Tag Archives: sewing vlogger

Sew My Style – Rumana Coat – Getting Started

Hands up who’s excited to make the Rumana Coat?!

I have been itching to get my hands on this pattern since I knew it was coming out last August and we were fortunate enough that By Hand London agreed to work with us for February to have it as our featured pattern.

For those sewists who are fairly new to sewing, or coat making, I thought I would give you an idea of where to start when gathering supplies.


Firstly, as this is a PDF only pattern, I would recommend printing via a copyshop. There are five AO sheets so, goodness knows how many if you were printing A4 at home! More power to you if you are up for that challenge, but I would much rather pay a few pounds extra and get someone else to do the leg work!

I personally use Netprinter, who are an online copy shop. I have used them for during 2017 and have never had any issues with them and find them super speedy. They do deliver internationally too. You can use the code ‘SEWMYSTYLE – Can I have my chocolate please?’ for an extra sweet treat with your order!

Outer fabric:

In the UK, we are still in the depths of Winter, so this is a great chance to break out the wool fabric. There are lots of lovely options out there and you can look at different wool blends with a fibre such as cashmere, for a more lux coat. Of course, if you are in a warmer climate, or would like a lighter coat, you could opt for more of a linen mix.

When I was shopping for wools, I found it much easier to shop in person. As the fabric tends to be more expensive, I really wanted to be able to see and feel the fabric to make sure I was 100 percent happy with it. Most online shops do offer samples though, if you do want to order online.

Lining fabric:

I love a colourful contrasting lining for a coat. It is mostly hidden but you get a flash of it, as you take it off. You can of course, use a more traditional acetate/polyester lining fabric and sometimes you can get them in a polka dot or similar pattern, however, they do tend to be quite plain. If you are looking for a patterned lining, I think a lovely cotton lawn or rayon would be perfect for the Rumana.

I adore the contrast lining of this version by Cotton Reel Studio.

One thing I would add, is that you should try and use something slinky on the sleeves, to allow you to get your arms in and out easily. You can use something different to your main lining fabric on the sleeves, but if you are using a cotton lawn for the entire lining, it will make it harder to get the coat on and off if the sleeves are also cotton lawn.

Fabric preparation:

I always pre-wash my fabric before sewing, however, with wool, I am going to leave it, as I won’t be washing it when it is sewn up into the coat. I would simply spot clean or dry clean. There is also an option to put the wool into the tumble dryer with a damp towel, however, I haven’t tried that myself, so please don’t take my word for it!

Lauren from Guthrie & Ghani has just done an excellent vlog on fabric care which you can find here.

Top Tips: 

Consider adding a small fabric loop on the inside under the collar (stand). This will help no end when it comes to hanging the coat up!

For a perfect fit, make a toile from a cheaper fabric before cutting into your main fabric. There are lots of areas that you can adjust the fit with this pattern – ie, the princess seams and the two part sleeves.

You may find it easier to block fuse your fabric. To do this, simply apply interfacing to a section of your fabric before cutting out your pattern pieces. I find this much easier and quicker than cutting out the interfacing separately from the main fabric and then fusing them together.

I can’t wait to see what everyone makes this month!

Mila dungarees – pattern review

Who hasn’t been waiting for the perfect dungarees pattern to be released?! Well Mila is finally here to save the day!

I bought the pattern as soon as it was released from the gorgeous Harriet from Sew Me Sunshine and it queue jumped everything else on my list meaning I got started on it as soon as I had some free time this weekend.

I had a 1.4 metre bolt end of indigo stretch denim from Fabric Godmother that I thought would be perfect for these dungarees. I had to do some very precise pattern tetris to get it to work, but my determination paid off! I also used this amazing Cotton and Steel Magic Forest Foxes fabric from Sew Me Sunshine for the inside front facing, back bib, inner waistbands and the back button tabs. I don’t even mind that you can see a bit of it peaking out from the button tabs as it is just so adorable!

I finished the raw edge of the front facing with some lovely satin bias tape. I know, only I will see this detail, but it will make me smile every time I put them on!

I was initially worried that the dungarees would sit right on my hips and not be the most flattering shape, but actually they come up quite high waisted on me and the fit is really good. I usually make a size 2 in Tilly’s patterns, but actually sized down to the 1 for the Mila, based on the finished measurements.

