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Gertie Sews Vintage Casual Cigarette Pants

August 3, 2017

Readers – I have made my first pair of fitted trousers, and I’m pretty pleased with how they have turned out!  I used the Cigarette Pants pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.  Gertie recommends using a fabric with a bit of stretch, but says the trousers can be made in a non-stretch fabric if a little bit of extra ease is added.  I had some twill weave wool blend already in my stash which was not stretchy, so I decided to use it and see how the trousers would turn out.

Basically these trousers were a completely free make – the book of patterns was a gift, the fabric was leftover from a commission, I had interfacing in my stash already, and the zip was taken out of something else (it was too long, but I shortened it).  The only thing it cost me was time – and that was only two nights after the kids had gone to bed, including tracing the pattern.

Overall, the fit is pretty good, although next time I definitely would use fabric with a bit of stretch, just to make them more comfortable for things like, you know, sitting down, or bending your legs!  (I can do those things, but they dig in a bit).

I really like the tartan pair pictured in the book, so if I can lay my hands on something similar, I think I’d like to make a pair for winter.

The pattern design does not include a waistband, just a facing on the inside.  They fasten with a concealed zip at the centre back, which I managed to sew in perfectly!

Maybe one of these days I’ll get round to sewing myself a pair of jeans!

They definitely seem to meet with George’s approval…

The Culottes Jumpsuit!

July 31, 2017

This is a bit of a Marmite-type project – you either love it or you hate it!  It’s definitely a departure from my usual style, and a bit out of my comfort zone.  I haven’t worn it out in public yet, so at the moment I’m not sure about it.  I think I like it!  You can read more about it here on the Minerva blog.  They provided the fabric (plain black viscose), zip and pattern (McCall’s M7167).




Make your own teething pads for Ergo baby carrier

July 11, 2017

Recently I was asked to make a pair of ‘teething pads’ to fit around the straps of an Ergo baby carrier, with a loop at the top for hanging toys from.  In case you want to know how to make something similar, I’m writing a brief tutorial!

My friend carrying her baby in the Ergo carrier, with my teething pads attached

The dimensions I was given to work from were width 8cm, length 12cm, with an overlap of 3cm.

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of soft 100% cotton (main fabric), cut to a rectangle measuring twice the given width + overlap + seam allowance
  • 2 pieces of fleece or light quilt batting (same measurements)
  • 2 pieces soft backing fabric such as thick cotton jersey or towelling (same measurements)
  • about 5 inches ribbon (no wider than 5/8″)
  • popper tape – around 12″
  • thread

What to do:

Lay the main fabric wrong sides together with the fleece or batting and baste around the edge or serge together.

Cut a 2.5″ length of ribbon, fold it in half and place along the longer, top edge of the main fabric/fleece piece, having right sides together and raw edges even, approximately 2″ in from the top right hand corner.  Now lay your chosen backing fabric on top, right sides together, sandwiching the ribbon between the layers.  Pin in place.

Starting 1/3 of the way along the bottom edge, sew towards the bottom left corner, then up to the top left corner, continuing to sew all around the edge of the rectangle until you reach 1/3 of the way along the bottom edge on the right hand side.  Backstitch to reinforce.  You should be left with a gap at the centre bottom.

Remove pins and clip the corners as shown above, then turn right sides out through the gap.  Press, then topstitch into place around all edges, securing the opening closed as you do so.

Now sew your popper tape on.  You can overlap, but I found it to be very bulky this way, so I sewed both sides of the popper tape to the wrong side of the pads (i.e. the jersey side), so they would just close like a book.

Pop them onto your baby carrier and you’re good to go!

Thank you to my friend for the photos 🙂

Hummingbird print Scout Tee

July 4, 2017

Last month when I went to the Sew Up North meet up, I was very restrained when it came to buying fabric.  I don’t like having a big stash of fabric – it stresses me out if I can’t just sew up what I’ve got, and it makes me feel somewhat unproductive.  As we wandered around the market, I saw so many lovely fabrics, and all at such great prices, that I was too overwhelmed really to pick one out.  As a consequence, I spent most of the time just standing near the stalls and chatting away to everyone instead, which was great!  However, when we got to Jack’s Fabrics, I noticed that Amy was holding a rather lovely bolt of fabric, and IT WAS ONLY £1.50 PER METRE GUYS!  It was a silky sort of fabric, very light and floaty and drapey, and I knew it would be just perfect for a Grainline Scout Tee.  I wanted another one as I’ve been wearing my first version a lot with jeans and with my denim Moss skirt.  Both Amy and I bought a couple of metres each, feeling very pleased with ourselves.

