Selfless Sewing: McCalls M6044 for my brother….but modelled by OH…

Hello everyone,

Here is a shirt I actually sewed in January 2016 for my little brother who lives in Switzerland. He spent Christmas with us and I offered to make him a shirt using McCalls M6044.

I took him fabric shopping – on a tangent -I honestly do not understand why he didn’t LOVE fabric shopping – we walked into B&M Fabrics and literally 2 seconds later he just pointed at a fabric and he was like “that one” (literally 2 seconds in the shop!!!!). “Have a look around and see what else is there – there are loads of lovely fabrics.” I said with a big enthusiastic smile across my face. Continue reading


Alder Shirt Dress by Grainline Studio Pt 4

Hello chums,

I must apologise in advance for the deluge of daily posts – I want to catch up with my blogging – only a few more posts to go before I am up to 2017. Please bear with me. And on that note………..

It’s no secret that I am huge fan of the Alder shirtdress having made 3 versions to date

First one was a cotton lawn palm trees & flamingos Alder

The second one was John Kaldor cotton lawn,

The third one was a Nani Iro double gauze.

I finally got around to making the fourth one using the same fabric as my Laurel shift dress. Continue reading

More Ottobre Kids Design Dresses 04/2014 Issue

Hello everyone,

I have made more dresses from Ottobre Design Kids 04/2014 issue. It’s the sweater dress here. ottobre
This will be the third time I have made this pattern, <link here for earlier makes>.

I used a lovely soft fleece backed yellow knit fabric. This is something I picked up from a car boot sale in Essex last year. I actually finished these in September but they are too big so they have been put aside for next year. I traced the size that corresponded with 4yrs in error – I only realised my mistake after tracing most of the pattern pieces so I just carried on. Surely if its big they can grow into it – better too big than too small I think :-).

I have some shocking pink cuffing/ribbing which I used as a contrast. Though these are summer/spring colours, the weight of the fabric is perfect for colder weather. I used the overlocker for all the construction except for topstitching.

Having made this same pattern SIX times now means it’s a super fast make and they were done in one sitting.

It is very difficult to photograph little children! They were not interested at all in posing for pictures so these were the best I could get to show what’s what with them.

Funtioning pockets – they are lined with some scrap minions fabric (forgot to get pictures..)

fran-visit-plus-october-photoshoot-498 fran-visit-plus-october-photoshoot-500 fran-visit-plus-october-photoshoot-515

I am quite pleased with how these turned out and no doubt they will be workhorses just like the other ones – they still wear those ones!

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Happy sewing!



PS here is the YouTube clip from when I finished them….

Sewaholic Granville No. 5

Hello everyone,


It seems I cannot go 6 months without making another Granville shirt. So I present to you my 5th rendition. Made in a medium weight cotton fabric. I liked the green and fuschia floral print.

There is nothing new to add about this shirt except that I experimented with using snaps. I believed that it would be faster and easier than buttons and buttonholes – how wrong I was -_-.

Pictures ahoy……….

Sewaholic Granville

Continue reading

More Selfless sewing: Ottobre Kids Design dresses

Hello everyone,

I am back with more selfless sewing for my kids. Sewing for children can be such a pleasure. They are small  so less fabric which means I can spend a bit more. There are no fit issues so I can just whip it up. But at the same time they are still growing. Still despite the fact they will almost certainly grow out of what I make within a year, I do love creating unique clothes for my twin girls. The opportunities to create similar yet different contrasting clothes is fun. I tend to buy the same fabric in different colourways and play around with that.

I actually made these last year in December for my twins’ birthday. I chose a sweater dress and ruched leggings from Ottobre 04/2014. I have made outfits from Ottobre before (link here) which I loved. ottobre
It is very difficult to photograph little children!

Xmas 2015 283
The Christmas dress didnt have the pocket or the elasticated hem.
Ottobre 04/2014
I also made them for Christmas dresses in deep red velour.

