Stripy Tully

I make a lot of trousers, but somehow there’s always room for more, especially of the statement-y and elasticated-waist variety. I think these Style Arc Tully pants fit the bill nicely!

The Tully pattern is designed with striped fabric in mind, as there’s a chance to play with the direction on the ties and cuffs; stripe direction lines are marked on the pattern pieces. I bought this yarn-dyed cotton-viscose from Stoff & Stil with exactly this project in mind.


It’s a great fabric, slightly beefier than a normal dress viscose so perfect for pants. I used the wrong side of the fabric as the orange stripes are slightly darker and I preferred the more subtle look. It frayed like crazy so all seams are overlocked. Oh, and this pattern only takes 1.5m of fabric and it’s very efficient to cut, so very little is wasted – always a bonus!

The pattern was fun to put together and much more simple than it looks, even with SA’s famously brief instructions. There are diagrams that clearly explain how to form the waistline, and I think the front pleat with the ties wedged into it is such a cool yet easy to sew detail. That said, I supplemented the instructions with a few extra steps, like pressing a crease into the paperbag waist edge before sewing up the crotch seam so it’d be easier to re-fold into place later, and seam finishes are not considered at all so I had to overlock as I went. I also continued the elastic across the centre front rather than ending it at the ties, as I preferred the ties to cinch a little closer together.

I cut out the side seam pocket pieces but then forgot-slash-decided to leave them out: the lack of pockets is already annoying me though and while it’s not possible to do my preferred slash pockets due to the waistline construction, I think there might be a way to add side seam pockets and anchor them into the top seam to prevent them flapping about. I’ll either go back and add them to these or consider this for my next pair. Lander-style patch pockets would be another option to explore.


Unusually for me I hardly messed with the design or fit at all other than the noted above. The hip has plenty of ease and the waist is elasticated so no need for much fine-tuning. I only had to take a slightly larger seam and hem allowance on the leg cuffs to get the “7/8” length look as intended on my rather short legs, therefore a longer-legged person might find they come up much shorter than intended.

The fabric and slightly directional design detail of the waist make these at the upper end of statement-making for my tastes, but the comfort and colours make them supremely wearable. I’m definitely going to make another pair in a solid colour, either black or forest green.

Leopard-ish & swishy-ish

This garment was definitely swayed by seasonal trends I’m seeing in the shops and online, probably more so than most of the stuff I usually make. Midi, ruffles, and a print that almost reads as leopard-like, a trend I have definitely not dipped into before. But I likey and, toned down a little to suit my own taste, it’s surprisingly wearable!



I used the Tilly & the Buttons Seren skirt as a basis, which is basically a knee length half circle skirt – you could use BHL’s calculator to self-draft. At the hem I drafted a separate flounce by extending the hem down then slash-and-spreading to add curvy fullness. I pretty much eyeballed the amount I was adding and the end result is not extremely poofy, but as a ruffle/flounce newbie with already quite a bold print for my taste, I think it adds just the right amount of kickiness. Finally I also made the length of the flounce asymmetric, which again is quite subtle but gives a bit of extra interest to the swishy hem.


To finish the waistline I took a tip from m’favourite McCall 7445 and drafted a facing rather than adding a waistband. I find this really comfortable, flattering and easy to fit as you can fine-tune to make it as snug as you like by adjusting the side seams, and there’s no risk of the typical gaping you might get when adding a waistband. I added thin ribbon into the seam to act as a stay and prevent stretching out over time. The little ribbons you get attached to tops sometimes are handy to cut out and keep for this purpose! It’s still comfortable as the ribbon is so narrow it doesn’t dig in.

It fills a real wardrobe gap for these in-betweeny days and lets me pair my rotation of silly slogan t-shirts with a slightly more polished bottom half, a look I am quite into for work. It was a super fast-gratification and stash-busting sew (I can’t even remember the fabric source, it’s been kicking around for so long!), so I expect I may make a couple more as I think it will also work well with tights come the inevitable post-Birkenstocks-and-bare-legs weather.

It’s a wrap hack

I haven’t been sewing a great deal lately: I’m guessing it’s something to do with the upcoming change of season coupled with not feeling too great about my appearance lately and not feeling inspired by any of the fabrics in my stash. General end of summer gloom!

I didn’t push it and instead did a refreshing destash sale and started looking after myself better in other ways, then this weekend my inspiration naturally returned and I made this jumpsuit that I never want to take off.

My inspiration came directly from Catherine of Threadsnips, who snapped up a lovely rare vintage wrap jumpsuit pattern of a similar style to this. She very helpfully pointed out how a similar effect can be hacked from any other plain front jumpsuit pattern by simply extending out a triangle from the centre front and attaching ties.