I top stitched using a lovely dark grey gutterman extra strength thread and it goes really well with the denim.

I took an inch off of the hems before I turned them up and they hit the perfect spot on my ankle, with the ability to turn them up for the summer months.

I also added some cute embellishments to the pockets. I got these lovely patches from Liberty on my last visit, which had been waiting for the perfect project. I especially love this lightning bolt on the front, which is very David Bowie!

I completely agree with Emily from Self Assembly Required about feeling as if they are missing side pockets. When I put them on, my first instinct was to put my hands in my pockets. I might see what I can do to hack the pattern to add pockets for my next pair!

If the Cleo dungaree dress was your introduction to dressmaking, then this will really develop your sewing skills. Nothing in the pattern is particularly difficult, and once again, Tilly’s instructions are super clear and helpful.

I can also confirm that, thanks to the stretch in the denim, they are super comfy to wear!

SewMyStyle January – Sunny dress

I was already sold on the Sunny dress by Friday Pattern Company as soon as I saw the sample picture of it. We chose this as the first pattern for the Sew My Style challenge as it seemed like a quick and easy make and would be a good way to ease everyone in, especially the more beginner sewists.

I managed to squeeze my dress out of a metre of leopard print jersey that I bought recently from Stoff & Still.

As I didn’t have enough to make a neckband with only one join, I decided to try just folding it over and coverstitching it. It actually worked out fine and was just one less step to worry about! I also coverstitched the sleeves and the hem.

One thing I have noticed about this pattern, is that due to the nature of the scallop, it can lead to quite a wavy hem, particularly if sewn in a lighter jersey, and twin-needled on a regular sewing machine. The coverstitch machine eliminates this waviness and gives a much more professional finish.

I didn’t make any adjustments on the pattern, however, next time, I would take the sleeves in slightly as they are just a little on the wide side for me, but not so much that I will alter this version!

Head on over to my YouTube channel for a more in depth review of this pattern.


Sarah x

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.


Little Red Dress Project

Hello and Happy Nearly Christmas to you all!

If you are a sewist on Instagram, you can’t have failed to have noticed that the Little Red Dress Project is back this December. This challenge started in 2016, and this year, Rosa from Rosabella Angelica and Renata from Running in Style are hosting.

The idea is that you sew a red dress and do the reveal on Instagram between 17th and 24th December.

I didn’t take part previously, but this year, I had a dress to make for the New Craft House Winter Party so I thought I would combine the two.

Normally, I am a dive right in kind of gal. I rarely make a toile and just fit as I go. However, as I don’t make many party dresses any more, and wanted this one to be a real labour of love, I spent quite a lot of time on preparation.

I liked the look of the By Hand London Flora dress, so made a toile of the bodice out of some old pillowcases. It really didn’t work for my figure and would have needed a lot of fit adjustments, so I abandoned that one in favour of the By Hand London Anna dress.

Initially, I did think that I would mix the Anna bodice with the Flora skirt to create a Floranna mash up. I made a toile of that and I really loved it as the skirt is much fuller and more twirlable (!) than the Anna skirt. But, after watching an episode of Mad Men where Peggy has a navy dress with the most amazing red godets, I came up with the idea of adding godets to the Anna to give that extra fullness. And not just any godets, sequinned ones!!

I bought some stunning deep red satin from Barry’s in Birmingham when I was up there for Sew Brum. I bought the red sequins and lining fabric from Fabricland.

As with my Liberty Anna, I decided to fully line it, especially as I didn’t want the sequins to irritate my skin. I didn’t add the godets to the lining skirt, as I didn’t think that would be necessary.

The godets were a bit of trial and error, I ended up making them a bit smaller in the end as I preferred how that looked.

I usually love a dress with pockets but decided not to add them to this one, as I didn’t want to ruin the line of the dress and the satin showed every single thing so they would have really shown through.

The sequinned fabric was really good to me – I just sewed it up on my normal machine and I even managed to overlock the edges, with only one broken needle to show for it! I know you are normally advised against overlocking sequins, but as I was only finishing the edges in a single layer, I went for it and it paid off!

