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Dahlia – My Christmas Dress

 After my frenzy of downloading, sticking and gluing, and sewing which lasted 2 days and resulted in my most favourite dress to date, things slowed down.  Well, not so much as slowed down, things came to a grinding halt.

I was daunted, to say the least, by the hemming of this frock.  I’d not ever hemmed anything with an kick pleat, or any pleat if I come to think of it.

Dahlia Dress Colette 6

After much googling, I gave up for a few days and made a Coco for my sister instead.  After all, this Dahlia was only intended to be a muslin, hopefully wearable.  I was a little disappointed as it is a bit tight around the tartan band, but, and this a a BIG but, I woke up on Tuesday morning, put on my bestest M&S underwear and tried on my Dahlia.  Whoop Whoop! It zipped straight up without so much as me having to go blue in the face breath in. So that was it, I decided to bite the bullet and get hemming!

I’d read Colette’s New Guide to Sewing Hems, which gave me a few pointers, but I couldn’t find a specific tutorial anywhere for just what I needed.  (I did afterwards, HERE, thanks Sam!).

So, here’s my photos of how I did it, i.e. where i snipped and trimmed.

Hemming Colette Dahlia 1

I measure 1 1/2 inches up and snipped the hemmed. Once I’d done this I restitched over the seam line to where I’d cut to, to give it a bit of extra strength.

Here you can see where I trimmed the bias tape to reduce bulk in the folds.

Here you can see where I trimmed the bias tape to reduce bulk in the folds.

And here's where I snipped away at the seam allow, again to reduce bulk and any ridges.

And here’s where I snipped away at the seam allow, again to reduce bulk and any ridges.

Check this out - It almost make my want to wear my new frock inside out!!

Check this out – It almost makes my want to wear my new frock inside out!!

And before I go ahead and show you the rest of the photo’s from the photoshoot with a not so enthusiastic 12 year old in the garden, here’s the outside of my hem, close up:

Now this looks a crazy close up photo, and don't my tights looks weird, but this colour is the nearest to any other of what colour my frock actually is.  And isn't the him invisible!! I wish I could say the same for my zip!

Now this looks a crazy close up photo, and don’t my tights looks weird, but this colour is the nearest to any other of what colour my frock actually is. And isn’t the hem invisible!!

So here we are, a few pix of me in the garden:

Dahlia Dress Colette 4

Dahlia Dress Colette 5

Dahlia Dress Colette 1

Dahlia Dress Colette 6


This is the first time I’ve used a ladies Colette Pattern.  I LOVED making this dress!  It went together so easy, especially as there’s no sleeves to set in.  The instructions were really clear, but maybe not quite beginner.  I’d say more an adventurous beginner!  I mean, growing Dahlia’s in your garden aint for the faint hearted!

I had 2 fitting issues.  My bust measures 1/2 size smaller that my waist and my hips measure 2 1/2 sizes smaller than my waist.  That sound’s terrible, as if I live on doughnuts and full fat coke!  Lets start again.  My hips are 2 sizes smaller than my bust and my waist is a bit bigger than it should be.  Yup, that sounds better!  I’m putting it down to stopping smoking so not overly concerned (8 months and 4 days!!).

So I went with my bust size, no FBA or SBA needed here for these average girls, and graded the hips 2 sizes smaller.  I left the waist same as the bust as its only 1/2 size bigger, but boy does that 1/2 a size make a difference when you’re wondering if you can have a pudding when you can take your next breath!  Next time I WILL make the waist an inch bigger, or loose 10 pounds, depending how long it is before next time comes around.

Dahlia Dress Colette 2

Adjustment definitely needed here!

Adjustment definitely needed here! This looks like before and after photos, but they’re not!

Not sure what’s needed here, advice gratefully accepted.  In the first photo I had pulled the dress down and smoothed it out, but with normal wear it ends up as in picture 2.  I’m thinking once I have bit more space to breath around the middle and the dress has somewhere to drape and not hug, it would improve.  And also maybe take an inch off the length.  Not sure where I’d do that as there’s no lengthen/shorten lines.

Another thing I’d try next time on the sleeved version, is to try and narrow the neckline. It is rather wide, and if I didn’t have my magic underwear anchoring my bra straps down they would be on show to all and sundry. It’s not stretched out (I stay-stitched EVERYTHING) and I did do the gathers the correct length.


I imagine I will have 3 more longs sleeved and at least 3 strappy versions by this time next year!

What do you think….Is it a Christmassy Frock?  I’ve worn it out for lunch today, I see it more as a smart/casual day dress than a night time one.  We went to a garden centre which had all it’s Christmas decorations out, it’s gorgeous.  And as you can see, my son was more up for taking photos here and trying to embarrass me!  But the tartan really gives it a Christmassy feel for me.

Colette Dahlia Review 3

Colette Dahlia Review 2

Colette Dahlia Review 5

Colette Dahlia Review 4

Colette Dahlia Review 1

Here you can see the excess fabric. Just had a thought, is it a sway back adjustment I need?

Colette Dahlia Review 7 Colette Dahlia Review 10 Colette Dahlia Review 9

 And guess what, if you didn’t know, it’s almost the end of Frocktober.  So if I get a move on I should just have time to write a post for the Monthly Stitch!   If  you need some inspiration for your next frock head over to have a look at some fabulous ones for a little inspiration…..Frockober

Matchmaker – Dahlia meets Mr Zip

Dahlia Dress


Whilst inserting my zip today into my Dahlia dress I decided to take some photos of how I match everything up when inserting zips, as it can make or break a garment.

This is just how I do it.  There might be an easier way out there, but after making 5 Yasmin Yoke Skirts I feel practiced and competent enough to share my way with you.

Firstly, buy a decent zip!  I learnt the hard way today:

I had sew one side of the zip, and then when I fastened it it struggled over the seam and broke!!  I was gutted!!

I had sewn one side of the zip, and then when I fastened it it struggled over the seam and broke!!
I was gutted!!

This post will not show you how any special tricks to inserting a concealed zip, there’s loads of fab tutorials out there and even a free craftsy class (I always refer back to this if I’ve not inserted one in a while).

Insert one side of the zip.


Zip up the zipper and mark the important seams that need to match:


Unzip and place where it needs to be.  Pin if you like but it doesn’t make it any more accurate!


  Stitch in place – long basting stitches just near the seams that need to match:

Dahlia Dress Colette Pattern

Now, zip it up and see how it’s matched up:

Dahlia dress

Nearly but not quite!  Lets pull out those basting stitches and give it another go!

Dahlia Dress

That’s better!!

Now work from the middle of area you just basted in each direction – i.e. inserting the zip in 2 goes.  (hope that makes sense!).

Dahlia Dress

Just to mention, I don’t bother with a concealed zipper foot. I use a regular one and my finger!  If you’ve pressed your zipper – uncoiling the teeth – it’s easy enough!

Dahlia Dress

If I’m teaching anyone bad habits, I’m sorry!  I’m not a teacher, and I’ve learnt what I know from trial and error, and probably YOU and your blog!

Sewing Dahlias

Been a newish blogger I’m always extemely late to the party. 


The only Victoria I knew was a cake filled with buttercream, but you guys were all wearing yours as blazers!


But hell no! Not this time. I’m gonna be banging on the door and the wine won’t even have chilled!


 I happened to sign up for an alert from Colette for their new pattern release.  So when I received the email yesterday, with 20% off, how could a girl resist the stunning Dahlia Frock!?


Raglan sleeves.

Bias trim.

No facings.

Unlined (I can live with that)



Their description on their website obviously has a lot more adjectives, (HERE) but I need to move on.




Last night was spent printing and taping, I only printed out version 1 (above) but sooooo many pages!  



I woke up at 6am. The wind was howling outside.




I should have been playing golf (it’s Tuesday so that’s what I do if I’m not working), but not in this weather.  After a couple of texts my days was set.  


Chop chop 


Snip Snip


Sew Sew


AND HERE WE HAVE MY NEARLY FINISHED, HOPEFULLY VERY WEARABLE, MUSLIN! (and a hungry family – sorry no pictures of them!)


The fabric is blue linen (1.5m remnant on ebay about £4) , and the contrast plaid is leftover from my niece’s 1/2 circle skirt I made last year.  The linen creases like mad, looks worse in the photos, but presses beautifully.

Sorry the pix are a bit naff, but it’s dark, late, and I’m drinking wine.  I promise when it’s finished i’ll have some amazing better ones. 



The front gathers.



The bias trim on the sleeve. I thought I wouldn’t be able to use the plaid as it’s a wool mix and quite thick. But after a trial run I was happy with the result.




The Back. What else can I say except we all like to know what’s hiding round the back when making a garment. You try and find a picture of the back of one of these Dahlias and at the minute you’ll be lucky! I think the model’s bum must’ve looked big in her frock so they gave it a miss!



HELP!! Yes, I know it’s only a kick pleat, but how on earth am I supposed to hem it? There must be a tutorial out there somewhere, please enlighten me if you know of one.




Another look at the front. Please excuse Gertrude muslin/frock peeking thru. She won’t take it off! It looks very denim blue on the photos, but it’s really and electric blue.


Hopefully I’ll finish it tomorrow. But it’s my sister’s birthday Friday and I’ve promised her a Coco Top, and I’ve not bought the fabric yet.  I’m going to Dewsbury tomorrow.  Lucky Fabrics is only open on Market day which is Wednesday and Saturday.  Dewsbury really is worth a visit.  There’s a few places to visit, very reasonable cheap, and there’s a train station.  Heard of Fabworks?  HUGE shop (only open Mon-Fri, but sometimes Saturdays).  Sells everything except stretch cotton sateen! Not got an online shop but worth a visit.  They had a coach load of women there 2 weeks ago!!  Can you imagine! Hey, it might’ve been you lot!!

Anyone fancy a day out!?

PS It’s nice to be back.  I’ve not been anywhere in particular.  Reading your goings ons, lots of sewing, but not had chance to blog.  Tho I’m not apologising, cos you probably haven’t even missed me! x

4 Espressos, with Cake Please!


Whilst lots of you have joined in the OWOP challenge (one week one pattern – wearing the same pattern every day, Carolyn being my favourite with her collection of Archers), I’ve subconsciously been having my own little challenge – OSOP – one sumner one pattern. My wardrobe staple this summer has been the Yasmin Yoke skirt. I have my 3 denim ones (light, dark and black), my leopard print and my linen one.  Joining the RTW fast has (and putting on a few 20 pounds stopping smoking) has made it difficult to find something to wear in my vast wardrobe. That’s when the Yasmin came to the rescue. On fat days she sites on my waist and on thin not so fat days she sits more on my hips. 

Now Autumn is upon on, I’m now needing a little more leg coverage. I’ve worn Yasmin 5 with woolly tights and boots, But I stumbled across Cake’s Espresso leggings and read the wonderful reviews, and now 5 pairs later I’m loving them!!  

Flower power jeggings! A cotton mix stretch woven. 



As there was less stretch than a jersey I added a good 1/2 inch all the way round. They’ve turned out a little wrinkly in parts but this is disguised with the busy pattern.

I also made a pair for my mum in some denim look Jersey.  She’s only 5’1″ so often finds it difficult to buy well fitting clothes. They’re so comfy and look like skinny jeans when worn. 

When I took them to her house Little H (now bigger than me!) modelled them for her…..



Mother and son with matching leggings!! Is this a first?!?!


Woooooo…. My long legs!


Introducing the full collection. The pink ones were my first test pair. Amazing fit, just a shame they’re pink, or a shame I’m not 5 years old. The second were the blue ones, I’ve nearly worn them out already.  Third were the flower jeggings and last black ones in a ponte knit. 


I think this post will tick a few boxes for this month’s Monthly stitch…..


Sew Stretchy

Sewing Double

Indie Pattern Month – a new designer 


Get in there girl! 


How’s the rest of you coping with the RTW fast and other challenges in the blogging world? 

I’m not doing too bad, but sewing more than blogging, so now I need to concentrate on updating my blog. I can’t wait to tell you have my crochet addiction has progressed and show you my summer bag.  So go on then, here it is!

Here’s the pic from the pattern I followed. I only have a copy of it so unfortunately I don’t know the name of the magazine. It was love at first sight and what made me want to learn to crochet

My summer handbag!



Prima Playsuit


I’d been ‘toying’ with the idea of making a playsuit.  However, are they age appropriate for someone who is 40 something? Three things made me think “sod it! I’m making one anyway”


We have been having the most amazing weather and I need one.

I found an old pattern from Prima August 2002 in my stash.

Scooter Phoenix is having a Jump Suit Challenge.  I like to call mine a play suit!

So here’s the pattern I used:
It was an absolute doddle to put together.  I’d never made anything with an elasticated waist before and it was really easy. It turned out much better than I thought and have even been seen out and about  in public wearing it.  I made it with 1.5 m of sequinned jersey I bought from Dewsbury.  It was 150cm wide and £2/m.  The sequins are stuck on, and there’s other patterns too in bronze colours.
 I thought initially it would just be good for:


After speaking to friends in Canada and America it was strange to find they don’t ‘peg out’. This seems odd to me as in the beginning of the year it’s a big event when the weather turns and we can finally peg out!


It’s the only chore I do with a smile on my face!!


I have a trowel in my hand, it looks like i’m just pointing at the ground!  The elasticated top is fab for gardening.  Usually when wearing a vest top when you lean over “things” can fall out.  This doesn’t happen with the playsuit.  (please note hubby if you do read this,  this is evidence that I do things at home other than sewing!)









Such strenuous activity in this heat.

But its good for chillaxing too!
For those of you thinking of making one too you could probably manage to make one without a pattern.  You could use for the bottom any drawstring trouser/PJ bottoms pattern, and just a tube for the top, or a vest top.  Just add a couple of extra inches for where they join together in the middle to make the elastic casing.

Selfies and Sorbettos

Late to the party? Crikey, I don’t think I’ll ever get there, late or otherwise!

So, what have Selfies and Sorbettos got in common?  ……A year ago I’d heard of neither.

My mums only just learning too.  Whilst taking this selfie at cricket she said……

My mum (on the left)   “wouldn’t it be easier if we asked that man over there to take it for us?” Doh!!

Whilst most of you have perfected and hacked this well known (free !) indie pattern from Collette Patterns i’ve just about managed to get to grips with bias binding and made 3 this month!  Even though I’ve used bias trim before, I’ve recently invested in the Craftsy Class ‘sewing on the edge’ and have learn a lot, including a super easy way to make my own without one of the fiddly binding makers where the tape has to be just the exact size, or else.

My sorbetto pattern has been stuck together and hung up since last year, and for some unknown reason I’ve not bothered to sew it.

All this changed when I was umming and arrhing over this ill fitting maxi dress and tuck the plunge with my first Sorbetto.


I love the fabric. The dress was donated by my mum in law, and has only been in my stash about 4 weeks, but I know even if it fit me properly it was too loud for me to wear very often as a maxi dress.

I turned the fabric upside down and used the stripey part for the upper part of the Sorbetto.  It went together painlessly, I even used french seams everywhere.   The only thing I thought was a bit odd was the length of the bust darts.  I never noticed when I was sewing, but when wearing I’m conscious that they almost meet in the middle.  Well, maybe a slight exagertation!  I put it down to not being very accurate when I sewed the darts but the second Sorbetto turned out the same.  As both were patterned fabric no one has noticed except me. Well, I’ve not caught anyone staring at my darts yet!

  Here’s a selfie of Harrison and me watching Yorkshire play cricket at Headingley in Leeds.  My life revolves around cricket, Harrison is playing for the Yorkshire Under 12s this year, and I have the best tan ever (except between the knees and bust which are super pasty white!). And when he’s not playing, there’s always a match somewhere else that we can watch.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with cricket here’s my boy coming off after he’d batted and scored 54 runs:

Cricket = lots of washing and soaking whites.


Here’s a few on the hanger pix. I so love this top and have worn it more times than I can remember, with my Yasmin Yoke Skirts.

Here’s a close up of my bias binding:

oops, not that one, this one…….

My 2nd Sorbetto was also a refashion.  A man’s shirt that I bought for £4 in a charity shop.  This was a little fiddly fitting the pattern onto the shirt.  I used the button down front and the curved hem.

Here it is in it’s original state:

 and here it is almost finished – just the arm holes need binding and some extra buttons sewn on the front…

I positioned the buttons then put a strip of cellotape over them so I could keep their positions in the right order. In the end I only sewed 3 extra ones, and stitched down where it gaped at the bust.

The Yorkshire Viking (LEFT!!)

Well, it gives you an idea of how it looks!

This is another top i’ve worn loads, again with my Yasmin Yoke skirt.  I think anyone at cricket who sees me regularly must think I have some sort of summer uniform.  Sometimes i jazz things up a little with a Victoria Blazer!

So, to Sorbetto number 3.  Last and by no means least.

This one was inspired by the Monthly Stitches challenge for July…..Mono Sewn.  I’ve already blogged about my lovely new mono frock, worn 4 times in 2 weeks due to 2 weddings, lady captains day and a day at the races. I’ve really gotten my monies worth out of my 4 pound frock!  A pound an outing!  Surely that must be some sort of record!

Here we are, my mono sorbetto:

Yes, you’ve guessed it, worn with a yasmin yoke skirt!

Think I look a bit worried in the photo above, as if someone might walk in on me taking my own photo.  Wish they would’ve done, they could’ve bloody well taken them!

Check out the necklace! A gift on my lady captain’s day, which turned out to be more like my birthday as I received so many gifts!

Now I’ve not gone daft, but these photos show where the original dart finished on my first 2 sorbettos (RIGHT) and where i’ve altered it to finish on this pattern (LEFT). I didn’t change anything else for the shortened dart, wasn’t sure if I should, so didn’t bother and it’s turned out ok.

 To you seasoned bloggers out there, what’s the next step? Sleeves? Frock? I’ve googled and looked at so many variations I’ve got a serious case of colettitus!  Any links to any exciting hacks would be welcomed.

So now I have 3 Sorbettos and 4 Yasmin Yoke skirts.  I really can’t believe i’ve made the same things more than once when I have oodles of patterns crying out to be made!

What’s the most you’ve made of one pattern?  I’ve one Yasmin unblogged (but not unloved) but will post it with the 2 more I have planned in the near future!

Mono Frock has a day at the races

A couple of Saturdays ago we had a day at Ripon races.  We had been invited by VW Van Centre who were sponsoring a race, so best frocks were called for as we were being spoilt rotten in the hospitality suite and would also be helping choose the best turned out horse in the VW Race.


I had this fabric which I bought in Dewsbury a few weeks ago. £4 for 2 metres..or was it £6?….bargain nevertheless!  It has a slight stretch and the black part has a velvety feel.    Flocked?? Not sure if that’s the right word.


Perfect for a mono sewn garment for July’s challenge over at The Monthly Stitch! And also ticks all the boxes for Goodbye Valentino’s RTW Fast!


I used Newlook 6146  (I believe is an OOP pattern) which I have loaned from one of my old golfing buddies, now new sewing buddy.  She’s a HUGE bag of old patterns which I rummaged in to find this:



I think its so fab that I’ve discovered the joy of tracing and sharing patterns!!

My dress for the races needed to be a simple make as I only had about 4 hours to complete it. 

I decided to sew the back and front completely except for the facings, then baste the sides, adjusted the fit then finished off.

The pattern only went to a size 16 which is ok for the waist and hips, but I have the broadest back ever and usually am 2 sizes bigger on top.  As the pattern called for a non-stretch fabric I decided to risk it, afterall I had a back up plan, the Vogue 1353.


I had 3 sewing lines before I was happy with the fit on the hips. I didn’t leave it like this, I tidied the seams with my overlocker. 

 I chose some black crepe for under the bust panel seams, I wanted to add some turquoise ric rac but I found it too fiddly.     I wanted to wear my turquoise shoes which I struggle to find an outfit to match.  So far I’ve only worn them once and that was to an 80’s fancy dress night.  Really!!! what does that say about my taste!!??

 The ric rac was pushed aside and soon the frock was finished.  I found I could get it on without unfastening the zip.  I also found it could do with taking in a little more.

Bring on super hidden invisible zip! I didn’t have time to unpick it so I stitched it into the seam and brought the back in. 

Can you see the excess fabric in the back? Is a sway back adjustment needed?  I’ve heard about them in other blogs but not given them much thought until I made this. Once I’d hidden the zip the top of the frock at the CB seam looked a bit untidy so I added the black and white trim.  This really looked so much better, I was glad I’d hidden the zip and ended up with the dodgy CB seam else I wouldn’t have done this.

So, the finished frock…………in action at the races….My horse came first, here I was dashing to the bookies to collect my winnings!

Great camera angle, I almost look skinny! Must try and reconstruct that pose in future posts! (but not the facial expression!)



The Bell ringer announced the start of the race and they were off!  

(this was actually a different race but thought the picture could fit in with the story!)


We had a great day! The sun shone intermittently and spirits were high.  I left home with more money that I came with, thanks to this little beauty……!


well, it wasn’t just this one. I had 4 winners on the day and came home £20 richer! Just think of the fabric I could buy!

 Most of my photos were post rain, avec frizz.  I also had a self conscious photographer!  So here’s the official photo shoot at Ripon Races:


on no!! whats happening here? This was supposed to be a side view. Don’t think I was quite ready! Check out the lady in the black and white frock in the back ground. Does anyone recognise her? She may be a fellow monthly stitch contributor!


Tho I wasn’t shaking my fist at the photographer,  I really have no idea what I was doing!


cheeky little over the shoulder pose, being out of focus helps to soften the look, and the frizzy hair!


I think this is the best photo of the day.  We asked some random passer by to take the photo! Might try and borrow a stranger for future blog photo shoots!

 Is is just me who struggles to get decent pix for their blog!!  

I spend hours on a project but then showcase them on my blog with photos taken in a mad rush in the back garden, usually with no make up and a bad hair day!!