The Portrait of a Stranger Blouse

In the first installment of “garments I’ve made ages ago but have been wearing too frequently to take pictures” is this voile blouse, which is really cool and comfy in this hot weather. It is Gertie’s Portrait Blouse (as made here and here) so other than moving the tucks so that the print matches up, there is nothing new to say about the pattern. Except that the fabric was a present from Gillian all the way in Canada!!!portrait back

Gillian and I are almost the same person on different sides of the ocean; we are both teachers of little kids, we both love polka dots and we both have similar colour palettes. When I posted pictures of my Aubergine Hummingbird skirt, Gillian loved the colour and since I had plenty I offered to send her some. In return Gillian showed me pictures of her stash, but it was all pretty and I couldn’t decide so I asked her to send me a surprise. She sent me this lovely, soft, buttery voile that is so easy and cool to wear. I made this blouse and I’ve worn it at least once a week since making it.

portrait front


This is definitely my most worn top of the summer and the colour fits in so well with my wardrobe. Thanks Gillian!


Last weekend was fab. It was the long-awaited Spoolettes Bowling Night!

A long time ago, at the beginning of the summer, there was talk among some sewing gals about making our own bowling shirts for a trip to the bowling alley. Many many emails were sent and eventually we arranged a date that the majority of the Spoolettes could do (if you want to know what a Spoolette is, read Claire’s blog here)

Everyone looked amazing and had responded to the design challenge reflecting their own style; there were vintage-style shirts, quirky fabric choices, a couple of bowling dresses and lots of amazing hand-embroidery (putting my machine embroidery to shame). As with any blogger meet-up there were lots of cameras everywhere you looked, so check out more photos on the blogs of Claire, Nicole, Fiona, Sally, Janene.

b b b b bowling! d

b b b b bowling! bb b b b bowling! cb b b b bowling! a

My shirt was a modified Hawthorn blouse (have I shown you my Hawthorn blouse and dress yet? oops!). This was my second Hawthorn creation and I used the bowling shirt to test out some modifications (more on the fitting in a later post, I promise!)

I cut divided the pattern to create a contrast stripe down the front and back centres, and made the collar and sleeves in contrast black fabric. This was easier than I expected; measure and mark distance, draw seam allowance on either side of the line, and fold back to cut out fabric.

hummingbird skirt cDespite not trying too hard, I actually did some pretty awesome stripe-matching! (see the chevrons below) And look, I’m not standing in a hallway! I think I’ve found a good photo-shoot location in my new flat, but it relies on nice sunlight which has been lacking today. (I got dressed ready to get some pics of my Hummingbird skirt I’m wearing without the bowling shirt, but the sun had gone by 3.30pm 😦hummingbird skirt aI cut out some felt shapes and free machine embroidered them onto a scrap of fabric to create a logo. My machine did not like what I was doing at all, but its not bad for a first attempt at machine embroidery (though I definitely need some stabiliser before I do much more).

hummingbird skirt b

It was such a fun night, I can’t wait for the next Spoolette adventure!

My Blog Voice

Some of the #sewcialists on twitter were discussing what everyone sounds like in real life and so have been recording our voices.

I don’t have a webcam so I recorded myself using a microphone; to make up for not seeing my face I have added a few cute pictures of me when I was little 🙂

Spotty Tiramisu

Last week, in the days heading up to The Big Blog Meet Up, I got chatting to some sewcialists (sewist + social) on twitter and got convinced that I needed to get a new pattern – Steph C’s Tiramisu dress. I haven’t made a jersey dress for ages (years?) so it was a good job we were off to do some fabric shopping.

tira 1

It is a mock wrap top with a half-circle skirt, but the thing that makes it a bit more special is the sizing. You choose the bodice based on your high-bust measurement and then choose the cup-size, so you don’t get any indecent gaping. Also, the waistband is only half-drawn; you join the dots between your bodice and waist size to get a perfect fit! Genius!

I made the 40D (D is the largest cup size and they are not based on bra sizes) bodice and the fit was pretty good without a FBA. The pattern has points indicated for fitting as you sew, which would be so helpful for beginner sewists. There is also lots of help and advice online and one of the things mentioned was that the jersey will pull with the weight of the skirt, so when fitting the bodice I didn’t worry too much. With the skirt added, the bodice didn’t pull down quite enough so on the next version I will add have added a couple of inches to the bodice (and removed this from the waist band).

tira 2

Yup, there will definitely be more of this pattern to come. I wore it to work and got lots of compliments (maybe fished for as I swished my skirt!). As soon as I put the finished dress on I swished and twirled around – how have I never had a (half)circle skirt before?! I really love the shape of the half-circle skirt -smooth round the waist with a lovely amount of drape and fullness – so I may have to try a woven circle skirt before the summer.

tira 3



The Big Blogging Meet-up

Rachel from House of Pinheiro organised a blogger meet-up when she heard Sew Busy Lizzy was coming on holiday to London and yesterday it felt like almost every sewing blogger in travelling distance from London wanted to come and hang out! Estimates ranged from 40-50 bloggers descending on Goldhawk road for shopping, and people came from all over the country (and globe!) to join in the fun.

We all met at the V&A for a chat in the tea rooms and a chance to get to know everyone (Rachel provided name labels for everyone) before heading to the courtyard for a proper photo-shoot (and a chance to look at everyone’s outfits in the glorious sunshine).

meet upThere were so many people taking pictures that I only grabbed a few snaps – I’m sure more pictures will appear in the blog-world soon!

We did some good fabric shopping before heading to a Lebanese restaurant for a lovely buffet-style lunch (lots of hummus, bread, salad and grilled meat) before heading downstairs to get goody bags and swap our stashes. Vicky from Minerva Crafts came down from Lancashire with goody bags for everyone! They were all generously full of goodies, and each was different with a little hand-written note. Here is my Gothic/Pirate fabric stash!

goody bag

So what did I come away with? Well, I stuck mostly to my shopping list and I stuck to my cash limit (no card spending needed!) and most items were purchased with a plan in mind.

fabric stashFrom left to right:

  • Some navy polka dot cotton to make another Cambie dress. Navy was chosen so it will go with my new red cardigan AND my turquoise jacket I’m making.
  • Black and white striped jersey I’ve been searching for for ages. My favourite top is getting sad-looking, but it has taken a long time to find the same type of stripe.
  • The red and white stripe was an impulse buy to make some type of top, not sure what yet.
  • Blue polka dot jersey for a Tiramisu wrap dress (the pattern was just purchased on advice of twitter sewcialists).
  • Dark denim for another pair of jeans, since I live in jeans.
  • Floral blue denim. Shivani (who blogged that she was not going to buy anything!) and I both got some of this cute print thinking about summer skirts, although now I’m wondering if printed cropped jeans might work…

In the swap I picked up:

  • some black and white check that has a nice texture and weight, probably to make a dress with some contrast details.
  • a teeny bit of navy spots (yup, I’m a bit predictable) that I’m hoping to squeeze out a Portrait blouse or Sorbetto from.

Looks like it is time to get sewing! I still have my jacket toile to work on. We will see what I can manage with one and a half hands!