Hello Holli Blue Ridge Dress [Pattern Tester Tour!]

I am so excited to share this dress with you. I tested a brand new pattern, the Blue Ridge Dress, from a brand new company, Hello Holli. And it is an EXCELLENT pattern. You might know that I’m quite pernickety when it comes to patterns; I do criticise them a lot… but this one really is fantastic. I love the dress and I love the pattern. (And I’m not just saying that because Holli is watching me, haha. I am honestly going to make loads of these dresses.)Blue Ridge Dress

The dress has a huge size range – 12 months to 14 years. I made size 2 for my 2 year old in a cute animal print cotton. She calls it her lion dress. I’m not sure why she can only see lions!

blue ridge dress

I had just 80-90cm of it because it was end of roll, but I managed to squeeze on the tunic length. (The pattern comes in two length options – tunic and dress.) The length is perfect. The hem comes with a generous 5cm seam allowance so I could actually take it down when it gets too short but the bodice still fits.

blue ridge dress

Sorry that it looks a bit creased – she had been wearing for some time before our little photoshoot!

It’s good for twirling! :)

blue ridge dress

What’s really great about the pattern is that all seams are enclosed; the bodice is lined and it just all looks so lovely inside as well as outside. I’ve probably mentioned more than once before that I love French seams!

Blue ridge dress

The neck and armholes are bound with bias binding, and there’s an added strip of it at the join of the bodice and skirt, just for decoration – I really like it. Some of the testers skipped that part, but I think it draws attention to the nice curve of the bodice.

blue ridge dress

The bias binding forms a button loop at the back. Sewchet, do you recognise the little bunny button?

blue ridge dress

The only step I didn’t enjoy was attaching the bias binding to the wrong side. Holli instructs you to stitch in the ditch – which gives a very nice finish. If you can do it nicely. I can never catch all the bias binding. So I ended up slipstitching it in the places I’d missed! Next time I will just slipstitch the entire length; with such a small dress it wouldn’t take too long, and it’s something to do sat outside in the sunshine!

But all in all it’s a very sweet dress, wouldn’t you agree? I honestly wouldn’t change anything about it design-wise.

blue ridge dressBeth x

PS. Head over to Holli’s intro post to find a code for 20% off! And she’s also running a giveaway where you could win the pattern (be quick though because it ends tomorrow (Saturday!)

PPS. Interested in the other testers’ versions? Check out the links below…

Paisley Roots | Plucky Momo | KaatjeNaaisels | Life With Zeke | chelsiebrady | Made by Sara | GlaMa Creations | Argyle + Pearls Bless by ToneRebel & Malice | Creative Needle and Threads | Just Add Fabric

Isabella Tank x2 [Fab Free Pattern!]

Have you heard of Spit Up & Stilettos?

Well I heard about them only recently. They sell kids clothing patterns but used to sell women’s; since that didn’t work out they now provide these patterns for FREE. So of course I had to give at least one a go. I have started with this top as it’s what caught my eye first…. and I’ve made two (so far). They’ve got loads of other free patterns; I don’t know which to do next!

Isabella Tank

Image Source: http://www.spitupandstilettos.com

I’m already singing its praises so you can probably guess that I’m happy with the pattern!

Isabella Tank I

For the first one I used a polycotton scarf I picked up at a car boot sale for 50p. The print is not something I’d usually choose or wear but I really like it on this top!

I’ll start with the finished photo, then fill you in on the construction a bit! So here it is:

Isabella Tank

I managed to get the front piece (on the fold), and all facing pieces out of it. Check out the photos; this is where all my practice with jigsaw puzzles came in to effect!

I then used a plain navy blue cotton or polycotton (not sure – I don’t remember where it came from!) for the back, which matches nicely. I juuuuust about managed to squeeze the piece on!

Isabella tank cutting

The pattern’s very good and I had no problems with it. Amazing for a free pattern!

The only changes I made were to take in the side seams a little, and lessen the length of the back slit. You can see a photo of the gaping at the side seams a bit further down as I didn’t adjust the pattern because it’s just as easy to take that bit in every time, haha…. so I took a photo of it with the next version.

Isabella Tank back

I added a cute red button, which I was very happy to find in my button tin as it matches nicely!

Isabella Tank


Isabella Tank II

Now on to version two. The photo’s not very clear but here it is…

Isabella Tank ii

Now that I’d got to grips with the pattern and the fit, I could experiment (a little!)

So this version is made of two fabrics – viscose, and a crochet/lacy man-made type of fabric.

The viscose actually started life as this:

Viscose skirt for Isabella TankA maxi skirt I picked up in Lidl purely to cut up. I cut all pattern pieces out of this, and then the front and back pieces out of the lacy fabric.

