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Sunday, 18 December 2016

How to sew with Scuba. A very easy top to make

I have made this top before in different guises but you know me, I like to get full value from a pattern, and besides if I find one I like I stick with it and look for different ways to use it.

Even if you have not sewn with Scuba yet you will have seen blogs where people have used it, and you will have seen it because most of the bigger fabric shops such as Minerva Crafts Scuba And Abakhan Fabrics Scuba sell it. You will also see it in close fitting Bodycon or bandage dresses.
So what is Scuba?
It is a new "technical" textile made mostly from Polyester. It is made into close fitting garments and has a four way stretch. Usually it will stretch more one way than the other so when you are cutting your garment out you need the biggest stretch going across the body.It is a double knit fabric which can be textured or smooth.
Each fibre is produced in a very low denier which produces a springy,smooth surfaced fabric It often has Lycra knitted into it, about 4%. Lycra is used so that it holds its shape well. It is fairly similar to a Ponte Roma but it is more springy to the touch and has more drape, although you would  not compare it to a single jersey which has plenty of drape.
It is very form fitting and is popular for close fitting dresses, leggings and tops. It is not breathable as it is after all made from a close knit polyester so I doubt if I would ever make a summer dress out of it. A slinky close fitting party dress however would be superb.
Some people confuse it with Neoprene, this is totally different so do not be put off. Neoprene has a rubbery fabric sandwiched between two layers of fabric which are made usually from  a polyester/ Spandex mix. You will see this fabric on sports equipment especially wet suits.
Ok, thats the science bit over.
If you have never seen with Scuba before, now is your chance .
This is my Winter White easy to sew Scuba top. Difficulty level? It is suitable for total beginners.

Friday, 2 December 2016


I am making a black satin eveing jacket trimmed with black lace. An evening jacket in a plain colour is a very useful addition to any wardrobe.
The pattern I am using is Burda 8352
It is a lined jacket with no fastening.

I have a piece of black satin back crepe and I am using it satin side out.
I have a small piece of  black galloon lace and another length of a lace edging.
I have no clear plan of how to use the lace, I am just going to experiment and go with whatever I like best.

Looking at the pattern and the pattern pieces there is enough of the galloon lace to have the side fronts in lace and from the trimmings I will be able to cut edge pieces longh enough to go around the sleeve edges. There will be little left!
At this stage I have not decided if I will use the lace edging or not, maybe around the hem? Not sure, that is a decision for later.

Saturday, 12 November 2016


Vintage sewing, the late 1960's

This is another iconic style of the 1960s, it was the first time in history that teenagers had their own style and the shift dress was certainly one of them. Made in heavy fabric so that it hung straight on the body it was short , bright and fun to wear.

Perhaps one of the most daunting challenges is when you choose a pattern only to find that it has an all in one facing which encloses the neck and armhole edges both at the same time. I am using New look patterns. Both available from 

There are many methods but this one is in my opinion the neatest and the easiest. So, choose a pattern for either a shell top or a sleeveless dress which includes an all in one facing.

Monday, 7 November 2016

How I made my BY HAND Anna Dress. A Minerva Blogger Network Post


I had such a great time choosing the fabrics for this post. I wanted to try a brand of pattern which I had never used before and this By Hand pattern, named Anna, really appealed  to me.  I am enjoying making and wearing garments made from the new pattern houses which are emerging. This one in particular fits well with little adjustment, the instructions are very easy to follow and the overall effect is extremely flattering. If you have not tried one of the new pattern houses yet then I do urge you to take the plunge. You wont be disappointed! The link to the pattern is below. Please note that this particular pattern is now only available to download,  the paper version is sadly no longer available. This design can quite easily be copied on any simple dress pattern though, so don't be put off

I am lucky in that I do get to wear a lot of evening dresses both long and short, so it was an easy decision for me to want to make the long version of the dress. I decided against the slit in the skirt seam as it can be very draughty in hotels!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Using an Overlocking foot on your regular sewing machine .Making warm jersey tops.

