Category Archives: Sewing

Sew My Style – Lander shorts review

I had already made a pair of cropped Lander pants from linen earlier in the year but I really fancied making the shorts version. I had got the fit spot on with the trousers so knew what I needed to do for the shorts version.

I was going to make the shorts from some black linen for a chic look, however, as we have been having such a lovely summer in the UK and I’ve been wearing lots of colour lately, I changed my mind and opted for this gorgeous tropical themed Palms Peach cotton by Cotton and Steel. I think the colours are so stunning and it really gives the shorts a great summer vibe.

I lined the shorts with some scraps of the flamingo linen that I made my Jenny Overalls from, to continue the tropical theme!

The adjustments I made were to take out half an inch from the centre back seam graduating to the normal 5/8 inch seam allowance at the back notch. I then just cut a really long waistband so that I could cut it down to size to fit the trousers.

I decided to go for the inside front pockets. I had seen that Kelly from True Bias had posted this hack on her blog and thought it looked good. I wasn’t especially keen on trying to pattern match this busy print so this was a good alternative! I think it works really well and would definitely use this finish again.

I used some large red buttons from my stash and I think they look really good against the fabric.

As with my latest Carnaby dress, I used the cute Cotton and Steel selvedge as a label on the inside of the waistband. I used these gorgeous sunglasses for some cute detail!

I love the length and fit of the shorts – they fit so well and don’t feel too short! I will definitely make another pair now that the fit is spot on. Maybe a denim pair next?

Cute Kitty Carnaby

As I have been wearing my first Nina Lee Carnaby dress all the time this Summer, I thought it would be a good idea to make another one. I love that it is so easy to throw on and makes you feel put together while still being really comfortable to wear.

I bought some of this gorgeous Cotton and Steel fabric from Sew Scrumptious when we did our Pop Up Shop together last week and couldn’t wait to make it into another Carnaby. The dress really lends itself to being made from mid weight cottons, and I love the fun prints from Cotton and Steel.

In my previous version, I had omitted the back zip and opted for a button and loop closure, but seeing as I don’t even need to undo that to get it on, I decided to omit a closure altogether for this version and cut the back piece on the fold. I had to adjust both the back bodice and back skirt pieces to account for this and it did mean taking out some of the shaping near the hips but I still think it works just as well.

I also needed to cut the back facing piece on the fold and then I attached the new all in one facing to the dress using the burrito method. There are some great youtube tutorials on this, if you need further help.

Cotton and Steel fabrics tend to have adorable selvedges and I think this was the best one I’ve seen yet! It is highly complementary and tells you that “You look nice today” so I decided to add it as a label on the neck facing.

Overall, I think my favourite thing about this dress has to be the pockets. I used some leftover Cotton and Steel fabric in a contrasting pink for the pockets and facings – I think it just adds some nice detail. The pockets are just so useful for storage and means you don’t need to carry a bag!

The Carnaby pattern has proved really popular lately but the good news is, I have just restocked them!


Seren dress – pattern review

With two new Tilly and the Buttons patterns released this month, we are spoilt for choice but I decided to start with the Seren dress as I haven’t sewn a lovely summery dress in a while.

I was a bit torn between the tie front and plain front but I decided to go with something a bit different altogether – separates! When I first saw the Ariana embroidered chambray, I had a vision of it being made into a cool midi length button up skirt, worn with tan coloured clogs. I decided to make that vision a reality by hacking the Seren into the midi skirt I had in my mind, with a matching tie front top!

I made some other crucial changes too. Firstly, I added the all important side seam pockets. I just would have felt weird not having them there and they are super easy to add in. Secondly, I lined the bodice using white cotton lawn, rather than using the facings. I prefer the clean finish of a lined garment, and there is no faffing about with keeping the facings down. I also thought the flash of white  on the tie front would be a cute detail.

To make the lined bodice, I simply omitted the facings and cut another set of back and front pieces out of my lining fabric. I did interface them using the facing pieces as a template, just so that the button holes would be easier. I left a gap in one of the lining side seams to enable me to turn it all through and then I sewed the perimeter of the bodice together (RST). After trimming the seams, I then pulled it through and hand stitched the side seam gap using a ladder stitch. Easy peasy!

The skirt was a little trickier, as after I had sewn the front button stand facing on and understitched them, and sewn the side seams to the back skirt, I tried it on and it was way too big. It would have been a lot of work to unpick either of the seams and the fabric I used was not the easiest to unpick, due the embroidery. My solution was to fold the button stand back on itself on both sides and topstitch in place. This gave it a cleaner finish but did add a lot of bulk which made sewing the buttonholes slightly challenging.

I then attached the waistband and just sewed it to meet the new front end pieces.

There are 15 buttonholes on the midi length version of the Seren. And that is a lot of buttonholes when you are having to fight with the machine on every one! It is also a lot of buttons to sew on, but I sat in the sunshine doing that so it wasn’t too onerous.

I was thinking about using copper jeans buttons but in the end I found some cute wooden ones which will match my shoes perfectly!

I am really pleased with the look of the outfit together. And I have great options to wear them as separates and combine multiple looks.

The instructions, as always, are really easy to follow. Obviously I went off piste for a lot of the steps but if you are making the dress as normal, it should be a breeze!

I would really like to make the ruffle front version of the dress in a cool floaty rayon next.


Honeycomb shirt – pattern review

Honeycomb is the latest pattern release from indie designer Ana from Cocowawa Crafts. It has an option of making it as a dress or a shirt.

The gorgeous Ana invited me and a few other sewing bloggers to a sewing day at the Village Haberdashery to make our own Honeycombs. It was a wonderful day and I was very honoured to have been included!

I chose to make the shirt version of the Honeycomb as I want to try and make some more separates for my handmade wardrobe.

I used this lovely Silverleaf cotton lawn Lady McElroy fabric. I love the red details of the leaves against the soft grey blue colour. I picked out this red detail with the prettiest little heart buttons too!

I also chose to line the yoke and inner collar band with a white cotton lawn as I love the way it looks.

The pattern itself is fairly straightforward. It is really easy to fit as you use the waist ties to synch it in.

Ana’s instructions are great and she does a fab job of explaining the burrito method, which gives a lovely clean finish to the lined yoke. There is also a great sew along on her blog if you get stuck!

I’m really pleased with how my shirt came together. It is lovely on a hot day if you want to be a bit more covered up from the sun.

I plan to make a Honeycomb dress next out of a lovely drapey rayon – I’ll probably make the sleeveless version as I like how it is balanced.




Stevie and Seren fabric inspiration

Unless you’ve had your head under a rock over the last few weeks, you can’t have failed to see the images of the newest Tilly and the Buttons’ pattern releases.

Stevie is an easy-to-make, easy-to-wear top or dress you’ll want to throw on every day. It has a modern, boxy fit, closing at the back with either a button loop or pretty ties.

Seren is a flirty button down dress that will be your go-to this summer.
Take your pick from a tie-front bodice, on-trend neckline flounce or classic version, with knee-length or midi-length hem.

I’ve put together my fabric picks for both patterns and have 10% off all of these fabrics and both the Seren and Stevie patterns with the code TILLYNEW.

The code is valid for all fabrics shown and the paper patterns until midnight GMT on Sunday 8th July, while stocks last.

Stevie inspo

As there are no darts, the Stevie tunic will let you show off a really bold print without interruptions.

Flamingo linen/viscose

Mono daisy linen/viscose

Stay Humble cotton

Indie Boheme Folk Pleats cotton

Firelight Roses Cotton and Steel cotton

Or go for a classic plain option with our Black or beige linen/rayon mix.

Seren inspo

Use soft and drapey cottons or rayons for a stunning summery dress:

Ariana embroidered chambray

Flora songbird cotton

Panda retreat cotton lawn

Gingham seersucker

Silverleaf cotton lawn

Tropicalia rayon

Pottery Black Cotton and Steel rayon

Libby viscose

Friendship Migration cotton lawn

I can’t wait to make these patterns and am busy trying to decide which fabric to go for first! I can’t wait to see everyone’s versions popping up all over Instagram!



Carnaby dress – pattern review

When I first saw the Carnaby dress by Nina Lee, I must admit my first thought was, cute but not for me. However, Instagram is a wonderful place for inspiration and having seen lots of lovely Carnabys popping up in my feed lately, I thought I would give it a try. 

I have loved all of Nina’s patterns that I have made so far, so much so that she was the first pattern brand I reached out to to stock in my shop. Her patterns are just so cool and wearable, with lots of interesting details.

