A September of shows

Hello.  Anybody there?

It’s been a while.  I’ve come through the fog and out the other side to grasp the nettle.


September saw the opening of the Great British Sewing Bee live show.   Crafty Clyde and I  took the plunge and as Norwich Sewcials, booked a coach.   What if we were the only ones that wanted to go?  It’ll be fine!  Well, turns out we weren’t on our own. Phew!

I love a sewing show.  The opportunity to see different shops (we’re a little short in Norfolk)  the latest trends and exhibitions of other peoples work.  It’s good to get out there and see what everyone else is doing.

I know we now have this fabulous thing of the web but to see, with your own eyes, the beautiful work that is normally behind glass in a museum or shut away in a cupboard for storage is for me a treat.

Emma has done a lovely review of the day over on Crafty Clyde .  I found I was rubbish when talking into a fixed microphone.  I got the giggles big time.  I’d be no good at karaoke.  Crafty clyde was far better, Norwich sewcials DJ anyone?  Almost as soon as we got there we ran into Eliza-sew-little and Melissa of Fehr Trade whom I hadn’t seen since the sewing weekender last year.  Melissa does the most amazing active wear patterns and has a book coming out next year.  It was also lovely to see the The Fold line girls with their swap stop.  The show wasn’t as big as some of the others but I think this made it nicer to get around.  We could sit on a bench to eat lunch (something the other shows could take note on)  and Bubbles!  Just one honest, but how civilised.

I gathered a few treasures to add to the stash and the exhibitions were great. I feel a trip to the fashion and textile museum is in need.  I think it’s fair to say we enjoyed the day.   I’ll admit I was far more relaxed on the way home than on the way there.

Now, only a week later I made the trip down to thread Festival in Farnham.  It’s a show that I’d seen on Instsagram, as you do, and it looked really interesting but it was miles away.  It would probably just be one that I watched from afar in instaland.  Then I won tickets!  Whoop!!!  Well, now I had to go.

I booked a stopover and with a friend drove down ready for the morning of the show.  This is where it got quite interesting, once in Farnham it appeared near impossible to park.  We hadn’t realised there was also a food festival on in the town so all car parks were chocka.   Once ensconced in a spot, we witnessed a particularly ugly incident between two “ladies” after the same space.  We grabbed our scarves and scarpered.

We stumbled into a charitiy shop within 5 minutes of leaving the car park,  Lou picked up some very pretty lace.  We decided if we had time to come back after the show.


It was held in the Maltings, a perfectly crafty place.  A beautiful building with several rooms to work our way through.

There was so much to see and before long I’d fallen in love with some cork fabric.  Yes, really.  Then the foxes, my fate was sealed.  Purple Stitches had such a fabulous range I could have just bought everything.


It was all small independents so there were loads of different stalls.  From your fabulous fabric shops to vintage stalls and fabric designers.  The jewellery by Silverdashery was very tempting.  (Cough, Thimble necklace) If my other half reads this.


I totally fell in love with Mama and Boo , the most beautiful illustrations which are then transformed into textile art.  My photo just doesn’t do her work justice.



There was so much to see as you made your way through the rooms, sometimes we did them twice just in case we missed one.

There were of course tea breaks, and a very nice soup.  The Maltings had two areas for food and drinks so you didn’t have huge queues, though seating was limited.  It would have been lovely to sit outside and admire their garden but I can see how that may have been difficult to manage.

They had a wall of ‘I stitch because’ notes.  We added to these, some of the  reasons just ticked me.  One or two were even stitched.

Unfortunately we never found the exhibitions.  We did stumble across the Farnham quilters who were running small workshops and had a display of their beautiful work

Over all it was a lovely show, nice to see lots of small businesses getting the foot fall.  If you’re in the area it’s definitely one to take a look at.

Farnham itself was also a very pretty town and the food festival looked like a good one.  We caught it just at the end so everyone was packing up.  We did come across this display outside a restaurant, the most beautifully carved fruit and veg.


I think if I made the journey again I’d make a weekend of it.  It’s such a pretty spot and there seems to be loads to see in the area.  Maybe next year…

Which is your favourite stitching show?



