Friday, 12 December 2014

My first Megan dress...

After my victory of yesterday (still very excited!), I have found time to day to share my first attempt at the Megan dress by Tilly and the Buttons. This dress is from her 'Love at first stitch' book and is a fairly straight forward make. I decided to use some lovely balloon fabric that I bought from to make it, so it has a celebration theme - Hence the photograph with the Christmas tree again! 

The main skills that this dress teaches you is an invisible zip fastening (which I use on most of my makes, so not a learnt skill here), inserting sleeves (quite straight forward on this dress actually) and an open ended dart (a new one on me, but very easy - just don't sew into a point). The open ended dart is designed to give a softer look to the shaping than a traditional dart. Tilly gives great guidance on doing this in her instructions, so no problems there! I decided to add lining to the bodice pieces to avoid using a facing. This worked well and was joined in at the armholes when the sleeve was added.  

In regards to the finished article, it's certainly well made. I'm please with my pattern matching, zip and sleeves - three things that can be dodgy! However, i'm not convinced that this shape of dress suits me. I managed to fit the dress at the back neck as this was gaping, so the size is correct, I think it is just the silhouette that i'm unhappy with. I think my curves are just too prominent! I certainly think that i'm more of a Lilou girl (see here) and should stick with this shape as much as possible. Next task is to do a pattern hack involving the shape of the Lilou and the sleeves of the Megan; wish me luck! 

P.S. Ignore my disgruntled face, It's just an unfortunate photograph!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Winning with my festive Mortmain!

I woke up this morning to some super news. Last week I entered my festive Mortmain into the Gather Virtual Christmas Party competition (#gatherxmasparty). I had planned to make the dress anyway, but was alerted to the competition by the Gather team through Twitter. 

After the closing date on Friday, I had a few passing thoughts about the competition, but I never considered actually winning it. So to my surprise this morning, I received a personal message from @GatherKits saying that I've won the party dress category! I am so excited about this! There's a great page on their website (here) announcing the winner and there's a great prize haul too! Lovely vouchers, a sewing kit and some Gather patterns!  

To say that Santa has come early is an understatement!!!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

My festive Mortmain!

It's finally finished! After a great battle with the sleeves, I am pleased to show you my Christmas dress. My festive Mortmain by Gather is actually a massive triumph. The fit of the bodice is better than my previous attempts at this pattern (see here and here). Also, the fabric was a delight to work with and I'm really pleased with the combination of plain black cotton and the Riley Blake Santa fabric. I can't wait to wear it on Christmas Day!

What can I say about the sleeves... They were actually fine to put in, but seemingly I have abnormally large upper arms, which meant that they were far too tight! I had to remove them and decreased the seam allowance on the sleeve, before inserting it again. They're still a little tight, but it should be fine for the occasion. Thankfully I don't do much dancing on Christmas Day!

I'd love to see your festive outfits! 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

My Christmas make - a sneak peak...

After a busy couple of weeks at work, I've finally found time to blog! I have been sewing during this time and have been making progress on my WIP's. I may have been slightly over ambitious with the amount of garments I want to make before Christmas, I needed to make some decisions. So, I decided to prioritise my Christmas garment. 

I bought 2 metres of the Riley Bkake fabric above from a couple of months back and had originally planned to make a skirt with it - probably a Picnic Blanket Skirt. However, I had a bit of a change of heart. Although I like the picnic blanket skirts I have previously made, I'm not sure how they're going to cope with my expanding belly on Christmas Day! 

I didn't want to try a new pattern at this stage, so I started to consider a Mortmain by Gather. On a recent fabric shopping trip I bought some plain black cotton, which would compliment the festive fabric perfectly! This was the starting point I needed. The next decision I made was to add the sleeves to the pattern - my previous versions of this have been sleeveless. My final decision was patterned skirt, or patterned top... This is a tough one! 

Answer to follow once I'm finished! 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Second Picnic Blanket Skirt...

Whilst on one of my many recent trips to Sham Shui Po, I picked up this lovely little fabric. It has a woollen quality to it, which i'm guessing is acrylic and it has a random cream printed spot pattern on a lovely rich navy background. 

