FO: Simple Sewaholic Saltspring



Back again with a post I procrastinated over for a few months. Not that there’s anything wrong with this dress – it’s just I’m still struggling to find somewhere to take photos in my flat. The light of an English winter being what it is I’ve pushed the exposure on these pretty high to see the details and it’s less than ideal, gah. The photo situation is a work in progress but I have a couple of things still to try.

Anyways, this is of course the Sewaholic Saltspring pattern sewn in drapey jersey knit fabric. I actually completed this one before going on to the Salt-fall longsleeved variation – as you can see it’s not quite in season.


To be honest, the other reason I was hesistant to post this one, is because there is not much to really say about it. I followed the pattern as written and from memory I didn’t make any alterations. I must say it’s a super easy dress to fit due to the elastic waist and would be ideal if you had to make something for a friend as the measurements don’t need to be so precise.


In the end I figured it’s always nice to be able to see patterns on different body shapes so while this isn’t anything new it’s nice to have in the archives.


I promise something more exciting for next time! I had a lovely time catching up with new and old friends on Goldhawk Road yesterday so the motivation is revving up.

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Colette Hawthorn: A Modern Sampler

Colette-hawthorn-titlei forgot to mention in my last post a new machine had joined the family and at the time of purchase I went a bit foot crazy and added some useful (according to le internet anyway) ones to my stash. Then followed much procrastination about actually using them, until a project came my way to utilise them all. May I present not just a muslin of Colette Patterns’ Hawthorn but also a modern kind of sampler, a chance to try a few new things without worrying about the outcome.

The Pattern: Colette Patterns Hawthorn

Size + Alterations: 

At least mostly this is the Hawthorn V.1 but sleevless. Except that I started with a self-drafted block I’m working on which went alternatly brilliantly and horrendous so I don’t think I’m ready to share that process here. Bottomline, The peplum, collar and neckline are all from the Hawthorn but bodice front and back are from a custom block and it’s most noticeable where the shoulders of my block are quite a bit narrower than the pattern is designed.

The Fabric: Yup – totally style-stakled Roisin for this one. After seeing her gorgeous BHL Anna dress I snuck along to Goldhawk Road for some of these lovely swimming ladies, and I heard some twitter talk that Classic Textiles might still have some in stock, is that right?


New Skills:  The Footloose Collection


Rolled Hem FootLessons I learned in no particular order: Don’t attempt the rolled hem when you’re tired – getting the initial roll happening will make you a little nuts and a lot frustrated, the bottonhole foot needs a lever pulled down from the top of your machine or it won’t go, lower the feed dogs when you use the button foot and lastly…. I wish I’d got all of these sooner!

Oh and one last toy – Karen and I must have been on the same page because one of these got used as well:

Buttonhole Chisel from Lazy Stitching on Vimeo.

Favourite Features: I do love those ladies in their swimming caps

Changes for Next Time:  Can I be honest? For all the fun I had in making this top (just call me Q) I feel a little meh, about the resulting garment and I don’t know that there will be a next-time. I like it but just not on me, ya know?


First Worn:  To work where I promptly spilled coffee all over it so maybe it’s a sign.

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Salt-Fall Dress: Adding Sleeves to the Sewaholic Saltspring Dress Pattern

Salt-Fall-TitleThis is pretty much the dress I want to wear all of the time, these days. It’s stretchy, comfortable and can be dressed up or down easily… and it has pockets.


The Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew + Sewaholic Saltspring

Contrary to what actually makes it to the blog, I have been sewing in the few moments I can grab around work and after my BHL Anna Dress I continued the maxi momentum with a full length knit Saltspring dress (which is languishing in the to be photographed pile). This pattern is everything lovely about Tasia’s designs – deceptively simple, beautifully cut and cleverly designed but it’s very much a summer dress with it’s drapey top and shoestring straps and damnit I wanted these same things going into Autumn so sleeves were needed.

