Waterfall Raglan Dress and Top

I managed to send off both my giveaway packages this week, thanks to everyone who took part on Instagram. I made this patchwork pouch out of a stack of my favourite Anna Maria Horner prints using the In Color Order Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial . It took a bit of time as I haven’t done any patchwork in a long time but I really enjoyed the process and love the result.

DSC_1201

I used a pink and red striped Tula Pink print for the top of the bag which I think complements the colours nicely. I hope its new owner enjoys using it, and I’m thinking of making another one for myself.

DSC_1203

I’ve been meaning to share this top for a little while, its the Waterfall Raglan by Chalk and Notch patterns. I made both the top and dress versions for my daughter.

File 19-03-2017, 12 58 12

I used a beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics knit for this. The fabric is from the Fleet and Flourish collection  by Maureen Cracknell and is called Swifting Flora Fond.

DSC_1214

I cut a size 5 for my daughter and it fits her well with some room to grow (she is just over 4 but quite tall).

DSC_1218

The loose style of the top looks great over trousers. She doesn’t have many tops at the moment so I am planning to make a few more using this pattern.

File 19-03-2017, 12 59 38

I made the dress using a jersey which is overlaid with a cream corded lace which I bought from Simply Fabrics in Brixton.

Waterfall1

At first I thought the fabric would be fine to use as it has a jersey base but when I did the stretch test I found that it only had about 20% stretch due to the lace which is bonded on to the jersey. When I initially sewed the sleeves they were a bit tight so I unpicked and sewed them again using a 1/4 inch seam instead, which gave a bit of extra room.

waterfall4

I also  used a thinner fabric to make the facing for the neckline and turned that inwards which made the neckhole a bit bigger. waterfall3

It’s a great dress for twirling in and the fabric makes it special. I also bought some velvet as I have seen some beautiful velvet versions online too.

waterfall2

 

Fleur and Dot Dress

dsc_0786

A quick post about my daughter’s birthday dress! I’ve been making quicker than I can blog recently so I’m going to post a few projects with less waffle. This is made using the Fleur and Dot Peter Pan Collar dress pattern (it’s not quite finished in the above photo!).

dsc_0936

I bought this gorgeous fabric as soon as it came out last year. It’s from the Lavish fabric range by Katarina Roccella. It also comes in a beautiful white and pink colourway. I made a small change to the finishing of the cuffs as I wasn’t happy with having the overlocked edge showing, so I turned the edges over twice for a neater edge instead.

dsc_0928

I cut a size 5 and my daughter just turned 4. She is tall for her age so although it’s a little bit big now I’m happy she’ll get some decent wear out of it. The pattern was straightforward with only a few pieces to cut (bodice, collar, sleeves). The measurements were provided for the skirt. I was a bit unhappy about the very small age ranges provided for a not inexpensive pattern. This was a preschool pattern which came with sizes 4,5 and 6. Infant size and Youth are available separately. I don’t plan to repurchase the Youth size but will probably look for a similar pattern with a wider age range.

dsc_0912

I finally bought a tool for adding the popper fasteners which is a huge improvement to hammering them in with the little plastic tool that’s provided. I did put the buttons in the wrong way round at first though! Luckily my husband was on hand to get them out but I don’t recommend doing this!

Altogether it was a fairly quick sew. I learned a few new skills and am less intimidated by press studs!

10 Hijab Friendly Sewing Patterns


As a hijab wearing dressmaker, I look out for patterns that are easy to adapt to my requirements. It’s actually quite easy to alter the length of most patterns (sleeves and hemlines) so if I really like a pattern I will still buy it and see if I can make some changes, but this extra step can be daunting if you’re a complete beginner. You can also layer clothes of course and this can work really well for dresses and tops with short sleeves etc. I like having some clothes I can wear at home (when not in hijab) without paying a  high street price for something I won’t wear all the time.

I’ve put together a selection of patterns which can be adapted for a versatile modest wardrobe. You can click on the link in the title for a downloadable PDF pattern, paper patterns are also available for some of these patterns.

Grainline Farrow Dress 

grainline-farrow

 

This is a beautiful dress pattern with long sleeves and simple lines. It would be easy to adapt into a long dress but also looks great with slim leg trousers. I am planning to make one in a Liberty lawn.

Chalk and Notch Waterfall Raglan 

waterfall-raglan

I’m really looking forward to making this versatile pattern as it can be made as a dress or a top and there are some great pattern hacks. The swingy shape means it is loose fitting on the body but still fits neatly around the shoulders and arms.

Sew Over It Lola Coat (part of City Break capsule collection)

city-break-lola-coat-2-350x350

This is a beautifully draping coat which would be a good cover up in Spring/Summer. The fabric could be a challenge to work with but the end result is stunning.

Grainline Driftless Cardigan 

driftless

I have already made one of these and am planning at least one more. It can be made in a heavy or fine gauge knit to suit the season, and is a great layering piece.

Named Inari Dress 

inari2web

I really liked the shape of this dress before but the long sleeve bonus pattern piece makes it even more versatile. It is a good shape to wear with trousers as it is not fussy and there is no shaping at the waist (which can look odd with trousers).

Sew Over It Nancy Dress

nancy-450x450

The Nancy Dress is a simple loose fit Jersey dress with panels, which would make a useful tunic dress over jeans or trousers.

Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress

ultimate-shift-sept-2016-450x450

I’ve made this dress once already and I’m sure a few more dresses and tops will be made with this pattern. It’s great for statement colours and prints which don’t need a lot of fussy design details. It’s a good beginner pattern and a quick to sew staple for more experienced sewists.

Named Kielo Dress

Kuvassa: Heini Salonen
I love this pattern as its elegant and has a beautiful shape. It does have a split at the back but this could be altered or I would maybe just wear leggings underneath. It also comes with a free long sleeve pattern addition that can be downloaded separately.

 

Liesl & Co Everyday Skirt 

everyday-skirt

This is a good basic skirt pattern which is simple to sew up. I have plans to make at least two maxi length versions before Me Made May.

Colette Moneta Dress

moneta-pattern

Having just taken part in the Moneta Party, I had to include this pattern as its very versatile and a great pattern for jersey.

A few of these should find their way into my wardrobe before Me Made May, which I’m planning to join in with. Do you have any sewing patterns you’d recommend for a modest wardrobe?

 

 

 

 

Moneta Party!

dsc_0983

The Moneta Party’s started! I can share my lovely new dress with you all.I was in two minds whether to join in as I’m supposed to be keeping my pattern and fabric stash under control and I already have the Out and About Dress pattern which is very similar. However the Instagram posts (and amazing prizes) tempted me in. I already had the fabric which is an Observer knit by Art Gallery Fabrics. 

moneta

I wore it to work this morning  with this Great Plains waterfall jacket and it was really comfortable. I love the expression ‘Secret Pyjamas’, that’s exactly how it felt to wear! The weather was still a bit cold for my liking but it will be perfect in a couple of months for a dress like this.

moneta9

I’m not very fond of having my picture taken so you’ll have to excuse the awkward poses! 

moneta7

I love the length of the dress, as I’m quite short (5’2″) it’s hard to find dresses the correct length and I spent most of my teenage years in clothes that dragged on the ground. I’m still lazy about hemming shop bought clothes but I make sure I hem my sewing to the correct length for me. 

moneta2

I made some modifications to the original pattern. I lengthened the sleeves and skirt to full length using the Out and About dress sleeve as a guide. I overestimated the length of the skirt and had to cut some off when I hemmed it. 

moneta4
I also gathered the skirt and sewed it to the bodice front and did the same with the back pieces before joining the sides. This is because I hate the feeling of elastic digging into my waist, and I didn’t have any clear elastic at home. I might try this technique if I make the dress again though.

moneta5

I made a size small but graded the waist to a medium. I was happy with the fitting although the neckline is fairly wide. It does look beautiful and is a bit different to dresses I already have. 

moneta6
This was my first time using a twin needle and I was surprised to find it was actually quite easy! I was a bit sceptical about finishing the neckline without a facing but am really happy with the result. 

I will probably make another one of these soon but will try a shorter length as the maxi length is hard to manage when sewing. Now I’m off to look at all the beautiful Monetas! 

