The Reworked Olivia Dress

This dress is the Olivia Dress, another member of the Cotton and Chalk family for Simply Sewing magazine. It’s sister being The Rosie Dress. I was disappointed with this make for a few reasons, which you shall see throughout, but I think this was probably more down to my skills than the pattern.


4 Metres Purple Large Paisley Dress fabric. 58" Wide. (End Of Roll)

So… I thought the dress looked really hippy-ish and I went for the first view, which is long and has 3/4 length sleeves. I had some purple paisley viscose which seemed to fit the bill nicely; turns out I was wrong…

There was something oddly satisfying about cutting out the big lengths of fabric needed for this. However, much less satisfying was the neckline, which nearly finished the relationship between me and my machine. The poor thing took some abuse on neckline sewing day, though clearly it’s my fault as I’m the human who was completely unable to work the facings out.

I stepped away from my machine for a walk with my Mum and her dog, Murphy, and felt much better about the whole facing situation. Not before my Mum got the ‘bad workmen blame their tools’ saying in though! I’m glad I did because I restarted and I’m much happier with it, I’ve even managed to pattern match the facing!


Once I worked the neckline situation out, the rest of the construction was pretty easy. Check out my super neat, contrast elastic casing!


However, as promised, there was another problem… because I did have to insert elastic, it was hard to fit this to my shape along the way and the dress was too big in the end. Also, because the pattern is so busy it just felt too frumpy and unflattering, which just goes to show the importance of fabric choice.

not impressed…

My husband gave me that look that suggested he was dreading me going out of the house in it and said I looked like Demis Roussos. If you are thinking you don’t know who that is, like I was, let me help you out…


Yep, a 1970’s Greek singer, who is apparently well-known for wearing over sized dress style garments! Charming… he is just so constructive in his criticism! Sadly, he did have a point.


So I took it back to the machine after a month or so of blatantly ignoring it. I took the arms and sides in by an inch and took 9 inches off the length (I managed to keep a little bit of the original side slit, which I like as a feature). It’s not a big change but enough to completely change the look of this dress for the better and make it in to something far more wearable. What a winner!

much shorter side split, much whiter legs

I wore this with tights and my blue wrap cardigan to a gorgeous meal with my amazing hubby at The Mizen Head in Bamburgh. We went for a walk on the green by the castle, where you can hear the sea and the air is so fresh. It is quite literally my favourite place in the world.


Yes, I did eat all that! YUM!




received_10153973179631200Definitely a happy Friday for us in the most amazing place with some of our family.x

An Accidental Minion Dress

Image result for minion

This pretty much sums up my face when I realised that my well – thought out blue Sunday Set by Cotton and Chalk actually looks like a Minion outfit with thanks to my yellow top-stitching!

I had some blue denim coloured chambray, which I intended to use for a shirt for my brother, I wasn’t getting round to it so I promptly began using it for something for myself (selfish, I know, please don’t judge me!) I have used View A of the Cotton and Chalk dungaree design pattern.

As I was using a plain fabric I wanted to jazz it up a bit; there’s lots of top stitching on this one and it needed buttons so I thought to use colour for this would be perfect. I originally intended to do this in pink but as I had a yellow zip, I had a quick change of heart. As I was making it, I was thinking, this looks AMAZING! Now it’s made, I feel like it does look slightly minion-esque… Though I am pleased with the construction and I still definitely intend to wear it with pride!


I made no changes to the pattern at all, even the straps were a perfect fit. I practised some very neat yellow top-stitching. (Go me!)


Inserted the zip, which was pretty much the first step, something I haven’t seen before. I inserted some really cute pockets with the fabric left over from my Mum’s Birthday Pressie. They look so cute and are actually my first ever pockets!

I also hemmed the bottom of the dress in this fabric, just because I like extra details like that so much!


I chose some stand out buttons and did button holes in the yellow thread to go with the top-stitching; a bit of a risk when I’ve only just mastered button holes! The only other thing I did differently was to do little bar tabs at the top of the pockets so it doesn’t wear over time.


The construction of this was super easy and it makes a good wardrobe essential, if you see the pattern about I would definitely grab yourselves one. I really took my time with mine; I wanted the top-stitching to be neat and I really enjoyed the process. I want to risk trying the trousered version next time, but anyone who reads my blog will know that they are my nemesis so we shall see.

As I said in my last blog, Northumberland is perfect for pictures. We visited Hatherslaw light railway and spent some time looking for ‘Scarycrows’ in Etal and also took a few pictures from the gorgeous roof terrace. We’ve had some beautiful autumn weather.


My beautiful niece.x
railway tracks – what doesn’t go with black wellies?!


perfect wind timing on my circle skirt!


You will see from the pictures that I completely don’t care that I look like a minion – we’ve had a lovely day! I feel the dress is a great way to wear something that feels like a skirt and a dress in one – I clearly love it!!



The Betty Blouse

I’ve had this blouse cut out for a while now… the design of it requires pintucks and I have been meaning to buy a pintuck foot for some time. However, I haven’t got round to it and I was after a quick sew for a Sunday afternoon so I grabbed my pieces and used the 3 inches marked for pintucks either side of the fold to create 3 pleats instead. I saw a blouse very similar in style to this the other day so I’m on a winner I think.




The Betty Blouse came with  Issue 18 of Simply Sewing Mag and only has two pieces so this was an easy one. I used a metre of this lilac polyester I had in my stash, there was more than enough to cut my pattern and the binding. This isn’t usually my colour but I got it in a bundle and was keen to use it, I’m quite pleased with the colour now it’s finished, it’s reminds me of parma violets!


I also like the style of the sleeves, which are quite feminine. The only other change I made was turn to the binding to the outside rather than the inside, just for another feature but I’m not sure, does it look a bit bulky?


I cut a size 14 in this pattern and though I am clearly not a 14, it fits so I’d recommend smaller sizes with this one. I’d also lengthen the pattern slightly if I did it again, which I will have to because I’m not happy to put the pintuck challenge to rest! I’ll maybe try a nice light chiffon next time.


I’m surprised at how much I like the colour when it is on and I’m proud of myself for resiting the temptation to add any details!

Also I just want to give a quick shout out to my lovely sister-in-law who cut and blew my hair, all fresh and ready for my holidays!

This is going on the Northumberland suitcase for with jeans. 😊 It’s the perfect place for photos so expect to see a few more exciting makes over the half term week!

Sew Saturday Haul

Although I am relatively new to the blogosphere, I already know that I’m not really going to be a ‘share the haul’ kinda girl… however, yesterday was Sew Saturday, which is an exception, so check out my goodies!

I really wanted to support local so I went to All Fabrics near me in Stalybridge. It was a pretty understated affair but gave me chance to browse and chat more to the owner and the lady who runs the dress making courses, something I plan to do in the New year.


I had to wear something that I had made so I wore this unblogged top, I made this using my good old-fashioned New Look 6483, which is my favourite top pattern. This was one of my first makes and is made with this really funky stretch fabric and mock leather sleeves! This was purely because I wanted to try sewing with different materials but it’s so comfy and I wear it a lot.

Anyway, on with my shopping! I got this beautiful mermaid print from the amazing Magic range by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller. All Fabrics had just had delivery of the range when I first went in and I’ve been obsessing about it ever since. There’s so much choice but the mermaids are going to make a adorable outfit for my niece.


There was also 10% of the Downton Abbey range, which is just fab by the way, whether you like the show or not. Again, there’s lots to choose from, I recommend taking a look. There’s no picture of this one though because it’s being used as a pressie for Christmas and my lovely, supportive family usually read my posts!

I also bought some wine coloured fabric, which I’m going to use to make the trouser version of The Sunday Set. Can’t wait!


I got a blue linen mix too, which is for another pressie.

I also got a free back catalogue magazine and this goodie bag! Exciting times! As my husband had a footy day yesterday that means a sewing day for me, so my machine awaits!

Who doesn’t love a goodie bag?

The Rosie Dress

I gave you a sneak peek in to what I have been up to in this post and promised The Rosie Dress would be coming to you soon… so here it is.

Image result for the rosie dress cotton and chalk

I’m very pleased with how this has turned out. It’s the perfect shape for me. I really love the colour and the pattern of the fabric too, which keeps it looking modern. I keep looking at it just because I’m so happy!! 😊


This is another make that has allowed me to try some different techniques, it has rouching at the shoulder seam, under the bust and all round the top of the skirt. I played the rouching under the bust easy though as I need a bit more room, although I think maybe I could have taken it in a little more. I really enjoyed gathering the skirt part up too.


As usual, I left out the facings and made my own bias binding out of the same fabric. I only just managed this though as I literally used every scrap of this fabric, I even had to create the waist band in pieces instead of on the fold but I don’t think you can tell because of the nature of the pattern.


I used a red cotton to make a contrast binding for the arm holes as another cheat to make the fabric go further but I quite like it.


I used three red buttons as decoration on the front middle seam; this was a triumph in itself because I never think to buy matching buttons!


I then inserted the invisible zip, which I’m definitely improving on.

See… invisible…

However, when I put my zip in, a strange wonky thing happened with my seams, I have no idea what happened there… but I think I’ve got away with it because of the fabric. Plus, I wasn’t about to undo it all because I don’t see how it was fixable even if I did.

What on actual earth happened here??!

The hem was an easy peasy double fold hem and it was done. I’m so pleased with this, the pattern was super easy to use and I think it looks really modern and cool. I’m making the most of the weather whilst I can so here are my garden pictures…


I’ve styled it with my trusty black belt, black tights and a black cardigan and I think this is probably how I will wear it.


I also had to wear a black vest underneath, but this isn’t unusual for me with V-necks so I’m not too concerned but I will be trying to account for that next time.


