Bess tried out this new Sorona fibre (made from corn) as a spring duffle type coat (or that was the intention – she went a bit off-piste). The fabric is velvety soft with a smooth pile and (hoorah!) is washable 👏👏👏, the pattern is the Closet Core Kelly Anorak hacked to take buttons down the front.
There was no fixed idea about colours, length or fastening whilst this jacket was being made, Bess’s husband was away and she took over the kitchen table with her box of tricks and had a good old play. The trimming is a polyester grosgrain that she pinned and repositioned until she had a look that pleased her.
The coat is lined with a super slinky cotton lawn – so slinky Bess thought she’d get away with it on the sleeves but that was a mistake, sooner or later those sleeve linings are going to have to come out and be replaced by regular Venezia so wearing a jumper + wearing the coat does not incur a 10 minute battle of the wills. Cotton, no matter how slinky, is not slinky enough for a coat sleeve. Bess knew this but she tried it anyway. 🙄
At the risk of looking ‘like a girl’ Bess added grosgrain trim to funky it up somewhat, and used a mix of vintage and new half ball buttons. The only interfacing she used was down the front facing (H0026 viscose), normally the hood facing would be interfaced on the kelly anorak but in this heavy fabric it was not necessary.
The jury is out if this fibre is perfect for outerwear, we are always looking out for alternatives to wool for coats and whilst the softness and washability is an absolute boon it is not as warm as wool, not by a long shot. If you can’t wear wool then this would be the next favourite as is far kinder to the environment than any synthetic polyester or acrylic type coating, but to make this a proper coat (to wear in cold weather) you would want to add some interlining to help with the insulation. The bonus of it not being terribly warm is it’s not too hot either – so a great coat to wear when in and out of shops and galleries without having to take off and carry.
Maria made this fabulous classic navy blue duffle coat to fit her tall frame using coating weight wool tweed and it is perfect for the chilly Scottish weather, love the comment about it reaching her hands – I’ve been making clothes so long I’d forgotten that’s a thing. How do tall people ever put up with ready to wear clothes? Much better idea to make it. 👍 She posted on instagram:
Finally it’s finished!! And just in time for the snow ❄️ I got the fabric for this coat as a Christmas present almost 2 years ago and progress has been sloooow. Lots of new techniques, first time sewing with wool, first time bagging out a lining and I wanted to really take time and get it as good as I could. It’s not perfect but I just love wearing this coat! I’ve wanted a good duffle coat for ages but I struggle with finding one to fit with my height- it’s so nice to have sleeves that actually reach my hands finally! The coat pattern is the #cascadedufflecoat from @grainlinestudio
Ann used the slightly felted jumper knit to make up this Maker’s Atelier ‘flared top’ – she made the short version and didn’t sew the neckband as instructed- joined the neck seam and then attached neckband (which is more logical). Well done Ann- this jumper is fun and happy and we love it.
Do not adjust your screen! Shockingly bright neon moss crepe made up beautifully as a ruffle dress by Malin who initially planned it to be a skirt lining – but all best laid plans and all that – It turned into this. Made over the duration of two evenings as a last minute party dress. It’s fabulous. Malin had lots of lovely comments. And she definitely stood out!
Another joyous shirt from Sue- this time hot air balloon print lightweight linen for her husband. The pattern is Kwik Sew K3422 – a lovely simple pattern sewn beautifully – just look at those perfectly turned collar points. 👍
Not sure if there could be a more glorious shirt than this? Goldfish print Spanish lightweight linen made by sue for her brother, Alex. The pattern is Kwik Sew K3422 which Sue said was lovely and straightforward (that’s what we like!).
Bess used up her last precious remnant of her favourite robot print french terry jersey on this Jalie Patterns Charlie Bomber jacket for her niece, it is amazing how little main fabric you need for a bomber jacket as the cuffing, pocket contrasts, sleeves and lining are all other remnants. This pattern may just be the ultimate in stash busting!
Bess used printed french terry sweatshirting jersey and a variety of other sweatshirtings and ribbing to make this Jolie Patterns Charlie Bomber Jacket.. It was a success and Amelie declared she was never going to take it off (YES!)
The pattern has really clear instructions and goes from teeny tiny toddler size all the way up to adults, it’s highly recommended
Bomber jackets are excellent stash busters as all the pieces are quite small (especially for the kids!) and you can mix and match, bomber jackets are an easy fit so good to make “in secret” without the need to try on.