Salt-Fall-SideEnter Sewaholic Pattern’s much loved basic the Renfrew (also made and not yet blogged).

Size + AlterationsI started with a size 16 in both patterns then overlapped the pattern pieces to see how they interacted together.



You can see that the the bodice front of the saltspring dress is longer than the bodice front lining and that it has been slashed and spread not just lengthened at the bottom edge.

Looking at the back view of the saltspring and renfrew together the hardest part was deciding where to align them. Because I was using a knit, I could eliminate the zipper and cut the back on the fold so I started by overlapping the centre back of each piece. Beyond that I just estimated where the waist would fall on each piece which happened to be between the lengthen/shorten lines on each piece so that’s what I went with.

Straight away you can see the saltspring piece is much wider so I started by tracing the renfrew neckline and armscye then merged into the saltspring for the side seam and the hem. I did have to go back and smooth the curve of the side seam but it was pretty straight forward.


I had to do this for the front bodice, front lining, back bodice and back lining. The skirt pieces are from the salt spring and the sleeves are from renfrew.

Other changes – I made a 1.5 inch FBA, made the neckline 2 inches lower at the front grading to a half inch wider at the shoulders.

The Fabric: 2.5 metres of Cotton Jersey from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road @ £3.50 per meter.

Construction: Between you and me I kind of winged the construction but as best I can remember:

  • Bodice front to bodice back at the shoulders and side seams
  • Repeat with bodice front and back lining
  • With wrong sides together, basted bodice to lining at armscye and hem (allowing the bodice to bag out).
  • Sew sleeve seam
  • Sew sleeve cuff and attach as per Renfrew instructions
  • Insert the sleeve
  • Attach the neckband as per Renfrew instructions
  • Continue as per Saltspring instructions


Time to Make: One afternoon for altering the pattern pieces and another for sewing.

Favourite Features: It’s not so much a favourite feature but this is definitely super comfortable which is exactly what I needed. You know those pieces that feel like pajamas but don’t necessarily look it.Salt-Fall-BackChanges for Next Time: Definitely need more length in both the bodice and the skirt. I’m 5 foot 9 and generally I don’t have to make any adjustment for my height but I definitely noticed it here. You can see at the back that the elasticated waist doesn’t have as much blousing because I keep pulling it down. Next time I would add maybe 2 inches to the bodice pieces by slashing and spreading and 3 inches at the skirt hem.

First Worn: Family hols in Avignon.

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BHL Anna in Jersey

Photo 19-08-2013 09 31 24

Hulloh! I finally had a wee rest from work and managed to break my sewing dry spell in a most luxurious way – a stretchy, flowy Anna dress from By Hand London.

The Pattern: By Hand London Anna Dress

Size + Alterations: I know that the woven version is going to need some alterations including a full bust adjustment but for this one I embraced the stretch and just made a straight size 20 off the pattern. If I’d thought it through beforehand I would have eliminated the seams and darts from the back bodice but it still worked fine with them in. The only defference to the jersey was to take a wedge out from the under arm through the waist then grading quickly out at the hip.


Contouring the side seam

The Fabric: A funky grey on black aztec printed jersey found a the last Birmingham Rag Market Meet-up in June. I wasn’t sure it would work but the lovely ladies on twitter and instagram were all the support needed and Lizzy shared a link to this gorgeous knit version from Sew Exhausted.

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Time to Make: A few hours – about 50:50 cutting out and sewing together. I overlocked most of the seams which speeds things up for sure but the cutting took a while as you’re dealing with some loooong pattern pieces in the skirt.

New Skills: For the darts and tucks in the bodice I got to try out the walking foot that came with my new sewing machine and it worked a dream once I managed to actually get it onto the machine. For finishing the armholes and neckline I serged the edge then turned it under twice fixing with a straight stitch and another foot – the one with a 1/4in seam guide.

