Do you wear culottes in the Winter?


I have two pairs of cropped, wide legged trousers in my winter wardrobe, made last year and worn loads last winter.  I also plan to make a pair or two of the Peppermint Wide Leg pants, for myself.  From my deep stash, in the winter fabrics boxes, I dug out a lovely windowpane wool that I had bought ages ago from Fred Winter in Stratford on Avon.  It had been used to make a pair of trousers for Daughter No 1 back in 2013 & I stashed the leftovers for a future project – because past-me bought enough of the lovely stuff for more than just one pair of trousers…


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Culottes 104 Burdastye February 2017


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All those red lines looking good!

I waved this piece in front of Daughter No1’s eyes recently when she said she wanted a pair of trousers that would sit on or just above her natural waist, and be loose fitting over her tummy.  I figured there’d be enough there to make a pair of the culottes from last February’s Burda, which I have used to make 3 pairs for her already!  So she knows the fit, etc.  It didn’t take much convincing, and I knew they’d look fabulous!  (And machine washable!)

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Good fit in the back


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I made sure the red lines of the windowpane check were in the right places on the pattern pieces, transfering the marks onto the paper pattern.  I cut the 34 and only took them in a tiny little bit (1.5cm) in the centre back once they were fitted, essentially making a dart in that back seam.  I shortened the pattern in the crotch depth by 1cm, the upper thigh area by 1.5cm and between the knee and the hem another 1.5cm.  I have also moved the zip from the centre front to the side seam, which she prefers.  All the culottes I have made from this pattern for her have a side zip.  But, this is the first time I’ve made the pants with the belt loops and tie for her.  And she likes it!

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Spotty lining in the pockets

These are going to look fabulous as part of her winter wardrobe.  The photos were taken on one of her visits home, so she only has limited clothing to wear with them here.   These pants will look great with boots, smart high heels and of course, these handmade brogues she bought on her travels in Vietnam.  I am making her a coat at the moment in a pink/copper colour that will look amazing with the tones in these pants, so whole outfits are emerging!

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First Coat of the Season

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We have had a real change in the weather this week!  Suddenly the wind is coming from the North and winter is snapping at our heels.  Thankfully I have a nice toasty warm new coat to wear – with a hood to keep that wind out of my ears.  I shared the making of the coat in a couple of  Work in Progress Wednesday posts at the beginning of the month here & here.  Now here’s the finished article.

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The pattern is “jacket” 110 from October 2018 Burda.  I traced the 44 and added a 3cm FBA.  In hindsight, I didn’t need to add that much and would definitely have been ok with just half of that.  The fabric is camel/beige wool melton that is rather thick, and once seamed and enclosed, is very bulky!  But, it is warm!  The zip came out of the stash, and is also possibly a bit wider in the teeth area than a metal zip.  This means that, although I laid the front band on the placement line, it’s not quite wide enough to finish at the right point on the other side.  This means the snaps had to be reduced in size and the buttons don’t line up at the top.  But I’m not taking that band off!!  Far too much bulk.

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The buttons on the front band are vintage military brass buttons.  I had hoped to use these on the back band as well, but could only find two!  So the front benefits from these and I used vintage leather buttons on the back band instead.  Because you’ll never see the two together, I think I’ve got away with it.

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The pockets are a great size, I used lining for the underside of the pocket flaps and for one side of the pocket bag, the other side is a scrap piece of cotton poplin Liberty fabric.

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I am really glad I have this new coat, a more casual offering than my “old” coat.  The pattern and instructions are pretty straightforward.  If I make this again, there are a couple of things I’d change.  My neck is too short (& my double chin doesn’t help) for the collar, so I’ll not be buttoning that shut.  However, I usually wear a nice scarf in the winter, so that will fill the gap left by not zipping to the top.  I will also revisit that FBA.  I don’t need all that width afterall.  The hood is great, nice and roomy, but it tends to slip a little too far forward.  This means you could be in trouble when crossing roads if you aren’t looking properly!  It just needs a little tightening up around the edges.

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But I would like to make it again, in a less bulky fabric!


Toaster Time!


Apologies for no Work in Progress Wednesday this week, I’d spent the day sorting out my vintage pattern stash.  It is time to make room in my pattern drawers, time to move on the patterns I know I’ll never make.  Someone else can have the chance to pat them, drool on them and store them in their own pattern stash!  If you fancy seeing what I’m moving on, you can check my Etsy shop.  I’ll be adding more patterns regularly, as soon as I check them and photograph them!


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Two collar styling options!

I have actually started another project – two in fact!  I’ll show them off later, but today I’ve got a couple of Toaster Sweaters that I made for Daughter No1 last month.  The cream fleece was bought from Closs & Hamblin in Winchester.  I actually got enough to make two of these, one for each of the girls.  I’ve made quite a few of these Toaster Sweaters now, and they’re nice and quick to run up!  I like that the collar is floppy enough to wear up or folded down!

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We had such beautiful colours on the climbers on the front of the house. They were gone by the next weekend.


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The raglan sleeve seams, joining seams of the hem band and collar are topstiched with a twin needle.  I have a feeling I should have bought more of the fleece when it was available!

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The fleece is soft enough that the collar can be folded over and give a rolled look.


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I also had some grey jersey with sweatshirt backing.  It has nooo stretch, so I went up a size in making it.  I had bought it years ago from Fancy Silk Stores in Birmingham, and I made a Sewaholic Fraser for Daughter No2 with it.  The rest (about 1.5m) has been hanging around in the stash ever since, waiting for Daughter No1 to choose a pattern.  Eventually, the Toaster was named as the lucky pattern this year.

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I made the medium to accommodate the lack of stretch.


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Long sleeves mean you can tuck your hands inside to keep them warm!


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This is one warm and snuggly Toaster Sweater!

The weather this weekend is absolutely perfect for wearing these sweaters, she’ll be warm and toasty!  🙂

The Assembly Line V-Neck Dress

Ok, I know you’re waiting to see my coat, but I have something more fun! I made another dress!! I know what the other half is going to say when he sees it. He’s going to make a “nun outfit” reference, Sound of Music costume…. But I really don’t care, as an addition to my wardrobe with the Tea House Dress, it’s going to be well worn this season!

The Assembly Line’s V-Neck Dress

I made D:106, The V-Neck Dress from The Assembly Line. The fabric is a navy fine wool suiting that I bought specifically for this project from Fabworks Online. It’s soft and drapey and has the most wonderful sheen on it, as well as a fine pattern of lines in the weave that make it interesting close up.

This is the kind of wool I really like, because I shove it in the washing machine on a woolens wash and then hang it up to dry. Unless I completely forget that it’s in the wash and put it in a normal load, it’ll be washed on that woolen cycle for the rest of its life, and it won’t shrink! It also saves me a load of dry cleaning bills!

I detailed the toile in my previous post, but if you haven’t read that yet (whaaat??) here’s a round up. I traced the Large and made it up, looking for areas to fix. The only thing that stood out was the length, my legs aren’t supermodel length, so I took 4cm out of the skirt length, decided to go without a FBA and went for it!

The pattern pieces are rather long, but as the skirt isn’t massively flared you can actually get them staggered next to each other for cutting out, if your fabric is a suitably wide 140cm or above. I bought 3m just in case, and ended up using about 2.2m. That means enough for a skirt or cropped pair of trousers with the rest, free clothes!! 🙂 The instructions are very clear, good illustrations to follow if you’re a beginner or not too confident. The inseam pocket instructions are great and are the way I do mine normally. The result is a neat, hidden pocket. I used Gill Arnold’s fine sheer fusible for interfacing the collar facing, the belt and to stabilise the pocket seam areas.

The dress goes together easily if you follow those instructions, the only thing I felt was necessary that they don’t mention is to stabilise that v-neck while you’re working with the pieces to stop it stretching out. I ran a line of staystitching from the top down within the 1cm seam allowance, just to be safe. Another thing that beginners will like is that the instructions include where, and when to finish the seam allowances. They say to overlock, but you could just zigzag. I wouldn’t use French Seams unless you were using a really fine fabric because the resulting stiffness will affect the shape of the skirt.

I was initially worried that the V would be too low, I’m not necessarily comfy with showing off cleavage. But, I think at some point I need to stop being so prudish! A friend who saw the dress said it was fine, she didn’t see any underwear (one thing I don’t like showing) and that the depth worked. So there you go, it works and I’ll get on with it! It’s great for showing off a pretty pendant!

I’m really happy with the dress, I love the sleeves and the length, and that I can adjust the belt to be comfy. I definitely won’t be wearing the dress without the belt!! But I’m thinking of adding thread belt loops to hold it in place, as it tends to move up and down a bit. I also probably should have made the belt a little longer…. Nevermind, it’s ok for this time! Now I hope to influence the girls to each have a version, I think it will look fantastic on Daughter No 2 with her height, and nice and dramatic on Daughter No 1, especially if worn with one for her many new jackets!


My dress has been shortlisted as a finalist in the “Around the World” section of The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month 2018.  Here’s the link to the voting page, I’d be delighted if you decided to vote for me, but you also get to choose 2 other garments to vote for.  You can only vote once, but you get three choices.

Work in Progress Wednesday

So much has been going on this week! I finished my coat on Sunday, I have some photos to edit and the post to finish before you can see it all, but it’s so nice and warm!  It’s just what I needed.

One of the projects I really want to finish this month is Hubby’s coat.  The main pattern pieces were drafted last November, adjustments made and pattern altered.  But we were no nearer finding the right sort of lining, so the whole thing stalled.  I think I have finally persuaded the other half to accept a plain lining, with a patterned piping strip and other internal details for this version.  I can make another coat, or even a jacket (one day) when we find and buy that elusive “perfect lining”.


The pieces of pattern that still needed to be sorted were the linings, front and back facings and pocket pieces for both the internal pocket and the welt pocket at the waist.  Somehow I’d only drawn up the pieces for the chest welt pocket.  So now everything is ready, no excuses!  Except that we still have no lining…

For now.  I have ordered samples of The Lining Company’s shot twill lining that have already arrived (one day service, I love it!).  The linings are plain as in they have no pattern, but at least with the two tone colours there’s interest.  I found some leftover silk in the silk box that would work perfectly for the contrast piping and other bits on the inside of the coat, and will work with 4 of the 5 samples I’ve ordered.   I also ordered a stripe lining sample from Fabric Godmother that’s still to arrive.  It should also work with 4 of the linings, if not all, should Hubby decide he doesn’t like the silk I’ve looked out.

Charcoal wool, circle print silk for piping and a selection of shot linings.

I’m reluctant to cut the wool until I know I have everything I need, so while I wait for that last sample and we agree on colours and patterns, I have time to make something else!  Not one to sit on my laurels, I decided I’d run up a toile of The Assembly Line’s new pattern, the V-Neck Dress.  I liked the look of the dress the minute I saw it on IG at the launch.

I thought it would be perfect for Indie Pattern Month over on The Monthly Stitch.  It hadn’t arrived in time for me to make for Week 1, dresses, but I figured I’d be able to squeeze it in by the time Week 3 came around.  This week is  “Around the World”,which means you have to make a pattern form a designer from a different country to that in which you live.  The Assembly Line are Swedish, so that’s perfect!

The pattern is multi-sized and I decided to go with the Large, based on measurements and finished garment measurements.  Technically I should have done an FBA, on that size, but the measurements gave me enough width/ease to be comfortable.  I didn’t want it too big.  The toile went perfectly, I only did the main pieces.  I realised the skirt was a little too long, so I took 4cm out of the length.  The depth of the V bothered me a bit, I don’t usually go for something this low, but I told myself I was being a fuddy duddy – get on with it!!  And the bust seemed fine, there were no drag lines and there was definitely enough ease.  Done!!