Makelight Course Review

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
file-13-02-2017-20-58-22

Despite a nasty bout of flu, I’ve had a good start to the year. I signed up to the Makelight ‘Beautify your Instagram’ course on impulse, with the idea of improving my photos and connecting with other makers. I didn’t have any real expectations otherwise, but have noticed a huge improvement in the quality of my images, because I’m thinking so much more about my lighting, composition and colours. I have always been drawn to bright colours, (think Rice Denmark ) but this hasn’t always come across in my photos, as I would not pay much attention to lighting and the background or composition. I found the Insights report provided very useful in focussing my attention on choosing colours I love. This can be challenging, as I do enjoy being spontaneous on social media and having to think about lighting for example, means that I can’t just post snaps of what I’m making at night!  Being patient has its rewards though, as I’m really pleased with how my photography is improving.

file-13-02-2017-20-58-45

One thing that has really surprised me is that I have been able to use objects I already have at home as props. I had always thought I’d need to go out and buy lots of new things for this purpose, but it turns out that I have plenty of bright and pretty things to use already. I also like having glimpses of work in progress in some of my pictures. I have also got to ‘meet’ many other people on the course, some of whom are very inspiring. qodqjwr2wh3rvfzunvq8Emily and Stef have created a friendly and eclectic community of businesses and makers and I was amazed to find myself in a Facebook group of 300+ members!  The Live Q&A sessions were extremely valuable as Emily answered individual questions on all kinds of issues – branding, lighting, equipment, styling, sojmetimes for nearly two hours. The amount of time given was much more generous than I had expected, and the Instagram feedback session (where individual feeds were reviewed) was particularly helpful, even though I wasn’t lucky enough to have been chosen.

Having been quite busy in the month with work and family commitments, I wasn’t able to go through every lesson or Live Q&A, so I’m very glad to be able to access those and the workbooks after the course finished. I’m sure I will be referring back to the lessons and continuing to build on the skills I’ve learned. The main benefit to me is that it has reawakened my love of photography and finding beauty in things around me – this is something I took great pleasure in a few years ago but had put aside for a while. I would really recommend this course to anyone who wants to develop their social media in a meaningful and enjoyable way.

The Makelight ‘Photography for Makers’ Course is due to start shortly or you can try the taster course for free.  Follow me on Instagram here .

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

 

Children’s Makes

I’m playing catch up with a few makes so you’ll all have to bear with me while I race through them so I can get to the new stuff!  I have been posting some of them on Instagram so they might be familiar to anyone who follows me there.

dsc_0589

This skirt was made using a tutorial for a Flat Fronted Skirt found here on the Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom blog. I love this Dashwood cuckoo clocks print and it has been very versatile due to all the colours in the print.

 

dsc_0588

My daughter has worn it lots with coloured tights and bright cardigans.

dsc_0584

Didn’t realise the above shot was so moody but I still love her little poses!

dsc_0731

This is the Oliver and S Culottes pattern (from the Lunch Box Tee + Culottes set). I bought the Cotton and Steel apples print with a skirt in mind but thought this pattern would also work well.

dsc_0696

I cut a size 4 and the waist was a little big for her, but I cinched it with a row of hemming inside the waist seam. The box pleats are very cute and gives a very nice tailored look.

dsc_0699

She chose to wear this with red sparkly tights, an orangey-red cardigan and a cute Uniqlo x Liberty top. Bright and a bit over the top!

dsc_0706

This mirror from Bangladesh is her current obsession. She has her fads (like her mother!)

dsc_0714

These moments are rare but precious. The little one takes every opportunity to attack his sister, and he finds plenty of them! But he gets away with it thanks to his mischievous smile.

dsc_0712

See?!

He’s wearing the Oliver + S School bus Tee in a C. Pauli organic interlock from The Village Haberdashery. I wasn’t too hopeful as my printer scaled the pattern smaller and although I cut a 2T it was tiny and I realised too late. I used a 1/4″ seam and it fits, because he is small for his age. It won’t last too long though.

dsc_0726

So that’s a whistlestop tour of a few things I’ve made. I have also made a few clothes for myself which I will blog soon.

Flannel Pyjamas

These flannel pyjamas were all but made a year ago, with just buttonholes and the pyjama hems needed. I didn’t feel like getting my sewing machine out for a few months after we moved house, and hadn’t worked out how to do the buttonholes on my new Bernina machine. The buttonholes are actually far easier to do than on my Pfaff Select so once I sat down to finish it was very straightforward and quick.

dsc_0566

The fabric is Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent flannel. We already have some pyjama bottoms in circulation in a different print from this collection, and after a year or so they were in need of replacing. The fabric washes really well and doesn’t bobble too much. I tried to get the placement of the pocket to match the pattern underneath, as well as matching both sides and am pleased with the result.

dsc_0560

 

The pattern is from Sew Adorable which is a beautiful book with traceable full sized patterns for lots of useful and stylish children’s clothes including some dress-up and toys. I like the classic style of the patterns. The sizing only goes up to three so N won’t be getting anything else from this book but there are a few patterns I like for boys in there.

 

dsc_0575

 

The pyjama top was the most challenging part but the steps were fairly straightforward and well illustrated. Sadly she won’t fit into it after this winter but I might seek out another pyjama pattern for older children or even adults one day to make a family collection!

There are a few glimpses of our new house in the background – its not yet finished after over six months but feels like home now after several months of chaos!

Why Muslim women should learn to sew

img_7666

I’ve been sewing on and off for about 10 years now and although I still consider myself an adventurous beginner I have found it to be a fulfilling and enjoyable creative process which has brought me a lot of pleasure. I have sewn my own clothes on occasion and many times for my children and feel I’m ready to take the next step and make more clothes for myself.

I’d like to share that process here as well as make it easier for other Muslim women to make their own clothes. I enjoyed watching Rumana‘s stellar performance on Great British Sewing Bee  – with some relief, as a friend applied on my behalf a few years ago and I didn’t make it past the interview stage! I don’t think I could have managed a lot of those challenges, especially in front of a camera. I also realised that there was a lot of interest in sewing and dressmaking, but that many people feel like it’s something that they won’t be able to do themselves.With the explosion of hijab blogging and modest fashion for Muslim women, I’ve often been interested but also feel that it taps into the disposable and commercial nature of fashion blogging – looking for the next thing to keep pulling in readers and continuing to perpetuate the myth of looking perfect and having endless clothes and accessories to wear, which most people can’t aspire to. In addition it occasionally doesn’t fit into the ethos of hijab and being less materialistic, but seems another way to display one’s sense of style. This is not by any means a criticism of all Muslim fashion bloggers, who I am often slightly intimidated by!

For myself, sewing is a creative pastime but is also very practical. I personally believe sewing is an essential life skill, in the sense of being able to hem a skirt or sew on buttons. In addition, there are a lot of other benefits, especially for Muslim women who feel they may have less choice on the high street (although many companies are remedying that – Inayah is my favourite). Here are some thoughts I had on the benefits:

  1. Choice – I hear a lot of people complaining about the length of sleeves,  lack of suitable ankle length skirts or dresses. For example, often the fabric and colour will be perfect but the neckline may be too low, or the dress may have short sleeves or a slit. By choosing to make your own clothes, the ball is in your court.
  2. Quality – By and large the quality of high street clothing is now quite poor compared to what it used to be. A lot of clothes in affordable shops are made of cheap synthetics which lose their shape, bobble or fade quickly. Your £15 could go on a beautiful organic cotton jersey rather than on a polyester blend t shirt.
  3. Ethical concerns – We should all be concerned about where our clothes come from. A friend of mine recently visited a clothing factory in Bangladesh run by a well respected organisation yet there were very young looking children laboriously embroidering clothes in silence. By making our own clothes, the labour involved is not a source of guilt, but a source of satisfaction.
  4. Cost – the cost of high street clothes is going up all the time, while the quality is decreasing. Sewing can be expensive or can save money depending on the fabric you buy, but there are many bargains to be had. I do believe that well made clothes are more equivalent to quality designer wear than the high street, without the price tag.
  5. It’s easy! – OK, haute couture is not easy to achieve but the majority of clothes most people will wear are simple to make. T-shirts, blouses, dresses and skirts are all achievable by beginners with the right pattern. There are also many free sewalongs which walk you through from beginning to end, making it even easier. You can also easily achieve much nicer finishes, such as French seams.
  6. Tailored to you – for me,  being shorter than your average European, shopping is often frustrating as sleeves and hems are too long, the waist is in the wrong place or pockets are too low for comfort. You can make clothes to fit you, rather than a standard size.
  7. Slow fashion – by making your own clothes, you appreciate the effort and work that went into them and treat them with more respect. While it’s not practical to assume you will make all your own clothes, throwaway fashion becomes less acceptable.

Convinced? I will be posting some patterns that are hijab friendly or easily adapted to be shortly. In the mean time, please use the hashtag #hijabisewist on Instagram or Twitter so we can find your posts!

 

Mini Dwell and friends

I often read blog posts after coming through google search and then find the blog dwindles to ‘sorry I haven’t posted in so long’ until eventually the blog owner just gives up and never comes back. In the past year, I have to admit to finding it  impossible to get up the energy to photograph, edit, upload and then blog! Since my last blog post I have had a baby boy and returned to work again, so life is very hectic with three children. But I have decided to make a comeback as I enjoy chronicling my work and learning from what I have done.

DSC_0615

This Mini Dwell was made 75 weeks ago (Instagram tells me) but I have only just got round to quilting and binding it. I made bias binding but wonder whether I would have been better off making straight grain binding. I would have liked the binding to be neater but am just glad to have finished it and have it ready to hang up! I quilted around each house then did 3 straight lines at the edges.

 

I used a lot of bright coloured scraps, including Anna Maria Horner (of course), Joel Dewberry and Amy Butler. The Kokka Red Riding Hood print makes a nice centerpiece for the doors.

DSC_0617

First time making pinwheels

DSC_0614

An unsuspecting Red Riding Hood

DSC_0662

This fabric basket is a more recent project although it was also cut out around the same time! It was made using a tutorial from The Village Haberdashery. There were a lot of steps involved but it was easy to follow and is a useful storage solution. It would be nice filled with baby gifts for a new parent, and could then be used to hold nappies and other essentials. The drawstring bag is made from this tutorial from In Color Order.

DSC_0619

I also spent some time this weekend making bibs. Each one needed 28 2.5″ squares to be sewn together for the top before cutting out the bib shape. It’s sometimes hard to find interesting boy prints in the shops so the Ed Emberley prints really stood out for me.

IMG_7781

I kept this one for my youngest son

IMG_7785

Bib projects are great as they are fast and useful, and use up nice scraps! I definitely plan to make more, maybe to add to a gift for new babies.

 

Winter Coat patterns + Simply Fabrics Brixton

I have been thinking about making a wool coat for my daughter and saw some beautiful ones  at the Hand made Fair last weekend. I don’t think I could ever justify spending nearly £200 on a child’s coat no matter how beautiful so have been looking at patterns and fabrics online. I also went to Simply Fabrics a few years ago and remembered they had a selection of coat material so thought it would be worth going on a little outing.

The shop (or rather two shops on the same road) has been mentioned on a few blogs, including on Tilly and the Buttons, so is not such a well kept secret any more but is a great place to pick up something unusual at a good price.

photo 1

photo 3

photo 2 There are some beautiful wools and unusual technical fabrics, including Japanese wools and coated silks. I spied some lovely delicate Roland Mouret silks and a shelf of Liberty silks, lawns and wool blend fabrics. They also had dupion silk, linens, jersey and faux fur fabrics. In the end I came away with a piece of faux fur to make my daughter a gilet for the winter and some Liberty Lifestyle Garnett fabric in a colourway which I’m fairly sure is sold out elsewhere. The prices are amazing also – all the Liberty fabric is £12/m, and most of the other fabrics are much cheaper.

I also wandered into the Brixton market which was a real surprise – quirky shops and wonderful places to eat. We stopped at French and Grace where we enjoyed a delicious mezze plate before heading back home

photo 4

photo 5

As for children’s coat patterns, here are a few that are in the running:

Make it Perfect Serendipity coat

I made this last year for my daughter so of course I could reuse the pattern. I do love this coat and it was adorable, so will definitely consider it if I don’t find anything I love more.

Sydney by C’est Dimanche

This version is stunning but I’m not sure my French is up to the challenge! The Volga pattern is also lovely. I like that you can add on variations to the patterns to change the look, but they start from age 4 so think I’ll have to save these until she is older.

Stylish Double breasted coat by Dear My Kids

Another double breasted coat – can you see a theme? I do like classic shapes on young children!

The Bubblegum Coat by See Kate Sew

I love this pink version, it has a more modern look, maybe a bit more sixties because of the big buttons.

Cecily by Citronille

Another classic coat, this time by French company Citronille – again a little deterred by it being in French but could give it a go with the help of Google Translate!

School Days Jacket by Oliver + S

This is a different style with a practical hood and nice finishing details, but also looks a little more challenging.

Of course, I haven’t had a chance to look at the Simplicity etc pattern books and I’m sure they will also have some great patterns. For now I will start thinking about fabrics and colours and hope to get going before the cold sets in.