Taking the Zinnia out for a spin

I’m on a bit of a roll, bit like buses I guess, nothing for months and then 3 at once. Hopefully my sister won’t read this entry until she get’s her present. If not- then I apologise already that I put your gift on various bits or ground and dirt all over Canterbury.

Again this is from the shops blog so a little bit promo esque. There is a few extra things I’ll say, I have difficulty reading pattern instructions at the best of time and this is down to my impatience generally. But I occasionally l have problem with the way a bit is written. This happened with the waist band for the Zinnia. I just went with my gut instinct because I couldn’t make heads or tails of the instructions.

I think sewing is quite instinctive- I follow a lot of patterns to a point but then go off on my own with the bit of knowledge that I have. For me it’s how I learn I suppose.  I think many sewist’s develop their own ways of sewing and that comes from learning from your mistakes. It’s like anything really.

Anyway off we go!


I must admit this wasn’t the first fabric choice that came to mind when I first decided that Colette Patterns Zinnia skirt was going to be my next project. That honour had gone to  beautiful Les Fleurs folk birds fabric in canvas. But then I was afraid  about cutting up such expensive fabric without at least test running it first. Second choice was Melody Millers Trinket Telephones in navy.


But this is where I ran into my first hurdle. The pattern layout was to be cut on the crossgrain and in the opposite direction of the print. Not being a seasoned sewist , I had an idea of how to solve the problem- but not having the confidence or ever working on the cross grain before- I was worried that if I had cut the fabric on the grainline that I would somehow mess with the structure of the skirt.

Luckily my Colette rep is awesome and very lovely and understanding to answer my novice questions, with the above photo attached. I was told that my gut instinct was correct and it will work. I was still too scared to cut into folk birds (they did suggest that if you do use the canvas / linen that I should put a lining in also. I’ve never put a lining in before- bit scary)

So it was my sisters birthday and I promised her a skirt. She liked the Les Fleurs Tapestry in black– so here was my chance to do a test run before I tried the linen.


So I laid out the pattern like in the picture and then had to Frankenstein sew the corners cut from the sides to the edge to get the full coverage. Due to the busy pattern you couldn’t really see where the joint was made thankfully.

Pleats went in easily, and the body of the skirt- including the brilliant pockets (using some of my table runner fabric again!) was finished really fast. But I started to look at the finished panels and thought – this is not going to get around my waist. I sized it up against the waist band and it came up too small (and I had cut the pattern a size up in parts). So out came 2 of the pleats from the two back panels and that remedied the problem.  Always check before you attach the waist band! Zip went in fine, thankfully…I don’t like zips.

We come to the waist band. I’m not really a follower of instructions. The waist band instructions need a bit of concentration. It was late- so instead I winged it. I folded down the seams  by about 1/4 of an inch (old quilting ways die hard) facing the wrong side of the fabric the attached it to the raw edge of the body of the skirt and top stitched it into place. It worked, it probably doesn’t look as good.



This does cause a small problem when you have to attach the button but it would have been fine, had my machine not given me so much grief….But although millimetres off, I’m ok with that.



I’ll be making the zinnia again, now I know it’s quirks and it knows mine. It’s an easy pattern- but may be worth doing a practice run first before you cut into your gorgeous rayon.



Sewing with the Ruby

So you have a meter of a lovely piece of lawn for example , but it could be anything really. And you want a super fast sew , that doesn’t require a lot of construction . Meet the Ruby from Made by Rae patterns!


I had some beautiful Cotton + Steel Cookie Dough in lawn that I have had sitting in my stash for a couple of years, but only a meter of it. I paired it up with some beautiful linen which was not only a great contrasting fabric, but also gave a great weight to the top of the bodice , letting the lawn flow nicely underneath it.

The pattern gives you the option of making either a dress or shortening it to a top. As I only had a meter, a top it was.

The pattern is great for beginners, it has very little detail on it and it’s printed on normal paper, not tissue paper making it easier to trace using Swedish tracing paper and then packing it away for the next time.


Construction of this is really straight forward. If you have made the Germanium for a little girl this is the same kind of pattern. Separate top bodice and then a gathered body all  sewn together. There are no zips or buttons either!

There are a few options to finish the raw edges around the neckline and armholes. I went partially lazy, bias binding finished with a sewing machine. I could have made proper bias binding to match the two different fabric., but I’m not the most patient of sewist’s . So although I didn’t make it exact, I did make my own bias binding- but I did not finish it neatly by hand..my hand sewing skills leave much to be desired.


Making bias binding is always easier than I remember. I always go into it dreading it a bit, but end up doing it all quite quickly (even without using my bias binding maker, which is missing somewhere!). The instructions ask that you cut a fat quarters worth, but I didn’t need that much and stopped half way and still had quite a bit of binding left over.

It’s a great little sew and I adore the feel of Cotton and Steel’s dress making fabric, it’s a dream to work with.  The one thing I will say is that when I make this next time, I won’t make the gathers as close together. I’m a busty lady, and the excessive gathers can give my chest a bit of a mountain’s look.

From Runner to Scout Tee Magic

Hello there.

Today is another post from the stores blog. The next one will be too. It would be nice to write one of my ranty blogs soon going on about something or other. But I’m finding less and less time to do anything like that. So Instead your getting a blog about how I transformed some table runners made out of dress making fabric back into a top.


It all started off as a table runner.

I should start, at the start. I bought some of Art Gallery’s fabric Morse Dot in Ash by Katarina Roccella with a view to make it into to table runners for my bright carnival style wedding. It arrived in store and it was beautiful! More softer and silkier than other fabric’s that are in the medium weight category (All of our Art Gallery cotton’s are like this, they are lighter making them ideal for dressmaking as well as quilting). We cut up four meters of it, cut it in half , hemmed them round the edges (all the day before the gathering) and laid them out. They looked pretty awesome.

After the wedding I started to unpack all the decorations.  Pondering on what I was going to do with 8 table runners It dawned on me- after holding them up against me- that I could probably turn at least 3 of these into a simple top. I had made a beautiful top out of the Scout Tee pattern before using rayon (you can read that here). I love that pattern, so I thought I would give it another whirl. I washed them and all the wine stains came out without even needing stain remover, bonus.


I first had to sew the runners together to get the correct width. I was worried that it could look odd having a big seam running down the centre, but I think it looks fine.

I love the ease of this pattern, I used 1.75 meters for the whole thing. You do have quite a bit of fabric left over on the sides. The nice thing about making it out of a medium weight cotton is that I can use it for any other projects. Mine normally go into scraps for quilting (I’m all about using scraps for quilting!)


It’s the kind of sew you could have done in a few solid hours there are only 5 pieces to it front, back , sleeves and the neck binding. I had to redo one of my sleeves because one side wasn’t as gathered as the other side- and that annoyed me. Also watch when sewing the binding on that it’s wide enough to cover the raw edges. On my first go on this top my bias binding was a bit thin and after about 6 washes the binding started to come away from the top (that may also have something to do with it being made out of rayon).

We still have some of the Morse Dot Ash still left in stock , as well as the Scout tee pattern if you fancied making your own (maybe without the middle seam).