Tag Archives: easy beginner pattern

Staple Dress for Autumn

staple dress e

During August we took a camping/walking trip in Cornwall… not too far from Truro. ‘Hmmm…. Truro’ I thought, I’ve heard of that before with the word ‘Fabrics’ afterwards. And so a fabric shopping expedition to Truro Fabrics was scheduled into our journey home (despite it not being exactly on the way home… the complete opposite direction in fact!).

staple dress c

Fabric: This lovely drapey viscose caught my attention because it is matt, no sheen or shine at all. The colours were ideal for beginning autumn/winter sewing. I immediately paired this fabric with the April Rhodes Staple Dress in my mind.

staple dress fabric

The dipped-hem version requires fabric with plenty of flow and movement while the style could be just as good with bare legs and flat shoes as with tights, boots and a chunky cardigan. Also it’s difficult to tell the right side of the fabric even close up – a good thing for dipped hems where some of the wrong side will be on show.

staple dress b

Pattern: The Staple Dress pattern is great for beginners and April really holds your hand through the pattern instructions if you need it. Personally I read them through once before beginning then only consulted the instructions again when I needed to add shirring to the waistline – this was a new technique for me.

staple dress a

Alterations: A very quick toile helped me to confidently remove an inch at each side seam and an inch from the hem of the pattern pieces before cutting into my fashion fabric. I made a fabric belt (above photo) but I prefer my tan leather belt (all other photos)

And I’ll leave you with this photograph of me finding it hilarious that it was such a bright day I couldn’t keep my eyes open!

staple dress hilarious


Stash Delve: Envelope Clutch

In my Stash Delve: Knitting needle case post I mentioned that I really wanted to make a See Kate Sew Envelope Clutch… and you can hold me to my word.


I kept coming across a purple off-cut (actually red and blue woven fibres) in my acquired stash. It has a strip of embroidery running parallel to the selvage so I began to wonder if I could orientate the clutch pattern in a way that would look deliberately funky and not haphazard. It turns out that I could do just that… back and front! The pattern calls for fusible interfacing which stopped any bias cut wonk in its tracks.


I used Velcro on the inside instead of a button (yes, I stash delved 3 inches of Velcro too!). This was my favourite stash delve so far and it is purely because of the way the pattern comes together like an envelope. It  is genius without being impossible to follow… and it’s free (thank-you Kate!).

Pyjama Party!


No Tofinos here I’m afraid. I was riding on a beginner self-drafted pattern high from my maxi skirt so I launched into a slightly more challenging but still pretty basic self-drafting project – pyjama bottoms.

Pyjamas 2

After scrutinising my favourite pyjama bottoms very closely, I realised that they fit so well because the back panels have more fabric than the front panels – space for my behind but no excess fabric at the tummy. So I drafted two pattern pieces and got stuck into cutting out. The fabric is a lovely soft cotton lawn – comfort is essential for a good nights sleep. The waist is elasticated but I couldn’t resist a fake waist tie with white Petersham ribbon.

Pyjamas 3

I made the top using the Colette Sorbetto pattern and attached satin bias binding down the front pleat. Both top and bottoms were made with French seams for last-ability and comfy sleeping.

Pyjamas 4

On with the party… I raised the matter of a midnight feast on Karen’s Pyjama Party primer post. It’d be rude not to bring something to the party so… who would like a fairy cake?

Pyjamas and Fairy Cakes

Stash Delve: Tailor’s Ham

With the case of the suspect fabric solved I stopped pretending to be a detective/crime writer and pretended to be a pet owner to purchase some sawdust. My local independent pet store was happy to oblige for £1.80 (enough to make 6 or 7 tailor’s hams!). I used the free pattern and tutorial available from Chance of Rain. Tailor's Ham2

The pattern and tutorial are really simple to follow. Requiring 3 oval pieces of cotton that become the inner and won’t be seen, 1 oval of cotton and 1 oval of wool both of which will be seen on the outside. The downloadable pattern also has bonus kidney and large tailor’s ham outlines.

Tailor's Ham1

After basting the pieces together, the outer cotton and wool are placed right sides together, sewn around leaving a gap and curves clipped.


After turning right sides out, the ham is ready to be filled with sawdust. This part was quite tricky and a little messy! I made sure to pack down as I went, pushing the sawdust into the seams and curves. Then I hand stitched the gap with strong thread.

Tailor's Ham

A quick vacuum (to get the sawdust bits off the outside) and it was ready for use. And… rather excitingly it matches ‘the office’ which my husband has renamed ‘the sewing room’.