Isabella Tank cutting

Then I sewed the front and back pieces together, just roughly, on all sides.

Isabella Tank cutting

This is how big the top was at the sides (I just took it in that much down to the waist, where it was fine). Not a lot – it’s a very simple fit alteration! :)

Isabella Tank

Ta-dah! Now it’s spot on in terms of fit; it’s really comfy.

Isabella Tank

Well, this is my final post for The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month. It’s been fun! (This week’s challenge is ‘One Pattern, Two takes’ if you didn’t know already.)

Now I feel like I’ve done a lot of dressmaking recently so I want to make some other bits and pieces for a bit of variety – I made some baby doll’s nappies yesterday and they are ADORABLE so I will share them soon! But I went on a bit of a fabric shopping spree earlier this week so I won’t desert the dressmaking for long….

Beth x

P.S. If you haven’t already seen, I made it to the finals of last week’s “New to Me” challenge on The Monthly Stitch (hooray!) so I now rely on reader votes to win a prize…. *hint hint* (I will love you forever!!) :P The link’s here… No pressure, I know there are loads of other amazing entries!!

Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle… The Eva Wiggle Dress!

This is the Eliza M Eva “Wiggle” Dress. The pattern came free with issue 6 of Love Sewing magazine last year. In terms of layout etc., the pattern seems similar to the Simple Sew patterns that come free with the magazine, so I’m wondering if there’s some kind of collaboration going on. Still, the name’s different so I would think that Eliza M still counts as “new to me” for my entry on this week’s Indie Pattern Month contest on The Monthly Stitch!

Eva Wiggle Dress

Of course the fabric is blue and white to tie in with my non-intentional blue and white themed month! (There was my blue and white stiped dress, blue and white spotty skirt, and now this. I have already made next week’s ‘One Pattern Two Takes’ garments and one is blue and white!!)

Anyway, back to the dress.

Eva Wiggle Dress

I sewed this up in no time at all. The construction is really straightforward – which is good as the pattern’s instructions are incomplete; they don’t even tell you to sew the facings to the dress; they skip straight to trimming and clipping the seams!

eva dress instructions

With no seams to finish as it’s sewn with knit fabric (I used a ponte roma to be precise) and only four pattern pieces, it was a breeze.

Eva Wiggle Dress

I do really like the finished dress. It almost fits me straight out the envelope; I just had to take in the back seam a bit as it was gaping at the top.

Eva Wiggle Dress

The only change I made to the pattern was to omit the zip, which should be at the centre back. With such a stretchy dress I don’t see the need for a zip! Next time I will cut the back piece on the fold.

Eva Wiggle Dress

The one thing that bothered me with this pattern is the darts. I think the knit fabric is just a bit too bulky to have darts in it. I sewed them in twice and they still bobble a little at the ends. I am putting it down to the ponte roma rather than my sewing because I’m not bad at darts, and if I could just press this fabric it would help!! The fabric doesn’t hold when pressed!

Eva Wiggle Dress

I do really like the waist darts (which are called and drawn as bust darts in the instructions just to confuse you); they give the dress a nice shape.

Eva Wiggle Dress

Oh, I didn’t even attempt to pattern match because it’s impossible with the shape and size of fabric I used. I don’t think it matters anyway; the whole finished look is sketchy (not in a bad way) which I like! I quite like how the back is lighter than the front.

Eva Wiggle Dress

Right, time to go and pick some strawberries; I’d better put on some jeans!

Beth x

P.S. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all these new clothes I’m making… I have limited wardrobe space!!

A Coordinating Outfit – Meringue & Plantain

Hmm, I’m not sure about Meringue and Plantain together in the context of food, but in this case, it works!

I’ll fill you in – this week I sewed a two-piece outfit consisting of a skirt (named Meringue) and a top (named Plantain).

Colette Meringue Skirt

The inspiration for this achievement was from this week’s challenge at The Monthly Stitch. They are challenging us sewists to make 2 separate garments that can be worn together. Oh, and they have to be made using Indie patterns.

Right now, trousers – and certainly jeans – are a no-go for me. I’m very fussy on fit so I just can’t be bothered to try at the moment! I didn’t even consider making leggings; just straightaway knew I’d make a skirt.

Colette Meringue Skirt & Deer & Doe Plantain Top

The Skirt

I recently bought Colette’s sewing book, and I chose to make the Meringue skirt after seeing a nice one on another blog – I can’t remember who’s it was so please shout if it was yours!

Long story short, I LOVE the skirt. I can’t even express how much so.