Dress toile

The dress is actually made now, but I’m not going to give it away just yet, I am going to enter that competition now!  See you on the other side!

Linton Tweed Biker Jacket


I’ve been holding on to this jacket for about a month now, waiting for the new owner to come and collect!  And the fabric’s been hanging around even longer!  If you’ve been following for a while, you’d have seen I started a Work in Progress Wednesday post, and the inner workings of this jacket were the very first of those!  Now you get to see the finished article, worn by Daughter No 1.  The pattern used is Moto Jacket 105 from September 2017.


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Linton biker jacket

I am so glad that I used a different fabric on the inside of the cuffs, waistband, ollar and for the facings.  Daughter No 1 likes to wear the jacket with the cuffs rolled up once, so you get to see the black fabric.  It has a line of sparkle through it so it’s a little something different.  I also love the silver zippers and snaps, they work brilliantly with the colours of the fabric.  The lining is blue herringbone viscose, left over from a coat I made for myself around 10 years ago, I was really chuffed that there was enough to be able to use.

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Contrast black welts to the zippered pockets

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Large silver snaps

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Daughter No 1 loves this jacket, it can be smart or casual, dressing an outfit up or down.  I love using fabrics and patterns in this way.  Here it’s worn with a boat neck Lark Tee and a pair of jeans, and it looks great!  She wore this jacket with a white tee, black jeans and trainers to the Stitching Show last week, and the outfit was perfect.  It will also look fabulous with the black crepe Pulmu Skirt I made her last year.

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The Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Oh boy, what a show!  This was my first vist to a London show, I don’t usually travel this far, the NEC in Birmingham being my usual haunt.  So what puts me off going to London?  Train travel and costs for the most part, then there’s going round a very large city on my own that I don’t know – at all.  And that makes me nervous and just a little scared!  I was offered tickets to this show by Gerda from Three Eight Cake who was unable to go due to health reasons.

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On the way to Ally Pally

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I managed to overcome the train ticket cost by buying well in advance and only paid £14 for a return trip to London – that’s a miracle in my book!  My second problem was also easily solved – I asked Daughter No 1 if she’d like to come with me.  As she’s working in London, and is much braver than me, she was the perfect person to ask!

King’s Cross Station, basking in the Autumn sunshine.

We had a fabulous time!  Travelling from Marylebone to Alexandra Palace was actually fairly simple, and I loved the free shuttle bus from the station right up to the front door of the show, no need to climb that long hill!  The entrance foyer was full of a display of Edward’s Menagerie little crocheted animals from Toft.  Man they were cute!!

I’m so tempted to get the books and make all these, but – TIME!

As the place was so huge and there was so much to see, we prioritised by doing the fabric shopping first.  There were a few stands I really wanted to see, those who I’ve never seen at the NEC.  Starting at the end of the hall, we decided to move methodically up and down the aisles until we’d covered everything.  Of course, there are still stalls we didn’t see/find!  But typically, I only realised I’d missed them after we’d left.  I was going to look at everything make a note of what I liked, and then go back to buy, just what I do at the NEC.  It didn’t work!

It was very busy, very crowded and pretty hot and stuffy!  So I decided I’d just get what I liked there and then, which turned out to be the best plan.  First purchase of the day was from Rosenberg and Sons, as it always is!  They had two stands, one with their winter wools and coating fabrics and the other with everything else.  They have some amazing Italian wools and silks this year, they are just stunning, and for the price, really good value.  I was good though, and just bought two pieces of navy jersey to make a couple of long sleeved tees.  I’d noticed there is a lot of grey in my winter wardrobe, so more blue is a good thing.  Also, look a that texture on the plain blue piece, isn’t that fab?

Navy jerseys from Rosenberg and Sons

Next I found the perfect rust coloured corduroy at Bombay Stores, for just £4/m!  So I got three metres.  Daughter No 1 loved another piece of cord, a delicious grey with a hint of green for a pair of trousers, so 2m of that went into the bag!  It’s a lovely fabric, soft and pliable with the most amazing depth of colour.