I made the easy decision to make a second Picnic Blanket Skirt. My first one was a very simple make, with a very effective outcome. This no pattern make by Tilly and the Buttons involves some simple measurements and only a few simple stages of manufacture - seam, placket, gather, waistband, buttonholes, buttons and finally hem. (See instructions here) This time I went with a dark wood button, which compliments the navy very well. 

As you can see, the fabric does crease when it's worn, but I think that this blends in with the overall aesthetic quite well. This skirt sits lower in the waist than the first one, which should suit lots of my existing tops. 

My next question is, do I make another Picnic Blanket Skirt, this time in Christmas fabric? 

Monday, 10 November 2014

A second Lilou dress...

After saying I was taking a break from Tilly and the Buttons makes, I was at a loose end, so I decided to create a second Lilou! The first one turned out ok, however I did need to take it in at the back, so I chose to make a few alterations to the pattern this time. I took 2.5cm off the centre back seam and also took 1cm off the front waist dart to improve the overall shape and fit. I also decided to move the straps over 1cm towards the centre back as it was not sitting perfectly flat. 

Once I had made the changes to the pattern, the cutting and sewing process was quite quick and I managed to finish it in about 4 hours. The fully lined bodice is a delight to do now that I have experience. I chose a white cotton lining as I figured that a self lining might show through. 

Overall, I am really pleased with the final garment. The fit is loads better than Lilou number 1 and the navy and white gingham fabric matches my capsule wardrobe colours! My only issue is that the checks don't match up precisely at the back zip. However, this is just a small detail that can be solved by wearing a cardigan. To be honest I don't think the general public would notice at all, it's just me being picky!

I have several work's in progress now, so i had better pick up the pace with my making and stop getting distracted by quick and simple projects! With Christmas garments and gifts to make, it's going to be a busy few weeks!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Chevron patterned Coco!

So I said in my previous post that I purchased some chevron patterned cotton jersey from Spotlight in Singapore. This is the make I used it for! After the success of my first Coco, I knew that I wanted to make more garments from this wardrobe building pattern. 

Chevron patterned fabric is something I have coveted for a while and have yet to find any for clothing in Hong Kong. I had considered purchasing some Riley Blake chevron fabric from, but it was quite pricey so I decided to wait. I'm very glad because I totally love this red, fine stripe version. It's a challenge to look at, especially with the funnel neck and cuffs! However I do enjoy the pattern it creates at the joining point. It is certainly a statement piece! 

The manufacture went smoothly and substituting a sewn neckline with the funnel neck made it even easier to sew than my first Coco (see here). I used the hemming tape that I also bought from Spotlight to help with the finishing of the hem. This made the process extremely easy and i'm sure that a novice with knitted fabric would find this very straightforward.

I'm now almost looking forward to the weather getting cooler here in Hong Kong so that I can wear all my lovely new wintery clothes! I'm off to Beijing on a course on Wednesday, so this little number might make it into my suitcase. 

Has anyone else made a statement Coco? 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Spotlight shopping spree...

Since I missed out on visiting Spotlight during my summer trip to Australia and New Zealand, I have been looking for an opportunity to browse their fabric collection. Their website does not have an online shop for fabric and haberdashery, but during my search I discovered that there was a branch of Spotlight in Singapore. Low and behold, I already had my flight booked for October half term to visit Singapore! 

I went with a few things in mind that I wanted to shop for. Although Hong Kong is brilliant for so many sewing supplies, there are just some items that are illusive. My list was as follows:-

- Coverable buttons (various sizes)
- Hemming tape
- Colour saver (to remove dying accidents!)

I managed to find these 3 items and more! I got 2 different sizes of coverable buttons. They come with the tool and seem fairly robust. I'm hoping to use them on the Mimi blouse (another Tilly and the Buttons pattern) that I am planning. In addition to this, I managed to get some 1.5cm width hemming tape that comes with the paper backing (excellent for sticking jersey hems). I also found the colour saver! Other than that, I also bought two sets of press studs (with tool) that I can use on the male shirts I'm planning to make, a bobbin box (to organise my sewing area further) and some lovely chevron printed cotton jersey. 

