Tag Archives: self drafted

FO x 2: (well 3 technically!) My perfect boxy tee

One might say that this simple boxy tee was nearly 3 years in the making! Why? Because I discovered an abandoned experiment in my stash from that time period. I picked it up…looked at it quizzically….wondered why it had been cast aside because…it looked like just the kind of tee I’d been looking for recently. So I sewed it up in half an hour and what do you know….it was exactly the shape and proportion I had been hankering after in my wardrobe. So I made 2 more!

self drafted box tee (5)

The first being this incarnation in a pique type knit from Stoff & Stil. I love the irregular sketchy arrows and the monochrome makes it a really versatile addition. The top is self drafted….but very simply so. Rectangles for body and sleeves but with a slight curve for the sleeve heads and armholes, and curves cut out for the front and back neckline. My original experimental one was literally just rectangles but I loved the proportions so much that I drafted a pattern and added in those subtle refinements….self drafted box tee (5)self drafted box tee

Then I liked that one so much that I made another! Also in a Stoff & Stil fabric. This is a slightly looser version. But all 3 (the original, which is black, and these two) are in constant rotation. It’s like I had my holy grail of tees sitting in my WIP pile for 3 years! What the heck?!! Revisit your WIPs people! Seriously….you started them for a reason!self drafted box tee self drafted box tee

So needless to say….I will be making a few more of these.

I also want to direct your attention to the neckbands on these babies. Notice they are perfectly turned in and laying flat? Well in the past this has always been a bit touch and go for me. (wavy neckbands anyone? Ack!) But I have been working on a formula for calculating the exact length of neckband you need, for any given neckline circumference….and any given fabric. (You may have read my initial ruminations here!) Because…it seemed to me that I needed to factor in the stretch percentage of the fabric I was using. A fabric with 40% stretch was not going to turn in the same way as a 60% stretch fabric cut to the same length. Well if my last few knit makes are anything to go by…I’ve nailed it! And there will be a post coming your way soon. So if you ever got frustrated at wavy or puckered neckbands….stay tuned!

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FO: Denim Kimono (+ maybe a future pattern?)

So one of the first gaps I noticed in my wardrobe a few days into Me Made May was a Spring jacket that went with everything. When it comes to a versatile little jacket that goes with everything then denim jackets are a classic. However, a classic denim jacket is not quite my style. So I decided to have a play and come up with a slightly different take on the wardrobe staple that is the denim jacket, but a little more aligned with my personal style. And I have to say, this hasn’t been off my back since I finished it!

Enter the denim kimono jacket…denim kimono diy (2)

So we all know I love a kimono as evidenced here, here and here 😉  Originally this was going to be a longer length. But during construction I tweaked and played with the proportions and decided that actually, the cropped proportions of the body and sleeves were exactly what I needed to complement the looser trousers and shorter tops I’m wearing most at the moment. And indeed more of a reference to the proportions of the classic denim jacket that was my starting point….denim kimono diy (7)

There are some fit issues at the back that I need to address. I ended up taking a big tuck out of the CB to get it to hang the way I wanted. The back neckline needs to come in closer to the neck so the kimono band sits a little snugger to the neck, (which will involve a little shaping to the band itself too). Then there’s the width across the back at armhole level. Excess fabric there so I need to have a play with the sleeve and armhole configuration and remove a little of that. BUT, that said, for something that started out as an experiment I am MORE than happy with how this turned out. It’s kinda my perfect jacket! And none of the above is going to stop me from wearing this all Summer. They’re issues that only us sewists would notice. (Although I can’t help myself pointing them out to everyone that says they like my jacket. Sewist or not, lol!)

I wanted to reference the classic denim jacket a little further by adding little details like contrast stitching and jeans hardware…denim kimono diy (8)

Which brings me onto a close up of those pockets. The long rectangular shape was initially to do with what I felt best fit the overall proportions of the jacket. Then it occurred to me that they were almost identical in size and shape to my my mobile phone!! Which of course I have on me at ALL times because I am addicted. So naturally, they are now sized perfectly to accommodate my Samsung Galaxy, ha ha! Well…what is designing your own clothes about if you can’t add in little details like that to perfectly suit your needs 😉 (And no, as someone asked me on IG, I don’t have two mobile phones. But one pocket would’ve just looked weird 😉 )denim kimono diy (1)

My other favourite detail on this make are the split cuffs. They echo the kimono band on the jacket opening and kinda unify the style I think…denim kimono diy (9)

The fabric is this denim from Remnant Kings, who incidentally are celebrating their 70th anniversary this week! So basically, they were around the last time that sewing was this popular, and they rode out the dry spell of the intervening years between then and now. Which to me is pretty darn impressive. So I’m taking this opportunity to wish them a very warm and heartfelt Happy Anniversary and a thank you for the way they continue to support this blog 🙂 Mwah to Hazel and the team there!


