Happy Anniversary To Me!

Can you believe it, So What If I Sew is one year old! The fact that a year has gone by is stunning to me – my blog and instagram account and youtube channel have grown more than I ever would have thought possible when I dipped a toe into the online sewing community.

Celebrating 1 year in my new Mile End Hoodie from Closet Core Patterns

Although I’ve not blogged as regularly as I did when I first started the blog I still find this space an important space to explore my deeper thoughts and feelings about sewing topics as well as to provide accessible pattern and fabric shop reviews.

So, I wanted to take a moment to reflect and since I’m a data driven person I thought I would have a look at my stats. In the last year:

  • 3,224 of you have followed me on instagram
  • 1,845 of you have subscribed to the So What If I Sew YouTube channel
  • 59 of you have subscribed to the blog
  • I’ve had 9,481 views on this blog
  • over 500,000 views on both instagram and youtube individually.

What a year it has been!

How did So What If I Sew come to be?

28th June is a very special day as on this day one whole year ago I first considered having a sewing blog and Instagram.

I have tried to blog before and Instagram a hobby before but I could never keep up, I lost motivation and most times I tried to blog, my blog died in a few months. However at the time I was also struggling with sewing motivation and after a friend of mine shared a sewing account I went down an Instagram rabbit hole and discovered that there was in fact an online sewing community – a really really big one. 

June 2020 – GBSB Jersey Dress
July 2021 – Nina Lee Carnaby Dress

I wanted to really commit to a blog this time as well as to a hobby I love and to creating personal space. I also wanted to take the plunge and give up fast fashion. So on the 28th June, in my pyjamas, watching treasure planet in bed at 11am on a Sunday, I started brainstorming blog name ideas with my sisters over messenger. I am proud to say I am actually the one who came up with ‘So What If I Sew’. A few short clicks later and the blog and Instagram were born!

I wasn’t really sure what to post first so I posted my first logo effort, not fantastic but not terrible, and a few facts about me. Then I posted a couple of the pieces I had made and slowly started to expand my fabric and pattern horizons.

It was at this point that I did my first ever fabric haul on Instagram which I just decided to do for fun with some stunning fabrics from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn. After this I started to get more traction, I started to review fabric shops on the blog and posting more regularly.

Then on 17th August I started the So What If I Sew Youtube channel. I’ve never been so nervous in my life but sure enough 100 of you lovely people subscribed in the first two weeks and allayed my fears with your very kind comments.

In September I hit 1000 followers on Instagram and things began to grow and grow and here we are today, I hit 3k followers a few weeks ago and I’m sewing regularly.

How have I celebrated my first year?

By organising a sewing challenge on Instagram with a giveaway – how else would an events manager celebrate!

The ‘Sew New In June’ is a challenge designed to celebrate how far we have all come and challenge us to get out of our cosy sewing comfort zones and try projects we’ve always wanted to try!

Whether that’s plucking up the courage to sew with silk, insert an invisible zip, try a pattern RTW fashion tells you you’re not allowed to wear or all of those things together I want you to step out of your comfort zone with me and explore new sewing horizons.

Find out more over on YouTube where you can watch all of my vlogs from this week. Or head over to Instagram and search #SewNewInJune to see all of the amazing garments the community have stitched up this week.

So what have I learnt?

If there is one thing I have learnt in the last year its that the sewing community is an incredible space full of caring, talented and friendly people willing to support one another when we share our failures and celebrate each other when we make something amazing.

I’ve learnt so many new techniques, sewn with new fabrics, tried new patterns and explored new fabric shops. I’ve made some lovely new sewing friends and found a community in which I truly feel comfortable.

Nothing astounded me more than the response from the sewing community to Sew Yellow For Endo, I’m still blown away by the £1738 we raised as a community to support women with Endometriosis. 

So as I head into my second year I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for letting me be part of this wonderful community. I have learnt so much from all of you and my sewing has improved immeasurably just by seeing all the beautiful things all of you have made.

Hears to another year of sewing, blogging and vlogging!

Pattern Review: SizeMe Sewing Florence Boxy Tee

Today I want to tell you about one of my favourite tried and tested patterns. There are very few patterns I’ve made again and again but the Florence Boxy Tee from SizeMe Sewing is one of them. I love the flattering cut, the comfortable fit and versatility of this wardrobe staple pattern. It’s a super simple construction and from cutting out to wearable garment it took me 45 minutes. I made myself another one over Christmas from the off cuts from my sister’s present and I decided I would document the process for you all to show you just how quick and easy it is. Also its worth mentioning at this point that this blogpost is not affiliated or sponsored by SizeMe Sewing, I just wanted to share a favourite pattern of mine.

Materials Required:

  • 1m / 1.5m Lightweight Jersey – I used Rust Viscose Jersey from The Rag Shop
  • Florence Boxy Tee Pattern – SizeMe Sewing
  • Sellotape, Scissors & Printer to assemble PDF
  • Matching Thread

Step 1: Neckline

Top Stitched Neckline

Fold the neckline and stitch down front and back. I did this but turning down the neckline where it joins the shoulder and then i did the centre fold and worked my way along each side. It’s important not to stretch your neckline at this point so take it slowly and use lots of pins. Also remember this stitching will be visible so stitch the fold down from the Right Side and lengthen the stitch.

Step 2: Attach Shoulder Seams

Shoulder Seams Joined

Nice and simple step here, the only trick is to make sure you match the neckline correctly and I used a lightening stitch to make sure the seam was nice and secure. A zigzag stitch often puckers on this fabric so I found a lightening stitch to be a lot more effective.

