Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Checked Linen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Ogden Cami

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

I don't know how popular Pinterest is any more but I still use it ALL the time for collecting images to inspire my sewing along with tutorials and tips. It's good for giving my sewing ideas some focus as I can see what I'm drawn to but whilst I'm very good at collecting the images I'm not so good at translating the images into reality. This outfit is finally some sort of recreation of the image below which I've returned to a number of times over the past few summers but have never been able to find quite the fabric I need. I love the combination of slightly relaxed fit, texture and monochrome print. They look chic and somewhat tailored but still comfortable and cool.

Click image for source

The Fabric Store listed a number of yarn dyed striped and checked linens along with a few prints a few months back and despite still being in the depths of winter here in London they made me instantly think of the above image. I was finally going to have the slouchy pair of patterned shorts of my dreams! It was a hard choice between the beautiful selection and I almost plumped for this Herringbone Stripe to match my inspiration but was ultimately drawn to this Yarn Dyed Slubby Linen Check. I'll admit that when I had it sewn up I was concerned the project slightly resembled a pair of mens boxer shorts but I have been reassured that the scale of the check avoids that misfortune!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

The Megan Nielsen Flint Pants were a staple of my wardrobe last summer. They are breezy and cool and have exactly the tailored yet relaxed shape around the waist and hips that I was after. I hadn't yet tried the shorts but had every confidence that they were just the pattern to choose. Plus I love that little tie detail at the side of the waist! I cut the size small as I have done for my previous two versions. The measurements for the small are a fraction larger than my own but I do find they run a bit on the large side anyway. I have rectified this in every previous iteration by moving the button over a little to tighten them up as I've been very happy with the width through the hip and leg. I did the same with these rather than going down a size as I really dislike shorts which are too tight around the thigh which is a problem I often find with RTW.

The check in this fabric has highlighted the problem with moving the button for a snugger fit though...the centre back seam ends up sitting slightly off centre. I din't notice it until I saw the photos of this one from behind as you can't feel it when you're wearing it but the check runs into the centre back in an obvious way which really highlights the squiffy placement. It doesn't bother me though as it's not me looking at it!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

When it came to cutting the shorts out and I thought about pattern matching I slightly wished I'd stuck with a stripe! It took some extra thought to deal with the check but I took my time, cut everything in a single layer and resorted to my usual tactic of drawing the lines of the check on the edges of the pattern pieces themselves so I can use that as a guide for cutting the second piece. I generally choose a notch to align which one of the lines in the print as that is easy to match up on the adjoining piece. I'm really proud of how the matching turned out on these, even in the pockets!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

This linen a dream to work with. It has a very fine slubby texture and I love that the check is slightly ill-defined because it is created in the weave of the fabric rather than printed and the colour has a natural fleck to it. It is lightweight but tightly woven so nice and opaque and has this wonderful crisp finish which gives the shorts great structure. They do of course rumble up quite terribly throughout the day but I love that look. I pressed up the hem to match the turn up of the inspiration image but also because I felt the length of the short was a fraction long and unflattering on me as it was. The linen presses so well that I don't even need a stitch to keep the turn up in place.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

The top I haven't got an awful lot to say about. I'm sure many of you recognise it as the True Bias Ogden Cami and another favourite of mine last summer, it is either my fourth or fifth version...I've lost count! I mixed it up a little bit with this one and decided to add a faux button placket to the centre front for added interest. This was really easy to do. I just cut a strip of fabric the width of my placket plus seam allowance on either side. I pressed the seam allowance under, pinned it in place down the centre of my front pattern piece and topstitched down either side. I trimmed down the ends to match the pattern piece and sewed my buttonholes while the piece was still flat and unassembled. The button holes are left closed and a button sewn on top to give the impression of a button front without any of the hassle! I've had these buttons in my stash for a long time, they were a gift from my Mum, and I'm pleased they've found their match.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

The fabric for this is also from The Fabric Store and in a rare turn of events I bought it simply because I loved it without a specific project in mind. It is this Embroidered Cotton Voile Stripe. The stripes are a little wider in reality than I first envisioned so I'm pleased I didn't buy it for something specific. I love that it is a white neutral but with a bit of interest in the form of those delicate embroidered stripes.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

I cut the size 4 as I have done previously and am generally happy with the fit apart from the fact that I think I shortened the straps too much this time as it cuts in a little under the arms. I should have looked back at my old blog post and noted that I cut off two inches last time, this time it was at least three. In this crisper fabric it also pokes out a but under the bust, perhaps I could have done with a slight FBA as this pattern is drafted for a B cup I believe. Its not noticeable in a fabric with more drape. The only change I made to the pattern itself was to do a full lining in cotton lawn rather than just a facing. My embroidered cotton is a little sheer which I don't mind unlined for a top but I didn't like the idea of the facing being visible through the top and weird line running across my chest where it ended.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Checked Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts & Embroidered Voile Ogden Cami in fabrics from The Fabric Store

Looking back at my inspiration photo the top in that was some sort of crepe or fabric with much more drape than my crisp cotton but I loved the idea of the top having a bit of texture in the fabric too. As it is lined it does feel a little bulky tucked in to the shorts and I think I'd like to make a slinkier top to pair with them too but I love this look overall and both garments have been invaluable to me whilst working during the heatwave Britain is currently having. I'm loving getting some real wear out of my handmade summer wardrobe so fingers crossed we've got a lot more summer to come!

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

July Indie Pattern Update



It's been a slightly quiet month here on the old blog for which I apologise; work has taken over yet again! I'm determined not to let it in August as I have some really exciting projects lined up which I can't wait to make. First up has to be a Fiona Sundress! I've been busy taking a few photos of recent projects though so should have some review posts up for you to read soon. We've been having quite an extraordinary summer here in the UK and all the heat and sunshine has been really inspiring me to sew! I love the hot weather and never have I had such a need for all the summer dresses! Speaking of which, there are some gorgeous dress designs among the new releases this month...


