Category Archives: Finished items 2018

Wiggle Reeta

This is my second Named Reeta dress. My first one, made coincidentally almost exactly a year ago, still gets worn regularly (and for those curious, the Spoonflower poly crepe has held up to washing and wearing very well) so I wanted another one to throw into dress rotation this spring.


I used exactly the same size as before with no extra modifications beyond the length I took off last time. This time I did add the collar and found that while it required careful easing-in the pattern piece does fit fine, so I dunno what I did wrong last time!

I followed the given directions this time which make for a really nice clean interior finish. I managed to get the inner yoke inside out (at least I assume the fabric’s right side should actually face outwards) and sewed a strange Möbius loop at some point which necessitated a bit of unpicking, but it all turned out okay. I’m going to blame those things on sewing in the weekday evenings when my brain’s a bit fried from work.


I made a self-fabric waist tie – just a skinny tube with the ends knotted shut – and the drawstring casing reuses the fabric’s charming rainbow-striped selvedge.

I’ve been hoarding this beautiful fabric for quite a while, maybe three years? It’s a beautifully fluid and drapey viscose from the French website Bennytex. It doesn’t seem top quality unfortunately; I had some fibres pull and snag as I was sewing, particularly around the buttonholes despite interfacing them. But so pretty and twirly!

A dress I made from some other Bennytex fabric (the origami cats one here) sadly didn’t fare well in the wash either, so I’m intending to launder this as little and as gently as possible. The print is so fun and it feels beautifully soft and comfy to wear, so I hope it lasts a long time and get plenty of wear this spring and beyond.

Midi Inari

After the Coat project saga, I really wanted a nice palate cleanser, and this dress fitted the bill perfectly!

I’ve been Pinning lots of midi dresses lately as they seem like just the thing to wear on these in-betweeny not-quite-spring-yet sort of days. It’s a super simple hack of Named’s Inari dress. I added 30cm of length at the hem (in fact I just taped a piece of portrait-wise A4 paper to the bottom, heh) and ended up taking a deep hem, so it’s around 20cm longer than the Inari as patterned.


I fine-tune the fit of the Inari each time I make it and for this knit fabric I ended up taking one-inch seam allowances to bring it in a bit. It’s still loose through the middle and tighter at the hip and hem. I made the side split proportionally longer too.

The awesommmeeee fabric is from Maud’s Fabric Finds, one of my favourite places to shop because most of the fabrics are organic and the customer service is so great. (Maud found out this fabric was narrower than expected after my order, so she added another 70cm for free.) This print seems to be sold out but here are some similar ones. It’s between an interlock and sweatshirting weight so quite thick with lots of stretch and recovery. And pyjama-comfortable, needless to say. I think this’ll be on regular rotation until Autumn.

A Coat in Hainsworth wool & Liberty twill

I think this coat combines two of the most luxurious fabrics I’ve ever used. It’s a shame that I’m a little disappointed with the final result :(

First of all, those fabrics, which are absolutely not the source of my ire. The main fabric came from AW Hainsworth, a Yorkshire-based woollen mill based with a Royal Warrant who produce premium cloths used for fashion, costumes, uniforms and military dress. Their apparel and upholstery fabric sub-brand Hainsworth challenged me to make something with one of their fabrics to help raise their profile amongst designers and costumers. (They don’t currently sell direct to consumers online, but will provide prices if you email them via the website.)

I received 2m of the Melton Doe Skin in the shade Fig, a tightly twill-woven 100% merino wool. A description from Hainsworth’s site: “The term ‘doeskin’ originated from the similar appearance and feel of the fabric to the skin of a female deer. Along with the practical purpose for allowing rain to run off the surface in the direction of the nap, the light is captured on the face finish and bounces off the surface to create a lustrous sheen.” So there you go, pretty and practical. As with all wools it was joyful to sew with, cutting easily and moulding willingly with steam and pressing.

I used the Avid Seamstress Coat pattern. I’d been umming and ahhing over making this midi-length partially-lined coat for spring for a while, then a combination of seeing Charlie’s (in a very similar shade to mine) and trying on a sample in Ray Stitch persuaded me to buy it. Manju coincidentally also just used the same pattern for her Hainsworth collaboration project.