Step 3: Hem Sleeves

Step 4: Attach Sleeves

Carefully matching the edge of the sleeve with the edge of the bodice, pin and stitch. Nice and simple but I used a lot of pins given how light the fabric is and I really had to take my time as the fabric slipped about loads!

Step 5: Close Side Seams

Again, a very simple step, I would recommend pinning at the under arm join to ensure a smooth side seam and even sleeve and base hems. Use your zigzag or lightening stitch for this step as this seam gets a lot of wear and tear so needs to be reinforced. As this jersey is so lightweight, I double stitched my side seams, doing a second row of stitching 1cm away from the first to make sure they won’t split.

Step 6: Hem

Nothing much to say about this step except that you need to press your hem before and after you do it to make sure you get a nice crisp finish (unlike me who forgot to press this at the time however it has been ironed now I promise!).

And you’re done! It really is that simple, this make has never taken me more than an hour and is now a wardrobe staple for me.

#FeelingSewMuchBetter Challenge: My Week Of Slow Sewing

I stumbled across the #feelingsewmuchbetter challenge on instagram after a few people I follow posted for the first day. Its run by Sister Mintaka, a fabric shop and haberdashery, and the premise is to pick a project and sew a bit everyday and hopefully finish by the end of the week and a winner is picked randomly each day to receive Sister Mintaka vouchers. I thought I would join in as I often sew for a whole day straight and I very rarely take more than 2/3 days of continuous sewing to finish a project. As a very busy person I decided it would probably do me a lot of good mentally and physically to force myself to just do a little bit each day. Its not about finishing, its about doing every step slowly and consciously and enjoying the process. I thought I would blog about it for this exact reason because its a new experience, something to document, discuss and share. I will do a micro-blog each day and then I’ll review at the end of the week. Without further ado lets get going!

Day 1

After only finding out about the challenge at lunch time, I spent the rest of today thinking about what project, fi any, I would like to attempt to join in. I say ‘if any’ because I didn’t want to just sew for the sake of it if it wasn’t something I had planned on making but I went through my stash extension – which is the part of my stash that has escaped the main box and so needs to be sewed more urgently – and decided that it was finally time to have a go at my Tilly and the Buttons Nora jumper. I’ve been meaning to make one for ages and this pattern does feature on my make nine grid for 2021. For fabric I chose a fun scuba/textured midnight blue jersey remnant which I’ve had in my stash for a while. Looking forward to sewing this project this week!

Day 2

Disaster struck almost immediately tonight as I laid out my pattern pieces on my fabric and immediately found I didn’t have enough fabric. I always forget that Tilly and the Buttons patterns do actually use the amount of fabric they say they will on the pattern envelope! So it was back to the drawing board and I came up with the two fabrics you can see on my instagram story below. I asked you all to help me choose which fabric I should use and it came back as a straight 50/50 which was unhelpful. At that point I mentally decided that I am definitely going to make both of these into a Nora as I think they would both be cute for different reasons but honestly it came down to the fact that I am absolutely freezing so I chose the extremely cosy Salmon/Coral-Coloured Knit from Lamazi Fabrics and I will make the Polka Dot Nora in the summer as the fabric is very light. I then got on to cutting the fabric and stupidly I decided to use my mid-range scissors instead of my super fancy new ones and I wish I hadn’t! This fabric was a pain to cut and foresee some frustrating and slippery sewing so the jumper better be super snuggly. One thing I would mention is that once again the Tilly and the Buttons patterns have got my back up as I think the sizing is way off. I came up as a 12 in the pattern due to my bust which I wouldn’t mind if the waist was right but its not, I wear a 36″ bust but a 26/27″ waist which normally puts me between two sizes which I have to grade. However for Tilly and the Buttons I am two sizes apart and trust me its really hard to grade between an 8 and a 12 especially when we think about shoulders and back pieces. I don’t know what it is about the bodice block because the waist to hip ratio is pretty standard. I come up as an 8/10(by an inch) which is absolutely fine but I wonder if there is a reason the bodice block is so square? In this case I’m making a 12 because its for loungewear so I don’t care about a close fit but its really frustrating!

Day 3

Today I was exhausted but I wanted to do something relating to my project so I decided to do something I almost never do – I actually read the instructions…in detail. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who does this so I might sound a bit weird but I often don’t read instructions, I will give them and the picture a glance for a bout 5 seconds and get one with it. The instructions I read are for techniques I’ve never done before, the first step of a pattern and of course I will depth read if I’m pattern testing for someone else. However on a normal day-to-day sewing basis I normally find that I know how garments are constructed and after about two steps I just get on with it. To me it feels like doing ‘nets’ in maths where you have a flat-lay of an object and you can see how it goes together so the instructions are kind of secondary unless its a complex garment – does that make sense? let me know in the comments below if its just me who’s weird like this. Anyway, I sat and I read as much as possible particularly as I’m determined to really make this jumper step by step. I know some people have chosen really tough projects this week but I have chosen something extremely simple that I would normally do in a couple of hours to make sure I actually take my time and sew slowly and consciously. Now I’m off to bed but I feel better armed to tackle this project step by step!

Day 4

Shoulder Seams Attached

I actually started sewing today and I made myself just do the first two steps. I stabilised the shoulders with some ribbon I had in my stash, it doesn’t match but its on the inside so who cares. Also I almost never use ribbon so I have no idea why I have so much? The pattern instructions suggested using a satin ribbon but I went for a quite stiff textured ribbon as my fabric is so fine and slippery so I thought it would work better, which it has. I then attached the shoulder seams and stopped there. Although I’ve been thinking about this project all week I feel strange stopping after these two steps as I know I could sew more right now but I am making myself stop and do something else. I’m trying to celebrate the steps, the little wins that make up a project. This fabric also has the potential to be immensely frustrating as its so fine that pins just fall out of it soo maybe its better for me mentally to take this make day at a time.

