Lately, I've been on a bit of a Tilly and the Buttons bender. But who can blame me?

I'm mean, I know I'm literally last to the Coco party, but I've been living my best mod life since making myself the top version in this dog-tooth ponte from WeaverDee.

I was actually one of the pattern's testers way back in 2014 when I made this Coco Dress version. Although it looks super cute in the pictures, as a dress it's not very flattering on me due to the lack of waist shaping. I never wore it and donated it to my mum shortly afterwards.

It's a shame as it's a cracking pattern, but it's an even bigger shame that it took me so long to give the top version a go!

Even though I'm not a massive fan of high necklines, the funnel roll neck on this version is not at all restrictive and has a wonderfully retro feel. Coco definitely works better for me as a top, with the subtle side seam shaping accommodating my muffin tops/hips without completely hiding my waist. 

Ironically, making this 1960s-inspired number feels like I've finally joined the 21st century sewing community.

I know you've made Coco...the question is, how many?

Sometimes, there's nothing more satisfying than a speedy make and the Nora Top from Tilly and the Buttons is just the ticket! It's taken our sewing community by storm, with so many amazing versions out there already.

These last few weeks I've been beavering away on a couple of involved makes for Charlotte, but I get antsy when I don't have a selfish project on the go, so this quick and easy make was a good way to stay sane.

There's really not a lot to say as the pattern is such a breeze to follow. I sized down due the boxy/relaxed fit and the only change I made was to slightly shorten the sleeves, which are purposefully extra long. Also, I'm not a fan of how high necks feel, so I opted for the narrow neckband instead. For the hem, I went for cropped and stepped with side seams.

My fabric is a medium-weight knit from a stall on Leicester Market and it cost a whopping £1 per metre. I was hoping for a wearable muslin and ended up with a sweater I love. 

Nora lends itself to SO many different variations that I can see why so many fellow stitchers have become addicted. I certainly see more in my future.

Have you fallen for Nora?

It's been a hot minute since I blogged, but I'm back with a hacked Seren Dress!

As soon as this Tilly and the Buttons pattern was released in the summer I fell in love, especially with the flounce version. But big boobs and flounces don't mix, right? For better or for worse, fuelled by a friend's late September wedding, I ploughed ahead and I'm so happy with the result!

My hack was inspired by a RTW dress and I paired my vision with this perfectly autumnal viscose from Stoff & Stil - it's so feminine and buttery soft. It was also a dream to sew and press.

So, let's start with the obvious changes I made. For the streamlined look I was lusting after, I cut the front pieces on the fold and eliminated the buttons, inserting an invisible zip at the back instead. I also took out the waistband and lengthened the bodice slightly to compensate. 

Finally, I added a few inches to the length of the flounce as I wanted it longer at the back to hide my muffin tops and back fat. Not only did it work, I'm also convinced that the longer length at the front is the main reason this looks ok with my fuller bust.

Before tweaking the design though, there were some fitting issues I had to address. I cut a straight size five, but needed to lower the bust darts and shorten the straps. I also had to get rid of some underarm gaping, which meant taking a wedge out of the flounce too. Once I was happier with the overall fit, I went ahead with the hacking.

Much like my Kew Dress, Seren made me feel like a million dollars at the wedding I attended. I'm already looking forward to making a couple of summer versions, one with buttons and one with the tie waist.

You'll also notice that I'm wearing exactly the same shoes and jewellery as I did with my Kew Dress. I'm not much of an accessories person (though I do LOVE shoes), so the easiest thing seems to be to make dresses that match what I have. Is this madness? Does anybody else do this?

Friends, I'm humbled to be part of The Refashioners 2018 epic line-up. This year, Portia has opened the challenge right up - absolutely any garment goes, as long as you start with an image that inspires you!

With that in mind, you're probably wondering why the heck I've played it so safe!?! Well, aside from not being a particularly gifted refashioner, my initial plan kinda went to pot. 

I was hoping to make a patchwork Megan Nielsen Karri Dress, using the many unloved pairs of jeans I've been holding onto for years. I was really excited about this idea, until I realised that none of the jeans I owned were wide enough for the skirt pieces. 

A trek to my local charity shops revealed that I would need to buy quite a few jeans/denim items to be able to carry this off, which really got me thinking about waste. It seemed like I would be buying items just for the sake of it, when I already have plenty of me-mades in need of some TLC. So, I decided to hold onto my jeans until the right project comes along and hatched another plan.


I turned my attention to the By Hand London Kim Dress I made four years ago, using the loveliest Liberty London cotton lawn. Even though it was pretty, I'd never worn it because it was a little too revealing in the bust area, plus I'm not a fan of light-coloured dresses on me. 

Wasting such beautiful fabric made me uneasy though, so this was the push I needed to do something about it. I googled 'Liberty fabric blouses' which led me to this divine image from Pompom magazine and the Stevie Tunic pattern by Tilly and the Buttons immediately sprung to mind! 

Having already made two Stevie tops that I love, this was the perfect pattern to ensure that my Liberty lawn got the second chance it deserved. I chopped the skirt off my Kim Dress and...the rest is history. For this version I opted for the ties at the back and added cuffs too. The purple contrasting fabric was in my destash pile, so I'm glad I found a use for it. 

Was the original dress cuter? Possibly. Will I get lots of wear out of this? Definitely!

If you've got this far, thanks for sticking with me! Once again, Portia's challenge is super inspiring, so make sure you stay updated with the latest here

It's also proven again that when it comes to refashioning, I'm definitely a harverster instead of a reworker. This means that I'm not great at reimagining garments and pretty much only see them as fabric I can use for something else. Elisalex of By Hand London has written an interesting article about these two different approaches in this month's Love Sewing magazine!

