Renfrew to the Rescue

1 Shroud

I’d been schlepping around town for too long, was probably dehydrated and unable to think straight when I bought this hideosity.  Look how it hangs over the dummy’s curves.  You’d be forgiven for thinking it was some kind of podgy Grim Reaper in there.

Le GarrotteSewn inside the neckline is a strip of ribbon designed to help the garment stay on the hanger.  Does anyone know if this helpful feature has a name?  I know what I‘d call it!  Is it just me who manages to nearly get garrotted whenever I put on a top like this?

1 NECKI decided to give the shroud a new lease of life because I liked its faux leather neck binding and I think the centre front/centre back seams are a nice touch.  The end result is not quite stunning but it’s much more flattering and endlessly wearable with my many bright skirts.  And I get to keep the centre seams and neckline!


How To:

You will need: a baggy jersey top with dropped sleeves, a close-fitting T-shirt pattern (mine is Sewaholic Renfrew), a ballpoint needle, a machine or overlocker and thread.

1.  Cut off the sleeves.  Try them on to see if they fit to the top of your arms then put aside.

1 hOW TO2. Cut the side seams (the shoulder seam should stay).

3. Lay the top as flat as you can.  Place your bodice front pattern on top, centre lines matching, then cut around it.  Both centre fronts should match and the shoulder/armscye lengths should also be equal.  Flip the pattern piece over and cut around the other side.  Keep the cut-off fabric in case you want to make a pocket.

4.  Repeat step 3 on the back.

5.  Sew the side seams together.

6. Hem the bottom.

7. Attach the sleeves, pinning them first and matching each underarm seams to the side seam.  You may need to stretch one or the other to make the sleeve circumference and the armscye fit.  Luckily, jersey is forgiving.



Don’t you just hate those people who buy a present for someone then think: “Mm, this is nice! I’ll keep it.”  I’m not at all like those people.


😳 I’m a little bit like those people.

Having decided that the bundle of Prima Patterns was not for me, I then became increasingly enamoured of the Peplum Dress.  So I made it!  Not bad, huh? 3 prima patterns peplum dress 1 The winner is JanLuckily for our giveaway winner – picked out of the Cossack hat by my lovely, little assistant Connie – the pattern is perfectly intact and soon to be dispatched, along with the others, to Jan in the Netherlands. Congratulations, Jan!  I’ve emailed you for your postal address.

1 prima pattern pieceI was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this: my first Prima pattern.  The nine pattern pieces were generously spaced and blissfully easy to trace – nothing like the Burda magazine or Akiko Mano eye-smarting nightmare of a dozen intersecting designs on the same sheet.  The paper is fairly robust too.  Next time at the newsagent, I shall look out for Prima magazine.

As for the making of the dress, it was a straight-forward size 12 with a lot of the upper back taken in.  I also shortened the bodice, being a few centimetres below the 168cm height that the dress is designed for.  I would have liked to have seen finished garment measurements: the only one provided was the back dress length.

The fabric is a spring-friendly linen from the stash.  The checked lines gave me some pause for thought (never again will I race into something like this!) and I took the decision to turn the peplum on the bias as I thought vertical stripes might have looked a bit apron-like.

Not perfect but I like and will wear a lot.

1 Peplum dress

Prima Patterns Giveaway

1 Lot 2

Up for grabs is this small batch (7 in all)  of sewing patterns which came with Prima Magazine.  A friend very kindly gave them to me as she didn’t think she’d ever gather the courage to give them a go (Gill, I’ll deal with you later!).  The styles are a bit basic for me but would suit a beginner or someone looking to build up a pattern library.  They are sized 10-20 (UK).  They include a stylish peplum dress, a shift dress with tucks on the side, a beach cover-up or basic separates.

1 lot 1

If you’re interested, leave a comment below and I’ll pick one winner in a week.  Post anywhere 🙂1 blouse and jacket

1 peplum

Corduroy Trick

Take a look at these two swatches of corduroy.  Both are on the right side.  What do you think is the difference?

1 Corduroy Trick

The answer?  The swatch on the right, which appears deeper in colour, is upside down.  The appearance is dependant on how the light hits the direction of the nap.  The piece on the left has a pearly, whitish sheen which the eye would pick as you look down on the garment.  Most corduroy garments are sewn in this direction.

2 Corduroy trick

My tutor once told me she makes all her corduroy skirts on the reverse nap (i.e. so that if you run your hands down your hips, you go against the nap); this is to gain that darker, velvety shade.  There is a disadvantage; the nap picks up fluff and dust which will show up against the dark fabric so you have to regularly lint-roll.  This is more of a problem with black than with other shades.

What therefore puzzles is me is the apparent success of the Cordarounds: a company which specializes in garments made with the corduroy turned on its side.  I’ve made sleeve cuffs and a waistband with cord at crossgrain (on this dress) and the light made one side appear darker than the other.  What do you think?

4 Corduroy trick