Category Archives: Free pattern

Rust Trapeze Dress

Idle Pinterest scrolling led me down a rabbit warren of ponte roma dresses to keep me warm but well dressed this winter. I explored different shapes, lengths, colours and styling. Finally settling on rusty reds and berry purples with a trapeze silhouette, plain but absolutely primed to pair with a hand-knitted shawl/cowl or a statement necklace.

Trapeze Dress

I took my previous hacked dress pattern (it’s based on the best bits of Renfrew, AudreyStaple and Briar) and used this tutorial to trapeze it. It was a speedy hack, used just 2m of fabric and was a quick sew too. The end effect is completely shapeless from the bust down but I love the abundance of fabric.

As I wasn’t sure how my hack of a hack of a hack pattern would work out… or even if I’d like or suit the new-to-me silhouette, I didn’t worry too much about the fabric. In fact I used it as an opportunity to try a colour outside of my usual palette. If you’re reading this thinking new silhouette, new colour, new year, new you… you’re wrong. I actually dreamt and sewed this up in December!

So I’m interested to hear… what do you think of the shape and colour? What new things are you trying?

Misty Trees Dress

It was summer 2015 in Walthamstow market when I felt that the roll end of this misty trees printed scuba needed to come home with me. I’ve been pondering a suitable pattern ever since. The longer I pondered, the more I failed to see why I’d been attracted to the fabric in the first place. Scuba… so not me.


I was happy to sacrifice it to test out GBSB The Drapey Knit dress that I’d pinned to my ‘See it Sew It‘ Pinterest board. It’s a free pattern download with some quirky details. The pattern has front pockets created by the side front pattern pieces, these also overlap at the neckline to create a simple origami effect. Sew Different has some construction instructions that really helped me, particularly in ensuring the the trees were growing in the right direction.


I cut the smallest size but took in the side seams from bust to hip a lot… I just kept narrowing until I was happier that the volume worked for my proportions. The hem and sleeves were finished with a twin needle stitch and I hand tacked the neckline facing at the internal seams to prevent it from flipping out.


I used the blog photos to test out the possibility of wearing it to a wedding and decided it was worth a try. Guess who got the first dance?


Sewing the Basics: Scoop Top

Sometimes we just need to sew the basics…right?

Peach Scoop Top c

Plain t-shirt from stashed peach one-way stretch jersey (previously seen here).

Peach Scoop Top b

Scoop top pattern (free woohoo!) by Skirt as Top (previously seen here, worn with this skirt).

Peach Scoop Top a

Bright-on Leggings

It was fitting that these brightly patterned leggings were ready just in time for a city break to Brighton. Seriously, anything goes in this city so in my outfit I felt I was verging on bland, whereas in my home town, I’d probably attract ‘what is she wearing’ staring eyes. Bright-on Leggings

I’ve been keen to draft leggings to wear under dresses and tunics for autumn and winter. There are plenty of tutorials for this but I mostly followed this one which was part of the Stretch Yourself series.

Bright-on Leggings 2

I wasn’t too precious over the fabric. I have already made my intended make, so the remainder was surplus to requirements, there to be used for experimental sewing (a good thing for stash dieting) and the proportion of pink seemed to be growing each time I looked at it (a bad thing for a pink-a-phobe). The fit was pretty good initially but the fabric stretch out with increasingly poor recovery. By the end of the day, I had bandy knees and a saggy bottom. Nevertheless, the self-drafted pattern has been stored carefully ready for the right fabric with no recovery issues.

On the Brink of a Bikini Bonanza

My motivation to sew for my holiday has been gathering momentum so I launched into something more pool worthy. What I wished someone would have told me a few weeks ago was that I’d really enjoy the process once I got started. So much so, in fact, that the next bikini is already in progress (and it’s way better than this one)!

Little Nook Bikini Front

Anyway, let’s focus on this one for today. The fabric is a nice weight nylon lycra that’s best described as ‘bright teal’ – not kelly green nor turquoise despite what the photographs might indicate. It’s been in my stash since a trip to Goldhawk Road last year so it’s about time it got some sun exposure.

Little Nook Bikini Back

The pattern is by Laura of My Little Nook and is available for free on SewMamaSew along with clear instructions. I made a a huge number of tweaks to the pattern. Most important was raising the waistline by 1 1/2″ inches as the original waist’ line was verging on indecent on me.  I also angled the side seams and took a wedge out of the centre back to accommodate the steep transition between my hip and waist measurements. My swim elastic (Hemline Swim woven elastic – way easier to sew than clear elastic) was wider than the instructions recommended so I added this extra to the seam allowances of my pattern pieces. Also, the given elastic length measurements weren’t working for me (just variation in elastic stretchiness) so I had to guess these but it’s just a case of wrapping the elastic around the right body part and assessing how much is comfortable, will keep the garment on and won’t cause unsightly bulging (bikini muffin tops – urgh!)

Swim cups and hidden boning.

Swim cups and hidden boning.

