Sleek Silhouette

September 18, 2014
by Katy
1 Comment

RecreKate: Striped Moto Jacket, with HOOD!

I finished it! I finally finished it! I have been ‘making’ this jacket for a while now. What that actually means is that it has sat in a corner half sewn together while I happily sew together a summer wardrobe, and generally chill out ;) … Oops? But the weather has turned a bit and am now in need of a new jacket – one with a hood!

You may remember I wanted to recreate this lovely (and expensive) jacket from Karen Millen:

Striped leather biker jacket

I’m obsessed with stripes, and with monochrome – what can I say? So this is my version, what do you think?

Just like my floral jacket I used Burdastyle Asymmetrical Moto Jacket 11/2013 but I made some alterations. Firstly I got rid of the peplum effect by sellotaping the pattern pieces directly together. The second change I made was to add a hood! England rains, a lot, and I don’t like umbrellas!  This was very easy to do as the pattern already has a large collar. I simply added the hood from the Minoru to the pattern. This was a mega easy pattern hack.

The fabric is a stripe Denim from Fabric Godmother, and is such a beautiful fabric. It’s soft but thick. The only issue is that it is a stretch fabric with the stretch running the wrong way. This wasn’t a huge problem but was something to bear in mind when sewing the seams, so I used my walking foot throughout to avoiding the seams stretching and becoming distorted.

Having made the jacket up before it was a breeze to sew it together again, but I completely ignored the Burdastyle instructions – those things are just too confusing! Like last time I lined the whole jacket in the same fabric as you can see the lining at several points. This also makes sure the jacket will be warm in the autumn weather :)

The sleeves are made of leather – yup, REAL leather! I bought my leather from here  and was really impressed with the quality. There were no holes in it and it sewed up beautifully! It was my first time using leather and I was a bit nervous about giving it a go, but actually it worked absolutely fine. I just sewed with a leather needle and there were no probs. I went over all the seams with my overlocker, not because I was worried about it fraying, but because I wanted the seams to be nice and strong. I didn’t line the sleeves and instead did a blind hem along at the cuffs. But this is a bit visible so I might go back and line the sleeves.  It will look more professional this way, buuuut…. the jacket is finished now, so the likelihood of that happening? Slim to none :)

So? I am so happy with the outcome. It is comfy, fits well, HAS A HOOD and I like the slightly sportswear look created by adding it. Oh and I saved about £400!! Now I just have to go through my wardrobe to work out what I can wear with it :)

August 17, 2014
by Katy

Fabrikate Alder Shirtdress

Hey! I’m so excited to show you my lovely new Grainline Alder Shirtdress!


It’s made using some silk I recently dyed when I also dyed using shibori techinques. I actually wasn’t planning on dyeing this fabric, but then I was dyeing my shibori dyed silk and fancied shoving some more in (Yes, that’s a technical term ;) ), but this time I wanted it to look dip-dye. I prepared the fabric in the same way as I did before , prepared the acid dye, and then….. hung it from a hanger while I let some of it fall into the pot.


I boiled up the dye for nearly an hour and can’t quite believe that the silk hasn’t shrunk – the part that isn’t dyed it exactly the same width. Considering the high temperatures the silk was in, I was very surprised!

The dye hasn’t seeped/spread up the fabric like I imagine it would had I used procion dyes, or Dylan dyes. But I like the uneven effect it’s given it, which is more or less just due to where I put the fabric in the dye solution.

I had no idea what to do with this gorgeous fabric once it was done, but then I saw the new Grainline Alder Shirtdress and I knew they would look good together!


Naturally I had to make some changes in the length of the dress. I think I added on about 2 or 3 inches overall, and I reckon it’s a perfectly respectable length now. I made up a size 6, thinking that it would fit my bust ok, but it’s a little bit too tight…. I really do have to just bite the bullet and learn how to do a FBA! Annoyingly there is enough ease in the dress for my bust, but some is at the back – where I don’t need it.  I should have added in more ease to the front of the dress. Having said that, It looks fine with a top underneath, and I was unlikely to ever really wear it done up fully so no real problem.

The Grainline pattern and instructions where easy to follow and the whole project was like a dream. If you’d like some extra help there’s a sewalong going on at Grainline at the moment! It was really enjoyable to sew something slightly more complex again, I feel I’ve been sewing a lot of basics recently.