Xmas 2015 295
Xmas 2015 312Twins photoshoot 010
Twins photoshoot 011

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These little sweater dress get so many complements when we are out and about. A fellow mum at the Library was wondering why they dont make something like that in her size! I didn’t mention that I had made them myself – perhaps I should have?

These dresses are work horses. They have been washed almost weekly and hold their shape well. The fabric is like a quilted jersey. The neck and cuffs are in ribbing material. The instructions are really quite excellent in Ottobre and no doubt I will be returning back to making these as they grow older.

Thanks for stopping by! Now that I have blogged all 2015 makes I will be back soon with a parade of the results of my batch sewing experiments…….but until then……..

Happy sewing!




Selfless Sewing: McCalls M6044

Hello everyone,

I am so excited about sharing this shirt made for my hubs a couple of months back. I was nervous about making him a shirt but his hints were getting harder to ignore. Given how much he helps me with fitting and taking pictures I felt I must try.

The first issue was fabric. I didn’t see the point in working on a shirt before he had chosen a fabric. When he saw my Butterick B5984 birdy top fabric he loved it so that was that. He used to be a drummer in a rock band so its no surprise that he chose such fabulous fabric for his first me made shirt.

Next I made a muslin of the  McCalls M6044 – a versatile mens shirt pattern. I had to reduce arm length by 1.5″ and took in the side seams about an inch.
I managed to squeeze this shirt out of 1.5m of fabric hence the dodgey upside down birds on the button band.
Though I like the 2 piece sleeve it does not have a tower placket ~(will make one next time). The sleeves are flat constructed so this is a quick make plus its very easy to flat fell the armhole. I used flat felled seams thought out even on the sleeves😃😁. I cant say again how much I love flat felled seams on shirts now.

McCalls M6044
Such a goofball…..
McCalls M6044
Shake that booty….
McCalls M6044
It really is eye catching…
Collar and button band detail
Flat felled armhole
Cuff detail…
Back view
Turns out he too has always wanted a jump shot! Without the jumpsuit of course!
Interior armhole and shoulder
Inside side and sleeve seam flat felled
The placket is a simple one
Xmas 2015 322
Carving the turkey is hard work!
Xmas 2015 141
Fierce!…Rrrrrrr!….On Christmas day 2015 kitted out in mostly me mades

Pictures…not as good as usual fare since I was behind the camera. Still……

He loves it and couldn’t wait to wear it to work. They have dress down Fridays and he won The Most Awesome Shirt award for this shirt!

From my perspective he wore it and and uncovered another undisputed fact: “You look damn good, lover.

It also happens to be extremely comfortable.” came the reply.

So yes I will be making him more. Its a great shirt pattern that is easy to make.

I am happy with my selfless sewing. Have you done any selfless sewing recently?



Sewaholic Granville No. 4

Hello everyone,

For me few things look more together than a quick pairing of jeans (preferably clean) and a well fitting shirt. Having discovered a shirt that suits my lifestyle, I may have made a 4th Granville shirt :-).

The floral fabric was purchased from Ebay over a year ago and I cant say what sort of fabric it it. Its definitely cotton – not fine enough to be lawn and not heavy enough to be quilting cotton.

I have already regaled with the details of fitting here and made 2 further ones in paisley and floral so there is not much else to add.

Perhaps construction wise I made it a lot faster. I can’t imagine making a shirt without using flat felled seams. There is an almost meditative joy in flat felling for me. For the buttons I used repurposed Crew Clothing Co from an old old old shirt.

Some pictures taken a while back.Summers End 15 383

Summers End 15 389 Summers End 15 397 Summers End 15 403 Summers End 15 406 Summers End 15 408Summers End 15 343 Summers End 15 363

I quite simply love the Granville.

In other news I have realised that sewing is one of my favorite ways to refresh. When I am not doing things that I love, that feed my soul then…….well I’ve learned from experience that when I am depleted, I’m not the wife, mother, or friend I want to be. The more I feed my own soul, the more I have to give out.