New Patterns


  • Pauline Alice released the Vera Shirt which is oversized with a dropped hem and notched collar, and also the Romero Trousers which are a gorgeous wide legged sailor style with button drop front fastening.
  • Style Arc launched the Eme Dress which is a cocoon shaped easy to wear style with no fastenings and in-seam pockets.  They also released the Meghan Markle inspired Sussex Cape Dress pattern which is a simple shift with optional lined shoulder cape. One of their free patterns with any purchase this month was also new; the Melody Tunic which features on trend 3/4 length sleeves with elasticated cuffs.
  • Sew This Pattern released the Sienna Dress; a cute a-line shift style with ruffles around the armholes which are cleverly set into the princess seams of the bodice. Great for a beginner looking to advance.
  • New from Sew Liberated is the Hinterland Dress. The perfect showcase for a beautiful linen with clean lines, a loose fit and a button front. I also missed a new release of theirs at the end of last month; the Gypsum Skirt is a simple and comfortable style with the option for crescent shaped or side seam pockets.
  • Another release late last month which I missed was the Summer Bikini from Evie La Luve. There have been some fantastic swimwear patterns released of late and this one may have queue jumped a few I already had my eye on!
  • The two new patterns with Seamwork Magazine in July were Ariel and Lucy. A chic column style shift dress with straps and a practical and comfortable knit jumpsuit. 
  • Afternoon pattern company released the Sparrow Wrap Dress which has really caught my eye as one of those timeless yet contemporary styles. I love the effortless combo of low back and wrap front for summer.
  • Studio Costura released the Mia Panties which are a Brazilian cut. I particularly like the second variation included with the pattern which is designed to show off a scallop edged lace.
  • There was a free skirt pattern launched by Ready To Sew. Justine is a super wearable midi skirt with button front and optional patch pockets. I love the use of a border print for the sample. 
  • New from Cali Faye Collection is Dress 47. I adore this with its cheeky tie front bodice which gives a flash of flesh combined with the full skirt.
  • The new Melbourne Trench Coat from Tessuti is a classic single breasted style with inverted back pleat, curved patch pockets, button front and detachable hood. Following their detailed instructions and construction methods is sure to give you a wardrobe staple that will never age.
  • The second pattern from the Thrifty Stitcher is the Alex PJ Set. Aimed at beginners it consists of a cute cami top and simple pull on trousers.
  • The new releases from DG Patterns in July included the April Top and Callie Dress which works for both knits and wovens and combines a lovely cut out neckline with flounce skirt.
  • HalfMoon Atelier launched the Well's Bay Basic Bikini and Tofo Summer Jumpsuit. I've got one of these cut out and ready to sew but to be honest it was a tough choice for which to make first! Such effortless, yet interesting design.
  • New from Jennifer Lauren Handmade is the Raine Dress which is a classic fit and flare style with two neckline options. The pattern includes multiple cup sizes and provides an opportunity to flex those sewing skills with a curved waistband and all in one facing.
  • Louis Antoinette released the Jade Dress. Super chic in solid black, this design is a shift style and features a dropped waist with ruffle hem plus a deep v-back with horizontal strap detail.
  • The Plitvice Top and Chirripo Top are the latest releases from Itch to Stitch. The former has an elegant cowl neckline and the latter a square neck, relaxed fit and optional flutter sleeves.
  • Charlotte Kan released the Parsec Leggings which are a basic style with not side seam. The ideal blank canvas for fun printed lycra or getting creative with your one style lines or colour blocking.
  • Amongst the new releases from Mood this month were the Sequoia Shorts, Thalia Blouse, Torenia BlouseElnath Cosplay, Ursi Ensemble (consisting of wide-legged trousers and a button up crop top) and Thyme Bodysuit which makes the most of their selection of stretch laces.
  • Daughters of Style released the Mulligan Skirt which is a full length a-line style with drawstrings along the side seams which you can tighten or loosen to create a unique draped effect. 
  • Our Lady of Leisure released the Margarita Dress, a figure hugging off the shoulder style with wide wrap around the bust. I also missed the release of their Sangria Jumpsuit last month. With palazzo legs and a deep scoop neck this is a great choice for the hot summer.
  • The new collection from Republique du Chiffon consists for the Anita Top with fun tie back, Paula Top with fun tie front and Florence Dress which is a pinafore style with full skirt and deep pockets.
  • The Havana Dress and Top is new from Greenstyle Creations. A flowing maxi style for woven fabrics. Great to show off a big bold print.
  • Sew Over It's PDF launch for July is the Marguerite Dress. A classic flattering everyday dress with fitted waist, reasonably full skirt and little grown on sleeves. Fun to sew and fun to wear!
  • Nina Lee London released their capsule collection of Summer Essentials. Available for download only these patterns are juts £2.50 each or £7 for all three. All three designs (the Effra Skirt, Fleet Top and Moselle Top & Dress) are speedy to sew, handy if you've found your handmade summer wardrobe a little lacking for the recent heat!
  • I can see the new Felix Dress from Grainline Studio being hugely popular in the sewing community as it is so effortlessly wearable and will look great in a variety of fabrics for all seasons.
  • Thread Theory released the Eastwood Pyjamas. A great starting point if you're tempted to try sewing gifts for men any time soon; you can make these really basic or add in extra details such as a button or mock fly for a more challenging sew.
  • New from Sew Different is the Moon Pocket Maxi. It's a-line shape is created by the inverted v shape panels reaching up into the bodice and the pockets are concealed within that diagonal seam line. The pockets can be emphasised with circular topstitching.
  • Smyly magazine launched their next design. The Lisa Dress has an a-line shape and optional shoulder ties or little cap sleeves.
  • Schnittchen released the next design by a winner of their Maker's Wish competition. The Trine Dress is designed by Trine Schroeder from Groovy Baby and Mama and is a chic cocoon shape with rounded hem and pockets set in a diagonal seam line.
  • Allie from Indie Sew launched her next pattern. The Kila Tank is designed for rib knits and is a close fitting tank with a lovely cut. The combination of slight racer back and scooped neckline is really flattering.
  • To celebrate her birthday Amy Nicole created the Krissa Crop pattern which is free to download for newsletter subscribers (the only way to get your hands on the pattern! It is a boxy sleeveless style with split back and button closure.
  • The new SBCC Patterns Flora Blouse is a great little wardrobe basic, perfect for layering. It has small grown on sleeves and a lightly gathered neckline.
  • Cocowawa Crafts released the Cherry Culottes & Shorts. Ideal for beginners these have a relaxed straight cut and elasticated waistband.
  • I was very excited to discover that DP Studio launched a collection of slightly more simple patterns. I adore many of their patterns but the designs are in general a little out there for my day to day style. I'd wear all of these 9 patterns in a heartbeat and am currently trying to resist an impulse purchase! My initial favourite is the Panel Dress.
  • The new Shakti Jersey Pants pattern from Designer Stitch includes a huge number of elements which you can combine in multiple ways to create your ultimate pair of trousers. Choose from three waistbands including a yoga or ruched style and 4 leg styles plus optional pockets.