I really love the dip dye effect, and so added on a dip dye pocket too! Although working with this silk was a little tricky – it was soooo slippy, so the pocket is not sewn on perfectly but I’m happy with it. The slippyness of the fabric worried me so I took my time to make this one perfectly. I’m so pleased with the outcome, the sewing is all straight and I even made my own silk bias binding which I was not expecting to go in as easily as it did. This being made of silk I could only sew french seams, the fabric almost demands it!  When I’m not sewing things together quickly with my overlocker this is my preferred way of sewing seams, it just looks so much more sleek. Overall? Chuffed!

I found it difficult to decide which thread to use for all the topstiching, seeing as the dress goes from white to black. I originally sewed it all in white, including the buttons holes, but I really didn’t like the look. So I went out and bought a fabric pen and blacked out all the white stitching. It think it’s pretty successful – it’s managed to hide the white and I don’t have ugly sections where I’ve had to change the thread. I did a similar thing with the buttons and started with white buttons at the top and changed to black buttons at the bottom. Thanks to everyone on instagram who helped me with that conundrum! It’s looks much cleaner this way! Although next time I’m buying smaller buttons, I always go too big!!


So, opinions? My husband thinks it’s a bit too ‘art teacher’, I’m hoping you disagree??


Also, how much do you love my shoes? I’m in LOVE! Far too tall to wear, far to beautiful not to wear!


August 11, 2014
by Katy

Single layer dress


So, Today I give you the double layer dress from Burdastyle! This is a simple, SIMPLE dress. So simple that I’ve even managed to enticed my non sewing friends to give it a try! As an easy, non-fussy dress I think it’s perfect.


I used this gorgeous multicoloured viscose from croft mill. which sadly is not in stock anymore. Seeing as this fabric is so busy I needed a simple design to show it off – hence this dress! I think it’s a good matching. Sadly, the fabric was quite a bit off grain so I wasn’t able to get much more fabric out of it. Which is a shame as I’d hoped I could have a dipped hem at the back. However, I do like how the dress turned out, and it’s probably more wearable now.


The fit is pretty good, if a little big across the back and bust. I usually have to make extensive changes to burdastyle patterns to allow for my curves, but seeing as this dress has an elastic waist I could make the waist as small as I needed it to be and so just cut out my bust size with no changes. The style is pretty relaxed - the dress hangs slightly over the waist which I like. The observant among you may have noticed that despite it’s  name this dress has only one layer? Well I just didn’t feel that I needed to make two! The pattern provides style lines for both the dresses on one pattern piece. The ‘outer’ dress has a lower neckline and lower armcycles and, you guessed it, the ‘inner’ dress has  a neckline that is slightly higher. I went with the higher neckline and I think that it’s turned out reasonably modest, but I’m not sure I’d want to wear the ‘outer’ dress without something underneath!

I have not created an elasticated waist this way before but quite like the result – I plan to use it again in the future on other makes. The instructions call for you to zig zag stitch over some elastic thread, which you then pull to the correct length. This makes for easy sewing and a super easy dress to get on and off as it has no fastenings. I’ve been adding a belt to mine just to excentuate my waist, which works well.  I’m thinking this might be a useful dress for all  my friends that seem to be pregnant at the moment! Perhaps I can make them some post pregnancy prezzies :)

The instructions call for you to make your own bias binding, which I’m getting a dab hand at now so no problems there. I think this might even be my cleanest insertion of self made bias binding. I almost copped out and used shop bought, mainly because I’m lazy, but I’m glad I didn’t in the end. This bias binding is almost totally invisible – helped by the busyness of the print.

If you’re looking for easy burdastyle intructions, these are probably the closest you are going to get -seeing as the dress is so simple. But if you wnat clear step-by-step instructions, you’re still going to be disapointed. Luckily there are plenty of tutorials for making and adding bias binding on the web, if you don’t know how to do either of these things you might want to check them out first!


All in all this is a really easy dress to make and wear, even in the wind!

August 7, 2014
by Katy

Denim Swing Dress

Is it me or is it too hot to sew? All I want to do right now it sit in a beer garden with an ice bucket, and a glass of wine! This is mainly why my output of late has been lacking. Or rather the photographing has been lacking….

But I’ve finally gotten around to both making and photographing something, yay!


This is my denim swing dress. I have wanted a denim dress for aaaages! I think they look gorgeous in the summer. I’ve tried on a few denim dresses in shops and always found they don’t fit right across my hips. So I really had no excuse to make one, and make it fit right – perks of being a sewist right? Luckily, I had this lovely denim left over from my denim circle skirt. I LOVE the colour of this denim it’s lovely and light, just what I wanted. If you’re interested, it’s from Minerva Crafts and you can get it here.