End of term musings

I’ve made it to the end of term! Whoop, whoop!


So it turns out I don’t just contemplate in the bath, I have time to think on my car journey to and from my classes. In the last couple of weeks I’ve finished all of my classes for the summer holibobs. The realisation hit’s, that…I’m going to miss them. Yes, really.

Grab yourself a cuppa,  this is a long one.

Whether I see them for a term, a days workshop or a whole year, they become part of my life.  Granted, we have our ups and downs.  It’s noted I’m not infallible but generally we rub along ok.  As we all get to know each other we learn how each person ticks.  Well mostly.

That awkward first night when no-one knows each other, I feel it too, grows into something more, we’re all here with something in common.  We all want to sew, create something.  I try to wheedle out any good or indeed bad experiences to gauge which way it’s going to go.  Will everyone get on?  I always hope so.

As we all get to know each other people relax, friendships grow and it’s no longer just a sewing class.  It’s sewcial.  People, generally, want to get on.  Each class becomes a community, small granted but they’re all supportive of each other.  It’s a nice atmosphere to be a part of.

Humour plays a large part in my class.  I have to hope most people have a similar sense of humour to me or I’ll be apologising quite regularly due to my general ‘foot in mouth’ syndrome.  I hope I’ve not overstepped the mark but I also hope someone would say if I’ve offended.  We laugh.  It feels like a lot, so I think we’re ok.  I’m not naturally a serious person, I try but it doesn’t last long.  We discuss many  things in class, the fabrics we love and occasionally hoard.  Where we might go to add to our collection and how to avoid buying the wrong type for a project.

Life in general gets an airing as we get more comfortable with each other.  As straight lines are stitched or zips put in we cheer in celebration of the achievement.  We commiserate when handing over an unpick and occasionally smile  at a wonky seam.  Well I can’t help myself when it’s been sewn around the pin.

The new names given to things.  Technical language can be very overrated.  Squash rather than press, ‘ Wang’ when a facing or collar doesn’t lay straight.  I think ‘stiffy stuff’ might be my present favourite as the new name for interfacing.  (Pipe down with the giggles at the back there.)  The double entendres, that’s a whole other blog post.

No two classes are the same.   Some will have a gentle buzz as they sew in quiet concentration while others will roar in laughter at yet another wonky stitch line or the sewing up of the armhole.  It’s a look but not a comfortable one.

I’ve been told by one or two of my students that they feel ‘safe’.  It’s ok if they’ve had a bad day, in class they can have time to themselves.  I think it’s often given the term mindfulness, when you can just do.  Physically doing allows your other brain time out.  We all need that from time to time.  It was once described as a ‘Zen-like feeling of calm’.  This was a tongue in cheek dig when given paperwork which asked a student what she hoped to gain from such a class.  I wish I’d photocopied that sheet as the phrase has been used many times.  Sometimes it’s having a chance to vent, to reflect on the day and just let go.  To enter the sewing zone.  I’m not here to judge.  What happens in the sewing room stays there.  From size measurements to health issues and divorce proceedings.  We’re in this together.

As skills and friendships develop I see people grow, blossom even.  It’s taken me a while to realise it but that’s what I love about this job.  It’s not just me sharing my skills, which is essentially why I’m there.  It’s being part of that community of support.  We laugh with each other and occasionally at me,  apparently I make faces when I’m thinking.

We drink tea, we eat cake and put the world to rights.

It’s not just the student that grows though.  I also gain from this gathering.  Over the years I’ve also gained in confidence, they’ve encouraged me to ‘grasp the nettle’.  I’m more likely to say ‘I’ll give it a go’.  What if?  Sod it, I’ll give it a go anyway.

I’ve met many students I now count as good friends.  I guess it’s because we all have something in common but just occasionally it goes deeper than that.  We connect.   I’m pleased to bump into any of my students in a fabric shop,  Yes that’ll work for that top.  No, I think you’d be better with a softer drape…Yes, that’s very pretty, buy it!

Don’t underestimate the power of sewing or the ‘community’ it creates.  It’s a positive pastime.






Time flies…apparently.