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Favourite Features: I love a good kimono sleeve and these fit well. The skirt is super full but becuase of the panels it doesn’t feel cartoonish.

Anna-PortraitAnna-Out-FrontFirst Worn: Lazing around the house and down to the shops on holidays – ’cause it’s all about the casual glamour, right?



Four Handmade Weeks


Me Made May 2013: The low key approach

This year for simplicity I pledged to wear at least 1 hand made item each day and I documented via instagram. It was a fun month although my motivation and inspiration started to drag towards the end. I think it reflects what I usually wear (double-knit or die I say) although I repeat items a lot more than I did here :)

Thanks Zoe for an awesome month.

2013-05-01 23.59.482013-05-02 06.52.592013-05-03 08.48.51 2013-05-04 10.47.512013-05-05 11.01.552013-05-06 12.07.35 (1)2013-05-07 06.33.21 2013-05-08 12.24.462013-05-09 09.07.202013-05-10 11.54.05 2013-05-11 09.23.482013-05-12 10.59.392013-05-13 11.49.19 2013-05-14 11.44.542013-05-15 11.47.55 2013-05-16 12.05.412013-05-17 12.01.36
2013-05-18 13.47.53
2013-05-19 21.28.15 2013-05-20 11.44.35 2013-05-21 22.57.312013-05-22 12.29.36 2013-05-23 12.14.202013-05-24 13.44.242013-05-25 16.29.192013-05-26 21.46.23

2013-05-27 21.50.012013-05-28 23.40.39

Tilly’s Mathilde Blouse


The Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Mathilde Blouse

Size + Alterations: I cut a size 6* and cheated my way out of the usual full bust adjustment by converting the pintucks into gathers and dropping the centre front 2 inches.


In a wonderful coincidence Tilly just posted a super clear tutorial on how to do this so jump on over for instructions. The only difference I made was that my gathers started at the first pintuck marking so they were more concentrated at the centre.

For the sleeves I reduced the width at the bottom by a few inches to make it a bit more practical for work (I work in hospitality so drapey things risk getting caught on equipment).

imageThe Fabric: Printed poly crepe from Goldhawk Road at £3.50 per metre. I had been hunting for the perfect fabric ever since I saw this photo on design*sponge.

Time to Make: Do we count the two months I procrastinated over putting in the buttonholes? In all seriousness it is a lovely fast project, I can’t remember actual timings but I was helped by leaving off the pin-tucks.

imageNew Skills: French seamed armholes, baby! And a second use of this interfacing method – stitch fusible interfacing to facing in a narrow seam, trim, turn and press leaving a non-bulky finished edge.image



Favourite Features: The buttoned back and (confession time)…


… I outsourced my buttonholes! After confessing to my patternmaking tutor that this was languishing in my sewing pile without buttonholes he kindly offered to do them on the college’s industrial buttonholer.

Changes for next time: I love the gathered version but it would be nice to do the pintucked one too in a simpler fabric.

First Worn: Me Made May Day 13


P.S. I’m posting my Me Made May Pics here on instagram

*Tilly’s uses a different sizing system to the big 4.

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Mission Maxi

imageBring on the Sun!

imageThe Pattern: Jamie Christina Mission Maxi, view A

Size + Alterations: I cut a size 16 (chosen by my high bust measurement) then made a that’ll-do style of FBA, i.e. I fudged it from a few different tutorials on the interwebs. I didn’t want a side seam bust dart as this is jersey so rather than sew the one created by the FBA I just eased the excess into the back pieces at the side seams. To my great surprise it actually worked!

The Fabric: Oh this fabric! It was lust at first sight. I’d already found a nice classic navy at a previous shop when I spied this origami paper style print at Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road and to make it even better it was only £3.50 per metre and is super soft.

Time to Make: So fast, I cut out the night before then sewed it together in an hour or two the next morning.

