I’ve had this DKNY coat for several years. When I bought it, the raw edges were trimmed with pleather as were the buttons. After a few years, the pleather bias tape began peeling. I still liked the coat so I removed all the bias trim and replaced it with premade black bias tape I found at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. It was a synthetic fabric that had a sheen to it that make it somewhat similar to the pleather – and hopefully would last a bit longer. That was my first go at refreshing an old coat.

DKNY coat with covered buttons

A few years later, the pleather on the buttons was peeling and looked rather unsightly. So it was time for another refresh – this time it would be the buttons. Nearly all of themlooked like this:

worn out coat button

I bought a 1/4 yard of some very nice Italian polyester from Britex Fabrics. I thought I could pry apart the buttons and replace the... [read more]

One thing I love is trying out the styles of different areas as each has different things that describe them perfectly so I chose the 1970s.
The 70s seem like an era of smooth, clean lines and flowy garments and fabric patterns that are out of this world. I especially love the long, flowing, fitting designs of the dresses, that look like they should be worn at a beach or in a desert. The pattern that I chose did not disappoint in all of these accounts. 
It was an easy sew, it flowed and the fabric was paisley pattern, practically 1970s ready! 
Thank you to Harts Fabric for providing the materials for this post.

My love for Harts Fabric is well-documented on this blog so obviously when they asked me to be a part of #sewnwithhart I said yes, of course, duh, any time!! The awesome ladies at Harts sent over this lovely dark blue railroad stripe shirting and coordinating white cotton for me to try out something new--a Closet Case Carolyn pajama shirt lengthened to a nightshirt!

This cute pinstriped fabric is absolutely the perfect weight and feel for pajamas. In fact, I had asked about several different shirting fabrics and the very nice people there were kind enough to steer me towards this particular one and pick out a white fabric in the same weight to make piping.

To make the top into a dress, I added 8 inches to the hem. If you are less pear-shaped than me, you could probably just add 8... [read more]

Over on Instagram this month, @onesewsweet and @naturaldane are hosting the #BHMPatternDesigners challenge. For the month of February -- Black History Month -- they encourage everyone to sew something designed by a Black Pattern Designer. They're also sharing lots of cool info on many different designers and on Black fashion history, so be sure to follow them for tonnes of great reading!

I've been reading some books in preparation as you might have noticed by my two most recent Weekend Reviews. I've also been thinking about various patterns I might use this month, and have gone through my stash to see what I have on hand.

Here's what I'm considering currently:

I have a Tracy Reese "Plenty" McCalls pattern, M7251 which has two quite distinct top designs -- I love them both and would definitely wear both these styles. I'm strongly leaning toward... [read more]


Today I am sharing two newer garments I made in January: Style Arc Misty Jeans in a houndstooth doubleknit fabric and the Off the Shoulder Sweater from Burda issue 09/2018 in a turquoise hacci knit.

There isn’t much to say about the Misty Jeans. I’ve made them several times before. The only difference with these ones is the material. The fit is okay, but the material grows over the day so I needed to take in the waistband a bit. The doubleknit is a wool blend. Possibly blended with vicose or rayon since the material is super soft and doesn’t have great recovery like most rayon/viscose blends I’ve used. If I took the pants in, though, to account for the poor recovery, they would be tight on first wear for a couple of hours. I’m just accepting it. They are soft pants and super warm for winter so I’m not super concerned about them growing as the... [read more]

The Clean Kilo: Birmingham's Zero Waste Shop

The Clean Kilo, the UK’s largest zero waste supermarket, opened in Birmingham earlier last year. It’s in Digbeth; right near the Custard Factory for those…

The post The Clean Kilo: Birmingham’s Zero Waste Shop appeared first on Thimble End.

Meet Louise , Guest Blogger for Dress Fabrics. Louise has hacked the the By Hand London Holly trousers pattern to make these amazing culottes.

