Sewing themed gift ideas – global edition

This blog post contains affiliate links that are clearly marked. I have worked with some of these brands previously but not on the basis of this blog post – if they’re on here, I really rate their products!

Normally, every month in the Modista newsletter I send an introduction to the sewing community in a different country. This month however with the festive season approaching I thought I’d share a round up of some fantastic sewing themed gift ideas from around the world – whether you’re buying for the sewist in your life and haven’t the faintest idea what to get them, or fancy treating yourself to something too! Hopefully these sewing gift ideas will inspire you and you’ll get a great crafty gift while supporting an independent.

All the brands below are independents and where possible I’ve listed their direct website.


An obvious choice; but fabric can actually be really personal and it’s sometimes difficult to decide. If you’re not sure what fabric they like, they’ll never be disappointed with a voucher! If you’ve never bought fabric before, 2m is usually a good amount for a shirt or simple dress.

The Rag Shop, UK (15% discount in December for Modista subscribers) – deadstock fabrics and wonderful prints at great prices

Blackbird Fabrics, Canada one of the biggest names, fantastic range

Karta Batik, Netherlandshigh quality Indonesian fabrics with percentage going to charity

Melanated Fabrics, USA Mimi G’s fabric store!

Selvedge and Bolts, UK top high end designer fabrics

Pretty Mercerie, France ditsy prints and quality wool

Cotton Poplin from The Rag Shop


Another guaranteed success present for a sewist, buttons are also really easy to post!

Pigeon Wishes, UKgorgeous multicoloured buttons to brighten a make

Tabitha Sewer, USA very popular sparkly buttons

Ethel and Joan,UKa new small business of handmade buttons

Arrow Mountain, Australia –wooden buttons with unique designs

Atelier Brunette, Francetheir buttons match their very popular fabric range

buttons by Pigeon Wishes


Of course, I had to include these! Labels are the finishing touch to any garment and again are really easy to post. They can be so fun!

La Petite Maison Couture, Francefrench phrases on lovely labels

Stitch Collective, USAminimalist designs

Pink Coat Club, UKfun designs with popular phrases. Also stocks fantastic stationery, pins and more

Modista Sewing (me!), Netherlandsfrench and plant themed

Pink Coat Club Labels


If you can’t post something to your sewing friend right now, or want a (very) easy last minute gift, a PDF sewing pattern is a great choice as all you need is their email address! Here’s just a couple of very popular sewing patterns that are guaranteed a happy recipient:

Wilder Gown, Friday Pattern Company, USA

Dawn Jeans, Megan Nielsen Patterns, Australia

Indigo Dress, Tilly and the Buttons, UK

Sculthorpe Pants, Muna and Broad, Canada/New Zealand

Jolene Dress, Ready to Sew, France30% off for Modista subscribers!

The Fold Line, UK – the biggest online PDF pattern store, buy them a voucher from here and they’ll be delighted!

Sewing themed gifts

You don’t have to buy someone specifically used for sewing, but they’ll really appreciate something that helps them shout their passion to the world! Jewellery, pin badges, bags, the list is endless.

Sew Dainty , UKsewing themed jewellery

Crafty Pinup, UKsewing labels, pin badges and more!

Love to Sew Podcast, Canadathe latest merch from our favourite podcast

Justine Gilbuena, USAbeautiful whimsical designs including sewing

This is for Makers, UK stocking labels and most recently ‘handmade’ gift wrapping options


Sewing books are a great edition to any sewist’s collection, whether a specific pattern book or a ‘how to’ guide

Stretch! Tilly and the Buttons, UK the Queen of Stretch shares her tips

Breaking the Pattern, Named Clothing, Finland contemporary Scandi designs

Nani Iro Sewing Studio, Japan –Classic minimalist silhouettes from this iconic Japanese designer

Sewing Basics for Every Body, UK: create a capsule wardrobe for every body, gender and shape


You might be surprised to know that stationery plays a big role in sewing and luckily there’s lots of gorgeous options out there to personalise your sewing notes.

Pattern Trace, UK (10% off for Modista subscribers)

Alice & Co, UK printable sewing planner

Rifle Paper Co, USA –beautiful prints popular in the sewing world

Dominique Major, UK –sewing themed posters and postcards

Sewing Kit

Especially wonderful during lockdown, a sewing kit comes with everything you need to make the garment and the fabric used by the brands below is top notch!

Made my Wardrobe, UK The Greta Dungarees and Josie bra are gorgeous!

Stitched in Wonderland, UK – Their latest pattern the Dunga dress comes as a pack

Thimble and Snip, USA – something a little different, a hand sewing kit of some favourite sewing patterns

Lotte Martens, Belgium: Top quality French terry sewing boxes

The Greta dungarees by Made My Wardrobe

Magazine Subscription

This is a GREAT present for any sewist – something they might not treat themselves to but will appreciate every month when a fabulous pattern comes out.

FibreMood, Belgium click here for patterns and subscriptions (affiliate link)

La Maison Victor, France/Belgium/Netherlands

Seamworkcurrently 50% off for unlimited membership!

FibreMood Honey

I hope this blog post has given you some ideas for gifts for the sewist in your life this year! What’s on your present list?

Fibremood Honey Blouse

This blog post contains affiliate links. I was given early access to the Honey pattern in exchange for making the pattern and posting it on launch day. All views are as usual my own!

Fibremood 12 is released today and it has some stunning patterns to choose from! I’ve always really liked Fibremood patterns and especially like that they have the hard copy of a magazine and such an active sewing community amongst subscribers and pattern customers.

For this edition I was given early access to the patterns as part of the Fibremood Link Party and chose the Honey blouse which serves seriously Big Collar Energy and works in a huge range of fabrics. I can picture it in everything from gingham to organza, viscose and lawn can’t you?

I used this beautiful lawn from A. Boeken which has a lovely handle and is exceptionally soft. It is 140 wide and I managed to squeeze a UK 12 Honey out of 1.5m.

Ok so the technical bits. This was not, in my opinion, an easy sew. As I’ve found with previous FM patterns, the instructions require some sewing experience as the very technical drawings aren’t crystal clear and you only have the main picture to go off. I found the sewing of the hem to be counter intuitive -I had to fold it up by about 7cm not the stipulated 5 to encase the button placket. I would also recommend skipping the interfacing on the collar if using a lawn or heavier. Despite using the most lightweight interfacing I found I had a lot of bulk in the collar.

The sleeves are a hidden gem of this sew and definitely a feature I’ll steal for future makes – the bias bound eyelet closure is so pretty and I love the gathered sleeve head. The armhole was just right for me on this blouse so I didn’t need to make any modifications at all.

I also really liked the back yoke on the blouse. The gentle gathering made for a lovely effect and adds extra detail to the blouse.

Overall I am delighted with this pattern! It definitely tested my sewing skills but having had to make no mods I am really pleased with the fit and can imagine this in a wide range of fabrics. I’ve already worn the top with black cord trousers but can see it under a pinafore too, and it worked a treat with this black ribbon I picked up at the market.

