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?

I usually steer clear of me-mades that you have to practically remove just to pop to the loo, but found it hard to resist the Safiya Dungarees that stitchers have been making in their hoards. It's one of six patterns featured in Make it Simple, the latest book from Tilly and the Buttons.

My heart was set on making this in some double gauze from my stash, but try as I may, I didn't quite have enough at the time. Emma has since kindly come through for me, so a second version could be on the horizon. In the meantime, I settled on a cotton lawn from my stash instead and I think it works really well as it's breezy to wear and layers up well with lots of different tops in my wardrobe.

I made a straight size 4, shortening the straps and trouser length, as well as taking in the bodice sides a smidge. Ideally, I would have gone a size smaller for the bodice, but as the pattern doesn't have any fastenings, I wouldn't have been able to pull it over my hips and bum. My bust/hip to waist ratio is always what puts me off loose styles, but the fabric belt helps to give it some shaping and it's been super comfy to wear while working from home during the pandemic.

If I do make a second version, I'll probably size down and add a side zip or front buttons. I've seen some gorgeous versions which are more fitted, so it's very tempting.

I had some leftover fabric, so I made myself a matching face covering...such are the times we're living in. It's the popular free pattern from Dhurata Davies, made with three layers of fabric and featuring nose/chin shaping. You can even add a filter and nose wire if you wish, though I didn't for this version. It's a really great pattern, but doesn't quite offer the coverage of the 3D one by Romilda Dias which I shared a tutorial for here if you're interested. 

Have you made any of the three versions of the Safiya pattern? Which is your favourite? I've also made the trouser version and I can't wait to share it with you because I'm truly smitten!

It's taken 11 years into my sewing journey for me to give shirring a go - that's how averse to change and failure I am. Ridiculous, I know! I'm so glad I finally ventured out of my comfort zone though and it's all thanks to the super cute Raspberry pattern from Cocowawa Crafts. I was seriously torn between the jumpsuit, playsuit and dress options, eventually opting for the former.

Needless to say, I watched a lot of YouTube videos about shirring, most of which made it look like the easiest thing in the world. But the method you need to use seems to depend on your brand of sewing machine.

Mine required me to take my bobbin case out and tighten the tension for it to shirr, which was a very scary prospect. What made it a bit less daunting though, was this tutorial by Ana (the beautiful human behind Cocowawa Crafts), who calmly and expertly guides you through the various steps you may need to take for success.

This make would have been my entry for Portia's Refashioners 2020, which was thoughtfully cancelled to allow for a more inclusive and representative line-up in the future. This year's challenge was to give a new lease of life to unloved/unused textiles from around your home like bedding, tablecloths, towels and old garments. 

It was the perfect opportunity for me to use these vintage curtain or table runner panels I found in a charity shop once upon a time. The cotton is surprisingly soft to handle so perfect for shirring, plus the colours and print are just so stunning. It had been in my stash for years as yellow's not a great pairing with my skin tone, but I think I can just about get away with this?!?

I shortened the bodice by 4cm and added those to the crotch length instead, which thankfully worked a treat. I also had to shorten the trouser length by quite a bit (maybe 8cm) and tapered them in by 2cm below the knee. I'm pretty happy with the final fit though and it required minimum effort to get there which is always a win. 

The only downside is that the bodice does sit a little high at the underarms, as it's a rectangle. Being a shirring novice, I've no idea if shaping the bodice piece would be possible, but I might be tempted to try it next time. It's absolutely not a deal-breaker for this version though.  

Naturally I had to make the ruffled straps as they're pretty AND they're better at covering bra straps. I'm not a massive fan of elasticated waists, so to hide the evidence I made a fabric belt and used this tutorial by Melly Sews to add handworked thread loops. Of course, the finishing flurry had to be a matching label from Modista's gorgeous French-inspired collection.

I really went to town with my stripe placement on this make, which was no mean feat as I was working with three narrow fabric panels, requiring a lot of pattern Tetris and cutting out on single layers. I'm so happy I went to all of that effort though, because the end result is exactly what I was hoping for!

