Greetings in 2020

Yes, I went missing again. I seriously considered shelving my blog but I find it useful to look back at what I did to patterns, and the feedback I get from out there helps with my direction. Also it seemed mean to use other people’s blogs for inspiration and not reciprocate so here I am.

In my last post I said I was about to start a coat – but as you can see I haven’t got far.

The pattern is from Patrones issue 380, and is allegedly designed by Guess. The fabric is fairly deep stash boiled wool bought in Birmingham in October 2016. Time it was used ūüôĄ. I knew if I made a toile I would probably grind to a halt again so this was cut directly into fabric before Christmas, and the interfacing ironed into place shortly after that. I even got a few major seams done between Christmas and New Year so I could try on for fit. And stopped.

Seeing this waiting is acting as a log jam against some other ideas I have so I’m putting it out there to shame me into finishing it. I have a full day available tomorrow (provided I don’t spend an age reading the Sunday papers) so I should see good progress by tomorrow night. Hopefully.



I have been enjoying the art group I attend weekly. It’s wonderful being among like minded people and just playing. We are all exhausted by the end of the day but mostly it’s a happy tired. We made marbled paper before Christmas and I brought some home to try book binding. Sadly the pieces weren’t big enough to use as end papers (like in some old books) but I think they look pretty good as covers ūüôā.

I hope you’re being more productive than I, but next time I hope to have real progress to show. Bye for now!

Minor progress

I would love to tell you all that I had made seven shirts, multiple pairs of trousers, and three coats since I last reported but it would be a lie. I’m slowing down into autumn and enjoying every minute (apart from those spent sweeping up the leaves in my garden. Grrr) but that isn’t helping with progress. I have been working – but not too much for me – so read on McDuff.

Nell Leftovers

Nell Leftovers

My last post was almost three weeks ago, and I finished by saying I hoped to make quick progress with Nell. Erm…… no. I have cut the main fabric out and overlocked the edges to ensure that when I do eventually get round to any sewing I should still have seam allowances available to work with. As I said previously there was really not enough fabric in this piece to make Nell but I was determined to get it from this fabric. The pieces leftover are really small – no space for any mistakes here. I think that may have made me back off for a little while, but truthfully I can’t explain why I’m not further on. I have

decided that I would like this cape lined rather than just binding all the seams and have even managed to find a fabric from my seemingly bottomless stash that will do the job. I’m still pithering about a binding for the outsides. I have a fabric that wont fray so I may go with strips from that if I can’t find anything I like better.

Style Arc Toni

Style Arc Toni

I did cut out the Toni at the same time and decided to sew that together quickly (there really isn’t much to this project). I’m not entirely certain that I like my dress, although that may be down to my not wearing dresses very often rather than the style itself. I love Toni on other people so I suspect that my uncertainty is down to just not wearing dresses often enough. Perhaps I need to change that. Photographs at a later date with me wearing it but at the minute I am post insomia night and look like death so no chance.

Fabric I didn't need

Fabric I didn’t need

In the gap between posts I had a wonderful day shopping in Birmingham with Naomi from a Facebook ‘Stashbusting’ group. Yes, I can see the problem there too – and as we both left Birmingham with a significant amount of fabric the stash was definitely blown not busted that day. Oh but look at what I bought!

Brilliant brooch

Brilliant brooch

The greeny yellow is a beautiful felted wool which I intend to make into a coat. As it was the end of the roll I got a very good deal on it. I was hesitating about buying such a distinctive colour, and more than a little concerned that it might not ‘go’ with my wardrobe. Can you believe that the colour works with just about everything I have put next to it? Far from not going with some things this colour works with¬†everything! Naomi was searching for fabric to make an outfit for a costume party – that included sparkly stuff and I couldn’t help myself when I saw this brooch. Just look at how nice it looks on the grey fabric – and that ‘goes with everything’ green!

The brown fabric is a lovely single knit jersey which is a great weight for autumn/winter t-shirts and was a mere 50p a metre. Well, you couldn’t turn it down at that price could you? The stripe was the same but is a finer fabric. I haven’t got round to pre-washing these yet – and the stripe may well be simply tucked away for later use – but that brown needs to be used. Now. Well, after I make Nell and that coat….


2nd Blogiversary! (And other stuff)

Well fancy that! I got an e-mail this morning telling me I had been blogging for two years. What a surprise – and you don’t seem to have got totally fed up with me yet so I will carry on if that’s OK. ūüôā

In other news I spent a day tracing patterns from this months Burda, and a couple from old Patrones to the pile of projects I really want to make. I even traced off what I think is my size from the Merckwaerdigh bra pattern.  I have traced a dress, a top, and two trouser patterns (one Burda and one Patrones Рboth in the same size to compare fit in the two magazines).All I need now is to stop procrastinating and GET ON WITH IT!