Now here’s the issue, which Manju seemed to share: I was disappointed by the pattern and it was not a particularly fun sewing experience. She lists some of the issues I found; namely:

  • too little guidance on finishing seams – on an unlined coat! Not cool.
  • changing seam allowances so you have to constantly pay attention; in the case of the collar it changed over the course of one seam.
  • instructions too chatty/rambling in tone for my taste and photographed steps that are not always that clear to understand
  • confusion around the vent finishing; I ended up doing mine differently as it looked bulky and rubbish with the bound edges
  • to my mind, a poor design decision to have front-facing in-seam pockets that are always going to flap around and look messy. Manju switched to patch pockets, and I wish I had had too. There’s also nothing holding the facing in place inside so it tends to bend outwards.

Regarding the finishing, this wool does not fray in the slightest but I’m not the biggest fan of completely raw seams, so I made the somewhat stupid and self-sacrificial decision to bind them all using my lining fabric, a delicious Liberty silk twill in the ‘Minako’ print sent to me by The Fabric Store. Luckily this silk is incredibly well-behaved but still, that’s a lot of binding to cut and stitch and it felt like a real slog. While it looks quite nice it’s not my neatest work in places as I was losing steam. It would have been much more straightforward and neater to line the whole thing!

Like Manju I decided to line the sleeves in my silk as well, to make them more slippery to get on and off. This was pretty simple: I just used the sleeve pieces less an inch or two for folded-back hem allowance. They’re sewn bagging-style to the cuff and attached to the half-lining around the armsyce. Fit-wise I sewed a straight 10 as that was the size of the one I tried on in Ray Stitch and the fit seemed good. I do question why the armsyce has a pretty pronounced curve at the head when the shoulder is very dropped and non-fitted: it seems to produce a bump and puckers at that seam that I had to coax smooth with a lot of steam.

Time will tell if I end up wearing this coat. I think we need a little time out after the sewing experience, however it’d be a shame to not make the most of all that time and the beautiful fabrics. It’s a useful weight for this time of year as well and quite an easy throw-on sort of style, so I hope we make friends again. Thanks again to Hainsworth and The Fabric Store for supplying fabrics.

Persephone pants

It’s not often I buy new patterns nowadays, but I fell hard for the Persephone Pants pattern as soon as Sophie posted them on Instagram. I snapped it up despite a general unwillingness to both buy from ‘untested’ indie designers and to buy a pattern I could hack fairly easily from existing ones, and ended up pretty glad I did.


Mostly I was curious: how on earth can you fit pants with no side seam, especially on a shape like mine where my waist-to-hip measurement spans four sizes on the size chart? I asked the designer Anna on Instagram and she recommended to cut the size to fit my hip – a 14 in my case – then use the back darts to bring in the waist. Plus an extra dart can be added where the side seam would be if needed.

When I basted up the pants I found that pinching an extra inch-and-a-bit out of each dart gave me a fairly snug fit at the waist without distorting the lines too much. Also, as I sewed on the waistband I eased it in pretty tightly to give a bit more hold and cut off the excess at the end. My final waistband length ended up at the size 8 finished measurement which is in line with my waist size, and overall the fit is pretty nice and super comfortable. Nifty!


I used The Fabric Store’s heavyweight linen in Toffee, the same fabric I used in pink for my jeans. A sturdier fabric such as canvas or rigid denim is recommended, and I think that might help with the slight issue I have of the button fly front wanting to pull apart a bit. This is one of those colours that I’m always drawn to – in this case heavily inspired by this picture – while always forgetting it’s not really in my preferred colour sphere for wearing. We’ll see if I end up reaching for them often, but navy or dark green would probably have been a more sensible choice.



Making them was seriously fun and I was incredibly impressed with the pattern. I love making trousers anyway but these have all sorts of little details to make things interesting and satisfying. The instructions are among the best I’ve used for ages and you’re thoroughly guided through seam finishes and topstitching etc to get a really clean and detailed result. The designer Anna Allen was apparently working on this pattern for a year, and it shows! It’s very professional and I didn’t once feel my usual urge to deviate and use different techniques.

