Wax Print Wednesday: Cleo

cleo wax front 1

Cleo! Wax print!

I can’t say I thought of making Tilly and the Buttons’ Cleo up in a wax print all by myself – the idea came from the lovely Meg at Pigeon Wishes, when she posted her amazing yellow Cleo. But that’s the benefit of being constantly late to the party with new sewing patterns – you get to steal ideas from everyone else…

This is my second Cleo (I made one in a handsome black corduroy just before Christmas, but I’ve completely given up on the idea of blogging all my makes in chronological order), and I absolutely love the pattern. I know, I know, I must be the millionth person to say it, but it sews up so nicely and is such a lovely shape.

cleo wax front 2

cleo wax front 3

cleo wax back

As for the fit, I didn’t change anything. You might notice a bit of buckling on the bib, and I think maybe I could take a tuck out of the pattern and fix it, but honestly, I can’t be bothered. Guess what else I didn’t bother with? Matching the pattern on the back. That was partly laziness and partly fear – I am not great at matching. That fear is also what drove me to cut the front on the fold and skip the topstitching – I didn’t want to end up with any severed fingers right on the centre front! I did make an effort with the pattern placement though: I figured it was worth the time to make sure I didn’t have any unfortunately placed hands over my boobs!!

Hey and how about the fabric? I got it from Ktextile19 on Etsy specifically for this project. They don’t have any of this one left, but they have all sorts of gorgeous African prints (in fact, it’s also where I got the fabric for this dress).

That’s all I have to say about Cleo (summary: love it), but I should probably add that I live in London now – hence you can see St Paul’s Cathedral in the background of that last photo. I moved quite recently for work, so you can expect less greenery and more famous buildings in future posts!


Stealing ideas: my August sewing list

At the beginning of my teacher training in September, I spent a week in a Junior school, where the teacher had a very interesting saying for the kids: you can’t steal sweets or crisps, but you can steal ideas and make them your own.

Recently, and quite by chance, I saw the post My August Sewing List by Emily at Self Assembly Required. Hmm. I thought about that teacher’s phrase and decided I was stealing this idea. I’ve had a lot more time on my hands the last few weeks than I’ve had so far this year, and I haven’t used it particularly wisely as far as sewing goes. I decided a little dose of organisation might be exactly what I need. So without further ado, here are my #sewinggoals for August.

1. Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress.


This one is from Tilly’s book, which I acquired quite recently. It’s going to take a bit of pattern adjustment, because I want to lengthen the skirt and I officially live in FBA city, so I’ll need to do one of those as well. I have two fabrics to make it up in…

The pineapple fabric was cheaper, so I’m thinking I’ll use that, tack as I go, and keep my fingers crossed that I get away without making a toile…

2. Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers.


I’m hoping these won’t take so much adjusting and should be a quick make (famous last words). I want to make a wearable toile of the trousers in this gingham:

And then I have a few other fabrics lined up to make them in – this plain blue should be lovely for summer and autumn (those ridges aren’t so obvious in the weave as this picture makes them seem… Blame my phone camera):

3.  Seamwork Addison blouse.


Seamwork says this pattern should only take an hour to make up. Hmm. I might actually time myself (not including pattern adjustment) and see how long it takes. I don’t know if I sew super slowly or they sew super fast, but I suspect it will take me longer than an hour…

Anyway! I really loved the broderie anglaise they made the sample garment in. So…

And then, a couple of days later, I got an email from them about an add on alternative collar they were releasing with a sample made up in black and white gingham. So…

4. Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt.


Also from Tilly’s book. Again, I’ll be lengthening this –  knee-length skirts look miles better on me. I am forever on the quest for the perfect A-line skirt. I tried Gertie’s flared skirt and my own self-drafted pattern, but I’m not completely sold on either of them. So once more unto the breach with Delphine and this red crêpe (same ridge caveat):

Is it too much? Am I mad? These are questions I ask myself often. But I guess we’ll find out!


I’ve been a little unsure of publishing a post with photos taken in bleak weather. After all, it’s high summer and I’ve had to crack out the factor 50 even here in the North of England these past couple of weeks. This morning, however, greeted by a wall of grey clouds punctuated by a thin veil of drizzle, I decided I could get away with it.





I made the skirt from a very simple pattern and a very bold fabric. It’s view E of New Look 6107, which I got free a good few month ago with Sew magazine.

You might have noticed that it’s not me in the pictures – in fact it’s my friend Roxie, who picked this fabric out at John Lewis. They do still have some in the Sheffield store and presumably others across the country, although I’ve also seen what I think is the same fabric on eBay. It’s a heavy cotton that has a kind of linen-y feel. It’s a little looser weave than most cottons, so I lined it using Tilly’s method, although – full disclosure – I did make a bit of a mess by sewing the zip into the fashion fabric and the lining at the same time.

Roxie was a very good sport about both my lining mess up and me having to take the skirt in a couple of inches – why do big pattern companies add loads of sneaky ease??! I love the way she’s styled it – I wish I could say I made the cape too. So a thank you to her for 1. enabling my habit, and 2. looking a beauty in the finished product!


Goodwill to all men!

I was determined to make my own dress for Christmas this year. For one thing, I feel like I’ve worn all my party-type dresses to death, and secondly, we’re coming up on my one-year anniversary with sewing, and it seemed like an appropriate was to celebrate!

I got the pattern free with Sew Magazine – in fact, I’d been having a rough time and my Mama came home with a copy for me. The pattern is New Look 6723, and I decided to make view C, because I loooove an elegant boat neckline-sleeve combo in an evening dress.

In the magazine, they’d made a version out of silk dupion, listed at £20 a metre. Hmm. I can’t afford that kind of fabric, but it looked beautiful. Thankfully, I managed to find a likely substitute in the form of some faux silk dupion from eBay. I have to say, I was a little worried it was too good to be true – was I going to end up with three metres of shiny sweaty nightmare? But the fabric is actually really nice. Of course, you can tell if you touch it that it isn’t silk, and it doesn’t drape like silk, but it is still really lovely. I bought the colour “emerald” (fitting), but it has gold-y highlights and doesn’t feel too clingy and sweaty.

Want to see?



It wasn’t difficult to make, although I don’t think my gathers are beautiful. Does anyone have a sure-fire technique for gathering fabric? I don’t understand how to make it even, then I get annoyed and give up. It took a little while – in fact, I finished all the hand-hemming on Christmas day morning!

The bodice is lined (but not the sleeves or the skirt, which suits me) and it was pretty nice to fit. I strongly recommend checking out this tutorial for doing a full-bust adjustment for princess seamed bodices. I think I might still need to take some material out between the shoulders and the “apex of the bust”. I think that’s why there are some wrinkles in the fabric there.

I paired it with gold eyes, nails, and earrings to bring out the gold tones in the fabric.


I love the pattern and I want to make it in some other fabrics too – maybe a classic floral cotton? Let me know what you think!

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome

You can call me Emy, and I’m interested in all sorts. One of those things is clothes, and for a long time I’ve dreamt of making my own. After several half-hearted attempts, I decided that 2015 would be the year I learnt to sew – really learnt, understood the different stitches on my machine, became owner of a rainbow of threads, and swanned around in my own creations. Oh this? I made it myself.

Six months into the year, I’m still going strong, and I’ve decided that I want to start sharing my creations. I’m no expert yet, so I’m inviting you to join my learning curve – and maybe we can help each other out.

I’ll write about some others things too. Books. Food. Languages, maybe. Really, it will be a bit of a cabaret – so please, bleibe, reste, stay!