Simple refashion – red linen dress to skirt

This Farhi dress has been a favourite for years, and the top was looking rather worn.  The skirt still looked good though and it is such a beautiful pinky red, so I thought I’d try to save it.

Farhi red linen dress

I removed the side zip and cut off the top.  Then I lengthened the remaining zip slit and inserted a skirt length zip.  There wasn’t enough fabric in the top to make waist facings, so I used a wide piece of bias binding.  I sewed this to the top (right sides together), folded it over and machined it down.



New skirt!

Farhi refashion

And an added extra – a beautiful Ghost dress which I’ve had for a couple of years and not worn.  It’s a very floaty, slightly sheer dress, but it had elbow length sleeves which meant it didn’t work for hot weather or holidays.  So I took a deep breath and cut them off!

Navy Ghost dress

After a lot of thought, I decided to leave a centimetre of sleeve attached, which I folded over twice then handstitched to the inside.  This meant I kept the original topstitching on the edge.  Here’s the inside.


And I’m very pleased to report that I have already worn it, for our wedding anniversary dinner!


A confession about (lack of) fitting – Burda 7531

I haven’t tucked a top into a skirt for years!  But when I took the initial pictures of this skirt, I realised it looked so much better with my t-shirt tucked in.  It’s funny how that wasn’t obvious to me in the mirror.

Burda 7531 skirt



Too big.

Then I realised that I had been lazy about fitting, because I thought the skirt waist would be covered by my top.  Taking it in by an inch has made it much more flattering.

I bought this fabric before I knew what I was going to make with it – love the colour!  Then I realised that the print would mean most of my skirt patterns wouldn’t work as they would chop it up.  Burda 7531 seemed to be a good solution.  There is a seam down the front and back, which I’ve highlighted with a row of stitching, and a dart across the front.  Otherwise, it’s a straightforward shape which meant pattern matching went pretty well.

Burda 7531

The front and back seam lines and horizontal darts give a lovely shape.

I’m looking forward to trying the pattern in a plainer fabric which will show off the seam lines.  I have some vintage tweed which I think will be great for the winter.

Vintage tweed fabric

IMG_2486Pattern: Burda 7531 £3.50
Fabric: Quilting cotton £0 (a gift from Mr D)
Everything else from stash

Cost: £3.50




Patchwork change purse – Patchwork Style by Suzuko Koseki

Back in April I was lucky enough to win Patchwork Style by Suzuko Koseki from Andrea at Stitch Parade.  My first project from the book is this sweet change purse – my first time using a flex frame.

Patchwork style change purse

This is a Japanese book, in English.  It’s got some very pretty project ideas and they’ll make lovely presents (including for me!).  I found the written instructions a little too wordy and confusing but the diagrams are very clear.  Adding a flex frame is really easy.  The two sections fit into tubes of fabric at the top, then fix together with a pin. I loved this patchwork and quilting style so much I made a lined zip pouch too.  The lines of stitching give such a finished look.

quilted patchwork zip pouch IMG_2310

I used scraps of Liberty and quilting cotton.  Lovely to use those tiny pieces I can’t bear to throw away! A great book – thank you Andrea!  I think the bag on the cover will be my next project.


Refashion # 1 maxi dress to, er, another dress!

I like to think I regularly take everything out of my wardrobe, put back the things I wear, and donate the rest.

What I actually do is -

1. put back the things I wear

2. then those I might wear (wedding, posh dinner, other occasions I sometimes go to)

3. add random things I will never wear – worn out, not my style or size.

This time I kept everything in category 3 in a separate place and I will do my very best to make these things wearable.

First up is this maxi dress which I have had for 6 years and never worn.  I’m not very comfortable in long strapless dresses in the day – one of those experiments that didn’t work out.


I love the colour and print, so decided to chop the bottom of the dress off and use that to make a new bodice.  I used the bodice from Butterick 5639.  There have been some mixed reviews of the fit of this pattern.  I found that the princess seams fitted perfectly at the front, but the side seams were too far towards the back.  Which was a fairly easy alteration to make.

Butterick 5639

I didn’t have enough fabric for the straps so made simple straight straps, using my edgestitching foot to topstitch.  I’m hopeless at using the different sewing machine feet, but I’ve used this one a few times and it gives such good results.


I then attached the existing skirt piece to the bodice, and added a full lining made from some cotton poplin from my stash.

I’m glad to say this dress has finally made it’s way out of my wardrobe and has been lovely to wear.

Since starting this post I’ve discovered it’s Repurpose Reuse Refashion month over at Sew Amy Sew!  Are you joining in?  I know I have a few more contenders for the scissors.

IMG_2393Pattern: Butterick 5639 £6
Fabric: Unworn dress
Lining, zip, thread: all from stash
Cost: £6!


Puppy poop bag holder – tutorial

Not my most glamorous make, but very useful!

dottie doodle poop bag holder

I find that clean poop bags get tucked away into pockets and bags, and I can never find one when I want one.  This holder can be hung on the back of a door, and it has saved me so much time already.  Pup is grateful too – no more waiting when she wants to go out to play!

The design can also be scaled up to make a plastic carrier bag holder.

You will need:


27cm square of fabric, elastic, tape or ribbon

Fold bottom edge up twice to make a channel, stitch and thread elastic through.

Pull up elastic leaving a small opening. Sew side seam wrong sides together.

Turn inside out. Pin handle so it is within the bag, as pictured.

Sew up the side (to make a french seam) and along top.  Sew a line of zig zag along the top edge to make it stronger, as the handle will be tugged whenever bags are removed from the bottom.

Turn right way out, and you’re done!

Here is Hetty on our morning walk, in heroic pose.


The most amazing chocolate cheesecake

Mary Berry chocolate cheesecake

Mmm…. chocolate three ways – white, dark and biscuit!

This is my go-to pudding when we have guests.  It has a dark chocolate digestive base, white chocolate cheesecake (I use Green & Black’s white chocolate with vanilla) and dark chocolate swirled on the top.

No cooking, can be made up to two days before and if you have any left over (ha ha) you can even freeze it.

The recipe is Mary Berry’s Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake.

Do you have a favourite easy recipe?

How to make a simple skirt difficult

Prima skirt february 2010

This was the first piece of vintage fabric I bought – about four years ago – and the piece that made me want to start sewing clothes.  I’m glad I waited this long to use it – it was a nightmare to sew.

Fortunately, I chose a simple pattern, a circle skirt on a yolk, from Prima Magazine February 2010.  If I’d gone for a more complicated pattern we would be looking at a sad heap of fabric!

Prima magazine february 2010 skirt

The fabric is crepe, and it seemed fine at first.  Very drapey, but stable.  Oh no it wasn’t!  Once it was cut, it stretched, and stretched….  None of the pieces fit together.  I underlined in silk cotton, which helped.  And then I just worked at it, a little at a time.  Lots of hand stitching, lots of unpicking.  It spent weeks hanging in the wardrobe before I hemmed it.

But now it is done – hurray! – and I am happy.  It is wonderfully drapey and swishy to wear.

Prima skirt feb 2010  Prima skirt back feb 2010

Do you have any tips for handling this kind of fabric?  I’m thinking ‘never again’ at the moment, but who knows!