The 20p Coco

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen that some time ago I bought a few meters of some unknown knit fabric. For 20p a metre. Yeah, that’s not a typo. The fabric shop staff didn’t know what it was so were selling it off at 20p!! It’s a soft, medium weight, scuba type knit, in a rich purple colour.
Well I finally made something with it! A plain and simple Coco dress.


I whizzed it up in an evening. Didn’t bother with pockets, cuffs or the funnel neck! I thought I’d keep it simple because I haven’t sewn anything for myself for a good couple of months; I wanted a quick fix!

I chose the Coco because of it’s simplicity in design; no darts or anything that would cause the dress to be too bulky. Because the fabric is relatively heavy.

I don’t tend to like 3/4 length sleeves because I’m always cold but decided to sew them for a change… and I think they look nice!


This is only my second Coco; I wear my blue one loads so I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to make another. I made the last one in a size 3 and it is pretty baggy so I cut my traced pattern down to a size 2 for this one. And the fit is now fab :) If I’m honest it was a little tight under the arms but I’m wearing it as I write and it’s now midday, and it must have stretched a bit because it’s not so bad. Phew. That was my silly fault for not sticking to the size 3 around the arms because I’ve had this problem before with armsyces….


But on the whole it’s soooo comfy. I’m soooo happy that I have a couple more metres of this fabric!

What more can I say? Everyone loves a Coco….


Beth x

P.S. Edit: This was my 100th post. Yay! Thank you dear sewing friends :P


Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair!

I had a fun day yesterday! I took my girls to the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. I was lucky and got a free ticket from someone giving one away because she didn’t need it… So I just had to pay for my 6 year old. Oh and the extortionate parking when we eventually got there after sitting in 40 minutes of veeeeerry slow moving traffic! Anyway let’s talk about the good stuff!

I was very brave or crazy to take my 2 daughters with me. I didn’t bother with any workshops as I envisaged that ending in disaster but I did book on to one ‘Super Theatre’ session which was Dawn O’Porter talking to Kirstie about lots of stuff from her new clothing line to breakdowns,  and working mums to the fact that she doesn’t like doing TV. There’s not going to be another ‘This Old Thing’ series!

Handmade Fair

Handmade Fair

Oh my word, it was busy. There were loaaads of stalls. But I didn’t buy any fabric! Yes I think I deserve an award for that! There were several fabric stalls!

Handmade Fair

This is my little haul:

Handmade Fair

Plus one more thing that is for my mum so I can’t show it here in case she’s reading!! But it was something handmade. I feel I did OK with my little mission to support small businesses!

So there’s a print of a poem that’s spot on – I’ve been wanting something like ‘House Rules’ but this is probably nicer! And there’s the Agnes pattern! And two hair bobbles that S spent far too long choosing the colour she wanted! Now I have to make her a dress to match apparently so if anyone knows the fabric…?! And the colourful box is nail polish pens. I never buy things like this but this was immediately after I made my girls sit in the Super Theatre for 45 mins, which was “very very very very very very very very very boring” haha, so this was a treat!

The seller did give us both a quick demo!

Handmade Fair

We met Tilly Walnes, and my daughter was a little confused!! Tilly was happy to pose with somebody shorter than her!

Handmade Fair

We bought pasta for lunch. I liked the look of the stall.

Handmade Fair

Well looks aren’t everything. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t as nice as it should have been and we are pasta-loving people – we didn’t even finish the bowls! I thought I’d treat us instead of buying a picnic but should have just brought a packed lunch in hindsight. Ah well. And yeah there weren’t enough tables so we sat on the floor. Luckily the weather was gorgeous!

Handmade Fair

We did have tea and cake in the Mollie Makes café (whoops no pics) and I got 3 or 4 refills for £2 so that wasn’t bad! They had colouring in there and plenty of adults were doing it. Crazy how when someone says it’s OK for adults to colour then everyone is happy to do it!

I wanted to sit in this vintage café where these lovely ladies were singing, but that was packed. Little A had a good time dancing just outside though!

Handmade Fair

There was so much inspiration and beautiful things to buy.