The bikini top is drafted according to a series of measurements but I also changed a few things like making proper channels for the boning and attaching these to the lining just inside the side seam. I fully lined the bikini top and bottoms – the fabric isn’t at all see-through I just think it looks nicer on the inside than partial lining, it hides the boning neatly and I had enough leftover from my last swimwear make. I added swim bra cups for cold modesty rather than support or enhancement and gathered some excess fabric under the cups.

Got any swimwear sewing plans this year?


Burn-out for burn-out

After a few hurty-brain makes but in a panic that my holiday fast approaching, I made an easy beach cover-up that was satisfyingly quick to sew.

White Burnout Kirsten Kimono 4

Pattern: Maria Denmark’s Kirsten Kimono Top
Fabric: White burn-out tissue knit from somewhere on Goldhawk Road
Purpose: Bikini cover-up for cocktail time!
White Burnout Kirsten Kimono 2

‘Nuff said.

Oven Glove Tutorial

My sister in-law recently moved into a new place and since I had some Insul-Bright in my stash I thought I’d make her a little house warming present.

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There are many tutorials for oven gloves but this way doesn’t have exposed seams on the inside so I wanted to share. You will need the following supplies:

Heat resistant/insulated fabric (e.g. Insul bright)
Outer fabric
Inner fabric (or double up the outer fabric)
Binding fabric (wider is easier and it does not need to be cut on the bias)

The right side of heat resistant fabric can be identified by the silver reflective  piece shining through the white fluff (look along a cut edge, the silver is easier to see). The right side should face the heat source. I don’t know for sure but I suspect that this reflective layer could blunt fabric scissors so I always use my regular scissors to cut it.

Oven Glove 1

Draw (leaving a generous gap) around your hand with your thumb splayed to make a pattern template then add seam allowances (I use the standard 5/8 inch since the layers get quite thick and a wider seam allowance is easier to sew). For a pair of gloves, cut four each of the heat resistant/insulated fabric, batting, outer fabric and inner fabric by placing the pattern piece on folded fabric twice.


Oven Glove 2

Draw parallel lines on the inner and outer fabric pieces – the quickest way to do this is to use the width of a ruler.

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Next draw parallel lines perpendicular to the first set of lines.

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With the heat resistant insulating fabric right (silver) side up, place your outer fabric right side up on top. Pin these together in the gaps between one set of parallel lines.

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Sew along the lines, remove the pins then rotate to sew the perpendicular lines. Repeat for the lining fabric by placing the lining right side up on tip of a piece of batting.

Oven Glove 6

Next we need to layer it all up. Place two inner pieces (lining and batting) right sides together. On top of these place two outer pieces (outer and heat resistant) right sides together (in the photo above my batting is cream and my heat resistant fabric is white).

Oven Glove 7

The four layers will be too thick to pin. If you don’t own fancy (=expensive) sewing clips,then pegs or bulldog clips work just as well (=inexpensive).

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The next step is to sew around the edge (but not the part where your hand goes!). Since the fabric layers are quite thick, try to avoid your presser foot being fully tilted (top image) by balancing it out with some folded up scrap fabric (lower image). At the thumb, lower the needle and raise your presser foot to allow you to rotate the oven glove and sew around this tight bend.

Trim the seam allowance, clip into the thumb crook and clip curves around the fingers and thumb areas.

Reach into the layers of fabric, between the two outer fabric pieces and pull through. This will hide the raw edges giving you a clean finish on the lining pieces inside. Push out to get a nice smooth curve and the thumb fully turned (the handle of a wooden spoon or a chunky knitting needle are great, cheap tools for this job).

Oven glove 10

The loops and bound edge will be made from binding strips 2 inches wide. From a strip, cut two 3 inch lengths (for the loops) and keep two for around the bound edge. Fold the 3 inch lengths like bias tape and press.

Oven Glove 11

Sew along the open edge. Press in half lengthways.

Oven Glove 12

Using the longer strips of binding, pin right sides together around the raw edge of the oven glove. At the outer edge of the wrist, sandwich a loop between the binding and the glove. The binding can just be folded back at the short ends, there is no need to join it to make a circle.

Oven Glove 13

Sew around the edge then trim to even up the raw edges. Press the binding up and away from the main glove.

Oven Glove 14

Fold the binding once towards the raw edges, then fold again to the inside of the oven glove. Pin (or use pegs again!) and hand sew in place.

Oven Glove 16

Repeat for a second glove and get cooking!

Oven Glove 15



Striped Scoop

I’ll spare you a whole paragraph of waffle about stashed fabric, the length of my to sew queue and the Stash Diet… yadda yadda yadda.

Scoop Tee

Let’s talk about the pattern instead: The scoop top is generously available as a free download with instructions from lovely Kristin of Skirt as Top. I went for the speedy approach: no measurements, cut out the one size pattern and skipped the pocket. The only care I took over this make was to match the stripes at the side and shoulder seams – my photographer (not my usual one, so big thanks to my cameo photographer for this) insisted that I show this stripe matching off and came up with an appropriate pose.

