Green is for spring: Another Francoise dress

dusty house-thumbHmm, hmm, it’s dusty in here. That’s what happens when you are away for a long time, the dust sits everywhere. At the beginning of the year, I was full of energy to make things but gradually life took over. New responsibilities at work and house hunting kept me away both from making and blogging. I went into full hibernation in these two sectors. I didn’t even have the energy to comment on your posts, despite reading them. Now that the days got longer and I finally see the light when I leave home, I feel awake and like the flowers in spring ready to bloom. The weather isn’t very supportive lately though. We have some lovely days and then the cold, admittedly less, returns.

Back in the winter and the long darkness of the months, my mum bought me some lovely fabric, while visiting the UK. In a magazine, I saw this dress and overestimating my limited skills, I wanted to do some sort of version of it. I was more drawn to it because of the colour rather than anything else. I thought Tilly’s Francoise dress was the perfect pattern, as the A-line skirt would make it easy to fit one dress inside the other, right? Well, it couldn’t have gone more wrong than it did. The polycrepe, I was using was too soft for that kind of job resulting first in the neckline of the pink dress widening dangerously on the one hand and on the other, I cut the slit at the front without even thinking what would happen when this of fabric is cut diagonally; DISASTER. I tried to fix it by adding some interfacing and fabric. Please don’t cringe, I was improvising, without having any idea what would work, if anything. At that point I even started disliking the colour combination and cursing the amount of time I had put in this project. Finally, I made another Francoise dress for Tilly’s competition, which was the reason I was sewing the below, in the first place. IMG_5315 IMG_5316

And then I left it hanging on the mannequin for weeks and weeks, until the light came back to the days and felt that it was time for more bright colours. I took it all apart, every single piece of it. Luckily, I had some extra green fabric, which I used to cut the back of the dress that was pink in the unsuccessful version.

Francoise Dress Tilly & the Buttons

This wasn’t easy to make either. While making the first version, I made changes on the neckline taking it in substantially.  My top is much thinner than my bottom, praise for the pear shape in a pear colour, haha. However, the pattern with the changes was nowhere to be found. I’ll tell you a secret, I have this drawer that eats patterns. Lately, it threw up the hudson pant pattern, I guess it couldn’t digest it, so now I can finally make it. Back to the Francoise, I had to make the same alterations from scratch and it took a while. The neckline is still a bit wide, but I don’t think I could have done anything more, or maybe I will try and fix it again at a later stage, when I have more energy.

So many seagulls in the sky

So many seagulls in the sky

I like solid colours because they work well with patterned pieces, what I don’t like is plain, there must always be that little something and in this case, it was some glass beads that I have carried around moving houses and towns for many years and I decided they were the perfect match for this dress and so I threw them on.

Francoise Dress Tilly and the buttons

I’m not very happy with the back view but any changes will have to wait in line. I think it is very wearable in general and it will serve its purpose.

If you are wondering about the pink stuff, I can tell you that it’s turning nicely into a Bellatrix short version. So watch this space for the finished version ;)

You're going to be a lovely bellatrix when you 're done! #papercutpaterns #bellatrix #sewing #sewcialists #handmade

A photo posted by Vasiliki Machaira (@delightfullypeculiar) on

Hopefully, I will be back here before summer haha!! How are you doing with your plans from the beginning of the year? Any others who were in hibernation out there?

Julia Cardigan Old Jumper & skirt UpCycle

Happy New Month!!! It’s February and the days are getting longer. I know it’s not true but I feel as if spring is round the corner. Still on winter sewing mode though.

Part of my sewing plans this year is to repurpose some of the clothes that they are in good condition, fabric-wise, but I no longer wear, either because I’m bored of them or because they no longer work for me.