One garment I knew I wanted to make up (and quickly!) was a pair of leggings as ‘The Management’ and I were planning a weekend away in Liverpool last weekend. I knew there was a pair on the Vogue 1214 pattern(UFO alert!) that I am still waiting to finish the vest/waistcoat ¬†and thought I might just use that. It looked good on the envelope – but I knew that I wanted to remove the gathering detail on the as I planned to wear them inside boots – and I didn’t want to look like Norah Batty.Much loved though this character from Last of the Summer Wine is I really didn’t want to emulate her famous ‘wrinkled stockings!

Not the best fit

Not the best fit

Sadly the leggings were not the roaring success I had hoped for. I cut the size I should working from the measures on the

Baggy back view

Baggy back view

pattern envelope. Too big. I cut them down a size – still not great but better, Now I know I am a long way from the shape of the model on the envelope but these are really not flattering on me. ¬† I have reasonable slim legs and a fairly full tummy, ¬†I probably fall into the ‘apple shape’ category. Having taken the excess length from the bottom of the leg I was still left with a baggy crotch (not attractive), and baggy knees. As there are so few seams on this pattern it is actually more difficult to get a good fit on a non-standard body so I am giving up on these and sending for the Papercut Oh La Leggings pattern that seems to be getting a good review from lots of bloggers.

I was a bit sad not to be able to take the leggings with me, but it really didn’t spoil a fabulous weekend.

Liverpool is really worth a visit Рeven when it is freezing cold!I wore my Patrones coat almost all weekend and can say I am very happy with it. I think I would have interlined it with thinsulate had I realised that I would be wearing it when it was this cold! The Lambanana is a fantastic piece of work Рand the original was a warning against genetically modifying food. They really appealed to me Рand this one shows my other passion Рmarine life (and maybe you could pretend I am that diver?).

Patrones coat by a decorated 'lambanana'

Patrones coat by a decorated ‘lambanana’

I will be campaigning for another visit to Liverpool – I had a great time but there was much too much to see in a weekend. I did get to ‘ferry cross the Mersey’¬†though!

The iconic Liver Building - and bird

The iconic Liver Building – and bird

Is that a Banksy in the car park?

Is that a Banksy in the car park?

Old reflected in new

Old reflected in new


Slavery museum – well worth a visit

Darn that internet connection

Yes, it is still causing trouble. So I am out on safari in Bewdley (in the freezing cold it has to be said) looking for legal wi-fi I can hook in to. See how dedicated I am? It has to be said that buying a coffee and sitting in a local pub aint too bad.

And just to show you this…..O

The pictures of the Patrones coat. Awful self portrait but the management is out to work, and back in the dark at the moment

You may remember that I intended to make hand-worked buttonholes on this coat but after peppering the very few pieces I had left to¬†sample¬†on with test buttonholes I decided to go with a round ended machine buttonhole. I wanted the finished buttonhole to look a little more ‘there’ than my machine was offering so I carefully zig-zagged another pass, slightly wider than the original and falling into the cut area to encase the raw fabric. Looks fine to me.


The buttons were bought a couple of weeks ago (yes, I thought I would need them earlier than I did) and I am very happy with them. I wanted nice, but inconspicuous buttons for this. I would have been even happier had I been able to find a set I liked in one of my four, yes FOUR button tins. My father used to suggest that my mother and I checked the buttons before deciding what to make – he may have had a point. However, everything else for this coat came from stash so I am happy with that.


I wore it out to a Christmas concert in Birmingham on Tuesday night¬†, hot of the ironing board, and declare it both warm and comfortable. I have already decided on my next project and will post soon – or when EE get me back up to speed so that I can access files and post pictures without everything ‘timing out’ before I am done!

I have already chosen my next project so I will be working on that around customer job next. More information soon.

Pattern Magic at Morley and more

I spent last Saturday in London on the second day of the Pattern Magic 1 course at Morley College. I was happier about attending this time as I felt that I had more of a ‘handle’ on the idea. The pattern we tried last week seemed to go well so I was looking forward to another day to reinforce what I had learned.

I followed last weeks ‘Bamboo shoots’ exercise with the ‘Crater bodice’ with limited success. As you know I am not exactly a typical ‘Japanese’ shape so I was a little concerned how some of these designs may look. With good cause. This is not a great shape on me, and the design was not helped by being toiled in calico, so I know if I use this idea it will have to be moved away from the bust. Anywhere but the bust. But it is a great idea and I love it. Just not for me to wear.

In the lunch break I was delighted to go with Petra to a local pub to meet Melissa of Fehr Trade and her husband ¬†James for lunch. It was lovely to have been able to meet them after having contact for what seems like ages – but a little strange to meet someone you only ‘kinda know’. Despite that it was a lovely thing for them to have done and I had a lovely lunch. (Hand made fish finger sandwich and fries since you ask). We even got to see a sample of the jazzy fabric from the inside of James¬†reversible¬†disco jacket. Flashy! (Glad the management didn’t see that!). I am officially an idiot – I had my camera in the college and forgot to take any photographs either on the course or at lunch.