So, we’re well and truly into June. Hell, we’re nearly into July!  Can someone please slow time down a bit.

I’ve been well and truly remiss in keeping up with things here.

I wasn’t quite so successful with my #mmmay17 pledge this year.  Work, life, all the usual culprits got in the way.  I think we all struggle with that at some point,  for me it’s one of the side effects of being self employed.  I don’t say no very often.

I was told saying no can be very empowering, I’ve already made a fairly major decision which really has lifted my mood. (A sign that it was the right one)  I’m starting to get to grips with being empowered…

I’m making decisions and finishing one or two things.

I think the first #mmmay17 to be finished was my Makers Atelier raw edge jacket


It went together really nicely, if I’m honest I’m still getting used to having all of the seams on the outside of the jacket.  I’d picked up a lovely fine boiled wool on a shopping trip with some girlfriends a couple of years ago which was perfect for it.  The Beccles sewing shop ,  has a lovely range if your ever in the area.  As the wool was quite fine I decided to put a facing on the front to give the snap fasteners some support. I found some mother of pearl buttons in the stash (as you do) which worked perfectly.  I’m still getting used to the boxiness of it but I think it’ll be a really useful jacket.  We hit a heat wave shortly after finishing it so it’s been waiting for more  opportunities to wear it..  I’m sure it won’t be long, I’m in the UK after all.

Next up was my dog tooth skirt which has been hanging around for WAY to long.

It’s been waiting for a hem (yes, really.) That’s all, for at least 12 months.  Simples. Done. Just like that.  Why haven’t I finished this before now?  Aah, because apparently I have nothing to wear it with.  Note to self- make more tops that will go with stuff.






I found a part finished skirt in a pile as I was moving a few bits about.  I’d hemmed it as a sample a few months before and and forgotten it.  It just needed the facings putting on and it was done.  Again, Have a word with yourself Pippa.

Apologies about the state of the mirror, it’s been dusted since this photo was taken.



I wore it a week later, feeling very smart.  Whilst sitting talking to a student I found I had a hole in either side of the skirt where the pleats met the front…Awkward.  Not a small hole you understand, about 2″ long.  On both sides!

I’d originally made it as a toile for the sew simple High waisted skirt but it turned out better than expected.  I obviously decided to finish it off by overlocking  the pre-stitched seam and hadn’t gone back to re-stitch it.  It’s done now and goes with quite a lot of my wardrobe.  Bonus!

I finished the Rosie Bralette vest version before the workshop in may.  This has proved very successful and has got me thinking of more underwear workshops.  Maybe a camisole/slip workshop to work with those slippery fabrics and more lace.

I didn’t get a lot done this May.  I’m leaving the list where I can see it.  Hatty is still sitting on the dummy so that I can decide what to do with her.  She’s a bit of an autumn make so maybe that’ll help when the days cool off a bit.  Maybe I’ll just turn her into a skirt…

I don’t feel I’ve been that successful this year.  I’ve got lots of projects planned for the future though so maybe once I get a moment to myself I can plan a bit more strategically.  Wow!  I don’t know where that came from.  But I’ll plan never the less,  I have a note book and everything.

Now.  Those tops that I need to go with stuff…






So, we’re into May now. How did that happen? I must be getting older because time really does fly.

I’ve decided to continue on my challenge to finish a few things off for Me Made May.
I’ve tried not to start too many things over the last few months but I’ve still got a list of UFOs waiting in the wings, staring at me. It’s quite uncomfortable at times.

I’ll make another list…20170506_200524 (2)


There’s my Navy wool Pea jacket that’s been cut out for about 12 months now, in fact ot went on the last list for mmmay.
I’ve got the sleeves ready to put in but no further. I guess it’ll be ready for next autumn/winter. The skirt will have to wait until the end of summer/autumn as it’s not even cut out yet.

Buttonholes- yes these may look familiar. I’m going to put the buttonholes in so that I can wear them. I finished them last #mmmay.
This dress…


Apparently I bought to mind Hattie Jakes. As much as I enjoyed watching her in films, NOT quite the look I was going for. It’s a Burda magazine pattern from a year or two back.  It’s quite a boxy pattern by all accounts so I’ll be slipping a zip in the back and taking it in a touch.

