Etsy Christmas Gift Guide

With Christmas fast approaching and the likely hood that most of our shopping will be done online, I have put together a gift guide on Etsy of some of my favourite products.

*I want to disclose now that all links are Affiliate links, so I will receive a small commission if you purchase anything through one of these links.

ABR- Adornments By Rosheen

Rosheen makes the most amazing hair bands, I have 2 and absolutely love them! I also have a few little slides from her store and have been eyeing up her headscarves for so long!

Adornments by Rosheen

Rosheen has now started adding more items to her collection, including amazing prints and embroidered T-shirt and sweaters! They are incredible and I can wait to add some of her prints to my collection, I have left a space on my gallery wall for one. Check her out on Instagram too @adornmentsbyrosheen


Pulp Paper Heaven

I have this thing for notebooks, and when I discovered Suzanne’s instagram account I knew I had to have one. She takes on books that are destined for the landfill and transforms them to have a new lease of life. I wanted a sewing themed one, and it had to be spiral bound (awkward lefty here!). I messaged her and she could not have been more helpful when creating my dream notebook. It truely is a work of art!

If you are stuck for gift ideas you definitely need to check her store out and perfect stocking fillers, and great gift ideas for teachers.


Evie La Luve

When I decided I was going to have a go at making underwear I knew exactly where to go. Hannah creates patterns and sells kits containing everything you need to make a beautiful lingerie set. I knew I wanted to purchase a kit for the first go to take all the stress out of finding the right notions. Hannah also has a YouTube channel with tutorials and sew alongs for most of her patterns which was a massive help for my first time sewing a bra.

She has some beautiful patterns and kits, but if making your own isn’t your cup of tea she also makes them to sell as finished pieces. I think this would make a beautiful gift for someone who is interested in starting to make lingerie (or maybe a little gift to yourself!).


F.I.N.D.S

Finds by Foxes

Carefully curated vintage pieces for adults, kids and your home. I worked with Katty in H&M and I can testify that this girl has got serious style! She finds the most amazing vintage pieces and specialises in ladies wear that is size 14 and up, and the kids pieces are just adorable! I don’t know how she does it but she has an amazing eye for vintage!


Emerald Erin

Emerald Erin

Another favourite for lingerie patterns, Erin has some serious talent when it comes to designing lingerie. I love the Black Beauty bra and she always has the cutest kits.

Black Beauty Bra

Pigeon Wishes Shop

Can you think of a more perfect stocking filler than some beautiful buttons? The range from Pigeon Wishes are just beautiful.

Pigeon Wishes Shop

The colours are stunning and there are some lovely neutral tones which would make a perfect gift.


That’s Pretty Major

That’s Pretty Major

The second I saw Dominique’s beautiful prints I knew I would have to add one to my gallery wall. These would make a perfect gift and bonus, they would be super easy to post!

The obvious favourite for me!

JD Designs

Beautiful handmade gifts, perfect for anyone. Janet makes everything available and has a great eye for detail. These would make perfect stocking fillers or even a gift for teachers.

JD Designs

I hope I have given you some inspiration for your Christmas shopping. If you are looking for some more ideas you should check out one of Etsy’s gift guides, there are so many beautiful gifts.

Creative Gift Ideas

Personally, I am getting really excited for Christmas. It will certainly be a little different this year, but I am making it my aim to support as many small businesses as possible.

My Wish List

Happy shopping,

Sharlene xx

Ad? PR Product? Gifted? Collaboration?

There has been a lot of talk in the last few days about using the term “gifted” when a sewist receives “free” fabric to write a blog post. This is something I have been thinking about a lot recently (months really) and why some people may see this as a negative thing.

Firstly, there are a lot of regulations and standards that you need to follow when using your social media platforms for advertising purposes. If you want more information on this you should check out the ASA website. I also follow @vixmeldrew on Instagram, she explains everything very clearly and has various highlights going into detail about all of this. She is also a total boss babe!

So now for my own thoughts. The use of the term “gifted” was first brought to my attention by the lovely Vix and it really got me thinking. Am I obliged to share my birthday present from my family on social media and write a blog post on it and take high quality photographs? No. A gift is something that is given to you with no obligation to share or reciprocate or promote.

