Ugandan Skirt by Lucy

In 2005 in my final year of University I went to Uganda to make a short film, whilst I was there I brought two piece of bold African printed fabric in a market in Kampala. The first I made my first ever piece of clothing with, a long A line skirt with a zip that my mum helped make. I didn’t do my measurements before hand and ended making it  a tad too small. I still wore it though and it felt like a real accomplishment.

The other piece of fabric has been moving house with me, from airing cupboard to airing cupboard ever since then – until now that is! I finally took the plunge and chopped it up to make a summer skirt. I decided on a Simplicity pattern, mainly because it was on sale when I was having a look online! Supposedly the good thing about these patterns is that you get a few different garments in every pack but I’ve never ended up making more than one piece of clothing  from a pack of patterns.

Simplicity pattern

Luckily I washed the fabric first because it pulled in a few places, shrank considerably and warped a bit too. I think this skirt will be hand wash only from now on!

The fabric is thin so I lined it in black cotton, I meant to line the pockets but got a bit carried away and  forgot! The pockets are a bit floppy so it might have done them good to be lined in a heavier fabric.

skirt smallerlooking backdull length small

Must remember to smile…need to get better at posing if this blog is going to continue…

Project summary


  • This was quick to make and I’m pleased I’ve finally used my Ugandan fabric!
  •  I like the way I cut the pattern on the pockets with the writing at the top and the chevron going down to the bottom of the pocket.
  • This is the first time I’ve used French seams and I will NEVER go back!

Room for improvement?

  • Floppy pockets look a little odd when you don’t have your hands in them
  •  I probably could have made this a size smaller
  •  An elasticated waist band has never been flattering
  • The fabric warped so the pattern isn’t exactly matched going around the hem

Top tip

French seams…I’ll let the experts at Collette explain the process!

Crazy about Colette

Like the rest of the sewing world,  I’ve become totally hooked on Colette patterns! So imagine my delight when these goodies dropped into my mailbox recently…

Yey! Colette Sewing Handbook and the Beignet pattern! So exciting! I’ve been working my way through the book, which I must say I love everything about, and decided to put to good use the aubergine needlecord I bought from a Norwegian online shop for my first Beignet.  I found plenty of inspiration online – from Kestral, Karen, Tilly and Joanne. Loving all these cord versions! After working out how to use my buttonhole foot (lost my sewing machine instructions in the move to Norway!) I was ready to start…

And here it is! I’m super happy with how it turned out.  Next time I’ll make it the size smaller as it’s definitely a bit roomy, but I don’t mind with this one as it’s a winter skirt. Perfect for sneaking in those extra mince pies 😉

Note to self – must get hair cut!!

1940s Lingerie Sewalong

I’ve been sewing along with Anna of A Few Threads Loose   – and the results are coming along nicely! I started a bit late due to printer problems, but other than that minor technical hitch it’s gone great so far. I would probably never have chosen to make this pattern without the push to follow Anna’s instruction. But I’m glad I did! The pattern is a PDF printable of an original 1940s one by Pauline Patterns in Australia. I chose a purple and grey soft thin cotton with a grey and black polka dot for the band and bias.Here’s a sneaky peek…just got the straps and closure to go then I’ll be on to the bottoms. Yey!

  This was only the second attempt at making my own bias binding, I’ve generally stuck to shop bought stuff since the first attempt a few years ago ended in tears.  But I followed Miss P’s handy tutorial using masking tape and it was totally problem free! Thank you Miss P 🙂

Watch this space for the finished bra…

My First Sewalong!

Exciting news! I’m going to be participating in my first sewalong! The exact pattern is yet to be decided, but it’s going to be vintage lingerie, hosted by my fellow expat Mrs Depew of A Few Threads Loose

I can’t wait to get started.

In other news, last week when I was back in the UK I visited a silk printing workshop and bought some gorgeous fabric. It’s called Beckford Silk and has a workshop where you can see the silk being hand screen printed. We saw 2 screens in a 16 screen set being completed, for this really detailed scarf of flowers and butterflies.  It was amazing!

After the tour of the workshop, we spent a long time choosing some silk to buy. I dived straight into the seconds box and choose a plain russet orange heavy crepe de chine and a lighter weight navy blue with orange polka dots. There are 2 spots missing on one section of the polka dot, but I can easily cut around them and actually as it’s a hand printed item and we even met the guy that had printed it I really don’t mind that it has a little mistake on it! These silks are fantastic quality, and were both under £10 per metre which I thought was great value for the quality and the work that went into them.  As it’s so hard to find nice fabrics here in Norway I love choosing special stuff when I’m back in the UK!

I’m considering this dress from Pattern Runway for the russet, but not sure if I’d really get a lot of wear out of it. 1 – it’s coming into Winter now so not very practical and 2 – it’s a really similar shape to a load of other dresses I already have in my wardrobe. But I love the shape!

As for the polka dots, I’m not sure yet. Maybe they would make nice lingerie for the sew along! I would like to make Dixie DIY’s Portia T-shirt from Miss P’s refashioners series and I think that would look cute with the polka dot for the main parts and the plain as the accent colour. Oh the choices!

Le Dress!

So after a few bags, purses and general small things, I recently got into sewing actual items of clothing for myself. This year I had 3 weddings to go to (2 in Worcestershire, 1 in St Tropez daahling!) and was determined to make myself a dress that would work for all 3. As it was, I hadn’t finished in time for the first one…but the last stitches were complete right in time for my trip to the sunny South of France, hurrah!

Since making this dress (completed it in June), I’ve learnt a few more things about sewing so there are a lot of things I’d do differently next time. But as these are all on the inside, it was still amazing to wear something which I made (and really like!). I used a Cynthia Rowley Simplicity pattern, 2406. The instructions were great, but I ran into a problem with the material I chose.  It’s a really sweet Liberty print, with little coral and blue birds lined up in stripes. But it’s a cotton lawn so very thin, and as it’s cream it’s very sheer! The pattern doesn’t call for lining and so I sort of winged it, trying to underline beneath the facings without knowing what I was doing! It was totally fine except for the centre back join which went a bit odd, but oh well – I’ll learn for next time!

Also, next time I would lower the neckline a little bit, as I don’t think it’s that flattering, and also make a much smaller size as I took out literally 2 inches from each side seam and I still think it’s a bit big. The armholes are a bit low too – you can kind of see my bra peeking out. But other than that, I really like the shape, it’s very versatile and forgiving as it’s not fitted, and I hope to make it again.  Next time I’ll choose a thicker material and skip the lining to save myself a headache I think.

Hello sewing!

I started to learn to sew a while ago, but it’s only recently that I’ve taken it back up with a passion! After trawling the fabulous world of sewing blogs I decided to start my own, both to motivate myself to continue to make things and to act a record of the things I make.  So here I am. Hello!