A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: WIP

I was scrolling though Pinterest the other day, looking for pinspiration, when I was reminded of the Macaron dress I planned to make nearly two years ago.

I’ve got a wedding coming up in a few months, and I think this dress would be perfect. I immediately dug out the pattern pieces I cut over a year ago.

I’m pretty much planning for this project to be a toile. I have a weird love-hate relationship with the fabrics I chose. I never normally wear pink, but I couldn’t resist the pretty floral pattern and birds. I remain unsure about whether the blue looks good, or the top of the dress would pop more with a white contrast.

Anyway, it will be a pleasant surprise if I end up with a wearable dress. I’ve never bothered making a toile before, but I paid full price for the Liberty fabric and I’m really looking for perfection in the final garment. Macaron is quite an intricate pattern so I’m a little apprehensive about my ability to fix fitting problems. Eek!

I whizzed through the steps of constructing the bodice pretty quickly.

As soon as I tried on the bodice, I realised there were big problems. The fit on the waist was tight and the bust seemed okay, but I had a lot of fabric pooling in the back.

You can even see the bagginess on the hanger. I tried pinching in the side seams and tugging in various directions, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it lie flat. This is my first solo attempt at a fitted bodice.

I decided to trace a copy of the bodice pattern to make my adjustments. This is a bit of a case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted- since I cut out the pattern pieces, I’ve lost the larger sizes. However, this way I still have a back-up in case my alterations somehow make the fit even worse.

I ended up deciding to book a private sewing lesson to get some expert fitting advice. I completed as many steps as possible to take along. I have to say, Macaron is surprisingly easy to construct given the polished final look of the dress.

Slashing the pleats to place the pockets was a bit scary, but I adore the final result. This is what the pieces looked like before my lesson.

Wish me luck!

Pattern: Macaron by Collette Patterns

Fabric: Viscose bought on holiday in Indonesia. The blue is some random fabric purchased on Goldhawk Road


Since I had the stirrings of a wish to knit while I was laid up ill on the sofa, I bought a Wowligan kit from the Kate Davies website. Ever since Kate started producing her own wool, I’ve been itching to try it. None of the kits were quite speaking to me until these ones for cute baby cardigans were released.

I knit up a couple of swatches and soon cast on. I got gauge on 3mm needles. Since I couldn’t find any other small circulars, I used 2.25mm needles for the rib. I was a bit worried that the ribbing would be too small and look silly, but actually it looks great.

I was wondering whether Buachaille might replace Titus as my go-to yarn for sweaters. I think Buachaille is wonderful for wool. It softens up after blocking and has a lovely drape. However, it is still a tad itchy for my sensitive skin. Still, great to try a new product made by a small business that I’m keen to support.

Quite a few American knitting bloggers I follow mention knitting during meetings and at conferences. I never know whether this is a standard ‘thing’ in America, or something they have pioneered themselves, but it’s definitely not common here in the UK. As a psychologist, I know that keeping your hands busy with activities such as doodling can actually enhance concentration. However, it’s not widely accepted for adults to do anything other than stare in rapt concentration at the speaker (or play with their phone under the table).

While I don’t feel comfortable enough to ask to knit in team meetings at work (yet), it is something I’ve started doing when I’m attending training. I think I feel freer because I generally don’t know the other people there. Anyway, doing so really works for me, and gave me several hours of free knitting time on the body of this little cardi, which otherwise might have been quite dull going.

The sleeves are going super speedily! I used 2.5mm DPS for the rib and went back to 3.5mm for the stocking portion.


Pattern: Wowligan by Kate Davies

Yarn: 3 skeins Buachaille in the Furze colourway, provided in kit from website


I’ve loved Bettine pretty much from first sight. I was unsure about buying the pattern as I read a few blog posts that weren’t entirely positive about it, but I finally took the plunge last year and picked it up with three metres of beautiful double gauze. It’s by the same people that made the fabric for my unicorn top.

I had hoped to make this dress for my Brazil trip last year, but I bumped it in favour of my spur-of-the-moment zebra shorts

After reading even more blog posts, I decided to make some modifications to the pattern. This involved tracing a pattern for the first time ever. It took ages, but it’s nice to know that I still have the original pattern if my adjustments turn out to be a disaster.

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I curved the waist seams following this post. I also found this post by Tilly herself very helpful, and I did my first full bust adjustment.

The first stage of the dress is constructing the bodice. This is fairly straightforward. The neckline stitching is a little fiddly. I found the most difficult bit was easing the side seams, which is only necessary because of the FBA. However, having tried on, I’m very happy I made the adjustment.



