She may not have made it to the ball, but my Named Anni hack is a cutie nonetheless. 

At one point a contender for #TheDressmakersBall, I decided that made in this fabric - a sold out crepe from Fabric Godmother - my Anni wouldn't be quite smart enough for the occasion. 

I set her aside while I whipped up this luxurious Gable/Aldaia hack instead, but I'm so glad I picked her back up again and finished her off. 

What first drew me to this version of Anni was the unusual cutout detail on the front bodice, which I just love. The construction and somewhat confusing instructions/diagrams left me scratching my head and feeling very frustrated, but I thankfully figured it out in the end.

My dreamy vision for this dress originally involved the wrap skirt add-on, but I didn't have enough fabric to see it through. I used the skirt from the Selkie Patterns London Dress, before realising that I had cut the fabric slightly off grain. Normally I don't sweat the small stuff, but with the striped pattern repeat it was SO obvious, making the skirt look super wonky. My only option was to unpick it and cut it on grain, which resulted in an unplanned shorter, gathered skirt. Far from my first choice, but sweet enough.

Anni required me to do my first ever FBA (full bust adjustment) and it turned out to be less scary than I feared, thanks to this handy tutorial from Sew Over It. I'm pretty happy with the overall fit after shortening the bodice by 2cm too, but movement is a little restricted across the back in the shoulders and sleeve caps. I've never had this issue before, but it's definitely something I'll need to address for future versions as I can't get the wrap skirt vision out of my head. If you have any tips for how to fix this issue, I'm all ears!

P.S. I'm wearing the chunky ASOS sandals that loads of people hated in my Instagram poll, but I'm still not 100% sure I want to return them. I kinda like them...what do you think?

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, I'm joining in with Zoe's fantastic Me Made May initiative.

If it's so fantastic, you ask, why have I not taken part more often? Well, steady weight gain over the last few years has meant that a big part of my handmade wardrobe doesn't fit, leaving me with fewer options than is ideal. I also have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my me-mades as I often fall into the trap of making the latest trends and regretting it.  

However, I've decided to embrace Me Made May, not only because the FOMO is real, but also because I want to improve my relationship with my hand mades. 

My biggest reservation about it is that I might not feel like myself for a whole month, which I realise is an ironic thing to say about clothes made by me. Whether that ends up being the case or not, I'm hopeful that it will help me identify gaps (such as outerwear, bottoms, warm-weather clothes) and figure out my elusive sense of style. 

So without further ado...

I, Marie Koupparis, sign up as a participant of Me Made May 2019. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item of clothing/accessory a day and will attempt to style repeats differently, during May 2019.

Are you taking part this year? If so, grab yourself a cute enamel pin badge in support of a good cause!

There's nothing quite like the promise of a ball to get you reaching for the fanciest fabric and pattern in sight. Or, if you're like me, to fill you with sheer panic and indecision. Despite buying my ticket to The Dressmakers Ball months ago, I couldn't for the life of me settle on an idea until the weekend before the bash.

My bountiful stash just wasn't inspiring me, partly because I don't have super fancy taste so nothing seemed appropriate. With the pressure of being on the awards panel mounting up, I was on the verge of giving up when I remembered the luxurious velvet I bought from Fabric Godmother about 18 months ago.

As someone whose usual motto is 'more is more', black monochrome was not the obvious choice for me. However, the velvet's textured stripe effect, substantial weight and delicious drape give it a really expensive air (I mean, it wasn't cheap, but you know what I mean). 

To achieve the look I was going for, I paired it with the Jennifer Lauren Gable top, which has a chic 1950s-inspired slash neckline. I shortened the top to hit at my natural waistline, tapered it in slightly and added clear elastic to the bottom before attaching the full skirt from the Pauline Alice Aldaia dress. The Aldaia skirt comes up quite short, so I added about 13cm to the length for a more formal vibe.

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I felt ridiculously elegant swishing around in it on the night, which was quite impressive given that I've basically made secret pyjamas disguised as a dress. Better still, I can genuinely see myself wearing it for so many other occasions. 

The biggest thing going for this dress though? It matches my handsome mini rex rabbit called Opie. Well, it's not quite as lush as him, but it's close! Now I have two dresses that match each of my rabbits - remember my original Aldaia in the grey colourway which perfectly complements Birdie rabbit? If #DressLikeYourPet or #MatchYourPet aren't a thing, they should be. Who's in?

Finally, a MASSIVE 'thank you' to Freya and Sarah from Crafty Sew & So for hosting such a wonderful night, in Leicester no less! I never fail to be impressed by how far stitchers will travel to meet up with each other and by how talented, beautiful and funny they are.

Happy birthday to me! The greatest gift I've given myself this year is finishing and photographing this dress - 1950s Simplicity 3931 - because it makes me feel like a vintage vixen!

It's hard to believe that I started making it about a year and a half ago! I had to grade the pattern up by an inch or two, so the muslin stage took a bit longer than I anticipated. By the time I had nailed the fit it was time to pack up my sewing room for a very long and disruptive period of house renovations. After that, it took me ages to get my sewjo back - it's still only fleeting - but I'm so glad I finished it. The pairing with this drapey linen from Walthamstow Market - the man outside Sainsbury's (TMOS), to be precise - is so dreamy. 

Sadly, with so much time passing, I can't really remember the exact alterations I made to the original pattern. I have the new pieces, so not all is lost, but I imagine I took the shoulders in a bit, shortened the bodice a touch and added some centimetres to the centre front and side seams. I also skipped the sleeve ties for a less fussy look, but might give them a go next time as they're pretty sweet and all the rage on the latest indie patterns I've seen.

One thing I do remember is how quickly and easily this pattern came together. The instructions are actually really good for its age and the construction is fairly simple. If you can get your grubby hands on a copy, I thoroughly recommend adding Simplicity 3931 to your collection.

As with most vintage patterns in my stash, what attracted me to this one were the gorgeous details. I can't get enough of the shoulder and front skirt pleats - they give such romantic shaping to the bodice and make the skirt just full enough. I'm particularly taken by the clever little elbow darts to shape the sleeves and, I assume, give them more flexibility of movement.

For a more streamlined look, the front bodice and both skirt pieces could be cut on the fold, as the zip is inserted in the side. I squeezed this out of just two metres of fabric, so cutting on the fold wasn't really an option for me. My biggest challenge was the front bodice pattern placement as I had very little fabric to play with and didn't want to end up with bronze areolas! It was touch and go for a while, but I managed it in the end...phew!

I'm now ready for afternoon tea please...anyone care to join me?

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?