Liberty Fabric Kalle Shirt

I picked up some Liberty fabric earlier in the year from the Rag Market in Birmingham, At £8 per metre I thought it was an excellent buy and loved the print so it was put to one side until I was sure what I wanted to make with it.

The Kalle shirt is a pattern I have made before a couple of times. I sewed the tunic version last year and wrote this post about it:

then I also sewed up the cropped version to go with some dungarees I had made for the Goodwood Revival. In truth the cropped version was too short for my liking and the fabric I chose was a little to stiff to sit nicely under my dungarees so I ended up sending it off to the charity shop.

I decided to change this version slightly to get the look I wanted – I went with the tunic version again because the length in very much the style I like to wear with jeans and trousers but I decided to shorten the back which is designed to hang quite a bit longer than the front. To do this I simply measured the front pattern piece and traced off the back at this length.

The hem can be a little tricky because it does have a deep curve, the pattern suggests using bias tape that can be made from the material. I had some left over bias in my stash so decided to use this. I also hemmed the front and back pieces before sewing up the side seams. This is a technique I copied from the Deer and Doe Melliot Shirt, when I first read this method I was a little unsure about it but I must say it works a treat and makes the curve at the side seams sit really nicely.

I did some pretty amazing pattern matching for the pocket (if I do say so myself) and used a contrasting thread for all the top stitching which matches nicely with the dancers costumes.

Finally I added odd buttons which I sorted out from I big tin of buttons that I had gifted to me by my mother-in-law, I was a little unsure if this would work but asked for opinions over on my YouTube channel and the general consensus was that I should go for it. I am so pleased that I did and think that they add an extra feature to the shirt.

The Kalle shirt is a really nice pattern to sew, the instructions are very well put together and there are extra online tutorials if you get stuck. This is definitely becoming my go to pattern for shirts and I like the fact that you can make them look different with the various options. I have made 3 now and they all look a little different with the length options and the different plackets and collars.

Do you have a go to shirt pattern? I would love to here.

Fabric Shopping in Beautiful Krakow

I recently had the pleasure of spending a few days in the wonderful city of Krakow. It wasn’t a city I knew much about and it definitely wasn’t on my radar in terms of places to visit but there happened to be a notice in our local travel agents advertising a few days for a good price so we decided to book very much on impulse and I am so glad that we did.

It is such a beautiful city surrounded by a park area with fantastic architecture and many places of interest. Being a keen sewer I always have a quick google to look for fabric shops when visiting any new city and it was pretty clear that Krakow had many.

We arrived on a Monday evening so dropped our bags off at our hotel which was in the Kazimierz area (The Old Jewish Quarter), an excellent base because it is fairly central for the other areas that we wanted to visit. We found a delightful restaurant just around the corner which was very reasonably priced (for the 2 of us we spent on average about £20 for an evening meal including drinks) after dinner we took a short stroll and found a very nice bar.

The next day was lovely, considering it was mid-October when we visited the weather was glorious and we spent most of the days walking round in short sleeves although it did drop cooler on the evening. We had decided to head to the Old Town for our first day which was about a 20 minute stroll away. We got delayed slightly because within 2 minutes of the hotel we found our first fabric shop so obviously I had to pop in for a look.


Tkaniny Krakow Dietla 40, 31-000 Kraków, Poland

This was probably the smallest of the shops that I visited but had a good selection with some especially nice jersey fabrics. I did buy 2 metres of the jersey fabric pictured below because I thought it was a little different than anything I have seen back home in the UK. I am not sure of its composition because I speak no Polish and the lady in the shop couldn’t speak English but it feels like a ponte weight fabric and is 2 way stretch, the price was also good at 38 Zloty per metre (£7.63) with the exchange rate at the time of purchase.

On the same side of the river in the area known as Old Town we came across this Fabric shop:

Tkaniny KraKow. Madec Świętego Filipa 7, 31-150 Kraków, Poland

Again they had a good selection of fabric but nothing that really jumped out at me so I resisted temptation. The Old Town is a very popular tourist area with some lovely buildings and a big square where you can find The Cloth Hall, several restaurants and horse and carts lined up ready to take people on a tour or the area.