Old Jumper

I bought this jumper a couple of years ago and the first year I wore it very often, but then I somehow grew out of it. The sleeves were too wide, but not long enough, so I was cold. If you tried to wear a more fitted coat over it, it would end up with wrinkles and the loose knitting didn’t protect from winter weather at all, so I always had to wear something else underneath. I still liked the colour though, so I was keeping it in my wardrobe for repurposing or for sending to charity. I had the Julia Cardigan in my patterns since I bought it with the perfect parcel but didn’t have the right fabric for it. And then I remembered the old jumper in my wardrobe.

Julia Cardigan

Always optimistic, I thought the jumper was big enough to accommodate for this pattern and as usual I was wrong. For the collar I used the remains of an old woollen skirt, that was donated to me by my previous boss, before she left the company. The good thing with people knowing you make things is that they will usually give you their unwanted fabric or old clothes, before they take them anywhere else haha!!

Julia Cardigan

As you can see there is a seam in the middle of one of the sleeves. as there wasn’t enough fabric for a whole one, so I had to divide it into two. I don’t think it’s noticeable and I certainly don’t mind.

Julia Cardigan

Because the collar lacks the elasticity of the rest of the fabric, it doesn’t stretch in the back but I like so much the effect the it creates that again I don’t mind at all. And there’s no seam on this sleeve. I can see my belly making an appearance in this picture. January being so cold and dark didn’t help at all with my diet.

The rose brooch is also handmade, a gift from a friend in Greece, who didn’t help with my latest crochet addiction.

See no evil
See no evil

Here you can see both sleeves. They turned out a bit too long, the excess is noticeable, but as I like puling sleeves over my always cold hands, I didn’t think it necessary to shorten. Who needs gloves when they have sleeves? I can hear my mum looking at me with disapproval, haha, she used to tell me every day to stop pulling my sleeves during winter when I was a kid.

Julia Cardigan

All of it was done on the serger using black thread as this is all I had, you can’t really see it on the outside.

Julia Cardigan

Here is the cardigan with the full collar and my long sleeves, haha!! Plus my face, really frozen smile. I’d definitely recommend the pattern, it’s very easy to make on the serger or on a sewing machine. I’d like to make it again maybe lengthen it a bit and grade it to a larger size at the hips, a lot of possibilities for colour combinations too. I wonder whether it would work with a drapey fabric, with no stretch, a bit kimono like. Have you sewn the Julia Cardigan? What did you think? And have you repurposed anything lately?

Have a good week everyone!

Polka dot Emery Dress: Bring back the colour

January makes me want to hibernate, it’s dark, cold and never-ending, I don’t blame bears, trying to avoid it. However, winter may be grey but there’s nothing that says we can’t try to add some splashes of colour to it. I love colour so here I give you my first project of 2015 in a vibrant combination.

Emery dress

I made the Emery Dress first time sometime in 2014 and worn it only twice. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of that dress, as it’s at the bottom of the “to be repurposed” pile at the moment. In my previous post I categorised the dress in the unfortunate makes, having a few problems that made it uncomfortable to wear. I used it as a muslin to construct the current version, which is far better and more comfortable.

Emery dress

I bought this blue velvet polka dots fabric last year and was itching to use it. It’s very light weight with some stretch which made it perfect for this project. I tried to adjust the neckline as much as possible and it’s still not 100% perfect but it doesn’t bother me that much, unlike my previous version. The red belt isn’t probably the best but it was colourful, so I threw that in, haha.

Emery Dress

Here you can see it in a safer, not so loud and perhaps more polished combination. I still find the gathering around the waist a bit challenging, and in the back there’s more gather in the middle than there should be. I omitted the zipper (hurrah) as the stretch of the fabric makes it possible to put it on with out it. I also left out the pockets, because I feel they add bulk in the wrong parts of my body. I used the quarter sleeve version, which is probably my favourite sleeve length.

Emery dress

I cut size zero for the bodice and took out about 2cm from the neckline and about 1cm from the side seams due to the stretch of the fabric and a size two for the skirt. I also took out about 6cm from the hem, as I prefer my dresses a bit over the knee.