I was a little overwhelmed by the fabric, purely because there was a vast range of great and not so great fabrics. I had to have a thorough look around to see what I liked and also fabrics that I can't get in Hong Kong. They had a small selection of cotton jerseys (compared with the large selection of woven fabrics) and because this is something that is not too common in Hong Kong and is also something that I need to add to my capsule wardrobe, It was my main focus. I went for a lovely red and white narrow chevron pattern (I will blog the garment I made from it soon). The quality of the fabric was lovely and I didn't notice any shrinkage from the washing process, which was a pleasant surprise. 

Overall, I was pretty pleased with my purchases and the price wasn't too bad either - especially when I got a discount for joining their member's club. So if you're ever in Singapore, it's certainly worth a quick visit!  

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Too many Knitted fabric choices?!

I finally made the trip to Sham Shui Po to look at my knitted fabric options for the various projects that I have in mind. There are far too many choices and I went to two shops I had seen on a previous trip. The first shop was Kam Fung Trading Company, which stocks so many different knitted fabrics. This includes sweatshirt knits and t-shirt weight jersey's, which are on my list to buy. I'm primarily looking for stripes as you can see from my photographs, but I was drawn in by the cotton, quilted sweatshirt fabrics. I love this one below, which is a plaited effect!

The other fabric shop I went to was 'Bowa', which was next door to the other knitted shop on Yu Chau Street. This shop stocks lots of knitted jerseys that are primarily plain. They also sell a lot of different ribbed jerseys, which is also on my 'to buy' list.  The ones below are a mix of cotton(95%) and spandex(5%) and have a nice width of rib suitable for collars and cuffs of sweatshirts (ideal for my Linden!). 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Moon Yue Piece Goods - A review...

Knowing that I had a busy week at work, I scheduled a well earned trip to Sham Shui Po. I was showing a friend the sights at Moon Yue Piece Goods. This is a gem that I found a month or so ago after following some recommendations online. 

After climbing to the first floor, you find yourself in a goldmine of silks, wools and cottons. The collection of fabric is immense and you literally can't see everything in one visit. This is because the rolls are tightly packed on top of each other and you have to battle to reveal the hidden fabrics. 

I had a project in mind, so I was looking for a silk fabric for a blouse. I wanted something quite drapey, but opaque. The choice was epic, but my eyes were drawn to a bright blue silk with a flower and leaf design. It's a particularly random fabric choice for me, but I just kept coming back to it. It's certainly unusual enough to make a blouse that doesn't look shop bought. At just $60HKD a yard, it was an unbelievable price for pure silk. 

Before I left the shop, I noticed a royal blue and white spotty fabric on a bottom shelf. After having a feel of it, I knew that it was a lovely quality. The shop owner informed me that it was $20HKD per yard! For a 100% cotton fabric, it was an amazing deal! I went for 3 yards in case I wanted to make a dress from it, although I still don't have any plans for it. It will add to my slowly growing stash until I make some decisions. In the meantime, I will push on with my silk blouse plans. Watch this space...

Saturday, 18 October 2014

My upcoming projects - Negroni and Linden

On my sewing table I have two projects waiting for me. One is my first dabble into menswear. I have decided to make a Colette Negroni for my husband. I've had a 'great' idea to make festive garments for each of us as we are heading to the UK for a family Christmas. I'm making a skirt for myself - probably a picnic blanket one. I figured that a shirt would be good for my hubby. 

So in preparation I have decided to do a test shirt. I bought some $10HKD a yard checked fabric from Sham Shui Po to try with. I've got it all cut out ready to go. Slightly nervous about it, but the instructions seem pretty clear. I have made a shirt before during my degree, so I'm hoping my memories of that returns!

The second project waiting for me is the new Linden sweatshirt by Grainline Studios. I have yet to make one of their patterns. With winter approaching, I was super happy when they released this gem! I took a trip to the 'knitted fabric' part of Sham Shui Po a couple of weeks back, but didn't purchase anything. The options we're overwhelming, so I need to donate a lot of time to the selection process. I saw so many different knits, including copious amounts of sweatshirt knits, I might have to make a few!  I will blog my experiences when I've been. The challenge of buying knitted fabrics is always an interesting one. 