Fabric or patterns provided by a company is a different story. It is not just as simple as receiving a product and doing (or not doing) what you want with it. It is a form of advertising and for many small businesses starting out it is the best way to build a following and grow their business. I think it is a lovely way to build a relationship with a brand a support them. Likewise they are supporting you, sharing your makes on their platform and providing you with products. We all can understand that small, often single person businesses do not have a big marketing budget (or any marketing budget) to begin with so this is the best way to get your name out there. This applies to both small indie pattern companies and fabric stores.

When it comes to bigger, more established companies I think there should be more given in return. There has been a shift recently with some stores offering a form of payment for blog posts and pattern companies offering payment for pattern testing. As someone who does this as a job this is great to see.

I want to break down what is involved in writing a blog post for another company:

  • Choosing fabric and pattern- this can take different lengths of time depending on what the company is offering or their range of stock
  • Confirming the project- I usually have a few different projects in mind in case my first choice isn’t suitable.
  • Making the garment- this included per washing the fabric, cutting the pattern, and sewing. I personally feel more pressure during this stage as I want to do a good job with what I have been given.
  • Photographing the garment- again, this isn’t as simple as taking a few photos. You may need to set up a space to take the photo, travel to a location and do all this at a time when you have the best lighting.
  • Writing the blog

When it is broken down into all these stages it adds up to hours and hours of time and becomes work, a job. It becomes less like receiving “free fabric” (or patterns) as a “gift”. And there are some larger companies who expect a lot and offer very little in return.

This is my job. I don’t work full time or even part time any more and don’t have the disposable income I used to have for buying fabric. And as much as we don’t like to admit it, it is nearly impossible to grow a following on social media, to in turn help grow a business, if you don’t post new makes consistently. Most of you follow me on Instagram I’m sure, and you will know I regularly post the same garment and love styling things in different ways. But there always needs to be something new.

Recent events (ahem… Covid) have really got me thinking about who I collaborate with and what I receive in return. I have to think carefully about where I spend my time and effort as I am thinking about new ways to earn a living and ensure that if something like this happens again I will be okay. In person sewing lessons was my main form of income and when that stopped it was a wake up call. I will accept fabric in exchange for a blog as it is the only way I can continue to produce new content, which in turn helps to grow my business, but I am becoming more aware of the companies I want to work with and those I don’t.

I have been working with companies who have started paying their content creators (Helen’s Closet was one of the first) and it feels amazing to be paid for the time and effort I put into a garment. I hope this is a trend that will continue and a lot of companies have pledged to start moving towards a form of collaborating that benefits both parties.

I have also heard comments about the negative perceptions associated with receiving “free” fabric. Some may feel that it isn’t fair that some sewists are “gifted” fabric when they aren’t, and I think this is a valid point when you are thinking of it as a gift. Personally I would be pretty annoyed if everyone in my family got a gift from someone at Christmas and I didn’t. I feel that there needs to be a shift from the idea that this is a free gift, it should be a collaboration where time and products are exchanged.

So all this is to say, I will not be using the term “Gifted” (and haven’t for a while) when describing something for a blog post. I think a simple “Ad/Blog” at the start of a post and in stories is enough to identify that the fabric was given in exchange for a blog as most of us know that this will have been the case. When a pattern has been exchanged with no expection of a blog post I will use “Ad/Collaboration” or if I have been paid to write/make something I will use “Ad/Paid Partnership”. If something has been given to me as a thank you or with no genuine expectation to be shared I will say it was gifted. I am in no way saying that this is the right way to do it, I think you need to think about the terms that feel suitable and sit comfortably for you.

I also want to add that my blogs post will always be honest. The majority of the fabric I use I have picked myself and fabric and sewing brings me so much joy. So I love a lot of it! If I ever have a negative experience I will always say, but in a nice way.

As a sewing community we are very supportive of each other and want to see people succeed. I have seen a shift in attitudes to accepting free fabric/patterns and sewists are starting to ask for what they deserve in return.

I am happy to discuss this further with anyone, but please remember these are my just my own thoughts and ramblings.

Happy sewing,

Sharlene xx

Autumn Winter Plans 2020

When I began thinking about my autumn winter sewing plans I had a look back to my blog post last year and I will be honest, not a lot has changed! I still want the same garments and a lot of the same colours. Which for me is a good thing, as I know the garments I am making are going to stand the test of time and are not just a fad that I won’t wear again.