As an extra flourish and to add a bit of detail to the bodice, I added some sparkly beads, which I painstakingly hand stitched. The plan was to add quite a lot of them cascading down from the shoulders, however, when the four rows that I did manage took about 3 hours, I decided to call it quits then!

I had to be really precise with my stitching as the plain fabric was not very forgiving. I also decided not to hand hem, as even the tiniest of slip stitches would have created a pull on the outside, so I used bias trim and then folded it under and machine stitched. It is visible but it almost gives the effect of a horse hair braid hem.

I am glad that I took my time and I am really pleased with the overall dress.

As an added extra for the New Craft House party, I also made myself a fake fur stole and a silver pleather clutch bag. I will do a separate post on those as I am aware that I have gone on quite a bit here!

I can’t wait to see what everyone else has made!


Sarah x


One Week One Pattern 17

At the end of September, you may have seen the term OWOP banded about on Instagram! For those that aren’t sure what on earth that means, it is a sewing challenge called One Week One Pattern, where sewists are challenged to spend one week wearing the garments sewn from the same pattern. The idea is, you mix it up to show how you style things and the different versions you’ve made.

This year’s challenge was hosted by the gorgeous Sheona from Sewisfaction. Check out her blog for more information about the challenge and sponsors.

I decided to take part this year and had to come up with a pattern that would work well for both the working week and downtime at the weekends. Had it been the summer, I probably would have chosen a dress, but as it is getting very cold here now, I thought that the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top pattern would be the best option.

I have around 12 Agnes’ already made in various guises so there was no issue with duplicates!

So, here is a round up of my week:

Day 1 – Saturday

I wore my Sugar Skulls Agnes with my Ginger jeans for a day of sewing and fabric shopping. This version has long sleeves and the ruched neckline. This fabric was from Fabrics Galore but I don’t think it available anymore.

Day 2 – Sunday

A day of cat snuggles and more sewing called for more casual look so I opted for one of my Agnes vests. I hacked the top pattern by using the front for both the front and back, but scooping out the back more, and scooping out the sides slightly. I just overstitched the neck, hem and armholes and it was a really quick and easy make.

This picture also won the prize on day two – a £50 voucher for Netprinter – woo hoo! Jasmine got extra Dreamies to say thank you!

Day 3 – Monday

Back to work for me, wearing my Breton striped Agnes with a navy skirt for a Parisian Chic look! I just love this look as it is really comfy but looks well put together. The skirt is another Tilly pattern – the Clemence skirt from her first book.

Day 4 – Tuesday

Another Agnes hack for a day of meetings. This is  my most recent Agnes, and I hacked the pattern to turn it into a dress. I wrote a blog post about it a while ago, so if you are interested in how I did it, head here!

Day 5 – Wednesday

I kept it simple with a basic black Agnes with sweetheart neckline, teamed with some self drafted burgundy culottes. Another easy to wear look for work. Not shown, Driftless cardigan and massive scarf!

Day 6 – Thursday

Mixing it up with some florals! This is one of my favourite Agnes tops – I just love the colours and, as I got the fabric from a fabric swap, it was completely free! I wore it with my lovely Pauline Alice Sorell trousers for another smart work look.

Day 7 – Friday

I don’t work on Friday’s so I got to have a casual day, wearing another striped Agnes with my Cleo dungaree dress. This is one of my go to outfits on weekends. The larger stripes lend this top to a more casual look and I just love the colour combination with the olive green dungarees.

Also bonus round on Friday! I went out for dinner and changed into another Agnes – my lovely velvet and lace version! I actually made this version as part of a costume when I went to see Moulin Rouge at the Secret Cinema. I just added some scalloped stretch lace as a cap sleeve and I think it works really well.

So there we are, one week, one pattern! I still have enough Agnes variations to carry me into next week, but I think I will mix it up a bit so my colleagues don’t think I’ve gone completely mad!

Despite its simplicity, the Agnes top really is such a versatile pattern that can produce really different looks. It works equally well dressed up or down and can really produce some great wardrobe staples.

I’ve done a vlog on my YouTube channel if you would like to see more!





Birthday Anna dress

I made my first By Hand London Anna dress a couple of months ago and I absolutely love everything about it and resolved to make another one very soon.

