Tag Archives: sewing tutorial

Me Made May 2018

I have taken in part in Me Made May for the last few years and am really pleased to be taking part again this year. So pleased in fact, that I am getting involved even further by offering a discount to participants during the last week of May! Zoe, who organises the event, will be sharing more information about this as we get into May.

As I have just launched my own business, my working wardrobe has changed significantly. Gone are the corporate dresses and skirts, in favour of a more relaxed working style ( I am still getting dressed every day by the way, even though pjs are tempting!)

I will therefore be using mmmay 18 to identify the gaps in my new style working wardrobe. To see where I need more of a certain type of garment. I will also use this challenge to identify garments that I know I won’t wear any more and donate them to charity.

So my pledge is this:

I, Sarah McKenna, of Like Sew Amazing, sign up as a participant of Me Made May. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade garment every day for the month of May and I will document my daily outfits on Instagram and do a round up blog post at the end of the month. I will use this challenge to identify and wardrobe gaps and donate any handmade garments that I no longer need to charity.

It always feels like such a special time of year which really brings the sewing community together and I can’t wait to see everyone’s pledges and outfits!

Sarah x

Jenny’s Cute Kitty Agnes

Jenny from Give us a Toile shares the first LSA Blog Squad blog post, and it is cute as a button!!
Given that I was so late to the indie pattern party after my long break from sewing, I couldn’t go on too much longer without tackling some Tilly and the Buttons. After making her name appearing on the first series of the Great British Sewing Bee, she’s now so famous in the sewing world that she’s even become a drinking game on my favourite crafty podcast Stitcher’s Brew, and I must admit that her Stretch book has become my bible with all the jersey sewing I’ve been doing. Her patterns are incredibly popular, thanks I’m sure to their simplicity, great visual instructions, and high quality paper which you can easily re-fold and get back in the packet unlike traditional patterns which seems to expand as soon as you release them from their paper prison. As I’m on a bit of a stretchy roll at the moment I chose to start with the Agnes top. A great wardrobe staple with a few options to choose from to mix things up.
Usually I would diligently trace off my pattern to allow for alterations but this time I was feeling impatient and I figured ‘It’s Tilly, she knows what she’s doing’ so I just went from my measurements and cut the size 4 straight from the packet. My wearable toile showed up a few issues, namely my age-old problem of having narrow shoulders. Luckily as I’d chosen the ruche sleeved version I didn’t have to faff about adding anything to the sleeve head. Score! it was also just a bit too tight in the body for me. It’s a pretty curvy pattern so I just added a little to the waist curve and hip and it was problem solved.
Being as the sleeves are so pretty it deserved a pretty fabric and this good quality jersey from Like Sew Amazing was the perfect choice.
What’s not to love about the kitsch but wearable qualities of a fabric like this?! Best thing about it too was that it didn’t roll at the cut edges which made the process of constructing my Agnes a whole lot easier.
My one top tip for anyone making the ruched sleeve version is to allow more elastic than Tilly tells you to. She gives you an extra bit to hold onto at the bottom as you pull to get it through the machine, but if you also allow yourself a bit extra at the top you avoid potentially back-tacking off the end and you get a much more robust starting point for all the tugging it takes to get a good result. See the difference?
Just a little snip of the excess at the top and you have a far nicer effect.
Given the kitty print I couldn’t resist a little extra cuteness with a feature bow at the neckline. Some good quality cream scuba gave the perfect spring-back to make it hold it’s shape. Do you think Tilly would approve?

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.


Lander Pants – Pattern Review

I have had the PDF of the True Bias Lander Pants printed out and ready to go since they were first released but I was waiting for the perfect fabric to come along.

I recently got the most stunning linen/viscose blend into the shop and knew that it would be a match made in heaven. I chose the beige colour for my first pair of Landers, but I know I will be making a pair in the black colour way very soon too!

I decided to make the cropped trousers as Spring is finally here in the UK and I am feel that my wardrobe is missing some seasonally appropriate garments.

I lined the pockets in this cute green cotton fabric – the pocket linings aren’t visible at all, but I know they are there!

The construction of the trousers was pretty simple – the instructions for the fly front and very straight forward and they only took me about 5 hours to make from cutting out the pattern to last stitch.

The only adjustments I made were to take the back seam in by about half and inch and to take the side seams in by quarter of an inch on both sides. As these are high waisted and I have a big difference between my waist and hips, I prefer to nip them in as much as possible to avoid that dreaded gape at the back when I sit down.

I used these lovely wooden buttons for the closure and I think it gives them a really classic look.

Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with these. The fabric was a dream to work with and, due to the viscose content, its softer and doesn’t crease as much as regular linen.

I think the combo of the landers with my cropped Closet Case Patterns Kalle shirt will be one of my favourite looks this Spring.

