Made by Me – The Dress Shirt

Have you ever thought to yourself ‘I wish I had thought of that’?

Well that is basically Merchant and Mills for me…

Honestly, I get it, I get their concept, I buy into it, I LOVE IT.

I sat watching their little videos on their site, and I was just so in love with them as a brand.  Simple, understated backed up with being stylish and well designed.  I am yet to find fault.  I am even impressed how they barged through gender bias and it is simply for ‘Makers’… not just focusing on women traditional sewers.

My chosen fabric was this little beauty from Fabworks.  I am a sucker for feathers, and grey, and this seems perfect.  I really love their fabrics, I will be doing another order from them when I justify it… and maybe when they get the constellations fabric back in stock (hint hint)

I had seen Merchant and Mills about on Instagram, various makes and patterns.  At first I wasn’t overly excited, until I saw The Dress Shirt.  It was exactly what I was looking for, just a simple pull on shirt style dress, casual but with structure.

The pattern is gorgeous, it has that vintage feel of an older pattern, with simple fonts and graphics.  The envelope itself is just a black and white picture of their dress made up, with their logo.  The instructions have amazing little hand drawn pics on, and super easy to follow, if a newbie fancies a challenge, this could be it.

So how did it sew…


It went great. The only adjustment I would make is the sleeves need to be gathered in for me… otherwise it is perfect.  The sizing is amazing and the length is just right.  The grey has turned out quite light, almost blue, therefore I have not worn it as much as some of my me mades.  I feel like Wendy Darling from Peter Pan in it, as it is as comfortable as a night gown, and a similar colour.  I definitely need a black one of these bad boys, and possible a wine colour for Autumn, in a thicker material.

Overall, a massive success.  It is exactly what I wanted, it is timeless piece i will pull out again and I want to make more in ALL THE COLOURS. Definitely recommend.  Just need to figure out what Merchant and mills pattern to try next!

Keep an eye on my Instagram for continuous updates on what i am working on at the mo…

Made by Me: No pattern Smock Dress in Tie Dye

If there is one patterned fabrics I love above all other patterned fabrics, it is the tie dye. Especially grey tonal tie dye.  Its something I always gravitate too and is something that has seeped into my sewing stash.  It gives a pattern without being frumpy, and it also goes with everything.  I picked up some in my early days of sewing, a soft jersey knit.  I had 3 metres worth so it has made a couple of items.

My no pattern oversized smock dress:


This was a simple make.  I drew out a rough oversized smock shape on some brown paper, and used it for the front and slightly adjusted for the back.  I made a simple Bias binding for the collar.  The skirt I simply cut out two rectangles and gathered.  I then attached that to the bodice and it was done.

The bodice slightly flared out and droops down at the sides, which i love.  The material is so light that it flows when on.

I have worn this dress so much since I made it.  Now I have my over locker, I am considering going over the inside to make it more durable for the wearing to come. Although I made this in the summer, I feel i can layer it up and wear it for Autumn and into winter with tights.

I definitely will make something similar in the smock style, i might go for a crush velvet style for winter, or even a thinner stretch denim with a pattern.




Made By Me – White A line Dress

One of the reasons I got into sewing was firstly, I hated paying A LOT of money for good basics that were never quite how i wanted them.  Also, another reason was that I can’t get things in my size, or ‘oversized’ is filled out by my plus size frame. This brings me to one of my first ever makes (Instagram says 24 weeks ago) My white A-line Dress:

I have a couple of independent labels that i tend to gravitate towards, and always check out for outfit inspo… sometimes at a push I can order from them.  Most of the time I am too big (they tend to stop at a uk 14)  One of these is Scarlett Black London.  I have ordered a couple of twist front tops from them and I have been very pleased with them (and worn them to death)  I fell in love with this beautiful Basic:


How beautiful and elegant is that, not to mention how pretty the model is.

Now here is my version:

As with the original, I went for a white crepe stretch.  This gave the dress a bit more structure than a normal jersey knit and sat out better.  I used a swing style dress pattern I already had in my stash, but really extended the flair of the bottom right out for maximum swing.  The original dress had this really nice 4 point shape to it, not a handkerchief, but sort of (if that makes sense)  this was a little fiddly on the mock up but i feel i really captured the hemline well.  As with most of my things I added longer sleeves, again from the original pattern.

The Only issue that I really have is again I have made it too big… I went for a 20 (why?) and it drapes at the back.  I have considered putting some darts in the back but I am so concerned with messing up how it falls, especially with the bottom detail.  When on it isn’t too noticeable, and does give a small cape like feel to the garment.  Strangely my boobs seem to fill out the front and it sits perfect.

This was such a simple make of just adapting an old pattern.  As this was one of my first self drafts I have worn it loads and can honestly say it is a wardrobe staple.  It really looks great with the monochrome style, and the slight thickness to the crepe means I can wear this into Autumn, and layer up.

Please check out Scarlett Black London as they have some amazingly designed pieces and are a total wardrobe inspiration for me… it’s where i want to take my DIY wardrobe.

Don’t forget to check out my Instagram for continuous updates on what I am sewing…

Made By Me – Keilo

I thought it was about time that I wrote about this pattern as I have worn one of the dresses I have made to death this summer.

Named Clothing are fast becoming one of my favourite pattern brands, I don’t love everything they do, but I adore what I have, and actually wear them regularly.  (For example the Inari!  omg how many do I have now)

At first i was reluctant to order this for myself as it was sleeveless, then the added the free sleeve add on for the pattern, and it definitely sealed the deal for me.

Here is my Keilo – I opted for the long sleeve maxi version:

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(please ignore the small dog that wandered into every shot)

The fabric was a light white burnout Jersey that I got a while back from Girl Charlee.  It was reduced due to being slightly damaged.  To be fair, it was very slight and very easy to cut round.  It is such a great summer fabric and perfect for this make, or any maxi.  I like the slight see through quality as it adds dimension to the piece.

The pattern itself was classic Named clothing, sleek and simple.  The only issue I had with this item is I would have preferred to download and print a PDF.  This is something unheard of from me, as I love Paper patterns, but it was layered therefore had to be traced.  Its not a problem, its just what i would prefer and what i find easier to do.  If i could print it I would have mad a couple then stuck them together, it probably would have been jest as quick as tracing.  But as this was my first pattern for tracing, it forced me into trying Swedish tracing paper, which i never would have tried otherwise.  So it is a positive learning experience.

The actual make it incredible simple, even with the added arm piece to the pattern, it took me no time at all.  Being short i had to chop a bit off the bottom, but thats expected with a pattern, some sizing is required.  One thing I had an issue with, maybe being plus size, was the length of the ties… in my second attempt (which i will blog about in the near future) I made them incredibly long then cut them to size.  This method was more successful.

I made this dress at the beginning of summer, and have worn it SO many times.  Its such an easy piece to throw on and look great.  Being so thing it is the perfect summer dress.  Unfortunately, I wore it so much that i caught it and ripped it… twice.  Totally my fault.  But is easy to patch and not noticeable with the pattern.

I don’t think this would be in my winter wardrobe, even in a thicker material.  The material needs to be light as to not bulk when wrapped around the body.

Overall this is a summer staple now for me. Definitely my go to maxi.


Update: October

September was a bit of a quick one again, but I feel I got a lot done.

What I did:

  1. Readjusted my Charlotte Kan Tie front tee dress.
  2. Conquered Button holes
  3. Made a Wenona from Named clothing…. with lace inserts (still needs buttons so hasn’t fully been photographed)
  4. Finished the Ralph Pink Phedra… which was a challenge in the thinking department but worth the results.
  5. Made 2 x oversized tees… I wear these to death and it a good way to finish off the last meter or so of fabrics that i love.
  6. I completed a Helmi dress from Named clothing
  7. Ralph Pink Ohara pants in soft grey
  8. Ready to sew Jude in black silky material.

I also kept up with the #sewphotohop (apart from 4/5 busy birthday days towards the end of the month)  I am really happy I took part in the challenge as it has mainly given me a whole lot of new people to stalk on Instagram!  Plus it really makes you think what you have achieved in sewing so far…

On top of this I have taken up Knitting!  Yes, Knitting!  It is a skill I have always had in its most basic form… a bit like sewing was  (with a lot less background knowledge… i literally only knit squares)  But what has captivated me is the EXTREME knitting.  It started with getting a bargain pair of size Us 50 Loopy mango needles, and then a smaller but still chunky us 19 needles.   So far I have knit myself a Infinity scarf with doubled up wool in black and grey.  I have also messed about with making jersey yarn out of old clothes and scrap material, and had a bit of a play with that.  When i feel more confident I will attempt a cardigan… maybe in time for summer!

And finally the BIG news, or the BIG BIRTHDAY NEWS!  I am now the proud owner of an overlocker!


I love it, I have only had it a couple of days and have had a few thread issues, but i managed to resew my Ohara pants, so now they are a bit stronger.  I love learning new things, so this is quite exciting for me.  I also feel this is like ‘the next step’ in terms of my sewing. Now things will be more professional and much more hard wear and neat (inside)  I feel I can now truly go forward with a DIY wardrobe.

Just a quick note to anyone looking for an overlocker, I had been waiting for Lidl to do there overlocker offer, but fell in love with this one.  BUT just so you are aware from the 6th of october, some stores will be stocking an over locker for £130.  ALways worth considering, especially as lidl are quite good with their garentee.  In relevence to mine, I paid £169.

I will keep you updated on the progress I make with this one.  Look out more November time, as I will be catching up with all my favourite makes and writing about them for this month (that’s the goal)