This year I am excited to get stuck into bigger projects though. I think I now have a good core collection in my wardrobe that I don’t ‘need’ to make any more, I can focus on the garments that will take more time and develop my skills.

Suits

I actually have a few suits that I started last year that I am still finishing so these will be first up on my list. I have to finish my navy spots blazer, make the cinnamon twill trousers and finish the self drafted blazer to match.

Once these are done I already have fabric lined up for 2 more. Dark green has long been my favourite colour so I definitely want a suit in this colour. I picked up the suiting fabric from Minerva during their recent VIP day so it was a bargain! I think I am going to make another Named clothing Ava blazer and Tynni cigarette trousers in this as I love my last checked version so much and they both have the fit I am looking for.

Ava and Tynni blog post

The second fabric is a grey check stretch suiting, again from Minerva but this time for a blog post. I am going for a more relaxed look with this so will use the Homer & Howells Blair blazer and the Maud trousers.

I think if I manage to finish these I will be doing very well.

Coats

Again, I have 2 fabrics already for coats. First up, another dark green. This is a dead stock wool coating from New Craft House last year and the colour is perfect! I am planning the Drop Shoulder Coat by Trend Patterns, as it has a loose casual style that I am looking for.

Drop Shoulder Coat Pattern

Next is this orange wool (basket weave?) that I picked up during Stitch Odyssey’s destash last year. I am going to make the Iconic Bomber by Worthy Design Studio. Both these styles are perfect for all my big sleeves and chunky jumpers!

Dresses and Blouses/shirts

Last year I was also focused on making dresses, as it was something I hadn’t been able to wear in a long time as I was breastfeeding Emily. I still want to add to my collection of dresses but I have picked up some beautiful blouse patterns recently that I am excited to make too. Another Pauline Alice Coeli blouse is top of my list, followed by the Paper Theory Olya.

I have some clear ideas on what I style I want to aim for with dresses too. I will definitely be trying the Trend Patterns Shirt Dress and would love to give the Brigitta Helmersson Zero Waste Gathered Dress a go too.

I will be working on some more self-drafted styles too with lots of different sleeve variations!

Colour Palettes

I have 3 colour palettes for this season, and the best part about it is I have all the fabrics already in my stash! Within each collection I have a coat/jacket, a suit, one other pair of trousers and a variety of dresses, tops and blouses. When deciding what my colour palettes will be, I pull out my box of samples and have lots of fun matching different combinations together.

Green and Pink

First up will be blush pink and dark green. These 2 colours featured in a fabric haul back in August and when I saw them together I fell in love! I have made a start on some of these pieces already and cant wait to get this collection finished!

Navy and Orange

The next collection will be navy, orange and cream. Again, these are all fabrics in my stash apart from the beige jacquard on the top left and I am happy I can pull them all together.

Rust and Khaki

The last colour palette is pretty similar to last year and a lot of what I have already made with tie in well with this. There will be lots of rusts and khaki green, with a few florals and spots thrown in too.

I have enjoyed pulling these collections together, I can see very clearly how everything will tie together to create wearable outfits, while also tying in with what I already have in my wardrobe.

What are your Autumn/winter sewing plans? I would love to know.

Happy sewing,

Sharlene xx

My Bra making journey Pt 1

I have been in need of some new underwear for quite a while now. Over the last 6 years I have been 6 different bra sizes between being pregnant, breastfeeding both my children and my Crohn’s flaring up. I recently decided to go through everything I had and get rid of everything that wasn’t the right size. I was left with 3 bras!

I had been planning on making some lingerie so this was definitely the perfect opportunity. My size is pretty hard to find in shops (30DD) so making my own was probably going to work out just as cheap as what I could buy.

I have made one bra before, the Willow bra (aflink) by Evie la Luve, at least 6 months ago. I purchased a kit from her Etsy store and it came together pretty quickly. It wasn’t the right style for me though, as there wasn’t enough support but it has been great for wearing on lazy days around the house.

I have always wanted to try the Black Beauty bra by Emerald Erin so this is were I started. I printed the pattern and began looking for supplies.

