My gift criteria = The Ida Clutch

My friend is having a birthday and a present is required! I think I have made a rod for my own back with this present giving business.¬† About 90% of the time, I make something. ¬†My friends and family don‚Äôt expect a homemade gift but I do think that if I can make it, then I will. ¬†I think a homemade gift sings of love and the precious commodity of ‘my time’.

Lately, I have made enough Sashiko zip wallets to sink a battleship, so a change was needed (for my sanity alone).

examples_ sashiko.jpg

I stumbled across this cute clutch bag pattern by Kylie and the Machine on Instagram. The Ida clutch was exactly what I was looking for.

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Image from @kylieandthemachine

I have been thinking about the gifts I make and have drawn up a simple criteria:

  • an easy make
  • only use fabrics/notions/patterns from my stash
Of course, this is not always possible but I wanted to give it a go here.
I started off this project by checking out Kylie‚Äôs website. ¬†The Ida clutch pattern is free and easy to download from her site. ¬†That‚Äôs one massive tick in the’ gift giving’ criteria box. So I printed it out and off I went.
There are fantastic instructions on her blog, the photography is great and the written instructions are very clear.  It’s an easy make (another tick). You will also find a whole section about interfacing the clutch, interfacing is key to the structure of this make.

The final part to my criteria is using fabric and notions from my stash.  I found it, the perfect fabric! The leftover fabric from a raglan sleeve top I made back in August last year.

Check out my blog post ‚ÄúA synthetic dream!‚ÄĚ

It‚Äôs a Tessuti Fabric that I discovered on¬†the remnant table. ¬†It‚Äôs a monochrome nylon mesh fabric so it‚Äôs very textured as you can see here.¬†A lovely tactical fabric for this clutch, it’s the perfect combo.

(It also makes your eyes go a bit squiffy!)

As my criteria states that I needed to use what’s on hand,¬†I had to be creative with the interfacing. ¬†This is Kylie‚Äôs recommendation, a lighter interfacing to cover the outer fabric then a stiffer interfacing to cover the main body of the clutch.

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Image from: Kylie and the Machine
 I didn’t have this I used a medium interfacing to cover the outer pieces, then I sandwiched some heavy wadding and interfacing together for the body piece. This seemed to give it the structure it needed.  I also (possibly overcompensated) by using fairly heavy fabrics.  The Nylon mesh fabric has a synthetic textured structure (i.e. no drape or stretch) and for the lining I used a heavy dark denim.

I wouldn‚Äôt normally top stitch near the zip but I followed instructions and I am glad I did. ¬†The mesh is really ‚Äėbouncy‚Äô and it is not a friend to the iron, so pressing is redundant. ¬†The top stitching really helped it to sit flat next to the zip.

Top stitching

I am always apprehensive of using a snap which was a requirement here.  I think the ones I have (of unknown source) are fairly poor quality, but I tested them out a couple of times. The fact that I was using such heavy fabric really helped me here. The snaps seemed to worked well and I have to say, they aren’t going anywhere!

Zip: Who Says Sew

Finally for the zip, this is a new addition to the collection at Who Says Sew. ¬†It‚Äôs a lovely YKK metal teeth zip with ring pull. The colour choice here was my only big decision; yellow, red or wine. ¬†I think if it was a clutch for me then I would have gone yellow but as I kept reminding myself, it wasn‚Äôt! I went for the wine colour, it still gives it the ‘pop’ I was looking for.

You can see how well the structure holds up here

I did have to alter the length of the zip slightly and because it’s a metal zip, a pair of pliers and a little tutorial by Makery was required. I will no longer be afraid of altering a metal zip, it was super easy.

So here it is…

So yummy!
Running away…

I see many more of these in my future, I may even resort to type and make a Sashiko version. Problem is, I don’t want to give this one away. ¬†Let’s hope she really doesn’t like it!


Oops, I did it again…

I just couldn’t help myself. I have only gone and made another Frankie dress!

After the success of my fishy dress and the fact that I haven’t taken it off since the sun came out, I thought I would give it another bash.

There were a couple of tweeks I wanted to make with the fit.  I originally cut my fishy dress to a extra small on the top grading to a small.  This time round, I thought maybe a straight small would be better as the shoulders seams were a little short.  I also decided to add an additional centimetre for some extra room.  This is how I added that extra width.


