New Sewing Pattern – the Elliot Sweater & Tee by Helen’s Closet – tester make and finalised versions!

There’s a new sewing pattern launching today – you’ve probably seen – the Elliot Sweater & Tee from Helen’s Closet. I jumped at the chance to test this pattern for Helen; as again it has all the hallmarks of a closet staple; warm but not too warm – perfect as a layering piece for the transition into the colder months.

The raglan sleeved Elliot comes in three views; View A which I’ve made, features a high neck and has a high-low hem which frankly I love; it means I can pair it with leggings without feeling I’m revealing too much backside! That side slit also makes sticking your hands in your pockets easier and provides forgiveness around the hip. View B is somewhat cropped (great for high waisted bottoms) and View C is your everyday comfort tee. There’s 20% off during the launch week too! Read More

Sewing your Sunday Best … and Blogging about it on a Monday! (The Sunday Dress by Pattern & Cloth)

Hello! Having been quiet here for a wee while (too busy sewing!) I’ve now got a double-whammy of posts coming up in quick succession (haha clearly I blog as I live!); there’s a new sewing pattern launching later today I was really happy to be part of the tester group for; I’ll post on that next but, for now, I want to share the 5 dresses I’ve recently sewn using the Sunday Dress pattern from indie designer Pattern & Cloth. Read More

Burda and Big 4 : Our #sewtogetherforsummer Wrap Dress Pattern Picks! (Plus a Wildcard and a Freebie!)

Hello again!!

Looking for some more #sewtogetherforsummer 2018 wrap dress inspiration? We’ve got loads for you today! Firstly, have you seen Helen from Helen’s Closet’s fabulousIndie Darling’ Wrap Dress blog post?She’s chosen some amazing patterns from a whole host of Indie designers which are bound to inspire you! Here we bring you our top Burda magazine and Big 4 Pattern Picks plus we’ve thrown in a Wildcard and a bonus Freebie at the end for good measure!

(Pssst, click on the images or their titles to find out more!)

Starting with Burda…

In our opinion, Burda is an amazing source of patterns and of pattern pieces you can use to hack the patterns you already have. As you’ll likely have seen, this year the lovely Hila from Saturday Night Stitch is hosting an inspired year long Instagram challenge/initiative – #burdachallenge2018 – to encourage us to get more out of our collection of Burda magazines. If you don’t have the magazines, no worries, you can also download the patterns directly from their online pattern store.

There are loads of wrap dress patterns on the Burda website; these are our top six from my #sewtogetherforsummer co-host Suzy’s own magazine collection:

Burda 10/2011, Model #123A

We had to start here, this iconic classic long wrap dress has simple lines with a flouncy front, front and back darts for shaping and a buttoned cuff detail. It would flow gorgeously in any lightweight woven fabric.

Burda 07/2016, Model #102

Our second choice is perfect for hot summer days and will carry you through to evening! Made from jersey, this strappy dress pattern will cling to your curves and can be worn sexily short or romantically long.

Burda 02/2016 Model #126

Our next choice is a short sleeved dress from the Plus Size collection; it has simple lines that would be great for showcasing a fabulous bold print. It is a jersey dress and would be incredibly comfortable in true DvF style!

Burda 09/2017 Model #113

One of the things we love about Burda is that they have a few petite patterns per month, perfect for those of us shorter in body and/or leg! This wrap dress is for woven fabrics and has quite a daring side slit which we think looks totally on trend paired with jeans, a simple bodice and 3/4 length sleeves which we think would look great hacked with a tie cuff!

Burda 08/2017 Model #109

Next up is a long sleeved jersey wrap dress; we love its asymmetric hem and curve enhancing, tummy skimming pleats!

We couldn’t stop at 5, as we had to include…

Burda 10/2015 Model #122B

We love the drama in this dress! It has a lot going on including puff sleeves, interesting godet cuffs, a high-low hem and an ultra-feminine tulip shaped skirt!

Next up we’ve got Monika’s picks from the Big 4…

“As much as we all love Indie Patterns, beautiful packaging and a detailed ‘sewalong’, sometimes you just can’t beat those sales and picking up a pattern for a just a few $£€. Here is a small selection of wrap dresses from the Big 4 that we think really deserve a shout out!”

