Crafty sew and sew in Dorset

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Pattern review: In the Folds Slouchy cardigan

ANOTHER FREE PATTERN!!!! Download here from Peppermint Magazine.

This pattern replaced the 3 hour slouchy cardigan from the GBSB book in my make nine line up due to buying VERY expensive fabric and the original pattern not having great reviews on how it was drafted.

I bought this mohair/wool/ polyester mix fabric from Hanson’s last month during the Dorset meet up. It was £22 a metre, which is a lot compared to my normal fabricland prices but was too beautiful not to buy and it was 20% off!

My first challenge was whether or not I could wash my fabric without it shrinking as I wanted a daily cardigan and not a dry clean only coat.

Luckily with wool washing liquid and a wool cycle my test samples came out the same size (thanks to Instagram buddies for their advice 😊).

I cut out all my pieces and sewed the body and sleeves together. This was a super easy make, all completed on my overlocker and no fitting issues as it’s designed to be oversized and slouchy.

I tried it on at this stage and decided it would be too itchy without a lining so popped down to my local fabricland for some cotton fabric.

I only bought a metre of this fabric which only covered the body so had to raid my stash for some poly lining fabric in cream for the sleeves.

I made up a second version of the cardigan from the two fabrics, again with my overlocker, and then machine tacked it to the outer shell.

I made a small pleat in the lining at the back and then overlocked the two layers together onto the neckband and cuffs.

To neaten the inside I then topstitched the neckband joining the overlocked hem to the lining.

The two layers makes this cardigan so warm and cosy to wear.

I would definitely recommend this pattern and I get lots of compliments on my finished cardigan. It’s a simple make for a beginner and it’s free…..and it has pockets!!


Pattern review: Sew Over It Clara blouse

First things first……I love my new blouse!!

This is the latest release from Sew over it which I bought last week as I’m a member of their pdf club (10% off pdf pattern releases and access to patterns before they are released, all for £5 a year plus a free pattern of your choice!)

This fabric was from my stash, it’s a liberty print of umbrellas bought at Livingstone textiles in Yeovil last summer for my birthday. I had plans to make a soi 1940’s tea dress but my husband asked me about the era of this print and prompted me to find a 1940’s print instead of this 1920’s design!!

I did a quick piece of research on this print and discovered it was designed by Winifred Mold in 1919, you can read more about it here.

This was a relatively straight forward make but with lots of stages so a slow Sew for me compared to my normal jersey makes. It took me about 6-7 hours in total over a few evenings to complete.

I constructed the pleats, neckline and side seams in one sitting.

I hemmed it and added sleeves on another evening and then finished the cuffs on a third evening.

The cuffs are what convinced me to buy this pattern. I love the finer details on patterns you buy from independent pattern designers rather than the big four.

I used star buttons from my pot of buttons from the makery.

The instructions were very long and detailed for this pattern..over 50 steps!! In my opinion they were so detailed it became more confusing! I kept re-reading sections not understanding and then would skip a couple of sections in the photos and realise they were just asking me to bias bind the cuff opening or sew the interfacing on. Things I didn’t need step by step guidance on. It would be interesting to know how a beginner would report on the instructions, maybe I just don’t read them properly any more and this level of instruction caused me confusion.

I would say this pattern was for an advanced beginner/ intermediate dressmaker due to the fiddly technique on the cuffs and facing.

I cut a straight size 10 based on my bust size and needed no alterations 😊

This is a great pattern with lovely details and will definitely be replicated in other prints in my wardrobe this year.


Pattern Review: Copen dress by Made To Sew


I came across the Copen dress on the foldline website searching for a simple shift dress. I’ve been considering the sew over it ultimate shift dress for a while but it seemed quite an expensive pattern for something so simple.

The reviews on the Copen dress were great and as a free pattern I couldn’t go far wrong.

I bought the fabric a couple of years ago with plans to make a Designer stitch Jenny dress but decided it was too thick for the wrap at the front.

I had a conference at work that I needed to present at so really wanted a smart dress that would be comfortable to wear all day. This was a super quick make that has you finishing all the edges before sewing together so you can press seams open.

I used my overlocker for finishing the edges and a straight stitch on my machine for sewing together.

