The Niva has landed!

I’ve admired Sansahash’s cool patterns for a while now and when they put a call for new pattern testers to join their testing team I jumped in with an application. I was delighted to be invited to join the team! The first chance to test a pattern was for their Niva Leggings

An Appliqué Addiction Brewing…

A few people have expressed an interest in how I recently went about creating three animal themed appliqués. So here is a little insight into my very limited appliqué experience to give a bit of context, finishing with some of the steps I took to make my favourite piece to date

Some very special DIAmond Sewing

When Misusu Patterns called for testers for the DIA patterns a very special project immediately came to mind. I had never before sewn something for Marlie, my mum, nor did I have any photos of me, my daughter and my mother together. As it worked out I couldn’t test the ladies version, a trip to Romania got in the way (oh poor me!), but got my hands on the pattern as soon as it was ready, thank you Elles! Once the kids testing was done I got cracking on a sweater for myself and my mum.

DIAmonds for Divils

Misusu Patterns have just released their updated DIA Kids Sweater and Tunic pattern. The size range has expanded and an amazing number of options added (I personally love the high-low hem option that has been introduced). And what’s more; Misusu has now released a DIA Ladies version!! It is their first ladies’ pattern and what a super pattern to start with!!!

This post here is all about the DIAs for my pair of divils – more on the ladies to follow!!


“I do declare this is a FABULOUS FLORAL FEAST of a sweater!!”

I was delighted to get the chance to test the new children’s version. I must, here at the outset, admit to previously having been daunted by the pattern; it looks a bit tricky. When you’re trying to squeeze sewing in around the busy routines of life sometimes a pattern that requires a little effort can feel like a step too far. But this is why I love pattern testing. You’ve got to make that extra effort. Any by goodness this DIA pattern is worth every bit.

If, however, you’re still daunted Misusu have added both a basic front, a simple diamond piece and a constructed diamond piece. So you can decide to jump in with the full constructed diamond option, or take it easy and sew some lovely simple sweaters with some great hem and seam shapes. Pattern perfection for sure!!!

Misusu’s patterns are incredibly well conceived and constructed. The tutorials are detailed and comprehensive and when you follow the instructions the pattern just falls into place. Yes without doubt the constructed diamond requires careful attention to keeping your seam allowances even, but other than that there are no difficult techniques at all. Just a little patience. Which, when it comes to sewing, it turns out I am developing!!

“Yes, I love my puff sleeves, but I love my jelly more.”

For my first test version I decided to jump in with the constructed diamond and puff sleeves on the high low sweater version. I used quite stable sweater fabric, a combination of a purple/aubergine sweater from Metermeter and a floral liberty sweater fabric from Guthrie & Ghani. The little puff sleeves are very cute, though I reckon would be more effective in a slightly lighter fabric. A pretty perfect fit from the outset and my little diva was delighted with her DIA!

We love CANDY!!

A contrasting candy coloured delight!!

Next up I decided to go or the tunic length version, high low again, and this time used a combination of three contrasting French terry fabrics. The yellow and rust colours from See You At Six and the pink from Elvelyckan Design.

No. 3 is also wearing here Easy Cuff Leggings, also from Misusu in some denim look jersey from Dress Fabrics.

I love this bright candy coloured combination!! The tunic length is just great for those chillier days when an extra bit of cosiness is needed. Pretty damn stylish too!!

Pink perfection!!

The last test version I made is perhaps the most perfect little sweater I have ever made; a high low sweater in a soft, light but stable double sided French terry fabric from Guthrie & Ghani.

I love the subtle high – low hem.

The front of the fabric is a soft flat sweater finish while the “reverse” of the fabric is a pink looped finish. The stability of the fabric really helped achieve those perfect diamond points. I found it makes it so much easier to keep the seam allowances even and the seams lining up when there is not too much stretch in the fabric.

No.3 can get impatient when she sees a new jumper ready to try on…

The high-low hem created by Misusu, isn’t just a simple hem on a slightly longer back, but a carefully detailed pieced waistband that results in an shape that works beautifully with the diamond theme. Subtly angled side seams meet those waistband seams delightfully. It is so satisfying when it all comes together at the end!!

Neon Diamond Maddness!!

Neon madness!!!

I had finished my testing makes but No.2 was feeling a little neglected in the sewing stakes so I decided to make him a DIA. From his measurements I should have graded the pattern to make it narrower, as he’s a skinny tall chap. But with my pattern tester hat no longer on I was back in lazy mode and just went with his height measurement. So plenty of room for layers under this snuggly neon fleece DIA!!

My beautiful No.2.

I went with the straight waistband option for this one and used some neon polar fleece from Fabrics Ireland combined with French terry from Elvelyckan and See You At Six! You might need sunglasses for this!!! The grey ribbing was a little too heavy for the main fabric along the waistband, especially at the back, so ended up swapping it out for some lighter weight See You At Six ribbing.

A pair of DIAmond DIVILS

A pair of Diamond Divils.

No.2 is madly in love with his sister. She tolerates him most of the time, but deep down loves him too. They have the craic together, that’s for sure.

Brotherly love.
With a bit of reciprocation.

As always there was a great atmosphere within the DIA Kids testing group and the quality and inventiveness of my fellow testers was incredibly inspiring!!! A huge thanks to Elles for having me on the team; it was super experience once again!! While I didn’t test the DIA ladies pattern, I did get my hands on it as soon as it was ready (thanks Elles!) and straightaway got to work on a very special sewing project… more of that in a later post.

This post goes live right in the middle of the madness that is the Black Friday/Cyber Monday long weekend. Misusu Patterns are holding a big giveaway over on Instagram and there is 25% off all their patterns from the 23rd to the 26th November 2018!! 

LANA for me!

When Olga Becker from Coffee and Thread asked if any of the Lana KIDS testing team would like to join a Lana Pattern Tour I put my hand up immediately! Anything to encourage a bit of selfish sewing and with such a lovely pattern how could I refuse!

I intended making myself a Lana Dress, as I could definitely do with a few more Me Made dresses in my wardrobe (I have only one!!), but ended up making a couple of casual tops that are immediate favourites.

Love that ruffled drop sleeve detail, almost as much as I love that shade of yellow!

First, I made a t-shirt using some of See You At Six‘s latest collection of fabrics. I wasn’t supposed to buy any more fabric when this collection came out, but couldn’t resist those flying geese on such a lovely shade of yellow.

Grey and yellow – a great combination! I can just about get away with this shade of yellow and love it with my grey linen Calyer Pants by French Navy Patterns.

I sized up to allow for the french terry fabric that has a little more body than the jersey fabric intended for the pattern. It’s a relaxed fit on me and the lovely soft fabric makes it nice and cosy. Honestly, it will get more wear next summer than over the winter months but already has had quite a few outings, layered up as necessary.

Pretty cool with blue too! This time with my Cleo Skirt by Made By Rae Patterns in lovely linen by Merchant and Mills.
I can just about keep wearing it on those not too chilly days layered up with one of my favourite RTW cardis.

For Round Two I promised myself I’d make a dress, but then came across this lovely soft white sweater fabric in my stash and knew that it needed to become a jumper.

Lovely soft white sweater from Quilt Yarn Stitch. Yes, I am aware how mad it is to make something white in a household with three filthy little-uns.

The sweater fabric came from one of my favourite Irish fabric shops Quilt Yarn Stitch and I married it with more of that yellow See You At Six ribbing and some striped organic cotton interlock from Fabwork Mills. Yellow, White and Grey. Yum!!

I love the long sleeves with the gathered shoulder. Just enough detail to lift it from the ordinary without being too fussy.

I used the ruffled short sleeve and hacked it to an extra long sleeve with a yellow cuff to keep it practical and cosy. Olga has actually added a straight long sleeve to the pattern that can be used by itself or with the ruffle piece layered over it, but I wanted just a gather to the main sleeve so gave it a go. Not perfect but I’m happy!! (Notice a pattern developing? I love a cosy top!) I added a waistband to finish the bottom.

I spent a while thinking about the arm fabric. You don’t often see a jumper with a different coloured sleeve and was worried it would look weird when it was made. I wanted to used the lighter weight fabric to avoid the sleeves being too bulky and love the soft white and soft grey combined with the yellow. I’m delighted I risked it!!

Sleeve success!!!

I must say I was delighted with myself heading off to the Knitting and Stitching Show the day after I made this sweater in my largely Me Made outfit. This sewing addiction of mine is so rewarding! Even if it results in a lighter bank balance and neglected household…

Off to the Knitting and Stitching Show (where I bought more of that gorgeous white sweater fabric from the lovely ladies at the Quilt Yarn Stitch stand) in my new jumper along with my self drafted bag and Sylvia Coatigan. Yeay!!

I’m so thrilled to have been able to join so many talented seamstresses on this pattern tour. If you check out @coffeeandthread over on Instagram you’ll see all the fabulous work. So very inspiring, and I love the comradery fostered in the Facebook sewing groups!

Over at Coffee and Thread there is a 20% discount on all their patterns for the duration of the Lana Pattern Tour, 5th -16th November 2018, code: ‘lanatour’; so well worth a visit!!!


Need more Coffee and Thread for the children? Here comes LANA!

A couple of weeks ago I spotted a call on Instagram for pattern testers to test a new children’s pattern being released by Coffee and Thread; the Lana KIDS Dress and Tee. It looked like a gorgeous little pattern, within my skill range and so I decided to apply! Low and behold I was selected. Yippee! Cue some more late night sewing…

I had admired their adult Lana Top and Dress pattern and it has been on my wish list for a while, so was delighted to get the chance to test a children’s version. I applied to test the Lana Gathered Dress version for my little No.3. and she measured perfectly for the 18 months size.

Perfect flutter sleeves on a dropped shoulder. Jersey fabric from Quilt Yarn Stitch.

I must admit to being a little nervous at joining a testing team for a new designer. My experiences with Misusu Patterns testing have been wonderful and I was worried that this experience wouldn’t measure up. I am delighted that this turned out to be another great experience. Coffee and Thread are based in Chicago and the testing group was made up of lots of sewing folk who I had not encountered before, so a lovely way to discover new people. Olga was great to test for; super engaged and so very helpful with advice/suggestions. Very gentle in her admonishing of those of us who hadn’t pressed our seams (yes, that would be me, oops!)… and more than a few good sewing tips thrown in too!

A beautiful rainbow of colours.

There are always a few surprises when testing patterns and this was no exception. The construction of those lovely little sleeves was a bit tricky to master. And I was nearly pulling out my hair at one stage, but thanks to the great support and ideas from Olga and the other testers I figured out a good method and conquered them! This is why I do pattern testing. It’s a great way to push my sewing boundaries and to learn from the experience of others! The most useful tip was to stay stitch the corners of the shoulder and snip into the corners a bit before pinning the sleeve on, sniping in a little more if needed. I found I needed to be quite careful when serging this seam, pulling the sleeve fabric as needed to avoid grabbing too much fabric. It is so satisfying when you master a new skill!!

Conker hunting in red flamingo print jersey from The Fabric Counter.

The pattern comes with three versions. A Gathered Dress, a Tee Dress and a Top. I tested the two dress options and love them both. It’s a relaxed fitting pattern and much of the focus of the testing was to get the fit just right; relaxed but not too loose.

Best buddies.

I made a couple of gathered dresses for testing purposes early on. The first (as modelled by Gorilla here!) was in a lovely green organic cotton interlock combination and was a little too wide. The fabric is quite loose in weave, and so gave it an even looser fit.

No.3 and Gorilla

The second (as modelled by the Gorilla’s beautiful friend) is the blue jersey version made with some lovely Elvelyckan Design jersey.  A tiny bit long (not a problem for me – always happy for growing room!) was my only comment! 

Next up I got stuck into a Lana Tee Dress.

Such a comfy dress and this really soft jersey is just perfect for it.

This first version is made using the softest jersey from Quilt Yarn Stitch. I have a good bit of it left in my stash, and have used if for a few other projects. It has a lovely generous stretch, and is really very soft. And those clashing blue and green stripes are just super!

I love the dropped shoulder detail in this pattern. The curve to the shoulder is just perfect and ends with a beautiful fluttered sleeve. I think Olga had older girls in mind with this Tee Dress version – but my goodness it is cute on my little maggot.

Belly, belly!
Who is at the door?

I called into The Fabric Counter during testing and was seduced by this gorgeous flamingo print jersey. It is just perfect for the Lana Gathered Dress version.

The Gathered Dress in gorgeous flamingo printed jersey from The Fabric Counter.

I learnt a new sewing tip during the course of this testing. I’ve made dresses with gathered skirts before but this was the first time a pattern called up adding a 15mm strip interfacing to the bottom of the bodice where it meets the skirt. And it works a treat! It prevents the bodice rippling along this seam and keeps it lovely and neat looking!

“Four, three, two, one, ready or not! Here I come!”
Another super comfy dress for my littlest sweetheart.

The pattern calls for the use of a knit fabric; jersey or similar. As we are settling into autumn here in Ireland I decided for my last version I would use some sweater fabric for another Tee Dress. And what a super fabric it is! Oh my, those colours! It’s a Liberty sweater fabric I bought from Guthrie & Ghani, a UK based fabric shop. I splurged a little and bought it with a sweater for myself in mind, (I’m thinking another Bel’Etoile Isa Sweater) and think I’ll have just enough left after eating into it a little here…

Liberty Sweater fabric from Guthrie & Ghani.

I was concerned that the heavier weight sweater would make the dress a bit too constricting, but I needn’t have worried, it fits great and No.3 was well able to run about and hunt for conkers in it. Combined with some Elvelyckan Design ribbing for the neck band and the ruffled sleeves it’s pretty much perfect.

Out and about collecting conkers in this gorgeous dress! Plenty of run to run and jump and root about.
Stunning colours, perfect for this simple dress.

I’ve really enjoyed making the Lana Dress versions and suspect No.3 will get a lot more in the future – along with some Lana Tops! I might even have to embark on some rare mum and daughter twinning too and invest in that adult Lana pattern for myself!

A huge thanks to Olga for inviting me to join the testing team! I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Lana KIDS Top and Dress is released today, 2nd October 2018, and it is on sale for the duration of the week of release (2nd October till 9th October 2018) and can be snapped up here for $6.50, instead of $9.00 after. 


Bel’Etoile International Pattern Tour

Back in July I was thrilled to be invited to join the Bel’Etoile International Pattern Tour. I had purchased two of their patterns earlier in the year but never got around to making them, so this was the perfect kick in the bum to try them out! Here’s how I got on…

Over on Instagram today (3rd Sept. 2018) I’m hosting a giveaway of one Bel’Etoile pattern – so go check it out for a chance to win!

At the same time I was also lucky enough to have spent a day walking from Shannon to Limerick with “Walk While You Can“, a charity walk travelling the length of the country to raise awareness and funds in aid of Motor Neurone Disease research. I decided to take advantage of being family-free on the other side of the country. So the next day I undertook a mini road trip home via Tuam to visit Quilt Yarn Stitch, and then on to Kells to visit Dress Fabrics. It was a great excuse to go visit the real life shops of two of the best online fabric shops based in Ireland.

I didn’t go crazy buying fabric, as my stash is getting a little out of control, but had hoped to use some Irish sourced fabric in the outfits I made for this tour.

Giraffes in pockets are becoming a feature of these photoshoots of ours!

In Quilt Yarn Stich I had to close my eyes to all the lovely printed jersey fabrics. I just can’t let myself buy more till I’ve used up some of what I have. I did fall for some lovely white quilted stretch sweater fabric and some cream/white solid sweater fabric too. Quite what I was doing buying white to be worn in a household with three small children I don’t know… (but I’m very glad I did!)


No.3 in her gorgeous Isa Dress!

The first item I made was the Isa Dress and used some of that lovely quilted sweater for the front and back panels. This is the first Bel’Etoile pattern I bought back in April. I was drawn to the cool v-shaped colour blocking options. It also has lots of fit options to it – Sweater, Cropped Sweater, Sweater Dress and Dress.

Just enough warmth in the dress for a breezy mild day on an Irish beach!

I went with the dress option and, despite loving the v-shaped colour blocking potential, I decided that the quilted fabric provided enough texture. I paired it with some soft pink French terry from Elvelyckan Design that I’ve had in my stash for a while. The combination of soft colours and textures worked out just great!

I love those oversized pockets on the skirt of the dress!

The fit is lovely and relaxed with plenty of room for climbing about. It will be prefect in autumn/winter paired with some leggings/tights.

We managed to get away from the lads for a bit while on holidays in Castlegregory, Co. Kerry a couple of weeks ago and No.3 really enjoyed collecting stones on the beach – she was delighted to discover the big patch pockets the dress offers!!

Pockets can be tricky to figure out!! She had them full of stones and shells in no time though!
The relaxed fit is perfect for exploring and collecting… Here she is methodically emptying those pockets


Next up I decided to make the Lux Dress, well, two Lux Dresses! As there is now a women’s version as well as one for children! (During the blogtour, anyone who buys the Isa or Lux pattern, gets a free copy of the women’s pattern!)

So No. 3 and I were to get some matching gear for the first time! It occurred to me as I was finishing the Lux Dress for me that I hadn’t sewn a dress for myself in 10 years!! Not since one of my brothers’ wedding! Think I need more now!! I’ve pretty much lived in my Lux Dress since I made it.

Beautifully soft cotton interlock from Fabworks Online

For both dresses I used some lovely soft organic cotton interlock from Fabworks Online, a UK based online fabric shop that sells a lovely selection of organic cottons. A finely striped one for me and a whale patterned fabric for No.3. Beautifully soft. 

Whale fabric for No.3

The pattern calls for either a decorative surface positioned elastic waistband, or a concealed one using shirring elastic. I had neither so added in a casing for some normal 1″ elastic I had in my sewing box. I went about it arse-ways for No.3’s dress but learnt from that and improved the technique for my own, so was a much easier undertaking.

Lux dress on my beauty, paired with a little pair of Brindille and Twig Shorts as it was a little chilly out!

The little cuff sleeves are designed to be turned up, but I didn’t sew them up in either dress. There is also an option to hem the armhole, think I’ll try this for me next time. I will sew mine up, but I do like how they form little sleeves on No.3’s dress when left folded down.

Such a comfy dress! Great for climbing onto tables…

I was a little concerned at the waist position – my narrowest point is a good bit higher than the pattern’s elasticated waistband – so it wouldn’t necessarily be the most flattering, but I decided to stick with the pattern for this first attempt and see where it led me.

My little beauty and me in our softest, comfiest beautiful Luxes.

I’ve got to say I do love the dress. The only adjustment to the pattern I made was to lengthen it by 7cm, as I’m 178cm tall . It is incredibly comfortable and while it’s very casual looking here, another fabric selection would make it so much dressier

Relaxed, Cosy, Soft, Perfect! (You’ll see the sleeve cuff should be folded up here… shhh)

This means nothing to me… Oh Vienna!!

Oh , but it really does mean so very much to me to be able to sew!! Next up I made a gorgeous little Vienna Dress for No.3 (the lads were really starting to feel left out!) using some lovely denim from Dress Fabrics and some quilted pink fabric from Fabrics Ireland.

Love those little flutter cap sleeves!

I had picked up a remnant of a lovely soft denim when I went to visit Dress Fabrics’ garden party. It was such a relief to arrive at Maeve’s sheds! I had been driving all day and was greeted with tea, sandwiches (thank you to Maeve’s mum and sister!!) and best of all lots of beautiful fabric! Once again I resisted buying too much, but it was so good to see the fabrics up close. Buying fabric online is so very easy, but it is hard to know exactly what you’re buying. It was wonderful to have a good look around and now to be able to trust in the quality of everything she stocks! I got some lovely yellow French terry and some designer fake suede scuba fabric (not sure what to do with that, but couldn’t resist!) too.

Vienna Dress and elephant!

The Vienna Dress is a more formal, structured “pretty” pattern than the Lux or the Isa. The little capped sleeves, and the ruffled seam to the front are lovely details. It calls for a zipped back, but I have never done a zip (!!) so instead added 3 lovely wooden buttons. Zips are on my list of things to learn to do, but hadn’t built up the courage at this point!

Three big buttons with elastic loops to close the rear. I think I got those buttons from The Constant Knitter on Francis Street in Dublin.

I’ve no idea what the pink fabric is! I bought it from TWI / Fabrics Ireland to line a coat that I made earlier on in the year and had a bit left over. It is quite thick and has a lovely bouncy quilted texture and is very soft. I wasn’t sure how it would work but am delighted with the result. 

Front view of Vienna. You can just see the lining to the top half which is a quilting cotton from The Fabric Counter.

I love the contrast in colour and texture between the two fabrics and the buttons add yet another layer of contrast. It really is a very pretty pattern!

Rear view of the Vienna Dress.

There are so many amazing Bel’Etoile outfits made as part of this blog tour by some terribly talented seamstresses (sewers? sewists?) and I would really encourage you to check them out over on Instagram. Just search for Bel’Etoile and you’re sorted!!

Thanks a million to Isabel from Bel’Etoile for inviting me to join the tour and to Tina Eklund Philp for making the introduction!

Time for some FREEKin’ Sewing Fun!!

Misusu Patterns’ FREEkin’ Sewing Challenge!

Head down to the end of the post to see details of the TWO special giveaways I’ll be hosting today on Instagram with thanks to Misusu Patterns and Madeline de Stoffenmadam as part of the FREEkin’ Sewing Challenge socialmedia tour!!

It has always been a pleasure to engage with Misusu Patterns. I’ve done a couple of rounds of pattern testing with them and I love the warm, generous attitude that Elles Lanfer promotes within the testing groups. Within the testing group there is a shared goal; to help perfect a great pattern and there is always an atmosphere of collaboration and enthusiasm. So, when Elles put out a call for bloggers/”inspirators” to help inspire others to take part in the “Misusu FREEkin’ Sewing Challenge” I applied immediately.

Please check out Misusu Patterns’ blog with details of the challenge and – links to the blogs/Facebook/Instagram posts of all my fellow Inspirators.

Around the same time as this got going See You At Six released their latest fabric collection and I got well and truly sucked in by the gorgeous patterns and colours. I hopped online to Madeline de Stoffenmadam, who stock See You At Six along with an amazing selection of tempting fabrics, and ordered gorgeous rusty brown giraffes, bright yellow painters, some dusty blue cotton lawn and some plain solids/ribbing to match the others. You see them in featured in pretty much all of the outfits I made for this project. Think I got a little obsessed…

Two messing models in Rowan Tees made with See You At Six giraffe French terry fabric from Madeline de Stoffenmadam

The challenge involved is to make an outfit using Misusu patterns, at least one being one of Misusu’s free patterns and, before getting stuck into some hopefully inspiring sews, I had a pair of birthday pressies to make for two boys. They’re the same ages as my No.1 and No. 2 so did a bit of practice with some easily bribed models on hand to test on. And as seems to happen often these days I didn’t want to give them away…

I used the Rowan Tee pattern and a simple hack introducing a seam along the back giving a few more options for playing with colour/pattern/texture. My two lads enjoyed modelling them!

Rear view with a shoulder yoke. This also gives the chance to use the precious patterned fabric sparingly!

And did you notice the placement of that giraffe on No.2’s top? Entirely luck that the giraffe ended up where the pocket could sit with perfection!

How’s that for good fortune!?

I love the relaxed fit of the Rowan Tee – it looks just right even when there is plenty of growing room. Growing room; always a must when you spend time and love making something for your children. Just before the beginning of the challenge Misusu Patterns released an updated version of the Rowan Tee with  adjustments to the fit and a long sleeved version! She also expanded the size range – it now goes all the way to size 13-14/164!. I’ll get years of fun out of this pattern!

On Your Marks! Get Set! Go!

First up for inspiration time was a long sleeved Rowan Tee for No.1, in French terry, so more of a sweatshirt version than a t-shirt, paired with a pair of Misusu Alex Pants. The great little pockets on the front make these a really lovely pair of tracksuit bottoms. It was my first time sewing the Alex pattern and really enjoyed it. No. 1 was delighted with them! He’s really starting to care about what he wears and loves a bit of coordination, so the matching ribbing was appreciated!

“This is what a ball boy does!” Rowan Tee in Sulphur Yellow “Painter” French terry by See You At Six from Madeline de Stoffenmadam.

I didn’t want to try and wrestle with pocket/pattern placement on the front of the sweater so used solid yellow for the arms and back and relocated the breast pocket to his right arm (he’s a lefty). You can’t really tell in the pics, but I used ribbing for the back yoke that I introduced and solid yellow to the rest of the back.

Aaaaand action! Alex Pants: slightly too big on the waist, but the drawstring solves that.

He’ll soon outgrow the pattern size range for the Alex Pants (expand it Elles!!) as this is the biggest size (5-6/116). It’s a little big on the waist, and I added a couple of inches to the length. That all important growing room box ticked!

Someone got a haircut! The Alex Pants are made in a navy speckled sweater fabric and yellow (See You At Six) ribbing both from Madeline de Stoffenmadam.

While I have greatly enjoyed the pattern testing I’ve done it’s rare that I would aim to make anything to fit my children perfectly. When testing a pattern you have to try for a perfect fit in order to fulfil the brief but, as I’ve said, I usually aim for a little big so that they get more than a couple of months out of something I’ve spent care in making. Most everything I’ve made for this inspirator project has a bit of growing room included.

Giraffes for the animal lover…

Next up was back to a giraffe Rowan Tee for No.2, this time paired with Misusu’s new Summer Olli Shorts. Both are free patterns!! The Olli shorts (or pants) pattern available through the Misusu Patterns Sew and Tell Facebook group. So join up to get it!

After the luck of the pocket placement in the first round of birthday Rowan Tees I deliberately made sure the giraffe would be well placed in this version. I went with the same fit and simple hack of adding a yoke to the back.

Gorgeous Olli shorts in beautiful yellow linen from The Fabric Counter.

The Olli shorts is a great little pattern (you’ll see it appear throughout the outfits made for No.3) with an elasticated waist and deep side pockets. I knew immediately that I’d need to make No.2 a pair in the lovely yellow linen I got a while back from The Fabric Counter. He loves yellow! I used the same fabric for the Rowan Tee pocket to bring the outfit together.

Gotta love those pockets!
Delighted with himself! (Or maybe that’s just the promise of a treat that’s making him smile…)

If there’s one thing that No.2 loves more than animals it’s his little sister…

No. 2 delighted to see his little sister. Both looking great in their Misusu gear.

… and she loves him too, though gets a little fed up with his overwhelming “affection”.

Row, Row, Rowan your Boat

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream… cliche I know but No.3 got the Rowan Tee treatment too so seems appropriate. This time with added gathering to a curved seam at the back. I also lengthened the back hemline for a high-low look. I love how the gathering gives extra width and air to the fit. The gathering and high-low hem also make it a little dressier.

Safari theme going strong! Zebra print woven cotton from Stoff & Stil and more of that See You At Six fabric from Madeline de Stoffenmadam.

I made a draft of this top that wasn’t quite right but with some great feedback from my fellow inspirators in our Facebook group I think I nailed it. I dropped the mid-back seam position, curved it and also kept the gathers more in the central part of the back. Love the collaboration you get in these lovely Facebook groups that Elles facilitates!

I love the curved back seam in this hack of the Rowan Tee. Zebra patterned Olli shorts.
Taking a giraffe for a walk… Watch out zebras that croc looks hungry!

I think the French terry fabric works so well with this Rowan Tee. It is so soft and cosy while the gathers add airy lightness that we have really needed with the hot weather of late. I paired it with those super Olli Shorts again, this time using a lovely zebra printed cotton fabric I’ve had for a while. A bit of a safari theme running through…

Gorgeous gathers!

Louise Love!

I’ve been only dying for an excuse to make another Louise Sweater for No.3. It’s up there with my favourite patterns. Some of the first sewing photos I took using the dSLR were of this lovely Louise Sweater on a very little No.3. It still fits with room to spare about 8 months later! Rumour has it Misusu might be preparing an adult sized Louise… Oh I would love one!

Lovely Louise Sweater on a little No.3.

So, back to the challenge. The second outfit I made for No.3 included the Olli shorts again and this time coordinated with the Louise Sweater. I love the diagonal line to the side seam and the ability to use sweater and woven fabric together. See You At Six fabric got some use again in this one! In hindsight I would probably have used the giraffes for the front panel as a bit of added pattern would have been good. You live and learn!!

“Is that a treat I see over there?”
“Shall I jump off this dangerous stool?”

The Olli shorts are a really lovely pattern. There is an option for a buckled strap at the back and another for a tied bow to the front. Most of the shorts I made for No.3 included the bow option. It really dresses the shorts up. For this version however I thought I’d try adding a ribbed waistband.

“Do you want to see my belly?” No.3 teasing us with a peek at her ribbed waistband…

I love to see my little girl in shorts. They are so practical for exploring and running around. When graced with such a big round belly skirts often end up under her arms, so shorts are practical and just plain perfect!

Louise Sweater and Olli Shorts in See You At Six French terry and cotton lawn fabrics.
Outdoor adveture time!

All MAXed Out!!

I thought I had finished up all my projects for this Misusu FREEkin’ Sewing Challenge but then decided I’d go for one last outfit and stretch my sewing skills!

I decided to try two techniques I’d never attempted before and one that is a little tricky. This time round I went with a Max Tee paired with, yes, you guessed in, some Olli shorts! I had made one Max Tee before – this lovely green and blue striped one for No. 1. Those front corners are that tricky technique mentioned above – but they are sure worth the risk/effort!

No.1 with attitude in his Max Tee.

Misusu patterns come with really excellent, clear tutorials. They have always given me the confidence to give the trickier parts of any of their patterns a go. And, touch wood, I’ve always managed to pull it off! Long may that last! 

So, first new technique I decided to try – embroidery! I’d never done any embroidery but had seen some amazing examples on Instagram – in particular the work of @defnegunturkun and I thought I ‘d give it a go. Nothing as fancy as the examples I’d seen; I started with the basics.

Max Tee with embellished bib and button closures.

The Max Tee is designed to be used with woven and jersey fabrics together. So the woven bib was a perfect spot to try some simple embroidery stitches. The corner angles on that bib are a little daunting but having made a few other outfits I was happy to take some risks this time round.

Lego time! No.3 happy and relaxed in her pretty top made with soft white linen from Fabrics Ireland and coral French terry from Elvelyckan Design.

I googled “embroidery stitches”, got myself an embroidery hoop and also some embroidery thread and was all set. I decided to keep it simple and at first embroidered little flowers and petals using a “Detached Chain Stitch”. I then got some confidence and decided to infill with some “French Knots”, a little more tricky.

The second technique I had never tried before was sewing a button hole! I’ve always avoided it. When I realised I had only one snap fitting left in my sewing box I knew I was going to have to bite the bullet – and so glad I did!

Embroidery and Button Holes!!

Not perfect, but so very close! And along with those two very neat corner junctions I was delighted with the result!

The other adjustments I made to the original pattern were to 1) shorten the sleeves and add a ruffle to the top the shoulder, 2) a gathering to the back yoke seam (I’m in a bit of a gathering mood it seems) and 3) a slightly longer hem to the back to give another high-low look.

Mwah! No.3 blowing kisses in her beautiful outfit!
Don’t fall off that stool!!! Spot the little flower tag?

I was going to make a pair of white linen Ollis to go with this and then thought “Are you crazy? White linen shorts for a 19 month old?” Thankfully I regained my sanity and made a grey chambray pair. It’s a lovely soft lightweight chambray from Quilt Yarn Stitch and far more practical that white linen! There’s actually a little pink and green fleck in the fabric, but it doesn’t really show in the photos. Love that little front bow!

Belly Belly! “See the bow on my shorts?!”
Who’s going to argue that it isn’t a perfect outfit for some interstellar exploration? I dare you!

Thank you! That’s it for now!

There was a super gang of inspirators tasked with coming up with some inspiring outfits for the Misusu FREEkin’ Sewing Challenge – and there are some amazing and inventive hacks to be discovered! Check out Misusu’s blog with links to all their Instagram accounts! I’ve loved seeing all the work as it’s be created and hope you have enjoyed seeing my projects!

I should let you know that Misusu Patterns are offering 15% off all their paid patterns during the course of this challenge and have all their free patterns available to enjoy too! You’ll find the discount code on Misusu’s blog post.

Don’t forget the Misusu Pattern Giveaway!!

Over on my Instagram profile on 5th August 2018, I will be giving away the chance to pick one paid pattern of choice from Misusu Patterns. You’ll see all the details of the giveaway at my Instagram account, @incompletestitches. All the other “Inspirators” will be hosting similar giveaways on their day of the social media tour so there are lots of opportunities to win!


When I realised I had used so much fabric sourced from Madeline de Stoffenmadam I got in touch with them to sheepishly ask if they’d be interested in sponsoring some fabric for my giveaway. I was thrilled when they said they’d love to! So for all you sewing enthusiasts based in Belgium and The Netherlands they have kindly offered the chance to win 1 metre of the See You At Six “Painted” French terry fabric in Sulphur Yellow – as used in this Rowan Tee:

“Painted” French terry in Sulphur Yellow by See You At Six, from Madeline de Stoffenmadam

You’ll see all the details of this bonus giveaway on the 5th August 2018 over at my Instagram account @incompletestitches – just remember you’ll need a postal address in The Netherlands or Belgium to be eligible for this one! 

(All the links are included entirely due to my love of the fabric/shop/pattern. I think it is great to be able to give a shout out for all those talented, committed people who help me enjoy this sewing lark as much as I do!)