Channeling some serious Harley Quinn crossed with 1970s killer clown vibes (Charlotte's words not mine), I realise that my Nina Lee Bakerloo Blouse is A LOT. I'm pretty flattered by that description though, which says a lot about me, but whatever! 

I mean, I could blame Megan's Galentine's-inspired #PinkAndRedPigeonParty for this wild look, but despite a wobble midway through construction, I actually quite like it. My only hesitation is around styling - I'm worried that this outfit is more garish than kooky, so I'm not sure I'll be wearing it out. I feel an Instagram reel coming on, to see what else in my wardrobe it might go with.

Bold print clashing and styling choices aside, I absolutely love this pattern and see many more in my future. It's now available in sizes 6-20 and 16-28, hopefully making it accessible to more stitchers. 

I made the long sleeve blouse version in a straight size 12 with no major modifications, other than shortening the sleeve and bodice pieces by 4cm. Next time I'll probably only take 2cm off the sleeves, but that aside I'm delighted with the fit. Both my fabrics were from Sew Me Sunshine and I'm sure most of you will recognise THAT grid print sourced by Pigeon Wishes.

As with every other Nina Lee pattern I've tried, the instructions are great and the construction is surprisingly simple with an impressive outcome.

From the big collar and sleeve energy to the cute little button-up back vent, the pattern details are second to none. It's such a great design that looks amazing in a solid fabric, the same print all over, colour blocked and everything in between.

Love or hate my version, I'm ridiculously proud of my grid pattern matching. I only had 1m of the pink fabric, which is a very fine and shifty viscose, so I decided to cut everything out on a single layer. Did it take me ages? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

I've already dreamt up my next two versions, one in a floral cotton lawn and one in a lightweight denim, both inspired by blouses I've seen on & Other Stories. I'm thinking of playing around with a cropped length and adding a button front...oooh, the possibilities!

38 today! I wish I could say with confidence that I'll be celebrating my lockdown birthday wafting around in this beauty, but I'll most likely be lounging around in toasty joggers and a jumper. Nonetheless, I thought today was a good opportunity to break my 2021 blogging hiatus by sharing a dreamy dress I finished way back in October...

This is my fourth Deer and Doe Myosotis Dress, made in an exquisite cupro viscose that I got for a steal from Rainbow Fabrics a while back. I'm an impulse buyer when it comes to fabric, but the moment this arrived, I knew immediately what I wanted to make with it and it turned out exactly how I imagined. 

I was driven by the desire to use the border print on the sleeve and hem ruffles, but it was touch and go as I only had two metres of fabric. I'm over the moon that I managed to make this work.

Unlike my previous three versions, I sized down to a 38 this time and I like the closer fit a lot. The sleeves and bodice sit better on my frame and I can still wiggle it over my head. As always, I left off the Mandarin collar for a simpler neckline - short tutorial here - and added ties to cinch the waist in. I also lengthened the skirt piece for a midi look, just like I did for my lemon version.

I had the perfect buttons in my stash for this and I love bringing the waist ties to the front in a sweet little bow. I think it's because I painstakingly made them from a colourful strip of border print that looks good against the main paisley print. 

There's nothing more I can add about fit and construction that I haven't covered above and in posts about my previous versions, but it's safe to say that the Myosotis Dress remains a firm favourite in my pattern stash.

I'll leave you with some of my most 'excellent' posing to show off the fluttery sleeves...

This print-loving magpie sewed her first solid colour make in 19 months and she likes it! It's the Olive pinafore from the Tilly and the Buttons Make It Simple book, which theoretically should have been very quick and easy to whip up. I'll explain why mine wasn't below, but first, can we marvel at how versatile she is in this mustard denim from Sew Me Sunshine?! I made this Instagram reel to show you.

So, Olive is generally a speedy and satisfying make, but tinkering with the fit for mine was a little time-consuming. If you look at the line drawings, you'll see that there's not much shaping around the waist, which is something I need in this style of clothing due to my proportions. I documented my pattern alterations as I went along and saved them in this Instagram highlight, but I'll outline them below too.

First up, I took 5.5cm out of the bodice to raise the waistline because I have quite a short torso, and I then trued the darts. Finally, starting with the narrowest part of the waistline, I added some shaping using a curved ruler. 