My Makers Atilier Jacket is half way there…


At the same time as I bought the Hattie fabric I picked up some lovely boiled wool.  The lovely town of Beccles has a couple of sewing shops, Beccles sewing and Handycrafts is where I picked these up.  A lovely tea room nearby too.  Anyway, I digress.  Just the sleeves to do and we’re done.

Undies- well, lI’ve talked about my love for Rosie more than once to anyone that’ll listen.

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I’ve another variation to make before the workshop happens in a couple of weeks.
I also have a Harriet half way there, I just need to adjust the wires.

Then there’s the silk dog tooth skirt that’s been waiting for a hem for far too long.

That’s what I’m going to concentrate on for now.

How about anyone else?  Are you taking part in #MMMay17 ?  It’s great to see what everyones making and their varied pledges.

I’m off to #finishsomething xx

Rosie Workshop

20170407_103950I’ve not hidden my love for Rosie, now I want to share her with you. I had such great feedback that I thought a workshop was in order.

A day to find out how/where you measure to get the right size, which fabrics will work for the best results and how to adjust it to suit you.
This pattern is a great introduction into sewing underwear and working with jersey and lace. As I’ve said before, there’s no fiddling with boning where Rosie is concerned.

20170311_174401 (2)A kit to make Rosie up is included in the day, pattern, fabric, lace and all the notions you need to make her.  Beautiful Lace and pretty elastics await.


The workshop will be held in the fabulously lit Willow centre in Cringleford on the edge of Norwich, Norfolk.

You can sign up by clicking  here!  If you fancy it.
Join me to make your very own comfy wonderunder.


Loving Rosie.

That regular posting I was going to do,  that’s not working out so well.  I’ve decided I’m only going to blog when I have something to say, or when I can no-longer contain my ramblings.  I hope you’re ok with that.


Photo Credit- Evie La Luve

So, having gathered a bit of momentum and grasped some time, I’ve tried and fallen for Rosie This soft, comfy, relaxed bralette is now my go-to when I want that ‘Ahhh’ moment.  You know, when just unclasping your normal ‘hold me in the right direction/ hello boys’ is ready for time out.  As are your boobs!  It’s been doing the job all day but you’re ready for a bit of release.  Too much detail? Sorry.

I’ve not done a lot of underwear sewing.  Corsets, bodices, yes but they’re more construction, somehow they seemed more normal.  It turns out sewing underwear isn’t so difficult or different.  No canvas or boning in Rosie.

As with everything, the fabric makes all the difference.  If your jersey is super stretchy it’s going to be a much more relaxed fit as it has more give in the first place.  I’ve found this a great stash buster.  Those jersey off-cuts you have that aren’t quite big enough for a top but are too big to throw away are perfect for this.

There are also some beautiful stretch laces out there to play with.  The Pinks and greys are my favourite at the mo but I’ve eyed some kingfisher green…  I could end up with a rainbow of underwear.   I also appear to have one or two in my stash.


The elastics are beautiful too.  There’s such a range of colours available, even spangly sparkly ones.  Disco anyone?


Using different elastics has been interesting.  Picot, Plush, regulating the stretch as you stitch. I realised I’d used the plush years ago when making maternity clothing for a customer because it was softer than the standard woven elastic available.  Sad that now I want to use it for it’s real purpose it’s trickier to find.

Picot is finer and so softer when stitching.  Apparently I knew I’d be using it, though it was many years before I knew why.  I found some in my stash, along with some fold over elastic. Knickers will obviously be next.  Sadly the picot has perished.  (It was quite a few years ago)  Note to self and anyone else that might be an elastic/or elasticized fabric buyer, USE IT UP! It won’t go on forever.

I found the trickiest part stitching the straps onto the rings but I’ve got the hang of it now.  *Don’t try to start stitching from the edge.  Start about half way in and stitch to the end, pivot with you’re needle down and stitch back to the other side.

