Category Archives: Sewing

Why did the Zebra Cross the Road

…no, wait that’s not the right joke is it? Anyhow, I bought this Zebra jersey panel ages ago and was scared to cut into it in case I messed it up. While I was sorting through my bag of UFOs, I rediscovered it and decided to take the plunge and cut myself a Union Street Tee before I could scare myself off again!

The panel came as one piece with four different sections, and I’d calculated that the sleeves would work from the hoof print and there should be just enough of the zebra pattern for the neckline and sleeve cuffs. What I hadn’t calculated correctly, was the height of the t-shirt itself, as I had to piece a couple of plain sections on the shoulders to make it work. But that could easily be a design feature, especially now it’s topstitched for added strength.

Of course the real draw of the panel was the ‘rear view’ of the zebra – it definitely makes the back of the t-shirt more interesting than normal. I just wish they had more panels with other animals on as well as the zebras – I’ve love a little zoo of animal panel t-shirts!


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Pattern: Union Street Tee* by Hey June Handmade
Fabric: Zebra Panel from Mibs Fabrics

Dinosaur Hunting Shirt

I found this polycotton fabric in the Sewing Studio last year, and bought a metre of it to make into a child’s shirt. I thought it would be perfect for K’s birthday. Of course things never work to plan on timescales do they? A month after his birthday, and I still had only got as far as cutting out the shirt pieces and starting a Clovelly cap for him.

I thought it was time I actually sat down, blocked out all the distractions, and finished his shirt – and much to my amazement, it worked!

I decided to not have the top button on the collar – K is only 4, so I didn’t think he’d really need a formal feeling shirt just yet. And having that top button slightly lower made the button placement slightly easier to work out too!

This was my first attempt at pleated pockets, and they actually came out looking almost exactly as they should do! I think maybe one pocket is slightly smaller than the other, but who’s going to notice? I did skip the pocket flap buttons and buttonholes, as I thought that would be way too fiddly for a four year old to undo just to stash things in his pockets.

The base and sleeves have a simple double turned hem. I used purple thread for the needle, and had a beige thread for the bobbin. Thankfully I had the thread tension set perfectly, so the beige doesn’t show on the right side of the fabric.

Add the shirt to the baseball cap I’ll be blogging later in the month, plus a hand drawn dragon card, and you have the perfect belated birthday present!


Pattern: Bookwork Buttonup by Blank Slate Patterns
Fabric: Dinosaur polycotton from Sewing Studio

Jonathan’s Wee Lap Tee

When a friend announced he was going to be a daddy, I decided it was a good reason to dig out the Patterns for Pirates Wee Lap Tee pattern to make a little t-shirt for the baby. I was organised and had the tee made well in advance, but wanted to wait for the birth announcement to know what colour to make the bear’s top on the card!


Like the previous Wee Lap Tee I made, this one is made from starry jersey. I didn’t want to go with a baby blue shade and as his parents both like shades of green, this should meet with their approval!

Unlike the previous Wee Lap Tee, I added a waistband cuff to this one – I think it makes the overall t-shirt look more professional in its finish.

All I have to hope now, is that it fits little Jonathan!


Pattern: Wee Lap Tee by Patterns for Pirates
Fabric: Jersey from Sewing Studio

Hoppy Easter

Ok, I know it’s not Easter Sunday just yet, but Hoppy insisted on not having to wait another week to be featured on my blog!

Made from the same pattern as his furry brother, Hoppy has a totally different look due to the plush fabric I used instead of faux fur.

The dimpled fabric wasn’t the easiest to lay out without the dimples going flat, but it was a lot easier to sew than the faux fur. I used the same kind of fabric throughout, just changing colours for the paw pads and the underside of his ears.

Hoppy is thread jointed, so he can move his arms and legs. This was my first (proper) attempt at thread jointing, but it was surprisingly successful!


Pattern: Atilla by Emma’s Bears
Fabric: Dimpled plush from Hobbycraft
Safety eyes: Hobbycraft

Astronomy Dress

I will admit I actually made this dress last year, but somehow it missed being blogged! I wasn’t too sure what to make from this cotton lycra, but once I saw the Knot Your Average Top* had a dress option, I knew this was what the fabric would become.