Colette Meringue Skirt

I bought the fabric – a medium-weight cotton, almost denim-like – in a bricks-and-mortar store, which is fairly unusual for me. I get really overwhelmed by the choice when fabric shopping, but managed to get some nice pieces on that visit. And I can see how beneficial it is to shop in a proper shop as opposed to online because you can feel the fabric. I love this fabric. It is quite simply perfect for this skirt in terms of weight, handling, and design. Even if I do say so myself.

I am sooo happy with the fit. The pattern’s sizing was bang on. My waist is 27″, hip 37″ so I cut a straight 4 and it fits perfectly.

I’m proud of the zip!

Colette Meringue Skirt

Talking of neat – I love the scallops. How pretty are they?!

Colette Meringue Skirt

This skirt pattern gets a big thumbs up from me for many reasons, but the main one is the fact that it doesn’t need hemming. The scallops are finished with a facing, which is catchstitched in place. This gives such a neat finish.

Colette Meringue Skirt

Similarly, there is no waistband; just a facing. This is the only issue I have with the skirt – even with understitching, the facing tends to roll to the outside. So I will catchstitch it down like the hem facing, which should help.

Colette Meringue Skirt

The Top

I originally designed a different top to go with the skirt, however once it was made up it didn’t match as well as it did in my mind. I will share it with you soon, though!

So I had to think fast and make something with some fabric I have in my stash. So I made up the Deer & Doe Plantain Top with some black jersey. I had less than a metre of it but I managed to cut short sleeves.

This was my first time making this top – and it won’t be the last. It was so straightforward, and I’m really happy with the fit.

If I’m honest, it is a bit baggy to be worn tucked into the skirt, but it’s not too baggy to be worn outside a skirt/trousers etc!

And the length is perfect for me – I am used to lengthening tops now but this is nice and long; just how I like it.

Deer & Doe Plantain Top

The only change I made to the pattern was that I added a strip of lace down the back. This is not purely aesthetic; I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the back piece on the fold so cut two pieces and sewed them up the middle with a tiny seam allowance. My knit-eating sewing machine didn’t enjoy that at all and made quite a pig’s ear out of it. So the lace covers up the seam and you’d never know!! Plus it looks pretty and ties in with the blue of the skirt – result!

Plantain Top

Now let’s take bets on if all my makes for Indie Pattern Month will be blue and white?!

Beth x

P.S. Thank you to all that voted for my stripy dress in the final of the dresses challenge – I’m gutted that I didn’t win but the competition was tough!



Sew La-Di-Da Vintage “1952 French Gypsy” Dress

This is my entry into the ‘Dresses’ category in The Monthly Stitch’s ‘Indie Pattern Month.’ If you don’t know already, The Monthly Stitch are hosting four weeks of sewing contests, aimed at encouraging us sewists to sew using patterns from independent companies. This is my first time entering. And in the case of this dress, I’m very grateful for the deadline of this contest. Because if it wasn’t for that, this dress may have turned into one of those UFOs (Unfinished Objects) lingering in the cupboard. It took what felt like forever to make! More on that later.

For now – here she is…

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

As the title suggests, it’s the 1952 French Gypsy dress by Sew La-Di-Da Vintage. I was given this pattern for my birthday back in February and I thought now was the perfect time to sew it up!

Vintage pattern

I spent ages choosing a fabric. I wanted something with a French twist to tie in with the pattern. But for various reasons including time running out fast and the fact that the pattern calls for 3 or 4m [I actually used 3.2m of 45″ wide fabric] I ended up ordering some anchor-print fabric I had my eye on in Minerva. I also ordered 4m of navy/white stripe polycotton as a backup. As you can see from the photos, I’m glad I ordered the backup. After ordering the anchor print, they emailed to say it’s out of stock. GRR.

Of course the stripy fabric is very French – and also very ‘me’ with it’s navy blue! So I think it worked out well. The only negative is that it is very cheap and very light. It wasn’t the easiest fabric to handle – well, it would have been OK if it didn’t have stripes that I was trying to match up.

As you can see, the sleeves can either stay up on the shoulders or down, Bardot-style. I think I prefer shoulders up.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress - sleeves off shoulders

I feel like I should hang a string of onions round my neck! And wear a beret!

Let’s talk about those stripes. Check out how perfectly they match up on one side seam of the skirt.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

But unfortunately the other side totally doesn’t match up. I couldn’t cut the piece so that it would match on the side as well as the back. So I opted to match it just at the back, which I considered more important.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

I hope you can see that the stripes are also matched around the sides of the bodice, and sleeves.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

The stripes were one of the things that made making this dress take what felt like forever. I’m not sewing with stripes again in a hurry. At least not with a flimsy fabric like this. My God, don’t they slip out of place all the time? I re-sewed the back seam with the zip at least five times. And it’s still not 100% spot on.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

The neckline is bound with bias tape threaded with elastic, and the armholes are just bias tape (although it’s constructed in a funny way to how I would usually do it). The tape is slipstitched in place on the wrong side, giving a nice finish. I made the bias tape using plain navy cotton.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

I like the poofy sleeves!