I’ve made several Rosies now.  My first was just to get a feel of the size and make up but it’s become a wearable toile.  The lace wasn’t quite wide enough so I stitched two rows together before cutting out.  If you’re needing to do the same then make sure you use the three step zigzag so that you don’t loose any of the stretch.  The jersey was a viscose that I’d made a dress out of.  I didn’t pattern match due to using leftovers but I did make sure the colours were the same on either side, one red, one blue boob.



I couldn’t resist the naked lace on Evie La Luve which just happened to match a bit of jersey I had left from lining a stretch skirt, again some time ago.  It’s meant to be.  The jersey didn’t have as much stretch so was naturally more supportive.



My favourite by far, at the moment is my swirly bralette.  Another leftover from a dress, a rayon spandex mix I’d picked off the sample rail from my local emporium, Anglian Fashion Fabrics in Norwich.  It had me thinking of swimwear, it may just have been the pattern on the fabric.  I think you could use this pattern for a bikini if you’re not too busty.  You’d just need to line the front before stitching it into the sides.

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I can see this is going to become a staple.  It’s also nice to sew something relatively small.  No bulk to fight with.  I’ve gathered all of my leftovers together, another pile.  I’m going to have to find a box, maybe one that’s not so small by all accounts.


This is just the beginning of my underwear journey, I have Harriet in the sidelines and knickers to make…

Has anyone else made underwear?  I’d love to know your thoughts.



Kiera skirt


This Kiera Skirt is going to be really useful. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a huge mid season wardrobe. I have plenty of summer/winter but a very compact spring /autumn wardrobe.  It’s something I have issues with every year but never get around to.

So when I was given the chance to use some of the lovely chambray from White Tree Fabrics  I thought of that transitional wardrobe that I don’t seem to be able to gather.  I could wear it with flipflops or boots depending on what the British weather throws at me. The chambray from white tree fabrics is a lovely weight, quite light so that it’ll flow but it still holds enough shape to keep the pleats. The Kiera is lined normally but I didn’t feel the fabric wanted another layer. If I feel it’s a bit drafty then I’ll put on a slip.
The Kiera Skirt from Sew Simple is normally a short affair but I fancied a longer version, so when I was cutting out I drew in a chalk line to lengthen.



It’s nice and easy to put together though I always keep the pattern pieces close by when I’m making pleats, it’s so easy to pleat the wrong way otherwise.   I pin and then stay stitch to keep in place.









I decided to put a pocket in on the side without the zip. Who doesn’t like pockets?


I drew up a pattern to make sure I could match up to the sides of the skirt.

There’s a tutorial for an inset pocket here if you want a stage by stage account.











You put the waistband on before the zip, I left the waistband open at the ends so that I could have nice neat insides.  I’d advise a 10″ or 25cm zip so that you have enough of an opening.  I found the 9″ invisible zip a little short even though the skirt is quite full.

I wanted to wear it before the weather changed so I machined the hem, this is becoming a habit.  It took a week or two to get a photo due to life happening but it did mean that we had a fabulously crisp autumn day.  Boots at the ready…

So, there you have it. A mid season addition to the wardrobe, well I’ve made a start.   I can see one or two projects on the table that would also help bulk out a mid season selection so all I have to do is carve out enough time for some selfish sewing before the weather changes for winter or maybe in time for spring…  Does anyone else lack a mid season wardrobe?


Keep up to date with the latest makes and musings by clicking follow.




Falling over / Morecome and Wise pose.



One size doesn’t fit all.


I’ve come across a lot of discontent recently.  It happens at the beginning of a term generally, when I meet new students.  New to sewing and the issue of pattern sizing.

It can be quite a traumatic session that one.  How to measure and choose the right pattern.  I’m still working on the best way to deal with it.  Smoothing the frayed nerves and disgruntled cries.

It has a common pattern:

  • Shock, What! No Way!
  • Anger, I can’t be an 18! I only wear a 12/14 normally!
  • Disappointment. We’ve all been there.
  • Resignation, I still want to make the pretty dress.

It’s not a process I enjoy.  This is meant to be fun.  It’s numbers, just numbers but why do they have such an influence on us?  It’s because it’s personal, sizing is a big issue in society and the fact that it’s different wherever you go doesn’t help.  Then again how many of us measure ourselves to go shopping on the high street.

