Sew together for summer prizes

The Sponsored Gifts for #sewtogetherforsummer 2017

Sew together for summer prizes

Thank you all so much for responding so enthusiastically to #sewtogetherforsummer – it’s been absolutely fantastic to see so many of you already choosing your fabrics and patterns! If you’re looking for ideas you can check out the #sewtogetherforsummer Instagram hashtag page to see what others are planning or read Helen’s Closet ‘Indie Darling’ Shirtdress blog post for some great inspiration!

(If you’d like a reminder of how to participate, click HERE)

We only wish we could give each and every one of you a gift but, as it currently stands, we do have 17 amazing goodies to be gifted at random. In no particular order:-

Oh Sew Quaint

1) French Fancies Pattern Weights from Oh Sew Quaint

These delightful pastel imitation French Fancies pattern weights are gorgeously presented; a box of 8 pattern weights, each weighing 30g, arrive in a beautifully presented box in removable paper cupcake cases.

Just don’t break your teeth trying to eat them!

Minerva Crafts sewtogetherforsummer

2. Over £100 worth of Dressmaking Fabric from Minerva Craft

From the largest supplier of fabric, knitting, haberdashery and craft products in the UK, a specially curated selection of fabrics, all perfect weights and prints for summer with enough yardage/meterage in each to make yourself lots more shirtdresses if you want to!

How totally amazing is that!

Megan Nielsen Flint

3. Megan Nielsen Patterns

Megan Nielsen are offering a great discount of 20% off the Darling Ranges Shirtdress  at checkout with the code : SEWTOGETHER  They are also gifting any one of their patterns (PDF version) to one lucky recipient. How about the fabulous looking Flint Trousers? With their unique crossover closure at the side seam, they can be made as either shorts or trousers.  I’ve got my eye on this one too!

Sew Hayley jane

4. A Medium Sized Subscription Box from Sew Hayley Jane

Hayley is giving one of her Medium sized monthly postal subscription boxes worth £35. Full of themed fabrics and notions; there is 2.5m worth of fabric plus four fat quarters together with assorted  haberdashery.

Open the box and be inspired by the surprise theme!

Sew Me something

5. Two Sewing Patterns of your choice from Sew Me Something

Jules is offering two of her beautifully crafted and easy to follow patterns (paper if you’re in the UK or PDF if overseas) – each of her patterns are named after a Shakespearean heroine – they are based in Stratford-upon-Avon after all! Choices include the Helena Dress, the Julia Pocket Top, the Portia Trousers and the Imogen Top. Choose your patterns and become the heroine of your sewing room!

Makers workbook

6.  The Makers Workbook from Creative Industry

A beautifully designed spiral bound sewing journal & planner, designed for you to record up to 25 projects; contains a section for you to plan and sketch out future Makes as well.

I have one of these and I love it!


7. A £30 voucher from Adam Ross Fabrics

A premium retailer with a huge selection of fabrics shipping to destinations both in the UK and around the world with free UK delivery as standard.

Spend your voucher on any fabric of your choice!

Beyond Measure

8.  £30 Gift Voucher from Beyond Measure

Grace is offering a £30 gift voucher to spend on anything you like in store! With so many gorgeous goodies available one lucky giftee  may be some time choosing!

Wendy Ward

9. The Tapton Skirt & The Fulwood Dress Patterns by Wendy Ward

Wendy is gifting two patterns from her collection. The Fulwood Dress is a loose fitting pull on shift dress with no fastenings, making it suitable for beginners and the Tapton Skirt is a comfy fold over waist skirt, designed to be flattering and super comfy as well as a quick sew. Available in paper format in the UK or as a PDF for an overseas recipient.

Helen's Closet

10. The Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet

Don’t we all love the Blackwood! Helen’s latest pattern release, the Blackwood Cardigan is designed for practical layering with its close fit at front, neck and shoulder so that it can be worn open under jackets or over tank tops. In my estimation, this is an immediate classic!

Helen is also hosting a sewalong for the Blackwood.

Sew Over It vintage

11. Sew Over It

I’m quite sure Sew Over It’s range of sewing patterns need no introduction! One of our lucky giftees can choose whichever pattern they like; perhaps something from their Vintage or Ultimate collections? And if you haven’t already got their Shirtdress in your collection now would be a great opportunity to snap it up! I’m hoping to get their Alex Shirtdress (from the City Break : Capsule Wardrobe e-book) to my sewing table.

Toaster sew House 7

12. Sewhouse Seven

From their range of unique and simple sewing patterns, Sew House Seven are gifting to TWO lucky recipients! 2 PDFs and 2 paper patterns are available! If you’ve already got the phenomenally popular Toaster, how about their Nehalem Pant & Skirt pattern, the Mississippi Avenue Dress & Top or the Alberta Street Pencil Skirt?

Art Gallery Fabrics

13. Cotton Reel Studio

This online fabric store and haberdashery offer a range of gorgeous fabrics including Atelier Brunette and Art Gallery Fabrics, lingerie fabrics, patterns and kits. A £30 voucher is up for grabs to spend on anything you like!

The Tunic Bible

14. The Tunic Bible by Julie Starr & Sarah Gunn

Fit the included base pattern and then use the collars, neck placket and sleeve variations to make a multitude of different style tunics from simple and modest to daring and chic!


15. A dress length of fabric from Suzy’s local Fabric Shop

The lovely family from Suzy’s local shop in Córdoba, Spain are offering a dress length of fabric. Suzy has asked her Instagram friends to decide between 6 – I think the floral No 6 is in the lead at the moment!


16. A Voucher from Sewisfaction

The lovely Sheona has just opened a new online fabric boutique and haberdashery and is offering one lucky recipient a £30 voucher (plus free P&P) to spend on anything in store!

Let’s get sewing!!

Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse pattern review and make

I’ll say it from the off, the fitting and sewing of this, Sew Over It’s ‘Pussy Bow Blouse’, was the sewing therapy I very much needed following a crappy and fraught few weeks which left me run off my feet with daily meetings and unable to sleep at nights. By the time I came to making this I was starting to come apart at the seams; emotionally fraying at the edges, so to speak. It was in the interests of preserving what remained of my sanity that I embarked on this one. Sewing as therapy? Hell yes!

And it was glorious; several hours of uninterrupted focus and losing myself in the make. I’d put together a rough muslin to check for fit alterations as my measurements put me between sizes across the chest. Going up a size gave the necessary drapy fit across the shoulders and boobs, but needed to take out some excess from the centre front and side seams, which is pretty much a standard fitting alteration for me. I did contemplate doing a Full Bust Adjustment instead – for all of five seconds – but I simply couldn’t bring myself to spend the time doing it. I wanted, needed, to start sewing! (For reference though, I did look at this brilliant, if time consuming,  tutorial  by Paprika Patterns for a FBA when you’re working with a dartless garment, like this one). Maybe next time.

Pussy Bow Blouse Sew Over It

Also being a tad on the petite side, I needed to reduce the sleeve length by 1″ (Ana from advised me to slash the pattern at the elbow point – worked a treat) whilst ensuring I still retained enough length to allow for the designed pooling of fabric at the cuff without running the risk of obscuring it altogether! Lastly, given the fact that my slightly forward tilting shoulders and bottom heavy boobs combine to create a concave dip in the chest area, I had the usual need to pinch out excess there.

I can’t fault the pattern, instructions and illustrations; they’re very well thought out – clear, precise and straightforward. Which is no surprise when you think of the process Sew Over It patterns go through (they’re usually classes before being released). There’s also the Sewalong available so I’d totally recommend giving this pattern a go if it’s your first attempt at a blouse. You can’t really go wrong.

Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse
Pussy Bow
Pussy Bow Blouse a sew Over It
Or fasten it as a tie for when you really mean business!

Except of course you can! So I did, what with Karma being a biatch an’ all. I initially botched it where the neck tie attaches to the top of the centre front seam when constructing the muslin. I tried to convince myself that I could get away with being a bit untidy here as the seam is mostly hidden by the tie itself but, of course, as I’m a bit on the OCD side, I tried to make sure I was millimetre perfect on the finalised version.

the Tie encloses the neck seam for a neat finish on the inside

That said, there’s nothing else construction wise that’s fiddly. The bodice comes together fantastically quick. Things slow down with the construction of the neck tie as you need to slip stitch the inside in place. I love the finish this gives, acting like binding to  neatly enclose the neck seam.

Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse sleeve and cuff

The sleeves are gorgeous. I mean, really gorgeous. The drape feels elegant and the gathers and pooling of fabric at the cuff are sweet. I love the button rouleau loop; it makes for a really secure closure. I laughed during construction when turning the cuff out the right way and out it popped into place. I laughed people. Sewing therapy rocks.

So I love this blouse – I kind of want to make another one straight away. I also really like the fabric I made it up in; it’s another viscose, this time from my local shop. The print feels a bit retro and, whilst busy, still understated. But I need to crack on with other things. I seem to have amassed a bit of a fabric stash these past few weeks and the list of things I want to make is starting to feel out of control!

Sew Sarah Smith
Tired…but happier

Until next time, praise be to the Sewing Gods!

Stay happy

Sarah 💋

Psst : I’m also active on 📸Instagram – either click here or on one of the photo links at the very bottom of this page to join me there! X

sew over it Anderson blouse

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse Pattern Review

Sew over it Anderson blouse sewing pattern review

I’ve got a whole bunch of Sew Over It patterns in my stash; a Christmas gift last year but none, prior to this make, that I’ve sewn up yet. I’d had my eye on this one for a while but it was a PDF pattern which put me off. The nanosecond it was released as a kit with a printed pattern I snapped it up.

So it was with excitement and, yes, some trepidation, that I embarked on this one. I love the way this blouse looks on Lisa Comfort and, of course, I’m all over the ‘Gillian Anderson’ inspiration behind it. However my major concern was, given the amount of ease and fabric involved, it would merely translate in a garment that swamped me – there’s no way I’m ‘willowy’ enough to wear it as drafted! Hence the trepidation. So, I embarked on a muslin, going down a size to account for the amount of ease, fabric and drape.

sew over it anderson blouse

Much as I’m always tempted to just ‘dive in’, making a muslin of a new pattern proved again to be a worthwhile step. With the partly-constructed blouse now in my hands, for example, the wording of the instructions stumped me momentarily in a couple of places, i.e. in relation to the grown on facings and neck binding.  To clarify, there’s nothing remotely complicated in terms of actual construction here – it’s a simple process – it’s just that I had to mentally re-word the instructions in those places. The black and white photographs weren’t always as demonstratively clear as I would have liked either. Or maybe I was just being a bit ‘slow on the uptake’ that day! I enjoyed the little bit of hand stitching involved (slip stitching the neck binding and cuffs down) as this always makes me slow down and constructively contemplative.

The whole thing came together reasonably quickly.  Draping the now finished muslin on my dummy I stepped away from it for a few days. Coming back to it I decided whilst at least wanting the option of wearing the blouse untucked, I didn’t want to incorporate the drawstring. Aiming to further reduce bulk in the area (I’m narrower in the hip) I also decided to remove a further 3″ or so from the circumference of the hem, by taking out approximately 1.5 cm from each side, as roughly demonstrated here:

Sew Over It Anderson Blouse

Whilst the quality and beautiful drape of the fabric supplied by Sew Over It in the kit undoubtedly further aided the hang of the hem without the drawstring, I decided that without it the hem needed ‘substantiating’ somehow as the fabric was just sooo floaty and fluid! Too floaty for my liking really. I initially sewed in transparent (swimwear) elastic within the hem allowance in an attempt to to do this and to also try and recreate the soft pulled-in ruche effect the drawstring would have brought to the hem, but without adding back the unwanted bulk. This was only marginally successful. I think it would have worked perfectly if I’d stretched the elastic out more as I sewed it in but I ended unpicking the whole thing, sewing a hem casing and simply inserting the least bulky elastic I had in my stash. And it works.

sew over it Anderson blouse

sew over it Anderson blouse

I’d do a few things differently if I sew this up again; I’d perhaps reinforce the sleeve cuffs with some very lightweight woven interfacing – I think I’d like a tad more rigidity there given how light the fabric is, to further emphasise the cut and pooling of the sleeves; a feature of the pattern I really like. As regards gaping at the front crossover, you will need to secure it here, as recommended in the pattern, with a couple of hand stitches to prevent it falling/blowing open, especially if you’re using such a lightweight drapy fabric. It will also help the folded facings stay turned to the inside. Next time, I’d use a slightly weightier fabric and cross it over further than the pattern suggests. If I’d drafted this pattern I would have had the front panels meeting the side seams, with the hem seam allowance sewed to the inside of the two front pieces, if you know what I mean, whilst shaped to still allow for the nicely draped cleavage.

sew over it Anderson blouse

In short, I am pleased with how it’s turned out. There are elements of the pattern I really like such as the gathers at the shoulder which create a beautiful drape across the chest yet the back neck and shoulders fit flush; I adore the cuffs, the pooling of the sleeve and the shoulder slope. However, that said, I don’t reach for it as often as I’d hoped; I find it such a faff having to press the grown-on facings just so in order for the blouse to hang properly in the wear. If you’re planning to make this and only wear it tucked in, I’d say go for it. However, I can’t 100% get behind the hem/drawstring finish.

Until next time…the awkward selfie!

Sarah x

Psst : I’m also active on 📸Instagram – either click here or on one of the photo links at the very bottom of this page to join me there! X

SewSarahSmith finished the Sew Over It Anderson Blouse