20029

I thought you might benefit from seeing the tech illustration for this jacket. I’m warming to this design as part of my wardrobe but struggling to see myself wearing it if I am entirely honest. Despite that it goes on the growing wish list.

These are just a few of the really lovely deigns in this issue. I only wish I had more time to sew, and more occasions to wear fabulous clothing. Anyone else really have problems with sewing for the life they want rather than the life they have?


Two things for me!

After the disappointment that was the orange vest/waistcoat non happening I decided to go back to a pattern I had tried and liked recently – the Karen Drape dress. No. Yes. No. I’ll make the Nettie bodysuit. No. Yes. Oh, you get the picture.

I had altered the pattern for the dress I used last time to make it a little closer fitting which helps to keep the ‘drapes’ in place. I still tend to think I am bigger than I am – not small, but not as big as I think. I think it is an improvement. See what you think.

Maria Denmark Karen Drape dress

Karen Drape dress front – original fit

Karen dress altered

Karen Drape dress front- altered fit


I bought two metres of polyester lycra from the discounted table at Barry’s at the same time as I bought the cloque for the last dress with the intention of making the Nettie bodysuit but I had decided that I wanted to try the altered dress pattern. Anyhoo, after spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to match stripes I realised I would have needed to buy another half metre for it to work BUT if I disregarded stripe matching I had just enough to cut the dress AND the bodysuit. Score!

Karen Drape dress

Karen Drape dress front 

Karen Drape dress

Karen Drape dress back


I think that the pattern suggested not using an obvious stripe but I was happy to have the stripe going off at an angle on the top of the front. I suspect if it had been a very regular stripe it may not have looked quite so good. As you see the back is just all horizontal stripes and I’m happy with that too. I actually much prefer this version to the original I made – I think the fabric suits me better.

I used a strip of lycra to bind the neckline this time and I am happier with the fit and shape – I definitely pulled the elastic a bit too tight on the last version. I can now confirm that this pattern is a keeper ladies.



Closet Case Files Nettie Bodysuit


On to the bodysuit. This is by Closet Case files and I have seen lots of these on various blogs and really wanted to try the pattern. I was perhaps a little hesitant as I can remember wearing these when they were popular in the eighties. Did I really want to go there again?

Since trouser waistlines seem to be heading upwards again, and tops are being more regularly worn tucked into the waistband I thought it would be good to try – you can’t fault a bodysuit in keeping you neat (unless you are Patsy from Ab Fab!).

As I had just enough to cut this out provided I made the sleeves short I got on with it. I graded the pattern out one size over my (lack of a) waist and just went ahead on faith. It is a pretty good fit – the lycra isn’t straining anywhere and isn’t looking too clingy. I would be happy wearing this as it is but I shall be allowing a little extra space on the shoulders next time (yes, there will definitely be a next time) as the sleeves seem to want to climb upwards since there is very little width on the shoulders. Apart from that I am very happy, and since the pattern offers lots of variation (including making it into a dress) I can see this pattern getting quite a lot of use.

Not a bad result from 2m of fabric!




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