The Gigi dress

The Gigi dress

One of my 2017 Make Nine patterns is the Gigi dress by Olive Ann Designs.  I made this for little niece Greta and was very happy that she chose to wear it for a family lunch at our house.


The back of the dress – which is what attracted me to the pattern – is gorgeous.  Pleats give fullness, and the bow is so pretty.

I was a bit worried about the front.  The high neckline and short sleeves didn’t look very comfortable, but they are needed because of the low back.  Greta seems to like it though, and the only problem is that the dress becomes quite short when she lifts her arms.  Leggings or little shorts solve that problem, and I’ve made both for her from this bright pink jersey.

She has worn this with a little denim jacket over the top, and it looked adorable – she’s a stylish girl.


A pattern for a matching doll’s dress is included but that looked far too fiddly to make and play with.  Maybe when Greta is older!

Merchant & Mills top 64

Merchant & Mills top 64

Merchant & Mills top 64

I’ve spent some time having a wardrobe rethink.  Still love the idea of putting together a capsule for each season, but nowhere near achieving that.  I seem to need more basics, things which complete outfits, so that’s what I’ve been sewing.


This is the Merchant and Mills Top 64 in denim-look jersey from Minerva, here.  The fabric is a bit lighter in weight than I wanted (on-line fabric shopping – gah!) so I made the top shorter and more boxy to compensate.

Unfortunately the light weight makes the neckline and hems look lumpy – it’s not so apparent in real life.  It doesn’t need to stretch to go over my head, so I’ll use some tape next time instead of the facing.


So it’s not a thing of great beauty.  But very comfortable and cozy to wear.  I’ll put this one down as a wearable learning experience.

I will definitely make this pattern again, and the fabric would be lovely for something more drapey.  Maybe for the cardigan Gillian has dared me to make!

Chambray Banksia and sewing from the stash drawer

Chambray Banksia and sewing from the stash drawer


I started this Banksia top last summer, at sewing lessons, but made a mistake so hid it under my stash fabric – which I believe is the grown up response when mistakes are made.


I wanted to add buttoned cuffs to the pattern – which my sewing teacher showed me how to do.  My mistake was to put them on the wrong way, so the longer piece where the button goes was on the wrong side.   And how long did it take to fix?  About half an hour – I’m very glad I dug it out!


I’m hoping the chambray will get softer with washing as it’s a little stiff at the moment, but otherwise I’m very pleased with this.

I’m wearing it with another Colette Mabel from my stash busting list.

Having a list to work from is really helping me focus, and I came across this great series of posts from The Craft Sessions on having a thoughtful stash.

At the moment my rule is to only buy things I need to complete stash projects.  I stretched that rule yesterday to buy two half price Vogue patterns at Minerva.  Rules are made to be broken, aren’t they?!

Make + Review – Pamper your Pooch by Rachelle Blondel

Make + Review – Pamper your Pooch by Rachelle Blondel


If you’re a dog lover, this book is probably worth buying for the cute pictures alone!  There are also some really great ideas to make for your dog, or as gifts.

I sewed a travelling dog bed for Hetty.  It’s made from brushed cotton and backed with  waxed cotton.  I filled it with two layers of wadding (the pattern says one, but I suppose it depends on the wadding you are using) then quilted by hand tying in a grid.

Pamper Your Pooch travelling dog bed

I’m keeping this on the back seat of the car – it stays put and doesn’t get rucked up like the blanket I was using.  She could also use it when visiting or under the table in a pub to keep her comfortable and happy.

Pamper Your Pooch travelling dog bed

I also made her some of the carrot and oat biscuits.  She loves these!  I hadn’t thought of making dog treats before and will certainly keep making them.  They only keep for a week and the recipe makes quite a few.  I don’t want a podgy pooch so I froze some of the dough to use later – which worked perfectly.

Pamper Your Pooch dog biscuitsThe downside of the book for me is that Hetty is very rough with her toys, so I wouldn’t make her any of the stuffed toys, or anything which might be damaged by chewing.

However, there is plenty for the feisty terrier. I’m going to try the plaited jute toy and the sweet potato chew strips.  I also love the towel with built in hand pockets for bath time.

I highly recommend Pamper Your Pooch.  There are so many patterns and recipes, most dog owners will find something they want to make.  Though if you’re making things as gifts, check they are suitable for that dog, and I would attach an ingredients label to the food items.

You can find some of the patterns and recipes, including the dog biscuits, here.

I’ll leave you with some more cute doggy pics.

Pamper your Pooch review

Top 5 hits and misses of 2014

Top 5 hits and misses of 2014

Yay!  Gillian’s (Crafting a Rainbow) top five lists are back.  I love reading these – look  forward to catching up with everyone!