Honey, you’re a winner! If you’d like it pick up your copy of Fibremood you can use my referral link here to start on your own Honey (affiliate link)

Homer and Howells Blair Jacket

I was given the Blair jacket pattern as a prize in the Homer & Howells giveaway. There was no obligation to sew or review the pattern.

Can you believe it is the end of October already? I feel like October Blairly just started! Ok, I’m sorry. Let’s get to sewing.

The Blair pattern is intended for lightweight fabrics such as cotton, viscose and linen yet ever since I first spotted it I couldn’t shake the idea of it in a tweed weight wool. When I found this wool blend for a bargain €2.50 per metre at the local fabric market I knew I had to give it a go.

The Blair features a wrap over front, back yoke, deep side dart and lovely in seam pockets. It can be made in two lengths- the shorter view looks cracking as a blouse whereas the longer can be worn as a dress or in my case, jacket.

The Blair has an oversized fit which I was worried in this wool might make me look like a Resistance extra in one of those post-apocalyptic movies. So I asked advice from Nic and Susan and ended up sizing down from a 12 to an 8. If you’re doing the same, be sure to check the arm circumference too.

I’ve used H&H patterns before when I pattern tested their Innes and know Nic and Susan pay really good attention to detail on their patterns. The steps were really clear although somehow I managed to sew the back pleat the wrong way round – it still looks fine to me though!

There were a couple of tricky parts to the construction thanks to my fabric choice. Firstly, the Blair uses the burrito method which gives a really neat finish. However with a mid weight wool like this the burrito became more of a tree trunk and it was a real battle to turn the garment the right side out! H&H have since written tips on how to sew the Blair in heavier fabrics here.

Secondly, H&H patterns use a 1cm seam allowance which I normally prefer not to use. A small seam allowance doesn’t give much room to play with if you need to let a pattern out and I find it quite fiddly. I would normally add more seam allowance but the Blair has some really small ‘steps’ in the seams and notches that need to align perfectly so I was reluctant to mess around with them. On a heavier wool the edges frayed so it was tricky to match the notches. I got there in the end, but would recommend a thinner wool or linen blend for this garment in future.

Some final construction tips – Sharlene from So Sew Dressmaking is Queen of the Blair and advised me to use a home made clapper in the form of a wooden chopping board which worked a charm!

I enjoyed the little details on this coat – I used a cotton poplin in the pockets and for the front buttons decided to add them in a straight line. Having chosen a smaller size the coat feels comfortable but doesn’t wrap over as originally intended. I used these gorgeous buttons from Pigeon Wishes that Meg sent me as a present. Seeing as the majority of the jacket was sewn while on a catchup Zoom with her, the buttons were appropriate and are just so stunning.

Overall I am really pleased with my Blair jacket and think it’s a great autumnal layer. I love wearing it with a scarf over a ditsy print dress but think it would be great with a pinafore or Dawn jeans too.

If you’re looking for inspiration you can check out the Blair hashtag – whether in a lightweight cotton lawn or heavier wool, it would be a great addition to any me-made wardrobe.

Sewing in the Netherlands round up

It’s that time again where the Modista tour takes us to a new country to explore the instagram sewing community there. This month I had to highlight my new home of the Netherlands where I moved about 6 weeks ago.

Having done some research in advance I knew there were some great sewists and stores around but had NO idea how huge sewing is here!! It feels like on every corner there is a fabric store or market and I am constantly in fabric heaven. I’m working on a round up of where to shop for fabric in Amsterdam, but for now wanted to give an introduction to the world of Dutch sewing.

Since arriving in Amsterdam, our new home, I’ve of course been scoping out the local style. It’s certainly different to Liverpool -for example I think I wear the most make up out of anyone in a 5 mile radius – but is super chic. Some Dutch insta-sewing friends have told me they think Dutch fashion is super utilitarian and boring but to me it’s the opposite. With clean lines, strong silhouettes and quality fabrics it reminds me of Japanese minimalism or Parisian winters. I’m really into it!

As usual I’ve picked 5 sewists who I love to follow, 5 pattern designers to sew with, 5 stores to shop and 5 phrases to know when learning about Dutch sewing. It was really hard to narrow down to just 5 of each when there is so much to choose from here – part 2 in a few months, anyone?

I hope you find this post useful and don’t forget to let me know your feedback here or on instagram what you think!

5 sewists to follow

The Jolly Seamstress

One of my favourite Ducth sewists to follow, Anne has such a lovely style and colour palette and a really dreamy insta-aesthetic to boot!

View this post on Instagram

I did it again. I just can’t help it with this pattern, it’s so good! Not to mention that the fit is spot on for me. I hope you’re not tired yet of seeing this pattern because one more is coming very soon 🙃 Bodice is the basic darted bodice from the book #sewmanydressessewlittletime paired with my favourite ever skirt by @ninaleelondon borrowed from the #kewdress This time I made the dress in a woven stretch viscose from @ladymcelroyfabrics that I bought from @minervadotcom This fabric is the best, it didn’t pull or snag and it was amazingly easy to work with. Definitely worth the money. Especially happy with the finishing touches because all the seam lines match up perfectly. You can’t see it with this print but I’m so happy I went the extra mile. It’s quite a summery dress but I’m definitely going to pair this with a long cardigan that I’m sewing up at the moment. Once that’s finished I’ll start on the Scout tee that I managed to cut from the scraps. Oh how I love the endless possibilities. I can’t wait for it all to be finished! #ladymcelroy #ladymcelroyfabric #fabricaddict #summerdress #diydressmaker #seamstress #sew #sewyourown #isewmyownclothes #imakemyownclothes #sewingtall #millenialsewing #sewingpattern #sewingblog #sewists #sewistsofinstagram #memade #memadewardrobe #maker #slowfashion #diyfashion #naaien #naaienisleuk #jecouds #jeportecequejecouds #jecoudsmagarderobe #nähen #nähenmachtglücklich

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Poplin Peony

An “instagram friend”that has become a real friend, Joyce is a superbly talented seamstress who shares her gorgeous outfits on her feed. I love her style!

Time to Sew

You might recognise Kate for her awesome work with FibreMood or her great blog where she gets real about everything to do with the sewing community, from how to stitch a neckband to sustainability.

Stitch and Press

Maritza is a wonderful sewist and a pattern insider for Sew Over It and I love what she does with their patterns!

I Sew Therefore I Am

An Aussie in the Netherlands, Beck makes wonderful outfits and goes into deep detail in her blog which is so helpful!

5 patterns designers to know

Misusu Patterns

Primarily a kidswear brand, I really like Misusu’s unusual designs and they have some free patterns on their site, too@

De Steek Patterns

A sewing school in Amsterdam, De Steek have a really interesting concept where as well as purchasing their own patterns you can also get basic blocks from which to work, such as this trouser pattern.

Waffle Patterns

Yuki’s designs are sublime and so sleek. With a lot of coat varieties and one whopping pack of 23 pocket templates, they are perfect for winter!


Looking to learn to sew? Tregz offers online sewing classes which include teaching as well as your basic blocks from which to build your patterns and makes. Follow her here on instagram!

