better t shirts please!

Not enough t shirts with wide necklines.

I used to laugh at my grandmother who would chide me “cover yourself up, I can see your stomach” when I was playing on the floor with toys. Then I grew up. The chiding (and my peeking stomach) didn’t quite stop. Then I grew up some more. Moved to the UK. Crossed into my thirties. And realised, all of a sudden, that despite having survived temperatures in the negative 30s (yes, I’ve breathed minus 39C air. It hurts.), I was cold.

t shirt in kelly dress Of all places, I was cold in London! Why? I think it’s the humidity. So I took to wearing a tee shirt under everything in the winter. This is excellent practice as it protects jumpers, dresses, etc… from being sweat into. However, unless you’ve got a very closed collar, you end up having an ungraceful and unprofessional tee shirt neckline peek out.

When I’m wearing a very rare, 1950s Grace Kelly-esque vintage woollen dress with silk ribbon edging, I do _not_ want my Primark tee shirt to peek out from inside. I do want it to act as a barrier between my skin and the wool (in both directions, wool itches), but I don’t want anyone to know I’m wearing it.

This is a call to all t shirt manufacturers to think about how their t shirts are worn – most often under another garment – and make them easier to hide. Wider necklines. Soft fabrics. Long enough to tuck into low trousers or skirts. The closest I’ve found are the tees from Primark, but given that sometimes the people assembling them miss a seam… or the neckline trim is quite thick (and not something you want to show off in an office), I use them sparingly. And patiently wait for another company (perhaps H&M? The Gap? – the Gap has always had amazing jersey) to step in and do t shirts right.

As for my belly, it’s fairly toned, and still peeking. Except now, 30+ years on, I know why. I’m long-waisted. My waist is 1 to 2 inches lower than what most companies design for. This means I can’t shop for tailored dresses anywhere… (except at McQueen – which I can’t afford – or REISS) and it is the reason why this blog, and my sewing hobby, are kept alive.

Reiss dress

Reiss dresses do fit me properly

Glamorous grey gown

Today I spent about five hours at Old Spitalfields market. I love the place. I adore it. Walking around, seeing the designers, the shoes, the clothes, the bric-à-brac, the fabrics, the beads, the metals, the prints… everything is such a joy, a feast for the senses and spirit! It is a great market, with a huge emphasis on fashion and creative endeavours in personal expression and quality. I could easily say it’s my favourite market in London! So there I was, walking around for hours, looping around again and again and again, seeing, touching, examining stitches, reading labels… It was an excellent afternoon! The only catch is, of course, I left inspired. That, and I had a coffee with my partner this morning and another coffee with a friend in the afternoon. I only started drinking coffee nine years ago, and the boiled bean’s effects are still very strongly felt on my system. So… when I got home… I couldn’t sit still. A good thing, given I’ve been going completely and absolutely stir crazy with the work-at-home requirement of the past three weeks. First week was nice, I was at my partner’s flat. The past two weeks, however, were torture, as my flat is oddly inhuman. I lacked colour, light, sound, texture, smell, and most of all human contact. So spending the afternoon in Spitalfields market was bliss. (window) Shopping yesterday was great too!

And when I got home, I had to make something. I simply couldn’t not make something. I popped some frozen things in the oven (expedient dinner), and dug into my fabric box for something stripy and pink I knew was lurking in there. And I came across this loooovely dark grey jersey! Which I decided to play with instead of the stripy pink (that was meant to be for practice anyway). And this is what I made, just pinned on the doll.


Why am I writing this post? To give my fingers a short break from rolling edges and hand-stitching. My sewing machine, much as I love it, is form 1919 and can’t, for the life of it (or me), roll an edge in a coherent manner, despite me having the correct little foot for that feature. It just doesn’t work. And I’m rather good with my hands. That attachment just isn’t made for jersey. Shame about that, as I love wearing jersey, and working with it as a dressmaking fabric. Comfortable, versatile… Anyway. I’ll need to invest in a machine that can work with jersey and roll edges for me.