I was lucky enough to get some money for my birthday earlier in the month so headed to Liberty at the first opportunity and bought a couple of metres of one of their new collection cotton tana lawns – Earthly Delights.

I thought it would be perfect for another Anna and as it is on a black base, it would still be good to wear in winter with tights, but I decided to make it fully lined so I wouldn’t have to worry about it riding up.

For the previous version, I had done the slash neck option but I decided to try out the v neck for this one. Having looked at a few pictures of other people’s makes on Instagram, I took the decision to take the v down about half an inch as I thought that would look more flattering. I think I might split the difference though next time, as it is maybe a teeny bit low for work, without a cami underneath!

The other major change I made, was to abandon all of the facings and line the top instead. I think this gives a much nicer finish, and as I wanted to line the skirt, it made much more sense. I managed to engineer it so that I could machine stitch all of the seams to make it a really clean finish. if you would like more details or a tutorial on how I did this, please let me know!

The Liberty lawn was such a pleasure to work with – if you’ve been working with slippery or difficult fabrics for a while, it is such a refreshing change to work with something that just behaves itself!

The biggest challenge I had though was when it came to pattern placement. The fabric contains lots of fruits and vegetables that, if placed incorrectly could be quite comical. There are some very phallic looking carrots and some very “yonic” looking fruits – look at me, I learned a new word. Basically, I didn’t want to end up with any of these in the wrong place but it did create the hashtag #secretvajayjay!

I also had to avoid any melons on my er, melons!

Amazingly, I managed to avoid all of the pitfalls although cutting out did take a lot of thought and consideration!

Had I bought the fabric online, I may have been more clued in, as the website describes it as capturing “a hidden fairy-tale world of thick foliage and luscious fruits, presented with a delectably twisted sense of humour”!

So yes, secret vajayjays aside, I have a lovely new Anna dress and it is one of my favourites!


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 – By Hand London Anna Dress

I have no idea why it has taken me so long to make my first By Hand London Anna dress. This pattern was released in 2013 but it is such a unique style that I don’t think it has aged at all.

I bought the pattern a while ago, after trying on one of Vicky from SewVee’s Anna dresses and falling in love with the style.

Anna has stunning kimono sleeves and a choice of necklines and skirt variations. As I only had a metre and a half of my stunning jade green Japanese cotton lawn from Guthrie Ghani, I opted for the midi length skirt with the high neck. I just about managed to squeeze it out of the fabric that I had, with a few scraps to spare.

I was very careful with the pattern placement of the birds, and was keen to avoid them right on the boob!

I cut the size 6 and was very pleased to find that it fit me perfectly with no adjustment at all! Yay to By Hand London for making patterns that fit us smaller ladies!

I did have to wait a while until I found a green zip – I really struggled to find one, but eventually found one in a near enough shade from Minerva Crafts.

The cotton lawn was lovely to work with, pressed well and hangs nicely.

The instructions were really straightforward to use. I think that maybe real beginners might struggle slightly, but if you have sewn a garment before, you should be fine.

I love this dress – I am so glad I decided to use the fabric for a dress rather than a shirt, as it is far more special. I have a wedding to go to in a couple of weeks so I hope to wear it then for it’s first spin!

I can’t wait to make a maxi version of the Anna with a side split for some drama! I just need to find the perfect fabric.







Ticket Giveaway – The Knitting & Stitching Show!

Hello lovely readers!

I have a very exciting giveaway for you all. I have 5 pairs of complimentary tickets to this year’s Knitting & Stitching Show.

The show is being held at Alexandra Palace in London from 11th – 15th October.

To enter is simple, leave a comment below or on my instagram post and you will be entered into the draw.

I’ll be there on the Friday – let me know if you will be there too as it would be lovely to meet up!

S x

The Rules:

  • 1 entry per person.
  • Tickets are not valid on Saturday 14th October but can be used on all other days.
  • Entrants must be based in the UK.
  • The draw will take place at 8pm Sunday 8th October.
  • Tickets will be posted out Monday 9th October.
  • Prizes will be sent by myself at my own cost, and all care will be given to have them arrive safely but I am not responsible for lost, damaged or delayed prizes.