Tag Archives: no pattern required

FO: Boxy Cuffed Tee + Tutorial

I’ll begin by apologising for the image quality in this post. I am having some serious photography woes at the moment. Doesn’t seem to matter what I do. Winter light levels have kicked in and I have some work to do to try and counteract this. I have a total mental block when it comes to the technicalities of camera settings but am TRYING to get my head around compensating for low light conditions. Right now…it just ain’t happening. And short of discontinuing blog posts until I sort it (not an option) I’m having to suck it up and make do with what I can muster photography wise for now. So basically….sorry for the s*** photos…

That said…I am pretty pleased with this top…BOXY CUFFED TEE (2)


Still exploring the boxy loose shape which, when combined with a decent drape,  is becoming a favourite of mine…BOXY CUFFED TEE

This one is comprised of 2 squares of fabric with cuffed bands applied to the sleeves and hem and a standard neckband finish to the neckline…

The fabric is from Girl Charlee. It’s the red orange and heather grey colourway. Lovely drape and softness against the skin and easy to work with.  I prewashed the fabric as I would be doing during normal use. Then again after I made the top at which time there was further shrinkage. Not massive amounts, but enough to slightly skew my sleeve and hem bands. SO…prewash…at least twice IMHO. 30 degrees and hang to dry rather than tumble…BOXY CUFFED TEE TUTORIAL (1)

BOXY CUFFED TEE TUTORIAL (7)I had to employ the differential feed on this too. Only a teeny bit. But worth swatching first with this one to limit stretching or shifting of layers whilst serging.

The top I made is 2 squares of fabric 28″ by 28″….BOXY CUFFED TEE

Pin along the outside edges to keep the stripes aligned….

Then serge straight across the top (where the neckline will be)…BOXY CUFFED TEE

We’ll come back to the neckline in a moment…

Measure approx 8″ down and snip a notch into the side seam…BOXY CUFFED TEE

This marks the armhole opening and provides a starting point for the serger…

Simply peel back the layers above the notch and line the innermost part of the cut/notch up with your needles…BOXY CUFFED TEE

Serge the side seams together.

Create a band to fit the armhole opening…BOXY CUFFED TEE TUTORIAL (8)

Pin that the the opening RS together and raw edges aligned…

Serge together…BOXY CUFFED TEE

Then cut out a neck opening your desired width…

Measure the opening …BOXY CUFFED TEE

Then cut a band from your remaining fabric to fit. Cutting the neckband marginally smaller than the measurement of the neckline opening  (about 5/8″) helps the neckband to turn inwards and sit flat once it’s applied.

Apply the band to the neck opening…BOXY CUFFED TEE

Press seam allowance down and top stitch if desired.

For the bottom hem the treatment is pretty much the same as the sleeves…BOXY CUFFED TEE

I cut off the bottom 6″ of the hem…

And folded it in half to create a band…BOXY CUFFED TEE

Then simply applied that to the hem.


Super easy. Super quick. Super comfy. 🙂


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FO: Scuba Pencil Skirt + tutorial

This may actually be one of the most versatile garments I’ve sewn! I don’t normally style a make in lot’s of different ways for a blog post, but since skirts are an alien concept to me I needed to try out a few ideas and see what worked best for me. It turns out quite alot works with a black pencil skirt which shouldn’t surprise me as it’s often touted as THE supreme wardrope staple. It’s just that as a lifelong tomboy I tend to stick resolutely to trousers. I may have been swayed with this make…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT OUTFITS

So…if I’m such a trousers devotee…you might ask what prompted me to sew a pencil skirt? Well….I’ll explain! I fell prey to the confusion that exists over the difference between neoprene and scuba. Know the difference? I didn’t! I saw the word scuba and thought I had ordered neoprene. Which is a foam core sandwiched between two layers of dense knit. (Yes, the stuff that wetsuits are made from hence the “Scuba” confusion) I planned to make a giant tote/shopper. Then my scuba arrived… (Remnant Kings at £9.99 a metre. This is the heavyweight scuba that they have currently sold out of but they have the medium weight and some new crepe scuba in stock which would also work for a lighter version of this. Get 10% off when you use the code MAKERY10 )SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Scuba it turns out is a very dense knit. Sturdy but with some drape and firm stretch and a very slight sponginess. Definately apparel weight though. So I had to rethink my plans; and “The Scuba Skirt” was born!