Bobbin Hood

Gaining a cult status in the Netherlands, Bobbin Hood is about all things crafty including sewing! As well as kids and adult patterns, Bobbin Hood have a really cool book on screen printing which in these lockdown days is a hobby I could really get on board with. Check them out here.

5 fabric stores to shop

Karta Boutique

Run by Jessica of Jenovianti, this small independent brand imports the most amazing quality Indonesian batik fabrics. As if you needed another reason, 20% of profits are donated to charity.

Ansje Handmade

Organic and Sustainable fabrics with beautfiful prints

Eco-Friendly Fabrics

A small brand with commitment to sustainability and gorgeous ditsy prints like these…

A. Boeken Stoffen

If you’ve watched my instagram stories recently you’ll know I have a strong love affair with this store…with wall to wall fabrics it’s not quite online at the moment but worth a trip to Amsterdam for (when we can!)

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🌸 Cute cotton 🌸

A post shared by A.Boeken Stoffen&Fournituren (@aboekenstoffen) on

Monday’s Milk

These guys are classy AF. With beautiful fabrics from linen to Nani Iro prints, Monday’s Milk are seriously on my Christmas list.

5 hashtags to follow

If you’re wanting to discover some Dutch sewists you can follow these hashtags…

# dutchsewing



#stoffenspektakel (aka fabric spectacle, I think…)

#naaien (sewing)

On the rise: Ready to Sew Pio

This week I finished one of the first pieces from my autumnal WFH capsule; the Ready to Sew Pio pants and have been really enjoying wearing them!

It’s no secret that I really like Ready to Sew patterns -available in French, Spanish and English their patterns always have simple silhouettes with an interesting deisgn feature, and most importantly for me several variation options or potential for hacking.

I’ve guarded a burning lust for elastic waist pants for a while now and when the Pio came along it felt like the perfect pairing of a full elastic waist and an interesting pocket feature so I couldn’t wait to give them a go. I had a little trouble with the fit at first, but think I’m well on my way to creating my dream pants!

I made a size 40 based on my measurements, using a lovely sanded tencel twill from Patterns and Plains in the UK. The fabric is very drapey, quite lightweight and feels lovely on the skin.

The pattern instructions were easy to follow and having the pockets constructed from different pieces rather than one long origami-esque piece made them easier to construct in my opinion. The waistband is folded width-ways then sewn on; the edge then finished and pressed down.

When I’d completed the garment and tried it on it before hemming it was clear I had some fitting to do. The front crotch was really baggy and when hoiking the trousers up to where they felt comfortable they were almost hitting my underboob!

Doing some research online and looking at the #pioreadytosew tag I could see some others had the same issue and I needed to shorten the rise of the pants. This means the area just below the waistband – by removing some of the height of this I’d hopefully amend the problem.

As I’d already made the pants from my good fabric (keen), I did this by removing the waistband and cutting down the pants by about 2inches, then reattaching the waistband. I was then really happy with the result – the pants sit in the right spot now and feel really comfy.

To do this adjustment next time I would need to remove the rise from the pattern piece using the lengthen/shorten line and adjust the pattern piece accordingly. This does bring up the pockets more than intended on the original pattern but I don’t mind them higher personally.

I’m really happy with the finish of the trousers and how they sit, however would like to work on the calves. As you can see the central seam bends slightly inwards when worn – not a massive deal in the big picture but it’s really irritating me so I want to investigate why this is and will report back what I find! It’s all part of the sewing process – slowly I’m learning to fit to my body, take my time with adjustments and find the perfect fit through research and speaking to our community.

All in all I really enjoyed this sew – there’s quite a few pieces but they come together really nicely and are very comfortable to wear. As a size 40 (40.5 inch hip) I got them out of about 1.4m 60” wide fabric.

If you’re making pants and need to make adjustments, the following resources are really useful and clear:

Closet Core Patterns pants fitting tutorial

Seamwork pants tutorial

‘Sia dress’ by Marsha Style

This blog post contains gifted products – all opinions are honest and my own!

This week I finally finished my Sia dress and couldn’t wait to show it off! This is my first make from our new home in Amsterdam (!) where we moved just over a week ago. In between flat hunting and exploring we took a day to chill in our airbnb so I took the chance to finish off this gorgeous dress.

Felicity Fabrics very kindly offered me choice from their amazing fabric selection to work with and I was really taken with this Lady McElroy ‘Vintage Harvest’ print. I love the detail and the tones of the little flowers on the fabric.

If you haven’t tried Felicity Fabrics yet, I’d really recommend them. Caroline and Fliss put so much thought into their business and their eco-friendly packaging is a dream!

When the fabric arrived it was surprisingly soft and swooshy. It’s smooth to the touch and washed really well, the colours remaining vibrant. The drape is incredible and it’s quite lightweight – I knew it would be perfect for a dress with gathers or pleats and a voluminous sleeve.

I spotted the Sia dress as made by Sharlene at So Sew Dressmaking and fell in love with the pattern at first sight. I really like the waistband and unusual pleats at the bust and waistline as well as the sleeve variations. If you have a look at the hashtag on instagram you can see how versatile this pattern is; it works well in a variety of fabrics from cotton to linen and I can now confirm, crepe! I chose the unlined midi variation with long sleeves.

Taree Marsh, the pattern designer is from Australia and the Sia dress unbelievably was her first pattern! The details on this pattern are really what made this for me. You know that weirdly satisfying feeling when you’re piecing together a pattern and the notches line up really easily? Yep, that. Because of the pleats there’s no fiddly tweaking with easing the pattern pieces together or finding that one edge nudges over the other by about 4 mm no matter what you do. The Sia dress works up really smoothly and although it looks quite complicated, it would be really friendly to intermediate sewists.

My completed Sia dress

I made a toile of the dress in a poly satin and initially had some issues with the fit. The neckline gaped quite heavily and it was far too tight at the waist. To fix this was relatively simple. Taree herself got in touch to recommend her blog post on adjusting the bodice fit and all I had to do was take 1cm out of the bodice front and back pieces, which made a huge difference! Taree explains it much better than me here in a great video. 

To adjust the fit at the waist I graded out slightly. I added 0.5cm to the bottom width of the side seams of the waistband pieces, and graded out from the top of the pattern piece. I also added 0.5cm to the top of the skirt side seams. The dress now fits really well and I think it’s one of the nicest fits I’ve achieved so far – it feels comfortable and I had just eaten a huge burrito before these pictures (it was delicious by the way).

The pattern calls for an invisible zip which I stitched in by hand. It’s time consuming and there was a lot of swearing/accidental stabbing, but still less painless than trying to use my invisible zipper foot which for some reason I can never crack. Adding it by hand was quite mindful and I was able to get right up to the teeth for a really invisible insertion!

Overall I am really pleased with the pattern and fabric pairing used here. The Lady McElroy crepe sewed like a dream and was so lovely to work with, suiting the drapey fit of the pattern really well. It’s the perfect autumnal print and goes with a lot of my existing and planned pieces. I’ve been wearing it with this cream cardigan from M&S for day time and think with a little cami under the dress it would be even better as daywear (the girls were OUT for this photo shoot as you can see).