There was a bit of drama with the making of this one as Bess needed to shorten the zip – usually a simple process of pulling off the teeth at the top and sewing over to stop the puller falling off -except she pulled off the puller before she had it secured and then spent as long trying to get it back on as she did making the entire jacket. 🙄
Kitcat here wearing the sequinned bomber jacket @bessworks made for her (she’s very pleased 😀).
This is the Charlie bomber from Jalie patterns – The pattern has really clear instructions and goes from teeny tiny toddler size all the way up to adults, it’s highly recommended 🥰. Bomber jackets are also excellent stash busters as all the pieces are quite small (especially for the kids!) and you can mix and match, bomber jackets are an easy fit so good to make “in secret” without the need to try on. This multicolour sequined version used only 45cm of the sequin fabric- handy because it is £55/m 😭! – it’s a great way of getting a jacket out of a special fabric that you don’t have /want to buy much of.
Jill came to the shop (by appointment) and chose this wonderful paisley print needlecord for the Homer & Howells Cissy Dress and YAY! it has pockets! Gotta love a dress with pockets and this style is such a lovely easy to wear dress that suits Jill well.
Lined in a lovely plummy burgundy Venezia lining which works well with babycord dresses.
This dress looks a million dollars and so well executed Katie is rightly proud of her make (and we are so proud of her). She used a tried and tested pattern ….vogue 8903 and added a cuff. She said she “had to hand sew the collar stand down as it was too much of a challenge getting all those layers through my domestic machine. Really pleased with this and will wear it to death!”
The fabric is a super soft and washable suedette with a bit of stretch in it ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
Janet made up this super shell top and A-line skirt combo for Lucy using our green and pink archive floral print pima cotton lawn and olive green tencel feel medium weight linen and viscose. Both are unlined and perfect for hot summery days (oh I dream of those!), a concealed zipper is in the back of the skirt.
Jacoba used this fun cactus print laminated cotton to make her Vogue V8884 double breasted raincoat and lined it in a joyous yellow Venezia – it almost makes you look forward to the rain when you have a lovely happy raincoat like this!
Bess made a T-Shirt for her ‘star bellied sneetch’ using black 100% cotton piqué low stretch jersey with pale grey Sneetch star (also 100% cotton jersey), -attached with bondaweb and then stitched, black cuffing on the neck, the pattern is Burda 6602 size 44 with no alterations and it is indeed super easy 👏👏👏
Did you know we sell patterns? We do! We stock Burda, Butterick, McCall’s and Vogue, we also can have Simplicity sent direct to you. Our patterns are not on the website but you can browse them online HERE
Bess used a heavy 10oz 100% cotton denim to make these jeans using the Deer and Doe ‘Narcisse’ pants which is designed for medium weight fabrics such as linen or worsted suiting. Due to the weight Bess didn’t want darts – the front darts were moved into side and centre front seam, the back darts were turned into a yoke*. She also wasn’t sure about inseam pockets on such a heavy denim so used regular jean pockets and the back welt pockets were swapped for patch pockets.
The pattern was sized down quite a bit as this denim is too heavy to be too big, bias stay tape on the pocket – it works a treat and keeps that pocket opening the size and shape the sewing gods wanted
*Drafting a yoke from the back darts is super easy First, take your back trouser pattern and make a horizontal cut near the top of the pattern piece to make the yoke. When you are cutting, it should kind of yoke-shaped, ie, angled higher at the side seams and lower at the center back. Your cut should touch the tip of the dart(s). Take the yoke that you cut off, slash through the darts and close them. This will change the shape of the pattern piece and if it becomes too ‘pointy’ just smooth off a little to make it a nice curve. Add seam allowances to both yoke and trouser seams. Works every time 👍
Pure wool British made tweed is an absolute joy to work with but nevertheless the skills involved to create this fabulous man’s jacket and waistcoat is exemplary, Gary launched into this project with no training nor teacher (other than his ‘Sewing for Men’ Simplicity how-to book from the 70’s – gifted from a neighbour (it cost 40p!)) and my oh my he did a good job. The pattern is self drafted / robbed from existing/ cobbled together as all great sewists can do. The jacket and waistcoat are both lined in a lovely deep burgundy satin lining. It’s all just soooo good.
Ruth made up this cute as a button flower power print stretch cotton sateen romper suit with McCall’s 7626 pattern for her daughter Lizzy. Sooo much fun and Ruth said the fabric was a joy to work with (Yeah!)
