Tag Archives: nina lee

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!


Pattern Review – Nina Lee Southbank Dress and the #smyly2018 challenge

My first make of 2018 was a real comfort food of a make – the Nina Lee Southbank dress!

I’ve made a couple of Nina’s patterns previously – the Portabello trousers and the Bloomsbury blouse and I absolutely love them both so had high hopes for the Southbank!

I had bought some gorgeous leopard print french terry with the softest fleece on the reverse from Stoff and Stil when I was at the Knitting & Stitching Show and was waiting for the perfect project to use it. I could have made a trusty Linden from it, but when I saw the Southbank pattern, I thought it would be perfect, as I would get more use out of it, as I could even wear it to work during the colder months.

I did think about doing contrasting neck, arm and hem bands from a grey rib knit, but I’m really glad I stuck with the leopard print throughout.

I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern, apart from moving the pockets up by about half an inch, as I heard that they can be a little bit low down for short girls. This worked out really well and I am happy with their placement now, so will make sure I adjust the notches on my paper pattern.

The other thing I did with the pockets is use the reverse side as the right side so that the cosy fleece is against my hands.

The dress was a pretty quick so and I have to say the Nina Lee has done it again! I absolutely love it! So much so, that I chose it to be my outfit for the #smyly2018 (sewing makes you love yourself) challenge. I was asked to be an ambassador for this by the organisers. They are asking people to create a garment that makes you feel beautiful and I think this dress really fits the bill, for several reasons:

  1. it is leopard print
  2. it is so cosy
  3. it is comfortable
  4. it is secret pyjamas
  5. pockets!!
  6. it just looks really cool – such a great shape

While this wouldn’t be the type of silhouette I would normally go for, I really love the slouchiness of this dress – it is a great length, not too short but short enough and is great worn over tights and boots. I am going to try the hip length sweater version next and see if it can give the Linden a run for its money!

So, if you want to see more about my entry for the #smyly2018 challenge and more about my sewing story, head on over to my vlog.


Pattern Review – Nina Lee Bloomsbury Blouse

Why make one Nina Lee pattern, when you can make two?!

I thought that the Bloomsbury Blouse would be the perfect compliment to my recently made Portobello Trousers.

I had seen a few versions of the Bloomsbury and thought it looked like a great work wear staple.

I bought some lovely patterned rayon from Stoff & Stil when I was at the Knitting & Stitching show earlier in the month specifically for this blouse.

I decided to make the version with the smaller ruffle as I preferred the look of that one – I cut out the fabric for the neck ruffle too but decided it might be a step too far so I omitted it when it came to construction.

It sewed up really easily and the instructions were really clear. I love the idea of snipping into the seam allowance of the yoke to make it easier to join to the bodice – as the edges are all stay stitched, it means it won’t go out of shape but gives you enough room to manipulate it.

The fabric was lovely to work with and I’m really pleased with it, as it is not a light floaty rayon but has a nice weight to it so it is warmer.

I was worried that the ruffles would make me feel like a clown but I think they are really chic and I had lots of compliments when I wore the blouse out for the first time.

And can we take a moment to talk about how stunning these ceramic buttons from Beyond Measure are?! I spotted them at the Knitting & Stitching show too and thought they would be the perfect shade  to complement the fabric.

I would love to make another version of this top maybe in a plain black with a contrast yoke or ruffle.

Next time, I may make the sleeves a fraction longer and also, I will make sure I overlock the sleeve/ruffle seam really close to the stitching line as it does want to peep out.

Pattern Review – Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

When I was at the Great British Sewing Bee Live a couple of weeks ago, I bought the paper pattern of the Nina Lee Portobello Trousers. I also bought a piece of stunning charcoal grey wool and silk mix suiting from Holland & Sherry and I thought they would be a match made in heaven!

I had spoken to a few local bloggers who had made the trousers before and they advised that they came up on the big size so I made the smaller size, even though I was between sizes.

The suiting was an absolute dream to work with. It pressed beautifully and held its shape while still having a lovely drape.

I decided to use some plain grey cotton for the pockets, as I thought it would be less bulky. I understitched them as well to ensure they wouldn’t show on the outside.

The darts on the back give a lovely shape and the pleats on the front give a nice bit of interest.

I found the instructions to be really clear and I probably made the trousers in around 4 hours, including cutting out time.

I didn’t have to make any fit adjustments and used a four cm hem. I used my blind hemming foot for the hems as I didn’t want to have any machine stitching on the outside. I also hand stitched the waistband facing down for the same reason and I am so glad I did as it gives a beautiful finish.

Overall, I am really pleased with them. I love the high waist and of course, the pockets! It was a shame that today was so windy so we couldn’t really get any good pictures of them on!

I will definitely make another pair – maybe in a viscose for the summer.

Here’s a little outtake from the windy photoshoot!