Simple Sew Patterns The Cocoon Dress x2

Today I have something a little different to my usual style. In an effort to move out of my comfort zone, I decided to make this cocoon dress. The pattern came for free with Issue 8 of Sew Now magazine. Here is the pattern envelope with the line drawings.



Simple Sew Patterns – The Cocoon Dress


The style is very simple. AT the time that it came on to my radar, I was preparing for a family holiday to USA where we going to be at the beach in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. I knew that it got very hot and humid, I wanted something that wouldn’t be too formfitting.

I sewed the first make with a linen chambray type fabric that I bought from Jacks Fabrics in Leeds Market. Sewing it up really is very easy. No zips. No buttonholes. I eliminated the center front seam but cutting the front piece on a fold (I can’t recall why I did this but it worked out).

I staystitched the neckline and used stay tape to keep it from gaping. If there ever was an hour project then this surely is. By the time I made my second one – it was less than one hour from cutting to snipping the final thread.

The sizing was accurate. My bust measurement is between their size 8 and 10. I opted to cut size 10 which was just right. The pockets are nice and deep.

I confess a part of me was worried that this might look like a sack of potatoes on me. By the time I tried it on for fitting I got a bit more excited. It is so comfortable and quite stylish. I made a video immediately after I had been wearing it for a day because the number of compliments on the dress I received that day was astounding.

My personal philosophy about making my clothes is that I make and wear what makes me happy. When I am putting together an outfit – my concern isn’t primarily on how I look to others who see me. It is on how I feel and whether I like it. Of course its lovely when I get compliments on my outfits. But, when I have left my comfort zone and I receive compliments – its an even nicer feeling.  I digress….

Simple Sew Patterns The Cocoon Dress

And my YouTube review..

The second one was made using some fabric that I had been very precious about for a long time. The fabric was won in an Instagram competition wherein 2 meters of Nani Iro triple gauze fabric turned up on my doorstep – FREE!!!

I have oohed and aahed over this fabric for years. I thought it might work well with the Cocoon dress. Cutting was hard! There was plenty of wincing and bottom lip biting. But cut it, I did. It was a point of importance that I sewed it up straightaway in order to avoid buyers remorse so to speak.

A note on sewing with triple gauze…..triple gauze is made of 3 layers of gauze that are loosely woven together. Its about twice the thickness of double gauze. Being 100% cotton the fabric is breathable and incredibly soft. Sewing it however was not fun. The thickness created by the 4 layers of gauze added up. Though I have never quilted – I imagine that it was like sewing a quilt. After sewing one seam it was clear I had to use the walking foot which made things a bit easier.

In the end, I had a lovely deliciously comfortable dress, albeit that looks a bit like pyjamas. I love it. Its bright, lively and vibrant! It is the kind of dress that makes me feel obliged to project the energy it embodies.

Enough words…pictures…..

Simple Sew Patterns The Cocoon Dress


Verdict: Highly recommended! Another thing I love about this dress is that I can go braless without any obvious issues. Win!

Thanks for stopping by!  Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,






SWAP2017 Pt 4: Sewaholic Hollyburn & Granville Shirt

Hi guys!

Last year I was working full steam on a SWAP2017 wardrobe. You can read some of the previous SWAP2017 posts here <link here>:

For my lower, I had the Hollyburn skirt which was to be made in an orange bright orange fabric.

I bought the fabric from Fabworks. It’s a cotton twill weave which also has a geometric pattern. It has spandex it with some (about 3% stretch on the cross grain).

Instead of a facing, I used Petersham ribbon on the waistband. Pink satin bias binding on outside

Sewaholic Granville modified –

The fabric is linen dyed a navy blue using Dylon washing machine dye. This was one of the few successful results from my experiments with dyeing fabric.

The embroidery is from Kate N Rose patterns which I had bought over 3 years ago but hadnt ever bothered with it. It’s called Faraway Garden. When Kate was helping me with inspiration pictures I remembered that I had it somewhere in my digital files. Unfortunately marking dark fabric was challenging. Chalk faded away easily and my Frixion pens were not very easily visible. Patience is not one of my strong virtues and eventually, I reached a point which I just wasn’t bothered. But that’s ok – I realised that I am not yet at the beautiful intricate embroidery stage. That’s okay.

