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Top Five Sewing Hits 2015

I thought I would join in with Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow this year and share some of my top fives with you.   So first up is my top five sewing hits for 2015.

I haven't done as much sewing as I would have liked this year, as things have been pretty busy, as usual, but I did manage to make quite a few things.  I also went on a diet in September so this put my sewing on hold for a bit while I focused on that. I have now lost a stone in total, so feeling pretty pleased about that.



 I was also job hunting which can be time consuming, and the good news is that I start a new job on 4th January, eek...

So in no particular order, here are my top five sewing hits:

Strawberry New Look 6262

I have made this pattern three times now (once unblogged) and I was pleased how I perfected the fit of the bodice by making a muslin and then adjusting the pattern pieces accordingly.



It's a lovely fit and flare style dress, which I think is super flattering on all body shapes.  It is similar in style…

A sixties Simplicity 1609

I went to a Christmas party on Saturday night. The theme was the 1960s, so I decided to sew my own costume!

I used Simplicity 1609 which is a reproduction of an original 1960s pattern. The pattern was free with Sew Magazine.

The dress is a classic A-line dress made from two main pattern pieces. The neck and arm holes have a combined facing and there is a centre back zip. There are 3 variations and I chose to make the plain version as the material I chose was very loud!  The front has a centre front seam, bust darts and flattering French darts. There are also back darts and neck darts. It can be made with a scalloped edge collar, a neck bow or plain round neck.


I cut a straight 14 based on my measurements and made no changes to the pattern. It's quite a fitted dress but surprisingly comfortable and flattering to wear. The only changes I would make next time would be possibly to remove an inch or so from the bodice length as there was some wrinkling there at both the front and back…

A polka dot Ultimate Shift Dress

My latest make is another version of Sew Over It's Ultimate Shift Dress.



I bought my pattern last year, from the Knitting and Stitching Show and I made a version that I blogged about here. I saw the dress recently featured on Did You Make That and then I watched Lisa's vlog on youtube featuring her collection of Ultimate Shift Dresses, so thought that I would revisit this pattern. In fact my polka dot version, was totally inspired by one of Lisa's versions!
The Ultimate Shift dress is a versatile pattern that anyone could tackle, so it's great for beginners. The only thing that is slightly tricky is setting in the sleeves but if you are a total beginner you could omit the sleeves, and make one of the sleeveless versions. 

My first version was a bit tight, but I joined Slimming World in September as you might have read on my blog, I've now lost 12 pounds in total since I joined. I decided to make the same size and as you can see it's a much looser fit on me! The…

8 pounds lighter and a Laurel dress

Those of you that read my blog regularly, know that I joined Slimming World a month ago.  Anyway tonight I got my half stone award and I am 8 pounds lighter than I was 4 weeks ago!



As a treat to myself, I have started sewing the Colette Laurel dress.



There are loads of gorgeous versions out there, and I've been adding them to my pinterest board Laurel Ideas. I've had this pattern in my stash for a while now and the material is a tartan that I scored in Goldhawk Road ages ago. I'm making version 1.

Have you made the Laurel, if so leave me a link to your blog or photo....

Catherine x

A finished pair of socks...at last

I've finally got round to finishing a pair of socks that I started a long time ago! I had one knitted and one on the needles this time last year, so it's been pretty slow progress.


The sock pattern is from an excellent book called Favorite Socks. There are twenty five patterns in this book and these are the first pair that I have got round to making


The socks I chose to knit are called Retro Rib Socks by Evelyn A. Clark.  They are a relatively simple knit and purl pattern made a bit more special by the twisted rib created by knitting through the back of the loops on the knit stitches.


The socks are knitted on four or five needles in the round. The books gives instructions for five needles but I prefer four.


I used 2.5 mm needles and the yarn used was Regia Stretch 4ply (now discontinued) which is a mix of pure new wool, nylon and polyester. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and I think a beginner sock knitter could tackle these socks if they wanted to try something…

A Lilou Dress

In my last post, I mentioned that I was trying to lose some weight before making myself anything new! I've lost another pound this week, so that makes five pounds in total so far! I've been trying to finish a few things off instead...

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Anyway I finally got round to finishing off this dress that I started ages ago this week.  The dress is the Lilou Dress from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes.  The dress features a scoop neckline and the bodice is fully lined. There are also options for making a scalloped neckline version and normally features a pleated skirt.


This is the hardest project in the book. This is the first time I've attempted a lined bodice and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.


The material was a cotton that I had originally planned to make a skirt from. As I only had a metre and a half of fabric, I did not have enough material for the pleated skirt.  I decided to make the version using the Clemence skirt pattern from Love at First Stitch, which i…

A little update!

So summer seems to be over, the kids are back to school this week and I really didn't get much sewing done this summer at all!

In fact my only completed make this summer was my Strawberry New Look 6262 that I blogged about here! I have worn it a lot though so it has been a success.

As well as a lack of time, one of the reasons for lack of sewing was the fact that quite a few more pounds than I'd like have crept on over the last couple of years. Coupled with a lack of exercise in the last year caused by achilles tendonitis, even some of the handmade clothes I'd made in the last year were starting to get a bit tight!

Rather than half heartedly dieting, I decided two weeks ago to join Simming World. It's a sensible eating plan, and it's pretty easy to follow with out feeling like you are denying yourself.  So far in the last two weeks, I've lost four pounds  in total and I have a target weight loss of two stone in total to reach. I'm feeling optimistic as I kn…

The Strawberry New Look 6262

This is my latest dress and I'm so pleased with it! The pattern is New Look 6262 which I first made last summer. The fabric is from the market stall in St Albans, a bargain at £6 a metre. I noticed the market man had the same fabric in white yesterday, maybe I should get some more?


The front bodice has side and waist darts, and the back bodice has waist darts. The skirt is gathered and attached at the waist and an invisible zip is inserted.  

There are also options for cap sleeves, short sleeves and a v-neck.  The dress can also be made with a lace overlay so it's a pretty versatile and simple pattern to have in  your stash.


I made a size 14 as with my previous version  but this time I made some fitting adjustments after making a muslin of the bodice.  I am totally converted to making muslins now as I think you get such a better fit.  I also think it is worth investing in a book about fitting.  I am currently using "Dressmaking to flatter your shape" by Lorna Knight …