Burda Style Pleated Trousers and a Plantain t-shirt by Deer and Doe


I’m drawing to the end of just over a week off work, my first week since August last year. Instead of brooding on my return tomorrow I’m going to show you the lovely things I’ve made this week. But first, I can’t go on without mentioning the Bee.

By a strange twist of fate, Bloglovin predicted the winner, Heather, in my last post. I forgot to set a featured image and so it randomly picked one from the post, which just happened to be Heather. But, having watched the programme for me there was no question, she was the best Sewer/seamstress/sewist? (I hate most of the terms for people who sew, dunno why). That dress! The work that went into it!! I wish I could find a picture of it, it was incredible. edit: read Heather’s blog about the final episode here I loved Chinelo’s too but Heather worked with about three times the amount of fabric she did in the same amount of time and made a really good tie earlier in the episode, whereas Chinelo had a big fat fail in that round. For me Tamara was never in the running and that glue gun and fake flower monstrosity sealed the deal. Having started reading the Couture Sewing Techniques book I won from the lovely people at Sew Magazine, I can assure you that would not be used in an atelier.

I’m going to really miss the Sewing Bee on my TV each week. I’ll just have to wait for the next series I suppose.


So back to my outfit post. I have a desperate lack of trousers in my wardrobe. I have a pair of black RTW trousers for work and a pair of jeans. I do have a me-made high-waisted sailor style that I made from a hack of the Kasia Skirt by Burda but I made them a while ago when my drafting skills weren’t so hot so they’re not very comfortable. In short – I need trousers. Earlier in the month I bought an amazing pair of Marvel leggings from Primark but, despite buying the size I normally wear, there was hardly any stretch in the fabric and they wouldn’t go past my knees. So I took them back and used the £8 that went back on my card to walk round the corner to fabricland.

I had decided to make these pleated trousers from April 2014 issue of Burdastyle.  The recent blog post from Burda heralded this collection as 1940’s southern inspired and I like the vintage-esque look to these trousers. They’re not normally a style I would go for as I’ve got a lot of junk in my trunk, if you know what I mean, and I don’t really want to accentuate that. But I though I’d step out of my style comfort zone and go for it. There’s a few style/sewing inspiration photos on my Pinterest sewing inspiration board.

Back to fabricland. The pattern suggested a linen, chambray or silk but with my limited leggings budget and lack of selection in the small shop, I found myself looking at the cottons. I normally wear black trousers but the selection of black was all stretch cotton, so not quite what I was looking for. I settled on a royal blue 100% cotton and if you follow me on Twitter you will have seen how much it ran in the prewash.


Now sizing is where it gets tricky. My aforementioned booty poses a challenged you see. My top half just about fits the largest size in the magazine but my hip and waist measurements are a whopping 5″ bigger than the largest size. I decided to trace the largest, which wasn’t as difficult as it looks, and add and 1.5″ at each side seam, front and back. Not very scientific, and probably not the way it should have been done. I adjusted the pocket piece to take into account the wider waist and made already big pockets gigantic – reckon I could fit a small child in each, not sure why I’d want to though.


Unfortunately, despite making a muslin that I though fit ok, the width at the hips is perfect but the waist is about 2″ too wide. If I make them again I’ll adjust that. The legs looked awful with the extra width so I tapered them in from knee down. If I yank them up to waist height I like the shape of the legs, but as it is they fall down and feel baggy and clown like. They are comfy though. I was hoping these would be suitable for work but I think they’re a bit too slouchy so they shall remain at home.   I made a few changes to the pattern instructions, which were awful.   In fact, I completely disregarded them after getting the pockets in because I couldn’t make head nor tail out of them.   I also inserted a lapped zip and hook and eye instead of an invisible zip mainly because I don’t have an invisible zip presser foot or any invisible zips.   I hand stitched the under stitching for the waistband facing and hand-stitched it down too.