Chances are that I will end up adding other projects to my list, but that's an exciting prospect! Watch this space...

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Love at first stitch - My first Lilou dress...

The third item in my Tilly-fest is a Lilou dress from Tilly and the Buttons - Love at first stitch book. It's a cute little dress (the last make in the book, so i'm guess it was the most difficult.)that has a fully lined bodice and gathered skirt (there are instructions to pleat the skirt too). The fastening is an invisible zip in the back (I used a black one and it blended in perfectly).  

I had planned to make my first Lilou in the 50's Jug or not fabric, but as this only comes in a narrow width, the full skirt wouldn't fit. Instead I decided to make it up in this crazy squirrel print that I found in Sham Shui Po. Brown is not a colour that I use frequently, but I just couldn't resist the squirrels! At just $20HKD a yard, it was a total bargain too! On reflection, I really like the colour. I think it is going to make a great autumn crossover dress for when the weather is still warm in Hong Kong, but I feel like wearing wintery colours (November is probably the start of that weather). The dress is quite spacious, so I could even put a long sleeved top underneath and make it into a winter dress! Although the thickness (or should I say thinness?!) of the fabric might prevent this.  

Hats off to Tilly for another brilliant pattern. My only adjustments were to take about 4cm off the back seam to stop the dress from bagging. I think this is a combination of choosing a best fit when selecting the size and also the nature of the lightweight fabric. I think a lightweight invisible zip would have made this process less necessary. I think I would make this pattern again and maybe consider using a heavier fabric to make it more wearable in winter. I imagine a lovely tartan would make up perfectly! 

This is my last Tilly and the Buttons make for a while now, i've got several other garments that are on my WIP pile. This includes an item of menswear! This will be my first adventure into this, so fingers crossed i'm happy enough with the garment to blog about it!  

Monday, 13 October 2014

My first picnic blanket skirt!

So, I have had a bit of a Tilly-fest recently. One of these Tilly makes is a pale, spotty denim picnic blanket skirt. The instructions for making this skirt are on the Tilly and the Buttons website and handily, you don't need a pattern. All you need is a notebook, a tape measure and your brain. With just my waist measurement and a skirt length required, it ended up being a fairly straightforward process. I marked out the rectangles for the front and back skirt pieces and waistband using a fabric pencil. Other than that, I just needed 3 pieces of interfacing - for the waistband and buttonstands. 

I am extremely pleased with the finished article, I have found that I very much enjoy doing manual buttonholes, so this skirt was a really enjoyable garment to make. I found the cute, pale wooden buttons in a shop in Sham Shui Po and the fabric was part of my haul from Shenzhen. 

I would recommend this make if you are comfortable working with numbers. I plan to make a second version of this skirt because I love it so much, but this time in Christmas fabric! Watch this space nearer to December...

Saturday, 11 October 2014

My finished Coco...

I've finished my Coco! After cutting and sewing the sleeves in one hour on the first evening, I then spent approximately an hour the next day finishing it off. This is an extremely quick make that I think is suitable for all levels of experience with knitted jersey fabrics. This fabric in particular is a sort of sweatshirt fabric, so it was fairly straight forward to sew. I did choose to add some iron on interfacing to the neckline, just to stabilise and prevent stretching. This technique did work and i'm pleased with the overall finish of the garment. I used my overlocker throughout to sew the seams and I am so pleased that I decided to finish off the sleeves with a cuff. This is such a quick method of finishing and the effect suits my style perfectly. 

I am certainly going to make more Coco's, as it is such a lovely shape. I want to try some different knitted fabrics, because I think that different drapes of fabric will totally change the aesthetics of the top. This makes it a very versatile staple of any wardrobe! Well done Tilly on another lovely pattern. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

My adventure into knitted fabrics begins - featuring the iSew IS-722D Overlocker and Tilly's Coco...

Ok, so I've finally made the leap. At the weekend I bought an overlocker. It has taken a lot of thought and decision making, but i've ended up with an iSew IS-722D. I bought it from the Brother shop in Sham Shui Po after much to-ing and fro-ing between this and the brother overlocker that they stock. Although very similar in appearance and in price I went for the iSew because it had an extra year's warranty. That equals 3 whole years! I think that is certainly a massive plus. I don't usually get my sewing machine serviced and I can generally fix any problems that I have, but an overlocker is very different. They can go wrong at any point and it is really difficult to diagnose problems.

