pattern review, sewing

Simplicity 2587

I have been working on some dresses based on Simplicity 2587.  I have increased the fullness in the skirt, raised the plung V neckline and also made the sleeves more bell like.  I love the floatyness of the sleeves and it is super to wear, the cotton embroidery anglaise is lovely in the heat and lined with cotton voile.

I added some piping detail to the neckline and midriff panel, really love how well the piping works.  Its a fabulous dress to go from day to evening, with heals or flip flops.


For lunch with friends or just running errands.


I love the fit and have made a couple for customers – who saw mine and wanted a version for themselves!


sewing in the heat

Over the past couple of months we have been experiencing an amazingly hot summer, something my wardrobe is not used to.  I have very few pieces that are for extremely hot weather and those that I do own are rather more beach/resort wear.  So in between commissions I have been snatching a few hours making up a couple of dresses and on Saturday bought some fabulous pure cotton white broderie anglaise, cotton voile and light weight cotton print to make up Simplicity 2587.

simplicity 2587

making view c, with a few modifications  pics in my next post.

vogue 9253.jpg

Another much worn dress has been Vogue 9253, I love this dress!  East to wear and simple to sew, did take 5.5m of fabric as I chose a narrow width.  I made a neckline alteration as I didn’t want such a low V and worn it lots, the african wax print I used is also brilliant and washes like a dream.


Just finished Butterick 5898 for a client in Liberty Tana Lawn, it looks really lovely and perfect for a hot summers day and also smart.  If you can not face getting your sewing machine out, Justine Tabak has some beautiful pieces, made in London and from beautful fabrics including some super Liberty tana lawns.

Will post the photo’s of the finished dresses soon, but for now must get back to work.

plastic detox



This month I have finally managed to get plastic free toothpaste, mouthwash & a new type of bamboo toothbrush that is 100% biodegradable.  All found at The Source Bulk Foods in Chiswick, although you can also find the toothpaste and mouthwash on Etsy.  The charcoal toothpaste is good and a thousand times better than the first powdered charcole powder I tried, apparently not as popular as the mint and the mouthwash is great, pop a tablet in half a glass of water and hey presto – mouthwash.  Very easy to travel with.Kiehls-Logo

I was chatting to the manager of Kiehl’s in House of Fraser in Victoria and she told me that they take returns of old packaging to be recycled and very soon will be launching their products in recycled plastic.  It’s a great recycling scheme, would be brilliant if more companies did this and as Kiehl’s is owned by L’Oréal maybe something all L’Oréal brands could be doing.


As promised last month I have researched sunscreen and although I didn’t need it for my holiday, goodness on my return home the heat was such a shock.  So far I have covered up while out and about, although today did spend quite a few hours trying to track down sun protection on my local high street.  Plastic free is very hard to find on the high Street and seems to be an online only product, will keep looking!  Etsy as usual came up trumps and I found one made here in England.

HappyNaturalsEtsy has a SPF 30 – 40 and comes packaged in aluminium screw top pot. Made to order.  Raw Love is a brand from the USA, it’s a zinc oxide (non nano) broad spectrum with a SPF35.  Cocoalohasurf  all natural & waterproof facial broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen SPF 45, that comes in untinted and 2 other shades.  Shade, all natural sunscreen,  broad spectrum UVA and UVB.  Again it contains non-nano zinc oxide.  Suntribe natural sports & face sunscreen, with an SPF 30 with broad spectrum UVA/UVB.  It is water-resistant, reef safe and contains the least ingredients of any of the products I’ve found – only organic beeswax, coconut oil and non-nano zinc oxide.  Again Kiehl’s would also be an alternative, not plastic free – but you can take the bottle/tube back to Kiehl’s to recycle.

My search for a good mascara continues and other plastic free alternatives.  I have found a refilable mascara by Kjaer Weis and will do more reaserch into the refils.

This is not a sponcered post and all views are my own.


The Landgate | a review

the landgate

Pattern: The Landgate

Fabrics: waterproof cotton fabric from The Cloth House warehouse.

Notions: Epic [polyfil] threadhardwear, zip & elastic.

Pattern description: The Landgate Jacket is the first unisex pattern from Merchant and Mills, it’s versatile, functional and thoroughly modern.

Pattern Sizing: Medium.

Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?:  Yes

What did you like or dislike about the pattern?: Nice, straight forward make.  Easy to follow pattern, I prefered to bind the seams inside for a nice finish.

