Starting the #florasewalong By Hand London

Last weekend I started on my next challenge the Flora Sewalong with By Hand London. I thought I would try something new and decided to attempt the faux wrap style version.


I made a Toile/Muslin from the bodice pieces first. First I traced off my mashed up sizes from the main pattern on to a roll of kiddie play paper using a pattern tracing wheel. The kiddie paper is great for creating your own pattern on as it’s cheap and fairly thin. Interested? Here’s a link to it – Wilko paper roll. I then used the traced version to cut the calico from. I traced the dart using a tracing wheel and Carbon paper. I then got to work sewing the darts and bodice together for fitting.

Boy was I way off, the apex points were about an inch off of my apex points! After looking at the Sewalong blog I realised that I was badly in need of a SBA (small bust adjustment). I cut my pattern and moved the darts along as the blog suggested. I then picked unpicked my darts and traced new ones ready for fitting number 2. The side bust darts were ok but the darts from the waist just weren’t right. I unpicked the waist darts and pinned the darts by hand on my dress form. The were quite different from the patterns darts but at least it fit me. I also had to pull in the seams on the shoulders which pulled the pattern up so I guess when cutting the pattern from my main material I will need to add a little extra for seam allowance at the waist. Better to have more than less!!

I have now traced the dart and shoulder adjustments to my paper pattern version to make the main fabric from.

So here’s my toile so far:



My dress to enter Sew Dolly Clackett Competition #sewdollyclackett

Hi, I have fully enjoyed my latest project, I decided to join in with the Sew Dolly Clackett competition (details found here).  Basically Roisin also known as Dolly Clackett (who is an amazing dress creator and blogger) is getting married and her good friend has created this competition in celebration of this awesome event 🙂 You can chose from a few patterns that Roisin uses regularly, I chose and ordered a pattern from Christine Haynes – Emery. I chose some fabric from – and got to work 🙂

I made a toile/muslin from the bodice pattern pieces first and adjusted a couple of the darts. I quite liked the collar look so I went with that.  I’m not keen on sleeves so I chose not to make the dress sleeveless.  I cut and made the bodice from my main material and the collar from a stiff white cotton (interfacing was not needed).  I put all the pieces together as I was instructed.  I liked the pocket idea too so I went with that…and gathered the skirt pieces and sewed it all together.  I did not like the gathered look on me, it just did not suit me.  I had seen box pleats on the Great British Sewing Bee and thought I would them a go! I have never made a box pleat before! I measured the gaps and and gave them a go.  I think they worked pretty well! I even managed to get the back pleats opposite the back seams!

Anyway enough of my rambling on…lets see the dress!

Getting my confidence back :) #Akatsuki #Naruto

I am really enjoying my sewing 🙂 I feel so much more confident than I did a year ago. I used to have so many problems with commercial patterns…after measuring and cutting the suggested size it would NEVER fit! I completely lost my enthusiasm and confidence.

Last year I booked myself on a pattern cutting evening class for one term with my friend Pip. I really enjoyed this, it made me open my eyes to how patterns are designed and how to alter neck lines and darts. The patterns did not seem so daunting after that.

I was told by my teacher that I should invest in a Graders set square.  Me being me (and wanting to get a bargain) I decided to buy one I found on Amazon…it was like a set square but also had curves like the french curve.  Great I though – best of both worlds.  I could use out find and I use it quite a lot 🙂

After being on my evening class I needed to make a garment that fit me. After some research I found an online class on craftsy ‘Gertie’s Bombshell Dress’. I watched all the videos from start to finish.  Gertie is great at fully expelling the whole process whilst showing you…it was great!!! Amongst other things she made me realise the importance of making a toile/muslin first.

With my basic pattern cutting skills I got to work on a cloak for my son to wear to ComicCon October last year in London. He’s really loves Naruto (Japanese Anime cartoon) and passionately wanted an Akatsuki Cloak.


I drew round him on some card and started to make the basic shape. I then add my seam allowance and cut it out of calico. With a slight adjustment to the neck line and winging it with the bell sleeves I got to work! It took a little bit of time as I was making it up as I went along. I have never made or sewn a sleeve before but watched a few YouTube videos to help me along.

So here’s the end result, he loves it and now his friend really wants one too!