Blogger Book Tour : Wendy Ward’s ‘Beginners Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics’ Book Review and Makes


I was delighted to be asked to join the Book Tour, following some of my favourite sewing bloggers, for Wendy Ward’s new tome ‘A Beginners Guide to Sewing Knitted Fabrics’. This was originally scheduled to happen earlier in the year but was delayed whilst the book went to reprint, as the original run sold out within two days!

I made two garments from the book by way of a review… Read More


My #2018MakeNine : my ‘I’m All Giddy With Excitement’ list!


Ah I love this ‘gentle challenge’ because it’s more of a personal pledge than anything; a New Years’ Resolution, if you will. Not only do I find this challenge a useful tool for focusing the ol’ thought processes, I’m hoping it also reflects the evolution of my skill-set and style. Well, that’s the excuse I’m using to justify totally abandoning my 2017 list, along with all my other New Year’s Resolutions, by the mid-point of last year! Having made 5 out of the 9; I’d outgrown the list. And I’ve totally just made myself giggle looking back on it – have a look yourself and see if you can spot the ‘what on earth was I thinking’ entry! Although, and I hope you agree, there were a few notable successes made from it (see my M6696 Shirtdress, Coppelia ballet wrap cardy and striped jersey M6886 dress).

All in all, I’m truly excited by this, my 2018 list as I feel it represents both the practical and the developmental. There are patterns here that will fill holes in my wardrobe, encompassing both everyday essentials as well as a few more ‘tailored’ pieces, from joggers to jackets. But I also know that in cracking a couple of these, I’ll learn and develop some important core skills; welt pockets and sewing with Lycra anyone!?

It looks like this:

Sasha Trousers by Closet Case Files

Sew Sarah smith #2018 Make Nine #2018makenine

I got my hands on a paper copy of this pattern as, I’m guessing, a gazillion others  sensibly did too, soon after it’s release. It’s just such a classic looking pant! I’m down to my last pair of similarish RTW trousers and I refuse to buy anymore. I admit to feeling a bit daunted about those welt pockets but that’s the point (although View B omits them). Also, I’m down to my last pair of RTW jeans. If I can crack the fit of the Sasha, I’ll be downloading the PDF of their Ginger Jeans too as apparently its crotch length has been updated to match the block of the Sasha. So, in theory, by nailing the fit of the Sasha I’ll be killing two birds with one stone and be more readily able to fit the Gingers too.

Melilot shirt by Deer & Doe

Melilot #2018MakeNine

I made my first Melilot, which was also my first foray into Deer & Doe Patterns, just before Christmas. Apart from taking out some length it fit, quite staggeringly, straight out of the envelope. This rarely happens for me and this joy has roughly translated into my now wanting to sew my way through their entire back catalogue and I’m eagerly anticipating the release of their new Spring/Summer 2018 collection. But first and foremost I want several more of the Melilot; it’s a great shirt which will pair nicely with a classic pant like the Sasha or dressed down with, say, a pair of Ginger jeans. Although I made my first in a blousy rayon, I’ve got two lengths of floral lawns earmarked for the next. And I want a sheer one too. And some plains. This may turn out to be first ‘proper’ TNT pattern.

Luzerne Trench Coat by Deer & Doe

Luzerne Trench #2018makenine

See reason No 1 above. Reason number 2 is this – I had an oxblood pleather trench coat in my 20s in which I strut the streets of London until it literally fell apart at the seams. I loved it with a passion and, like all first loves, it’s not been forgotten! The Luzerne is pretty similar in design though I might have to consider reshaping the lapels and maybe lengthening it a tad. I’ll not make my first version in pleather since it’s obviously fairly unforgiving stuff. But once number one is nailed, you can bet your last coin I’ll be searching for pleather, in oxblood, like a woman possessed.

Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Patterns

Halifax hood make nine

I just love the look of this versatile pattern – I think I first spotted it on Heather (The Pug & Needle) and I’m diving into the funnel neck version first. I’ve got the pattern and fabric already lined up; I’m using some gorgeous Atelier Brunette French Terry which I think will look good paired with jeans. I admit to being half-tempted to make a version to matchymatch a pair of joggers which will probably replace my PJ’s and become my new ‘What I Wear When I Sew’ outfit.

Monsal Lounge Pants by Wendy Ward

Sew Sarah smith

I’ve just received a preview copy of Wendy’s latest book ‘A Beginners Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics’ and have been invited (along with a host of other fabulous bloggers) to make up a garment from the book by way of a review. I’d been planning to jump on the Linden/Hudson loungewear bandwagon for some time but since receiving the book I’ve now ditched that idea in favour of Wendys’ Monsal pants. These are a classic looking jogger that if I’m brave enough to pair with the Halifax – tracksuit stylie – I’ll live in. Probably.

Lycra Leggings

Sew Sarah smith #2018 Make nineI’m undecided as to the pattern as yet. However, a sneaky little birdy tells me there’s a brand new leggings pattern in development at the moment and, really, I’m holding out for that particular one since I trust the designer. Watch this space!

The Appleton Wrap Dress by  Casmerette

Appleton Wrap Dress #2018makenine

I’ve sewn a few wrap dresses in my time but none that has come close to achieving holy grail status. Wrap dresses are funny beasts; I truly believe there is a version to suit and flatter every figure type but I’ve yet to find one where I’m completely happy with the fit over my ‘generously’ proportioned boobs. However, having seen Helen (Helen’s Closet) looking nothing less than fabulous in her sleeveless version of the Appleton recently, my interest in this pattern was again piqued. Given that Cashmerette design specifically for curves and that this dress comes with various cup sizes and promises an “…innovative neckband construction [that] prevents gaping…”, it’s probably fair to say I’ve been a bit slow on the uptake in trying this, Cashmerette’ first pattern.

Butterick 5908 Wide leg trousers


I’m considering these an essential part of what I’m going to call the ‘Trinity of Trousers’; forming of the classic straight legged pant (Sasha), the casual boyfriend jean (the Gingers) and this, the old Hollywood classic wide leg turned up trouser. The B5908 is an out of print pattern I got from Sew Direct and it has options for all the details I was looking for; semi-fitted with a tapered wide leg and turnups, contoured waistband and belt loops, fly zip and pockets. I can see it looking good with…

McCalls M7513 ‘Hacking Jacket’

M7513 Hacking jacket

This is your traditional, tailored looking, nipped in at the waist ‘Hacking Jacket’ type affair with its notched collar and peplum. I’m not keen on the fact that this jacket pattern is unlined though. I might decide not to worry about that or else find a similar pattern that is. Either way, this is the look I’m going for.

So there you have it. A mix of über comfy casuals and perennial staples. What do you think? Any here on your own list?

Sew Sarah smith

(NB if you want to know more about the #makenine challenges and the #2018makenine in particular, head on over to its founder, Rochelle of Lucky Lucille and @homerowfiberco Blog HERE)

Until next time, I hope your needle and thread continues to be strong in 2018 (now, excuse me, whilst I continue to veg out on the sofa for a little while longer yet!),

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