A review for 

Do you have an overlocker? They are great and I would not be without mine, I love owning one, but sometimes it seems too much hassle to re-thread it when you only want to overlock one thing, or you do not want to go out and buy overlock threads in a colour you will not use again.
What is the answer?  I recently made this stretch jersey top using just my sewing machine with an overlock foot. I have to say it was no trouble at all to switch feet and choose a different  stitch in fact it was quick and enjoyable.

I found a piece of this unusual burnout fabric at Abakhan Fabrics. It is a soft feel stretch jersey, there was just enough to make a top.

How to make a red wool coat, a Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post


Please note that this blog post is aimed at beginners, and is suitable for anybody who has never made a coat before. Please use this post in conjunction with the pattern instructions. A McCall's pattern

I actually made this coat a year ago and wear it a lot. This is the new photo above, and last year's below. Please tell me I haven't aged!!!

If you want to make a more tailored coat then take a look at one of my previous blog posts   HOW TO MAKE A TAILORED COAT

Saturday, 22 October 2016

How to make bags, totes and wallets Perfect for gifts!

I love making bags, there is something satisfying about using up remnants of fabric to make something practical (and free) Whenever I make a coat or jacket I always make some sort of bag to use when wearing it, especially now that we need to take a larger bag shopping with us. It is an opportunity to be a bit creative too and use trimmings that would otherwise me overwhelming on a garment.

These are two toiletry bags which I made out of leftover fabric. Have you seen how expensive they are to buy in the shops! A length of bag interfacing will make you lots of bags, then you just need a fastener.  I will talk about magnetic snaps and zips in each section.

All of my bag making supplies are from,  take a look at the link  HERE  They sell handles, snaps, interfacings and everything else you will need including patterns and some fabulous templates so you can design your own.

The pattern I am using is this one and in this post I am making a bag and two envalope wallets using an interfacing called   DECOVIL which is a firm but flexible stabiliser for bags, and also some FUSIBLE VOLUME FLEECE which is easier to use

Thursday, 20 October 2016


in my last post I made bags of all descriptions, perfect for a gift for women , but what about men? I have been making mens ties for a long time now and I must say that I enjoy sewing mens ties and shirts more than I do for women.
When I saw the December issue of Sew Magazine I noticed a template for a man's tie. I already have my own tie pattern, but they are all mostly the same so the instructions I give here will be fine if you choose a commercial pattern or a pattern download.

The fabric I chose was a Liberty Lawn in this fabulous print. I chose a small piece of mint green spotted Lawn to line the tips.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

How I made my My Mccalls Vintage Circa 1963 dress

This is a 1960s style dress with some adaptations

So, here is my experience of making up the pattern. 

Some examplesof vintage dresses

The pattern I chose is McCalls 7086 which s circa 1963. When we think of the 1960s we think of the short dresses, white boots and Twiggy. This fashion did not appear until the mid 1960s though, prior to that the look was very elegant.
 I chose to make the slim version of the pattern as it reminded me of the clothes worn by the women in my neighbourhood when I was a child
The fabric is a Viscose from Minerva crafts. Just look at the huge selection of viscose dress fabrics they have in stock Viscose dress fabrics  There are plenty of colours and designs to chose from at very good prices.

This is my basket which I use to keep my cutting out and fabric marking tools in so that it is easy to carry to my dining room table which is where I cut my patterns out.

I like to use traditional methods where possible when making up vintage designs, so this dress called for tailors tacks.

The lining is a pale pink taffeta, a lined skirt hangs very well and it is worth the effort to put a lining in any straight skirt where possible.

 I did make a toile as this is a new style for me. I found that  the darts on the bodice front fit perfectly, but as I did not want to interrupt the pattern on the fabric I  decided to leave out the centre front seam. If you ever do this you need to remove the seam allowance otherwise the bodice will be too wide. I did find the bodice rather long and I reduced it by an inch.