I’ll definitely make this dress again – I’d like to make a summer version with shorter sleeves in a viscose linen, or try this brilliant hack by Sew Lala who has made some stunning Sias! I’d also try it without the button placket to see how that feels – I do really like the slit up the front of the dress and will be adding buttons to my faux placket, but it didn’t feel essential to the dress.

I hope this post has inspired you to try your own Sia dress! Modista newsletter subscribers can get 15% off Felicity Fabrics using their exclusive discount code in September – if you’ve missed yours, let me know and I’ll ping you the code!

To get you inspired here’s some of my favourite picks from their fabric collection, for the Sia and other autumnal makes too….

Choco cord

I recently bought some of this in the green colourway and am OBSESSED. The quality is beautiful! It would be perfect as a Pippi pinafore or Ilford Jacket.

Floral jersey

How gorgeous is this jersey?? I can really see it as a Simple Sew Lena or the new Tilly and the Buttons Sewing Lotta.

Spice Foil Leaf

This one is just CRYING out to be a Sia dress!

Autumnal picks from this month’s brands!

Is it just me or has this year gone by in the flash of an eye? With lockdown the spring/summer of 2020 felt like they went by so quickly and already we are into planning our autumn makes.!

In this month’s Modista newsletter we have two cracking independent fabric brands offering exclusive discounts to subscribers so I thought now would be a good time to share my top autumnal picks from their online stores. I’ve also shared what pattern I’d use them for as I’m currently planning an autumnal capsule and really enjoying it. Let me know what you think of my picks and don’t forget to enter the giveaway open on my instagram page until midnight BST on Thursday 27 August, where you can win vouchers for both these brands!!

Felicity Fabrics

Felicity Fabrics is a UK based independent fabric and haberdashery supplier, run by a mother and daughter team with a passion for top quality fabrics. Caroline and Fliss have fantastic customer service and their beautiful packaging is one of my favourite finishing touches to their brand. They house a really lovely curated collection of Lady McElroy prints as well as quality viscoses and butter soft cords. Here’s my top picks for your autumn makes:

Fabric: Lady McElroy Dotty About Dots

Perfect for: True Bias Shelby Dress

Fabric: Lady McElroy Vintage Harvest

Perfect for: I was gifted this fabric for a blog post by FF and am currently making a Marsha Style Sia dress. I can genuinely say the quality is beautiful and I already know I’ll get a lot of wear from this dress!

Fabric: Bella Black Cotton

Perfect for: Gilbert Top by Helen’s Closet

Fabric: Newbury Hall cord

Perfect for: Pippi Pinafore by Jennifer Lauren Handmade

Fabric: Waffle Ochre

Perfect for: Megan Nielsen Jarrah Sweater

Selvedge and Bolts

Selvedge and Bolts is run by Dibs in the UK and is synonymous with sumptuous silks, dramatic prints and the most unique names for designs!! Dibs specializes in ex-designer fabrics and her hauls from big brands such as Escada and top Italian names sell like hot cakes. Here’s some of my favourite picks for autumn from her gorgeous collection:

Fabric: Window Panes are Perfect for Mustardy Affairs

Perfect for: BHL Tamzin dress

Fabric: As Abstract as You Can Get

Perfect for: Nina Lee Park Lane Dress

Fabric: Winter Does Not Have To Be Boring

Perfect For: Simple Sew Cocoon Coat

Fabric: I Really Just Want Autumn To Come

Perfect for: Dayo Dress by Sewing Masin

Fabric: My Inner Wild Cat is On the Prowl

Perfect For: Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse

I hope you found these suggestions inspiring for your autumn wardrobe! Don’t forget that Modista subcribers will receive discount codes for both Felicity Fabrics and Selvedge and Bolts in the Modista Newsletter on Friday 28 August. If you’re reading in September, simply sign up and drop me a DM and I’ll gladly share the code/s.

What have you got planned for autumn makes?

Constructing the Sew Over it Libby collar

This blog post contains gifted fabric. I chose the fabric to be able to blog about a garment and topic of my choosing;

One of my favourite recent makes is the Sew Over It Libby blouse. I’m entering the sewing stage that follows the immediate intense obsession of initially discovering sewing; now I’m realising I do actually need some versatile good quality separates in my wardrobe and first up was a classic blouse, for which the Libby seemed the ideal choice with a back yoke and standing collar. The pattern is intended for a viscose or georgette weight fabric.

I wanted a twist on the classic white silk shirt so chose this gorgeous silky Dune Off White viscose crepe from Atelier Brunette, which was kindly gifted by Dragonfly Fabrics for this project. Dragonfly are genuinely one of my favourite online fabric suppliers; Dorte and Simon run Dragonfly as a family business down in Brighton and their service, from ordering to fast delivery is second to none!

The Libby shirt is really popular and I’ve noticed a lot of people are making it right now but having trouble with the collar; something I also experienced.

After a lot of fiddling I got there and was really happy with my collar, mostly because I took the time to do a toile first. A toile, or muslin, is essentially a practice go of a garment to avoid ruining any beautiful fabric and with this viscose I wasn’t taking any chances. Toiling the garment first also meant I was sewing much faster and more confidently the second time, and enjoying it!

So here are my tips for sewing the Libby collar. I refer here to the numerical steps as listed in the Libby instructions and how my collar looked at each of those stages. The official instructions use a pale fabric which can be a bit tricky to follow so I made a ‘mini’ collar for this walkthrough!

Note: I didn’t interface the facing pieces to make it a bit easier to see what we’re doing. Also, I am lazy.

What you’ll need

L-R ice cream spoon, unpicker, pins, corner stabby thing, chalk pen, erasable marker

Key to the success of the Libby collar is accurately transferring the pattern markings to your pattern pieces. My secret weapon for this is….an ice cream spatula! Place the spatula on the paper lining up with the marking. Fold back the paper against the spatula then mark the fabric with a pen or chalk. I then take a needle and thread to add a hand stitch as a marker- there’s nothing worse than your chalk rubbing off or marker fading and you can easily remove these threads later.

Constructing the collar

We start at Step 14 in the instructions. You should have attached the collar stand to the collar and have the two pieces RST (right sides together)

Snip the corners and turn the collar so the right side is facing out. Machine tack along the slanted edge of the collar up to and not beyond the thread marker/mark. This tacking should be within the seam allowance so ideally about 0.5-1cm from the edge.

The machine tacking will go along the slanted edge but not further down than the thread marker

Now we’re up to Steps 16 – 19. Snip into the seam allowance at the markings closest to the shoulder seam on your shirt. TOP TIP: I found it really helpful to make a snip in the centre back neckline (fold your back piece in half using the shoulder seams to then snip in the exact centre).

Roll up and pin out the way the non-interfaced part of the collar. Align the interfaced piece RST together with the neckline. The centre notches will help you match up the pieces. The interfaced edges of the collar stand will align with the notches in the neckline. Pin and stitch with a 1.5cm seam allowance, using the mark (or in our thread marker) as your starting point, as shown below. Don’t catch the non interfaced collar piece!