So my fingers are done taking a short break. Time to go back to more hand-stitching now. With another episode of the West Wing. Took me a while to discover that show properly!


I made a wedding dress!

Paola & Francesco's handfasting

These are my good friends Paola and Francesco. They just got handfasted last weekend. And yes, the title of this post gave it away… I made the wedding dress. It is very simple, and fitted Paola beautifully! I’m so happy she asked me to make it!! It was a very busy month, and a very blessed one. Despite finishing the dress last week, I have yet to put away my sewing machine. And I may not put it away any time soon.

So. How did this come about? I’m not sure. But there were a few hints along the way… Nothing major. I couldn’t very well give the game away… but I sure was happy to be working on it, so glimpses of this made it to my #365 project on instagram.

So yes. The dress is complete, and has been worn. Tomorrow, the bride leaves on her honeymoon. The handfasting was beautiful, the couple surrounded by people who love them very much. Everyone was happy to be there, happy for them, happy for everything. It was a great day! And I am grateful to have been such a huge silent part of it. 🙂 I like it backstage. The perspective is breathtaking!


Stripy backless dress

Am finally cutting into some fabric again. Ex (who has yet to move out) is playing a racing game on the xbox/tv. So i’m cutting my fabric to the headache-inducing roaring of engines topped with poppy-technoy music. I think it’ll be bedtime soon thereafter.

Some photos of tonight’s endeavours, and one of the pattern i’m using. Not sure about how this will turn out, as pattern is for cocktail glamour and my fabric is decidedly casual. Am hoping for a quirky urban clash that’ll look cool as opposed to unwearable. Not that i’ll don this on new year’s eve, but it would be nice to know i can wear it and go out for drinks.





“carpet” dress….

For some reason, despite a very forgetful rocky start to the day, i cheered up and even found some energy to do a bit of crafting (and more tidying up) in the evening. What did i do, you ask? Ah. I worked on “the carpet dress”, as it is not-so-affectionately called by a certain someone.

  1. remove the fabric wrapping experiment from the doll.



  2. do a good chunk of hand sewing around the neckline to ensure the fabric lies flat.

  3. do more hand sewing, but very loose stuff in contrasting thread, to mark the fold of the back seam of the dress. Once it’s hung for a couple of days, i can take out the sewing machine, remove the stitching, pin the fabric, and run it through.



And this is the dress back on the doll.




The idea is to wear it with a shirt underneath. It is definitely meant for colder weather, and given what is coming up in the distant future, necessary.
Happily, this week is promising me (ok, you too) lots of delightful sunshine. Which is brilliant, as it means i can wear one of my more summery dresses… Say thursday, with the great weather report 😉 hurrah for sunshine!

Emerald dress is done!

It’s done!!


The emerald green dress is done. It has a very large and deep collar, a small waist, and a very very large skirt. Oh. And pockets. Dresses with room in them should always have pockets. Modern dressmakers always forget that.


I wore it on Saturday when my boyfriend took me out on a date night. And I felt like a princess! It was lovely.

Also, I discovered that a belt I had bought at london fashion weekend matched it flawlessly. And that a pair of huge chandelier earrings I grabbed on impulse before Xmas from H&M also match it beautifully. I’m one very happy seamstress right now.


And yes, I am already plotting the next dress. Of course.

Strange post holiday energy

Somehow I managed to come back from my holidays with a good amount of energy. Must be the sun and probably the vitamin B supplements i’m taking :)in any case, I finally managed to do some sewing again!!

I’ve basted in the zipper in the back. Now just need to stitch it in by hand with invisible stitches.


Yo can see double sided invisible stitches on the collar…


Or, you know…. Not see them 🙂

Emerald green-teal dress

I haven’t written in ages… But I did work on something back in April.

It will be a dress based on the same pattern as my geometric dress, but without sleeves and a heavily modified collar.

I’m in the stages of doing some very sneaky double-sided invisible seams around the collar. Pending are the zipper and the hem. Hoping to advance it a little this weekend, or I won’t have it to wear over the holidays.

When it’s completed, it’ll look something like this…