Day 5

Neckband is on

I’m starting to get into this slow sewing malarky! When reviewing my progress tonight and posting to instagram I got some lovely comments praising me for my stripe matching on my neckband which is hilarious because its entirely accidental. I swear whenever I don’t think about it I match patterns really well and whenever I try it doesn’t work. Regardless, the neckband is on and I’m pretty proud of it. Its nice and wide so I’m hoping I will be able to pull it on without having to take my glasses off. The dream.

Day 6

The Sleeves are on!

Today I nearly fell into the trap of keeping going and finishing my jumper today I’ve got the sleeves on which I’m happy with, they are even and neat and I’m so happy that due to the marl of the wool my white zigzag stitching is completely invisible as I had to fix one bit where I had accidentally caught the sleeve. I was just going to move on and do the side seams but I had to stop as I was getting so frustrated by the pins falling out of the fabric. Also I’m feeling really under the weather today (not Covid don’t worry) but I feel hot and cold and I keep shaking so I’m going to give it a rest now and have a very early night.

Day 7

Getting some use out of my fabric clips!

It’s the final day of the challenge and all I have to do is finish up the side seams, hem sleeves and close the stepped edges. I have been sat editing this blog this morning and listening to the Un:Cut Podcast which has been really relaxing and as I was sat thinking I realised the solution to my pin problem – I have fabric clips now! I’m not used to them yet as I only got them over Christmas but they worked like an absolute dream on my Nora. The only issue I had is that the sleeves were SIX INCHES, yes you read that right, six inches too long so I had to chop half the sleeve off to make it fit! Head over to my instagram to see how bad the situation was!

Completed TATB Nora

Here is my finished Nora! I love parts of it. I like the neckline, the fabric is so cosy and soft and I like the stepped hem. On the downside it is like a literal tent on me and honestly I don’t think I could wear it outside the house unless its tucked into something. The sizing is way off and after a rant on instagram this morning and many conversations with you all it seems the consensus is that Tilly and the Buttons sizing is not made for anyone with a significantly larger bust than waist. I chose a size based on my bust measurements but the rest of the garment is so enormous and its not even fitted on the bust so I think next time I will make a size smaller. Also having to cut 6 inches off the sleeve surely shows that something is wrong with this pattern? Although I love Tilly’s patterns I will be approaching them with caution in future and plenty of measuring, toile making and further attention to the finished garment measurements as well as the pattern sizing!

As for the Sister Mintaka #FeelingSewMuchBetter challenge I’ve loved it. I’ve loved giving myself permission to take things slowly, I’ve loved taking time over my makes and its been nice to do 5 minutes everyday. I’ve really enjoyed the consistency! Also its been wonderful to be part of a big community effort and see what everyone else has been making this week. Now I’m off to have a cosy night in my enormous Nora before the work week starts again!

Tilly And The Buttons Eden Coat – Sewing Project

I’ve been a little bit absent on here recently due to my degree workload however if you head over to my youtube you can see what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks! In November, I finally, FINALLY, finished my Tilly And The Buttons Eden Coat. This project is by far the most complex make I’ve ever attempted and I am so proud that not only is the garment wearable but that it looks vaguely professional and its waterproof! I decided over the summer that I wanted to attempt this pattern as a present for my eldest sister so of course I had to try one for myself. I was nervous when I bought the fabric but it was also really exciting, it felt like such a big step forward in my sewing life. As I’ve always wanted a proper barbour jacket, I decided to make my coat in that style using black waxed cotton, a white floral cotton lining and brass zips and snaps. I tell you I was the most nervous I’ve ever been when I cut into the waxed cotton for the first time but it was worth it for the coat I’m now living in every time I go outside.

The pattern is labelled as ‘for improvers’ and is produced digitally as a PDF. While the pattern itself isn’t particularly complicated, there are a huge number of individual pattern pieces. The pattern and fabric cutting took a couple of hours and was mentally exhausting but after the cutting stage it wasn’t too bad. The instructions could be a lot clearer and I would like it if they were numbered and the pattern pieces were in bold when mentioned in the pattern to avoid some of the more confusing elements of the making process. Otherwise its a time consuming but not a particularly difficult sew and I had to work on it in the mornings only because the lighting in our house isn’t great and trying to sew black thread on black fabric in the evening sure does hurt your eyes! In this blog I’ve picked out a few elements that I liked, disliked and of which I feel other sewists should be aware. If you want to follow the whole making process check out my two part sew-a-long vlog linked below for more information.

Inserting my first jacket zip

Honestly I was most nervous about this step because I’d never done a jacket zip before, I’d never even sewn a zip using my new machine and new foot. So, true to form, I dived in head first and it went really well! I split the zip, placed the tape on each side and marked the top and bottom with chalk, made sure they were at the same height and went for it. I was surprised and delighted to find that jacket zips are actually quite simple and I am no longer scared of them – so thats a result!

Working with Waxed Cotton

Croft Mill have a wonderful selection of lightweight waxed cottons perfect for a ‘Barbour’ style waxed jacket. After great trepidation I was somewhat surprised to find I absolutely love sewing with waxed cotton. It’s a joy to work with, it stays where it’s put, you don’t need pins and it flows through the machine like a dream. My only advice would be to use a denim needle and if you want a 100% waterproof coat consider how you are going to seal your seams against the weather.

