White Tree Fabrics – on the blog team!

Some exciting news!


I’m now a member of the White Tree Fabrics blog team! Whoo!

Blog Team White tree

What is White Tree Fabrics?
White Tree Fabrics is a wholesale fashion fabric company that has been around since 1946 and has recently moved into online retailing. They are based in the East Midlands in England.

What is the Blog team?

If you are familiar with the concepts behind the Mood Sewing Network and the Minerva Blogger Network, then you’ll understand the idea. It’s a simple concept: White Tree Fabrics supply the bloggers with sewing patterns, fabric, and notions etc. free of charge, and in exchange the bloggers must create a garment and feature it on their blog as a way of bringing the fabric and patterns on offer in their shop ‘to life’, which could help other sewers looking for inspiration. 

I’m looking forward to the challenge of sewing non-indie patterns as I’ve hardly ever used a pattern from the so-called ‘Big 4’.

For my first challenge I’ve chosen this Very Easy Vogue top/dress and I plan to make view C. I chose this red ponti roma. I’m hoping this will be a nice garment for when autumn makes its welcome return, worn with chunky tights, boots and falling leaves. Swoon for autumn. Yes, I’m a weirdo who looks forward to autumn in the middle of summer, it’s just so hot!

Check out all the bloggers on the team and follow White Tree Fabrics on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest posts from the bloggers.

The matching shorts that were not to be

Last month when I made my Flora dress I made a wearable muslin first from a weird huge kaftan thing bought in the fleamarket.
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And with the leftover fabric I decided to make another (hopefully) wearable muslin for the Maritme shorts from Grainline Studio. i.e. a MATCHING shorts and dress combination. YES PLEASE.

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“Can’t wait for my matching shorts!”

However, while the dress muslin is perfectly wearable, sadly the shorts muslin is not so wearable: they just don’t fit at all, far too small! So it’s back to the pattern for some adjustments and a second attempt (at some point).

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Despite the fact that they don’t fit the sewing itself went well and it was really interesting to sew a totally different garment than what I am used to and try and decipher the instructions for new techniques. And at least now I know how to sew a fly!

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“Booo, no matching shorts just yet!”

When Lilou met Anna

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This is the result of combining the bodice of the Lilou pattern from Tilly’s book and the skirt of the Anna dress from By Hand London.

I liked the Lilou dress when I saw it but I’d kind of had enough of pleated skirts for a while after my Flora dress escapade. I wanted something simpler, and then I remembered making the Anna dress a while back and how much I liked the paneled skirt.
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With some strategic folding and measuring of pattern pieces it was relatively easy to match the skirt to the bodice. I just wanted to make sure that the back darts matched up with the seams of the skirt panel pieces and that everything matched at the side seams.
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I carried out an SBA on the Lilou bodice which worked fine, although I think I could have taken a wee bit more out, but I can live with it.

Fabric is a medium-weight cotton that drapes quite nicely. From, you guessed it, Goldhawk Road. (Luckily I’m going back to London in July so I’ll be able to replenish my Goldhawk Road section of the fabric stash as it is going down fast.)
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All in all I really like this dress, it is really comfortable and simple and I think I’ll wear it a lot. And I love the print.

Some detail shots of the inside (check out the overlocked edges, swooon!):
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And I want to highlight two great posts from superstar Belgian bloggers that helped enormously with the dress:

  • Hanne’s post about low/high bust adjustments was perfectly timed for me with this project as I read it just before I started to modify the Lilou bodice. It is such a good piece of knowledge – I’m going to check all patterns for this from now on!
  • And Lieke’s recent post on the merits of moving the zipper over to the side seam was also food for thought before making this dress. See Lieke’s great tutorial here.

Last Saturday was a also a mini Belgian sewing blogger meetup in lovely Leuven.
It was lots of fun, especially as we got to say ‘Proficiat’ to Sew it Up champion Anneke in person!

And…I visited Pauli Stoffen for the first time. Seriously one of the nicest fabric shops I’ve ever been to! Not only is the shop well-stocked, aesthetically pleasing, and friendly but they wrap the fabric you buy in nice brown paper so when you take it home it feels like you have lots of presents to open  – yes, presents you bought yourself but presents all the same.

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There’s always time for Tilly

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Just a quick post to show you my latest Tilly makes!

Say hello to my second Coco dress. Fabric is from Marché des Abbatoirs in Brussels.

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And this is the Clémence skirt from her best-selling book ‘Love at First Stitch‘.

The fabric is from an old pinny I got in Les Petits Riens for one euro. Great thing about making things from existing garments is that if you position your pieces correctly then you can save yourself the bother of hemming, for example!

In other news, I got an overlocker!

Now I just need to learn how to thread it… 🙂

Do you have an overlocker? How did you find it in the beginning? Any top tips?

Sew it up: week 3 (sew-a-long) Inspired by art!

So here is the garment I had planned for week 3 of Sew it Up. (I know I’m a bit behind in posting this!)

The challenge
Inspired by art: pick a visual artist of your choice and transform the inspiration into a
wearable garment.

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I chose Jan Fabre, a Belgian artist who designed the ceiling in one of the rooms in the Palais Royal, in front of the Parc de Bruxelles. The ceiling is covered in millions of green beetles and the way it reflects the light is really impressive.
Read more here and here.

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I had my lightning moment one day while talking about the monarchy, which reminded me of seeing the ceiling a few summers ago when I visited.

“Yes, the ceiling in the Royal Palace with all the green beetles on it! That’s art! I can make a dress inspired by it!”

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What I like about the ceiling is its interesting ondulated texture and I thought that the République du Chiffon Viviane dress with its quilted feature round the front and back neckline would be the perfect way to reference the texture of the ceiling. The pattern explains how to make your own quilted pieces but I used some
silver quilted fabric, which came from Goldhawk Road.

I chose to make the main part of the dress up in some green brushed satin, also from Goldhawk Road, as a reference to the green colour of the beetles.

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I think I must have forgot to add seam allowances to the skirt piece when I traced it off because it fit the bodice part exactly and I think it is supposed to be gathered. It was fun to make and a good challenge to use fabric that is slightly tricky to work with, but it is not something I’ll be wearing a lot. I may even hack off the skirt and wear it as a top. Next time I’ll make this pattern in a more wearable fabric, and a size up too.

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So that is the last post from me with Sew it Up challenges. I decided not to bother making anything for the unconventional materials challenge and what I had planned to make for the signature style week will also wait a bit as it is quite a winter outfit. That’s what happens when you don’t have deadlines anymore!

So make sure you vote for your favourite contestant in the final – good luck Anneke and Erika!

P.S. Have you seen Hanne’s Sewing Café video? Hanne tagged me so now it’s my turn to give you a guided tour of my sewing space. I’ll be brushing up on my video skills and welcoming you into the messy corner of my bedroom shortly to show you what is in my sewing machine drawer.