Definitely my #MonetaParty Dress

jazzy-moneta-party-dressAfter what turned out to be my wearble muslin of the Colette Moneta, I was persuaded by Sarah from Like Sew Amazing (who has a fab new vlog, the first episode of which is about all 6 of her Monetas and features yours truly!) to make another one when she invited me to her house for a irl Moneta Party. It was really fun to sew with someone else – it’s normally such a solitary pursuit, it was a novelty to do it with company!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-2I feel the main saving grace of this Moneta compared to the other, is the fabric. Eagle-eyed readers may recognise the fabric as the one I used for my Coco Dress. I used the pattern in a different way, centering the space between the diamonds instead of the diamonds themselves as I did for the Coco. I think it works better this way, which is good because to start with I was going to place the diamonds around the bodice in the same was as the Coco. And the diamonds pretty much line up on the side seams. Yay!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-4The fabric looks even more trippy and like a magic eye picture from the back!

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-7The black fabric is some ponte I bought from my local sewing shop. I had thought they didn’t have that much of a range of dressmaking fabrics, but actually it’s pretty good when I looked closely and ignored the boxes of fat quarters! They have needlecord, lots of patterned cottons and a pretty good range of jerseys for a shop of that size. They also have everything you could possibly want in their massive range of haberdashery items.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-5I really like the ponte as it has a nice structure to it, making it a lot easier to sew with than the thin fabric from my last version! The jazzy fabric is quite thin, but not too difficult to manhandle for just a couple of seams! The only problem with this combination of fabrics is the skirt pulls down the bodice slightly because the jazzy fabric is much more stretchy.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-6I again cut out the straight size xs and this time didn’t need to make any fitting changes under the arms – I guess different jerseys behave in different ways. I also cut out the short sleeves instead of the longer ones because I didn’t think the 3/4 length sleeves would work in the black fabric. I did cut out the sleeves in both fabrics and asked Sarah’s opinion and she thought the black would look better – and she was totally right!

The main change I made, which I hadn’t initially planned, was to add a neckband.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-3I measured the neckline of the bodice – the front neck was 34.5cm and the back neck 31cm. Added together this comes to 65.5cm. I decided to take 4cm off this length, guessing that this would be enough smaller to sit flat but not so much smaller it puckered the neckline. I’m sure there is a science to this, but my guess was okay. I then added 2cm back on for the seam allowance to be able to sew the 2 ends together into a loop. I cut the band to be 5cm wide. After sewing the 2 ends together, I folded the band in half lengthways, wrong sides together and tacked it all the way around. I then lined up the 2 edges of the band with the neckline of the bodice, stretching it slightly to make it fit. I then stitched it with a 1cm seam allowance, flipped it to the inside and topstitched it with my twin needle.

jazzy-moneta-party-dress-8If you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen that while at Sarah’s house I played with an overlocker for the first time. She had it all set up ready and it wasn’t as scary to use as I thought it would be – I feared the fabric would run away and cut itself in half before I knew what was happening! But it’s pretty much like a normal sewing machine, of course! Some of the insides (which I had time to do at Sarah’s) look lovely so I’m definitely a convert to overlockers, and I even got mine out the box for the first time, having bought it a couple of months ago! I managed to thread it but the stitches were all loopy and no matter how much I changed the tension, it didn’t fix it. Any ideas? Is it possible I did actually thread it wrong and it kind of works but not properly?

I’ll leave you with this outtake from my photos – this was me testing the camera set up, feeling really cold and wearing my glasses (which I took off for the photos!)



Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress (Made Up Initiative) thumbnail Book - Colette Sewing Handbook Colette-Laurel-brown-pattern-thumb 2

Twin Mabels for Twin Sisters

You know how I was making those skirts for my sister for Christmas? Well one of the 3 I made in time for Christmas was a Mabel made out of this cool quilted jersey from Fabricland (though we got it in grey and it seems to be only available in khaki now).

This is mine:

my-grey-quilty-mabel-1And this is my sister’s:

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabelLike us the skirts are more fraternal (non-identical) twins than identical twins. They are both a size small – I traced off a size bigger in this pattern after the too-tight original Mabel I made a couple of years ago. Phoebe’s is 3 inches longer than mine, which was the length she requested. I made mine in the standard length for the pattern, which hits me just on the knee.

I’m pretty pleased with my pattern matching skillz on both, if I do say so myself! This is Phoebe’s:

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabel-3And this is mine:


Mine isn’t quite as good as the  pattern isn’t uninterrupted – I’ve got two poofy bits and 2 flats bits (technical terms, obviously!) next to each other, when they should alternate. But at least the lines match up.