I followed her example using the fabulous Butterick 6312 as my base pattern (which I’ve made before and still wear frequently). I followed the v of the neckline down to the waistline then reversed it below the waist down to the crotch. It’s always a risk cutting a hack directly onto your good fabric right off, but having made the base pattern before I thought it was low risk in this case.


Construction was pretty speedy. I made self bias to finish the entire neckline including the wrap edges all in one go. At the crotch I pinned the overlap in place while wearing it and topstitched it down for a couple of inches to secure. I made two straps and sewed these onto the points, and finally made a buttonhole on the right-hand side seam to thread the inner strap through. There is no need for any other fastening as the wrap opens wide enough to step into it, woohoo.

I treated myself to the fabric with the destash earnings: It’s cotton ikat from Merchant & Mills, the same fabric type I used for my first version too. I needed 3 metres as it’s quite narrow and used nearly all of it. This fabric is the dream to work with and to wear; I really could imagine a wardrobe composed of little else. I suspect it’ll be fine to wear in autumn and most of winter too.

Next time I plan to alter the fit slightly around the neck as it’s not spot on, and I plan to curve out the v a little so it sits better on the upper chest. I might attempt a swayback too as I get fabric pooling under the tie belt. And hmmm, pockets, it definitely needs some sort of pocket action next time.

Tweaks made, there’s a quite serious risk I could make dozens of these (in an army of ikats?) and wear little else! It’s crazy comfortable and I feel really good in it, which is pretty much all I can ask for at the moment.

Lilac love affair

I’m having a bit of a moment with lilac/lavender, which is manifesting in my recent fabric choices and sewing. I read recently it’s even being touted as a new contender for millennial pink’s crown, so I guess as sewists we’re far from immune to fashion trends.

I went head to toe lilac for this jumpsuit, which is kind of out of my usual comfort zone but I’m finding it incredibly wearable and I think it suits my colouring pretty well.


Every so often I’ll go on a vintage pattern eBay binge, and this one popped up on my last search. I love that vintage patterns often over-deliver in cute details, clever construction methods or useful instructions. This one came with plenty of fitting tips and the crucial access point is done via shoulder-strap buttons, a practical choice which I haven’t seen used before. I used some vintage shank buttons from my stash.

This was really fun to sew up and the fit of the size 14 was almost perfect, I just had to shave a little off under the arms. The neckline and arms are finished with an all-in-one facing and the seam allowance at the waist forms a casing for thin elastic which the bodice is designed to blouse over.

The fabric I used is tencel-linen blend from Minerva Crafts. It was quite a bargain I think as it’s lovely stuff: it handled beautifully to sew, is really soft and creases a little bit but not madly. I wish it came in some other colours!

I’m definitely going to make another one of these as I think it will layer well for cooler weather too. I have already used the lower half to make some trousers as well, which I’ll try to post soon.

Seren for summer

In my ongoing quest for the perfect sundress (and jumping my project>blogging queue again) I sewed up Tilly’s newest offering, the Seren dress, at the weekend in a pretty printed viscose from my stash that I bought locally last year.

Tilly and co kindly sent me the pattern for free to try out. Their new packaging is so pretty and I found it as user-friendly as ever to work with. The pattern includes a view with a neckline flounce and a sweet tie-front option, but it’s already at the upper limits of my ‘girliness’ taste-o-meter so I kept it plain.

I made a toile as this style is usually difficult to fit on me. Starting from the size 4 I made the following changes:
– graded into a size 2 at the top edge, blending out towards the waist; a typical adjustment for me as I have a narrow upper chest.
– split the bust dart into a two – pivoting half of it down into a waistline dart – as it’s quite a big dart and I was getting some bubbling at the tip. I also had to drop the bust point a little lower.
– omitted the waistband from the pattern: not a fan of it visually and I didn’t want to chop my print up too much. I cut a size smaller in the skirt to match with the lower bodice edge directly, since the waistband is contoured hence wider along the bottom edge.
– moved the front straps towards the centre by an inch. Bra strap coverage for the win!



The good thing is this style is pretty easy to adjust as you sew as well since the main fitting points to get right are the upper edge and waistline, so you can fine-tune via the side seams. I think it’s also the type where fabric choice might influence the fit: this viscose version fits a bit looser than my muslin and I have 2-3″ of comfy ease at the waist. I was worried the shape wouldn’t be so flattering on me but it actually skims the lower half really nicely. I typically default to a gathered skirt but will definitely experiment more with A-line or quarter circle types now.