Pattern updates and expansions


  • Pauline Alice updated her Cami Dress pattern. The new version includes the two extra sizes that the rest of her patterns now include and also a new variation! View B is a more relaxed shirt dress without bodice darts and a slightly more empire line waist as well as a full buttoning front.
  • The Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes pattern is back in print and now includes pockets and an extended size range! I made a couple of pairs of these years ago and may need to revisit them in the longer length...
  • The York Pinafore Expansion Pack turns the new Helen's Closet pinafore pattern into a cute cross-back apron with a new back pattern piece and two pocket options. 
  • Ready To Sew updated their Jazz Jumpsuit Expansion Pack to include even more options. There are now 30 different views to choose from including a front button closure.


Sew-alongs, Tutorials and Online Courses




Upcoming!


  • Gertie's forthcoming Night and Day Dress for Charm Patterns gives you enough variations to make a whopping 72 dresses! A whopper of a sewing pattern which is available for pre-order now.
  • The Wearable Studio are currently testing the Canary Cami.
  • Past winner of Cousu Main (the French Sewing Bee) Carmen is launching a sewing pattern on August 23rd. It is a beautiful classic single breasted coat with a hooded option and a variety of pockets.
  • Named are releasing a pattern to celebrate their fifth anniversary tomorrow! We haven't seen a pattern from them for a while whilst they've been working on their book so I can't wait to see the appropriately named Anni!
  • Sew Over It have a new ebook of patterns coming next month! I'm a huge fan of their first 'City Break' capsule wardrobe ebook after making three of the five patterns included so I'm really looking forward to seeing what this one has in store.


Other Exciting News


  • Sew Over It released their Penny Dress in paper format which is their best-selling PDF pattern. The paper pattern includes a hand illustrated instruction booklet as with all their patterns and has been updated to be an inch longer in the bodice due to customer feedback. If you already own the paper version you can download the update for free.
  • Maternity Sewing is a brand new website which launched this month. The shop includes over 70 maternity, nursing and postpartum appropriate patterns from indie designers. The perfect one stop shop if you are expecting or would like to sew for someone who is.
  • Made by Rae has retired her bag patterns to focus more on clothing. If you've had your eye on one and are ready this on 31st July you might still be able to snap one up quick at a special discounted rate!
  • The Deer and Doe Chataigne Shorts are now available in PDF format.


Despite my lack of time at the machine you guys have been keeping my sewjo going and filling me to the brim with inspiration for future projects and sewing challenges to set myself. Here are a handful to get you motivated to sew your way through August!



  • Bianca looks absolutely stunning in her Gia Dress from Russian pattern company Viki Sews. She has really inspired me to give some Russian sewing patterns a try. Watch this space!
  • Dixie has given me some serious practical summer sewing inspiration with her black denim Lander shorts. Get me on my machine pronto!
  • April lengthened the Seamwork Adelaide Dress to maxi length for her ikat version and I just love it! This and the mustard cropped top she made from the same pattern have made me reconsider not purchasing it!
  • I love this Nina Lee Kew Dress from Nicole! It looks so different in a crisp and bold contemporary print. I'm really taken with the monochrome look.
  • I'm still can't decided what fabric to make my first Fiona Sundress from but Erica is absolutely killing it in her white denim version! What a great look on her.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Floral Viscose Kew Dress

It has been wonderfully hot and sunny in London for the last few weeks. Perfect timing as I had just finished this dream of a summer dress. This is the Kew Dress from Nina Lee London and I've been planning to make it since it was released last year. Finishing this is actually another garment ticked off my #2018makenine! I bought the pattern at the Great British Sewing Bee Live from Nina herself but it has taken me six months and the promise of some true summer weather to prompt me to find the time to make it!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Nina Lee London Kew Dress in Dahlia Floral Viscose Crepe from Til the Sun Goes Down

Part of what took me so long was down to sheer indecisiveness. Firstly about which view to make; sleeves, straps or cold shoulder? The lovely little fluttery sleeve on the cold shoulder version is what first drew me to the pattern (as well as the beautiful feature button front) but I was concerned that the shoulder would date quickly. In the end the fabric made this choice for me as the breezy drape of it was the perfect match for this style.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Nina Lee London Kew Dress in Dahlia Floral Viscose Crepe from Til the Sun Goes Down