The top was made using the free Plantain t-shirt pattern, minus elbow patches, from Deer and Doe. This top comes with a lesson in prewashing. When it was pulled out of the stash this grey double-knit was almost crisp and held its structure. Being lazy I cracked on, without washing, and whipped up this number on my overlocker. I liked the fit and drape. Then it went through the wash for the first time it suddenly became drapey and slightly on the large size (haha, my kindle tried to autocorrect ‘drapey’ to ‘carpet’ that would have been odd.). I still like it though. I didn’t have a twin needle at the time I made it so I zig zagged in a contrasting teal coloured thread at the neckline and wrist and bottom hems.

Can you tell I don’t have many accessories? I’m wearing the same belt and shoes as I was in my Somewhere over the rainbow dress.

I have also pretty much finished a self-drafted dress for my daughter, Maya, but I won’t share today because the dress and I are not speaking at the moment. It was not going according to plan to I’m taking a little break from it for a while.


I hope you like this outfit. Things to look forward to on the blog include a post about Big Nana’s stash as I was having a rummage today and can’t quite believe how much fabric I have that she gave me.
Adios amigos.


GBSB Final and Prizes for me too

Good Evening.   This post is fuelled by insomnia and caffeine.   I could not sleep last night and giggled to my husband at about 2.30am that it must be because I’m excited that tonight is the final of the Great British Sewing Bee.   The sad thing is, I think that was probably partially correct.   So, who is remaining in the Bee?



Heather: She’s shown throughout the series that she is able to complete garments to a high standard, although she often opts for the safe choice.   For the life of me I can’t understand how she was kept in last week when her very basic shift dress was completely ill-fitting.   We’ll have to see if Heather can pull it out of the bag tonight.





Tamara: There’s no denying Tamara has some incredibly creative ideas but, for the judges, this creativity has swung between ‘Amazing’ and ‘I just don’t get it’.   The yoga outfit she made last week was incredibly complex and well put together but, I’m sorry Tamara, I just didn’t like it.   I thought the choice of fabrics was odd.   I was convinced Tamara wouldn’t make it to the final, but how wrong I was.





Chinelo: There’s no secret that Chinelo is a lot of people’s favourites to win tonight.   She’s a master of freehand cutting and, outside of the time shift of pre-recorded TV, just this weekend she has run a very successful free-hand cutting class with a few of my favourite bloggers attending.   Depending on the tasks tonight, and I’m sure they’ll be tough ones, I think Chinelo stands a very good chance of winning.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.   I’m sooooooo excited.


In me news, if you follow me on Twitter you may have seen that I won a prize from the lovely people at Sew Magazine who were celebrating reaching 14,000 followers @SewHQ.   They were giving away this little bundle to one lucky person who retweeted their giveaway.


I won this little lot, aren’t I the lucky one.   I seem to have already accidentally pulled the zip pulls off those cute zips. Whoops!   I’m sure I’ll be able to fix it- hope so anyway as my daughter has already decided that she wants one on a dress for her.   The thing I’m most in love with is the book.   There is so much incredible information in there that actually makes you feel that couture standards are within the reach of the home sewer.   If I didn’t believe it before I certainly did after I saw this amazing Charles James Tree Dress reproduction.   Amazing!   Hopefully this book will help me reach those standards one day.   There are some amazing garments pictured in the book like these:



Makes me desperately want to go to the V&A museum to see this exhibition of the glamour of Italian Fashion from 1945-2014.   I know official ‘haute-couture’ is from France but adore the glamorous dresses.

Also in my prize bundle was a Fat Quarter pack… what can I make with fat quarters- I only really do dressmaking, I’m not a quilter.   But there were some gorgeous prints in there.   This is my favourite.


It reminds me of a dress I spotted on ModCloth a little while ago and pinned here.   I need to think of a way to incorporate this fabric into a dress.


Anyway, I’m off to pour a glass of wine and settle down for the final of the Great British Sewing Bee.  All electronic devices will be turned off for the next hour and I will not be disturbed unless for extreme emergencies.   I will try to keep my Pinterest GBSB sewing techniques board updated during the show though.    Enjoy.

Sewing Bee techniques round up


I’m feeling guilty- I have lots of ideas for exciting and interesting posts for the future but, even a week into my blog, I’m finding it hard to fit in the sewing I want to do plus work on the blog around full-time work and two young children.

