Grainline Alder Shirtdress

Look, Ma, I made a shirtdress! This is the first time I’ve posted in a while, even though I’ve been sewing and knitting I haven’t had much motivation to take photos while the weather was grey and miserable. However, I finished this dress on Friday and got my partner to take a few snaps when we were at the pub.

The dress itself is the Grainline Alder shirtdress, I cut it in the largest size and drafted the sleeves myself. I completely astounded myself with how well this came out, I’ve never tried making a shirtdress before, however, the sew along on the Grainline blog was super helpful, and I managed it without many mistakes. The only major mistake I made was to make the curve at the edge of the collar stand too thin, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to put a buttonhole on it. In the end, I didn’t add a buttonhole, but I usually wear my top button undone, so I’m still pretty happy with it.

Fit wise, I love the shape and style, I prefer more loose silhouettes and it’s really comfortable to wear. I did have to add a hidden button at the bust to stop any gaping and there’s some excess fabric at the back (you can see it slightly on the second picture) which I need to remove next time I make it. As this was a wearable toile, I just quickly drafted some sleeves without much consideration to style or shape, and they worked pretty well, but next time I think I’ll tweak the sleeve pattern a bit. The fabric itself was £3 a metre, so I wasn’t expecting much quality wise, and the threads tended to catch and show through on the front of the fabric. However, it is fine for the toile, and I actually quite like the pattern, it’s not too feminine so works well for this silhouette.

I was inspired by #sewtogetherforsummer on Instagram and figured it was worth a go, as I said, I was pretty pleased with the results. I have another Alder shirtdress planned, and I’ve also ordered some fabric for a Newlook 6180 and I might even make my partner a shirt, now I’ve tackled collars and buttonholes!

Odyssey Shawl


I’ve been so excited about this shawl for months now, ever since I bought the green and black skein of Countess Ablaze’s yarn. It’s from The Odyssey Trail, her series of one of a kind colourways based on the Odyssey, and this colour is ‘Take your turn in order from left to right’ from book 21 of the Odyssey. I studied Latin and Ancient Greek at high school and took a module on the Odyssey when I was studying English literature at university, so I was really inspired when I discovered Countess Ablaze’s colourways. I love the last few books of the Odyssey, which cover Odysseus’s return home and I was so glad I could get some of this colourway.

The pattern is Asunder and I chose it because I thought it showed off the variegated yarn well with the dropped garter stitch, and the stripes remind me of a shield. I also chose it because there are enough rows of grey that the variegated yarn is not next to my neck when I wear it, because it’s a sock yarn and isn’t quite soft enough for me to wear next to skin. The grey in the shawl is Cascade Heritage Silk, which is a nice grey colour, and lets the green yarn stand out.

I loved knitting this so much, it was so soothing and comforting. I really enjoyed watching the yarn change colours as I was knitting it and I adore every shade of green in the shawl. As you can tell from the pictures, it’s been quite warm here, so I haven’t had a chance to properly wear the shawl, but I’m hoping there will be some cool summer nights where I can wear it round my shoulders to ward off the chill.

In the pictures, I’m also wearing my Seamwork Mesa dress which I just finished. I’m not completely sold on it, I think because I used too thin fabric so it isn’t as flattering as I liked, and the stripe matching on the gingham was pretty stressful. As usual, I added patch pockets to the front, because I can’t help it, and also I liked the way the contrasting stripes looked.

Bank holiday sun

Moneta DressMoneta Dress

I’ve finally finished my Moneta dress! I spent quite a long time putting off making it (because of the 63 page pdf, ugh) but I’ve finally finished. The top went together quickly and smoothly, the only alteration I made was to add a neckband because it makes it a bit more stable.

When it came to the skirt, I didn’t add any pockets into the seam because I didn’t want it to be too bulky around my hips. I originally used the same striped fabric as the top but the way the stripes fell on my hips looked a bit off so I used some grey jersey I had lying around instead. I added the patch pockets to pull the whole thing together, but I think the left pocket is a bit wonky so I’ll need to sew that again. I’m really enjoying wearing this dress, it’s really comfy and I can definitely see more in my future.

As it’s a bank holiday my partner and I went for a wander to the Plantation Gardens, they’re a hidden garden in Norwich with a mix of different things including hidden paths, a bridge and a medieval type wall. I’d never been before and really enjoyed looking round and taking photos.

I also got my hair cut yesterday, it’s quite a change from my last hair style, but I’d had a pixie cut four years ago and really wanted one again. My hairdresser was so excited to do a pixie cut, and I’m really happy with the result.

A Camas sew-along!

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I made a Camas top this week as part of Thread Theory’s sew-along, it’s been really nice to get into the habit of sewing for an hour or so a night, and I’m really pleased with the results.

The fabric I used is a fairly thin viscose jersey, I chose it because it drapes really nicely, something which is suggested for the Camas top. In the second picture it looks like it has a sheen to it, which it does, but only in some lights. I made the top without any adjustments except for sewing the placket together at the front and adding fake buttons. I think this was a good choice, since it’s got enough stretch to not need the buttons, and it avoids any possibility of gaping.

