2013 round up

The sewing blogosphere is rife with 2013 round ups, so I thought I’d add my own thoughts as NYE draws in. Since taking up sewing about 6 months ago, I have made 4 skirts (2 x Miette by Tilly, 1 x Beignet by Colette and 1 x self-drafted circle skirt). I made 2 x scout tees and 1 x tiny pocket tank from grainline studios. I re-lined my favourite jacket and made 2 quilts! I have 3 UFOs which I need to finish. 1 x blue crepe skirt which I had to stop making when the invisible zipper kept going wrinkly for fear of wasting the precious fabric in anger,  but which I will tackle before I go back to work by stablising the fabric. 1 x rayon/linen blend Zinia skirt, which is waiting for 8 more handworked buttonholes as my sewing machine chewed the fabric up when trying to insert the buttonholes. I think it’s becasue the placket was not interfaced….. And one almost finished skirt salvaged from my disastrous Christmas dress, but it’s tartan and in hindsight possibly a fabric choice error…. OMG almost forgot my first jacket – a wool Victoria Blazer by By Hand London! The fabric is not my style really, it’s purple and white, neither colours I actually wear and added to that it’s freezing and the jacket has an autumnal feel, so haven’t worked out how to style it yet, hence it’s unblogged. I am quite sure it’s a grower and will get some good outings, including on this blog, in 2014.

tiny pocket tank

Tiny pocket tank crazed look selfie

First quilt

Back of my first baby quilt. The front was checker board of the same fabrics but I like this freestyle side best!

Looking forward, my immediate sewing aims are to complete at least 2 of the UFOs I just described. Longer term, I joined Sarah’s RTW fast :) That’s no bought clothing apart from knickers and socks for all 2014! Aside from one scarf, I’ve fasted since August and am just really into the idea. While it’s taking me ages to make each garment, I have (almost) sorted out my sewing room and got lots of patterns, fabrics and notions ready and read lots of tutorials. Ideas are settling in my head – so good to be creative! I know I want to make a coordinating wardrobe so am going to take care (to try) not to keep buying lots of random fabric. It’s nice to do without spending all the cash and time wandering around clothes shops. I’ll say now that have decided to buy one hand knitted cardigan when I find one I like. I won’t regard this as breaking the fast because I have been planning this since October but not got round to shopping for one yet.

Here’s some pics of my best hauls of 2013 – apart from the Walthamstow haul which was epic.

Brighton haul

Brighton haul

Mabel's haul

Mabel’s haul

Here’s to a happy and sewing-filled 2014! x

My first me made day

It’s my first totally me made outfit (no I am not making my own bras or tights)! introducing the button down beignet skirt and my parenchyma scout tee.


The Beignet is from Colette patterns and was super satisfying to make, although petrifying to have to finish it and then do all the button holes – they didn’t come out half bad though! Thanks to my fancy Janome. The fashion fabric is from my favourite Tooting shop and was £4 for the meter – just the one needed.  I had some burgundy lining and cotton that I’d bought years ago when I was going to learn to sew and didn’t. Got the cute ivory buttons from ebay – they look a bit like shells – but art deco ones. The best bit of  making this skirt was sewing the fashion fabric together and seeing the transformation of flat fabric in to a curvy three dimensional object, it’s truly amazing. Worst bit was realising that not only was it a bit pointless binding my seams on the inside since it’s fully lined, but also that the process stretched the seams out due to the drape in the fabric. I think it’s only me or someone with a hypercritical eye that would notice the slight bulk under the seams – live and learn. Dead chuffed with it!


The top is the Scout Tee pattern from Grainline Studios. I french seamed the whole thing including the arm seams :) I love French seams, they are so pretty. Fabric is a geometric print lawn from Fabric Godmother, but looks like it’s all gone (apart from the left over bit I have for lining something special). Called it the parenchyma tee in honor of the print – I was thinking those onion skin cells which you look at in science lessons were parenchyma cells and that is what the fabric looks exactly like. Parenchyma cells are the bulk of cells in the body, so I guess that is the correct term. Lawn is a very finely woven cotton and you need a thinner needle – I could hear the thick needle I was using punching through the fabric and it was a lot quieter when I put a thinner needle in. It’s fun when your senses start to kick in when you are learning a new skill, there is only so much a book can teach you.



And one from the back – not great pics as we don’t have a light in the living room yet and it was raining out this September morn and don’t want to get a photo backlog.  Do love my orange shoes, but you’ll be glad to hear I found my grey brogues before leaving the house. OK, off to pop that invisible zipper in the next project…. only ripped it out three times so far.



Circle circle skirt

Circle Circle Skirt

I decided to make a circle skirt as it seemed like a good beginner project and fun to swish in. Wanting to make sensible block colour items, I went looking for fabric in Tooting only to come away with the last 2.8 meters of this black fabric with circles on it. Not sure if that counts as goes with everything – can I wear this to the office? It is synthetic of some sort, forgot to ask in the shop as overcome with excitement. Turned up my iron bit by bit until it melted – just checking! The iron doesn’t work on this fabric, but then it doesn’t crease easily, so who cares. I didn’t even iron until I started sewing.


Anyway, I used the circle skirt tutorial by By Hand London. Was going to mark it on my fabric, but ended up making ‘pattern paper’ by sticking a few pages of the metro together – only took a bit of head scratching to work it out – I had been hoping to cut a whole circle out, but wanted to make sure it was long enough so cut two semi-circles on the fold. I also used the invisible zipper tutorial from By Hand London – when I had finished inserting the zip I couldn’t believe that it had worked out so well first time round.  Was a great tutorial :) Certainly highlights poor quality in lots of the cheap RTW shops – not a concern of mine anymore! The tutorials were really clear and I’d already done a waistband on my Miette skirt, so was confident about how to do that. Managed to stitch in the ditch and everything this time. Finished my seams with yellow seam binding as I’d planned to finish the hem using same, but in the end decided I wanted to machine the hem so I could get started on something else and wear the skirt.  A rolled hem using Gertie’s tutorial – I think it was this video series  – worked really well and is nice and secure for swooshing and saved 4.85 meters of hand-sewing  :) Wore it out at the West Norwood Feast  – will be super fun with heels, but broke my stupid toe so am off those for the next couple of weeks.

That's me looking pleased with myself and Marvel  (next door's cat that I love).

That’s me looking pleased with myself and Marvel (next door’s cat that I love).

p.s. I’m going to try and make the pictures bigger, but first I just need to cut out that fabric…

I’ve started to sew!

I’ve started to sew!

Having been meaning to learn to sew properly after years of dabbling with making rough and ready xmas stockings and the like, I have finally got on with it and made my first skirt! I started going on about wanting to sew after watching Great British Sewing Bee and my friend Sarah told me to get on with making Tilly’s Miette Skirt. OK she didn’t tell me exactly, but I took her suggestion and downloaded the pattern and got started. First up I made one out of Holland Print in a big bold patter which I love. Made sure not to get a flower right on my arse and I think the effect is quite balanced – got a complement on it the very next day from the woman at the West Norwood Feast’s Retro Vintage Market who’s stuff I always covet. Anyways if you are thinking to start sewing, I couldn’t recommend this skirt highly enough – it’s straightforward, Tilly’s instructions and step-by-step guide are brilliant and easy to follow. Had my hand held every step of the way. Thanks Tilly!


(these photos made me realise this top is weirdly booby – it’s now in the trash)

I really wanted one with pockets and so got this linen (or some sort of lineny fabric anyway). It was much harder to press, cut and sew – it was all drapey and kept wanting to change shape. Then when I got the skirt all sewn up, the hem was much longer on one side. After reading loads of sewing blogs and thinking about it, I hung the skirt up on a hanger for a couple of days to let it fall out (giving me time to accept it and not start hacking with disastro results) and then pinned it where I wanted on the 2/3rds which were the same length and then drew round the pattern piece, crossed my fingers and trimmed off the extra.

Here’s the first photo shoot anyway, feel kind of weirded, but told myself I have to post the pics on a blog because I’ve started lurking around loads of cool sewing blogs and it’s only fair to share.


I called the blog ‘Sew pretty on the inside’ because I just love secret prettiness – shoes that are gold on the inside, cupboards with decadent or surprise decoupage on the inside – and Hollandaise pockets!! The waistband facings are in the matching print, forgot to take photos of the rest of insides…


…. which leads me to my next point. I named the blog to remind myself to learn how to sew garments that are well made on the inside as well as out. I just know if they don’t fit good and look pretty inside I won’t wear them. Excitement! x


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