I eliminated the center front button placket. The front is sewn together with a flap for snaps of some sort (am yet to do this). I made it sleeveless by raising the armscye by 1/2″ and narrowing the shoulder by 3/4″. This makes it have a closer fit around the armhole. I bias bound the armholes using same linen fabric.

The idea was to have further embroidery on the front and back but seriously, it’s not my thing. I should have got appliques and in future, this is what I will do. As far as embroidery goes – I need to walk before I can run :-).

I am very happy with these 2 garments, more so because they are 2 of my most beloved patterns that I have made more than a dozen of collectively. Pictures….be warned the orange is really bright :-). Pictures were taken in May 2017.

Sewaholic Patterns Hollyburn Skirt and Granville Shirt

Guess the song from the dance pose 🙂


Thanks for stopping by this corner of the interwebs.

Peace and love,


Vogue V9112

I actually first made this toile in June 2015 – I know because I have a log of the picture of the muslin.

Vogue V9112 is an asymmetrical seam detail dress design by Marcy Tilton. Loose-fitting, pullover, sleeveless dress has single-layer, pleated, stand-up collar, seam detail, side pockets, bias neck and armhole facings, shaped hemline, and narrow hem. Wrong side shows on collar and hemline.

Here is the cover picture:


….and the line drawing which shows all the lovely intricate seams:


I was put off this pattern by how much ease it had after making the toile. I cut the size medium based on the pattern size recommendations (this was before  I figured out the lack of finished garment measurements). Needless to say it sat around in the UFO box for a while then I picked it up again determined to fix it as I liked it in principle. However, I was very ruthless in removing ease and ended up with something that barely resembles what the designer intended. I am okay with that though as I made it work for me.

I took it in by a lot on the sides and the back seam. I omitted the pockets as this was a toile. Although now, with hindsight, I should have just added the pockets since its turned into something wearable. Being linen – it if of course lovely to wear. It’s the sort of thing I will throw on when its nice and hot and I want to be unfettered.

I will  be giving the pattern another go definitely – in linen again maybe with some Sashiko embroidery on one of the curved pieces.


The original size was quite baggy on me.
Vogue V9112 Gathered curved hem
V9112 Collar detail


Vogue V9112

The final result is something much more fitted at the bust and loose-fitting everywhere else. I finished the armholes with bias binding. The only thing I need to change now is the colour – I am thinking of dyeing it a deep violet colour.

Verdict – worthy of a second shot at it because despite the fit issues (based on personal preferences only) I still like it. I do need to remember to be careful when cutting it out as it is all cut single layer – I got away with it because I was using a plain solid fabric but with directional fabric I would have messed up.

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, happy sewing!

Peace and love,


Linen & Lace Simplicity 8215 Top

Hello everyone,

I had missed sewing with linen over the colder months so when I saw this pattern I decided to have a go with some linen that has been in my stash a long time. The lace used for the contrast was something I picked up from Bombay Stores in Bradford. It was quite costly at over £20/meter but I bought a half meter during their 20% off sale. The colour matched the linen perfectly so I knew I would use it for a yoke or something similar. Continue reading

Penultimate Summer Sewing aka Another Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt…this time in linen

Hello again,

Let me start by saying that this is my last Hollyburn for a while (I promise 🙂). As the seventh one it doesnt need a lot of ceremony so here it is in linen…..


Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt

Side View : Hollyburn SKirt
Inner waistband detail
Centered zip
Gratuitous twirl shot
Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt
Hollyburn Skirt the 7th

Again I am more than pleased with this skirt and I still have an appetite for another Hollyburn…….

Thank you for stopping by and until next time Happy Sewing 🙂

Peace and love,


Alterations to pattern: changed from straight waistband to a contoured waistband using tutorial from A Fashionable Stitch (I did this alteration on my third Holyburn and haven’t looked back since).


Another Denim Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt

Hello chums,

I have only gone and made another of my favourite skirt sewing pattern. Since giving away my denim Holyburn back in April (it was a bit big ), I needed another one.

A true TNT pattern it took me just under 4 hours to make from start to finish including cutting.I normally expect a Holyburn to take me less than 3 hours but the addition of an exposed zipper complicated things somewhat.

Alterations to pattern: changed from straight waistband to a contoured waistband using tutorial from A Fashionable Stitch (I did this alteration on my third Holyburn and haven’t looked back since).

Construction Notes:

Medium weight indigo denim fabric.  I used a hammer a few times to flatten seams. The waistband lining is Cupro left over from my tailored jacket V8601. I used grey bias binding on the hem. Old shirt for pockets.  An exposed zip using Lladybird’s tutorial. I wasn’t planning on an exposed zip but when Lauren posted her tutorial it bolstered my confidence to give it a go.

I should also mention that I started this skirt for the OutfitAlong OAL2016  challenge of which the counterpart is a Chuck sweater that I started knitting and still haven’t finished….yet. Anyhow pictures 🙂

Sewaholic Holyburn Skirt
Sewaholic Holyburn Skirt
Sewaholic Holyburn Skirt
Pocket lining
Obligatory twirl shot. Sewaholic Holyburn Skirt
Bias binding on hem
Sewaholic Holyburn Skirt
Sewaholic Holyburn Skirt
Sewaholic Holyburn Skirt
Sewaholic Holyburn Skirt
Exposed zip
Insides back
insides front
Sewaholic Holyburn Skirt

I love this skirt! I am so grateful to the friend who insisted on wanting the old Holyburn. If she had never asked (and persisted), I would not have had the chance to make a much better fitting and better sewn skirt. This giving away my me mades malarkey may yet have some benefits 🙂

 Thanks for stopping by. I guess the denim skirt can count as the beginning of autumn sewing? 🙂

Have you started on your autumn sewing yet ? I will be back soon with my autumn mood board.

Peace and love,




Burda 07/2016 #119 Linen Midi Dress

Hello chums,

I made a dress from the Burdastyle June 2016 issue. The simple lines of the dress drew me plus I quite like how the neckline is structured. Here is the picture from the magazine:119-072016-2-b_large

For fabric I went with olive green linen fabric. The linen has just the right body to hold the bias cut pieces. Its a fabric hog because all the pattern pieces are cut on the bias. including the long neck ties.

A note on the cutting out instructions in the magazine….I was very annoyed because the instructions have you cut 2 of the back pieces. Turns out you only need the 1. I am certain that’s a typo. So if you are planing on making this please please remember you only need 1 back piece.

The instructions were unfathomable beyond the first 2 steps. At least Burda is consistent in that regards. However I do not mind – I rather found myself relishing the challenge – it took me back to my A Levels years when I would spend hours working on a complex calculus problem :-). I fared better in my A level days. Burda instructions are a whole other level. In the end I did what any self respecting seamster would do : I just pinned it all out first then I winged it.Blog pictures annad dresses etc 376Burda midi dressMidi dressBlog pictures annad dresses etc 377Blog pictures annad dresses etc 365Blog pictures annad dresses etc 379Blog pictures annad dresses etc 371

As you can see that back is mighty low and without the right support, things could slip but somewhere in the instructions it mentions elastic on the back. There are specific measurements for the elastic but I found it too slack and I had to shorten in by 2″for a snugger fit. I also took in the side seams by 3/4″ each side. Again this is because its all cut on the bias. The fit was fine by the time I finished.

I finished all the seams on the overlocker because I was fitting as I went. With the next one I’d like to use french seams. Once I discarded the Burda instructions – its actually a really quick make since there are no closures.

Quite like it and wore it to London where I got heaps of compliments. I was worried that the tie neck might be uncomfortable but it wasnt at all even after wearing it all day like I did. Because its all cut on the bias , the weave loosened out as the day went by  it does drag lower in the back as the day goes on. It could do with taking it in another 1/2″ pinched on each side.

2016-08-14 09.59.39
In London..

I’d like at least one more, possibly in a dark navy linen…..

Here is a little video I made for my OOTD on Instagram. Just click play – I only just realised you can hear my kids yelling in the background 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the interwebs,

Peace and love,




A self drafted skirt…using Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern cutting for Womenswear book.

Hello chums!

Phew I am really trying to catch on all my blog posts before the beginning of September so apologies in advance for the project dump that will be happening in the next week. This is another one of my UFOs that I tackled after getting back in May.

Ok here is a skirt (in progress) that should have been finished over 2 years ago when I started working on it. Believe it or not but I actually started this before even buying the Suzy Furrer Craftsy class. From early on when I read about bloggers who were drafting their own patterns, I was fascinated and keen to try it out so I borrowed the Winifred Aldrich book from the library.

The inspiration for my skirt was this Boden skirt that I just loved but couldn’t afford.2e5c4298c107dd1a7417658f5aca3b79

In terms of the drafting instructions – they were quite easy to follow. The ease on the block was quite considerable and I had to take in about 2 inches in total. I made 3 muslins in total. Once I had a 2 dart tailored skirt draft that seemed to work I then had to make princess line seams which went well and I decided to add pockets as well.

May bank holiday weekend 346
Lowered waist on front side panels.
May bank holiday weekend 347
Playing around with fun topstitching
PicMonkey Image
The 2 dart sloper makes for a nice back fit.
Self drafted skirt
Line wrinkling like mad…
The insides – finished by overlocker

I added a contoured waist on either side of the front center panel with the pockets angled straight across. I think it it sort of worked but I took forever with this. This is mock up number 4 I think. I used linen but really I need to use a woolen as my intended final garment is a woolen. The trick with the wool will be dealing with the bulk – there are places where there will be 4 layers of fabric intersecting. Thought with linen its manageable – I will need to think about this. Its supposed to be lined but hey Done is better than perfect right? I simply finished the waist with a petersham ribbon. (my woolen one will be lined. I did draft the facing and lining pattern pieces. I found the length perhaps a tad too long and will reduce it by another inch. If I do that I will add the vents which I skipped in this muslin.

Its a workable pattern I think and I am finally going to make it using a pink tweed wool that is part of my preciousness fabric stash 🙂

But that will be sooner rather later :-).

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace and love,



PS. This is not a review of the Winifred Aldrich book. I have not made enough from this book yet to justify an opinion on it. I hope in future to make more from this book. So far the main thing I have noticed is the huge amount of ease with the initial draft.


PaulineAlice Carme Blouse + Mindless musings on Round 2 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee….

Hello all!

Hope your day is good thus far. I thought I would share what I have been up to since my last post after finding out I was in Round 2 of PR Sewing Bee. Getting through turned out to be a double edged sword. Frustrating and joyful in equal measure.

On the one hand I explored (albeit in a rush different embellishment techniques) which was exciting but on the other hand my plan changed so many times.

My main issue was that I want to make things I will wear regularly not showpieces. I also am only using stash items. Lord knows I have a huge stash and it needs to be worked through.

With those 2 limitations I foraged around looking at different embellishing techniques. I generally haven’t done much by way of embellishing. I have had misadventures in dyeing – that was starting point for me.

Tried out crosssticthing…too folksy.

I considered stamping hearts in bronze on the linen but it was… meh.2015-09-16 09.45.10Tried machine decorative stitching…

2015-09-14 15.13.53Even made a muslin of Vogue 8280 with modified circle was underwhelming….2015-09-13 19.20.23

I eventually settled on the Carme blouse. Here is my review:

What type of fabric did you start with for your project?

100% lightweight linen in a pastel lilac colour.

What techniques did you use to modify your fabric?
2 Techniques used : Dyeing and Sashiko embroidery.
Machine Dye
This lilac linen has been in my stash for more than a year so I decided to use Navy Blue Dylon Machine Dye. I have dyed fabric previously with mixed results but machine dyeing has been consistent the 2 times I have used it so I felt it was a safe bet that I wouldn’t muck up. I did have to run my washer on empty to make sure there no dye left in the machine. For me that’s the scary part of machine dyeing…

Once I got the colour dyed I went through a long cycle of dithering over what to do to the fabric. I did some cross-stitch, machine embroidery, stamping but each had issues around the time frame. 5 days into the challenge after making a dress muslin I was still vacillating between debilitating indecision and mad panic. It was at this point I came across Sashiko embroidery.I found calm and inspiration in the simple, geometric patterns.
Sashiko is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching or functional embroidery from Japan.
I thought Yes! Running stitch is going to be dead easy and quick right? Wrong!!! Having no luxury of time for changing my mind I stopped looking and committed…well…I had to because I was running out of time -_-.

Step 1. Printed out a variation on the Uroko (fish scale) pattern.

Step 2: taped 6 A4 pages together so I could have a large template to copy from.

Step 3: traced the pattern onto lightweight fusible interfacing. Ok this took forever. Making sure the interfacing didn’t move while writing on it meant I ended up using fine point Sharpie to move faster. 3 hours to trace! 3 whole hours!!!

Step 4: cut the fabric perfectly on grain

Step 5: fused the traced out interfacing to the wrong side of my fabric making sure the abutting scales lined up on the straightgrain and that the bottom of the scallops were sitting on the cross grain. Again that took ages.

Step 6: All that excruciating lining up of fabric and interfacing – move it to the ironing board.

Step 7: Not even my newborn babies have ever been handled as delicately as when moving the 2 piece of fabric.

Step 8: Fused. Phew (huge sigh of relief). Surely the most difficult part is over yes?

Step 9: Gathered embroidery materials (i.e dug around my sewing cave trying to find the embroidery floss bought over 2 years ago….
*. Technically speaking you are supposed to use speciality Sashiko needles and thread

Step 10: Embroidered. I was happy with 3 strand floss. The Sashiko was slow going because you have to make sure it doesn’t pucker.
*There are many rules and ritual behind this craft. I definitely am not anywhere near a Sashiko beginner and I probably broke a lot of Sashiko rules while making this.

Step 11 Gave up after 2 straight days of hand sewing every spare moment I had PLUS burning the midnight oil. I realised I wasn’t going to be able to make enough of the fabric in time to sew a high quality garment. It started off fun but….. ai yai yai! . My eyes and my fingers got sore quickly… I was not hard core enough to endure and finish all the fabric that I was supposed to embroider. More on how I dealt with that later on…..On the plus I had Netflix as background noise during my night sessions and ‘watched’ a lot of stuff 

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

I used PaulineAlice Carme blouse. With this bee I have 2 extra self imposed criteria 1. To use things in my stash and 2) to make things already on my sewing list that I know I will wear. Having made this once before (and LOVE it) I was confident I would wear the finished garment. My plan was to make enough Sashikoed fabric for the bodice, back and sleeves and the bib yoke would be plain. HOWEVER as mentioned above I could not make enough fabric in time.
It was then that I switched it around and went for embroidered bib yoke instead. Since I had more fabric than just for the bib yoke, I also added a back yoke. I didn’t want the stand collar so I just eliminated that. I was going to have a button placket on the front but I just could not bring myself to cut into that embroidery. It took a looooong time to make! So I didn’t sew the placket. Instead I made 2″ wide bias binding out of the dyed navy linen and finished the neckline. I didn’t want any stitching on the yoke. In order to achieve that I sewed the bias binding right side to wrong side of fabric first then folded the bias binding over the front and edgestitched.
I also lowered the neckline by an inch to make it pullover top. French seams on all seams except for armholes. I used overlocker for the armholes – mostly because I didn’t have time and I needed to finish. It still looks neat on the inside though.

How does your garment show off your fabric modifications?
The 2 yokes really allow the striking elegance of the Sashiko embroidery stand out. Especially as the white cotton thread on the deep blue linen gives the Sashiko its distinctive appearance.
Its a perfect versatile and easy-going casual top look.. The clean lines and simplicity of the garment design make a feature of Sashiko embroidery. I am really glad I didn’t sew the button placket on the front as the flow of the fish scales would have been interrupted.

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. Started fabric [Yes] 2. Front [Yes]:
3. Back [Yes]:
4. [Optional]: Yes
5. [Optional]:Yes

What particular features would you like to point out to the judges?