The fabric was actually the second thing that held me up. It is this stunning Dahlia viscose crepe from Til The Sun Goes Down which I have been lusting after for probably no less than two years. To be honest I lust after most of their beautifully curated fabric range which mainly consists of reproduction vintage prints on fabrics perfect for dressmaking. This particular design is inspired by a 1930s print and is unfortunately currently out of stock on the website. A vintage inspired floral isn't what I usually tend to gravitate towards but I think it was the organic feel, vibrant colours and fairly large scale that drew me to this. Andree made my dreams come true when she generously gifted me a length of it at the Knitting & Stitching show in the Spring. I had 1.5m following the requirements on the back of the pattern but only just squeezed the dress out of that as I failed to note that it's 138cm wide not 150cm!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Nina Lee London Kew Dress in Dahlia Floral Viscose Crepe from Til the Sun Goes Down

I did have this pattern in mind when I picked it from her stand but once I had it pre-washed and ready to go I started doubting myself. I liked the fabric so much, and had it on my wish list for so long that I quite desperately didn't want to waste it on the wrong project! I went on a summer dress pattern hunt, even enlisting the help of my Instagram viewers with a poll. I wondered if this dramatic print would be better showcased paired with a simple garment and both the Papercut Patterns Sway and Adrift Dresses were close contenders but I fell back on my initial gut instinct and stuck with the Kew.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Nina Lee London Kew Dress in Dahlia Floral Viscose Crepe from Til the Sun Goes Down

Viscose is probably my favourite fibre to make dresses out of. It has such great movement, drapes beautifully without clinging or sticking and keeps you so cool, even in the stuffiness of a London heatwave. This particular viscose has a lovely matte, crepey texture that adds to the vintage vibe. It is great to sew with too, once you know how to handle it! It is a delicate fibre that is best laundered on a cool and delicate cycle and left to line dry. I always use a fairly cool iron. It is made from wood pulp and has a lot of the same properties as silk but generally with a less hefty price tag! As with fine silks it can be quite shifty so I'd recommend lots of fine pins and if you're new to this kind of fabric perhaps cutting in a single layer. My favourite trick for slippery fabrics is cutting on carpet so there's a bit of grip.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Nina Lee London Kew Dress in Dahlia Floral Viscose Crepe from Til the Sun Goes Down

I also find viscose has the potential to stretch out as you sew so make sure to stay-stitch the edges that are cut on the bias. I'm wondering if my pattern pieces did get a bit stretched out throughout the construction process as the fit isn't quite what I hoped. It's not terrible by any means and I feel very comfortable in it but it is slightly loose, especially around the waist and doesn't have as much shape as I feel like it should because of that. I feel like I want it to nip in a little more at my narrowest point and then flare out into the skirt. it doesn't help that the softness of the viscose means that the skirt hangs a little limp whereas a fabric with more body would emphasise the slightly flared shape. The drape of the viscose does however give the dress quite amazing movement as you walk or in the wind which is a great combination with the front split created by the buttons that finish just above the knee.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Nina Lee London Kew Dress in Dahlia Floral Viscose Crepe from Til the Sun Goes Down

It is my first time making a Nina Lee design so I'm not 100% sure if the fit is due to my handling of the fabric or the pattern. It could be that my proportions don't quite suit her block so I need to make a couple of small adjustments next time. I cut size 8 at the bust and graded out to a 10 at the waist and hips. I would have been able to get away with the straight 8 despite the measurements being an inch smaller at the waist and two at the hip but will make a quick toile before making in anything stiffer. I made no other adjustments, even to the length. I love the way the hem dips down towards the back and the straps are a good width and position to cover bra straps.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Nina Lee London Kew Dress in Dahlia Floral Viscose Crepe from Til the Sun Goes Down

For a first time with a new pattern company I was super impressed with both the pattern and instructions. Everything came together really smoothly, the finishing techniques are great and I loved making it. I would recommend not giving yourself a tight deadline on this one though so you can take your time and enjoy the process. There's a lot of pattern pieces to contend with and even more buttons and buttonholes to sew! That does take some time and is quite frustrating as you are so close to the end but well worth it for the finished look. My buttons are from The Cloth House on Berwick Street. I loved the slightly worn vintage feel of them against the fabric. I could have picked out any colour in the print with the buttons but felt black balanced it best after trying a few. I did the button holes in white thread and sewed the buttons on with white too so it didn't get too solid black.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Nina Lee London Kew Dress in Dahlia Floral Viscose Crepe from Til the Sun Goes Down