My First Snaps

At this point having made two Eden coats with two different snap applying methods I have a mixed opinion about snaps. My black Eden coat was my first attempt at applying snaps and it was incredibly frustrating. I used the Prym antique brass coloured snaps and the equipment that came with them to apply them and it was absolutely maddening. There is a small plastic tweezer type contraption that you fit a series of heads to and you use a hammer too apply the snaps. However using a hammer and the instructions, it took Adam and I over an hour to apply them all and it was not error free I can tell you! After this frustrating experience I bought the Prym Snap Pliers from The Makers Merchant to use on my sisters coat and they made a massive difference. I cannot recommend them enough the whole process took 15 minutes and I didn’t swear once!

Overall this coat has made me smile and its made me scream with frustration but I am proud of the result. Its surreal to look at it hung up next to my other coats for all the world as though I bought it somewhere. It’s a coat of firsts. My first snaps, my first jacket zip, my first lined garment, my first hood, my first patch pockets, my first piece of outerwear in fact! So of course there are little bits and pieces I would like to improve but its a win, a milestone and I am almost giddy with pride whenever I wear it. If you want to learn more about my making journey and process then have a watch of the vlogs below!

Follow my progress on YouTube!

Part 1:
Part 2:

Sewing Plans For Lockdown 2.0

Hello everyone, I’m writing to you having just woken up from a nap after a fantastic Sunday roast courtesy of Adam and we are back in lockdown. Now I don’t mind lockdown especially, it’s a strange time but not much will change for me personally however mentally and emotionally its still very tiring. So! To combat this emotional time I have started thinking about the projects I want to accomplish in lockdown alongside the very significant amount of Christmas present sewing I’ve got to do. I’m sewing something for my mum, dad and eldest sister this year along with some other potential sewing presents so lots to do and therefore even more important that I continue some selfish projects to challenge myself as a sewist and make sure I’m still getting time to relax.

My current work in progress is my Tilly And The Buttons Eden Coat. I’ve been working on it for ten days so far and its incredibly tiring but I’m proud of my work and I’m super excited that I will have actually made myself a coat. It feels like such an incredible step forward and advancement in my sewing. I’m hoping to finish it by next weekend as I’ve got to make a whole second version for my sisters Christmas/Birthday present so I will write a blog post reflecting on the making process and any lessons I learnt along the way.

However there are a few other garments I’m looking to make in the next month or so which I have listed below:

Lotta Dress, Tilly And The Buttons

I’ve got these two stunning fabrics from The Sewist Fabric Shop and from Felicity Fabrics, both of which are destined to become Lotta’s however I’m not sure if I’ve got enough of the green one but I’m super excited to work with these fabrics and this pattern! I’m saving the first one up for this week, I think it will be a palette cleanser when my Eden Coat gets too much.

Nora Top, Tilly And The Buttons

As the weather gets colder the Nora top is really starting to call to me and luckily I’ve quite a few snuggly fabrics in my stash. I’ve got a grey rib knit, a coral rib knit as well as a cosy navy textured jersey/scuba and some other jerseys and I’ve got a feeling that the Nora will be making making appearances in my wardrobe. I’ll be writing a blog about my first Nora so stay tuned!

Wrap Dress, GBSB

Above is a picture of the first GBSB wrap dress I made in October. I want to make another of these now I understand the sizing better and make the adjustments I discussed last time. I have some gorgeous slightly heavier viscose jersey that is a black base with an abstract print from Rainbow Fabric Kilburn that would look stunning as a wrap so I just want to have another go at this pattern knowing what I know now.

Something with my waffle

I’ve not got a pattern in mind for this one but I have the most gorgeous ochre waffling from Felicity Fabrics and I really want to make something cosy and comfy for the winter. I was considering a cute yellow dressing gown but then maybe a Freya or similar would work for it? I’m not sure. Please let me know below if you’ve worked with a non-stretch waffle and if there any patterns you could recommend!

Florence Blouse, SizeMe Sewing

This is a new pattern purchase from SizeMe Sewing, a raglan blouse with shirred sleeves(never done shirring before so very exciting!) and I’m going to make it in my purple viscose marrocain from Rainbow Fabric Kilburn. I’ve been holding on to this fabric for ages now because I just couldn’t quite find the right pattern for it but as soon as I saw the blouse online and I knew this would be the one! Can’t wait to make this but definitely need to get some shirring elastic in.

Christmas Sweatshirt

Finally project on my wishlist. As we are stuck at home for the foreseeable I wanted to get into the christmas spirit buy some plain sweatshirting/loop back jersey and some christmas patterned sweatshirting to make two tone Christmas sweatshirt! It will be my first christmas video so I’m just looking at fabrics at the moment and then I will buy the fabrics themselves once I’m paid at the end of November!

So these are some of my sewing plans. Not a definitive list by any means but the projects that I have in my mind at the moment to complete before Christmas. Above all I don’t want to lose my sewing motivation because I’m sewing complex things for other people, I want a list I can turn to when my inspiration is low to just make something fun for me. I will learn loads from the presents I’m making but sewing for others can get a little dull so I’m excited to work through my personal sewing list. Now I’m going to finish uploading my first Eden Coat Vlog and tidy the house before another very busy week!

Monthly Magazine Make: Boxy Blouse and My Very First Yoke!

This is my first detailed project blog for a while but here I am to talk to you about this month’s make chosen from my copy of Love Sewing magazine. I only started my subscription last month but I already love it, I love how many free patterns you can access and its always super interesting to hear from other makers, experts and amateurs alike! The second I saw the My Handmade Wardrobe Boxy Blouse from Crafty Sew & So I had to make it. I love shirts, I love the silhouette and having just bought a machine almost purely because of its incredible buttonhole functionality I was desperate to sew buttonholes. A sentence I’m sure no one has said before. Whilst containing some familiar elements such as collars and buttons this pattern also contained a little challenge in the form of my first ever yoke.