I managed to mostly match them on the waistband too, at least in terms of the vertical lines, if not the horizontal zigzags perfectly.

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabel-4Mine was a bit better matched across the back – sorry Phoebe! One of the back panels of hers ended up slightly on the wonk – I guess the fabric wasn’t perfectly folded in half. I haven’t done a huge amount of pattern matching, so I’m pretty pleased with how these turned out 🙂

my-grey-quilty-mabel-7I love the little kick pleat at the back!

my-grey-quilty-mabel-3These are definitely really quick skirts to sew up. At least they are when you don’t sew the waistband on upside down, without realising until you’ve finished the skirt and topstitched the top edge to stop it rolling. Though I’m just guessing that this would be really annoying and time-consuming to fix……… I actually didn’t topstitch the top edge of mine because I was feeling lazy!

my-grey-quilty-mabel-5I used a twin needle (heh!) for the hem and stitching in the ditch of the bottom of the waistband, and topstitching the top edge of Phoebe’s skirt, but for mine I just used a normal zigzag for the hem and stitching in the ditch. You actually really can’t see the stitching on this fabric, so it didn’t matter to me too much on my own whether it looked all professional like a twin needle makes it look.

my-grey-quilty-mabel-8I modelled the skirt with a tight rtw top tucked in, so you could see it, but I’ll really wear it with this black jumper in the Winter, and maybe my Astoria when the weather gets a bit warmer. I actually wore it exactly as in the above photo to work on Monday and I got quite a few compliments. And I love saying ‘thank you, I made it’ when I get complimented on something I’ve made. #sorrynotsorry.

Who would you like to wear matching clothes with?



Aztec Mabel skirt thumbnail Mustard Corduroy Shorts into Skirt Black-Simplicity-2451-thumb 2

Turquoise Coco Top

I made another Coco! This time it’s a top. I haven’t ended up getting too much wear out of my dress version yet as the fabric is quite thin and it feels like it’s been Winter for about 3 years! Interestingly, there is a link between the dress and the top besides the fact that they’re the same pattern (duh!). As you may remember, I made the dress for Karen from Did You Make That’s Made Up Initiative. I went to the meet up that included the prize drawer, wearing my dress (obvs) and some people had brought some patterns and fabric to give away/ trade. I picked up this amazing turquoise jersey as a remnant that someone didn’t want. And it made the perfect Coco top!


This is an accidental copy of the top on the pattern cover. I love 60s style fashion so I love, love, love the funnel neck on this top version! I had cut out the small pocket,  but decided not to put it on as I thought it would look a bit too busy.


As with the dress, I made the size 2 with no changes. It does sit a little strangely on my upper chest – anyone have any ideas why and how I can fix it?


I didn’t bother with the side splits – mostly because I forgot to mark it on the pattern and the fabric, so I just sewed the whole side seam to the hem.


The back looks okay – it’s snug across my bum so looks a bit pool-y in my lower back, where it’s not so tight! I know I keep saying it, but I really, really need to start altering patterns to fit my narrow back. Should this be a sway back adjustment or a narrow back adjustment do you think?


I don’t really have too much else to say – this is a really quick make. I cut it out one day and sewed it in pretty much an afternoon. I think I definitely see more 60s-style Cocos in my future!

Turqoise-Coco-Top-6  Turqoise-Coco-Top-8

Aztec Print Mabel Skirt

On the same day I made my Linden sweatshirt, I made a Colette Mabel skirt from the same fabric. OMG, this was so quick to make! It took, like, 90 minutes – and that was because I made a rookie error and sewed 2 pieces wrong sides together!



I made the size xs and the only change I made was to add 2″ to the length – I held up the pattern pieces and it seemed like it would be waaaay too short!


I think when I cut the skirt out, I didn’t quite get it perfectly straight with the pattern – which I didn’t notice until I saw these pictures! You can see on the hem, below, that the line isn’t quite perpendicular. Boo!


The waistband is also really on the wonk! But with a top covering it, you can’t really see.


But I did triumph on the pattern-matching front on the back seam! Behold!


I used my beloved twin needle for the hem – I’m really starting to get the hang of sewing with knits now I think!


The only problem with this skirt, though, is that I’m not sure if it suits me or is really my style. I might give it a go in the longer length and see if that’s any better. Or maybe make a size bigger. Or slightly change the shape so it doesn’t go in so much at the bottom. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned many times on here, I like to wear looser fitting tops but this skirt looks really weird with a non-tight top as it makes me look top-heavy.


Any ideas how I can make this more ‘me’?

My (first) Coco Dress or the first time I’ve finished a sewalong/ challenge on time!

Coco-Dress-1aI say this is my ‘first’ Coco (by Tilly and the Buttons) because I’m sure I’ll be making many more. I’ve got some perfect Breton-style striped fabric in my stash which I think will be perfect for the top version. I’m not copying Tilly’s style, honest (ehem)!

Anyway, to this make. I pledged to make a Coco dress as part of Karen from Did You Make That’s Made Up Initiative which is “in support of the National Literacy Trust. Did you know that one person in six in the UK lives with poor literacy? Some children never have a parent read to or with them. Many households can’t afford books. Literacy can be a game of luck, and it’s a game with high stakes. It can make or break lives.” (From Did You Make That). As someone who spent almost a decade as a bookseller, I am definitely passionate about reading. I personally go through phases of reading lots and then not so much, but I basically have a book (or several) on the go all the time. I can’t imagine not carrying one in my handbag – what if you suddenly have half an hour to kill? So reading, yay! And sewing, yay! I’m not surprised this initiative has massively taken off – there must be loads of sewists like me who also like books. Also, the deadline is 10th September, so this is (fanfare!) the first time I have finished a challenge or sewalong on time! Or in fact early!

Coco-Dress-2aSo back to this make (again!)….The fabric was from my trusty Rolls and Rems on Holloway Road. It was another one of their remnants and was £3.99 for over 2 metres – bargain! I’ve definitely got enough left to make a top. It’s quite drapey, and has quite a bit of stretch, so it probably wasn’t the best choice for Coco. But I wanted a pattern without many seams to show off the huge graphic print and I already had Coco traced and ready to go. I made the size 2 and tried really hard to make the pattern match on the side seams and to make sure the placement didn’t do anything dodgy! I’m glad I got almost 2 repeats of the giant diamond on – but is the top one like a frame for my boobs?! It’s got, like, all my colours on it – i.e. different shades of blue, black and white!


The side seams were a relative success, but the diamonds did get a bit squished. I’m not sure i could have done anything about that and still had the main pattern centered on the front and back.

Coco-Dress-5aI think I probably need a sway back adjustment as the fabric is pooling at my lower back. Thoughts? It might just be the pattern, making it look worse!

I did make a couple of tiny adjustments to the pattern. The main one was to take in the sleeves by 2cm from the cuff to the elbow, graduating to 2.5cm above the elbow and at the armpit. I tailored the taking in out at the boob level as I didn’t want to overfit the whole dress. I’m all for loose clothes, by the way, but because this fabric is quite thin and clingy, the looser sleeves looked like a mistake rather than a design feature. The design of the pattern made this change really easy – you sew the neckline, then the sleeves, and then the side seams (from the end of the sleeve all the way to the hem) in one go – it’s quite brilliant for allowing you to make fitting tweaks once the dress is mostly made. Like I did. I’m definitely keen to make it in a thicker, less stretchy fabric and take more advantage of the shape of the dress.

I sewed the sleeves with 2cm hems, as the pattern said to and I took up a 4cm hem at the bottom. With these hems and the neckline, I used a twin needle for the first time. I was a bit scared about how to use it, but it turns out it’s really simple – you just need 2 spools of thread on the top of your machine, then you thread them together through the machine as normal then thread one through each needle – simple! I did have some issues with the tension when I was sewing the hem – I think because I’d turned it up twice, like a normal hem, so then my machine kept chewing it up. Trial and error meant I figured it out in the end though…….after wasting tonnes of thread! I’m pleased with how professional it looks though, so it was totally worth the swearing and shouting at my sewing machine!

After my Sallie maxi dress and then this dress, I have definitely been bitten by the jersey bug! I can’t really believe it took me so long to start sewing with knits. It’s not as scary as I feared. And at the end of the day, if I ruin some fabric, so what? I usually have loads left after I’ve cut garments out – does anyone else find patterns over-estimate how much you need? – so can usually cut something out for a second time if I’ve totally ruined it!

Coco-Dress-7aI’m definitely going to expand my range of more casual garments in my homemade wardrobe – I’m not a very dressy person usually, so the fact that I’ve made so many dresses is a bit silly! I need more t-shirts, maybe some linden sweatshirts and then I desperately need to get over my fear of making trousers! I think I might try to come up with a plan for Autumn/ Winter sewing as my Summer sewing wasn’t planned at all and therefore was pretty much non-existent. Which was actually fine as we had about 3 weeks of Summer back in June/July in London and that was it! What are your Autumn/ Fall sewing plans please?