This is essentially a very simple dress. I didn’t use a pattern, but made my own :) I couldn’t be bothered to start from scratch so I started with the double layer dress from burda (a post on that coming soon) as I knew that mostly fit. I removed some excess across the bust as it was a bit big, and removed some of the fullness of the skirt. I wanted this to be more swingy than floaty, if that makes sense?


I actually did something new with the bias binding on this dress. I’ve had problems on the last couple of things I’ve made with the neckline stretching out. I was determined this would not happen with this dress! So I stitched a large stitch along the neckline and slightly, and I mean slightly, gathered it. This way when I added the binding it sat perfectly! I don’t think this is normally necessary, but it helped this time.

I then completely changed the neckline, making it a racer back and making straps by continuing the bias binding. I made the straps cross at the back as I like that little detail.


Although you can’t really see in these photos (it was so sunny!) There is a design detail at the front of the dress – a strip of denim. This photo probably shows it more clearly.


This was actually the result of a total cock up on my part – I didn’t have enough fabric to cut both the front and back on the fold, but it was only AFTER I cut it all out that I realised I had put the back on the fold, not the front. Duh!! This is why I take ages over my cutting out – I’m prone to stupid mistakes. In the end I decided to make a feature out of it and added a strip to the front. I like it now :)


I think it works :) basically, I’m really happy. Finally I’m starting to make some weather appropriate clothes. How are you guys getting on with sewing in this heat?


July 22, 2014
by Katy

Sewing with friends, a party, a wedding, and getting back into sewing!

Hi! Long time no see :)

My exams are over!!! Or rather they were over a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been having so much fun celebrating that fact I have neglected the blog somewhat – oops! But the exams are over, and the best news is -I PASSED! Woop. I am officially a second year doctoral student, phew!

This wonderful piece of news obviously needed a party, and luckily one came along at exactly at the right time! The By Hand girls held a party to say thank you to everyone who helped them reach their kickstarter goal. I’m sure you’ve seen some beautiful photos all over the web from that night, but you’re just gonna have to see some more (less good) ones!


imageYet again, it’s just so nice to meet such a wonderful group of sewists. I can never get over how friendly everyone always is! There was every colour of candy ever….imageAnd possibly the best drink ever in existence!imageJust what I needed to relax after exams :)

Especially when it involved dancing the night away!
imageThis might be my favourite way to explain the effect of the vodka jelly shots to you…image


A week later I wore the same dress (my floral flora) to a wedding! The dress is getting a lot of action at the moment. Have to say it’s a beautifully designed dress – I love it so much!
imageThe frustrating thing about being the photographer is that there are never any good pics of you, so you’ll have to make do with this pic. That’s the hubby :)

Now, I didn’t exactly do much sewing over the exam period (my jacket is still hanging up half made – I only need to attach the sleeves, but I’m taking my time getting around to it). So I think I need to ease myself into it again slowly. What better way to do that but to help a friend a complete novice  to make something? Enter my friend Laura. She admired my tie dye kimono recently and said how much she’d love one. Big mistake when I’m around – Within a few minutes I had bought her some fabric and set a date for her to come over and make one herself.

I don’t think she actually thought I would make her do it all…. so naive :) Armed with some lovely viscose from Minerva crafts, a Kimono tutorial from Elle Apparel, and a bottle of wine (naturally) we got to work. I even made the poor girl sew french seams….

But it looks fabulous doesn’t it!

And she did it all herself. It is gorgeous, it makes me want to buy some more fabric and make myself one!

It worked, I’m now back on the sewing horse! I have a few pieces lined up to show you all, and I LOVE them. I need to get sewing and make some lovely summer clothes so I don’t melt in all this heat!!!!!!!!!!


June 5, 2014
by Katy

Who knew re-fashioning was this fun?


The answer seems to be: most people except me! Since I finished my first re-fashion I’ve been seeing possibilities everywhere – things hanging in my wardrobe for ages I’m now seeing in a different light. Take this dress:

Ok this is not the actual dress I had, I forgot to take a ‘before’ pic, but it was basically like this only shorter.

