Eve Dress (Toile)

I had been hoping to sew the Eve Dress from SewOverIt for a while. But the pattern was only available through one of their classes. I was stalking the website, waiting for a class to be scheduled at the Clapham branch, when they released the Eve dress as a paper pattern.

I purchased the pattern from the Clapham branch, with this beautiful navy fabric. But as the fabric was quite expensive, I knew I needed to make a toile first. Especially as I usually need to adjust patterns to fit me. I also wanted to work out how I was going to finish the inside, as I don’t (yet!) have an overlocker. 

I really liked version 1 of the dress, with its floaty sleeves and dipped hem. So i found some cheap fabric, which was unfortunately bright purple – a colour I can’t really wear, and made up version 1. 

As you can probably see, my cheap fabric was a little too stiff (hence the sleeves sticking out, instead of draping). But it did show me some important things. My hand shows where my natural waist is, so the dress waist is too high. 

This is more obvious here, so I’m going to lengthen the bodice by 1″. I also didn’t really like the cap/floaty sleeves. 

They felt impractical for a work dress, so I decided to unpick them and make the longer sleeves to see if I preferred them. 

I much preferred the longer sleeves, but they were a little too tight around my upper arm, so I am going to make the sleeve a bit wider. I also decided to change the skirt to version 2 as I don’t think the dipped hem suits me (so in summary, I should have just made version 2 to start with!). 

One thing that worked perfectly was the finishing of the raw edges. I decided to go with Hong Kong finished seams, using bias binding. 

So I’ve got some coral bias binding that will go really nicely with the pattern on the navy fabric. 

So to summarise the changes needed:

  • Change to version 2. 
  • Lengthen the bodice by 1″. 
  • Widen the sleeves. 
Thats not bad, compared to how many changes I normally have to make (the joys of being tall). Now I need to find someone my size, who suits wearing bright purple! Any ideas?

A New Workshop Apron (Finally)

I’m a teacher (something you may have picked up on this blog). I teach mainly woodwork, in a dusty messy workshop, while wearing a ‘suit’ and fancy shoes (I’ll put a picture of my shoes at the end of this post, so you can see what I’m talking about). I hate wearing lab coats, they get too hot and look really frumpy, so I’ve always made my own apron.

As my current apron is approaching its 6th birthday, and is looking very tired, ripped and covered in glue, I thought it was time to make a new one. I hunted through Etsy looking for a reasonably flattering apron pattern. I could have drafted my own, but I really couldn’t be bothered! I came across this Sweetheart apron from The Seasoned Homemaker and thought it could be what I was looking for.


I made it up in a basic polycotton to check the fit and unsurprisingly needed to make some minor adjustments. I had to extended the bodice by about 2″ to bring the waist to where my natural waist line is. I also extended the top edge of the neckline, because I wanted a bit more coverage to protect my clothes from dust and dirt. Finally I made the skirt slightly more rectangular and added 4″ to the length as I felt the flared skirt could be a little dangerous and my legs needed more coverage.

A friend at school had designed me my own logo, so I used PrinFab to get some custom printed fabric. They were incredibly fast, and my new fabric looked lovely. I got it in a classic plain cotton, which feels quite sturdy.

I bought some Navy Cotton Drill for the main apron, and found some coral coloured bias binding that matched the flamingos. The finished apron is perfect. I added in an extra pocket, as you can never have enough storage as a teacher!

As you see, I used the bias binding to edge the whole apron, but I am particularly proud of my Hong Kong finished princess seams on the inside.

The pattern was easy to follow, very clear instructions. Hopefully this apron lasts another 6 years…..

Finally, as promised, a picture of my new school shoes (and yes, they are as sparkly as the picture suggests).





Patterned Skirt

I’m in the process of updating my work wardrobe ready for the start of term. I’ve been buying a few pieces, but also making some myself. I’ve almost finished the ‘Anderson Blouse’, I just need to redo the bottom hem as I’m not happy with the way it turned out. 

I’ve had a pattern from Burda for a panelled stretchy skirt for a while, so I thought it about time to start making it. 

I had this textured black jersey in my stash. I thought it would work well with the panels. 

Annoyingly Burda patterns that you print yourself require all the seam and hem allowances to be added. Fortunately I had a little sewing guage that makes this so much easier.

I also had to get out my other sewing machine (which I got at a car boot sale for £6). It does a lovely zigzag stitch, but it is a little fiddly to set up. These are the controls for setting the zigzag.

It was really easy to refurbish and now works like a dream. I keep thinking I should get a more modern machine, so I have a choice of straight or zigzag (without having to change machines!). 

After cutting out all the pieces for the skirt, I did a test sew to check the zigzag worked ok on the fabric. Fortunately I had lots of spare fabric. 

It worked perfectly, so now I need to start sewing together the numerous panels. 

Design Era Posters

As I am currently broken (see previous post), I am limited as to what I can do at school. I teach Resistant Materials (woodwork, metalwork, design, engineering) and normally I would spend my summer term making examples of the projects my pupil will make next year. Unfortunately I am not allowed to use any machines (due to the painkillers I am on), so I am restricted to using a computer – very frustrating.

Any way, I thought I would use this enforced time to create some resources. I started by designing some posters to replace the very old posters in the corridor.

I'm using Corel Draw and am starting out by creating some design era posters.

So here is poster one, all about the Bauhaus:

Still to make is Memphis, Art Deco and I need 1 more. Any suggestions?