Joan bought indigo and a black stretch denims from us in a bid to get some jeans that fit and she did a stellar job.
The pattern she used was a mix up of various elements: an old Vogue pattern for the blue jeans fly, Closet Core Ginger midrise jeans for the start of the black fly, and a lot of the sewing method, plus a pattern drafted off an old pair of her best fitting jeans and tweaked for a better fit. She modified the fly so that it more closely resembled RTW finish in the black pair and that worked better than the blue pair.
She bought the Mara 70 thread and found the best success when using it in the bobbin plus top thread.
Lois used Burda 6845 with no alterations (though she conseeds it’s a little long we think it’s nice like that) and used our black wool melton. I’m in awe of her pockets – they are seriously neat. This is a proper lovely coat. Well done Lois.
The best thing about grey is how it makes colours POP and so adding neon colours to grey is a recipe for some serious popping. Lucy made this bomber jacket for her husband and finished it with our neon cuffing and it just delightful.
Linda made this lovely flared maxi skirt over a duration of two years (it’s never too late to finish a project!) – it was lockdown that gave her the final push and it so fabulous. The fabric is a lightweight polyester satin crepe with a super fluid drape, she used Vogue V8222.
Debbie chose lockdown to make up a silk satin back crepe dress to die for. The pattern is an ancient Vogue pattern and she used the superweight satin back crepe to greatest effect by switching the right side on a panel. She said it wasn’t easy to work with and found an AO cutting mat and lots of wonder clips helped, and she did it! Sew beautiful!
Q) What’s more useful than a non-iron super drapey and flattering floaty dress? A) A non-iron super drapey top and skirt that looks like a dress! The beauty is the versatility with wardrobe options a plenty. This ‘dress’ is made in a lovely heavy polyester georgette (georgette is a very light fabric so heavy is a relative term here). All self drafted because Emma is a clever chick.
Emma self drafts all her patterns and this bias cut skirt is a beauty, made using a soft dusky pink polyester triple crepe which drapes like a dream. The skirt pulls on with an elasticated waistband (unless your hip – waist ratio is extreme there is rarely any reason to put a zip in bias cut skirt as it will often cause headaches and heartaches!)
The fabulous Jo made this shirt out of uber luxurious leopard print emerald green stretch silk satin backed crepe, the pattern was an amalgamation of a few patterns she had in store from years of sewing (which is a great defence for those accused of hoarding patterns). Jo is a brilliant dressmaker and this shirt in such a tricky slippery fabric is testament to her skill.
Effee said she bought this pink daisy print 100% cotton jersey fabric ‘by accident’ whilst looking for tailoring supplies, and then I guess this dress was accidentally made into this brilliantly happy swing dress from a self drafted pattern, and a jolly good accident it is too.
This type of 100% cotton jersey does not have too much stretch to it so perfect for this style dress.
Linda made these beautiful Persephone Sailor Pants by Anna Allen Sewing which she said, “The pattern is really simple which is was a good as it’s the first trousers I’ve made in a very long time! I’ll definitely be making another pair.” -The fabric is an olive green lightish weight stretch denim; approx 7oz. We sent a bit extra as it was the end of the bolt and there were a few marks which she found useful.
Jacoba said, “I am rather pleased with this coat! Seems my hand op hasn’t held me up at all as this was my post op recuperative project. It is Vogue 9157 – view B but without the pockets and belt and with the extra buttons as in A and C. Even the bound buttonholes worked perfectly. I decided against the hooks at the neck for the moment but may change my mind. I invariably wear a scarf anyway. The Red waffle wool is stunning and lovely to work with.
Lindy made New Look 6560 wrap blouse in lovely parasol print 100% Pima cotton lawn, she used view C, lengthened it by an inch and added a flounce. It has ties which she integrated into the top instead of having one loose one. Really pleased with it. It’s fabulous.
Anyone who follows Tina on Instagram (@sewimpatient) will know everything she makes is divine, this Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory Patterns is no exception. The linen is mixed with cotton, viscose and sorona – sorona adds a superb softness and elasticity to the fibre and makes a super comfortable and stylish fabric. It’s made from corn!.
Corinne used McCall’s M7324 pattern to make up this superfine digitally printed floral silk satin blouse – the repeat on this fabric was 90cm so was fun for placing the print in a waterfall / ombre effect. Fabulous.
