A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: cotton

Within 24 hours of returning to London, I had sewn my first piece of clothing. I was very naughty and ordered some fabric just before I went away, and I got back just in time to collect it from the sorting office before it was returned to its sender.

Bit of sky camouflage


I have a mild obsession with all things related to the sky, so I couldn’t resist this adorable cloud print jersey. One metre was plenty to make a second Lark tee.

Following what I learnt from my first Lark, I removed 4 inches of length from the body. People don’t believe me when I say I have long legs and a short body!

Here’s a pic where you can see the whole shirt. Overall this was another pleasingly simple make.

Pattern: Lark by the Grainline Studio

Fabric: 1m of cotton jersey

Cost: £15.50 (fabric + postage)

(Got pattern for free and re-used it)


I finished a very quick sew this week- the Lark t-shirt by the Grainline Studio.

I’ve written a tutorial for Minerva Crafts that takes you through how to sew your first t-shirt. I think this is a great pattern for a foray into sewing with jersey.

Some notes for next time:

  • Be more careful with notching- the seam allowances are tiny, presumably this pattern is intended more for an overlocker
  • Removing 3″ from the body gave me a tee that hits right on the hip
  • Overall the size 8 fits me just as well as any RTW shirt. It would take a lot of wizardry (i.e. FBA and moving between sizes) to improve the fit, and I don’t think it would make enough of a difference to be worth it. I’m happy.
  • 1m of fabric is plenty for a short-sleeved version

Pattern: Lark by the Grainline Studio

Fabric: 1m of cotton jersey

I finished sewing my second Bettine dress! I’m so pleased with this project, especially considering that this is my first time working with jersey.

I detailed the changes I made to the pattern here. I’m very happy with the alterations I made from my first go at this dress. I think the Bettine works really well in a knit. I’m really pleased with the fabric, too. The jersey feels heavy and of great quality, but because it’s cotton, it’s also breathable.

When I tried the top and skirt on before constructing the waistband, I realised that the tulip skirt looked a bit silly on me in this heavy jersey, so I reduced the curve.

I love the way the neckband gives the dress a more t-shirty look. I would agree with others that a jersey Bettine is basically secret pyjamas.

Somehow this dress seems a little on the short side. My raindrop Bettine seems around my standard dress length, whereas this one is only just long enough (for my personal taste) to wear to work without tights. I made the hemline exactly as instructed so may lengthen by a centimetre or two if making in jersey again. I am only 5″4, though I do have long legs.

Slightly random note, but this project uses a lot of thread. I bought a new spool of turquoise polyester thread and had to get a second one to topstitch the hem. While I did a fair bit of unpicking, I didn’t finish any of the edges (apparently you don’t need to with jersey) so I was surprised that I got through so much thread.

I’ve always been very apprehensive about working with a knit fabric, so I’m relieved that I was able to do it. I did really take my time with this project, which helped. I’ll see how this dress wears, but I can definitely see more jersey Bettines in my future.

Pattern: Bettine by Tilly and the Buttons

Fabric: 2m cotton jersey from Sew Over It

I finished sewing my Bettine dress!

I made a few alterations to the pattern, including a full bust adjustment. I included a bit more information about the changes in my previous post.

Overall, I think this is a great pattern. The only minor comments I would have is that my neckline gapes a little, and I find there is a bit too much ‘blousiness’ in the bodice- I will shorten it in future.

Although I’d read that double gauze can be translucent, I thought I’d be alright because the double gauze I bought from the same supplier before was solid. All I can say is, white makes fools of us all!

I think the biggest issue is likely to be that the fabric creases quite badly. I’m just going to have to live with that as I seldom iron when I’m not sewing!

Pattern: Bettine by Tilly and the Buttons

Fabric: 3m double gauze, 108cm wide

Took a bit longer than expected but my new Elfe jumper is finished and I’m enjoying wearing it. I love how the stripes look and I had just enough yarn to make the sleeves the length I wanted.
I rushed to have it finished for my recent mini break in Vienna so I could have some pics with it out and about. Here it is being modelled with a giant golden bum.



And here is a knitted jumper selfie in the mirror that Freud had in his Vienna study. Yup, Freud and I have totes been reflected in the same glass. He never bothered to take a picture though.

Freud mirror selfie

Overall I’m very pleased with the fit. I added four bust darts, and I think the shape is good but I could have done one less decrease row as the jumper is just a little bit tighter than I would prefer. But cotton is a heavy fabric so I imagine it might stretch out a bit with wear.

Check out the finished GIF I made. I love these things!

I’m excited about getting this striped beauty of a jumper off the needles and onto my bod while the weather is still suitable. This is where I got to after a week (what do you mean, ‘Was I totally avoiding my thesis by frantically knitting?’).

One of my main modifications will be to add sleeves so I’ll work on them next week.
I made another GIF of my progress, I think they’re so much fun!

Years ago I bought a midi skirt that turned out to be a surprisingly good investment for travelling. In even the most conservative countries, if you cover your knees you will avoid uncomfortable stares and unwanted attention, and you don’t need to worry about offending anyone at religious sites. A full cotton skirt is both a comfort and a delight to wear as you enjoy delicious exotic breezes or tuck it beneath you on the beach. Can you tell I’m dying for a holiday? I’m thrilled to be packing this.


The second I saw that leaf pattern, it was love.

My mum helped me to make this skirt, so this post isn’t a a proper how-to, more notes that might help someone/me recreate something like this garment if they wanted.

I bought 1.5m of cotton and there was almost none remaining. Notions are a zip and a hook and eye.

We started out by measuring my desired length for the skirt, which was just below the knee. We cut two pieces of fabric that were as wide as the fabric and about 75cm long I think. Making sure the leaves were all facing the same way, I sewed up the side seams, leaving a gap at the top of one of them for the zip.

Note on pattern matching: This is a huge deal in the Great British Sewing Bee and I wanted to show off to mum that I knew about it. Mum described this pattern as having no ‘nap’, a word she uses to mean ‘obvious pattern repeat sections’. The term is used differently on GBSB. Anyway, the point is that with a busy print like this, you don’t need to worry about pattern matching. Ahem.

Anyway, the zip I chose from mum’s bread bin of zips was an invisible one. These are harder to put in than a normal dress zip and require the use of the machine’s zip foot. The key to making sure the zip truly is invisible is sewing as close to the teeth as possible. How we achieved this was by sewing once to secure the zip, then going back over it again closer to the teeth. I think you can see what I mean in the photo below. We stitched in yellow.


Now it was time to put in the box pleats. We had nearly 90″ of fabric to reduce to 30″ (my waist measurement… don’t judge me) so in the end we needed 16 1.75″ pleats. Mum sewed them down 6″ so there wouldn’t be too much fullness around the tummy.

I then pinned them all open.



And then basted them ready for the waistband.



We used a 2″ strip of fabric which was interfaced, sewn double over the right side and then doubled again and sewn to cover the raw edges behind.

I pressed a 1cm hem, folded it double and pressed it again, then top-stiched.

Clear as mud. Now anyone can create their own skirt assuming they know a former professional seamstress and have 8 hours on their hands!