It’s ok isn’t it? Pretty basic but an ok summer dress, nothing special. I wore it quite a lot the summer a couple of years ago, but since then it’s been languishing in my wardrobe being passed over for more interesting clothes, or dresses where I’m not consious of needing to have a ‘thin’ day. Since it hasn’t been worn in over a year (or two?) I thought I was worth spending some time working out how I could make it more wearable, or at least more interesting to me. It turns out this it the easiest re-fash ever. I just decided I would love it as a skirt! I love stripes, but at the moment it feels too much to have them all over my body. So I did a really esay hack at the waist, to cut off the top:

Then took some elastic I had in my stash (I always seem to have loads of elastic in my stash!). This particular elastic was left over from my Minoru parka so was very wide (2 inches). I simply added the elastic to the top of the skirt. I did this a slightly different way to how I’ve done it with my gathered skirts (by making a chanel and feeding the elastic through). This time I thought the wide black elastic would fit in with the rest of the stripey skirt, and be a bit of a statement. So, I overlocked the elastic to the top of the skirt, elastic to the right side of the fabric so the overlocked edge would be on the inside once it was finished. 

Anoyingly, being a bit of a numpty I don’t have many photos of this process as I did not appear to engage my brain at the start…. I cut the elastic to fit my waist, and assumed this would fit the skirt – not so! RTW never fits my waist right, duh Katy! But silly old me carried on till I got half way round the skirt waist and ran out of elastic! A quick unpick, a few inches chopped off the sides of the skirt and the elastic fitted fine :)


 So a very simple re-fash and a very simple pencil skirt, but I bet it gets worn so much more now! I really like the monochrome graphic style, jeez I’m beginning to sound like a broken record! Haha. But seriously, the thick elastic fits in well with the stripes of the skirt Perhaps I can do something with the top too? Watch this space….

By the way, my wonderful sister has just started up a thought provoking and funny blog about daily challenges. Check it out!

June 2, 2014
by Katy

MMM’14 final round up and final thoughts

Here we go, last week of MMM!

Monday (Day 26)


Me mades: Grey hemlock tee (still unblogged, oops!)

Something comfy for a day revising (boo). This top did me well in MMM, so easy to just throw on!

Tuesday (Day 27)
I felt really poorly today so took the day off from work. I stayed in my pj’s most of the day but tried to stay in the MMM spirit and cosied up in yesterdays top. No pic as no-one wants to see my make-up free face!

Wednesday (Day 28)


Me mades: Mustard birdie Mathilde dress

This dress was comfy and a nice ease back into work. I still really love this dress :)

Thursday (Day 29)


Me mades: Gingham Archer

I have come to the conclusion that I must not have printed the pdf of the Archer pattern correctly! All of my three versions feel smaller than they look on other people… I think I must have left the page scaling on, doh! Let that be a lesson to you all! This one is very wearable but towards the end of the day I ended up unbuttoning it (I had a top on underneath, don’t panic!) And really liked it. I wish it was a bit bigger though, it would get worn SO much more.

Friday (Day 30)


Me mades: Easy jersey dress

Another easy work dress. Another make I wasn’t sure about to begin with but it’s become a work staple.

Saturday (Day 31)


Me mades: Shibori kimono

It was lovely and warm today so I threw on my new kimono. I’ve got to wear it, it’s new!! It was super lovely and comfy.

Wow, I’ve learnt a lot about my wardrobe and my style this month. It turns out I like basics; tees, shirts and skirts for day to day. I also like things pretty fitted.  I have a wardrobe full of pretty vintagy dresses with full skirts that I made last year, but I don’t really feel like wearing them every day. I much prefer a more casual look, hopefully with a bit of a modern take or style. Now I know what gaps to fill, I’ve realised I need more everyday clothes and fewer pretty dresses! Bring on a summer of sewing – mainly trousers!!!! Wow,  this would have been easier if I had some trousers to throw on….

How did you guys get on?

May 26, 2014
by Katy

Shibori Kimono


So I did it, I took the plunge and cut into my gorgeous shibori dyed fabric! It was tough working out what to do with it. I was worried that I had to make the most of this gorgeous fabric, and what exactly was the best thing to make? For some reason it took me ages to realise that I don’t have to make everything out of this fabric – I can just dye some more, duh!

I wanted to make a kimono jacket. So I did. And the fabric is perfect for it :)

I used the tutorial from elle apparel to make this and it worked perfectly. Although I made some changes. Firstly I made the front pannels on mine a little thinner, and the sleeves a little shorter. This wasn’t for asthetic reasons, but mainly so that I could fit the whole jacket on less farbic. (I want to make a little scout tee with the leftovers.) I also curved the jacket up towards the front opening more than is suggested by the tutorial. This was for asthetic reasons, although now I’ve done it I think I prefer it as suggested in the tutorial.

