All posts by Klarke

End of the Year Clean Up Surprise

I came across this beautiful pattern in my pattern stash whilst tiding up my sewing space to turn it back into a dinning room for the Christmas holidays.

Its on my list to make for 2017 but I am going to have to hunt high and low for the right fabric…I can feel another fabric shopping session on its way!

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My first trip to Berwick Street fabric shops

I can’t believe that its taken me so long to go to Berwick Street!

I think what surprised me was that fact that the shops were specialising in different fabric which made it easier to buy what I needed…in fact very easy to buy.

I was very restrained and only bought this beautiful silk that has hand made flower. I have not idea what to make with it any suggestions, I have just over a meter?

Cushion, hand bag or cami top?



Pirates and Parties, summer sewing update

Its been a really busy summer for me both on the sewing front and with my little one. Thats why I am only now getting around to doing my update on all my summer makes.

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Summer time, party time

Although I didn’t make this outfit this summer, I am so glad that she can still fit into this Vogue 7819 (occasion dress and jacket) which I made for her 2nd Birthday (she’s 4 now!) I made it with lots of room for growth as I hate the idea of spending all those hours making it and then it either doesn’t fit for only fits for a little while. The jacket is a really good idea, in fact I have used the pattern with her 3rd and 4th birthday dresses. I am going to do a post in the not to distant future about the 4 birthday dresses I have made her and my plans for a very grand 5th one.

These sun dresses were my favourite makes from the summer. So quick to do, thanks to the pre smocked fabric from one of my favourite fabric shops, Fabric Land I had a few hours (could have done with a few more, but them what fabric addict doesn’t need more time in fabric heaven) in their Bournemouth branch and ended up cutting these out on the hotel pool table (it was covered) and hand stitched them. They were a big hit with the girls and the other guests who had seem me cut them out and make them up were intrigued, some of them joined me in their crafting activities and I ended up creating a sewing and knitting bee in the hotel Bar.

Pink smock skull sun dresses
Pink smock skull sun dresses




Dottie Angel with Cotton Reels

I loved the Simplicity dottie Angel dress I made last year with aeroplanes, but it came up a bit big, so I decided to make it again with this fantastic fabric from my favourite shop,  The Crafty Sewer Wimbledon Sewing Centre in Balham, London.

I made it a size smaller (a 12) and used pink and pale green chambray for the contrasts and all the bias binding.

Overall I am really happy with it, though next time I would make it even smaller, and I think its the perfect pattern for quirky prints though I think one made of different colours of denim will be my next make.


dottie angel cotton reel dress
dottie angel cotton reel dress
Come fly with me memory dress
Come fly with me memory dress

Unicorns and Rainbows for the Simplicity Sewing Challenge

I finished my working toile for the Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016 using the Simplicity 1206. I decided not to make it up in the fabric I had in mind as I’m keeping it for Littles Ones 5th Birthday dress (See my other posts about the birthday dresses I make her) Its a hand embellished ribbon sewn on to a voile and its going to be perfect for the birthday dress big project.

This fabric is from the fabulous Fabric Land Brighton branch. The Little One choose it herself and loves wearing it. I made a matching shoulder purse for her (not pictured).

I found it quite straight forward, until I got to the yoke and sleeves which were a bit fiddly, as if you didn’t get the gathering right the armholes could end up to big.

I would make this again, with the overlay this time. Just need to find the right fabric for it.

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Simplicity sewing challenge 2016
Simplicity sewing challenge 2016

Toile in progress for 1206 Simplicity

Achieving Zero Waste With Mummy and Me dressmaking?

I had been after this pattern which came free with an issue of Love Sewing Magazine, for so long! Its from SewGirl and I finally managed to get it second hand on ebay much to my excitement!

While I was in the process of laying it our for cutting I read a fascinating article on Zero Waste and how commercial sewing patterns create a shocking 46% WASTE of fabric!!! The article was by the owner of Story Book Patterns, Cassandra Macinedoe generic actos. It really got me thinking about what I could do to reduce my waste as a Seamstress and in life in general.

So I made  blocks for my Little One so that when I am cutting out, my clothes I automatically cut out something for her to help achieve the holy grail of zero waste.

Im not totally happy with my tunic. Im 5ft 2 and a size 8-10 so the sleeves totally drowned me. I have cut off the extra section of sleeves and it looks much better on and the extra I removed, I turned the top into a dress. I will post more photos of these two when I am finished.