I had planned a Sewing Bee techniques round up each week after the episode to point you in the direction of links to learn how to do the skills they’ve shown on the show. Yes, I’m already three weeks behind!!

So, what I’ve decided to do is just point you in the direction of my Pinterest board where I’m pinning relevant tutorials and articles on the skills the contestants show each week. There’s even a link there for a tutorial from Chinelo Bally for a tulip skirt based on the amazing velvet jersey dress she created on this week’s episode.

I’ll be back again to share my sewing projects and the things I’m up to, other than work!!!! If you follow me on Instagram (see link above) you will know that my current project involves tackling bound buttonholes for the first time!

P.s do you like ‘my slightly pissed in the pub’ selfie??

P.P.S I’m now on Twitter too @SewcialWarrior. Bare with me though as I’ve been a die hard Facebook fan until now so I’m slowly finding my tweeting feet!

Let’s talk about zips, baby

Yes, I do have Salt n Pepa going round in my head at the moment. And you do too now. Ha ha!

Anyway, I said I was going to tell you why I wanted to write a blog. Well:
a) I really love sewing and could talk about it for hours but my friends and family don’t really wanna hear me rambling about perfectly bound button holes and the perils of slippery fabric. So, for now, I’ll talk to myself on my little corner of the internet until some of you come and join me.
b) I’ve applied to join series three of The Great British Sewing Bee- the search for the best British amateur sewer, aired on BBC 2 in the UK.


I don’t claim to be the best amateur sewer by far. I follow too many amazing blogs like Scruffy Badger Time and Dolly Clackett to even contemplate the thought. But I’ve got nothing to lose and it’s fun to have something to get excited about and to stretch my sewing skills. I love a challenge and tend to throw myself at patterns regardless of the skill level indicated. This has resulted in some bloopers but also some things I’m really proud of.

I’d like to take you on this journey with me. For now I’m keeping my fingers crossed and praying for a phone call between now and some time in April (I really should check that date).

Of course I’m doing some research and homework to seat up and that brings me back to Salt n Pepa- well, zips anyway. I nearly squealed with delight and jumped up and down in my chair last night, when watching episode two of series two of The Bee, as it shall henceforth be known. The contestants had to make a box pleated skirt with a hand picked lapped zip. I CAN DO THAT! I wanted to shout to the world. And it just so happens that I’m currently working on a project (to be shared when complete) and I had already decided to replace the invisible zip it called for for a lapped zip. I’m a massive Gertie fan and have her book. The pencil skirt, of which I’ve made two, has a lapped zip. I had intended to machine stitch this zip but, in the spirit of The Bee, I swapped to hand picked, or pricked if you’re the woman from The Bee (note to self, really must learn the presenters names, other than Patrick- yummy!).

Here’s how it went. Firstly I’ve got to tell you I’m in love with parafin wax. I hate hand sewing usually but read on a blog, I think it was Did you make that?, about waxing your thread before sewing. Oh my God! I got one tangle during all of the hand stitching and actually found it relaxing rather than the usual hair pulling strop inducing nightmare hand sewing usually is for me. And that’s good because I had to do a lot as I made a couple of rookie mistakes. If you follow me on instagram you may have spotted one of them.

I have a confession to make. Until tonight I’ve been putting my zips in wrong. It didn’t dawn on me until I was 1/4 of the way down one side that I’ve not been allowing for the seam allowance where the skirt body meets the waist band. I’ve been butting the zip stop up against the edge of the fabric and folding down the excess zip tape. So this revelation caused unpicking number one. I dutifully measured down to the seam line (5/8″) and measured on the zip. Here comes revelation number two. The top of the zip tape is 5/8″. Queue forehead slapping moment and poor Homer Simpson impression. I’m dense at times.

I’m now halfway down the first side of the zip and super chuffed with my really neat, practically
invisible pick stitching. I glance down at the end of the zip and realise the second unpick is about to start.


I’d put it on inside out with the zip pull on the inside. Curses!

My third attempt was the final one and pretty successful. It was a bit tricky as I’ve used my overlocker on the side seams so it’s trimmed off the seam allowance so I had to be really careful to catch the allowance at the back of the overlap. But it all worked out right in the end. What do you think?