In the spirit of the New Craft House #sewyourselfsustinable challenge I decided I would use a deadstock remnant I had left over from another project, my gorgeous daisy patterned viscose from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn, and I used the rest of the pink shell buttons from my fish dress earlier in the summer. So not only was this project super fun but it didn’t cost me a thing, well apart from the cost of the magazine but hey you can’t have everything. I have also been a little under the weather due to personal health issues and I felt this project was the perfect way to get my sew-jo back.

Project Details

Step 1: Pattern Printing & Cutting

I printed the whole pattern on my printer at home which means that the pieces probably aren’t perfect but they were as good as I could get them! Still it is quite fun to be able to print at home and start straight away. My fabric layout wasn’t as efficient as it could have been but I wanted to make sure the stripes would be evenly lined up on the shirt.

Step 2: Create The Box Pleat In The Back

I liked this as a first step because I love a box pleat and it felt cosy and familiar. They are easy to make and so satisfying to look at afterwards. I’m not going to explain this step really as its clear, follow the markings and make a box pleat in the back panel, but here is a picture of mine as I do just love them.

Step 3: Create Your Yoke

It was at this stage I realised that I did not have the correct yoke pieces. On the pattern piece it does not tell you to cut the yoke on the fold, it just tells you to cut two pieces. The cutting layout in the magazine is also incorrect. Having never done a yoke before I naturally followed the instructions and cut two individual halves of the yoke. It was only when I got to the assembly stage that I realised something was extreme wrong. Luckily I managed to squeeze another yoke piece out of my remnant however I couldn’t cut a second one so you will see that my inner yoke is two pieces sewn together and my outer yoke is one continuous piece. It wasn’t a huge drama as luckily I had just enough fabric left but it is definitely worth flagging that you must cut two yokes on the fold rather than just two pieces as the pattern piece states. Once you have got the correct yoke pieces, attach the back pleated piece to the base of the yoke with pins and then roll it up. Then attach the fronts of the shirts to the shoulder seams again with pins and roll them up until you end up with something resembling the first picture below. You then place your second yoke piece on top to create something that looks like a calzone.

Step 4: Stitch The Seams & Pull Through

As this was my first time using the burrito method I was understandably nervous, I kept thinking to myself ‘surely this won’t work’ and yet! As long as you roll the fabric pieces nice and tightly inside and leave the seams flat you can stitch along the shoulders and back seam et voila! You reach through the neck and pull out your finished garment. I was absolutely enthralled by this process and proceed to bore my partner for a good 10 minutes with my utter amazement at this technique. He was actually very sweet and listened to me far longer than he had to but I was extremely excited about it.

Step 5: Create Your Button Plackets

This is a simple step and yet… I was quite tired by this point so accidentally pressed the placket to the right side instead of the wrong side, luckily I realised and was able to fix it quickly. You fold the placket 1.5cm to the wrong side, then again and stitch down the open side. To make this easier for yourself make sure you cut the notches on the neckline as they show you the distancing.

Step 6: Create & Attach Collar

Having really struggled with my last collar it almost felt like seeing an old friend when I started to cut out the pieces. I interfaced them with medium weight interfacing because honestly its all I had in the house and i reasoned that as my fabric was so lightweight it probably needed the extra weight and honestly it helped significantly, I don’t think the collar would have stood up correctly otherwise. However I did have one issue stitching on the collar, on the pattern pieces it said to use a 1.5cm seam allowance when stitching them together which I did however when I came to attach it to the garment I found that the collar was at least 1.5cm short on each side. I really had to snip into the neckline and do a lot of easing to get it on. It really isn’t my neatest collar but thankfully the colour and pattern of the fabric hide it. Next time I will reduce the seam allowance massively but otherwise the instructions were very clear and easy to follow.

Step 7: Side Seams & Finish Raw Edges

At this point its a nice simple finish for the side seams, I stitched them at the 1.5cm seam allowance and then used my overlock stitch on my machine to finish the edges. If you have an overlocker you could probably just overlock them but either way, a simple finish, then I used a rolle hem on the end of the sleeve and on the bottom hem of the shirt. I used a rolled hem for two reasons, firstly speed but secondly because I am working with a very lightweight, almost diaphanous, viscose and I didn’t want the hem to sit too heavily.

Step 8: Buttons & Buttonholes

For once I was absolutely itching to get to this stage because the buttonhole function on my new sewing machine is genuinely phenomenal. I have a Singer Starlet 6680 with a 1-step buttonhole function. Its got the cleverest buttonhole foot, like an enormous frame that measures the size of the button then creates the right sized space for the needle to sew a perfectly fitting buttonhole. I was so confident in this function that I actually used contrasting thread and used a thicker buttonhole to show them off. Not only did I have a great time sewing the buttonholes I also machine sewed my buttons on for the first time ever! My lovely new machine came with a plethora of feet that I am only now getting time to experiment with. the buttonhole foot is absolutely excellent and saved me a huge amount of time as well as saving my eyes from strain. I am beyond chuffed with the result and it was a super fun way to finish off this garment.


What I love about this pattern is that it is challenging and yet simple. On the one hand you are attaching a collar which can be tricky and you have buttons and buttonholes to worry about, on the other, there are no sleeves to worry about and all the finishes are pretty basic. It’s a bite sized amount of challenge and a fantastic project for beginners who want to branch out into new techniques. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this pattern to every beginner anywhere, its fun, the instructions are simple, the garment is eminently wearable. My only caveat would be that the cutting instructions could be better, as I mentioned above the cutting label on the yoke piece was downright incorrect, but despite that I would still recommend this pattern as a fantastic introduction to collars, buttons and shirts.