I recommend snipping into the centre back neckline and matching up the notches
On the left here you can see how the interfaced edge aligns with the neckline notch and where the stitching begins

Phew, they’re attached and we’re at Step 20. At this point, unpin your non-interfaced fabric. Give the slanted, machine tacked edge of the collar a wiggle and align it with the front neckline. The notch in the neckline will help you to do this, and the far edge of the collar will align with the neckline notch further along.

Collar(pale green) will be moved upwards to align with neckline (darker green)
The collar edge will align up with the notch

Stitch. In the instructions it is assumed to stitch with a 1.5cm allowance but I would actually use a 1cm seam allowance. Later you’ll be attaching the facing over this stitching so you want this stitching line to be hidden.

Now we’re up to Step 21 of attaching the facings. This is actually super straightforward once you’ve done it but doesn’t really make sense during the process (if you’ve watched Dark on Netflix you know what I mean).

Here you overlock the outer edges of your facings and staystitch the neckline piece. Snip into the seam allowance (but not past the staystitching) at the points of your markings/thread markers.

I haven’t overlocked or interfaced my pieces but you can see the thread markers, stay stitching and snips here which will come in handy!

At Step 23, we attach the facings in a lovely collar-sandwich. With RST, align the edges of the facing and neckline together. Use your thread markers/markings to match the facing to the neckline, sandwiching the collar.

Shown here the notches in the facing and neckline will align. Sandwich the collar in between the neckline and facing.

The notches will align and give you room to wiggle slightly so that the pieces align, continuing to match the thread markers together.

Look how the thread markings on the collar, neckline and facing align – VERY satisfying
Facing is now sewn onto the shirt (the left hand side shown here). Top line of stitching is my staystitching, lower one is the main stitching with 1.5cm seam allowance.

Go slow here when stitching the facing on, and if you can, hand tack the pieces together first which will keep them flat while you stitch. The notch will help you to wiggle but just watch you don’t catch any of the facing in the stitching – pivoting slightly at the notch will help as well.

Trim the seam allowances (I layered the seams, trimming the top layer by 1cm and the second by 0.5cm) and turn the facings in. Press.

Now it’s time to finish off the collar stand nicely, at Step 26. Exactly at the facing edge, snip into the non-interfaced collar stand piece and the seam allowance of the interfaced piece and neckline.

Snip through the layers
Pin the pieces up inside the collar

Turn up the raw edges inside the collar and pin. I haven’t overlocked the edges of my facing here as it was just for a demo.

Here you can either handstitch or top stitch the collar. I have topstitched here and ironically it’s the neatest I’ve ever managed it, I wish it looked that this on my final shirt!

This would also be the point to add a label if you would like – my ‘made in self isewlation’ are great for sewing into seams as they have a 1cm seam allowance.

And your collar is done! At this point you can remove the thread markers and any staystitching at is visible, and finish the rest of your shirt.

I hope you found this tutorial useful! Have you got any tips for the Libby collar? Let me know in the comments or on instagram.

Thanks again to Dragonfly for providing the fabric for my finished garment – I love it! Dragonfly are one of the lovely indie businesses providing an exclusive discount code in this month’s newsletter – sign up for free to get monthly sewing updates and discount codes from our favourite indie crafty brands!

Sewing a Kew dress hack

Happy hump day everyone! I was off on Monday and it’s strange how easily that throws me completely out of kilter – it’s felt like Tuesday all day and the last 3 months have basically been the longest Monday ever.

A couple of weeks ago I worked on this project while taking part in the Sewing Weekender. If you haven’t heard of the Sewing Weekender, it’s an annual event where 100 sewists get together and sew up projects while enjoying workshops and talks from figures in the sewing world.

Of course, this year the event couldn’t take place in person so the Fold Line instead took it virtual and it was a HUGE success. All the profits were donated to charity and they raised a whopping £23,000+ which is just incredible! Included in your ‘ticket’ were exclusive discounts and video interviews and tutorials from of the most successful sewists out there.

I really loved it and kind of hope that a. The Fold Line keep a virtual element next year as it was so fun and b. that they can bring that sort of in-person event further north in the future. It often feels like the majority of large scale creative events take place in London and Cambridge, although beautiful, is a real pain in the bobbin to get to from the North West if you don’t drive, and quite pricey too. If there was a Northern edition I think it would be really popular but for now I was so pleased to take part virtually.

Whilst enjoying the videos I worked on my Kew Dress hack, which brings me back to the main point of this post! As you may know I have an unhealthy love of this pattern (read more here) and having recently bought the expansion pack I wanted to try something new.

The Gingerthread Girl has sewn a wonderful hack of the Kew Dress on the fold which was my inspiration. I wanted a summery, floaty look so decided to cut on the fold, use the gathered skirt view and make tie straps.

For the dress I chose this lovely viscose which I purchased from Dragonfly fabrics. It is so soft and lovely! At first I wasn’t too sure as I thought it might actually look better on a blouse with such a small print, but once it was made up I loved the dress. They have it in a green colour way too I think which would be great in a FibreMood Norma for example.

The bodice

To make the bodice, I removed 1.5cm from the centre of the dress bodice front and cut it and the facings on the fold. THIS WAS A TERRIBLE MISTAKE. In doing so I didn’t take into account that normally the pieces would overlap in the middle with buttons. As such, my bodice front was too big. Making it again, I would take an extra 1cm off as well. To rectify it, I’ll admit I was lazy and just opened up the facing and stitched right down from the top of the facing down into the bodice, then trimmed the seam allowance.

I then cut the back piece, usually on the fold, as two pieces and added 1.5cm seam allowance for the zip.

The skirt

I cut the front skirt pieces on the fold and the back as two separate pieces, adding 1.5cm seam allowance for the zip. And that’s it!

The zip

The zip was a basic insertion of an invisible zip – I had added seam allowance for this but actually ended up taking a bit of it off as the dress made up quite big in this viscose which although beautiful, was slippy AF and has a slight stretch to it.

of course…it has pockets!

The straps

To make the tie straps, I cut 8 of the strap pattern pieces and made them into 4 straps. This handy tip from Tilly and the Buttons has been a game changer!

I then stitched the straps in place using the pattern markings. However as I am mortified to see, I clearly forgot to sew in the ends before taking some photos! Shall we call this the intentionally unfinished look??

Rocking the BCG

…and that’s all folks!

I’m quite new the pattern hacking so although tame, this dress was a bit of an adventure for me and I really enjoyed trying something new with a T&T pattern.

I hope it’s given some inspiration for you to do some pattern hacking and do let me know what you hack next!

An introduction to the world of French sewing

Salut! As I’ve written before on here, I love all things French and have enjoyed French culture, language and fashion ever since I started learning the language when I was little (the cool kids went to dance class, I went to French Saturday school…) and lived in Paris on and off between 2014-17. Years later these have inspired my Modista French label designs!