Cord from Bombay Stores

One of the shops I wanted to see was Stoff & Stil.  They’re based in Scandinavia and sell what looks like fabulous activewear fabric, so I was keen to see what they had, not wanting to trust that I’m buying the right thing online.  But they didn’t have anything like that.  It was a very good looking stand, full of pre-cut and packed lengths of jersey, French Terry and bag notions and patterns.  And although it loooked good, it was a pain in the whatsit to negotiate!  In the end I just got some fab coloured cotton yarn to make more cloths with, they were £1 each and I got 6.  Slightly disappointed that they didn’t have what I needed, but they were certainly busy and the stand was packed!

Cotton yarn from Stoff & Stil

Higgs and Higgs were the next place we bought from.  They have such lovely offerings and their jerseys are to die for if you’re making for young kids.  I was really tempted to buy some of the cable jersey knit ponte, but seriously couldn’t pick a colour.  Right next to the ponte was a selection of coloured twill (denim).  Daughter No1 pulled out a bolt of pale grey/oyster that is quite soft and drapey for a twill and decided she’d love a pair of culottes or high waisted, pleated and wide legged trousers.  She then convinced me that I needed green jeans/trousers in my life.  So we bought a couple of metres of the coloured twill.

Coloured twill from Higgs & Higgs

Then it was Montreux Fabric’s turn.  I was hoping they’d have more of the blue and ecru striped jersey I’d bought from them earlier in the year.  I made a Uvita Top with it and I love it!  I was in luck and snapped up more of that, and bought 2m of pale grey ribbed jersey to make something for Daughter No1 as well.

Jersey from Montreux Fabrics

A couple of Christmas presents were also purchased, but I won’t go into that right now. And we were recognised!  We were browsing the Draper’s Daughter’s stand when one of the ladies said, “I know you! And you!”  For a second my mind went into a slight panic – I had no idea who this lady was, I’m notoriously bad with names and I couldn’t for the life of me think of where I’d met her and how I’d know her!  Then she added, “from IG, and your blog”.  OMG, thank goodness I wasn’t about to put my foot in it and say I didn’t know who she was!  Unfortunately she didn’t say who she was and it was only afterwards in discussion over tea and cake that I realised!  Jane, from Jane Makes!

My only non-making purchase of the day!

We came across a stand in the craft hall while looking for Beyond Measure and Trend Patterns (who I didn’t find in the end, unfortunately).  A large beaded dog caught our attention and we were immediately sidetracked from the fabric buying mission by looking at beaded flamingoes, sheep, goats, etc, etc.  The stand was Best of African and the lady, Tracey was selling handmade animals and other items that had been made in Johannesburg by individual artists.  We have a few beaded wire items at home, everytime we go back to SA I buy more!  This time I bought (after a long chat) two gorgeous bowls in gold, white and black. I love the simplicity of the design and the colours that echo traditional African colours and those of the Zulu basketry.  I’m going to put them on the windowcill in my sewing room with cactuses in them.


We had a fabulous day and would probably have stayed longer and gone through more halls and seen more stands if it hadn’t been so stuffy and warm. The only thing that I really didn’t like about the day was the number of stands happily offering to pack our fabric purchases into plastic carrier bags.  Only two stalls, Montreux Fabrics & Best of African offered us a paper bag for our purchases.  Come on guys, this isn’t good enough!  Luckily I’d taken a nice sturdy felt bag with good handles to put my fabrics into.  In the end we decided we’d done very well and it was time for a proper cup of tea and a bite to eat before heading out of London on our respective trains.

I am very thankful to Gerda for making the trip possible and I hope she’s getting better!  Most of the fabric has been through the washing machine and is trying to dry on this wet and windy Friday.  I’ll wait to tomorrow to get the corduroy in the wash, there’s no rush!  Now I need to find patterns to match with my new fabric and get it made before the next sewing show – no stashbuilding here!