Trying to achieve zero waste when cutting out clothes patterns
Trying to achieve zero waste when cutting out clothes patterns

Summer Time Surprise Skirt

I have had this pattern for a while when I found this fabric at the fantastic <a href="http://www actos”> on Lavender Hill, near Clapham, London. Some times when I buy a pattern I can only see it being made in the fabric in the photo, and this Simplicity 1695 was no exception!

What surprised me about this pattern, was the underskirt, as its not marked on the pattern envelope front or back!! Its not till you start reading the instruction you find its there. Actually had I know it was there I would have made the skirt before now as I had it in my head that it was only suitable for beach wear in such a floaty see through fabric.

When I cut it out I forgot to cut 2 of the underskirt so had to put a medium large split at the back of it so that I could walk! I had used the rest of the fabric to make a halter neck top the year before, so need to take drastic action. Sadly the free pattern that I used from a leading sewing magazine had not been drafted well…unless you had a child size neck on an adult body. Anyway I am now self drafting a new halter neck top for next year to wear with it.

I am also going to try making it again with some gorgeous black silk, with torn bits effect (sorry no idea what the technical term is for that) from Jigsaw, for a christmas party skirt, maybe even make a strapless bodice with it.


Summer Skirt

Sewing Weekender Update Finished Makes & Photo Twin Fun

What a weekend we all had! The first day was all about doing your own sewing projects and we were paired up to share a Janome sewing machine. I had the delightful Ana from Cocowawa as my sewing buddy.

I wanted to sew with fabric that I had never sewn before and pre cut  a silk top and a scuba top. The main reason for chosen these fabrics, was that my sewing machine, an Elna 7000 (that was my Mothers) is really on its last legs and it hates sewing jersey and silk. The Janome sewing machine coped very well with both fabrics.

Sewing weekender and Urban Seamstresses makes
Sewing weekender and Urban Seamstresses makes

The second day we had talks for the fabulous House of Pinhero, Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons, Gabby of Gabberdashery and Beyond Measure.

Gabby of Gabberdashery
Gabby of Gabberdashery

Those sewers that had finished there creations got to wear them the next day. Here is Megan and Gabby in their Chinelo Baily, Batwing tops.

Megan and Gabby make a bat wing top
Megan and Gabby make a bat wing top

When Gabby showed me this photo from Chinelos book I was couldn’t believe it! It was as if Megan and Gabby had found their photo twins, so of course I had to try and recreate the shoot.

Batwing top by Chinelo Baily
Batwing top by Chinelo Baily

Check out Gabby and Megans Vlogg on how they made their tops

click here to watch


Im going to the Sewing Weekender

What can I say…Im sew excited to be going to Cambridge with 50 other lucky sewers

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The sewing weekender

Sewing for Charity – Part One

Last Christmas I heard about the wonderful <a href="http://www.childrescuenepal diabetes” target=”_blank”>Child Resue Nepal (CRN) Charity  and the awesome work that they do rescuing and supporting victims of trafficking and their families.

I really wanted to help them but didn’t know what I could do being based in the UK, then I had an idea, I volunteered to make an item of clothing for each of the children that live in the family style orphanages, which turned out to be 35 youngsters aged 10 to 19 years old both boys and girls!

I decided that to make the garments both practical and enjoyable for the youngsters, I would get each one to tell me what their favourite colour was and name so that I could machine embroider name tags to go inside the items of clothing in the colour of their choice.

It was at this point that I realised what a vast project I had taken on. The sourcing of suitable patterns was my first hurdle. I wanted to make shorts for the boys and either a dress or skirt for the girls, but obviously the more pattern pieces the longer it was going to take me, but all items needed to have pockets, so I hunted high and low for ones that fitted my criteria.

The first pattern I chose for the boys shorts was McCalls easy boy shorts. They had pockets and elasticated waist and seemed an ideal choice.

McCalls sewing pattern boys shorts 6099
McCalls sewing pattern boys shorts 6099

I had previously used the pattern to make 2 pairs for my Nephew In Laws but I soon realised that making 18 pairs was going to be too time consuming. So I had a rethink, in fact quite a few rethinks.

Patterns i considered for CRN
Patterns used for making clothes for CRN

In the end I used all the patterns able, with no real modifications.

These were all the patterns I tried and rejected because they were going to take too long to make 36 garments from

Patterns for making clothes for Child Rescue Nepal
Patterns for making clothes for Child Rescue Nepal