New Skills: Attatching a knit binding – the instructions are awesome for this.

imageFavourite Features: So quick, so neat, so easy, so comfy.


Changes for Next Time: Adjust the back piece to hide bra-straps.


‘scuse the scrunched up face – the glare was out of control!

First Worn: On holiday back home and many times since.


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Travelling Pants: Sewaholic Thurlows

I remember reading in one of Trinny and Susannah’s books that as a skittle (bowling pin), trousers weren’t the most flattering choice for my shape. Whilst I understand the sentiment, I am un-prepared to lead a pants-less existence so enter these shorts. I plan on making the longer version but there were quite a lot of new techniques for me so I gave it a bash first on these shorts to take on my holiday home in a couple of weeks.

thurlow-titleThe Pattern: Sewaholic 1203 Thurlow Trousers

Size + Alterations: I made a size 16 with a 1/2 inch added to each of the side and in-seams and 1 inch to the length. I left off the belt loops as I wouldn’t wear a belt with these anyway and lastly I made a mistake with the waistband (more on that later) so the pointed edge is outermost on these.

The Fabric: Mustard (the cooler khaki) Cotton Sateen from Walthamstow Market. Navy gingham for the lining.

Time to Make: Much quicker than I thought – I started cutting them out about 4pm and worked until 10pm then finished them in the morning so all up about 8 hours including cutting out.

photoNew Skills: Welt Pockets and inserting a front fly – very glad I made a muslin first as there is still a bit of practise to be done.

thurlow-detailsFavourite Features: As always Tasia’s instructions are one of the best – I know I can follow them blindly step-by-step and it’ll all come together. Other bits I like – navy gingham and mustard is one of my favourite combinations. Discovering that a blind-hem foot can be adapted for edge-stitching on the cuffs.


Ch-ch-ch-changes:  The seat still needs a little more room and I think I need to transfer a bit from the vertical part of the crotch curve to the horizontal at the front. I also, totally faffed-up the waistband/fly – NB: when the pattern piece says ‘cut 1 right side up’ it’s talking  about the pattern paper not the fabric – doh! This meant that my left and right waistbands (each has it’s own pattern piece) are reversed. I made do and put the pointed piece on the outside but I had to improvise because the length wasn’t sufficient for finishing the top edge of the fly facing.

thurlow-flyFirst Worn: Around home – it’s fricking freezing out there!

Repeatability: Definitely. I have some grey suiting ready to go for the full length version.

Sew Grateful: Tasia for making all the new techniques straightforward and un-intimidating. Lauren for her amazing sew-a-long posts and inspiration.

photo (1)


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Thinking About: Orla Kiely

Thinking about Orla Kiely’s Autumn/Winter 13 presentation.

orla-collarsroxanne blouse – victory patterns // orla kiely pleated collar blouse via wishwishwish

orla-sweaterorla kiely aw13  via memoirmode // sublime stitching forest friends embroidery design // vintage sweater via etsy

orla-brocadeorla kiely aw13 via wishwishwish // burdastyle march 2013 brocade dress with petersham ribbon

orla-t-strapsorla kiely aw13 via wishwishwish // kurt geiger daphine t-straps in black + nude

orla-coatorla kiely aw13 via betty magazine // burdastyle january 2013 calf length coat // margot tenenbaum

Orla Kiely Presentation LFW AW/13 from James Hatt on Vimeo.

Other thoughts this week:

  • Lots of love to everyone for the thoughtful comments on my bombshell bodice – made me all warm and fuzzy!
  • I’ve been on holiday this week which equalled lots of instagram time-wastage
  • Gertie released two new patterns for Butterick and announced a second book – busy lady!


  • Tilly will be teaching two new classes at my local sewing store Raystitch including her very own Mathilde blouse
  • Vicki’s mapping the whole damn world or at least the important sewing people in it – add yourself here

Have a lovely and peaceful weekend x

ps. want to know what the models were really typing at orla kiely…