The post Welcome Louise – Guest Blogger appeared first on

The first thing you will notice about this project is that yes, I am wearing a shirt made from that fabric. It is of course the Crowded Faces poplin from Lady McElroy and I bought mine at La Mercerie (currently sold out) a little while back after lusting after it for some time. I’ve seen a few makes pop up using both the white and this black version of the fabric and must say I’m quite tickled to be using an “in” fabric. I feel positively fashionista-like – the glow of which is probably the reason I was mad enough to take pictures in Seattle’s current “Snowmageddon”. That, and the fact that black is so hard to photograph – unless it’s SNOWING.


Anyway, enough about that. Quite a few of the other shirts I’ve seen using this fabric are Closet Case Files Kalle shirts, which is a sound pattern choice for this fabric. I, on... [read more]

The title of this post is a quote from this review.
Am I incorrect in thinking it should be "more profound reasons"?

from the NYT website

Jason Farago, our NYT reviewer,  has a problem.
He sorta reviews this show, but mostly, he wants you to know that Mrs Rivera is not his idea of an artist, nor is this a show he thinks matters.

"Love for her style has inflated the standing of her art all out of proportion, and in recent decades it’s become an article of faith that Kahlo was a more important painter than her acclaimed husband, indeed one of the indisputable greats. This is — well, not true, sorry! In Brooklyn you’ll find some engrossing self-portraits, including MoMA’s severe “Self-Portrait With Cropped Hair,” but Kahlo also painted half-competent still lifes, gross Stalinist agitprop, and ghastly New Age kitsch — including this show’s “The... [read more]
 I have two of this book called "Serger Secrets."   Here is a link to where I am selling on eBay at a reduced price.  If you are new to using sergers, this is a good source book to use.

More information to follow on Undercover Hoodie, still a WIP.

God, I hate February. Every year it’s the same. Several months into winter but knowing that there’s several months ahead of you. Everyone’s sick. It’s cold, dreary, grey and you’re constantly getting sent pictures from your brother, who lives in Sydney, of blue skies, blue water, sunshine, beaches and tans.


And this year it doesn’t look like we’re going to get any snow, so there’s not even that fun to look forward to. I really think I was born to live in a place with year round summer - or at least close to it.

Sorry, envious, self-indulgent moan over.


Anyway, moving on from misery, let’s talk about Wardrobe Orphans. Those loved items of clothing that languish in your closet despite your affection for them because you just can’t decide how, or with what, to wear them.

... [read more]
What’s your favourite sewing pattern? Maybe you can answer this question instantly but maybe it changes weekly, monthly, or with the seasons. For me this pattern is Deer and Doe’s Chataigne shorts. I first made a pair back in 2016, and the subsequent incarnations have done school runs, smart conferences, gardening, Dartmoor, cycling, the beach

Read more Chataigne Skirt…

You might have heard the concept of sewing “frosting” making its way around the maker community lately. Essentially, frosting are those makes that are maybe a little more fun, frivolous, extravagant, or fanciful. They might not have a place in our everyday wardrobes, but they bring joy to make, handle, and wear.

  • Shannon, a fat, White person, standing in the woods wearing a pale pink wrap dress and a flower crown. The tone of the image is warm and summery.
  • Shannon standing outdoors in blowing snow, wearing a knee-length dark green dress with buttons down the front. The wind blows the skirt of the dress around and snow dots the image.
  • Shannon standing in knee-length water in front of greenery, wearing a sheer dress embroidered with flowers over a black bodysuit. Shannon wears a flower crown, sparkly blue eyeshadow, and looks down and to one side.

Sewing frosting is one of my favorite parts of making. I love using fabrics that feel slightly extravagant, creating sweeping silhouettes, and, perhaps most of all, planning out fun locations to photograph them. I’ve hand-dyed yards of rayon lawn to create a delicate pink ombre dress; have added bishop’s sleeves to a green wool crepe dress and photographed it in a snowstorm, and have taken a dip in an embroidered mesh dress to channel the style of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

However, missing amidst these frothy dresses was some menswear frosting,... [read more]

I am so excited that my dear friend and Sewcialists Editor Becky has released her first pattern, the Ione Shirt from Workhorse Patterns! I’m proud to have been a tester and a model for the pattern.