I drew a diagonal line from the shoulder seam to the arm hole, cut long the line and opened it up by a centimetre.  It just gave me the extra room I needed.  The final adjustment was to length.  I had reduced the length on my fishy dress, mainly due to fabric shortage so this time I cut the specified short length as per the pattern.  You will notice that I also chose the elbow length sleeve option instead of the short sleeves.

The fabric I used for this make is really special. ¬†I bought it from Faberwood¬†in the UK. It’s quite a bold himmeli pattern and large in scale.


I had originally spotted it on Wendy Ward’s instagram page and went straight online¬†and bought a couple of metres. ¬†As I was heading back to the UK in August, it was waiting for me when I arrived at my parent’s place. ¬†It was a long wait, but well worth it. ¬†It’s an amazing quality knit. ¬†This is what I like about Faberwood, it’s a well curated and quality driven fabric store. ¬†AND bonus to me, I actually got to meet Fiona who owns Faberwood while I was back in the UK.

So here it is.

The morning light has sent this a bit blue, the image above is a closer representation of colour.




Here is the shoulder seam in more detail

I am pleased that I sorted out the fit, it feels less restricted on the shoulders than my fishy dress. I am also pleased I didn’t cock it up as this fabric is so lovely (and no longer available) that I think tears would have been shed if I had made a mistake. I am now waiting with bated breath to see what Wendy and Fiona make with their pieces.


A synthetic dream!

Last week I was in the UK. ¬†A flying visit for my friend’s wedding. ¬†An amazing wedding with lots of old school friends, some of which I haven’t seen since I was yawning my way through A-level geography.

I always like to make myself a little something for my trips (apart from the obvious wedding attire that is!) so I decided on a top. I wanted something I could wear with jeans and that wouldn’t crease. ¬†I had the perfect fabric!

I had recently stumbled into Tessuti and raided the remnants table. I came out with a marvellous 1m piece of monochrome nylon mesh. ¬†Lets just say creasing would not be an issue. ¬†It’s a synthetic dream!

Surprisingly enough I reached for my Japanese pattern book collection, choosing the Stylish Party Dresses book.


I decided to hack this dress pattern, the raglan sleeve dress, into a top. Of course, I wanted to add a little interest and make the shoulder panels again.  I know, I know, I do this all the time, but I just love it!!

Black crepe dress from an earlier blog post – more details here

I made a minor tweak to the pattern by lowering the neckline a little, this meant I could dispense with the closure at the back. I cropped the top quite short. ¬†It’s shorter than I would normally wear but I think it works well with this style.

The shoulder panels are made from the reverse of the fabric.



It was a quick sew and a surprisingly easy fabric to work with. ¬†It does have lots of ‘bounce’ so pressing wasn’t all that effective and I didn’t persevere as I was scared it might melt.

I did spend a little extra time in the finishing.  I hand stitched the binding on the inside so there are no visible hems, cuffs or neckline stitching. It worked a treat.




I have worn it A LOT, it was perfect for the UK climate too as we had surprisingly good¬†weather. It also took me back to the joys of 80’s synthetic clothing. ¬†Thank god there wasn’t a naked flame in sight!

The Rushcutter hack

I have been hacking again. Not in the clever, nerdy or illegal way, just in a small way with some fabric and an awesome pattern.

I have been wanting to make the Rushcutter dress pattern into a top for a while, ever since I made my first Rushcutter dress.

My first Rushcutter made from pre-loved fabric

It lends itself well to a top, it’s quite voluminous so perfect¬†for hiding¬†those wobbly bits (my stomach not my boobs!).


I had a lovely lightweight denim from Joys Fabric Warehouse. I bought it with my Frocktails Raffle ticket win (hooray)! It’s a great fabric with a lovely drape. I knew it was going to be good when I washed it and no white lines appeared, you know how it sometimes can with denim.

I also wanted to use the last scraps of my gorgeous vintage floral drill.  I had patched my jeans and made a skirt with it and all I needed was a little bit.



I used View A of the Rushcutter, it’s my preferred version. ¬†I do like the sleeveless version but there is something rather wonderful about these sleeves. ¬†I just can’t resist them.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 7.31.33 pmThere was very little to do in order to hack this dress.  Obviously reduce the length.  I went for a hip length which means no need to deal with pockets.