The only problem is time. Since I can’t clone myself a la Multiplicity ( a great movie if you haven’t watched) or simply wish for more hours in a day – I must make the time.

We all know that doesn’t happen automatically. It needs to be planned, especially if you are responsible for the daily care of kids among other things. I find these stages of constant giving can be draining.  I haven’t yet quite figured out how I will do it but my thinking hat is on. Just the realisation was a huge shift for me. I now know I dont have to feel guilty about spending money on patterns or fabric or time in my sewing cave. Because it actually makes me a better person. On that note many thanks for reading this far into my ramblings.

Happy Sewing




Alder Shirt Dress No 2 finally bum ruffle dress


Hello chums!

I am super excited to share my second Alder shirt dress. Since making my palm trees & flamingos Alder in summer, it made me realise how much I like  love this pattern. Ergo I also made the bum ruffle version. My bust, waist and hip measurement fitted squarely into Size 2.

I didn’t change anything. At. All. Initially I considered bringing it in at the waist to give more shaping but I am so glad I didn’t get round to doing that. I love it exactly as is! Its so comfortable. The material is a John Kaldor I bought from Minerva Crafts on a whim. I fell in love with the teals, sea green and mustard on a deep navy background.  It works layered in fall and winter as well.

The  buttons were a true labor of love of me. Self covered buttons are nice to look at but not as easy to make! I used 11mm Pymm metallic ones and I doubt I shall repeat that experience any time soon. Were it not for that tedious section this dress would have taken less than 3 days to complete. But since my mind had fixated on self covered buttons and would not accept a substitute, I was stuck desperately pushing myself to complete one button a day. I rarely managed more than one button due to the frustration and sense of futility after 30 mins of wrestling with teeny bits of fraying fabric and only having a single button to show for it. There were 8 buttons………

I digress. Seriously though – as with the first one – this was so much fun to make (till the buttons). I followed the sewalong on the Grainline website which is excellent!

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On the horizon – I am quite excited about going to the Yorkshire spoolettes meet up in a few weeks. Ali who blogs over at  has arranged it so click on over to see details and maybe if you are free you could come along too :-). I am reliably informed that the more the merrier. This is going to be tricky since I am avowed (loosely) to only add 1 to stash for every 4 used. SO I guess I need to be cutting out a lot of projects in the next few weeks. Cutting out counts as used right?…..Right?……………….It DOES!………Right!?!……….<looks for support>……….

Thanks for stopping by!


A Christmas 2015 outfit featuring McCalls M6844 and M6886

Hello everyone!

I do hope you all had a lovely Christmas and happy holidays. In the post Christmas slump  I have infused enough energy to post about my Christmas outfit – all made by moi 😉

I had been wanting to try out  Mccalls M6886 for some time. As a long term resident of my pattern stash – I was glad to finally get it on with this pattern. Its a good’un people. Simple but chic. I cut a straight size 8 and for a first go I am very happy. The embossed red scuba fabric has also been in my stash for a long time – I gave myself double points for double stash busting :-). I also made a M6844 cardigan in black to go with the dress. Having made one before here in red, there’s not much to say about except that it took me less than 2 hours to make from cutting to snipping last thread.

Construction wise I used my overlocker throughout except for the hems – for which a 2.5mm twin needle worked a charm.
One thing I would advice on the M6844 cardigan is to not interface the collar unless if you are going for quite a stiff look. I did not interface the collar band as it is double faced. For reference I used ponte fabric (again from stash :-).IMGP3463 IMGP3439 IMGP3432 IMGP3426 IMGP3411 IMGP3385 IMGP3379

The outfit came together so nicely. I felt very chic and elegant on Christmas day, which helped given how much chaos entails hosting Christmas for 13 people (one of them a vegan with a few food allergies).

As always thank you for stopping by this little bit of my interwebs! Did you make a Christmas outfit as well?

Happy sewing !