I’ve also constructed the pockets. This material is quite transparent, so I’m going to have to buy or make a half-slip to wear underneath. As you can see, I managed to mess the left pocket bag up slightly. I’m hoping that adding another centimetre to the front seam allowances in that area on both sides (marked by the pins) will fix this as it would be very time-consuming to rectify this error.

So far, I’d say that this dress has mostly lived up to the promise of being a straightforward sew.


I’ve been seeing quite a few Cleo dungaree dresses (pattern by Tilly & the Buttons) on soc meeds since the pattern was released. At first, I wasn’t sure about the whole dungaree dress thing (despite the obsession I developed over the Lazy Oaf Catafore, which led me to create my Cateralls). But, as often happens, the more I saw, the more I liked and I have now jumped firmly onto the bandwagon.

I decided to make the patch pockets out of plain black needlecord to break up the pattern a bit. Even though I think the mushrooms are adorable, they are very bold. I ordered the plain black needlecord online, and was disappointed to find that it is less black than the background of the mushroom cord. However, I couldn’t find any needlecord IRL in west London, so I will be proceeding nonetheless.


This is how the two cords look together. I love the way the black creates an effect of negative space on the print.

I dithered for a while over whether to cut  a size 3 or 4. According to the measurements given, the 3 could potentially be on the small side. However, a lot of the Cleos I’ve seen online look like they err on the large side, and I mostly wear a 10 in RTW clothing. So I decided to go for the 3.

Due to the crazy fabric plus my laziness, I will not be doing the front and back seams on the dress pieces. You can just about see in the pic below that I marked off 1.5cm from the centre of the front and back pattern pieces to account for the seam allowance.

I was hoping to gain access to an overlocker for an hour or so to finish the edges of the pieces before I proceed. In the end, I used my trusty overcasting foot.

I also considered adding in-seam pockets to this dress, but no one else seems to have done this, and I  was  concerned there was a reason not to. In the end, I couldn’t be bothered but it may be something I consider if I make another version of this dress.


Last week I disregarded my inner yarn snob and bought three balls of yarn for £2 in a pound shop. I just couldn’t resist the Unspeakable purple with pinkish metallic thread running through it. For some reason, my camera registers the colour as a sort of royal blue, but I assure you that it is purple IRL.

I decided to make a hat for quidditch. In the unlikely that any readers are not quidditch fans, this is what my team’s kit looks like. 


Since the yarn is so cheap, I hope I won’t worry about getting the hat muddy and washing it. I thought about making a fancy design, but I think I’m going to stick with a simple sparkly purple hat with a massive yellow pompom on top. I LOVE pompoms!

This yarn is DK so I decided to hold it double as I wanted to use the classic cuffed hat knitting pattern I’ve made before. Normally I wouldn’t swatch for a hat, but I did this time. My gauge came out quite large, which was actually a good thing as this pattern makes a hat too small for my enormous noggin. Due to the gauge difference, I am following the pattern as written and, according to my calculations, the hat should fit.

I’ve got to say that I’m not sure I like my yarn snobbery. I tend to think that knitting takes bloody ages, so you might as well use the best materials you can afford. However, a problem with this attitude is that, often, a project just doesn’t turn out the way you planned. When that happens, not only have you sunk dozens of hours into it, but you have made a financial investment on which there will be no return. Hence the numerous unloved sweaters stashed around my house.

Sometimes a good acrylic workhorse yarn is the right tool for the job. It stood up really well in the Boo blanket I made for my sister. I’m seriously considering making one of these for myself. I would just need to choose a design.

Anyway, I’m enjoying this project and I think I will be happy with the end result. My knitting mojo still hasn’t returned, so it’s nice to keep my hand in with small items.

Yarn: 3 balls of ‘Essential Knitting’

Pattern: Classic Cuffed Hat by Purl Soho (free pattern)

Ravelry project page


I was idly scrolling on some full website the other day when BAM! I spotted a remnant of hot pink fabric printed with zebras. I had to have it. And not just because I wanted to write fuchsia some more.

I’m going on holiday soon, and I am seriously lacking in the shorts department. It’s so hard to buy anything other than hot pants, which I just feel uncomfortable wearing without tights. So the obvious solution was an exquisitely tailored pair of pink zebra shorts. Easy.

These wil be Shark Shorts 2.0. Although Yikes! is probably my favourite fabric print on earth, the shorts have some issues. They were winged based on the Ultimate Trousers pattern, and I think the end result has some issues. I prefer a more meticulous approach to craft.