I really enjoyed making the pattern, the instruction booklet was easy enough to follow on it’s own, but I liked having the extra pictures from the sew-along as well. My favourite bit is definitely the gathered yokes, it adds a really nice bit of sophistication and interest to the front, but this pattern was always going to be a winner for me since it’s smart-ish while still being comfortable!

Already, I’ve got some ideas for more Camas tops brewing, I’d like to make one with contrast yolks and also I’d really like to make a cardigan in thicker jersey knit. The only really fitting adjustment I think I need to make is to make the shoulders narrower as I think the extra fabric there is pulling the yokes down at the side.

Getting to grips with jersey

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Agnes

agnes-top4Before Christmas, with my sewing resolutions in mind, I bought a load of grey jersey and set aside some time to get my head around jersey. I used Tilly’s Agnes sewing course, which took me step by step through how to make this t-shirt. Surprisingly, it didn’t take me as long as I thought it would and apart from the neckline it was pretty straight forward.

The fabric in question I got from ebay for £4 a metre and although it seemed fairly good quality, it didn’t have quite as much stretch as the pattern asked for. To counteract this, I chose the larger pattern size, as I was in the middle of two, and ended up letting out most of the seam allowance at the bust. The only trouble I had was with the neckline, as the fabric didn’t have enough stretch it didn’t pull in enough, so I ended up re-doing it a couple of times. That being said, I’m glad I didn’t have too much negative ease on the top because I like my tops to be quite loose fitting. With the sleeves, I made the shorter sleeves, but when I tried them on they still came down to my elbows, so I cut them a bit shorter.

I definitely want to make some more Agnes tops, in future I will adjust the pattern a little at the shoulders, but that’s not a surprise since I have really small shoulders and should probably just adjust all patterns automatically. I’m thinking for my next one either a solid colour with the ruched shoulders, or a plain version with stripes.

So how did I find my first foray into sewing jersey? Pretty good, actually. I don’t have a serger (although I might buy one if I think I’ll get a lot of use out of it), so I was doing everything on my machine in zig zag, but that was pretty easy to get used to. I was surprised by how nice the zig zag stitch looked at the neckline and hems. For my next couple of projects I want to make a Moneta dress and a plantain top, I was planning on making the Moneta dress this weekend, but the fabric I ordered hasn’t arrived.

2016 Sewing Resolutions

2016 sewing resolutionsAgnes / Sea Wall / Moneta / Chuck

I started this year as I mean to go on, knitting on the train back from visiting friends in London. It was only at the end of 2015 that I got back into sewing and learnt how to knit, so I can’t really write a round up post, but I do want to look towards 2016 and set myself some sewing and knitting goals.

Learn how to sew jersey and knits, I wear mostly t-shirts and jersey dresses and I want to be able to learn how to sew these. I’ve just started making a Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top from Tilly’s learn how to sew jersey tops course which will hopefully be a good introduction.

Conquer my fear of zips as they confuse and scare me! When inserting an invisible zip I can’t seem to make it neat enough to really be invisible, but I can’t avoid them forever, and I know have to make mistakes to get better.

Sew a blouse or a shirt dress. I find the idea of sewing collars really daunting, I’m hoping that by setting myself this as a goal I’ll at least attempt a blouse this year.

Improve my knitting technique, I’ve only recently learnt how to knit and I want to explore different ways of knitting to make sure I’ve got the best technique I can. I currently knit using the English method of throwing the yarn and it makes my shoulder ache after a bit so I might switch to the continental method of knitting.

Learn how to cable knit, this is pretty self explanatory, but I really want to learn how to cable so I can make loads of exciting patterns. I have my eye on some of the Tin Can Knits patterns I downloaded during their 12 days of Christmas giveaway.

Knit a jumper or a cardigan. I love jumpers and cardigans and I really want to be able to knit them for myself. I got a set of interchangeable knitting needles for Christmas (thanks mum!) so I’m all set for knitting a jumper in 2016.

I hope that by setting myself some goals I can make some awesome things this year and learn loads along the way.

My first Bettine

image1 (1) I have a confession, this dress is the first item I’ve made which I like enough to wear out of the house. I completed it just in time to wear to London to see a gig, and I wore it yesterday to work. The pattern is Tilly and the Button’s Bettine dress, in a fairly cheap chambray cotton, it was made to be a wearable toile, but I like it enough to put it in my usual rotation of work clothes.

As with the other Tilly and the Buttons items I’ve made, I found the instructions really easy to follow and the construction simple enough that I didn’t get frustrated, but complex enough that I didn’t get bored. I love the shape of the neckline (which I did end up topstitching twice, because I’m not very neat with my topstitching) and how the pockets fit in with the rest of the dress. I really enjoyed sewing with the chambray, but it is a complete pain to wear as it creases so easily. I’m hoping that with some washing the material will soften up and crease a bit less, otherwise I’ll have to hurry up and sew another Bettine for my wardrobe.

I wore this dress to London to see The Mountain Goats play, and I had been planning to take some pictures while I was down there. However, the weather was so miserable I hardly wanted to take my coat off let alone stand around in the cold taking photographs, so I’ll have to make do with these taken on a very windy Sunday in my back garden.