The waist shaping looked great, but because the darts were now much shorter than intended, I had a lot of excess fabric around the bum and tummy area. So I had to tweak the darts by adding some length back in, which took a few goes to get right. It was worth it though, as I managed to nail the fit for my shape back in March.

It should have been plain sailing after this, but it took me another five weeks to get Olive over the finishing line, all because of the bloody snaps. I had a few failed attempts on scrap bits of fabric which really put the fear into me, plus I was so angry about it that I needed to step away for a bit. I went through two different packs of snaps before conceding that I needed a smaller size, but installing them with the Prym pliers (I got mine from Like Sew Amazing) was a breeze in the end. 

It was worth all the drama though, as I'm really happy with the final result. I used some amazing leftover Spoonflower cotton for the facings and added my favourite finishing touch with a Kylie and the Machine label. 

You can't tell so much in these photos, but because I finished this ages ago, the fit is looser than I'd like (the perils of using exercise to get through a pandemic). It's nothing that can't be remedied with a belt though, so now I can create two looks with one pinafore.

Am I the only person to have underestimated how satisfying sewing solids can be? The outfit possibilities seem endless!

This month I've been co-hosting #SewVintageSeptember on Instagram with Kerry of Kestrel Makes and it's been wonderful! Not only have I discovered many more vintage-loving stitchers and been inspired by  their makes, it's also re-ignited my interest in my own sizeable vintage pattern collection, which has  slowly dwindled in favour of indie brands in recent years. 

After a good rummage, I settled on McCall 6475 for my personal challenge, a sweet blouse pattern from 1946. I even managed to pair it with some 1940s stretch crepe from my stash, which was a bonus. 

Unlike some vintage patterns, this one has fully-printed pattern pieces and the instructions are very clear and thorough. The construction is also fairly simple, with the only fiddly bits being the narrow neck binding and easing the sleeves in. I made things even easier for myself by inserting an invisible side zip, instead of the lapped one the pattern calls for.

Being a vintage size 16, it falls pretty close to my measurements so I didn't have to make too many adjustments. After measuring the flat pattern pieces, I knew I had to take 5.5cm off the bodice so the waistline would hit me at the right point. To avoid messing with the design lines too much, I distributed this between the armhole and side seams, making sure to shorten the sleeve pieces accordingly. I then added the 5.5cm to the peplum, which in hindsight might be a bit too long. What do you think - should I shorten the peplum a bit? I saved all of my alterations in a highlight on Instagram called SVS for anyone interested. 

When I first set out to make this blouse, I had a vision of pairing it with a luxurious pair of RTW navy culottes I own, for a formal vintage feel. However, since I last wore them my shape has changed and they no longer fit properly. I was really disappointed and discovered that I don't actually have much else to pair this blouse with as I'm not really a smart separates person (something I've been meaning to rectify for years). 

I had to settle on the only pair of jeans that still fit me for the photoshoot and I just don't know how I feel about the overall look. It looks very contemporary, which wasn't the picture I had in my head, but maybe it means I'll actually wear it more in reality. I could throw a chunky knit over it for colder weather and wear it like this in warmer weather.

One thing I regret, is running out of time to make a matching belt. September turned out to be much busier than I expected both in and out of work, so my sewing time was quite limited. I might make one retrospectively, or get one made by Harlequin UK for a £12 bargain.

I also regret rushing to finish and machine hemming the peplum and sleeves. As a result, the hems are a bit wavy, so I should have taken the time to hand stitch them. Time wasn't on my side though and if it still bothers me down the line, I can always unpick and redo them.

A very apt and perfectly-matched label from Pink Coat Club

The neckline is the showstopper on this design for sure. I also love the raglan sleeves (the long sleeves are especially beautiful) and the subtle front and back waist gathers that give it a slightly blousy effect. It really is a very sweet pattern.

Overall, I'm not thrilled with my finished make - it's partly feeling like I rushed it and partly because I couldn't pair it with what I originally wanted to. I guess I'm also a little bit disappointed that I maybe wasn't ambitious enough for #SewVintageSeptember, but with how unpredictably busy the month turned out to be, that's not a bad thing. 

What I am happy about, is that this month has helped me to rediscover my neglected vintage sewing pattern stash. I'm going to make more of an effort to incorporate them into my future plans because I have some absolute stunners, especially in my 1930s collection.

Did you take part in #SewVintageSeptember? 

