Tag Archives: Sewing

A guide to remnants

As I was listing some new remnants on the site, I started thinking about creative ways to use smaller pieces of fabric so I’ve put together some ideas.

I’ve broken them down into rough sizes for ease.

2+ metres

Yay, jackpot! You’ve probably got enough to make a garment – maybe even a dress. There are lots of options available to you, it will just be a case of finding the right pattern.

1+ metre

With some careful cutting, you should be able to make a top. You may need to shorten the sleeve length and might be better off cutting on the flat, rather than the fold to allow more options.

For jersey, the Agnes and Astoria tops can usually be squeezed out of a metre.

For woven, the Ogden cami is always a good bet. Ignore the cutting guide though as you should just be able to fold both sides of fabric into the centre. and cut on both folds.

If the fabric is a bottom weight, you may be able to make a simple A-line skirt out of a metre (size dependent)

50cm +

Patterns with panels are your friend here! The Bibi skirt from the Stretch book is perfect, as you can make it from really small scraps!

I also did a hack of the Agnes top into a panelled vest and that is a great stashbuster too!

You may be able to make children’s clothes out of half a metre or more, especially if it is a wide fabric.

Under 50cm

I usually include contrasting pockets and facings in my handmade garments – I love having special details like that.

If you are a quilter, you can utilise smaller pieces that way or you can also make smaller items such as make up bags. You can google Fat Quarter projects and will be inundated with project ideas!

If all else fails though, who can resist an outfit for your pet?!

Please let me know if you have any other great ideas and I will add them in!


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.




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!






Me Made May 2018 – Round Up

Part of my Me Made May pledge this year was to do a round up blog post.  So here it is!

My entire pledge this year was:

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.

So, I definitely managed to wear at least one handmade garment each day. I tend to wear handmade most days anyway, so this wasn’t much of a stretch! I did, however, try to vary what I was wearing, so that did take some thinking about, rather than wearing the same thing multiple times.

I posted daily outfit pictures on Instagram. While I enjoy this part of the challenge as it means I have a record of what I wore, it can get a bit difficult to find locations for pictures and a willing volunteer to play photographer! And while I am on that subject, a massive thank you to my, ever patient Instagram Husband, Alex, who takes most of my pictures.

In terms of identifying wardrobe gaps, having recently changed from the corporate world, to working for myself, I have definitely noticed that what I want to wear as part of my working wardrobe has changed. I now seek comfort, not necessarily Hudson Pants every day (although that is the dream!), but I don’t find myself reaching for really structured garments. I prefer things that I can move around in really easily for everyday wear. I think I need to make some more basic tops for layering in plain colours. I could also do with making a new cardigan – I have lots of lovely new fabrics coming in to the shop soon which will be perfect for that. I made the Myosotis dress during May, and I could definitely do with a couple more, as they are such an easy throw on piece.

We are sorting out our house at the moment so as part of that, I will be taking some of my unworn garments to the charity shop. I do feel a bit strange letting things that I poured lots of love and hard work into go but I think I just need to bite the bullet and do it, as our house is fast approaching maximum “stuff”!

I really loved seeing everyone daily outfits and a few patterns definitely crept onto the must-sew list! I really love how this event really brings the community together, and it is also lovely for people outside the sewing world to find out more about this amazing hobby of ours, as the daily outfit posts prompt lots of questions!

Well done, once again to our lovely host, Zoe, for all of her hard work. Can’t wait for next year which will be the 10th year of the challenge!

Sarah x

The stats:

  • 15 tops
  • 10 trousers
  • 12 dresses
  • 1 cardigan
  • 1 jacket
  • 2 skirts
  • 4 jumpsuits/dungarees
  • 1 bikini

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!!




Seamwork Audrey jacket – Pattern Review

Is it wrong that I decided to make a denim jacket mainly as somewhere to display my sewing pins and patches?!

As denim is a sturdier, more durable fabric, it is the perfect place for your pin and badge collection.

I had seen a couple of versions of the Seamwork magazine Audrey jacket (I’m looking at you Rhiannon and Vicki!) and thought it would be the perfect Spring/Summer jacket.

I decided to make it out of the grey slub denim that I have in the shop. As I can’t bring myself to do double denim, I figured this would at least mean I could wear the jacket with blue jeans if I wanted to! I had some Liberty Wolf Pack scraps left over, so I used that for the pockets.

Size wise, I made the smallest size, on Vicki’s advice and it still does come up a little bit big, but actually, would be perfect for wearing over a hoodie once it gets cooler. I don’t mind it not being super fitted though as it is a casual jacket.

In terms of construction, it was all pretty straightforward. It calls for lots of nice neat topstitching, which I always enjoy.

I chose to make a lined back yoke, from the Liberty fabric, as I just thought it would give the inside some interest. It is a completely unnecessary step, but sometimes you’ve just got to be a bit “extra”!!

I also added a hanging loop between the collar and the back yoke.

There are a lot of buttonholes to add, which I am always nervous about, and yes, I did have to unpick a few where my machine decided to misbehave!

I installed the jeans buttons using my trusty Prym tripod and they went on like a dream.

I have recently designed some sewing patches which are available in the shop now, and of course, I thought it only fit that one should take pride of place on my jacket. I think it goes perfectly!

Overall, I really love the jacket, I think it will get a lot of wear over summer dresses this year.

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