Birthday Dress

Well, it happened… I turned 30… My amazing family ensured, I had a truly fabulous time so I didn’t wallow in my own sadness at getting old! It’s true what people say, it doesn’t feel any different!

To take my mind off the impending doom which was turning 30 I decided to make sure that my birthday weekend was truly me-made. I began with my birthday dress for our family meal.

Having had success last year with Threadcount 1501 which was free with Love Sewing magazine some years a go, I’m not sure you can get it anymore but I know that you can still snag them on eBay!

Anyway last years version I made using Liberty scraps I had bagged in a sale day at my favourite shop in Northumberland, Village Tearooms and Emporium. I loved the dress, I felt it was really flattering and was so keen to make another that I put it on my Make 9 for this year.

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The dress comes with two options, one with an ordinary skirt piece and the other as block pieces. AS you can see, I’ve already made the blocked one so I wanted to try the other. Last year I won tickets to go to the Handmade Fair from Elle as Sew Positivity over on Instagram and I bought this beautiful water colour cotton. My Mum and I debated and thought that it would perhaps be a bit much as a complete dress so she advised I went for a purple to break it up a bit. Mum’s are usually right folks, so that’s what I did.

I cut the bodices out of the block purple, I think using plains on top is great for me because when it is pairs with prints at the bottom it detracts a little for my chest, which can look a little large in some outfits. I used the watercolour print for the skirt.

The construction of the dress is a pleasant experience, there’s quite a few darts and a princess seam. The whole bodice is constructed and then the skirt added. The Skirt has both pleats at the front and the back and then gathering from the pleat to the side seam, which lends itself to a really flattering shape. I loved using my overlocker here because it meant all the gathering on the inside looks really neat. I think I enjoyed the experience even more because I wanted it to be a nice dress for my birthday.

The observant amongst you will notice that the original dress I made was pulling slightly across the arms, to solve this, I just used a very tiny seam allowance on my sleeves. I wish I could tell you that I did a super advanced pattern grading but that’s just not true!

A final note on the construction (and the most exciting I feel) – I finally inserted an invisible zip! This was something which really shocked a lot of people over Instagram as I have made so many garments now but it’s just a step I’ve always avoided. I was reassured that it would be easy but I didn’t find it as easy as I hoped, the zip got caught really easily and isn’t as invisible as I hoped but… I have tried it and will continue to try it until I get it right as I do with most things!

Not quite invisible but nearly!

I’m really happy with the fit, I feel it is super flattering and feminine and perfect for my birthday meal. I loved wearing it. I feel like more recently, I’m really starting to win with my fit.

Check out my amazing cake!!

Say No to turning 30!

If you have a look over on the Sew Me Sunshine Blog, I’m also really pleased with my Deer and Doe Bruyére Shirt which I made using their dreamscape mountain cotton loveliness.

On a sad note, with everything that I’m doing at the minute, I’ve decided to close my YouTube account. My main love is writing my blog and I can’t keep up with the vlogs enough to do them justice. Thanks for those who supported me with it though. ☺

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Pencil Pencil Skirt

Hi everyone,

I love that making your own clothes means that you can play with prints and essentially create whatever you want to wear so when I bought this super cute pencil fabric from Sew Me Sunshine and I was looking through my fabric options in my Stash Buster Fabric Post I decided on a pencil skirt. Why not have a pencil skirt made of pencils?!

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I had some success last year with Simplicity 8342 as part of the Simplicity turns 90 challenge. It’s a vintage style pencil skirt with a ruffle. I really like the overlapped zip detail and the neat finish. It has two darts at the front and four at the back, with a tulip style shape so I really like the shaping it gives you. I decided to go with this but to omit the ruffle this time.

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I took the size down this time as I have been losing a little weight and it always goes from my hips first so my last skirt is starting to be a bit roomy. The construction of the skirt is a real pleasure and it comes together quite quickly. My lapped zip worked out really well and I’m happy with how neat it has turned out. The lines of the pencil even line up, even though they are not the same pencils!!

To finish the hem in leiu of the ruffles, I overlocked the hem and then turned it up (my new favourtie and most reliable way to hem a curve). Then I crossed the edges at the back, pinned them in place and ensured the stitching line met in the middle.

I absolutely love this skirt, I don’t want to be vain but it makes me really really feminine and curvy. I’m a little bit happy dance in it!

Nancy Dress

I won the Sew Over It Nancy Dress as part of my prize from Indie Pattern Month Dress week last year. If I’m completely honest, it was a pattern that I had been looking at. The dress has a floaty style which I didn’t think would suit my figure as I need a bit more shape round my waist. (Turns out I was right!)

However, it was free and I was so grateful to be a winner so I thought I’d give it a go. I decided on the fantastic jersey I got from the market in Leeds on Sew Up North day with the intention of repeating the Cashmerette Appleton. I changed my mind (as we dressmakers do) and decided on this instead.

This was the first time I has used a pattern which said instructions like overlock or zigzag and I was actually able to overlock, which was so exciting for me! My insides looks so neat and it made me feel really professional

The back is a great little detail, I used a popper at the top to make it look nice and neat. Excuse the bra though, I’ll have to think about what I’m going to do about that!

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After I struggled meeting the odd shapes in the TATB Zadie Dress,  I was a bit concerned about meeting the corners together right at the front of the dress as the pattern shapes are a bit unusual. However, it comes with a really helpful tip of basting some stitch lines to follow, which I promptly ignored and just used my air erasable marker to mark the corners. It worked out great.

Because of fabric restrictions I could only manage a short sleeves but I inserted these. This was another step which I ignored as the instructions call for a set in sleeve but I don’t feel that is necessary with jersey so I inserted the sleeves before sewing up the sides as one.

I had already extended the pattern as it looked too short for me on the pattern front, I’m not very keen on a short dress. I had been quite generous though so I used an inch to hem it.

Alongside this I also made a little cardigan and scratch mitts. Baby clothes are so great for fabric scraps.

I’m not sure about the dress, I think it is as I feared and doesn’t have enough shape at the waist for me. It’s seems to swamp my shape. I also feel it’s a bit too big. If I was to make it again, I’d downsize it. I seemed to have saved it with a contrast pink belt though! There’s no way I would wear it without a belt but I quite like the full skirt it gives.

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DSC_2458-01.jpegDSC_2463-01.jpegDSC_2461-01.jpegDSC_2462-01.jpegDSC_2468-01.jpegDSC_2459-01.jpegI was gutted to find that the fabric had a pinking shear cut in it when I tried it on. I don’t know where it came from. I had already made the dress at this point so I just sewed it closed. I hope it’s not visible and if you can see it, please don’t tell me because I couldn’t stand to know!!!

Mia Set

I’ve been making attempts to get through my to-do box before getting distracted by some of the lovely fabrics you may have seen in my last post.

The Mia set which came with Simply Sewing Magazine last July, tempted me straight away and I used this unusual fabric I got for a bargain on eBay. I thought it would look really cool as it’s quite a wacky fabric but the pattern is quite simple apart from the sleeves. I have shown this over on Youtube already but I wanted to give a few more details.

I cut it out straight away. Due to fabric restrictions, I only cut one of the two optional sleeve pieces which make the fluted look at the ends. Then… I got distracted and it sat in my to do box until I have been off over Christmas! I felt it was about time I showed it some love!

So, out it came! It’s a really quick sew so it was a travesty that it remained untouched for so long but at least it meant that I could use my overlocker so the whole thing looks so much more professional. I was able to overlock the curved edge of the sleeve and fold it over to hem it, it’s such an easy way to hem curves. It has a simple shape like a shift dress, with darts from the arm hole to the bust and that’s it. I would definitely give the dress version a go at some point.

The sleeve options are either, one big circular sleeve or two flutes which are smaller. I only used one of the smaller pieces as I thought two might be a little much in this fabric.

The set comes with no fastenings but with the option for a small opening the back, I chose to ignore this and cut the back piece on the fold. Similarly, I ignored the facings (as I usually do) and used bias binding. I cut the fabric to use the border along the bottom so all that was left was to use the lines in the border print to do a quick hem and I’ve got a simple top with fluted sleeves, which I love! Other than the border print, I have kept the pattern placement random as I think with a fabric like this you just need to just go with the flow.

I wore this over Christmas and on a day out to Carlisle with my husband. He, as always, completed his marital duties on being my photographer in chief. I am a little travel creased though, I’m afraid!

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Self-induced Stash Buster Challenge 

Happy New Year folks,

This is the year I turn 30, this is the year I have been married 6 phenomenal years, this is the year we go to Portugal as an amazing treat from my in-laws. It is the year that I have to complete several of my psychology masters modules alongside many more blog posts but… This is also the year in which I have decided to BUY NO FABRIC AT ALL.

Having only started sewing in May 2015, I have quickly become addicted and I have so much amazing fabric in my stash now. So much of my fabric gets pushed to the back of the queue by the next amazing thing I get distracted by so this year is the year I work through that stash.

I think that last year showed that I’m finally getting to a place where I pass for a good Dressmaker so I’m ready for a new challenge, please join me whilst I make the most of my Stash over the year. I’ll share the highs and lows with you all. Though it means that I may not be posting as regularly as every Friday as I did last year.

So… with this in mind. Let’s see what we’ve got to play with! This is no where near an extensive list but just some picks to inspire me! 

This was my last buy of 2017, it’s a viscose in this amazing purple aztec print which was on sale from my local market for £1.50 per yard! Amazing! It’s destined for a nice summer dress I think! 

This next one is a super thick Jersey from Ebay. This is a challenging one because it is so thick, I have 3 metres of it and I don’t really sew with stripes so the matching with be a tricky one! 

These next two are hopefully my last buys from Sew Me Sunshine but she has so many good offers and amazing prints that I’m going to struggle! Anyway, left if the Maribou Mosaic Cotton Lawn, which I’m not sure what in going to do with yet and the right if Dashwood Studio Leaf block print cotton which is lovely and sunny and is destined for a tea dress. 

This is a piece of Jersey which I got in the swap at Sew Up North last year which is one of the only fabrics I haven’t used from the swap. I’m thinking a tube pencil skirt for this one. 

This beautiful liberty print was a treat to myself last year, so much so that I can’t bring myself to cut in to it! I want to make a blouse with this but I want the ideal pattern first. 

This Beauty and the Beast fabric is a real piece of nostalgia for me and another cotton I’m struggling to cut in to. I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do with it. 

This Trefle Bee Gauze from Sewisfaction is so luxurious and soft, again, I’m thinking a blouse with this, possibly the Fringe by Cotton and Notch. 

Finally, another from Sew Me Sunshine which is the amazing pencil print and one I intend to make a pencil skirt with for a bit of fun! 

As I said, there’s plenty more but these are a few picks to be getting on with, you will see why I don’t need to buy fabric! 

I’ve had an amazing blogging year but I’m not going to do a round up because I’m so ready to look forward. Though I have done a vlog on my Christmas makes, if you’reinterested. ank you so much for all your support and to all my lovely sewing friends. Happy New Year to you and see you soon!

Taylor Trench Coat

Hi everyone, 

Sorry I have been a bit M.I.A. I replaced my last blog post with a vlog and didn’t manage to get one together for last week – plus most of my makes are christmas related at the minute so I can’t share! I definitely will afterwards. Anyway, I finally blogged my Cleo on Friday and thought I’d throw in an extra post as an apology and it’s a good one because… 

I made a coat!!

This, my friends, is the BEST thing I have ever made!

It is a very classic trench coat pattern which has literally just been released by Rebecca Page so I chose an ex-Burberry waterproof coat material in an Aubergine colour with a pink and blue floral lining both from The Fabric Man on ebay.  I’ve always wanted a coat with a funky lining so I was pleased with this find. It uses quite a lot of fabric but I don’t mind because it’s the kind of garment that will stand the test of time. I wanted the lining I chose to be a little bit stable so it wasn’t too fiddly so I went with a thicker viscose. I also utilised vast amounts of spray starch which helped hugely and is my new best friend!

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I made this as part of a being a brand ambassador and it came at just the right time as I was ready for a project that would stretch my wings a little… and have they been stretched! Sadly, I have had to step back from working with Rebecca because I can’t keep up with work, uni deadlines and my sewing so I won’t be making anything else prerelease just now.

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Anyway … The Coat. It comes with lots of different options, such as front and back yokes, welt or patch pockets, sleeve tabs and a hood.

I chose to do pretty much every option but the hood (as I didn’t have enough fabric). I knew I was making it challenging for myself but I wanted to embrace the challenge and do as much of it as I could. So, my version has:

Front and Back Yokes

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Welt Pockets (My first welt pockets!) I attached one upside down and all the unpicking meant it went back in a little messier than I would have liked but I’m pleased just the same!

Shoulder and Sleeve Tabs

Vents – some sewists chose to omit this and just joined the pieces in a straight line.

I think all of these elements add together to make a real classic trench look. I really enjoyed doing all the individual parts as it meant it was a absorbing make which I could really take my time with.

One of the reasons I knew I would be able to take this challenge is because the Rebecca Page patterns are always so detailed. They talk you through every little step and I would recommend them to newbies in a heartbeat (though maybe not the coat!)

I really enjoyed the process of making this, I did every little step with precision and really took my time to get it right. I was super fussy and unpicked parts that I wouldn’t usually, such as small bits of top-stitching I wasn’t happy with or slight ruffles.

I’ve learnt so many new skills through doing it. I’ve never done welt pockets before or tailored sleeves (which were super tricky!) The trickiest part was the lining though. I have never lined anything and although I feel it is ever so slightly lumpier than I would like, I’m really pleased with myself.

I followed all the markings for the buttons, exactly but I still feel it is a bit off centre (it uses a shed load of buttons by the way- I’ve never spent so much on buttons!) I think I will just do one row next time!

What do you think?

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When your mum thinks it’s hilarious to photobomb you…

Call me crazy but I have also bought some yellow waterproof fabric and I intend to make a short version with a hood too. though that will definitely be on hold until after the uni deadlines!

Look out for lots of Christmas makes posts over the festive period, I’ll be so glad to finally share!! 

Sewing Cleo

Hi everyone,

I’m massively late on the bandwagon with this one… But I’ve made a Cleo! The pattern, by Tilly and the Buttons, (incase you didn’t know) has been made by pretty much everyone, in every shape,  size and hack going but I was convinced it wasn’t for me. I didn’t think the shape would suit me.

Then, the black Friday sales rolled round and I could resist. I saw so many sales on pattern kits from some of the bigger companies and thought, I’m going to see how much it would cost me. Here goes :

Cleo pattern: 25% off in the sale: £7.13. 

1 metre Needlecord: 20% off in the sale by Sewmesunshine.co.uk: £8.80

Prym clips: also 20% off by Sewmesunshine.co.uk: £3.28

Total: £19.20 – a bargain when many of the bundles come in at £40!

This Needlecord is from Sewmesunshine.co.uk, she always has great offers on Instagram,  with themed weekend specials too.  Harriet who runs it is full on amazing!! 

Even though they have a pink Needlecord too, it had to be the navy, I knew I would get more wear out of it. An unusually sensible decision for me!  I got my Prym clips from her too.

Anyway, I wanted something a little bright so I dug out a small piece of Liberty Strawberry Thief that I had ready for the facings and got started. 

I bought a metre of the Needlecord and you get the pattern out of a metre easily, which I love! I buy my interfacing by the metre and the odd shape facings really seem to eat in to it, not life changing but something I’ve noticed! 

Everyone says it’s easy to do and it really is. As with all Tilly Patterns, even though I’ve had sizing issues with some, they’re so easy to follow and come up good everything. There isn’t many seams or many hems, you don’t have to insert anything and the facings are easy to use. I think when I make another one, I could have it done on an hour. I can totally see why people have several. I can see it being a win for some of the thicker upholstery type fabrics I have. 

This needlecord was a pleasure to see and it means I could practice a bit of top stitching without worrying; I think it’s come up quite neat. ☺ 

I’m so glad I have my overlocker too because it makes the insides look so neat!

I thought I might use buttons for the straps but I’m glad I went with the clips, as they look really professional. 

I’m so glad I changed my mind and went with all the lovely ladies who have made this! I think it’s such a reliable wardrobe staple and I’m actually surprised to find it’s not horrendous on my shape like I thought it would be. What do you think?

I’m thinking a green cord one next with another splash of colour in the facing! I love sewing plans!! 

Sunshine Bloggers Ice-cream Shirt Dress

Hi everyone,

I am so excited about my first blog post for the Sunshine Bloggers Team! When I was asked to be part of it, other than being RIDICULOUSLY excited, I was all ice creams in my head because I knew I HAD to use the amazing Rico ice cream fabric for my make. It’s fantastic, I love the print and the fabric was an absolute dream to work with. My absolute dream outfit!! 

Go and check it out over on Sew Me Sunshine’s Website where there is also 15% off novelty fabrics, including the ice-cream this weekend!! 

Appleton Dress

I make a special effort to try and find a fabric shop whenever I go away. On our recent trip to Belgium, my Mother-in-law asked the lovely man on reception at our hotel and he was able to direct us to one called Moda Stoffen and I was in heaven.

I bought two fabrics, a Mustard patterned jersey with lots of drape and a super thick terry style sweatshirting with a furry lining for my first attempt at a Linden. It was 10% off too so that was a winner.

I used the jersey as soon as I got back and determined not to revert to Moneta mode, I fished out the Cashmerette Appleton Dress which the lovely Lhizz sent me from New Zealand with my hand-made dress swap!

It was very much pattern tetris with this, I have no fabric left at all! I was really pleased to just get three quarter sleeves out of it and I had to cut the ties slightly shorter to make the most of the fabric!

The pattern is great, it’s super easy because there are no fastenings so a quick sew.  It would’ve been even quicker if I didn’t have overlocker issues. I tried to use a yellow alongside white but the smaller spool was not working! The lovely Laura @agirlcalledboz over on instagram kindly showed me how she does it!

I’m still getting used to sewing with jersey but I’m definitely improving. The facings were the trickiest bit and they don’t match up perfectly but I think only I can see that. I used spray starch to help me control the fabric which curled up quite a bit but needed a lot of precision.

The pattern is sold as being perfect for cuvy girls and has different cup sizes and it definitely does not disappoint! It’s such a great fit and I find it really flattering. I would definitely try other Cashmerette patterns if they are this good for fit!

I made the dress especially for my Sister’s baby shower and I loved wearing it, it felt really autumnal and just the right feel for the occasion.

Me Made Windermere

In the latest in my series of me made holidays I have recently been to Lake Windermere for the weekend with my Mum and my Sister. As many of you will know, I always try to make something nice ready for my holidays, but I try to stick to practicality too. With this in mind and thinking about the fact that it ALWAYS rains on our trips anywhere I bought this amazing umbrella Fabric.

It was my mum’s birthday whilst we were away so I also made her the Style Arc Abigail Top Which was free last month when I purchased the Fay Cardi. Strangely,  I made the freebie before the actual garment I bought (mainly because I’m struggling with the facings) but I’m well pleased with this top and I think if you compare it you last year’s birthday offering it shows a massive difference in my skills. My mum opened it and said, ‘I’m going to wear it tomorrow and you can take a picture for your blog!’ so here she is…

It’s a great shape on her and it was so easy to whip up. I will definitely be making one for myself soon !

On the Saturday I wore my BlancTee by Blank Slate Patterns in this jersey from sew sew sew.  It was such an easy make (literally two pieces and a neckband) that I didn’t bother blogging it. It’s a great staple piece though and something I’ll definitely repeat as it’s easy and has a relaxed shape. I’d definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a curvier lady who likes a looser fitting Tee. Plus, it’s free if you sign up to Blank Slate Patterns Facebook page.

That evening  I wore my French Navy Orla Dress which I have talked about in my vlog and blogged here. I really enjoyed wearing it. I think the gathers at the waist make for a really flattering fit and it’s great for full busted ladies. I would pinch an inch out of the neckline though as it’s a bit roomy. Anyway, I wore it with my new shiny silver brogues out for tea.

On the Sunday I wore my SewGirl Tunic Top  which I made using this amazing umbrella fabric as it always rains when we go away (I thought I was being funny!) and… it didn’t rain. I wore it anyway with black leggings (these are RTW so pattern recommendations would be appreciated).

This tunic is just what I needed for this highly patterned fabric. I had made it before so I knew I liked the shape. I made this one longer and added a pocket but I made no other changes. I didn’t take any pictures so see the vlog for a closer look!

I’ve since been to Ostend so look out for another post soon!

Simple Sew Pussy-bow Blouse

Well, I think I may have found it – it has taken several  blouse making attempts (here, here and here, to name a few!) and a lot of frustration but I appear to have actually made a blouse which has the perfect fit!

It is the simple Sew Pussy-bow dress and blouse and I’ve had it cut out since before summer. I had a bit of a to-do pile sort out and brought this to the top and I’m so glad that I did!

The pattern is (as the name suggests) really simple. The instructions are minimalist and when I was first learning, I couldn’t really access the Simple Sew patterns for that reason but I find them really easy and convenient to follow now! It has several darts, at the front and the back, which lend for a really nice shape. There’s no pulling across the chest and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all.

After making New Look 6471 recently and having huge problems with the neckline, I found the way that the neckline comes together really clever. You sew it all right sides together and then turn it out on itself through a hole in the back of the neckline which you then hand stitch shut. It makes for a really easy way to do it.

The pattern calls for a side zip insertion, which I’m definitely getting better at (still to master that invisible zip though)

And… that’s it. I chose this fabric especially from my local market and although I’m not much of a pink person, I just thought it was really cheerful and i’m really pleased with it. I’m thinking a nice, simple black version would look really chic for my next attempt at this! It’s a dress too so I might even make that version.

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Sewing the Scene

Just when I was in a post Indie Pattern Month dip, in which I won amazing prizes for my dress and my wanted Tee and Culottes combination, I noticed the #sewingthescene challenge which Jo at The Unfinished Seamstress has organised. I talked about all the challenges in my last vlog post

The idea behind the challenge is that you copy an outfit to be worn every day (not a costume) based on an outfit you have seen in a film or TV programme. There are prizes in three categories.

I have found this ridiculously inspiring. I’ve been scouring the Internet and pinterest (see my film outfit inspiration board here if you’re interested). My original thoughts were from the following:

But in my searching I got over these ideas a little bit and was lusting over the amazing outfits that Louisa wears in Me Before You.

I’m sure lots of people are using this character as inspiration but I couldn’t resist! I decided on this deceptively simple blouse and skirt combination. I’m quite keen to hone my shirt making skills so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Plus, it’s practical, I could easily wear both items separately and without the tights of course! I’m also obviously hoping that I will look like her when I’m done…

 I had a rummage through my pattern stash for something which would fit the bill for the blouse and found Simplicity 6232 which I had used to make my brother a shirt last Christmas  so I had never used the female version. I cut it out and used a white cotton from my stash (this challenge was getting better and better – I hadn’t spent anything at this point!)

I tried really hard to be super precise in my cutting and as I was constructing it, everything came together really easily. I find with some garments, I don’t have to follow the instructions too much now, but I followed this to the letter and it seemed to pay off, I’ve got neat plackets and cuffs anyway (sewing win!)

Trying to stay true to Louisa’s outfit I went against my inner embellisher and kept it plain white, but I couldn’t resist throwing in a contrast yoke! I used this lovely bird print which was in my stash, which reminds me of a China cup.

Anyway, the shirt doesn’t have any buttons showing along the placket and I wasn’t sure how I could replicate this so I got out my trusty popper gadget and I inserted poppers along the inside of the placket before I attached it so that they couldn’t be seen on the outside. Then, once I had finished the shirt I inserted the poppers for the other side.

I’m going to try this blouse again with some funky iron-on embellishments like this shirt I saw somewhere online on a website called Shein…. So cheap I don’t trust it but still a good shirt! 

For the skirt – I looked around to try and source a fabric for the skirt which would lend itself to big deep pleats, like in the picture. I couldn’t find anything which stood out so I reverted to an indigo cotton. I self-drafted a skirt and used lots of fabric to insert big box pleats. The fabric isn’t the same blue as in the picture sadly but I like it.

All that was left to do was dig out my black and yellow tights and I had my Sewing the Scene outfit.

Trying to get yellow tights shot!

Are you planning on joining this challenge? Even if you aren’t, I definitely recommend using film and TV wardrobes for inspiration. There’s  so much out there! Thanks so much to Jo for organising!

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