Sarah x

SewMyStyle April – Marigold Jumpsuit Hack

With Spring on the horizon, it seems fitting that the Sew My Style pattern for April is the Tilly and the Buttons Marigold jumpsuit.

Funnily enough, the pattern has never appealed to me as much as Tilly’s other patterns because I am a short girl anyway, and I think it has a tendency to make people look shorter than they are! With that in mind, I decided to carry out a bit of a hack to make it suit my style a bit better.

I had drafted a culottes pattern last year and used that as the basis of the trousers. I had also made a couple of jumpsuits last summer with culotte trousers and really liked that style.

I also decided to omit the facings from the bodice, as I love the look of a fully lined bodice. I used a white cotton lawn as the lining and I think it gives a really professional finish.

Fit wise, it was pretty spot on, but was a little tight across the bust, so I just let it out slightly.

The fabric I used is a stunning Lady McElroy fabric that was kindly gifted to me by my lovely friend Harriet from Sew Me Sunshine. It is a tropical print cotton poplin in the most perfect peach colour. Funnily enough, I had already ordered the Navy colour for my shop, and hadn’t twigged they were the same design so I must really love it!!

It is a tiny bit on the sheer side – nothing to worry about, but definitely not the time to wear black undies!

Overall, I am really pleased with how it turned out. I’m so glad I changed the trouser shape as it is just much more me! I feel like I need to book a holiday now so I can swan around in it!!

I’d love to know how all you Sew My Stylers are getting on with your Marigolds this month!

Sarah x





Join the Like Sew Amazing Blogger Team

If you are a keen sewist and would like to work as part of our blogger team, applications are now open.
Each blogger will be sent free fabric for their chosen blog projects, and their make and blog post will be featured on the Like Sew Amazing blog and shared on our social media channels.
Fill out this survey if you would like to be part of the team.

A few notes:

  • You don’t have to have huge numbers of followers – you just need to show a love of sewing!
  • You need to be able to commit to getting projects made and blog posts written within the timescales agreed.
  • You need to be comfortable with your images being shared on the Like Sew Amazing blog and social media.
  • Unfortunately, this is restricted to UK residents only.
  • Entries close on midnight GMT on Friday 20th April


Sarah x


Simple Sew Amelia Tea Dress – Pattern Review

I am really pleased to be part of the Simple Sew Blogger team this year. What this means is that I am going to be reviewing some of my favourite Simple Sew patterns every month or so.

For my first review, I chose the Amelia Tea Dress, as I love the shirred waistband on it.

Amelia is described as the perfect day-to-evening pattern with a choice of two lengths of fluttery sleeve.

I chose to make mine from this stunning red floral viscose that I got on a recent trip to the Birmingham Rag Market. For those not in the know, the Liberty Man has the best fabric selection!

The viscose was really easy to work with and remains surprisingly uncreased.

I cut out the smallest size, as it was closest to my measurements. I do think that they could do with one size smaller for us tiny girls though.

I chose the version with the smaller sleeves.

The construction of the dress is pretty straightforward. I didn’t really find I needed to refer to the instructions, however, I think that there are a few steps missing, such as seam finishes and understitching. An experience sewist would do these naturally, however, I am not sure a beginner would without instruction.

I love the waistband with the eight rows of shirring elastic – I think it is super flattering and makes the dress really comfortable to wear.

I added in seam pockets to my dress, as I just really love pockets! To do this, I just used a pocket piece from another dress and added the pockets in six cm down from the waistband. Easy!

Despite me choosing a very seasonally inappropriate make, I absolutely love my Amelia dress and can’t wait for the Spring time when I will get to wear it properly, hopefully without the tights and snowboots!

SewMyStyle February – Rumana Coat

February has been a really busy month for me and I wondered at times if I would get my Rumana coat finished in time!

I didn’t have any dedicated chunks of sewing time so I had to squeeze in the odd hour here and there but I got there in the end!

For those that haven’t seen it yet, the Rumana coat is the latest release from the girls at By Hand London. It is a fully lined, mid calf length coat pattern with princess seams that is an absolute classic shape and will be something to treasure for years to come.

I have some lovely grey wool in my stash but fancied making my first Rumana out of a navy cupro, to give it more of a trench coat vibe. I also wanted to check the fit and length before I cut into my expensive wool so was happy for this to be a toile if necessary.

I wanted to have a really interesting lining for a dramatic flash of colour and I found the most perfect tropical print viscose from Minerva Crafts. The colour match of the blue with the cupro is pretty spot on.

As per my previous post, I used an polyester lining for the sleeves to help them slip on and off more easily.

I needn’t have worried about the fit – it is spot on, and surprisingly the length is great on me, considering I am only 5’2! I have seen a lot of shortened versions on instagram but I love the longer length.

In terms of the construction, there are a lot of parts and I think it pays to be really organised. I like to keep my pattern pieces pinned to the fabric so that I can be sure which bit is which.

