Beijing Fabric Market

Sometimes work takes me to great places, one of them being Beijing, where I spent a week at the end of August. A lot of people find Beijing chaotic and exhausting, I find it fascinating and every time I go I try to do something new or different from visiting the usual touristic sites. Luckily this year, before I left, I came across Megan’s of Pigeon Wishes post about a fabric market in Beijing, which was music to my ears and which I decided to visit on my day off.

I had looked it up on the map and using Megan’s links, I managed to get some information on how to get there, luckily in Chinese too. I explained at my hotel where I wanted to go and they said that if I showed the directions to the taxi driver he would take me there. Excellent I thought and jumped in a taxi. Hardly any taxi driver speaks or understands English and mine was no exception.

After driving for about 25 minutes, during which time I thought we had left Beijing, it was that far out from where I was, he got really excited and started saying “Now, now!” so I figured we were getting there. He drove inside something that looked like a private yard at the end of which there was a building with a sign reading “International Conference Centre.”  Now I have seen a lot of weird things in Beijing but that didn’t look like a fabric market to me and definitely didn’t look like the pictures I had seen on Megan’s post. There was a security guy a few metres further, so with my phone at hand and the Chinese directions on the screen I asked him if I where at the right place, “No, no” he said and started shouting at the taxi driver who was still in the yard to take me back in to the place I wanted. So back in the taxi, I thought he was taking me there this time, but no, he drove around 200 metres and dumped me again in front of the international bus station. I knew it was around there and as I was getting fed up with the driver, I paid and got off. I walked a bit until I found a building that looked like a complex of shops selling bed linen and blankets. Wandered around for a bit until I found a young girl, who I thought might speak English. I showed her my phone and immediately she took out her phone typed something and showed it to me. “Go out and turn right,” it read. Oh great she’s going to give me directions I thought and got prepared to write down the rest of it. “Ok and then?” I asked her, but there was no then, that’s all she told me, so got out and turned right. I’m not going to bore you any more, the fabric market wasn’t on the right but was pointed to the right direction by two other girls who spoke better English and knew the area. And I can tell you it was worth all the trouble.

The fabric market is a wholesale market with endless rows of fabric shops.

Beijing Fabric Market

All types of denim

All types of denim

Or Gingham

Or Gingham

All the cotton in the world

All the cotton in the world


And of course silk

And of course silk

Most of these shops have a box or chair outside where they stack their remnants which using the method of the eye I would say are between 1 and 3 metres maximum, some are badly cut but in general one can find some gems if they are prepared to spend a lot of time going through these boxes and this is exactly what I did.


Beijing Fabric Market

Except of fabrics there is also a big variety of trimmings and beads all in wholesale quantities. I wishes I had some project in mind so that I could buy some trimmings as they were dead cheap. DSC_0141

Beijing Fabric Market

I spent a log time, going from shop to shop and box to box but had some goodies in my bag and ready to go when I decided to cross over the road and see what’s on the other side. My eyes couldn’t believe it when I saw another set of rows of fabrics just as big as the one I had been, mostly cotton and linens.


Beijing Fabric Market

But also buttons, plenty of buttons.DSC_0164

Beijing Fabric Market

I could have spent days in the market but it was time to go. I got some cotton from there and headed back to the hotel, where I emptied my bag on the bed and admired all the lovely fabric I had bought. That was 160RMb which is around 16GBP, bargain! Now I wish I had bought more.

Beijing Fabric Market

I will leave you with a pictures of these beauties that were modelling the fabric. Have a nice week everyone!!


Beijing Fabric market

Made Up Initiative: Simplicity K1665 Trousers

When Karen of Did You Make That launched the Made Up Initiative, I didn’t even think about contributing and pledging to make something. Being part of the publishing industry, it was an automatic reaction to support something that promoted literacy. Of course, I would have supported any other cause as well.

My pledge was to make a proper pair of trousers and that for me meant, woven fabric and one zipper at least. For this reason I chose Simplicity K1665, which came as a freebie with a sewing magazine. I finished it before 10th September but taking pics and blogging took a bit longer, so I missed the prize draw deadline, not that I had any hopes of winning anything haha.

Simplicity K1665

For my version I used some sort of suiting fabric that I bought from the amazing fabric market in Beijing. 2 metres for a mere 1.5GBP. But more about that on a different post. I still haven’t decided whether it is blue and red or black and red.