The world of French sewing is HUGE and la couture is seriously popular over there. From my experience, French culture really values anything home made and it’s expected that high quality, effort and care be put into anything fait à la main. Just think of their main cultural exports, food and fashion. French food is characterized by rich flavours, home cooked meals and a certain aesthetic that makes it quintessentially French. French fashion is also known for its classic and elegant silhouettes that we know to be iconic today. A lot of the French sewing style is no different – using gorgeous fabrics on patterns that have a classic style – with a twist, and always with a good story behind the make.

If you like sewing, you most likely have heard the success story of Atelier Brunette who sell cult favourite designs from their boutique in Paris, but do you know the other French fabrics, sewists and patterns that could be inspiring you?

In this post I’ve included a round up of my 5 favourite fabric stores, pattern designers, bloggers, and hashtags for you to explore! Many of them offer patterns or descriptions in English but even if you don’t speak French, they will still inspire you to add a little je ne sais quoi to your makes.

5 French fabric stores you should know

Atelier Brunette

No list would be incomplete without Atelier Brunette. Designed in Paris and manufactured in India, these fabrics have gained cult status and captured the imagination of hundreds (thousands?) of sewists. Their latest collection is inspired by Rajasthan and I love the ochre and sage tones especially. Check out their tagged photos or #atelierbrunette for inspo. AB is sold in several stores in the UK – check their stockist info.

Pretty Mercerie

I LOVE THIS STORE and am pretty devastated their shipping costs are so high to the UK. Their designs in stock are so pretty however, I think it may be worth it. Mercerie in French means haberdashery and this online store has everything from patterns to buttons but my favourite section is definitely the tissus (fabrics), including the pretty floral viscoses that I see a lot on French hashtags!

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| Réassorts❤️ Bonjour à tous ! • Comme promis ce week-end de nombreux tissus que vous attendiez avec impatience ont été remis en ligne hier 🎉 • Dont cette superbe viscose rouge à fleur qui vous a inspiré de nombreuses créations estivales ❤️ • 👉🏻 Faites défiler les photos pour découvrir toutes vos merveilleuses créations, bravo à vous ❤️👏🏻 • 1️⃣2️⃣ Patron maison de @isaloma_creations 👏🏻 3️⃣4️⃣ @juju_kro 👏🏻 5️⃣ @l_atelier_couture_d_anthea 👏🏻 6️⃣ @jurk_und_buex 👏🏻 • 💌 ils sont de retour : ✔️Viscose rouge incandescente Ref : 02190100357 ✔️Viscose rouge Scarlet fleurie Ref : 02190100425 ✔️Viscose Lipstick red Ref : 02190100407 ✔️ Tissu coton & lin burnt orange à pois blanc Ref : 02140100053 ✔️ Coton brodé blanc cassé à motif exotique vintage Ref : 02090100956 ✔️Coton blanc brodé fleur ajourée et paillettes argentées Ref : 02090100972 ✔️Coton blanc brodé et ajouré marguerite Ref : 02090100909 ✔️Jacquard bleu nuit grosse fleur rose, corail, gris et lurex argent Ref : 02040100197 • • 🔝Retrouvez tous ces tissus + liens dans notre Story à la une‼️ • • Nous vous souhaitons une excellente journée 😘 • #prettymercerie #prettycliente #prettycolis #spring #printemps #couture #jecouds #coudre #mercerie #sew #sewing #jeportecequejecouds #jecoudsmagarderobe #jecoudscequejeporte #jecoudspourmoi #fabric #fabricshop #fabriclove

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Another online haberdashery with a gorgeous collection, Cousette stocks really beautiful fabrics as well as their own and independent makers’ patterns. They have some beautiful viscose twills which I think we don’t have enough of in the UK…

Studio Walkie Talkie

I’ve recently discovered this fabric maker and am blown away by these designs, made in France. They make the most beautiful jacquards I think I’ve ever seen and they would be stunning as a jacket.

Un Chat sur un fil

These original French designs are so quirky and fun! They have the most lovely viscoses in particular and have recently started selling buttons as well. They also stock beautiful broderie anglaise which is really on trend in France at the moment.

5 French patterns you will want to sew

I have had these patterns in my basket for a while but am currently trying to wean off a serious pattern addiction (just this weekend I sold a fractional 20 of them to make room)….

Wedding dress by Atelier Charlotte Auzou

This designer has several out there but perhaps her most famous is the robe atelier aka wedding dress, from her book on how to sew your own wedding gown.

Etoile dress by French poetry

I adore this dress – it’s so pretty with a lovely sleeve detail and button down tea dress style front. I can see it in so many fabrics!

Iris dress/blouse by Le Camelia Rose

You might recognise this dress – I made the blouse edition recently in a dobby cotton and loved it. Next up is the dress, I’m planning in a cotton lawn for an autumnal day to night dress

Azur dress by Atelier Scammit

Johanna’s designs are great for smart-casual day wear with some fun details like the ruffle neck on this dress!

Jazz jumpsuit by Ready to Sew

The Jazz e-book has been ridiculously popular in France and beyond and I can see why – there are EIGHTY variations of the pattern using the skirt, jumpsuit, shirt and sleeve variations so you really can make it your own or even build a full wardrobe from it I imagine!

5 French sewers you will want to follow

This is where the rabbit hole gets really fun. I have lost count of how many French sewers I follow so it’s hard to choose but these are some of my favourite who have managed to do what I long for – really mark out their own individual style with a DIY wardrobe. These 5 and so many more really inspire me!

Le French Closet

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➖ j a z z ➖ . Je n’en avais entendu que du bien de ce patron #jazzreadytosew et de sa trentaine de versions possibles et je ne peux que confirmer l’enthousiasme qu’il a suscité à sa sortie l’été dernier . Ce patron ou plutôt cet ebook est un must-have. Déjà parce qu’il permet de faire un nombre hallucinant de vêtements différents et parce qu’avec @ready_to_sew on est pris par la main du début à la fin. Une couture plaisir qui fini par un vêtement bien coupé, pratique au quotidien ( oui on parle bien d’un jumpsuit) et qui a de l’allure, voilà ce que Jazz a fait pour moi 🙂 . J’ai coupé une taille 42 pour être sure d’être à l’aise mais au final j’ai repris un peu les côtés, le 40 aurait suffit . . Et pour ajouter une touche un peu fun à un vêtement noir , rien de mieux que ces boutons que j’adore de @la_droguerie ( merci @prescription4a 😘) Le tissu est une Viscose texturée avec suffisamment de tenue de chez @cousette . Alors vous préférez quelle version ? Jazz plutôt chic et ceinturé ou Jazz version cool-baskets-relax? . 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 THis jumpsuit is everything ! I don’t know why I waited so long to make it. This pattern is from the multiple ebook Jazz by @ready_to_sew and has thirty more versions possible, can you believe it ? I had never sewn a jumpsuit before and I’m so glad I did because the fit is perfect 👌🏻. I have already worn and styled it many different ways . Yeah for this statement piece 🎉 . #blackjumpsuit #sustainablestyle #sustainablefashion #imakemyclothes #sewersofinstagram #mindfulsewing #handmadecloset #indiesewing #indiepatterns

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Emmanuelle has a really minimalist style which I admire and works a lot with linens and tencel. Her makes always have a lovely drape to them and she’s a lovely person to top it off.