The iSew can do 3 and 4 thread overlocking in different widths including a very neat narrow finish for fine fabrics. (I'm exciting to give that one a go!) The gentlemen in the shop gave a great demonstration and I got to try my machine out in the shop to ensure that it was working correctly. They even gave me advice on how to adjust the tension if the stitch was wrong - very helpful indeed! My new overlocker has found a home on my sewing desk and fits in very well. I have used it on lightweight woven fabrics so far and it stitches like a dream. The only issue I have discovered so far is that it is a bit of a challenge to pull through threads if you want to change colour. However I solved this by taking my time and pulling each of the threads separately. 

Now that I have my machinery in place I'm finally venturing into making some knitted clothing for myself! I downloaded the Coco pattern earlier in the week and put some ideas on paper. I've cut out the top version with 3/4 length sleeves. I've also cut out the cuffs to try out - I'm not 100% sure whether I'm going to include them or not. I'm now all set up to sew this evening. I think this is going to be an incredibly quick process, so I'm looking forward to seeing the final outcome. 

Watch this space for photos of my finished Coco...

Monday, 6 October 2014

Fashionary in action!

After two lovely public holidays and a weekend, it's back to a full week of work. No need to be down though because i'm accompanied by my trusty Fashionary! 

I have just downloaded the ever-so cool 'Coco' pattern by Tilly and the Buttons to expand my me-made wardrobe to include knitted jersey items. Also on Friday in a small fabric shopping spree in Sham Shui Po I picked up 2 yards of cream and navy interlock jersey for $20! A total bargain and perfect for my first Coco.

My job now is to plan which design of the Coco I'm going to make... I like the idea of 3/4 length sleeves as it will be more suitable for the Hong Kong weather and I always tend to roll up my sleeves anyway. Why waste precious fabric on long sleeves?! Turn-up or no turn-up, that is the question! Also, do I go for the straight forward boat neckline, or the sixties classic of the funnel neck? Argh... too many decisions!!! Ok, breathe... maybe i'll start plain and then move forward to a more complicated garment once I've got back into the groove of sewing knitted jersey fabrics. After all, the Coco could make up a significant number of items in a capsule wardrobe. 

There, the plan is formed. It's always better to talk things through before making a decision. Thank you blog! Watch this space for my Coco update. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Fashionary - a review...

One of the new additions to my sewing mission is a 'Fashionary'. This great little red book is now always in my bag for whenever I feel inspired. The front of the book features lots of information about different styles of garments, fabrics and industry shows. The content would be great for newcomers to garment design and manufacture as it opens your mind to new ideas. It has certainly acted as a refresher for me. 

The rest of the book features pages of outlines to design onto. The figures are made up of red dots, so they are not obvious when you draw onto them. Although i'm quite used to drawing fashion drawings, having outlines gives me more freedom to be creative. I'm no longer thinking about the shape of the figure, i'm purely thinking about the garments. 

I bought my Fashionary from the new Page One in Harbour City. It comes in several different cover designs and is well worth buying if you like designing and making your own clothes. 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

My Fifties Mortmain by Gather...

After two lovely public holidays here in Hong Kong, it isn't surprising that I've done a little bit of sewing! I've had the Michael Miller - Jug or not? fabric sitting their looking at me, so I decided to make my third Mortmain by Gather. The previous ones turned out pretty well, however I decided to make some small adjustments to the pattern. 

The bust darts on the front were about 2cm too high in the spot and stripe version of this dress. I decided to split the pattern and lengthen it above the dart (I remembered to do the front and back!). I hoped that this would improve the overall fit because I do have a long body. I also decided to alter the skirt from the box pleats of the original to a gather. Because the fabric is so bold, I was worried about lining up the pleats correctly. I think that the finished garment proves that I made some good decisions. The silhouette with the gathered skirt is really flattering for my figure and I am now very happy with the dart position. 