I also had to change the back panel. ¬†I didn’t need a full invisible zip so I closed the back panel seams on my pattern piece and cut it on the fold. This gave me the¬†option of whether to add a short invisible zip or¬†a button closure. ¬†I chose the button closure, mainly because I didn’t have the right size zip to hand and also I really liked the pop of the emerald green button. ¬†Either would have worked but I like this option. ¬†And that was the only change.

I love the emerald green button here!

Here it is in it’s full glory! ¬†I really love¬†the floral panel. ¬†I know, it’s impossible for me to make anything plain. ¬†Must try harder…

I am wearing this with my Esther Shorts (Tessuti Fabric pattern), maybe a matching pair is in order!
I like the volume in this top, but it does mean you have to wear something slimmer on the bottom half to balance it.



Of course, I couldn’t resist some sky blue bias binding throughout (don’t look too closely!)

I know I am going to wear this to death. ¬†It’s such a great fabric and I really like this shape. More of these to come I think.





A toad, giraffe, moth and an octopus!

When Tessuti Fabric released this Fossetti Fantasia Ponti fabric, I knew it had to be mine!  How can you not love something with a bird-headed giraffe, a toad dressed in Edwardian clothes and an octopus shooting pistols?


I sped down to Tessuti a day or so later only to find that they had a remnant left, 60cm to be precise.  I bought it without question.  I can use 60cm, I just needed a strong idea and a simple pattern.

After weeks of deliberation, I decided to revert to an old favourite, the colour block dress from the Japanese pattern book Casual Sweet Clothes¬†(the cover image.) It’s a favourite of mine because its shapeless and I love a shapeless dress, hides all sorts of horrors that¬†lurk beneath.


I was holding my breath as I laid out the bottom panel – I can’t believe it fitted! ¬†I suppose that is the joys of being short.


As I only had 60cm, I needed to complementary fabric. I chose the charcoal jersey ponti from Tessuti, I bought one metre, it worked perfectly.

So here it is in it’s whimsical¬†glory. ¬†It’s quite full on, but I am pleased that the grey is close to my face and not the pattern. ¬†Not sure I would have been able to pull that off!

Don’t you just love those pink shoes!!



I decided to avoid the¬†buttonhole at all costs. Just wasn’t sure how the ponti would hold a button, I thought it might stretch too much. I cheated! I stitched the button on top to hold the fabric closed. It fits over my head so it doesn’t need to be usable! I really like the shocking pink oversized button.


It didn’t stop there!

I had just enough of both fabrics to make something else. It had to be a tee, quite tight fitting (eek) as I was short on fabric. I settled on the Lane Raglan Tee from Hey June. I had to make it short sleeved, working with what I had.  I am really pleased with the result (even if I had to do the neckline twice!)

I still think that neckline should be flatter!


Not bad for 60cm of whimsical loveliness don’t you think?

Another refashion (or is it just fixing a big old mess!)


I was totally inspired by The Refashioners 2015.¬†¬†If you haven’t seen it yet, you really must pop over to Portia’s blog and absorb the creative sewing talent on show. ¬†It makes me want to ‘make over’ all my sewing disasters and so here is one I just fixed up!

Although this probably isn’t strictly a refashion (i.e. a men’s shirt to something for me), it is definitely a refashion of a shirt I made for myself about a year ago. ¬†This particular shirt was made from the most beautiful double gauze white cotton that I bought from Tessuti Fabric years ago. ¬†I was quite excited about making this shirt, I don’t wear them often. So when I found this pattern, I thought that this was the beginnings of my¬†new shirt wearing career. ¬†Unfortunately, I was wrong!

The pattern ‘Long-sleeved Shirt with Chinese Collar’ is from a book called Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha. It’s¬†a great book, I have used it many times, infact I used it for my first refashion.


But when I tried it on it just wasn’t me, it shouted ‘depressed Victorian artist’. ¬†Something about the sleeves convinced me it was all wrong and the length wasn’t great either. ¬†I tried adding some black buttons to the bottom half to add some interest. ¬†No, that wasn’t doing it either. The thing is, I quite like the collar and the gathering around the shoulders so it was a case of chopping.

BEFORE (the sunglasses are hiding a very tired face!)

I went for a cropped style, it’s probably a little Japanese inspired now. ¬†I reduced¬†the sleeves to a more flattering 3/4 length and applied¬†a 5cm machine stitched hem which I like (no hand stitching here!)


I then cropped the shirt length by about 12cm and removed the last button. This left me with an exposed button hole.  I found a scrap of mint green stripe fabric and covered the button hole, I kinda like that.


But it needed more, so I added a pocket¬†topped with¬†some pink bias binding. The pocket¬†is the same fabric, I found a scrap of it in my stash. ¬†It looks like a different colour, but I thinks it’s just that its not been messed with and washed twice as the shirt has. Finally I switched the buttons to navy blue, it’s a subtle change, but it works much better.

Bertie – “Can I have my dinner?” Me – “Sorry love, I am very busy directing your 10 year old brother in taking this shot for my blog”

I should have done this sooner – the ‘depressed Victorian artist’ shirt has been staring at me for at least a year and now I have a shirt that I will actually wear. I just wish it would warm up a tad so I can start my new shirt wearing career!


Made Up Initative – sewing for charity!

Oh this is perfect for me, sewing for charity.  I am in!


The Made Up Initiative is the brain child of the sewing legend and prolific blogger, Did you make that?  The initiative is to support the National Literacy Trust in the UK.  A worthy cause indeed as one person in six in the UK lives with poor literacy.

When you donate, all you have to do is state your self-set challenge and away you go.  The pledge can be big or small it can be sewing, knitting, baking or anything really. The deadline is 10th September. So I donated and set myself the challenge!

My Challenge

I have had this beautiful fabric staring at me with hope and inspiration for the last few weeks and when I saw this pattern, it was a match made in sewing heaven.  My challenge was set!


The fabric is a beautiful double sided jacquard called Jail Break Beige from Tessuti Fabrics.¬† It’s quite heavy and has the structure needed for the pattern.¬† I am a jacquard novice – how is this possible?

The pattern is from the April issue of Burda Style Magazine, it’s the Boxy Top 123B.¬†¬†I don’t often sew with Burda, mainly because I am lazy and don’t enjoy adding seam allowance!¬† But it was such a cool shape, I had to give it a go.¬† The description indicated it was the perfect top to concealing a tummy – this was definitely the top for me!

Image taken from Burda Style Magazine April 2015

It is also an unusual pattern, the sleeves are attached to the back piece and then come together at the front with a raglan sleeve.  There are only 3 pieces in total, front, back/sleeves and the neck facing.  The most complex bit was finding the pattern on the massive sheet of a thousand lines, it took a while!

The unusual back and sleeve piece

Once I had worked out the pattern, it was a straightforward sew.¬† Having never sewn from the magazine before I hadn’t realised how minimal the instructions were!¬† A clear head is what’s required. I made it though, in record time and I am thrilled with the results.






The Made Up inititive was just the shove I needed to get this project underway.  I am so happy to have participated to this fantastic Trust.

Now, what’s next, I think a pair of culottes would finish this outfit off….

Going for Gold!

or could it be rose-gold, bronze or just metallic? Well whatever you call it, it’s fabulous!

I love a sweatshirt – especially one with gold shoulder panels.

I bought this small piece of stretch metallic-coated jersey so long ago I can’t even remember when.¬† I do know it was in the remnant bin at Tessuti Fabric and it had my name written all over it.

It works perfectly as an embellishment, any more than a hint of it and you are blinded by bling.  This is why I thought some shoulder panels were the answer for my sweatshirt.

The rough shoulder panel pattern piece

My pattern is a self-drafted raglan sleeve sweatshirt, so I re-drew the top part of the raglan sleeve.  I measured from where I thought the neckline would start to the edge of my shoulder, about 12cm.  It was very rough and highly inaccurate and on second thoughts it should have been a bit smaller, probably closer to 8cm.

I also cut the neckline quite wide, as I often find it’s too high around my neck and looks quite masculine.¬† I then added the ribbing in the blue/grey marle.¬† It’s a much wider rib than I would normally add but I think it needed it to balance out the shoulders panels.

It’s a pretty easy construction from then on.¬† The main fabric is a light grey fleece from The Remnant Warehouse.¬† I really wanted something warm and cosy and this does the job, it’s super thick.¬† You will probably recognise it, I used it to make a sweatshirt for Bertie a couple of months ago.

My Bernina overlocker – one of the loves of my life!
Just one more hint of gold!

And the final piece is the waistband, one more flash of gold – I just couldn’t help myself.

It’s still so cold over here, I expect to get a few more months wear out of this one yet!