The Raspberry Jumpsuit gets a big thumbs up from me. Are you a fan of the pattern?

Long time no post, friends. I've actually been relatively productive on the sewing front during lockdown, but seem to have lost the appetite to photograph myself in my makes. The backlog was stressing me out though, so I made a start last weekend.

This was originally a straight Republique du Chiffon Violette Dress, which I made for last year's summer party hosted by Hannah and Rosie of The New Craft House. You can see me wearing it here, but suffice to say that I wasn't a fan of the relaxed bodice on me. However, I was a huge fan of the tiered skirt and the gorgeous viscose from Like Sew Amazing, so I was determined to refashion it into a dress worthy of my friend's dreamy Tuscan wedding last August. 

I had just enough fabric left over for a By Hand London Flora Dress bodice and I even managed to piece a belt together too. The transformation was absolutely worth the hours of unpicking the zip and overlocked waist seam, gathers and all. I felt totally fabulous swanning around in it at the wedding!

Annoyingly, I omitted the customary waist stay I like to add when sewing with viscose, so there is a bit of sagging at the front skirt. Also, I made a lot of adjustments to the Flora bodice at the time to get a perfect fit, which isn't really reflected here as my shape has changed a fair bit since then. I think the belt does a great job at hiding these niggles though and it sure is a comfortable wear.

Overall, I'm really happy with this combination of patterns - which I've named Florette - and would love to make a solid version in linen maybe. I know, I know...who even am I?!?

I'll finish with a confession, because it's bugging me and I need to come clean. Have you noticed the difference in lipstick colour and lighting in some of these photos? It's because we took the first batch with the pink lipstick and the lovely lighting first...before I realised that my zip was only halfway done up on the back bodice. Sadly, this made the fit look terrible in the front and back shots but we didn't have time to reshoot straight away due to a family Zoom quiz (the 'gift' that keeps on giving in lockdown). By the time the quiz had finished the day turned grey and rainy and I forgot that I'd changed my lipstick! We could have reshot everything on a different day, but I really liked some of the original takes, so I begrudgingly settled on mixing the two. 

The trials and tribulations of being a blogger, eh!?! I'd love to hear about your quirky photoshoot stories in the comments...

We're partial to a bit of twinning, my sewing bestie Amy (Almond Rock) and I, but this time we've really outdone ourselves! We've made matching PJs out of this crazy cat print seersucker and have decided to throw a Pyjama Pictionary Party to celebrate. The best part is, you're all invited!

You can join us live by tuning into Amy's YouTube channel this Saturday (25 April) at 7.30pm (BST). We'll chat a bit, play a bit and there are kickass goodies up for grabs too. You can enter the prize draw and even help plan the party here - just send us your sewing-related Pictionary suggestions and any burning questions you want us to answer on the night.

It all started when I found this bonkers fabric on Leicester market more than a year ago. I had no idea what I would do with it, but that didn't stop me from buying a small bolt. It's quite a sheer seersucker with a subtle plaid pattern and the scruffiest little kitties all over it. 

Inspiration eventually struck and I decided to gift Amy some if she agreed to make matching sleepwear with me (always read the small print before accepting gifts). Reader, she said yes!

Do you like my cute lil rainbow label? It's from Paige Joanna.

I paired mine with the Nina Lee Piccadilly pattern, which is incredibly sweet, and they've turned out pretty darned cute. It was my first time using the pattern and I made up a straight size 12, leaving out the Mandarin collar as it's not a detail I love on myself. 

The fit is quite good, but next time I'd probably add an inch to the crotch rise to accommodate my fuller butt. Also, I think I would pinch a centimetre or so out of the shoulders and tweak the armhole a little as movement is a tad restricted (I like to do big yawns with my arms stretched out).

The most time-consuming part of this pattern is sewing on the bias tape which creates the darling details on the pockets, sleeves and along the hems. Once that was all done though, I sped through the rest, which felt really satisfying.

So that's the story of pussycat Piccadilly pyjamas - do you like them? And more importantly, will we see you at our Pyjama Pictionary Party on Saturday?