Workhorse Ione

When we “hire” for Sewcialists Editors, we are always looking for people who are “movers and shakers”, someone who is going somewhere with something to say. Becky is the perfect example of that – she is driven, passionate about inclusion, and tirelessly hardworking. She does a huge part of the work behind the scenes at Sewcialists, and you see all those skills come to play in her own pattern line as well!

Ione is a boxy woven top with three neckline options and a high/low hem. (But you could also sew the dipped hem in front and back, like Becky did in the sample modelled by her daughter!) It is based on two blocks, and runs size 0-32! You chose your size... [read more]

Hello, dear Curvy Sewing Collective readers! It’s been about two years since I wrapped up my time as an editor here and relaunched the Sewcialists… and lately I’ve been thinking about everything I learned here. CSC really has changed a lot of things, from my personal self-image to my role in the sewing community!

1. I’m happy in my skin. When I started sewing clothes in 2011, I wore about a US size 14… then 16… and now 18 or 20! It’s thanks to the CSC that I never felt bad about my body along the way. Within this community we get to see fabulous, stylish and talented women of all ages and sizes looking great, and that’s pretty special.

2. Everyone deserves a voice. As far as I know, CSC was the first niche community that focused on an underrepresented demographic. Now we’ve got @sewqueer, @chronicallysewn@sewover50 and lots of hashtags bringing sewists... [read more]

Great British Sewing Bee 2019

In 2013, sewing was put on the cool map like never before by a TV show that surpassed even the wildest expectations of their creators, Love Productions for the BBC. Modelled on the wildly popular Great British Bake Off, created by the same production company, GBSB got amateur dressmakers to sew on prime time TV.

And changed the sewing world in one unassuming swoop.

Season 5 is about to begin on Tuesday 12th February and I wanted to explore if, 6 years later, it is still as relevant and ground-breaking as it was in the beginning.

The post Is the Great British Sewing Bee still relevant in 2019? appeared first on SEWRENDIPITY.

Another batch of choir clothes came in last week.Some of the black hems failed. Some did not. Some failed in epic fashion.
None of the blue skirts failed.
The front hems failed. The back hems did not. And not all of them. "A lot of them", which is not a useful damage report. They were all mended by the choir assistant director.
There is more stretch potential on the front skirt than the split piece back.

So this is where we left off last week.

The difference between the black and blue hems is functionally: the black had lace seam tape, the blue did not. The blue ended up with a slight zig zag stitch. The black had a straight stitch
(just thinking ahead on pulling out the hems next year). 

The one hem fail I got to see had broken in the front (the rest had been mended).

I used the same Gutterman thread for spool and bobbin.
I'm glad I took notes.

The bobbin thread... [read more]

Welcome sewing friends – I’ve got a post full of sewing geekiness today detailing the many fit adjustments I made to the Gemma Tank Top by Made by Rae. Let me say from the off; this isn’t to imply there’s anything wrong with the drafting of Rae’s pattern, not at all. It’s simply that the Gemma Tank Top is a semi-fitted woven pull-on top. The operative words here being ‘woven’ and ‘semi-fitted’; i.e. there’s nowhere to hide in terms of fit. So off I went on my merry way to the drawing board.

The plan was to make it in a silk-blend Lady McElroy voile, that had been gifted to me by Minerva Crafts, so I wanted to make sure I got the fit right before I cut into the precious fabric!

I’m puzzled as to why I always look so … puzzled … in photos, haha!!

One adjustment I didn’t have to do was a Full Bust Adjustment as... [read more]

I completed one of my three January projects, the Jalie Mimosa top.  I think I have posted enough about this top and I truly love it.  The other two versions will get attention later.

My next project in the works, finally, is the Ellie and Mac Undercover HoodieI printed, taped and traced the bodice front and back for pin fitting.  I made my usual FBA and chose the large size for this project.  I also made swayback and forward shoulder adjustments.

I finally decided on what fabrics I will use.  All are from my stash with two being ones left over from other projects.  The third fabric is a ponte knit I purchased from Fabric Mart in 2017.