I cut a size 12 for the waist and graded it to size 14 for the hips. It was quite straightforward to make and I didn’t think it was particularly difficult, even for someone with no experience in making this type of trousers.

Simplicity K1665

I don’t know if the creasing on the front is normal but it doesn’t annoy me too much.

K 1665

There’s a bit of sagging in the back but I think if I had made it tighter it would have been uncomfortable while sitting.


The pattern calls for a lapped zipper at the back but I went for a regular one. I think it looks ok but there’s definitely room for improvement. Apart from the zipper, there are two darts on the front and two at the back.


I’m not exactly crazy about the style of the trousers on my but maybe I will grow to like them, once I find the right outfit combination. I definitely enjoyed making them.

Although the goal for the Made Up Initiative has been reached and exceeded, it’s never late to give some more, if you haven’t done so already.

And the winner of the Emery Dress is…

Thank you to every one participating with your comments and your lovely stories of garments that didn’t exactly go smoothly first time round.

So without further delay the winner of this wonderful pattern is…..

Beth of Afterdarksewing Beth please send me your details on so that I can post you the Emery Dress pattern. I hope you end up loving it as much as your Clemence skirts.




Thank you all again.


Thank you and a give away


While I’m between boxes – yes the miracle of the move is happening this time – but with my sewing machine and most of my sewing tools still unpacked, I wanted to say first of all a big thank you to anyone who voted for my Yoyo Dress and Skirt during IPM2015 at the Monthly Stitch, on the One pattern Two takes category. I won, I won! I managed to win at something haha, and that was thanks to your help.

My prize was two gorgeous patterns by Christine Hanes The Chelsea Dress and the famous Emery Dress. I have seen amazing versions of the Emery Dress all over the sewing world, but I have to admit that my first attempt was very unsuccessful to say the least. I simply hated the dress I made and after wearing it twice, it was moved to the recycling pile (in one of the boxes now). When I fail with a pattern, I usually don’t make it again, not because it’s the pattern’s fault but mostly because of fear, it will result in another failure. There was something about the Emery Dress though, that told me I should give it another go and so I did. The result was this version, a dress that when I put it on, I never want to take off, haha.

So if you haven’t made the Emery Dress, if you haven’t bought he pattern, but you would like to, look no further. As I already have the pattern, I would like to send this new copy to a lucky winner as a big thank you to all of you who visit this blog. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me of any patterns that although the first attempt was a disaster you ended up making another one or more successful versions.

Emery DressYou have until Sunday 9th August at 00:00 GMT. I will post the pattern anywhere :) I look forward to reading your stories and I will announce the winner on Monday 10th August.

Bubbles & Yoyos Papercut Pattern Dress & Skirt

This is the last challenge for the IPM 2015 month at The Monthly Stitch and the theme is one pattern two takes. At the beginning of this month I took a trip to NYC and like every good sewer I visited Mood fabrics. To me the shop  is forever associated with Tim Gun saying: Designers you have 30 mins go. Look at the excitement on my face and my crazy eye, haha.

Mood FabricsAs you can suspect, I stayed far longer in there but in the end I came out with this gorgeous stretch cotton.

Yoyo Dress Papercut patterns

I had my eye on the Yoyo Dress from Papercut patterns ever since it was released but didn’t buy until my return from NYC. I thought this fabric was the perfect match for such a modern pattern. My first version is the dress. As it is called the Yoyo dress, to my mind came a yoyo, that was popular was I was a kid. Sadly I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I settled for some bubbles.

Yoyo Dress Papercut Patterns

One of the features that I liked the most in this pattern is the front zipper and the cut-out at the bottom of the skirt. I cut the XS size all the way. I took the bodice in by 2cm on the side seams and on the shoulder seams, but made no other alterations. There are also two pleats on the front skirt.

Papercut Pattern Yoyo Dress

The back has an interesting v-neck on the bodice and two darts. I fiddled a bit with the dress in order to match them with those of the body but we got there in the end. The inside is finished by a facing on the front and back of the bodice as well as around the zipper and the hem.

Papercut Patterns Yoyo Dresss

The ginger boy you can see photobombing my picture, saw the bubbles from afar and came towards me screaming full of joy, “A bubble machine, a bubble machine” Now I have never been called that before and he was clearly disappointed when it was only me no bubble machine.