Grainline Scout Tee

I made my top on the Monday – it’s a super easy and quick sew!  The top doesn’t really have much hanger appeal, but stick a pair of boobs under it and it looks grand.

Grainline Studio Scout Tee

I can wear this without a cami underneath and it isn’t so sheer that my bra shows, so that’s handy for when it’s really hot, and with a cami underneath it’s a bit warmer! Win!

Looking forward to seeing what Amy makes with her fabric!

Blue rose print Gertie dress

June 29, 2017

When the latest Cath Kidston catalogue landed on my doormat recently, I was immediately inspired by their colour palette of blue and white floral prints, and got straight on the hunt for some blue roses from Minerva to make my own dress.  They had exactly what I was looking for – a bold and beautiful rose print stretch cotton sateen.  When, a few weeks later, my copy of Love Sewing arrived, I couldn’t help noticing that one of the illustrations on the pattern envelope that came free with the magazine was also a blue floral print!

Mood Board Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but I always associate rose prints with Gertie, so I chose my ideal pattern of hers for this print: the Surplice dress from the book ‘Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book’.  I have made this dress before as a Minerva project (using a mini octopus print!), and I really like the bodice style, so I knew it was going to be a winning combination.

I was able to make the dress in just one day, which was very pleasing, and I wore it the next day to the Sew Up North meet up in Leeds which was great fun!  So lovely to see old friends, meet new friends, and treat myself to a few lengths of fabric!

My sewing pins which I wore to Sew Up North!

Minerva provided the fabric, zip and thread for this dress, and I provided the interfacing, the pattern and the sewing 🙂  I’m so in love with this dress – I think it’s beautiful.  You can read more about its construction over on the Minerva site, where there are more photos too.

Bye for now!

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top

June 12, 2017

I’m always trying to squeeze garments out of pieces of fabric that are too small.  I had some fabric leftover from my Colette Moneta dress, which I decided to get a Coco top out of to wear under one of my many dungaree dresses!  I had to get creative with the cutting layout as usual, and it meant that the top would have to be short sleeved, and that the sleeve seam allowance would include the selvedge.


Once the sleeve was hemmed, you can’t see this unless it’s inside out.

Hemmed sleeve

There’s not much to say about the pattern itself – I’ve used it six times, I think, now!  It’s a very handy little pattern to have.  It’s really quick and easy to make and I like the fit of it on me.  As a top, it goes great under dungarees and it looks nice with jeans and it’s a good length.  I’d like to make another Coco dress soon – I’ve worn my black one LOADS, but I chopped my purple one into a top, so I need to fill that gap!

Tilly Coco Top with short sleeves

I made this during Me Made May 2017, and the first time I wore it was under a dungaree dress.

Me and a mini pirate for Me Made May (his outfit made by me too)

A nice, quick, easy addition to my wardrobe!

Glitter Star Print Linden Sweatshirt

May 19, 2017

Earlier in the year I went to visit a friend in London and we went to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Kensington Olympia, where I treated myself to some lovely glittery stars sweatshirt fabric to make a second Grainline Linden sweatshirt.  I made my last one in September and I’ve worn it quite a lot, so I wanted a second one to add into the rotation.  This fabric has a really soft, cosy, slightly fluffy backing and feels lovely to wear.

As is frequently the case with me, the fabric I chose was the last of the bolt, so I ended up with less than 1.5m, but I reckoned I could make it work anyway.  I did, but I had to cut View B, which is the shorter length, in order to squeeze it all onto the fabric.  I was a bit disappointed that I had to do this, because I’m not a fan of really short tops, and I’m quite long bodied anyway, but it was the best I could do.

Cutting layout – a bit of a squeeze!

Rather than go with View B for the whole thing, though, I still had enough fabric to cut the long sleeves and the hem bands for View A (although I couldn’t get the back hem band on the fold, so I had to cut two pieces and have a centre back seam).

I didn’t use ribbing for the cuffs or neckband because I couldn’t find any that matched and I didn’t want a contrast colour.  It’s fine not to use ribbing, the only problem I have found is that when you don’t use ribbing for cuffs, it’s harder to roll your sleeves up when washing up or something, because the cuffs are not quite stretchy enough!  I can live with that, though.

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

In the end, by adding the hem band to View B, the length is not noticeably shorter than View A, and I’m happy with it.  It curves upwards slightly, but it doesn’t seem obvious when I’m wearing it.

Photo taken during Me Mad May 2017, worn here with the Grainline Moss skirt

What a great pattern – I really do like Grainline Studios designs!

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