My common cries are

  • ” Don’t think about the sizing, if it fits it will look fabulous”
  • “Nobody will know what size you’ve cut out”
  • “Nobody outside this room will know.  It’s like visiting the doctor, it’s confidential”  or “What happens at sewing class, stays at sewing class”

There’s generally a good 10 minutes of mumbling, occasional re-measuring and double checking but fortunately the desire to make something takes over.

If only it were all standardized.  Well it is, to an extent.  All pattern companies start with the same measurements and blocks.

The big 4 all work with the average measurements of the ASTM who do the research.  Though this hasn’t changed much over the years, they’re getting better.  Most still only work to a B/C cup but some are now adding options for cup sizes.


The indie pattern companies start with the same charts. Some have developed their own sizing charts, done their own research to ensure the target audience is included.  Be it for the bust or the bottom these will often work better for the modern figure.

Some don’t use sizes,  using letters instead. This is a softer approach, I can see the logic.


Most will say, if in doubt, go up a size.  I’m kind of with them on this.  It’s a whole lot easier to take a garment in than try to squeeze out a seam allowance on a too tight hip.  None of us want to hear the rip as a seam gives way when bending over.

I think it’s just something we just get used to over time.

RTW doesn’t help with it’s varied sizing.  Isn’t that often why we start to make?  To have something that fits us.  No gaping at the waist, no straining at the bust.

Let’s celebrate our figures!  We have curves.  No-one is a standard size but because we choose to make for ourselves it doesn’t matter.  Making for our own bodies and getting to know how we can make things fit gives us far more satisfaction once we’re over that initial shock.

If in doubt, make a toile!  Use up that old sheet that’s been sitting in the back of the cupboard, try it out.  What have you got to loose?

But I think that’s for another post. I’ve rambled on enough.

I’ll keep on with the calming of nerves, it’s just another type of therapy really.

The fabric Wrangler will see you now….



A New Year, a quiet determination.


A happy New Year to you peeps.  Here’s to a happy and healthy one for us all,  I’m hoping this toddler cold disappears soon.

There’s always a lot of talk about fresh starts, breaking bad habits and trying new things coming up and over the new year.  I think we all do it to some extent.  I try not to reflect too much…I don’t want to be reminded of the things I didn’t get round to.  When I look back I only want to linger on the good, the happy times.

Such as when I’ve covered fly zips in a class and the air was blue (yes, really. The language can get quite creative) with frustration.  Only to see the same people conquer a pair of jeans to fit with, yes, a fly zip.  There are many moments of happiness when somebody feels they have sussed a tricky technique.

Also I’m quite pleased with some of my selfish sewing this year.  I used memademay to give me a purpose and finish off some of those part made things.  I can now use them.



I also managed to make a dress for a friends wedding.  More on that to come as I need to take a couple of photos with me in it.  We got a bit carried away on the day and the only photo I have of me in it is with the bride and groom.  It was a lovely day on the Poppy Line, They got married in the Waybourne waiting room.  We spent the rest of the afternoon on the train watching north Norfolk from an altogether different angle.






The sewing weekender. A truly epic weekend.  Where I met other sewcialists and got completely inspired.  The Fold Line and The English Girl at Home really did hit the spot with that most fabulous of weekends.


Meeting new people.  I’m not good at putting myself out there but given a group of sewcialists, I’m away.  I certainly didn’t imagine this time last year that I could co-host Norwich Sewcials.  I have Crafty Clyde to thank for that.  We’ve found our feet and we’re running with it.  Who knows where it might lead but most of all we’ve gathered together like minded people to talk sewing, fabric, tips and tricks.


I’ve just printed off the SewDIY   sewing planner in an attempt to keep track of my personal sewing but if I’m honest I may use it to keep track of my clients too.  It’s clear and simple so it might just work for me.  I’ll put it up on the wall so that I can see what’s coming up.  Along with my usual lists it’ll be a slightly more interesting wall planner.