I wondered if the cold shoulder sleeves would be a but restrictive to arm movement but they have been drafted perfectly to hold their shape but still give you a bit of room. Its not a dress to be particularly physical in but I can comfortably lift a gin/pint/glass of wine in a pub garden so that suits me fine! I shortened the shoulder straps by about an inch and they could probably do with a little more as they slip off the shoulder. But the dress stays up without them which speaks to a good fit across the bust! The darts are spot on for me. The only thing I'm not happy with in the bust area is that the centre of the neckline where it buttons doesn't sit quite flat. Again a slightly more structured fabric would support this better. I did use a fusible, lightweight interfacing on the facings and wouldn't want to use anything heavier combined with this fabric but the viscose doesn't keep quite as crisp an edge as I would like around that neckline, despite under-stitching.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Nina Lee London Kew Dress in Dahlia Floral Viscose Crepe from Til the Sun Goes Down

Whilst I love this dress and have been really enjoying wearing it I'd really like to make it again in a cotton lawn or something slightly crispier. A crisp fabric is really not my usual choice for a dress so I've kind of surprised myself by saying that but I think I'd love a strappy version with a little more structure. Perhaps a seersucker would be a good choice as it has some body but still a bit of softness.

It looks set to be another scorcher this weekend so I'm sure this dress will be getting another outing! Thank you Andree for the stunning fabric and Nina for the gorgeous pattern. Her new Mayfair Dress is next on my list! 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

June Indie Pattern Update!



June has been an incredibly busy month for me which has left me incredibly frustrated as I had so little time to spend on my sewing machine! I can't wait to get some quality sewing time in and my teeth stuck into the next big project, especially after seeing some of the inspiring new pattern releases this month! I don't think I've been so good at keeping up with the indie sewing new and pattern launches this month so please do add in anything you'd like to share in the comments and make sure to check out each-other's recommendations.


New Pattern Companies!


  • The ever so talented Claire-Louise A.K.A the Thrifty Stitcher has launched a new line of patterns available through the Sewing Quarter and her website in paper format. Her first pattern is the Fiona Hobo Bag (I particularly like the name of course!) and the second is soon to follow.


