Monetta Party

The Moneta Party happened on Instagram in February. I wasn’t going to join in because I’d not planned anything and I wasn’t in a rush to make the pattern. That was until I realised that the Sew Down Dewsbury meet up was on the same weekend and a lot of other sewists attending would all be wearing Monetas. So I downloaded the pattern and went in search of emergency jersey.

My local fabric shops are not great at stocking knits so it’s a little hit and miss with what you might find. I got hold of this green t-shirt material with dainty pink roses all over it. It isn’t something I would normally have picked but I didn’t have many other options. It is very nice and soft and drapes well. I keep finding myself wearing the dress and coming across the bolt of fabric in different shops!
I chose to do the peter pan style collar because I didn’t like the idea of just turning the neckline over, and I’d not had any experience with neck bands before (having made my plantains the month after the Moneta). This worked out really well and by some fluke I managed to get the centre of the collar perfectly aligned.
The method for gathering the skirt was much commented on in the Instagram and blogging world. I found it quite interesting and I’d like to try it again sometime. My skirt isn’t very evenly gathered but I think the busy print and casual feel of the dress disguise that somewhat. It will just take a bit more practice next time.

It has pockets! I love a good pocket so that’s a big plus. I’m not sure about where the waist line sits, it cuts right through my belly and exaggerates some tummy rolls sometimes which isn’t always flattering. I think next time I make it I will either raise slightly by about an inch or maybe even further and see what an empire line looks like.

What has surprised me is that even though I wasn’t overly enthusiastic on the pattern or fabric to begin with, I have found that I reach for this dress very often. I like that it’s comfortable like a t-shirt but is a bit prettier than that. I am looking forward to making another, perhaps for the autumn.

Plain Plantains

My go to outfit is jeans/trousers, a T-shirt and a jumper. Given that most of my T-shirts are minimum 4 years old and starting to show their wear pretty badly, I decided to invest some time in making some replacements.

I started with the Plantain T which is a free PDF pattern by Deer and Doe. I was drawn to it by its basic shape and the optional cute elbow patches.

I’ve made two so far, both from cheap jersey from the Abakhan fabric bins. The sun is so bright in these photos they look the same, but one is white and the other is much thinner pale green jersey. You can almost tell them apart from the way they drape.

I did a slight full bust adjustment using this easy method for no-darts fronts by Maria Denmark. I also graded out two sizes at the waist. I could have graded back in for the hips but I decided not to and kept the extra room.

I sewed the whole thing up on the over-locker which was slightly brave considering my lack of experience with knit garments. It made it a really quick make, completing both in the same week (I like to sew at a relaxed pace). 

The seam allowance in the pattern is 5/8”, but it’s really hard to gage that on the over locker. Because of this, my first attempt at the neck band went a bit awry (above). Altering the seam allowances down to 3/8” will make this much easier next time as I’ll be able to line the fabric up with the edge of the machine.

I cut a new band, trimmed the neckline to make it symmetrical again, and got it sewn on fine eventually as you can see from my second attempt above. My twin needling could with a little work, but I’ve already got some tips on how to improve that thanks to Instagram.

I really enjoyed making this pattern, I can’t wait to try the long sleeve version next. I'm also looking forward to trying the Ebony T-shirt by Closet Case Patterns because I have picked up a couple of very light weight drapey jerseys. I also want to try the Maria Denmark Kimono Tee pattern because I hear it's a good way of using up smaller amounts of left over fabric.

What is your favourite T-shirt staple?

Stella Bettine

I came across this beautiful fabric by accident. The shop ran out of the fabric I'd ordered online, and offered to refund me or replace it with something of the same value. I picked this green fabric with an abstract white and black print all over it in a hurry. I felt disappointed at first, until it arrived and then fell in love with it. I only had a meter so I quickly went back and ordered a couple more.

Since then I’ve noticed just how popular this fabric is online and even heard that it might be ex Stella McCartney fabric. It has a lovely body to it and was really nice to work with.
For Christmas 2016 I made the Bettine dress by Tilly and the Buttons and chose to make the view with pockets. I decided to omit the sleeve tabs because the fabric was so bouncy I struggled to make them neatly and the print is so busy it wouldn’t be noticeable.

I love the shape of the pocket opening and the neckline and I think the slight tulip shaped skirt is really flattering. It’s just the right amount of smart meets casual and I think the fabric choice helps with that. I did want to keep this dress for special occasions but it’s so easy to wear I can’t help but put it on for work occasionally.

The top is supposed to billow over the waist band but it’s not really happening for me. My issue is that my waist falls two sizes higher than my bust and hips, and due to the loose fit I decided to only grade out one size. The fabric drapes well, but it could maybe do with a bit more movement for this style.
This is absolutely my favourite make so far. I love wearing it and I already have another Bettine cut out and waiting to be sewn up. 


In late 2015 I stumbled across a sewing blog and read years’ worth of posts in one evening. I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making my own clothes ever since. One skirt in particular stood out to me and my brother kindly bought me the pattern for Christmas.

I have a little bit of sewing knowledge from making costumes for the past 7 or so years, so starting out on the Hollyburn skirt by Sewaholic didn’t seem too daunting. It has just 4 pattern pieces, including the pockets.
My first version was the midi length in a teal cotton drill. The colour faded immediately in the pre-wash, I ended up with a pale line running down one of the front panels and didn’t notice until it was sewn together. Now that the rich colour is no more it just feels not quite as nice as denim might have been. It’s underwhelming.

The zip went in relatively easy, not too bad for a first attempt. There’s a bit of a gap at the top that I intended to fix with a hook and eye but there seems little point now that I’ve lost weight and it doesn’t fit anymore.
One thing that I was pleased with on this skirt was learning about under stitching at the pockets. I’d never done it before and it was fairly satisfying to press everything and see the neat result. I also hand stitched the entire hem with herringbone stitch which took a while.

Shortly after the blue cotton drill version I made the “shorter” (knee) length in linen. I cut the front piece on the fold to eliminate the seam so that the cats on rooftops print wasn’t disturbed and rotated the bank panels so they were cut on the same bias.

I’m pretty sure this was home furnishing fabric but it worked ok and was easy to work with as a beginner. I think the midi version needs a slightly drapier fabric to be flattering but the linen is fine for the knee length.

I’ve made a third version for my sister for Christmas 2016, in sea sirens alexander henry print. I had to reduce the width at the hem by about an inch (or two since it was on the fold again) to fit the pattern piece on the quilting cotton.

Overall, I loved making the pattern but my skirts don’t get worn often. The pockets are my favourite part, but I’m not sure the overall style suits my body shape very well. My waist is my widest part and having the waistband cut me in half there doesn’t flatter. I might try the longest version in a drapey fabric in the future.