Yes I did use my vanishing ink marker pen when marking the pleats on the bow. It is from Vanishing marker pen

I dd much pondering over the bow. In the original position it just did not look right on me , so I lowered the centre position to just above the waist seam.I also found the knot did not sit right, maybe it is because viscose fabric is soft and flowing, I feel that in a firmer fabric the bow would have sat as it shows on the pattern. I substituted the knot  for a little tie and I am happy with it.

I normally use invisible zips,but they did not exist in 1963, so I used a lapped zip .This is the right side being stitched in place using a normal zipper foot.

The left side laps over the right side slightly covering the entire zip

I did use some more modern methods  in that I neatened all the seams with my brother overlocker
This is the one I use The Brother 1034d Overlocker from
Have you ever experienced your fabric puckering during overlocking? It could be that your differential feed needs adjusting.Don't panic about it, if you get your instruction manual out you will find that all you need do is to adjust the dial on the side of the machine to make the feed dogs move at different rates to eliminate the problem. Dont forget to turn it back to the normal setting afterwards. As this is a fine fabric I needed to adjust my differential feed slightly by turning the dial clockwise.

This is the overlocker in use, the emerging stitches are straight and not pulling the fabric out of shape.

I made some other adjustments to the pattern.First I chopped a good four inches off the hem..
 My toille didn't look right at the back, so I removed the back darts completely adding two small pleats at the front matching up to the bust darts instead.
The picture shows the back being pressed.There is a slit in the centre back for walking ease.

By the way I have just take delivery of a Horn sewing cabinet, and it has revolutionised my sewing.Everything is  at hand, everything is neat and clears away in seconds. If I can just train myself to put snippets  of thread  into the thread catchers and not on the floor my happiness will be complete!  The cabinet I bought is the NOVA Horn Nova Sewing cabinet and of course I just HAD to buy the hobby chair too! There is a review on the previous page of this blog if you want to see more 

 Well, this is the finished dress. Slightly adapted to make it fit me now. The original style is a "Wiggle" dress,so by adding a couple of pleats and shortening it I find it more wearable .Dont forget too that women in the early 1960s  were smaller than we are today, bra's were more pointy and not rounded as today's are, also women tended to wear girdles, so their shape was totally different to today's.

I like the little tie on the bow, the knot just did not suit this fabric. dont be afraid to go where your fabric leads you!

and of course a vintage dress needs a cup and saucer, although I think they were rather smaller than mine in 1963.

Happy vintage tea-parties.

#sewangelicthreads #bvsewalong #vintage #vintagefashion #vintagebloger #vintageclothes #1960s

Saturday, 1 October 2016

How to make a women's classic shirt


In my opinion. There is nothing quite as elegant and timeless as a white shirt. Dressed up or down it is perfect for business or for wearing with your jeans.  Are you daunted by the idea of making yourself one? Don't be, I have chosen a very simple pattern and will talk you through the important bits.

First the pattern. It is from Butterick and is available on this link Butterick ladies shirt pattern Do measure yourself before buying so that you purchase the correct size. There are two basic shapes,  one with princess seams and one with no seams or darts. For our purposes I chose the latter to make the process simpler. I chose size 12 and it was true to size.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

This is how I altered a coat pattern to make a simple raincoat.

This is a  Blog post

I have wanted to make myself a cheery raincoat for a very long time but just could not find a pattern. In the end , determined to have my raincoat, I did some rather major alterations to an ordinary coat pattern. The pattern has princess seams which would have spoiled the rather beautiful pattern,  so they needed eliminating,  as did some of the shaping because I wanted a straight style. Do you want to make one too? There are some things you need to bear in mind,  but it's not that difficult I promise.

This is the finished coat.  I used a ripstop fabric in a very colorfully print called Ellies. I purchased it from but do sadly this was the last piece. However I never like to dictate to you exactly what fabric you should use, we all have very different tastes. What you  need to look out for though is a RIP-STOP fabric or a showerproofed cotton. For the linings I chose a firm shot taffeta. With the raincoat outer being quite firm it called for a stiffer lining than normal. I chose a darker colour than my  main  fabric.