Oh and I have made a few loose goals for the year as follows:

  1. For every 4 of stash items used I can buy 1 new stash (patterns or fabric).
  2. Wear at least one accessory. (I am trying to be more stylish you see)
  3. Go to one sewing community meet up.
  4. Have more fun sewing and blogging.

*Any I should add?

Burda Challenge August 2015 Hip Yoke skirt Skirt 07/2015 #119

Oo  Hello everyone,

***I started this post AGES ago! Lols but have been literally in Scotland these past couple of months….another post will tell all. Anyway its long outdated but as they say…..better late than never! :-)*******

Hope you are all well! Winter is coming! I am struggling with the the really dark mornings these days and have been using my SAD light to help combat the winter blues. Keeping myself busy has never been more important than now. I am also counting down to the winter solstice – it helps me. I am okay once I get past the initial getting up in the morning though.

Anyhow enough ho hums I made something for the Burda challenge hosted by Dawn who blogs over at Two On Two Off.

From the July magazine this midi length skirt (Burda 07/2015 #119) caught my eye. It features a large yoked waistband and a dirndle style skirt that is gathered. I knew it was perfect for a viscose big floral print I bought for £3:50/meter earlier this year.

I was naughty and didn’t make a muslin ;-).  I used my skirt sloper to see what exact size would fit and it was between the Burda 36 and 38. It was pretty accurate and will probably do this for skirts in the future.

It was a super quick make. Nothing advanced with this. The yoke is suppose to be self lined  but I skipped this. The seams were finished on the overlocker. I am ashamed to say I was too lazy to change the overlocker thread this light grey finishing on seam…. Invisible zip on the side went in seamlessly.

What I love about this skirt is the hem – its double faced so it was a lovely weight to it and when I twirl! Gosh when I twirl I just love it!!! I am calling this my twirling dress…dont believe me? Take a look at the pictures – I couldn’t stop twirling :-).



It creates such a lovely feminine silhouette! I still have some more fabric left over that I plan on using M7262 once I get it.

In other news in winter I watch a lot more TV and there is so much good stuff on BBC at the moment. Just watched A British Romance on BBC2 which was a great look at the history of romance.







What I made for the PRSewing Bee 2015 Final….and an unfortunate side effect….

Hello chums,

Allow me to present my final entry for the PRSewing bee. An ensemble for a Jamaican swimming competitor. Finished in good without as much stress as the previous round. Here is the link

Be afraid. This review is not for the faint-hearted, I will be delving into the depths of swimwear sewing and revealing unexpected talent and I also discovered a whole new style of sewing that requires no pins!

Identify which of the following is reflected in your entry:
1. Summer or Winter Olympics : Summer Olympics
2. Country your entry represents : Jamaica
3. Event your outfit represents (Options include opening ceremony, a specific athletic completion, which you identify) : Opening ceremony and Swimming

Describe how your entry represents your 3 criteria stated above.
Summer tracksuit with shorts. Colours focused on the main black and green with yellow accents of the Jamaican flag. Tracksuit that can be worn over the swimming costume for the event and can be worn for opening ceremony too.

As an aside I didn’t realise that womens swimming was only added as an Olympic event in 1912? Plus women had to wear a modesty panel despite the fact the suits were long and made of wool. It wasn’t until 1973 that the modesty panel was eliminated. Crazy!. Men, however did not have modesty panels. For competitive swimming non textile suits were outlawed in 2010 and the amount of coverage was limited to between the waist and knees for men and not past the shoulders or knees for women. That’s why the racerback is so popular for female swimmers.
As a result swimming doesn’t offer much in terms of team uniforms for most countries, rather, team identification is limited to swim caps during actual races.

I digress, moving on..

What pattern(s) did you use, or is your entry self-drafted or draped?

Swimming costume Jalie 3134
We start with a happy tale of a new love discovered. You may recall my self imposed criteria had been to make things I would wear and use only stash items. I broke my word. Jalie 3134 – the racerback Swimsuit. I dare anyone to say racerback without getting a little frisson of excitement☺ . So what’s the fuss about? Well this pattern comes in 27 sizes for girls, women and plus sizes! I am covered for my little girls and for the future as I grow older, wider, wiser? Win/Win. Coupled with a figure-flattering contrast inset of course I snapped it up.

Thanks in part to its excellent sizing I made it without a muslin because lycra spandex fabric is so expensive. It receives further great review for the excellent instructions. I think sewing swimwear will have an enduring appeal (with five little people who do swimming there is plenty of scope).

I love this swimsuit because it fits all the criteria for competitive swimming:
»Its snug just like a competitive suit should be.
»Provides good backside coverage.
»Women’s competition suits do not include any kind of bra or bust support. A tight fit across the chest creates a more streamlined silhouette , reducing drag and increasing glide times.
»Suits for competition are not lined, since reducing drag is a priority. I have lined the crotch area on mine. Though a suit with lining will generally last longer, and hold its shape and colour better than an unlined suit I did not have lining fabric and the scrap I used was from my old swimming costume.
»Its one-piece, with moderately cut leg openings, fairly high neck and a racer style back which has a secure fit and freedom of movement

Tracksuit Jacket Mccalls M7026
This is a semi-fitted unlined jacket with yokes, princess seams, side seam pockets and exposed front separating zipper. Its cute and have had this for ages in my stash. Pleased to get it out I cut a straight size 12 and it fit right out of the packet! Initially I put in pockets but they were too shallow and were gapey so I removed them.

Making it was very straight forward. I made yellow piping for the seams. The lining inner section was made up first – my rationale was that any fit issues would be revealed in the lining and I could fix for outer shell. I was surprised at how quickly and easily it came together.

I love the back yoke detail and this pattern will get more makes from me.

Tracksuit Shorts Part self drafted/Part Simplicity 1112
Based on Simplicity 1112 jumpsuit that I drafted a waistband and hip pockets for. The bottoms became shorts due to lack of fabric. Decided that if they were going to be shorts I will add a retro – y feel by curving the hem slightly. I didn’t add piping because for me the focus of this ensemble is the jacket.

What sewing techniques did you use to achieve your goal?

Jalie 3134:
Working with spandex fabric meant using stretch needle in sewing machine for zigzag topstitching and 4 thread serger for seams. I had to use swimwear elastic on openings. Stretching the elastic correctly was tricky – especially for leg openings. The amount of tension at the front of leg opening is not the same as at the back, which makes sense because the booty to keep covered.

McCalls M7026 jacket
Ooodles of piped seams in a contrasting yellow colour. It can totally work for opening ceremony. I thought to myself if I were designing for an Olympic team who are travelling long haul to get to places why not reduce their luggage by designing something multi-functional. The jacket is reversible. I cannot stress enough how comfortable it is. It’s a quilted synthetic fabric. Very light weight but holds a seam well.

Shorts Simplicity 1112/self drafted
The shorts are reversible as well with a cotton yellow lining. The hip pockets were drafted on the trouser part of Simplicity 1112 jumpsuit. I added a simple foldover waistband that would encase a 1″ elastic. They sit below the waist. The lining is 100% cotton which I sewed up and basted to the shell wrong sides facing at waist before attaching the waistband. They were fast and quick to make.

What particular features would you like to point out to the judges?
The tracksuit is reversible so there are many different combos that can be achieved. Who says athletes cant be stylish, eh?

What was your inspiration for your entry?
To be perfectly honest my inspiration came from the fabric .A combination of 3 circumstances led to this outfit
1. I did not have any fabric in my stash for sportswear. I wanted to make something I hadn’t made before. So I had decided straight way that I would make something sporty. I needed to replace my 8 year old saggy swimsuit (bought when I was pregnant so its bigger now ick)! Initially I was just going to do a swimsuit as I really really did not want to spend any more money: the lycra fabric was pricey at £7/m plus swimwear elastic cost £4. But then I realised a swimmer doesn’t just rock up in their swimsuit they need a tracksuit! With only 2 hours to spare for fabric shopping I stumbled upon this quilted poly fabric at £5/m I bought 2 m. Unfortunately I underestimated how much would be required for trouser length so I went with shorts instead.
2. Swimwear fabric available at my local shops was only in very lurid neon coloursapart from black, white and emerald green. Didn’t like the idea of a white swimsuit so black it was with a green contrast. There was no yellow.
3. Going through my stash I found the green jersey and yellow cotton fabric.