It is a border print in black and cream.  The cream color matches the solid and textured cream fabrics being used.  Yesterday I cut out the front and back bodice. The pocket piece for this pattern is really an overlay... [read more]

Freehand Fashion: Learn to Sew the Perfect Wardrobe / Chinelo Bally
London: Pavilion, c2015.
189 p.

I first saw Chinelo when she was a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee, as most people probably did. I was impressed with her freehand cutting techniques and her story. And I was thrilled when I heard that she was putting a book out. However, it's taken me all this time to actually get my hands on the book and explore it!

It's based on her method of sewing without paper patterns, a Nigerian technique she learned from her family. Essentially, you create blocks according to your own measurements, and then use those to mark a  pattern right onto the fabric. It takes practice to switch your mind over to this process.

The book is laid out in three main sections: an overview of sewing techniques (great resource), an illustrated guide to taking the... [read more]
Tim is making out like a bandit this month since I bumped a couple of his projects up in the queue for the Sewcialists Menswear for Everyone month!

Read more »

Welcome to week 6 of the Sunday Lately series. If you are new to Sunday Lately, it is a weekly series for the Blogger Tribe featuring three prompts to get us writing and sharing our stories from the past week. Each blogger can interpret these topics however they choose in their post. Then we all link back to Katy to share with each other. This week we are talking about needing, cooking, and hitting.


What I really need right now is some decent weather. I have a stack of garments waiting to be photographed but the weather has been so cold. I just do not want to venture out in my latest spring/summer dress makes while it is still below 20 degrees. If not for some warm enough weather, I am hoping for some sunny days that I can at least get some okay indoors shots that are not too dark.


This past week, I haven’t done as much cooking as I... [read more]

What is she on about?  You ask.  Well, I vaguely remember this being  a favourite phrase back when I was in 6th form, I think it came from some torrid bodice-ripper someone was reading, and the ‘paroxysms of purple passion’  that were described.  We decided that to be on the safe side, we should all get some purple passion pants, so as not to be found wanting.  Or something. [y’know, all girls school, we were obsessed…]

So, when I decided to make some Greenstyle ‘Chelsea’ trousers, and opted for my purple ponte, the combination of trousers [NOT pants], purple, and 70s styling, took me right back.

So, purple passion pants!

Now I started this post back at the beginning of December, when I cut out loads of goodies, and then just kept pushing them back down the pile.  I made up a pair of these for the missus [back when I also made her the... [read more]

When Papercut Patterns released their Geo collection a few months back I didn't know which pattern to buy first! All six are gorgeous, contemporary styles and feature interesting shapes and pattern cutting. I'd already planned what handmade additions I wanted to make to my holiday wardrobe, but I couldn't resist adding a couple of these to to queue. First up the Sierra Jumpsuit which I made the short version of but can also be made with full length trousers.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut Patterns Sierra Jumpsuit in Leaf Green Linen Rayon Chambray from The Fabric Store

I wanted to use a solid colour so the lovely design of the jumpsuit would be shown off and was instantly drawn to this fresh and vibrant leaf green linen/rayon chambray from The Fabric Store. The rayon in the blend gives it a slightly softer drape and smoother hand than their regular linens and the weave is slightly tighter and finer. I could not be happier with my choice to pair it with this... [read more]


As promised – the woven version of the Paper Theory LB Pullover.  But not just one – two!  For once, the amazing top I saw in my head has actually lived up to expectations!  I cut the same size in this as I did for the striped ponte version, but I’ve added length to the front along the bust line.  This should result in a dart – which I did not want, so I rotated it to the hemline and removed the dart width from the side.  So now I have length, and no dart!  Yippee.  But I’m thinking I could have added another centimetre or two and it wouldn’t have hurt.

simple 4
LB Pullover from Paper Theory in herringbone wool and silk blend

The pattern is otherwise the same as the last one, with the exception of the collar/neckband.  This time it’s cut on the bias, which looks pretty nice with the herringbone.  The fabric, to remind you, is a silk and wool herringbone in sage green and ecru... [read more]

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