I like to sew and you’ll often find me on Pinterest, planning my next make. I also love to explore and discover new places, but sometimes I just like to escape to the countryside to relax. Beside the sea is where you’ll find me at my calmest and most creative. I document my adventures in sewing, crafting, vintage fashion and life in general on this blog.
With a huge selection of indie pattern companies out there nowadays, offering so much in the way of sewing, it’s easy to forget the big four. Yesterday, while scrolling Instagram, I noticed that McCalls had released their new pattern collection – and it’s as excellent as you might think.
McCalls have really upped their game with this collection. The lookbook is full of inspirational summer makes and I can imagine it’ll be popular in the sewing world.
From sweet summer tops to a pair of jeans you’ll want to make straightaway, here are my top picks from the collection:
The summer dress:
This one has all that you’ll need for a summer dress. A simple, yet flattering shape, the M7740 has hidden details and flowing sleeves. Plus, who doesn’t love a cut-out back? With two options to choose from, this would be perfect in a lilac or periwinkle blue. Or perhaps all the colours of the rainbow?
And this version’s back details are so on-trend for the summer. Making the bows in contrasting colours could be fun too, don’t you think?
The babydoll top:
What a summery babydoll-esque feel this top (the M7752) has? A sweet floral print cotton lawn would really make this pattern stand out and I can imagine this paired with jeans for those days where you just want to go casual.
The hidden detail playsuit:
This playsuit combines everything I love about summer – a floral print, culotte trousers and cut-out detail perfect for balmy days.
The M7756 is flowy and the perfect vibe for a festival, plus one option even comes with bell sleeves if you want more detailing. I’m imagining this in a large print floral viscose fabric.
The Mom jeans:
When I first saw these pop up on my feed, I knew that this pattern (the M7754) was my jeans pattern. I love the shape of these (it’s the perfect Mom jeans shape) and they’re cropped too. And I am definitely loving that scallop waist detail! I’d love to make a classic pair in indigo denim but I’m thinking a lilac or pale pink cotton would make an ideal second pair.
What do you think of the new McCalls patterns? See more of the collection here.
I know it doesn’t quite feel like it’ll soon be spring when there is still snow on the ground and it’s been a bit of a trek getting into work each day, but the new season is coming and I’m so excited for it.
I just love this time of year. There’s still a freshness in the air and the daffodils are beginning to bloom (albeit later with all the snow). So what better way to celebrate the changing seasons than by planning my spring makes?
The transitional coat
With all the snowy weather we’ve been having, this pattern has jumped right up to the top of my list and I already have the perfect coat pattern in mind. I just love a collarless coat and love the classic features that this one boasts. Though the picture doesn’t do it justice, this is a timeless design and one I can imagine making in either a forest green or raspberry red (or both!).
I’ll probably adapt it to give it a bit more shape and take out the slits in the side. I got mine with a magazine a few years ago so it’s already in my stash but here’s where to buy it.
The floral dress
Next up is a floral dress, leftover from this post. Though I ended up making most of the makes on my list this was one that was didn’t quite fit with my winter plans, so I’m going to revisit it. I’m imagining a dress with a full skirt, like the full-skirted dress from one of the Sewing Bee books or the above Gloria dress by Wear Lemonade.
I’m on the hunt for the perfect vintage pattern for this one, a suitably retro one from the 80s or something. I just love the classic McCalls one above too! Isn’t it ideal for summer?
The midi skirt
A white tee and a midi skirt is pretty much my go to uniform in the spring/summer and I’d really like a whole collection of them in many different floral and vintage prints.
As an aside, I’m a big fan of collecting granny style and homemade Liberty print skirts from charity shops, so it’s high time I made more of my own. Here’s one I wear a lot.
A pair of trousers
Though I have attempted to make trousers before, I haven’t made a pair in so long – they’re just not really my thing – so I’d like to get out of my comfort zone and make another pair sometime soon. I’d like to have the confidence to go all out with a spotty print or patterned fabric but may just stick to the plain. Here’s my first attempt at making some trousers.
The Mila dungarees
Credit: Tilly and the Buttons
As an addition to the above trousers, the Mila dungarees are the newest make everyone seems to be obsessed with. And it’s not hard to see why. This floral version reminds me so much of mine and my sister’s matching orange floral dungarees of our childhood. Anyone know where I can source some orange floral denim fabric to recreate? I’m also contemplating a similar floral denim Cleo next.