I’m going to split my top fives into two posts, and here are my hits and misses.

1 & 2. Two favourites in one outfit – McCall’s 6751 top and New Look 6100 shorts.  I made these for our holiday in September, and looking forward to next summer so I can make some more.  They fit, are comfortable, and I forget I’ve made them (which is a real sign that I’m happy!).

McCall's 6751

3. Next, Colette’s Myrtle dress, made with my swap butterfly fabric from Alexa of Almost a Hippy. This pattern got some mixed reviews.  I made a size smaller than usual, based on what other sewists had said, and very happy with it.  I lengthened the bodice by a couple of inches, which is a common alteration for me.

Colette Myrtle butterfly dress Vogue 9926

4. Vogue 9926 sweatshirt – I wore it ’till the fabric wore out.  There is no better recommendation!

Burda 7531

5. Burda 7531.  A simple skirt in the perfect a-line shape for me.  I wore this one a lot.  Love the colour too!

The misses – only three!


1. Sadly, my Cake Red Velvet dresses.  The weight of the skirt stretched the middle section out, and they just look weird now.

2. The Prima pattern vintage fabric skirt.   It just isn’t right for me – too swishy.  I will try to make it into something else.

3. I love the skirt pattern from Simplicity 1783, and I learned some new techniques (fly zip, patch pockets).  But the denim was poor quality, and creased horribly during washing (even though I pre-washed).

Lessons learned?

  • I need to make more comfortable, everyday clothes as they are my most successful makes.
  • Try on different styles in the clothes shops first to see if they suit me.  No point making a full skirt if I wouldn’t buy one.
  • Don’t buy rubbish fabric!
The five sewing highs…and lows… of 2012

The five sewing highs…and lows… of 2012


Inspired by Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow, I thought I’d have a look back at 2012.

My top five makes of the year are (long pause, tense music etc)…

1. Burda (10/2012) coat.  I’ve worn this lots of times and really love it.  Also one of my fastest makes due to no lining, seam finishing or buttonholes!

Burda 102 10 / 2012

2. Megan Nielsen Kelly skirt.  Such a lovely versatile pattern and reminds me of holiday time.  I do like a pocket or two, and my first attempt at machine made buttonholes.

Kelly skirt

3. Vintage Simplicity dress.  Makes me feel glamorous and happy – what more could I ask!  Also my first attempt at grading up a pattern so rather proud of this one.

1960 Simplicity dress

4. Vogue 1247 skirt.  Lovely shape, great pockets – will make this again and again.  I made a muslin for this in black stetch denim which had got badly creased in the wash.  It doesn’t look great, but I wear it all the time at home with a jumper and woolly tights – probably my most worn make.  Does anyone know how to stop denim fabric creasing in the wash?  I know you turn jeans inside out – but I can’t turn fabric inside out!

Vogue 1247

5. Colette Jasmine.  The perfect top for me, the bias cut is really flattering, it doesn’t have any fastenings, and I do like a v neck.  I’ve made this pattern three times so far, most recently my own long sleeved version.

Colette Jasmine

And the lows

Sewaholic Cambie dress  Colette Hazel 2 Tiny pocket tankPrint dress 2 Chagford Rag Market

1. Sewaholic Cambie.  Lovely pattern, but I made it in cotton with a slight sheen, which looks awful in sunlight.  Every dart and crease is highlighted.  Will definitely make again next summer.

2. Colette Hazel.  I changed the skirt and shoulder strap placement, but it’s still not right for me.  Just a bit bleugh about this one.

3. Grainline tiny pocket tank.  This looks great on other people, but too tight/baggy (in the wrong places) on me.

4. Colette Truffle.  Shift dresses don’t suit me or my lifestyle – something a little flared like the Cambie is much more me.  Also the fabric was quite stiff so didn’t work too well.  Cut up and made into something else a while back!

5. Kelly skirt 2.  Love this in a drapey fabric, doesn’t look so good on me in wool.  I wore this once, but it makes me look twice the size I am – especially from the back.  I’ve held onto it though.  Might see if I can change the back.

It’s been interesting for me to look back like this.  I can see that fabric choice is very important.  I sometimes fall in love with a print, but must remember to match the right pattern to the fabric.  Generally I prefer soft fabric with a lot of drape.

I’m also learning which shapes look good on me – and which don’t!

And it’s good to take a deep breath and be brave sometimes – I’m amazed the Burda coat was so easy to do and lovely to wear.

To come next time –

  • Top 5 Lessons Learned
  • Top 5 Blogs and Bloggers that Inspire
  • Top 5 Goals for the New Year

See  Crafting a Rainbow for more.