Monthly Archives: July 2015


I found this incredible fabric in the sale for just a pound per metre. I’m honestly not sure what fabric this actually is; my best guess is a kind of canvas – slightly shiny and textured and reasonably thick. The fantastic pattern of silhouetted buildings would be perfect to make something for an architecture-loving friend, but I wasn’t too sure what I would be making.

Going back through my folder of downloaded patterns, I came across the Notebook Folder Tutorial from Riley Blake Designs. I’d made one of these previously, but struggled to get all the layers through my Mum’s sewing machine, so I wasn’t too sure how this canvas would behave!

Notebook Folder

Outer cover, complete with strap and button

The inside of each panel is a black polycotton which compliments the silhouettes and also helps balance the thickness of the fabric.

Notebook Folder

Front cover with strap undone

I don’t trust my hand-sewing enough to stitch the button on by hand, so I machine stitched it on after completing the folder. There was just enough space to sew it in while holding the slanted pocket out of the way.

Notebook Folder

Inside the folder. There’s a pen pocket on the left, and the pouch to the right is large enough to hold an extra large notebook!

I decided to skip the interfacing as the canvas is sturdy enough without it. I couldn’t find any batting in my local shop, so I picked wadding instead and quilted  it to the inside panel so it wouldn’t shift around as I turned the folder the right way around. I also cut the wadding shorter than recommended, leaving a half inch border around, to ensure the final seams wouldn’t overlap it.

The quilting could be a bit neater; if I made another, I might try and make more of a feature of the quilting, picking a better pattern than a simple cross on the back.

Notebook Folder

The inside cover – you can just about see the quilted backing behind the slanted pocket.

I used a denim needle in my sewing machine due to the thickness of the canvas. It stitched really easily, which was a pleasant surprise after the struggles I’d had with the previous one on an older machine!

Notebook Folder

Inside the folder, with the notebook lifted out of the way.

There’s a couple of seams that aren’t entirely straight, mainly because I had the canvas layer on the bottom, and it seemed to slip as the feed dogs fed it through the machine. But overall it came out really well.

Notebook Folder

Finished notebook folder – front and back covers, with the strap

Sewing – UFOs

I’ve been working on several sewing projects lately, most of which have yet to be completed for varying reasons! So, here’s a (not so) quick run down of my current UFOs (UnFinished Objects), in the hope it’ll spur me on to get at least one of them completed!

  • First attempt dress: I haven’t worked on this lately, as I’m trying to learn how to do shaping for the bodice, so I can try to get the fit to work. At the moment, the darts don’t line up quite right, the neckline is far too high for me, and the zip doesn’t meet at the back….
    Edit: this one has been shelved indefinitely…. or until I know a lot more about alterations!
  • The jacket:  This is waiting for me to have the patience to try hemming the base. I’m not 100% sure the style suits me, as it has a peplum which does enhance the shape of my rear…. and that doesn’t really need any enhancement. However, I do want to get this finished, so either I need to try hemming on the curved base, or maybe try using some bias binding to cheat a little.
  • Top number 1: My mistake on this one, was to follow the sizing on the Simplicity pattern – instead of working from the finished garment measurements, I worked on the suggested size. As a result, this is way too big right now. The instructions on the sleeve were really hard to follow; after I stitched it on, I realised I’d messed up, so I need to unpick that and redo it. Like the first attempt dress, I need to learn how to alter the top so I can make it a better fit and something I could wear, rather than something that will just sit on a hanger.


  • Top number 2: This one worked a lot better – it’s meant to be a loosely fitting top, and fits quite well. I shelved this while I was getting a couple of buttons for the back loops and haven’t quite had the right amount of patience yet to try sewing them on.
  • Dress number 2: Almost finished, but just needing a couple of adjustments, this was actually made from rough guidelines courtesy of Culture of Thrift. I’m not 100% happy with the style of the skirt part and the left strap needs a bit of work to make it fit properly, but overall considering this wasn’t made from a printed pattern, I’m quite happy with how it fits. Also, it’s proving a good exercise in how to make darts that fit me!
Dress - 2

Following the guidelines at Culture of Thrift

  • Dress number 3: I wasn’t overly inspired by the look of the dress on the magazine cover, and the pattern is designed by the same company as my first attempt, which means there’s the potential there for the fit to be a little out. But after seeing some of the pictures people had posted of the dress as they’d made it, I decided it was worth a try. Using the other half of the duvet cover from the jacket, I’ve got as far the zip…. which is pinned in at the moment, just to figure out the sizing.I need to rework the cuff on the sleeves, as at the moment it seems too tight. I might just make a vent where the seam is and hope that gives enough allowance for my arms to be able to move! The dress itself actually fits me (I did add an inch on the back seams just in case, but I don’t think I’ll actually be needing that!), and I just need to buy and sew in a suitably dark coloured zip, then hem the base of the skirt.


It’s not the most summery of fabrics, as the duvet cover it’s made from was quite heavy. However, that means it shouldn’t be as see-through as the lighter ones, which should save the hassle of figuring out how to line it!

Edit: This dress now becomes my first completed dress 😀


They’re not looking too terrible at the moment – all I need to do now, is get on and finish some all of them!