The floral bomber jacket
Having fallen in love with my latest make, this jacket, I’m planning many, many more (seriously, take a look at my Pinterest board). I still have loads of the knit fabric left to make more and wouldn’t a contrast floral fabric like this one look great against black cuffs?
I really appreciate those of you who read my blog, even if it sometimes feels as though it’s just my Mum reading. It’s a bit of a labour of love and I just love having a place where I can look back and see what I’ve made over the years.
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This DIY isn’t my usual style, I have to admit, but sometimes stretching ourselves to make something out of our comfort zones is what sewing is all about, am I right?
For this make, I used a pattern from Prima magazine from last year (and available here if you want to buy it). I’d had it cut out for quite a while and finally got round to making it a few weeks ago when I was briefly reunited with my sewing machine. I’m really pleased with how it turned out and it’s so warm too. A win all round!
I had the main fabric in my stash (originally used for a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo) and the lining fabric was a tartan fabric from Ebay that I had leftover from a skirt. I then added some cuff fabric, which I got from a sewing shop near Wimbledon and a zip. So it really didn’t cost all that much to make and I’ve used up my scraps too.
When winter comes along, I immediate associate the season with tartan and plaids and these past few months have been no different.
While home at Christmas, I decided to make a dress for the festivities and decided on another smock dress to add to my ever growing collection.
I’ve been wanting to buy this fabric for a while. I saw it on the Fabrics Galore website and knew it was a special fabric but it stayed in my basket for a while before I actually got round to buying it.
I used the Sudley dress pattern from Megan Nielsen (again with the longer sleeve hack I also used here), but omitted the neckline opening and button detail this time, making this even simpler to construct than before.
I’ve worn it a few times (on Christmas day, natch) and to work, where one of my colleagues guessed I’d made it (not sure this is a good thing?) and it’s just the comfiest, loveliest dress to wear. I’m dreaming of many more tartan smock dresses in the near future, in contrasting fabrics. Maybe some more tartan versions too?
Here’s a make I made way back in the summer that I just plain forgot about. But, with spring fast approaching, I thought it was a good idea to get this one back out.
I spoke about my love for all things mustard here, but I’d actually made this one by then and put it away in the colder months.
It’s the Prima skirt pattern I love so much, made with a thinner waistband (because who needs a thick waistband?), in leftover fabric from a Cleo pinafore I made my Mum earlier last year.
I just love the versatility of this pattern. I’ve used the pattern many times now and each time it looks like a different skirt.
The fabric is a stretch cotton denim from Ebay, also used here and here, but in a different colour way. I love its bright hue and it kind of reminds me of daffodils and spring and all those lovely things.
What do you think? Do you ever use magazine sewing patterns? I’d love to know.
Whenever I think of this time of year, I think of winter florals. A more autumnal and wintery version of the style I’d normally choose in the summer, there’s nothing wrong with wearing flowers when it’s cold outside.
I made this dress, the second of my festive makes I’m posting about, first of all. I bought the pattern during a Minerva Crafts half price sale. It’s the New Look 6509 (the same skirt pattern I used in the red corduroy pinafore).
I love 90s look dresses and this was one of those patterns that I kept thinking about, knowing I’d want to make it a million different ways. I love the idea of a summery gingham dress for the warmer months, as well as the culotte style jumpsuit obviously. Plus I have all the heart eyes for that cutout detail.
I made version A with the skirt from version B. As you’ll see in the pictures, the neckline seems more sweetheart than it actually is. I just couldn’t get it to hang properly. The neckline is straight I promise.
I thought about adding the buttons but I hate buttonholes so I left them out for this version, though I will add them in future. I kept the neckline the same and just sewed the straps to the front.
The only problem I had making this pattern was that the mix of viscose and pockets has made the pockets really visible when I’m wearing it and so I will probably take them out. I left them out of the pinafore version and it’s made a huge difference.
So, all in all, a GREAT pattern. I’ll definitely be making this one again.
I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas, happy new year and festive period in general. I really got into the twixmas period myself and am now finding it a real struggle not to stuff myself with chocolates and get back into the work mode.
I knew I’d have some time over the festive period to make a couple of wintery dresses and I definitely achieved what I’d set out to do (bar one floral fabric I haven’t yet used). This first one was a complete hack. My favourite kind of challenge sometimes is taking what I have and adapting it to fit my vision.
Here’s the original pin:
I must have looked at this image a million times, wanting to find the perfect rusty red corduroy fabric, thinking about the slight racer style of the shoulders and planning which pattern I’d use.
I bought my fabric on Ebay and it is brighter than the one used in the original pin but I’m happy with that. I’m sure if I’d have hunted around a bit more I’d have found exactly what I was looking for, but red isn’t a colour I wear a huge amount of and I wanted to play it safe instead of chancing it with my fabric colour prior to its arrival.
Of course, I just had to pair it with a Breton top:
In the end I used the skirt of a new pattern I’d bought to make another dress (New Look’s 6509 – more on that in a future blog post) and a New Look top pattern, the 6483. The version I chose had slimmer shoulders but, having made this one before, I knew it came up large, so I sized down. It fits well but the shoulders aren’t quite as slim as I’d have hoped. Still, it’s a minor niggle.
The skirt was also very long before I hemmed it and so I brought it up quite a bit. This way I can wear it to work as a fairly smart dress and it isn’t too long in length so I can wear it in a casual way too.
In my last post I alluded to the fact that I had four makes to complete this festive season, so there’s more on the way, though I’ve just about made three of them. The fourth is more of a summer make anyway, so that one will have to wait.
I’ve had a good year sewing wise. Despite most of the time not having access to a sewing machine (it’s back home in Wales), I’ve actually managed to make quite a bit. I quite like the idea of a sewing round-up to remind myself of what I’ve made in the past year if nothing else. So here’s what I accomplished in 2017.
Just in time for Christmas, I have decided that I need a few slouchy dresses added to my wardrobe. At this time of year a smock dress hides a multitude of mince pies and mulled wine and is basically perfect for all the festive treats I’m planning to consume.
You may think that Megan Nielsen’s Sudley dress (blogged here and here) is a summer dress but I like to think it can be worn year round with just a few small additions. I decided to test this theory out and I’m pleased with the results.
This pattern offers loads of alternative ways of mixing the pattern up, including lowering the waistband and making a top version, so I didn’t feel too bad about changing it slightly.
Firstly I lengthened the arms. I’m a big fan of all those 90s dresses that are long sleeved. I also wanted something that was long enough to cover my wrists. Although there is a longer arm length included in the pattern, it only comes to about 3/4 length and so I added about 10cm to the arms and brought the sides in slightly. Then I also increased the seam allowance when I was sewing to make the arms slightly tighter.
As much as I love the keyhole detail of the Sudley dress, it doesn’t really work for a winter dress so I took this out and simply used the bodice piece without the keyhole detail for both the front and back. Since this is a dress that you can wear with the keyhole at the front or back of the dress, I didn’t need to make any other adjustments to the bodice.
Finally, I knew I wanted to add buttons to this dress but didn’t want the hassle of making buttonholes. I love the details on button back tops and wanted to recreate it for this pattern so I just made a fake button placket which I added to the middle of one of the bodice pieces. Genius, eh? I then sewed the buttons on by hand when I finished it off. The weird thing is I’ve actually worn it more with the buttons at the front rather than at the back which is how I envisioned it, but it definitely also works this way!
I finished the whole dress off with bias binding as I think this gives a clean finish. I’m pretty certain this is recommended in the pattern but it’s a good habit to pick up for the Sudley.
I wanted to line this dress but, since I was using viscose fabric and didn’t want to ruin the drape (and basically always wear layers during the winter anyway), I skipped it. I’m not sure that was wise in hindsight but it’s a very comfy dress and that’s basically what I wanted.
Here are a couple of shameless changing room selfies to show how I wear it:
I bought this incredibly cheap viscose from Ebay which was a complete impulse purchase. I wasn’t too fussed about it if I’m honest, but when it arrived I liked it more. However, the fabric has a tendency to fray and the threads kept pulling while I was sewing, so as cheap as it was, I’m not too impressed with the quality and I won’t be buying any more.
All in all, I love this dress. For a cheap and quick make, it ticks all the boxes and I’m already planning more. I have my eye on some tartan and dark denim fabrics. Plus, these dresses are perfect for hiding those Christmas binges. What’s not to love?