Tips and Tutorials

Purple Tulip Skirt – Sew Over It

Patience, Persistence and Puckers

"Our levels of desire, patience, persistence, and confidence end up playing a much larger role in success than sheer reasoning powers. Feeling motivated and energised, we can overcome almost anything." - Robert Greene, Mastery [1]

Purple skirt with floral bias binding at either side of the zip

This is the Sew Over It Tulip Skirt that I made during some dressmaking classes my mum signed me up for as a Christmas present. I completed the final version of this skirt in March last year and shared some photos on Instagram but I never got round to writing up the blog post. Because my measurements have changed since I made it, I can't share photos of it on my body but I'll update this post if I ever manage to fit into it again!

I love the crepe versions of this skirt on the Sew Over It site so I chose to use the deep purple satin backed Prada crepe from Minerva Crafts. Or is it a crepe backed satin? Both sides of this fabric could be used - crepe for a casual skirt, satin for a more formal look. The satin gives the crepe a beautiful sheen in the daylight and the shiny side feels softer against the skin so I decided to use the crepe as the right side for this project.

Purple skirt with floral bias binding at either side of the zip

I enjoy the sewing process so I never rush to finish a garment but, because I had a few weeks to make this, I spent extra time on the little details: hand sewing both the waistband and invisible hem, and finishing the seams with a contrasting bias binding using the Hong Kong finish tutorial on the Colette blog.

I did save some time by using pre-made bias binding in Liberty Wilmslow Berry D Tana Lawn from Etsy since I couldn't find any shops that sold this fabric by the metre. I don't make full garments with Liberty fabric because busy patterns don't go well with my colouring but I love to use it to add fun touches to the insides. If you have some fabric in your stash that you love but it

Continue reading

Heart Print Rosa Shirt Dress – Tilly and the Buttons

For the Love of French Fabric

I started making this shirt last year and it sat half finished, waiting for buttonholes and sleeve tabs for five months. When I saw that @stitch_make_bake and @patsypoomakes were organising a Rosa sewalong, it gave me the motivation I needed to complete it in time for Spring.

Claire wearing a navy heart print shirt dress
Claire wearing a navy heart print shirt dress

I used 2.5 metres of heart print stretch cotton from Pretty Mercerie because I wanted to make a shirt dress that was similar to this one from Sézane:

Pretty Mercerie sell some beautiful fabrics but they sell out so quickly! If you find something you like that's sold out, sign up for stock alerts and you'll receive an email if the fabric is ever re-stocked.

Another great French fabric shop is Make My Lemonade. They sell lots of brightly coloured prints, their delivery to the UK is reasonably priced and their site can be viewed in English if you don't know any French.

Back to the Rosa shirt!

I cut out a size 4 (UK size 12) and shortened the bodice by 1¾″. I usually add this back on to the length of the skirt but I forgot this time so the finished length is a little shorter than it should be. I often have to do broad shoulder and large bicep adjustments with most pattern companies but I've never needed to do that with Tilly and the Buttons patterns.

Shirt dress collar pieces and rose gold scissors

Because I wanted a clean look, I skipped the topstitching on the princess seams and yoke pieces and only topstitched the collar and button band. I also decided to use plain navy buttons since the print is already quite busy. For the buttonholes, I used the stabiliser plate attachment that came with my buttonhole foot (previously mentioned in my button front Cleo post).

Tilly Buttons Rosa shirt made with navy heart print fabric
Close-up of the collar of a navy shirt with a red and white heart print

I had a few issues sewing the collar:

  • The points of the collar kept getting stuck in my machine despite using a wedge of fabric to level the presser foot (see more on this below if you don't know what I'm talking about). I think I may have needed to adjust
Continue reading

Slugs & Snails Memory Quilt – Tutorial

Sewing at a Snail’s Pace

My colleague and his wife had an impressive collection of Slugs & Snails tights that their sons had outgrown and they wanted to turn them into a memory quilt. I had no quilting experience but I offered to do it since I loved the tights' bright colours and designs, and I love sewing for other people - it gives me the opportunity to make something I wouldn't usually choose to make for myself.

Colourful patchwork quilt

I took the tights home two years ago but didn’t cut into the first pair until October this year. I spent a long time planning, reading tutorials, ordering fabric samples and procrastinating out of the fear of messing it up. Once I’d finally found the courage to snip into the first pair, I worked on the quilt every evening and weekend for six weeks to get it finished in time for Christmas.

Close-up of a colourful patchwork quilt

Since this was my first quilt and I wanted to show off the tights, I kept the design simple and used a hundred equally sized squares, attached them to a solid red cotton fabric by stitching in the ditch and finished it off with a matching binding. Below are the full step-by-step instructions if you’re interested in learning to make your own memory quilt.

Close-up of a colourful patchwork quilt
  1. Gather your supplies. You will need:
  2. Cut the pieces out
Continue reading