The trickiest part for this pattern are the darts: 2 busy darts and then front and back ones which can be a little challenging to a beginner.

The instructions were great and contain tutorials at the back for each stage for inserting darts and zips etc.

I lost a couple of days sewing from burning my hand cooking 🤦🏼‍♀️ so ended up rushing the finish the night before the conference.

This meant my zip insertion suffered and didn’t lay flat. I wore it as it was on Friday but have redeemed myself by unpicking and re-sewing this weekend.

I blended two sizes from bust to waist/hip which made for a perfect fit first time (lucky with my time constraint) and used the dart markings between the two sizes and these sat just in the right place.

I didn’t manage to get any photos of me wearing it before I left in the morning and too tired when I got home.

Someone took this photo of me wearing it at the conference though.

And a photo of our beautiful location had to be thrown in.

I would seriously recommend this pattern and there is a Facebook page – search for Copen dress- to see other finished versions.

Thanks Made to Sew for a great pattern 😍

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Make Nine Update

I have already made a change to my make mine list one month in!! I read up on some reviews for the GBSB 3 hour slouch cardigan and they weren’t great.

I understand there are errors on the pattern and instructions which I could probably work around but I bought some beautiful cashmere wool mix at the Dorset meet up and don’t want to risk it.

Blue wool fabric at the bottom of this photo

I had a search on the foldline website and came across a free pattern from Peppermint magazine in the folds slouchy cardigan with great reviews.

This magazine has a few free patterns that look lovely especially the jumpsuit.

I have already made 3 of my nine patterns; Carolyn pyjamas, Jenna cardigan and Nettie bodysuit.

I need to blog about all of these but I’m aiming to make a second pair of pyjamas so will probably wait to see these before blogging.

I’m trying to pace my sewing this year (not very well looking back over January 🤦🏼‍♀️) so planned to make the Ogden Cami and Copen dress this month; along with a bigger project to make a Sew over it Lola coat.


December and January Makes

I managed to squeeze in seven makes last month!!! I think I’m getting obsessed again with sewing!

In November and December I went through a bit of sewing lull and only started sewing again at the end of December to make some outfits for Christmas parties.

The dress at the top is the Sew over it 1940’s teadress made for Christmas Eve.

The sequin top is a true bias Ogden top for the works Christmas do and again on Christmas Day.

The black wrap dress (not finished fully in this photo) is from the Chinello Bally book and never got worn!! The works party moved from a hotel to a pub so this felt too OTT. I still need to hem the sleeves and I think it needs some bling on the waistband but that might happen nearer to next Christmas!!

This is my latest make, finished yesterday. It’s the Tilly and the buttons Rosa shirt made in linen type chambray.

It’s such a lovely shape and a good fit. I might size up on the busy next time as I sewed a size 3 graded to 4 on the waist and hip; the lower half is perfect but the bust is a close fit and not able to wear a loose top underneath.

This is the photo that inspired me to make a denim shirt and aiming to replicate this look at the weekend.

This is my muse pattern Jenna cardigan made in free fabric from the stash swap at the Dorset meet up the other weekend.

It’s a great fit first time; I opted for the version with yoke and 3/4 sleeves due to limited fabric and managed to squeeze it out of what I had. I’m aiming to try and make some from the left over fabric grimy heather dress.

This the Sew over it Heather dress in polyester knit jersey from fabricland. This is one of my favourite dresses at the moment, super comfortable, flattering and pockets. Sadly this fabric is not coping with wear and is getting bobbly already ☹️.

ned up to see my style over on instagram and this is January's offering: the sunny dress from the Friday pattern company. I've already blogged about this one here.

ally got round to sewing up the Carolyn pyjamas from closet case files. I bought this pattern in November in the Black Friday sales and have had my eye on them since last summer. These are made up from a ripped Ikea duvet and are so comfortable. I need to make the top a size smaller , I’m sure I’d read they come up small but this does swamp me. Trousers were a great fit!

<Nettie bodysuit from closet case files was on my make nine list (along with the Carolyn pyjamas and Jenna cardigan).