So the yoke has some delicate running stitching on it. In hindsight I think it’s best to Sashiko a piece already cut out so you don;t have loose threads hanging about. To this end using a pin I dabbed glue on loose ends once I had cut the yokes out. This involved another 24 hours of waiting for glue to dry. The raw side had to be protected so for the front I encased the bib in a silk fabric harvested from an old car boot find that I never wore. I sewed the yoke and lining right sides together on the curved outer edge then turned out to have neat bound edge. Also used the silk for the cuffs. I LOVE this feature so much. The floral print contrasts so beautifully plus the silk feels heavenly against my chest when I am wearing it.
On the back yoke I just folded the seam allowance under the bottom edge of the yoke then placed it over the back bodice piece -wrong side of yoke on right side of back bodice. Edge stitched straight edge and basted the armhole and neckline so it would act as one piece.

Any other details that you want to share about your fabric modification or the garment you made from the fabric?
Sahiko looks easy but I don’t think so. I think you have to really think about how you are going to finish garment before doing the Sashiko. I learnt quite a fair amount doing this challenge. Would I make something with Sashiko in 5 days again? Absolutely not. But without any time constraints I might make something over a much longer period of time. I am very pleased that I have managed to achieve a clean and elegant end result that I will wear and love. I’d like to thank the Pattern Review committee for coming up with a challenge that has stretched me well beyond my comfort zone. Looking forward to the next challenge which I plan on doing regardless of whether I go through or not.

Cue pictures….Back Collage Carme Blouse Interiors Collage picture one sashiko colage sEPT 2015 204 sEPT 2015 247 sEPT 2015 248 sEPT 2015 250 sEPT 2015 251 sEPT 2015 261

I love this Carme top so much ! Unfortunately I finished sewing it Sunday night and couldn’t get pictures done until Monday. It was wet and raining all day so I was stuck with indoor pictures on a poorly lit day. It had to do because of the deadline. I was seriously blown away by the entries for Round 2 proving once again how super creative and amazingly talented the sewing community is. I don’t envy the judges at all.They announce on September 25 who gets through to the next round….will keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the interwebs!

Happy sewing!








McCalls 5431 and adventures in dyeing fabric

Hello everyone!

I am back with a quick post sharing my misadventures in dyeing fabric and the making of McCalls 5431. This flared skirt has a yoke and back zipper closure; HUGE pockets! That illustration had me at hello. HUGE pockets! Purchased last year but only made about 3 months ago.

McCalls M5431

I made it in….linen! Lilac linen. This skirt consumes a lot of fabric. I made View D which is the longest skirt. The construction is very straight forward, similar to Hollyburn skirt for those who are familiar. For me the sizing was a bit on the larger side. Even though I went with the waist size nearest to my waist measurement I still had to take out 1.5″ in the center back seam to get the fit that looks like the pictures. Otherwise it was hanging off my hip (belly dancer style). Continue reading

The Shell top Butterick B5948

Hello everyone!

Happy Thursday! As I write this post its raining and has been raining for the last three days…..Dude where’s summer? ANyhow, tough trying to keep little people entertained. I consider myself an energy management specialist. You see my theory is: if I tire them out they will be less fussy when eating (plus they will be super hungry after burning off a lot of calories) and more importantly they will easily drop off to sleep :-). Easy enough to achieve when one can go outside – indoors its more challenging. C’est la vie.

Thank you so much for all your comments on my last post about my sewing queue. I am a bit of an efficiency freak – each new semester my undergrads get this intro “Good morning everyone! I am Hila and I am an operations management junkie and over the next 12 weeks I hope you will become ops junkies too!”. Yes I am a geek 🙂

Now moving on to the good stuff. I made this Butterick B5948 top almost 2 months ago. Its a loose-fitting, pullover top. I bought the pattern during my early sewing days (last year) where I just bought anything that was on sale (fess up, we all went through that stage right?). It came back to my attention after I decided that I needed a simple well fitting shell top that used less than 1m of fabric. The idea was I could buy 1m of expensive fabric (e.g. Liberty, Nani Iro) and be able to make a wearable top that could be thrown over jeans or a skirt. Continue reading