Yoyo Dress Papercut Patterns

For my second version, I chose the skirt option in a pink very subtle plaid suiting fabric, bought locally this time. The details are more visible on this fabric that isn’t as busy as the one of the dress. I cut the same size again but I could have gone to S perhaps, although it’s not tight or anything.
Papercut Patterns Yoyo Skirt

I used the bodice of the dress to create a crop jacket with flounce sleeves.  I haven’t attempted anything like that before and although it’s not perfect, I think it turned out really well and compliments the skirt.

Papercut patterns Yoyo skirt

For the flounce sleeve, I used a tutorial I found on pinterest but I don’t seem to have pinned, so it will have to follow at a later stage. From the side it looks as if I have this massive belly but it really is the way I’m pushing the fabric forwards.

Yoyo Skirt Papercut Patterns

I kept the design of the original bodice at the back but omitted the diarists I didn’t want it ti be fitted and added about 5cm of extra fabric in order to make it more interesting

Yoyo Skirt papercut Patterns

The inside of the skirt is finished in the same way as the dress and the jacket is fully lined with a flowery viscose that I bought for another project.

Papercut patterns Yoyo skirtPersonally I love both versions and I’m sure to wear them both. If you like the style I obviously recommend the pattern. Perhaps not for an absolute beginner but definitely for someone who wants a bit of a challenge. The instructions are very clear, the only point I was confused was on the insertion of the facings for the bodice, but I worked it out in the end. If you can buy the paper pattern, there’s always the beautiful packaging that comes with it.

Which version will you  choose? Have you sewn it already?Papercut Patterns Yoyo Dress

Papercut Patterns Yoyo Dress

Jumping into June with Lekala 2024

I’m jumping into June
Lekala 2024 jumping into June

Just Jumping into June

Lekala 2024 Jumping into June
What a glorious feelin’

Lekala 2024
I’m happy again…

What do you mean, I can’t be jumping into June the month is almost over? Well in all honesty I started jumping into June on May 30th to be exact, in a different version of the same jumpsuit. (this post is full of silly) If you were on Instagram for me-made-may, maybe you saw my impersonation of the Statue of Liberty, before my flight to NYC that day, kindle and light bulb at hand.

Jumping into June Lekala 2024

And that was not the first time I attempted that jump into June, oh no, I had one more go on the same jumpsuit in yet another fabric. Please see evidence below, when the zipper broke as I was unzipping it so I stayed trapped in it for a while.

Lekala 2024

The Gods were against me on that one, because soon after, it let me go, it got caught up on the overlocker and acquired two holes, at which stage it moved to the upcycling/destroying completely pile. For those who don’t know about Jumping into June, you can find all the details at the residence of Handmade by Chris, you still have time to join.

Lekala 2024 Jumping into June

The day these photographs were taken was a very windy one, so it’s really hard to see the shape of the jumpsuit, but as you will see on the indoors pictures it features,  wide legs and isn’t very fitted around the hip waist area. The waist rises just below the bust, whereas the bodice of the dress has Kimono (not sure what they are called) sleeves, a boat neck and pleats on the front and the back.

Lekala 2024 Jumping into June

This is the first time I made something from Lekala and this is their 2024 jusmpsuit. My version  looks nothing like on the model but that’s perhaps because I unfortunately lack the 2 metres long legs hehe! I took the option with the seam allowance. The instructions were only two pages, so not much there but some of the construction is self-explanatory, I thought. The only thing that baffled me was the fact that the pleats of the top wouldn’t align with the darts of the bottom and I had to move them quite a bit, but maybe this is me and not the pattern. Other than that, I really enjoyed making all three versions. The pattern calls for a lined bodice but I thought that would make it quite warm so I finished the edges with bias tape.

Lekala 2024

The only alteration I made was chopping about 2cm of the back where the zipper fits but I usually do that to remove some gaping. Unlike other jumpsuits, this one has more of a mechanic’s uniform feel to it and I don’t mean that in a bad way. To me it is a very comfortable pair of trousers that is already combined with a top. The fabric is a lightweight crepe Ikat. The blue one was cotton and I think I prefer this jumpsuit in the stiffer fabric as it holds the shape better. I have to warn you though, the toilet is a nightmare, especially if it’s the plane tiny one.

Lekala 2024

I probably need to shorten it a bit more, in order to be able to wear it with flats, for a very hippy style. On this last version I also lowered the waist, because it was too high, but I should have raised the crotch as I think this one would probably drive Michael Kors nuts, I personally don’t mind at all, it adds more to the boho feeling. If you like the wide legs and the top, I recommend the pattern, it hasn’t got a lot of pieces and I think it’s not hard to assemble, in the cotton fabric it’s a breeze. Overall despite the adventures, I would say it was a good landing ;)

Lekala 2024 Jumping into June

Zsalya Dress Kate & Rose Patterns French knots and wind

Every summer, and I don’t mean the five days of British summer we have every year, I dream of a simple flowy , comfortable white dress, something that brings to mind those boho embroidered dresses. I had the Zsalya Dress/top pattern by Kate & Rose for a while now and thought it would serve as the perfect canvas for such a dress. I’ve also been obsessed by broderie anglaise lately, which would make a nice fabric for such a dress, I thought. However, my local fabric shop had only the classic type of broderie anglaise. I bought two metres of that, thinking it would  still work for the style I wanted to achieve.

The finished dress however, wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. In my eyes, there was something of a christening gown to it or even worse a night gown, I wasn’t loving it but I did like the actual dress.

Zsalya Dress Kate & Rose Patterns

I decided to try and fix the things I didn’t like, I bought some fabric dye and changed its colour to yellow, which turned out paler than what I liked, so I was still not happy with it. It needed something else to make it special.

Zsalya Dress Kate & Rose Patterns

Sometime ago I had read a post by Anne at The Compulsive Seamstress where she had embellished her daughter’s skirt by using the technique of French Knots and ever since then I wanted to try but never had the opportunity. The pale yellow broderie anglaise seemed it needed that kind of embellishment. I unearthed some of my embroidery threads and got to work, filling in with lovely French knots the floral centres. And then went even further to use some embroidery on the bottom trace, creating a rather pleasant effect.

Zsalya Dress Kate & Rose

The top of the dress still troubled me, the thread of the broderie, was still too shiny. The fabric paint came out and by using a tool that looks a lot like a fountain pen and has nothing to do with sewing, I applied some of it on those flowers. Blue and purple are good colours to combine with yellow.

Zsalya Dress Kate & Rose

The additions transformed the plain dress into something special and it now looks more like the summer dress I had in mind. The wind wasn’t very kind to my hair haha

Zsalya Dress Kate & Rose Patterns

I didn’t touch the back except for the hem embroidery, which works for me.

Zsalya Dress Kate & Rose Patterns

Now for the pattern details, I cut a straight size S and didn’t make any alterations at all. I followed the quick & dirty approach of attaching the top to the rest of the dress as it seemed less complicated and quicker as the name implies. I omitted the sleeves completely, as in my mind this is Greece hot summer dress, so no sleeves needed. I would definitely recommend the pattern, which doesn’t take long to put together at all. The thing that took me the most was the gathers at the front and the back. Not my strong point at all, I can never get them right or even. I’d like to try it with a less stiffer fabric as well for a smarter style.

I will leave you with me singing to the tree using one of its branches as a microphone. Have a good week everyone.

Zsalya Dress Kate & Rose

The Green fabric that keeps giving: Colour-blocking the Jackie O

Don’t you just love it when you can sew a garment out of scraps of fabric? In my case, it may be my favourite sewing project. When I finished the green Francoise Dress, I still had a bit of the green fabric left and in my habit of not throwing anything, I kept in a box with all sorts and sizes of scraps. You never know when the time comes to need something right? In that particular box lived for the past year another piece of fabric, a left over from this skirt. Their relationship came to fruition and became official with the marriage between the two remnants in the creation of the Jackie O jacket from Love Sewing Magazine ( I know, I’ve been making a lot of those lately)

Jackie O Jacket Love Sewing Magazine

I cut a size 8 but it ended up being a bit tight around the arms, so I decreased the seam allowance to give them some more room. I’m quite pleased with how even the colour blocking is. As I haven’t done this sort of  thing before, I was certain I would end up with a very mismatched jacket, but I think the result is pretty good.

Jackie O jacket love sewing magazine

Jackie O Love Sewing Magazine

The pattern doesn’t call for lining but since there was more cutting and pasting in my version, I thought it necessary to use one, plus I couldn’t resist to this lovely viscose that my grandma donated me some time ago. Matching colours and the first time I used my labels, a birthday present from my boyfriend. The jacket didn’t take long to sew. I think the fiddliest part was measuring the pieces and adding the lining, so I imagine that with just one fabric it will be a quick project and definitely good, for someone who isn’t a pro in making jackets ;)

Jackie O Love Sewing magazine

The real reason for this jacket was that I wanted something to match the green Francoise, as it is sleeveless and I’m constantly cold. They do work very well together and the cream breaks the green monotony in a pleasant way. My face is a bit silly, looking at something up there but hey ho!

Jackie O Love sewing magazineHow about you, have you given new life to any lonely scraps of fabric lately?

The Hudson Pant

I dread trousers and anything that needs really good fitting around my bum and isn’t a dress or a skirt. They look very complicated and the more I read posts with fitting issues the more scared I get. For me they are in the same category as men’s shirts. Fiddly and time consuming.

In the same way, I’m not a big fun of tracksuit/jogging trousers, I somehow find them unflattering, so I’m more of a leggings type of person. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful version of the Hudson Pant by True Bias, but still wasn’t convinced it was for me, until it landed in my inbox with one of the Perfect Pattern Parcels (was it 6?) a long time ago. I assembled the PDF in November and thought I had put it in my box of patterns but when I went for it, it was nowhere to be found. Months later one of the drawers, where in my usual disorganisation, I shove things, spat it out. The reappearance of the pattern was surely a sign I had to make it.

Normal wear/Hipster wear

Normal wear/Hipster wear (I’m no hipster, but hats and glasses seem to be the essential pieces? haha)

I knew from the beginning that I wanted my Hudson to look more like a comfortable pair of trousers rather than lounge wear only, so I went for this print, which takes it away from the tracksuit image. It’s a viscose stretch jersey from Minerva Crafts and worked perfectly. Hard to see any details though. I cut a size 0 for the waist, grading to 6 to 8 for the rest of my lower body, I could have gone for smaller but I didn’t want it to be skin tight. I found the pockets a bit complicated but I was really pleased with the result. I also didn’t use the string at the waist to avoid the tracksuit look again. I could have tightened the elastic at the waist a tiny bit more but I like the loose fit anyway.

Hudson Pant True Bias

I can definitely see the appeal of these trousers and I wonder why I hadn’t made them before. So far I have worn them indoors and outdoors with different combinations and I really love them.  I think I will be making a couple more. I did most of it on the serger and it felt as a very quick project. I think though I will cut a size smaller around the upper hip, for a slightly tighter fit but other than that I won’t be changing a thing. Nothing to report on the back, but I thought I’d show you one more picture.

Hudson pant true bias

Hopefully, I will overcome my fear of trousers slowly and I will end up making proper trousers with zippers and all in the near future. Have a good week everyone.

Lottie Skirt and the hard to photograph pink Bellatrix

At the beginning of this year, I decided I was going to sew more and buy less patterns and fabric. The first one I didn’t manage to do, but I’ve been pretty good with the second one. One thing I did buy though, was Love Sewing magazine and I grew quite fond of their sewing patterns. The style appeals to my aesthetic, as the designers would probably say at Project Runway. My latest attempt was the Lottie SkirtLottie Skirt Love Sewing MagazineI was in need of a simple pencil skirt for work, that would look smart but the style would allow me to combine it with shirts, blouses and tops and this is perfect. It is slightly high waisted with two darts at the front.

Lottie Skirt

It was very easy to grade between sizes, as I have a tiny waist and massive hips in comparison, haha, but the fit was really good without many adjustments. The fabric is from good old Fabric Land in Brighton and I like how it makes the skirt a bit more special.Lottie Skirt

I didn’t have an invisible zipper so I used a normal one, which doesn’t look bad and I also used a simple split rather that the option of the pleat. The truth is, I just couldn’t be bothered with it.  I will definitely make some more of these, in solid colours for easier combinations. It’s also very quick to make. One thing I will do next time though is to interface the waistband as I think, it’s a bit too soft, without the interfacing.

As you will have noticed, all the pictures feature a pink jacket. This is my latest Bellatrix, which simply wouldn’t photograph well for this post.

Bellatrix Blazer

See how blurred it looks compared to the skirt, plus my face is a no comments moment. Anyway, I think I will have to do a separate post for it as my hair and the red background don’t help at all, with the colour of the jacket. I just wanted to say that I have finished it though. I wore both of them during the book fair in London and they both faired well during a day full of meetings ;)

Have you made anything out of Love Sewing magazine? What do you think of the free patterns in their patterns?

Hope you are all enjoying the bank holiday.