This is definitely one of the hardest parts. There are so many different elastics, findings, laces, duoplex, powernet… the list goes on, never mind trying to match the correct colours and sizes. It is difficult to get it all right and has been one of the biggest hurdles for me to get to this point. There are some great resources online to help you learn more about this, Orange Lingerie and the Emerald Erin blog both have helpful resources.

If this is your first time I would highly recommend getting a kit and an extra set of findings (rings and sliders) and elastic for your chosen pattern. The reason I am saying an extra set of findings and elastics is that you will more than likely want to make another bra after you have made the first so you can improve on the fit and techniques used. And I know personally if I didn’t have everything I needed to make another one it would be another 6 month gap between them.

Fabric and Elastic from The Sewing Chest (fabric linked)

For anyone based in the UK, the Sewing Chest and Fit 2 Sew have had the best range of supplies so far from my own experience. The Sewing Chest has kits for the Black Beauty Bra, although they don’t sell bra form if you would like to add this. Fit 2 Sew have a good range of kits and I have discovered the Ruby Bra kit with Foam has everything you will need for the Black Beauty bra but you will need to buy some extra Fold Over Elastic for View A.

Black Beauty Bra Kit from The Sewing Chest
Bra making kits from Fit 2 Sew

If you are willing to pay for international shipping you can check out Emerald Erin’s shop on Etsy (aflink). Once I have mastered the techniques and fit I will be investing in some of these as her fabric choices are beautiful. (Emerald Erin’s Etsy store is closed for restocking but will reopen tomorrow, 25th September)

Another UK based supplier I have discovered for kits is The Bra Shop on Etsy. There are kits for many Indie bra designers, including the Black Beauty bra. Choosing to shop from a small independent store like these will give you the opportunity to ask the seller questions too if you have any problems.

Other patterns I want to try are the Emerald Erin Jordy Bralet, Orange Lingerie Berkeley and Made My Wardrobe Josie Bra.

Made My Wardrobe Josie Bra and Pants PDF pattern
Orange Lingerie Berkeley Bra

One last tip (courtesy of @marie_stitchedup on Instagram)- if you have bras that don’t fit anymore or have seen better days, take them apart and keep what is usable. I have kept the under wires and casings from some of my old bra’s that were the right shape, and elastics and findings. This can cut down on the cost of starting out and give you more options to play about with.

I have recorded a YouTube video too to go along with this blog post.

YouTube video

I am so excited by the idea of making my own, perfectly fitting bras in the style I love. Have you made your own lingerie before? What’s your favourite pattern? Or if you haven’t what’s holding you back? I hope this post has helped in some way with navigating the endless list of supplies you need.

Happy sewing,

Sharlene xx

Contrast Bias T-Shirt Dress

Since I saw Lucy’s first sample of the Bias T-shirt dress with a contrasting panel I knew I would have to try this out. It has taken me a while to find the right fabrics for this as I didn’t want to settle for something that wasn’t right for me.

Sally from Modista sewing shared an online fabric store that I hadn’t heard of before, Patterns and Plains, so I went for a nosey. I couldn’t believe when I found not only the perfect fabrics for this dress, but they were also on sale! They sell fabrics in 0.1m increments so you can cut down on the amount of fabric left over after you finish and have a lovely selection of fabrics to choose from.

I got 2 meters of the Black colourway and 1.4m of the Sage green colourway as this was all they had left. If you are planning to make a contrast version like this you will need to measure the length of the front dress piece as this is the longest pattern piece you will need to fit on the contrast fabric.

Once I had all the pattern pieces out I got to work on figuring out which pieces I needed in which fabric. Most of this pattern is cut on a single layer anyway so that made it a little easier to figure out which way up the patten pieces needed to go, I just needed to take extra care with the sleeves. I cut the Front Dress, Back Right Dress and Right Sleeve in the green (pieces marked above with a green X). Once the garment was sewn up I did debate changing the back pieces to half black, half green but I stuck with all black as I loved it as it was and couldn’t wait to wear it!

The other change I made was to leave out the zip. I basted this seam together first and checked if I could get it on. I knew this was a possibility as I am able to get my previous dress on and off without using the zip.

I love this dress. The contrast fabric wrapping around the front is very flattering and so striking. The design elements make this a really interesting dress and completely elevate the look. I honestly cant get enough of it.