When I got the Florometry Cotton and Steel fabric isn’t the shop, my first thought was that it would make a great Carnaby dress. The dress calls for fabric with a bit of structure and is the perfect canvas to show off a bold print. This particular fabric is now sold out, but there are lots of other lovely mid-weight cottons that would work perfectly.

As I was off to the annual Blogtacular event, and with the photo walk approaching, I decided to give this dress a go. I only needed a metre of the main fabric for the sleeveless dress and I used 50cm of the Coin Dots fabric for the pockets and facings. The combination of the two fabrics work so well together.

I decided to go with the sleeveless version as the fabric is so bright and summery, but it will also give me the option to layer it over at t shirt if necessary.

I had heard that the back zip was slightly redundant as it can be slipped over the head without undoing it, so I decided to omit it and make a keyhole opening instead with a ribbon loop and bottom fastening. I’m really pleased I did, as it gives it a nice twist. I also really don’t like exposed zips on clothes as well so I would have changed it to a concealed or lapped zipper.

I adore the large deep pockets that are integrated into the skirt. I chose to make mine in a contrasting fabric so that they would give some interest.

I hemmed my dress using some pretty pink bias binding and turning it to the inside. Completely unnecessary but it makes me smile when I see it!

I’m really pleased with the fit and the look of the dress. As I said, it’s not a silhouette I normally go for, but I am trying to branch out and try new things!

I will definitely be in the lookout for some more gorgeous fabrics for my next version.

The Blogtacular photowalk was fab and we found Frank’s Café in Peckham was the perfect venue to get some pictures of my dress!

Jenny overalls – pattern review

The fact that I have made two pairs of Jenny Overalls in the last week, should go some way to show just how much I love this pattern! (Spoiler altert!)

Jenny is the latest release from Closet Case Patterns and it comes with a multitude of style options. I have opted for the mid calf length overall option for my first two pairs as I wanted to wear them in warmer weather. I will be making a longer version for the winter months too. There are shorts and trouser options too.

The pattern is very 70’s in style, with a high waist and wide legs. There are various customisation options available, such as dual zippers, button up front and buttons rather than zips. Tutorials for all of these hacks are on the Closet Case Patterns blog.

I made my first pair from a mid weight cotton. This is the perfect fabric for a summer time pair as it is thick enough to give the structure required but not too warm.  A heavy denim pair would be lovely for Winter but far too warm for this time of year.

I lined the pockets with a pale yellow cotton and did a contrast bib facing and fly shield.

The size 2 fit like a dream straight out of the packet, the only adjustments I made were to take half an inch out of the back seam and take up the hem by an extra half an inch.

When I got this flamingo linen/viscose blend into the shop, I couldn’t resist making another pair from it.

I used some left over Atelier Brunette fabric that I made my Kalle shirt from for the pockets and fly shield and it makes me insanely happy when I see that colour combination!

The lapped zipper tutorial on the Closet Case blog is brilliant and holds your hand through the process. I think this was my first lapped zipper and it was easy as pie!

I decided to pattern match the flamingos meticulously on the front bib and pockets and I’m really pleased I did. I didn’t worry about anywhere else though as that would have been far too hard!

As this fabric is directional, I also had to change the waistband orientation so that the flamingos were going the right way. I had to cut the waistband facing as two parts, due to not having quite enough fabric to fit it on, but it worked out fine and isn’t visible from the outside.

I was a bit nervous about how much wear they would actually get as dungarees to tend to be a bit annoying to get off to go to the loo etc and sometimes aren’t the most comfy thing to sit around in if the rise is wrong. In reality, these are super comfy and I haven’t really taken them off since I made them! I think the fit is wonderful – I love the shape of them. I know I have made both my pairs in playful fabrics, but I think they would look really chic in black linen or denim.

So yes, there will definitely be many more pairs of these overalls in my life – I have a cheetah print pair planned next!






Four year blogaversary!

Thanks to a little calendar reminder, I realised that it is 4 years today since I launched my blog. In some ways, it seems like it’s been forever, but on the other hand I can’t believe it has been so long.

I started my blog while I was undergoing some pretty big life events and needed to carve out a space on the internet for documenting the creative journey I was taking. Little did I know that four years on, it would have made it possible for me to be doing my dream job and ultimately turning my hobby into my own business.