Are there any more harvesters out there?

After many an Instagram teaser, behold my striped Cocowawa Honeycomb Dress!

Can you believe I started it back in July? It took me forever to finish, because work was super crazy, plus I was juggling a couple of other sewing projects at the same time.

But, I had SO much fun playing with the direction of the stripes and nailing the front bodice stripe-matching gives me life. I hope you'll also be impressed to know that I managed to squeeze this out of just 1.5m of fabric (a cheap and cheerful seersucker from Stuart's Fabrics stall on Leicester Market).

There's not an awful lot to say that I haven't already covered in my posts about my animal-print dress version or my cocktail-print blouse version.

However, I did make a few small tweaks. I cut a straight 4 (UK size 12) again, but shortened the bodice by a good 1.5cm which makes it perfect in the back, if a little borderline in the front. 

I also took in the top of the princess seams by a 2cm to reduce the shoulder width and took out the same from the back yoke so that the shoulder seams matched up.  

Finally, I cheated and sewed the buttons on without buttonholes. I actually have no problem sewing buttonholes, but I just didn't want them to mess up my stripe-matching on this occasion.

Ironically, I didn't add buttons all the way to the top as I prefer a slightly open neckline, but my collar was misbehaving in these photos as I hadn't pressed it properly. So I finger-pressed it together and it stayed...haha!

I couldn't resist ending with an out-take of me looking displeased with my photographer. Sometimes I can be such a blogzilla...poor Charlotte!

Anyway, although I'm sad I only got to wear this once before the weather turned, I'm happy to have made an early start on next year's summer wardrobe.

Friends, I can make shoes! Well, sandals...kinda.

When Amanda, the founder of I CAN make shoes, invited me to try out their Leather Sandal Making course, I jumped for joy and put my best foot forward! After all, it's not every day you get to make bespoke footwear that you can replicate at home. The ethos of the school is to teach techniques which don't require heavy machinery, so by investing in a few key tools you can continue to create in your own time.

I arrived at their beautiful studio, which is a stone's throw away from Bethnal Green tube/train station, with high hopes and no real clue about shoe-making. To avoid disappointment, make sure you treat the class as the beginner's guide that it is. I was armed with pinned pictures of extravagant sandals, which in hindsight, are more the kind of thing you might tackle in their Fabulous Flats class.

The key to the sandals class is to keep things simple so you can master the basics. It's only four hours long, which isn't long when you're a perfectionist. To give you a head start, the soles and straps are pre-cut for you. This does mean you're a little restricted in terms of style, but with it being such a short class, it's actually really helpful.

We started by tracing around our feet and trimming the pre-cut insoles and soles to size. Then it was onto picking out straps and settling on a design - this step took up a large chunk of my time. Placing and adjusting the straps using masking tape was probably the trickiest part of the whole process, but  with just five of us in the class, we all got plenty of help from the teacher and each other. Once we were happy, everything was glued together, sanded and sealed.

Although this particular class required no stitching by hand or machine, there were quite a few parallels with sewing. Transferring strap markings and trimming down the bulk of the excess straps before sandwiching between the inner and outer soles were both familiar processes.  

Believe it or not, I actually set out to make a tasteful pair of sandals. A combination of magpie tendencies and lack of choice resulted in this funky pair instead, but they are truly one-of-a-kind! In fact, my only criticism of the class would be the restricted colours and shapes. There seemed to be a good selection at first glance, but if you were last to go up and chose your pieces, there weren't many options left. I know that leather is expensive and precious though, so having an abundance would be wasteful I guess.

Still, I'm pretty thrilled with my first ever go at making shoes and would absolutely love try to their Derby Masterclass, so I know what gift vouchers I'll be asking for this Christmas!

If shoe-making sounds like something you'd like to try, I'd seriously recommend checking out I CAN make shoes. You can also get an idea of what you could create in a more advanced class in this nice film by Kate and Rachel from The Fold Line.

I made my first Nina Lee Kew Dress and it's love...the fiercest, most passionate kind. 

After getting an invite to Amy of Almond Rock's wedding last month, the self-inflicted pressure was well and truly on. Not only was Amy making her own dress (which was utterly breathtaking by the way), I've also been in a bad place about my weight and in a total sewing funk. In fact, I can't remember the last time I made a fitted woven dress that I felt comfortable in. 

I don't know what possessed me to try Kew, other than madly hoping it would miraculously look as good on me as it does on everyone else I've stalked online. Well guess what? It bloody well does!

Before going into pattern details, can we take a minute to swoon over my fabric? It's this gorgeous poly crepe from Sew Me Sunshine, which is actually much more teal in real life. The peach buttons from my stash are the perfect pairing.

This was my first time working with a Nina Lee pattern and I'm seriously impressed. It's very well drafted, the instructions are easy to follow and the design mixes vintage and contemporary details beautifully.

I made a straight size 14 and it was very nearly a perfect fit. I just shortened the shoulder straps by 3cm and sewed the facing along the neckline with a 1cm seam allowance (instead of 1.5cm) as I was worried about it being a bit revealing. I'm always so self-conscious about my large bust and try to avoid unwanted attention, but the finished neckline is very pretty. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of dipped hems, so I evened mine out to the shortest part of the skirt.

The only thing I would do differently next time is to lower the bust dart by a smidge...but that's it!

This pattern did what no other has managed to do in made me feel sassy and elegant and happy in my own skin. Oh, and it only took me a day to sew a win-win on all fronts!

Thank you Nina for designing such a gorgeous pattern and thank you Amy for giving me the motivation to sew something special.

I'll leave you with a few of my favourite photos of the stunning bride and I! If you want to know how Amy made her wedding dress of Dior dreams, then check out the series of posts on her blog throughout August.