My Top Tips To Sew Your Own Amaya Shirt

As my YouTube subscribers will know, I have just finished making the Amaya Shirt from Made My Wardrobe. Today I am mopping up, resetting my machine and trying to sort some other little projects/alterations/fixes which have been piling up for a while now. However, before I completely forget how I made it I wanted to share my tips, tricks and honest feedback on my making journey for the Amaya Shirt.

Firstly, here it is in all her gorgeous, flute-sleeved glory. Honestly I would never have thought of making this pattern originally, it was very much the case that the fabric came first. I bought this stunning red spot cotton from The Rag Shop with no clue at all what I was going to make with it. For transparency I almost never do that, I’m always very project lead but I thought, you know what? I’ve got to have it. When I posted about it online and asked for recommendations Steph from The Rag Shop got in touch and suggested the Amaya Shirt. I was intrigued and although its a little out of my comfort zone fashion-wise I decided to take the plunge.

It also took me out of my technical sewing comfort zone. My first proper top stitching, my first raglan sleeves, it was all a journey and I really made myself take my time. Especially as I knew that I didn’t have enough fabric to recut if I made a mistake. I’m really glad I took the time, doing only one or two pattern steps a day for a week. It was a lovely way to wind down from work each day and I feel like this is technically one of the best garments I’ve made because I didn’t rush a single step. So my first and biggest piece of advice I can give you is to take your time with this make, there aren’t many steps but they all require accuracy and care. Below I have linked my vlog so you can join me for every step of the sew and you can also see just how many grey jumpers I own as I change between days.

My Top Tips:

  • Draw The Line For The Front Opening – seriously, do this. I thought I wouldn’t bother but it requires a straight line stitched 4cm in from the edge which is surprisingly hard to do by eye and most machines don’t have markings that go out that far. This was made extra difficult on my fabric as its exceptionally hard to draw a straight line on Swiss Cotton! Regardless draw a solid or dashed line, its worth it for a garment feature that is so front and centre.
  • Really Press The Centre Front Open – While we talking about the centre front…before you start top stitching you absolutely must press it open thoroughly so that your facing and seam doesn’t bulge when you do the top stitching.
  • Finish All The Edges As You Go – Cards on the table, I’m straight up awful at finishing raw edges when I sew, honestly just awful, but I really made the effort with this garment partly because i didn’t want fraying but mostly because it actually really helps with the structure and the strength of the seams. I am particularly highlighting this as something you should as you go along because there are quite a few seams you can’t access once the garment is done if you were hoping to have a tidy up at the end. The pattern recommends overlocking but if you don’t have an overlocker then either you can zigzag or you can go on a voyage of discovery with your sewing machine and find out that it actually has four different overlock stitch options. (It’s the dream)
  • Gather Much Closer To The Neckline Edge Than You Think – Basically if you look at the outside of my garment the bind covers all the gathers, that is quite emphatically not the case on the inside. I did my gathers at the distance recommended by the pattern, or at least i think it did as I work in imperial and it only had metric, but at that distance it was impossible to enclose the gathers properly in the neck binding on both sides. So I would recommend sewing one row in the seam allowance and then other just beyond it. You will still be able to gather and you will be able to enclose both sides in the binding.
  • Go By Your Measurements – so I looked at the finished pattern measurements and was going to make a size down as they looked huge but when I looked at the body measurements I saw that they actually put me in the 10 bracket. I decided to go with the 10 because I would rather it fit my bust properly and then i could adjust other areas but actually i found it to be a really nice fit. its loose but you actually have enough room to move and the sleeves and bust line are both really flattering. My recommendation would be to pick the pattern based on your bust size and then work from there.
  • Print Out The Pattern Instructions And Highlight – For me the pattern instructions required a second and even a third reading as I found the prose of the instructions very unclear. That could just be me but if you do have the same issue I would recommend printing them out and highlighting the action areas just for the sake of clarity. The pattern makes a stunning garment but the instructions could be easier to understand.
  • Use A Fairly Structured Fabric – It really helps with the construction and the fit of this garment. I’m sure you could easily make it out of more slippery fabrics but I think a structured cotton, linen or chambray would be a good starting point for a first make of this garment and would show off its more flattering and exciting features.

Those are my top tips for working with this pattern, its a great pattern and I have worn mine loads since I made it so I would recommend it for all abilities. Check out my sew-a-long vlog below to see how I got on making the Amaya Shirt.

Does Luxury Have To Be Bought?

Happy Sunday everyone, this weekend Adam and I have deep cleaned the house. We made five different lists, one for each space, and we’ve worked HARD. Honestly yesterday we were cleaning solidly for well over 10 hours! We have rearranged furniture, repotted plants, tidied, cleaned, polished, sorted, decluttered and it feels great. Throughout the cleaning process I’ve been considering about how I feel about my possessions and my wardrobe in particular. What things I value and why I value them.

Now I’m sat with a cup of tea and honestly, I’ve got a bone to pick with fast fashion. In my first month of giving up ready-to-wear clothes I have made a conscious effort to consider when I buy clothes and the reasoning behind these purchases. Often I like a shopping trip to cheer myself up or to celebrate a promotion, to purchase a few new items for the next season or just to catch up with friends. Shopping trips like these are normally social occasions or they result in the little emotional purchases that make you feel better. These aren’t too hard to cut out because I can just go do something else with my friends or I can partake in the ultimate endorphin high which is of course fabric shopping . Really the only time I go out or online with the very specific goal of “shopping” is for occasion wear.

In the past, whenever I have had a formal event and don’t know what to wear I hotfooted it on to Missguided or Asos to select something gorgeous, slinky and that could be with me in under three days. Purchasing evening wear like this is of course partly for convenience but also because it has never felt like something I could or should make for myself. When you go to a black tie event you don’t want to feel homemade, when you think of black tie events you think of chic women in Chanel, the idea of a homemade dress in those surroundings is jarring. Or at least this is what the fashion industry has taught us to think. This is how we have been conditioned to feel and it makes me angry because the reality is very different.