Emery dress

Add a little leather jacket on top and you’re good to go. Since it’s Polka dot January at the Sewcialists, I think this qualifies :)

On other news, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who visited my blog last year ( I know I’m a bit late with my thank yous, but better late than never), commented, liked and voted for my Francoise dress, even if I didn’t win.

I also made my first crochet cushion, so you may see more crochet makes here later in the year.

Finally I just enrolled for the Craftsy Patternmaking Basics: The Body Sloper, as I would like to experiment with different ways of manipulating it.

Have a nice week everyone!

Top 5 favourite & not so favourite makes of 2014

Top 5 Lists 2014 Crafting a Rainbow

Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow is hosting the Top 5 of 2014. I’m sure you have seen the lists popping everywhere around the blogosphere and since I have more handmade clothes this year, I decided to give it a go, too. Plus I’m not planning to make anything else this year and the only craft I will be exploring is this one. (it’s a Christmas present but couldn’t wait)

Most Worn items (I do more sewing during the summer by the looks of it, what can I say, it’s my favourite season)

1. Burda 7137

I loved this dress and it got a lot of wear from work to evenings out. I still love the fabric and I’m bound to make one more. This is probably the best dress I made in 2014 and it really showed me how better results one can have with patience. Unfortunately the latter ended with this dress, haha!

Look with excitement at the new that awaits out this door

Burda 7137

2. Red Velvet Dress Cake Patterns

This was a great match of pattern and fabric resulting in one of my most worn dresses of the year. I’ve worn it during the less hot days of summer in the UK (too thick for Greece though) and through the winter we had so far, with tights and a cardigan. Definitely a pattern I need to make more of.

Cake Patterns Red Velvet Dress

3. Mabel Skirt

I love this version of the Mabel skirt. It can be dressy or more casual and funky depending on what you combine it with. It’s been worn almost every week at work, with the top in the picture or other combinations. I loved it so much I made another version in the more staple colour black

Mabel skirt & Moneta Colette Patterns

4. Black & White Stripey Dress

There was not enough nice Greek weather for this dress but it did get a lot of wear while I was there. I love this dress for a lot of reasons. I didn’t think I could match stripes as well as on this dress and realised that I have the skills to do more things than I thought. This is another item that I took a while to make and paid attention to getting a good fit as much as possible. I love wearing it, it makes me feel tall and airy. Stripey Black & White Dress back

5. Burda Hawaiian shirt 

When the boyfriend said he wanted a handmade shirt, I had no idea how much he would like this one. If I didn’t take it from him to wash it, he would have carried on wearing it all summer non-stop (now let’s not imagine that, haha)

Full Gear

Now the least favourite ones

1. The Bellatrix Blazer

I love the Bellatrix and I still haven’t made another version of it. I really liked the fabric on this but found it really hard to combine with anything but solid colours and I don’t have a lot of them (I like a good print) so it didn’t get worn very often. It was also a size bigger than I needed and there something that tells me I will like the shortest version more. Nevertheless, this was my first attempt at sewing a jacket and welt pockets, I still remember how baffled I was by that haha. Watch this space in 2015

I got bugs in my room...

2. Burda Dress with Flutted Sleeves

That was the dress that didn’t happen and because a) I loved the fabric too much, b)I  have issues with letting go I turned it into a blouse.I wore it three times maximum, as it was too tight around the arms and felt like wearing a polka dot armour.

Burda Dress with Fluted Sleeves

4. The Nettie Bodysuit 

Another one of my favourite patterns of the year. Loved everything about it and the particular bodysuit. However, the really low back made it difficult to wear, purely because I’m so cold haha. Plus the particular fabric didn’t have enough stretch and I was always scared I’m going to lose the top part of the bodysuit. Another space to watch.

