One fabric … two projects

I had already drafted this post in my head when I read this one from Lesley King where she explains at the end how she likes to wear clothes to work that match the theme of her meetings. It sounds like she has the perfect job for this and her meetings certainly sound more interesting than the ones I go to!

Having said that, one of my many work activities involves racing yachts. Not actually racing them myself as I know pretty much nothing about actual sailing (other than it makes me feel a bit queasy) but I do know a lot about sailing regattas and organising groups of sailors to crew the yachts! Getting them all together in the same place at the same time with the right kit is always a challenge (like herding cats someone once suggested).

I spotted this fabric in C & H Fabrics in Chichester and decided it was a perfect choice. When I showed it to my boss his response was that it would “make nice cushions” so I decided to make him some. I’m not entirely sure whether he thought the fabric wasn’t suitable for a skirt but he won’t be wearing it so it doesn’t really matter!

Boat fabric

I was going to try it out with Tilly’s Delphine pattern but decided that I didn’t want to break the pattern up too much with a waistband so went for something very simple and stuck with the tried and tested McCall’s 3830 which I remembered to cut a bit longer than last time. For a bit of a change I decided to add in-seam pockets which I’ve only ever tried once before on a dress which turned out to be a disastrous sack-like shape and was never worn. I do love pockets!

McCalls 3830

I traced off a pocket pattern from an existing skirt but having sewn them in I realised they were far too big.  Rather than unpick everything I managed to reduce the size in situ with some careful cutting and re-stitching. I used the skirt fabric for the pocket bags because I didn’t have enough of the spotty lining fabric but next time I think I will try using a lighter weight fabric. I’ll also move the pockets up a tiny bit to take account of my short arms! I wish I’d used a more robust interfacing in the skirt facing as it tends to fold over and crease at the waist but it’s not a major issue.  I used bias binding for the hem again as I enjoyed the process last time.  It was great to have something new Me-Made to wear yesterday.

As for the cushions, I kept them very simple with an envelope back. This does use up a bit more fabric but avoids the need for a zip. The main problem here was that the boats appear on the fabric the right way up, sideways and upside down (the last two are not ideal positions for a boat).  Because I decided to squeeze three cushions out of the fabric one of them only has capsized boats on the front!


I washed the fabric before using it for the skirt. It did fade slightly in places but I managed to use that area up in the pocket bags. I didn’t bother with pre-washing for the cushion covers.

Morsbag 16

The Morsbag Challenge has been a bit neglected recently so last night I made number 16 which leaves four more to make. These are all going to be from another striped fabric which was an IKEA purchase destined to make a long cushion for a garden chair which never came to be. Two of the bags are already allocated so I will just have three more to give away (including the one above – unless I decide to keep it for myself).


Bank Holiday Sewing Fest

As I had the house to myself over the Bank Holiday weekend I spent some lovely uninterrupted time at the sewing machine.

The spotty skirt is finished.  I’m very glad I decided to line it because it has given it more body and it now hangs much better.  I always find that sitting at my desk all day in a skirt lined with a satin-type fabric seems to put too much strain on the back seam and the fabric starts to pull at the stitches.  On the last couple of skirts I have added a strip of satin ribbon, stitched along either side of the seam line, and this has definitely ‘spread the load’ and made a difference.  I’ve done it again on this skirt just to be on the safe side.

I also decided to finish the hem with bias binding partly because I had cut it slightly too short and partly because the fabric had a tendency to fray rather drastically.  I used this tutorial which was very helpful because I’ve never been sure how to finish the ends on bias binding and this worked perfectly.  I know the grey lining and binding don’t really match the fabric but the lining was already cut out for another project so it saved a lot of time.  I find it is much easier to hand sew the hem using the binding and it does give a really neat finish.  The two layer construction of the fabric meant that I could just catch the inner layer so no stitching shows on the outside.

Next up was yet another Coco top.  I mentioned the fabric in a previous post – a ponte Roma from Clothspot.  When I came to use it it was a lot thinner than I had realised so I decided against the funnel neck and just went for the round neck version.  I’m not crazy about the fabric and the stretch is minimal so it is a bit of a wriggle to get out of it!  I’m sure it will be a useful basic though.

Black Coco

Last, but most definitely not least, the Brighton Pavilion dress (Butterick See & Sew B5447) is finished!  It took no time at all once I got on with it and I absolutely love it.  I’ve just noticed this photograph makes the hem look like it slants but it definitely doesn’t.  The princess seams which are just visible in the first picture have blended in pretty well and the dress is lined in a lovely fine lawn which is really comfortable to wear.  We have a party to go to on the 30th and this will be the perfect party frock!  I’m so glad I’ll get a chance to wear it during Me-Made-May.

I’ve nearly finished another skirt with a nautical theme but that will be the subject of a separate post.