The moral pencil skirt and another Portrait blouse

Hi all! I’ve been ticked off at work today as I had promised to credit my lovely friend who took my outfit pics for my Colette Meringue skirt and I forgot. So here’s a big thanks to Chelsea Fellows for taking the snaps while we were on a fag break. She’s also taken the pic for this post for me. Unfortunately the closest thing to a digital camera I have at the moment is my iPhone so I apologise now for the not great quality pics.

I trundled off to work today in a handmade outfit so I could get my wonderful blogging assistant, Chelsea, to take some more snaps. Unfortunately it’s been a busy day and we haven’t managed to co-ordinate our cigarette breaks to get an outdoors picture. Here’s one that we snapped in the office just before the end of the day so I’m sporting the ‘worn’ look and even forgot to take my work badge off so I’m proper Sewcial Warrior.


The skirt is my first Gertie pencil skirt made in a brushed cotton twill from my hubby’s Nan’s stash (she will henceforth be known as Big Nana as that’s what my kids call her). There is a moral to this skirt- never attempt to fit a garment when merry and using your reflection in a French window rather than a mirror. I fitted it and complete the construction, put it on and asked hubby (his name’s Tobi by the way) how it looked “looks really nice!” He said completely unconvincingly. I traipsed upstairs to look in the full-length mirror in my bedroom and I can only say I looked like I was wearing a sack! I must have cut at least two sizes too big for me and it was VERY unflattering. So I had to unpick basically the whole garment (including lining and waistband) and take in the sides and reconstruct it all. Nightmare! But I put in a lapped zip perfectly on my first ever attempt. I had a perfectly matching button in my stash and I finished the lining with a very cute lace edge.


The top is another Gertie portrait blouse from her book of better sewing. This was one of my first attempts with this pattern and I made a quick muslin because the top calls for a zip in one of the side seams. I don’t know about you but I hate side zips in tops, I find them really uncomfortable. So I needed to make sure I could get it over my head without one. Hurrah! I can.

The fabric I used was another charity shop bargain, I got a metre of this poly cotton (I think) for about £2. I’ve since seen it online at £3 per metre so not a huge saving but a saving non-the-less. It is a straightforward make and I love the neckline so I’m sure there will be more portrait blouses in my future.

I’ve still got more pb (pre-blog) garments to show you over the coming weeks so keep watching. I could say more and spend timing making this post look pretty but Tobi’s just ordered a Chinese so I’m off to stuff my face instead. Taking a night off sewing tonight as I’m tired from a busy work day, but do not fear I’m mid project so there will be more to share ASAP.

P.s having just looked at this picture on here I really need to get some better form of digital camera! For now, it’s going to have to stay with the iPhone I’m afraid so please bear with me.


Sewing on a budget


Sewing can be an expensive hobby, especially if you’re like me and want all the gadgets and gizmos that make a task easier. However, I’m awful with money and so always flat broke. This means I have a very limited budget and have to be creative about where my fabric and notions come from. My favourite place for a bargain is the charity shops. A few weeks ago I came home with at least 10 metres of fabric which only set me back £17. The majority of the fabric, barring the polka dots (one of the few fabric purchases I’ve made myself from an actual fabric shop- fabricland), in the above picture is from charity shops or the stash I inherited from my grandmother-in-law when she have up sewing.


Let’s talk about the outfit then. Ther skirt is a corduroy version of the Colette Meringue inspired by Lucky Lucille’s Meringue. I wanted to add a waistband rather than use facings and had a look at Colette’s tutorial to add a waistband to the meringue but I like a high waistband for the vintage look. From looking at Lucky Lucille’s picture it looked like she just cut a straight waistband so I went for this tack. All the way through sewing it a little voice in my head was saying “your should have drafted a curved waistband” and, although what I’ve done looks alright, I was probably right about that as the straight waistband is a bit loose where it doesn’t follow the curve- oh well I like it anyway.

The top is a modification of Gerties Portrait Blouse. I drafted my very first flat collar for this and for the life of me, I can’t work out why it didn’t reach all the way round to meet in front- I drafted it to do that. Rather that ripping it out and redrafting I decided I quite liked the look (despite applying it slightly wonkily!). My hubby thought the bow would look better in Navy but I didn’t have any navy fabric in my stash so what I did was, rather than stitch the bow on, I made a buttonhole just below the centre point of the neckline so I could tie on the bow and can replace it easily at a later date when I have some Navy fabric.


I’ve already wittered on about the zip insertion on this skirt, so I won’t bore you with that again. The sewing up, other than the zip, was fairly starightforward and I flipped the hem facing to the outside for the colour block effect. The raw edge is covered with Navy grosgrain ribbon. I did intend the colour combo the other way round for this skirt but the royal blue cord I had was slightly too narrow to be able to cut both front and back skirt panels so I swapped. The only other change I made was top stitching the scallops as the cord is a bit thick and needed it for a crisper edge.

I love this skirt- it’s really comfy to sit around at work all day and it looks smart on. I love bright colours, especially blues and greens and so this is right up my street. My first make from my Colette Sewing handbook and I’m looking forward to trying out some of the other patterns too.