I didn’t massively follow the instructions as it was quite intuitive to construct. I especially liked the all-in-one facing unit which finishes the top edge and gracefully curves into the button band facing; a technique I haven’t really seen before but will be saving to my bank for future use. I did do a couple of things I did my own way for preference:

– topstitched the entire facing down, which as well as keeping it in place created quite a pretty detail around the centre front of the neckline
– created a jump style hem to get a nice finish at the front corners. To achieve this the facing is cut an inch shorter and sewn horizontally to the skirt’s lower edge RST; the resulting length difference ‘jumps’ the hem allowance up, and when it’s turned RS out you get a nice crisp corner.

It feels so cool and comfortable to wear! This viscose was cheap as I recall but it’s nice quality and perfect for this style. I’ll definitely be making a second one in a solid colour (pink or olive green linen, mmm). I also have Closet Case Patterns’ new Fiona dress cut for a wearable toile; it’s a not too-different-style so it will be interesting to see which I end up preferring.

Silk Statues, and swing cami dress tutorial

This dress skipped both the sewing and blogging queue. The sewing part was pure necessity because London has gone full heatwave (or summer is actually just starting for really-reals), and the blogging part just took advantage of this sweet golden morning light.

I’ve really got quite behind on blogging, because I bought this fabric on a recent trip to Hong Kong and I really expected to write up the fabric shopping situation there before sewing any of my purchases up! Anyway this is an absolutely gorgeous silk crepe de chine that I bought for about £7.50 metre in a treasure trove just off Ki Lung Street in Kowloon. The shop had a rainbow of plain silks and loads of my weakness, fun ‘conversational’ prints. It was unfortunately cash-only and one of the last places I stopped, so that hampered my buying a touch, but I’m very pleased with what I came away with, especially this one with its weird lady statuette print.


I decided to sew the fabric up rather impulsively, as I didn’t want to be too scared to use it and have it sitting around for ages, and silk crepe is perfect for aforementioned sticky heat season. I really wanted a chuck-on dress and have seen lots of this pretty square neckline around. The problem is this style is all but impossible to fit on me out of the packet. I look at people wearing things like the Tessuti Claudia dress in wonder: HOW is it not gaping at the top or straining at the bust?! HOW did your hips fit into that elegant column shape?! Pear-shape-hollow-chest problems. I knew to get the fit right I would need to go a self-draft/extreme hack route.

Here’s how I drafted the pattern. I used the Salme Double-Layer Cami pattern as a basis, which I had knocking round in PDF from ages ago (it looks like Salme have disappeared off the internet so no link, sorry); the True Bias Ogden would also work although it lacks darts.

1. Cut a line up the bodice front, stopping at the bust point. Also cut along the middle of the bust dart, stopping just before the first line so you have a little hinge point. (If your camisole isn’t darted, run this line all the way almost to the top of the front.)
2. Swing out the lower piece around this point until the gap at the bottom is opened up by around 2 inches. (Your final ‘swing’ will be 4x this measurement as it will be doubled on the front and back.) You might close the bust dart completely in the process, or just make it smaller.
3. Fill in the gap with paper, tape down and true up the side seam at the dart.
4. Add length, following the angle of the side seam and the curve of the hem. Mine is 32″ from underarm to hem. I would’ve gone a bit longer but this was all my fabric would allow.
5. Repeat these steps on the back, but take the vertical cutting line nearly all the way to the top and swing out from there.
6. Square off the neckline from the strap points to centre front. Fill in with paper.
7. Draft facings off the new front and back pieces. Come down about two inches from the underarm and curve up to the centre.
8. Make a toile! This is quite important to check the level of flare is good and that the front and back necklines are not gaping. I used my alternative construction method when it came to adding the straps and facings.


Annoyingly I found that even after a toile and making further adjustments, the front and back STILL gaped, just enough to be noticeable and annoying. My upper chest is very narrow and rather concave, so I can see why it’s difficult to encourage fabric to hug it nicely. I approached the solution differently on the front and back. On the back I nudged the straps inward by 1/2″ and shaved a bit off the side curve, which isn’t ideal as it doesn’t follow the line of my bra straps any more. On the front I sewed a strip of flat elastic into the facing seam, pulling it taut slightly. The result is a slightly puckered front neckline but it does finally lay flat. I’m not sure how I’ll fix this for next time. A narrow band across the top which is tightly eased-in to the bodice edge perhaps.

Outtake for ya to finish! Despite the minor neckline issues I’m thrilled with this dress and it definitely beat the heat today. Josh took these photos as my self timer has broken and I really like how they turned out. Much nicer to be smiling at my boyfriend than a screen… he’ll be delighted to have got the job I’m sure.