The following day we headed in the direction towards the river and came to the Love Bridge so called because of all the padlocks attached to the sides. It is also a magnificent sight due to all of the acrobatic sculptures suspended along the centre. On the other side of the bridge is the area known as Podogrze which is home to a lovely park where we spent a couple of relaxing hours sat on a bench watching the squirrels – there’s red squirrels which I haven’t seen since I was a young girl (they have pretty much died out in the UK) and black squirrels which I have never had the pleasure of seeing before.


Krakowska 35, 31-062 Kraków, Poland

We came across the shop below after crossing the bridge, it had a huge selection of fabrics of all types including some lovely coating fabric.

Tkaniny Krakow.Meda Limanowskiego 7, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

The coating fabric cost 35 Zloty per metre (£7.07 per metre) and I had what was left on the roll (2.2 metres) which should be just enough for a jacket. They also had a very good selection of lining fabrics so I selected the perfect match which was 8 Zloty (£1.62) per metre.

The final shop was discovered on the way back to our hotel and was in an area that is currently undergoing a lot of work to lay new tram lines.20191017_153700.jpg


By this time I really couldn’t buy any more fabric – I don’t think I would have been able to fit it in my suitcase but hopefully you can see from the window display that they had a lovely selection.

I really enjoyed my time in Krakow and will definitely return some time soon and next time I think I will leave a little more room for more fabric.



Tilly and the Buttons Indigo

I always get super excited when I hear that Tilly and the Buttons is bringing out a new pattern, I love her patterns. The style is very much me and I am confident that the instructions are always going to be good.

When the Indigo top and tunic was announced I didn’t hesitate to order it and to date I have made two tunic length smocks.

The first dress was made up in a light weight viscose from Pin and Sew with a lovely feather design.

Purple Feathers Viscose

I had read a few reviews that said the smock was fairly loose fitting and although I wanted to maintain some of the looseness I didn’t want it to look over big so decided to downsize from my usual size. I usually cut a 4 in the Tilly patterns and then grade to a 5 at the waist but I decided to go for a straight size 3. This was a mistake and I had to use a very narrow seam around the arm and underarm area, luckily Tilly is very generous with the seam allowance which should be 5/8 inches so I brought it in to 2/8 inches all along the sleeve and underarm and then graded back to the normal seam allowance once I hit the waist and the fit came out pretty well.

For my second dress I used some cheap fabric that I picked up at a recent sewing event – #sewbrum is based in Birmingham, England and is an annual event which has been running for about 5 years I think. This was my second time attending and I had the most amazing day. There were about 300 sewists who decended on Birmingham to spend time around the Rag Market where many a bargain is to be had, Barry’s and The Fancy Silk Store and then onto Guthrie and Ghani for refreshments, a raffle and a final bit of fabric shopping.

The animal print fabric cost me £1 per metre from The Rag Market so although it probably isn’t the best quality I can’t complain and am pretty pleased with how it turned out. I seem to have a bit of an obsession with animal print. I sized up to a 4 this time and used the normal seam allowance, I also decided to add ties this time so that I can bring it in around the waist. I still haven’t got the fit perfect, the area around my underarm always seems to be the problem area and I could still size up slightly there but the fit everywhere else is good so maybe it is another adjustment that is required.

I have added the flouncy sleeves on both of my makes but I have yet to add the frill seam to the waist but plan to do this once I have got the fit just right.

this is definitely one of those patterns that I can see me making over and over. It is the sort of style that I like and can easily be dressed up or down to suit the occasion. I also think it is a style that can be transitioned for all seasons with the addition of boots for autumn/winter and maybe short sleeves for the summer. Oh and it has pockets too😍

Do you have a favourite pattern company that you turn to time and again? I would love to hear.

Sewing a Mans Shirt

Every once in a while I do a little bit of selfless sewing. I don’t have the confidence to make clothing for anyone other than my husband so he is the usual recipient. I have made small gifts such as bags and purses for family before but sewing clothing is a different ball game and I think it would cause me too much stress and take the pleasure that I get from sewing away.