But what I don’t like about this binding part is the join at the back; how it works (or rather, doesn’t work) with the zip. I ended up with this:

sew la-di-da before it's finished

Hmm. As far as I can tell, that’s how it’s meant to be according to the pattern. But I can’t leave it like that! So I added a hook and eye. This helps, but I would rather the zip was right at the top! It’s impossible to fasten the hook and eye by myself.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

On that note, I must say that this pattern is not for beginners. It’s a good pattern all in all, but some steps are not all that clear. For example, there is no mention of gathering the sleeve hems; no notches or anything. There is no mention of cutting interfacing until you get to the stage of sewing the interfaced piece in. They kind of explain how to cut the bias tape, but not clearly enough for beginners. There aren’t consistent reminders to finish your seams.

But it was rather nice to sew from a pattern aimed at intermediates. I understood what I was supposed to do, so that’s saying something!

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

I was really good and made a muslin of the bodice instead of diving straight in. This is for a contest, after all! So I’m really happy with the fit. I took a chunk out of the centre gathered upper bodice – I needed to gather it quite a lot to make it fit and there’s a limit to how much fabric you need! – and 2cm out of the lower bodice. The only stupid mistake I made because I just didn’t think about it was that I didn’t take the 2cm out of the front skirt panel too. So I had to create a few tiny gathers in the middle to make the panel fit. I don’t think it’s too bad – you can barely tell – but it’s not how it’s meant to be! Must remember this in future!!

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

Considering the fabric cost £2.99 a meter, I’m really impressed with how well it suits the dress. It’s comfy, and it’s light and swishy. The circle skirt works really well with it.

Oh and by the way, I did cut the lower bodice panel to have the stripes running vertically, on purpose. Just to break it up a bit!

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

I didn’t take the easy option for this challenge, did I? Totally new-to-me pattern (and pattern company). Lightweight, stripy fabric. Time pressure; big circle skirt to hem; handsewing. But I did it! Hooray!

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

Phew. Well done for getting to the end.

Now to think about what to make for next week’s ‘separates’ challenge!

Beth x

P.S. Hope you enjoyed all the photos – my daughter and I had a fun photo shoot as she’s STILL off school with chicken pox! Don’t  ask why I chose the bit of the garden with no grass, though.


Very Inspiring Blogger Award

It was over a month ago that the lovely Jana at Me and My Veritas nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger award. Of course I accepted it – why wouldn’t I? Yet I haven’t shared it with anyone else yet. I thought now is about time!

So, firstly, THANK YOU JANA! Jana is one of my loyal readers, and I certainly enjoy her frequent posts too. She shares the cutest ideas of things to make for kids. She’s currently running a DIY Felt Tools series, which is just adorable. Of course she received the Very Inspiring Blogger award before me, and I think she’s a very deserving blogger indeed.


So, what is the Very Inspiring Blogger Award?

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award is an award given to bloggers from fellow bloggers. It recognizes bloggers who work hard to keep the blogosphere a beautiful place.

Award Guidelines:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
  2. Display the award logo in a blog entry.
  3. List the award guidelines so your nominees will know what to do.
  4. State 7 hidden facts about yourself OR 3 things that inspire you.
  5. Nominate 10 other blogger friends for the award.

Jana said that she found different rules for #4 of this award; hidden facts or things that inspire you. Like Jana, I have already received the Versatile Blogger Award, which asks you to share 7 facts about yourself – so I am going to share what inspires me. Check out my old award post if you’re curious now!

My Inspirations:

1. My children. I love sewing for my children. They are so sweet and grateful. Of course I am inspired by their love of girly things.

2. Recycling. I love to look at things in a new light. I now can’t throw away old clothes for I want to refashion them into something new. A few of my old clothes have been upcycled into clothes from my children, and I have bought duvet covers and charity shop clothes to make ‘new’ skirts, dresses and more.

Upcycle old jeans into girls' dungarees @AfterDarkSewing 3. Reading blogs. Is there actually such a thing as TOO MUCH inspiration? I certainly get an awful lot of inspiration from reading blogs, as well as sewing magazines, and of course Pinterest!

This leads me swiftly on to…

My Nominations:

These are ten of the blogs that I find inspiring. In no particular order!!