It’s a simple make and requires no pattern. You just need your hip measurement…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

And your desired length. With the fabric folded in half selvedge to selvedge, mark your length on the fold…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Then square across from this point by half your hip measurement (no SA needed as this is stretch and I’m serging…but add a little SA if you’re using your standard machine). Then square up to create a rectangle…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Cut along your lines and up the fold so you have 2 separate rectangles. Then sew along the sides to create a tube and try on…


Pin to fit whilst you are wearing it. Tapering at the waist and hem to create that classic pencil skirt curve at the side seams….remove the skirt and even out the line of pins so it’s a smooth curve that  blends into the seam at the hip…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

To mark the curve identically on both sides remove the pins from one side. Fold the skirt in half lengthwise, lining up the side seams; then using the remaining line of pins, pin through all layers at once…being careful not to change the position of the pins and retain the shape of the curve…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Mark the position of the pins with chalk on one side…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Then flip over and do the same on the back…


When you remove those pins and open out the skirt you’ll have the outline of your curve marked identically on both sides…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Join those marks then use the line as a guide to sew your new curved side seams. Make sure the line is lined up with your needles and then serge or sew…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Create a simple folded over waistband. A strip of fabric, sewn together to fit your waist snugly (Make sure you can get it over your hips too) then folded over…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL



With the skirt RS out line up the waistband seam with the CB of your skirt and the sides of your waistband with the side seams of your skirt. The waistband will be marginally smaller…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Slide the waistband onto the skirt with raw edges aligned. Pin in place. Serge/Sew together. You’ll need to stretch slightly as you sew to take up the slight bit of slack between the waistband and the skirt itself….then hem…and you’re done! Easy right?!SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Except a word of advice. Warning. Call it what you will. While I LOVE this fabric and my finished skirt. My serger did not and threw an absolute paddy when it came to the waistband. I have the Singer 14SH754. Yep the Lidl spesh that I got a few years back. (and I know a few of you have bought one recently). While I don’t deny that this fabric is sturdy…and dense…I’d liken it to sweatshirt fabric in terms of thickness and stretch. And it’s my honest belief, that when my manual gives instructions for sewing “heavyweight” fabrics…it should have been able to cope with this. It could not. I won’t go into the details of the injuries my machine sustained. Far too gruesome, lol! It’s with the servicing company as we speak . This is not the first thicker fabric that my Singer failed to cope with. And I’ve come to conclude that this machine is not actually powerful enough for thicker fabrics. So…my advice would be this if you intend to work with this fabric…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

My serger managed 2 layers of this. But it didn’t like it. It grumbled at me while I was sewing and I should have listened. When attaching the waistband you’re looking at 3 layers of this stuff (+ seams!). If your serger in any way complains at 2 layers of this…do not even attempt to attach the waistband using a serger. In the end I used DENIM needles and a zig zag stitch on my standard machine (a Janome) for this stage. The fabric is completely non fray so the unfinished edge is not problematic. And trust me….you don’t need the heartache of a broken serger when you have projects to finish (and deadlines to meet, aaaargh!). In hindsight I wish I’d done the whole thing on my standard machine. She did me proud my Janome. If you go down the standard machine route, then definitely try the denim needles and look at increasing your stitch width and length to account for the the thicker fabric. Swatch it all first and you’ll be good.SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT TUTORIAL

Despite the trauma of “sergergate” I sincerely do love this skirt which is quite a revelation to me. The scuba is perfect for smoothing over lumps, bumps and VPL. The waistband is CRAZY comfy and it really is a very comfy and versatile piece.  I tried out a few different looks…flat or heeled boots with a variety of tops…SCUBA PENCIL SKIRT OUTFITS

The first stripe top is the one I based my spotty box top on and is refashioned from a thrifted jersey nightdress. The camel and black stripe top is a cropped variation of a hemlock tee that I never blogged. Then grey hemlock blogged here. Then the camel top is refashioned from a skirt (due to be blogged) and the black top in the last pic is a black crepe test version of the 2 Hour Top. A free pattern from Sew Different. (I love it!) I think they all work as outfits. I think you can probably guess which 2 I am most likely to wear considering my tomboy tendencies. But at least now I know I have a dressier more ladylike option. To be fair, there is something about this skirt that makes me feel feminine (without being girly) which is a slightly odd and alien state for me. A totally new silhouette. And what is it with pencil skirts that makes you feel like you want to sashay like Jerry Hall when you walk?!

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