Looking back at my posts, I can see the initial enthusiasm and flurry of content, and then a long period of neglect while life got in the way! I then took up blogging with renewed energy and commitment at the start of 2017 and haven’t looked back since!

Funnily enough though, I have always continued to microblog and document my creative journey on instagram. It is so much more immediate and easier to create and consume content on but I think that people also still appreciate the detail that goes behind a blog post.

Thank you all, dear readers, who have stuck with me.

Over the years, I have made some wonderful friends through my blog and Instagram and have been afforded some fantastic opportunities, so it is something that I will always be grateful for.

This year, I was also really excited to welcome my guest bloggers – the LSA Blog Squad – when I opened the shop. This group of awesome sewing bloggers are adding fantastic reviews and articles to the blog each week.

By way of celebration of my four year blogaversary, I am giving away a free Sewcialist patch (worth £5) with all orders placed on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 (offer ends Midnight GMT).

Thank you all for your continued love and support.

Sarah xx

The cat’s pyjamas

I had some of this stunning Cat Nap Pink Art Gallery Fabrics cotton that I bought from Sew Me Sunshine in my stash for a little while. I was planning on making the Carolyn pyjamas by Closet Case Patterns, however, as I always wear vest tops to bed, I didn’t want to make the Carolyn top as I knew it wouldn’t get worn.

While browsing through one of my wholesalers, I spotted that they had the same design in a jersey and I couldn’t resist getting some for the shop. I then decided to go the whole hog and make my perfect pyjamas using the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top as a base.

I have made several Agnes vests previously and it is my go to pattern so this was a no brainer.

I only had enough fabric for the Carolyn shorts, but I think it worked out really well as I love wearing pj shorts in the summer time. I opted for the piped version, using some shop-bought ivory satin bias binding. For the three pairs of Carolyns that I have made, I have adapted the waistband so that I can add ribbon as a waist tie. To do this, I simply attach the waistband side seams to match the trouser side seams. I then add two buttonholes to the front to lace the ribbon through. Easy peasy and I think it gives a lovely professional finish.

The Agnes vest was made in my usual way, with a dipped back and then coverstitched hem, neckband and armholes. I also added a bit of the lace trim to tie the two together.

I think these are officially my favourite pjs ever!

Oh and maybe I made a little cape for Jasmine too…just maybe!!




Simplicity 8558 Pattern Review

The team at Simplicity Patterns asked me if I would review a couple of the patterns from their new collection. When I had a look at the new styles, I was delighted to say yes.

The first pattern I chose was 8558, a three in one pattern from Mimi G. I’ve heard lots of good things about her collection so was excited to start on this one. There is a jacket, a cropped vest and culottes (either ankle or knee length).

I opted for the vest top and ankle length culottes.

I made the vest from the most divine Art Gallery Fabric, that I have been dying to work with since I got it in the shop! It was lovely to work with and washed really well. It has tiny white crosses on it.

I think that the cropped vest looks really cute and summery but I do have some issues with the pattern.

I found that the vest top doesn’t fit that well. I need more coverage in some areas and less in others so would need to do a lot of tweaking to be really happy with this pattern.

I think the vest design is overly complicated and takes far too long for such a tiny garment! This is due to all of the bindings and having to press in such narrow folds. My preferred vest pattern is a hack of the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top, where I can just turn over the edges and coverstitch them. I think this is a much easier method and is quicker, as well as giving better coverage over the bra.

I made the culottes from a tencel chambray in the most stunning mid blue colour. The tencel is dreamily soft and I wish all of my clothes were made out it! The fabric has a similar drape to viscose but is slightly easier to work with.

The culottes have in-seam pockets, which immediately gets them extra brownie points! The construction is pretty straightforward and they can be made in a few hours. The only elements I changed were, shortening the hem by an inch, as they came up fairly long on me, and I also omitted the three smaller elastic pieces that make up the waistband, in favour of one wide piece of elastic. I then top stitched the elastic in place to give it a nice ruched effect.

I think these trousers are going to be my go-to trousers over the warmer months. I think they will also pair really well with my cropped Kalle shirt.

I may still make the jacket option, as it does look lovely as an ensemble and I will definitely make more of the culottes.

I think the yellow and blue go beautifully together and I think this would be such a great outfit to take on holiday.