Did I make  any pattern alterations or design changes?  Yes, I dipped the hem at the back into a curve, just to make it good in a storm.  Also used the same fabric for the pocket linings.

Would I sew it again or recommend to others?  yes, its a good pattern. If you’ve not made a jacket before, take it slowly and maybe use a waxed cotton.

Conclusion:  This is the second Landgate I’ve made.  The first in a Merchant and Mills waxed linen, re-waxing it proved tricky and thought this waterproof fabric would be perfect.  The fabric is thick and didn’t like pressing all that much (used lots of steam aand a pressing cloth), it’s waterproof rather than shower proof and with wear the fabric will soften.  Using the metal eyelets gives a really professional finish and instead of using cotton cord, I used a thick elastic cord in a contrasting khaki.  The jacket is easy to wear and unisex, so would make a great make for a guy.

This is not a sponsored post, all opinion are my own.  I purchased the pattern and fabric.


#Plasticdetox June


I have been using Aesop on and off for quite a few years, finding the packaging really attractive.  Trying to go plastic free, they do have a good range of products with only plastic lids and the bottles are recyclable and also reuseable too.  Some of the products I thought were recyclable and discovered I had completely misunderstood the symbols!


I have assumed this means recycling as it appears on deodorant bottles and all sorts of things.  In my London borough we can recycle spray antiperspirants like the Sure bottle in my bathroom cabinet.  The symbol above actually means that the producer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging – NOT that the packaging is recyclable.  But I’ve at least learn that now.  The cleanser I chose is an oil base and good, my skin clean – alough still unsure.  So the search continues….  The eye makeup remover is fabulous and so is the facial scrub – but that it appears to be totally recyclable and I am waiting to hear back from Aesop.

Marks-and-Spencer-lambs lettuce

Failed miserably with salad – why do salads items always come in plastic?  No where can I find a lettuce not wrapped in plastic, so have taken matters into my own hands and now have a small space on a friends allotment.  I can not get an allotment of my own in my borough, our garden is a very small courtyard that appears to home bugs of all descriptions that eat all my attempts at growing any veg.

plastic plant pots

I then became aware of gardening without plastic was going to be more tricky, seeds in paper will be fine. I’ve started growing some and will transplant when they are big enough.  Found some woad seeds and thought they would be interesting to add in, then I could experiment with dyeing linen and wool.  But all potting compost appears to come in plastic – pre planted veg, fruit and herbs are all in plastic – it’s everywhere!  But I’m sure I can find a way and have plans, the others at the allotments grow the most amazing things.  So inspiring!

With holidays coming up I am researching sun creams etc and busy emailing companies to gain more information. More on that next month!


T:203 cuff top | a review

T-203 cuff top

Pattern: T:203 Cuff Top by The Assembly Line.

Fabrics: clerical cotton from Fabrics Galore, I bought this in store and can’t see it on their website.

Notions: Epic [polyfil] thread & elastic.

Pattern description: The Cuff top has a straight fit and kimono sleeves with wide elastic cuffs.  Kimono sleeve with top stitch detail on centre and shoulder seams.

Pattern Sizing: X Small, Small, Medium & Large.  I made the medium.

Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?:  Yes

What did you like or dislike about the pattern?: Well written pattern, with clear instructions.  Simple and straight forward and classed as very easy.  It is beautifully packaged and the instructions are in booklet form, complete with drawings and lots of helpful tips.

Did I make any pattern alterations or design changes?  yes, used a thinner elastic – 1.5 inch wide as I have a large reel at home.

Would I sew it again or recommend to others?  Yes, I will definitely make it again. The top has a real Cos look to it and very easy to wear, would be great in other colours and also think washed linen and silk would work.

Conclusion:  Great pattern, simple and would be a brilliant first pattern for some one.  I bought it direct from The Assembly Line although The Draper’s Daughter is now stocking them.

This is not a sponsored post, all opinion are my own.  I purchased the pattern and fabric.


The Holiday shirt | a review

the holiday shirt

Pattern: The Holiday Shirt by The Maker’s Atelier.

Fabrics: Washed linen from Ray Stitch.

Notions: Epic [polyfil] thread, 3mm white elastic  metal cube cord ends, white cotton tape and cord locks.

Pattern description: An easy pull-on top in two lengths, with options for short or long sleeves, collar or hood and with or without drawstring waist.

Pattern Sizing: 8 – 18.  I made the size 12.

Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?: yes

What did you like or dislike about the pattern?: Well written pattern, with clear instructions.  Simple and straight forward to make.  The cotton tape worked beautifully to hide the seam in the hood.