If you haven’t tried a pattern by Trend Patterns before I would really encourage you to take a look. Lucy is an amazing pattern cutter and her years of experience in the fashion industry are evident. I have already started on the Drop Shoulder Coat in a Green wool and I know it will be beautiful.

So in summery, this is now in my Top 5 favourite makes and patterns! Have you tried any patterns by Trend Patterns yet?

Sharlene xx

Summer Collection Part 2- Blues and Lilac

The second summer collection I was working on focused on shades of royal blue and lilac, with white and navy added in too.

This collection focused on a lot of dresses which is something my wardrobe was missing. I love that I have all these beautiful summer dresses ready to pull out next year.

Leila Dress by Marsha Style

This collection included a few pieces that would tie in with every colour palette I was working with, including this Leila Dress by Marsha Style in Blue Feather viscose from Lamazi Fabrics. I feel like this piece is the perfect boho summer style dress and it would work in so many settings.

Fibre Mood Mindy

This dress could be one of my favourites from the summer collections (although to be honest I think I love them all!). The giant lilac gingham from The Dab Hand just screams summer picnics to me and the pattern has become one of my favourites.

White Linen Jazz Dress

This white linen Jazz dress by Ready to Sew was inspired by a Cecilie Bahnsen dress, and if you would like to now more about it you can read my blog post here.

Bella Loves Patterns Flor

It is so unlike to to choose white fabric, never mind make 2 white dresses close together, but I couldn’t resist making this pretty Flor dress hack in broderie anglaise from Felicity Fabrics. I was part of the pattern testing team for this dress. This was my second version of this dress, my lilac midi length version below was my first test version.

Lilac Flor Dress in fabric from Pound Fabrics

I love this pattern so much, you can read the blog post here or watch my YouTube video on how to add sleeves here.

Homer & Howell’s Innes

This is another pattern I was part of the testing team for and I have another blog post with all the details on this one too. The fabric is a Lady McElroy linen viscose from Sister Mintaka which is unfortunately sold out.

Homer & Howell’s Blair

This blazer was love at first sight! As soon as the pattern was released i bought it and have now made a full length version and this cropped version in a floral canvas which had been in my stash for a while. I have at least 2 more of this planned!

Helen’s Closet Gilbert Top and Winslow Shorts

Now that I am writing this I am realising you many pattern tests I was lucky to be part of this year. I was part of the QA team for the Helen’s Closet Gilbert Top and this was my first version in a Navy polka dot rayon that had again been in my stash for nearly 2 years. I had enough left over to make a pair of Winslow shorts and I love the faux play suit look.

I love my dawn jeans and have got lots of wear from them already. You can more about them on my blog post here.

Coco Wawa Plum Dress

One final pattern test from this collection is the Coco Wawa Plum dress. When Ana contacted me about testing this it was like she had read my mind about the type of dress pattern I was looking for. This loose smock style dress with a cute ruffle option is perfect for summer and I went on to make some of my favourite summer dresses from this pattern. This fabric was from a local fabric swap back in January.

Two of my favourite woven top patterns have to be the Friday Pattern Company Square Neck Top and Paper Theory Patterns Kabuki tee. I have made a few versions of each now and love both styles.

This collection was always going to be one of the biggest as it was using up a lot of fabrics that were already in my stash and it feels good to have cleared a lot of these out. So I suppose I have to thank Covid for that one! Lol!

I hope you have enjoyed this round up, and I know I will look forward to pulling out all of these pieces next year when the good weather comes back (and hopefully bring a few on holiday some day).

How did your summer sewing plans go? Were they a success?

Sharlene xx

Rya Jacket and Fibre Mood Linkparty

I joined in with the Fibre Mood link party for issue 11, which meant I got a sneak preview of the patterns and could choose one to make before the release. When I saw the patterns it was a pretty easy decision. I have wanted to make an oversized shirt jacket in the style of the Rya for at least a year now, check out a few of the pins I had saved.

I received a very well timed email from Pound Fabrics reminding me of the selection of wool blends they had. I loved the colour of this beige and found a perfect cotton to use for the Bias and pocket linings.

I decided to bias bind all the seams, as the jacket is unlined I love having this feature on show in a jacket. I made a size X Small, my measurements put me in between an X Small and Small so I went for the lower size as it has so much ease. I got 3m of wool blend and 1m of cotton. I used most of the cotton making binding for the seams and had 1 meter of wool left over (I didn’t check exactly how much I had at the start though). The wool was wider than the fabric recommendation chart.