Nettie Bodysuit 5. I will add here some of the projects I haven’t blogged, not because I don’t want to show the disasters but because in the case of a disaster I always feel so demotivated that I’m in no mood to take any pics. The Emery Dress, I have seen lovely versions but mine was very unfortunate, the waist was much higher than my natural waist, I managed to make it shorter than I wanted and the fabric was on the thick side making the gatherings quite bulky, to be remade and blogged. The Peony dress had similar problems with the Emery, so needs to be remade. The Afternoon blouse, lovely pattern, made only a wearable muslin, so needs remaking in the appropriate fabric and size.

Speaking of size, I may need to go one up after Christmas as at the moment, I keep moving my hands towards this tray of traditional Greek Christmas treats. Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!

My Francoise dress is shortlisted YEAYYYY!!!!!!!!!

I’m so excited my dress made it to the 25 dresses shortlist for the #SewingFrancoise competition at Tilly and the Buttons! Woo hoo!!

I’m still working on the other version but this one will definitely be one of my highlights in the year! Voting is now open until Sunday 21st. Hop over to Tilly’s and vote your favourite five, hopefully you’ll pick me too among them. :) 

Many thanks to Tilly and Laura for choosing me and GOOD LUCK to all!! 

Now back to that pink & green monster! 


Françoise Dress Tilly and the buttons

Françoise Dress Tilly & The Buttons

I’ve always loved 60s A line dresses. They’re flattering, playful and allow ease of movement. Tilly’s latest pattern the Françoise dress is all of the above plus extremely cute. To add to the whole loveliness of the pattern Tilly runs a competition with 10 amazing presents.

Françoise Dress Tilly and the buttons

The pattern is an A line dress with French darts and raglan sleeves. There is also a sleeveless option and an optional collar. This is my second version of the dress. The first one isn’t finished yet as the hack on the pattern was rather ambitious and lack of time prevented me from finishing it on time. It will hopefully be on the blog before Christmas though. For this finished version I used a turquoise cotton sateen that I bought from a remnants shop in Greece, when I was there is the summer. It was sitting on my stash since then, not really having the right pattern for it.

Françoise Dress Tilly and the Buttons

I created a bib at the front cutting off part of the dress and adding on it blue lace with a bit of purple detail that I found on the internet. I also added three fabric covered buttons from the main fabric.

Françoise Dress Tilly & the buttons

I gave the sleeves the same treatment as the bib for coherence.

Françoise Dress Tilly & the buttons

I cut size 2 of the dress, although I could go with size 1 for the top for a more fitted version. The pattern is easy  and quick to make, plus you get Tilly’s detailed instructions and pictures to go with it. I loved the little booklet that comes with the pattern. Tilly also ran a sew-allong on her blog which was a lot of help. I particularly liked this tip on marking the centre of the darts. It was also the first time I made french darts and I loved the way they shape the dress. Of course,  mine wasn’t without disasters, hehe! So while pressing the newly fitted collar and facing, I didn’t notice how high the temperature on my iron was, resulting in not only melting part of the lace but also transferring all that on my collar, argh! This took me quite back on my sewing, as I had to replace both the lace and the collar, but all ended well and me with a great dress. You can #SewingFrancoise on Pinterest to see some of the other great entries. Today is the last day for entries and after the shortlist is compiled there will be some voting, so fingers crossed you will see me back here begging for your vote, haha! Until then have a great week.

Françoise dress

Bronte Top (again) & Mabel skirt (again)

It’s been a while since my last post. In the general madness of everyday life, I decided to do NanoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month) this November. I only discovered it last year and I was gutted it wasn’t in time to participate. During Nanowrimo participants try to write a novel of 50K words in 30 days and this is what a basically did for the biggest part of November. But now that Nanowrimo and my 50K are finished, I can go back to sewing.

Yeayy me!!

Yeayy me!!

So the first thing I wanted to make after this long month of typing was something easy and nice and there’s nothing nicer than another Bronte top. I just love this pattern and having made it twice already it was really easy to put together this time.

Bronte Top

I’m not sure exactly what the fabric is but it’s very soft on the inside and sparkly on the outside, perfect for the holiday season that’s fast approaching.