I really love making this pattern up and would certainly recommend it to anyone who is confident at lining up seams. This is very important with this dress in particular due to the waist panel.

This dress is going to be a great addition to both my summer and winter wardrobe. With Hong Kong winters not being the coldest i've experienced, it will certainly be warm enough and could be teamed with tights and boots if I get chilly! 


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

My second Sorbetto!

After the success of my first Colette Sorbetto, I decided to make the pattern up in a different type of fabric. This time I went for a cotton/silk mix in a lovely ditsy print. Although the fabric was more difficult to cut, the top came together quite well. 

I made the decision not to use bias binding made from the floral fabric as it would have moved all over the place when cutting and folding. I had a lovely roll of red gingham bias binding from a previous project that I chose to use. I love the effect! I went for a hidden binding, so you shouldn't see it when wearing it, I just get the pleasure of seeing it on the hanger! 

Because the fabric is more fluid it lends itself better to being tucked in, so looks great with a gathered skirt. I think if I were to make the top again in a similar fabric, I would decrease the size of the armholes and neck hole because I think that they stretched slightly during manufacture. 

I think i'm going to pause my Sorbetto making and try something different. I have decided to try a Tilly and the Buttons picnic blanket skirt, so watch out for that! 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

My first Sorbetto...

After my sewing table disaster, I have been sewing like a demon to complete my WIP's. With the Mathilde already finished, I set about sewing my Sorbetto by Colette. This make is so simple, I totally recommend it as a stress-free dressmaking experience. With 1 pleat, 2 darts, 2 side seams (french seams), 2 shoulder seams (french seams also) and neck and armhole binding it took shape very quickly. 

The fabric was really easy to sew and I used my new bias binding maker so that everything matched. I'm now waiting for the perfect opportunity to show off my Sorbetto - it is certainly a great summer top. I'm already planning what other fabric to use to make another one of these lovely tops. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

My Mathilde is finished!

Ok, so I decided to buy the tiny table from Japan Home Centre... I was so excited to complete my two WIP's it seemed like a good idea. Plus, I can use it to put my Christmas tree on when my desk arrives. 

With my temporary sewing area set up, I began the task of completing my WIP's and namely my Mathilde. The written instructions included in the PDF download are absolutely fine for most stages of manufacture, although if I was a beginner I might have struggled. Thankfully when things got tough (the button stand and facing) I had Tilly's helpful photographic instructions on her website to assist. All in all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable make, I loved the variety of different stages and putting the buttonholes in was really fun! My new Bernina was super reliable and did a great job on the manual buttonhole setting. 

I had decided to do my Mathilde with short sleeves as the full sleeves that feature in the official pattern wouldn't be great in Hong Kong. I thought I would get more wear out of short sleeves. I think that the sleeves look great! They're very full, but that will help with HK weather and makes a really feminine shape. 

I recommend this pattern to anyone that wants something interesting to make. The instructions are very good, especially the photographic tutorials online. I'm certainly considering a second Mathilde to add to my rapidly increasing handmade wardrobe. 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Planning my pattern hacks!

I am now without a sewing table! My dining table has broken and sewing is a no go until my new sewing desk arrives on Tuesday (I know, Tuesday!!!). I'm considering getting a put up table to get me through the next few days, but this depends on whether i can find one. Japan Home Centre is my next stop!

My main focus at the moment is sketching out some pattern hack ideas with some of the patterns I've used recently. Variations on The Mortmain by Gather and the Sorbetto by Colette. I'm filling my tiny little sketchbook with lots of possibilities and ideas for when i have finished my current WIP's.

Still on my table is my nautical top collection. An anchor print Sorbetto and a boat print Mathilde. I can't wait to get going on them, but I suppose i'll have to make do with sketching. There are worse things...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Colette Sorbetto - Part 1 - Toile and Alterations

Ok, so last night I started the process of making a Colette Sorbetto (click to take you to their page). It's a very simple downloadable pattern. It was a lot quicker to stick together than The Mathilde, but that's not surprising as there are only 2 pattern pieces! After a quick stick, I took some measurements and decided on the size I was going to make. I went for a 12 (american size) as it seemed like it would make a spacious summer top, which is very necessary in Hong Kong. 