I did find the instructions/illustrations to be a little bit confusing in some places – it was really great to have the Facebook group for SewMyStyle so that we could all hive mind where necessary as it seems a lot of people were encountering the same issues. I think until the sewalong on the BHL website is finished, it may be a project to shelve for now if you are quite new to sewing, as it does need a little more handholding than the current instructions allow for.

I had to make some alterations to the pattern to allow for the fact that I wasn’t using a thicker wool. I redrafted the sleeve heads based on the lining pattern, as there wasn’t much difference in the weights of the two fabrics and I didn’t need to allow so much for “turn of cloth”. I managed to get the sleeves in with no puckers or gathers in the end, but it did take a while. Similarly, I had to shave some off of the collar band to account for the thinner fabric. Again that took a lot of patient easing in and unpicking!

I waited until my coat was finished before deciding on button placement. I ended up going with three wooden buttons which give a really nice shape and finish.

I will definitely make this coat again in a wool so that I have a lovely classic winter coat in my wardrobe. I’m just going to give myself a breather and some more “quick win” projects for a little while first!

Who else has made the Rumana and how did you find it?

Sarah x



Pattern review – The Avid Seamstress Day Dress

When I first saw the Avid Seamstress Day dress pattern, I fell in love instantly. It is such a simple, yet flattering silhouette and, above all, it has pockets!

I decided to make my first Day Dress (for I am sure there will be more) from one of the wonderfully fun Cotton and Steel fabrics that Harriet at Sew Me Sunshine stocks. My recent makes have been a bit more on the sensible side, and I was keen to embrace a bit of whimsy so I chose these adorable lemurs.

The fabric is a mid weight cotton, with a good amount of structure in it, absolutely perfect for the Day Dress or a similar pattern such as the Nina Lee Carnaby dress.

This was the first Avid Seamstress pattern I have worked with and the instructions are really clear, with lots of handy hints and sewalongs on the website.

I found the order of construction a little strange as you assemble the front and back completely separately, rather than the bodice and the skirt being separate. It still works out ok in the end, and I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t assemble it the more traditional way if you wanted to.

The only area that I had a little bit of trouble with was the waistband elastic. The pattern tells you to leave the first and last 2cms free from the elastic, but when I did that, it meant that the bodice was way too small for the skirt. I unpicked all of the elastic (yuck) and gathered it from end to end and that fixed the issue.

I knew that the smallest size was a tiny bit bigger than my measurements so I just used a slightly bigger seam allowance on the side seams and that worked out well. I didn’t want it super fitted but also wanted to make it flattering.

Overall, I absolutely love this dress. The fabric is just gorgeous – really lovely quality and the lemurs make me smile every time I look at them. The fit is great and I think it is a great addition to my handmade wardrobe.




Fehr Trade – Yoga Leggings Review

I first met Melissa Fehr when she gave a really inspiring talk at the Sewing Weekender last year. I loved her take on drafting patterns for clothes that would work with your body as you move.

I was thrilled to be asked to be part of Melissa’s blog tour to launch her book, Sew Your Own Activewear.

I decided that I would like to try out the yoga pants, as yoga is pretty much the only active thing I do at the moment (apparently, sewing doesn’t count)! I loved the design detail of the little pocket within the waistband.

I spotted this gorgeous neon coral sports jersey from Fabric Godmother and thought it would work well for the leggings. I also used some of their suede scuba which I had leftover from a dress, for the contrasting pockets. I even found some coral fold over elastic in my stash for the pocket trim.


What I found really interesting about the book is that, rather than being provided with patterns, you are given four blocks (close fitting top and bottom and loose fitting top and bottom), which you then use to create the patterns in the book, closely guided by Melissa’s instructions.

I have sewn a couple of simple leggings patterns before but I liked the separate waistband pieces of Melissa’s yoga pants.

I sewed these up on my overlocker, so that I could get the best and most long-wearing finish, with the exception of the elastic, which has to be attached using a regular sewing machine.

Next time, however, I would use a wider piece of elastic than indicated and probably wouldn’t attach it, as I did find that this method made the inside of the waistband bunch up slightly.

In terms of adjustments, I just took the inseam in slightly for a better fit and have adjusted my pattern already for the next time.

The leggings came together pretty quickly and easily in a couple of hours, including drafting the pattern.

I finished my hems using my coverstitch machine and even added some overstitching below the waistband for some interest.

The only issue I encountered was when I attached the waistband to the leggings inside out so had to spend 20 minutes unpicking the overlocking – but that will teach me for sewing when I am too tired!

Next time, I think I would use a fabric with a pattern on it, as plain colours like this do show up every lump and bump! It was certainly a challenge finding underwear that wouldn’t show up underneath them!

If you would like to sew your own activewear, you can buy the book here.

You can also get a sneak peak at the book here: