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

Her 4th Birthday Dress

Quick before it rains lets take a photo of your new birthday dress!

Its become a bit of a tradition for me to make my Little One an occasion dress for her birthday each year.


4th Birthday Occasion dress
4th Birthday Occasion dress

So here is how it all started. She choose purple this year as the colour, and I bought the fabric from the fabulous Crafty Sewer near Tooting. I think this might be the last year that I get to choose the fabric, as she loves fabric and dresses as much as I do!

Simplicity 2463 Childs occasion dress
Simplicity 2463 Childs occasion dress

I think in retrospect I should not have made the skirt in cotton as it didn’t have the drape needed for the tucks, but as she has a summer birthday I didn’t want to make it too hot a dress to wear (what an optimist given our English Summers!) and I like to be able to machine wash her party dresses and had tested both the satin and cotton together with the ric-rac and it had washed beautifully.

Simplicity pattern 2463
Simplicity pattern 2463

The last minute addition to the outfit was the cropped jacket and which was from the Vogue 7819 girls occasion dress. I have made it for her for the last 3 years and it really finished the outfit.

Simplicity Children’s Wear Challenge 2016

I have a 4 year old daughter and she was my reason for getting back into sewing 5 years ago during my pregnancy click to investigate. So its fair to say that I have made a lot of clothes for her during that time, in particular I love to make her party dresses and she adores wearing them.

When I heard about the Simplicity Sewing Challenge, I thought it seemed fun and would give it a go. I didn’t realise that this very simple looking dress is actually far more challenging for me than I initially thought it would be. I am not great at gathering and I had never done a gathered yoke and sleeves in this way.

I decided to make a working toile and Little One picked out the fabric in one of my favourite fabric shops Fabric Land  at the Brighton Branch. The actual fabric I am going to use for the challenge is a beautiful cream, peach and mocha coloured, hand stitched ribbon on mesh over a light coffee satin underdress. However having made the toile, the fabric is going to make it even more challenging, but then I do love a challenge!


Simplicity sewing challenge 2016
Simplicity sewing challenge 2016

More photos to follow soon.


The Great British Sewing Bee 2016

I’m off to a Great British Sewing Bee meet-up at The Sun in Camberwell to watch the start of the new series – can’t wait!


The Sun at Camberwell
The Sun at Camberwell

Here I am with other Sewers at the meet-up, what a fun night can’t wait for next week

<img class="size-medium wp-image-48" src="×168.jpg" alt="Great British Sewing Bee 2016 Meet up" width="300" height="168" srcset="http://www.urbanseamstress important×168.jpg 300w,×431.jpg 768w, 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />
Great British Sewing Bee 2016 Meet up

My New Amazing Work Station

I am really lucky to have dedicated space to work in, also known as our dinning room and a few years ago Hubbie bought me a Horn sewing table which I adore and was possibly the best present ever, to go in there. Two years on, I needed more storage space to house my ever-growing collection of fabric, patterns and sewing essentials.  My sewing machines seem to be multiplying in the dark! I have 2 Elenas (7000 and Carina) both my mother’s, my machine is the worlds most basic but reliable Toyota and the latest addition is a Brother Overlocker (but we are not friends yet … can’t get the tension right).

Here are the photos of the new cupboard under construction before the Japanese bi-fold doors went on. I really wanted the room to remain multi use so that it could be turned back into a dinning room, every Friday night.

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The bottom section of shelves pull out and are stairs. I will post more photos of this next time.

one japanese bi fold door on cupboard
One Japanese bi-fold door on cupboard