Because the top is so easy to make and doesn't require much fabric, I decided to make a toile. This seemed sensible because I don't have enough of my new fabrics in case anything goes wrong. I decided to use some lovely red poly-cotton that I had left over from a Red Riding Hood fancy dress outfit (i'll leave it at that...). After sewing the centre pleat, darts, side seams and shoulder seams, voila, I had a toile of my Sorbetto. I tried it on straight away as I was very excited that I had just made a top in about 30 minutes! 

There were a few simple alterations I noted straight away - The dart was sitting exactly on the bust point, which isn't the most flattering, so I decided to make it 1cm shorter on my paper pattern. In addition to this, there was a slight amount of bagging under the arm and although this should be a fairly baggy top, it just wasn't right. I knew that adding bias binding to finish the top would enhance this. I decided to measure in 0.5cm from the armhole and remove a small triangle from the pattern. Hopefully this will solve the problem. Lastly, the whole thing was just too short. I have this whole long body thing going on, so I wasn't surprised. I decided to add 6cm to the length. I went for this much just in case. I can after all just cut some off if it is too long. 

I altered my pattern and am now ready to make my first real Sorbetto. I've decided on another nautical print, but before I can get started I need to do some shopping today. 

On my list I have...

  • Red, white and matching machine thread to my fabrics. 
  • White and navy bias binding (if possible). 
  • 7 x 15mm buttons for my Mathilde.
  • Some white invisible zips.
  • A new pot of pins.
  • A Bias binding maker. 
I am going to try Pottinger Street in Central for most of these goodies, I now that I can get most of what I need there. I will then go to Tailoring and Alteration in Causeway Bay to check out their bias binding makers. 

Fingers crossed that this is a quick process and I can get home to sew!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Fabric shopping in Shenzhen

Wow, what a busy weekend! Travelling from Hong Kong to Shenzhen on a Friday evening is so busy! Fortunately by the time I got the opportunity to visit the fabric market on the 5th floor of the Luohu Commercial City building on Sunday, the busyness had subsided and I could browse without being pushed around. 

I only had 30 minutes to explore, but that ended up being plenty of time to look around. I fell lucky and found the Shun Fa Fabric Store (See details above). It was manned by a very helpful lady who showed me all the hundreds of different fabric she had. There was some really lovely quality cottons in lots of different patterns and textures. Each fabric is pre-cut into approximately 1.5m lengths. Each one of the lengths I bought was 45RMB - A total bargain!. She even threw in the last piece (the gingham) for just 30RMB even though it measures 2.5m! In total, a spend of 300RMB and I left extremely pleased with my haul. 

With so many beautiful fabrics to work with now, I'd better get sewing! I have plans to make a nice summery top from the blue floral fabric, which is a beautiful soft silk/cotton mix. I have just downloaded the free (Yes free!) Colette Sorbetto pattern after seeing it on my friend's blog ( It's a nice, simple vest top that can be customised easily. I'm going to toile it tonight to check the fit before trying the real fabric (I don't want to waste it!). I also need to purchase a bias binding maker so that I can finish the edges in a matching binding - a visit to Tailoring and Alterations in Causeway Bay is necessary. With so much to sew, I barely have time for a day job! 

I'll keep you updated on my progress... 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Fabric delivery - Modes4u

I picked up this little lot from the Post Office last night. My lovely fabric delivery from It was very exciting picking it up because the package was so large! I ordered 2.5m of both the Jug or not? by Michael Miller and Red Balloon by Cloud 9 fabrics and just 2m of the Maritime Sailing by Michael Miller fabric. Ok, so this was a little bit of a fabric splurge, but with my plan to make lots of new additions to my wardrobe, it was a necessity. 

My thoughts on are that it is a brilliant website! Love their choice of designer fabrics and because they are based in Hong Kong I can get the fabrics delivered quickly. They even throw in a free gift - I received a square of pink fabric and although at the minute it has no use, i'm sure I will find something to make with it. Each of my new fabrics has a planned outcome already - watch this space for my new makes!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Mathilde - Progress...

I managed to keep to my planning and stuck together my pattern last night. It says in the instructions that this process should take 20 minutes, but I think I must be particularly slow at this because it took me more than 30! Oh well, we've all got our strengths...