This isn’t the first shirt I have made for my hubby, in fact it is the 3rd long sleeved one I have made to date and I am happy to say I have improved each time.  The main fabric is a lovely quality Lady McElroy  Cotton Lawn from Lamazi Fabrics and I teamed it with a plain blue cotton lawn which matches the blue flowers perfectly.

Lady McElroy – Watercolours Cotton Lawn Dress Fabric

I made his first shirt when I had only been sewing for about 6 months and I had not tried many techniques so have to say I really struggled with the instructions back then. The pattern I used was from ‘The Gentleman’s Wardrobe’ and my original blog can be found here:

At the stage I am at with my sewing now I really don’t understand how I found the instructions so difficult, the first time I sewed this I pretty much abandoned the written instructions and turned to YouTube were I learnt how to use the burrito method – this puzzles me somewhat now because the burrito method isn’t even mentioned in the book, instead it gives a far easier method where you attach the front pieces to the inside yoke and then turn the top placket edge under by the seam allowance and top stitch! guess I learnt to run before I could walk.

One thing I did get wrong on this shirt was attaching the undercollar to the collar – totally my fault and not down to the instructions. For this shirt I had decided to use a plain blue fabric for the inside yoke, inside collar stand piece and the under collar. When I was joining the collar to the collar stand I sewed it with plain colours both facing one way and patterned pieces the other way. When I came to join it to the shirt I realised that this would mean either the blue side of the collar stand would face outwards with the patterned collar on top or the patterned collar stand on the outside would mean that the blue collar would be on the top. This is not how I intended the shirt to look so I had to unpick the whole thing, this was made rather difficult because I had trimmed the seam allowances. With lots of care and some careful stitching along a very narrow seam allowance I managed to put things right.

The rest of the shirt went fairly smoothly, I have finally cracked the flat felled seams, again the first shirt I made these seams weren’t brilliant but this time I think they look pretty neat.

I did have a little trouble with the buttonholes, the first couple went smoothly but then my machine decided to start sticking and sewing repeatedly in one place (I really don’t know why this happened because it wasn’t being obstructed by any seams adding bulk) I got there in the end by having to finish a couple of the buttons with a little hand sewing.

This is definitely one of my proudest makes, I took lots of care over the finishing carefully selecting the buttons which match perfectly with the blue and I took my time with some hand stitching. My husband is delighted with it and will be wearing out next week when we are off to Goodwood to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

Testing Rosalee

I recently had the opportunity to pattern test for Experimental Space, I have done a couple of pattern tests for Andrea before and was really excited when she put a call out for her latest pattern – The Rosalee maxi dress.

Rosalee Dress : Sewing Pattern (Paper)

I love maxi dresses but being on the short side purchasing shop bought is pretty difficult so having the opportunity to make my own is a big plus👍

I should mention for transparency that the pattern was provided free of charge. A testing callout was put out on Instagram and I followed the link to apply, during the application a few details are required such as body measurements and sewing ability. These details are needed because it is important to get a variety of sizes and abilities in order to do a thorough test.

Once the testing team was selected a group chat was set up and Andrea gave us the details of fabric requirements so we could start selecting our fabric, next came the pdf files for printing off the pattern so we were all ready to go once the instructions were sent over. It is important to note that the files that we first receive may contain errors, obviously this is all part of the need for testing in order to iron out any errors that may of been overlooked so we were advised to sew up toiles first before cutting into our best fabric.

The dress is a swooshy maxi dress so I wanted some swoohsy fabric. Suggested fabrics are rayon, viscose and crepe or maybe a cotton lawn for an easier sew. I chose this gorgeous peachskin fabric from Sewisfaction that I had already got in my stash. I had originally earmarked this fabric for a jumpsuit but knew when I saw Andrea’s pattern that this would be perfect.

There are some lovely details on the dress – a nice cutout detail on the back, some gathering around the waist, a lovely neckline and the biggest pockets I have ever seen.