Unlike my Polar Bear Knot Top, I followed the pattern exactly for this dress. I do have some excess fabric bunching above the knot on both sides, and I think maybe that could be resolved on a future Knot Top by losing a little of the height between the shoulder and over bust.

I didn’t want to feel the dress was too snug on the hips, so I picked the a-line version. With the way the cotton lycra holds its shape, I think I could actually get away with the more fitted version. I’m considering taking in the side seams on this one, to make the shape a little more flattering.

I do think I could have used a deeper hem, as that would have helped stop the hem from wanting to flip over – since I made this dress, I’ve discovered that a 1 inch hem is a lot more practical.


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Pattern: Knot Your Average Top* by 5 out of 4 Patterns
Fabric: Cotton Lycra fromFashion Fabrics

Waiting for the rain….

….or in other words, I’ve finished my Showerproof Softshell Fashionista jacket! I still haven’t finished my denim version of the Fashionista*, but this softshell jacket has come out looking fantastic.

I found some buttons which fitted well with the blue, and was planning on using some smaller ones on the cuffs. Unfortunately the bulk of fabric on the cuff meant that my sewing machine thought the one-step buttonhole was meant to be a lot smaller than I was aiming for. Rather than trying to unpick one line of stitches, I cheated and added a popper to the cuff instead. It’s not quite what I was aiming for, but it’s better than risking making a mess with the buttonhole!

I’d already decided I wanted to have a label on the back, and assuming the neckline would be sewn as a regular facing, I added the label and some bias binding around the edge as I didn’t fancy sewing a narrow hem on the curved edge. Then I read down to the next line and realised that the neckline works more like binding than a facing. I really didn’t want to scrap my neckline piece, so I skipped the proper instructions and just attached it as if it was a facing, then topstitched around the bias bound edge to hold it in place.

This has made the neckline slightly lower, but that’s not a problem for me. I’ll have to remember that when I get to that point on my denim Fashionista though, as that bit will come after I’ve added in the lining.

I obviously wasn’t going to try ironing the softshell, so the waistband isn’t quite as crisp as you would expect. But overall, the jacket has a great look, the buttons and buttonholes all line up, the pockets work, and the jacket fits!

Now where’s that rain so I can test out how waterproof this softshell is!



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Pattern: Fashionista * by WinterWear Designs*
Fabric: Softshell from Fashion Fabrics
Tag – ribbon from The Makery, Buttons from Sew + Sew

Atilla the Bun

A little deviation from the bears I have been making, this is my first attempt at making Atilla the Bun by Emma’s Bears. The faux fur isn’t the greatest quality, but I wanted to try using a black pen to add some shading around his eyes and on his nose, so I didn’t want to use fantastic fur in case I made a mess of it!

I still haven’t stitched over his nose shading – I don’t know that it really needs that, as I think his nose looks pretty cute as it is 🐰

A tiny piece of white felt gives his eyes a bit of a lift, while his paw pads were cut from some faux suede, just for a different texture to the faux fur.

I didn’t add any toy joints into Atilla so he’s permanently in this waving pose. I think he came out quite well, although I don’t know I’d be in a hurry to use that kind of faux fur again!



Pattern: Atilla by Emma’s Bears
Fabric: Faux Fur from Fashion Fabrics
Safety eyes and faux suede (used on the paw pads): Hobbycraft

Showerproof Clovelly Cap

Having cut out the fabric for my Showerproof Fashionista Jacket, I wanted to use some of the left over fabric, but wasn’t too sure what to make. I liked the idea of making some kind of showerproof hat, especially as the jacket doesn’t have a hood and as luck would have it, that day I was browsing on Instagram and discovered that From the Studio (Jamie Kemp) has just released the Clovelly Cap pattern!

Whenever I go outside, I always wear a baseball cap so I don’t get caught with the sunlight, but the caps I’ve been wearing are looking past their best now. I don’t know about you, but I’d always thought that baseball caps would be really complicated to make, involve a lot of additional hardware (which no doubt would be hard to find in local shops), and wouldn’t be worth the effort.

I was intrigued to see how Jamie’s pattern instructions compare to some of the other Indie designers’ patterns I’ve been using. The most noticeable difference is that Jamie uses a more traditional style of line drawings rather than photos to illustrate each step.

