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Parisian adventures


Last weekend I took a trip to Paris for four days with my family to celebrate my Mum’s 70th birthday.

I decided that it would be a great challenge for me to wear only handmade clothes during the trip.

Day One:

Our flight left Bristol at 7:30am so we arrived in Paris at about 9:15am. After a ridiculously long (and overly expensive) Taxi journey to our hotel, we dropped off our bags and headed out to visit Sacre Cour to get a good view of the city.

Sacre Cour

I wore my cherry print Sew Over it Carrie Trousers and a black vest from Measure Twice as they are super comfy for travelling in. I didn’t get any good pictures though, as I was hampered by bags and coats but here is a recent pic of them!

Carrie cherry trousers

In the evening, we had a pre-dinner walk to the Louvre and a little wander along by the Seine.



Day Two:

While we waited for my brother and his girlfriend to arrive, I decided to kill some time by going back to the Sacre Cour area and looking around the fabric shops. I had been given some tips as to where to look for fabric by the lovely sewsarahuk. I couldn’t believe the sheer volume of shops and the size of some of them!

Frou FrouFabric shopping

I was actually a bit overwhelmed by choice so didn’t buy all that much! I got a lovely viscose cotton mix in an iridescent green, which will make a nice Sorbetto top . I also got a beautifully soft cotton pale blue striped cotton lawn, which I plan to make into a self-designed ruffled shirt.

The last shop I visited was just huge and I only made it through the ground floor! I bought some cotton to make a summer top from and also some crazy toucan and pineapple print cotton and matching pineapple print to make a circle skirt with contrast waistband – I am very excited to make this one as it will be perfect for the summer!

I was nearly very tempted by the gorgeous wools and cashmere but decided to let head rule over purse!

All of the details of the fabrics can be found on my Paris vlog!

As it was such lovely sunny day, I was very excited to debut my newly made Tilly and the Buttons Rosa shirtdress. I made it from a maroon spotty Robert Kaufman chambray that I bought from Sewn. I love that the reverse of the fabric can be used too so I made contrasting yokes, inner collar band and button plackets. I am so pleased with how it turned out and love the contrast detail. I decided against adding the patch pockets and opted for more practical side pockets, which I drafted myself. As with my previous Rosa shirt, I opted to omit the sleeves altogether and finish the armholes with satin bias binding.

My brother and his girlfriend arrived after lunch so we met up with them and caught up before heading out to dinner.

I am allergic to gluten, so eating in Paris was a bit of challenge for me. Thanks to google, I did track down some lovely places that were Celiac-friendly and on the Friday night, we went to a place called NoGlu, which was 100% gluten free. The food was incredible and I am so glad we found it. They also had a bakery where I could stock up for lunches and snacks!


Day Three:

I took my Sew Over It, Mollie dress out for a boat trip on the Seine!

We took a hop on hop off boat and visited lots of Paris’ main attractions. We stopped off at the Eiffel Tower and had a good look around. We decided not to go up it, as the queues were horrendous!

After that, we went to look at the Arc de Triumph and then took a stroll down the Champs Elysées.

As this was my Mum’s actual birthday, we got all dressed up and went out for dinner.


I wore my Vogue 8997 dress, which is part of the McCalls Pattern Company Cocktail Hour for the Eve Appeal. I am so pleased with the finished dress. I did have to make a few adjustments on the princess seams over the bust and also take out a good couple of inches from the back seam but it has turned out really well. I made it in a black stretch cotton sateen and navy lining, both from Minerva Crafts. I hemmed the lining with a silver bias trim for a cute little flash of colour when I sit down! I was planning on wearing it with strappy heels but the weather wasn’t quite warm enough so I had to stick with tights and boots.

After dinner, Alex and I took a trip down to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night – it was beautiful and the sky had put on a stunning display of pink and purple clouds for us!

Day Four:

We spent our last morning wondering around the area near to our hotel and going to see the Moulin Rouge. I wore my Breton Agnes top again, this time paired with my Sew Over It Erin skirt as I figured that would be a comfy outfit for travelling in.

The train ride to the airport and the flight home were pretty non-eventful and we had a lovely welcome home from the cat, who pretty much hasn’t left my side since I’ve been back!

You can hear more about my trip on my latest vlog.

January round up

Firstly a big hello and welcome to all of my new subscribers!

I heard a lot of talk from other sewists saying that they felt like they had lost their “sew-jo” during January – cold weather, post Christmas lull and not much inspiration being the main culprits. I have to say though, that for me, it was completely the opposite. I had so much creative energy and was super productive.

I made a grand total of 13 items for me, along with some alterations and making a skirt for a client.

In summary, the items I made for me were:

As I have been freelancing in my marketing day job, and my last contract finished just before Christmas, it did afford me lots of time with my sewing machine during the start of January.

I was also bought the Maker’s Workbook by Creative Industry for Christmas, which I have loved filling out for each project – especially sticking in the fabric swatches for each project!

Maker's workbook

I actually managed to rattle through five of my Make Nine projects in January alone, so I have now decided that I will try and get the original nine made by the end of March and then set another goal of nine more projects for the second quarter of the year and see how I get on.