I loved the work but this artist – I can’t remember her name but she was very talented in freehand embroidery and applique work.

Handmade Fair

Yep, I was attracted to the blue polka dots!

Handmade Fair

OK, last photo. We liked these little purses by “love from beth” hehe, nice name!

Handmade Fair

I will go again next year – but leave earlier, expecting to sit in traffic, and probably bring a picnic!!

Beth x


A selfish brag post… giveaway win!

Yep, this post is purely to show off. Well if I can’t show off to you, who can I show off to?
The lovely Sharon at Creativity & Family ran a fantastic giveaway last week. And, yes you guessed it – I won the sewing bundle!
So here I am showing you all what I got…
It came wrapped in fabric – wow, my daughter and I were impressed by that idea! The ribbon was actually tied in a nice bow, but I untied it before I thought to take photos.

competition win

I love the chalkboard tag! I’m keeping that! :)

And here’s what was inside:

competition win

Sharon is always leaving lovely comments on my blog – and she must be just as lovely in real life because she even thought to add a little knitting doll for my girls! Well, Sharon, my eldest was very happy with that as you can see – and we’ve started her off already :)

competition win

Look at all this pretty fabric!!

competition win

I’m going to use it to make things just for me! One piece will be made into a sunglasses case. As for the others… suggestions?! I realised I’m not used to making things for myself anymore!

My photos are a bit rubbish, but if you zoom back up you can see a pack of pretty floral buttons, too. This package oozed girliness!

I had a surprise gift, too, which wasn’t detailed in the giveaway post.

competition win

Ahhh – I have been wanting some of these scissors! I’m so pleased. I do like a bit of embroidery!

Do you see that adorable little cat attached to the handle? Awww, what a lovely touch. The giveaway entry rule was to comment with the name of a cat – I chose Sonic and Shadow. (I got two entries; one for being a follower of the blog). Sharon’s son chose the winners and he chose Sonic. So that is the name of the little cat on my scissors!

That’s the end of my brag post. I hope you’re not too jealous!


Beth x

Liberty, Oh Liberty.

On Wednesdays there is a big market in the centre of Oxford. You can find foods from around the world, fruit and veg, antiques, homewares, habadashery – and a really friendly man selling genuine Liberty fabric.
He has bolts and bolts of it – the choice is unbearable.
So I finally bought my first ever Liberty fabrics! I managed to hold back on buying the whole stall and only bought 2 metres – I see it as lucky that I had to catch my bus!
I chose these:


The top one is jersey; the other is cotton.

The price? £8 per metre. Amaaazing for Liberty – however more than I usually spend on fabrics. So I hope they are as good as they are said to be!

Of course, I didn’t buy with an idea of what to make, so I thought I’d ask you lovely people – what shall I make?! A totally open question!!

I have 1m of each – so probably some tops?! I want to use it soon because my stash is seriously overflowing and I need to justify my purchases!

There’s too much choice nowadays…

What can I make with 1m of floral jersey?


And 1m of cotton lawn?


Thank you for any suggestions!

Beth x

Simple Sew English Tea Dress *Cap Sleeves Tutorial*

Recently I joined forces with a few other bloggers to make up a blogging team for Simple Sew patterns. How exciting! I will be sharing some tutorials for their patterns. I hope that you will find them useful!

First up what do you think of the fabric I chose?

Art Gallery fabric (Whitetree)

Beautiful, right? It’s called ‘Wild and Free Luminous Field’ – from Whitetree Fabrics. Click the logo below to be taken to the page on their website to buy!

White-tree-logo Master

Now on to the tutorial. I’m just going to share the cap sleeves part today – I will share photos of the entire finished dress ASAP. Head over to Laura After Midnight’s blog if you want a detailed tutorial of the whole dress – minus the cap sleeves!

There are no instructions for the cap sleeves in the pattern. So this is the way that I did it – I am sure there are more ways to insert them; in fact I came up with a few – but this is my preferred method. Please READ THROUGH all the instructions before starting! If you are stumped by anything, just leave a comment and I will help!