And yes, the rather cute 60s style fabric does have elephant's on it!

This is the pattern, it is Mccalls M7058 and you can buy it from  by clicking on this link  Mccalls M7058 at
It is a lovely pattern with lots of variations to choose from. I wanted the style which has the hood, and as I bought the last of this roll of fabric there was only enough to make the mid-length version. Which was what I wanted anyway!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

How I made my Autumn Leaves velvet cord Jacket - a MCBN POST

How to make a jacket in velvet corduroy 

I love jackets and I especially love this one. Why? Because it is made out of the most deliciously soft and cuddly velvet cord from
It is perfect for Autumn as the print is beautiful autumn leaves in a very easy to wear green. It will go with most things and will be a great all-occasion jacket for the cooler days ahead.

It was very nearly a disaster though, so if you want to find out more, including details of the pattern and fabric do take a look at Minerva Crafts Blogger Network where you will find my full tutorial.

So, what are you waiting for? Here is the link to the full post, it's worth a read I promise you, oh, and do please leave me a comment.

#sewing #tailoring #jacket #MCBN #memadeveryday #blogcouture  #sewcialist #handmadewardrobe ##dressmaker  #dressmaking #imadeit

Minerva Crafts

Thursday, 1 September 2016

HOW TO MAKE A STUNNING SATIN DRESS A Minerva Craft Blogger Network post

A Butterick pattern

You may be surprised to learn that the beautiful dress below, which I have just made for the Minerva Craft Blogger Network is exactly the same pattern as the one I made previously in Orange Linen. For this version I lengthened the skirt and sleeves and made a tie belt to tie in a bow at the front.

Patterns are expensive and when I have found one I like I feel that I need to get full value out of it by using it again as often as possible.

 I vary the design a lot as you can see from the pictures, and I would be surprised if you realised at first that these two very different dresses are from the same pattern! Both are lovely in their own way.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

How to Sew Palazzo trousers

What a fantastic holiday outfit this is. Palazzo trousers are so comfortable and flattering you will want to make several pairs. I had fabric left over from mine and made a very simple shell top to wear with them, the outfit is a total winner, perfect for warm days .

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Sew a cute dress for a baby. Learn how to sew French seams and make buttonholes

With this blog post I want to discuss sewing for children and also talk about the sewing machine I am currently using whilst I am living abroad.
This pattern is a Simplicity New Look and I think that it is so incredibly pretty I just had to make it.
When sewing for young children there are some things you need to bear in mind. Firstly comfort is paramount,  so no rough fabrics or tickly seams to irritate the skin. The fabric has to be soft yet durable - cotton is ideal - and the garment needs to stand up to a lot of rough and tumble!

The fabric I used is this Rocking horse print poly cotton from,  you only need one metre, and I used a metre of plain white polycotton too for the lining and trim.  View it on this link Rocking horse fabric

Little girls love dolls so I also made a dolls dress with the leftover fabric. I will give you the link to the blog post at the end of this post.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The lady/floral Jersey top.

This is a Minerva Crafts Blogger network post.

What a fabulous top this is. I was intrigued by this McCalls pattern for jersey tops which cross over at the back. I wondered  how the crossover would hang, but I was delighted with the fit and the way that it all stays in place during wear.
The pattern is very easy to sew too, it will take you only a couple of hours!
want to know more and order the fabric - which I have to say is amazing, then hop over to Minerva crafts right now on this link.THE LADY FLORAL JERSEY TOP
The fabric and pattern are all available to order on the link.

It would make me really happy if you would look at my full post on Minerva crafts web site and leave me a comment

Thank you

Angela x

#sewing #sewingbee #dressmaking #sewingblog #jersey #stretchfabric #MCBN 

Monday, 20 June 2016

How I made my 1950's style Eliza M. JOAN dress - . A blog post for

I have recently discovered Eliza M patterns and I cannot enthuse about them  have now started to stock them and if you have not used one yet I do urge you to try one. You will not be disappointed

Eliza M patterns at are on this link. The one I am using is JOAN.