But the instructions are really well written, and after holding the pieces together and reading the following step, it made sense what was being sewn where – I didn’t even need to unpick any stitches!

I wasn’t brave (or reckless) enough to iron my softshell, so I stitched the seam allowance down instead. Because those stitches were then stitched over to attach the bias binding, that did leave a few extra stitching lines on the crown. If you don’t look too closely though, you wouldn’t notice them.

As for the supplies needed to make the cap, I already had the softshell left over from cutting my jacket. The lining is a black polycotton I had in my scraps box, I bought the bias binding and velcro, and surprisingly enough finding the square buckle-like piece for the back wasn’t as challenging as I’d thought!

The only potential struggle was the brim stiffener – while my local sewing shops have a good range of items, I had a feeling this would be something too specialised for them to have in stock. I had a rummage through my sewing box, and came across some clear vinyl (pvc) I’d purchased for a different project. I cut two brim stiffener pieces from the vinyl, stitched them together around one edge, and used that inside the brim pieces. Even with the heavier weight of softshell as the underside of the brim, those two layers of vinyl seem to be the perfect choice.


Pattern: Clovelly Cap by From the Studio (Jamie Kemp)
Fabric: Softshell from Fashion Fabrics

Showerproof non-denim Fashionista Jacket UFO

I fully admit I’m already starting more projects than I’m finishing this year, but having spotted this softshell fabric in my local fabric shop for £8 a metre, I couldn’t resist getting enough to make a showerproof Fashionista* jacket for the spring!

At the moment, my Denim Fashionista is semi-shelved while I figure out where I went wrong with the lining – I’d already sewn the denim sleeve to the neckline by mistake (don’t ask how I achieved that!), and in sewing the first part of the lining together, I had more pleats and tucks than I should’ve done. So that’ll need unpicking and some careful pinning to try and resew that.

But rather than plough on through a project that wasn’t going all that well, I decided I needed to feel I could successfully make something. Softshell fabric has a waterproof outer, with a fleece backing – perfect for spring, and also perfect because it doesn’t need a lining!

Now I know this jacket won’t be 100% waterproof, because at the moment I’m not planning on using any tape or anything to seal the seam lines. That means that water could seep through the stitch holes along the topstitching. But really, I think for my first attempt at sewing a proper showerproof jacket, I’m happy with it being 95% showerproof rather than aiming for 100%.

I didn’t want to try colour matching the pockets, so I picked out some ‘natural’ patterned cotton for the pocket bags – if I get them sewn in correctly, they won’t be visible from the outside so it won’t matter that they don’t match!

The back is all sewn and topstitched – I’m beginning to wonder if I should have made an attempt to fussy-cut the foxes, but I think this was the most realistic use of the fabric. If I’d fussy cut or tried matching the fox heads across each piece, I think I would have wasted a lot of the fabric.

The neatest front yoke I’ve stitched so far – yes there is a slight catch where the yoke joins the front panel top stitching, but it’s much better than my denim jacket’s front yoke! I did have a bird’s nest of bobbin thread on the pocket topstitching (I hadn’t realised I was sewing that with the pocket flap upside-down), but I’m hoping I can unpick that without too much hassle.

So far so good, although I’m not looking forward to adding in the sleeves – that’s where my denim Fashionista started to go wrong!



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Pattern: Fashionista * by WinterWear Designs*
Fabric: Softshell from Fashion Fabrics

What is black and white, and red all over?

There aren’t many sewing patterns out there for penguins which look like they’re sliding down a snowy bank, so when BeeZee Art released her latest penguin pattern, I knew it was one I wanted to try making.

Rather than sticking with the traditional penguin colours, I decided to use some tie-dye effect plush fabric I had lurking in my fabric bag. Of course this means that Percy Penguin looks like he’s been out in the sun for too long, but I quite like the colours on him.

As yet, Percy doesn’t have his feet attached, but because I added some plastic pellets to his tummy, he balances really well without his feet.

It’s strangely tempting to make more penguins in various different colours…. and hopefully make sure that their flippers come out at a better angle next time – Percy’s look like they aren’t quite right somehow.


Pattern: Penguins by BeeZee Art
Fabric: Tie-dye plush from Plush Addict