Fibre Mood Aflink

This pattern features lots of oversized details that I love. The pockets are huge (perfect for a phone, keys and various bits of Lego!) and the collar is just the right proportion for the overall pattern.

I used the same cotton as I used for the binding and lining for the under collar and collar stand. I love this little pop of print when the collar is flipped up. The pattern has a lovely curved hem at the side so you can see a little peak of the bias hem.

I had these Merchant and Mills recycled resin buttons from Good Fabric for a different project but used them here as I didn’t have enough of anything else in my stash. I love the contrast of the darker button against the light fabric.

Recycled Resin Buttons

This jacket will see me through autumn and winter, as there is enough room to layer a jumper underneath. So it is perfect for our very changeable Irish weather were layers are the key to dressing!

Can you spot the button I forgot to do up?

I loved having a little push to make this jacket, as I have a feeling it would have been pushed further and further down my list. I have so many big plans for this season and it feels good to get this one ticked off the list.

Have you had a look at the new Fibre Mood 11? What is your favourite pattern?

Happy sewing,

Sharlene xx

Flor Dress and Top

I was recently part of the tester team for the new Flor dress and top by Bella Loves Patterns. This pattern is a romantic wrap style with princess seams, ruffles and a crop top or midi length skirt. There are so many thoughtful details in this pattern and a lot of potential for hacking. I am going to share my thoughts on the pattern, my first hack and a few more I have planned.

The Pattern

The first test version I made was in a lilac herringbone from Pound Fabrics to test the fit. I love the shade of lilac but I am not so sure on the fabric, but it is perfect for toiles and checking the fit of a new pattern.

Flor Pattern

This is the first pattern Isabela has released with different cup sizes, the pattern ranges from 6 to 20 with B, C and D cups included. I made a size 10 and am 5 ft 6.

My main issue with this version is the skirt, the gathers are too puffy for my liking as I tend to avoid this style of skirt. I think in a lighter fabric like a Cotton Lawn this would be perfect and it would still hold the structure of the ruffles.

When I saw the first sample of this dress I knew instantly that I was going to try and recreate a RTW style I had seen from H&M.

I picked up I this Broderie Anglaise from Felicity Fabrics first birthday sale, I had my eye on it for a while as it wasn’t the traditional floral embroidery and it was called Emily (my daughters name). It felt like fate that this fabric and the pattern where such a good match.

Felicity Fabrics website

The first thing I needed to change was the skirt. To get the length I wanted I removed 14cm from the lengthen/shorten line. I also took 10cm from the middle of the front piece and 5 cm from the back for a less full skirt and to fit everything onto the fabric.

Next step was to add in a sleeve. I used the puff sleeve from the Vita dress, also by Bella Loves Patterns as it had the right shape that I wanted at the sleeve head and the cuff. I shortened the sleeve by 16cm to get a 3/4 length sleeve and trued the edges (evened out). I added elastic at the end to get the gathered shape.

YouTube link

Adding a sleeve to a sleeveless bodice requires a little alteration to the bodice too. To get the armhole to the correct shape for the sleeve to be inserted I laid both the Vita and Flor bodice on top of each other and traced the new shape. You can see me doing this in more detail on my YouTube video. This can be achieved with different bodice/sleeve combinations, if you have any questions please ask away.

This has worked out perfectly for me and has given the exact style I was looking for. I love this dress so much and I am just praying for a few more sunny days so that I can wear it out!

Earrings are from Clay by Holly

Now that I can add the Vita sleeve onto this dress I can also picture a long floaty autumnal version with the full length sleeves and no ruffles, the ultimate boho dress! I think adding and removing different elements of this pattern will give you a lot of options, as well as playing about with the proportions. Bigger ruffles, or smaller, shorter skirts and I have seen a few peplum top versions too.

The Flor pattern is on sale all this week with 15% off (until 4th September) so now is the perfect time to add this to your pattern collection.

Thank you for reading this blog and happy sewing!

Sharlene xx

Innes Dress

When Susan and Nic from new UK based pattern brand Homer & Howells asked me to pattern test for them it was an easy decision to make. I had already made their Blair blazer twice and was a big fan. The pattern was really well drafted, the instructions were clear and the style was perfect for me.

I will admit that this style of dress is one I usually avoid- I hate showing the top of my arms, I know it’s silly! But I trusted their skills and thought it was as good a time as any to try this style out.

I love it! I made my first version in a mid-weight black watch tartan linen I had in my stash. I wore it 3 times within the first week of making it, which says it all. It is lightweight, breathable and easy to throw on. I can picture it with a high neck jumper layered underneath for winter too.

The neckline has a lovely soft v shape to it which I feel hits just the right spot for me. One of my favourite details is the side splits which are finished with a lovely deep hem.

For reference I am 5ft 6inch and the length of the dress and depth of the side splits are perfect for me.

I made a second version in this Lady McElroy linen viscose blend from Sister Mintaka. I had 1.5m and it was narrower than what the pattern required but I managed to squeeze it in by taking 2 inches off the length and cutting one of the facings in 2 (not on the fold).

The pattern comes with 2 options for finishing the neckline, either a facing or a bias finish. I used a facing for both version. The instruction for doing a bias finish were very clear and I would feel confident to try this out too.

The girls have included some fitting tip with this version for some changes that might be a little tricky with this style, such as a narrow/broad shoulder adjustment.

I love it with my new boots and will be pairing this with a chunky jumper come autumn!

If you haven’t had a look at this pattern company before you definitely need to check them out, the Blair blazer is a brilliant pattern for starting to make blazers and I have the Maud trousers cut and ready to sew. Next on my list will be the Cissy dress (which I intend to pick up today).

My kids are always getting in on the action

I am super happy I have tried this cami style of dress out now as these are definitely 2 of my most worn pieces this summer. What are your favourite summer pieces this year?

Happy sewing,

Sharlene xx

White Linen Jazz Dress

This fabric has sat in my stash waiting for the perfect project since January. I picked it up at a Dressmakers Anonymous Belfast fabric swap and honestly nearly didn’t take it, with 2 young kids white isn’t always the best choice! But I loved the texture and as it was linen there was always the option of dying it a different colour.

I knew when planning my spring summer collections I had to include this fabric, either in its original form or in a different colour. After scrolling through Pinterest the perfect dress appeared and I knew what I would do with it.

Image of Cecelie Bahnsen dress from Pinterest

I had a few option for patterns with this style. I tried out the By Hand London Hannah wrap dress to see how I liked the fit at the top. It was a good contender until Raphaelle from Ready to Sew shared a version of the Jazz dress on Instagram and I knew this was it!

Jazz eBook

If you haven’t already checked out the Jazz eBook I cant recommend it enough. When I say the options are endless I am not kidding. The eBook comes with 82 different views including jumpsuits, dresses, tops and bibs in different sleeve and neckline variations, along with different hacks on her blog. When it was released as an eBook I got every version printed and decided now was definitely the time to make use of it.

I used version 69 but with a few tweaks. First up I knew I wanted the length of the tiers of the skirt swapped, so I shortened the top skirt and lengthened the bottom. The next was to add some volume to the sleeve head (are you surprised?). I used the slash and spread method for this. I went ahead and made it with these modification but after the first try on there were a few other changes I needed to make.

The bodice was a touch too long in the heavier fabric so I took the skirt off and removed 1 inch from the length of the bodice. The pattern features a dropped shoulder and with the addded volume at the sleeve head it was too much in the stiff fabric. I removed 2 inches from the shoulder and reattached the sleeve. I also removed the cuff from the sleeve and added an elastic casing. These changes all helped create something closer to my inspiration image.

I am really happy with the end result, and even happier I discovered these white Zara boots on Depop as they really make the outfit for me.

The fabric is a little sheer from the loosely woven stripes so I will wear a slip or cycling shorts underneath when I wear it out. I am still not sure where I am going to wear it out but I am sure I will find an excuse soon.

It has pockets!

I am definitely feeling encouraged to make more use of this pattern now, I love Raphelle’s style. There is something about French pattern designers that really appeals to me. I think the faux wrap jumpsuit with sleeves will be next in a nice floaty rayon. Do you have any patterns in your stash that you want to make more use of? I would love to know what they are.

Happy sewing,

Sharlene xx