This time, I am using the Sew Over It Cigarette Pants pattern. My original trousers aren’t a perfect fit, and I think the problem is the waistband, so this time I cut the waistband in a size 8, grading out to a 10 in the rest of the trousers. Since I have only just over a metre of fabric and little time, I decided not to attempt pattern matching at all. I hope this won’t come to bite me in the zebra-clad arse.

I’m using the leftover double gauze from my Unicorn Cami as my lining fabric. Loving how the two prints look together.

Even though this is meant to be a quick make, I couldn’t resist finishing the edges of my pocket facings with black bias binding. You’re meant to overlock, and I didn’t want ugly zigzagging showing. I think it looks really cute.

This is my progress after an intense five hour sewing session, having come home from work to find the fabric waiting for me.

Sewing is such an interesting experience for me. I find it totally immersive and addictive. I almost forget to breathe as I am so focused on the task at hand.


Even though it’s still not finished, I decided to make something to go with my floral Ultimate Shirt. Julie, the instructor, made a throwaway comment about getting a pink skirt in the final class, which I initially dismissed because I don’t really wear pink. I just don’t think it suits me as well as other colours. However, the idea must have lodged somewhere as I found myself thinking more and more about a skirt project.

At first, I planned to finally tackle the pencil skirt. I should probably finish the Sew Over It pencil skirt that’s been languishing in my WiP pile for well over a year, but I’ve really lost my motivation on that project. I remembered seeing the Tulip Skirt in a sewing magazine a while ago and falling in love instantly.

The best thing about this skirt? POCKETS, BABY! Since SOI recently launched a PDF pattern, I decided to ignore my hatred of printing my own patterns and go for it.

I have a couple of wool skirts in my wardrobe that are incredibly useful workhorse garments; sturdy, smart-looking and easy to wear. My favourite navy skirt is a charity shop find that is starting to look a bit shiny, and the zip has a weak point in it that scares me every time I do it up. I’m hoping to create a garment to stand the test of time just like the navy one, so I decided to invest in some quality wool crepe for my new skirt.

Goldbrick Fabrics has become my favourite shop on the Goldhawk Road as I find the staff in there friendlier than most of the other shops. Fortunately they had some beautiful (though pricey) wools.

I wasn’t really intending on making such a statement garment, but the two colours that caught my eye, and that I thought would work with the ultimate shirt, were the two brightest. I decided to be bold and plumped for the hot pink.

Putting together the printed pattern wasn’t quite as horrifying as I remembered from the one other time I did it, though it still took well over an hour.

My beloved navy skirt has a 30″ waist so I decided to cut a size 12. After reading lots of conflicting advice about preparing wool, I decided to ignore all of it and hope the fabric was preshrunk. Real talk: I don’t wash my wool skirts that often anyway.

I did spend some time ironing a swatch of fabric to see if there would be any shrinkage. I used my new silk organza pressing cloth as I don’t want to risk scorching the fabric.

One thing that bothered me was the fabric recommendation given on the pattern, which clearly states that all sizes need 1.8m of fabric. My pieces only needed 1.1m. Actually I just measured and it turns out that my fabric is 1.56 metres wide, which is a non-standard width. Something to look out for in future.

Since decent wool crepe is over £20/metre, that’s kind of a big deal. I doubt I need two fuchsia skirts in my wardrobe, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with the leftover, which is about 0.8m.

Cutting out seemed to go fine, and I prepared the pleats on the front of the skirt and darts on the back. The next step was finishing the raw edges. I was concerned about this because I don’t have an overlocker (I wish I did!) and a previous attempt at zigzagging looked rubbish. However, the crepe frays quite a bit and I don’t think I’ll get a chance to pop to a sewing cafe any time soon.

Fortunately I found this very helpful tutorial on zigzagging by Tilly and the Buttons. She mentions using a special overcasting foot, and when I checked the accessories that came with my beloved Janome, there was one in there! Double zigzagging all of the edges took FOREVER but it looks okay, and I hope it will prevent my edges from fraying. It also used up two full (small) spools of thread and bobbins. I need to remember to buy matching thread for future projects.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a sewing project of mine without at least one really stupid error. This time, when I was pinning the side seams of the skirt together, I noticed that one side was a lot longer than the other. Turns out that I managed to cut the pattern for the long version of the front of the skirt (the version I wanted to make), but the short version for the back pieces. What the hell is wrong with me?

Although I had enough fabric to cut out new back pieces, the idea of doing the darts and zigzagging again was too much. I held the pieces up to my body and, actually, I think that if I do a slightly narrower hem, the shorter skirt should still hit around my knee, which is the length I want. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed!