Deer and Doe Belladone Dress – 6th item of Smart Summer 6PAC

I wanted to make a dress for my smart 6PAC, and had chosen the fabric some months ago. I bought some pink chambray linen from Ditto Fabrics and could not decide on the best pattern for it. I thought that the Belladone Dress from Deer and Doe would be a good choice. I liked the cut out back!

Belladone dress

I made a muslin and it fitted pretty well, so I went ahead.


I added about 4 inches to the skirt length, do these young designers think we all want to show our thighs??



I liked the cut out in the back. It is important to make sure the edges of the back bodice don’t stretch out. I bought some Prym seam tape and this really helped. The edges were finished with self bias binding.



The pattern did not I added an interlining to the bodice in cerise cotton and lined the skirt as well. I finished the bodice with french seams.


It works with my jacket, so I’m pleased to have finished two 6PACs this summer. I have a wedding to attend on October 4th, and if the weather is kind I’ll wear this. Obviously with tights! Maybe by then my bruises will have gone. We bought a new wooden bedframe and I keep walking into it!

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Style Arc Stacie Jean Jacket- 6th piece of the Casual Summer 6PAC

Every 6PAC wardrobe should have an overlayer, especially in a changeable climate like the UK, where our mothers always told us never to leave the house without a coat, cardigan, umbrella etc…

I chose to make a jean jacket to top out my 6PAC.

Trendy jean, denim or woven jacket

Having got onto Style Arc’s mailing list, I can’t resist the freebies so have to order more patterns almost every month. I did restrain myself the month they featured trackie bottoms! The garment of choice of every local chav, I don’t think so. You could wear them to the gym I hear you say,my children would die laughing.

Any way back to the jean jacket. I made a size 8 and added about 3 inches to the bottom width.


I used the grey needlecord I made some jeans from earlier this year. I wanted to make it a bit more summery so added highlights in a pink/grey cotton print. The cuffs are intended to be worn either full length or turned up,so I made the turn up  in the print and sewed them to the sleeve.



It looks plainer with the cuffs turned down, but I haven’t worn it that way.



I also made the under collar in print!



The front facings are print too, as well as the under pocket flaps even though you can barely see them. I added print inner yokes just for fun and attached the same way as shirt yokes.

The jacket is a very snug fit, and looks a bit tight buttoned up. As it’s intended as a summer jacket I probably will never wear it that way. If I wanted to wear a jacket like this in winter I would have to make it larger to fit a sweater under, and add a lining.

I love this jacket and have worn it a lot already, all though not this last 10 days as the UK is having a heatwave, temperatures as high as 28 degrees!


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Style Arc Suzies Sister top- 5th piece of my Summer 6PAC

I’m still on a Style Arc roll, they are producing some wonderful designs, and they seem to need minimal alteration for me.

Feminine top with tucks and flattering neckline with a short or long sleeve option


I love buttoned blouses and this collarless number looked very appealing. The front looks like it has a v neck but the facing is in fact straight. The pleats at the shoulder pull it into a v shape, so it is very simple to make. The  front facing is sewn to the back facing, then just press to the inside. No placket, just make button holes and you’re done. The sleeves are even sewn in flat so no tedious setting in. It took an afternoon to make. The only thing you should be careful about is making sure the pleats are even.

I chose an offwhite dobby cotton from Ditto Fabrics ( that shop gets a lot of business from me- I wish I lived nearer, I’d be in there all the time). It is slightly crinkly and soft, so my slightly less than perfect pleats don’t show.



The sleeves are finished with a self bias binding just like a neck binding. It’s very comfortable to wear, and the v neck is just the right depth for me. I made the buttonholes a little too far in so the facing does not lie totally flat. I’ll change that next time, and there will be one.




I added a little extra width, but I think the back needs a bit more and maybe slightly less in the tucks.



I will definitely try out the long sleeve version for Autumn and probably make a sleeveless one as well. A viscose challis or anything soft and drapey would be good.

This is a great partner for my pink trousers and skirt!


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Style Arc Maggie Shirt- part of a Casual Summer 6PAC

I’ve just realised I haven’t blogged for nearly a month, but have been very busy sewing. I spent May making my Smart Summer 6PAC but had also planned a Casual 6PAC. This was to be in pink, silver grey, and off white. I planned a jean jacket in silver grey, trousers and skirt in pink drill, and tops in off white and a print. The trousers and skirt were patterns I have made before, so there was nothing new to say about them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here are my TNT Burda 7447 trousers in a shot pink drill from Ditto Fabrics. I’m also wearing a white cotton jersey Sammi cami from Iconic patterns underneath a Megan Nielsen Briar top in a offwhite loose knit. I count the tops as one piece as you can’t wear the Briar top without something underneath unless you are 18!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made a skirt from the same pink drill using Burdastyle 06-2013-113. This drill looks lovely but needs ironing to death. I prewashed it twice before it would allow me to press it it enough to cut it out. I have to iron them after every wear, but it hasn’t stopped me wearing them constantly since I finished them. I really like the colour, it’s so summery and goes with lots of my tops.

So that’s three pieces of my 6PAC. Now to piece 4.

Sophisticate shirt with “Magyar” sleeve

I chose the Style Arc Maggie as a loose overshirt. I bought a size 8 and didn’t add any width to the bottom as I would normally need. It seemed to be quite loose enough. I had some trouble with the front placket and pleat and it is not finished on the inside as I would like. Style ARC don’t have copious instructions so I didn’t over lock the slash before I sewed it. There are diagrams to to help with the placket and pleat but it does need careful study before it becomes clear.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI bought some viscose print fabric in Leeds Market when I visited in June.It cost £4/metre and I have seen it online for £21!  Of course it slides about when you cut and sew it. I’m not sure this really suits me as it is hiding my waistline which is one of my better features. I think I can see draglines from the bust so maybe it needs an FBA and that would make it hang better?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe back is fine in terms of width. I think this will be a favourite in warm weather, and I can wear it tucked in with a skirt. I might try a belt as well. This pattern would work well in a voile as that would drape nicely. Anything even slightly stiff  such as a thicker lawn would stand out like a tent!

I’ll post about the last two pieces as soon as I can get decent photos.






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Style Arc Simone Cardigan


I got this pattern as a freebie back in April I think. I was attracted by the drape pockets. I’ve wanted a longer length cardigan for a while but don’t like the waterfall front ones. The pockets are formed by darts in the front, and Style Arc give a helpful diagram to show how to do it.

Style Arc simone pocket dwg


Style Arc Sandra jeans and Style Arc Simone Cardigan

Style Arc Sandra jeans and Style Arc Simone Cardigan

I used some lightweight cotton jersey with a birdy print. The band is supposed to be cut with the stretch ,but as this jersey was pretty stretchy I cut it lengthways. With a little judicious fudging I managed to line up the birds! I didn’t put any buttons on this one, it’s fine as it is.


I like this cardigan and will probably make some more, definitely in a wool for winter as you can never have enough cardigans in the UK.

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Style Arc Sandra Jeans

Style Arc have a very sneaky business strategy, they offer a free pattern every month and I am finding this irresistible. My stash of their patterns is building up as the most economical way of buying their patterns is to get three or four at a time.This is the best pattern to postage ratio. I have made three tops so far, one a failure ( Sunny), one a success (Lolita), and one muslin (Rosy-unblogged) needs an FBA. I like the look of the Sandra jeans so that is my next trial.


I wanted a slim leg jean but not super skinny. I made a muslin of course, I just cannot make a new trouser pattern without one. I bought a size 14, and removed the usual 6″ from the waistline, mostly from the CB seam, scooped a little from the back crotch, and added 1″ to the leg width from the downwards. Apart from that all seemed well, so I went ahead and cut out my light grey needlecord. I cut a 1″ SA on the leg seams just in case the fabric behaved differently from my muslin.

I found the instructions brief but as I have made jeans before I was able to follow them, but my coin pocket has ended up on my left side, not the right as the illustration shows. I have never made a sew on fly before but the instructions and diagrams were clear enough, and it turned out fine. They do not tell you to neaten any seams, that is left to you, and I have missed overlocking one part of the fly.


I used a blue flowery cotton for the pockets and inner waistband.



I think this is a pretty good fit, maybe a tiny tweak to the front crotch in the next pair. I didn’t bother with topstitching the inseam, it doesn’t really show up on needlecord.



Maybe a touch less width on the upper thigh, but I do have to be able to move. This is as about as good a back view as I am likely to have, given my shape, and I will probably wear my tops untucked any way. I don’t ornament my pockets, as I don’t want people to look there. The length was just right for, I didn’t cut any length off. I am 5’5″ tall, so anyone who is significantly taller would need to add length.

The waistband is one long curved piece, and I was not sure if I could get it to fit me. However I just folded out the excess at the CB and cut it out. It worked fine, and I liked the idea of attaching the inner waistband before sewing onto the jeans. I didn’t do it this time as I wanted to make sure of the fit at the back.

These are a success, I have worn them several times and they are comfortable even though they are non stretch fabric. I will definitely make these again.

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Kitschy Coo Lady Skater Dress- Fit to dine with a Royal Countess

Luton Hoo Hotel

Luton Hoo Hotel

Every year my branch of the Women’s Institute’s committee have a dinner out. This year we chose Luton Hoo Hotel, former home of the Lady Zia Wernher, born a Russian royal countess. Lest you think we are bankrupting the WI, we save up all year, putting money into the kitty at every committee meeting.

Wernher Restaurant

Wernher Restaurant

So a grand setting deserves a new dress doesn’t it?


I thought the Lady Skater would fit the bill nicely, with room for dinner catered for. I had bought a nice long piece of black and white jersey from ebay recently, but when I spread it out the pattern worried me.



I couldn’t see how to place the front pieces without unfortunate results, to put it delicately! I decided to cut the skirt in four pieces to make the pattern appear much more random, and cut each one individually avoiding the central motif. The other change I made was to the back skirt pieces. My first lady skater has a tendency to ride up at the back which tells me my bum needs more fabric. I did a large bottom adjustment by slashing and spreading the pattern piece in the appropriate area. I added about an 1″ in the CB seam tapering to nothing at the side seam. Making a CB seam makes this much easier, as I didn’t have straighten the seam.


Perfectly level hem!

I don’t have to keep tugging at the skirt on this version, and my slip stays hidden.


I’m very pleased with the way this has turned out, it’s much nicer than if I had lined up the central motif. My fellow committee members liked it as well!

If you’re interested, the meal cost about £60 each for three courses, wine, and coffee; canapes, amuse bouches, and sorbet thrown in as well. The waiters are so polite and make everyone feel special. I’m not even sorry for the couple who drove up in a chauffeur driven Bentley, while we were getting out of the community minibus! We rather spoilt their grand entrance, as the Concierge was taking a group photo for us under the portico shown on the top picture.

They also do a very nice Afternoon Tea, I had that last year as birthday treat from my DS. Of course you can also stay there, or have your wedding reception, but it’ll cost a fortune.

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Smart Summer 6PAC 2014- Marfy 1913 top and 0757 skirt



When Marfy brought out the three free downloadable patterns early this year, I wanted to join in the sewalong run by A Challenging Sew. Unfortunately, life didn’t allow it.

I’ve put them into my 6PAC instead, making the skirt from the same stretch linen cotton as the trousers. I nearly had a disaster cutting out the skirt, as DH distracted me and I started to cut the front with no seam allowance! I had started at the hem edge so just pegged it in a bit, and used the minimum seam I could get away with. I overlocked it for security. The skirt started out as size 44 at the waist grading to 48 at the hip, and I added 2″ in length. It’s a simple style with just darts at the front and back, and a facing for a waistband.

This pattern must have been doomed, because I made up the facing and it was too short. I had some grey grosgrain ribbon in my notions drawer and used that instead.



