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.

IMG_0597 (640x480)

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.

IMG_0406 (480x640)

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

IMG_0579 (480x640)

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.

IMG_0580 (480x640)

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).

IMG_0586 (640x480) IMG_0587 (640x480)

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