Bronte Top

I’ve noticed lately that I have a lot of prints in my closet but hardly any solids. As much as I love prints they don’t always go together, so the plan is to make some more clothes in solid colours. The top is paired with a Mabel skirt from Colette Patterns, this is version A and it is the easiest skirt I have ever made. Black is one of these colours that they can be easily combined with anything. I particularly like the Mabel skirt because it can be casual and a more dressy skirt depending on the fabric and the styling. Not much to add about these two patterns but I can’t promise you will not see them again here.

Mabel Skirt Bronte Top

Next on my sewing table is the Françoise dress by Tilly and The Buttons in this amazing combination of colours (so much for staples). My mum bought me the fabric while visiting a couple of weeks ago.


But until I start cutting it have a good week everyone and hopefully I will be back with something different next time :)

Tops, tops Dolores meets Bronte

It’s at times like these, when the weather suddenly changes from lovely autumn to winter that I realise I don’t have enough tops to wear under cardigans or just on their own. I’ve always liked the Jennifer Lauren’s Bronte Top from the moment it came out. I really like her patterns and have also bought the Afternoon Blouse, which I have made and enjoyed but haven’t blogged about it. Next spring now, hehe. I bought the Bronte Top as part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel #6, which was an amazing selection of patterns and I can’t wait to make some more the ones in the parcel.

I made two versions of the top, both purely for trying out the pattern. The first one was made out of an existing top, which was a bigger size and I didn’t particularly like so I didn’t feel too bad about cutting it up. I went a little bit overboard with the buttons but I really like the effect. Also as the existing top wasn’t long enough, I used some leftover fabric for the front shoulders. I’m warning you that I’ve taken the pics myself and the help of the tripod, so in most of them I look as if I was about to have a stroke.

Bronte Top Jennifer Lauren Vintage



The second Bronte top was made out of the same leftover fabric and one of my boyfriend’s old t-shirts. There’s a bit of pulling on one side but I think it’s probably down to the fact, I needed a smaller size or simply I have done something wrong. No buttons this time :)

Bronte top Jennifer Lauren Vintage

Before the Bronte Top though, I bought So Zo’s  Dolores Batwing Top. It did look like a quick, easy and stylish make, and after seeing some cool versions in the blogosphere, I thought I’d give it a go myself. I really wanted to make the dress but didn’t have enough fabric so I settled for a top first. I used this loud print and as I didn’t have that much I didn’t even center the pattern.

Dolores Batwing Top

Let me tell you about this pattern. It will not disappoint you. The instructions are amazing and the end product, depending on what fabric you use, could be a casual top or one that’s a bit more dressy. It took me about an afternoon to cut and sew two of them and I’m not the fastest sewer in the world.

Dolore Batwing Top


For the second version, I used an old black dress that I was going to throw away, a lace top that I wasn’t going to wear as it was too big and I had already cut for another project that would definitely not come to life and the sequins detail from that old dress.

Dolores Batwing top

And because it’s quite hard to see any detail on a black garment, this one not being a good picture in general, here’s some more detail.

Dolores Batwing Top Detail

Dolore Batwing Top Detail

I highly recommend these patterns and I already have plans for more with some proper fabric this time. These are probably the only two patterns that I have made twice straight away. Have you done the same with any patterns that you really liked?

Day of the Dead

Hope you all had a nice Halloween! Before it disappears completely on the way to Christmas, I thought I’d submit my contribution to the celebration.

The day of the dead is a Mexican celebration, as i’m sure a lot of you know,  in memory of the loved ones that died. I joined some friends at the Old Market in Brighton for Copperdollar‘s Back of Beyond. It was a spectacular party, with happenings during the night. If they come your way you should take the opportunity to experience the show. Well, it’s not exactly a show that you watch but one that you participate. It was great to see so many people dressed up as Catrinas and some other creatures. For my outfit, I bought this lovely fabric with skulls from my usual place, Fabric Land in Brighton and during the night I did see the fabric decorating some other costumes one way or another.