New Patterns


  • So this list is usually in no particular order but when the pattern is your namesake I think it deserves to be top of the queue right?! The Fiona Sundress is the latest release from Closet Case Patterns and is a true stunner. I was their pattern muse this time around and Heather Lou has basically created my dream dress! I am so stunned and touched. Both views have a button up front and princess seamed bodice. View A has wide straps and a midi-length column skirt with side vents and View B has a gorgeous low back with cross straps and the option for a mini or below knee length skirt. Be prepared for this blog to be filled with them.
  • Style Arc released the Annabelle Woven Dress which is a sleek and sophisticated wrap style. The pattern features an optional small double edged ruffle along the bodice wrap edge and cuffs for the cap sleeves. They also launched the Catalina Designer Dress which has statement balloon sleeves which are pleated into a raglan shoulder seam.
  • The new collection from Trend Patterns is formed of three stunning new designs. The TPC20 Shirt & Shirtdress and TPC19 Slip Dress are both classic styles with their unique twist but my favourite of the bunch is the TPC18 Twist Dress which has a flattering relaxed cut and twist feature in the front which can be made at the centre or off to one side.
  • The two new patterns released with Seamwork Magazine this month work well together when made in the same fabric as a kind of faux romper. The Kristin Top is a boxy cropped style which wraps around the body and has three armholes and no fastening. The Heidi Shorts also have a relaxed fit with high pleated waist and the member exclusive pattern bonus this month turned these into a skort. 
  • I mentioned that Merchant & Mills released the Gyo Top & Dress last month but completely missed that they also released the Francine Top, Clementine Skirt, Ottoline Shirt and Heroine Jeans. I thought I'd include them this month as these gorgeous workwear inspired designs are all definitely worth attention!
  • Sarah Kirsten sent out the Walnut Wrap Skirt as a free download for newsletter subscribers. The download includes instructions to draft and sew your own cute streamlined wrap design.
  • New from Tessuti is the Hazelwood Top. This is going high on my sewing list for autumn. I love the relaxed funnel neck and swinging a-line shape which is emphasised in sturdier knits. They also released the Felicia Pinafore Dress. A simple shape for any season with sleeveless bodice, slightly dropped waist and gathered skirt.
  • The Emma Racer Back Slip and Bralette is new from Measure Twice Cut Once. The pattern is designed for knits and features a slim racer back and cups shaped with gentle gathering. I love the simple sophistication of this and the binding finish.
  • Making Patterns Fly released the Top Halter which is a gorgeous simple lined design which would look best in really lightweight, floaty fabrics like the sample. The halter neck is gathered front and back with a tie.
  • Itch to Stitch released the Crystal Cove Cami which has a relaxed fit and spaghetti straps. It features an overlapping back with curved hem which would be lovely and cool in the heat of summer. The pattern comes with pieces for A-DD cup.
  • The Libby Shirt was Sew Over It's PDF pattern release of the month. It is a cropped style with a relaxed fit, open notched collar and short grown on sleeves with cuffs. This would look great made up in a fun rayon print and paired with jeans.
  • The new Ulysses Trench from Victory Patterns has caused quite the stir on social media and it is easy to see why! Despite my brain being filled with summer sewing ideas this has made me think about sewing for next season; definitely one for the wish-list. It is a contemporary draped take on the classic trench with beautiful and clever details such as the belt loops being part of the rear storm flap.
  • Nina Lee released what is basically my dream dress pattern in the form of the Mayfair Dress. I've got one RTW summer maxi dress which is so old and well worn that it has holes in but I've been too lazy to try and recreate. This jersey design is pretty much a dead ringer and I'm so excited to make multiple versions! The dress features a gathered front with grown on collar and waist ties and you have the option to make maxi or knee length as well as three sleeve lengths to chose from.
  • The new releases from Mood Fabrics this month included the Rowan Dress and Rosa Blouse the glamorous cut out sleeve of which I love. They also released the Rosemary Blazer, Sage Shorts and Solandra Gown which features a silk chiffon cape.
  • The Clare Dress is new from DG Patterns; a knit faux wrap dress with gathered skirt and gorgeous open flared sleeves. They also released the Silvia Top & Dress which is a knit design with flared sleeves and shape provided by the shirring across the front waist.
  • Louis Antoinette Swing in PDF format
  • The new Roksi Trio from Amy Nicole Studio is a clever design including a swing style crop top, tank and dress. All three elements can be layered over one another for a tiered look plus each element is reversible so you can mix and match to your hearts content.
  • Tessuti Felicia Pinafore Dress
  • Issue 3 of Lisa Comfort magazine is out now and includes the Lottie Dress pattern; a simple, strappy summer classic with a button-up front. She has also added a couple of summer designs to her new Poppy and Jazz line, both of which make for a very co-ordinated little look. They are the Raspberry Romper & Hat and Daffodil Dress & Pants.
  • Wearologie released the Aestiva Sleeveless Vest. It can be made either short at waist length with a waistband and mandarin collar or in a longer length which I love the drama of! I think this would look great made up in linen and layered over a breezy linen dress of a different shade. 
  • New from Hot Patterns this month are the HP 1235 Riviera Deauville Pull-On Pants and HP1234 Wong-Singh-Jones Kimono Shirt-Jacket which a a truly beautiful elegant pyjama style top with kimono sleeves. I'd love to make this up in a dramatic silk satin print.
  • Simple Sew released the Tara Button-Back Dress. It has an empire line bodice, short sleeves and detail in the back which buttons all the way down.
  • Greenstyle Creations have released some real gems of late. The Havana Dress is the latest and the Bohemian maxi vibe is right up my street. There are three lovely back options including a racer shape, low scoop and the unique lace up style which is my personal favourite.
  • The Perkins Shirt Dress is new from Ensemble Patterns. It has a relaxed fit, grown on cuffed short sleeves and either a gathered or flat yoke. All four lengths of this look really contemporary and wearable and my personal favourite is the dress with side slits.
  • Goheen Designs released the Huxley Backpack. I've been thinking about making myself a practical bag and this could be just the ticket. The larger size is big enough for my laptop and it can convert from backpack to crossbody bag to bike bag. You can also make it with or without the lid flap.
  • The Brome Dress & Top is new from Fancy Tiger Crafts and is available in both paper and PDF format. It offers three sleeve options and three lengths with lots of lovely details to sew including a front placket, narrow band collar and cuff bands.
  • The new Carmen Flounce Skirt from Designer Stitch has all the appeal of an on trend ruffled wrap skirt with non of the wind issues as it is a clever mock wrap style. I think they've got the proportions of the frill just right.
  • Wardrobe by Me released a new men's pattern in the form of Cargo Shorts. They have been well thought out with deep pleated side pockets and back reinforcement. A really great practical and wearable project to make for you men or the men in your life. 
  • The Pixie Tee is the latest release from Chalk & Notch and has a relaxed fit with two sleeve options and either a hem band or gathered hem ties. 
  • PM Patterns have just released Suùn; a dress or top for women with a v-neck line created by gathering fabric into the shoulder yoke and which has three depths to choose from. I love the sample that has piping along the gathered shoulder yoke seam, what a lovely detail.
  • The Kirei Camisole pattern is new from Blank Slate Patterns. The knit design includes the option for a built in shelf bra and the choice between a fitted or swinging body skimming fit.
  • The ladies from Smyly Magazine have launched the Abi Jumpsuit. Designed for knits the sleek style has the option for wide or tailored and cropped, long or short length legs. It makes use of the bodice from their Samantha Dress so if you already own this you can purchase an add on of just the trouser pieces.
  • Now available on freesewing.org is the Penelope Pencil Skirt which is a classic fitted design. This heralds the beginning of a number of new womenswear patterns on the site, the next being for a circle skirt.
  • Madalynne released a new pattern in collaboration with Simplicity. The 8711 pattern includes an underwired bralette, with a floating bridge to hold a continuous monowire for support and also a pair of undies with a ruffle feature at the back.
  • Released just yesterday are two new designs from Tilly & The Buttons. The Stevie Top or Tunic Dress has a modern boxy fit with the choice of ties or button loop closure at the back. The Seren Dress is a classic button up strappy summer dress with the option to add a neckline flounce.