On the one hand you have an admittedly expensive designer gown bought in a shop made in one of the standard women’s sizes. Its not shaped to your body, its not designed with you in mind, its designed for their ideal consumer, to reflect their image. On the other hand you have a homemade gown tailored by you for you. You choose the fabric, you choose the pattern, you choose the fit, as garment a home-made evening gown is quintessentially you. If you were to go to a high end event and told people you were wearing a handmade tailored gown they would be impressed, as soon as you mention that the tailor in questions is in fact you that feeling turns to mirth or grudging respect or even worse, requests to make them something similar.

Why should we be made to feel as we aren’t good enough in our me made wardrobes? After all every single piece of clothing is made by somebody, clothes don’t just appear. Honestly, I’m done with it. Of course other people’s opinions don’t really matter if they haven’t got anything nice to say then quite frankly they should shut it but its the fact that this isn’t an isolated one or two people this is an example of social conditioning that is prevalent in books, films, magazines and television, from Cinderella’s homemade dress being torn to shreds to the shopping montage in Pretty Woman. Expensive clothes don’t make a woman and if they do I don’t want to be the kind of woman they make. I will admit there is a joyous sense of giddy luxury in buying yourself something gloriously expensive and decadent but honestly I got the same feeling buying my first proper sewing machine! I get that same feeling when I spend a lot on a dinner for my partner and me, I get that feeling when I book a luxury hotel for a holiday and on those occasions I don’t also receive body-image issues and self-doubt alongside the purchase.

So what am I going to do? You’ve heard the rant, now here is my personal solution. There are two prongs. Firstly, I have reviewed my current evening wear wardrobe and got rid of anything that I don’t absolutely love myself in so if I need a dress super urgently I’ve definitely got something to hand. Secondly, I am aware that occasion wear is a weak area for me because I honestly adore it. So! Last week I bought 2-3m of second hand pale blue satin from a lovely instagram destash account. That fabric has now been stored carefully in my fabric box and I am currently marking appropriate patterns that I own and PDF one’s online that would work with this gorgeous structured mid-weight satin so that if I need a really stunning dress and want something new, I can satisfy those cravings at home and make myself something beautiful tailored and 100% me.

All clothing is made by somebody so my next evening garment might as well be made by me. I will learn a lot by making one and I won’t be contributing to a global system of oppression. Sounds like a win to me!

Sewing Project: Bias Cut Top – My First Attempt At Pattern Matching

My last project before I went away was a bias cut chevron top. This garment falls into the category of a simple yet deceptively difficult make. Now of course there aren’t many difficult techniques of garment construction involved, what makes this difficult is a) pattern matching and b) working on the bias.

Project Details

  • Pattern: Bias Cut Top, GBSB From Stitch To Style
  • Fabric: Daisy Striped Viscose, Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn

Step 1: Pattern Cutting

I kid you not it took me well over an hour to cut these pattern pieces and it was nerve wrecking. The aim of this garment was not only to create a top on the bias to create a chevron pattern from my striped fabric. On top of that, as you will see from the fabric below, I made things even more difficult for myself because my stripes were not even. They are in groups of diffident widths and numbers so matching to an incredibly long time. To pattern match a chevron on the bias you need to cut your pattern pieces at right angles diagonally, and honestly I used my first pattern pieces cut my second to ensure the match. Eventually I gained enough confidence in my matching skills and cut my pieces but it really was a learning curve. Pattern matching is something I’ve avoided for years because I didn’t think I could do it but this garment has increased my confidence and shown me that I shouldn’t be scared of new techniques! Everything is a chance to improve.

3 Things I’ve Learnt About Pattern Matching
  1. It takes TIME. Seriously it took me an hour to cut out my pattern pieces because I spent so long making sure that the stripes lined up. I made things even more difficult for myself than I realised.
  2. Iron your fabric beforehand to make sure that you can match accurately and remember to include your seam allowances.
  3. Transfer your directional markings on to the pattern pieces, it’s such a help when pattern matching on the bias and particularly when you are creating a chevron.

Step 2: Stay Stitch The Neckline

As always an incredibly important step but no less so when working on the bias as you want to make sure that your garment doesn’t warp. At the time I felt like Ihad done this well but afterwards I realised that it wasn’t my best work. This is entirely because I went to fast and allowed the viscose to slip and slide all over the place as it often does. Even more so when working on the bias. In fact this project has made me reflect on how rarely I cut anything on the bias. One of the wonderful things about this project is that it has helped me to understand my fabric better and the literal mechanics of fabric use.

3 Things I’ve Learnt About Working On The Bias
  1. There is a lot more mobility that you think there will be. Even in stiff fabric the bias still provides a lot of stretch so just imagine how I was working with a slippery viscose. I had to handle the fabric incredibly carefully to ensure it didn’t warp as I sewed it.
  2. If you’re pattern matching on the bias use a lot of pins and sew slowly. Louder for everyone at the back. Sew slowly, sew carefully, keep both hands on the fabric and match carefully as you go.
  3. Cut a single layer of fabric at a time and if possible use a rotary cutter and mat, this stops the fabric from shifting or stretching when you cut it.

Step 3: Centre Seams

Take your time matching your front and back centre seams and sew slowly with control. Make sure your machine doesn’t pull the layers of fabric apart at all and continue to check the match as you go. I went so slowly and carefully at the time I had to keep reminding myself to breathe but the sense of relief when I finished sewing and took it over to the iron was unbelievable. Remember to sew the back just as carefully at the front and if you want one tip, especially for matching chevrons, start sewing the seam from the top of the garment down, this makes sure that if anything does move it won’t spoil the finish at the neckline.

Step 4: Shoulder Seams & Side Seams

I forgot to take pictures of these as I went because I was so focused but here they are on the machine. Treat these carefully as you don’t want to warp the shoulder of the garment or stretch the silhouette. Shoulder seams press towards the back so you can include both sides of the seam in the neck bind and in the armhole hem.

Step 5: Bias Binding the Neckline

Now this top contained a lot of firsts for me, I’d never worked on the bias, I’d never done pattern matching and I’ve never really used bias binding let alone made my own. I’ve learnt a lot from this, I’m proud of my first go but it definitely isn’t quite right. When I look at the photo below and the garment itself I can see that I’ve bound the raw edge but not actually bound the neckline, you can’t see the binding which is a mistake. Next time I will definitely be pressing my binding more carefully so that its easier to use.

3 Things I’ve learnt about Bias Binding
  1. You’ve got to treat it gently especially if you’ve made your own and cut it carefully, its got to be even.
  2. Stitch slowly and carefully around the neckline so you don’t stretch it as you bind.
  3. Cut it carefully and iron it out fully before you fold it and then iron in the folds.

Step 6: Finish Raw Edges

The final step is just to finish the arms and bottom hem. Depending on the weight of your fabric you could use a double hem or, as I’ve done, just a quick rolled hem. Then you have your very own bias cut top!

I adore this top and I’m very proud of it but there are definitely a couple of bits I would change if I made it again. The fit is nice but I think the neckline is a little high for my figure so I would make it slightly deeper. My sewing has improved just making this top and I would definitely consider a garment with pattern matching again albeit with caution and careful fabric choice. Let me know what you think in the comments below, love pattern matching, hate it, have certain tricks you use? Tell me everything. Until then, go forth and pattern match!

2 Hour Sewing Project: Sew Simple Gwen Top

Happy Monday Everyone! I am half way through my week off from work and I’m feeling good. The stress is starting to dissipate and I’m beginning to really enjoy my time away. We are still in Colchester so no live sewing for moment but I want to talk about a top I whipped up in 2 hours last Sunday and it’s one I am really proud of. We all have those moments when inspiration runs dry, when we just can’t think what to sew and none of our projects are appealing to us. On those days it can be hard to find the enthusiasm for a single stitch, I had tried to pattern draft for another project but I was just too tired so I had a lie down. Adam and I then had a chat about what I could make and in particular what my current wardrobe lacks. The answer to this is actually pretty easy. I really lack tops. I have knitwear coming out of my ears and plenty of shirts and fancy going out tops but I have very few just tops. There aren’t many t-shirts that I feel comfortable wearing and most of my evening tops are more drinks than office appropriate neither are they especially comfortable. I don’t need any more dresses for the moment so tops seemed a good place to start.

Out of desperation to do something sewing related I had a little look through my sewing magazine, just browsing really, when I came upon one of the free patterns that week. A lightweight batwing top which would be perfect for my red viscose crepe remnant from Sew Me Sunshine! The pattern said it required 1.5m but I can confirm that, at least for a size 8, 1 metre is absolutely fine. I gave myself 2 hours and just went for it, I didn’t really want to plan or think about it, i didn’t want to make too much of a production of it, I just got a cup of tea and starting sewing. I had been lacking inspiration all weekend and I just wanted to make SOMETHING to break the deadlock. I was a bit nervous, especially as I’ve never printed an A0 pattern at home, but I am really pleased with the result. Its not the neatest garment in the world but it was a very quick and easy make and I would definitely recommend the pattern for beginners or anyone who wants to start in the morning and wear the garment out to lunch.

Project Details
  • Fabric: Red Spotty Viscose Crepe, Sew Me Sunshine (1m Remnant)
  • Pattern: Sew Simple Gwen Top
  • Sew Time: 2.5 Hours

Step 1: Cut Out The Never-Ending A0 Pattern

This honestly was the longest step of the entire project. I had to print out 20 pages, cut all the edges off the A4 pieces, tape them together then cut out the actual pattern pieces. It definitely reminded why I get my PDF patterns printed in A0 by somebody else and sent to me! Honestly though I didn’t mind too much because the pattern itself was free and it was a quick Sunday night make. I ended up with something like this. I didn’t want to waste sellotape and we have a hold load of parcel tape so its not very pretty but it did even up as well structured(if hard to fold) pattern pieces.

Step 2: Cut Out The Pattern Pieces

One of the things that makes this pattern so quick and easy is that there are only two pieces for this garment, front and back. I could have done with sharper scissors because no matter how simple the project is viscose is always slippery.

Step 3: Shoulder Seams & Side Seams

The first step is to carefully stay stitch the necklines 1cm in from the edge, as above, and then stitch the shoulder seams and press open. Move on to the side seams, stitch and press again. The side seams in this garment are less that 6 inches long because this top is about 90% sleeve!

Step 4: Finish Raw Edges

The pattern asked for bias binding however that would have been far too heavy on my fabric so I just did rolled hems everywhere and I think it worked very well with the viscose crepe. And you’re done! Thats genuinely it. A simple, easy sew that produces an flattering and attractive garment. I was so happy with it that I even went out in the thunder storm to get pictures

This top was quick, easy and didn’t require too much brain power. I love the drape, I adore the neckline and its a wonderful pattern to just make without having to think or plan or toile. It would also make an excellent remnant buster as you really can squeeze it out of a metre. It looks great with jeans or shorts and you could even tuck it into a pencil skirt for work. This pattern is a massive win in my book and I would recommend it to absolutely everybody who sews. If you just need an easy win then this pattern is for you.