I have been looking for a good turtleneck pattern to see my through winter and wear with dungaree dresses and I spotted the Rise pattern on Instagram. It was a pretty quick make and I’m really pleased with it.

Rise turtleneck

My second Cleo dress was dubbed the Cosmic Cleo due to the stars on the needlecord fabric and the sparkly topstitching thread. It’s such a great piece for winter and again, a really quick make.

Cosmic cleo

I’ve made a couple of pairs of the low waisted Ginger jeans previously and I love them. I decided to try out the high waisted option using an indigo stretch denim from Fabricland. The fit out of the packet is pretty much spot on and I only needed to reduce the seam allowance below the knee to make them more comfortable and move the back pockets to make them more flattering.

Ginger jeans

My friend and yoga teacher Keren, was holding a 70’s disco yoga session to liven up a dull and grey January, so I decided to make some suitably disco leggings for the session. They are a little ‘out there’ but I love them and have been wearing them to my yoga and dance fit classes ever since!

Disco leggings

I found a free pattern by George and Ginger for the Lovesick bra and it is so comfortable that I ended up making another two and have barely worn any other bras since! I made my first one in a swimsuit fabric and then made a disco one to match my leggings, along with a pug one from some scraps left over from my Linden sweatshirt.

Disco bra

To accompany the bras, I found the Scrundies pattern and it turns out they are the comfiest knickers in the world! I’ve made them to match all of the Lovesick bras and made another using scraps from my navy velvet Moneta. I see many more of these in my future!

Pug undiesScrundies


I finally got round to making the Rosa shirt. Initially I was going to make the shirtdress but thought I would get more wear out of the shirt version in Winter. It’s such a pretty colour and a wonderfully soft and drapey viscose.

Rosa shirt

As the Moneta party is imminent, I busted out my pattern and made my fourth Moneta so far in a stunning midnight blue stretch velvet from Calico. Its such a wearable dress and it’s nice to have a more evening version of it.


I have focused on creating items for my handmade wardrobe that are really wearable pieces.

Rosa Shirt

The Rosa shirt by Tilly and the Buttons is on my Make Nine list for this year.

I have actually had the pattern since it was released and even had the fabric washed and ready to go but just hadn’t got round to making it.

I have made quite a few men’s shirts before, so am quite familiar with tailoring techniques and was really keen to sew a nice button up shirt for myself.

I was going to start with the shirtdress option but I then changed my mind and decided to sew up the shirt version in a stunning cornflower blue viscose that I bought from Sewn. This is one of my all time favourite colours – so much so, that the front of my house is painted in this shade!

I chose a floral blue and white cotton for the button stand, collar stand and the inside of the cuffs (more on that later).

collar band and button band

Cutting out the viscose was a little tricky. Despite a new rotary blade and lots of pattern weights, the fabric slipped and shifted around like nobody’s business! Most of the pieces were ok, but the collar and collar band were pretty unrecognisable from their original shape so I decided to interface both pieces , rather than just the upper collar and band. In order to do so, I cut the pieces out of the interfacing first, and then fused them to the main fabric, before I cut it out. I only used a lightweight interfacing and it worked out pretty well.

inside collar

As the viscose was pretty lightweight and drapey, I decided not to use a traditional thicker topstitching thread as I thought it would look out of balance. I just used the matching polyester thread that I was using on a longer stitch length of 3.5 for any topstitching.

collar close up

I had decided to use the longer cuffed sleeve bonus pattern that Tilly released after the main pattern was on sale. I made one modification though as I recut the cuff pattern so that I could have the contrast fabric on the inside of the cuff. This was all going well, until I tried the shirt on during construction to check the rough fit and found that I really loved it as a sleeveless shirt!! I therefore decided to abandon the sleeves and finish the armholes with some bias binding instead.

inside sleeve

I promise that it has nothing to do with the fact that I hate ironing sleeves.

OK, maybe it has a little to do with it.

OK, maybe a lot!

But genuinely, I really loved the look of the sleeveless version and thought it showed how well the colour complimented my skin tone, which you just wouldn’t have seen with a full sleeved shirt. (Plus, ironing!!)

A quick run down of how I altered the pattern to make the sleeveless version…

  1. I ran a basting stitch at the 5/8 inch seam line on the armhole
  2. I measured the seam line to work out how much bias binding I would need and cut it to size
  3. I sewed the bias tape together (cutting across both ends on the diagonal to ensure a straight line
  4. I sewed the side seams of the shirt together
  5. I sewed the bias tape on the outside of the shirt at the 5/8 inch seam line, making sure I was on the basting line
  6. I clipped the excess fabric back to the level of the bias tape
  7. I pressed the bias tape to the inside of the armhole, ensuring I turned a couple of millimetres of the main fabric to the inside so that the facing didn’t show on the outside
  8. I pinned around the armhole to keep the binding in place
  9. I hand stitched the bias tape to the inside using an invisible slip stitch
  10. I pressed the finished armholes to make sure they were nice and neat

Seam line

Bias binding

Pinned armholes

Overall, I am really pleased with the result. It will be perfect for the Spring/Summer, but I think I can get some good wear out of it now, with the aid of a thick cardi!

Unbuttoned collar

Back view

So that is four makes out of nine done, and January isn’t over yet!

Finished shirt