Pattern updates and expansions




Sew-alongs, Tutorials and Online Courses


  • Megan Nielsen has been running a detailed sew-along for her recently released River Dress & Top. The tutorials include two methods of sleeve insertion and tips and tricks for making this design in both wovens and knits.
  • The True Bias Yari Jumpsuit sew-along posts are now all up including a hack to make yours with a long tie around the waist instead of the short straps and d-rings to cinch it in.
  • To celebrate the Suki Kimono being June's #sewmystyle Helen from Helen's Closet has been running a sew-along for the pattern over on her blog. It has been super in depth with a few alternative construction methods and hack ideas thrown in so worth a look.
  • Love Notions have been running a sew-along for their Cadence Dress & Top including some really useful posts on fitting and adjustments you can make.
  • Gertie is hosting a sew-along for her B6556 dress pattern on her blog and facebook. If you join the facebook group you can have a good chat about your project, post photos and share/ask for fitting tips and advice.
  • Fancy Tiger Crafts have been posting a series of instructional videos for sewing their latest pattern, the Brome Dress & Top. There area number of fiddly details involved in this dress including cuff bands and partial plackets so I think this is a great resource.
  • A complete guide and sew-along for sewing Madalynne's new underwired bralette and ruffle undie pattern with Simplicity can be downloaded here.


Upcoming!


  • Gabby let us in on the news that she is going to be launching Gabberdashery Patterns soon! Gabby is working with the very talented Barbara A.K.A Rocking Stitch and they are recording their progress on Gabby's Youtube channel.
  • Jennifer Lauren Handmade will soon be releasing the Raine Dress; a summer dress with a vintage vibe, two views and pockets!
  • There is a new website launching soon which will be purely dedicated to maternity sewing! The site will be THE place to find maternity specific and 'maternity friendly' sewing patterns.
  • Halfmoon Atelier have not one but two patterns coming in the next few days. I already love the look of the summer jumpsuit and the Wells Bay Bikini is reversible!
  • Afternoon Patterns will be launching their latest design, the Sparrow Wrap Dress on Monday!


Other Exciting News






  • I'm a little bit in love with the striped BurdaStyle Wrap Dress Jade has made! So chic and modern. I adore her use of stripes and monochrome and the whole styling of this outfit is spot on.
  • Lauren's cropped linen version of the Kalle Shirt has made me see the pattern in a totally different light. I love it with a little structure, paired with denim and in a classic white. A true summer wardrobe staple.
  • I could not resist sharing Emily's Omer Jacket with you. This pattern really grabbed me when I saw it in La Maison Victor magazine, I love all those pocket, zip and topstitching details and she made a great fabric choice with a waxed cotton.
  • Sara's Myosotis Dress is absolutely dreamy. I almost splurged on some of this Blackbird Fabrics viscose a while back and now I really wish I had. One of those sewing projects that I wish I owned. It will transition really well into winter with tights too.
  • No one knows how to showcase a bold and beautiful fabric better than Marcy. I love how simply she has done it here with her hack of the Ogden Cami, adding a ruffled skirt to make a breezy summer dress.