The inevitable question is how do these compare to the other high-waist wide-leg pants patterns out there, for example the Landers or M7445 to name two I’ve sewn up before? I think the Persephones are definitely unique enough to have a seat at the table, the main design and fit differences being:

– These are truly high waisted! I have quite a high natural waist so the Landers and M6445 don’t come to my belly button, but these cover it.
– No side seam; the legs are one big wraparound piece. Pretty kool.
– A concealed button fly which is very fun (and easy!) to sew.
– You can’t really tell from the samples or line drawings, but they have super cute little pockets tucked into the waistline at the front.
– Of all three patterns, they’re the snuggest at the hip/thigh area (I upsized to be sure they’d fit but I think they should fit a little tighter) but I think the widest at the hem circumference.
– They have been compared to the cultish Jesse Kamm sailor pants which seems fair, as even the topstitching on the waistband and crotch is the same. But y’know, not $400.

If I was to make them again I think I’d size down to a 12 hip / 6 waist as these have grown a little already (and I’m trying to lose a few spare winter pounds) and I prefer my high waisted pants a little snug. I’d also use a studier fabric as recommended and take an inch or so off the hems. I just bought some cream needlecord which is a toss-up between becoming these or a second pair of Landers.

Shout-out to my new Clarks shoes btw, which I already bought in two colours and am trying to resist the third…

Sewing with Knitted Fabrics: Derwent and Peak

Today I’m the final stop on the blog tour of sewing designer and teacher Wendy Ward‘s latest book, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics’. Because I’m an overachiever I’ve made a whole, albeit very simple, outfit from the book, comprising the Derwent trouser and Peak t-shirt patterns.

Wendy’s book is a pretty comprehensive primer on all you need to know to sew with knits. Even if you have some experience I’m sure you’d pick up some new tips or find it handy as a reference volume, or simply make use of the six included patterns which include a tank, tee, a skirt, two pairs of trousers and a cardigan along with numerous ‘hacks’ to make more variations.


The patterns are printed onto sheets at the back of the book. They need to be traced and sometimes pieced together. Colour coding and good clear labels made the process really fast, even for this usual tracing-phobe: like well under half an hour to do these two patterns. I outlined my size in black marker to make it even easier to see what I’m doing.

The Derwent trousers which I sewed up first are a cropped flared trouser designed for ponte type knits, with the waist finished with an elastic facing. I used a wool-mix Ponte Roma which was kindly supplied by Minerva Crafts. It’s a lovely weighty cloth with a firm widthwise stretch and an almost felt-like feel.


I appreciated the detailed finished garment measurements breakdown and the way the key body measurement is given to pick your size from – hip in this case. I found them true to size and the fit great, albeit perhaps a little unflattering on my currently rather inflated tummy. I took two inches off the standard length leg to get this ankle-crop length.


I followed the sewing instruction in the book and had no issues at all. They sewed up crazy fast, being only two pattern pieces and just five seams. I especially like the waistline, faced with wide elastic and folded back on itself for a clean and firm finish. I added a label so I can quickly tell the back! The book has a separate techniques section for things like this which is referenced from the individual pattern instructions where relevant.

I made the Peak tee next, in a pale lilac interlock that’s been in my stash for a while. This is a boxy-cut crew-neck tee which falls to high hip length. Variations include a long sleeve and elasticated waist dress views, for which instructions are given in the book.

In terms of fit I found the back neckline a bit too broad for me; the neckband keeps it snug but I’d make an adjustment before sewing up again. Also the sleeve head is symmetrical which I think is causing a little excess fabric around the front armsyce/upper bust on me. Both quite common fit issues on me since I’m smaller through the back and upper chest, so I can alter the pattern accordingly for next time. Overall I think the proportions are great, and it also sewed up quickly with thorough instructions. I hemmed the sleeves to the outside for a cuffed effect.

Overall I’d definitely recommend this book to those either brand new to sewing knits as a project-based learning book, or those who have some experience and want six cool basic-with-a-twist patterns and technique references. Thanks for having me on the tour and to Minerva for my trouser fabric! You can check out other projects from the book at the other tour stops below:

And if you fancy a copy, MAKEetc.com are offering 25% off the £12,99 cover price with code BLOG25 until 21st April. Not bad for six patterns!

Dos Alders in Mexico

I’ve just got back from a short holiday to Mexico; it was our third time there as it’s probably my favourite country in the world (vying closely with Japan!). In the week prior I decided I needed a couple of new holiday dresses, so spent some very enjoyable evening and weekend time sewing up some simple frocks ideal for the spring heat. I also did a few crafty things out there and a spot of fabric browsing!

(Yep, I found a sewing sign!)

I dug out an old PDF that I haven’t used for a while, Grainline’s Alder pattern. Thanks to past me I had View B adjusted for fit as I’ve made it twice before – one, two – plus an uncut copy shop version of View A which I decided to try this time. I applied similar fit and style adjustments to View A: converting the collar to a V-neck (Jen’s tutorial here), a small FBA and swinging out from the hip to add more needed pear-shape space. I’ve made so many simplifications to the pattern that it’s now only two pieces!

Both dresses have the same construction: French seams throughout (well, there’s only the shoulder and side seams so hardly a huge effort) and self bias tape to finish the neckline and arm edges. Some hate it but I quite like making self-bias and it always seems to behave better than any bought stuff. I’m that weird sewist who likes doing buttons and buttonholes too so this was quite the dream sew. They both have my little custom labels that I designed and had made by Nominette too.

Onto some in-situ holiday snaps… (sorry these look kinda pixelly? Something weird going on with my exports.)

The first one is in a beautiful lightweight but opaque printed linen from The Fabric Store. I ordered this fabric actually expecting to use it to make some cushions, but once it arrived the drape and smooth handle were so lovely I couldn’t resist a dress instead. (And I have enough left for those cushions, yay!)

I spent a while at the cutting stage trying to get the print lined up across the seams and centre front. Giving myself a B+, it’s pretty darn close!

These pictures were taken in the lovely suburb of Coyoacán, fitted with scented flowers, cobbled streets and colourful walls.

The second one is made from Kokka double gauze that I bought in Tokyo last spring. This abstract print was far less critical to match! I adore the colours in this fabric and it’s butter soft.

Happy to report it was both heat- and cycle-friendly! I can’t wait until the English summer or another holiday to wear these again.

Onto some other crafty stuff I did over there. One day we did short workshop in the lovely San Angel area to learn about alebijres, the richly-decorated little folk animals you find in every Mexican craft market, and to paint our own versions. They have an interesting history that merges pre-hispanic traditions with the work of one of Diego Rivera’s proteges, Pedro Linares. I made a little pink ‘n’ green kitty and Josh painted the crazy lightning lad.

We also took a class on another day to make a small weaving using yarns mainly dyed with natural products such as indigo, cochineal and flowers. This took place in the Chapultepec Forest and was also really fun and relaxing. We booked both of these days (along with some other trips) on Airbnb experiences, and I really recommend those as a way to meet locals, hear their stories and maybe do a little holiday crafting.

The artisan markets are full of wonderful crafts too. I brought home a lovely blackwork Otomi embroidery like in the right-hand photo above, which I’m going to hang on the wall. You can read a bit more about Otomi’s history and how it’s made here.

Finally, I did a spot of fabric shopping in the city of Puebla, a couple of hours east of Mexico city, where we decided to spend a night fairly last-minute. It was a good decision as Puebla is a beautiful place, with an amazing antiques/flea market, stunning old churches, and plenty of fabric shops!

Like most Mexican cities, similar shops tend to clump together along a street or block, so there were several fabric shops conveniently next to each other around Calles 2 Ote and 8 Pte towards the north of the small city centre. Josh handily entertained himself by going to buy tacos árabes, a local speciality (another interesting read), while I poked around a few of the stores.

There were the usual suspects that I encountered on my first trip to Mexico, the large chains called Parisina and Modatelas. These usually contain haberdashery and other crafting / misc household stuff too, and the fabrics are mostly synthetic and very bright! However I did spot some nice rayons, linen blends, ‘crepe ghost’ whatever that may be, and traditional style woven stripes and smocking.

I liked the smaller shops better; these typically have sections for knit/woven dress prints, costume type fabrics like tulle and sequin, and a wall of more premium cashmere and wool suitings. Prices are mostly in the $50-150 MXN (£2-6 GBP) per metre range, thought probably more for the fancier stuff.

I only bought one thing, this irresistibly silly cat print knit which I’ll use for a simple pyjama top. But it’s still always a treat just to browse in fabric shops while traveling! Here’s a list of some of the shops in Puebla in case you are travelling there:

Telas La Moderna, Av 2 Pte 106
Telas Janina de Miguel Velázquez, Av 2 Pte 310,
Modatelas, Av 2 Pte 304
Parisina, Av 2 Pte 111
Telas Boaltex, Av 8 Pte 116
Telas Rafa, Av 8 Pte 307