I then cut it out to my size. I like that the sizes are number 1-8 and not in sizes because when is a 14 ever the same as another 14! This process was thankfully much quicker (clearly I have strengths in cutting out paper!).

Ok, so next stage is sort out the fabric. I'm going away this weekend, so no sewing for me :( I have a package of fabric from waiting at the Post Office, so hopefully i'll be able to collect it tonight and wash my fabric ready for cutting. I've chosen this particular fabric for my Mathilde... 
I just need to find the perfect buttons to accompany it. I'm anticipating that my next sewing opportunity will be on Monday at the earliest, so Mathilde will have to wait until then. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

New make - Mathilde by Tilly and the buttons...

After the enjoyable hours that I have spent making dresses over the past few days, I have decided to turn my attentions to a different garment for my next make. It was whilst reading blogs like Tilly's ( that inspired me to get back to blogging. It has also help to fuel my reignited passion for dressmaking. I've ordered her new book; 'Love at first stitch' which includes some lovely patterns. I am awaiting its delivery from The Book Depository, but I thought I would try one of the downloadable PDF patterns in the mean time. 

The Mathilde is such a gorgeous blouse shape and the maker gallery on Tilly's website shows lots of different ways of interpreting the pattern.I can't wait to start making! 

I've got my 26 pages of pattern printed out, ready for when I get home and can crack out the scotch tape and get sticking! Working full time means that I might get the pattern stuck together and then my size traced off before my bed is calling. 

I'll keep you up to date with my progress and give you my thoughts on the pattern. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Getting Christmas ready...

What else to do on a T8 day off, but make Christmas stockings! Ok, so I had already started two stockings for the newcomers in my life, but I finally got round to finishing them. 

I chose this beautiful Red Norwegian Winter Essentials fabric by StudioE Fabrics. I bought this fabric from, but it's available from Hong Kong based online fabric retailer I went for wool felt for the lettering/heart shape and jumbo ric rac to bring it all together. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. These will be winging their way across the world to the UK in time for Santa to fill them up! 

The Mortmain by Gather - The finished article!

After about 4 hours work, i've completed my stripes and spots combo dress! I really love the combination of fabrics and the waistband in the same fabric as the skirt looks great! This dress is customisable because I chose to do my box pleats this way, although the pattern suggests the opposite way. 

This pattern is so simple to make and is suitable to use with so many fabrics. I bought it from, which is a great website if you're happy to pay international shipping. I found the price ok and it arrived quite quickly after it had been dispatched. 

I'm looking forward to showing this outfit off in Shenzhen this weekend - Bring on the karaoke!

I've styled my outfit with the Tatty Devine lollypop necklace - the perfect accompaniment! 

The Mortmain by Gather - A Review...

After spending a long time browsing the internet for a suitable dress making pattern, i happened upon this lovely specimen. On first viewing, this Gather pattern is beautifully presented. It comes with a stitch bound instruction book, that has an easy to follow step-by-step for how to make two variations of The Mortmain dress.

I've already made this pattern up in a fine checked wool fabric that will be great for work. I'm now in the process of combining red spotted cotton and blue and white striped cotton to make a new summer dress. 

Updates to follow...

New project...

This is my new project. I bought the spotty fabric for a cool 25HKD in Sham Shui Po on Saturday. I already owned the nautical-tastic stripes. I think that this combination is crying out to be a new summer dress - What do you think?

Monday, 15 September 2014

Back to blogging...

After dabbling in writing a blog a couple of years ago, i'm back! This time with a new, more personal approach. I guess i'd better introduce myself... My name is Sophie and I'm a sewing addict (sounds a bit like AA, but it's that level of obsession!) . I live in Hong Kong and I love sewing! My sewing addiction is not limited to one area, I love pattern cutting, dress making, hand embroidery, machine embroidery and I adore felt making. I guess I'm what you would call an all-rounder. I have found that i'm sewing more frequently and thinking about it constantly (not ideal when you have a job!). I thought, why not try blogging again, so here I am.

Welcome! I hope I can help, inspire and fuel other sewer's love...