Category Archives: dressmaking

Scissors or Shears? What’s the difference?

Scissors or Shears? What’s the difference?

My sewing scissors have disappeared! I’m sure I’ll eventually find them… after they’ve been used on paper or something else that’s sure to ruin them.

So began the journey to find the next pair of (get yer hands off my) SEWING scissors!

I found this pair in John Lewis…


How gorgeous are they? Quite expensive, but I just couldn’t help myself! They were made to celebrate JL’s 150th, and have a traditional print on the handle. I haven’t put them to the test yet.

Of course, for those in the know, these are not scissors, they are shears! Scissors have small holes in the handles for two fingers. Shears, on the other hand, have unequal holes for more than two fingers apparently!

Then OMG! I watched this BBC film and am now coveting a beautiful pair of small scissors from Ernest Wright from Sheffield. Hand made, from one of two traditional UK factories, the quality looks amazing. The price is not cheap, but you’re paying for the craftsmanship and contributing to the survival of a dwindling industry.

(Photo tweeted by Ernest Wright Ltd)

They have had a huge revival in the last year since 2 films were made about the company. Now they have orders from all over the world. It seems that because of this, there’s a bit of a wait for their products. I love that their social media hashtag is #wellworththewait – I have put a small pair on my birthday wishlist (which is ages away… And yes I’m willing to wait for them! )


Another pair of kids leggings



On the serger, my daughter made a second pair of leggings. (Wearing a tiara whilst working of course)

On the serger it all took less than 20min to come together. A bit more for the fiddly elastic casing which I sewed on my sewing machine for her. But all exceptionally quick, and now I have a leggings master pattern for her.
I think we could have made the lower leg tighter, but I quite like that it’s not too tight. We could possibly lower the waist too, but she says it’s fine that high!

Black lycra as she requested! Shiny side out of course!


Now I have a long legged princess who is ready to run at any moment!

(That’s a hair piece by the way!)

A sew along I couldn’t resist! Trunks!

A sew along I couldn’t resist! Trunks!


I have been diverted from my ongoing quilting projects to make… Underwear for my husband.

When I saw the Comox Trunks Sew-along I couldn’t resist joining. I was late to the party, so sewed up two complete underpants today, more catchupalong really!

When I told my husband what I was doing he raised an eyebrow and more or less said he didn’t think he’d wear them, why on earth was I making underpants!

I wasn’t put off…I was determined to prove him wrong!

I mostly serged them together.


The first pair was too big, and too messy, I had a nightmare trying to put on the elastic – the jersey was curling really badly.

I decided to hem the legs with a twin needle, but it didn’t really feel that comfortable.

The second leg I hemmed with a stretch (broken) zig zag – much softer. But both legs were a bit wavy… I had clearly stretched the fabric a bit whilst hemming.

So I made a second pair.
I went down a size and this time I serged the top after construction so that the elastic went on easier. I also made ABSOLUTELY sure that I didn’t stretch the leg fabric when I hemmed them.
Much much better. My husband’s verdict: not bad at all, he will wear them after all. If he had one criticism, it was that he’d like the back to be higher. No problem- that could probably be easily done with the pattern pieces.

Result! Quick, easy, satisfying project!

Covered in threads!

Covered in threads!


I’m a messy sewer and I was looking for a way to tidy up my sewing space. I adore the fabrics I used for my reversible bag, (my previous post) so much so, I was tempted not to use any more, and store it “safely” away for that “right project”.

What better than to use it for something you use all the time, something that will make your sewing space pretty… and tidy?

Sew Mama Sew to the rescue!

And here is my version of her pattern.
I’ll try and take better photos, but in the meantime


Sew Mama Sew’s version has a felt insert in the pin cushion, I didn’t put that in, because I’m happy to keep my needles all in a needle book I made.

This has a place for my threads/scraps, a lovely huge weighted pincushion (weighed down with rice) and slots for scissors/seam ripper/ markers.

Can’t stop playing with the beanbag-like pin cushion! It’s really tactile!

I am planning to take this and my bag to the Fat Quarterly Retreat!

Turning a dud into a wearable dress


(this photo taken from the Sewing Kit app I use)

I was inspired to make a version of Simplicity 3503 after seeing this great version by Eugenia. She’s made a number of dresses from this pattern.

So I decided on also trying the same combo with just the collar in a contrast fabric.

But for me, this was a wadder. Not the pattern’s fault. Mine!

I chose a size that was clearly too big. (I’m useless at muslins!) I do think this runs a little big anyway.

I should have done a FBA (bust adjustment).

The mid band needs to be made smaller for me and I didn’t interline it!

Rescue operation (done whilst consoling myself over Wales’ loss in the rugby)

So. It was a baggy sack when I finished. No photos at that stage I’m afraid. I’ve now taken it in loads on both sides. It’s ok. Not my best work, but wearable.

Just a quick add. I love the Sewing Kit app on my iPhone. You type in the pattern number (big companies) and it will automatically find you the pattern envelope photo. Great for planning projects, and when out buying fabrics to check yardage.
The Simplicity 3503 will now be marked ‘completed’!

Ideas for quick projects


I do love the idea of quickie sewing projects. If 2 hours is too long for you… How about 1 hour dresses?

Sewing Plum’s post on quickies

I do quite like the look of Butterick B5247, although it’s a little bit boxy / shapeless. I wonder if I could do a combo of this and Vogue V1179 pleating and neckline? Obviously it would then become a 2 hour project!!!!


2 hour dress


In the time between my last post and this one I’ve finished ANOTHER V1179. It’s a monochrome black and white dress. I had John Wayne and Lauren Bacall in the backround. The film ‘Blood Alley’ is still on. So this dress took less time to cut and sew than watching the film would have done!
Love this Vogue sewing pattern.


The satisfaction of finishing!



And my first Vogue 1179 is done. I say first, because I’ve already started another! It’s lovely. Looks great on, and I plan to wear it with a cardigan, tights and boots. I may also wear a long sleeve plain grey top underneath. I neef to get a photo of it on, it looks so much better than on the hanger.

This was really difficult jersey to sew. Very slippery and quite thin. It has a beautiful drape though. It took me longer to cut out the fabric than it did to sew together! Great pattern. I would love a plain version oc this with sleeves.


And I’ve also finished this baby quilt. I love the way the polka border picks up the black and white pattern in the patchwork. I put fleece on the back rather than use wadding and backing.