The size chart goes from 31″ bust to 43″ bust. I went with my body measurements (35/32/38) so sewed up a Cara for the bust and graded up to an Eve on the waist. The pattern is also drafted for different heights starting at 5ft 3″ and going up to 5ft 7″ I found this really useful and was able to cut the shortest size and save on fabric – the pattern suggests that you will need 3.5 metres of fabric 1.4m wide and I was able to get my dress out of 2.5 metres of fabric which was 1.5m wide by using a contrasting fabric for the facings.

The pattern is described as being for ‘Improvers’ because there are a couple of techniques that newer sewers may be unfamiliar with such as a mini burrito for the facing and attaching an invisible zipper but the instructions are very good and walk you through these processes very well.

I found the instructions for the burrito particularly good, I have used this method before but usually take to YouTube and follow a video to see what I am doing but I was able to follow the written instructions very easily and completed my burrito without any problems, this method gives a really nice finish on the inside.

My toile turned out really nicely too – this fabric was discarded in the corner of my bedroom for nearly 2 years! so it is good to finally turn it into something pretty and wearable.

I have also filmed a vlog over on YouTube that can be found here:

If you fancy a maxi dress too then I would highly recommend this pattern. Anyway that’s it from me and next time I wear this dress I plan to be sitting by the pool on our holiday sipping a cocktail.🍹😎

Vogue Pattern V9169 Tee Shirt


I have a preference for the Indie patterns when it comes to sewing but sometimes a have to turn to the Big 4 if I have a particular make in mind.

I recently picked up 2 contrasting fabrics from Lamazi fabrics and knew that I wanted a pattern that would compliment them both.

Danish Design – True Beauty Wine Cotton Jersey

After a little research I came across Vogue V9169 and thought that style A which is a short sleeve tee shirt would be perfect.

My first gripe with the pattern is the sizing – the pattern can be purchased as either Extra Small to Medium or Large to Extra Large, this would be fine if we all fitted into just one size but in reality this is not likely. For my body measurements (34/32/38) I needed the medium size for my bust and hips but the large size for my waist. I have had this problem before with some dungarees I made using a Simplicity pattern and find it so frustrating having to re-size the pattern pieces for my waist. I am pretty sure it is luck rather than judgement that on both occasions the patterns have worked out.

All that said I am very happy with how the pattern turned out and think it looks really good in my fabric choices. I did sew up a toile first (see below) just to test the size out and did find that I was able to take it in at the waist anyway so maybe I could have got away with just sewing a straight medium size.

The pattern itself is fairly easy to sew up although again I do think that the instructions over complicate things. For my toile I followed the instructions but for my final make I did a couple of things differently which I will mention below:

The instructions leave adding the sleeves until towards the end which means the side seams have already been sewn up and you have to add the completed sleeve. I find it far easier to add the sleeves on the flat before stitching up the side seams and can see no reason for not doing this and it means that you then get a nice side seam all the way down from the edge of the sleeve to the hem.

I also attached the bottom to the top part of the top differently. In the instructions you completely finish the top section with all the top stitching before joining the bottom section and then top stitching again this means there are a lot of rows of stitching unless you are very accurate and can run exactly over your original stitch line (I am not). I turned the top section and basted into place and then gave it a good iron. I then joined the bottom section as per the instructions and then basted the top to the bottom section, gave a good press again and then top stitched with a double needle. I found this worked well for me and looked much better than my first attempt. I should also point out that in my first attempt I stitched the sections together in the wrong place (my mistake). If you look at the photo of the floral top you can see the stitching line is too close to the edge and therefore does not give the lapped affect that is intended.


Overall I am pleased with how things turned out and love the fabric that I have used I still prefer the Indie patterns though and think they will always be my first choice.

Marilla Walker Isca Shirt Dress

I thought I would share with you my latest make. I visited the NEC for a sewing show back in March and picked up the most gorgeous cotton/linen blend fabric which I knew I wanted to make a shirt dress with. I had a shirt dress style in mind so then it was a case of searching Instagram for something that would fit the bill, I wanted something with a fuller skirt which only buttoned on the bodice. I eventually came across the Marilla Walker Isca Dress.

This is not a pattern company that I was familiar with and on checking out her site the paper version of the Isca was sold out. It was available as a pdf and although I do now use pdfs (they really aren’t as scary as I used to think) I just have a preference towards a paper pattern. Luckily for me I put a search into Ebay and one popped up on there which I duly sent for.