I was careful with the pieces of the print that I used. I didn’t want the jacket to look too tie-dye so I used the sections at either end of the fabric, where the dye took more leaving a more graphic look. I then put two long tie-dye sections down the front. I like that it’s obviously dyed, but doesn’t look too 70′s tie-die.

I didn’t make a pattern, but instead made sure everything was on grain by ripping the fabric. When I was ripping my husband came running in screaming ‘what are you doing?! Your fabric’ I had to reassure him, that  No, I didn’t hate my fabric, but it was being slippy and I wanted no suprises….

I sewed everything together with my overlocker, for speed, but in hindsight I wish I’d french seamed everything. This was made late at night after a day of revising – as a reward – and I didn’t really think things through. I felt like in some way I hadn’t given the fabric the respect it deserved, but then I remembered that it’s fabric and doesn’t have feelings, so I moved on. Haha. I did a narrow hem using Andrea’s overlocking technique, which  was lovely and fast!

Basically, I’m over the moon with it. It shows off the pattern wonderfully and is the perfect summer cover up. And it goes with so many things, my gathered dress, a pair of white jeans, a pair of blue jeans, a white summer dress, a black summer dress…. you get the idea!

Now I just have to dye more fabric and sew that crop top/skirt combo for a wedding I’m going too….

May 26, 2014
by Katy
1 Comment

MMM ’14 Round up 4

Are we nearly done yet? Phew, photo’s each day is getting tiring. Oh well! On with my outfits this week:

Monday (Day 19)

Me mades: Stripey cascade skirt
Me made necklace

I was feeling a bit poorly today so I put on a skirt I love to make me feel better – it kinda worked! I knew I’d wear this outfit again during MMM, I love it :)

Tuesday (Day 20)

Me mades: White Archer
Denim circle skirt

I felt like a lady today, so much fabric in the skirt! It looked great with the shirt, so I felt very happy.

Wednesday (Day 21)

Me mades: scout tee

Another toilet selfie, oops! Sadly I think this tee was washed at too high a heat and so has shrunk a tad :( still wearable though!

Thursday (Day 22)

Me mades: Denim circle skirt

After wearing the skirt the other day I wanted to wear it again, it’s so comfy. Wore it with a RTW top.

Friday (Day 23)

Me mades: unblogged hemlock tee

End of the week, feeling tired, wanted to be comfy! This tee was perfect :)

Saturday (Day 24)
No photo today, ooops? I did wear a me made though – my salme gathered top. I was only revising today so didn’t need to wear anything special.

Sunday (Day 25)

Me mades: gathered dress and to-be-blogged make with my newly dyed silk! Felt a million dollars, love this outfit :)

Looking forward to the end of May now, but am still enjoying wearing me own clothes each day!

May 23, 2014
by Katy

Next recrekate! A striped moto jacket.

I’ve been planning this jacket for a while now. I’m so excited to sew it up! This is my inspiration jacket straight from my pinterest board:

Striped leather biker jacket

This lovely jacket is from Karen Millen and costs awhopping £499!!!!! Which, if you ask me, is CRAZY! I am a little obsessed with it though, and have been for a while. I am desperate to make something smilar.

At first I thought I would buy the striped fabric from Tessuti as part of their Jaywalk competition, but was gutted after twice trying to buy some and twice being told that the fabric was too heavy to be sent overseas….. So sad, especially as it’s an international competition. I’m a bit gutted about that, so probably best we move on!

Since that was no longer an option, I searched for other striped fabric, and found NONE I liked! Where is all the awesome fabric?? Finally, this week I found this fabric on fabric godmother. Which is perfect, I think the stripes may run the wrong way, but I’ll figure it out. It’s not too pricey either, so I’m happy all round.

stretch denim stripe fabric

I’ve decided I’m going to keep the leather sleeves as I think a whole jacket in stripe might be a bit much… I’ve found some nice looking leather skins from this website. It looks good, but I haven’t bought it yet – I wonder if anyone who has worked with leather before might know somewhere else? I’m a bit nervous about using such luxury material but I’m game! I want this jacket to be PERFECT, and be something I’m really proud of so I want to use good quality materials.

I’m going to use the pattern I used for my floral jacketBurda 11/2013 #117. I really like this pattern and the fit, but I’m going to be making some pretty big changes! Which I am not going to tell you about juuuust yet, you’ll have to wait and see. This will be a long sew though, as I have exams coming up so I’m rationing sewing. Although I say that, so far it just seems to mean that I’m just sewing smaller, quicker projects! This jacket will be my treat after a good days revision (and some wine :) )

I am EXCITED! What do you think of my plans?


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