Tag Archives: nautical

Is my Nautical Emery Dolly Clackett enough?

photo 4 (2)Bloody Hell, why didn’t I just listen to all of you and make up my Christine Haynes Emery pattern as soon as I got it?  I am now cursing myself for all the time I wasted when I could have been making Emerys.

It took the Sew Dolly Clackett! challenge to finally persuade me to make it.   I’ve been short of time and sanity recently but this was one challenge I was not going to miss. I mean, sod the prizes.  You are offering me the chance to gratuitously copy any of Roisin’s dresses without looking like a stalker – of course I’m bloody doing it!

This is my first attempt, a tribute to her many nautical dresses.  For example this, this and of course this one from the same print as I am using, but in red.  It  had to be an Emery.  Roisin has made loads and I can totally see why.  This was supposed to be a wearable muslin so I didn’t actually expect to get a good fit but it is pretty bloody close straight out of the packet!  For me this is the holy grail of dress patterns – something that I can just cut out and sew, no faffing about, safe in the knowledge that it the fit will be good, if not perfect.  Okay, not quite, I had to take it in about an inch at the top centre back before I put the zipper in. A minor tweak though.  Apart from that this dress felt effortless to make and fits better than any other dress I have made.

photo 3 (2)I was a bit concerned about the fabric, even for a wearable muslin. It came from the stash and I’m not sure where I bought it but it feels kind of crispy.  I was worried that it wouldn’t hang right but actually it has just the right amount of body. I even managed to set the sleeves in with no puckers first time round.photo 5 (2)Lapped zipper, it could do with a press, and absolutely no attempt at pattern matching because I couldn’t be arsed.

photo 1 (2)Silly face.

photo 1Whitstable Brewery Bar, we did the photos outside.  If you ever get a chance try their Oyster Stout, do. They do it on draft but you can also buy it in bottles. I am bloody addicted to the stuff, it’s like a pint of cold dark chocolate in alcoholic form.  Okay, that probably doesn’t make it sound that nice but it really is delicious. Highly recommended if you get a chance to try it

photo 4One tanned leg.

My photographer gets bored easily:

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Anyway, back to the sewing.  Emery is everything that I hoped that Simplicity 2444 and Colette’s Peony would be.  I love both those patterns on other people but there were just too many fitting problems for me. Emery, however, captures the style I was after and is pretty much hassle free.  Because there are no fitting issues I can knock one together in a few hours, it doesn’t take stupid amounts of fabric, it is modest enough for work and I have loads more planned.  I bloody love it.

(and no apologies for the excessive use of ‘bloody’ in this post. Needs must…)


My Miette, and more twunting about on the beach…


It’s about time I blogged the skirt that I wore to the Brummie Meet up.  It is Miette, Tilly’s second pattern and it has been in my ‘to make’ queue for a long time, ever since I saw Marie’s gorgeous versions, as well as all the ones in Tilly’s makers gallery.  It took a while to find the right fabric so when I saw this embroidered denim in my local fabric shop a couple of weeks ago I persuaded myself I had to have it.  It has anchors! As you know I am a sucker for anything nautical and ended up paying a bit more than I usually would, but this turned out to be a good thing because it meant that I took a bit more care over this skirt.

Making Miette also coincided with the discovery of this little gadget in the box of bits that came with my second hand Bernina:


I believe it is supposed to be a blindstitch foot but it doesn’t half make topstitching easier.  Actually I got a bit carried away and top stitched almost everything – ignore the hole for the tie, it looks a bit crap close up but it’s not noticeable when worn.  I added ric rac because I could:


And check out these seam finishes:


Bloody gorgeous!

There is very little to add about the construction that hasn’t already been said. I did consult Tilly’s detailed photo instructions but even without them this skirt is piece of pish to put together.  No fastenings to faff about with, I think the most time consuming part was turning the ties right way out.  I would wholeheartedly recommend this to any beginners or a more experienced sewist looking for a quick satisying project.

So that’s the construction, but how does it stand up to being worn?  I was a bit concerned about the wrapping over. Would it stay wrapped, especially on a windy English beach?  I did not fancy prancing about in public thinking I look great only to find out that I had been flashing my kegs at all and sundry.  Well there was only one way to find out, and fingers crossed there weren’t too many people around to witness my twunting about with a camera and any possible wardrobe malfunctions.

As well as my camera and gorilla pod I also armed myself with Rachel House of Pinheiro’s top tips on posing.  This is me completely ignoring her advice to breathe. Note the slightly constipated expression.


….and exhale


From behind, with legs facing to the side to slim my torso.  But not my arse, apparently…


See, nothing to see here, folks.  I don’t seem to be flashing anyone yet, but there is only one way to really test it….


Ooops! I appear to have dropped something!

Conclusive proof that this garment is completely safe.  Despite being a wrap skirt you cannot see my buttocks even when bending over. (And I’m really looking forward to seeing the search terms that come up on my stats now 🙂 )


Time for a rest, and another of Rachel’s tips – position the slimmest or smallest parts of your body closer to the camera and the larger parts further away. My feet are very small, size three and a half, while my head is disproportionately large. But from this picture you would never guess.

So there you have it, my Miette Skirt. I love it. It has anchors, huge pockets, ric rac and no complicated fastenings. It held up well on the beach, kept me going through a drenching and a fabric scrum in Brum and has been worn quite a few times since then. And I also survived the photo shoot.  Thank you Rachel for your wonderful tips, I totally recommend them to all of you, especially if you make a bit more effort with them than I did.  I had a laugh but I think it may take a bit more work before I manage to look as gorgeous as Rachel does in photos.

Nautical Cambie, and feeling a twunt in public

P1210185 - Copy

The sun was shining, it is Me Made May and today was just screaming out for something girlie.  Something nautical. Something that was still sitting in my UFO pile waiting for a zip and a hem.

No worries, I don’t work Fridays and as my body clock hasn’t quite caught on to this I was up at five thirty hand picking a lapped zip before the school run. I machined a narrow hem as I was running out of time and annoyingly ‘Sorry, I had to finish making my clothes before I could leave the house’ is not considered an acceptable excuse for lateness at my daughter’s school.

I started this dress before I went away at Easter,  Cambie, by Sewaholic, of course. My first. I got the fabric on sale at Minerva Crafts and I think I got the last of it. Anyway I nearly finished but ran out of time and I’m afraid I can’t remember what size I traced but I did my usual small at the shoulders, going up a size at the bust and up another for the waist and hips.  Hundreds have said it before but this pattern is an absolute breeze to sew. And I love it!  The only adjustments I did were to lower the back, because I like a low back. If I was to make this again I would probably make the straps a little shorter. Oh, and I didn’t use the pattern pieces for the full skirt, I just cut rectangles.

Buoyed by my success in completing it and realising that I love love love this dress more than I can put into words I decided it was time to bite the bullet and take it outside for some pictures. I stuffed my gorillapod and my camera into a bag and headed for the beach.

I had a conversation with Katy of a Sleek Silhouette about photography at the meet up. We were both wondering a) how other bloggers manage to get decent pictures of themselves with no one else to take them?  b) how to do it without looking like some weird self obsessed freak? and c) how you manage to do it without feeling like a complete arse?  I notice that Katy has clearly managed to overcome at least some of those problems as she has done a great photo shoot outside for her latest stunning make.

As you can see from my efforts I have succeeded in overcoming exactly….none of those problems.  I gave it a shot though:

P1210183 - CopyCamera, what camera? No, I’m just walking on the beach (and waiting for you all to feck off and stop staring) …
P1210186 - CopyOh, that camera. Who put that there?
P1210180 - CopyIf I stand here and put the camera really close then maybe no-one will notice me…
P1210191 - CopyRight, they’ve gone, quick! Smile….
P1210202Nautical – that means boats. Look, a boat! I’ll stand by it. Please don’t look at me like that Mr Dog Walker, you’re making this really difficult….
P1210206And the back….
P1210207And the side….Can I go now?