You will be using the sleeve type marked ‘Option C’ on the pattern paper. If tracing, ensure that you mark the notch, and where the gathering marks are.

Simple Sew cap sleeves pattern piece

Then cut the sleeves out of your fabric, transferring the marks as well. I use a pen to make a little dash where the wiggly gather symbol starts and ends; that’s all you need.

Simple Sew Tea Dress

You may notice that the sleeve does not go all the way round the armscye. You will be left with a gap of a few inches, at the front.

So, to fill that gap, we can use some bias binding. I’m quite a fan of bias binding; it’s so versatile and pretty easy to use.

You don’t need an awful lot; I used 75cm. (I also bound the shoulder seams with it.) You can either make your own out of the fabric you’re using (or any other fabric), or buy pre-made. There are plenty of tutorials online explaining how to make your own!

I think it’s best to hem the sleeves with bias binding, because of the way they’re curved. So before sewing the sleeves to the bodice, attach the bias binding to the hems of the sleeves (this is the edge with no notch on):

  1. Open out your bias binding and pin to the WRONG side of the sleeve.

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

2. Sew together along the crease line.

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

3. Flip the bias binding over to the RIGHT side, and, still on the RIGHT side, sew in place close to the inner edge of the bias binding.

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

Once you’ve done this on both sleeves they should look like this (right and wrong sides):

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

In terms of the construction of the dress so far, you should be up to step 5 or 6 (it doesn’t matter if you have sewn the bodice to the skirt panels or not, which is step 6). You should have:

  1. Sewn in the four darts
  2. Sewn the shoulder seams
  3. Attached the facing

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

So we are inserting the sleeves BEFORE sewing the side seams.

First you need to gather the small section at the sleeve head, between the marks:

  1. Set your sewing machine to the longest stitch length.
  2. Sew two lines of stitching about 3/8″ and 5/8″ away from the raw edge, between the marks.
  3. Pull the bobbin threads of the stitching, to create lots of little gathers. You can pull them quite tight as you will be creating some sweet little gathers at the top of the sleeve. You’ll spread them out a little later to fit the armsyce accurately.

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

Now you’re ready to insert the sleeves.

Take one sleeve and lay it RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER on top of the corresponding armscye of the bodice, matching the single notch.

Pin the sleeve to the bodice from the notch to the edge.

 Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

Then pin the opposite side; start at the end, which will lay right up to the side seam. Pin until you get to the gathered section.

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

Pull the gathers until the sleeve piece fits snugly in place, and pin the remaining gap.

Now you’re ready to sew. Starting from the edge where the sleeve and bodice meet (forget about extra few inches for now), sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance all the way to the end. Take your time to ensure there are no puckers!

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

Wa-hey; that’s one sleeve inserted. Now repeat with the other!

Now to finish off, we just need to tidy up those few inches. Take your bias binding – you will attach it to the seam allowance in a slightly different way to how you attached it to the hem of the sleeves.

  1. Open out your bias binding and pin to the RIGHT side of the sleeve, with a 5/8″ SEAM ALLOWANCE. (Don’t put the bias binding right up to the edge of the fabric, or you’ll risk the armsyce being too tight!) Sew along the crease line of the bias binding. Note: you can either bind just the gap of a few inches [just stop when you’re past the gap], or bind the seam allowance of the sleeve too. I chose to bind the seam allowance as I like the finish inside.

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

2. Trim the seam allowance of the bodice/sleeve flush against the bias binding.

3. Flip the bias binding over to the WRONG side, and EITHER slipstitch (by hand) the bias binding down, OR stitch in the ditch (from the RIGHT side!) [I slipstitch!]

Simple Sew Tea Dress Tutorial

Give the sleeve/bodice a good press, and unpick any visible gathering stitches from the sleeve head.

Ta-dah, that’s it! :)

Simple Sew English Tea Dress

This is what the inside will look like if you sewed the bias binding all the way round like I did:

Simple Sew English Tea Dress

Neat, huh?

And this is what the bodice looks like on! (Excuse the towel on my head; I haven’t dyed my hair purple!!)