So I landed on Jamaica. It’s a place I’d love to visit someday and well Usain Bolt seems like a really cool guy.

Any other details that you want to share about your Olympic outfit or your process in creating the outfit?
My separating zipper was too long so I had to shorten it using some pliers. Lucky though it was a nylon zipper it still had metal stoppers.

Figuring out the order of construction for making the jacket reversible was great fun. I ended up doing zip edges then sleeve hems followed by neck edge and finally one side of hem to 10cms from CB then pulled it all out and and voila!.

The hood was frustrating because after I made it and tried it on it was clear that it would not be a snug fit!! But with no fabric I couldn’t redraft. For future I will draft a 3 piece hood that has a better fit not this cone-y look I have going. But I still rock it 😎😎.

I have discovered sewing without pins! The fabric for the outer shell of the tracksuit doesn’t like being poked around you can see little hole afterwards so I had to get on without pins and I was so surprised at how well everything was lining up even on the princess seams that are curved. It meant my sewing was a whole lot faster too!

Indicate here that you included the required photographs. Remember that the Front and Back photographs must be on a live person (the head can be omitted / obscured if desired):

1. Front [Required]:Yes

2. Back [Required]:Yes

3. Inside detail [Required]:Yes

4. [Optional]:Yes

5. [Optional]:Yes

In truth this hasn’t been my favourite round because I had to buy fabric to make something sporty and stretch myself. Making it to the final has been very surreal. I already feel like a winner. I now know with full certainty that I can make anything I want and make it in 10 days if I want to. That’s powerful!

I had a limiting belief. The belief was that I cant sew as many things I want to the high quality because I don’t have enough time. This limiting belief has been preventing me from seeing opportunities and from even trying at all. Now I can : There is always a way if I’m committed. But best of all these last 6 weeks have taught me that if I’m confused, I’m about to learn something. So thanks PR! I have already won! (although it would be pretty sweet to actually win a physical thing that isn’t a grand mind altering epiphany .

Thanks for reading!
Mucho ♥♥♥♥


And here are the pictures….

Full Track suit Jalie 3134 Reverse of tracksuit Run Run! Swim SwimSewing Bee Round 4 086Sewing Bee Round 4 099

I absolutely had a great time but there has been a rather unfortunate side effect of all the focused sewing is that my sewjo has gone. I have no desire to sew at the moment. I am not too worried though – it will come back when its ready. In the meantime I am using this time to get our house Christmas ready as we will be hosting it and are going to have a few house guests.

Baking has also been taking up a lot of my time. So far this past week I have made an Apple Crumble Cake, Apple Tarte au tatin(we have 4 apple trees so a glut of apples atm), the christmas pudding, a New York cheesecake and a Victoria sponge. The family isn’t complaining :-).

Thanks for stopping by my little section of the interwebs.

Happy Sewing!


I made it to the Final!

Hello chums!

Shortest post ever:

Wohoo!!!!! I made it to the final!

Wait. They want me to what?…..



For Round 4 of the 2015 Sewing Bee, you must design and sew a contestant outfit for either the opening ceremony of or a specific sport competition in the Olympics. You can select any country to use as your inspiration. Although 2016 is a Summer Olympics year, you can use either the summer or the Winter Olympics. You will have 10 days to cut, sew, and photograph your outfit and submit a review into the contest with the required photos.

Mmmmm I need to spend really think about this one……………………………….any ideas anyone?

As always thanks for stopping by!

Happy Sewing!