Lindy used this vivid sapphire blue wool and cashmere mix coating to make up the Tessuti patterns Oslo coat – the fabric is gorgeously soft to the touch and is semi-felted which made it a great choice for this unstructured style. Lindy lined it in silk. ❤️
Lindy chose this brilliant jacquard jersey to use for McCall’s M6886 dress pattern and it is truly delightful. It is lined with tricot jersey to give it a bit more body and to save wearing a slip. This dress is DIVINE 😍
Fiona (lovely as it seams) made this absolutely fabulous heavy washed navy linen parachute skirt dungaree dress – self drafted. Isn’t it fabulous? Perfect eyelets! Perfect everything. She’s a very clever girl and I want her skillzzzz.
Bonus points to Sally for an excellent evaluation of these trousers:
Now – what did I think about the Itch-to-Stitch cargoes? I previously made a dress from them (Oia pattern) for my sister-in-law, which was fabulous. The pattern was very well designed and the instructions were so good that even this very beginner sewer succeeded. So I had high hopes for the Sequoia Cargoes. But in all honesty I am slightly disappointed. Why?
Sizing. Based on her chart I’m half way between a 6 and 8 based on hip and a size 10 for waist. Two toiles later, I wound up cutting the pattern halfway between a 6 and 8 for everything except for the waist which I actually graded DOWN to a size 6. Very illogical. The overall fit works fairly well on me – better than any other trouser patterns I have tried. I generally have to modify the crotch pattern based on a pair of RTW jeans that I like the fit of.
The instructions have some anomalies. The zip insertion is strange.
With a 1″ wide zip, the second stitch line would be on the very edge of the zipper tape. And anyway, why would you want the first stitch line/fold not closer to the teeth? I emailed Kerris at Itch-to-Stitch to question this instruction. She didn’t really understand the problem and advsed me to follow her instructions for putting a zip in jeans. I had already put the zip in my toile using my tried and test jeans zipper insertion method. It worked fine, but created a problem later with the sizing of the left and right waist band pieces. So I cut those pattern pieces larger in order to make it all come together right.
The Waistband is ribbing folded around a 1″ elastic. Following this instruction results in the seam joining the waistband intersecting the zig zag stitch. So half the zig zag is visible in the waistband. Again I asked Kerris about this and she pointed out it was a basting stitch and therefore gets removed. But it is not really feasible to remove this zig zag stitch when it is run through with a seaming stitch. So I did the zig zag higher up the waist band. After I inserted the waistband I decided I liked the look of the zig zag running through the middle of the ribbing so I left it in as a design feature.
Finishing the seam allowances: Given my choice of fabric (very prone to fraying) I struggled. I don’t have an overlocker – would love one but just don’t have the space to set it up. So I zig zagged the seam allowances. Not a great finish. Be interesting to see how they wash up.
Overall impressions of the look: I didn’t include the side pockets or the leg straps. I also didn’t put poppers on the back pocket flaps as I felt they were too heavy for the fabric. I wanted a wider leg but find the legs a bit wider than I would have liked. And I think the back pocket flaps are too large. I think a heavier fabric would better suit this pattern. Perhaps even something with some stretch. Will I make another pair? Probably not.
Bess made this shirt a couple of years ago for her much worse half using a Burda magazine pattern – it was a surprise for the Linen wedding anniversary and it took him a few months to actually wear it because the bib bit (according to Rob) “is a girl’s blouse” (🙄). Anyone else have this trouble with their spouses?! Bess swore she would never make anything for him ever again but then he started wearing it (it takes these boys a while to come round to the idea that we are right) and now it’s his favourite -along with another shirt in the same pattern.
Sorona mixed with linen is a lovely combo as it softens the linen and reduces the creasing -which is a good thing because Rob is scared of Bess’s gravity fed iron and Bess isn’t about to do his ironing 😉 . The colour has held true after many, many washes and unlike pure linen it doesn’t wear at the cuffs so quickly.
Sorona fibre is a new fibre made from Corn, it is a supple and stretchy filament that is mainly being marketed at performance wear.
The buttons (barely seen) are upside down abalone shell buttons, the interfacing (not seen!) is the H0023 lightweight knit which stabilises the linen enough for a button hole and collar but allows it to stay soft and floppy.
The lovely Anne made up our teal stretch babycord as a panelled A-line skirt and the bug print cotton poplin as a fun blouse. The sewing is impeccable (of course!) -beautifully turned collar, perfectly straight waistband… she’s a great sewer who kept herself busy during lockdown making a fabulous new wardrobe.