I’m going to sew bras!  Yes, I’m joining the underwear revolution.  It appears to be a thing.  To make one that fits and stays in place has got to be a good thing.  It’ll also mean that I get to use up some of the lace that I’ve been hoarding for years.  A Watson from Cloth Habit, maybe a Boylston from Orange Lingerie but first a Rosie Bralette by Evie la Luve .  Gifted to me by Emma of Crafty Clyde, she really does read my mind.


A pair of Morgan Jeans from Closet case files, just because I fancy.  I’m not giving up on my skinnys but I think these could become a staple. A black Friday treat to myself alongside the Kelly anorak.

To try and finish before starting too many projects.  This is a tricky one and it tends to be a sticking point for me but if nothing else it gives me something to work with for Me Made May.   Check this out as it’s a great prompt to get you going.

Last but by no means least, to try and keep this blog up-to-date. Time has disappeared from me this last couple of months so I’ve sadly neglected the blog.  Work and life took over.  I’m going to try and re-balance that.  Let’s see how that goes.  There’s definitely change ahead.  I’m taking control.

Whatever happens, lets make the best of it.   Put out first foot forward into the new year with Joy and determination.  Enjoy that glass of fizz and that last bit of brandy butter scraped onto a warmed mince pie.  Moderation in all things I say.  Except fabric, that’s different.



Simple Sew High Waisted Skirt




Wow! I appear to actually be a Simple Sew Blogger. Yay!


I was so pleased to be asked. My first pattern to work with was the High Waisted Skirt.  This skirt is going to be perfect for work, maybe even a night out.  So useful.

White Tree Fabrics had some lovely pleather in and this was a great excuse to use it.  Super soft and great to work with, though if I’m honest, when it arrived it was much softer than I’d imagined.  It drapes beautifully.  The skirt would have preferred a fabric with more body but this will still work.



I checked the back of the envelope to choose the correct size and decided on the 12 as it was closest to my size.  These sizes are much more realistic for the modern figure.

This is also the time to check out anything else you may need.

  • Fabric-depends on your size
  • Scissors
  • Pins-nice sharp ones
  • Machine needles to suit your fabric- I used some fine stretch needles for this fabric as it’s a knit.
  • Interfacing-choose a weight no heavier than your fabric. You don’t need much, just enough for the facings and a couple of strips down the centre back for the zip.
  • Sewing machine feet-regular foot and zip foot.

I checked the size and fit with a toile.  Always a good idea if you’re not sure how the sizing of a new pattern is for you.  I had some stretch sateen left over from another project, if it didn’t need too many tweeks I’d finish it and have another skirt.

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Turns out my hips aren’t as curvy as the pattern so I pinned to mark it and re-shaped the sides.  It’s never easy to fit yourself so try and grab a fellow sewing friend and have a fitting session.  You can pin each other to fit and then enjoy an afternoon or evening of sewing in company. Much more sewciable.






I followed the layout of the pattern and made sure the grainline was straight.  As crucial on a stretch fabric as a woven to avoid it twisting when made up.

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Once cut ( I’m a pins and scissors girl) I marked the ends of the darts with tailors tacks and made a snip into the seam allowance to mark all of the other notches.  It’s a quick fix when matching up edges.







It’s easiest if you interface all of your pieces first.  They’re ready to go when you need them then.

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On the pattern it’s just the facings that need it but I like to put a strip along the Centre back where the zips going.  This helps to stabilize the fabric making it easier to work with and less likely to stretch.









So, all the prep work is done, I can get on with it now.

First up are the darts, these are nice and thin.   I do these all in one hit, front and back.

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Match up the top notches, pin and continue the fold to the point and pop another pin in.  If you’re new to darts or like a little guidance to get you going then draw yourself a line.  Tailors chalk or a soft pencil if you’re not working on black.  Just check that it doesn’t show through your fabric.





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Try to keep the point to a fine edge to avoid it ‘poking’.  I don’t double back on my darts.  I run straight off with the stitch line and then bring the dart back under the machine to double back within the dart waste.  Or I tie it off at the end making sure I don’t do it too tight to the end.






I use a tailors ham to press the darts out towards the sides.  If you don’t have one then a rolled up towel works just as well.  It just helps to press on a curve.