1. Sewchet. Check out her DIY t-shirt yarn. I saw a roll of t-shirt yarn selling in TK Maxx for about £5. Why would you pay that when you most probably have a t-shirt lying around at home you can cut up?!

2. Thimberlina. I’ve made a Grainline Morris Blazer after seeing hers, and I will soon make a Seamwork Oslo cardigan after seeing hers!

3. Navybluethreads. I’ve been following Teresa’s blog almost since I started blogging myself, and her makes are always inspiring. She churns out skirts like there’s no tomorrow! Especially Gingers!

4. Threads & Bobbins. Natalie started the whole Sunday Sevens thing. That in itself is quite amazing.

5. Saturday Night Stitch. Hila also inspired me to make a Grainline Morris Blazer. (Here’s her fab yellow one!) I also love her denim Hollyburn skirt. In fact I love a lot of her clothes!

6. Dressed by Dressler. I so badly need to make this lacy skirt.

7. Fabrikated. Kate is so talented and always full of advice and interesting, inspiring posts about sewing, fashion, fabric and more.

8. Making & Marking. She always choosing beautiful fabric for her beautiful dresses. And she’s just made two adorable quilts that have given me a bit of a kick up the bum that I need to get moving on my 2015 goal to make a quilt!

9.  Made by Toya. Oh my goodness, the amount of fabulous clothing Toya makes for her kids makes me green. The most inspirational bit about her blog, though, is how she very often prints her own fabric designs. Just look at this fruity ensemble. Can you believe she drew all those fruits on the fabric herself? I HAVE to try it soon!

10. Sew Sensational. If Louise doesn’t inspire you to make several Coco’s, I don’t know who will!

Ahhh I could go on and on. Check out some other inspiring blogs on my blog roll to the right >>>>>>>>

Don’t be disappointed if I didn’t nominate you…. I feel bad but I can’t nominate everyone!

Now, less reading, more sewing!

Beth x

Me-Made-May ’15 Week Four Roundup

It’s 31 May 2015. Which means the end of Me-Made-May 2015. Didn’t that fly by?
But…I did it! Wahoooo!! Here’s my final roundup of quick selfies from this week!

Monday and Tuesday were non-me-made because I was away and only brought RTW (Ready to Wear) with me!

Wednesday 27 May

S woke up with chicken pox. I went food shopping in the afternoon (without her in case you think I’m crazy!) and for that special occasion I wore my favourite most recent make – my spotty Clemence skirt. I knew I’d wear it more than once for MMM! It’s so easy to wear colour-wise and comfort-wise! I can wear it with any colour top! [If you want some of this spotty fabric, by the way, I saw it on the Oh Sew Crafty website the other day!]

Clemence Skirt

I’m not even joking about my trip to Tesco being a special occasion. That’s the only place I went for the REST OF THE WEEK. Half term week, too. Feel sorry for us!!

So the rest of my outfits didn’t see another soul besides those in my household. The only thing stopping me from wearing my PJs all day is that I have no me-made ones. Maybe I should change that!


Thursday 28 May

You’ve seen this already earlier in the week but here’s another snap for you! It’s my Grainline Morris Blazer. I cheated here because I didn’t actually wear it all day as the sun was shining!

Grainline Morris Blazer

Friday 29 May

I threw on my first Lottie blouse. Secretly knowing that I wouldn’t be going out so who cares if it looks good or not? It fits nicely and is comfortable to wear, but I don’t really like the fabric very much and my boyfriend did comment that he doesn’t like it! But I will keep it for now!

Lottie Blouse

Saturday 30 May

This is one of my first dresses – the Simplicity 1609. I made it in a cotton lawn and it’s so soft and light to wear. I’m wearing it with a RTW cardi which spoils the look a bit, but as you know I didn’t go out anyway!

Simplicity 1609

OK. What did I learn from this challenge?

  • First and foremost, I like wearing garments I have made. I didn’t find it too much effort to wear something I have made as I do wear a lot of it anyway.
  • I must make another Coco dress. And/or top. I only have one and I nearly wore it again this week but stopped myself just to save having a repeat!
  • Should I make some sort of trousers?!
  • My Grainline Morris Blazer is actually quite nice.
  • I like wearing skirts on my waist. Like my Clemences!
  • Next year – if I’m still around (erm I didn’t mean for that to sound morbid – I meant around in blogland!) – I should probably aim to wear a me-made item EVERY DAY.

Hooray! :)

I hope you’re having a lovely weekend and aren’t stuck inside like me!

And can you believe it’s June tomorrow!?!

Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS if you’ve achieved your Me-Made-May goal!

Beth x