After lunch we continued on pattern cutting exercises and managed another in full. I now feel much more confident about attempting a garment from these fabulous books. All I need now is time…..

Beautiful Blenheim Palace

Beautiful Blenheim Palace

Rather than heading straight back to Bewdley The Management and I stopped off for a night in London and¬†traveled¬†to Blenheim Palace on Sunday. I hadn’t visited before despite this fabulous place only being about 50 miles from home. The palace and grounds are just beautiful BUT they had the house decorated for Christmas which was just fabulous. Sadly photographs were not allowed so I will have to suggest that you go and see for yourself all of the fabulous trees, and the usually stuffy looking busts wearing turban style headdresses in beautiful brocades. Just wonderful. There are a couple of pictures on the Blenheim website, but nothing like as wonderful as a visit to the house.


Glad I don’t have to fit her!

On the walk around the grounds we came across this sculpture. We wondered whether the head was modeled on one of the Duchesses? Who ever the head belongs to I am very glad I don’t have the job of fitting her body (even with the benefit of my new pattern magic – not magic enough).


Not Venice – Oxford!

The following day was spent exploring Oxford. The Management had an interview to one of the colleges many, many years ago and wanted to go and spend time in the city as an adult. What an amazing place! I was astonished that the colleges (which have been there for an eternity after all) occupied what would in many cities be regarded as prime retail space. Not what I had expected at all. I imagine almost everyone has seen pictures of Christchurch College and other popular buildings around Oxford so I thought I would show you Oxfords own bridge of sighs! I didn’t expect that at all. The weather was cold but as you can see we were fortunate to have a couple of very pleasant days.

We arrived back home after a lovely drive through the Cotswolds  around tea time yesterday and I have spent all my time since then getting back up to speed. I have sewn all day today for clients but hope to spend some time on my coat tomorrow. I have decided to work hand sewn buttonholes on it so it will not be finished tomorrow Рbut I might get close. It has started snowing in various parts of the UK today so it would be worth getting this done very soon РI am sure it will be useful.

Patrones Coat – Part 256…

… or so it feels. I didn’t make the progress I had hoped yesterday as I had issues with the sleeves. They are the main feature on the coat so they had to look good. How long can a person take to do this – I swear that if this had been for a client it would have been finished and without all the **** ups there have been so far.

Patrones coat

Sleeve detail

I spent ages trying to get the sleeves to behave nicely – the lower sleeves slide into the upper sleeves and are sewn into place. This was where I discovered that I needed to sew a retaining hem to stop the lower sleeve pulling the sleeve down. It didn’t matter how carefully I did this the stitches showed. After I took them out I cut an upper sleeve lining piece and sewed that to the seam joining the lower to upper sleeve and around the sleeve head. That held it just fine!

Patrones coat

Sleeves in place – looking like a coat!

Once the ‘dropping lower sleeve’ problem had been sorted the sleeves went in beautifully and I was able to sew the lining with the collar and facings into place. Hurrah, it has started to look like a coat – all be it a coat in need of a major press!

All that is needed now is to finish the lining,¬†top-stitching¬† and sew the buttonholes. All this will have to wait because I am now sitting in my daughters flat in Ealing ready for the Pattern Magic course at Morley College tomorrow. Can’t ¬†wait!


Patrones Coat – Part 3

Are you bored yet?

This seems like terribly slow progress – but you can’t do vast amounts in a 30 minute slot (I sometimes end up doing a bit longer – it was about an hour today). Even so, progress is being made and today I was able to sew the lining together. The lining is a pretty, floral, polyester which I had in my stash. Just a bit nicer than a plain satin lining in my opinion.

Patrones Coat

An internal patch pocket

Patrones Coat

Pretty lining

I have made a back tuck towards the neckline, like you get in ready made garments, by just swinging the centre back of the pattern away from the fabric fold by 3cm at the neck edge. This was sewn away into a tuck, for a little more than the depth of the back facing, which leaves the extra width as ease across your back – making ¬†it less likely to be damaged by ‘pulling’ across the back. I have also added a patch pocket to the left front piece so that I have an extra pocket to hide things in.

I don’t have too much to do for clients tomorrow, and at the moment no major jobs around the house to be done, so I am hoping to get the sleeves put in and be able to sew the lining into the body tomorrow. That would just leave the topstitching and buttonholes to be done.

It would be good to feel I was on the home straight with this.


Threads Give-away

I have asked my husband to choose a number to select the person who will be sent the duplicate Threads magazine – and he chose Alison Withell. Congrats Alison. If you can e-mail me your address I will get this into the post by the end of the week.