The pattern instructs you to use a Stretch fabric. I had some lightweight Navy Blue suiting with Lycra in my stash so decided to use that. I was being brave because this  is not my usual style of garment!
I washed my fabric first to get rid of the excess dye in it and to shrink it before making up.

The dress is very fitted and I was careful to take my measurements again, I do this every time anyway, and  I carefully chose the correct size to cut out by studying the measurements in the pattern instructions. When people guess at their size without choosing it by measurement  they are surprised when they have fitting problems.commercial pattern sizes are different to ready to wear sizes, you know that to be true, because how many times have you tried to buy a garment and when you try them on you are a different size in each store! Take no chances, go by your actual measurements, not your commercial dress size.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016


This is how,to make a shift dress in 1960s vintage style. This post talks about transferring pattern markings onto your fabric. 

60s style dresses are always in style, and no wonder, they are so easy to wear, look great and suit most ages and sizes. This is a  "How do I do that" post

I have made this dress twice before, but I have a piece of slub silk  which I have kept cutting into to make ties and so on, and now there is only just enough left to make myself a simple shift dress!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

How To make a man's casual Chambray shirt.

This is a Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post. To read the full instructions hop over to on the link here Chambray Shirt. Minerva Crafts Blogger Network
Do look at the blogger networks posts, they are full of fantastic makes from the crafters on the blogger network

As you know I enjoy making shirts. In this post I took a plain  Dark Indigo chambray and made it into something special with the addition of some contrast facings and some hand made piping.
Along the way I am sharing some hints and tips with you so it is well worth visiting the full post on
I hope that the post gives you the confidence to try making a man's shirt and to make it just that little bit different.

Dont forget to view the full post, here's the link again. Man's chambray shirt

Happy sewing

Angela x

#sewing #sewingbee #GBSB #men #shirt #MCBN #sewingblogger

Wednesday, 11 May 2016


A "How do I do that?" Post

At this time of year there are dozens of T-shirts in the shops, all looking the same, all at various prices from the very cheap to quite ridiculous prices.
I am guilty of buying new ones most years, but wait, why should I keep spending money just to look the same as everybody else? Why should I put up with the store dictating to me what the neckline should be like, what length the sleeves should be, how long in the body it should be? And thats only the start of it, try buying a nicely patterned one..... You see the problem?

Many people ask me about sewing with stretch fabrics, and are daunted by it. But don't be, with a few simple rules you can be sewing your own "designer" tops quicker than you can go to the shops to buy one.
Your first attempt at sewing stretch fabrics might not turn out exactly as you would like, which is why I recommend you making a Toile or test garment first. For this find some cheap jersey fabric or an extra large men's t-shirt to practice on.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sewing a Man's dressing gown and pyjama pants. A MCBN post

I recently made this fabulous mans dressing gown and pyjama pants using this gorgous double sided towelling from The housepants are made in Truella brushed cotton which is a lovely soft brushed cotton, perfect for lounge wear

To view the post please click on this link How to make a man's dressing gown and housepants
I do urge you to read my blog post on the web site, you can still ask me questions or leave comments here as well of course. In the post I give hints and tips for sewing with a heavy fabric and also explain how sewing for men differs from sewing for yourself.

Happy mens sewing

Angela . X

#sewing#sewingbee #GBSB #men #nightwear #towelling #minervacraft  #MCBN

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

How I sewed simple patchwork cushion covers for spring

This is how to make some really easy patchwork cushion covers with zip backs.

The days seem much brighter  and I thought that my room needed a lift. I had some Tilda fabric scraps and also some fat quarters by Gutterman which were a gift from MAKE IT TODAY MAGAZINE plus one or two other bits.

This is the Tilly and the Buttons ORLA top which won the prize.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016


Are you one of many who would like to sew a particular garment but are put off by having to sew buttonholes? Fear not, there is an alternative, non- sew poppers!

This skirt is button through and is a very popular design. It buttons all the way up the side and can be lined, as mine is, with a contrasting fabric.