Scoop Tee Stripe Matching

I didn’t have any stay tape, twill tape, white ribbon or clear elastic in my stash so I used Kristin’s suggestion of cutting narrow strips of white light weight fusible interfacing to stabilise the shoulder seams. It works… not that I ever doubted Kristin’s advice!

Did you notice my button hair grips? My tutorial for this was posted yesterday on Spread Your Wings and Craft.

Contribute SYWAC

Lined vent sew-along: Mitered Hem

Got your lining attached to your shell fabric at the vent? Are you ready for some fancy mitered corner sewing? Let’s go.

I’m using a lighter colour of fabric to demonstrate this because my marks were difficult to see in photographs of my sample lined vent.

1. First fold under ¼ inch and press. Then fold up a 1 inch hem and press. Mark on the edge (unfolded) where the folded hem reaches (On a lined vent this would be just under where the lining hem edge is).

Mitered Corner Hem 1

2. Unfold the hem but not the ¼ inch turn. Fold the seam allowance of the vent and mark where that reaches on the edge of the turn.

Mitered Corner Hem 2

3. Unfold the seam allowance and mark where the pressing lines intersect. This is where we want the tip of the corner to be.

Mitered Corner Hem 3

4. Folding right sides together, line up the two edge marks (remember to keep your 1/4 inch folded). Ensure that the mark on the intersection of the pressing lines is on this new fold.

Mitered Corner Hem 4

5. Sew from the mark on the fold towards the hem marks, backstitching to secure in place.

Mitered Corner Hem 5

6. Trim the excess fabric.

Mitered Corner Hem 6

7. Turn through and press in place.

Mitered Corner Hem 7

8. Repeat for the other side of the vent then sew the hem in place.

Damson Gin Dress Lined Vent

Sew the rest of the hem in place and you’re done!

Did you hear that? It was a big sigh of relief from me as I’ve finished the series of tutorials for the lined vent sew-along. I’d love to see what you’ve made during the sew-along so leave a link in the comments or email me a photo to clippedcurves{a}gmail{dot}com

I’m still here to help if you have any questions on this or any of the previous posts.

Lined vent sew-along: Sewing the lining to the shell

Today’s sewing is the most complicated part so let’s take it slow and steady with plenty of photographs. I’ll also do my best to answer any questions you have. By now you should have your shell sewn up, lining back pieces drafted and sewn up and gone as far as possible your order of construction for your dress or skirt.

1. First lay out your shell with the wrong side of the back pieces facing up. To the right of your shell fabric lay out your lining with the wrong side of the back pieces facing up. (If you’ve had to sew your neckline/waistband already, place your garment with the right side of the shell facing you and for the next steps the part of the lining and shell that will be sewn together will be already adjacent to eachother so you just need to roll the edges back on themselves in order to pin right sides together.)

Lined Vent 28

2. With your left hand pick up the side of the shell vent that is hidden and with your right hand pick up the right lining vent (the smaller piece).

Lined Vent 29

Bring your hands closer to each other to place right sides of the fabric together. Pin along the straight part of the vent extension matching the notch that we marked two inches below the diagonal.

Lined Vent 30

3. Sew from as close to end of the diagonal seam as possible towards the hem.

Lined Vent 31

It should look something like this…

Lined Vent 32

and on the other side…

Lined Vent 33

4. Press this seam open and press the seam allowances toward the lining.

5. Bring the left lining piece (the larger one) up and around allowing the lining to fold at the centre seam. This positions the right lining piece (the larger one) close to the upper most shell vent extension.

Lined Vent 34

Pin these right sides together aligning the notches.

Lined Vent 35

6. Sew from as close to the vent diagonal as possible towards the hem.

Lined Vent 36

7. First press the lining away from the shell on the right side. Then bring the lining around to the wrong side of the shell and press along this fold.

Lined Vent 38

If everything went to plan, your shell and lining fabrics should be wrong sides together and it should be looking almost there.

8. Lay your lined vent with the right side of the lining facing you (as in the above image). Pull the centre seam towards you to reveal the curved part of the lining.

N.B. If you’ve already attached your lining at the waist/neckline then instead of pulling the lining down, reach up inside between the shell and the lining (I find from the left easier) and pull the lining out between the two hems.

Lined Vent 39

Pin and sew together. On a full garment, ease as much out as you can, smooth as you go and try to avoid the main bulk of the garment pulling as you pin.

Lined Vent 40

Sew the lining between the end of the centre back seam and where the two back lining pieces separate to attach to the shell vent. After sewing, check for puckers, unpick these areas and try again smoothing the excess fabric away. I find it easier to have the excess fabric on the bottom – as I sew, the feed dogs pull this through for me and this eases an outside curve into an inside one.

9. Clip into the tightest curves to help everything to lay flat and press both sides.

Lined Vent 41

10. After a good press, remove the basting stitches in the shell fabric and admire your lined vent.

Lined Vent 42 Lined Vent 43

Great… put feet up, rest that brain we’ve completed the hardest part. If you’re making a full garment, you can finish any other construction points except the hem. Because… in the final post I’ll explain how to make a mitred corner for the shell hem and vent.