Sunday, 23 November 2014


You're not going to miss me in this one.

The name of this dress came about from an Instagram exchange with Gabrielle of Up Sew Late. In the process of sewing up this number I joked that I figured I'd stop traffic. Not because it's risque in anyway, but because I'm fairly certain you could use my fabric in place of hi-vis vests for traffic control officials. Ain't ever gonna miss this one.

But I love it! I spotted this National Flags collection cotton poplin in my usual hunting ground (Spotlight) and knew it was the fabric for this dress right away. I love poplin. So crisp, so well-behaved.

This is Pattern F Tunic dress with slit sleeves in Liberty print from Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish Dress Book: Wear with freedom.

My love for Japanese patterns these days knows no bounds and may even overtake my love of 70's vintage patterns. Cue wide-eyed disbelief...

I love the sleeve detail, which was also probably my impetus for making this dress. I like simple shapes, but with an interesting detail or two and this fits the bill.

I found the sizing initially tripped me up with this one. I measured an 8 at the bust and at least a 12 at the hip. In fear that the dress would be too snug, I graded up to the 12 in this area. Boy was I wrong. It looked like the worst kind of mu mu.

I took it back to a size 8 all over and then took a further 8cm (!!!!!) out of the hem circumference. Yikes! It doesn't appear to be that A-lined when looking at the pattern picture or the pattern itself, but good lord it looked ridiculous on me.

I am super-super happy with the result and can't wait to wear it. I might add I am not normally one to draw attention to myself so I am a little nervous. Ahhhh bugger it, I am crafter, hear me roar!

Sunday, 16 November 2014


It's here!!!!!!!!

I apologise now 'cause you're gonna get photo bombed. This bag is just. that. good.

Disclaimer: I didn't sew this... hubby did. He is the most awesomely brave leather craftsmen, full of heart and the most amazing sense of shape and design. I am the luckiest wife ever, oh yes I am.

Let's be clear here. This gorgeous work of art started as a loosely formed idea in my head after hubby asked one day "what would you like me to make you". I mean seriously - offer to make something for me as opposed to me begging!? That's true unselfish sewing as these pieces take a whole lot of blood (literally, those needles are viscious), callouses (you try hammering each and every single hole through which to sew), tears (when something you spent hours on just doesn't quite work... we'll get to that later) and time (a good few months).

But oh my, oh me, just look at her awe-inspiring perfection.

I set about finding a few inspiration bags and hubby designed a pattern from scratch, creating several "muslins" (made outta cardboard) until I felt it was perfect. To. The. Very. Last. Millimetre. P has the patience of a saint.

I spent literally hours at Birdsall Leather trying to find the perfect hide. We decided to buy a coloured chrome side in tan rather than dyeing it ourselves. I really wanted a uniform colour and when we've done the dyeing ourselves in the past it has tended towards uneven colour.


We managed to find one lonely last skein of Irish waxed linen thread in the perfect colour and we were off.

And just in case you still don't quite get it. This bag is made entirely by hand. From the cutting and finishing of each piece, the punching of every needle hole, to the very last stitch.

Which is why it's so devastating when something goes wrong. We thought we were done a few weeks ago as you may have seen if you follow me on Instagram. But when we went to attach the shoulder strap we realised one of the ends (the buckle end) was way too short.

The shoulder strap is two lengths of leather sandwiched and sewn together. This lends strength to the strap and also means you don't have raw leather against your clothes (which kind of leaves some flaking behind). 

It took hours and hours to hand sew. 

We had to start again. Not happy. 

Loss of hubby's sewjo and a short break.

But finish P did. And man, what a finish.

Rear strap fixing for buckle

And since P loves this photo because he says it feels so "panoramic" and world conquering...

Thursday, 9 October 2014



We thought we'd never get there (that's the royal "we"), but good god we've done it!

If you read my last post where I lamented my complete and utter lack of sewing time of late you'll understand the delay in this. It's been something like 10 weeks since I started! I got off to a flying start with the sewalong, but it all went pear-shaped and I've only just picked it up again and finished it off.

Check it. Like. A. Boss

If you follow me on Instagram (go on, you know you want to), you'll have seen me post on my most amazing topstitching. Truly - it is amazing. Well on the pockets anyway. That collar stand leaves a lot to be desired.

This was my first proper collar having only sewn the Negroni shirt previously which has a "camp" collar. And let's not even talk about my pirate clown shirt distaster (sob, it still bites).

After reading through Jen's instructions for attaching the collar (which I'm sure are impeccable to the average person but made my brain bleed with my inability to decipher what the hell was going on there) I decided to follow Andrea's tutorial "Sewing a Collar: A Different Order". This tutorial comes highly recommended throughout blogland and I can see why. It does make more sense to brains like mine.

I have to say though I still had a bee-atch of a time with finishing the front edges of the collar stand. You can see the fraying edge of the stand seam allowance poking through. No matter what I did I couldn't solve this - I tried leaving a decent seam allowance as advised by Andrea and when that didn't work, trimmed it back a bit. But good lord that edge is impossible to finish cleanly when topstitching through about four layers of denim, one of which is interfaced. Any advice peeps?

I cut a straight size 6, choosing my size based on my intention to conduct a 1" SBA. I totally did not think about the front shoulder seam being forward though and when checking the bust dart point I lined up the top edge of the pattern with my actual shoulder line. The marked dart very suspiciously lined up well with my bust point. I should have trusted my gut. I had to adjust the bust point up for my Tiny Pocket Tank and would have expected to need to do so with this and any other Grainline pattern. Bugger. Those dart points are at least 2 inches too low, but thankfully the pockets cover that faff up. Will fix for next time.

I also wonder if I couldn't raise the armscye a bit too. Looking at that photo above, whilst it's not revealing my bra or anything, it does seem a bit too deep.

Nice fit across the back, but perhaps could size down a little??

In general, it was a beautifully drafted pattern with everything lining up just perfectly. I love that.

The instructions were brief, but adequate. I would advise that the sewalong posts are well worth looking at as they give other very useful hints and tips of value to even experienced crafters.

In the end I adore my new dress. I can see it on high rotation during the coming warm months and transitioning to cooler times with the addition of tights, boots and a cardigan.

And there are definite (maybe) plans to get started on the gathered View B, but maybe with the v-neck variation...

In the meantime, I'm a very happy camper.