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...