To say that I wasn’t very comfortable with this photography lark is an understatement. It did get easier though. I will persevere. I also took a couple of shots indoors as the sun was so bright it is quite hard to see the actual dress in some of those pics. Note how by this point most of my make up has slid off and I am looking decidedly windswept. I have also stopped caring.





The zip doesn’t actually show when I am standing normally but it looks crap here, especially at the waistband. I think my hands on my hips made it pull apart. And I had no idea my feet were that grubby – sorry.

Oh well, No Fear No Shame – I have felt a Twunt and done it anyway. That deserves a treat or two.


Stash busting fish and beach huts – Laurels 1and 2


I am ashamed to say that after all my best stash busting intentions at the beginning of the year I now have much more fabric now than I did when I made those pledges.

So what went wrong?  Mostly the London Sewing Meet Up.  I took quite a bit of fabric to swap and got rid of all but one piece.  I also brought loads more back. From the swap, plus my freebie from Abakhan, plus the stuff I bought.  The look on Mr T’s face when I wheeled my over flowing shopping trolley through the door was enough to make me realise that I had some serious stash busting to do this week.

Of course I already had the perfect pattern. Colette’s Laurel, with the added incentive of a competition.  Having seen all the wonderful versions already out there I don’t for one second think I will win anything.  Check out the pictures on Flickr.  I love Rachel’s, and Scruffy Badger’s,  and Kim has made four!  It did however help me make the decision to use that pattern and make whatever fabric I had work, rather than dithering for ages about which pattern, which fabric, etc etc etc…

So first up- I pulled out a scrap left over from our hall curtains. Beach huts! I live by the sea, we have beach huts.  And yes, I am that cliche – a Londoner who moves to the coast and decorates their house with seaside stuff.  Remembering Marie’s gorgeous beach hut skirt, I decided that it was something I could use.  Probably less than a metre though, so I’d need something else to match it with.  My blue sparkly denim from the meet up caught my eye.  It’s a very subtle sparkle, not in your face glitzy. Sparkly like the sea (sort of?)  And the red twill from the same place. Yep, I had a plan.

It came together amazingly easily.  I cut a size 4 at the shoulders, 6 everywhere else, and ended taking a bit more off the shoulders to narrow them. I would like to say I was scientific about my customising  but actually I just printed out the pattern, stuck it together then chopped it up making sure I lined up the different sections on the front and back and remembered to add a seam allowance.  I made the sleeves shorter and wider and the skirt a little more A-line for no better reason than I wanted to. I found that I needed to take in a couple of inches all the way down the centre back seam and was still able to get away with no zip.  So here it is, Laurel no. 1:


Beach hut Laurel 3

Beach hut Laurel 2


For Laurel no.2 I used a metre long piece of Michael Miller Goldfish cotton I got ages ago from SewBox when inspired by this corset on Burdastyle. It has been sitting in my stash for over a year and needed to be used.  I decided to pair it with some black cotton left over from my Macaron dress.  Again I just printed the pattern then cut it up and added seam allowances. Then I sewed it all together.  Again no zip needed.  This time I decided to get a bit fancy. First I added the ric rac, again from the stash. Doesn’t it remind you a little bit of fish scales? (Get her,  trying to make like she thought it all through 🙂  )  It still needed a little something so I cut a couple of fish from the remaining scraps, interfaced the backs and stitched them on the back shoulder, just above the hem and then on the front.  A while back I found this amazing clear thread, I think it was in a box of stuff from my grandmother, an obsessive quilter.  It looks a bit like fishing line,( how appropriate!) and meant I could sew them on invisibly. I did the same thing to try and hide where I’d blatantly failed to pattern match on the back seam. Why didn’t I just cut it from one piece of fabric? Duh- I already knew I wouldn’t need a zip. Finally my daughter decided it needed sequins so we destroyed a belt of hers that no longer fitted and after sticking them on with wonder tape to get the right positions I stitched them on with the same invisible thread to look like bubbles.  This is what we ended up with:

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photo (5)

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A little OTT compared with my usual stuff but we had fun and I will definitely wear it. It was nice coming out of my comfort zone and trying techniques like applique and sequins and it has definitely encouraged me to make more effort with embellishments .

I love this pattern.  It’s so easy to chuck together and I have plans for more including at least two tops.  I may even get another dress finished before the competition deadline tonight.  The most difficult bit of these projects was getting photos. My camera is still out of action so apologies for the crappy iphone pics.  The pattern itself is a breeze, and now I’ve figured out the basic adjustments I needed to make it fit me the possibilities are infinite.

As I was sorting out my pictures for this post I remembered a really interesting post by Debi of My Happy Sewing Place on sewalongs and contests that made me think about my own motivation.  I don’t seriously expect to win, I have only been taking my sewing seriously for a short while and there are loads more deserving sewists out there who have made fabulous interpretations of this pattern. I’m still going to post my pics though, in the spirit of sharing ideas. (And you never know 🙂 ) However without the contest it would undoubtedly have taken me a lot longer to discover this fabulous pattern. Actually I don’t know if I would have bothered at all as it’s not a style I normally go for. Now though I can see myself making loads.  It has also motivated me to just get on with sewing instead of faffing about making endless plans, and encouraged me to start seriously attacking my ever growing stash. And best of all is seeing what everyone else comes up with and discovering fabulous new and inspiring  sewists.

Stashbusting for the ones I love, and I win again!

Sewing definitely brings out my selfish side.  I have made a couple of things for other people. Actually I first started sewing with the idea of making gorgeous clothes for my daughters, but somewhere along the line I must have thought – Hang on. Why am I spending all this time on them when I could be making gorgeous things for myself.  My girls didn’t really appreciate my early efforts (and to be fair, they were crap) so I made myself a dress instead. And so it all began…

However, Cindy and Emily have officially designated February’s Stashbusting the month of making things for the ones you love. I do love my family immeasurably. I don’t like sewing for them.  I also don’t like sewing home decor stuff. Unfortunately a considerable part of my stash consists of home decor fabrics bought with the intention of sewing for my family.

It was with gritted teeth that I sewed these blinds for my youngest.


They’re blinds. That is all I can find to say.  Okay, I’ll try.  I have had the fabric for ages. My youngest chose it, there are cute little boats, beach huts and light houses. we live by the sea so it seemed apt. They have blackout lining and it would have been so much easier if I had enough fabric for curtains, but I didn’t. I started doing roman blinds then remembered that horrific story about a toddler who got caught in the strings, with tragic results. So I ditched that idea and tried stick on velcro.  Which didn’t stick. Eventually I had to improvise with ribbon ties on the sides. I really need an extra row down the middle, and it is a bit of a faff to tie them up but it’ll do until she is older, when I will make them into proper blinds.


Excuse the rubbish i-phone photos, I was in a rush to get these done, photographed and move on to something interesting.  However despite all my moaning it was worth it to see my daughter’s face when she saw them – I wish I had a picture, she was so excited. It did make me go all mushy. Which is kind of the point, I suppose.

Anyway, over to someone a lot less selfish than me. Look what I got in Kerry’s giveaway!


I received my giveaway prize from the lovely Kerry at Kestrel Finds and Makes yesterday and have it draped over my wardrobe door so I can look at it. How gorgeous is this fabric?!  Thank you so much! Now I need to find a worthy pattern and gee myself up to cutting into it. I have a few ideas but I want to be absolutely certain that I won’t bugger it up. So no pressure then…