Did I make  any pattern alterations or design changes?  No.

Would I sew it again or recommend to others?  Yes, I will definitely make it again.  Thinking of a winter weight version – slightly longer with pockets, may be in a denim.

Conclusion: A great pattern, that will be easy to wear and add to my wardrobe.  Perfect added layer and with some lovely details.

This is not a sponsored post, all opinion are my own.  I purchased the pattern and fabric.

plastic detox


This month has been up and down with my plastic challenge, some fails and some great new discoveries.  First up is a fantastic find:


image source

I have been wanting to find Swedish Stockings here in England and discovered they are stocked at The Pantry Underwear in Liberty as well as their own shop in Islington.  They do cost more than my usual Marks & Spencer opaque tights, but proved to be so lovely to wear and the plus is they are made from recycled and sustainable fibres, in a factory that is solar-powered.  You can also send them your laddered tights and join their recycling club, this will give you a 10% discount on new purchases.  Ms T bought some fish net ankle socks and loves those.  So next time you are about to throw out laddered tights, stop and post them off.

I am still using Mangle & Wringer, the laundry powder is wonderful and there is no need to add any fabric softener.  Made with just 100% coconut oil soap. Our 100% natural formula is free from synthetic detergents, phosphates, optical brighteners, enzymes, fragrances and preservatives.  The bleach is perfect for whites, cleaning the loo & lots more.

plastic free shopping

image source

My final find from As Nature Intended, biodegradable swing bin liners and refuse sacks. They also have some packaging free items, Ecover refils – only in Ecover packaging, drygoods and a few oils. It’s around the corner from The Source bulk foods in Chiswick, W4 are so lucky! The is a Borough Wines, great butcher (will wrap in paper only) and greengrocer stall on the High Road.  We use about 2 swing bin liners a week – not full as my kitchen has a small built-in bin.


image source

I am having problems recycling foil as my local council & ‘recycling centre’ – the dump – don’t have a collection point.  I’ve found one but it is a difficult place to get to and they can refuse entry as I don’t live in the catchment area. The cat is a tricky customer when it comes to food and although he is now weened off plastic pouches, still have a problem finding a tinned food he likes.  Any ideas on good tinned cat food in sauce or gravy needed.

This is not a sponsored post and all views are my own.  I only recommend items I have bought and tried myself.


#springsunshine baby quilt

In the last 6 weeks I have made 2 baby quilts, the #sodafloat and #springsunshine – now both gifted.  #springsunshine was made with the same collection of pastel Kona cottons and also a very pale grey that toned beautiful with the sugary hues.

It’s made up of half square triangles, 5 1/4 inch squares bace.  I have found starch is by far the best solution to stop any bias movement, it’s the first time I have used with method and loved it.  Used 100% cotton quilt batting from Macculloch & Wallis and also quilted with 40 weight cotton thread.  I found the backing at Fabrics Galore, although  sadly no photograph.  The binding was made up of all the left over fabrics, joined in a chain and trimmed to 2.5inches wide.  I loved the super scrappy look and it worked really well, again no pics as yet because the little boy arrived and I had to bind, washed and tumbled dry the quilt – gifted the same day!


#sodafloat quilt


I tested a quilt pattern by a friend at London Modern Quilt Guild, Carina it’s a quilting project inside Carina’s new e-book Poplar Bear CountryCarina called it the iceberg quilt and as I chose a range of sugary pastels my daughter christened the quilt #sodafloat.  I made it for a friend who is expecting a baby very soon and there’s nothing like a deadline to consentrate the mind and sewing schedule.


Headed out to the Village Haberdashery in West Hampstead for the Kona Solids and setabout making the quilt.  It is built up in blocks that are really cleverly made and grows quite simply, I managed to make the top up in 2 evenings after work.  Found the quilt batting at MacCulloch & Wallis and also bought a pure cotton 40 weight thread in a lovely icy pastel purple.

thread cotton 40

The backing and binding are from Tikki London, so love the contrast of the backing to the front and the stripe worked really well as a binding.  I did waver when it came to the quilting style and so delighted with the way the circular quilting worked out.  I steamed the backing with a warm iron onto the batting and then steam pressed the top, pinned and it really helped to keep the 3 layers together with no puckering at all.  It has now flown out and been recieved ready for the new arrival!  If you like the pattern do have a look over at Carina’s shop and if you are outside the EU here’s a link to buy the book.

#sodafloatquilt quilted