Crafty sew and sew in Dorset

Welcome to my world of craft!

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…..it 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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Dorset Meet Up 2017

We did it…..a group of us from instagram met up in real life to go fabric shopping together and talk sewing over lunch! It was an amazing day!

Left to right:
@patternographer (Nicky) @dogsinstitches_and_me (Sue)
@craftysewandsewindorset (Jenny/me)
@lynsey_makes (Lynsey)
@charlotterunswithscissors (charlotte)

We were a small but friendly group and had such a lovely time chatting away like we have known each other for ages. The online world is so strange like that and something I am still adjusting to having not grown up with it. It offers so many opportunities.

We met up at Hansons in Sturminster Newton as a central location for most of Dorset. They helped us with designing the logo and advertising.

It really is an awe inspiring place to go shopping for fabric. They stock tonnes of beautiful quilting fabric plus so much dressmaking fabric it's hard to know where to start. Plus they had 20% off everything and a stash of fabrics at 50% off!!

I bought 6 different fabrics plus a small sample of ripstop for my daughter to make her barbie a raincoat:

The yellow fabric is to make a farah top to replicate one I took back to the shops as I couldn't deal with the extortionate price tag.
The light denim was originally bought with a pair of Morgan jeans in mind but have decided to make another Sew over it Erin skirt (following an instagram vote):

I need some decent pjs in my life so the plaid cotton is destined to be a pair of Carolyn pyjamas.

I relented and bought the Cleo pattern from Tilly and the buttons last week in the summer sale, so I will use the pale blue cord for that.

The whale fabric and seaside border fabric are for my daughter. She wants shorts from the whales and another Flo dress in the border fabric. The pattern only goes to age 6 so I have had to scale it up and squeeze it on to the fabric.

After exhausting the shop we walked up to Stur of the moment for a delicious lunch.

After we had eaten and taught Sue how to use instagram we swapped some patterns.
I walked away with three new patterns including a sewaholics Minoru jacket pattern:

Lynsey left with a bag of leftover patterns ready for another meet up.
We have set up an instagram group for @Dorset_meet_up or look up #dorsetmeetup
We have over 40 followers already so hoping the next meet up will be bigger and better each time!

Hansons have another sale in January so we are thinking about another meet in the new year…..maybe with a themed sew along or theme to our outfits??!

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Sailor ahoy!!

Over on the monthly stitch it's indie pattern month, sharing lots of different designs away from the big four. Each week in July there has been a contest and this week it has been indie royalty…..sew a whole outfit from independent pattern designers.
As part of this I decided to make a pair of shorts from simple sew to match my nautical theme Bowline sweater.


I used a blue linen fabric from fabricland which was lovely to work with but added some issues with differentiating right side from wrong side! I actually sewed the shorts back and front sides back to front and had to unpick!

The pattern has lovely deep pockets on the front and features buttons along the pockets. I decided to try self covered buttons, which turned out to be much easier than I imagined.

I'm really pleased with the finished shorts and will definitely make another pair.

The blouse is the Cali Faye collection valley blouse made as part of sewmystyle. Follow me on instagram @craftysewandsewindorset for more photos of my makes 😊

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Dorset sewers meet up 

A quick shout out to all Dorset, Somerset and Hampshire based sewers……we are planning a meet up on Saturday the 22nd July at Hanson craft shop in sturminster newton at 11am.

#dorsetmeetup is on!! 🤗

A post shared by Jenny Smith (@craftysewandsewindorset) on

They have a 20% off sale throughout July, so the plan is to shop for fabric, haberdashery and wool then wonder into town for lunch etc. 

Search for #dorsetmeetup on instagram or my link @craftysewandsewindorset to keep up to date with plans and car shares etc .

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Florence dress

Firstly I wanted to apologise for the lack of posts on my blog….. I found instagram and got a bit hooked on there. Plus felt that I was sharing with less effort / words but I will try harder to do both ( @craftysewandsewindorset )


Anyway, onto my blog post. This is the Florence dress from sew over it, released early via simply sewing magazine. I bought this fabric from Ikea ages ago for £12 for 3 meters pre cut and thought it would be perfect for this maxi dress even if the pattern requires fabric with drape!


The magazine planned this to be a slow sewing challenge as the patterns were in two issues but I just don’t sew like that. Therefore I waited until 2 days before the second issue before I started sewing!


I decided to omit the sleeves, mainly due to the 30 degree heat wave Britain had (note had sadly!!) been experiencing. I made my own bias binding to edge the sleeves using my little bias binding tools.

I originally decided to add poppers as I had bought a new prym tool for this very job, however tiredness and cider made this harder than it sounded!

I eventually gave up after several back to front connections and punching a hole in my dress and added buttons!

This cotton worked so well in the heat so will definitely become a holiday favourite. 

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Simple Sew Lena dress

It’s finished…. With sleeves! (thank you to all you girlies who offered views and sold me on the sleeves!!)

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This is the Lena wrap dress that came free with love sewing magazine,  I don’t own a wrap dress as not sure if it would suit my bodyshape (read no boobs to fill the wrap section 😣) but this was advertised as a false wrap so thought I would try it out.

The fabric is from girl charlee from their bargain lot section: turquoise black Diamond cotton spandex blend knit fabric for a steal at £7.90 for two metres!
It’s super soft and super stretchy. So much so, that this post was almost titled “a

stretch too fa

r”!

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The top half was simple to put together but the instructions offered no assistance!!

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Note that it tells you to join the lining and bodice together at the neckline and armholes….. But you don’t sew the armholes and if you do you can’t complete the next 3 steps! Luckily I spotted this and ignored but feel for a more novice sewer who might not spot this.

I binned the guidance at this point and figured it out on my own and used a mixture of my overlocker and normal machine with walking foot to join seams and finish the inside.
After I finished the wrap section with my overlocker I tried it on for size and realised I had stretched the neckline fabric to resemble a saggy mess 😭
I steamed it over and over on my mannequin and miraculously it seems to have worked..  Phew!
The pattern has notches for matching the wrap sections but this was miles off for me but simply making each point join the seam line fitted a treat (and possibly helped the sagging front!!). I also added a tack stitch on the lining to hold the front together and avoid me pulling it up throughout the day.

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I didn’t want a separate band at the bottom so cut this into the main a skirt piece, only to cut it off again at hemming stage as it was about 10cm too long for my liking.
This dress now sits just above my knee and the sleeves are just above my elbow.

I was unsure about adding sleeves but encouraged by many of my blogging companions I did add them…..and you were all right! This length sleeve means I won’t need a jacket in the office during spring and summer.

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