Now, this is where I go a little ‘Off pattern’.  I changed the order in which I put it together. After many years of altering clothes for other people, I want to make this easy for me to alter in the future. (Or in real terms, in case I eat too many biscuits)

I do the zip next.  Lay the zip, right sides together, so that the teeth sit at the 1.5cm seam allowance line.  Pin and then stitch down using your zip foot.  You’re only anchoring the zip so you don’t need to get too close to the teeth, just holding the tape.




Next, line up your zip teeth with your zip foot.  I’m an invisible zip foot convert but it’s just as straight forward to use an ordinary zip foot.  I did so for years before hand.  If you’re using an ordinary zip foot curl the teeth back to make sure your needle can get into the groove. (did Madonna pop into anyone elses head then)


Don’t try to get too close to the bottom of the zip as the zip slider will be in the way.


Both sides are done in the same way.




To finish off the seam and avoid the hospital gown effect, fold right sides together and pull the end of the zip away from the seam allowance.










Pop a pin in, in line with the end of your previous stitching line.  Put your zip foot on to get nice and close to line it up.  It’s a bit fiddly but it’ll make sure you’re your zip lays flat at the end.  Stitch from the zip down to close the centre back seam.





Press open to give a nice finish.








I decided to pipe the back seam where the pleat section attaches.  As this was a stretch fabric I didn’t worry about cutting a strip on the bias as it would move nicely.

I stitched a guide line of 1.5cm on the bottom of the skirt piece and made up the piping.





I folded the fabric around the piping cord (quite a fine one as this isn’t a heavy fabric) and using my zip foot, stitched nice and close to the cord.  I made sure the raw edge made up 1.5cm so that it should match the seam allowance of the skirt.









I then placed the piping onto the back piece and lined up the stitch lines.  Stitched down the piping and can now treat it as one piece.





Before you go too much further, pull some of the cord from each end and snip off about 1.5cm.

This this will then flatten out again and go back beyond the seam allowance.  That way you don’t have to stitch over the cord when it comes to the side seam.

Then I turned my attention to the pleated portion, I always do this sort of thing on the ironing board.  I removed the paper but kept it near to remind myself of the pleat placement.





I folded the centre pleat first, matching my snips and pinned at the edges.  I then covered it with a tea towel and pressed with a bit of steam.  Always wait for the heat to disappear as it sets the pleats better.  I then moved on to either side.






Once pressed, I wanted to make sure that the pleats stay in after washing.





I stitched on the edge of the pleat folds using my blind hem foot.  It has a handy wheely guide to help keep the edge straight.







Then pin the pleats back into position and attach it to the bottom of your skirt.

You’ll need your zip foot again.  Skirt back up, you can get nice and close to the piping and also see the stitch line made earlier.

Now attach the facings, I always leave the paper on the pattern until I’m using the pieces.  It makes sure you keep everything the right way up and the centre backs together.





Have you spotted the deliberate mistake yet, I overlocked the wrong edge.  So I attached them first and then overlocked the right edge.  I trimmed back the seam allowance that was overlocked to give the seam an easier turn. No-one will ever know.







I then edge stitched, using my trusty edge stitch foot to help keep the facings inside the skirt.




I do the same for the front of the skirt.  Yep, including overlocking the wrong edge.


We’re nearly there.







This is also when I make any adjustments to the hips, to match the toile.  I draw a line with chalk with the help of a pattern curve.


I then stitch down in a long stitch to check the fit, this is when I make any other tweeks and adjust if need be.  Softer fabrics will behave differently to those with more body so may need taking in a bit more.  I then re-stitch on a normal length.


To hold the facings down I turn the seam allowances together and do a few stitches to hold them.  Once turned back they are fixed.

I turn the seam allowances of the zip edges right sides together and stitch along the seam allowance and this fixes the ends.

Now to hem, I pressed up the hem and then folded over again to create a small hem and machined.  I normally like to had stitch but this fabric wouldn’t have taken that so well.


I then press again to re-fix the pleats and stitching.









Now you can go wear your skirt.  Enjoy