I ordered some floral stretch fabric from fabrics galore in the Black Friday sale and when it arrived it was more like swimsuit fabric. I made this low back scoop neck version and have enough left to make a costume in the summer.

e are my two final makes for the last two months; a Kommatia Ferri bodysuit ( that I love 💕) and a Lindy petal skirt from itch to stitch ( free pattern!!) with left overs from the sunny dress.

That’s a lot of sewing for 8 weeks!!! What have you been sewing recently?


Dorset Meet Up Second Meeting

On Saturday 20th January we had our second #dorsetmeetup starting at the Sweet Pea Cafe in Sturminster Newton for breakfast!

We had a better turn out this time with 10 of us coming along; Lynsey, Nicky, Sue and me from last time (Charlotte was unable to join us this time) and six new people; Rachel, Stacey, Sasha, Karen, Helen and Joanne.

We had a fabric swap this time on top of another pattern swap.

We all went home with some beautiful fabric and patterns for free and after a delicious breakfast headed to Hanson’s fabric and craft shop.

This is my stash from the swaps; organic pink striped jersey (probably a coco dress), multicoloured knit fabric (for a Jenna cardigan) and some black and white woven fabric for a pencil skirt (pattern to be decided).

I was pretty reserved in Hanson’s knowing I already had some fabric in my car! I bought this beautiful mohair, wool and polyester fabric for a slouch cardigan and some crepe for another Ogden Cami.

I also bought some jean buttons for my Morgan jeans later this year and new dungaree buckles for a second Cleo dungaree dress. Plus some glass headed pins.

Follow us on Instagram either by hashtag #dorsetmeetup or the group itself to be informed when the next meet will be. There were discussions about hiring a mini bus to go to one of the sewing shows later this year!!


Pattern review: Sunny dress by Friday pattern company

This pattern is the first in the #sewmystyle2018 line up and is such a simple but great tshirt dress.

I bought some textured ponte Roma from Fabrics galore in the January sales which only cost £6 for 1.5 m. This fabric is great for hiding any bumps from too many mince pies at Christmas but didn’t have a lot of stretch.

I cut out the back piece in my size according to the instructions but when I pinned it to my mannequin it only just reached the midline. I then panicked and had to adjust the front piece to ensure it would fit!

To widen the front piece I moved it in approx 1.5cm from the foldline rather than adjust the width on side seams as this pattern has quite distinct curves to get a great fit. This worked well on the fit around my body but think it had created an issue with the back neckline. It now rides up and although the pattern states you can wear this dress back to front this is definitely not the case for my one.

Talking to Lynsey at the #dorsetmeetup on Saturday it seems she had a similar problem so maybe it wasn’t my pattern adjustment!

This pattern has had some flack on social media groups for the lack of instructions and not even giving a drafted neckband; especially as this basic pattern was around £8. I was happy to pay as they do give a % of sales to charity but agree this should be great for a beginner as so simple but the lack of notches and guidance would hinder someone who is not used to sewing in jersey.

For an experienced sewer this is a super quick sew. I decided to time myself and challenge myself to complete it under 2 hours. It only took me 1 hour 40!!

I finished the hem and sleeves with my overlocker and twin needle. The neckband was attached with my overlocker and again twin needle finished to stop it turning up.

Although the pattern said it needed 1.5m of fabric I managed to make an itch to stitch Lindy petal skirt from the left overs of my fabric! Although I did have to sew two pieces together to make up one of the front sections but you can’t tell under the overlap!!

My final verdict: I’m happy with the fit of this dress apart from the back neckline. I would use this pattern as a base for a jersey maxi dress in the summer but not impressed with the pattern and instructions at the price it retails at.


2018 Sewing plans

A year ago I set myself some sewing challenges and looking back I found them really helpful to direct my sewing plans and encourage me to try new Patterns.

I made a lot of clothes last year (32 items that I have photos of, plus a quilt, toys and dog coats!!) but I still don’t feel I have a complete wardrobe 🤦🏼‍♀️

This was my #makenine line up last year; a lovely collection of clothes but not coordinated or thought through. I failed on clothes for my husband….I now have two Patterns ready to make for him that I am confident the cut will work.

I made a swimsuit but not this one ☝️ and I didn’t make the coat or dress but lots if other dresses.

I did complete the sweatshirt as that was part of #sewmystyle of which I made most of the patterns.