The paper pattern comes with a nice instruction booklet and very good quality paper printed pattern pieces. There are 2 style options available – A is a traditional style shirt dress, B is described as a drape front dress and looks more like a wrap dress from the line drawings. Sizing goes from bust measurement of 31 inches to 48 inches and waist measurements of 24 inches to 41 inches. I used my body measurements (36/32/38) so graded from a size 4 on my bust up to a size 5 on my waist. My waist fell between the size 5 and 6 but looking at the finished measurements I was confident that the smaller size would be fine. I made a wearable toile first, not something I usually do but I didn’t want to risk ruining my lovely fabric.

The toile is pictured above and is made from a cotton that I picked up in the sales at Hobbycraft. At only £2 per metre it was a bargain and turned out much better than I expected (floral isn’t a fabric I go for normally). From the toile I only needed to make a couple of adjustments – I took the side seams in by 1/2 inch and shortened the length by 5 inches, I then adjusted my traced pattern accordingly. The pattern is described as being Intermediate level but the instructions really are excellent – some of the best I have come across so a confident beginner could definitely give it a go. The instructions even include details of different seam finishes – Lapped Seam, French Seam and Plain Seam. There is also an in depth explanation of how to do a small/full bust adjustment.

The front bodice is in 2 parts which helps to give some shape over the bust area and the shoulder seams include a shoulder reinforcement which gives a really nice finish to the inside shoulder seam. I found the instructions for adding the collar very easy to understand. It was a different method than I have used before but much easier to follow and one I will use again. I did use the wrong seam allowance on the collar of my toile, my fault because the instructions clearly state that it is a 1cm allowance here not the usual 1.5cm like the rest of the pattern. The toile still turned out fine though and I only became aware of the error when I made my final garment and realised that the collar stand was wider than on my toile. The skirt construction was very straight forward; the hardest part for me was adding the gathers which is a technique I find tricky at times but it’s just a case of taking your time and trying to spread the gathers out evenly.

I did have a little trouble with the button holes, I practised on some scrap fabric and that went fine but when I came to adding them to my placket when I got to the third button the bobbin ran out (I should of checked beforehand) and then the stitches got a little bunched up. For the buttons I was undecided what to go with; I recently bought several packs of buttons from a vintage charity shop in Leicester and all of them would have worked so in the end I decided to go for a mixture of 2 of them and alternated them along the placket. I think they add a really nice finishing touch.

I would definitely recommend this pattern if you are looking for a shirtdress and I am tempted to give the drape fronted version a go next time.

I have also uploaded a video review over on YouTube where you can check the dress out in the flesh so to speak:

Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here, not sure where the time has gone or what I’ve been doing but really wanted to tell you about my latest make.I have seen several lovely versions of Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs over on Instagram and then when I went to SewBrum sewing event last year I chatted to a lady who was wearing the most gorgeous purple corduroy version and I was well and truly sold on the idea. I purchased both pattern and fabric on that day and it has been sitting in my to do pile ever since.A couple of things have delayed me from making them – firstly as much as I like other peoples versions I was worried they wouldn’t suit me, this is not my usual style and therefore a little out of my comfort zone. Secondly they involve making trousers which I was a little intimidated by, my only other attempt at making anything trouser like was early last year when I tried to make the Sew Over It Poppy Playsuit, it did not turn out well and I destroyed all photographic evidence😂I finally pushed myself to make them so that I could join in with the Instagram challenge #sewtogetherforsummer and I am so glad that I did.The pattern comes with 2 options for both the bib and the trousers, I went with version 2 for the bib which is a straighter top and teamed it with version 1 of the trousers which have added darts for a more fitted style. The fabric was purchased from Guthrie and Ghani but its been a while so no idea if it is still in stock and I’m not certain what type of fabric it is but think it’s a type of chambray so its fairly light weight with a decent drape.For the sizing I went with my body measurements which meant grading the bib from the size 8 for my bust up to the size 12 for my waist then for the trousers I started at the size 12 for my waist and graded back in to the 8 for my hips. Lengthwise I went with the cropped style but they have ended up being full length, at only 5ft 2″then I guess I should of expected that. I am currently leaving them full length because I do like them like this although I may decide to shorten them at a later stage (the joy of sewing your own clothes).The instructions are very clear so I didn’t really have any problems understanding them, probably the hardest part is once the bib is attached to the trousers making sure you get everything the right way round. I checked and double checked before sewing in the invisible zip because that can get a bit confusing. I found the best thing to do was to lay the garment out on a flat surface and make sure the seams were all in the correct place to be joined together and then work on which way the zip should be attached, the rest was really fairly straightforward. I love the front pockets which are nice and deep, there is an option to add back pockets too but I decided to omit these because I thought there was enough at the back with the gathers of the waist which is pulled in with the belt. I also couldn’t resist adding a couple of cute cat buttons (crazy cat lady here) which I have had in my stash for a while.I can’t recommend this pattern enough, I think when you buy ready to wear then some styles just don’t work because the fit isn’t always great but sewing for yourself opens the doors to a whole new wardrobe of styles that you may not of considered before, so if you are hovering over a pattern and worried it won’t work for you then give it a try you may be surprised at how great it turns out.