Now, onto the (hopefully intriguing) subtitle of this post! I’ve had a few people on social media ask if I am thinking of releasing this (and previous self drafted makes) as a pdf pattern. Well….there’s a short answer and a long answer. And being of a slightly verbose disposition I will give you the longish answer! And also because I am AWFUL at keeping secrets, and now that the question has arisen, yes. I HAVE, behind the scenes been working towards the goal of developing a line of sewing pattern designs under the “Makery” brand. And yes, this jacket has now been added to the list of patterns that I want to develop further. There is alot more that I could say on this subject, but that’s kind of another blog post. Which I will write in due course. Suffice to say for now, in all likelihood, I will be releasing a line of sewing patterns in the near (ish) future. But as this is a new avenue for me, with lots to learn, explore and consider, I can’t yet say exactly when that will be. I have not yet figured out how long the process will take.  But essentially I’m gradually building up a stack of “personal” patterns that I think will appeal to some of you out there. It feels like a natural progression for me now, to start working towards the goal of refining and making these available online. So yep. There’s my little bit of news. Watch this space over the coming weeks 😉


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The Copycat Crepe Top – (Part 1) + Giveaway!!!

copycat crepe top

So last week heralded a couple of firsts for me.  Actually three to be precise! A week of learning new stuff you could say. Which after a week of battling with fit issues was a welcome change.  Sometimes, if something is getting on your wick, you just gotta park it and switch focus to shake off the fog I think. A change is as good as a rest after all. And after a week of what felt like pulling teeth, the week I spent doing this, went so smoothly I started looking around behind me to see where the sewing demon was hiding. Wondering when it was going to jump out and fluff my make right at the eleventh hour. Said demon must be off in the Bahamas somewhere. (Shedquarters is obviously too cold for that fiery little devil at this time of year 😉  )  Because nothing went wrong on this make and there was so much that could have!

So now you’re possibly wondering what my 3 firsts were? Well this top is actually a direct copy of a top I found in a charity shop. I didn’t like the colour and it was 1-2 sizes too big. But I really liked the style.  A crepe tee with a relaxed fit , simple scoop neck, and shirt tail hem.  I hadn’t seen a pattern exactly like this, so I decided to make a pattern of my own, copying the pattern pieces directly from that ready to wear top on the left (below)  I toiled it (middle below) and what do ya know? It worked.  But, still too big. Then people, I was really pushing my luck. I decided I would have a go at grading my new pattern to the correct size. And blow me, that only went and worked too! (below right)THE COPYCAT CREPE TOP

So that’s two firsts. Producing an exact copy of a rtw top AND grading. I was going to include all of that process in today’s post but there turned out to be waaaaay too much for one post. So next week I’ll be sharing 2 additional posts. One on the copying of the pattern. (now available here) One on the grading of it… (now available here)THE COPYCAT CREPE TOP

And what of my third first this week? Set in sleeves! Of course I’ve sewn set in sleeves before; but I hate them with a passion and I’m pretty rubbish and impatient with the traditional method. So this week I tried the method of inserting them flat (turns out pretty much everyone I know already does this) and oh my! I could have cried with happiness! Look at that sleeve head people! Gorgeous right?! Never again will I avoid sewing stuff with set in sleeves just because it’s a faff! (Yes I am that lazy!)sleeve head

There’s still a few tweaks I think I need to make to the final pattern. Namely some discreet darts in the front,  and, surprise surprise, a sway back adjustment! But on a top like this, designed to be a relaxed, chilled out fit I was more than happy to make it up as is, in some delicious Isobel poly viscose crepe from The Splendid Stitch. As well as the black it’s currently also available in the three colours on the right. (I’m hoping Amy will expand her colour range on this one!) The cream best shows the gorgeous texture. It is SO soft. Super easy to work with. Drapes beautifully and best of all, straight out of the machine and onto the hanger with super minimal creasing. That my friends, is my holy grail of a fabric!Splendid Stitch Isobel Poly Viscose Crepe


Giveaway details: Amy from The Splendid Stitch is offering you guys the chance to win either £30 to spend on fabric from her beautiful range (first prize) or a sewing pattern of your choice (second prize). To enter follow The Splendid Stitch on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or their blog. Each follow is an additional entry. Just leave me a comment here to let me know how many entries you made. Giveaway is open internationally (The Splendid Stitch is Glasgow based but ships worldwide) and closes midnight GMT on Monday 29th Feb. The winner will be selected at random and contacted directly by email. (Leave that in the comments too if it’s not easily accessible via your profile).

What’s more,  until the end of February, Amy is also offering you an extra 15% off your purchase when you enter the code PORTIA15 at checkout! Thankyou very much Amy!

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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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