Roberta from Made by Robi

THIS. DRESS. I am blown away by Roberta’s creations from the South of France and her pattern/fabric combinations are utterly sublime. Every make is different but somehow all recognisable in her own style. She is such a talented sewer.

Carole from La Maison Six Chouettes

Carole is queen of the pattern hack and I love how she used the Norma blouse here as a dress. She has a really distinct style and always styles her makes really beautifully as well!

Benedicte from Louanje

Bénédicte is building the capsule wardrobe of my dreams and I especially like her autumnal looks in which she uses a lot of suede and leather in skirts. And again, she is really friendly and patient when I asked a million questions about her dreamy quilted jacket!

Nadou from Nadou Creation

Nadou has a gorgeous sewing style and I particularly love the colour palette she uses as it’s similar to the one I aspire to – pastel hues interspersed with coral and navy. I love this self drafted dress she has made recently which epitomizes summer!

5 French hashtags to follow


#jecoudsmagarderobe (I make my wardrobe)

#cousumain (hand sewn)



And finally….5 French phrases!

Now that you’re inspired to try some French patterns and fabrics, why not top your make off with the perfect French label? My French label designs are £7.50 for the 5 designs including worldwide shipping and are a fun way to add the chic to your design.

And so that concludes my introduction to the world of French home sewing! Have you got any favourite French sewers, bloggers or patterns? Let me know here or on instagram 🙂 thank you for reading et bonsoir!

Lockdown loungewear – my favourite patterns

Who else can count on one hand the number of days they’ve worn a bra since lockdown? Strangely, for me jewellery was the first thing to leave my daily routine in lockdown – normally I wear a necklace, earrings and a minimum of two rings but stripped them all off in March and have barely worn any since. I was in denial for a while, wearing bra and jeans regularly to work from home (ha!) but that quickly wore off and I’ve settled into a uniform of M&S jogging bottoms ever since.

Sewing for me has been an escape during lockdown and for that reason I’ve been going for summer dresses, smart blouses and lots of swishy linen. It hadn’t actually occurred to me to make my own loungewear until I saw some of the incredible makes out there, brought to my attention from the lovely people using Modista labels!

Here are just a few of the loungewear sets inspiring me right now:

Kate over at Kate Eva designs made these lovely Pipit loungewear shorts in a cotton lawn to match her Suki robe which looks so comfy and glamourous. Kate used a cotton lawn which would be ideal for pyjamas – the best fabrics for loungwear or pyjamas are those containing 100% cotton.

She also made the full loungewear set which is adorable – I might not have considered Pipit originally with the wide sleeves (I’m a dropper so those sleeves would inevitably end up covered in breakfast) but seeing Kate’s makes me want to give it a go!

Cath made these stunning Carolyn Pyjamas from Closet Case patterns in a perfect Rifle Co fabric. I think these are one of my favourite pyjama sets out there – so elegant and comfy, they remind me of the kids’ pyjamas in old films like Mary Poppins!

Another Pipit set from Jess and I love this print from Textile Express, it’s so cute! She used the ‘et voila!’ label which I think worked perfectly.

Finally, Victoria made this lovely Cocowawa pyjama top that is most definitely a secret pyjama! I love the fabric that’s a perfect blend of comfy and day-wear, and she used a ‘made in self-isewlation’ label too!

So that’s what’s inspiring me to try loungwear at the moment – I would love the Carolyn pyjamas but am trying to restrain my pattern addiction this month and use from my existing stash. To that end, I’ll be making a FibreMood Mira as a top in a brushed cotton, New Look 6461 trousers and the Sew Over it Libby shirt in a pale green cotton. Watch this space!

New Look6461 trousers

Even before lockdown, I was dreaming of comfy linen trousers to lounge in. Linen makes me dream of warm summer evenings, romantic European city breaks and categorically not being sweaty. Aka, the ideal garment.

I wanted a simple, wide leg shape and elasticated waist to be friendly to the extra tummy rolls I’ve gained during lockdown. I considered the Ninni culottes and Bob pants, and still love them but wasn’t sure the volume of the former or shape of the latter would be right for me.

I saw the New Look 6461 pattern on instagram and decided to give it a go. New Look patterns have fitted me well in the past and their instructions tend to be easy to follow. The pattern was available quite cheap on eBay too (where I look for a lot of patterns) so it was ideal!

I also used eBay for fabric, buying 3m of enzyme washed linen from Higgs and Higgs. They’ve since temporarily closed the store but hopefully will be open again soon, as I would definitely buy their linen again. It’s a medium weight so really opaque and holds a shape, but light enough to drape nicely and feel super soft.

I enjoyed making these trousers; I toiled them first in a lightweight polyster to see how the hips fitted and didn’t need to make any adjustments – based on the body and finished garment measurements, I cut a size 16.

Not having to worry about adjustments, I instead concentrated on the details and making them as neat as possible – as I improve make by make, I’m more confident that I’ll be wearing my me made garments a lot so want to get the details right!

Previously on trousers and skirts I’ve been disappointed with the pockets not lying flat so wanted to use a lighter lining for the pocket piece. I’ve had about half a metre of this gorgeous Atelier Brunette viscose since making my Rouje copycat dress and the colours went together beautifully! I opted to cut just the upper pocket pieces from the viscose, as I didn’t want it to be visible from the front, more just a cheeky peek of it.

At first I wasn’t sure if the linen and viscose would sew well together but it was absolutely fine and the pocket lies really flat, I’m thrilled with how it turned out! Pockets and facings are a great way to use scrap or remnants and bring a little flair to the make.

I also had about 2m of matching binding left over as well so decided to use it on the waistband. The pattern calls for you to finish one edge of the waistband the, after stitching the other edge to the top of the trousers, fold the waistband over to about 1.5cm below the seam and affix by stitching in the ditch on the other side. This felt a bit messy to me; didn’t want my dodgy overlocker stitching stealing the show so bias binding was a much neater finish.

And of course, having used French fabric I had to use one of my Modista labels! I actually used Bondaweb to fix the label – as the waist is elasticated, hand stitching the label would cause it to bunch up. Bondaweb helps it lie flat and with additional stitching to provide extra stability, the label isn’t going anywhere.

Overall I feel like a linen goddess in these trousers and will definitely plan another pair – for the next ones I’m thinking a sage green double gauze or a denim chambray!

Modista labels


Modista labels are influenced by my love of languages, travel and, of course, sewing.

I was lucky to live in Paris for a while and whilst there I loved exploring the fabric district nestled behind Montmartre, or the unusual craft shops in the Marais and the amazing textiles and tailors up in La Butte d’Or.

These labels will bring a little bit of French chic to your makes with 5 fun French phrases and beautiful colours to complement all styles. They are 6cm x 1.5cm with a folded edge to make sewing them in even neater. They are made from OEKO-Tex quality material that withstand whatever you put your garments through!

Price includes worldwide delivery

5% of all profits from this range of Modista labels are donated to charity.

Purchase via Paypal here:

Pack of 5 Modista labels

5 woven labels, includes worldwide shipping. 5 étiquettes pour personnaliser vos cousettes. Livraison gratuite.


Liberty Dress by Simply Sewing

For a long time I’ve fantasized about being as effortlessly chic as the French, who seem to have the knack for making a sack look classy. As far as I can tell from careful study and Instagram stalking, the common denominator between the French women who look so cool on their way to buy the morning patisseries is linen. That gorgeous woman with the big sunglasses and great hair? Wearing linen trousers. The cute elfin teenager flouncing past you with a big handbag? Wearing an equally enormous linen ruffled dress.

With this in mind I am embarking during lockdown on a quest to Make More Stuff Out Of Linen with the hope French chic-ness will follow.

I bought this gorgeous mustard fabric in March 2019 in Dubai on a layover back from Melbourne. Whereas other people might beeline for the Burj on a 12 hour stopoff, I stayed in the Creek area with the express mission to take the public boat over the said creek to Dubai’s fabric souk, where I was in heaven. The fabrics there are gorgeous and if you can find a store not selling wholesale, you can banter down a real bargain. I got this particular linen blend for £3 a metre originally with a ruffle jumpsuit in mind like one I’d spotted in Sydney. Of course, it then languished in my stash while I deliberated over it.

However when issue 65 of Simply Sewing came out my French linen dreams were rejuvenated and I decided to give it a go. This is a simple pattern that only takes up about 1.5m for the short, short sleeved version (one of my big pet hates about magazine patterns is how outlandish their fabric recommendations are; this dress said 3m!)

I’d had my eye on a ‘going to market to buy cheese and look great doing it’ dress for a while and a loose linen dress had long been a staple on my ‘one day’ Pinterest boards, so I felt like this was the time to crack out the Dubai material!

This was a pretty simple pattern but I really took my time with it, enjoying the process of trying to keep it as neat as possible. I cut a size 12 as luckily the magazine’s patterns usually fit me well with no adjustments.

This was my first time trying princess seams and I was worried they’d look a bit weird on a plain fabric when I’m going for Effortlessly Cool. However by ironing them really carefully they lay really flat and still achieve the loose look I was going for.

It was also the first time I have overlocked my gathered edges and MY WHAT A DIFFERENCE IT MAKES. It completely smoothed out the gathers and I hand stitched them to the princess and side seams to hold them up, avoiding the maternity dress look that so often seems to happen to me with gathered skirts and prompt strangers to ask when I’m due (4 occasions and counting, rude).

My only adjustment was to add two large pockets because, let’s face it, pockets improve everything. I cut two rectangles and folded down one short edge and sewed down from the fold to the edge. I then turned out the corners and pressed, then folded up and pressed the button. I then edge stitched the pockets onto the dress so that they’re tidy on the inside but not too bulky.

At first I wasn’t super chuffed with the outcome of this dress. I’m quite self conscious of my tum so would normally avoid anything flaring out from the waist area as much as this. However, after flouncing around Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter on our daily walk in it and wearing it around the house, this dress is Comfy AF and I love it. I’m already planning a couple of others in perhaps a ditsy floral print and the 3/4 sleeve view as well. For someone like me at the intermediate stage of sewing and still building confidence, magazine patterns are still a good way to receive new ideas every month and challenge your skills alongside the more refined indie patterns.

#getyerfaceout because I’m using lockdown as a great excuse to not wear makeup!

Beginner-friendly sewing ideas during lockdown

With the Great British Sewing Bee starting on the 22nd April and the majority of people in the world now living under some sort of lockdown, it makes sense that a lot of people will want to start sewing as a new way to pass the time.

A lot of people who have bought the isewlation labels have told me they’re starting out sewing or buying them as a gift for someone who is.

I’ve loved seeing how people are using them and wanted to share some fabulous examples and ideas here for anyone thinking of doing some sewing during lockdown. Whether you’re new to sewing or experienced hopefully you’ll find some fun ideas here!

1. Mask hairbands by Juliet Ozor

These are a genius idea and super quick and easy for all levels of sewers. I am making them for my friends who are health workers who tell me they are ok to use provided they withstand the hot wash needed to clean PPE. The labels being OEKO-tex quality, they are hardy and will also stand up to it.

You can follow Juliet’s example pattern here.

2. Eye mask by Tilly and the Buttons

Another quick and easy make and best of all, it’s free! These are another great gift idea for any key worker friends who work nights, or simply someone you want to let know you’re thinking of them.

The drawstring bag is another easy free pattern from the set by Simply Sewing. I’ve made a few of these sets using gorgeous Masai cotton I bought in Kenya earlier this year.

3. Scrub Bag

Emma aka The Zipper Foot used her labels to make a gorgeous scrub bag for her friend who is a nurse. There are lots of free patterns online for these bags as well as a Facebook group for people making PPE and related items during the pandemic. They’re really simple to do, but at the moment so useful.

4. Zipper purse

This is often one of the first patterns attempted by beginner sewers and I personally never tire of making them as there are so many ways to adapt them and make every one different! On this one I’ve just used a simple rectangle shape to make a lined purse but there is an excellent round up of all the patterns you can imagine here by the Sewing Loft Blog.

5. Toys and teddies for little ones

I recently made this Luna Lapin for a new baby. She’s wearing the t-shirt bow dress from the first book and a cardigan I drafted (read more about it here). Why not add a label to a teddy or knitted item you’re making?

6. Pin badge display

I’m a recent convert to pin badges and although there are so many fun ways to display them, on fabric is one of my favourites. I love this DIY pin badge banner tutorial from Polka Dot Chair – it’s simple, effective and a great project for beginners and a label would look great on it!

7. Teabag holder

This is such a cute idea and a great way to use fabric scraps. It also folds flat so would be easy to send to someone in an envelope if you wanted to add a label to them as an adorable gift! Free pattern here by The Sewing Directory.

8. Jam jar topper

My auntie’s friends have been making jam and dropping the jars off at each other’s doors which I think is a lovely way of telling someone you’re thinking of them. A jam jar topper is super easy and doesn’t even require machine sewing – just a bit of material, some ribbon, a label and a hairband and you’re set! Free pattern available here from Hobbycraft.

9. Sunglasses case

It’s pretty sunny out there and even though we can’t spend too long outside it’s still nice to have a sunglasses case to take with you out and about. A free pattern for this easy make is available here on Sew DIY and would make a lovely gift for someone, especially in a Liberty style fabric like this one.

10. On your own clothes!

I can’t believe how gorgeous the pieces are that people have been using the labels on. Sewing as we know is a calming, mindful hobby (except when holding a seam ripper) and making a garment or item from scratch is so rewarding in normal circumstances, never mind now. I especially love this Wiksten shift top from @rosieo. It’s a cult pattern with straightforward assembly and such an effective design.

I hope that this list has given you some ideas! I could go on (and on) but know at the moment everyone has a limited bandwidth for how many items they can sew right now (myself included) so these easy makes are a good way to practise your sewing skills and make something lovely.