I signed up to the Sew over it pdf club and bought some Patterns through that when in reality I didn’t have time to make them.

This year I have joined up to #sewmystyle and #2018rtwfast. I tried to give up shop bought clothes last year and did pretty well but failed at jeans, trousers and underwear so determined to master those this year.

My #makenine looks like this;

I just finished the Carolyn pyjamas today and the Nettie bodysuit last week so going well so far! I have a couple of these patterns already made so should be quick practical TNT makes plus a couple of new ones but crucially I own all the patterns already.

I also bought some folders to control how much I sew each month and plan out what supplies I need to get everything to coordinate and not just impulse Sew!!

I go back to university next month to start working towards my Masters so not sure how my sewing will fare against working full time, studying and family life….. then again I might need that time to keep sane!!

What are your plans for 2018?


Happy New Year

Happy new year to all my readers sorry for the radio silence! I have really neglected my blog since I signed up to Instagram ( @craftysewandsewindorset ) as I’ve been able to share and enjoy others makes on there.

I have so many makes I have not blogged about I am not sure if I can catch up without boring you all! Therefore I have decided to write them up as pattern reviews to cover off a couple at once and hopefully be more useful to those reading.

These are just some of my sewing makes from 2017.

I’m a bit too late to the party to complete my top 5 highs, lows and reflections but I will let you know what my favourite makes were and some sewing highlights.

1. Having my colours assessed.

I arranged an evening at my church with my friends to have our colour tone assessed which was great fun. I was then offered a full consultation for arranging the evening and spent a morning with Colleen at her home. I have been assessed as a cool summer and now have a wallet of my colours… had transformed my wardrobe and sewing as I now match all fabric choices to my set of colours and know it will suit me and coordinate with everything else!

2. Megan Nielsen Flint trousers

These were great in the summer for work and home. Cool in hot weather and comfortable all day. I planned on making a full length pair on black crepe but now I’ve been advised to avoid Black I need to find another fabric to use 🤦🏼‍♀️.

3. Sew over it Florence dress from Love Sewing magazine.

This dress not only looks great and was another staple in my wardrobe over the summer; it also won me two prizes via Instagram!

I won the Love Sewing magazine competition and was given £50 to spend in Sew over it. I bought a few metres of orangey boucle wool to make a Lola coat. I’m planning on making this in February instead of the Rumana coat in the #sewmystyle line up.

My second prize was from the Instagram competition to Sew a shirt dress in the summer. I won a Sew Hayley Jane box of goodies and aiming to make a dress with the fabric when the sun resurfaces!

4. My kids sewing

My daughter has always shown an interest in sewing but this year she has been far more independent with her hobby and is showing real talent. She made this doll for her friend with minimal help from me, all I did was sew the body together on the fiddly hands. My daughter did all the designing, cutting out and hand sewing.

They two sided cloud toy is my son’s work of art. He has been learning sewing at school and wanted to make a bonus item to show his teacher. He designed the toy and helped to sew it together on my machine. It has been lovely to share my hobby with them both as they are getting older.

5. Meeting instagram Sewing friends in real life.

This year I created the hashtag #dorsetmeetup and with the help of local sewing shop Hanson’s in Sturminster Newton we now have a logo.

5 of us met up to go fabric shopping and then talking about our sewing journey over lunch. It was such good fun and amazing how 5 strangers can get on so well based on a shared interest.

We have our second meet up next Saturday 20th January during Hanson’s sale with breakfast first at Sweet pea cafe in town to swap fabric and patterns. I am hoping there will be 12 of us there this time!

6. Going to the Sewing Bee Live

This day was amazing!! I went with a friend after winning free tickets from Lovely Jubbly Fabrics in Ferndown.

There were so many beautiful fabric stalls and shows going on plus it was great to meet lots of online sewing community in real life. I really want to go again in June at the second show.

7. Making Cleo

I finally submitted and made myself a Tilly and the buttons Cleo dungaree dress in pale blue cord purchased during the Dorset meet up in the summer.

I altered the pattern slightly to make it more fitted on the waist and I really love it. I wore this to the sewing bee live (with 100 other people!!) and was really comfortable all day.

8. I made swimwear

I actually made two swimming costumes last year and realised how easy it is.

This was one of the things I never thought I could do and now feel more confident to tackle underwear and jeans in 2018.

I have a few plans for 2018 but will write another post for those!!

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My Top 10 Sewing Tools

I had a bit of a tidy up in my sewing corner today and started to think about the amount of sewing paraphernalia I own and what items I use almost every time I sew something.

I have shown my sewing space before here, it’s not huge but I’ve packed it with all the necessary sewing gadgets and some other bits that are just helpful occasionally.

I use a plastic tool box for my daily tools, mainly because I needed to be able to take them with me when I attended sewing lessons with Sarah and just kept it.

I have an Ikea desk with two drawers. The large drawer holds craft kits, sewing threads that don’t fit on the wall and haberdashery such as elastic and my bias binding makers.

Clearly my two machines are my best sewing tools but I thought I would run through my top 10 used items.


My walking foot

I was fortunate enough to be given a walking foot with both of my machines. I ignored it for years on my husqvarna Viking machine until I made my Grainline studio Cascade duffle coat at my sewing lessons. Sarah showed me how to fit this scary looking machine foot and it transformed my ability to pattern match all those plaids!!

Now it almost lives on my machine as it makes all pattern matching so easy. I only switch foot if I need to add a zip etc.


Long tweezers and washi tape

These tweezers came from my dad’s engineering workshop!! I was pulling my hair out trying to thread my old overlocker as he offered them to see if it would help. My new janome overlocker actually came with a pair of tweezers and it makes such a difference if you need to rethread (ie when you try to knot the new thread to the old but it gets jammed somewhere!).

The washi tape is really helpful to mark seam allowance on the machine or to tape slippery fabric to pattern pieces when cutting out.


Seam ripper

Need I say more!! I have several cheap and cheerful ones so I have one close by at all times!!

I have seen a few people with larger clover ones and tempted to upgrade but unclear how they keep them sharp. I find these ones are great for a few months then get blunt but at £1 each I just replace them.

4. -7.

Magnetic pin holder

I tried so many different pin cushions over the years and this is definitely the best design.

The ones on my wrist irritate me and i always leave pin cushions in the wrong place (my sewing desk and cutting table are in different rooms). I also like the fact that i can throw pins at this one while sewing and it sort of catches them.

Tape measure

My aunt bought me this sheep tapemeasurebut have another Cath Kidston one and several basic tape ones.

Seam allowance gauge

I can’t remember where I bought this but I use it all the time. I’m pretty good at estimating 1.5cm seam allowance but always good to do a quick check. I also use this when extending pattern length to do a quick check or spacing buttonholes.

Point turner

This has made life so much easier where I need to turn a corner out either on a collar or mitred sweater corner. I tend to use a pin to get a sharp finish but this helps on the way.


Tailors Ham and sleeve press

One of the basics of sewing is pressing seams and is something I always make time to do. I keep meaning to get a sleeve press like my fabric tailors ham but my mini ironing board does the job most times.

The tailors ham is great for armhole seams and darts etc.


Rotary cutters and pattern weights

I always use my rotary cutters to cut out patterns. I find with scissors the pattern pieces move so I have to pin it down (or tape it- see washi tape above!).

I have two sizes inmy drawer, mainly due to availability of blades, this way I can buy whatever is in the sale. It’s worth changing the blade fairly regularly to avoid little inconsistencies when cutting and having odd sections that didn’t actually cut.

I made my pattern weightswith air dry clay and some acrylic paints. I need to varnish them really but think I’m lusting after the macaroon ones I’ve seen online and therefore procrastinating about it!


Fiskars scissors

Invest in your scissors and then guard them with your life!! Mine live in my desk drawers and even my kids know they are only allowed to use the paper ones (with permission!!).

I was given my large pair with my first ever sewing machine 10 years ago ( a second hand singer bought to make curtains for our camper van).

I use the paper ones all the time to cut out my pdf patterns and the sharp ones to transfer pattern marking (I tend to cut little nicks in the seam allowance).

I bought the snips recently and I am a little disappointed for fiskars. They only work if at a certain angle or else nothing happens!

The little sharpening device is really effective and has kept these scissors like new.

What are your top sewing gadgets?