Simple Sew English Tea Dress

I hope that this made sense – please do let me know if something’s confusing, and I will answer any questions you have if you’re making the dress.

Beth x


A Matching Three Piece!

Hello! I’m back to the land of wifi, blogging and sewing, after a lovely trip camping in South Wales. BEAUTIFUL area, and we had nicer weather than England did, would you believe it?! But now I’m back to normality; time to share something.

S, my eldest, has a new dress. She’s so happy! [Her top front tooth fell out a couple of days before I took the photos…! I’m just starting to get used to seeing that big gap now!]

Blue Ridge Dress

Do you recognise the pattern? It’s the Blue Ridge Dress – the brand new pattern by Hello Holli.

You may remember that I made one, as a pattern tester, for A. I am still in love with this dress; I put her in it an awful lot!

So I just had to make one for her big sister. This time the fabric is still cute but a tad more grown-up. She chose it; aghhh she’s growing up now, making her own fashion choices!

Blue Ridge Dress

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that she also has a matching headband and bag. More on them later…

I had 1m of the adorable owl fabric, which was enough to make it in her size. Which is Age 3! She’s 6!! Little skinny minny. It fits her perfectly around her chest. I was going to lengthen it a tad but I wouldn’t have been able to, so I made the most of the generous 6cm hem allowance and turned it up just 2cm. I think it’s fine for a summer dress!

I used up all the scraps immediately, which I was pretty impressed with. I decided on the spot to make a matching headband and bag. I actually made these before the dress – I love quick projects!

Blue Ridge Dress

I totally made up how to make the bag as I went along… I just cut shapes out of what fabric I had – and that was the size the bag was to be! It turned out narrow and long so I improvised with a flappy foldover top. Unique, hey?!

Floppy bag

The handle’s ends are enclosed in the side seams. It was cut from the length of fabric I had; and it turned out pretty perfect! To say she is happy with her bag would be an understatement.

Blue Ridge Dress

She’s also really happy with her headband – I just measured the sizes against one she already owns. It’s as wide as it could be due to the fabric available!

S chose the button on the dress. And I chose the red binding. I think we did pretty well design-wise!

This time round, instead of stitching the binding in the ditch, I slipstitched it by hand on the inside. This takes that bit longer, but I love the finish.

S's Blue Ridge Dress

A final back shot:

Blue Ridge Dress

Has anyone else got this pattern yet? If not and you have girls under 14 – why not?!

Beth x

P.S. Yes, she did enjoy posing for these photos!

A quick skirt and a quick post!

I’ll start by apologising for the dreadful photos in this very quick post!! It’s the summer holidays and I don’t have a lot of spare time!

This is my greatest dressmaking achievement of late – and it’s not even great.

skater skirt

It’s the Skater Skirt from issue 12 of Love Sewing magazine.

I like it, but I did lose interest when I realised that it’s too big. I made the smallest size, so if I want to make another I’ll have to grade the pattern down. That should be pretty simple seeing as the pieces are very basic shapes.

[FYI in the photo below, the mark on my top is from the camera!!]

skater skirt

The reason why I didn’t take it in before finishing is that it has pockets – yay! – and I couldn’t even be bothered to think about how to take the sides in with pockets there… So I just left it as it is and am calling it a muslin!

skater skirt pockets

It’s dead comfy, so it is wearable and I will wear it – but only around the house!

I got the purple jersey from my local-ish fabric store. They have a very limited supply of dressmaking fabrics – they do stretch to a few plain jerseys and this was one of them. I’m happy with the quality of it and the colour’s nice; this photo shows it a little more accurately as the camera’s flash lightened it in the above pics!

skater skirt

I’m glad I didn’t use an expensive jersey with a pretty print!

Well that’s all I have to say about this very basic skirt… I do recommend the pattern – if it fits you! :)

I must make one of my daughters a skirt or something with the leftovers. One day!

Beth x

P.S. I’ve been dreadful at reading blogs recently so I’m so sorry if I have missed your posts… I’m trying to keep up but you know what it’s like… don’t take it personally! <3