Butterick B6446

If you find jersey too clingy, Buttericks’ B6446 might be the wrap dress for you. It recommends cotton blends, linen, challis, gingham and satin and we love the flattering pleats around the bodice and waist. As Monika says “Get in my stash now…!”

Simplicity 8049

We think this 60s Simplicity reproduction is a dream! It has the clean no-fuss look of a shift dress but that curved wrap at the back gives it something really special. We think it would look great with a belt too. And yes, it really can be wrapped from either the front or back!

Vogue V8646

There are a lot of patterns for a classic wrap dress but this Vogue V8646 seems to have better reviews than others. You can make it in jersey or crepe and at Vogue they reckon it’s easy (but I guess we’ve all fallen for that before!), certainly we love that it offers different cup sizes!

Kwik Sew 3489

Another dress that promises to be quick and easy is Kwik Sew 3489. It is designed for jersey so should feel very comfortable. Based on reviews, Monika reckons she would definitely try this pattern as long as the jersey isn’t too drapey!

McCalls M6959

Now this is how we like our patterns – versatile with lots of sleeve and skirt options! We think Views C and D would make a great office dress, with Views A and B having all the 50s vibes! Monika can’t resist a full skirt! It’s designed for women’s so perhaps look for some beautiful linen or chambray?

And as a Wildcard

The Claire Wrap Dress from Pattern Review

Pattern Review are also one of the Challenge sponsors. They will be offering a very generous 30% discount on their PR Exclusive ‘Claire’ dress from the 27th April to 4th May so if you love the look of that yoke, generous cleavage coverage and interesting collar, it would be a good time to head over to their website then to snap it up at the discounted price!

And here’s the freebie

So Sew Easy Free Wrap Dress Pattern

Has anybody tried this pattern? It’s a simple classic shape with straight skirt and optional tie belt.


Also, the lovely Amanda from@isewalot (she really does!) has posted a vlog showcasing her wrap dress patterns :

Until next time, have fun stitching! And if you’re sewing a wrap dress, let me know how you’re getting on!

Sewcialise with me on Instagram here x

Pedal pushers sewing pattern

Classic Pedal Pushers & Fitting a Basic Trouser / Pant

Pedal pushers sewing pattern

Hello again!

So, following on from happily fitting my McCalls 6696 Shirtdress , I really wanted to  fit a basic trouser / pant; I felt I’d learnt a lot about fitting the upper half of my body but that the lower half was still shrouded in mystery. I say ‘shrouded in mystery’, what I mean is shrouded in massively oversized RTW boyfriend jeans – or lets be honest, PJ bottoms. I had no idea just how little idea I actually had about the size and shape of what lurked beneath!

I thought I was slim hipped, perhaps a bit short legged and with a backside not as pert as it once was (no doubt getting off it now and again would help in that department!) But that was about the sum total of my analysis. Just how hard could pant fitting be I blithely wondered? I’d found the perfect fabric; a gorgeous mid weight stretch cotton from a local shop and I was raring to go!

Well let’s just say I thankfully know more now than I did then. Now, straight off the bat, I have to say HUGE thanks to Anya (@anna.zoe.sewing) for helping me out so much. I’d emailed her a couple of very unflattering close up pics of my behind encased in my first pants toile (a #buttfie no less 😉  She sent back an incredibly detailed and helpful response.  Gah, does that women know how to fit pants! If she ever designs her own range, get it!

A rather less underwear revealing Instagram shot of my first toile than the one I sent Anya…which also garnered so many helpful responses!

View this post on Instagram

Pants toile #No1 – I have never stared at my own backside quite this much before! 😂They fit ok I think? I took 1" out of the rise which I definitely need to add back in and perhaps add some more since the waist facing will take away another 5/8" I cut them on the bias of an old bedsheet to try and mimic the stretch quality of the fabric I'll be using but they obviously don't stretch quite as much that. They look slightly baggy but feel a bit tight when I bend the knee and if I sit down the backseat pulls down really low?!?! Will these issues be miraculously resolved when I cut them in the real stretch cotton?!? 🤔Any and all advice greatly received! 😆😘thanking you in advance!!! #pantsfitting #mirrorselfie #sewingproject #sewingcommunity #makeitsewcial

A post shared by Sew Sarah Smith | Sewing (@sewsarahsmith) on

Anya’s advice was spot on! She very delicately pointed out that I perhaps had ‘athletic calves’ which was leading to excess fabric getting stuck above on the thigh and gently let me know that some of the issues with fabric pooling under my backside was due to it being a tad low and flat.