I had some of the grey lining left over from my jacket so I used it to line the skirt. It’s worked out pretty well.

For the top, I repurposed a pair of silk wrap around capri length trousers a friend bought in Thailand. She decided she wasn’t going to ever wear them, and gave them to me. I could just get this cutaway shoulder top out of them.



As you can see, the top is loose fitting, the front is pleated into a collar, and there is a triangular opening at the back neck.


Using a flash shows the pattern on the fabric. I fastened the top with two grey metal buttons. I finished the armholes with self bias binding. I sewed a piece of black silk organza to the neck opening, then slashed it open and turned and pressed it. I topstitched the organza down and pinked the edges. That was impossible to photograph being black on black.

Anyway these are a nice addition to my wardrobe, and go well with the jacket!



I just have the dress to make now.

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Smart Summer 6PAC – Burdastyle 12-2013-111 Jacket

I have been working on the Smart Summer 6PAC for weeks now, and now I’ve finished 5 pieces. The colours are silver grey, white and black with a pink dress.


I made another pair of Burda 7447 trousers but this time made the legs a bit wider to give a slouchy summer style. The fabric is a stretch linen cotton from Jersey Fashion in Holland Forgive the creases, but I wore them all day yesterday to Newmarket races! (No, I didn’t pick many winners!)  The top is another Colette sorbetto in a silk cotton with a white cotton voile underlining.

The jacket fabric is cotton, I think with a horizonal grey metallic stripe. I got it at a sewists swap last year. I wanted to make a collarless jacket and the 12-2013-11  Burdastyle one looked interesting.

Burdastyle 12- 2013-111 jacket mag

This is a princess line jacket with the lining used as a facing to close the jacket. I chose a jacquard lining in silver grey. I prefer it in offwhite and grey rather than sequins and patterned silk.

I had to study the instructions very carefully to get the front bands correct. The pattern pieces were more than usually inscrutable, but after recutting the centre front pieces it all came together. I cut a size 38 grading to 42 at the hip. After making a muslin I removed 1/2″ from each back piece and 1/2″ from the front shoulder. I also made a 1/2″ sway back adjustment and  a 3/4″ fba. These adjustments seem to be standard to Burda and Marfy jackets.


I was quite pleased that I got all the stripes lined up.

The neckband gave me trouble, in that I didn’t interface both pieces to start with, and I couldn’t get them lined up properly. I had enough fabric to recut so I did so and it worked out much better after interfacing both. The jacket is fastened with press fasteners covered with fabric.





This is going to be a very useful jacket in Summer, and Autumn as well with black trousers. I’ll blog about the other pieces soon; I’m really pleased with this 6PAC!

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Megan Nielsen Briar Top- the one that worked.

Last Summer I bought the Megan Nielsen Briar top pattern and made it up in a thickish silk cable knit fabric I bought in a sale. It never saw the light of day as whatever I tried, I just could not finish the neckline in an acceptable way. I even tried a stretch satin binding and it came out horribly wavy. The pattern then languished in the box for months.

I thought I’d give it another go in some stretchy lightish cotton jersey.

Megan Nielsen Briar Top

Megan Nielsen Briar Top

There you are, a perfect neckline, lying close to the skin! It’s the standard neckband topstitched close to the edge of the top. As the fabric has 4 way stretch I cut the neckband lengthways to make use of the stripes. Obviously I haven’t made the cropped version, but the normal length is perfectly age appropriate. I made a size S grading to M at the hem. The instructions are perfectly clear as all indie patterns tend to be, but I don’t need to look at T shirts ones now. It took me a couple of hours to make.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALook everyone, practically no puddling at the small of the back! I must admit I was expecting some.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI quite like the silhouette or mullet hem as some call it. I have seen some RTW tops like this made from linen jersey, and I intend to make at least one. They would look fabulous over loose linen trousers  or a flowy maxiskirt ( I have bought the Sewaholic Gabriola  and can’t wait to try it). Then all that is needed is some sunshine, too much to hope for a tropical beach. I’ll settle for floating around an English garden.

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