Simplicity 1365

This is view D of Simplicity 1365 that I made for their Sewing Challenge this year. It’s from their 1970’s vintage range. It is fully lined and the back is high enough that you can wear a strapless bra with it.

More retro than vintage I think

I spotted the pink gingham at my local Fabricland and thought it was delightfully retro…or maybe it just reminded me of school uniforms. I paired it with a plain pink cotton from my stash.

I didn’t make any major changes to the pattern. I lengthened the peplum by a few centimetres and changed the straps so the two sections that form the strap lined up with the side seam….almost, I forgot about the other seam allowance so I’m 1.5cm out.

Pesky seam allowances

O well! I also changed out the buttons and used pearl topped snaps instead.

How to avoid buttonholes

When I was finished it still seamed a little undone so I added topstitching all around to make it look a bit more pro.

The all important rear view

The pattern itself was nice and straightforward and would be suitable for a beginner.  I’m tempted to have a go at view b.

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Simplicity 1365

My New Favourite Thing #9 Sew Crafty Dressmaking Journal

After writing this post, I decided to have a notebook moratorium. Then this popped through the letterbox. The new Sew Crafty Dressmaking journal! Their general makers journal was so popular that they added two more to their collection; this dressmakers journal and a knitting and crochet journal.

It’s about A5 size so it fits in your bag and it’s spiral bound so it lies flat when you open it and if you stick swatches in it still closes. There’s space for over 20 projects in there. Each project has a planning section and review section.

Sew Crafty Dressmaking Journal

Each project takes up two double pages (a total of 4 A5 sides):

  1. Page 1 is titled Notes and is a page of lined paper.
  2. Page 2 has two mannequin outlines, presumably one for the front, one for the back. The beauty of the mannequin outlines is that they don’t have boobs drawn in so you could use them any way you want. I almost prefer these to the usual croquis style outline, those are usually way too thin and are an strange contorted positions.

    Pages 1 & 2
  3. Page 3 has a half page section for swatches. The other half of the page is for listing fabric and notion sources.

    Plenty of space for swatches and such
  4. Page 4 is for general information and review. There’s a space for a photo and pattern number. There are question sections (what went right/wrong, what would I do differently?)

    Evaluation time…’s like being at school again!

The only things I would change would to have page or project numbers and have an index. If you had multiple books on the go it may be difficult to find the project you’re looking for…. although it would be easy enough to do that yourself and have the index on the front page or inside cover.

I can see myself getting plenty of use from this and at £12.50 it’s very reasonably priced.


disclaimer:  the good folk at Sew Crafty provided the journal for review,  all opinions and crappy photography however are mine.

My New Favourite Thing #9 Sew Crafty Dressmaking Journal

My New Favourite Thing #8 Mini Croquis Books

I have a confession: I am a note book junkie. Wherever I go I have at least one notebook in my bag. My preferred size is between A5 and A6 and quadrille style paper although quadrille can be tricky to find over here so blank or lined will do. I hoard them much like I hoard fabric. Some are deemed too pretty to use and others I can’t bring myself to sully with ink or such. So I’m on a constant search; fabric and notebooks…don’t even get me started on pens!

I use these books for all the usual stuff, I don’t have a smartphone so my notebooks act as a retro smartphone. I also use them for inspiration; if I see an interesting outfit or detail I’d like to recreate, I rush to draw it out. The problem is that my drawing skills are rivalled only by a 4 year old who’s just learnt to hold a pencil correctly. By the time I come to review my “drawings” the original inspiration is long forgotten and bears little if any resemblence to my picture. 😥

Until now….browsing in Waterstones I found these tucked away behind the A4 and A5 spiral bound books. The answer to my problem!

These mini fashion sketchpads come in a packet of 3 mini notebooks.

As far as I can tell so far, each notebook has 4 different ridiculous poses, ridiculous in the way only croquis can be (who stands like that!?). Here’s a selection of the poses for your entertainment 20160803_14252620160803_142619And they are all front views. Each pad measures 9cm/3.5″ ×16.5cm/6.5″. Perfect handbag size. Like most template books, the printed lines disappear if copied or scanned so you can pretend you’re a top notch fashion illustrator alongside all your other skills and talents!

And best of all, people not thinking you’re some sort of pervert for surreptitiously attempting to photograph them. Everyone’s a winner!

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My New Favourite Thing #8 Mini Croquis Books

Organising Your Feet

The Works always seem to have lovely wooden boxes in stock. I got this one there but could not for the life of me find a link to it.

In my excitement I put the masking tape on before taking a picture of the box naked

Anyway, I thought it would be the perfect size and shape to keep the most commonly used feet handy and close to the sewing machine. At the moment, all my feet are kept in a biscuit tin in a wardrobe all the way across the room. If I want to change feet I have to….dun dun duuuun…GET UP! O the horror!

So I got out my tin of trusty black board paint and got busy painting the lid (inside and out) and the tops of the inside dividers.

I give it two layers of paint and let it dry completely before priming the surface with some plain white chalk. I labelled the sections using normal chalk but I’m pretty sure I have a chalk pencil somewhere round here which would look a lot neater but this will do for now.

*sigh* no more getting up for feet!

The best bit? It’s just the right size to slide under the extension table…..aah, simple things!

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Organising Your Feet

Sew-jo, Sew-go, Sew-no! Pattydoo Susie Pouch

I was reading this blog post about when your sewing get-up-and-go gets up and goes.

Recently, I’ve been working on a pair of jeans but my ever changing waistline is making it a long, drawn out process and the very sight of them throws me in a panic.

Usually, when I find the sew-jo flagging I attempt to revive it by trying a simple make using these rules:

  1. No shopping for fabric or notions, stash busting only.
  2. Use a pattern I’ve tried before so there are no nasty surprises.
  3. It should be completed in an hour-ish, not including tea breaks.
  4. It should be pretty and/or useful.
  5. The finished item should be given to a non-sewing (and preferably non-creative) friend who will be so impressed and astounded by my sewing prowess that my sew-jo instantly returns! Luckily I have 2 such friends with birthdays now.

So the only rule I majorly broke was number 2. I couldn’t find an appropriate pattern and my imagination has joined my sew-jo on holiday (or wherever they are hiding together) so I used Pattydoo’s Susie Pouch pattern. This is a lovely, straightforward and free pattern for a zippered pouch, lined, with box pleats on the front. I made the size from the pattern (the small one) then made a larger one to use as wrapping paper for a book I’m giving one of the birthday girls.

This pattern was super simple and if you hate printing off reams of paper this is the pattern for you. I printed one piece. There were no written instructions, only a short video, about 20 mins long, in German but subtitled in English, showing Pattydoo sewing it up in real time.

It really is very easy, you sew strips of fabric together 20160715_162823then fold the box pleats and tack to secure. Sew on the top strip hhthen attach the lining and zip the usual way.20160716_191850 The bottom corners are sewn and snipped to make the bag stand up. The pattern suggests some fleece to give the bag body but I used some firm interfacing I had and that worked fine!20160718_090833

Full disclosure : I love the website! There are loads of very reasonably priced patterns ( €3 or €4) but all pdfs. Most patterns have a tutorial video too. There is an English part and a German part of the website, although they are working on translating more patterns and videos into English, it’s easy enough to get round the German site if you still remember some from school or read Burda magazine a lot.

I can see a lot more of these bags in my future…..

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EDIT:  So the bags were delivered to their respective recipients. The smaller one went to Mimmy,  my best friend since we were very little, little kiddies. My original plan was to fill it with jewellery and/or other pretty things but I didn’t get round to that so she got an empty bag. The larger bag was wrapping paper (wrapping fabric?) for a book I thought my good friend Mez would enjoy. As it’s big enough to accommodate a reasonably large paperback, it should be the perfect size for make up, brushes etc.

Both Mimmy and Mez seemed happy with thir gifts so the whole exercise worked as planned….slowly but surely the sew-jo is returning!

Sew-jo, Sew-go, Sew-no! Pattydoo Susie Pouch

Make your own pattern weights

If you like rotary cutting, tracing patterns, can’t use pins on your fabric, etc etc, you’ll know how vital pattern weights are. Usually I just reach for the closest heavy objects, books, scissors, cup of coffee (you can guess how that one ended). So I nipped into John Lewis to see what they had. Of course I left empty handed and decided to make my own instead. This is how to do it:

  • Rummage around in the garage. Look for something weighty and flat bottomed.  Failing that go to a DIY shop and see what they have there. Washers are popular and inexpensive (and can be painted up to look like biscuits). I found some square and rectangular washer type things.
    Expect the man in the shop to look at you funny as you attempt to explain what you’re looking for

    On their own they weren’t particularly heavy but remember, you can stack them to get the weight you want.

  • once you get home give them a good wash to get rid of any greasy bits or labels and allow to air dry.
  • stack them up and decide on how heavy you want them. At this point you can glue them together if you like.
  • I cover mine in Washi tape.
    Around the edges first

    I start by sticking a strip of tape around the edge to keep them together and then cover the remaining sections with more tape

    Fill in the rest
  • I use different tape for different weights. The lighter ones are best for tracing patterns onto paper and the heavier ones are best for cutting out fabric.

    Left- 82g; Middle- 152g; Right- 69g





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Make your own pattern weights

My new favourite thing #7, muslin face cloths

Waaaay back in the day, when my small sister was a baby (late 80s), muslin face cloths were everywhere. I got my one with a tube of hot cloth cleanser stuff and I rediscovered how fantastic they are! Especially for getting gunk off your face without getting your hair and clothes soaked. So I had a mosey around the local supermarkets and I couldn’t find them anywhere, neither in the adult beauty section nor the baby section.

So I went to a specialist baby shop…they had cloths of all colours of the rainbow! Pinks, blues, gender neutral greens and yellows! All in massive packets of 12. I started to leave, disappointed but on the way out I had a rummage in the bargain section (habit really, I don’t even have a kiddy). Guess what I found…? A lone, solitary cloth, 60cm x 60 cm

I got it home and cut it into quarters.

Quartered up and ready to sew

I hemmed the raw edges by folding them over twice as sewing them down. That was taking too long so I got out the hemmer foot which gave me a messier but quicker hem.

Top: hemmed with hemmer foot. Bottom: hemmed the proper way but forgot to mitre corners

So all done! I’ll have complexion perfection in no time!


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My new favourite thing #7, muslin face cloths