Back to the corridor of doom

For the bodice I used, by Hand London’s Flora dress, I really like this bodice, it’s so simple and elegant and so easy to put together. I thought it would be perfect for this outfit as I wanted something that would allow me to move freely. There was a lot of dancing involved.  For the bottom, I drafted a half circle skirt on an old sheet and then cut strips of fabric and sewed them on it to create a tiered skirt.

Semi circle skirt

Later I thought that the skirt of the actual pattern would be equally good but I did want my dress to look a bit like the Mexican dresses of the Catrinas. As usual, I did everything last minute and that is very obvious at the back of the dress. The zipper has gone nuts and so has the hem on one side. Since it was Halloween, I wasn’t that upset, haha!

CatrinaFor the flower head piece, I bought some white flowers from pound land and then painted them with fabric colour, nail polish and some acrylic paint. The second one was for a friend.Flower head piece

Head piece with flowersThe make up was a bit of a challenge as I left the buying until Friday. I tried two fancy dress shops in London at lunch time and there were queues of more than 50 people waiting to get in. Who queues to get into a shop? Certainly not me. It was after trying a couple more shops that I realised that perhaps queueing outside those shops might not have been such a bad idea. I ended up using some of my own make-up as by the time I got to Brighton everything was closed and on Saturday, I had to make the dress if I didn’t want to go naked to the party. I think it turned out pretty well, bearing in mind the limited stuff I had. Taking it all off at 2:00a.m wasn’t fun at all.

Day of the Dead Make upI will leave you with some of the other participants in that night of the dead. The quality of the pics isn’t that nice because I took them on my mobile and there wasn’t enough light in there but hopefully you get the idea of how awesome it was. Have a good week everyone.

Me and my friend in a deforming mirror looking like proper midgets

Me and my friend in a deforming mirror looking tiny, look at those hobbit feet


The Skeleton Girls

The lit umbrellas after the storm

The lit umbrellas after the storm



Calavera Catrina

Lady Catrina did a dance and we all joined







Brigitte Dress Simple Sew Patterns

Brigitte Dress Simple Sew Pattrens

The Brigitte Dress Pattern was a free pattern with the first issue of Love Sewing magazine. I loved the 60s feel of the dress but it took me a while to make. I got the fabric from Fabric Land in Brighton, looking for a different kind of fabric but couldn’t just leave this one in the shop.

Brigitte Dress Simple Sew Patterns

I cut a straight size 8 and then added the blue cotton at the bottom. This is a left over from my second Delphine skirt (not blogged). I made the sleeves longer and added cuffs from the same left over fabric, which happens to be exactly the same colour as my favourite pair of shoes.

Brigitte Dress Simple Sew Patterns Cuffs

I used the Grainline Archer Sew-Along for the cuffs and the sleeve plackets. The mother of pearl buttons are from my stash.

Brigitte Dress Simple Sew Patterns

I didn’t use an invisible zipper as per the pattern instructions, because I didn’t have one. I failed on the insertion part and whatever I tried afterwards wouldn’t resolve that wrinkly problem in the back, but after a few attempts, I gave up as I didn’t want to damage the fabric completely. I also lined the dress (I forgot to take pics) because I would like to wear it with tights and the cotton is a no, no for this purpose. In general, it’s an easy make, the pattern instructions are very clear and I’m definitely trying it again, as it is a very flattering shape. I may skip the cuffs next time though.

Collar handmade

And now to my favourite part of the make, the collar. If you read my previous post, you already know that I’ve been obsessing about this Armani collar, so I saw this as an opportunity to make something similar.

Collar Handmade

It can be worn in couple of different ways,  giving a different air to the dress.

Collar Handmade

I haven’t got anything to add for the pattern, I’m dreaming it in a warmer winter fabric but until then have a good week everyone. I will be flying to Frankfurt tomorrow for a week of work meetings and my suitcase isn’t even half packed, but this dress is in there already. :)