I’ll definitely try a sleeved version of this pattern, maybe in a block colour. I may even cut or grade a smaller size next time, as I think I’ve lost enough weight to warrant this now.

I’m wearing this to go to a concert ‘Night with Mike Sweeney’ tonight with my lovely hubby and in-laws so have a lovely evening everyone!

Mini Circle Skirt Refashion

Happy Friday everyone! A refashion is on the menu for this Friday’s post… Today’s garment began life as this dress from Next.

Apologies for the bad quality pic

It was a buy from Ebay and was too small on my chest. I tried to make alterations but I think the print was a bit too sickly for me in the end.

Time for a change. I massively downsized this circle skirt tutorial I used in this blog. I followed the instructions using the average measurements for a 5 year old and made a full skirt. I cut a waist band and used tissue paper to make a quick circle skirt pattern using my best maths skills! All the measurements worked out great; the waistband and skirt matched up perfectly and this super cute skirt for my niece is the result!*


The hem is straight but it doesn’t photo well without me holding it up and nearly breaking my wrist to take a picture!


It’s super full and really showcases the fabric. I used the bulk of the fabric to do this and even unpicked the contrasting zip from the original dress so I could use it.


I finished the hem in a contrast pink cotton binding I quickly made to add another feature and make it a big more ‘sticky-outy’!


This is the first time I’ve made anything for our gorgeous niece and I loved it because it came together so quickly. I always thought it would be a waste to make her things because she grows so quickly but making things in miniature is super quick so it’s well worth it. She may be getting a home-made Christmas pressie!

Also not one to waste anything I managed to squeeze two luggage tags for my Mum and sister for our trip to Dublin !


*I feel I should admit at this point that the skirt didn’t actually fit her, as I made it using average sizes (and children are usually far from average) it was about an inch to small on her waist, which I was gutted with. I definitely should have measured her before. This is why there are no pictures of her actually wearing it, but I wanted to show it to you all how to worked out anyway. I don’t know anyone else with girls so I’ll just have to keep looking at it, sighing…

Multiple Technique Dress

This dress has allowed me to try lots of new techniques in one make, (hooray!) As a result this post is a bit of a long one but let me show you how it worked out. The dress is New Look K 6723 using the boat neck line. I’ve made it in a beautiful ivory and pink floral, rayon dress fabric. I’ve tried a few new techniques in this one and I’m really proud of the final result.


Firstly, this has a lined bodice, the pattern comes with instructions but I also used this tutorial from Dreaming of Avonlea as a point of reference. It is all about lining the bodice, it looks super neat.

Lining is hard to photograph when it’s such a busy print!

As I cut the pattern I duplicated the front, side panels in this really cool leaf lace from Abakhan and tacked the two pieces together before sewing the pattern together as normal. The lace had a bit more stretch than the fabric and is difficult to sew but lots of pins seemed to do the trick and the basting was crucial. I’m really pleased with this. I feel it adds a bit extra to the dress, which is what me-made is all about!


Image result for lace side insert dressImage result for lace insert dressI was inspired by all the pretty lace dresses, like this bridesmaid dress by Jacques Vert. I was literally in drooling lace heaven having a look at some of these. So I attempted to subtly recreate it. Now I know I can do it, I also want to try to insert lace at the top, like this black one by Whistles.

Anyway, thirdly, in my new technique task, I inserted a 3/4 length sleeve. This was my first attempt at attaching a pre-sewn set sleeve. I say first attempt, what I mean is that it is the first attempt that actually worked. I stumbled here a bit though because the dress has a boat neck line; I struggled to see whether the sleeves were badly fitted of whether the neck line was just wide. It turns out it wasn’t badly fitted at all so I was right to carry on and go with my instincts (Another hooray moment!)

I wanted to try adding buttons instead of a zip at the back. I’ve never actually sewn multiple button-holes before, so I figured I’d be best making a separate placket in case it went wrong, which I did by measuring the length and using the tie pattern for the width. I did some practice buttons and then measured enough spaces and went for it. Then I marked my buttons on the other placket and sewed them in place and it has actually worked and looks really neat. I love it and I’m so pleased that my first buttons are a success!!  


I then french seamed the skirt pieces together, gathered it and attached it to the bodice, because the bodice was lined it meant I had two pieces to match up so this part was a little tricky, I’ll have to research ways to do this more easily (any ideas?)

I made the tie for round the dress, which I overstitched. The tie was no where near long enough to tie round me so I added some Velcro instead so I could fasten it. I also added some small belt hoops to the front to keep it in place.

I think this covers all the construction of this dress. I think it’s really pretty, I just need a wedding or something to go to now… I maybe need to master making things that are seasonally appropriate rather than just because I feel like it, I was a tiny bit chilly doing my photos!





I have to acknowledge my lovely hubby for the photo taking (he loves it and doesn’t get sick of me prancing about at all!) and my ever patient mother-in-law for finding me nice places in her garden to pose!!

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