She wasn’t wrong! I slashed one of my pant legs from hem to the top of my calf to see just how much extra width was needed there. Immediately the whole trouser leg just settled much better – I needed over an inch more!

And yes, my backside is indeed a bit low and flat. Anya advised that I needed to take out the excess fabric there and then add it back in at the widest part of my calf (so that front and back leg pieces remained the same length).

I’ve also learnt that my inner thighs are disproportionally smaller than the rest of my leg. My waist is generally in a higher size bracket (*tuts*) than my hip and I already knew I had swayback issues. Mmm tricky trickster in terms of fitting then!

Pants fitting alterations

Toiles 2 and 3 quickly followed. I was using the basic Cigarette Pant pattern from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book simply because I had it to hand and it’s such a basic draft. Altogether, I graded between three sizes overall, reshaped the back crotch, slashed a ‘Y’ incision in the back leg to create the extra calf room, moved out the excess fabric from under my bum and did a swayback adjustment to make the waistline at both pant back and front parallel to the floor.

Of course I also did a bit of online research into ‘low seat’ and ‘flat butt’ adjustments. Can we please just take a moment to look at the variety of recommended modifications out there for these two issues…from the simple looking to the not so simple!

Pant fitting sewing

/1. From Gertie Sews Vintage Casual /2. From Closet Case Files /3. From Style Arc and /4. From Colette

I wasn’t totally happy with toile 3 but figured I was now wasting my time, procrastinating and faffing as much as anything. And my toile fabric was markedly different to the stretch cotton I was planning to use, which I hoped would be fairly forgiving, so I figured I needed to just bite the bullet and get on with it. Quite frankly toile No 4 would have had the Men in White being called for. So I attached the pockets and pocket facings and then literally basted in all other seams to check fit. I was fairly happy so proceeded to sew them together properly.

How to fit trousers pants
Channelling my hidden Monroe. Yes, she’s very hidden 😉

The pattern calls for an invisible centre back zip and a waist facing. I put in the zip but drafted a waistband instead of the facing. I basted it on, decided it was too high and didn’t allow enough room for pasta binges and so drafted another. I left a fairly wide tab at the back so the waistband can be adjusted a bit too. Again, pasta. (I married a Sicilian!)

So there we have it. I’m happy enough with them. They’re super comfy and decidedly more flattering than my baggy jeans. Though they’re not at all perfect, I love ’em. They actually look better (less wrinkly) in real life than they do in these pics. I might tweak the pattern again (if I can be arsed, every pun intended) but I’m much more likely to try another.  In fact I’ve got one altogether different summer trouser pattern coming to my cutting table (aka the dining table) very soon. And for the first time ever I feel I can justify making my own jeans…just got to decide on which pattern! A whole new world of sewing possibilities has just opened up now I’ve got a more considered view of myself and some idea of the techniques involved in altering pants to fit.

Oh and I’ve got plans for the perfect top to wear with these, not the tee pictured here but the Coppelia Wrap Cardy from Papercut Patterns. And that makes another two items checked off from my #2017MakeNine  That cardi is now up on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network HERE..

How to alter pant patterns
Stand up straight, woman!

Until next time friends,

Sew Sarah smith

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New Look sewing pattern

A Little Lady Liberty Dress : New Look 6205 #MCBN

Liberty fabric

Ah New Look 6205 how I love thee. And Liberty fabric how I adore and now obsessively covet thee!


Seriously, this is the third time I’ve sewn up this dress for my daughter to date. She absolutely loves it. The first time I made it up in this gorgeous pink patchwork poplin (and blogged about it here) and she wore it seemingly non-stop. I then made it up in a polka dot peachskin. That got a lot of love too. The nano-second she outgrew that one she wanted another.

She asked for “…lots of flowers”.

This Liberty poplin delivered on that front! And so many more…

To read all about this make and for links to the products you can click HERE to be redirected to my post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network.

Until next time, sewing friends x