When Fabric Godmother released her latest collection of exclusive prints earlier this year, Josie generously invited me to pick my favourite as a gift, with no obligation to share what I made. Naturally, my love of big cat prints drew me to the gorgeous Cheetah Lily tencel crepe, and as soon as it arrived I just knew it had to become a Named Reeta Shirt Dress. I'm so happy with how it turned out that there's no way I wasn't going to share it. 

Recently I've been quite lazy with my sewing, opting for simpler/quicker makes, so this felt like the most involved project that I've tackled in a long time. Details like the pleated breast pockets, collar, waist channel, turned up sleeves, skirt vents and buttons all add to the luxurious finish of this dress, but they take time to sew. I also decided to make my own waist ties instead of using cord, so that didn't help matters. 

Once I accepted that this was going to be a slow sew and focused on one element at a time, I actually found the process quite enjoyable. It reminded me that it's ok if it takes longer than a day or a weekend to make something. Literally, what's the rush?!?

The pattern instructions are ok, but I always tend to need a bit of extra guidance when it comes to tricky bits as my brain can't cope with 2D explanations. When it came to the collar I did a bit of Googling and stumbled across Sew Sew Live's sew-along on YouTube. It really helped me to see it being sewn up, so I would recommend scrolling to 54 minutes in if you need help with that step.

The rest of the dress is actually pretty simple to make. Just make sure you carefully transfer all the pattern markings onto your fabric and take extra care if you're using something drapey.

Instead of adding the required buttonholes at each end of the waist channel, I was inspired by Crafty Clyde to use some hardware. I went for 11mm Prym eyelets in brass to match my buttons and I love how they look. With my fabric being so delicate, I figured that buttonholes wouldn't hold up as well over time and the eyelets feel much more robust. My buttons were a steal from a stall on Leicester Market and they're perfect for this dress.

In terms of sizing, I made a straight UK 12 and I'm really happy with the fit. I'm only 5ft 3" though, so I took about 10cm off the length and I probably could have taken off a bit more. Miraculously, when I measured the pattern pieces, the waist channel was already at my natural waistline (usually I have to shorten bodices), so I took 5cm off between the waist and hips and 5cm off between the hips and start of the side slits. As I was taking so much off I wanted to space it out to cause as little interruption to the design lines as possible and to make sure I didn't end up with tiny slits. It paid off I think. 

Throwing on this dress makes me feel effortlessly chic. It's both sophisticated and casual, an irresistible combination. I wore it out and about with black trainers recently and I've never felt so good during peak comfort levels. I can totally see why the Reeta Shirt Dress is such a popular make. Have you made it? What do you think to the pattern?

The minute I spotted this dreamy viscose from Fabric Godmother a few months ago, I knew I had to have it and I knew it needed to become The Sorrel Dress by Jennifer Lauren Handmade. I'm very much an impulse buyer when it comes to fabric, so buying with a purpose was a revelation. I might try to do it more often...haha!

Something about the vintage-inspired print paired with the classic shape of the pattern just screamed 1940s perfection to me and I wasn't disappointed. This dress came out exactly how I pictured it in my head and I couldn't be happier about it. It's a shame I finished it just in time for colder weather, but it might get some winter wear with a cropped cardigan and tights. 

I love the foldout collar, open-ended darts and grown-on sleeves which give this pattern a casual vintage twist. The fact that it's drafted in different cup sizes is the cherry on top. I made a straight size 12 in a C or D cup (I can't remember, annoyingly) and it fits so nicely. 

The only change I made was to shorten the bodice by 4cm, which turned out to be too much despite carefully measuring the flat pattern pieces like I always do. Bizarrely, the front is fine but the waistline is raised at the back and slightly pulls. You can't really see it in the pictures, but it's there and it bugs me, but it won't stop me from wearing it as it's cute otherwise.

My only criticism relates to the skirt. I was drawn to this pattern because of the simple A-line skirt, but it's almost like it could do with a tiny bit more volume. Making it in a floaty viscose probably hasn't helped matters and something with a bit more body might work better. Either way, it would be easy enough to fiddle with the shape if I wanted to do so for future versions.

Originally, I had my heart set on red buttons, but I didn't have quite the right shade of red. These pearly beauties worked a treat though and I love how they blend in perfectly to let the print do the talking. Of course I had to finish it off with a lovely Crafty Pinup label.

Have you made The Sorrel Dress? What do you think of it?