Pattern Testing The Josie Blouse

Experimental Space is a fairly new kid on the block when it comes to sewing patterns, it is run by Andrea and this is her third sewing pattern and what a corker it is.

I first became aware of Andrea’s website last year when she put a call out for testers for her second pattern – The Casey Sweater. I applied and was lucky enough to be selected to help out with the testing process. This was the first pattern test I had taken part in and thoroughly enjoyed the process. I was really impressed with the pattern, my version is pictured below, there is also a really nice version over on LikeSewAmazing which was made up in some fabric from Sarah’s store which she appropriately called Casey fabric because it is absolutely perfect for this top.

When a call out for the Josie blouse popped up on my Instagram feed I was quick to apply and really pleased when Andrea contacted me to test again. The artwork on the pattern is super cool and the pattern is available as both pdf and printed copies. The blouse calls for a light weight fabric such as viscose, rayon or crepe – anything with a good drape. I made my tester version in some very lightweight cotton that I had left over in my stash from a previous make – Andrea always emphasises the importance of doing a test version first before cutting into your nice fabric (this was a pattern test after all so issues may possibly arise).

One of the things that make these patterns a little different is the size chart that works on names rather than numbers ‘Be a name, not a number’ is the tagline, measurements are also taken from the high bust rather than the full bust.I went with my body measurements for the bust which worked out as Cara and for both waist and hips I fell between Dee and Eve so graded to the Dee working on the amount of ease in the finished garment measurements. On first reading the instructions I thought I may struggle a little with the pleats on the shoulders because this is a process I have not done before. There was really no need to worry, the instructions are very good and guide you through the process step by step. The marks on the pattern pieces for the pleat points can be a little difficult to read because there are a lot of markings for all the different sizes but Andrea as it covered with a handy diagram in the instructions that tell you the exact measurements between each pleat. The pleats are also mirrored on the tops of the sleeves and then these need to be matched up at the shoulder seams. The instructions advise tacking in place to make sure they align correctly before sewing the sleeve in completely.I like the fact that the side seams are finished off with French Seams to give a really nice finish on the inside. I also added Hong Kong Seams to the back join (I wonder if this is a correct term? I have been watching the new series of The Great British Sewing Bee and Esme who is a judge on the program didn’t seem to think there was any such thing!) This is a fairly simple sew with some nice techniques, I love the pleat details on the shoulder – I wasn’t sure that bishop sleeves would be for me but having tried it on I am now definitely a fan, I also love the fact that the cuff is extended.
I would recommend this pattern if you are looking for something simple but a little different, I am not a fan of what I would describe as fussy blouses (they just aren’t my style) but this is plain enough to work as both casual and smart and contains just enough detail to make it that extra bit special and unusual so that is stands out from the crowd.

I teamed my Josie Blouses with a gorgeous necklace from Sew Dainty, the link is below for anyone who would like to take a look: