Handmade Presents

Hello everyone, hope you all had a great Christmas and you have recovered from eating comas, while the eating,  isn’t over yet. At least we carry on in this household.


While my blog feed is populated by the hit and misses of the sewing inter webs of 2015 and since I only managed to sew 13 items this year (moving house I curse you) I thought I’d show you some of the Christmas presents I made, there were not that many. First I decided not to use any paper wrapping and went mad with sewing these little bags and envelops for some of my presents. I thought it could be something that the recipients could use for storing shoes or other things, plus they looked more like Santa’s sack. In my usual habit of making everything last minute these were no exception and had I planned ahead, I would have probably made a better job of them. Despite that, they were very well received.

IMG_6536I’ve been meaning to make a fur scarf ever since I found these grey lace remnants at Simply Fabrics in Brixton, a present for myself. Well when I came round to actually doing it, I thought that my friend would probably like it, so I packed it for her. The fur is from weaverdee .


Literally, last minute, the night before we left London, I decided that I had time to make one more thing, which was this fur cape/capelet for my boyfriend’s sister. It’s something I thought she might wear at some point, if not there’s always Halloween. The pattern was one of the projects with patterns on Burda Style website. It’s meant to be longer but I thought it was a bit too much with the fur, so I chopped it for a more wearable version.


Finally, I made this jenna cardi for my sister, hoping it will at least fit her, there’s good chance she may not like it haha. I used two different fabrics, one I bought in Beijing, but since I knew there wasn’t enough, I bought a similar colour knit from e-bay. I really like how it turned out but it wasn’t without problems, one of them being the fact that the overlocker ate some of the fabric on the top-half creating a massive hole. This resulted in the waist band being much wider than the pattern commands.


I was quite pleased with the neck band which looks much better than my own unblogged version but not so pleased with that top buttonhole. Still getting used to one step buttonholes on my new sewing machine.


See how wonky that top buttonhole is compared to the rest of them? In an attempt to cover the overlocking I decided to sew some handmade bias tape around the neckline, button band and waist. The latter wasn’t a great idea, as adding non-stretch fabric to stretch, turns it unfortunately into non-stretch, so now it’s a bit tight but I think it will be ok for my sister. This isn’t her only present either, so if she doesn’t like it, it will not be the end of the world.


This is my own Jenna Cardi, the test version, so you can see more of the wonkiness here. I’m planning to make another one in 2016, hopefully with better results than this.

I enjoyed making these presents and was pleased that they were received well, or that people at least pretended to like them haha, but I don’t think I will be making a habit of it, it’s great though making little things for family and loved ones.

If you don’t see me back here later, I will take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy new year and happy sewing in 2016.

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Burda Style 7320

Hello everybody. Going to work lately has been a struggle, probably because Christmas approaches and all I can think of is holidays. I should be getting ready for the office right now but in an attempt to pretend I don’t really have to go anywhere, I thought I’d type this post.

One of the garments I sewed in October was another not so interesting but yet quite functional garment. Burda Style 7320. A proper maternity dress this time. 7320-front-envelope_1

What I liked most about this dress was the front pleat, which yes it is there for a reason but adds a nice element to the garment. I also fell in love with the shiny grey fabric on this pic, but went for a plain grey as I wanted to be able to wear it at work as well.


I made version A of the pattern, without the cap sleeves. I have only worn it with a jacket or cardigan, so I didn’t see the need for sleeves, especially ones that don’t really cover my arms.


I used a lovely ponte knit for it and although it’s not exactly the right fabric, as it holds the shape really well but at the same time it has no dare. I thought I looked huge just by putting it on, haha. In any case, it was a great fabric to sew with.


The best thing about it was the absence of a zipper, hurrah. It is meant to be much longer but I kept chopping the hem to level it, so I ended up with a shorter version in the end. I prefer it this way.



I’d still like to sew a more glamorous version of it but have so many other things to finish, I may never get to it anytime soon. I suppose though that it would make a lovely dress in a smaller size, when I won’t need maternity clothes anymore. I haven’t got anything else to add, the instructions and the drafting were great. Until next time…

Pictures are again courtesy of the camera on crate.

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Tent dress, Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 1105

Having a house with a garden makes things so much easier when it comes to taking pictures for your blog, it’s an easy outside location. When however you have no tripod because your boyfriend took it to a show to shoot some videos and no one else to take your pictures, you have to improvise and hope for the best. I don’t like using the timer but I have no remote control for my camera and since there was no tripod, I had to teach it some acrobatics and balancing on a crate on top of a table, hoping the wind will not blow as hard as to drop it on the ground.


I made this dress back in October when most of my clothes had started feeling a bit too tight to be comfortable and I needed something that would allow me to move freely and also survive a whole day of meetings without suffering in my clothes. I’ve always liked tent dresses but always feared they would make me look really big. And they do, I’m not going to lie but they are also very accommodating for a growing bump. Don’t ask me what it is I’m looking at this picture, I blame the timer.


The outside comes with cold lately, so every so often I had to pop in to restore my blood temperature. You know I don’t like cold. I cut a size 10, which was the smallest one on the pattern and didn’t make any adjustments. The fabric is a cotton sateen from Minerva Crafts 


The dress ties at the back with a big bow that I particularly like.You can see how much excess there is in terms of fabric.


Another great photo, where I’m looking at the sky, a pigeon coming closer, a plane about to land in our garden. I dreamt of this dress with something golden, like a  card in a nice lightweight fabric. I saw this lightweight jersey I guess, during a random visit at Simply Fabrics in Brixton. It winked at me the second I entered. The Julia Cardi was the only cardi pattern I had at that point. The style and length of the card doesn’t really go with the dress and I didn’t wear them together, but I ended up with another version of this great pattern. My other Julia 

PicMonkey Collage

I don’t have anything else to add about the dress, it’s very easy to make as it doesn’t have a lot of pieces. For the neck binding I used the same fabric but then for the armholes, I used shop bought bias tape as at that point I wanted to get it done.

PicMonkey Collage2

As you can see, I’ve done a better job with the pictures I took of the mannequin, she doesn’t even have to look awkwardly at something else.

How do you have your blog pics taken? Do you use a tripod, timer, or photographer?

That’s it from me for now. Have a nice week everyone.

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It’s a coat. Burda round coat 10/2013 #102

It’s been ages since I last posted here, but I’m glad to be back in the land of the interwebs. After spending three months in a short term let, without proper internet connection, we have finally moved to the house we’ve been trying to buy since the end of August. It’ll be a work in progress for a while but at least, we won’t be going anywhere else anytime soon and I can finally unpack all my sewing madness into a new room, haha! This room however, may be converted into a nursery in a few months, as I’m having a baby and a growing belly at the moment. Don’t be scared, I’m not going to bore you with my maternity stuff, after all we are here for the sewing, which despite the inconvenience and lack of actual space in the previous flat, I haven’t stopped doing. You may see some non-garment related sewing  though but that’ll be it.


One of my very recent sewing endeavours has been my first ever coat. Burda 10/2013 is a pattern I had been stalking for a while and finally got round to making. The cocoon style is a bit unusual for me as I like my coats fitted rather than loose, but I wanted something you can wrap into and this coat is perfect for this purpose.


The fabric is 100% wool (yes sorry I haven’t been very ethical here, but it had to be something warm) from Truro Fabrics. I really liked this shop, which I discovered while looking around for wool, particularly because you can get samples before committing to an expensive fabric like wool. Of course, when I purchased it, I didn’t think of the stripes and got only 2.5metres, which was enough for making the coat but not for matching all the stripes. Front and back are ok though. I decided to use the stripe vertically for the lower pieces of the coat to avoid tmatching them and to give a different perspective to it.


As you can see there’s no pattern matching on the sides or the sleeves, but that’s something I can live with.


As far as the construction is concerned, once you decipher the pattern that not only comes with the typical almost non-existent  Burda instructions, but also with some extra pieces for a different coat, it’s pretty straightforward. I did make two muslins but it was worth it.DSC_0256

The thing that I found most buffling was the self-facing bands. I must have stalked every version of this coat on the internet trying to figure out how you put them together, but I got there in the end. Way of the Wool‘s was a great help and directed me also to Grainline‘s tutorial on bagging a jacket lining. I love this version here, which was equally helpful, despite it being in a language I don’t speak. Great colour too. The lining is also from Truro Fabrics.



I raised the pockets a bit as they were so low that my short hands couldn’t reach them and what’s the point of having warm pockets if they are too far away from you? I used the wool for them which made them a bit chunky but definitely warm. I also purchased some fake fur for the lower pieces but decided against it, as I feared it would make the coat too gimmicky. I really like it as it is. The pattern asks for four fasteners, but I used six giant ones. Anything to keep the cold outside.

That was it from, I will be back sooner rather than later, with some other things I’ve sewn in the last couple of months. Until then, have a great week.


Posing like a professional model.

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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

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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. https://www.justgiving.com/made-up

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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 delightfullypeculiar@gmail.com 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.


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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.

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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

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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

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