Black Denim jacket fabulousness made here by Sue in France, the denim is a 9.5oz washed Cotton – heavy enough for a jacket but not too heavy so as to cause tears whilst topstitching on a domestic sewing machine. As the jacket is unlined all the seams on the inside are beautifully finished with Bias Binding.
The Pattern is the Sienna Jacket by Close Core Patterns (used to be Closet Case Patterns)
I keep looking at this jacket thinking shall I? Shan’t I? Do I really need a new jacket. Yes. I absolutely do! I do need a new jacket!
Dark Purpley Blue and Black irregular spot printed tencel twill made up by Sue using the Merchant and Mills Edie top pattern. Tencel has the loveliest drape (like a heavy sandwashed silk) and this pattern with it’s gathered sleeves is just perfect for it. We love it ❤️
We are so loving this candy pink shift dress made up by Wendy in a scrumptious lightweight linen and (you can’t see it but trust us, it’s there) a fab leafy green cotton voile lining. The pattern is the Simplicity Jiffy 1252 which we have seen made up in so many fabrics and always looks great.
This superb leopard print Japanese linen shirt was made by the lovely AND talented Jennifer, she gets lots of compliments when wearing it (of course she does – it’s brilliant!). The Pattern is the Kalle Shirt by Closet Core patterns. She left us to pick the buttons and was pleased with our choice. (we went with bright blue to pick out the accented colour).
Bess used this fabulous nearly black suiting for her Bleuet Dress (by Deer and Doe Patterns), the fabric has a great drape and hardly creases despite the natural fibres so is perfect for a close fitting dress (so you don’t get those unsightly crease lines across the tummy). Bess highly recommends the pattern – it all went together beautifully. We especially like the closely placed buttons which allows for some fun with choices, she used up all manner of mismatched dyed shell buttons which she said was only a fraction of extra brain power when doing the button holes (different sizes!).
Despite loving the back waistline bow on the toile Bess was worried she would feel foolish in a bow (she’s not a bow kind of girl), an epiphany in the shower (it’s always in the shower!) came with the idea of using a slider buckle instead – same shape and idea as a bow, but without the prissiness. Her primary excuse for making this was she needed a “plain black semi-respectable dress” – despite the multi colour buttons and the not quite black of the fabric this sort of fulfilled her brief 😊
How glorious is this yellow dobby cotton voile sundress? As the fabric on it’s own was a little too see-through Angela lined it with cotton muslin. The pattern is based on McCall’s 7407, Angela says she’s going to make a tie belt to wear with it sometimes but thinks it will be very good loose in the hot weather! (definitely!)
This is Claire’s favourite dress – made using a great quality abstract squiggle print viscose twill, the pattern is Named Clothing Reeta shirtdress, beautifully finished with matching buttons and pink twill tape on the inside for the waist casing (which she left up to us to pick for her and was super pleased).
Andrea made this superb Agnes top (by Tilly and the Buttons) using a medium weight jacquard knit – just look at that lovely binding! The jersey is super soft and Andrea said it was lovely to work with (so much so she’d like a dress in it too).
Annie made this lovely knitted jacket using blush pink cotton mix jumper knit, the pattern was See and Sew B6120 (out of print) – due to the nature of the knit she left the darts out (unnecessary), used snap fasteners and added a collar (perfect 👌).
Jane made this super child’s coat using aubergine boiled wool and heavy needlecord for the collar (so there’s no complaints of itchy!). The pattern is Vogue V9043. The coat is lined with viscose twill coat lining and finished with shank buttons.
George (aptly named) made these fire breathing dragon print cotton jersey PJ’s for her littlest Godson, so much fun to be had with the glow in the dark flames 😊. All sewn on an ancient Singer 338 which all goes to prove those of us with fancy overlockers and coverstitch machines need to raise our game somewhat 🙄.
She left the choosing of buttons to us which is a nerve-wracking experience for us but you can always return buttons if they are not right. Buttons are such a personal thing. We went with the nautilus shell buttons which are an artwork all to themselves.
To use our fast and efficient swatch service please read the guidelines HERE
Allow 10% shrinkage for all your washable natural fibres (including viscose). Wash before making up in the same manner as you would with subsequent washes (including drying methods).
Jerseys and fabrics liable to mis-shape should be dried flat, or in a cool tumble dryer.
Most fabrics should be pressed before cutting.
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